Israel’s UN envoy: Hezbollah has ‘terror stronghold’ in south Lebanon
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Senate review: Israeli NGO used US-funded resources in bid to oust Netanyahu

Bipartisan probe says OneVoice ‘fully complied’ with grant terms, but did utilize resources for ‘political activities’ in run-up to 2015 elections

  • Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally in New Hampshire on July 12, 2016, after she is endorsed by former rival Bernie Sanders. (screen capture: YouTube)
    Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally in New Hampshire on July 12, 2016, after she is endorsed by former rival Bernie Sanders. (screen capture: YouTube)
  • Hillary Clinton looks on as Bernie Sanders endorses her for US president, at a rally in New Hampshire on July 12, 2016 (screen capture: YouTube)
    Hillary Clinton looks on as Bernie Sanders endorses her for US president, at a rally in New Hampshire on July 12, 2016 (screen capture: YouTube)
  • Israeli soldiers stand by a tank near the Israel Gaza border, Wednesday, May 4, 2016. (AP/Tsafrir Abayov)
    Israeli soldiers stand by a tank near the Israel Gaza border, Wednesday, May 4, 2016. (AP/Tsafrir Abayov)
  • Head of Shin Bet security service Nadav Argaman attends a Foreign Affairs and Defense committee meeting at the Knesset on July 12, 2016. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
    Head of Shin Bet security service Nadav Argaman attends a Foreign Affairs and Defense committee meeting at the Knesset on July 12, 2016. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
  • Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon shows the Security Council a map of Hezbollah positions in Lebanon, at a July 12, 2016 meeting on the 10th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War (Photo: Courtesy)
    Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon shows the Security Council a map of Hezbollah positions in Lebanon, at a July 12, 2016 meeting on the 10th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War (Photo: Courtesy)
  • Rabbi Col. Eyal Karim (left), nominated to become IDF chief rabbi, sits next to his predecessor, Brig. Gen. Rafi Peretz, on April 21, 2016 (Diana Khananashvili/Defense Ministry)
    Rabbi Col. Eyal Karim (left), nominated to become IDF chief rabbi, sits next to his predecessor, Brig. Gen. Rafi Peretz, on April 21, 2016 (Diana Khananashvili/Defense Ministry)
  • Italian firefighters inspect the wreckage of two commuter trains after their head-on collision in the southern region of Puglia, killing at least 20 people, on July 12, 2016. (Italian Firefighter Press Office via AP)
    Italian firefighters inspect the wreckage of two commuter trains after their head-on collision in the southern region of Puglia, killing at least 20 people, on July 12, 2016. (Italian Firefighter Press Office via AP)

The Times of Israel is liveblogged Tuesday’s events as they unfolded.

Report: EU sidelining efforts to penalize settlements

The European Union is “sidelining” a call from its top diplomats in Israel to step up pressure on the Jewish state’s settlement enterprise, the Guardian reports.

According to the paper, the EU has disregarded a request to increase moves to “halt trade” with the settlements, despite Brussels’s repeated claims that they are illegal and threaten the two-state solution.

The Guardian says that it has seen a late 2015 report by the so-called Heads of Missions in Israel, which warns of growing “despair… anger and a loss of hope in the future” among Palestinians. The paper claims that Brussels has taken no action on the report recommendations despite these entreaties.

Read the full Guardian article here

Israel Police chief dispenses first aid at Tel Aviv crash

Paramedics say Israel Police Commander Roni Alsheich assisted with first aid treatment to an injured woman after a traffic accident on the Ayalon highway in south Tel Aviv.

Senior Magen David Adom paramedic Roman Brodesky says he was summoned to a three-car collision on the road, where he was surprised to discover Alsheich helping to treat the victims.

When the sole person injured — a 65-year-old woman who was lightly hurt– was dispatched to a local hospital, Brodesky says, Alsheich got back in his own car and continued on his way.

Chief of Police Roni Alsheich attends a meeting in the Knesset, March 29, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Chief of Police Roni Alsheich attends a meeting in the Knesset, March 29, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

At least 10 said killed in Italy train crash

At least 10 people are dead in a collision between two trains in the southern Italian region of Puglia, Italian media says.

Footage from the scene shows emergency services racing to extract people from two smashed carriages thrown across the tracks in the incident, which happened on a single-track stretch of line.

Officials say dozens of people are injured.


— AFP

Jewish Home MK lightly hurt in traffic accident

Jewish Home MK Shuli Moalem is very lightly hurt in a traffic accident in Jerusalem.

She is taken to Shaare Zedek hospital in the city for treatment and later discharged.

