The Times of Israel liveblogging Monday’s events as they unfolded.
Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg’s personal wealth has dropped by almost $7 billion in the past few hours, Bloomberg reports, hit by the combination of a whistleblower coming forward and outages worldwide for Facebook and its flagship products.
“A selloff sent the social-media giant’s stock plummeting around 5% on Monday, adding to a drop of about 15% since mid-September,” Bloomberg says.
Zuckerberg’s worth has now fallen to $120.9 billion, placing him below Bill Gates, at No. 5, on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. “He’s lost about $19 billion of wealth since Sept. 13, when he was worth nearly $140 billion.”
With Facebook and its Instagram and WhatsApp platforms still down across wide swathes of the world, Doug Madory, director of internet analysis for Kentik Inc., says it appears that the routes Facebook advertises online that tell the entire internet how to reach its properties are not available.
Madory says it looks like the DNS routes that Facebook makes available to the networking world have been withdrawn. The Domain Name System is an integral element of how traffic on the internet is routed. DNS translates an address like “facebook.com” to an IP address like 220.127.116.110. If Facebook’s DNS records have disappeared, then no one can find it.
Facebook resorted to Twitter to update users on its difficulties:
We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.
— Facebook (@Facebook) October 4, 2021
Twitter, meanwhile, chimed in from the company’s main Twitter account, posting “hello literally everyone,” as jokes and memes about the Facebook outage flooded the platform.
hello literally everyone
— Twitter (@Twitter) October 4, 2021
Facebook is going through a separate major crisis after whistleblower Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager, provided The Wall Street Journal with internal documents that exposed the company’s awareness of harms caused by of its products and decisions. Haugen went public on “60 Minutes” on Sunday.
Haugen also anonymously filed complaints with federal law enforcement alleging that Facebook’s own research shows how it magnifies hate and misinformation, leads to increased polarization and that Instagram, specifically, can harm teenage girls’ mental health.
The Journal’s stories, called “The Facebook Files,” painted a picture of a company focused on growth and its own interests over the public good. Facebook has tried to play down the research. Nick Clegg, the company’s vice president of policy and public affairs, wrote to Facebook employees in a memo Friday that “social media has had a big impact on society in recent years, and Facebook is often a place where much of this debate plays out.”
AP, ToI staff
Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez will formally request the US Senate’s unanimous consent approval of pending appropriations legislation for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system later today, his office says.
Approving the legislation, advanced overwhelmingly in the House earlier this month, would fast-track the bill for the US president’s approval.
Even if the unanimous consent resolution is blocked, the $1 billion in funding is almost certain to pass overwhelmingly in a subsequent floor vote, as was the case in the House.
The Supreme Court has offered a compromise on the ownership battle between Palestinians and a pro-settler group in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, the Ynet news site reports.
According to the reported proposal, the Palestinian families will be regarded as protected residents for 15 years or until another arrangement is reached. During that time, they will pay rent to the “Nahalat Shimon” organization that purchased the land. The group will promise not to evict them during that time.
The potential eviction has sparked Palestinian and international outrage.
The Kan public broadcaster reports that Iran’s attempted assassination in Cyprus of Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi was a response to Israel’s targeting last year of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the head of Tehran’s nuclear program.
The outlet, which does not cite a source, says it is not clear whether Iran’s plan was to target businesspeople just because they are Israeli or because they were thought to have a connection with Israel’s security establishment.
The broadcaster adds that according to Israeli estimates, Tehran has also tried to target the vehicle of an Israeli diplomat in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku and the Israeli embassy in New Delhi, India.
This, according to the report, shows that Iran is interested in hitting Israeli security-related and diplomatic targets, not civilians.
Israeli officials are reportedly estimating that the recent alleged Iranian plot to assassinate Israeli businessmen in Cyprus is linked to the recent Mossad operation — revealed in the Knesset by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett — to find information on missing IDF soldier Ron Arad.
Channel 13 news reports that Tehran’s alleged attempted hit on billionaire Teddy Sagi could have been intended as a reaction to the Mossad operation, which Israeli officials say was a failure.
No more details are available on the alleged link between the two matters and how the Mossad operation was connected to Iran.
Arad fell captive in 1986 and was held by the Amal group before being handed over to the Hezbollah terror group, which to this day is heavily backed by Iran. There has been no sign of life from Arad since 1988 and he has long been presumed dead.
