ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 142

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Trump turns himself into Manhattan court to face criminal charges

Former US president says proceedings are ‘surreal’ as he heads from Trump Tower to courthouse to become first American leader in history to be arraigned

Former president Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower for Manhattan Criminal Court in New York on April 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)
Former president Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower for Manhattan Criminal Court in New York on April 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

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

Gallant gives IDF chief ‘initial directives’ following Lebanon rocket attacks

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant arrives at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on March 27, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant arrives at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on March 27, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has “given initial directives” to military chief Herzi Halevi following rocket attacks from Lebanon.

“Gallant has been briefed on the details of the recent security events on Israel’s northern border, and has given initial directives to the IDF Chief of the General Staff and the wider defense establishment,” his office says.

“The minister will soon conduct a situation assessment with senior officials in the defense establishment,” Gallant’s office adds.

Lapid slams Haredi news outlet for depicting him as pig counting pile of money

Head of the Yesh Atid party MK Yair Lapid speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on March 13, 2023. (Erik Marmor/Flash90)
Head of the Yesh Atid party MK Yair Lapid speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on March 13, 2023. (Erik Marmor/Flash90)

Opposition leader Yair Lapid slams a Haredi news outlet for running a caricature of him as a pig grasping a pile of money.

The ultra-Orthodox news site B’Hadrei Haredim published a cartoon showing Lapid with the features of a pig while counting a pile of money next to a sign that reads “Protest… not important about what.”

“This is how antisemites drew Jews for generations,” Lapid tweets. “I am trying to think what would happen if images of Haredi leaders as pigs who only care about money were published — imagine the outcry, the victimhood.”

White House: Trump arraignment is ‘not a focus’ for Biden

US President Joe Biden speaks during a Summit for Democracy virtual plenary in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus, Wednesday, March 29, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
US President Joe Biden speaks during a Summit for Democracy virtual plenary in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus, Wednesday, March 29, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

President Joe Biden is paying little attention to the arraignment of his predecessor Donald Trump in New York on criminal charges, the White House says.

“Obviously he will catch part of the news when he has a moment to catch up on news of the day but this is not a focus for him,” Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre says.

The sole public event on Biden’s schedule today is a meeting with advisers on emerging artificial intelligence technology.

Russia, Iran host talks in Moscow aimed at Syria-Turkey rapprochement

Senior diplomats from Russia, Turkey, Syria and Iran wrap up two days of talks in Moscow, part of the Kremlin’s efforts to help broker a rapprochement between the Turkish and Syrian governments.

Russian and Turkish foreign ministries issue terse readouts, saying the diplomats have discussed preparations for a planned meeting of the four countries’ foreign ministers. Moscow describes the consultations as “frank and direct,” and Ankara says they were held in a “transparent and clear manner,” while offering no details.

Ayman Sousan, Syria’s deputy foreign minister who attended the talks in Moscow, thanks Russia and Iran for their help in “confronting terrorism” in remarks carried by the state news agency SANA. Sousan blasts other countries that “took advantage of the situation created by this war to illegally send their forces to Syria” and supported “terrorist groups.”

Trump arrives at Manhattan courthouse to turn himself in on criminal charges

Former president Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower for Manhattan Criminal Court in New York on April 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)
Former president Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower for Manhattan Criminal Court in New York on April 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

Former President Donald Trump arrives at a Manhattan courthouse ahead of his arraignment on criminal charges stemming from a hush money payment to a porn actor during his 2016 campaign.

Trump pumped his fist as he exited Trump Tower minutes earlier, then traveled in an eight-car motorcade down a highway along the East River to the downtown courthouse, where he is expected to surrender to authorities. He’s expected to be fingerprinted and processed, and his mug shot may be taken — a remarkable reckoning after years of investigations and an extraordinary moment in US history.

The booking and appearance before Judge Juan Merchan should be relatively brief — though hardly routine — as Trump learns for the first time the charges against him. Trump will plead not guilty, according to his lawyers, and is expected to enter the plea himself, as is standard in the court.

Merchan has ruled that TV cameras won’t be allowed in the courtroom.

