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A-G conducts preliminary probe into claims against Netanyahu

Amid reports of money laundering allegations, PM says accusations are baseless, ‘just like every other time’

  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right0 gives a joint statement with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry prior to their meeting at his Jerusalem office on July 10, 2016. (AFP PHOTO/GALI TIBBON)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right0 gives a joint statement with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry prior to their meeting at his Jerusalem office on July 10, 2016. (AFP PHOTO/GALI TIBBON)
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry meet in Jerusalem on July 10, 2016 (Haim Zach/GPO)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry meet in Jerusalem on July 10, 2016 (Haim Zach/GPO)
  • US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Spain's King Felipe VI at the Palacio Real de Madrid in Madrid on July 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Spain's King Felipe VI at the Palacio Real de Madrid in Madrid on July 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, July 10, 2016. (screen capture/Auschwitz Museum Twitter account)
    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, July 10, 2016. (screen capture/Auschwitz Museum Twitter account)
  • Residents of the Kiryat Arba and Otniel settlements march in protest at the recent violence in the West Bank on July 10, 2016 (screen capture/Channel 2)
    Residents of the Kiryat Arba and Otniel settlements march in protest at the recent violence in the West Bank on July 10, 2016 (screen capture/Channel 2)

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

Holon man stabs off-duty cop, commits suicide

A man in the Tel Aviv suburb of Holon kills himself after stabbing and wounding an off-duty Border Police officer during a dispute.

Israel Radio reports that the man, in his 40s, attacks the policeman with a knife, moderately wounding him in the head, before climbing to the roof of a nearby building and throwing himself off.

The police are investigating the incident.

2 Israelis confirmed dead in California crash

The Foreign Ministry confirms that two Israeli nationals have died in a traffic accident in California.

The Israeli consul in San Francisco is en route to offer assistance to the families of the victims in liaising with the US authorities.

— Raphael Ahren

Iranian fighter jet crashes, pilots survive

Iranian state TV says an air force Sukhoi-24 has crashed while on patrol near the southern city of Shiraz, and the two pilots ejected and survived.

The report does not say what caused the fighter jet crash, but says an investigation is underway.

Iran signed a contract with Moscow in February to purchase a newer version of the Russian-made fighter jet, the Sukhoi-30.

Iran’s air force still relies largely on domestically modified versions of long-outdated warplanes, including Soviet MiGs and American F-14 Tomcats from the 1970s.

— AP

Kiryat Gat cops shoot, wound man mistaken for terrorist

A policeman shoots and wounds a man armed with a knife in Kiryat Gat, near Ashkelon, after believing him to be a terrorist.

The man, in his 60s, sustained light to moderate leg wounds during the incident in a local park, the Ynet news website says.

Officers were dispatched to the scene following reports that a suspicious man was spotted in the area. The cops called to the man to drop the knife. The suspect ignored their calls and began to rush toward them, whereupon they opened fire.

The man, who is known to police, apparently suffers from mental health issues. Police are investigating the incident.

Israelis to march in West Bank to demand state fight terror

A protest march will take place this afternoon from the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Gat to the settlement of Otniel, some 13 kilometers (8 miles) away, calling on the government to take action against terrorism following a pair of recent deadly attacks on local residents.

Among the marchers will be Yael Mark, the daughter of Rabbi Miki Mark, who was killed 10 days ago in a shooting attack on his family’s car near Otniel. The route of the march will take the protesters past the site of the attack.

According to the promotional material for the march, MKs and ministers will also take part.

The march will set out from Kiryat Arba at 4:30 p.m., and conclude in Otniel around 7 p.m.

Canadian PM visits Auschwitz, accompanied by survivor

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau visits the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau following a NATO meeting in the Polish capital Warsaw.

The Canadian media says Trudeau made a personal request to visit the camp, where he is joined by Auschwitz survivor Nate Leipciger, a Polish-born resident of Toronto.

UN airlifts food to cut-off families in northeast Syria

The UN’s World Food Program says it has made its first airlift of humanitarian aid to families cut off from supplies in northeastern Syria.

