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

Fires rage in northern Israel after rocket attacks; key roads closed off

View of a large fire caused by rockets fired from Lebanon in the northern town of Kiryat Shmona, June 3, 2024 (Ayal Margolin/ Flash90)
View of a large fire caused by rockets fired from Lebanon in the northern town of Kiryat Shmona, June 3, 2024 (Ayal Margolin/ Flash90)

Fires continue to rage in northern Israel as a result of rocket and drone attacks from Lebanon today.

A number of homes are reported on fire in Kiryat Shmona, with fire teams spread throughout the mostly evacuated city to control the flames.

In Kibbutz Kfar GIladi, north of the city, video shared on social media shows a local security team battling flames encroaching on the community.

Fires are also reported in the Mount Adir and Amiad areas, leading to closures of major roads in the Galilee area. Backup teams are being dispatched from other regions to provide assistance.

Police say forces are “evacuating homes, directing traffic, and conducting scans of various areas while firefighters aided by others are helping douse flames.”

Report says Netanyahu to address joint session of Congress on June 13; Israeli official denies it

The exterior of the US Capitol building, March 22, 2024. (Pedro Ugarte/AFP)
The exterior of the US Capitol building, March 22, 2024. (Pedro Ugarte/AFP)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will reportedly give an address to a joint session of Congress on June 13.

Neither Netanyahu nor Congressional leaders have immediately confirmed this date reported by the Punchbowl news site.

Update: An Israeli official denies that a date has been set.

June 13 falls on the second day of the Shavuot holiday, which is only observed for one day in Israel.

US President Joe Biden will probably not be in Washington that day, as he is slated to attend a G7 summit in Italy.

Protesters in Tel Aviv demand hostage deal after 4 more captives declared dead

A spontaneous protest is underway outside IDF Headquarters in Tel Aviv following news of the deaths of four hostages in Hamas captivity in Gaza.

Dozens, possibly hundreds of people have converged on the scene to demand an immediate deal for the release of remaining hostages in Gaza.

Einav Zangauker, mother of hostage Matan Zangauker, tells the gathered crowd: “Today, we received unequivocal proof — these are the results of military pressure: We get them back dead!”

 

Hamas to send team to Cairo to discuss latest Gaza proposal

Hamas is slated to send a delegation to Cairo tomorrow to discuss the latest Israeli hostage deal proposal, two officials familiar with the matter tell The Times of Israel.

The terror group last week welcomed US President Joe Biden’s speech outlining the Israeli offer, but has yet to formally submit its response.

University of Michigan regent’s law office vandalized with pro-Palestinian graffiti

Pro-Palestinian graffiti spray-painted on the exterior of a Michigan law firm is being investigated as a hate crime, police in suburban Detroit said Monday.

University of Michigan regent and attorney Jordan Acker calls the vandalism “antisemitic” and says staff at the Goodman Acker law firm’s Southfield headquarters discovered it this morning.

Splotches of red paint were left on the “Goodman Acker” sign above the building’s doors. “FREE PALESTINE” was spray-painted in black upon the building’s walls, while “DIVEST NOW” and “U-M KILLS” — a reference to the University of Michigan — were spray-painted in red upon at least one window and a sidewalk.

Southfield Police Chief Elvin Barren says investigators believe the graffiti was left between 1:39 a.m. and 1:46 a.m. The FBI and other agencies are assisting in the investigation.

“Make no mistake that targeting individual Jewish elected officials is antisemitism,” Acker, who is Jewish, tells reporters.

“This has nothing to do with Palestine or the war in Gaza or anything else,” Acker continues. “This is done as a message to scare Jews. I was not targeted here today because I am a regent. I am a target of this because I am Jewish.”

UK’s Cameron offers condolences to family of UK citizen Popplewell

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron says he is “greatly saddened to hear about the death of Nadav Popplewell,” the hostage who held Israeli-British citizenship who was declared dead today, killed in Hamas captivity.

“My thoughts are with his loved ones at this terrible time for them,” Cameron writes on X. “With a new deal on the table, we reiterate our demand for Hamas to send all hostages home.”

Police arrest anti-Israel protesters inside SF building housing Israeli consulate

San Francisco police are arresting pro-Palestinian demonstrators who occupied a building that houses the Israeli consulate for several hours today.

It is not immediately clear how many arrests were made, but Associated Press journalists saw police arresting two people.

Consul General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest Marco Sermoneta says the protesters arrived around 9 a.m. at the Financial District’s high-rise but did not enter the consulate’s offices. He says his office told people that they might need to change their appointments.

 

Resolution censuring Iran submitted to UN nuclear agency board

Britain, France and Germany — collectively known as the E3 — have submitted a resolution to the UN nuclear watchdog’s Board of Governors, censuring Iran over its lack of cooperation with the agency, diplomats say.

“The text has been formally tabled,” one diplomatic source tells AFP, with a second confirming the move.

Biden urges Qatari leader to secure Hamas agreement to truce deal

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, at Lusail Palace, in Doha, Qatar, February 6, 2024. (AP Photo/ Mark Schiefelbein, Pool)
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, at Lusail Palace, in Doha, Qatar, February 6, 2024. (AP Photo/ Mark Schiefelbein, Pool)

US President Joe Biden urged Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani “to use all appropriate measures to secure Hamas’s acceptance of the deal,” the White House says in a readout of their call earlier today.

The two leaders “confirmed that the comprehensive ceasefire and hostage release deal now on the table offers a concrete roadmap for ending the crisis in Gaza,” the White House says.

Biden “confirmed Israel’s readiness to move forward with the terms that have now been offered to Hamas” and “emphasized that this is the best possible opportunity for an agreement and that Hamas’s ongoing refusal to release hostages would only prolong the conflict and deny relief to the people of Gaza,” the readout continues.

The president reiterated that the US, Egypt, and Qatar are committed to “the full implementation of the entire agreement.”

Biden said “Hamas is now the only obstacle to a complete ceasefire and relief for the people of Gaza,” the readout adds, noting that the president thanked the emir for Qatar’s efforts to secure a deal.

Separately today, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan held a phone call with a top aide to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Sullivan “underscored the urgent need for Hamas to accept Israel’s proposal to bring about an immediate ceasefire as part of a hostage deal,” the White House says in a readout of the call with Akif Cagatay Kilic.

Official: Mediators more optimistic about deal than they’ve been for months

Over the weekend, Israel asked to make several “minor updates” to the hostage deal proposal it submitted last week, an official familiar with the matter tells The Times of Israel.

The official does not specify what the updates were, but insists that they are not significant enough to torpedo the proposal.

The official adds that Hamas leaders’ reactions to the latest Israeli proposal has been “overwhelmingly positive” thus far, though the group has yet to submit an official response, including to the latest Israeli amendments.

The official says the mediators have not been this optimistic about the chances for a deal in months.

Report: In meeting, generals tell IDF chief army treading water in Gaza

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi speaks to the press from an army base in central Israel, March 17, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi speaks to the press from an army base in central Israel, March 17, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

In a rare confrontation, top IDF generals clashed with Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi during a meeting today, Channel 12 reports.

Several generals told the IDF chief the army was treading water in Gaza, and failing to make decisive achievements.

Halevi is quoted as responding that he is “focused on achieving the goals of the war” and “I expect all those around this table to do the same.”

Arab FMs back latest Gaza ceasefire-hostage release efforts

IDF troops operate in northern Gaza's Jabaliya, in a handout photo published May 31, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF troops operate in northern Gaza's Jabaliya, in a handout photo published May 31, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

The foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and Egypt issue a joint statement expressing their support for US President Joe Biden’s latest effort to secure a hostage-ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas.

This initiative saw Biden go public with what he said was the latest Israeli proposal and call on Hamas to accept it.

The foreign ministers of the five aforementioned Arab countries held a virtual meeting earlier today to discuss the matter further, their joint statement says.

The top Arab diplomats “emphasized the importance of engaging seriously and positively with the US president’s proposal to agree on a deal that secures a permanent ceasefire and the adequate delivery of aid to all parts of the Gaza Strip to alleviate the suffering of its people,” the joint statement says, calling also for “the release of hostages and detainees.”

The ministers “stressed the need to halt the aggression against Gaza, end the humanitarian catastrophe it is causing, facilitate the return of displaced people to their areas, ensure the complete withdrawal of Israeli occupation forces from the Gaza Strip, and initiate a reconstruction process within the framework of a comprehensive plan to implement the two-state solution in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions, with specific timings and binding guarantees.”

The statement also reiterates the countries’ support for establishing a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines.

Biden, Qatar emir discuss latest Israeli hostage deal offer in phone call — officials tell ToI

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, left, speaks during a meeting with US President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, Jan. 31, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, left, speaks during a meeting with US President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, Jan. 31, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

US President Joe Biden just wrapped up a phone call with Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani during which the two leaders discussed the latest Israeli hostage deal proposal, two sources familiar with the matter tell The Times of Israel.

Jewish leaders practice defending from knife attacks at antisemitism summit

Participants of a Jewish conference on antisemitism practice blocking a knife attack near Amsterdam, the Netherlands on June 3, 2024. (Yoav Dudkevitch)
Participants of a Jewish conference on antisemitism practice blocking a knife attack near Amsterdam, the Netherlands on June 3, 2024. (Yoav Dudkevitch)

At a Jewish conference in Amsterdam, participants pair up and face one another before one of them lunges at the other one with a butter-knife, prompting the unarmed person to holler “Stop!” and block the attack.