Authorities decide to immediately demolish a home in the central Israel city of Ra’anana, hours after its residents were evacuated, over immediate danger of collapse.
Large cracks were found in the building, which was undergoing a renovation project known as Tama 38, to add more floors and apartments.
Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi denies that he got a warning to leave Cyprus before an attempted assassination of him as part of an alleged Iranian terror plot.
“It only sounded scary from the headlines,” Sagi tells Channel 12 news in a phone interview. “As you saw, this incident wasn’t connected to me.
“I thank the authorities,” he adds, but contradicts the version of events given by security officials.
“I didn’t get any warning to leave the country,” he says, adding that he made the decision to leave Cyprus on his own. “I’m continuing my businesses as usual.”
Channel 12 news reports that the Mossad operation touted today by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to discover information about the whereabouts of IDF soldier Ron Arad, who has been missing since 1988, was in fact a failure.
The network says that breaking the information during the opening of the Knesset winter session was “more a media headline and political drama than an actual significant development.
“It was a courageous, daring, complex operation, but it was a failure. We failed,” the Mossad chief is quoted as saying in an internal meeting.
“It was better not to publish it. There was unfortunately no breakthrough here,” the outlet quotes an unnamed security official as saying.
Channel 13 news quotes an official saying Bennett “made political use of a sensitive operation.”
Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram post tweets acknowledging the global outage, saying that they are aware of the problem and working to fix it.
We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.
— Facebook (@Facebook) October 4, 2021
We’re aware that some people are experiencing issues with WhatsApp at the moment. We’re working to get things back to normal and will send an update here as soon as possible.
Thanks for your patience!
— WhatsApp (@WhatsApp) October 4, 2021
Instagram and friends are having a little bit of a hard time right now, and you may be having issues using them. Bear with us, we’re on it! #instagramdown
— Instagram Comms (@InstagramComms) October 4, 2021
Mohammed al-Arida, one of the six security prisoners who escaped Gilboa Prison last month and were then recaptured, has started a hunger strike.
According to the Palestinian Detainees’ Commission, al-Arida is protesting his incarceration conditions. The commission says that al-Arida is currently being held in solitary confinement.
US President Joe Biden says he cannot guarantee that the United States will avoid a crippling default, with Democrats and Republicans at loggerheads over whether and how to raise the legal limit on the national debt.
“No, I can’t. That’s up to Mitch McConnell,” he says, referring to the Senate’s top Republican who is leading the opposition against helping Democrats raise the debt ceiling.
“If I could, I would,” Biden says.
Reports from around the world indicate that Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are all experiencing a worldwide outage.
The reason isn’t immediately clear, and Facebook does not immediately comment.
Facebook’s website is not loading, and eventually reverts to “this site cannot be reached” messages, users say. WhatsApp and Instagram apps are loading, but not sending or receiving messages.
The massive outage is impacting potentially tens of millions of users, tracking sites show.
AFP reports that outage tracker Downdetector is showing outages in heavily populated areas like Washington and Paris.
US President Joe Biden calls Republican opponents “reckless and dangerous” for refusing to join Democrats in raising the US debt limit, putting the world’s biggest country at risk of imminent default.
Republican obstruction could push “our economy over a cliff,” Biden says in a White House speech.
There appears to also be a problem in Israel with Facebook and Instagram, in addition to WhatsApp.
All three social media platforms belong to Facebook.
Users of the popular WhatsApp messaging app are reporting a malfunction.
Hebrew media says the reports are coming from all over Israel.
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked visits the United Arab Emirates and meets Abu Dhabi officials, before traveling to Dubai tomorrow to visit the Israeli pavilion in the Expo 2020 event.
Shaked says she met her Emirati counterpart Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan and heard about local projects on smart cities, digitization and urban safety.
They discuss the mutual visa exemptions that will go into effect next week, and initiatives to cooperate on projects, including some focusing on interfaith dialogue.
— איחוד האמירויות בעברית (@uaeinhebrew) October 4, 2021
Shaked offers to promote courses for Israeli Muslim religious leaders in the UAE on religious moderation, tolerance and battling violence, amid a wave of violent crime in Israel’s Arab community.
She visits Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the adjacent Wahat AlKarama war memorial for Emiratis killed in the line of duty.
