The Times of Israel liveblogged Sunday’s events as they happened.
Capt. Ziv Daos, killed in Friday car-ramming, laid to rest
Captain Ziv Daos, 21, is buried today at the military cemetery in Holon.
Daos was killed in the car-ramming attack in the northern West Bank yesterday.
“He should be saying Kaddish [the mourner’s prayer] for me,” his father says over the grave, weeping. “This is against nature. He should bury me. Why do they take the good ones?”
Thousands attend the funeral for Daos, including friends and comrades from his Homefront Command rescue battalion, two cabinet ministers representing the government, Yoav Galant and Ofir Akunis, and MK Moti Yogev.
His uncle Yoni eulogizes the young officer. “Don’t tell me about him in past tense. Don’t say, ‘He is gone and won’t be coming back.’ Ziv, you will be with us forever, your memory will never leave our hearts. Your quiet, your embarrassed smile the conquered us all. You left an empty space in the hearts of us all.”
Hamas dismisses IDF-bombed tunnel as ‘old’ and ‘unused’
Hamas says at least one of the tunnels bombed by Israel this morning was an “old unused tunnel.”
“The tunnel claimed to have been unearthed is an old unused tunnel,” says a spokesman for Hamas’s military wing, adding that it had already been hit after it was used to blow up an IDF outpost during the 2014 Gaza War.
The IDF announced this morning that it had bombed and destroyed two attack tunnels from Gaza, one of which was an old one the group was refurbishing and bringing back into use.
In its statement, Hamas says “the announcement of the tunnel discovery is a new attempt at misdirection, an attempt to create the illusion of power and of fake victories for the Israeli public and the international community.”
Liberman vows to demolish all Hamas tunnels by year’s end
Hours after the IDF destroyed two attack tunnels from Gaza, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman vows that all such tunnels will be rendered inoperative by year’s end.
“In a systematic way, based on high-quality intelligence and groundbreaking technology, Israel is demolishing tunnel after tunnel for Hamas,” Liberman says in a statement.
“Those who thought they could hurt us from underground has hit our iron wall. I have a suggestion for Hamas: invest your money in the welfare of Gaza’s residents, because by year’s end your tunnels project will be destroyed.”
Mayim Bialik meets Rivlin, recalls her early years in Israel
The American Jewish actress and scientist Mayim Bialik, most recently a star of “The Big Bang Theory,” meets President Reuven Rivlin at his residence.
Rivlin tells her his grandchildren had raved about her work, and thanks her for her strong support of Israel, according to a statement from the President’s Residence.
Bialik recounted how her family had come “to live in Israel when I was born, and they lived in a few places around the country, so I grew up with a strong Zionist identity.”
Bialik is in Israel to take part in the Foreign Ministry’s Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism, which starts tomorrow in Jerusalem.
According to the statement, Bialik is “due to speak about her experiences as a Jewish and Zionist actress, and about the difficulties caused by a climate of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, which was increasing in a number of regions across the world.”
Also taking part in the forum are ex-French PM Manuel Valls, former UNESCO chief Irina Bokova and cabinet ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked.
Income tax investigators attacked in ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem neighborhood
Income tax investigators working in the ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem neighborhood of Mea She’arim are attacked by residents.
The investigators are rescued by police.
There is no immediate word on the circumstances behind the attack.
Top US senator predicts Trump will leave Iran nuke deal in May
The chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee predicts US President Donald Trump will fail to extend the nuclear deal with Iran when it comes up for renewal in May.
Speaking to the CBS network’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Sen. Bob Corker, the outgoing Republican from Tennessee, says, “Right now, it doesn’t feel like it’s gonna be extended.
“I think the president likely — will move away from it, unless my — our European counterparts really come together on a framework. And it doesn’t feel to me that they are.”
Asked by interviewer Margaret Brennan whether he thought the president would pull out of the Iran deal on May 12, Corker replied, “I do. I do.”
His remarks echo those of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who told members of his cabinet a week ago that Trump would walk away from the deal in May, according to Channel 10.
Opposition, NGO cry fraud in Russian polls
Russian opposition activists and an NGO on Sunday report ballot stuffing and multiple voting during the presidential election which is set to see Vladimir Putin win a fourth Kremlin term.
The non-governmental election monitor Golos, which publishes a list of fraud cases online, by early afternoon counts 1,764 irregularities, including observers prevented from carrying out their work.
The movement of Alexei Navalny, Putin’s most vocal opponent who has been barred from running in the election for legal reasons, says it had sent out 33,000 volunteers to monitor the election.
Navalny’s website reports hundreds of cases of fraud, notably in Moscow and the region around the capital, Saint Petersburg and Bashkortostan in the Urals.
Support for Putin is significantly lower in Moscow and Saint Petersburg than in Russia as a whole, according to recent official polls.
Navalny supporters working as election monitors were prevented from entering some polling stations, a lawyer for the campaign says during a press briefing.