The activity is part of self-defense training led by an Israel-born security expert from Belgium for about 200 participants — many of them older than 60 –- of a conference focused on fighting antisemitism.

The participants, several of them husband and wife, practice repeatedly for about 20 minutes how to defend against a knife attack.

“It’s good to train but it’s crazy that it’s necessary,” says Ellen van Praag, a vice chairwoman of the European Jewish Association, the Brussels-based lobby group that organized the conference in Amsterdam, titled Fighting Back for Our Future.

An event bringing together EU officials, lawmakers and Jewish community leaders, it aims to provide practical solutions to the explosion of antisemitism in Europe following the Hamas onslaught on Israel on October 7.

The security expert, who asks not to be named, disagrees with van Praag’s assertion that the training is unnatural.

“It’s true that there’s been a huge increase in demand by Jews for self-defense courses,” he says. He adds he has trained 700 people in Antwerp since October 7, more than he usually trains in five years. “But it’s not just about antisemitism or terrorism. You always need to know what to do, especially as a woman. This is a natural adaptation to reality.”

US says Israel, Egypt held ‘constructive’ meeting on reopening Rafah Crossing

Israeli forces operating on the Gazan side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 7, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces/AFP)
Israeli forces operating on the Gazan side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 7, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces/AFP)

US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller says the US, Israel and Egypt held a “constructive” meeting yesterday in Cairo aimed at reopening the Rafah Crossing, which has been shut for nearly a month since the IDF took over the Gaza side of the gate.

Those conversations will continue so that the crossing can be opened to boost the amount of humanitarian aid going into Gaza, Miller says.

Egypt has refused to reopen the crossing so long as Israeli forces are managing the other side. Israel has sought to install local Palestinians at the gate, but have refused to allow them to publicly identify as being linked to the Palestinian Authority, hampering the effort to advance a solution, officials familiar with the matter told The Times of Israel last week.

Iran’s acting top diplomat dismisses US-proposed Gaza deal in visit to Lebanon

Iranian interim Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani listens to a question during a press conference at the Iranian embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, June 3, 2024 (AP Photo/ Hassan Ammar)
Iranian interim Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani listens to a question during a press conference at the Iranian embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, June 3, 2024 (AP Photo/ Hassan Ammar)

Iran’s acting foreign minister dismisses a Gaza ceasefire deal proposed by US President Joe Biden and warns Israel against launching an all-out war on Lebanon during a visit to Beirut, his first official diplomatic visit since his predecessor died last month.

Ali Bagheri Kani replaced Hossein Amirabdollahian, a hard-liner close to the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, who died in a helicopter crash on May 19 in a mountainous area near Iran’s border with Azerbaijan, along with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and a delegation of other officials.

Tehran, a key backer of the Palestinian terror group in the Gaza Strip, backs a number of armed factions in the region, of which Lebanese Shiite terror group Hezbollah is widely seen as the most powerful. Hezbollah would be Tehran’s first line of defense in case of a direct conflict between Iran and Israel.

Hezbollah has been clashing with Israeli forces along the Lebanon-Israel border since October, against the backdrop of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza. The cross-border fighting has intensified in recent weeks, since Israel’s incursion into the key town of Rafah in southern Gaza.

“If the Americans are honest, then instead of proposing plans under the name of ceasefire, they must take one step, which is end all aid to the Israeli entity,” Bagheri Kani says in a news conference at the Iranian embassy in Beirut. “Only once the aid is cut from the Israeli entity, the entity won’t have the tools and ability to commit crimes against the Palestinians and the war will end.”

Ambiguously worded Clause 14 in Israeli proposal at heart of PM’s disagreement with Biden – TV report

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) speaks at the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, June 3, 2024. (Maayan Toaf/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) speaks at the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, June 3, 2024. (Maayan Toaf/GPO)

Hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that “the proposal that [US President Joe] Biden presented is incomplete,” and that there are “gaps” between the Israeli version and Biden’s recounting of it, Channel 12 reports on what it says is the clause in the Israeli proposal that lies at the heart of Netanyahu’s declared disagreement with the president.

Clause 14 in the Israeli proposal, it says, relates to the transition between the ceasefire in Phase 1 of the proposal to the permanent cessation of fighting in Phase 2.

While Channel 12 gives a partial Hebrew translation of the clause, Axios’s Barak Ravid tweets the English text as follows:

“14. All procedures in this stage including the temporary cessation of military operations by both sides, aid and shelter effort, withdrawal of forces etc., Will continue in stage 2 so long as the negotiations on the conditions for implementing stage 2 of this agreement are ongoing. The guarantors of this agreement shall make every effort to endure that this indirect negotiations continue until both sides are able to reach agreement on the conditions for implementing stage 2 of this agreement.”

This clause, the Channel 12 report says, is sufficiently vague as to enable both sides to interpret it as they wish. On the one hand, the wording can be understood to mean that “if the negotiations take longer than six weeks for Phase 1, the ceasefire will still continue as long as negotiations continue,” as Biden stated in his address on Friday.

On the other, the TV report says, Israel can say that if the negotiations continue in a way that is not genuine, and there are manipulations, then the fighting can resume.

In that regard, Biden noted later in his address, “If Hamas fails to fulfill its commitments under the deal, Israel can resume military operations.”

By saying, and leaking, what he said earlier today at the closed-doors Knesset committee session, about the intention to resume the military campaign at the end of Phase 1, an unnamed source in the war cabinet tells Channel 12, Netanyahu was inviting Hamas’s Gaza chief Sinwar to blow up the deal. And “if Sinwar goes for the deal, a resumption of the war at the end of Phase 1 adds up to giving up on the hostage male soldiers, the younger men and the bodies of the dead.”

In Phase 1 of the deal, Biden stated, hostages in a so-called humanitarian category are to be released — including women soldiers, elderly men and the ill and wounded, as well as the bodies of some dead hostages. In Phase 2, male soldiers and other men are to be freed. The remaining bodies of dead hostages are to be returned in Phase 3.

The source claims Netanyahu spoke as he did in the Knesset committee because of political pressures, and under threat by the two far-right leaders in his coalition to quit and work to bring down his government.

IDF says it will thoroughly probe circumstances of four hostages’ deaths

IDF Spokesman Daniel Hagari speaks on June 3, 2024. (Video screenshot)
IDF Spokesman Daniel Hagari speaks on June 3, 2024. (Video screenshot)

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says the military will thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the deaths of hostages Chaim Peri, Amiram Cooper, Yoram Metzger, and Nadav Popplewell.

“We estimate that the four were killed together, in the Khan Younis area, several months ago, while being held by Hamas terrorists and while IDF forces were operating in Khan Younis,” Hagari says at a press conference.

“I know that difficult questions will arise regarding the circumstances of the deaths… we are examining the circumstances of death in-depth, looking into all possibilities, and we will present the findings as soon as possible, firstly to the families and then to the public. We will present [the findings] transparently, as we have done so far,” he says.

Report: Gantz reconsidering quitting coalition amid talk of hostage deal

File - This combination photograph created on October 12, 2023 shows (L) then-Defense Minister Benny Gantz in Tel Aviv, October 24, 2022, and (R) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv, on October 12, 2023. (Gil Cohen-Magen and Jacquelyn Martin / various sources / AFP)
File - This combination photograph created on October 12, 2023 shows (L) then-Defense Minister Benny Gantz in Tel Aviv, October 24, 2022, and (R) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv, on October 12, 2023. (Gil Cohen-Magen and Jacquelyn Martin / various sources / AFP)

Kan news reports that Benny Gantz’s National Unity party is reconsidering its plan to bolt the coalition in light of the possibility of a hostage and truce deal with Hamas.

If the party sees the prime minister is serious about moving towards a deal, it may remain in the coalition, despite the ultimatum Gantz gave last month, when he said he would take his party out of the government if Netanyahu does not by June 8 meet a series of demands on setting a national course for the future of the war and the region, including a day-after plan for Gaza.

Netanyahu has indicated he has no plans to meet Gantz’s demands.

The Kan report says the party hopes the matter will be decided by the weekend.

Army announces deaths of four Israeli hostages in Hamas captivity

Clockwise from top left: Chaim Peri, Amiram Cooper, Nadav Popplewell and Yoram Metzger. (Courtesy)
Clockwise from top left: Chaim Peri, Amiram Cooper, Nadav Popplewell and Yoram Metzger. (Courtesy)

The Israeli military says it has confirmed the deaths of four Israeli hostages in Hamas captivity, after obtaining new intelligence.

Chaim Peri, 79, Amiram Cooper, 84, Yoram Metzger, 80, and Nadav Popplewell, 51, were all believed by the IDF to have been held together by Hamas in the Khan Younis area, and died together several months ago.

The military does not detail the circumstances of their deaths, citing an ongoing probe.

Peri, Cooper, and Metzger were all abducted by Hamas from Nir Oz on October 7, while Popplewell was taken hostage from Nirim.

Cooper’s wife Nurit was released by Hamas on October 23 and Metzger’s wife Tami was released on November 28.

In December, Hamas published a propaganda video of Peri, Cooper, and Metzger, and in March claimed that the three were killed by Israeli strikes.

Popplewell was seen in a separate propaganda video in May, apparently weeks after he was killed.

