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Mandelblit: Netanyahu could have to be suspended due to conflict of interest

Attorney general says PM has not yet crossed boundary but that situation in which premier uses his office to interfere in own criminal case ‘must not be allowed’

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit holds a press conference at the Justice Ministry in Jerusalem, announcing his decision to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three corruption cases, November 21, 2019. (Hadas Parush/FLASH90)
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit holds a press conference at the Justice Ministry in Jerusalem, announcing his decision to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three corruption cases, November 21, 2019. (Hadas Parush/FLASH90)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Tuesday’s events as they happened.

Nissenkorn: ‘Dangerous’ Likud attempt at unlimited protest ban stymied

Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn from the Blue and White party says that Likud has “failed” in its efforts to impose limits on protests after current nationwide coronavirus lockdown is lifted.

“Likud’s dangerous attempt to ban the right to protest throughout the crisis has failed,” Nissenkorn tells the Knesset Justice, Law and Constitution Committee.

“Restrictions on demonstrations will apply only during a full closure,” he insists. “Once the restrictions on the economy are eased, restrictions on demonstrations and prayers will be lifted immediately.”

Likud had previously demanded that the ban on mass protests — most notably regular anti-government protests held in recent months throughout the country — remain in effect even after the nationwide lockdown ends.

The Knesset will vote on a softer version of the law, only to apply during a full lockdown, this afternoon.

Israeli lab looking into various 30-minute coronavirus tests from abroad

The Israel Institute for Biological Research, an Israeli Defense Ministry-run laboratory, is reportedly checking a number of foreign-made coronavirus tests that can provide results in just 30 minutes.

According to Army Radio, the lab is in the process of testing out the virus test kits flown in from abroad to decide if Israel is to buy any of them en masse.

The UK’s Guardian reports that such kits are to be rolled out across the world.

There are various attempts around the world to reduce times for processing tests, and the current low is believed to be 90 minutes. Such tests, however, are generally seen as a premium product, mostly reserved for hospitals given their high cost.

In July, the Israeli company AID Genomics announced that it had developed a half-hour coronavirus test kit, and predicted it would become a globally available screening solution.

Kremlin urges Turkey to work to end deadly Karabakh clashes

Russia urges Turkey to work to bring an end to deadly clashes in the Nagorny Karabakh separatist region as Ankara has strongly backed Azerbaijan.

Moscow’s appeal comes after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded Armenia put an end to its “occupation” of Nagorny Karabakh and called for Armenia to leave the territory, which is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.

“We call on all sides, especially partner countries such as Turkey to do all they can for a ceasefire and get back to a peaceful settlement of this conflict using political and diplomatic means,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tells journalists.

“Any statements about some kind of support and military activity undoubtedly add fuel to the flames. We are categorically against this.”

Armenia has accused Turkey of sending mercenaries to back Azerbaijan, its close ally.

— AFP

Ultra-Orthodox MK slams police for breaking up Hasidic gathering

MK Yaakov Tessler of the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party and a representative of the Vizhnitz Hasidic sect lambasts the shutting down of an event held by the group’s head rabbi yesterday.

Police broke up the mass gathering in the primarily ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak that took place immediately after the Yom Kippur fast.

Videos of the incident showed police escorting the Vizhnitz Rebbe away from the event, which was reportedly attended by hundreds.

Tessler, speaking with Walla news, says the “event was defined in advance only for yeshivot members who have been together for about two months in capsules.”

He claims that people who criticize the ultra-Orthodox community are in fact looking for “incitement and likes.”

“There is a terrible lack of awareness here in the general community and in the media about the activity of the capsules,” he says.

 

Police raid crowded synagogue in Modi’in Illit, arrest 5

Police say they have raided a synagogue in the ultra-Orthodox West Bank town of Modi’in Illit and arrested five people for flouting Health Ministry rules limiting public prayer.

The force says there were “dozens of worshipers gathered, not wearing masks or keeping social distancing.”

They say that the gathering was dispersed and five people responsible for the synagogue were taken in for questioning.

Seriously ill virus patients top 800, number cited as max for Israeli hospitals

The number of seriously ill coronavirus patients passes the 800 mark for the first time, a number cited by health officials as the maximum Israeli hospitals can cope with.

