The Times of Israel liveblogged Thursday’s events as they happened.
Former Yamina MK Amichai Chikli who quit the coalition more than a year ago and recently officially joined the Likud, claims a deal to be placed 14th on Benjamin Netanyahu’s party’s slate ahead of the upcoming elections was only made several weeks ago.
“The [deal to be placed on the list] wasn’t closed a year ago… it was closed a few weeks ago,” he tells Channel 12 news.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the Biden administration is “committed to advancing and expanding” the Abraham Accords normalization agreements Israel signed with several Arab states in 2020.
In a statement marking the two-year anniversary of the accords’ signing, Blinken says the diplomatic deals “have been transformational for Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco.”
“They have led to new forms of cooperation and regional integration in the Middle East and beyond, including the historic Negev Forum, which brought us together with Israel and its neighbors,” he continues, referring to the March summit of regional foreign ministers in Sde Boker where participants agreed to boost cooperation and make the gatherings a regular occurrence.
“We are committed to advancing and expanding upon these agreements between Israel and Arab and Muslim-majority countries to enhance regional security, prosperity, and peace. The United States looks forward to helping strengthen and deepen these partnerships in the years to come,” Blinken adds.
The Arab Balad party submits its electoral slate to the Central Elections Committee
“Balad also has a solution to this conflict,” says leader Sami Abou Shehada.
“It’s the idea of a state for all its citizens based on justice and human rights,” he adds, reaffirming Balad’s commitment to a one-state solution to Palestinian national aspirations.
In a potentially election-deciding decision, the majority-Arab Joint List splits into two factions, Hadash-Ta’al and Balad, with Balad citing disagreements on how to handle a rotational agreement in a combined slate’s sixth spot.
Hadash-Ta’al submits its final roster to the Central Elections Committee, with Balad expected soon after.
“We wanted as broad a unification as possible,” says Hadash, and Joint List, head Ayman Odeh, pointing to recent polls indicate the Joint List will be “the most important political party” after the election because of its wedge position between political blocs. The Joint List has historically not aligned with a coalition.
“A day after the election, everyone will come to us and we’ll put everyone on one foot to respect… our population,” says Odeh. The Joint List has in the past recommended a candidate for prime minister, and is expected to do so again in exchange for political demands.
“We really wanted to preserve the Joint List. Ta’al even wanted to keep the Joint List with four parties, with respect,” says Ta’al leader Ahmed Tibi, “but it wasn’t possible.”
Without the Joint List, Balad is not expected to pass the 3.25% electoral threshold to enter the Knesset. In addition, Arab voter turnout — already polling to be low — is expected to drop with a split Joint List.
Yeshiva University responds after the US Supreme Court yesterday dismissed the university’s request to intervene in its case against its student Pride club.
The flagship Modern Orthodox university in New York City had asked the highest US court to overrule a state court’s demand that the university recognize a campus LGBTQ club.
“Every faith-based university in the country has the right to work with its students, including its LGBTQ students, to establish the clubs, places and spaces that fit within its faith tradition,” university president Rabbi Ari Berman says in a statement.
“Yeshiva University simply seeks that same right of self-determination. The Supreme Court has laid out the roadmap for us to find expedited relief and we will follow their instructions,” Berman says.
“At the same time, as our commitment to and love for our LGBTQ students are unshakeable, we continue to extend our hand in invitation to work together to create a more inclusive campus life consistent with our Torah values.”
The Supreme Court told Yeshiva University that it must exhaust other appeals before the court will hear the case. The decision was made on procedural grounds, not religious ones, and the justices said the university could appeal to the Supreme Court again down the road.
The case centers on whether the university is a secular institution, bound by New York State human rights laws, or a religious institution with beliefs protected by the First Amendment.
Balad will run as part of the Joint List in the upcoming election, pulling its threat to run alone amid a disagreement over the division of the majority Arab alliance’s electoral slate.
The Joint List is now expected to soon submit its final list of candidates, ahead of a midnight deadline.
President Isaac Herzog says he plans to soon visit Bahrain, as he attends a reception hosted by the United Arab Emirates to celebrate two years since Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi normalized diplomatic ties.
“I intend to visit Bahrain in the coming months as the guest of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in order to continue exploring together new ways to enhance our nations’ cooperation, for the sake of the peace, prosperity and success of our entire region,” Herzog says.
