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

Footage appears to show Palestinian attack on kibbutz from across Green Line

Footage published by the Islamic Jihad terror group appears to show assailants opening fire at an Israeli town, seemingly from across the Green Line, the Kan public broadcaster reports.

The terror group claims that the homes seen being fired on are in Merav, an Israeli town that sits just over the Green Line from the West Bank. However, the IDF says shots were fired at neighboring Maale Gilboa.

According to Kan, the assailants are thought to have come from Jenin and escaped to the West Bank town of Jalabun, which sits less than a mile from both Merav and Maale Gilboa.

Saudi prince hosts Egyptian leader for first talks in months

The leaders of Egypt and Saudi Arabia met in the Gulf kingdom, officials say, marking the first face-to-face discussions between the two men in months as the North African country battles a domestic economic crisis.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia, held talks late Sunday that focused on ties between the two Middle Eastern heavyweights, according to Egyptian presidential spokesman Ahmed Fahmy.

Fahmy says in a statement that the two leaders “affirmed mutual concern for promoting common cooperation in all fields.” They also agreed to continue “coordination and consultation” on regional and international topics, he adds.

The statement does not give further details.

“I affirm the depth and strength of the bilateral relations between Egypt and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” el-Sissi tweets after returning to Egypt early Monday.

Bin Salman, widely known in the West by the acronym MBS, received el-Sissi in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah on the Red Sea. Images aired by state-run media in the two countries show the crown prince waiting for the Egyptian president on the tarmac.

Other officials from both countries attended the talks, including Abbas Kamel, head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Authority, and Musaed bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, Saudi national security adviser, according to the Saudi official news agency.

Shots fired at kibbutz near Green Line, no injuries

The army says unidentified assailants opened fire at an Israeli kibbutz that sits near the northern West Bank.

No injuries are reported following the incident at Kibbutz Maale Gilboa, which sits on the Israeli side of the Green Line, less than a mile from two West Bank towns.

The only damage appears to be chipped concrete on the walls of two homes where bullets impacted.

The IDF says soldiers are hunting for suspects.

US reportedly mulling possible interim nuclear deal with Iran

A person involved with security at the Uranium Conversion Facility just outside the city of Isfahan, Iran, on March 30, 2005. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)
A person involved with security at the Uranium Conversion Facility just outside the city of Isfahan, Iran, on March 30, 2005. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

The US reportedly says it considering resuming talks with Iran aimed at reaching an interim deal over Tehran’s nuclear program, as the Islamic Republic races ahead with enrichment activity with talks on restoring the 2015 JCPOA stalled.

US officials informed counterparts in Israel, France, the UK, and Germany that they were mulling proposing a deal in which Tehran would curb nuclear enrichment above 60 percent purity, a step nearing weapons-grade, in exchange for sanctions relief, the Axios and Walla news websites report.

Talks on the issue began in January and the allies were informed in February, according to the reports, which cite 10 sources, including Israeli and Western diplomats.

Officials wait for a meeting with diplomats from P5+1, the European Union and Iran at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel March 31, 2015 in Lausanne, France. (AFP/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/POOL)

The reports note that Iran knows about the US’s position — and mediators may have delivered a draft agreement — but is not on board, saying they only want a full agreement.

Talks between Iran and the US to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action fell apart last year, after months of halting progress nearly clinched an agreement. Israel opposed a resumption of the deal.

Iran and the P5+1 reached a number of interim deals to freeze enrichment and suspend sanctions in the years leading up to the 2015 JCPOA.

The White House tells the news sites that it “refuses to comment on second-hand rumors.” The National Security Council says US President Joe Biden is committed to stopping Iran and “and we still believe diplomacy is the best way to achieve that objective.”

Two in Gaza handed death penalty for ‘collaboration with Israel’

A military court in the Gaza Strip has convicted six people of “collaboration” with Israel, sentencing two of them to death.

The court says in a statement the death sentences would be carried out “one by firing squad and the other by hanging.”

It added that four others were handed “life sentences with hard labor,” which in Gaza amounts to 25 years.

Those convicted were not identified by officials in the Palestinian territory, which has been run by Hamas since 2007, nor were details of their cases published.

