The Times of Israel liveblogged events as they unfolded on Tuesday.
Schlissel to be tested for fitness to be tried
The Jerusalem District Court orders psychiatric evaluation for Yishai Schlissel, the apparent perpetrator of the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade stabbing which left one dead and five injured.
Schlissel is to be hospitalized, and his remand was extended by an additional 10 days, in order to determine whether he’s fit to stand trial and whether he’s responsible for his actions.
He’ll be under observation for 48 hours, Ynet reports.
Rivlin meets visiting Congress Republicans
President Reuven Rivlin tells Republican members of the US Congress who are visiting the country that he’s “deeply concerned about the recent nuclear deal signed with Iran” but that Israel “can and will do all that is necessary to defend itself.”
The group, headed by House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, is visiting Israel before next month’s vote approving or disapproving of the agreement reached last month between world powers and Iran aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear program.
“The current Iranian regime act with a dangerous combination of aggressiveness, fundamentalism, and state sponsored terrorism, threatening – even without nuclear weapons – freedom and democracy in this region and around the world,” Rivlin says, according to a statement from his office. “We fear that this agreement is a first step in the legitimization of Iran’s policies and strategies, and only acts to further destabilize a chaotic region.”
Concerning increasingly vocal public disagreements between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama over the deal, Rivlin says that while “the US-Israel relationship has known ups and downs,” Israel considers its alliance with the US “a strategic cornerstone.”
“We must not be alarmed by disagreements when they arise. Whatever Congress decides, it will be your decision as representatives of the American people. We, as your allies and partners, must make sure that whatever the result of this vote, our strategic alliance stands and grows even stronger,” he says.
McCarthy replies, “The uniqueness of the bond between us is because of our shared values of freedom, democracy, liberty, human rights, and protecting the voice of those with whom we may disagree. The relationship between our countries is strong and firm, and nobody should doubt that.”
Shin Bet nabs Hamas tunnel planner
The Shin Bet security service last month arrested a Hamas member from the Gaza Strip city of Rafah who was involved in digging tunnels and training terrorists, Israel Radio reports.
During his investigation, he divulged many details about the tunnels Hamas is digging in the area of the border where Israel, Egypt and the Gaza Strip meet near Rafah.
Man threatens lawyer as court jails 2 right-wing activists
Police arrest a man who appeared in court during the hearing in which two extreme right-wing activists were imprisoned without trial, and threatened the deputy district attorney.
The unnamed man gesticulated at her with a slicing motion across his throat, Ynet reports, and told a police investigator, “I will deal with you.”
The man came to the Lod District Court hearing where the judge approved the administrative detention of Meir Ettinger and Eviatar Slonim for six months.
Right-wing activist attacks Ya’alon’s car in Hebron
Right wing activist and former Knesset hopeful Baruch Marzel attacked Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s car during the latter’s visit to Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs, Israel Radio reports.
Ya’alon wasn’t injured.
“Enemy of the settlements, minister without security, strong against Jews and weak against Arabs,” Marzel reportedly shouted at Ya’alon.
Marzel wasn’t arrested.
Kurds claim attacks as Turkey strikes back
The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) claims responsibility for Monday’s bombing of an Istanbul police station, Reuters reports. Four people were killed in the attack, one of several carried out in recent days.
Turkish warplanes Tuesday carried out a new wave of airstrikes against Kurdish militants in the southeast of the country in retaliation for a day of bloody attacks that left six members of the security forces dead.
The military bombed 17 targets of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the southeastern Hakkari province, destroying them all, the army said in a statement.
The new wave of strikes carried out overnight came after one of the bloodiest days of attacks in the country since Turkey launched a relentless bombing campaign against PKK targets late last month.
— AFP contributed
Shapira backs Rivlin after school cancellation
State Comptroller Yosef Shapira expresses support for President Reuven Rivlin following an ultra-Orthodox school’s cancellation of his visit because of his advocacy for tolerance.
“Harming the president of the country, a primary and significant symbol of the State of Israel, is damaging to the state itself, and all attempts to harm it must be repulsed,” his office says in a statement.
Shapira calls for more support for tolerance and the fight against violence in Israel.
Blaze rages near West Bank village of Susiya
Two homes are damaged near Susiya after a wild fire broke out near the West Bank village.
Two firefighting teams are at the scene to help combat the blaze in the southern West Bank.
The cause of the fire is not immediately known.
Justice minister protests African ‘infiltrators’ on Facebook
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked has decided to post a video from south Tel Aviv every two hours demonstrating the “insufferable” conditions residents live in, which she attributed to illegal immigrants, until the Supreme Court hands down a ruling on the so-called “infiltrator law.”
“The law’s already been nullified twice by the Supreme Court,” she writes on her Facebook page. “The previous version of the law approved by the Knesset was too soft, and proof of this is that in the past months the issue of infiltration, which we almost overcame, returned, and dozens of Africans [illegally] entered Israel.”
“If the law is nullified a third time, the meaning will be declaring south Tel Aviv a officially compound for infiltrators,” she says, referring to African migrants.
Protesting African migrants, Shaked posts video from Turkey
Apparently one of the videos published by Shaked on her Facebook page in protest of the Supreme Court’s impending decision on African migrants, which she meant to demonstrate violence by illegal immigrants in south Tel Aviv, was from Turkey, not Israel, Channel 2 reports.
2 Jewish teens put under house arrest
The Shin Bet security agency has placed two minors under administrative detention at home for alleged involvement in violent acts against Palestinians, Haaretz reports.
