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Police said opening probe against Rabbi Tau as alleged victim details sexual abuse

Hebron resident Nehama Te’ena comes forward to publicly accuse prominent ultra-conservative rabbi of sexually assaulting her since she was 10 years old

Nehama Te'ena speaks to Channel 12 news about allegations that Zvi Tau, a prominent ultra-conservative rabbi, sexually abused her since she was a 10-year-old girl (Screencapture/Channel 12)
Nehama Te'ena speaks to Channel 12 news about allegations that Zvi Tau, a prominent ultra-conservative rabbi, sexually abused her since she was a 10-year-old girl (Screencapture/Channel 12)

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

Alex Jones ordered to pay $473M more to Sandy Hook families

Infowars founder Alex Jones appears in court to testify during the Sandy Hook defamation damages trial at Connecticut Superior Court in Waterbury, Conn., September 22, 2022. (Tyler Sizemore/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP, Pool, File)
Infowars founder Alex Jones appears in court to testify during the Sandy Hook defamation damages trial at Connecticut Superior Court in Waterbury, Conn., September 22, 2022. (Tyler Sizemore/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP, Pool, File)

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his company are ordered to pay an extra $473 million to victims’ families and an FBI agent for calling the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting a hoax, adding to a nearly $1 billion jury verdict issued last month.

Connecticut Judge Barabara Bellis imposes the punitive damages on the Infowars host and Free Speech Systems. Jones repeatedly told his millions of followers the massacre that killed 20 first graders and six educators was staged by “crisis actors” to enact more gun control.

Eight victims’ relatives and the FBI agent testified during a month-long trial about being threatened and harassed for years by people who deny the shooting happened. Strangers showed up at some of their homes and confronted some of them in public. People hurled abusive comments at them on social media and in emails. And some received death and rape threats.

Six jurors ordered Jones to pay $965 million to compensate the 15 plaintiffs for defamation, infliction of emotional distress and violations of Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practices Act, which bans deceptive business practices and unfair competition.

Jones has bashed the trial as unfair and an assault on free speech rights. He says he will appeal the verdicts. He also says he doesn’t have the money to pay such huge verdicts, because he has less than $2 million to his name — which contradicted testimony at a similar trial in Texas. Free Speech Systems, meanwhile, is seeking bankruptcy protection.

Saudi announces first executions for drug crimes since 2020

Illustrative: A woman is seen kneeling on the ground ahead of her execution in Saudi Arabi as a swordsman dressed in white stands above her, January 17, 2015. (Screen Capture: YouTube)
Illustrative: A woman is seen kneeling on the ground ahead of her execution in Saudi Arabi as a swordsman dressed in white stands above her, January 17, 2015. (Screen Capture: YouTube)

Saudi Arabia says it has executed two Pakistani nationals for smuggling heroin, the first time the death penalty had been administered for drug crimes in nearly three years, according to an AFP tally.

The executions draw a rebuke from Amnesty International, which says they flew in the face of a moratorium announced in January 2021 on the death penalty for drug offenses.

The executions were carried out in the Riyadh region, where the capital is located, the official Saudi Press Agency says.

The move demonstrates “the keenness of the government… to combat all kinds of drugs because of the grave harm they cause to the individual and society,” it says.

The report did not provide details about the mode of executions, but the wealthy Gulf kingdom has often administered death sentences by beheading.

Saudi Arabia sparked an international outcry in March when it executed 81 people in a single day for terrorism-related offenses.

IDF mulls charges against 2 soldiers over death of elderly Palestinian-American man

Omar As'ad. (Courtesy)
Omar As'ad. (Courtesy)

The Israel Defense Forces summons an officer and soldier for a hearing over the death of Palestinian-American Omar As’ad earlier this year, ahead of a potential indictment against the pair.

In the incident on January 12, soldiers of the Netzah Yehuda battalion detained and bound 78-year-old As’ad’s hands with zip ties, and moved him to a courtyard of an abandoned building in the near-freezing January night, leaving him there without checking on his condition.

The IDF says “irregularities in their conduct” were uncovered as part of the investigation, and therefore indictments are being considered against the pair.

