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US official says White House is very troubled by rising West Bank violence

State Department’s Barbara Leaf says security situation was at the top of her agenda during recent visit to region, and that Israel-Lebanon maritime talks are ‘progressing’

Israeli soldiers operate in the West Bank, September 14, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)
Israeli soldiers operate in the West Bank, September 14, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

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

UEFA sanctions Frankfurt for fan’s Nazi salute at Marseille game

Eintracht Frankfurt fans are escorted by French riot police officers prior to the Champions League soccer match between Olympique de Marseille and Eintracht Frankfurt at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille, France, Sept. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)
Eintracht Frankfurt fans are escorted by French riot police officers prior to the Champions League soccer match between Olympique de Marseille and Eintracht Frankfurt at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille, France, Sept. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

UEFA lays a slew of disciplinary charges against Marseille and Eintracht Frankfurt after disorder at their Champions League game including a fan of the German club making a Nazi salute.

Frankfurt was charged with four offenses including “racist behavior” at its 1-0 win in Marseille yesterday.

Late last night, the German club published a statement condemning the incidents and stressed it “stands for tolerance and diversity.”

“Antisemitic ideas are in stark contrast to the unequivocal and unshakeable values of the club and its roots,” the club said.

Marseille faces five UEFA charges including “crowd disturbances.”

Both clubs have previously been disciplined by UEFA for misconduct by fans and face escalating sanctions for the latest incidents.

Swedish PM concedes defeat, resigns as populist leader declares victory

Sweden's Prime Minister and Social Democratic party leader Magdalena Andersson delivers a speech at the Social Democratic Party election watch at the Waterfront Conference Center in Stockholm, Sweden, Sept. 11, 2022. (Jonas Ekströmer/TT News Agency via AP)
Sweden's Prime Minister and Social Democratic party leader Magdalena Andersson delivers a speech at the Social Democratic Party election watch at the Waterfront Conference Center in Stockholm, Sweden, Sept. 11, 2022. (Jonas Ekströmer/TT News Agency via AP)

Sweden’s center-left Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson concedes defeat in a weekend election while the leader of a nationalist anti-immigration party declares victory for his right-wing bloc.

Jimmie Akesson, leader of the populist Sweden Democrats, says his party will be “a constructive and driving force in this work” of rebuilding safety in Sweden. He said it was “time to put Sweden first.”

With almost all votes counted, the right-wing bloc of four parties that includes the Sweden Democrats — the country’s second-largest party — appears to have won a thin majority in parliament. Though a few votes were outstanding they were not enough to sway the final outcome.

Andersson says that “the preliminary result is clear enough to draw a conclusion” that her center-left forces had lost power. “I will therefore request my dismissal as prime minister and the responsibility for the continued process will now pass to the parliament speaker and the Riksdag.”

The Sweden Democrats party was long shunned by Swedes because of its roots in the neo-Nazi movement. In recent years it has moved into the mainstream by expelling extremists and gained support with a tough stance on crime and immigration amid a rise in shootings and other gang violence.

Herzog hosts reception in Jerusalem for visiting foreign military chiefs

President Isaac Herzog hosts a reception in Jerusalem for military chiefs from 18 foreign nations on September 14, 2022. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
President Isaac Herzog hosts a reception in Jerusalem for military chiefs from 18 foreign nations on September 14, 2022. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

President Isaac Herzog hosts a reception in Jerusalem for chiefs of staff and senior officials from 18 foreign militaries.

Those in attendance include US Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley as well as the heads of the militaries in Morocco, Greece, Cyprus, Poland and the Czech Repubic.

Senior generals also joined from NATO, the United Arab Emirates and the UK. The officials are in Israel to take part in an IDF conference on military innovation.

“There is a famous saying: ‘He who seeks peace, must prepare for war,’” Herzog tells the generals. “In order to prepare for war, and therefore in order to seek peace and achieve it, we need the best armies possible. We really pray and hope there will be peace, and that is why we are so happy that we have neighbors from our region and Arab countries here.”

