Lapid: Netanyahu innocent until proven guilty
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Mother, daughters in Jerusalem ‘murder-suicide’ to be buried tonight

Netanyahu denies wrongdoing: 'Don't celebrate yet'; El Al plane makes unexpected landing shortly after takeoff from London

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister office in Jerusalem, January 1, 2017. (Alex Kolomoisky/POOL)
Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister office in Jerusalem, January 1, 2017. (Alex Kolomoisky/POOL)

The Times of Israel covered Monday’s events as they unfolded.

Hamas lost 21 men digging tunnels in 2016

Hamas has published a report in which it says it lost 21 members of its armed forces while digging tunnels under the Gaza Strip in 2016.

Jerusalem bus strike planned Sunday

The Histadrut labor union announces Jerusalem bus lines will go on strike on Sunday in protest against the management.

Turkey detains 8 suspected of links to nightclub attack

Istanbul anti-terror police on Monday detained eight people suspected of links to the New Year gun attack on a nightclub in the Turkish city that left 39 dead and was claimed by Islamic State (IS) jihadists, a report said.

The Dogan news agency said police were pressing on with operations after making the first arrests over the attack. The suspected gunman is still believed to be on the run.

— AFP

‘IDF demolishes Palestinian homes east of Jerusalem’

The IDF has demolished at least 10 homes in the Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem, Arabic media reports.

Residents say more than 70 people are left homeless, according to Rabbis for Human Rights.

The IDF spokesperson’s unit isn’t immediately available for comment.

Turkish cops distribute pic of Istanbul suspect

Turkish police are distributing a photo of a suspected attacker from the Istanbul nightclub shooting, CNN Turk reports. Pictures disseminated yesterday turned out to be inaccurate.

Lapid: Netanyahu innocent until proven guilty

Yesh Atid chair Yair Lapid says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be presumed innocent until proven guilty in the investigation over alleged corruption.

​”I wish for him and his family, and the State of Israel, that we uncover that there was no fault in his behavior. If two prime ministers in a row fall from office because of corruption it will be very hard to rehabilitate the public’s trust in its leadership,” Lapid tells his weekly faction meeting.

“I want to remind the members of the opposition and the media that the presumption of innocence applies to every Israeli, including the prime minister. We need to let the police do their work,” he says.

Police are scheduled to question Netanyhau under caution Monday evening over allegations that he accepted valuable gifts from a businessman.

Investigators have reportedly been trying for two weeks to set a date for the questioning.

Lapid calls on the prime minister to clear his schedule and help police ​in order “to get to the truth as quickly as possible.”

— Raoul Wootliff

Herzog: ‘Not a drop of schadenfreude’ over PM’s questioning

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog says he is not deriving any enjoyment from Netanyahu’s police interrogation, set for later today.

“This is not a happy day; this is a difficult day for Israel,” says Herzog at the start of the weekly Zionist Union faction meeting. “We don’t have a drop of schadenfreude.”

But the opposition leader also slams both proposed bills to prevent a sitting prime minister from being questioned, as Likud MK David Amsalem suggested yesterday, and a cabinet-backed proposal to raise money abroad to cover the costs of the State of Israel’s 70th anniversary celebrations in May 2018.

On the latter, he says: “The context [of the police investigation] is if not pathetic, then ironic.” He is referring to reports Netanyahu’s questioning is related to “valuable gifts” accepted by the premier.

The plan to raise money privately “smells, and is not respectful,” he says, urging the government to fund the celebrations from the state budget.

Zionist Union MK Merav Michaeli quotes Netanyahu from years ago, when he raised concerns about then-prime minister Ehud Olmert, who was being investigated for graft.

“It cannot be that a prime minister will be exempt from investigations,” she says, referring to Amsalem’s bill.

At the same time, she agrees that the party does not see this as a “happy” development.

— Marissa Newman

Jerusalem bus strike on Wednesday

The Jerusalem bus strike will take place on Wednesday starting at 5 a.m. and is sure to make travel around the city a nightmare.

Netanyahu: Don’t hurry to celebrate my ouster

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says at the start of the Likud faction meeting that his opponents should “hold off with the celebrations, don’t hurry” ahead of his interrogation by police.

“I told them and I repeat and tell you — there won’t be anything because there wasn’t anything,” he says. Addressing the opposition: “You’re going to continue to blow up balloons with hot air and we’re going to continue to lead the State of Israel.”

Former minister Neeman paid last respects

Former justice minister Yaakov Neeman is being laid to rest on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives cemetery. He died Sunday age 77.

Neeman was paid his last respects at Jerusalem’s Great Synagogue.

