Hebrew press plays up funerals, school strike
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Times of Israel Live, January 14, 2015 (closed)

First photos of Paris supermarket attack emerge

‘Charlie Hebdo’ issue flies off shelves, is roundly condemned in Muslim world; France orders crackdown on anti-Semitism, hate speech

Marissa Newman is The Times of Israel political correspondent.

  • A sign which translates as "Charlie Hebdo - Sold Out" is displayed at a newsagents kiosk in Marseille on January 14, 2015 shortly after the latest edition of the French satirical weekly went on sale. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO / BORIS HORVAT)
    A sign which translates as "Charlie Hebdo - Sold Out" is displayed at a newsagents kiosk in Marseille on January 14, 2015 shortly after the latest edition of the French satirical weekly went on sale. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO / BORIS HORVAT)
  • People wait outside a kiosk in Paris on January 14, 2015 as the latest edition of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo went on sale. (photo credit:  AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND GUAY)
    People wait outside a kiosk in Paris on January 14, 2015 as the latest edition of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo went on sale. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND GUAY)
  • Former chairman of the Labor party Shelly Yachimovich on January 13, 2015. (photo credit: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
    Former chairman of the Labor party Shelly Yachimovich on January 13, 2015. (photo credit: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
  • The Jewish Home primaries kick off on January 14, 2015. (photo credit: Amir Levi/Flash90)
    The Jewish Home primaries kick off on January 14, 2015. (photo credit: Amir Levi/Flash90)
  • A sign that translates as 'Charlie Hebdo - Sold Out' at a newsstand in Montpellier on January 14, 2015 (photo credit: AFP/PASCAL GUYOT)
    A sign that translates as 'Charlie Hebdo - Sold Out' at a newsstand in Montpellier on January 14, 2015 (photo credit: AFP/PASCAL GUYOT)

The first issue of Charlie Hebdo since 12 people were killed in a terror attack on the magazine last Wednesday flew off the shelves in France on Wednesday and drew fierce criticism for its Muhammad cartoons from Iran, the Islamic State, Hamas, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and Turkey. Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for the brutal attack on the satirical magazine, and Syria’s Bashar Assad condemned it. France ordered a crackdown on hate speech and anti-Semitism, and said 54 cases had been opened since the Paris terror attacks. Meanwhile, the first photos from the HyperCacher attack emerged.

In Israel, election season is in full swing, with the results of the Labor primaries announced, and hailed for its large number of female candidates. Members of the Jewish Home party headed to the polls to elect its next Knesset slate and Kulanu party leader Moshe Kahlon announced his election platform in  interviews with the Israeli media.

The Times of Israel liveblogged events as they unfolded Wednesday.

New Charlie Hebdo sells out in minutes

The new issue of Charlie Hebdo hits the shelves, and despite a five-million print run is sold out within minutes.

The “survivor’s issue” draws condemnation from several Arab states, including Iran, which says the cartoon “provokes the emotions of Muslims and hurts their feelings around the world, and could fan the flame of a vicious circle of extremism.”

The Islamic State group says the move is “extremely stupid,” and Turkish authorities prevented a local newspaper from including the magazine’s drawings of Muhammad in its pages.

A man reads the latest edition of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo at a cafe in Dunkirk on January 14, 2015 shortly after the edition went on sale. (photo credit: AFP/PHILIPPE HUGUEN)

A man reads the latest edition of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo at a cafe in Dunkirk on January 14, 2015 shortly after the edition went on sale. (photo credit: AFP/PHILIPPE HUGUEN)

Al-Qaeda in Yemen takes responsibility for the magazine attack, which killed 12 people, and says that the massacre at Charlie Hebdo was in “vengeance for the prophet.”

Meanwhile, Syria’s Bashar Assad offers condolences to the families of the Paris victims, and in an interview with Czech publication Literarni Noviny, he also calls on Western politicians to reconsider their backing of Syrian rebels and opposition.

He says Western politicians were “short-sighted” and France’s attacks proved that “what we said was true.”

AP contributed

Petition urges France to honor Muslim market hero

Over 188,000 people sign an online petition urging the French government to grant Lassana Bathily — the hero at the Paris supermarket attack who hid Jewish shoppers in a basement freezer — French citizenship and the Legion of Honor.

Lassana Bathily (YouTube screenshot)

Lassana Bathily (YouTube screenshot)

France probing dozens of cases of ‘condoning terrorism’

France’s Justice Ministry says 54 cases had been opened for “condoning terrorism” since Islamist attacks in Paris that left 17 people dead last week, sparking global outrage.

Over the same period, some 15 cases are opened over graffiti on mosques, and 10 for degrading Muslim places of worship “with weapons, fire or explosions.”

AFP

France orders crackdown on hate speech

The French government orders prosecutors around the country to crack down on hate speech, anti-Semitism and glorifying terrorism.

In a message distributed to all French prosecutors and judges, the Justice Ministry lays out the legal basis for rounding up those who defend the Paris terror attacks as well as those responsible for racist or anti-Semitic words or acts.

