search
Live updates (closed)

Hamas claims flag march victory: ‘Israel rerouted the parade and flights’

Parade participants arrive at Western Wall amid songs against Arabs, newly appointed prime minister; Palestinian Red Cresent says over 30 injured in clashes outside Old City

  • Nationalist Israeli Jews hold Israeli flags and dance near Jerusalem's Old City, June 15, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 )
    Nationalist Israeli Jews hold Israeli flags and dance near Jerusalem's Old City, June 15, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 )
  • Religious Zionist leader Bezalel Smotrich takes part in the flag march at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City, June 15, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    Religious Zionist leader Bezalel Smotrich takes part in the flag march at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City, June 15, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • Far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir dances with an Israeli flag at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City, June 15, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    Far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir dances with an Israeli flag at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City, June 15, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • Israeli security forces disperse Palestinians near the Damascus gate in east Jerusalem, on June 15, 2021. (Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)
    Israeli security forces disperse Palestinians near the Damascus gate in east Jerusalem, on June 15, 2021. (Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)
  • People with Israeli flags during the March of Flags near Jerusalem's Old City, June 15, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    People with Israeli flags during the March of Flags near Jerusalem's Old City, June 15, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • Israeli security forces deploy at Damascus Gate to the Old City in Jerusalem on June 15, 2021 (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)
    Israeli security forces deploy at Damascus Gate to the Old City in Jerusalem on June 15, 2021 (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)

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

Incendiary balloons from Gaza spark fires in south

Several fires have broken out in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council on the Israeli side of the Gaza border.

The Fire Service says they were caused by incendiary balloons sent from the Strip.

Yesterday, the Hamas terror group’s incendiary balloon unit announced that it would resume operations against the backdrop of the controversial Jerusalem flag march slated for this afternoon.

Israel has warned that it will respond to breaches of its sovereignty, be it rocket fire or the launching of incendiary devices that have torched hundreds of acres of land near the Gaza border.

Gazans clash with IDF troops on border; Palestinian reportedly shot in leg

Clashes break out between a group of Palestinian protesters and IDF troops on the Gaza border amid tensions over this afternoon’s planned flag march in Jerusalem.

One Palestinian was reportedly shot in the leg, suffering light injuries.

Hamas has threatened to renew rocket fire toward Israel if the march goes ahead.

Hungary passes law banning ‘promotion’ of homosexuality to minors

Hungary’s parliament passes a law banning the “promotion” of homosexuality to minors in what critics have slammed as a crackdown on LGBTQ rights.

The law passes with 157 votes in favor and one vote against in the parliament controlled by right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party.

More than 5,000 people rallied outside the Hungarian parliament yesterday against the legislation, which is the latest in a series of measures targeting paedophilia and aimed at protecting children.

The bill effectively bans educational programs and publicity of LGBTQ groups, who have compared it to similar legislation in Russia.

Likud slams Bennett for considering ex-general Yadlin for national security adviser job

Director General of the National Security Studies (INSS) Amos Yadlin speaks at a protest against then-Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on November 14, 2020. (Miriam Alster/ Flash90)
Director General of the National Security Studies (INSS) Amos Yadlin speaks at a protest against then-Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on November 14, 2020. (Miriam Alster/ Flash90)

The opposition Likud party slams Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s reported consideration of Institute for National Security Studies director Amos Yadlin as chairman of the National Security Council.

Likud says the move is “further evidence of the galloping left of his dangerous government, many of whose members support the displacement of Jews from their homes.”

Yadlin served as head of the IDF Military Intelligence Unit and was military attaché to Washington. He was the candidate of the center-left’s Zionist Union party for defense minister ahead of the 2015 election, and is seen as more moderate than the hawkish Bennett.

Likud praises Yadlin’s “contribution to Israel’s security as part of his military service” but says “his political views are deeply rooted in the left.”

“He advocates the establishment of a Palestinian state in the heart of our country, the displacement of settlements and Jews and the handing over of our land,” the Likud statement adds.

Bennett holds first meeting with Shin Bet head, extends tenure

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (right) and Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman meet at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on June 15, 2021. (Haim Tzach/GPO)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (right) and Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman meet at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on June 15, 2021. (Haim Tzach/GPO)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett holds his first working meeting with Shin Bet security agency head Nadav Argaman.

In the meeting, held at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, Argaman presented Bennett “with an intelligence overview of what was happening in the various areas over which he is responsible,” the PMO says in a statement.

