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In swipe at right-wing lawmakers, Lapid says IDF requires ‘clear chain of command’

Outgoing PM visits military’s West Bank headquarters, says Israel ‘will not allow investigations by foreign parties’ of IDF soldiers or Border Police officers for doing their jobs

Prime Minister Yair Lapid (center), IDF chief Aviv Kohavi (left), and Lapid's military secretary Avi Gil, are seen at the IDF's West Bank headquarters, December 4, 2022. (Haim Zach/GPO)
Prime Minister Yair Lapid (center), IDF chief Aviv Kohavi (left), and Lapid's military secretary Avi Gil, are seen at the IDF's West Bank headquarters, December 4, 2022. (Haim Zach/GPO)

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

Russia said to ask Israel not to impede it moving defense equipment from Syria to Ukraine

Soldiers of a Russian military convoy and their US counterparts exchange greetings as their patrol routes intersect in an oil field near Syria's al-Qahtaniyah town in the northeastern Hasakah province, close to the border with Turkey, on October 8, 2022. (Delil SOULEIMAN / AFP)
Soldiers of a Russian military convoy and their US counterparts exchange greetings as their patrol routes intersect in an oil field near Syria's al-Qahtaniyah town in the northeastern Hasakah province, close to the border with Turkey, on October 8, 2022. (Delil SOULEIMAN / AFP)

Russia has reportedly requested that Israel not intervene or impede its efforts to transfer defense equipment from Syria to Ukraine.

The Kan public broadcaster, citing an Israeli official involved in the issue, reports that Israeli and Russian officials have been holding conversations in recent days over Moscow’s concern.

Israel and Russia have long coordinated their activities in Syrian airspace in order to avoid any clashes, although Moscow-Jerusalem ties have been strained since Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year.

Thousands march in Morocco in protest over high cost of living

Demonstrators take part in a march in Rabat, Morocco, to protest 'soaring prices, political repression and social oppression,' on December 4, 2022. (AFP)
Demonstrators take part in a march in Rabat, Morocco, to protest 'soaring prices, political repression and social oppression,' on December 4, 2022. (AFP)

Thousands of protesters march in Morocco’s capital Rabat, decrying the “high cost of living and repression,” amid surging inflation and rising social discontent.

“The people want lower prices… The people want to eliminate despotism and corruption,” chants the crowd, estimated by journalists to be around 3,000 people, the largest such rally in recent months.

People converged from across Morocco for the protest, which was also called to highlight the cases of several jailed bloggers and journalists.

Prosecutor in Netanyahu case files police complaint over threats to her son

Prosecutor Liat Ben Ari arrives at the Jerusalem District court for a hearing in the corruption trial of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, July 12, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Prosecutor Liat Ben Ari arrives at the Jerusalem District court for a hearing in the corruption trial of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, July 12, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Liat Ben-Ari, the prosecutor in the ongoing corruption trial of Benjamin Netanyahu, files a police complaint over threats to her son.

Ben-Ari tells the Lahav 433 investigative unit that a Likud operative threatened her and her son in a video he posted, saying he was looking for him and asking where he was.

Ben-Ari has reportedly considered quitting the position due to the wave of threats and vitriol directed at her by supporters of the former prime minister.

UTJ MK said to demand exclusive control over Meron celebrations in coalition talks

MK Meir Porush attends a Knesset Arrangements Committee meeting in Jerusalem on June 21, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
MK Meir Porush attends a Knesset Arrangements Committee meeting in Jerusalem on June 21, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

United Torah Judaism MK Meir Porush reportedly asks for his party to have exclusive control over the annual Lag B’Omer celebrations at Mount Meron, during coalition talks with Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

According to a report in Walla News, Porush demands that UTJ be the sole body to implement any recommendations from the ongoing state commission of inquiry into the 2021 disaster at the site in which 45 people were killed.

