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‘A crisis of trust’: Deri said to rage at Netanyahu over broken coalition promises

Report says Shas leader entered into shouting match with Likud chief, threatening to refuse to enter coalition and only support government from the outside

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 Times of Israel liveblogged Monday’s events as they unfolded.

‘A crisis of trust’: Angry Deri said to shout at Netanyahu during coalition talks

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)

Shas leader Aryeh Deri reportedly raised his voice in a shouting match with Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu and threatened to only support the government from the outside.

Channel 12 reports that Deri accused Netanyahu of backtracking on coalition negotiation promises and gave him an ultimatum.

“We responded to your requests and gave up the Treasury, which was close to my heart, and afterward the Negev and Galilee [ministry], to allow you to reach an agreement with Otzma Yehudit, and you are backtracking on agreements,” Deri reportedly shouted at Netanyahu.

“From our point of view it’s a crisis of trust,”  Deri says and then threatens not to enter a government with Netanyahu.

“Shas promised a right-wing government under Netanyahu and we will deliver. But if you don’t fulfill your obligations, we will give up on the portfolios and support the government from the outside,” he reportedly says.

The unsourced report does not specify which promises Likud was reneging on, nor did it present Netanyahu’s reaction, only describing the meeting as a “shouting match.”

Report: Senior Ukraine defense ministry mission visited Israel

Ukrainian soldiers stand on the road in the freed territory of the Kharkiv region, Ukraine, September 12, 2022. (AP Photo/ Kostiantyn Liberov)
Ukrainian soldiers stand on the road in the freed territory of the Kharkiv region, Ukraine, September 12, 2022. (AP Photo/ Kostiantyn Liberov)

A senior Ukrainian military delegation visited Israel last week in a bid to secure defense assistance, Channel 13 reports.

The report says that the delegation included the Ukrainian deputy chief of staff, with the group holding several meetings with IDF and defense ministry officials.

The delegation reportedly sought to push ahead with creating a missile alert system, which Israel has promised to build for Ukraine.

The delegation also pushed Israel to supply weapons systems, which Israel has so far refused to do, sending only humanitarian aid and protective equipment.

Though it has sent repeated shipments of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, Israel has consistently rebuffed Kyiv’s requests for defense weapons, specifically missile defense systems that could be used to fend off Russian airstrikes, despite expressing sympathy for the country’s plight.

Israel’s refusal is seen as an attempt by Jerusalem to maintain working ties with Moscow, due to Russia’s control of Syrian air space, where Israel’s air force has carried out hundreds of sorties against alleged Iranian arms shipments and in order to keep groups backed by Tehran from establishing a foothold.

As Russia relies increasingly on Iranian-made drones in recent weeks, Kyiv has amplified its calls for Israel to share air defense expertise and technology.

Iranian general acknowledges over 300 dead in unrest

Iranians mourn in front of the coffins of people killed in a shooting attack, during their funeral in the city of Izeh in Iran's Khuzestan province, on November 18, 2022. (ALIREZA MOHAMMADI/ isna/ AFP)
Iranians mourn in front of the coffins of people killed in a shooting attack, during their funeral in the city of Izeh in Iran's Khuzestan province, on November 18, 2022. (ALIREZA MOHAMMADI/ isna/ AFP)

An Iranian general acknowledges that more than 300 people have been killed in the unrest surrounding nationwide protests, giving the first official word on casualties in two months.

That estimate is considerably lower than the toll reported by Human Rights Activists in Iran, a US-based group that has been closely tracking the protests since they erupted after the September 16 death of a young woman being held by the country’s morality police.

The activist group says 451 protesters and 60 security forces have been killed since the start of the unrest and that more than 18,000 people have been detained.

The protests were sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was detained for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code. They quickly escalated into calls for the overthrow of Iran’s theocracy and pose one of the most serious challenges to the ruling clerics since the 1979 revolution that brought them to power.

Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the aerospace division of the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, was quoted by a website close to the Guard as saying that more than 300 people have been killed, including “martyrs,” an apparent reference to security forces. He also suggested that many of those killed were ordinary Iranians not involved in the protests.

He did not provide an exact figure or say where his estimate came from.

