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New Iran nuke report, Likud MK in hot water and UK mulls anti-IS expansion

IAEA assessment finds most work toward nuclear bomb stopped by 2003, likely paving way for lifting of sanctions to go ahead

  • Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani speak during a ceremony in Doha, Qatar, December 2, 2015. (AP/Yasin Bulbul, Presidential Press Service, Pool)
    Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani speak during a ceremony in Doha, Qatar, December 2, 2015. (AP/Yasin Bulbul, Presidential Press Service, Pool)
  • Oren Hazan and Yair Lapid at a Finance Committee meeting on November 18, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
    Oren Hazan and Yair Lapid at a Finance Committee meeting on November 18, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
  • A general view shows news crews gathering outside the Houses of Parliament in London on December 2, 2015 where MPs were debating a motion to join air strikes on Islamic State group targets in Syria. (AFP/BEN STANSALL)
    A general view shows news crews gathering outside the Houses of Parliament in London on December 2, 2015 where MPs were debating a motion to join air strikes on Islamic State group targets in Syria. (AFP/BEN STANSALL)
  • US Secretary of State John Kerry at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, December 2, 2015. (AFP Photo/John Thys)
    US Secretary of State John Kerry at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, December 2, 2015. (AFP Photo/John Thys)
  • Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, right, and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov pose for a picture before their meeting in Nicosia on December 2, 2015. (AFP/POOL/Yiannis Kourtoglou)
    Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, right, and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov pose for a picture before their meeting in Nicosia on December 2, 2015. (AFP/POOL/Yiannis Kourtoglou)
  • An Ultra Orthodox man walks next to trees covered by red fabric in Emek Refaim neighborhood of Jerusalem, on December 02, 2015. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)
    An Ultra Orthodox man walks next to trees covered by red fabric in Emek Refaim neighborhood of Jerusalem, on December 02, 2015. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Wednesday’s events as they unfolded.

Russia, Turkey to powwow in first since jet-downing squabble

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says he is willing to meet his Turkish counterpart this week for the two countries’ first high-level face-to-face talks since Ankara shot down one of Moscow’s warplanes.

Lavrov says Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was “insisting” on holding talks on the sidelines of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Belgrade on Thursday and Friday.

“We will not be evading this contact,” Lavrov says. “We will hear what Mr. Cavusoglu has to say. Perhaps there will be something new after what has already been said publicly.”

Ties between Russia and NATO member Turkey have been badly strained after Ankara last week shot down the Russian plane along its border with Syria.

Both sides have squabbled furiously over whether the jet breached Turkey’s air space.

— AFP

Eiffel menorah lighting to go ahead as planned

A Tuesday claim that public menorah lightnings for Hanukkah in Paris were being canceled over security fears has been retracted by the Israeli journalist who originally made the claim.

The public menorah lighting at the base of the Eiffel Tower on the first night of Hanukkah Sunday will go ahead as planned, according to Miri Michaeli, who had earlier reported that police were shutting down the displays.

She says a discussion will be held Wednesday over other displays.

The large menorah at the Eiffel tower, set up by the Chabad movement, is an annual tradition that regularly brings out thousands of Jews to celebrate the Festival of Lights in the City of Lights.

Record 22 million pilgrims mark Shiite holy day in Iraq

Millions of pilgrims have descended on the holy city of Karbala in central Iraq to mark Arbaeen, which commemorates the seventh century martyrdom of a central figure in Shiite Islam.

Iraqi state-run media said Wednesday that more than 22 million pilgrims have visited Karbala, setting a record for the annual pilgrimage. That number could not be independently verified.

Security has been tightened across Baghdad and mainly Shiite southern Iraq. Many pilgrims travel by foot to Karbala, and Shiite observances are often attacked by Sunni extremists.

The Islamic State group has repeatedly targeted Iraq’s Shiite majority. The Sunni extremist group considers Shiites apostates who deserve death.

— AP

Tel Aviv stabber sorry he killed, and wasn’t killed

The Palestinian man who stabbed two people to death in an attack at a Tel Aviv office building last month has expressed regret over his attack and the fact that he wasn’t killed by Israeli forces.

“I was sure they would kill me. I’m sorry for what I did,” A’ad al-Masalma has told investigators, according to Ynet.