Jewish Home MK Shuli Moalem (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Jewish Home MK Shuli Moalem (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

— Judah Ari Gross

Players find Pokemon in Jerusalem, Auschwitz

Players of the wildly popular Pokemon Go smartphone game, which involves collecting the cute characters in real life locations, report finding their targets in at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, a mosque in Istanbul, Turkey and even at the Auschwitz museum.

A Pokemon character was also located in the museum at Auschwitz.

The US Marines post on Twitter that troops on active duty in an unnamed location found a Pikachu, beloved mascot of the franchise.

The free to play game, which was released last week, has become a worldwide phenomenon. The player is asked to walk around collecting the characters as in their vicinity.

Army rethinking IDF rabbi appointment over rape remarks

IDF Gadi Eisenkot will discuss the appointment of Colonel Eyal Karim as the army’s next chief rabbi following renewed coverage of a written statement he made and later clarified, that apparently condoned rape of non-Jewish women during wartime.

Citing defense establishment sources, Haaretz newspaper says the army was unaware of the comments and failed to conduct a full background check on Karim. The sources say Eisenkot may be forced to reconsider the appointment.

According to Haaretz, the head of the IDF Personnel Directorate Major General Hagai Topolanski called Karim today over the comments.

In a statement that surfaced in 2012, Karim said: “Although intercourse with a female gentile is very grave, it was permitted during wartime (under the conditions it stipulated) out of consideration for the soldiers’ difficulties. And since our concern is the success of the collective in the war, the Torah permitted [soldiers] to satisfy the evil urge under the conditions it stipulated for the sake of the collective’s success.”

 

Baby dies after being left in car in Arad

A 6-month-old baby girl dies in the southern city of Arad after she was left for hours in a locked car.

Emergency personnel pronounced the baby dead after trying unsuccessfully to revive her, Israel Radio reports.

 

Nominee for IDF chief rabbi: Never any excuse for rape

The rabbi tapped to become the new military chaplain, Col. Eyal Karim, says there is no place for sexual attacks on women, again renouncing previous comments that seemed to imply the rape of non-Jewish women in wartime was permissible.

“There is no exemption for sexual abuse of women, not in daily life nor in emergency situations,” Karim says, according to the Ynet news website. Karim also says he supports the recruitment of women into the IDF.

Karim’s comments, which were first published in 2012 and which he has since retracted, have resurfaced due to his nomination.

Rabbi Col. Eyal Karim (left), nominated to become IDF chief rabbi, sits next to his predecessor, Brig. Gen. Rafi Peretz, on April 21, 2016 (Diana Khananashvili/Defense Ministry)

Rabbi Col. Eyal Karim (left), nominated to become IDF chief rabbi, sits next to his predecessor, Brig. Gen. Rafi Peretz, on April 21, 2016 (Diana Khananashvili/Defense Ministry)

Nazareth woman gets 6 months in jail for attempted attack

The Nazareth District Court sentences a 30-year-old local woman to six months in jail and two years probation for an attempted stabbing attack in Afula central bus station in October last year.

Police and Shin Bet investigators said at the time that they did not believe Asra’a Zidan Abed actually planned to stab anyone when she wielded the knife, but was pretending to be a Palestinian terrorist in the hope that she would be shot by security forces. Investigators said she was likely trying to commit suicide, having recently lost custody of a child.

As such, she was charged with carrying a dangerous weapon, and not attempted murder. Footage of the incident, which shows Abed standing surrounded by armed officers, quickly went viral.

Shin Bet: Abbas condemnation would help curb terror

Condemnation of terror attacks by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would help to reduce incitement and therefore the level of violence against Israelis, Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman tells the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Haaretz quotes MKs present at the meeting as saying that Argaman believes that while Abbas and the PA do not support terror attacks, they have taken a politically hostile stance to Israel.

According to Israel National News, the Shin Bet chief also tells lawmakers that the decline in the number of attacks emanating from the West Bank is due to an increase in preventative measures.

Death toll in Italy train crash rises to 20

A local official says the death toll in the head-on train crash in southern Italy is at 20.

An official identified by Sky TG24 as the president of the province of Andria says that rescue operations were continuing.

The official says a boy, about 7, is among the injured, but does not have life-threatening injuries.

Appealing for blood donations, the official says that there could still be people trapped in the wreckage of the two locomotives.

