IDF investigating shooting of alleged car-ramming driver
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IDF investigating shooting of alleged car-ramming driver

Military Police to probe soldiers’ claim that Palestinians were attempting to run them down near West Bank settlement of Halamish

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

IDF forces operate in the West Bank settlement of Halamish on July 23, 2017. (IDF spokesman)
IDF forces operate in the West Bank settlement of Halamish on July 23, 2017. (IDF spokesman)

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

IDF chief: We’re watching Gaza terror activities closely

IDF chief Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot warns terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip to refrain from retaliating against the army’s destruction of an attack tunnel that entered Israeli territory from the southern Strip the day before.

“Any response or violation of Israeli sovereignty will be answered with determination and in a forceful and clear way, as we did yesterday,” the army chief says during a meeting with senior officers near the Gaza border.

At least seven Palestinians were killed, including two senior terrorist commanders, and another 12 were injured on Monday when the Israeli army blew up an attack tunnel stretching from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said, in the deadliest incident in the coastal enclave since the 2014 Gaza war.

Eisenkot adds that the military was not resting on its laurels after the demolition and was “maintaining its preparedness” and “closely monitoring what is happening among terror officials in the Gaza Strip.”

— Judah Ari Gross

Hamas leader promises ‘blood for blood’ – after reconciliation

Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh says the terror group intends to violently respond to the deaths of seven Gaza terror group members Monday after Israel blew up an attack tunnel stretching from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, but suggested the response would be delayed as Palestinian factions work toward reconciliation.

“I assure the leadership of [Palestinian] Islamic Jihad, blood for blood, destruction for destruction,” says Haniyeh, speaking at the funeral for those who died in the tunnel, which belonged to the PIJ terror group, which controls the second-largest military after Hamas in the Strip.

Five of the dead belong to PIJ, two of whom were senior leaders, while two members of Hamas’s military wing were killed, according to the terror group, during a rescue operation in the exploded tunnel.

While Haniyeh vowed to attack Israel, he stressed that Hamas’s immediate response would be to quicken his party’s reconciliation efforts with the Fatah party, which controls the Palestinian Authority.

— Dov Lieber

JCC Manhattan will add donor’s name after $20 million gift

The JCC Manhattan will be named after the late Marlene Meyerson, a supporter of the institution for more than 20 years, after a $20 million donation from the Marlene and Morton Meyerson Family Foundation.

The gift is one of the largest ever to a Jewish community center in the United States, the JCC Manhattan said in an announcement. The new name will be incorporated in February.

The Jewish Community Center Manhattan building. (Google maps)

In addition to the name change, the Meyerson Family Foundation has commissioned artist Jenny Holzer to collaborate with members of the community to create site-specific art that will be placed throughout the building. Holzer, based in New York, is famed for her public space installations combining words and ideas in large-scale pieces. The Meyersons were early supporters of Holzer’s work.

Marlene Meyerson, a leader in Dallas civic and cultural affairs, died earlier this year. Morton is an investor who at various times served as CEO of Perot Systems and duPont Glore Forgan, a Wall Street brokerage firm.


UN bracing for 40,000 Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria

Thousands of people have fled Cameroon’s violence-hit anglophone regions into neighboring Nigeria in recent weeks, the UN says, promising to help 40,000 refugees escape from the unrest.

“We are preparing to help up to 40,0000,” UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch tells AFP, stressing though that the number of people fleeing into Nigeria could easily surpass that figure.

The UN refugee agency and Nigerian authorities have so far registered some 2,000 Cameroonians who have fled into southeastern Nigeria since October 1, while another 3,000 were awaiting registration. Even more people are believed to be trapped in forests on the Cameroonian side.

French-speaking Cameroon has a large anglophone minority which comprises around a fifth of its population of 22 million.


On Reformation anniversary, Catholics, Lutherans ‘beg forgiveness’ for violence

Catholic and Lutheran leaders issue a joint statement saying they beg forgiveness for violence waged during a revolution that saw Protestants break away from the Roman Catholic Church 500 years ago.

“We begged forgiveness for our failures and for the ways in which Christians have wounded the Body of the Lord and offended each other during the five hundred years since the beginning of the Reformation until today,” the Vatican and Lutheran World Federation say.


German police arrest Syrian suspected of preparing terror attack

German police have arrested a Syrian man suspected of preparing a terror attack using powerful explosives, prosecutors say, almost one year after a deadly jihadist truck rampage at a Berlin Christmas Market.

