State prosecution mulling probe over German submarine deal
search
Live updates (closed)Latest: Hasidic volunteers searching landfill for lost tefillin come up empty

Yair Lapid to BBC: Jeremy Corbyn has a problem with Jews

Yesh Atid chair slams UK Labour leader for position on Israel, says anti-Zionism is the same as anti-Semitism; Netanyahu’s lawyer tells AG there was no conflict of interest in submarine deal

Raoul Wootliff is the The Times of Israel's political correspondent.

  • Monday, Oct. 31, 2016 photo, Israeli Knesset member, Yair Lapid, leader of the Yesh Atid party, spoke during an interview with The Associated Press, in his office at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
    Monday, Oct. 31, 2016 photo, Israeli Knesset member, Yair Lapid, leader of the Yesh Atid party, spoke during an interview with The Associated Press, in his office at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
  • The INS Rahav, a Dolphin class made by German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp, sets off from the German port of Kiel toward Haifa, December 17, 2015. (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
    The INS Rahav, a Dolphin class made by German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp, sets off from the German port of Kiel toward Haifa, December 17, 2015. (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
  • Minister of Health Yaakov Litzman during a Knesset plenary session, January 11, 2016. (Photo by Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
    Minister of Health Yaakov Litzman during a Knesset plenary session, January 11, 2016. (Photo by Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
  • Israel begins construction of a segment of the security barrier in the West Bank (YouTube screenshot)
    Israel begins construction of a segment of the security barrier in the West Bank (YouTube screenshot)
  • In this Monday, November 7, 2016 file photo, an Army carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Sgt. 1st Class Matthew C. Lewellen past Army Secretary Eric Fanning, fifth from right, Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Marcel Lettre, third from right, and Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, right, Army vice chief of staff, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.
    In this Monday, November 7, 2016 file photo, an Army carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Sgt. 1st Class Matthew C. Lewellen past Army Secretary Eric Fanning, fifth from right, Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Marcel Lettre, third from right, and Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, right, Army vice chief of staff, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.
  • Iran's heavy-water nuclear facility is backdropped by mountains near the central city of Arak, Iran, on January 15, 2011. (AP/ISNA, Hamid Foroutan, File)
    Iran's heavy-water nuclear facility is backdropped by mountains near the central city of Arak, Iran, on January 15, 2011. (AP/ISNA, Hamid Foroutan, File)

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

UN watchdog chides Iran on 2nd nuclear deal breach

The head of the UN atomic watchdog criticizes Iran after a second minor breach this year by Tehran of the 2015 nuclear deal with major powers.

A report by the International Atomic Energy Agency last week showed that Iran’s stock of so-called heavy water had inched above the level agreed under the landmark accord. Heavy water, a modified form of normal water, is used in certain types of nuclear reactors.

“Iran has since made preparations to transfer a quantity of heavy water out of the country,” which will bring it below the ceiling, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano tells the agency’s board.

“It is important that such situations should be avoided in future in order to maintain international confidence in the implementation” of the deal, he says.

The July 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers states that Iran’s “needs” are estimated to be around 130 metric tons of heavy water.

— AFP

Huckabee apologizes for blaming vandalism on ‘Jewish liberals’

Mike Huckabee apologizes for posting a false news report blaming “liberal, Jewish” students for an alleged hate crime that involved a mention of President-elect Donald Trump.

The story, appearing on the Conservative Tribune website, blamed an attack in March at Northwestern University on “liberal, Jewish Northwestern students” seeking to smear Trump and his supporters.

Daily News columnist Shaun King exposed the story’s false claims on Wednesday, and Huckabee removed the post from his Facebook page.

“They accused me of spreading false information and hatred, and demanded an apology,” Huckabee says of the Daily News. “And they’re right, I do owe readers an apology.”

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee speaks at Inspired Grounds Cafe in West Des Moines, Iowa, January 31, 2016. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee speaks at Inspired Grounds Cafe in West Des Moines, Iowa, January 31, 2016. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

In the removed posting, captured in a screenshot by King, Huckabee only shared the article, but summarized it in the comment part of the posting, starting, “Everything You Know is Wrong Dept.”

“They’re two liberal, Jewish Northeastern students who were trying to smear Trump and his supporters,” Huckabee’s post said.

The Chicago Tribune did not identified the accused, Anthony Morales, 19, and Matthew Kafker, 18, with any political allegiance or otherwise suggest that the attack was a false flag bid to smear Trump, nor did it say they were Jewish.