According to numbers put out by the Health Ministry, the number of seriously ill patients suffering from the virus now stands at 811.

Coronavirus czar Ronni Gamzu warned last week that the country was nearing “emergency” levels of serious cases, citing 800 as a tipping point.

Yesterday, however, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israeli hospitals should be prepared to treat some 1,500 coronavirus patients in serious condition by the end of the week as Israel’s infection rates continue to climb.

Qatar reportedly asks US to intervene in talks to return Israelis held by Hamas

Qatar is reportedly appealing to US administration officials to intervene in attempts to advance talks to return the bodies of Israeli soldiers and two living Israelis currently being held by Hamas.

Kan news reports that the US has not yet responded to the request. The outlet says it it not known whether the proposal was made at Hamas’s request or with its knowledge, or whether it was Qatar’s independent initiative.

Hamas is currently holding the bodies of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, both killed in the 2014 war, as well as civilians Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, two Israelis who entered Gaza of their own accord.

According to Kan, Palestinian sources say Qatar is interested in making progress in the stalled negotiations at the expense of Egypt, which has so far led the issue without reaching a breakthrough.

Despite the Qatari offer, Hamas is reportedly still demanding that Israel release hundreds of security prisoners as part of a comprehensive deal, including prisoners sentenced to life in prison.

A Hamas source is quoted by Kan as saying that the terrorist group has “proposed that Israel first release patients, minors and women prisoners in return for Hamas providing information to Israel on whether its captives and missing persons were alive or dead.”

Rivlin slams ‘shocking sight of rising anti-Semitism’ in UK

President Reuven Rivlin responds on Twitter to anti-Semitic graffiti that was sprayed on the car of a Jewish man in Bristol, United Kingdom, yesterday during the Yom Kippur festival:

Head of IDF virus task force goes into quarantine

The head of the Israel Defense Forces’s coronavirus task force, Brig. Gen. Nissan Davidi, is forced to go into quarantine after coming into contact with a confirmed carrier of the disease, the military says.

“He will continue his regular schedule as much as possible,” the IDF says.

According to the military, last week Davidi came into contact with a reservist who later tested positive with the coronavirus.

“Brig. Gen. Davidi feels good, has no symptoms and will be tested soon,” the IDF says.

— Judah Ari Gross

Court releases name of alleged wife stabber after outrage at gag order

The Beersheba District Court permits naming a man who alleged stabbed his wife causing her serious injuries, overturning a lower court ruling days earlier that granted the suspect anonymity to preserve his reputation as the case is investigated.

Aviad Moshe, 45, is accused of stabbing his wife, Shira, 20 times and hitting her with a rolling pin earlier this month on the eve of the Rosh Hashanah holiday at their home in the southern town of Mitzpe Ramon, in the presence of their two-year-old child.

There had been public outcry after the Beersheba Magistrate’s Court ruled on Friday, during a hearing to extend the Moshe’s remand, that his identity should remain hidden, with Judge George Amorai accepting his argument that he should be given the opportunity to remain anonymous.

Due to virus, IDF to keep firing ranges closed to public during Sukkot

The Israel Defense Forces says it will not open its firing ranges or the Route 10 highway along the Egyptian border to hikers during the Sukkot festival this year in light of the ongoing coronavirus lockdown.

Ordinarily, the military opens up its training areas and the highway to visitors during Sukkot and the Passover holiday in the spring, but will not due so this year because of the pandemic restrictions.

The IDF will continue to conduct exercises in these firing ranges and warns hikers to stay out of the area.

“We stress that entering these training areas is a life-threatening risk,” the military says.

— Judah Ari Gross

Italy repatriates female IS fighter and her 4 children, will try her on terror charges

Italian carabinieri arrest a female foreign fighter after returning her and her four young children to Italy from a displaced person’s camp in Kurdish-controlled territory.

The woman, Alice Brignoli, traveled in 2015 with her Moroccan-born husband, Mohamed Koraichi, and their three young children by car from their home north of Milan to Islamic State-controlled territory. Another child was born in Syria.

The children, now 11, 8, 6 and 4, are in foster care pending a decision by an Italian juvenile court. Authorities say Brignoli will face trial on terror-related charges.

— AP

Kuwait’s Emir Sabah al Sabah dies at 91

Kuwaiti state media announces the death of Kuwaiti head of state Emir Sabah Al Sabah after months of public concern over his ill-health.

“It is with great sadness and sorrow that we inform the Kuwaiti people, the Arab and Islamic nations, and the friendly peoples of the world, the passing of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait, who has passed unto the Lord,” the Kuwaiti Royal Court says in a statement.

In this March 31, 2019 file photo, Kuwait’s ruling emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, attends the opening of the 30th Arab Summit, in Tunis, Tunisia. (Fethi Belaid/Pool Photo via AP, File)

Emir Sabah died at the age of 91.

He ruled the Persian Gulf emirate for 14 years after assuming the throne in 2006.

— Aaron Boxerman

Netanyahu says lockdown likely to take ‘longer than a month’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that the nationwide lockdown aimed to curb the spread of the coronavirus in Israel would likely last “longer than a month.”

“And it could take a lot longer,” he adds in a Facebook Live video.

The lockdown is currently set to end on October 11, three weeks after first introduced.

“I urge all citizens to abide by the rules, without exception. We will discuss the preparation of the health care system tonight,” Netanyahu says of the planned coronavirus cabinet meeting.

“People do not understand the power of masks. Wearing them inside saves [lives] and must be done,” he stresses.

At UN General Assembly, UAE reiterates ‘firm demand’ for Palestinian state

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates reiterates his country’s “firm demand” for the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 lines with East Jerusalem’s capital.

UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, speaking in a pre-recorded video message, takes credit for halting Israel’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank by agreeing to normalize relations with the Jewish state.

He expresses the hope that the “historic peace accord” with Jerusalem will lead to the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan addressing the UN General Assembly, September 29, 2020 (screen grab)

“The call for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the borders of 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital in line with the relevant international resolutions and the Arab and international consensus will remain a firm demand,” Al Nahyan says.

“My country has made persistent efforts using all available diplomatic channels to affirm our total rejection of the annexation of Palestinian territory, and we have warned of its impact on all parties and on the security of the region.”

— Raphael Ahren

France arrests 29 in anti-terror Syria financing sting

French police have arrested 29 people in a sting operation targeting a network of terror financing for jihadist terrorists in Syria, prosecutors say.

The network, active since 2019, mostly operated via the purchase of crypto-currency coupons whose references were given to jihadist contacts in Syria and then credited to bitcoin accounts, the anti-terror prosecutors’ office says in a statement.

This way to transfer funds marks a departure from previous methods identified by France’s anti-terror financing and money laundering services, which mostly involved cash mandates, it says.

“Constant surveillance of these networks prompted terrorist organisations to seek more opacity by using crypto-currencies such as bitcoin,” the statement says.

— Agencies

Armenia claims Turkish jet shot down one of its warplanes

Armenia says that a Turkish F-16 fighter jet shot down one of its SU-25 warplanes after it took off from Azerbaijan amid fierce clashes over the breakaway Nagorny Karabakh region.

Illustrative: Armenian forces destroy an Azerbaijani military vehicle at the contact line of the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan, September 27, 2020. (Armenian Defense Ministry via AP)

“An Armenian SU-25 aircraft has been shot down by a Turkish F-16 warplane… which flew from Azerbaijan’s territory,” Armenian defense ministry spokeswoman Shushan Stepanyan writes on Facebook, adding that the “Armenian pilot has heroically died.”

— AFP

World’s biggest vaccine producer to double promised doses for developing countries

India’s Serum Institute, the world’s biggest vaccine producer, says it will produce 200 million doses of coronavirus vaccines for developing countries.

In August, the vaccines alliance GAVI said it had agreed to a deal with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Serum Institute, to speed the manufacturing and delivery of up to 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccines to developing countries in 2021. Serum now says that it has agreed to produce an additional 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccines.

This collaboration gives upfront capital to the Serum Institute so that once any effective COVID-19 vaccine is licensed, the company can mass produce the shots at scale, as early as the first half of 2021.

The Serum Institute has entered manufacturing agreements for vaccine candidates from AstraZeneca and Novovax. GAVI heads an international plan to buy vaccines for lower income countries.

— AP

Netanyahu to ‘surprise Nasrallah’ with UN speech — PM’s office

During his upcoming speech to the UN General Assembly, Benjamin Netanyahu will “surprise Nasrallah with new revelations,” the Prime Minister’s Office says.

Speaking at around 12:30 p.m. EST, or 7:30 p.m. Israel time, the prime minister will reveal new secret information about Hezbollah activities in Lebanon, a diplomatic official tells reporters.

UN chief appeals for ‘responsible’ pandemic leadership

The Secretary-General of the UN Antonio Guterres calls for “responsible leadership” in a message released to mark the stunning one millionth death globally from COVID-19.

“Our world has reached an agonizing milestone: The loss of one million lives from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Guterres says in the statement.

“It’s a mind-numbing figure. And still there is no end in sight to the spread of the virus, the loss of jobs, the disruption of education, the upheaval to our lives,” he continues.

The world “can overcome this challenge,” Guterres says.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks at an online video conference on September 3, 2020 (Ministry of Environment, Government of Japan via AP)

“But we must learn from the mistakes. Responsible leadership matters. Science matters. Cooperation matters — and misinformation kills,” he warns.

As anger stays high in many countries over social distancing measures, Gutteres urges populations to hold the course.

“Keeping physical distance. Wearing a mask. Washing hands. A vaccine must be available and affordable to all,” he says.

— AFP

U of Illinois student government passes pro-BLM resolution with call to divest from Israel

The University of Illinois student government includes a call for divestment from companies that do business with Israel as part of a resolution in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The university’s Office of Student Affairs condemns the nonbinding resolution, which passed last week in a 22-11 vote with seven abstentions.

The main library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Wikimedia Commons)

“It is unfortunate that a resolution before the group tonight was designed to force students who oppose efforts to divest from Israel to also vote against support for the Black Lives Matter movement,” the Office of Student Affairs says in a statement signed by Chancellor Robert Jones and five vice chancellors.

“This resolution includes several points on which we can agree, but a foundational value of this institution is inclusion, and this resolution includes language that we cannot and will not support,” the statement continues.

— JTA

Far-right activists stage anti-Semitic hate speech incidents in Scandinavia on Yom Kippur

Several incidents involving anti-Semitic hate speech occurred in Scandinavia over the weekend in what the World Jewish Congress says is a coordinated campaign by neo-Nazis on Yom Kippur.

Most of the incidents recorded on Sunday and Monday in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland involve the circulation of anti-Semitic pamphlets, sometimes in the form of small posters near Jewish community buildings. There was no violence in any of the incidents.

In Norrköping, a city located about 70 miles southwest of the Swedish capital of Stockholm, a handful of men from the Nordic Resistance Movement stood outside the local synagogue on Yom Kippur with flags of their movement, the Jewish Central Council writes in a statement. The synagogue was empty at the time.

Members of the far-right Nordic Resistance Movement march through the town of Ludvika, central Sweden, on May 1, 2018. (Ulf Palm/AFP via Getty Images)

“The Jews circumcise their babies so rabbis can suck blood from the penises of newborns and according to the Talmud they may have sex with children from the age of 3,” one of the posters seen at that demonstration said.

The World Jewish Congress in a statement saying the effort was “a string of coordinated actions on Yom Kippur targeting Jews” calls on the nations to follow Finland’s example from earlier this year “and move swiftly to ban the Nordic Resistance Movement and rid its violent propaganda from our streets.”

— JTA

International task force of lawmakers to fight online anti-Semitism

A bipartisan Congressional group announces the launching of an inter-parliamentary task force to combat online anti-Semitism.

“As social media posts do not stop at international borders, members of the national legislatures of the United States, Australia, Canada, Israel, and the United Kingdom have come together across party lines” to form the coalition, Democratic House member Ted Deutch’s office says in a statement.

Deutch will be joined on the task force by fellow Florida Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz, along with Chris Smith and Mario Diaz-Balart from the Republican party. From outside the US, Blue and White MK Michal Cotler-Wunsh will represent Israel, MPs Anthony Housefather and Marty Mortantz will represent Canada, MPs Josh Burns and Dave Sharma will represent Australia and MPs Andrew Percy and Alex Sobel will represent the United Kingdom.

Deutch’s office says the goals of the task force would include “establishing consistent messaging and policy from parliaments and legislatures around the world in order to hold social media platforms, including Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, and Google, accountable.”

Jacob Magid

Health minister: We won’t repeat past mistakes and lift lockdown too quickly

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein says the government will gradually lift its lockdown restrictions.

“Tomorrow we will come to the coronavirus cabinet with clear plans,” he tells reporters. “We won’t repeat past mistakes. We’ll reopen the economy with the necessary caution.”

Following the first lockdown, the government swiftly eased restrictions, causing a surge in coronavirus cases.

WATCH: Netanyahu to address 75th United Nations General Assembly

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to address the 75th United Nations General Assembly via a pre-recorded video message shortly after 12:15 p.m. EST, 7:15 p.m. Israel time.

Orthodox church petitions UN over Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia

The Greek Orthodox Church of the United States says it is petitioning United Nations experts to coerce Turkey into protecting Orthodox Christianity’s cultural heritage following the Turkish government’s conversion of Istanbul’s landmark Hagia Sophia from a museum into a mosque.

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America says it was pressing UN special rapporteurs in the areas of cultural rights, minority rights, freedom of religion and beliefs to hold Turkey accountable “for its deliberate policies to erase the cultural heritage of Orthodox Christians.”

In a move that drew praise from the Muslim faithful and widespread international opposition, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a decree in July that turned Hagia Sophia back into a Muslim house of prayer. The structure, a UNESCO world heritage site, had served as one of Christendom most important cathedrals and a mosque for centuries, as well as a museum for 86 years.

Men take part in the Friday prayer on July 24, 2020 outside Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, the first muslim prayer held at the landmark since it was reconverted to a mosque despite international condemnation (OZAN KOSE / AFP)

Erdogan announced a decision last month to transform the Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora, another Byzantine-era church in Istanbul, into a mosque as well.

“By unilaterally changing the status, structure and name of these UNESCO sites, with particular significance to Orthodox Christians, Turkey is in violation of its obligations under international law to preserve cultural heritage and to respect the political, cultural and religious freedoms of Orthodox Christians in Turkey and abroad,” Archdiocese of America counsel Christina Hioureas tells the Associated Press in an emailed statement.

The Greek Orthodox archdiocese “hopes that international pressure from the United Nations, its bodies — including UNESCO — and its member states will motivate Turkey to reverse its decision to convert [the world heritage sites] into mosques.”

— AFP

Gantz says it was a ‘mistake’ for IDF troops to man protest roadblock

Defense Minister Benny Gantz says that it was a “mistake” to deploy IDF troops alongside police at a roadblock to prevent a protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu near the Knesset, after video emerged earlier in the day of a demonstrator telling one soldier that he should be “ashamed of himself.”

Gantz calls for the Israel Defense Forces and Israel Police to remain outside partisan fights.

“The government sets the policy. Leave the police and IDF out of political debate. Israel Police officers are deployed day and night, carrying out work of the utmost importance, and are enforcing the rules of the lockdown alongside IDF troops, who are assisting them,” Gantz says in response to the video.

In the footage, a protester is seen yelling at a soldier at a roadblock near the Knesset, saying he shouldn’t be there. The soldier was one of hundreds loaned to the police to bulk out their forces during the national lockdown.

“I roundly denounce the attempt to attack [soldiers and police] carrying out their duty. At the same time, stationing IDF soldiers next to a protest point was a mistake that has already been dealt with and that will not be repeated,” he says.

— Judah Ari Gross

Abbas mourns Kuwait’s Al Sabah ‘who always stood by our national cause’

Palestinian officials across the political spectrum have publicly mourned the death of Emir Sabah Al Sabah, the Kuwaiti head of state who passed away today.

“With his departure, Palestine lost an Arab leader, a leader of all humanity… who spent his life serving his people, his nation and all humanity, and who always stood by our national cause,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says in a statement.

The Hamas terror group calls Emir Sabah, who ascended to the throne in 2006, an important figure in “promoting our unity, our security, and our stability.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, right, meets with Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khaled al-Sabah on September 14, 2014 in Ramallah. (photo credit: AFP/ABBAS MOMANI)

Palestinians have had a turbulent history with the small Gulf princely state.

The country hosted a large community of Palestinian workers for decades until 1990, when the Palestinian Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat publicly supported Saddam Hussein during his invasion of Kuwait. The Emirate responded by expelling hundreds of thousands of Palestinian workers and their families. Of the 400,000 who called Kuwait their home before the war, only about 20,000 remained.

Relations have improved in recent years, however. Over the past month, Kuwaiti government institutions have issued statements denouncing normalization agreements between its neighbors to the south and Israel.

— Aaron Boxerman

Jewish Democratic group releases ad drawing parallels between Trump era and 1930s Germany

The Jewish Democratic Council of America releases a new add that explicitly ties what it sees as “the emboldening of white nationalism” under US President Donald Donald Trump to the rise of the Nazis in 1930s Germany.

“History shows us what happens when leaders use hatred and nationalism to divide their people,” a narrator in the 30-second clip says.

The ad ends with the warning: “Hate does not stop itself. It must be stopped. VOTE.”

JDCA says the ad will target Jewish voters in swing states such as Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

“A majority of American Jews feel less safe today than they did four years ago due to the rise of white nationalism and anti-Semitism under Donald Trump. This, coupled with Trump’s assault on our democratic institutions, are reminiscent of the rise of fascism in 1930s Germany. President Trump’s use of hatred for political purposes has made America less safe for Jews and we are voting accordingly,” says JDCA executive director Halie Soifer in a corresponding statement.

Last week, Joe Biden likened Trump to Nazi’s propaganda chief Joseph, drawing criticism from Republicans, who said there was no place for such comparisons.

“He’s sort of like [Joseph] Goebbels,” Biden said of Trump. “You say the lie long enough, keep repeating it, repeating it, repeating it, it becomes common knowledge.”

— Jacob Magid

At UN, Netanyahu says he’d negotiate with Palestinians ‘on basis of Trump plan’

Addressing the 75th UN General Assembly via video message, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he would be willing to negotiate with the Palestinians “on the basis of the Trump plan.”

Netanyahu says that after the Palestinians realize “they have lost their veto” and also recognize Israel as the Jewish state, “I would be willing to negotiate on the basis of the Trump plan to end our conflict with the Palestinians once and for all.”

Netanyahu reveals weapons factory in Beirut, calls on Lebanese to protest

Addressing the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reveals what he says is a previously unknown Hezbollah “missile factory” in the heart of Beirut. (Full text of Netanyahu’s speech here.)

“We all saw the terrible explosion at Beirut port last month,” he says, showing a map of Beirut after the huge explosion that rocked the capital in August. “Two hundred people died, thousands of people were injured, and a quarter of a million people were made homeless.”

“Now, here is where the next explosion could take place. Right here,” Netanyahu says, pointing at site on the map near the site of the original explosion. “This is the Beirut neighborhood of Janah. It’s right next to the international airport. And here, Hezbollah is keeping a secret arms depot.

“This secret arms depot, right here, is adjacent, a meter away, from a gas company. These are gas canisters. Right here. It’s a few meters away from a gas station. It’s fifty meters away from the gas company. Here are more gas trucks. And it’s embedded in civilian housing here, civilian housing here. For the Janah neighborhood residents: This is the actual coordinates.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the 75th United Nations General Assembly via video message, September 29, 2020. (Screen capture: UNTV)

Netanyahu calls on the Lebanese people to protest the presence of the weapons factory.

“I say to the people of Janah, you’ve got to act now. You’ve got to protest this. Because if this thing explodes, it’s another tragedy.”

Erdan urges Security Council to declare Hezbollah a terror group

After Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to UN General Assembly, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan urges the UN Security Council to declare all of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

“Hezbollah’s continued development of its terror infrastructure within Lebanon will lead to a much greater disaster than what happened at the port of Beirut. Today, I call on the Security Council to hold an urgent discussion on the Prime Minister’s revelations, and declare all of Hezbollah a terrorist organization,” Erdan says in a statement after Netanyahu revealed what he said was a Hezbollah missile site located in the Beirut neighborhood of Janah.

Netanyahu speaks with Viznitz Rebbe after event shuttered over virus rules breach

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke today with the Rebbe of Viznitz, Rabbi Yisrael Hagar, after an event he held for his followers was shut down by police last night due to it breaching coronavirus regulations, according to Hebrew media reports.

Netanyahu reportedly updated the rabbi on the state of the virus and asked him to instruct his students to follow the Health Ministry guidelines.

Hagar stressed that the ultra-Orthodox yeshivas are also “considered essential” and should not be targeted by unnecessary policing, the Walla news site reports.

IDF reveals two more alleged Hezbollah weapons factories

The Israel Defense Forces releases information on two additional sites in Beirut allegedly used by the Hezbollah terror group to manufacture parts for precision-guided missiles, following the revelation of one such site by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations General Assembly earlier in the evening.

One is an underground facility built beneath four seven-story apartment buildings in which 70 families live, east of Beirut’s international airport.

A church is located nearby, as is a medical center, according to the military.

The second is located under a complex of five apartment buildings in which some 50 families live. According to the IDF, the missile production facility is located approximately 90 meters from a mosque.

The location of a Hezbollah arms depot next to a gas station in the Janah neighborhood of Beirut, as stated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a video address to the United Nations General Assembly, September 29, 2020 (Courtesy)

Israel has repeatedly warned that it will take action to prevent Hezbollah from completing its so-called precision project, an effort to convert its massive arsenal of simple rockets into highly accurate missiles, which present a far greater challenge to Israel’s air defenses and would potentially be a game-changer in the conflict with the Iran-backed militia.

— Judah Ari Gross

Mandelblit: Netanyahu could yet have to suspend himself due to conflict of interest

Speaking to the ultra-Orthodox Mishpacha magazine, Attorney General Avichai Mandeblit refuses to rule out the possibility that Prime Minister Netanyahu may have to suspend himself as PM due to the criminal cases he is currently facing in court

Mandelblit says Netanyahu could, in theory, have to suspend himself due to a conflict of interest.

“When he [the prime minister] uses his governmental power [to interfere in the criminal cases], it must not be allowed,” Mandelblit says in recordings released by Channel 12 news of an interview set to be published tomorrow.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, speaks with then-Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mandelblit during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, September 21, 2014. (AP/Menahem Kahana, Pool)

Earlier this month, Mandelblit was reported to be holding talks with senior officials about the possibility of requiring Netanyahu to step down. Mandelblit’s office denied this was the case, and restated his previous position that the prime minister need not suspend himself.

According to a Haaretz report at the time, Mandelblit believes that Netanyahu’s use of government resources to push his case to the public — including calling press conferences ostensibly about the health emergency which are then used to question the reliability of law enforcement — could constitute a conflict of interest.

In the recordings of the interview, Mandelblit also says that Netanyahu’s trial needs to be dealt with quickly and would have ideally moved faster in the courts and included daily hearings rather than the currently-planned thrice weekly sessions.

Nasrallah denies Netanyahu’s claim Hezbollah is making weapons in Beirut

In a prescheduled address, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah briefly deviates from the main subject of his speech to deny Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s claim that Hezbollah had placed a stockpile of rockets close to a gas station in Beirut.

Netanyahu made the allegations during a speech to the United Nations General Assembly earlier this evening.

“This is incitement of the Lebanese people against Hezbollah,” Nasrallah says.

“If there [were] missiles there placed by Hezbollah — even a single weapon — I would not waste a minute before informing you of this matter,” Nasrallah says, adding “we don’t put rockets, not in the Beirut port, not by a gas station. We know very well where to put our weapons.”

On August 4, a pile of explosive ammonium nitrate in the Beirut port suddenly detonated, killing over 180 and rendering 300,000 Beirut residents homeless.

