The Times of Israel liveblogged Wednesday’s events as they unfolded.
Yael Cohen-Paran becomes Knesset’s 32nd female member
MK Yael Cohen-Paran is Israel’s newest parliamentarian after being sworn in today as a lawmaker with the Zionist Union. She replaces Danny Atar, who was elected to head the JNF. She says she will promote social and environmental issues.
Cohen-Paran, 42, is one of nine women on the Zionist Union list and the 32nd in the current Knesset. She’s a veteran environmentalist and is head of the Israeli Energy Forum, a group advancing renewable energy.
“I enter my position as a member of Knesset with reverence for the honor and with determination to advance the concept of [environmental] sustainability,” she says in a statement.
Police search Jerusalem’s Gilo after false alarm
Police officers are patrolling Jerusalem’s southern Gilo neighborhood after reports of a stabbing. Initial reports that there was an attack in the area, located over the Green Line, were ruled out as false.
Rights group rails at police ‘executions’ in letter to PM
Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has sent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu an open letter protesting what it calls “executions” of suspected Palestinian terrorists by police.
Objecting to the recent killings of suspected Palestinian terrorists by police, particularly Monday’s shooting of Hadil and Nurhan Awad near Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market after they attempted to stab civilians, the group charges that Netanyahu’s government “allows — and even encourages — the transformation of police, and even of armed civilians, into judges and executioners.”
“Whether it’s someone who tried to attack or whether it isn’t, the matter doesn’t blur the difficult reality: it’s execution in the streets, without law or trial, immediately and publicly; and the suspicion arises that these incidents [from Monday] are joined by others,” the group says.
“The wave of terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians is horrifying,” B’Tselem letter signed by CEO Hagai El-Ad says. “The security forces must protect the public. According to the circumstances, they must use the necessary force for the sake of attaining this objective. Nonetheless, police and soldiers must not behave as judges and executioners. Whoever pulls the trigger bears responsibility for his actions… [and] in the end you, as prime minister, bear responsibility.”
Trump says he can ‘feel’ terrorist attacks coming
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump claims he has an innate ability to predict terrorist attacks, NBC news reports.
Trump told a crowd in South Carolina on Tuesday that he predicted “terrorism… cause I can feel it.”
The GOP front runner also expressed support for controversial American interrogation methods, saying “Waterboarding is just fine and it works, too, don’t kid yourself,” adding “we wouldn’t have gotten Osama bin Laden without waterboarding.”
Police probe MK sexual harassment claims
The Israel Police say they’re opening an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment by Jewish Home MK Yinon Magal, which were published yesterday by Walla news.
The probe into the allegations were launched by the police’s high-level task force; Lahav 433, police say in a statement. The police gave no additional information about the investigation.
By law, Magal enjoys immunity from “searches, detention, criminal hearings and legal proceedings which are not connected with his work as a member of Knesset,” and only the parliament itself can lift a member’s privilege.
Victim of Hebron stabbing was soldier, IDF says
The IDF confirms that the man injured in a stabbing near the al-Fawwar junction outside of Hebron earlier on Wednesday was an IDF soldier.
He is still in serious condition at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center. The soldier’s identity was not immediately released.
Palestinian attacker dies after being shot at scene
The Palestinian man suspected of stabbing an IDF soldier near Hebron on Wednesday is dead.
He was shot and wounded at the scene of the incident and received medical treatment at a Jerusalem hospital.
The Palestinian Ma’an news agency identified the man as 19-year-old Muhammad Ismail Shubaki, a student at the Palestine Technical College.
Russian activists attack Turkish embassy in Moscow
Several hundred activists hurl stones and eggs at the Turkish embassy in Moscow following Tuesday’s downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey near the Syrian border.
Netanyahu meets visiting Greek PM
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras in Jerusalem.
There are no immediate details from their chat.
Later this afternoon Tsipras will meet with opposition leader Isaac Herzog and Meretz party leader Zehava Galon.
Comic Dieudonne sentenced to 2 months for anti-Semitism
A Belgian court sentenced controversial French comedian Dieudonne Wednesday to two months in jail for incitement to hatred over alleged racist and anti-Semitic comments he made during a show in Belgium, a lawyer said.
Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala, who has faced similar court cases in France, was also fined 9,000 euros ($9,500) by the court in the eastern city of Liege, said Eric Lemmens, a lawyer for Belgium’s Jewish organisations.
He was not in court for the verdict.
The judgement “says that all the accusations against Dieudonne were established — both incitement to hatred and hate speech but also Holocaust denial” relating to a show in Liege in 2012, Lemmens told AFP.