Italian firefighters inspect the wreckage of two commuter trains after their head-on collision in the southern region of Puglia, killing at least 20 people, on July 12, 2016. (Italian Firefighter Press Office via AP)

Italian firefighters inspect the wreckage of two commuter trains after their head-on collision in the southern region of Puglia, killing at least 20 people, on July 12, 2016. (Italian Firefighter Press Office via AP)

— AP

Karim tells IDF: I don’t condone rape, support women soldiers

Following criticism over Eisenkot’s pick for the position of IDF chief rabbi, the head of the IDF Personnel Directorate calls Rabbi Eyal Karim for a conversation about statements he made in the past on rape during wartime and the enlistment of women into the military’s ranks, the army says.

Karim, who was tapped as the next military chaplain before the reemergence of controversial comments he apparently made about rape and on the draft of women soldiers, tells Maj. Gen. Hagai Topolansky that he does not condone rape and that sexual assault against women is never permissible.

The army quotes the rabbi as saying that he “supports and believes in the service of women in the IDF” and points out that he crafted the protocols that allow for better integration of male and female soldiers, while still adhering to the requirements of Jewish law.

— Judah Ari Gross

PA: Arabs outnumber Jews in Israel plus Palestinian territories

The Palestinian Authority says there are now more Arabs than Jews in Israel and the Palestinian territories combined, Channel 2 reports.

According to the data from the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics, there are approximately 4.8 million people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip together — roughly 1.8 million in Gaza and 3 million in the West Bank.

The PA couples that data with figures from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), and claims it shows there are 6.58 million Arabs in Israel and the Palestinian territories, compared to 6.38 million Jews.

The CBS says there are 8.5 million people in Israel, including 6.38 million Jews (and other minorities) and just under 1.8 million Arabs.

Rights group decries ‘forced anal exams’ in 8 countries

Human Rights Watch is urging an end to “forced anal examinations” with a report documenting them in eight countries, including Lebanon and Egypt, saying the practice is based on flawed ideas about supposedly proving homosexual conduct.

In a report released today, the advocacy group calls the examinations “a form of cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment” that amounts to sexual assault, violates international conventions and could rise to the level of torture.

The report draws on interviews with 32 men and transgender women subjected to the exams in eight countries that ban same-sex conduct: Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya, Lebanon, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda and Zambia.

— AP

Azaria’s commander: Shooting was legitimate, if he felt in danger

The battalion commander of the IDF sergeant on trial for shooting and killing a disarmed, wounded Palestinian attacker in Hebron in March says that opening fire in such a manner is legitimate if a soldier feels threatened.

Lieutenant Colonel David Shapiro tells Jaffa Military Court where Elor Azaria is standing trial for manslaughter, that if this was indeed the case, the sergeant should have warned his fellow soldiers of the danger and also informed his commander of his intent before opening fire. Azaria failed to take either action, Shapiro says.

Lt. Col. David Shapira, commander of Shimshon Battalion arrives at Jaffa Military Court during the trial of Elor Azaria on July 12, 2016. (Photo by Flash90)

Lt. Col. David Shapira, commander of Shimshon Battalion arrives at Jaffa Military Court during the trial of Elor Azaria on July 12, 2016. (Photo by Flash90)

Israeli crosses border fence into Gaza; IDF investigating

The IDF says an Israeli national has crossed the border fence in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. The army is looking into the incident.

The initial investigation shows that the man, who is of Bedouin ethnicity, entered via central Gaza, and was spotted by IDF troops monitoring the border. The army is trying to ascertain why he decided to enter the Strip.

Hamas is currently believed to be holding two Israelis captive in the Strip, as well as the bodies of two IDF soldiers who died in fighting during the 2014 conflict there.

— Judah Ari Gross

Israel’s UN envoy: Hezbollah has ‘terror stronghold’ in south Lebanon

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, tells the UN Security Council that the Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah has transformed a village in southern Lebanon into a stronghold with rockets and weapons hidden among the civilian population there.

“The village of Shaqra has been turned into a Hezbollah stronghold with one out of three buildings used for terror activities, including rocket launchers and arms depots,” Ambassador Danon tells the Security Council at a session on the 10th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War, according to a statement from his office.

“Hezbollah has placed these positions next to schools and other public institutions putting innocent civilians in great danger,” he says. “We demand the removal of Hezbollah terrorists from southern Lebanon.”

Danon also tells the Council that when UN Resolution 1701 was adopted and the war ended, Hezbollah had 7,000 rockets, whereas today it has more than 120,000 missiles aimed at Israeli population centers.

Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon shows the Security Council a map of Hezbollah positions in Lebanon, at a July 12, 2016 meeting on the 10th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War (Photo: Courtesy)

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon shows the Security Council a map of Hezbollah positions in Lebanon, at a July 12, 2016 meeting on the 10th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War (Photo: Courtesy)

Ban to UN: Time running out for two-state solution

UN chief Ban Ki-moon tells the Security Council that time is running for a two-state solution, and lambastes both Israel and the Palestinians for the stalemate in peace talks.