Hezbollah has denied any connection to the explosion; the owners of the material remain unknown.

Last week, what was reported to be a Hezbollah weapons stockpile blew up in Ein Qana. While the terror group has denied any casualties, it released a statement a few days later mourning a senior commander in the Lebanese terror group killed “while performing his duty.”

The senior officer, Ali Najib Marwa, is rumored to have been killed in the explosion, which Hezbollah has deemed “a technical error.”

— Aaron Boxerman

1,000 attend Yom Kippur service at minor league ballpark in New Jersey

A minor league ballpark in New Jersey was transformed into a large synagogue for Yom Kippur.

About 1,000 congregants from Temple Har Shalom, a Reform congregation in Warren, spread throughout the TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater Township for Yom Kippur services, WABC-TV reported. The worshippers were able to sit socially distanced but also see each other, according to the report.

Josh Kalafer, a member of Temple Har Shalom, and his family own the Somerset Patriots, an independent baseball squad in the Atlantic League with no affiliation to any Major League team.

“It’s one of the most meaningful things we’ve ever been a part of,” Kalafer tells WABC.

The ballpark, in central New Jersey, has a capacity of 6,100.

— JTA

Sweden allocates $1.1 million to start work on its first Holocaust museum

Sweden is allocating $1.1 million to prepare for the opening of the country’s first Holocaust museum.

The Ministry of Culture says that the government is giving the money to the Living History Forum, a Stockholm-based government agency that educates about the Holocaust, human rights and tolerance. The money will go toward collecting documents and interviewing Holocaust survivors to make up the museum’s exhibits.

In 2018, Sweden said it was planning to build a Holocaust museum with a focus on survivors from the Scandinavian country and a center devoted to Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust.

A view of a memorial for victims of the Holocaust outside of Stockholm’s Great Synagogue, Jan. 27, 2019. (Michael Campanella/Getty Images)

Many of the details of the museum, including when it will open, its location and whether it will operate as an independent government agency, are still undecided. Lawmakers are debating whether the museum should be located in the capital, Stockholm, or in Malmö, a city that has seen intense anti-Semitism in recent years.

“The Holocaust is a crime against humanity that is unparalleled in our history,” the Culture Ministry says in its statement. “Its memory and lessons must continue to be preserved and communicated about. Never again must something similar to this happen.”

— JTA

Miri Regev replaces Litzman on coronavirus cabinet

In a telephone poll, the government approves a change in the make up of the so-called coronavirus cabinet so that Transportation Minister Miri Regev replaces former housing minister Yaakov Litzman, the Prime Minister’s Office says.

Litzman served as health minister at the start of the Israeli outbreak. Litzman resigned from his Ministerial position earlier this month, due to the government’s plans to limit prayer services as part of coronavirus-related restrictions.

Biden releases latest tax returns hours before Trump debate

Democratic White House hopeful Joe Biden releases his tax returns for the last four years just hours before he debates US President Donald Trump, who faces criticism for paying almost no federal tax.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden leave a ceremony to honor the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as she lies in state at National Statuary Hall in the US Capitol, on September 25, 2020. (Greg Nash – Pool/Getty Images/AFP)

The former vice president and his wife Jill Biden, an educator, paid $299,346 in federal income taxes for 2019, according to forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service and released by Biden’s campaign.

The amount stands in sharp contrast to Trump, who claims to be a billionaire businessman but paid only $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, according to a bombshell report by The New York Times.

— AFP

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Biden releases latest tax returns hours before Trump debate

Democratic White House hopeful Joe Biden releases his tax returns for the last four years just hours before he debates US President Donald Trump, who faces criticism for paying almost no federal tax.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden leave a ceremony to honor the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as she lies in state at National Statuary Hall in the US Capitol, on September 25, 2020. (Greg Nash – Pool/Getty Images/AFP)

The former vice president and his wife Jill Biden, an educator, paid $299,346 in federal income taxes for 2019, according to forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service and released by Biden’s campaign.

The amount stands in sharp contrast to Trump, who claims to be a billionaire businessman but paid only $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, according to a bombshell report by The New York Times.

— AFP