ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 140

search
Live updates (closed)

Three more suspects held in administrative detention over settler riots last month

Right-wing legal rights group says Shin Bet detained men early morning, they have not been brought before a court; arrests bring to 8 number of settlers detained for rampages

Israeli security forces argue with Israeli settlers at the entrance to the West Bank village of Turmus Ayya on the day that Jewish extremists set fire to homes and vehicles in the town, June 21, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israeli security forces argue with Israeli settlers at the entrance to the West Bank village of Turmus Ayya on the day that Jewish extremists set fire to homes and vehicles in the town, June 21, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

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

Israel confirms it has recognized Moroccan rule over Western Sahara

Morocco's Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita poses for a photo following the Negev Summit at the Israeli kibbutz of Sde Boker, on March 28, 2022 (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
Morocco's Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita poses for a photo following the Negev Summit at the Israeli kibbutz of Sde Boker, on March 28, 2022 (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

The Prime Minister’s Office confirms that Benjamin Netanyahu has sent a letter to Morocco recognizing Rabat’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.

Earlier, the Royal Court said that Israel is recognizing Morocco’s control over the disputed region and would consider opening a consulate there.

“Israel confirms the details of the statement from the government of Morocco,” the PMO says.

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen welcomes the move.

“I welcome Prime Minister Netanyahu’s announcement on the recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara,” he says. “This step will strengthen the relations between the countries and between the peoples and the continuation of cooperation to deepen regional peace and stability.”

Three more suspects held in administrative detention over settler riots last month

Israeli security forces argue with Israeli settlers at the entrance to the West Bank village of Turmus Ayya on the day that Jewish extremists set fire to homes and vehicles in the town, June 21, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israeli security forces argue with Israeli settlers at the entrance to the West Bank village of Turmus Ayya on the day that Jewish extremists set fire to homes and vehicles in the town, June 21, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Three more settler youths suspected of involvement in last month’s settler rampages in Palestinian towns were placed under administrative detention, according to the right-wing legal aid group Honenu.

Honenu says the three were arrested by the Shin Bet and police in the early hours of the morning and have not been brought before a court.

Army Radio says Defense Minister Yoav Gallant signed off on administrative detention orders for the three youths, bringing the total held for the attacks to eight.

The report says one of the suspects is an IDF soldier and another recently completed his service.

In the wake of the Eli terror attack on June 20, hundreds of settlers rampaged in Palestinian towns and villages for five days, setting fire to homes, cars, and even opening fire in some cases.

One riot in the village of Turmus Ayya, during which a Palestinian was killed and 12 others were injured, involved arson, vandalism and live fire. Earlier this year, there was a brutal rampage in the Palestinian village of Huwara, also following a deadly Palestinian terror attack.

Seven months later, Biden invites Netanyahu to meet him in US

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrive at Fort Lesley J. McNair from Camp David, on July 16, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Manuel Balce Ceneta)
US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrive at Fort Lesley J. McNair from Camp David, on July 16, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Manuel Balce Ceneta)

US President Joe Biden invites Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a meeting in the US, after seven months of refraining from making such an offer, due to Washington’s displeasure with the judicial overhaul and policies in the West Bank being advanced by Jerusalem.

The invitation was extended during a “warm and long” phone call, which was the first time in four months that the two leaders had spoken, the Prime Minister’s Office says.

Netanyahu accepted the invitation and the leaders agreed that their staffs would work to coordinate a date.

The statement said only that Netanyahu was invited to meet Biden in the US, without specifying if the invitation was to the White House or another location.

The two leaders also discussed advancing measures to restore calm in the West Bank via the regional meetings that Israel and the Palestinian Authority have held this year in Aqaba, Jordan, and Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, Netanyahu’s office says.

A third meeting was supposed to take place in the spring, but never materialized due to further deteriorations in Jerusalem’s ties with Ramallah.

There was no immediate readout from the White House on the conversation that took place amid reports that Biden had planned to express his opposition to the judicial overhaul that Netanyahu’s hardline government is aiming to push through.

The statement from Netanyahu’s office did not refer specifically to the overhaul, but said Netanyahu updated Biden on “a law that will be passed next week.”

The law would curtail judicial oversight over the reasonableness of governmental decisions.

