Top cop said to accuse Justice Ministry of tampering with ramming investigation
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Top cop said to accuse Justice Ministry of tampering with ramming investigation

Police reportedly claim oversight body buried key facts in probe of incident in which officer was run over and killed, driver shot to death

Raoul Wootliff is the The Times of Israel's political correspondent.

The car used in an alleged car ramming attack, killing an Israeli policeman, during clashes and protests against demolition of homes in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev desert, southern Israel, January 18, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
The car used in an alleged car ramming attack, killing an Israeli policeman, during clashes and protests against demolition of homes in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev desert, southern Israel, January 18, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

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

Rivlin calls for “renewed alliance” between Israel and Diaspora Jewry

On the backdrop of an ongoing crisis between the government of Israel and much of world Jewry, President Reuven Rivlin calls for a “renewed alliance” between Israel and Diaspora Jewry.

Speaking at the state memorial for Israel’s founding prime minister David Ben-Gurion in Sde Boker, Rivlin says the relations should no longer be limited to “philanthropy on the one hand, and blind admiration on the other” but should instead reflect a shared commitment to justice and openness to listen to the other.

“It is time for a renewed alliance, for a common language, between Israel and the Diaspora, before it is too late,” the president says.

“American Jewry is less traditional than in the past, and more deeply involved in the various sectors of American leadership. Its self-image is strong and well-established. The community longs for a connection with Israel, but wants a relationship between equals — not of philanthropy on the one hand, and blind admiration on the other.”

Rivlin’s comments come amid outrage from many US Jews over comments made yesterday by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely claiming that US Jews are “people that never send their children to fight for their country” and that “most of them are having quite convenient lives.”

— Raphael Ahren

World’s only particle accelerator for art revs up in Paris

The world’s only particle accelerator dedicated to art is switched on for the first time at the Louvre in Paris to help experts analyse ancient and precious works.

The 37-metre (88-foot) AGLAE accelerator housed underneath the huge Paris museum will be now be used to routinely study and help authenticate paintings and other items made from organic materials.

The Centre for Research and Restoration of the Museum of France (C2RMF) — which is independent of the Louvre — has spent 2.1 million euros ($2.5 million) overhauling and upgrading the machine, which can determine the chemical make-up of objects without the need to take samples.

The Louvre Museum with its Glass Pyramid in Paris, France (Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA Hteink.min)

The AGLAE works by speeding up helium and hydrogen nuclei to speeds of between 20,000 to 30,000 kilometers (12,400 to 18,600 miles) per second and then bombarding the object, which emits radiation that can be captured and analyzed.

Among the first objects to be tested by the newly configured accelerator were Roman votive statues of the household gods — the Lares — which were said to protect the home.


Reform movement calls on Netanyahu to fire Hotovely

The Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism calls for Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely to be fired over comments in which she claimed US Jews struggle to understand the Middle East because they lead comfortable lives and don’t perform military service.

“She continues to misuse her role, and in her comments is exacerbating the crisis between Israel and US Jews,” the movement says in a statement.

Appearing Wednesday on i24, an Israel-based English-language news channel, Hotovely addressed rising tensions between Israel and US Jewry, including over restrictions on non-Orthodox prayer at the Western Wall and over the Israeli government’s policies on the Palestinians.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely attends a ceremony at the Knesset, on November 21, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

During the interview, Hotovely depicted US Jews as being removed from the sacrifices other Americans make, as well as the threats that govern life in Israel.

“People that never send their children to fight for their country — most of the Jews don’t have children serving as soldiers, going to the Marines, going to Afghanistan, or to Iraq. Most of them are having quite convenient lives. They don’t feel how it feels to be attacked by rockets, and I think part of it is to actually experience what Israel is dealing with on a daily basis,” she said.

Hamas terrorist, captured entering Israel, spills info on Gaza Strip tunnels

A member of the Hamas terror group’s military arm, who was captured after he entered Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip, has provided Israeli investigators with a wealth of information about the Hamas tunneling operations, the IDF says in a statement.

The army says Ahmad Magdi Muhammad Avid, 23, from Shejaiya in the Gaza Strip was captured on September 27 after crossing the border fence in northern Gaza.

Avid was a member of the Hamas military wing which he joined in 2013. He trained in the use of anti-tank weapons, military engineering operations, and sniping. He was also involved in tunnel digging in the area of Shejaiya and was formed part of the Hamas border patrol forces.

During interrogation Avid gave up a lot of information about the Hamas tunneling operation in the Gaza Strip — including attack tunnels leading into Israel and tunnels inside Gaza intended for use in battles against the IDF, the statement says.

“The investigation of Ahmad Avid once again revealed the Hamas terror activities that uses tunnels to advance terror actions against Israel.”

— Stuart Winer

In ‘unprecedented’ hiatus, IS media offline for a day

The Islamic State group’s online propaganda channels went mysteriously quiet for more than a full day between Wednesday and Thursday, in what analysts say was an “unprecedented” silence.

IS, which uses messaging application Telegram to broadcast daily updates on military operations and claims of attacks, published nothing between 0900 GMT on Wednesday and 1001 GMT on Thursday.

In this May 22, 2016 file photo, an activist looks at an Islamic State group marketplace on the encrypted app Telegram, advertising a 12-year-old Yazidi girl as a slave for the price of $12,500, in a photo taken in northern Iraq. “Peace be upon you and the mercy and blessings of God,” the text reads in Arabic. “There is a female slave – Virgin – Beautiful – 12 years old – Her Arabic is weak – Clean – Her price has reached $12,500, and she will be sold soon. The photo is private. Only those who have the money may request the picture.” (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo, File)

Charlie Winter, senior research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, calls the silence “unprecedented.”

IS’s Telegram channels usually post more than a dozen messages each day, ranging from multilingual radio broadcasts on battlefield achievements to pictures of civilian life in the group’s self-styled “caliphate.”


Auschwitz inmate who survived by cutting hair dies aged 98

A former inmate of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp who, together with his brother, survived the Holocaust by cutting the hair of other prisoners and then went on to work as barber for 60 years, died last week aged 98.

Benjamin Scheinkopf, who worked in Chicago where he was known as “Ben the Barber,” was 97 when he finally retired, the Chicago Sun Times reports.

He was born in Plonsk, Poland, the hometown of David Ben Guirion. Although his father told him to become a shoemaker he decided to be a barber, a choice of profession that may have saved his life.

He was sent to Auschwitz where over a million Jews were murdered. At the time he left, he weighed 65 lbs. Only two of his nine siblings survived.

UN chief nuke inspector: Iran complying with nuclear deal

The head of the UN agency monitoring Iran’s nuclear deal with the US and five other nations says Tehran is living up to its end of the agreement — comments that indirectly oppose US President Donald Trump’s view.

The US president refused last month to certify Iran’s compliance, saying the benefits Tehran is getting from the deal are not proportional to its concessions.

Iran limited its nuclear program in exchange for an end to nuclear-related sanctions, but legislation now is pending before Congress that would attach additional conditions for existing US sanctions relief — a move Tehran says would violate the pact.

Speaking Thursday, International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano told the IAEA’s 35-nation board that the “commitments being undertaken by Iran are being implemented.”

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Yukiya Amano of Japan at the IAEA board of governors meeting at the International Center in Vienna, Austria, November 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

— AP

Turkish official: Assad’s future up to Syrians to negotiate

Turkey supports a political solution for Syria but retains its “red lines” on the subject of Syrian President Bashar Assad remaining president, a top Turkish ruling party official says.

During a trilateral meeting with Russia and Iran in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi on Wednesday, Turkey made clear its “reservations” about Assad having any future role in Syria “after all these deaths,” Mahir Unal, the spokesman of the Justice and Development Party, tells reporters.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, (r), Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, (c), and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani pose for the media members in Sochi, Russia, November 22. 2017. (Kayhan Ozer/Pool via AP)

Turkey also emphasized at the Sochi meeting, Unal says, that there must be negotiations between Assad and the opposition, which Ankara has supported from the start of Syria’s civil war, now in its seventh year.

“It’s not within the logic of negotiations to have a precise position today on the political solution and on whether the transition will be with or without Assad,” Unal says, adding that Turkey, Russia and Iran would act as “facilitators” in negotiations.