Since then, control over the annual celebrations at the holy site has been a hotly controversial topic, as officials trade blame over the deadly disaster that saw dozens crushed to death due to overcrowding and insufficient infrastructure.

Officers seize M-16 rifle from suspect at Shuafat crossing in Jerusalem

An M-16 weapon seized by Border Police at the Shuafat crossing on December 4, 2022. (Israel Police)
An M-16 weapon seized by Border Police at the Shuafat crossing on December 4, 2022. (Israel Police)

Border Police troops and Military Police soldiers seize an M-16 rifle from a suspect at the Shuafat checkpoint in East Jerusalem, a police spokesman says.

According to police, officers and soldiers searched a car that arrived at the checkpoint, and found the assault rifle in the trunk. The driver, a 21-year-old resident of the Shuafat refugee camp, has been arrested.

The Military Police’s Erez Battalion is due to leave the checkpoint permanently tonight, after a deadly shooting attack occurred there in October.

The probe of the attack pointed to a series of failures and shortcomings that led to a soldier being killed, with the military and police agreeing to pull the battalion from the checkpoint.

Border Police chief Amir Cohen says he praises the battalion for its “professional” work over the years.

“Today, about five minutes before the end of the battalion’s deployment at the Shuafat crossing, a soldier seized an M-16 weapon that could have reached terrorist or criminal elements,” Cohen adds.

Blinken to J Street: We will judge next Israeli government by policies, not personalities

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken addresses the J Street conference in Washington on December 4, 2022. (Screen capture/YouTube)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken addresses the J Street conference in Washington on December 4, 2022. (Screen capture/YouTube)

WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says that the Biden administration will engage with the incoming hardline Israeli government based on the policies that it implements and not by the individuals slated to fill senior roles in the next coalition.

“We will gage the government by the policies and procedures, rather than individual personalities,” says Blinken in the keynote address at the annual conference of the dovish J Street conference. “We will hold to the [s]tandards we’ve established our relationship over the past several decades. And we will speak honestly and respectfully with our Israeli friends as partners always should.”

The remarks come amid speculation that Biden officials will not engage with some of the most far-right members of Israel’s likely next government, such as Religious Zionism chairman Bezalel Smotrich, who is slated to become finance minister, and Otzma Yehudit chairman Itamar Ben Gvir, who is slated to become national security minister.

US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides refused to answer a question during an interview last week regarding whether he would meet with Ben Gvir.

Acknowledging the frustration of many in the crowd over the peace process’s digression, Blinken says the Biden administration will do more than just speak out against unilateral moves taken by both parties.

“Simply discouraging the sides from taking steps that undermine prospects for two-states is insufficient. Because the reality is that today, Palestinians and Israelis do not enjoy equal measures of freedom, security or opportunity,” he says.

Lapid slams international criticism of cop who shot Palestinian stabber dead

Prime Minister Yair Lapid (center), IDF chief Aviv Kohavi (left), and Lapid's military secretary Avi Gil, are seen at the IDF's West Bank headquarters, December 4, 2022. (Haim Zach/GPO)
Prime Minister Yair Lapid (center), IDF chief Aviv Kohavi (left), and Lapid's military secretary Avi Gil, are seen at the IDF's West Bank headquarters, December 4, 2022. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Visiting the military’s West Bank headquarters, outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid slams international criticism of a Border Police officer who shot a Palestinian stabber dead.

“The government fully backs our troops. We will not allow investigations by foreign parties, we will not accept defamation of IDF soldiers and Shin Bet and Border Police troops who risk their lives every day to protect Israel and its citizens,” Lapid says in remarks provided by his office.

Yesterday, the United Nations envoy to the Middle East said he was “horrified” by the killing of Ammar Mifleh by a Border Police officer in the West Bank town of Huwara. Mifleh had stabbed another officer in the face, and had attempted to stab an Israeli couple in their car, according to Israeli officials.

Lapid also swipes back at criticism from right-wing lawmakers over the jailing of a soldier who taunted an activist in Hebron.

