Ministerial committee okays new draft of ‘Muezzin Bill’
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Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah delivers a speech from Beirut, Lebanon on May 12, 2016. (Screen capture: Press TV)
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah delivers a speech from Beirut, Lebanon on May 12, 2016. (Screen capture: Press TV)

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

Ministerial committee okays new draft of ‘Muezzin Bill’

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved a new draft of a bill that would limit the volume of broadcasts from houses of worship — the so-called Muezzin Bill.

The new proposal also limits the volume of such noises during the daytime hours as well as the very early morning, Ynet reports.

The bill will be brought before the Knesset for a preliminary hearing before being sent back to committee.

Israeli journalist Yitzhak Livni dead at 83

Veteran Israeli journalist Yitzhak Livni is dead aged 83. Livni formerly ran Israel’s public broadcaster, was head of Army Radio and was a chair at Channel 2 news.

Israeli journalist Yitzhak Livni in 2011 (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

Israeli journalist Yitzhak Livni in 2011 (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

Turkish soldier killed in northern Syria

One Turkish soldier was killed and three others wounded in clashes Sunday with Islamic State (IS) jihadists in Syria’s Al-Bab region, local media reported, citing military sources.

Turkish troops and their Syrian rebel allies on Saturday entered Al-Bab to drive IS jihadists from the flashpoint northern town, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Turkish army launched an ambitious campaign inside Syria on August 24 codenamed Euphrates Shield to clean its border from IS jihadists and stop the advance of Kurdish militia.

— AFP

Galilee church reopens 20 months after Jewish attack

The church in northern Israel where Christians believe Jesus performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes reopened on Sunday, 20 months after an arson attack by Jewish extremists.

Two rooms of the church complex in Tabgha on the Sea of Galilee were vandalized and badly damaged in a June 2015 fire.

A priest inspects the damage caused to the Church of the Multiplication at Tabgha, on the Sea of Galilee, in northern Israel, which was set on fire in what police suspect was an arson attack, June 18, 2015. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

A priest inspects the damage caused to the Church of the Multiplication at Tabgha, on the Sea of Galilee, in northern Israel, which was set on fire in what police suspect was an arson attack, June 18, 2015. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

Christian dignitaries and donors attended a ceremony and mass in the Roman Catholic church, with the complex reopened to pilgrims following eight months of renovation work at a cost of around a million dollars, of which the State of Israel contributed almost $400,000.

Three Jewish extremists were indicted for the attack on the church where Jesus fed the multitude by multiplying loaves and fishes, in what was termed a hate crime against Israel’s minority community.

The three have yet to be sentenced.

— AFP

Hamburg halts flights after toxin injures dozens

BERLIN (AP) — German firefighters on Sunday evacuated hundreds of passengers at Hamburg Airport after 50 people were injured by an unknown toxin that likely spread through the airport’s air conditioning system.

All flights were halted for several hours due to the evacuation, airport spokeswoman Karen Stein said.

“We have canceled all flight at least until 2 p.m. (1300GMT) and most parts of the airport have been evacuated,” she said.

More than 50 people complained of breathing problems and burning eyes and firefighters were examining them to find out whether they had to be taken to the hospital, the German news agency dpa reported.

Those who were evacuated from the airport had to wait outside the terminals in freezing temperatures.

Firefighters designated special areas outside the airport building where physicians were examining those injured by the unknown toxin.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.

Jewish Agency launches new aid projects in Africa

Jewish Agency chief Natan Sharansky heads to Africa to kick off the organization’s new volunteer aid project in Uganda and South Africa. Project TEN brings Jewish volunteers from around the globe to help underdeveloped communities.

Sharansky will visit volunteers at projects in Namulanda, Uganda, and Durban, South Africa. “The highlights of both visits will be the festive dedication ceremonies, which will be attended by local dignitaries and representatives of partner organizations,” the Jewish Agency says in a statement.

‘Anti-Trump’ Steinmeier elected Germany’s new president

Billed as Germany’s “anti-Trump”, Germany’s former foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier of the center-left Social Democrats was elected Sunday as the country’s ceremonial president in a vote held in the national parliament.

