The Times of Israel liveblogged Monday’s events as they happened.
Trump threatens to cancel Iran deal over weak monitoring
US President Donald Trump is warning that Washington will walk away from a nuclear deal it agreed to with Iran if it deems that the UN agency monitoring the agreement is not tough enough in monitoring it.
In a message Monday to a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency read by US Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Trump says “we will not accept a weakly enforced or inadequately monitored deal.”
But Iran says the greatest threat to the deal is “the American administration’s overly hostile attitude.” Alluding to US assertions that the deal allows the IAEA to inspect Tehran’s military sites, Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi is urging the agency to “resist such unacceptable demands.”
London bomb suspects were refugees
A local official and media reports in Britain say the two suspects arrested over last week’s London subway bombing are an 18-year-old refugee from Iraq and a 21-year old believed to be from Syria, both of whom were fostered by a British couple.
The 18-year-old was detained Saturday at the port of Dover. The 21-year-old was held later the same day in Hounslow, west London.
Police are searching three addresses, including the suburban home of Penelope and Ronald Jones, who have served as foster parents for more than 200 children.
Local council chief Ian Harvey says he believes the 18-year-old is an Iraqi orphan who moved to the U.K. when he was 15. He says the 21-year-old was also a former foster child of the Joneses.
Amid tensions, US flies powerful warplanes over Korean Peninsula
The US military flies advanced bombers and stealth jets over the Korean Peninsula and near Japan in drills with South Korean and Japanese warplanes on Monday, three days after North Korea fired a missile over Japan.
The United States often sends powerful military aircraft in a show of force in times of heightened animosities with North Korea. The North launched its latest missile as it protested against tough new UN sanctions over its sixth nuclear test on September 3.
Today’s flyovers involve two B-1Bs and four F-35Bs from the US military and four F-15K fighter jets from South Korea, according to the South Korean and US militaries. The US and South Korean planes practiced attacks by releasing live weapons at a firing range in South Korea, the US Pacific Command said in a statement.
Rivlin slams ‘unacceptable’ world recognition of Iran
President Reuven Rivlin says that the recent global trend of furthering cooperation with Iran is “unacceptable” and flies in the face of Western values.
“The fact that Iran continue to regain more and more legitimacy, while Iranian leadership continue to call for Israel’s destruction is unacceptable,” Rivlin tells an annual gathering of foreign diplomats at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.
“This does not promote humanistic values. Values that are at the heart of our peoples, of our countries, and of our friendships,” he says.
Rivlin’s statement come hours before US President Donald Trump is set to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, with the Israeli leader expected to press Trump to dismantle or renegotiate the 2015 nuclear deal which offered Iran relief from punishing sanctions in exchange for having it roll back its nuclear program.
Iranian army chief warns Israel will not survive next 25 years
Iran’s new army chief warns that the “Zionist regime” will not exist in 25 years.
Speaking in the city of Qom, General Abdolrahim Mousavi says that the “heroic spirit and morale” of Muslim fighters would wear Israel down.
“That we say that the Zionist regime will not see 25 years later doesn’t mean that it will certainly survive for 25 years,” he says according to the semi-official Fars News Agency.
“There is a prerequisite for this famous sentence, that is if the Zionist regime makes any wrong move, Haifa and Tel Aviv will be razed down to the ground,” he adds.
Turkey puts 31 staff members from pro-Gulen daily on trial
Thirty-one former employees of a now shuttered Turkish newspaper that had backed the US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen go on trial charged with links to the failed 2016 coup.
Those on trial include writers and executives from the Zaman daily and its English-language sister publication Today’s Zaman, which were taken over by the state in March 2016 and shut down in July that year.
Both publications were closely aligned with Gulen, whom Turkey accuses of orchestrating the July 15, 2016, coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Gulen has strongly denied the charge.
Construction workers discover weapons cache containing anti-tank missiles
Construction workers uncover a cache of weapons during renovation work on a residential building in the northern city of Afula, police say in a statement.
Police officers were dispatched to the building on the city’s central Ben Yehuda Street after they received a call reporting a plastic bag containing ammunition.
Part of the road was closed as a bomb disposal unit entered the building where they found a live hand grenade, a stun grenade and three M72 Light Anti Tank Weapon missiles.
The weapons were confiscated and an investigation has been opened to determine their source, police say.
Liberal Jews picket Paris synagogue hosting Jerusalem chief rabbi
Several dozen people attend a Paris demonstration protesting French communal leaders’ welcoming of a deeply conservative Orthodox rabbi from Israel.
