Rivlin hosts Martin Luther King III in Jerusalem
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Priest who heads IDF initiative accused of sexual misconduct

Supreme Court upholds Aryeh Deri’s appointment as minister; London’s new Muslim mayor joins Holocaust memorial

Elie Leshem is deputy editor of The Times of Israel.

  • Father Gabriel Naddaf, in his living room, alongside a likeness of Mary, which, he believes, saved his life in a road accident in 2011. (Mitch Ginsburg/Times of Israel)
    Father Gabriel Naddaf, in his living room, alongside a likeness of Mary, which, he believes, saved his life in a road accident in 2011. (Mitch Ginsburg/Times of Israel)
  • Aryeh Deri gives a statement to the media during a conference at the Ramada hotel in Jerusalem, on March 30, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    Aryeh Deri gives a statement to the media during a conference at the Ramada hotel in Jerusalem, on March 30, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) speaks with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon during the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on January 31, 2016. (Amit Shabi/Pool)
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) speaks with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon during the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on January 31, 2016. (Amit Shabi/Pool)
  • Former president Moshe Katsav, left, serving a seven-year sentence for rape, seen with his wife, Gila, leaving Ma'asiyahu Prison for a furlough over the Jewish holiday of Passover, April 3, 2015 (Flash90)
    Former president Moshe Katsav, left, serving a seven-year sentence for rape, seen with his wife, Gila, leaving Ma'asiyahu Prison for a furlough over the Jewish holiday of Passover, April 3, 2015 (Flash90)
  • Zionist Union MK Shelly Yachimovich on April 12, 2016 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
    Zionist Union MK Shelly Yachimovich on April 12, 2016 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
  • World War II veterans pose with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat during a march to commemorate V-E Day in the capital on Sunday, May 8, 2016 (Barry Rosenberg)
    World War II veterans pose with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat during a march to commemorate V-E Day in the capital on Sunday, May 8, 2016 (Barry Rosenberg)
  • President Reuven Rivlin greets Martin Luther King III, son of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., at his Jerusalem residence on Sunday, May 8, 2016 (Haim Zach)
    President Reuven Rivlin greets Martin Luther King III, son of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., at his Jerusalem residence on Sunday, May 8, 2016 (Haim Zach)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Sunday’s news as it unfolded.

Top center-left MK blasts ‘brutal Holocaust cheapener’ Netanyahu

MK Shelly Yachimovich, a senior member of the center-left Zionist Union faction, blasts Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who took to task Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Yair Golan Sunday morning for statements that were seen to compare Israel to Nazi Germany.

Netanyahu, during the weekly cabinet meeting, upbraided Golan, calling his comments on recent social trends in Israel — made during a Holocaust Remembrance Day event last week — “outrageous” and asserting that they “cheapened” the memory of the Holocaust.

Zionist Union lawmaker Shelly Yachimovich at the Knesset on June 8, 2015 (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Zionist Union lawmaker Shelly Yachimovich at the Knesset on June 8, 2015 (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Yachimovich, for her part, says it’s “absurd” for Netanyahu, “the most brutal cheapener of the Holocaust,” to accuse the deputy chief of staff of cheapening the Holocaust.

The prime minister, she says in a statement, has “co-opted the memory of the Holocaust for his own political needs endless times,” and his attack on Golan is “cynicism for cynicism’s sake.”

Herzog, Livni take PM to task for attacks on Golan

Knesset members Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni also pile on Netanyahu and members of his cabinet over their excoriation of the deputy chief of staff.

“The attempt to intimidate and silence IDF officers is dangerous and unprecedented,” Herzog says in a statement. “The deputy chief of staff spoke of unhealthy trends in Israeli society and emphasized that he wasn’t making a comparison to the Nazi regime. The attacks from the political echelon, backed by spokespeople and PR professionals, against an officer who is prevented from responding but can only absorb [the attacks] are infuriating and unseemly.”

Adds Livni in a statement: “If, instead of attacking the deputy chief of staff, Netanyahu would act in the public arena in order to prevent racist and extremist phenomena, we would have no need for senior officers, of whose bravery [in speaking out] I’m proud, to fill this vacuum of leadership.”

