The Times of Israel liveblogged Monday’s events as they unfolded.
UN aid coordinator calls for ‘due legal process’ for World Vision Gaza chief
The United Nations’ Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory Robert Piper calls for a “due legal process” to verify Israel accusations against World Vision International’s Gaza head Muhammad el-Halabi.
The Shin Bet last Thursday said Halabi had siphoned large parts of World Vision’s aid donations to the blockaded Strip and handed the funds to Hamas.
“The allegations…raise serious concerns for humanitarian organizations working in Gaza,” Piper says in a statement. “Redirecting relief away from its intended beneficiaries would be a profound betrayal of the trust put in a senior manager by his employer and by the organization’s donors.
“If proven by a due legal process, these actions deserve unreserved condemnation; Gaza’s demoralized and vulnerable citizens deserve so much better.”
But, he adds, “We now need to wait for the legal process to take its course. Mr El-Halabi is entitled to his right to a fair trial. International human rights law requires the process to be prompt, thorough, independent, impartial and transparent.”
Iran ex-president Ahmadinejad writes to Obama over $2b court ruling
Iran’s former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad writes a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to “quickly fix” a US Supreme Court ruling that could cost Iran some $2 billion.
That April ruling allows families of victims of the 1983 Marine barracks bombing in Beirut and other attacks linked to Iran to collect monetary damages from frozen Iranian funds.
In the letter, which is posted on Monday on a website affiliated with Ahmadinejad’s office, he writes: “I passionately advise you not to let the historical defamation and bitter incident be recorded under your name.”
Ahmadinejad says he gave the letter to the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, which represents US interests in Iran. Embassy officials decline to comment.
Syrian official tries to reassure residents in Aleppo
A Syrian government official is trying to reassure residents of the government-held section of the city of Aleppo that consumer items will still be delivered to them despite a rebel offensive that cut a government route to the city over the weekend.
Governor Mohammad Olabi says on Monday that at least 10 fuel tankers were able to reach the government side of the city. He says consumer items would continue to be delivered to meet the residents’ needs.
A military officer says that trucks with food also entered the city, divided between government and rebel control, earlier in the day. The officer speaks on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to talk to reporters.
Spain naturalizes 220 Sephardim, including Jerusalem’s chief rabbi
The Sephardic chief rabbi of Jerusalem, Shlomo Amar, is among the latest group of recipients of Spanish nationality under that country’s law of return for descendants of Sephardic Jews.
The Spanish nationality is conferred on Amar Friday, according to the EFE news agency, along with 219 others. They are made Spanish nationals by a decree as per legislation that passed last year, under which descendants of Sephardic Jews with proven ties to Spain may naturalize as Spanish citizens. Over 4,300 have been awarded Spanish nationality under the law.
Hundreds of thousands of Jews fled Spain after 1492, when the Catholic Church and the country’s royal house instituted a campaign of persecution, forced conversion to Christianity and dispossession against Jews known as the Spanish Inquisition.
Spanish officials say they enacted a Sephardic law of return to correct that historical wrong. The legislation in Spain followed the 2013 passing of a Sephardic law of return in Portugal, where the inquisition began in 1536.
Aly Raisman earns spot in individual all-around finals in Rio
Jewish-American woman gymnast Aly Raisman earns a spot in the individual all-around competition at the Olympics in Rio.
Raisman takes the second spot for the American women ahead of all-around defending gold medalist Gabby Douglas and behind three-time world all-around champion Simone Biles.
The American women’s gymnastics team comes in first place in the qualifying for the team finals with a score of 185.238 points, ahead of second place China with a score of 175.279 and third place Russia with 174.620. The finals will take place on Tuesday.
Raisman also will compete in the individual competition in the floor exercise. Raisman won a gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics in the floor competition, performing a routine to “Hava Nagila.”
Raisman, 22, is the US women gymnasts’ team captain, and is nicknamed “Grandma” by her teammates.
Canada’s Green Party votes to support BDS movement
Canada’s Green Party votes to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.
