The Times of Israel liveblogged Wednesday’s events as they unfolded.
Biden extends White House invitation to Jordan’s King Abdullah
US President Joe Biden extends an invitation for Jordan’s King Abdullah to visit the White House on July 19.
“His Majesty’s visit will highlight the enduring and strategic partnership between the United States and Jordan, a key security partner and ally of the United States. It will be an opportunity to discuss the many challenges facing the Middle East and showcase Jordan’s leadership role in promoting peace and stability in the region,” the White House says in a statement.
“President Biden looks forward to working with His Majesty to strengthen bilateral cooperation on multiple political, security, and economic issues, including the promotion of economic opportunities that will be vital for a bright future in Jordan,” the statement adds.
Abdullah will be the first Middle East leader to visit the White House since the start of the Biden administration.
An invitation has also been extended to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, and former president Reuven Rivlin said it could take place in a matter of weeks, but a date has not yet been set.
Bennett said to order review of Iran policy ahead of expected meeting with Biden
Prime Minister Bennett is holding discussions on Israel’s Iran policies and has ordered a review of the matter ahead of his first meeting with US President Joe Biden expected later this month, Axios reports.
“There are several questions in the discussions,” an unnamed Israeli official says. “Is the current treading water better or worse than a US return to the deal, if and how Israel can influence the Biden administration, and what the current situation means for developing an Israeli military option?”
Group photo brings together Bennett, Netanyahu, Rivlin, Herzog, Hayut
One big happy family? A photo from today’s events at the Knesset shows Israel’s top leadership outside parliament, including Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut (2nd L), Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (3rd L), outgoing president Reuven Rivlin (5th L), Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy (5th right), President Isaac Herzog (3rd R) and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu (1st R)
חיות נשואה לכחלון? pic.twitter.com/e0ZICRHrbn
— מוריה קור (@moriakor) July 7, 2021
Another photo shows the group seated at a table.
זהו, אסתר חיות ״שום מבצר לא נופל״ ובנימין ״המושחת״ נתניהו יוצאים מהארון BFF ❤️ pic.twitter.com/n3dgK0qS8s
— hazini khan (@HaziniK) July 7, 2021
All arrivals from abroad to quarantine until tests come back negative
The coronavirus cabinet has decided that due to the rise in morbidity, all arrivals at Ben Gurion Airport will be forced to quarantine until they have a negative COVID-19 test result.
The new policy is expected to come into effect within a few days. An exact date is not yet known.
UAE’s deputy PM and Iranian envoy discuss ‘cooperation’
UAE and Iran officials meet in Abu Dhabi and discuss enhancing ties, in a possible sign of improving relations between Gulf countries and Tehran.
The United Arab Emirates’ deputy prime minister, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, meets Iranian charge d’affaires Sayed Mohammad Hosseini to address “ways of enhancing bilateral cooperation to serve mutual interests of the two friendly countries,” the official WAM news agency reports.
“Issues of common interest were also discussed.”
Abu Dhabi downgraded its relations with Tehran in January 2016 amid fierce rivalry between close Emirati ally Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic.
Israeli held for alleged serious security crimes, has no access to attorney
An Israeli citizen suspected of serious national security crimes has been held in custody for nearly three weeks without the ability to speak to an attorney, an Ashkelon District Court allows news outlets to report, scaling back a full gag order on the case.
The identity of the suspect as well as the exact nature of the crimes remain barred from publication.
The man was arrested last month in a joint operation by the Israel Police and Shin Bet security service. He is suspected of “serious and severe security crimes that undermine the security of the state and is being interrogated by the police and Shin Bet,” the court says.
During his 20 days in custody, the man has been barred from speaking with his attorneys, according to the court.
The court decided to scale back the gag order on the case in light of a request from the Ynet and Haaretz news outlets.
Rivlin hosts Herzog at president’s residence as part of handoff
Reuven Rivlin is now hosting President Isaac Herzog at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, another handoff tradition.
Rivlin will soon depart the residence for a final time.
Video shows Netanyahu did not clap for Rivlin alongside rest of Knesset
Hebrew media has noted that as MKs gave outgoing president Reuven Rivlin a standing ovation at the Knesset earlier, former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu apparently did not.
Netanyahu stood along with other MKs, but appeared to keep his hands at his sides.
