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Kohavi: The fallen won’t return home, but thanks to them many more will

IDF chief of staff thanks bereaved families during speech at Kotel ceremony; joint Israeli-Palestinian ceremony pulls 1000 in Tel Aviv, dozens in Bethlehem suburb and 200K online

IDF chief Aviv Kohavi (L) and President Isaac Herzog (R) observe a moment of silence as a siren sounds at  the state ceremony for Israel's Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and terror victims, at Jerusalem's Western Wall, on May 3, 2022. (Video screenshot)
IDF chief Aviv Kohavi (L) and President Isaac Herzog (R) observe a moment of silence as a siren sounds at the state ceremony for Israel's Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and terror victims, at Jerusalem's Western Wall, on May 3, 2022. (Video screenshot)

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

‘How long will it last’: 1,000 in Tel Aviv, dozens in Beit Jala hold Israeli-Palestinian memorial ceremony

Palestinians and Israelis gather to observe the joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Ceremony on Memorial Day.

Roughly 1,000 Israelis attend a packed theater in Tel Aviv to watch the ceremony, while a group of roughly 60 people — the majority of whom are Palestinian — gather near Beit Jala. More than 200,000 viewers are tuning in online, organizers say.

One by one, Israeli and Palestinian speakers recount how they lost loved ones and call for an end to the conflict.

Boma Inbar, an Israeli from Neve Monosson, tearfully tells the Tel Aviv crowd how he lost his son Yotam in an Israeli military operation in Lebanon in 1995.

“I ask myself how long it will last… children from both sides will be killed without peace in our region,” says Inbar.

The event is controversial among both Israelis and Palestinians, who say it equates murderers with their victims — although they disagree on which is which.

טקס יום הזיכרון הישראלי-פלסטיני 2022 | مراسم يوم الذكرى الفلسطيني الإسرائيلي 2022 | The Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Ceremony 2022

צפו בטקס יום הזיכרון הישראלי-פלסטיני 2022 Watch The Israeli-Palestinian Joint Memorial Ceremony 2022h شاهد مراسم يوم الذكرى الفلسطيني الإسرائيلي 2022[תגובות לא ראויות ימחקו] מיד בסיום הטקס אנחנו מזמינים אתכם להצטרף אל אחד מ-8 מפגשי הזום השונים. הפרטים כאן:https://www.theparentscircle.org/live_ceremony_2022-heb/مع نهاية المراسم ندعوكم للإنضمام الى 8 لقاءات زووم مختلفة. التفاصيل هنا:https://www.theparentscircle.org/ar/live_ceremony_2022-arb/At the end of the ceremony, you are all invited to join one of our 8 Zoom meetings.Details here: https://afcfp.org/post-memorial-zoom/ אנא המשיכו לתמוך בנו: https://bit.ly/3jbsFBgPlease, keep supporting us: https://bit.ly/3KA6lgH الرجاء استمروا بدعمكم لنا: https://bit.ly/3KA6lgH

Posted by Combatants for Peace on Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Supporters say it represents an effort by those who have lost the most in the conflict to give meaning to the deaths of their loved ones by turning away from violence.

Nasreen Abu al-Jadian lost her son, her husband, and her mother-in-law during the 2012 Gaza war in an Israeli airstrike.

“Violence creates violence. And the greatest loss is the loss of life,” Abu al-Jadian said.

Nides: I give Israel ‘a lot of credit’ for its handling of Jerusalem tensions

Palestinians worshipers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on the last Friday prayers of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, on April 29, 2022. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)
Palestinians worshipers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on the last Friday prayers of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, on April 29, 2022. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides says he gives the Israeli government “a lot of credit” for the way it managed tensions in Jerusalem over the past month, which saw a rare confluence of Pesach, Ramadan and Easter.

“I think things went pretty well,” Nides says at an event hosted by the Atlantic Council, adding that he spent a lot of time talking with Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian and Egyptian leaders ahead of time about defusing tensions in the capital.

Nides acknowledges that “it wasn’t perfect” but says he feels “really good about” how Israel handled the last month.