— JTA

8 months in prison for praising Hezbollah on Facebook

The Hadera Magistrate’s Court gives an eight-month prison sentence to a Arab Israeli man for praising the Lebanese Shiite terror organization Hezbollah and inciting to violence and terror on Facebook.

Arab father of three Abed Jabareen, 32, also receives a six-month suspended sentence.

Jabareen operated a Facebook account under the name Abed Jbareen Jbaree, garnering more than 1,000 friends and 744 followers, the court heard.

Between December 2014 and May 2015, he published six posts praising Hezbollah and calling on others to support it.

One post said, “Hezbollah are the victors. May God protect them and let Hassan Nasrallah [the organization’s secretary general] and Hezbollah achieve victory over the dogs of IS (so-called Islamic State) and Israel, and say Amen!”

Dutch prosecutor urges fine for anti-Islam lawmaker Wilders

Prosecutors are asking a Dutch court to convict populist anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders and fine him 5,000 euros ($5,360), saying he deliberately insulted and incited hate against Moroccans.

The politically charged trial centers on comments that Wilders made before and after the Dutch municipal elections in 2014. At one meeting in a Hague cafe, he asked supporters whether they wanted more or fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands. That sparked a chant of “Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!” — to which he replied “we’ll take care of it.”

Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam Freedom Party, holds a sign reading "No Hate Imams in the Netherlands" in Utrecht, central Netherlands, April 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam Freedom Party, holds a sign reading “No Hate Imams in the Netherlands” in Utrecht, central Netherlands, April 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

Prosecutor Wouter Bos said Thursday that the court should “send a clear signal that statements like these do not belong in the Netherlands.”

Wilders has branded the case a political trial and is refusing to attend. The verdict is scheduled for December 9.

— AP

Muezzin bill bruited again as minister hints at end to opposition

A bill to limit the volume of calls to prayer at mosques may be revived after opposition from an ultra-Orthodox party appeared to have buried it.

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, from the United Torah Judaism party, may reportedly lift his objection to the bill if an exception can be included for Jewish rituals.

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman in his office in Jerusalem (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman in his office in Jerusalem (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

The minister had feared that the bill, approved by a government committee on Monday, would also limit sirens used to announce the start of the Jewish Sabbath and holidays.

“Discussions are ongoing,” Litzman’s spokesman says.

— With AFP

MK petitions High Court over public broadcaster stalling

MK Eitan Cabel of the Zionist Union party presents a petition to the High Court over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conduct regarding a new public broadcaster, currently slated to begin programming in mid 2017.

The petition asks why Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon have not responded to a request from the new broadcaster, Kann, to bring programming forward to January.

The newly built control room at the offices of the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation, in Tel Aviv. August 29, 2016. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

The newly built control room at the offices of the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation, in Tel Aviv. August 29, 2016. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

 

The new corporation was founded following a wide-reaching reform passed by the Knesset last year and aims to replace the dilapidated Israel Broadcast Authority, but Netanyahu has repeatedly delayed its launch and is now looking to cancel the entire project.

Hillel U program launched to train campus staff members

Hillel International launches a new program, Hillel U, to offer training for some 1,000 professionals working for Hillels on campuses across the country.

The program, launched with $10 million in what the organization calls “new investments,” aims to making Jewish life “exciting and relevant for young Jews,” the group says in a statement.

The program will establish a new Center for Jewish and Israel Education, which will offer in-person training sessions each year.

Hillel also announced the launch of the Leonard and Tobee Kaplan Supervisory Leadership Program to “train Hillel professionals in supervision and personnel management skills to make Hillels even greater places to work.”

These programs follow Hillel’s announcement in March of a series of two-year Springboard Fellowships, which aim to place 500 recent college graduates on campuses across the country for training as Jewish professionals.

Mayors from around the world visit Israel

Two American Jewish groups are hosting mayors from around the world in Israel, as part of a conference highlighting Israeli innovation.

Twenty-six mayors from countries around the world — including in North and South America, Europe and Africa — are visiting the Jewish state as part of a conference organized by the American Jewish Congress and the American Council for World Jewry.

The mayors will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, local municipalities and Israeli technology entrepreneurs in the fields of health, security, water and the environment, as well as visit the telecommunications group Bezeq Telecom and a Tel Aviv start up.

“We expect that as a result of this visit, we will create a better understanding of the political environment and greater longer term cooperation between Israel and the mayors’ home countries,” AJC president and ACWJ Chairman Jack Rosen says in a statement.