“The failure of Israeli and Palestinian leaders to advance peace has created a vacuum. Extremist voices have filled that space,” Ban says, according to a statement released by his office.

“Late last month, I returned from my eleventh visit to Israel and Palestine as Secretary-General,” he tells the Council. “I carried a clear and consistent message to leaders on both sides: Time is running out.”

The UN chief singles out Israeli settlement construction, saying: “How can the systematic expansion of settlements … the taking of land for exclusive Israeli use … and the denial of Palestinian development be a response to violence?”

“Such policies will not bring the two-state solution closer to reality,” he says. “Such policies will not make Israelis safer or more secure.”

He also criticizes Palestinian violence and the failure to stop it. “Those responsible for recent terror attacks must be held accountable,” he says.

Turning to the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by the Hamas terror group, Ban says: “Militant activity continues, undermining the fragile ceasefire and threatening to provoke another devastating escalation.”

He also condemns the donors who failed to make good on their promises to fund the rehabilitation of Gaza after the 2014 war. “Despite significant progress, tens of thousands of people are still displaced,” he says. “Families are forced to live without electricity for 12 to 18 hours per day. Unemployment remains staggering.

“Funds to rebuild Gaza remain elusive. I once again urge donors to fulfill their pledges made in Cairo.”

But, he adds, “long-term stability and sustainability for Gaza depends on the lifting of the crippling closures and a re-establishment of a single, legitimate Palestinian governing authority based on PLO principles.”

Sanders endorses Clinton: She must be our next president

Bernie Sanders endorses rival Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton for president, saying she “must become our next president.”

“Secretary Clinton has won the Democratic nominating process, and I congratulate her for that,” he says. “She will be the Democratic nominee for president and I intend to do everything I can to make certain she will be the next president of the United States.”

Clinton on Sanders endorsement: More enjoyable now we’re on same side

Clinton thanks Sanders for his endorsement, praising him for his years of political activity.

“How much more enjoyable this election will be now that we are on the same side,” she says, vowing to beat Trump in the upcoming presidential election.

“Thank you, Bernie… for your lifetime of fighting injustice. I am proud to be fighting alongside you,” she says. “With your help, we are joining forces to defeat Donald Trump, win in November and yes together build a future we can all believe in.”

Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally in New Hampshire on July 12, 2016, after she is endorsed by former rival Bernie Sanders. (screen capture: YouTube)

Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally in New Hampshire on July 12, 2016, after she is endorsed by former rival Bernie Sanders. (screen capture: YouTube)

Clinton pays tribute to slain Jewish DNC staffer

Hillary Clinton pays tribute to Jewish DNC staffer Seth Rich, who was shot dead in Washington, DC on Sunday.

“He was just 27 years old,” she says. “Surely we can agree weapons of war have no place on the streets of America.”

She also addresses the racial tensions in the US, in the wake of the killing of black men by police and the subsequent fatal shooting of five Dallas cops by a black US Army veteran.

“These have been difficult days for America. We have to begin by starting to listen to each other,” she says. “We then have to come together to do something that will help us fix these problems and heal these wounds.”

 

Trump campaign: Sanders ‘officially part of a rigged system’

Donald Trump’s campaign says Bernie Sanders “is now officially part of a rigged system,” in a statement released during the Vermont senator’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton.

Trump senior policy adviser Stephen Miller says Sanders is “endorsing one of the most pro-war, pro-Wall Street, and pro-off-shoring candidates in the history of the Democratic Party.”

He says: “The candidate who ran against special interests is endorsing the candidate who embodies special interests.”

Trump has also been taunting Sanders on Twitter, suggesting that he has sold out his supporters.

The presumptive GOP nominee’s campaign is trying to woo disgruntled Sanders supporters opposed to Clinton.

Council for the Child: State must act to stop toddlers being left in cars

Israel’s National Council for the Child calls on the Transportation Ministry to compel parents to install technology to prevent them from forgetting small children in their cars in hot weather.

According to Israel Radio, council chief Vered Vindman says such incidents are not predestined, and the installation of warning devices would prevent more tragedies of this nature.

The call comes shortly after a baby dies in Arad when she is left for hours in an overheated car.

Egypt denies allowing Israeli drone strikes in Sinai

Egypt denies a Bloomberg report that it is allowing Israel to carry out drone strikes against terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula, Israel Hayom says.