The man, identified only as Yamen A., 19, was held at dawn by special forces in the northeastern town of Schwerin, the federal prosecutors office say in a statement.

Authorities inspect a truck that sped into a Christmas market in Berlin, on December 19, 2016. (AFP Photo/Odd Andersen)

Several apartments were also searched in the region, which is north of Berlin.

The man is suspected of having “planned and already concretely prepared an Islamist-motivated attack in Germany using very powerful explosives,” the statement says. “It has not yet been established whether the suspect already had a target in mind or not,” it said, adding that prosecutors did not have any information whether the suspect belonged to “a terrorist organization.”

German police have been on high alert to the threat of Islamist attacks, particularly since December last year when a man hijacked a truck and plowed into shoppers at a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people.

The attacker was shot dead by police in Milan four days later, and the rampage was claimed by the Islamic State group.


Syria regime shelling kills 4 schoolchildren in besieged town

Syrian regime shelling killed four schoolchildren and a man in the rebel-held besieged town of Jisreen east of the capital Damascus, a Britain-based monitor and a medical source says.

“A shell fired by regime troops hit the entrance of a school in Jisreen just as children were leaving it, killing five people including four schoolchildren,” Syrian Observatory for Human Rights chief Rami Abdel Rahman says.

A medical source at the town hospital confirmed the death toll.

A man mourns next to the bodies of Syrian schoolchildren at a makeshift hospital following a reported government shelling in the rebel-held besieged town of Jisreen, east of the capital Damascus, on October 31, 2017. (AFP Photo)

An AFP photographer at the medical facility saw the bodies of four children, as well as school bags and a small shoe covered in blood. He also saw several wounded, including one child with amputated legs.

Jisreen lies in the rebel-held stronghold of Eastern Ghouta east the capital, where opposition fighters have been battling President Bashar al-Assad’s troops for six years.


Tech companies find more signs of Russian election activity

Major tech companies plan to tell Congress Tuesday that they have found additional evidence of Russian activity on their services surrounding the 2016 US election.

Facebook, for instance, says a Russian group posted more than 80,000 times on its service during and after the election, potentially reaching as many as 126 million users. The company plans to disclose these numbers to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the testimony. The person declined to be named because the committee has not officially released the testimony.

Twitter plans to tell the same committee that it has uncovered and shut down 2,752 accounts linked to the same group, Russia’s Internet Research Agency, which is known for promoting pro-Russian government positions.

— AP

German soccer fans create photo of Anne Frank in rival team’s jersey

Stickers showing a doctored photo of Anne Frank wearing a German soccer team’s jersey appeared in Dusseldorf, Germany, a week after a similar incident occurred in Rome.

The stickers show the teenage Holocaust diarist in a Schalke team jersey.

It is believed that the stickers were created by the Borussia Dortmund soccer team, which reportedly has a number of neo-Nazis as part of their hardcore fan base.

Photos of the stickers were first posted on the German blog Ruhr (German).

German police are investigating the incident, according to reports. Anti-Semitism is a crime in German, as is Holocaust denial.


WWI Australian battle re-enacted in Israel on centennial

One hundred years after Australian and New Zealand soldiers captured the city of Beersheba during WWI, their descendants are reenacting the dramatic horseback charge of the Negev city.

Nearly 200 children and grandchildren of the ANZAC soldiers are retracing the final six-kilometer charge on Beersheba in full period uniforms.

History enthusiasts and descendants of Australian Mounted Division and ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division) Mounted Division soldiers ride their horses during rehearsal of the reenactment of the Battle of Beersheba when British and ANZAC forces captured Beersheba from the Ottoman Empire during the World War I, as part of the 100 years anniversary in near Beersheba, southern Israel, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

The battle of Beersheba on October 31, 1917, opened the door for the British capture of Palestine a year later.

Tamar Pileggi

Top cop slams attempt to bar police from recommending charges against public officials

The Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich criticizes a proposal to prevent the force from recommending the indictment of public officials, saying it is “impossible” for police to complete investigations without doing so.

With the proposal to make the prime minister immune from criminal investigation shelved over coalition disagreements, Likud MKs are now pushing a bill which will keep the police from being able to recommend whether to indict or not at the end of an investigation.

“When we are talking about the decision of the State Prosecution, the police force doesn’t pass on a recommendation as such, but rather summarizes the case presenting whether there is evidence of criminality or not,” Alsheich tells reporters outside a Knesset committee session.