BoI governor: Rates will keep rising if needed, inflation worse than mortgage woes

Bank of Israel Governor Amir Yaron says Monday could be the last time interest rates are raised, with the pace of inflation appearing to slow, though it will all depend on economic numbers that come out before the next rate decision in three months.

Yaron tells Channel 12 news that BoI is “determined to lower inflation,” arguing that it causes more widespread hardships than the cost of rising interest rates on mortgages.

“The damage from inflation will be worse,” he says.

Yaron also responds to insults thrown his way by Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi, saying that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made clear the bank’s independence.

“Sellers, players in Israel and outside of it, everyone agrees that they want to see an independent Bank of Israel,” he says.

In its rate hike decision earlier, the bank also published forecasts showing the country’s GDP shrinking by billion of dollars if the overhaul goes through, but growing if it is resolved somehow.

According to Yaron, “in every scenario there was damage,” to the economy, though the longer the public perceives that the issues around the overhaul will persist the worse it is.

Trump heads for New York as city girds for Tuesday arraignment

Former president Donald Trump has boarded his private plane and is flying from Florida toward New York, ahead of his expected booking and arraignment, as the nation’s largest city bolsters security and warns potential agitators that it is “not a playground for your misplaced anger.”

Trump’s ground journey from his Mar-a-Lago club to his red, white, and blue Boeing 757, emblazoned with “TRUMP” in gold letters was carried live on national television and took him past supporters waving banners and cheering the former president. Trump and his supporters criticize the case against him — stemming from hush money payments during his 2016 campaign — as politically motivated.

The scene is quite different in New York, where Trump built a national profile in business and entertainment, but became deeply unpopular as he moved into politics.

His return to the city opens an unprecedented chapter in American history, with Trump being the first former president to face criminal charges, even as he is in the midst of a third campaign for the White House. It is causing major legal, political, and cultural events collide in unprecedented ways.

The former president plans to spend the night at Trump Tower, then surrender to authorities on Tuesday for booking and a likely afternoon arraignment.

Trump Tower is open Monday, but authorities are planning to close nearby streets as Trump comes and goes, and additional security is also in the works. They have taken steps to close and secure the courthouse floor where the former president is set to appear for an arraignment Tuesday afternoon. He is expected to plead not guilty and to be released, pending a trial.

Magen David Adom scrambling to fill blood donation shortage

An Israeli donates blood. (courtesy of Magen David Adom)
An Israeli donates blood. (courtesy of Magen David Adom)

Magen David Adom National Blood Services announces that blood supplies are low, as the Passover holiday approaches.

The emergency medical organization is particularly concerned about the supply of platelets. After blood is donated, it is separated into plasma, red blood cells, and platelets. Plasma can be frozen for up to a year and red blood cells have a shelf life of 35-42 days. However, platelets are good for only five days after donation.

“Platelets are for people at risk for severe bleeding, such as oncological patients, bone marrow transplant recipients, and trauma victims,” says the head of MDA Blood Services Prof. Eilat Shinar.

A full 50 percent of blood donations in Israel come from workplaces, schools, universities, yeshivas, and army bases. The seven weeks between the Passover and Shavuot holidays are a consistent challenge for recruiting blood donors, as these places are intermittently closed for holidays.

The situation is complicated this year by the fact that Passover and the Muslim month-long Ramadan holiday coincide. Those observing the daily Ramadan fast are disqualified from donating blood.

To prevent a shortage, Israel requires 1,100 units of blood donated per day. All blood types are needed, especially the universal donor type O.

MDA urges the public to go to donate at one of its sites around the country during the holiday period.

A directory of sites can be found on the MDA website or by calling 03-5300400.

Netanyahu backs removing protesting reservists, reprises call for unity

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant appear together for a pre-Passover toast on a central Israel air force base, where they continue to exhort troops to maintain a united stance.

After talking up unity during an appearance together at another army base earlier in the evening, but skirting around the judicial overhaul, the two now make more direct reference to their tiff, exposing lingering rifts.

Netanyahu tells the troops that “with good will and real compromise, we can get to a broad agreement — that’s what I am striving for,” referring to the controversial overhaul, which has sparked mass protests, including from reservists.

