The Times of Israel liveblogged Sunday’s events as they happened.
3 arrested in connection to violent Virginia clashes
Three more men are arrested in connection to the violent clashes between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The Virginia State Police announced late Saturday that Troy Dunigan, a 21-year-old from Chattanooga, Tennessee, was charged with disorderly conduct; Jacob L. Smith, a 21-year-old from Louisa, Virginia, was charged with assault and battery; and James M. O’Brien, 44, of Gainesville, Florida, was charged with carrying a concealed handgun.
Three people died during the violent day in Charlottesville.
A 32-year-old woman was killed when a car plowed into a crowd of protesters. The driver, James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old from Ohio, was charged with second-degree murder.
Two state police troopers were killed when their helicopter crashed in the woods on the outskirts of town.
American tourist gives Nazi salute in Germany, is beaten up
Police say a drunken American man was punched by a passerby as he gave the stiff-armed Nazi salute multiple times in downtown Dresden.
Dresden police said Sunday the 41-year-old, whose name and hometown weren’t given for privacy reasons, suffered minor injuries in the Saturday morning assault.
Police say the American, who is under investigation for violating Germany’s laws against the display of Nazi symbols or slogans, had an extremely high blood alcohol level. His assailant fled the scene, and is being sought for causing bodily harm.
It’s the second time this month that tourists have gotten themselves into legal trouble for giving the Nazi salute. On August 5 two Chinese tourists were caught taking photos of themselves making the gesture in front of Berlin’s Reichstag building.
Enough evidence to convict Assad of war crimes — UN commission member
A UN commission probing Syria rights abuses has gathered enough evidence to convict President Bashar Assad of war crimes, an outgoing member of the commission says in interviews published Sunday.
Veteran former war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, who is preparing to step down after five years serving in the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, tells Swiss media the evidence against Assad was sufficient to secure a war crimes conviction.
“I am convinced of that,” she tells Le Matin Dimanche and the Sonntagszeitung weeklies, adding though that with no international court or prosecutor tasked with trying the Syria war crimes cases, justice would remain elusive.
“That is why the situation is so frustrating. The preparatory work has been done, but nevertheless, there is no prosecutor and no court,” she says. “It’s a tragedy.”
Del Ponte, a 70-year-old Swiss national who came to prominence investigating war crimes in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, made the shock announcement earlier this month that she would resign from the UN commission because it “does absolutely nothing.”
Senior Afghan IS members killed in US airstrike
Several senior Islamic State group members in Afghanistan — including a provincial leader — have been killed in a United States airstrike.
General John Nicholson, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, says Thursday’s strike killed Abdul Rahman, who he claimed was a provincial leader in IS’s Afghanistan branch, known as IS-Khorasan Province (IS-K).
Rahman’s death comes a month after US forces killed Abu Sayed, the head of IS-K. That marked the third time in a year that the affiliate had lost its leader.
“The death of Abdul Rahman deals yet another blow to the senior leadership of ISIS-K,” Nicholson says in a statement. “He found out just like those before him that there are no safe havens in Afghanistan. We will hunt them down until they are no longer a threat to the Afghan people and the region.”
Nicholson says that three other senior IS-K members had been killed in the strike in Darah-Ye Pech district in the northeastern province of Kunar.
Rivlin nixes Katsav request for end to parole limitations
President Reuven Rivlin rejects a request from former president Moshe Katsav, who was released from prison last December after serving five years for rape and other sexual offenses, to free him from the limitations of his parole.
In his response to Katsav, Rivlin wrote that the ex-president’s early release from prison was conditional on his parole limitations and “for this reason and the nature of his crime, there is no place to accept the request to remove them.”
Katsav was freed from prison after serving two-thirds of a seven-year jail sentence. Under the terms of his parole, Katsav is barred from leaving his home in Kiryat Malachi between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. In addition Katsav is not allowed to leave the country or to make any statements to the media.
