The Times of Israel liveblogged Thursday’s events as they unfolded.
After the under-20 team’s defeat to Uruguay, President Isaac Herzog praises the players for displaying “winning, skilled, diverse and unified Israeliness” at the soccer tournament in Argentina.
“You taught us a lesson in the power of will, determination, bravery and, most important, achieving dreams,” the president says in a statement.
Uruguay holds on to its 1-0 lead to defeat Israel in the semifinals of the U-20 World Cup, ending the Israeli squad’s improbable run at the tournament in Argentina.
Uruguay takes a 1-0 lead over Israel in the semifinals of the Under-20 World Cup.
Uruguay forward Anderson Duarte scores in the 61st minute.
The game takes places at the Diego Maradona stadium in La Plata, Argentina, some 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Buenos Aires.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on the phone earlier this evening with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is currently in Saudi Arabia where he’s been discussing a potential Israel normalization agreement with Saudi leaders, the premier’s office says.
The call was ostensibly scheduled by Blinken’s office in order for the secretary to update Netanyahu on his talks in the Gulf kingdom, but the readout from the Prime Minister’s Office makes no direct mention of the normalization issue.
Instead, the Israeli readout states that Netanyahu expressed his appreciation for the military and intelligence cooperation Israel has with the US, “which is at an all-time high.”
He also thanked Blinken for the “candid discussions” that took place last week in Washington between Netanyahu’s aides and senior officials in the Biden administration about the Iran nuclear file and expanding the Abraham Accords.
In addition, Netanyahu proposed promoting joint Israeli-American cooperation in the field of artificial intelligence, which has been on the premier’s mind lately following discussions with ChatGPT founder Sam Altman and Twitter CEO Elon Musk.
Netanyahu and Blinken talked extensively about Iran amid growing speculation that the Biden administration is closing in on an interim agreement with Tehran that would see the Islamic Republic freeze its enrichment of uranium in exchange for some sanctions relief from the US.
Netanyahu reiterated his position that Iran will not stop advancing its nuclear program, even if it agrees to revive the nuclear deal with the US, his office says he told Blinken. “No deal with Iran will oblige Israel, which will do everything to defend itself.”
A readout from the US was not immediately available.
Over 150,000 participated in today’s Tel Aviv Pride Parade, according to the city’s municipality.
Celebrations will continue tomorrow with a daylong party and a concert at the city’s Ganei Yehoshua park.
In yet another deadly incident today of violent crime in the Arab community, a man is killed after an apparent drive-by shooting near Kafr Qasim.
According to the Magen David Adom ambulance service, a man aged about 30 has been declared dead with gunshot wounds, while another man is moderately injured from the gunfire.
The shooting caused the car to crash, also injuring a 46-year-old woman who was in the car, MDA says. The two injured people have been taken to Meir hospital in Kfar Saba.
Israeli F-16D fighter jets escort two American B-1 bombers as they made their way through Israeli airspace returning from the Persian Gulf, in an apparent show of force toward Iran amid lingering tensions in the region.
The flight took place “as part of the close cooperation with the US Armed Forces, which is a significant component in maintaining the aerial security of the State of Israel and the Middle East,” the Israel Defense Forces says.
Israeli jets escorting American bombers have become a regular fixture in the skies of the Middle East over the past two years, as tensions between Tehran and the West have risen amid stalled attempts to negotiate a new deal that would block the Islamic Republic from obtaining nuclear weapons in exchange for sanctions relief.
Israel’s Under-20 soccer World Cup semifinal against Uruguay kicks off in Argentina, with the Jewish state hoping the youth team’s dream run can continue in its very first appearance in the tournament.
The Israeli squad has pulled off a series of improbable wins, including a shock victory over powerhouse Brazil in the quarterfinal.
Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan says that Riyadh normalizing ties with Israel would bring significant benefits to the region but that those benefits would be more limited without a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“We believe that normalization is in the interest of the region, that it would bring significant benefits to all,” bin Farhan says in response to a question during a press conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken following a meeting of the global coalition fighting the Islamic State terror group in Riyadh.
“But without finding a pathway to peace for the Palestinian people, without addressing that challenge, any normalization will have limited benefits,” he says, avoiding mentioning Israel by name in his answer. “Therefore, I think we should continue to focus on finding a pathway toward a two-state solution, on finding a pathway toward giving the Palestinians dignity and justice. I think the US has a similar view that it’s important to continue with those efforts.”
The response is largely standard for Saudi officials who have long said publicly that they won’t normalize relations with Israel before the establishment of a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines, even though they’ve offered more flexibility behind closed doors. However, bin Farhan’s acknowledgment that normalizing ties with Israel would offer significant benefits appears to stand out from his previous comments on the matter.
The five people killed in today’s mass shooting in Yafa an-Naseriyye are named by Hebrew and Arabic media.
They are Naeem Marjiyeh, Abu al-Naeem Marjiyeh, Eiliya Marjiyeh, Luai Ragheb and Ibraheem Shehadeh. Further details about them are still unclear.
Some Hebrew media outlets report that police estimate that the shooting happened as part of a conflict between the Bakri and Hariri local crime organizations, which has now claimed 28 lives in less than two years.
חמישה בני אדם נהרגו מירי בשטיפת מכוניות ביפו, נצרת 1) נאים מרג'יה. 2) אבו אל-נעים מרג'יה. 3) אליה מרג'יה. 4) לואי רג'ב. 4) איברהים שחאדה. pic.twitter.com/B7p0ZCt4Be
— Tamer Naser (@TamerNa52884732) June 8, 2023
A general strike will be held tomorrow in the Arab community in protest of today’s deadly mass shooting in Yafa an-Naseriyye, the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel umbrella group announces.
The Committee calls for protests to be held in cities and towns over the weekend.
It supports the calls within the government to involve the Shin Bet in the fight against violent organized crime in the community, which has claimed 97 lives so far this year.
Becoming the first Knesset speaker to visit the parliament of a Muslim country, Amir Ohana is greeted by his Moroccan counterpart in Rabat and confirms that Israel is expected to soon recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over the disputed region of Western Sahara.
“I am fully aware of the importance of the recognition over the Moroccan Sahara,” Ohana says, addressing local lawmakers. “It is not only me. I believe that history says so.”
“Israel should move forward toward that goal of recognizing Moroccan Sahara, just as our closest ally the United States of America did as it signed the historic Abraham Accords. I supported and pushed toward that goal,” he says, to thunderous applause.
יו"ר הכנסת אמיר אוחנה: "על ישראל להכיר בריבונות מרוקו בסהרה."
— David Aaronson (@Aaronson_David) June 8, 2023
“I can tell you that there are currently serious discussions between our governments on the matter, and I believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu will be announcing his decision in the near future.”
Reuters reported this week, citing a diplomatic source, that Jerusalem could soon make the move and that it could result in Israel and Morocco upgrading their ties.
The two countries’ diplomatic missions are currently liaison offices, but recognizing Western Sahara could allow for a full embassy presence. A free-trade agreement is also a possibility for the future.
Western Sahara is a sparsely populated desert region on the Atlantic coast that is adjacent to Morocco proper. The Polisario movement seeks independence from Morocco in the area and controls a part of the territory.
President Isaac Herzog brands the wave of violent crime in the Arab community “civilian terrorism,” saying the country is in an “emergency situation.”
“The civilian terrorism harms the Arab society first and foremost, but it doesn’t stop there,” Herzog tweets. “Like terror tends to do, it doesn’t have boundaries. Murder after murder, women and men, of every age, and today — what seems like a massacre in Yafa an-Naseriyye.
“We mustn’t stand idly. Worlds are being destroyed, entire families are being crushed. This is one of the most central challenges facing the State of Israel, and we must urgently act against civilian terrorism in every way and while involving all bodies.”
