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Energy Ministry gives final approval for production to start at Karish gas field

After maritime border deal reached between Israel and Lebanon, Energean gets green light to begin extracting gas from offshore field that was threatened by Hezbollah

Energean's floating production system (FPSO) at the Karish gas field in the Mediterranean Sea. (Energean)
Energean's floating production system (FPSO) at the Karish gas field in the Mediterranean Sea. (Energean)

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

Israeli troops detain Palestinian suspect in West Bank stabbing attack

In this handout photo, IDF troops detain the Palestinian suspected of stabbing an Israeli man in the West Bank village of al-Funduq on October 25, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)
In this handout photo, IDF troops detain the Palestinian suspected of stabbing an Israeli man in the West Bank village of al-Funduq on October 25, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

Israeli troops detain a Palestinian man who alleged stabbed and seriously wounded an Israeli man earlier today in the West Bank village of al-Funduq.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, the alleged stabber was detained nearby following insensitive scans and intelligence received from the Shin Bet security agency.

24/7 opening of Allenby crossing between West Bank and Jordan to begin November 6

Passengers arrive on the Jordanian side of the Allenby Bridge crossing between the West Bank and Jordan on July 19, 2022. (Khalil Mazraawi/AFP)
Passengers arrive on the Jordanian side of the Allenby Bridge crossing between the West Bank and Jordan on July 19, 2022. (Khalil Mazraawi/AFP)

A senior official in the Israel Airports Authority told The Times of Israel that the pilot program to operate the Allenby crossing between the West Bank and Jordan 24/7 will begin November 6, after the state agency’s directorate approved the plan yesterday.

3rd TV poll predicts renewed gridlock, with Netanyahu’s bloc 1 seat shy of majority

A television poll broadcast this evening has opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-religious bloc winning 60 seats — one seat shy of a majority — in next week’s elections, the third survey in the past two nights to predict further parliamentary deadlock after the November 1 vote.

According to Channel 13 news, Netanyahu’s Likud will be the largest party with 31 seats.

Likud was followed by Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid, which grew to a record 27 seats in the network’s poll, with the gain coming at the expense of its left-wing allies Labor and Meretz.

The far-right Religious Zionism was predicted to get 14 seats, while the ultra-Orthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism received eight and seven, respectively. All three parties are aligned with Netanyahu.

National Unity, a center-right alliance led by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, picked up 11 seats in the survey, while Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman’s right-wing secularist Yisrael Beiteinu rose to six seats, up one from Channel 13’s last poll.

Four parties were forecast to win four seats apiece — Labor, Meretz, the majority-Arab Hadash-Ta’al and the Islamist Ra’am.

The nationalist Jewish Home party, led by Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, came short of the minimum vote threshold needed to enter the Knesset.

The survey, conducted by pollster Kamil Fuchs, included 801 respondents and had a 3.5 percent margin of error.

Blinken stresses ‘real concern’ over West Bank violence in meeting with Herzog

President Isaac Herzog (R) and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meet in Washington, October, 25, 2022. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)
President Isaac Herzog (R) and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meet in Washington, October, 25, 2022. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expresses concern over West Bank violence during a meeting in Washington with President Isaac Herzog.

Blinken highlights “the real concern that we have about the violence that we’re seeing in the West Bank and we are urging everyone to take the necessary steps to try to deescalate that violence and to avoid actions or statements that may incite it.”

America’s top diplomat praises the Israel-US relationship, calling Herzog’s visit “a powerful symbol of the enduring partnership between Israel and the United States.”

“We’ve done very good and very important work together over the last couple of years including the truly historic agreement between Lebanon and Israel on the maritime demarcation, something that offers the prospect of benefits to Israel and Lebanon alike,” he says.

Blinken also stresses joint opposition to Iran.

“We are standing together against the dangerous, destabilizing and terrorizing actions that Iran is taking in the region and well beyond the region,” he says.

“The provision of drones by Iran to Russia to enable its further aggression against Ukraine and the Ukrainian people is showing horrific results on the ground in Ukraine and it’s something we are determined to stand against,” he adds.

Herzog says the pair will discuss Iran and “the challenges it poses to us and humanity at large” during their closed door meeting.