The former president must also attend rehab and must visit a psychologist once a week. He also has to check in with a parole officer every month.
These limitations remain in effect until December 2018, when his full seven-year sentence would have ended.
Brazilian Jewish organization apologizes for anti-Palestinian post on social media
The Rio Jewish federation apologizes for a Facebook post which called on the Jewish community to root against a Chilean soccer team founded by Palestinians slated to play against Brazil’s most popular team.
The federation’s official Facebook profile with nearly 30,000 followers on Wednesday displayed the flags of the Flamengo and Palestino teams, and the question “Who are you going to root for today?” The post was removed shortly afterwards.
“It was produced by one of our team members with personal purposes and was intended for a closed group of friends. It was published accidentally on our page. We apologize for the mistake,” the federation wrote in an online message on Thursday after Rio’s largest newspaper O Globo reported the incident.
“The federation does not encourage this type of behavior and has as one of its premises coexistence with our Palestinian cousins,” Jewish federation President Herry Rosenberg was quoted as telling the newspaper’s Friday edition.
NBA heads to the Holy Land to develop talent, promote values
The NBA is heading to the Holy Land.
A league delegation headed by Commissioner Adam Silver is in Israel this week on a mission with its “Basketball Without Borders” program.
The program has brought together top teenage players from across Europe for a chance to compete and train at the highest level. Silver says these players are seen as potential professionals.
But the program also teaches athletes how sports can be a tool for bringing people together. It will include a series of workshops for local Jewish and Arab children.
Silver says the goal is to grow interest in basketball and help develop young people around the world.
Mossad head: We are distracted by IS while Iran gains strength
The head of the Mossad warns that as the Islamic State terrorist group is beaten back, Iran and its proxies are rushing in to take over its territory, during a security briefing to cabinet ministers.
“The areas where Daesh presence is decreasing, Iran is working to fill the void,” Mossad chief Yossi Cohen says, using the Arabic nickname for the Islamic State.
Cohen said that while Islamic State has lost control of huge swaths of territory, Iran, since the 2015 nuclear deal, has seen “significant economic growth and signed numerous international partnership deals,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded by saying that Iran’s growth was proof that the deal was a mistake.
US Reform leader ‘deeply troubled’ by Trump’s weak condemnation of Charlottesville violence
The head of Reform Judaism in the US criticizes President Donald Trump for saying that the hatred and violence behind the deadly clashes over the weekend between white supremacist protesters and counterprotesters in Virginia came from “many sides.”
“The vile presence and rhetoric of the neo-Nazis who marched this weekend in Charlottesville is a reminder of the ever-present need for people of good will to stand strong, to speak loudly against hate, and act both to delegitimize those who spread such messages and to mitigate the harm done to the commonweal of our nation and to those that are the targets of hate messages,” Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, says in a statement, adding that “once again, hate has killed.”
“We commend the opening of President Trump’s statement condemning the ‘egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence’ but are deeply troubled by the moral equivalence evident in President Trump’s statement today. White supremacists wielding Nazi flags and spewing racist vitriol need to be specifically condemned, not only violence and hate ‘on many sides.’ If our leaders can’t call out this virulent strand of hate we will surely fail to stop it,” Jacobs also says in his statement.
Ron Lauder says Virginia violence ‘utterly distressing and repugnant’
Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, condemns the “inconceivable violence” on display in Charlottesville.
“It is utterly distressing and repugnant that such hatred and bigotry still run rampant in parts of this country. There is no place in our democratic society for such violence and intolerance. We must be vigilant and united in our opposition to such abhorrence,” he says in a statement.
ADL head: US ‘long overdue’ for moral leadership
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt condemns the violence in Charlottesville in a series of tweets.
Greenblatt said that the violence was “predictable” and was “consistent” with hateful messages being put out by groups linked to the alt-right.
— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) August 13, 2017
He praised Trump for condemning the violence but criticized him for not specifically condemning the white supremacist movement.
— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) August 12, 2017
American Jewish Committee calls for ‘moral clarity’ from Trump
The American Jewish Committee in a tweet says it is “appalled by white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville” and the message of hate they seek to spread.
— AJC (@AJCGlobal) August 12, 2017
The organization calls on Trump to find “moral clarity” and condemn the violence racially motivated hatred.
.@POTUS Time for moral clarity. Condemning "hatred, bigotry & violence on many sides" blurs truth & gives pass to neo-Nazi perpetrators
— AJC (@AJCGlobal) August 12, 2017
Egypt detains train driver over deadly crash
Egypt’s prosecution orders the detention of a train driver following a deadly train crash near the coastal city of Alexandria that killed 43 people and injured scores.
A train coming from Cairo, Egypt’s capital, crashed into the rear of another that was waiting at a small station in the district of Khorshid, just east of Alexandria, last week.
Prosecutors order the driver of the Cairo train to be detained for 15 days pending investigation, and requested blood and urine samples to test for drugs.
In a meeting with President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on Saturday, Transport Minister Hesham Arafat blamed the accident on human error.
Egypt’s railway system has a poor safety record, mostly blamed on decades of badly maintained equipment and poor management.
Ivanka Trump denounces white supremacy, neo-Nazis after Charlottesville
US President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka weighs in on the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia with an appeal for unity, saying there was “no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis.”
Trump, who has a following among white supremacist groups attracted to his nationalistic rhetoric, has come under fire for blaming the Charlottesville violence on hatred and bigotry “on many sides.”
Ivanka Trump was more pointed in two tweets Sunday calling for unity.
1:2 There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis.
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) August 13, 2017
2:2 We must all come together as Americans — and be one country UNITED. #Charlottesville
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) August 13, 2017
Government approves order preventing Dimona nuclear scientists’ strike
The cabinet approves an emergency ordinance allowing the government to end an ongoing strike by scientists at the top secret Dimona nuclear reactor.
During the strike, which began in February amid negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement, scientists have held up development plans, refused to grant safety licenses and have even ceased operating an essential piece of machinery.
The ordinance includes an injunction authorizing the head of the Atomic Energy Commission and site managers to order their employees to continue essential work despite the strike in order to serve “the state’s essential interests.”
Employees who refuse could be fired. Others could have their salaries cut and would be forbidden from quitting while the injunction is in effect.
Iran parliament softens drug death penalty laws
Iran’s parliament passes a long-awaited amendment to its drug trafficking laws on Sunday, raising the thresholds that can trigger capital punishment and potentially saving the lives of many on death row, local media reports.
The bill must still be approved by the conservative-dominated Guardian Council but gained parliamentary approval after months of debate, according to parliament’s website and the ISNA news agency.
McMaster considers Virginia clash to be terrorism
US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser says the violence that broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia, “meets the definition of terrorism.”
H.R. McMaster tells ABC’s “This Week” that “anytime that you commit an attack against people to incite fear, it is terrorism.”
One person died Saturday when a car rammed into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville as tension boiled over at a white supremacist rally.
McMaster calls it “a criminal act against fellow Americans. A criminal act that may have been motivated — and we’ll see what’s turned up in this investigation — by this hatred and bigotry, which I mentioned we have to extinguish in our nation.”
German nationalists pull anti-Islam pig poster
A top leader of Germany’s anti-immigrant AfD party says it won’t distribute campaign posters with the slogan “Islam? Doesn’t fit with our cuisine” written above a piglet in a grass field — because it inspires too much sympathy for the pig.
Alexander Gauland, one of nationalist Alternative for Germany’s main candidates in the September 24 election, says the poster is “unusable.”
— Sidney Gennies (@SidneyGennies) June 6, 2017
He told Sunday’s Bild newspaper: “That’s because of the little piglet; I’m concerned children will say: ‘What? They want to slaughter this pig?'”
“The poster campaigns for the piglet, not against Islam, so away with it,” he said.