— AP

In Russia, Sudan’s Bashir asks Putin for ‘protection’ from US

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for genocide and war crimes, asks Russia’s Vladimir Putin to protect his country from the United States.

Speaking during his first visit to Russia as president, Bashir also says he wanted to ramp up military ties and praised Moscow’s military campaign in Syria.

“We have been dreaming about this visit for a long time,” the Sudanese president tells Putin at the Black Sea resort of Sochi. “We are thankful to Russia for its position on the international arena, including Russia’s position in the protection of Sudan. We are in need of protection from the aggressive acts of the United States.”

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir prepares to cast his ballot for the country’s presidential and legislative elections in Khartoum, Sudan, April 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Mosa’ab Elshamy, File)

The visit came a month after the United States lifted a trade embargo it imposed on the impoverished African state in 1997 over Khartoum’s alleged backing of Islamist militant groups. US President Donald Trump also removed Sudan from a list of countries facing a US travel ban.

Sudan’s deadly conflict in Darfur broke out in 2003 when ethnic minority groups took up arms against Bashir’s Arab-dominated government, which launched a brutal counter-insurgency. The UN says at least 300,000 people have been killed and more than 2.5 million displaced as a result of the conflict.


Netanyahu touts ‘ripening’ ties with Arab states

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel is constantly engaged in “secret cooperation” with Arab states in the region that will one day “bear fruis.”

“The productive coordination we have with Arab states is usually secret cooperation but I believe that our relations with them will continue to ripen and to bear fruit in a widening circle of peace,” Netanyahu says at a state memorial ceremony for Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion.

“It will happen in the end because it is happening all the time under the radar.”

Netanyahu: We will not allow Iran to gain local foothold

Netanyahu reiterates his refusal to accept the permanent stationing of Iranian forces in Syria or anywhere else close to Israel.

Speaking at Kibbutz Sde Boker in the Negev desert, where David Ben Gurion lived until his death in 1963, Netanyahu says, “Whoever wants to harm us — we harm him. Whoever seeks to put us in danger of annihilation — puts his own life in danger.”

He adds: “We have made it clear many times that we will not accept nuclear weapons in Iran’s hands, nor will we allow the establishment of Iranian forces near our border, in the Syrian region in general, or anywhere else. Through the labor of generations, we created something out of nothing, and we won’t let anyone turn that something into nothing.”

Hummus distributed in four US states recalled over contamination

A brand of hummus distributed to Whole Foods Stores in four states is being recalled due to a possible bacterial contamination.

Asmar’s Mediterranean Food, Inc. is recalling Asmar’s Original hummus, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced in a statement.

An illustrative plate of hummus (TeodoraDjordjevic/Getty Images)

The hummus was distributed to retail stores in Northern Virginia as well as Whole Food Stores in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Washington, DC.

Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.


Netanyahu to fly to Nairobi next week

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to fly to Nairobi this coming Tuesday to attend the inauguration of President Uhuru Kenyatta, his office says.

Kenyatta, who has led the East African country since 2013, won a controversial election last month, which some observers say was rigged. The country’s opposition boycotted the rerun election, leading the incumbent to garner 98.25% of votes cast. Voter participation was at 38 percent.

The election’s first round, on August 8, was overturned by the Supreme Court after opposition leaders complained the results had been hacked.

— Raphael Ahren

Czech gov’t buys controversial pig farm at former Nazi camp to shutter it

The Czech government says it has bought a controversial pig farm located on the site of a former Nazi camp for Roma people, paying millions of euros for the right to shut it down.

“After 20 or so years, we finally managed to get rid of this harmful legacy from the past,” Culture Minister Daniel Herman tells reporters.

The farm was constructed in the 1970s during Communist rule at Lety, a village south of Prague which was the site of a Nazi-era concentration camp where hundreds of people in the Roma and Sinti minorities died in 1942 and 1943.

Human rights activists at home and abroad denounced its existence and the center-left government of Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka promised to to find a solution before the end of his term this month.

The state bought the farm from the Agpi agricultural firm for 450 million koruna (18 million euros, $21 million) and will pay an additional 120 million koruna to clean the site.


‘Explosion’ heard near Argentine sub’s last known position

An unusual noise heard in the ocean near the last known position of the San Juan submarine was “consistent with an explosion,” Argentina’s navy announces.

“An anomalous, singular, short, violent and non-nuclear event consistent with an explosion,” occurred shortly after the last communication of the San Juan and its 44 crew, navy spokesman Captain Enrique Baldi tells a news conference in Buenos Aires.


Lebanese PM Hariri assures bankers stability comes first

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri assures regional bankers that Lebanon’s stability is his top concern, one day after walking back his shock resignation that threw his country into turmoil.

Hariri, speaking at the Arab Banking Conference in Beirut, says his government will prioritize Lebanon’s interests over regional challenges and stressed a return to the country’s official policy of “disassociation,” or neutrality in regional affairs.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri at a regional banking conference, in Beirut, Lebanon, November 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

“Our primary concern in Lebanon is stability, and that is what we are going to focus on,” Hariri says.

Hariri stunned Lebanon and the region by resigning on November 4 while in Saudi Arabia, raising fears of market panic and recession.

— AP

Facebook opens 2nd office combating hate speech in Germany

Facebook is adding 500 more contractors in Germany to review content posted to the social media site, after a new law came into force targeting online hate speech.

The company says the staff will work for a service provider called CCC at a new office in the western city of Essen that was formally opened today.

Employees of the Competence Call Center (CCC) work for the Facebook Community Operations Team in Essen, Germany, November 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

German lawmakers approved a bill in June that could see social networking sites fined up to 50 million euros ($59 million) if they persistently fail to remove illegal content within a week.

Critics say the law could force Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to decide what is legal or not.

Together with an existing office in Berlin, Facebook will have more than 1,200 people reviewing posts in Germany by the end of the year.

— AP

Russia military chief says country could cut back Syria presence

Russia’s chief military officer says the nation could reduce its military presence in Syria.

The statement from Gen. Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the military’s General Staff, comes a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted counterparts from Turkey and Iran for talks on advancing peace process in Syria. Asked if the Russian force in Syria will be scaled down, Gerasimov said “it probably will,” according to Russian news agencies.

With the Syrian government controlling most of the country and Islamic State group fighters in disarray, Putin said during talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad earlier this week that Russia’s military campaign in Syria is wrapping up — though he made no mention of the Russian presence in Syria, which Moscow is not likely to give up.

— AP

Trump tells US military ‘We’re really winning’

US President Donald Trump tells members of the military positioned across the globe that they’re winning big under his watch.

Trump says in a teleconference with the troops on Thanksgiving Day that more progress has been made in recent months in Afghanistan and in fighting the Islamic State group than had been made in years of the previous administration.

US President Donald Trump speaks with members of the armed forces via video conference at his private club, Mar-a-Lago, on Thanksgiving, November 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

He says of the situation in Afghanistan that: “Everybody’s talking about the progress you’ve made in the last few months since I opened it up.”

Trump accused the previous administration of not allowing soldiers on the ground to do their jobs. But he says that now, “We’re not fighting anymore to just walk around, we’re fighting to win.”

He adds that, “We’re being talked about again as an armed forces. We’re really winning.”

— AP

Israel Foreign Ministry confirms 34 Israelis booted from Cyprus

Israel’s Foreign Ministry confirms that 34 Israelis are being expelled from Cyprus  after they were stopped on their way to hotels in the northern section of the island, which has been occupied by Turkey since 1974.

The measure comes as Cypriot authorities enforced a crackdown against visits to the area, a popular vacation destination. Under Cypriot law, tourists are forbidden from entering Cyprus from the occupied north and face expulsion if they do. Those who arrive in Cyprus with the intention of continuing on to Turkish-held areas can also be stopped.

The Israeli tourists arrived at Larnaca airport in the Republic of Cyprus but when they revealed to authorities they were planning to continue on to hotels in the north, they were detained. Some have already been sent back to Israel while the rest are awaiting return flights, the MFA says.

Two of the Israelis were arrested for arguing with police, the MFA adds.


On Sunday the Foreign Ministry issued a reminder of a previous travel advisory against visiting northern Cyprus. The advisory said that anyone entering Cyprus from the northern territory would receive a black mark in their passport and be banned from returning to Cyprus for 10 years. Offenders could also be fined or face up to 12 months in prison.

