The Times of Israel liveblogged Wednesday’s events as they unfolded.
A senior Biden administration official says that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu understands that he’ll “have to do some very hard things” in order to get a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudia across the finish line.
Briefing reporters on condition of anonymity after US President Joe Biden’s meeting with Netanyahu, the administration official is asked whether the Israeli premier acknowledged that such an agreement cannot neglect the Palestinians.
“There’s a common understanding among all the leaders about this very historic step between Israel and Saudi Arabia, that all the leaders involved in this have to do some very hard things, and that includes the Prime Minister of Israel, and that includes some component related to the fundamental issue between Israelis and Palestinians,” the senior administration official says while declining to elaborate on what that component might look like.
“There is a basic meeting of the minds on not only the importance of that issue but some of the contours of what would be required,” the US official adds.
Netanyahu has in the past sought to publicly downplay the centrality of a Palestinian component to the agreement, as he has long chafed at making concessions to the Palestinians and is now limited by a hardline coalition that overwhelmingly opposes a two-state solution.
But the Biden administration has long maintained that moves to significantly advance a two-state solution are essential for the deal to succeed since they will be needed to placate criticism of Saudi Arabia in the Muslim and Arab world and in order to convince enough progressive Democrats in the Senate to forgo their reservations about Riyadh’s human rights record in order to back the agreement.
Asked whether the US and Israel see eye-to-eye on the Saudi demand for US assistance in the establishment of a civilian nuclear program, the administration official suffices by saying, “Whatever is done regarding civil nuclear cooperation with Saudi Arabia or anybody else, will meet stringent us non-proliferation standards.”
As for the Saudi demand for a mutual defense pact with the US, the official says, “there is a security component to the deal and a number of components “that are fundamentally in the interests of the US. That’s one reason we are obviously pursuing [this but also because of the potential global dimensions.”
“Normalization is a very complicated issue… Nobody has ever said this is right around the corner… We have been making some progress, but… there’s some ways to travel on this before we get there.” the administration official says.
The official says Biden and Netanyahu had a “constructive” discussion on the issue “at some depth” during their meeting on the UN sidelines.
Turning to tensions in the West Bank, the administration official reiterates that the US is “concerned about settler violence, concerned about terrorist violence,” seemingly differentiating between the two. The official says Biden and Netanyahu discussed “very constructive ideas about the way forward” on that front.
On the Israeli government’s effort to overhaul the judiciary, the senior administration official says that “there’s an understanding [between the two leaders] that there needs to be a way forward there that involves compromise.”
The official summarizes the meeting as a “very constructive, very candid — ultimately we hope productive — exchange that really only President Joe Biden could have with Bibi Netanyahu.”
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman tells Fox News that “every day we get closer” to the kingdom signing a normalization agreement with Israel.
In an interview that will air in full tonight, MBS says the “Palestinian issue is very important,” as he works to normalize ties with Israel.
— أخبار محمد بن سلمان (@KING_MBS_) September 20, 2023
In another clip aired ahead of time, the crown prince says Saudi Arabia will have to obtain a nuclear weapon if Iran does.
“If they get one we have to get one,” MBS says.
He says Saudi Arabia is “concerned” when any country acquires a nuclear weapon. However, he suggests that no one would use a nuclear weapon because this would mean starting a “war with the rest of the world.”
“The world cannot see another Hiroshima,” he says.
MBS tells Fox News' Bret Baier that if Iran gets a nuclear weapon, "we have to get one." pic.twitter.com/xXxGLM9Mke
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) September 20, 2023
The European Union says its diplomats were harassed by Israeli settlers earlier today as they conducted a solidarity visit of Palestinian communities in Area C that are currently under threat of displacement by Israel.
“We reiterate our concern over the growing problem of settler violence and call on Israeli authorities to take action against violent settlers, dismantle illegal outposts and provide protection for the occupied Palestinian population,” tweets the EU mission to the Palestinians.
1/2 Today, during a diplomatic visit to Palestinian communities in Area C, already displaced or threatened by displacement, European 🇪🇺 and other diplomatic missions were violently harassed by Israeli settlers.
