search
Live updates (closed)

EU’s top diplomat: Iran deal now on the table is the best one possible

Josep Borrell says ‘space for additional significant compromises has been exhausted’

Amy Spiro is a reporter and writer with The Times of Israel.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell speaks with the media as he arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, on June 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell speaks with the media as he arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, on June 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

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

UK prime ministerial debate halted after moderator faints in studio

This combination of pictures created on July 12, 2022 shows Britain's Foreign Secretary Liz Truss arriving to attend the weekly Cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street, in London, on April 19, 2022, and Britain's then-chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak leaving the 11 Downing Street, in London, on March 23, 2022. (Daniel Leal and Tolga Akmen/AFP)
This combination of pictures created on July 12, 2022 shows Britain's Foreign Secretary Liz Truss arriving to attend the weekly Cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street, in London, on April 19, 2022, and Britain's then-chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak leaving the 11 Downing Street, in London, on March 23, 2022. (Daniel Leal and Tolga Akmen/AFP)

A televised British Conservative leadership debate is pulled off the air after a medical incident in the studio.

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, who are running to replace Prime Minister Boris Johnson, were debating on the Talk TV channel when a crashing sound was heard.

The camera was on Truss, who flinched and said “Oh my God” before the transmission was cut.

Talk TV host Ian Collins came on air to say there had been “a medical issue in the studio” and it was hoped the debate could resume.

British media reported that moderator Kate McCann had fainted.

EU foreign chief says current iteration of Iran nuclear deal is ‘best possible deal’

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell speaks with the media as he arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, on June 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell speaks with the media as he arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, on June 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

Josep Borrell, the European Union’s chief diplomat, says that the current text of the Iran nuclear deal is the best possible outcome and should be implemented as soon as possible.

Writing in an op-ed in The Financial Times, Borrell says that after more than a year of negotiations, the sides have reached “the best possible deal that I, as facilitator of the negotiations, see as feasible.”

The diplomat writes that “the space for additional significant compromises has been exhausted.”

The deal “is not a perfect agreement, but it addresses all essential elements and includes hard-won compromises by all sides,” he writes. “Decisions need to be taken now to seize this unique opportunity to succeed, and to free up the great potential of a fully implemented deal. I see no other comprehensive or effective alternative within reach.”

Israel said to warn Hezbollah over targeting Karish gas field again

Energean's floating production system (FPSO) at the Karish gas field in the Mediterranean Sea. (Energean)
Energean's floating production system (FPSO) at the Karish gas field in the Mediterranean Sea. (Energean)

Israel has reportedly sent warnings to Hezbollah through diplomatic and military channels, amid repeated threats from Hassan Nasrallah, the terror group’s chief.

According to Hebrew media reports, Israel has warned Hezbollah in recent days that if it tries to target the Karish gas field again, the IDF response will be harsh.

Israel reportedly sent the warnings through US and French channels; US envoy Amos Hochstein is slated to visit Lebanon this week amid ongoing indirect talks between Jerusalem and Beirut over a maritime border dispute.

Yesterday, Nasrallah threatened that “all land and sea targets of Israel are in the range of Hezbollah missiles.”

 

Family of Shireen Abu Akleh visits DC to press for probe into her death

A photo of slain US-Palestinian Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh, with a caption in Arabic reading 'Shireen Abu Akleh, the voice of Palestine,' is seen ahead of a joint press conference between the US and Palestinian Authority presidents in Bethlehem on July 15, 2022. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)
A photo of slain US-Palestinian Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh, with a caption in Arabic reading 'Shireen Abu Akleh, the voice of Palestine,' is seen ahead of a joint press conference between the US and Palestinian Authority presidents in Bethlehem on July 15, 2022. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

The family of slain Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is pressing the United States for an independent probe and accountability from Israel on a visit to Washington at the invitation of Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The family, which is also meeting lawmakers, says it is calling for the United States to launch its own “thorough, credible independent and transparent investigation” into Abu Akleh’s murder.

“For far too long, the United States has enabled Israel to kill with impunity by providing weapons, immunity, and diplomatic cover,” Shireen’s brother Tony Abu Akleh and her niece and nephew say in a statement. “Impunity leads to repetition. We are here to do our part to ensure that this cycle ends,” they say.

