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Police hunting Jerusalem firebomb perpetrators

Two hurt when car is hit by Molotov cocktail near Beit Hanina; We will defend Israel against Iran attack — US official

Meir Ettinger, wearing a white skullcap, is escorted by IDF soldiers out of the  West Bank village of Qusra, January 7, 2014. (Rabbis for Human Rights)
Meir Ettinger, wearing a white skullcap, is escorted by IDF soldiers out of the West Bank village of Qusra, January 7, 2014. (Rabbis for Human Rights)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Monday’s events as they unfolded.

Ashdod port gets all-clear after radiation fear

Work resumes at Ashdod port after staff evacuated due to radiation emission detected from a container at the site, Israel’s Ynet website reports.

Experts from Israel’s atomic energy agency who were summoned to the site declared that there was no threat to the public.

Hapoel Tel Aviv faces legal action over fans’ behavior

Hapoel Tel Aviv soccer team is facing legal charges following rioting by its fans during a derby against Maccabi Tel Aviv two days ago, Army Radio reports.

The prosecution is asking the Sports Channel for a recording of the game, in order to verify claims that Maccabi fans used racial epithets and sang songs with Holocaust references. Hapoel fans hurled objects at the Maccabi players at the end of the match.

Likud activist says sorry to Rivlin

A Likud activist apologizes to President Reuven Rivlin for saying his remarks to the Arab media after the killing of a Palestinian baby damaged state security.

Shimi Tal, chairman of the Likud branch at the central town of Be’er Yaakov, says in a letter to Rivlin: “I regret and apologize if I offended your dignity… Some of my statements yesterday were made in a moment of anger and were in no way meant to harm your honor.”

Clinton emails: Cameron ‘inexperienced, uncommitted’

A close confidant of Hillary Clinton calls British Prime Minister David Cameron “aristocratic, unsure, inexperienced, oblique and largely uncommitted” in newly released emails.

Sidney Blumenthal, a foreign policy adviser in Bill Clinton’s White House, also wrote in 2009 that London Mayor Boris Johnson is a “Tory clown prince.”

The emails have been released in a new batch of Clinton’s private emails.

Jerusalem-area fire ‘may have been arson’

Suspicions are growing that arson was responsible for Sunday’s fire near Jerusalem that claimed more than 1,500 dunam of brush land, says the Walla news website.

Fire investigators found two bottles of flammable liquid in the area of the blaze.

Fire and Rescue Authority officials say that “all avenues are being investigated.”

Syrian FM heads to Iran

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem is heading to Iran this week for talks with senior Iranian officials on matters of “mutual interest” and key regional and international affairs, the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) says.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is among those set to meet with Muallem.

Police rearrest Schlissel fan

Police arrest Gilad Kleiner, the son of former MK Michael Kleiner, for the second time in days after he expresses support for gay pride parade knifeman Yishai Schlissel.

Kleiner, an ultra-Orthodox Jew from Kiryat Malachi near Ashdod, is detained for violating terms of his house arrest by posting his delight at the death of teenager Shira Banki, who was stabbed by Schlissel on Friday.

Qatar to Kerry: Push ‘instransigent’ Israel to restart talks

Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid Al-Attiya tells US Secretary of State John Kerry that aside from the crises in Syria, Yemen and Iraq, “the Middle East is suffering from the failures of the peace process due to the Israeli occupation” of Palestinian land.

Attiya accuses Israel of “intransigence” in dealing with the Palestinians and says it must end its “illegal blockade of Gaza.”

“We call on the United States of America to exert more efforts to go back to the peace process,” he says.

Kerry is meeting Gulf foreign ministers in Qatar in an effort to reassure them on the recently agreed Iran nuclear deal.

— AP


Imam arrested for ‘anti-Semitism lessons’

Israel Police arrest Sheikh Khaled Al-Mughrabi, who teaches at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount, after Palestine Media Watch provides incriminating evidence of anti-Semitic content in his lesson, PMW says.

According to PMW, Mughrabi teaches that Jews use the blood of non-Jewish children to make matzot, which caused Europeans to expel the Jews and led to the Holocaust; Jews were behind the 9/11 attacks; and Jews slaughter their own relatives as sacrifices to Satan.