Ramadan still did see near-daily clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police on the Temple Mount, with hundreds injured and hundreds more arrested, but Nides notes that the violence did not snowball into an all-out war with Hamas in Gaza as it did last year.

There were still six rocket attacks in April from Gaza that broke months of quiet.

Israel also experienced a bloody terror wave that began in late March and took the lives of 16 people. During that time, 26 Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli troops — the majority, but not all, in clashes.

Kohavi to bereaved families: Your loved ones won’t return, but thanks to them many more will

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi addresses the state ceremony for Israel's Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and terror victims, at Jerusalem's Western Wall, on May 3, 2022. (Screen capture/YouTube)
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi addresses the state ceremony for Israel's Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and terror victims, at Jerusalem's Western Wall, on May 3, 2022. (Screen capture/YouTube)

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi offers a message to bereaved families during his address at the Western Wall Memorial Day ceremony.

“The vast majority of families in the State of Israel waited for their children to descend the mountain, and received them with a hug at the end of their military service, but you waited in vain. Some of you are still waiting,” Kohavi says.

“They will not return. They will not return, but thanks to them, many have returned. Thanks to them, the lives of tens of thousands of citizens have been saved, and a large part of the security and achievements of the state is due to them.”

“Your pain is unbearable. The grief is oppressive, branching out in body and mind. It is present and does not rest for a moment, cruelly overcoming Sabbaths, holidays and birthdays.”

“The entire IDF and I at its head bow our heads out of sympathy, deep sorrow, and appreciation for your resilience,” Kohavi says.

Task of bringing home soldiers, civilians from Gaza remains, says Herzog in Memorial Day speech

Clockwise from top left: Oron Shaul, Avera Mengistu, Hadar Goldin and Hisham al-Sayed. (Flash90/Courtesy)
Clockwise from top left: Oron Shaul, Avera Mengistu, Hadar Goldin and Hisham al-Sayed. (Flash90/Courtesy)

President Isaac Herzog concludes his speech at the Western Wall Memorial Day ceremony with a reference to fallen IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul who are being held in Gaza along with Israeli civilians Abera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed.

“From here, I pray for the speedy return of our captured and the missing, and the task of bringing them back home remains on our shoulders,” he says.

Herzog: We’re ready for our enemies with weapon in one hand, other extended in peace

Speaking at the official state ceremony for Memorial Day at the Western Wall, President Isaac Herzog offers a message to Israel’s adversaries.

“Over the past year, past weeks, and indeed past few days, grief and pain have struck us time and again. Even today, our enemies rise up against us with hateful terror, and as always they find us ready and determined, with one hand holding a weapon and the other extended in dialogue and peace,” he says.

“It is precisely in these heart-breaking moments, escorting our heroes and heroines on their final journeys, together with their beloved families, whose pain instantly becomes our own — precisely in these moments, we discover the sheer power of our wonderful and marvelous nation, a nation that knows how to overcome any obstacle,” Herzog says.

“Our hearts, punctured by pain, must not be allowed to make us forget the mighty journey that we have undertaken.”

Herzog: ‘Those who fell did not ask who was right-wing and who was left-wing’

President Isaac Herzog addresses the state ceremony for Israel's Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and terror victims, at Jerusalem's Western Wall, on May 3, 2022. (Screen capture/YouTube)
President Isaac Herzog addresses the state ceremony for Israel's Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and terror victims, at Jerusalem's Western Wall, on May 3, 2022. (Screen capture/YouTube)

Speaking at the state ceremony marking Memorial Day at Western Wall, President Isaac Herzog calls for unity.

“Our sons and daughters, who fell in defense of our state, fought together and fell together. They did not ask, nor did anyone ask them, who was right-wing and who was left-wing. Who was religious. Who was secular. Who was Jewish and who was not Jewish. Nor did grief pose these questions, to them or to you,” he says.

“They fell as Israelis, defending Israel. In cemeteries, arguments fall silent. Between the headstones, not a sound. A silence that demands that we fulfill, together, their single dying wish: the resurrection of Israel. The building of Israel. United, consolidated, responsible for each other. For we are all sisters and brothers,” he adds.