Netanyahu gives ex-Yamina MKs Chikli, Silman prime spots on Likud list

MK Amichai Chikli at the Knesset House Committee hearing on Yamina's request to declare him a 'defector' from the party, on April 25, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
MK Amichai Chikli at the Knesset House Committee hearing on Yamina's request to declare him a 'defector' from the party, on April 25, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Benjamin Netanyahu places former Yamina MKs Amichai Chikli and Idit Silman in reserved, realistic spots on his Likud party’s election list.

Chikli and Silman’s defection from the coalition — Chikli at its outset and Silman triggering its catapult towards collapse — were motivated by opposition to the big tent political alliance’s failure to meet their right-wing ideology.

Netanyahu gave Chikli the 14th spot on the list and Silman the 16th.

In the 28th spot, Netanyahu placed former Justice Ministry official Moshe Saada, who cast doubt on the police investigation leading to Netanyahu’s current criminal trial.

Ethiopian author Tsega Melaku and lawyer Yossi Fuchs are Netanyahu’s final two discretionary placements, but in spots further down the list that are not considered realistic to enter the next Knesset.

Following its late August primary, Likud produced a list low in female representation and without a well-placed Ethiopian candidate.

Slain IDF officer laid to rest at military ceremony in Netanya

Hundreds of people attend the funeral of Maj. Bar Falah at the military cemetery in Netanya on September 14, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Hundreds of people attend the funeral of Maj. Bar Falah at the military cemetery in Netanya on September 14, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

IDF officer Maj. Bar Falah is laid to rest in the military cemetery in Netanya after he was killed in a firefight overnight in the West Bank.

Hundreds of mourners turn out to pay their final respects to Falah.

“He loved his homeland, he loved the army, he was intoxicated by the army,” says his uncle, Eli. “He always said that I will always lead my soldiers, I will serve as an example and I will go first.”

Netanyahu said to weigh giving reserved Likud spot to ex-police investigator Saada

Former deputy head of the Police Internal Investigations Department Moshe Saada speaks to Channel 12 on July 25, 2022. (Screenshot/Channel 12)
Former deputy head of the Police Internal Investigations Department Moshe Saada speaks to Channel 12 on July 25, 2022. (Screenshot/Channel 12)

Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly considering giving a reserved spot on the party list to Moshe Saada, a former senior police investigator.

Saada made a series of headlines in July with explosive claims that members of the country’s legal establishment were willing to overlook illicit activity due to fears that intervening in the matter would damage efforts to prosecute Netanyahu.

His primetime interview with Channel 12 on the issue was seen largely as a political gambit.

Parties have until tomorrow night to submit their finalized lists to the Central Election Committee in the Knesset. Netanyahu has several reserved slots on the Likud list that he can fill with his picks that have yet to be decided.

Bennett says those who say government was a mistake ‘are suffering from post-trauma’

Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett testifying at the commission of inquiry into Nahal Tzafit disaster in Tel Aviv, August 1, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett testifying at the commission of inquiry into Nahal Tzafit disaster in Tel Aviv, August 1, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett offers veiled criticism of his erstwhile partner Ayelet Shaked in a speech at an event in Lod.

“My decision to establish a government in Israel was the best and most Zionist decision that I have made in my life,” Bennett says. “Some of those who say now that it was a mistake are suffering from post-trauma.”

Bennett blames the poisonous “machine” coming from the opposition for leading to such expressions of regret: “They are deterred and trampled and crushed. And I don’t blame them and I’m not angry.”

After splitting from Yoaz Hendel earlier this week, Shaked said that she had “made mistakes” in the past, without explicitly saying that joining the government was a mistake.

In response to Bennett’s remarks, Shaked says that the last government “fell apart” because it was “restrained by boycotts” — namely the refusal to sit with Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu. “It’s time to put an end to the boycotts,” she says, and establish “a right-wing government.”

UN chief calls on Iran to hold ‘serious dialogue’ over IAEA role

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres makes remarks before the 2022 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference in the United Nations General Assembly, August 1, 2022. (AP Photo/ Yuki Iwamura)
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres makes remarks before the 2022 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference in the United Nations General Assembly, August 1, 2022. (AP Photo/ Yuki Iwamura)

NEW YORK — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calls for Iran to hold a “serious dialogue” regarding the International Atomic Energy Agency during the ongoing nuclear deal negotiations.

The IAEA’s “independence exists, must be preserved and is essential. The IAEA cannot be an instrument of parties against other parties,” Guterres says ahead of the start of the UN General Assembly.