Woman describes alleged sexual abuse by Rabbi Tau since she was 10-years-old

Nehama Te'ena speaks to Channel 12 news about allegations that Zvi Tau, a prominent ultra-conservative rabbi, sexually abused her since she was a 10-year-old girl (Screencapture/Channel 12)
Nehama Te'ena speaks to Channel 12 news about allegations that Zvi Tau, a prominent ultra-conservative rabbi, sexually abused her since she was a 10-year-old girl (Screencapture/Channel 12)

Nehama Te’ena, a resident of the West Bank city of Hebron, comes forward to publicly accuse Rabbi Zvi Tau, a prominent ultra-conservative rabbi, of sexually abusing her since she was 10 years old.

Choosing to reveal her identity in an interview with Channel 12, Te’ena says it was important for her to speak openly.

The interview comes days after several other prominent rabbis called publicly to investigate allegations of sexual abuse against Tau.

Te’ena says Tau was frequently around her family.

“He dragged me to a place and hurt me several times, also when I was a girl and even after I was married and a mother — he kept doing it,” she says.

“I tried to ask for help in different ways but I did not know how to express myself at the time,” she says, adding that one time as a 10-year-old she tried to call the police.

She says she faced enormous pressure from those around her to keep her allegations quiet, with many dismissing her claims because he was such a well-known powerful rabbi.

“He used his power and image to carry out the abuse,” she says.

Channel 12 reports that police are planning to open a probe and are looking for other potential victims.

 

New Jersey teen charged after Islamist manifesto threatened synagogue attack

Hoboken Police officers stand watch outside the United Synagogue of Hoboken, in Hoboken, New Jersey, Nov. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Ryan Kryska)
Hoboken Police officers stand watch outside the United Synagogue of Hoboken, in Hoboken, New Jersey, Nov. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Ryan Kryska)

US Federal prosecutors arrest and charge a New Jersey teenager with extremist Islamist views for making the threat that led to a sweeping FBI warning for the state’s synagogues last week.

Omar Alkattoul, 18, of Sayreville, New Jersey, is charged with one count of transmitting a threat in interstate and foreign commerce for an extremist manifesto he shared on November 1 on an undisclosed social media network. He faces up to five years in prison.

Alkattoul had pledged allegiance to the leader of ISIS and researched past mass shootings and how to obtain firearms, according to the criminal complaint against him filed today by the US Attorney’s Office in New Jersey. The complaint alleges that Alkattoul published a manifesto online that had been written as though he had already carried out an attack.

The detection of his manifesto caused the FBI to warn the Jewish community in New Jersey, which immediately activated security protocols at communal institutions. A day later, the FBI said the threat had been eliminated.

Police arrest 2 Palestinian minors for throwing stones at cars in Jerusalem

Police detain two Palestinian minors for allegedly hurling stones at Israeli cars in separate incidents in East Jerusalem this evening.

According to police, in the first incident, a 14-year-old boy hurled stones at several passing vehicles near the neighborhood of Issawiya.

An Israeli passenger on a bus that was hit by the stones is lightly hurt, according to police. The teen was detained by officers who were dispatched to the scene.

In the second incident, an 11-year-old boy hurled stones at passing cars near a-Tur, police say. One Israeli driver is lightly hurt by one of the stones.

The 11-year-old’s parents were called to a local police station where he was being held, and were warned by officers, police say.

At Kahane memorial, Ben Gvir booed for saying he opposes expelling Arabs

The head of the Otzma Yehudit party MK Itamar Ben Gvir at a ceremony honoring late Jewish extremist leader Rabbi Meir Kahane in Jerusalem on November 10, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
The head of the Otzma Yehudit party MK Itamar Ben Gvir at a ceremony honoring late Jewish extremist leader Rabbi Meir Kahane in Jerusalem on November 10, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Far-right leader MK Itamar Ben Gvir is booed during a speech he gives at a commemoration of the late racist rabbi Meir Kahane for taking issue with some of the ideas of his spiritual mentor.

Ben Gvir says that although he admires Kahane, he will not advance legislation to expel all Arabs from Israel and the West Bank or to create a regime of ethnic segregation as Kahane advocated, for which he is roundly booed by the audience.

“It is no secret that today I am not Rabbi Kahane and I do not support the deportation of all Arabs, and I will not enact laws for separate beaches,” he says to boos.

However, he is cheered for his vow to expel terrorists.

Present at the event are incoming Otzma MKs Yitzhak Vesselrov and Almog Cohen; together with Jerusalem deputy mayor Arieh King; Otzmah founder Baruch Marzel; leader of the Jewish supremacist Lehava organization Bentzi Gopstein; far-right rabbi Dov Lior and several hundred participants.