The two were arrested today and are banned from Jerusalem and the West Bank for a year, must remain at their parents’ house at night for six months, and cannot speak with several of their friends over the phone.
US intervenes in Palestinian terror lawsuit
The Obama administration has intervened in a lawsuit over Palestinian attacks that have killed Americans.
In a court filing, the US government says a hefty bond requirement could financially destabilize the Palestinian government.
The filing comes in a case in New York City, where a jury this year awarded $218.5 million to survivors and victims’ relatives. That amount is automatically tripled.
In the legal filing, Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the US government supports the rights of terrorism victims to be compensated in court. But he says the US also has “significant concerns” about any bond amount imposed in the case that could affect the operations of the Palestinian Authority.
Blinken says the collapse of the Palestinian Authority would undermine “several decades of US foreign policy.”
Ya’alon: Recent Palestinian terror response to Duma
During his visit to the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon says that recent terrorist attacks on Israelis are responses to the torching of a Palestinian home in Duma, near Nablus, last month.
“It’s clear that some of the attacks that we’re seeing, like the vehicular attack on soldiers near Shilo, are a direct response to what happened in Duma,” he says.
Ya’alon blames Palestinian media for inciting violence, “and in response people take their car and run over [Israelis] simply because it’s convenient, or pick up a knife and try to murder a Jew at a gas station on Route 443.”
Israeli delegation in Cairo for meetings
An Israeli delegation headed by attorney Yitzhak Molcho, a close confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is in Cairo for talks with Egyptian officials, Turkey’s Anatolia news agency reports.
High Court limits detention of migrants to a year
The High Court of Justice has struck down most of an appeal filed by a human rights group against an amendment to a law cracking down on illegal African migrants.
The court ruled that illegal migrants can only be held at the Holot detention facility in the Negev for up to 12 months, down from the previous version of the legislation’s 20 months.
The ruling upheld the legislation’s clause allowing detention of asylum seekers for three months in the Saharonim facility.
The latest amendment of the law, the third thus far, sought to change the legislation’s unlimited detention of African migrants by reducing it to a maximum of 20 months.
Foreign Ministry shrugs off UK petition seeking PM’s arrest
The Foreign Ministry says in response to a British petition seeking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s arrest on arrival in London that it’s “a PR stunt with no real meaning.”
“Bilateral ties between Britain and Israel are closer than ever before, as evidenced by data on mutual trade, doubled in recent years, and by the cooperation in academic studies, culture and science between the two countries.”
“Any person can initiate such a petition on the website of the British Parliament,” adding that “currently, there are running petitions on legalizing drugs (with 200,000 signatures) and regulating the price of milk (40,000),” a ministry spokesperson says.
Scorching heatwave kills 42 in Egypt
A scorching heatwave gripped Egypt this week, killing at least 42 people, including a German resident, patients in a psychiatric hospital and detainees, officials said Tuesday.
Egyptian summers are usually hot, but this week’s temperatures in the south soared to 44 degrees Celsius (111 degrees Fahrenheit).
The Health Ministry said 21 people died from the heat on Sunday, when temperatures topped 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in the country’s north. Nineteen more died on Monday, authorities said, mostly elderly citizens.
A German national living in the southern city of Luxor died on Tuesday from heatstroke, according to security official Essam el-Desouki. Egypt’s official MENA news agency said he was in his sixties.
A 62-year old Egyptian in the southern city of Assiut also died Tuesday, health official Ahmed Anwar said.
Most of the fatalities — at least 26 — were in Cairo, a crowded, sprawling city of at least 18 million.
Three patients at a psychiatric hospital north of Cairo were also among the dead. Three detainees in a jail north of Cairo died because of the heat, said a security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.
Egyptian prisons and detention facilities are notoriously overcrowded. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.
Compounding the woes from the heatwave was a widespread power outage Tuesday in several Cairo neighborhoods that lasted a few hours and briefly brought the city’s subway to a halt.
The Ministry of Electricity blamed the outage on increased consumption that briefly knocked out a power transformer in western Cairo. In rural and southern Egypt, power cuts are usual.
Justice minister: Migrant law battle shows need for constitution
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked responds to the High Court’s decision to slash detentions of illegal African migrants at the Holot center to just one year, instead of 20 months, saying the court “decided now on a fateful issue.”
“It’s important that in a functional democratic state, the definition of powers and responsibilities of different authorities be clear,” she says. “We didn’t need to arrive at the third debate on the issue of the migrant law, and the hands of the legislative authorities didn’t need to be tied in the way they were. This is the reason for the necessity of a constitution, which will bring order to the powers between the legislature and judiciary.”
Netanyahu hails High Court’s decision
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expresses satisfaction with the High Court’s decision.
In a statement issued by his office, Netanyahu says that the ruling demonstrated that the court supported the principles outlined by the government in the law: “we cannot tolerate the issue of illegal immigration of work seekers, and confirms that we can imprison migrant for the purpose of obtaining the necessary deterrence.”
Arab doctors protest force-feeding Palestinian hunger-striker
About 20 Arab doctors working at Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center are demonstrating against the hospital management’s intention to allow the force-feeding of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Mohammed Allaan.
The protesters include members of Physicians for Humans Rights Israel. They say that force-feeding is abusive and protest the hospital’s decision to perform the procedure on Allaan should his life be at risk.
Allaan is in stable condition at the moment and conscious.