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Tel Aviv protesters disperse after facing off with cops; over 20 arrested

Police hand out hundreds of fines, are accused of using excessive force as hundreds rally in Tel Aviv beyond midnight; cruisers attacked by ultra-Orthodox in Jerusalem

Israelis protest against Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Habima Square in Tel Aviv on October 3, 2020. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Israelis protest against Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Habima Square in Tel Aviv on October 3, 2020. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

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

Weekly anti-Netanyahu rallies held across Israel after law limiting protests

Numerous anti-Netanyahu protests are held across Israel after the passage of legislation this week limiting demonstrations during the coronavirus lockdown.

The new emergency measures bar Israelis from traveling more than a kilometer from their homes to protest and require demonstrators to maintain socially distanced “capsules.” The approval of the restrictions effectively squelched the weekly demonstrations outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem over the premier’s indictment on graft charges and handling of the pandemic.

Along with smaller protests held throughout the country, a few hundred people rally at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square.

The Black Flags, one of the groups leading the protests against Netanyahu, accuses the government of obsessing over the demonstrations rather than focusing on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They are silencing the public criticism… but we won’t give up our freedom to make our voices heard,” the group is quoted saying by the Walla news site.

Paris police launch probe into anti-Semitic graffiti at kosher restaurant

PARIS — An investigation has been opened after anti-Semitic graffiti was found in a kosher restaurant in the French capital, the Paris prosecutors’ office says.

A video posted on social media by the Union of Jewish Students of France shows the restaurant in the 19th district of Paris with anti-Semitic slogans and swastikas painted on the wall, broken windows and destroyed tables and chairs.

The probe was opened yesterday into “racist degradations,” the prosecutors say.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo condemns “with the utmost firmness this hateful act of anti-Semitic vandalism.” She expressed on Twitter her “full support” to the Jewish community. “We will not tolerate this,” she says.

Prime Minister Jean Castex also tweets his “solidarity with our Jewish compatriots,” saying he shares their “emotion and outrage.”

“The Republic will stand united against hatred and will fight against those who promote it,” he says.

French police registered 687 anti-Semitic acts last year, from vandalism to threats to physical attacks — a 27% rise from the year before. Reports of anti-Muslim and other racist acts also rose.

— AP

Egypt unearths 59 ancient coffins found near Saqqara pyramids

CAIRO — Egypt’s tourism and antiquities minster says archaeologists have unearthed dozens of ancient coffins in a vast necropolis south of Cairo.

Khalid el-Anany says at least 59 sealed sarcophagi, with mummies inside most of them, were found that had been buried in three wells more than 2,600 years ago.

“I consider this is the beginning of a big discovery,” el-Anany says, adding that there is an unknown number of coffins that have yet to be unearthed in the same area.

He speaks at a news conference at the famed Step Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara where the coffins were found. The sarcophagi have been displayed and one of them was opened before reporters to show the mummy inside. Several foreign diplomats attended the announcement ceremony.

The Saqqara plateau hosts at least 11 pyramids, including the Step Pyramid, along with hundreds of tombs of ancient officials and other sites that range from the 1st Dynasty (2920 BCE-2770 BCE) to the Coptic period (395-642).

Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, says initial studies show that the decorated coffins were made for priests, top officials and elites from the Pharaonic Late Period (664-525 BCE).

He says archaeologists also found a total of 28 statuettes of Ptah-Soker, the main god of the Saqqara necropolis, and a beautifully carved 35 cm tall bronze statuette of god Nefertum, inlaid with precious stones. The name of its owner, Priest Badi-Amun, is written on its base, he says.

— AP

Khaled El-Enaby, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities of Egypt, right, and Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, left, react after opening a sarcophagus that is around 2500 years old at the Saqqara archaeological site, 30 kilometers (19 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, October 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Khaled)

White House doctor says Trump doing ‘very well’ at hospital, doesn’t have a fever

BETHESDA, Maryland — US President Donald Trump’s doctor says he is doing “very well” as he spends the weekend at a military hospital for treatment of COVID-19.

Navy Commander Dr. Sean Conley says Trump has been fever-free for 24 hours as he updates the nation on the president’s condition from the hospital this morning. Trump was admitted yesterday after testing positive for the coronavirus.

While Conley says the president is not currently on oxygen, he refuses to say whether the president had ever been on oxygen, despite repeated questioning. He says that Trump’s symptoms, including a cough and nasal congestion “are now resolving and improving.”