Members of the independent emergency service ZAKA cleaning blood at the scene of a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv on November 19, 2015. (Judah Ari Gross/ Times of Israel)

Members of the independent emergency service ZAKA cleaning blood at the scene of a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv on November 19, 2015. (Judah Ari Gross/ Times of Israel)

Masalma, who entered Israel with proper papers, killed Aharon Yasaeb and Rueven Aviram at the Panorama building in Tel Aviv on November 19.

French police arrest 2 linked to deadly attacks

French police have arrested two people outside Paris — one of them for suspected links to the only man charged in connection with the November 13 attacks in the capital, according to two officials close to the investigation.

The first arrest on Tuesday was of a 25-year-old man suspected of being an intermediary to Jawad Bendaoud, who already has been handed preliminary charges for providing housing to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected planner of the Paris attacks that killed 130 people.

The intermediary, whose name wasn’t disclosed, was arrested in his home in Malakoff, south of Paris by counterterrorism police, officials said. A few hours later, police went with the suspect to search another apartment in Saint-Denis, a northern Paris suburb, and arrested a woman who was there.

The officials, who requested anonymity to talk about the ongoing investigation, told The Associated Press that the woman, whose name also wasn’t revealed, is the partner of the intermediary. The man and his partner have been taken into custody west of Paris. Officials didn’t give details on whether the woman had links to Bendaoud or anyone else suspected of having involvement in the attacks.

The intermediary, who had been known by police only for drug trafficking so far, was also in contact with Abaaoud’s cousin, Hasna Aitboulahcen.

Abaaoud, his female cousin and a third man were killed in a police raid on November 18.

— AP

MK Hazan suspended from ethics panel over complaints

MK Oren Hazan will be suspended for a month from the Knesset Ethics Committee, by the Knesset Ethics Committee, over a series of complaints of unethical behavior.

MK Oren Hazan at the Finance Committee meeting on November 18, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

MK Oren Hazan at the Finance Committee meeting on November 18, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Hazan, the lowest-ranking Likud member in the Knesset, has been in the harsh glare of public scrutiny several times over various reports of wrongdoing, including last week when he was roundly criticized for appearing to make fun of a handicapped fellow lawmaker.

At 4 p.m. the state watchdog is set to release a report on various issues related to primary fundraising campaigns in the run-up to the last elections.

The report includes allegations of possible criminal wrongdoing by one high-profile Knesset member.

Britain begins debating whether to hit Syria

Prime Minister David Cameron has opened a critical debate on whether Britain will take part in airstrikes in Syria, insisting that Britain could make a real difference in the fight against Islamic State militants.

But Cameron struggled to get through his opening remarks Wednesday as outraged opposition Labour Party lawmakers demanded he retract remarks at a closed-door meeting Tuesday in which Cameron branded opponents of the measure a “bunch of terrorist sympathizers.”

A general view shows news crews gathering outside the Houses of Parliament in London on December 2, 2015 where members of parliament were debating a motion to join air strikes on Islamic State group targets in Syria. (AFP/BEN STANSALL)

A general view shows news crews gathering outside the Houses of Parliament in London on December 2, 2015 where members of parliament were debating a motion to join air strikes on Islamic State group targets in Syria. (AFP/BEN STANSALL)

Lawmakers demanded an apology as the 10.5 hour debate got underway, arguing the comment showed a lack of respect to those who disagreed with his policy.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond defended Cameron before the debate started, saying the comments weren’t aimed at long-time opponents of war such as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Hammond says Corbyn’s views were “obviously sincerely held.”

— AP

Moscow accuses Erdogan family of benefiting from IS oil

Russia’s deputy defense minister says the Turkish president and his family are benefiting from illegal oil trade with Islamic State militants.

Minister Anatoly Antonov tells reporters that Moscow has evidence showing that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his family are involved in the oil trade with IS and personally benefit from it.

Antonov and his colleagues at the defense ministry’s headquarters showed foreign defense attaches based in Moscow some satellite images purporting to show IS transporting oil to Turkey.

Erdogan has said he would resign if the accusations against him are proven.

