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IDF said considering use of attack helicopters during fierce firefights in West Bank

TV report says Arab Israeli hospitalized in Haifa after being wounded fighting against Israeli forces during intense clashes near Jenin in which police commando was killed

Illustrative. An Israeli Air Force Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopter, June 8, 2012. (Ofer Zidon/Flash90/File)
Illustrative. An Israeli Air Force Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopter, June 8, 2012. (Ofer Zidon/Flash90/File)

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

Clashes erupt during East Jerusalem funeral of Palestinian wounded on Temple Mount

Israeli security forces clash with Palestinians following the funeral of Walid al-Sharif, 23, who died of wounds suffered last month during clashes with Israeli police at Jerusalem's flashpoint al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount, on May 16, 2022 outside the Old City of Jerusalem.  (Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)
Israeli security forces clash with Palestinians following the funeral of Walid al-Sharif, 23, who died of wounds suffered last month during clashes with Israeli police at Jerusalem's flashpoint al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount, on May 16, 2022 outside the Old City of Jerusalem. (Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)

Palestinians and police officers are sparring in East Jerusalem, during the funeral procession of Walid a-Sharif, a Palestinian who died on Saturday after being critically wounded during clashes on the Temple Mount several weeks ago.

According to police, several officers have been lightly injured by stones hurled at them by the hundreds of rioters at a cemetery near Jerusalem’s Old City.

Police say they are responding with riot dispersal measures. The Palestinian Red Crescent says it has so far treated 37 people for injuries caused by rubber bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades. Ten were taken to a nearby hospital for further treatment, the Red Crescent says.

Police say they also arrested five people who were in a car that accelerated toward Border Police officers securing the funeral procession earlier this evening.

The officers fired at the vehicle’s wheels and arrested the five, who were unharmed. No officers were hurt during the incident either.

Arab Israeli took part in fighting against security forces in Jenin — TV

Illustrative: Gunmen fire on Israeli forces during a raid in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, May 13, 2022. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)
Illustrative: Gunmen fire on Israeli forces during a raid in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, May 13, 2022. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

An Arab Israeli was among gunmen who engaged in intense clashes with Israeli forces in the Jenin area on Friday, Channel 12 news reports.

The network says the 18-year-old, whom it does not name, was hospitalized in Israel alongside Daoud Zubeidi, after they were wounded in the battle. Zubeidi, whose brother is an imprisoned terror chief, later died of his wounds.

The report, which does not cite a source, says the man was born to a Palestinian father and Israeli mother, and lives in Jenin.

Turkey’s Erdogan: ‘Won’t say yes’ to NATO membership for Finland, Sweden

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a media conference after an extraordinary NATO summit at NATO headquarters in Brussels, March 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a media conference after an extraordinary NATO summit at NATO headquarters in Brussels, March 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

ISTANBUL — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirms Turkey’s opposition to NATO membership for Finland and Sweden, again accusing them of failing to take a clear stance against terrorism.

“We will not say ‘yes’ to those (countries) who apply sanctions to Turkey to join security organization NATO,” Erdogan says.

Israeli diplomats in Kyiv for first time since Russia invaded

Israel Ambassador to Ukraine Michael Brodsky is interviewed at his office in Kyiv, on February 16, 2022. (Screenshot, Ynet)
Israel Ambassador to Ukraine Michael Brodsky is interviewed at his office in Kyiv, on February 16, 2022. (Screenshot, Ynet)

Israeli diplomats, led by Ambassador to Ukraine Michael Brodsky, arrive in Kyiv to prepare for the reopening of Israel’s embassy there.

This is the first time that the ambassador and his team have been in Kyiv since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24.

The embassy staff was initially moved to the Western city of Lviv, and was then quickly relocated to the Polish border city of Przemysl, where they spent much of their time at the often chaotic border crossings helping Israel citizens flee the country.

It’s good to be back!

Posted by Michael Brodsky on Monday, May 16, 2022

IDF said considering use of attack helicopters during fierce firefights in West Bank

Illustrative. An Israeli Air Force Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopter, June 8, 2012. (Ofer Zidon/Flash90/File)
Illustrative. An Israeli Air Force Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopter, June 8, 2012. (Ofer Zidon/Flash90/File)

The IDF is considering using attack helicopters if Israeli troops encounter fire from dozens of Palestinian gunmen during military operations in the West Bank, according to Channel 12 news.

