The Times of Israel liveblogged Tuesday’s events as they unfolded.
‘Dolls of incitement’ caught by customs
Haifa customs intercept a shipment of 4,000 dolls shaped like stone-throwing jihadis wearing the Palestinian flag.
The dolls, made in China, portray a man wearing a keffiyeh and wearing scarves with slogans such as “Al Quds, we are coming” or “Al Quds for us.”
They were shipped through the UAE and were intended to be sold in shops in the Palestinian Authority.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely says the shipment was “en route to the PA with one clear goal, poisoning the minds of young innocent children. The Palestinians continue to incite their kids, to educate their children on hatred and violence, in any means possible and this time, in the shape of a doll.”
As Israel Post buckles under pressure, eBay sellers stop shipping to Israel
Israelis have been buying more and more stuff online – but the Israel Postal Service has failed to adapt to their needs some sellers have stopped shipping to Israel altogether, Channel 2 reports.
Last week a consumer, Asaf Itziksohn, posted a message on Israel Post’s Facebook saying “Thank you for your hard work that distances Israel from the rest of the world.” He posted the medssage with a screenshot of an eBay message from a seller who wrote: “Sorry, I do not ship to Israel anymore. Too many issues with packages.”
Israel Post said in response that the issues are only “few and far between, while thousands of sellers in the world send packages to Israel after closing deals with Israeli buyers.” The company added, “A survey we conducted shows that customers typically receive parcels within five days of the parcels passing through customs clearance.”
The post by Itziksohn is only one of hundreds; buyers seem to be venting their frustration through humor. One person created a meme with a picture of a tortoise to which envelopes are tied with a rubber band, and the text: “Buy clothes on eBay for my 3-year-old girl – get them when she’s already 4.”
Edelstein tells ambassadors they know truth about Israel
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein tells ambassadors visiting the Knesset that “you know the truth about Israel.”
Speaking at an event marking 50 years of the Knesset legislating from its current building (the Israeli parliament previously convened in a building on Jerusalem’s King George Street), Edelstein tells the diplomats that they can speak about the “beautiful” and “good” things in Israel, its democracy and innovative character.
There are some 70 ambassadors and MKs from parliamentary caucuses in the ceremony.
Edelstein says that for peace, it is not enough for leaders to “shake hands and sign a document.” Peace, he says, is built from the ground up, through regional cooperation on fields in which both parties share interests, like water or agriculture.
Zionist Union MK complains UTJ MK ‘mocked her accent’
Zionist Union MK Ksenia Svetlova files a complaint with the Knesset’s Ethics Committee against UTJ MK Menachem Mozes who, she says “mocked my name, extraction and accent” in the plenary hall.
During a past discussion at the Knesset, Mozes called to her “Ktenia, Slevtania, this one, I don’t know what she’s called, Tania.”
17 IS fighters reportedly killed near Mosul
At least 17 Islamic State fighters were killed and 23 wounded in airstrikes by coalition jets south of the Iraqi town of Mosul, Al Jazeera reports.
The Hebrew language website Ynet quotes from an Islamic State-owned news agency, saying 13 airstrikes by coalition jets took place overnight in a town called Kiara, south of Mosul.
Court to discuss petition on interrogations of security prisoners
The High Court of Justice will discuss tomorrow a petition filed by the Adallah human rights NGO and other human rights organizations regarding an exemption given to the police and the Shin Bet security service from the need to record the interrogation of people suspected of committing crimes related to national security.
The exemption, given as a temporary order, was voted by the Knesset in 2002 and has been extended several times since then. Adallah filed its petition following the latest extension of the order, in June this year.
The petition claims that the temporary order constitutes an opening for “severe violations” of detainees’ human rights, primarily the use of torture. Additionally, the NGO says in a statement that detainees are often prevented from meeting a lawyer for extended periods of time, interrogated for long periods, and discussion to extend their remand are held behind closed doors.
