The Times of Israel liveblogged Thursday’s events as they happened.
Russian strikes slammed into Kyiv as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was visiting in the first such bombardment of Ukraine’s capital since mid-April, the president’s office and AFP correspondents say.
“Missile strikes in the downtown of Kyiv during the official visit of @antonioguterres,” tweets the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, with AFP correspondents hearing the blast and seeing smoke and flames coming from the area.
Opposition chairman Benjamin Netanyahu tears into Foreign Minister Yair Lapid for not attending the official state ceremony commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“Next year, when Lapid becomes the leader of the opposition, I expect to see him at Yad Vashem [for the ceremony],” Netanyahu tweets.
Yesh Atid MK Vladimir Beliak tweets in response that actually, Netanyahu will still be opposition chair next year and in two years he will meet Prime Minister Lapid, as the latter is slated to rotate in as premier in November 2023, so long as the government does not collapse before then.
The Security Council failed to go far enough in its efforts to “prevent and end” Russia’s war in Ukraine, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres admits while visiting Kyiv.
“Let me be very clear: the Security Council failed to do everything in its power to prevent and end this war. And this is the source of great disappointment, frustration and anger,” he says at a joint news conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Ra’am chair Mansour Abbas boycotted a meeting of coalition leaders that took place earlier this evening, the Kan public broadcaster reports.
Ra’am announced that it was freezing its ties with the coalition earlier this month amid disagreements over the government’s conduct regarding the Temple Mount.
It said it would not return to the government until a list of demands were met, including a pledge from Israeli leadership to restore the status quo on the Temple Mount.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met with Abbas yesterday, though the sides apparently did not manage to patch things up, Kan says.
The threatening letter with a bullet inside sent today to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s son Yoni warned that if the premier doesn’t resign, his family will be harmed, Channel 12 reports.
The letter was the second in less than a week. Today’s letter threatened to harm Yoni and Bennett’s wife Gilat if the prime minister does not quit, while the letter sent on Tuesday threatened to harm Yoni.
Channel 12 reports that the letters were likely sent by the same suspect or suspects, while Kan reports that the second letter was sent by a copycat.
Channel 12 says the letters had similar phrasing and the same type of bullet inside.
Today’s letter was intercepted at the post office and did not reach the Bennett home in Ra’anana, the network says, adding that there are not yet any major leads in the case.
IDF Military Police have arrested a soldier suspected of publishing several social media posts threatening Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, the Kan public broadcaster reports.
Military police plan to extend the soldier’s remand as the investigation is still in its early stages, Kan says.
Ra’am chairman Mansour Abbas traveled to Jordan earlier this week to participate in an Iftar dinner hosted by King Abdullah for several Arab Israeli community leaders, as well as Palestinian community leaders from East Jerusalem, Walla reports.
After the meal, Abbas met with Abdullah, and the two discussed the recent tensions in Jerusalem where Jordan holds custodianship over holy sites.
Abbas updated Prime Minister Naftali Bennett ahead of the trip, but the premier did not provide the Ra’am leader with any sort of message to pass along to Abdullah. Abbas also updated Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on the meeting upon his return, Walla says.
Harold Livingston, the American Jewish novelist who wrote the screenplay for “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” in 1979, has passed away at the age of 97, Variety reports.
Livingston was also behind TV shows such as “Mission: Impossible,” “The Magician” and “The Six Million Dollar Man.”
Before becoming a writer, he served in the Israeli Air Force and fought in Israel’s War of Independence, Variety says.
Join us in wishing a very happy birthday to Harold Livingston — initially hired to produce Star Trek: Phase II, he would later become the screenwriter on Star Trek: The Motion Picture. ???????????? pic.twitter.com/0LwmCaYvA0
— TrekNews.net (@TrekNewsNet) September 4, 2021
Kyiv says 45 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians captured by Russia had been released in a new prisoner exchange, without saying how many Russians were released.
