The Times of Israel liveblogged Monday’s events as they unfolded.
Palestinians from boat taken for questioning
A Navy Dvora type vessel takes over a Palestinian fishing boat that entered Israel’s territorial waters. The boat did not respond to the Navy’s standard warning procedures, which includes firing in the air, firing in the water and firing at the boat’s body.
Navy soldiers accompanied the boat to the Ashdod port. Five Palestinians on board were taken in for questioning.
8 civilians die in Saudi-led strikes in Yemen
At least eight civilians were killed and 20 wounded in explosions sparked by Saudi-led airstrikes on rebel arms depots in the Yemeni capital, a medical source says.
The strikes on the Mount Noqum base on the eastern outskirts of Sanaa sent munitions and shrapnel flying into adjacent residential neighbourhoods, witnesses say.
Debris from the explosions fell as far as five kilometers (more than three miles) away, triggering an exodus of residents for safer areas.
A previous coalition air raid on the Mount Noqum base on May 12 sparked similar secondary explosions that killed at least 69 civilians and wounded 250.
An April 21 raid on a missile base in the rebel-held capital triggered explosions that killed 38 people and wounded 532.
Netanya couple injured in gas leak explosion
A couple were lightly injured in an explosion caused by a gas leak in an apartment in Netanya, Ynet reports. Local firefighting teams were at the scene.
Eichmann’s wife visited him in Israel
The State Archive reveals that Vera Eichmann, wife of the only Nazi executed following a trial in Israel, visited him in his prison cell days before he was put to death.
Additionally, the archive declassifies notes from a government discussion on whether to ask the president to pardon the Nazi officer, after an appeal of his death sentence was rejected by a court.
The visit by Eichmann’s wife was a highly guarded secret, and until recently no confirmation that she had indeed seen her convicted husband in prison has come to light.
Eichmann was kidnapped by Mossad agents in Argentina in 1960 and brought to Israel. He was hanged on the night between May 31 and June 1, 1962, exactly 53 years ago.
Two months before Eichmann was executed, his wife made a request through his lawyer to then justice minister Dov Yosef to meet her husband before the execution. Yosef raised the issue with the government and said it would be hard for Israel to withstand international criticism if it denied the request.
Then foreign minister Golda Meir said at the time, “this can be done under one explicit condition: She will come, she’ll be allowed to see him, and she will exit the country. This might be up to 24 hours but not more.”
MK Yaacov Hazan insisted at the time that the government make the visit short and without opportunity for any intimacy – Vera was accompanied by Israel Prison Service officers throughout – in order to “prevent him from passing more humanely to the next world.” Meir answered dryly: “Also, nobody is interested in her passing to the next world while she’s in the country.”
Ashdod port said ‘working at half capacity’
The management of Ashdod port claims workers are loading and unloading containers at half their normal capacity and disrupting the workflow. According to the managers, workers are thus violating a court order to return to work at full capacity.
The management told the Histadrut labor union this morning that if disruptions do not end, the managers will seek to have the workers held for contempt of court.
German foreign minister visits Gaza, Negev
Germany’s foreign minister has paid a rare visit to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, calling on Israel to ease a blockade on the territory and urging Hamas to make sure no more rockets are fired into Israel.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier is the latest in a series of Western diplomats to tour Gaza since a 50-day war with Israel last summer. While international donors have pledged billions of dollars in aid, little reconstruction has taken place on the estimated 18,000 homes destroyed in the fighting.
Steinmeier says more efforts are needed to rebuild and to improve the economy. “This requires the opening of crossing points by Israel,” he says.
But he adds that it would be difficult to do this without an end to rocket fire.
After exiting the Gaza Strip, Steinmeier visits the Negev and meets families who suffered from the incessant rocket fire during the war.
— AP contributed
Lone soldier almost lands in jail for… nonkosher sandwich
A lone IDF soldier who came from the United States was sentenced to 11 days in a military jail for eating a nonkosher sandwich during training by his unit.
