The Times of Israel liveblogged Wednesday’s events as they unfolded.
Zimbabwe Jews said safe, told to shelter in homes amid coup report
The Israeli Foreign Ministry says that Jews and Israelis in Zimbabwe have been told by community leaders to stay in their homes amid reports of a coup in the southern African nation.
There are some 170 Jews and Israelis in the country, 108 in the capital Harare and another 64 in the city of Bulawayo.
“We have no reports of distress,” the ministry says, adding that Israel’s ambassador in Pretoria, South Africa, is in constant contact with the community leaders.
— Raphael Ahren
French foreign minister to meet Hariri in Saudi Arabia
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is to meet with Lebanon’s resigned Prime Minister Saad Hariri today during a visit to Saudi Arabia, an aide says.
Le Drian will arrive in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday and meet with powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the capital Riyadh before holding talks with Hariri on Thursday, the aide at the foreign ministry tells a briefing.
Egyptian diva to face trial for disparaging the Nile
Egyptian pop diva Sherine Abdel Wahab is being referred to trial for suggesting at a concert that drinking from the Nile River could lead to illness, judicial officials say.
The singer’s trial date has been set for December 23, they say, on charges of “harming the public interest.”
The announcement comes after the Musicians Syndicate in Egypt said it would bar her from performing in the country after she made the remark at a concert in the United Arab Emirates.
Egyptian singer Sherine banned for 'mocking' River Nile https://t.co/GeugkuPMZw Sherine Abdel Wahab was filmed telling a fan that "drinkin…
— ViperNebulous (@vipernebulous) November 15, 2017
Social media users had shared a video of a fan asking her to sing her tune “Have You Drunk from the Nile.”
“You’d get bilharzia,” she said, referring to a water-borne parasite Egypt struggled for decades to combat. “Drink Evian, it’s better,” she joked, referring to a brand of bottled water.
Her comments, the Musicians Syndicate say in a statement, constituted “unjustified ridicule toward our dear Egypt.”
Jewish group honors Ruth Bader Ginsburg for lifetime achievement
A prominent Jewish organization is awarding US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg its first lifetime achievement award.
The Genesis Prize Foundation notes Ginsburg’s “groundbreaking legal work in the field of civil liberties and women’s rights” in its announcement.
The foundation sponsors the annual Genesis Prize — an award that is informally known as the Jewish Nobel.
It says the five winners of the Genesis Prize — former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, actor Michael Douglas, violinist Itzhak Perlman, sculptor Anish Kapoor and this year’s recipient, actress Natalie Portman — had selected Ginsburg.
Egypt court to release 24 Nubians pending trial for protest
A rights lawyer says an Egyptian court has ordered the release of 24 Nubians pending trial on charges they took part in an illegal protest in the southern city of Aswan.
Moustafa el-Hassan says Wednesday’s decision was issued by a state security court in Aswan, where the Nubians protested in September.
El-Hassan says their trial will begin December 12 and that they will be released within days. No bail was involved. They face charges of taking part in an illegal protest, receiving foreign funds and blocking roads.
The Nubian protest demanded they be allowed to return to their ancestral land around the lake formed by the Aswan High Dam.
Nubians trace their roots to an ancient civilization on the Nile. They were forcibly displaced four times in the last century.
At least seven die in Greece flash flood
At least seven people are dead and more are missing after a strong overnight downpour flooded three towns in Greece, officials say.
The flooding struck the towns of Mandra, Nea Peramos and Megara, a semi-rural area just west of Athens where many factories and warehouses are based.
TV images show tanker trucks, buses and lorries nearly completely submerged in the muddy torrent.
“We have confirmation of seven deaths,” deputy regional governor Yiannis Vassileiou tells state TV ERT as rain continues to fall.
Five men and two women aged 45 and above have died so far.
“The weather forecast is poor, so we are on alert,” he says, adding that “torrents of water” had flooded a highway all the way to the sea many kilometers (miles) away.
“A river of debris went through Mandra… This is unprecedented,” Vassileou says.
“Everything is lost, the disaster is biblical,” Mandra Mayor Ioanna Kriekouki tells the station.
“We have people who are trapped… we need machinery to get them out of their homes,” says Kriekouki, who was also immobilized in her home.
Five people were found inside and outside their homes, the fire department said. Another two bodies were found in the coastal areas of Aspropyrgos and Elefsina, the coastguard says.
Liberman vows no Iran presence in Syria
In remarks apparently addressed to Russia, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman says Israel will not tolerate Iran’s presence in Syria, during a visit to the northern border.
“We simply will not allow Shiite and Iranian entrenchment in Syria. And we will not allow all of Syria to become a forward operating base against the State of Israel. Whoever doesn’t understand that — should understand that,” Liberman says.
Liberman adds that Israel is “maintaining total freedom of operation” in Syria.
The defense minister’s comments come as Israeli officials scramble to get more favorable terms put into an American-Russian ceasefire agreement for southern Syria.
Yesterday, Russia appeared to blindside Israel by declaring, against expectations, that it would not force Iran to pull its forces from Syria, saying their presence was “legitimate.”
— Judah Ari Gross
In fake Alabama robocall, ‘Bernie Bernstein’ offers pay for dirt on Roy Moore
A robocall from a nonexistent reporter calling himself “Bernie Bernstein” is offering Alabamans lots of money for information he promises not to check too thoroughly that would smear Senate candidate Roy Moore.
“Hi, this is Bernie Bernstein, I’m a reporter for the Washington Post calling to find out if anyone at this address is a female between the ages of 54 to 57 years old willing to make damaging remarks about candidate Roy Moore for a reward of between $5000 and $7000,” the robocall says, according to a report Tuesday by WKRG, an NBC affiliate in Mobile. “We will not be fully investigating these claims however we will make a written report. I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, thank you.”
A recording posted by the station features a man speaking with or mimicking a strong northeastern accent.
The Washington post denies any connection with the call.
The Washington Post first reported the allegations. Twitter users quickly read anti-Semitism into the fake call.
“Looks like someone supporting Roy Moore wants to make the allegations against him sound like a Jewish conspiracy,” Adam Serwer, an Atlantic magazine writer, wrote on Twitter.
Looks like someone supporting Roy Moore wants to make the allegations against him sound like a Jewish conspiracy https://t.co/IFsivN6Jtu
— Adam Serwer
Netanyahu tells settler leaders Hebron is the heart of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with settler leaders, telling them the Jewish community in Hebron is the heart of Israel.
“To separate between the Jewish community in Hebron and Israel is like removing the heart, and so it will never happen,” Netanyahu tells the settler leaders according to a statement from the Yesha umbrella group.
Netanyahu signed the 1998 Wye River agreement that handed most of the divided West Bank city over to the Palestinains, but kept several Jewish neighborhoods in the center of the city.
Hebron leaders invited Netanyahu to visit the city.
One killed, one seriously injured in car crash in north
One person is dead and another seriously wounded when a pickup truck crashed into a cement mixer in northern Israel, medics say.
Both victims were occupants of the pickup and are in their 20s. The driver of the mixer was lightly wounded
The accident occurred near Kibbutz Yiftah in the Galilee.
Army has no comprehensive solution to drones threat, comptroller warns
Israel’s security forces and regulators have failed to adequately confront the threats posed to public safety by the emergence of drones, according to a comptroller report released today.
“The significance is that there exists a vacuum in the areas of responsibility and authority, and as a result there’s no way to give an adequate response at the national level to the threat of drones that originate in the State of Israel, which raises the risk of harming state security,” the report says.
While the Israel Defense Forces is clearly expected to handle drones flown by terrorist groups, it is unclear which security service is responsible for the UAVs being flown by Israelis inside Israel. The army sees this as the police’s domain, as it is a civilian matter, while the police see it as the army’s since it is responsible for securing the country’s airspace.
According to the Civilian Aviation Authority, Israelis currently own approximately 20,000 drones that are used for everything from taking overhead videos at weddings to assisting rescue workers to locate people trapped in collapsed buildings.
— Judah Ari Gross
UN chief: Climate change is our defining threat
The head of the United Nations says climate change is “the defining threat of our time” and requires concerted action by the international community.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the world may have only five years to take measures needed to meet the most ambitious target of keeping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Guterres told leaders, ministers and negotiators at global climate talks in Bonn, Germany, on Wednesday that although this will require sharp cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, the steps are achievable.
He cited data showing major developing countries such as China and India surpassing their emissions reduction goals as evidence that economic growth is possible even while cutting down on fossil fuel use.
Guterres urged leaders to “show courage in combating entrenched interests” in fighting climate change.