“Against the terror organizations, we need a strong, disciplined army, with a clear chain of command, that operates only according to the law. This is the secret of our strength, this is what created the strength of the IDF,” Lapid says.

Lapid is briefed on recent events by senior army officials at the West Bank headquarters, alongside IDF chief Aviv Kohavi and National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata.

Herzog meets with small Bahrain Jewish community in Manama

President Isaac Herzog (right) meets with members of the Bahrain Jewish community in Manama on December 4, 2022. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
President Isaac Herzog (right) meets with members of the Bahrain Jewish community in Manama on December 4, 2022. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

MANAMA — President Isaac Herzog meets with members of Bahrain’s Jewish community in Manama, receiving a prayerbook with an Arabic translation, a book about the history of the indigenous Jewish community, and a copy of the 1931 permit to open the synagogue.

The attendees include community head Ebrahim Nonoo, former ambassador to the US Houda Nonoo, and Bahrain Shura Council member Nancy Khedouri.

The community, which now numbers less than 50 people, was able to form a minyan for Shabbat services yesterday with the help of two visiting Chabad rabbis and members of the US Fifth Fleet stationed in the island kingdom.

Suspect arrested for allegedly helping to hide Holon road rage killer

Adi Mizrahi, suspected of stabbing Yuri Volkov to death in Holon. arrives at Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court, November 25, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Adi Mizrahi, suspected of stabbing Yuri Volkov to death in Holon. arrives at Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court, November 25, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

The Israel Police say they have arrested a suspect who allegedly aided the suspected killer of Yuri Volkov in Holon earlier this month.

Volkov was stabbed to death at a crosswalk allegedly by Adi Mizrahi, who fled the scene and was captured a day later.

Police say that a 23-year-old man from Jaffa was arrested for allegedly aiding Mizrahi and interfering with the investigation.

US jet engine factory in Israel to shut, laying off 900 employees

An airplane engine made by Pratt & Whitney at the Farnborough Air Show fair in Farnborough, England, July 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
An airplane engine made by Pratt & Whitney at the Farnborough Air Show fair in Farnborough, England, July 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

US jet engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney announces it will cease manufacturing compressor blades at its factory in northern Israel by 2025, laying off 900 workers.

The firm says in a statement that the Blades Technology Industry factory at the Migdal Tefen Industrial Zone near Nahariya will begin shutting down in 2024 and shift to the United States, due to “major losses that are only growing.”

Otzma Yehudit submits bill to increase political control over judicial appointments

Otzma Yehudit's Almog Cohen (L) and Yitzhak Wasserlauf at the Knesset, November 21, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Otzma Yehudit's Almog Cohen (L) and Yitzhak Wasserlauf at the Knesset, November 21, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The No. 2 MK in the far-right Otzma Yehudit party submits a bill to make the majority of members of the Judicial Selection Committee political appointees.

The nine-member Judicial Selection Committee currently comprises four politicians, two representatives of the Israel Bar Association, and three current Supreme Court justices. The bill by MK Yitzhak Wasserlauf would nix the Bar appointees in favor of two lawyers recommended by the justice minister and approved by the government.

Wasserlauf’s proposed bill states that that it is meant to correct the “moral distortion” it believes comes from having the Bar Association play a role in appointing judges in a way that does not “represent all of the Israeli public.”

The legislation seeks to transfer that power from the Bar’s national council to the justice minister, a position expected to be held in the next government by Likud.

Gantz calls on opposition parties to join ‘struggle for the character of the state’

Outgoing Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks during a National Unity faction meeting, ahead of the swearing-in of the new Knesset, on November 15, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Outgoing Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks during a National Unity faction meeting, ahead of the swearing-in of the new Knesset, on November 15, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Outgoing Defense Minister Benny Gantz issues a call for opposition parties to join him to fight against the policies of the projected incoming government.

“We will not be silent. We will fight together for the character of the state, in education, the judicial system and the IDF,” says the leader of the Blue and White party.