— EU and Palestinians (@EUpalestinians) September 20, 2023
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former chief of staff says the ongoing campaign backed by a member of the coalition to release the Jewish terrorist behind the murder of three Palestinian family members in the West Bank village of Duma is part of the government’s “campaign to crush the justice system.”
“The destructive logic is clear: He is righteous, the judges are corrupt, and therefore it is forbidden to respect court rulings,” tweets Yoav Horowitz.
“In the morning we will whitewash and justify atrocities, and in the evening we claim in English that we are moral and defenders of human rights,” he adds.
Amiram Ben Uliel was sentenced to three life sentences plus 20 years for the deadly firebombing in the West Bank village of Duma in which Riham and Saad Dawabsha were killed along with their 18-month-old son, Ali Saad. Only the couple’s eldest son, Ahmed, survived the terror attack, with terrible burns; he was 5 years old at the time.
Israel is expecting an announcement by US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on September 28 about the visa waiver program.
A senior official says “Israel has met all the conditions,” and is expecting to the program to begin two months after the announcement.
The official speaks after a meeting in New York between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden.
Israel has sought to join the program, which enables citizens to travel to the United States without a visa, for decades. Currently, Israelis who do not hold citizenship in any of the 40 countries in the waiver program must apply for permission to travel to the United States, a process that typically results in a visa but can be extensive.
The US has long held up entry over Israel’s treatment of Palestinian Americans.
US President Joe Biden has invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington for a follow-up meeting before the end of the year, the White House says in its readout after the two leaders met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
Wednesday’s meeting was the first between the two leaders since Netanyahu returned to power last December. No newly elected prime minister had waited longer for a meeting with a US president since Levi Eshkol in 1964.
During their meeting, Biden reiterated “his concern about any fundamental changes to Israel’s democratic system, absent the broadest possible consensus,” the White House says.
Netanyahu assured Biden in comments to reporters before the sit-down that Israel will remain a vibrant democracy, even as he seeks to continue advancing his government’s judicial overhaul.
A senior Israeli official tells reporters that Netanyahu privately assured Biden that he wants to secure consensus support either in the Knesset or among the public. However, Netanyahu offered the US such assurances before his government went on to pass the first piece of overhaul legislation without any support from the opposition.
“With regard to ongoing tension and violence in the West Bank, [Biden] emphasized the need to take immediate measures to improve the security and economic situation, maintain the viability of a two-state solution, and promote a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” the US readout says.
The White House says Biden urged Israel and the Palestinians to adhere to their commitments made at a pair of regional summits earlier this year in Egypt and Jordan where they agreed not to advance any unilateral measures that exacerbate tensions.
Israel also made commitments there not to approve new settlement construction but that was only for a temporary period, and the hardline government made sure to advance record numbers of settler homes both before and after the agreed-upon period.
Biden and Netanyahu agreed to work toward convening a third summit between Israel, the Palestinian Authority, the US, Egypt and Jordan in the near future, the White House says.
The US readout says the two leaders also welcomed “the likely convening soon of a ministerial meeting” of the Negev Forum, which Israeli officials have said will be held in Morocco next month. However, the earthquake that recently hit the country may again cause a delay of the gathering.
Biden and Netanyahu also welcomed the recent announcement made at the G20 to develop the India Middle East Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) through the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel and “discussed how the project can benefit the entire Middle East region with investment and new forms of collaboration across two continents,” the White House says.
The rest of the readout highlights the usual Biden talking points about the countries’ close bilateral ties “based on the bedrock of shared democratic values,” the US’s “ironclad” commitment to Israel’s security, its commitment to ensuring Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon and its desire to advance Israel’s integration in the region.
It notably does not specify Saudi Arabia in that context, though Biden made a point of discussing a potential Israel-Saudi deal during his opening remarks to reporters ahead of the meeting.
Hundreds of protesters urge the United States to support democratic protections in Israel as US President Joe Biden meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York City.
The crowd, mostly Israelis, chants “We’re not afraid,” “Shame,” and “We’ll never give up,” as the two leaders meet in a hotel in Midtown Manhattan.
Many of the demonstrators have come from Israel for the events, and others are Israelis who live in the US. Some non-Israeli US Jews also take part.
They represent an array of protest groups including Brothers in Arms, Pink Front, Building an Alternative, Kaplan Force and high-tech activists. Most are focused squarely on the government’s judicial overhaul, while others tie in issues including women’s rights and Israel’s policies toward Palestinians.