His punishment was lightened to a revocation of his weekend furlough only after Israel Radio’s veteran military reporter Carmela Menashe called the IDF spokesperson’s Office for a clarification of the incidents.
The soldier lives on a kibbutz with his grandmother, who gave him the sandwiches. He also offered some of them to his friends. When the battalion commander learned that the sandwiches were not kosher, he was called in, promptly tried and sentenced to jail. The soldier’s defense was that he was not aware of the military’s laws of kashrut.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Office said the soldier’s actions are “disharmonious with what is expected from a cadet in a commanders’ course and this is why he was tried severely. Nevertheless, after reexamination of the matter, his punishment was changed.”
Liberman takes on Netanyahu
Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman says “Netanyahu is neither right nor left but rather Mr. Zigzag, the world champion in zigzagging. Yisrael Beytenu has no problem with Likud, we have a big problem with Netanyahu. And not only us: Ask Benny Begin, Yuval Steinitz and Nir Barkat.”
The right wing party leader is referring to two Likud members and the mayor of Jerusalem, all of whom could be seen to be somehow disappointed by the results of the long and exhausting process of the establishment of the current government.
Liberman’s decision last month to refrain from joining the Netanyahu coalition left him in an awkward position: as the leader of an opposition party which is more right wing than most coalition parties.
His ad hominem attack on Netanyahu during a faction meeting today seems to come in retaliation for things Netantyahu said on Sunday: “Liberman’s voters would not have elected him if they knew he would oppose a nationalist [right-leaning] government.”
Liberman, according to Ynet, fumes: “I heard the prime minister refer to Yisrael Beytenu’s decision not to join the current coalition and his saying that if Yisrael Beytenu voters knew about this in advance we would not get even one percent of the votes that supported us. He only forgot that the real reason Yisrael Beytenu is not a member of the coalition is that he, Benjamin Netanyahu, abandoned the nationalist camp and no longer belongs in the Israeli right wing.”
Man says he murdered his family
One woman was murdered and two others are seriously wounded in Lod, Channel 2 reports.
A man called police earlier and said he had murdered his family but the call was dismissed by the police hotline as a prank.
Magen David Adom paramedics are at the scene treating the wounded. A man was arrested in connection with the crime.
Details still unclear in Lod stabbing
According to Ynet, a woman who was stabbed in Lod is still alive but in very serious condition. She was stabbed after an argument with a technician that drew in members of the family. Police forces were making their way to the scene.
Man died from wounds in Lod, report says
Channel 2 reports that a man died in the Lod stabbing. Earlier reports said a woman was stabbed to death and two others badly wounded. The Ynet report of an argument with a technician that came to the family’s home was not corroborated by Channel 2.
Likud’s Hazan to sit on influential committees
Junior Likud MK Oren Hazan will be a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and a member of the Finance Committee, as well the Knesset House Committee and the State Control Committee.
At 30 years old, Hazan is serving his first term as a member of Knesset.
At least 37 killed in Baghdad terror attack
At least 37 people die in a suicide attack using a car that was driven into a police base in north-western Baghdad, say police and medical officials.
The attack was against a base situated between Samarra and Tharthar Lake. A physician says at least 37 bodies were taken to the hospital in Samarra. “They are mostly police officers,” he tells AFP.
The doctor says also at least 33 people were wounded in the attack.
— AFP contributed
Alleged stabber caught after turning knife on self
Details of the stabbing in Lod emerge: the attacker apparently waited for an opportune moment and followed a technician who had an appointment at the couple’s house. He then stabbed the woman, who is his ex-partner, to death.
After killing her, he turned on the woman’s current partner, stabbed him and wounded him badly, but the man managed to escape and call an elevator. By the time Magen David Adom paramedics arrived at the scene, they pronounced him dead.
The attacker then tried to commit suicide by stabbing himself in the throat, Channel 2 reports. He was arrested with serious injuries from the self-inflicted wound.