The opposition fiercely opposes the bill, but Netanyahu told Biden he aims to use the summer parliamentary recess to find “broad public support for rest of the [overhaul] process.”

The two leaders also discussed efforts to expand Israel’s integration in the region and to combat the Iranian nuclear threat, Netanyahu’s office says.

Biden and Netanyahu speak by phone amid rising tensions

Then-US vice president Joe Biden shakes hands with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister's Residence, in Jerusalem, March 9, 2010. (Ariel Schalit/AP/File)
Then-US vice president Joe Biden shakes hands with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister's Residence, in Jerusalem, March 9, 2010. (Ariel Schalit/AP/File)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken by phone with US President Joe Biden, despite tensions in ties between the allies, a source tells the Times of Israel.

There is no official confirmation or readout from either side.

The conversation comes at a time of strained ties between the Biden administration and Netanyahu’s hardline government.

Earlier, the Walla news site said the call was likely to focus on US concerns over the government’s judicial overhaul.

The report says that the call will be a chance for Biden to make clear his opposition to the policies of Netanyahu’s hardline government.

The call comes hours before President Isaac Herzog is set to depart for the US, where he will meet Biden and address a joint session of Congress.

Morocco says Israel has recognized its rule over Western Sahara

A Moroccan army vehicle drives past car wreckage in Guerguerat, in Western Sahara, on November 24, 2020, after an intervention of the royal Moroccan armed forces in the area. (Fadel Senna/AFP/File)
A Moroccan army vehicle drives past car wreckage in Guerguerat, in Western Sahara, on November 24, 2020, after an intervention of the royal Moroccan armed forces in the area. (Fadel Senna/AFP/File)

Morocco says that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sent a letter to King Mohammed VI recognizing the North African nation’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.

According to Rabat, Netanyahu tells the monarch that Israel will “recognize the sovereignty of Morocco over the territory of Western Sahara,” and is “examining positively” the opening of a consulate in Dakhla, the regional capital.

Netanyahu also writes, according to the Moroccan Foreign Ministry, that this will be “reflected in all relevant acts and documents of the Israeli government.’’

“The decision will be transmitted to the United Nations, to regional and international organizations of which Israel is a member, and to all countries with which Israel maintains diplomatic relations,” it says.

There is no immediate confirmation or denial from the Foreign Ministry.

Ties with Morocco have become shaky in recent months, with Rabat postponing the second Negev Forum. Israel’s recognition is sure to smooth out relations to a significant extent

Last month, reports said Israel was mulling the move and Morocco had made it a condition to upgrade ties.

The two countries’ diplomatic missions are currently liaison offices, but Israel’s recognition of Western Sahara could allow for a full embassy presence. A free-trade agreement is also a possibility for the future.

Western Sahara is a sparsely populated desert region on the Atlantic coast that is adjacent to Morocco proper. The Polisario movement seeks independence from Morocco in the area and controls a part of the territory.

Israel and Morocco have steadily built up their relationship since normalizing ties in 2020, part of a series of deals known as the Abraham Accords, backed by the administration of then-US president Donald Trump.

In exchange, Rabat won a key concession from Washington: recognition of its sovereignty over Western Sahara.

Death toll in Kenya Christian starvation cult case passes 400

Body bags with victims of a Christian cult are seen during the exhumation from a forest at Shakahola outskirts of Malindi town, Kenyan Coast, April 25, 2023. (AP Photo)
Body bags with victims of a Christian cult are seen during the exhumation from a forest at Shakahola outskirts of Malindi town, Kenyan Coast, April 25, 2023. (AP Photo)

The death toll in an investigation linked to a Kenyan cult that practiced starvation to “meet Jesus Christ” exceeds 400, after 12 more bodies were found on Monday, a senior official says.

“Total death toll: 403,” Coast Regional Commissioner Rhoda Onyancha tells AFP in a message, following the latest round of exhumations in the Shakahola forest, where cult leader Paul Nthenge Mackenzie allegedly urged followers to starve to death.

“Exhumation continues tomorrow,” Onyancha adds, as investigators search for more graves in the forest, where the first victims — some dead, others alive but weakened and emaciated — were discovered on April 13.

According to government autopsies, starvation appears to have been the main cause of death, although some victims, including children, were strangled, beaten or suffocated.

