Gaza’s airborne firebombs are getting smarter, and reaching farther
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New York’s ‘Celebrate Israel’ parade marches down Fifth Avenue

Thousands take part in biggest pro-Israel event in North America; NYPD deploys hundreds of officers to secure the route

  • People participate in the annual Celebrate Israel Parade on June 3, 2018, in New York City. (Kena Betancur/Getty Images/AFP)
    People participate in the annual Celebrate Israel Parade on June 3, 2018, in New York City. (Kena Betancur/Getty Images/AFP)
  • An NYPD officer stands guard during the annual Celebrate Israel Parade on June 3, 2018 in New York City. (Kena Betancur/Getty Images/AFP)
    An NYPD officer stands guard during the annual Celebrate Israel Parade on June 3, 2018 in New York City. (Kena Betancur/Getty Images/AFP)
  • Members of the Israel Boy and Girl Scouts Federation participate in the annual Celebrate Israel Parade on June 3, 2018 in New York City. (Kena Betancur/Getty Images/AFP)
    Members of the Israel Boy and Girl Scouts Federation participate in the annual Celebrate Israel Parade on June 3, 2018 in New York City. (Kena Betancur/Getty Images/AFP)
  • A marching band performs during the annual Celebrate Israel Parade on June 3, 2018 in New York City. (Kena Betancur/Getty Images/AFP)
    A marching band performs during the annual Celebrate Israel Parade on June 3, 2018 in New York City. (Kena Betancur/Getty Images/AFP)

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

Doctors appeal to Israeli government to let in Gazan cancer patients

Some 31 Israeli oncologists appeal to the Health Ministry and COGAT, the Israeli government’s liaison agency to the Palestinians, asking that they allow cancer patients in Gaza who need urgent treatment to leave the Palestinian enclave for treatment in Israel and the West Bank.

The doctors say it is becoming increasingly difficult to care for Gazans who need regular treatments. They say that by tightening the policies on who can leave Gaza, Israel is hurting the patients.

According to Physicians for Human Rights, at least 14 women suffering from cancer in the Gaza Strip are currently waiting to enter Israel for treatment, the Haaretz daily reports. Seven of the women have breast cancer and four have thyroid cancer. Three others have tumors on their spine, lungs or kidneys.

Earlier diagnosis and treatment are key to “recovery and the ability to ease suffering in cancer patients, and on the other hand, there is no doubt that delaying the screening and treatment can lead to an advance of the disease and death that could be prevented,” the doctors wrote. “There is no justification for delaying the requests by patients for long months.”

US Army launches war games on NATO’s Russian flank

Some 18,000 troops from 19 mostly NATO countries begin annual US-led military exercises in Poland and the Baltic states on Sunday to boost combat readiness on the alliance’s eastern flank as it faces an increasingly assertive Russia.

The eighth Saber Strike maneuvers, which run until June 15, come after it was revealed Poland is considering a proposal to welcome a permanent deployment of US troops to the country.

A Polish defense ministry “information document” emerged this week showing that Warsaw could spend $1.5 to $2 billion to help cover the cost of stationing a US tank unit in Poland.

The proposal triggered immediate criticism from Moscow, with the Kremlin insisting that any such deployment “will not benefit in any way the security and stability on the continent.”

The US has ramped up its presence on NATO’s eastern flank and notably Poland since Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

— AFP

Saudis seek to prevent Qatar from buying Russian missiles

PARIS — The French newspaper Le Monde is reporting that Saudi Arabia wants France to help prevent Qatar from buying a Russian air defense system.

Le Monde says it has seen a letter written by Saudi King Salman to French President Emmanuel Macron to express his “deep concerns” as Qatar is looking to purchase the S-400, Russia’s most advanced air defense missile system.

Le Monde quotes the letter as saying if the missiles were to be deployed “the kingdom would be ready to take all necessary measures to eliminate this defense system, including military action.”

Saudi Arabia and other Arab neighbors are embroiled in a diplomatic standoff with Qatar since last year, claiming it funds terrorism, which it denies.

