ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 144

search
Live updates (closed)Demonstrations at dozens of locations nationwide

15 arrests as protesters block Ayalon after TLV police chief removed; 10 held elsewhere

Thousands descend on highway as Ben Gvir blasts departing Amichai Eshed, who says he’s paid the price for choosing ‘to prevent civil war’; man arrested for driving into protesters

  • Anti-government protesters raise flags and light a fire on the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv, following the resignation of Tel Aviv police chief Ami Eshed, on July 5, 2023. (Oren Ziv/AFP)
    Anti-government protesters raise flags and light a fire on the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv, following the resignation of Tel Aviv police chief Ami Eshed, on July 5, 2023. (Oren Ziv/AFP)
  • A car drives into anti-government protesters blocking the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv, July 5, 2023 (Video screenshot by Michel Braunstein; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
    A car drives into anti-government protesters blocking the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv, July 5, 2023 (Video screenshot by Michel Braunstein; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
  • Fireworks are set off in solidarity with protesters above the blocked Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv, following the resignation of Tel Aviv police chief Ami Ashed, on July 5, 2023. (Photo by OREN ZIV / AFP)
    Fireworks are set off in solidarity with protesters above the blocked Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv, following the resignation of Tel Aviv police chief Ami Ashed, on July 5, 2023. (Photo by OREN ZIV / AFP)
  • Mounted Israeli police officers try to disperse anti-government protesters on the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv on July 5, 2023. (OREN ZIV / AFP)
    Mounted Israeli police officers try to disperse anti-government protesters on the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv on July 5, 2023. (OREN ZIV / AFP)
  • Anti-government protesters block the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv, July 5, 2023 (Video screenshot; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
    Anti-government protesters block the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv, July 5, 2023 (Video screenshot; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
  • Anti-government protests in Jerusalem's Paris Square, July 5, 2023 (Times of Israel)
    Anti-government protests in Jerusalem's Paris Square, July 5, 2023 (Times of Israel)
  • Tel Aviv District Commander of the Police Amichai Eshed holds a press conference in Tel Aviv, announcing his resgination, on July 5, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
    Tel Aviv District Commander of the Police Amichai Eshed holds a press conference in Tel Aviv, announcing his resgination, on July 5, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
  • National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir speaks during a press conference at the Knesset on July 5, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir speaks during a press conference at the Knesset on July 5, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

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

Most protesters removed from Ayalon; 2 women hurt in Jerusalem; 25 arrests nationwide

After several hours, police have removed most of the anti-government protesters who have been blocking Tel Aviv’s main Ayalon Highway.

Mounted police and water cannons were utilized, as the police forced protesters from the road.

In Jerusalem, some protesters are marching from Paris Square toward the Prime Minister’s residence nearby. Two women were injured in the Jerusalem protests earlier, as the police also deployed water cannon and mounted police in the capital.

Nationwide, at least 25 people have been arrested.

Fifteen arrests in Tel Aviv, four in Jerusalem

A police water cannon fires on anti-government protests in Jerusalem's Paris Square, July 5, 2023 (Times of Israel)
A police water cannon fires on anti-government protests in Jerusalem's Paris Square, July 5, 2023 (Times of Israel)

Fifteen people have been arrested to date in Tel Aviv, and four in Jerusalem, police say.

A water cannon has been deployed to try to disperse protesters in Jerusalem’s Paris Square. Police have designated the Jerusalem gathering an illegal demonstration.

In Tel Aviv, police have cleared protesters who were blocking the Ayalon Highway running north. A short while ago, a female protester was taken to the hospital after being injured by a mounted police officer on the Ayalon, Haaretz reports.

3 arrests on Ayalon as protest swells; mounted police deployed in Jerusalem

Protesters on the Ayalon Highway, July 5, 2023. (Facebook screenshot)
Protesters on the Ayalon Highway, July 5, 2023. (Facebook screenshot)

Three people have been arrested at the Tel Aviv protests, Army Radio reports.

The Ayalon remains blocked, and protesters set off fireworks above the highway a few minutes ago.

Army Radio says increasing numbers of protesters are gathering.

Protests are also continuing in Jerusalem, Haifa, Karkur Junction and other locations.

