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Ashkenazi thanks Egypt’s FM for ‘commitment’ to securing ceasefire

IDF said recommending more forceful response to future attacks from Strip * Minister: ‘Majority of the rocket threat was thwarted’ * Rally in Tel Aviv for ceasefire, coexistence

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, right, meets with Palestinian Fatah official Azzam Al-Ahmad at the foreign ministry in Cairo, May 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, right, meets with Palestinian Fatah official Azzam Al-Ahmad at the foreign ministry in Cairo, May 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Saturday’s events as they happened.

Soccer player in Belgian league investigated for antisemitic chant

BRUSSELS — The Belgian Football Association (URBSFA) announces that it is opening an investigation following Club Brugge’s title celebrations, during which Dutch soccer player Noa Lang sang an antisemitic chant.

In a video circulating on social networks, Lang was filmed at the Brugge title party on after they clinched the title on Thursday joining supporters in a song aimed at fans of rivals Anderlecht, which is seen as historically linked to the Jewish community.

Brugge made sure of their 17th Belgian league title with a 3-3 draw at Anderlecht in Brussels. Lang, a 21-year-old winger, scored the third Bruges goal.

“The Belgian FA condemns all forms of discrimination and defers to the competent disciplinary bodies to decide on the follow-up to these events,” the URBSFA website says.

Lang, who started his career at Ajax in Amsterdam, is one of the candidates for the Belgian Pro League’s player of the season and young player of the season.

“Racism and anti-Semitism have no place in our society. Chants that target specific groups of people must not be trivialized any longer,” the league says.

Brugge, whose fans have been accused of antisemitic chants in the past, defends its player

“When Noa Lang sang with our fans, there was no antisemitic undertone,” Club Brugge writes. “Noa did not mean to hurt or insult anyone in any way and we are sorry if this happened.”

Club Brugge’s Noa Lang celebrates after scoring during the Belgian championship soccer match Club Brugge KV and RSC Anderlecht on May 20, 2021 in Anderlecht. (Bruno Fahy/Various Sources/AFP)

Jeffrey Epstein guards to skirt jail time in deal with US prosecutors

WASHINGTON — The two Bureau of Prisons workers tasked with guarding Jeffrey Epstein the night he killed himself in a New York jail have admitted they falsified records, but they will skirt any time behind bars under a deal with federal prosecutors, authorities say.

The prison workers, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, were accused of sleeping and browsing the internet instead of monitoring Epstein the night he took his own life in August 2019.

They were charged with lying on prison records to make it seem as though they had made required checks on the financier before he was found in his cell. New York City’s medical examiner ruled Epstein’s death a suicide.

As part of the deal with prosecutors, they will enter into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department and will serve no time behind bars, according to a letter from federal prosecutors that was filed in court papers yesterday. Noel and Thomas would instead be subjected to supervised release, would be required to complete 100 hours of community service and would be required to fully cooperate with an ongoing probe by the Justice Department’s inspector general, it says.

The two have “admitted that they ‘willfully and knowingly completed materially false count and round slips regarding required counts and rounds’” in the housing unit where Epstein was being held, the letter says.

The deal would need to be approved by a judge, which could happen as soon as next week. Attorneys for the guards did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Hezbollah deputy says won’t discuss who fired rockets from Lebanon at Israel

The Hezbollah terror group’s deputy leader refuses to say who was behind the firing of numerous rockets from Lebanon at Israel during the recent fighting in Gaza between the Israeli military and Hamas.

“Hezbollah was in daily contact with the resistance commanders and fighters in Palestinian as part of the organization’s position of supporting the Palestinian resistance with all capabilities,” Naim Qassem says in a radio interview, according to the Ynet news site.

He adds: “We’re not interested in deliberating the question of who fired the rockets from southern Lebanon and if it was right to launch them.”

The Israel Defense Forces blamed some of the attacks from Lebanon on Palestinian factions in the country, not Hezbollah. However, it is unlikely that terrorists in southern Lebanon would be able to fire rockets of such long ranges without at least the tacit approval of the Iran-backed militia, which maintains a tight degree of control over southern Lebanon.

File: Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Naim Qassem speaks in the Ghobeiry neighborhood of southern Beirut on May 13, 2016. (AFP Photo/Stringer)

Fresh clashes between protesters, cops in Sheikh Jarrah

Clashes break out between police and dozens of protesters in Sheikh Jarrah, a Jerusalem neighborhood that has been a recent flashpoint over the pending eviction of several Palestinian families from homes claimed by Jewish nationalists.

Police say some of the protesters threw bottles at cops on the scene, while chanting incitement and singing songs in praise of “martyrs.” Officers are working to “restore order” and disperse the protest, according to a police statement.