The IDF has now confirmed the deaths of 41 of the remaining 120 hostages still being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The terror group had abducted 251 people on October 7.

Hamas is also holding the bodies of fallen IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin since 2014, as well as two Israeli civilians, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, who are both thought to be alive after entering the Strip of their own accord in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

US says Hamas is the only one preventing a ceasefire in Gaza

Troops of the Givati Brigade operate in southern Gaza's Rafah, in a handout photo published June 2, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)
Troops of the Givati Brigade operate in southern Gaza's Rafah, in a handout photo published June 2, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller says Hamas is the only party blocking a ceasefire from being implemented in Gaza.

“The world should know — the Palestinian people should know — that the only thing standing in the way of an immediate ceasefire today is Hamas,” Miller says during a briefing.

“The proposal on the table is nearly identical to what Hamas said it would accept just a few weeks ago, and it is now time for them to act,” he adds.

The United States has not yet heard back from Hamas on a ceasefire proposal that was submitted to the group on Thursday, Miller says.

Palestinians seek to join Gaza ‘genocide’ case at World Court

Palestinian authorities have filed an application with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to join South Africa as a party in its Gaza genocide case against Israel, the court says.

In a statement the ICJ, also known as the World Court, says the Palestinians “filed… an application for permission to intervene and a declaration of intervention in the (South Africa v. Israel) case.”

War cabinet official accuses Netanyahu of undermining hostage release

A senior official in the war cabinet tells Channel 12 news that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is undermining efforts to reach a hostage release deal by publicly vowing to renew the campaign against Hamas.

“Netanyahu’s comments leaked from the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on the intention to renew combat… are an invitation to [Hamas’s Gaza leader Yahya] Sinwar to blow up the deal,” the source says.

Large fire spreads in Kiryat Shmona as a result of rocket attacks

A large fire sparked by Hezbollah rocket attacks in the Kiryat Shmona area continues to spread, and is now threatening homes in the city’s northern Tel Hai podium neighborhood.

The Fire and Rescue Service says several yards, pergolas, and the roof of one home are now on fire due to the flames.

 

British-Israeli hostage Nadav Popplewell killed in Hamas captivity, kibbutz announces

Hostage Nadav Popplewell in a Hamas propaganda video aired on May 11, 2024. (Hamas media office)
Hostage Nadav Popplewell in a Hamas propaganda video aired on May 11, 2024. (Hamas media office)

Kibbutz Nirim announces hostage Nadav Popplewell, 51, was killed while in Hamas captivity.

His body remains in Gaza.

The announcement is based on new intelligence received by Israel, according to media reports.

The British-Israeli Popplewell was taken captive with his mother, Channah Peri, 79, on October 7 from their home in Nirim by Hamas terrorists who stormed the community. Peri was released on November 24 as part of a temporary ceasefire deal.

Channah and Nadav were together throughout her captivity in a tunnel under Gaza. Popplewell was seen in a video issued by Hamas weeks ago in a 10-second clip.

Iranian military adviser killed in Syria in Israeli attack, news agency SNN reports

An Iranian Revolutionary Guards adviser was killed in an Israeli air attack in Syria on Sunday, Iran’s semi-official news agency SNN reports.

SNN identified the officer as Saeid Abyar without giving his rank.

 

UTJ leader says Haredi party will back any deal that releases hostages

United Torah Judaism leader Housing Minister Yitzhak Goldknopf in Tel Aviv on February 4, 2024. (Avshalom Sassoni/ Flash90)
United Torah Judaism leader Housing Minister Yitzhak Goldknopf in Tel Aviv on February 4, 2024. (Avshalom Sassoni/ Flash90)

Following threats by Oztma Yehudit and Religious Zionism leaders Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich to bolt the coalition if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approves a hostage and truce deal presented by US President Joe Biden late last week, United Torah Judaism chairman Yitzhak Goldknopf declares that he will support “any measure” that brings back the hostages.

“I told the representatives of the kidnapped families today that our position is that there is nothing greater than the value of life and the mitzvah of ransoming captives, because there is a real and tangible danger to their lives,” he tweets alongside a photo of himself and relatives of the hostages.

“Therefore, we will support any proposal that will lead to the release of the abductees,” the leader of the ultra-Orthodox party states.

US official: Biden speech ‘wasn’t about jamming PM or war cabinet’

US President Joe Biden’s decision to go public with Israel’s latest hostage deal offer was aimed at putting more pressure on Hamas, the White House says.

But the move also outed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for having signed off on a proposal over which his far-right coalition partners have subsequently vowed to collapse the government.

Nonetheless, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby insists, “This wasn’t about jamming the prime minister or the war cabinet.”

“This was about laying bare for the public to see how well and how faithfully and how assertively the Israelis came up with a new proposal — how it shows how much they really want to get this done,” Kirby says.

“If anything, this was about putting some public pressure on Mr. Sinwar and Hamas, who have repeatedly refused to accept what Israel has put forward,” he adds.

White House says it’s ‘confident’ Biden’s speech reflects Israeli proposal

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, May 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, May 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

After Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly said that there were “gaps” between the latest Israeli hostage deal proposal and the offer publicly laid out by US President Joe Biden, the White House says it is not aware of such gaps.

“As for the gaps, I don’t know what gaps you’re referring to,” National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby says during a briefing with reporters.

He notes that Netanyahu’s foreign policy adviser confirmed to The Times of London over the weekend that the offer detailed by Biden was indeed an Israeli proposal.

“We’re confident that [Biden’s speech] accurately reflects that [Israeli] proposal — a proposal that we worked with the Israelis on, so I know of no gaps to speak of,” Kirby says.

US condemns increased movement restrictions on Palestinians in Hebron

The US pans the movement restrictions Israel has placed on Palestinians living in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, which have recently increased in parallel to a spate of settler violence.

The US Office of Palestinian Affairs tweets that its head, George Noll, visited Hebron and the neighboring village of Dura to meet with community leaders.

Noll’s visit was also aimed at “better understand[ing] the many challenges Hebronites are facing, including increased movement restrictions and extremist settler attacks over the past eight months,” his office says.

Hebron is the West Bank’s most populous city, holy to Muslims and Jews. Some 500 nationalist Israeli settlers live in fortified compounds heavily guarded by the IDF in the midst of 200,000 Palestinian inhabitants whose movements are heavily restricted.

Israeli forces kill wanted Palestinian in West Bank’s Nablus

A wanted Palestinian suspect who was shot dead by troops in the West Bank's Balata camp, adjacent to Nablus, June 3, 2024. (Israel Police)
A wanted Palestinian suspect who was shot dead by troops in the West Bank's Balata camp, adjacent to Nablus, June 3, 2024. (Israel Police)

Undercover Border Police officers killed a wanted Palestinian in the West Bank city of Nablus earlier today, police say.

The officers and IDF troops entered the Balata camp adjacent to Nablus to detain a wanted Palestinian. Police say the suspect spotted the troops and attempted to flee the area while armed with a handgun. The Border Police officers then shot him dead.

Several more gunmen and rioters hurling explosives were shot by troops in the area, police add.

Smotrich: Biden’s proposed deal is a surrender, we will not be a part of it

Religious Zionism party leader Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich leads a faction meeting in northern Israel, May 19, 2024. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)
Religious Zionism party leader Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich leads a faction meeting in northern Israel, May 19, 2024. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

Israel is not bound by the “offer of surrender” presented by US President Joe Biden late last week, says Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.

If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government decides to accept the proposal for a hostage agreement, which was made by the war cabinet “in violation of the law,” then “we will not be part of it,” he says.

“The conduct of the war cabinet is a failure and is dangerous,” Smotrich tells reporters outside a protest tent near the High Court set up by the Heroism Forum, a group representing bereaved families pushing for increased military pressure on Hamas.

“Again and again they repeat the same mistakes, again and again they surrender to Sinwar, time and time again they give up on all the red lines, humiliate the State of Israel, and again the result is that Hamas is entrenched in its position,” Smotrich says. Recent months have shown, he says, that the solution lies “only in increasing military pressure and fire until Hamas surrenders.”

Sending negotiators to Cairo was a mistake, he continues, insisting that the “dangerous proposal that President Biden spoke of was issued by the war cabinet without authority and in violation of the law, and it does not bind the Israeli government and the State of Israel.”

“If, God forbid, the government decides to accept this offer of surrender, we will not be part of it,” he says, pledging to Netanyahu to “stand against you with all our strength and firmness if you choose surrender and defeat.”

In response to a reporter’s question, Smotrich says that like National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, he has not been shown the full contents of the hostage deal outline.

Relatives of hostages who walked from the Knesset to attend the speech challenge Smotrich, saying that Hamas can be defeated later but that their family members need to come home now.

In response, Smotrich says he believes that a deal would actually delay their loved ones’ return.

Army says it hit Hezbollah operative and building in south Lebanon strikes

The IDF says it struck a Hezbollah operative in southern Lebanon’s Naqoura earlier today, and in a separate strike, hit a building used by the terror group in Hanine.

Additionally, an explosive-laden drone was intercepted by air defense over the Keren Naftali area in the Galilee Panhandle, as a second drone struck the area, the IDF says.

Another explosive drone struck Metula, the IDF adds.

No injuries were caused in the attacks, claimed by Hezbollah.