— AP

Nearly half of Afghan children are not in school

KABUL, Afghanistan — Nearly half of Afghanistan’s children are not attending school because of war, poverty and other factors, a new report shows.

The study, released by the Education Ministry and the UN children’s agency, says that 3.7 million, or 44 percent, of all school-age children are not attending school. It marks the first time since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 that the rate of attendance has declined, following years of steady gains in education for boys as well as girls, who were banned from attending school under the Taliban.

The survey says girls account for 60% of those being denied an education.

“Business as usual is not an option for Afghanistan if we are to fulfill the right to education for every child,” Adele Khodr, UNICEF’s Afghanistan representative, says in a statement. “When children are not in school, they are at an increased danger of abuse, exploitation and recruitment.”

Girls’ education is still frowned upon in much of the conservative Muslim country, and is banned in the steadily expanding areas controlled by the Taliban.

— AP

UK remembers London Bridge attack victims on 1st anniversary

LONDON — Britain’s resolve to “stand firm” against terrorism is stronger than ever, Prime Minister Theresa May says Sunday, a year since a deadly vehicle-and-knife attack on London Bridge.

Eight people were killed and almost 50 injured when three Islamic State group-inspired attackers ran down pedestrians on the bridge, then stabbed people at bars and restaurants in nearby Borough Market on a warm spring evening. The three attackers were shot dead by police within minutes.

A tribute is projected onto the side of London Bridge, London, Sunday June 3, 2018, to mark one year since a deadly vehicle-and-knife attack on London Bridge. (Dominic Lipinski/PA/PA via AP)

The rampage came two weeks after a bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester Arena that killed 22 people.

Survivors, politicians and emergency workers were attending a service Sunday at Southwark Cathedral near London Bridge. The nation will hold a minute of silence at 4:30 p.m. local time, and the words #LondonUnited will be projected onto the bridge, which connects London’s business district with the lively south bank side of the River Thames.

— AP

16-year-old badly hurt in fall into riverbed during Golan hike

A helicopter rescue of a 16-year-old hiker who fell 10 meters (33 feet) into a riverbed while on a school trip to the Golan Heights, June 3, 2018. (Israel Police)

Police and Air Force rescuers pull a 16-year-old out of a Golan Heights riverbed after he fell and was seriously hurt while hiking.

The youth was part of a high school hike in the area, near the Nimrod fortress on the plateau.

During the walk, the youth slipped and fell some 10 meters (33 feet), and was bruised throughout his body.

Police rescuers rushed on foot to the scene and a helicopter team from the Air Force’s 669 special rescue unit was deployed.

The young man was taken by the Air Force team to Rambam hospital in Haifa, police say.

Fires ignited by Gazan kites continue to rage around southern kibbutzim

Brushfires continue to rage around three kibbutz communities near the Gaza border. All three, near Or Haner, Nahal Oz and Yad Mordechai, were started by firebomb-laden kites sent over the border from Gaza, according to authorities.

German president apologizes to gays for decades of injustice

BERLIN — Germany’s president asks gays for forgiveness for decades of suffering and injustice they endured as a result of repressive laws in Germany in the Nazi era and after World War II.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier speaks Sunday in a ceremony marking the persecution of gays by the Hitler regime.

The dpa news agency quotes Steinmeier as saying that the harsh treatment continued in the post-war era, in both parts of a then-divided Germany, where homosexuality for years remained a criminal offense.

The president says “this is why I’m asking for forgiveness today, for all the suffering and injustice, and the silence that followed.”

Steinmeier says he wants to reassure “all gays, lesbians and bisexuals, all queers, trans- and intersexuals” that they are protected in today’s Germany.

— AP

Gaza’s airborne firebombs are getting smarter, and reaching farther

Hadashot television news reports that the fires sparked by Gazans in southern Israel today are reaching farther into Israel because the Gazans have changed their tactics.

In recent weeks, Gazans have launched firebomb-carrying kites into Israel, where they fell into dry fields and sparked major brushfires.