Marzel tells The Times of Israel he did not vote for Ben Gvir in the recent election because he has said he does not follow Kahane’s path, and will establish a new far-right party to contest future elections.

Like Kahane, Marzel has been barred from running for the Knesset in the past for his racist views.

Palestinians tell UN probe that Israel waging a wide-scale war against press

UN commissioners Chris Sidoti, left, Navi Pillay, center, and Miloon Kothari, right, discuss their probe into Israel and the Palestinians at the United Nations in New York, October 27, 2022. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)
UN commissioners Chris Sidoti, left, Navi Pillay, center, and Miloon Kothari, right, discuss their probe into Israel and the Palestinians at the United Nations in New York, October 27, 2022. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

Israel is waging a “wide-scale war” on Palestinian media workers, Palestinian journalism representatives tell UN investigators.

“Israel is targeting Palestinian journalists as part of a systemic policy to stifle the Palestinian voices and to silence us,” says Naser Abubaker, president of the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate.

“We as Palestinian journalists are subjected to not just abuse and violations, but a wide-scale war by the occupying state.”

Speaking to a high-level team of UN investigators, he says nearly 50 Palestinian journalists have been killed doing their work since 2000 and “no one was held accountable.”

The first series of hearings, which are being live-streamed, kicked off Monday focusing on Israel’s designation last year of seven Palestinian civil society groups as “terrorist” bodies.

Lead investigator Navi Pillay tells the assembly that the aim of the hearings was “to allow victims and survivors on all sides to speak for themselves.”

Critics say both Pillay and the inquest are biased against Israel.

Israel has previously said it will not cooperate with the commission, saying its members “have repeatedly taken public and hostile positions against Israel on the very subject matter that they are called upon to ‘independently and impartially’ investigate.”

TOI Staff contributed to this report.

Israeli F-35 jets escort US B-52 bombers in show of force to Iran

Israeli F-35 fighter jets escort an American B-52 bomber through Israeli airspace on November 10, 2022 (Israel Defense Forces)
Israeli F-35 fighter jets escort an American B-52 bomber through Israeli airspace on November 10, 2022 (Israel Defense Forces)

Israeli F-35i fighter jets escort two American B-52 bombers through Israeli airspace on their way back from the Persian Gulf, in an apparent show of force to Iran amid tensions in the region.

“The flight took place as part of the increasing cooperation with the US military, which is a significant component of the national security of the State of Israel, maintaining regional stability and thwarting regional threats,” the Israel Defense Forces says in a statement.

In a video published by the IDF, an Israeli pilot can be heard saying over the radio to the American pilots: “This is the Israeli Air Force. Welcome to Israel, we hope you have a safe flight.”

Israeli jets escorting American bombers have become a regular fixture in the skies of the Middle East in the past year, as tensions between Tehran and the West have risen amid an attempt to negotiate a new deal that would block the Islamic Republic from obtaining nuclear weapons in exchange for sanctions relief.

In the past, F-16 or F-15 jets would escort the bombers. Today’s flight marks the first time Israeli F-35 jets are escorting US aircraft, according to the IDF.

Adidas president announces partnership with ADL after Kanye West uproar

A sign advertises Yeezy shoes made by Adidas at Kickclusive, a sneaker resale store, in Paramus, New Jersey Oct. 25, 2022 (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
A sign advertises Yeezy shoes made by Adidas at Kickclusive, a sneaker resale store, in Paramus, New Jersey Oct. 25, 2022 (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Adidas says the company will partner with the Anti-Defamation League to combat antisemitism and hatred after a major controversy over the company’s partnership with antisemite Kanye West.

The sportswear company severed its partnership with West, who now goes by Ye, after a heavy pressure campaign that involved the ADL.

The collaboration accounted for a significant part of Adidas’s revenue and the company only cut ties with West after other major companies did, and after a steep dip in the Adidas stock price.

Adidas North America president Rupert Campbell announces the effort and speaks out against antisemitism in an address to the Jewish community at the annual ADL summit in New York City.

“We acknowledge that we don’t always get things right. We’re not perfect but in this case we know without a doubt that we made the right decision,” Campbell says.

“The racist and antisemitic hate speech by our former partner violated our values. We took action to begin dismantling the partnership. This took time given the complexity of the partnership but we remain committed to living our values,” Campbell says.

