The Times of Israel liveblogged Tuesday events as they unfolded.
Abbas to bring plight of hunger strikers to Trump — report
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told families of hunger striking Palestinian prisoners that he will bring up their plight when he meets with US President Donald Trump, according to the Israeli Ynet news site.
Hundreds of prisoners have been refusing food and most water since mid April in a bid for better conditions, and the issue has inflamed the Palestinian street, with several West Bank protests turning violent Monday.
Trump will travel to Bethlehem Tuesday morning, but will not visit the Church of the Nativity because of security concerns over the protests, according to Israel Radio.
May, Corbyn suspend campaign after suspected attack
British Prime Minister Theresa May and main opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn have said they are suspending their election campaigns “until further notice” on Tuesday after the suspected Manchester terror attack.
Labour leader Corbyn said he had spoken to Conservative leader May and they had agreed that all national campaigning ahead of the June 8 vote would be suspended, the Press Association news agency reported.
Rocket shot from Sinai toward Israel, no injuries
A rocket has been shot from Egypt’s Sinai peninsula toward Israel, a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces says.
It’s not clear if the rocket managed to cross the border into Israel, but the army says there are no reports of injuries or damage.
‘Forces are searching the area for signs of impact,” the IDF says in a statement.
Israeli forces had reportedly been on high alert that terror groups could try to disturb the visit of US President Donald Trump by shooting rockets from Gaza or Sinai.
There’s no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
No sirens sounded as the rocket’s trajectory did not place it as threatening any Israeli communities, according to an Israeli source.
Abbas in Bethlehem slouching toward incitement, minister charges
Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz tells Army Radio that he doesn’t think Trump will be meeting with a partner for peace when he sits down with Abbas in Bethlehem today.
“I’m not especially optimistic. If you want to advance peace first of all you need to end the incitement for the destruction of Israel and support and education for terror,” he says. “When Trump visits Bethlehem and meets Abbas, it’s impossible to forget that Abbas is one educating to destroy Israel.”
In the last meeting between Abbas and Trump, at the White House earlier this month, Trump mentioned incitement, and Abbas replied that Palestinians were being educated toward peace.
Palestinian official: Bethlehem ‘too embarrassed’ to put up pictures of Trump
In stark contrast to Jerusalem, which is bedecked in pictures of Donald Trump and Americans flags hanging from seemingly every corner, not a single picture or message to Trump had been hoisted in the Bethlehem’s main square or streets as of Tuesday morning.
A spokesman for the Palestinian Prisoners Affairs Ministry says officials have refrained from putting up pictures of Trump ahead of his visit because they would be “too embarrassed” to do so.
But spokesman Akram Alayasa, who was one of the over 100 people at a protest encampment in front of the Church of Nativity on Monday night, says they are still holding out hope for Trump.
“After eight years of Obama and his nice speeches, there is still nothing. Palestinians are wishing and hoping America will understand their cause,” he said.
— Dov Lieber
Trump being updated on Manchester attack from Jerusalem
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who has joined Trump on his trip to Jerusalem, says the president is being updated on the Manchester attack by his national security team.
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is also on the trip to Jerusalem and met with Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman Monday night.
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) May 23, 2017
UK police now say the death toll in the blast outside an Ariana Grande concert is up to 22 people, including children.
Police also say the suicide attacker was killed detonating the bomb.
Bethlehem banner welcomes ‘man of peace,’ but no pics allowed
A banner apparently put up overnight in Bethlehem says “the city of peace welcomes the man of peace” along with photos of Abbas and Trump.
Hossam Zumlot, an aide to Abbas, says “if President Trump wants to mediate and leads us to a historic agreement, a major agreement, we are ready to be his partners.”
American and Palestinian flags have also been hung on the road leading to the presidential palace in the city.
A Times of Israel reporter in Bethelehm who tries to take a picture of the banner is told by security officials to delete the photos and put his camera away.
— Dov Lieber and AFP
Abbas adviser says Trump visit could open way to peace process relaunch
A senior Palestinian official says he expects President Donald Trump’s visit to the Holy Land to reopen a path toward resuming long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
Abbas’ adviser Majdi Khaldi tells the Voice of Palestine radio that in the short term, renewed negotiations must address the Palestinians’ economic problems that are linked to continued conflict and Israeli restrictions on trade and movement.
Khaldi says that “this visit will open the way for relaunching the peace process.”
Trump motorcade enters Bethlehem, drives past barrier
Trump has entered Bethlehem, going past the famous security barrier, which serves as a poignant reminder for Palestinians and visitors of what they say is Israel’s unjust occupation of the West Bank.
Abbas is standing outside the presidential palace with advisers, braving a stiff wind and unseasonably cool temperatures waiting for Trump’s arrival.
Trump, Abbas welcomed by Palestinian honor guard
The two leader stand at attention while listening to their respective national anthems. In contrast to Trump’s welcome ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport where he and Israeli leaders were surrounded by advisers and diplomats, only the two stand together in Bethlehem.
Liberman offers condolences overManchester attack
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has expressed his condolences to the families of those killed in Manchester, and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured on the attack.
“I share in the grief of the people of Britain. The people of Israel stand with you during this painful hour,” he writes in English on his Twitter account.
— Raphael Ahren
Trump greeted by Palestinian officials, no selfies, meeting starts
Trump goes down a greeting line, shaking hands with Palestinian officials, religious figures and security leaders, and then disappears behind closed doors for talks with Abbas.
Unlike in Israel, nobody tries to take a selfie with him.
