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

Protest calling for release of settler suspect in Palestinian’s shooting held in Jerusalem

Far-right demonstrators protest at the Chords Bridge entrance to Jerusalem, partially blocking traffic as they call for the release of a settler suspected of killing a Palestinian during a recent clash in the West Bank.

Netanyahu said to ask Haredi allies to drop demand for override law

Illustrative: An ultra-Orthodox man walks outside the army recruitment office in Jerusalem, July 2, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/ Flash90)
Illustrative: An ultra-Orthodox man walks outside the army recruitment office in Jerusalem, July 2, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/ Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked his ultra-Orthodox allies to publicly announce they are dropping their demand for the passage of the so-called override clause as part of legislation shielding members of their community from military conscription, the Kan public broadcaster reports.

According to the broadcaster, Netanyahu said he did not want to further fan tensions, but some of his interlocutors were fiercely opposed.

Netanyahu has declared publicly that his coalition will not advance a bill that would shied legislation from High Court scrutiny, but some reports have said he has assured coalition partners the proposal has not been shelved.

Iran releases journalist who was jailed after interviewing Amini father

PARIS, France — An Iranian journalist handed a two-year jail sentence after interviewing the father of the woman whose custody death sparked months of protests says today that she has been released from prison.

After her release from Tehran’s Evin prison, Nazila Maroufian defiantly posts a picture of herself on social media without a headscarf, flouting the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code for women.

“Don’t accept slavery, you deserve the best,” she writes on X, formerly known as Twitter, and Instagram. The picture shows her clutching flowers in one hand with her other hand raised in a victory sign.

Maroufian, whose age is given by Persian media outside Iran as 23, in October published an interview on the Mostaghel Online news site with Amjad Amini.

He is the father of Mahsa Amini, whose death in custody last September after she allegedly violated the dress rules sparked months of protests.

In the interview, Amjad Amini accused authorities of lying about the circumstances of his daughter’s death.

Iranian authorities have indicated she died because of a health problem, but the family and activists have said she suffered a blow to the head while in custody.

Maroufian, a Tehran-based journalist but from Amini’s hometown of Saqez in Kurdistan province, was first arrested in November.

Netanyahu said to shout at Halevi, IAF chief for warnings that military fitness hurt

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi (left) and IAF chief Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar (center) speak with two officers at the Tel Nof airbase, July 19, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi (left) and IAF chief Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar (center) speak with two officers at the Tel Nof airbase, July 19, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tore into IDF chief Herzi Halevi and Air Force commander Tomer Bar during a phone call two days ago, Channel 13 news reports, after the latter warned that protests by reservists opposed to the government’s judicial overhaul were having an increasingly negative effect on the military.

“This is an army that’s taken over the country, you’re hurting deterrence,” Netanyahu is quoted as shouting. “Why are you putting out headlines like this?”

In response, Halevi reportedly said: “I can’t stand aside when [military] fitness is harmed.”

Following the report, and a similar item by aired by Channel 12 news, Netanyahu’s office denies there was any shouting, but not the other details.

“Even when the prime minister speaks aggressively, he does not shout. He relays his comments and orders in a businesslike manner,” a statement from his office says.

According to Channel 12, which did not cite a source, Netanyahu indicated to top security officials during a meeting today that the coalition is likely to halt its push to weaken the judiciary, blaming the opposition for failed negotiations before the first overhaul bill was passed last month and saying he thought it was unlikely the sides would reach an agreement on remaking the Judicial Selection Committee.

Morocco reports new record high temperature

RABAT, Morocco — Temperatures in Morocco have for the first time on record topped 50 degrees Celsius (120 Fahrenheit), the North African country’s meteorological service says today, in the middle of a scorching heatwave.

The meteorological station in the southern coastal city of Agadir recorded on Friday the new national record of 50.4 C, says the General Directorate of Meteorology.

Morocco has experienced a series of heatwaves over the summer with record-breaking temperatures.

The previous highest temperature, 49.9 C in the Western Sahara city of Smara, was recorded on July 13, according to the weather service.

“This heatwave is due to the influx of dry and hot air from the south, causing a significant rise in temperatures, surpassing the monthly average by five to 13 degrees,” the meteorological authority says in a statement.

The heatwave has caused wildfires in recent days in northern Morocco near Tangier and further east in Taza province, damaging forests but resulting in no casualties, AFP journalists report.