At Bennett’s request, Argaman’s tenure as head of the security agency, which was due to end in August, will be extended until October, the statement adds.

German authorities warn far-right extremism on the rise

Authorities in Germany say that the number of far-right extremists in the country increased last year as neo-Nazis sought to join protests against pandemic-related restrictions.

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer says authorities counted 33,300 far-right extremists in 2020, an increase of almost 4% from the previous year.

“Far-right extremists were repeatedly able to protest side-by-side” with non-extremist opponents of the pandemic restrictions, Seehofer says.

The minister adds that it was worrying how the protesters often didn’t distance themselves from the far-right extremists marching among them.

According to data published in an annual report by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the domestic intelligence agency — known by its German acronym BfV — some 40% of far-right extremists in Germany are believed to support the use of violence for political ends.

Iron Dome batteries deployed near Jerusalem ahead of march – Palestinian media

Ahead of the scheduled Flag March in Jerusalem later this afternoon, the Israel Defense Forces has deployed Iron Dome missile defense batteries near Jerusalem, according to Palestinian media reports that were not confirmed by the IDF.

The parade was rescheduled to today after the originally planned event on Jerusalem Day, May 10, was halted by rocket fire toward the city by the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group.

Police clear Damascus Gate ahead of flag march through Old City

Israel Police clear the area surrounding Damascus Gate outside Jerusalem’s Old city ahead of the controversial flag march planned for later this afternoon.

The parade, which will begin at 6 p.m., was rescheduled after the original event on May 10 was stopped short by Hamas rocket fire at Jerusalem.

Revelers are set to pass the Damascus Gate and enter the Old City via the Jaffa Gate, then proceed through the Muslim Quarter to the Western Wall.

The Israel Police is also on high alert for the parade, deploying more than 2,000 officers across Jerusalem for the event.

Incoming environment minister: ‘The climate crisis is already here’

Newly appointed Minister of Environmental Protection
Tamar Zandberg at a handover ceremony at the Environmental Protection Ministry in Jerusalem on June 15, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Newly appointed Minister of Environmental Protection Tamar Zandberg at a handover ceremony at the Environmental Protection Ministry in Jerusalem on June 15, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Incoming Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg vows to use her new position to push for renewable energy sources and to usher Israel into a greener era.

“The climate crisis is already here. We have a few years left before we reach a point of no return,” says Zandberg, of Meretz, at the official handover ceremony at the Environmental Protection Ministry. “It is now or never.”

She says the new government has vowed to pass sweeping climate legislation and “we must also stop dependence on fossil fuels, including gas, and set ambitious targets for the transition to renewable energies,” which would include at least 40% renewable energy sources for Israel by 2030 and zero polluting emissions by 2050.

PA said to assemble new peace talks team at US behest

The Palestinian Authority has assembled a new team of negotiators with the encouragement of the United States for renewed peace talks with Israel, according to a television report, as a new Israeli government begins work.

Citing what it describes as a “senior official in Ramallah,” the West Bank city where the Palestinian Authority is based, Israel’s Channel 12 news says the PA was set to demand to extend its authority in the West Bank, as part of what the network said would be talks brokered by US President Joe Biden’s administration.

The report says the US had already begun working on the matter before Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was sworn in on Sunday as part of a new power-sharing government with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, replacing now-opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

Ra’am leader Mansour Abbas says flag parade ‘an unrestrained provocation’

Ra’am chairman Mansour Abbas is slamming this evening’s flag parade as “an unrestrained provocation… an attempt to ignite the region for political purposes.”

“There is no doubt that the goal of the parade initiators is to challenge the new government and exhaust it in a series of explosive events in the near future, and to take us back to an unnecessary escalation that will endanger human lives as we have experienced in the past month,” he says in a statement, referring to the recent violence following last month’s flag parade.

He says authorities should have canceled the march.

 

5 Palestinians injured in clashes with police near Old City of Jerusalem

The Palestinian Red Crescent reports that its medics have treated five people wounded in clashes around Jerusalem’s Old City ahead of the nationalist flag march which starts at 6 p.m.

Two of the injured have been hospitalized for wounds from rubber or sponge-tipped bullets, the Red Crescent says.

PM Bennett meets with newly appointed Mossad chief

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (right) and Mossad chief David Barnea meet at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on June 15, 2021. (Haim Tzach/GPO)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (right) and Mossad chief David Barnea meet at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on June 15, 2021. (Haim Tzach/GPO)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett meets with newly appointed Mossad chief David Barnea at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem.