— AP

MK asks in Knesset if something is something

With a gag order still in place on reported developments in a case related to Jewish terror, MK Basel Ghattas decides to blow the whole thing open, asking in the Knesset plenum whether the case is the fatal arson of the Palestinian Dawabsha family in Duma earlier this year.

Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz answers him by staying mum on the issue.

“Naturally I won’t comment,” he says.

While some news sites report Ghattas’s comments in full, others like Army Radio stick to the gag and bleep him out.

Kenyans sentence Brit terror plotter linked to White Widow

A court in the Kenyan city of Mombasa has sentenced a British national, who authorities say is an extremist who plotted attacks against the country, to nine years in prison for attempting to illegally acquire Kenyan identification documents.

Justice Martin Muya says the prosecution has proved that Jermain Grant had attempted to illegally acquire a birth certificate, a Kenyan identification card and a primary school leaving certificate. The high court found Grant guilty after the prosecution appealed a previous acquittal.

Authorities believe Grant was part of a cell with another British national, Samantha Lewthwaite, that was planning attacks over Christmas 2012. Lewthwaite, known in the British press as the White Widow, was married to Jermain Lindsay, one of the bombers who took part in the July 7 2005 attack on London that killed 52 people.

— Agencies

Hazan says ethics panel should punish MK who cursed him

Oren Hazan, suspended for a month by the Knesset Ethics Committee, releases a statement trying to turn the tables on the MK he apparently wronged.

Hazan says he is waiting for the Ethics Committee to come down on Karin Elharar, who he says cursed him in the plenum.

“As someone who exposed the double voting of MK [Issawi] Frij, which they have refused to check or discuss, and as someone who didn’t say a word, definitely nothing bad, about MK Elharar, I am waiting for the decision of the Ethics Committee on my complaint that Elharar cursed me in the plenum as ‘garbage, nothing, a dead person,'” he says, according to Ynet.

Last month, Hazan sarcastically asked Elharar, who is wheelchair bound, if she needed help from Frij, supposedly riffing on his claim that he double voted for her.

The comment drew scathing criticism from across the board in the Knesset.

Comptroller fines Hazan, others over primary fundraising

The State Comptroller says that Likud MK Oren Hazan failed to report his spending on the primaries and lied on an affidavit — a criminal offense that could carry up to three years in prison.

In a report on the political parties primaries spending, State Comptroller Yosef Shapira fines Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) NIS 30,000 ($7,700), the Jewish Home’s Avi Wortzman NIS 12,000 ($3,100), ex-Likud MK Moshe Feiglin NIS 10,000 ($2,571) and Labor’s Erel Margalit NIS 7,500 ($1,900) for exceeding the amount of funding permitted on their respective campaigns.

Hazan, who has made headlines for a series of scandals since entering Knesset, submitted an affidavit to the state comptroller stating that he spent no money on his campaign, other than the NIS 7,000 ($1,800) in candidacy submission fees, which he paid out of pocket. However, the report assesses that the freshman MK had in fact spent over NIS 25,000 ($6,500) on his campaign.

Likud MK Oren Hazan on May 13, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Likud MK Oren Hazan on May 13, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

“It was found that the candidate did have expenses related to managing his campaign which were not reported to the state comptroller,” the report says. “In the absence of the reported [funds], it was impossible to evaluate the candidate’s bank accounts and the overall income and expenses and their origin, and the legality of donations that he received that funded his campaign expenses.”

According to Shapira, Hazan then claimed that he was unaware of the obligation to report the expenses that were covered by donors. “That claim was not accepted,” the report says.

The state comptroller emphasizes that lying on an affidavit could carry three years jail time, and fines Hazan NIS 5,000 ($1,200).

“Filing an affidavit that is untrue, as the candidate did, is a criminal offense in all that that entails,” he writes.

The report was submitted to the attorney general’s office to determine whether to pursue legal action. Shortly before the state comptroller report was released, the Knesset’s Ethics Committee suspended Hazan for a month, Channel 2 reported, following complaints from fellow Knesset members.

Read more

— Marissa Newman

Hazan blames wrongdoing on youth, inexperience

Oren Hazan responds to the state comptroller report that he used campaign money improperly and didn’t report it, citing his inexperience for the snafu.

