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Likud MK indicted on charges of bribery and fraud

The allegations against David Bitan date back to when he served as deputy mayor of Rishon Lezion

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

Likud MK David Bitan at the Knesset on January 15, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussil/Flash90)
Likud MK David Bitan at the Knesset on January 15, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussil/Flash90)

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

Gantz: We must pass a new IDF draft law

Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks at a memorial ceremony for Israeli soldiers killed in the 2006 Second Lebanon War, at the National Hall of Remembrance at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, on June 24, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks at a memorial ceremony for Israeli soldiers killed in the 2006 Second Lebanon War, at the National Hall of Remembrance at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, on June 24, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz says passing a new IDF draft law is of national importance.

“A new draft framework is an urgent national need,” he says at a ceremony for outstanding reserve soldiers. “If we don’t act now, the security of Israel will be harmed.”

Searchers at Florida collapse site ‘not seeing anything positive’

Rescue crews work at the site of the collapsed Champlain Towers South condo building after the remaining structure was demolished Sunday, in Surfside, Florida, on Monday, July 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Rescue crews work at the site of the collapsed Champlain Towers South condo building after the remaining structure was demolished Sunday, in Surfside, Florida, on Monday, July 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Officials overseeing the search at the site of the Florida condominium collapse are increasingly somber about the prospects of finding any survivors.

“We’re actively searching as aggressively as we can,” Miami-Dade County fire chief Alan Cominsky says at a news conference.

“Unfortunately, we are not seeing anything positive. The key things — void spaces, living spaces — we’re not seeing anything like that.”

US hosts highest-level Saudi visit since Khashoggi killing

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives to attend the Saudi Cup award ceremony at King Abdul Aziz race track in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on February 20, 2021. (Amr Nabil/AP)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives to attend the Saudi Cup award ceremony at King Abdul Aziz race track in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on February 20, 2021. (Amr Nabil/AP)

Top Biden administration officials host the brother of Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, in the highest-level known visit since the US made intelligence findings linking the crown prince to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi public.

The Biden administration did not publicly disclose the visit by Prince Khalid bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister, in advance.

At a briefing with reporters, White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirms the meetings were underway and indicated that officials may raise the issue of the killing.

Khalid bin Salman met briefly at the Pentagon with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and has had longer talks at the Pentagon with Colin Kahl, undersecretary of defense for policy, one official said.

Herzog prays at Kotel ahead of presidential inauguration

President-elect Isaac Herzog at the Kotel on July 6, 2021. (Noam Rivkin Fenton)
President-elect Isaac Herzog at the Kotel on July 6, 2021. (Noam Rivkin Fenton)

President-elect Isaac Herzog prays at the Western Wall tonight ahead of his swearing-in tomorrow afternoon.

In the note he left in the cracks of the wall, Herzog writes that he will devote himself to “unity among our people and true love for Israel.”

As the 11th president of Israel, he says he will “do everything to make a significant contribution to our unity, a significant contribution to calming our spirits and strengthening the lofty vision of loving each other.”

Health minister asks Supreme Court to rule on surrogacy law

Head of the left wing Meretz party MK Nitzan Horowitz leads a faction meeting at the Knesset, in Jerusalem, on May 31, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Head of the left wing Meretz party MK Nitzan Horowitz leads a faction meeting at the Knesset, in Jerusalem, on May 31, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz says that while he backs the expansion of surrogacy in Israel, the current political makeup of the coalition will not allow it to move forward.

In a response to a request from the Supreme Court for the government’s position on the issue, Horowitz says that there is no current possibility for the Knesset to pass a new law on the issue, and therefore requests for the court to rule. Horowitz asks the court to issue a ruling “that expresses the state’s obligation to the right to equality and parenthood of single men and same-sex couples.”

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that the current ban on same-sex couples using surrogacy in Israel is not legal, and that the Knesset must update the law.

Shaked: We didn’t change a word of the Palestinian reunification law

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked addresses the Knesset on July 6, 2021. {Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked addresses the Knesset on July 6, 2021. {Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked denies that anything was changed in the Palestinian reunification law brought up for a vote in the Knesset early this morning.

“It’s the same law. The law was exactly the same, not a word was changed,” Shaked tells Channel 13 News, with the exception that it was to be renewed for six months instead of one year.

