The Times of Israel liveblogged Monday’s events as they unfolded.
Intel confirms buying Israeli car tech firm Mobileye for $15 bn
US computer chip giant Intel has agreed to buy Israeli car technology firm Mobileye in a deal worth more than $15 billion, the companies say in a statement today.
Israeli media reports that the deal is the largest ever acquisition for an Israeli tech firm. Intel and Mobileye have been collaborating with German automaker BMW to develop self-driving cars.
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) March 13, 2017
Six years of war in Syria kills over 320,000
Syria’s war has killed just over 320,000 people since it erupted six years ago, a monitor says Monday, noting that a fragile ceasefire has helped to slow the rising death toll.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says it had recorded the deaths of 321,358 people since the conflict broke out in March 2011 with protests against President Bashar al-Assad.
The toll represents an increase of about 9,000 since December, when government ally Russia and rebel backer Turkey brokered a nationwide cessation of hostilities.
The new toll includes more than 96,000 civilians, among them over 17,400 children and nearly 11,000 women.
The Observatory says just over 60,900 government soldiers were killed, as well as 45,000 Syrian militiamen and over 8,000 foreign fighters loyal to Assad’s government.
Intel-Mobileye deal a source of national pride: science minister
Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis says Intel’s $15 billion purchase of Israeli car technology firm Mobileye is a source of national pride, and a sign of the country’s tech prowess.
“Israel is a superpower in knowledge, technology and innovation. The fact that large international companies see potential in Israel and are seeking to acquire Israeli companies that lead their prospective fields is a source of national pride for our technological strength,” he says.
The deal is said to be the largest ever cross-border acquisition for an Israeli tech firm.
Hailing ‘Israeli genius,’ PM congratulates Mobileye on Intel deal
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the historic $15 billion purchase of Israeli car technology firm Mobileye by US computer chip giant Intel is a source of national pride and exhibits “Israeli genius.”
“Congratulations to Mobileye! Israeli genius, Israeli pride,” the prime minister posts on Facebook.
The deal is said to be the largest ever cross-border acquisition for an Israeli tech firm.
Firefighters battle supermarket blaze near Petah Tikva
Twenty-seven firefighting crews are battling a large fire that broke out in a supermarket outside Petah Tikva in central Israel.
The roof of the supermarket in Kibbutz Be’erot Yitzhak is in danger of collapsing, and firefighters are conducting search and rescue operations to determine if there are people trapped inside the building.
Israel trailing Netherlands 12-2 in World Baseball Classic
Israel’s national baseball team is losing to the Netherlands 12-2 in the second round of the World Baseball Classic.
The loss will end Team Israel’s unlikely Cinderella run in the international tournament, whose unbeaten record thus far has made the underdog team a WBC favorite.
Blake Gailen singles to right to plate a run for Israel in the 7th.
— WBC Baseball (@WBCBaseball) March 13, 2017
Netherlands batter Israel in 12-2 World Baseball Classic win
Israel’s national baseball team loses 12-2 to the Netherlands after eight innings in the second round of the World Baseball Classic.
According to WBC rules, the mercy rule is enforced once a team holds a lead of 10 or more runs after seven innings.
Israel will next face a tournament favorite in game three of round two on Wednesday. Israel’s chances to advance to the final round are considered slim after today’s loss.
— WBC Baseball (@WBCBaseball) March 13, 2017
Egyptian prosecutor approves release of ex-president Mubarak
An Egyptian prosecutor allows for Hosni Mubarak to be released, his lawyer says, after an appeals court acquitted the former president of involvement in the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising.
“He can go home now when the doctors decide he is able to,” Farid al-Deeb says, adding that Mubarak is banned from leaving Egypt pending an ongoing graft investigation.
Mubarak has been in detention at a military hospital in Cairo.
Rivlin to Bosnia & Herzogovina leader: Israel not at war with Islam
President Reuven Rivlin tells President of Bosnia and Herzegovina Dr. Mladen Ivanić that despite occasional “obstacles” of living in a multicultural society, Israel is not at war with Islam.
