Likud minister attacks ‘shameful’ court decision to let US student into Israel
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Ministers slam ‘shameful’ court decision to allow Lara Alqasem into Israel

Interior Minister vows to prevent similar cases in the future; Hebrew University welcomes US student after supporting her legal battle against deportation

  • Interior Minister Aryeh Deri attends a Finance Committee meeting in the Knesset in Jerusalem on February 27, 2018. (Flash90)
    Interior Minister Aryeh Deri attends a Finance Committee meeting in the Knesset in Jerusalem on February 27, 2018. (Flash90)
  • American Lara Alqasem sits in a courtroom prior to a hearing at the district court in Tel Aviv, Israel, October 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
    American Lara Alqasem sits in a courtroom prior to a hearing at the district court in Tel Aviv, Israel, October 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
  • B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad, left, next to Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour, at a session of the UN Security Council, October 18, 2018. (Courtesy UN WebTv)
    B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad, left, next to Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour, at a session of the UN Security Council, October 18, 2018. (Courtesy UN WebTv)
  • The US consulate on Agron Street in Jerusalem. (CC BY-SA, Magister/Wikimedia)
    The US consulate on Agron Street in Jerusalem. (CC BY-SA, Magister/Wikimedia)
  • A screenshot from a video published by Hamas on October 18, 2018, appearing to show a member preparing a rocket for launch.
    A screenshot from a video published by Hamas on October 18, 2018, appearing to show a member preparing a rocket for launch.
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on September 16, 2018. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool/Flash90)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on September 16, 2018. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool/Flash90)
  • Illustrative: Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi (C), the head of the IDF's Southern Command, visits a home in Beersheba that was destroyed by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip on October 17, 2018. (Flash90)
    Illustrative: Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi (C), the head of the IDF's Southern Command, visits a home in Beersheba that was destroyed by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip on October 17, 2018. (Flash90)

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

Cabinet instructs IDF to step up response to Gaza violence

The security cabinet instructs the military to step up its response to violent riots at the Gaza border and to the rocket fire that damaged a home in Beersheba.

After a 5.5-hour discussion that ended around 2 a.m., the cabinet says the “rules of the game” must change and the severity of the IDF’s strikes should gradually increase. The new policy is slated to be implemented starting tomorrow.

However, the ministers add they aren’t closing the door on a truce deal, with efforts underway by Egypt and UN peace envoy Nickolay Mladenov.

French minister snubs Saudi conference over journalist’s disappearance

France’s finance minister is the latest high-level official or executive to cancel his attendance at an upcoming investment conference in Saudi Arabia amid doubts over the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Bruno Le Maire says on French television channel Public Senat that “I will not go to Riyadh next week” for the conference, known as “Davos in the Desert.”

He says the facts related to the disappearance of Khashoggi are “serious” and need to be explained by Saudi authorities.

Le Maire adds his decision doesn’t call into question the strategic partnership between France and Saudi Arabia.

Several top business executives have canceled their attendance, as has the head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde.

Turkish officials say that Khashoggi was killed and dismembered at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Saudi officials have denied the allegations as “baseless,” but haven’t provided evidence of the writer leaving the diplomatic mission alive.

— AP

Palestinian PM urges Khan al-Ahmar residents to ‘disrupt’ demolition

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah calls on the Bedouin residents of the small West Bank village of Khan al-Ahmar to “disrupt” the expected demolition of their community by the Israeli army.

On a visit to the ramshackle hamlet near Jerusalem, Hamdallah thanks residents for their “steadfast and nonviolent opposition to the Israeli occupation.”

He urges them to continue to oppose the IDF’s evacuation order in order to stymie the residents’ planned relocation to plots of land near the Jerusalem suburb of Abu Dis.

“This occupation will end, without a doubt,” Hamdallah tells residents, according to Channel 10 news.

The planned demolition of the tiny Bedouin encampment of some 180 souls has drawn vociferous criticism from abroad, with Israel and the International Criminal Court prosecutor in the Hague exchanging criticism this week.

Top Hamas official suggests PA or Israel were behind rocket attack

Senior Hamas official in Gaza Mahmoud al-Zahar accuses the Palestinian Authority of firing the rockets that hit Israel yesterday, Palestinian media reports.

Al-Zahar also claims there is a possibility that Israel or its allies launched the missiles, one of which hit a house in Beersheba.

