The Times of Israel liveblogged Sunday’s events as they occurred.

Over 500 ex-pats in academia sign petition backing anti-government protests

Over 500 Israeli academics posted at universities around the world have signed a petition backing protests against the government’s plans to overhaul the judiciary, warning that the upheaval around the issue will sap Israel of its brain power, unless the legislation is halted.

“Israeli academic institutions are already experiencing a loss of funding and a ‘brain drain,’ due to the government’s assault on democracy and the politicization of research and education. These destructive processes will eventually lead to the decline of science and the higher education system in Israel,” reads the petition, which is signed by figures hailing from universities in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, and elsewhere.

The signatories say they are “appalled and alarmed by the grave crisis instigated by the Israeli government.”

“The government’s destructive conduct is scandalous, characterized by concealment and distortion of facts, verbal abuse, dangerous incitement, and disregard of experts’ opinions,” reads the text, which is sponsored by the UnXeptable protest group made up of Israelis abroad and local allies. “Pursuing limitless power requires relentless, uncompromising acts of protest and resistance.”

As of publication, there were 552 signatories.

Two arrested amid Sweden riots after latest Quran burning

Swedish police say they arrested two people and detained around 10 others after a violent riot broke out at a protest involving a burning of the Quran, police said.

The protest was organized by Iraqi refugee Salwan Momika, whose protests — which have included public desecrations of the Muslim holy book — have sparked outrage across the Middle East.

Sunday’s protest was held in a square in the southern city of Malmo, which has a large immigrant population, and according to public broadcaster SVT around 200 people had showed up to watch.

“Some onlookers have shown upset feelings, after the organizer burned writings,” police say in a statement.

“The mood was at times heated,” the statement says, adding that a “violent riot” occurred.

Local media report that some onlookers threw rocks at Momika, and video from the scene showed some trying to break through the cordon before being stopped by police.

In another video a man could be scene trying to stop the police car that transported Momika from the location by getting in front of it.

Through a series of demonstrations, Momika has sparked anger directed at Sweden and diplomatic tensions between Sweden and several Middle Eastern countries.

In July, Israel protested after Sweden gave permission to a protester to burn a Torah, though the demonstrator said he only intended to make a point about the Quran burnings and never planned to set a Torah alight.

Levin: Attorney general is a pain, but I can’t fire her… today

Justice Minister Yariv Levin offers harsh criticism of Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara, but says there are no current attempts to oust her from her position.

“It’s very difficult and almost impossible to work like this,” Levin says, in an interview with the Kan public broadcaster, hours after Baharav-Miara called to strike down the government’s “reasonableness” law, and said she could not defend the coalition’s legislation in court.

“[Firing her] is very problematic, and at the moment, it’s not on the agenda, but I don’t know what will be tomorrow — every day a new record is broken,” Levin says.

The attorney general “is supposed to defend the government and assist it and not work against it.”

Asked when he plans to convene the Judicial Selection Committee — which he is seeking to radically alter — Levin says “I’ll convene it the day that it has worthy membership.”

‘Golda’ director Nattiv draws parallel between protests in Iran, Israel

Israeli director Guy Nattiv says protests in Israel against the government’s plans to eat into the judiciary’s powers parallel demonstrations in Iran against oppressive morality laws following the death of a Kurdish woman arrested for not wearing a headscarf.

“Miraculously, you can see that in Israel and Iran the same kind of revolution is going on,” Nattiv tells AFP.

From ‘Tatami,’ the first Iranian-Israeli co-production, from ‘Golda’ director Guy Nattiv and Iranian-born director Zar Amir Ebrahimi, which will premiere at Venice Film Festival in September 2023. (Courtesy PR)

Nattiv makes the comments from the Venice film festival, where the film “Tatami,” jointly directed by him and exiled Iranian actress Zar Amir Ebrahimi was recently shown

“In Israel, it’s against what Benjamin Netanyahu is doing against democracy. Millions of people are demonstrating, and women’s rights are also being bashed again. The government is so extreme,” he says.

“We are kind of similar countries, going through the same process in a way,” adds Nattiv, who also directed the recently released “Golda,” about former prime minister Golda Meir.

“Tatami” recounts the story of an Iranian judo star who rejects her government’s rules about never facing an Israeli athlete in an international competition.

EU antisemitism watchdog joins chorus backing Yad Vashem head

Katharina von Schnurbein, the European Union’s coordinator on combating antisemitism, has joined an outcry over alleged efforts by the government to remove Dani Dayan as head of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.

