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

Palestinian police detain man armed with knife

Palestinian police arrest a Palestinian man who approached the Gilboa crossing in the West Bank acting suspiciously, the Ynet news website reports.

After searching the suspect, the policemen found he was concealing a knife, the report says.

The man is held for questioning.

US soldier feared killed in Iraq

US Defense Secretary Ash Carter says Tuesday he fears a US soldier had been killed in northern Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region.

“There are reports now that an American service member has been killed in Iraq (in) the neighborhood of Erbil,” Carter said, citing “preliminary reports.”

“I believe that much is true so our thoughts and prayers are with that service member’s family,” he tells reporters at the US European Command’s headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany.

“As we learn more, we will give you more information about that.”

A statement from the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group said earlier that one of its service members was killed by enemy fire in northern Iraq but did not specify the victim’s nationality.


3 women killed in strike on Aleppo hospital

Rebel fire on a hospital in a government-controlled neighborhood of Syria’s second city Aleppo killed three women and wounded another 17 people on Tuesday, state media reports.

The rockets hit Al-Dabbeet hospital in the Muhafaza district, state news agency SANA says.

Rebel rocket fire on other government-held neighborhoods killed another 11 people, it adds.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says rebels fired rockets and shells on government-controlled western districts of the city throughout the day.


Polls open in pivotal Indiana primary

Polls open in presidential primaries in Indiana on Tuesday, with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton looking to consolidate their respective White House bids in the midwestern US state.

Trump is hoping voters in the Hoosier State will deliver knockout blows to his rivals for the Republican nomination while Clinton seeks to cement her status as the Democrat’s presumptive nominee.


From left, presidential candidates Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders. (Getty Images via JTA)

From left, presidential candidates Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders. (Getty Images via JTA)

Rouhani urges greater freedom of speech in Iran

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has rallied for more freedom of speech in his country, saying government critics should not be imprisoned.

Rouhani says that “critics should not be detained, critics should not be sent to jail.” He spoke at the annual Tehran International Book Fair on Tuesday.

The remarks, which underscored Rouhani’s 2013 election promises of reform in Iran, comes after weekend parliamentary runoff elections in which a moderate-reformist bloc supporting the president secured the biggest faction of seats in the 290-seat chamber.

But Rouhani also assails those whose texts involve “lying, blaming and weakening the power of the nation.”

In April, Iran’s judiciary sentenced four pro-reform journalists to prison terms ranging from 5 to 10 years after convicting them on charges of acting against national security.


Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks with media at the Saadabad Palace in Tehran, Iran, February 27, 2016. (AP/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks with media at the Saadabad Palace in Tehran, Iran, February 27, 2016. (AP/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Zionist Union MK says party won’t join gov’t with Jewish Home

Zionist Union MK Hilik Bar denies there are any official unity government talks between the Likud and Zionist Union parties, but says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Zionist Union chief Isaac Herzog have likely discussed it among themselves.

“Herzog has received very inviting offers to enter the government, but as a responsible leader, he knows there is currently no point in entering this government,” Bar tells the Knesset channel.

Bar also says his party would not sit in a government alongside the right-wing Jewish Home party.

Labor's Hilik Bar addresses the Knesset (Photo credit: FLASH90)

Labor’s Hilik Bar addresses the Knesset (Photo credit: FLASH90)

Likud MK backs Hebron soldier, urges amnesty

Likud MK David Bitan tells the Knesset channel that 14,000 people have signed a petition urging amnesty for Hebron soldier Elor Azaria, who has been indicted in the killing of a disarmed Palestinian stabber. Bitan says “we will later hand it over to President Rivlin.”

“The soldiers need to know that even if they make a mistake they will be supported,” he says.

Knesset House Committee Chairman David Bitan speaks at a committee meeting October 26, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Knesset House Committee Chairman David Bitan speaks at a committee meeting October 26, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Pentagon confirms US serviceman killed in Iraq

A US service member fighting the Islamic State group was killed by enemy fire in Iraq Tuesday, the Pentagon says.

The fatality occurred during an IS attack on a Peshmerga position north of Mosul, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook says in a statement. The US-led anti-IS coalition had said earlier that a service member had died but did not specify a nationality.


PM tours Gaza border with defense minister, IDF chief

Netanyahu tours the Gaza border with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot, including the site of a cross-border tunnel from the coastal enclave unearthed last month.