Bennett received an intelligence review of the organization’s activities from Barnea, a statement from the PMO says.

Barnea was appointed to lead the spy organization by former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month, replacing Yossi Cohen.

He served as a combat soldier in the elite Sayeret Matkal commando unit and has been in the Mossad for the past 25 years, including in prominent operational roles that saw him rise to lead the branch that handles the organization’s agents worldwide.

Police estimate 5,000 participating in Jerusalem flag march

Israel police say an estimated 5,000 people are participating in the contentious flag march which began minutes ago in Jerusalem.

Revelers are making their way to the capital’s Old City where they will enter via the Jaffa Gate and march to the Western Wall.

Jewish men dance with Israeli flags during the March of Flags near Jerusalem’s Old City, June 15, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

‘Bennett the liar’ posters seen at Jerusalem flag march

Posters depicting new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett alongside the text “Bennett the liar” are seen at the nationalist flag march currently being held in Jerusalem.

The posters refer to Bennetts’s decision to lead a government including left-wing parties and the Israeli Arab Ra’am party, despite pre-election promises that he would not do so.

Joint List head outside Old City: Jerusalem will be capital of Palestine

Joint List chair Ayman Odeh, speaking from outside Jerusalem’s Old City as the flag parade makes it way there, says that Jerusalem will one day be the capital of Palestine.

“On these [Old City] walls the flag of Palestine will be hoisted and Jerusalem will be the capital of recaptured Palestine,” he tells the Kan public broadcaster.

“Our people will cause them to be ashamed and withdraw from these places,” he says, referring to the marchers in the parade.

Far-right MKs taking part in Jerusalem flag march

A number of right-wing Knesset members are taking part in the flag march in Jerusalem making its way to the Old City.

Religious Zionism’s leader Bezalel Smotrich as well as party lawmakers Itamar Ben Gvir and Orit Struck were spotted among the revelers.

Likud MK May Golan is also taking part.

Religious Zionism MK Itamar Ben Gvir attends a flag parade near Jerusalem’s Old City, June 15, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

17 Palestinians said injured in clashes with police in Jerusalem

The Palestinian Red Crescent reports 17 injuries during clashes with Israeli police near Jerusalem’s Old City.

Three were hospitalized, the ambulance service says.

Fire service: 20 fires in south caused by incendiary balloons

At least 20 fires have broken out in southern Israel caused by incendiary balloons sent by from Gaza, the Fire and Rescue Services says.

Yesterday, the Hamas terror group’s incendiary balloon unit announced that it would resume operations against the backdrop of the controversial Jerusalem flag march slated for this afternoon.

Israel has warned that it will respond to breaches of its sovereignty, be it rocket fire or the launching of incendiary devices that have torched hundreds of acres of land near the Gaza border.

Poll finds dramatic rise in Palestinian support for Hamas

A new poll finds a dramatic surge in Palestinian support for Hamas following last month’s Gaza war, with around three-quarters viewing the terrorist group as victors in a battle against Israel to defend Jerusalem and its holy sites.

The poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research also finds plummeting support for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who was sidelined by the war but is seen internationally as a partner for reviving the long-defunct peace process.

The poll finds that 77% of Palestinians believe Hamas emerged as a winner, with nearly as many saying that it fought the war to defend Jerusalem and its holy sites, rather than as part of an internal struggle with Abbas’ Fatah party.

The poll also finds that 53% of Palestinians believe Hamas is “most deserving of representing and leading the Palestinian people,” while only 14% prefer Abbas’s secular Fatah party.

MKs dance at flag parade

Religious Zionism chair Bezalel Smotrich and Likud MK Shlomo Karai are seen dancing with participants of the flag parade in Jerusalem at the Old City’s Damascus Gate.

New Justice Minister Sa’ar meets Supreme Court chief justice

New Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar and Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut meet for their first work meeting since Sa’ar took office earlier this week.

According to the ministry, the two met in Hayut’s office in Jerusalem and discussed current issues relating to the court’s system, and pledged to meet again soon.

Sa’ar, who replaced Defense Minister Benny Gantz at the helm of the ministry, is taking over the position after a long period without a permanent minister. The Justice Ministry is one of the more contentious government bodies, with past ministers — including New Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked — calling to drastically limit the powers of the Supreme Court.

In the handover ceremony with Gantz on Monday, Sa’ar pledged to fix, but not to destroy, the legal system in Israel.

