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Hundreds rally outside home of Yamina MK, urge him to vote down coalition

Right-wing lawmaker Nir Orbach was on the fence about whether to support new government, though he appears to have been persuaded to back move

Yamina MK Nir Orbach arrives for a meeting with Yamina party leader Naftali Bennett and fellow Yamina MKs, at Bennett's home in Ra'anana, on June 4, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Yamina MK Nir Orbach arrives for a meeting with Yamina party leader Naftali Bennett and fellow Yamina MKs, at Bennett's home in Ra'anana, on June 4, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

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

G7 strikes ‘historic’ agreement over global minimum corporate tax

Finance ministers from wealthy G7 nations endorse a global minimum corporate tax of at least 15 percent, rallying behind a US-backed plan targeting tech giants and other multinationals accused of not paying enough.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen hails the “unprecedented commitment,” saying in a statement that a global minimum tax will “end the race to the bottom in corporate taxation.”

Facebook even got behind the move despite the social media giant facing the prospect of having to pay more tax — while non-governmental organizations said it did not go far enough.

Police brass said set to meet Sunday to decide on charged Jerusalem march plan

Police chiefs are set to hold a meeting tomorrow to decide whether to approve a controversial right-wing march through Jerusalem’s Old City that could reignite violence between Arabs and Jews in the capital and beyond, Channel 12 reports.

The network says the parade — which was canceled mid-march last month as Hamas fired rockets at Jerusalem — is likely to be approved, but possibly with changes to its route. It says one such change could be a refusal to allow participants to pass through the volatile Damascus Gate area.

According to the report, police officials believe canceling the march will lead to appeals to the High Court of Justice and that judges will likely allow it to go forward.

Dutch woman, three children repatriated from Syria IS camp

The Kurdish-led administration in Syria’s northeast hands over to the Netherlands a Dutch woman, her two young sons, and a Dutch girl, who lived in a camp for families of alleged Islamic State militants.

A delegation from the Netherlands led by special envoy to Syria Emiel de Bont receives the four in Qamishli city, at the Kurdish administration’s offices. The group will be taken home and Kurdish authorities say the adult woman faces no criminal charges by his administration.

The move is a small step to resolve a complicated issue for European and Middle Eastern countries — what to do with the thousands of their citizens who have traveled to territories held by IS militants in Syria and Iraq.

Children gather outside their tents, at al-Hol camp, which houses families of members of the Islamic State group, in Hasakeh province, Syria, Saturday, May 1, 2021 (AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad)

Poll: Public prefers Bennett-Lapid gov’t to election, but few think it will last

A plurality of Israelis prefer the prospective government of Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid to new elections, but only a quarter believe it will succeed, a new poll indicates.

The Midgam survey for Channel 12 shows 46 percent of Israelis prefer the emergent government to a fifth national vote, while 38% would like to go to the polls again. Fifteen percent said they did not know.

Yamina chief Naftali Bennett and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid are seen on Wednesday evening, as they inform President Reuven Rivlin they have succeeded in forming a government, June 2, 2021. (Courtesy)

Meanwhile 42% think the government will be sworn in but won’t last, 16% think it won’t be sworn in, and only 24% believe it will be sworn in and last.

The poll also shows Israelis trust Bennett more than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Asked who they trusted more, 44% said Bennett, while 35% said Netanyahu (21% did not know).

Shin Bet head: Dangerous rise in online incitement, violent discourse must stop

In an extraordinary statement, the head of the internal Shin Bet security service Nadav Argaman warns rising incitement and hate speech on social media could lead to some groups or individuals to take violent action and even harm others.

“We have recently identified a serious rise and radicalization in violent and inciting discourse, specifically on social media,” Argaman says, including calls for violence and physical harm.

“This discourse may be interpreted among certain groups or individuals as one that allows violent and illegal activity and could even lead to harm to individuals,” he says.

Argaman said politicians, public opinion leaders, religious figures and educators across the political spectrum must speak out clearly against violence.

“It is our duty to come out with a clear and decisive call for an immediate cessation of the inciting and violent discourse. The responsibility for restraining the discourse rests on the shoulders of us all,” he adds.

TV: Shin Bet has no concrete info on planned attack, but sees echoes of period before Rabin assassination

Sources in the security establishment fear “physical harm” amid the imminent establishment of the new, Naftali Bennett-led government, Channel 13 reports, explaining Shin Bet internal security service head Nadav Argaman’s extraordinary warning.

Particular concern, the TV report says, relates to Bennett, the prime minister-designate, and the members of his Yamina party, “religious Zionists who are facing… calls for physical violence against them.”

Channel 13 quotes a security source saying: “We are familiar with this: Somebody will read this [material castigating the planned new government] and will think that he has to ‘save the state,’ that if the change government is established, the Zionist project will be over, and will take action.”

Argaman and the Shin Bet fear that somebody will misinterpret the criticisms of the planned change government, Channel 13 adds, “will grab a weapon, will carry out a violent act, and will harm either Bennett or one of the MKs” heading into the change government.