“Like us, you are a multicultural state. In Israel, Christians, Jews and Muslims are living together and it is our duty to realize that we can live together and it is possible despite the obstacles that we face from time to time,” the president tells Ivanić in Jerusalem.
“We have no war with Islam, please tell your people, that in Israel there is no religious war,” he says.
Ivanić tells Rivlin his country’s bloody war 20 years ago makes Bosnia and Herzegovina sensitive to Israel’s struggles with coexistence and extremism.
“We believe that we have to share this experience with countries who are similar to us or share the same problems,” he says. “We live in a multi-ethnic society and we have had to learn to live in that society which is not easy in the modern world with many kinds of extremism.”
Both leaders express the importance of bilateral cooperation between Israel and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Poland confirms Minnesota man as Nazi commander
A prosecutor in Poland says that evidence shows without doubt that a Minnesota man was a Nazi unit commander suspected of contributing to the death of 44 Poles.
Robert Janicki says various evidence gathered in years of investigation into US citizen Michael K. confirmed “100 percent” that he was a World War II commander of a unit in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion, which is accused of burning villages and killing civilians in Poland.
The Associated Press has identified the man as 98-year-old Michael Karkoc.
Karkoc’s family denies that he was involved in any war crimes.
Prosecutors of the state National Remembrance Institute have asked a local court in Poland to issue an arrest warrant for Karkoc. If granted, Poland would seek his extradition, Janicki says.
Netanyahu, Kahlon announce plan to lower taxes
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon announce they intend to draw up a framework for reducing taxes, the Prime Minister’s Office says.
Netanyahu and Kahlon agreed on the measure after an economic assessment of last year, according to the statement.
Both leaders say lowering taxes will spur economic activity in Israel.
Abbas vows to probe violent dispersal of anti-PA protest
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas promises to investigate the violent dispersal of an anti-government protest by Palestinian riot police a day earlier.
Yesterday, helmeted troops beat demonstrators and journalists with clubs during a protest against Abbas and his policy of security coordination with Israel.
Critics says Abbas and his government are becoming increasingly intolerant of dissent.
Dozens of people have been detained after peaceful protests in the past six months, though have been released.
— شبكة قدس الإخبارية (@qudsn) March 12, 2017
EU warns Turkey after Nazi comments spark row with Netherlands
The European Union warns President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to avoid inflammatory rhetoric as a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and the Netherlands continues to deepen over the blocking of Turkish ministers from holding rallies to win support for plans to expand his powers.
Erdogan at the weekend twice accused NATO ally Netherlands of acting like the Nazis, comments that sparked outrage in a country bombed and occupied by German forces in World War II.
In an escalating standoff that risks damaging Turkey’s already deteriorating relations with the European Union ahead of the April 16 referendum on constitutional change, Brussels sternly warns Ankara to avoid making the situation worse.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn call on Turkey to “refrain from excessive statements and actions that risk further exacerbating the situation.
“It is essential to avoid further escalation and find ways to calm down the situation,” their statement adds.
Pro-Erdogan protesters chant anti-Semitic slogans at Dutch rally
Dutch Muslims shouted anti-Semitic slogans amid violent clashes with police in Rotterdam over the authorities’ refusal to allow a Turkish cabinet minister to campaign in Holland for a Turkey referendum vote.
Dozens of protesters gathered Saturday night in front of the Turkish consulate in the Dutch city to listen to Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya. Upon receiving a false rumor that she had been arrested, the crowd began roaring “cancer Jews” and “cancer Wilders” shortly before the outbreak of violence that led to the injury of five people, including one policeman, the Algemeen Dagblan reported.
Geert Wilders is an anti-Islam politician who, according to polls, is in a tight race with Prime Minister Mark Rutte ahead of Wednesday’s general elections in the country. Wilders has campaigned against allowing Turkish ministers to campaign in the Netherlands. Rutte instructed police to prevent the ministers from addressing crowds in the Netherlands in a move that some criticized as illegal but others praised as a justified bid to prevent external intervention by Turkey in Dutch affairs.