A copy of Israel’s Declaration of Independence is affixed to a lamp pole at the center of the protest.
During the Netanyahu-Biden meeting, an organizer announces to the audience that Biden stressed the importance of democracy to Netanyahu, eliciting an eruption of applause from the crowd.
“We are here to tell the world that Israel’s democracy is under attack. We are here to remind Bibi Netanyahu that he will not be able to destroy our democracy,” says Eyal Naveh, a leader of the Brothers in Arms group in Israel.
“In Jerusalem, in Tel Aviv, in London, in New York, we will be there,” Naveh tells the crowd. “We will not let you turn our country into a dictatorship.”
“The message we’re trying to deliver to President Biden and to the US public as a whole is that Bibi’s not Israel, and Israel is not Bibi,” says Tomer Shani, an Israeli living in New York.
“The vast majority of Israelis want a democratic Israel,” he says. “Israelis remain committed despite the actions of the Israeli government.”
New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, the highest Jewish elected official in New York, tells the crowd, “As people who love and care about Israeli democracy, we won’t stand by as Netanyahu and his cronies sabotage the vision of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”
“We won’t stand by as Netanyahu works to destroy the judiciary and the checks and balances necessary for democracy,” Lander says.
There is “full coordination” between Israel and the US on the issue of a Saudi civilian nuclear program, says a senior Israeli official after the meeting between US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Saudi Arabia has reportedly asked the US to green-light its development of a civilian nuclear program in exchange for the kingdom normalizing relations with Israel.
Israel has long opposed such a move if it includes uranium enrichment on Saudi soil.
The official also says “there is a good chance we will succeed” in finding a path to an Israel-Saudi normalization deal. The official says he’d estimate there is a 50.1% chance.
Netanyahu is not going to change his coalition makeup in order to reach a deal with Saudi Arabia, says the official. At the same time, he is open to including any new members who accept the principles of the coalition.
US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf says in a live interview at an Al Monitor conference in New York that the road to an Israel-Saudi Arabia normalization agreement is “long and winding” and that the US is trying to “midwife” those negotiations.
While Biden officials continue to talk about the deal as a real possibility, they’ve simultaneously sought to taper expectations, saying there are a lot of factors at play and that the parties are still a ways away from reaching a deal.
The Kan public broadcaster meanwhile reports that two defense sources involved in talks say there will be a deal with Saudi Arabia within six months.
“We’ll have a normalization agreement with Saudi Arabia in half a year,” one is quoted saying. “You can’t come to a country like Saudi Arabia and say suddenly, here have peace with Israel. You need to get the ground ready.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s talks with US President Joe Biden focused on “how to advance peace with Saudi Arabia,” says a senior Israeli official after the meeting between the two.
“They agreed to move forward with working teams. The focus was on how to advance the deal, not whether to. They went into a lot of detail.”
The senior official says that Netanyahu told Biden that “Palestinians should be part of the process, but shouldn’t have a veto over the process.”
“The meeting was very open, very friendly,” says the official.
The government’s controversial judicial overhaul did come up, though it was not central to the meeting, according to the official.
“Netanyahu told him his general position, that we want to reach a consensus with the opposition or the public. It was not the focus,” the official says.
A moshav in the Golan Heights is asking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara to stay away after they booked a vacation stay at a hotel in the community.
The Netanyahus’ stay in the Panda Hotel in Neve Ativ two months ago during the summer vacation drew hundreds of anti-government protesters to the normally quiet community.
After discovering that they had booked another stay, the Moshav sent a letter to the Netanyahus asking them “to act to cancel the planned visit.”
They note that during the previous stay, residents were barricaded in and suffered “serious harm to the residents’ freedom of movement and work.”
Iran’s supplying of bomb-carrying drones to Russia could see Moscow help Tehran’s program become more lethal, raising risks across the wider Middle East, the top US Air Force commander in the Middle East says.
Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich, the head of US Air Force Central, describes the danger potentially posed by Russia’s “cooperation and collusion” with Iran as extending from the airspace over Syria, while Tehran threatens commercial ships in the waters of the Persian Gulf.
American pilots have already faced what they describe as more aggressive maneuvers from Russian pilots in Syria, while a new deployment of US air power has been sent to protect commercial shipping in the Gulf’s key Strait of Hormuz, through which 20% of all the world’s oil passes.
“I am concerned about the growing relationship between Russia and Iran and the drones being supplied to Russia,” Grynkewich tells journalists during a news conference at the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi. “
Who would have ever thought that the Russian Federation would need to go to Iran for military capabilities, and yet we’re there. That means that Russia actually owes Iran something. I’m concerned about the level of collaboration that might happen.”
The Hamas-run health ministry in the Gaza Strip reports two wounded by Israeli fire amid the latest rioting on the border with Israel.
The Israel Defense Forces has been responding to the near-daily riots with crowd dispersal means and live fire in some cases.
Palestinians have been detonating explosive devices and setting tires on fire along the border for four days in a row. There have been several more riots in recent weeks.
The Erez Crossing with Gaza has also remained shut in response to the recent violence, and is not expected to reopen unless Hamas works to end the riots, according to Israeli officials.
The meeting between US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wraps up after 61 minutes.
The two met in private after delivering opening remarks to the press.
At the end of the open meeting, Biden ignored shouted questions about whether he feared for the future of democracy in Israel and what the Palestinians would need to achieve in a normalization deal.
Here’s a transcript of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opening public remarks to US President Biden:
“Thank you, Mr. President, Joe,
“We’ve been friends for over 40 years… Our friendship goes a long way and can take us a long way. I’m delighted to see you.
“I think we live at a time of great promise but also great danger.
“You just spoke about that great promise in the G20 meeting that you participated [in] and led. You spoke about an economic corridor that would link Asia, the Middle East and Europe together, and such a corridor will make Israel a very important hub on a highway of unprecedented prosperity.
“But I think and you think that it can do something much bigger than this. I think that under your leadership, Mr. President, we can forge a historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and I think such a peace would go a long way, first, to advance the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict, achieve reconciliation between the Islamic world and the Jewish state, and advance a genuine peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This is something within our reach.
“I believe that working together we can make history and create a better future for the region and beyond. And also, by working together, we can confront those forces that threaten that future — none more so than Iran.
“I appreciate, Mr. President, your continuous commitment to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons capability. I think that’s critical. And that shared goal of ours can be best achieved by a credible military threat, crippling sanctions and supporting the brave men and women of Iran who despise that regime and who are our real partners for a better future.
“So I look forward to working with you and your team to realize the promise and confront the threat.
“As you said, we live in uncertain times, rapidly changing times, so I want to reassert here before you, Mr. President, that one thing is certain and one thing will never change and that is Israel’s commitment to democracy. We will continue to uphold the values that both our proud democracies cherish.
“And I think that working together we will realize the promise, roll back the dangers, and bring a better future for our region and the world.
“We can make history, Mr. President. With your leadership, we can make history.”
They shake hands.
A reporter asks Biden if he is concerned for Israeli democracy.
As the pool is being herded from the room, several Israel-related questions are shouted. According to a US pool radio reporter, Biden is heard saying to Netanyahu: “Surprised they haven’t asked me about the auto strike. They usually ask about things that have nothing to do with what we’re talking about.”
As the Israeli Government Press Office camera feed ends, Biden and Netanyahu are seen seated alone together.
Protesters gathered outside the US Embassy’s Tel Aviv branch office and the embassy in Jerusalem, imploring US President Joe Biden to pressure Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to pull back on his government’s plans to overhaul the Israeli judiciary.
Protesters held up signs reading “No to dictatorship,” and waved Israeli flags.
Here is a transcript of US President Biden’s opening public remarks to Prime Minister Netanyahu.
As the camera crews set up, Biden’s team and Netanyahu’s team greet each other.
Biden says to Netanyahu, “Hello my friend, welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome, and I hope we’ll see each other in Washington by the end of the year.”
The president recalls his long working relationship with Netanyahu, then, referring to cards in his hand, says:
“Seventy-five years ago, the first Israeli prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, after declaring independence, used a phrase that I’ve quoted very often. He said that the world stands with Israel so that the dream of generations will be fulfilled. Together, Israel and the United States have been working together to make that dream a reality for a long time.