For investigations against public officials, the State Prosecution is tasked with deciding whether to press charges or not, based on the investigation carried out by the police.

“It is impossible to publish the results of the investigation without summarizing it,” Alsheich said bluntly. “I don’t know what this new bill is.”

Strong earthquake of 6.3 magnitude hits eastern Indonesia

A strong earthquake with a 6.3 magnitude strikes eastern Indonesia, causing some damage to buildings and sending people running from their homes.

The quake struck at a depth of 32.4 kilometers (20 miles) and was centered 32 kilometers west of Hila on the island of Ambon, the US Geological Survey (USGS) reports.

There were no immediate reports of injuries and no tsunami warning was issued. The USGS website assesses the likelihood of deaths or major damage as low.

“There was damage and it is still being monitored,” Mochammad Riyadi, an official at Indonesia’s meteorology and geophysics agency, tells AFP.

The earthquake was one of five tremors that rattled Maluku province within 30 minutes, according to the agency. The others were all under magnitude 6.


Trump calls former campaign aide who pleaded guilty a ‘liar’

In an early morning Twitter rant, US President Donald Trump blast the “fake” media and his Democratic rivals and calls a former campaign aide who has pleaded guilty in the Russia probe a “liar.”

The attack comes a day after special counsel Robert Mueller announced charges against three aides to Trump’s campaign who were indicted as part of a sprawling investigation into Russian efforts to influence the vote.

One of the three, George Papadopoulos, who Trump has previously called an “excellent guy,” pleaded guilty earlier this month on a charge of lying to the FBI about his Kremlin-related contacts.

The other two, former campaign chief Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, pleaded not guilty Monday on charges of conspiracy, money laundering and other counts.

Russia says nothing wrong with Trump campaign contact

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says he sees nothing wrong with a former campaign adviser to President Donald Trump reaching out to a Kremlin-linked think tank.

Court papers unsealed on Monday revealed that George Papadopoulos who worked on the Trump campaign had reached out to a Russian he believed to have links to the Russian foreign ministry to arrange a meeting between the Trump team and Russian officials.

In this photo from US President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, George Papadopoulos, third from left, sits at a table with then-candidate Trump and others at what is labeled at a national security meeting in Washington that was posted on March 31, 2016. (Donald Trump’s Twitter account via AP)

The Russian International Relations Council has confirmed contact with Papadopoulos, but said a meeting never took place. The council insisted that it was an independent advisory body and that it hosts many politicians at various public meetings.

Asked about the man mentioned in the indictment, Lavrov tells reporters that he “does not see anything illegal” in the interaction.

— AP

Teen indicted for anti-Semitic vandalism of New York Jewish cemetery

A teenager is being indicted for the anti-Semitic vandalism of a Jewish cemetery in New York state’s Orange County.

The wall of the Beth Shalom Cemetery in the Town of Warwick, was spray painted with anti-Semitic graffiti including swastikas, “Heil Hitler,” and Nazi SS symbols more than a year ago on October 9, 2016. Warwick is located about 90 minutes north of Manhattan.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is pressing charges against Eric Carbonaro, 18, of Warwick, of fifth-degree conspiracy as a hate crime and two counts of tampering with physical evidence, both felonies.

The indictment states that Carbonaro deleted photos and other information about the vandal attack from the phones of two other people, according to the Times Herald-Record. This includes a meme that read “secretly spray paints Jewish cemetery and gets away with it,” according to the report, citing the indictment.


Held by UK immigration officers, yeshiva student almost misses own wedding

British immigration officers detained for three days an ultra-Orthodox Israeli and US citizen who arrived in the United Kingdom to marry his English bride.

Yosef Goldenberg of Los Angeles, who is studying in Israel, arrived last week at London’s Heathrow Airport carrying his American passport en route to his wedding Monday in Newcastle even though his request for a special marriage visa had been denied. Goldenberg was hoping to enter as a tourist but was barred from doing so because he had already applied unsuccessfully for the marriage visa.

He was finally allowed to enter the United Kingdom following intervention by Israel’s interior minister, Aryeh Deri, who had heard about Goldenberg’s case and asked British authorities to give him a concession so he would make it to his own wedding to Yael Naomi Maimren of Gateshead, near Newcastle.