Ayman Odeh, the leader of the predominantly Arab Hadash-Ta’al opposition party, launches an attack on the government, saying the blood spilled today in the “shocking massacre” in Yafa an-Naseriyye is on the hands of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir.
In a statement, Odeh says Arab community leaders “have for years been calling for getting the weapons off the streets and for cracking down on crime organizations.”
He urges the government to “immediately fire” Ben Gvir.
“We won’t accept this negligence. We will cause the whole country to strike until this stops,” he adds.
The Israeli military informs the family of Maher Shalloun, a Palestinian accused of killing dual American-Israeli citizen Elan Ganeles in a terror attack earlier this year, that their home is slated for demolition.
On February 27, Shalloun and Luai Ma’arouf allegedly opened fire at Ganeles’s car on the Route 90 highway near Jericho in the West Bank, killing him, before opening fire at several other cars in the area.
The pair were arrested several days after the attack, and in March, the Israel Defense Forces measured Shalloun’s home in the Aqbat Jabr refugee camp near Jericho, in the first step before demolition.
Shalloun’s family has now been formally notified of the military’s intention to raze their home, the Israel Defense Forces says.
As a matter of policy, Israel regularly demolishes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terror attacks.
Shalloun’s family can still appeal the decision to raze the home to Israel’s High Court of Justice. But such attempts rarely succeed, though in some cases the court can limit the demolition order to only the parts of the house used by the accused terrorist.
Under attack from opposition politicians over his handling of an ongoing wave of violent crime in the Arab community which he promised before the elections to solve, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir arrives at the scene of a mass shooting in Yafa an-Naseriyye in which five people were killed.
Speaking to reporters, Ben Gvir says he “shares the grief” of the bereaved families and sends speedy recovery wishes to the injured, which include a three-year-old girl seriously hurt in a separate shooting today in nearby Kafr Kanna.
“There has been a wild west in the Arab community for the past few years,” Ben Gvir says, adding that he and his staff are “working hard” to tackle the “root problems” but that there are hindrances.
He touts two solutions, the first of which is establishing a national guard under his ministry, a move that has been decried as handing the far-right politician a “private militia” and has been slowed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Ben Gvir says such a force is “so important,” expressing hope that it will start acting soon.
His second, more immediate solution involves the Shin Bet security agency in tackling the crime organizations, which Netanyahu said today he will do.
Ben Gvir demands passing a cabinet resolution to involve the Shin Bet as early as this coming Sunday.
“With God’s help, we will do it,” he says.
Holding signs emblazoned with “stop pinkwashing” and “end to dictatorship,” several dozen protesters against Israel’s military rule of the West Bank move through the party-focused pride parade crowd.
Walking under the banner “pride not apartheid,” Eyal says he is “against the occupation and the way that Israel says its position toward queers is so progressive, while it treats Palestinians this way.”
“We are behaving like we’re so nice, at a time when we have Avi Maoz, [Bezalel] Smotrich, [Itamar] Ben Gvir,” he says, listing far-right members of the government who hold or have previously expressed anti-LGBTQ views.
Footage is published of an incident in which Israeli anti-government protesters accost and try to get near Economy Minister Nir Barkat while chanting “Shame!” in the corridor of a hotel in Boston during the latter’s visit to the United States, before security guards push one of them to the ground.
While Barkat’s office hails his security team for “preventing physical harm to an Israeli government minister,” the protest movement accuses the guards of “violently attacking” protesters who were merely trying to protest the government’s judicial overhaul.
לשכת ברקת טוענת: "אזרח ישראלי ניסה לתקוף את השר בביקורו בבוסטון, התוקף נעצר" • המפגינים: "מאבטחיו של השר תקפו באלימות מפגינים שהגיעו לומר לשר שישראל לא תהיה דיקטטורה, אחד מהם נפצע"@shemeshmicha @yaara_shapira pic.twitter.com/J1Zxo8p80L
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) June 8, 2023
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir is on his way to the scene of today’s mass shooting in Yafa an-Naseriyye, his office says.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has held a phone briefing with Ben Gvir and Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai on the matter, the Prime Minister’s Office says.