Israeli official: Pakistanis arrested in Greece promised money by Iran to attack Jews

A Greek police officer closes the entrance of the court house following the transfer of suspects that have been charged with membership in a terrorist organization, in Athens, March 2023. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
A Greek police officer closes the entrance of the court house following the transfer of suspects that have been charged with membership in a terrorist organization, in Athens, March 2023. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

An Israeli security official reveals the mastermind behind a recently foiled plot to harm Israeli and Jewish targets in Greece.

According to the official, Mohammad Mohsen Reza, a 65-year-old Pakistani living in Iran, has been working with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp for many years in recruiting terror operatives abroad.

Reza is said to be the one who was giving orders to ‏Irtaza Haider and ‏Hussein Abid‏, the two Pakistani men in Greece who were arrested last week on charges of plotting to harm Jewish and Israeli targets in Athens.

The Israeli official says that Haider and Abid were asked to gather intelligence, buy explosive devices and plan and carry out an attack in the heart of Athens, in exchange for a high financial reward.

Shin Bet chief: More than 200 ‘significant’ terror attacks foiled so far this year

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar at a pre-Passover toast on April 4, 2023. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar at a pre-Passover toast on April 4, 2023. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar says that security forces have foiled more than 200 terror attacks since the start of 2023.

Speaking at a pre-Passover toast alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Bar says that “only three months have passed, and this year more than 200 significant attacks have been thwarted, including about 150 shooting attacks, 20 bomb attacks, rammings, kidnappings and others.”

Bar says that Israel is facing “a challenging time, both at home and abroad,” in a possible reference to the highly contentious debate surrounding the judicial overhaul.

Netanyahu says that “eventually we will get to every terrorist.” He adds that “Iran is responsible for 95% of the security threats against us.”

Rights group: More than 1,000 Palestinians being held in administrative detention

Palestinians hold posters against administrative detention and in support of Palestinian prisoners Bilal Kayed, Muhammad and Mahmud al-Balboul outside the United Nations building in the West Bank city of Ramallah, August 22, 2016. (Flash90)
Palestinians hold posters against administrative detention and in support of Palestinian prisoners Bilal Kayed, Muhammad and Mahmud al-Balboul outside the United Nations building in the West Bank city of Ramallah, August 22, 2016. (Flash90)

Israel is holding more than 1,000 Palestinian detainees without charge or trial, the highest number since 2003, an Israeli human rights group claims.

HaMoked, an Israeli rights group that regularly gathers figures from prison authorities, says that as of April, there are 1,016 detainees held in administrative detention. Nearly all of them are Palestinians detained under military law, as administrative detention is rarely used against Jews. Four Israeli Jews are currently being held without charge.

Administrative detention orders can be issued for a maximum of six months, but can be renewed indefinitely.

The last time Israel held this many administrative detainees was in May 2003, HaMoked says, in the throes of a violent Palestinian uprising known as the Second Intifada.

“The numbers always increase when there are heightened tensions on the ground,” says Sahar Francis, a director of Addameer, a Palestinian prisoners’ rights group. Administrative detention “is an efficient tool for the arrest of hundreds of people in a short time.”

PMO: UAE president calls Netanyahu ahead of Passover, pair agree to meet soon

In this file photo taken in 2021, Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan looks on as he attends a signing ceremony with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Presidential Complex in Ankara. (Adem Altan/AFP)
In this file photo taken in 2021, Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan looks on as he attends a signing ceremony with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Presidential Complex in Ankara. (Adem Altan/AFP)

United Arab Emirates President Mohamed bin Zayed calls Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to wish him a happy Passover, the Prime Minister’s Office says.

According to the PMO, the pair held a “warm and friendly” conversation in which they expressed “their commitment to advancing their historic peace deal.”

“The two leaders agreed to continue the dialogue between them in a personal meeting in the coming period,” the PMO says.

UAE-Israel ties have appeared strained since Netanyahu’s far-right government was sworn into office three months ago. The UAE envoy notably skipped a Foreign Ministry iftar dinner held this week for diplomats from Muslim countries.

Czech president promises Israel it will push IAEA to impose fresh sanctions on Iran

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky (R) shakes hands with his Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen after their joint press conference following bilateral talks in Prague, Czech Republic, on April 4, 2023. (Michal Cizek / AFP)
Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky (R) shakes hands with his Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen after their joint press conference following bilateral talks in Prague, Czech Republic, on April 4, 2023. (Michal Cizek / AFP)

Czech President Petr Pavel — whose country currently holds the rotating position of chair of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors — promises visiting Foreign Minister Eli Cohen that he will push to sanction Iran.