Oren Hazan and Yair Lapid at a Finance Committee meeting on November 18, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Oren Hazan and Yair Lapid at a Finance Committee meeting on November 18, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

“As a young and new MK, who entered politics for the first time and joined in at the last minute, i intend to study the report and fix what is needed,” he says, according to Israel National News.

Hazan, who headed Likud’s youth wing before entering the Knesset, is also the son of a former Knesset member.

Winehouse biopic only Jewy film still in Oscar running

A dozen documentary feature films on Jewish and Israeli topics vying for Oscar glory were largely eliminated when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences winnowed down the list of 124 contenders to 15 semifinalists.

The sole survivor on Tuesday’s announced semifinalists is “Amy,” a British documentary on singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse, described by her brother as “a little Jewish kid from North London with a big talent.”

Her meteoric career and tortured life was cut short at the age of 27 through drug abuse and alcohol poisoning.

Two American-Jewish filmmakers also made the cut and are high among the filmmakers favored to top the competition. One is Davis Guggenheim, the director of “He Called Me Malala,” an intimate portrait of Malala Yousafzu, of Pakistan, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 17 for her advocacy of education for girls.

The other is Joshua Oppenheimer, whose “The Look of Silence” documents the killing during 1965 and 1966 of some 500,000 alleged Communists by the Indonesian military.

Among contenders out of the running are documentaries on Israel’s prime ministers, the birth of the Israeli Air Force, and somber recollections by veterans of the Six Day War.

The 15 remaining contenders will be cut to five when nominations in all categories are announced on January 15, 2016. The 2016 Oscar winners will be announced on February 28.

— JTA

UN to issue report on past Iranian nuke work

The UN atomic agency is set to issue its final report on allegations that Iran worked in the past on nuclear arms — a summary that will likely be inconclusive.

The report, expected later Wednesday, is significant because it is linked to the lifting of sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear program.

Yukiya Amano, the head of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, has already said that his report won’t be “black and white.”

But he must present a final report that says Iran has met all deadlines in supplying information requested by the IAEA for the agency’s 35-nation board to approve closure of the nearly decade-long investigation.

The procedure is linked to sanctions relief under the July 14 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers.

— AP

UN envoy whacks Israel over slow pace of Dawabsha probe

The UN’s Special Coordinator for Mideast Peace chastises Israeli authorities for what he terms “the slow progress” in bringing to justice the perpetrators behind the fatal firebombing of the Palestinian Dawabshe family in Duma four months ago.

No suspects have yet been charged in the case, which left three members of one family dead and a fourth seriously injured apparently at the hands of Jewish terrorists.

“The brutal killing of toddler Ali, and his parents Reham and Sa’ad, was a tragedy that has angered Palestinians and shocked Israelis,” Nickolay Mladenov says in a statement sent out by his spokesperson. “The incident, which was widely condemned by leaders on all sides, regrettably, has still not been resolved. I am concerned by the slow progress and call on the Israeli authorities to move swiftly in bringing the perpetrators of this terrible crime to justice.”

Five-year-old Ahmed Dawabsha lies in his hospital bed at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, August 24, 2015. (Eric Cortellessa/Times of Israel)

Five-year-old Ahmed Dawabsha lies in his hospital bed at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, August 24, 2015. (Eric Cortellessa/Times of Israel)

Israeli officials have been criticized over the pace of the investigation, with critics noting that cases involving Palestinian terror suspects are often solved within a matter of days or weeks.

Israeli media have reported in recent days on a development in a case related to Jewish terror, but a gag order prohibits the publication of any other details of the case.

Jewish former Clinton adviser Sandy Berger dies

Sandy Berger, Bill Clinton’s second-term national security adviser, has died at age 70, his firm says.

Berger was one of a trio of Jewish advisers for Clinton while his time in office overlapped with Benjamin Netanyahu, then in his first go-round as prime minister.

He served from 1997 to 2001.

He also informally advised Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state, according to recently disclosed emails.

— with AP

Elharar calls for probe into findings by comptroller

MK Karin Elharar, who heads the Knesset Ethics Committee, calls for the attorney general to open an investigation into the claims of wrongdoing detailed by a state comptroller report.