AfD is sticking with other anti-Islam posters, including one with two white women in bathing suits and the slogan “Burkas? We like bikinis.”
The party garners 8 percent support in the latest polls.
Security forces detain suspect in south Jerusalem
Police say they have detained a suspect in Jerusalem after receiving a security alert about him.
The man was apprehended in the southern Beit Safafa neighborhood of the capital, police said in a statement.
Police did not say exactly what the nature of the alert was or give any details about the identity of the suspect.
Israel Radio reports that the suspect was a Palestinian from East Jerusalem on his way to carry out an attack.
The incident came the day after a man was lightly injured in Jerusalem stabbing attack.
Shin Bet say Jerusalem suspect was on way to carry out attack
The Shin Bet security agency says a suspect detained in south Jerusalem was on his way to carry out an attack.
The agency says police shot him after he opened fire on them.
He is in moderate to serious condition.
Trump condemnation of violence ‘includes white supremacists’ — White House
US President Donald Trump’s condemnation of bigotry and hatred at a “Unite the Right” rally in Virginia that turned violent included white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis, the White House says.
“The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred. Of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups,” a spokesperson said.
Russia says Syrian government doubled territory it controls
The Syrian government has increased the size of the territory under its control by two and a half times in just two months, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu says, as Syrian forces backed by regional allies and the Russian air force seized thousands of square miles (kilometers) from the Islamic State group in the center of the country.
Syrian government forces supported by Iranian-organized militias and the Russian air force have recaptured much of the country’s central Homs province from the Islamic State group in 2017. Most of the province is desert. It contains several energy fields as well as phosphate minerals.
They are driving toward the city of Deir el-Zour, kept under siege by IS militants since 2015.
Shoigu, in an interview on Russian state-owned Rossiya 24 TV, says recapturing Deir el-Zour “will say a lot, if not everything, about the end of the battle with” the Islamic State group.
Rebels fighting for Damascus suburbs kill 20
A Syrian rebel faction says it has killed 20 army soldiers in a tunnel blast as the battle for Damascus’s northeastern suburbs shows no signs of letting up.
Wael Olwan, spokesman for the Failaq al-Rahman faction, says the operation took place before dawn Sunday.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group says 16 soldiers are reported missing because of the blast.
A Russian mediated ceasefire announced last month has failed to quell the fighting between the government and rebels on the northeastern edges of Damascus. The Failaq al-Rahman opposition faction says it is not party to the agreement, and the government says it is fighting terrorists.
The government has leaned on its air force and its ground-to-ground missile systems to push rebels out and away from the capital. Several neighborhoods and towns have been destroyed. The opposition does not have an air force.
Suspect detained after attempting to run over cop
A man has been arrested after apparently trying to run over a police officer and then driving off, as cops opened fire at him, according to police.
The incident began when the suspect drove at an officer standing in the parking lot of the Ayarot Police Station near to Beersheba.
An officer at the station shot at the tires of the car that sped off after failing to hit the policeman. There were no injuries reported.
After the attempted ramming, an officer shot at the tires of the escaping car, which began to drive erratically.
The car stopped a few minutes later and two suspects inside jumped out. One of them was arrested.
Israeli drone company tried to bomb Armenian army for Azerbaijan — report
An Israeli drone manufacturer attempted to bomb the Armenian military on behalf of Azerbaijan during a demonstration of one of its “suicide” unmanned aerial vehicles last month, according to a complaint filed with the Defense Ministry.
A copy of the complaint filed against Aeronautics Defense Systems Ltd. with the ministry’s Defense Export Controls Agency was leaked to the Maariv newspaper, which published the details today. The Defense Ministry confirms that it is investigating the issue, but would not discuss the case further.
“As a rule, the Defense Ministry does not comment on issues concerning defense exports. The allegation is being investigated by relevant figures in the ministry,” a spokesperson says in a statement.