Twenty of the mayors signed a statement criticizing the recent adoption by two UNESCO committees of proposals that deny Jewish connections to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and other holy sites in Israel. The statement was to be presented to Netanyahu during their meeting with the prime minister this afternoon.

— JTA

Russia starts blocking LinkedIn network

Russian internet providers are blocking the LinkedIn professional networking site after a state watchdog found it broke a law on personal data storage.

“The social networking site LinkedIn has been added to a register of violators… and submitted for blocking by internet operators,” Roskomnadzor communications watchdog says in a statement on its website.

Roskomnadzor’s spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky says in televised comments that “in the course of today a large number of internet providers should block” the site.

LinkedIn says it was “starting to hear from members in Russia that they can no longer access LinkedIn.”

The hashtag LinkedIn was topping the trends on Twitter in Russia as the news emerged.

“Roskomnadzor’s action to block LinkedIn denies access to the millions of members we have in Russia,” the US-based company says.

President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists Thursday that the blockage is “in strict accordance with the law” and the Kremlin will not interfere.

— AFP

US refutes Jordan’s claim Americans sparked deadly shooting

The US Embassy in Jordan is refuting Amman’s claim that its trainers sparked a deadly shooting incident at a Jordanian military base this month by disobeying orders from Jordanian soldiers. The shooting killed three Americans.

The three slain Americans were assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) from Fort Campbell, Kentucky. They were identified as 27-year-old Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Lewellen, of Lawrence, Kansas; 30-year-old Staff Sgt. Kevin J. McEnroe of Tucson, Arizona; and 27-year-old Staff Sgt. James F. Moriarty of Kerrville, Texas.

They died after the convoy they were in came under fire as it entered the al-Jafr air base in southern Jordan on November 4. The Americans were in Jordan on a training mission.

In this Monday, November 7, 2016 file photo, an Army carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Sgt. 1st Class Matthew C. Lewellen past Army Secretary Eric Fanning, fifth from right, Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Marcel Lettre, third from right, and Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, right, Army vice chief of staff, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.

An Army carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Sgt. 1st Class Matthew C. Lewellen, November 7, 2016 (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)

 

Embassy spokesman Eric Barbee says investigators are considering all possible motives and “have not yet ruled out terrorism as a potential motive.”

After the shooting, Jordan’s state news agency Petra reported that the slain American military trainers had disobeyed direct orders from Jordanian troops, which led to a deadly exchange of small-arms fire.

Barbee says there’s “absolutely no credible evidence” for the claim. Jordan later issued a different statement removing the claim.

— AP

Visiting mayors sign statement criticizing UNESCO

Visiting Israel as part of a conference organized by the American Jewish Congress and the American Council for World Jewry, a group of mayors from countries in North and South America, Europe and Africa signed a statement criticizing the recent adoption by two UNESCO committees of proposals that deny Jewish connections to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and other holy sites in Israel.

The statement was to be presented to Netanyahu during the mayors’ meeting with the prime minister on Thursday afternoon.

The mayors, who are on a trip to Israel focused on innovation, resolved “to work to end politically inspired falsehood and distortions, and to speak the truth about all relevant history.”

The statement also called on UNESCO to “cease repeatedly exacerbating tensions, as evidenced by the most recent news of disputing Israeli heritage of the Dead Sea Scrolls, one of the major archaeological discoveries of the 20th century that sheds light on the biblical era.”

Court rejects appeal against West Bank land confiscation

The High Court rejects an appeal by Palestinian villagers against Israel’s confiscation of 25 acres (a tenth of a square kilometer) to build a West Bank road.

The court says the villagers of al-Nabi Ilyas have failed to prove ownership of the land and that the road, near the settlement of Alfei Menashe, would benefit Palestinians as well as Israelis.

It added that if the Palestinians prove ownership even after confiscation, they would be eligible for compensation, the Ma’an Palestinian news agency reports.

Construction of the road is due to start in January.

— Sue Surkes

Egypt pardons 82 young detainees accused of ‘defaming religious symbols’

Egypt pardons 82 detainees, mostly university students but also a former TV host convicted of “defaming religious symbols.”

The names of those pardoned by President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi were compiled by a committee he set up to examine the cases of young detainees who had not been involved in violence.

Members of the committee say active members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood would not be pardoned. The military overthrew President Mohammed Morsi, who hailed from the Brotherhood, in 2013. El-Sissi, who led his ouster, was elected the following year.

Authorities have detained thousands of people in the last three years, mostly Islamists but also prominent secular activists. The government has not said how many detainees are being held, but rights groups estimate the number at between 20,000 and 40,000.

Among those released Thursday was Islam Behery, who was convicted and sentenced to one year in prison in March.

Behery had used his television program to air calls for the removal of what he described as “extremist material” in texts of religious interpretation and heritage. He was also a vocal advocate for religious reforms and argued that some texts by historic Islamic scholars — including ones upheld and revered by Al-Azhar, the pre-eminent seat of Sunni scholarship — contain passages that promote extremism.

His incarceration has been cited by critics as evidence of the government’s crackdown on freedom of expression, as well as the conservative discourse of Al-Azhar and its reluctance to modernize.

— AP

French court upholds Jean-Marie Le Pen exclusion from National Front

A French court upholds the exclusion of Jean-Marie Le Pen from the far-right National Front (FN) by his daughter Marine for repeated inflammatory remarks about the Holocaust.

Le Pen was booted out of the party he founded last year for reiterating his view that the Nazi gas chambers were a mere “detail” of history and defending France’s collaborationist wartime Vichy regime.

FN leader Marine Le Pen, who has her eye on the French presidency in next year’s elections, disavowed her 88-year-old father, accusing him of “political suicide.”

Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of the French far-right National Front (FN) party, at the party's headquarters on August 20, 2015 (Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP)

Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of the French far-right National Front (FN) party, at the party’s headquarters on August 20, 2015 (Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP)

The court in the western Paris suburb of Nanterre upheld the FN’s decision to strip him of his membership. But in a small victory for the elder Le Pen it ruled he should be allowed to remain as party honorary president. As such, the party is required to invite him to all leadership meetings, failing which it faces a fine, the judges ruled.

The FN was also ordered to pay the party’s founder 15,000 euros ($16,000) in damages for preventing him from carrying out his functions of honorary president over the past year.

— AFP

Canada reinstates funding to UN agency that aids Palestinians

Canada’s Liberal government is reinstating funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, or UNRWA.

Ottawa announced Wednesday that it was providing $20 million to UNRWA to support education, health and social services “for millions of vulnerable Palestinian refugees.” Also, it committed $5 million to the agency’s emergency appeal for Palestinian refugees affected by the crisis in Syria and surrounding areas, according to a statement from the office of Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of international development.

Canada’s previous Conservative government cut funding to UNRWA gradually. By 2013 and 2014, Ottawa’s allocation was zero. Canada became the only donor nation ever to withdraw funding completely.

The reinstated funding “will help approximately 5.5 million Palestinian refugees — particularly women and children — receive the assistance they need, including access to health care and the opportunity to go to school,” according to Ottawa’s statement.

— JTA

State prosecution mulling probe over German submarine deal

Israel’s state prosection is considering opening a probe into a multi-billion shekel deal to purchase German submarines after it was revealed that Prime Minsiter Benjamin Netanyhu’s lawyer David Shimron represents the German company, according to Channel 2 news.

According to a report by Channel 10 on Tuesday night, Shimron serves as the representative of a German company trying to sell Israel military submarines that Netanyahu has been pushing for Israel to buy against the will of the IDF and former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon.

The probe would look into the question of whether prime minister acted under a conflict of interest.

Anti-corruption NGO The Movement for Quality Government in Israel called on Attorney General Avichai Mandleblit to investigate the claims earlier today. “It would appear that Netanyahu gave access in exchange for someone else getting a fee. There is nothing conclusive yet but it is certainly suspicious enough to warrant a police investigation,” vice president Michael Partem told The Times of Israel.

PM: I didn’t know my lawyer was involved in submarine deal

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denies he had any prior knowledge of his long-time personal lawyer’s alleged involvement in a multi-billion shekel deal to purchase German submarines.

Netanyahu says he first learned of David Shimron’s involvement when Channel 10 asked for his response before airing a report on Tuesday revealing that Shimron serves as the representative of the German company trying to sell Israel the submarines.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's lawyer and coalition negotiator David Shimron (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s lawyer David Shimron. (Kobi Gideon/Flash90)

“Shimron never brought up submarines or ships or any other issue concerning his clients with the prime minister,” the Prime Minister’s Office says in a statement, adding that Shimron did not discuss the German client or any other client with Netanyahu. The PMO says that members of Netanyahu’s inner circles, including Shimron, “know not to discuss their [personal] business dealings with the prime minister.”

