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Major roads in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv blocked by anti-child abuse protesters

Tens of thousands of parents take to the streets to demand greater Education Ministry oversight of kindergartens and daycares

Parents protest against the abuse of children in private daycare centers in Tel Aviv on July 7, 2019. The sign reads 'What happens when the door is closed?' (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Parents protest against the abuse of children in private daycare centers in Tel Aviv on July 7, 2019. The sign reads 'What happens when the door is closed?' (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

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

Netanyahu calls Iran plan to breach uranium cap ‘dangerous step’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls Iran’s announcement that it would breach the uranium enrichment cap set by an endangered nuclear deal a “very dangerous step”

“This measure is a very dangerous step, and I call on my friends, leaders of France, Britain, Germany: You signed the deal and said the moment they’d take this measure, harsh sanctions would be imposed,” Netanyahu says at the start of a cabinet meeting.

Netanyahu says that enriching uranium to such levels has only one purpose — to create atomic bombs, and calls on world powers to impose the “snapback sanctions” on Iran after it crossed the uranium threshold laid out in the faltering 2015 nuclear deal.

— Agencies

Macron: Iran uranium announcement ‘violation’ of 2015 deal

French President Emmanuel Macron condemns Iran’s decision to “violate” the terms of the nuclear deal by enriching uranium above limits laid out in the agreement.

An official from Macron’s party tells the Reuters news agency the French government remains committed to a July 15 deadline to resume dialogue between the parties.

Yesterday, Macron told Iranian President Hassan Rouhani of his “strong concern” over the risk of weakening the nuclear agreement during a telephone call, according to a statement from the Elysee Palace.

The diplomatic chiefs of Britain, France, Germany and the EU have also said they are “extremely concerned” by Iran’s decision to breach some of its commitments.

UN nuclear agency to verify Iran enrichment announcement

The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog says it is aware of Iran saying it will break the 2015 nuclear deal’s limit on uranium enrichment.

The International Atomic Energy Agency says that its inspectors in Iran will report to its Vienna headquarters “as soon as they verify the announced development.”

It does not elaborate.

Iranian officials announced earlier that the country is ramping up the level of uranium enrichment beyond the 3.67% permitted under the deal. Earlier this month, Iran increased its stockpile of low-enriched uranium beyond the cap set by the deal.

Iran’s moves have come in response to sweeping US sanctions, imposed after President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the deal a year ago.

— AP

Macron says Paris won’t trigger process to re-impose Iran sanctions

French President Emmanuel Macron’s office says Paris would not seek to trigger the nuclear deal’s so-called dispute resolution mechanism, which sets off a series of negotiations that could end with reimposed UN sanctions on Iran within 65 days.

“It’s not an option at this moment,” a source in Macron’s office tells Reuters.

Ashkelon woman injured in May rocket attack dies of injuries

An Ashkelon woman who was badly injured while running to a bomb shelter during the last major violent flareup in the Gaza Strip has died of her injuries.

The Barzilai Hospital says 89-year-old Rivkah Jamil sustained serious back injuries in a fall while running to a bomb shelter during a May rocket attack from the Gaza Strip.

Jamil’s death brings the total number of Israeli casualties from the mid-May flareup that saw hundreds of rockets fired at southern Israel from the Gaza Stip to five.

Iraqi forces begin operation against IS along Syrian border

Iraq’s security and paramilitary forces begin a military operation along the border with Syria aimed at clearing the area of Islamic State group militants, the military says in a statement.

Although Iraq declared victory against IS in July 2017, the extremists have turned into an insurgency and have carried out deadly attacks in the country.

The military says the operation that began at sunrise is being carried out by Iraqi troops and members of the Popular Mobilization Forces that largely consist of Iran-backed militias.

It says the operation will last several days and was the first phase of the Will of Victory Operation securing the western province of Anbar and the central and northern regions of Salahuddin and Nineveh.

“We press on the hands of our heroic forces that will achieve victory with the will of its heroes against the gangs of Daesh,” says Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi using an Arabic acronym to refer to IS. “May God protect you and make you victorious.”

IS once held large parts of Syria and Iraq where it declared a caliphate in 2014. The extremists lost in March the last territory they controlled in Syria.

— AP

Iran denies tanker detained by UK was headed to Syria

Iran denies that an oil tanker detained by Britain in Gibraltar was carrying crude to Syria, which would put it in violation of EU sanctions.

“The tanker was carrying Iran’s oil… Contrary to what the British government claims, its destination was not Syria,” says Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi at a press conference in Tehran.

“The port named in Syria does not even have the capacity for such a supertanker to dock. Its destination was somewhere else,” he adds.