Netanyahu “ordered to act immediately to find the murderers and to take determined action to eradicate the epidemic of violence and murder in the Arab society,” the statement says.
In addition to the celebratory atmosphere, the Tel Aviv Pride Parade is also serving as a healing space for locals.
Omer Elad, 38, runs local transgender support organization the Gila Project, and is attending the parade alongside his entire family.
His parents, Tami and Shlomi, say they’ve marched with their transgender son at the Pride Parade for the past two decades.
Elad says he thinks today’s event is “especially” important in the current political climate.
תרימו! מצעד הגאווה התל אביבי חזר לטיילת ויוצא עכשיו לדרכו מחוף גורדון. יותר מעשרת אלפים תיירים גאים הגיעו במיוחד לאירוע ???? pic.twitter.com/SnYVDPY3ne
— Anna Pines || אנה פינס (@AnnaPines_) June 8, 2023
“In the Knesset and in the government, there are people who are not ashamed to say transphobic and homophobic things and to try and delegitimize our existence,” he says, in reference to some far-right, ultra-Orthodox and even Likud politicians who have recently expressed anti-LGBTQ sentiments.
“For me, it means everything to be here and show people we’re here,” he adds.
Elad also marched in Jerusalem’s Pride Parade last week, where he says “the message is more about coexistence and tolerance, and here it’s about celebrating and taking space in the public sphere.”
Also, he argues, at 28 degrees Celsius (83 degrees Fahrenheit), Tel Aviv has nicer weather. Jerusalem is chillier and “you don’t wear a thong.”
Pulsating with electronic dance beats, floats are packed with shirtless men and women and a number of performers.
Among them is professional drag queen Fluid Snow, 32, from Jaffa.
“It’s my favorite thing in the world,” Fluid Snow yells down from his perch. “I get to perform in this body!”
Thousands of Israelis and tourists gather on Tel Aviv’s beachfront promenade, as the city’s annual Pride Parade begins.
Feathers, leather, glitter and rainbows adorn the crowd, which is peppered with German-, English- and Spanish-speakers, alongside the locals.
“We love Tel Aviv, it’s the best party,” says Paul, a Czech in his 40s who has thrice traveled for the annual Pride Parade with his partner, George.
Despite the celebration, the presence of police and the necessity to pass a security check to enter the cordoned-off parade area are reminders of Israel’s constant terror threats, as well as of potential violence against the community. A man was arrested earlier today with weapons near the Parade route.
“Well, that doesn’t exist in the US,” says a shirtless American man, passing through the checkpoint.
The Middle East’s largest pride parade just kicked off in Tel Aviv pic.twitter.com/wI8fu0Uebs
— Carrie Keller-Lynn (@cjkeller8) June 8, 2023
As the Middle East’s largest gay pride parade kicks off in Tel Aviv, US Ambassador Tom Nides stands alongside scantily clad, winged dancers on a dove-themed truck.
This is the US Embassy’s first time co-sponsoring a Pride Parade float, which it does in partnership with popular local LGBTQ bar Shpagat.
“I had float envy, because I was here last year and the Brits had a float, and we didn’t have a float. So this year we have a float. I never want to be one-upped by the British,” the ambassador jests to The Times of Israel.
“It’s really about bringing the community together, it’s about bringing our embassy staff together, and it’s about showing our respect for the LGBTQ community and the importance of democracy here in Israel,” he adds on a more serious note.
Near his float is a crowd of marchers decked out in rainbow flags and playing pro-democracy chants popularized by 22 weeks of ongoing protests against the hard-right government’s plan to weaken judicial checks on political power.
