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Ben Gvir said to fume at police chief over broken promises: I can’t work with him

Otzma Yehudit leader, set to be internal security minister, reportedly demanding that Kobi Shabtai hold up police nominations until he takes office

Head of the Otzma Yehudit party MK Itamar Ben Gvir, left, and Israel Police chief Kobi Shabtai attend a ceremony, in Tel Aviv, November 14, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Head of the Otzma Yehudit party MK Itamar Ben Gvir, left, and Israel Police chief Kobi Shabtai attend a ceremony, in Tel Aviv, November 14, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

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

NY police charge man with hate crime for shooting 7-year-old Jewish boy with BB gun

New York police arrest a suspect who allegedly shot a 7-year-old Jewish boy and his father with a BB gun.

The boy and his father were targeted from a passing vehicle while exiting a Staten Island kosher grocery store on Sunday. The child was hit in the ear and his father in his chest but neither was seriously injured.

Jason Kish, 25, will be charged with assault as a hate crime, acting in a manner injurious to a child under age 17, reckless endangerment and assault.

The NYPD says area police officers and the city’s hate crimes task force tracked down the suspect. Police had previously released a photo of the suspect’s black Ford Mustang in an appeal for information.

The hate crimes unit also announces a separate arrest for an assault against an 18-year-old Jewish man in late October.

Yesterday, police reported 45 antisemitic incidents in New York in November. Jews were the victims of 60% of all hate crimes in the city.

Israeli driver says shots fired at his car in West Bank, no injuries

An Israeli driver reports that two masked gunmen opened fire on his vehicle near the Zif Junction in the Southern Hebron Hills area of the West Bank.

According to the Rescuers Without Borders emergency service, the driver reached the settlement of Carmel, where he was found to be unharmed by the alleged gunfire.

Another Israeli man is lightly hurt by stones hurled at his car in the same area, the service adds.

There is no immediate comment from the Israel Defense Forces on either incident.

Israeli deportation of Palestinian-French activist on hold

Israel will have to wait to deport Palestinian lawyer and activist Salah Hamouri to France for at least several weeks after a  Tel Aviv court fails to make a decision.

No decisions were made, and another hearing was set for Jan. 1, says Dani Shenhar, one of his lawyers. He remains in Israeli custody.

Hammouri has been held since last March under administrative detention — an Israeli tool that allows it to hold suspected terrorists without charge for months at a time.

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked announced last week that she would deport Hammouri as soon as possible after his detention ended on Sunday.

The case has underscored the fragile status of Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents and sparked a diplomatic row with France. Hammouri, who was born in Jerusalem, has French citizenship.

Israel accuses Hammouri of membership in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which has been labeled a terrorist group by Israel and the US.

France has told Israel that it opposes the planned expulsion, French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre said Monday in an online briefing.

“He must be able to exercise all his rights and lead a normal life in Jerusalem, his city of birth and residence,” she said, adding that French officials have met with Israeli counterparts to express their opposition.

Ben Gvir said to fume at police chief over broken promises: I can’t work with him

Far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir, who is slated to become police minister in the next government, is furious with police chief Kobi Shabtai, warning he won’t be able to work with him, Channel 12 reports.

Ben Gvir and Shabtai have a tense history after Shabtai reportedly blamed Ben Gvir for the deadly riots in mixed Jewish-Arab cities during Israel’s May 2021 conflict with Gaza.

Shabtai cited the Otzma leader’s decision to set up an ad hoc office in the volatile East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah which sparked clashes with Palestinian residents shortly before widespread rioting broke out.

The two were pictured smiling and hugging in recent days after it became clear that Ben Gvir would get his demand to become public security chief.

But relations have soured in recent days, Channel 12 reports, after Ben Gvir reportedly asked Shabtai to hold up a series of nominations in the police until he officially takes office.

The report says Ben Gvir was angered after Shabtai promised to wait, but today it became clear that the nominations were going ahead anyway.

“It’s not legal, judicial or professional, it’s a [power] grab,” Ben Gvir reportedly told one of Shabtai’s close associates. “It will be very hard for me to work with a police commissioner who promises me things and does not fulfill them.”

The report says the police appointments were routine and it was unprecedented for a minister to intervene on such a level, particularly one who has not yet even come into office.

Morocco celebrates historic Word Cup win with Palestinian flag

The Moroccan team celebrates their historic win at the World Cup by hoisting a Palestinian flag.

