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Education minister urges PM to call emergency meeting on teachers crisis

With start of school year threatened, Shasha-Biton says sha has ‘repeatedly found that Finance Ministry officials are uninterested in reaching a real solution’

Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton attends faction meeting of her New Hope party at the Knesset, in Jerusalem, on May 30, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton attends faction meeting of her New Hope party at the Knesset, in Jerusalem, on May 30, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

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

Finnish PM has ‘no problem’ taking drug test after video controversy

Finland’s prime minister says she would have no problem with taking a drug test after a video of the 36-year-old partying sparked criticism.

The leaked video, which shows Sanna Marin dancing with a group of people, has been shared widely on social media and among local media.

Some have also interpreted comments by the partygoers heard on the video as referring to narcotics, something heavily debated on social media and strongly denied by the prime minister.

“I have nothing to hide. I have not used drugs and therefore I have no problem taking tests,” Marin tells reporters.

She says she was “spending an evening with friends” and that the videos were “filmed in private premises.”

Rushdie stabbing suspect pleads not guilty to attempted murder, assault

Hadi Matar, the man accused in the attempted murder of British author Salman Rushdie, appears in court for a procedural hearing at Chautauqua County Courthouse in Mayville, New York on August 18, 2022. (Abgela Weiss/AFP)
Hadi Matar, the man accused in the attempted murder of British author Salman Rushdie, appears in court for a procedural hearing at Chautauqua County Courthouse in Mayville, New York on August 18, 2022. (Abgela Weiss/AFP)

The suspected assailant of Salman Rushdie pleads not guilty to attempted murder and assault charges at a court hearing in upstate New York.

Speaking through his lawyer, Hadi Matar, 24, reiterates his plea of not guilty to charges he faces for allegedly storming the stage at a literary event last week and stabbing the British novelist several times in the neck and abdomen.

The judge orders he remain detained without bail.

Lapid to parents of soldier slain by friendly fire: ‘Entire country crying with you’

Prime Minister Lapid calls the parents of Staff Sgt. Nathan Fitoussi, who was killed in a friendly fire incident earlier this week.

“Your wonderful child united Israel,” he tells them. “The entire country is crying with you.”

He says all Israelis are proud of Nathan “and feel we’ve lost a true warrior, Zionist and value driven.”

Erdogan says Turkey stands ‘on the side of Ukraine’

(L to R) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres shake hands at the end of their press-conference following the talks in western Ukrainian city of Lviv on August 18, 2022, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine. (Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP)
(L to R) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres shake hands at the end of their press-conference following the talks in western Ukrainian city of Lviv on August 18, 2022, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine. (Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP)

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan throws Turkey’s support behind Ukraine and warns of the danger of “another Chernobyl” disaster erupting at a nuclear power plant held by invading Russian forces.

“While continuing our efforts to find a solution [to the conflict], we remain on the side of our Ukraine friends,” Erdogan says after talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, adding: “We are worried. We don’t want another Chernobyl.”

Education minister urges PM to call emergency meeting on teachers crisis

Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton attends faction meeting of her New Hope party at the Knesset, in Jerusalem, on May 30, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton attends faction meeting of her New Hope party at the Knesset, in Jerusalem, on May 30, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton is calling on Prime Minister Yair Lapid to hold an emergency meeting on the education crisis, with teachers and the Treasury failing to reach an agreement on improving the formers’ conditions and the start of the school year at stake.

“Despite my efforts in recent months, I have repeatedly found that Finance Ministry officials are uninterested in reaching a real solution,” she says. “Again and again, I see that the Finance Ministry is entirely indifferent to the danger that the school year will not open.”

Treasury officials and teacher representatives met earlier today for their latest meeting but failed to reach an agreement.

Time for Western powers to walk away from Iran nuclear talks: top Israeli official

The time has come for Western powers to walk away from nuclear talks with Iran, top Israeli officials are telling their counterparts in Washington and in European capitals.

“The Europeans sent Iran a final offer, which doesn’t even meet the demands that the Americans committed to, and established that this offer was ‘take it or leave it,'” a senior Israeli official at the highest level of decision-making says.

“Iran turned down the offer, and the time has come to get up and walk away,” the official continues. “Anything else sends a strong message of weakness.”

