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Intense police operations in East Jerusalem in search for Jerusalem bombers – report

Report says police narrowing their search; last injured patient from attack released from hospital after undergoing a series of operations

Police and security personnel at the scene of a terror attack in Jerusalem, on November 23, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussil/Flash90
Police and security personnel at the scene of a terror attack in Jerusalem, on November 23, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussil/Flash90

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

Netanyahu, Smotrich holding second meeting of the day

Likud leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu (left) speaks with Religious Zionist party head MK Bezalel Smotrich at the swearing-in ceremony of the 25th Knesset in Jerusalem, November 15, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Likud leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu (left) speaks with Religious Zionist party head MK Bezalel Smotrich at the swearing-in ceremony of the 25th Knesset in Jerusalem, November 15, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu and Religious Zionism head Bezalel Smotrich are meeting for the second time today, according to a Smotrich spokesperson.

This evening’s meeting is less than a day after a reported breakthrough in coalition talks between the two, which included Smotrich’s agreement to Likud’s request to quickly appoint a new Knesset speaker.

Iran players unenthusiastically sing national anthem before USA World Cup clash

Players of Iran line up for the World Cup group B soccer match between Iran and the United States at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Players of Iran line up for the World Cup group B soccer match between Iran and the United States at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Iran’s players sang their national anthem, albeit without enthusiasm, before their World Cup clash with the USA on Tuesday.

The Iranians had opted not to sing the anthem before their opening match in Qatar against England, in what was widely viewed as a sign of support for mass anti-government protests at home, but they did sing it before their second game against Wales.

Justice Minister: An override law would be end of Israel as we know it

Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar attends a ceremony at the Ministry of Justice in Jerusalem, June 28, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar attends a ceremony at the Ministry of Justice in Jerusalem, June 28, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Outgoing Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar warns that the plans by the incoming coalition to pass the so-called override law would mean the end of “Israel as we know it.”

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.

“A country where the political level can also completely control the choice of judges and can also overturn any judicial decision is not the State of Israel as we know it,” Sa’ar tells a conference at Reichman University.

“There can’t be a Western democracy without judicial oversight over parliamentary legislation,” he says.

“I think that the coalition that is coming together is taking Israel to a dangerous place,” he adds.

 

Ben Gvir defends soldier jailed for taunting activists, demands to visit him

A Givati soldier is seen confronting an activist in the West Bank city of Hebron, November 25, 2022. (Screenshot: Breaking the Silence)
A Givati soldier is seen confronting an activist in the West Bank city of Hebron, November 25, 2022. (Screenshot: Breaking the Silence)

Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir slams the IDF for sentencing a soldier to 10 days in jail for taunting activists in the West Bank city of Hebron and demands to visit him in jail.

In a letter sent to Defense Minister Benny Gantz, published by Channel 12, Ben Gvir writes that there was nothing unacceptable about the soldier’s behavior and asks to visit him in the military prison tomorrow.

There was no imedeite response from Gantz.

The soldier on Friday confronted an activist and boasted that things will change when Ben Gvir, who is set to become Israel’s next national security minister — an expanded public security minister role —  comes to power.

“Ben Gvir is going to sort things out in this place,” the soldier said. “That’s it, you guys have lost… the fun is over.”

Ben Gvir also met with the soldier’s family although he later walked back some of his criticism of the IDF.

Ben Gvir later tweeted that his criticism was not aimed at the soldier’s commander who jailed him, rather at Gantz for setting policy that did not support the troops.

Netanyahu said set to ask Herzog for extension to form government

Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and President Isaac Herzog at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, November 13, 2022 (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and President Isaac Herzog at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, November 13, 2022 (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu is likely to ask President Isaac Herzog for an extension to form a government, Channel 12 reports.

Netanyahu has until December 11 to present his government. However, even though he is said to be closing in on finalizing deals with his partner parties, the report says he wants the extension.