The report comes after a commando from an elite police counterterror unit was killed when Israeli forces came under heavy fire, during a raid Friday in the Jenin area.

Ukraine governor says at least 10 killed in Russian shelling of city in Luhansk

KYIV, Ukraine — At least 10 people were killed in the latest shelling in Severodonetsk in the east of Ukraine, as the city is almost surrounded by Russian troops, the Luhansk region governor Sergiy Gaiday says today.

Russian troops “are shelling Severodonetsk without stopping,” Gaiday says in a statement in Telegram.

“At least 10 people were killed. It is currently extremely difficult to check the area due to new shelling,” he adds, urging the locals not to leave the shelters.

Macron taps woman to serve as French PM for first time in 30 years

PARIS — President Emmanuel Macron has named Labor Minister Elisabeth Borne as his new prime minister, the first woman to head the French government in over 30 years, the Elysee says in a statement.

The Elysee says that Borne will now be charged with forming a government. Until now, the only woman to head a French cabinet was Edith Cresson, from May 1991 to April 1992, under president Francois Mitterrand.

COVID tests will no longer be needed to board flights to Israel on Saturday

Medical technicians test passengers for COVID-19 at Ben Gurion Airport, on March 8, 2021. (Flash90)
Medical technicians test passengers for COVID-19 at Ben Gurion Airport, on March 8, 2021. (Flash90)

The Health Ministry announces that beginning Saturday, May 21, both Israeli and foreign travelers will no longer need to provide an antigen test before boarding flights to Israel.

Citing declining morbidity, it also says that the requirement to undergo a PCR check upon arriving at Ben Gurion Airport will be dropped for foreigners on Saturday, as well as for Israelis.

Travelers must still fill out a Health Ministry declaration within 48 hours of flying.

Joint List MK claims Bennett knows who fired shot that killed Al Jazeera journalist

MK Ahmad Tibi attends a Joint Arab list faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on March 7, 2022 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
MK Ahmad Tibi attends a Joint Arab list faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on March 7, 2022 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi blames Israel for the death of Al Jazeera journalist Shirin Abu Akleh amid clashes between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli forces during an IDF raid, claiming Prime Minister Naftali Bennett knows who fired the fatal shot.

Israel has said it remains unclear who shot the bullet that killed Abu Akleh but has focused on two possible scenarios, one involving an officer who fired through a slit in a vehicle in response to Palestinian gunfire.

“You know what jeep he fired from,” Tibi says in the Knesset plenum.

In response, Bennett says, “You’re lying.”

Yamina member ousted from Knesset denies having intended to defect

Yomtob Kalfon speaks at a protest in Jerusalem, on July 17, 2021. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)
Yomtob Kalfon speaks at a protest in Jerusalem, on July 17, 2021. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

Yamina’s Yomtob Kalfon, who was ousted as a Knesset member by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, denies having intended to defect from the coalition amid concerns he could jump ship.

In a preview of an interview with Channel 12 news, Kalfon says he was surprised to learn fellow Yamina member Matan Kahana was resigning as a minister to return to the Knesset, forcing him to give up his spot.

“I was shocked when Bennett removed me from the Knesset. I didn’t defect or intend to do so,” he is quoted as saying.

Ukraine says forces have regained control from Russia over border near Kharkiv

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine says its troops have regained control of territory on the Russian border near the country’s second-largest city of Kharkiv, which has been under constant fire since Moscow’s invasion began.

The defense ministry says in a statement on social media that the Ukrainian troops of the 127th brigade in the Kharkiv region “drove out the Russians and claimed the state border.”

In a video released with the statement, a clutch of Ukrainian soldiers in camouflage and holding weapons are gathered around a yellow-and-blue-painted border demarcation post and address President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The military has “reached the border with the Russian Federation — with the occupying country — we’ve done it; we’re here,” one of the soldiers says.

Iranian academic arrested on security charges, ‘suspicious foreign links’

TEHRAN, Iran — Authorities in Iran have arrested a university professor on security charges and “suspicious foreign links,” Iranian media reports today.