“The legal system is in need of systematic changes,” he said, vowing to adopt a nonpartisan approach “to fix what needs fixing. To fix — yes, to destroy — no.”

Bennett makes first appointments in Prime Minister’s Office

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announces his first series of appointments as premier, tapping his longtime aide Tal Gan Zvi as his chief of staff.

Bennett names Matan Sidi, another aide, as the prime minister’s spokesperson, and appoints Arab affairs analyst and Yedioth Ahronoth columnist Shimrit Meir as his adviser for international affairs.

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office notes Bennett’s request for National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and Military Secretary Avi Blot, both of whom were appointed by Netanyahu, to remain in their posts for now.

It also says other appointments such as the director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office and the cabinet secretary will be made later.

27 Palestinians reported injured in clashes with police in Jerusalem

The Palestinian Red Crescent says 27 people have been injured in clashes with Israeli police near Jerusalem’s Old City.

The clashes take place as police try to keep Palestinians away from the Damascus Gate area due to the ongoing flag march.

Flag parade marchers sing ‘death to Arabs’

Participants in the Jerusalem flag parade are filmed singing and chanting a series of anti-Arab slogans including “Death to Arabs” and “Burn down your village.”

Police estimate some 5,000 people are taking part in the march.

Rivlin holds farewell call with Germany’s Merkel

President Reuven Rivlin holds a farewell video call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of the end of his term of office, June 15, 2021. (Mark Neyman/GPO)
President Reuven Rivlin holds a farewell video call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of the end of his term of office, June 15, 2021. (Mark Neyman/GPO)

President Reuven Rivlin holds a farewell video call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of the end of his term of office.

“You are one of the most important leaders of our generation,” the president tells the chancellor. “You are someone who constantly reminds the whole free world the values that we all, humanity as a whole, share.”

Recalling the chancellor’s speech to the Knesset in 2008, Rivlin says: “I will always remember you as a leader who took care of the relations between our two peoples, and not just between our two countries. You got to know Israel’s citizens from up close, our culture, our leaders, all the principles that are important to us.”

The president expresses his thanks and appreciation for the chancellor’s commitment to Israel’s national security, particularly during the recent round of conflict with Hamas. He also expresses his thanks for Merkel’s commitment to the fight against antisemitism and for ensuring the safety of Germany’s Jewish community.

The chancellor spoke with the president about the recent changes in Israel and thanked him for the values he promoted during his presidency, and for their joint work over the years to advance relations between the countries.

‘These people are a disgrace’: Lapid slams flag march ‘Death to Arabs’ chants

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid assails those filmed chanting “Death to Arabs” at the Jerusalem flag parade currently taking place.

He says it was right to approve the march, praising new Public Security Minister Omer Barlev “on the excellent management of the event,” but criticizes those who used it to express hateful messages towards Arab Israelis and Palestinians.

“The fact that there are extremist elements for whom the Israeli flag represents hatred and racism is abominable and unforgivable,” Lapid says on Twitter.

“It is inconceivable how one can hold the Israeli flag in one hand and shout ‘Death to the Arabs’ at the same time. This is neither Judaism nor Israeliness, and that is certainly not what our flag symbolizes. These people are a disgrace to the people of Israel,” he says.

Senior legal officials say Netanyahu ‘abusing state institutions’ by remaining in Balfour residence

Senior legal officials are reported to sharply criticize opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu for remaining in the prime minister’s official residence and holding meetings there, even though he is no longer prime minister:

“Netanyahu is abusing state institutions,” Channel 13 quotes officials as saying.

According to the officials, however, there is no legal provision that can prevent him from hosting guests or even dignitaries at the residence.

With the agreement of new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Netanyahu will not leave the official residence for several more weeks at least, Channel 12 reported Monday.

Yesterday, Netanyahu hosted former US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Christians United for Israel founder John Hagee on Monday at the official residence.

The Crime Minister protest group meanwhile says it will petition the High Court against Netanyahu remaining in the residence if he is not gone by June 21, two weeks after Bennett took office.

Housing prices see 5.6% rise over last year

Israeli housing prices have risen a full 5.6% in the past year, according to a new report on the consumer price index released by the Central Bureau of Statistics.

The report, which is released each month, reveals that the price of apartments between February and April this year went up 1% overall — with the biggest rise recorded in Jerusalem.