“There is no place for antisemitism, racism, and hatred within sport, within Adidas or within society,” Campbell says.

“I want to say this loud and clear to everybody. We continue to stand with the Jewish community in the fight against antisemitism and all communities around the world who face injustice and discrimination,” he says, announcing a new “collaboration” with the ADL to oppose hatred.

ADL chief Jonathan Greenblatt celebrates the partnership by showing off a new pair of Samba sneakers.

Greenblatt attributes some of the rising antisemitism in the US to “entertainers with messiah complexes.”

Besides West, the NBA star Kyrie Irving has promoted an antisemitic film in recent weeks and avoided renouncing antisemitism.

Amazon has come under pressure to remove the film, which has surged in popularity on its platforms.

Greenblatt at the summit blasts “major streaming platforms that are little more than the kind of propaganda that Goebbels would lovingly approve.”

New York City Mayor Eric Adams in a speech to the summit also links some recent antisemitic incidents to “misguided celebrities and athletes.”

“All of these incidents [were] because antisemitic tropes and beliefs were promoted by famous people. Last year we saw the highest number of antisemitic incidents on record in the United States,” Adams says. “This is the uncomfortable truth about hate in our society. It is being normalized and it is being spread from one community to the next.”

“People are learning to hate again,” Adams says.

UAE leader calls to congratulate Netanyahu, invites him to visit

Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan sits during a meeting with US President Joe Biden (unseen) July 16, 2022, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Evan Vucci/AP)
Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan sits during a meeting with US President Joe Biden (unseen) July 16, 2022, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Evan Vucci/AP)

UAE President and Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed calls Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on his election victory.

Bin Zayed invites Netanyahu to come and visit, according to Netanyahu’s office.

Referring to the Abraham Accords, Netanyahu promises bin Zayed that the relations between the countries will flourish even more after the historic peace agreement that the two achieved together.

“We have reached a historic peace agreement between us and we have a lot more to achieve together for the benefit of both countries and the benefit of the whole world. I would love to visit you soon and promote our relations, dear friend,” Netanyahu says.

Stray bullet hits plane landing in Beirut, no casualties

A stray bullet hit a Middle East Airlines jet while landing in Beirut, causing some material damage. No one among the passengers or crew was hurt, the head of the Lebanese airline company says.

The jet was on its way back from Jordan when the bullet hit the plane, says Mohamad El-Hout. He told reporters that Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport often faces such incidents, in addition to birds that fly in the area, endangering aviation.

The bullet hit the roof of the jet and lodged inside the plane, airport officials say.

Legislator Paula Yacoubian was apparently on the plane and tweeted that “illegal weapons” should be banned. She posted a photo from inside the plane showing a bullet hole over the baggage hold, adding that she will give further details during a TV talk show later in the evening.

Shooting in the air is common in Lebanon, where people often open fire to celebrate passing school or university exams, as well as during weddings and funerals. Such shootings also tend to follow when the country’s political leaders give speeches.

At UN, Erdan to warn Palestinians against anti-Israel moves at ICC

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan gives a press statement ahead of the Security Council's emergency meeting to discuss the recent Gaza escalation on August 8, 2022. (Israeli Mission to the UN)
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan gives a press statement ahead of the Security Council's emergency meeting to discuss the recent Gaza escalation on August 8, 2022. (Israeli Mission to the UN)

Israel’s ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan will warn UN member states today that unilateral moves by the Palestinians will be answered by unilateral Israeli moves, his office says.

The United Nation’s Special Political and Decolonization Committee is reconvening to debate whether to ask the International Court of Justice in The Hague to rule on whether Israel’s presence in the West Bank and Gaza has become de facto annexation.

The discussion, part of the Palestinian Authority’s campaign to pressure Israel through international institutions, follows yesterday’s testimonies blasting Israeli policies toward Palestinians.

If the measure passes in a vote on Friday – as it is expected to – it will then move to the General Assembly for a December vote.

The UN Human Rights Council’s ongoing Commission of Inquiry also called for the ICJ to rule on whether Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and other disputed territories has become permanent, thus becoming a war crime.

In his remarks to the forum – also known as the Fourth Committee – Erdan will attack the “automatic majority” that supports Palestinian initiatives at the UN, says his office.

He will also call support for the initiative a death knell for future possibilities for peace.