Approximately 40 Jewish protesters, some of them affiliated with Liberal congregations, join the rally outside the Buffault synagogue in Paris ahead of the arrival there of Shlomo Amar, a former chief rabbi of Israel and current chief rabbi of Jerusalem, with signs protesting what they said were misogynist and divisive statements he had made.
Amar has visited the French capital many times before. This was the first time that he was met by Jewish protesters, according to the La Croix daily.
Earlier this month, Amar equated Reform Jews with Holocaust deniers in an address concerning demands by followers of Liberal Judaism for changes in the rules of worship at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Amar has also called homosexuals “crazies” and “obscene people,” and has said that women are made to care for children and provide for their families so that men may become “great sages” in studying the Torah.
France says Iran nuclear deal ‘essential’ ahead of UN assembly
France warns that salvaging the Iran nuclear deal is “essential” to prevent other countries from seeking nuclear weapons as world leaders gathered at the United Nations.
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also tells reporters ahead of the opening of the General Assembly that applying pressure on North Korea with sanctions was the only path to address the crisis over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile tests.
Hurricane Maria intensifies to Category Two storm
Hurricane Maria strengthens to a Category Two storm with winds of 110 miles (175 kilometers) per hour as it menaced Caribbean islands already hard-hit by megastorm Irma.
The US National Hurricane Center expects Maria to grow into a “major hurricane” — a Category Three — later today with the French territory of Guadeloupe, the staging area for relief operations for several islands battered by Irma, in the crosshairs.
Warnings were also triggered for Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis and the British island of Montserrat.
Protesters for disabled rights block Jerusalem-Tel Aviv road
Activists campaigning for disabled rights disrupt traffic along the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway following a special Knesset debate on their effort to see government disability benefits raised to the level of minimum wage.
Route 1 was blocked off westward from the Motza junction a few kilometers from Jerusalem, causing a huge buildup of traffic trying to enter the capital city.
Before the debate the same highway was blocked eastwards between Latrun and Jerusalem as protesters drove slowly in both lanes on their way to the capital. Protesters also blocked a street near the Knesset in the capital, the latest in a series of actions meant to highlight the protesters’ plight.
The Knesset debate on the issue was the first since the protests began several months ago, coming while the legislature is on recess. Lawmakers from across the political spectrum urged the government to accept a new plan that would raise the monthly stipend from NIS 2,342 ($660) to NIS 4,000 ($1,130).
Giro d’Italia unveils challenging Israel start
Alberto Contador and Ivan Basso help unveil plans for a challenging start to the 2018 Giro d’Italia in Israel, the first time one of cycling’s three major races will begin outside Europe.
The two cycling stars attend a press conference in Jerusalem detailing the start for the Italian race next year, with the first three stages to be hosted by Israel from May 4-6.
It will begin with a time trial in hilly Jerusalem, followed by two other stages, one that will follow the Mediterranean coast from Haifa to Tel Aviv and another that will begin in Beersheba in the Negev desert and end in Eilat on the Red Sea.
It is a major coup for Israel, providing it with an opportunity to promote its tourism industry as it celebrates 70 years since the country’s creation.
— with AFP
Palestinian PM Hamdallah plans Gaza visit after Hamas concessions
Palestinian Auhtority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah is poised to visit Gaza for talks, a senior official says, after Hamas agreed on steps toward resolving a decade-long split with its West Bank-based rival Fatah.
Hamas announced Sunday it had agreed to demands by PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party to dissolve what is seen as a rival administration in Gaza, while saying it was ready for elections and negotiations towards forming a unity government.
Hamdallah plans to travel to Gaza City to meet Hamas officials and assert the government’s control over ministries, Nabil Shaath, a senior advisor to Abbas, tells journalists in the West Bank city of Ramallah, as a first step towards implementing a larger agreement.
“We await the first steps on the ground. We want to see Mr Hamdallah received by Hamas, the door to all the ministries open,” he says. “That really could happen in the next 24 hours.”
Trump adressing UN panel on reforming international body
US President Donald Trump is addressing a United Nations panel on “Management, Security and Development” aimed at discussing reform of the international body.
“It is truly is a new day at the United Nations,” US ambassador Nikki Haley says at the start of the meeting before Trump.
Watch the speech here.
Trump calls on UN secretary general to make ‘key cuts and changes’
US President Donald Trump tells a UN panel that key reforms must be made to improve the international body.
“We must make sure that no one member state shoulders the cost more than others,” Trump says. “We encourage the secretary general to make key cuts and changes to advance the United Nation’s vision.”
