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Likud compromises with Gantz, giving veterans tuition bill enough support to pass

Netanyahu’s party agrees to defense minister’s proposal to alter legislation so that it covers 3/4th of the college costs for ex-combat soldiers instead of 2/3rds

Amy Spiro is a reporter and writer with The Times of Israel.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz attend a plenum session in the Knesset on May 23, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz attend a plenum session in the Knesset on May 23, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

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

Coalition passes combat veterans tuition scholarships bill

The Knesset has passed legislation that will finance 75 percent of combat veterans’ college tuition.

The coalition bill passes 55-6.

Shortly before the vote, Likud agreed to a compromise from Defense Minister Benny Gantz to increase the scholarship rate from 67% to 75%.

But then, the Joint List submitted a request for the final vote on the bill to be considered a vote of no confidence in the government.

As a result, the right-wing and religious parties in the opposition vacated the plenum, so that they would not have to vote in favor of the coalition.

With only the Joint List’s six MKs voting against the bill, the legislation passed overwhelmingly.

Likud agrees to Gantz’s compromise proposal on bill for IDF veterans scholarships

The Likud has agreed to a compromise proposal from Defense Minister Benny Gantz that will see the opposition party back the coalition’s bill aimed at funding scholarships for IDF combat veterans.

The original bill sought to cover two-thirds of the discharged soldiers’ tuition costs. Likud refused to back the legislation unless 100 percent of the tuition was covered. Moments before a vote was scheduled to take place in the plenum, Gantz announced that he was prepared to alter the bill so that it would cover 75% of veterans’ tuition.

The Likud party then held an emergency meeting to weigh the offer and ultimately decided to back it.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Netanyahu invited the group of veterans lobbying for the bill into the room and the group filmed a video thanking the Likud chairman for his support.

Gantz had made submitted the compromise amid reports that the coalition’s Islamist Ra’am party along with rebel Meretz Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi were refusing to back the bill, leaving the narrow coalition short of a majority. With the Likud’s support though, the legislation will have more than enough support to pass.

Likud convenes to discuss Gantz’s compromise proposal on bill for IDF veterans’ scholarships

The Likud party is convening a meeting to discuss the 11th-hour compromise proposal by Defense Minister Benny Gantz aimed at passing legislation providing scholarships for IDF combat veterans.

The original legislation offered to cover two-thirds of tuition costs for recently discharged soldiers. The Likud party refused to back the measure, saying it would only do so if 100 percent of the tuition costs were covered.

In a last-minute move, just before the vote was about to be held in the Knesset, Gantz told the plenum that he was prepared to alter the bill so that it would cover 75% of tuition costs.

In last minute offer, Gantz proposes Likud meet him half-way on veterans scholarship bill

Defense Minister Benny Gantz has proposed a compromise to his legislation aimed at providing scholarships for IDF combat veterans in an effort to gain the support of opposition MKs needed to pass the bill.

The original legislation offers to cover two-thirds of tuition costs for recently discharged soldiers. The Likud party has refused to back the measure, saying it would only do so if 100 percent of the tuition costs were covered.

In a last-minute move, just before the vote was about to be held in the Knesset, Gantz told the plenum that he was prepared to alter the bill so that it would cover 75% of tuition costs.

The offer is made amid reports that the 60-MK coalition did not even have the support of the 4-member, Islamist Ra’am party as well as renegade Meretz MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi, who announced last week that she was quitting the bloc only to walk back the move several days later.

The ball now appears to be in the Likud’s court.

Gantz says all of coalition must vote for soldier scholarship bill

Defense Minister Benny Gantz says he “will not accept any part of the coalition not voting” for a bill funding scholarships for IDF veterans, as a Knesset showdown over the legislation continues.

There is some speculation that the coalition’s Islamist Ra’am party could vote for the bill, giving the government the needed majority. Ra’am has shied away from the legislation due to its military connection.

The opposition Likud party has refused to sign the coalition’s version of the bill, demanding that it cover 100% of scholarship costs, instead of the two-thirds coverage it currently provides.

Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli says, “We’re in a situation where there’s a better chance that this bill will pass with the help of Ra’am than Likud.”

Yesh Atid Knesset Member Merav Ben Ari tells Army Radio, “Anything can happen, and yet it’s Likud that needs to look at the soldiers. I hope they come around.”

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu says that Ra’am chief Mansour Abbas has “received 100% from Bennet and Lapid. Our fighters also deserve 100%.”