“He’s in exceptionally good spirits,” says another doctor, Sean Dooley.

— AP

46 coronavirus deaths, 5,063 new infections recorded in Israel over Shabbat

The Health Ministry reports 5,063 new coronavirus cases over Shabbat, raising the number of infections since the pandemic began to 263,983.

The ministry announces 46 more deaths, bringing the national toll to 1,679.

Of the 71,908 active cases, there are 839 people in serious condition, with 224 on ventilators. Another 317 are in moderate condition and the rest have mild or no symptoms.

The Health Ministry says 59,731 tests were performed yesterday, 11.8 percent of which came back positive.

Apart from four countries with far smaller populations (Qatar, Bahrain, Aruba and French Guiana), Israel has the highest number of COVID-19 cases per capita of any country in the world, according to Worldometer data.

Police check addresses of Tel Aviv protesters to ensure they’re within 1 KM of their homes

Police are checking the addresses of protesters at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, as part of new emergency regulations barring Israelis from demonstrating over a kilometer from their homes.

Most of the protesters appear to maintain a distance from each other, though it isn’t clear they’re staying in “pods” of 20 people.

Meanwhile, a woman taking part in an anti-Netanyahu protest elsewhere in Tel Aviv was hospitalized after she was allegedly assaulted.

150-200 anti-Netanyahu protesters rally outside PM’s residence in Jerusalem

Some 150-200 people are protesting against Prime Minister Netanyahu outside his official residence in Jerusalem, according to Hebrew media estimates.

The Prime Minister’s Residence has been the center of ongoing protests against Netanyahu over his indictment on graft charges and handling of the coronavirus pandemic, drawing 10,000 to 20,000 demonstrators each week. However, under new emergency regulations limiting demonstrations during the current coronavirus lockdown, the weekly rally at Netanyahu’s residence is now capped at 2,000 protesters, who must maintain socially distanced “pods” of 20 people.

Demonstrators are also barred from traveling more than one kilometer from their homes.

US Senate cancels work as lawmakers contract virus

Senate Republicans have canceled legislative work until October 19 as the coronavirus sweeps through their ranks and lawmakers increasingly call for comprehensive testing on Capitol Hill.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says in a statement that confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett are still on.

One by one, US President Donald Trump and a series of GOP lawmakers have fallen ill with the virus that has killed more than 208,000 Americans.

Over the last week, many of the politicians who tested positive attended events at which few people wore masks and mingled in the halls and tunnels of the Capitol complex.

Just since yesterday morning, Trump, Senators Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Mike Lee of Utah and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin announced that they have tested positive.

The Senate was to reconvene this week ahead of its confirmation proceedings for Barrett. McConnell has said those hearings, scheduled to begin October 12, are “full steam ahead.”

— AP

IDF troops to stop assisting with lockdown enforcement after criticism

The military says it will be returning the soldiers it loaned to the Israel Police to assist in enforcing the national lockdown, following criticism that the troops were being used inefficiently and — in some cases — to break up political protests.

Instead, the police will be reinforced by border guards. The Israel Defense Forces will fill in for the Border Police in security missions in the West Bank.

— Judah Ari Gross

Israeli soldiers wear face masks at a police roadblock in Tel Aviv during the nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, September 19, 2020 (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

French academic Fariba Adelkhah temporarily released from Iranian prison, says lawyer

TEHRAN, Iran — French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah has been temporarily released from prison and is currently in Tehran with an electronic bracelet, her lawyer tells AFP.

Adelkhah “was released with an electronic bracelet. She is now with her family in Tehran,” attorney Saeed Dehghan says, adding that “we hope that this temporary release will become final.”


Trump was given oxygen before he was hospitalized — source

A person familiar with Donald Trump’s medical condition says the US president had been administered supplemental oxygen at the White House yesterday before he was hospitalized.

The person isn’t authorized to speak publicly and speaks to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The revelation follows a press conference by Trump’s doctors where they refused to confirm the president had been on oxygen following his COVID-19 diagnosis Thursday. The doctors would only say that Trump was not on oxygen at the hospital.

Doctors said Trump was doing well and his symptoms were subsiding. However, the person said the president’s condition had been “very concerning” but Trump has been improving since going to the hospital.

First Lady Melania Trump also has tested positive for the coronavirus and is recovering at home.