Today, authorities are battling helium balloons carrying long-burning materials like charcoal. The balloons are capable of flying several kilometers into Israel and sparking fires farther afield.

Firefighters are battling at least four brushfires today sparked by Gazan arsonists.

Security high for Israel Day Parade in New York City

More than 1,000 police officers will secure the Israel Day Parade in New York City, set to make its way down Fifth Avenue later today.

No specific threats have been made against the parade, which celebrates Israel’s statehood.

The police officers stationed along the route will include counterterror teams armed with assault rifles, the New York Daily News reports.

The personnel also will include radiation-detection teams, sharpshooters, and bomb squads, the New York Post reports, citing NYPD counterterrorism chief John Miller.

Garbage trucks filled with sand will block streets to prevent car-ramming attacks.

Miller also tells reporters that the stepped up security is due to current world events, including dozens of terror attacks in Israel and the Middle East over the last year.

“We urge people if you see something say something. If you observe suspicious activity, before you tweet it or videotape it, call 911,” Miller says.

— JTA

Palestinian soccer chief urges burning of Messi shirts if he plays in Israel

The head of the Palestinian football federation is calling on Arab and Muslim sports fans to burn photos and T-shirts of Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi if he attends a friendly match between Argentina and Israel next weekend.

Jibril Rajoub made the call after a demonstration in front of the Argentinian representative office in Ramallah, where he asked Argentina to cancel the match.

The match is scheduled to be played Saturday in Jerusalem.

“Messi. Don’t come. Don’t whitewash the face of racism,” Rajoub says.

Israel’s football federation says Messi is expected to play at next week’s match.

— AP

Wisconsin high school stops distributing yearbooks over anti-Semitic quote

A high school in Wisconsin stops distributing yearbooks after it was discovered that it contained a published anti-Semitic quote by one of the seniors.

“There will always be one true Final Solution,” reads the quote in the yearbook of the New Berlin West High School, WTMJ Milwaukee reports.

An email was sent to school parents to inform them of the offensive quote. In it, school principal Michael Fesenmaier called it “inappropriate and offensive.”

“The quote, unfortunately, went undetected during the yearbook vetting process and was published in the yearbook. We are embarrassed by this oversight, and we apologize that this offensive quote was not detected sooner,” reads the email.

Jostens, the yearbook publisher, will supply the school with stickers to cover up the quote, which refers to the “Final Solution,” the Nazi plan to exterminate European Jews at the time of World War II.

The school will place the stickers in the yearbooks that were not yet distributed. The owners of the yearbooks that were distributed on Thursday and Friday will be able to pick up stickers from the school’s office.

— JTA

German president blasts far-right leader’s Nazi past remarks

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Sunday blasts remarks by one of the leaders of the far-right AfD party seen as playing down the importance of the Nazi period and the Holocaust.

Alexander Gauland of the Alternative for Germany party, the biggest opposition party in the Bundestag lower house of parliament, sparked outrage over the weekend with a speech saying there was more to the country’s history than the 12 years of the Nazi regime.

“Yes, we plead guilty to our responsibility for the 12 years” of Nazi rule, he said. But “we have a glorious history and one, my dear friends, that lasted a lot longer than those damned 12 years,” Gauland said.

“Hitler and the Nazis are just a speck of bird shit in over 1,000 years of successful German history.”

Leading a chorus of condemnations, Steinmeier says that anyone “who denies that singular break with civilization or minimizes it not only ridicules the victims but also wants to rip open old wounds and sow new hatred.”

— AFP

Berlin police officer shoots someone in the German capital’s cathedral

A Berlin police officer has shot and wounded someone in the area of the German capital’s cathedral.

— AP

Man shot by police said ‘rampaging’ at Berlin Cathedral

Police say they shot Sunday at a man “rampaging” at the Berlin Cathedral and armed officers cordon off the entrances to the landmark in the heart of the German capital.

“Shortly after 4 p.m. (1400 GMT) police shot at a rampaging man at Berlin Cathedral,” police say in a tweet.

“He was wounded in the leg.”