He adds that Israel enemies should know that any internal rift will not affect the country’s willingness to fight, and speaks in support of air force chief Tomer Bar, who said Sunday that reservists who refuse to show up for service would be booted from the military.

“It’s relevant not only for the air force, but every part of the IDF,” he says.

Gallant, who had warned that allowing the overhaul to go forward as is, slicing a deep gash in the national psyche, could harm national security and dampen soldiers’ willingness to fight, does not address the issue directly, but speaks in favor of military discipline.

“When it comes to approving missions, when lives are at risk, there’s no room to waver — what guides us is how we carry out the mission and protect Israeli citizens,” he says. “That’s true for the soldier on the ground or the pilot on an operation, through to the IDF chief, the defense minister, and the prime minister.”

Netanyahu and Gallant preach unity in joint base appearance

Yoav Gallant, left, and Benjamin Netanyahu, center, at an army ceremony on April 3, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
Yoav Gallant, left, and Benjamin Netanyahu, center, at an army ceremony on April 3, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant are making a show of putting their public beef aside, appearing together at a pre-Passover toast and calling for unified Israeli stance.

“The most important thing is keeping politics outside the base, uniting together to defend Israel, that’s why we are here,” Netanyahu says, according to a statement from his office.

Gallant delivers a similar message of unity in the face of a common enemy to soldiers, the Defense Ministry says in a separate statement.

“The enemy’s bullets don’t discriminate between those who come from the city or country, from the mountains or valleys. We’re all the same on the battlefield, so we need to show a unified front against the enemy,” the defense minister says.

“This is especially relevant now, when we see attempts to hurt us in new places — where we haven’t seen attacks in past years,” he adds, without elaborating.

Netanyahu announced he was firing Gallant last week for urging the government to pause its judicial overhaul blitz, but has yet to actually fire him.

Earlier Monday, the Prime Minister’s Office said the firing had been delayed by security concerns. Reports, however, have indicated that Netanyahu is waiting for Gallant to apologize and profess fealty to his rule.

Foreign minister rings French counterpart to rally anti-Iran stance at IAEA

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen says he has spoken by phone with French counterpart, Catherine Colonna, about ways to stop Iran’s nuclear program.

Israel is pushing allies to censure Iran at the June IAEA Board of Governor’s meeting, and Cohen is working to drum up support for a tough stance.

“In recent months, I met and spoke with my colleagues from the E3 and the US in order to advance immediate steps in the IAEA board meeting in June,” says Cohen in a statement. “My visit to the Czech Republic, which heads the IAEA Board of Governors, will also be dedicated to the unceasing fight against Iran’s nuclear program.”

Overhaul could leach $42 billion out of Israeli economy in 3 years

Travelers at Ben Gurion Airport as flights are being delayed due workers going on strike in protest against the government's judicial overhaul, March 27, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Travelers at Ben Gurion Airport as flights are being delayed due workers going on strike in protest against the government's judicial overhaul, March 27, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Israel’s judicial overhaul is liable to cost the country $14 billion annually over the next three years, according to an Army Radio calculation based on a Bank of Israel forecast.

In a press release earlier Monday, BoI warned that should the changes to the judiciary go through, and “the perception of the public… is that the impact of the legislative changes will persist,” Israel could lose 2.8 percent of its gross domestic product annually over the next three years.

According to Army Radio, that figure would equal $14 billion a year, though the number is seen as highly speculative.

According to BoI, should the effects of the overhaul subside quickly, Israel will only lose 0.8 percent of its GDP per year over three years, whereas should the judicial crisis be resolved in a way that does not touch the economy, the GDP is forecast to grow 2.5% this year and 3.5% next year.

The economy grew by 6.5% in 2022, beating forecasts, and had initially been forecast to grow by a modest 2.8% in 2023 amid a global economic downturn.

Minister lashes Bank of Israel for rate hike, calls for deregulating lending industry

Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi has some harsh words for the Bank of Israel after it raises its benchmark interest rate, seemingly calling for an end to the practice of only letting banks borrow from Israel’s national reserve.