“Our hearts go out to the people of Iran, the women of Iran,” Herzog says, referring to the ongoing protests there.

“I will be exposing more of the fact that Iranian weapons are being used against civilians in Ukraine,” he adds.

Herzog also says the two will “discuss the integration of Israel in the region and the Abraham Accords as well as the potential openings for Israel in the region.”

He thanks the administration for supporting the Lebanon maritime border deal.

“The relationship between Israel and the United States is as strong as ever,” he declares.

‘No hiding place for terror’: IDF chief Kohavi hails intel behind Nablus raid

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi speaks at a conference in Modi'in, June 12, 2022. (Flash90)
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi speaks at a conference in Modi'in, June 12, 2022. (Flash90)

Military chief Aviv Kohavi hails the “excellent intelligence” that led forces to kill a leader of the Lion’s Den terror group in a raid this morning in Nablus.

“Excellent intelligence and professional forces penetrated the heart of the Kasbah and killed those who try, and in one case even succeeded, to harm the citizens of the State of Israel and its soldiers,” Kohavi says at a ceremony for fallen soldiers of the Kfir brigade, referring to the fortified Nablus Old City.

“We said and proved that there is no hiding place for terror. We will reach every city, neighborhood, house, or basement, and in the end, every terrorist will be arrested or killed,” Kohavi says.

“This is a war on terror, a complex war based on the high professional capabilities of the IDF units, and with commanders and soldiers with a high level of morality and ethics,” he adds.

Speaking on a soldier who was suspended after he assaulted a Palestinian man in Hebron on Sunday night, Kohavi says it “puts a stain” on the IDF.

“Such behavior puts a stain on the entire IDF, it is not our way, and we reject such behavior with disgust,” he says.

Shaked vows to run ‘until the end’ amid reported pressure to quit

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked at B'Sheva group conference in Jerusalem, on October 23, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked at B'Sheva group conference in Jerusalem, on October 23, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked confirms that she’ll head the Jewish Home party in next week’s elections despite its poor polling performance, amid reports that she is facing internal pressure to quit the race.

“I’m here to stop the rumor factory, I’m running until the end,” says Shaked at a press conference in Tel Aviv.

After inheriting the gutted Yamina party from former prime minister Naftali Bennett, Shaked briefly experimented with the now-defunct Zionist Spirit alliance before moving on to lead Jewish Home.

In Israel’s often inaccurate but politically influential election surveys, Jewish Home routinely polls well below the 3.25% electoral threshold to enter Knesset.

“All of the surveys say the same thing, the right wing doesn’t have the seats,” Shaked says, arguing that if her party surprises and makes it into the Knesset, she will hand the right-religious bloc enough seats to clinch a government.

“I’ve always been loyal to my values and I’m not giving up,” she adds.

“Give me the chance to represent you.”

Condition worsens of Israeli man wounded in West Bank stabbing attack

The condition of the Israeli man wounded in the stabbing attack in the West Bank earlier has deteriorated, the hospital treating him says.

According to the Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, the 55-year-old is now listed in moderate-serious condition after being attacked in the Palestinian village of al-Funduq.

Odeh defends Hadash-Ta’al member who called Palestinian terrorists ‘martyrs’

Hadash-Ta'al leader Ayman Odeh at a Channel 13 news conference in Jerusalem on July 26, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Hadash-Ta'al leader Ayman Odeh at a Channel 13 news conference in Jerusalem on July 26, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Hadash-Ta’al leader Ayman Odeh comes to the defense of his party’s lawmaker Aida Touma-Sliman, who praised five members of a Palestinian terror group as “martyrs” after they were killed during clashes with Israeli troops in Nablus.

In a tweet, Odeh claims Touma-Sliman is being subject to “attacks and incitement by the leaders of a country that is occupying another.”

“We will always stand firm and strong against evil, supremacy and racism,” he adds.

Netanyahu accuses Lapid of trying ‘to incite’ Arab Israelis against him

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu takes a swipe at Prime Minister Yair Lapid after the latter urged Arab Israelis to vote for the sake of their communities.

“Today, [Lapid] went to the Arab public and tried to incite it against me,” the former premier says in a video statement.