— AFP

Priest lightly hurt in attack by two Palestinian youths in Bethlehem

Police receive a complaint on Sunday from an Israeli Christian priest, who says he was attacked by young Palestinian men in a church in Bethlehem, after asking them to be quiet during prayers.

The priest filed a complaint with police earlier today saying the youths made noise outside the church, leading him to ask them to be quiet.

After the service, he found two youths waiting for him outside, one of the holding a knife. They attacked him, leaving him lightly hurt at the scene.

One suspect, a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem, was caught by Palestinian police and is being handed to the Israel Police for questioning, police say.

Several Gazans cross border fence, set fire to shipping container

Several Palestinians cross the border fence in the southern Gaza Strip and set a fire near a handful of civilian shipping containers nearby.

No one is hurt in the incident. The attackers returned to Gaza, the army says.

No ‘terrorist motive’ behind cathedral rampage, Berlin police say

Berlin police say there is no sign that a “rampaging” man with a knife, whom they shot and wounded Sunday at the city’s main cathedral, had a “terrorist motive.”

“Based on what we know so far, we have no information that the suspect in any way had a terrorist or Islamist motive,” a police spokesman says.

The spokesman adds that the man, whose threatening behavior led police to shoot him in the leg, is a 53-year-old Austrian who had been wielding a knife and was “verbally aggressive.”

— AFP

New York’s Celebrate Israel parade has gotten underway

The Celebrate Israel parade in New York has gotten underway.

Israel’s Consul General in New York Dani Dayan and Culture Minister Miri Regev are taking part in the parade as Israel’s representatives.

Later today, Times Square will be lit blue and white as a four-minute video promoting Israel innovation and celebrating its relationship with Israel is broadcast on screens throughout the site.

— JTA

Gaza fire kites cause 3,000 fires, burn 2,500 acres of Israeli farmland

Over the past six weeks, firebomb-carrying kites and balloons launched from the Gaza Strip have started 3,000 separate fires and decimated some 10,000 dunams (2,500 acres) of farmland near the Gaza border, according to figures cited today by Hadashot television news.

Israel looks to pay for Gaza kite fire damages with PA funds

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks to pay for the damages caused by Gaza’s firebomb-laden kites and balloons with Palestinian funds.

In a statement Sunday, the Prime Minister’s Office says Netanyahu has tasked National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat to begin the process of reducing the tax funds handed to the Palestinian Authority by the amount required to compensate Israelis living near the Gaza border for damages caused by fires started by Gazan kites.

New Yorkers strut their stuff at Celebrate Israel parade

New York’s political leaders, Jewish community, and Israeli representatives — as well as NYPD dogs and horses — all proudly boast of their participation in the Celebrate Israel Parade, underway now, in online posts.

Jordan senate meets as protests snowball over IMF-backed austerity

Jordan’s senate meets for a special session after another night of protests across the country, against IMF-backed austerity measures including a draft income tax law and price hikes.

Some 3,000 people face down a heavy security presence to gather near the prime minister’s office in Amman, until the early hours of Sunday morning, waving Jordanian flags and signs reading, “We will not kneel.”

Protests have gripped the country since Wednesday, when hundreds responded to a call by trade unions, flooding the streets of Amman and other cities to demand the fall of the government.

Last month, the government proposed a new income tax law, yet to be approved by parliament, aimed at raising taxes on employees by at least five percent and on companies by between 20% and 40%.

The measures are the latest in a series of economic reforms since Amman secured a $723-million three-year credit line from the International Monetary Fund in 2016.

— AFP

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Gaza’s airborne firebombs are getting smarter, and reaching farther

Hadashot television news reports that the fires sparked by Gazans in southern Israel today are reaching farther into Israel because the Gazans have changed their tactics.

In recent weeks, Gazans have launched firebomb-carrying kites into Israel, where they fell into dry fields and sparked major brushfires.

Today, authorities are battling helium balloons carrying long-burning materials like charcoal. The balloons are capable of flying several kilometers into Israel and sparking fires farther afield.

Firefighters are battling at least four brushfires today sparked by Gazan arsonists.