Family, friends and politicians attend former justice minister Yaakov Neeman's funeral at Jerusalem's Great Synagogue on January 2, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Family, friends and politicians attend former justice minister Yaakov Neeman’s funeral at Jerusalem’s Great Synagogue on January 2, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Turkish police raise alert for terror suspect in Bursa, Yalova

Turkish police sent out a security alert and are searching the cities of Yalova and Bursa, outside Istanbul, for a suspected perpetrator of the nightclub shooting on New Year’s Eve that left at least 39 dead.

London-Tel Aviv El Al flight makes unscheduled landing in Heathrow

An El Al flight from London’s Luton Airport to Tel Aviv is returning to land at London Heathrow shortly after takeoff. The circumstances of the landing aren’t immediately clear.

Police autopsy 2 kids killed in Jerusalem apartment fire

Two of the children killed in an apartment fire in Jerusalem are being autopsied by police investigators amid a probe into a suspected murder-suicide, Channel 2 reports.

A mother of four is suspected to have murdered her four children and killed herself in their Hebron Road apartment on Sunday.

Obama to deliver farewell address on January 10

US President Barack Obama will deliver a farewell speech next week from his political stronghold of Chicago, one of the last times he will be able to advocate for his policies before the inauguration of Donald Trump.

The Republican political novice has vowed to rip up key Obama initiatives such as the so-called Obamacare healthcare reform act, to back out of climate change agreements and to reassess ties with foreign allies and foes.

Obama will hand over the reins of power to Trump on January 20.

— AFP

Teachers to go on strike Tuesday

The teachers’ union is going on strike tomorrow, and kindergartens, elementary schools and middle schools will begin at 11 a.m. over thousands of teachers not having been paid their full wages.

Netanyahu to be questioned at 7 p.m.

Netanyahu is expected to be questioned at his official residence in Jerusalem by police investigators at 7 p.m. The prime minister earlier dismissed the possibility of charges filed against him.

Woman suspected of killing children, self exhibited ‘psychiatric issues’

The attorney of the husband of a Jerusalem woman who allegedly killed her children before taking her own life yesterday says that she was completely normative until recently, when she began exhibiting psychiatric issues. He tells Channel 2 his client doesn’t want the matter to be dragged into court and therefore agreed to autopsies of two of his daughters.

Investigators arrive at Netanyahu residence

Police investigators have arrived at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence for questioning in a graft probe.

Five killed in suspected Jerusalem murder-suicide to be buried

The mother and four daughters who died yesterday in a suspected murder-suicide in Jerusalem will be laid to rest tonight at Jerusalem’s Har Menuhot cemetery, Army Radio says.

Autopsy results point to Jerusalem murder-suicide

Autopsy results from two of the girls killed yesterday indicate that the mother of four strangled her children before setting the house on fire and killing herself, Channel 2 reports.

The father’s lawyer tells the channel that his client has cried nonstop and asks, “Where is my family?” The man “is totally broken, and the same with the people around him. His parents came from abroad, his brother is also here, and there are others around him supporting him,” the lawyer says.

Husband in murder-suicide attempted to call wife for hours

The father of the four girls who were murdered by their mother, who then committed suicide, reportedly tried to call his wife for hours, but got no answer, Channel 2 reports. He returned home early to see what was wrong, where he encountered emergency services outside the apartment block.

Education Ministry seeks to block teacher strike

The Education Ministry says it will ask the Labor Court to bar teachers from striking for three hours tomorrow, as the union announced earlier in the day.

Mosul could be retaken ‘before summer,’ Hollande says

The battle to retake Mosul from the Islamic State group could be won in the spring of 2017, French President Francois Hollande said Monday, during a visit to Iraq.

“It was confirmed to us that we could possibly achieve this goal in spring, in any case before summer,” he said in Arbil, the capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region.

— AFP

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Live updates (closed) Latest: Mosul could be retaken ‘before summer,’ Hollande says

Lapid: Netanyahu innocent until proven guilty

Yesh Atid chair Yair Lapid says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be presumed innocent until proven guilty in the investigation over alleged corruption.

​”I wish for him and his family, and the State of Israel, that we uncover that there was no fault in his behavior. If two prime ministers in a row fall from office because of corruption it will be very hard to rehabilitate the public’s trust in its leadership,” Lapid tells his weekly faction meeting.

“I want to remind the members of the opposition and the media that the presumption of innocence applies to every Israeli, including the prime minister. We need to let the police do their work,” he says.

Police are scheduled to question Netanyhau under caution Monday evening over allegations that he accepted valuable gifts from a businessman.

Investigators have reportedly been trying for two weeks to set a date for the questioning.

Lapid calls on the prime minister to clear his schedule and help police ​in order “to get to the truth as quickly as possible.”

— Raoul Wootliff