Palestinians protest for hunger strikers in Bethlehem
Not far from the presidential palace in Bethlehem, dozens of Palestinians are protesting in support of hunger striking inmates in Israeli prison, who are 37 days into their fast.
A number of people hold up photos of prisoners refusing food and some water for better prison conditions.
Abbas reportedly plans to bring up their plight during his meeting with Trump.
The protest near the Church of the Nativity is reportedly the reason Trump will not visit the holy site.
Trump-Abbas discussing political developments, ties
Palestinian presidential guard spokesman Ghassan Nimr tells Palestinian media the meeting between Trump and Abbas is scheduled to take an hour, after which the two will emerge to give statements, Ma’an news reports.
The official Palestinian news outlet Wafa says the two will discuss “the latest political developments and bilateral relations.”
Restarting peace talks with the Israelis is expected to be a major part of the meeting.
Israel condemns Manchester bombing, Trump expected to speak on it
The Israeli government is condemning the blast in Manchester, which killed 22 people over night, calling the incident “a terrible terror attack.”
“I am sending condolences to the families of those murdered and wishes of a speedy recovery to the wounded,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says in a statement. “Terrorism is a global threat and it is incumbent on the enlightened countries to defeat it everywhere.”
Trump is expected to make remarks during his appearance with Abbas on the deadly explosion at a concert.
In Europe, condolences and condemnations are already pouring in.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says Europe is mourning with Britain.
“Today we mourn with you. Tomorrow we will work side by side with you to fight back against those who seek to destroy our way of life,” he says. “It breaks my heart to think that, once again, terrorism has sought to instill fear where there should be joy, to sow division where young people and families should be coming together in celebration.”
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel writes on Twitter: “Terrible news from Manchester! Our thoughts are now with our British friends. United we stand.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, tweets: “Our thoughts (and) prayers are with the people in #Manchester affected by the blast. We mourn for the dead (and) hope the injured can recover fully.”
— Raphael Ahren and AP
‘Hear Trump, prisoners will not kneel,’ Bethlehem protesters chant
A group of around 70 protesters, mostly children, in Bethlehem’s Manger square are demanding Trump intervene on behalf of the Palestinians on hunger strike in Israeli prisons.
“Hear, hear Trump, the prisoners will not kneel,” they shout.
PA minister of Prisoner affairs Issa Qaraqe tells The Times of Israel “We want Trump to intervene on the Israeli side so the demands of the prisoners can be met.
— Dov Lieber
Video purports to show bomber claiming Manchester attack
A pro-Islamic State social media account has published a video purporting to be show the Manchester bomber.
“This is only the beginning,” a masked man in front of an Islamic State flag says in the video, speaking in accented English. He adds “the lions of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham are beginning to attack all of the crusaders.”
The man also holds up a piece of paper with the word Manchester and Monday’s date.
ISIS terrorist claims responsibility for Manchester attack. 22 murdered after a Muslim suicide bomber targeted children leaving a concert. pic.twitter.com/Anv5vMFyeM
— Behind The News (@Behind__News) May 23, 2017
It is not known if the video is real, but the Site Intel group says it is being circulated on pro-IS channels. Nobody has claimed the attack.
Intelligence minister says Manchester attack shows need for security cooperation
Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz joins others in condemning the Manchester attack, using it to call for security cooperation with other countries.
“I want to convey my heartfelt sorrow to the British people and government after the terror attack in Manchester,” he says. “The suicide bombing is a painful reminder that we are in the midst of a global war against radical Islamic terrorism that challenges the culture and values of the free world.”
Katz links the attack, which has yet to be claimed by any group, both to Iran-sponsored terror and “Sunni extremism and terror led by ISIS.”
“The US President’s visit to the region highlighted the need and the opportunity for intelligence, security and civil cooperation between countries in the regional and global arena in order to foil terror attacks all over the world and deal also with extremism and terror at the source,” he adds.
Cop stabbed in possible Netanya terror attack
Police are investigating after an officer was stabbed in the seaside city of Netanya.
The officer was lightly injured and treated at the scene.
A spokesman says police are looking into the possibility the incident is terrorist attack.
The stabber was shot by responding forces, according to the MDA rescue service.
Security has been increased mainly in Jerusalem around Trump’s visit.
— Judah Ari Gross
Israeli mission in UK lowers flag
The Israeli embassy in London has lowered its flag to half mast in solidarity with the people of Manchester, Ambassador Mark Regev tweets.
“Israel stands with you at this difficult time,” he says.
— Mark Regev (@MarkRegev) May 23, 2017
— Raphael Ahren
Abbas thanks Trump for giving hope to region
Trump and Abbas have now come out of their meeting and are giving a statement.
Abbas starts by offering condolences over the Manchester attacks.
He thanks Trump for giving hope to the region, “so that the children of Palestine and Israel enjoy a safe stable and prosperous future.”
He speaks of the Palestinian “commitment to work with you to forge a lasting peace deal with the Israelis.”
Abbas says problem with occupation, not Judaism
Abbas says Palestinians are committed to a two state solution based on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as their capital and calls for support for the Arab Peace Initiative.
“As you saw yesterday during your visit of holy sites in occupied East Jerusalem, the conflict is not between religions,” he says
“We are keen to open the door to dialogue with our Israeli neighbors in order to create a genuine peace.”
“Our problem is with the occupation and settlements and the failure of Israel to recognize the state of Palestine in the same way we recognize it. The problem is not between us and Judaism, it is between us and occupation.”
He also draws attention to Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike.
Trump: Terrorists are losers, not monsters
Trump begins by extending his “deepest condolences” to those killed and hurt in the Manchester terror attack.