In a shoutout, Herzog hails visiting UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan “as a central actor” in the Abraham Accords, a series of US-brokered deals that also saw Israel agree to establish relations with Bahrain and Morocco.
Sudan is also a party to the accords, but the normalization process with Israel has since stalled.
“I wish to note my positive conversations this past year with the leaders of the government of Sudan, reflecting, I believe, a mutual desire to continue deepening relations between our countries,” Herzog says. “All Israeli governments have a commitment to this dramatic transformation and to these accords, and the Israeli people salute our new friends with a joyous and open heart.”
The alleged gunman who opened fire near the southern West Bank settlement of Carmel, injuring one person, apparently fled the scene.
Earlier Hebrew-language media reports said a suspect had been subdued in the area, although this was not confirmed by the military.
The reports now say the gunman managed to flee, after firing at the settlement injuring one, and a car driving nearby.
The Magen David Adom ambulance service says medics are treating a man in his 20s who is moderately hurt by gunfire in the southern West Bank settlement of Carmel.
MDA says the man is taken to Beersheba’s Soroka hospital.
The incident comes as a suspected infiltration siren rings out in the area.
According to initial Hebrew-language media reports, an alleged assailant has been subdued or shot.
The Israel Defense Forces says the incident is under review, but described it as a “suspected security incident.”
A suspected infiltration alert is sounding in the southern West Bank settlement of Carmel.
The military’s Home Front Command instructs residents to remain in their homes, lock their doors and windows, until further notice.
The Rescuers Without Borders emergency service says medics are treating one person who was lightly hurt in the settlement, although the cause is not fully clear.
The service says it received reports of shooting heard in the area, but this remained unconfirmed.
A Virginia man who stormed the US Capitol while wearing an antisemitic “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt over a Nazi-themed shirt was sentenced today to 75 days of imprisonment.
Robert Keith Packer, 57, declined to address US District Judge Carl Nichols before he sentenced him during hearing held by video conference. The judge noted the “incredibly offensive” message on Packer’s sweatshirt before imposing the sentence.
“It seems to me that he wore that sweatshirt for a reason. We don’t know what the reason was because Mr. Packer hasn’t told us,” Nichols said.
Photographs of Packer wearing the sweatshirt went viral after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. When FBI agents asked him why he wore it, he “fatuously” replied, “Because I was cold,” a federal prosecutor said in a court filing.
Packer’s sweatshirt depicted an image of a human skull above the words “Camp Auschwitz.” The word “Staff” was on the back. It also bore the phrase “Work Brings Freedom,” a rough translation of the German words above the entrance gate to Auschwitz, the concentration camp in occupied Poland where Nazis killed more than 1 million men, women and children.
Assistant US Attorney Mona Furst said she learned yesterday that Packer also wore an “SS” T-shirt — a reference to the Nazi Party paramilitary organization founded by Adolf Hitler — under his sweatshirt on Jan. 6.
Defense attorney Stephen Brennwald acknowledged that Packer’s attire was “seriously offensive” but argued that it shouldn’t be a sentencing factor because he has a free speech right to wear it.
Three hours before the final deadline and only a day after the party approved chief Yossi Brodny’s plan to run under the leadership of Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, Jewish Home submits its final candidate roster to the Central Elections Committee.
Behind Shaked, who technically still leads the independent Yamina party which has folded itself into Jewish Home for the November 1 vote, is Brodny in the second spot. Religious Kibbutz leader and settlement advocate Amitai Porat sits in the third spot, followed by Shurat Hadin founder and lawyer Nitzana Darshan-Leitner, Yamina MK Yomtob Kalfon and incoming lawmaker Orna Shtarkman, who is replacing Yamina renegade Idit Silman after she resigned from the Knesset earlier this week to run with Likud.
American immigrant to Israel and Yamina faction director Jeremy Saltan is in the party’s tenth spot, deemed unrealistic to enter the Knesset.
Jewish Home under Ayelet Shaked is polling at 2.4% of the vote, according to Channel 14 earlier this week, and will be a challenge to cross the 3.25% threshold necessary to enter Knesset.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told Israel’s envoy to Moscow during a recent meeting that Russia cannot guarantee the safety of Jewish pilgrims visiting Ukraine’s Uman for Rosh Hashanah, Channel 12 news reports.
According to the network, Bogdanov told Ambassador Alexander Ben Zvi that Israel needs to prevent any of its citizens from traveling to the Ukrainian city for the Jewish new year.