“At the same time,” she adds, the government agreed to “expand considering the requests of 1,600 people” who are already residing in Israel, and grant them temporary resident status.

Shaked vows that the extension of the law “will be brought to a vote again” in the coming weeks. “I’m sure we’ll ultimately succeed in passing it.”

Likud MK Bitan indicted on charges of bribery, fraud

Likud MK David Bitan arrives for a Knesset faction meeting on June 6, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Likud MK David Bitan arrives for a Knesset faction meeting on June 6, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The State Prosecutor has filed charges against Likud MK David Bitan on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

The charges date to when Bitan was deputy mayor of Rishon Lezion, and before he was elected to the Knesset in 2013. Police have reportedly been investigating the case against Bitan for the past six years. Bitan allegedly received bribes from friends and acquaintances while he was deputy mayor and gave them preferential treatment in return.

Bennett: US-Israel ties are above partisan politics

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks at the US Embassy in Jerusalem's Fourth of July party, on July 6, 2021. (Screen capture/YouTube)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks at the US Embassy in Jerusalem's Fourth of July party, on July 6, 2021. (Screen capture/YouTube)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett says the relationship between Israel and the United States will always transcend party politics.

“Israelis across the political spectrum are fundamentally pro-American. We like America,” Bennett says at the Fourth of July celebration at the US Embassy in Jerusalem. “We appreciate, we admire what you’re doing out there and that’s the way it ought to be, also in America vis-a-vis Israel. I’ll challenge any attempt to make America a partisan political issue in Israel and any attempt to make Israel a partisan political issue in the United States.”

“Our policy is bipartisan, we’re friends of everyone,” Bennett adds. “Because the friendship between our two democracies will always transcend party politics.”

Government COVID adviser: New major restrictions are not needed

An Israeli teenager receives a Covid-19 vaccine injection, at a vaccination center of the Tel Aviv municipality and Magen David Adom, in Tel Aviv, on July 4, 2021. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
An Israeli teenager receives a Covid-19 vaccine injection, at a vaccination center of the Tel Aviv municipality and Magen David Adom, in Tel Aviv, on July 4, 2021. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Eran Segal, a COVID expert and one of the top government advisers to the coronavirus cabinet, says that Israel should not reinstate major restrictions at this point.

“Changes should only be made if serious cases rise,” Segal says on Channel 12 News, “because of the widespread vaccines, which are still effective, and because we’ve vaccinated more than 90% of people at risk.”

Segal says that because of Israel’s rapid vaccination campaign he believes “we won’t get to a large number of serious cases” that occurred during the country’s past COVID waves.

He also reveals that while 56% of current serious COVID cases occur among fully-vaccinated individuals, the vaccine nevertheless remains the best possible protection against the disease.

French court orders Twitter to reveal anti-hate speech efforts

In this file photo illustration, a Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile phone on May 27, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia. (Olivier DOULIERY / AFP)
In this file photo illustration, a Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile phone on May 27, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia. (Olivier DOULIERY / AFP)

A French court orders Twitter to give activists full access to all of its documents relating to its efforts to fight racism, sexism and other forms of hate speech on the social network.

Six anti-discrimination groups had taken Twitter to court in France last year, accusing the US social media giant of “long-term and persistent” failures in blocking hateful comments on the site.

The Paris court ordered Twitter to grant the campaign groups full access within two months to all documents relating to the company’s efforts to combat hate speech since May 2020. The ruling applies to Twitter’s global operation, not just France.

The ruling was welcomed by the Union des étudiants juifs de France (“Union of French Jewish Students”), which was one of the six groups who took Twitter to court.

“Twitter will finally have to take responsibility, stop equivocating, and put ethics before profit and international expansion,” the UEJF said in a statement on its website.

Likud MK: Bennett is the Madoff of Israeli politics

Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev in Jerusalem, on April 12, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev in Jerusalem, on April 12, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Likud MK Miri Regev calls Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked the “[Bernie] Madoff of Israeli politics.”

Regev says on Channel 12 News that the two Yamina politicians “sold this country to Mansour Abbas, fulfilling the dream of Yasser Arafat.”

In a fiery debate between the lawmakers on Channel 12, Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi says former Meretz leader Yossi Sarid “is turning over in his grave” after Meretz voted in favor of extending the Palestinian family reunification law.