At its convention in Ottawa over the weekend, party members endorse the BDS movement despite the party leader’s opposition to the measure.
The Green Party “supports a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict and we continue to advocate for good-faith negotiations,” party president Ken Melamed says after Sunday’s vote.
“This support is intended to further advocate to that end. Our members, like many Canadians, will continue to search for ways to support both sides while acknowledging the complexity of the various security, economic, and religious concerns,” Melamed adds.
Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May says she is “disappointed that the membership has adopted a policy in favor of a movement that I believe to be polarizing, ineffective, and unhelpful in the quest for peace and security for the peoples of the Middle East.”
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs condemns the party’s decision as “outrageous…the BDS movement, which seeks to censor and blacklist Israelis, is fundamentally discriminatory and utterly at odds with Canadian values.”
Man held for aiding Palestinian illegal workers to enter Israel
Police arrest a Bedouin man, 25, on suspicion of running a network transporting Palestinians into Israel illegally.
The man, a resident of Lakiya in the Negev, allegedly kept in contact with a Palestinian man who coordinated the smuggling of Palestinians across the Green Line.
The vast majority of Palestinians who sneak across daily do so in search of work, but a number of terrorists, including two cousins who carried out the Sarona shooting in Tel Aviv in May that killed four and wounded 41, have also used the smuggling networks to reach Israeli territory.
The man is suspected of arranging drivers, several of whom have been detained in recent weeks, to take the Palestinians to workplaces and towns across the south.
Trump to outline economic plan as he seeks to reverse slide
Donald Trump is focusing his economic message on boosting jobs and making America more competitive globally by cutting business taxes, reducing regulations and increasing domestic energy production.
With a speech Monday to the prestigious Detroit Economic Club, the Republican presidential nominee seeks to reset his campaign and delve into a subject — the economy — that is seen as one of his strengths. It also is aimed at showing that Trump is a serious candidate despite a disastrous stretch that has prompted criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike.
Trump has been immersed in controversy over his repeated criticism of a Muslim-American family whose son, an Army captain, was killed in Iraq, and his refusal for days to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan in Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary. He announced his backing of Ryan on Friday.
While polls have shown that voters have deep concerns about Trump’s temperament and fitness for office, he fares better on the economy. On that topic, recent polling puts him ahead of or on par with his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. She is set to deliver her own economic speech in Detroit on Thursday, one her aides say will lay out her plan for “the biggest investment in good-paying jobs since World War II.”
Israelis barred from entering Jordan over kippot
A group of Israeli tourists are prevented from entering Jordan because members of the group were wearing yarmulkes.
The incident occurred more than a week ago, but is first reported by Israel’s Channel 2 on Sunday.
The group was planning to travel to the Tomb of Aaron near Petra. The tomb is believed to be the burial place of the first High Priest, Aaron, the brother of Moses.
In December, an Israeli family was denied entry to Jordan at a crossing near Eilat because the husband and the couple’s sons wore kippot; they were told they could not enter Jordan with “Jewish items.” After that incident, Jordan told Israeli authorities it was a one-time error, according to Channel 2.
A Foreign Ministry official told Channel 2 that not allowing tourists carrying Jewish religious items in their bags to enter Jordan appears to be official policy. The ministry reportedly has sought clarification of the issue from Jordan.
Nepalese caretaker held for alleged abuse of 83-year-old
A Nepalese national is under arrest today on suspicion of abusing an 83-year-old Netanya man in her care.
The woman, 40, worked as the man’s caretaker, according to the Walla news site.
Her remand is extended by three days.
Migrant convicted of killing Swedish refugee center worker
A Swedish court on Monday sentences a teenage Ethiopian asylum seeker to psychiatric care for fatally stabbing a young woman working at a youth refugee housing center in January.
The teen, identified in court documents as Youssaf Khaliif Nuur, had been charged with murder but the district court in the southwestern town of Gothenburg found him guilty of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault.
A court-ordered examination found Nuur was mentally unstable, and this may have meant that he did not know that the stabs to Mezher’s thigh would cause her to bleed to death, the court said.