The announcement Wednesday came minutes after the government said 54 people had been arrested for defending terrorism in the week after terror attacks around Paris left 17 dead.

AP

TOI writers on French aliya, and French racism

While Israeli politicians urge mass immigration from France in the wake of the Paris attacks, a lack of adequate job prospects already means many immigrants only live in Israel on the weekends, commuting to their jobs in France during the week, The Times of Israel’s Amanda Borschel-Dan reports.

She writes: “For many French Jewish professionals and businessmen who have already made Israel home, however, intransigent Israeli government bureaucracy and earning potential at a fraction of the salaries they’d received in France have forced them into a dual life. Their ‘home’ is indeed in Israel, but their work is abroad. And this experience indicates that anticipation of a massive wave of immigration from France’s 500,000-strong Jewish community, however troubled it may be amid the rising climate of hostility and violence, may be misplaced.”

Read the full report here.

TOI’s Elhanan Miller, reporting from Paris, interviews a director-general of an anti-racism group in France.

“Public figures feel more and more at ease to express themselves in a racist or anti-Semitic manner,” Etienne Allais says. “During times of economic and social crisis, there is always scapegoating. We have warned against this, because it’s extremely dangerous for a society.”

Read the full report here.

Hebrew press plays up funerals, school strike

Much ado is made in the press Wednesday about the burial of the four Jewish victims of last week’s Paris terrorist attack in Jerusalem, but a protest by high school students also garners significant attention in the tabloids.

President Reuven Rivlin’s remarks at the semi-state funeral take precedence in Haaretz‘s coverage of the eulogies, but the paper notes that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog also made an appearance, along with a French government representative. The paper places the crowd attending the funerals at about 2,000, but Israel Hayom cites a smaller “many hundreds” of people. Israel Hayom also says that they were laid to rest “in their home, in the land that they loved so much” — downplaying the fact that they were French Jews who lived in France.

Thousands of people attend the funeral of the four Jewish victims in Jerusalem on January 13, 2015. (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Thousands of people attend the funeral of the four Jewish victims in Jerusalem on January 13, 2015. (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Yedioth Ahronoth shunts the story down to Page 4, and reports that much of the crowd at the funerals were immigrants from France, and that of the four killed in the attack, one dreamed of moving to Israel, another had already bought an apartment, and a third intended to move.

Ilan Ben Zion

Read the full Hebrew media review here.

France to tap phones, rethink educatiom

The French government is working on new phone-tapping and other intelligence efforts against terrorism that it wants nailed down by next week, government spokesman Stephane Le Foll says.

The government is also launching a deeper project to rethink education, urban policies and its integration model, in an apparent recognition that the attacks exposed deeper problems of inequality both in France and especially at its neglected, often violence-ridden suburban housing projects.

Earlier, the Justice Ministry announced that several of the 54 people — including four minors — who have been detained for defending or verbally threatening terrorism since the Charlie Hebdo attack have already been convicted under special measures for immediate sentencing.

AP, Times of Israel staff

Germany okays plan to nix extremists’ ID cards

Germany’s cabinet approves a plan to allow authorities to withdraw identity cards from Islamic extremists and prevent them from traveling to Iraq, Syria or other crisis areas to join terrorist groups.

The plan has been in the works since October and requires parliamentary approval. It allows authorities to withdraw plastic national identity cards for up to three years. Those affected will get a replacement temporary identity card stating in several languages that the holder is not entitled to leave Germany.

It’s already possible to withdraw passports but officials lacked authority to withhold the identity cards that Germans use to travel to many countries in and beyond the European Union.

Authorities say some 550 people from Germany have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join extremist groups.

AP

IDF war widow pens letter to Valerie Barham

The chairwoman of the IDF widows and orphans organization, who lost her husband in the First Lebanon War, pens a letter to Valerie Braham, whose husband Phillipe was killed in the Paris supermarket attack.

Nava Shoham Solan writes: “From my experience – the experience of a woman who lost her husband at such a young age, and was left with two small children – I can only say two words to you: slowly, slowly. That is the sentence that I say to every widow whose world was suddenly destroyed. You will see – as I also did, even though there were moments in which it was difficult to believe – that other days will come, better days. Slowly, slowly gather the pieces, the pieces of your life and for their sake – glue them together, piece by piece.

Valery Braham, widow of Philippe Braham, who was killed along with three other Jewish men in an attack in Paris, eulogizes her late husband during his funeral in Jerusalem on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 (screen capture)

Valerie Braham, widow of Philippe Braham, eulogizes her late husband during his funeral in Jerusalem on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 (screen capture)

“True, he will always be missing and he will always come back with the storms of longing, but slowly, slowly you will learn to live with him, he who is there but is not, who is present but is missing so much, who died but always lives in the heart. Believe me – it happens. It happened to many of my friends in the organization. What appears to be utter darkness now will be light that will shine from within the memorial candle and from within the tears, from within the eyes of the children, and from within the picture framed in black. What now seems weak and broken will become armor and steel.”