Hundreds take part in Jerusalem interfaith peace march

Participants in an interfaith march 'for human rights and peace' make their way to Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem on June 3, 2024. (Charlie Summers/Times of Israel)
Participants in an interfaith march 'for human rights and peace' make their way to Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem on June 3, 2024. (Charlie Summers/Times of Israel)

A few hundred people are marching through the center of Jerusalem in a display of cross-religious solidarity led by interfaith leaders.

Under the slogan of human rights and peace, organizers say the march is meant to counter Jerusalem Day’s nationalist Flag March, planned for Wednesday afternoon.

The group gathered in Zion Square and then set out for Jaffa Gate, where they will wrap up the march.

As they walk, participants sing songs about peace, such as the famous Israeli ballads “Salaam” and “Shir LaShalom.”

A small cadre of police flank the procession.

IDF says 30 rockets were fired from Lebanon at north, struck open areas

Some 30 rockets were launched from Lebanon at the northern Golan Heights earlier, according to the military.

The IDF says the projectiles struck open areas, causing no injuries.

No sirens sounded in towns.

Hezbollah had claimed to target a military base in the area.

Former Likud minister David Levy’s funeral held in Beit She’an

Former Likud minister David Levy is being brought to rest in his hometown of Beit She’an, a day after his death at the age of 86.

At the funeral, President Isaac Herzog calls longtime legislator Levy “a shining example of Zionism, determination and love of Israel.”

Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana says: “With your sensitivity, your wisdom, your moderation and discretion, you climbed not only the achievements you built but also into the hearts of the people.”

Various officials, ministers and Knesset members are at the funeral.

Shin Bet says it foiled Hamas suicide bombing plot directed from Turkey

A bomb captured by Israeli forces, intended for use in a Hamas-directed suicide bombing, in a photo provided on June 3, 2024. (Shin Bet)
A bomb captured by Israeli forces, intended for use in a Hamas-directed suicide bombing, in a photo provided on June 3, 2024. (Shin Bet)

Israel says it foiled a recent attempt by Hamas to carry out a suicide bombing attack in Israel, directed by members of the terror group in Turkey.

According to the Shin Bet security agency, on March 15, Anas Shurman, a Palestinian man originally from the West Bank city of Tulkarem but who resides in Jordan, was detained in Nablus over his suspected involvement in the bombing plot.

The agency says his interrogation revealed that in December 2023, he was recruited by Imad Abid, a Hamas operative living in Turkey, though also originally from the West Bank.

Shurman agreed to carry out a suicide bombing on behalf of Hamas, with the target set to be in Israel proper, the Shin Bet says.

The Shin Bet says that as part of the plans ahead of the attack, the would-be suicide bomber filmed a last will, took motorcycle lessons that he would have used in the attack, and received funds and instructions to carry out the bombing, including where to collect the explosive device from a hidden location in the West Bank.

The large fragmentation bomb, weighing some 12 kilograms, was seized by the Shin Bet from a spring in the West Bank, the agency says. Next to the bomb, the Shin Bet says, it found written instructions on how to carry out the attack.

Additional Hamas members involved in the plot were also detained, with the Shin Bet saying they were part of a terror network in Nablus.

The agency says those Hamas members were involved in manufacturing the bomb and hiding it for Shurman.

Shurman was charged with several severe security offenses, including “attempting to intentionally cause death” — the equivalent of attempted murder under military law — as well as membership in a terror group.

Five more Nablus residents were hit with similar charges, the Shin Bet says.

The agency says its investigation “reveals the entrenchment of Hamas… in Turkey and its involvement in directing terror attacks in Israel.”

Iran parliament speaker Ghalibaf launches presidential bid

Iran's Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf addresses the media after submitting his candidacy for the Islamic Republic's upcoming presidential election in Tehran on June 3, 2024. (ATTA KENARE / AFP)
Iran's Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf addresses the media after submitting his candidacy for the Islamic Republic's upcoming presidential election in Tehran on June 3, 2024. (ATTA KENARE / AFP)

The conservative speaker of Iran’s parliament, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, has registered his candidacy for the snap presidential election on June 28.

The election was originally to be held in 2025 but was brought forward following the unexpected death of ultraconservative president Ebrahim Raisi on May 19.

Raisi and seven members of his entourage, including foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, were killed when their helicopter came down on a fog-shrouded mountainside in northern Iran.

Like all the other hopefuls, Ghalibaf now has to wait until June 11 to see if his candidacy is approved by the Guardian Council, a conservative-dominated, 12-strong body of jurists, either appointed or approved by the supreme leader, which vets all candidates for public office.

This is Ghalibaf’s fourth run at the presidency, following bids in 2005, 2013 and 2017. On his last attempt, Ghalibaf withdrew in favor of Raisi, who finished second at the time to the moderate incumbent Hassan Rouhani.

“If I don’t run for election, the work that we have started in the last few years to solve the economic problem of the people… will not be completed,” he says after submitting his registration.

He adds that if he did not believe that Iran’s economic and social problems could be solved he “would never have entered the field of competition.”

WSJ: Sinwar has told mediators he’s in no hurry to end the war, sees Israel becoming international pariah

Yahya Sinwar, head of Hamas in Gaza, greets his supporters during a meeting with leaders of Palestinian factions at his office in Gaza City, April 13, 2022. (AP Photo/ Adel Hana/ File)
Yahya Sinwar, head of Hamas in Gaza, greets his supporters during a meeting with leaders of Palestinian factions at his office in Gaza City, April 13, 2022. (AP Photo/ Adel Hana/ File)

Hamas expects a detailed written proposal of the truce deal Israel is offering, in line with the one presented by US President Joe Biden, Arab mediators tell The Wall Street Journal.

The paper says Hamas wants a deal that is unambiguous and will not allow Israel to resume the war after the release of hostages — which Jerusalem has said it will indeed do.

The Journal says that Hamas’s Gaza chief, in messages he has sent to Arab states’ mediators, has indicated that he “is in no hurry to end the war, believing that it is drawing Israel into a quagmire that is turning the country into an international pariah while reviving the Palestinian national cause.”

By contrast, the report says, Hamas’s political leaders in exile “are eager to end the war provided a deal guarantees the group’s survival and grants it a continued role in governing Gaza.”

The WSJ says Hamas feels time is on its side, with Israel increasingly suffering on the global stage.

The terror group is growing confident it can survive the Israeli offensive due to the growing international pressure over the IDF’s operation in Gaza, the report says.

Hezbollah says it launched dozens of rockets at Golan Heights; no reports of injuries

Hezbollah takes responsibility for launching dozens of rockets from Lebanon at the Golan Heights a short while ago.

The terror group claims to have targeted a military position in the area.

There are no reports of injuries, and sirens did not sound in any towns.

Hezbollah also claims to have launched an explosive drone at the Metula area earlier today.

IDF confirms Lebanon airstrike that killed Hezbollah official

The IDF confirms carrying out an airstrike against a vehicle in southern Lebanon this morning, killing a member of the Hezbollah terror group.

Hussein Sabra was targeted while driving near the village of Kauthariyet al-Rez, in the Sidon District, Lebanese media reported.

According to the IDF, Sabra was a member of Hezbollah’s force build-up unit, and was involved in efforts to improve the terror group’s air defense unit, including by equipping it with new means.

The military publishes footage of the strike.

Separately, the IDF struck several buildings in southern Lebanon’s Qotrani, which it says were used by Hezbollah’s air defense unit.

Ben Gvir: Netanyahu ‘whitewashing’ contents of hostage deal proposal

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir leads a meeting of his far-right Otzma Yehudit party at the Knesset, on March 18, 2024. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir leads a meeting of his far-right Otzma Yehudit party at the Knesset, on March 18, 2024. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir accuses Prime Minister Netanyahu of whitewashing the contents of the latest hostage deal proposal after the premier allegedly refused to disclose the full contents of the hostage deal outline announced by US President Joe Biden on Friday night.

Addressing reporters at the Knesset, Ben Gvir says Netanyahu insisted that the actual proposal differs from the version presented by Biden and that “there will be no reckless deal and an end to the war without the collapse of Hamas.”

“I asked him if I could look at the draft of the agreement, and he agreed and said that I could come to his office so that I could see the draft with my own eyes,” Ben Gvir says, but yesterday when he arrived he was told “there is no draft” by Netanyahu’s assistants.

“This morning I also went to the Prime Minister’s Office, and there, once again, they refused to present the draft agreement to me,” he says, asserting that National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi likewise denied that such a draft existed.

“If the deal is not reckless and does not include a commitment to end the war for Hamas’s collapse, why do you refuse to present it to me?” the far-right minister asks, accusing Netanyahu of “whitewashing” the outline.

“If you sign a reckless deal that will bring an end to the war without the collapse of Hamas, Otzma Yehudit will dissolve the government,” he says.

Netanyahu tells Knesset committee Gaza war won’t end before Hamas is dismantled

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Israel will not end the war in Gaza until it achieves its three war aims, an Israeli official tells The Times of Israel: the destruction of Hamas’s military and civil governance capabilities; the release of all hostages; and ensuring that Gaza doesn’t pose a threat to Israel.

The official adds that Israel will not agree to the second phase of a deal — which would include the complete end to the war, according to US President Joe Biden in his Friday speech — if it clashes with those goals.