Herzog has the discretion to give Netanyahu a 14-day extension.

The report says Netanyahu wants the time to hammer out all the details of the coalition agreements beyond the allocation of portfolios and to give the Knesset time to pass a law that will allow Shas chief Arye Deri to serve as a minister despite a recent criminal conviction.

Under current law, Deri’s tax offense conviction earlier this year, which included a suspended jail sentence, makes it difficult to appoint him to a ministerial position.

Police chief to cops who shot dead car-rammer: ‘That’s what I want to see’

Security forces near a vehicle of a Palestinian man who carried out a ramming attack near the West Bank outpost of Migron, on November 29, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Security forces near a vehicle of a Palestinian man who carried out a ramming attack near the West Bank outpost of Migron, on November 29, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Police chief Kobi Shabtai praises police officers who shot and killed a Palestinian man who carried out a car-ramming attack in the West Bank, saying “that’s what I like to see.”

An Israeli soldier was seriously wounded in a car-ramming attack in the West Bank.  The attacker was shot by officers after a brief chase.

“Your actions were excellent,” Shabtai tells the officers after the incident. ” From the first identification of the suspicious vehicle, even before you knew about the incident, and then afterward connecting it to the attack and the final result, a dead terrorist — that’s what I like to see.”

Intense police operations in East Jerusalem in search of Jerusalem bombers – report

The Israeli flag hangs at the scene where a bomb exploded at the entrance to Jerusalem, on November 23, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
The Israeli flag hangs at the scene where a bomb exploded at the entrance to Jerusalem, on November 23, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Channel 12 reports there are intensive police and Shin Bet operations in East Jerusalem as part of the search for the people behind the double Jerusalem bombings last week.

The report says the Israeli forces are narrowing their focus, but additional details were barred from publication.

Two people were killed in the bombings last week.

Last injured patient from Jerusalem bombings released from hospital

Police and security personnel at the scene of a terror attack in Jerusalem, on November 23, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussil/Flash90
Police and security personnel at the scene of a terror attack in Jerusalem, on November 23, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussil/Flash90

The last patient hospitalized with wounds from last week’s Jerusalem bombings is released home.

Sha’arei Tzedek hospital says the 62-year-old man was admitted in a serious condition and after treatment, including several operations to remove shrapnel, is being sent home in a good condition for further recovery and rehabilitation.

Netherlands, Senegal advance to last 16 in World Cup

Virgil van Dijk of the Netherlands plays during the World Cup group A soccer match between the Netherlands and Qatar, at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor , Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
Virgil van Dijk of the Netherlands plays during the World Cup group A soccer match between the Netherlands and Qatar, at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor , Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

Senegal captain Kalidou Koulibaly puts his team into the final 16 of the World Cup by volleying home the winner in a 2-1 victory over Ecuador.

Koulibaly scored three minutes after Moises Caicedo had evened the score at 1-1.

In a must-win match for the African champions, Senegal took the lead after a first-half penalty by Ismaila Sarr. Caicedo scored his goal in the 67th.

At 1-1, Ecuador would have advanced from Group A and Senegal would have been eliminated.

The Netherlands beat Qatar 2-0 in the other match to win the group. Senegal finished second while Ecuador and Qatar were eliminated.

Senegal last advanced from the group stage at the 2002 World Cup when the team reached the quarterfinals in its tournament debut.

Gantz speaks with Turkish counterpart, confident good relations will continue

Defense Minister Benny Gantz (L)meets with his Turkish counterpart, Hulusi Akar, in Ankara on October 27, 2022 (Elad Malka/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz (L)meets with his Turkish counterpart, Hulusi Akar, in Ankara on October 27, 2022 (Elad Malka/Defense Ministry)

Outgoing Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks with his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar and tells him he is confident that warming ties between the two countries will continue.

Gantz is heading to the opposition while Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu is putting together a new government.

“I told the Turkish defense minister that I am sure that the trend of closer security ties between the countries will continue,” Gantz says.