Tehran’s demands that the IAEA shut its probe into suspect Iranian nuclear activity have become a key sticking point as the talks with world powers over its nuclear program drag on.

Hospital says woman discovered to be carrying unrelated fetus following IVF

Illustrative: A pregnant woman at a hospital. (iStock via Getty Images)
Illustrative: A pregnant woman at a hospital. (iStock via Getty Images)

According to the Health Ministry, a hospital reported that an Israeli woman who underwent fertility treatments is carrying a fetus that is not genetically hers.

The Assuta Medical Center in Rishon Lezion told the ministry that it conducted a genetic test on a pregnant woman who had an embryo transfer following IVF, and discovered that the fetus is not genetically matched to either her or her partner.

The ministry says it is immediately establishing a committee to investigate the incident.

US official says White House is very concerned by West Bank violence

Then-US ambassador to the UAE Barbara Leaf. (Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr./US Air Force)
Then-US ambassador to the UAE Barbara Leaf. (Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr./US Air Force)

US Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf says the Biden administration is working to ensure continued security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority amid the ongoing spike in West Bank violence.

In a phone briefing about her recent trip to the region, Leaf says the US is very concerned about the deteriorating security situation, which was at the top of her agenda during meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials.

But while acknowledging that Israeli-PA security coordination can help curb the violence, economic improvements for Palestinians are also critical, Leaf says, adding that the US is working to promote such steps.

She highlights the granting of 4G cellular access to Palestinians and opening the Allenby crossing between the West Bank and Jordan 24/7 — two announcements made by the US during President Joe Biden’s July trip to the region, which Leaf says she pushed to ensure would be implemented.

Asked about the status of Israel-Lebanon maritime talks, Leaf says “they’re progressing” and that “both parties are showing a good constructive engagement.”

Following deadly gun battle, Gantz orders closure of West Bank checkpoint

Defense Minister Benny Gantz tours the scene of a deadly gun battle near the Palestinian village of Jalamah in the northern West Bank, September 14, 2022. (Elad Malka/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz tours the scene of a deadly gun battle near the Palestinian village of Jalamah in the northern West Bank, September 14, 2022. (Elad Malka/Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz orders the closure of the Jalamah checkpoint between Israel and the northern West Bank until further notice, following this morning’s deadly shooting in the area.

“In recent weeks we have seen an increase in the scope of terrorism. I am standing at a place that allows a good livelihood for Palestinians living in Jenin and the region,” Gantz says while touring the scene, in remarks provided by his office.

“In light of the shooting and [other] attacks here, I decided to extend the crossing’s closure until further notice,” Gantz says. The crossing was shut earlier today immediately following the shooting that killed Maj. Bar Falah.

“The fact that one of the terrorists belongs to the [Palestinian Authority security] forces is serious, and is a warning sign to the Palestinian Authority that it must self-examine and act,” he says, referring to Ahmed Abed, a PA intelligence officer.

Gantz says the attack has damaged the security stability which “first and foremost harms the Palestinian residents and the PA itself.”

“We will continue to act intensely wherever necessary, whenever necessary to prevent terrorism,” he says. “And I repeat, where the PA will not exercise sovereignty, we will take care of our security.”

Gantz also orders to halt the entry permits to Israel for residents of Kafr Dan, the hometown of the two Palestinian gunmen, until further notice.

Lapid to host UAE foreign minister in Jerusalem tomorrow

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (R) welcomes his Emirati counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan at Sde Boker in southern Israel, on March 27, 2022, ahead of the Negev Summit. (Jack Guez/AFP)
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (R) welcomes his Emirati counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan at Sde Boker in southern Israel, on March 27, 2022, ahead of the Negev Summit. (Jack Guez/AFP)

Prime Minister Yair Lapid will host UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan tomorrow, the Prime Minister’s Office announces.

Bin Zayed’s visit coincides with the second anniversary of the Abraham Accords ceremony in Washington DC, during which Israel signed a pact with the UAE and Bahrain on the White House lawn.

Lapid will receive the UAE’s top diplomat in his office in the afternoon, where they will hold a private meeting, then a broader working meeting with their aides, before both giving public statements.