“It was simply better,” Netanyahu argues of his time in office, using the stump speech issues of inflation and crime to bolster his political credibility ahead of elections.

While visiting Nazareth earlier, Lapid warned that if Arab Israelis do not vote, “they need to understand that what was given in the past year will be taken from them.”

Energy Ministry gives final approval for production to start at Karish gas field

Energean's floating production system (FPSO) at the Karish gas field in the Mediterranean Sea. (Energean)
Energean's floating production system (FPSO) at the Karish gas field in the Mediterranean Sea. (Energean)

The Energy Ministry gives its final approval to Energean to begin production in the Karish natural gas field.

In a statement, Prime Minister Yair Lapid stresses that “as we said all along, the production of gas from the Karish field would start as planned the moment the technical conditions are completed.”

Before the recent maritime border agreement was reached between Israel and Lebanon, the terror group Hezbollah — which launched drones towards Kain July — had threatened attacks if Israel proceeds with gas extraction in the disputed area.

Lapid says that the extraction of natural gas from Karish “strengthens Israel’s energy stability, advances our standing as energy exporters, strengthens Israel’s economy, and helps in contending with the global energy crisis.”

Video shows police officers beating Bedouin man they detained

A group of Israel Police officers are seen in a video beating a Bedouin man they detained in a video shared on social media Tuesday.

In the short clip, filmed from a passing vehicle, two officers are seen holding a man between them.

Two other officers then approach, with one shouting “you said you would put a bullet in my head” before slapping the suspect around the face.

A struggle erupts and the suspect is knocked to the ground.

Two officers continue to hit the suspect while pinning him down, with one kicking him and another repeatedly punching him in the head.

Another officer who arrives, with a pistol in his hand, instructs passing motorists to move along.

Hadash-Ta’al MK Ahamad Tibi also tweets the video along with the remark “this is how a young Arab Bedouin is arrested in Israel: Two officers grab [him] and the rest come and to avenge and wildly beat him.”

Israel Police says in a statement that the incident occurred during a raid to seize illegal weapons that uncovered five pistols and ammunition.

Three brothers were arrested in the raid, one of whom tried to bolt with a bag, according to police, who say the suspect was apprehended and that the five weapons were found in the bag.

Police say that one of the suspects also threatened to harm police with a firearm and began to escape, but was arrested.

A police source says that the video of the beating was passed on to the Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigations Department.

Herzog says upcoming elections in Israel and US shouldn’t impact bilateral ties

President Isaac Herzog shakes hands with Jewish American leaders in Washington on October 25, 2022. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)
President Isaac Herzog shakes hands with Jewish American leaders in Washington on October 25, 2022. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

President Isaac Herzog meets with Jewish leaders in Washington.

Sitting alongside Ambassador Michael Herzog, his brother, the president says the bond between Israel and the US should not be influenced by the upcoming elections in both countries.

“You have elections and midterms, we have elections in Israel next week. I think one thing should transcend both — the friendship and close bond between Israel and the United States is unbreakable and it is a value that we must all cherish and work for. May I also add we must respect each other’s democracies,” Herzog says.

“There will be of course discussions about the outcome,” he says.

“First and foremost, the underlying rule should be we honor and respect democracy.”

Norway detains university lecturer suspected to be Russian spy

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Norway’s domestic security agency says it has detained a man who entered the country as a Brazilian citizen but is suspected of being a Russian spy.

A local court orders him held for four weeks.

Martin Bernsen, a spokesman for the Norwegian Police Security Service, known as PST, confirms a suspected spy had been detained and says the case is ”huge,” but doesn’t go into details.

In a statement, Arctic University of Norway administrator Jørgen Fossland says the person in question is “a guest lecturer” at the school.

Fossland refers other questions to the security service.

The man was detained yesterday in the Arctic city of Tromsø, where the university is located.

PST deputy chief Hedvig Moe says the man is “a Brazilian citizen, but we believe he, in reality, is Russian.”

The detained man’s lawyer, Thomas Hansen, tells the Norwegian newspaper VG his client denies any wrongdoing.

He was ordered held today for four weeks, VG reports.