Repeating what officials close to Netanyahu have been saying since Biden’s address, the official says that Israel’s proposal allows it to resume fighting at any time if it concludes that Hamas is buying time in the talks without intending to release all the hostages.

Soldiers raid Rafah ‘combat complex,’ kill gunmen and seize weapons — IDF

Weapons found by IDF troops in southern Gaza's Rafah, in a handout image published June 3, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)
Weapons found by IDF troops in southern Gaza's Rafah, in a handout image published June 3, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

Troops of the Commando Brigade operating in southern Gaza’s Rafah in recent days raided an “active combat complex,” killing several operatives and locating tunnel shafts in the process, the IDF says.

The IDF says the commandos also seized dozens of mortars, rockets, RPGs, and other weapons and military equipment during their raids in Rafah.

Ben Gvir moves faction meeting location after hostages’ relatives arrive

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir moved his Otzma Yehudit party’s weekly faction meeting from its regular location after relatives of Israeli hostages held in Gaza entered the room carrying signs minutes before it was set to begin.

The families came to an agreement with party officials that they could remain if they stayed silent but only minutes later, the MKs suddenly left the room and gathered in a conference room down the hall.

Knesset security prevented the families from entering the new meeting location, prompting angry yelling that could be heard through the door of the conference room.

Speaking with the Times of Israel following the meeting, Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu says that the families are “owed a lot” by the state and “we have to bring their children home.”

However, Eliyahu insists that similar protests led to Israel freeing October 7 mastermind Yahya Sinwar in 2011 during the Shalit deal and he doesn’t want to be responsible for the passage of an “irresponsible deal” that leads to another massacre several years down the line.

Asked why he declined to allow the relatives into the meeting and switched locations, Ben Gvir tells reporters that he has met with hostage families and will continue to do so but that doing so in front of the cameras constituted “populism.”

The protesters, chanting “Yes to Netanyahu’s deal,” engaged in a sit-in outside the room.

Asked for comment, Gil Dickmann, whose cousin Carmel Gat is held in Gaza, tells The Times of Israel, “When he heard us, the families of the hostages, coming in, he decided to run away. It looks like he’s a coward. Maybe he’s got something to hide.”

Slovenia opposition files motion delaying Palestinian state recognition

Slovenia’s conservative opposition files a motion that delays the country’s recognition of a Palestinian state, a parliamentary spokeswoman says, following last month’s recognition by Spain, Ireland and Norway.

The Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) led by former prime minister Janez Jansa has filed a proposal to hold an advisory referendum on the decree for the recognition, the spokeswoman tells AFP. The proposal effectively delays the vote scheduled for Tuesday by some 30 days.

Wednesday’s Jerusalem Day marchers will go through Muslim Quarter; 3,000 cops to deploy

Jerusalem Day Flag March participants walk through the Jaffa Gate into the Old City on May 18, 2023. (Carrie Keller-Lynn/Times of Israel)
Jerusalem Day Flag March participants walk through the Jaffa Gate into the Old City on May 18, 2023. (Carrie Keller-Lynn/Times of Israel)

Police say over 3,000 officers will be deployed in and around the Old City of Jerusalem on Wednesday afternoon for Jerusalem Day’s contentious Flag March.

The annual parade to the Western Wall celebrates Israel’s reunification of East and West Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War, but often sees flare-ups of Jewish-Arab violence and hate speech by far-right Jewish attendees toward Palestinians.

The planned route for the march will be the same as last year’s: Participants will march from central Jerusalem to the Western Wall through the gates and alleys of the Old City. There will be two routes participants will take to the Western Wall, one that passes through Dung Gate, and a second that passes through Damascus Gate and the Muslim Quarter.

“The police urge Flag March participants and the public to follow police instructions, avoid any physical or verbal violence, and allow the event to proceed safely while strictly adhering to order and law. Any disruptions or acts of violence will be dealt with firmly by the police,” the force says in a statement.

Police add that the march will not pass through the Temple Mount or the Temple Mount gates.

Many of Jerusalem’s main roads will be blocked off to vehicular traffic on Wednesday afternoon, and will gradually reopen as the parade progresses. The light rail will not operate during the parade and bus routes will be redirected so as to not interfere with the march.

Netanyahu: We continue to insist on eliminating Hamas in Gaza

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on May 27, 2024 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on May 27, 2024 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

As Israeli officials continue to push back on elements of the hostage deal proposal presented by US President Joe Biden over the weekend — ostensibly an Israeli offer — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that Israel has gone “a long way” in order to try to get the hostages back, but asserts that all the while “we maintained the aims of the war, primarily the elimination of Hamas.

“We insist that we achieve both [aims],” he says in a video statement. “It is not something I am adding now, it is not something I am adding because I was pressured by the coalition. It is something we unanimously agreed upon in the war cabinet.”

In his address, Biden indicated that the second phase would see a permanent end to the war and that Hamas would not be in power, but did not detail how that would happen.

Earlier in the day, Netanyahu reportedly told lawmakers that Biden’s version was missing key elements of Israel’s proposal.

Lapid lashes Haredi position on draft, says leaders only interested in money

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid slams the government and ultra-Orthodox parties for trying to prevent the conscription of yeshiva students, following Sunday’s High Court of Justice hearing on petitions demanding their immediate conscription.

“The lawyers who represented the yeshivas, the ultra-Orthodox parties, told the court openly, without shame: ‘We will not be drafted, we will not risk our lives, and we are here only for one thing — to make sure that our money is not touched,” Lapid tells the press ahead of his Yesh Atid party’s weekly faction meeting in the Knesset.

Lapid lashes out at Doron Taubman, the private counsel hired by the government, who yesterday said that cutting off stipends for yeshiva students who do not enlist would have a severe impact on their families to the point where it was a “matter of life and death for tens of thousands of married yeshiva students.”

Lapid says “628 soldiers have been killed and murdered since October 7th” with more deaths announced every day. “That’s a matter of life and death.”

“They have to enlist because there are not enough soldiers,” Lapid adds.

During his remarks, he reiterates his promise to provide Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a political safety net if his far-right coalition partners pull out of the government over the latest hostage deal under discussion.

Asked by The Times of Israel if he would be willing to do the same to ensure the passage of legislation mandating an ultra-Orthodox draft, which would likely cause Haredi parties to bolt, Lapid says his offer is only good for the hostage deal.

PA slams Khamenei for Oct. 7 comments, says no need to spill Palestinian blood without chance at independence

A handout picture made available by the office of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shows him addressing the crowd during a ceremony marking the 35th death anniversary of the Islamic Republic's founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini at his mausoleum in Tehran on June 3, 2024. (Photo by KHAMENEI.IR / AFP)
A handout picture made available by the office of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shows him addressing the crowd during a ceremony marking the 35th death anniversary of the Islamic Republic's founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini at his mausoleum in Tehran on June 3, 2024. (Photo by KHAMENEI.IR / AFP)

The Palestinian people do not need wars that do not serve their ambitions for freedom and independence, the office of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says in response to remarks by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Khamenei said the Hamas-led October 7 attack on Israel had happened exactly at the moment the region needed it and that there had been a plan “by the US, Zionist individuals, their followers and some of the region’s countries to change the equation in the region.”

The Palestinian presidency responds by saying such remarks were clearly aimed at sacrificing Palestinian blood and would not lead to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

Israeli vehicles fired on in West Bank, no injuries

An Israeli-owned car and a bus came under sustained fire near the West Bank settlement of Beit Hagai, near Hebron.

The Rescuers Without Borders Emergency Service says there are no injuries in the incident.

Footage published by the service appears to show bullet impacts on the car and bus.

The IDF says it has launched searches in the area for the perpetrators of the shooting.

Firebomb thrown at Israeli embassy in Romania, no injuries or damage

A man approached Israel’s embassy in Romania earlier today, and while going through a security inspection pulled out a Molotov cocktail and threw it at the door leading into the lobby, the Foreign Ministry says in a statement.

Local security forces apprehended the man — apparently of Syrian origin — immediately, says the ministry.

He is being questioned by local law enforcement.

There were no injuries or property damage in the incident.

Hamas says 40 people killed in Gaza over past day, toll reaches 36,479

Palestinians mourn their relatives, killed by apparent Israeli army strikes during a funeral at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip on June 3, 2024 (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
Palestinians mourn their relatives, killed by apparent Israeli army strikes during a funeral at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip on June 3, 2024 (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry says 40 people were killed in the Strip over the past day, bringing the Palestinian toll in the war to 36,479.

The toll cannot be verified and only some 24,000 fatalities have been identified at hospitals. It includes some 15,000 terror operatives Israel says it has killed in battle. Israel also says it killed some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

UN estimates over half of Gaza structures may be destroyed or damaged

This picture taken from Israel's southern border with the Gaza Strip shows destroyed buildings in the enclave on May 15, 2024. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
This picture taken from Israel's southern border with the Gaza Strip shows destroyed buildings in the enclave on May 15, 2024. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

Some 55 percent of all structures in the Gaza Strip have been destroyed, damaged or possibly damaged since war erupted, according to preliminary satellite analysis by the UN.

The analysis shows more than 137,000 buildings possibly affected, UNOSAT, the United Nations satellite analysis agency, says on X, formerly Twitter.

The estimate is based on a satellite image taken on May 3, and compared with images taken in May a year earlier, in September, and on October 15 — just over a week after Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack on Israel that sparked the war.