US says more high-tech weapons going to Ukraine

Nearly 50 defense leaders from around the world meet and agree to send more advanced weapons to Ukraine, including a harpoon launcher and missiles to protect its coast, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin tells reporters.

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says that “low-level” discussion is underway on how the US may need to adjust its training of Ukrainian forces and on whether some US troops should be based in Ukraine.

The US withdrew its few troops in Ukraine before the war and has no plans to send in combat forces. Milley’s comments left open the possibility troops could return for embassy security or another non-combat role.

Speaking to Pentagon reporters, Austin declines to say if the US will send Ukraine high-tech mobile rocket launchers, which it has requested. But Austin says that some 20 nations announced Monday that they will send new packages of security assistance to Ukraine, as its war with Russia reaches the three-month mark.

He says that Denmark has agreed to send a harpoon launcher and missiles to Ukraine to help defend its coast. Russia has ships in the Black Sea and has used them to launch cruise missiles into Ukraine. The Russian ships have also stopped all commercial ship traffic from entering Ukraine ports.

The US and other countries have been training Ukrainian forces in nearby European countries.

Austin adds that the Czech Republic recently donated attack helicopters, tanks, and rockets, and that Italy, Greece, Norway and Poland announced new donations today of artillery systems, and ammunition.

Jewish teens who’d been praying at Temple Mount: We wanted to fulfill our rights

A group of Jewish youths who are at the center of a recent controversial court decision regarding Jewish prayer on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount defend their actions in a TV interview, saying they only “wanted to fulfill their rights.”

Jerusalem District Court Judge Zion Saharay ruled yesterday in favor of the three teenagers, who appealed a decision by the Israel Police to bar them from visiting the flashpoint holy site for a period of time after they were detained for reciting a prayer on the compound.

By praying at the site, the teenagers violated a longstanding, but informal arrangement known as the status quo, which dictates that Jews are allowed to visit the site but not pray there. The Temple Mount is the holiest site for Jews and the compound’s Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third-holiest for Muslims.

“I feel proud that now there’s a judge that opened the public’s eyes to the fact that there is no rule against Jewish prayer at their holiest site,” one of the teenagers tells Channel 13 news.

The group says that the area where they prayed was “off in the corner” of the compound, adding that “no Arabs saw us, so it didn’t cause any trouble.”

Israeli officials were quick to release statements clarifying that the judge’s verdict does not change the status quo on the mount amid condemnations by the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and warning by Hamas of escalation.

Absorption minister meets with New York City mayor

Israel’s Minister of Immigration and Absorption Pnina Tamano-Shata meets with New York City Mayor Eric Adams in New York’s city hall.

The pair discusses strengthening connections between Israel and New York and combating antisemitism. Reported antisemitic incidents are at an all-time high in New York.

Tamano-Shata says she “thanked Adams for standing by New York alongside Israel during these challenging times.”

“He sees great importance in connecting with the Jewish communities in his city for increased security in their districts,” she says. Adams is a centrist Democrat and is strongly supportive of New York’s Jewish communities.

Tamano-Shata is in New York for the city’s Celebrate Israel parade, the largest expression of solidarity outside with Israel outside its borders. Sunday’s parade drew 40,000 marchers from hundreds of groups.

Adams marched in the parade next to Israel’s consul to New York Asaf Zamir. Other top New York and Israeli officials, including Defense Minister Benny Gantz, also attended.

Tamano-Shata wrote in an op-ed for The Times of Israel that she was “proud to fly the Israeli flag in the heart of Manhattan.”

“With Israel being challenged by a spike in terrorism that requires the security forces to be on high alert, the people dwelling in Zion need to know that support for the Jewish state extends far beyond its borders,” she said.

Knesset begins debate on contentious IDF scholarship bill

The Knesset begins debate on a controversial bill that would provide some IDF veterans with scholarships for their studies.

With hours to go until the vote on the legislation, it is unclear how the vote will fall, as some members of the opposition would like to vote in favor, but others have refused to back anything supported by the government.

The debate over the legislation has raged for several days and the vote is not expected to happen until the early hours of tomorrow morning.

IDF to hold drills in Sderot, some settlements tomorrow

The Israel Defense Forces will be holding several military drills tomorrow in urban areas across the country.

The IDF says the Home Front Command will conduct exercises in the southern city of Sderot and other Gaza border communities.

Meanwhile, other military drills will take place in West Bank settlements and various border crossings, the IDF says.