As the team gathers on the pitch to celebrate, they raise aloft a Palestinian flag alongside several Moroccan ones, the latest sign of solidarity with the Palestinians at the first World Cup held in the Middle East.

The move comes despite Morocco’s increasingly close relations with Israel after signing the Abraham Accords that normalized ties.

Morocco defeated Spain in a penalty shootout to become the first Arab nation to reach the last eight of a World Cup, sparking jubilation across the Arab world.

125 US lawmakers call for ‘whole of government’ approach to combat antisemitism

A bipartisan slate of 125 US lawmakers from both chambers are calling on the Biden administration to adopt a “whole of government” policy to combat antisemitism.

A letter sent today to President Joe Biden, spearheaded by the chairmen of congressional task forces for combating antisemitism, calls for action from officials from an array of agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, FBI, State Department, White House, Department of Education and US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The letter pushes for the creation of “an interagency task force led by an official at the Assistant Secretary rank or higher,” and it cites an FBI report saying there was a 6% rise in antisemitic hate crimes in 2020.

“Because many individual agencies play a critical role in combating antisemitism, closer coordination is needed to share best practices, data, and intelligence; identify gaps in efforts; streamline overlapping activities and roles; and execute a unified national strategy,” the letter says.

Morocco shock Spain to become first Arab team in World Cup quarter-finals

Morocco beat Spain on penalties to reach the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time in their history on Tuesday after the match finished 0-0.

The African side won the shoot-out 3-0 after Spain failed to convert all three of their spot kicks.

Morocco is the first Arab team to reach the quarter-finals in the first tournament to be held in the Middle East.

ToI staff contributed to this report.

IAF wraps up joint drill with French air force, navy

The Israeli Air Force wraps up joint exercises it held this week with the French Air and Space Force and Navy, the military says.

During the drill, dubbed ‘Eastern Breeze,’ four FASF Rafale fighter jets flew alongside IAF F-16i aircraft over Israel’s skies this week, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

The French aircraft arrived on a carrier strike group in the Mediterranean Sea.

“IAF and FASF aircrews flew ‘wing-to-wing’ while practicing joint strikes and counteracting aerial threats in an effort to share knowledge and benefit from one another,” the IDF says in a statement.

“The exercise was an important milestone in the development of the strategic cooperation between the IAF and the FASF and improved the forces’ readiness,” it adds.

Police investigating after swastika sprayed at Missouri elementary school

Police in Springfield, Missouri, are investigating after a swastika was sprayed on an elementary school during a vandalism spree.

The vandalism at York Elementary School, which is under construction, was found on Saturday morning, police spokeswoman Cris Waters says.

Stephen Hall, spokesman for Springfield Public Schools, says the district immediately replaced the window where the swastika was found and removed the graffiti. He declined to say how much damage was found but said it will require the district to file an insurance claim to recover the costs, the Springfield News-Leader reports.

Hall said the vandalism will not delay the opening of the new York Elementary School in January.

The vandalism comes amid a surge of anti-Jewish incidents across the country, including antisemitic comments from some celebrities such as the rapper Ye.

In April, the Anti-Defamation League reported a record number of antisemitic reports in 2021. The organization said the 2,717 incidents of assault, harassment and vandalism was a 34% increase over the previous year and the highest number since the ADL began tracking the events in 1979.

97-year-old former Nazi camp secretary voices regret, seeks acquittal

Lawyers for a 97-year-old former secretary to the SS commander of Nazi Germany’s Stutthof concentration camp ask for their client to be acquitted, arguing that she didn’t know about the atrocities committed at the camp located in what is now northern Poland.

Irmgard Furchner has been on trial for over a year at the Itzehoe state court in northern Germany. In her closing statement, Furchner said she was sorry for what had happened and regretted that she had been there at the time, according to a court spokesman.

Her lawyers request her acquittal, arguing that the evidence hadn’t shown beyond doubt that Furchner knew about the systematic killings at the camp, meaning there was no proof of intent as required for criminal liability.

Prosecutors accuse Furchner of being part of the apparatus that helped the Nazis’ Stutthof camp function during World War II. In their closing arguments last month, they called for her to be convicted as an accessory to murder and given a two-year suspended sentence.

Tens of thousands of people died at Stutthof and its satellite camps, or on death marches at the end of World War II.

Furchner, who made headlines last year when she absconded from trial, is being tried in juvenile court because she was under 21 at the time of the alleged crimes.

The court said a verdict is expected on December 20.