According to the report, the company sent a team to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, in order to demonstrate its Orbiter 1K unmanned aerial vehicle, which can be outfitted with a small explosive payload, 2.2 to 4.4 pounds (one to two kilograms), and flown into an enemy target on a “suicide” mission.
— Judah Ari Gross
Orthodox Jewish group files federal lawsuit against eruv removal
An Orthodox Jewish group is suing a town in New Jersey for ordering it to remove an “eruv,” or religious boundary, from utility poles in the town.
The Bergen Rockland Eruv Association and two residents of Rockland County on Friday filed a federal lawsuit against the town of Mahwah, New Jersey, saying the town is violating their constitutional and civil rights.
Mahwah, which is located across the New York state border, had told the South Monsey Eruv Fund to remove the white plastic piping from utility poles that it uses for the symbolically enclosed area by August 4. An eruv allows observant Jews to carry objects and push strollers outside of their homes on Shabbat.
The Orthodox community told The Associated Press last month that it had been given permission to hang the piping by the local utility company. But town officials said the piping is banned because it is considered signage.
Two US soldiers killed in Iraq
Two US soldiers were killed and five wounded in northern Iraq on Sunday during “combat operations,” a statement from the American military says.
“Initial reports indicate the incident was not due to enemy contact,” says the statement from Centcom, the US military command in the Middle East.
It adds that an investigation was under way, but gave no further details about what happened or where.
A US-led coalition is supporting Iraqi forces in operations against the jihadist Islamic State group, notably in the north of the country.
Man accused of driving car had racist rally sign
The man accused of ramming a car into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville was photographed that morning holding a shield with the emblem of a white supremacist group.
Vanguard America denies that James Alex Fields Jr. is a member of its group and says it handed out shields to anyone in attendance who wanted them. The Anti-Defamation League says Vanguard America believes the US is an exclusively white nation, and uses propaganda to recruit young white men online and on college campuses.
In the photo, taken by the New York Daily News , Fields stands with a handful of men, all dressed similarly in the usual Vanguard America uniform of khakis and white polo shirts. The men hold white shields with a black-and-white logo of two axes. The Confederate statue of Robert E. Lee is in the background. The Daily News says the photo was taken about 10:30 a.m. Charlottesville officials say the car crashed into the crowd, killing one, at 1:42 p.m.
Here's the killer, James Alex Fields, Jr. (left) at the Unite the Right rally earlier that day, before he mowed down Heather Heyer. pic.twitter.com/B13wbuGNvD
— Jay Kuo (@nycjayjay) August 13, 2017
Vanguard America confirmed via Twitter account that members were in Charlottesville on Saturday morning, part of what’s believed to be the largest group of white nationalists to come together in a decade, to rally against plans to remove a Confederate statue. Hundreds of others came to protest against the racism.
Today we stood against the government, police, Antifa, and the elements themselves. A special thanks goes out to all who fought with us. pic.twitter.com/uAwTyLBbpj
— Vanguard America (@VanguardAm) August 12, 2017
Bennett says US leaders must condemn recent ‘displays of anti-Semitism’
Jewish Home chairman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett condemns Charlottesville white supremacist rally and calls on US leaders to denounce its “displays of anti-Semitism.”
“The unhindered waving of Nazi flags and symbols in the US is not only offensive towards the Jewish community and other minorities, it also disrespects the millions of American soldiers who sacrificed their lives in order to protect the US and entire world from the Nazis,” Bennett says in a statement.
“The leaders of the US must condemn and denounce the displays of anti-Semitism seen over the past few days,” he adds.
PM pushing for wider power to declare war — report
The Justice Ministry is preparing a draft amendment to Israel’s Basic law that would allow the prime minister to declare war or order a military operation without the authorization of the full cabinet, and even without a vote of all the members of the security cabinet, Channel 2 News reports.
The legislation is being advanced by Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu, according to the report.
The amendment is expected to come before the Knesset in the coming session.
Monsoon landslide kills 45 in northern India
A massive landslide in mountainous northern India swept two packed passenger buses off a hillside Sunday into a deep gorge, killing 45 people, an official says.