The WFP says in a statement that the flight carrying 40 tons of food landed the night before in Qamishli Airport in Syria’s Hassakeh province. The agency estimates that 275,000 people living in many areas of the province have been cut off from food and other supplies for more than six months.

The WFP says it will fly at least 25 rotations between the capital Damascus and Qamishli over the course of a month.

Road access into Hassakeh from inside the country has been blocked by the Islamic State group for more than two years.

Syrian children enjoy a tour on a makeshift miniature train during the celebrations marking the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan on July 9, 2016 in Syrian the rebel-held town of Arbin in the eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus. (AFP PHOTO/AMER ALMOHIBANY)

Syrian children enjoy a tour on a makeshift miniature train during the celebrations marking the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan on July 9, 2016 in Syrian rebel-held town of Arbin, in the eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus. (AFP PHOTO/AMER ALMOHIBANY)

— AP

Think tank: IS loses 12% of its territory in Iraq, Syria

British think tank IHS says the Islamic State group lost 12 percent of the territory it holds in Iraq and Syria in the first half of 2016.

The analysis says the jihadist group, which proclaimed its self-styled “caliphate” in the two countries in 2014, is continuing to lose ground after a string of setbacks last year.

“In 2015, the Islamic State’s caliphate shrunk by 12,800 square kilometers (nearly 5,000 square miles) to 78,000 square kilometers (30,000 square miles), a net loss of 14 percent,” IHS says. “In the first six months of 2016, that territory shrunk again by 12 percent. As of July 4, 2016, the Islamic State controls roughly 68,300 square kilometers (26,400 square miles) in Iraq and Syria.”

IHS senior analyst Columb Strack says the losses are likely to mean IS will redouble its attempts at “mass casualty attacks.”

Islamic State has also seen its revenues drop, from around $80 million a month in mid-2015 to $56 million a month by March 2016, according to IHS.

IS fighters ride tanks during a parade in Raqqa, Syria, held by the Islamic State, June 2014. (AP Photo/Raqqa Media Center, File)

IS fighters ride tanks during a parade in Raqqa, Syria, held by the Islamic State, June 2014. (AP Photo/Raqqa Media Center, File)

— AFP

Bin Laden’s son threatens revenge against US

Al-Qaeda’s media arm has released an audio in which the purported son of the late leader Osama bin Laden threatens revenge against the US for assassinating his father.

In the video released by As-Sahab, Hamza bin Laden, who was apparently being groomed as his father’s heir, tells Americans that they are accountable for the decisions of their leaders. He says al-Qaeda will continue waging jihad against the US in response to its “oppression” of Muslims.

“If you think that your sinful crime that you committed in Abbottabad has passed without punishment, then you thought wrong,” he says.

Bin Laden was killed in a May 2011 US raid at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. His son’s whereabouts are not known. Analysts speculate that he may be preparing to take over leadership of al-Qaeda.

— AP

PM to Egypt FM: Our peace deal is basis of regional stability

Netanyahu welcomes Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to Israel, telling him that the 1979 peace deal between Jerusalem and Cairo is “the cornerstone of regional stability.”

Speaking at a press conference in Jerusalem, Netanyahu hails Egyptian President Fattah-Abed el-Sissi’s recent peace initiative, and calls on Palestinians to return to bilateral talks.

Shoukry also speaks of the need to restart talks, and maintains that the two-state solution is not out of reach.

“The plight of the Palestinians becomes more arduous every day,” Shoukry says. This is the first time in nine years that an Egyptian foreign minister has visited Israel.

Shoukry to PM: Stagnation in peace talks cannot continue

Shoukry tells Netanyahu that the freeze in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians cannot continue.

“The current state of affairs unfortunately is neither stable nor sustainable,” Shoukry says, adding that it “does not conform with the hopes and aspirations of both peoples, nor with those of the peoples of the region and the world.”

— Raphael Ahren

Ministers delay bill to restrict arms sales to human rights abusers

The Knesset’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation postpones the vote on a bill jointly proposed by Likud MK Yehuda Glick and Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg that aims to prevent the sale of weapons and defense technology to human rights violators.

