Jewish man, 54, sets himself on fire at David’s Tomb in Jerusalem
Live updates (closed)

Jewish man, 54, sets himself on fire at David’s Tomb in Jerusalem

Authorities say man apparently suffering from mental illness, is hospitalized in moderate to serious condition

Tthe Cenacle, or Upper Room, on Mount Zion just outside the Old City, where Christians believe Jesus held the Last Supper, is revered by Jews as the site of King David's tomb. (AFP/Constance Decorde)
Tthe Cenacle, or Upper Room, on Mount Zion just outside the Old City, where Christians believe Jesus held the Last Supper, is revered by Jews as the site of King David's tomb. (AFP/Constance Decorde)

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

Israeli forces said to arrest Har Adar terrorist’s brother

IDF and Border Police forces raid the village of the terrorist who carried out the deadly shooting attack at Har Adar earlier today, identified earlier in the day as Nimer Mahmoud Ahmad Jamal.

The village, Bayt Surik, remains blockaded by security forces by order of the IDF’s Judea and Samaria Division commander Brig. Gen. Eran Niv, in order to prevent any accomplices or evidence from disappearing.

Palestinian media outlets say Jamal’s brother has been arrested by the Israeli forces.

Netanyahu tells Merkel he’s concerned over rise in anti-Semitism

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a phone call that Israel was concerned over a recent rise in anti-Semitism, after a right-wing nationalist party won seats in Berlin’s parliament.

“Israel is concerned over the rise of anti-Semitism in recent years among political elements from the right and left, as well as from Islamist elements,” Netanyahu’s office quotes him as saying in the call.


UK Jewish leader calls on PA, world to condemn Har Adar attack

Britain’s top Jewish umbrella organization, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, calls on the Palestinian Authority and the international community to condemn the terror attack earlier today at Har Adar outside Jerusalem.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of the three Israelis brutally murdered at Har Adar,” the Board’s Senior Vice President Richard Verber says in a statement.

“We welcome efforts led by the Americans to re-start peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians but no successful agreement will be reached until the Palestinian Authority ends its program of inciting violence and murder of innocent Israelis. We call on the Palestinian Authority and the international community to unequivocally condemn this latest atrocity. Terror is terror, wherever it takes place.”

Iran’s top soldier blames Israel for Kurdish independence vote

Iran’s top soldier, armed forces chief of staff Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, accuses Israel of fomenting yesterday’s Kurdish independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan.

According to the regime-linked Tasnim news agency, Bagheri told Iranian Intelligence Ministry staff on Monday that, in the outlet’s words, “the Zionist regime of Israel and the global arrogance [usually a reference to the US] are behind the referendum in Iraq’s Kurdistan.”

Bagheri “blamed the Zionist regime of Israel for orchestrating a plot to hold the independence referendum,” Tasnim explains.

Kurdistan’s neighboring regional powers Iran and Turkey oppose Kurdish independence, fearing it could spark separatist movements among their own large Kurdish minorities.

Fatah official says Israel responsible for today’s terror attack

The official Facebook page of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party quotes a party official saying that “Israel alone bears responsibility” for today’s deadly terror attack in Har Adar.

“Head of the Communications Office of the Fatah Movement’s Mobilization and Organization Commission Munir Al-Jaghoub said that Israel alone bears responsibility for the Palestinian responses to all of the occupation’s crimes, and that if it continues its incessant aggression against the Palestinian people, it can only expect more violence,” the group writes in a post, as translated by the watchdog group Palestinian Media Watch.

“He added that the daily Israeli operations and the occupation’s violations against the members of our people everywhere are the reason for every cycle of violence.”

“Munir Al-Jaghoub: ‘Israel must understand well the consequences of the fact that it is continuing to push towards violence, and is continuing in the policy of destroying homes, forcing the migration of [Arab] residents of Jerusalem, the incessant invasions by the herds of settlers of the Al-Aqsa Mosque plazas with the reinforcement of [Israel’s] forces, and the murder of Palestinians in cold blood at its checkpoints that are spread over the territories that were occupied in 1967.'”

