The Times of Israel liveblogged Sunday’s events as they happened.
TEHRAN, Iran — The vast majority of Iran’s 290 lawmakers demand that the judiciary apply “an eye for an eye” retributive justice when dealing with “enemies of God” in the strife-torn country.
The declaration, approved today by 227 parliamentarians, comes as protests following the death of Mahsa Amini have entered an eighth week.
The 22-year-old woman died in custody in mid-September following her arrest by Tehran’s morality police for allegedly breaching the country’s strict dress code for women.
Iranian authorities describe the protests as riots.
Officials “must apply the law of an-eye-for-an-eye” against those who “have harmed people’s lives and property with bladed weapons and firearms,” the lawmakers says.
“We call on all officials in the country, including the judiciary, to deal as soon as possible with the enemies of God,” they say in the declaration, published by parliament’s press agency.
The lawmakers also urged the judiciary to “deal decisively with the perpetrators of these crimes and deal with all those who incited the rioters, including certain politicians,” they add.
Far-right Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich demanded he receive either the Defense Ministry or Treasury during coalition talks today with Likud chief Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli television reports say.
According to Channel 12 news, Smotrich backed his electoral partner Itamar Ben Gvir’s demand to be appointed public security minister.
The Kan public broadcaster reports that Smotrich also called for an “expanded” override clause allowing the Knesset to void Supreme Court rulings with a simple majority and not require at least 61 MKs. The report says, however, that Netanyahu and his ultra-Orthodox allies are opposed to such a measure.
Meanwhile, Channel 13 news says Ben Gvir is expected to call for imposing tougher conditions on security prisoners when he meets with Netanyahu tomorrow.
Senior Jordanian sources tell the Kan public broadcaster that any attempt by the next Israeli government to change the status quo at the flashpoint Temple Mount will harm ties between Jerusalem and Amman.
The report quotes the sources saying it will be “a completely different story” if far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir — who is part of Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-religious bloc — goes up to the holy site in Jerusalem’s Old City as a minister and not just as a Knesset member.
Ben Gvir, an advocate for increased Jewish rights at the Temple Mount, has called to be appointed public security minister, which would give him authority over Israeli policies at the compound.
Some members of opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party want to advance legislation that will permit MK David Bitan to serve as a minister, despite his indictment on corruption charges, according to Channel 12 news.
Bitan denies any such proposal is in the works, telling the network in response that when he wants to get something done, he does so in the open.
While a Knesset member under indictment can serve as prime minister, as Netanyahu has and is expected to again do after last week’s election, he or she cannot be a minister per a High Court of Justice ruling in the 1990s.
The Shin Bet security service slams far-right Religious Zionism leader for claiming it used “manipulations” that encouraged Jewish extremist Yigal Amir to assassinate prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.
“We express shock over the comments,” the sources say. “A public representative is encouraging conspiracies and slandering an organization whose entire purpose is thwarting terror of any type and protecting the country.”
The sources call to condemn the remarks, which they say “encourage extreme discourse.”
French President Emmanuel Macron puts out a tweet confirming he phoned Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu on his right-religious bloc’s victory in last week’s election.
In a tweet, Macron says the two both want to strengthen “the already strong ties” between France and Israel.
The French president does not mention an invitation for Netanyahu to soon visit France, as the former premier said in his statement on the phone call.
State prosecutors file charges against four settler youths who were involved in a car chase nearly two years ago that led to the death of a fifth teen.
The indictment submitted to the Jerusalem District Court include aggravated terror charges for throwing rocks at Palestinian cars, which it attributes to racist motives.
Ahuvia Sandak, 16, was killed in the crash while fleeing from police in December 2020, shortly after the alleged attack on Palestinian drivers.
The case has drawn the ire of right-wing activists who have accused police of responsibility for his death, claiming they caused the car crash during the chase. An internal affairs investigation into police was later closed after finding the officers were justified in chasing the car carrying Sandak.
“This indictment will turn into an indictment of the police, [internal affairs] and prosecutors who covered-up the death of a youth,” say lawyers for the four, in response to the filing of charges.
Likud chief Benjamin Netanyahu says he spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron, who phoned to congratulate the former prime minister on his expected return to power after his right-religious bloc won last week’s elections.
“I thank President Macron for the warmhearted conversation and for inviting me to visit France soon, to strengthen the ties between our countries and to hold intensive deliberations on regional challenges, chiefly Iran,” Netanyahu says in a statement.
