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Russian missiles hit Polish town near Ukrainian border, reportedly killing 2

Incident comes during massive barrage on Kyiv that also cuts power to much of Moldova; Poland holds emergency meeting, NATO ‘looking into’ matter; Moscow brands claim ‘provocation’

A damaged building seen at the scene of Russian shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, November 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Kravchenko)
Illustrative: A damaged building seen at the scene of Russian shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, November 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Kravchenko)

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

EU chief ‘shocked’ by reports of deaths as Poland hit by ‘missile or munition’

EU chief Charles Michel says he is “shocked” by reports that a missile or other weaponry killed people in bloc-member Poland.

“Shocked by the news of a missile or other ammunition having killed people on Polish territory. My condolences to the families,” European Council president Charles Michel tweets.

“We stand with Poland. I am in contact with Polish authorities, members of the European Council and other allies,” he writes.

Zelensky slams Russia’s alleged strike on Poland as ‘very significant escalation’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky describes Russia’s alleged missile strike that hit NATO member Poland as “a very significant escalation” of Russia’s invasion.

“Today Russian missiles hit Poland, the territory of an allied country. People died. Please accept our condolences,” Zelensky says in an address to the nation.

“The longer Russia feels this immunity, the more threats there will be against anyone within reach of Russian missiles. Firing missiles at NATO territory is a Russian attack on collective security. This is a very significant escalation. We must act,” Zelensky says.

Reports: Netanyahu-Smotrich meeting didn’t solve impasse over defense portfolio

In this handout photo, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Religious Zionism chief Bezalel Smotrich (R), November 15, 2022. (Likud)
In this handout photo, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Religious Zionism chief Bezalel Smotrich (R), November 15, 2022. (Likud)

Following a meeting between prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu and Religious Zionism party leader Bezalel Smotrich, reports say it didn’t do anything to solve an impasse between them over the allocation of ministerial roles in the upcoming government.

With Smotrich insisting on demanding to become defense minister and Netanyahu reluctant to accept that demand, several outlets say Netanyahu told Smotrich during the meeting that the defense portfolio will go to a member of his Likud party.

Smotrich also conveyed a message that insisted on his previous stance and said he will “go all the way,” the reports say, even suggesting that the crisis has worsened.

NATO ‘looking into’ reports of missiles hitting Poland: official

The NATO military alliance is “looking into” reports that Russian missiles struck Poland and is working closely with member Warsaw, an official says.

“We are looking into these reports and closely coordinating with our ally Poland,” a NATO official says, on condition of anonymity.

Moscow calls reports Russian missiles hit Poland ‘provocation aimed at escalation’

Moscow’s defense minister dismisses reports that Russian missiles landed in Poland, which borders Ukraine, as a “provocation” intended to escalate tensions.

“Statements by Polish media and officials about Russian missiles hitting Polish territory are a deliberate provocation aimed at escalating the situation,” the Russian defense minister says on Telegram.

Zelensky calls massive Russian strikes ‘genocide’ and ‘slap in the face of G20’

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky dubs a fresh barrage of Russian strikes targeting his country’s power grid a “slap in the face of G20.”

“This act of genocide of Ukrainians in response to my peace plan is a cynical slap in the face of G20 and the world,” Zelensky writes on social media.

“We will survive everything,” he adds.

Poland calls emergency national security council meeting after Russian shelling

NATO member Poland has called emergency meetings of its national security council and cabinet, officials say, following reports that Russian missiles landed in Poland near the Ukrainian border.

“Due to the crisis situation, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki… called a meeting of the National Security Bureau,” government spokesman Piotr Muller tells reporters.

Russian strike that hit Poland also cuts power to much of Moldova

A Russian missile barrage on the Ukrainian power grid has sent the war spilling over into multiple neighboring countries, hitting NATO member Poland and also affecting neighboring Moldova.

Moldova has reported massive power outages after the strikes knocked out a key power line that supplies the small nation, an official says.

Hamas hails ‘heroic’ Ariel terror attack, urges Palestinians to ‘follow path’ of perpetrator

Muhammed Souf (via Twitter)
Muhammed Souf (via Twitter)

The Hamas terror group hails today’s terror attack in the Ariel settlement in which three Israelis were killed.

The group calls the attack “a heroic operation” and “a natural response to the escalating crimes of the occupation against the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque and its shedding of our people’s blood.”

The Hamas statement also encourages Palestinian youth to “follow in the path” of Ariel attacker Muhammed Souf “by killing multitudes among the enemy.”

Hamas also called for “innovativeness in finding means to target the soldiers of the occupation and its settlers throughout the homeland.”

An unverified poster bearing the logo of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement, featuring a picture of the Ariel “martyr’ Muhammed Souf, was also being shared on social media.

Touring scene, IDF chief says deadly terror attack ‘should have ended otherwise’

A handout photo from the military shows IDF chief Aviv Kohavi (2nd-L) meeting with senior commanders at the scene of a deadly terror attack near the northern West Bank settlement of Ariel, November 15, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)
A handout photo from the military shows IDF chief Aviv Kohavi (2nd-L) meeting with senior commanders at the scene of a deadly terror attack near the northern West Bank settlement of Ariel, November 15, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

Military chief Aviv Kohavi tours the scene of a terror rampage this morning near the northern West Bank settlement of Ariel that left three Israelis dead and several others hurt.

Kohavi, who is accompanied by several senior commanders, says the attack “should have ended otherwise,” as the Israel Defense Forces probes a security guard for not firing at the Palestinian terrorist when the attack began.

“We will investigate and draw lessons,” Kohavi is quoted as saying in an IDF statement.

He also hails the soldiers who helped “neutralize” the attacker while vowing the military will continue its months-long counterterror campaign in the West Bank.

US official: Russian missile kills 2 in Polish town near Ukrainian border

KYIV, Ukraine — A senior US intelligence official says Russian missiles crossed into NATO member Poland, killing two people.

Polish government spokesman Piotr Mueller doesn’t immediately confirm the information, but says top leaders are holding an emergency meeting due to a “crisis situation.”

Polish media reports that two people died this afternoon after a projectile struck an area where grain was drying in Przewodów, a Polish village near the border with Ukraine.

Incoming coalition planning legislative blitz that includes court override law — TV

Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu and Shas chief Aryeh Deri at the swearing-in ceremony of the 25th Knesset, at the parliament building in Jerusalem, November 15, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu and Shas chief Aryeh Deri at the swearing-in ceremony of the 25th Knesset, at the parliament building in Jerusalem, November 15, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The new coalition that Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu is working to assemble has drawn up plans to ensure the appointment of Shas leader Aryeh Deri as a minister despite his conviction for tax offenses earlier this year, according to Channel 12 news.

The report says that to clear the way for Deri’s return as a minister, Netanyahu’s Likud and its allies will first move to appoint a new Knesset speaker next week, allowing them to push through controversial legislation that would allow lawmakers to override Supreme Court rulings.

Once that is done, the incoming coalition would then amend existing legislation to allow an MK with a suspended sentence — as Deri received as part of a plea bargain — to serve as a minister.

With that law finalized, Deri could then become a minister.

The network says that Netanyahu’s right-religious bloc wants to swiftly wrap up this process so Deri can be sworn in alongside other members of the next government.

However, any such legislative push is likely to face legal challenges, potentially tying it up.

Netanyahu said to hold talks with Ben Gvir after meeting with Smotrich

Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu and Otzma Yehudit chief Itamar Ben Gvir arrive for the swearing-in ceremony for the new the Knesset, at the parliament building in Jerusalem, November 15, 2022. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP)
Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu and Otzma Yehudit chief Itamar Ben Gvir arrive for the swearing-in ceremony for the new the Knesset, at the parliament building in Jerusalem, November 15, 2022. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP)

After meeting with Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich, Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu holds talks with Otzma Yehudit head Itamar Ben Gvir, Israeli television reports say.

According to Channel 12 news, Netanyahu was unable to reach an agreement with Smotrich on a ministerial post and the Religious Zionism leader is now meeting with the No. 2 in Netanyahu’s Likud party, MK Yariv Levin.

Smotrich is demanding either the Treasury or the defense portfolio, but Netanyahu is apparently reluctant to grant him the latter, while his more senior partner Aryeh Deri has demanded the Finance Ministry for his Shas party.

The Channel 12 report says Netanyahu told Smotrich that Israel needs to act moderately in terms of security and diplomacy for the rest of US President Joe Biden’s term, citing the ongoing unrest in the West Bank.

Assassination plot by Iran’s IRGC targeted prominent Israeli living in Georgia

Israeli-Georgian businessman Itsik Moshe (Nesi315 CC BY-SA 4.0)
Israeli-Georgian businessman Itsik Moshe (Nesi315 CC BY-SA 4.0)

Security officials in Georgia foiled a recent attempt by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Quds Force to kill Itzik Moshe, a prominent Georgian-Israeli living in the capital Tbilisi, The Times of Israel has learned.

This isn’t the first time Iranian forces have tried to attack Moshe, according to an Israeli security official.

Moshe, 62, served as a senior Jewish Agency representative in Russia and founded Israeli House, which seeks to improve Israel’s image in Eastern Europe.

IRGC Quds Force operatives in several countries planned the attack. Under Iranian direction, a Pakistani team affiliated with Al Qaeda flew to Tbilisi to gather intelligence and prepare for the attack.

Since 2011, Mohammad Reza Ebadi Arablu, a Quds Force operative, had been responsible for the terror cell. His commander was Ali Feyzipour, who has been involved in other Iranian terror plots around the world.

The plot was discovered by Georgian security forces when they noticed one of the Pakistani operatives behaving suspiciously. They found weapons in his possession.

In addition, Georgian forces found two Georgian-Iranian dual citizens responsible for passing weapons along to the hit team. They worked with a weapons smuggler in Turkey.

All of the suspects are in Georgian custody and are being interrogated. An investigation continues into others outside of Georgia who were involved in the plot.

Georgian and Israeli security officials spoke after the arrests, says an Israeli security official.

“This isn’t the first time an attempt to carry out a terror attack on Georgian soil with Iranian orders has been revealed,” the official says.

The attempt follows other recent Iranian plots to harm Israelis in the region. In June, Turkey and Israel foiled a plan to attack Israelis in Istanbul, and in October of last year, there was an attempt to kill Israeli businessmen in Cyprus.

The Israeli official says that some European states are considering declaring the IRGC a terror group. “Iran will pay a heavy price in the international theater because of this,” said the official.

There is no new travel warning to Georgia in the wake of the plot, says a National Security Council official.

3rd victim of Ariel terror attack named as Motti Ashkenazi

A picture of Motti Ashkenazi, the third victim of a terror attack near the northern West Bank settlement of Ariel on November 15, 2022. (Courtesy)
A picture of Motti Ashkenazi, the third victim of a terror attack near the northern West Bank settlement of Ariel on November 15, 2022. (Courtesy)

The third victim of this morning’s terror attack near the West Bank settlement city of Ariel is named as Motti Ashkenazi.

Ashkenazi, 59, from the central city of Yavne, was stabbed to death during the attack that left two others dead.

He worked as a supplier for the Amisragas gas distributor in the West Bank area.

Ashkenazi is survived by his wife, three children and two grandchildren.

“Motti was a loving person, full of joy, an exemplary husband, and a family man with a huge soul who always loved to help everyone,” his family says in remarks provided by the Yavne municipality.

A spokesperson for Yavne says the city “shares in the family’s grief and is supporting them at this difficult time.”

Foreign Ministry: No direct flights yet scheduled to Qatar for World Cup

A road sign for the Qatar 2022 World Cup soccer tournament is seen next to a highway near Abu Samra, western Qatar on November 15, 2022. (Odd Andersen/AFP)
A road sign for the Qatar 2022 World Cup soccer tournament is seen next to a highway near Abu Samra, western Qatar on November 15, 2022. (Odd Andersen/AFP)

Less than a week before the start of the World Cup, no direct flights have been scheduled between Israel and Qatar, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Last Thursday, the two countries and FIFA announced an agreement that allows direct charter flights from Ben Gurion Airport to Doha.

“We made the platform, but we are not the ones who are providing direct flights,” explains Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon. “We are waiting for private companies.”

He adds that he is not aware of any Palestinians who have asked to fly from Ben Gurion to Qatar for the games, though the agreement allows Palestinians to use the charter flights, should they ever depart.

A team of six Israeli diplomats will be in Qatar for the entire tournament, even though the two countries do not have diplomatic relations.

Nachshon called this diplomatic presence, to which Qatar agreed last week, “important and meaningful.”

The Israeli officials will enter Qatar with diplomatic passports and will be met by a Qatari official.

Israel will not fly its national flag and is not defining the presence as an office or diplomatic representation, but as a “team.”

They will work out of a private travel agency, with details of how exactly that will be set up still needing to be worked out by the advance team, which takes off tomorrow.

Israel will publicize a number that all citizens in Qatar can dial if they find themselves in trouble. There will also be a rotating spokesperson presence there throughout the World Cup.

The Foreign Ministry is expecting 10,000-20,000 Israelis to make the trip, but doesn’t have exact numbers because many are arriving with foreign passports.

“We are ready to give attention to and aid a very large number of travelers, and are prepared to deal with a large range of incidents, from lost passports to different types of friction with local authorities,” says Nachshon.

UN peace envoy calls for unequivocal condemnation of deadly West Bank attack

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland briefs, over video conference, the Security Council on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question on January 26, 2021. (Daniela Penkova/UNSCO/File)
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland briefs, over video conference, the Security Council on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question on January 26, 2021. (Daniela Penkova/UNSCO/File)

The UN envoy for Middle East peace condemns today’s deadly stabbing and ramming attack in the northern West Bank.

Tor Wennesland says he’s “horrified” that a Palestinian terrorist killed three Israelis and wounded several others, while expressing his condolences to the families of the victims.

“There can be no justification for acts of violence against civilians, which must be unequivocally condemned by all,” he writes on Twitter.

Lithuania proposes expanding compensation for Jewish property seized in WWII

Lithuania's Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte speaks during a news conference at the Presidential Palace in Vilnius, Lithuania, November 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)
Lithuania's Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte speaks during a news conference at the Presidential Palace in Vilnius, Lithuania, November 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

VILNIUS, Lithuania — Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte is introducing a draft bill to expand a compensation plan for Jewish property seized by the Nazis and Soviets.

Simonyte proposes that the Baltic state — whose Jewish community was decimated during the Holocaust — distribute 37 million euros in restitution for lost private property.

The plan comes a decade after Lithuania approved an equivalent compensation package for Jewish communal property seized during World War II.

With the new initiative, the EU member seeks to definitively settle the matter, which is regularly brought up by Jewish organizations at home and abroad.

“I believe this is an issue that Lithuania finally needs to resolve… I would like to submit this bill to parliament,” Simonyte tells reporters.

She adds that 37 million euros was a symbolic sum, as it’s difficult to identify all the seized properties and ascertain their value.

Lithuanian Jewish community leader Faina Kukliansky tells reporters that whether the legislation will end up passing is “a kind of test for the state.”

The draft bill reads that Jews whose property was seized and their heirs will be able to apply for compensation.

The payouts would be handled by a special fund, which already administers the money the community received for its lost communal property.

If approved by the government and parliament, the funds will be distributed over several years starting in 2024.

Before World War II, Lithuania was home to 220,000 Jews, but 95 percent of them died at the hands of German Nazis and local collaborators.

Russian strikes on Ukraine power line cause outages in neighboring Moldova

CHISINAU, Moldova — Moldova has reported “massive power outages across the country” after Russian military strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure downed a key power line that supplies the small nation, an official says.

“Following Russia’s bombardment against the Ukrainian energy system in the last hour, one of the power lines that ensures the transport of electricity for our country has been disconnected,” Infrastructure Minister Andrei Spinu says in a statement. “This has led to massive power outages across the country.”

Spinu notes that the downed power lines “were not damaged, but were automatically disconnected as a safety measure” and adds that the supplier, Moldelectrica, is working to restore power.

Moldovan citizens will be updated on the matter, he says.

Moldova isn’t a member of the European Union.

Party chiefs in new Knesset take traditional group photo; Ben Gvir absent

Leaders of parties in the new Knesset pose for a group photo after the swearing-in ceremony, at the parliament building in Jerusalem, November 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
Leaders of parties in the new Knesset pose for a group photo after the swearing-in ceremony, at the parliament building in Jerusalem, November 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

The leaders of political parties elected to the new Knesset pose for the traditional group photo with President Isaac Herzog and Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut.

Absent from the photo is MK Itamar Ben Gvir, as he has yet to formally split off his Otzma Yehudit faction from the far-right Religious Zionism alliance after running together in the November 1 election.

Foreign Ministry releases app to help Israelis navigate international travel

The Foreign Ministry has released its TravIL app, designed to help Israeli travelers stay up to date with warnings and easily reach officials in case of emergency.

Once travelers download the free app, they can access recommendations from the Foreign and Health ministries, travel warnings from the National Security Council, addresses and phone numbers of local consular offices and visa instructions, customized for wherever they are traveling.

A feature on the app automatically calls local emergency services if needed.

TravIL, which asks users to upload travel documents for safekeeping, is designed to protect users’ privacy, says Ziv Shalvi, head of Consular Digital Solutions and Innovation at the ministry. He adds that it doesn’t give Israeli officials access to travelers’ information, nor does it track users geographically.

Aside from vital updates and emergency info, the app also includes cultural tips for travelers. Visitors to the UAE, for instance, are instructed that “it is polite to partake in food before moving on to matters of business,” and that food and drink should be received in one’s right hand.

The app currently does not include countries with which Israel does not have diplomatic ties, but it does have Qatar, which is hosting the World Cup this month. It warns Israelis that homosexuality and pornography are illegal in the country.

Border cops arrest wanted terror suspect near Jenin

Police say Border Police officers have arrested a wanted terror suspect in the West Bank town of Burqin, near Jenin.

Muhammed Jarar is suspected of “recent involvement in extensive terrorist activity,” according to a police spokesperson.

During the operation, undercover troops and Border Police officers opened fire at Palestinian gunmen who shot at them, police say.

No officers are hurt, the spokesman adds.

Jarar, who was arrested at his home, is transferred to the Shin Bet security agency for further questioning.

Netanyahu meets Smotrich for first time in week, amid spat over ministerial post

In this handout photo, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Religious Zionism chief Bezalel Smotrich (R), November 15, 2022. (Likud)
In this handout photo, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Religious Zionism chief Bezalel Smotrich (R), November 15, 2022. (Likud)

Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu and Religious Zionism head Bezalel Smotrich are currently meeting for the first time since Wednesday, according to Likud sources.

Coalition negotiations have been held up due to a dispute between the two over what cabinet post Smotrich will receive.

The Religious Zionism leader is insisting on either the defense or finance portfolios, two key ministries that Netanyahu prefers to keep with his Likud party or allocate to more senior political partners.

Likud sources also say that while there are still several final details to be hammered out in the developing coalition agreement, once the ministerial portfolio issue with Smotrich is solved, they expect negotiations on finalizing Israel’s 37th government to move quickly.