Abu Akleh, an Al Jazeera journalist and a prominent Palestinian reporter, was killed on May 11 during clashes between IDF troops and Palestinian gunmen as she covered an Israeli army operation in the Jenin area of the West Bank. The US released a statement on July 4 saying she was likely shot by Israeli fire but that there was no evidence her killing was intentional and that the bullet was too damaged for a conclusive finding.

Israel says it is still probing her death and rejects suggestions it targeted a journalist.

Lapid hits back at Netanyahu’s Russia criticism: ‘This issue needs discretion’

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid next to opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu at a Knesset session in memory of Israel's first prime minister David Ben-Gurion, on November 8, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid next to opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu at a Knesset session in memory of Israel's first prime minister David Ben-Gurion, on November 8, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Prime Minister Yair Lapid hits back at opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu over the latter’s criticism of the government’s recent dealings with Russia.

“The issue is being dealt with by the government of Israel, and as Putin’s spokesman said today, there is no diplomatic crisis,” says Lapid’s spokesman in a statement. “If Netanyahu could be bothered to come and receive security updates from Prime Minister Lapid, he would learn the facts.”

Netanyahu has declined to sit down face to face with Lapid for security updates that he is privy to as opposition leader.

Instead, Lapid’s office says, “we can tell him that for the sake of the safety of Israel and Russian Jewry, this is an issue that should be dealt with discreetly and through government channels and not in press conferences.”

Netanyahu accuses Lapid, Gantz of ‘babbling’ amid Russian diplomatic crisis

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) meets with then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Kremlin in Moscow on January 30, 2020. (Maxim Shemtov/Pool/AFP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) meets with then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Kremlin in Moscow on January 30, 2020. (Maxim Shemtov/Pool/AFP)

Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu accuses his main political rivals of mismanaging Israel’s relationship with Russia, as Russia attempts to force the Jewish Agency from its borders in reported retaliation for Israel’s stance on its invasion of Ukraine.

In remarks made to reporters in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu says that for years “we have lead a measured, balanced and responsible relationship” with Russia, but that there is currently “a dangerous crisis” and Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz are “babbling” and “endangering our national security.”

“We can and need to get out of this crisis,” he says. “I’m worried that what we built over years is being undermined before our eyes in recent weeks.”

He blames “a combination of amateurism, irresponsibility and arrogance” and calls on Lapid and Gantz to “stop the babbling.”

Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, and Lapid was quick to condemn the attack as foreign minister. Netanyahu, who hopes to regain his role as Israel’s longest-serving prime minister after the upcoming November 1 elections, has not mentioned Ukraine since the invasion.

Before being unseated last June, Netanyahu worked to actively warm Israel’s ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Father of Bedouin held captive by Hamas to UN envoys: Don’t let my son be a bargaining chip

Sha’aban al-Sayed, the father of Hamas captive Hisham al-Sayed. (Screenshot)
Sha’aban al-Sayed, the father of Hamas captive Hisham al-Sayed. (Screenshot)

Sha’aban al-Sayed, the father of Hisham al-Sayed, who has been held captive by Hamas in Gaza since 2015, issues an appeal to UN envoys to help free his son.

In a video message played by Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan at a meeting of the UN Security Council, Sha’aban begs the envoys to help: “I am asking you to get involved and place pressure on Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to free my son as soon as possible, and not to use him as a bargaining chip against Israel,” he says, noting that his son, who has special needs, has been held captive by Hamas for seven years.

Last month Hamas released video footage of Hisham, showing him hooked up to an oxygen machine and claiming that his health had deteriorated.

Man shot dead in northern Druze town of Isfiya

Illustrative: Israel Police investigate the scene of a crime on June 2, 2021. (Israel Police)
Illustrative: Israel Police investigate the scene of a crime on June 2, 2021. (Israel Police)

A man is shot dead in the northern Druze town of Isfiya, police say.

The man, a 45-year-old resident of the town, was brought to the Carmel Medical Center in Haifa where he was pronounced dead. Police say they are investigating the incident.

According to the Abraham Initiatives organization, a non-government group campaigning against violence in the Arab community, the man is the 62nd Israeli-Arab victim of violence since the start of 2022.

Iraq to free British national jailed in antiquities case

This undated photo provided by the Fitton family shows Jim Fitton with his wife Sarijah. (Fitton family via AP)
This undated photo provided by the Fitton family shows Jim Fitton with his wife Sarijah. (Fitton family via AP)

An Iraqi court has overturned the conviction and 15-year sentence handed to a British pensioner last month for antiquities smuggling, says the retiree’s lawyer.

