The Times of Israel liveblogged Tuesday’s events as they unfolded.
Kulanu, Zionist Union MKs said to meet with Abbas
Kulanu party MK Yifat Shasha-Biton and Zionist Union MK Zouheir Bahloul are reportedly visiting Ramallah today and will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Biton’s office wouldn’t confirm the report posted on the 0404 website, and Bahaloul didn’t respond to inquiries by The Times of Israel.
Bahloul visited Ramallah last month as well.
Tel Aviv beaches closed to swimming
The Health Ministry issues a warning to bathers not to enter several beaches in central Tel Aviv because of severe pollution.
The Jerusalem and Aviv beaches are off limits until further notice after a sewage pump broke.
Turkey issues arrest warrants for Ankara hospital staff — report
Turkey on Tuesday issued arrest warrants for 100 staff, including doctors, at the main military hospital in Ankara as part of an investigation into last month’s failed coup, a Turkish official and reports say.
Police are searching the Gulhane Military Medical Academy (GATA) hospital in the capital, the private NTV television reported. It was not immediately clear if any suspects had been detained.
The Turkish official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that detention warrants had been issued without giving any number.
Turkey blames the coup attempt on the organisation of US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara accuses of running a group called Fethullah Terror Organisation (FETO), charges he denied.
The official said that staff at the hospital were suspected of helping fast-track Gulen supporters into the military by giving them favourable medical reports.
“GATA is crucial because this is where fitness and health reports are issued,” the official said.
“There is strong evidence suggesting FETO members infiltrated this institution to slow down the career progress of their rivals within the military and fast-track their supporters.”
Similar claims have also been made about military schools where officials have said exams were rigged. Almost half of Turkey’s generals were fired in the wake of the coup.
Turkey has declared a state of emergency in the wake of the July 15 power grab attempt and launched a crackdown that has seen some 18,000 people detained.
This is believed to be the first time a medical establishment has been targeted in the clampdown, which has also hit journalists and academics.
Under a previous decree, GATA and other military hospitals have been transferred to the control of the health ministry.
‘Kerry supports French peace initiative’
The Palestinian ambassador in France says that US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed support for the French peace initiative during his meeting yesterday in Paris with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, Israel Radio reports.
Kerry attended the June powwow in Paris, but was lukewarm concerning the prospects of an upcoming conference later this year.
Netanyahu chats with new British PM for first time
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks by phone with British counterpart Theresa May for the first time since she took office last month. He wished her luck in her new position, the Prime Minister’s Office says.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the two discussed ways to incease cooperation between the two countries, as well as “regional issues and the threat of global terrorism against which the free world contends.”
Border Police find stolen rifle in northern town
Border Police officers nabbed a stolen M-16 rifle in the Arab town of Tuba-Zangariyye, north of the Sea of Galilee. The suspect in possession of the weapon has a criminal record and will be arrested, the police say in a statement.
נשק מסוג M-16 נתפס ע"י לוחמי מג"ב לפני זמן קצר, בטובא זנגריה. החשוד באחזקת הנשק הלא חוקי מוכר למשטרה וייעצר בהמשך pic.twitter.com/Ez2UfEdIm8
— משטרת ישראל (@IL_police) August 2, 2016
Ex-Saudi general denies visiting Israel
Retired Saudi general Anwar Eshki denies reports that he recently visited Israel, telling Israeli Arabic radio station Radio Shams that he only visited Ramallah at the invitation of the Palestinian Authority.
Eshki visited Israel last month and met with Israeli parliamentarians and Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai.
He further denies any diplomatic ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, despite Netanyahu’s message that Jerusalem has forged ties with Arab states.
Police arrest crime lord in underworld sting
Police arrest a unnamed crime lord in connection to a string of gangland assassinations in recent months, as part of a sting operation against organized crime in Israel, Ynet reports. Eight others were nabbed in the sting as well.
Knesset speaker calls for annexation of parts of West Bank
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein says he hopes Israel will finally annex parts of the West Bank, particularly the Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem, and the Jordan Valley.
Addressing parliament for a meeting marking the 11th anniversary of the Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip, Edelstein says that “instead of uprooting and destroying, we must plant, build and fortify our strongholds here!”
Regev ‘crossed line’ in TV show ad spot
The Knesset Ethics Committee rules that Culture Minister Miri Regev “crossed the line” by appearing in a video promoting a television show starring pop singer Eyal Golan.
France lays to rest priest killed in jihadist attack
France pays its last respects Tuesday to Father Jacques Hamel, the 85-year-old priest murdered by jihadists last week, at an emotional funeral held under tight security at Rouen cathedral in northern France.