Anti-government protests in Jerusalem’s Paris Square, July 5, 2023 (Times of Israel)

In Jerusalem, Army Radio says protesters have been marching near the President’s Residence and near Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s home on Azza Street.

Anti-government protests in Jerusalem’s Paris Square, July 5, 2023 (Times of Israel)

Crowds in the hundreds are now gathering in the capital’s Paris Square.

Mounted police have been called in and are making forays into the crowd, eyewitnesses say.

Army Radio says the junction is blocked and the police are now trying to clear the protesters.

Mounted police at anti-government protests in Jerusalem’s Paris Square, July 5, 2023 (Times of Israel)

Driver arrested after hitting Tel Aviv protester, who is said to be lightly hurt

A car drives into anti-government protesters blocking the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv, July 5, 2023 (Video screenshot by Michel Braunstein; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
A car drives into anti-government protesters blocking the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv, July 5, 2023 (Video screenshot by Michel Braunstein; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

A driver is arrested after hitting a protester who is blocking the Ayalon highway in Tel Aviv.

The car is not moving very fast, and the protester was lightly injured.

“I didn’t see him coming at me,” the protester says.

Elizabeth Tsurkov was in Baghdad to focus on pro-Iran factions when abducted — AFP

An Iraqi intelligence source tells AFP Elizabeth Tsurkov was kidnapped in the Iraqi capital Baghdad “at the beginning of Ramadan,” the Muslim fasting month which this year commenced on March 23.

She had arrived in Baghdad “at the beginning of December 2022,” a Western diplomat stationed in Iraq says on condition of anonymity.

In Baghdad, she had focused on pro-Iran factions and the movement of Iraqi Shiite leader Moqtada Sadr as part of her research on the region, according to several journalists who had met her.

Tsurkov was abducted as she was leaving a cafe in the Iraqi capital’s Karrada neighborhood, the Iraqi intelligence source says.

Scenes at Ayalon bring to mind night of bonfires after Gallant’s dismissal

Protesters continue to stream down toward the Ayalon Highway, with the road blocked in both directions.

Commentators note that while numbers are (at least so far) smaller, the scenes are somewhat reminiscent — certainly in their spontaneity — to the massive bonfire rallies at the same location in March, on the evening that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to fire his Defense Minister Yoav Gallant after he raised the alarm regarding the judicial overhaul.

Netanyahu froze the overhaul plan the next day, and eventually reneged on dismissing Gallant.

Bonfire lit on Ayalon Highway; mounted police on the scene

Here is another view of the rally on Ayalon as some demonstrators are seen lighting a bonfire on the highway.

Mounted police are on the scene to disperse the demonstrators.

 

England ends Israel’s impressive Euro Under-21 run with 3-0 win in semifinal

England's Anthony Gordon, center, fights for the ball with Israel's Stav Lemkin, left, and Israel's Karm Jaber during the Euro 2023 U-21 Championship semifinal soccer match at the Batumi Arena stadium in Batumi, Georgia, Wednesday, July 5, 2023.(AP/Tamuna Kulumbegashvili)
England's Anthony Gordon, center, fights for the ball with Israel's Stav Lemkin, left, and Israel's Karm Jaber during the Euro 2023 U-21 Championship semifinal soccer match at the Batumi Arena stadium in Batumi, Georgia, Wednesday, July 5, 2023.(AP/Tamuna Kulumbegashvili)

Israel’s Under-21 national soccer team has lost to England in the European Championship semifinal, ending a remarkable run for the youth squad.

England finished the game in Batumi, Georgia with a 3-0 victory. It had been heavily favored to progress to the final, having already beaten Israel 2-0 when they met in the group stage and having not yet conceded a goal in the tournament.

In recent months the national junior teams pulled off a string of upset victories. The Under-20 team took third place at the World Cup in Argentina last month.

A silver lining for the Israeli team is that it has now guaranteed to be one of just 16 teams to qualify at the Paris Olympics in 2024.

Anti-government protesters block Ayalon Highway

Protesters against the government have blocked the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv in response to the removal of the Tel Aviv police commander.

Hundreds of people were seen descending to the highway on foot, stopping traffic on the major road.

Angry crowds chase senior Fatah official away from funeral for Jenin dead

The deputy to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was driven out of a Jenin funeral for those killed in fighting with the IDF in recent days, with participants shouting “out” as they raged against the PA.