The fresh satellite image was also compared to images taken during several dates in November, then again during the first months of this year, UNOSAT said.

“According to satellite imagery analysis, UNOSAT identified 36,591 destroyed structures,” the agency says in a statement.

In addition, it said it had seen “16,513 severely damaged structures, 47,368 moderately damaged structures, and 36,825 possibly damaged structures for a total of 137,297 structures.”

“These correspond to around 55 percent of the total structures in the Gaza Strip and a total of 135,142 estimated damaged housing units,” it says.

Petel, the dog who saved her family on Oct 7, dies of wounds

Petel, a dog that was credited with saving her family from Hamas terrorists on October 7th in Kibbutz Be’eri, has died of her wounds, the Ynet news site reports.

Members of the Ben Zvi family tell the news site that when terrorists tried to enter their home, they heard Petel’s barking, both from the dog and through a baby monitor that was left on, and fled.

The dog, who had previously been lying quietly in the safe room, petrified by the explosions, suddenly began “barking like crazy” when they tried to break down the door.

“The terrorists heard the dog in stereo. I can only assume that the scene became too complicated for them and they decided to leave the house,” says Ela Ben Zvi.

However, the family were forced to leave the dog in the house when they were evacuated by soldiers later in the day, because of her size.

They left her in a bedroom with food and water, planning to come back and get her later.

However, other soldiers carrying out searches in the kibbutz believed there were terrorists in the house and opened fire. Petel was hit by shrapnel and wounded.

The soldiers, realizing their mistake, managed to get Petel to a vet, Ben Zvi says. She was treated and eventually returned to her family.

However, Ben Zvi says she died this week.

“She was with us and received a lot of love, hugs and pets. But she was an older dog, 11 years old. And she went through a lot and spent a lot of energy on her rehabilitation and recovery. There were several people who told us that she held on a little longer to be with us, and then she was let go.”

Netanyahu reportedly tells MKs there are ‘gaps’ between Israel’s proposal and terms presented by Biden

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) speaks at the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, June 3, 2024. (Maayan Toaf/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) speaks at the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, June 3, 2024. (Maayan Toaf/GPO)

After a senior Israeli official says the terms presented by US President Joe Biden of a potential hostage deal that Israel ostensibly proposed were “not accurate,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells lawmakers that “the claim that we agreed to a ceasefire without our conditions being met is incorrect.”

“The proposal that Biden presented is incomplete,” the premier tells MKs at a closed-door meeting of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, according to multiple media reports.

He also reportedly says that there are “gaps” between the Israeli version and Biden’s recounting of it.

“The war will stop in order to bring hostages back, and afterward we will hold discussions. There are other details that the US president did not present to the public,” Netanyahu is quoted saying.

According to Channel 12, Netanyahu says that Israel can stop the war for 6 weeks, but cannot end it permanently. “Iran and all of our enemies are watching to see if we capitulate,” says Netanyahu.

He also says that much of the reporting on his position on a deal is “fake news,” reports Channel 12.

Netanyahu briefs lawmakers on operations in Rafah and the Philadelphi Corridor, hostage talks, the “day after” Hamas, fighting on the northern border, tensions in the West Bank, and Iran, his office says.

Firefighters battle blaze near Kiryat Shmona likely caused by Hezbollah rockets

Firefighters work to extinguish a blaze in the Ramim Ridge area near Kiryat Shmona, June 3, 2024. (Fire and Rescue Services)
Firefighters work to extinguish a blaze in the Ramim Ridge area near Kiryat Shmona, June 3, 2024. (Fire and Rescue Services)

A large blaze is spreading in the Ramim Ridge area, near Kiryat Shmona, reportedly as a result of rocket impacts in the area over the past day.

The Fire and Rescue Services says nine firefighting teams are working in the area, and the blaze is not yet under control.

Meanwhile, the service says firefighting efforts also continue in the Golan Heights, following a major fire sparked yesterday as a result of a Hezbollah rocket barrage at the Katzrin area.

Israeli official says Biden’s description of Israeli truce deal offer ‘not accurate’

US President Joe Biden announces a proposed ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza at the White House's State Dining Room in Washington, DC, May 31, 2024. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP)
US President Joe Biden announces a proposed ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza at the White House's State Dining Room in Washington, DC, May 31, 2024. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP)

A senior Israeli official calls into question US President Joe Biden’s characterization of the terms of a hostage deal he laid out on Friday night as an Israeli proposal, stressing to NBC News that Israel never agreed to fully withdraw its forces from Gaza as part of any agreement.

Biden’s description was “not accurate,” says the unnamed official.

The official says what Biden described wasn’t an Israeli proposal but rather one originating with the mediating countries, to which Israel made amendments.

“It’s strange that they say it’s an Israeli proposal and at the same time that Israel needs to agree to it,” muses the official.

Lapid calls on Netanyahu to agree to hostage deal, reiterates pledge of safety net for government

Calling on Benjamin Netanyahu to agree to the latest hostage deal under discussion, Opposition Leader Yair Lapid reiterates his promise to provide the prime minister with a political safety net if his far-right coalition partners pull out of the government over its adoption.

“The Israeli government should… send a delegation to Cairo today to finalize the final details and bring home the men, young women, elderly and soldiers imprisoned in the tunnels,” Lapid tells lawmakers during a hearing of the State Control Committee in the Knesset.

The proposal, which was unveiled late last week by US President Joe Biden, is said to have been put forward by Israel without the prior knowledge of the wider security cabinet.

Addressing lawmakers during a hearing of the State Control Committee in the Knesset, Lapid says that finishing off Hamas can wait but the hostages are out of time.

“I offered and I am repeating my offer to give Netanyahu a political safety net to carry out the deal,” he says. “Our hostages should be returned. Ben Gvir and Smotrich cannot prevent them from returning home. They are dying there… There will be time to eliminate [Hamas leaders Yahya] Sinwar and [Mohammed] Deif, there will be time to eliminate Hamas; there is no time left for the hostages.”

Netanyahu’s ultranationalist coalition partners, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich of Religious Zionism and National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir of Otzma Yehudit, threatened Saturday night to bring down the government if the proposed hostage release and ceasefire deal is adopted.

Slamming the government for managing “to lose the sympathy of the world” while “waging the most just war in history,” Lapid says that “the world doesn’t understand what the goal of the war is, because we don’t understand what the goal of the war is either.”

Vehicle said attacked by Israeli drone in southern Lebanon

Lebanese media outlets report an alleged Israeli drone strike on a vehicle near the village of Kauthariyet al-Rez, in the Sidon District.

No further details are immediately available.

Iran’s acting FM makes first visit to Lebanon to coordinate conflict with Israel

Iranian interim foreign minister Ali Bagheri Kani waves for photographers before his meeting with Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bouhabib in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, June 3, 2024. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Iranian interim foreign minister Ali Bagheri Kani waves for photographers before his meeting with Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bouhabib in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, June 3, 2024. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Iran’s acting foreign minister arrives in Lebanon on his first official diplomatic visit since his predecessor died in a helicopter crash last month.

Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency reports that Ali Bagheri Kani will visit Lebanon and then Syria “to meet with the two countries’ officials as well as the officials of the resistance front to discuss ways to counter (Israel).”

Iran backs a number of armed factions in the region, of which Lebanese Shiite terror group Hezbollah is widely seen as the most powerful.

Bagheri Kani’s predecessor, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, a hardliner close to the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, died in a helicopter crash on May 19 in a mountainous area near Iran’s border with Azerbaijan, along with Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi and a delegation of other officials.

Bagheri Kani met with his Lebanese counterpart, Abdallah Bou Habib and praised the “close relations” between the two countries. He tells reporters that “resistance is the basis for stability in the region.”

“We agreed that all countries in the region, especially the Islamic countries, should adopt a joint movement in order to counter Israeli aggression and protect the Palestinian people, especially in Rafah,” he says.

Bou Habib said Lebanon, for its part, wants to avoid a wider war and is looking for “sustainable solutions that restore calm and stability to southern Lebanon.”

Bar-Ilan University receives $260 million donation for tech investment

Flowers in bloom at a garden planted at Bar-Ilan University in commemoration of the victims of the October 7, 2023 Hamas assault into southern Israel, on Thursday, January 11, 2024. (Alon Korngreen, Bar-Ilan University)
Flowers in bloom at a garden planted at Bar-Ilan University in commemoration of the victims of the October 7, 2023 Hamas assault into southern Israel, on Thursday, January 11, 2024. (Alon Korngreen, Bar-Ilan University)

Bar-Ilan University has received a $260 million anonymous donation earmarked for science and technology development, the university says in a press release.

The donation is “the largest bequest ever to Bar-Ilan University, and one of the largest donations ever made to an Israeli university,” the university says.

“We have a significant undertaking ahead of us. Today, more than ever, Israel needs science-based technological resilience, the essential element of all future innovations. This is key to a thriving society and economy. Bar-Ilan is thrilled that this gift will allow us to make a meaningful investment in strengthening Israel’s technological resilience,” says Bar-Ilan president, Prof. Arie Zaban.

The donor, whose name was not revealed to the public, was a Jewish North American and graduate of Columbia University who served in World War II, the university says.

The donation is “a direct donation to Bar-Ilan in the anonymous donor’s will,” the university spokesperson’s office tells The Times of Israel.