Gunmen kill 19 in southwestern Pakistan
Gunmen have shot and killed 15 men who were planning to cross into Iran on their way to Europe as well as a police official and three of his family members in separate attacks in southwestern Pakistan, officials say.
Darmoon Bawani, an administrator in Turbat district, which borders Iran, says the 15 men were killed in a mountain village. He says they ranged in age from 18 to 30 years old, and all hailed from the populous Punjab province. Travel documents show they were planning to go to Europe, likely to seek work as migrant laborers. Their bodies were found today.
No one is claiming responsibility for the killings. Baluch separatists in the region have attacked workers from Punjab in the past. Islamic militants also operate in the region.
In the other attack, gunmen riding on motorcycles opened fire on a car carrying a deputy superintendent of police and his wife, son and daughter, killing them on the spot.
Government spokesman Anwarul Haq says the attack took place in the provincial capital, Quetta. It came a week after a suicide bomber killed Quetta’s police chief and three other officers. The Pakistani Taliban claimed that attack.
5 Democrats introduce impeachment articles against Trump
Five Democrats have introduced articles of impeachment against US President Donald Trump, a long-shot effort that stands little chance in the Republican-led House.
The five articles accuse the president of obstruction of justice, undermining the independence of the federal judiciary and other offenses.
Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee leads the effort, saying in a statement today “the time has come to make clear to the American people and to this President that his train of injuries to our Constitution must be brought to an end through impeachment.”
Republicans hold the majority in the House and are unlikely to act on the impeachment articles. Democratic leaders largely oppose the effort, fearing that it only riles up the GOP base that is strongly supportive of the unpopular president.
Miss Iraq says pic with Miss Israel ‘about peace,’ not support for Israel
Miss Iraq is defending a picture she shared together with Miss Israel saying it was an expression of a desire for peace and not a show of support for the government of Israel.
“I want to stress that the purpose of the picture was only to express hope and desire for peace between the two countries,” Miss Iraq Sarah Idan says in an Instagram post.
The photo “does not signal support for the government of Israel and does not mean I agree or accept its policies in the Arab homeland,” she says.
Idan also apologizes “to all those who consider [the picture] harmful to the Palestinian cause.”
— Dov Lieber
Germany charges ex-Nazi camp guards over hundreds of deaths
German prosecutors investigating Nazi-era crimes say they have charged two former SS officers in their 90s with complicity in hundreds of murders at the Stutthof concentration camp.
The state prosecutor’s office in the western city of Dortmund say the two unnamed suspects, aged 92 and 93, had participated in the Nazi killing machine in then occupied Poland, according to a statement released by the regional court in nearby Muenster.
“With their actions during their time as guards at the Stutthof concentration camp, the accused are believed to have been accessories in numerous killings,” the court said.
The 92-year-old suspect was stationed at Stutthof between June 1944 and May 1945, while the 93-year-old accused acted as a guard between June 1942 and September 1944.
Some 65,000 people died at the Stutthof former concentration camp, which Nazi Germany set up in 1939 outside what was is now the Polish city of Gdansk, before its liberation in 1945.
Netanyahu rejects comptroller criticism over drone threat
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is rejecting criticism in a state comptroller report released today on the threat posed by drones, saying Israel has advanced policies in place for dealing with it.
“The issue of drones is known and being dealt with; the State of Israel is one of the most successful in the world in providing solutions to the problems,” a statement from Netanyahu’s office says.
Netanyahu has held several cabinet meetings dealing with the issue, the statement says.
6 Czechs fined for sporting Borat mankinis in Kazakhstan
Six Czech tourists who dressed up in skimpy swimsuits made famous by Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Borat” have reportedly been detained by authorities in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana.
Sporting lime green “mankinis” and black wigs, the men had hoped to take a picture in front of the “I Love Astana” sign.
But local police took action, detaining them on Friday and fining them 22,500 tenge ($68) each for committing minor hooliganism, according to the Kazakh news website informburo.kz.
The swimsuit became popular after Baron Cohen, playing the fictional Kazakh television presenter Borat, sported it in the 2006 movie “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.”
That film offended many Kazakhs by portraying the country as backward and degenerate.
Aspiring actress sues Harvey Weinstein, former company
An unnamed aspiring actress has filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein and his former company in an attempt to hold them financially responsible for the producer’s alleged sexual harassment and assault.
The lawsuit filed today in a Los Angeles federal court does not name the woman, or give a date when she alleges Weinstein sexually harassed her. The lawsuit references the conduct taking place in a building occupied by Miramax, which was sold to the Walt Disney Co. in 1993.