Gantz calls on all those who oppose the expected incoming right-wing religious government to join his new organization, The Struggle for the Character of the State.

Netanyahu on US news show: ‘I won’t accept’ harm to LGBT rights in Israel

Prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu during an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" on December 4, 2022. (Screen capture/Twitter)
Prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu during an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" on December 4, 2022. (Screen capture/Twitter)

Presumed incoming prime-minister Benjamin Netanyahu says in an interview with a US television network that he will not allow any harm to come to LGBT rights in Israel.

“I just won’t accept any of that. It’s not something I’m saying now — I have a record now and a record in general of having two hands on the wheel,” Netanyahu says during the NBC show “Meet the Press,” noting that “I ultimately decide policy.”

“I’m going to safeguard Israeli democracy, I’m going to bring peace, categorically… and I’m going to stop Iran. That’s what I’m coming back for, and that’s what I’m committing to,” he adds

Netanyahu’s comments come days after he signed a coalition deal with Noam MK Avi Maoz — a far-right anti-LGBT politician who says he wants to ban the Jerusalem pride parade — handing him control over extracurricular programming in schools.

Netanyahu also says that “I doubt” there will be any changes to the Law of Return, which currently allows anyone with one Jewish grandparent to become a citizen.

Asked about former US president Donald Trump’s recent meeting with avowed antisemites Kanye West and Nick Fuentes, Netanyahu says it is “not merely unacceptable, it’s just wrong,” but makes a point to praise Trump for his positions on Israel.

The Likud leader also says that once he takes office he will deliberate the issue of providing military assistance to Ukraine.

“That’s one of the issues I’m going to take up,” Netanyahu says, noting that it is a concern that “requires careful deliberation.”

2 killed, 7 hurt in rare anti-government protest in Druze-majority province of Syria

Protests in Syria’s Druze-majority Sweida province turn violent, leading to the deaths of a protester and a police officer, and wounding seven others.

Anti-government demonstrations are rare in Syria where President Bashar Assad stamped out a pro-democracy uprising over a decade ago. Assad survived the resulting civil war but the conflict has plunged Syria into poverty, coupled with a food security and energy crisis.

Though Sweida has generally been spared from the civil war, anti-corruption protests have occurred in the Druze-majority province over the past few years, with tensions simmering between residents and the Syrian government led by Assad.

Dozens of residents gather by the Sweida governorate building, decrying the dire economic situation and chanting anti-government slogans before some break into the building.

The Syrian Interior Minister in a statement says that the people who raided the building were armed, and destroyed furniture, smashed windows, and looted files. The statement adds that a police officer was killed after protesters attacked a police station.

Hamas posts video of its members firing missiles at Israeli fighter jets

A ball of fire and a plume of smoke rise above buildings in southern Gaza as Israeli warplanes strike the Palestinian enclave on December 4, 2022. (AFP)
A ball of fire and a plume of smoke rise above buildings in southern Gaza as Israeli warplanes strike the Palestinian enclave on December 4, 2022. (AFP)

The Hamas terror group posts footage of its members launching anti-aircraft missiles at Israeli fighter jets over the Gaza Strip early this morning.

The missile fire came as the Israeli Air Force launched strikes against Hamas in response to an earlier rocket attack on southern Israel.

The Israeli jets were not damaged by the missiles, but still targeted a Hamas post in response.

According to experts, the missile-launching system Hamas is using against the Israeli fighter jets is highly unlikely to be successful.

Bahraini FM says country ‘truly looking forward’ to working with Netanyahu government

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdul Latef Al Zayani during a briefing with visiting Israeli reporters in Manama on December 4, 2022. (Lazar Berman/Times of Israel)
Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdul Latef Al Zayani during a briefing with visiting Israeli reporters in Manama on December 4, 2022. (Lazar Berman/Times of Israel)

MANAMA — Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdul Latef Al Zayani says his country is “truly looking forward” to working with Benjamin Netanyahu and his emerging government.