— AP

US President Donald Trump arrives at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, October 2, 2020 after he tested positive for the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Police surprised by number of anti-PM protests despite law limiting them — TV

Police were surprised by the number of anti-Netanyahu protests held across Israel this evening, according to Channel 12 news.

With thousands taking part in the protests despite a controversial new law limiting protests, the network’s police correspondent Moshe Nussbaum says the legislation “seems to be having the opposite effect.”

Under the new law, protesters are forbidden from demonstrating more than one kilometer from their homes and must adhere to social distancing guidelines.

3 protesters arrested outside FM’s home for ‘violating public order and health restrictions’

Cops arrested three demonstrators for protesting next to Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi’s home in Kfar Saba, police say in a statement.

Police allege the demonstrators were “violating public order and health restrictions,” without further specifying.

Police previously banned protesters from rallying next to Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn’s house in Hod HaSharon.

— Aaron Boxerman

Azerbaijan claims to capture village during fighting with Armenia

BAKU, Azerbaijan — Armenia and Azerbaijan say heavy fighting is continuing in their conflict over the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, and Azerbaijan’s president says his troops have taken a village.

The fighting that started September 27 is some of the worst to afflict Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas since the end in 1994 of a war that left the region in Azerbaijan under the control of local ethnic Armenian forces.

Armenian Defense Ministry spokeswoman Shushan Stepanian says intensive fighting is “taking place along the entire front line” and that Armenian forces had shot down three planes.

Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry denies any planes being shot down and says Armenian personnel had shelled civilian territory. Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev says his country’s army ”raised the flag” in the village of Madagiz.

Nagorno-Karabakh officials have said more than 150 servicemen on their side have been killed so far. Azerbaijani authorities haven’t given details on their military casualties but said 19 civilians were killed and 55 more were wounded.

Nagorno-Karabakh was a designated autonomous region within Azerbaijan during the Soviet era. It claimed independence from Azerbaijan in 1991, about three months before the Soviet Union’s collapse. A full-scale war that broke out in 1992 killed an estimated 30,000 people.

By the time the war ended in 1994, Armenian forces not only held Nagorno-Karabakh itself but substantial areas outside the territory’s formal borders, including Madagiz, the village Azerbaijan claimed to have taken Saturday.

Several United Nations Security Council resolutions have called for withdrawal from those areas, which the Armenian forces have disregarded.

— AP

Man detained for allegedly assaulting anti-Netanyahu protester in northern town

Police say they have detained a man for questioning in a suspected attack this evening on an anti-Netanyahu protester in the northern town of Pardes Hanna.

The suspect is a 25-year-old resident of Pardes Hanna, according to police.

Protesters reported that the demonstrator had his hand broken during the alleged assault.

Trump tweets he’s ‘feeling well,’ hails ‘AMAZING’ hospital staff

US President Donald Trump says he’s “feeling well” and has voiced his appreciation for the medical professionals treating him for COVID-19 at a military hospital.

Trump tweets, “Doctors, Nurses and ALL at the GREAT Walter Reed Medical Center, and others from likewise incredible institutions who have joined them, are AMAZING!!!”

He also says, “With their help, I am feeling well!”

It comes as White House chief of staff Mark Meadows says Trump went through a “very concerning” period yesterday and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care.

Trump’s doctors painted a rosy picture of the president’s health in a press conference at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. But the briefing raised more questions than it answered.

The White House says Trump is expected to stay at the hospital for “a few days” and would continue to work from the hospital’s presidential suite, which is equipped to allow him to keep up his official duties.

— AP

Dozens of anti-Netanyahu protesters in Tel Aviv arrested, hundreds fined

Cops have fined hundreds of anti-Netanyahu protesters in Tel Aviv this evening for alleged violations of new emergency regulations restricting demonstrations.

Police say before handing out the fines, they declare, “Good evening everyone. Maintain capsules, keep distance and wear masks. We’ll carry out enforcement.”

Meanwhile, dozens of protesters have reportedly been arrested during scuffles with police at the city’s Habima Square.

Along with the protest at Habima Square, large crowds of protesters are marching down Dizengoff Street.

Tel Aviv mayor lightly hurt during protest in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai was lightly injured during anti-Netanyahu protests this evening in the coastal city.

The Tel Aviv Municipality says Huldei was hurt by a “cop’s blow,” according to the Ynet news site. A photo shows blood coming from a cut on his arm.

The mayor had visited the protest at Habima Square, where dozens of people were reportedly arrested during scuffles between demonstrators and police.

Yesh Atid MK says he’ll convene Knesset committee on police conduct at Tel Aviv protests

Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah says he’ll convene a meeting of the Knesset State Control Committee on the conduct of police this evening at anti-Netanyahu protests in Tel Aviv, tweeting it “crossed the reasonable boundary.”

His tweet comes as clashes are reported between police and demonstrators in the city, with a Haaretz reporter sharing video showing motorcycle cops throwing punches at protesters.

Health Ministry says 2,232 new coronavirus infections so far on Saturday

Updated Health Ministry figures show the number of coronavirus cases recorded in Israel since the pandemic began rising to 264,443, with 2,232 confirmed so far today.

The ministry says 7,024 cases were reported yesterday.

The death toll rises to 1,682, with 22 fatalities since midnight.

There are 840 people in serious condition, with 224 on ventilators, and another 320 in moderate condition. The rest of the 71,509 total active cases are mild or asymptomatic.

According to the Health Ministry, 22,533 tests had been conducted today as of 10:35 p.m. Testing levels typically drop over the weekend and this Shabbat coincided with the first night of the Sukkot holiday.

Police hand out fines at 2 Bnei Brak yeshivas for ‘prohibited gatherings’

Police say they handed out at fines at two yeshivas in the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak for holding “prohibited gatherings” during the coronavirus lockdown.

At one yeshiva, the principal was hit with a NIS 5,000 fine. An unspecified number of people gathered there were also fined. Hebrew media reports name the facility as the prestigious Ponevezh Yeshiva.

Video shared on social media earlier this evening showed a few dozen people praying there.

Cops and protesters scuffle in Tel Aviv

Police in Tel Aviv are attempting to disperse a large group of protesters attempting to march down Allenby Street in the city.

A live feed from activist Orly Bar-Lev shows police and protesters scuffling outside the popular Carmel Market, as cops block protesters from continuing down the street.

The crowd appears to be in the hundreds, with no social distancing seen.

ההפגנה בת"א – חלק ג'!!!הצעדה נבלמה באלנבי והמשטרה יצרה מכלאה ממנה לא ניתן היה לצאת שעות!תיעוד אלימות משטרתית מטורפת, דוחות מופרכים, התנהלות משטרית חסרת הגיון ואנטי דמוקרטית.נראה שהמשטרה לא מבינה בכלל מה היא צריכה לעשות, ההנחיות שיורדות מהמפקדים לוקות בשיקול דעת, המשטרה לא החמיצה כמעט אף טעות בהתייחסות לאירוע.התוצאות בשטח הפוכות למה שהמשטרה רוצה להשיג, והמשטרה לא לומדת את הלקח הזה כבר ארבעה חודשים.סיכום ההפגנה למי שרוצה – בשבע דקות האחרונות של הסרטון

פורסם על ידי ‏‎Or-ly Barlev‎‏ ב- יום שבת, 3 באוקטובר 2020

Ultra-Orthodox in Mea Shearim riot, attack police vehicles

Riots are being reported in the ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem as police attempt to enforce lockdown rules.

One video shows crowds of people attacking police cruisers, and throwing objects at them. No injuries are reported.

Another video shows chaos inside the neighborhood, with a dumpster on fire in the middle of a major intersection.


Hundreds remain at Tel Aviv protest, arrests made

Hundreds of protesters remain on Tel Aviv’s Allenby Street.

According to Haaretz reporter Bar Peleg, the activists are being hemmed in by police, and arrests are being made by undercover cops circulating in the crowd.

Crowds of protesters on Tel Aviv’s Allenby Street on October 4, 2020. (screen capture: Facebook)

One video from there shows a protester being pinned up against a police vehicle while being arrested, as cops attempt to keep a photographer from documenting the scene.

There is no official word on how many have been arrested and on what charges.

Police say 21 arrested in Tel Aviv

Police announce that they have arrested 21 demonstrators in Tel Aviv so far during protests calling for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s resignation.

Clashes between police and thousands of demonstrators were reported in Tel Aviv late Saturday night; one video shows motorcycle cops throwing punches at protesters.

In a statement, police say they arrested demonstrators who “violated public order and attacked police officers.”

According to police, demonstrators are gathered by Allenby Street with law enforcement calling on them to disperse.

— Aaron Boxerman

Protest in Tel Aviv appears to disperse after chaotic night

The protest in Tel Aviv has largely dispersed.

Police are handing out NIS 1,000 fines to anyone who does not leave, Kan reports.

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