“The only consideration the prime minister had [in mulling the German deal] was strengthening Israel’s capabilities in regard to [obtaining] strategic vessels, essential to ensure [Israel’s] future,” the PMO says.

Ya’alon’s ‘circle’ says he tried to derail submarine deal

People close to former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon say that he sought to dissuade Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from going ahead with a deal to purchase three German submarines, Channel 2 news reports.

According to a report by Channel 10 aired on Tuesday night, Shimron serves as the representative of a German company trying to sell Israel military submarines that Netanyahu has been pushing for Israel to buy against the will of the IDF and former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon.

Contacted by The Times of Israel, Ya’alon declined to comment on the deal.

Outgoing Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon announces his resignation from the Knesset, Friday, May 20, 2016, at IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Outgoing Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon announces his resignation from the Knesset, Friday, May 20, 2016, at IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Petition calling on Jewish Federations to condemn Bannon draws 1,700 signatures

A petition calling on the Jewish Federations of North America to denounce Trump appointee Stephen Bannon garners 1,700 signatures in two days.

The petition, started Tuesday by a new group named Jewish Community of Action Against Hate, calls on JFNA, the umbrella body encompassing 151 local Jewish federations, to condemn the appointment of Bannon, whom President-elect Donald Trump picked as his chief strategist on Sunday.

Bannon is the former chairman of Breitbart News, a website that Bannon himself called “the platform for the alt-right,” a loose movement of the far right whose followers traffic variously in white nationalism, anti-immigration sentiment, anti-Semitism and a disdain for “political correctness.”

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign CEO Steve Bannon listens to Trump speak during his final campaign rally on Election Day in the Devos Place November 8, 2016 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign CEO Steve Bannon listens to Trump speak during his final campaign rally on Election Day in the Devos Place November 8, 2016 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP)

“Having Stephen Bannon as a key strategist in the White House sends a clear message to hate groups that their belief system is no longer fringe, but now accepted,” the petition reads. “As an organization that is dedicated to securing the Jewish future by empowering community members to take charge of their Jewish lives and provide leadership to their community, we take you at your word and assume that you will keep your pledge to empower and listen to those of us that speak up.”

In response to the petition, JFNA emailed JTA a statement on Thursday that expressed hope regarding Trump’s incoming administration. The statement did not mention Bannon.

“As with every democratically elected official in America, we believe that President-elect Trump needs to be given an opportunity to lead,” the statement read. “We are hopeful that his actions align closely with the American values that we hold dear.”

— JTA

2 Palestinians arrested after crossing from Gaza with grenades

Soldiers picked up 2 Palestinians, armed with grenades, who crossed into Israel from southern Gaza, the army says.

They were arrested near the security fence and have been handed over to the Shin Bet for interrogation.

— Judah Ari Gross

ADL leader: US anti-Semitism worse than at any time since 1930s

At the opening to the Anti-Defamation League’s conference on anti-Semitism, the organization’s national director says anti-Jewish hatred in America is worse than at any point since the 1930s.

Jonathan Greenblatt says currents on both the far right and far left have led to anti-Semitism’s resurgence. He mentioned the platform of the Movement for Black Lives published this year that accused Israel of genocide.

Jonathan Greenblatt, national director of the Anti-Defamation League (Courtesy of ADL/via JTA)

Jonathan Greenblatt, national director of the Anti-Defamation League (Courtesy of ADL/via JTA)

Greenblatt also detailed the anti-Semitic attacks that rose during the 2016 presidential campaign, mentioning the appointment of Stephen Bannon as the chief strategist to President-elect Donald Trump. Bannon was the chairman of Breitbart News, a website Bannon called the “platform for the alt-right,” a loose movement of the far right whose followers traffic variously in white nationalism, anti-immigration sentiment, anti-Semitism and a disdain for “political correctness.”

“The American Jewish community, our community, has not seen this level of anti-Semitism in mainstream political and public discourse since the 1930s,” Greenblatt says. “Sadly, it is only being matched with escalating levels of hate toward other minorities today.”

— JTA

ADL chair: If Trump registers Muslims, I’ll sign up

Addressing reports that Donald Trump’s transition team is considering creating a registry of Muslims in the United States, ADL chaif Jonathan Greenblatt pledges that he would sign up as a Muslim.

Speaking at the opening to the Anti-Defamation League’s conference on anti-Semitism in New York, Greenblatt mentions to the apocryphal story about the king of Denmark promising to wear a yellow star if it would be required of the Scandinavian country’s Jews.