The senior official, in a briefing to Israeli journalists, says that the world must now discuss what must be done in order to prevent Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon.

The official also emphasizes that Israel is not bound by any agreements with Iran, and “will do what is necessary in order to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and also to prevent Iran from using its terror proxies in the region.”

“The US knows and recognizes this,” the official says.

Zelensky hails Turkish leader’s visit as Russian strikes batter Kharkiv

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky hails a visit to his war-ravaged country from Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan as Russian strikes batter the eastern region of Kharkiv, leaving several dead and dozens injured.

“The visit of the President of Turkey to Ukraine is a powerful message of support from such a powerful country,” Zelensky says in a statement.

Erdogan and Guterres, who are due to hold a press conference with Zelensky in Lviv, were key brokers of a deal last month allowing the resumption of grain exports from Ukraine after Russia’s invasion blocked essential global supplies.

Saudi doctoral student gets 34 years in prison for tweets

In this frame grab from Saudi state television footage, doctoral student and women's rights advocate Salma al-Shehab speaks to a journalist at the Riyadh International Book Fair in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in March 2014. (Saudi state television via AP)
In this frame grab from Saudi state television footage, doctoral student and women's rights advocate Salma al-Shehab speaks to a journalist at the Riyadh International Book Fair in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in March 2014. (Saudi state television via AP)

A Saudi court has sentenced a doctoral student to 34 years in prison for spreading “rumors” and retweeting dissidents, according to court documents, a decision that has drawn growing global condemnation.

Activists and lawyers consider the sentence against Salma al-Shehab, a mother of two and a researcher at Leeds University in Britain, shocking even by Saudi standards of justice.

So far unacknowledged by the kingdom, the ruling comes amid Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s crackdown on dissent even as his rule granted women the right to drive and other new freedoms in the ultraconservative Islamic nation.

Al-Shehab was detained during a family vacation on January 15, 2021, just days before she planned to return to the United Kingdom, according to the Freedom Initiative, a Washington-based human rights group.

Likud says Lapid ‘advancing dangerous concessions to Holocaust denier Abbas’

Opposition and Likud party leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu casts his vote in Likud primaries, at a polling station in Tel Aviv on August 10, 2022,. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Opposition and Likud party leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu casts his vote in Likud primaries, at a polling station in Tel Aviv on August 10, 2022,. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party says Prime Minister Yair Lapid is “advancing dangerous concessions to the Holocaust denier Abu Mazen,” using Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s nickname.

The party is reacting to Meretz leadership candidate Zehava Galon who earlier said Lapid had told her he seeks to move forward with diplomatic negotiations with the Palestinians. Lapid has not yet commented on her claim.

“After years in which Likud took Abu Mazen off the global agenda, Lapid and [Defense Minister Benny] Gantz are bringing him back to center stage,” Likud says.

Russia deploys hypersonic missiles to its Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad

The Russian military says it has deployed warplanes armed with state-of-the-art hypersonic missiles to the country’s westernmost Baltic region, a move that comes amid soaring tensions with the West over Moscow’s action in Ukraine.

Russia’s Defense Ministry says three MiG-31 fighters with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles arrived at the Chkalovsk air base in the Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad as part of “additional measures of strategic deterrence.”

The ministry says the warplanes will be put on round-the-clock alert.

A video released by the Defense Ministry shows the fighters arriving at the base but not carrying the missiles, which were apparently delivered separately.

Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein gets engaged to Saudi businessman’s daughter

Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein is engaged to Rajwa Al-Saif, the daughter of a Saudi businessman.

The two 28-year-olds held an engagement event at the Al-Saif family home in Riyadh. Jordanian King Abdullah and Queen Ranian were in attendance.

Trade between Israel and UAE reachers $1.4 billion in first 7 months of 2022

Trade between Israel and the United Arab Emirates in 2022 has reached $1.4 billion in the first seven months of the year, Israel’s ambassador to the country says.

This is a significant increase from the previous year, he notes, when trade between the countries amounted to $1.2 billion over the entire year.

Police seize weapons in West Bank raid

Weapons seized after a police raid in the West Bank city of Hebron, August 18, 2022. (Israel Police)
Weapons seized after a police raid in the West Bank city of Hebron, August 18, 2022. (Israel Police)

Police say officers seized several firearms and military equipment during a raid in the West Bank city of Hebron this morning.

