Cop who shot Ethiopian-Israeli said slated to be charged with negligent homicide
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Cop who shot Ethiopian-Israeli said slated to be charged with negligent homicide

Off-duty officer will likely avoid more serious manslaughter charge as he didn’t intend to kill Solomon Takeh, but bullet bounced off ground and hit 19-year-old

Jacob Magid is the settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel.

Ethiopian-Israeli Solomon Tekah who was shot dead by an off-duty policeman in Kiryat Haim on June 30, 2019. (Courtesy)
Ethiopian-Israeli Solomon Tekah who was shot dead by an off-duty policeman in Kiryat Haim on June 30, 2019. (Courtesy)

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

Russia tells Iran ‘not to give in to emotions’ in nuclear standoff

Russia urges Iran not to give in to emotion and abide by nuclear agreements, a day after Tehran said it had breached limits under a 2015 nuclear deal following US sanctions.

“We call on our Iranian colleagues to show sang-froid, not to give in to emotions by any means and observe key provisions” of international nuclear agreements, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says.


China criticizes Iran over uranium violation

China says it regrets Iran’s decision to exceed a limit on enriched uranium reserves under a 2015 nuclear deal, but said US “maximum pressure is the root cause” of tensions.

Iran said Monday it had made good on its warning that it would breach the limit, prompting US President Donald Trump to warn that Tehran was “playing with fire.”

“China regrets the measures taken by Iran, but at the same time, we have emphasized on many previous occasions that the US’s maximum pressure is the root cause of the current fraught tensions,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang says at a regular press briefing.

— with AFP

Father of Ethiopian-Israeli teen slain by cop: ‘I hope he’s the final victim’

Hundreds of people gather at the Ethiopian congregation’s Heritage House in the Kiryat Haim neighborhood of Haifa for the funeral of Solomon Tekah, 19, who was shot dead Sunday during an altercation with police.

“Give me back my son,” Tekah’s father Worka cries as he entered the funeral hall. “My son had a joy for life and love of life. He smiled and he was sensitive.”

Tekah’s death has sparked renewed accusations of police brutality and racism toward the Ethiopian community. His distraught father turned his eulogy into a plea for justice and a cry for hope that the situation would change.

“We are asking for justice. My son has already gone but I hope he will be the last victim. Do not cry for my son, we demand that the murderer get what he deserves and find justice, help me in this struggle,” he says.

Macron calls on Iran to ‘immediately’ reduce enriched uranium reserves

French President Emmanuel Macron calls on Iran to “immediately” reduce its enriched uranium reserves, a day after Tehran announced it had breached limits under a 2015 nuclear deal to retaliate against new US sanctions.

In a statement, Macron says he had “noted with concern” Tehran’s overstepping of the limit set in the 2015 deal with world powers and called on Iran “to immediately reverse this overshoot and abstain from any other measure that would undermine its nuclear obligations.”

The French leader says he would continue in the coming days to work towards a resolution of the standoff between Iran and the US that would see Tehran “fully respect its obligations and continue to benefit from the economic advantages of the (2015) deal.”

Iran announced in May that it would no longer respect the limit set on its enriched uranium and heavy water stockpiles.


Clarifying comments, Liberman says his bone to pick is not with pre-military academies but their rabbis

Responding to the wave of criticism over his comments that religious pre-military academies are becoming “private miltias,” MK Avigdor Liberman says his comments were directed at the rabbis who lead them, not the cadets themselves.

“The academies, some of which I participated in establishing, are a tremendous and important educational enterprise,” Liberman writes on his Facebook page.

” I meet the graduate students of the academies and they are the salt of the earth, but in order to preserve this tremendous educational entity we must cut them off from the Smotriches and their ilk,” he writes referring to Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich who has caused recent controversy with remarks in which he put religion above state.

“We must remove from them the rabbis who preach values that contradict the IDF’s heritage,” he writes.

— Stuart Winer

In dismissal of Mossad chief’s remarks, Oman denies diplomatic ties with Israel

The Omani Foreign Ministry denies that Israel and Oman have established diplomatic relations.