The drills are all part of the month-long Chariots of Fire exercise.

Slain IRGC official said to be behind 2012 attacks on Israeli envoys abroad

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards colonel who was shot dead in Tehran yesterday was behind a series of attacks on Israeli envoys in several countries in 2012, according to a report in the Iranian opposition media outlet Iran International.

According to the report, Colonel Hassan Sayyad Khodayari, who was assassinated yesterday in the heart of Tehran, was responsible for a 2012 car bomb targeting an Israeli diplomat in New Delhi, which injured the envoy’s wife. Khodayari was also reportedly behind a series of botched bombings a day later in Thailand aimed at killing Israeli envoys.

Tehran has vowed to avenge the assassination, but stopped short of directly blaming Israel. Unsourced Hebrew media reports claim that intelligence shows that only a foreign body could have carried out such a brazen attack on Khodayari.

Likud MK: Opposition can’t support any government bill, not soldiers, not rape victims

Likud MK Miri Regev is heard earlier today defending her party’s decision not to vote in favor of legislation backed by the government.

“We decided that we’re the fighting opposition and we want to bring down this government,” says the firebrand MK in recordings aired by Channel 12 news. “So we don’t feel bad over soldiers, over battered women, over rape victims, because we all understand that this is the rationale.”

Regev’s comments come hours ahead of a scheduled vote in the Knesset on a bill to provide scholarships to some IDF veterans. While most members of the opposition support the legislation in principle, many, including opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, have vowed to vote against it so as not to back any steps by the government.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg sued in US privacy lawsuit

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is named personally in a Washington, DC lawsuit that alleges he played a direct role in decisions that set the stage for the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal.

The US capital’s attorney general argues that Zuckerberg was closely involved in conceiving the framework that allowed the Britain-based consulting firm to harvest over 70 million US Facebook users data

A whistleblower revealed in 2018 that Cambridge Analytica went on to use that data for political purposes, including trying to rally support for Donald Trump.

“Zuckerberg is not just a figurehead at Facebook; he is personally involved in nearly every decision the company makes,” Washington Attorney General Karl Racine writes in the suit. He adds that Zuckerberg’s control is baked into the structure of the company, where the founder and CEO holds a majority of voting shares.

Turkish foreign minister to arrive in Israel Tuesday

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu is slated to arrive in Israel tomorrow morning and then visit the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.

On Wednesday, Çavuşoğlu is scheduled to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem and then meet Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, before the pair provide statements to the press.

Çavuşoğlu is also slated to meet with Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov as well as visit the Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. His decision to visit the Temple Mount unaccompanied is said to be causing some diplomatic discomfort.

Israel and Turkey have been carefully rebuilding ties over the past year after years of deterioration. But Ankara has also been critical of Israel’s behavior amid clashes in Jerusalem, in particular on and around the Temple Mount.

Saudi crown prince said planning visit to Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Cyprus

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is planning a trip to Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Jordan, and Egypt, reports the Reuters wire agency.

According to the report, the trip by the crown prince could happen as early as next month, and is slated to focus on signing energy and trade deals.

Report: Police file appeal against controversial Temple Mount court decision

Police have reportedly filed an appeal against a controversial court ruling last night from a juvenile court judge in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court.

The original ruling, which stated that several youth who were detained after praying on the Temple Mount — which violates the status quo on the flashpoint site — should not have been banned for such activity, provoked a wave of criticism, including from Jordan.

According to Channel 12 news, the Israel Police has filed an appeal requesting the ruling be overturned for “erring in drawing conclusions about government policy.” The appeal also claims that Judge Zion Saharay was wrong in ruling that the behavior of the boys in question, namely disturbing a police officer on duty, was not a criminal offense.

A similar decision last year was quickly overturned after police appealed.

Qatar says criticism over it hosting World Cup is anti-Arab discrimination

Qatar’s emir lashes out at what he calls unprecedented attacks on Qatar becoming the first Arab country to host the World Cup.

With the Gulf state facing questions about the treatment of foreign workers, as well as the rights of women and the LGBTQ community, Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani acknowledges that Qatar is “not perfect.”

But he insists that it has carried out reforms at “lightning speed” since being awarded the World Cup in 2010.

“For decades now, the Middle East has suffered from discrimination,” the ruler of the energy-rich state tells the World Economic Forum in Davos. “And I have found that such discrimination is largely based on people not knowing us, and, in some cases, refusing to get to know us. Even today, there are still people who cannot accept the idea, that an Arab-Muslim country would host a tournament like the World Cup.”