Phillipe Barham in an undated photo (photo credit: Facebook)

Phillipe Barham in an undated photo (photo credit: Facebook)

Bahrain is like Israel, Nasrallah says

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has compared “settlement activity” in Bahrain to the “Zionist enterprise.”

“Do you know what is going on in Bahrain? I don’t like to use the expression, but never mind, just for once… There is an enterprise there that is similar to the Zionist enterprise. There is settlement activity in Bahrain. There is an invasion there. There is an accelerated process of naturalization [of Sunnis] in Bahrain, with no end in sight,” Nasrallah said on Saturday, according to a translation by MEMRI.

“[Sunni] people are brought from all over the world, are given citizenship, jobs, and decent wages, and enjoy security and respect, whereas the original inhabitants, whose forefathers have been living there for thousands of years, are being deprived of their most basic rights, and if they express any political position, they are banished, imprisoned, or stripped of their citizenship. Intensive efforts are at work, day and night, to change the identity of the Bahraini people,” he says.

In Bahrain, at least 89 people have been killed in clashes with security forces since month-long Shiite-led protests were crushed in 2011. Hundreds have been arrested and put on trial, human rights groups say.

“The day will come when Bahrain is inhabited by another people,” Nasrallah continued. “This is just like what the Zionists are hoping for in Palestine – that the day will come when Palestine is inhabited by the Jews who are brought there from all over the world.”

AFP contributed

French comic’s arrest stirs free speech debate

Notorious French comedian Dieudonne is arrested Wednesday for condoning terrorism over a comment suggesting he sympathized with one of the Paris attacks gunmen, in a move that sparks a debate about free speech.

His lawyer David de Stefano says his arrest was “shocking.”

“We are in the land of freedom of expression? This morning, the government provided the demonstration of that,” he says sarcastically.

Dieudonne is a controversial figure who has made headlines in the past, most notably with his trademark “quenelle” hand gesture that looks like an inverted Nazi salute.

The polemicist’s arrest over his Facebook posts sparks huge debate over where freedom of expression starts and ends, particularly after France has for days vaunted the importance of free speech following killings that took aim at journalists among others. The arrest has set off sparring in light of the controversial nature of Charlie Hebdo itself, which has in the past provoked significant outrage.

Illustrative photo of anti-Semitic French comedian Dieudonne performing the anti-Semitic quenelle gesture (screen capture: YouTube)

Illustrative photo of anti-Semitic French comedian Dieudonne performing the anti-Semitic quenelle gesture (screen capture: YouTube)

AFP

Livni hails Labor’s victorious females

Hatnua party leader Tzipi Livni applauds the results of the Labor primaries, which placed MKs Shelly Yachimovich and Stav Shaffir in third and fourth place, behind Livni and party chairman Isaac Herzog. Overall, there are seven female candidates in the top 25 in the joint Hatnua-Labor list.

“No longer a maidaleh, no longer at the back of the bus, and no longer the person who will answer the phone at 3 a.m., because on our joint list women are front-and-center, and rightfully so,” Livni wrote in a Facebook post.

The 2015 elections will not only usher in “a political revolution,” Livni writes, “but also a social revolution for women — the day women become equal partners in running the state.”

Tzipi Livni on December 12, 2014. (photo credit: Flash90)

Tzipi Livni on December 12, 2014. (photo credit: Flash90)

Turkey blocks Charlie Hebdo cover online

A Turkish court decides to block access to websites featuring the cover of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, state-run news agency Anatolia reports.

“It has been decided that access to relevant sections of Internet sites that air Charlie Hebdo’s cover today will be banned,” it says.

Defying an attack a week ago by Islamist gunmen who shot dead many of its staff, Charlie Hebdo’s first post-attack edition Wednesday pictures a tearful Mohammed on its cover holding a sign saying “Je suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”).

AFP

Meretz tells Labor-Hatnua not to sit with Likud

Meretz party leader Zahava Gal-on calls on Labor-Hatnua to publicly commit to not sit in a future government with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, regardless of the election results.

“Netanyahu won’t reach a [peace] agreement, the issue has become an elephant in the room and no one is willing to touch it,” she says.

Meretz MK Zahava Gal-On. December 25, 2013. (Photo credit: Flash 90)

Meretz MK Zahava Gal-On. December 25, 2013. (Photo credit: Flash 90)

Kahlon seeking Finance portfolio

Former communications minister Moshe Kahlon says he will seek the Finance Ministry portfolio in the next government, should his Kulanu party sit in the next coalition.

“I will ask for the treasury,” he tells Channel 10. In the finance ministry “we can deal with the housing crisis, the cost of living, the social and economic gaps in the state of Israel.”

The popular chairman of the new Kulanu party also criticizes Netanyahu, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, and former finance minister Yair Lapid in a series of interviews to the Hebrew press.

Speaking to the Ynet news outlet, Kahlon terms Lapid’s run as finance minister “a huge squandered [opportunity].”

“Nineteen seats is huge, and offers a lot of power,” he says of the Yesh Atid party. “He could have done many things, but unfortunately he squandered it. We will do it.”