Mezher, a 22-year-old of Lebanese origin, was stabbed as she tried to break up a fight in the center for unaccompanied minors.
Ex-NBA All-Star Stoudemire opens new chapter in Israel
Recently retired NBA All-Star Amare Stoudemire insists he has plenty of basketball left in him.
Arriving in what he calls “my favorite city in the world” for a new chapter as a player for Hapoel Jerusalem, Stoudemire says he came to Israel to win — and to continue a spiritual journey to trace his Hebrew roots.
Stoudemire hosts some 140 Jewish and Arab kids at his basketball peace camp on Monday as he prepares to join the Israeli league. He says he’s not here for “fun” but to pursue the championship that eluded him in his 14-year NBA career.
He says he had offers from at least three NBA teams, but since none of them was a title contender “I decided to retire and bring my talents over to Israel.”
Israel looks to outlaw Hizb ut-Tahrir group
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan is working to outlaw the Hizb ut-Tahrir organization, saying its ideology was “identical to Daesh,” the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State jihadist group.
The group campaigns against a Jewish presence on the Temple Mount.
According to a statement from police Monday, its leaders “spread their extremist doctrine, which encourages terrorism and incitement.”
“It is inconceivable for an organization that incites and supports terror, and whose ideology is identical to Daesh, to operate in the State of Israel,” Erdan is quoted as saying in the statement.
— Judah Ari Gross
Israel’s Olympic air rifle hopeful Rikhter falls short
Sergy Rikhter, Israel’s great Olympic hope in the men’s 10m air rifle, finishes a disappointing 14th place today with 623.8 points.
Richter was expected to finish in the top 8 among 50 contenders and move to the next round, but failed to make the cut.
In 2012, Richter was one point away from making the championship round. He was European champion in 2013, the Ynet news site reports.
Delta begins limited flights amid global system outage
Delta Air Lines says limited flights have begun several hours after a computer outage grounded its flights around the world and stranded thousands of people.
The Atlanta airline says Monday that delays and cancellations are ongoing.
The airline says that a power outage at a facility in Atlanta at around 2:30 a.m. local time started the cascading meltdown.
Flights that were already in the air when the outage struck continued, but many flights remained grounded. Over the next several hours, only a handful of flights took off instead of the usual hundreds, according to flight-tracking services.
Doubled fines, traffic cameras for car pool lane violators
The Knesset Economy Committee approves today a new network of traffic cameras that will target drivers who misuse car pool lanes.
“The cameras will be installed by local councils starting in January 2017,” committee chairman MK Eitan Cabel (Zionist Union) says.
The decision also doubles the fine for driving in the lanes while not actually car pooling from NIS 250 ($65) to NIS 500 ($131).
Burst pipe, sinkhole shutter Route 412 for 5 days
Route 412, which runs southeast of the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, is being shut for five days after a burst pipe caused a sinkhole to form in the road.
The closed section stretches from the Shappirim Junction on Route 1 southward to the Beit Dagan Junction with Route 44.
Israeli judoka Sagi Muki beats Slovenia’s Drakšič in Olympic advance
Israeli judoka Sagi Muki secures Israel’s first significant Olympic advance, defeating Slovenian contender Rok Drakšič and advancing to the second round.
Muki won by Ippon, the highest possible score.
The 73-kilogram Muki is the reigning European champion in the lightweight class and a former two-time Israeli champion. Drakšič is a former European champion.
Chief rabbi calls to deal seriously with child abuse reports
Israeli chief rabbi David Lau publishes an open letter calling on educators to deal seriously with every report of child abuse of any kind.
The rabbi releases the letter Sunday evening at a conference of haredi Orthodox rabbis. It is first reported on the haredi Orthodox Kipa news website.
“To my great pain, we’ve recently witnessed horrific cases of abuse in our midst, cases in which children were hurt in their houses and their schools. How painful it is to hear that the very places that are supposed to provide a security and strength for our children, have become places of fear,” the letter reads.