Karhi, a member of Likud, sarcastically thanks Bank of Israel governor Amir Yaron for “the holiday present for Israeli citizens,” presenting the economist as cold and detached from realities on the ground.

“With this kind of opacity on the eve of Passover, maybe we can just put a robot in the governor job, which will make decisions on raising interest rates using an objective algorithm, cut off from the people,” he tweets.

Likud MK Shlomo Karhi at the Arrangements Committee meeting in the Knesset, in Jerusalem on January 13, 2020. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The Bank of Israel raised its benchmark lending rate to 4.50 percent Monday, hitting its highest rate since 2007, after a year that has seen the figure jump significantly to address inflationary pressures. The rate is 0.25% higher than previously, the most modest rise in a year, mirroring a similar decision to slow the rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve Bank.

The lending rate set by the Bank of Israel determines the interest rates banks pay the reserve to borrow money via a system currently only available to regulated and licensed banks. Consumers generally pay the BoI rate plus whatever extra the commercial bank adds on when borrowing.

But Karhi argues that the commercial banking sector, which he terms a “cartel,” should be deregulated, seemingly calling for it to be opened up to everybody, presumably including gray market lenders, payday loans and other types of activity criticized in the past for predatory practices.

“Not only banks should be allowed to get rich off interest,” he tweets.

Foreign minister jets to Prague for lightning talks on Iran

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen is flying to the Czech Republic, where he will meet President Petr Pavel and Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský on Tuesday.

He will also meet business leaders in Prague before flying home tomorrow.

According to the Foreign Ministry, Cohen will discuss deepening ties in the fields of security, trade, and climate.

Iran will also dominate discussions, as the Czech Republic chairs the IAEA Board of Governors. “We will discuss ways to stop Iran’s attempt to obtain a nuclear weapon, and how to stop Iran’s terrorist arms,” says Cohen.

In March, Pavel replaced Milos Zeman, an outspoken supporter of Israel.

Good governance group bashes attorney general for siding with Netanyahu

The Movement for Quality Government in Israel is fuming at Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara after she argued that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not in contempt of court when he announced he would not respect conflict of interest rules meant to place a firewall between him and his government’s judicial overhaul.

The group says in a statement it is “dismayed by the attorney general’s rambling and evasive response.”

The opinion by Baharav-Miara marks a rare case of her siding with Netanyahu. The premier and his allies have spoken openly about sacking the attorney general, who has come out against the government’s judicial overhaul plans.

Eliad Shraga, head of the Movement for Quality Government, speaks at an anti-overhaul protest in front of the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on March 9, 2023. (Jeremy Sharon/Times of Israel)

MQG had petitioned the High Court to find Netanyahu in contempt. Netanyahu also denied any wrongdoing on Sunday.

“It’s quite unfortunate that at the moment of truth, the attorney general chose to shrink from taking a clear stance,” the group says. “We hope the court will rule in our favor.”

AG: Netanyahu not in contempt of court, but can’t ignore conflict of interest rules

Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not in contempt of court when he announced that he would involve himself in legislation to overhaul the judiciary despite a determination that doing so would be a conflict of interest.

But Baharav-Miara tells the High Court in response to a petition against Netanyahu by the Movement for Quality Government that the premier cannot ignore conflict of interest rules, despite attempting to carve out an exception for himself.

“From a legal point of view, a contempt claim must fulfill certain conditions, which are not met in the current situation,” she writes. “The position of the attorney general regarding the request does not change the prime minister’s duty to uphold the law and avoid acting in a conflict of interest.”

She writes that Netanyahu’s conflict of interest risk is greater than normal, rejecting his claim that he can help rule on how judges are picked but ensure that no judges picked by an altered judicial selection panel ever rule on his legal cases.

“Without determining relevant limits and implementing them, the prime minister could find himself in systematic and open violation of the law,” she writes.

Aircraft downed by IDF Sunday likely Iranian drone, army finds

The Israel Defense Forces has determined that a drone it shot down after it crossed into Israeli airspace from Syria was likely of Iranian origin, a military source says.

Debris from the downed aircraft has been collected and is continuing to be examined, the source says.