“You’ve heard me say, many times, if there were no Israel we’d have to invent one.
“It includes building a more stable and prosperous Middle East — that, over time, is beginning to occur, and through historic initiatives begun under previous administrations, including most recently the Indian, Middle East, European economic corridor which I think has enormous promise after the G20 meeting
in India, which is going to connect India and Europe through Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Israel.
“I think it’s a big deal, and we’re working on a lot more together.
“Today, we’re going to discuss some of the hard issues. That is, upholding democratic values that lie at the heart of our partnership, including checks and balances in our systems, and preserving the path to a negotiated two-state solution, and ensuring that Iran never, never, acquires a nuclear weapon.
“Because even where we have some differences, my commitment to Israel, as you know, is ironclad.
“I think without Israel, there’s not a Jew in the world who’s secure.
“I think Israel is essential.
“And I look forward to discussing all of this with you, and working together with your team, to fulfill as Ben-Gurion said, the dream of generations.
“I suffer from, oxymoron, Irish optimism. If you and I ten years ago were talking about normalization with Saudi Arabia, I think we’d look at each other, like, Who’s been drinking what?”
Netanyahu: “Good Irish whiskey.”
Biden: “Good Irish whiskey. That’s the reason why I’ve never had a drink.
“So, welcome Bibi [using the premier’s nickname], and I hope we can get some things settled today.”
Jordan’s King Abdullah says he supports the US effort to broker a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia but insists that you can’t “parachute over Palestine and make deals with Israel.”
This appears to be one of the first times that the Jordanian leader has weighed in on the Biden administration effort and comes a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed similar support.
“The best deal is when everyone walks out of the table slightly unhappy,” Abdullah adds in reference to the ongoing normalization negotiations, during a live interview at a conference in New York hosted by the Al-Monitor news site.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden are now holding a private meeting after public statements and a meeting with their top aides and advisers.
Among those present are US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Jake Sullivan and Amos Hochstein Biden’s senior adviser for energy and investment who negotiated the maritime border deal between Israel and Lebanon.
On the Israeli side is Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer and Ambassador to the US Michael Herzog. Dermer was key to negotiating the Abraham Accords during his time as ambassador to Washington but angered many Democrats.
The atmosphere was markedly less friendly than other meetings between the US president and Israeli prime minister. Both sides sat quietly at the start of the meeting.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden both hail the prospects of Israeli normalization with Saudi Arabia during their meeting in New York.
“I think that under your leadership, Mr. President, we can forge an historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia. And I think such a peace would go a long way first to advance the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict, achieve reconciliation between the Islamic world and the Jewish state, and advance a genuine peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” Netanyahu says. “This is something within our reach.”
The US is brokering indirect talks between Jerusalem and Riyadh.
Biden says they have been working toward a better future for a long time, which includes “building a more stable and prosperous Middle East.”
Biden noted that, even a decade ago, the idea of normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia would be unthinkable.
“If you and I, 10 years ago were talking about normalization with Saudi Arabia, I think we’d look at each other like, ‘Who’s been drinking what?’”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells US President Joe Biden at their meeting in New York that he is committed to ensuring Israel remains a democracy.
Since there are “rapidly changing times,” says the prime minister, “I want to reassert here before you, Mr. President, that one thing is certain and one thing will never change, and that is Israel’s commitment to democracy.
“We will continue to uphold the values that both our proud democracies cherish,” Netanyahu says as hundreds of Israelis protest his judicial overhaul outside the hotel.
As meeting starts, Biden tells Netanyahu: I hope we’ll see each other in Washington by the end of the year
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is beginning his meeting with US President Joe Biden in New York.
As the camera crews set up, Biden’s team and Netanyahu’s team greet each other.
Biden says to Netanyahu, “Hello my friend, welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome, and I hope we’ll see each other in Washington by the end of the year.”
US President Joe Biden’s motorcade can been seen driving up Fifth Avenue ahead of his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The meeting appears delayed by some 30 minutes.
The meeting will be the first between the two leaders since Netanyahu returned to power last December. No newly elected prime minister has waited longer for a meeting with a US president since Levi Eshkol in 1964.