Boy discovers statue at First Temple-era site
Itai Halperin, 8, of Pardesiya, was walking around the Tel Beit Shemesh archaeological site with his family when he picked up a small ceramic object which, upon closer examination, turned out to be a roughly 3,000-year-old head of a figurine, the Israel Antiquties Authority announces.
The family immediately reported the find to the IAA, whose Iron Age specialist, Alon De Groot, identified the find as the head of a fertility goddess statuette.
“Figurines such as these, in the shape of naked women representing fertility, were common in the homes of the residents of the Judean Kingdom in the 8th century BCE and until the destruction of the kingdom by the Babylonians in the days of Zedekia (in 586 BCE),” De Groot says in a statement.
Statuettes such as these help identify sites as Judean, he notes.
The head of an Iron Age statuette found by an 8-year-old while walking near Tel Beit Shemesh. (Alexander Glick, courtesy of Israel Antiquities Authority)
Municipal spending comes under fire from State Comptroller
The State Comptroller’s report is out, and municipal authorities are under fire for wasteful and extravagant contracts with outside consultants.
Among the most extraordinary mentioned in the report were grass consultants hired by the Herzliya municipality, kitchen planners in Ashdod, and table tennis club operators in Givatayim.
The six municipalities inspected by the watchdog’s office spent tens of millions of shekels on consultants which were “contrary to the rules of good governance and with opaque and unequal procedures.”
US general: Strike on Afghan hospital ‘avoidable accident’
A US airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan that killed at least 30 people was “caused primarily by human error,” the commander of US forces said Wednesday, announcing the results of an investigation.
The “tragic but avoidable accident (was) caused primarily by human error,” General John Campbell said.
Russian airman says shot down without warning
The Russian airman whose plane was shot down by Turkey near the Syrian border on Tuesday tells Russian media that his aircraft didn’t violate Turkish airspace and that the jet was given no warnings before being attacked.
Ankara says Turkish authorities warned the Russian Su-24 10 times before they shot it out of the sky.
“It’s impossible that we violated their airspace even for a second,” the navigator tells Rossiya 1. “We were flying at an altitude of 6,000 meters in completely clear weather, and I had total control of our flight path throughout.”
Senior Israeli diplomats charged with theft, bribery
Two senior Foreign Ministry officials are accused of bribery, theft and fraud.
Avshalom Ashuri and Yehoshua Gabai stand charged with taking advantage of their authorities to steal ministry funds.
The charge sheet filed at the Jerusalem District Court today accuses Gabai of trying to steal more than $70,000 in funds from the evacuated Cairo embassy from a safe in his office. The two also allegedly tried to charge the ministry for food purchased by Ashuri for his personal consumption amounting to over NIS 150,000 ($38,500).
Florida police investigate attack on rabbinical student
Police in Boca Raton, Florida, are investigating a verbal and physical attack on a rabbinical student as a possible hate crime.
The assailant, who was riding a mountain bike, shouted “Jews should go back to Auschwitz. Hitler was right,” at a 19-year-old man who reportedly is studying at the Boca Raton Chabad center, in the late morning on Saturday. When the student yelled back, the assailant rode over to him, repeated his statements and pushed and punched the victim before riding off.
The victim told the local television station WPTV Channel 5 that the incident left him shaken up.
“I’m doing better,” he said. “It was just a little bit nerve-wracking having someone scream at me these things.”
IS claims Tunisia bus bombing that killed 12
The Islamic State group on Wednesday claimed the bombing of a presidential guard bus in the Tunisian capital that killed at least 12 people.
A Tunisian suicide bomber named “Abou Abdallah al-Tounissi” boarded the bus in central Tunis on Tuesday and blew himself up, it said in a statement shared on jihadist social media accounts.
IS published a photo of the attacker dressed in white and wearing an explosives vest, his head and face covered with a scarf.
The jihadist group said 20 people had been killed, while an earlier official toll said 12 presidential guards died in the attack.
The remains of a 13th person found at the scene — who authorities believe could have been the bomber — have not yet been identified, the interior ministry said.
The bombing was carried out using 10 kilos of powerful Semtex explosive, according to the ministry.
Netanyahu, Greek PM discuss joint ties
Netanyahu and his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras discussed cooperation between the two states in the fields of business, technology and science, education, trade, energy, and agriculture.
The meeting lasted several hours and “was good,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement. Netanyahu lauds the “natural affinity” between the two peoples.