Islamic State killed American serviceman

The Islamic State group broke through Kurdish defenses in northern Iraq on Tuesday and killed an American service member of the US-led coalition fighting the jihadists, officials say.

The service member, whom the Pentagon confirmed was American, was at least the third killed by enemy fire in Iraq since IS overran swathes of the country in 2014.


Lavrov hopes for Aleppo truce ‘in the next few hours’

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says after talks with UN envoy Staffan de Mistura Tuesday he hopes that a cessation of hostilities could be announced in Aleppo already “in the next few hours.”

“I am hoping that in the near future, maybe even in the next few hours such a decision will be announced,” Lavrov tells reporters after talks with the UN envoy in Moscow.


Left-wing MK challenged on ‘ethnic cleansing’ claim

Joint (Arab) List MK Dov Khenin is asked whether he stands by his claim that Israel is perpetrating “ethnic cleansing” of the Palestinians.

In an interview with Sky News last week, Khenin said house demolitions in the West Bank of illegally built structures were “ethnic cleansing in a very sophisticated way,” intended so Israelis could settle those areas in the future.

Speaking to Army Radio on Tuesday, Khenin reiterates reiterates allegations of Israel’s mistreatment of Jordan Valley Bedouins, but dodges questions on his use of the term “ethnic cleansing.”

“As a Jew and an Israeli, I cannot stand idly by in the face of the difficult scenes of the lives of the families and children in the Jordan Valley,” he says.

File: Joint Arab List MK Dov Khenin in the Knesset. (photo credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

File: Joint Arab List MK Dov Khenin in the Knesset. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Taste Israeli cuisine, World Jewish Congress urges Michelin

The leader of an umbrella organization representing world Jewry has asked the Michelin travel guide company to evaluate Israeli restaurants with its famous rating system.

In a letter to the Michelin Guide, World Jewish Congress President Ron Lauder says it is a “concerning omission” that Michelin does not have a guide to Israel’s “exceptional cuisine.”

He added that while he was “sure that it is not your intention, some have speculated that reasons other than merit color Michelin’s decision not to visit Israel.”

In Paris, Michelin Guide spokeswoman Samuelle Dorol says Tuesday that there are no plans for a guide to Israel, citing commercial reasons. But she says that doesn’t mean it won’t do one in the future.


Italy grants $29 million to national Jewish museum

Italy’s national Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah, or MEIS, under fitful development in the northeast city of Ferrara for more than a decade, receives a $29 million government grant in order to enable its completion.

Italian Culture and Tourism Minister Dario Franceschini announced the grant Monday as part of a 1.15 billion package of state grants for 33 cultural heritage sites and projects around the country.

MEIS was established by federal laws in 2003 and 2006 and has been slowly developed in the building of a former prison in Ferrara. It is due to open with its first major exhibition in a restored part of the building next year.

MEIS will not only be a Holocaust museum, Franceschini tells the Italian Jewish information website

“It will in fact above all be a place to recount Italian Judaism in all its richness and many facets — its history, its traditions, its multi-millennium presence in this country,” he says. “Culture as a bridge, culture to sweep away any prejudice. To recognize the links between Judaism and the story of Italian cities is in fact the best way to defeat anti-Semites and preachers of hate.”


Cruz a no-show at own campaign event in Indianapolis

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is a no-show at a morning campaign stop outside of Indianapolis.

Cruz was supposed to campaign alongside his wife Heidi and running mate Carly Fiorina at a pancake restaurant Tuesday as voters were set to vote in the state’s crucial primary. But 30 minutes before the scheduled start of the event, Cruz’s campaign said the senator would not be there.

Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier says they made a mistake in saying originally that he would be there. Cruz is slated to make a campaign stop in the southern Indiana city of Evansville later Tuesday morning, then he will take the afternoon off before his primary night gathering in Indianapolis.

Fiorina and Heidi Cruz did show up to shake hands and talk with diners.

Cruz has said he plans to continue his campaign even if he loses Indiana, a state where he’s focused resources and spent most of his time the past two weeks trying to win in an effort to stop front runner Donald Trump. But polls show Trump leading heading into Election Day.


Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, waves with his wife Heidi and daughters Caroline, right, and Catherine during a rally at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, Monday, May 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, waves with his wife Heidi and daughters Caroline, right, and Catherine during a rally at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, Monday, May 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Turkish Nobelist backs writer on trial for insulting Erdogan

Turkey’s internationally acclaimed novelist Orhan Pamuk backs a fellow writer on trial for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying the mounting number of such cases was aimed at intimidating the government’s opponents.

In a show of solidarity, Pamuk, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006, attends the Istanbul trial of Murat Belge, who faces up to four years in jail on charges of insulting Erdogan in a 2015 column published in the opposition Taraf daily.

Erdogan’s lawyer is also present at the court hearing, which coincides with World Press Freedom Day.

Pamuk is quoted by Dogan news agency as saying he had been reading the columns of veteran writer Belge for almost 50 years and had “learnt a lot from him.”

He expresses dismay over the mounting number of insult cases which he says are taking aim at “free thought in order to silence, intimidate and deter” opponents of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.

“I have been writing for 40 years. I am fed up with appearing at the gates of courts, defending my friends and my own cases,” says the author of modern classics like “My Name is Red” and “The Museum of Innocence.”


Lithuanian Holocaust monument vandalized

Unidentified persons vandalized a Holocaust monument in Lithuania on the anniversary of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s birthday.

The monument in Vilkaviskis, a city located 90 miles west of the capital Vilnius, was stripped of its marble tiles and smashed in several parts on April 20, according to a report posted seven days later on the Facebook page of the city’s tiny Jewish community.

Lithuanian police have been informed of the incident and are investigating.

The unfenced monument was vandalized once before in 2012, prompting police to arrest a suspect based on eye-witnesses’ accounts, the news website reported last year. However, police have not arrested any of the thieves who regularly strip marble tiles off the monument.


IDF troops shot at on Gaza border hours after PM visits

An IDF patrol comes under fire on the Gaza border, near the northern edge of the enclave. There are no injuries.

The gunfire came shortly after Netanyahu, Ya’alon, and Eisenkot toured the area.

The army vehicle sustains damage.

Palestinians report heavy gunfire near Nahal Oz

Palestinian media outlets report heavy gunfire near the Israeli kibbutz of Nahal Oz in the Gaza periphery.

Iran stops importing US-made cars

Iran has stopped placing orders to import US-made cars after criticism from supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, news agencies in the Islamic Republic report on Tuesday.

The industry, mining and trade ministry had previously allowed 24 models manufactured by the General Motors-owned Chevrolet to be brought in via a third country.

“Import order placement for American Chevrolet cars has been disabled since Sunday” on the government’s online imports website, Farhad Ehteshamzadeh, head of the Association of Auto Importers, tells the Fars news agency.

“After Chevrolet order placements were removed from the system, no orders will be allowed for (Chevrolet) cars,” he says, without giving figures for the number of vehicles imported previously.

The order to halt the imports came from Industry, Mining and Trade Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh, following a call by Khamenei last week, the Mehr news agency says.

“Americans themselves don’t use US-made cars,” Khamenei said on Wednesday during a speech related to Labor Day on the importance of domestic production.

“We have seen this reflected in American media. They argue that fuel consumption is high and the cars are heavy.”

If this is the case, why import vehicles from America, Khamenei asked.


UN says Israeli solitary confinement nearly doubled in 2 years

The use of solitary confinement in Israeli jails nearly doubled between 2012 and 2014, a UN panel investigating the Jewish state over a raft of alleged violations of prisoners’ rights says Tuesday.

In its first review of Israel since 2009, the UN committee against torture questioned a delegation from Jerusalem over multiple reports of potentially illegal conduct by security agents, especially with respect to Palestinian prisoners.

Lead questioner Jens Modvig says the UN committee had “received reports that the use of solitary confinement in Israeli jails has doubled between 2012 and 2014,” with the number of people held in isolation jumping from 390 to 755 over the period.

Committee members, who typically do not visit the countries subject to review, compile their statistics largely from data provided by civil society groups and independent reports.

Modvig, who did not give statistics for 2015, asked Israel to provide its own breakdown of the prevalence of solitary confinement, including why the practice appeared to have spread dramatically.

He further sought figures on the number of suicide attempts among those held in isolation.

Modvig also asked Jerusalem to respond to reports that Palestinian women detained in Israel were subject to “verbal sexual harassment, repeated strip searches and forms of genital violence,” without listing specific cases.