Two no-confidence measures fail to pass in Knesset

Two no-confidence measures brought by opposition parties Likud and Shas fail to pass.

The Likud measure only garners 52 votes against the coalition’s 59, and the Shas measure similarly collapses at 51 for, and 59 against.

While today’s no-confidence motions were not expected to pass, a no-confidence measure is one of three possible ways to topple the government, but it requires a majority of 61 MKs to approve.

Despite its teetering status, the current coalition received a boost yesterday when Meretz MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi reversed her decision to leave the government and instead returned to support it.

Currently, the coalition-opposition breakdown stands at 60-60, which means there are not enough opposition votes to bring the government down without additional defections.

European Parliament president to Knesset: To be antisemitic is to be anti-European

In a speech to the Knesset plenum, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola declares that to be antisemitic is to be anti-European.

“The ties of our people are deep,” says Metsola in a speech to MKs that was intermittently interrupted by shouting and booing from both Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi and Religious Zionist MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, among others.

Metsola says that Israel and Europe have “a bond made in suffering and in salvation… a bond that has and will withstand the test of time.” She proclaims that “to be antisemitic is to be anti-European,” noting unfortunately that “every day we still witness attacks on Jews, on synagogues… the European Parliament is committed to breaking the cycle, to combating antisemitism.”

She says that this is her first visit to Israel, but “it will not be my last.” She notes her desire to deepen ties between Israel and the EU “in culture, in science, in trade, in education, in art, in research and in technology.”

“Europe will always back Israel’s right to exist,” Metsola says, to applause. “Peace is difficult, but in Europe we know that peace is possible… peace with security, peace with liberty, peace with dignity, peace with justice.”

Metsola reiterates her support for a two-state solution, “with a secure state of Israel and an independent democratic contiguous viable state of Palestine,” to smatterings of both applause and jeers. “I know there are those who do not agree.”

Report: Additional grave found in exhumation of suspected ‘kidnapped’ Yemenite child

As they exhume a grave from 1952 today in Petah Tikva, officials reportedly uncover two graves underneath the same headstone and therefore are halting their efforts.

According to the Ynet news site, the family of the boy in question, Uziel Khoury, will have to return to court to get approval to exhume the adjoining grave.

The family of Khoury, immigrants from Yemen, believe that he did not die as a baby, as they were told, but was kidnapped and given to parents of European descent as part of a scandal they claim was widespread, known as the Yemenite Children Affair. The Health Ministry was exhuming the grave in order to test the DNA of the boy in the grave and see if it is really Khoury.

Freed British woman says Iran forced her to sign false confession

A British-Iranian charity worker who was detained in Tehran for almost six years says she was forced by Iranian officials to sign a false confession to spying before she was freed two months ago.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe says British government officials were present at Tehran airport when “under duress” she signed the false admission to spying. She says she was told by Iranian officials that “you won’t be able to get on the plane” unless she signed.

“The whole thing of me signing the forced confession was filmed,” Zaghari-Ratcliffe tells the BBC in an interview broadcast today. “It’s a tool. So I’m sure they will show that some day.”

Amid IDF scholarship bill crisis, Bennett declares: Don’t make this political

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett criticizes members of the opposition for their vow to vote against a bill that would provide scholarships to certain IDF veterans — not because they oppose it, but so that they won’t be seen as backing government legislation.

“IDF soldiers fought for us. We need to give them what they deserve today and not in another four years when Likud comes back,” Bennett tells journalists outside his Knesset office. “Don’t do small politics, don’t raise a hand against IDF fighters.”

Bennett’s remarks come in the context of gearing up for a big fight this evening to pass a bill to fund scholarships for recently released soldiers.

Gantz after US trip: We will work with allies on Iran and Ukraine

Fresh off a trip to Washington and New York, Defense Minister Benny Gantz says Israel is working in lockstep with its allies to counter Iran.

“We are at a critical testing point of global determination and world order — both in Ukraine, in Iran and elsewhere,” Gantz tells a meeting of his Blue and White faction in the Knesset. “Together with the US, and with other partners from the region, we will continue to build our strength in the face of the nuclear threat posed by Iran and in the face of its regional aggression.”

Knesset speaker asks European Parliament chief to condition Palestinian funding on ending incitement

Arriving in the Knesset ahead of her speech to the plenum this evening, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola meets with Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy, who asks Metsola “to condition donations to the Palestinian Authority upon the cessation of incitement.”