The semiofficial Mehr news agency identifies the professor as Saeed Madani, but doesn’t provide details or say when and where he was taken into custody. The report says the academic had met with allegedly suspicious foreign citizens and carried messages from them to local activists in Iran.

Madani, a sociology professor at Tehran’s government-run Allameh University, was also an activist, says Mehr. He was summoned by the courts several times in the past, and was once, in 2019, banned from traveling abroad.

A representative for Madani can’t immediately be reached for comment.

Iran has in recent weeks intensified its crackdown on dissent, including with raids on activists. Over the weekend, a statement from award-wining filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof and others said authorities recently raided offices and homes of several filmmakers and other industry professionals, arresting some of them.

Iran’s conservative authorities, many with religious sensibilities, control all the levers of power in Iran. They have long viewed many activities as part of a “soft war” by the West against the Islamic Republic. They say Westernization is attempting to tarnish the country’s Islamic beliefs.

State media reported last Friday that authorities had arrested at least 22 demonstrators protesting sudden price hikes of subsidized staple foods. And on Saturday, Ahmad Avaei, a member of parliament from the city of Dezful in southwestern Khuzestan province, said one person was killed during the unrest.

The unrests follow Iran’s announcement earlier in the week that the cost of cooking oil, chicken, eggs and milk would rise by as much as 300%, as food prices surge across the Middle East due to global supply chain snarls and Russia’s invasion of major food exporter Ukraine.

Government advances reappointment of Yamina’s Kahana as minister

Then-minister of religious affairs Matan Kahana arrives to a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on May 1, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Then-minister of religious affairs Matan Kahana arrives to a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on May 1, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The government approves Yamina MK Matan Kahana’s reappointment as religious affairs minister, after he gave up the post to resume his Knesset seat.

As the appointment requires Knesset approval, ministers also tap Kahana as deputy minister, which takes effect as soon as the government informs parliament.

Gantz: Israel will prevent Iran’s transfer of ‘advanced capabilities’ to region

Defense Minister Benny Gantz visits IDF Northern Command on May 16, 2022. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz visits IDF Northern Command on May 16, 2022. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Days after a reported Israeli airstrike in Syria, Defense Minister Benny Gantz vows to prevent Iran from transferring “advanced capabilities” to the region.

“The State of Israel will continue to act against any enemy that threatens it, and prevent the transfer of advanced capabilities from Iran that endanger the citizens of Israel and harm the stability of the entire region,” Gantz says during a visit to the military’s Northern Command.

Gantz says Israel is continuing to push ahead with defensive measures in the north.

“The combination of training, operational activity, and strengthening civil resilience makes up our complete perception of protecting the north and the entire State of Israel,” he adds, as the military holds a major exercise in the area.

Sweden’s PM formally declares intent to apply for NATO membership

Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson gives a news conference in the capital Stockholm on May 16, 2022. (Henrik Montgomery/Various Sources/AFP)
Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson gives a news conference in the capital Stockholm on May 16, 2022. (Henrik Montgomery/Various Sources/AFP)

STOCKHOLM — Sweden will apply for membership in NATO as a deterrent against Russian aggression, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson says in a historic reversal of the country’s decades-long military non-alignment.

“The government has decided to inform NATO that Sweden wants to become a member of the alliance. Sweden’s NATO ambassador will shortly inform NATO,” Andersson tells reporters a day after neighboring Finland made a similar announcement.

Iran says it’s hoping for improved ties with UAE under new president

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates at the presidential palace, in Ankara, Turkey, on November 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici, File)
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates at the presidential palace, in Ankara, Turkey, on November 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici, File)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran says it hopes to expand ties with the United Arab Emirates after Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was elected president of the Gulf country following his half-brother’s death.

The two countries downgraded diplomatic relations in 2016 following the severance of ties between Iran and Gulf Arab heavyweight Saudi Arabia, a key ally of the Emirates.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi today congratulates Sheikh Mohamed on his election as president of the UAE, according to a presidency statement.

Raisi “expressed hope that the foundation of the development and progress of relations between the two countries… which was laid during the time of late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, will be expanded with wisdom and in line with the interests of the two countries,” it says.