Zayani notes that Netanyahu was a signatory of the Abraham Accords in 2020, and says Bahrain is eager “to further work on the successful achievements we have done together.”

The foreign minister stresses that he is convinced that Netanyahu believes in peace, and in the principles of the Abraham Accords.

Zayani does not mention Iran in his prepared remarks, and when asked, he says Manama’s policy is to pursue peace. He also says that he does not believe that the JCPOA nuclear deal will lapse.

3 Chinese astronauts land back on Earth following 6-month mission

The Shenzhou-15 and Shenzhou-14 crew take a group picture with their thumbs up after a historic gathering in space on Nov. 30, 2022. (Guo Zhongzheng/Xinhua News Agency via AP)
The Shenzhou-15 and Shenzhou-14 crew take a group picture with their thumbs up after a historic gathering in space on Nov. 30, 2022. (Guo Zhongzheng/Xinhua News Agency via AP)

Three Chinese astronauts land in a northern desert after six months working to complete construction of the Tiangong station, a symbol of the country’s ambitious space program, state TV reports.

A capsule carrying commander Chen Dong and astronauts Liu Yang and Cai Xuzhe touches down at a landing site in the Gobi Desert in northern China at approximately 1210 GMT, China Central Television reports.

The three astronauts were part of the Shenzhou-14 mission, which launched in June. The Tiangong is part of official Chinese plans for a permanent human presence in orbit.

IDF identifies impact site from last night’s Gaza rocket

A ball of fire and a plume of smoke rise above buildings in southern Gaza as Israeli warplanes strike the Palestinian enclave on December 4, 2022. (AFP)
A ball of fire and a plume of smoke rise above buildings in southern Gaza as Israeli warplanes strike the Palestinian enclave on December 4, 2022. (AFP)

Security forces have located the site of a rocket impact, after it was launched from the Gaza Strip at southern Israel last night.

A crater is found in a wheat field close to the border town of Nahal Oz.

The rocket was not intercepted, as it was heading for an unpopulated area.

Early this morning, the Israeli Air Force struck targets in the Gaza Strip in response to the attack.

Iran says it will abolish ‘morality police’ after months of protests

Iranian students protest against the Islamic regime at Amir Kabir University in Tehran, October 29, 2022. (Twitter screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Iranian students protest against the Islamic regime at Amir Kabir University in Tehran, October 29, 2022. (Twitter screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Iran is scrapping its morality police after more than two months of protests triggered by the arrest of Mahsa Amini for allegedly violating the country’s strict female dress code, according to local media reports.

Women-led protests, labeled “riots” by the authorities, have swept Iran since the 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish origin died in custody on September 16, three days after her arrest by the morality police in Tehran.

“Morality police have nothing to do with the judiciary and have been abolished,” Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri is quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency.

His comment comes at a religious conference where he responds to a participant who asked “why the morality police were being shut down,” the report says.

Israel Police establishes team to examine road rage violence amid slate of incidents

Traffic piles up on the Ayalon highway in Tel Aviv, July 24, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Traffic piles up on the Ayalon highway in Tel Aviv, July 24, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

After a series of violent and even deadly road rage incidents in recent weeks, the Israel Police is establishing a special team to investigate the issue.

According to the police, the team will be led by the head of the Israel Police traffic unit, Yehuda Ben Atar, and will present a series of suggestions to prevent such incidents in the coming months.

“Reducing the phenomenon of violence in the State of Israel is a national mission,” says Ben Atar, who notes that police are already boosting their presence at major junctions and highways. The police aim to provide personal security to every resident of Israel, he adds.

Earlier this month, a man was stabbed to death while crossing the road in Holon after his wife pointed out to a motorcycle driver that he should not be driving while the light was red. A week earlier, a man was hospitalized with serious brain injuries after a motorcycle driver used his helmet to repeatedly smash him in the face.

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