UAE Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Al Khaja is hosting a reception in Herzliya Pituach later in the evening. President Isaac Herzog and his wife, Michal, will be in attendance, as will Bin Zayed.

Three Iranian citizens charged in broad hacking campaign in US

Illustrative: A cybersecurity expert talks about Iran hacking techniques, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, September 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
Illustrative: A cybersecurity expert talks about Iran hacking techniques, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, September 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

The Justice Department says three Iranian citizens have been charged in the United States with cyberattacks that targeted power companies, local governments and small businesses and nonprofits, including a domestic violence shelter.

The charges accuse the hacking suspects of targeting hundreds of victims in the US and elsewhere, stealing data from their networks and demanding ransom payments to unlock and return the stolen information.

The case was filed in federal court in New Jersey, where a municipality in Union County was hacked last year.

The three accused hackers are thought to be in Iran and have not been arrested, but a Justice Department official says the charges make it “functionally impossible” for them to leave the country.

IDF chief says slain officer ‘showed courage and bravery’

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi tours the scene of a deadly gun battle near the Palestinian village of Jalamah in the northern West Bank, September 14, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi tours the scene of a deadly gun battle near the Palestinian village of Jalamah in the northern West Bank, September 14, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

Military chief Aviv Kohavi tours the scene of a deadly gun battle near the West Bank security barrier, saying slain officer Maj. Bar Falah “showed courage and bravery and paid for it with his life.”

“This is a difficult event that we wish would end differently,” Kohavi says in remarks provided by the Israel Defense Forces. “We saw a commander who led the way, showed courage and bravery and paid for it with his life, in the mission of protecting the security of the country and its residents.”

“We will investigate, learn and improve from this event,” Kohavi adds.

Falah will be buried tonight at the Netanya military cemetery, the IDF says.

Poland plans to ask Russia to return paintings looted during World War II

Poland's Culture Minister Piotr Glinski looks the marble bust of the antique goddess Diana during a ceremony of return at the Lazienki Palace in Warsaw, Poland, Friday, December 18, 2015. (AP/Alik Keplicz)
Poland's Culture Minister Piotr Glinski looks the marble bust of the antique goddess Diana during a ceremony of return at the Lazienki Palace in Warsaw, Poland, Friday, December 18, 2015. (AP/Alik Keplicz)

Poland will formally ask Russia to return seven paintings now in a leading Moscow museum that were looted during World War II by the Soviet Red Army, the Polish culture minister says.

Piotr Glinski also says that about 20 previous requests to Moscow for the return of thousands of other items stolen during WWII have fallen on deaf ears. The previously requested items included archives of the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz, paintings by Old Masters such as Durer, Holbein or Cranach and manuscripts by Polish authors.

“Until this day [Russia’s] government has not reviewed any of the claims,” Glinski tells a press conference. He adds that Russia is the only among several countries approached so far to have failed to even respond to Poland on the subject.

After last-minute addition, Religious Zionism submits its final electoral slate

Otzma Yehudit head Itamar Ben Gvir (left) and Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich submit their joint electoral list to the Central Election Committee at the Knesset on September 14, 2022. (Courtesy)
Otzma Yehudit head Itamar Ben Gvir (left) and Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich submit their joint electoral list to the Central Election Committee at the Knesset on September 14, 2022. (Courtesy)

Religious Zionism-Otzma Yehudit is the last party to submit its candidate list today, ending the first of two days in which parties finalize and register their rosters for November’s Knesset election.

The party’s 47-member list is not yet public, but it combines representatives from three far-right parties. In addition to its two eponymous parties, the list added the anti-LGBT Noam earlier today in a last-minute deal orchestrated by Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, placing its leader Avi Maoz in the 11th spot.

“For too many years the right, even though it ruled, it did not implement things,” says Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir, who takes the combined party’s second spot.

Ben Gvir says that the state needs to “back up” its soldiers, secure the streets, and promote a Jewish character. The firebrand MK has pushed controversial and at times racist positions, and has recently said he would support expelling Arabs who attack IDF soldiers.

The list includes a range of sitting MKs alongside newcomers Yitzhak Wasserlauf in the fifth spot, Almog Cohen in seventh, Amichai Eliyahu in ninth and Zvika Fogel in the 10th spot.