Nides, who is slated to leave his post this summer after two years, says that today’s event “will probably be my last pride parade as ambassador, but it will not be my last pride parade.”
“As someone who cares deeply about these issues, I hope to be doing this many more times,” he adds.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid launches a scathing attack on National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir following the mass shooting in Yafa an-Naseriyye, calling him “the worst and most failed minister the police have ever known.”
“The number of criminal deaths in the Arab society is growing at a frightening pace,” Lapid says in a statement, urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to sideline Ben Gvir and manage the crackdown himself, “as I did during my term” as premier.
“It’s unacceptable for the number of murdered people to have jumped by 300% in a few months because of a continuous government failure.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is “determined” to involve the Shin Bet internal security agency in the fight against organized violent crime in the Arab community, following the mass shooting in Yafa an-Naseriyye in which five were killed.
“I am horrified by the terrible murder near Nazareth,” he says in a statement. “We are determined to stop this string of murders. We will do so not only by boosting police [forces], but also with the help of the Shin Bet. I am determined to involve the Shin Bet in aiding the Israel Police against these criminals, against the crime organizations.”
The premier says he’s held meetings on the matter this week with defense, legal and police officials, “and I intend to continue next week and achieve a quick result.”
A 33-year-old man is arrested near the route of the Tel Aviv Pride Parade with an electroshock weapon, brass knuckles, pepper spray and another, unidentified, chemical substance.
Police say the Tel Aviv resident is known to them from previous threats to harm members of the LGBTQ community, and suspect him of planning to attack the marchers.
The Pride Parade begins in 30 minutes.
The Israel Police says Commissioner Kobi Shabtai is on his way to the scene of the quintuple murder scene in Yafa an-Naseriyye.
Police add that on his way, Shabtai has received an overview of the incident from Northern District Commander Shuki Tahauko.
The Abraham Initiatives nonprofit, which monitors violent crime in the Arab community, says the “massacre” in Yafa an-Naseriyye has raised the number of homicide victims this year to 97.
“We are horrified by the massacre of five people in broad daylight and wish a full and speedy recovery to the toddler who was injured today from gunfire,” it says in a statement.
The nonprofit also calls for the dismissal of National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, and urges Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to immediately convene a ministerial panel set up to tackle the wave of violent crime in the Arab community.
“We call on the prime minister — there is no time! Convene the ministerial committee today and start working. Every day Ben Gvir is the national security minister is a day in which the circle of blood widens.”
Five people have been killed in a shooting incident in the town of Yafa an-Naseriyye in northern Israel, the Israel Police says, one of the most deadly incidents of criminal violence in recent years.
Earlier, a 3-year-old girl was seriously injured and a 30-year-old man was critically injured in Kafr Kanna, which like Yafa an-Naseriyye is a suburb of Nazareth.
בכניסה לכפר יפיע, ליד נצרת.
שריפת רכב שככל הנראה קשורה לאירוע פלילי מוקדם יותר.
ככה"נ 5❌️ pic.twitter.com/jfZtpJ7w6X
— ????or keren (@Wq0oQJmUSfZunt5) June 8, 2023
Minutes after a separate shooting in the area, the Magen David Adom ambulance service reports five people injured from gunfire in an incident in Yafa an-Naseriyye in the Galilee.
The medical service says there are five people wounded in their 30s, including three in critical condition who have been taken to the English Hospital in Nazareth.
Earlier, a three-year-old girl and a 30-year-old man were seriously injured in Kafr Kanna, which like Yafa an-Naseriyye is a suburb of Nazareth.
Ukraine says people have been killed in Russian shelling of the Kherson city center, as the region deals with massive flooding from the destruction of a dam in Russian-held territory.
“There are some civilians wounded and dead as a result of Russian shelling in the center of Kherson, the number is being clarified,” military spokesman Sergiy Sergeyev tells AFP.
A 3-year-old girl and a 30-year-old man have been shot and seriously injured in the town of Kafr Kanna in northern Israel, in the latest apparent incident of rampant violent crime in the Arab community.
Medics from the Magen David Adom ambulance service take the pair to Poriya Hospital near Tiberias.
Hours ahead of the Tel Aviv Pride Parade, a far-right slogan is spray-painted on an LGBTQ center in the city’s Sarona market.
Unknown vandals write “Kahane was right” in graffiti, a reference to the murdered rabbi Meir Kahane, who advocated expelling all the Arabs from the Holy Land and whose Kach movement was outlawed in the 1990s but continues to have influence.
Deputy Tel Aviv Mayor Meital Lehavi urges National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir — himself a longtime Kahane follower who in recent years has sought to distance himself from the rabbi’s racist legacy — to “condemn the ugly graffiti on the building of the Tel Aviv Municipal LGBT Community Center on the morning of the Tel Aviv Pride Parade.”
כתובת ״כהנא צדק״ רוססה הלילה על המרכז הגאה שנמצא בשרונה. ביום של מצעד הגאווה הגדול בארץ, יש מי שמבקשים להזכיר למה הוא נחוץ pic.twitter.com/pQjo9pnz1S
— אורי סלע Uri Sela (@uri_sela) June 8, 2023
Three generations of one family — a grandfather, father and grandson — have been killed by Russian shelling in eastern Ukraine, police say.
“Russian troops shelled the Ukrainsk residential sector with artillery. A four-year-old boy, his father and grandfather were killed,” the police say on social media, adding that four more children aged between three and 13 and an adult have been injured.
The heads of the Knesset’s parliamentary Ukraine friendship group send a letter to President Volodymyr Zelensky, expressing “shock and dismay” at the June 6 attack on the Kakhovka dam.
“This deliberate act of Russian aggression, flooding towns and forcing thousands to flee, should be condemned by the international community in the strongest terms,” write Likud MK Yuli Edelstein and National Union MK Ze’ev Elkin.
The lawmakers, both Ukraine-born, visited Zelensky in Kyiv in February.
“The State of Israel is prepared to provide whatever support is necessary to assist with the recovery and restoration efforts,” they write. “The State of Israel and the Knesset stand with you and the people of Ukraine at this difficult time.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly preparing a potential plan aimed at preserving his current coalition in case National Security Minister ends up bolting the government, as he regularly threatens to do.
According to Army Radio, Netanyahu’s associates have contacted various lawmakers in Ben Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit party and asked them about the theoretical option of splitting the far-right party and staying with the coalition if Ben Gvir leaves.
The report says that none of the MKs would agree to that, but adds that Netanyahu’s Likud party is mapping each Otzma Yehudit lawmaker’s priorities and “weak spots” and trying to determined from their initial refusal what it would take for them to agree to a future offer.
Netanyahu currently has a 64-strong coalition in the 120-member Knesset. Ben Gvir’s party has six MKs, which means at least three of them would be needed to keep the coalition’s parliamentary majority.
One is reportedly seen as relatively easy to get — Almog Cohen, who has openly defied Ben Gvir and been punished for it.
Army Radio adds that Netanyahu’s office is also aiming to pull in opposition MKs Gadi Eisenkot and Matan Kahana from the National Unity party to vote with the coalition on some of the judicial overhaul bills. They have thus far refused, but the way in which they refused and other remarks made during these talks reportedly raised Likud’s hopes that everything could be possible if the coalition nears a collapse.
Eisenkot and Kahana insist that they will never support the overhaul legislation “under any conditions.”
Likud says the report is incorrect, and such a plan “never happened and won’t happen.”
As The Times of Israel’s political correspondent, I spend my days in the Knesset trenches, speaking with politicians and advisers to understand their plans, goals and motivations.
I'm proud of our coverage of this government's plans to overhaul the judiciary, including the political and social discontent that underpins the proposed changes and the intense public backlash against the shakeup.
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