“Israel will never give in to any outside player that tries to impose Palestinian hatred and extremism on it and tries to endanger Israel’s future,” says Erdan’s office.

His address is slated for 6:30 p.m. Israel time, 11:30 a.m. in New York.

Anti-LGBT Noam party recommends Netanyahu for prime minister

President Isaac Herzog (C) speaks with representatives of the Noam party at his residence in Jerusalem on November 10, 2022 (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
President Isaac Herzog (C) speaks with representatives of the Noam party at his residence in Jerusalem on November 10, 2022 (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

The anti-LGBT party Noam recommends that Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu head the next government.

Noam ran on a joint list with the far-right Religious Zionism and Otzma Yehudit parties and will have one MK, Avi Maoz, in the next Knesset.

Herzog takes the opportunity to chide Noam for its anti-LGBT platform.

“Love of Israel, to my mind, belongs to everyone who lives in this land. There has been concern about things you have said about the LGBT community,” Herzog says, according to a statement from his office.

“All human beings were created in God’s image and we must respect everyone. We have only one State of Israel. That pertains also to your party,” he says.

ADL acquires Jewish investor network JLens to oppose anti-Zionism in finance world

Jonathan A. Greenblatt, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, speaks at the ADL Annual Meeting in Los Angeles on November 6, 2014 (courtesy ADL)
Jonathan A. Greenblatt, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, speaks at the ADL Annual Meeting in Los Angeles on November 6, 2014 (courtesy ADL)

The Anti-Defamation League says it has acquired the Jewish investor network JLens to oppose anti-Israel activities in the progressive investing space.

JLens spearheaded the push against anti-Zionism at Morningstar, a major investment firm in the US that took a number of steps to ensure fair treatment of Israel in its ranks.

Anti-Zionism in the investing world has been a growing concern for Israel advocacy groups, particularly in the progressive environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing sphere.

ADL announces the acquisition of JLens at its annual summit in New York City.
“ESG should not be a Trojan horse for antisemitism,” ADL chief Jonathan Greenblatt says.

“BDS activists are trying to hijack the ESG movement,” and corporations including Ben & Jerry’s have gotten on board, Greenblatt says. “I believe this is just the tip of the iceberg of what could be a much bigger wave.”

The ADL also this week announced a partnership with the BBYO youth movement to head off campus antisemitism.

Israel reaches deal with Qatar to allow direct flights during World Cup

A woman walks past a store in a mall in Doha on October 29, 2022, ahead of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup football tournament. (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP)
A woman walks past a store in a mall in Doha on October 29, 2022, ahead of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup football tournament. (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP)

Israel reaches an agreement with FIFA and Qatar to allow direct charter flights from Ben Gurion Airport to Qatar for the World Cup, which begins on November 20.

The charter flights will be run by an airline that currently flies to Doha, but will be subject to Israel’s security measures.

The Foreign Ministry will also provide consular services through a private international travel company, says FIFA.

Noting that the talks had taken months to complete, Prime Minister Yair Lapid thanks the Foreign, Transportation, and Culture and Sports ministries, and the National Security Council for their successful efforts.

Palestinians will also be able to fly to the tournament on the flights.

Israel and Qatar do not have diplomatic relations.

“We have successfully secured all guarantees, including access to consular services for Israelis during their stay in Qatar,” says Alon Ushpiz, Foreign Ministery Director General.

“As the first World Cup ever hosted in the Middle East, it promises to be a celebration of football and an opportunity for Israelis to build connections and share cultural experiences with people from across our region and the wider world.”

“With this deal, Israelis and Palestinians will be able to fly together and enjoy football together,” says FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

Otzma Yehudit recommends Netanyahu as next prime minister

Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir (R) meets with President Issac Herzog in Jerusalem on November 10, 2022 (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir (R) meets with President Issac Herzog in Jerusalem on November 10, 2022 (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

The far-right Otzma Yehudit faction, led by MK Itamar Ben Gvir, recommends that Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu form the next government.

The faction, which ran on a united slate with Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionism in the elections, made the recommendation in talks with President Isaac Herzog.

During the meeting, Herzog reportedly raised concerns with Ben Gvir about his party’s attitude to Arabs and human rights, according to Otzma Yehudit.

Ben Gvir replied: “I come from the world of law. The judicial system is important, but it is more important that we all feel represented there.”