The Shin Bet has no concrete reports of any such planned action, but the fear is that “we are getting closer and closer to 1995, to the months before the Rabin assassination,” the TV report says. “That’s why the head of the Shin Bet Nadav Argaman, despite stressing in his announcement the importance of free expression… chose to sound the alarm.”

Channel 13 adds that the Shin Bet chief issued his warning amid ongoing Shin Bet monitoring of the “social media discourse,” having seen a “very significant surge in recent days of references to ‘treason against the state,’ [and the ostensible imperative to] ‘save the state from the change government’.”

Referencing ‘spies’ Torah portion, PM pans those who ‘weaken people’s spirit’

On Friday, Prime Minister Netanyahu posted a message on Facebook referencing the weekly Torah portion and the attempts to form a government booting him from power:

“In this week’s Torah reading, we read about the spies — representatives of the Israeli people who spread false reports about the Land and weakened the spirit of the people out of concern for their own personal interests,” he wrote.

“Two members of this group did not agree to lie. Yehoshua Bin-Nun and Calev Ben-Yefuneh contradicted [the others] and assured the people of Israel: “The land we traversed and scouted is exceedingly good.

“The Land is exceedingly good, and in our generation too, in our time, those who were elected with the votes of the right must stand up and do the right thing: establish a strong, good, right-wing government that will protect the Land of Israel, the citizens of Israel and the State of Israel.”

(With the exceptions of Yehoshua and Calev, the spies are said to have been struck down by a plague and died.)

Hundreds protest in Jerusalem against Netanyahu, for change gov’t

Several hundred people are demonstrating outside the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem against Netanyahu and in favor of the formation of the change government.

Police have closed off several streets in the area.

People protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside his official residence in Jerusalem on June 5, 2021 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Ra’am chief says he offered Tibi to join coalition, Tibi says he won’t

Ra’am party head Mansour Abbas tells Channel 12 he proposed to MK Ahmad Tibi of the Joint List to bring his Ta’al party into the new coalition, and that Tibi is weighing the offer.

Ta’al quickly rejects any such notion, saying it will not join a government led by Naftali Bennett.

The Joint List is an alliance made up of Tibi’s Ta’al, the hardline Balad and the leftist communist Hadash. Ra’am was also part of the alliance until quitting it in January ahead of the March election, amid disagreements about Abbas’s plans to negotiate with Netanyahu and others on potentially joining the government.

Abbas eventually signed on with the change bloc to be a part of the coalition, the first Arab party to do so in decades.

Joint List party member Ahmad Tibi speaks during a press conference presenting the Joint list hebrew election campaign in Tel Aviv, February 23, 2021 (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Top Netanyahu ally: He has no intention of quitting politics

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has no intention of resigning as Likud leader or quitting politics if the Bennett-Lapid coalition takes office, a top ally says.

Public Security Minister Amir Ohana of Likud tells Channel 13: “If we are indeed going to the opposition, I expect Netayahu to chair the opposition, and I will do everything I can to assist him.”

Asked who in Likud might compete against Netanyahu in primaries for the party leadership, Ohana says: “I think that if anyone does decide to stand, it will be a mistake because they’ll be overwhelmingly defeated.”

Minister of Public Security Amir Ohana at the annual Jerusalem Conference of the ‘Besheva’ group in Jerusalem, on March 15, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Government official to TV: Decision on parade is for police alone

An unnamed government official tells Channel 12 news the decision whether to allow the right-wing march in Jerusalem to go forward next week is the police’s alone.

He notes that “Israel is in a routine state and there are no limitations, Jews also visit the Temple Mount.”

Unsourced TV report: Hamas unlikely to fire rockets in response to march, but could take other steps

A Hamas representative in East Jerusalem is warning Israel against holding the rescheduled flag march — and against its passage via Damascus Gate and the Old City — on Thursday. Hamas in East Jerusalem is also calling on Arab Israelis and East Jerusalemites to “protect Al-Aqsa.”

Without providing sourcing, Channel 13 assesses that Hamas is not likely to fire rockets at Jerusalem, as it did during the original march on May 10, but it could heat up the Gaza border area, including with incendiary balloons, and Israel will respond — a recipe for what could deteriorate into another round of conflict.

Gantz on Shin Bet warning: Lessons of the past have not been learned

In the wake of the Shin Bet chief’s warning, Defense Minister Benny Gantz tweets: “Public leaders have a particular responsibility and it seems in the last few days that the necessary lessons from past events have not been learned.

“Anyone who tries to delegitimize basic democratic processes, and who lights the fire of incitement, will be held responsible. I call on everyone to refrain from any displays of violence. All public leaders must publicly, determinedly and actively speak out against violence in general, and especially in the political context.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz addresses the media in Jerusalem on May 31, 2021. (Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP)

Far-right MK: Jerusalem is our capital forever, we will march everywhere happily

Far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir says the planned flag parade in Jerusalem on Thursday will take place regardless of the warnings it may reignite violence in the region.