The organization says police investigators asked it to supply all the original recordings, which led to Mughrabi’s arrest, and uploads video of his detention to YouTube.

Barney Frank backs Iran deal

Jewish former Democratic representative Barney Frank announces support for the deal with Iran on its nuclear program.

The Iranians “have accepted a set of strict limitations on their nuclear effort and an intrusive inspection regime that go well beyond what their regional opponents – e.g. Israel and Saudi Arabia – would tolerate,” Frank writes in an opinion piece in the Portland Press Herald.

“And if they violate their agreements, our ability to re-impose broadly supported tough sanctions will far exceed what we could have done if we rejected the current arrangement,” he says.

“Compared with the no-deal result, with Iran free to pursue nuclear weapons constrained only by unilateral sanctions from America and a few of our allies, what Obama and Kerry have done deserves support,” Frank concludes.

Mashaal to go to Moscow

An official statement by Hamas says that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has invited the Palestinian group’s political leader Khaled Mashaal to visit Moscow.

The offer comes during a phone call between Mashaal and Lavrov, who is currently in Qatar where he will meet with John Kerry.

Details of the trip will be announced shortly, Hamas says.

PA files ICC report on fatal firebomb attack

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki submits a report to the International Criminal Court on terrorism by settlers, including Friday morning’s firebomb attack on a Palestinian home that killed an 18-month-old baby, Palestinian news agency Ma’an reports.

Extremist Jewish settlers are suspected of carrying out the attack.

Maliki says he handed the report to the ICC prosecutor, which covers the attack on the Dawabsha home in particular and terrorism by settlers against Palestinians in general, in his hour-long meeting with Fatou Bensouda.

PA, Jordan demand world’s protection for Palestinians

Jordan and the Palestinian Authority agree to draft a joint appeal to the UN Security Council demanding “international protection for the Palestinian people and an end to the Israeli occupation” in response to the killing of 18-month-old Palestinian baby Ali Saad Dawabsha.

Saeb Erekat, a chief Palestinian negotiator recently appointed as secretary of the PLO, has discussed the matter with Jordan’s foreign minister, says Jordanian daily al-Ghad.

“We will turn to the Security Council requesting to place the Zionist gangs on the terror list and define them as terrorist organizations which must be confronted by the international community,” Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad tells al-Ghad.

Ahmad says that the Palestinian leadership is now “seriously reconsidering” the economic and security agreements signed with Israel in the past.

— Elhanan Miller

Tel Aviv U makes skin cancer breakthrough

A new Tel Aviv University study sheds light on the trigger that causes melanoma cancer cells to transform from non-invasive cells to invasive killer agents, pinpointing the precise stage at which the cancer becomes lethal.

The research is headed by Dr. Carmit Levy at the university’s Sackler School of Medicine, and conducted by researchers from TAU, the Technion Institute of Technology, the Sheba Medical Center, the Institut Gustave Roussy and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

“To understand melanoma, I had to obtain a deep understanding about the structure and function of normal skin,” Levy says, “Melanoma is a cancer that … in its aggressive form it will invade the dermis, a lower layer, where it eventually invades the bloodstream or lymph vessels, causing metastasis in other organs of the body. But before invading the dermis, melanoma cells surprisingly extend upward, then switch directions to invade.

“It occurred to me that there had to be a trigger in the microenvironment of the skin that made the melanoma cells ‘invasive,'” she says.

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers, and melanoma, which accounts for 2% of skin cancer cases, is responsible for nearly all skin cancer deaths.

Iran deal is best available option, says Qatar

The Iran nuclear deal was the best available option, says Qatari foreign minister Khalid Al-Attiyah after talks with American counterpart John Kerry in Doha.

Kerry is meeting with foreign ministers from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as he attempts to ease the concerns of key allies over the agreement to ease sanctions on Iran in return for curtailing its nuclear program.


UN agency says Palestinian school closures loom

The UN agency helping Palestinian refugees says a $101 million funding gap could keep 500,000 Palestinian students out of school this fall.

The deputy chief of the UN Relief and Works Agency, Sandra Mitchell, says that “if funding does not arrive” this month, the agency could delay the start of the school year.