The European Union provides the PA with about €214 million in annual aid, and the EP is one of the EU’s legislative bodies.

Levy emphasizes to Metsola the seriousness of incitement among Palestinians, especially in the context of the recent terror wave that has so far killed 19 people.

“For about two months, Israel has been in the midst of a wave of terrorism fueled by severe incitement against Jews and against Israel,” Levy says. “Unfortunately, it connects to institutionalized and permanent incitement that we are witnessing in textbooks in the Palestinian Authority that are also funded by the European Union.”

Metsola, who took office in January and whose trip to Israel marks her first official visit outside the EU, is expected to address the Knesset plenum at 6 p.m. today.

Bank of Israel raises interest rate by 0.4%

The Bank of Israel raises its benchmark interest rate by 0.4 percentage points — its second raise in two months after it did not raise the interest rate since 2018.

The bank lifts the key rate from 0.35% to 0.75%. Last month, it raised the interest rate from 0.1% to 0.35% after keeping it at an all-time low throughout the COVID pandemic.

The move comes as the Bank of Israel works to limit rising inflation and housing prices in Israel.

The central bank indicated it would start gradually increasing the interest rate in February, citing at the time strong economic performance alongside the COVID-19 pandemic and indications pointing to “continued strong activity.”

President visits Witness Protection Authority: Your work is hidden but important

President Isaac Herzog pays a visit to the headquarters of the Witness Protection Authority, which was established in 2008. The body provides protection to witnesses and their families who testify against figures involved in organized crime.

“Your work is hidden from public view but it is important and necessary for our lives as a people and as a state,” Herzog tells the authority’s staff, according to his office. “I want to thank you on behalf of the whole of Israeli society. You are contending with organizations that in their conduct and character behave like terror organizations, and therefore what you are doing is a war on terror, as simple as that.”

Starbucks exiting Russian market, shutting 130 stores

Starbucks is pulling out of the Russian market.

In a memo to employees, Starbucks says it has decided to close its 130 stores and no longer have a brand presence in Russia. Starbucks says it will continue to pay its nearly 2,000 Russian employees for six months and help them transition to new jobs.

The stores are owned and operated by Alshaya Group, a Kuwait-based franchise operator.

Seattle-based Starbucks suspended all business activity in Russia on March 8 due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

After returning to coalition, Meretz MK skips party meeting

The day after she reversed her decision to defect from the coalition, Meretz MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi nevertheless skips a meeting of her party’s faction in the Knesset.

Meretz closes its party meeting to the press, a rare move for the left-wing faction.

Zoabi announced yesterday that she would return to the coalition following a long meeting with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and a series of agreements. The head of Meretz, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, was not present at that meeting.

Russian diplomat at UN resigns, slams Moscow’s ‘aggressive war’

A veteran Russian diplomat to the UN Office at Geneva says he handed in his resignation before sending out a scathing letter to foreign colleagues inveighing against the “aggressive war unleashed” by President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine.

Boris Bondarev, 41, confirms his resignation in a letter delivered this morning at the Russian diplomatic mission after a diplomatic official passed on his English-language statement to The Associated Press.

“For twenty years of my diplomatic career I have seen different turns of our foreign policy, but never have I been so ashamed of my country as on Feb. 24 of this year,” he writes, alluding to the date of Russia’s invasion.

The resignation amounts to a rare — if not unprecedented — public admission of disgruntlement about Russia’s war in Ukraine among the Russian diplomatic corps, at a time when Putin’s government has sought to crack down on dissent over the invasion and to quell conflicting narratives from the government line about how the “special military operation” — as it’s officially known in Russia — is proceeding.

Military advocate general: IDF must thoroughly investigate Abu Akleh’s death

IDF Advocate General Brig.-Gen. Yifat Tomer-Yerushalmi says that the military must fully and thoroughly investigate the shooting death earlier this month of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

Speaking at a conference in Eilat, Tomer-Yerushalmi says that without access to the bullet that killed her — which the Palestinian Authority has refused to hand over — it is impossible to fully determine the circumstances of her death.

Nevertheless, she says, the “fog of war” does not “relieve us of the duty to strive for the truth and to act to clarify any doubt.”

Judicial Authority reiterates: Temple Mount ruling does not lift prayer ban

In an unusual message to media outlets, Israel’s Judicial Authority reiterates that the controversial ruling last night by a Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court juvenile judge is narrower than some media coverage has indicated.