“Another prisoner exchange has taken place. Today, 45 of our men were freed from Russian captivity,” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says in a statement on Telegram.
Among those released were 13 military officers and 20 soldiers, as well as 12 civilians, she says.
There was no immediate confirmation from Moscow about the swap or how many Russian prisoners had been freed.
Many prisoner exchanges have taken place between Kyiv and Moscow since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
Last week, 19 Ukrainians were freed just days after another exchange involving 76 people, Kyiv says.
A fire has caused the roof of an apartment building in Jerusalem to collapse, according to first responder services operating at the scene.
Firefighters have managed to gain control of the blaze, but authorities fear that a four-year-old girl is trapped inside of the Geula neighborhood building.
US President Joe Biden blasts Moscow for “idle comments” on the possible use of nuclear weapons in the Ukraine conflict, saying such talk showed Russia’s “desperation.”
“No one should be making idle comments about the use of nuclear weapons or the possibility that they would use that. It’s irresponsible,” Biden says.
Ukrainian investigators have identified more than 8,000 cases of suspected war crimes since Russia’s invasion, prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova tells a German TV channel on Thursday.
“It’s actually 8,600 cases only about war crimes, and more than 4,000 cases that are connected with war crimes,” Venediktova tells the Deutsche Welle broadcaster.
Blinken in Yom Hashoah statement: Future generations must feel responsibility to stand up to injustice
“Under the theme ‘Courage Facing Evil,’ today we mark the Day of Holocaust Remembrance and honor the victims and survivors of the Holocaust,” says US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement marking Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“As we remember the horrors of that dark chapter, we are surrounded by descendants of Holocaust survivors who were inspired by their family’s suffering and courage to dedicate themselves to public service. It is a sentiment I share from my own family’s story.
“They are public servants like US Ambassador Michèle Taylor, whose parents and grandparents managed to escape the Holocaust before the Nazis murdered her extended family. This terrible loss of loved ones and her family’s will to survive were catalysts for the Ambassador’s long career defending and advancing the cause of human rights.
“Today, she is the US representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council, where she stands up for the freedom, equal rights and dignity of all, and where she is working to rally the world in support of Ukraine against Russia’s brutal war of aggression.
“Our charge remains to stand united against tyranny, lies, and hatred in all their forms. We must confront rising antisemitism. We must ensure that current and future generations learn the history and lessons of and from the Holocaust, so they feel a responsibility to stand up to injustice and take action against atrocities wherever they occur.
“This work is urgent. Fewer and fewer survivors are still with us, while those who deny and distort the history of the Holocaust are finding insidious new ways to spread their lies.
“Today we remember all Holocaust survivors, the six million Jewish men, women and children who were murdered, and the millions of others who were killed or suffered persecution and horrific inhumanity, including Roma, persons with disabilities, and LGTBQI+ persons who were targeted in the Nazis’ campaign of dehumanization. Their precious lives and memory teach us why it is important not only to remember, but also to act.
“Every act of courage in the face of evil gives meaning to our sacred vow ‘Never Again,'” he says.
A shepherd who crossed the border from Lebanon into Israel in the Mount Hermon area earlier today was detained, the military says.
The Israel Defense Forces says troops were engaged in operational activity in the area, “part of an ongoing effort to protect the border.”
The suspect has been taken for further questioning.
In her first comments since the launch of a massive recall over fears of salmonella contamination, the chair of Strauss Group Ofra Strauss has apologized for “the deep grief” the company has caused.
“[I’m] here to say on behalf of the company as clearly as possible: I apologize that we disappointed you. I’m sorry for all the heartache you’re going through because of us,” Ofra Strauss says during a press conference along with other company officials.
“We’ve never dealt with an event like this and it’s the biggest recall in Strauss’ history. We will only open the factory when we are sure that everything is safe. I am the chairman of the company and part of all the decisions over the past week. We have all been working hard throughout this week,” she adds.