James Fitton had been charged under a 2002 law against “intentionally taking or trying to take out of Iraq an antiquity,” the maximum penalty for which under the country’s legal code is death by hanging.

The conviction has been “overturned today by the Court of Cassation and my client will soon be free,” lawyer Thaer Saoud tells AFP.

Fitton stood trial alongside German national Volker Waldmann, who was acquitted. Both men had pleaded not guilty.

Lapid talks to outgoing British PM Boris Johnson

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (L) and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a Conservative Friends of Israel event in London, Britain, November 29, 2021. (Stuart Mitchell)
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (L) and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a Conservative Friends of Israel event in London, Britain, November 29, 2021. (Stuart Mitchell)

Prime Minister Yair Lapid speaks with outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The Prime Minister’s Office says their conversation was “friendly and warm.” Lapid thanks Johnson for his longtime support of Israel and wishes him luck in the future.

They also spoke about strengthening ties between Israel and the UK in a variety of areas, as well as the threat posed by Iran. According to the PMO, Lapid stresses that pressure and a credible military threat must be placed on Iran to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Johnson is slated to be replaced as prime minister following the selection of a new Conservative party chief in September: the field has been narrowed to Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss.

Health Ministry warns of scorching temperatures in coming days

Beachgoers walk by part of the temporary infrastructure for the Maccabiah Games on Poleg beach, Netanya, on July 5, 2022. (Moshe Perlmuter)
Beachgoers walk by part of the temporary infrastructure for the Maccabiah Games on Poleg beach, Netanya, on July 5, 2022. (Moshe Perlmuter)

The Health Ministry warns that an intense heatwave is on the way through early next week.

The ministry says scorching temperatures are expected to settle across most of Israel, and warns the public, especially the elderly and the unwell, to avoid spending time outside and to drink plenty of water.

Gafni criticizes Likud MKs for boycotting Knesset committee meetings

UTJ MK Moshe Gafni at a Degel HaTorah party conference in Bnei Brak, July 26, 2022. (Courtesy)
UTJ MK Moshe Gafni at a Degel HaTorah party conference in Bnei Brak, July 26, 2022. (Courtesy)

United Torah Judaism leader MK Moshe Gafni offers implicit criticism of many in the allied Likud party for boycotting Knesset committee hearings.

“If we would have been present in all the committees and embarrassed them the way we did successfully in the Knesset plenum, we would already be after an election with a stable right-wing government,” Gafni says at a faction meeting in Bnei Brak of his Degel HaTorah party — one of two groups that make up UTJ.

UTJ has been loyal to opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu who urged his MKs to boycott committee meetings led by the outgoing coalition.

Degel HaTorah and Agudat Yisrael are currently in negotiations to continue running together as UTJ, as they have done for the past 30 years, amid reports of sharp disputes.

Gafni says that the disagreements between the factions are “fundamental” and based on opposition to some in the Hasidic Agudat Yisrael agreeing to expand secular subjects taught in their schools — something Degel HaTorah spiritual leader Rabbi Gershon Edelstein fiercely opposes.

“It can’t be that we will get a direct order from our rebbe, Rabbi Edelstein, on fundamental issues like education, enlistment and others, and then come to the faction meeting and hear that someone decided otherwise — and I don’t even know where it came from,” Gafni says. “It won’t happen anymore.”

Justice minister signs cooperation deal with his Moroccan counterpart

Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar (left) signs a deal with his Moroccan counterpart, Abdellatif Ouahbi, in Rabat on July 26, 2022. (Courtesy)
Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar (left) signs a deal with his Moroccan counterpart, Abdellatif Ouahbi, in Rabat on July 26, 2022. (Courtesy)

Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar signs a legal cooperation deal with his Moroccan counterpart, Abdellatif Ouahbi in Rabat.

Sa’ar’s office says the agreement is aimed at assisting Morocco with digitization of its legal systems, promoting public defense and alternatives to legal punishments.

“I see great importance in strengthening the bilateral relationship with Morocco in various policy areas and strengthening the dialogue between the governments of Israel and Morocco in all policy areas,” Sa’ar says.

2 arrested in case of teenager missing for four months

Yeshiva student Moshe Klinerman, 16, who was last seen on March 25 at the tomb of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai on Mount Meron. (Courtesy)
Yeshiva student Moshe Klinerman, 16, who was last seen on March 25 at the tomb of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai on Mount Meron. (Courtesy)

Two people have been arrested in relation to the disappearance of missing teenager Moshe Klinerman, police reveal.