Authorities have heavily restricted media coverage of the protests. State-linked media have not reported an overall toll and have largely focused on attacks on security forces, which officials blame on shadowy militant and separatist groups.

Foreign Ministry slams Twitter for new lax attitude to hate speech

A Twitter headquarters sign is shown in San Francisco, November 4, 2022. Employees were bracing for widespread layoffs at Twitter, as new owner Elon Musk overhauls the social platform. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
A Twitter headquarters sign is shown in San Francisco, November 4, 2022. Employees were bracing for widespread layoffs at Twitter, as new owner Elon Musk overhauls the social platform. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon appears to criticize new Twitter owner Elon Musk for failing to crack down on hate speech on the platform.

Nahshon screen captures a response he received to one of his tweets in which the writer claimed the Holocaust never happened.

“For many extremists, the freedom of speech is simply the freedom to spew venom. A Twitosphere [Twittersphere] without clear rules of conduct and ethics will become quickly a very unpleasant place for most of us,” Nahshon writes.

Musk has sought to ease restrictions on what Twitter users can post, justifying the moves as necessary to allow for freedom of speech.

Man arrested for threatening motorist with a knife in latest road rage incident

Police arrest a Rishon Lezion man after he threatened another motorist with a knife, Hebrew media reports.

In a video posted to social media, the man can be seen waving a knife and cursing a 50-year-old woman, before getting in his car and driving away.

The arrest comes in the wake of a spate of road rage incidents in recent days, including the murder of Yuri Volkov in Holon.

Trump’s antisemitism envoy slams his meetings with Kanye, Nick Fuentes

Elan Carr, the United States Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism, speaks April 29, 2019, next to a photo of Lori Kaye, who was killed when a gunman opened fire inside the Chabad of Poway synagogue, during a memorial service for Kaye in Poway, California. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Elan Carr, the United States Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism, speaks April 29, 2019, next to a photo of Lori Kaye, who was killed when a gunman opened fire inside the Chabad of Poway synagogue, during a memorial service for Kaye in Poway, California. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Former US president Donald Trump’s antisemitism envoy slams his old boss for meeting with Kanye West and Holocaust revisionist Nick Fuentes last week.

“No responsible American, and certainly no former president, should be cavorting with the likes of Nick Fuentes and Kanye West,” tweets Elan Carr.

“To placate antisemitism is to promote antisemitism. President Trump must condemn these dangerous men and their disgusting and un-American views,” he says.

Galit Burg, who represented Israel at 1989 Eurovision, killed in car crash

Galit Burg (L) and Gili Netanel sing at the 1989 Eurovision song contest. (Screencapture/YouTube)
Galit Burg (L) and Gili Netanel sing at the 1989 Eurovision song contest. (Screencapture/YouTube)

Galit Burg, a singer who represented Israel in the 1989 Eurovision song contest as part of the duo Gili and Galit, was killed today in a car accident, Hebrew media reports.

Burg, 54, was involved in a collision between a truck and two vehicles near Kfar Daniel in central Israel.

Gili and Galit sang their song “Derech Hamelech” at the 1998 competition held in Switzerland, coming in 12th place out of 22 entrants on the night.

IDF soldiers warned of dismissal after violent Hebron incidents

An Israeli soldier is seen punching a left-wing activist in Hebron in the West Bank, November 25, 2022. (Breaking the Silence)
An Israeli soldier is seen punching a left-wing activist in Hebron in the West Bank, November 25, 2022. (Breaking the Silence)

The commander of the 162nd Division, Brig. Gen. Nadav Lotan, warns soldiers following an incident on Friday in which troops assaulted and taunted activists in Hebron.

“Troops who do not behave morally as expected of them will not carry out operational activity until the end of an investigation into the incident,” Lotan says in a missive to officers.

He instructs all commanders to hold talks with their soldiers to “make fully clear what is permitted and what is prohibited, and what is expected of a soldier in the mission of protecting the citizens of the State of Israel.”