Lapid vows troops ‘won’t be interrogated’ by FBI over Abu Akleh killing

In this undated photo provided by Al Jazeera Media Network, Shireen Abu Akleh, a journalist for Al Jazeera network, stands next to a TV camera with the Old City of Jerusalem in the background. (Al Jazeera Media Network via AP)
In this undated photo provided by Al Jazeera Media Network, Shireen Abu Akleh, a journalist for Al Jazeera network, stands next to a TV camera with the Old City of Jerusalem in the background. (Al Jazeera Media Network via AP)

Prime Minister Yair Lapid says that Israel’s soldiers “will not be interrogated” by “any foreign body, ” responding to a US probe into the death of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

“IDF soldiers will not be interrogated by the FBI or by any foreign body or foreign country, however friendly,” Lapid says to freshly sworn-in Knesset members. “We will not abandon IDF soldiers to foreign investigations, and our strong protest has been passed on to the Americans at the appropriate levels.”

Abu Akleh was shot and killed while covering firefights between Israeli forces and Palestinian gunmen in Jenin on May 11. An IDF investigation found that she was likely struck by an IDF bullet, though not intentionally targeted.

“The IDF is a moral and values-based army. IDF soldiers and commanders defend the State of Israel, thoroughly investigate every aberrant incident, and are committed to the values of democracy and its laws,” Lapid adds.

The remarks come after Defense Minister Benny Gantz shut down the possibility of Israeli cooperation.

Lapid: Knesset should be a model for civil debate, not just trading barbs

Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid shakes hands during the swearing-in ceremony for the new Knesset, at the parliament building in Jerusalem, November 15, 2022. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP)
Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid shakes hands during the swearing-in ceremony for the new Knesset, at the parliament building in Jerusalem, November 15, 2022. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP)

Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid tells members of the newly sworn-in 25th Knesset that they should strive to make the parliament a model for the civil exchange of ideas.

“We need the 25th Knesset to be a place of debate about opinions and thoughts, not a place whose whole essence is an exchange of insults,” Lapid tells lawmakers at the Knesset’s Chagall State Hall.

“We need it to be the place that the citizens of Israel look up to, not the place where the citizens of Israel are ashamed and ashamed of its representatives.”

Lapid’s outgoing coalition was locked in a bitter battle with the opposition, with the two blocs now poised to swap roles.

Rather than elaborating on the past 1.5 years of Israel’s 36th government, Lapid says he’ll put aside the remarks in light of a terror attack this morning that claimed three Israeli lives and cast a pallor over some of the Knesset’s opening day festivities.

“This morning we received a particularly painful reminder of the challenges and difficulties that the State of Israel faces every day anew. Instead of a holiday for Israeli democracy, it is a day of pain over the deaths of innocent people murdered by a despicable terrorist,” he says.

Off-duty soldier who shot terrorist was headed to memorial for recent attack victim

Pvt. Yud speaks in a video statement issued by the military, November 15, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)
Pvt. Yud speaks in a video statement issued by the military, November 15, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

One of the off-duty soldiers who killed the terrorist following this morning’s deadly rampage near Ariel was heading to a memorial for a man killed in a terror attack last month, the military says.

Prior to his enlistment in the Armored Corps, the private, who can only be identified by his rank and first initial, worked at a store owned by Shalom Sofer.

On October 25, 63-year-old Sofer was stabbed by a Palestinian terrorist after he exited a store in al-Funduq, a Palestinian village near the settlement of Kedumim. After being hospitalized in serious condition Sofer was released, but he succumbed to his injuries last Tuesday at home.

“This morning while I was driving on Route 5 I noticed an unusual incident on the road. When I realized it was a terror attack, I got out of the car, identified the terrorist, and opened fire at him,” the soldier says in video statement published by the IDF.

Another on-duty Golani Brigade soldier and armed civilians also opened fire at the terrorist, killing him.

Bat Yam father Michael Ladygin second named victim in West Bank terror attack

A photo from the Bat Yam Municipality shows Michael Ladygin, who was killed in a terror attack near the northern West Bank settlement of Ariel on November 15, 2022. (Courtesy)
A photo from the Bat Yam Municipality shows Michael Ladygin, who was killed in a terror attack near the northern West Bank settlement of Ariel on November 15, 2022. (Courtesy)

The second of three Israelis killed in a deadly terror attack in the northern West Bank earlier today is identified as Michael Ladygin, a resident of the central coastal city of Bat Yam.

He leaves behind a wife and two kids, according to Bat Yam Mayor Tzvika Brot, who adds that Ladygin moved to Israel five years ago.

Netanyahu predicts new government will be formed ‘soon’

Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu arrives to the swearing-in ceremony at the Knesset in Jerusalem, November 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu arrives to the swearing-in ceremony at the Knesset in Jerusalem, November 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu predicts his prospective government will be finalized “soon,” as he’s asked by reporters at the Knesset when he expects to put a bow on his incoming right-religious coalition.

Netanyahu pledged to quickly assemble a government after his Likud party and its ultra-Orthodox and far-right allies won a majority of Knesset seats in the November 1 vote, but has encountered hurdles amid disagreements with his partners over the sharing of the spoils.

According to Channel 12 news, coalition negotiators from Netanyahu’s Likud party are due to meet tomorrow with their counterparts from Religious Zionism, whose leader Bezalel Smotrich is demanding either the Treasury or Defense Ministry.

US, EU envoys condemn deadly West Bank terror attack

US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides condemns the deadly terror attack earlier today near the northern West Bank settlement of Ariel.

“Horrified by the rampage of one terrorist today in Ariel that left three Israelis dead, and as many wounded. My heart goes out to the grieving families and those injured. This senseless violence needs to stop!” Nides writes on Twitter.

The European Union’s envoy also denounces the “despicable ramming and stabbing attack.”

“I condemn all acts of violence unreservedly. Condolences to the families of the deceased and wishes for a speedy recovery to those injured,” Dimiter Tzantchev says.

Ukraine official says situation ‘critical’ as Russia bombards power grid

A damaged building seen at the scene of Russian shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, November 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Kravchenko)
A damaged building seen at the scene of Russian shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, November 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Kravchenko)

KYIV, Ukraine — Waves of Russian airstrikes are rocking Ukraine, with authorities immediately announcing emergency blackouts after attacks from east to west on energy plants and other facilities knock out power. In Kyiv, residential buildings are also struck by missiles.

A senior Ukrainian official, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, describes the situation as “critical” and urges Ukrainians to cut back on their power usage and “hang in there.” Power provider DTEK announces emergency blackouts in the capital and authorities announce similar steps elsewhere, too.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko says authorities have found a body in one of the residential buildings struck there.

140 Israelis arrested abroad over past year — Foreign Ministry

Illustrative photo of a person in handcuffs. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of a person in handcuffs. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The Foreign Ministry says 140 Israeli citizens were arrested around the world over the past year and 299 Israelis remain in foreign prisons.

The figures are from November 1, 2021 through October 31, 2022.