Mackenzie, a former taxi driver-turned-preacher, has been in police custody since mid-April.

Hall of Famer Johnny Bench apologizes for antisemitic remark at Cincinnati Reds event

Former Cincinnati Reds player Johnny Bench looks on after being introduced during the Reds Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony before a baseball game between the Reds and the Milwaukee Brewers, July 15, 2023, in Cincinnati, Ohio. (AP Photo/ Darron Cummings)
Former Cincinnati Reds player Johnny Bench looks on after being introduced during the Reds Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony before a baseball game between the Reds and the Milwaukee Brewers, July 15, 2023, in Cincinnati, Ohio. (AP Photo/ Darron Cummings)

Hall of Famer Johnny Bench apologizes for an antisemitic comment made at an event to honor, among others, former Cincinnati Reds general manager Gabe Paul, who was Jewish.

Bench made the remark at an event attended by Paul’s daughter, Jennie Paul, on Saturday. Paul, who died in 1998, and former Reds pitchers Danny Graves and Bronson Arroyo were being inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame.

Pete Rose recalled signing a deal worth “400 bucks a month” in his first contract negotiation with Gabe Paul.

Jennie Paul joked that it was “cheap.”

“He was Jewish,” Bench responded, drawing laughs from the audience.

“I recognize my comment was insensitive. I apologized to Jennie for taking away from her father the full attention he deserves,” Bench says, in a statement released Sunday. “Gabe Paul earned his place in the Reds Hall of Fame, same as the others who stood on that stage, I am sorry that some of the focus is on my inappropriate remark instead of solely on Gabe’s achievement.”

Judge who ‘inspired’ reasonableness bill says he did intend legislative changes

Supreme Court Justice Noam Sohlberg at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, March 27, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Supreme Court Justice Noam Sohlberg at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, March 27, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Supreme Court Justice Noam Sohlberg distances himself from the coalition’s bill to radically restrict the courts’ use of the judicial reasonableness standard, saying that when he discussed the notion in a lecture three years ago he did not mean that such restrictions should be imposed via legislation.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior government ministers have specifically cited elements of Sohlberg’s lecture — later formulated into a lengthy essay — in which he detailed his concerns about the use of reasonableness against policy decisions made by the government, as a way of legitimizing the current legislation.

Netanyahu even called the bill the “Sohlberg plan” in a video message explaining the rationale behind the legislation.

“I didn’t think then, three and a half years ago in that lecture, about an amendment through legislation. I thought about a trend that would come about through court rulings,” says Sohlberg, a conservative justice, in a statement issued via the courts spokesperson’s division.

“At the end of my lecture, I even emphasized that interpretation, reasonableness and proportionality ‘invite significant challenges, and oblige us to expand and deepen the important debate on the proper limits of judicial discretion.’”

In DC, Herzog to visit Museum of African American History

In this photo taken Sept. 14, 2016, final preparations are being made for the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
In this photo taken Sept. 14, 2016, final preparations are being made for the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Isaac Herzog will visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture on Tuesday, after his meeting with US President Joe Biden.

He will be joined by Senator Cory Booker, Representative Glenn Ivey, Representative Ritchie Torres, Representative Jim Clyburn, Representative Steven Horsford, and Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III.

As Israel faces headwinds in the Democratic Party, building bridges with the African-American community will be a key part of maintaining broad support across the political spectrum.

Leaders of five historically Black colleges and universities were in Israel last week to explore partnerships with Israeli universities.

Coalition pulls all Knesset bills to focus on committee vote on ‘reasonableness’ law

Religious Zionism lawmaker Simcha Rothman speaks as the  Knesset deliberates a bill to constrict the judiciary’s review powers over the 'reasonableness' of government decisions, on July 10, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Religious Zionism lawmaker Simcha Rothman speaks as the Knesset deliberates a bill to constrict the judiciary’s review powers over the 'reasonableness' of government decisions, on July 10, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The coalition pulls all its bills from the Knesset plenum to allow lawmakers in the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee to focus on passing the “reasonableness” bill.

Opposition lawmakers filed more than 27,000 reservations in a bid to stymie the controversial bill.

Among the bills pulled from the plenum is one that would require loyalty pledges to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state from Israeli ambassadors and consuls general before they receive their postings.