Shaked expected to say she’s running until the end at press conference tonight

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked at a Jewish Home party campaign event in Givat Shmuel, September 20, 2022. (Flash90)
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked at a Jewish Home party campaign event in Givat Shmuel, September 20, 2022. (Flash90)

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked will announce at a press conference tonight Jewish Home will not drop out before next week’s election despite poor poll numbers, according to advisers close to her and the alliance’s No. 2 Yossi Brodny.

The Shaked-led electoral list has consistently failed to poll above the minimum vote threshold needed to enter the Knesset, and a report earlier today asserted she was facing internal pressure to drop out.

Jewish Home later denied Shaked was asked to quit.

IDF suspends settlement security coordinator filmed aiding attack on Palestinians

The Israel Defense Forces says it has suspended a settlement security coordinator who was seen on Friday aiding settlers attacking Palestinian olive harvesters.

A video, taken by the Yesh Din rights group, showed the security officer watching as masked youths hurl stones on a hill between Burin and the Israeli settlement of Har Bracha.

The footage shows the officer holding a tear gas grenade given to him by a settler and pointing toward the Palestinians, before the settler hurls another tear gas grenade at them, and then returns to take back the projectile he handed him.

“This act is a deviation from the behavior expected from qualified Israeli security personnel,” the IDF says in a statement.

The coordinator for the Har Bracha settlement has been suspended pending a review by the chief of the IDF’s Samaria regional brigade, Col. Shimon Siso.

He has also been questioned by police over the incident.

Herzog says will present US officials with proof of Iranian drone use in Ukraine

The wreckage of what Kyiv has described as an Iranian Shahed drone downed near Kupiansk, Ukraine, September 13, 2022. (Ukrainian military's Strategic Communications Directorate via AP)
The wreckage of what Kyiv has described as an Iranian Shahed drone downed near Kupiansk, Ukraine, September 13, 2022. (Ukrainian military's Strategic Communications Directorate via AP)

President Isaac Herzog will present to US officials evidence that Iranian drones are being used in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during a meeting tomorrow.

In the past few weeks, advanced Iranian drones have been witnessed in action against civilians in Ukraine, the president’s office says.

Through visual analysis, security officials have determined that fragments of drones are identical to those developed in Iran.

Herzog will present photos of the evidence to US officials during his two-day visit to Washington.

The photos show the Iranian Shahed-136 drone model being launched during a drill in Iran in December 2021. Other images show that the same aircraft have fallen in Ukraine.

Photo evidence shows that the drones in Ukraine have many of the same features including their structure, dimensions and numbering.

Iran also presented drones at an exhibition in 2014 that have the same engines as aircraft shot down in Ukraine, the president’s office said.

“Once again Iran proves it cannot be trusted and that in every region where there is killing, suffering and hate — Iran is there,” Herzog says in a statement.

“Iranian weapons play a central role in global destabilization, and the international community must learn its lesson, now and in the future,” he adds.

IDF: Stabbing in West Bank village likely a terror attack

The Israel Defense Forces says the stabbing incident in al-Funduq is likely a terror attack.

An Israeli man hurt in the attack has been taken to a hospital in good-moderate condition.

The IDF says it is scanning the area for the alleged stabber.

Herzog discusses Israel-Lebanon maritime border deal with US mediator

President Isaac Herzog (R) meets with US energy envoy Amos Hochstein in Washington, October 25, 2022. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
President Isaac Herzog (R) meets with US energy envoy Amos Hochstein in Washington, October 25, 2022. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Kicking off his trip to Washington, President Isaac Herzog meets with US senior energy envoy Amos Hochstein, the Biden administration’s mediator in the maritime border dispute between Israel and Lebanon.

Hochstein helped broker a deal between the sides, the signing of which he is set to attend Thursday in the Lebanese city of Naquoura, though the Israeli and Lebanese representatives will not be in the same room.

“The President and Mr. Hochstein discussed the details of the deal, its terms, and its implications for regional stability. President Herzog thanked Mr. Hochstein for his assistance in advancing the deal,” a statement from Herzog’s spokesman says.

Some 100 Gazans gather near border after deadly Nablus raid

Around 100 Palestinians are holding a protest near the northern Gaza Strip border, apparently over this morning’s deadly raid in the West Bank city of Nablus.