Supreme Court chief Esther Hayut slams proposed plans to neuter court

Supreme Court President Justice Esther Hayut slams plans by the incoming coalition to neuter the court.

“Our loyalty as judges is to the entire Israeli public, but our mission as public emissaries can’t be fulfilled without safeguarding our independence — on a personal and institutional level,” she says speaking at a ceremony.

Her comments come amid widespread agreement among members of the presumed incoming coalition to pass a series of judicial reforms that would allow the Knesset to override laws struck down by the court and to give the government greater control over nominating judges.

Eggs again thrown at UK’s King Charles, man arrested

UK police say they have arrested a 20-year-old man on suspicion of common assault, after an egg was allegedly thrown toward King Charles III while he was on a walkabout.

The arrest in Luton, north of London, came less than a month after the monarch narrowly avoided being hit by eggs lobbed in his direction during a visit to York in northern England.

Charles, 74, was in Luton to meet community leaders and voluntary organizations, open a new Sikh temple and visit a new public transport system.

Bedfordshire Police said the man arrested was detained outside Luton Town Hall and taken for questioning.

In York on November 9, eggs were thrown at Charles and Queen Consort Camilla by a man heard shouting “this country was built on the blood of slaves” and “not my king.”

The suspect was later released on bail.

Bennett sues rabbi for spreading false claims his parents were not Jewish

Former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is suing Rabbi Ronen Shaulov for repeatedly delivering sermons in which he claimed that Bennett’s parents were not Jewish.

Bennett seeks NIS 1 million ($290,000) in damages, saying that the rabbi repeatedly delivered the same message in sermons, leading to it being perceived as true by a large portion of the population.

In sermons posted on the internet, Shaulov says that because Bennet’s parents are not Jewish, neither is he, and he “sold the country to non-Jews and was their dog.”

A statement from Bennett’s office says that the false accusations caused great distress to his family and that now that he was out of office he would actively pursue the “poison machine.”

Bennett says he will donate the damages to families of IDF fallen soldiers.

Iran: 9 face death for colluding with Israel in assassination of nuclear scientist

Nine people will face the death penalty in Iran over the assassination of one of the country’s top nuclear scientists, the judiciary says.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed when his car was ambushed on a highway outside Tehran in November 2020, in an attack Iran blamed on its regional arch-foe Israel.

The nine defendants were charged with “corruption on earth” and collusion with Israel, both capital offenses in the Islamic Republic, judiciary spokesman Massoud Setayeshi says.

“Fakhrizadeh’s case has 15 defendants,” Setayeshi tells a news conference.

Along with those facing the death penalty, a further six people had “other accusations” leveled against them, he says.

In September, Tehran’s chief prosecutor Ali Salehi had announced 14 people were indicted in the case.

The charges against them included “colluding with the purpose of disrupting national security” and “actions against national security,” Salehi said at the time.

Fakhrizadeh had been under US sanctions for his role in Iran’s nuclear program when he was killed.

Iranian authorities claimed the attack included a bomb and a remote-controlled machine gun.

Edelstein warns against demands to change Law of Return

Likud MK Yuli Edelstein criticizes his party’s prospective coalition partners for their demand to abolish the so-called grandchild clause in the Law of Return.

Speaking at the Knesset at an event to mark aliyah, or Jewish immigration to Israel, Edelstein, who himself immigrated from the Soviet Union, warns that tampering with the clause could see the demise of the whole Law of Return.

“I hear a lot of talk about the need and demands to change the Law of Return, grandchild clause. I want to say this to you: In five years their will be no Law of Return in Israel and this country will no longer be the state of all its citizens,” he says.

The ultra-Orthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism parties and the far-right Religious Zionism and Otzma Yehudit parties submitted the request during coalition talks.

The “grandchild clause” in the Law of Return allows anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent to immigrate freely to Israel so long as they do not practice another religion. Many immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet Union obtain citizenship under this clause.

Turkish lawmaker hospitalized after mass brawl in parliament

An opposition legislator is hospitalized following a brawl that broke out in Turkey’s parliament during a tense debate over next year’s budget.

Television footage shows dozens of lawmakers from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party and from opposition parties engaged in a tussle. Some legislators threw punches at each other, while others tried to pull their fighting colleagues apart.

At least one legislator was knocked to the ground, video images show.

The private DHA news agency says Huseyin Ors, a lawmaker from the opposition Good Party, was punched in the face.