The donor “saw Israel as a safe haven for the Jewish people and was committed to its economic and social stability. He chose Bar-Ilan University as the research institution best able to undertake the great task of expanding science-based technological resilience in Israel,” the press release states.

Bar-Ilan plans to use the funds to recruit researchers and students in cutting-edge science fields, build research laboratories and innovation hubs, and create partnerships with outside organizations and bodies in various sectors to develop “science-based solutions” to Israel’s various challenges, the university says.

European rabbi who slammed calls for Jews to move to Israel now says they may be coming

Rabbi Menachem Margolin speaks at a conference on antisemitism in Amsterdam, the Netherlands on June 3, 2024. (EJA)
Rabbi Menachem Margolin speaks at a conference on antisemitism in Amsterdam, the Netherlands on June 3, 2024. (EJA)

A prominent rabbi from Brussels who once criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for calling on European Jews to move to Israel now asks the Jewish state to prepare for a wave of immigrants from the continent due to antisemitism.

“My message to the Israeli prime minister today is not as sure as it used to be,” says Menachem Margolin, head of the European Jewish Association lobby group in Brussels, at a conference in Amsterdam on combating antisemitism.

“Today I say to Israel: We are not there yet, but be ready, get your government agencies ready,” Margolin says.

If European governments “carry on as they have so far, if they continue to tolerate this flood of Jew hate, they can expect hundreds and thousands of us to leave,” Margolin adds.

The conference, which is titled “Fighting Back for Our Future” and is co-sponsored by Israel’s Ministry for Diaspora Affairs and Combating Antisemitism and the Christians for Israel group, brings together dozens of European Jewish community leaders and addresses the explosion in antisemitic hate crimes that followed the October 7 Hamas onslaught in Israel. The event features a legal panel tasked with devising practical legal tools for fighting antisemitism.

Eddo Verdoner, the Dutch government’s point man for fighting antisemitism, says Jewish communities are experiencing “the largest rise in antisemitism since the Shoah, since the murder of the Holocaust.” Verdonner, who is Jewish, calls for strict enforcement against antisemitic hate crimes but also for “celebrating Jewish life, enabling it to thrive.”

Iran’s Khamenei says Israel melting down, stuck in ‘dead-end corridor’ in Gaza

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in meeting a group of families of the Revolutionary Guard members in Tehran, Iran, May 19, 2024. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in meeting a group of families of the Revolutionary Guard members in Tehran, Iran, May 19, 2024. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Monday said Israel is melting down due to its war against Hamas in Gaza.

Speaking in a ceremony marking the 35th anniversary of the death of previous supreme leader ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Khamenei said, “Today, the Zionist regime gradually melts down before eyes of the world’s people.” State television broadcast his speech live.

In a nearly 55-minute speech, the leader said that Israel’s response to the October 7 assault by Hamas that began the war placed it in a “dead-end corridor.”

Khamenei also said that the war had derailed Israel’s US-backed efforts to reach accommodations with regional neighbors, which he characterized as part of an Israeli plot to dominate the region.

Egypt FM: Hamas views latest hostage-ceasefire deal ‘positively,’ awaits Israeli response

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry speaks during a press conference after a meeting with his Greek counterpart in Athens on May 20, 2024. (Photo by Aris MESSINIS / AFP)
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry speaks during a press conference after a meeting with his Greek counterpart in Athens on May 20, 2024. (Photo by Aris MESSINIS / AFP)

Hamas sees the latest offer for a hostage deal “positively,” says Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. “We are now waiting for the Israeli response.”

On Friday, US President Joe Biden laid out a proposal for a deal that he said was the latest Israeli offer.

Shoukry is in Spain for talks on the Gaza border and on Madrid’s recognition of a Palestinian state.

He also says Egypt rejects any Israeli presence at the Rafah Border Crossing.

“It is difficult for the Rafah crossing to continue operating without a Palestinian administration,” he says.

Hostage mother threatens Likud MK, campaigning for deal to free captives

The mother of one of the remaining 120 hostages in Gaza threatens a Likud lawmaker in the Knesset today, amid a political battle over a proposed hostage deal that threatens to derail Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition.

Yelling at MK Nissim Vaturi outside a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Einav Zangauker, mother of Hamas hostage Matan Zangauker, threatens that she will “pursue you my entire life if you return my son to me in a coffin or a body bag.”

“You can file a complaint that I am threatening you,” she adds.

 

Since the Knesset reconvened in late May after a recess, hostages’ family members have resumed appearing at the beginning of many committee meetings.

They are pushing for the government to agree to a newly proposed hostage release and ceasefire deal.

In call with Blinken, Gallant discussed identifying alternate local government for Gaza

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant delivers a statement to the press at the Kirya base in Tel Aviv, May 15, 2024. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant delivers a statement to the press at the Kirya base in Tel Aviv, May 15, 2024. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Israel was determined to dismantle Hamas and find an alternative to govern Gaa, according to a readout from his office of the call.

“Within the framework of any developing process, Minister Gallant emphasized Israel’s commitment to dismantling Hamas as a governing and military authority. In this regard, he discussed the issue of identifying and enabling the emergence of a local, governing alternative,” the readout says.

Hostage mother appeals to Shas minister to ‘choose life,’ support deal to bring captives home

Einav Zangauker holds a sign identifying her son Matan (24), one of the hostages taken captive by Hamas in the Gaza Strip during the October 7 massacre, as she stands on the roof of a car during a demonstration by hostages' relatives and supporters in Tel Aviv on May 6, 2024. (Jack Guez / AFP)
Einav Zangauker holds a sign identifying her son Matan (24), one of the hostages taken captive by Hamas in the Gaza Strip during the October 7 massacre, as she stands on the roof of a car during a demonstration by hostages' relatives and supporters in Tel Aviv on May 6, 2024. (Jack Guez / AFP)

The mother of one of the remaining 120 hostages in Gaza appeals to Labor Minister Yoav Ben-Tzur, a member of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, to “choose life” and support measures to bring back those abducted on October 7.

“You are a minister who wears a kippah, a believing Jew. I expect you to sanctify life,” Einav Zangauker, mother of Hamas hostage Matan Zangauker, tells Ben-Tzur during an Education Committee hearing in the Knesset.

“Your duty is to save those who remain alive, and to see to it that those who were murdered are brought for burial so that their families can comply with all of the laws of mourning,” she says.

“The number of living hostages is decreasing,” she continues, calling on Ben-Tzur to “to convey a message to the ministers of the government [to] choose life.”

“We will all do everything to make sure that they return,” Ben-Tzur responds.

This is not the first time that Zangauker — who was awarded the 2024 Truth to Power award from the New Israel Fund for her activism last week — has directly challenged a cabinet minister on the issue of the hostages.

Last month, she confronted Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich outside a ceremony at a military cemetery in the southern city of Ofakim, pressing him to end his opposition to a deal with Hamas to return those held in Gaza.

Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir both threatened to bring down the government Saturday night if a newly proposed hostage release and ceasefire deal is adopted by the government.

Police believe fire at Israel Museum was arson

Firefighters work to extinguish a fire that broke out near the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, June 2, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Firefighters work to extinguish a fire that broke out near the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, June 2, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Police investigators believe that a fire yesterday at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem was arson, Hebrew media report.

The reports cite investigators saying that they have found that the blaze was started at three separate sites.

The large fire that broke out in Jerusalem’s Valley of the Cross resulted in damage to the roof of the nearby Israel Museum’s youth wing and the evacuation of the museum.

UNRWA says over one million people have left Rafah

Palestinians leave the southern Gaza city of Rafah during an Israeli ground and air offensive in the city, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Jehad Alshrafi, File)
Palestinians leave the southern Gaza city of Rafah during an Israeli ground and air offensive in the city, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Jehad Alshrafi, File)

Over one million people have moved out of the southern Gazan city of Rafah, the United Nations Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) says.

Some 1.4 million had been sheltering in the city during the war but began to leave after Israel urged them to evacuate ahead of an incursion into the city.

Israel defied widespread warnings from the international community not to go into the city, saying that it was necessary to destroy Hamas’s last remaining battalions and to seize control over the Gaza side of the border with Egypt, to prevent arms smuggling.

Police find body of woman missing for three days in Sea of Galilee

Police search for a woman missing in the Sea of Galilee on June 3, 2024 (Police Spokesperson)
Police search for a woman missing in the Sea of Galilee on June 3, 2024 (Police Spokesperson)

Police say they have located the body of a 25-year-old woman who went missing in the Sea of Galilee three days ago.

Police say their initial investigation shows that the woman entered the lake on a motorized standup paddleboard, without a lifejacket.

They say she fell off the board for an unknown reason and disappeared. The board was recovered several hours later.

Dozens of police and volunteers participated in the search, including divers and a helicopter.

‘I will become the first woman president of Mexico’: Sheinbaum says competitors have conceded

Ruling party presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum greets supporters after the polls closed during general elections in Mexico City, early Monday, June 3, 2024. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Ruling party presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum greets supporters after the polls closed during general elections in Mexico City, early Monday, June 3, 2024. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

Mexico’s projected presidential winner Claudia Sheinbaum says her two competitors had called her and conceded her victory.

“I will become the first woman president of Mexico,” Sheinbaum says with a smile, speaking at a downtown hotel shortly after electoral authorities announced that a statistical sample showed she held an irreversible lead.

“We have demonstrated that Mexico is a democratic country with peaceful elections,” she said.

