The Times of Israel liveblogged Thursday’s events as they unfolded.
WASHINGTON — Donald Trump has filed suit asking a court to reinstate his account on Twitter and restore the online voice he lost for allegedly instigating the Capitol Hill riot.
Twitter and other social media banned the former president from their platforms after a mob of pro-Trump supporters assaulted the US Congress building on January 6.
They were riled up by a speech hours earlier in which Trump hammered away at his false claims that the election he lost to Joe Biden was stolen from him.
Twitter said at the time that Trump tweets leading up to his removal violated its policy against glorifying violence and were likely to cause people to mimic what happened on January 6.
In the filing in a Florida federal court, Trump argues that the platform that served as his main megaphone for reaching his millions of conservative followers was “coerced” into suspending him by members of the US Congress.
At the time he was banned, Trump had more than 88 million Twitter followers.
Twitter, the filing argues, “exercises a degree of power and control over political discourse in this country that is immeasurable, historically unprecedented, and profoundly dangerous to open democratic debate.”
The suit notes that the Taliban, in power in Afghanistan now and still considered a terrorist organization by the United States, is allowed to have a Twitter account.
Banning Trump but not the Taliban amounts to “ludicrous incongruity” on the part of Twitter, the suit alleges.
Contacted by AFP, Twitter declines to comment on Trump’s move.
A former secretary for the SS commander of the Stutthof concentration camp has been placed in provisional detention after she attempted to flee the start of her trial in Germany, reports AFP.
Irmgard Furchner, 96, skipped the planned start of her trial on more than 11,000 counts of accessory to murder, officials said. She was picked up several hours later after the court issued an arrest warrant.
The court says that Furchner has been remanded into custody, and that her trial will restart on October 19.
A private Israeli intelligence firm releases satellite photographs of an alleged Iranian missile production facility outside Tehran, showing the damage at the site after an explosion there earlier in the week.
In the photographs, at least a quarter of the building, which the company — ImageSat International — said was a “secret missile base” belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, can be seen completely destroyed, while additional damage can be seen on the roof along the entire structure.
The blast occurred on Monday, killing at least two members of the IRGC and injuring more, the organization said in a statement at the time.
The US Senate approves a stopgap funding bill in a rare show of cross-party unity to avert a crippling government shutdown and keep the lights on for another two months.
The vote to fund federal agencies through December 3 passes comfortably with opposition Republicans supporting the Democrats, and is expected to be green-lit by the House of Representatives before the midnight deadline.
“This is a good outcome, one I’m happy we are getting done,” Chuck Schumer, the top Democratic senator, tells colleagues on the chamber floor ahead of the vote.
MANAMA — Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif al Zayani officially open Israel’s Embassy in Manama, the capital of Bahrain.
“May our people live in peace and prosperity forever,” says Lapid. He adds in Hebrew: “Israel made a major, historical step today in the Gulf.”
“It is an unmistakable signal to all that we are determined,” says Zayani. “We are not done.”
Maggie Nardi, the US chargé d’affaires in Bahrain, who is attending the event, says that the inauguration is “a great honor for the United States.”
The embassy is located on the 29th floor of the Bahrain World Trade Center. Longtime diplomat Eitan Na’eh has been tapped to serve as the first Israeli ambassador to Bahrain, although his nomination has yet to be confirmed. The Bahraini ambassador to Israel took up his position earlier this month.
More than 700 people in Israel with COVID-19 have died in just the month of September, according to the latest statistics from the Health Ministry.
Since August 31, 718 Israelis with the coronavirus died, the figures published on Thursday evening reveal. Comparatively, in August, 570 Israelis with COVID died, and in July, the figure stood at just 44 individuals.
Since the start of the outbreak, 7,761 Israelis with the coronavirus have died.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid visits the USS Pearl Harbor, hosted by Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, commander of the US Fifth Fleet.
He is joined on the visit to the ship by Israel’s acting ambassador to Bahrain, Itay Tagner, US chargé d’affaires in Manama Maggie Nardi, and Bahrain’s first ambassador to Israel, Khaled Yousif al-Jalahma.
Serbia and Kosovo reach an agreement to end a tense standoff at their border, EU envoy Miroslav Lajcak says.