Gantz also again conveys Israel’s condolences for the recent terror attack in Istanbul and thanks Akar for Turkey’s condemnation of last week’s bomb attacks in Jerusalem.

UN leader tells Palestinian solidarity event that ‘occupation must end’

Delegates attend a Palestinian solidarity meeting at the United Nations in New York on November 29, 2022 (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)
Delegates attend a Palestinian solidarity meeting at the United Nations in New York on November 29, 2022 (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

The President of the UN General Assembly Csaba Kőrösi calls for increased support for UNRWA and for diplomatic pressure against Israel at an event marking solidarity with Palestinians.

“I ask you to walk a mile in the shoes of Palestinians,” Kőrösi says at the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People event at the UN headquarters in New York.

“Hope and prosperity cannot come from a zero-sum game,” he says, urging UN countries to “use the leverage of your governments” to encourage dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians.

He nods to the “legitimate aspirations of all sides” in his speech, delivered alongside the Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour.

The UN Chef de Cabinet Earle Courtenay Rattray, speaking on behalf of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, says the UN head is “deeply saddened by the growing number of Palestinians who have lost their lives.”

He describes the “drivers of the conflict” as settlements, home demolitions, Gaza closures and hopelessness.

“The UN position is clear — peace must advance, the occupation must end,” he says on behalf of Guterres.

Mansour, speaking on behalf of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, says the event marks “another year of killing, siege, arrests, forced displacement, and home demolitions.”

“Another year of settlements and dismemberment of our homeland through the annexation wall, land confiscation and military checkpoints. Another year that witnessed more violence and incitement against our people and their Christian and Islamic holy sites,” Mansour says.

He says journalist Shireen Abu Akleh “was assassinated by the Israeli occupying forces in cold blood” and calls on the international community to pressure Israel.

“We cannot expect the Israeli occupier who supports colonization and settler terrorism,” Mansour says, “to wake up one day and choose justice and peace.

The international community must mobilize and intensify its efforts to put pressure on Israel to end its occupation and stop its crimes.

”He pledges that the Palestinians will uphold human rights, including the “freedom of expression and empowerment of women,” and carry out the democratic process by holding national elections and forming a unity government.

Key Knesset committee convenes for first meeting, gets briefing on West Bank terror

The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee discusses Shin Bet phone tracking against suspected carriers of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, in Jerusalem, November 30, 2021. (Danny Shem Tov/Knesset)
The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee discusses Shin Bet phone tracking against suspected carriers of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, in Jerusalem, November 30, 2021. (Danny Shem Tov/Knesset)

The Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee holds its first working meeting of the 25th Knesset today, during which it received a security briefing on “hostile terror activity,” according to a committee spokesperson.

The closed briefing focused on West Bank and Jerusalem, and the “connections” between these areas and the Gaza Strip.

In particular, senior Israel Defense Forces officers and Shin Bet staff brief committee members on intelligence, counterterrorism, and other ongoing operational activity in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Israel has experienced an uptick in terror internally and from the West Bank in recent months. Earlier in the day, the latest attack left a 20-year-old female soldier hospitalized.

Police announce arrest of wanted terror suspect in West Bank

A police spokesman says undercover Border Police officers arrested a terror suspect in the West Bank city of Jenin a short while ago.

The spokesman says the suspect, Nasser Ghanem, previously jailed in Israel, is wanted for “advancing terror activities.”

Ghanem has been transferred to the Shin Bet security agency for further questioning.

Palestinians say man killed by IDF fire in West Bank, 5th fatality in a day

Masked Palestinians burn tires during clashes with Israeli security forces following the funeral of Mufid Khalil in the West Bank village of Beit Ummar, near Hebron, November 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)
Masked Palestinians burn tires during clashes with Israeli security forces following the funeral of Mufid Khalil in the West Bank village of Beit Ummar, near Hebron, November 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

A Palestinian man is killed by Israeli troops’ gunfire in the central West Bank, Palestinian health officials say.