Lapid mourns fallen IDF officer, says army ‘will not hesitate to act’ to enforce order

Maj. Bar Falah, 30, the deputy commander of the elite Nahal reconnaissance unit, who was killed in a firefight with two terrorists near the West Bank security fence on September 14, 2022. (Courtesy: Family)
Maj. Bar Falah, 30, the deputy commander of the elite Nahal reconnaissance unit, who was killed in a firefight with two terrorists near the West Bank security fence on September 14, 2022. (Courtesy: Family)

Prime Minister Yair Lapid pays tribute to the IDF officer who was killed in an overnight firefight and vows to continue the fight against terror.

Lapid calls Maj. Bar Falah an “Israeli hero” and says he was killed “when he and his soldiers bravely… eliminated the terrorists.”

The prime minister says one of the two gunmen killed during the operation was “a member of the Palestinian Authority’s intelligence forces. This escalates things to another level.”

“In any place where the [Palestinian] Authority does not enforce order, we will not hesitate to act,” adds Lapid. “The IDF and Shin Bet are prepared for any scenario to prevent terrorism from raising its head… Israel will severely harm anyone who tries to harm it.”

UN says Israeli airstrike on Damascus airport halted aid deliveries

Repair works are seen at Syria's Damascus International Airport, after an airstrike attributed to Israel, June 12, 2022. (SANA)
Repair works are seen at Syria's Damascus International Airport, after an airstrike attributed to Israel, June 12, 2022. (SANA)

A purported Israeli airstrike on the airport of the Syrian capital Damascus in June that forced it to close for two weeks led to the suspension of humanitarian activities during that period, says the UN commission of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria.

On June 10, Israeli airstrikes that struck Damascus International Airport caused significant damage and rendered the main runway unserviceable. The airport opened two weeks later following repairs.

Commission member Lynn Welchman tells reporters in Geneva that her group was aware of some 14 Israeli airstrikes in Syria between January and June, adding that there were more strikes in August.

“We haven’t been able to so far corroborate civilian casualties. Civilian casualties is what we investigate,” she says. Welchman adds that the June 10 airstrike on Damascus airport did lead to “the suspension of all new and humanitarian air force delivery of humanitarian assistance which is extremely serious.”

Israel has launched hundreds of strikes against Iran-linked targets in Syria over the years and against Syrian military installations in cases where they were being used to attack Israel or Israeli forces.

Coffin of Queen Elizabeth travels from Buckingham Palace to Parliament

Grenadier Guards flank the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II during a procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall in London, Sept. 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Grenadier Guards flank the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II during a procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall in London, Sept. 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Troops from the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, military bands and mounted police are leading the procession of Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall.

Also walking in front of the coffin are the household, or staff members, who worked for the queen. They include her private secretary, her pages and stewards. Walking behind the coffin are her children: King Charles III, the country’s new sovereign, with Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.

The second row is made up of Charles’ two sons: Prince William, the Prince of Wales, and Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex. To Harry’s left is Anne’s son, Peter Phillips.

The coffin is on a gun carriage from the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery. It is flanked by 10 pallbearers and Grenadier Guards. Their guns are sounding at one-minute intervals as her coffin travels to Westminster Hall, where it will lie in state.

Yisrael Beytenu submits party slate, vows to keep Netanyahu from power

Yisrael Beytenu MK Alex Kushnir (right) submits the party's slate to the Central Elections Committee at the Knesset on September 14, 2022. (Screenshot)
Yisrael Beytenu MK Alex Kushnir (right) submits the party's slate to the Central Elections Committee at the Knesset on September 14, 2022. (Screenshot)

Yisrael Beytenu formally submits its candidate list in anticipation of November’s elections.

Party lawmaker Alex Kushnir, number seven on the now finalized roster, says that Yisrael Beytenu has fought to implement economic reforms and plans to continue doing so in the next Knesset.

“We are for liberal economics,” he says.

Kushnir also reaffirms that Yisrael Beytenu kept its promises upon entering the 24th Knesset to prevent former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu from holding onto power, to block Haredi parties from joining a coalition, and to take the treasury portfolio, which the party did.

