The Times of Israel liveblogged Monday’s events as they unfolded.
Waqf, Muslim groups urge boycott of Temple Mount over metal detectors
Islamic leaders are urging Muslims to boycott the Temple Mount in protest after Israel set up metal detectors at the site’s entrance gates following a deadly terror attack there last week.
The Waqf, together with other Islamic groups, issue a statement calling on Muslims “to reject and boycott all the Israeli aggression measures, including changing the historical status quo including imposing the metal detectors.”
They call on the faithful “not to deal with it at all and not to enter the mosque through it at all.” The statement further says that “if the metal detectors continue to be imposed, we call upon the people to pray in front of the gates of the mosque and in the streets of Jerusalem.”
Jordanian soldier gets life for killing 3 US military trainers
A Jordanian court sentence a soldier to life imprisonment over the killing of three American military trainers outside an army base last year.
The military court in Amman finds 39-year-old Maarik Al-Tawaiha guilty of shooting the trainers as they waited to enter the King Faisal base at Al-Jafr in southern Jordan on November 4.
The charge sheet did not indicate that he had any ties to militant groups.
The court sentenced him to “hard labor for life,” a term that usually lasts 20 years but could stretch to a full lifetime, a judicial official tells an AFP correspondent at the courthouse.
It also demotes him from sergeant to second private and throws him out of military service.
EU charges Israel’s Teva over delaying cheap sleep drug
European Union regulators file antitrust charges against Israeli drug-maker Teva for colluding to delay a cheaper generic version of modafinil, a blockbuster sleep drug.
The European Commission says in a statement that it had informed Teva of its “preliminary view” that an agreement concluded with rival Cephalon was in breach of EU antitrust rules.
Under the agreement, Teva committed not to market a cheaper generic version of modafinil, Cephalon’s drug for sleep disorders, the EU says.
The EU, under the stewardship of Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, says Teva had agreed to the delay in return for “a substantial transfer of value from Cephalon through a series of cash payments and various other agreements.”
Clashes break out in Jerusalem’s Old City amid Temple Mount unrest
Light clashes break out in the Old City of Jerusalem, as tensions simmer in the wake of a deadly terror attack near the Temple Mount followed by a shutdown of the holy site by Israel.
Police say that calm has been restored to the area
According to police, a group of Muslim worshipers tried to block a roadway in the Old City with a prayer-protest.
The officers refused their request, ordering them off the road as they were “endangering themselves and others,” police say in a statement.
The officers drove the would-be protesters back, sparking some pushing and shoving.
Police say a Muslim teenager threw a bottle at the officers during the skirmish. He has been arrested.
— Judah Ari Gross
Hungary: Removing anti-Soros campaign ahead of Netanyahu visit ‘not our business’
The Hungarian government says the controversial poster campaign against Hungarian-born Jewish philanthropist George Soros remains up in parts of the capital due to a “technical issue” that is “not our business.”
The billboards, some daubed with anti-Semitic imagery, were supposed to have been removed over the weekend, but a number of them are still seen throughout the capital hours ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit.
In a statement to The Times of Israel, the office of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban denies responsibility for the remaining posters seen around Budapest.
“The fact that the advertisement is still up in certain places is a technical issue relating to how the contracting agency is able to sell the given advertising space,” the statement says. “The Government is not involved in putting up or taking down billboards. This is not our business.”
The statement goes on to assert that the Hungarian government “is one of the European governments that has done the most to combat anti-Semitism,” and vows to protect its local Jewish community.
— Raphael Ahren
Minister calls for reform of adoption services after ban on LGBT couples upheld
Minister of Welfare and Social Affairs Haim Katz says the state’s refusal to reconsider a law barring same-sex couples from adopting was poorly worded and does not reflect his position on the matter.
“The wording presented to the High Court was a failed formulation and should not have been said,” a statement from Katz’s office says. “The minister has no intention of preventing or denying a certain group from adopting.
“The minister’s policy, as adopted by the Justice and Social Affairs Ministries is that comprehensive reforms must be made in the adoption services, while at the same time investing more in care for the community.”
Yesterday, in response to a High Court petition, the state said that it opposed changing the law to allow same-sex couples the right to adopt because it would place an “additional burden” on the child.
Russia: Israel’s security needs considered in Syria ceasefire
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov defends the ceasefire in southern Syria, after Netanyahu yesterday rejected the open-ended arrangement saying it failed to address Iranian military ambitions in the region.
