The Times of Israel liveblogged Tuesday’s events as they unfolded.
President says attempt to sow terror will fail
President Reuven Rivlin says Ramadan has become “a month of terror and nightmares.”
Referring to the recent terror attacks against Israelis, many of which were “lone wolf” attacks, the president says that “the attempt to sow terror and horror on the roads and streets of the entire country will fail.”
“Ramadan has become in front of our very eyes a month of terror and nightmares. Terrorism is terrorism, all over the Land of Israel: In Judea and Samaria, in the Gaza periphery, in Jerusalem and all over the world. We will fight it with determination and force until it is eradicated from the entire Land of Israel. During Ramadan, more than ever, the failure of the Palestinian leadership to speak out and to act against those who plan and carry out terror attacks is sorely felt,” Rivlin says.
The president adds: “Jews will continue to leave their daily lives in the entire Land of Israel without needing to fear for their lives. I pray for the wellbeing of the wounded and I am certain the security establishment will reach each one of the attackers and bring them to justice.”
Hamas hails recent West Bank attacks
Hamas says that “recent terror attacks in the West Bank reflect an important and qualitative development of the resistance, especially the shooting attacks against soldiers and settlers.”
The organization’s message comes a day after a shooting attack near Shilo left four Israelis wounded, and a female soldier was stabbed in the neck by a Palestinian woman in a separate incident.
London neo-Nazi rally won’t go through Golders Green
LONDON — British police announce that a neo-Nazi rally scheduled to take place on July 4 attacking the “Jewification” of London will not take place in Golders Green, the heart of Jewish North London.
The rally will take place in an as yet unspecified area of central London. Police will still patrol Golders Green on Saturday.
A cross-communal gathering of members of various ethnic groups united in opposition to the neo-Nazis is still due to take place a day before the rally, on Friday, July 3, under the banner of Golders Green Together. With church groups, local Muslims and a number of politicians scheduled to participate, activists aim to cover the area in green and gold banners.
— Jenny Frazer
Hotovely to Italian FM: French initiative bad for peace
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely meets Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni and commends him for the “excellent ties between our countries.”
Hotovely refers to a French initiative to fast-track the establishment and recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN, and says: “Unilateral steps like this do not advance our goal but on the contrary, Israel sees the French initiative as an obstacle to any direct dialogue.”
Hotovely also urges Gentiloni to act against the labeling of products from the West Bank, saying that Israel “sees this as paving the way to sanctions against Israel. Acts like this will not promote the peace process and direct dialogue, they will only push it further away.”
After the meeting Hotovely and Gentiloni tour Yad Vashem, where the deputy minister expresses her appreciation of Italy’s commitment to teaching about the Holocaust in Italian schools.
Spain warns of heatwave risk to elderly
Spain remains locked in a heat wave with most of the country on high alert for forest fires and the elderly urged to take extra care.
Spain’s national weather office put 40 of the nation’s 50 provinces on either “yellow” or “orange” alert due to the scorching temperatures which are forecast to dip on Wednesday before rising again at the weekend.
The highest temperatures are expected to be recorded in the central province of Toledo where the mercury was forecast to rise to 41 degrees Celsius (105.8 Fahrenheit).
In the Spanish capital Madrid temperatures were expected to soar to 39 degrees Celsius, prompting local officials to recommend people remain in the shade and drink plenty of liquids. “The excessive heat can harm people’s health, especially if they are elderly, chronically ill or children,” the regional government of Madrid says in a statement.
Emergency services say they have treated 30 people for heatstroke in the Madrid region since the heatwave began on Thursday.
PM stresses Iranian threat in meeting with Italy FM
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterates that the nuclear deal with Iran will pave the road to “many” nuclear bombs by the “terror regime” in Tehran.
Speaking at the beginning of a meeting with Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Netanyahu says the agreement will enrich Iran by hundreds of billions of dollars and will enable the Islamic Republic to continue funding terrorism throughout the world.
The world is justifiably concerned about Islamic State, Netanyahu says, but allows Iran, which is much stronger and a much greater sponsor of global terrorism, to acquire nuclear weapons.
Palestinian critically hurt in car crash
A Palestinian man in his fifties is in critical condition after his car collided with a truck near Kiryat Arba in the southern West Bank.
The man was taken to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital.
Man dies in natural pool in Golan Heights
A man in his early twenties drowned in a natural pool in the Golan Heights.
The pool, called the Hexagon Pool because of the peculiar rock formations nearby, is a famous natural reservoir and a busy hiking destination.