Parents, baby killed in traffic accident near Dead Sea

Three family members, including a ten-month-old baby, are killed in a crash between a car and a bus south of the Dead Sea.

The other two victims are the baby’s parents, a man in his 30s and a woman in her 20s, who were driving with their daughter in a car on Route 90 when the accident occurred this morning.

Police suspect the accident was caused by a failure in the bus’s steering system. The bus driver and 13 passengers are injured and taken to Soroka hospital in Beersheba.

Turkish restaurant set on fire in German city of Chemnitz

German police say unidentified assailants apparently started a fire at a Turkish restaurant in an eastern city that saw violent anti-migrant protests recently.

Saxony state police say residents were woken up by a loud bang at the restaurant in Chemnitz early this morning, followed by smoke. They saw three people running away and getting in a car. The fire was quickly brought under control and no one was hurt.

A police statement says that “a xenophobic motive currently cannot be ruled out” but that they are investigating “in all directions.” They urge more witnesses to come forward.

Anti-foreigner violence erupted in Chemnitz after the killing of a German man in August in which migrants are suspects. A kosher restaurant was also attacked on the sidelines of one protest.

— AP

Biden: Trump loves, coddles, autocrats and dictators

Former US vice president Joe Biden says President Donald Trump may not “know what he’s doing” and coddles dictators.

The potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate tells CBS’s “This Morning” he’s concerned Trump “seems to have a love affair with autocrats” and “coddles” dictators, including North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and the Saudi ruling family.

Biden says Trump either “doesn’t know what he’s doing or he has an absolutely convoluted notion” of the US’s leadership in the world.

White House aides suggest that while Trump doesn’t criticize certain world leaders publicly, he’s willing to deliver tough messages behind closed doors.

Biden says he hopes Democrats don’t pursue Trump’s impeachment if the party takes over the House after November elections, saying, “I don’t think there’s a basis for doing that right now.”

— AP

Romanians suspected of pick-pocketing visitors at Church of Holy Sepulchre

Two Romanian tourists are arrested for allegedly pick-pocketing visitors at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The suspects, a 44-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman, are arrested after raising police officers’ suspicion by hiding the stolen goods — wallets, cellphones and credit cards — inside a public toilet cubicle nearby.

The suspects’ remand is extended until Saturday.

Trump threatens to close US-Mexico border over migrants

US President Donald Trump threatens to close the United States’ border with Mexico if it fails to stem the flow of migrants from Central America.

“I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught – and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!” he tweets.


Israel to allow soldiers to shoot Gazans at greater distance from border – report

Israel’s stepped-up response to violence on the Gaza border includes a green light for troops to fire at Gazans who are farther away from the fence than allowed until now, Haaretz reports.

The report says most ministers toned down their rhetoric at the nighttime cabinet meeting compared with their media statements, opting to wait for Friday’s expected demonstrations and for Egypt-led efforts to negotiate a long-term ceasefire before escalating the military’s response.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman had sought a more dramatic decision, according to the report, but most other cabinet members criticized him for offering no practical plan.

Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett is said to oppose a full-blown ground operation inside the Strip for now, but has pushed for increased military measures.

Minister were ordered not to give media interviews on the matter, the report adds.

Foreign Ministry condemns ‘despicable’ vandalism at Christian cemetery

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon condemns the vandalism of a Christian cemetery as a “despicable act,” saying Israel opposes hatred toward all religions.

Police opened an investigation yesterday into an apparent hate crime at a cemetery belonging to the Beit Jamal Monastery in Beit Shemesh where some 30 cross headstones were found vandalized.

Monks who visit the graveyard every few days discovered the damage and reported the incident to Israeli authorities.

— with Jacob Magid

In Hebrew video, Hamas warns Israel against making a ‘mistake’ in Gaza

Following Israel’s threats to step up its response to violence in the Gaza Strip, terror group Hamas publishes a threatening video of its own warning Jerusalem against making a “mistake.”

The video appears to show masked Hamas members preparing to launch advanced rockets, followed by a message in broken Hebrew meaning “You’d better read us correctly, a mistake won’t do any good.”

Hamas’s military wing also calls on Palestinians to join demonstrations on the border.

Family members killed in car crash near Dead Sea named

Kfir and Shira Avitan, both 28, from the northern city of Katzrin, are named as the victims of a fatal traffic accident this morning near the Dead Sea.

Their ten-month-old daughter Gaia was also killed when the family’s car collided with a bus on Route 90.

The bus driver says he lost control of the vehicle due to a malfunction in the steering system, which caused the front-left tire to burst.

The bus driver was injured in the crash, as were 13 of its passengers.

British official latest to pull out of Saudi conference over Khashoggi

Britain’s trade minister pulls out of a Saudi investment conference over the kingdom’s involvement in the disappearance and alleged slaying of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is the latest high-level Western official to drop out of attending next week’s summit in Riyadh.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra have also canceled, along with several senior business executives.

Britain’s Department for International Trade says Fox “has decided the time is not right for him to attend the Future Investment Initiative.”

Britain says it is “very concerned” about the disappearance of Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul earlier this month. Turkish officials say he was killed and dismembered there.

— AP

Pope indicates willingness to visit North Korea

South Korea’s president meets with Pope Francis in a private audience, and his office says that the pontiff indicated his willingness to visit North Korea.

The South Korean presidential office says in a statement that President Moon Jae-in “conveyed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s desire for a papal visit to North Korea.” A formal invitation directly from North Korea will follow.

The office says Francis said that “if the invitation comes, I will surely respond to it, and I can possibly go.”

Kim initially indicated his desire for a papal visit during a Korean summit last month.

If it materializes, such a visit would be the first by a pope to North Korea.

— AP

Putin blames Crimean school shooting on ‘globalization’

Russian President Vladimir Putin says yesterday’s mass school shooting in Crimea is the result of “globalization” and the continuation of an American trend.

“It’s a result of globalization. On social media, on the internet, we see that there is a whole community that has been created. Everything started with the tragic events in schools in the US,” he says at a forum in Sochi.

He says unstable young people are creating “fake heroes for themselves” and “reaching out for a surrogate for heroism” in the absence of the real thing.

“We’re not creating healthy (internet) content for young people… which leads to tragedies of this kind,” he says.

“But there is a place for real heroism in today’s life,” he says.

A rescuer carries an injured victim at a college in the city of Kerch in Crimea on October 17, 2018 (Photo by KERCH.FM / AFP)

An 18-year-old identified as Vladislav Roslyakov killed at least 20 students at a college in the Moscow-annexed peninsula before killing himself.

More than 40 others were injured in what local press dubbed “Russia’s Columbine,” a reference to a 1999 US high school massacre.

Authorities said they were working to establish the motive for the attack.

An ex-girlfriend told Russian state media Roslyakov had spoken to her about taking revenge for bullying at the school.


US effectively downgrades its main diplomatic mission to Palestinians

The United States says it is placing its main diplomatic mission to the Palestinians under the authority of its embassy to Israel.

The State Department says that merging the Jerusalem Consulate with the newly opened Jerusalem Embassy will achieve “significant efficiencies.” But the move also has symbolic significance, by in effect downgrading the standing of the consulate.

For years, the consulate has served as a de facto embassy to the Palestinians, reporting straight to the State Department in Washington. Placing it under the authority of the embassy could be seen as suggesting American recognition of Israeli control over east Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The Palestinians cut ties with the US after US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last year and moved the American embassy to Jerusalem.

— AP

Ultra-Orthodox protest in Jerusalem against military draft, try to block roads

Three ultra-Orthodox men are arrested during a protest in Jerusalem against drafting members of the community to the army.

Police say several extremist demonstrators tried to block roads during the protest near the military recruiting station in the capital. Police officers forced them off the road and detained them, according to a statement.

Putin: Russia would only use its nuclear arms in retaliation

Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow would only use its nuclear weapons in response to an incoming missile attack.

Putin says Russia’s military doctrine doesn’t envisage a preventative nuclear strike. He notes that Russia would only launch a nuclear strike if its early warning systems spot missiles heading toward its territory, adding that “the aggressor should know that retaliation is inevitable.”

Speaking at a policy forum, Putin warns that “when we see a coming strike on the territory of Russia, we will retaliate.” He acknowledges it will mean a global catastrophe, but emphasizes that “we can’t be those who initiated it.”

“We would be victims of aggression and would get to Heavens as martyrs,” while those who would launch the strike would “just die and not even have time to repent.”

— AP

UN Security Council begins discussion on Middle East

The United Nations Security Council begins a meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the recent flareup in the Gaza Strip and the imminent demolition by Israel of the West Bank Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar.

The UN envoy to Middle East peace, Nickolay Mladenov, criticizes the expected demolition, saying it is “contrary to Israel’s obligations and to international law.”

Hagai El-Ad, the executive director of left-wing human rights group B’Tselem, is also scheduled to speak at the meeting.

Mladenov condemns rocket attack on Beersheba as ‘dangerous escalation’

The UN envoy to the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov condemns the terror attack at the Barkan Industrial Park in the West Bank, as well as the killing of a Palestinian driver by a rock suspected to have been thrown by Israeli settlers.

Addressing the UN Security Council, Mladenov calls on all parties to condemn terror “in all its forms.”

He slams the rocket attack on Beersheba yesterday as a “dangerous escalation.”

In his speech, Mladenov says that “the situation in Gaza is imploding,” adding that “every single person in Gaza now lives below the poverty line.”

He also says Gaza should be returned to the rule of the Palestinian Authority, following harsh PA criticism that he has “overstepped” his mission by brokering a deal between Hamas and Israel without including its rival Palestinian faction in the process.

Michael Oren hails US’s East Jerusalem consulate restructure as ‘great day’

MK Michael Oren praises the US move to place its Jerusalem consulate under its Israel embassy, saying it signals support for the Jewish state’s claim to the entirety of the holy city.

Calling it a “great day,” Oren says in a tweet that the move “ends the last vestige of American support for the city’s division.”

B’Tselem chief slams Israeli government in Security Council speech

Hagai El-Ad, executive director of left-wing human rights group B’Tselem, rejects Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s criticism of his organization and calls for international action against Israel over the expected demolition of Khan al-Ahmar in his UN Security Council speech.

“You will never silence us – nor the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who reject a present founded on supremacy and oppression, and stand for a future built on equality, freedom, and human rights,” he says, addressing the government that called him a “traitor.”

“We do not focus on how many is the right number of states to achieve a ‘solution,'” El-Ad adds. “Instead we focus on the realization of human rights. That is why we reject the occupation. We reject it because the current reality is wholly and utterly incompatible with what is right and what is just. It is a reality wholly and utterly incompatible with a life of freedom and dignity for all 13 million people – both Israeli and Palestinian – living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. And that is the future we strive for.”

— with Raphael Ahren

WATCH LIVE: UN Security Council meets on Israel, Palestinians

Mother whose house was hit by rocket says incident was a ‘miracle’

Miri Tamano, the mother of three who saved her kids yesterday by taking them to a shelter seconds before a rocket hit her home in Beersheba, says the incident was a “miracle.”

“I’m a bit riled up. A miracle happened to me and that’s what’s important,” the 39-year-old tells reporters.

“I heard the siren while sleeping,” she adds. “I thought it was in a dream or that I was imagining it, but then I came to my senses and realized it was real. I immediately ran and told the kids: ‘Run to the shelter immediately.’ I held them so that they don’t fall at the stairs. Straight after everyone went in I closed the door.”

The rocket then hit the house and destroyed a large portion of it.

“We hadn’t even sat down and we heard a boom,” she says, thanking emergency responders for arriving quickly and saying it is important to go to shelters and close the door, because “had I not closed the door, there would have been fatalities.”

‘Shame on you,’ Israel’s UN envoy tells B’Tselem chief at Security Council

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN heckles B’Tselem director Hagai El-Ad at a Security Council meeting on Israel and the Palestinians, telling him in Hebrew: “Shame on you. Shame on you, you collaborator.”

Danny Danon argues that by bringing an Israeli to the Security Council, the Palestinians have proven the strength of Israel’s vibrant democracy.

“Find a Palestinian… who could dare defame his government at the Security Council,” he says. “At best he would be thrown in jail. But more likely he would be killed.”

— with Raphael Ahren

After sexual misconduct claims, journalist Dan Margalit quits Haaretz

Veteran Israeli journalist Dan Margalit, who has recently been accused by six women of sexually assault and harassment, announces his resignation from the Haaretz daily, where he was a columnist, and from all his activities in journalism.

“In light of the scandal that has arisen, I have decided to suspend myself from journalistic work,” Margalit says in a statement.

Margalit, 80, was a senior writer for Haaretz in the past and currently writes op-ed columns for the paper. He has also hosted television shows and authored books, as well as worked for other print and online media outlets over the years.