The two neighbors were at loggerheads for more than 10 days, after Kosovo banned vehicles with Serbian registration plates from entering its territory — mirroring a years-long Serbian practice against vehicles traveling the other way.
After Kosovo dispatched special police units to oversee the ban’s implementation, local Serbs rebelled and blocked the roads leading to the border. Serbia then responded by deploying armored vehicles close to the frontier.
According to a European Union-brokered deal struck in Brussels, Kosovo agrees to remove the special police units on Saturday and the local Serbs agree to dismantle the barricades at the same time.
“We have a deal! After two days of intense negotiations, an agreement on de-escalation and the way forward has just been reached,” Lajcak writes on Twitter.
NATO-led peacekeepers from the KFOR mission will also be deployed at the border for two weeks to maintain a “safe and secure environment.”
Israel Police announce that they have arrested two additional suspects who allegedly took part in a stone-throwing attack against Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills earlier this week.
According to the police, the two additional suspects are an adult and a minor. Yesterday, police arrested three Jewish Israelis over their alleged participation in the stone-throwing assault on a Palestinian village in the South Hebron Hills on Tuesday that left more than a dozen Palestinians wounded, including a three-year-old boy.
The rocks smashed cars and injured at least 12 Palestinians, including the three-year-old, Palestinian and Israeli witnesses said.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid condemned the incident as terrorism and called for justice to be carried out. “This isn’t the Israeli way and it isn’t the Jewish way,” he said. “This is a violent and dangerous fringe, and we have a responsibility to bring them to justice.”
At least five Jewish Israelis are currently in custody in connection to the incident.
Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar agrees to Australia’s request to add more than 20 charges to the trial of Malka Leifer, who was extradited from Israel earlier this year to face trial for child sex abuse.
According to Sa’ar’s office, the minister agrees to add additional charges linked to cases that were not included on the original extradition request, because they were uncovered after she was extradited in January.
The trial of Leifer in Melbourne is slated to begin on October 21, on close to 100 charges of rape, indecent assault and child sexual abuse that are believed to date between 2004-2008.
The Supreme Court announces that it is adding five new cases to its calendar for the term that begins next week, including a case dealing with the restitution of art seized by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
The court agrees to hear an appeal from the heirs of a German Jewish woman and a San Diego Jewish organization in their quest to recover a valuable painting by Camille Pissarro that was initially taken by the Nazis and now hangs in an art museum in Madrid.
A US appeals court ruled unanimously last year that the painting, which a Jewish woman traded to the Nazis to escape the Holocaust in 1939, may remain the property of a Spanish museum that acquired it more than a half-century later.
At stake is “La Rue St. Honoré, effet de Soleil, Après-Midi, 1898,” an oil-on-canvas work of a rain-swept Paris street that Pissarro painted as he gazed at the scene from his hotel window. Its value has been estimated at $30 million.
The high court has been on its summer break since early July. When it begins its new term on Monday, the justices will be hearing arguments in their marble courtroom for the first time in more than a year and a half, though the public will not be allowed to attend.
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Ethiopia says that it is kicking out seven United Nations officials and accuses them of “meddling in the internal affairs of the country,” as pressure grows on the government over its deadly blockade of its Tigray region.
A foreign ministry statement says that the officials must leave Ethiopia within 72 hours. They include five people with the UN humanitarian agency, one with the UN human rights office and the UNICEF representative in the country. The statement does not give details of their alleged interference.
The UN humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths, this week told The Associated Press that the crisis in Ethiopia is a “stain on our conscience,” as children and others starve to death in the Tigray region under what the UN has called a de facto government blockade of food, medical supplies and fuel.
Ethiopia’s government has accused humanitarian workers of supporting the Tigray forces who have been fighting its soldiers and allied forces since November, which aid workers have denied. Thousands of people have been killed in the conflict.
A joint coalition of the Gaza-based Palestinian terror groups threatens Israel, after Israeli soldiers shot and killed Palestinian man with a “suspicious bag” near the Gaza border.
“This last despicable crime, that saw the execution of Mohammad Ammar… crosses every red line,” the so-called Joint Operations Room says in a statement.
“The aggression by the enemy against our people will call forth cruel responses of a special nature,” the coalition of terror groups says.
The Joint Operations Room was conceived by Gaza factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who sought to coordinate military activities against Israel. However, Islamic Jihad specifically issues a statement to say they are not part of the recent statement by the umbrella group.