According to the Foreign Ministry, Pavel and Cohen meet in Prague to discuss Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Pavel promises Cohen that he will push for fresh IAEA sanctions on Iran when the board next meets in Vienna in the coming weeks, the Foreign Ministry says.

“I thank President Peter Pavel, a true friend of the State of Israel, for the Czech Republic’s overwhelming support for Israel in the international arena,” says Cohen in a statement, “and especially for its commitment as part of its role as chair of the International Atomic Energy Agency to promote measures and sanctions that will prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.”

Earlier Cohen also met with his Czech counterpart, Jan Lipavsky, during his diplomatic visit to Prague.

Hospital: One soldier wounded in stabbing released, other in moderate condition

The scene of a stabbing attack near Tzrifin on April 4, 2023. (Magen David Adom)
The scene of a stabbing attack near Tzrifin on April 4, 2023. (Magen David Adom)

One of the soldiers wounded in today’s terror attack near the Tzrifin base has been released and the other is in moderate condition, the hospital treating them says.

The two soldiers were brought to Assaf Harofeh Medical Center near Rishon Lezion after they were stabbed by a Palestinian man who attempted to steal one of their weapons.

Netanyahu: If we don’t stop Iran going nuclear, ‘the entire world will be held hostage’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Mossad chief David Barnea at a pre-Passover toast April 4, 2023. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Mossad chief David Barnea at a pre-Passover toast April 4, 2023. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that if world powers will not prevent Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon, “the entire world will be held hostage.”

At a pre-Passover toast alongside Mossad chief David Barnea, Netanyahu says that “in every generation, they have tried to destroy us” — quoting a popular Passover song. “In this generation Iran has risen to destroy us.”

“If we do not prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, we will end up in a different reality, where the entire world will be held hostage by a body hell-bent on destroying us.”

His comments come a day after a report claimed that US officials have informed counterparts in Israel, France, the UK and Germany that they were considering proposing a deal in which Tehran would curb nuclear enrichment above 60 percent purity, a step nearing weapons-grade levels, in exchange for sanctions relief.

IDF: Soldier fought off terrorist after being stabbed in Tzrifin attack

The scene of a stabbing attack near Tzrifin on April 4, 2023. (Magen David Adom)
The scene of a stabbing attack near Tzrifin on April 4, 2023. (Magen David Adom)

Revealing new details of the stabbing attack Tuesday morning near the Tzrifin army base, the IDF says the attacker attempted to steal a soldier’s weapon.

The soldier, who was wounded in the stabbing, protected his gun with his body and physically fought off the terrorist until the stabber was stopped by civilians.

The soldier was wounded in serious condition and is currently hospitalized, the army says.

A second soldier was lightly wounded in the incident.

Italian football club punished with stand closure for fans’ antisemitic chants

Illustrative: Lazio fans cheer during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Napoli and Lazio on March 3, 2023, at the Diego-Maradona stadium in Naples. (Alberto Pizzoli/AFP)
Illustrative: Lazio fans cheer during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Napoli and Lazio on March 3, 2023, at the Diego-Maradona stadium in Naples. (Alberto Pizzoli/AFP)

Lazio has been handed a suspended one-match stand closure for antisemitic chants by its supporters during last month’s derby win over Roma, Serie A says.

In a statement, Italy’s top football division says that the sanction regarded the Curva Nord section of the Stadio Olimpico, from where Lazio’s hardcore fans made “boorish and offensive chants, which were also of a religious nature, directed at Roma supporters.”

The statement adds that the punishment was suspended for one year due to Lazio “assisting the police in identifying those responsible and… trying to prevent anything similarly deplorable from happening again.”

Lazio has some of the most right-wing supporters in a country where fascist fan groups are a widespread phenomenon.

Prosecutors shut probe into cybersecurity company once chaired by Gantz

National Unity party chief MK Benny Gantz speaks to the media at the Knesset on March 1, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90)
National Unity party chief MK Benny Gantz speaks to the media at the Knesset on March 1, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90)

A criminal investigation into the dealings of a now-bankrupt company that had been chaired by National Unity leader and former defense minister Benny Gantz is closed without charges being brought.