The Fatah-led PA is increasingly seen by some Palestinians as collaborating with Israel rather than fighting for their rights.

Mahmoud al-Aloul and other senior Fatah leaders arrived at the mass funeral for gunmen killed in fighting with Israeli troops, but were met with heckling and shouting from angry crowds and left the scene.

Ben Gvir: Trickle of politics into police a dangerous crossing of a line

Holding his own press conference, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir accuses outgoing Tel Aviv police chief Amichai Eshed of “surrendering to the Israeli left.”

He says “the trickle of politics into senior police positions is a dangerous crossing of a line.”

Ben Gvir says the government, of which he is a member, was “elected to bring a change to equality — not to see a police force that behaves differently toward settlers and Haredim and surrenders to leftist activists.”

Protests expected in multiple cities in response to removal of Tel Aviv police chief

Protests are expected in multiple cities this evening in response to the removal of Tel Aviv police chief Amichai Eshed from his post.

Several hundred are now demonstrating on Tel Aviv’s Kaplan Street.

Organizers say Eshed’s departure, allegedly for his refusal to more harshly tackle protests against the government, is the latest blow to Israeli democracy in addition to “the whirlwind effort to advance coup bills, dismantle the Israel Bar Association, annul the ‘reasonableness’ test [for government decisions]” and more.

Report: IDF increasingly believes soldier killed in Jenin was hit by friendly fire

Channel 12 reports the IDF increasingly thinks Sgt. First Class David Yehuda Yitzhak, the soldier killed yesterday in Jenin, was shot by an Israeli soldier accidentally.

The network’s Nir Dvori says commanders suspect a soldier mistakenly identified Yitzhak as the source of gunfire aimed at forces as they began to withdraw from the city, and fired at him.

The military probe is ongoing.

Kidnapped Israeli Tsurkov ‘absolutely not a member of Mossad’ — Israeli official

Elizabeth Tsurkov in an undated photo (social media; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Elizabeth Tsurkov in an undated photo (social media; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

The Israeli-Russian citizen kidnapped in mid-March by a radical Shiite militia in Iraq “is absolutely not a member of Mossad, period, exclamation point, underline,” a senior Israeli official says in a briefing with Israeli reporters, refuting rumors in Arab media.

“She is an innocent Israeli citizen doing doctoral work in Princeton,” he adds. “There is no connection between Israeli officials and Elizabeth.”

“It is not inconceivable that Iran is fully versed in the details,” says the official, in response to a question about Iranian involvement.

The official does not say what countries have been involved in trying to get her released, saying only “you can guess which actors are relevant.”

The government has been in touch with Elizabeth Tsurkov’s family, says the official. She is alive and in good health.

The official will not say why Israel decided to release information now, even though it knew within days of the kidnapping in Baghdad.

The official adds that it appears Tsurkov had made previous trips to Iraq.

Entrance into Iraq, defined as an enemy country, is illegal for Israeli citizens.

Knesset rejects opposition bill to give Declaration of Independence legal standing

The Knesset rejects an opposition-led bill to imbue Israel’s 1948 Declaration of Independence with legal standing.

Arab party lawmakers join the coalition to defeat the measure in its preliminary reading, with a vote of 50 to 31.

The founding document, which critically describes Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, operating under the principle of equality, is considered influential but has no legal power.

Over the past few months, opposition leader Yair Lapid has pushed for legal reform in line with the declaration’s principles and has said he wants to codify it into law.

Wearing a miniature Declaration of Independence on his lapel to introduce the bill, Lapid says Israel’s “liberal, sane majority woke up” over the past months’ debate on overhauling Israel’s judiciary, and that the fight for a Jewish and democratic Israel has “reminded us of how we are at our best.”

Tapped by the coalition to represent its position against the bill, Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi says it’s better to keep the Declaration of Independence out of the legal code, under the presumption that from there it can best influence legislation.

Ben Gvir: Good luck to Eshed in leftist politics; Lapid retorts: A national disgrace

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir holds a meeting at his ministry offices in Jerusalem, June 15, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90)
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir holds a meeting at his ministry offices in Jerusalem, June 15, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90)

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir brushes off departing Tel Aviv police chief Amichai Eshed’s criticism, saying his statements today prove he was “a political officer.”