July has been the hottest month ever recorded on Earth, according to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. It surpassed the previous record in July 2019 by 0.33 C.

Last month in Morocco was ranked the fourth hottest July since 1961.

Weather forecasts predict a slight drop in temperatures in the coming days across the northern parts of North Africa.

Iran reports at least 4 killed in attack on Shiite shrine

Iranian security forces deploy following an armed attack at the Shah Cheragh mausoleum in the city of Shiraz on October 26, 2022. (ISNA news agency/ AFP)
Iranian security forces deploy following an armed attack at the Shah Cheragh mausoleum in the city of Shiraz on October 26, 2022. (ISNA news agency/ AFP)

TEHRAN, Iran — A shooting at a Shiite Muslim shrine in Iran’s south has killed at least four people, state media says.

“Four people have been killed so far following a terrorist attack by two armed men on the holy shrine of Shah Cheragh” in the city of Shiraz, official news agency IRNA reports.

Holocaust survivor-founded Makkabi Berlin falls 6-0 in inaugural German Cup appearance

BERLIN, Germany — Makkabi Berlin became the first Jewish team to compete in the German Cup when it was beaten 6-0 by Wolfsburg today.

The fifth-tier team swiftly went behind, with the visitors scoring two early goals through Lukas Nmecha and Jonas Wind to dampen hopes of an upset.

But Makkabi did not fold against the Bundesliga team backed by car manufacturer Volkswagen, and Kanto Fitiavana Voahariniaina was unfortunate to see an apparent goal ruled out for offside.

Wolfsburg put the result beyond doubt early in the second half and would have scored more but for Makkabi goalkeeper Jack Krause, who earned the home fans’ biggest cheers. Tiago Tomas had two goals off the bench for Wolfsburg.

Makkabi, which was founded by Holocaust survivors in 1970, had already made history just by qualifying for the 64-team German Cup – by winning the Berlin Cup for the first time – to become the first Jewish club to take part since the tournament was started under the Nazis in 1935. Jews were excluded at the time.

“The game is a yearning, that there shouldn’t be anything historic about it,” Central Council of Jews in Germany leader Josef Schuster said before the game. “For 90 minutes (or more), it’s all about who wins in a fair, sporting competition – nothing more. These moments give a magic that I would wish for more often in our everyday society.”

Molotov cocktail hurled at Israel from Lebanon by reported Hezbollah operative

Israeli soldiers guard on the border with Lebanon, May 16, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/ Flash90)
Israeli soldiers guard on the border with Lebanon, May 16, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/ Flash90)

A Hezbollah operative, who is known to Israeli security forces, hurled a Molotov cocktail from Lebanon at the Israeli border, according to Hebrew-language media reports.

The reports say the firebomb caused damage to water infrastructure near the northern town of Metulla.

Israeli troops reportedly fired warning shots in response.

A spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces says the army will officially comment on the incident shortly.

PM slams ‘conditional service’ by reservist protesters, appearing to soften tone

IDF reserve soldiers sign a declaration intending to end their volunteer reserve duty, outside the IDF headquarters and near the Tel Aviv Museum in Tel Aviv, July 19, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
IDF reserve soldiers sign a declaration intending to end their volunteer reserve duty, outside the IDF headquarters and near the Tel Aviv Museum in Tel Aviv, July 19, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

After Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with top security officials, including military chief Herzi Halevi and air force head Tomer Bar, the premier appears to soften his tone against reservists who have stopped showing up for volunteer duty or threatened to do so in protest of the government’s judicial overhaul.

While Netanyahu and members of his government have used the term “insubordination” to refer to the reservists’ actions, a statement issued by his office after the meeting instead brands their moves “the phenomenon of conditional reserve service,” a shift in language that draws notice from Hebrew media outlets and political analysts.

Firefighting plane called to help battle brushfire near Jerusalem

The Israel Fire and Rescue Services says it has called in a firefighting plane to help extinguish a brushfire that broke out near Jerusalem.

The service says the blaze off Route 1 currently doesn’t pose any threat to homes in the communities of Givat Ye’arim and Sho’eva, but that one lane of the highway has been shuttered.

Death toll in Maui wildfire rises to 93 with 2,200 structures destroyed or damaged

Wildfire wreckage is seen on August 10, 2023, in Lahaina, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Wildfire wreckage is seen on August 10, 2023, in Lahaina, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

In a press conference, Hawaii Governor Josh Green says the number of confirmed deaths from the Maui wildfires has risen to 89, making it the deadliest US wildfire in more than 100 years.