The 330-meter (1,000-feet) Grace 1, capable of carrying 2 million oil barrels, was halted in the early hours of Thursday by police and customs agencies in Gibraltar, a British overseas territory on Spain’s southern tip at the western entrance to the Mediterranean. The ship was detained 2.5 miles (four kilometers) south of Gibraltar in what it considers British waters, although Spain, which lays claim to the territory, says they are Spanish.

The Grace 1 super tanker in the British territory of Gibraltar, July 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Marcos Moreno)

Araghchi said the tanker was crossing the Strait of Gibraltar because its “high capacity” meant “it was not possible for it to pass through the Suez Canal.”

He insists the tanker was intercepted in international waters and accused Britain’s Royal Navy of committing “maritime piracy.”

The tanker’s detention came at a sensitive time in Iran-EU ties as the bloc mulls how to respond to Tehran breaching the uranium enrichment limit it agreed to in the troubled 2015 nuclear deal.


Germany ‘extremely concerned’ by Iran move

Germany says it is “extremely concerned” about Iran’s announcement that it will break the limit on uranium enrichment set by the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

The foreign ministry says in a statement that it is awaiting further information from the UN atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, after Iranian officials announced Tehran is ramping up the level of uranium enrichment beyond the 3.67% permitted under the deal.

Earlier this month, Iran increased its stockpile of low-enriched uranium beyond the cap set by the deal.

In this February 3, 2007 file photo, an Iranian technician works at the Uranium Conversion Facility just outside the city of Isfahan 255 miles (410 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

The ministry called for Iran “to stop and reverse all activities inconsistent with its commitments.” It said it is in contact with remaining parties to the deal regarding the next steps to try keep Iran within its terms.

The US unilaterally withdrew from the deal a year ago.

— AP

Left-wing activist Jonathan Pollack attacked outside his Tel Aviv home

Left-wing activist Jonathan Pollack was assaulted outside his home in Tel Aviv in what the B’Tselem human rights organization says is likely a politically motivated attack.

A B’Tselem activist says one of the two assailants pulled a knife and cut Pollack in the face and arms. During the attack, the men reportedly cursed at Pollack and called him a leftist.

UK says Iran must ‘stop and reverse’ plan to breach nuclear deal

Britain is urging Iran to “immediately stop and reverse all activities inconsistent with its obligations,” hours after Tehran threatened to abandon a landmark nuclear agreement in 60 days.

“While the UK remains fully committed to the deal, Iran must immediately stop and reverse all activities inconsistent with its obligations,” the British Foreign Office says in a statement.

“We are coordinating with other JCPoA participants regarding the next steps under the terms of the deal,” it adds, referring to the 2015 deal struck between Iran and six world powers including Britain.

Bennett says he’ll oppose immunity legislation for PM if elected in September

After Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed reports that he had demanded a commitment to passing new immunity legislation as a condition for joining the government, New Right chairman Naftali Bennett says that if he is part of the next government coalition, he will oppose legislation that would shield the prime minister from prosecution.

“My position is — we oppose any law that is personal and directed at one specific individual,” he tells an Israel Democracy Institute conference on the ultra-Orthodox conscription law when the question was sprung on him by the moderator.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and Education Minister Naftali Bennett, left, attend the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, Tuesday, August 30, 2016. (Abir Sultan/Pool/via AP)

“But,” Bennett continues, “in general, I do support expanding the immunity laws for future prime ministers. Anything, personal, however, will be opposed by us.”

— Raoul Wootliff

Europeans consider urgent meeting on Iran deal

The European Union says parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal are discussing a possible emergency meeting after Iran’s announcement that it will overstep the accord’s limit on uranium enrichment.

EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic says that the bloc is “extremely concerned” about Iran’s decision to ramp up enrichment beyond the 3.67 percent limit. She says the EU has warned Iran against such moves.

Amid growing tensions in the region, she tells The Associated Press that the EU is in contact with other parties to the accord to discuss next steps, “including a joint commission.”

The agreement’s joint commission brings together officials from the participating nations — Iran, France, Germany, Britain, Russia, China and the EU. The US pulled out of the accord last year.

The commission normally meets once a quarter, and its last regular meeting was in late June.

— AP

Armed Palestinian said arrested at Jerusalem-area checkpoint

Security forces reportedly arrest an 30-year-old Palestinian at a checkpoint south of Jerusalem armed with a knife.

Reports in Hebrew-language media say the West Bank resident was nabbed at Rachel’s Tomb crossing near Bethlehem, where he later admitted to investigators he planned to carry out an attack against Israeli troops.