“We’re the two democracies in the eastern Mediterranean and we are obviously aware that we have a world of opportunities – of technology, of development, of progress – to seize and we can seize it better through cooperation,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “But equally we also understand that there are great challenges before us, especially very violent religious fundamentalism that seeks to sweep our world, is sweeping the Middle East, is sweeping North Africa and Europe and other parts of the world. And we have a common interest in seizing the opportunities and warding off the dangers.
Russia reportedly hits rebels near Syria-Turkey border
Russian warplanes are reportedly bombing Syrian rebel targets near the border with Turkey, just a day after a Russian Su-24 jet was shot down by Turkey for allegedly violating Turkish airspace.
The fighter jets were said to hit targets in the town of Azaz, three miles from the border, a key town connecting Turkey and the rebel-held area of Aleppo.
UN climate conference to begin a day early
A UN conference to craft a climate rescue pact will start a day earlier than planned, the UN’s climate forum said Wednesday.
It said in a statement that “an early opening of the session will offer an opportunity to make the best possible use of the very limited time available to finalize negotiations.”
The official opening with heads of state and government will take place on Monday as scheduled.
Clip claims to record Turkish warning to downed Russian jet
A recording published by Al Arabiya claims to be a Turkish air traffic controller’s audio warning to a Russian jet that was shot down by the Turkish Air Force on Tuesday.
“Unknown air traffic position onto Humeymim 020, redirect to 26 miles. This is Turkish Air Force speaking – en guard. You are approaching Turkish airspace. Change your heading south immediately,” the recording reportedly claims to say.
The recording was said to be provided to Al Arabiya by the pilot of a Middle East Airlines flight that was in the air at the time of the incident and had heard the warning several times before.
‘IDF to propose series of goodwill moves for PA’
Israeli defense officials have come up with a series of goodwill measures for the Palestinian Authority, including additional arms for the PA security forces and additional work permits for Palestinian laborers, Haaretz reports.
The moves were agreed upon before the rise in terror attacks against Israelis at the beginning of October, but defense officials now believe the measures could help ease tensions in the West Bank, the paper says.
Among the gestures would be releasing Palestinian prisoners sitting in Israeli jails for decades, and granting a PA request for armored cars, guns and ammunition.
Any such steps still require approval from the government, which has yet to happen, the report says. There are no officials cited in the report.
Obama: ‘No specific threat’ to US over Thanksgiving
US President Barack Obama assures Americans that “every possible step” is being taken to keep the country safe as it heads into the Thanksgiving holiday.
With memories of the deadly terror attacks in Paris still fresh, the president urges vigilance but says there is “no specific threat” to the US homeland.
“As we are going into Thanksgiving weekend, I want the American people to know that we are taking every possible step to keep our homeland safe,” he says.
Videos claim to show aftermath of Russian strikes
Videos circulating on social media claim to show the aftermath of Russian airstrikes on an aid convoy near the Turkey-Syria border.
— Conflict News (@Conflicts) November 25, 2015
— Conflict News (@Conflicts) November 25, 2015
11-year-old Palestinian stabber says he regrets attack
An 11-year-old Palestinian boy involved in an attack on security guards on the Jerusalem light rail on November 10 told police investigators that he and his 14-year-old cousin carried out the attack after being turned away from school for unpaid tuition, Channel 2 reports.
Left on the streets during the day, the 14-year-old showed the 11-year-old a knife, so the two went and bought a pair of scissors.
“We rode from Shuafat to the Damascus Gate in order to stab a soldier,” the boy says. He recounts that they waited on the train until there was just one security guard, then set upon him, stabbing him with their weapons.
The teen was shot and injured by a guard during the attack.
The boy, whose name remained unpublished, says he regrets taking part in the attack.
French parliament votes in favor of more strike on IS
French lawmakers on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to extend air strikes against Islamic State group targets in Syria, which have been stepped up following the Paris attacks.
The National Assembly approved a motion to prolong the operation by 515 votes to four, with 10 abstentions.
3 said killed, 8 injured in Russian strikes near Turkey border
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says three people were killed and eight injured in bombings carried out by Russian warplaces near the Syrian city of Azaz, near the Turkish border.
France urges Germany to do more against Islamic State
French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday urged Germany to do more in the fight against Islamic State jihadists after he held talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel in the wake of the Paris attacks.
“I hope Germany can do even more in the fight against Daesh in Syria and Iraq,” Hollande said, using another term for IS, the group which claimed responsibility for the carnage in the French capital.
Merkel said in response she would act “swiftly” to assist in the fight against terror.