One of the individuals was arrested yesterday and the other was arrested last week; both have been remanded into custody by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court.

Klinerman, 16, was last seen on March 25 at the tomb of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai on Mount Meron. Search teams have scoured the area and his parents have begged the public for assistance but no trace of him has been found.

Holocaust survivors sound alarm over Orban’s ‘race-mixing’ comments

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaks to media after casting his ballot, during the National Parliament elections at a polling station in Budapest on April 3, 2022. (FERENC ISZA / AFP)
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaks to media after casting his ballot, during the National Parliament elections at a polling station in Budapest on April 3, 2022. (FERENC ISZA / AFP)

Jewish community representatives voice alarm after Hungarian leader Viktor Orban spoke out against creating “peoples of mixed-race.”

In a speech in Romania’s Transylvania region, which has a large Hungarian community, the 59-year-old ultra-conservative prime minister criticized mixing with “non-Europeans.”

Terming Orban’s speech “stupid and dangerous,” the International Auschwitz Committee calls on the EU to continue to distance itself from “Orban’s racist undertones and to make it clear to the world that a Mr. Orban has no future in Europe.”

The speech reminds Holocaust survivors “of the dark times of their own exclusion and persecution,” the organization’s vice president Christoph Heubner says in a statement sent to AFP.

Erdogan and Putin to meet again next month in Sochi

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pose for a photo during their meeting at the Saadabad palace, in Tehran, Iran, July 19, 2022. (Sergei Savostyanov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pose for a photo during their meeting at the Saadabad palace, in Tehran, Iran, July 19, 2022. (Sergei Savostyanov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi on August 5, the Turkish presidency says.

The two leaders held their first meeting since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the sidelines of a Syria summit in Tehran on July 19.

Erdogan has tried to thrust Turkey — which is on good terms with both Moscow and Kyiv — into the center of diplomatic efforts to try and halt the five-month war. Turkey worked with the United Nations to get the warring sides to sign a deal in Istanbul last week aimed at resuming grain shipments across the Black Sea.

As tensions escalate, Lapid says Israel always ready for dialogue with Russia

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, welcomes Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, prior to their talks in Moscow, Russia, Sept. 9, 2021. (Alexander Nemenov/Pool Photo via AP)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, welcomes Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, prior to their talks in Moscow, Russia, Sept. 9, 2021. (Alexander Nemenov/Pool Photo via AP)

Prime Minister Yair Lapid says that ties between Russia and Israel “are based on heritage” and that Jerusalem is always ready for dialogue with Israel.

He is speaking amid an ongoing spat between Israel and Russia over the actions of the Jewish Agency, the quasi-governmental agency responsible for immigration to Israel, which Moscow is moving toward shutting down.

“Israel-Russia relations are based on heritage, continuous connection and mutual interests,” Lapid says in a statement. “The Jewish community [in Russia] is central to these relations.”

Lapid says that if “legal issues arise in relation to the important activity of the Jewish Agency in Russia, Israel, as always, is ready and willing to engage in dialogue about it while maintaining the important relations between the countries.”

Lapid’s office says his comments come specifically in response to remarks earlier today by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

“The situation should not be politicized or projected onto the entirety of Russian-Israeli relations,” Peskov told reporters. “There are issues from the point of view of complying with Russian law,” he added. “This situation should be treated very carefully.”

Unarmed Lebanese man caught by civilians after crossing border

United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) soldiers stand along the border wall with Israel, in the Lebanese village of Adaiseh, on May 15, 2021. (Mahmoud Zayyat/AFP)
United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) soldiers stand along the border wall with Israel, in the Lebanese village of Adaiseh, on May 15, 2021. (Mahmoud Zayyat/AFP)

A Lebanese man detained by Israeli civilians near the border town of Margaliot has been arrested by troops, the military says.

The unarmed man is being questioned at the scene, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Last night, troops fired warning shots into the air after a suspect approached the border fence near the same town, the IDF said.

It is not immediately clear if it is the same suspect.

Arab Israeli soccer player booed by fans says he is quitting national team

Albania's Taulant Xhaka,, left, fights for the ball with Israel's Munas Dabbur during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Albania and Israel at Elbasan Arena, in Elbasan, southern Albania, Sept. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)
Albania's Taulant Xhaka,, left, fights for the ball with Israel's Munas Dabbur during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Albania and Israel at Elbasan Arena, in Elbasan, southern Albania, Sept. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)

Munas Dabbur, an Arab Israeli player on Israel’s national soccer team, announces that he is leaving the team.

“I would like to inform you of my decision that my part of the Israeli national team has come to an end,” he writes on Instagram. “I would like to thank my family and everyone who has ever supported me.”

Dabbur became the center of controversy last year after writing a Facebook post amid the 2021 May war with Gaza. Dabbur posted a photo of the Dome of the Rock near the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, alongside a quote from the Quran: “Do not think that Allah is unaware of what the wrongdoers do. He is only granting them respite until a day when their eyes will stare in horror.”

Dabbur later said that his post “expressed pain and had nothing to do with politics.” He was left out of national team activities for several months following the post, but returned in August, though he was booed by some fans when he walked onto the field.

Tourists visas for Ukrainian refugees extended through August 31

Ukrainian Jews who fled war zones in Ukraine arrive on a rescue flight at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, on March 17, 2022. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)
Ukrainian Jews who fled war zones in Ukraine arrive on a rescue flight at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, on March 17, 2022. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

The Population, Immigration and Border Authority extends through August 31 the tourist visas granted to Ukrainians who fled to Israel following Russia’s invasion of their country.

Generally, tourist visas are only valid for three months after entering the State of Israel. PIBA and the Interior Ministry have extended visas to Ukrainian refugees several times already, and said that neither they nor their employers will be prosecuted if they work during their time in the country.

More than 28,000 Ukrainians have entered Israel since war broke out in late February, about half of whom are believed to be eligible for Israeli citizenship.

Jerusalemite indicted for setting up Hamas kindergarten and soup kitchen

Illustrative: A kindergarten in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras Al-Amud, May 19, 2014. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
Illustrative: A kindergarten in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras Al-Amud, May 19, 2014. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

A Palestinian man has been indicted for allegedly establishing a kindergarten and a soup kitchen on orders from Hamas, in order to strengthen the terror group’s influence in East Jerusalem, the Justice Ministry says.

According to the indictment, Bilal Sub Laban met with a Hamas operative in Turkey in March, who instructed him to “advance Hamas activity” in East Jerusalem.

He was instructed to establish a kindergarten, a soup kitchen and a non-profit used to embezzle funds for the terror group, recruit members and hand out Palestinian flags, the indictment says.

According to the indictment, Laban, a Jerusalem resident, also met with Turkish tourists on the Temple Mount in June, and collected money from them for Hamas.

Laban was arrested on June 28, and some $13,000 was seized. He is charged with membership in a terror organization, using funds for terror and obstruction of justice.

Russia says it will quit International Space Station ‘after 2024’

The NASA International Space Station (Courtesy)
The NASA International Space Station (Courtesy)

Russia has decided to quit the International Space Station “after 2024,” the newly appointed chief of Moscow’s space agency tells President Vladimir Putin.

“Of course, we will fulfill all our obligations to our partners, but the decision to leave this station after 2024 has been made,” Roscosmos chief Yury Borisov tells Putin in comments released by the Kremlin.

Amid talks on alliance, Ben-Gvir and Smotrich trade accusations

Head of the far-right Religious Zionism party MK Bezalel Smotrich and party member Itamar Ben Gvir with supporters at the party headquarters in Modi'in, on election night, March 23, 2021. (Sraya Diamant/Flash90)
Head of the far-right Religious Zionism party MK Bezalel Smotrich and party member Itamar Ben Gvir with supporters at the party headquarters in Modi'in, on election night, March 23, 2021. (Sraya Diamant/Flash90)

Deep in talks to once again run on a joint electoral slate, MKs Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir trade public accusations.

Speaking at a Channel 13 news conference, Smotrich, the head of the Religious Zionism party, accuses Ben-Gvir of issuing ultimatums and threats.

Oztma Yehudit, the faction headed by Ben-Gvir, retorts that he has not issued any ultimatums, and says it is “saddened that Smotrich is attacking Ben-Gvir in the media.”

Russia says spat with Jewish Agency ‘should not be politicized’

View of the Jewish Agency headquarters in Jerusalem, November 29, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
View of the Jewish Agency headquarters in Jerusalem, November 29, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Kremlin says that a move to close the local offices of the agency that processes Jewish immigration to Israel should not be “politicized,” calling it a purely legal matter.

In a surprise move, a Moscow court said last week that its justice ministry had requested the “dissolution” of the Jewish Agency because of unspecified legal violations.

“The situation should not be politicized or projected onto the entirety of Russian-Israeli relations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tells reporters. “There are issues from the point of view of complying with Russian law,” he adds. “This situation should be treated very carefully.”

Israel to lead training course in Europe on illegal hunting crackdown

An Israel Nature and Parks Authority ranger at work in Israel. (Yaniv Cohen, INPA)
An Israel Nature and Parks Authority ranger at work in Israel. (Yaniv Cohen, INPA)

The European Ranger Federation asks the Israel Nature and Parks Authority to prepare and lead an international training course on the enforcement of illegal hunting for a worldwide audience of rangers.

Delivered via Zoom, the first session will take place Sunday to coincide with World Ranger Day. This commemorates the many rangers killed or injured defending wildlife and celebrates the work carried out by rangers worldwide.

The course will use case studies illustrating thinking out of the box, and will delve into subjects such as the training and safety of rangers, the integration of volunteers into the fight against illegal hunting, and the use of evidence in court, such as animal DNA.

To mark the launch of the course on July 31, an Israeli delegation including six INPA inspectors will fly to Germany to take part in an international discussion about illegal hunting-related themes.

EU members reach deal to cut Russian gas usage

The logo of 'Gazprom Germania' is pictured at the company's headquarters in Berlin, Germany, April 6, 2022. (Michael Sohn/AP)
The logo of 'Gazprom Germania' is pictured at the company's headquarters in Berlin, Germany, April 6, 2022. (Michael Sohn/AP)

The European Union reaches an agreement on how to cut member states’ consumption of gas by 15 percent and reduce their dependence on Russian supplies.

Russian state-run giant Gazprom will slash supplies to Europe starting tomorrow, threatening economies like Germany’s that rely on Moscow’s gas for energy and chemical production.

But the 27 EU members, which have imposed economic sanctions on Russia to punish it for its invasion of Ukraine, meet to agree a way cut gas use and share the burden of shortages.

“In an effort to increase EU security of energy supply, member states today reached a political agreement on a voluntary reduction of natural gas demand by 15 percent this winter,” the council of ministers says. “The Council regulation also foresees the possibility to trigger a ‘Union alert’ on security of supply, in which case the gas demand reduction would become mandatory,” the statement continues.

“The purpose of the gas demand reduction is to make savings ahead of winter in order to prepare for possible disruptions of gas supplies from Russia that is continuously using energy supplies as a weapon.”

Luxembourg’s energy minister, Claude Turmes, tweets that Hungary is the only member state to vote against the plan, which he dubs the “best move to react to Putin’s gas blackmail.”

Prime Minister’s Office bans gender-separating barriers at Western Wall egalitarian site

The egalitarian plaza at the Western Wall, known as 'Robinson's Arch' or 'Ezrat Yisrael,' seen on December 30, 2021, in Jerusalem's Old City. (Amy Spiro/Times of Israel)
The egalitarian plaza at the Western Wall, known as 'Robinson's Arch' or 'Ezrat Yisrael,' seen on December 30, 2021, in Jerusalem's Old City. (Amy Spiro/Times of Israel)

The Prime Minister’s Office prohibits the bringing of a mechitza, a gender separation barrier, into the egalitarian section of the Western Wall following a series of serious disturbances at the site.

The head of the Budgets and Projects Department of the Prime Minister’s Office, Drorit Steinmetz, writes to the director of the Company for the Development and Renovation of the Jewish Quarter, Herzl Ben Ari, instructing him to ensure anyone seeking to bring a mechitza to the site is blocked at the entrance.

Steinmetz notes that orderlies from the company should not use force to stop anyone seeking to bring in a mechitza, but should request assistance from the police in such circumstances.

Radical Orthodox activists have disturbed non-Orthodox prayers at the site on numerous occasions in recent years, including most recently last month, when they disrupted three bar and bat mitzvas and tore up a prayer book.

On other occasions, Orthodox activists have brought in a mechitza and taken control of the prayer space, which is designated for non-Orthodox and mixed-gender prayer.

The Reform Movement in Israel welcomes the step but says it will not guarantee that prayer at the site would not be disturbed in other ways, and calls for greater measures to ensure order at the prayer space.

read more:

We have a new, improved comments system. To comment, simply register or sign in.

Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed