The Times of Israel liveblogged Monday’s events as they unfolded.
Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu is planning on implementing an expanded version of the so-called Norwegian law, in a bid to fill the Knesset with compliant MKs who will not oppose controversial legislation, the Haaretz daily reports, citing Likud sources.
Netanyahu is facing demands from his potential far-right and ultra-Orthodox coalition partners to agree to pass a series of bills that could neuter Israel’s independent judiciary and impose further religious controls over Israeli society.
However, he fears he could face opposition to some of these laws from more moderate or liberal members of his own party.
To counteract this, he wants to use an expanded version of the Norwegian law that allows ministers to give up their positions as Knesset members in order to enable a different member of their party slate to take their spot in parliament, Haaretz reports.
The law currently allows up to one-third of the members of each Knesset faction to do so, and Netanyahu wants to increase this number.
In doing so, Netanyahu would be able to appoint recalcitrant MKs as ministers and deputy ministers, effectively promoting them out of the Knesset, with their places to be taken by Likud backbenchers eager to prove their loyalty to Netanyahu.
Zambia’s foreign minister says a Zambian student who had been jailed in Russia was killed in fighting in Ukraine, and demanded an explanation from the Kremlin.
Lemekhani Nathan Nyirenda, 23, who had been serving a prison sentence in Moscow, “passed away on 22nd September 2022, in Ukraine,” Minister Stanley Kakubo says in a statement, adding that he died “at the battlefront.”
The statement said Nyirenda, who had been studying nuclear engineering at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, was handed a jail term in April 2020 of nine years and six months.
He was incarcerated at Tyer medium-security prison on the outskirts of the city, it said. The statement did not specify the alleged offense.
“(…) The Zambian government has requested the Russian authorities to urgently provide information on the circumstances under which a Zambian citizen, serving a prison sentence in Moscow, could have been recruited to fight in Ukraine and subsequently lose his life,” Kakubo says.
Ukrainian officials say the Wagner mercenary group has been sending thousands of soldiers recruited in Russian prisons to the front line, with the promise of a salary and an amnesty.
The UN General Assembly approves a resolution calling for Russia to be held accountable for violating international law by invading Ukraine, including by paying reparations.
The vote in the 193-member world body was 94-14 with 73 abstentions. It was the lowest level of support of the five Ukraine-related resolutions adopted by the General Assembly since Russia’s February 24 invasion of its smaller neighbor.
The resolution recognizes the need to establish “an international mechanism for reparation for damage, loss or injury” arising from Russia’s “wrongful acts” against Ukraine.
It recommends that the assembly’s member nations, in cooperation with Ukraine, create “an international register” to document claims and information on damage, loss or injury to Ukrainians and the government caused by Russia.
Russia’s veto power in the 15-member Security Council has blocked the UN’s most powerful body from taking any action, since President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion. But there are no vetoes in the General Assembly, which previously adopted four resolutions criticizing Russia’s invasion.
Unlike Security Council resolutions, General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding, but they do reflect world opinion and have demonstrated widespread opposition to Russia’s military action.
Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu is said to be trying to convince Shas leader Aryeh Deri to take the defense portfolio.
Channel 12 reports that with coalition negotiations stuck over Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich demand for the defense portfolio, Netanyahu wants to give Smotrich an alternative senior ministry, finance.
However, Deri is currently in line to take over the Treasury and apparently reluctant to give it up for the defense ministry. Deri’s Shas party has long positioned itself as a social welfare party, while many of its constituents do not serve in the IDF.
Netanyahu met with Deri for several hours today.
The Israel Defense Forces will no longer station soldiers at a checkpoint near the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat, following a deadly attack there last month.
The decision comes after the IDF and Israel Police wrap up an investigation into the deadly attack on October 8, during which Sgt. Noa Lazar was killed and another guard was critically hurt.
The probe found numerous issues with the functioning of troops at the checkpoint regularly, and their lack of response to the attack. The attacker, Udai Tamimi, managed to flee the scene by foot, unscathed.
Police will fire three officers for failing to respond to the attack, as well as remove an officer from his position for a year. Another two senior Border Police officers will be formally censured over the incident.
IDF chief Aviv Kohavi has instructed to remove Military Police forces from the checkpoint within a month, and instead, it will be run entirely by Border Police and civilian guards.
“Due to a lack of professionalism and not trying to engage, the terrorist was neither neutralized nor arrested,” Kohavi says in a statement.
Lazar’s family has been updated with the findings of the probe, the military says.