Tibi added that there was “only one faction in the entire Knesset that was true to its values and voted against the law,” referring to his own Joint List Party.

PA’s Abbas bids farewell to outgoing President Rivlin

President Reuven Rivlin, right, meets Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during the funeral for late former president Shimon Peres at Mount Herzl Cemetery in Jerusalem, on September 30, 2016. (Mark Neyman/GPO)
President Reuven Rivlin, right, meets Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during the funeral for late former president Shimon Peres at Mount Herzl Cemetery in Jerusalem, on September 30, 2016. (Mark Neyman/GPO)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas calls outgoing President Reuven Rivlin, as the latter wraps up his time in the job, Abbas’s office says in a statement.

“During the phone call, the president expressed his hope that peace between the two sides would be achieved as soon as possible,” the statement says. Rivlin thanked Abbas for the call, says Abbas’s office.

Rivlin’s office declines to comment.

Ra’am MK: Shaked promised to consider all Palestinian family reunification requests

Ra'am MK Walid Taha attends a Knesset Arrangements Committee meeting on June 21, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Ra'am MK Walid Taha attends a Knesset Arrangements Committee meeting on June 21, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Ra’am MK Walid Taha says that he voted in favor of extending the Palestinian family reunification bill after Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked promised major changes.

Taha tells Channel 12 News that the law, which first passed in 2003, is “anti-democratic, anti-citizen,” but this year it arrived in a “completely different format.”

In conversations with Shaked, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, says Taha, the government agreed “to reconsider all requests” for citizenship of Palestinians who are married to Israelis.

According to Taha, Shaked agreed to first handle 2,000 cases of citizenship requests, and then “to create a committee to deal with it on a permanent basis… we succeeded in coming to an agreement to change everything.”

Iran oil field explosion kills three – report

An explosion at the Cheshmeh Khosh oil field in southwest Iran has killed three people and injured four, reports the Mehr News Agency.

The oil field is located in the western Ilam province, 52 kilometers (32 miles) south of Dehloran city. According to Mehr, the incident took place on the Cheshmeh Khosh oil pipeline to Ahvaz.

Foreign Ministry condemns antisemitic statements from Belarus president

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko attends a wreath-laying ceremony at Mound of Glory war memorial marking Independence Day, on the outskirts of the capital Minsk, Belarus, on July 3, 2021. (Maxim Guchek/BelTA Pool Photo via AP)
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko attends a wreath-laying ceremony at Mound of Glory war memorial marking Independence Day, on the outskirts of the capital Minsk, Belarus, on July 3, 2021. (Maxim Guchek/BelTA Pool Photo via AP)

The Foreign Ministry criticizes statements made recently by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko.

During a memorial service for World War II last week, Lukashenko said the “whole world bows” to the Jews due to the Holocaust, “afraid of saying one wrong word to them.”

The ministry says the comments are “not acceptable,” and have summoned the Belarus envoy to Israel for a conversation.

Israel to extradite two French citizens to face trial for fraud

The Justice Ministry announces that it has ordered the extradition of two French-Israeli citizens who are suspected of having taken advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to commit a series of frauds in France.

In May 2020, shortly after their arrest, the ministry indicated that the two men, Fabrice Avraham Benini and Yann Moché Zouaghi of Ra’anana, had “fraudulently withdrawn large sums from French companies” in order to “take advantage of the coronavirus crisis.” They are suspected of having obtained money from companies under the guise of promoting medical research projects related to COVID-19, according to the ministry.

Jordan ‘coup plot’ trial set for verdict on Monday

Bassem Awadallah, a former royal adviser, leaves a state security court in a vehicle after the first session of his trial, in Amman, Jordan, June 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)
Bassem Awadallah, a former royal adviser, leaves a state security court in a vehicle after the first session of his trial, in Amman, Jordan, June 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)

A Jordan court is expected to issue a verdict next Monday in a trial over an alleged plot to overthrow Jordan’s king in favor of his half-brother Prince Hamza, a defense lawyer says.

Former royal court chief Bassem Awadallah and Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, once a special envoy to Riyadh, have pleaded not guilty to “incitement against the ruling system” and “acts that could threaten society and create sedition.”

“The State Security Court set Monday’s hearing for the reading of the verdict,” bin Zaid’s lawyer, Alaa al-Khasawneh, tells AFP. He says the defense team had asked the court to “find both our clients innocent of the charges against them.”