Armenia says 105 of its troops killed in Azerbaijan border clashes

Firefighters work among the ruins of a house which was hit by Azeri shelling during recent border clashes with Azerbaijan, in the settlement of Sotk, Armenia, on September 14, 2022. (Karen MINASYAN / AFP)
Firefighters work among the ruins of a house which was hit by Azeri shelling during recent border clashes with Azerbaijan, in the settlement of Sotk, Armenia, on September 14, 2022. (Karen MINASYAN / AFP)

Armenia says that 105 of its troops died in border clashes with Azerbaijan, in the worst fighting since their 2020 war that has threatened a peace process between the arch-foes.

“For the moment, we have information on the deaths of 105 of our servicemen,” Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan tells parliament.

Shurat Hadin founder joining Jewish Home electoral list

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, chairwoman of Shurat HaDin, the Israel Law Center. (Courtesy: Shurat HaDin)
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, chairwoman of Shurat HaDin, the Israel Law Center. (Courtesy: Shurat HaDin)

Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, founder of the lawfare nonprofit Shurat Hadin, is joining the electoral list of the Jewish Home party, where she’ll take the fourth slot.

“Welcome to the Jewish Home dear Nitsana,” says Ayelet Shaked, who joined forces earlier this week with the party and will take its top slot ahead of the November election.

“If anyone doesn’t know Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, just google her,” Shaked adds. “An extraordinary woman and a fighter for the State of Israel.”

Shurat Hadin, a right-wing pro-Israel legal organization, regularly files lawsuits against individuals and bodies for alleged anti-Israel activity.

After Netanyahu pressure, extremist Noam agrees to run with Religious Zionism

MK Avi Maoz speaks during a plenum session in the assembly hall of the Knesset on December 15, 2021. (Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90)
MK Avi Maoz speaks during a plenum session in the assembly hall of the Knesset on December 15, 2021. (Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90)

The far-right Noam party will run on the joint slate of Religious Zionism and Otzma Yehudit in the upcoming election.

Noam — whose central party platform is staunchly anti-LGBT — had threatened a solo run and dragged negotiations out until this afternoon, until just minutes before Religious Zionism was scheduled to present its Knesset roster to the Central Elections Committee. Just hours earlier, opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu met with Noam’s spiritual leader Rabbi Zvi Tau to attempt to convince the party to join together with Religious Zionism — as it did in the past — to avoid wasting right-wing votes if the party does not cross the electoral threshold.

“After a long meeting with the rabbis of the party, it was decided to comply with the request of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to join the union in Religious Zionism and take the 11th place,” party MK Avi Maoz wrote in a message to journalists.

Colorful Pirate Party registers to run in upcoming election

The Pirate Party registers its electoral list at the Knesset on September 14, 2022. (Screenshot)
The Pirate Party registers its electoral list at the Knesset on September 14, 2022. (Screenshot)

Wearing captain’s hats and fuzzy vests, the Pirate Party presents its list to the Central Elections Committee.

The party says it is in favor of canceling the electoral threshold to enable small parties to enter Knesset, and makes the committee smile with its tongue-in-cheek political bid.

“We are the party of floating voices. We came to make voices more than rake in voices,” said party member Dan Biron.

Founded in 2012, the Pirate Party is the Israeli branch of an irreverent international political movement. It has never won any seats in the Knesset, or come close to crossing the electoral threshold.

COVID czar suggests Israel is heading for a new wave of virus

People, some with face masks, shop for groceries at the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem on July 7, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
People, some with face masks, shop for groceries at the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem on July 7, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

COVID czar Salman Zarka says Israel could very likely be heading for another wave of the coronavirus.

Earlier this week the R reproduction number rose above 1 — meaning the disease is growing — for the first time in months.

“This means that morbidity is spreading and I say this with the appropriate caution — we could be in a new wave of COVID,” Zarka tells reporters a a briefing. “This isn’t surprising. The disease has been here all the time.”

Zarka says that so far “the rise in cases is not large. We are following it and we will be able to speak with more certainty next week.” He notes that the Health Ministry has been concerned and preparing for months for the potential of a wave of COVID and flu cases during the winter months.

Currently the R rate stands at 1.12, and the positivity rate of those tested was close to 11%.

Pakistan, Taliban trade blame over deadly border crossfire

A Pakistani soldier stands guard at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing point in Chaman on August 20, 2021. (AFP)
A Pakistani soldier stands guard at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing point in Chaman on August 20, 2021. (AFP)

Afghan and Pakistani authorities blame each other for an overnight clash at the border that caused casualties on both sides.