“At this time, parents, teachers, relatives and all those engaged in the holy work of education must keep their eyes open and assist those who need it in any way possible. Burying our heads in the sand is not the answer to these difficult and painful issues, and everyone must take responsibility, even if these things do not affect him directly,” Lau writes. The rabbi also writes that “under no circumstances should these things be swept under the rug.”
The letter comes amid several new investigations and indictments of child sex abuse in the haredi Orthodox community.
Education Ministry announces new curriculum on Mizrahi Jewry
The Education Ministry announces Monday it will include new content on the history of Jews from Muslim lands in the history curriculum of the 2016-17 school year.
The decision follows a report by a government-established committee headed by poet and Israel Prize laureate Erez Biton that urged greater awareness and education about Mizrahi and Sephardi Jewish communities in Israel’s schools and public spaces.
The new curriculum will also include a larger focus on Mizrahi social protest movements such as the Black Panthers and the communities’ experiences of prejudice and marginalization in Israel.
Israeli judoka Sagi Muki defeats US’s Delpopolo to enter Olympic semifinals
Israeli judoka Sagi Muki defeats American Nick Delpopolo with an Ippon — the highest possible score in judo, which ends a round — in the Olympic men’s lightweight judo competition.
With the win just hours after his defeat of Slovenian former European champion Rok Drakšič, Muki advances to the semifinals, going farther than any Israeli yet in the Rio games.
Muki faces Azerbaijan’s Rustam Orujov in the semifinal match later tonight.
Islamic Jihad to boycott Palestinian local elections
Islamic Jihad announces Monday it will boycott local Palestinian elections scheduled for October 8, calling instead for national unity.
“We will not participate in the municipal and local elections,” the group says in a statement.
The movement, which is widely seen as an ally of the Islamist movement Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, says the elections are not an “appropriate way out of the Palestinian national impasse.”
Instead, the group calls on Hamas to reconcile with its rival Fatah, whose leader Mahmoud Abbas heads the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority.
Hamas announced last month that it would take part in the elections after boycotting the last vote four years ago.
Defense Ministry backtracks on comparing Iran deal to Munich agreement
The Defense Ministry on Monday issues a statement backtracking its apparent comparison of the Iran nuclear deal to the Munich agreement with Nazi Germany.
“The State of Israel and the Israeli defense establishment will continue to work in close and full cooperation with the United States, in deep appreciation and mutual respect,” the statement reads.
But, it adds, “Israel remains deeply worried that even after the nuclear agreement with Iran, the Iranian leadership continues to declare that its central goal is the destruction of the State of Israel, and continues to threaten Israel’s existence in words and deeds.”
The statement lists Iran’s “accelerating development of ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons,” as well as regime propaganda events such as a Holocaust-denying cartoon contest and a military parade featuring missiles on which “erasing Israel” is written.
It also notes the “ceaseless propagation of terrorism against Jewish and Israeli targets around the world.”
Despite these actions, which “deny the legitimacy” of the regime, the nuclear agreement has led to an influx of funds that, Israel says, will be used by the regime to further advance its missile and nuclear programs.
Putin eager to talk trade with leaders of Iran, Azerbaijan
Russian President Vladimir Putin says he’s eager to discuss new energy and transportation projects in the Caspian Sea region with his counterparts from Azerbaijan and Iran.
Putin holds separate talks on Monday with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev before all three leaders get together later in the day.
Their talks are expected to give a new push to the construction of a new international transport corridor running between Russia and India. The route through Azerbaijan and Iran is intended to increase trade by significantly reducing freight costs.
They also are expected to discuss the situations in Afghanistan and the Middle East.
6th grade yearbook predicts Sagi Muki’s Olympic participation
Channel 2 stumbles on a sixth-grade yearbook entry for Israeli Olympic judoka Sagi Muki that presciently predicts his Olympic performance.