Trump says that he is only criticizing the UN so that it can be improved.
“We pledge to be partners in this work and I trust that you will push just reforms so that the United Nations will emerge as a force for peace and justice,” he told UN Secretary General António Guterres.
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley says that the United States seeks “not a cheaper, or smaller UN, but a better one.”
‘Ridiculous’ if Trump doesn’t back 2-state solution — Palestinian official
A senior Palestinian official says it would be “utterly ridiculous” if Donald Trump did not commit to the two-state solution, ahead of a meeting between the US president and Mahmoud Abbas.
Trump is due to meet Abbas on Wednesday before the Palestinian Authority president’s address to the United Nations General Assembly the same day. The US leader has been seeking to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, in search of what he has labeled the “ultimate deal.”
But Palestinian officials have grown increasingly frustrated at the failure of Trump’s team to commit to the two-state solution, the focus of international diplomacy since at least the early 1990s.
“It would be utterly ridiculous if Mr Trump doesn’t eventually say that,” Nabil Shaath, a senior Abbas adviser, tells journalists in Ramallah when asked about the two-state solution.
“What the hell are we negotiating? We are negotiating a diplomatic accord between Abu Mazen and Mr Netanyahu where they can meet each other? No,” he adds, referring to Abbas by his Arabic nickname.
Egypt plans to plug budget gaps with more foreign debt
Egypt’s finance minister says the country will face a $10 billion-$12 billion budget shortfall for the current 2017-18 fiscal year, and plans expanded foreign debt issuance to overcome it.
Finance Minister Amr el-Garhy told participants at the annual Euromoney Egypt Conference on Monday that economic reforms were ongoing.
Cairo secured a $12 billion, three-year bailout loan from the International Monetary Fund in November to support the program, enacting a tough subsidy cuts, a value-added tax and currency devaluation to qualify.
El-Garhy has announced plans to fill the gaps in recent press interviews, saying that Egypt will issue a 1.5 billion euro ($1.8 bln) bond by the end of November and another $10 billion in Eurobonds next year, with $3 billion to $4 billion issued by the first quarter of 2018.
Bulgarian Foreign Ministry condemns vandalism in Sofia Jewish cemetery
Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry condemns the vandalism of gravestones in a Jewish cemetery in the capital city of Sofia.
The vandalism occurred last week in the Jewish section of the Sofia Central Cemetery. It was first reported to the Shalom Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria, which posted photos of the damage on Facebook.
Загрижени членове на софийската еврейска общност се свързаха притеснени с нас, след като по-рано днес са се натъкнали на…
Photos show toppled gravestones, as well as one stone broken into three pieces.
Deputy Mayor Todor Chobanov, who is in charge of Sofia’s cemeteries, told Shalom Organization President Dr. Alek Oskar that all necessary measures will be taken to discover the perpetrators, as well as their motive, according to the group. The deputy mayor also expressed “sincere regret” over the vandalism, noting that it comes ahead of the Jewish high holidays.
“Bulgarian society is an example of tolerance, goodwill and respect among people of different ethnicity, religion and culture. Such actions are in complete contradiction with the moral choice of the Bulgarian society, which over the centuries has proved its worth in defense of the principles and values of humanism, tolerance, the rule of law,” the Foreign Ministry said, according to the Sofia Globe.
Trump says ‘bureaucracy’ holding UN back
US President Donald Trump warns “bureaucracy” is stopping the United Nations from realizing its potential.
“The United Nations was founded on truly noble goals,” he tells a UN panel on reforming the international body, adding that “in recent years the United Nations has not reached its full potential, because of bureaucracy and mismanagement.”
2 Palestinians sentenced to 18 years in prison for stabbing elderly women
Two East Jerusalem residents are sentenced to 18 years in prison for stabbing two elderly Jewish women in the capital last year.
The two were sentenced by the Jerusalem District Court for attempted murder, while a third man involved in the attack received a 25-month prison term for conspiracy to commit a crime and obstruction of justice.
The three, all residents of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, were all minors at the time of the attack last May.
In the May 10 attack, a group of five elderly Israelis were walking along the Armon Hanatziv promenade in the capital — in an area of the park known as the Peace Forest — when two Arab teenagers wearing masks pulled out knives and the “wooden handle of an ax” and attacked two of the women before fleeing the scene, police said at the time.
The victims, aged 82 and 86, were hospitalized in moderate condition. One of the women was a Holocaust survivor.
Trump, Xi speak by phone
US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping spoke by telephone, the White House says, amid an escalating crisis over North Korea’s ballistic and nuclear weapons programs.
Trump is currently in New York for the United Nations General Assembly but Xi — who has a major Communist Party congress that will cement his leadership for the next five years — is not attending the event.
Officials had said prior to the call that North Korea was likely to be the major topic of discussion. Trump is expected to make his first presidential visit to China later this year.
Maria named a ‘major’ Category 3 hurricane
Hurricane Maria strengthens to a “major” Category Three storm as it bears down on Caribbean islands still recovering from megastorm Irma.
The Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Maria was packing maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour (195 kilometers per hour).
Hurricane warnings were issued for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Martinique, St Lucia, and the US and British Virgin Islands.
Herzl’s grave vandalized in ‘bloodletting attack’
The grave of Theodor Herzl, considered the “visionary of the state of Israel,” has been vandalized in some form of “bloodletting attack,” officials from the Mount Herzl cemetery say.
Sigalit Bezaleli, the director of the cemetery, says a man of apparent Russian origin cut himself using a boxcutter and proceeded to drip his blood over the grave.
“He claimed that Herzl was responsible for the death of many Jews around the world,” she said, adding that he appeared to be mentally unstable.
The man was detained by police and received medical treatment, she said.
Father drowns in Jordan river trying to save daughter
A 46-year-old man has drowned in the Jordan River while trying to save his daughter, according to police.
The incident occurred near the Arik Bridge, police say. The man jumped into the river to save his 16-year-old daughter, who was in trouble due to the strong currents. The daughter was rescued safely.
Family members stopped passing motorists who pulled the father out of the water, but resuscitation attempts were unsuccessful.
New Year statistics: Israel’s population at 8.743 million, up 156,000 from last year
Israel’s population stands at 8.743 million on the eve of the Jewish new year, up some 156,000 people from the year before, according to data published by the Central Bureau of Statistics to mark Rosh Hashanah.
The population growth rate, which while slightly lower than last year’s was similar to recent years, was 1.8 percent, the report shows.
Jews make up nearly three-quarters of the population at 6.5 million residents, while Israel’s almost 1.8 million Arabs make up just over one-fifth of the population. Those of other backgrounds, including non-Arab Christians and those not categorized as members of a religious group by the Population, Immigration and Border Authority, make up less than 4.5% of the population, at 396,000 people.
Israel’s birth rate was 3.11 on the year, with 181,405 babies being born. The birth rate was the highest in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a club of mostly Western developed economies.
Russia court rejects family bid for files on vanished diplomat Wallenberg
A Russian court rejects a bid by the descendants of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg to force the FSB security service to release details on his death in a Soviet jail.
Wallenberg used his diplomatic powers to help thousands of Jews flee Nazi-controlled Hungary during World War II and has been compared to Germany’s Oskar Schindler. After the Soviets entered Budapest just before the end of the war, Wallenberg was detained and jailed in the notorious headquarters of the secret police in Moscow, where he is believed to have died.
Wallenberg’s niece Marie Dupuy in July launched a legal case against the FSB — the successor of the Soviet-era KGB and NKVD spy agencies — to force it to drop its refusal to release the full archive on the diplomat.
But after a one-day hearing in Moscow, a judge at the Meshchansky district court ruled in favor of FSB and decided to reject the plea to release the full archives.
US establishes first permanent military base in Israel
The United States is establishing its first ever official, permanent military base in Israel: an air defense base in the heart of the Negev desert, Brig. Gen. Tzvika Haimovitch, head of the IAF’s Aerial Defense Command, announces.
Dozens of US Air Force soldiers will be based at the new site, located inside the Israeli Air Force’s Mashabim Air Base, west of the towns of Dimona and Yerucham.
“It’s nothing less than historic,” Haimovitch says. It demonstrates the “years-old alliance between the United States and the State of Israel.”
The Israeli brigadier general tells reporters that the establishment of a permanent US base in Israel “allows us to improve our defense, in discovery and in interception and in preparedness.”
Haimovitch denies that the timing of the base opening was tied to any specific current event, and noted that the process of establishing it had been in the works for some two years.
Netanyahu, Trump set to meet on sidelines of UN General Assembly
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump are meeting in New York, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
The future of the 2015 nuclear accord signed between the six world powers and Iran, and Tehran’s entrenchment on Israel’s northern border in the framework of an agreement to end the Syrian civil war are the two issues set to dominate Netanyahu’s meeting with Trump.
The prime minister is also expected to address these topics at length during his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, which will take place shortly after Trump’s own address to the forum.
