The Times of Israel liveblogged Tuesday’s events as they unfolded.
Prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu and Hadash Ta’al MK Ahmed Tibi are among several Israeli lawmakers trying to score political points with Saudi Arabia’s shock World Cup soccer victory over Argentina.
Netanyahu posts a tweet with a video of him talking to Israel-friendly Saudi blogger Mohammed Saud with the caption: “I congratulated my brother Mohammed Saud on the amazing victory of Saudi Arabia today in the World Cup, give em hell.”
— Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו (@netanyahu) November 22, 2022
In the video, Netanyahu tells Saud, who has visited Israel despite the two countries not having diplomatic relations, that “Argentina is a great soccer power, Messi is a great soccer player — this makes Saudi Arabia’s victory all the more impressive. Mazal Tov.”
Netanyahu says all of Israel was impressed with Saudi Arabia’s victory.
Meanwhile, Tibi, who is rarely on the same side as Netanyahu, also took to Twitter to praise the Saudi achievement.
“What an amazing thing this win by the Saudi team over Argentina. An incredible performance, sacrifice, striving and triumph. The Saudi crowd is the 12th man. You’ve dazzled the whole world,” Tibi writes.
Jack Mukand contributed to this report
London, Paris and Berlin are condemning Iran’s expansion of its nuclear program, saying it had “no credible civilian justification” and was a “challenge to the global non-proliferation system.”
By starting enriching uranium up to 60 percent at its Fordo plant, “Iran has taken further significant steps in hollowing out the JCPoA,” the so-called “E3” governments add, referring to the 2015 nuclear deal.
The UN nuclear watchdog confirms that Iran has started enriching uranium up to 60 percent at its Fordo plant.
“In his latest report to member states… Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi today said Iran had started producing high enriched uranium… in the Fordo Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP), in addition to such production that has taken place at Natanz since April 2021,” says a statement by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) sent to AFP.
Dairy product giant Tnuva announces that it will raise prices on its dairy products by some 4.7%.
The move, which comes amid a rising cost of living across Israel, affects dairy products that are not under government price controls.
Channel 12 reports that Tnuva is considering raising prices on its other product ranges too.
Rising prices of dairy products, specifically cottage cheese, sparked the massive cost of living protests that swept Israel in 2011.
Releasing a partial but sweeping list of policy points it plans to push in the next government, the Likud party reaffirmed its commitment to judicial and appointments reform, as well as supporting Jewish settlement in the West Bank and advancing at least two key measures it torpedoed in the last Knesset session.
In a written list of some of its coalition demands released tonight, the party wrote it plans to “strengthen the status of the Knesset and restore the proper balance between authorities, inter alia through the enactment of the Basic Law: The Legislation.”
The party, as well as its far-right and ultra-Orthodox allies in the forming government, support an override clause that will enable the Knesset to reinstate legislation struck down by the Supreme Court.
The party also wrote that it would push legislation needed to advance Israel through the United States’ Visa Waiver Program, a step that Likud held up while the government was collapsing in June, despite personal intervention from the US’s envoy to Jerusalem.
In addition, Likud said it would carry out the “metro plan,” just months after similarly blocking legislation to start a massive public infrastructure project serving the Tel Aviv metropolis.
This is the first sweeping release of Likud’s policy points, nine days after party leader Benjamin Netanyahu was tapped as prime minister-designate, amid continued negotiations with far-right Religious Zionism, Otzma Yehudit, and Noam, and ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism to form Israel’s 37th government.
Among its many policy points are additional positions on expanding peace agreements in the Arab world, connecting illegal settlements to utilities, benefits to IDF soldiers, combating cost of living, improving public transportation, helping farmers, expanding support for immigrants, fighting crime in Arab society, pushing English studies in elementary school, enacting a climate law, and increasing the housing supply.
Following a meeting yesterday with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Israeli military chief Aviv Kohavi says Israel and the US need to accelerate joint plans for offensive actions against Iran.
“It was agreed that we are at a critical point in time that requires the acceleration of operational plans and cooperation against Iran and its terrorist proxies in the region,” Kohavi says in remarks provided by the Israel Defense Forces.
In light of growing uncertainty regarding a return by Iran to the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers amid long-stalled negotiations, the past two years have seen the IDF ramp up its efforts to prepare a credible military threat against Tehran’s nuclear sites.
Israel has long pushed the US to ready a credible military option, and US President Joe Biden said in July that he would be prepared to use force if necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
Israeli officials have also warned of Iran’s proxies across the region, from Hezbollah in Lebanon to the Houthis in Yemen.
In his maiden speech on the Knesset floor, far-right Otzma Yehudit MK Almog Cohen says that Israel is violating its fundamental social contract by not ensuring its citizens’ personal safety.
Focusing on pervasive lawlessness in the southern Negev region, Cohen says that: “We are in a situation where the state is violating the most basic and unwritten contract between it and its citizens, which is their personal safety.”
“The reality in which my brothers and sisters, residents of the Negev, live in is a sense of fear and terror of what is to come, with constant anxiety for the future of our children,” he adds, tying together two of Otzma Yehudit’s central campaign promises: improving personal security and developing peripheral regions.
Cohen’s remarks come as his party battles for control over the ministry responsible for developing the Negev, the northern Galilee, and other peripheral areas.
Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir has said that without his party’s ability to make its mark in these regions, he will not join the government forming under Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu.
Pervasive lawlessness is a longstanding problem in the Negev, where police presence is limited and at times ineffective. Cohen, a Negev resident and leader of the Negev Rescue Committee which recently was thwarted from raising a vigilante civilian militia, called fellow residents “modern pioneers who alone are building on the land of their forefathers” in “a vast no man’s land.”
Jewish Negev residents have particularly butted heads with local Bedouin.
“I will not accept any situation in which women are sexually harassed on the streets of the land of our forefathers exclusively for being Jewish,” he says.
“The Negev has even deteriorated into a situation where business owners pay a head tax, a modern tax, a protection tax in order to survive the day of their labor,” Cohen adds.
Far-right Otzma Yehudit chief Itamar Ben Gvir reaffirms his position that his six-seat party will not join the emerging government without getting the Ministry for the Development of the Periphery, the Negev and the Galilee.
“We must invest there and without our ability to make it happen, we simply will not enter the government,” Ben Gvir says on the Knesset floor on Tuesday.
Along with increasing public security, advancing communities beyond Israel’s urban centers was a core Otzma Yehudit campaign promise.
Talks between Ben Gvir and bloc leader Likud hit a stumbling block on Monday, when Likud withdrew its offer to give Otzma Yehudit the ministry in charge of the periphery and development areas of the Galilee and Negev.
Instead, the ministry is expected to go to Shas as part of a sweetener for the Haredi party to release the finance ministry to another coalition ally, and Ben Gvir’s party was said to receive the agriculture ministry instead.
President Isaac Herzog speaks with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev, and praises the decision to open an embassy in Israel.
The Azerbaijani parliament on Friday approved the proposal to open the embassy.
“This is a great step forward for our excellent ties with Azerbaijan, an important friend and strategic partner,” says Herzog.
Israel has had an embassy in Baku since 1992.
Last month, Defense Minister Benny Gantz held an official visit to Azerbaijan, where he met with his Azeri counterpart, Zakir Hasanov, along with Aliyev.
The US Navy confirms a drone that struck an Israeli-owned oil tanker off the coast of Oman last week was an Iranian Shahed-136, the same model Iran has supplied Russia amid its invasion of Ukraine.
The US Fifth Fleet says it gathered evidence aboard the Pacific Zircon after it was struck on November 15.
The evidence was analyzed at a lab at the fleet’s headquarters in Bahrain and identified as a Shahed-136, the US Navy says.
“The Iranian attack on a commercial tanker transiting international waters was deliberate, flagrant and dangerous, endangering the lives of the ship’s crew and destabilizing maritime security in the Middle East,” says Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of US Naval Forces Central Command.
On Sunday, Israel’s National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata visited the fleet’s headquarters and received a briefing from Cooper.
The High Court of Justice rejects a request from the state attorney to delay recognizing marriages performed online through the US state of Utah pending a hearing in their legality.
Beginning some two years ago, Israelis started getting married using video conferencing software through Utah as a way of circumventing Israel’s lack of civil marriage without having to physically travel abroad. The Israeli government fought these marriages in court, arguing that they actually took place in Israel and were thus illegitimate.
Two district courts have rejected these claims, ordering the Interior Ministry to recognize the marriages. Earlier this month, the government appealed to the High Court of Justice and asked to delay recognition of the marriages until their legality is resolved.
The court rejects this request and orders the Interior Ministry to update the marital statuses of the people who married through Utah, according to the Hiddush religious rights group that represented the married couples.
However, this is potentially a temporary measure. If the court sides with the state attorney, these marriages will nevertheless be nullified.
Russian comedians pretending to be the French president tricked the Polish president, Andrzej Duda, into giving them sensitive information after a missile exploded in eastern Poland last week.
Duda’s office confirms that last week he was put through to a person claiming to be France’s Emmanuel Macron.
The office says it was one of many international calls that Duda received at a tense time on Nov. 15, just after a missile hit in eastern Poland, close to the border with Ukraine, killing two men.
NATO and Poland’s leaders have said the missile most likely came from a Ukrainian air defense system that fired in response to a barrage of Russian attack on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.
The office said that appropriate services are checking how the pranksters could have reached Duda, for the second time. In 2020 they talked to him posing as the UN secretary-general.
The Defense Ministry announces it has begun reinforcement work on dozens of homes in the Israeli town of Avivim, close to the Lebanese border — those that are most likely to be hit by rocket fire in a future conflict with the Hezbollah terror group.
The effort, dubbed Shield of the North, officially began in October last year, when the ministry’s Engineering and Construction Division, along with the Israel Defense Forces’ Home Front Command, started installing new bomb shelters in homes in the community of Kfar Yuval, northeast of Kiryat Shmona.
The ministry says 62 bomb shelters are currently being constructed in Avivim.
Ultimately, the ministry intends to carry out its Shield of the North reinforcement plan in the 21 communities closest to the northern border.
Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed by phone.
Ahmed congratulates Netanyahu on his victory in the recent elections, and the two leaders discuss ways to enhance bilateral ties.
Netanyahu and Ahmed enjoy a warm personal relationship. During the Ethiopian premier’s 2019 trip to Israel, Netanyahu called him “one of the most important and influential leaders in Africa.”
In his previous tenure as prime minister, Netanyahu placed a particular emphasis on expanding Israel’s diplomatic and economic presence in Africa. In 2016, he made the first visit of an Israeli head of government to Ethiopia, seat of the African Union.
Heavy traffic is expected in Tel Aviv, Bat Yam and Ramat Gan from around 6 p.m., as security forces hold a major drill on the soon-to-open light rail.
The joint drill held by the Defense Ministry, military, police, fire services, Health Ministry, and Tel Aviv municipality will simulate a chemical terror attack.
Police recommend drivers use the Waze application for updates on the roads that are to be closed during the drill.
Steven Spielberg will be honored for his life’s work at the Berlin International Film Festival in February.
Festival organizers say that the 75-year-old American director, producer and screenwriter will be awarded an honorary Golden Bear, the annual event’s top prize, for a body of work that comprises more than 100 movies and series.
The multiple Oscar winner’s work “is unique in the history of international cinema of the past 60 years for its immense variety,” the festival said.
Spielberg’s productions have included everything from “E.T.” to “Schindler’s List.” The Berlin festival will screen his latest film, “The Fabelmans.”
Christian Eriksen is back playing a major tournament less than a year and a half after his cardiac arrest at the European Championship.
Eriksen started in his customary playmaker position for Denmark’s opening game at the World Cup on Tuesday against Tunisia in Group D.
After Eriksen collapsed during Denmark’s opening Euro 2020 group game against Finland in June of last year, medics used a defibrillator to restart his heart as a horrified nation — and much of the soccer world — watched him lying lifeless on the field at Parken Stadium in Copenhagen.
Eriksen’s appearance at the World Cup is the latest step of a remarkable comeback that has already seen him return to elite soccer in the Premier League, first with London club Brentford and then Manchester United — showing he is still among the world’s best playmakers.
Suicide drone strikes blamed on Iran again target an Iranian Kurdish opposition group in northern Iraq, a spokesman for the group and two security officials said.
A Kurdistan Freedom Party base is hit in the Altun Kupri area near Iraqi Kurdistan, an Iraqi Kurdish military official and a local police official tells AFP, while a party spokesman, Khalil Nadri, said there were no casualties.
German prosecutors say they are seeking a two-year suspended sentence for a 97-year-old former Nazi concentration camp secretary in what they described as one of the last such trials.
Public prosecutor Maxi Wantzen tells a court in the northern town of Itzehoe that Irmgard Furchner was guilty of complicity in the “cruel and malicious murder” of more than 10,000 people at the Stutthof camp in occupied Poland.
“This trial is of outstanding historical importance,” Wantzen said, adding that it was “potentially, due to the passage of time, the last of its kind.”
The first woman to be tried in Germany for Nazi-era crimes in decades, Furchner sat impassively in a wheelchair in the courtroom, wearing a red beret and jacket.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that Turkey would “soon” launch a ground operation in Syria against Kurdish militants following air raids.
“We have been on top of terrorists for a few days with our planes, cannons and drones,” Erdogan said in a televised address. “God-willing, we will root out all of them soon with our tanks, artillery and soldiers.”
A Dutch court rules that modeling agent Shai Avital, arrested in Amsterdam in August over 26 sexual harassment complaints against him in Israel, can be extradited to Israel.
Israel’s extradition letter to Dutch authorities is based on two allegations against Avital including indecent acts, out of the 26 complaints against him. However, law enforcement officials claim that they possess strong evidence against the suspect in seven incidents.
The arrest in the Netherlands came more than a year after police issued an initial arrest warrant for Avital, who represented some of the country’s top models.
Saudi Arabia scores one of the biggest World Cup upsets ever by beating Lionel Messi’s Argentina 2-1 on Tuesday.
Messi’s quest to win the one major title to elude him got off to a shocking start and brought back memories of Cameroon’s 1-0 win over an Argentina team led by Diego Maradona in the opening game of the 1990 World Cup.
Goals by Saleh Alshehri and Salem Aldawsari in a five-minute span in the second half gave the Saudis their greatest win. Messi rolled in a penalty to give Argentina a 10th-minute lead.
This also rivals shocking results such as Senegal beating then-titleholder France 1-0 in the 2002 tournament opener and the United States stunning England by the same score in 1950.
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