The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry says the man was shot by Israeli forces in the village of al-Mughayyir, near Ramallah.

There is no immediate comment from the Israel Defense Forces on the incident.

The incident marks the fifth Palestinian to be killed by Israel fire today, after an alleged car-ramming attacker was killed earlier, and three others were killed clashing with troops in the West Bank.

Russia delays nuclear talks with US over Ukraine war

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov at the State Department in Washington, July 17, 2017 (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov at the State Department in Washington, July 17, 2017 (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

Moscow has postponed a round of nuclear arms control talks with the United States set for this week because of stark differences in approach and tensions over Ukraine, a senior Russian diplomat says.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov says the decision to put off the talks that were scheduled to start today in Cairo was made at the political level.

“We faced a situation when our US colleagues not just demonstrated their reluctance to listen to our signals and reckon with our priorities, but also acted in the opposite way,” Ryabkov tells reporters in Moscow.

Ukraine says it has received French long-range rocket systems

Ukraine says it has received a multiple rocket launcher system from France, adding to the arsenal of long-range artillery credited with changing dynamics on the battlefield against Russia.

“LRU from France have arrived in Ukraine! The Ukrainian army is now even more powerful,” Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov tweets.

The French-provided LRU is the fourth variety of sophisticated rocket-launcher system (MLRS) — after HIMARS, M270 and MARS II — to be supplied to Ukraine to help Kyiv battle Russia’s invasion.

It has a range of around 70 kilometers (43 miles).

Ukraine in recent months has been using the Western-supplied systems to hit command stations and ammunition depots deeper into Russian-controlled territory than its own arsenal would allow.

Kyiv is asking for more long-range weapons to sustain steady progress on the battlefield and air defense systems to avert waves of Russian strikes.

Rights group says at least 448 protesters killed in Iran, including 60 children

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

Iranian security forces have killed at least 448 people in a crackdown on protests that began in mid-September, over half in ethnic minority regions, a rights group says.

Of the 448 people confirmed to have been killed, 60 were children aged under 18, including nine girls, and 29 women, the Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) group says.

It says 16 people were killed by security forces in the past week alone, of whom 12 were slain in Kurdish-populated areas where protests have been particularly intense.

The toll has also risen after the deaths of people killed in previous weeks were verified and included, it adds. The toll only includes citizens killed in the crackdown and not members of the security forces.

Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps earlier said more than 300 people had been killed, the first time the authorities have acknowledged such a figure.

Yair Netanyahu kicked out of court, calls ex-MK a ‘bitch’ in mutual libel case

Yair Netanyahu, son of prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for a court hearing in the defamation lawsuit filed by former MK Stav Shaffir in Tel Aviv, on November 29, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Yair Netanyahu, son of prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for a court hearing in the defamation lawsuit filed by former MK Stav Shaffir in Tel Aviv, on November 29, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Yair Netanyahu, son of presumed incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is ordered out of court after an outburst that includes calling former Knesset member Stav Shaffir “a bitch.”

Netanyahu and Shaffir are suing each other.

Shaffir is seeking NIS 263,000 ($76,600) in damages for Twitter posts in 2020 she claims were slander and sexual harassment.

Netanyahu has sued her in return for NIS 300,000 ($87,385) over things she wrote back at the time and in other past social media posts.

Netanyahu’s outburst came amid the opening of the evidence stage, where he repeatedly interrupted Shaffir’s testimony.

Netanyahu also accuses her of having had “an Arab boyfriend” and stealing millions in public funds.