“The World Holocaust Center @yadvashem is a key partner for the European Union when it comes to #Holocaust research,” she says on X. “Its expertise and #independence of its leadership are essential in times of #Holocaust #distortion and attempts to politicise #Shoah remembrance.”

Gallant swipes at coalition allies for ‘outrageous, dangerous’ attacks on IDF

Minister of Defence Yoav Gallant during a discussion and a vote in Knesset, July 30, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Minister of Defence Yoav Gallant during a discussion and a vote in Knesset, July 30, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant hits back at members of the coalition who have assailed the military and security officials in recent months, saying their “outrageous” remarks harm the Israel Defense Forces.

In the recent period, elected officials, including ministers and members of the Knesset, allow themselves to make false, baseless, and irresponsible statements about the IDF, its commanders, and soldiers,” says Gallant at an awards ceremony for outstanding officers.

“These are outrageous statements that endanger the most important asset of the State of Israel, the Israel Defense Forces,” he says.

Gallant’s remarks come after MK Tally Gotliv, a lawmaker in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, accused the IDF and Shin Bet security agency of “working for terrorists,” on Friday.

Other lawmakers, including from Likud and the far-right Otzma Yehudit and Religious Zionism parties, have attacked defense officials in recent months, after the military condemned settler violence against Palestinians.

Netanyahu, Cypriot president discuss gas link to Europe, power line to Arab states

Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, left, greets Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Nicosia, Cyprus, September 3, 2023. (Amos Ben Gershom/ GPO)
Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, left, greets Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Nicosia, Cyprus, September 3, 2023. (Amos Ben Gershom/ GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides say they discussed energy, infrastructure, tourism, and counter-terrorism cooperation during their bilateral meeting in Nicosia today.

The two countries are in drawn-out discussions towards a solution to transport Israeli natural gas to Europe, through Cyprus.

Netanyahu says in addition to this central issue, the leaders discussed linking up Cyprus and Israel via power transmission lines, which he says can connect to Europe and also “possibly to countries to our east,” meaning Arab states.

Christodoulides expresses enthusiasm for Cyprus taking a role in relationships expanded through the Abraham Accords, saying that Cyprus “has a strong interest to act as a gateway with like-minded partners.”

Netanyahu, traveling with his wife, is en route to the seaside town of Limassol, where he will spend the night before returning to Nicosia for additional meetings with Christodoulides and the Greek prime minister tomorrow.

Katz gets gas talks cooking with Turkey, Egypt

Energy Minister Israel Katz says he held separate talks with Turkish and Egyptian counterparts, as well as the US envoy on regional normalization efforts, Dan Shapiro, seemingly regarding gas exports in the eastern Mediterranean.

The talks with Egyptian Petroleum Minister Tarek el-Molla and Turkish Energy Minister Alparslan Bayraktar come as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits Cyprus for a meeting on gas exports with Greek and Cypriot leaders, part of an apparent two-pronged strategy aimed at navigating the choppy waters between the rivals.

Bayraktar says the talks with Katz were productive and he will visit Israel as soon as he can.

Katz says the talks are “a continuation of my talks with the Greek and Cypriot energy ministers.”

He calls Israel’s offshore gas riches “the key to regional deals,” possibly hinting at the source of Shapiro’s involvement. The former US ambassador is now the Biden administration’s point man on expanding the Abraham Accords.

“Our gas, technologies and renewable energies are at the center of regional interest,” Katz says in a post on X. “Gas export policies reflect and leverage our strengths.”

Cohen lands in Bahrain for state trip

Eli Cohen shaking hands with ambassador Khalid Al Jalahma at Manama airport on September 3, 2023. (Lzar Berman/Times of Israel)
Eli Cohen shaking hands with ambassador Khalid Al Jalahma at Manama airport on September 3, 2023. (Lzar Berman/Times of Israel)

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen has landed at Manama’s Bahrain International Airport for his first state visit to an Abraham Accords country.

Cohen is greeted at the airport by his Bahraini counterpart Abdullatif Al Zayani and Bahrain’s Ambassador to Israel Khalid Al Jalahma.

Delay sought for hearing on voiding reasonableness law after AG backs petitioners

The government is asking the High Court to delay a hearing on a petition to strike down a law curtailing the court’s ability to void government decisions deemed “unreasonable,” after the attorney general told the court she couldn’t back the legislation and asked the bench to trash it.

Government lawyer Ilan Bombach is seeking an early October court date, rather than the current scheduled date of September 12.