The IDF initially declined to describe the aircraft after it was intercepted Sunday, but now says it was an unmanned aerial vehicle. It was downed using “electronic warfare,” the source says.

Around an hour after the incursion, Syrian media reported explosions at an airport near the capital Damascus, but did not blame Israel. Syrian state media generally is quick to attribute airstrikes in the country to Israel and has repeatedly done so in recent weeks.

Tensions in northern Israel have escalated after a series of airstrikes in Syria, a terror attack that is believed to have been carried out by an intruder from Lebanon, and threats by Israeli officials and Iran.

Bank of Israel raises interest rate to highest level since before 2008 crash

The Bank of Israel has lifted the benchmark interest rate for the ninth straight meeting, raising its key lending rate by 25 basis points to 4.50 percent, the highest level since 2007, as it battles inflation pressure and uncertainty over the government’s judicial overhaul plan.

“Economic activity in Israel is at a high level, and is accompanied by a tight labor market, although there is some moderation in a number of indicators,” the central bank said.

The central bank’s monetary committee decided to raise the benchmark rate to 4.50% from 4.25%, the smallest increase since April 2022. The hike mirrored the US Federal Reserve, which raised interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point last month amid global financial turmoil following the recent collapse of two US banks.

BoI’s decision comes after inflation quickened at a faster rate than forecast in February and as uncertainty over the repercussions of the proposed changes to the legal system led to a dampening of investor sentiment and a slowdown in investments.

In addition, the Bank of Israel Research Department revised its macroeconomic forecast, and presented two potential scenarios in view of what it said was the “tremendous” uncertainty due to the proposed changes to the judicial system and their economic implications.

Smotrich looking for way to sue Histadrut union over strike

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich is looking to sue the powerful Histadrut labor federation over economic damage he says was wreaked by last week’s general strike to protest the government’s judicial overhaul.

In a series of tweets, Smotrich confirms reports in Hebrew media about his desire to sue the Histadrut, which represents state workers, and which opened the strike on March 27, calling it off that evening once the government announced it was freezing its legislative blitz.

“The law says that besides not paying the salary of a striking worker, an illegal strike is an unprotected strike and those who start it or take part in it are liable for its effects and must pay for damages caused by it,” he says.

Smotrich urges private citizens to file suit as well and says he has ordered officials to begin crunching numbers to determine a price tag for the strike to facilitate the lawsuit. He also says he has instructed officials to carry out enforcement to ensure no workers who went on strike get paid, potentially squeezing thousands of state employees just in time for the Passover holiday.

The Ynet news site reports that Smotrich has only consulted with a few people within the Finance Ministry about his lawsuit plan, all of whom advised him against it.

Unnamed ministry sources tell the news site that the damage caused by the single-day strike was negligible, and that because the private sector also took part, Smotrich may need to sue Israeli companies he claims to be working to help.

After 43 years, France tries suspected bombmaker in Paris synagogue killings

This file photo taken on October 3, 1980 on rue Copernic in Paris shows firemen standing by the wreckage of a car and motocycle after a bombing attack of the rue Copernic synagogue, resulting in the death of four people. (AFP/STF)
This file photo taken on October 3, 1980 on rue Copernic in Paris shows firemen standing by the wreckage of a car and motocycle after a bombing attack of the rue Copernic synagogue, resulting in the death of four people. (AFP/STF)

The trial of a 69-year-old Lebanese-Canadian charged over a fatal 1980 bomb attack outside a Paris synagogue has opened in France after more than four decades of legal wrangling, though the suspect remains a free man in Canada.

Hassan Diab, who denies any involvement in the attack which killed four and wounded dozens, told the court during preliminary hearings that he would not show up for the trial, after accusations against him had been dropped in an earlier investigation.

In the early evening of October 3, 1980, explosives placed on a motorcycle detonated close to a synagogue in Rue Copernic in Paris’s chic 16th district, killing four people — a student passing by on a motorbike, a driver, an Israeli journalist and a caretaker.

Forty-six people were injured in the blast.  No organization ever claimed responsibility but police suspected a splinter group of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

French intelligence in 1999 accused Diab, a sociology professor, of having made the 10-kilogram (22-pound) bomb and he was extradited from Canada in 2014.