Vaccinated COVID patients are less contagious, says new study

An Israeli teen receives the coronavirus vaccine in Tel Aviv on June 22, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
An Israeli teen receives the coronavirus vaccine in Tel Aviv on June 22, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

A new study from Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer claims that vaccinated individuals who test positive for COVID-19 are less contagious than their unvaccinated counterparts.

According to the study of 9,650 workers at Sheba — conducted in conjunction with Harvard University over a period of several months — those who have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, and then test positive, pass the disease on to fewer people in their surroundings.

Bahrain’s new ambassador to Israel received by king

Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad al Khalifa receives the kingdom’s newly appointed ambassador to Israel, Khaled Yousef al-Jalahmah.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry signed off on al-Jalahmah’s appointment in March. Al-Jalahmah previously served as deputy ambassador to the United States, among other senior posts in the Bahraini diplomatic service.

Bahrain has yet to establish an embassy in Israel and no date has been set for al-Jalahma’s posting to the Jewish state. Israel already has an operating embassy in Manama, the Bahraini capital.


Death toll in Florida building collapse rises to 32

Rescue crews work at the site of the collapsed Champlain Towers South condo building after the remaining structure was demolished Sunday, in Surfside, Fla., Monday, July 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Rescue crews work at the site of the collapsed Champlain Towers South condo building after the remaining structure was demolished Sunday, in Surfside, Fla., Monday, July 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The death toll at the site of a condo building collapse in Surfside, Florida, has risen to 32, authorities say.

Four additional bodies have been discovered at the site today, after four others were recovered yesterday, following the controlled demolition of the remaining portion of the building on Sunday night. More than 100 are still unaccounted for close to two weeks following the building’s collapse.

Iran seeking to cut executions of child offenders to zero

Iran is doing its best to bring down the number of executions of child offenders to zero, a senior Iranian official tells AFP.

“We are going to the zero point,” says Majid Tafreshi of the state-run High Council for Human Rights, insisting that was the “will of the system” of the Islamic Republic.

Tafreshi, the council’s deputy head of international affairs, speaking in English during an interview with AFP last week, insists the Islamic Republic is working hard to reduce the numbers of executions of those who committed crimes while minors.

“This is what all the government [is doing]. This is applaudable,” he says. “We’re trying to convince the victim family to pardon,” he adds, noting that the council’s broad goal “is minimizing the number of executions… as much as possible.”

Moving van spotted outside Prime Minister’s Residence

A moving truck is seen outside the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem on July 6, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
A moving truck is seen outside the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem on July 6, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

A moving van has been spotted outside the Prime Minister’s Residence, where opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu is still living.

Netanyahu and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett agreed last month that Netanyahu will leave no later than July 10. Bennett, who was sworn in on June 13, has indicated his family intends to remain at their home in Ra’anana.

Renegade Yamina MK slams Bennett as ‘lost’

Opposition members rejoice after a Knesset vote rejected an extension of the Palestinian family reunification law, in Jerusalem, on July 6, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Opposition members rejoice after a Knesset vote rejected an extension of the Palestinian family reunification law, in Jerusalem, on July 6, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Yamina MK Amichai Chikli — who voted against extending the Palestinian family reunification law early this morning — slams Prime Minister Naftali Bennett amid a growing rift within the party.

After Bennett called Chikli “confused” this morning, the MK hits back: “Dear Naftali, you’ve gotten lost in your navigation,” he tweets. “It is not too late to recalculate a new route and work to establish a [right-wing] government just as you promised.”

Sources in the party are weighing officially designating Chikli as a deserter from the party, which would come with sanctions.

Health Ministry to push COVID cabinet to limit gatherings of children

Israeli students going to school in Tel Aviv on April 18, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Israeli students going to school in Tel Aviv on April 18, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

When the coronavirus cabinet meets this evening, the Health Ministry is expected to recommend that gatherings of unvaccinated children be limited in size amid an uptick in COVID cases.

The COVID vaccine has only been approved in Israel for those ages 12 and up; the majority of 12- to 15-year-olds have yet to be vaccinated.

The cabinet is also expected to consider new restrictions on those arriving at Ben-Gurion Airport, including quarantine for more countries and an additional PCR test for those who enter the country.