The press conference comes after earlier in the day, Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash announced that the Strauss Group’s Elite factory in Nof Hagalil will be shuttered for three months.
Iranian police have arrested several stone-throwing protesters furious at the failure of the local authorities to close a gigantic waste landfill, state media reports.
Residents of the village of Saravan in Iran’s northern Gilan province have been blocking the entrance to the garbage dump for more than two weeks, state broadcaster IRIB says.
Piles of stinking rubbish at the Saravan site now tower some 90 meters (295 feet) high, waste from the provincial capital Rasht and seven other cities that has been dumped there for nearly four decades.
Protesters say the landfill is causing diseases and health problems, and demand the site be closed immediately. The landfill site is due to close next year.
“It is impossible to humiliate us,” protesters chant, before hurling stones at the security forces, IRIB reported. Five police officers have been injured, Iran’s Fars News agency says.
No details were given on the number of people arrested.
US President Joe Biden is asking Congress to authorize $33 billion in new funding to address the war in Ukraine, including $20 billion in military assistance, a senior US official says.
The bulk of the huge new package will be the “$20 billion in military and other security assistance. This means weapons and ammunition flowing to the Ukrainian people,” the official says.
A further $8.5 billion in economic aid will “help the government of Ukraine respond to the immediate crisis,” while some $3 billion is proposed to fund humanitarian assistance and address the global food supply price shock resulting from Russia’s onslaught against Ukraine, a major wheat exporter.
The proposed package also includes funding to address economic disruptions in the United States and elsewhere, ranging from the impact on food supplies to the availability of critical components used in high-tech manufacturing.
Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy announces that his state will be adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, becoming the 25th state to do so, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations says in a statement.
“The fact that 25 states and the District of Columbia, and other major cities, over 30 countries, hundreds of universities, sports teams, and governmental bodies have adopted the IHRA Working Definition as a tool identifying antisemitism reflects the broad support that exists for the most authoritative and internationally accepted definition of antisemitism, as well as the widespread view that it is critically important to recognize antisemitism in order to combat it successfully,” the Conference of Presidents says.
Advocates for the definition, which was first published in 2016, say having a clear and common definition of antisemitism is helpful in identifying Jew-hatred. But its critics say it stifles free speech by identifying some forms of Israel criticism as antisemitic.
Herzog to March of the Living participants: Israel will fight to ‘prevent alternative facts from replacing history’
Addressing the March of the Living via satellite, President Isaac Herzog says, “The State of Israel, established in the wake of the Holocaust as a guarantee that the Jewish People always have a home, will act to ensure Jews will never again be refugees.”
“We will exert every effort to enable every single Jew in the world to live a proud, free, safe Jewish life. We will combat the trivialization of the truth and prevent alternative facts from replacing history,” he continues.
“We will not allow the world to forget the depths of human cruelty executed by the Nazis and their collaborators. And we will march again next year.”
Iran has set up a new underground facility for producing uranium-enriching centrifuge parts at its Natanz nuclear site, UN nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi says.
Grossi has informed International Atomic Energy Agency members of the development, Reuters reports.
The old workshop for making such equipment had been located at the Karaj nuclear site, which Iran claims was targeted by Israel last year.
The US House of Representatives has passed the Stop Iranian Drones Act, bipartisan legislation sponsored by Republican Reps. Michael McCaul and Joe Wilson and Democratic Reps. Gregory Meeks and Ted Deutch.
The bill states that US policy is to prevent Iran and Iranian-aligned militias from acquiring unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that can be used against the US and its allies.
“[Yesterday’s] overwhelming House vote is a strong demonstration of bipartisan determination to prevent Iranian aggression. We urge the Senate to rapidly complete action on this important legislation,” the pro-Israel AIPAC lobby says in a statement of support.
Only Republicans Marjorie Taylor Greene and Tom Massie voted against, with 420 voting in favor.