Siren sounds across country as Israel mourns fallen soldiers, victims of terror

Israeli soldiers stand still as a memorial siren sounds during the ceremony marking Memorial Day for Israel's fallen soldiers and victims of terror, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, on April 13, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Israeli soldiers stand still as a memorial siren sounds during the ceremony marking Memorial Day for Israel's fallen soldiers and victims of terror, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, on April 13, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Sirens sound across the country at Israel begins marking Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terror.

Fifty-six soldiers have died during their military service since Israel’s last Memorial Day. Another 84 disabled veterans died due to complications from injuries sustained during their service.

The numbers brought the total of those who have died during service to the country since 1860 to 24,068.

Thirty-three names were also added to the list of terror victims who perished in attacks in the past year. Another four disabled victims died due to complications from serious injuries they sustained in attacks, bringing the total to 3,199 since Israel was established in 1948.

Counting from the “early days of Zionism” in 1851, the total number of terror victims stands at 4,216, according to Israel’s National Insurance Institute.

WATCH: Main Memorial Day ceremony set to start at Western Wall

The main ceremony for Israel’s Memorial Day is about to begin in a few minutes at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, just after the 8 p.m. siren sounds across the country.

You can watch the ceremony live here:

Flags lowered to half-mast hour before Memorial Day siren

The Knesset honor guard lowers the Israeli flag to half-mast during a ceremony in memory of Shimon Peres on September 28, 2016. (Hadas Parushl/Flash90)
The Knesset honor guard lowers the Israeli flag to half-mast during a ceremony in memory of Shimon Peres on September 28, 2016. (Hadas Parushl/Flash90)

Biden blasts ‘radical’ draft on abortion, warns other rights threatened

US President Joe Biden speaks to the media before boarding Air Force One for a trip to Alabama to visit a Lockheed Martin plant, on Tuesday, May 3, 2022, in Andrews Air Force Base, MD. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
US President Joe Biden speaks to the media before boarding Air Force One for a trip to Alabama to visit a Lockheed Martin plant, on Tuesday, May 3, 2022, in Andrews Air Force Base, MD. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

US President Joe Biden blasts what he called a “radical” leaked draft opinion suggesting the Supreme Court is poised to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide, warning that a “whole range of rights” are in jeopardy if it holds.

Speaking to reporters before boarding Air Force One, Biden says he hoped the draft wouldn’t be finalized by justices, contending it reflects a “fundamental shift in American jurisprudence” that threatens “other basic rights” like privacy and marriage.

He adds: “If this decision holds, it’s really quite a radical decision.”

At least 10 killed in Russian strike on east Ukraine factory — governor

A fire after a Russian rocket attack is seen in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Thursday, April 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
A fire after a Russian rocket attack is seen in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Thursday, April 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

At least 10 people were killed and 15 were wounded in a Russian strike on a coke plant in the east Ukrainian city of Avdiivka, the local governor says on social media on Tuesday.

“At least ten killed and 15 wounded, the consequences of the shelling of the Avdiivka coke plant by the Russian occupiers,” the governor of the Donetsk region Pavlo Kyrylenko says on Telegram. He warned that the number of victims may rise.

US court chief confirms authenticity of draft abortion opinion published in Politico

A crowd of people gather outside the Supreme Court, early May 3, 2022 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A crowd of people gather outside the Supreme Court, early May 3, 2022 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts issues a statement confirming the authenticity of a draft opinion published by Politico, which indicated that the top legal panel is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Roberts calls the leak a “betrayal” and “singular and egregious betrayal of trust,” but insists that it “will not succeed” in undermining the court’s integrity.

He says he has ordered an investigation to determine the identity of Politico’s source.

CIA director met with Saudi crown prince last month in US bid to heal rift with Riyadh — WSJ

CIA Director William Burns is interviewed at the Wall Street Journal's CEO Council, on December 7, 2021. (Screenshot/YouTube)
CIA Director William Burns is interviewed at the Wall Street Journal's CEO Council, on December 7, 2021. (Screenshot/YouTube)

The Wall Street Journal reports that CIA Director William Burns traveled to Jeddah last month for a covert meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as part of Washington’s effort to mend ties with Riyadh, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“It was a good conversation, better tone than prior US government engagements,” an American official tells WSJ.