Iran clock counting down to Israeli destruction halts amid power cuts – report

Iranian clock counting down to "destruction of Israel."(Screenshot/Channel 12)
Iranian clock counting down to "destruction of Israel."(Screenshot/Channel 12)

A clock in Iran that counts down to the destruction of the State of Israel has reportedly ceased working after power cuts sweep through the nation.

According to former Al-Monitor journalist Asaad Hanna, the “countdown to Israel’s annihilation clock” stopped displaying following a power outage.


One such clock was unveiled in 2017, counting down to 2040, when Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei predicts there will no longer be a State of Israel.

Former Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon pokes fun at the incident.

“Perhaps instead of developing nuclear weapons they should concentrate on developing renewable energies,” he tweets.


Tropical storm won’t halt search efforts at Florida building collapse

Rescue workers continue working on a pile of debris after the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo was taken down with a controlled demolition on July 5, 2021 in Surfside, Florida (Saul MARTINEZ / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)
Rescue workers continue working on a pile of debris after the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo was taken down with a controlled demolition on July 5, 2021 in Surfside, Florida (Saul MARTINEZ / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

A ramped-up rescue effort at the collapsed condo building faces new threats from the weather as Tropical Storm Elsa begins lashing Florida.

The search crews can work through rain, but lightning from unrelated thunderstorms have forced them to pause at times, and a garage area in the rubble has filled with water, officials say.

The death toll in the collapse at the building in Surfside, Florida, outside Miami, stands at 28 people, after four more bodies were discovered yesterday; another 117 people remained unaccounted for.

Yitzhak Rabin’s Rolex sells for $94,000

A watch once owned by Yitzhak Rabin that was sold at auction on July 6, 2021. (Tiroche Auction House)
A watch once owned by Yitzhak Rabin that was sold at auction on July 6, 2021. (Tiroche Auction House)

A Rolex that once belonged to former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin sells at auction for $94,400 at the Tiroche Auction House in Herzliya.

The Rolex arrives with a letter of authenticity signed by Yuval Rabin, the son of Leah and Yitzhak Rabin, stating that the watch was purchased by his parents during a trip to Washington, DC, in 1972.

Ahead of the auction, the watch was estimated to be sold for $60,000-$80,000.

Rivlin prepares to depart office tomorrow

President Reuven Rivlin addresses a group of UN ambassadors in New York on June 29, 2021. (Haim Zach/GPO)
President Reuven Rivlin addresses a group of UN ambassadors in New York on June 29, 2021. (Haim Zach/GPO)

On his last full day as president of Israel, Reuven Rivlin sums up seven years in office.

During his term, Rivlin issued 1797 pardons, according to his office. He also took 131 overseas trips, which included 33 state visits. He swore in 454 judges and received diplomatic credentials from 168 ambassadors.

Approximately 130,000 visitors took guided tours of the President’s Residence while Rivlin has been in office. There he met 79 times with the presidents of nations, 41 times with prime ministers and seven times with visiting royal family members.

In just seven years, Rivlin was entrusted eight times with tasking a candidate to form a government coalition after five separate elections — once in 2015, three times in 2018, twice in 2020 and twice in 2021.

Stabbing at Germany’s Duesseldorf Airport injures 1

A British Airways airplane being de-iced on the tarmac of the airport in Duesseldorf, Germany, on December 10, 2017. (AFP Photo/dpa/David Young)
A British Airways airplane being de-iced on the tarmac of the airport in Duesseldorf, Germany, on December 10, 2017. (AFP Photo/dpa/David Young)

Police in Germany say that one person was injured during a stabbing at Duesseldorf Airport today and officers were looking for the assailant, police said.

The stabbing happened in or outside the departures area, federal police tell German news agency dpa. The assailant fled and was being sought by police. It wasn’t clear what the motive was. The injured person was being taken to a hospital.

Chabad couple confirmed killed in Miami building collapse

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, and his wife Casey leave flags at a makeshift memorial near the Champlain Towers South condo building, where scores of victims remain missing more than a week after it partially collapsed, Saturday, July 3, 2021, in Surfside, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, and his wife Casey leave flags at a makeshift memorial near the Champlain Towers South condo building, where scores of victims remain missing more than a week after it partially collapsed, Saturday, July 3, 2021, in Surfside, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Tzvi Ainsworth, 68, and Itty Ainsworth, 66, have been identified as the latest confirmed victims in the collapse of a condo building in Surfside, Florida, outside Miami.