“Forty-five bodies have been found,” says Sandeep Kadam, a senior official of Himachal Pradesh state, where the accident occurred.
Lion rescued from Syria zoo gives birth in Jordan reserve
A lion cub has been born just hours after its mother Dana, rescued from a defunct zoo in war-torn Syria, was released into a wildlife reserve in Jordan.
Dana and 12 other animals, including four other lions, two bears and two tigers, had barely survived under harsh conditions in the Syrian city of Aleppo, until a few months ago a major battleground in the country’s civil war.
They were transported from Syria to Turkey and then to Jordan by the international animal charity Four Paws, stuck in cages during the three-week journey. They arrived at the al-Ma’wa reserve in northern Jordan on Friday.
Dr. Amir Khalil, a vet who accompanied the animals, said that he had been worried during the transport that Dana would give birth while in a cage. In such a case, it’s unlikely the cub would have survived, he said.
Instead, Hajar, Arabic for “the immigrant,” was born sometime in the night from Friday to Saturday, in the tranquility of the wooded reserve. Staff at the reserve discovered the cub when they checked on Dana on Saturday morning.
The cub is white, a color that might change later, and weighs an estimated 1.5 to 2 kilograms (3.3 to 4.4 pounds), said Khalil who hasn’t been able yet to examine Hajar. The sex is still unknown.
At least 94 dead in monsoon disasters in Nepal and India
Monsoon floods and landslides have killed at least 94 people across Nepal and India but officials fear that figure could rise sharply as rescuers search for dozens believed lost under mud and in submerged villages.
Authorities upgrade the death toll from flash flooding across landlocked Nepal to 49 as the water kept rising, forcing thousands to flee for higher ground.
“Another 17 are missing. Search and rescue works are underway but the water levels have not declined yet,” says Shankar Hari Acharya, the chief of Nepal’s national emergency centre.
The Red Cross estimated a higher death toll of 53, with dozens more missing and injured, and thousands of homes destroyed.
In neighboring India, a massive landslide in the mountainous north swept two passenger buses off a hillside and into a deep gorge, killing 45 people, an official says.
Zioness activists shunned at SlutWalk Chicago
About a dozen activists from the Zioness initiative attempted to participate in SlutWalk Chicago.
The group, which calls itself progressive and Zionist, had announced prior to Saturday’s demonstration that they would join in the annual demonstration against sexual violence to promote the idea that Zionism and liberal values are compatible.
SlutWalk Chicago organizers said prior to the march that they did not support the participation of the new Zioness initiative.
The women joined the initial rally in a local park, carrying signs depicting a woman wearing a Star of David necklace and some wearing rainbow-colored T-shirts emblazoned with a Star of David, according to reports. During the rally, when the Zioness women waved their signs, SlutWalk participants would block them from view with the red umbrellas they were carrying, the symbol of solidarity with sex workers.
At the end of the speeches, which concluded with a Palestinian activist telling the crowd, “You cannot be a Zionist and feminist,” the crowd began chanting “Free Palestine,” the Windy City Times reports.
The Zioness participants as well as others dropped off during the march through downtown Chicago, according to the Windy City Times. The march reportedly started with about 150 women and ended with about 60.
Hezbollah says Syrian government ‘will stay on’
The head of the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah says it is time for political leaders to accept the survival of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government.
Hassan Nasrallah, addressing a rally on Sunday, advised the Lebanese government to normalize ties with its war-torn neighbor.
Lebanon’s political parties are split over whether to restore relations with the pariah Syrian leader. Hezbollah has invested heavily in Assad’s survival. More than a thousand of its fighters have died fighting alongside government forces in Syria. Syria occupied Lebanon from 1991-2005.
“The world today has taken for granted that the administration will stay on,” said Nasrallah on Syria.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in July that Washington was prepared to defer to Russia in Syria. Russia is a key backer of Assad’s government.