A lawmaker who is a doctor by training tended to Ors, who was then taken to a hospital by ambulance, DHA reports. Ors suffers from heart problems and was placed under emergency care as a precaution.

Fighting is a frequent occurrence in Turkey’s parliament. It was not immediately known what caused Tuesday’s brawl, but tensions are running high ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for June.

Comptroller report on cybersecurity finds flaws in Education Ministry, IDF

A report published by State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman on cybersecurity in Israel finds flaws in the IDF and the Education Ministry.

The report finds the IDF has not updated its privacy protection protocols since 1996. It also finds the IDF saves biometric details of people who have died, leading to fears the information could be used by hackers to steal identities.

The IDF says it is examining the findings and notes that its databases are protected and not accessible to those outside the military.

The report also finds that cybersecurity lapses in the Education Ministry are likely to undermine the integrity of matriculation test results.

Israel’s NewMed signs joint gas exploration deal with Morocco

Israel’s NewMed Energy says it signed a deal with Morocco and Adarco Energy for offshore natural gas exploration and production in Morocco, Reuters reports.

NewMed and Adarco will each have a 37.5% stake in the Boujdour Atlantique license, NewMed says, while Morocco’s energy and mining ministry will hold the remaining 25%.

“For a long time now we have recognized a huge potential in Morocco for collaborations in both the natural gas and renewable energy sectors,” Reuters quotes NewMed CEO Yossi Abu as saying.

Liberman calls for revoking Al Jazeera press credentials in Israel

Outgoing Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman calls for revoking the press credentials of the Qatar-based television network Al Jazeera in Israel, after the network files suit against the Jewish state in the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague.

“It is completely unacceptable for Al Jazeera to sue Israel and lectures us on morality,” says Liberman.

“It’s not logical that this body has the right to broadcast from Israel. I call on the Government Press Office to revoke the press cards of all Al Jazeera reporters in Israeli territory,” he says.

Earlier in the day, the network submitted what it said was detailed evidence to the ICC, allegedly proving that the Israel Defense Forces deliberately shot dead its reporter Shireen Abu Akleh during clashes in the West Bank in May.

In a statement, Al Jazeera says it “will today submit the case of Shireen Abu Akleh’s killing by Israeli Occupation Forces to the International Criminal Court,” adding that its reporters and legal team will hold a press conference in the Dutch city alongside “members of Shireen’s family and leading journalists and human rights experts.”

— with AFP

Polls open in Georgia in key runoff to settle last US Senate seat

Georgia voters on are deciding the final US Senate contest in the country, choosing between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican football legend Herschel Walker after a four-week runoff blitz that has drawn a flood of outside spending to an increasingly personal fight.

This year’s runoff has lower stakes than the two in 2021, when victories by Warnock and fellow Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff gave Democrats control of the Senate. The outcome of today’s contest will determine whether Democrats have an outright 51-49 Senate majority or control a 50-50 chamber based on Vice President Kamala Harris’s tiebreaking vote.

As the polls opened in the morning, cold, rainy conditions greeted voters in the Atlanta area. At an elementary school in suburban Johns Creek, voters lined up before the polls opened to cast their ballots, undeterred by a 40-degree wind chill and steady rain. The line moved swiftly.

The runoff brings to a close a bitter fight between Warnock, the state’s first Black senator and the senior minister of the Atlanta church where Martin Luther King Jr. preached, and Walker, a former University of Georgia football star and political novice who has waged his bid in the mold of former president Donald Trump.

A victory for Warnock would solidify Georgia’s status as a battleground heading into the 2024 presidential election. A win for Walker, however, could be an indication that the Democratic gains in the state might be somewhat limited, especially given that Georgia Republicans swept every other statewide contest last month.

Taliban to allow high school graduation exams for Afghan girls — who’ve been barred from class

Afghan girls will be allowed to take their high school graduation exams this week, an official and documents from the Taliban government indicate — even though they have been banned from classrooms since the former insurgents took over the country last year.

According to two documents from the Taliban ministry of education, obtained by The Associated Press, the decision applies to 31 out of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces where the winter school break starts in late December.

Ehsanullah Kitab, head of the Kabul education department, says the exams would take place on Wednesday. He provided no other details and it was not clear how many teenage girls would be able to take the exam.

One of the documents, from the Kabul education department, says the exams would last from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. A second document, signed by Habibullah Agha, the education minister who took office in September, says the tests would be held in 31 Afghan provinces. The three excluded provinces — Kandahar, Helmand and Nimroz — have a different timetable for the school year and high school graduation exams typically take place there later.