Russia holds the highest number of Israeli prisoners with 58, followed by the US with 50, and Germany with 16. The figures include dual nationals.

Seventy five of the Israeli prisoners are serving sentences for drug-related offenses, 53 for financial crimes and 36 for murder and manslaughter.

The Foreign Ministry consular section reports that it facilitated the transfer of 1,776 bodies to the country for burial, which includes 638 Israelis and 1,138 foreigners, presumably almost all Jews wishing to be buried in the Holy Land.

Outgoing speaker decries last Knesset as ‘low point’ for Israeli discourse

Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy at the swearing-in of the new Knesset, November 15, 2022. (Noam Moskowitz/Knesset Spokesperson)
Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy at the swearing-in of the new Knesset, November 15, 2022. (Noam Moskowitz/Knesset Spokesperson)

Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy decries the political discourse in the previous parliament, in a seeming shot at members of the prospective right-religious coalition who opposed the outgoing government.

“From my experience in the Knesset I say with great pain: the previous Knesset was a low point in the country’s history, in offensive and disparaging discourse, the challenging of the legitimacy of a government that received the Knesset’s vote, and the breaking of all the accepted rules of the game that this institution has known,” he says.

Levy adds: “The swearing-in of a new Knesset is a desired time for change, renewal and different conduct.”

‘I commit’: Members of new Knesset are sworn in

In alphabetical order by last name, members of the new Knesset are sworn in.

“I commit,” the lawmakers say as their names are called out.

Herzog to MKs: Israelis ‘exhausted from infighting’; be ‘fair’ if changing checks and balances

President Isaac Herzog addresses the Knesset as it is sworn-in, November 15, 2022 (Knesset channel screenshot)
President Isaac Herzog addresses the Knesset as it is sworn-in, November 15, 2022 (Knesset channel screenshot)

President Isaac Herzog opens his remarks at the swearing-in of the new Knesset by addressing this morning’s terror attack in the West Bank, which left three Israelis dead and several others wounded.

“Israel will continue to stand firmly and assertively, everywhere and always, against acts of terror and hatred that rear their heads and menace us all. On behalf of the entire Israeli people, I share the deep grief of the victims’ families and of the city of Ariel, and I pray for the health of the injured,” he says.

Turning to the lawmakers, Herzog urges them to cool the political discourse.

“The citizens of Israel today are proud of their country, which this year will celebrate 75 years of independence, and they believe in the righteousness of its cause; but at the same time, to tell you the truth, they are exhausted from the infighting and its fallout,” he says.

“Now, the responsibility lies first and foremost with you, the public’s elected representatives. Responsibility to try to wean us off this addiction to never-ending conflicts,” the president adds.

Herzog says Israelis now want their politicians “simply to work for them.”

“They expect you, all of you, to work for them in the committees, in the plenum, and in your assorted public and parliamentary roles. They expect us, all of us, to wake up every morning and look out for them,” he says.

He also alludes to calls among members of Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu’s nascent coalition for legislation that would allow the Knesset to overrule High Court rulings.

“On this festive day, it is only proper that we recall that the power of the legislature is part of a necessary and broader system of checks and balances. Let me underscore: not only is change possible; there are places where change is proper and desirable,” he says.

“But we must do so through listening, through open dialogue, through respectful discourse — and fairly,” he adds.

Far-right Ben Gvir vows to ‘teach our enemies a lesson’ as police minister

Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir and his wife Ayala speak during a faction meeting of the extremist party, at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on November 15, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir and his wife Ayala speak during a faction meeting of the extremist party, at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on November 15, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Far-right leader Itamar Ben Gvir says that he will “teach our enemies a lesson” upon taking over at the Public Security Ministry, which controls the country’s police force.

The Otzma Yehudit head is currently pushing to receive the post in ongoing coalition negotiations with Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu.

“If we enter into the Public Security Ministry, we will, with God’s help, do everything to fight terror attacks, we’ll do everything to return deterrence to the State of Israel, we’ll do everything to back up police officers and soldiers, we’ll do everything to teach our enemies a lesson, that it’s not possible to mess with Israel,” Ben Gvir says at the outset of his extremist party’s faction meeting.

Speaking just before the 25th Knesset is sworn in, Ben Gvir vows a right-wing government will be formed “within a few days.”

Today’s deadly terrorist attack, he says, “proves unequivocally the imperative to establish a full, full, right-wing government as quickly as possible.”

Coalition talks have stalled between Netanyahu and Ben Gvir’s running mate, Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich, who is pushing for the defense or finance portfolio.

Reaffirming a previous position, Ben Gvir cites this morning’s deadly terror stabbing in the West Bank to call for the “urgent need to change open fire rules,” which he wants to loosen.

Ben Gvir says that he put included the request in coalition demands to Netanyahu, “so people won’t be afraid, won’t hesitate, won’t think twice when they see a terror event right before their eyes.”

At the outset of the morning rampage, a security guard fired in the air rather than at the terrorist, apparently due to worries of harming passersby.

Deri’s wife says he won’t lead Defense Ministry: ‘Not his place’

Yaffa Deri, the wife of Shas leader Aryeh Deri, outside their home in Jerusalem on November 13, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Yaffa Deri, the wife of Shas leader Aryeh Deri, outside their home in Jerusalem on November 13, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The wife of Shas chief Aryeh Deri says he won’t helm the Defense Ministry, after reports he was offered the post by Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu, who wants to avoid giving far-right Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich control of the army.

“Aryeh won’t take the defense [ministry]. He is definitely suitable. He won’t take it because it’s not his place,” Yaffa Deri tells Kan public radio.

Smotrich has reportedly demanded he receive either the defense or finance minister positions, though Deri has claimed the Treasury role for himself.

“He wants to help weaker populations. In our opinion, he is going to the Treasury,” Yaffa Deri adds.

Ta’al head Tibi: Any change to Temple Mount status quo ‘will ignite’ Mideast

Jiont List MK Ahmad Tibi speaks during Haaretz Conference at Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in Jaffa, June 16, 2022. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Jiont List MK Ahmad Tibi speaks during Haaretz Conference at Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in Jaffa, June 16, 2022. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Ta’al party leader Ahmad Tibi cautions that any change to the sensitive status quo on Jerusalem’s flashpoint Temple Mount “will ignite” the Middle East.

The holiest site Jerusalem’s Old City is the holiest in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam. All are permitted to visit at select times but only Muslims may pray at the site also known as Haram al-Sharif, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

“Any attempt to harm or change the status quo in the mosque or any meter of the plaza will ignite” the Middle East, he says at the outset of the Hadash-Ta’al faction meeting.

