The Times of Israel liveblogged Friday’s events as they happened.
Annual Gay Pride Parade kicks off in Tel Aviv
The annual Gay Pride Parade begins in Tel Aviv, with over 200,000 people expected to take part in this year’s event.
The parade is now in its 20th year.
Turkey blasts ‘anti-Islam’ Austria over imam expulsions
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s presidential spokesman on Friday lambasts Austria’s decision to expel up to 60 Turkish-funded imams and shut seven mosques as an “anti-Islam” and “racist” move.
“Austria’s decision to close down seven mosques and deport imams with a lame excuse is a reflection of the anti-Islam, racist and discriminatory populist wave in this country,” Ibrahim Kalin says on Twitter after Vienna announced the move in a crackdown on “political Islam.”
Iran-backed militia marks ‘Jerusalem Day’ in Baghdad
Thousands of Iran-backed Shiite militiamen march through a main Baghdad street to mark “Jerusalem Day.”
The men in military uniforms carry posters of late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and Supreme Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. They set an Israeli flag on fire.
Syrians, Palestinians march through Damascus to mark Jerusalem Day
Scores of Syrians and Palestinians mark the Iran-backed Jerusalem Day by marching through the streets of Damascus while chanting anti-Israel slogans.
The protesters march from the Hamidyeh market in the old city of Damascus to the Umayyad Mosque and wave the Syrian and Palestinian flags.
Hamid Hassan, 73, a Palestinian, says that the Jerusalem Day “means a lot for us. Jerusalem is an Arab land and it’s the land of all religions.”
He adds: “We will continue to offer martyrs until we liberate it. We will never kneel.”
Syrian citizen Samah Abdullah, 42, says the issue of Jerusalem is the cause of all Muslims, adding that commemorating the day is a “motivation for us and for all Palestinians to restore the occupied land.”
Flaming kites from Gaza spark fires near border
Flaming kites flown from the Gaza Strip into Israel spark a pair of fires near the Gaza border.
One of the fires is near Kibbutz Nir Am, while the other is near the Kerem Shalom border crossing.
A soldier is reportedly lightly injured from smoke inhalation due to the second fire.
The fires come as the army prepares for weekly clashes along the border fence.
— חדשות עשר (@news10) June 8, 2018
US ambassador praises marchers in Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman praises marchers taking part in today’s Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv.
He tweets that “promoting, protecting, and advancing human rights – including the rights of #LGBTI persons – has long been the policy of the United States.”
I am proud of everyone who is marching in the #TLVPride Parade today in support of #diversity and #equality. Promoting, protecting, and advancing human rights – including the rights of #LGBTI persons – has long been the policy of the United States. pic.twitter.com/sQLoBC1xv5
— David M. Friedman (@USAmbIsrael) June 8, 2018
Germany says suspect in rape, murder of Jewish teen caught in Iraq
BERLIN — An Iraqi asylum seeker wanted over the rape and murder of a Jewish teenage girl in Germany has been arrested in Iraq, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer says Friday.
Ali Bashar, 20, who is believed to have strangled Susanna Maria Feldman, 14, after sexually assaulting her, was “arrested by Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq at the request of German federal police,” says Seehofer.
Police say Mount Herzl graves were repainted, not vandalized
Police say 107 soldiers’ graves at Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem were not vandalized but repainted to renew the lettering.
“The paint seen in the picture will be peeled off in the coming days,” police say, stressing “there is no suspicion of vandalism or damage to the headstones.”
4,000 Gazans mass at border, burn tires ahead of clashes
Approximately 4,000 Palestinians have arrived to the Gaza border and started burning tires, ahead of expected mass demonstrations along the security fence, the army says.
The protesters are spread out among five different locations.
Israeli troops fire a small number of tear gas canisters at the mobs of demonstrators. The protesters throw rocks at the troops’ jeep.
No injuries have been reported.
“The IDF is prepared with reinforcements along the Gaza Strip fence to defend the residents of the Gaza periphery and security infrastructure from attempted terror attacks by terror groups led by Hamas,” the army says.
— Judah Ari Gross
100 Gazans said injured in border clashes
Approximately 100 Palestinians have been injured, the majority of them from tear gas inhalation, in thus far low level clashes along the Gaza border, according to the Strip’s Hamas-run health ministry.
One man was also hit in the face by an Israeli tear gas canister that was shot toward protesters, Palestinian outlets report.