We must ‘address terrible nuclear deal’ with Iran, Netanyahu tells Trump
The media are ushered in for a brief photo op with President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu. As the cameras click, Netanyahu whispers to Trump, “This is called a feeding frenzy.”
Trump welcomes Netanyahu, calling him “a friend of mine for many years.”
He then says there is a “good chance for peace” with the Palestinians.
“We are going to be discussing many things, among them peace between them and the Palestinians. I think it would be fantastic,” Trump says.
He says Israel wants to see it, the Palestinians want to see it and the Trump administration wants to see it.
“There is a good chance for it to happen. Many people say there isn’t a chance but I think there is a good chance,” Trump adds. “People say it can’t happen; I say it can happen.”
Netanyahu tells Trump: “Under your leadership, the alliance between America and Israel has never been stronger and never been deeper.”
“I look forward to discussing with you how we can address together what you rightly call the terrible nuclear deal with Iran and how to roll back Iran’s growing aggression in the region, especially in Syria,” Netanyahu says.
Netanyahu to Trump: Peace with Palestinians and Arab world ‘goes together’
Responding to Trump saying that he thinks a peace deal is possible, Netanyahu says: “As you said, we will discuss the way we can seize the opportunity for peace between Israel and the Palestinians and between Israel and the Arab world.”
“I think these go together,” he adds.
Netanyahu thanks Trump for ‘America’s position toward Israel at the UN’
Netanyahu thanks Trump for supporting Israel at the United Nations.
“Under President Trump, America’s position toward Israel at the UN has been unequivocal, it’s been strong, it’s got both clarity and conviction,” Netanyahu says.
French teens get suspended sentences for vandalizing Jewish gravestones
A juvenile court in northeastern France suspends the prison sentences of five teenagers who vandalized a Jewish cemetery and damaged a Holocaust memorial.
The defendants, who were 15 to 17 in February 2015 when the vandalism occurred, were sentenced last week to eight to 18 months in prison for toppling and breaking some 300 gravestones in the Jewish cemetery in Sarre-Union, located in the Bas-Rhin region in Alsace. The cemetery is still in use.
A Holocaust memorial monument on the cemetery property also was vandalized.
Each defendant had faced up to seven years in prison. They all reportedly expressed regret for their actions during court hearings on Thursday and Friday.
The five are also each required to serve 140 hours of community service.
New York Center for Jewish History backs new head against right-wing attacks
The board of New York’s Center for Jewish History is defending its recently installed executive director over calls from right-wing groups for his dismissal.
A campaign against David Myers, formerly a prominent academic at UCLA, centers on his urging Israel to end its occupation in the West Bank. The critics say his service on the international board of the left-wing New Israel Fund and as a member of the advisory council of J Street, the liberal American Jewish Middle East policy group, disqualifies him from the leadership of a Jewish organization.
The attack against Myers began in earnest earlier this month with an op-ed written by Ronn Torossian and Hank Sheinkopf, both public relations executives with clients in Israel, and George Birnbaum, a former chief of staff to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The piece was published on Arutz Sheva and other right-wing Jewish news websites.
But the Center for Jewish History says in a statement that Myers “enjoys the full and unwavering support of the board and staff.”
The board’s statement noted receiving “a stream of vituperative emails” demanding that Myers be dismissed.
Eiffel Tower starts work on anti-terror upgrade
Work has begun to boost security at the Eiffel Tower as an anti-terrorism measure, city hall says, with bulletproof glass walls set to go up around the world’s most visited monument.
The changes come after a string of jihadist terror attacks in the French capital over the past two years in which more than 200 people have died.
A bulletproof glass wall will be installed around the monument’s gardens under the 30-million-euro ($36-million), nine-month works, the city’s tourism chief, Jean-Francois Martins, says.
Visited by 6 to 7 million people each year, the landmark already has a permanent police patrol.
Polish party leader denounces anti-Semitism, praises Israel
Poland’s most powerful politician denounces anti-Semitism and praises the “great” state of Israel at a ceremony honoring Poles who protected Jews during the Holocaust.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski, chief of the governing conservative Law and Justice party, spoke at an outdoor ceremony attended by Israeli, US and British officials and organized by From the Depths, a foundation established by descendants of Jewish Holocaust survivors.
In rare remarks on international relations, Kaczynski said Israel owes its existence to the “power of spirit, power of the mind, determination and courage” of its people. He denounced anti-Semitism as a “very dangerous” phenomenon that is expressed through hostility toward the country.
“In its way, in a real way, Israel is a great state,” Kaczynski said, calling the Mideast country an “outpost of our civilization.”