Ukrainian prosecutors say they were investigating 10 Russian soldiers suspected of committing war crimes in Bucha, where bodies in civilian clothes were found dead after Moscow’s troops retreated.
“Ten servicemen of the 64th motorized infantry brigade of the Russian armed forces, part of the 35th army, are suspected of cruel treatment of civilians and other violations of laws and customs of war,” the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office said in a statement.
The White House announces that US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will hold their first official movie screening this evening, showing the HBO film “Survivor” to mark Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The film tells the story of Jewish boxer Harry Haft who was deported to Auschwitz and forced to fight in order to survive.
The film’s director, producers, lead actor, and representatives of the American Jewish community will attend the screening, the White House says.
Police to dispatch 3,000 officers throughout Old City amid fears of renewed clashes on last Friday of Ramadan
Police are gearing up to secure the Old City of Jerusalem ahead for prayers on the last day of Ramadan tomorrow .
Roughly 3,000 officers will be deployed throughout the Old City, amid fears of renewed clashes, Walla reports. Reinforcements will remain in the area in the days that follow, in light of the upcoming Memorial Day, Independence Day and Eid al-Fitr and Jerusalem Day holidays.
The White House has proposed using assets seized from Russian oligarchs to compensate Ukraine for damage caused by Moscow’s invasion of the country.
This would enable the “transfer of the proceeds of forfeited kleptocratic property to Ukraine to remediate harms of Russian aggression,” the White House says in a statement.
The compensation idea is part of new proposed rules ratcheting up economic punishment on the Kremlin, two months after it invaded its neighbor in an attempt to topple the government and seize territory.
US President Joe Biden is set to announce the proposed legislation alongside his request to increase funding by Congress for Ukraine’s military later today.
The Islamic Jihad terror group’s armed wing threatens Israel by showing off footage of the organization’s Jenin aerial drones in a propaganda clip.
In video released by the terror group, a Jenin drone can be seen dropping an explosive device on an Israeli military jeep in September 2019 (the jeep in that incident was largely unscathed).
Islamic Jihad is releasing videos to mark Quds Day, a day of solidarity with Palestinians initiated by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini.
“The enemy should think carefully and reflect: what are our drones like today, and how are their capabilities three years after that operation?” says Abu Hamza, a spokesperson for Islamic Jihad’s military wing.
Islamic Jihad has seen an uptick in activity in and around the West Bank city of Jenin in recent years. Several Palestinians killed in recent gunfights with Israeli troops entering the area to conduct arrests were reputedly affiliated with the terror group.
Abu Hamza uses the opportunity to threaten Israel some more, vowing that the organization alongside other terror groups will one day turn the country into a “mass of fire and flame.” He further tells Israel not to meddle with the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam.
“Violating the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Islamic holy sites in Palestine [will lead to] opening new and wide fronts against the enemy entity. The geography of the coming battle will transcend the borders of Palestine,” says Abu Hamza.
— قناة الميادين (@AlMayadeenNews) April 28, 2022
OSWIECIM, Poland – Led by eight Holocaust survivors and Polish President Andrzej Duda, the 2022 March of the Living sets out on the 3.2 kilometer (two-mile) trek from Auschwitz to Birkenau.
This year’s march takes place under the shadow of war in neighboring Ukraine, and a number of Ukrainian refugees are among the 2,500 Jewish and non-Jewish participants gathered to commemorate the 6 million Jewish Holocaust victims on Yom Hashoah, or Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The march resumes with a smaller footprint after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Participants in past years have numbered in the tens of thousands.
For the first time in its three-decade history, the march also includes an official delegation from the United Arab Emirates.
International March of the Living Yom HaShoah Ceremony Fighting Antisemitism: Passing the torch of Holocaust memory from the survivors to the next generationsThursday, April 28, 20228 AM New York | 2 PM Poland | 3 PM Israel
Posted by International March of the Living on Monday, April 25, 2022
For the second time in less than a week, a threatening letter with a bullet has been sent to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s family, Channel 12 reports.