He wishes him “great success as a candidate for a left-wing party in the next election.”

Opposition leader Yair Lapid rails at the minister, saying Eshed “served for three decades under [various] governments, ministers and police chiefs and was never called political, never had his professionalism and dedication doubted.”

“I salute him and thank him on behalf of the Israeli people for his long nights of wakefulness to ensure citizens slept soundly,” Lapid says.

“Ben Gvir’s response makes clear that this is only the beginning. This is what the start of a dictatorship looks like, this is what loss of direction looks like. A national disgrace.”

Hadassah surgeons reattach boy’s head to his neck after internal decapitation

Dr. Ohad Einav and Ziv Asa with 12-year-old Suleiman Hassan at Hadassah Medical Center following his recovery after surgery to reattach his head to his neck after he suffered internal decapitation in an accident. (Courtesy of Hadassah Medical Center)
Dr. Ohad Einav and Ziv Asa with 12-year-old Suleiman Hassan at Hadassah Medical Center following his recovery after surgery to reattach his head to his neck after he suffered internal decapitation in an accident. (Courtesy of Hadassah Medical Center)

In an extremely rare and complex operation, Hadassah Medical Center surgeons have reattached a 12-year-old boy’s head to his neck after a serious accident in which he was hit by a car while riding his bicycle, the Jerusalem hospital announces.

Suleiman Hassan, from the Jordan Valley, was airlifted to Hadassah’s trauma unit in Ein Kerem, where it was determined that the ligaments holding the posterior base of his skull were severed from the top vertebrae of his spine. The condition, bilateral atlanto occipital joint dislocation, is commonly known as internal or orthopedic decapitation.

The injury is very rare in adults, and even more so in children.

“We fought for the boy’s life,” says Dr. Ohad Einav, the orthopedic specialist who operated on the patient together with Dr. Ziv Asa and a large intensive care team. The surgery was carried out in early June.

Israel says Israeli-Russian Mideast analyst held by radical Shiite militia in Iraq

An Israeli-Russian citizen is being held by a radical Shiite militia in Iraq, the Prime Minister’s Office announces.

Elizabeth Tsurkov has been missing for several months, with her last post on Twitter dating back to March. The PMO says Tsurkov is being held by Kataeb Hezbollah, a paramilitary group backed by Iran. It says she is alive and that the government “views Iraq as responsible for her fate and safety.”

The PMO says Tsurkov, an academic, was visiting Iraq using her Russian passport for work on behalf of Princeton University.

Tsurkov is a doctoral student in political science at Princeton. She is a respected analyst on Syria and the Middle East in general.

She has two degrees in international relations and Middle East studies from Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University.

Tsurkov is a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, an American think tank, whose website notes that “her research is based primarily on a large network of contacts she has cultivated across the Middle East and particularly in Syria, as well as fieldwork across the region.”

Tel Aviv top cop quits, says he’s paying price for refusal to ‘break bones’ at rallies

Police's Tel Aviv District Commander Amichai Eshed holds a press conference in Tel Aviv, on July 5, 2023 (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Police's Tel Aviv District Commander Amichai Eshed holds a press conference in Tel Aviv, on July 5, 2023 (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Tel Aviv police chief Amichai Eshed announces his resignation from the force at a press conference, saying he has been removed from his post due to “political considerations” and that he is paying “a terrible cost for my choice to prevent civil war.”

Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai had recently informed Eshed he would be moved to lead a police internal training center, widely viewed as a demotion. Shabtai and Eshed had long had a rocky relationship, while National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir had been outraged by Eshed’s refusal to use greater force against the months-long demonstrations against the government’s judicial overhaul plans.

Ben Gvir and Shabtai said last week that Southern District Commander Deputy Commissioner Peretz Amar will replace Eshed in Tel Aviv. Shabtai, who also has a troubled relationship with Ben Gvir, revealed at the time that he would end his term in January and not seek an additional year in the role.

Both Shabtai and Ben Gvir have insisted that Eshed’s removal had been planned in advance. But Ben Gvir also said his decision to make the move at the time was tied to the commander’s handling of the protests in Tel Aviv

Eshed assails Ben Gvir at the press conference, saying he “could not live up to the expectations of the ministerial echelon, which included the breaking rules and process and a clear interference in the professional decision-making.”