He says in a request to the court that the government needs more time “to prepare an appropriate response,” after Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara responded to the court by telling it that the law harmed rights and should be torn up.

“The attorney general’s response is really a move to bolster and strengthen the petitioners,” Bombach notes in the filing. He says her filing does not represent the government’s view and “is extreme to the utmost.”

The government had been given until September 6 to respond to the petition against the legislation, which bars the court from ruling on government decisions using a reasonableness test.

This is the second time he has requested a delay.

Bavarian chief pounded for refusing to ditch ally accused of antisemitism

Munich Jewish community leader Charlotte Knobloch says in a statement that Bavaria deputy governor Hubert Aiwanger “must restore trust and make clear that his actions are democratically and legally steadfast,” after he was accused of creating an antisemitic flyer as a teenager decades ago.

She makes the comment after talks with Bavaria Governor Markus Soeder, who said earlier Sunday that firing Aiwanger would be a “disproportionate” punishment.

Soeder is catching heavy criticism from political appointments over the refusal to discard Aiwanger, leader of the populist Free Voters party, a junior coalition partner.

The Bavarian premier had “made a simple power calculation” and in doing so had “damaged our country’s reputation,” German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, from Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats, tells the RND media group.

Aiwanger had “neither apologized convincingly nor been able to dispel the accusations convincingly,” she adds.

Green party co-leader Omid Nouripour accuses Soeder of putting political tactics above a proper reckoning with the past.

“That’s indecent and bad for Bavaria, as well as bad for Germany,” he told Spiegel magazine.

Knoblauch says recent days since the scandal broke have been “an enormous strain.”

Netanyahu talks gas, Turkey with Cypriot leader

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is meeting with Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides at Cyprus’s Presidential Palace in Nicosia.

Netanyahu is expected to discuss options for moving forward with a long-stalled plan to transport Mediterranean gas for distribution in Europe.

Chief among the options are an Israeli, Cypriot and Greek-backed Eastern Mediterranean pipeline, and alternatively, a pipeline from Israel to Cyprus, where gas will be liquified and shipped onward to Europe.

Additional options include involving Turkey or using offshore liquefaction terminals by Israel’s gas fields.

The prime minister will meet with his Greek counterpart tomorrow , and then participate in a trilateral meeting with both Cypriot and Greek leaders.

Two Palestinians arrested over April attack on kibbutz near northern West Bank

The Shin Bet security agency says Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian gunman suspected of carrying out a shooting attack targeting Kibbutz Meirav, adjacent to the northern West Bank border barrier, in April.

Yousef Abu al-Roub, 32, from the West Bank town of Jalbun near Jenin, allegedly opened fire at the town on April 18, damaging a home.

The Shin Bet says a second suspect, Mohammed al-Roub, 35, affiliated with the Islamic State jihadist group, was arrested for allegedly supplying the gun to al-Roub.

Mohammed al-Roub, left and Yousef Abu al-Roub, seen in a composite handout photo provided by the Shin Bet. (Courtesy)

The weapon, a makeshift Carlo Gustav sub-machine gun, was handed over to security forces at the Salem checkpoint by Yousef’s father, the Shin Bet says.

Yousef confessed to have carried out the attack and told interrogators that he had taken pictures of the kibbutz over the course of several months and sent them to Mohammed.

He claimed he had carried out a string of shootings against Israeli forces in the area, the Shin Bet says, without confirming the claim.

Both were charged last week with serious security offenses, the agency adds.

Ben Gvir spars with jeering Tel Aviv residents at site of Saturday riots

Visiting the site of violent riots in south Tel Aviv, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir says all involved in Saturday’s unrest “will be dealt with.”

But residents reportedly tell Ben Gvir to deal with himself first, booing the minister and accusing him of failing to fulfill his campaign promises to bring order to Israel’s streets.

“Now you remember to come here? Racist,” says one person protesting Ben Gvir, who is met with boos and chants of “shame” and “failure,” the Ynet news site reports.

The minister snaps back at at least one person, “How much are you being paid? You seem to have a leftist agenda.”

The minister says he gives full backing to any cop who opened fire “in self-defense” during Saturday’s chaos.


Antisemitism czar Lipstadt joins outcry against reported bid to oust Yad Vashem head

The Biden administration is doubling down on its opposition to alleged government efforts to oust Yad Vashem chairman Dani Dayan, saying the museum must maintain its independence after a report that he is facing being sacked for political reasons.