“Under these conditions of complete isolation from any human element apart from their interrogators, visual documentation is the only guarantee a suspect can resort to in order to prove that wrongful interrogation techniques were used, up to the point of extracting confessions by force,” Adallah says in a statement.
Shin Bet nabs five IS-supporters in Nazareth
The Shin Bet says that during “ongoing activity of the security service and Israel Police” several teens and young men from Nazareth were detained on suspicion of supporting Sunni terror group Islamic State.
The service says in a statement that the arrests were made during October and November. The men were named as Abd el Karim Ihab Abdel Rahman Suleiman, 22; Mohammed Ehab Abdel Rahman Suleiman, 18; Abdel Karim Jamal Ali Suleiman, 23; Mohammed Salah Mohammed Suleiman, 19 and Murad Mohammed Salim Suleiman, 27.
All are residents of Nazareth. They were holding secret meetings and training on the use of weapons, according to the Shin Bet. Over the past year, the suspects became more religious and expressed support of Islamic State and Jihad against apostates.
Two rifles were confiscated. According to the security service, they practiced using the guns in a grove not far from Nazareth.
The police’s Northern District filed indictments against all five men at the Nazareth District Court on allegations of illegal possession of weapons, supporting an illegal terror group and meetings held in support of an illegal organization.
Russia says ‘too early’ to confirm Syria talks in NYC
Russia’s foreign ministry says it is too early to confirm a new round of international talks on ending the war in Syria that are expected in New York later this month.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week announced fresh negotiations on Syria and diplomats said that they were likely to be held on December 18.
But Russia — a key ally of President Bashar Assad — says that a failure by participants to make progress on lists of rebel groups considered “terrorists” and who should represent the opposition in talks means that it is “premature” to announce talks for that date.
“Not having a collective understanding of who in Syria is a terrorist and who is an opposition member, it is impossible to hold talks on the internal Syrian political process or on such an important and urgent matter as the ceasefire,” the foreign ministry says in a statement.
“We don’t need to hold a meeting just for the sake of meeting.”
Sinai tourism reportedly drops by 10% since Metrojet crash
Egypt’s revenue from tourism to the Sinai Peninsula has dropped by nearly 10 percent since the crash of a Russian plane on October 31 2015, Reuters reports.
The Metrojet carrier’s passenger plane crashed shortly after takeoff. All 224 passengers and crew on board were killed in the crash, for which the Sunni terror group Islamic State claimed responsibility.
Egyptian authorities vowed to increase security in airports following the terror attack.
Rahat man indicted for driving Palestinian who carried out terror attack
Rahat resident Zuhair al-Huzayal was indicted at the Beersheba Magistrate’s Court for driving a Palestinian terrorist who carried out a terror attack in Kiryat Gat three weeks ago, Israel Radio reports.
According to the indictment, Huzayal would drive Palestinians working in Israel illegally from their homes in the West Bank to various locations in Israel for NIS 100 per passenger. He is accused of driving Mohammed Shaker al-Tarada and four others to a construction site in Kiryat Gat without knowing they were planning a terror attack.
Four people were wounded in the attack carried out by Shaker, two of them seriously.
Rivlin makes way from NY to DC by train
President Reuven Rivlin landed in New York a short while ago and is en route to meet US President Barack Obama. The meeting will be the first since between the two since Rivlin became president. He will also be meeting with other senior American officials.
Rivlin is making his way from New York to Washington, DC, by train.
Regev changes mind on fine for TA movie house
Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev decides not to ask Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon to impose a fine on the Tel Aviv Cinematheque over the cinema’s plans to hold a festival of films dedicated to the Naqba and Palestinian refugees, Haaretz reports.
“Since examining the concern arose that the Naqba festival violates financing laws was not completed last year and since our ministry received additional complaints regarding the films shown at the festival this year, Minister Regev instructed that a professional team watch the movies and give its professional opinion” on them, the ministry says in a statement.
Some films in the festival indeed present “content that besmirches” the character of the State of Israel but “not to the point of violating financing laws,” the statement says.
Regev earlier wanted Kahlon to fine the cinema based on Clause 3B of the Budget Law, which mandates that the finance minister can fine institutions promoting shows or performances encouraging incitement, racism or support of armed struggle against the State of Israel.
Tibor Rubin, Holocaust survivor and war hero, dies at 86
Tibor Rubin, who survived two years in the Mauthausen concentration camp and then two-and-a-half years in a Chinese prisoner of war camp during the Korean war, died at age 86.
Rubin died Saturday in Garden Grove, California. His death was attributed to natural causes.
Born in Paszto, a Hungarian shtetl of 120 Jewish families, Rubin was 15 when he was liberated by US troops, and vowed to repay his debt by enlisting in the American army after arriving in New York in 1948.
During the Korean War in 1950, Rubin singlehandedly defended a hill for 24 hours against waves of North Korean soldiers to cover the retreat of his company.
Rubin was recommended three times for the Congressional Medal of Honor by two of his commanding officers for his conduct in the war. But the necessary paperwork was intentionally sabotaged by the company’s anti-Semitic first sergeant, according to testimonies by many of Rubin’s comrades.
In late 1950, Rubin was severely wounded and captured by Chinese troops. Applying skills acquired during the Holocaust, Rubin regularly stole food from Chinese supply depots and distributed it equally among his fellow prisoners, who later credited him with keeping 40 people alive.
Rubin finally won the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2005.
“I want this recognition for my Jewish brothers and sisters,” he said upon receiving the medal. “I want the goyim to know that there were Jews over there, that there was a little greenhorn from Hungary, who fought for their beloved country.”
Earlier this year, Garden Grove, where Rubin lived, bestowed his name on its new public library.
Rubin is survived by his wife Yvonne and children Frank and Rosalyn Rubin.
3 East Jerusalem residents sentenced for terror-related offenses
The Jerusalem District Court sentences three East Jerusalem residents to 10-12 years in prison for membership in a cell that was planning to carry out terror attacks against security forces and against Jews coming to pray at the Temple Mount compound, Israel Radio reports.
The three men, aged 25-27, were convicted of contacting a foreign agent, forbidden military training, carrying firearms illegally and attempt to produce and procure firearms.
They were found not guilty of conspiring to kidnap a person, murder and assist the enemy during a time of war. Another member of the cell was given 13 years in prison earlier this week.
MK Michael Oren — Israel should set example in defending non-violent Muslims
Kulanu MK Michael Oren says acknowledging the existence of an extremist, radical Islam is just as important as avoiding making generalizations about Muslims.
“While it’s very important that we acknowledged the fact that there is an extremist form of Islam that destroys Israel and Western civilization, it is also equally important that we make every effort not incriminate all Muslims. And that it’s precisely Israel that must stand up and defend not only its own peaceful Muslim population but the countless millions of Muslims who abhor terror and who are first victims of terror,” Oren tells the Times of Israel.
He says that during his stint as Israeli ambassador to the US he hosted an Iftar dinner with the goal of fighting Islamophobia. “We Jews, who have been the victims of gross and hostile generalizations throughout our history, should be first out there to condemn it.”
The full interview with Michael Oren will appear on The Times of Israel soon.
— Raphael Ahren
Turkey mulling retaliatory sanctions on Russia
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says his government is considering retaliatory measures against Moscow, with whom it is embroiled in a bitter dispute over Ankara’s shooting down of a Russian warplane.
“If we find it necessary, we will introduce retaliatory sanctions,” Davutoglu told members of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), adding that cabinet has discussed possible measures at a meeting yesterday.
“But we hope that the crisis with Russia will be overcome and there will be no need to resort to these measures,” he adds.
Moscow imposed a series of economic sanctions on Ankara after Turkish fighter jets shot down a Su-24 bomber on the Syrian border on November 24, sparking the biggest crisis between the two countries since the Cold War.
Russia’s sanctions include a ban on the import of some Turkish foods and a halt on sales of Turkish holiday packages, a major blow to tourism in the Mediterranean country.
Air France flight from SF to Paris delayed in Canada after bomb threat
An Air France flight from San Francisco to Paris landed in Montreal and was delayed for some eight hours today after an anonymous bomb threat was sent to the airline.
The airline later said the threat was a false alarm. The plane took off from Trudeau Airport in Montreal and landed in Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport a short while ago.
A Times of Israel reporter who was on the flight says that in order to keep passengers’ spirits up, passengers were given frozen treats (Fudgsicles, if you must know).
Republicans in Israel slam Trump’s anti-Muslim comments
Republicans in Israel co-chair Kory Bardash tells The Times of Israel that there’s no apology for Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim statements, which he condemns unflinchingly: “Trump’s comments are diametrically opposed to everything American stands for. And the statement should be rightly condemned by all.”
— Raphael Ahren
Iraq asks NATO to tell Turkey to pull its troops from Mosul
The Prime Minister of Iraq, Haider al Abadi, turns to NATO and asks the treaty to use its authority to instruct Turkey, a NATO member, to pull its troops from Iraqi territory, Reuters reports.
Iraq earlier this week was outraged after a Turkish battalion arrived near Mosul. Ankara said the Turkish soldiers entered the country ahead of a battle against Islamic State.
Florida burglar escapes police — gets eaten by alligator
A burglar who broke into several homes in Palm Bay, Florida, managed to escape police and hide in Barefoot Lake Bay – but was then devoured by an alligator, local police says after concluding an investigation.
Matthew Riggins, 22, told his girlfriend he and another person would be committing burglaries, a police officer told the local Florida Today website.
The second suspect is being held but is not cooperating with the police, according to the report.
Acid leak at southern Israel train station
Sulfuric acid leaked at the Nevatim train station in southern Israel this evening, Hebrew-language website NRG reports.
Firefighters arrived at the scene east of Beersheba and managed to completely contain the corrosive substance.
They are cooperating with staff at the station to seal the source of the leak.
Police discriminate between secular, religious Jews visiting Temple Mount
Police officers are treating Jewish visitors differently according to their level of religious observance as determined by their appearance, a Channel 2 investigative report finds.
In a segment showed by the TV station this evening, a secular person enters the Temple Mount after a short security check and is told he can walk freely anywhere in the compound except entering mosques. The man is a Channel 2 employee.
He then returns wearing a white shirt, large white kippa and tzitzit, traditional clothing of a national-religious Jew.
This time, he cannot enter alone but is told to join two other religious Israelis. They enter the mount accompanied by officers wearing full riot gear.
The station repeats the experiment with a secular female student who is again told she can walk wherever she wants except enter mosques.
When the Channel 2 reporter himself wants to enter the Temple Mount, he is again told to join other religious visitors and enters the site with police accompaniment.
According to the report, the religious visitors, unlike their secular counterparts, are told not to stop, not to make any lip movement that may be seen as praying. They are not allowed to stop, sit down and their pace is determined by the cops.
Police in response said: “There is no difference in security checks, on freedom of movement and in other procedures between tourists and Jews. Israel Police is enforcing the law in an egalitarian way, with no discrimination based on religion, gender or race. Regarding the Temple Mount, we are investing efforts and resources in order to maintain the status quo, our goal is to enable visits and are working with determination for that end.”
Palestinians hurl Molotov cocktails at Road 443 — none hurt
Palestinian terrorists hurled four Molotov cocktails at vehicles driving on Road 443 this evening, near the Ofer Prison.
There were no casualties or damage in the incident.
Several terror attacks took place near or on the road over the past few weeks.
Two weeks ago, stones were hurled at cars traveling on the road. Several cars were damaged and one man was lightly wounded by glass shards.
On November 23, IDF soldier Ziv Mizrahi was stabbed near a gas station on the road. He later succumbed to his injuries and died. A female officer was wounded in the attack. A civilian walking nearby was hit by shrapnel in that attack.