Health Ministry said to weigh ending mandatory COVID test for Ben Gurion arrivals

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 is weighing ending the COVID-19 tests it requires all arrivals at Ben Gurion Airport to take — at their own cost — before they can exit, Channel 12 reports.

The decision could go into effect within weeks, according to the network.

Israel said to weigh expanding defense aid to Ukraine as civilian toll mounts

Ukrainian servicemen install a machine gun on a tank during the repair works after fighting against Russian forces in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, on April 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)
Ukrainian servicemen install a machine gun on a tank during the repair works after fighting against Russian forces in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, on April 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

Israeli diplomatic and military officials have discussed in recent days expanding the military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, Haaretz reports.

The discussions were held as the realization in Jerusalem sinks in that it can no longer remain on the fence, even partially, as the civilian toll in Ukraine grows.

Israel has sent several shipments of humanitarian aid, set up a field hospital inside Ukraine and most recently sent helmets and flak jackets. However, it has thus far avoided sending weapons to Kyiv in an attempt not to burn ties with Russia. Moscow controls the skies over Syria from which the IDF operates to target Iranian proxies below.

In the coming days, senior Israeli officials will hold another meeting to discuss what they are willing to send to Ukraine. The position against sending air defense systems remains, but there are other options “between helmets and Iron Dome,” a diplomatic source familiar with the matter tells Haaretz.

“There is still no intention to provide offensive weapons. Only defensive ones,” the source says, speculating that toeing this line will allow Israel to avoid a further diplomatic crisis with Russia.

US officials: Griner now considered wrongfully detained

Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner pauses on the court during the second half of a WNBA basketball game against the Seattle Storm, on September 3, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP/Ross D. Franklin, File)
Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner pauses on the court during the second half of a WNBA basketball game against the Seattle Storm, on September 3, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP/Ross D. Franklin, File)

The Biden administration has determined that WNBA star Brittney Griner is being wrongfully detained in Russia, meaning the United States will more aggressively work to secure her release even as the legal case against her plays out, two US officials say.

Griner was detained at an airport in February after Russian authorities said a search of her bag revealed vape cartridges containing oil derived from cannabis. Since then, US officials had stopped short of classifying the Phoenix Mercury player as wrongfully detained and said instead that their focus was on ensuring that she had access in jail to American consular affairs officials.

Now, though, US officials have shifted supervision of her case to a State Department section — the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs — that is focused on negotiating for the release of hostages and other Americans deemed wrongfully detained.

“Brittney has been detained for 75 days and our expectation is that the White House do whatever is necessary to bring her home,” says Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas.

It was unclear what prompted the shift in Griner’s case, though US President Joe Biden’s administration had been under pressure from members of Congress and others to make Griner’s release a priority.

Israel’s unemployment rate drops to its lowest since pandemic’s onset

Jerusalem's employment bureau (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
Jerusalem's employment bureau (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

Israel’s overall unemployment rate dropped slightly to 4.4% in April from 4.8% in March, the lowest it has been since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, according to data published by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).

The overall rate includes people who were dismissed or whose workplaces have closed since March 2020 due to the pandemic, as well as those on unpaid leave who expect to return to their workplaces.

The unemployment rate excluding those affected by the pandemic stood at 2.9% in April, far lower than the pre-pandemic levels of approximately 3.5%, a 50-year low.

A total of 186,100 Israelis were not working in April, according to CBS figures, compared to 227,200 in March. Before the pandemic, an estimated 150,000 Israelis were unemployed.

After a decrease at the end of January, the average wage bounced back in February to NIS 12,052, similar to the data published at the end of 2021, according to a separate report by the CBS.

101 civilians evacuated from Mariupol’s Azovstal plant — UN

Smoke rises from the grounds of the Azovstal steel plant in the city of Mariupol on April 29, 2022, amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Andrey Borodulin/AFP)
Smoke rises from the grounds of the Azovstal steel plant in the city of Mariupol on April 29, 2022, amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Andrey Borodulin/AFP)

The UN says 101 civilians were “successfully evacuated” from the tunnels of the Azovstal plant in Ukraine’s battered city of Mariupol, besieged by Russian forces for two months, in a joint effort with the Red Cross.