פתחתי את היום בסיור בווהט אל כאראמה, אתר ההנצחה של איחוד האמירויות, לזכר כוחות הביטחון שנפלו במהלך שירותם.
האמרתים מקבלים אותנו בהרבה חום ואהבה עם ציפיות גדולות מהסכם השלום. פרטים בהמשך. pic.twitter.com/qVg8D5uplc
— איילת שקד Ayelet Shaked (@Ayelet__Shaked) October 4, 2021
“Today, I experienced true peace,” Shaked says. “The government went out of its way to clarify that a true partnership has been forged between the countries. I view it as very important to strengthen the strategic relationship between Israel and the UAE.”
The European Union’s drug regulator gives its backing to booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people 18 and older.
The European Medicines Agency says the booster doses “may be considered at least 6 months after the second dose for people aged 18 years and older.”
The agency also says it supports giving a third dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna vaccine to people with severely weakened immune systems at least 28 days after their second shot.
The recommendations go to health authorities in all 27 EU member states. Some countries already have begun administering booster shots.
The United States will seek to negotiate with Beijing about its industrial policies but the goal is “not to inflame trade tensions with China,” Washington’s trade chief says.
In a speech in Washington, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai says US President Joe Biden’s administration is “prepared to deploy all tools and explore the development of new ones” to “protect ourselves against the waves of damage inflicted over the years through unfair competition.”
Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu attacks the government for “abandoning people to their deaths” by allegedly waiting too long in starting the COVID-19 vaccination campaign with the booster shot, despite Israel being the first country in the world to offer it widely.
Netanyahu says the government has tolerated the deaths of over 1,400 Israelis in three months during the recent Delta outbreak.
He also argues that the government is over-tolerating Iran’s nuclear activity, agreeing to coordinate military activity with the United States and not fighting the potential resumption of a nuclear deal.
“Have you gone crazy?” he says, attacking Bennett for not arguing against the deal during his recent UN speech. “You are accepting it as a done deal.”
He says the government is also failing to act adequately against Iranian and Palestinian terror.
“There is no leadership, there is no reaction, there is no decisiveness, there is only PR,” he says, alleging that the mainstream media is acting as a mouthpiece for the government.
The Israel Defense Forces says that in the coming hours, explosions will be heard in the Golan Heights from “routine engineering activity.”
The IDF adds that there is no fear of a security incident.
As Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu gets up to speak, Likud MKs who were booted during Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s speech try to return to the chamber and are told by Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy to go back out, since they weren’t authorized to reenter.
They respond by continuing to shout, until they leave again.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tells the Knesset that his government will significantly boost construction in the Golan Heights.
He touts his government’s COVID-19 policy of avoiding lockdowns and keeping the economy open, while opposition members shout that it has cost Israel many lives.
Bennett attacks the previous government: “We have gone through two years of stagnation: on Iranian nukes, in housing and heavy traffic on the roads. For two years everything was stuck. Three and a half months after we started, we can already see results. Israel is open, we celebrated openly during the festival period despite the predictions of lockdown.”
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tells the Knesset plenum that agents for the Mossad spy agency last month went on an operation to find information on the whereabouts of Ron Arad, an IDF soldier who was kidnapped by the Amal group in Lebanon in 1986 and has been missing since 1988.
“It was a complex, widescale operation. That’s all that can be said right now,” Bennett says. “We made another effort on the path to understanding what happened to Ron.”
Bennett thanks the Mossad personnel, vowing to “continue acting to return all our boys home, wherever they may be.”
The scathing attacks by opposition members against Prime Minister Naftali Bennett come despite President Isaac Herzog calling minutes earlier for the resumption of “respectful, honest discourse between coalition and opposition.”
“I call on you to draw clear red lines for public discourse, hold discussions about the issues themselves and stop displays of incitement, and be role models.”
Opposition members are booted from the Knesset plenum after angrily heckling Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the outset of his speech at the opening discussion of the parliament’s winter session.
As Bennett touts the fact that Israel avoided a COVID-19 lockdown and passed a budget in the government, Galit Distal Atbarian shouts at him: “You are a conman, you are a liar, you are the worst thing that happened to this country.”
May Golan says: “You are the most failing prime minister we have seen.”
They are booted from the chamber along with Likud MKs David Amsalem, Shlomo Karhi and Keti Shitrit.