The report also says Bogdanov asked for Israel to hand over control of the Alexander Courtyard, a church property in Jerusalem’s Old City that Moscow has long sought.
A crisis is brewing in the majority-Arab Joint List, mere hours before the deadline to submit final candidate lists for November’s election.
The Joint List’s three constituent parties only came to an agreement for a unified run earlier this week, after being unable to resolve a debate on where to place representatives from each faction on the slate.
The Palestinian nationalist party Balad is threatening to break up the alliance over the terms of rotating the sixth spot on the Joint List.
Balad’s single sitting lawmaker and leader Sami Abou Shehadeh has pushed to increase the party’s influence within the Joint List, among waning support from the Arab street.
In addition to Abou Shehadeh in the third slot, Balad has the first MK in rotation in the sixth spot.
Balad wants to only rotate the seat with Ta’al, rather than decreasing the time to a third of the candidacy by also adding Hadash into the rotation.
According to the terms of the current agreement, Hadash has three seats in the first six, Ta’al was reduced to one, and Balad has one plus the first run at the sixth spot.
If Balad runs independently, it is not expected to cross the electoral threshold.
Former Yamina MK Abir Kara submits his Economic Freedom party’s list of candidates for an independent run focused on the cost of living.
“These elections are about our pockets,” says Kara.
“There is no Western country that succeeded without economic freedom,” he adds.
Kara formally split from Yamina today to run with his own party in the November 1 election.
Economic Freedom is currently polling below the minimum vote threshold necessary to enter the Knesset.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid vows zero tolerance for racism in his Yesh Atid party after being criticized over a Russian-language campaign webpage that called opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud a sectoral Sephardic party.
In a statement, Lapid says he called for all Yesh Atid campaign material in Russian to be taken down from the internet, and for the unnamed person who wrote the text to be fired.
“There will be no display of any type of racism among us,” he says. “Whoever says or writes something racist will be out of Yesh Atid that day.”
He accuses Netanyahu of seizing on his comments.
“He never misses an opportunity to incite and divide,” Lapid says.
The premier also argues that there are more Sephardic candidates at the top of Yesh Atid’s electoral list than Likud’s.
An 8-year-old boy has died after being run over by a bus in the southern port city of Ashdod.
The boy was taken in critical condition to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
A senior officer tells reporters that the military has identified Hezbollah and other Iran-backed militias in Syria beginning to withdraw from the region following a series of airstrikes attributed to Israel in recent weeks.
The officer says the apparent withdrawal of Iranian forces from the area is “a result of the IDF strikes.”
Recent airstrikes attributed to Israel disrupted operations at the Aleppo and Damascus airports, in an attempt to stem weapon shipments from Iran to Hezbollah via Syria.
Other airstrikes Syria has blamed on Israel targeted a weapons factory in Masyaf. Defense Minister Benny Gantz this week said Iran had converted the Syrian military site into a factory for long-range missiles for Hezbollah.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party has taken down parts of its Russian-language campaign page after facing criticism for saying opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud is becoming a “sectoral” faction for Israeli Jews of Sephardic descent.
The webpage charged that Likud no longer represents “all parts” of Israeli society.
“It abandoned its ideology and became a sectoral Sephardic party,” it said.
The text was first highlighted by Likud MK Galit Distel Atbaryan.
“Yair Lapid called today in Russian not to vote for Likud because it’s a ‘party of Sephardim.’ Lapid’s racism has no limits,” the party says in a statement.
Yesh Atid says the text was written by an outside party without the party’s knowledge and does not reflect its views. The party added that it was going over other content on the website.
Likud faction director MK Yariv Levin dismisses reporter questions about whether his party has alternative plans for leadership should its longtime head Benjamin Netanyahu fail to form a government following the November 1 election, after submitting Likud’s list of candidates to the Central Elections Committee.
“He is our candidate for prime minister,” Levin says of Netanyahu.
Netanyahu’s right-religious bloc is ahead of Lapid’s so-called change bloc in polls, but neither is currently projected to have a decisive path to power. A wildcard affecting Netanyahu’s camp is whether Ayelet Shaked, whose Yamina party earlier merged with Jewish Home to run under the latter’s name, will pull critical votes away from Likud’s control.
Shaked, who has yet to present her candidate list, is polling under the electoral threshold and could burn right-wing votes if she doesn’t pass into Knesset.