Says Eshed: “I could have easily used disproportionate force and filled the ER at Ichilov [Medical Center] at the end of every demonstration in Tel Aviv. We could have cleared Ayalon [Highway] within minutes at the terrible cost of cracking heads and breaking bones, at the cost of breaking the pact between police and the citizenry.”

He adds that “as a commander I taught generations of policemen to recognize the limits of force, to safeguard our contract with the public… Unfortunately, for the first time in my three decades of service, I was met with the bizarre reality that calm and order are not the desired goal, but rather the opposite is.”

Police’s Tel Aviv District Commander Amichai Eshed holds a press conference in Tel Aviv, on July 5, 2023 (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Eshed says his refusal to follow Ben Gvir’s demands led to “a well-oiled poison machine being turned against me online, leading to significant threats to my life and to my designation as being under the highest level of threat, but this did not dissuade me. At all times I saw before me one roadmap, one compass: checks and balances, the Israeli law book, and the rules of morality and justice.”

Eshed urges police not to be cowed by his ostensible ouster, saying commanders must “stand firm as a rock, adhere to the values of the organization and rise above the momentary personal consideration. A policeman is a public emissary, a public servant… The ‘Ami Eshed precedent’ must not terrorize police commanders. A district commander must not avoid stating their opinion, must not bend their values.”

He says he paid the ultimate professional cost for standing by his principles, with “33 years of service in uniform — in the final stretch for a run for commissioner — going down the drain. And all for a simple reason: I demanded that my policemen follow the law.”

Prosecutors in PM’s trial ask to use Milchan police testimony, citing changes in court

Businessman Arnon Milchan seen on a screen before his testimony in Netanyahu's Case 1000 corruption trial, in Brighton, June 29, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Businessman Arnon Milchan seen on a screen before his testimony in Netanyahu's Case 1000 corruption trial, in Brighton, June 29, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Prosecutors in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial are asking the court to submit witness Arnon Milchan’s testimony to police in addition to his testimony in court, citing differences between the two.

Milchan has been seen as providing testimony in court that is more favorable to Netanyahu, softening statements and assertions he previously made to police investigators.

The Hollywood mogul is at the center of one of the corruption cases against Netanyahu, focusing on allegations that Netanyahu abused his power to advance Milchan’s interests in helping him obtain a long-term US visa, advancing legislation that could have given Milchan tax breaks, and promoting other policies beneficial to him, all while receiving lavish gifts from Milchan.

Gallant: Goals of Jenin op fully achieved, most gunmen fled or hid among civilians

File: Defense Minister Yoav Gallant visits an army base near the West Bank city of Jenin, July 4, 2023. (Shir Torem/Flash90)
File: Defense Minister Yoav Gallant visits an army base near the West Bank city of Jenin, July 4, 2023. (Shir Torem/Flash90)

In a briefing to reporters, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant says the goals of the two-day Israeli operation in the Jenin refugee camp were “fully achieved” and was “not the final word as far as we’re concerned.”

Gallant argues the military is restoring its freedom to operate in the city with smaller forces and ending its status as a sanctuary for gunmen: “It may take another round or two, but the situation today is not the one we faced at the start of the week.”

“We brought down the terror factory that was built in Jenin. These were many dozens of sites that hosted bomb workshops, labs, weapons caches, as well as security means guarding the entrances to the camp,” he says.

“As of this morning, the IDF and Shin Bet have [greater] freedom to act in Jenin.”

Gallant adds that “at the moment of truth, the terrorists in Jenin chose to hide or flee… These are gunmen fighting for money or to show their friends that they’re heroes. Most left, and those who stayed hid within the civilian population, including in hospitals and places with children. I think this testifies most of all to their cowardice.”

Looking forward, he warns Israel will “use any force necessary in any specific location or in the entire refugee camp” to counter terrorism and notes that “we have the capability to copy this to other locations.”

Gallant asserts that significant funds for armed activity in the city are Iranian as part of a continuous effort “to promote terror” in the West Bank.

Knesset rejects opposition bill to elevate Arabic to status of official language

The Knesset rejects an opposition bill to instantiate the principle of equality in law and elevate Arabic to the status of official language.

Voting on coalition and opposition lines, the bill to amend Basic Law: Nation State fell 47 to 28.