In opening remarks, Israel’s deputy attorney general Roy Schondorf says Jerusalem is fully committed to abiding by the UN Convention against Torture, “in spite of the numerous, unique and pressing difficulties facing Israel in the fight against terrorism.

The government delegation is due to formally respond to the UN panel’s questions on Wednesday.


Hamas hails Corbyn for refusal to condemn terror group

Hamas praises UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has refused to condemn the terror group.

“We consider the statements of the Labour leader to be an important message to people in Western countries that Hamas is not and will not be considered a terrorist group and our struggle is reduced to the borders of occupied Palestine,” a Hamas spokesperson tells Breitbart Jerusalem.

The “Zionist campaign to define Labour party leaders as anti-Semitic” is a “desperate move that reflects the weakness and confusion of the Zionist entity,” says Taher Nunu.

Cops arrest 18 in suspected arms trafficking ring

Police arrest 18 people suspected of weapons trafficking, Channel 2 reports.

The suspects, detained in overnight raids, include a college student who hid weapons in her dorm room, and an IDF soldier.

The suspects were also said to conceal illegal arms in a baby crib.

PM says Gaza border ‘quieter’ since 2014 war

While touring around the Gaza border earlier today, Netanyahu tells IDF soldiers that “the last two years have been the quietest in many years,” namely since the 2014 war, according to a statement from his office.

The prime minister, accompanied by Ya’alon and Eisenkot, is briefed on the security situation by an officer in the IDF’s Southern Command. He meets with soldiers stationed in the area, and visits the site of a Hamas cross-border tunnel discovered last month.

Netanyahu was speaking shortly before reports came in of gunfire along the Gaza border near the kibbutz of Nahal Oz.

German jihadist goes on trial for Syria war crimes

A German jihadist suspect goes on trial Tuesday for war crimes in Syria after allegedly posing for photographs holding the severed heads of two victims of the conflict.

At the first trial in Germany for war crimes committed in Syria’s five-year-old war, Aria Ladjedvardi, 21, tells the court he “didn’t want to be in” the incriminating pictures, and that he “could not imagine that they would be circulated on social media.”

Prosecutors have accused Ladjedvardi of a war crime as he had treated the unidentified victims “in a degrading and humiliating manner.”

The photographs in which Ladjedvardi appears were taken in the spring of 2014 and posted on Facebook. Federal prosecutors believe he and two fellow fighters took the pictures to belittle their victims, whom they considered infidels or nonbelievers.

They also believe that Ladjedvardin, a German of Iranian origin, traveled to Syria in early 2014 to join one of the jihadist groups engaged in the fight against President Bashar Assad’s regime.

But Ladjedvardi, who risks at least one year in prison, contests the claims at the opening of his trial in Frankfurt, arguing that he was in Syria to help victims of Assad’s regime.


Israeli prosecutors demand life for Abu Khdeir killer

Israeli prosecutors are demanding that Yosef Haim Ben David, the ringleader in the murder of Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir in 2014, be sentenced to life in prison, AFP reports.

Yosef Haim Ben David, the third defendant in the murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, arrives at the Jerusalem District Court on April 5, 2016 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Yosef Haim Ben David, the third defendant in the murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, arrives at the Jerusalem District Court on April 5, 2016 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Iranian cartoonist jailed for mocking MPs released

An Iranian cartoonist imprisoned over portraying lawmakers as animals to criticize a draft law restricting contraception and criminalizing voluntary sterilization was released from prison Tuesday, her lawyer says.

Atena Farghadani left Evin prison and embraced her mother. A photograph showed her smiling with a wreath of flowers around her neck.

Farghadani’s lawyer, Mohammad Moghimi, says she was released after an appeals court last month reduced her initial 12-year prison sentence to 18 months.

“I am very happy that she and her parents reunited,” Moghimi tells The Associated Press.

Farghadani was imprisoned amid a wider crackdown by hard-liners targeting free expression in Iran. Poets, filmmakers and journalists have been charged and imprisoned.


Suspended Labour MP quits anti-Semitism panel

The Labour MP suspended for anti-Israel Facebook posts quits the parliamentary panel investigating anti-Semitism in Britain “until current issues have been resolved.”