Hundreds protest outside Biden Netanyahu meeting in Manhattan pic.twitter.com/yDyoIy6rEj
— Luke Tress (@luketress) September 20, 2023
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives at the New York hotel where he will meet with US President Joe Biden.
Netanyahu and his team are expected to hold a brief private meeting with Biden ahead of the public meeting that will be open to the media.
Hundreds of protesters greet Netanyahu as he pulls up.
Several hundred people protest in New York City ahead of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s meeting with US President Biden.
The crowd, mainly Israelis focused on the judicial overhaul, chant “democracy” and other Hebrew protest refrains and wave Israeli flags.
Many of the demonstrators have come from Israel for a week of protest activities as Netanyahu visits for the UN General Assembly, and wear shirts representing an array of protest groups.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s director general Shlomo Ben Eliyahu resigns citing “personal reasons.”
Ben Gvir thanks Ben Eliyahu for “his contribution to the security of the country.”
However, the Ynet news site says that Ben Eliyahu was fed up with the far-right minister only worried about making headlines at the expense of officials in the police and the prison service.
Twelve Likud MKs publish an open letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning him against making concessions to Saudi Arabia in US-brokered normalization talks.
The letter is sent two hours before Netanyahu is set to meet US President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
“We will agree to peace only in exchange for peace,” the letter says amid reports that Riyadh is demanding major concessions to the Palestinians.
The letter says there can be “no concessions on the homeland.”
“We give you our backing to present a strong position ahead of your meeting with the US president and world leaders that Israel stands by its rights irrespective of attempts to make peace with Arab nations,” the letter says.
Among the signatories are Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Yuli Edelstein and former ambassador to the UN Danny Danon.
Elon Musk’s startup Neuralink says it has started recruiting volunteers to test its brain implants in people.
“We’re excited to announce that recruitment is open for our first-in-human clinical trial,” the company announces on X.
“If you have quadriplegia due to cervical spinal cord injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), you may qualify,” it says.
In May, the company said it received clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its first in-human clinical study for its technology, which is intended to let brains interface directly with computers.
The aim of Neuralink implants is to enable human brains to communicate directly with computers, Musk said during a presentation by the startup in December.
Musk said the company would try to use the implants to restore vision and mobility in humans who had lost such abilities.
“We would initially enable someone who has almost no ability to operate their muscles… and enable them to operate their phone faster than someone who has working hands,” he said.
“As miraculous as it may sound, we are confident that it is possible to restore full body functionality to someone who has a severed spinal cord,” he said.
Beyond the potential to treat neurological diseases, Musk’s ultimate goal is to ensure that humans are not intellectually overwhelmed by artificial intelligence (AI), he said.
AFP contributed to this report
Science Minister Ofir Akunis will represent the government at next month’s annual state ceremony in memory of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu planning to skip the event, Channel 12 reports.
Multiple reports in recent days cited unnamed associates of the premier confirming that he will be the first sitting prime minister to boycott the ceremony, and saying the event had become “political.”
Netanyahu faces persistent protests against his hardline coalition at almost all public events he attends in Israel and abroad.
The ceremony, commemorating the left-wing leader who was assassinated in 1995 by right-wing extremist Yigal Amir, has increasingly become a battleground between Netanyahu and Rabin’s relatives, many of whom blame the current premier and then-opposition leader for the polarized political climate that led to the murder, and who have increasingly accused him of once again stoking intense divisions in the country.
Fully 30 percent of public complaints made in 2022 against state prosecutors, including the State Attorney’s Office and the Israel Police, were found to be justified, a state ombudsman for public complaints related to the justice system finds.
Such complaints include some severe shortcomings, including one incident in which a sexual assault case involving four complainants was closed without the state attorney responsible for the case informing the complainants before the decision was finalized, as is required.
In another incident, a state attorney closed a case despite the fact that video footage from police body cameras was missing from the file and when investigative evidence indicated that such footage existed. A request by the complainant to reopen the case and use the video footage was rejected by the State Attorney’s Office.
The ombudsman says 55% of all the justified complaints related to the State Attorney’s Office, 20% to the police, 6% to the Attorney General’s Office, and the remainder split between independent prosecutors hired by the Attorney General’s Office and those in the disciplinary department of the Civil Service.
In 93% of the cases, decisions regarding complaints were made within one year, and the average time taken to deal with a complaint was 34 days.