Echoing remarks made by Hadash leader Ayman Odeh, Tibi calls the expected incoming right-religious coalition “fascist” and says it’s line with the legacy of ultranationalist Rabbi Meir Kahane.

“Kahanism and fascism have become official” in Israel’s halls of power, Tibi says.

Both Tibi and Odeh highlight far-right politicians Bezalel Smotrich from Religious Zionism and Itamar Ben Gvir from Otzma Yehudit as the face of the change.

Promising to continue their role as a “fighting opposition,” Tibi says that while concerning, the far-right politicians’ ideology is a “Jewish problem.”

“We’ll get over the fascism of Smotrich and Ben Gvir, its not just an Arab problem, its mostly a Jewish problem,” the Ta’al head says.

A majority-Arab alliance, Hadash-Ta’al is staunchly against Israel’s continued control of the West Bank and ties the continued situation to the rise of the far-right duo.

Convicted French Holocaust denier arrested in Scotland after 2-year search

LONDON — A French Holocaust denier who was convicted under France’s anti-Nazi laws has been arrested in Scotland after authorities searched for him for two years, police say.

Police Scotland says Vincent Reynouard was arrested in Fife, north of Edinburgh, on Thursday on behalf of French authorities, and that he appeared before the Edinburgh Sheriff Court on the same day.

Reynouard, 53, had been convicted of Holocaust denial, a criminal offense in France, multiple times. His latest conviction was in relation to a series of antisemitic posts on social media. He was given a four-month jail term in November 2020 and a further six-month spell in January 2021.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism, a British nonprofit, welcomes the arrest and describes Reynouard as a “despicable Holocaust denier who has repeatedly been convicted by French courts.”

The charity said he was reportedly living in the UK working as private tutor. It said his first Holocaust denial conviction was in 1991 for distributing leaflets denying the existence of gas chambers at concentration camps.

Smotrich urges ‘marathon talks’ to clinch coalition, amid jockeying over ministries

Religious Zionist leader Bezalel Smotrich speaks at faction meeting of his far-right party, ahead of the swearing-in of the new Knesset, on November 15, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Religious Zionist leader Bezalel Smotrich speaks at faction meeting of his far-right party, ahead of the swearing-in of the new Knesset, on November 15, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich calls to expedite coalition talks in order to establish a right-wing, religious government as quickly as possible.

His words come against stalled negotiations and an ongoing disconnect between Smotrich and Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu, who are at loggerheads over the allotment of senior ministerial portfolios in coalition negotiations.

“All partners [in the right-wing camp] need to conduct swift, marathon talks in order to ensure a government is quickly established, God willing, and will implement right-wing policies which will bring about change,” says Smotrich.

Noting that over 500,000 voters supported Religious Zionism, he says this provided the party with the capacity to effect significant change, and vows: “What has been, is not what will be.”

The leader of the radical right-wing party says among those policies will be an effort to “thwart the attempts of the Palestinian Authority to take control of territory [in the West Bank] and establish a terror state,” as well as legalizing unauthorized settlements and allowing for greater settlement development in the territory.

Smotrich adds that “this time we will not let anyone, inside our [political] home or outside, to steal our voice, and we promise that those who voted right-wing will get a right-wing [government].”

The Religious Zionism leaders adds that he will “not allow the Histadrut labor federation or any other left-wing element to decide and dictate for us economic policy and appointments in the new government.”

Smotrich has demanded to be appointed either defense or finance minister, but Histadrut chairman Arnon Ben David reportedly opposes his appointment as treasurer.

Women can pack heat too, Ben Gvir’s gun-toting wife rails at ‘chauvinists’

Sara Netanyahu (C) meets with the wives of several of the prospective coalition members Yaffa Deri (2L), Maoz (L), Ayala Ben Gvir (2R) and Rivka Goldknopf (R) on November 14, 2022. Ben Gvir can be seen with a hand gun tucked into her skirt. (Likud)
Sara Netanyahu (C) meets with the wives of several of the prospective coalition members Yaffa Deri (2L), Maoz (L), Ayala Ben Gvir (2R) and Rivka Goldknopf (R) on November 14, 2022. Ben Gvir can be seen with a hand gun tucked into her skirt. (Likud)

Ayala Ben Gvir sends a message to the “chauvinists” who “came out against me” after she was seen carrying a firearm at an afternoon bonding session hosted by Sara Netanyahu at a luxury Jerusalem hotel Monday.

“Women are also permitted to carry a weapon and protect their lives,” she says at her husband Itamar Ben Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit faction meeting.

Far-right Noam confirms its demand for body to ‘strengthen Jewish identity’

MK Avi Maoz, leader of the anti-LGBT Noam party, at Likud headquarters in Tel Aviv on November 8, 2022. (Flash90)
MK Avi Maoz, leader of the anti-LGBT Noam party, at Likud headquarters in Tel Aviv on November 8, 2022. (Flash90)

The sole lawmaker in the anti-LGBT Noam faction, who was elected as part of far-right Religious Zionism slate, confirms that his main coalition demand in the ongoing government formation negotiations is to create an office to strengthen Jewish identity.

In MK Avi Maoz’s vision, a “growth unit for strengthening Jewish identity” would be created under the Prime Minister’s Office as part of his principle of “identity security,” which he defines as “who are we and what are we” as a Jewish people.

The two other ideological legs upon which Maoz says his tiny party stands are “military and physical security,” and “economic security,” two key issues for Israeli voters.

Despite its size, Noam has pushed to negotiate separately with Likud to form the next coalition. It has most made headlines in recent days in connection to sexual assault allegations enveloping its religious leader, Rabbi Zvi Tau.

Tau has been accused of using his position as a senior rabbi in the national religious community to sexually assault several women over a period of decades.

Family of imprisoned Egyptian activist says he’s ended hunger strike

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)

CAIRO, Egypt — The family of imprisoned Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah says they received a letter from him today that he has ended his hunger strike

The family says in a statement that Abdel-Fattah’s mother, Laila Soueif, received a short note from the political activist via the prison authorities in her son’s handwriting. The letter is dated yesterday. In it, he asks her to visit him in prison on Thursday.

“I’ve broken my strike. I’ll explain everything on Thursday,” the letter reads.

The news comes a day after the renowned dissident announced the end of his water strike via a similar handwritten letter delivered to the family. The prison authorities began a medical intervention on the hunger striker last Thursday after he escalated his partial hunger strike to include water on November 6, the first day of Egypt’s hosting of the international climate summit, to pressure authorities for his release.