“This is ridiculous,” says 18-year-old Najela from Kabul, giving only her first name for fear of reprisals. She would now be in twelfth grade and eligible for the exam. “We spent a whole year under tension and stress and haven’t read a single page of our textbooks.”

Court: Hamas member arrested after being freed in Gilad Shalit swap will complete life sentence

An Israeli court has ruled that a senior Hamas member will serve out his life sentence after he was freed in the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner swap and later rearrested.

At the time of the exchange, Nael Barghouti had served 33 years for participating in the killing of an Israeli bus driver, making him one of the longest-held Palestinians. He was arrested in 1978 at the age of 20.

Barghouti was rearrested in 2014 during a roundup of prisoners released in the 2011 exchange, amid a hunt for a Hamas cell behind the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens in the West Bank.

The Israel Defense Forces say a military court has reinstated Barghouti’s original sentence on appeal, life plus 18 years.

In 2017, the Palestinian Prisoners Club said Israel had reinstated the sentence, but the IDF made no comment on the matter at the time.

Agencies contributed to this report.

JNF-KKL elects Ifat Ovadia-Luski as first-ever woman to head organization

The board of the Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemet LeYisrael taps Ifat Ovadia-Luski to serve as its chair, the first time that a woman will hold the position in the organization’s 121-year history.

Ovadia-Luski, a member of the Likud party, will replace outgoing chairman Avraham Duvdevani, who is due to end his tenure at the end of the month.

Ovadia-Luski currently serves as the head of the Department of Hebrew and Culture in the World Zionist Organization and has long served in international Zionist organizations.

She previously served as CEO of World Likud, also being the first woman to hold that position.

JNF-KKL, which owns some 13 percent of Israel’s land, has long been dogged by accusations of corruption, mismanagement and inappropriate political activities, and calls have grown in recent years to nationalize the organization and bring its real estate holdings and massive budget into government hands.

Putin holds high-level meeting on ‘domestic security’ after Ukraine drone attacks

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with top officials on Russia’s “domestic security” as the Kremlin says the latest Ukrainian drone attacks presented a danger to the country.

Earlier in the day, authorities said that a drone had struck near an airfield in Russia’s Kursk region bordering Ukraine, a day after Moscow blamed Kyiv for drone strikes at two other airfields.

Monday’s drone strikes were highly unusual as both sites are hundreds of kilometers away from Ukraine’s border.

The Kremlin says that Putin convened a meeting of his Security Council to discuss how to ensure the state’s “domestic security.” No other details are provided.

Speaking to reporters separately, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov says  authorities were taking “necessary” measures to protect the country from Ukrainian attacks.

10 suspected Egyptian drug smugglers arrested after crossing border

The Israel Defense Forces says troops have detained 10 Egyptian suspects who crossed the border into Israel in a drug-smuggling attempt.

The IDF says troops and police officers are scanning the area for more possible suspects.

Drugs in their possession were also seized, the IDF says.

Arrests of smugglers on the Egyptian border are fairly uncommon, as they often hurl packages of contraband over the border and flee, expecting smugglers on the Israeli side to pick them up.

The IDF says there are no special instructions for residents of the area following the incident.

Liberman: Benefits to ‘lazy, draft-dodging’ Haredim will lead to ‘tax rebellion’

Outgoing Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman slams reported expanded benefits that the ultra-Orthodox parties have secured in coalition negotiations, saying the move will ultimately lead to a tax rebellion by secular Israelis.

“The minimum estimation is that they have been promised some NIS 20 billion ($5.85 billion). Funding educational institutions that don’t teach secular studies is costing some NIS 6 billion ($1.75 billion.) These promises to the Haredim will lead to a tax rebellion,” Liberman tells the Ynet news site.

Liberman slams the Shas and United Torah Judaism parties and the students who study in their yeshivas, most of whom do not serve in the IDF.

“Ninety percent of the yeshiva students are lazy draft-dodgers. The closer you come to the Shas and UTJ institutions, the further you get from God,” says Liberman.

“There is a group in Israel of 175,000 people as of today of yeshiva students between the ages of 16 and 67, and 90% of them are idlers and draft dodgers,” Liberman says.

“We are talking about billions of shekels of commitments for them that include allowances, food stamps, other issues such as splitting the Jerusalem and Heritage Ministry into two ministries with additional funding, building housing solutions for the ultra-Orthodox and building new institutions,” he says.

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