Russia threatens to block Facebook next year

MOSCOW — Russia’s communications watchdog threatens to block access to Facebook next year if the company does not store its data locally.

Alexander Zharov, chief of the Federal Communications Agency, tells Russian news agencies on Tuesday that it will work to “make Facebook comply with the law” on personal data, which obliges foreign companies to store it in Russia. Critics criticize the law that went into effect in 2015 for potentially exposing the data to Russian intelligence agencies.

Zharov says on Tuesday that the Russian government understands that Facebook is a “unique service” but says it will not make exceptions and will have to block it next year if Facebook does not comply.

— AP

Man arrested on suspicion of arson at Swedish mosque

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Swedish police say they arrested a man suspected of involvement in a fire that partly destroyed a mosque west of Stockholm.

Police say firefighters worked overnight to extinguish the fire that started Tuesday at 2 .a.m. local time in Orebro, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) west of Stockholm. No one was injured in the blaze.

Mosque spokesman Jamal Lamhamdi tells local newspaper Nerikes Allehanda that it was “a sad day for Muslims in Orebro and in Sweden.”

Investigator Lars Bergman says the suspect, who is not identified, was arrested on suspicion of arson early Tuesday. He declines to comment on possible motives behind the fire.

Sweden has seen growing anti-migrant sentiment and an increase in xenophobic attacks as asylum-seekers flooded into the country in recent years. In January, a fire caused major damage at a mosque near Stockholm.

Smoke rises from a damaged mosque during a fire in Orebro, west of Stockholm, Sweden, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. (Kicki Nilsson/TT News Agency)

— AP

IDF forces arrest father of Har Adar terrorist

Hamas-affiliated media outlets say IDF forces arrested the father of Nimer Mahmoud Ahmad Jamal, the terrorist who carried out this morning’s deadly terror attack at Har Adar outside Jerusalem.

Jamal’s brother was already under arrest after security forces placed a blockade on Jamal’s village of Bayt Surik.

Search for missing Israeli backpacker in Kyrgyzstan enters third day

An Israeli delegation, backed up by a military helicopter, enters its third day of a search for 22-year-old Israeli backpacker Hila Livne, who has been missing in the mountainous central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan since Saturday.

Large numbers of local residents in the village of Arkit are participating in the search, according to media reports. Israeli officials spoke with the German military attache in the country to help coordinate the addition of the Kyrgyz military chopper.

A second Israeli backpacker who was with Hila shortly before she disappeared was hurt on the trail and was hospitalized.

Friends of Hila have opened a bank account for donations to fund the expensive search: Bank Hapoalim, branch 500, account 420211.

Funeral for Har Adar security guard Youssef Ottman begins in Abu Ghosh

The funeral of Youssef Ottman, 25, begins in his hometown of Abu Ghosh.

Thousands gather at the town’s New Cemetery to honor the security guard killed by a Palestinian terrorist this morning.

Canadian envoy offers ‘condolences and prayers’ to Har Adar victims’ families

Canadian Ambassador to Israel Deborah Lyons expresses “sympathies, condolences and prayers” on behalf of her country to the families of the fallen security guards and border police officer killed in today’s terror attack.

Lyons speaks at an annual memorial ceremony for Americans and Canadians killed in Israel in wars and terror attacks.

— Judah Ari Gross

Video: IDF, police deploy into Bayt Surik following Har Adar attack

IDF says Har Adar terrorist’s village is secured, three arrested

IDF forces are continuing to operate in the village of Bayt Surik, near the Har Adar settlement that was the site of a deadly terror attack earlier today.

The village is home to the attacker, Nimer Mahmoud Ahmad Jamal.