Azerbaijan denies allegations from Tehran that Israel’s military was in the Caucasus country during drills run by Iran’s army on their shared border.
The Iranian claims about Israel come after state television last week showed tanks, howitzers and helicopters firing at targets in the northwest of the country.
Israel is a major arms supplier to Azerbaijan, which last autumn won a six-week war with neighbor Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Leyla Abdullayeva says Iran’s claims are groundless.
“We reject the allegations of any third party’s presence near the Azerbaijani-Iranian border, such allegations are totally baseless,” she says.
Opening the Knesset’s winter session, top officials pose for a traditional photo at the Knesset balcony.
The photo features (right to left) Chief Justice Esther Hayut, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy, President Isaac Herzog, Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid, and Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu.
תמונת סמלי השלטון המסורתית, במרפסת הכנסת pic.twitter.com/46jwLMkngY
— Tal Schneider טל שניידר تال شنايدر (@talschneider) October 4, 2021
Blue Origin confirms William Shatner, who starred as Captain James Kirk in the original Star Trek series, will fly aboard the company’s next crewed rocket on October 12.
The company also announces the identity of the remaining passenger, Audrey Powers, the company’s vice president of mission and flight operations.
They will join Chris Boshuizen, a former NASA engineer and co-founder of Planet Labs, and Glen de Vries, a co-founder of clinical research platform Medidata Solutions, on the sub-orbital flight.
Iran’s Embassy in Cyprus says Israel’s accusation that Tehran is behind an attempted assassination of Israeli businesspeople is “baseless,” according to Israeli media.
New Hope party leader Gideon Sa’ar criticizes yesterday’s meeting between members of the left-wing Meretz party and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, saying it was “unnecessary.”
“The Palestinian Authority is continuing to pay terrorists who murdered Jews and is acting against the State of Israel in the international arena,” Sa’ar says. “I don’t this meeting will have an effect. The government in its current form won’t act to create a Palestinian state inside the borders of the State of Israel, and that’s the important thing.”
Defense Minister Benny Gantz says at the outset of his Blue and White faction meeting in the Knesset that Israel will “lay its hands” on the perpetrators of the alleged Iranian assassination attempt against Israeli businesspeople in Cyprus.
“We will lay our hands on anyone who tried to harm us. We will act to prevent such incidents,” Gantz says.
He adds that the government “must pass a law limiting a prime minister’s time in office to just two terms,” referring to a legislative proposal seen as directed against former premier Benjamin Netanyahu.
Gantz also expresses confidence that the coalition will pass the state budget, denying opposition claims that he is in talks to potentially join a government with Netanyahu’s Likud party.
After Israel said the recent assassination attempt in Cyprus was Iranian terrorism, Cyprus police says that all motives are being probed and no conclusion has been reached, according to Channel 12 news.
Cyprus media also says that Israel’s Mossad spy agency tipped off Cypriot authorities about the plot, which resulted in businessman Teddy Sagi escaping the country.
After Israeli media said last night that Sagi was the target of an attempted assassination, Channel 12 says Sagi’s associates put heavy pressure on the Prime Minister’s Office to clarify that the attack did not specifically target him, to avoid giving the impression that he was being targeted by criminals over his gambling business activity.
As the Knesset returns from hiatus, coalition party chiefs are speaking in faction meetings and expressing their expectations ahead of the winter session, as well as stressing the need to keep the fragile government intact and pass the state budget — a move that must happen by next month or elections are automatically triggered.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid tells his Yesh Atid faction meeting that the government faces “five weeks in which we have one task: to pass a budget.”
Lapid laments that various parties in the right-center-left-Islamist coalition, which has a wafer-thin Knesset majority, are “each starting to pull toward their way, making unnecessary headlines, behaving as if this government should be taken for granted.
“This government is a fragile miracle that happened against all odds. We all have a responsibility to preserve the coalition and not create unnecessary battles,” he says.
Mansour Abbas, the head of the Islamist Ra’am party, says he expects other coalition parties to honor their promises. However, he clarifies that “we didn’t form a coalition to take it apart, we do want it to continue existing and functioning.”
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu says at his Likud faction meeting that his party will be back in power soon.
“Israeli citizens see how bad this government is,” Netanyahu says.