Lavrov tells reporters that both Russia and the US “did the best we can to make sure that Israel’s security interests are fully taken into consideration” while brokering the ceasefire agreement.
Yesterday in Paris, Netanyahu said the agreement perpetuates Iranian plans to set up a disruptive long-term presence on Israel’s northern border.
Opposition leaders say Netanyahu should resign over corruption probes
The opposition Yesh Atid party head Yair Lapid and the new Labor party leader Avi Gabbay criticize Netanyahu amid the various corruption probes into the prime minister and his associates, suggesting his coalition parties are pressuring him to resign.
“The prime minister has claimed again and again, in response to all the allegations and the suspicions, from the submarines to Bezeq that he knew nothing. That he had no idea what was happening around him. That he has no clue what those closest to him are doing. That he didn’t know what was happening in his office,” says Lapid at the start of the weekly faction meeting.
“This is a claim that is very hard to accept, but even if we do accept it — if you don’t know what’s going on in your office, how exactly are you handling the states’ affairs,” says Lapid. “I want to quote what Netanyahu himself said about Ehud Olmert [the former prime minister who was recently released from prison where he served time on corruption charges] on far lesser charges: ‘A prime minister who is up to his neck in investigations has no public and moral barometer to make fateful decisions. The government must say: ‘It ends here.'”
Netanyahu is not a suspect in the submarines affair, but is being investigated in several other cases.
Gabbay urges the coalition parties to dissolve the government over the cases.
“Those who voted for Bennett, Deri, and Kahlon don’t understand their public silence and expect them to tell Netanyahu exactly what he told Olmert, at the time, ‘it ends here.’ [They expect] them to display public bravery and dismantle the government,” says Gabbay. “I urge the heads of the coalition parties: This is not your way, put an end to it and tell Netanyahu: ‘It ends here.'”
— Marissa Newman
Knesset speaker says no vote on ‘Jewish state’ bill before summer recess
Contrary to Netanyahu’s assertions, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) says the Knesset will not vote on the Jewish nation-state bill before the summer recess, which begins at the end of the month.
Edelstein made the comments during a Knesset ceremony awarding the Outstanding Parliamentarian honor to Kulanu MK Roy Folkman and Yesh Atid MK Karin Elharar, according to a statement from the Knesset.
Netanyahu has said the controversial Jewish nation-state bill will be brought to a first reading in the plenum before the Knesset’s three-month break, describing it as a priority. He had previously predicted that it would clear all three readings that would pass it into law before August.
— Marissa Newman
Kremlin says ‘contradictory’ reports on Baghdadi death
Moscow says it was struggling to confirm if the leader of the Islamic State group Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead or alive, a month after reporting his possible demise.
The Russian army said in June that it was trying to verify information that its jets killed Baghdadi during a bombing raid near the IS stronghold of Raqqa in Syria.
But over a month after the announcement Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says Russia still had “no more precise information” on Baghdadi’s fate.
“The information coming in is contradictory and is being checked by the relevant agencies,” he says.
Baghdadi, the undisputed leader of global jihadism, has been rumored wounded or killed a number of times in the past.
Key suspect in submarine affair turning state’s witness — reports
One of the suspects in a corruption investigation into the multi-million dollar purchase of naval vessels from Germany is reportedly prepared to turn state’s witness.
Miki Ganor, the agent for the German submarine company ThyssenKryupp, is a central suspect in the ongoing investigation. He is currently in advanced negotiations to become a state’s witness in the affair, according to reports in Hebrew-language media.
In the wake of his decision, Ganor has fired his lawyer, Nati Simchony, and is now being represented by Eli Zohar. Reports suggest the move indicates how close Ganor is to reaching an agreement with prosecutors.
Ganor is suspected of fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit a crime. He was arrested a week ago and remains behind bars.
Fierce fighting in Islamic State-held Syrian city
US-backed Syrian fighters clash with Islamic State militants in the heart of Raqqa, the extremists’ self-styled capital, as scores of civilians flee areas controlled by the group.
The Syrian Democratic Forces, aided by the US-led coalition, launched their offensive to capture the city on June 6, and have since taken several areas. The Kurdish-led group has been one of the most effective forces in fighting IS in Syria.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the fighting is concentrated in the southwestern neighborhood of Yarmouk as well as a central area close to the Old City.
The SDF says intense fighting is underway in central Raqqa, adding that its fighters have taken positions near a centuries-old mosque known as the Old Mosque.