He says he hopes to see “increased deepening of mutual relations in all fields” between the two countries, the statement reads.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian left Tehran for Abu Dhabi this morning to offer condolences over the late Emirati president’s death, according to the ministry.

Sheikh Mohamed has run the oil-rich Gulf state from behind the scenes since his half-brother was sidelined by ill health in 2014.

Under his leadership, Abu Dhabi has fostered trade and political ties across the region — including, to a limited extent, with Iran — but has sided with the US against Tehran’s nuclear program.

The UAE forged ties with Israel under the Abraham Accords in 2020, brokered by former US president Donald Trump. Iran has said that Arab countries that normalize ties with Israel are stabbing Palestinians in the back.

Shiite-majority Iran and Sunni-majority UAE, moreover, support rival sides in Yemen’s seven-year civil war, with Abu Dhabi having been part of the Saudi-led military coalition that supports the internationally recognized government and Tehran backing the Houthi rebels.

Bennett boots rebel MK Silman from Yamina faction meeting

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (left) with MK Idit Silman at the Knesset in Jerusalem, January 5, 2022 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (left) with MK Idit Silman at the Knesset in Jerusalem, January 5, 2022 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett throws rebel Yamina MK Idit Silman out of a Knesset faction meeting after she refuses to commit to supporting the reappointment of the party’s MK Matan Kahana as religious affairs minister.

“You’re not embarrassed to be here?” he says, according to Channel 12 news.

Silman’s recent decision to quit the coalition deprived the government of its parliamentary majority. Kahana announced last week he was resigning as minister and rejoining the Knesset in place of another Yamina member amid concerns of further defections.

Hamas urges attendance at funeral of Palestinian fatally hurt in Temple Mount clash in April

Palestinians chant slogans and wave Hamas flags during a protest against Israel, in front of the Dome of the Rock shrine at the Aqsa Mosque compound atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City, April 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)
Palestinians chant slogans and wave Hamas flags during a protest against Israel, in front of the Dome of the Rock shrine at the Aqsa Mosque compound atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City, April 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

The Hamas terror group calls for Palestinians to participate in tonight’s funeral for Walid al-Shari, who fell into a coma following injuries sustained during clashes with Israeli troops at the Temple Mount in April.

“Widespread participation is loyalty to the blood of those martyred and a challenge to the occupation,” says Mohammad Hamada, a Hamas spokesperson.

Al-Sharif died yesterday after several weeks at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. He was the first Palestinian killed at the Al-Aqsa holy site since 2017, when three Palestinian gunmen shot and killed two Israeli police officers before being shot dead.

Ashdod woman found dead in suspected murder; ex-husband said arrested

Magen David Adom paramedics are seen outside an apartment in Ashdod where a woman was found dead in a suspected murder, May 16, 2022. (Magen David Adom)
Magen David Adom paramedics are seen outside an apartment in Ashdod where a woman was found dead in a suspected murder, May 16, 2022. (Magen David Adom)

A woman in Ashdod has been found dead at an apartment in the southern city of Ashdod in a suspected murder.

Both paramedics and police were called to the scene and declared the woman dead.

Police say a suspect has been arrested, who some Hebrew media reports identify as the woman’s ex-husband. The Kan public broadcaster says he was detained after phoning police to say he choked his former wife to death.

Putin: NATO bids by Finland, Sweden no threat but may trigger response

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures while addresseing a meeting of the Council of Legislators under the Russian Federal Assembly at the Tauride Palace, in St. Petersburg, Russia on April 27, 2022. (Alexander Demyanchuk, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures while addresseing a meeting of the Council of Legislators under the Russian Federal Assembly at the Tauride Palace, in St. Petersburg, Russia on April 27, 2022. (Alexander Demyanchuk, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin says that while Russia does not see Finland and Sweden’s decision to join NATO as a threat, deployment of military infrastructure there may trigger a response from Moscow.

The expansion of NATO to Sweden and Finland poses “no direct threat for us… but the expansion of military infrastructure to these territories will certainly provoke our response,” Putin says during a televised summit meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Moscow-led military alliance.