Gantz: There was no intention to harm Abu Akleh, US probe unnecessary

Outgoing Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks during a National Unity faction meeting, ahead of the swearing-in of the new Knesset, on November 15, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Outgoing Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks during a National Unity faction meeting, ahead of the swearing-in of the new Knesset, on November 15, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz says an American investigation into the death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is unnecessary and insists there had been no intention of deliberately harming her.

“I want to say clearly, honestly and respectfully – the State of Israel acts against murderous terror and the IDF operates in very difficult battlefields,” says Gantz during the National Unity party’s faction meeting in the Knesset on Tuesday.

“In the case of Abu Akleh, the IDF carried out a professional investigation and included the US fully [in that investigation],” he notes, echoing comments Monday night in which he said Jerusalem would not cooperate with the FBI probe.

“This was a very difficult battle in which hundreds of bullets were fired at IDF soldiers and also in her [Abu Akleh’s] direction and there was no intention to harm her. IDF investigations are deep and thorough and there is no need to open another investigation,” he adds.

Ukraine envoy informed of disappointment over Kyiv’s UN vote, Israel says

Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk speaks during a conference in Jaffa, June 7, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni‎‏/Flash90)
Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk speaks during a conference in Jaffa, June 7, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni‎‏/Flash90)

After meeting with the Ukrainian ambassador to Israel, Simona Halperin, the head of the Foreign Ministry’s Euro – Asia Division, and Amir Weissbrod, the UN and International Organizations Division chief, express Israel’s disappointment over Ukraine’s vote to advance a resolution against Israel at the UN on Friday.

The UN Fourth Committee approved a resolution to request the International Court of Justice to “urgently” weigh in on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Israeli “annexation.”

Both Ukraine and Russia voted in favor.

“It was made clear to the ambassador that this behavior does not reflect relations between friendly states, who share values, especially in light of Israel’s support for Ukraine in a range of important UN resolutions and in wide humanitarian relief,” according to a Foreign Ministry statement released after the meeting with Yevgen Korniychuk.

The Israelis also express their hope that Kyiv will change its position when the resolution is considered by the General Assembly in December.

Father of six Tamir Avihai named as West Bank terror victim

A photo released by the family of Tamir Avihai, who was killed in a terror attack near the northern West Bank settlement of Ariel on November 15, 2022. (Courtesy)
A photo released by the family of Tamir Avihai, who was killed in a terror attack near the northern West Bank settlement of Ariel on November 15, 2022. (Courtesy)

One of the victims of the terror attack this morning near Ariel is named as 50-year-old Tamir Avihai.

Avihai, a resident of the settlement of Kiryat Netafim and a father of six, was killed when the terrorist rammed his car into him, following a stabbing spree that left two others dead.

There are no immediate details on when his funeral will take place.

The other victims have not yet been named.

Liberman: Incoming right-religious coalition will ‘form an ayatollah regime’

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset on July 4, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset on July 4, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

As he appears headed to the opposition benches, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman says he is “really disturbed” by the incoming right-religious coalition, charging that its proposed judicial reform and the influence of religious leaders upon its politicians will lead to “an ayatollah regime.”

“They’re going to form an ayatollah regime, the blue and white version,” Liberman says at his Yisrael Beytenu party’s first faction meeting of the 25th Knesset.

“I am really disturbed by the forming coalition, an anti-Zionist coalition, for the first time since the formation of the state.”

He also warns that Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich will “hurt national security” if appointed defense minister, a post which the far-right politician is angling for.

“I don’t even want to think about the consequences if it happens,” says Liberman, himself a former defense minister.

Leading the second largest faction in the forming right-religious coalition, Smotrich is pushing for the senior defense or treasury post.

Part of Liberman’s opposition derives from foreign colleagues’ apparent hesitancy to work with Smotrich and his partner, Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir.

“Over the weekend, I spoke with some of my friends from Washington, and they unfortunately confirmed again. Not with Smotrich and not with Ben Gvir, there will be no cooperation,” Liberman says.

Ben Gvir is seeking the Public Security Ministry.

Liberman adds European law enforcement agency Interpol to the list of organizations he believes will boycott the two

Reform Movement accuses Sephardi chief rabbi of incitement, urges police probe

Israel's Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef speaks at the National Headquarters of the Israel Police in Jerusalem on September 22, 2022 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Israel's Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef speaks at the National Headquarters of the Israel Police in Jerusalem on September 22, 2022 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The Reform Movement demands police investigate Israel’s Sephardi chief rabbi for comments he made over the weekend against Reform Jews.

In a letter, the movement accused Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef of incitement to violence, which it said should be considered particularly grave considering his power and influence.

On Saturday night, Yosef gave a talk in which he railed against the High Court of Justice and Reform Jewry. His comments on the High Court, and his calls for the next government to pass a law to override it, have prompted denunciations from lawmakers, accusing him of abusing his government position for partisan purposes.

The Reform Movement, however, focuses on his attacks against them, claiming they were calls to violence.

“How did the Hatam Sofer come out against the Reformers? With a sword and a spear!” Yosef said, referring to an Orthodox rabbi who was active around the turn of the 19th century.

Though he was adamantly opposed to Reform Judaism, the Hatam Sofer did not, in fact, fight the movement with a sword and a spear but rather with fiery speeches and political pressure.

“In light of the great influence that Rabbi Yosef has over the religious public in Israel as the chief rabbi of Israel, enforcement and deterrence are even more necessary in order to prevent rabbi Yosef’s words of incitement from being quickly translated into acts of violence,” the Reform Movement says.

Pair of Hadash MKs skip traditional photo in front of Israeli seal and flags

Hadash leader Ayman Odeh arrives for the swearing of the new Knesset on November 15, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Hadash leader Ayman Odeh arrives for the swearing of the new Knesset on November 15, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Hadash leader Ayman Odeh and the majority Arab party’s sole Jewish MK Ofer Cassif are refraining from being photographed in front of the State of Israel’s official seal and Israeli flags, shunning a custom for lawmakers ahead of the swearing-in of a new Knesset.

In a video, Odeh is escorted by a Knesset usher to a room with the seal and flags, but waves off the photographers and walks away when they motion him in for the pictures.

United Torah Judaism MK Yaakov Tessler, who is part of the presumptive right-religious coalition, also declined to be photographed but later returned for the photo. According to Hebrew media, Tessler’s office explained that he initially did not see a reason to do so, as he had been photographed in past Knessets.

Gantz meets with IDF, Shin Bet heads after deadly terror attack

Military chief Aviv Kohavi (right), Defense Minister Benny Gantz (center), and Shin Bet head Ronen Bar hold an assessment at the IDF's Southern Command HQ in Beersheba, August 5, 2022. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
Illustrative: Military chief Aviv Kohavi (right), Defense Minister Benny Gantz (center), and Shin Bet head Ronen Bar hold an assessment at the IDF's Southern Command HQ in Beersheba, August 5, 2022. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz has held a snap meeting with military chief Aviv Kohavi and the head of the Shin Bet security agency, Ronen Bar, following this morning’s deadly terror attack near Ariel.