Buffalo gunman pleads guilty to hate-motivated terror in supermarket massacre

Payton Gendron is led into the courtroom for a hearing at Erie County Court in Buffalo, N.Y., on May 19, 2022.  (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
Payton Gendron is led into the courtroom for a hearing at Erie County Court in Buffalo, N.Y., on May 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

The white gunman who massacred 10 Black shoppers and workers at a Buffalo supermarket pleads guilty to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges, guaranteeing that he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Payton Gendron, 19, enters the plea in a courthouse roughly two miles from the grocery store where he used a semiautomatic rifle and body armor to carry out a racist assault he hoped would help preserve white power in the US.

He pleads guilty to all the charges in the grand jury indictment, including murder, murder as a hate crime and hate-motivated domestic terrorism, which carries an automatic sentence of life without parole. Gendron also pleaded guilty to wounding three people who survived the May attack.

Gendron, who was handcuffed and wore an orange jumpsuit, shows little emotion through the 45-minute proceeding, just occasionally licking and clenching his lips. He answers “yes” and “guilty” as the judge referred to each victim by name and asked whether he killed each victim because of their race.

World’s largest active volcano, Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, erupts for 1st time in decades

This image provided by the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory shows a view from a research camera on the north rim of the summit caldera of the Mauna Loa volcano, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. (USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory via AP)
This image provided by the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory shows a view from a research camera on the north rim of the summit caldera of the Mauna Loa volcano, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. (USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory via AP)

Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano, has started to erupt for the first time in nearly four decades, prompting volcanic ash and debris to fall nearby, authorities say.

The eruption began late Sunday night in the summit caldera of the volcano on the Big Island, the US Geological Survey says. Early today, it says lava flows were contained within the summit area and weren’t threatening nearby communities.

“However, lava flows in the summit region are visible from Kona. There is currently no indication of any migration of the eruption into a rift zone,” the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory says in a statement. A rift zone is where the mountain is splitting apart, the rock is cracked and relatively weak and it’s easier for magma to emerge.

How long the volcano erupts and whether it could cause lava to flow to populated areas of the island is impossible to predict, says Miel Corbett, a USGS spokesperson.

“But I can tell you, we’re in constant communication right now with Hawaii Civil Defense, and they’re providing updates to community members,” she said.

Even though it noted there is no indication of lava exiting the summit, the civil defense agency said it has opened shelters in Kailua-Kona and Pahala because it has reports of of people self-evacuating along the South Kona coast.

“Multiple images have surfaced on social media indicating lava activity outside of the caldera. At this time, no lava migration into a rift zone has been confirmed,” according to a statement.

Orthodox Union, Simon Wiesenthal Center blast Trump for meeting Kanye, Nick Fuentes

Nick Fuentes, far-right activist, holds a rally at the Lansing Capitol, in Lansing, Michigan, November 11, 2020. (Nicole Hester/ Ann Arbor News via AP, File)
Nick Fuentes, far-right activist, holds a rally at the Lansing Capitol, in Lansing, Michigan, November 11, 2020. (Nicole Hester/ Ann Arbor News via AP, File)

The Orthodox Union, a US umbrella group, condemns former US president Donald Trump for meeting Kanye West and Nick Fuentes.

Trump met “some of the most vicious antisemitic figures in this country is deeply worrisome,” the organization’s leadership says in a statement.

“We call on former president Trump to condemn these individuals and cut ties with them and their associates. As a major public figure, Donald Trump has a responsibility to denounce hate in all of its forms and lead by example for his many followers. Anything less gives a stamp of approval to the world’s oldest hatred,” the Orthodox Union says.

The organization calls on “responsible leaders — especially those in the Republican party” to speak up and “be counted among those who explicitly reject antisemitism.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights group, also denounces Trump for the meeting with West and Fuentes.

“President Trump’s meeting with Nick Fuentes and Kanye West would be similar to a meeting of the president of the United States with leaders of the KKK,” says Rabbi Marvin Hier, the center’s CEO.

UN Mideast envoy warns West Bank ‘reaching a boiling point’

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 special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Tor Wennesland, warns the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is “reaching a boiling point.”

“The high level of violence in the occupied West Bank and Israel in recent months including attacks against Israeli and Palestinian civilians,” Wennesland says, “have caused grave human suffering.”

“The targeting of civilians can never be justified and the violence must stop,” Wennesland says at a Security Council briefing, calling for a return to a political process for a resolution to the conflict.

He condemns the recent terror attacks in Jerusalem and Ariel, as well as settler violence against Palestinians in Hebron.