“We stand in absolute solidarity with the UK.”
He says terrorists are “evil losers.”
“I won’t call them monsters, because they would like that term. they would think that’s a great name. I will call them from now on losers, because that’s what they are, they’re losers. and we’ll have more of them, but they’re losers, just remember that.”
“This is what I’ve spent these last few days talking about during my trip overseas. our society can have no tolerance for this continuation of bloodshed. we cannot stand a moment longer for the slaughter of innocent people. and in today’s attack, it was mostly innocent children,” he adds. “The terrorists and extremists and those who give them aid and comfort must be driven out from our society forever. this wicked ideology must be obliterated. and I mean, completely obliterated, and the innocent life must be protected. All innocent lives. Life must be protected.”
Abbas, Netanyahu ready to work toward peace, Trump says
He says he wants to offer appreciation to Abbas for hosting him. says he’s honored to be in Bethlehem, and says he is committed to reach a peace agreement and he “intends to do everything i can to achieve that goal.”
“Abbas assures me he is ready to work toward that goal in good faith and Prime Minister Netanyahu has promised the same. I look forward to working with these leaders toward a lasting peace,” he says
“I also look forward to working with Abbas on other matters,” such as the economy and counterterror, he says.
Trump praises counter-terror efforts at Gulf summit
Trump speaks of the summit in the Gulf and speaks of how important it is to counter-terror efforts, praising King Salman as a wise man.
“Peace is a choice we must make each day and the US is here to make that dream possible for young Jewish, Muslim and Christian children.”
“In this spirit of hope we come to Bethlehem asking for a more peaceful, safer and far more tolerant world for all of us.
“I truly believe if Israel and the Palestinians can make peace it will begin a process for peace in the Middle East,” he says, concluding his remarks.
Trump back in Jerusalem to close out trip
Trump’s motorcade is now back in Jerusalem, heading toward the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and Museum, where he will spend a quick 15 minutes before his speech at the Israel Museum.
Officials say there will now be a farewell ceremony for Trump at Ben Gurion airport later this afternoon.
What Trump didn’t say: Two-state solution, Palestinian state
Analysts are noting that Trump’s remarks in Bethlehem did not mention a Palestinian state or a two-state solution, phrases he has not uttered at all during his trip to Israel this far.
Trump's visit to Abu Mazen ends without him mentioning "Palestinian state" — but lots of "peace"
— joshmitnick (@joshmitnick) May 23, 2017
However, Trump did link Israeli-Palestinian peace to solving wider security concerns in the region, though Israel has tried to rebuff claims that ending their conflict would somehow usher in pace across the restive region.
Livni: Trump right to call terrorists losers
Opposition MK Tzipi Livni says she thinks Trump has hit on something with his decision to term terrorists as “losers.”
“I love the term Trump coined — to call terrorists losers,” she writes on Twitter. “It’s correct substantively and tactically. He’s right.”
Right wing rejoices over Trump omission of two states
Israeli figures on the right wing of the political spectrum are expressing satisfaction with the fact that Trump left mention of Palestinian statehood or a two-state solution out of his remarks with Abbas.
“This is a huge achievement, on a historic scale, and a big win for anyone opposed to the mistaken and dangerous idea of a Palestinian terror state in the heart of Israel,” Likud minister Ofir Akunis says.
Oded Revivi, chief foreign envoy of the Yesha settlers council and mayor of the Efrat settlement, also expresses optimism over Trump’s omission.
“The president didn’t mention two states in his Bethlehem statements, just peace. We hope this means that we have moved on from this failed policy and will now work together to build true and lasting peace from the ground up,” he says.
Minister says Manchester bomb like attacks in Jerusalem
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan says the Manchester attack proves the need for Israel and other countries to work together against terror, comparing the bomber to Palestinian attackers.
“World leaders need to understand that terror needs to be fought together, only that way will we be able to overcome the extremist terrorists. Terror is terror, in Jerusalem, Paris or as we unfortunately see again, this time in Manchester,” he writes on Facebook.
Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein says much the same, praising Trump for his stand against terror in his comments Monday.
“We are all one front, and Israel will work with whomever we need to in the continuing fight against terror,” Edelstein says in a statement.
Palestinian arrested over suspected Tel Aviv attack plans
Police say they arrested a Palestinian at a West Bank checkpoint last night who is suspected of plotting a terror attack in Tel Aviv.
The suspect was arrested at the Hizme checkpoint north of Jerusalem, police say. He was unarmed but is suspected of “terror attack plans,” a spokesperson says, without elaborating.
Trump, Abbas offered little new, Palestinians say
Palestinians in the West Bank were unimpressed by Abbas’s and Trump’s statements in Bethlehem, saying they offered little new.
“[Trump’s] speech was not good. It was medium,” says Ramadan Abdalkareem, a 19-year-old medical lab student from Ramallah.
“He seemed to forget the name of the Saudi king,” he says, referring to Trump’s habit of saying King Solomon instead of King Salman.
“From Abbas it’s always the same message. We want to build bridges not walls,” he adds.
Abdalkareem says it would have been a “nice gesture” had Trump mentioned the Palestinian prisoners hunger strike, now on its 37th day.
Omar Awawdi, 19, who is also a medical lab student, says the speech “was like a play. We didn’t see any new ideas.”
“We want to see work on the ground, not just talking,” he adds.
— Dov Lieber
Sheldon Adelson spotted at museum ahead of Trump speech
A who’s who of Israeli bigwigs, politicians and others are making their way to the Israel Museum, where Trump is set to give his speech.