Former US president Donald Trump’s inflammatory words before and during last year’s Capitol insurrection endangered Americans including his own deputy Mike Pence, the former vice president says in a television interview set to air later today.
“The president’s words that day at the rally (before the riot) endangered me and my family and everyone at the Capitol,” Pence tells ABC News.
Pence reportedly is laying the groundwork for a presidential run in 2024. It would pit him against his former boss, who has convened the media at his palatial Florida home on Tuesday night reportedly to announce his own White House bid.
Pence’s interview to be broadcast on ABC’s “World News Tonight” coincides with the release Tuesday of his memoir, “So Help Me God.”
The veteran Republican tells the network that Trump, speaking on January 6, 2021, at a park near the White House, incited the crowd before it marched toward the Capitol: “The president’s words were reckless. It was clear he decided to be part of the problem.”
At least 60 members of a Nablus-based loosely organized terror group known as Lion’s Den turned themselves in to the Palestinian Authority security services in recent weeks, Channel 12 reports.
The report says the number is far higher than previously known, and includes 20 who turned in their weapons.
The gunmen began turning themselves in to the PA, in exchange for immunity, after Israel carried out a series of raids last month that killed the apparent leader of the group and four other gunmen, and destroyed a bomb factory. Days before, another three members were arrested by Israeli troops and prominent member was killed in an explosion attributed to Israel.
Lion’s Den had claimed near-nightly attacks on troops and Israeli civilians in the Nablus area in recent months.
NASA started the countdown Monday for this week’s planned liftoff of its new moon rocket, although hurricane damage could cause yet another delay for the test flight.
Hurricane Nicole’s high winds caused a 10-foot (3-meter) section of caulking to peel away near the crew capsule at the top of the rocket last Thursday. Mission managers want to make sure the narrow strip won’t damage the rocket if it breaks off during liftoff. A final decision was expected Monday evening.
Liftoff is scheduled for the early morning hours of Wednesday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, with test dummies rather than astronauts on board. It’s the first test flight for the 322-foot (98-meter) rocket, the most powerful ever built by NASA, and will attempt to send the capsule into lunar orbit.
The nearly monthlong $4 billion mission has been grounded since August by fuel leaks and Hurricane Ian, which forced the rocket back into its hangar for shelter at the end of September. The rocket remained at the pad for Nicole; managers said there wasn’t enough time to move it once it became clear the storm was going to be stronger than anticipated.
Also on board the flight are several dummies meant to test AstroRad, an anti-radiation suit developed by Israeli firm StemRad alongside Lockheed Martin, designed to protect vital organs from harmful gamma radiation.
Times of Israel Staff contributed to this report
Estonia’s foreign minister says the Baltic country has changed its policy toward Israel and will no longer vote for UN resolutions condemning Israel’s actions in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Instead, the European country is looking from now on to align its UN voting position in such matters with Washington, its closest security policy ally.
According to a report published by the Estonian public broadcaster ERR, Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said Estonia — a European Union and NATO member — recently voted together with the United States against the condemnation of Israel at the UN.
Previously, Estonia has usually voted for resolutions condemning Israel at the UN together with several other countries.
Reinsalu said his country’s foreign policy has changed in this matter.
“Estonia is a member of the EU, and if the EU has a common political position including some UN resolutions as well … then naturally we will act in accordance with a jointly agreed EU position,” he said.
However, should the 27 EU countries have differences of opinion, Reinsalu said Estonia would now as a rule align its voting position with Washington.
Reinsalu, who resumed the post of Estonia’s top diplomat in July, didn’t explain what prompted the Baltic nation to make the policy shift.
Estonia, a nation of 1.3 million, held a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2020-2021.
The European Union imposes sanctions on the chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, the corp’s Aerospace Force and a company making drones that the bloc says have been used by Russia in its war against Ukraine.
Russia stands accused of sending waves of Iranian-made drones over Ukraine to strike at power plants and other key infrastructure. The EU says it has evidence that Iran has sold drones to Russia since the war began in February. It is investigating reports that Iran might also be supplying missiles.
In a statement, the EU says it was targeting Revolutionary Guard chief Gen. Hossein Salami because the corps “supervises the development of Iran’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program as well as the transfer of UAVs abroad.”
The bloc also slapped sanctions on the Revolutionary Guard’s Aerospace Force and commanding general, saying that the Shahed-136 and Mohajer-6 drones they have allegedly supplied “are used by the Russian Federation in the war of aggression against Ukraine.”
Qods Aviation Industries, which makes Mohajer-6 drones, was also listed “for supporting materially actions which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”
Ayala Ben Gvir, the wife of Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir, defends herself after being photographed carrying a gun at a meeting with Sara Netanyahu.