With all government bills pulled, the plenum will only vote on no-confidence measures in the government brought by the opposition.

Committee vote on ‘reasonableness’ bill held up amid deluge of reservations submitted

Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chairman MK Simcha Rothman (left) leads a committee meeting on a bill to severely limit the courts' use of the reasonableness standard, July 16, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chairman MK Simcha Rothman (left) leads a committee meeting on a bill to severely limit the courts' use of the reasonableness standard, July 16, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Voting in the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on the more than 27,000 reservations submitted against the coalition’s law to radically limit the courts’ use of the reasonableness standard has yet to begin since opposition party leaders have not yet decided which option presented by the Knesset legal adviser they will adopt for the voting process.

Due to the unprecedented number of reservations drawn up by opposition committee MKs, Knesset Legal Adviser Sagit Afik suggests several options for completing the voting process.

Afik says the coalition and opposition could agree on some changes to the bill in return for reducing the number of reservations; or opposition MKs could be given 18 hours to explain the reservations, and then the committee would vote on bundles of reservations in batches of 20, allowing for some 1,500 separate votes; or each batch of reservations could be explained and then voted on one by one but in larger batches, amounting to several hundred votes.

The committee will reconvene once the Knesset plenum agenda is completed, which has been truncated in order to allow the Constitution Committee more time to conduct the voting process.

“I want to thank the members of the opposition for their integrity for not agreeing to advance any compromise on this bill for what they call dangerous legislation,” says Rothman sarcastically during the debate on the process, and accuses the opposition MKs of unreasonable behavior by submitting such massive numbers of reservations.

Yesh Atid MK Yoav Segalovich rejects Rothman’s claims, saying the committee chair failed to amend the bill despite the urging of several experts who addressed the committee and recommended changes be made to the legislation.

“You didn’t allow for a real dialogue in committee in this repressive process,” fumes Segalovitch, and points out that numerous legal advisers from different government departments were prevented from addressing the committee and explaining the consequences of the bill.

Knesset to vote on bill demanding loyalty pledge from senior diplomats serving abroad

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen attends a Knesset committee hearing, June 12, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Foreign Minister Eli Cohen attends a Knesset committee hearing, June 12, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Knesset is set to vote today on a bill that would require loyalty pledges to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state from Israeli ambassadors and consuls general before they receive their postings.

The bill comes up for a first reading. It will have to pass two more readings before becoming law.

Backed by Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, the bill would amend the law on diplomatic service appointments to say that the heads of diplomatic missions must swear allegiance as a precondition to receiving their official appointment.

Cohen’s office says that the bill was a response to last year’s thwarted appointment of then-Meretz lawmaker Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi as consul general in Shanghai. An Arab Muslim, Rinawie Zoabi has said that she does not connect to Israel’s “Jewish soul,” and before her brief stint as a lawmaker in the last coalition, she co-edited a document that does not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Charges to be filed against protester who hit Dichter with a flagpole

A protester is seen trying to hit Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter in the face with a flag on March 23, 2023 (Screencapture/Twitter)
A protester is seen trying to hit Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter in the face with a flag on March 23, 2023 (Screencapture/Twitter)

An anti-government protester is to be charged with attacking a public official after she appeared to hit Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter with a flagpole during a protest, the Kan public broadcaster reports.

A woman was arrested after she was filmed hitting Dichter on the head with a flag. He was unhurt and continued walking to his car. From the footage, it was not clear that the woman hit him intentionally.

The incident occurred in March during an anti-government protest.

The report names the woman as Efrat Marmour.

Wildfire near Athens forces evacuation of seaside resorts amid heatwave

A wildfire breaks out near Athens as a heatwave grips the country, firefighters say, with several seaside resorts ordered evacuated as a precaution.

The blaze broke out in Kouvaras, which lies some 50 kilometers (31 miles) southeast of Athens. “It’s a difficult fire, the winds are really strong with gusts reaching up to 60 kilometers (37 miles) per hour,” says Yannis Artopios, a firefighters spokesman.

Greece has been gripped by a heatwave since last week, with temperatures reaching 44ºC in the center of the country.