“The committee met and had a discussion with Naz Shah about her recent comments. Naz Shah asked to be excused from any further deliberations of the Home Affairs Select Committee until current issues have been resolved,” chairman Keith Vaz says, according to Politics Home.

“She will not take part in the anti-Semitism inquiry or any other inquiries and will not receive any papers,” he says. “This will be with immediate effect. The committee unanimously agreed with the decision taken by her.”

Naz Shah speaks in the House of Commons, April 27, 2016 (Guardian screenshot)

Naz Shah speaks in the House of Commons, April 27, 2016 (Guardian screenshot)

Shah was suspended from the party late last month for a post urging that Israel “relocate” to the US.

Abu Khdeir killer apologizes to victim’s family

Yosef Haim Ben-David, the ringleader convicted in the 2014 kidnapping-murder of East Jerusalem teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir, apologizes to the victim’s family.

“I’m sorry for what happened,” he says, according to the Walla news site. “I ask forgiveness from the family for everything that happened, it wasn’t under my control. It isn’t my personality, and I’m not that kind of person.”

State prosecutor Uri Korb demands that Ben-David be given life for the killing, as well as 20 years for the kidnapping and an additional 15 years for other crimes.

Ben-David had initially pleaded insanity but was ruled sane last month.

AFP contributed

Ultranationalist burns poster of kippah-wearing Polish mayor

A Polish ultranationalist burns a poster of the mayor of Wroclaw wearing a kippah during a protest march.

Roman Zielinski, who authored a book titled “How I Fell in Love with Adolf Hitler,” set the poster of Mayor Rafał Dutkiewicz on fire in front of cameras on Sunday during a march against the European Union in Wroclaw, in western Poland, the PAP news agency reports Monday.

It was not reported whether the mayor was actually wearing the kippah or if it was superimposed on the poster.


Trump attacks Cruz’s father over Lee Harvey Oswald photo

Republican front-runner Donald Trump is resurrecting accusations against rival Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, saying that he was with President John F. Kennedy’s assassin Lee Harvey Oswald prior to his death.

“The whole thing is ridiculous,” Trump says on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday ahead of the Indiana primary. “Right prior to his being shot, and nobody brings it up. They don’t even talk about that.”

A recent National Enquirer report claimed that the elder Cruz appeared in a 1963 photo of Oswald as he handed out leaflets for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.

The Cruz campaign has denied the accusations.


Jerusalem court set to sentence Abu Khdeir killer

The Jerusalem District Court will sentence Ben-David imminently, Israel Radio reports.

Police escort Yosef Haim Ben-David, one of the Jewish suspects in the murder of Muhammed Abu Khdeir, in the District Court in Jerusalem, on June 3, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Police escort Yosef Haim Ben-David, one of the Jewish suspects in the murder of Muhammed Abu Khdeir, in the District Court in Jerusalem, on June 3, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Germany’s ‘sharia police’ members to face trial

A group of German radical Islamists will face trial for forming “sharia police” street patrols that told people to stop drinking, gambling and listening to music, a court says Tuesday.

The ultra-conservative Muslim group around German Salafist convert Sven Lau sparked public anger with their vigilante patrols in 2014 in the western city of Wuppertal.

A city court last December said the group would not face charges — but a higher court has now overturned that decision, announcing that eight members of the group could face trial, without setting a date.

It sides with state prosecutors who had argued the group’s orange vests with the words “Sharia Police” on them constituted a violation of a ban on uniforms at public rallies.


Abu Khdeir killer sentenced to life and 20 years

Ben David is sentenced to life and another 20 years’ imprisonment for the murder of Abu Khdeir.

American soldier killed in Iraq was Navy SEAL

The Islamic State group killed a Navy SEAL during an “orchestrated attack” in Iraq on Tuesday, a US defense official says.

The Pentagon had earlier announced a US troop died during an IS attack on a Peshmerga position north of Mosul.

“It was an orchestrated attack with shots and multiple IEDs (bombs) going off,” the official tells AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.


Abu Khdeir’s parents say killer ‘deserves death sentence’

Following the sentencing, the parents of Mohammed Abu Khdeir say Ben David “deserves a death sentence,” according to Channel 10.

Relatives of the victim scream “racist, die, Nazi,” the Walla news website reports.

Ben David also ordered to compensate family

Ben David is also ordered by the court to pay the Abu Khdeir family NIS 150,000 ($39,000) in damages.