He warns that “demography is moving faster than politics,” and that the rapid population growth in Gaza and the West Bank will make it “increasingly difficult” to manage the conflict.

The US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, condemns the terror attacks against Israelis and settler violence.

The US “is deeply concerned about the sharp escalation,” Thomas-Greenfield says. “This has been the deadliest year in the West Bank since 2004.”

She condemns the Palestinian Authority’s payments to terrorists and the “disruption to the historic status quo of holy sites.”

Thomas-Greenfield blasts the UN for its “lopsided focus” on Israel, including the open-ended Commission of Inquiry and the request for the International Court of Justice to weigh in on the conflict.

“The UN system is replete with anti-Israel actions and bodies,” she says. “Instead of grandstanding and pursuing unproductive measures, we hope the UN will start focusing on concrete steps that improve the lives of Israelis and Palestinians.”

Islamic Jihad threatens Ben Gvir; far-right MK responds: We’ll crush them

In this file photo taken on August 8, 2022, Palestinian fighters from the Islamic Jihad attend a mourning gathering in the southern Gaza Strip city of in Rafah for Palestinians who were killed in the latest Israel-Gaza fighting.  (Photo by SAID KHATIB / AFP)
In this file photo taken on August 8, 2022, Palestinian fighters from the Islamic Jihad attend a mourning gathering in the southern Gaza Strip city of in Rafah for Palestinians who were killed in the latest Israel-Gaza fighting. (Photo by SAID KHATIB / AFP)

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group threatens the life of far-right Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir, who responds by promising to crush the terror group.

Islamic Jihad warns that Ben Gvir’s “fate will be the same as that of Rehavam Ze’evi, the proponent of transfer.”

Ze’evi, who advocated for the transfer of Arabs out of Israel, was assassinated by Palestinian terrorists in 2001 while serving as tourism minister.

In response, Ben Gvir says that the “threats of a terror organization won’t deter me. We are determined to restore security to Israel.”

Ben Gvir calls for the immediate establishment of a right-wing government so that “we can crush the Islamic Jihad.”

IDF says West Bank raids foiled some 500 terror attacks over last year

Illustrative. IDF soldiers during terror suspect arrest operations in the West Bank, August 10, 2022. (IDF)
Illustrative. IDF soldiers during terror suspect arrest operations in the West Bank, August 10, 2022. (IDF)

Citing Military Intelligence assessments, the Israel Defense Forces says it has foiled some 500 terror attacks in the past year, amid a months-long operation in the West Bank.

According to the IDF, the army has arrested more than 2,500 suspects in the West Bank since late March, following a series of deadly terror attacks.

The IDF says that out of 3,000 individual arrest operations, 550 of them involved special forces. At least 250 weapons have also been seized in the operations.

Meanwhile, the IDF recorded at least 281 shooting attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers in the West Bank, compared to 91 last year.

The IDF also says there has been a rise in settler attacks against Palestinians, recording 838 incidents this year compared to 446 last year.

Of the settler attacks this year, 14 of them are considered “serious,” where Palestinians were injured or property was seriously damaged.

Second outbreak of bird flu discovered in Israel

Workers in protective gear in Moshav Givat Yoav, in northern Israel, following an outbreak of the bird flu, December 29, 2021. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)
Workers in protective gear in Moshav Givat Yoav, in northern Israel, following an outbreak of the bird flu, December 29, 2021. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)

Bird flu is discovered at a second site in Israel — a turkey farm on Moshav Beit Herut, in central Israel.

It was identified in one of seven coops and a quarantine has been imposed on all poultry within a 10-kilometer radius.

The first outbreak of the disease during the current migration season was discovered a week ago among turkeys on Kibbutz Shluhot in the Beit She’an Valley.

In both cases, the strain — H5N1 — is the same one that led to the culling of hundreds of thousands of chickens and turkeys last year and the deaths of some 5,000 wild cranes at northern Israel’s Hula Lake Reserve.

Nature authorities feed wild birds at the reserve to keep them away from local farms. The concentration of birds in one place was thought to have sped the spread of the flu among the cranes last year.

Bird flu is sweeping Europe, the US and Japan.