In a statement, the Taliban says that Afghan authorities tried to stop Pakistani forces from building a checkpoint close to the border in eastern Paktia province’s Dand-e Patan district, but the Pakistani forces opened fire.

Pakistan’s military says in a statement that three soldiers were killed in the country’s northwest by militant fire from across the Afghan border last night. The attack hit a border security post in Kurram, a district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Both Pakistan and Afghanistan accuse each other of providing sanctuaries to their enemy insurgents — something both sides deny.

National Unity party submits its final electoral slate at Knesset

National Unity party head Benny Gantz (C) launches his party's campaign for the upcoming elections, September 6, 2022. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
National Unity party head Benny Gantz (C) launches his party's campaign for the upcoming elections, September 6, 2022. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s National Unity party becomes the first major faction to submit its list of candidates at the Knesset.

The party is made of up Blue and White, New Hope, political newcomer former IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot and Yamina defector Matan Kahana.

Ministers Pnina Tamano-Shata and Yifat Shasha Biton and MK Eitan Ginsburg represent the party during the list submission in the Knesset.

“We hope that the next time we meet will be in four years, and that we won’t continue this cycle of elections,” says Ginsburg to the members of the Central Elections Committee.

France rebuked by Europe rights court for refusing to allow return of ‘IS brides’

Women and children stand in line at a reception area for people evacuated from the last shred of territory held by Islamic State militants, outside Baghouz, Syria, on March 6, 2019. (AP/Gabriel Chaim)
Women and children stand in line at a reception area for people evacuated from the last shred of territory held by Islamic State militants, outside Baghouz, Syria, on March 6, 2019. (AP/Gabriel Chaim)

The European Court of Human Rights condemns France for refusing to repatriate two of its female citizens held after joining their Islamist partners in Syria.

French authorities should re-examine the request by the women’s parents to allow them to return home, the court says, saying there had not been sufficient reviews to ensure against “arbitrariness” of the refusal.

The case was filed by the parents of two French women who traveled to Syria, where the Islamic State group had taken control of large swaths of territory, and where they later had children with their jihadist husbands.

They are being held in the Kurdish-run Al-Hol camp in northeast Syria following their arrest after the fall of the so-called IS “caliphate,” the parents say, where malnutrition and disease is rife.

The parents say the lives of their daughters and grandchildren are at risk, and asked the European court to ensure their right to return home as nationals of a member state party to the European Convention on Human Rights.

The French government has long refused such a move, saying jihadist fighters and their families must face local justice.

Netanyahu meets with leader of far-right anti-gay party to push for union

Rabbi Zvi Tau in 2018 (Screenshot)
Rabbi Zvi Tau in 2018 (Screenshot)

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly meeting with Rabbi Zvi Tau, the spiritual leader of the far-right anti-LGBT party Noam.

Netanyahu is seeking to convince Noam to join forces with the far-right Religious Zionism party, which earlier agreed on a joint run with the extreme Otzma Yehudit faction. Noam ran in the most recent election together with the two factions, but it appears unlikely that the party will rejoin its erstwhile partners this time.

The former prime minister is hoping to ensure that no right-wing votes go to waste, potentially blocking him from forming a government; if Noam runs independently it is not expected to cross the electoral threshold.

Parties have until tomorrow night to finalize and submit their slates to the Central Elections Committee.

Party registration opens at Knesset ahead of November 1 election

Members of the Central Elections Committee await political party registrations at the Knesset in Jerusalem on September 14, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Members of the Central Elections Committee await political party registrations at the Knesset in Jerusalem on September 14, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Registration for parties seeking to run in the upcoming national elections begins this afternoon at the Knesset.

Eli Avidar, the renegade Yisrael Beytenu MK, is among the first to register his party, which is not expected to cross the electoral threshold come November 1. Nevertheless, Avidar tells reporters that he fully intends to run until the end, and believes he will attain the required 3.25% of the vote.

Parties have until tomorrow night to finalize and submit their party lists, leaving room for last-minute mergers, defections and spot-jostling among the major parties expected to run in Israel’s fifth national election in three years.

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