He tells the paper that in the ongoing political blame-game over Israel’s economic difficulties, all the participants — Netanyahu, Lapid, and Bennett — are at fault.

With regard to a peace deal with the Palestinians, Kahlon tells the Hebrew media that his party would support a future deal, but emphasizes in an interview with Haaretz that “right now there is no partner and no one to talk to on the other side.”

Kahlon says his conditions for a peace accord are: Jerusalem under Israeli control, annexation of the large settlement blocs, and no Palestinian law of return.

“Any agreement that will strengthen Israel — the Kulanu party will be there to support it,” he says.

Moshe Kahlon speaking in Tel Aviv on December 2, 2014. (photo credit: Flash90)

Moshe Kahlon speaking in Tel Aviv on December 2, 2014. (photo credit: Flash90)

Hamas says Charlie Hebdo cover is Zionist plot

The Hamas terror group denounces the publication of the new Charlie Hebdo issue, and says its release is part of a conspiracy by the anti-Muslim “Zionist lobby.”

“We condemn the latest publication of ‘Charlie Hebdo,’ which has caricatures offending the Prophet Muhammed,” spokesman Fawzi Barhoum says, according to Channel 10.

“The way the Israeli newspapers have dealt with the issue, with the blessing of the US secretary of state, is clear evidence that there is a plot, directed by the Zionist lobby, targeting Muslims, their culture, and the tolerance toward them by Western countries.”

Barhoum says publishing the latest issue is “a dangerous act,” adding that “all these campaigns against Islam, the Muslims, and the Prophet Muhammed must end.”

Iranian commander hurt in IS bombing — report

Channel 2 reports that a senior commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is seriously injured in a suicide bombing carried out by the Islamic State.

The report has not been confirmed, Channel 2 says.

Grand Mufti pans Charlie Hebdo cover

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammed Hussein condemns as an “insult” a new cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammed published on Wednesday by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

“This insult has hurt the feelings of nearly two billion Muslims all over the world. The cartoons and other slander damage relations between the followers of the (Abrahamic) faiths,” he says in a statement.

AFP

Romania has ‘critically important’ role in tracking UK jihadis

The British foreign secretary says Romania is helping to identify and track British nationals who are going to fight in Iraq and Syria or returning from combat.

Philip Hammond tells The Associated Press that Romania had a “critically important” role in keeping tabs on such people, an issue he discussed with Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu. Hammond says some of the estimated 400 Britons who had joined the jihadis had transited through Romania, but he didn’t give an exact figure.

AP

FM bashes European silence on Erdogan

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman Wednesday calls Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan an “anti-Semitic neighborhood bully” and accused Europe of contributing to increasing anti-Semitism on the continent by ignoring Erdogan’s recent anti-Israel statements.

In a wide-ranging foreign policy address, Liberman also predicts a “significant strategic breakthrough” between Israel and moderate Arab states by the end of the year, yet says that no advancement on the peace process was possible as long as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas remains in power.

Read Raphael Ahren’s full report here.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman. (Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman. (Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Bennett pans Kahlon for backing withdrawal

Shortly after Moshe Kahlon’s interviews to the Hebrew press are aired, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett criticizes him for backing territorial concessions to the Palestinians.

Linking to an article on Kahlon’s remarks, Bennett writes on Facebook: “Why are all the politicians competing among themselves who will hand over more territory of the land of Israel to the Arabs? They think the world will suddenly love us? That the Europeans will embrace us? That Syria, Hamas, and Hezbollah will lay down their weapons out of gratitude?”

“Enough. We will not hand over areas of our land to the Arabs. Period.”

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett in the Knesset plenum, October 27, 2014 (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett in the Knesset plenum, October 27, 2014 (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In his interviews, Kahlon had said that Bennett was responsible for the housing crisis, along with Netanyahu, Lapid. He said his party would support a peace agreement, if Jerusalem remained in Israel’s hands and absorbed the settlement blocs.

Several news reports had cited Kahlon as saying that Israel should ultimately retreat to the 1967 lines, but Kahlon said on Wednesday evening that he was misquoted, and is staunchly opposed to a withdrawal to the pre-Six Day War lines.

France to send aircraft carrier to Mideast

France’s president says the country will send an aircraft to the Middle East to work more closely with the US-led coalition against the Islamic State group.

A week after terror attacks around Paris left 17 people dead, President Francois Hollande says the situation “justifies the presence of our aircraft carrier.”

He speaks aboard the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier to members of the military.

France is already carrying out airstrikes against the extremist group in Iraq.

The Charles de Gualle aircraft carrier (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)

The Charles de Gualle aircraft carrier (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)

— AP

Hamas MPs meet, slam unity government

Hamas MPs in Gaza hold an exclusive meeting on Wednesday apparently defying the Palestinian Authority and criticize president Mahmoud Abbas, in a further sign of a failing unity pact.

They are meeting for the first time since the April unity deal, which ostensibly put an end to years of infighting between Gaza rulers Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah party.

Even months after Hamas and the Fatah-dominated PLO — which in turn dominates the PA — appointed a mutually-agreed central government, disputes that emerged shortly after the deal appear to be worsening.