“A well-informed source in the Foreign Ministry said that what some media outlets and social media [users] have reported about the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Sultanate and the State of Israel is baseless,” the Omani Foreign Ministry says in a statement posted on its official Twitter account.

The statement comes a day after Mossad chief Yossi Cohen said that Israel and Oman were renewing ties.

“Just recently, renewal of formal relations with Oman was declared and the establishment of a representative office of the foreign ministry in that country,” Cohen told the Herzliya Conference hosted by the Interdisciplinary Center this week.

— Adam Rasgon

Hitting back at PM, Liberman says Netanyahu’s no friend of religious Zionists

Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman hits back at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s criticism of his comments accusing Israel’s religious pre-military academies of training private militias who will obey rabbis rather than commanders.

“Mr. Prime Minister, you are the last one who can teach me and preach to me about religious Zionism,” Liberman says in a message posted on social media.

“It’s you, Mr. Prime Minister, who made a decision to transfer Hebron to the Palestinians. It’s you, Mr. Prime Minister, who conducted negotiations with Arafat. It’s you, Mr. Prime Minister, who voted in favor of the disengagement in the Knesset. It is you who pay a fee to the Hamas terrorist organization. A little modesty will not hurt you!” Liberman charges, listing decisions made by Netnayahu over the last two decades which were largely opposed by the religious right.

Netanyahu had tweeted in response to Liberman’s remarks that “religious Zionism is the salt of the earth and has made a tremendous contribution to the IDF and the country.”

— Raoul Wootliff

Syria warns Israel not to be ‘calm’ after reported deadly strike

After alleged Israeli airstrikes killed 15 people, including six civilians on Monday, Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Makdad warns Jerusalem: “Do not be calm. Syria may change its response in the future.”

Dalai Lama ‘deeply sorry’ for comments on women

The Dalai Lama is “deeply sorry” about comments he made about women in a recent BBC interview, his office says in a statement.

“(In) responding to a question about whether his own reincarnation could be a woman, and suggesting that if she were she should be attractive, His Holiness genuinely meant no offence,” the statement says.

“He is deeply sorry that people have been hurt by what he said and offers his sincere apologies.”

The comments were made in an interview with the British broadcaster aired last week from the Tibetan spiritual leader’s exile in Dharamsala in northern India.

“If female Dalai Lama comes, then she should be more attractive,” he had said. “If female Dalai Lama, oh, oh… that people, I think prefer, not see her, that face.”

The comment caused a stir on social media around the world.


Police investigators collect evidence in probe of cop who shot dead Ethiopian Israeli

The Police’s Special Investigations Department issues a rare statement saying it has collected new evidence in its probe into the deadly shooting of Solomon Tekah, a 19-year-old Ethiopian-Israeli, by a police officer in Kiryat Haim.

The evidence collected includes eyewitness testimony and a security camera near the scene. It is unclear whether it was working at the time of the shooting.

Police gearing up for protests across country after burial of Ethiopian-Israel shot dead by cop

Police are gearing up for protests across the country following the funeral of Solomon Tekah, a 19-year-old Ethiopian-Israeli shot dead by a police officer on Sunday night.

The largest protest is expected to take place in Tel Aviv at 5 p.m.

Tanks arrive in DC ahead of July 4 celebration

At least two Army tanks have arrived in Washington ahead of a Fourth of July celebration that US President Donald Trump says will include military hardware.

An Associated Press photographer says the two M1A1 Abrams tanks are with four other military vehicles on a freight train in a railyard at the southeastern edge of Washington.

The vehicles are being guarded by military police but are visible to passersby on nearby paths. A military official earlier told the AP that the tanks were transported north from Fort Stewart in Georgia.

Trump told reporters Monday that the tanks will be stationed outside the Fourth of July celebration but has not given details on how they will be used.

— AP

Junctions in Kiryat Ata and Yokne’am closed due to Ethiopian-Israeli protests

Junctions in the northern towns of Kiryat Ata and Yokne’am have been shuttered by protesters demonstrating against the latest shooting of an Ethiopian-Israeli by a police officer.

Demonstrators block off main Tel Aviv junction in protest of Ethiopian-Israeli killed by cop

Demonstrators block off the Azrieli Junction in Tel Aviv, protesting the police shooting of a 19-year-old Solomon Tekah.

Dozens of Ethiopian-Israelis say they won’t show up for reserve duty after police shooting

Dozens of Ethiopian-Israelis have joined a campaign on Facebook declaring that they will not fulfill their reserve duties in the IDF after the second shooting of a member of their community in half a year.

Police clash with protesters blocking traffic in northern town after cop’s shooting of Ethiopian

Police clash with protesters blocking traffic in the northern town of Kiryat Ata after the funeral of Solomon Tekah, an Ethiopian-Israeli shot dead by a police officer on Sunday.

Demonstrators report police are using excessive force to scatter the protest.

Ultra-Orthodox block Jerusalem roads in protest of draft evasion arrest

Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox hardliners demonstrate in Jerusalem in protest of the arrest of a yeshiva student accused of draft dodging.

The protesters from the so-called Jerusalem Faction block the light rail tracks and Sarei Yisrael and Jaffa streets, snarling traffic.

Twenty-one people have been arrested for disturbing the public order, police say.

Police are at the scene to break up the protest.

Barak vows not to sit in government with Netanyahu

Former prime minister Ehud Barak vows that his new party will not sit in a government with Netanyahu “under any circumstances.”

He made a similar promise as Labor leader over a decade ago before leaving the center-left party, forming a faction of his own and serving as defense minister in Netanyahu’s government.

“Our goal is to bring Israel back on track and topple the Netanyahu regime.” he says at a press conference in Tel Aviv.

“We will not sit with [Netanyahu] in the same government under any circumstances or in any way. We will join hands to bring him down and after his departure we will sit with all those who agree with the principles of our outlook: a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state, in the spirit of the values ​​of the Declaration of Independence and the vision of the prophets.”

Barak: Any government that we’re a partner to will pull Haredi draft law within 12 months

Speaking at a Tel Aviv press conference with fellow members of his new party, former prime minister Ehud Barak says any government his party joins will cancel the Haredi draft law within 12 months.

Barak puts forth an “integration plan,” which he claims will work to integrate ultra-Orthodox Israelis through national service programs rather than military service.

Ethiopian protesters block 12 junctions throughout country; 35 arrested in Kiryat Ata protest

Ethiopian-Israelis and their allies have blocked 12 junctions throughout the country in protest of the police shooting of Solomon Tekah.

Thirty-five demonstrators have been detained by police at one of those junctions in Kiryat Ata.

Footage shows protesters chanting against police brutality and burning tires at the various demonstrations.

Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity removed from UNESCO endangered list

Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was born, has been removed from UNESCO’s list of endangered world heritage sites following restorations there.

The church was named a UNESCO world heritage site in 2012 and placed on its endangered list the same year due to its poor condition.

Church and Palestinian officials have since overseen high-quality work restoring “roof, exterior facades, mosaics and doors,” UNESCO says in a statement.

A previous plan of concern to UNESCO to dig a tunnel underneath Manger Square, in front of the church, was also abandoned, it says.

The committee reached the decision to remove it from the endangered list during a meeting in Baku, which began on June 30 and continues until July 10, it said in a statement.

The Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian churches share custody of the site located in the city which is today in the Israeli-occupied West Bank under Palestinian Authority control.

An initial church was built there in the fourth century.

It was replaced with a new structure in the sixth century but floor mosaics from the original church remain. Later alterations were made to the church.

During the Christmas season, pilgrims from around the world visit the church and the grotto within it believed to be Jesus’s birthplace.


Disabled activists take to streets in solidarity of Ethiopian-Israelis

A group of activists with disabilities in Tel Aviv have arrived at the Azrieli Junction to demonstrate in solidarity with hundreds of Ethiopian-Israelis protesting against the police shooting of Solomon Tekah.

Police say protesters hurling stones at officers at Ethiopian protest in northern town

The police say that Ethiopian-Israeli protesters and their allies are hurling stones and blocks at them during a demonstration in the northern town of Kiryat Ata, where 35 have been arrested.

Russia warns Israel that its airstrikes in Syria threaten to destabilize region

The Russian Foreign Ministry says Israel was behind a series of airstrikes on targets in Syria on Monday morning, adding that these attacks threaten to destabilize the region.

According to Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, six Israeli fighter jets operating inside Lebanese airspace conducted the predawn raid, which she says was the largest attack of its kind since last May, when Israel squared off against Syria and Iran in a massive nighttime battle in response to a rocket attack by Iranian troops on Israeli military positions on the Golan Heights.

Zakharova says Israel’s missile attacks struck targets outside Damascus and Homs, including some sites near residential areas. Sixteen people were said killed in the strikes, including civilians.

“We are concerned about this alarming development of the situation,” Zakharova says in a press briefing.

“Force actions that grossly violate the sovereignty of Syria, not only do not contribute to the normalization of the situation in this country, but also carry a threat of regional destabilization,” she says.

— Judah Ari Gross

Ethiopian-Israeli protesters block main Tel Aviv highway

Ethiopian-Israeli protesters and their allies have blocked off the Ayalon highway in Tel Aviv.

No arrests have been reported at the scene.

Incendiary balloon causes brush fire near Gaza border town, officials say

An incendiary balloon sparked a brush fire near a Gaza border community in the Eshkol Regional Council, authorities say.

Firefighters have managed to put out the blaze.

Pence abruptly heads back to DC; spokeswoman says no cause for alarm

Mike Pence’s spokeswoman says the US Vice President abruptly headed back to DC after taking off for New Hampshire.

“Something came up that required the @VP to remain in Washington, DC. It’s no cause for alarm. He looks forward to rescheduling the trip to New Hampshire very soon,” the spokeswoman tweets.

Separately, reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin canceled his scheduled commitments for the day abruptly appear to have been false.

14 crew killed in fire on Russian submersible

Fourteen Russian seamen have died in a fire on a deep-water research submersible, Russia’s defense ministry says, the latest in a string of disasters and accidents to hit the country’s navy.

The tragedy in the far north has echoes of the sinking of the Kursk submarine in 2000 that claimed the lives of 118 personnel and shook the first year of Vladimir Putin’s presidency.

“On July 1, a fire broke out during bathymetric measurements on a scientific research deep-sea submersible,” a defense ministry spokeswoman says.

Fourteen crew died as a result of poisoning from the fumes of the fire in Russia’s territorial waters, the spokeswoman tells AFP.


Security cabinet to convene tomorrow to discuss Gaza

The security cabinet will convene tomorrow to discuss the ongoing situation in Gaza.

3 officers injured in protest of police shooting of Ethiopian-Israeli

Three officers have been injured by stone hurling protesters at Gedera Junction in central Israel, police say.

Thousands of Ethiopian-Israelis and allies are protesting across the country after the police shooting of 19-year-old Solomon Tekah earlier this week.

Off-duty cop who shot Ethiopian-Israeli said slated to be charged with negligent homicide

The police are gearing up to charge the off-duty officer who shot and killed Solomon Tekah with negligent homicide, Hebrew media reports.

According to Channel 13, the officer is likely to avoid a more serious charge of manslaughter as it does not appear that he intended to kill the 19-year-old Ethiopian-Israeli. Instead, he fired at the ground and the bullet bounced and hit the victim.

The officer reportedly told investigators that he did not fire in the air because he was worried about collateral damage to surrounding buildings and people in Kiyat Haim.

Father of police shooting victim expresses support for protesters, urges them to avoid violence

The father of the Ethiopian-Israeli teen who was shot dead by an off-duty officer on Sunday expresses his support for the thousands demonstrating across the country, but tells Channel 13 news that he hopes they avoid using violence.

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