“I Live in Hebron, a mother of six sweet children and travel through terror-infested roads, and am married to the most threatened man in the country, so yes, I have a gun. Deal with it,” she tweets.
Questions were raised after she posed for a picture with the other wives of the leaders of the political parties negotiating to enter a government, with a pistol clearly visible, tucked into her skirt, with many wondering how security officials had allowed her into the presence of Sara Netanyahu with a firearm.
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, says it’s too early to talk about a bilateral meeting between Benjamin Netanyahu and the Russian leader, but welcomes Netanyahu’s impending return to office.
“It is still too early. The process of forming the coalition will require time and will not be easy,” says Peskov, according to the state-owned TASS news agency.
The spokesman stresses that “we definitely value constructive relations with our Israeli partners.”
“It is certainly important for us to see people at the helm of Israel and the government, who share a common approach toward further developing bilateral relations,” he continues.
During his 12-year stint as prime minister, Netanyahu developed a warm personal relationship with Putin, while much of Europe and the US increasingly saw him as a threat.
In February 2022 – while Netanyahu was in the opposition – Russian forces invaded Ukraine, putting Israeli leaders Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid in an awkward position. They sought to signal to the West and to Ukraine that Jerusalem sympathizes with Kyiv and the Ukrainian people, while also making sure that Israel did not take any actions that threatened security coordination with Russia in Syria or the welfare of Jews in Russia.
Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov speaks with Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
Reznikov tweets that the two discussed “priority issues of bilateral cooperation in the defense domain and the benefits of democracy.”
Reznikov also wishes Gantz, who will be heading to the opposition soon, every success in further important endeavors in the Parliament.”
There is no immediate confirmation from Gantz.
Had a fruitful conversation with my ???????? colleague @gantzbe . We discussed priority issues of bilateral cooperation in the defense domain and the benefits of democracy. I wish @gantzbe every success in further important endeavors in the Parliament ???????????????????? pic.twitter.com/DVC1gxCIyu
— Oleksii Reznikov (@oleksiireznikov) November 14, 2022
Ties between Ukraine and Israel have been tense over Israel’s refusal to sell Kyiv weapons, despite repeated requests for air defense systems.
Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich meets with United Torah Judaism chief Yitzchak Goldknopf to coordinate ongoing coalition negotiations.
Both parties are part of Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-religious bloc that won the elections.
But coalition talks are said to be stalled over Smotrich’s demands for a top ministry.
The two leaders met for a meeting “on coordination and cooperation ahead of the establishment of a government,” a spokesman for Smotrich says.
Sudan’s military strongman Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan sends a letter to Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu congratulating him on his election win and pledging to step up cooperation between the countries.
“I congratulate you on your victory in the elections and look forward to continuing our cooperation in order to promote relations in all areas for the benefit of the citizens of both countries,” Burhan writes, according to Netanyahu’s office.
Burhan, the head of the ruling sovereign council, moved to normalize ties with Israel as part of the Abraham Accords, but progress has been stalled by political upheavals in the Muslim African nation.
Netanyahu met with Burhan ahead of the agreement during a visit to Uganda in February 2020.
CIA Director Bill Burns will meet in Ankara, Turkey, today with his Russian intelligence counterpart to underscore the consequences if Russia were to deploy a nuclear weapon in Ukraine, according to a White House National Security Council official.
The official, who was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity, says Burns and Sergey Naryshkin, the head of Russia’s SVR spy agency, would not discuss settlement of the war in Ukraine.
Burns is also expected to raise the cases of Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner and Michigan corporate security executive Paul Whelan, two Americans detained in Russia whom the Biden administration has been pressing to release in a prisoner exchange.
The official said that Ukrainian officials were briefed ahead of Burns’ travel to Turkey.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) denies any role in a deadly bomb attack in central Istanbul that killed six people, which Turkey has blamed on Kurdish militants.
“Our forces have nothing to do with the Istanbul bombing,” says Mazloum Abdi, the chief commander of the US-allied SDF.
Turkey considers the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) — the main component of the SDF — an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Ankara has blamed the PKK, which has waged an insurgency in Turkey for decades, for carrying out the attack Sunday in Istanbul. The PKK also denied involvement in the attack.
There has been no claim of responsibility.
US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agree in talks that nuclear weapons should never be used, including in Ukraine, the White House says.
“President Biden and President Xi reiterated their agreement that a nuclear war should never be fought and can never be won and underscored their opposition to the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” it says in a statement.
The pair held their first face-to-face talks since Biden took office on the sidelines of a G20 meeting expected to be dominated by the war in Ukraine.