“Neither the president nor anyone else can forbid parliament from meeting,” Hamas MP Salah al-Bardaweel says in a symbolic statement.

Hamas holds 78 of the Palestinian parliament’s 132 seats, and 25 of its MPs live in the Gaza Strip. Another 20 non-Hamas MPs live in Gaza, but did not attend the meeting.

Last year’s reconciliation pact was meant to pave the way for Palestinian general elections by the end of 2014, and to hand over control of Gaza in the interim from Hamas to the unity government, which took oath early June.

But there have been no sign of elections or a real transfer of power, despite Hamas’ stated willingness to relinquish its authority.

Senior Hamas leader Mahmud Zahar, also present, says the new government was a “failure.”

Mahmoud Al-Zahar (photo credit: Wissam Nassar/ Flash90)

Mahmoud Al-Zahar (photo credit: Wissam Nassar/ Flash90)

“We send a clear message: either the government must take up its responsibilities or resign,” he says.

Zahar blames Abbas specifically for failing to get a resolution passed at the UN Security Council last month that called for an Israeli forced withdrawal from the West Bank .

After the unity deal was signed, Hamas immediately demanded the new government pay the salaries of the 50,000 civil servants Hamas recruited after its takeover of Gaza in 2007, who took the jobs of 70,000 Fatah employees.

Partial payments of $1,200 each were made to 24,000 Hamas civil servants in late October. But the other 26,000, who work in security functions, have received nothing.

Hundreds of Hamas employees began a sit-in in front of the headquarters of the unity government in Gaza on Tuesday, vowing to stay until their salaries are paid.

Hamas MP Yahya Mussa says at Wednesday’s meeting that “Abbas and his government are committing a crime against Gaza workers.”

AFP

Gaza becoming ‘ripe’ for terror, Hamas official says

A Hamas official warns that the Gaza Strip could become a breeding ground for extremism unless reconstruction of the coastal enclave is accelerated.

“Our message to the world, which is scared of terrorism and extremism, is that the delay in rebuilding Gaza and the continuing blockade against it will make it a ripe environment for the spread of extremism and terrorism,” Khalil al-Haya tells a Gaza City meeting of MPs of Islamist movement Hamas.

“We warn of the consequences,” he said, without elaborating.

— AFP

Argentina accused of hiding Iranian involvement in ’94 bombing

An attorney involved in the probe on the 1994 AMIA bombing in Argentina, which killed 85 people, files a 300-page complaint which charges that President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Foreign Minister Héctor Timerma covered up the involvement of Iranian nationals in the attack, the Buenos Aires Herald reports.

“So, to clear the obstacle, and here is the criminal (aspect), the President (Cristina Fernández de Kirchner) ordered to divert the investigation, abandoning years of a legitimate demand of justice and sought to free the Iranian imputed (in the case) from all suspicions, contradicting their proved ties with the attack. She decided to fabricate ‘the innocence of Iran,’” the lawyer, Alberto Nisman, says.

The aftermath of the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires, Argentina (photo credit: La Nación (Argentina)/Wikipedia Commons/File)

The aftermath of the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires, Argentina (photo credit: La Nación (Argentina)/Wikipedia Commons/File)

Coulibaly said to have bought arms in Belgium

French Islamist gunman Amedy Coulibaly bought most of the weapons used in last week’s Paris attacks in Belgium, Belgian newspapers report.

The Kalashnikov rifle and rocket launchers used by brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi in the Charlie Hebdo magazine attack were bought by Coulibaly near the Gare du Midi railway station for less than 5,000 euros ($7,000), Flemish newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws reports.

The Scorpio assault rifle that Coulibaly used during a hostage-taking at a Jewish supermarket in Paris also came from Brussels, the newspaper says, quoting “very well placed sources.”

Belgian prosecutors decline to comment immediately when contacted by AFP.

French police released this photo of Amedy Coulibaly, suspected of killing a policewoman in Montrouge on January 8, 2015, and four people at a Paris kosher supermarket on January 9, 2015. (Photo credit: AFP/French Police)

French police released this photo of Amedy Coulibaly, suspected of killing a policewoman in Montrouge on January 8, 2015, and four people at a Paris kosher supermarket on January 9, 2015. (Photo credit: AFP/French Police)

Separately, a known trafficker from Charleroi, south of Brussels, hands himself in to police on Tuesday saying he had been in contact with Coulibaly in recent months, the Belga news agency reports. He says Coulibaly, who like the Kouachi brothers was shot dead by police, had wanted to buy a vehicle. The trafficker said he had conned Coulibaly at the time but went to police after the attacks because he was scared, Belga says.

During a search of his house police found documents indicating Coulibaly wanted to buy weapons and ammunition, including a Tokarev pistol of the sort used by the Frenchman during the supermarket attack, it says. The trafficker was now in custody, Belga reports.

The Flemish daily De Standaard says the claims Coulibaly bought the weapons in Belgium were “nothing more than a theory” at this stage.

But it points to a report in the French website Mediapart that Couilbaly, one of the Kouachi brothers and a third Islamist had tried to buy weapons in Belgium in 2010 during a bid to spring leading jihadist Smain Ait Ali Belkacem from jail.

AFP

Housing minister denies French settlement plan

Housing Minister Uri Ariel tells Channel 2 the reports on his plan to move a possible influx of French immigrants to West Bank settlements, and his reported call for expansion of the settlements, are false.

“The story is untrue. I asked the settlers council to identify places where in a short time they could place caravans — as in the Negev and in the Galilee, as was the case with the Russian immigrants in the 1990s,” Ariel says.

“We don’t apologize that we’re checking [housing options for French immigrants] in Judea and Samaria,” he later adds, contradicting himself. “We are doing a wide-ranging check.”

In case there is a mass wave of French immigration, “we are seeking to identify potential sites [in Israel and in the settlements] for hundreds of homes in the short term.”

Government figures show that of the 10,400 French immigrants who moved here in past two years, only 174 have made homes in the settlements.

Minister of Housing and Construction Uri Ariel at a press conference in Jerusalem on January 11, 2015. (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Minister of Housing and Construction Uri Ariel at a press conference in Jerusalem on January 11, 2015. (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

After Paris attacks, Dutch university cancels BDS event

A Dutch university cancels a panel discussion on boycotting Israel following the terrorist attacks in France.

VU University Amsterdam nixes Tuesday’s debate a day before it was scheduled to take place. The debate, which is organized by a group called Students for Justice in Palestine, features three speakers who are known for positions widely seen as being anti-Israel.

“We observed today that, in light of social unrest tied to the events of last week, the debate is causing feelings of exclusion and lack of safety within the university community,” Jaap Winter says in a statement published Monday on the university’s website.

The group says the university’s decision violated academic freedom and free thought. It held the debate off campus.

On Monday, the Joodse Omroep, a Dutch-Jewish broadcaster, published an interview with a Jewish student identified only as Sonja who said that she was afraid to return to the university when her internship outside the Netherlands ends.

“I don’t want to come back, and in fact I think it’s a bit scary,” she said, citing harassment of pro-Israel students and Jews.

On January 5, a Facebook user using the handle Muhammad Seher wrote on the Facebook page of Students for Justice in Palestine, “Free Palestine, Vrije Univesiteit Jew-free!”

He was responding to the group’s post that read “Free Palestine, Vrije Univesiteit Israel-free!”

JTA

IDF patrol comes under fire; no injuries

The IDF says an army vehicle was targeted by an unidentified gunman in the West Bank, causing damage but no injuries.

“Moments ago, shots were fired at a military vehicle near Halamish, causing damage to the vehicle. Forces are currently conducting a search in the area,” the army says in a statement.

PM likens France to pre-Inquisition Spain

During a closed meeting with the heads of France’s Jewish organizations Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu likened the complacency of French Jewry to the state of Jews in Spain prior to the Spanish Inquisition of 1492, which led to their expulsion from the Catholic kingdom, TOI’s Elhanan Miller reports from Paris.

Read the full report here.

Netanyahu says world must condemn Erdogan

Netanyahu says the international community must condemn the Turkish president for his remarks blasting the Israeli leader for “daring” to attend the Paris mass rally.

Netanyahu tells an AIPAC delegation that the war on terror will not be successful if the world continues to be silent in the face of the Turkish president’s criticism.

A file photo taken in April 2014 shows Turkey's then prime minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaking to members of Parliament from his ruling Justice and Development (AKP) Party. (photo credit: AFP)

A file photo taken in April 2014 shows Turkey’s then prime minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaking to members of Parliament from his ruling Justice and Development (AKP) Party. (photo credit: AFP)

Erdogan on Monday lashed out at Netanyahu for his presence at the march, which drew some 1.5 million people.

“How can you see this individual who carries out state terrorism by massacring 2,500 people in Gaza waving his hand?” he said

Earlier Wednesday, Liberman had denounced the international community’s silence on Erdogan, who he termed the “anti-Semitic neighborhood bully.”

Israeli embassy pulls controversial tweet

The Israeli embassy in Ireland published a post on Twitter two days ago featuring the Mona Lisa clad in a hijab and holding a missile. The image is stamped with the words: “Israel now, Paris next,” and the caption reads: “Don’t say we didn’t warn.”

The post was quickly removed, and a Foreign Ministry spokesman says the message was a “personal initiative which is not in line with the Foreign Ministry policy,” Channel 2 reports.

A screenshot of a Twitter post by the Israeli embassy in Ireland (screencapture: Channel 2)

A screenshot of a tweet by the Israeli embassy in Ireland (screen capture: Channel 2)

Photos emerge from Paris supermarket rampage

The Daily Mail posts photos from the HyperCacher security cameras, which the hostages are later being instructed to destroy.

In one photo, a shopper is shown with her hands against the wall, the gunman behind her. In another, several shoppers stand in an aisle, horrified, having just watched the four men being killed.

Other stills show the bodies of the Jewish victims sprawled on the floor.