Haaretz reported yesterday about the allegations. All of the women told similar stories of incidents that allegedly took place during the 1980s and 1990s. Margalit, the women recalled, would choose moments when he was alone in a room with them, back them up against a wall or a heavy object, and then forcibly press himself against their bodies. On some occasions, Margalit also exposed himself, some of the women said.

US Treasury Secretary to skip Saudi investment conference amid Khashoggi case

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he has pulled out of next week’s Saudi investment summit, in another major reversal for Riyadh following the suspected murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“I will not be participating in the Future Investment Initiative summit in Saudi Arabia,” Mnuchin announces on Twitter after meeting with US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Pompeo just returned from Saudi Arabia and briefed Trump on the status of the investigation into the journalist’s disappearance in Turkey.

Mnuchin’s announcement sends stocks tumbling on Wall Street.


Supreme Court accepts Lara Alqasem’s appeal against her deportation

The Supreme Court accepts US student Lara Alqasem’s appeal against her deportation and will be allowed to study in Israel, in a major blow for Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan, who has been insisting she is a threat to Israel.

Israel’s top court overturns a previous ruling by a lower court against Alqasem, who has been accused by the government of promoting a boycott against the Jewish state.

She will now be able to study at the Hebrew University, which supported her in her legal battle during more than two weeks of detention at Ben Gurion Airport.

Netanyahu denounces B’Tselem chief’s UN speech as ‘full of lies’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slams B’Tselem director Hagai El-Ad’s speech at the UN Security Council.

“As our soldiers prepare to defend Israel’s security, B’Tselem director chooses to deliver a speech full of lies at the UN in an attempt to help Israel’s enemies,” Netanyahu says in a statement after El-Ad called for international action against Israel.

“B’Tselem’s conduct is a disgrace that will be remembered as a short and temporary episode in our nation’s history,” he adds.

Lara Alqasem’s lawyers hail Supreme Court decision as ‘victory for free speech’

US student Lara Alqasem’s lawyers, Yotam Ben Hillel and Leora Bechor, say the Supreme Court’s decision to let her into Israel in a “victory for free speech, academic freedom, and for the rule of law.”

Israel’s top court ruled that the student can study a semester at the Hebrew University, concluding that she isn’t a BDS activist, but added that if Alqasem participates in boycott activities she will be deported immediately.

“Israel has the right to control its borders, but that right does not give the Ministry of Interior unchecked power to turn away anyone it deems unwanted,” the lawyers say in a statement, adding that the ruling ensures that “no one else should be denied the right to enter Israel based on sloppy Google searches and dossiers by shadowy smear groups.

“Lara’s case proves that thought-policing has no place in a democracy.”

Likud minister attacks ‘shameful’ court decision to let US student into Israel

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) criticizes the Supreme Court’s decision to allow US student Lara Alqasem to enter Israel, arguing the country’s top court is “acting against Israeli democracy.”

Calling the ruling “shameful,” Levin, says it “creates a green channel for boycott activists to enter the country and continue to harm the state.”

MK Tamar Zandberg of the opposition Meretz party welcomes the ruling, saying it is an “important victory in the struggle to keep Israel a liberal democracy, free from thought police.”

Hebrew University ‘looks forward to welcoming’ Lara Alqasem

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem says in a statement that it “looks forward to welcoming our newest student, Lara Alqasem, as she begins her M.A. in Human Rights & Transitional Justice at our law school next week.”

The institution supported the US student in her legal challenge to Israel’s entry ban, arguing that she isn’t a BDS activist as the government claimed.

Interior minister vows to prevent future cases like Alqasem’s

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri calls the Supreme Court’s decision to let US student Lara Alqasem into Israel a “disgrace,” adding that he will investigate “how to prevent such an event from happening again.”

“Where is our national respect?” Deri tweets. “Would she also dare to act against the country and demand to stay and study in it?”

US offers reward for jihadist who urged attacks on Jews over Jerusalem

The United States offers a $5 million reward to find Al-Qaeda leader Khalid Batarfi, who urged worldwide attacks on Jews and Americans after Washington recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The Saudi-born Batarfi is a veteran of the jihadist fighters who backed the Taliban in Afghanistan and has become a senior leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which the United States considers the global network’s deadliest branch.

In a video released in January, Batarfi called US President Donald Trump’s precedent-breaking declaration on Jerusalem “a declaration of a new Jewish-Crusader war” and called on Muslims to “rise and attack the Jews and the Americans everywhere.”