Images published by Palestinian media show several tires on fire and some people hurling stones.

The Israel Defense Forces says it is monitoring the protest.

Israeli man stabbed in West Bank village

Israeli troops and medics are seen at the scene of stabbing in the West Bank village of al-Funduq, October 25, 2022. (Courtesy)
Israeli troops and medics are seen at the scene of stabbing in the West Bank village of al-Funduq, October 25, 2022. (Courtesy)

A 55-year-old Israeli man is wounded in a stabbing in the West Bank village of al-Funduq, medics say.

According to the Rescuers Without Borders emergency service, the man was stabbed after he exited a store in the Palestinian village. He then reached his car and drove off to a nearby junction.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says its medics are treating the man at the nearby junction. He is listed in good-moderate condition.

There is no immediate comment from authorities regarding the background of the incident.

Headcam video shows police commandos carrying out raid on Nablus bomb workshop

In this screen capture of headcam footage, Israeli police commandos fire grenades during a raid on an explosives workshop in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, October 25, 2022. (Screen capture: Twitter)
In this screen capture of headcam footage, Israeli police commandos fire grenades during a raid on an explosives workshop in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, October 25, 2022. (Screen capture: Twitter)

Police publish headcam footage of the elite Yamam counterterrorism unit operating in the West Bank city of Nablus this morning during a raid against the Lion’s Den terror group.

The video shows officers circling a home where Wadee al-Houh, a leader of Lion’s Den, and other gunmen were. Israeli officials say the home was also used to manufacture explosive devices.

In the footage, officers can be seen launching grenades at the building.

Al-Houh and four other Lion’s Den gunmen were killed in the ensuing clashes.

In a statement, Border Police chief Amir Cohen says the Yamam unit “will continue to act against terrorism with determination wherever necessary in order to maintain the security of the citizens of Israel.”

Hadash-Ta’al MK calls Nablus gunmen killed in clashes with IDF troops ‘our martyrs’

Joint Arab List MK Aida Touma-Sliman in the Knesset in Jerusalem on June 8, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Joint Arab List MK Aida Touma-Sliman in the Knesset in Jerusalem on June 8, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Hadash-Ta’al MK Aida Touma-Sliman seems to praise five Palestinian gunmen — including a top member of a terror group — who were killed in clashes with Israeli troops who were carrying out a raid on an explosives workshop in Nablus overnight.

“Nablus separates from our martyrs today. Our Palestinian nation bids farewell to its martyrs,” she writes in a Facebook post that includes a photo from the funeral today in the northern West Bank city.

“The more the occupation increases its crimes, the resistance escalates. An important lesson in the history of nations,” Touma-Sliman adds.

Her remarks are denounced by Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

“I’m ashamed of public representatives who support terrorists and are prepared to let them continue to spill the blood of Israeli citizens,” Gantz tweets.

“MK MK Aida Touma-Sliman proves again that [Hadash-Ta’al] can’t be included in a government or relied on to form one,” he adds. “Israel’s security comes before the formation of a coalition.”

State agency that runs Allenby crossing advances plan to keep it open 24/7

An Israeli soldier stands at the entrance to the Allenby border crossing, the main border crossing for Palestinians from the West Bank traveling to neighboring Jordan and beyond, March 10, 2014. (AP/Sebastian Scheiner)
An Israeli soldier stands at the entrance to the Allenby border crossing, the main border crossing for Palestinians from the West Bank traveling to neighboring Jordan and beyond, March 10, 2014. (AP/Sebastian Scheiner)

A US-backed plan to operate the Allenby Crossing between the West Bank and Jordan 24/7 appears to be back on track after hitting a hurdle last week.

The directorate of the Israel Airports Authority, which operates the crossing, convened yesterday to discuss a pilot program that will test the ability to operate Allenby full-time, a spokeswoman for Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli tells The Times of Israel, adding that the body voted to advance the proposal.

However, the spokeswoman says that a date hasn’t been set for when the pilot will launch.

US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides hails the development, tweeting, “I am glad to see the airport authority pilot approval to open Allenby bridge 24/7. This is good for Palestinians, good for Israel, good for America.”