Doctors said planning warning strike over judicial overhaul

Israeli doctors carrying 'Doctors Fighting for Democracy' attend a rally against the government's judicial overhaul bills, Tel Aviv, February 25, 2023. (Gili Yaari /Flash90)
Israeli doctors carrying 'Doctors Fighting for Democracy' attend a rally against the government's judicial overhaul bills, Tel Aviv, February 25, 2023. (Gili Yaari /Flash90)

The doctors union is planning a warning strike this week in opposition to the government’s judicial overhaul, Channel 12 reports.

The strike will see hospitals operating on an emergency footing for several hours, with only emergency cases being treated.

The threat comes after the Israel Medical Association warned last week that hospitals and doctors could strike in opposition to the bill.

The association held emergency discussions Thursday to discuss the ramifications of the law and members agreed that “it will devastate the healthcare system and is not just a theoretical concern,” said IMA chairman Prof. Zion Hagay.

Smotrich says changes to Judicial Selection Committee next step in overhaul

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich leads a Knesset faction meeting of his far-right Religious Zionism party, July 10, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich leads a Knesset faction meeting of his far-right Religious Zionism party, July 10, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich says that the government’s next step in its controversial judicial overhaul will be to change the format of the committee that selects judges.

Speaking at a meeting of his Religious Zionism faction in the Knesset, Smotrich says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “very determined” to press ahead with the reform despite widespread and mounting opposition.

Answering questions, Smotrich says Justice Minister Yariv Levin has convinced Netanyahu that changes to the Judicial Selection Committee are key to safeguarding other elements of the reform, like current efforts to bar judges from using a “reasonableness” test to strike down legislation or government decisions.

“Otherwise the judges will just find another reason, and call it ‘cock-a-doodle-doo’ and use it to intervene in the decisions of the Knesset and government without any legal basis,” he says.

Iran shutters education center over ‘inciting riots’

Iranians protest the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was detained by the morality police, in Tehran, October 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Middle East Images, File)
Iranians protest the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was detained by the morality police, in Tehran, October 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Middle East Images, File)

Iranian authorities have shuttered an educational center accused of “inciting riots” during last year’s mass demonstrations triggered by the death in custody of a young woman, state media reports.

Nationwide protests rocked Iran following the September death of a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, Mahsa Amini, in police custody after her arrest over violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code.

“We prepared and issued a warrant for the closure of Gaj center following the directive of the minister of education,” state news agency IRNA quotes Ahmad Mahmoudzadeh, head of Iran’s non-governmental schools, as saying.

Mahmoudzadeh says Gaj had ” incited riots” during a Persian literature exam for students, without elaborating.

Iran’s reformist newspaper Shargh daily reports that Gaj had cited excerpts from revolutionary poems by prominent dissident Farrokhi Yazdi.

Gaj center, founded in 2002, has won multiple awards over the years for its publications.

Biden said planning to call Netanyahu to express concern over judicial overhaul

Then-US vice president Joe Biden shakes hands with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister's Residence, in Jerusalem, March 9, 2010. (Ariel Schalit/AP/File)
Then-US vice president Joe Biden shakes hands with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister's Residence, in Jerusalem, March 9, 2010. (Ariel Schalit/AP/File)

US President Joe Biden plans to call Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today for talks likely to focus on US concerns over the government’s judicial overhaul, the Walla news site reports.

The Prime Minister’s office declines to confirm the call.

The report says that the call will be a chance for Biden to make clear his opposition to the policies of Netanyahu’s hardline government.

The call comes hours before President Isaac Herzog is set to depart for the US, where he will meet US President Joe Biden and address a joint session of Congress.

Netanyahu is said to be angry over Biden’s refusal to invite him to the White House.

In late March, Biden said Netanyahu would not be visiting the White House in the “near term” amid Washington’s frustration with his government’s judicial overhaul plan. Days earlier, Israel’s ambassador to Washington was summoned to the State Department for a dressing down over violations of commitments regarding policy toward the Palestinians.

Biden last week said Netanyahu’s coalition has some “of the most extreme members” he has seen in Israel, lamenting that they back unrestricted settlement growth and do not recognize any Palestinian right to the territory.

Likud thanks Gantz for speaking out against reservists refusing to serve

Gadi Eisenkot (left) and Benny Gantz at the launch of the new National Unity party, August 14, 2022 in Kfar Maccabiah. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Gadi Eisenkot (left) and Benny Gantz at the launch of the new National Unity party, August 14, 2022 in Kfar Maccabiah. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Amid reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is increasingly concerned about Israel’s operational readiness should a significant number of military reservists refuse to serve in protest over the government’s judicial overhaul, Netanyahu’s Likud party says it appreciates opposition politicians speaking out against refusing to serve.

“We appreciate the positions held by [Benny] Gantz and [Gadi] Eisenkot and most of all, [Gabi] Ashkenazi — three former military chiefs of staff — against the refusing to serve that threatens the safety of all Israeli citizens,” the party wrote in a statement.

Gantz and Eisenkot are members of the opposition’s National Unity party, while Ashkenazi formerly served as a lawmaker and foreign minister.

Gantz says Netanyahu tearing country apart

Leader of the National Unity Party MK Benny Gantz leads a faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on July 17, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Leader of the National Unity Party MK Benny Gantz leads a faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on July 17, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Opposition party head MK Benny Gantz calls on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to freeze the coalition’s bill to outlaw judicial scrutiny over the government’s administrative decisions, saying Netanyahu has “closed off [his] heart” to fractures in Israeli society tied to the coalition’s judicial overhaul.

“It’s not too late to stop and return to dialogue. A leader must make tough decisions – and it’s time to make them. Netanyahu, don’t tear the people apart,” Gantz says, speaking during his National Unity party’s Knesset faction meeting.

Netanyahu was hospitalized for dehydration on Saturday evening and released on Sunday with a heart monitoring device. Playing on the premier’s health woes, Gantz says that Netanyahu “has closed off [his] heart to the people of Israel.”

With a complex security situation only exacerbated by reservists refusing to service the military as part of an anti-overhaul protest, Gantz says that: “The time has come to enter a kind of intensive care, stop the bleeding, and first of all – open our hearts to public sentiments and the strategic needs of the state.”

The former defense minister also addresses reservists, urging them to continue to serve and not protest through the Israel Defense Forces.

“I call on you, despite the immense difficulty and fear: continue the mission and the struggle for this country, and continue to fight for it, against our enemies,” he says.

Lapid: The US is no longer Israel’s closest ally

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 warns that the government is leading the country into disaster with its policies and endangering its security, speaking at a faction meeting of his Yesh Atid party.

“The Israeli government is leading us into this crisis, making the biggest and most dramatic changes to the regime in our history, without holding a single discussion — not even one — about the economic, security, social and political consequences of the move,” Lapid says, referring to the coalition’s reasonableness bill. The bill aims to curtail judicial oversight over the reasonableness of the cabinet’s or ministers’ decisions.

He notes the tensions in ties with the US, saying that “the United States is no longer our closest ally.”

Ra’am’s Abbas says Netanyahu yet to fulfill promises to curb crime in Arab streets

Ra'am party head MK Mansour Abbas leads a faction meeting, at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on June 12, 2023.(Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Ra'am party head MK Mansour Abbas leads a faction meeting, at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on June 12, 2023.(Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Ra’am party head MK Mansour Abbas says that the government has not met Arab party demands to curb violent crime, six weeks after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly committed to taking action.

In June, Netanyahu met with the majority-Arab Hadash-Ta’al party to discuss stemming deadly violence in Arab communities, a central issue for Arab politicians. Separately, Ra’am sent Netanyahu a letter with a list of requested actions to take to counter crime, and the Knesset held a floor debate on the issue.

After meeting with Hadash-Ta’al, Netanyahu’s office released a statement, quoting the prime minister as saying: “We need to put politics to the side, get rid of divisions and work together to eradicate the crime scourge.”

Abbas, speaking at the outset of Ra’am’s Knesset faction meeting, said: “One and a half months after this meeting, no directive, decision, or meaningful step has been taken.”

“If the prime minister and government of Israel can’t take responsibility,” Abbas says, “we in Ra’am are ready to appoint a project czar.”

Ra’am and Hadash-Ta’al previously rejected far-right police minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s overture to name a czar.

Abbas also criticized the coalition’s plan to outlaw judicial review over the reasonableness of government or minister decisions, saying that ending the ability to petition the courts to exercise such oversight would hurt Arab Israelis’ ability to integrate into the broader Israeli society and close socioeconomic gaps.