An IDF statement says: “As part of the operation, IDF and Border Police forces swept the village, raided the terrorist’s home and blockaded the village. Various forces and intelligence methods were deployed, visible and hidden, in the roads and paths [around the village] in order to ensure security in the area.”

Three people were arrested in the operation, the army says.

European ambassadors in Washington defend Iran deal

Ambassadors to Washington for America’s four European partners in the Iran nuclear deal say they oppose reopening it to negotiation, but are open to increasing pressure on Iran outside the deal’s framework.

“Iran is fully living up to its commitments,” David O’Sullivan, the European Union ambassador, said Monday at a forum convened by the Atlantic Council, a liberal foreign policy think tank. “This agreement is delivering on a very, very important objective, which is to make sure Iran does not develop nuclear weapons. I can think of no issue we have with Iran that would not be more difficult without the agreement.”

Chiming in with agreement at the sessions were the French ambassador, Gerard Araud; the British ambassador, Sir Kim Darroch; and the German ambassador, Peter Wittig. The three countries and the EU, together with the United States, Russia, China, and Iran are signatories to the deal.

US President Donald Trump reviles the 2015 deal, which trades sanctions relief for a rollback of Iran’s nuclear program. He has called it among the worst deals ever negotiated, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agrees with him.


Funeral begins in Jerusalem for Har Adar security guard Or Arish

The funeral of Or Arish, 25, begins at Jerusalem’s Har Hamenuhot cemetery.

Arish was killed this morning in the terror attack at Har Adar outside Jerusalem.

Israel gives UNESCO head Arch of Titus replica in critique of Jerusalem resolutions

Israel gives a replica of Rome’s Arch of Titus to the head of UNESCO, in a subtle critique of the organization’s recent resolutions that have ignored Jewish links to Jerusalem.

Israel’s ambassador to the agency, Carmel Shama-Hacohen, hands the replica to UNESCO’s director-general Irina Bokova, on Tuesday.

“In this replica we can see how the Menorah, the symbol of Israel, is being taken out of Jerusalem by Roman soldiers after the second destruction of the Temple on the year 70 AD,” he says.

“When the executive board of UNESCO adopts every six months a resolution that denies the connection between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount, they are not only adopting a political resolution, they are adopting a resolution that negates the right of the state of Israel to exist and of the Jewish people’s right of self determination.”

Bokovo accepts the gift — handcrafted by experts from the Art Conservation Department at the Israel Antiquities Authority — and offers her own critique of the anti-Israel resolutions the member states of her organization routinely pass.

“Jerusalem is the sacred city of the three religions, and nowhere in the world more than in Jerusalem do Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions share space and interweave to the point that they support each other,” she says.

“We need to help everyone understand these interactions, these multiple layers of cultures which are impossible to ignore or isolate, and make this shared heritage a force for peace and dialogue. Too often we see the rise of exclusive discourses, trying to distort and cut our heritage in pieces, in endless disputes about what belongs to who, to this culture or another, about whose heritage is the greatest, the oldest, the holiest.”

— Raphael Ahren

Some 2,000 gather in Be’er Yaakov for funeral of border policeman

As many as 2,000 mourners gather in the Be’er Yaakov cemetery in central Israel for the funeral of Border Police officer Solomon Gavriyah, 20, who was killed in this morning’s terror attack in the West Bank settlement of Har Adar.

Most of those present are members of the Israeli-Ethiopian community, many from Be’er Yaakov where Gavriyah lived, or his colleagues from the Border Police.

Gavriyah was posthumously promoted to staff sergeant. Police said in a statement that he had joined the Border Police for his mandatory national service and had recently been serving as a policeman in the Jerusalem seam area along the boundary with the West Bank.

— Raoul Wootliff

Solomon Gavriyah’s body arrives at Be’er Yaakov cemetery

Cries and ululations are heard from family members of Solomon Gavriyah as his body is brought into the Be’er Yaakov cemetery.

Two of the mourners, apparently family members, require medical treatment after fainting in the heat and humidity amid intense emotions.