“I am pleased and relieved to confirm that 101 civilians have successfully been evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol,” Osnat Lubrani, the UN’s Ukraine humanitarian coordinator, says in a statement, adding that the group included “women, men, children and older persons.”

Putin tells Macron West must stop supplying weapons to Ukraine

A Ukrainian soldier celebrates in a check point in Bucha, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, April 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
A Ukrainian soldier celebrates in a check point in Bucha, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, April 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

Russian President Vladimir Putin tells French counterpart Emmanuel Macron the West must stop supplying weapons to Ukraine and accused Kyiv of not taking talks to end the conflict seriously, the Kremlin said.

Accusing Ukrainian forces of committing war crimes, Putin told Macron “the West could help stop these atrocities by putting relevant pressure on the Kyiv authorities, as well as halting the supply of weapons to Ukraine.”

Putin also said Kyiv was not ready for “serious work” on ending the conflict.

Biden says US voters must defend ‘fundamental’ abortion rights

A crowd of people gather outside the Supreme Court, May 2, 2022 in Washington (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A crowd of people gather outside the Supreme Court, May 2, 2022 in Washington (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

US President Joe Biden says that US voters will have to defend the “fundamental” right to an abortion if the Supreme Court scraps constitutional guarantees allowing the procedure.

Biden cautions that a copy published by Politico of a draft majority opinion by the court ending the nationwide right had not been verified.

However, if authentic, abortion laws will depend on individual states and “it will fall on voters to elect” officials who back the right to the procedure in November’s midterm elections, Biden says in a statement.

3 killed, 6 injured in multi-vehicle crash near Kiryat Malachi

The scene of a deadly crash near Kiryat Malachi on May 3, 2022. (Courtesy)
The scene of a deadly crash near Kiryat Malachi on May 3, 2022. (Courtesy)

Paramedics have declared the deaths of three people following a major crash involving a truck and several other vehicles on Route 3703 near the southern town of Kiryat Malachi, the Magen David Adom ambulance service reports.

Six other people have been taken to the hospital, including a man in his 60s in critical condition. The other five — three women in their 60s and two men in their 20s — are moderately injured, MDA says.

Unarmed Palestinian detained by IDF after crossing Gaza border

A picture taken from Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip shows an Israeli tank near the border fence with the coastal enclave on August 1, 2019, following a firefight with a Palestinian gunman. (Said Khatib/AFP)
A picture taken from Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip shows an Israeli tank near the border fence with the coastal enclave on August 1, 2019, following a firefight with a Palestinian gunman. (Said Khatib/AFP)

A Palestinian suspect was arrested by Israeli troops after attempting to cross into Israel from the Gaza Strip.

The Israel Defense Forces says the unarmed man was detained at the southern section of the fence. He is being questioned at the scene, the IDF adds.

Abramovich’s security guards are told toilet paper no longer on the house amid sanctions — report

Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich sits in his box before their English Premier League soccer match against Sunderland at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, on December 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)
Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich sits in his box before their English Premier League soccer match against Sunderland at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, on December 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich’s security guards are reportedly now paying for their own toilet paper, coffee, tea, milk and bread, which had been complimentary until the Ukraine invasion sparked a tornado of international sanctions against the billionaire.

The cuts were made after Abramovich’s ex-wife was forced to cover the bill for the Team Fusion security firm, which totals over $502,000 a month, The Sun British tabloid reports.

Putin may formally declare war on Ukraine as soon as May 9 — report

Russian President Vladimir Putin gives a speech as he hosts Russia's medal-winning athletes from the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games and members of the country's Paralympic team at the Kremlin in Moscow, on April 26, 2022. (Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin gives a speech as he hosts Russia's medal-winning athletes from the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games and members of the country's Paralympic team at the Kremlin in Moscow, on April 26, 2022. (Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin may formally declare war on Ukraine as early as May 9, CNN reports, saying it would allow for the full mobilization of Moscow’s military reserves.

