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Report: Travel to Lebanon, Israel to Be Hurt Over Regional Turmoil

Lebanon's recent political turmoil is likely to scare off Western travelers although Beirut has repeatedly proven its resilience, emerging from civil war and conflict with Israel to rebuild and live up to its image as the "Switzerland of the Middle East," the Associated Press reported.

"People's memories are surprisingly short," says Janet Moore, owner of Distant Horizons, a Long Beach, California, travel agency specializing in the Middle East.

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Netanyahu Fears Rise of Iran-Style Regime in Egypt

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday warned of the dangers of an Iranian-style regime arising out of the political chaos sweeping through Egypt.

"In a time of chaos, an organized Islamic group can take over the state. It happened in Iran and it also happened in other places," the Israeli leader said at a press conference with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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In Israel, Merkel Urges Quick Restart of Peace Talks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to seek a swift revival of peace talks with the Palestinians citing regional unrest as cause for urgency.

At a joint press conference with Netanyahu on the first day of a visit to Tel Aviv that included a joint German-Israeli cabinet meeting, she spoke of "troubled times" against a backdrop of civil revolt in Egypt and Tunisia.

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Report: Israel Seeking Western Support for Mubarak

Israel has told its diplomats in the United States, Europe and elsewhere to encourage their host nations to support the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, daily Haaretz reported Monday.

The newspaper said Israel's foreign ministry told its diplomats to stress that it is in "the interest of the West" and of "the entire Middle East to maintain the stability of the regime in Egypt."

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Netanyahu: Israel Aims to Ensure that Ties with Egypt ‘Continue to Exist’

Israel is carefully watching developments in Egypt and its efforts are focused on maintaining the "stability and security" of the region, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.

"We are attentively following what is going on in Egypt and in our region," Netanyahu told reporters at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting after holding late-night talks with top intelligence brass and key ministers.

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Arab-Israeli Gets 9 Years for Allegedly Spying for Hizbullah

A prominent Arab-Israeli human rights activist was sentenced to nine years in jail on Sunday after pleading guilty to spying for Hizbullah, an Israeli court official said.

Ameer Makhoul was convicted last October of espionage and aggravated espionage on the basis of a plea bargain in which the prosecution dropped a charge of assisting the enemy in time of war.

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Israel Evacuates Diplomats' Families from Egypt

Israel repatriated families of its diplomats in Egypt on Saturday in response to the unprecedented street protests in the Arab state with which it has a 1979 peace deal, the foreign ministry said.

"A special aircraft brought back to Israel on Saturday the families of diplomats and other official envoys, as well as about 40 Israelis on private visits to Cairo who wished to leave," said ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor.

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In Memoirs, Olmert Says Abbas Made ‘Historic Mistake’ in 2008

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made a "historic mistake" by rebuffing a peace offer made during negotiations in 2008.

Excerpts from an upcoming memoir by Olmert were published Friday in the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot.

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Ashkenazi: Israel Won’t Interfere in Lebanon

Israeli Army Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi has reportedly said that the Jewish state will not interfere in Lebanon’s developments although the situation is worrying.

Ashkenazi made the comment as he addressed a group of NATO military chiefs in Brussels on Wednesday.

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Shalom: International Community should Prevent Hizbullah’s Control on Lebanon

Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom reportedly said Wednesday that the international community should take steps to prevent Hizbullah from controlling Lebanon.

Israel radio quoted Shalom as saying that the situation in Lebanon is dangerous because Iran controls Hizbullah’s movements.

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