כבר בכיתה ו' ידעו – בהצלחה בחצי הגמר! pic.twitter.com/cSTai6j1bn
— חדשות 2 (@Channel2News) August 8, 2016
The text next to his photo reads:
“There’s a lot to tell about Sagi,
he’s a judoka from a different planet.
Won 1st place in the Israel championship,
and second in the European championship.
Our Sagi is always reaching high,
and won’t refuse to take part in a future Olympics.
He also loves to play soccer and basketball.”
Muki advanced to the semifinal earlier this evening by defeating American opponent Nick Delpopolo by an ippon — the highest score in judo, which ends the match.
Pediatric hospital in Syria bombed, 13 killed
The international medical charity Doctors Without Borders says a hospital it supports, specializing in pediatrics, in a rebel-held northern Syria province has been destroyed by airstrikes that killed 13 people, including five children.
The group, known by its French acronym MSF, says Monday that two of four airstrikes hit the hospital directly and put it out of service. The group says the broad daylight airstrikes Saturday killed four hospital staff, five children, two women and two others. The bombing also destroyed the operating theater, intensive care unit, pediatric department, ambulances and a generator.
“The direct bombing of another hospital in Syria is an outrage,” says Silvia Dallatomasina, medical manager of MSF operations in northwestern Syria.
Hospitals, mostly in rebel-held areas, are regularly attacked. In July alone, 44 attacks were reported.
UK ‘Big Brother’ boots contestant over Holocaust remark
A British actor who was removed from that country’s “Celebrity Big Brother” apologizes for a Holocaust joke directed at a Jewish contestant and said that he will visit Auschwitz during a visit to Poland.
Christopher Biggins is removed from the popular reality television show on Friday after three warnings about tasteless remarks about bisexuals and the Holocaust, according to British news reports.
During his time on the program, Biggins, who is homosexual and has a civil union with a same-sex partner, blames bisexuals for the spread of AIDS.
Britain’s Channel 5 also releases the footage of an incident from last Monday for which he was also reprimanded.
Biggins tells fellow housemate Katie Waissel, who is Jewish, while she is waiting to use the bathroom in the Big Brother house: “You better be careful or they’ll be putting you in a shower and taking you to a room.”
He later admits in interviews that he was referring to the Nazi gas chambers.
He says he apologized to Waissel and “Big Brother” for the “trite, ridiculous remark.”
He and his partner are scheduled to visit Poland in October.
French teenage girl detained over suspected attack plot
Paris prosecutors say a counterterrorism judge is questioning a 16-year-old French girl who allegedly supports the Islamic State group and is suspected of trying to perpetrate an attack.
The Paris prosecutor’s office says the girl was using the social media app Telegram to spread calls by IS to commit violent acts.
Deputy prosecutor Laure Vermeersch says Monday that the judge may decide to file preliminary terrorism charges against the teenager, who was arrested last week in a Paris suburb and has been held in custody since then.
The investigators say the girl was “extremely radicalized” and was the administrator of a chat group dedicated to IS propaganda.
Pride parade killer beaten by prisoner after tearing up daughters’ photos
Yishai Schlissel, the murderer of teenager Shira Banki at the 2015 Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade, is beaten by a fellow prisoner and is hospitalized.
According to Channel 10 television, Schlissel tore up photos of the other prisoner’s daughters, telling the man they were dressed immodestly.
Israel’s Sagi Muki defeated in Olympic judo semi-final
Israeli judoka Sagi Muki is defeated by Azerbaijani Rustam Orujov in the semi-final of of the Olympic men’s lightweight judo competition.
Despite the loss, Muki is still in for a chance to win Israel’s eighth Olympic medal in the games’ history. He will fight Georgia’s Lasha Shavdatuashvili for the bronze medal later tonight.
Muki advanced to the semi-final earlier this evening by defeating American opponent Nick Delpopolo by an ippon — the highest score in judo, which ends the match.
Israeli judoka misses out on bronze at Rio Olympics
Israeli judoka Sagi Muki loses to Lasha Shavdatuashvili of Georgia for the bronze medal in the men’s under 73kg judo competition at the Olympic Games in Rio.