Sa’ar says no to amending Nation-State Law but backs enshrining equality in Basic Laws

Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar leads a New Hope faction meeting at the Knesset on May 16, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar leads a New Hope faction meeting at the Knesset on May 16, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar rules out amending a law defining Israel as a Jewish state amid growing calls by fellow coalition members to do so.

“Israel is a Jewish and democratic state. Therefore, the Nation-State Law, which anchors Israel’s identity as a Jewish country, will not be revoked or changed,” he says at a faction meeting of his New Hope party.

Sa’ar says the legislation law does not harm individual rights, but he voices support for enshrining the principle of equality in one of Israel’s quasi-constitutional Basic Laws — just not the Nation-State Law.

“The emphasis is on equality in individual rights,” he says.

In apparent swipe at Gantz, Liberman urges boycott of PA leader Abbas: ‘He’s a terrorist’

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman leads a Yisrael Beytenu faction meeting at the Knesset on May 16, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman leads a Yisrael Beytenu faction meeting at the Knesset on May 16, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman says his fellow Israeli ministers should boycott Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whom he accuses of inciting against Israel.

“He must not be made legitimate… He can’t be partner for anything,” Liberman says during a Yisrael Beytenu faction meeting at the Knesset. “He is a terrorist just like the rest of the terrorists. He just deals in diplomatic terror, which sometimes is even more dangerous and harmful than conventional terror.”

The comments are widely seen as a swipe at Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who has met several times with Abbas.

McDonald’s to exit Russia, sell business to local buyer

A McDonald's restaurant is seen in the center of Dmitrov, a Russian town 75 kilometers (47 miles) north of Moscow, Russia, December 2014. (AP Photo/FILE)
A McDonald's restaurant is seen in the center of Dmitrov, a Russian town 75 kilometers (47 miles) north of Moscow, Russia, December 2014. (AP Photo/FILE)

NEW YORK — American fast-food giant McDonald’s will exit the Russian market and sell its business in the country to a local buyer, the company says.

In a statement today it says it’s “pursuing the sale of its entire portfolio of McDonald’s restaurants in Russia to a local buyer” adding that would entail existing outlets there “no longer using the McDonald’s name, logo, branding, and menu, though the Company will continue to retain its trademarks in Russia.”

Air force commando in serious condition from snake bite

A timber rattlesnake caught in Cross Fork, Pennsylvania, June 25, 2006. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Illustrative: A timber rattlesnake caught in Cross Fork, Pennsylvania, June 25, 2006. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

A soldier from the Israeli Air Force’s elite Shaldag commando unit is listed in serious condition after being bitten by a snake last night.

The Israel Defense Forces says the incident occurred during a military drill in central Israel.

He was taken to Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera by the Magen David Adom ambulance service.

According to MDA, he had bite signs on his neck and was in unstable condition when rushed to the medical center.

Video shows cops inside Jerusalem hospital from where journalist’s funeral set out

Israeli police officers are seen in Saint Joseph's Hospital in Jerusalem, from where Al Jazeera journalist Shirin Abu Akleh's funeral set out, on May 16, 2022. (Screen capture: Twitter)
Israeli police officers are seen in Saint Joseph's Hospital in Jerusalem, from where Al Jazeera journalist Shirin Abu Akleh's funeral set out, on May 16, 2022. (Screen capture: Twitter)

Newly released security camera footage from the Saint Joseph Hospital’s in Jerusalem shows police officers armed with batons running through the facility where the funeral procession of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh began Friday.

In a video published by the Kan public broadcaster, which says the incident occurred before her coffin was brought out of the hospital, an officer is seen appearing to fire a smoke grenade in the direction of the hospital, after which footage from a camera inside the building shows them entering.

Additional footage from the hospital shows a number of Palestinians running, apparently from the police, as well as the officers streaming through a corridor in the medical center.

The police force has faced criticism — both domestically and internationally — over its handling of the funeral, after charging at Palestinians holding and surrounding the casket outside the hospital, beating them with batons and nearly toppling the coffin. Police have said they intervened after “rioters” tried to seize the coffin and attack cops.

Abu Akleh was killed amid clashes between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli troops during a military raid in Jenin. Al Jazeera and the Palestinians have blamed Israel for her death, while Israel says it remains unclear who fired the fatal shot.

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