רוב חברי הכנסת הריעו לנשיא היוצא ריבלין, נתניהו לא | צפוhttps://t.co/uxOBh07FzB@itamareichner @moran_azulay pic.twitter.com/dtC2HKh4QF
— ynet עדכוני (@ynetalerts) July 7, 2021
There was a lot of bad blood between Netanyahu and Rivlin. Netanyahu attempted to prevent Rivlin from being elected president, and his party and associates repeatedly attacked the president during his seven-year term, alleging various supposed conspiracies to remove him from power.
PA leader Abbas mourns late terrorist leader Ahmad Jibril
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas publicly mourns the late Ahmad Jibril, whose PFLP-GC organization was responsible for dozens of Israeli deaths in terror attacks.
Abbas calls Jibril’s replacement as PFLP-GC leader, Talal Naji, to pay his condolences, according to the official PA WAFA news agency.
“His Eminence, in a telephone call, also provided his condolences to Badr Jibril, the son of the deceased, praying to God Almighty, to cover him with his vast mercy, that [Jibril] dwell in his vast gardens, and grant his family and relatives patience and solace,” Abbas’s office says.
Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks of Nazi-era ‘brown shirts’ in attacking vaccines
The Anti-Defamation League is accusing Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of once again trivializing the Holocaust by calling doctors trying to encourage vaccinations “medical brown shirts.”
“Brown shirts” is a colloquial name for the Nazi Sturmabteilung, or SA, the party’s military wing during Adolf Hitler’s rise to power, formed in 1921. Hitler eventually purged its leadership and it was superseded by the SS.
Greene wrote yesterday that Biden is “pushing a vaccine that is NOT FDA approved” as “a political tool used to control people. People have a choice, they don’t need your medical brown shirts showing up at their door ordering vaccinations.”
Her reference to a lack of FDA approval is false. The FDA has given vaccines by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson emergency use approval, though this is indeed not full approval.
The ADL says Greene once again “demonstrates her lack of understanding and remorse for her dangerous and offensive rhetoric. These latest remarks trivializing the Holocaust confirm what we all suspected: her recent trip to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum was a publicity stunt.”
Once again @mtgreenee demonstrates her lack of understanding and remorse for her dangerous and offensive rhetoric.
These latest remarks trivializing the Holocaust confirm what we all suspected: her recent trip to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum was a publicity stunt. pic.twitter.com/wvN9wpro0s
— ADL (@ADL) July 7, 2021
Israeli-born Shapovalov advances to Wimbledon semi-final, will play Djokovic
Israeli-born Denis Shapovalov (12th in the world) has qualified at Wimbledon for his first semi-final of a Grand Slam tournament by eliminating Russian Karen Khachanov (29) 6-4, 3-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4.
The 22-year-old Canadian will face Novak Djokovic (world no. 1 and two-time defending champion) on Friday in an attempt to reach the final.
Shapovalov’s parents were born in Russia and emigrated to Israel at the collapse of the Soviet Union, before moving to Canada when he was still a baby. His mother, a former Russian national tennis team player, is Jewish, and his father is a Russian Eastern Orthodox Christian.
Ahmad Jibril, head of Palestinian terror group PFLP-GC, dead at 83
The head of a Palestinian terrorist group in Syria and Lebanon has died at a Damascus hospital.
Ahmad Jibril, leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine — General Command, was 83. “He died of natural causes after suffering from illness,” son Bader Jibril says.
Jibril was a staunch supporter of Iran’s ally Syrian President Bashar Assad, and PFLP-GC members fought on the side of the Syrian regime during the civil war.
Jibril founded the PFLP-GV in 1968 as a breakaway group from the PFLP terror organization.
The group was behind several attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians, including 1970’s bombing of Swissair Flight 330 that killed 47 people; a 1970 attack on an Israeli school bus that killed 12, most of them children; 1974’s Kiryat Shmona massacre of 16 people; 1987’s ‘Night of the Gliders’ in which members of the group flew into an Israeli base and killed six soldiers.
Since the 1990s the group has not carried out any significant attacks, and it is not currently considered a serious threat to Israel. It has sometimes been blamed for sporadic rocket attacks on Israel from the north, though not ones that caused serious damage.
EU warns against ‘spiral of violence’ after Haiti assassination
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell says he is “shocked” by the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise and warns it could further destabilize the Caribbean nation.