Islamic State claims attack on cops outside Cairo

In a statement circulated on social media, IS claims an attack near Cairo earlier today that killed eight Egyptian police.

It says “a squad of the soldiers of the caliphate” opened fire on the police van and then made off with their weapons.

The attack was carried out in retaliation for “women imprisoned” in Egyptian jails, it says.

Jihadists have killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers in attacks, mostly in the Sinai Peninsula and also in and around Cairo, since the military toppled Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in 2013.

Militants had carried out a previous attack in Helwan, killing a policeman standing guard outside a museum in June 2015.

IS jihadis, who are based in the sparsely populated Sinai Peninsula bordering Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip, have repeatedly tried to make inroads into the capital, where police have had more success in quelling them than in Sinai.

They have claimed several attacks in Cairo, including the bombing of the Italian consulate in July 2015.

AFP

Ex-president Katsav seeks presidential clemency

The President’s Residence says that it has received a new clemency request for former president Moshe Katsav, who is in prison for rape.

It says that the request to commute Katsav’s sentence has been passed on to President Reuven Rivlin’s legal team for processing and evaluation.

Katsav’s family and legal team indicated in recent weeks, after the ex-president’s bid for early release was turned back by the parole board, that they would appeal to Rivlin, citing Katsav’s supposedly flagging mental health.

Netanyahu, Kahlon okay move to biennial budget

Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon have approved Netanyahu’s bid to implement a biennial national budget, Channel 2’s Amit Segal reports.

The move, which would boost the stability of the government — national budget votes are also treated as no-confidence motions and often threaten to topple the ruling coalition — has not been an easy sell for Netanyahu.

According to Segal, Kahlon has received assurances from Netanyahu that “if there will be need for [budgetary] adjustments in 2017,” coalition members will be forced to vote in favor.

Death toll jumps to 73 in Afghan road accident

At least 73 people were killed when two buses and an oil tanker collided in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, the health ministry says, giving a sharply higher toll than other officials.

“Most of the dead were burned beyond recognition,” ministry spokesman Ismail Kawoosi tells AFP.

AFP

8 Israelis suspected of stealing millions from European companies

Police announce the arrest of eight Israelis suspected of defrauding European companies of millions of euros through an elaborate identity theft scheme.

The eight-member gang — all residents of Netanya — was arrested over the last week, Israel Police says in a statement.

They are suspected of contacting European commercial companies under false identities and convincing them to wire large sums of money into an account, the statement says.

Seven of the suspects are remanded in custody at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court, and one is released to house arrest.

7 soldiers lightly hurt as IDF base in Jerusalem torched

Seven IDF soldiers are treated for smoke inhalation — all in light condition — after a fire at the Ofrit base on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem.

A preliminary investigation by the Fire and Rescue Services finds that the blaze was likely the result of arson.

Veterans march in Jerusalem for V-E Day

Some 500 World War II veterans march in Jerusalem to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the victory over the Nazis in Europe.

With them march their children and grandchildren, the Jerusalem municipality says in a statement, noting that “many” of those grandchildren serve in the IDF.

Mayor Nir Barkat tells the veterans that “the residents of Jerusalem feel great pride seeing you, the brave and courageous soldiers, marching in memory of your friends and in commemoration of the historic victory.”

World War II veterans pose with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat during a march to commemorate V-E Day in the capital on Sunday, May 8, 2016 (Barry Rosenberg)

World War II veterans pose with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat during a march to commemorate V-E Day in the capital on Sunday, May 8, 2016 (Barry Rosenberg)

77 ‘major terror attacks’ averted this year — Shin Bet

Yoram Cohen ends his tenure as head of the Shin Bet security service and hands the organization over to successor Nadav Argaman.

To mark the occasion, the domestic security service releases information on its activities under Cohen.

So far in 2016, the Shin Bet says, 77 “major terror attacks” have been prevented, including five suicide attacks, 10 bombings and 34 shooting attacks.

Incoming Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman (Shin Bet)

Incoming Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman (Shin Bet)

It says that 2015 saw the prevention of 239 terror attacks in all, including 12 suicide attacks, 19 kidnappings, 41 bombings and 120 shootings.