A leader of the Israeli-Ethiopian community in Be’er Yaakov opens the ceremony with a brief eulogy in Amharic.

— Raoul Wootliff

Police chief eulogizes Solomon Gavriyah as ‘one of our best officers’

Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich tells mourners at 20-year-old Border Police officer Solomon Gavriyah’s funeral that “our officers are on the front lines and over and over again put themselves in the line of danger to protect the people of Israel.

“The actions of the brave Border Police officers, Solomon at the front, prevented an even worse tragedy” during the shooting attack at Har Adar this morning, Alsheich says.

“In recent years, our best officers have been those killed in the line of duty and you, Solomon, as I have heard from your commanders and comrades, were one of them. You saw your work as a mission, and you were motivated in everything you did, and infected those who served with you” with that commitment, he adds.

“To the Gavriyah family, you are an inseparable part of the Border Police family. We reach out our open arms to you today and mourn together with you. The Israel Police today lowers its head in your honor, Solomon, and promises to continue your work. I salute you.”

— Raoul Wootliff

Gavriyah’s girlfriend weeps for ‘my hero’

Batya Cohen, Solomon Gavriyah’s girlfriend, eulogizes the Border Police officer as he is buried in his hometown of Be’er Ya’akov:

“My babe, I can never express how much I love you. The love of my life. My life.
Last night you fell asleep on the phone to me because you had guard duty in the morning.
I couldn’t believe what I saw on the news this morning.
Now one ever taught me how to deal with this. I don’t know how to accept this. I can’t.
You were always the best, the best in your unit, the best of all our friends. The best person I knew. You never complained. You were a warrior. A hero. My hero. You fought to get into this unit. You were on your way to be in the Military Police but you fought to get where you were.
How can this happen? My beautiful 20-year-old babe.”

— Raoul Wootliff

Hundreds gather in Arab town of Abu Ghosh to bury Youssef Ottman

Several hundred mourners attend the funeral of Youssef Ottman, who was killed by a Palestinian terrorist while guarding the entrance to the nearby West Bank settlement of Har Adar this morning.

The ceremony in the small Arab town of Abu Ghosh was attended by a number of border policemen who knew Ottman and worked with him in Har Adar.

The ceremony was conducted in Arabic and English by Abu Ghosh Mayor Issa Jaber.

Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev spoke at the funeral, praising Ottman as a protector of lives and calling the Palestinian who killed him was a taker of lives.

“Two men went to work this morning. One for life, one to save lives, and one for death, who went to take life away,” she said.

“We have no tolerance for people who take part in cowardly terror attacks,” she added, noting that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared the house of the attacker would be demolished.

Regev noted Ottman had been a combat soldier, and said he would have won “a fair fight.” But the terrorist, she said, had taken advantage of the fact that Ottman knew him, and was able to get up close before drawing his gun and killing him.

“They must choose: terror or making a livelihood,” Regev said of the Palestinians.

Opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union), also at the funeral, called Abu Ghosh “a model of peace,” noting Jews, Christians and Muslims all live peacefully in the small town and its environs.

— Dov Lieber

Gavriyah’s sister tries, fails to delivery eulogy at his grave

Solomon Gaviryah’s sister begins a eulogy but has to stop and be escorted away by family members, overwhelmed by emotion.

“You were the pride of our family. You were an inspiration to all of us. I don’t know how we can go on without you,” she says through tears before breaking down.

— Raoul Wootliff

At Gavriyah funeral, Ethiopian-Israeli MK lauds ‘one of our great heroes’

At Solomon Gavriyah’s funeral, Knesset member Avraham Neguise (Likud) says that today the people of Israel and the Israeli-Ethiopian community “lost one of our great heroes.”

“A year ago when he was injured in another terror attack, he didn’t give up in his mission to protect our homeland. He came back to protect our people. And today, he and his friends gave their lives for that mission. We will always remember you,” Neguise says in Hebrew before delivering a eulogy in Amharic.