Among those are US casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a major financial backer of Trump and the Republican party, and his wife Miriam, who is Israeli.
Culture Minister Miri Regev is seen on camera chatting with two. She praises Trump and the White House for its “clear stance” against terror, which she says dovetails with Israeli positions.
She also says she is holding out “much hope” that Trump will refrain from signing a waiver allowing him to keep the US Embassy in Tel Aviv.
According to reports, Trump’s decision to hold back on moving the embassy to Jerusalem has angered Adelson, who is also seen as a major backer of Netanyahu.
Trump making way to Yad Vashem for brisk wreath-laying
Trump’s motorcade is now making its way to Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, where he will lay a wreath and spend a harefooted 15 minutes at the site, considered among the most important institutions in the country and a required stop for visiting dignitaries.
Some have criticized the brevity of the visit, especially as Trump has been accused of courting anti-Semitic supporters and failing to address the phenomenon.
For a look at what scholars think Trump might gain in his 15 minutes, read this.
Trump and long convoy arrive at Yad Vashem
Trump’s convoy takes over two minutes to pass our correspondent waiting on the road.
I don't think Trump's convoy is long enough pic.twitter.com/WYB2xZBfM9
— Judah Ari Gross (@JudahAriGross) May 23, 2017
Meanwhile, the president has arrived at Yad Vashem and is walking in the Hall of Remembrance, where an eternal flame stays lit in memory of six million victims of the Holocaust.
Trump and family lay wreath
Trump, with his wife, his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who are Jewish, stands solemnly as two marines lay a wreath, which he and the others then move slightly.
The traditional Jewish dirge “El Maale Rachamim” is then sung by a cantor wearing a prayer shawl.
Trump says Holocaust most savage crime against Jews
Trump and his entourage walk outside and the president stops to sign a guestbook as others look on and Melania signs as well before he delivers a statement.
“We are here at Yad Vashem to honor the memory of six million Jews who were sent to their deaths. Words can never describe the bottomless depth of that evil.
He calls it history’s darkest hours and says “millions of beautiful lives” were taken.
Trump says the Holocaust is “the most savage crime against God and His children and it is our solemn duty to mourn every life that was so viciously taken.”
“The Jewish people persevered. They have thrived. They have become so successful in so many places. The State of Israel is a strong, a soaring monument to the solemn pledge we repeat and affirm. Never again.”
“As long as we refuse to become bystanders to the barbaric then we know peace and justice will ultimately prevail,” he says.
Netanyahu at Yad Vashem: We must ensure terrorists continue to lose
Speaking after Trump, Netanyahu says “Israel must always be able to defend itself,” before thanking Trump for his commitment to Israel’s security.
Talking about Manchester, he says the attack must be condemned no matter where it occurs, “in San Bernadino, or Manchester or Jerusalem, terror is terror is terror.”
Referring to Trump’s terming of terrorists as “losers” Netanyahu says, “I know you agree with me that it is our job to make sure they continue to lose. We will defeat them,” he adds.
He concludes by thanking Trump for taking “such a strong stand for Israel and the Jewish people.”
UK’s May says police think they know attacker’s identity
British Prime Minister Theresa May says that it is “beyond doubt” that Britain and the city of Manchester have fallen victim to “a callous terrorist attack.”
Speaking outside her offices in London, she says, “Although it is not the first time Manchester has suffered in this way, it is the worst attack the city has experienced, and the worst ever to hit the north of England.”
May says police believe they know the attacker’s identity but are not disclosing it immediately.
A mall in Manchester was evacuated over a suspected bomb scare, but has since been reopened, according to reports.
Trump says Yad Vashem visit ‘so amazing’
Israel’s Kan news outlet has a picture of the message Trump left at Yad Vashem, with the president calling the short visit “amazing.”
“It is a great honor to be here with all of my friends. So amazing & will Never Forget!” he wrote in the visitor’s book, according to the picture.
— כאן ועכשיו (@kann_news) May 23, 2017
Police say man arrested in connection with Manchester bombing
British police say they arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with a terror attack at a pop concert in Manchester which killed 22 people and injured dozens more.
“With regards to the ongoing investigation into last night’s horrific attack at the Manchester Arena, we can confirm we have arrested a 23-year-old man in South Manchester,” police say in a statement.
Netanyahu: Israel will never have a better friend than US
Trump is introduced along with Netanyahu, coming in to loud applause.
Netanyahu, speaking in English, says the museum’s artifacts bear testament to Israel’s 4,000 years in the land.
“We have a saying, the people of Israel lives, the State of Israel lives on,” he says.
“Israel has never had and will never have a better friend than the United States of America,” he adds.
Netanyahu: Stopping Palestinian payments to terrorists key to finding peace
Netanyahu says his friendship is “deeply, deeply appreciated.”
“Together we can destroy the forces of militant Islam … and terror,” he says, adding that it must be fought the same wherever it is.
Netanyahu says he hopes Abbas’s condemnation of attack is a sign of change, pointing to the fact that Palestinian attackers are given stipends from the PLO.
“I believe this is the first and the crucial step toward a genuine peace that Israel seeks and that I believe together with you we can achieve, working with you i believe we can advance a peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors, and the Palestinians”
He credits joint challenges against Iran as well as “the leadership you bring to this process.”
Trump condemns Manchester bombing, extols sacredness of Jerusalem
Trump says the trip affirms the “unshakable bond between US and Israel.”
He condemns the “heinous attack upon humanity,” referring to the Manchester bombing. He adds, “We must protect and defend our citizens and people of the world,” and calls to “crush the hateful ideology” behind terror.