Gantz’s office says he “emphasized the importance of quick actions in the area following the attack to restore a sense of security, as well as the need to act quickly against those involved if there were any, and against the terrorist’s associates.”

His office adds that Gantz called to “accelerate” operational and intelligence efforts in the West Bank to foil further attacks.

New Knesset factions to convene ahead of swearing-in ceremony

A K9 officer inspects the Knesset plenum ahead of the swearing-in of the new parliament, November 14, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
A K9 officer inspects the Knesset plenum ahead of the swearing-in of the new parliament, November 14, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The new Knesset is due to be sworn in later this afternoon, in a pomp-filled event at the parliament building in Jerusalem.

Lawmakers are due to to take their oaths in a special plenum session that will begin at 4 p.m., after President Isaac Herzog arrives at the Knesset and gives the traditional address to MKs.

Ahead of the ceremony, the parties represented in the upcoming Knesset will hold faction meetings.

Today’s swearing-in ceremony comes as prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party holds coalition talks with its ultra-Orthodox and far-right allies. The sides have been at odds in recent days over the allocation of senior posts in a future government.

Turkey makes further arrests after deadly Istanbul blast

Relatives and friends of Arzu Ozsoy and her 15-year-old daughter Yagmur Ucar, who died in Sunday's explosion occurred on Istiklal avenue, attend their funeral in Istanbul, Turkey, November 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
Relatives and friends of Arzu Ozsoy and her 15-year-old daughter Yagmur Ucar, who died in Sunday's explosion occurred on Istiklal avenue, attend their funeral in Istanbul, Turkey, November 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

ISTANBUL, Turkey — Turkish police have apprehended more suspects in connection with the bombing of a bustling pedestrian avenue in Istanbul that killed six people and wounded several dozen others, bringing the number of people in custody to 50, Turkey’s justice minister says.

Sunday’s explosion targeted Istiklal Avenue — a popular thoroughfare lined with shops and restaurants — and was a stark reminder of bombings in Turkish cities between 2015 and 2017 that crushed the public’s sense of security.

Turkish authorities blamed the attack on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, as well as Syrian Kurdish groups affiliated with it. The Kurdish militants groups have, however, denied involvement.

Police carried out raids in Istanbul several hours after the blast and detained 48 people, including a Syrian woman who is suspected of leaving a TNT-laden bomb at Istiklal. Police say the woman, identified as Ahlam Albashir, had crossed into Turkey from Syria illegally and has admitted to carrying out the attack.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag now says the number of suspects in custody has increased to 50, but doesn’t provide details. The state-run Anadolu Agency says police on Tuesday detained two brothers, identified as Ammar J. and Ahmed J.

Ammar J. was allegedly tasked with helping Albashir flee Istanbul to neighboring Greece after the attack, while Ahmed J. allegedly drove a suspect who is still at large, to Edirne province, near the border with Bulgaria, Anadolu reports.

“Turkey continues with its fight against terrorism with determination,” the independent T24 news website quotes the minister as saying. “No terrorist organization will succeed in any kind of plot against Turkey.”

World population grows to 8 billion, largely fueled by developing African nations

People move through a market in Mumbai, India, November 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)
People move through a market in Mumbai, India, November 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

LAGOS, Nigeria — The world’s population is projected to hit an estimated 8 billion people today, according to a United Nations projection, with much of the growth coming from developing nations in Africa.

Among them is Nigeria, where resources are already stretched to the limit. More than 15 million people in Lagos compete for everything from electricity to light their homes to spots on crowded buses, often for two-hour commutes each way in this sprawling megacity. Some Nigerian children set off for school as early as 5 a.m.

And over the next three decades, the West African nation’s population is expected to soar even more: from 216 million this year to 375 million, the UN says. That will make Nigeria the fourth-most populous country in the world after India, China and the United States.

“We are already overstretching what we have — the housing, roads, the hospitals, schools. Everything is overstretched,” says Gyang Dalyop, an urban planning and development consultant in Nigeria.

The UN’s Day of 8 Billion milestone is more symbolic than precise, officials are careful to note in a wide-ranging report released over the summer that makes some staggering projections.

The upward trend threatens to leave even more people in developing countries further behind, as governments struggle to provide enough classrooms and jobs for a rapidly growing number of youth, and food insecurity becomes an even more urgent problem.

Nigeria is among eight countries the UN says will account for more than half the world’s population growth between now and 2050 — along with fellow African nations Congo, Ethiopia and Tanzania.

Ukraine envoy summoned after Kyiv’s UN vote for international probe of Israel

Ukraine's ambassador to Israel, Yevgen Korniychuk, gives a statement to the media in Tel Aviv, on March 11, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni‎‏/Flash90)
Ukraine's ambassador to Israel, Yevgen Korniychuk, gives a statement to the media in Tel Aviv, on March 11, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni‎‏/Flash90)

Ukraine’s envoy to Israel meets with senior Foreign Ministry officials for a conversation that both sides insist isn’t a reprimand of any kind, despite reports to the contrary.

“We will give our position. He will give his position,” deputy Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Zilberman tells The Times of Israel.

“It’s a regular diplomatic meeting,” he adds.

The Foreign Ministry said this morning that Ambassador Yevgen Korniychuk was summoned, but would not expand on the conversation.

At the same time, the Ynet news site reported that Korniychuk was summoned for a reprimand after Ukraine voted in favor of a UN resolution calling for the International Court of Justice to weigh in on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Israeli “occupation, settlement and annexation.”

Korniychuk denies that the meeting had anything to do with the vote, telling The Times of Israel that he has been seeking a sit-down for the last 10 days to discuss the denial of entry permits for Ukrainian citizens, among other issues, but that the Foreign Ministry has been avoiding his request.

“That’s why I am being called,” he said. “I am not being summoned.”

Responding to the Foreign Ministry’s statement that he was summoned, Korniychuk said, “Screw them. They can say whatever they want.”

Following the meeting, the Ukrainian diplomat says he “forwarded the indignation of the Ukrainian side regarding the entrenched practice of unjustifiably denying Ukrainian citizens entry to the territory of Israel.”

The envoy says that Kyiv considers the obstacles to entry “an unfriendly step.”

He also expresses disappointment with Israel’s abstention during yesterday’s UN vote on Russian reparations payments to Ukraine.

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