Magen David Adom teams scrambled to the scene tried to resuscitate the man for an extended amount of time but pronounced him dead at the scene.
At least 116 die in Indonesia plane crash
At least 116 people are feared dead after an Indonesian air force transport plane crashed Tuesday into a major city shortly after take-off and exploded in a fireball, officials said.
Buildings were left in ruins and cars reduced to flaming wrecks when the Hercules C-130 came down in a residential area of Medan, a city of two million on the island of Sumatra.
Air force chief Agus Supriatna says the manifest showed there were 113 people on board the plane — 12 crew and 101 passengers — when it crashed, and he did not believe any had survived.
“No, no. No survivors, I have just returned from the site,” he told AFP in answer to a question.
So far, 49 bodies had been recovered, he says.
Anti-Semitism down after attacks, poll finds
A new Anti-Defamation League study finds that anti-Semitic sentiment dramatically drops in the aftermath of violent attacks against Jews.
An ADL poll of adults in 19 countries, fielded March 10 through April 3, 2015, found minimal change in the levels of anti-Semitic attitudes in most of the countries compared to a year ago, when the league polled 102 countries in a groundbreaking worldwide survey of anti-Semitism, the ADL Global 100 Index.
The most pronounced difference was found in France – scene of the horrific terror attacks earlier this year targeting Jews and journalists – where the number of those expressing anti-Semitic attitudes plummeted from 37 percent in 2014 to 17% in 2015. Germany likewise experienced a decline from 27% to 16%, and Belgium from 27% to 21%. ADL polled an additional 500 respondents in each of these three countries to confirm the overall declines in anti-Semitic attitudes.
The ADL poll also measured Muslim attitudes toward Jews in six countries in Western Europe for the first time. The poll found that acceptance of anti-Semitic stereotypes by Muslims in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK was substantially higher than among the national population in each country.
“After the recent murders of Jews in Belgium and France and attacks on synagogues in Germany, we decided to look at the impact on anti-Semitic attitudes among the national population following high-profile violence against Jews and the condemnations by European leaders,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.
“The poll found a marked increase in concern about violence against Jews in all three countries. The results indicate that heightened awareness of violence against Jews fosters a sense of solidarity with the Jewish community and that strong condemnation by political and civic leaders makes expressing anti-Semitism less acceptable. The ADL Global 100 Index is the benchmark of anti-Semitic attitudes around the world, and we plan to continue polling periodically to measure changes and the effect of events on anti-Jewish attitudes.”
IAEA to say Iran rendered its uranium harmless
Diplomats say that a UN nuclear agency will confirm that Iran has met a key condition of a preliminary nuclear agreement, changing a substantial amount of enriched uranium into a form that is difficult to use for nuclear arms.
Enriched uranium can be used to generate energy or as the fissile core of a nuclear weapon, depending on its enrichment level. Under the preliminary deal reached in November 2013, Iran agreed to convert thousands of kilograms of the material into oxide form, which experts say cannot be used to build a bomb.
The diplomats say that a report to be issued Wednesday by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency will show that Iran has complied with the obligation to render harmless the uranium it has enriched since November 2013.
Defense Ministry to recognize same-sex and common-law couples
The Defense Ministry will recognize unmarried couples who live in common-law partnerships and they will be able to receive the military service pension funds they would get if they were to marry, attorney Irit Rosenblum, chair and founder of the New Family Organization, says in a statement.
The recognition will extend to same-sex partnerships.
The pensions are “locked” for five years after a conscript has been released from service but can be withdrawn under certain circumstances, among which is marriage to another person.
The other circumstances under which pensions can only be withdrawn are financing academic studies, professional training, buying a house, and opening a business.
With recognition of common-law partnerships as equal to marriage for the sake of withdrawing the pension, including same-sex partnerships, the Defense Ministry is taking a step toward recognition of same-sex partnerships, as well as recognizing couples with other difficulties, like new immigrants from the former Soviet union which are not eligible for marriage because the Chief Rabbinate demands they undergo conversion.
On Sunday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon was a lone voice among right-wing politicians to express the hope that Israel will follow the US Supreme Court and recognize same-sex marriages.
Rosenbaum says, “I am proud that the defense establishment was wise enough to understand that being a couple is a union deeper than marriage and embodies the loftiest ideals of love, loyalty, devotion, sacrifice and family. When two people become a couple, they also become something bigger than they were before. In a state where marriage is not obvious and for a large part of the public not possible, there is no other option than giving released soldiers living in a couple equal status to that given to married couples.”