Egypt police kill 3 Islamists in shootout

Egyptian police killed three alleged Islamist militants in a shootout and arrested nine belonging to the Lewaa al-Thawra group that assassinated an army general last year, the country’s Interior Ministry says.

Lewaa al-Thawra surfaced in 2016 to claim several attacks in Cairo, including the assassination of an army brigadier general outside his suburban home in October.

Police have accused the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood movement of ousted president Mohamed Morsi of directing the group.

The interior ministry says police carried out raids against members of the group in the provinces of Cairo, Giza, Beheira, and Kafr el-Sheikh.

In one of the raids in Beheira on a hideout used to make bombs the suspects opened fire as police approached, triggering a shootout in which three “Brotherhood terrorist elements” were killed, the ministry says.

It does not say when the raids occurred.


David Friedman drops out of illegal outpost memorial for slain US teen

US Ambassador David Friedman cancels an appearance at a memorial ceremony in memory of slain American teen Ezra Schwartz following a report highlighting that it will be taking place at an illegal outpost.

Friedman had accepted an invitation from Efrat’s Orot Yehuda Yeshiva, which is organizing the ceremony next Tuesday at the Oz Vegaon nature preserve in the Gush Etzion bloc.

Schwartz, 18, an American yeshiva student from Sharon, Massachusetts, was shot to death by a Palestinian terrorist in November 2015 while on his way to volunteer clearing the new camping grounds at Oz Vegaon.

18-year-old Ezra Schwartz from Massachusetts, killed during a terrorist attack at the Gush Etzion Junction, November 19, 2015. (Courtesy)

A spokesman for Orot Yehuda told The Times of Israel that Friedman’s office did not provide a reason for the cancellation, but it came less than 24 hours after an Israel Hayom report highlighting the ceremony’s planned location.

Oz Vegaon was founded weeks after the June 12, 2014, disappearance of Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Fraenkel and Gilad Shaer. The three teens had inadvertently hitched a ride from a bus stop at the Alon Shvut Junction in Gush Etzion with terrorists from a Hamas cell. Their fate was unknown for almost three weeks — until their bodies were found and it emerged that they had been killed hours after the kidnapping.

Three families now live in caravans at Oz Vegaon, which was a neglected forest filled with garbage before it was converted into a nature reserve by the Women in Green group.

—  Jacob Magid

Top Jewish musicians to perform to support Jewish Queer Youth

Top Jewish musicians with large Orthodox followings will hold a benefit concert to support JQY, or Jewish Queer Youth.

JQY provides crisis and support resources for at-risk LGBTQ Jewish youth from Orthodox Jewish  homes.

Among the artists who will perform at the December 17 concert at Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York, are Matisyahu, Neshama Carlebach and Eli Schwebel, the organization announced.

Sandi DuBowski, director of a 2001 documentary about gay and lesbian Orthodox Jews trying to reconcile their sexuality with their faith, “Trembling Before G-d,” will be honored with the inaugural JQY Trailblazer Award.


Russia says US terror listing of North Korea could lead to ‘catastrophe’

Russia says that the US decision to add North Korea to its terror blacklist was a “PR move” that could allow the situation on the peninsula to escalate into a global “catastrophe.”

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova calls US President Donald Trump’s move to place North Korea on the list of state sponsors of terrorism “another scaremongering act and PR move” that would not reduce tensions on the ground.

“The answer to the question whether such actions help in lessening the tensions is clear: no, they do not,” she tells journalists. “These sorts of actions push the situation (around North Korea) to the extreme, this can end with a big catastrophe not only of a regional but also of global scale.”

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will discuss the North Korea crisis with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono during his visit to Russia on Friday, Zakharova said.

“They will concentrate on bilateral relations but the international situation will be discussed, including the situation in the Korean peninsula as well as the Syrian question,” Zakharova said.


Egypt PM leaves country for medical treatment

Egypt’s Prime Minister Sharif Ismail leaves the country for a three-week course of medical treatment and surgery in Germany amid speculation he would be permanently replaced in a cabinet shuffle.

State television reported that during his absence Housing Minister Mostafa Madboly would stand in as premier on a temporary basis.

The cabinet had said on Wednesday evening that Ismail would head to Germany for “three weeks” to get medical treatment.