The Hezbollah terror group claims it downed the Israeli military drone that the IDF says fell in southern Lebanon earlier today.
The group says that it took down the drone at around 1:55 pm, near the outskirts of the town of Yater in southern Lebanon, by “targeting it with appropriate weapons.”
The IDF says that it is aware of Hezbollah’s claims but declines to immediately comment on them. An IDF spokesperson says that he is looking into the matter.
Earlier, the IDF said that the device — a small copter model — was performing “routine activities” when it went down.
Such crashes are relatively common and there are generally no concerns that intelligence can be gleaned from the off-the-shelf devices.
The IDF says that the incident will be investigated.
MANAMA — In a statement at a press conference with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani stresses his country’s desire to “broaden and deepen cooperation across a range of sectors,” and says that Bahrain has chosen “peace and dialogue as a strategic option.”
“Your visit builds on the considerable progress we have made over the last year, and underlines our joint desire to spread peace and stability across the Middle East,” says Zayani. He also reaffirms “Bahrain’s genuine commitment to building warm peace and cooperation with Israel.”
Zayani then turns to the Palestinians, emphasizing the “crucial importance” of a two-state solution that reflects “the rights, interests and aspirations of all parties.” He adds that “Bahrain continues to call on all sides and the international community to achieve this goal.”
In response to a question from a Bahraini journalist, Lapid says he is “a devoted supporter of the two-state solution,” adding that he thinks “it’s the right solution for the people of Israel and for the Palestinian people as well.” But he notes that he thinks it is unfeasible at this moment in time, and that he supports improving the standard of living of the Palestinians in the meantime as well as “doing no harm.”
In regards to those comments, Lapid emphasizes that he is speaking as leader of the Yesh Atid party and not as a spokesman for the government.
In his own remarks, Lapid calls for deepening “economic, security, diplomatic and civilian” ties with Bahrain.
“We will do everything to turn the partnership between Bahrain and Israel into a harmony, of cultures and religions,” says Lapid. “And primarily, a harmony between people.”
“We are both tough peoples,” adds the foreign minister. “We made life flourish in the heart of the desert.”
Alluding to the shared concern over the Iranian threat, Lapid continues: “Our opportunities are shared. Our threats are also shared, and they aren’t far from here.”
Lapid says the global battle today is between “a culture of life, against a culture of death and destruction,” returning to a familiar theme of his.
“Together with our friends in the Gulf, we are leading a brave coalition of moderates,” he says. “A coalition that is looking forward and creating a prosperous future of stability and tolerance.”
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett meets top health officials after a public rift emerged this week over the government’s COVID-19 approach.
Bennett meets with Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, Health Ministry director general Nachman Ash, head of the ministry’s public health services, Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, and coronavirus czar Salman Zarka, says the Prime Minister’s Office.
“The prime minister and the health minister stressed during the conversation that they give great importance to the position of the professional officials, even when it differs from the position of the policy-makers,” says the PMO.
The statement claims that “there was no disagreement” between the two sides, and that Bennett “made it clear to the participants that the close cooperation that has characterized the fight against the coronavirus so far will continue.”
During a briefing with Israeli journalists in New York earlier this week, Bennett accused the medical experts advising the government of “not seeing the full picture,” and said that they don’t make the final decisions — the government does. Horowitz called the comments “unnecessary and unfortunate,” and Ash said the words were unexpected and “unpleasant.”
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and his Bahraini counterpart Abdullatif al-Zayani sign memorandums of understanding at the Four Seasons Hotel in Manama on environmental protection, sports and development of water resources on the national, regional, and international levels.
They then sign a joint statement outlining the main points agreed upon during Lapid’s visit.
Zayani presents Lapid with a certificate noting that Israeli is the first partner in its global sea-to-air logistics hub.
A series of further MOUs are signed between Bahraini and Israeli bodies, including Mekorot, Israel’s national water company, and Sheba Hospital.
An Israeli military drone falls inside Lebanese territory, the Israel Defense Forces says.
The device — a small copter model — was performing “routine activities” when it went down, the military says, likely referring to reconnaissance. Such crashes are relatively common and there are generally no concerns that intelligence can be gleaned from the off-the-shelf devices.