Maui County later raises the confirmed death toll to 93.

There are 2,200 structures destroyed or damaged just in West Maui, and 86% of those are residential buildings, Green says.

“The losses approach $6 billion in estimate,” Green says, adding that it will take “an incredible amount of time” to recover.

Lapid: Netanyahu trying to pin blame for harm to military readiness on IDF, officers

Head of the Yesh Atid party MK Yair Lapid speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on July 17, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Head of the Yesh Atid party MK Yair Lapid speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on July 17, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid hits out at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the latter met with top security officials to discuss military readiness, accusing the premier of trying to shirk responsibility for any harm to the IDF’s capabilities.

Noting a statement put out by Netanyahu’s office saying the prime minister ordered military “fitness and cohesion” be maintained, Lapid accuses him of “a shameful and cowardly attempt to escape from responsibility and put the blame on the army and its commanders.”

“The harm to IDF fitness is the direct result of one thing: the destructive [judicial overhaul] that the Netanyahu government is leading,” Lapid writes on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Man who fell in hole and firefighter who tried to rescue him both die of wounds

Police and rescue personnel at the scene where two firefighters and another man fell into a hole in the ground in Deir el-Asad In August 13, 2023. (David Cohen/Flash90)
Police and rescue personnel at the scene where two firefighters and another man fell into a hole in the ground in Deir el-Asad In August 13, 2023. (David Cohen/Flash90)

Medical officials have pronounced the death of a man who was critically hurt after falling into a hole in the northern village of Deir al-Asad, along with a firefighter who was wounded while trying to rescue him.

Another firefighter who was also injured remains in critical condition.

PM’s office says Netanyahu briefed by defense brass on IDF ‘fitness and cohesion’

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, left, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center and IDF chief Herzi Halevy meeting in Tel Aviv on May 2, 2023. (Haim Zach/GPO)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, left, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center and IDF chief Herzi Halevy meeting in Tel Aviv on May 2, 2023. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office confirms the premier is holding deliberations with top defense officials on military readiness, saying he was briefed on the IDF’s “fitness and cohesion” amid concerns these are being harmed amid reservist protests against the judicial overhaul.

“The prime minister ordered that the IDF’s fitness and preparedness be maintained in times of routine and emergency, for any challenge,” says a statement from Netanyahu’s office.

“All the participants in the meeting agreed that political controversies need to be left out of the IDF,” it adds.

Netanyahu has held similar talks “many times in recent weeks,” according to the statement.

Iran arrests nine Baha’i, alleging corruption

TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian authorities have arrested nine followers of the Baha’i faith over a host of corruption charges including money laundering and tax evasion, the intelligence ministry says.

The Bahais, Iran’s largest non-Muslim minority, are branded by the Islamic Republic as “heretics” and are often targeted over alleged ties to Israel, home to their most important shrines and world headquarters.

Today’s arrests target members of the group in the capital Tehran, said to own “20 pharmacies, three cosmetic companies, and multiple unauthorized warehouses,” according to the ministry.

“Nine people were arrested and 40 pharmacies and warehouses were seized,” it says, accusing them of having “committed all kinds of violations and crimes,” including “smuggling and hoarding medicine, fraud, money laundering… and tax evasion.”

Iran, where Shiite Islam is the state religion, recognizes some minority faiths including Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism.

The Islamic Republic, however, does not recognize the Bahais, who follow the teachings of Bahaullah, born in 1817, whom they consider a prophet and founder of their monotheistic faith.

In July, authorities arrested several Bahais over links with Bayt al-Adl, the Bahais’ Universal House of Justice in the coastal Israeli city of Haifa.

Bahais have long complained of discrimination in Iran since the emergence of their faith in the second half of the 19th century, well before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The Baha’i community claims to have more than seven million followers worldwide, including some 300,000 in Iran.

Lapid urges firing of bus driver who told girls to cover up: ‘It’s not Iran here’

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid calls for the Nateev Express bus operator to fire a driver who told a group of girls to cover themselves and sit on the back of the bus.

“It is not Iran here,” Lapid says in a statement.

Gallant joins meeting with Netanyahu and IDF chief

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, left, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a pre-Passover toast, with Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi at right, April 4, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, left, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a pre-Passover toast, with Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi at right, April 4, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi have been joined by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant during their meeting at the Kirya military base.