There is no immediate statement from Macron’s office.
NEW YORK — Kenyan Sharon Lokedi sweeps to victory in the New York Marathon today, producing a superb tactical performance to win in her first ever race over the distance.
The 28-year-old bided her time after breaking away in a pack with world champion Gotytom Gebreslase of Ethiopia and Israel’s Lonah Salpeter with a few miles to go.
After Gebreslase was dropped going through Central Park it became a duel between Lokedi and Salpeter.
Lokedi ramped up the pace in the final mile to build a gap of around 20 meters before surging home to win in 2 hours, 23 minutes and 23 seconds.
Salpeter finished second in 2:23:30 with Gebreslase taking third place.
Outgoing Defense Minister Benny Gantz delivers a fiery speech at a Knesset session marking the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, recalling how he was heckled as a “murderer” while visiting the Western Wall the night before last week’s election.
“Those were the exact same shouts and it’s 27 years later,” Gantz says. “Let’s not think what led to that terrible night in November but what, God forbid, could lead to the next night.”
He also calls out most MKs from the right-religious bloc led by opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, which is set to form the next government, for not attending the official state ceremony for Rabin earlier today, drawing jeers.
PARIS — New protests erupt in Iran today at universities and in the largely Kurdish northwest, keeping a seven-week anti-regime movement going even in the face of a fierce crackdown.
The protests, triggered in mid-September by the death of Mahsa Amini after she was arrested for allegedly breaching strict dress rules for women, have evolved into the biggest challenge for the clerical leadership since the 1979 revolution.
Unlike demonstrations in November 2019, they have been nationwide, spread across social classes, universities, the streets and even schools, showing no sign of letting up even as the death toll ticks towards 200, according to one rights group.
Another rights group, Norway-based Hengaw, says security forces opened fire today at a protest in Marivan, a town in Kurdistan province, wounding 35 people.
It was not immediately possible to verify the toll.
The latest protest was sparked by the death in Tehran of a Kurdish student from Marivan, Nasrin Ghadri, who according to Hengaw died yesterday after being beaten over the head by police.
Iranian authorities have not yet commented on the cause of her death.
Hengaw says she was buried at dawn without a funeral ceremony on the insistence of the authorities who feared the event could become a protest flashpoint.
Authorities subsequently sent reinforcements to the area, it adds.
CAIRO — Amnesty International’s head warns that the proceedings of COP27 in Egypt could be stained by the death of the country’s leading rights activist from a hunger and water strike in prison if Egyptian authorities do not release him within days.
Secretary General of Amnesty International Agnes Callamard says Egypt has no more than 72 hours to save the life of jailed dissident Alaa Abdel Fattah, who is also a UK citizen.
Egypt’s hosting of the climate summit, known as COP27, has trained a spotlight on its human rights record as a wide-reaching crackdown continues under President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi. The conference is being held in the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.
“If they do not want to end up with a death they should have and could have prevented, they must act now,” Callamard says in a press briefing in the capital of Cairo.
Callamard says she will be attending COP27 to push for action on human rights issues related to climate change, including loss and damage or reparations from richer countries to vulnerable nations suffering from climate change. Egypt is a proponent of the issue.
But she will also be there to push for immediate action on the case of prominent Egyptian activist and UK citizen Alaa Abdel Fattah and that of the tens of thousands of political prisoners estimated to be inside the country’s jails, she says.
Opposition figure Abdel-Fattah escalated his hunger strike this week, refusing also water, to coincide with the first day of the COP27, according to his family. His aunt, the writer Ahdaf Soueif, says he stopped drinking water at 10 a.m. local time today.
The Knesset is now convening for its official memorial ceremony to mark 27 years since the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
In his speech, outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid says Rabin believed Israel’s strength was built on four pillars — the rule of law, the country’s alignment with the “technologically advanced West,” democracy and the desire for peace.
“If Israel abandons the rule of law, dismantles its democracy, takes backward progress and our ties with the international community and completely abandons the desire for peace — then it will be a weaker country and Rabin’s ideas will be buried alongside it,” he says.
He adds: “We won’t allow this to happen.”
Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, who is set to be the next premier after his right-religious bloc won a majority in last week’s election, speaks after Lapid.
“After the elections are over… we need come out of the trenches and know how to work together,” he says.
“Differences won’t disappear, and that’s fine. We have profound disagreements on a few subjects, which need to be managed with responsibility and consideration,” he says. “It’s okay to argue, we don’t need to agree on everything, but at the same time we need to know what we do agree on — what most of us agree on.”
Likud chief Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with far-right Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir tomorrow for coalition talks, the former prime minister’s party says.
Netanyahu met today with Ben Gvir’s electoral partner Bezalel Smotrich and the heads of the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says he spoke today with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen about tightening sanctions on Iran for supplying drones to Russia.
“Touched upon the issue of strengthening sanctions and opposing the actions of Iran, which supports aggression against our country,” he says in a statement.
Addressing the official state ceremony for assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, President Isaac Herzog calls on Likud chief Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-religious bloc to treat the outgoing coalition with “respect” after winning a majority of Knesset seats in last week’s election.
“Embrace your brothers and sisters from the other side. Be attentive to their needs, their pain, their dreams. Remember: Elections in Israel are not a zero-sum game. Don’t be afraid to compromise… to prevent fracturing and rift among us,” Herzog says.
He then appeals to supporters of the last government, Jews abroad and others concerned over Netanyahu’s likely new coalition, which will be made up of the former premier’s Likud party, a pair of ultra-Orthodox parties and a far-right alliance.
“The country has not ended or been ruined. The democratic decision must be respected,” he says. “We are all committed to the State of Israel’s fate. We are all committed its basic contours as a Jewish and democratic state, to maintaining the rule of law and human and civil rights, to respecting all minority groups.”
Twenty-seven years after the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, and five days after Israel’s latest Knesset elections, outgoing Premier Yair Lapid says that political polarization and attendant hatred are at a critical juncture.
“We have to decide now, at this moment, where the country is going,” Lapid says at the state ceremony commemorating Rabin’s murder, held at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl cemetery.
“We are close to the point of no return, but it is still in our hands. We can still change direction,” he adds. “An absolute majority of Israeli citizens are not willing for hatred to run their lives.”
Rabin was murdered in 1995 by a Jewish extremist opposed to the Labor prime minister’s vision to exchange land for peace with the Palestinians.
“Yitzhak Rabin was murdered by someone whose violent incitement made him believe that he should not accept the voters’ decision,” says Lapid.
He says that he won’t join the next government but accepts the election results. “The government I lead lost last week’s elections. I don’t intend to waste my life hating those who won. I don’t intend to turn my back on those who didn’t vote for us,” he says. “Whoever believes in Israeli democracy when he wins, also has to believe in it when he loses.”
The Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group arrested two people over firing rockets at Israel last week, a security source in the coastal enclave tells AFP.
A rocket was launched Thursday from Gaza, the first such military action since three days of cross-border fighting in August.
The incident prompted Hamas’s internal security services to detain two people “directly related to the firing of four rockets,” says a security source who requested anonymity.
“The Palestinian factions have nothing to do with these rockets, which are aimed at giving the occupation (Israel) an excuse for continuing the aggression,” the source tells AFP.
The rocket fire was not claimed by any of the armed factions operating in Gaza, which has been ruled by Hamas since 2007.
The security source doesn’t detail the affiliation of those arrested, adding that the rockets fired were not loaded with explosives.
Palestinian factions have an agreement to coordinate “any response to Israeli aggression,” he tells AFP.
Israel launched retaliatory strikes Friday on Gaza, which the military said hit a rocket production site belonging to Hamas.
Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid says that there is no chance his Yesh Atid party will join Israel’s next government, which is expected to be formed by a bloc of right-wing, far-right and ultra-Orthodox parties led by Likud chief Benjamin Netanyahu.
“There is no scenario and no situation under which we will enter the new government,” says Lapid.
While committing his party to the opposition, Lapid says that his centrist party will lend its support to measures by the incoming government promotes that are “good for the citizens of Israel.”
“We will be an opposition to the government, but we will never be an opposition to the state,” Lapid says.
Yesh Atid won 24 seats in last week’s election, second to Likud’s 32. However, Likud and its partners earned a combined 64 seats, enough for a majority in the 120-seat Knesset.
United Torah Judaism No. 2 Moshe Gafni and Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich are meeting at the Knesset after separately meeting with Likud chief Benjamin Netanyahu for coalition talks.
A spokesman for Gafni describes the sit-down with Smotrich as a “work meeting” ahead of the new government’s formation. The two are part of Netanyahu’s right-religious bloc, which won a majority in last week’s election and is now expected to become the ruling coalition.