The initiative was first announced by US President Joe Biden when he was in the region over the summer. The White House said it would begin on September 30.

However, the Transportation Ministry later notified Washington that the airport authority did not have enough staff to launch the operation on such source notice. It instead proposed rolling out a pilot program that would begin on October 24.

Last week though, Michaeli’s office revealed that airport authority chairman Yitzhak Gershon had notified the ministry that he opposed launching the pilot program during an election season, forcing the initiative’s further delay.

Yitzhak told The Times of Israel at the time that he supported the program but insisted that it go through the directorate first.

2 Islamic Revolutionary Guards officers reportedly shot dead in Zahedan

TEHRAN, Iran — Two members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were killed by unidentified gunmen in the southeastern city of Zahedan today, the Tasnim news agency says.

“Colonel Mehdi Molashahi and Javad Kikha, Guards members in Sistan-Baluchistan province, were shot dead by unknown assailants in the city of Zahedan,” the agency says.

Zahedan, one of the few Sunni-majority cities in Iran, was recently the scene of a bloody crackdown on protesters demonstrating against the alleged rape of a teenage girl by a local chief.

Top negotiator for Israelis held by Hamas to leave post after 5 years

Yaron Blum, coordinator for negotiating the return of POWs and MIAs, on April 3, 2019 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Yaron Blum, coordinator for negotiating the return of POWs and MIAs, on April 3, 2019 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Yaron Blum, the top negotiator on behalf of Israelis held by the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group, has agreed with Prime Minister Yair Lapid that he’ll step down at the end of the month after five years in the post, the premier’s office announces.

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office says Lapid thanked Blum and and hailed him for “the professionalism, dedication and sensitivity with which he filled the role.”

“The prime minister stressed that the State of Israel remains committed to the return of its sons — the captured and the missing,” it added.

Lapid’s military secretary, Brig. Gen. Avi Gil, will take over for Blum on a temporary basis until a new negotiator is appointed.

Hamas is holding two Israeli citizens, Avraham Abera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, along with the remains of IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, who were killed during a 50-day conflict with the terror group in 2014

Partial solar eclipse seen over Israel

Through a filter this partial solar eclipse, the moon covers a part of the sun in the town of Givatayim, near Tel Aviv, October 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Through a filter this partial solar eclipse, the moon covers a part of the sun in the town of Givatayim, near Tel Aviv, October 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Israelis catch a glimpse of a partial solar eclipse this afternoon, as the rare celestial spectacle make its way east across a swathe of the Northern Hemisphere.

At its peak over Israel, the eclipse obscured close to half the sun.

The partial eclipse began earlier today over Iceland and will end later off the coast of India, crossing parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East on its way, according to the IMCCE institute of France’s Paris Observatory.

Iran’s Raisi accuses US of ‘dragging feet’ on return to nuclear deal

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi addresses the parliament in a vote of confidence session for his proposed labor minister in Tehran, Iran, October 4, 2022. (AP/Vahid Salemi)
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi addresses the parliament in a vote of confidence session for his proposed labor minister in Tehran, Iran, October 4, 2022. (AP/Vahid Salemi)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi accuses the United States of “dragging their feet” instead of making a decision to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.

The 2015 agreement with major powers, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), gave Iran sanctions relief in return for restricting its nuclear program.

It has been on life support since then-president Donald Trump withdrew the United States from it in 2018, but on-off talks have been held since April 2021 in an effort to revive it.

“Today, it is the Americans who have to make a decision, but they are delaying and dragging their feet,” Raisi tells reporters today in Tehran.

Raisi’s comments follow weeks of demonstrations in Iran sparked by the death of the 22-year-old Mahsa Amini on September 16, after her arrest for allegedly violating the country’s strict dress code for women.

The United States and other Western parties to the deal have imposed fresh sanctions on Iran over its reaction to the Amini protests.

Washington said earlier this month that a return to the deal was unlikely in the near future.

“It’s not that we don’t want to see the JCPOA reimplemented, we of course do. We’re just not in a position where… that’s a likely outcome anytime in the near future,” White House spokesman John Kirby told reporters on October 13.