The Shin Bet says that under Cohen, it stepped up its struggle against “Jewish terrorism” and applied “various tools,” including detention without charges, in order to thwart Jewish hate crimes.

It says that so far in 2016, 34 indictments have been served against Jewish terror suspects; in 2015, 82 such indictments were filed, and in 2014 70 Jewish activists were put on trial.

Among Israeli Arabs, the Shin Bet says, five attacks planned by Islamic State cells were foiled over the last five years, and 65 members of IS were arrested.

File: Yoram Cohen, head of the Shin Bet security service, attends a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting, November 18, 2014. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

File: Yoram Cohen, head of the Shin Bet security service, attends a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting, November 18, 2014. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

London’s new Muslim mayor joins Holocaust memorial

London’s newly elected Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, has joined an annual memorial to the millions of Jews slain in the Holocaust as his first official act in office.

Khan makes his appearance at a north London ceremony following a racially charged election campaign during which Conservative Party opponents sought to portray him as an apologist for Islamic extremism and to highlight cases of alleged anti-Semitism within the ranks of Khan’s Labour Party.

The event inside a rugby stadium brought together thousands from London’s Jewish community, including more than 150 Holocaust survivors and a combined choir from five Jewish elementary schools.

London’s previous Labour mayor, Ken Livingstone, was suspended last month from the party after he claimed that Adolf Hitler supported the Zionist aim of establishing Israel.

AP

Boston museum buys Anne Frank’s copy of ‘Grimm’s Fairy Tales’

A Boston museum has acquired Anne Frank’s personal copy of “Grimm’s Fairy Tales.”

Anne Frank wrote her name and the name of her sister, Margot, on the title page of the 1925 German edition of the book. The book, which sold at Swann Auction Galleries in New York City on Friday for $50,000, is accompanied by a 1977 letter from the girl’s father, Otto Frank, giving the book’s provenance.

The book was acquired by the Museum of World War II in Boston.

It is the first time in more than twenty years that something signed by Anne Frank has been up for sale, the museum says in a statement.

JTA

Supreme Court upholds Aryeh Deri’s appointment as minister

The Supreme Court rules that there is no legal cause to intervene in the decision to appoint Aryeh Deri as interior minister despite his criminal past in the role.

Deri, who was released from prison in 2002 after serving 22 months for embezzlement committed during his tenure as interior minister in the 1990s, was reappointed to the position in January 2016 after stepping down as economy minister.

Aryeh Deri gives a statement to the media during a conference at the Ramada hotel in Jerusalem, on March 30, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Aryeh Deri gives a statement to the media during a conference at the Ramada hotel in Jerusalem, on March 30, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“The court found that the fact that Deri served in a series of senior positions in the Interior Ministry while carrying out the offenses indeed bears symbolic meaning and further damages the public’s trust vis-a-vis his appointment as economy minister,” the court says in a statement, “but it ruled that the appellant did not succeed in proving that there is a direct and clear link between the offenses committed by Deri… and the specific role of interior minister.”

The court says that before handing down its decision, it was updated on a new graft investigation against Deri, but that the ongoing probe has no bearing on his appointment.

Katsav wrote his new clemency request — report

The clemency request for former president Katsav, who’s in prison for rape, was drafted by Katsav himself, Channel 2 reports.

The request appeals to President Reuven Rivlin’s “kindness, pity and mercy” and cites Katsav’s “great suffering” in recent years, including his mental state, which it says deteriorated when his bid for early release was struck down by a parole board last month, the report says.

According to Channel 2, in the request Katsav persists in his refusal to admit to any wrongdoing, although he did attach a separate letter stating his apology should anyone have been hurt by his past actions.

Guards grilled for fatal shooting of Palestinian siblings

Civilian guards who shot dead two Palestinian siblings suspected of planning a stabbing attack at the Qalandiya crossing in late April were questioned by police over the last two days, Channel 10 reports.

Police suspect that the guards were wrong to shoot the Palestinians — a woman and her teenage brother — at the crossing, outside Jerusalem in the West Bank, although at the time police said the woman had thrown a knife at security forces.