He will also pay the Palestinian family whose child he attempted to kidnap before abducting Abu Khdeir a sum of NIS 20,000 ($5,000).

Several hurt in suspected car-ramming in West Bank

Several people are hurt in a suspected car-ramming attack near the settlement of Dolev, west of Ramallah.

Two are moderately injured, according to Channel 2.

3 injured in possible car-ramming attack

Three pedestrians are injured in the suspected car-ramming near the West Bank settlement of Dolev.

One person is seriously injured, two are moderately hurt, according to Channel 2.

Suspected car-rammer reportedly shot

The suspected car-rammer has been shot, according to several Hebrew reports.

His condition is unknown.

Erekat says security meetings with Israel have been suspended

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat says bilateral security meetings between Israel and the Palestinians have been suspended, the Ma’an News Agency reports.

The PLO Executive Committee will meet Wednesday to discuss “the nature of future relations with Israel,” he says.

The PA has threatened for months to end its security cooperation with Israel, but has yet to take any steps in that direction.

Suspected car-rammer dies of wounds — report

Army Radio says the suspected car-rammer has died of his wounds.

There is no official confirmation from the IDF Spokesperson’s unit.

Jewish leader urges Sweden to prioritize anti-Semitism fight

The president of the European Jewish Congress says Sweden needs to be vigilant of anti-Semitism among some refugees seeking shelter in the Nordic country.

Moshe Kantor on Tuesday says that while Muslim refugees also face bigotry and racism, “anti-Semitism remains a significant problem in Sweden” and should be prioritized.

Kantor speaks to The Associated Press after a meeting in Stockholm with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven.

Sweden has received more asylum-seekers in recent years than any other European country, except Germany. Most come from predominantly Muslim countries including Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

“As Europeans we should be greatly sensitive to the suffering of others, especially those who are running away from oppression, but we cannot afford to import those conflicts and the mindset of hatred which sometimes created them onto the European continent,” Kantor says.


Moshe Kantor (photo credit: AP/Petr David Josek)

Moshe Kantor (AP/Petr David Josek)

US faces possible ‘Biff Tannen’ presidency — Cruz

Ted Cruz is launching a blistering attack on his rival Donald Trump, saying that if Indiana lets Trump win Tuesday’s presidential primary, America is “looking, potentially, at the Biff Tannen” presidency, a reference to the 1980’s film “Back to the Future.”

“We are not a proud, boastful, self-centered, mean spirited, hateful, bullying nation,” Cruz told reporters in Evansville, Indiana, before citing the film “Back to the Future II.” The film’s screenwriter said in an interview with The Daily Beast last year that the film’s character Biff Tannen was based on Trump.

“The screenwriter says that he based the character Biff Tannen on Donald Trump — a character of a braggadocios, arrogant buffoon who builds giant casinos with giant pictures of him everywhere he looks,” Cruz says. “We are looking, potentially, at the Biff Tannen presidency.”

Cruz also denounces accusations Trump made Tuesday about his father, Rafael Cruz, that he was acquainted with John F. Kennedy’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, calling his dad “my hero.” Cruz calls Trump’s claims “kooky” and “nuts,” says that Trump “doesn’t know the differences between truth and lies” and most of what he says is a “mindless yell.”

Cruz also calls Trump utterly amoral, a pathological liar, a serial philanderer and a narcissist at a level this country has never seen.

Cruz unloads on Trump as voters in Indiana were casting their ballots in that state’s primary. Polls show Cruz significantly behind Trump in a state that Cruz has said is crucial to stopping the billionaire businessman.

Despite Cruz’s criticisms of Trump, he has not ruled out supporting him if he becomes the Republican nominee.


Trump says Israel should keep building settlements

Republican front-runner Donald Trump says Israel should “keep moving forward” with building settlements.

“No, I don’t think there should be a pause,’ Trump tells The Daily Mail, referring to a construction freeze in the West Bank. “Look: Missiles were launched into Israel, and Israel, I think, never was properly treated by our country. I mean, do you know what that is, how devastating that is?”

He says he thinks “Israel should have – they really have to keep going. They have to keep moving forward,” with the settlements.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attends a press conference with members of the Veteran Police Association in Staten Island, New York on April 17,2016. (AFP PHOTO / KENA BETANCUR)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attends a press conference with members of the Veteran Police Association in Staten Island, New York on April 17,2016. (AFP PHOTO / KENA BETANCUR)

Trump also says Netanyahu is “a very good guy.”