Labor party chief MK Merav Michaeli slams the coalition, saying it would not back equality because its ultra-Orthodox partners do not want to be tripped up on gender equality.

FM to travel to Greece and meet counterpart for talks on economic, security ties

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen is headed to Greece tomorrow to meet the new Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Gerapetritis, Israel announces. The Foreign Ministry says they will discuss expanding energy, economic and security ties.

Since coming to office in June, Gerapetritis has said Athens is ready to resolve outstanding disputes over natural gas rights with Turkey, with whom Israel recently restored full diplomatic relations.

Bennett defends Jenin op to BBC anchor who says: ‘The Israeli forces are happy to kill children?’

Former prime minister Naftali Bennett (right) in a BBC interview during which anchor Anjana Gadgil put it to him him that the Israel Defense Forces "are happy to kill children" in the Jenin operation, July 4, 2023. (Youtube screenshot; used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)
Former prime minister Naftali Bennett (right) in a BBC interview during which anchor Anjana Gadgil put it to him him that the Israel Defense Forces "are happy to kill children" in the Jenin operation, July 4, 2023. (Youtube screenshot; used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)

Former prime minister Naftali Bennett was asked by a BBC News anchor in an interview whether the Israel Defense Forces “are happy to kill children” in the Jenin operation.

The interview aired yesterday, with anchor Anjana Gadgil repeatedly insisting that armed gunmen in their teens killed in exchanges of fire were children.

The Israeli military has said all those killed in the two-day operation were combatants.

“The Israeli military are calling this a military operation but we now know that young people are being killed, four of them under 18. Is that really what the military set out to do, to kill people between the ages of 16 and 18?” Gadgil said.

Bennett, apparently taken aback, responded that those killed had taken up arms and were involved in attacks targeting civilians as well.

“All the Palestinians that were killed are terrorists in this case,” he said.

“Terrorists — but children. The Israeli forces are happy to kill children?” replied Gadgil.

“You know it’s quite remarkable that you’d say that, because they’re killing us,” Bennett answered. He then asked Gadgil twice whether she’d refer to someone shooting at her family as a child. The host refused to answer, saying this was irrelevant.

“We’re not talking about that. The UN have defined them as children,” she said.

“I’m missing something,” Bennett said. “You know a 17-year-old terrorist can murder civilians.” He bristled at Gadgil “creating this moral equivalence” between the sides.

The ex-premier has received some public praise in Israel for his defense of the government and its conduct during the operation, despite his differences with many of its policies.

Public Diplomacy Minister Galit Distel Atbaryan, speaking a short time ago to Channel 12, says Bennett “was excellent” on the broadcast.

Funeral held for soldier killed in Jenin yesterday as forces pulled out

The funeral has begun for Sgt. First Class David Yehuda Yitzhak, the IDF soldier killed in Jenin yesterday as forces began to pull out at the end of a two-day operation.

Thousands of people are reported in attendance at the military cemetery in Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl.

Yitzhak was shot while securing the beginning of the military’s withdrawal in a tight alleyway in the refugee camp.

The army was investigating if the NCO was hit by so-called “friendly fire” by other Israeli forces in the area, but could not rule out the possibility that he may have been hit by Palestinian gunfire.

Arnon Atzmon, Yitzhak’s uncle, told the Maariv newspaper his nephew was the eldest of seven and “was a leader, always took on responsibility. Everybody adores him. When I’d think of David, I’d always smile.”

Iran tried to seize 2 oil tankers near Strait of Hormuz, fired shots at one – US Navy

An Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessel watches an American warship in the Strait of Hormuz, May 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)
An Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessel watches an American warship in the Strait of Hormuz, May 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

Iran tried to seize two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz early Wednesday, firing shots at one of them, the US Navy says.

It says that in both cases, the Iranian naval vessels backed off after the US Navy responded, and that both commercial ships continued their voyages.

“The Iranian navy did make attempts to seize commercial tankers lawfully transiting international waters,” says Cmdr. Tim Hawkins, spokesman for the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet. “The US Navy responded immediately and prevented those seizures.”

He says the gunfire directed at the second vessel did not cause casualties or major damage. There is no immediate Iranian comment on the incidents.