Yair Netanyahu wins libel suit against activist Abie Binyamin

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son, Yair, wins a libel lawsuit against a Labor party activist Abie Binyamin

Netanyahu sued Binyamin for NIS 140,000 ($37,000) in damages over a Facebook post that claimed the premier had asked the Mossad to issue his son a passport under a different name, which he then used to hide money offshore.

Screen capture from video of an interview with social activist Abie Binyamin. (YouTube)

The Tel Aviv District Court rules in favor of Netanyahu, and orders Binyamin to pay the premier’s son NIS 20,000 in damages and another NIS 7,500 in legal fees.

American WWII bomb defused in Germany after mass evacuation

A 500-kilo (1,100-pound) World War II bomb is defused near the Frankfurt headquarters of the European Central Bank hours after thousands of people were evacuated from the surrounding district.

City officials called on about 16,500 people to leave their homes in the Ostend area east of downtown Frankfurt this morning before emergency workers tackled the American bomb, which was found during construction work last month.

Authorities had already moved some people out of a nursing home yesterday.

More than 70 years after the end of the war, unexploded bombs are frequently found in Germany. Disposing of them sometimes entails large-scale precautionary evacuations such as the one on defused earlier today.

A defused WWII bomb is fixed on a truck on July 7, 2019 in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany. (Boris Roessler / dpa / AFP)

The defusing operation was completed by mid-afternoon, according to the city’s fire service, about two hours after police verified that no one was left in the area.

Officials chose Sunday to defuse the bomb to allow preparation and to minimize disruption in Frankfurt, Germany’s financial center.

— AP

Jordanian PM: Economic plan no substitute for Palestinian independence

Jordan’s prime minister says an economic deal cannot be a substitute for a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, echoing concerns by critics of the US peace summit in Bahrain last month.

Prime Minister Omar Razzaz says that the “road to peace is clear” and must be based upon the creation of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

He says that “there is no compromise or project or deal that will divert us from these priorities.”

Razzaz makes the remarks during a meeting with his Palestinian counterpart, Mohammad Shtayyeh.

In Bahrain, the US promoted its plan calling for $50 billion of investment in Palestinian areas and neighboring Arab countries. The Palestinians boycotted the Bahrain conference, accusing the US of trying to buy off their national aspirations.

— with AP

Riot police baton charge Hong Kong protesters

Fresh political violence is breaking out in Hong Kong this evening as riot police baton charge protesters in the district of Mongkok in a bid to disperse demonstrators following another massive rally, according to an AFP reporter on the scene.

Protesters use umbrellas to defend themselves from the charge which began after a tense 20-minute standoff on a main thoroughfare as police using loudhailers called for a group of some 300 mostly young, masked protesters to disperse.


Syria’s Assad replaces security chiefs — reports

Pro-government Syrian pages on social media are reporting that President Bashar Assad has replaced some heads of influential security agencies, including Maj. Gen. Jamil Hassan, who has headed the powerful Air Force Intelligence Directorate since 2009.

Several of the social media pages — including Latakia Eagles and Homs Network Live — report that Hassan was replaced by his deputy, Maj. Gen. Ghassan Ismail.

There was no immediate confirmation from the government or state media, which rarely report news related to intelligence agencies.

Syrian regime soldiers stand next to a picture of Syrian President Bashar Assad hanging on a tank at the Nassib border crossing with Jordan in the southern province of Daraa on July 7, 2018. (AFP Photo/Youssef Karwashan)

The pages say the General Intelligence Directorate is now headed by Maj. Gen. Hussam Louqa, while Maj. Gen. Nasser al-Ali is now in charge of the Political Security Directorate.

Bahjat Suleiman, a former intelligence chief and former ambassador to Jordan, also lists the names on his Facebook page and Twitter account.

— AP

Tsunami warning issued as strong 6.9 magnitude quake strikes Indonesia

A strong magnitude 6.9 earthquake strikes off Indonesia, the US Geological Survey reports, triggering a tsunami warning.

The shallow quake struck at a depth of 24 kilometers and was centered in the Molucca Sea between north Sulawesi and north Maluku, according to the USGS.

Indonesia’s geophysics agency issues a tsunami warning for coastal communities nearby.

Parents demand greater oversight after daycare worker indicted for abuse

Parents across the country are protesting against the Education Ministry following the indictment of a daycare worker accused of physically abusing dozens of toddlers under her care.

At over a dozen cities across Israel, protesters take to the streets to demand increased oversight of early education centers, including mandatory background checks for all child care-workers, and harsher punishments in cases of negligence or abuse.