About an hour after the rampage began, several shoppers are told to break the cameras, and are seen doing so. However, the footage, recorded on a remote hard drive, was not erased in the process, the report said.

Herzog touts ‘the future leaders of Israel’

At a Labor-Hatnua party event, chairman Isaac Herzog introduces the new party line-up as “the future leaders of Israel.”

“I’ve never been prouder than I am today,” Herzog says. He promises a “revolution” and says it “can’t be stopped.”

Channel 2 reports that the joint list will announce a candidate with a strong security background in the coming days.

The joint Labor-Hatnua list will be officially called the “Zionist Camp.”

Opposition head MK Isaac Herzog addresses the crowd at the funeral for four French Jews killed in an attack at a kosher supermarket in Paris, on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 (screen capture)

Opposition head MK Isaac Herzog addresses the crowd at the funeral for four French Jews killed in an attack at a kosher supermarket in Paris, on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 (screen capture)

Spanish FM opposes ‘unilateral steps’

Spanish Foreign Minister José Garcia Mallargo meets with President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem, and the two discuss the Palestinian statehood UN Security Council bid. Mallargo says Spain — which as of January 2015 is a member of the Security Council — is against “unilateral steps on both sides” and urges peace talks.

“There is no doubt that the issue of the recognition a Palestinian state will return in the future,” he says. “We believe that unilateral steps will not lead to an end of the conflict, but that negotiations, with the support of the international community, are the only way forward. We have asked both sides to avoid unilateral steps.”

President Reuven Rivlin (R) and Spanish Foreign Minister José Garcia Mallargo (L) (photo credit: Courtesy)

President Reuven Rivlin (R) and Spanish Foreign Minister José Garcia Mallargo (L) (photo credit: Courtesy)

Rivlin says: “We greatly appreciate the efforts of Spain to restart the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Spain is an important friend, and just as between friends, even when there are differences of opinion, our friendship remains.”

US designates Gaza leader as a terrorist

The US State Department designates as a terrorist a leader of a Gaza Strip-based group that has targeted Israel.

Abdallah al-Ashqar is “reported” to be a leader of Mujahidin Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, a group that since August has been designated as terrorist, the State Department says Wednesday in a release.

“Al-Ashqar also serves as a foreign relations official for the group,” the release says. “In addition to his leadership activity, al-Ashqar has sought missiles and other materials with which to attack Israel.”

The group, reportedly linked to al-Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks on Israel, including a rocket attack on Eilat.

Terrorist designation means a ban on all financial transactions with the named individual or group and a freeze on the designated entity’s US assets.

JTA

WH vows to fight ‘scourge’ of anti-Semitism

The Obama administration commits to stemming the “rising tide” of anti-Semitism, the White House chief of staff says.

“We will not waver in our commitment to defeat the scourge of anti-Semitism,” Denis McDonough says at an event Tuesday evening convened by the American Jewish Committee and Washington-area Jewish groups to show solidarity with France and its Jews after deadly attacks last week by Islamists.

“This is not an issue for any single community or nation to deal with by itself,” McDonough says at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington. “From the president on down, you have my commitment that we will wage this fight together.”

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough (screen capture: YouTube/ABC News)

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough (screen capture: YouTube/ABC News)

Also speaking at the Washington event, which drew 700 people, was the French ambassador to Washington, Gerard Araud.

“We are at war against terrorism, against radical Islam,” he says. “Journalists and Jews are on the front line of democracy.”

He also says that France was committed to protecting its Jewish population.

“We want the Jews of France to remain in France,” he says.

JTA

Israeli conductor: We need ‘new paths’ to peace

Israeli-Argentinian conductor Daniel Barenboim, a tireless campaigner for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, says “new paths” for peace are needed after last week’s attacks in France.

Barenboim, 72, who is renowned for his attempts to make peace through music, added that the situation in the Middle East is “much worse” now than when he set up a “peace orchestra” known as the East-West Divan orchestra with Palestinian scholar Edward W. Said in 1999.

“This is why any project that could encourage young people to seek contact with The Other is important,” he tells a news conference where he will perform on Saturday.

“We should look for new paths after what happened in France, and be inspired by nations where Jewish and Muslim communities live in peace,” he told a news conference in Madrid.

“We should look for another way to live and ask ourselves why these types of things happen,” he added.

Daniel Barenboim (photo credit: CC-BY-Alkan, Wikimedia Commons)

Daniel Barenboim (photo credit: CC-BY-Alkan, Wikimedia Commons)

El Al flight to Newark canceled

An El Al flight to Newark, New Jersey is canceled due to a shortage of pilots.

The airline casts the blame squarely on the pilots in a statement.

“Despite a decision by the labor court, which called on pilots to return to work immediately, the pilots continue to mess up the flight schedule,” it says.

Illustrative photo of a Boeing 747 El Al plane (photo credit: Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

Illustrative photo of a Boeing 747 El Al plane (photo credit: Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

Belgian shops threatened for stocking Charlie Hebdo

Four bookshops in Brussels receive letters warning of reprisals if they distribute the controversial first issue of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo since last week’s attacks, Belgian authorities say.