The agency helps five million Palestinian refugees and their descendants in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. It operates 700 schools.

The budget shortfall comes at a time of rising Palestinian needs after last year’s Gaza war and competition over aid following the Syria conflict that has displaced millions.

— AP

1 hurt in Golan rocket strike – initial report

One person is wounded in a rocket strike in the Golan Heights, Israeli websites report.

Kikar Hashabat says according to initial reports from the north, two rockets exploded in the Golan region, while HNN says one person has been wounded.

Two mortars hit Golan, no injuries, IDF says

The IDF confirms two explosions in the northern Golan Heights.

Initial reports suggest two mortar shells hit Israeli territory, the army says.

No injuries have been reported, and IDF troops are searching the area.

— Judah Ari Gross

Top Jewish Democrat Adam Schiff backs Iran deal

Ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, says he is backing the Iran nuclear deal.

Schiff tells Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic that based on an “extensive review,” he has decided to support the the deal, and while he plans to formally announce his support today, he has already informed the White House of his intentions.

Goldberg speculates that Schiff’s decision “should carry some weight with national security-minded Democrats, and with still-undecided members of the House Jewish caucus.”

Italian ministers, businesspeople head to Iran

Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni and Economic Development Minister Federica Guidi are heading to Iran tomorrow for an official visit, the Iranian news website Tasnim says.

The two-day trip includes meeting with Iranian officials including Minister of Industry, Mine, and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh, according the state-run Shatanews.

They will be accompanied by a high-ranking delegation of Italian economic activists and representatives of various Italian firms interested in making investments in Iran.

Thew two ministers are being accompanied by a business delegation, including representatives from the Italian Exhibition and Trade Fair Association, the General Confederation of Italian Industry, and companies operating in the fields of power, highway construction, banking, car manufacturing, medicine, water, energy, oil, gas, and petro-chemistry.

Schumer and Schumer fight gun crime

Stand-up comedian and actress Amy Schumer is teaming up with her cousin New York Sen. Charles Schumer to call for tighter gun control.

She joins the senator Monday as he unveils a three-part plan that would make it harder for violent criminals and the mentally ill to obtain guns.

The two cite the recent shooting in a Louisiana movie theater that killed two women and wounded nine others during a screening of the movie “Trainwreck” starring Amy Schumer.

The senator’s legislation would create monetary rewards for states that submit all necessary records into the background check system and penalize states that do not. He also will call on Congress to preserve mental health funding and substance abuse programs.

— AP

Ex-security chiefs to Netanyahu: Accept Iran deal

Multiple Israeli former generals and ex-security chiefs are urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accept the nuclear deal between world powers and Iran, which he strongly opposes.

The former defense officials are signatories to a petition made public Monday, which calls the July 14 accord a “fait accompli.” It urges the government to pursue a policy that would “restore trust and reinforce security and diplomatic cooperation with the American administration.”

Among the signatories are two former Shin Bet chiefs, Ami Ayalon and Carmi Gillon; a former deputy director of Mossad, Amiram Levin; the ex-chief of the Atomic Energy Commission Uzi Eilmann; and dozens of former generals and senior officers.


Shin Bet nabs far-right Israeli activist

The Shin Bet security service arrests far-right activist Meir Ettinger, Channel 10’s Roy Sharon says.

If Ettinger remains silent during questioning, he will be transferred to administrative detention, Sharon explains.

Ettinger, the grandson of the murdered Israeli-American right-wing fundamentalist Meir Kahane, is the prime target of the Shin Bet’s so-called Jewish Division, which deals with Jewish extremists.

The Shin Bet attributes his arrest to his “involvement in activities by Jewish extremist groups.”

The arrest comes hours after Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan tells Israel Radio that the perpetrators of Friday’s deadly firebomb attack on a Palestinian home are “extremist, anarchist, religious,” who believe that the country’s laws do not apply to them.
He says Sunday’s cabinet decision to apply administrative detention to Jewish terror suspects as well as Palestinian ones gives security forces the tools necessary to combat Jewish terrorism.

Pride parade stabbing victim laid to rest

Shira Banki, the 16-year-old fatally stabbed in Thursday’s attack at the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade, is laid to rest in Kibbutz Nachshon in central Israel.