A State Comptroller’s report in 2019 raised suspicions that Gantz’s Fifth Dimension cybersecurity company presented the Israel Police with misleading information which helped it secure a NIS 4 million ($1.1 million) grant for an artificial intelligence product it was developing.

State Attorney Amit Aisman says, however, that after an “exhaustive examination” of the issues involved in this case by officials who conducted the investigation, he is closing the case.

Aisman states that evidence gathered in the investigation does not establish a causal link between the erroneous information provided by Fifth Dimension and the police’s provision of the grant to the company.

He also finds that the erroneous information did not amount to misrepresentations at the level required for criminal prosecution.

The investigation was launched in the dying days of the March 2020 election campaign, held after the electoral stalemate of the April and September 2019 elections.

Netanyahu: I’m doing ‘everything in my power’ to achieve broad judicial consensus

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (left), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (center) and IDF chief Herzi Halevi at a pre-Passover toast at the Defense Ministry on April 4, 2023. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (left), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (center) and IDF chief Herzi Halevi at a pre-Passover toast at the Defense Ministry on April 4, 2023. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that he is doing “everything in my power” in order to reach a broad consensus agreement on the judicial overhaul plans.

At a pre-Passover toast at the Defense Ministry, Netanyahu says that Israel’s “defensive powers rest firstly on the military of the people — all parts of the nation are represented in it.”

Netanyahu adds that “today we have a dispute between parts of the nation. This dispute, I hope we will solve in a wide consensus and I am doing everything in my power to achieve this.”

But in a “message to Israel’s enemies,” the prime minister reiterates that “no dispute will prevent us from” protecting ourselves from attacks. Therefore, he says, “we only have one choice — to stand together, to stand united.”

It was the third joint appearance of Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in less than 24 hours, after the prime minister fired Gallant last week but then said yesterday he would delay a decision on keeping him in office.

In his own remarks, Gallant says he is “happy to host [Netanyahu] here… your presence here, always, and particularly now, during Passover, during a busy period of operational activity, has great significance.”

Amid repeated airstrikes, Syria warns Israel against ‘total escalation’ in region

IRGC chief Hossein Salami (C) attends the funeral procession for two of Iran's revolutionary guard forces killed in strikes blamed on Israel in Syria, held in Tehran on April 4, 2023 (ATTA KENARE / AFP)
IRGC chief Hossein Salami (C) attends the funeral procession for two of Iran's revolutionary guard forces killed in strikes blamed on Israel in Syria, held in Tehran on April 4, 2023 (ATTA KENARE / AFP)

Syria’s Foreign Ministry threatens Israel following yet another overnight airstrike attributed to the Jewish state.

In a statement, Damascus says that Israel’s “aggressive policies” are likely to drag the region into a “comprehensive escalation and a new phase of insecurity and instability.”

The foreign ministry adds that Israel is striking Syria in order to “escape its internal problems through aggressions and crimes outside its borders.”

A fourth airstrike in Syria attributed to Israel within the span of a week was carried out early this morning, reportedly killing two Syrian civilians.

Israel appears to have stepped up its activity in its northern neighbor in recent weeks, targeting Iranian and Hezbollah activity in the nation.

Ex-PM Ehud Barak admits on Twitter: Israel has nuclear weapons

Former prime minister Ehud Barak speaks at a protest in Tel Aviv against the government's planned judicial overhaul, February 25, 2023. (Tomer Neuberg/ Flash90)
Former prime minister Ehud Barak speaks at a protest in Tel Aviv against the government's planned judicial overhaul, February 25, 2023. (Tomer Neuberg/ Flash90)

Former prime minister Ehud Barak admits on Twitter that Israel has nuclear weapons — something the Jewish state has never publicly confirmed despite the widespread assumption.

“In conversations between Israelis and Western diplomatic officials there are deep concerns raised of the possibility that if the coup in Israel succeeds, a messianic dictatorship will be established in the heart of the Middle East, which has nuclear weapons, and fanatically wishes for a confrontation with Islam centered on the Temple Mount,” tweets Barak in harsh criticism of the government’s judicial overhaul plans.