Russia currently classifies the invasion as a more limited “special military operation.”

May 9 is known as “Victory Day” in Russia during which the country commemorates its defeat of the Nazis.

Report: To avoid diplomatic incident, no foreign envoys will be invited to V-Day ceremony

The Absorption Ministry has decided not to invite any foreign ambassadors to the annual ceremony it is holding next week to mark Victory Day, Walla reports.

The decision has been made in order to avoid any sort of diplomatic incident that might have come from inviting either the Russian or Ukrainian envoys, according to Walla, which does not cite any sources.

The move is reported after Labor MK Gilad Kariv had reached out to Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata, urging her not to invite Russian representatives to the ceremony due to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Zelensky said to have received advice from Netanyahu PR aides in recent weeks

Likud spokesman Jonathan Urich speaks at a Central Elections Committee meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, April 3, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Likud spokesman Jonathan Urich speaks at a Central Elections Committee meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, April 3, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has consulted in recent weeks with a pair of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s advisers, the Walla news site reports.

Zelensky has received PR advice from Srulik Einhorn, who was a senior Likud adviser during the last election as well as Jonathan Urich, a longtime Netanyahu aide who still serves as a Likud spokesman, according to the unsourced report.

Einhorn now works in PR and Urich also holds a post at a PR firm in addition to being a Likud employee.

Half of Jewish Israelis support Jewish prayer on Temple Mount — poll

A group of religious Jews walk past the Dome of the Rock during their visit to the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif (The Noble Sanctuary), in the Old City of Jerusalem on April 20, 2022. (Menahem Kahana / AFP)
A group of religious Jews walk past the Dome of the Rock during their visit to the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif (The Noble Sanctuary), in the Old City of Jerusalem on April 20, 2022. (Menahem Kahana / AFP)

Fifty percent of Jewish Israelis support allowing Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, according to a new survey conducted amid the latest tensions in Jerusalem.

The Israel Democracy Institute poll indicates a substantial number of Israelis effectively support reversing the current status quo at the flashpoint holy site where only Muslims are allowed to pray. Non-Muslims are only allowed to visit.

Thirty-eight percent of Jewish Israelis tie their support for Jewish worship at the Temple Mount to the message it sends regarding Israel’s sovereignty on the site, according to the poll. Twelve percent of Jewish Israelis say that prayer should be allowed at the Temple Mount because it is a religious commandment.

The IDI survey was conducted from April 24 to 26, with 601 people interviewed in Hebrew and 150 in Arabic. The margin of error is 3.56%.

‘No absences’ allowed: Coalition gears up for battle on eve of Knesset reopening

MK Nir Orbach (standing) seen with Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman during a Knesset plenum session, November 29, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
MK Nir Orbach (standing) seen with Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman during a Knesset plenum session, November 29, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In anticipation of opening next week’s Knesset session with a roster of only 60 MKs — provided Ra’am returns its four lawmakers to the ruling bloc -– coalition faction heads have released a letter informing members that they must be present for all Knesset plenum sessions for the next three weeks.

“During the first three weeks of the session’s opening, no absences will be accepted, for any reason,” the letter reads, in bold and underlined font.

Without a majority in the 120-seat chamber, the coalition needs every member present to advance legislation, a backlog of which remains from the last session.

After the three weeks, all intended absences from a plenum workday – generally Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday – must be approved by coalition management and must include a five-day advance notice and, critically, identification of an opposition MK who will offset the absence.

Offsetting votes is a common Knesset practice, whereby a coalition and an opposition MK cancel out their votes by an agreed-upon mutual absence or abstention. The opposition can choose to limit the use of this tool in order to complicate the coalition’s already tricky path toward turning bills into laws.

Russia using sexual violence as weapon of war, Ukraine envoy in Canada says

Russian soldiers walks along a street in Mariupol on April 12, 2022. (Alexander Nemenov/AFP)
Russian soldiers walks along a street in Mariupol on April 12, 2022. (Alexander Nemenov/AFP)

Ukraine’s ambassador-designate to Canada says Russia must be held accountable for its troops committing sex crimes, including against children.