Alternatively, if Shaked does make it over the four-seat hurdle, she has indicated her intention to support Netanyahu for prime minister. Shaked, behind former political partner and former prime minister Naftali Bennett, begrudgingly lent her hand to creating the outgoing big-tent coalition of right, left and centrist parties, as well as an Arab faction.
“Of course there’s a worry that [right-wing voters] might make a mistake again and vote for parties that are right-wing in their hearts but then go with the left, and we have enough experience with this with Ayelet Shaked and others,” says Levin, stopping short of calling for Shaked to quit the race.
“I don’t deal with other parties and don’t [tell] anyone about what to do,” he adds.
Levin is No. 2 on Likud’s electoral list, after securing the top spot behind Netanyahu in the right-wing party’s primaries.
PARIS — A young Iranian woman is in a coma and fighting for her life after being arrested in Tehran by the Islamic Republic’s morality police, campaigners say today.
The woman, named as Mahsa Amini, 22, was on a visit to the Iranian capital with her family when she was detained by the special police unit that enforces the strict dress rules for women, including the compulsory headscarf.
Her brother Kiaresh tells the Iran Wire news website that while he was waiting outside the police station for her to be released an ambulance drove out taking her to hospital.
He was told that she had had a heart attack and a brain seizure and was now in a coma.
“There were only two hours between her arrest and being taken to hospital,” he says.
Vowing to file a criminal complaint he adds: “I have nothing to lose. I will not let this end without making a noise.”
A statement by the Tehran police confirms she had been detained for “explanation and instruction” about the dress rules, along with other women.
“She suddenly suffered a heart problem while in the company of other guided people (and)… was immediately taken to the hospital with the cooperation of police and emergency services.”
It is not yet clear what happened between her arriving at the police station and her departure for the hospital.
The Labor party solidifies its long-stated intention to run independently in the November 1 vote, submitting its slate of candidates to the Central Elections Committee.
By filing the list, Labor officials closes the door on a potential joint run with Meretz.
The Central Bureau of Statistics reports a 0.3 percent dip in the consumer price index last month, bringing down the yearly inflation rate to 4.6%.
The cooling inflation numbers from August come after the annual accelerated past 5% when monthly prices shot up in July at the fastest pace in over a decade.
Prices fell across all major categories tracked by the Central Bureau of Statistics in August except for residential housing, which is up a scorching 17.9% on the year.
STOCKHOLM — Sweden’s incoming leader gets to work today on the thorny task of building a government supported for the first time by the far right, a day after securing a slim election victory.
Conservative Moderates chief Ulf Kristersson was expected to be formally tasked sometime next week with forming a government after Social Democratic Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson tendered her resignation.
While the far-right Sweden Democrats became the biggest party on the right with 20 percent of the votes, observers said it was unlikely the anti-immigration and nationalist party would be given cabinet seats due to divisions in the right-wing bloc.
The small Liberal party has said it would withdraw its support for Kristersson — which would leave him without a majority — if he includes the far-right in the government.
With 176 seats — 73 of them going to the Sweden Democrats — the four-party coalition will have a slim majority over Andersson’s left bloc, which won 173, according to final results presented today.
The narrow majority leaves the right-wing bloc fragile, with the four parties fiercely opposed on a number of issues, especially the Liberals and Sweden Democrats.
If a few disgruntled MPs jump ship, it could end up flipping the balance of power in parliament.
The bloc is at odds over international aid, unemployment benefits, asylum laws and legal reforms to staunch a wave of gang shootings and bombings that have rocked Sweden in recent years.
Mansour Abbas says that his Ra’am party plans to continue “political partnership” after the November election, while calling to raise voter turnout among Israel’s Arab community.
“It’s our intention to continue in the way of political partnership in then next Knesset,” Abbas says while submitting his Islamic faction’s candidate list to the Central Elections Committee.
“No one will incite us away” from the path, he adds. Ra’am is expected to try to join the next coalition, regardless of its leader.
Abbas also addresses one of the election’s most consequential issues: voter turnout in the Arab community, which is now forecast at a historic low.
Abbas encourages Arab voters to make their voices heard in November, even going so far as to urge them to vote for the majority-Arab Joint List.
Ra’am broke with the Joint List in 2021 to run separately before elections that March, after which it became the first independent Arab party to join a coalition.
The Joint List has attacked Ra’am for mainstreaming into Israeli politics before there is credible movement on Palestinian national aspirations and the achievement of full parity in the state.