Egyptian media reported Ismail’s resignation last month, which the cabinet denied, but that has not quelled widespread speculation that President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi will replace him ahead of presidential elections in the spring of 2018.

Ismail has overseen tough economic reforms that have ratcheted inflation to record highs in the past year.


NY Thanksgiving parade held under tight security

New York’s traditional Thanksgiving Day parade gets underway with huge crowds lining city streets from Central Park to Herald Square amid tight security following recent terror attacks.

As thousands of people applauded marching bands, elaborate floats and enormous balloons — bearing the likenesses of SpongeBob SquarePants, Mickey Mouse, Angry Birds and other comic creatures — a huge contingent of thousands of police patrol the 2.5-mile (four-kilometer) parade route.

New York Police Department officers are greeted by people before the start of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, November 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

With the festive event coming just weeks after the October 31 truck attack on a bike path in New York that killed eight people — many of them foreign tourists — the city went all-out to ensure security.

Massive dump trucks were parked at intersections to prevent just such an incident, along with concrete barriers.

Police Chief Terence Monahan said aviation units, heavy weapons teams, canine units and observation teams would be deployed in extraordinary efforts to ensure security.


Hotovely apologizes for saying US Jews have it easy

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely publicly apologizes if statements she made suggesting US Jews had it easy caused offense to American Jewry.

In an interview with Hadashot news (formerly Channel 2) she says that she felt a strong, family connection to Jews in the Diaspora, and like all families there are sometimes disagreements and arguments. But, she said her words came from her love for the Jewish communities who are outside Israel.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely gives a press conference on November 3, 2015, in the Lipski plastic factory at the Barkan Industrial Park near the Israeli settlement of Ariel in the West Bank, on the European Union decision to label goods made in Jewish settlements. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)

“To all those Americans who are lone soldiers, or those who have grandparents who fought in World War II, I salute you all. That was not my intent,” she says. “When I was 18 I spent a year in Atlanta as part of my national service in the Jewish community. For the past 20 years the topic of the Jewish community in the US has concerned me and I truly feel that we are part of a family.”

However, she did not offer a full apology for the comments or retract her fundamental message.

Sound heard in Argentine sub search comes from explosion

Argentina’s navy confirms that a sound detected during the search for a missing submarine apparently came from an explosion — an ominous development that prompted relatives of the 44 crew members to burst into tears.

Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi says the search will continue until there is full certainty about the fate of the ARA San Juan. He said evidence showed “an anomalous event that was singular, short, violent and non-nuclear that was consistent with an explosion.”

“According to this report, there was an explosion,” Balbi told reporters. “We don’t know what caused an explosion of these characteristics at this site on this date.”

US and specialist agencies said the “hydro-acoustic anomaly” was produced just hours after the navy lost contact with the submarine on November 15.

The Comandante Espora Argentine ship sails off a navel base in Mar del Plata, Argentina, on November 18, 2017, part of a search effort to find a submarine that hadn’t been heard from in three days. (AP/Vicente Robles)

— AP

WWII museum touts extensive Winston Churchill collection

A Massachusetts museum is touting its collection of Winston Churchill artifacts following the release of a major new biopic about the famous British prime minister.

The International Museum of World War II in Natick says it holds the most comprehensive collection of original Churchill letters, manuscript and artifacts outside of the Churchill Archives in England.

Then-British Home Secretary Winston Churchill on a visit to the British Mandate of Palestine in March 1921, nearly three decades before it became the Jewish state. (Churchill Museum)

Among the artifacts are Churchill’s cigar box, his favored suit worn through World War II and a typewritten manuscript of his “we shall never surrender” speech that has his handwritten notes.

The museum’s promotion of the collection coincides with Wednesday’s opening of the film “The Darkest Hour.” The film stars Gary Oldman and chronicles Churchill during the early days of the war.

— AP

​Azrieli Foundation makes single largest donation to Bar-Ilan University

The Azrieli Foundation makes a 50 million dollar donation to the Bar Ilan University, the largest single donation every given by the Canadian philanthropic organization.

The funds, which were matched by the Israeli government, went to Bar-Ilan University’s Faculty of Medicine, which will now be known as the “Azrieli Faculty of Medicine” in Safed.