“I personally guarantee that within 10 days of the wedding, the bride and groom will leave England and move to Israel,” Deri wrote to British officials, according to Arutz 7. “My ministry has checked and found that the couple has rented an apartment in Israel, and that his yeshiva is waiting [for him to return].”


Probe into sexual assault by PM’s former chief of staff closed

The Tel Aviv District Prosecutor announces that it has closed a criminal case into allegations of sexual assault by a former chief of staff to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and will not be pressing charges against him.

Gil Sheffer, who held the top post in the Prime Minister’s Office from May 2012 to July 2013, was named last year as the suspect in a case involving allegations of sexual assault.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) with his former chief of staff, Gil Sheffer, during a goodbye party for Sheffer at the Prime Minister Office in Jerusalem, March 9, 2014. (Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash90)

He was accused of forcibly taking a woman her to an apartment where there were other men, forcing her to perform for them, and trying to kiss her against her will.

“After carefully assessing the case material, it has been decided to close the case against the suspect due to a lack of evidence,” the prosecution said in a statement.

Court rejects early release for child killer

The Lod District Court rules against the early release of Zvi Gur, who was sent to prison in 1980 for kidnapping and murdering 8-year-old boy Oron Yarden, overruling the parole board.

The move comes in response to an appeal by the State Attorney’s Office filed last month against the parole board’s decision to free Gur, with the court saying that proper weight was not given to the gravity of the crimes and their unusually cruel circumstances.

Yarden’s brother thanked the judges at the end of the hearing and said the decision was a “tremendous relief.”

Gur, who was 33 at the time he committed the murder, was originally sentenced to life imprisonment and an additional 34 years for kidnapping and blackmail. His sentence was subsequently commuted to a total of 45 years in 1999 by then-president Ezer Weizman.

Islamic Jihad leader says exploded tunnel was built to kidnap IDF troops

Senior Islamic Jihad leader Khaled al-Batash says that the attack tunnel stretching into Israeli territory from Gaza that was blown up by the Israeli army Monday night was built for the purpose of kidnapping Israeli soldiers.

“The aim of the tunnel was kidnapping soldiers in order to free prisoners [from Israeli jails],” Batash said, speaking at a funeral in Gaza for five PIJ terrorists—including two senior commanders—and two terrorists from Hamas’s armed wing that were killed as a result of the tunnel’s destruction.

“Islamic Jihad will not allow the occupation to impose new rules of engagement on us,” al-Batash adds.

The PIJ leader says his group would build another tunnel at a later date in order to free prisoners from Israeli jails.

— Dov Lieber

Gabe Kapler, Team Israel coach with Jewish star tattoo, named Phillies manager

Gabe Kapler, a major league outfielder for 12 seasons and a coach for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic, is named as the new manager of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Kapler, who played for seven teams, has been the head of player development for the Los Angeles Dodgers organization since 2014.

“I’m equal parts honored, humbled and excited by the opportunity with the Phillies, an elite franchise in a city rich in history, tradition, sports excellence and with amazingly passionate fans,” Kapler says in a statement.

Gabe Kapler posing for a photo, February 25, 2011. (Harry How/Getty Images)

Kapler, 42, is Jewish and has a tattoo of a Jewish star on his left leg and another that reads “Never Again” — a reference to the Holocaust — on his right leg.

He coached the Israelis during the 2013 WBC’s qualifying period and was invited to travel through Israel with the national team earlier this year. Kapler had never been to Israel before and called the visit an “extraordinary life experience,” adding that his trip to the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum there left him “emotional for several days after.”


Trump’s chief of staff calls Confederate general ‘honorable’

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly calls general Robert E. Lee, of the pro-slavery Confederate Army, an “honorable man” in a Civil War provoked by an inability to compromise.

He made the comments Monday evening on the Fox News television channel as the United States faces a growing movement to take down statues and other monuments to generals and leaders of the 1861-1865 Confederacy.

Many Americans consider such monuments to be commemorations of a racist past.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly appears at event where US President Donald Trump was to bestow the Medal of Honor to retired Army medic James McCloughan during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on July 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

“I would tell you that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man,” Kelly said when asked about the nationwide debate over Confederate monuments. “He was a man that gave up his country to fight for his state, which 150 years ago was more important than country.”

“Now it’s different today. But the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War, and men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had them make their stand,” he added.


Trump won’t go to DMZ during South Korea visit

US President Donald Trump will not be going to the De-Militarized Zone dividing the Korean peninsula when he visits South Korea next week, a senior administration official says.