Iran releases jailed soccer player ahead of match against US

Illustrative: Voria Ghafouri (R) during the AFC Champions League group C match between Saudi's Al-Ahli and Iran's Esteghlal on April 27, 2021 at the King Abdullah sport city stadium in the Saudi city of Jeddah. (Photo by AFP)
Illustrative: Voria Ghafouri (R) during the AFC Champions League group C match between Saudi's Al-Ahli and Iran's Esteghlal on April 27, 2021 at the King Abdullah sport city stadium in the Saudi city of Jeddah. (Photo by AFP)

Iranian authorities say that a former member of the national soccer team arrested last week over his criticism of the government has been released on bail.

The announcement came hours before Iran was set to play the US at the World Cup in a match that authorities are heavily promoting as they grapple with nationwide protests that are well into their third month.

Voria Ghafouri was arrested last week for “insulting the national soccer team and propagandizing against the government,” according to state-linked media. The judiciary announces his release today without elaborating.

Ghafouri, who was not chosen to go to the World Cup, has been an outspoken critic of Iranian authorities throughout his career. He objected to a longstanding ban on women spectators at men’s soccer matches as well as Iran’s confrontational foreign policy, which has led to crippling Western sanctions.

More recently, he expressed sympathy for the family of a 22-year-old woman whose death while in the custody of Iran’s morality police ignited the latest protests. He also called for an end to a violent crackdown on protests in Iran’s western Kurdistan region.

Iranian officials have not said whether Ghafouri’s activism was a factor in not choosing him for the national team.

Iran said to promise Thailand not to try and attack Israelis on its soil

View of the beach on Koh Samui, Thailand, August 21, 2017 (Nati Shohat/FLASH90)
View of the beach on Koh Samui, Thailand, August 21, 2017 (Nati Shohat/FLASH90)

Iran has promised Thailand that it will no longer try and carry out attacks on Israeli targets on its soil, the Walla news site reports, citing a Foreign Ministry cable.

In recent weeks Bangkok informed Jerusalem of the development during a  high-level diplomatic visit to Thailand, the report says.

Iran has in the past tried to carry out several attacks against Israelis in Thailand, a popular tourist destination.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the report, while the Thai Embassy in Israel told Walla that the facts of the report were not accurate.

Eisenkot warns incoming coalition could lead to ‘break up of the army’

MK Gadi Eisenkot poses for a picture a day before the opening session of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on November 14, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
MK Gadi Eisenkot poses for a picture a day before the opening session of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on November 14, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Former IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisnkot warns that the incoming government, with its far-right members, could lead to the breakup of the IDF.

“The behavior of the future coalition undermines the authority of the IDF command, harms the faith of the public, and could lead to the breakup of the army,” says Eisenkot, now an MK with the National Unity party, speaking at an Israel Democracy Institute conference.

Eisenkot speaks out against transferring control of certain units and the Civil Authority in the West Bank to other ministries, as demanded by Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir and Religious Zionism’s Bezalel Smotrich.

“The citizens of Israel are not aware of the complex reality in which we, the IDF and Shin Bet, operate to combat terrorism with a 98% success rate and save lives. If this balance is violated, it will create a very complex situation,” he says.

He also backs up the IDF commanders who earlier today sentenced a soldier who taunted an activist in the West Bank city of Hebron last week to 10 days in military prison.

The soldier on Friday confronted an activist and boasted about Ben Gvir, who is set to become Israel’s next national security minister — an expanded public security minister role.

Eisenkot slammed Ben Gvir for supporting the soldier’s actions.

Ben Gvir suggested Saturday that left-wing activists were to blame. “The activities of politicians weaken the IDF and the public’s faith in it,” he said.

European court rejects German far-right teacher’s appeal against blacklist

Illustrative -- A man participates in a demonstration of the German far-right party 'Die Rechte' in Ingelheim, Germany, April 20, 2019. (Boris Roessler/dpa via AP)
Illustrative -- A man participates in a demonstration of the German far-right party 'Die Rechte' in Ingelheim, Germany, April 20, 2019. (Boris Roessler/dpa via AP)

The European Court of Human Rights rejects a German teacher’s appeal against being blacklisted for her far-right activities because they are considered incompatible with Germany’s constitution.