Defense Ministry Director General Eyal Zamir visited Azerbaijan two days before Baku launched a military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh, Army Radio reports.
The visit comes amid stepped-up Israeli arms supplies to Azerbaijan in recent weeks.
Azeri forces used heavy artillery fire on Armenian positions in Nagorno-Karabakh, an attack that local officials said killed or wounded scores of people.
Azerbaijan has called the artillery fire an “anti-terrorist operation” and said it would continue until the separatist government of Nagorno-Karabakh dismantles itself and “illegal Armenian military formations” surrender.
Today, the sides announced a ceasefire would go into effect.
Israel is in the midst of a public expansion of bilateral ties with Azerbaijan, a Shiite-majority country closely allied with Turkey that has seen its partnership with the Jewish state flourish.
In March, Azeri Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov opened Baku’s first-ever embassy in Israel.
President Isaac Herzog visited Azerbaijan in May, where he discussed the Iran threat and bilateral ties.
Israel is one of Azerbaijan’s leading arms suppliers. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Israel provided 69 percent of Baku’s major arms imports in 2016-2020, accounting for 17% of Jerusalem’s arms exports over that period.
Israel stepped up its weapons shipments to Azerbaijan during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Azerbaijan emerged victorious in that six-week war with Armenia, which claimed the lives of more than 6,000 soldiers and resulted in Baku regaining control over disputed territories.
It is an open secret that two of the pillars of the relationship are Azerbaijan’s location on Iran’s northern border and the fact that Israel buys over 30 percent of its oil from Baku.
AP contributed to this report.
A woman who was hit by a train and killed this morning is identified as 19-year-old IDF soldier Yam Mesika of Netanya.
Hebrew media reports say Mesika fainted while waiting on a platform and fell in front of the approaching train.
Magen David Adom announces an emergency campaign for 300 new ambulances to add to its current fleet of 1,400. This would be triple the number of ambulances the national emergency response organization usually adds to its fleet annually.
MDA is specifically focused on upping its number of mobile intensive care units (MICUs) and life support ambulances.
MDA says the exceptional campaign comes in response to growing concerns about the security of Israel’s northern border and the fear it could lead to an armed conflict.
“The number of ambulances we currently have has proven more than sufficient to address Israel’s daily needs and enable us to respond to Israel’s recent conflicts with Gaza-based terrorist groups, such as Hamas in 2021 and Islamic Jihad earlier this year,” said MDA director-general Eli Bin.“But we know that Hezbollah is a significantly better-armed enemy capable of striking virtually any part of Israel, and the devastation from a conflict with that group would inflict many more casualties,” he adds.
“And that means our ability to treat the wounded and transport them quickly to Israeli hospitals will be of paramount importance.”
More than 80% of MDA’s ambulances are produced through American Friends of Magen David Adom, MDA’s US-based fundraising affiliate, which has their ambulances manufactured in Elkhart, Indiana, before they’re shipped to Israel.
Police say a Gaza resident was arrested after trying to smuggle a foot-long knife into a Tel Aviv train station.
The man, who had a permit to be in Israel, had the knife concealed in a bag wrapped up in clothes, which was discovered by security guards at the entrance to Savidor station.
The man was taken in for questioning.
Police have arrested two people after a decommissioned tank was stolen from a military firing zone in northern Israel.
The Merkava Mark 2 was found in a scrapyard near the Haifa suburb of Nesher.
The Israel Defense Forces and Defense Ministry say the tank had all of its systems removed years ago, and was stationed as a target in a firing zone that is at times open to the public for hiking.
The IDF says it is probing the incident.
הלילה התקבל דיווח ממשרד הביטחון אודות טנק שנגנב מבסיס אימונים של צה"ל סמוך למחלף אליקים. עם קבלת הדיווח החלו שוטרי מחוז חוף בביצוע סריקות וכעבור זמן קצר איתרו שוטרי תחנת נשר את הטנק במגרש גרוטאות באזור. מבירור ראשוני עולה, כי הטנק אינו פעיל ונגנב מהמקום מסיבות שנחקרות בשלב זה. pic.twitter.com/Ha7FNKV5wM
— משטרת ישראל (@IL_police) September 20, 2023
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