The Judicial Authority sends a message emphasizing certain quotes from yesterday’s ruling by Judge Zion Saharay, including his own statement that his decision “does not intervene with the police’s job in enforcing public order at the Temple Mount, nor does it determine anything regarding freedom of worship at the Temple Mount. These matters are not discussed in the decision at all.”

Saharay denied a police request to bar several teenagers from visiting the site for a period of time after they were detained for reciting a prayer on the Temple Mount. In the wake of his ruling, the Prime Minister’s Office was quick to issue a statement that there would be change to the status quo at the site, under which Jews may not pray there.

Four killed, 80 trapped in Iran building collapse

At least four people have died and about 80 are trapped under rubble after an unfinished building collapses in southwestern Iran, officials say.

“Parts of the 10-story Metropol building, located in Abadan, capital of Khuzestan province, collapsed,” state television says, noting that the premises were still under construction.

An initial toll confirms that at least “four people have lost their lives and 21 others have been injured,” Mojtaba Khaledi, spokesman for the national rescue service, is quoted as saying.

At least 80 people are trapped under the rubble and rescue dogs are being deployed to help locate them, according to a regional branch of the Red Crescent.

Israel to extend visas of Ukrainian refugees, allow them to work

The Interior Ministry announces that it will automatically extend the tourist visas of Ukrainian citizens currently in Israel through June 30, and not prevent them from working in the country.

Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, more than 28,000 Ukrainians have entered Israel, joining thousands who were already in the country when war broke out.

As with most tourists who enter, the Ukrainians were granted a three-month entry visa, which for the earliest arrivals will soon be expiring. According to the Interior Ministry announcement, the visas will be automatically extended without the need for the Ukrainian refugees to visit any government office.

The same applies to any Ukrainians who were in Israel illegally at the start of the war; though they will not be deported, they are not allowed to work.

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked says that over the next month she will revisit the issue and make a further decision on the status of Ukrainians who arrived in Israel both before and after the Russian invasion.

The decision is welcomed by Labor MK Ibtisam Mara’ana, chair of the Knesset Committee on Foreign Workers. Mara’ana tweets that it is “very good news,” and thanks Shaked and her office “for making the right and moral decision.”

Palestinian Authority FM says PA handed file on Abu Akleh’s killing to ICC

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki says that the PA has submitted a file on the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh to the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

In an interview with the Turkish state-run media outlet Anadolu Agency, Maliki says that such a file was submitted several days ago. Abu Akleh was shot dead earlier this month during an exchange of fire between the IDF and armed Palestinians in Jenin.

The PA has blamed Israel for her death but refused to cooperate in a joint investigate with Israel, which says it cannot fully determine what killed Abu Akleh.

“What happened in the killing of Abu Akleh is a crime,” Maliki declares, saying that the report on her death was submitted to the ICC Office of the Prosecutor.

Protesters wave Palestinian, Israeli flags in counter-rallies at Ben Gurion University

Students at Ben Gurion University in Beersheba are holding a pro-Palestinian demonstration, after a small protest was dispersed on Nakba Day last week.

Dozens of students with Israeli flags are holding a counter-protest in response.

Both sides are chanting slogans, and security forces are managing to separate the sides.

Police officers at the scene say they do not expect any violence, but will intervene if necessary.

Last week protests at Tel Aviv University turned violent after pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian students clashed.

Palestinian stone-thrower shot by IDF soldiers in West Bank

A Palestinian man who allegedly hurled stones at Israeli vehicles near the West Bank settlement of Neria was shot by Israeli soldiers.

According to the Rescuers Without Borders emergency service, the suspect was taken to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek hospital in moderate condition.

At least one car was damaged by a stone allegedly hurled by Palestinians in the area, according to local authorities.

The Israel Defense Forces says troops are searching for a second suspect who fled the scene.

Russian soldier found guilty of war crimes in Kyiv court, given life sentence

A Kyiv court rules that a 21-year-old Russian soldier who killed a civilian is guilty of war crimes and hands him a life sentence, in the first verdict against Moscow’s forces since their invasion.

“The court has found that [Vadim] Shishimarin is guilty and sentences him to life imprisonment,” judge Sergiy Agafonov says. Shishimarin, a Russian sergeant, admitted in court to killing 62-year-old Oleksandr Shelipov in the first days of the Kremlin’s offensive in northeast Ukraine.

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