The Times of Israel liveblogged Sunday’s developments as they unfolded.
Livni summoned for questioning by Scotland Yard
Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni, visiting London to attend a Haaretz conference, is summoned for questioning by Scotland Yard on suspicion of involvement in alleged war crimes in the Gaza Strip.
The former foreign mister was in office during the 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead.
After diplomatic talks between London and Jerusalem, Livni is granted immunity and the summons is dropped.
“We don’t summon UK ministers for questioning and we expect the same for Israeli ministers here,” says Livni at the conference, according to Haaretz.
In 2009, ahead of a planned visit by Livni, a British court issued a warrant for Livni’s arrest over alleged war crimes committed by the IDF during the three-week conflict. In the end Livni did not go through with the trip, and the threat of an arrest kept her out of the UK until authorities in 2011 granted automatic immunity to all Israelis on official visits to Britain, but not for personal trips.
UAE warns against wearing traditional clothes abroad
The United Arab Emirates is warning its citizens to avoid wearing traditional garments when traveling abroad after an Emirati man was handcuffed in Ohio over terrorism fears.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says in a tweet late Saturday that Emiratis should avoid wearing the garments for their safety. A separate ministry statement urges women to abide by bans on face veils in parts of Europe.
Local media reports Sunday that Emirati national Ahmed al-Menhali was detained at gunpoint last week while wearing a traditional white kandura, or ankle-length robe, and headscarf in Avon, Ohio, after a hotel clerk raised suspicions he could have links to the Islamic State group.
Cleveland’s WEWS-TV posted police camera video footage of al-Menhali’s arrest and a later meeting where Avon officials offered their apologies.
Erdogan says Assad a ‘more advanced terrorist’ than IS
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declares Saturday that Syrian President Bashar Assad is a “more advanced terrorist” than the Islamic State group, despite the deadly attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport that Turkish officials blame on IS.
Speaking in the town of Kilis near the border with Syria, Erdogan says the Syrian leader is responsible for the deaths of some 600,000 of his own citizens and is the root cause of the war in Syria.
“He is a more advanced terrorist than a terrorist from the PYD or the YPG,” Erdogan says. “He is a more advanced terrorist than Daesh.” Erdogan was referring to Syrian Kurdish militia, which Ankara accuses of being a terror organization because of their affiliation with Turkey’s Kurdish rebels, and to the IS group by its Arabic name.
Syrian refugees could become Turkish citizens — Erdogan
Syrian refugees living in Turkey could eventually be granted Turkish citizenship, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signals, a plan that could spark controversy at home.
“I want to announce some good news,” media quotes Erdogan as saying late Saturday at a dinner to break the Ramadan fast in Kilis province, on the Syrian border.
“We are going to help our Syrian friends in offering them the chance, if they want it, to acquire Turkish nationality.”
The interior ministry will shortly announce how the naturalization procedure would work, Erdogan says, without giving further details.
“We regard you as our brothers and sisters — you are not far from your homeland, but only from your homes and your land,” Erdogan tells a group of Syrian refugees in Kilis.
“Turkey is also your homeland.”
Israel-US consortium sinks $265m in new gas well
A consortium led by US firm Noble Energy has approved a $265 million project to sink a new well in a major natural gas field off Israel, officials say Sunday.
Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration, Israeli firms that are part of the partnership led by Noble, announce the financing for the Tamar field in the Mediterranean.
“The Tamar partners decided to approve a budget of about $265 million for drilling ‘Tamar 8’ and connecting to existing infrastructure in the Tamar field,” Delek and Avner say in a joint statement.
It says the latest well would allow “maximum supply from Tamar field during times of peak demand, in light of the volume of production from Tamar and the existing and expected demand for natural gas from the field.”
Tamar 8, the field’s sixth production well, is located about 100 kilometers (60 miles) offshore and would reach a depth of around 3.5 kilometers below the sea bed, it said.
Drilling is projected to start in the last quarter of this year.
Condition of Netanya stabbing victim improves
The 40-year-old man stabbed in Thursday’s terror attack in the coastal city of Netanya is recovering, with his condition upgraded from serious to light, the Walla news website reports.
Iranian sculptor Tanavoli blocked from leaving country
Famed Iranian artist Parviz Tanavoli says he has been barred from leaving the country while trying to travel to London.
The sculptor says in a posting on Facebook that he was prevented from leaving Saturday morning when trying to board a flight out of Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport.
He says he was scheduled to give lectures at the British Museum and Asia House in London. He adds that he attempted to resolve the issue at Iran’s main passport office “but it was of no use.”
Iranian officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Several artists, poets, journalists and activists have been detained in Iran since moderate President Hassan Rouhani’s government reached a nuclear deal with world powers last year.