Steinmeier, 61, was voted in as head of state for a five-year term with 931 out of 1,239 valid votes by a special Federal Assembly, made up of lawmakers and state deputies as well as artists, writers and other citizens.

–AFP

Nazi-era German anthem plays at US tennis match

After an outdated stanza of the German national anthem was sung during the opening ceremonies, the United States took a 1-0 lead and was ahead in the other opening match in its best-of-5 Fed Cup quarterfinal Saturday.

Alison Riske beat Andrea Petkovic 7-6 (10), 6-2, and CoCo Vandeweghe led Julia Goerges 6-3, 3-1 when rain halted play.

The stanza of the anthem that was sung dates to World War II-era Germany and brought a stern response from Petkovic, and an official statement of apology from the United States Tennis Association.

Petkovic, who was born in Bosnia, said in the German-speaking portion of her press conference that she considered walking off the court as the anthem went on.

“I thought it was the epitome of ignorance, and I’ve never felt more disrespected in my whole life, let alone in Fed Cup, and I’ve played Fed Cup for 13 years now and it is the worst thing that has ever happened to me,” Petkovic said after her loss.

The USTA responded quickly with its official statement.

“The USTA extends its sincerest apologies to the German Fed Cup team and all of its fans for the performance of an outdated national anthem prior to today’s Fed Cup competition,” the statement said. “In no way did we mean any disrespect. This mistake will not occur again, and the correct anthem will be perfrormed for the remainder of this first-round tie.”

Riske was apologetic in her press conference.

“As it was happening, obviously, we have no idea,” Riske said. “But news got around to us and it’s extremely unfortunate. We have nothing but respect for the German team and obviously that will not happen again.”

Following the completion of the suspended match Sunday, the sides will play reverse singles and a doubles match.

— AP

70-year-old critically hurt in Jerusalem blaze

A 70-year-old man was critically injured in a fire that broke out in his Jerusalem apartment. The wheelchair-bound man received emergency medical treatment on site in the southern neighborhood of Gilo.

Nasrallah hails efforts to reach Syria ceasefire

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah says the Lebanese Shiite terror group supports efforts to reach a ceasefire in Syria, where it’s fighting to prop up President Bashar Assad.

“Hezbollah and Iran support the ceasefire, the reconciliations, and the political settlement in Syria, while some Arab states are still backing the military option,” he is quoted by Lebanon’s Al-Manar saying.

PA raps new draft of ‘muezzin bill’

The Palestinian Authority slams an Israeli bill prohibiting the use of loudspeakers in houses of worship overnight as an attack on religious freedom.

“[The PA] considers the bill…dangerous damage to the freedom of worship in Jerusalem, the capital of the Palestinian state,” Palestinian Authority government spokesperson Yusuf al-Mahmoud tells the official PA news outlet Wafa.

“In city of Jerusalem and in the rest of our country, Palestine, all its sons of different beliefs have lived throughout successive periods of history… with respect and harmony,” he says.

“The Arabic, cultural and religious inheritance of Jerusalem stretches into the depths of history, and in this respect, it is inconceivable that [Israel] could blow this up… by imposing a ridiculous and dangerous law that deprives anyone of the Abrahamic religions from upholding their faith, and performing their rituals and religious duties,” he adds.

He implores Arab and Muslim states and the international community to prevent Israel from enacting the law.

If the bill passes its initial reading in the Knesset, expected to take place on Wednesday, it will be sent back to committee, after which it will again come before the plenum for its second and third readings prior to becoming law. The backing by the ministerial committee gives the bill coalition support.

Violators of the proposed legislation will be fined NIS 10,000 ($2,600).

— Dov Lieber

Trump aide: White House could take more action for immigration ban

US President Donald Trump’s chief policy adviser says the White House is exploring “all of our options” after a federal appeals court handed the administration a legal setback on Trump’s executive order on immigration.

Stephen Miller tells NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the White House could pursue “additional executive actions” — as Trump suggested on Friday — as well as judicial appeals.