Rivlin hosts Martin Luther King III in Jerusalem

President Reuven Rivlin hosts Martin Luther King III, son of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., at his Jerusalem residence.

During the event, singer Idan Raichel, former MK Penina Tamanu-Shatu and journalist Anat Saragusti are awarded the 2016 Unsung Hero Award from the Drum Major Institute, a civil rights group headed by King, “for their activism on behalf of Ethiopian Jewish immigrants to Israel,” the President’s Residence announces in an email.

President Reuven Rivlin greets Martin Luther King III, son of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., at his Jerusalem residence on Sunday, May 8, 2016 (Haim Zach)

President Reuven Rivlin (right) greets Martin Luther King III, son of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., at his Jerusalem residence, May 8, 2016. (Haim Zach)

“In his last speech, on April 3, 1968, one day before his assassination, your dear father, Martin Luther King Jr., said — and I quote, ‘We as a people will get to the Promised Land together!’ Rivlin says. “He taught us a great and important lesson; the Promised Land is of course an actual place, but at the same time it is also a vision, a dream, and also a responsibility.”

King thanks Rivlin and says, “It seems to me the message of Martin Luther King Jr. still resounds loudly in our nation and throughout the world and perhaps is needed even more so now today than back then. I think the world is crying out for a message of hope and healing. We are honored to be in this nation, and honored to be in this official residence.”

Clinton set to attack Trump over his views on women

Clinton signals that attacks against Trump over his stance on women will definitely be part of her campaign battle plan.

“When he says, ‘Women should be punished for having abortions,’ what does that mean? And how would he go about that?” the former first lady says on the “Face the Nation” program, referencing comments made by Trump earlier in the primary.

But she also vows not to engage in the sort of mudslinging that helped her Republican rival vanquish his challengers for the nomination.

“I’m not going to run an ugly race. I am going to run a race based on issues. And what my agenda is to the American people,” Clinton says.

“I don’t really feel like I’m running against Donald Trump. I feel like I’m running for my vision of what our country can be, and to knock down all the barriers that stand in the way of Americans getting ahead,” she says.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets supporters at a rally in Oakland, California, on May 6, 2016 (AFP PHOTO / GABRIELLE LURIE)

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets supporters at a rally in Oakland, California, on May 6, 2016. (AFP/Gabrielle Lurie)

AFP

Priest who heads IDF initiative accused of sexual misconduct

Father Gabriel Naddaf, an Israeli Greek Orthodox priest who heads an initiative aimed at integrating Israeli Christian Arabs into the IDF, sexually harassed young people who sought his help, Channel 2 reports.

Naddaf has been named as one of the ceremonial torch lighters at a state Independence Day ceremony in Jerusalem next week.

The report airs transcripts of conversations between Naddaf and a series of young men — among them both Israeli soldiers and Palestinians — in which the priest appeared to promise to help them in exchange for sexual favors.

Father Gabriel Naddaf, in his living room, alongside a likeness of Mary, which, he believes, saved his life in a road accident in 2011. (Mitch Ginsburg/Times of Israel)

Father Gabriel Naddaf, in his living room, alongside a likeness of Mary, May 2014 (Mitch Ginsburg/Times of Israel)

None of the young men have lodged official complaints, the report says.

It says Naddaf took a lie detector test at Channel 2’s request and failed.

Naddaf rejects the allegations, attributing them to “criminal elements in the community, along with elements that have been driven insane by the success of my life’s work.”

He adds, “God will punish these people for harming me, my wife and two sons, who are currently serving in the IDF.”

Naddaf also cites two more polygraph tests, which he says he passed.

Nuclear leaker Vanunu indicted for violating parole

Mordechai Vanunu, who infamously leaked Israeli nuclear secrets to foreign media in 1986, is indicted for allegedly violating the terms of his parole on several occasions, according to Channel 2.

Mordechai Vanunu, an Israeli former nuclear technician who revealed details of Israel's nuclear weapons program to the British press, sits in the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, June 06, 2012. (Uri Lenz / FLASH90)

Mordechai Vanunu, an Israeli former nuclear technician who revealed details of Israel’s nuclear weapons program to the British press, sits in the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, June 6, 2012. (Uri Lenz/Flash90)

The report says Vanunu — who was released from prison in 2004 after serving 18 years — is in hot water over an interview with Channel 2 on September 4, 2015, during which he allegedly discussed classified information.

The indictment also takes Vanunu to task for changing his place of residence without first informing police.

In addition, in another suspected violation of his parole terms, he hosted two foreign nationals in an East Jerusalem hotel, the report says.

In U-turn, Trump says he’ll raise taxes on rich

Donald Trump signals he would consider raising taxes on wealthy Americans, and that his tax plan unveiled so far is not set in stone.

Asked on ABC’s “This Week” to clarify his stance on taxation, the presumptive Republican nominee says he does not expect his proposals for cutting taxes across the board to make it intact through the US Congress.

“By the time it gets negotiated, it’s going to be a different plan,” Trump says. “And in my opinion the taxes for the rich will go up somewhat.”

“I am willing to pay more. And do you know what? The wealthy are willing to pay more,” he adds.

Trump’s tax plan — his most detailed policy proposal so far — vows to eliminate taxes for half of all households, and slash taxes for the middle and upper classes, while closing beneficial loopholes for the very wealthiest.

“The thing I’m going to do is make sure the middle class gets good tax breaks,” Trump said.

“The other thing, I’m going to fight very hard for business. For the wealthy, I think frankly it’s going to go up.

“You know what, it really should go up.”

AFP

IDF southern chief rejects former deputy’s Gaza criticism

Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman, head of the IDF’s Southern Command during the 2014 Gaza war, speaks out harshly against recent allegations made by his former deputy concerning the conflict.

Maj. Gen. (res.) Yom-Tov Samia, who served as Turgeman’s deputy during the conflict, has been a vocal critic of the army’s management of the 50-day war. On Sunday, he again derided the medals of honor that had been given out following the conflict and claimed he’d never been invited to any debriefings or any other meetings after the conflict, known as Operation Protective Edge.

“Today, in a foolish statement, there was an attempt to besmirch the medals of honor — two days before Remembrance Day,” Turgeman says in response to Samia’s comments.

To the casualties and recipients of the medals of honor, the general says: “I am proud of you, and shame on whoever comes to slander you.”

Turgeman, who left his position as head of the Southern Command in 2015, also refutes Samia’s accusation that he’d never been called in to take part in the post-war investigations.

“Everyone who was supposed to be invited, was invited. If someone says they weren’t, they’re choosing to not be accurate for their own reasons,” he says.

— Judah Ari Gross

Palestinian said shot in the leg by soldiers

Israeli soldiers shoot and injure a Palestinian man as he tries to reach the security fence east of Bethlehem in the West Bank, according to Ma’an.

The report cites witnesses who say the man was trying to get to Jerusalem to work.

The IDF does not confirm the incident to Ma’an.

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Rivlin hosts Martin Luther King III in Jerusalem

President Reuven Rivlin hosts Martin Luther King III, son of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., at his Jerusalem residence.

During the event, singer Idan Raichel, former MK Penina Tamanu-Shatu and journalist Anat Saragusti are awarded the 2016 Unsung Hero Award from the Drum Major Institute, a civil rights group headed by King, “for their activism on behalf of Ethiopian Jewish immigrants to Israel,” the President’s Residence announces in an email.

President Reuven Rivlin greets Martin Luther King III, son of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., at his Jerusalem residence on Sunday, May 8, 2016 (Haim Zach)
President Reuven Rivlin (right) greets Martin Luther King III, son of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., at his Jerusalem residence, May 8, 2016. (Haim Zach)

“In his last speech, on April 3, 1968, one day before his assassination, your dear father, Martin Luther King Jr., said — and I quote, ‘We as a people will get to the Promised Land together!’ Rivlin says. “He taught us a great and important lesson; the Promised Land is of course an actual place, but at the same time it is also a vision, a dream, and also a responsibility.”

King thanks Rivlin and says, “It seems to me the message of Martin Luther King Jr. still resounds loudly in our nation and throughout the world and perhaps is needed even more so now today than back then. I think the world is crying out for a message of hope and healing. We are honored to be in this nation, and honored to be in this official residence.”