Iran won’t coordinate with US on Syria — Khamenei
Iran will never coordinate with the United States in Syria and other regional conflicts, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says in remarks published on his website Sunday.
“We don’t want such a coordination as their main objective is to stop Iran’s presence in the region,” Khamenei says in a transcript from a speech to university students.
Khamenei repeats demands for the US to stop interfering in the region and said Washington was still acting aggressively despite last year’s nuclear accord with world powers to end Iran’s isolation.
“Americans are still engaged in hostility against the nation of Iran, be it the Congress or the US administration,” he says.
Iran complains it has not benefited from the nuclear deal since it came into force in January, with international banks still fearful of doing business with Tehran due to remaining US sanctions.
“Those who believe in looking to the West for the progress of the country have lost their minds because wisdom tells us to learn from experience,” Khamenei says.
The Iranian supreme leader also urges students to “form a united anti-American and anti-Zionism front of students in World of Islam.”
“Muslim students can launch campaigns in cyber space to oppose US & Zionist regime policies,” he writes on Twitter.
— AFP, Times of Israel staff
Herzog urges UK to stop ‘threatening’ Israeli politicians
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog writes a letter to British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, hours after his party member Livni is summoned for questioning by Scotland Yard.
“I am writing to demand, as a matter of urgency, a change in the law that allows for the questioning and threatening of Israeli leaders standing at the forefront of the fight against terror, an issue I raised during our meeting in London last week,” Herzog writes.
Referring to recent terror attacks in Israel, he writes that “attempting to question MK Tzipi Livni makes a mockery of the British government’s calls for unity in fighting radical Islamist terror, and legitimizes those that seek to murder children and terrorize society.”
Turkish authorities detain 3 more over airport attack
Turkey’s state-run news agency says authorities have detained three new suspects in connection with the attack at Istanbul’s airport that killed at least 44 people.
Anadolu Agency didn’t identify the suspects or specify their nationalities.
It says the total number of those detained in relation to the shooting and suicide attack at the airport is now 27. Thirteen suspects, including three foreigners, have been referred to Istanbul’s Bakirkoy Court after undergoing medical checks, according to the report.
Three militants armed with assault rifles and suicide bombs stormed Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport on Tuesday night. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Turkish officials say they believe it was the work of the Islamic State group, which is based in neighboring Syria and Iraq and has operatives in Turkey.
Wife of murdered rabbi wakes up, is stable
As her husband is laid to rest in Jerusalem, Chava Mark — who was seriously injured in Friday’s shooting attack in which her husband was killed — wakes up from a medically induced coma.
Her condition is stable and she is breathing on her own.
— Judah Ari Gross
Al-Qaeda fighters kidnap US-backed rebel chief in Syria
US-backed rebels on Sunday accuse Al-Qaeda-linked fighters of storming their headquarters in northwestern Syria and kidnapping their commander and dozens of other combatants.
In an online statement, Jaish al-Tahrir (Liberation Army) says its commander, Mohammad al-Ghabi, was abducted from his father’s home in the town of Kafranbel by Al-Nusra Front jihadists on Saturday evening.
It says Al-Nusra fighters also “kidnapped more than 40 members of Jaish al-Tahrir” and stole weapons from other bases and checkpoints set up in northwestern Syria.
“We call on Al-Nusra Front to immediately release our commander and all the others who were kidnapped,” the statement says, urging other Islamist groups to put pressure on the jihadists.
Treasury orders release of NIS 30m to Holocaust survivors
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) has ordered the Company for Location and Restitution of Holocaust Victims’ Assets to release NIS 30 million ($7.7 million) it was holding to some 9,000 Holocaust survivors.
Hundreds at Jerusalem burial of slain rabbi
As the funeral procession for Rabbi Miki Mark arrives in Jerusalem’s Givat Shaul cemetery from the settlement of Otniel, hundreds of mourners gather to pay their last respects.
Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau and Mossad chief Yossi Cohen — a relative of Mark’s — are set to give eulogies.
Mark’s daughter who was badly injured in Friday’s shooting has arrived at the cemetery in an ambulance, the Walla news website reports.
Israel slams UK over Livni’s summoning for questioning
The Foreign Ministry says it views Scotland Yard’s request to question Livni during her London visit “with great concern.”
“We would have expected different behavior from a close ally such as the UK,” it says in a statement.
“Israel stands shoulder to shoulder with its global partners – including the UK – in both its commitment to the rule of law and its ongoing fight against the threat of terrorism and extremism. It would expect that those sharing this commitment act to prevent the abuse of their legal system for political ends and to confront attempts to draw a moral equivalence between those perpetrating terror and those fighting against it.
— Raphael Ahren (@RaphaelAhren) July 3, 2016
“Israel will do all in its power to ensure that all of its citizens are not the subject of the cynical, political abuse of otherwise legitimate legal tools, including in the UK. We will continue to engage with the relevant British authorities on this and related matters until our concerns are adequately addressed and resolved,” the statement says.