The decision to skip the DMZ at a time of high tensions with nuclear-armed North Korea was attributed to time constraints.

“The president is not going to visit the DMZ, there is not enough time in the schedule,” the official says.

South Korean soldiers stand guard at a guard post near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) dividing two Koreas in the border city of Paju on August 11, 2017 (AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je)

Trump, who departs Friday on a five-nation Asian tour with world attention on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, will instead visit Camp Humphreys, which is south of Seoul and away from the DMZ, the official added.

The DMZ, a razor’s edge separating North and South Korean forces, is a common stop for visiting presidents and other high-level US officials wanting to see one of the world’s most dangerous flashpoints.


Five dead in suicide bomb attack on Kabul’s diplomatic zone

A suicide bomber believed to be as young as 12 strikes Kabul’s heavily fortified diplomatic quarter killing at least five people.

It is the first attack targeting the Afghan capital’s “Green Zone” since a massive truck bomb ripped through the area on May 31, killing or wounding hundreds, and prompting authorities to strengthen protection.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, which follows a spate of suicide assaults by Taliban and IS insurgents on security installations and mosques in recent weeks.

A Western security source tells AFP the attacker appeared to have been targeting workers leaving an Afghan defence ministry facility inside the heavily protected zone.


Egypt says airstrikes kill militants, destroy vehicles

Egypt’s military destroys three vehicles loaded with weapons, ammunition and explosives, and killed a “large number” of militants in the western desert, a military spokesman says.

Col. Tamer el-Rifai said in a statement that those targeted are suspected of having been involved in an ambush on police nearly two weeks ago about 135 kilometers (84 miles) southwest of Cairo. The Interior Ministry said 16 police were killed in the attack.

El-Rifai said the airstrikes took place in a rugged area some 80 kilometers (50 miles) southwest of Cairo. He said the scene was still being assessed and a casualty count was incomplete.

Egypt has been battling militants in recent years in the western desert as well as the northern Sinai Peninsula, where an Islamic State affiliate has targeted security forces as well as the region’s Christian minority.

— AP

Russia says its sub fired missile at IS in Syria

The Russian military says that one of its submarines has launched cruise missiles at the Islamic State group in eastern Syria.

The Defense Ministry said that the Veliky Novgorod submarine on Tuesday launched three cruise missiles at IS facilities in the province of Deir el-Zour.

It said in a statement the missiles destroyed IS command facilities, fortified positions and an ammunition depot near the town of Abu-Kemal. The ministry said that it was the fourth time in two months that the submarine fired missiles at IS positions in Syria.

The Russian military has backed the Syrian army offensive in eastern Syria with intensive airstrikes and cruise missile launches.

— AP

IDF investigating shooting of alleged ramming driver

The IDF Military Police opens an investigation into an incident near the West Bank settlement of Halamish this morning where Israeli troops shot two Palestinians, killing one.

According to soldiers at the scene, the Palestinian-registered vehicle accelerated toward them. “The soldiers perceived the vehicle as a threat and consequently fired toward it in order to stop it,” the army statement said in a statement.

Illustrative: IDF forces operate in the West Bank settlement of Halamish on July 23, 2017. (IDF spokesman)

The army said it was investigating the incident to determine if the Palestinians were attempting to ram their car into the soldiers or if it was a misunderstanding.

The Palestinian driver, who died of his wounds, was identified as Muhammad Abdallah Ali Musa, 26. His sister, Latifah Musa, 33, was shot in the shoulder, according to Palestinian media.

Egyptians use social media to mock government’s youth event

Egyptians are using the social media hashtag of an international youth conference organized by the government to slam its poor human rights record and crackdown on free speech.

Billed as the “World Youth Forum” under the patronage of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the event is scheduled for November 4-10 in the Red Sea city of Sharm el-Sheikh. On its web site, organizers had encouraged people to use the hashtag #WeNeedToTalk for posts from early October onward. But as with previous government attempts to harness social media, the move seems to have backfired.

A billboard advertising the upcoming World Youth Forum conference, in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, October 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

Twitter is now alight with criticism and the hashtag reached Egypt’s top trending topic, with users posting images of Egyptian police beating and chasing down youths during el-Sissi’s rule alongside portraits of young jailed activists. One mentioned a student jailed for three years for posting a doctored image of el-Sissi wearing Mickey Mouse ears.