The pair shook hands at the start of the meeting, with Biden saying the superpowers shared the responsibility to show the world that they can “manage our differences, prevent competition from becoming conflict.”
Afghanistan’s supreme leader has ordered judges to fully enforce aspects of Islamic law that include public executions, stonings and floggings, and the amputation of limbs for thieves, the Taliban’s chief spokesman says.
Zabihullah Mujahid tweets late Sunday that the “obligatory” command by Hibatullah Akhundzada came after the secretive leader met with a group of judges.
Akhundzada, who has not been filmed or photographed in public since the Taliban returned to power in August last year, rules by decree from Kandahar, the movement’s birthplace and spiritual heartland.
The Taliban promised a softer version of the harsh rule that characterized their first stint in power, in 1996-2001, but have gradually clamped down on rights and freedoms.
Far-right leader MK Itamar Ben Gvir and chief of the Israel Police Kobi Shabtai share a hug and exchange words despite Shabtai having accused the Otzma Yehudit leader of provoking the May 2021 inter-communal riots which left several dead, hundreds injured and resulted in widespread property damage.
Shabtai and Ben Gvir meet at a United Hatzalah ceremony for the dedication of a new ambulance, clasp hands, hug, and speak briefly after being seated next to each other at the event.
Ben Gvir has demanded he be appointed public security minister, a position with authority over the police, in ongoing coalition negotiations with Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu.
The police chief would serve under Ben Gvir should the latter be appointed public security minister in the next government.
ועכשיו עם הוידאו: אחרי שקרא לפטר את המפכ"ל שהאשים אותו באחריות לשומר חומות, איתמר בן גביר והמפכ"ל קובי שבתאי לוחצים ידיים ומתחבקים בטקס במשמר השבעה של איחוד הצלה, רגע לפני שמנהיג עוצמה יהודית הופך לשר לביטחון הפנים.
שבתאי אפילו קם לכבודו. מי ידע שכך יהיה. pic.twitter.com/gkQZ8r8IJR
— Josh Breiner (@JoshBreiner) November 14, 2022
In May 2021 during Israel’s conflict with Gaza, Shabtai reportedly blamed Ben Gvir for the deadly riots in mixed Jewish-Arab cities, citing the Otzma leader’s decision to set up an ad hoc office in the volatile East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah which sparked clashes with Palestinian residents shortly before widespread rioting broke out.
In one incident during the subsequent unrest, Ben Gvir called on activists to stage a demonstration in Ramle, one of the focal points of the riots.
Hundreds of extremist Jewish activists, many from outside the city, turned up in Ramle and rioted, attacked vehicles driven by Arabs and sought to enter an Arab neighborhood before being turned back by riot police.
A prominent, famously uncritical Jewish American leader expresses serious concerns over a proposal by the presumed incoming government to severely restrict Israel’s Law of Return, saying it threatened a “bedrock of Zionism.”
Speaking on a panel at a conference on Israeli-US ties, the head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, William Daroff, stresses that he is loath to criticize the government, joking that they were “out of time” when asked about the nascent coalition, but makes an exception to address the religious parties’ demand to remove the so-called “grandchild clause” from the Law of Return.
That clause allows citizenship for anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent so long as they don’t practice another religion.
“The Law of Return is a bedrock of Zionism. Our forebears took the Nuremberg laws and said if one grandparent was enough to kill you, it’s enough to let you in,” Daroff says. (While similar, the Law of Return is not actually based off the Nazis’ Nuremberg Laws, though this is a commonly held belief.)
The Conference of Presidents CEO adds that he is “very concerned” about the moves to alter that clause.
Several international Jewish groups have raised concerns about this proposal and its potentially deleterious effect on Israel-Diaspora ties, along with other legislative measures demanded by members of the Religious Zionism party as part of coalition negotiations.
Senior UK Labour party officials tell the Guardian newspaper that former party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is currently suspended from the party, will never be allowed to run as a Labour MP again, even if he apologizes and is reinstated.
Labour under Corbyn’s leadership was accused of allowing antisemitism to fester within its ranks, and Corbyn himself was accused of various displays of antisemitism.
A UK government investigation into antisemitism in the party in 2020 found that equality laws were broken and the party under Corbyn was “responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination.”
Labour suspended Corbyn following his response to the damning report. He had said he didn’t accept all of its findings and asserted that “the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media.”
However, party sources tell the Guardian that even if Corbyn does apologize “unequivocally, unambiguously and without reservation” the leadership would likely refuse to let him return.