“This crime poses a risk of instability and a spiral of violence. The perpetrators of this assassination must be found and brought to justice,” Borrell writes on Twitter.
Lapid meets bipartisan delegation from US House Foreign Affairs Committee
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met earlier with a bipartisan delegation from the US Congress House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Committee chair Gregory W. Meeks told Lapid the group came to learn about Israel’s challenges close up and to express solidarity.
Lapid spoke of the importance of bipartisan backing for Israel, saying this was essential to its national security. He thanked the delegation for US support.
Obama in letter to Rivlin: I could always count on you for advice, partnership
The Forward publishes a letter former US president Barack Obama sent to Reuven Rivlin in May ahead of the end of his term.
In it, Obama said he “could always count on you as a source of advice and partnership.”
He expressed pride in “our shared efforts to strengthen our security partnership and the people-to-people ties between our two countries.”
He said Rivlin’s leadership had set an example for those who follow.
Former President @BarackObama in a farewell letter to @PresidentRuvi, who is leaving office today: "I could always count on you as a source of advice and partnership" https://t.co/xGirkGnmBt pic.twitter.com/m0zSeiUewb
— Jacob Kornbluh (@jacobkornbluh) July 7, 2021
In first speech as president, Herzog says he’ll seek to ‘rebuild hope’
In his first speech as president, Isaac Herzog promises to represent Israel’s interests and its viewpoint on the international stage.
He speaks of the need for a more moderate tone in Israel’s politics, and says Israeli internal unity and shared values “are more brittle than ever.” He says hatred between different groups in society “exacts a heavy price.”
He calls for greater integration of minorities in society, and says the Israeli majority must show greater care for coexistence with those minorities. He particularly singles out violent crime in Arab society and the heavy toll it has taken.
“My mission, the [central] task of my term, will be to do everything to rebuild hope” for Israeli society, he says.
New book claims Trump said Hitler ‘did a lot of good things’
Former US president Donald Trump told his chief of staff in 2018 that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler “did a lot of good things,” according to a new book by Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender.
Bender says Trump made the comment to John Kelly on a 2018 trip to Europe to mark the centenary of the end of World War I, while the latter was giving him a quick history lesson on Germany and the world wars.
The report appears in Bender’s book “Frankly, We Did Win This Election’: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost.”
Kelly was reportedly “shocked” by Trump’s comments, which apparently referred to Hitler’s actions to build up the German economy in the 1930s.
He “told the president that he was wrong, but Trump was undeterred,” according to Bender. “Kelly pushed back again and argued that the German people would have been better off poor than subjected to the Nazi genocide.”
And at any rate, he told the president, “you cannot ever say anything supportive of Adolf Hitler. You just can’t.”
A spokeswoman for Trump denied the report. “This is totally false. President Trump never said this. It is made-up fake news, probably by a general who was incompetent and was fired,” she says.
Several cases of ‘Delta Plus’ variant of coronavirus discovered in Israel
Several cases of the Delta Plus variant of coronavirus have been discovered in Israel.
The strain is a sublineage of the highly contagious Delta variant first identified in India. It has a further mutation in the virus’s spike protein. It is not currently known whether this variant is more dangerous or more contagious than Delta.
Isaac Herzog sworn in as Israel’s eleventh president
Isaac Herzog has been sworn in as the country’s eleventh president. A shofar is blown amid a traditional call of “Long live the president.”
At the ceremony, Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy says: “You are entering the post during a difficult period, in which Israeli society is more divided than ever. This is an existential threat for the State of Israel, a greater threat than Iran’s nuclear program. I am hopeful you will be able to lead a new and different dialogue in Israeli society.”
Outgoing President Reuven Rivlin thanks Israelis “for the privilege to serve you.” He once again calls on the nation to rise above the friction between its disparate tribes in the greater interests of the country.
“I’m going back to being a father and grandfather,” he says.
14 days after Florida condo collapse, no signs of survivors
The search for victims of the collapse of a Miami-area high-rise condominium reaches its 14th day, with the death toll at three dozen, more than 100 people still unaccounted for and authorities sounding more and more grim.
Crews dig through pulverized concrete where the Champlain Towers South building in Surfside once stood, filling buckets that are passed down a line to be emptied and then returned.