Ya’alon says chemical weapon threat reduced
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon says that the visit of German Foreign Minister Frank-Walther Steinmeier to Israel and the Gaza Strip has no connection with efforts to return the bodies of soldiers Shaul Oron and Hadar Goldin, who were killed in Operation Protective Edge.
During a tour of the Turning Point drill in the center of the country, Ya’alon also says the threat of chemical weapons against Israel has significantly dropped due to the international pressure against the Assad regime in Syria to disarm from chemical weapons. The IDF should still be prepared for a chemical attack, he emphasizes.
PA forces extricate 2 female IDF soldiers from Tulkarm
Two female soldiers who serve in the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv accidentally drove into the Palestinian city of Tulkarm. Palestinian security forces identified the soldiers, who were in uniform and driving an Israeli car. They extricated them and returned them to Israel’s territory.
The soldiers said they used the Waze navigation app to get to a meeting in the Beit Lid base, but for unknown reasons found themselves in the heart of the Palestinian town, Ynet reports.
Graham focuses on Israel, foreign policy in campaign launch
“To our friends in Israel, I will never abandon you. I will always stand firm in supporting the one and only Jewish state,” tweets Sen. Graham, only minutes after officially launching his presidential campaign.
“Our ally Israel is at risk as a result of Obama’s failed leadership. We share values, we share democracy, & our friendship is unbreakable,” reads the following tweet.
Graham devotes a lot of attention to the Jewish state in a series of tweets upon launching his campaign. He also emphasizes US foreign policy:
Our allies feel the absence of America’s leadership. Our adversaries are taking advantage. American weakness anywhere hurts us everywhere.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) June 1, 2015
The most powerful weapon in our arsenal isn’t a gun. It’s an idea. Terrorists are selling a glorious death. We must sell a hopeful life.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) June 1, 2015
US adviser says nuke deal would ‘roll back’ Iran military
A nuclear deal with Iran will significantly roll back Tehran’s military capability, US Vice President Joe Biden’s national security adviser tells a conference in Qatar on Monday.
Dr Colin H. Kahl, speaking at the US-Islamic World Forum in Doha, says the current deal being hammered out is the best on offer, despite many skeptical voices in the US and elsewhere, including Gulf Arab states.
“Under the deal we are negotiating… Iran’s military capability will be substantially rolled back,” says Kahl. “The deal we are negotiating makes us and the region safer.”
The ongoing talks to finalize a nuclear accord between Iran and world powers, including the United States, are deadlocked weeks ahead of a June 30 deadline.
Negotiations at the weekend in Geneva, Switzerland, failed to bridge differences between Washington and Tehran, especially over the crucial issue of inspections of military sites.
Other sticking points remain, including the possible military dimensions of the Iranian nuclear program and the demands by the P5+1 group for UN inspections of Iranian military bases.
Kahl said on Monday that “today” it would take Iran two-to-three months to produce enough fissile material for one bomb.
But despite criticism, he said a negotiated settlement was the best solution.
“In the absence of comprehensive agreement to deal with this challenge and constrain Iran’s program, Iran would likely install and begin operating tens of thousands of fissile centrifuges in the near future,” he added.
The forum is a three-day long conference involving politicians, policy advisers and academics from across the Middle East and the United States.
American held in Yemen freed, flown to Oman
An American citizen who had been held in Yemen has been freed and sent to Oman where he was met by the US ambassador, a US official says.
The news came after it was revealed that several Americans are imprisoned in war-torn Yemen.
“I can confirm that a formally detained US citizen has departed Yemen and is currently in Muscat, Oman,” a State Department official says.
“The US ambassador and a consular official met him at the airport upon his arrival and are providing all possible consular assistance.”
There is no confirmation of the man’s identity, where he had been held or by whom.
The State Department said Sunday that it was working to win the release of “several US citizens” held in Yemen, where fighting has raged for months amid an insurgency by Iran-backed Shiite rebels.
Hamas cannot be partner for peace, says Dore Gold
A long-time foreign policy adviser of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rules out the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas as a potential peace partner for Israel.