IDF says jets hit 50 targets in Gaza over past day

A Palestinian man inspects the damage to a house after an Israeli strike in Nuseirat, in the central Gaza Strip, on June 3, 2024 (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
A Palestinian man inspects the damage to a house after an Israeli strike in Nuseirat, in the central Gaza Strip, on June 3, 2024 (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)

Israeli fighter jets struck some 50 targets in the Gaza Strip over the past day, the military says.

The targets included infrastructure and buildings belonging to terror groups and weapon depots, according to the IDF.

The strikes come as troops continue to operate in southern Gaza’s Rafah and in the Netzatim Corridor in the center of the Strip.

IDF says Arrow system intercepted apparent Houthi ballistic missile fired at Eilat

The IDF says it has intercepted a surface-to-surface missile heading toward Israel from the direction of the Red Sea.

The ballistic missile, apparently launched by the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, was aimed at Israel’s southernmost city of Eilat.

The IDF says the missile was downed using the long-range Arrow air defense system.

Sirens had sounded in Eilat amid the incident.

The Houthis have fired several ballistic missiles and drones at Eilat amid the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip.

Sheinbaum holds irreversible lead in Mexico’s presidential race, quick count shows

Supporters of ruling party presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum embrace after the polls closed during general elections at the Zocalo, Mexico City's main square, Sunday, June 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Ginnette Riquelme)
Supporters of ruling party presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum embrace after the polls closed during general elections at the Zocalo, Mexico City's main square, Sunday, June 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Ginnette Riquelme)

Climate scientist Claudia Sheinbaum held an irreversible lead Sunday in the race that would make her Mexico’s first female president, according to an official quick count.

The National Electoral Institute’s president says Sheinbaum had between 58.3% and 60.7% of the vote, according to a statistical sample. Opposition candidate Xóchitl Gálvez had between 26.6% and 28.6% of the vote and Jorge Álvarez Máynez had between 9.9% and 10.8% of the vote.

Rocket warning siren sounds in Eilat

Incoming rocket or missile sirens are sounding in Israel’s southernmost city of Eilat.

No further details are immediately available.

Amid the war, missiles and drones have been launched at the city by Iran-backed groups in Yemen, Iraq, and Syria.

IDF says it has discovered remains in Israel of Dolev Yehud, initially thought to be hostage in Gaza

Dolev Yehud, who was killed by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023. (Courtesy)
Dolev Yehud, who was killed by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023. (Courtesy)

Dolev Yehud, 35, initially thought to have been taken hostage to the Gaza Strip by Hamas terrorists on October 7, has been declared dead after his body was identified in Israel, the military says.

Yehud, from Kibbutz Nir Oz on the Gaza border, was a volunteer medic with Magen David Adom and United Hatzala. On the morning of October 7 he left his house to aid others amid the Hamas onslaught, before being killed.

Initially, Yehud was believed by the IDF to have been abducted. Although amid the war there were no indications from Gaza of him being there, unlike other hostages, leading authorities to reevaluate unidentified remains found in the kibbutz from the onslaught.

Some victims of the Hamas massacres had their bodies burned or otherwise mutilated beyond recognition, making identification difficult.

New scientific identification tests, paired with information on where the remains were found, confirmed that a previously unidentified body belonged to Yehud.

The IDF says that Dolev’s family was notified after the body was identified.

Dolev was married with four children; his wife, Sigal, gave birth to their fourth child while he was thought to have been held captive. His sister, Arbel Yehud, 28, is still being held by the terror group in Gaza.

Arbel was taken hostage with her boyfriend, Ariel Cunio, from their Kibbutz Nir Oz home.

The latest development lowers the number of hostages taken on October 7 from the previous figure of 252 to 251.

 

Netanyahu to meet Ben Gvir over his threats to quit government

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir at the Israel Police Independence Day ceremony at the National Headquarters of the Israel Police in Jerusalem May 9, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir at the Israel Police Independence Day ceremony at the National Headquarters of the Israel Police in Jerusalem May 9, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invites National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir to a meeting after the far-right leader threatened to bolt the government over the newly proposed hostage release and ceasefire deal, Hebrew media report.

The Israel Hayom daily quotes sources in Netanyahu’s office as saying that Netanyahu plans to show him the draft of the proposal that was publicized by US President Joe Biden on Friday.

The source says that contrary to Biden’s remarks the draft does not have a clause obligating Israel to end the fighting. Netanyahu will show him that it is not an “irresponsible deal,” the source says.

Ben Gvir and fellow far-right minister Bezalel Smotrich have said they will quit the coalition if the deal goes ahead.

Smotrich said consulting rabbis about quitting government over hostage deal

Religious Zionism party leader Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich leads a faction meeting in northern Israel, May 19, 2024. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)
Religious Zionism party leader Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich leads a faction meeting in northern Israel, May 19, 2024. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

Far-Right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has been holding a series of meetings with rabbis associated with his Religious Zionism party over his threats to quit the coalition if a newly proposed hostage release and ceasefire deal is adopted by the government, the Kipa news site reports.

The news site, affiliated with the national religious community, says that Smotrich spoke with the spiritual advisers and others regarding the conditions under which his party will leave the government.

The report says Smotrich plans to leave the government before any ceasefire deal is approved.

On Saturday, after hearing of the plan announced by US President Joe Biden, Smotrich said he had spoken with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and told him that he would quit the coalition if the new proposal was accepted.

Jets hit Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon after rocket, drone attacks

Israeli fighter jets struck a rocket launcher and buildings used by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon’s Naqoura, Maroun al-Ras, and Khiam overnight, the military says.

The strikes come following a series of rocket and drone attacks carried out by the terror group on northern Israel yesterday.

Schools in Nahariya to remain open after drone strike on city

The Nahariya municipality announces that schools and educational institutions will open as usual, a day after a drone strike hit the city for the first time.

The city says the decision was taken after a meeting between all the relevant security services and the Home Front Command.

Yesterday several explosive drones were launched at the city, with the IDF failing to intercept one of them.

The drone hit an area in the city, causing a small fire, but no injuries.

It marked the first time amid the war that an explosive drone hit Nahariya.

Exit polls show Sheinbaum thumping challenger in Mexico by nearly 30 points

Electoral officials and poll watchers count votes after polls closed during general elections in Mexico City, Sunday, June 2, 2024. (AP/Matias Delacroix)
Electoral officials and poll watchers count votes after polls closed during general elections in Mexico City, Sunday, June 2, 2024. (AP/Matias Delacroix)

Two new exit polls show Claudia Sheinbaum with a commanding lead over her challenger Xochitl Galvez for Mexican president.

According to an estimate by the Enkoll polling firm, Sheinbaum, the ruling party candidate, won around 58 percent of votes, against 29 percent for Galvez.

Parametria’s exit poll showed on Sunday.

Parametria’s exit poll gives Sheinbaum 56% of the vote while to 30% for Galvez.

Earlier, television outlet NMAS and newspaper El Financiero both said their exit polls showed Sheinbaum winning, though they did not give figures.

Jewish candidate Sheinbaum appears to clinch Mexican presidency

Mexico’s Morena party says its candidate Claudia Sheinbaum has won the nation’s presidency.

If the result are confirmed, Sheinbaum, a Jewish scientist, will become Mexico’s first female president.

At least two exit polls have predicted that Sheinbaum will beat out challenger Xóchitl Gálvez, in a vote largely seen as a referendum on Mexico’s outgoing president and Sheinbaum’s mentor Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Polls ahead of the vote had shown her with a sizeable lead.

Blinken presses Gallant, Gantz on US hostage deal proposal, says onus on Hamas

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held phone calls Sunday with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and war cabinet minister Benny Gantz to discuss the latest Israeli hostage deal proposal unveiled by President Joe Biden late last week, the State Department says.

Blinken “commended Israel’s readiness to conclude a deal and affirmed that the onus is on Hamas to accept,” according to the US readout.

The top US diplomat also “underscored that the proposal would advance Israel’s long-term security interests, including by enabling the possibility of further integration in the region.”

These were the first publicized calls between senior US and Israeli officials since Biden’s Friday speech in which he revealed details of the hostage deal proposal authorized by the war cabinet led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Gallant and Gantz.

There is no immediate Israeli comment on the calls.

War monitor claims 12 killed in Aleppo airstrike

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor claims that 12 people were killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike north of Aleppo overnight.

The UK-based opposition watchdog, which has been criticized for inflating regime losses in the past, claims that all 12 were members of pro-Iranian groups.

The claim cannot be verified. Official Syrian sources have only put the death toll at “several.”

Syrian media reports casualties in alleged Israeli strike near Aleppo

Syria’s Sham FM news outlet, thought to be closely linked to the ruling Assad regime, reports that “there are a number of martyrs and some material losses” following an airstrike near Aleppo, citing a military source.

The source blames Israel for the assault.

According to other reports, airstrikes hit a copper smelting plant in Hayyan, a small town north of Aleppo.

Airstrikes said to hit factory in Aleppo

Initial reports indicate that a factory in Syria’s second city of Aleppo is burning following an airstrike, which some have quickly attributed to Israel.

Video from the northern Syria city posted online by the Syria Observatory for Human Rights appears to show at least three explosions in quick succession.

Another widely shared video shows a fire burning, though is too dark for details to be seen.

There is no official comment from Syrian officials.

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