It includes detailed summaries of press accounts of Weinstein’s harassment, and accuses Weinstein and his former companies, Miramax and The Weinstein Co., of enabling the producer’s “casting couch” behavior.
There was no immediate comment from representatives for Weinstein and his former company, The Weinstein Co.
Charges to be filed against Likud MK Oren Hazan
Charges are to be filed against Likud MK Oren Hazan after he gave up his parliamentary immunity, Hadashot news reports.
Hazan, who has had frequent run-ins with the law, is to be charged with assaulting a public official over a 2014 fist fight with the mayor of the settlement of Ariel.
Hazan was reportedly upset after the city froze his bank account due to unpaid debts.
Doc accused of sexually abusing Aly Raisman changing plea in sex assault cases
A former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor accused of molesting girls, including Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, at his home and a campus clinic is expected to change his not-guilty pleas to close criminal cases in two counties.
Online court records show change-of-plea hearings for 54-year-old Dr. Larry Nassar are set for November 22 and November 29 — a week before jury selection was to begin in one Michigan county.
Nassar previously pleaded guilty in federal court in a separate child pornography case. He’s scheduled to be sentenced in the porn case in December.
A message seeking comment was left Wednesday for one of Nassar’s defense attorneys. A spokeswoman for the state Attorney General Bill Schuette declined comment, citing a gag order.
Nassar also has been sued by more than 125 women alleging abuse.
Six-time Olympic medalist Raisman said that she was sexually abused by Nassar, who worked as the women’s gymnastics national team doctor for decades.
Raisman, who is Jewish and is one of the most accomplished gymnasts in US history, made the allegation in an interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes, as well as in her new book, Fierce.
She is the second member of the gold medal-winning 2012 Olympic women’s team to accuse Nassar of abuse.
Greek PM declares state of mourning as flood toll hits 15
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is declaring a state of mourning after a freak overnight downpour with the force of a “waterfall” flooded three towns near Athens, killing at least 15 people.
“At this time, declaring a state of national mourning over this great tragedy is the least we can do,” Tsipras says in a televised address.
“I pledge that we will stand next to the families of the victims with all the means at our disposal,” he adds.
The flooding, described as the worst in 20 years, early on Wednesday struck the towns of Mandra, Nea Peramos and Megara, a semi-rural area west of Athens where many factories and warehouses are based.
French president ‘invites’ Lebanon’s Hariri, family to France
French President Emmanuel Macron today “invited” Lebanon’s resigned premier Saad Hariri and his family to France, the French presidency says in a statement.
It said the invitation came after Macron spoke by telephone to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Hariri, who announced his resignation in a surprise statement from the kingdom on November 4.
House panel passes bill to cut funding to PA over payments to terrorists
The US House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously passes the Taylor Force Act today, legislation that will cut US funding to the Palestinian Authority if it doesn’t discontinue the practice of paying monthly stipends to the families of terrorists who kill Israelis.
In the same session, it also passes two other bills designed to confront Palestinian terrorism.
The Hamas Human Shields Prevention Act, which passed with bipartisan support, will sanction foreign governments, entities and individuals for providing financial and material support to the Islamic terror group Hamas.
The Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act will also impose sanctions on foreign support for Palestinian terrorism.
— Eric Cortellessa
Gal Gadot says entire cast did not want Ratner involved in ‘Wonder Woman II’
Gal Gadot says that the whole cast of Wonder Woman were united in not wanting producer Brett Ratner, who has been accused of sexual harassment, involved in a sequel.
The Israeli actress was speaking on the Today show following reports she had refused to sign onto a sequel for the box office hit unless distributor Warner Bros. cuts its financing deal on the film with Ratner.
Gadot says that “everyone knew what was the right thing to do.”
“So, at the end of the day, a lot has been written about my views and the way that I feel, and everyone knows the way that I feel because I’m not hiding anything. But the truth is, there’s so many people involved in making this movie, it’s not just me, and they all echoed the same sentiments. You know what I mean?” says.
“Everyone knew what was the right thing to do, but there was nothing for me to actually come and say, ’cause it was already done before this article came out, you know.”
Earlier this month, Warner Bros. severed its ties with Ratner amid multiple sexual harassment claims made against him.
IDF says man killed in car crash in north is a soldier
The IDF reveals that the person killed in a car crash in northern Israel today was a soldier, as was the passenger, an officer, who was seriously injured.