The Kurdish-run Hawar news agency says some 180 civilians were able to flee areas controlled by IS, while the Observatory put the number in the hundreds.
Hungary Jewish group ‘disappointed’ by Israel’s shift on Soros ads
The leader of Hungary’s main Jewish group says it was “surprised” and “hugely disappointed” by Israel’s shift in position on the Hungarian government’s ad campaign against Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros.
While Israel’s ambassador to Hungary condemned the campaign’s anti-Semitic overtones, the Israeli Foreign Ministry later said that although it deplored anti-Semitism, it didn’t want to “delegitimize” criticism of Soros.
Andras Heisler, president of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities, said he had asked the Israeli government to explain its position on the anti-Soros billboards.
Heisler told The Associated Press hours before Netanyahu’s arrival in Hungary that Hungarian Jews felt “left in the lurch” by the Israeli position.
Hungary’s government largely blames Soros, a Holocaust survivor, for Europe’s migrant crisis.
Suspected jihadists kill 5 Egyptian police officers in northern Sinai
Egyptian security officials say suspected Islamic militants have attacked police in the northern Sinai Peninsula, killing five of them and wounding another five.
They say the militants opened fire on an army vehicle before setting it on fire in the city of el-Arish. When reinforcements arrived, the militants set off a roadside bomb. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.
Egypt has been struggling to combat an insurgency in the northern Sinai that has gathered strength since the military overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013. Most of the attacks, including an assault on an army post earlier this month that killed 23 soldiers, have been claimed by an Islamic State affiliate.
Likud whip says possible state’s witness in sub probe ‘means they have nothing’
In response to the news that Miki Ganor could turn state’s witness in the corruption investigation into the multi-million-dollar purchase of naval vessels from Germany, coalition chairman MK David Bitan says he’s not worried by the news.
“When they look for a state’s witness, it means that they had nothing to begin with,” he says, adding that Netanyahu would not resign over the affair even if he is indicted.
EU weighs new North Korea sanctions after missile test
The European Union is considering tougher sanctions on North Korea over its first intercontinental ballistic missile test to prevent the isolated country from funding further nuclear weapons development.
In a statement, the EU foreign ministers condemned the test earlier this month as a “serious threat to international peace and security” and urged an end to such actions.
In addition to existing sanctions, the statement said that the EU “will consider further appropriate responses” in coordination with allies and UN efforts.
The EU also offered European support for South Korean efforts to negotiate with North Korea.
“There are some people who think we should engage early with Pyongyang. We absolutely disagree. They got to make a serious move towards denuclearizing their country,” British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says.
Palestinian official says Rivlin helping mediate Temple Mount crisis
Hatem Abdul Qader, a former Palestinian minister who holds Fatah’s Jerusalem portfolio, tells Channel 10 news that President Reuven Rivlin is among the officials working to reach a solution to the crisis sparked by the new security measures imposed on the Temple Mount, in the wake of last week’s deadly terror attack.
“There are talks aimed at reaching a solution to the metal detectors on the Temple Mount, which is a change in the status quo for us,” Qader says, noting the president part of the discussions.
On Sunday, Israel reopened the compound to Muslim worshipers after imposing new security measures, including metal detectors at the entrance gates and additional security cameras. Many Muslims were outraged by the new arrangements and have refused to ascend to the compound, urging other Muslims to stay away as well in protest.
IDF soldier killed in car crash in southern Israel
An IDF officer died in a car accident in southern Israel, the army says.
The circumstances of the accident are being investigated.
Last week, two servicemen died when the truck they were driving in flipped along the highway just north of Eilat.
— Judah Ari Gross
Kulanu’s Folkman, Yesh Atid’s Elharar named 2017’s outstanding MKs
The Israel Democracy Institute awards Kulanu MK Roy Folkman and Yesh Atid MK Karin Elharar with this year’s Outstanding Parliamentarian Award.
At a ceremony attended by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, IDI President Yohanan Plesner thanks Folkman and Elharar for their “exemplary parliamentary efforts, which focus not on creating loud and quickly forgotten headlines, but on professional, thorough and consistent work that brings about real changes in Israeli society.”
Edelstein says the award “proves that one can achieve, be singled out and praised without having to resort to cursing, bullying and screaming.”
Tel Aviv University student detained for hanging PFLP flag in dorm
Police open an investigation into a Tel Aviv University student, after he was discovered to have a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine flag hanging in his dorm room.