The talks are expected to address military readiness, as some reserve soldiers have stopped showing up for volunteer duty to protest the government’s plans for weakening the judiciary.

Biden considering former Treasury chief Jack Lew as next US envoy to Israel

Former US treasury secretary Jack Lew speaks at the panel "Reforming the Euro Area: Views from inside and outside of Europe," during the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings, in Washington, April 19, 2018. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Former US treasury secretary Jack Lew speaks at the panel "Reforming the Euro Area: Views from inside and outside of Europe," during the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings, in Washington, April 19, 2018. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Former US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is a leading candidate to become the next US ambassador to Israel, two sources familiar with the matter have told The Times of Israel.

“The process is ongoing, but [Lew] is being vetted,” says one of the sources, confirming reporting in the Axios news site.

This would ostensibly put Lew in an advanced stage of the process, likely ahead of some of the other names that have been floated, such as former congressmen Robert Wexler and Steve Israel.

While Lew was generally involved on Israel-related issues when serving as former US president Barack Obama’s chief of staff, his expertise is in finances and budgeting.

However, his close relationship with senior members of the Biden administration, thanks to leadership roles he’s held, is something he has in common with the previous ambassador, Tom Nides. While he too didn’t enter the job with lots of policy experience regarding Israel, Nides was also seen as a political heavyweight who spoke for the president and was accordingly respected by Israeli officials.

Lew does have a bit more of a history of engagement on these issues than Nides did.

He has long expressed his support for Israel, but has also been critical of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In a 2017 live interview at Columbia University, he acknowledged that Obama’s relationship with Netanyahu “was not as good as one might have hoped. And it was in both directions.”

‘Bus line for Haredim’: Driver tells young girls to cover up, sit in back of bus

Illustrative: A ceremony for the new parking lot for electric buses of the Dan company in Bnei Brak, February 19, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90).
Illustrative: A ceremony for the new parking lot for electric buses of the Dan company in Bnei Brak, February 19, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90).

In the latest such incident, a group of young girls from a kibbutz in southern Israel say they were ordered by a bus driver to cover up and sit in the back of the vehicle.

The girls were riding from Ashdod to go camping in the north at the time of the exchange, a recording of which was published by the Ynet news site.

“This is a line for Haredim,” the driver can be heard saying, using the Hebrew term for ultra-Orthodox.

One of the girls then says she felt “humiliated” by his actions, with the driver in response dismissing her by saying she should complain to television news.

“You live in a Jewish state and need to respect the people who live there,” he says when they tell him they live on a kibbutz.

Netanyahu delays vacation to meet with Halevi amid concerns over IDF readiness

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (second from right) attends a security briefing during an IDF operation in Jenin on July 3, 2023. At left is IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, and next to him is Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. Ronen Bar, head of the Shin Bet is at center. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (second from right) attends a security briefing during an IDF operation in Jenin on July 3, 2023. At left is IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, and next to him is Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. Ronen Bar, head of the Shin Bet is at center. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pushed off a vacation to the Golan Heights and is instead holding security deliberations at the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv.

The premier is slated to hold talks with IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi that Hebrew media reports say will address security issues and military readiness, amid concerns that protests by reserve soldiers opposed to the government’s judicial overhaul could hurt Israel’s preparedness for war.

Firefighters fall into hole while trying to extract boy trapped inside

A rescue worker stands above a hole into which a man and two firefighters fell, in the northern village of Deir al-Asad, August 13, 2023. (Courtesy)
A rescue worker stands above a hole into which a man and two firefighters fell, in the northern village of Deir al-Asad, August 13, 2023. (Courtesy)

Two firefighters fall into a hole while trying to rescue a boy who had plunged inside and lost consciousness in the northern village of Deir al-Asad.

The firefighters are pulled out by other rescuers at the scene after they lost consciousness from the fall, and medics try to revive them, according to a Magen David Ambulance service statement.

The two are taken to Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya in critical condition.

Rescue workers on the scene are still trying to pull the child from the hole, where he remained unconscious.

Main suspect in fatal shooting of Palestinian moved from hospital to police custody

Yehiel Indore, suspected of killing 19-year-old Palestinian Qusai Jamal Maatan in the West Bank village of Burqa, in a Jerusalem hospital after suffering injuries in the clash, August 2023. (Honenu)
Yehiel Indore, suspected of killing 19-year-old Palestinian Qusai Jamal Maatan in the West Bank village of Burqa, in a Jerusalem hospital after suffering injuries in the clash, August 2023. (Honenu)

A man suspected of killing a Palestinian during a clash in the West Bank over a week ago has been moved from a hospital to police custody.