— AP

Knesset advances bill to exhume Yemenite children allegedly kidnapped

The Knesset passes the first reading of a bill allowing for Israeli-Yemenite families to exhume the bodies of minors they claim to be their own children who were kidnapped by the State of Israel in the 1950’s.

Since the 50s, more than 1,000 families — mostly immigrants from Yemen, but also dozens from the Balkans, North Africa and other Middle Eastern countries — have alleged their children were systematically kidnapped from Israeli hospitals and put up for adoption, sometimes abroad.

Disputed by scholars and seemingly refuted by three state commissions that examined the affair and concluded most of the children had died, the case has kept resurfacing, not least because most of the families were not given their children’s bodies or informed of their burial places.

Last year the state archives declassified 400,000 documents on the affair in December 2016, but the long-simmering controversy is far from being resolved, as the families have rejected the findings of successive Knesset official commissions of inquiry, and advocacy groups representing the families continue to step up pressure for further probes.

Likud MK Norit Koren, who proposed the bill, says it will “bring hope and comfort to the families of those who still don’t know where they children went.”

Likud MK says Gil Sheffer exoneration proof that police need limits

Likud MK David Amsalem says today’s closure of criminal investigation into allegations of sexual assault against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former chief of staff is proof of the need for his proposal to prevent police recommending indictment against public officials.

The Tel Aviv district prosecution announced that the case against Gil Sheffer would be closed due to a lack of evidence.

Gil Sheffer, who held the top post in the Prime Minister’s Office from May 2012 to July 2013, was named last year as the suspect in a case involving allegations of sexual assault. Police recommended indicting him in January.

“Since then he has been slandered again and again by the media and his innocence has been unfairly taken from him. Today, it became clear that the whole thing ended in nothing,” Amsalem says in a statement.

Likud MK David Amsalem, chairman of the Interior Affairs Committee, left, and Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich during a committee meeting at the Knesset, July 11, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“This is exactly the reason that I am asking to end the distortion and prevent the police from publishing recommendations that damage the reputations of innocent people even before their cases have been clarified,” he says.

For investigations against public officials, the State Prosecution is tasked with deciding whether to press charges or not, based on the investigation carried out by the police. Amsalem’s bill could keep the police from being able to recommend whether to indict or not at the end of an investigation.

Earlier today, police chief Roni Alsheich slammed the proposal, saying, “It is impossible to publish the results of the investigation without summarizing it.”

Corruption suspicions deepen against Interior Minister — report

Corruption suspicions against Interior Minister Aryeh Deri as part of a criminal investigation into him and his wife are “significantly more serious” that previously assumed, Channel 2 News quotes a senior law enforcement official as saying.

Deri is suspected of diverting hundreds of thousands of shekels in state funds to NGOs run by members of his immediate family, as well as suspected tax fraud linked to the sale of apartments to his brother.

Investigators have questioned both Deri and his wife, Yaffa, who runs two of the organizations, Mifalot Simcha and Yehudia Yaale, that allegedly received the public funds.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri and his wife Yaffa, seen leaving their home in Jerusalem, May 29, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“No one knows where the money went, what is clear, is that hundreds of thousands of shekels has been hidden,” the official is said to have told Channel 2 news.

Deri and his wife could face possible charges of theft, fraud and tax evasion.

Netflix suspends ‘House of Cards’ production

Production of next season’s award-winning “House of Cards” season six has been suspended indefinitely in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against its star Kevin Spacey, Netflix announces.

Media Rights Capital and Netflix said the suspension was “until further notice, to give us time to review the current situation and to address any concerns of our cast and crew.”


Deadly plague slowing down in Madagascar

A plague outbreak that has claimed 128 lives in Madagascar has slowed down, health authorities on the island nation say, citing a decline in the numbers of the infected and dying.

“There is an improvement in the fight against the spread of the plague, which means that there are fewer patients in hospitals,” Dr. Manitra Rakotoarivony, Madagascar’s director of health promotion, tells local radio.

“There are almost no more deaths due to the plague… in recent days,” he adds.

The highly contagious plague has caused alarm across the poor Indian Ocean island since August, spreading to the capital Antananarivo and other cities.

The plague has infected more than 1,130 people and forced the closure of schools, universities and a ban on public gatherings.


Kanye West makes (brief) return year after breakdown

Rap superstar Kanye West is back nearly a year after suffering a breakdown — making a brief musical appearance in a new song by a rapper on his label.