“My research and advocacy about the Holocaust dates back to the 1980s; I have long valued the work of institutions like Yad Vashem. Yad Vashem’s painstaking and invaluable research on the Shoah is in no small part due to its professionalism and independence,” tweets US antisemitism envoy Deborah Lipstadt.

Hours earlier, US Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues Ellen German tweeted, “The U.S. values the crucial work of Yad Vashem and its director’s leadership as we work together on Holocaust education, remembrance, and research. Maintaining the independence of such institutions around the world is key as we face efforts to distort/deny the facts of the Holocaust.”

The posts represent somewhat rare examples of US officials weighing in on an internal Israeli matter, indicating the extent of alarm in Washington over what it sees as an attempt to weaken the independence of Yad Vashem, given the US’s long reliance on the institution as an ally in the fight against antisemitism.

The rhetoric used by the two Biden officials appeared to even mirror messaging it has used to chide the record of countries like Hungary and Poland that have been accused of presenting an altered version of their respective roles in the Holocaust.

Netanyahus deny reports Yad Vashem beef centered on singer

Sara Netanyahu and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speak to the press from the tarmac at Ben-Gurion International Airport on September 3, 2023. (Carrie-Keller-Lynn/Times of Israel)
Sara Netanyahu and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speak to the press from the tarmac at Ben-Gurion International Airport on September 3, 2023. (Carrie-Keller-Lynn/Times of Israel)

Sara Netanyahu is denying an unsourced Channel 12 news report that claimed she is pushing for the ouster of Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and Museum head Dani Dayan over the fact that a singer linked to anti-government protests was invited to sing at a memorial there.

The premier’s wife, heading with him to Cyprus, terms the report a “fake news attack” and says rather than oppose singer Keren Peles, she was moved by her performance.

“I heard Keren Peles, I didn’t know about her before, I don’t about her since, there’s no basis for any of the rest of the story that I censored this or that, the opposite in fact,” she tells reporters.

Nothing happened, she insists. “The performer sang, she sang well, I have no clue and had none then or now if she is involved in the protests.”

Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the allegations himself at the same time, claiming that the previous unity government had replaced every political appointee who was aligned with the right wing and his Likud partyand yet no one accused it of politicizing those offices.

Netanyahu declines, however, to say whether the government would be sticking with its effort to remove Dayan.

“There is no politicization but unfortunately there is no shortage of fake news,” he says.

Dayan reportedly booked Peles months before the overhaul was unveiled.

FM Cohen takes off for Bahrain, in his first trip to Abraham Accords ally

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen is taking off for Bahrain, his first visit to an Abraham Accords partner since assuming his post in December.

He is taking Likud MK Amit Halevy with him, as well as ministry Director General Ronen Levy. Ambassador to Bahrain Eitan Na’eh is also along for the ride.

Cohen will meet his Bahraini counterpart Abdullatif Al Zayani, and will open the Israeli embassy in Manama.

A potential meeting with King Hamad Al Khalifa has yet to be finalized.

Bavarian governor refuses to fire deputy over antisemitic flyer

The governor of the German state of Bavaria says he will let his deputy stay in office despite a furor that started with allegations he was responsible for an antisemitic flyer when he was a high school student 35 years ago.

Governor Markus Soeder, a leading figure in Germany’s center-right opposition, said he had concluded that it would be “disproportionate” to fire Hubert Aiwanger, his deputy and coalition partner, but Aiwanger needs to rebuild confidence with Jewish groups and others.

A state election is due in Bavaria within weeks.

Aiwanger, 52, said last weekend that one or more copies of the flyer were found in his school bag but denied that he wrote it. His older brother came forward to claim that he had written it.

Aiwanger has acknowledged making unspecified mistakes in his youth and offered an apology but also portrayed himself as the victim of a “witch hunt.” He sticks to that tone on Sunday, saying at a campaign appearance that his opponents had failed with a “smear campaign” meant to weaken his conservative party.

Soeder says the apology, offered Thursday, was “overdue, but it was right and necessary.” He says Aiwanger’s answers to his questions “weren’t all satisfactory,” but that he had distanced himself again from the flyer and given repeated assurances he didn’t write it.

But leaders of Bavaria’s governing coalition agreed “it is important that Hubert Aiwanger work on winning back lost trust,” and should hold talks with Jewish community leaders, Soeder says.

He adds that the issue was discussed Sunday with the main Bavarian and German Jewish leaders.


Soldier killed in ramming to be buried after family arrives from Ukraine Tuesday

Sgt. Maksym Molchanov, the off-duty Israeli soldier killed in the truck-ramming terror attack near Modiin last week, will be buried on Tuesday after his family arrives from Ukraine.