“It’s untenable for soldiers to be put on trial after protecting civilians with their bodies.

“More judges with a national Zionist agenda need to be appointed,” he adds.

Lapid warns IDF cadets of pressure to employ force without laws

Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid speaks to IDF cadets on November 10, 2022 (Screencapture)
Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid speaks to IDF cadets on November 10, 2022 (Screencapture)

Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid warns IDF officer cadets of the pressure the military will likely face to employ force without regard to laws.

“The challenge is from calls to use force without laws, without rules, without adhering to the model of a law-abiding army, Lapid says.

His comments are likely aimed at the far-right Religious Zionism party, which is demanding the defense and internal security portfolios in the new government.

Lawmakers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir have called for easing open-fire regulations in the military and police.

“These calls weaken Israeli society and weaken the IDF,” says Lapid, speaking at the officer training graduation ceremony.

“The fact that we are an advanced democracy with rules and laws is not a limitation on power. It is the source of our power. This is what distinguishes us from our enemies. If we are not different from them, we will not defeat them,” Lapid says.

“If the IDF is not a moral and law-abiding army, it will not recruit the best fighters and commanders into its ranks,” he warns.

Italy’s Meloni calls to congratulate Netanyahu

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at Chigi Palace Premier's office, in Rome, October 23, 2022 (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at Chigi Palace Premier's office, in Rome, October 23, 2022 (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni speaks with Benjamin Netanyahu following the victory of his right-religious bloc in the elections.

Meloni congratulated him on his victory in the elections and the two discussed an upcoming meeting between the two governments, Italy’s support for Israel in international forums, and the deepening of ties and relations between the countries, according to a statement from Netanyahu’s office.

Meloni was elected last month becoming Italy’s first far-right leader since Mussolini in World War II.

Netanyahu is on track to put together Israel’s most right-wing government yet, reliant on the far-right Religious Zionism party.

 

 

Erdogan sends congratulatory message to Netanyahu

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan greets MPs during his Justice and Development party's group meeting at the Turkish Grand National Assembly in Ankara, Turkey, on November 2, 2022. (Adem Altan/AFP)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan greets MPs during his Justice and Development party's group meeting at the Turkish Grand National Assembly in Ankara, Turkey, on November 2, 2022. (Adem Altan/AFP)

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan sends a message of congratulations to Benjamin Netanyahu on the Likud leader’s victory in last week’s elections.

“I congratulate you on your victory in the elections and believe that the new government will continue diplomatic cooperation in all fields, in a way that brings peace and stability to the region,” the letter says, according to Netanyahu’s office.

Jerusalem and Ankara have slowly renewed ties over the past year, while Netanyahu was out of office, following over a decade in which the relationship was strained amid Turkish protests of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, particularly in Gaza.

Israel also expressed anger over Ankara’s support for the Palestinian terror group Hamas.

Netanyahu, who was leader during most of that period, sparred with Erdogan on several occasions, with the two often leveling angry public attacks at each other, including accusing each other of genocide.

 

UN nuclear watchdog: Iran further increasing stockpile of highly enriched uranium

In this June 6, 2018 frame grab from the Islamic Republic Iran Broadcasting, IRIB, state-run TV, three versions of domestically-built centrifuges are shown in a live TV program from Natanz, an Iranian uranium enrichment plant, in Iran (IRIB via AP)
In this June 6, 2018 frame grab from the Islamic Republic Iran Broadcasting, IRIB, state-run TV, three versions of domestically-built centrifuges are shown in a live TV program from Natanz, an Iranian uranium enrichment plant, in Iran (IRIB via AP)

The UN atomic watchdog says it believes that Iran has further increased its stockpile of highly enriched uranium and criticized Tehran for continuing to bar the agency’s officials from accessing or monitoring Iranian nuclear sites.

In its quarterly report, the International Atomic Energy Agency says that according to its assessment, as of Oct. 22, Iran has an estimated 62.3 kilograms (137.3 pounds) of uranium enriched to up to 60% fissile purity. That amounts to an increase of 6.7 kilograms since the IAEA’s last report in September.

That enrichment to 60% purity is one short, technical step away from weapons-grade levels of 90%. Nonproliferation experts have warned in recent months that Iran now has enough 60%-enriched uranium to reprocess into fuel for at least one nuclear bomb.