Bloomberg, quoting an unnamed former senior US official, says the airstrikes were conducted with Egypt’s knowledge and blessing.

Report: Israeli who crossed into Gaza has mental health problems

The Bedouin Israeli who crossed into Gaza earlier today is a young man with mental health problems, Channel 2 reports.

Another one of the two Israelis believed to be captives in the Hamas-run Strip also has mental health problems, according to his family.

Holocaust museum in DC: Stop playing Pokemon Go here

The Holocaust museum in Washington, DC urges Pokemon Go players to stop from catching the game’s characters on its grounds.

The game, which requires players to collect the characters as they appear on the screens of their smartphones in real world places, has used other sensitive locations around the world, including synagogues, mosques and even the Western Wall and the Auschwitz death camp.

“Playing the game is not appropriate in the museum, which is a memorial to the victims of Nazism,” says museum communications director Andrew Hollinger, according to The Forward. “We are trying to find out if we can get the museum excluded from the game.”

 

Report: Israeli group used US funds for anti-Netanyahu campaign

The Washington Times says Obama’s State Department gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to an Israeli political group, which used the money to fund a campaign to oust Netanyahu in the March 2015 Knesset elections.

The newspaper quotes a report from the bipartisan Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations as saying that the State Department sent some $350,000 to the left-wing OneVoice organization, “ostensibly to support the group’s efforts to back Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement negotiations.”

But, the report says, “OneVoice used the money to build a voter database, train activists and hire a political consulting firm with ties to President Obama’s campaign — all of which set the stage for an anti-Netanyahu campaign.”

Read the full Washington Times article here

US report: Grant expired before OneVoice moved into politics

The US report into the funding for a left-wing Israeli group finds that the grant given to the OneVoice organization had expired before it became politically active in the Knesset elections in March 2015.

“OneVoice Israel fully complied with the terms of its State Department grants,” the report says. “OneVoice designed and executed a grassroots and media campaign to promote public support for Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations for the Department, as it said it would… The Subcommittee found no evidence that OneVoice spent grant funds to influence the 2015 Israeli elections.”

The group worked alongside the V15 organization to oust Netanyahu as prime minister in last year’s vote.

Arab nations seek to block Quartet report at UN

Arab nations are calling on the United Nations Security Council not to endorse a report aimed at reviving the Middle East peace process that the Palestinians see as biased in favor of Israel, the Palestinian envoy to the UN says.

The report by the Middle East Quartet — the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States — calls on Israel to halt settlement expansion and the Palestinians to stop inciting violence.

Arab diplomats agreed during a recent meeting to try to block any move by the council to adopt a US-drafted statement backing the long-awaited report’s recommendations, Riyad Mansour tells reporters.

Egypt, which represents the Arab group on the council, was told “not to allow a statement to be adopted welcoming and endorsing the recommendations,” Mansour says as the Council meets to discuss the report.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon earlier today urged the Council to throw its weight behind the findings, despite strong resistance from Israel and the Palestinians.

— AFP

IDF chief: Thanks to 2006 war, we have quiet on northern border

Gadi Eisenkot hails Israel’s successes in the 2006 Second Lebanon War against Hezbollah, saying they brought a decade of quiet on the country’s northern border, Ynet reports.

“We are [enjoying] a decade of peace and deterrence in the north,” the IDF chief tells an event in central Israel to mark the 10th anniversary of the war. “I have no doubt that the main reason for the reality of the past decade is the use of force and the results of the war.”

 

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Israel’s UN envoy: Hezbollah has ‘terror stronghold’ in south Lebanon

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, tells the UN Security Council that the Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah has transformed a village in southern Lebanon into a stronghold with rockets and weapons hidden among the civilian population there.

“The village of Shaqra has been turned into a Hezbollah stronghold with one out of three buildings used for terror activities, including rocket launchers and arms depots,” Ambassador Danon tells the Security Council at a session on the 10th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War, according to a statement from his office.

“Hezbollah has placed these positions next to schools and other public institutions putting innocent civilians in great danger,” he says. “We demand the removal of Hezbollah terrorists from southern Lebanon.”

Danon also tells the Council that when UN Resolution 1701 was adopted and the war ended, Hezbollah had 7,000 rockets, whereas today it has more than 120,000 missiles aimed at Israeli population centers.

Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon shows the Security Council a map of Hezbollah positions in Lebanon, at a July 12, 2016 meeting on the 10th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War (Photo: Courtesy)
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon shows the Security Council a map of Hezbollah positions in Lebanon, at a July 12, 2016 meeting on the 10th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War (Photo: Courtesy)