— Judah Ari Gross
Report: Netanyahu refuses meeting with EU’s Mogherini
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to meet with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, leading her to cancel her participation in a forum in Israel next week, Hadashot TV news reports.
The network says Mogherini requested to meet with Netanyahu when she is in Israel next week for the American Jewish Committee’s Global Forum conference in Jerusalem, but her request was denied.
Army: 10,000 Gazans taking part in border clashes
10,000 Palestinians are taking part in clashes along the Gaza border, during which a grenade and pipe bomb are thrown at soldiers, the army says.
It says a flaming kite appearing to carry explosive material was flown toward troops, but exploded in the air.
Palestinians also burn tires and throw rocks at Israeli soldiers and the security fence, and fly flaming kites toward the border in order to spark fires in Israeli territory, according to the army.
It says troops are using riot dispersal methods and live-fire, in accordance with IDF regulations.
386 Gazans said wounded in border clashes, including 5 seriously
The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry says that 386 people have been injured, five of them seriously, during mass demonstrations along the security fence.
The majority suffered from tear gas inhalation, the army’s primary less-lethal riot dispersal weapon, the ministry says.
— Judah Ari Gross,
Gazans wear Holocaust-style garb at border clashes
Several Palestinians don uniforms similar to those the Nazis forced Jewish prisoners and others to wear in World War II at clashes along the Gaza border.
Ahmed Abu Artima says, “We want to remind the world that the Israeli occupation is committing the same massacres that the Nazis committed.”
Six million Jews were systematically murdered by German Nazis and their collaborators in the Holocaust of WWII, wiping out a third of world Jewry.
Denials or attempts to minimize or mock the Holocaust are widespread in the Arab world.
Poland: US envoy nominee to be accepted despite remarks on Holocaust law
WARSAW, Poland — An aide to Poland’s President Andrzej Duda says Friday that if Georgette Mosbacher is appointed as the new US ambassador to Poland, she will be accepted, despite having made “unnecessary and mistaken” comments about the country.
Mosbacher, a businesswoman nominated by US President Donald Trump, attributed the rise of anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe to a law passed in Poland in January that criminalizes blaming Poland for Holocaust crimes committed by occupying Nazi Germany. The law drew angry reactions from Israel, which in turn triggered a wave of anti-Semitic rhetoric in Poland.
Warsaw has objected to comments that Mosbacher made Tuesday during a nomination hearing before the U. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Krzysztof Szczerski says Friday that Duda will officially accept her credentials if she comes to Warsaw as the ambassador of Poland’s close ally.
If Mosbacher is sent to Poland “the president will accept her credentials despite those statements … which we find to be unnecessary and simply mistaken as far as the analysis of the situation goes,” Szczerski said on radio RMF FM.
Szczerski says Mosbacher will have a “much more nuanced opinion, a true opinion” that after she spends some time in Poland.
Liberman: Hamas, Iran making ‘great efforts’ to fuel Gaza clashes
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman credits IDF troops for their handling of clashes today on the Gaza border, which he says are backed by Hamas and Iran.
“The determination and professionalism of IDF soldiers on the Gaza border proves themselves. Despite the great efforts of Hamas and Iran, less and less terrorists are coming to our border,” tweets Liberman, thanking Israeli troops.
Another Gazan said killed in border clashes
The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says another Palestinian was killed in clashes along the border.
He is the fourth Palestinian killed today, according to the ministry.
The ministry says 618 people have been injured in today’s clashes, including 618 from live fire.
Nasrallah says Hezbollah in Syria to stay
The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah says his men will not leave Syria even if the whole world tried to force them to do so, adding that only a request from the Syrian government would prompt such a move.
Hassan Nasrallah’s comment comes during a televised speech he gave to hundreds of supporters who gathered in the village of Maroun el-Ras on Lebanon’s border with Israel to mark Jerusalem Day.
The close ally of Iran says Israeli claims that Iran is planning to resume uranium enrichment to wipe out six million Jews in Israel are lies. Iran and its allies don’t want to kill Jews, he adds.
“The day of the great battle” in the Middle East is coming, he says, as is the day “when we will all go and pray in Jerusalem.”
Unarmed Palestinian caught crossing into Israel from Gaza
IDF troops arrest an unarmed Palestinian man who crossed into Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip, the army says.
The man was under surveillance before he breached the fence and was picked up shortly after crossing.
“No weapons were found on him,” the army says.
The suspect is handed over to the Shin Bet security service for questioning.
— Judah Ari Gross