West, a once omnipresent celebrity with a prolific media presence and high-profile marriage to Kim Kardashian, abruptly ended a tour and was hospitalized in November 2016 after unusual rants on stage.

Kanye West attends a show for the Alexander Wang collection during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York in September 2015. (photo credit: AP/Dario Cantatore/Invision)

Making his most visible appearance this year, West contributed a verse on a song released Tuesday by Cyhi The Prynce, an Atlanta rapper whom West earlier signed to his label imprint. The song, “Dat Side,” expounds on the perils of fame and hits back at critics, with West speaking of being African-American in his affluent Los Angeles neighborhood.

“Neighbors said they think I gave the neighborhood a black eye,” the 40-year-old father of two raps.


PM asks Trump to allow Jonathan Pollard to immigrate to Israel — report

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked US President Donald Trump to cancel the parole restrictions imposed on convicted spy Jonathan Pollard and allow him to immigrate to Israel, Channel 2 reports.

In May, a US federal appeals court rejected the request to life restrictive parole conditions that were placed on former American intelligence specialist convicted of spying for Israel after he was released from prison in 2015.

Jonathan Pollard and wife Esther, photographed during a coffee break when they met with the Conference of the Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on January 24, 2016. (Courtesy Justice4JP)

According to the those restrictions, Pollard must remain in the United States and is barred from travelling or indeed emigrating to Israel.

According to Channel 2, which did not report the source of the information, Netanyahu has repeatedly asked US officials, including Trump, to consider allowing Pollard to move to Israel.

Russia, Turkey and Iran agree to plan for Syria ‘congress’

Russia, Turkey and Iran pledged in Kazakhstan to bring the Syrian regime and its opponents together for a “congress” to help nudge peace efforts towards a more lasting political settlement.

A joint statement released by Russia and Iran, who support the regime, and Turkey, which backs the rebels, referrs to an “initiative of Russia” to hold a congress to bring Syrian government representatives and opposition groups together.

A statement on the Russian foreign ministry website lists 33 Syrian organisations invited to a “Congress of Syrian National Dialogue” in the Russian city of Sochi on November 18.

The congress proposal was one of the few notable outcomes from the seventh round of talks on Syria held in the Kazakh capital Astana and widely viewed as Moscow’s attempt to stamp its own imprint on a settlement for Syria.


Pope admits to snoozing while praying

Pope Francis confesses he sometimes nods off while praying and claims saints too have been known to grab some Holy shut-eye.

“When I pray, sometimes I fall asleep,” he says in an episode of a Catholic TV2000 television program.

“Saint Therese did it too,” he says in reference to a 19th-century French nun, adding that Christians were called to feel like children lying in their fathers’ arms — a place conducive to napping, he implies.

Pope Francis talks to journalists during a press conference he held on his return flight from Cairo to Rome, Saturday, April 29, 2017 (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

The 80-year-old Argentine head of the Roman Catholic Church radiates energy and enthusiasm when he meets people, but his expression turns very grave when he prays, often bowing his head and closing his eyes for long periods.

The pontiff values his sleep and is tucked up in bed each night by 9pm — though he rises with the lark at 4 a.m.


Bahrain imposes visas on Qatar visitors

Bahrain imposes visas on travelers from Qatar, which is embroiled in a diplomatic crisis with its Arab neighbors, Bahraini state media reported.

Under Gulf Cooperation Council agreements, citizens of countries in the six-state bloc, including both Bahrain and Qatar, can visit other GCC countries without visas.

But Bahrain’s King Sheikh Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa ordered the new rules and urged authorities to strengthen security measures in the tiny Gulf kingdom, the official BNA news agency says.

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister says Qatar’s GCC membership should be suspended until it accepts the demands of its neighbors.


2 face terror charges for thwarted 2015 France train attack

Authorities charge two Belgians with terror-related offenses in connection with an attack two years ago on a high-speed train in northern France that was foiled by three Americans.

Belgium’s Federal Prosecutor’s Office said that one suspect, identified as Mohamed B, was accused of leading a terrorist group and the other, Youssef S., of being part of it.

Authorities said no arms or explosives were found during six searches Monday but four people were detained. Two were released after questioning.

In August 2015, a man with an assault rifle tried to open fire on a Thalys train that had just crossed into France from Belgium but was overpowered by the three Americans, two of them off-duty US military members.

French police called it an Islamic extremist attack.


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