— Raphael Ahren contributed
At cousin’s funeral, Mossad chief vows to keep Israel safe
Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, the cousin of Rabbi Miki Mark, eulogizes his slain relative at the funeral.
“I pledge in the name of all of my colleagues in the security establishment that together we will continue to do everything to keep the State of Israel unified and safe from threats,” he says.
“Be at peace, man of peace,” Cohen adds. “I loved you dearly, as you did us.”
Gazan armed with knife arrested crossing border
A Palestinian armed with a knife is arrested by Israeli forces after he crosses the border from the Gaza Strip.
He is handed over to the Shin Bet security service for questioning, Channel 2 reports.
Merkel mourns death of ‘extraordinary person’ Elie Wiesel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel mourns the passing of Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.
“I remain grateful for my encounter with this extraordinary person. Elie Wiesel reached out to us Germans and worked tirelessly with us to make a better world possible,” she says.
— AP contributed
Security cabinet reconvenes to discuss terror surge
The high-level security cabinet is reconvening to discuss the uptick in terror attacks last week, Army Radio reports.
The security cabinet also met last night.
Israel revokes Hebron governor’s permit after he visits terrorists’ families
The entry permit to Israel for Hebron’s governor Kamal Hamid is revoked after he visits the families of terrorists in the West Bank village of Bani Na’im.
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) says Hamid met with the relatives of Muhammad Tarayrah, 17, who murdered 13-year-old Hallel Ariel in her sleep last Thursday.
Children of slain rabbi silence cries of ‘revenge’
The children of Rabbi Miki Mark silence mourners at the funeral who shout for “revenge.”
“Whoever wants to scream nonsense should leave,” a family member says, according to Channel 2. “This wasn’t what Abba [father] wanted. We are focusing on his memory and on doing good. He had Arab friends.”
His daughter Tehila, who was injured in the attack, arrives at the funeral in an ambulance.
A relative reads her eulogy.
“I saw you in your last moments,” she says. “When I heard the gunshots, I ducked down, but you never left the wheel. You didn’t protect yourself — until your last breath, you tried to save us. I never imagined that this would be our last moments with you.”
“We will we strong for you, because I know that’s what you would want. God took you because he needs more righteous people. Watch over us from above.”
Death toll in Baghdad suicide bombing climbs to 119
A suicide car bombing claimed by the Islamic State group that ripped through a busy Baghdad shopping district on Sunday killed at least 119 people, security officials say.
The blast — the deadliest to hit Iraq’s capital so far this year — also wounded more than 140 people, the officials say.
Cory Booker no longer denies being vetted for VP
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker is no longer flatly denying that he’s being vetted as a potential running mate for presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Booker has said in recent weeks that it was flattering to be mentioned but that he wasn’t being vetted.
Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Booker now says, “If you have a question like that, please direct it to the Clinton campaign.”
It’s possible that Democrats won’t want Booker plucked from his Senate seat: New Jersey’s Republican governor, Chris Christie, would pick Booker’s replacement if he leaves for the White House. Democrats are hoping to win a majority in the Senate this election and might not want to take that chance.
PMO says Africa trip to cost NIS 12.5 million
The Prime Minister’s Office denies reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Africa trip will cost the state NIS 28 million ($7.2 million).
“Contrary to the sums that were published in the media, without checking, the cost of the prime minister’s trip to Africa is NIS 12.5 million ($3.2 million),” it says in a statement.
Private funeral for Elie Wiesel held in NY
Mourners gather in New York on Sunday to bid farewell to Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor and Nobel peace laureate hailed for his life’s work of keeping alive the memory of Jews slaughtered during World War II.
Wiesel, who died in New York on Saturday at age 87, is to be honored at private services at a synagogue on the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan.
Wiesel’s wife Marion, in a wheelchair, is among those who arrived in a stream of black cars.
The burial was to follow the service, some of the mourners tell AFP.
Man badly hurt in Central Park explosion
A man is badly injured in an explosion in Central Park in New York City.
It is not immediately clear what caused the blast. Police are closing off the area, according to local media.
Some mourners at Wiesel’s funeral hear the explosion and run to investigate.
“Outside Eli [sic] Wiesel’s funeral I heard a huge explosion just now. Running into Central Park and found a young man with his left leg blown off,” writes New York Times reporter Sarah Maslin Nir on Twitter.
Outside Eli Wiesel's funeral I heard a huge explosion just now. Running into Central Park and found a young man with his left leg blown off
— Sarah Maslin Nir (@SarahMaslinNir) July 3, 2016
The young man is safely on his way to hospital.No official word as to what transpired. His friends said he was walking&stepped on something
— Sarah Maslin Nir (@SarahMaslinNir) July 3, 2016
Possible fireworks accident or other cause, no word on cause as this happened moments ago.
— Sarah Maslin Nir (@SarahMaslinNir) July 3, 2016
— Josh Einiger (@JoshEiniger7) July 3, 2016
‘We are all Hezbollah’ signs, flags at London anti-Israel march
Protesters in London are waving flags of the Hezbollah terror group at the annual Al-Quds Day march.
— Yiftah Curiel (@yiftahc) July 3, 2016
Pictures from today's Al-Quds Day march. And yes, that's a Hizbollah flag draped around a small child. pic.twitter.com/K3p8WQ2G4T
— Josh Jackman (@josh_jackman) July 3, 2016
He happily posed for the photo. pic.twitter.com/uLwkCHDWSx
— Josh Jackman (@josh_jackman) July 3, 2016
"1, 2, 3, 4! Occupation no more! 5, 6, 7, 8! Israel is a terrorist state!" pic.twitter.com/QokFJSJFvw
— Josh Jackman (@josh_jackman) July 3, 2016
— Zionist Federation (@ZionistFed) July 3, 2016
A pro-Israel counter-demonstration is also held.
Ex-minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer hospitalized
Ex-defense minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer is hospitalized after feeling ill, Channel 2 reports.
Ben-Eliezer, a former Labor Party leader and presidential candidate, has suffered from various health issues for a number of years, and in December 2014 underwent a kidney transplant. Several months later, he was hospitalized with a serious case of influenza, at which time he was hooked up to life support until his condition improved.
He was indicted in absentia in February at the Tel Aviv District Court on a slew of graft charges.
Ex-ADL chief says Wiesel can now ‘challenge the Almighty’
Abraham Foxman, former national director of the Anti-Defamation League, speaks to reporters outside Elie Wiesel’s funeral. Wiesel and his wife, Marion, were honored by the League with the Jabotinsky Award Courageous Jewish Leadership in 2013.
“He carried a message universally, he carried the Jewish pain, the message of Jewish tragedy to the world but he took it way beyond. He stood up for the people in Rwanda, he stood up for the Yugoslavians, he stood up for the Cambodians…” says Foxman, who has known Wiesel for decades.
“We talked about forgiveness, we talked about God. He was struggling with it,” Foxman says. “Well, now he’s a little closer. Now he can challenge the Almighty much closer and maybe he’ll get some answers, which he asked, but never got the answers to.”
— AP, Times of Israel staff
5 arrested as ultra-Orthodox protest turns violent
Five ultra-Orthodox demonstrators protesting the IDF draft outside a Jaffa courthouse are arrested after the rally turns violent, police say.
At the end of the mostly peaceful protest, some of the demonstrators attacked policemen, overturned garbage cans, blocked traffic, hurled eggs and stones at cops, and flipped over two motorcycles, damaging them, police say. There are no reports of injuries.
Photos emerge of Wiesel funeral
Hundreds of Ethiopian Israelis rally in Tel Aviv
Hundreds of Ethiopian Israelis are protesting police brutality in central Tel Aviv, blocking roads and causing traffic jams, Channel 2 reports.
Rabbi at Wiesel funeral says his death a ‘double tragedy’
Mourners attending a private service for Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel say his death is also a great loss because there’s one fewer Holocaust survivor in the world.
Rabbi Perry Berkowitz calls Wiesel’s death a “double tragedy,” since the world lost someone so “rare and unusual” and that Holocaust survivors are dying out.
Berkowitz, the president of the American Jewish Heritage Organization, had known Wiesel for more than 40 years and worked with him very closely in the 1970s as his assistant.
Friends and family were attending a private service for the “Night” author at Fifth Avenue Synagogue in New York City on Sunday morning.
12 arrested at anti-police brutality protest
Police say they have arrested 12 Ethiopian Israeli protesters who “ignored police instructions and started disturbing the peace and blocking traffic.”
Hamas said to demand mass prisoner release for held Israelis
Hamas is hoping to win the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel in exchange for the return of the remains of two IDF soldiers it holds and two Israeli citizens believed to be captive in the Gaza Strip, according to a report out today.
The report, in the daily Yedioth Ahronoth, says that while Israel has been seeking, through foreign intermediaries, to initiate negotiations for the return of the soldiers’ bodies and the civilians, it has resisted Hamas demands for concessions as a prerequisite for talks. Nor, the report says, will Israel agree to a exchange similar to the 2011 swap of over 1,000 Palestinians for captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
“Hamas wants a Shalit 2 deal, with the release of hundreds of prisoners,” a senior, unidentified Israeli official is quoted as saying.
The issue of the missing Israelis has come to the forefront of political debate in the wake of a reconciliation deal last week between Israel and Turkey that ended a years-long diplomatic rift.
— Stuart Winer
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