The IAEA report, which was seen by The Associated Press, also estimates that as of Oct. 22, Iran’s stockpile of all enriched uranium was at 3673.7 kilograms — a decrease of 267.2 kilograms since the last quarterly report in September.

The Vienna-based IAEA says  it was unable to verify the exact size of Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium due to limitations that Tehran imposed on UN inspectors last year and the removal of the agency’s monitoring and surveillance equipment in June at sites in Iran.

Taliban ban women from going to gyms

FILE, Faima, 17, left, an Afghan girl practices her defense stance in the gym at Ghazi Stadium in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2007. The Taliban are banning women from using gyms in Afghanistan, an official in Kabul said Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022(AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool, File)
FILE, Faima, 17, left, an Afghan girl practices her defense stance in the gym at Ghazi Stadium in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2007. The Taliban are banning women from using gyms in Afghanistan, an official in Kabul said Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022(AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool, File)

The Taliban are banning women from using gyms in Afghanistan, an official in Kabul says, the religious group’s latest edict cracking down on women’s rights and freedoms since they took power more than a year ago.

The Taliban overran the country last year, seizing power in August 2021. They have banned girls from middle school and high school, despite initial promises to the contrary, restricted women from most fields of employment, and ordered them to wear head-to-toe clothing in public.

A spokesman from the Ministry of Virtue and Vice says the ban was being introduced because people were ignoring gender segregation orders and that women were not wearing the required headscarf, or hijab. Women are also banned from parks.

‘No progress’ in discussions with Iran over undeclared sites: UN nuclear watchdog

Centrifuge machines in the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran, in an image released on November 5, 2019. (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP, File)
Centrifuge machines in the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran, in an image released on November 5, 2019. (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP, File)

The UN nuclear watchdog says it had seen no progress in discussions with Iran over undeclared nuclear material at three sites, but a new visit to Tehran was planned this month.

“The director general (Rafael Grossi) is seriously concerned that there has still been no progress in clarifying and resolving the outstanding safeguards issues,” the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says in a report seen by AFP.

IDF suspects engine malfunction behind crash of armed drone

An Israeli Heron military drone flies over the southern Israeli city of Ashdod on November 13, 2019. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)
An Israeli Heron military drone flies over the southern Israeli city of Ashdod on November 13, 2019. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

The Israeli military suspects an engine malfunction caused an armed drone to crash in southern Israel last night, according to an initial probe of the incident.

The drone, an IAI Heron 1, known in the military as Shoval, crashed near the southern city of Arad, leading to the grounding of the entire fleet for the second time in three months.

The Heron 1 has seen several crashes due to engine malfunctions, most recently in September along Israel’s maritime border with Lebanon.

UN nuclear watchdog: Iran hypersonic missile announcement raises concerns

Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi speaks at the 66th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria, September 26, 2022. (Theresa Wey/AP)
Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi speaks at the 66th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria, September 26, 2022. (Theresa Wey/AP)

Iran’s announcement that it has developed a hypersonic missile increases “concerns” about the country’s nuclear program, the head of the UN’s atomic agency tells AFP.

“We see that all these announcements increase the attention, increase the concerns, increase the public attention to the Iranian nuclear program,” Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), says on the sidelines of the COP27 climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

An Iranian Revolutionary Guards general claimed earlier that the Islamic Republic has developed a hypersonic missile capable of penetrating all defense systems.

Hypersonic missiles, like traditional ballistic missiles that can deliver nuclear weapons, can fly more than five times the speed of sound.

Netanyahu speaks to Germany’s Scholz: Plan to expand ties with Arab world

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at a press conference on October 31, 2022 in Berlin.(Carsten Koall/AFP)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at a press conference on October 31, 2022 in Berlin.(Carsten Koall/AFP)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks with Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu after the victory of the right-religious bloc in last week’s elections.

A statement from Netanyahu’s office says the call lasted for about half an hour and Netanyahu told him that he plans to “expand the circle of peace between Israel and Arab states,” adding that Germany had a role to play in such an effort.

Netanyahu also reiterated Israel’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program and thanked Scholz for Germany’s strong support for Israel.

 

Woman lightly hurt after vehicle stoned in West Bank

A vehicle damaged by alleged stone throwing in the West Bank on November 10, 2022 (MDA)
A vehicle damaged by alleged stone throwing in the West Bank on November 10, 2022 (MDA)

A 69-year-old Israeli woman is lightly hurt after Palestinians allegedly hurled stones at her vehicle near the West Bank settlement of Alfei Menashe, medics say.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says its medics are taking the woman to Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba.