Zandberg first proposed the law last year, but after it floundered in committee, Glick offered to step in and garner support from across the aisle.

Though the vote on the law has been postponed, its supporters aren’t giving up, an aide from Zandberg’s office tells The Times of Israel.

“This proposal is especially required in light of the renewal of fighting in South Sudan and the involvement of Israeli weapons there. As Israelis we cannot close our eyes to what is happening in our name around the world,” Zandberg says.

Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg seen in the Israeli parliament on October 19, 2015. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.

Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

— Judah Ari Gross

Prison Service: Hamas inmates can watch Euro 2016 final

The Israel Prison Service says it will not prevent Hamas prisoners from watching the final of the Euro 2016 soccer championship between France and Portugal this evening, Walla reports.

The family of fallen soldier Oron Shaul, whose body is being held by Hamas in Gaza, has petitioned the High Court to prevent inmates from the terror group seeing the game.

Responding to the petition, the IPS said: “Until now, prisoners have watched the Euro games as part of a package especially purchased from Yes [satellite company]. The game tonight is aired on Channel 2, and thus there is no difference between this and any other program broadcast on Channel 2, which is a public channel.”

Obama calls for greater respect, understanding in US

US President Barack Obama calls for greater tolerance, respect and understanding from police officers toward the people they take an oath to protect, as well as from individuals who think the police are too heavy-handed and intolerant, particularly toward people of color.

“I’d like all sides to listen to each other,” Obama says in answer to a reporter’s question after meeting with Spain’s acting prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, during his shortened first visit to Spain as president.

He says violence against police by anyone concerned about fairness in the criminal justice system does “a disservice to the cause.”

US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Spain's King Felipe VI at the Palacio Real de Madrid in Madrid on July 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Spain’s King Felipe VI at the Palacio Real de Madrid in Madrid on July 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

— AP

Livni: Egypt FM’s visit is desired, vital

Zionist Union MK and former foreign minister Tzipi Livni welcomes Shoukry’s visit to Jerusalem, calling it “desired and vital.”

“Our relations with moderate Arab countries in general and Egypt in particular are a strategic and defense asset,” she says, according to Walla.

“As long as it is clear that Israel is serious and its leaders are willing to pay the political price to advance negotiations and change the reality, we will improve and form closer relationships with the countries of the region,” Livni adds.

Mother of slain teen Hallel Ariel wants Temple Mount memorial

The mother of Hallel Yaffa Ariel, the 13-year-old Jewish girl killed in her bed, is seeking permission to hold a memorial ceremony for her daughter on the Temple Mount.

Ynet says Rina Ariel asked permission from Netanyahu for a 250-strong group, comprising the Ariel family and friends and supporters, to ascend to the Temple Mount on Tuesday.

“We and Hallel have always felt a deep connection to the Temple Mount. We visited it and will continue to do so, as we believe that it is the house of God, and that it gives strength and life to each and every house in Israel,” she says in a letter to Netanyahu.

“And as it is only from there that all deficits can be filled, it is only from there that we will receive any sense of solace. For this reason we are asking to perform the mitzvah of visiting the Temple Mount and praying there for the ascent of Hallel’s soul this coming Tuesday, with 250 people who have pledged to join and comfort us. It is very important to me that the event be coordinated with the police and not carried out in any manner of confrontation,” she continues.

“Just recently, 200,000 Muslims performed a mass prayer at the site. Would a Jewish group comprising a tenth of that number not be allowed to convene there for a single hour?”

— JTA

PM, Shoukry meeting ends, had ‘very good atmosphere’

The meeting between Netanyahu and Shoukry in Jerusalem ends, with an Israeli diplomatic official telling The Times of Israel that the talks were held in “a very good atmosphere.”

The two men discussed various issues, chiefly the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and regional developments, the official adds.

He says Netanyahu raised the issue of the missing Israelis held in Gaza and asked for Cairo’s help in returning them to Israel, to which Shoukry responded affirmatively.