— Raoul Wootliff

Minister lauds Gavriyah for ‘putting himself in front of the terrorist’

Speaking at the funeral of Solomon Gavriyah, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan vows not to “give up or give in” after this morning’s deadly terror attack.

“Solomon showed himself today to be a true hero of Israel. He put himself in front of the terrorist. He stopped him, even as his own life was taken,” Erdan says of the fallen Border Police officer. “You came to this land as an immigrant. You became one of its defenders. We will never forget the sacrifice you made.”

Erdan says that “the acts of heroism” displayed by Gavriyah, as well as security guards Youssef Ottman and Or Arish, who were also killed in the attack, “allow those in Har Adar, and all of us in Israel to live in peace and security.”

“Islamic extremists are trying to drive us out of our home through rockets on our borders and through stabbing and shooting attacks in our cities and towns,” he says. “Efforts to reach compromise are important but whenever we have Palestinians who want to kill innocent Israelis and the Palestinian Authority supports them, we will stand strong and we won’t give in. The terrorists will not get anything.”

“Solomon, I promise that we will not give up and give in, for your sake. We will continue to build our national home, we will continue to build our country, because it is our home,” Erdan concludes.

— Raoul Wootliff

US peace envoy condemns Har Adar attack

US peace envoy Jason Greenblatt condemns the Har Adar terror attack.

In posts to Twitter, Greenblatt says, “My family & I are horrified by the attack in Har Adar. Shame on Hamas & others who praised the attack. All must stand against terror! We pray for the victims of today’s attack at Har Adar, and their loved ones as well.”

EU condemns Har Adar attack as unjustifiable crime

The European External Action Service, the EU’s foreign service, condemns the Har Adar attack.

“This morning, a Palestinian gunman killed three Israelis, one police man and two security guards, at the entrance of the West Bank settlement of Har Adar. Another security guard was gravely injured,” the statement reads.

“There can be no justification for such a crime and attempts by Hamas to glorify the attack are reprehensible. Violence and terror will only achieve more loss and pain and must stop.

“The European Union offers its deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the shootings.”

Gavriyah funeral ends with 21-gun salute

Border Police officer Solomon Gavriyah’s funeral comes to an end with a 21-gun salute from fellow officers.

— Raoul Wootliff

US embassy, consulate send ‘joint statement’ condemning Har Adar attack

The US Embassy in Tel Aviv and the US Consulate in Jerusalem issue a “joint statement” on the Har Adar attack:

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms today’s horrific attack in Har Adar.‎ We also condemn statements glorifying terrorism and call on all to send a clear message that terrorism must never be tolerated. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims who were killed and we hope for a quick and full recovery of the injured.”

Iranian, 74, sentenced to die over ‘half-naked’ parties

TEHRAN — Iran sentences a 74-year-old man to death for hosting “mixed and half-naked parties,” the head of Tehran’s judiciary says on Tuesday.

Chief prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi says the man led “a corruption gang,” which held parties with drugs and alcohol, and where women were “sexually harassed.”

“The head of this corruption gang has been sentenced to execution and the case has been sent for appeal to the supreme court,” he says, according to the judiciary-linked Mizan news agency.

Dolatabadi mentions another case in which six people had been arrested for downloading “obscene” Hollywood films and dubbing them into Persian.

“The gang’s website was the largest download center for Hollywood films and series, and, in the past three years, they have published 18,000 dubbed films and series, many of which were obscene and pornographic,” says Dolatabadi.


AfD chair Petry says she will leave the far-right party, along with husband

The husband of Frauke Petry, a prominent leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany party, says he, too, will leave the party.

Alternative for Germany, or AfD, won 12.6 percent of the vote in Sunday’s election to win seats in the national parliament for the first time. But Petry, its co-chairwoman since 2015, announced Monday that she wouldn’t join its parliamentary group — and other leaders urged her to leave the party altogether.