The ministry will decide soon on the procedure of recognizing common-law couples, and a team from the New Family Organization will take part in drafting the procedure, the organization says in a statement.
130 French Jews arrive in Israel; more than 3,000 expected this summer
Some 130 French Jews, including 46 children and two babies, landed at Ben-Gurion International Airport yesterday, marking the start of a wave of French immigration expected over the course of the summer. Additionally, some 80 French Jews who had been in Israel on tourist visas became Israeli citizens and received their Israeli identity cards during a ceremony hosted by The Jewish Agency for Israel at the organization’s Jerusalem headquarters building earlier today.
According to data compiled by The Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Immigration Absorption, more than 3,000 French Jews will immigrate to Israel this summer, including many young families whose children will enter Israeli schools at the start of the new school year. Some 400 French Jewish immigrants are expected to arrive by the end of this week alone.
The current wave of French immigration comes in the midst of a joint effort by the ministry and The Jewish Agency to maintain the high rate of immigration from France and increase immigration from around the world. Immigration from France has risen steeply in recent years and France has become the number one source of immigration to Israel for the first time.
Eurogroup conference call on Greece request
Eurozone finance ministers will hold an emergency conference call Tuesday to discuss a last-minute proposal by Athens, just hours before Greece’s current bailout expires, Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem says.
“Extraordinary Eurogroup teleconference tonight 19:00 (1700 GMT) Brussels time to discuss official request of Greek government received this afternoon,” Dutch finance minister Dijsselbloem says in a tweet.
Man shot in West Bank dies of his injuries
Malachi Moshe Rosenfeld, 25, who was one of the four people wounded in a shooting attack in the West Bank near the settlement of Shvut Rachel on Monday night, succumbed to his injuries, Kochav Hashachar, the community he hails from, says in a tweet.
Rosenfeld underwent surgery overnight but succumbed to his wounds this afternoon. His older brother, who was an Israeli Air Force pilot, died during a hike of the south in 2002. Their father, musician Akiva Rosenfeld, had in the past lost a brother who died in combat.
Jerusalem Arab teen arrested for abusing horse
A 17-year-old Palestinian youth from Jabel Mukaber in Jerusalem was arrested after a resident of Armon Hanatziv, a nearby Jewish neighborhood, saw him and his friends mistreating a horse.
Representatives of animal rescue services arrived at the scene and the youth was taken for interrogation by Israel Police. He confessed to the allegations.
The other suspects ran away but police expect to arrest them in the coming days.
Hamas in Gaza in dire straits – Shin Bet head
The head of Israel’s internal secret service tells the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Hamas is in strategic distress in Gaza and that its status as the sovereign power in the Strip has been eroded.
Shin Bet head Yoram Cohen asserts before the committee that most of the funds earmarked for the rehabilitation of Gaza have not come through, partially on account of the feud between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. Israel, he says, according to a censored transcript circulated by the committee’s spokesman, is the central element urging and advancing the re-building of Gaza after the 50-day war there in the summer of 2014.
Despite the economic hardships, he says, Hamas has labored to re-build its military capacities. Cohen says the Islamist organization has been re-establishing its offensive tunnels – the transcript does not mention if today any of those tunnels cross into Israeli territory – and that it has been working to develop and produce new rockets. Hamas has also been making efforts to acquire funding from Iran, he adds.
At this time, he says, Hamas has little interest in launching a war against Israel and, while it could wage a significant military campaign, it would be limited in its efficacy.
In the West Bank, Cohen says, there has been a steady rise in what he termed folk terror. Since 2012 there has been a 50 percent rise each year, from 683 attacks in 2012 to 1,834 in 2014, he submits.
Over the past year 130 organized terror plots were foiled, he says, with an additional 60 plots over the course of the first half of 2015.
Finally he says that the ongoing security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is what has enabled the PA to endure the constant Hamas action in the West Bank.
— Mitch Ginsburg
Palestinian shot, wounded at Qalandiya checkpoint
A Palestinian man was shot and seriously wounded by security personnel at the Qalandiya checkpoint after he ignored their call to stop.
According to initial reports, the man ran toward the security guards shouting “Allahu Akbar.” The guards called on him to halt, then fired a warning shot in the air and only then aimed at his lower body.
It was unclear why the Palestinian was running toward the checkpoint.
Minister Ariel demands urgent cabinet meeting on recent terror attacks
Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Uri Ariel sends Prime Minister Netanyahu a letter demanding he convene an urgent security cabinet meeting this evening in response to the recent wave of terror attacks in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
Ariel demands the cancellation of goodwill measures announced by Israel ahead of Ramadan, including easing travel restrictions and an increase in permits to enter Jerusalem in order to pray at the al Aqsa Mosque.