Israel is a major migration route for wild birds, raising fears that infected specimens from overseas will bring the deadly virus to Israel.

The Agriculture Ministry is urging consumers to only buy eggs from reputable sources and to ensure that both eggs and chicken or turkey meat are thoroughly cooked before eating.

A spokesperson for the Israel Nature and Parks Authority says there was a “definite concern” that continued feeding of the cranes could lead to a repeat of last year’s tragedy.

She says the organization is in talks with local farmers and was discussing what to do in light of this season’s new outbreaks.

Irish watchdog fines Meta 265 million euros in latest privacy case

A car passes Facebook's new Meta logo on a sign at the company headquarters in Menlo Park, California, on October 28, 2021. (Tony Avelar/AP)
A car passes Facebook's new Meta logo on a sign at the company headquarters in Menlo Park, California, on October 28, 2021. (Tony Avelar/AP)

Irish regulators slap Facebook parent Meta with a 265 million euro ($277 million) fine, the company’s latest punishment for breaching strict European Union data privacy rules.

The Data Protection Commission says Meta Platforms infringed sections of the EU rules, known as the General Data Protection Regulation, that require technical and organizational measures aimed at protecting user data.

The watchdog opened an investigation last year into news reports that data on more 533 million users was found dumped online. The data was found on a website for hackers and included names, Facebook IDs, phone numbers, locations, birthdates and email addresses for people from more than 100 countries, according to the reports.

Meta said the data had been “scraped” from Facebook using tools designed to help people find their friends through phone numbers using search and contact import features. The watchdog said it investigated scraping carried out between May 2018 and September 2019.

The company says it had “cooperated fully” with the Irish watchdog.

“We made changes to our systems during the time in question, including removing the ability to scrape our features in this way using phone numbers,” Meta says in a statement. “Unauthorized data scraping is unacceptable and against our rules.”

Along with the fine, the commission said it also imposed on Meta a “range of corrective measures,” which weren’t specified.

Comptroller: One in four female police conscripts experience sexual harassment

A Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security committee hearing regarding sexual abuse claims in Gilboa Prison, August 3, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
A Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security committee hearing regarding sexual abuse claims in Gilboa Prison, August 3, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Figures released by the State Comptroller’s Office show that high percentages of women performing their mandatory national service in the police, border police, and prison service are subjected to sexual harassment during the course of their service.

Such harassment is for the most part committed by professional, non-conscripted, members of those forces, including commanders, and when reported is either insufficiently addressed or not dealt with at all, the report finds

The comptroller’s report was commissioned in the wake of the Gilboa prison scandal in which senior prison officers were accused of “pimping” out female prison officials to security prisoners in 2018.

The central findings of the report show that 25 % of women performing their obligatory national service in the police, border police, and prison service, typically beginning at age 18, experience sexual harassment.

The figure is highest in the prison service, where 38% of such conscripts say they were sexually harassed during the course of their service.

Gantz accuses Smotrich, Ben Gvir of trying to set up private armies in West Bank

Defense Minister Benny Gantz charges Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich with trying to create “private armies” in the West Bank.

“We can’t allow the transformation of units into private armies of one minister or another. It is forbidden to privatize the command and control of the IDF,” says Gantz at the outset of his National Unity party’s faction meeting.

Both Ben Gvir, who is likely to become police minister, and Smotrich, who is set to receive the finance portfolio, are pushing for greater powers.

On Friday, Gantz wrote a Facebook post outlining ways in which he believes Ben Gvir’s appointment as public security minister with expanded authority and Smotrich’s demand to peel off the West Bank’s civil authority and transfer it to his control can harm national security.

“National security is not the name of a government ministry. This is the sum total of actions that enable the stability of the government,” Gantz says.

On Sunday, Ben Gvir said he plans to relax open-fire rules to allow security forces to shoot anyone holding a stone or firebomb, rather than waiting until the object is thrown.

“I do not yet know who will be the next defense minister, but I call on him to stand firm against any attempt to play with the use of force, against any idea that may lead to damaging the function of the security [forces,]” Gantz says.