“It is clear that this step will follow,” Petry said Tuesday in the eastern city of Dresden, the dpa news agency reports.

Petry’s husband, Marcus Pretzell, the party leader in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia and a regional lawmaker there, tells The Associated Press that he is also leaving AfD.

AfD won 94 of the 709 seats in the new German parliament, including Petry’s. It isn’t immediately clear whether any others would follow Petry, who moved AfD’s focus from opposing eurozone bailouts to migration after she took over in 2015, but has been increasingly sidelined in recent months.

— AP

Arab league calls for dialogue after Kurdish vote

IRBIL, Iraq — The Arab League is calling on Iraqis to renounce their differences and open comprehensive dialogue to avoid clashes, following a controversial independence referendum held by the country’s Kurds.

Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, chief of the Cairo-based pan-Arab organization, says in a statement: “It is still possible to contain the repercussions of this step if all concerned parties exercise wisdom and responsibility and conduct themselves inside the parameters of the Iraqi state.”

The interests of Iraq, he adds, “will be best served in the framework of a unified, federal and democratic Iraq.”

While the referendum is not binding and not expected to immediately lead to independence, it has shaken the region, eliciting condemnations from Iraq’s neighbors as well as the United States and the United Nations.

— AP

Man sets himself on fire at David’s Tomb in Jerusalem

A 54-year-old man arrives at David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, in central Jerusalem, pours flammable liquid on himself and sets himself on fire.

Bystanders who saw his actions rushed to put out the fire.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says the man was in moderate to serious condition due to burns.

There is no immediate word on his motives.

Netanyahu invites settlement leaders to New Year’s toast

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invites the leaders of the Israeli local councils in the West Bank to a toast honoring the Jewish new year, an official in the Yesha Council, an umbrella advocacy group for West Bank settlements, tells The Times of Israel on Wednesday.

The toast is scheduled for tomorrow at the PM’s office in Jerusalem.

Man who self-immolated at David’s Tomb said suffering from mental illness

Police say the 54-year-old man who set himself on fire at David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, outside Jerusalem’s Old City, is a Jewish man apparently suffering from mental illness.

The man is now hospitalized in moderate to serious condition, and was saved by bystanders who rushed to put out the flames.

Joshua Haberman, rabbi and education advocate, dies at 98

Rabbi Joshua Haberman, rabbi emeritus of the Washington Hebrew Congregation and founder of the Foundation for Jewish Studies, has died.

Haberman, who represented the Jewish community during the memorial service for the victims of 9/11 held at the National Cathedral, died Sunday at his home in Washington, DC, at 98, following a rabbinic career of 72 years.

Haberman, a Vienna native, was enrolled at the Vienna Jewish Theological Seminary when the Nazis annexed Austria in 1938. An invitation by the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, enabled him to come to the United States, where he received ordination from HUC in 1945. Haberman earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati the same year and went on to earn two doctorates.

He served as clergy in several Reform synagogues before becoming senior rabbi at the Washington Hebrew Congregation in 1969. He retired in 1986, becoming rabbi emeritus, and remained active in the congregation as a teacher and spiritual leader until his death.

In 1983, he created the Foundation for Jewish Studies, a nonsectarian organization offering scholarly lecture series and tours for adult Jews, using startup money donated by an anonymous congregant.

Haberman also was active in interfaith dialogue with Christians and Muslims, and spoke at both the White House and in Congress.

Accepting an award in 1987, Haberman lamented a “spiritual malaise” among American Jews.

“We Jews have an incredible advantage,” he said. “In the Western world we have learned important lessons and gained deep insights in world-saving truths from our historical experience of nearly 4,000 years. But a time such as this, when we could be a light unto the nation, most of our people, so brilliantly educated in all the secular branches of learning, are Jewishly illiterate. We are messengers who have forgotten the message.”

Haberman is survived by his wife of 73 years, Maxine Rudin Haberman, as well as four children, 15 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.


read more: