The Times of Israel liveblogged Tuesday’s events as they happened.
IDF shoots down unmanned drone launched from Gaza
The army says it has shot down an unmanned drone that took off from the Gaza Strip.
“Earlier today a Hamas UAV took off from the Gaza Strip and was intercepted by an IAF aircraft just off the coast of the Gaza Strip,” an IDF statement reads.
A spokesman says the drone was under IAF surveillance from the moment it took off from the Gaza Strip.
French mayor: Australian burkini wearer was ‘indecent’
The right-wing mayor of a French Riviera beach town where bathers asked a burkini-wearing Australian to leave defends their complaints — calling her behavior “indecent.”
Sydney native Zeynab Alshelh “could have asked herself whether the people in the area weren’t still reeling from the jihadist attack that killed 86 people” in nearby Nice in July, Lionnel Luca says.
“She could not just innocently come to our beaches with religious garb that is the sign of the fundamentalism that killed us,” he says, calling the 23-year-old’s actions “pretty indecent.”
Alshelh told Australian television the bathers threatened to call the police unless she left the beach at Villeneuve-Loubet, even though a ban on the controversial full-bodied swimsuit had recently been overturned.
Police find naked man chained to a wall amid building ruins
Police find a naked man chained to a wall amid building ruins near the southern Bedouin town of El Fouar.
An officer was patrolling the area when he heard cries from inside one of the buildings. Upon inspection he found the man who was tied up using iron chain. When released, the man said he had been tied up there “for years,” according to a police statement.
The man was immediately taken to a hospital to receive medical and physiological help.
Police say an initial investigation found that he was tied up by members of his family who said he had been throwing rocks at children.
Netanyahu says he will thank Obama for military aid in NY meet
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will thank US President Barack Obama for the military aid deal signed last week during their meeting tomorrow in New York.
“We are in the midst of a very important diplomatic week for the State of Israel. I am leaving now for the United States. There I will first meet with President Obama and I will thank him for the great and important security assistance to the State of Israel over the coming decade,” Netanyahu said before boarding a plane to leave Israel.
“I will then address the United Nations General Assembly. I will present Israel’s case, Israel’s truth, Israel’s justice and also Israel’s heroism – the heroism of our soldiers, our police officers and our citizens, who are waging an uncompromising struggle against brutal terrorism.”
The prime minister’s trip will include his annual address to the United Nations General Assembly and what will presumably be his last meeting with US President Barack Obama. During his five-day stay in the city, Netanyahu will also meet with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other world leaders and visit an exhibit of drawings by an Israeli soldier whose body is currently held by Hamas, along with the remains of another soldier.
Some 20 civilians killed in Syria aid convoy attack
Some 20 people, including a Red Crescent staff member, are killed in air raids that hit an aid convoy near Aleppo.
“Around twenty civilians and one SARC (Syrian Arab Red Crescent) staff member were killed as they were unloading trucks carrying vital humanitarian aid,” the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) says in a statement.
Monday’s raid on the convoy destroyed at least 18 of 31 vehicles, as well as a Red Crescent warehouse in Orum al-Kubra in Aleppo province.
“Much of the aid was destroyed,” IFRC says, stressing that “the attack deprives thousands of civilians of much-needed food and medical assistance.”
Omar Barakat, who headed the SARC’s sub-branch on Orum “succumbed to his injuries and died,” IFRC spokesman Benoit Carpentier told reporters in Geneva.
Adelson donates $20 million to GOP to held Trump campaign
Jewish billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam last month donated at least $20 million to the Republican Party as part of a roughly $45 million pledge that could help reshape and strengthen Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency, CNN reports.
A check for $20 million was paid into the Senate Leadership Fund, which defines its aim as “taking on President Obama’s freedom-constricting, big-government agenda.” CNN says a similar payment is headed for the Congressional Leadership Fund, whose goal is to protect and strengthen the Republican majority in the House of Representatives.
The remaining $5 million will likely be routed through the Ricketts family, who are also expected to make significant contributons to the Trump campaign, CNN says.
— Sue Surkes
George H.W. Bush said to be voting for Clinton
A prominent member of the Kennedy family says former Republican President George H.W. Bush told her that he plans to vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton for president this fall.
Former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, posted a picture of herself with Bush on Facebook Monday and added, “The President told me he’s voting for Hillary!!”
Townsend, daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy, later confirmed the conversation she had while meeting Bush in Maine to Politico, which shared a screengrab of the Facebook post.
Bush’s spokesman, Jim McGrath, says in a statement that the 92-year-old former president’s vote is private and Bush isn’t commenting on the race. McGrath later said on Twitter that he’s “still checking” if anyone was there to verify Townsend’s conversation.
Bush hasn’t offered support for GOP nominee Donald Trump, who defeated his son, Jeb Bush, in a testy Republican primary season.
Syria military denies bombing aid convoy
Syria’s army denies bombing a convoy of aid trucks in the northern province of Aleppo Monday evening, an incident the UN said could amount to a war crime.
“There is no truth to media reports that the Syrian army targeted a convoy of humanitarian aid in Aleppo province,” state media says, citing a military source.
The denial comes shortly after Moscow said neither Russian nor Syrian jets bombed the aid convoy, which was carrying assistance destined for tens of thousands of people in northern Syria.
At least 18 trucks in the 31-vehicle convoy were destroyed, according to the United Nations, which was carrying out the aid delivery alongside the Red Cross and Syrian Red Crescent.
The Red Crescent said the raids killed around 20 people including one of its staff members.
Work starts on wall near Calais’ ‘Jungle’ migrant camp
Building work begins on a wall to protect the port in the northern French city of Calais from repeated attempts by migrants to stow away on trucks heading for Britain.
The wall, a kilometer (half a mile) long and four-meters (13 feet) high, will pass within a few hundred meters of the sprawling migrant camp known as the “Jungle”, which charities say now houses more than 10,000 people.
US resident gets 10-year Iran prison sentence
A US permanent resident detained for a year in Iran over spying allegations has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and a $4.2 million fine, his supporters say. The punishment is the latest move in a crackdown on those with foreign ties following last year’s nuclear deal.
The sentence for Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese citizen who advocates for internet freedom and whose nonprofit group did work for the US government, comes as Iranian officials attend the United Nations General Assembly this week in New York.
A statement early Tuesday from Jason Poblete, a US lawyer representing Zakka, said a Revolutionary Court in Tehran handed down the sentence in a 60-page verdict that Zakka’s supporters have yet to see.
Amnesty International has said Zakka had only two court hearings before the ruling and received only limited legal assistance. The closed-door tribunal handles cases involving alleged attempts to overthrow the government.
“There’s no regard for any international order, any international agreement or any international state of relations that they care about,” says David Ramadan, a former Virginia state legislator who co-founded a group called Friends of Nizar Zakka.
Jordanians electing new parliament in cautious reform move
Jordanians are voting for a new parliament under revised rules ostensibly seeking to strengthen political parties — an election seen at best as a small step toward democratic reform.
The vote comes at a time of regional turmoil, including domestic and external security threats to Jordan by Islamic State extremists who control large areas in neighboring Syria and Iraq. In holding regular, orderly elections, Jordan seeks to strengthen its image as an island of stability in the region.
However, parliament is relatively weak, with most powers remaining in the hands of King Abdullah II. Polls have indicated widespread voter apathy, predicting more than half of potential voters won’t cast a ballot, despite the participation of the well-organized Muslim Brotherhood opposition group for the first time since 2007.
More than 4 million Jordanians were eligible to vote for a 130-member parliament, with 15 seats reserved for women, nine for Christians and three for minority Chechens and Circassians. By 2 p.m., about 750,000 votes had been cast.
Ban Ki-moon says one-state solution ‘would spell doom’
Speaking at his final address to the UN General Assembly as secretary-general, Ban Ki-Moon says the international community must continue to push for the creation of a Palestinian state.
“Replacing a two-state solution with a one-state construct would spell doom,” he says, citing West Bank settlements as “obstacles to progress.”
UN chief opens General Assembly debate with call to end Syria fighting
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the annual General Assembly debate of world leaders on Tuesday with a call to end the fighting in Syria.
“I appeal to all those with influence to end the fighting and get talks started,” Ban said in his farewell address.
NY bombing suspect in ‘critical but stable’ condition
The suspect held on suspicion of carrying out weekend bomb attacks in New York and New Jersey is in critical but stable condition in a hospital, police say.
Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, was wounded in a shootout Monday with police in Linden, New Jersey, just four hours after the FBI released his mugshot and sent text message alerts to millions of people.
“Critical but stable,” New York police commissioner James O’Neill told CBS News when asked if the suspect would likely survive.
Rahami was shot multiple times and underwent surgery on Monday, the local prosecutor says. He has been charged on five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer and two unlawful weapons counts.
Police are still investigating the motives behind Saturday’s bombings in the New York neighborhood of Chelsea, which injured 29 people, and a pipe blast at a US Marine Corps race on the Jersey shore.
Officials say that Rahami travelled “extensively” to Afghanistan and Pakistan in recent years, but have not yet found evidence linking him to militant groups such as the Islamic State or the Taliban.
Ban Ki-moon says both sides in Syrian conflict ‘have blood on their hands’
Ban Ki-moon blasts leaders who are “feeding the war machine” in Syria, violate human rights and prevent aid deliveries to starving people.
The UN chief tells leaders at the opening of the General Assembly’s annual ministerial meeting that “powerful patrons” of both sides in the more than five-year Syrian conflict “have blood on their hands.”
“Present in this hall today are representatives of governments that have ignored, facilitated, funded, participated in or even planned and carried out atrocities inflicted by all sides of the Syria conflict against Syrian civilians,” he says.
Ban adds that “many groups have killed innocent civilians — none more so than the government of Syria.”
UN suspends Syria aid convoys after deadly strike
The United Nations suspends all humanitarian convoys in Syria following a deadly air strike on aid trucks, as fighting intensified after the regime declared an end to a week-long truce.
Both Syria and Russia denied they were behind the raid on the convoy near the northern city Aleppo, which the Red Cross said killed “around 20 civilians” including an employee of the Syrian Red Crescent.
Air raids and shelling meanwhile pounded key battlefronts across the country — dimming hopes that the fraught ceasefire brokered by Moscow and Washington could be revived.
Israeli car pelted with rocks in West Bank settlement bloc
An Israeli car is damaged after being pelted with rocks in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem.
The car was hit on the road next to the Ma’aleh Amos community, according to Hebrew media reports.
No injuries have been reported.
Kerry: Syria ‘ceasefire is not dead’
US Secretary of State John Kerry says that the ceasefire in Syria “is not dead” after talks with Russia and key powers with a stake in the civil war.
In brief remarks to reporters as he left a New York hotel after a meeting of the International Syria Support Group, Kerry said talks would reconvene later this week.
Obama tells UN he’s ‘resolved the Iranian nuclear issue’
Opening his final speech to the United Nations General Assembly, US President Barak Obama says great progress has been made in the past eight years he has been president.
“We’ve resolved the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomacy,” he says as part of a list of successes.
“The world is less violent and more prosperous than before,” he adds.
‘No change’ in Peres’s condition, doctors say
“There is no change in the health status of Ninth President Peres,” a statement from his office reads.
“His medical team is continuing treatment based on his situation, and tomorrow he will undergo an additional CT Scan. His medical team will decide on further treatment based on the results of the CT.”
Peres suffered a stroke last week and has been kept under sedation for most of the past week.
Obama says US can’t impose democracy on world, but it’s the ‘better path’
US President Barak Obama says while the US cannot force democracy on the world, it must stand up against authoritarianism that limits human rights.
“I do not think that America can or should impose our form of government on other countries,” he tells the UN General Assembly.
“But I do believe in a liberal political order,” he said, citing independent judiciaries and the rule of law as key proponents of a free society. “Democracy is always the better path.”
“History shows that strong men are left with two paths – permanent crackdown and strife at home or scapegoating enemies that leads to conflict,” he adds.
Obama: No military solution in Syria
US President Barack Obama tells the UN General Assembly that the free world must be united against extremism but recognize that different situations need different solutions.
“If we are honest, then we understand that no external force is going to force communities to co exist,” he says.
“There is a military component – it means being united and relentless against ISIL but it also means that in places like Syria, where there is no military solution, we are going to need diplomacy.”
Obama says Israel cannot ‘permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land’
US President Barack Obama says that “we all have to do better” in regard to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, citing Palestinian incitement and Israeli belligerence as an obstacle to peace.
“Surely Israelis and Palestinians will be better off if Palestinians reject incitement and recognize the legitimacy of Israel. But Israel must recognize that it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land. We all have to do better,” he tells the UN General Assembly.
Obama calls for world course correction
President Barack Obama warns that the forces of globalization have exposed “deep fault lines” across the globe, calling for a “course correction” to ensure that nations and their peoples don’t retreat into a more sharply divided world.
Obama laments that the world has become safer and more prosperous at the same time that nations are struggling with a devastating refugee crisis, terrorism and a breakdown in basic order in the Middle East. He says governing had become more difficult as people lose faith in public institutions and tensions among nations spiral out of control more rapidly.
“This is the paradox that defines the world today,” Obama says. “We must go forward, and not backward.”
In a subtle reference to Donald Trump, Obama bemoans how terrorist networks had spread their ideology on social media, spurring anger toward “innocent immigrants and Muslims.”
“In order to move forward though, we do have to acknowledge that the existing path to global integration requires a course correction,” Obama says.
— With AP
UC Berkeley reinstates student course on Palestine and settlers
The University of California, Berkeley, reinstates a student-led course about the history of Palestine a week after suspending it following an outcry from Jewish community leaders who called it biased, anti-Zionist and in violation of the university’s academic standards.
The course has been renamed “Palestine: A Settler Colonial Inquiry,” Jweekly reports, after originally being called “Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis.”
Carla Hesse, executive dean of the university’s College of Letters and Science, announced Monday that she had reinstated the course, saying that procedural issues in question had been resolved and that revisions had been made to the syllabus in response to concerns that the course was promoting a political agenda, according to Jweekly.
“I fully support and defend the principles and policies of our campus that protect the academic freedom of all members of our community, whether students, faculty staff or visitors, as well as the shared governance of our campus by the administration and faculty Senate,” Hesse wrote in a letter Monday to department chairs in the division of social sciences and the divisional council of the academic senate.
Ivanka Trump gets Secret Service protection
Ivanka Trump is now receiving Secret Service protection, according to media reports.
Prior to Monday, Donald Trump’s children only received Secret Service protection when they were with their father, according to ABC News. Ivanka Trump’s brothers, who are also active with the campaign and their father’s business, have not yet received their own Secret Service details.
Chelsea Clinton, daughter of Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, received her own Secret Service protection earlier this month, ABC reports.
Ivanka Trump, who converted to Judaism, has been one of her father’s most trusted advisers. She appeared with him last week at a speech in Pennsylvania in which the candidate unveiled his child care plan.
Her Secret Service code name has not been made public, though it likely begins with an “M” like her father’s, “Mogul,” and his wife Melania’s, “Muse,” according to The Washington Post.
US names Syrian group Jund al-Aqsa to terror list
The United States officially labels the Syrian jihadist rebel group Jund al-Aqsa as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” organization as talks continued on securing a ceasefire in the war-ravaged country.
The US State Department says the four-year-old group was originally a unit of the al-Nusra Front, the Al-Qaeda arm in Syria, before splitting off to carry out operations independently.
Today, Jund al-Aqsa operates primarily in the Idlib and Hama provinces, but remains “openly allied” with al-Nusra, already designated a terror group two years ago, the State Department says.
It says Jund al-Aqsa was behind two suicide bombings in Idlib in March 2105 and a February 2014 “massacre” of 40 civilians in Maan in central Hama. The designation, and parallel sanctions by the US Treasury Department, forbid US entities and individuals from any transactions with the group.
Siren drill to sound across Israel
A Home Front Command drill will hear sirens sounded in Israeli cities across the country at 7:05 p.m. local time.
The siren is the second of the day, after a first drill took place just after 11 a.m.
IDF releases footage of Hamas drone being downed
The army releases a video showing a UAV launched from the Gaza Strip being shot down earlier today by an air force plane.
Hollande says he still wants peace conference this year
Speaking to the UN General Assembly, French President Francois Hollande says he is still hopeful he will able to host peace conference between Israel and the Palestinians.
“On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, France wants to convene a conference for negotiations by the end of the year,” he tells world leaders gathered in New York.
The statements echo those of his Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault who said at a briefing earlier that “this week must be a moment of political mobilization that we can reach that goal.”
France hosted an international meeting in Paris in June attended by more than two dozen Western and Arab countries to try to come up with a new strategy for Mideast peace and revive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which have been all but dead for over two years. The Israeli and Palestinian leaders were not invited.
The participants welcomed the “prospect” of a conference with both parties later this year.
Qatar says world has abandoned Syrian people
Qatar’s emir criticizes the weakness of the UN system and the paralysis of the international community in the face of the Syrian civil war and other conflicts.
Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani told the UN General Assembly that “theoretically, the majority of the countries of the world stood by the Syrian people, but practically they were left alone supported only by some loyal friends.”
He added that “red lines were set for the regime who has violated them, yet those who demarcated those lines have not felt provoked to raise a finger.”
Al Thani said it is “no longer possible to ignore the weakness of the United Nations’ legal and institutional system and its inability in many cases to apply standards of justice and fairness to the mechanisms of its functioning.”
Trump hits back at Clinton’s Islamic State claim
Donald Trump is again pushing back on rival Hillary Clinton’s assertion that his rhetoric serves as a recruiting tool for Islamic State militants.
Trump told a rally crowd Tuesday: “I’m being tough. How is that a recruiting tool?”
He was speaking at High Point University in North Carolina.
The Republican presidential nominee said it’s Clinton whose policies as secretary of state allowed the militant group to rise.
He says that ISIS “happened on Hillary Clinton’s watch,” and added: “the rise of ISIS is Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy legacy.” ISIS is an acronym for the Islamic State group.
Egypt’s el-Sissi meets Donald Trump
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi meets with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during his trip to the US for the annual UN General Assembly.
The Egyptian Embassy in the US tweeted a photo of the meeting saying that the two spoke “about fighting terrorism and the Egypt-US partnership.”
— Embassy of Egypt USA (@EgyptEmbassyUSA) September 20, 2016
UK Minister: Israel boycotts put ‘100 million prescriptions at risk’
A UK government minster warns that a boycott of Israeli products would cause an NHS prescription shortfall of “more than 100 million,” according the Jewish News.
“Banning these supplies would most likely cause significant shortages of some medicines important for patient health, and have a significant impact on competition and in all likelihood increase prices paid by the NHS,” Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health David Mowat said in response to a questions about Israeli pharmaceuticals during a parliamentary debate on prescription medicines.
Mowat said it is known that more than 100 million prescription items for medicine are supplied by Israeli companies.
Syria opposition slams ‘total weakness’ of international community
Syrian opposition leader Riad Hijab accuses world powers of showing “total weakness” in the face of the Syrian regime’s renewed attacks and the collapse of a ceasefire.
Hijab tells reporters that Russian and Syrian planes bombed an aid convoy that was en route to Aleppo to deliver food and other basic supplies to 78,000 civilians.
George Soros pledges to invest up to $500 million to help refugees
Jewish billionaire George Soros has pledged to invest up to $500 million to help refugees and migrants around the world.
“We will invest in startups, established companies, social impact initiatives, and businesses started by migrants and refugees themselves,” Soros says in a statement published in The Wall Street Journal.
“Although my main concern is to help migrants and refugees arriving in Europe, I will be looking for good investment ideas that will benefit migrants all over the world,” he writes.
All of the investments will be owned by Soros’ nonprofit organizations, the Open Society Foundations.
The investments, he says, “are intended to be successful — because I want to show how private capital can play a constructive role helping migrants.”
He says he will work closely with organizations such as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Rescue Committee to establish appropriate principles for the project’s investment guidelines.
Maryland Jewish media company launches new magazine
A Maryland Jewish media company launches a magazine for Jews living in Baltimore and Howard County.
Maryland Jewish Media, which was founded by physician and entrepreneur Dr. Scott Rifkin, was to publish the first issue of JMore this week and launch an accompanying site, according to a statement.
Rifkin is serving as CEO and publisher of the magazine. Former Baltimore Jewish times editor Alan Feiler joined JMore as editor-in-chief. John Coulson, who worked as managing partner at the sports magazine PressBox, is serving in the same position at JMore, the statement says.
The magazine will be available at distribution points throughout the Baltimore area and Howard County, which are home to over 120,000 Jews.
“Our goal is to tell the story of Greater Baltimore’s Jewish community in a comprehensive, informed and engaging way,” Rifkin says. “The Jewish community is growing throughout the region, and Jewish millennials tell us that they’re proud of their heritage but they feel undeserved. Our readers will see themselves and their friends, family, business associates and neighbors reflected in our content, and they can easily keep up with what’s happening in their communities.”
Rifkin is the the CEO and founder of Mid-Atantic Health Care, LLC, a nursing and rehabilitation provider in Maryland and Pennsylvania. In 2012, Rifkin lost a bidding war on Alter Communications, the publisher of The Baltimore Jewish Times and Style Magazine, to Route 95 Publications, LLC.
Hundreds protest vandalism of Budapest Holocaust memorial
Hundreds protest in downtown Budapest against a vandalism attack on a memorial to the nearly 600,000 victims of the Holocaust in Hungary. The unknown vandals tore photographs on display at Liberty Square and damaged or removed objects donated to the Living Memorial by survivors and their descendants.
The memorial is located opposite a statue commemorating Hungary’s time under the rule of Nazi Germany. Unveiled in 2014, the statue erected by the center-right government of Victor Orban shows an angel being attacked by a German eagle – a design that critics say glosses over Hungary’s active role in sending its Jews to their deaths during the Holocaust. The Hungarian government disputes the interpretation, arguing the figure attacked represents all victims of fascism and not only the Hungarian state.
Among the protesters were Holocaust survivors, who worked to fix and re-exhibit their torn personal objects, documents of their past and pictures of their murdered families.
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