The minister is referring to a recent spate of attacks, mostly stabbing and shooting attacks, which the IDF and Shin Bet security service consider “lone wolf” attacks not sponsored by any terror group.
“Lack of a proper response will send a clear message to terror groups that the blood of Israeli citizens and specifically of citizens of Judea and Samaria is cheap. I will not lend my hand to sending such a message,” Ariel writes in the letter, using the Biblical name of the West Bank area.
Terror attack victim’s family agrees to donate eye corneas
The family of Malachi Moshe Rosenfeld, murdered in a terrorist attack yesterday (Rosenfeld succumbed to his wounds this afternoon), agrees to donate his eye corneas to those in need of corneal transplants, Army Radio reports.
“This is a great mitzvah (a good deed),” says Rosenfeld’s father, Akiva.
IDF deploying another battalion in West Bank
The IDF is deploying more troops in Judea and Samaria following the series of terror attacks that took place over the past few days in the West Bank.
The military says that a battalion from the Nahal Brigade will be deployed to the West Bank and will focus on defensive measures.
“This is no collective punishment of the Palestinian population and steps were taken in accord with our assessment of the situation,” a senior IDF officer is quoted by Ynet as saying.
“We believe this string of terror attacks will stop as soon as we lay our hands on the perpetrators of the latest terror attacks,” says the officer. “We are far from what happened in the Second Intifada despite the latest signs. There is no infrastructure that guides the terrorists in the Jordan Valley, near Dolev, Rachel’s Tomb or Qalandiya.”
Obama says he’ll ‘walk away’ from bad Iran deal
US President Barack Obama reiterates that he would not hesitate to “walk away” from a nuclear deal with Iran if the conditions are not satisfactory.
Obama tells reporters at a White House press conference with visiting Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff that Tehran would have to agree to a “strong, rigorous verification mechanism” on curbing its disputed nuclear program.
Islamic State sends warning to Hamas and Fatah
The Islamic State terror group in Aleppo, Syria, publishes a clip with a message for the residents of the Gaza Strip and for the Hamas movement, Ynet reports.
Hamas officials are described in the clip as despots beholden to Iranian and American influence, doing nothing towards creating sharia rule in the Strip. “Eight years they have ruled the area and have not implemented one fatwa for Allah,” the video claims.
An IS man who appears on the clip threatens that sporadic rocket fire into Israel will not give Hamas “immunity.” The group says it is getting close to “Palestine” and that it intends to “uproot the state of the Jews,” and defeat Hamas and Fatah.
Hamas closes offices of main cellular company in Gaza
Hamas closes the main office of Jawwal, the main cellular operator in the Gaza Strip, because the company pays taxes to the treasury in Ramallah and not to the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, Israel Radio reports.
According to the report, Hamas security officials were deployed to the entrance of the main branch of Jawwal in Gaza City which carried a sign on the gate stating: “Closed by orders of the Attorney General.”
The move is apparently intended to pressure the Palestinian Authority following rising tensions between the PA and Hamas over, among other issues, the dire financial straits in which Hamas finds itself one year after its war against Israel, and with efforts to rebuild the Gaza Strip moving slowly.
France, UK issue heat warnings as high temps hit Europe
A mass of hot air moving north from Africa is driving up temperatures in western Europe, with France on Tuesday becoming the latest to endure unusual heat.
France’s southwestern Gironde region sweltered in 42 degrees Celsius (107 Fahrenheit), a day after Cordoba in southern Spain recorded nearly 44 C (111 F).
Paris introduced special heat wave measures. They included opening air-conditioned rooms to the public and phoning people who might be especially vulnerable to the heat, primarily the elderly and those who can’t leave their homes for medical reasons.
Authorities warned that temperatures could surpass those of 2003, when thousands of people died — many of them retirees who had been left alone while younger relatives vacationed. The government at the time was criticized for failing to respond quickly or decisively enough and has since been extremely quick to react when temperatures start to rise.
Lila Djedide, 27, and her 60-year-old mother Mina, kept cool in Paris by eating ice cream. The heat is tough, Mina said, but it’s better than the usual Paris rain.
60-year-old man killed in traffic accident in north
A 60-year-old pedestrian was killed this evening when he was hit by a car in the village of Araba in the Galilee. The driver was held for questioning at the Misgav police station, Ynet reports.