“There is no question that Hamas is part of the jihadist universe,” says Dore Gold, the incoming director general of the Foreign Ministry and former ambassador to the United Nations.
“It is not a candidate to become a political partner,” he tells journalists as his think-tank, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, unveils a study of the 2014 war in Gaza, where Hamas is the de facto power.
Gold was named to the Foreign Ministry post last week by Netanyahu, who has retained the ministerial portfolio himself.
The position of deputy foreign minister is held by an MK from Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party.
Last week, President Reuven Rivlin appeared to challenge a long-standing taboo on talks with Hamas, saying he would talk to anyone.
Obama says no military solution to Iran nuclear program
US President Barack Obama tells Channel 2 in an interview that he can “demonstrate” that a “verifiable” agreement with Iran will be the best way to contain Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
“I can, [I] think, demonstrate, not based on any hope but on facts and analysis, that the best way to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon is a verifiable tough agreement. A military solution will not fix it, even if the United States participates. It would temporarily slow down an Iranian nuclear program but it would not eliminate it,” he says.
Asked whether Israel may attempt a military strike without notifying the US, Obama says, “I won’t speculate on that. What I can say is, to the Israeli people: I understand your concerns and I understand your fears.”
The full interview with the US president will be aired on Tuesday.
Hamas journalist calls for talks with Israel
Hamas should realize its regional weakness and engage directly with Israel, a Gaza-based journalist close to the Islamic movement argues in an opinion article published last week.
In a piece published by Hamas daily al-Resalah on May 25 titled “Why should there be no negotiations?” Mustafa Sawwaf, who writes a weekly column for the movement’s daily Falasteen, says that Hamas should learn from Fatah and adapt to the changing circumstances in relation to Israel.
“Will the day ever come when we shall see you sitting at the negotiating table with Israel to discuss [our] rights and principles, given the realistic logic of ‘something is better than nothing?’” wondered Sawwaf. “Or will you capitulate to the schemes of our enemies, who will continue their pressure until you wave the white flag and give in to all their demands and end up recognizing Israel’s right to exist?”
Hamas refuses to recognize Israel, calling for its replacement with a Palestinian state spanning from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, according to its 1988 founding charter. The Islamic movement’s publications often do not refer to Israel by name, dubbing it instead “the Zionist entity.”
— Elhanan Miller
Gafni to head Knesset’s Finance Committee
United Torah Judaism MK Moshe Gafni is chosen to head the Knesset’s Finance Committee. He is appointed as part of the coalition negotiations between UTJ and Likud.
Gafni headed the committee during the 18th Knesset.
Names of murdered Lod couple made public
The names of the couple murdered in Lod are published. The woman was Victoria Steingerbert and the man was Morris Shmalaschwilli. Both were in their late 30s.
A preliminary investigation reveals that the attacker, Steingerbert’s ex-husband, entered her house and stabbed her and her partner to death. He then tried to commit suicide.
3 killed, 2 wounded in traffic collision in north
Almost an entire family is wiped out by a traffic collision in the north.
A woman, 36, and two children, aged 6 and 9, are killed during a head-on collision between a car and a minibus near Kibbutz el-Rom in the Golan Heights. The minibus driver, 63, is lightly injured in the accident.
The father of the family is evacuated by helicopter to the Rebecca Sieff Hospital in Safed. Another daughter of the family, and the minibus driver, are evacuated by ambulance.
Following the accident, Road 98 is closed in both directions.
Firefighting crews arrive at the scene and extricate the injured and dead from the car, which is mangled beyond recognition.
Palestinians are ‘oppressed people in occupied territory,’ Obama quoted as saying
Obama characterizes the Palestinians as “oppressed people in occupied territory,” Israeli-American movie mogul Haim Saban says on a Channel 2 show.
“This is not who we are,” Saban quotes Obama as saying.
The show is a prelude to an interview Obama gave to Channel 2, which is scheduled to be broadcast Tuesday.