At a protest in Afula, parents are holding signs reading: “We the people demand justice for our children!”

Exit polls show conservatives beating leftist Tsipras in Greek vote

Exit polls in Greece’s general election indicate conservative opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis has won a comfortable victory over left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

The exit polls from the election predict Mitsotakis’ New Democracy party will win enough seats in Greece’s 300-member parliament to form a government without needing to enter a coalition with another party.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras makes a statement to the press after casting his ballot at a polling station during general elections in Athens, on July 7, 2019. (Louisa GOULIAMAKI / AFP)

The vote was Greece’s first parliamentary election since the country emerged from three successive international bailouts and as it continues to struggle from a crippling financial crisis of nearly a decade.

US defeats Netherlands 2-0 to win 4th Women’s World Cup title

A Megan Rapinoe penalty and a Rose Lavelle strike gave the United States a 2-0 win over the Netherlands in the women’s World Cup final in Lyon on Sunday as the holders retained their title.

After a goalless first half, the USA went in front just after the hour when Rapinoe converted a spot-kick given following a VAR review.

The excellent Lavelle made it 2-0 in the 69th minute as the USA won the World Cup for the fourth time in eight editions and denied European champions the Netherlands a famous trophy double.


IDF probe finds officer killed in Gaza undercover op was shot by friendly fire

The IDF special forces officer who was killed during an intelligence-gathering operation in the Gaza Strip last year was shot by friendly fire when the mission went awry, according to an initial army investigation.

Many of the details of the covert mission remain classified, but the results of the probe say that Lt. Col. Mem was shot by a fellow undercover Israeli operative in a fierce exchange of fire with Hamas gunmen who discovered their identity.

Screenshot from footage aired by Hamas allegedly showing Israeli special forces being stopped on November 11, 2018 as part of an operation in the Gaza Strip.

The probe revealed a series of errors and gaps in the execution of the November 11 operation in Khan Younis that led to the Israelis being exposed Hamas security forces.

Major roads in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv blocked by anti-child abuse protests

Major roads in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa are blocked by street protesters calling for greater government oversight over child-care workers.

Roads near the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem are blocked in all directions, and heavy traffic is reported in the area. In Tel Aviv, protesters are blocking Kaplan Street between Ibn Gvirol Street and Begin Road.

France ‘firmly demands’ that Iran abide by nuclear deal

France is demanding that Iran halt any activity that breaches the 2015 nuclear accord, expressing “great concern” over Tehran’s statement that it was set to breach the uranium enrichment cap set under the deal.

“We firmly demand that Iran halt all activities that do not meet its commitments under the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action],” foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muehll says in a statement.


Barak finalizing deal with ex-head of settlement watchdog — report

Former prime minister Ehud Barak is finalizing an agreement with the ex-leader of the Peace Now settlement watchdog, Avi Buskila, to join his new party ahead of the September elections, according to Channel 13 news.

The TV station says that Barak and Buskila will announce the new addition to the newly-formed Israel Democratic Party in the coming days.

Buskila, who lost the leadership race for the Meretz party last year, is currently eighth on the left-wing party’s Knesset slate.

Noted film producer and Holocaust survivor Artur Brauner dies at 100

Artur Brauner, a Polish-born Holocaust survivor who became one of post-World War II Germany’s most prominent film producers, has died at age 100.

German news agency dpa reports that Brauner’s family says he died in Berlin on Sunday.

Brauner produced hundreds of films. They include the “Dr. Mabuse” crime movies and other hits such as “Girls in Uniform,” starring Romy Schneider.

German film producer Artur Brauner poses for a portrait in Berlin, Monday, July 28, 2008. (AP Photo/Franka Bruns)

Several of the films he produced evoked the memory of the Holocaust. Agnieszka Holland’s Golden Globe-winning “Europa Europa” is about a boy in Nazi Germany joining the Hitler Youth to try to conceal the fact he is Jewish.

“Babi Yar” centered on the 1941 Nazi massacre of Jews in Ukraine, in which several of Brauner’s relatives were killed.

Fire breaks out adjacent to anti-child abuse protest in Tel Aviv

A large fire breaks out at Tel Aviv’s Azrieli Junction, adjacent to where thousands of protesters are gathered to demand greater oversight of daycare centers in Israel.

Firefighters are at the scene and police are investigating the source of the blaze.

Some 10,000 people are protesting at the junction amid outrage over abuse of kids by caregivers after a manager at a private kindergarten was charged with harming kids under her care.

Major roads in the area — including Kaplan, Ibn Gvirol and Menachem Begin — are blocked by the protests. Police are urging drivers to avoid the area.

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