According to police, the bust netted three M-16 rifles, a Tavor rifle, a “Carlo” makeshift submachine gun, and a Browning pistol, as well as ammunition and other equipment.

No suspects were arrested, according to police.

Doctor keeps promise to patient born with rare disorder, escorts him to first day of school

From left to right: Dr. Tami Laron-Kenet, Zohar Atar and Omer Atar speak to Channel 12, August 18, 2022 (screenshot)
From left to right: Dr. Tami Laron-Kenet, Zohar Atar and Omer Atar speak to Channel 12, August 18, 2022 (screenshot)

Channel 12 interviews Omer Atar, a boy starting the first grade, and his doctor, Tami Laron-Kenet. Omer was born with esophageal atresia, a rare disorder in which his esophagus was disconnected from his stomach. He had to undergo surgery when he was a day old, and numerous treatments over the years.

Laron-Kenet has been his doctor throughout the years. She promised the family when he was born that he would survive and she would be with him to start the first grade.

The family now lives in Amsterdam, and Leron-Kenet traveled there to keep her promise. She says she never made such a promise to a patient before, but she “really believed it.”

“Omer went through very difficult years,” his mother Zohar says, with Omer on her knees. She says the family continues to travel to Israel’s Schneider Medical Center for follow-ups. “He gave us a strength. He’s very strong and very optimistic and very happy.”

80-year-old suspected of sexually abusing partner’s granddaughter, age 10

An 80-year-old resident of Netanya has been arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing his partner’s granddaughter, a 10-year-old girl.

The suspect’s detention has been extended until Sunday.

Zehava Galon: Abbas’s ‘holocausts’ comment disgraceful, but Israel must talk to him

Zehava Galon, the former Meretz party chief who is running to lead the party again, says Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s explosive comments in Germany that Israel has committed “50 holocausts” against Palestinians are “disgraceful and despicable.”

However, she says that “in the end it’s in Israel’s interest” to talk to him. “We can be offended and disgusted but we have security interests,” she tells Walla news.

US to hold trade talks with Taiwan, as island drills its military

Taiwan's military conducts artillery live-fire drills at Fangshan township in Pingtung, southern Taiwan, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022 (AP Photo/Johnson Lai)
Taiwan's military conducts artillery live-fire drills at Fangshan township in Pingtung, southern Taiwan, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022 (AP Photo/Johnson Lai)

The US government will hold trade talks with Taiwan in a sign of support for the island democracy that China claims as its own territory, prompting Beijing to warn it will take action if necessary to “safeguard its sovereignty.”

The announcement of trade talks comes after Beijing fired missiles into the sea to intimidate Taiwan after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this month became the highest-ranking American official to visit the island in 25 years.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government criticizes the planned talks as a violation of its stance that Taiwan has no right to foreign relations.

Taiwan’s military is holding a drill with missiles and cannons simulating a response to a Chinese missile attack.

Taiwanese soldiers stand beside a Swiss-made GDF-006 anti-aircraft gun during during a media event at Hualien Air Force Base on August 18, 2022. (Sam Yeh / AFP)

EU declares support for Palestinian NGOs after Israeli raid on rights group

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh speaks at the Palestinian Al-Haq Foundation in the West Bank city of Ramallah after Israel raided and closed an entrance to their offices, on August 18, 2022 (ABBAS MOMANI / AFP)
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh speaks at the Palestinian Al-Haq Foundation in the West Bank city of Ramallah after Israel raided and closed an entrance to their offices, on August 18, 2022 (ABBAS MOMANI / AFP)

The European Union responds to the Israeli raid on Palestinian human rights groups in the West Bank that Jerusalem has branded terrorist organizations.

“Past allegations of misuse of EU funds in relation to certain Palestinian civil society organizations have not been substantiated,” EU diplomacy chief Josep Borrell’s spokeswoman Nabila Massrali says when asked about the Ramallah raids.

“The EU will continue to stand by international law and support civil society organizations,” she adds.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh vows solidarity with Al Haq and the other non-governmental organizations raided overnight.

“This is not only an NGO, but this is also a State of Palestine institution –- therefore as long as they work within the law, we will stand solid with them,” Shtayyeh says as he visits the Al Haq offices.

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