The Dimona nuclear research facility, officially called the Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center, is said to be the home of Israel’s alleged nuclear weapons program. Foreign estimates have claimed that Israel maintains a nuclear weapons cache ranging from dozens of warheads to hundreds.

Israel has never acknowledged that it has a nuclear arsenal, instead maintaining a policy of “nuclear ambiguity.”

Finland officially joins NATO military alliance

Illustrative: Finland's flag flies aboard the Finnish icebreaker MSV Nordica as it arrives into Nuuk, Greenland, July 29, 2017.  (AP Photo/David Goldman, file)
Illustrative: Finland's flag flies aboard the Finnish icebreaker MSV Nordica as it arrives into Nuuk, Greenland, July 29, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman, file)

Finland joins the NATO military alliance, dealing a major blow to Russia with a historic realignment of the continent triggered by Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

With the handing over of documents, the Nordic nation officially enters the world’s biggest security alliance, doubling its border with Russia.

Finland’s membership represents a major change in Europe’s security landscape: The country adopted neutrality after its defeat by the Soviets in World War II. But its leaders signaled they wanted to join the alliance just months after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine sent a shiver of fear through Moscow’s neighbors.

The move is a strategic and political blow to Putin, who has long complained about NATO’s expansion toward Russia and partly used that as a justification for the invasion. The alliance says it poses no threat to Moscow.

Geneva appeals court upholds conviction of Israeli diamond tycoon, reduces sentence

Israeli diamond magnate Beny Steinmetz, right, with his lawyer, Christian Luescher, arrive at a courthouse in Geneva, Switzerland,  August 31, 2022. (Fabrice COFFRINI/ AFP)
Israeli diamond magnate Beny Steinmetz, right, with his lawyer, Christian Luescher, arrive at a courthouse in Geneva, Switzerland, August 31, 2022. (Fabrice COFFRINI/ AFP)

A Geneva appeals court upholds the conviction of Israeli diamond magnate Beny Steinmetz for corrupting foreign officials, in connection with lucrative mining rights in the West African country of Guinea.

The court, issuing its ruling after a trial last summer, upholds the convictions of Steinmetz and two other defendants for bribing foreign public officials over promises made to then-president Lansana Conte through payments to his wife, Mamadie Toure, that came to be worth about $8.5 million.

The court also upholds a $50 million fine against the Israeli tycoon, but throws out a conviction for forgery and reduces his sentence from five years to three, half of it suspended.

Steinmetz, in a statement via a spokesperson, vows to appeal the “unfair and politically motivated decision” to the Swiss federal court.

Foreign Ministry says it doesn’t know of any Israelis wounded in India avalanche

In this handout photo released by the Indian Army, soldiers clear snow from an avalanche near Nathu La mountain pass in India's Sikkim state, April, 4, 2023. (Indian Army via AP)
In this handout photo released by the Indian Army, soldiers clear snow from an avalanche near Nathu La mountain pass in India's Sikkim state, April, 4, 2023. (Indian Army via AP)

A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry says that it is not aware “at this point in time” of any Israelis wounded in the avalanche in India.

An avalanche swept away a group of tourists in the Himalayas in northeastern India today, killing at least seven and injuring 11, officials say. Rescuers are searching for at least 30 others, army spokesman Lt. Col Mahendra Rawat says in a statement.

India is a popular tourist destination for Israelis, in particular post-army backpackers, as well as those traveling over the Passover holiday.

UN Human Rights Council passes resolution decrying surge in Iran executions

A picture obtained from the Iranian Mizan News Agency on December 12, 2022, shows the public execution of Majid Reza Rahnavard in Iran's Mashhad city. (MIZAN NEWS / AFP)
A picture obtained from the Iranian Mizan News Agency on December 12, 2022, shows the public execution of Majid Reza Rahnavard in Iran's Mashhad city. (MIZAN NEWS / AFP)

The UN Human Rights Council denounces the rising numbers of executions in Iran, including of people who received the capital punishment in connection with protests that have rocked the country.

The top United Nations rights body approves a resolution voicing “deep concern at the reported surge in the number of executions, including of individuals sentenced to death in relation to their alleged involvement in the recent protests.”

The resolution, which also extends the mandate of the UN special rapporteur on the rights situation in Iran for another year, passes with 23 of the council’s 47 members voting in favor. Another 16 abstained, and eight opposed the text, including China, Cuba, Pakistan and Vietnam.