The Israel Defense Forces says the funeral will take place at the Kiryat Shaul military cemetery in Tel Aviv.

Molchanov, 20, moved to Israel from Ukraine in 2017 through the Jewish Agency’s Naale Elite Academy, a program for Jewish teenagers to complete their high school education in Israel. He was a “lone soldier,” which the military defines as troops whose parents do not live in Israel or who are not supported financially by their parents.

This handout photo shows Cpl. Maksym Molchanov, who was killed in a truck-ramming attack near Modiin on August 31, 2023. (Courtesy)

Molchanov served in the 411th Battalion of the 282nd Regiment in the IDF’s Artillery Corps, and was posthumously promoted from the rank of corporal to sergeant.

In the attack carried out on the Israeli side of the Maccabim checkpoint, six other people, including three soldiers, were wounded. The Palestinian assailant was shot dead at a nearby checkpoint after allegedly attempting to carry out a second attack.

Army Radio reports that Molchanov’s family decided that he would be buried in Israel, rather than having his body sent to Ukraine for interment.

Netanyahu takes off for Cyprus, with natural gas, Eritreans on his mind

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara speak to the press from the tarmac at Ben-Gurion International Airport on September 3, 2023. (Carrie-Keller-Lynn/Times of Israel)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara speak to the press from the tarmac at Ben-Gurion International Airport on September 3, 2023. (Carrie-Keller-Lynn/Times of Israel)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that gas export strategy is expected to be one of the central issues in his upcoming trilateral meeting with Cypriot and Greek leaders, in remarks to reporters from the tarmac before taking off to visit in Nicosia.

The prime minister also touched on Saturday’s bloody riot in Tel Aviv, which drew police into a conflict between Eritrean asylum seekers protesting for and against their dictatorial regime. Earlier on Sunday, Netanyahu instructed a ministerial committee to look into deporting Eritrean regime supporters involved in the riot, as well as other measures against illegal African migration to Israel.

“What happened yesterday in Tel Aviv crossed a red line,” the premier says.

Netanyahu blames “the court” for invalidating measures his previous government tried to take against African migrants and asylum seekers, including holding them for several years without trial.

Similarly, Netanyahu dismisses a UN-supported proposal to resettle half of Israel’s Eritrean asylum seekers abroad while giving the rest a legal status to stay in Israel.

“It would have been a disaster, if we had accepted,” he says.

AG asks court to strike down law canceling reasonableness test

Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara is calling for the High Court of Justice to strike down the government’s “reasonableness” law, a step that would result in the first-ever court rejection of legislation amending one of Israel’s quasi-constitutional Basic Laws.

In her response to the petitions against the legislation, the attorney general declined to defend the law and wrote that it revokes, for the first time in the country’s history, the authority of the High Court to provide legal redress to an individual or the general public.

“The amendment locks the gates of the court to every person and group who might be harmed if the government or one of its ministers should act toward them in an extremely unreasonable manner,” the Attorney General’s Office states in publishing the response.

“The public is therefore being denied an important means for defending itself from arbitrary exercise of power by the government which is not for the public good.”

The response argues that the law harms the separation of powers, the rule of law, and the rights of the individual, and therefore “does mortal damage to the foundations of the democratic system of government,” and should be annulled.

The legislation prohibits the High Court from reversing governmental and ministerial decisions and actions on the basis of them being unreasonable. Unreasonableness can mean that not all relevant considerations were taken into account, that the considerations used to make the decision were not given the appropriate weight, or that inappropriate considerations were used when making the decision.

This is the second time Baharav-Miara has broken with the government she ostensibly represents, after she similarly asked the court to strike down a Basic Law that prevents the court from ordering a prime minister to recuse himself from office.

Note: An earlier version of this post incorrectly called Baharav-Miara’s move unprecedented.

Hisham Ibrahim tapped to head IDF’s Civil Administration in West Bank

Brig. Gen. Hisham Ibrahim speaks at a handover ceremony as he enters the role as head of the Armored Corps, August 10, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)
Brig. Gen. Hisham Ibrahim speaks at a handover ceremony as he enters the role as head of the Armored Corps, August 10, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

Brig. Gen. Hisham Ibrahim has been named the new head of the Civil Administration, a Defense Ministry body that’s part of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories unit, which regulates much of daily life in the West Bank.

Ibrahim will replace Brig. Gen. Fares Atila, who has served in the position since February 2021.

Ibrahim, one of the most senior Druze officers in the Israel Defense Forces, currently serves as commander of the Armored Corps.