Ingeborg Godenau, who has a long history of involvement with far-right parties and groups, had petitioned the court to order her name removed from a list of teachers “deemed unsuitable for reappointment to a teaching post” that was compiled in 2009 by authorities in the central state of Hesse.

The woman said that as a result of the listing, all her applications for teaching posts had been unsuccessful and she had been unemployed and living off welfare benefits ever since.

Godenau argued that her inclusion breached article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights guaranteeing freedom of expression and opinion.

But in its ruling today, the Strasbourg-based court finds that German authorities hadn’t overstepped the law. The authorities’ interference in her freedom of expression was “proportionate,” and she could seek judicial review of her listing in the domestic courts at any point, the ruling says.

It notes that German court rulings casting doubt on her loyalty to the constitution were based on “a well-reasoned assessment of the relevant facts” about her long-running involvement with the far right.

Jerusalem court orders Gaza man to pay taxes on NIS 45 million lottery win

Illustrative: A lotto card from Israel's Mifal Hapayis national lottery. (Flash90/Abir Sultan)
Illustrative: A lotto card from Israel's Mifal Hapayis national lottery. (Flash90/Abir Sultan)

A Jerusalem court orders a Gaza Strip resident to pay taxes on some NIS 45 million ($13 million) that he won in Israel’s national lottery.

Diab Ibrahim Dib won the jackpot Lotto draw in 2015, but appealed against having to pay some 30% of his winnings to the Israeli tax man, claiming that he was not liable as a resident of the Gaza Strip.

However, the court rejects his appeal and orders him to pay some NIS 13 million to the treasury. He is also told to pay NIS 30,000 in legal costs.

Census finds Christians now a minority in England; non-religious grow

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in Westminster Abbey, London,  November 11, 2018. (Paul Grover/Pool photo via AP)
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in Westminster Abbey, London, November 11, 2018. (Paul Grover/Pool photo via AP)

Fewer than half the people in England and Wales consider themselves Christian, according to the most recent census — the first time the country’s official religion has been followed by a minority of the population.

Britain has become less religious — and less white — in the decade since the last census, figures from the 2021 census released today by the Office for National Statistics reveals.

Some 27.5 million people or 46.2 percent in England and Wales described themselves as Christian, down 13.1 percentage points from 2011.

“No religion” rose by 12 points to 37.2 percent or 22.2 million, while Muslims stood at 3.9 million or 6.5 percent of the population, up from 4.9 percent before.

The next most common responses were Hindu (1.0 million) and Sikh 524,000), while Buddhists overtook Jewish people (273,000 to 271,000).

The other parts of the UK, Scotland and Northern Ireland, report their census results separately.

Secularism campaigners said the shift should trigger a rethink of the way religion is entrenched in British society. The UK has state-funded Church of England schools, Anglican bishops sit in Parliament’s upper chamber, and the monarch is “defender of the faith” and supreme governor of the church.

Andrew Copson, chief executive of the charity Humanists UK, said “the dramatic growth of the non-religious” had made the UK “almost certainly one of the least religious countries on Earth.”

Israel Press Council chief warns of expected attack on freedom of press

Justice Hanan Meltzer, chairman of the Central Elections Committee attends a committee meeting at the Knesset on April 3, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Justice Hanan Meltzer, chairman of the Central Elections Committee attends a committee meeting at the Knesset on April 3, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Former Supreme Court justice Hanan Meltzer, who now serves as president of the Israeli Press Council, warns of an expected attempt by the incoming government to impose limits on the freedom of the press in Israel.

Speaking at Reichman University, Meltzer responds to news that the incoming government wants to shut down the news division of the Kan public broadcaster.

“The Press Council will be forced to turn to the public and do everything in its power to thwart an expected attack on the freedom of the press and the media,” he says.