Yehiel Indore was arrested a day after allegedly shooting 19-year-old Qusai Jamal Matan on August 4 as settlers clashed with Palestinians in the village of Burqa. Indore has since been under police guard at a Jerusalem hospital while being treated for a serious head injury caused by a rock thrown at him during the incident.

On Friday, a court further extended his remand, as police revealed they no longer suspect a racial motive for Indore’s actions but still suspect him of killing Matan with intent or indifference, participating in a riot, conspiracy to commit a crime and obstruction of justice. Indore has claimed he fired his gun in self-defense.

Russian shelling kills 7, including baby, in southern Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine — Seven people including a baby girl, her 12-year-old brother and their parents have been killed today by Russian shelling in southern Ukraine, officials say.

The three adults and two children were killed in the village of Shyroka Balka, Interior Minister Igor Klymenko says on messaging app Telegram, releasing pictures showing the aftermath of the shelling attack.

One photo shows a column of black smoke rising above a house.

“A husband, wife and their 23-day-old daughter were killed by enemy artillery fire,” Klymenko writes.

The couple’s 12-year-old son was hospitalized in critical condition and later died, Klymenko says in a separate statement.

In the village of Stanislav two men aged 57 and 71 were killed, officials say, adding that a woman was wounded.

“Terrorists must be stopped. They must be stopped by force,” says Klymenko.

Kherson was one of four regions in Ukraine that Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed to have annexed last year.

Late last year, Russian troops withdrew from the city of Kherson but Moscow has continued to target settlements in the region.

Iraq lifts ban on Telegram messaging app after criticism from pro-Iran factions

The icon for the instant messaging Telegram app is seen on a smartphone, Feb. 28, 2023, in Marple Township, Pennsylvania (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)
The icon for the instant messaging Telegram app is seen on a smartphone, Feb. 28, 2023, in Marple Township, Pennsylvania (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

BAGHDAD — The Iraqi government ends a week-long suspension of the Telegram messaging app over “national security” concerns after the move drew criticism from pro-Iran factions.

As of this morning, the app is again accessible without the need for a virtual private network (VPN), AFP journalists in Baghdad say.

Iraq’s ministry of communications last night announced “the lifting of the freeze on Telegram from tomorrow, Sunday.”

Telegram is very popular in Iraq, and is particularly used as a propaganda platform for groups associated with armed factions and pro-Iran political parties.

A coalition of Iran-linked Shiite Muslim parties dominates Iraq’s parliament, and backs Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani.

When it suspended the app, the government said Telegram “did not respond” to repeated requests to address the issue of “data leakage from state institutions and individuals, which poses a threat to national security and social peace.”

In its new statement, the ministry says managers of the app had responded to “demands of authorities by detecting the people who divulged the data of citizens and by expressing their full availability to communicate with relevant authorities.”

Responding to criticisms on one Iraqi Telegram channel that the suspension was a restriction of free speech, the ministry says it “is not opposed to freedom of expression.”

However, it invites managers of apps “to respect the law, the security and the data of users.”

After decades of conflict, Iraq has achieved relative stability but rights groups regularly criticize authorities over the level of free expression.

The country ranks 167 out of 180 on the Reporters Without Borders 2023 Press Freedom Index.

Telegram has previously been blocked in some other countries.

Ethiopian Jews call for their relatives to be brought to Israel from conflict zones

Ethiopian Jews scuffle with police during a protest urging the government to bring their family members to Israel due to fighting in Ethiopia, near the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, on August 13, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Ethiopian Jews scuffle with police during a protest urging the government to bring their family members to Israel due to fighting in Ethiopia, near the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, on August 13, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Hundreds of Ethiopian Jews demonstrate in Jerusalem, calling for relatives waiting to emigrate to be brought to Israel amid the fighting in Ethiopia’s Amhara region.

The demonstrators block an intersection near the Prime Minister’s Office and other government institutions, with scuffles breaking out as police move to disperse them.

Many of the protesters hold up photos of family members they are waiting to reunite with, along with signs accusing the government of discrimination in its efforts to bring them to Israel compared to immigrants fleeing the war in Ukraine.

“Justice for Gondar and Addis Ababa like justice for Ukraine,” organizers say in a statement.

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