Survey: Tiny fraction of Jewish Israelis want their kids to serve in elite combat units

Soldiers from the Israeli Air Force's elite Unit 669 take part in an exercise in an undated photograph. (Israel Defense Forces)
Soldiers from the Israeli Air Force's elite Unit 669 take part in an exercise in an undated photograph. (Israel Defense Forces)

A survey finds that a very small percentage of Jewish Israelis want their children to serve in elite combat units in the IDF.

The Israel Democracy Institute survey finds that only 3% of women and 9% of men would like to see their children in such units. The numbers are even lower for regular combat units, like the infantry or armored corps, with 2% of women and 5% of men supporting such a move.

However, there is widespread support for having their children serve in elite technological units like the IDF’s vaunted Unit 8200, with 45% for men, 44% for women in favor.

The survey found that  22% of women and 11% of men would prefer that their children did not serve at all.

However, there was wide support for opening up all combat roles for women, with 54% of Jewish Israelis thinking that elite combat units should be open to women, while 35% disagree.

The survey was carried out on September 15–19, 2022, with 805 men and women interviewed in Hebrew, constituting a nationally representative sample of the adult population in Israel aged 18 and over. The maximum sampling error was ±3.52%.

Michaeli: A direct link between spate of violence and far-right victory

Labor party leader Merav Michaeli arrives for a faction meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on November 28, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Labor party leader Merav Michaeli arrives for a faction meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on November 28, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Labor party chief Merav Michaeli says there is a direct link between a recent spate of violent incidents in Israel and the West Bank and the fact that far-right parties are coming into power.

“A straight line connects the violence against Arabs and against human rights activists in Hebron — and the violence that Israeli citizens suffer in the streets,” says Michaeli, referring to a tumultuous week in the West Bank city and several road rage incidents in Israel.

“When the country is taken over, and is in the hands of extremists who all say ‘we’re the bosses here’ and ‘we can do anything we want,’ when Arabs, leftists, human rights activists are labeled as the enemy, when anything justifies brandishing a gun — it means that anyone who is not like us, anyone who is not ‘us,’ can be beaten, can be hit,” she adds.

Otzma Yehudit chief Itamar Ben Gvir campaigned on the slogan that “we are the landlords” of Israel and calls left-wing activists “anarchists.” He also has several times drawn his gun in residential areas to “protect” Jews.

In addition to Ben Gvir, Michaeli directed her blame at Religious Zionism’s Bezalel Smotrich and Noam’s Avi Maoz.

Noam “is entirely based on hatred and exclusion, hatred of gays and lesbians, hatred of Arabs, exclusion of women,” she says.

Watchdog warns Russian invasion of Ukraine war increases chemical weapons threat

In this Saturday, May 20, 2000 file photo, two Russian soldiers make a routine check of metal containers with toxic agents at a chemical weapons storage site in the town of Gorny, 124 miles south of the Volga River city of Saratov, Russia. (AP Photo, File)
In this Saturday, May 20, 2000 file photo, two Russian soldiers make a routine check of metal containers with toxic agents at a chemical weapons storage site in the town of Gorny, 124 miles south of the Volga River city of Saratov, Russia. (AP Photo, File)

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has increased the threat from weapons of mass destruction including chemical munitions, the head of the world’s toxic arms watchdog says.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine, its chief Fernando Arias tells the regulator’s annual meeting.

“The situation in Ukraine has again increased the real threat posed by weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons,” Arias says at The Hague.

“It has exacerbated existing tensions to a point where unity of the international community on common global challenges related to international security and peace cannot be presumed.”

International disarmament bodies like the Nobel Peace Prize-winning OPCW “now have become places for confrontation and disagreement,” Arias laments.

Threats and allegations about the possible use of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons have been traded since the war in Ukraine began in February, but with no evidence they have been deployed.

Arias reminded Russia and Ukraine that they were among 193 countries that have “have solemnly and voluntarily committed never under any circumstances to… use chemical weapons.”

Ben Gvir calls on Smotrich to stop stalling over vote for new Knesset speaker

Otzma Yehudit leader MK Itamar Ben Gvir at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, November 10, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Otzma Yehudit leader MK Itamar Ben Gvir at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, November 10, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Without using his name, Otzma Yehudit chief Itamar Ben Gvir calls on Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich to join forces with the other prospective coalition members and vote for a new Knesset speaker.