“Jeremy Corbyn is never getting back in. He would be toxic to our chances of winning back some of the seats we need to win back,” the paper quotes a senior official as saying.
This would mean that if Corbyn wants to run again, he will have to do so as an independent.
Two people are killed in a collision between a truck transporting vehicles and a car on Route 90 near Yahel in southern Israel, medics say.
The victims are a man and a woman in their 60s.
The driver of the truck is lightly hurt and taken to Yoseftal hospital in Eilat, while another person is treated at the site.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II calls Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on his election victory, Netanyahu’s office says.
No details on the conversation are released.
Relations between Israel and Jordan deteriorated markedly during Netanyahu’s last term in office.
Abdullah said in 2019 that ties were “at an all-time low” after a series of incidents that prompted Amman to recall its ambassador to Israel.
Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife Sara hosts the wives of most of the prospective coalition partners for a “bonding” meeting, Likud says.
Netanyahu meets with Yaffa Deri, wife of Shas’s Aryeh; Rivka Goldknopf, wife of UTJ leader Yitzhak; Ayala Ben Gvir, wife of Otzma Yehudit’s Itamar and Galit Maoz, wife of Noam’s Avi, at Jerusalem’s Waldorf Astoria hotel.
Notably absent was Revital Smotrich, wife of Religious Zionism’s Bezalel, who was unable to make it due to “personal reasons.”
Ayala Ben Gvir is wearing a handgun holstered on her hip. It is not clear how or why she was permitted by security personnel to bring the weapon into the meeting.
Channel 12 news says she is a member of a women’s civil guard unit protecting residents of the Hebron settlement enclave where the family lives.
Missiles fired from Iran target bases of an exiled Iranian Kurdish opposition group in neighboring Iraq, killing at least one person and wounding eight, local officials said. It was the latest in a series of such attacks in recent weeks.
The casualty number from Iran’s salvo in the northern province of Sulimaniyah in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish-run region was not immediately clear.
Korosh Nosrati, an official with the opposition group that was targeted, says three people were killed. Saman Barzanji, the regional Kurdish health minister, says the number of fatalities was expected to rise.
Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard confirms the attack and says it targeted the bases of “terrorist groups” by drones and missiles, according to Iran’s official IRNA news agency.
Coalition talks between Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud and Religious Zionism’s Bezalel Smotrich are at an impasse, Ynet reports.
The unsourced report says the teams have not been able to bridge the issue of Smotrich’s demand for one of the major portfolios — defense or finance — which Likud is reluctant to give to him.
The report says this is having a knock-on effect, delaying negotiations with other parties and within Likud.
It also says that Netanyahu and Smotrich have not met or spoken since Wednesday.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hails the Russian withdrawal from Kherson as the “beginning of the end of the war,” as he lauds soldiers and took selfies with them in the recently liberated southern city.
The retaking of Kherson after a grinding offensive that forced Russian to pull back its forces from the city was one of Ukraine’s biggest success so far of the nearly nine-month invasion and a stinging blow to the Kremlin.
Zelensky walks the streets of the city just hours after warning in his nightly video address of booby traps and mines left behind in the city by the Russians before their retreat.
Zelensky has previously appeared unexpectedly in other front-line zones at crucial junctures of the war, to support troops and congratulate them for battlefield exploits.
Iran says it has provided evidence to countries whose nationals it claims participated in unrest that has rocked the country in recent weeks.
“Regarding foreign nationals detained in Iran in connection with riots, information, evidence and explanations have been provided to the countries concerned,” foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani tells reporters.
At the beginning of October, Iranian authorities announced the arrest of nine foreign nationals who it claims were connected to the wave of protests triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini.
Those arrested include citizens of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland.
The UN Human Rights Council says it will hold an urgent session on Iran, with backers pushing for an international investigation into the deadly crackdown on mass protests rocking the country.
The United Nations’ highest rights body says a special session on “the deteriorating human rights situation” in Iran would be held on November 24.
The decision comes after the German and Icelandic ambassadors to the UN in Geneva submitted a request for such a meeting late on Friday.
The support of 16 of the Human Rights Council’s 47 members — more than a third — is required to convene a special session outside the three regular ones held each year.
So far, 44 countries, including 17 Council members, have backed the call, the body says.
The request follows eight weeks of protests in Iran, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, after she was arrested for an alleged breach of the country’s strict dress rules for women based on Islamic sharia law.
At least 326 people have been killed in the crackdown on the protests, according to the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR), as the demonstrations have grown into a broad movement against the theocracy that has ruled Iran since the 1979 fall of the shah.
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