PM meeting with White House aide Greenblatt underway
The meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and top White House aide Jason Greenblatt is getting underway in Jerusalem.
Greenblatt arrived in the region earlier today for talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders on West Bank settlement policy and the peace process.
According to reports, Netanyahu will seek US approval to build a new West Bank settlement as compensation for the residents of the evacuated Amona outpost, even though Trump publicly asked him last month to “hold back” on settlement building.
Relatives of Palestinian stabber remanded into custody
A Jerusalem judge rules to keep four family members of the East Jerusalem assailant who stabbed two police officers earlier today in police custody until Wednesday.
Just after 4:00 a.m., Ibrahim Mahmoud Mattar attacked the two officers, moderately wounding them, near the Lions’ Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Hours later, police arrested the four family members, including his parents and two of his brothers, from their home in the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood.
— Judah Ari Gross
Ultra-Orthodox neighborhood hangs soldier effigies in draft protest
Ultra-Orthodox Jews opposed to compulsory military service hang effigies of religious soldiers in a Jerusalem neighborhood, with police denouncing the move as incitement.
A number of effigies of religious Jews serving in the IDF were hung from the neck in prominent places in the ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim neighborhood.
One of them had a sign attached which read “hardak out,” a derogatory term for ultra-Orthodox Jews who join the army.
There was no claim of responsibility for the hangings, but Israel Police said in a statement they took “extremely seriously” any attempt “by religious (ultra-Orthodox) to incite against soldiers.”
Security forces took several hours to remove the effigies, with large crowds gathering and cheering their failures.
מאה שערים, צוותי לוחמי אש בסיוע מנוף גבהים הצליחו להוריד את הבובה בדמוי חייל. מאות סיקריקים וסקרנים מתקהלים במקום ומתעמתים עם הכוחות pic.twitter.com/z2hIj41S78
— דסק חדשות און ליין (@yosefbadichi) March 13, 2017
Greenblatt hopes to ‘do great things’ with Netanyahu
Senior White House adviser Jason Greenblatt tells Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu he hopes to have a close working relationship with the Israeli leader.
“I hope we’re going to do great things together,” Greenblatt tells Netanyahu ahead of their first meeting in Jerusalem.
Netanyahu greets Trump adviser, and expresses a similar sentiment.
“It’s a pleasure to see you. Hope we can do some good things together,” he says.
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) March 13, 2017
Death toll of Ethiopia landfill collapse soars to 63
The number of people killed in a giant landslide at Ethiopia’s largest rubbish dump outside Addis Ababa rises to at least 63, Communication Minister Negeri Lencho says.
“We have been following up with the accident and so far the death toll has risen to 63,” Lencho says of Saturday’s landslide.
It was not clear what caused Saturday night’s collapse, though residents say the dumping of trash has resumed there in recent months after protests at a newer landfill site.
Assad claims Israel ‘directly supports’ terrorists in Syria
Syrian president Bashar Assad claims Israel is “directly supporting” terrorists in Syria, while Iran is working with his government to eradicate extremist groups from the war-torn country.
“If you want to talk about the European role [in Syria], or the Western role, because it’s being led by the Americans, the only role is to support the terrorists. They didn’t support any political process. They only talk about political process,” Assad tells Italian journalists in Rome.
Iran, he says, “support[s] Syria fighting terrorists. They support Syria politically.”
“Israel from the other side [is] supporting directly the terrorists — whether logistically, or through direct raids on our army.”
Assad’s comments on Israel begin around 1:10.
Palestinian protesters demand Abbas resignation over Israel ties
Several hundred Palestinians are marching in an anti-government protest in the West Bank, calling for the resignation of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and criticizing his security coordination with Israel.
Protesters marching though Ramallah are heard chanting “security coordination is treason,” and demanding Abbas’s resignation.
Separately, Palestinian journalists staged a sit-in nearby to protest the violent dispersal of an anti-government protest by Palestinian riot police yesterday.
Carlos the Jackal goes on trial for 1974 Paris attack
Carlos the Jackal, the world’s most wanted fugitive in the 1970s and early 1980s, goes on trial in France for the deadly bombing of a Paris shop more than 40 years ago.