Arab society will continue to “sink” as a result of canceling the judicial test, he says.

Israel appoints first military attaché to Morocco

Col. Sharon Itach, head of the Home Front Command's Haifa district in an undated official photo. (Israel Defense Forces)
Col. Sharon Itach, head of the Home Front Command's Haifa district in an undated official photo. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces has appointed a first military attaché to Morocco, as security ties between the nations continue to grow following a normalization agreement in 2020.

Col. Sharon Itach, from the Home Front Command, is selected for the role by IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi as part of a series of senior appointments in the military.

Itach, who is of Moroccan origin, currently heads the Home Front Command’s Haifa district. Previously he led the 489th “Kedem” search and rescue battalion.
The 22 new senior appointments, which additionally include extending the tenure of the IDF chief rabbi, are subject to approval by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

 

5-story apartment building collapses in Cairo, killing at least 9 people

A five-story apartment building collapses in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, leaving at least nine people dead, authorities say, as rescuers at the scene searched through the rubble.

Building collapses are common in Egypt, where shoddy construction and a lack of maintenance are widespread in shantytowns, poor city neighborhoods and rural areas.

The state-run MENA news agency reports that rescue teams recovered at least nine bodies from under the rubble of the building in Cairo’s neighborhood of Hadaeq el-Qubbah, roughly 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from the city’s center.

Four survivors were also taken to a hospital and authorities evacuated a neighboring apartment building, MENA says.

Egypt’s Ministry of Social Solidarity said it would give 60,000 Egyptian pounds, roughly $1,940, to the families of the nine victims killed in the accident. The ministry also said it would deliver aid to the injured and was monitoring the damage to nearby properties.

Police forces cordoned off the area as rescue teams combed the rubble in search for possible survivors, according to local reports.

It was not immediately clear what caused the building to collapse.

The government has tried to crack down on illegal building in recent years after decades of lax enforcement. Authorities are also building new cities and neighborhoods to rehouse those living in at-risk areas.

Foreign Ministry said looking to buy $12.5 million home for ambassador to US

Israel's Ambassador to the US Mike Herzog. (Courtesy)
Israel's Ambassador to the US Mike Herzog. (Courtesy)

The Foreign Ministry is pressing to purchase a $12.5 million home to serve as the official residence of the ambassador in Washington DC, the Haaretz daily reports.

The report says the ministry is seeking additional funding and looking to move ahead with the purchase as soon as this week.

The report said the property was a seven-bedroom home with a swimming pool.

The current ambassador, Mike Herzog, lives in a rented apartment at a cost of $25,000 per month, the report says.

The state owns a property in Washington that housed previous ambassadors, but it fell into disrepair after it stopped being used when former ambassador Ron Dermer took up his post.

Dermer, who is Orthodox, moved into a rented home that was closer to an Orthodox synagogue and school.

Plans to build a new home on the property ran into bureaucratic hurdles, Haaretz said.

Chief Justice Hayut slams Levin over failure to convene Judicial Selection Committee

Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut at a hearing in Jerusalem on June 27, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut at a hearing in Jerusalem on June 27, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut condemns Justice Minister Yariv Levin for failing to convene the judicial selection committee.

In a statement, Hayut says she “views the fact that the Judicial Selection Committee has not been convened very gravely.”

Levin has been holding off on convening the committee until he can legislate a change to the committee’s composition that will give the coalition greater control over the process of choosing judges.

The move is part of the government’s controversial judicial overhaul that has sparked widespread opposition.

Hayut’s statement follows reports that she met Levin to agree to temporarily extend the term of a public ombudsman overseeing judges without convening the committee.

Hayut confirmed the report.

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed
image
Register for free
and continue reading
Registering also lets you comment on articles and helps us improve your experience. It takes just a few seconds.
Already registered? Enter your email to sign in.
Please use the following structure: example@domain.com
Or Continue with
By registering you agree to the terms and conditions. Once registered, you’ll receive our Daily Edition email for free.
Register to continue
Or Continue with
Log in to continue
Sign in or Register
Or Continue with
check your email
Check your email
We sent an email to you at .
It has a link that will sign you in.