“I recommend that you do not spread these cartoons of our beloved Mohammed in this despicable Charlie Hebdo magazine, at the risk of reprisals against you and your horrible business,” the letters say, according to the Flemish newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws.

Belgian prosecutors say they are taking the letters sent to the bookshops late on Tuesday “very seriously” and are analyzing video footage and making other inquiries to find whoever wrote them.

“In the current context, this type of act is intolerable,” spokesman Laurens Dumont is quoted as saying by the Belga news agency.

AFP

Over 1,000 French sites hacked since attacks

More than 1,000 French websites have been targeted by self-described Islamist hackers in the week since the attack by jihadists on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo left 12 people dead, Internet security experts say on Wednesday.

Most of the hacks target relatively small sites operated by local government, universities, churches and businesses whose home pages were defaced with messages that included “There is only on God, Allah,” “Death to France,” and “Death to Charlie.”

Experts tell AFP that “cyber-jihadist” hackers from North Africa and Mauritania have claimed responsibility for the hijacking of over 1,000 sites since the January 7 Charlie Hebdo attack, and have threatened a surge of activity on January 15.

“For now it has been more cyber-vandalism than sophisticated, high-level attacks. We’re not yet dealing with very structured groups,” Francois Paget, an expert with software security company McAfee says.

Because of that, according to other industry insiders, it is difficult to know what form the threatened hacking on January 15 might take.

“On Thursday we may see, for example, attacks on higher-profile sites, organized group action, or a (complete) change of technique,” says Gerome Billois, senior manager at computer consultancy Solucom.

AFP

Anti-Semitic French comic to stand trial

Controversial French comedian Dieudonne will stand trial over comments suggesting he sympathized with one of the Paris attackers, a judicial source says.

Dieudonne, who was arrested earlier Wednesday and held for questioning, is due to be released in the evening before a later trial, the source adds.

French comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala performing the quenelle in 2008 (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)

French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala performing the quenelle in 2008 (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)

AFP

Reports of stabbing attack in Gush Etzion

Unconfirmed reports say there was a stabbing attack in a Rami Levy supermarket in the Gush Etzion region in the West Bank. The Palestinian attacker is said to have been shot and in serious condition. Details to come.

Reports say incident in Gush Etzion not terror

Reports indicate that the stabbing incident in the Gush Etzion region was criminal-related, and not a terror attack. Two suspects were said to be involved, one was caught and the second shot and badly hurt. The reports could not be immediately confirmed.

New Yorkers upset they can’t buy ‘Charlie Hebdo’

The latest edition of Charlie Hebdo may well have been the hottest unavailable item in New York, as phones at magazine and newspaper vendors rang off the hook with thousands of inquiries.

“This is all I’m doing today!” says Ami Patel, owner of the Around the World magazine and book store near Times Square — one of the city’s biggest purveyors of foreign publications.

“There’s a phone call every minute, plus walk-ins,” says Patel, who could barely finish a sentence before another call came in.

It is a similar story at other magazine sellers; even the New York-based cultural division of the French Embassy says it had not yet received any copies.

A sign which translates as "Charlie Hebdo - Sold Out" is displayed as a customer holds a copy of the magazine outside a newsagents in Dunkirk on January 14, 2015. (photo credit: AFP/PHILIPPE HUGUEN)

A sign which translates as “Charlie Hebdo – Sold Out” is displayed as a customer holds a copy of the magazine outside a newsagents in Dunkirk on January 14, 2015. (photo credit: AFP/PHILIPPE HUGUEN)

AP

High school strike ends

Israeli high school students end their strike after reaching an agreement regarding their scrapped school trips, following a one-day protest.

The details of the arrangement are not made public, but the trips are reportedly to resume beginning tomorrow.

The students are slated to return to school on Thursday.

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Times of Israel Live, January 14, 2015 (closed)

Hebrew press plays up funerals, school strike

Much ado is made in the press Wednesday about the burial of the four Jewish victims of last week’s Paris terrorist attack in Jerusalem, but a protest by high school students also garners significant attention in the tabloids.

President Reuven Rivlin’s remarks at the semi-state funeral take precedence in Haaretz‘s coverage of the eulogies, but the paper notes that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog also made an appearance, along with a French government representative. The paper places the crowd attending the funerals at about 2,000, but Israel Hayom cites a smaller “many hundreds” of people. Israel Hayom also says that they were laid to rest “in their home, in the land that they loved so much” — downplaying the fact that they were French Jews who lived in France.

Thousands of people attend the funeral of the four Jewish victims in Jerusalem on January 13, 2015. (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Thousands of people attend the funeral of the four Jewish victims in Jerusalem on January 13, 2015. (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Yedioth Ahronoth shunts the story down to Page 4, and reports that much of the crowd at the funerals were immigrants from France, and that of the four killed in the attack, one dreamed of moving to Israel, another had already bought an apartment, and a third intended to move.

Ilan Ben Zion

Read the full Hebrew media review here.