Washington is currently “focused” on authorities in Iran being “accountable for what they are doing” to the protesters, Kirby added.

Lapid congratulates Rishi Sunak: ‘Israel and the UK are close allies’

Prime Minister Yair Lapid congratulates Rishi Sunak on becoming Britain’s new premier.

“Israel and the United Kingdom are close allies. We share not only mutual interests, but an unwavering commitment to democratic values,” Lapid writes on Twitter. “I look forward to working together to shape a stronger, safer future for both our countries and peoples.”

In first comments as UK’s new PM, Sunak vows to fix ‘mistakes’ by Truss

Britain's newly appointed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak delivers a speech outside 10 Downing Street in central London, on October 25, 2022. (Daniel Leal/AFP)
Britain's newly appointed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak delivers a speech outside 10 Downing Street in central London, on October 25, 2022. (Daniel Leal/AFP)

LONDON — New British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak vows to fix the errors made by his predecessor Liz Truss while warning of “difficult” decisions ahead.

Speaking on the steps of Downing Street after being appointed premier by King Charles III, Sunak speaks of Truss’s “noble” aims but says some “mistakes” had been made.

“Right now our country is facing a profound economic crisis, the aftermath of Covid still lingers, Putin’s war in Ukraine has destabilized energy markets and supply chains the world over,” he says.

He says, however, he wants to “pay tribute” to Truss, whose tenure as leader lasted just seven weeks.

Her tax-slashing budget sparked economic and political turmoil.

“She was not wrong to want to improve growth in this country. It is a noble aim and I admired her restlessness to create change but some mistakes were made, not born of ill will or bad intentions, but mistakes nonetheless,” he says.

“And I have been elected as leader of my party — your prime minister — in part to fix them, and that work begins immediately,” he adds.

Lapid visits Nazareth, urges Arab Israelis to vote in next week’s election

Prime Minister Yair Lapid (L) meets with Nazareth Mayor Ali Salem during a visit to the northern city on October 25, 2022. (Kobi Wolf)
Prime Minister Yair Lapid (L) meets with Nazareth Mayor Ali Salem during a visit to the northern city on October 25, 2022. (Kobi Wolf)

Prime Minister Yair Lapid visits the northern city of Nazareth where he meets with Mayor Ali Salem and other Arab municipal leaders, as he calls on Arab Israelis to vote in next week’s elections.

In his pitch, Lapid touts falling violent crime levels this year, after a record number of homicides among Arabs in Israel last year.

“The responsibility of the Arab society for its fate is ultimately expressed in it being part of the democracy,” he says.

He argues that if Arab Israelis do not vote, “they need to understand that what was given last year will be taken from them.”

“You’re voting for your lives, you’re voting for partnership,” Lapid says.

After Nablus raid, Gantz says anyone who harms Israelis ‘will end up in jail or a grave’

Defense Minister Benny Gantz (L) and Brig. Ben. Avi Blot at the IDF's Samaria Regional Brigade headquarters in the northern West Bank on October 25, 2022. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz (L) and Brig. Ben. Avi Blot at the IDF's Samaria Regional Brigade headquarters in the northern West Bank on October 25, 2022. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz visits the Samaria Regional Brigade headquarters in the northern West Bank after an overnight IDF raid on an explosives workshop in Nablus.

“We won’t accept the reality of terror on any front where we operate. Anyone who tries to harm Israeli citizens will end up in jail or a grave,” he says.

Gantz adds: “There will be no safe havens for terrorists and we will be wherever is needed to fulfill our mission.”

The military’s detonation of the bomb workshop sparked deadly clashes in Nablus between Israeli troops and Palestinians, with at least five killed — including a leader of the Lion’s Den terror group.

Herzog arrives in US, will meet with Blinken and top Congress members later today

President Isaac Herzog (R) meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
President Isaac Herzog (R) meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

President Isaac Herzog has arrived in Washington, kicking off a two-day visit to the US capital.

Herzog will meet today with American Jewish leaders, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and top Congress members.

He’ll also take part in an event marking two years since the series of US-backed normalization deals between Israel and several Arab countries, known as the Abraham Accords.