2nd suspect arrested over Jaffa firebombing that seriously hurt 12-year-old

Police and the Shin Bet security service have arrested another suspect in the firebombing of a home in Jaffa in which a 12-year-old boy was seriously hurt.

The suspect is the brother of a Jaffa resident in his 20s who was arrested earlier this week over the attack, according to a police statement.

Hamas-run government offices in Gaza to reopen Sunday

Hamas authorities in Gaza say government offices are to reopen tomorrow after a ceasefire ended 11 days of fighting in the enclave between the Islamist terror group and Israel.

“Official working hours return to all ministries and governmental institutions from tomorrow, Sunday morning,” an official statement says.

Hamas leader in Gaza seen in public for 1st time since ceasefire

Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, is photographed in public for the first time since a ceasefire early Friday ended 11 days of fighting between the Islamist terror group and Israel.

Sinwar visits the family home of Bassem Issa, the commander of Hamas’s Gaza City Brigade who was killed in an Israeli strike last week.

Finance minister claims Israel will kill Hamas chiefs in response to future Gaza rockets

Finance Minister Israel Katz of Likud claims Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas chief in Gaza, will “be wiped out” if further rockets are fired from Gaza after the recent hostilities in the Strip between the terror group and Israel.

“Any strike will be answered with the killing of senior Hamas officials,” Katz says in an interview with Channel 12 news.

His comments come after Sinwar was seen in public for the first time since the 11 days of fighting ended with a ceasefire that took effect early Friday.

IDF said recommending Israel start hitting harder in response to Gaza attacks

The Israel Defense Forces is recommending that political leaders approve a new policy of responding more forcefully to future rocket or balloon-borne incendiary devices launched by terrorists in the Gaza Strip, Channel 12 news reports.

Minister: ‘Majority of the rocket threat was thwarted’ in Gaza fighting

Education Minister Yoav Gallant of Likud tells Channel 12 news that the “majority of the rocket threat was thwarted” in the fighting against the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group.

Gallant, a retired general who headed the IDF’s Southern Command during Operation Cast Lead in 2019, says “Hamas was hit hard” and touts the military’s achievements in the campaign.

He also claims Mohammed Deif, the commander of Hamas’s military wing, will either be killed or die in jail.

Rally held in Tel Aviv to show support for Jewish-Arab coexistence, Gaza ceasefire

A rally is held in Tel Aviv in support of Jewish-Arab coexistence and the ceasefire ending the fighting in Gaza between Israel and Hamas.

Israelis rally for Jewish-Arab coexistence and in favor of the ceasefire between Israel and Gaza-ruling terror group Hamas, at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, on May 22, 2021. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Blinken said due in Israel, West Bank on May 26-27

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Israel and the West Bank after the fighting between the Israeli military and Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group will be on May 26-27, a source briefed on the matter tells Reuters.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a press conference at the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, Iceland, May 18, 2021 (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)

Condition of Jaffa boy seriously wounded in firebombing improves

Sheba Medical Center reports an improvement in the condition of a 12-year-old Arab boy from Jaffa who was seriously wounded in a firebombing attack.

The hospital says the boy is in good condition, fully conscious and communicating with those around him.

The announcement comes hours after the police said a second suspect had been arrested over the firebombing, which came amid ethnic violence in mixed Jewish-Arab cities and other locations across Israel.

UN Security Council urges ‘full adherence’ to Gaza ceasefire

The United Nations Security Council calls for “full adherence to the ceasefire” that ended the 11-day conflict between Israel and Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

In the first statement on the issue, Security Council members “welcomed the announcement of a ceasefire beginning May 21 and recognized the important role Egypt, other regional countries” played in it, and stressed “the immediate need for humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population, particularly in Gaza.”

Israel expected to start vaccinating kids aged 12-15 in next 2 weeks — TV

Israel is expected to begin giving COVID-19 vaccines to children aged 12-15 in the next two weeks, according to Channel 12 news.

Mauritania asks ICC to probe Israel for ‘genocide’ over Gaza fighting

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania — The Mauritanian parliament is urging the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israeli officials for “genocide” after an 11-day conflict with Palestinian terrorists in Gaza that claimed over 260 lives.

Mohamed Ould Rzeizime, a lawmaker from the ruling Union for the Republic party, tells AFP that the 157-seat national assembly unanimously adopted the non-binding resolution.

“The national assembly considers the ongoing Zionist aggression against the Palestinian people as one of the worst crimes of genocide,” reads the resolution, which was seen by AFP.

It adds that the International Criminal Court (ICC), based in The Hague, must “prosecute those involved in this aggression.”

Mauritania, a conservative Muslim nation of 4.5 million people, broke off diplomatic relations with Israel in 2009.

Ashkenazi speaks with Egypt’s FM, thanks him for efforts on Gaza ceasefire

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi says he phoned his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry following the ceasefire that took effect between Israel and Gaza-ruling terror group Hamas.