Miller says the goal is to pursue “every single possible action to keep our country safe from terrorism.”

He’s also criticizing judges for taking “power for themselves that belong squarely in the hands” of the president.

— AP

Israel to bar entry to ex-Peruvian president on the lam

The Foreign Ministry says it will not let former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo, who’s suspected of accepting bribes, to enter Israel from the US.

“Mr. Toledo will be allowed to enter Israel only after his affairs are settled in Peru,” the Foreign Ministry says in a statement.

11 hurt in collision between car, military vehicle in Galilee

At least 11 people were injured, two seriously and one critically, in a collision between a military vehicle and a private car in northern Israel’s Galilee.

Paramedics airlifted the critically hurt person to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. The others were evacuated to Ziv Medical Center in Safed.

Hezbollah says ‘foolish’ US president doesn’t worry him

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah says he’s not worried about the new “foolish” president in the White House.

‘Islamophobia’ fueling terrorism, UN chief says

“Islamophobia” in parts of the world is fueling terrorism, the head of the United Nations says on a visit to Saudi Arabia on Sunday, as anti-immigrant sentiment rises in some countries.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres makes the comment to reporters after talks with Saudi King Salman, Crown Prince and Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef, and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“One of the things that fuel terrorism is the expression in some parts of the world of Islamophobic feelings and Islamophobic policies and Islamophobic hate speeches,” Guterres says at a joint news conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.

“This is sometimes the best support that Daesh can have to make its own propaganda,” Guterres says, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group of Sunni extremists in Syria and Iraq.

— AFP

No unchecked settlements under Trump, Netanyahu warns

Netanyahu tells the cabinet during a stormy meeting on Sunday that anybody who thinks there will be no restrictions on West Bank settlement construction during the Trump administration is mistaken, Channel 2 reports.

The more than four-hour meeting comes just before Netanyahu heads to Washington to meet Trump.

Right-wing ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked reportedly pressured Netanyahu to tell Trump that there would be no future Palestinian state, while Netanyahu warned against possible conflict with the president, saying “we need to take his personality into account,” Channel 2 reports.

The meeting ended a short while ago, and the Prime Minister’s Office says that the minister presented their positions on issues ranging from Iran, Syria and the Palestinians to Israel’s relations with the new administration.

“All the ministers agreed that there’s great importance to strengthening ties with the US on the governmental and personal level,” the PMO says in a statement.

Contrary to Channel 2’s description of the meeting as “stormy,” the PMO took care to note that the meeting was “relaxed and professional.”

Jewish Home MKs go to bat for Livni

Jewish Home lawmakers throw their weight behind Tzipi Livni’s appointment as deputy secretary general of the United Nations.

MK Bezalel Smotrich writes on Twitter that it’s an “excellent idea, as a Zionist, a patriot and a veteran [stateswoman] — I’m sure she will do excellent work.” He says it shouldn’t be a black and white partisan issue. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked backs him up.

Islamic State leader said injured in airstrike

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Bahgdadi was reportedly seriously injured in a recent airstrike, several Iraqi news outlets say.

The Iraqi television station al-Hura cited a security source saying Baghdadi and other senior members of the terror group were injured two days ago in an airstrike in Iraq.

The security source also said Baghdadi has been living in an underground bunker, and was targeted while meeting with the group’s leadership.

Since the rise of the Islamic State, there have been multiple reports about airstrikes injuring or killing Baghdadi, but none have been confirmed.

— Dov Lieber

Police lift roadblocks from East Jerusalem neighborhood

Police have removed the barricades from the entrance to the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, more than a month after they were put up in the wake of a terror attack committed by a resident, a spokeswoman says.

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Live updates (closed) Latest: Police lift roadblocks from East Jerusalem neighborhood

Ministerial committee okays new draft of ‘Muezzin Bill’

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved a new draft of a bill that would limit the volume of broadcasts from houses of worship — the so-called Muezzin Bill.

The new proposal also limits the volume of such noises during the daytime hours as well as the very early morning, Ynet reports.

The bill will be brought before the Knesset for a preliminary hearing before being sent back to committee.