Tomorrow, he is due to meet with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan before being hosted by US President Joe Biden at the White House.

Iranian students protest in Tehran, heckle presidential spokesman: ‘Death to the dictactor’

PARIS — Iranian students heckle a top official and chant anti-government slogan, videos show, a day after security forces were accused of beating schoolgirls amid a crackdown on protests over Mahsa Amini’s death.

Security forces were seen firing tear gas after massing outside the Shahid Sadr girls vocational school in Tehran yesterday, in the footage shared by activists on social media.

Young women and schoolgirls have been at the forefront of protests sparked by Amini’s death last month, after her arrest for an alleged breach of the Islamic republic’s strict dress code for women.

Despite a crackdown by the security forces that rights groups say has killed at least 122 protesters, young women and men are again seen protesting in online videos from today.

“Death to the dictator” and “Death to the Revolutionary Guards,” women chant as they ride escalators in Tehran metro stations, in videos widely shared on Twitter.

Students heckle presidential spokesman Ali Bahadori Jahromi as he speaks at Tehran’s Khaje Nasir University, in a video published by the reformist paper Hammihan.

“Spokesman, get lost!” and “We don’t want a corrupt system, we don’t want a murderer,” they shout.

Teachers observed a strike around the country the past two days over the crackdown, and another strike was said to be underway in Amini’s home province of Kurdistan today.

Rights group Amnesty International says the crackdown on the wave of protests has cost the lives of at least 23 children, while Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights said Thursday that at least 27 children have been killed.

Children and teachers are among the thousands arrested in the crackdown, IHR added.

Video shows settlers hurling stones at Palestinians, IDF soldier throwing stun grenade

Masked Israeli settlers are seen hurling stones at a group of Palestinians harvesting olives near the West Bank town of Turmus Aya, as an Israeli soldier throws a stun grenade.

The Israel Defense Forces tells The Times of Israel that troops arrived at the scene to separate the sides who were hurling stones at each other.

The settlers also set fire to several Palestinian cars during the clash, according to the military and media reports.

Responding to the footage showing a soldier hurling a stun grenade at the Palestinian side, a military spokesperson says “security forces in the area used riot dispersal means in order to disperse the two sides.”

In a separate video clip, several of the settlers can be seen coming toward a group of Palestinians and volunteers, then throwing a rock toward them, setting off a stone-throwing skirmish as soldiers who were nearby approach.

Rishi Sunak becomes British PM after meeting King Charles III

King Charles III (right) welcomes Rishi Sunak during an audience at Buckingham Palace, London, where he invited the newly elected leader of the Conservative Party to become prime minister and form a new government, October 25, 2022. (Aaron Chown/Pool photo via AP)
King Charles III (right) welcomes Rishi Sunak during an audience at Buckingham Palace, London, where he invited the newly elected leader of the Conservative Party to become prime minister and form a new government, October 25, 2022. (Aaron Chown/Pool photo via AP)

LONDON — Rishi Sunak has become British prime minister after being asked to form a government by King Charles III.

Sunak meets at Buckingham Palace with the king, who had just accepted the resignation of Liz Truss. In Britain’s constitutional monarchy, the monarch plays a ceremonial role in appointing government leaders.

Sunak is expected to immediately begin appointing a cabinet today and getting to grips with an economic crisis that has left millions of Britons struggling to afford food and energy bills.

The third Conservative prime minister this year, he will also try to unite a governing party that is riven with divisions.

Adidas cuts ties with Kanye West over ‘unacceptable’ antisemitic outbursts

Kanye West, second from right, makes final rounds before the showing of the Kanye West Adidas Fall 2015 collection at Fashion Week in New York, Feb. 12, 2015. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Kanye West, second from right, makes final rounds before the showing of the Kanye West Adidas Fall 2015 collection at Fashion Week in New York, Feb. 12, 2015. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

BERLIN — German sportswear brand Adidas says it’s ending its partnership with Kanye West after a series of antisemitic outbursts by the controversial rapper.

Recent comments by West — known formally as Ye — were “unacceptable, hateful and dangerous,” Adidas says in a statement. “After a thorough review, the company has taken the decision to terminate the partnership with Ye immediately.”

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