The prices of apartments in Jerusalem during that period went up 1.6% compared to 1.4% in Tel Aviv, 1.4% in Haifa and the North and 0.9% in the center of the country. In the south, prices dropped 0.6%.

Overall in May, the cost of living in Israel rose 0.4%, according to the report. The biggest increases were seen in fresh fruits (13.7%), clothing (2.4%) and culture and entertainment (1.9%).

BBC writer who tweeted ‘Hitler was right’ is no longer with broadcaster

A BBC writer who in 2014 tweeted “#HitlerWasRight” about Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza is no longer working for the broadcaster, a spokesperson says.

Tala Halawa “no longer works for the BBC,” the spokesperson tells The Jewish Chronicle of London, without specifying what led to the termination of Halawa’s employment.

Last month, the BBC launched a probe following the surfacing of the tweet by Halawa, who was based in Ramallah. It read: “#Israel is more #Nazi than #Hitler! Oh, #HitlerWasRight #IDF go to hell. #prayForGaza.”

A screen capture of a tweet from 2014 by BBC journalist Tala Halawa in which she wrote ‘Hilter was right’ and that Israel is ‘more Nazi than Hilter.’ (Twitter via JTA)

In 2014, she was working for 24FM, a Palestinian radio station.

Last month, Halawa was credited on the BBC website for participating in the writing of an article titled “Israel-Gaza violence: The children who have died in the conflict” between Hamas and Israel, which reached a ceasefire on May 21 following 11 days of fighting.

17 arrested as Palestinians clash with police near flag parade

Police say 17 people have been arrested as Palestinians clash with officers during the flag parade in Jerusalem.

Some threw stones and attacked policemen at various hotspots along the parade route, a police statement adds.

About 2,000 police officers were deployed to the capital to secure the event, two of whom were lightly injured by rock-throwing.

‘Bennett the traitor’: Likud activists chant against new PM at flag march

A group of Likud activists wearing party T-shirts interrupt a Channel 12 broadcast from the flag march in Jerusalem by chanting “Bennett the traitor,” referring to new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

The news channel cuts away from the activists as they continue to chant.

Posters depicting Bennett alongside the text “Bennett the liar” were also seen at the parade.

Police said probing if man who violated quarantine caused Modiin school outbreak

Police are reportedly probing whether coronavirus infections among 11 kids at a school in Modiin in central Israel were caused by a man who violated quarantine after returning from overseas.

The Health Ministry filed a complaint with police against the man after the infections were detected among the 6th graders, Channel 12 news reports.

The network quotes an investigation by the Health Ministry district branch as saying the suspect “did not fulfill the quarantine requirement in full upon his return from overseas and did not perform a [coronavirus] test on the ninth day, allowing him to shorten the quarantine from 14 days.”

After the outbreak was detected, the rest of the students were sent to quarantine and the IDF’s Home Front Command was testing children in all grades for other potential infections.

Judge dismisses case against Amir Ohana due to his parliamentary immunity

A judge in the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court dismisses a lawsuit against former Likud minister Amir Ohana filed by an ex-aide to former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The judge in the case rejects the lawsuit filed in late 2019 by Nir Hefetz against Ohana — who was at the time the public security minister and is currently a Likud MK — for violating a gag order, because Ohana is protected by parliamentary immunity.

In November 2019, Ohana gave a speech on the Knesset floor railing against what he described as police misconduct in leaning on Hefetz to testify against Netanyahu in his ongoing corruption trial. Ohana alleged that police threatened to reveal a relationship Hefetz had with a young woman to his family if he did not cooperate with the prosecutors.

Gantz holding security assessment with defense chiefs

Defense Minister Benny Gantz is currently holding a security assessment meeting with the heads of Israel’s defense establishment at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv.

The meeting, which includes IDF chief of staff Aviv Kochavi and Shin Bet director Nadav Argaman, comes as the flag parade in Jerusalem, which the Gaza-based Hamas group has threatened to respond to, reaches its conclusion.

According to the Kan public broadcaster, Israel had reassured both the Palestinian Authority and Jordan that it was looking for escalation over the parade.

Flag parade ends, without major incident, with prayer service at Western Wall

The Jerusalem flag parade ends at the Western Wall plaza with a mass prayer service.

Despite warnings it could reignite tensions with the Gaza-based Hamas group and across Israel, the event took place without any major incidents.

While the route of the march was changed so as not to pass through the Old City’s Muslim quarter, some women and youths in the parade still went through the area, Kan reports.

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed