The Times of Israel liveblogged Tuesday’s events as they unfolded.
The King Hussein (Allenby) crossing between Jordan and the Israeli-controlled West Bank is facing “unprecedented” traveler numbers, a Jordanian official says, blaming Israeli authorities for overcrowding at the crossing.
There are a number of official crossings between Israel and Jordan, which signed a peace treaty in 1994.
Palestinians can only use the King Hussein (Allenby) crossing into the West Bank.
“What is happening now is an unprecedented rise in the number of travelers compared to previous years,” the head of bridge security, Colonel Raafat Maaytah, tells AFP.
He cited reasons including an increase in travelers with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, the recent Muslim hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia and the feast of Eid al-Adha.
Maaytah says the number of passengers seeking to cross from Jordan was “around 6,000-7,000” daily, adding that the Israeli authorities were only allowing entry for around “4,000-4,500” passengers, leaving some stranded.
Israel, the Palestinians and Washington announced during US President Joe Biden’s visit to the region last week that the United States would provide assistance to enable the crossing to stay open 24 hours a day, after Moroccan mediation on the issue.
Media reports have said the extended hours are expected to come into effect from September.
In the waiting hall inside the King Hussein Bridge building, where verification and passport procedures are handled, about 350 passengers were seen waiting their turn to board buses to cross to the other side.
According to the Jordanian authorities, the King Hussein Bridge has received more than one million travelers since the beginning of the year.
Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli participates in an event for her office’s launching of the “Zahav Kav” card that allows free public transportation throughout the country for those aged 75 and over.
“Israeli society owes a great debt to its elders, to the founding generation,” she says at the event at the Central Bus Station in Rishon Lezion.
“I am happy that today’s good news will help to significantly lower the cost of living we are all dealing with right now. From today, those over 75 can visit their grandkids for free, go shopping for free, go to the doctor for free. You can go to exhibitions, movies, plays — and travel there on public transportation — for free,” Michaeli adds.
Israeli Navy chief David Salama hosted the chief of the Hellenic Navy, Stylianos Petrakis today at the Haifa naval base, the military says.
“Petrakis met with senior officials from the Israeli Navy to discuss the continuation and strengthening of cooperation and joint exercises between the two navies in the region,” the Israel Defense Forces says in a statement.
He was also briefed on a “variety of matters” from the head of Naval Operations and the commander of a missile ship, the IDF adds.
The IDF says Petrakis concluded his brief trip with a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem.
Antisemitism was weaponized by both right and left-wing camps within UK’s Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, according to a leaked report published in British media.
The 138-page report by Queen’s Counsel Martin Forde found deep distrust and factional differences distracted the two sides of the party, impeding their ability to deal with antisemitism in their ranks and build an effective opposition at elections, The Guardian reports.
Forde charged that Corbyn supporters believed accusations of antisemitism to be exaggerated, while opponents of the former leader viewed the problem “as a means of attacking him.”
“Thus, rather than confront the paramount need to deal with the profoundly serious issue of antisemitism in the party, both factions treated it as a factional weapon,” Forde concludes.
UK Labour chair Keir Starmer, who succeeded Corbyn requested the investigation in April 2020, after a leaked 860-page report concluded that no current or former staff were “motivated by anti-Semitic intent” and was said to have found “no evidence” of anti-Semitism complaints being treated differently from other forms of complaint.
The probe says there was a lack of “robust processes, systems, training, education, and effective line management” and claimed to have found “abundant evidence of a hyper-factional atmosphere prevailing in Party HQ” toward Corbyn which “affected the expeditious and resolute handling of disciplinary complaints.”
However, Forde’s report argued that the issue was also present in the former opposition leader’s office, as supporters believed allegations of antisemitism were designed “simply as an attack on the leader and his faction.”
“In simple terms, each faction believed the other had ‘started it’ when it came to obstructionist behavior and that they were only responding in kind.”
Defense Minister Benny Gantz will take off for the United States early Wednesday morning to participate in the Aspen Security Conference, his office says.
Gantz will meet with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, CIA Director Bill Burns, former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, former defense secretary Mark Esper, Rep. Ruben Gallego, and Senator Joni Ernst.
Gantz will also participate in a “fireside chat” at the confab with Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg at 9:45 p.m. Israel time.
“The discussion will focus on changes in the Middle East, two years after the signing of the Abraham Accords,” his office says
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called for strengthening “long-term cooperation” with Russia in a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a statement says.
“The long-term cooperation between Iran and Russia is deeply beneficial to both countries,” he says, according to a statement on his official website, which also notes that both countries are under Western sanctions.
“There are many understandings and contracts between the two countries, including in the oil and gas sector, which must be followed up and implemented fully,” Khamenei adds.
Turkey expects Russia and Iran to back its fights against “terrorists” in Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tells the two countries’ leaders at a summit in Tehran.
“What we expect from Russia and Iran is their support for Turkey in its fight against terrorism,” Erdogan says following weeks of warning that Turkey may soon launch a new military incursion into Syria.
Ra’am chair said warning prospective candidates he’ll expect more loyalty to coalition next time around
Ra’am chairman Mansour Abbas is readying for the party’s upcoming primary elections and is warning those interested in running for spots on the Islamist party’s slate that he’ll be expecting total loyalty to the coalition if the faction decides to join the government once again, Channel 12 reports.
Abbas struggled to keep his party’s three other MKs in line, with a pair voting against the coalition in key votes on several occasions. Accordingly, he is hoping to put together a list of candidates that will be prepared to sit in governments that may have to make controversial decisions vis a vis the Palestinians, Channel 12 says, explaining that the Ra’am chair has given candidates specific examples of legislation that they’ll be expected to back.
Former New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announces that he is quitting the race to fill New York’s 10th Congressional seat after trailing significantly in the polls in recent weeks.
The Democratic primary is scheduled to take place in late August, with Rep. Mondaire Jones seen as the frontrunner.
It’s clear the people of #NY10 are looking for another option and I respect that. Time for me to leave electoral politics and focus on other ways to serve. I am really grateful for all the people I met, the stories I heard and the many good souls who helped out. Thank you all! pic.twitter.com/gpt6V6WLUf
— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) July 19, 2022
In an interview with Channel 12 shortly after announcing her return to politics, Meretz chair hopeful Zehava Galon says she wants to see the left-wing party merge with the slightly less left-wing Labor ahead of the coming election, arguing that a joint slate will “maximize” their electoral strength.
Labor chair Merav Michaeli, who just yesterday was re-elected to head her party, has brushed off the idea until now, asserting that Labor must run independently and return to leading the country. Michaeli is believed to fear that a merger with Meretz will paint the party overly left-wing colors.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House January 6 committee, has tested positive for COVID-19, but the panel will still hold its prime-time hearing on Thursday, according to a spokesman for the panel.
Thompson, D-Miss., announced Tuesday that he tested positive for the virus on Monday and is experiencing mild symptoms. Thompson, 74, said he will be isolating for the next several days, but January 6 committee spokesman Tim Mulvey said the committee’s eighth hearing this summer will proceed. He did not say if Thompson will participate virtually.
The news of Thompson’s diagnosis comes as the nine-member panel is preparing for the hearing, which is expected to focus on what then-US president Donald Trump was doing in the White House on January 6, 2021 for several hours as his supporters were breaking into the Capitol and interrupting the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory. Two White House aides who resigned immediately afterward are expected to testify, according to a person familiar with the hearing’s lineup.
Matthew Pottinger, former deputy national security adviser, and Sarah Matthews, a former deputy press secretary, are expected to testify, according to the person, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the matter and requested anonymity.
Previous hearings have detailed chaos in the White House, and aides and others were begging the president to tell the rioters to leave the Capitol. But Trump waited more than three hours to do so, and there are still many unanswered questions about what exactly he was doing and saying as the violence unfolded.
Lawmakers on the nine-member panel have said the hearing will offer the most compelling evidence yet of Trump’s “dereliction of duty” that day, with witnesses detailing his failure to stem the angry mob.
Russian President Vladimir Putin thanks Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for mediating talks on the export of grain from Ukraine, saying there was some progress.
“I want to thank you for your mediation efforts,” Putin tells Erdogan during a meeting in Tehran in comments released by the Kremlin.
“With your mediation, we have moved forward,” Putin says. “Not all issues have yet been resolved, but the fact that there is movement is already good.”
Defense official says Jerusalem attacker didn’t have VIP permit as Hebrew media inaccurately reported
A defense official tells The Times of Israel that the stabber who wounded a man near Ramot in Jerusalem had a permit to enter Israel.
The official says he did not carry the BMC permit, given to senior Palestinian businesspeople, as several Hebrew-language media outlets reported.
Rather, the brother of the assailant has a BMC permit, the official says.
Justin Bieber’s August October 31 concert in Tel Aviv is back on, according to Rolling Stone magazine, which reports that the pop singer will be restarting his world tour thanks to a speedy recovery from the Ramsay Hunt syndrome.
Beiber halted his “Justice” tour abruptly last month after announcing the diagnosis of the rare virus, which was affecting the nerves in his face.
Heatwaves like the one stifling western Europe are becoming more frequent and the trend is set to continue until at least the 2060s, the United Nations says
The current heatwave should act as a wake-up call for countries pumping ever more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the UN’s World Meteorological Organization says.
“They are becoming more frequent and this negative trend will continue… at least until the 2060s, independent of our success in climate mitigation efforts,” WMO chief Petteri Taalas tells a press conference in Geneva.
“Thanks to climate change we have started breaking records… In the future, these kinds of heatwaves are going to be normal, and we will see even stronger extremes,” he adds.
“Emissions are still growing and therefore it’s not sure that we would see the peak in the 2060s if we are not able to bend this emission growth development, especially in the big Asian countries which are the largest emitters.”
Prime Minister Yair Lapid hails the action of a Ynet news site photographer who was at the scene of the stabbing attack at Jerusalem’s Ramot Junction earlier today and managed to shoot the attacker to prevent further casualties.
“I would like to wish a speedy recovery to the [man] injured in the stabbing incident in Jerusalem. I congratulate the Ynet photographer who happened to be at the scene and acted resolutely to neutralize the terrorist and prevent injury to other people,” Lapid says in a statement.
“We will not allow terrorism to raise its head and disrupt the routine of our lives. We will settle scores with anyone who tries to harm innocent civilians.”
An Iranian politician indicated that many in his country feel Israel is operating freely in Tehran and targeting security operations with ease.
In a report published Tuesday in the UK-based Financial Times, an official cited only as a “reformist politician” was quoted as saying that “it feels as if Israel has established a large-scale organization in Tehran and freely runs its operations.”
The politician adds: “Israel is clearly targeting Iran’s ‘highly secure’ image to tarnish its greatness in people’s eyes.”
A series of assassinations and attacks in Iran have been attributed to Israel in recent months, though Jerusalem rarely if ever publicly takes credit for such operations. But in a rare interview last week — and rarer yet comments on Israeli activity in Iran — National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata said Israel had “acted quite a lot in Iran over the past year.”
Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s office publishes footage of the premier flying over the disputed Karish gas field earlier today in a not-so-subtle message to Lebanon, which has been engaged in direct talks with Jerusalem over the site and a maritime border.
Shortly after announcing her candidacy to return to head the left-wing Meretz party, Zehava Galon meets with Prime Minister Yair Lapid.
According to a Galon spokesman, she tells Lapid she is committed to the “change bloc” under his leadership.
Israel Defense Forces chief Aviv Kohavi wraps up the second day of his official visit to Morocco, the first for an Israeli army head.
Kohavi toured the Mausoleum of King Muhammad V, where he laid a wreath on behalf of the IDF and Israel and signed the guest book at the site, the military says.
Aside from meeting with Morocco’s Defense Minister Abdellatif Loudiyi and chief of the Royal Armed Forces Belkhir El Farouk, Kohavi also meets with the chief of Morocco’s Intelligence Directorate, Brahim Hassani.
“The meetings discussed opportunities for military cooperation, both in exercises and training, as well as in the operational and intelligence fields,” the IDF says in a statement.
“The officials noted the historical and cultural ties between the two nations and their common interests in the Middle East,” the statement adds.
The EU is preparing to carve out exceptions in its tough sanctions against Moscow that would unblock assets at Russian banks linked to trade in food and fertilizer, a document shows.
Member countries “want to make it abundantly clear that there is nothing in the sanctions that is slowing the transport of grain out of Russia or Ukraine,” an EU diplomat tells AFP on condition of anonymity.
The court battle between Elon Musk and Twitter kicks off, as the social media firm tries to force the entrepreneur to honor their $44 billion buyout deal.
The first hearing will center on Twitter’s push to set a trial date for as early as September in a case that has massive stakes for both parties.
Police say the suspected stabber who wounded an Israeli man on a bus near the Ramot junction in Jerusalem, is a Palestinian in his 40s.
According to police, the assailant attacked the man on the bus with a screwdriver during the ride, as the bus left the Ramot neighborhood.
The driver halted and the passengers fled the bus, police say. At the same time, a passerby who noticed the incident fired one shot at the stabber.