“As brutal and unfair and horrible as Jacques’s death was, we have to look deep into our hearts to find the light,” says Rouen Archbishop Dominique Lebrun.
Some 2,000 mourners pack the soaring Gothic sanctuary, with hundreds more watching the ceremony, which began minutes after a heavy rainstorm, on a giant screen outside.
Iranian hackers break into Telegram accounts
Dozens of Telegram accounts have been compromised by Iranian hackers and millions of Iranian users’ phone numbers have been leaked, Reuters reports.
The breach in security of the encrypted messaging service “jeopardized the communications of activists, journalists and other people in sensitive positions in Iran,” the report said.
Cyber experts tell the news outlet that the type of attacks carried out on Telegram users were similar to ones attributed to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Tel Aviv light rail ‘may launch early,’ minister says
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz says the Tel Aviv metropolitan area subway system “may even begin operations before the planned launch on October 2021” during a tour of the construction site.
The massive construction project has snarled traffic in an already congested city, but Katz says the rail line will remove 50,000 vehicles from the streets and transport an estimated 70 million passengers a year, Walla news reports.
Knesset drops probe into weed found in parliament john
The Knesset and police won’t open an investigation into whose bag of dope was found in a parliament bathroom, because the quantity is too small and Knesset security couldn’t find anyone responsible, Cannabis Magazine reports.
“The amount of grass found in the men’s bathroom is too small a quantity and after an initial investigation by a Knesset officer to find the owners that didn’t yield anyone, the investigation was ended,” the Knesset tells Cannabis.
The bag was found last month in a bathroom used by lawmakers and their aides, but nobody owned up and an investigation was opened immediately thereafter.
Obama: Trump ‘unfit’ to serve as president
US President Barack Obama on Tuesday slammed Republican White House nominee Donald Trump, saying he was “woefully unprepared” and “unfit” to serve as president.
“I think the Republican nominee is unfit to serve as president,” he said at a White House news conference. “I said so last week. He keeps proving it.”
Hamas knocks Abbas for Christian election quota
Hamas rips into Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for a decree creating a quota for Christian representatives in the upcoming municipal elections across the Palestinian territories.
Abbas issued a presidential decree Monday requiring nine West Bank municipal districts to have a Christian majority in the local council, and that the head of those councils must be Christian. A total of 67 out of the 3,848 seats up for election were guaranteed to Christians.
Hamas, in a statement posted on their website, calls the decree “a violation of the electoral process and an attempt to influence the outcome.”
The Palestinian municipal elections are slated to take place October 8 and will be held in 416 townships and village councils; 25 are located in Gaza and the other 391 in the West Bank.
— Dov Lieber
Oren Hazan to be ejected from committee
After Likud MK Oren Hazan said he’d vote in favor of an investigation into Operation Protective Edge, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly plans to dismiss Hazan from Knesset state control committee, Channel 2 reports.
Czech president refuses to welcome any migrants
Czech President Milos Zeman has rejected a government proposal to take in some 2,700 migrants languishing in Italy and Greece, claiming they might pose a security threat, his spokesman said Tuesday.
“The president is against welcoming any migrants on Czech territory. Our country can’t afford to run the risk of having terrorist attacks like those committed in France and Germany,” Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek told reporters.
BDS activist deported from Ben Gurion Airport
A Swiss BDS activist was arrested yesterday at Ben Gurion Airport and deported today.
Rita Pia Freya flew into Israel from Sweden and was reportedly the first BDS activist to be deported for her political affiliation, according to Channel 2.
US Air Force says F-35 ‘combat ready’
The United States Air Force declares the F-35A stealth jet fighter “combat ready,” though it will not likely be deployed in battle in the near future.
A different version of the fifth generation aircraft — the F-35B — was declared operational by the US Marine Corps one year ago, but limitations on the state-of-the-art fighter jet keep it from being put into full use.
“I am proud to announce this powerful new weapons system has achieved initial combat capability,” Gen. Hawk Carlisle, commander of US Air Combat Command, says.
“The F-35A will be the most dominant aircraft in our inventory because it can go where our legacy aircraft cannot and provide the capabilities our commanders need on the modern battlefield,” Carlisle says.
Earlier this week, the F-35 also conducted its first “kill” test, firing an AIM-9X air-to-air missile at an unmanned drone, destroying it.
Israel is set to receive Lockheed Martin’s F-35 later this year, which will make it the first country besides the US to do so.
Israel’s F-35 took its maiden voyage last week, flying for some 20 minutes to check that all the aircraft’s systems worked correctly, which they did, Lockheed Martin says.
— Judah Ari Gross