When asked by a reporter if Ra’am members — specifically MK Walid Taha — have changed anti-LGBT views, Abbas equivocates.
“It’s completely a religious issue, not humanist,” says Abbas.
Attempts to force a unification between Meretz and Labor are seemingly over as Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party submits its candidate list to the Central Elections Committee, removing his ability to incentivize Labor’s leader to join with Meretz.
Lapid had offered Merav Michaeli a reserved spot in his own party’s list to incentivize a joint run, but the Labor chief has been steadfast in her desire to run an independent campaign.
Lapid has expressed concern that if either Labor or Meretz, which have both polled between four and six seats, fail to pass the four-seat threshold to enter Knesset, his chances to form a government would be further imperiled.
“Yesh Atid presented a list that will continue to work for stability,” says Minister Orna Barbivai, upon presenting the party’s slate.
After visiting Yad Vashem, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan is hosted by Prime Minister Yair Lapid for a meeting at the premier’s office in Jerusalem.
Bin Zayed met earlier with President Isaac Herzog, as part of his first visit to Jerusalem to mark two years since the Abraham Accords.
Justin Bieber confirms that he is upcoming concert in Tel Aviv has been scrapped, as part of a series of cancellations.
A statement cites the Canadian pop star’s “ill health,” apparently referring to a syndrome causing partial facial paralysis that he was recently diagnosed with.
It adds that tickets for the October 13 concert in Tel Aviv and the shows in other countries will be refunded.
— Sharon levit (@sharon_levit) September 15, 2022
The Central Elections Committee orders Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party to immediately remove photos of the premier with IDF troops from his social media account, ruling the posts are forbidden electioneering.
The panel’s chair, Supreme Court Justice Yitzhak Amit, also orders Yesh Atid to pay NIS 40,000 in legal fees.
The ruling comes in response to an appeal filed by opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party; the committee similarly hit Likud with a fine and ordered Netanyahu to remove photos with soldiers in 2019 when he was premier.
Israeli election law bars the use of uniformed troops in campaign materials and campaigning on military bases is illegal.
Twenty-year-old Israeli internet personality Hadar Muchtar submits her Fiery Youth protest party’s thin slate of candidates to the Central Election Committee, staffed by five political newcomers behind Muchtar.
Muchtar has risen to popular culture prominence in the past month, creating viral videos on TikTok that attack Israel’s rising cost of living and appeal to a young, right-wing audience.
Although she filed her list mere hours before the deadline, Muchtar visited the Knesset yesterday and caused a stir with fiery outbursts to television crews positioned to cover the registration process.
Muchtar’s party polled at 1.5 percent in its first survey, but is not expected to win the minimum 3.25% of the vote necessary to earn a spot in the Knesset. She has pointed out that her numbers were almost on par with politically beleaguered Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked.
“We don’t have a shekel in our pocket and we managed to achieve this,” Muchtar told Yedioth Ahronoth at the beginning of September.
The minimum age to be seated as a lawmaker is 21. If Muchtar’s party were to succeed in its longshot bid to cross the threshold, she herself cannot become a MK in November.
GENEVA — Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer is to retire after next week’s Laver Cup, he says.
“The Laver Cup next week in London will be my final ATP event,” he says in a statement posted on his Twitter account.
The 41-year-old winner of 20 Grand Slam titles has been out of action since a quarterfinal loss at Wimbledon in 2021 before undergoing another bout of knee surgery.
TEHRAN, Iran — Iran strongly condemns what it calls false accusations leveled by the United States against three of its citizens for alleged cyber attacks in the US and other countries.
The US justice department unveiled the indictments yesterday accusing the trio of exploiting computer vulnerabilities to extort “hundreds” of victims, including inside Britain, Australia, Iran, Russia and the United States.
In a statement today, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani “strongly condemned” the US measures against “citizens and companies on the false accusation of being involved in cyber attacks.”
“Resorting to launching a propaganda campaign… against Iran is part of the failed Iranophobic policy of the American government, which of course will not lead anywhere,” Kanani says.
“The US, which has previously remained silent against numerous cyber attacks against Iran… and has even directly or indirectly supported these attacks, lacks the jurisdiction to accuse others.”
UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan visits Yad Vashem, in the first visit by the top Emirati diplomat to Israel’s national Holocaust memorial.
After touring the Jerusalem museum, Bin Zayed lays a wreath in the Hall of Remembrance.