“I got out of the car, loaded my gun and realized it was a terror attack. The stabber came to me, I did not hesitate and fired one bullet at him. I heard him praying in Arabic,” Meshi Ben Ami tells the Kan public broadcaster.
Jerusalem District Commander Doron Turgeman is holding an assessment at the scene, police say.
A spokesman for the Hamas terror group praises the stabbing attack that took place earlier this evening at Jerusalem’s Ramot Junction, calling it an “act of heroism”
He says the attack is a “natural response to the crimes of occupation against the holy places of Islam and Christianity in Jerusalem.”
“The attack once again emphasizes the failure of attempts to stop the resistance in the occupied West Bank and the city of Jerusalem.”
Turkey’s top court rules that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has the right to pull his country out of a European convention against gender-based violence.
Rights groups and Western governments voiced shock and outrage when Erdogan canceled Turkey’s membership of the Istanbul Convention in an overnight decree last year.
Erdogan’s political opponents argued the president did not have the power to unilaterally cancel membership of an international agreement.
Turkey became the first country to sign the convention in 2011 and ratified it by vote in parliament the following year.
But the top administrative court has rejected a request to annul Erdogan’s decision in a case involving testimony from leading women’s rights advocates and legal scholars.
The court’s legal reasoning was not immediately released to the press.
Britain’s ex-finance minister Rishi Sunak again tops the latest vote by Conservative MPs to choose a new prime minister, as another candidate was eliminated to leave three contenders in the race.
Sunak garners 118 votes, followed by former defense minister Penny Mordaunt with 92 and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss with 86. Longshot candidate Kemi Badenoch trails with 59 and is therefore eliminated from the contest.
The Magen David Adom ambulance service says a 41-year-old who was stabbed near Ramot Junction is in moderate condition.
He is being taken by MDA to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek medical center.
The alleged assailant has been shot, according to media reports.
There is no immediate comment from police on the suspected attack.
A civilian, Meshi Ben Ami, tells the Kan public broadcaster that he shot the alleged assailant before officers arrived.
חשד לפח"ע בקניון רמות pic.twitter.com/Mn5YuTSjpI
— emmanuel gerstel.עמנואל גרסטל♥️ (@emmanuelgerstel) July 19, 2022
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives in Iran for a visit intended to deepen ties with regional heavyweights as part of Moscow’s challenge to the United States and Europe amid its grinding campaign in Ukraine.
In only his second trip abroad since Russian tanks rolled into its neighbor in February, Putin is scheduled to hold talks with Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the pressing issues facing the region, including the conflict in Syria and a UN-backed proposal to resume exports of Ukrainian grain to ease the global food crisis.
As the West heaps sanctions on Russia and the costly campaign drags on, Putin is seeking to bolster ties with Tehran, a fellow target of severe US sanctions and a potential military and trade partner. In recent weeks, Russian officials visited an airfield in central Iran at least twice to review Tehran’s weapons-capable drones for possible use in Ukraine, the White House has alleged.
Iran rolled out a long red carpet for Putin at Tehran’s Mehrabad airport, where Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji greeted him warmly before he was whisked into his presidential convoy to the city.
But perhaps most crucially, the Tehran trip offers Putin a chance for a high-stakes meeting with Erdogan, who has sought to help broker talks on a peaceful settlement of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, as well as help negotiations to unblock Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea.
Channel 13 reporter Gil Tamari is trending on Twitter in Israel and beyond amid outrage over his decision to sneak into Mecca, defying a ban on non-Muslim entry, and broadcast from the Muslim holy town while in Saudi Arabia to cover the GCC+3 summit.
Tamari was one of three reporters from the Israeli press who were allowed into the country for the regional conference.
????الإعلام الإسرائيلي يحتفي بدخول أو إسرائيلي للحرم المكي، وهو المراسل גיל תמרי، حيث ناقش كواليس رحلته في داخل #السعوية، وكيف كان يتجول بحرية بين الحجاج في المشاعر المقدسة. pic.twitter.com/bbyEEPveEa
— مفتاح (@keymiftah79) July 18, 2022
Mohammed Saud, a prominent pro-Israel social media activist from Saudi Arabia tears into Tamari in a video uploaded to Twitter. “It’s like if I were to enter a synagogue and read the Torah. Channel 13 is a disgrace,” he says in the Hebrew video.
Former US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley effectively announces that she’s running for president in 2024 during her speech at an event organized by Christians United for Israel.
“If this president signs any sort of deal, I’ll make you a promise… The next president will shred it – on her first day in office,” she says of US President Joe Biden’s efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal.