“In recent days, it was reported that the news division of the public broadcaster will be abolished, and some believe that this trend is expected to be extended to other media as well,” Meltzer says.

“If this is not officially denied as soon as possible, I hereby announce as the president of the Press Council that we will be forced to appeal to the public and do whatever we can within the framework of the law to thwart this anticipated attack on the freedom of the press and the media, the public’s right to know and our democratic resilience.”

Moscow blasts pope over ‘cruel’ Russian minorities jab

Pope Francis arrives for an audience with members of the International Christian Union of Business Executives, in the Pope Paul VI hall at the Vatican, October 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis arrives for an audience with members of the International Christian Union of Business Executives, in the Pope Paul VI hall at the Vatican, October 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Russia expresses “indignation” at comments by Pope Francis singling out the alleged role of Russian ethnic minorities in Moscow’s military invasion of Ukraine, news agencies report.

Pope Francis in an interview published yesterday says that some of the “cruelest” actors among Russia’s ranks in Ukraine “are not of the Russian tradition,” but minorities like “the Chechens, the Buryati and so on.”

Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti news agency reports that Moscow’s ambassador to the Vatican had lodged an official complaint in response.

“I expressed indignation at such insinuations and noted that nothing can shake the cohesion and unity of the multinational Russian people,” Russian ambassador to the Vatican Alexander Avdeev tells the agency.

Moscow was accused in September of drawing disproportionately from ethnic minorities in Siberia and in its Caucasus region when the Kremlin announced a draft of hundreds of thousands of men to the military.

Kremlin critics say minorities from impoverished and isolated regions are dying are in larger numbers in Ukraine compared to ethnic Russians.

But they have also been accused in Ukraine of playing outsized roles in places like Bucha, where the Russian military allegedly killed civilians.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova in a social media post late Monday describes the comments as “beyond Russophobia,” and “perversion.”

Kohavi condemns Druze soldiers who threw bomb at Palestinian home as act of revenge

Mourners hold up a picture of Druze teenager Tiran Fero at his funeral in Daliyat al-Karmel, northern Israel, November 24, 2022. (Shir Torem/Flash90)
Mourners hold up a picture of Druze teenager Tiran Fero at his funeral in Daliyat al-Karmel, northern Israel, November 24, 2022. (Shir Torem/Flash90)

Military chief Aviv Kohavi condemns an incident of Druze soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces allegedly hurling an explosive device at a Palestinian home in the West Bank.

“This is a serious act that goes against the values ​​of the IDF. This is not our way,” Kohavi says during a military conference held yesterday.

“We must condemn such behavior,” he adds.

Three soldiers from the Druze community were arrested over the incident, raising suspicions that it was related to the case of Druze teenager Tiran Fero, whose body was seized by Palestinian gunmen from a West Bank hospital after a car crash last week.

The detentions of two of the suspects are extended until Sunday.

Environment Ministry working to contain small oil leak from tanker in Eilat

A barrier surrounds a small oil spill from a tanker at the Europe Asia Pipeline Company's oil terminal in the southern city of Eilat, November 29, 2022. (Environmental Protection Ministry)
A barrier surrounds a small oil spill from a tanker at the Europe Asia Pipeline Company's oil terminal in the southern city of Eilat, November 29, 2022. (Environmental Protection Ministry)

A small amount of fuel leaks from an oil tanker anchored at the Europe Asia Pipeline Company’s (EAPC) oil terminal in the southern city of Eilat.

The Environmental Protection Ministry reports that the leak has been contained by barriers placed around the tanker.

Marine inspectors from the ministry are currently at the site to guide those involved in treating and removing the spill.

The Gulf of Eilat is home to sensitive coral reefs, which underpin the city of Eilat’s tourism industry.

A ministry statement says, “This incident emphasizes once again that oil pollution incidents can and do occur all the time, and emphasizes the importance of the Ministry of Environmental Protection’s policy of zero additional risk in the Gulf of Eilat.”

 

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