Banki succumbed to her injuries on Sunday, three days after she was stabbed by ultra-Orthodox Israeli Yishai Schlissel.

Eulogizing her, Shira’s parents say that they bear no ill will toward those who choose to sport a skullcap or beard, and only have a fight with intolerance, hatred and those who seek personal gain at the expense of the pain of others.

Police target makers of videos showing PM, president as Nazis

The state prosecutor agrees to launch an investigation to identify the people who posted videos on YouTube of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin in Nazi uniforms and appearing to speak German, Israel Radio reports.

The investigation will be conducted by the national fraud squad’s cyber crimes unit in conjunction with the office of the deputy state prosecutor.

US official: We will defend Israel from any Iran attack

The United States will defend Israel in the case of an Iranian attack against it, says a senior American defense official, asserting Israel’s right to self-defense and the administration’s commitment to Israel’s military superiority in the Middle East.

“We have an ally relationship. The word ‘ally’ means something to us. It means that if you are attacked, we will defend you. That is what an ally relationship means… We use that term sparingly,” the official explains.

“We think that this deal decreases the need and likelihood of an attack, that is why we signed it. We understand that military action is always an option. It’s an option for the United States. It’s an option for Israel. But the goal is to have an agreement that makes a military attack less needed. But Israeli has the right to self-defense. We understand that.”

— Raphael Ahren

2 hurt in firebomb attack in Jerusalem

Two people are hurt in a firebomb attack in Jerusalem, Channel 2 reports.

One of the wounded, a 27-year-old woman, smashes her car into a passing taxi cab after her car is attacked, wounding the driver.

The woman, who, according to Channel 2, sustained burns to her hands and body is being treated at Hadassah Hospital, Ein Kerem; the other victim is at Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem, Ynet reports.

Police hunting perpetrators in Jerusalem firebomb attack

Police are searching the Beit Hanina area of East Jerusalem for those responsible for a firebomb attack on a car in the area, Israeli website NRG says.

Officers set up checkpoints at the local interchange and inside Beit Hanina.

Two people are being treated in the hospital following the attack.

House GOP says it has the votes to disapprove of Iran deal

House Republicans says they have the GOP votes to disapprove of the Iran nuclear deal, as Democrats step up their support of the agreement the Obama administration and other world powers negotiated with Tehran.

Since Republicans hold a commanding 246 seats in the House, it was widely expected that the GOP would come up with 218 votes to support a resolution of disapproval, which has been introduced by Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill.

“Time is not the friend of this deal,” Roskam says in a statement. “The more time members spend evaluating this agreement, the more they realize it’s a historic mistake.”

It’s unclear, however, if there are enough votes in the House to override President Barack Obama’s expected veto of the legislation. The president is counting on Democrats to sustain his veto, and House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi says they will.

— AP

Israel-UK project makes Hebrew manuscripts available online

One of the oldest surviving Hebrew manuscripts, a bible dating back more than 1,000 years, will soon be available online in a joint project with the British Library in London, the National Library of Israel says.

Aviad Stollman, the library’s chief of collections, says the Gaster Bible will go online as part of a project to digitize all of the 3,200 rare Hebrew manuscripts at the British Library.

The National Library of Israel is partnering with the British Library in London to digitize its entire Hebrew manuscript collection, considered one of the largest and most significant in the world.

Most of the manuscripts date back to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance era and include rare texts of Hebrew literature, prayer books, bibles, Talmud or biblical commentary, as well as texts on the Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism.

— AP

2 die in crash on Mitzpe Ramon-Eilat highway

Two people in their 20s are killed and five others are hurt, two seriously, in a collision between two cars on the road from Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat.

Medics rush to the site of the accident to administer first aid. Rescue personnel say they found one of the cars on fire and its occupants in need of extraction.

The Magen David Adom emergency service says the burning car held four people in their 20s, including the two fatalities. The other two passengers are being treated for minor injuries.

The driver of the second car, a 60-year-old man, is being treated for moderate injuries, while two women, aged 34 and 60, are in serious condition.

Route 40 is closed in both directions, with police directing cars to alternate routes.


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