World swelters to hottest day on record Monday, then gets even hotter Tuesday

A security guard wearing an electric fan on his neck wipes his sweat on a hot day in Beijing, Monday, July 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
A security guard wearing an electric fan on his neck wipes his sweat on a hot day in Beijing, Monday, July 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

The entire planet sweltered to the unofficial hottest day in human recordkeeping July 3 and then blasted past that with an even hotter day on July 4, according to University of Maine scientists at the Climate Reanalyzer project.

For two straight days, the global average temperature spiked into uncharted territory. After scientists talked about Monday’s dramatic heat, Tuesday soared 0.17 degrees Celsius (0.31 degrees Fahrenheit) even hotter, which is a huge temperature jump in terms of global averages and records.

The same University of Maine climate calculator — based on satellite data and computer simulations — forecasts a similar temperature for Wednesday that would be in record territory, with an Antarctica average that is a whopping 4.5 degrees Celsius (8.1 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the 1979-2000 average.

High temperature records were surpassed July 3 and 4 in Quebec and northwestern Canada and Peru. Cities across the US from Medford, Oregon to Tampa, Florida have been hovering at all-time highs, says Zack Taylor, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Beijing reported nine straight days last week when the temperature exceeded 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit).

“The increasing heating of our planet caused by fossil fuel use is not unexpected, it was predicted already in the 19th century after all,” says climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research in Germany. “But it is dangerous for us humans and for the ecosystems we depend on. We need to stop it fast.”

The daily but preliminary and unofficial heat record comes after months of “truly unreal meteorology and climate stats for the year,” such as off-the-chart record warmth in the North Atlantic, record low sea ice in Antarctica and a rapidly strengthening El Nino, says University of Oklahoma meteorology professor Jason Furtado.

Tel Aviv police chief expected to announce resignation over removal from post

Tel Aviv District Police Commander Amichai Eshed in Tel Aviv, April 7, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Tel Aviv District Police Commander Amichai Eshed in Tel Aviv, April 7, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Israel Police’s Tel Aviv District Commander Amichai Eshed will give a statement to the media this evening, and is widely expected to announce his retirement from the force due to the decision to remove him from the post.

Eshed has said the decision to remove him was “politically motivated” by his refusal to take a tougher stance on demonstrators against the government.

Ukraine, Russia trade accusations of imminent attack on nuclear plant

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe's largest, is seen in the background of the shallow Kakhovka Reservoir in Energodar, Russian-occupied Ukraine, June 27, 2023. (Libkos/AP)
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe's largest, is seen in the background of the shallow Kakhovka Reservoir in Energodar, Russian-occupied Ukraine, June 27, 2023. (Libkos/AP)

Ukraine and Russia accuse each other of planning to attack one of the world’s largest nuclear power plants, which is located in southeastern Ukraine and occupied by Russian troops, but neither side provides evidence to support their claims.

Citing intelligence reports, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says Russian troops have placed “objects resembling explosives on the roof of several power units” of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. The objects could be used to “simulate” an attack, he says, meaning a false flag attack.

A statement from the General Staff of Ukraine’s armed forces says the “foreign objects” were placed on the outer roof of the plant’s third and fourth power units. “Their detonation should not damage power units but may create a picture of shelling from Ukraine,” the statement says.

In Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov raises the specter of a potentially “catastrophic” provocation by the Ukrainian army at the nuclear plant, which is Europe’s largest but has its six reactors shut down.

“The situation is quite tense. There is a great threat of sabotage by the Kyiv regime, which can be catastrophic in its consequences,” Peskov says in response to a reporter’s question. He also claims that the Kremlin is taking “all measures to counter the alleged Ukrainian threat.”

Request filed with Swedish police to burn Torah outside Israeli embassy

Police in Stockholm have been submitted a request to burn a Torah book in front of the Israeli embassy, following the burning of a Quran outside a mosque in the city that sparked a backlash across the Muslim world, according to Sweden’s national public broadcaster.

The police force confirmed to SVT that it had received an application from an individual in his 30s to burn the Jewish and Christian holy books outside the embassy on July 15 as “a symbolic gathering for the sake of freedom of speech.”

Another request, to burn a Quran “as soon as possible” in Stockholm, was submitted by a woman in her 50s.

Police do not immediately rule out either request, saying any application is reviewed on an individual basis.

Israel’s Ambassador to Sweden Ziv Nevo Kulman is aghast, tweeting: “I am shocked and horrified by the prospect of the burning of more books in Sweden, be it the Koran, the Torah or any other holy book. This is clearly an act of hatred that must be stopped.”

Iran maintains crackdowns, executions over protests — UN probe

A demonstrator holds up a sign reading 'Stop Executions in Iran' as Iranian opposition protesters carry their national flags in Paris during a rally to protest against the visit of the Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, in France, Thursday, January 28, 2016.  (AP Photo/Zacharie Scheurer)
A demonstrator holds up a sign reading 'Stop Executions in Iran' as Iranian opposition protesters carry their national flags in Paris during a rally to protest against the visit of the Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, in France, Thursday, January 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Zacharie Scheurer)

Iran is still meting out harsh punishments on people suspected of involvement in mass protests, including “chilling” executions, a United Nations fact-finding mission says.

Iran was rocked by demonstrations sparked by the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd who had been arrested for allegedly violating the strict dress rule for women based on Islamic sharia law.

At a special session in November, the UN Human Rights Council voted to create a high-level investigation into the deadly crackdown.

Reporting to the council, Sara Hossain, chair of the independent international fact-finding mission, says that 10 months on, the Amini family’s “right to truth and justice remains unfulfilled.”

“The lack of transparency around the investigations into her death is further evidenced by the arrest and continued detention of the two women journalists, Nilufar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi, who first reported on the event,” she adds.

Iran has said that 22,000 people have been pardoned in connection with the protests — which “suggests that many more were detained or charged,” Hossain says.

UK, Canada, Sweden, Ukraine take Iran to top UN court over downing of Ukrainian jet

Rescue teams work amidst debris after a Ukrainian plane carrying 176 passengers crashed near Imam Khomeini airport in the Iranian capital Tehran early in the morning on January 8, 2020, killing everyone on board. (AFP)
Rescue teams work amidst debris after a Ukrainian plane carrying 176 passengers crashed near Imam Khomeini airport in the Iranian capital Tehran early in the morning on January 8, 2020, killing everyone on board. (AFP)

The United Kingdom, Canada, Sweden and Ukraine launch a case against Iran at the United Nations’ highest court over the downing in 2020 of a Ukrainian passenger jet and the deaths of all 176 passengers and crew.

The four countries want the International Court of Justice to rule that Iran illegally shot down the Ukraine International Airlines plane and to order Tehran to apologize and pay compensation to the families of the victims.

Flight PS752 was traveling from Tehran to Kyiv on January 8, 2020, when it was shot down soon after takeoff. The people killed included nationals and residents of Canada, Sweden, Ukraine and the United Kingdom, as well as Afghanistan and Iran. Their ages ranged from 1 year to 74 years old.

“Today’s legal action reflects our unwavering commitment to achieving transparency, justice and accountability for the families of the victims,” the countries say in a joint statement. They say they filed the case after Iran failed to respond to a December request for arbitration.

An Iranian court this year sentenced an air defense commander allegedly responsible for the downing to 13 years imprisonment, according to the country’s official judiciary news outlet.

But the countries that filed the case with the world court in The Hague call the prosecution “a sham and opaque trial.”

According to the court filing, the UK, Canada, Sweden and Ukraine argue that Iran “failed to take all practicable measures to prevent the unlawful and intentional commission of an offense” and “failed to conduct an impartial, transparent, and fair criminal investigation and prosecution consistent with international law.”

Knesset passes in its preliminary reading a bill to strip Bar Association of powers

View of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem, on August 13, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
View of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem, on August 13, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The Knesset passes in its preliminary reading a bill to strip the Israel Bar Association legal organization of its powers and transfer them to a new government-appointed body.

It does so weeks after the country’s lawyers elected Amit Becher — who has been bitterly critical of the coalition’s judicial overhaul push — as head of the bar association, defeating the coalition’s preferred candidate.

The bill would remove the bar’s licensing authority and its representation on the committee that selects judges, effectively voiding its powers. These would instead go to a yet-to-be-created Lawyers Council, which would be led by a district court judge appointed by the justice minister.

Becher has called the legislation “thuggish, anti-democratic and absurd” and warned that lawyers could “shut down” the judicial system if it is passed into law.

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