He says he’s honored to stand in the museum in the “ancient city of Jerusalem.”
He says Jerusalem is a “sacred city … like no other place.”
“What a heritage, what a heritage,” he says.
Trump says he won’t allow Iran to threaten Israel
He says Jews have built Israel into a place where they can till the land and pray where they want.
“But Muslims, Christians and people of all faiths are free to live and worship according to their conscience,” he says.
“I call upon people to draw inspiration from this ancient to set aside out sectarian difference to overcome oppression and hatred,” he says.
He says his meetings in Saudi Arabia were a “new opportunity” for nations to end sectarian strife and find peace, calling King Salman Solomon again.
“Change must come from within,” he says, saying no parents can let their kids become extremists.
“They are not born with prejudices.”
He says his comments in Jerusalem are the same as in Riyadh, calling for a coalition against terror.
Israelis have experienced firsthand terror, he says, adding that ISIS threatens Jewish institutions.
“Iran calls for the destruction of Israel. Not with Donald J. Trump,” he says to a standing ovation.
“I like you too,” he quips in response.
‘Israelis, Palestinian are ready for peace’
Speaking about his meeting with Abbas he says, “I can tell you that the Palestinians are ready for peace.”
“In my meeting with Benjamin I can tell you he wants peace, he is reaching for peace,” he adds.
“Making peace will not be easy. But with determination to compromise and belief peace is possible, Israelis and Palestinians can reach a deal.”
US is committed to making sure Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon, he adds.
There’s a ‘big, big beautiful difference’ from last administration, Trump says
Trump says security cooperation with Israel is better than ever and you can see the difference from the last administration.
“A big, big beautiful difference,” he says.
He talks up the sale and development of weapons systems, as well as F-35 jets, though most of those deals were made under the last administration.
Trump: Jerusalem a reminder life can flourish against odds
Trump says Iran won’t be allowed to get a bomb.
Jerusalem stands as a reminder that life can flourish against any odds, he says, talking about how different faiths pray.
“I ask this land of promise to join me to fight our common enemies,” he says, concluding his remarks.
IS claims Manchester bombing, says not suicide bombing
The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for bombing a pop concert in the British city of Manchester and killing 22 people, including children.
The group says in a statement published on its social media channels that “one of the caliphate’s soldiers placed bombs among the crowds,” and threatened more attacks.
British police say they believe the bombing was a suicide attack.
Trump speech seen as ‘pro-Israel,’ but shallow
Israeli commentators are calling Trump’s speech “pro-Israel,” noting he quoted Theodor Herzl and made several points about Israel’s fight against terror that could have come from the mouths of right-wing Israeli politicians.
But many are also noting that the speech was very low on specifics, offering no concrete plans for a peace initiative.
Trump did not mention a two-state solution, similar to previous talks. Some on the right had seen his omission of Palestinian statehood from comments as a major shift in US policy.
Bennett: Trump speech ‘nearly unprecedented’
Education Minister Naftali Bennett calls the speech “nearly unprecedented,” noting its friendly tone and vows to keep Iran from getting a nuclear bomb.
Bennett does not mention the fact that Trump did not answer his call to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, or even part of Israel.
In another quick reaction, Likud MK Yaron Mazuz says, “I was happy to hear President Trump say clearly: I will always stand with Israel.”
Trump is now slated to head to the airport, where officials will bid him farewell before he heads to Italy and the Vatican for the third leg of his trip.
Police breathe sigh of relief as massive security operation nears an end
With Trump getting ready to leave, police chief Roni Alsheich tells the media that the major job of securing the trip was a success, as Israelis are inconvenienced one last time by the closing of Route 1.
The operation involved over 10,000 cops, who shut down large swaths of Jerusalem any time Trump moved.
Alsheich says police are continuing to investigate if a Netanya stabbing by a West Bank man was a terror attack.
Asked whether it was the police that messed up in allowing selfie-taking MK Oren Hazan into the welcoming ceremony, he responds, “Thank God, the ones who decide who gets in and who doesn’t is not the police.”
Palestinian teen girl shot while throwing rocks
A Palestinian teenage girl was shot by IDF troops as she threw rocks at them near the central West Bank village of Silwad, the army says.
She was injured and taken to a nearby hospital for treatment, the army says.
The army did not give the extent of her injuries.
According to a military spokesperson, a group of Palestinian teenagers were throwing rocks at cars driving along the Route 60 highway near Silwad.
An IDF unit in the area chased after them. When the Palestinians threw “rocks and bricks” at them, the soldiers opened fire.
According to the army, only one rock thrower was injured.
— Judah Ari Gross
Tillerson in Jerusalem says he is in Washington
Even though US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Jerusalem, a statement from him condemning the Manchester attack puts him in Washington, DC.
“Our hearts go out to the families of those who have lost loved ones and to those injured in the attack in Manchester, U.K,” he says.
“While it is too early to determine those responsible for this atrocity, we are working closely with the British government and supporting their efforts to investigate and respond to this attack.”
This isn’t the first time Tillerson has wrestled with geographical woes. On Monday, asked by reporters if he was going to Jerusalem, he said his plane was going to “Tel Aviv, the home of Judaism” even though he has spent most of the trip in Jerusalem.
Praise for Trump’s speech from right, challenge from Livni
As Trump’s convoy of helicopters make their way from Jerusalem to Ben Gurion Airport, praise is continuing to flutter in, though not everyone is taking the same message from the speech.
MK Avi Dichter, head of the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs, calls the speech ” a sharp statement” that is “important given attempts by Palestinians and other countries to create a false history about Jerusalem and Israel.”
Yossi Dagan, head of the Shomron Regional Council in the northern West Bank, says the address was more pro-Israel than even most Knesset members would give.
“After this speech and this visit, there is no excuse not to restart building in Jerusalem and the West Bank,” he says. “It’s clear that even if the US opposes building, they won’t fight against it.”
However opposition MK Tzipi Livni, a former foreign minister, sees in the speech an opening for peace.
“Trump made clear today that in his view both Abbas and Netanyahu are partners for peace. Now they need to prove it,” she says.
Netanyahu awaiting Trump at airport
Benjamin Netanyahu is at the airport with his wife Sara and other officials for a short sendoff ceremony, as Trump’s helicopter approaches the airport.
President Reuven Rivlin and Ambassador Ron Dermer is also there waiting by the red carpet for the trip to draw to a close.
Trump’s helicopters arrive at airport
Trump’s helicopters are arriving at the airport.
Airspace over Israel has been cleared to make way for Air Force One to leave.
But police say all roads in Jerusalem are open, except for parts of King David, which will open soon.
In wake of Manchester attack, Macron urges stronger anti-terror cooperation
French President Emmanuel Macron calls for stepped-up anti-terror cooperation between European countries in the wake of the Manchester attack claimed by the Islamic State group.
Macron went to the British embassy in Paris to sign a book of condolences for the 22 killed on Monday in the bombing and said he wanted to show “our desire to strengthen European cooperation in the fight against terrorism.”
Labor leadership candidate says Trump visit ‘historic failure’
MK Erel Margalit, a candidate in the upcoming Labor leadership election, says that US President Donald Trump’s visit to Israel was a “historic failure.”
Despite Trump’s statements in support of restarting negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian, Margalit says that “the president has left us with plenty of nice photos but no diplomatic hope.”
According to Margalit, Netanyahu missed the opportunity to push for a region peace summit “presented by Trump’s visit to Saudia Arabia” before he came to Israel.
Glick to Trump: Temple Mount, not Western Wall our holiest site
Following comments by Benjamin Netanyahu during US President Donald Trump’s visit, praising freedom of religion for Muslims and Israel in Israel, Likud MK Yehuda Glick says “the time has come to give Jews freedom of religion at the world’s holiest site — the Temple Mount.”
Speaking at the World Mizrachi annual conference in Jerusalem, Glick says that while visiting the Western wall yesterday, Donald Trump mistakenly called the site “the holiest place in the world for the Jewish people.”
“That is incorrect!” Glick says.
“We have a tendency to forget that the Temple Mount is our central focus, not the Western Wall,” he says, finishing his speech with a call for all Jews to ascend to the Temple Mount to mark Jerusalem Day tomorrow.
Trump said to tell Herzog: ‘I’m serious about a deal’
US President Donald Trump reportedly told opposition leader Isaac Herzog that he is “serious” about trying to reach a deal between Israel and the Palestinians.
“I am serious about a deal and I am determined,” Trump told Herzog immediately after his speech at the Israel Museum, Channel 2 news reports.
During his speech Trump pushed for elusive peace between Israel and the Palestinians, calling on both sides to put aside the “pain and disagreements of the past” and declaring that both sides were ready to move forward.
According to the report, after talking with Trump, Herzog spoke briefly with Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, who told him: “We are planning to move fast in starting a diplomatic process in order to reach a deal.”
Edelstein says Trump ruled out Knesset speech over possible interruptions
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein says that Israel’s parliament was first choice for the venue of Donald Trump’s main speech while in the country but was ruled out due to a fear of interruptions by MKs.
Addressing a near-empty plenary, Edelstein laments the poor attendance saying, “Just imagine what this building could have looked like now.”
Instead, Trump delivered his speech at the Israel Museum.
“The topic of speaking at the Knesset came up as the first option during discussion ahead of the trip,” he says. “But Trump’s team was warned that a speech without interruptions could not be guaranteed, and it was taken off the agenda.”
According to Edelstein, “due to six or seven MKs for whom 20 seconds’ fame is more important to them than the status of the Knesset, the plenary is empty today.”
A spokesman for Edelstein said he was not referring to anyone in particular.
Ultra-Orthodox MK says Jews should learn from Trump’s Western Wall conduct
MK Yisrael Eichler of the United Torah Judaism party tells the Knesset plenary that Jews “should learn from Donald Trump” how to behave at the Western Wall.
Noting that the men and women from Trump’s family approached the wall separately, Eichler says that is the appropriate way to “respect the holy site.”
Trump was the first sitting US president to visit the site.
Rivlin sends condolence letter to UK queen
President Reuven Rivlin sends a letter of condolence to UK’s Queen Elizabeth II following the terror attack in Manchester, saying that Israel’s “deepest sympathies go to all the bereaved, and our wishes for a full and swift recovery to all the injured.”
Twenty-two people, including children, were killed and dozens injured when a man detonated a bomb late Monday night at a pop concert by US star Ariana Grande, in Britain’s deadliest terror attack in 12 years.
“I write with deep sorrow and anguish to express my own heartfelt condolences, and those of all the Israeli people, following the atrocious terror attack against the people of Manchester last night,” Rivlin writes.
“This violent and evil attack, which destroyed so many young lives, demands unequivocal condemnation by all. The whole world must stand united against this threat to our very civilization. I wish to reassure you that Israel stands with the United Kingdom in the fight against terrorism,” he adds.
Suspected Manchester bomber named
British authorities have identify the suspected Manchester suicide bomber as Salman Abedi.
British police say they have raided two residential areas in Manchester and carried out a controlled explosion at one of them as part of an investigation into Monday’s suicide bombing attack at a concert in the city.
At one of the scenes, where armed police raided an apartment, heavily armed and helmeted police were guarding what neighbor Asghar Ali said was a “very, very quiet” area. Ali said: “Even if people throw rubbish outside, people complain – never mind this.”
Plain-clothes officers wearing gloves removed bags from an apartment.
The leafy residential road in south Manchester, populated by a group of tidy-looking buildings, is less than a mile from the supermarket where police reportedly arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the attack.
Neighbors said the complex of three buildings was a mixed area of students, singles and families, with a large south Asian population.
Books stolen from Polish Jewish communities during WWII donated to foundation
Some 33 rare books stolen during World War II from Jewish communities located in present-day Poland are being donated to the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland.
Representatives of the Central and Regional Library in Berlin and of the Judaicum Center in Berlin jointly donate the books to the foundation director, Monika Krawczyk.
Most of the books come from the former collections of the Jewish Theological Seminary of the Fränkel Foundation in Wroclaw. The oldest book, published in 1644, is signed by the German-Jewish theologian David Rosin, who lived from 1823 to 1894.
There are also two books from the collection of the Great Synagogue in Warsaw: Ludwik Wachler’s “Literature Handbook of 1833” and a pastoral letter from 1785. One of the books comes from the synagogue in Legnica and contains fictional literature.
Trump thanks Netanyahu, Rivlin for ‘wonderful’ visit
US President Donald Trump tweets thanks Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin for “a wonderful and unforgettable visit” to Israel.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2017
In tweet, Trump says he’s ‘trying hard’ for peace and ‘doing well’
Tweeting from Air Force One, US President Donald Trump says his trip to thre Middle East, which included stops in Saudi Arabia and Israel, was “great.”
According to the president he is “Trying hard for PEACE,” and “doing well.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2017
After visit, Bennett says Trump has ‘heart in the right place’
Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett says US President Donald Trump has “his heart in the right place” following a visit to Israel in which repeatedly expressed the “unbreakable bond” between the two countries.
“Over the past day we hosted a true friend of Israel. During his stay President Trump displayed an understanding and appreciation for the generation-old connection between the Jewish People and the Land of Israel, and stressed there is no room, justification or purpose for acts of terror,” Bennett says in a statement.
According to Bennett, the fact that Trump spoke about peace on a number of occasion but “avoided supporting a Palestinian state” shows that he does not intend to push for a two-state solution.
“A president who visits and prays at the Western Wall, and draws a direct line between the Jewish Temples and modern State of Israel is a president with his heart in the right place. The government of Israel has the responsibility to act with determination to achieve our goals, including halting Iran’s nuclear program, eradicating Palestinian terror and gaining recognition of united Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital,” he adds.
Elderly man wearing kippah attacked near LA synagogue
An elderly man wearing a kippah was attacked as he walked to morning prayers in a Los Angeles neighborhood.
The attack took place in the Fairfax District, near the Congregation Bais Yehuda synagogue, according to the local ABC affiliate, KABC. Surveillance video shows the assailant punching and kicking the man, knocking him to the ground. The assailant then walks away from the scene.
Los Angeles police have not classified the attack as a hate crime or robbery but rather a random attack, KABC reported.
Hamas slams Trump statement on Jewish connections to Jerusalem
Hamas slams United States President Donald Trump’s statement on Jewish connections to the city of Jerusalem.
“His talk about the Jewish people’ historical and eternal connection to Jerusalem was falsification of history,” says Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum, in a statement posted on the terror group’s official website.
Speaking at the Israel museum on Tuesday, the US president said the “ties of the Jewish people to this Holy Land are ancient and eternal.”
The Hamas spokesperson says this statement was “racist in the extreme, and establishes the pillars of a new Israeli apartheid regime, and encourages hatred of the Palestinian people.”
“This American policy, which is fully biased for the Zionist entity, will encourage the occupation to commit more crimes and violations against our people and its holy places,” he adds.
Hamas, along with the Palestinian Authority, has long accused Israel of committing “violations” against Muslim and Christian holy places in Jerusalem. Israel strongly denies this claim.
Barhoum ends his statement saying, “This confirms the bet on the American role to be just towards the Palestinians is a losing bet and the selling of an illusion.”
— Dov Lieber
Trump arrives in Rome for Pope talks
Donald Trump arrives in Rome for a high-profile meeting with Pope Francis in his first official trip to Europe since becoming US President.
Having departed from Israel some four hours earlier, Trump touched down in the Italian capital aboard Air Force One just before 6:45 p.m. local time.
He is due at the Vatican on Wednesday morning for a meeting with the pope, with whom he has clashed on numerous issues ranging from the plight of migrants to unbridled capitalism and climate change. They also disagree on issues like the death penalty and the arms trade but do have common ground to explore on the issues of abortion and the persecution of Christians.
After the papal audience, also to be attended by Trump’s wife Melania and daughter Ivanka, the Trump couple are to be given a tour of the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica.
The president will then meet Italy’s president and prime minister at the presidential palace, the Quirinale, while Melania visits a children’s hospital and Ivanka discusses migrant issues with members of the St Egidio religious community.
The Trump team is due to fly to Brussels on Wednesday afternoon for meetings with EU and NATO officials before returning to Italy late Thursday for the G7 summit in Sicily on Friday and Saturday.
Ex-president Katsav loses appeal to ease parole terms
Former president and convicted rapist Moshe Katsav loses his appeal to ease the terms of his parole, including being allowed to leave his home at night.
Even though the Prisoner Rehabilitation Authority reported in February that the disgraced politician was sticking to the terms of his release, the parole board rejects his appeal to loosen the restrictions placed upon him.
The former president, 71, was convicted in 2010 of two counts of rape among other related charges. He began serving his sentence in Ma’asiyahu Prison in December 2011. He was freed from prison in December after serving five years of a seven-year jail sentence.
Ex-CIA chief says he warned Russia to stay out of election
Former CIA director John Brennan says that he warned Russia last summer against meddling in the US presidential election but the Russians went ahead and did it, anyway.
“It should be clear to everyone that Russia interfered in our 2016 presidential election process,” Brennan says in testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating possible collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign.
“And that they undertook the activities despite our strong protests and explicit warning they not do so,” says Brennan, who served as CIA director from 2013 until January of this year when Trump took office.
Brennan told how he called the head of the Russian intelligence service, the FSB, on August 4 of last year.
“I said that all Americans, regardless of political affiliation or whom they might support in the election, cherished their ability to elect their own leaders without outside interference,” Brennan says. “I said American voters would be outraged by any attempt to interfere in the election.”
Rivlin opens 50th Jerusalem Day celebrations at Western Wall
President Reuven Rivlin opens Israel’s Jerusalem Day celebrations marking 50 years since the Six Day War and unification of the city.
At the official ceremony at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Rivlin speaks of his memories of the battle for the city, and of the moments he heard the Old City had been secured under Israeli control.
“We gave our all for Jerusalem because we knew that on Jerusalem we must insist,” he says. “We will always insist on Jerusalem. There never has been, there never be any other reality. Here, in these stones, beats the heart of the Jewish People. Jerusalem is the heart of the State of Israel, and the Kotel is the heart of Jerusalem.”
The ceremony was attended by representatives of the IDF units who led the battle to liberate Jerusalem in 1967, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.
Rivlin concluded his address by saying, “On the day of Jerusalem’s liberation, then defense minister Moshe Dayan wrote a note, and slotted it in between the stones of the Kotel: ‘May peace be upon Israel’. Today too, we continue to carry that prayer. May God give, and bring peace over Israel. ‘“Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all you who love her,’ Happy Jerusalem Day.”
Thousands hold vigil in Manchester
Thousands of people turn out for a vigil in Manchester, with the crowd holding a minute of silence to honor the victims of the concert attack.
Lord Mayor Eddy Newman and the city’s police chief are among the speakers in front of city hall in Albert Square. Several people in the crowd hold up signs with “I Love MCR,” an abbreviation for Manchester.
A banner with a website for a Muslim group says “Love for all, Hatred for None.”
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for Monday night’s blast at the Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena that killed 22 people and wounded 59 others. Police have named the suspected bomber as 22-year-old Salman Abedi.
Manchester United to hold minute silence at Europa League final
European soccer’s ruling body says there will be a minute’s silence before Manchester United plays Ajax in the Europa League final on Wednesday as a mark of respect for victims of the bombing in Manchester.
UEFA says “the opening ceremony will also be considerably reduced” in Stockholm after Monday’s attack. At least 22 people were killed when a suicide bomber attacked an Ariana Grande concert as the performance ended.
Manchester United players observed a minute’s silence for the victims at a morning training session on Tuesday before flying to Sweden.
Ajax coach Peter Bosz says the final doesn’t have this glow that it should have” because of the attack.
Bosz said: “Tomorrow evening should be a feast. But because of the events in Manchester, we are all affected.”
Monica Lewinsky writes obituary for Roger Ailes’ era of ‘gutter’ journalism
Monica Lewinsky says the late Roger Ailes’ success in building Fox News was directly related to his capitalizing on the affair involving the former White House intern and then-President Bill Clinton.
Ailes, the former head of Fox News forced out under the cloud of a sexual harassment scandal, died last week at 77.
“This is not another obituary for Roger Ailes,” Lewinsky writes in an op-ed in The New York Times. “It is, I hope, instead an obituary for the culture he purveyed — a culture that affected me profoundly and personally.”
Ailes, Lewinsky charges, took the story of her affair with Clinton and the subsequent trial and “made certain his anchors hammered it ceaselessly, 24 hours a day.”
She qualified her accusation: “Let’s not pretend that Fox News was the only network to cover this story in the gutter. Mr. Ailes’s station may have pioneered this new style of television reportage, but the other cable news channels didn’t hesitate to join the race to the bottom.” The internet also contributed, she added, pointing out that The Drudge Report first broke the story of the affair.
Lewinsky is now a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and leads the #BeStrong initiative to combat cyber-bullying.
Mark Zuckerberg says state visits do not mean he is running for public office
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says his current attempt to visit every US state and learn about people’s hopes and challenges is not a signal that he his running for public office.
Zuckerberg made the statement Sunday in a Facebook post from Rhode Island, his latest state visit in a string of unannounced appearances.
My personal challenge this year is to visit every state I haven't spent time in before to learn about people's hopes and…
“My personal challenge this year is to visit every state I haven’t spent time in before to learn about people’s hopes and challenges, and how they’re thinking about their work and communities,” he explained.
“Some of you have asked if this challenge means I’m running for public office. I’m not.”
Zuckerberg said his biggest takeaway from the visits “is that our relationships shape us more than we think — how we consider opportunities, how we process information, and how we form habits. There is a lot of discussion about inequality, but one under-looked dimension of inequality is in the makeup of our social networks.”