Natan Sharansky, former refusenik and ex-cabinet minister, awarded Israel Prize
Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet Jewish refusenik who spent nine years in the Soviet gulag for his Zionist and human rights activism, has been awarded Israel’s highest civilian honor, the Israel Prize.
Sharansky went on to serve as a minister in Israel’s cabinet and as chairman of the Jewish Agency for the past nine years.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett announces the award in a Twitter post, saying:
“I just told Natan Sharansky he was chosen as the Israel Prize laureate for aliya and the ingathering of the exiles on the 70th anniversary of the state. Natan symbolizes the fulfillment of the Zionist dream. From the darkness of the Soviet prison as a Prisoner of Zion, to the light of liberty as leader of the Jewish Agency. Avital, his wife, is a symbol of courage and Jewish sacrifice,” Bennett extols.
The education minister then shares a video about Sharansky’s life.
Police publish photo of Jerusalem stabbing attack knife
Police publish a photo of the knife used in the Jerusalem stabbing attack.
Stabbing attack in old city Jerusalem. One man stabbed seriously. Terrorists with knife shot by police officer who responded pic.twitter.com/gF4W1TArvO
— Micky Rosenfeld (@MickyRosenfeld) March 18, 2018
Israeli wounded in attack after entering Palestinian town near Bethlehem
An Israeli enters Husan near Bethlehem and comes under attack by local residents, according to medics from the Hatzalah rescue organization.
The Israeli sustains a head injury, apparently from rocks thrown at him. His condition is not immediately clear.
The rescue organization says IDF troops rescued the man.
The army is not immediately responding for comment.
It is also not clear why the Israeli entered the Palestinian town.
— Judah Ari Gross
Netanyahu graft questioning delayed due to illness
The latest round of questioning of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his corruption cases is being delayed from Monday to the weekend as the premier continues to be unwell.
Netanyahu has canceled multiple engagements in recent days due to illness.
The next round will include questioning of the prime minister’s wife Sara and son Yair.
IDF says man hurt in West Bank was in car accident, not attack
The IDF says an Israeli man hurt near the southern West Bank village of Hussan was hurt in a car accident.
The Israeli was driving a car and hit a Palestinian. The Israeli was hurt in the accident, not in a rock-throwing incident, as reported earlier by medics.
There is no immediate report from Palestinian medical officials on the Palestinian’s condition.
Stabbed security guard still in life-threatening condition
The guard stabbed earlier today in Jerusalem’s Old City by a Palestinian assailant is still fighting for his life at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Hospital.
He arrived at the hospital without a pulse, was rushed into the trauma unit and a readied surgery room, then returned to the intensive care unit for continued care, according to Hadashot television news.
Exit polls show, as expected, an easy Putin win in Russia vote
An exit poll suggests that Vladimir Putin has handily won a fourth term as Russia’s president, adding six more years in the Kremlin for the man who has led the world’s largest country — in geographic terms — for all of the 21st century.
The vote Sunday was tainted by widespread reports of ballot-box stuffing and forced voting, but the complaints will likely do little to undermine Putin.
Putin’s main challenges in the election were to obtain a huge margin of victory in order to claim an indisputable mandate. Exit polls suggest he got more than 70 percent of the vote.
He faced seven minor candidates on the ballot. Putin’s most vehement and visible foe, anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny, was rejected as a candidate because he was convicted of fraud in a case widely regarded as politically motivated.
3-year-old girl hit by car in Tiberias dies from her wounds
The 3-year-old girl hit by a car in Tiberias succumbs to her wounds at Poriya Hospital in the city. Doctors in the hospital pronounced her dead after attempts at resuscitation.
“The toddler arrived without any signs of life and in the midst of resuscitation,” the hospital says in a statement. “The resuscitation efforts continued until this very minute, but without success.”
Syria’s Assad visits troops in battle-scarred Ghouta
Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday pays a first visit in years to battered East Ghouta to congratulate his troops for a grueling assault to oust rebels from the area near Damascus.
Syrian state television broadcast photos of Assad dressed in a shirt and jacket surrounded by soldiers, some perched on a tank behind him, in an unspecified part of Eastern Ghouta.
Rebels have held out in Eastern Ghouta since 2012, but a regime assault in the last month has retaken more than 80 percent of the former opposition bastion.
“The inhabitants of Damascus are more than grateful and they will maybe tell their children in the coming decades how you saved the capital,” Assad told soldiers in a video released by his office.
The ferocious air and ground campaign against Eastern Ghouta has killed over 1,400 civilians since it was launched on February 18, a Britain-based monitor says, and sparked international outrage.
Heroin and hashish trafficking ring busted in Nazareth
Five suspects are arrested in a major drug sting in Nazareth.
Three of the suspects are family members — two brothers, aged 32 and 49, and another relative aged 24.
They are suspected of running a hashish and heroin trafficking ring. In a raid on the homes of the suspects, police find gold jewelry and tens of thousands of shekels in cash.