In a seeming bid to maximize its power in the upcoming coalition, MK Avi Maoz’s tiny far-right faction Noam, which picked up a single seat in the Knesset by running on a joint slate with Religious Zionism and Otzma Yehudit, plans to conduct separate coalition negotiation with Likud head Benjamin Netanyahu, according to his spokesman.
The spokesman declined to detail the anti-LGBT Noam’s demands, saying it “does not conduct negotiations via the media.”
A source close to Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir confirmed earlier today that the Otzma Yehudit chief will also aim to lead separate coalition talks with Netanyahu, but did not elaborate on when the two will meet.
Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich met with Netanyahu earlier. Netanyahu plans to meet today with “all heads of the national camp” bloc, but did not detail if that also includes Ben Gvir and Maoz, whose alliance with Smotrich he pushed for.
Former prime minister Naftali Bennett has officially submitted his resignation as alternate premier, after announcing that he would be stepping down imminently ahead of the expected formation of a new government following last week’s elections.
His resignation will take effect on Tuesday.
Bennett handed the reins to outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid and announced that he would be leaving politics after their power-sharing coalition collapsed and new elections were called in June.
With another election campaign now over, President Isaac Herzog calls on political leaders to tamp down the rhetoric, as he speaks at an official memorial ceremony for assassinated former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
“Once again, accusations of treason were spread and again comparisons to Nazis were heard, and again the public sphere — including social media — was filled with dangerous violence. This is the time to lower the flames, to show responsibility,” he says in a speech at his official residence.
He adds: “To the leaders of the Israeli public from across the spectrum, from the the expected coalition to opposition, I call on and you and request: We have attacked enough, we have fought enough, we have cursed enough.”
Herzog says it’s possible to “deeply and profoundly disagree” while doing so respectfully, “with the understanding that we are all part of a whole, that no one is going anywhere.”
“Let me stress: Racism, violence and hate have no place among us. The State of Israel is committed to the Declaration of Independence,” he adds.
“The State of Israel is Jewish and democratic, obligated to the rule of law and to respecting human rights; Israeli society needs to fight to maintain it like this, against anyone who tries to ignite the flames of hatred and division.”
TEHRAN, Iran — Four Iranian police officers and one “terrorist” have been killed in separate incidents in the strife-torn country, state media and the Revolutionary Guards says today.
Iran has been rocked by more than seven weeks of nationwide protests over the death of 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini while in the custody of the Tehran morality police.
Amid the wider unrest, clashes have rocked Sistan-Baluchistan province, which borders Pakistan and Afghanistan, sparked by the alleged rape of a local teenage girl by a police chief.
The four police officers were killed in Sistan-Baluchistan, official media say, without saying when, and blaming a personal dispute between police conscripts.
“The incident, at a traffic police station on the Iranshahr-Bampour highway, caused the martyrdom of the police officers,” regional police chief Major Alireza Sayyad tells IRNA news agency.
Poverty-stricken Sistan-Baluchistan has long been a flashpoint for clashes with rebels from the Baluchi minority, Sunni Muslim extremist groups and drug smuggling gangs.
On September 30 in Zahedan, the provincial capital, dozens of protesters and six members of the security forces were killed, according to the authorities.
In a separate incident, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps says its forces have killed an “element hostile to the revolution” after an attack on one of their bases in Mahshahr, in the southwestern province of Khuzestan.
“The forces fired on two terrorists on motorbikes in order to protect the headquarters, killing one of them while steps were taken to identify and arrest the second person,” the IRGC says in a statement.
President Isaac Herzog will begin meeting with party leaders on Wednesday for consultations on which Knesset member should form the next government, his office announces.
After the talks, Herzog will meet with the lawmakers who had received recommendations from the party leaders.
“The consultation process, stipulated by law, will be broadcast live from the President’s Residence, after which President Isaac Herzog will announce the candidate to whom he will assign the task of forming a government,” Eyal Shviki, director-general of the President’s Residence, says in a statement.
Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to be tapped to build a new government, after the religious-right bloc of factions loyal to him secured a majority in last week’s election, winning 64 of the 120 Knesset seats.
Likud chief Benjamin Netanyahu meets far-right Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich for coalition talks, after the former prime minister’s party and allied factions secured a parliamentary majority in last week’s elections.
Smotrich ran together on a joint slate with MK Itamar Ben Gvir, who heads the extreme Otzma Yehudit party. The two announced earlier today that they will negotiate as a joint bloc.
It is not yet clear if Netanyahu will meet separately with Ben Gvir, whom he has so far avoided being photographed with.
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