“In face of the anger of the far-left government, we will march in Jerusalem,” Ben Gvir says.

“It is amazing that after they sold the Negev, gave up on the rule of law, and folded to Ra’am, now even the flag march in Jerusalem causes them to claim it is a provocation,” he adds.

Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir arrives for a hearing at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on February 24, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“Jerusalem is our capital forever and ever, and we will march everywhere, happily,” he says.

Ben Gvir’s decision to “relocate” his office to East Jerusalem during tensions there last month is seen as having been a central cause of unrest there that later spread to the Temple Mount, leading Hamas to fire rockets at Israel and thus igniting last month’s conflict with Gaza and inter-ethnic violence in Israeli cities.

Miri Regev: We’ll continue to protest theft of right-wing votes without violence

Transportation Minister Miri Regev of Likud calls upon Yamina MK Nir Orbach to oppose the forthcoming government that will oust Netanyahu.

“There is a great responsibility on your shoulders this week. Listen to your values, to your people and to many in the Israeli public who expect you to announce that you will not allow the establishment of a dangerous left-wing government for Israel,” Regev writes on Facebook.

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

Responding to the Shin Bet’s warning of right-wing incitement online, Regev says: “We will continue to protest the theft of right-wing votes in a democratic and dignified manner, without violence.”

She also complains of alleged “censorship and violation of the right to protest, while painting the entire right-wing camp as violent and dangerous.”

Smotrich: Where was the Shin Bet when Arabs killed and wounded citizens?

The head of the Religious Zionism Party Bezalel Smotrich responds to Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman after the latter warned of the potential for right-wing violence.

“Several weeks ago Jewish citizens were killed and wounded here in severe rioting carried out by many of Israel’s Arabs. The Shin Bet under your leadership did not expect, warn of prepare for this in advance,” he says.

“Israelis deserve an explanation as to where you were, and how you missed the incitement and nationalism ahead of those riots.”

Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich leads a faction meeting at the Knesset on May 3, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Al Jazeera reporter said arrested by police during East Jerusalem protest

An Al-Jazeera journalist was arrested earlier by the Israel Police in the flashpoint Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, according to footage posted online and the Palestinian Authority.

She was identified as Givara Al Budeiri, the Qatari network’s Jerusalem correspondent, by an Al Jazeera official.

A police statement says two suspects, a man and a woman, were arrested for attacking officers after they refused to identify themselves. Police do not immediately comment on whether the woman is a journalist.

The PA’s official Wafa news agency confirms the arrest and condemns the “aggression of the occupation forces.”

Gantz indicates he’ll demand cancelation of flag parade

Defense Minister Gantz says he will demand the explosive flag parade through Jerusalem’s Old City not take place this week if it “demands extraordinary security measures and endangers public order and diplomatic processes.”

He puts out the statement following a meeting with the military and police chiefs, the attorney general, and other top security officials.

Gantz says he stressed to all officials present the need for responsible, sensitive behavior this week.

Hundreds protest outside home of Yamina’s Orbach

A few hundred people protest outside the home of Yamina MK Nir Orbach, urging him to vote down the prospective change government led by his party’s head Naftali Bennett.

According to Channel 12, calls of ‘leftists are traitors’ are heard at the scene in Petah Tikva.

Orbach vote is seen as crucial to the formation of the new government. Though he briefly indicated he may vote against it, he has more recently been reported to say he will either vote in favor or resign from the Knesset, allowing the next person in line, Shirley Pinto, to enter. Pinto is a clear supporter of the change government.

Iran presidential hopefuls trade blame over economic woes

Iran’s reformist and ultraconservative presidential candidates trade accusations over the country’s economic crisis during the first pre-election debate broadcast live on television.

Iranians are set to elect a successor to President Hassan Rouhani on June 18 amid widespread discontent over a deep economic and social crisis caused by the reimposition of crippling sanctions after the US pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran’s conservative-dominated Guardian Council approved seven candidates — five ultraconservative and two reformists — to run from a field of about 600 hopefuls.

Ultraconservative judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi is widely seen as a favorite, after the Council disqualified moderate conservative Ali Larijani.

In this file photo taken on May 15, 2021, Iranian judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi delivers a speech after registering his candidacy for Iran’s presidential elections, at the Interior Ministry in capital Tehran, ahead of the presidential elections scheduled for June. (Photo by ATTA KENARE / AFP)

Ultraconservative candidates call on reformist hopeful Abdolnasser Hemmati, who is the country’s central bank governor, to take responsibility for the crisis, and accuse him of seeking to defend the government’s record.

“Mr Hemmati, your governance was catastrophic, you are sitting here as a representative of Mr Rouhani,” says Mohsen Rezai, a former chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

Hemmati takes aim at his ultraconservative adversaries’ economic plan, saying their pledges of massive direct financial aid are “unrealizable.”

He also accuses them of undermining Iran’s international relations and preventing the country from benefiting from the nuclear deal.

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