The bodies of the couple, members of the Chabad community who lived for many years in Australia before returning to the US to be near their children, were recovered from the disaster site yesterday, according to local media reports.

The couple had seven children and many live in South Florida, including their daughter just blocks away, reports The Associated Press. “Every person she encountered, ever in her life, became her friend. Everyone was treated as equals,” their daughter, Chana Wasserman, wrote in a Mother’s Day blog post to her mother Itty last year.

Yamina MKs seek to punish renegade lawmaker Chikli

Yamima MK Amichai Chikli in June 2021. (Olivier Fitousi/Flash90)
Yamima MK Amichai Chikli in June 2021. (Olivier Fitousi/Flash90)

Yamina MK Shirly Pinto says that fellow lawmaker Amichai Chikli — who voted against extending the Palestinian family reunification bill and against the government — should be kicked out of the party.

“He should be declared a ‘deserter,'” Pinto tells Kan radio, saying Chikli has proven\d he is more loyal to opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu than to any ideology, and “is looking for his next job and everything Netanyahu promised him… we can’t work with him, we can’t operate like this. We need to sanction him.”

Declaring Chikli — who has been opposed to the government since it was sworn in, despite being from Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s party — a Yamina deserter would bar him from running for reelection in any existing party.

But some Yamina lawmakers are hesitant to make such a move, since the narrow, 61-seat coalition needs every vote possible on future legislation.

Government working to bring reunification law to another vote today

Lawmakers in the government coalition are working to bring the Palestinian reunification law — which failed 59-59 in a dramatic Knesset session early this morning — to another vote, as early as today.

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked reportedly says that legislation extending the law will come to another plenum vote this evening.

Deputy Defense Minister Alon Schuster tells Kan radio that lawmakers are working on declaring a new vote. “This law is important for Israel’s security agencies,” Schuster says, adding that it’s “incredible to see MKs from Likud and the Joint List celebrating together.”

Planeload of Israel’s Pfizer vaccines heads to South Korea

Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine are pictured at a Magen David Adom mobile vaccination in Tel Aviv on July 5, 2021. (Jack Guez/AFP)
Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine are pictured at a Magen David Adom mobile vaccination in Tel Aviv on July 5, 2021. (Jack Guez/AFP)

After a deal between Israel and South Korea was inked in the early hours of the morning, a plane carrying 700,000 vaccine doses is on its way to Seoul, says Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. The doses being shipped are set to expire on July 31.

The prime minister says that, in return, “they will give us back 700,000 vaccine doses” at a future date.

Foreign Ministry director general heading to Morocco

Israel's envoy to Morocco Dr. David Govrin in the mellah, or Jewish neighborhood, in Rabat, January 2021. (Foreign Ministry)
Israel's envoy to Morocco Dr. David Govrin in the mellah, or Jewish neighborhood, in Rabat, January 2021. (Foreign Ministry)

Foreign Ministry director general Alon Ushpiz is on his way to Morocco at the behest of Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.

Ushpiz is slated to meet with his Moroccan counterpart, Fouad Yazourh, as well as other senior Moroccan diplomatic officials. The meetings come ahead of the opening of direct flights between the countries, expected to begin in a matter of weeks.

Bennett says opposition MKs chose ‘petty politics’ over country

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks on July 6, 2021. (GPO)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks on July 6, 2021. (GPO)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett says that the opposition “intentionally caused damage to state security.” He says that MKs in Likud and other opposition parties acted “out of bitterness and frustration, and ultimately hurt the good of the country.”

Bennett adds that everyone who voted against extending the Palestinian reunification law, including opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi and Amichai Chikli, from his own Yamina party, “chose petty politics over the good of the citizens of Israel, and the public will hold them accountable for their actions for a long time.”

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Bennett says opposition MKs chose ‘petty politics’ over country

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks on July 6, 2021. (GPO)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks on July 6, 2021. (GPO)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett says that the opposition “intentionally caused damage to state security.” He says that MKs in Likud and other opposition parties acted “out of bitterness and frustration, and ultimately hurt the good of the country.”

Bennett adds that everyone who voted against extending the Palestinian reunification law, including opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi and Amichai Chikli, from his own Yamina party, “chose petty politics over the good of the citizens of Israel, and the public will hold them accountable for their actions for a long time.”

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