“I thanked him for the Egyptian commitment and the efforts to obtain calm and a secure stability in the region,” Ashkenazi tweets.

He says any “future arrangement” must include a “guarantee” of Israel’s security interests, which he says include restoring “calm and stability” to the south, preventing Hamas from getting stronger and requiring the terror group to return the Israeli citizens and bodies of soldiers it is believed to be holding.

“We agreed to meet soon and continue to deliberate these matters,” Ashkenazi says.

Israel pans Security Council statement for not condemning Hamas

The Foreign Ministry criticizes the UN Security Council for not mentioning Hamas’s firing of rockets at Israeli population centers during the fighting between the Israel Defense Forces and Gaza-ruling terror group.

“The full responsibility for the escalation is on the Hamas terror group, which chose to open rocket fire at Israel’s capital Jerusalem, the Gaza periphery and other Israeli cities,” a ministry statement says.

It accuses the Security Council of “ignoring” the over 4,000 rockets fired toward Israel during the 11 days of fighting.

“Hamas used residents of the Strip as a human shield, cynically taking advantage of their despair, firing at the land crossing and preventing the entry of humanitarian aid, food, medicine and energy from Israel to the the Strip,” the ministry says.

“We expect the international community to condemn Hamas, disarm it and ensure the rehabilitation of the Strip while preventing the flow of money and weaponry for terror,” it continues. “Israel will continue to be committed to the fate of the captured and missing and will insist on their return.”

It also thanks the Biden administration for backing it in the Security Council, after the US blocked three joint statements calling to end the fighting, saying they wouldn’t help toward that goal. The US, however, backed the latest statement.

German police open probe after Jewish man reports antisemitic assault in Berlin

FRANKFURT, Germany — Police in Germany say they are investigating a Jewish man’s report of being punched in the face and abused with antisemitic language while walking home in Berlin earlier today.

A Berlin police news release says the 41-year-old man wearing a traditional skullcap, or kippa, passed three other men in Duerer Square at about 2:15 a.m. One of three punched him in the face, knocking him against a shop window, and added an antisemitic insult, the man told police when he reported the incident at a local precinct.

He was taken to a hospital, where he was treated and released. Police say the men have not been located.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel used her weekly video podcast today to condemn anti-Jewish statements heard at recent protests over the recent fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.

Merkel said that “whoever takes hatred of Jews to our streets places himself outside our constitutional order.”

The head of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany also condemned antisemitic chants during the protests.

Haredi party leader to Netanyahu: ‘Keep the Temple Mount closed to Jews!’

The head of the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party calls on Prime Minister Netanyahu not to reopen the Temple Mount to Jewish visitors.

“Because of our sins the Temple was destroyed,” UTJ chief Moshe Gafni says in a statement.

Many Haredi Jews believe Jews should not visit the site due to its holiness.

“Not ascending to the Temple Mount is the deepest proof of our belonging to this holy place to which we direct our prayers,” Gafni says.

He adds: “I ask you to keep the Temple Mount closed to Jews!”

Jews have been barred from visiting the site, the holiest in Judaism and third holiest in Islam, since Jerusalem Day earlier this month, when authorities made the decision to shutter the Temple Mount to non-Muslims amid spiraling tensions in the city.

A view into the Temple Mount compound amid clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces, May 10, 2021 (Ahmad Gharabli / AFP)

Major clashes broke out at the site between police and Palestinian rioters later that morning, with hundreds said wounded.

Later that same day, May 10, the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group threatened to fire rockets at Israel if it did not withdraw police from the Temple Mount and the nearby East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah — a threat it made good on when it launched projectiles at the capital and other parts of the country, setting off 11 days of fighting in the Strip that ended early Friday.

Gafni’s comments could spark disagreement within Netanyahu’s right-wing religious bloc, which includes the premier’s Likud party, ultra-Orthodox Shas, UTJ and far-right Religious Zionism. The chief of the latter, MK Bezalel Smotrich, said Thursday that Netanyahu “can forget about forming a government” if the ceasefire with Hamas contains anything related to Jerusalem. Religious Zionism members were also critical of the initial decision to close the Temple Mount.

Train routes shuttered due to Gaza fighting to restart Sunday

Israel Railways says it will resume all train routes tomorrow after shuttering some as a security precaution due to the fighting in Gaza between the military and Hamas terror group.

7-year-old shot dead in East Jerusalem refugee camp in reported gunfight between families

A 7-year-old Palestinian boy from Shuafat is pronounced dead after being shot in the East Jerusalem refugee camp.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says the boy was transferred to them by the Palestinian Red Crescent at the Shuafat checkpoint. He was pronounced dead after efforts to resuciate him.

The boy was reportedly shot during a gunfight between feuding families in the camp.

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