Yulia Kovaliv tells a Canadian House of Commons committee that Russia is using sexual violence as a weapon of war and said rape and sexual assault must be investigated as war crimes.

She says Russia also has kidnapped Ukrainian children and taken them to Russian-occupied territories and now Russia itself. Ukraine is working with partners to find the children and bring them back.

“Russians, a few days ago, killed a young mother and taped her living child to her body and attached a mine between them,″ the ambassador says. She says the mine detonated.

All of Russian society, and not just President Vladimir Putin “and his proxies,” should bear responsibility for the war on Ukraine because more than 70% of Russians support the invasion, Kovaliv says.

More than one million Ukrainians ‘evacuated’ to Russia in last two months — Moscow

Women wait in a bus at a center for displaced people in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, Monday, May 2, 2022. The sign reads: "Bus." (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)
Women wait in a bus at a center for displaced people in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, Monday, May 2, 2022. The sign reads: "Bus." (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

More than 1 million people, including nearly 200,000 children, have been taken from Ukraine to Russia in the past two months, Russia’s Defense Ministry says, according to the state-owned news agency TASS.

Defense Ministry official Mikhail Mizintsev says those included 11,550 people, including 1,847 children, in the previous 24 hours, “without the participation of the Ukrainian authorities.”

He says those civilians “were evacuated to the territory of the Russian Federation from the dangerous regions” of Donetsk, Luhansk and other parts of Ukraine, according to the report. No details were provided on the location or circumstances of the moves.

Funeral held for ex-Meretz MK Gilon: ‘He roared with all his might when he saw evil’

Mourners listen to the wife of former Meretz MK Ilan Gilon at the social activist's funeral in Kfar Saba, May 3, 2022 (Screen grab)
Mourners listen to the wife of former Meretz MK Ilan Gilon at the social activist's funeral in Kfar Saba, May 3, 2022 (Screen grab)

Hundreds of mourners turn out for the funeral of former Meretz MK and social justice campaigner Ilan Gilon, the widely respected lawmaker who died on Sunday at 65.

In a speech in front of family, friends, lawmakers and cabinet ministers at the cemetery in the central town Kfar Saba, Gilon was eulogized by his wife, Yehudit, who says the pair met while at school.

“You were a brat in my eyes, and I was a nerd in your eyes. But ours was a love forever. Rushing forward with a burning passion, you were a hopeless romantic,” she says.

“You wrote me poems, we shared thoughts and secrets. And now I am saying goodbye to you,” she says.

“We had a love of 50 years. We knew we wanted a huge family, and today the whole family is here — that’s what Ilan wanted. There are masses of people here and you are everyone’s glue,” she says.

Transportation Minister and Labor head Merav Michaeli says that Gilon did not enter politics because he wanted power, but rather because he wanted to give power to the people.

“Ilan was a compass for me when I entered the Knesset. He was always sharp, clear and ideological — he was not soft. He was the love he gave everywhere, but when he saw evil, he roared with all his might,” Michaeli says.

Report: US, Israel discussed holding another regional forum when Biden visits

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks as he meets with US President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks as he meets with US President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The US and Israel have discussed holding a forum of regional leaders when US President Joe Biden visits Jerusalem late next month, Axios reports.

The idea for a summit of Biden, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and at least one Arab leader was raised during Israeli National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata’s meeting with his US counterpart Jake Sullivan last month, Axios says, citing two Israeli officials.

The proposal is still in its early stages, and it is not clear whether the confab would be held in Israel or another regional country or even take place at all, Axios clarifies. However, the goal is to build off of March’s Negev Summit when the foreign ministers of Israel, the US, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Egypt gathered in Sde Boker for the first-ever regional gathering of its kind.

An advance team from the Biden administration arrived in Israel earlier this week in preparation for the president’s visit late next month, an official familiar with the matter tells The Times of Israel, adding that the visit will also include a stop in the West Bank to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Axios says Biden’s visit — his first to the Middle East as president — will only last 24 to 36 hours.

The White House has declined to comment on the report.

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