The faculty first opened its doors in October 2011 in response to a nationwide shortage of physicians and the need to upgrade medical services and infrastructure in the region. Now completing its sixth year of operation, the Medical School has already graduated close to 150 new physicians, and is home to nearly 550 students enrolled in MD programs, medical research programs, combined MD/PhD programs and postdoctoral programs.

“This school epitomizes so many of the values that matter to us,” said Naomi Azrieli, Chair and CEO of the Azrieli Foundation Canada. “It is one of the cornerstones of our organization to support excellence in, and access to, higher education, as well as to catalyze scientific and medical research. We are delighted to partner with Bar-Ilan to provide a new platform for clinical studies for students, and also to increase the capacity of the University and the country for basic medical research, which will have wide-reaching benefits.”

Top cop said to accuse Justice Ministry of tampering with ramming investigation

Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich is reportedly accusing the Justice Ministry’s Police Investigations Department of burying a key document in an investigation into the police shooting of a Bedouin teacher during an operation to demolish homes in his unrecognized village at the beginning of the year.

According to Hadashot News (formerly Channel 2 news), police say that a document containing testimonies of the incident was ignored by the Police Investigations Department, tasked with investigating alleged misdemeanor by officers.

The State Prosecutor on Tuesday asked the Justice Ministry to reopen an investigation into the police shooting of a Bedouin teacher during an operation to demolish homes in his unrecognized village at the beginning of the year.

Yaqoub Mousa Abu al-Qia’an (Courtesy)

In light of new evidence, the ministry’s Police Investigations Department was told to take another look at the events surrounding the death of Yaqoub Mousa Abu Al-Qia’an, who was slain by police in Umm al-Hiran during a nighttime incident in which his car drove into officers, killing one of them.

The incident was initially ruled terrorism, but authorities have indicated since that Abu Al-Qia’an likely lost control of the vehicle after being shot and did not intentionally hit the officers.

Police anger centers around a document prepared by the Shin Bet security agency, apparently backing up claims that the incident was a terror attack, Hahadashot News reports. Alsheich reportedly said that the Justice Ministry’s behavior amounts to “tampering” with the investigation.

In response the Justice Ministry said: “We are talking about an internal Shin Bet document that was not known to Police Investigations Department until recently. Immediately after the Police Investigations Department found out about it, the Shin Bet requested to give it be shared with investigators. The document was shared, studied and conclusions were drawn.”


Police recommenced charges against PM’s pick for national security adviser

Police announce that they are to recommend charges against Avriel Bar-Yosef, the man Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had wanted to serve as national security adviser.

According to a police statement, Bar-Yosef, 62, is suspected of bribery, money laundering, fraud and breach of trust.

According to police, Bar-Yosef is suspected of receiving bribes from a German businessman who invested hundreds of thousands of euro in a company run by a close relative of his, in addition to receiving other valuable benefits and promises of future money.

In exchange, Bar-Yosef advanced the interests of the German businessman, among other things in the development of Israel’s offshore natural gas reserves.

Avriel Bar-Yosef is seen at a hearing at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court following his arrest in the ‘Case 3000’ affair on July 10, 2017. (Moti Kimchi/Pool/Flash90)

Bar-Yosef, 61, had been nominated by Netanyahu to serve as national security adviser, a top administration post, but withdrew his candidacy in July after advocacy groups alleged the ex-aide received money from foreign business associates, constituting a conflict of interest.

Bar-Yosef, who was deeply involved in forming the natural gas policies, is said to have pushed for the establishment of a facility that would have reaped large profits for the Germans, despite objections from experts.

He is also suspected of involvement in Case 3000 involving the purchase of naval vessels from Germany.

Saudi Arabia kicks off Islamic counter-terrorism summit

Saudi Arabia gathers officials from 40 Muslim countries on Sunday in the first meeting of an Islamic counter-terrorism alliance, a move Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman declared a “clear signal” to extremism.

“In past years, terrorism has been functioning in all of our countries… with no coordination” among them, he says in his keynote speech. “This ends today, with this alliance.”

Prince Mohammed says the 40 countries were sending a “clear signal” that they would “work together to support the military, financial, intelligence and political efforts of every member state.”

The summit is the first meeting of defense ministers and other senior officials from the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition, which officially counts 41 members.


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