Carlos, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, is standing trial over a 1974 grenade attack on Paris’ Left Bank that killed two people and injured more than 30. He is serving two life sentences for other deadly attacks during that time.
Authorities have linked Ramirez to bombings, hijackings and other attacks. He joined the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and was affiliated with extreme-left European terror groups. He was seized by French agents in 1994.
Syria rebels agree to final evacuation from Homs
Syria’s government and opposition say they reached an agreement on a Russian-supervised deal to complete the evacuation of fighters and civilians from the last rebel-held part of Homs city.
The new agreement aims to finalize implementation of a “reconciliation deal” that has already seen several phases of rebel evacuation from Waer district, but which had stalled in recent months.
A summary of the agreement shared by the opposition National Coalition says those evacuating Waer will go to rebel-held north Homs province, Jarabulus in Aleppo province or Idlib province.
Herzog wants tax profits from Intel-Mobileye deal invested in health care
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog calls for the windfall tax profits from Intel’s $15 billion acquisition of Israeli car tech firm Mobileye be investigated in the health care system.
The largest-ever acquisition of an Israeli tech firm is likely to pay out between $2-3 billion in taxes.
“This welcome tax revenue can bring comprehensive treatment to the collapsing health care system,” he says.
Herzog calls for increasing supervision in nursing homes, supplementing the shortage of hospital beds, purchasing new equipment and bailing out Hadassah Hospital out of its sizable debt.
Snow postpones Trump-Merkel talks until Friday
US President Donald Trump’s meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been postponed from tomorrow until Friday due to a major snow storm closing in on the US East Coast, the White House says.
“The president spoke to the Chancellor of Germany. They agreed due to the weather that the meeting should be postponed, rescheduled to March 17,” Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer tells reporters.
Erdogan accuses Merkel of ‘supporting terrorists’
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses German Chancellor Angela Merkel of “supporting terrorists”, in a spiraling row with EU states after the blocking of poll rallies by ministers.
“Mrs Merkel, why are you hiding terrorists in your country?… Why are you not doing anything?” Erdogan says in an interview with A-Haber television, accusing Berlin of not responding to 4,500 dossiers sent by Ankara on terror suspects. “Mrs Merkel, you are supporting terrorists,” he adds.
IBA workers interrupt news to plead for their jobs
Employees of the Israel Broadcasting Authority briefly interrupt Channel 1’s flagship news program to protest the imminent closure of the ailing broadcaster, set to be replaced by a new state-run media conglomerate.
A group of five workers interrupted the “Mabat” show to make personal pleas to Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to save their jobs.
The five say they speak on behalf of 1,000 IBA workers
היום זה אנחנו – מחר זה אתם.
עובדי רשות השידור מתפרצים לשידור במהלך מהדורת מבט במחאה על סגירת רשות השידור. pic.twitter.com/YSE7MU4rH3
— הערוץ הראשון (@Channel1IBA) March 13, 2017
British MPs approve bill to trigger Brexit
British MPs approve a bill allowing Prime Minister Theresa May to begin Brexit, voting down two amendments put forward by the House of Lords.
The bill now passes for final approval to the Lords, which had inserted the changes to protect the rights of EU citizens and give parliament a larger say on the final outcome of the Brexit negotiations.
Turkey to approach human rights court over Netherlands row
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says two of his cabinet ministers will apply to the European human rights court over their treatment in the Netherlands.
In an interview with A Haber television, Erdogan says the appeals would be made even though he didn’t think the court would rule in favor of Turkey.
He also advises Turks living elsewhere in Europe not to vote for anti-Turkish parties. The Netherlands has a national election on Wednesday.
Erdogan also slams German Chancellor Angela Merkel for siding with the Netherlands in the dispute over Turkish ministers’ campaign rallies in Europe.
Merkel earlier said the Netherlands has her “full support and solidarity” after Turkey’s president used Nazi comparisons to criticize Dutch treatment of Turkish ministers.
Erdogan repeated those terms again in the interview, accusing the Netherlands of “Nazism” and “Neo-Nazism.”