Photos from the scene show the woman’s vehicle with a smashed front windshield.

 

Ben Gvir posts speech honoring Kahane: He was all about love

Itamar Ben Gvir of the Otzma Yehudit party speaks during a ceremony in Jerusalem marking the 27th anniversary of the killing of extremist rabbi Meir Kahane, November 7, 2017. The sign behind him reads, "Kahane was right!" (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Itamar Ben Gvir of the Otzma Yehudit party speaks during a ceremony in Jerusalem marking the 27th anniversary of the killing of extremist rabbi Meir Kahane, November 7, 2017. The sign behind him reads, "Kahane was right!" (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Far-right Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir releases his speech from an event set for later in the evening to mark the 32nd anniversary of the killing of Meir Kahane.

Ben Gvir released the speech to the media after apparently accidentally first posting it online.

In the speech, Ben Gvir credits Kahane, who was banned from the Knesset for racism, with establishing a yeshiva that helped Ben Gvir return to religion and where he studied his teachings.

Ben Gvir, who is demanding to be police minister in the next government, distances himself from some of Kahane’s teachings, but says he ultimately draws inspiration from him.

“It is no secret that today I am not rabbi Kahane and I do not support the deportation of all Arabs, and I will not enact laws for separate beaches, although it is certain that we will act and do everything to expel terrorists from the country for the sake of the Jewish character of Israel, for the settlements and its Jewish identity,” Ben Gvir says.

“But it seems to me that the highlight of Rabbi Kahane was love. Love for Israel without compromise, without any other consideration,” he says.

Meir Kahane addresses a gathering at the Silver Springs Jewish Center in Maryland, Oct. 27, 1988 (AP Photo/Doug Mills)

Kahane spoke out against Jewish coexistence with Arabs, whom he called a “cancer” and said should be expelled from the State of Israel. He was elected to the Knesset in 1984, but Knesset members across the spectrum would walk out when he spoke and his Kach party was subsequently banned by the Knesset as racist; he was therefore barred from running for reelection in 1988. He was assassinated in 1990 in New York by an Egyptian-born American.

Egypt puts activist on hunger strike on medical treatment

Egypt's leading pro-democracy activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah speaks during a conference at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, on Sept. 22, 2014.  (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty, File)
Egypt's leading pro-democracy activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah speaks during a conference at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, on Sept. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty, File)

Egyptian prison authorities have intervened medically with imprisoned pro-democracy activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah, who this week escalated his hunger strike and stopped drinking water, his family says, demanding his release.

The drama surrounding his fate is coinciding with Egypt’s hosting of the UN climate summit.

A lawyer for the family, Khaled Ali, says in a tweet he had been given permission to visit Abdel-Fattah in prison and was heading there immediately today, the fifth day that the activist has gone without drinking any water or consuming any calories.

The nature of the medical intervention was not known, and it was not clear if he was moved to a prison hospital. The family has expressed fears prison officials would force-feed Abdel-Fattah, which they said would amount to torture. Abdel-Fattah said in an earlier letter that he was prepared to die in prison if not freed.

Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway shut as truck catches fire

Illustrative: A burning truck on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway, Thursday (photo credit:Times of Israel)
Illustrative: A burning truck on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway, Thursday (photo credit:Times of Israel)

Route 1, the main Jerusalem Tel Aviv highway, is shut in both directions near the Kiryat Ye’arim Junction after a truck catches fire.

Police are at the scene and trying to clear away the burning vehicle.

The cause of the incident is not immediately clear.

Ukraine says has retaken 12 villages in Kherson since Wednesday

A self-propelled artillery vehicle fires near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. (AP Photo/LIBKOS)
A self-propelled artillery vehicle fires near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. (AP Photo/LIBKOS)

Ukraine says its forces have reclaimed a dozen towns and villages in the southern Kherson region after Russian forces announced they were pulling back troops from the strategic territory.

Ukrainian general Valeriy Zaluzhny says on social media that in the last day Ukraine’s forces recaptured six settlements after fighting near Petropavlivka-Novoraisk and another six in the Pervomaiske-Kherson direction, capturing more than 200 square kilometers (75 square miles) from Russian forces.

 

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