The two are set to meet again at 8:30 p.m. for dinner at the prime minister’s official Jerusalem residence on Balfour Street.

— Raphael Ahren

Vehicle hits patrol car outside slain Dallas officer’s home

Police say a vehicle struck a Dallas police car parked outside the home of one of five officers slain during a protest Thursday.

Fort Worth police say they are investigating whether the crash was an accident or deliberate.

Authorities are trying to locate the vehicle, which sped away after smashing into the driver’s side of the police car around 1 a.m. Sunday. Nobody was hurt.

Two Dallas officers were assigned to the marked patrol car, but officials didn’t immediately say whether the officers were in the vehicle.

A Dallas cop receives flowers at a roadblock outside police headquarters in the city, Saturday, July 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

A Dallas cop receives flowers at a roadblock outside police headquarters in the city, Saturday, July 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

— AP

Britain’s Andy Murray claims second Wimbledon championship

Britain’s Andy Murray beats Milos Raonic of Canada, giving him his second Wimbledon men’s championship.

Murray beats Raonic 6-4, 7-6, 7-6 for his second trophy at the All England Club since 2013 and third Grand Slam championship overall.

Sitting in his sideline chair after the match, Murray wiped away tears with a tournament towel.

“I’ve had some great moments here and some tough losses, and I’m proud to have my hands on the trophy again,” he says, according to the Guardian. “I played really good stuff today. Milos has had a great few weeks on the grass. He’s one of the harder workers out there. And a huge thank you to everyone who came out to support me.”

Andy Murray of Britain celebrates a point against Milos Raonic of Canada during the men's singles final on the fourteenth day of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Sunday, July 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Andy Murray of Britain celebrates a point against Milos Raonic of Canada during the men’s singles final on the fourteenth day of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Sunday, July 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

US group celebrates Poles who saved Jews during Holocaust

A group of Polish Christians who risked their lives to help Jews during the Holocaust are brought together for a luncheon in Warsaw to be honored and celebrated by a US-based Jewish organization that provides aid to these rescuers.

One man is 101 years old; others are in their 80s and 90s and arrived in wheelchairs, with a walker, or leaning for support on children who are themselves no longer young.

Stanlee Stahl, executive vice president of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, tells 35 rescuers that “you were the precious few who chose not to be bystanders.”

She adds: “Words are truly inadequate to express the gratitude of the Jewish people to each and every one of you.”

Ryszard Zielinski, 85, right, a Pole who helped to save Jews during World War II, attends a luncheon, accompanied by his son Mieszko, in Warsaw, Poland, on July 10, 2016. A group of Polish Christians who risked their lives to aid Jews during the Holocaust were brought together in Warsaw to be honored by a US-based Jewish organization that provides assistance to these rescuers. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Ryszard Zielinski, 85, right, a Pole who helped to save Jews during World War II, attends a luncheon, accompanied by his son Mieszko, in Warsaw, Poland, on July 10, 2016. A group of Polish Christians who risked their lives to aid Jews during the Holocaust were brought together in Warsaw to be honored by a US-based Jewish organization that provides assistance to these rescuers. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)


— AP

PM at Entebbe memorial: We fight terror fearlessly

Netanyahu tells a memorial to mark the 40th anniversary of the rescue of hostages held by terrorists at Entebbe airport that Israel will continue to take action to defeat terror.

Speaking at the ceremony in Jerusalem, the prime minister calls the mission “the most impressive hostage rescue operation in history,” Walla reports.

Netanyahu adds: “Bold steps for the security of the state are taken ​​all the time, even thousands of miles from home,” and stresses that Israel “will continue to act fearlessly against terror.”

Court: Hamas prisoners can watch Euro final

The High Court rejects a petition by the family of fallen IDF soldier Oron Shaul — whose body is being held in Gaza — to stop Hamas members jailed in Israel from watching tonight’s final of the Euro 2016 soccer championship.

“There is no legal impediment to security prisoners watching the European Championships final on Channel 2, which is a public channel, and the petitioners did not present us with any legal or factual basis to prevent a group of prisoners or anyone else watching the game,” the High Court says.