“These findings are very harsh and testify to political and possibly even criminal corruption,” she says in a statement. “The report shows more than anything the lack of honest values, transparency and good governance by parties that have primaries.”

Elharar’s Yesh Atid party does not hold primaries and was not included in the report.

The only allegation of possible criminal wrongdoing in the report was leveled against Likud MK Oren Hazan for lying to the comptroller about his campaign financing.

Others were fined in the report for smaller issues with raising and reporting money.

Earlier in the day, Hazan was suspended for a month by the Ethics Committee for comments he made mocking Elharar for a physical disability.

Scholars to publish ‘Mein Kampf’ in Germany

A German think tank says it will publish some 4,000 copies of Adolf Hitler’s manifesto “Mein Kampf” next month, when the copyright on the notorious screed expires.

The printing, the first in Germany since the end of World War II, will be annotated by commentary from experts at the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich, which studies the history of Nazism.

“We wanted literally to surround Hitler with our comments,” Christian Hartmann, the lead expert on the team producing the book, said at the announcement Tuesday, according to UPI.

Over 12 million copies of 'Mein Kampf' have been sold. (photo credit: dccarbone/CC-BY, vi Flickr)

A copy of Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ (dccarbone/CC-BY, vi Flickr)

Bennett to rejoin Knesset to take Magal’s place

Jewish Home head Naftali Bennett will apparently rejoin the Knesset to take the place of Yinon Magal, after former MK Avi Wortzman, who’s next in line on the party’s slate, turns down the opportunity.

Bennett, who serves as education minister, had given up his Knesset seat to make room for Shuli Mualem after working to pass the so-called Norwegian Law, which allows each coalition party to have one non-MK minister.

To rejoin the Knesset he will have to temporarily abdicate his ministerial post, and then will seek to have it reinstated, according to Channel 2, which notes that only one MK deciding to rebel and vote against could keep him from reclaiming the position.

Last month Bennett joked that he was happy he did not have to legislate in the Knesset, as lawmakers held an all-night session to pass the state budget.

Erdogan on IS oil trade claim: Russia slandering Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Russia had no right to “slander” Turkey with allegations that it had bought oil from Islamic State jihadists in Syria.

“No one has a right to engage in slander against Turkey by saying that Turkey is buying oil from Daesh (IS),” Erdogan says in comments broadcast by Turkish television on a visit to Qatar, after the Russian defense ministry claimed he and his family were involved in the illegal oil trade.

— AFP

Edelstein warns German lawmakers against settlement labeling

Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein delivers a speech in Hebrew to the Bundestag parliament in Berlin, calling Germany a strong ally of Israel.

Speaking on the EU decision to label settlement goods, Edelstein quotes Heinriche Heine, who said that “In a place where they burned books, in the end they will also burn people.”

“I fear that in a place where they label goods according to their place of production, they could also one day label people according to their origin,” Edelstein, who himself lives in a settlement, says.

Bundestag head Norbert Lammert tells Israeli journalists that the EU labeling regime is problematic, though he denies it is anti-Semitic.

“The law could have been implemented in a way that’s more equal on all occupied territories. That the decision targets only Israel is not necessary and not smart,” he says, according to Army Radio

Britain to start calling IS Daesh

British Prime Minister David Cameron says the British government is changing the way it refers to the Islamic State militant group, following the United States in calling it Daesh.

Britain had previously used the acronym ISIL — Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Cameron told lawmakers in the House of Commons that he was making the change “because frankly this evil death cult is neither a true representation of Islam nor is it a state.”

Cameron was kicking off an all-day debate about whether Britain should extend airstrikes against IS from Iraq into Syria.

Daesh is an Arabic acronym for the group’s name that also carries negative associations. The Twitter account U.K. Against ISIL — now rebranded U.K. Against Daesh — said the term is hated by the militants because it sound similar to Arabic words meaning “trample” and “one who sows discord.”

— AP

UK students leave Israel off list of terror victim countries

The British Jewish Students union calls for an apology after the National Union of Students omits Israel from a list of countries that have suffered terror attacks in the last year.

Earlier in the day, NUS president Megan Dunn named France, Nigeria, Lebanon, Turkey, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Kenya, Palestine, and Mali as countries where civilians had been murdered in attacks by “paramilitary organisations,” according to the Jewish Chronicle.