“It’s a serious and severe mistake” to not immediately appoint a new Knesset speaker, which would help the incoming coalition set the agenda for upcoming legislative sessions, Ben Gvir says.

Smotrich has reportedly been holding out as a negotiating tactic with bloc leader Likud.

“Terror doesn’t wait for us…anarchists are working in the field, there’s no time, we have to form a government,” Ben Gvir adds, using “anarchists” to refer to left-wing activists.

Herzog hosts Latvia’s Levits for state visit marking 30 years of ties

President Isaac Herzog (L) hosts Latvian President Egils Levits in Israel for  state visit marking 30 years of diplomatic ties in Jerusalem on November 28, 2022 (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
President Isaac Herzog (L) hosts Latvian President Egils Levits in Israel for state visit marking 30 years of diplomatic ties in Jerusalem on November 28, 2022 (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

President Isaac Herzog welcomes Latvia’s President Egils Levits to the President’s Residence in Jerusalem for a state visit marking 30 years of diplomatic relations.

“We have built a warm partnership based on shared values and common interests,” says Herzog, whose grandmother was born in Riga. “Israel places great importance on continuing to enhance and deepen our bilateral relations with Latvia as well as all three Baltic states.”

Herzog says the leaders would focus on trade, commerce, joint scientific research, and academic collaboration in their working meeting.

The president also thanks Levits for the February passage by Latvia’s parliament of a Holocaust restitution bill that includes compensation for lost Jewish property and funding to revitalize the Baltic nation’s Jewish community, which was almost completely wiped out during World War II.

Levits then meets with Prime Minister Yair Lapid. According to Levits, the two discuss green energy, IT, and the Middle East peace process.

Their talks also cover Russia’s invasion for Ukraine, an overwhelming concern for Latvia, a tiny NATO nation bordering Russia that spent decades as part of the Soviet Union.

Latvia is also a member of the European Union.

“I appreciate the Prime Minister’s role in intensifying the European Union-Israel dialogue,” Levits tweets.

Herzog and first lady Michal Herzog will host a state dinner tonight for Levits and his wife.

Liberman slams giving Maoz control of Nativ: ‘A roadblock against immigration’

Finance Minister and Israel Beytenu party chairman Avigdor Liberman speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on November 15, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Finance Minister and Israel Beytenu party chairman Avigdor Liberman speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on November 15, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman says the planned appointment of hardline Avi Moaz to lead an office in charge of Israel’s Jewish identity will be “a roadblock” against immigration from the former Soviet Union.

“This person is going to be in charge of Nativ…This is a roadblock for immigration for all who come from the former Soviet Union,” says Liberman.

Nativ is the Prime Minister’s Office unit responsible for processing immigration applications from former Soviet states.

Maoz has pushed to close one of the key laws under which former Soviet state citizens obtain Israeli citizenship: a clause within Israel’s Law of Return that permits the grandchildren of Jews who are not Jewish themselves to immigrate to Israel.

Liberman, who is Jewish, immigrated to Israel from Soviet Moldova and his Yisrael Beytenu party is the political home of many Israelis from these areas.

In addition to Nativ, Maoz’s to-be-created Jewish identity office is expected to use its influence on areas that Maoz has previously weighed in, among them only recognizing Orthodox Jewish conversion for the purpose of immigration.

Liberman says that about 5,500 current Israeli soldiers are not considered Jewish according to Orthodox law, but “in my opinion, they are more Jewish than all yeshiva students… combined,” he says.

“Apparently Avi Maoz also wants to block them from entering Israeli society,” Liberman adds, saying that Maoz’s office will stand “for purity of blood.”

Noam chief says he will follow the law when in charge of Soviet immigration

MK Avi Maoz seen at the Knesset in Jerusalem on November 22, 2022 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
MK Avi Maoz seen at the Knesset in Jerusalem on November 22, 2022 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Noam head Avi Maoz says that he will follow the law when he takes responsibility for Nativ, despite pushing to tighten the eligibility under which it operates.

Nativ is responsible for processing immigration applications under the Law of Return from citizens of the former Soviet Union, many of whom are not Jewish but apply under the current law’s grandchild clause, which entitles the grandchildren of Jews to citizenship.