The Israel Prison Service gave a similar response to the petition earlier in the day.

Progressive Jews urge RJC to halt support for Trump

Bend the Arc, a partnership of progressive Jewish groups, calls on the Republican Jewish Coalition to withdraw the organization’s support for presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump.

The online petition is addressed to Matthew Brooks, executive director of the RJC.

“Withdraw the RJC’s support of Donald Trump until he actively rejects the white supremacists — including anti-Semites — who are eagerly supporting his campaign,” says the petition, which was launched Thursday.

In a statement accompanying the petition, Bend the Arc says: “For a national Jewish group to continue to support him is unconscionable. As a Republican group, the RJC has the ability to pressure his campaign to cease being a megaphone for hate. As a Jewish group, they are morally obligated to do so.”


— JTA

Obama to visit Dallas, address interfaith service

The White House says President Barack Obama will travel to Dallas on Tuesday and deliver remarks at an interfaith memorial service.

The service will take place at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. The White House says Obama is making the trip at the invitation of Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings.

Five officers were killed and seven were wounded when a gunman opened fire on a protest march in Dallas on Thursday night.

The attack occurred shortly after Obama arrived for a NATO summit in Poland. He cut his subsequent visit to Spain short by a day and has spoken daily during the trip about the attacks, calling for police and protesters to “listen to each other.”

— AP

Ben Gurion ranked 6th best airport in world

Israel’s Ben Gurion is ranked sixth in a new list of international airports.

The airport, based just outside Tel Aviv and named for Israel’s first prime minister, scores 78 out of 100 in the ranking by Travel+Leisure online magazine.

“These airports have a history of incorporating smart tech to make the lives of travelers easier, as well as staggering architecture that helps the airport seem like a destination in its own right,” writes the magazine.

The top-rated hub is Singapore’s Changi Airport, which boasts a butterfly garden with a waterfall, a host of exotic flowers and even a rooftop pool.

Observation tower at Ben Gurion International Airport. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)

Observation tower at Ben Gurion International Airport. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)

Critic accused of racism: I won’t retract Regev-Goebbels quip

Film critic Gidi Orsher says he will not apologize for a Facebook post in which he compares Culture Minister Miri Regev to Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.

A day after he was suspended by Army Radio for publishing a racist tirade against Israelis of North African and Middle Eastern descent, Orsher claims he does not recall writing the offending post, but declines to to walk back the comparison.

“None of the movies in recent years are left wing,” Orsher wrote on Facebook page last month about the ongoing spat between Regev and many Israeli artists over state funding for so-called politicized performances. “Whoever claims this, has not seen Israeli films since the 1960s, this is garbage propaganda from the mouth of Regev-Goebbels.”

Questioned today about the comparison, Orsher tells Channel 2: “There are some similarities in their actions.”

A-G announces preliminary probe into claims against PM

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit says there is a preliminary probe into criminal allegations against Netanyahu, but does not specify the nature of the accusations.

“I wish to inform you that in light of information received regarding affairs that pertain to, among others, the prime minister, and which was presented to the attorney general by the police investigations and intelligence branch, the attorney general conducted a number of discussions in association with the state prosecutor, other senior officials in the Justice Ministry and the police investigations and intelligence branch,” Mandelblit says in a statement to the media.

He stresses, however, that this is a preliminary probe and as such no criminal investigation has been launched into the affairs of the prime minister.

Channel 10 reported Friday that police were examining allegations that Netanyahu and a senior official in the justice system were involved in a “large-scale” corruption operation. According to Channel 2, the allegations pertain to the transfer of “large sums” of money to one of Netanyahu’s family members “for non-political purposes.”

PM: Like every other time, new claims against me are baseless

Netanyahu plays down the attorney general’s confirmation of a preliminary probe into unspecified allegations against him.

A statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office says: “As has happened on every previous occasion when actions were attributed to Prime Minister Netanyahu and it turned out to be baseless, there will be nothing here too — because there is nothing.”

— Raphael Ahren

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