Eight more deaths were announced yesterday — the most for a single day since the search began. Rain and wind from Tropical Storm Elsa are disrupting the efforts, though the storm is on track to make landfall far across the state.
Searchers have found no new signs of survivors, and although authorities say their mission is still geared toward finding people alive, they sound increasingly somber.
Ministers Gideon Sa’ar, Meirav Cohen quit Knesset under ‘Norwegian Law’
New Hope party chief Gideon Sa’ar, the interior minister, and Yesh Atid’s Meirav Cohen, the social equality minister, both resign from the Knesset as part of the “Norwegian Law” that allows ministers to quit the legislature to allow another party member in.
WATCH: Isaac Herzog set to be sworn in as president
Former Labor party leader Isaac Herzog is set to be sworn in as Israel’s eleventh president.
The ceremony has begun at the Knesset.
Coronavirus cabinet decides against any significant new restrictions
The coronavirus cabinet has decided not to impose any significant new restrictions on the public despite the spread of the Delta variant.
The ministers decided to boost inoculation efforts and introduce quick testing for those entering elder care facilities and summer camps.
Iran hosts high-level Afghan peace talks as fighting surges
Iran hosts the first significant talks in months between Taliban and Afghan government representatives, a surprise meeting that comes as the US completes its withdrawal from Afghanistan and districts fall to the Taliban across the country.
The high-level peace talks between the warring sides follow months-old discussions in Qatar that have been stalled by a diplomatic stalemate and escalating violence. Even as officials face each other across vast tables in Tehran and Iran’s top diplomat pledge to end the crisis, fighting surges in Afghanistan’s western Badghis province.
The Taliban political committee, led by chief negotiator Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, flew from Doha to Iran’s capital to meet Afghan government officials, including former Vice President Younus Qanooni and others from the High Council for National Reconciliation.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif greeted the delegates, urging them to “take difficult decisions today for the future of their country,” state-run media reports.
After the “failure of the US in Afghanistan,” Zarif said, Iran stands “ready to assist the dialogue” and to “resolve the current conflicts in the country.”
National Library of Israel to establish David Geffen Auditorium at new campus
The National Library of Israel will establish an auditorium named after philanthropist David Geffen on its new campus near the Knesset.
In a statement, the Library says: “The new NLI campus… will provide access to the Library’s world-class collections as never before, and offer a range of venues for its groundbreaking cultural and educational programming in a secure, sustainable and state-of-the-art environment.”
It adds: “The David Geffen Auditorium will be a centerpiece of the new campus, playing host to concerts, conferences, lectures, film screenings, performances and other special events produced by NLI, as well as other institutions and organizations.”
Petah Tikva resident suspected of stabbing, seriously wounding father
A resident of Petah Tikva in his forties has been arrested on suspicion of stabbing and seriously wounding his father, aged 71.
The alleged attack occurred in their home in the city.
Haiti President Jovenel Moise assassinated, interim PM says
Haiti President Jovenel Moise was assassinated at his home early this morning by a group of armed individuals, interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph announces.
Joseph says he is now in charge of the country.
Moise’s injured wife is in the hospital, according to Joseph, who urges the public to remain calm, and insists the police and army will ensure the population’s safety.
“The president was assassinated at his home by foreigners who spoke English and Spanish,” Joseph says.
Moise had been ruling Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, by decree, after legislative elections due in 2018 were delayed in the wake of disputes, including on when his own term ends.
Bennett: We’re seeking to fight virus with minimal damage to economy, day-to-day life
At the start of a meeting of the coronavirus cabinet, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett says the government is “seeking maximal protection of Israelis and their health, while causing minimal damage to the economy and disruption to day-to-day life.
“We will be as transparent as possible, explain to the public why we are taking steps and give warning well in advance of actions.”
Liberman says he’s ending daycare subsidies for children of full-time yeshiva students
Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman has announced he plans to change daycare subsidies for kids up to age three, effectively ending them for some 20,000 children of Torah students.
Liberman says the subsidies will be granted only if the child’s father works at least 24 hours a week.
Haredi party Shas leader Aryeh Deri calls the step “destructive and wicked,” and action designed “to hurt families with many children simply because they are Haredi.”
Liberman says the step is intended to “change priorities and give precedence to those who work and pay taxes. The current system hurts working parents while prioritizing those who do not.”
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