The letter is believed to have been sent by someone known to the family, the network says, though it was not necessarily sent by the same suspect who mailed the first letter. The individual spent time gathering information on the Bennetts, according to Channel 12.
The report says the letter uncovered at the premier’s home in Ra’anana was addressed to Bennett’s son Yoni. The first letter was addressed to both him and Bennett’s wife Gilat, Ynet says. Police and the Shin Bet security service have opened an investigation into the matter.
Security officials tell the network that they do not believe there is a substantial threat to the prime minister or his family.
US biotech firm Moderna say in a statement it has submitted a request for an emergency use authorization in the United States for its COVID vaccine for children aged six months to under six years.
Children under six are the only age group that has yet to gain access to a COVID-19 vaccine in the United States and most countries.
Bundestag President Bärbel Bas has filled out a Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem honoring a Holocaust victim who grew up in the town where she currently lives, the museum says in a press release.
Barbel toured the museum yesterday, during which Yad Vashem director shared with her the story of Irma Nathan.
Before the Holocaust, the Nathan family resided at Lerchenstraße 25 in Duisburg, Germany, next door to Bas’s home today.
After Kristallnacht in November 1938, following Irma’s husband Ferdinand Nathan was arrested and incarcerated in Dachau. After his release, he and Irma decided they had to get their two children, Ruth and Alfred, out of Germany. Several months later, they sent them to Amsterdam while the two of them remained behind. On April 22, 1942 — 80 years ago — Ferdinand and Irma were deported to Izbica ghetto and were never heard from again. Their children had a similar fate even after escaping to The Netherlands. They were murdered in a Nazi concentration camp in Poland in 1943, according to Yad Vashem.
Moved by Nathan’s story, Barbel decided to fill out of a Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem and read aloud her name at the “Unto Every Person There is a Name” Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at the Knesset earlier today.
“Germans cut short the lives of six million Jews,” President Bas said at the ceremony. “I think of the dead with sadness and shame. Germans denied the right of so many Jewish women, men and children to live. Nowadays, anyone who tells the stories of those murdered restores the humanity of the millions of victims. We must all do our part to preserve their memory.”
The Page of Testimony filled out by Bas will be added to the over 2,800,000 others compiled by Yad Vashem over the past seven decades.
KYIV — A senior Ukrainian presidential aide says Kyiv has the “right” to strike Russian military targets, suggesting direct attacks on facilities within Russian territory.
“Ukraine will defend itself in any way, including strikes on the warehouses and bases of the killer Russia. The world recognizes this right,” presidential aide and conflict negotiator Mykhaylo Podolyak wrote on Twitter.
Likud MK Ophir Akunis says, in the presence of Bundestag President Barbel Bas at a ceremony at the Knesset to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day, that he will not forgive the Germans for the Holocaust.
“Others may be able to forgive the Germans. I do not forget or forgive, nor will I forgive this act of pure evil, ever,” Akunis says in Hebrew, having addressed Bas previously in English.
Akunis is speaking at “Unto Every Person There is a Name,” an official annual event during which Knesset members read out the names of Holocaust victims.
Ukraine: Russian offensive in east picking up momentum with intensive fighting around Donetsk, Kharkiv
POKROVSK, Ukraine — Ukraine says that Russia’s offensive in the east has picked up momentum, with several towns coming under intense attack as Moscow’s forces attempt to surround Ukrainian troops.
In a reminder of the horrific toll the war has taken since it began Feb. 24, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres visits towns outside the capital of Kyiv where evidence of mass killings of civilians was found after Russia’s retreat from the area.
The fighting gathers pace after Russia suddenly cut off natural gas to two NATO nations on Wednesday, in what was seen as a bid to punish and divide the West over its support for Ukraine ahead of the potentially pivotal battle in the eastern industrial region of the Donbas.