He adds that coalition members “think they’re safe, but we have already been in the opposition with 12 seats (in 2006-2009) and have come back strong. That is what will happen again. It will happen because of their failures. To do that, we will keep our determination and unity.”
Iran foresees nuclear talks with world powers resuming by early November, foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh says, without elaborating.
“The government of (President) Ebrahim Raisi has been in power for less than 55 days… I don’t think that the (return to talks) will take as much as 90 days,” he says.
The talks in Vienna have been stalled since June.
The senior doctor arrested yesterday on suspicion of multiple sex offenses against female patients in his care, including at least one minor, is named as Dr. Arie Levine of the Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition Unit at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon.
פרופ' אריה לוין הוא הרופא הבכיר שחשוד בעבירות מין במטופלות pic.twitter.com/NNX4uOKRDW
— מעריב אונליין (@MaarivOnline) October 4, 2021
Levine, 64, has been remanded for four days by the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court. He is denying wrongdoing and arguing that his actions were necessary for the medical treatment he was giving.
A senior police source is cited by Haaretz saying a professional opinion by experts contradicts the defense’s claims.
Levine, who also has a private clinic, is suspected to have committed the offenses over a number of years, Israel Police said in a statement yesterday. Among his suspected crimes is the rape of a girl under the age of 14, police said.
War crimes have been committed in Libya since 2016, a United Nations investigation reveals.
“There are reasonable grounds to believe that war crimes have been committed in Libya, while violence perpetrated in prisons and against migrants there may amount to crimes against humanity,” the Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya says in a statement.
Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman responds to recent remarks by Yamina’s Ayelet Shaked who has reportedly been trying to recruit the ultra-Orthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism parties to the coalition, saying that if the Haredim are in — his secularist Yisrael Beytenu party is out.
“I have heard that a few coalition officials are demanding that Shas and United Torah Judaism join the coalition. If they come in, we won’t be there,” Liberman says in the Knesset.
In response, Shas officials tell Israel National News: “Nobody is intending to join this destructive government.”
A resurgence of global economic activity has lifted merchandise trade above its pre-pandemic peak, the World Trade Organization (WTO) says as it revises up its 2021 and 2022 trade forecasts.
“The WTO is now predicting global merchandise trade volume growth of 10.8 percent in 2021– up from 8.0 percent forecasted in March — followed by a 4.7 percent rise in 2022,” up from 4% previously, the global trade body says.
A prospective Russian hypersonic missile has been successfully test-fired from a nuclear submarine for the first time, the military says.
The Russian Defense Ministry says the Zircon missile was launched from the Severodvinsk submarine and hit a designated mock target in the Barents Sea.
The launch marks Zircon’s first launch from a submarine. It previously has been repeatedly test-fired from a navy frigate, most recently in July.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Zircon will be capable of flying at nine times the speed of sound and have a range of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles). Putin has emphasized that its deployment will significantly boost Russian military capability.
Officials say Zircon’s tests are to be completed later this year and it will be commissioned by the Russian navy in 2022.
Zircon is intended to arm Russian cruisers, frigates and submarines. It is one of several hypersonic missiles under development in Russia.
The Kremlin has made modernizing the country’s arsenals a top priority amid the tensions with the West that followed Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office blames Iranian terrorism for last week’s reported assassination attempt against Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi in Cyprus, saying that Sagi wasn’t specifically the intended target.
“Regarding some of the reports last night about the incident in Cyprus, I would like to clarify, in the name of security officials, that it is a terrorism event that was directed by Iran against Israeli businessmen who live in Cyprus,” says Bennett’s spokesman Matan Sidi in a statement.
“This wasn’t a criminal incident, and businessman Teddy Sagi wasn’t the [specific] target of the attack,” he adds.
You get Israel news... but do you GET it? Here's your chance to understand not only the big picture that we cover on these pages, but also the critical, juicy details of life in Israel.
In Streetwise Hebrew for the Times of Israel Community, each month we'll learn several colloquial Hebrew phrases around a common theme. These are bite-size audio Hebrew classes that we think you'll really enjoy.
We’re really pleased that you’ve read X Times of Israel articles in the past month.
That’s why we come to work every day - to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.
So now we have a request. Unlike other news outlets, we haven’t put up a paywall. But as the journalism we do is costly, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.
For as little as $6 a month you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREE, as well as accessing exclusive content available only to Times of Israel Community members.