Steinmetz hopeful Cyprus will reject Romanian warrant

A spokesperson for Beny Steinmetz confirms that the mining tycoon was arrested in Cyprus on Thursday, but says he is expected to be freed soon.

The spokesman claims that the Romanian warrant that prompted his arrest has been repeatedly rejected by other countries or agencies due to concerns over whether the trial at which he was convicted in absentia was a fair one. These include Greece and Italy, which rejected a European arrest warrant, the spokesman says, and Interpol, which canceled its Red Notice for a similar reason.

“Beny Steinmetz welcomes the opportunity to be vindicated in one more European State, against Romania, a country infamous for its disrespect to human rights,” a statement reads.

The spokesman says Steinmetz is being held in a Larnaca police station. He denies the Greece-based businessman’s trip to the island is connected to a visit to Cyprus today by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Ministerial committee decides to crack down on Eritreans after riots

Anti-Eritrean government activists, left, clash with supporters of the Eritrean government, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023. Hundreds of Eritrean asylum seekers smashed shop windows and police cars in Tel Aviv on Saturday and clashed with police during a protest against an event organized by the Eritrea Embassy. (AP/Ohad Zwigenberg)
Anti-Eritrean government activists, left, clash with supporters of the Eritrean government, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023. Hundreds of Eritrean asylum seekers smashed shop windows and police cars in Tel Aviv on Saturday and clashed with police during a protest against an event organized by the Eritrea Embassy. (AP/Ohad Zwigenberg)

A special ministerial committee convened in the wake of intense rioting between Eritrean groups on Tel Aviv’s streets a day earlier has okayed widespread arrests, allowing police to use an administrative procedure that lowers the evidentiary bar for arrests.

Some 50 Eritrean nationals are being held following yesterday’s street fighting, with police minister Itamar Ben Gvir pushing for more “administrative” arrests, the Ynet news site reports.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is chairing the meeting, says the government is “seeking strong steps against rioters, including immediate deportation of those who took part.”

The administrative arrest mechanism is part of a law passed by a previous government that had been meant to deal with African migrants crossing into the country for asylum or work, but never implemented, according to Ynet.

The committee also decides to look into revoking work permits from anyone in the country illegally.

“What happened yesterday crossed a red line. It was hooliganism, bloodshed, a rampage we cannot accept,” Netanyahu is quoted saying.

Israel officially asks US to send over 25 more F-35 fighter jets

The Defense Ministry has submitted an official letter of request to the US military’s F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office, to advance Israel’s procurement of a third F-35I squadron.

The additional 25 aircraft, to be delivered in batches of three beginning in 2027, would bring the Israeli Air Force’s F-35I fleet to 75.

The deal is estimated at $3 billion, financed by US military aid to Israel.

F-35 Lightning II Aircraft assigned to the 158th Fighter Wing, Burlington Air National Guard Base, prepare for takeoff, in Burlington, Vermont, April 13, 2022. (Staff Sgt. Cameron Lewis/U.S. Air National Guard via AP)

In July, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant okayed the deal, at the recommendation of the military.

The ministry says in a statement that the oficial request will “facilitate the approval and signing of the transaction in the coming months.”

Israel had previously agreed to purchase 50 F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin. They are being delivered in batches of twos and threes until 2024.

As of November 2022, 36 F-35I jets had been delivered.

Child in critical condition after being left in hot car

A small child is being rushed to a hospital after being left in a hot car in the southern city of Netivot for several hours.

The toddler, said to be about 2 years old, is in critical condition, the Magen David Adom rescue group says.

Temperatures in the city Sunday afternoon are 31 degrees Celsius (87 Fahrenheit), according to the Israel Meteorological Service.

Mining mogul Beny Steinmetz arrested in Cyprus on Romanian warrant

French-Israeli diamond magnate Beny Steinmetz (L) arrives with his lawyers for his trial in Geneva on January 11, 2020. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP)
French-Israeli diamond magnate Beny Steinmetz (L) arrives with his lawyers for his trial in Geneva on January 11, 2020. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP)

Israeli mining tycoon Beny Steinmetz has been arrested in Cyprus, according to Israeli media reports.

Steinmetz has been wanted in Romania since 2020, when he and political adviser Tal Silberstein were both sentenced in absentia to five years in jail for “the creation of an organized criminal group” in a property-related case that dates back to 2006-2008 and cost the Romanian government $145 million.

The arrest comes as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to visit the island state for a tripartite meeting with Greece.

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