“I am here today to remind ourselves of the lessons that history teaches us and the great responsibility upon us to act with tolerance for building our community and society,” he writes in the guestbook. “We must take the brave step of building a bridge of true peace for the coming generations.”
Bin Zayed is in Israel to mark two years since Israel, the UAE and Bahrain signed the Abraham Accords, a series of US-backed normalization deals.
Das ist historisch: Der Außenminister der Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate, S.H. Scheich @ABZayed, besuchte heute die Holocaust-Gedenkstätte @yadvashem in Jerusalem und legte in Gedenken an die 6 Millionen ermordeten Jüdinnen und Juden einen Kranz nieder.pic.twitter.com/yaC2OymE1c
— Israel in Österreich???????????????? (@IsraelinAustria) September 15, 2022
Russia strongly denies that Moscow is planning to fire missiles at Jewish pilgrims visiting the Ukrainian city of Uman during Rosh Hashanah, as an adviser to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed on Israeli public television.
Speaking with Kan last week, Mykhailo Podolyak said Russia may lob missiles at Uman to cause “global shock.”
The spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry dismisses the Podolyak’s warning as “an absurd thought and of course fake.”
“Nevertheless these comments need to be taken seriously because they are coming from the regime in Kyiv,” Maria Zakharova is quoted saying by Kan. “There is no doubt that [the Ukrainians] are brutal enough to exploit the opportunity to create another anti-Russian provocation.”
Both Jerusalem and Kyiv have warned Jews not to visit Uman — the burial site of Hasidic Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav — due to the fighting in Ukraine resulting from Russia’s invasion.
NEUHARDENBERG, Germany — G7 ministers say they’ll seek to crank up the pressure on Russia and limit Moscow’s means of financing its war in Ukraine.
The G7 will “maintain and expand our coordinated efforts to prevent Russia from profiting from its illegal aggression” and curtail Russia’s ability to carry on the war, trade ministers say in a statement after a meeting in Germany.
LONDON — Buckingham Palace announces that two minutes of silence will be observed across the United Kingdom at the end of Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral.
The funeral is to be held at Westminster Abbey on Monday, with some 2,000 guests attending, including visiting heads of state and other dignitaries.
Officials say today that after the funeral, the late queen’s coffin will be transported through the historic heart of London on a horse-drawn gun carriage.
It will then be taken in a hearse to Windsor, where the queen will be interred alongside her late husband, Prince Philip, who died last year.
Rebel Yamina MK Nir Orbach, who played a central role in bringing down the outgoing government, announces he is taking a timeout from politics.
A statement from Orbach says his retirement is “for the moment.” The move comes before a deadline tonight for parties to submit their final slates of candidates, which he argues won’t bring the right closer to a majority.
“I personally intend to do everything in my abilities from outside a slate for religious Zionists to vote for the establishment of a right-wing government,” he says.
Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll argues that Israel’s international standing will suffer a blow if far-right leaders Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir are part of the next government.
“If we let people like Ben Gvir and Smotrich manage the country, we won’t get the backing of the United States, the economic support or the strength to protect the State of Israel,” Roll, a member of Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, says at a Ramat Gan high school, according to the Walla news site.
SAMARKAND, Uzbekistan — Russian President Vladimir Putin blasts attempts to create a “unipolar world” and praises China’s “balanced” approach to Ukraine, as he meets Chinese President Xi Jinping in Uzbekistan.
Holding their first in-person talks since the start of the Ukraine conflict, Putin takes a clear broadside at the United States, saying: “Attempts to create a unipolar world have recently acquired an absolutely ugly form and are completely unacceptable.”
President Isaac Herzog hosts an official luncheon to welcome UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan to Jerusalem on the second anniversary of the Abraham Accords.
“We welcome you here with open arms and open hearts,” says Herzog at the President’s Residence. “We welcome you to our home as dreamers watch a dream come true.”
Herzog calls the normalization agreements “a paradigm change in the Middle East, of sounding new voices, of painting new horizons for our children and their future and a celebration of life and change.”
Bin Zayed, visiting Jerusalem for the first time, calls it “a privilege and an honor” to be in Israel and to be hosted by the president and first lady.
The top Emirati diplomat’s delegation includes the UAE’s minister of state for international cooperation, ministry for culture and youth and Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Al Khaja.
Bin Zayed also signs the official guestbook and presents Herzog with a letter from UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, commonly known as MBZ.
The UAE diplomat is also slated to meet with Prime Minister Yair Lapid this afternoon; he will later attend a reception in Herzliya with Herzog to celebrate the anniversary of the accords.
Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara comes out against the idea of a temporary head for the vetting committee for senior officials, after the High Court froze government’s appointment of a new chairman due to the elections.
Responding for the state, Baharav-Miara acknowledges “considerations of restraint” during an election period, but argues that not appointing Menachem “Meni” Mazuz as chairman of the Senior Appointments Advisory Committee on a permanent basis would undercut the authorities of the government and the panel.
In their decision to halt the appointment last week, the justices questioned why Mazuz could not serve as a temporary head of the committee.
“The appointment of a committee chairman on a temporary or ‘ad-hoc’ basis… harms the government’s broad policies and makes an opening for the erosion of the independent and very important status of the committee’s members as gatekeepers,” she writes in the response.
Mazuz’s appointment is necessary for Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi to become the next IDF chief, as nominees for top security posts must be vetted by the committee.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid tours the Shin Bet security service’s headquarters for the northern West Bank, amid a marked rise in deadly clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian gunmen in the area.
Lapid’s visit comes a day after IDF Maj. Bar Falah was killed in a firefight with two Palestinians along the West Bank security barriers. The two assailants, one of whom was a Palestinian Authority intelligence officer, were killed in the exchange of fire.
“The State of Israel will continue to stop and hinder terror activities and terrorists,” he says. “We expect the [Palestinian] Authority to take responsibility and fight terror.”
Israeli leaders have become increasingly vocal in blaming the PA’s slackening grip on West Bank areas it controls — particularly Jenin and Nablus — for the jump in armed clashes.
The premier was given a security briefing during the visit, according to a statement from his office.
Labor leader Merav Michaeli spoke with former IDF Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon in recent days to offer him the No. 2 spot on the center-left party’s electoral slate, according to the Walla news site.
Quoting unnamed sources familiar with the matter, the news site says Alon rebuffed the offer, without elaborating. Neither side responded to requests for comment on the report.
Alon was a candidate for military chief of staff in 2018, but was ultimately passed over for current IDF commander Aviv Kohavi. He previously served as head of Central Command, who acts as military governor of the West Bank and commands Israeli forces there.
Michaeli reportedly also offered a spot on Labor’s list to former Military Intelligence head Amos Yadlin, but was likewise turned down.
The report comes ahead of a midnight deadline for parties to submit their slates to the Central Elections Committee. Labor has faced pressure to run together with the left-wing Meretz party to ensure neither faction drops below the minimum vote threshold, but Michaeli has resisted calls for a joint list.
BERLIN — Germany’s foreign minister is putting pressure on Chancellor Olaf Scholz to decide soon whether to supply Ukraine with advanced tanks as it seeks to reclaim more of its captured territory from Russia.
Kyiv has said it would like to get German Leopard-2 tanks, but Berlin has so far rebuffed that request while delivering other weaponry, such as howitzers and self-propelled anti-aircraft weapons.
In an interview with daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published today, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock says a decision on delivering modern battle tanks to Ukraine could only be taken jointly by Germany’s governing three-party coalition and its international partners.
“But in the decisive phase that Ukraine currently finds itself, I also don’t believe that it’s a decision which can be delayed for long,” she is quoted as saying.
Economy Minister Robert Habeck, a fellow member of the Greens party, says today that he expects Germany to deliver more of “the right weapons” to Ukraine soon.
The far-right Alternative for Germany party, which is not in government and has close ties to Moscow, warns, meanwhile, against providing tanks to Ukraine.
“The Ukraine war is not our war,” says its co-leader, Tino Chrupalla.
He calls instead for Germany to open the Nord Stream 2 pipeline so the country can import gas from Russia.
MOSCOW — Russia pulls online publishing rights for the country’s most prominent independent newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, dealing another blow to the country’s crippled media that is dominated by state-controlled press.
“The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation has ordered a halt to activities of the Novaya Gazeta website (novayagazeta.ru) as a media outlet,” the newspaper writes in a statement on social media.
SAMARKAND, Uzbekistan — Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi tells his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that the cooperation among countries sanctioned by the United States will make them “stronger.”
“The relationship between countries that are sanctioned by the US, such as Iran, Russia or other countries, can overcome many problems and issues and make them stronger,” Raisi says in a meeting with Putin in Uzbekistan.
“The Americans think whichever country they impose sanctions on, it will be stopped. Their perception is a wrong one.”
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