“Entering Israel is according to law. We will act according to the law. All Jews are able to immigrate,” Maoz says.

“We will make sure that people who according to law aren’t permitted to immigrate” cannot immigrate, he adds.

On Sunday, Maoz signed an agreement with Likud to take Nativ under his control as part of a new department responsible for Jewish identity, to be housed in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Maoz declines reporter requests to expand on the new department’s additional areas of responsibility, budgets, personnel, and plans.

Maoz similarly refused to day as to whether he has concrete plans to push policy against Israel’s LGBTQ community, in line with his Noam party’s hardline homophobic positions.

“When I speak against [something], I don’t speak against a specific person, I speak against ideas and phenomena,” he says, adding that he did not put his plan to block pride parades among his coalition demands from Likud.

Iran soccer legend Daei targeted by ‘threats’ after backing protests

In this file photo taken on June 21, 1998, Iranian forward Ali Daei (L) fights for the ball with US midfielder Cobi Jones (R) during the France 1998 World Cup football match between Iran and USA at the Gerland stadium in Lyon on June 21, 1998.  (Photo by GERARD MALIE / AFP)
In this file photo taken on June 21, 1998, Iranian forward Ali Daei (L) fights for the ball with US midfielder Cobi Jones (R) during the France 1998 World Cup football match between Iran and USA at the Gerland stadium in Lyon on June 21, 1998. (Photo by GERARD MALIE / AFP)

Iranian soccer legend Ali Daei says he has been targeted by threats after backing ongoing protests in Iran triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini.

Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish origin, died on September 16, three days after her arrest by the notorious morality police while visiting Tehran with her younger brother.

Daei, whose 109 goals at international level was long unsurpassed until he was overtaken by Cristiano Ronaldo, played in Iran’s legendary 1998 2-1 World Cup victory against the United States.

He decided not go to the World Cup in Qatar due to the Iranian authorities’ deadly crackdown on the protests.

“I have received numerous threats against myself and my family in recent months and days from some organizations, media and unknown individuals,” Daei says in a statement on Instagram.

“I was taught humanity, honor, patriotism and freedom…. What do you want to achieve with such threats?” he adds

In the post, Daei also called for the “unconditional release” of prisoners arrested in the crackdown on the protests in Iran.

WHO says monkeypox to be renamed mpox

A health worker works at a monkeypox ward set up at a government hospital in Hyderabad, India, July 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)
A health worker works at a monkeypox ward set up at a government hospital in Hyderabad, India, July 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)

Monkeypox is to be renamed mpox in English, the World Health Organization announces, in a bid to avoid stigmatization stemming from the existing name.

Monkeypox received its name because the virus was originally identified in monkeys kept for research in Denmark in 1958, but the disease is found in a number of animals, and most frequently in rodents.

“Following a series of consultations with global experts, WHO will begin using a new preferred term ‘mpox’ as a synonym for monkeypox. Both names will be used simultaneously for one year while ‘monkeypox’ is phased out,” the UN health agency says in a statement.

“WHO will adopt the term mpox in its communications, and encourages others to follow these recommendations, to minimize any ongoing negative impact of the current name and from adoption of the new name.”

Civil rights groups urge Netanyahu not to pass ‘override law’

Likud party chairman MK Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the media at the Shaare Tzedek hospital in Jerusalem on November 23, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Likud party chairman MK Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the media at the Shaare Tzedek hospital in Jerusalem on November 23, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

A coalition of 16 civil rights organizations send a letter to presumptive incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging him not to allow an “override law” to be passed in the next government.

The incoming coalition plans to legislate an override clause that would allow lawmakers to reinstate legislation struck down by the High Court.

Negotiation teams from the right-religious coalition’s parties are currently debating the number of the Knesset’s 120 MKs that would be required to do so, but the clause itself is a legislative priority shared by all of the parties.

The petition cautions Netanyahu that passing such a law would lead to grave violations of human rights.

“Passing an override law may lead to a situation where the coalition, which is the majority at this time, will be given absolute and arbitrary control and unlimited power,” the petition says.

“In fact, the current political majority in Israel will give itself the authority to enact any law it wishes, even if the meaning of the legislation is a substantial violation of basic rights and a violation of the robustness and independence of the judiciary.”

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