The remark is met with a round of applause before Haley adds, “Just saying, sometimes it takes a woman.”
The Israeli army denies any drones crashed in Lebanon today, after a Hezbollah-affiliated outlet claimed that one did near the Wazzani river.
Lebanon regularly complains about Israeli surveillance drones invading its airspace, but the IDF maintains that such incursions are necessary to track the activities of the terror group.
Still, a military spokesperson tells The Times of Israel that no army drones crashed in Lebanon today and it is not aware of the incident reported by al-Manar.
An Israeli military drone crashed in Lebanon, according to the Hezbollah-affiliated al-Manar.
The Lebanese outlet says the drone crashed in the area of the Wazzani river on the border.
A spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces says the army is looking into the details.
The alleged incident comes a day after Israeli troops downed a drone allegedly flown by Hezbollah into Israeli airspace.
— علي شعيب || Ali Shoeib 🇱🇧 (@alishoeib1970) July 19, 2022
The Israel Defense Forces is striking a Hamas observation post near the Palestinian city of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, the military says.
The strike comes in response to a bullet that was fired toward the Israeli town of Netiv Ha’asara earlier.
After days of speculation former Meretz chair Zehava Galon announces that she is returning to politics.
“Meretz is returning, I’m returning, Meretz is returning,” she says, in a short video posted to Twitter.
Many Meretz activists had been pleading with the former party chief to make a comeback in order to breathe life into the party that has been struggling in the polls.
— זהבה גלאון (@zehavagalon) July 19, 2022
Gunfire from the Gaza Strip earlier today hit a locksmith’s workshop in the southern town of Netiv Ha’asara, the military says.
Nobody was hurt in the incident.
Last month a similar incident occurred, apparently as Hamas security forces clashed with Palestinians close to the northern Gaza border.
It is not immediately clear if the shot today was errant fire or intentional.
Former finance minister Moshe Kahlon has been interrogated by the Israel Securities Authority as part of an ongoing investigation into the Unet non-banking credit company, where he recently served as board chairman.
Kahlon is interrogated for about two hours, according to reports, and is suspected of failing to report the company’s discrepancies before he resigned last month.
The company has been involved in a series of scandals over the past year surrounding repeated misreportings of assets, which attracted the attention of authorities.
Kahlon “welcomes the interrogation and is fully cooperating with law enforcement officials,” reads a statement issued by Kahlon’s attorney, Nati Simchoni, on his behalf.
“We are sure that once the investigation is complete it will prove without a doubt that [Kahlon’s] reputation has not been tainted. Nobody can refute Mr. Kahlon’s integrity and moral path. He has been a public figure his entire life. As such, his time as chairman of Unet was also directed toward the benefit of the public,” the statement adds.
Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu holds meetings with a series of UK officials during a visit to London.
Netanyahu sits down with Home Secretary Priti Patel as well as Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi. Israeli Ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hotovely also takes part in the meetings.
A Lebanese investigative judge with security personnel raids the Central Bank in a divisive investigation against the country’s embattled governor.
Judge Ghada Aoun had been investigating Governor Riad Salameh, and in March charged him with illicit enrichment and money laundering.
A handful of European countries including Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein are also investigating Salameh for alleged money laundering and embezzlement.
Lebanon continues to suffer from a staggering economic crisis that pulled over three-quarters of its population into poverty. Many hold Salameh responsible for the crisis, citing policies that drove up national debt and caused the Lebanese pound to lose 90% of its value against the dollar.
The judge arrives to the Central Bank headquarters in Beirut with personnel from Lebanese State Security, and enters the premises to try to find Salameh.
Aoun tells the press after leaving the premises that she did not find Salameh and was unable to look for him in the building’s offices and storage rooms. “We immediately received a judicial order [to leave],” she says.
State security forces earlier Tuesday raided Salameh’s home, but he was not there.
Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati condemns the raid in a statement, calling it a “brash” move for a sensitive case in the troubled country.
Israeli military chief Aviv Kohavi is greeted by an honor guard and Moroccan defense officials this morning, after landing in the North African nation yesterday.
Kohavi is the first IDF chief of staff to visit Morocco on an official trip.
He is meeting today with Morocco’s Defense Minister Abdellatif Loudiyi and chief of the Royal Armed Forces Belkhir El Farouk, as well as other senior defense officials.
Earlier, a few dozen people gathered in Rabat to protest against Kohavi’s visit, raising banners and burning pictures of the Israeli military chief.
— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) July 19, 2022
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