The 26-year-old student from northern Israel was also found to have pictures of Palestinian fighters and prominent Cuban Revolutionary figure, Che Guevara.
He faces charges of conduct that violates public safety and the possession of materials belonging to an illegal organization.
The student was detained and questioned by police before being sent home.
— כאן ועכשיו (@kann_news) July 17, 2017
Turkey extends post-coup state of emergency
Turkey’s parliament votes to renew a state of emergency, in effect since last year’s failed coup attempt sparked the biggest crackdown in the country’s modern history.
The state-run Anadolu news agency says lawmakers agreed to a three-month extension of the current emergency law, which had been due to expire on Wednesday.
The vote follows the first anniversary of the attempted putsch against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, marked in Istanbul and Ankara by mass rallies and bellicose rhetoric aimed at his opponents.
Following the foiled coup — blamed on US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen — authorities have arrested at least 50,000 people and sacked more than 100,000.
Erdogan also shored up his position by winning a referendum on enhancing his powers earlier this year.
PM meets Mexican diplomat fired for challenging UNESCO Jerusalem vote
Netanyahu earlier today met with Mexico’s former UNESCO ambassador who was fired last year for refusing to vote in favor of a resolution effectively denying Jewish ties to Jerusalem.
Andres Roemer, who is Jewish, met with Netanyahu in Paris, just before the prime minister left for Hungary.
Roemer said he appreciated that he was given time on Netanyahu’s tight schedule in Paris. “Last year, I received many expressions of sympathy and support from the Jewish and also the Christian world, but today’s meeting was particularly touching for me,” Roemer said, according to a press release by Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama-Hacohen, who organized the meeting.
In October 2016 — two months after Roemer arrived at UNESCO — he walked out during a vote on a resolution about the Old City of Jerusalem because he did not want to follow the instructions from his capital to vote in favor. He was later dismissed from his position.
“I am at peace with what I did,” he said, according to Shama-Hacohen. “I did it not only as a Jew but also a person who believes that these votes do not have a place in an educational and cultural organization, and hurt us all.”
During the meeting, Roemer gave Netanyahu a copy of his latest book.
— Raphael Ahren
Protests in Jerusalem’s Old City amid Temple Mount unrest
Dozens of Muslims are blocking the road adjacent to Jerusalem’s Old City in protest of the new security measures imposed on the Temple Mount, in the wake of Friday’s deadly terror attack.
A statement from police says protesters are throwing rocks and other objects at the officers called to disperse the demonstration.
Edelstein tells Jordan counterpart to ‘keep quiet’ instead of praising terror attack
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein levels harsh criticism against Jordanian Parliament Speaker Atef Tarawneh for praising the terrorists who killed two police officers at the Temple Mount on Friday.
“It’s inconceivable that such a senior figure from a country we have peace with would dare encourage the murder of Israeli citizens,” Edelstein says in a video message. “If you’re unable to condemn terror attacks, just keep quiet.”
Yesterday, Tarawneh said the three terrorists had “sowed and watered the pure land” and praised “the sacrifice of the young Palestinians who are still fighting in the name of the nation.”
5 Muslim protesters said injured in Temple Mount protests
Five Muslims are reportedly injured in clashes with police near Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, during protests against the new security measures that are being imposed at the holy site, in the wake of Friday’s deadly terror attack.
The Palestinian Red Crescent tells the Wafa news agency that 5 protesters were injured at confrontations near Lion’s Gate, including Palestinian National Initiative Chairman, Dr. Mustafa Barghouti.
The report says three were injured after being beaten by police, one was injured by a stun grenade, and that Barghouti was hit in the head with a rubber-coated bullet.
Earlier, a police statement said dozens of protesters had blocked the road outside Lion’s Gate, and were throwing rocks at the officers who were called to disperse the demonstration.
State asks High Court to reject Reform, Conservative petition on Western Wall
The state is requesting the High Court of Justice reject a petition filed by the Reform and Conservative movements demanding the government uphold a deal to create a mixed-gender prayer area adjacent to the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, or redivide the existing prayer plaza to allow for a mixed section for men and women.
Hebron incident likely not a terror attack
The IDF implies the incident in Hebron was not a terror attack.
In a statement, the army says that soldiers identified a car approaching them and fired warning shots in the air.
“The car escaped,” the statement says, and there are no Israeli casualties. “The incident is being investigated.”