Both were said to be in their 20s.
The military vehicle they were driving in collided head-on with a cement mixer in the upper Galilee.
The Military Police are investigating the crash, the army says.
The families of the slain soldier and seriously injured officer have been notified.
— Judah Ari Gross
Foreign Ministry issues Zimbabwe travel warning after coup
The Foreign Ministry is issuing a travel warning to Israelis, cautioning them against visiting Zimbabwe in the wake of an apparent coup attempt.
The warning also suggests that Israelis currently in the southern African Nation remain in their homes “until the situation becomes clear.”
The warning notes that the decision to visit Zimbabwe is the sole responsibility of the individual and that it is a recommendation only and not forbidden by Israeli law.
Jewish teen seriously wounded after being stabbed 12 times in London park
A Jewish teenager is in a serious condition after being stabbed while walking in a London park.
The 16-year-old, a student at London’s Jewish Community Secondary School, was stabbed 12 times in the legs by a group of men. Police say the teen did not know his assailants.
The Community Security Trust, a nonprofit that helps secure British Jewish institutions, say the attack “is not believed to be anti-Semitic.”
The teenager was walking with a group of girlfriends in Regent’s Park on Primrose Hill when he was attacked just before 9:15 p.m. on Tuesday. Police and paramedics rushed to the scene.
He was taken to the hospital, where he is in serious but stable condition and will likely need surgery. Scotland Yard says the suspects are four white males. No arrests have been made.
Egypt court upholds life sentence of Muslim Brotherhood leader
An Egyptian court today upheld a life sentence passed in 2016 against Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie, over deadly clashes following Islamist president Mohammed Morsi’s ouster, judicial officials say.
The court of cassation, whose rulings can not be appealed, upheld the verdict of life terms against Badie, the Brotherhood’s spiritual guide, and eight others over clashes in the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya that killed three people.
The court also confirms three-year jail sentences against 19 defendants and 10-year terms against 29 others.
The authorities have arrested thousands of Brotherhood leaders and members, including Morsi, since his ouster by the army in 2013.
Hundreds have been sentenced to death, although many have appealed and won retrials.
France says Lebanon’s Hariri will arrive ‘in coming days’
Lebanon’s former prime minister Saad Hariri will come to France “in the coming days,” a source at the French presidency tells AFP on Wednesday.
The development came after the office of President Emmanuel Macron said he had “invited” Hariri and his family to France.
The statement says the invitation came after Macron spoke by telephone with both the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Hariri, who announced his resignation in a surprise statement from the kingdom on November 4.
Speculation has swirled around Hariri’s prolonged stay in Saudi Arabia since the announcement.
There were rumors that Hariri, who is a Saudi citizen and grew up in the kingdom, had been detained along with dozens of Saudis in what Riyadh says is an anti-corruption campaign.
Macron says he did not offer Lebanon PM ‘exile’
French President Emmanuel Macron says he is not offering Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri political “exile,” but wants him to come to France for a while to help calm tensions in Lebanon and dispel fears that he is a Saudi prisoner.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday during a climate meeting in Germany, Macron said that in discussions with Hariri and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, “we agreed that I would invite (Hariri) to France for several days with his family.”
He said, “We need to have leaders who are free to express themselves,” adding that “it’s important that (Hariri) is able to advance the political process in his country in the coming days and weeks.”
French officials say Hariri is expected in the coming days, probably directly from Saudi Arabia, where he announced his surprise resignation on Nov. 4.
Rabbi Giuseppe Laras, a leader of postwar Italian Judaism, dies at 84
Rabbi Giuseppe Laras, a leading figure in postwar Italian Judaism, has died.
A child survivor of the Holocaust, Laras died today at 82. He had served from 1980 to 2005 as the chief rabbi of Milan and was the president emeritas of the Italian Rabbinical Assembly.
In an essay prepared for release on his death and published today on the Milan Jewish community news website, Laras warned that Italian Jewry is in crisis and needed a “new architecture” to face upcoming challenges. He laments the “high level” of discord and resentment among Italian Jews, calling it “our great failure.”
Laras also noted alienation from Jewish religious observance and institutions, and deep psychological, economic and other difficulties among community members.
Italy’s Jewish community numbers some 25,000 to 30,000. Milan, with around 7,000, has the second largest community after Rome, which is home to about half of Italy’s Jews.
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