“The inclusion in the list of Palestine and the deliberate omission of Israel is an insult to the victims of terror there in the last few months. The very fact that the civilians who have been stabbed, run over or shot in the streets are not even included in this statement is cause for concern,” the Union of Jewish Students says in a statement.

In June, the NUS, which represents all British university students, voted to join the BDS movement and boycott Israel. In October, the group’s leadership was criticized for failing to condemn the Islamic State.

Hungary leader claims secret deal will bring 500K Syrians to EU

Hungary’s prime minister says he expects a German-led secret pact to be revealed soon that would bring up to 500,000 Syrians directly into the European Union from Turkey

Prime Minister Viktor Orban says a similar idea was rejected recently by European leaders but the new scheme will be announced in Berlin as soon as this week.

“This secret background agreement exists. And we will be confronted by it in the coming days,” Orban says at a meeting of Hungarians from around the world. He says the plan included forcing all EU countries to take in some of the migrants, even if they are opposed to mandatory relocation quotas.

EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans, however, bluntly rejects Orban’s assertion.

“I’ll try to explain this in clear terms —nonsense,” Timmermans says in Brussels.

— AP

Israeli swimmer gets silver in European championship

Israeli swimmer Yakov Toumarkin has won a silver medal at the European short course swimming championships, thrilling the home crowd at the Wingate Institute near Netanya.

Yakov Toumarkin (photo credit: CC-BY Baswim/Wikipedia)

Yakov Toumarkin (photo credit: CC-BY Baswim/Wikipedia)

Toumarkin swam the 200 meter backstroke 1:49.84, coming just behind Poland’s Radoslaw Kawecki, who finished at 1:48.33.

“I still can’t believe it. I’m in total shock,” he tells Israel’s Channel 2. “I got my first medal and broke the 1:50 barrier. The crowd gave me the push I needed.”

Fellow Israeli David Gamburg finishes the race 7th with a time of 1:51.71.

In 2012, Toumarkin became the second Israeli ever to advance to the finals of an individual event in London. He’s expected to compete for Israel in Rio next year.

IS beheads Russian ‘agent’ in new video

The Islamic State group has released a video showing the beheading of a Russian man, according to SITE Intel, which tracks jihadists.

The video, which includes a warning to Russia, is apparently the first recorded beheading of a Russian.

In the video the group accuses the man, identified as Haroun, of being a Russian agent, before he is killed.

Russia recently began an air campaign in Syria meant to back up embattled president Bashar Assad, though Western countries have noted the group is not focused on bombing IS assets.

The bombing of a Russian plane in Sinai last month was also claimed by IS, as retaliation for the air campaign in Syria.

Jewish Wolverine in trouble for arguing with pro-Palestinians

A Jewish student at the University of Michigan is under fire for confronting pro-Palestinian student demonstrators.

Representatives from Students Allied for Freedom and Equality, or SAFE — a campus group that aims to promote justice for Palestinians — are calling for the removal of sophomore Jesse Arm from serving as a representative on the Central Student Government, or CSG.

Arm reportedly appeared before the student government’s ethics committee on Monday.

His conduct also was discussed at a CSG meeting on Tuesday, the Michigan Daily student newspaper reported.

At a SAFE demonstration on Nov. 19, the group displayed a wall representing the security fence between Israel and the West Bank. Arm was filmed confronting and criticizing the demonstrators, according to the Daily.

The demonstration came as news that American yeshiva student Ezra Schwartz was killed in a West Bank terror attack.

Arm and Schwartz were from the same community and had many friends in common, the College Fix reported.

Other Jewish students said the demonstration triggered emotions in them, and added that the student government should not be allowed to tell students what they may or may not stand up for or believe in, according to the Daily.

— JTA

Iran worked on nukes, but only until 2003, UN agency says

The UN atomic agency says it believes that Iran worked in the past on nuclear weapons but its activities didn’t go past planning and basic component experiments.

The assessment was contained in an International Atomic Energy Agency report, ending nearly a decade of attempts to investigate the allegations.

The evaluation says the most “coordinated” work on developing such arms was done before 2003, with some activities continuing up to 2009.