According to the Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) organization, at least 144 people have been executed in Iran this year.

The resolution calls on Tehran to “take all necessary legislative, administrative and other measures” to ensure no one is executed for “offenses that do not meet the threshold of the most serious crimes.”

Likud MK says Ben Gvir should not control future ‘national guard’

Likud MK Tally Gotliv speaking at a hearing of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, February 20, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Likud MK Tally Gotliv speaking at a hearing of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, February 20, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Likud MK Tally Gotliv comes out against the establishment of a “national guard” subordinate to National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir — saying such a body should not be under the purview of a government minister.

“A government minister outlines policy, enacts regulations, prioritizes tasks, ensures an adequate budget, is responsible for carrying out the policies of his office — but he does not give direct instructions,” Gotliv tweets. “That’s my position.”

She adds that “just as the justice minister does not tell attorneys how to act, so too the national security minister can’t give instructions to police officers. Yes to the national guard, no to its subordination to the minister.”

The cabinet on Sunday voted to approve the establishment of a national guard, which Ben Gvir had demanded, but said it would leave the decision on its chain of command to a future committee.

Religious freedom group files High Court petition against ‘hametz law’ in hospitals

Bread for sale, some of which is subsidized by the government, at a Rami Levy supermarket in Jerusalem on July 17, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Bread for sale, some of which is subsidized by the government, at a Rami Levy supermarket in Jerusalem on July 17, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

An organization dedicated to religious freedom and pluralism petitions the High Court against a new law allowing hospitals to ban leavened products during Passover, days after a hospital guard confiscated cookies that were not kosher for Passover from a pregnant woman.

The petition by the Israel Hofshit–Be Free Israel organization calls for the court to immediately intervene and stop the potential searches at entrances to hospitals, and prevent the possibility that patients and visitors may be denied entry to medical centers, Channel 12 news reports.

Herzog to attend Poland ceremony marking 80th anniversary of Warsaw Ghetto uprising

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (R), his wife Elke Buedenbender(L), Israel's President Isaac Herzog (2nd-R) and his wife Michal Herzog (2nd-L) visit the Gedenkstaette Bergen-Belsen Memorial, site of the concentration camp where thousands of prisoners were killed during World War II, in Bergen-Belsen near Nordhausen, central Germany, on September 6, 2022. (Ronny Hartmann/AFP)
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (R), his wife Elke Buedenbender(L), Israel's President Isaac Herzog (2nd-R) and his wife Michal Herzog (2nd-L) visit the Gedenkstaette Bergen-Belsen Memorial, site of the concentration camp where thousands of prisoners were killed during World War II, in Bergen-Belsen near Nordhausen, central Germany, on September 6, 2022. (Ronny Hartmann/AFP)

President Isaac Herzog will take part in a ceremony in Warsaw marking 80 years since the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, his office announces.

Herzog will attend the event alongside the president of Poland and the chancellor of Germany. The ceremony is slated to take place on April 19, when Herzog will also meet with members of the local community and visit a synagogue.

Herzog is slated to meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda, just a few weeks after Jerusalem and Warsaw moved to fully mend ties following several diplomatic crises between the nations.

Police chief: Establishing independent ‘national guard’ will ‘harm personal security’

Israel Police Chief Kobi Shabtai at a security exhibition in the South Sharon Regional Council on March 21, 2023. (Gideon Markowicz/Flash90)
Israel Police Chief Kobi Shabtai at a security exhibition in the South Sharon Regional Council on March 21, 2023. (Gideon Markowicz/Flash90)

Israel Police chief Kobi Shabtai warns that the government’s approval of a new “national guard” under the control of National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir could cause serious harm to the safety and security of Israeli citizens.

“Establishing a national guard that will be subordinate to [Ben Gvir’s] office is an unnecessary move that will have a very heavy price, to the point of harming the personal security of citizens,” Shabtai says at a ceremony at the Western Galilee College.

“Any disconnect [of the National Guard] from police control would destroy personal security, be a waste of resources and lead to the disintegration of the Israel Police from within,” he adds.

This is not the first time that Shabtai has warned against such a move. On Sunday the cabinet voted to approve establishing a national guard, leaving the decision about its chain of command to a future committee.

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