The General Staff of Ukraine’s military says Russian forces were “exerting intense fire” in several places as they pushed on with the second phase of their invasion.
The most intensive action is around Donetsk and close to Kharkiv, which lies outside the Donbas but is seen as key to Russia’s apparent bid to encircle Ukrainian troops there.
An Israel Defense Forces soldier who accidentally shot and killed his comrade on a military base in the Jordan Valley last year is convicted of manslaughter.
He is to be sentenced next month and is expected to receive a lengthy jail term.
The officer, named only with the first Hebrew initial of his name, “Mem,” was unfamiliar with the weapon he was handling at the time of the shooting, and was not authorized to use it, the military found.
He shot 22-year-old Staff Sgt. Yonatan Granot of the Nahal Brigade on February 23, 2021. The bullet struck Granot in the head, critically injuring him.
Granot was taken by helicopter to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem for treatment, but was pronounced dead three days later.
BERLIN — German lawmakers vote in favor of sending heavy weapons to Ukraine, a symbolic decision that reflects the government’s change of course on the issue.
Germany had initially refused to send any offensive weapons to Ukraine and later balked at sending heavy equipment such as armored vehicles.
Under pressure domestically and from allies, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government agreed recently to let Ukraine purchase German armaments and support weapons swaps with allies who in turn are sending heavy gear to Ukraine.
Germany has already sent about 2,500 anti-aircraft missiles, 900 bazookas, and millions of rounds of ammunition, hand grenades and mines to Ukraine, the dpa news agency reported. It now plans to give armored vehicles to Slovenia to replace Soviet-era tanks the country is sending to Ukraine, send mortars directly to Ukraine, and let Kyiv purchase mothballed self-propelled armored anti-aircraft guns from Germany.
German companies have also asked to send 88 Leopard tanks, 100 Marder armored vehicles and 100 howitzers to Ukraine, permission for which has yet to be granted.
Today’s non-binding motion — with 586 lawmakers in favor, 100 against and seven abstentions — receives support from governing parties and the main opposition Union bloc of ex-Chancellor Angela Merkel.
BUCHA, Ukraine — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urges Russia to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) on investigations into possible war crimes carried out during its invasion of Ukraine.
“I fully support the ICC and I appeal to the Russian Federation to accept, to cooperate with the ICC. But when we talk about war crimes, we cannot forget that the worst of crimes is war itself,” the UN’s chief says during a visit to Bucha outside Kyiv, where hundreds of dead civilians were discovered after Russian troops pulled out.
The memorial siren that wailed across Israel at 10 a.m. for two minutes to mark the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day was activated by a Holocaust survivor.
Reuven Eyal pushed the button on the siren system alongside his soldier granddaughter Shani Eyal, who serves in the Home Front Command unit responsible for the national alert system.
Eyal was born in Transylvania, Romania, in 1935. After moving to Israel in the wake of World War II, he served in the Israel Defense Forces for many years, eventually as head of the intelligence corps, during which he was involved in the 1981 operation to destroy a nuclear reactor in Iraq.
“The Holocaust is a defining event, following which many decided to immigrate to Israel — to a country where they feel safe,” Eyal says in a statement issued by the IDF. “It is important for me to convey to the younger generation that the future of the state is in their hands.”
At a Knesset ceremony to mark Israel’s annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett says the memory of the Nazi genocide is engrained into the DNA of the Jewish people.
“We are commanded in the Passover Seder to remember it as if we came out of Egypt,” Bennett says at “Unto Every Person There is a Name,” an official annual event during which Knesset members read out the names of Holocaust victims.
“In Judaism, memory is not just a thing of the past but a layer that is added so every Jew continues to remember,” he says. “The memory of the Holocaust is not just a memory, but a layer, part of the DNA that is passed down from generation to generation.”
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