The agency’s probe was based launched on intelligence provided by the United States, Israel and other Iranian adversaries and on the IAEA’s own research and interviews.

The confidential report released and obtained by The Associated Press Wednesday is significant in wrapping up the probe and in preparing the ground for the lifting of sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear program.

— AP

Jerusalem mum on Iran nuke report, which may spell end of sanctions

The Prime Minister’s Office tells The Times of Israel that it has no immediate comment on the IAEA assessment of Iran’s past nuclear work.

The report is significant in coming down on the side of allegations by the US and other nations critical of Iran’s nuclear program that Tehran engaged in trying to make such arms.

Still, the agency says its findings were an assessment, suggesting that it couldn’t deliver an unequivocal ruling on whether the suspicions were valid.

The lack of a clear-cut answer on Iran’s past nuclear work will likely be instrumental in paving the way for the implementation of the nuclear deal and the lifting of sanctions on Iran.

The report also suggested that not all information it was interested in was made available by Tehran, making its conclusions less black and white than it would have been had it received full cooperation.

The July 14 nuclear deal co-engineered by Iran and the US calls on Tehran to “fully implement” the plan with the IAEA to wrap up its investigation. But it only committed Tehran to timetables in providing explanations and information of its own choosing to the agency in time to allow the IAEA to draw up its December report. It says nothing about the kind of information required.

The IAEA’s 35-nation board then is scheduled to approve a resolution drawn up by six nations that signed the deal with Iran — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — that puts the issue to rest.

— Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel staff and agencies

 

Gazan official says old woman shot by IDF

The Palestinian Ma’an news agency reports that an elderly Gazan woman has been shot and critically injured by Israeli fire.

The details of the shooting are not clear. The woman, whose age is not given in the report, was shot in the neck near the al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, and rushed to a nearby hospital, according to the Palestinian health ministry spokesperson, according to Ma’an.

There is no immediate comment from the IDF.

Iran: UN report closes probe into past nuke work

Iran says the IAEA’s probe into nuclear bomb work is now closed.

“All measures over the past issues have completely concluded and PMD has been left behind,” Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi says, according to Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency.

PMD stands for Possible Military Dimensions.

Araqchi says IAEA findings that show Iran did do work toward a military nuclear program before 2009 only show that the country was seeking “peaceful use” of nuclear technology.

He says a resolution accepting the findings and closing the case, thus paving the way for the implementation of the nuclear deal and the lifting of sanctions, should take place within two weeks.

He also says Iran was fully compliant with the probe, a claim disputed by the IAEA.

Reporter held in Iran in danger, Washington Post says

The Washington Post says its journalist detained in Iran is in “immediate danger” as his health deteriorates and mistreatment of him intensifies.

Thursday will mark 500 days since Jason Rezaian was arrested, the newspaper notes, with executive editor Martin Baron calling it the “grimmest” of milestones.

The newspaper says Rezaian’s brother, Ali, will deliver a petition Thursday to Iran’s mission to the United Nations with more than 500,000 signatures asking for his immediate release.

The Post also said it has submitted new information about Rezaian to a UN working group on arbitrary detention. Earlier this year, it appealed to the group to intervene in the case.

The 39-year-old Rezaian, who grew up in northern California, has dual American and Iranian citizenship.

Last month, Iranian state TV reported that he had been sentenced to an unspecified prison term following his conviction on charges that include espionage. The state TV has repeatedly called Rezaian an “American spy.” In October, the powerful elite Revolutionary Guard claimed in a report to parliament that Rezaian is an agent seeking to overthrow Iran’s Islamic ruling system.

— AP

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Eiffel menorah lighting to go ahead as planned

A Tuesday claim that public menorah lightnings for Hanukkah in Paris were being canceled over security fears has been retracted by the Israeli journalist who originally made the claim.

The public menorah lighting at the base of the Eiffel Tower on the first night of Hanukkah Sunday will go ahead as planned, according to Miri Michaeli, who had earlier reported that police were shutting down the displays.

She says a discussion will be held Wednesday over other displays.

The large menorah at the Eiffel tower, set up by the Chabad movement, is an annual tradition that regularly brings out thousands of Jews to celebrate the Festival of Lights in the City of Lights.