The IDF says the incident will be investigated.
World Bank president David Malpass arrives in Sudan for the first visit in nearly 40 years by a head of the development body, and praises the country’s reforms but cautions against “political slippages.”
“Two years ago, Sudan’s transitional government inherited a deeply damaged economy and society that had suffered decades of conflict and isolation,” Malpass says in an address from Khartoum. “Yet the country pressed forward with bold reforms,” he says, making possible more than $50 billion in debt relief.
“It’s critical to avoid political slippages because there is no development without peace and stability,” Malpass adds, just over a week after Sudan’s government said it had thwarted a coup attempt.
High-level Russian and US diplomats are meeting in Geneva as part of strategic talks revived by presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin at a June summit, with contentious issues like nuclear weapons and cyberspace on the table.
The second-ranked US diplomat, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, is holding several hours of talks with her Russian counterpart, Sergey Ryabkov, at Russia’s diplomatic mission in Geneva — the second round following up on an earlier one at the US mission in the Swiss capital in July.
Little progress was made at the first meeting, which took place after the two countries’ leaders revived the channel of communication at their Geneva summit.
A senior State Department official says today’s agenda includes traditional nuclear arms control, the use of space and artificial intelligence, and cyber matters. However, the cyber discussion was focused on strategic issues and nuclear weapons — and not ransomware or hacking, the official says. There was no immediate readout about whether any progress was made in the talks.
The funeral for four of the people killed during a devastating crash in northern Israel yesterday between a bus and multiple other vehicles begins.
Moran Ben-Eli, 35, and her three children, Dekel, 15, Liam, 11, and Annael, 5, of Ma’alot-Tarshiha are being laid to rest at the cemetery in the northern city.
Moran’s husband and the children’s father, Reuven Ben-Eli, who was also in the car and hospitalized in serious condition, is attending the funeral on a stretcher. He was told of their deaths this morning when he woke up in Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, and was transported to the funeral by ambulance.
MANAMA — Foreign Minister Yair Lapid meets with Bahraini King Hamid bin Issa al Khalifa at the royal palace in Manama.
“The leadership and inspiration of the king has led to real cooperation, and this meeting sets the course for the future of our relations,” says Lapid.
The sit-down is the first public meeting between the Bahraini king and an Israeli official. Lapid is in Manama on the first visit by an Israeli minister since the two countries normalized ties last year as part of the Abraham Accords. He is slated to attend the inauguration of the Israeli Embassy in Manama later today.
Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg will head to Paris next week to attend a meeting of OECD countries on tackling climate change, says the ministry.
The meeting of the OECD council at ministerial level, which begins October 5, is spearheaded by US climate change envoy John Kerry and titled “Shared Values: Building a Green and Inclusive Future.”
Zandberg will present Israel’s actions and plans to increase its involvement in tackling environmental concerns on a global scale, with an emphasis on climate innovation and green technologies, says the ministry.
The minister will participate in a panel on October 6 titled “Building a green future — towards a carbon-neutral economy.”
ITZEHOE, Germany (AFP) — Irmgard Furchner, the 96-year-old former Nazi death camp secretary who failed to turn up for the start of her trial in Germany earlier today, has been apprehended by police hours later, says the court.
The court says she will be evaluated by a doctor before deciding if the trial can begin.
Furchner, one of the first women to be prosecuted for Nazi-era crimes in decades, is charged with complicity in the murders of more than 10,000 people at the Stutthof concentration camp in Poland.
She left her retirement home on Thursday morning and took a taxi to a subway station, said Frederike Milhoffer, a spokeswoman for the court. But she failed to turn up at the trial.
A new study by the Israel Democracy Institute of the kosher certification industry in Israel finds that the vast majority of products sold in the country are certified by multiple kashrut organizations.
Therefore, the IDI says, there is no reason for the Chief Rabbinate’s monopoly over kosher certification in Israel, since most products are already certified by private agencies. According to the study, a whopping 88% of products sold in Israeli supermarkets have more than one kashrut certification.
Just 12% of products sold, says the IDI, hold only the certification from a local rabbinate. Food production companies apply for a rabbinate certification — on top of others that they want — simply because the law requires them to, the IDI says. Therefore, the think tank suggests, “the existing situation leads to unnecessary duplication of kashrut certifications and to excess costs to both the suppliers and the consumers.”