However, investigating judges were unable to prove his guilt conclusively during the investigation and Diab was released, leaving France for Canada a free man in 2018.

In this file photo taken on January 17, 2018, Hassan Diab holds a press conference at Amnesty International Canada in Ottawa, Ontario, following his return to Canada. (Lars Hagberg / AFP)

Three years later, a French court overturned the earlier decision and ordered Diab to stand trial after all, on charges of murder, attempted murder and destruction of property in connection with a terrorist enterprise.

French authorities stopped short of issuing a new international arrest warrant for Diab, effectively leaving it up to him to attend his trial or not.

He could be sentenced to life in prison in absentia if found guilty.

The verdict is expected on April 21.

Former defense ministers bash Netanyahu over Gallant firing imbroglio

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is taking it on the chin from two of his former defense chiefs after his office announces that a decision on firing Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has been delayed by security tensions.

Gallant’s predecessor Benny Gantz, head of the opposition National Unity party, tweets that Netanyahu should immediately announce that he is not firing Gallant, given the security threat. “Israel’s security is not some audition for a show or movie. Israel’s citizens need a set defense minister. Not in the future. Now,” he writes.

Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman, who also served as a defense minister under Netanyahu, accuses the premier of “playing ego and respect games,” claiming that he’s busy with talks over the type of apology Gallant will offer.

“There is nothing more detrimental to the security services than instability and uncertainty regarding the identity of the defense minister, who is wholly focused on security matter,” he claims.

Nearly all politicians who have served as defense minister under Netanyahu are now arrayed against him, either via the Knesset opposition or, for those no longer in politics, by backing anti-government protests.

Russia blames Ukraine for deadly hit on pro-war blogger after blast

Russian authorities are blaming Ukrainian intelligence agencies for orchestrating a bombing at a St. Petersburg cafe that killed a Russian military blogger who fervently supported Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, and have arrested a suspect accused of involvement in the attack.

Ukrainian authorities do not directly respond to the accusation, but President Volodymyr Zelensky says that he doesn’t think about events in Russia and a senior official earlier describes the bombing as part of Russia’s internal turmoil.

Vladlen Tatarsky, 40, was killed Sunday as he was leading a discussion at a cafe on the banks of the Neva River in the historic heart of Russia’s second-largest city, officials said. Tatarsky, who had filed regular reports from the front lines in Ukraine, was the pen name for Maxim Fomin. He had accumulated more than 560,000 followers on his Telegram messaging app channel.

Over 30 people were wounded, and 10 of them remain in grave condition from the blast, according to authorities.

Investigators have said they believe that the bomb was hidden in a bust of the blogger that was given to him just before the explosion. A video showed Tatarsky making jokes about the bust and putting it on the table next to him.

Russian authorities say they arrested Darya Trepova, a 26-year-old St. Petersburg resident who has been seen on video presenting Tatarsky with the bust. Last year, Trepova was detained by police for taking part in antiwar rallies.

PM’s office: Netanyahu delaying Gallant firing because of security jitters

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant seen during a tour near the border with Lebanon, northern Israel, March 16, 2023. (David Cohen/Flash90)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant seen during a tour near the border with Lebanon, northern Israel, March 16, 2023. (David Cohen/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is delaying a decision on formally firing Defense Minister Yoav Gallant due to ongoing security tensions, the Prime Minister’s Office says in a statement sent to journalists.

Netanyahu announced last week that he had fired Gallant after the minister called on the government to halt its judicial overhaul. Despite the announcement — which set off massive protests that pushed the government to accept Gallant’s recommendation — the defense chief has remained at the helm.

TV reports on Friday indicated that talks were underway for Gallant to apologize for the remarks and profess his loyalty to the prime minister in order to keep his job. According to the reports, Gallant is willing to apologize for the timing of his remarks, but no more.

On Sunday, Gallant warned Iran and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist group that Israel would not tolerate any efforts to harm the country or its citizens, after a series of airstrikes in Syria that the Syrian government attributed to Israel and a warning from Iran over the attacks.

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