“I don’t know him that well, but I think I’d have a very good relationship with him,” Trump says. “I think that President Obama has been extremely bad to Israel.”

At the same time, Trump reiterates that he would like to negotiate a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

“With all of that being said, I would love to see if peace could be negotiated. A lot of people say that’s not a deal that’s possible. But I mean lasting peace, not a peace that lasts for two weeks and they start launching missiles again. So we’ll see what happens” Trump says. “I’d love to negotiate peace. I think that, to me, is the all-time negotiation.”

IDF confirms suspected car-rammer shot dead

The IDF confirms that the suspected car-rammer has been shot and subsequently died of his injuries.

Army confirms car-ramming was terror attack

The army confirms that the car-ramming near Dolev was a terror attack.

“An assailant rammed a vehicle into three Israelis in a car ramming attack northwest of Ramallah,” an army statement says.

“Forces responded to the imminent threat and fired towards the assailant, resulting in his death.”

AFP contributed

IDF says 3 soldiers wounded in car-ramming

The IDF says the three people injured in the car-ramming attack are soldiers.

Car-rammer identified as Qalandiya resident

The car-rammer near Dolev is identified by the Palestinian Health Ministry as Ahmed Riad Shehadeh, 36, of the Qalandia refugee camp north of Jerusalem.

Trump says Cruz is ‘desperate’ and ‘unhinged’

Donald Trump is hitting back against Ted Cruz’s blistering attack, saying that the Texas senator is “a desperate candidate trying to save his failing campaign.”

Cruz criticized Trump Tuesday as voters went to the polls in the crucial Indiana primary. He called the Republican front-runner “amoral” and warned that the country “can plunge into the abyss” if Trump is elected president.

Trump releases his rebuttal a short time later, saying in a statement that “I have watched Lyin’ Ted become more and more unhinged as he is unable to react under the pressure of losing” the last six primary contests.

Trump — whose description “Lyin’ Ted” gets a massive response from supporters at his campaign rallies — says that the outburst proves that Cruz “does not have the temperament to be president of the United States.”

The vicious exchange comes hours after Trump rehashed an unsubstantiated tabloid report that Cruz’s father had links to Lee Harvey Oswald, President John F. Kennedy’s assassin.


UNRWA appeals to Gulf states for millions in donations

The head of the UN Palestinian refugee agency on Tuesday urges Gulf countries to donate millions to help UNRWA avoid a funding crisis.

Last year, the agency was hit by a major funding crisis that threatened to affect the opening of schools.

An appeal by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to donors helped resolve the crisis, but the agency still has a funding gap of some $80 million.

“We’d be very appreciative to have countries that have come forward last summer to help, and in particular three Gulf states –- Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait -– renew their generosity this year,” says Pierre Krahenbul, UNRWA’s commissioner-general.

“If we could have that, we’d be able to avoid another crisis this summer,” he says.


High school strike to continue Wednesday

High schools students will skip class tomorrow again in protest of a months-long strike by driving test instructors, and a protest by teachers that they will not be involved in school trips.

Lawsuit accuses Connecticut rabbi of sexual abuse

A Connecticut rabbi is accused of raping and molesting a teenage boy hundreds of times when the boy was a student at a Jewish boarding school in New Haven from 2001 to 2005, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court.

The former student, Eliyahu Mirlis, now 28, of New Jersey, accuses Rabbi Daniel Greer, principal of the Yeshiva of New Haven school, of sexual abuse. The Associated Press generally does not name people who allege sexual assault, but Mirlis wanted to come forward, says his lawyer, Antonio Ponvert.

Greer did not return messages seeking comment Monday and Tuesday. His lawyer, William Ward, says the rabbi denies the allegations and is now forced to prove they are false. Ward asked the public to demand evidence before rushing to judgment.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages. It also names as defendants Yeshiva of New Haven, which is an all-boys high school, and The Gan School, an elementary school for boys and girls that Greer also leads. The lawsuit accuses the schools of allowing the sexual abuse to continue for years.

The lawsuit also alleges Greer, now 75, sexually abused at least one other boy at the school.

Ponvert says Mirlis hasn’t sought criminal charges but would cooperate in any ensuing criminal probe.


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