The reform to the kosher certification agency proposed by Religious Services Minister Matan Kahana was discussed in the Knesset earlier today.
BEIRUT (AP) — Jordan says it is discussing ways to expedite Egyptian natural gas shipments via its territory and Syria to Lebanon, which is dealing with a grueling energy crisis.
Prime Minister Bisher Khasawneh arrives in Beirut today, the first foreign official to visit Lebanon’s new prime minister who took office earlier this month. Khasawneh says Jordan is committed to support Lebanon’s stability.
“We will not hold back our capabilities, we’ll respond with all we can for our brothers in Lebanon,” Khasawneh says in a press conference with Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati. “We discussed ways to expedite Lebanon receiving Egyptian gas to help some of the energy challenges and electricity sector.”
He says there are efforts to provide Lebanon with some electricity from Jordan. He offered no details and said detailed discussions will follow.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will meet with left-wing Israeli ministers Issawi Frej and Nitzan Horowitz next week in Ramallah, a spokesperson for Frej’s office confirms.
Abbas rarely met with his Israeli counterparts during the previous administration of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which saw ties between Israel and the PA grow increasingly strained.
But officials in the new government, headed by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, have pledged to strengthen Abbas’s unpopular government. Defense Minister Benny Gantz, of the Blue and White party, met with Abbas in Ramallah in August before announcing a string of initiatives to aid the PA.
Horowitz, who serves as health minister, met with his PA counterpart, Mai al-Kaila, in late July. Frej, who holds the regional cooperation portfolio, has met with several senior PA officials.
Bennett, however, has been clear that there will be no return to the peace process under the current government. A longtime champion of the settlement movement, Bennett opposes the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
MANAMA — Foreign Minister Yair Lapid meets with Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the crown prince of Bahrain, at his palace in Manama.
“Thank you for the opportunity to be here today, and to take this step together in building our relations,” says Lapid, “in a model of coexistence and cooperation between cultures and between faiths.”
The exchange between the pair is thought to be the first public meeting the crown prince has ever held with an Israeli official. Lapid is in the Bahraini capital to inaugurate the Israeli embassy there later today.
A terrorist who carried out a stabbing attack outside the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem earlier this month is slated to be indicted today, according to a statement from the Israel Police.
Police say the suspect, a 17-year-old from Deir al-Asal al-Fauqa, near Hebron, came to Jaffa Road near the bus station on September 13, and entered a store, stabbing two people inside. A Border Police officer shot the stabber and he was taken into custody.
The terrorist came to the bus station via the light rail from the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem, say police. Before the attack, he had published posts on social media praising terrorism and expressing solidarity with Hamas, the police statement says.
Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar presents the Judicial Selection Committee with a list of 24 nominees to potentially serve as justices on the Supreme Court.
The members of the committee will have to select four of the 24 names. The list includes Sharon Afek, the current chief military advocate general of the IDF, and Eyal Yinon, the former Knesset general counsel.
The Judicial Selection Committee is chaired by Sa’ar and includes Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, Labor MK Efrat Rayten and Religious Zionism MK Simcha Rothman, two members of the Israel Bar Association, Chief Justice Esther Hayut and Supreme Court Justices Yitzhak Amit and Uzi Vogelman.
The IDF officer seriously wounded during a predawn raid earlier this week has opened his eyes and is breathing on his own, says the Ramban Medical Center in Haifa.
Yesterday the soldier, a member of the elite Duvdevan Unit, began to wake up and began slowly being weaned off of the machines helping him to breathe.
He was one of two soldiers to be seriously injured in raids in the early hours of Sunday morning. His father said his son was hit by nine bullets during an exchange of gunfire in the town of Burqin outside Jenin in the northern West Bank.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid meets with his Bahraini counterpart Abdullatif Al Zayani in Manama.
The two discuss ways of developing bilateral ties further, especially in security, economic, and civil society. The pair are slated to inaugurate the Israeli embassy in the Bahraini capital later today.
The first commercial flight between Bahrain and Israel lands at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, a year after the US-brokered normalization of ties.
Gulf Air flight GF972 touches down at Israel’s main airport shortly after Foreign Minister Yair Lapid begins a landmark visit to Manama, where he will open the Israeli embassy in the Bahraini capital.
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