The US State Department says it is offering $5 million to anyone who can lead authorities to Batarfi or contribute to his arrest or prosecution.

Screen capture from video of Khalid Batarfi, a senior figure with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. (YouTube)

The United States also raises from $5 million to $10 million the reward offered for Qasim al-Rimi, considered the emir of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

He is already under US and UN sanctions after being linked to a deadly 2008 attack outside the US embassy in Yemen and for his alleged support to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called underwear bomber who unsuccessfully tried to blow up a US-bound flight on Christmas Day in 2009.

Formed by the 2009 merger of Al-Qaeda’s Saudi and Yemen operations, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has carved out its own territory in war-battered Yemen despite being frequently targeted by US drones.

Ministers accused Liberman of having ‘no plan’ on Gaza, leaked transcript shows

Government minister sparred during yesterday’s cabinet meeting over the correct response to the Gaza violence, with at least two members criticizing Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman for having “no plan,” Hebrew-language media reports.

Hadashot TV publishes a transcript from a leaked portion of the meeting:

Liberman: “We need to deal a hard blow to Hamas.”

Construction Minister Yoav Gallant: “We understand that you want to be viewed as the most ‘right-wing’ and ‘security-oriented,’ I have no problem to go now to the media and explain all of our positions and expose you.”

Intelligence Minister Israel Katz: “What is a ‘hard blow’? If you’re talking about an attack, war, and conquering of Gaza, say it. You haven’t brought any proposal to topple Hamas in Gaza. A comment here in the room is not a plan.”

Liberman: “I’m not in favor of conquering Gaza.

Katz: “So you have nothing, you have no plan.”

Trump sent Ron Lauder to meet PA officials without informing Israel — report

US President Donald Trump sent businessman Ronald Lauder for secret meetings with Palestinian Authority officials without notifying Jerusalem, Hadashot TV reports.

Lauder’s meetings with Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and intelligence chief Majed Faraj, among others, were meant to convince them to persuade PA President Mahmoud Abbas to cooperate with Trump’s yet-unveiled peace plan, according to the report.

Ronald Lauder in Leipzig, Germany, Aug. 30, 2010. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images, via JTA)

The message the US administration wished to convey was: “It will be worth it to resume negotiations, the ‘Deal of the Century’ will pleasantly surprise him.”

The step wasn’t coordinated with Israel, or even with Trump’s negotiations team members Jason Greenblatt and Jared Kushner, the report says.

Erdan slams ruling in favor of Lara Alqasem as ‘big victory for BDS’

Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan decries the Supreme Court decision to allow US student Lara Alqasem to study in Israel as a “big victory for BDS.”

Erdan says in a statement that the ruling “indicates a misunderstanding of the BDS groups’ method of operation, and harms Israel’s ability to fight the boycott activists who harm all of us.”

“The court played down the extremist and anti-Semitic characteristics” of Students for Justice in Palestine, for which Alqasem was the president of a local branch, he adds.

The decision has enabled “all boycott activists in the world to come to Israel and claim that ‘at the moment’ they don’t support a boycott,” he says, vowing to change the current law to close the “loophole opened by the Supreme Court.”

Prosecutors set to indict teen bike rider over death of his friend

Israel’s prosecution is leaning toward filing charges against a 16-year-old rider of an electric bike in connection with the death of his friend, 17-year-old Ari Nesher.

Nesher was killed last month after a drunk driver — soccer player Yitzhak Asefa — hit the pair as they rode the bike in Tel Aviv, Channel 10 cites a high-ranking official in the state prosecution as saying.

After ruling, US student released from detention facility, allowed into Israel

US student Lara Alqasem is released from the detention facility at Ben Gurion Airport, where she was held for over two weeks, and allowed to enter Israel.

The step comes after the Supreme Court accepted Alqasem’s appeal against Israel’s intention to deport her over her past membership in Students for Justice in Palestine, which supports the BDS boycott movement against Israel.

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Likud minister attacks ‘shameful’ court decision to let US student into Israel

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) criticizes the Supreme Court’s decision to allow US student Lara Alqasem to enter Israel, arguing the country’s top court is “acting against Israeli democracy.”

Calling the ruling “shameful,” Levin, says it “creates a green channel for boycott activists to enter the country and continue to harm the state.”

MK Tamar Zandberg of the opposition Meretz party welcomes the ruling, saying it is an “important victory in the struggle to keep Israel a liberal democracy, free from thought police.”