Jonathan A. Greenblatt, the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, speaking at the ADL Annual Meeting in Los Angeles on November 6, 2014. (Courtesy ADL)

Jonathan A. Greenblatt, the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, speaking at the ADL Annual Meeting in Los Angeles on November 6, 2014. (Courtesy ADL)

“As Jews, we know what it means to be registered, or targeted, held out as different from our fellow citizens,” Greenblatt says. “We as Jews know the right and just response. I pledge to you right here and now, because I’m committed to the fight against anti-Semitism, if one day American Muslims will be forced to register their identity, that is the day this proud Jew will register as a Muslim.”

— JTA

Rabbi Eliezer Berland convicted of sexual assault in plea deal

The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court convicts 79-year-old Rabbi Eliezer Berland after he admitted to two counts of indecent acts and one case of assault after reaching a plea deal with the prosecution.

Under the terms of the deal Berland, who was extradited to Israel to face the charges after three years on the run, was cleared of two other charges of indecent acts. His sentencing hearing will be held next week.

Rabbi Eliezer Berland covers himself with his prayer shawl at the Jerusalem District Court in Jerusalem on August 1, 2016.(Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90)

Rabbi Eliezer Berland covers himself with his prayer shawl at the Jerusalem District Court in Jerusalem on August 1, 2016.(Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90)

Considered a cult-like leader to thousands of his followers from the Bratslav Hasidic sect, Berland fled Israel 2013 amid allegations that he molested two female followers, one of them a minor.

He was on the run from authorities from 2013 to 2016, eluding several Israeli attempts to extradite him. He moved between Zimbabwe, Switzerland, the Netherlands and South Africa, accompanied by a group of devout followers numbering around 40 families.

Supreme Rabbinical Court to rule on controversial divorce case

In a historic first, the Supreme Rabbinical Court is set to hold a hearing to judge on whether a rabbi in Safed was correct in ruling that a woman whose husband is in a coma can divorce him, the ultra-Orthodox news website Kikar HaShabat reports.

The woman was not given a get by her husband since he is in a coma, but Safed’s rabbinical court ruled that the woman can remarry and the rabbinical court gave her a get in the absence of one from her husband, according to Kikar HaShabat.

Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef meets with newly appointed Supreme Rabbinical Court judges in Jerusalem, July 13, 2016. (Photo by Yaacov Cohen/Flash90)

Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef meets with newly appointed Supreme Rabbinical Court judges in Jerusalem, July 13, 2016. (Photo by Yaacov Cohen/Flash90)

The Supreme Rabbinical Court will convene in order to rule on whether a rabbinical court can grant a divorce in place of a husband if the husband is not able to do so.

Ya’alon: I ‘vociferously objected’ to submarine deal, probe needed

Former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon confirms that he “vociferously objected” to a deal signed by Benjamin Netanyahu to purchase three more submarines for Israel’s navy fleet, arguing that the military did not need additional submarines, not then and “not in the near future.”

“I don’t know what happened or what was signed after I left the Defense Ministry, but Raviv Drucker’s report on the matter is very disturbing and warrants a thorough probe by the relevant authorities,” Ya’alon writes of Facebook.

According to a Channel 10 report by journalist Raviv Drucker earlier this week, David Shimron, who has spent years defending Netanyahu against dozens of claims of malpractice and misuse of office for personal gain, is being accused of a serious conflict of interest due to his links to the German shipbuilder attempting to sell the vessels to Israel.

The former defense minister said that the statement provided Thursday by the NSA on the issue was “lacking and did not reflect the reality as I understood it.”

The NSA, a body operated under the auspices of the Prime Minster’s Office, released statements challenging what it called “a wave of false reports” and saying that deal received Ya’alon’s full support.

In another statement released Thursday, the NSA said that it was involved “in every stage of the purchase of the submarines” and that the process was handled correctly.

David Shimron told AG there was no conflict of interest in submarine deal

Facing questions over his representation of a German shipyard which is set to supply Israel with three new submarines, David Shimron, the personal lawyer of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, wrote a letter to the Attorney General this morning denying any conflict of interest, according to Channel 2 News.

In turn Attorney General Avicahi Mandelblit asked State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan for further information on the issue, signalling a move towards opening a full probe.

German submarine shipyard denies contact with David Shimron

The German shipyard set to supply Israel with three additional submarines denies it has had business dealings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s lawyer David Shimron, according to Channel 10 news.

In a statement to the media outlet, ThyssenKrupp said it “has only been in contact with the relevant official government authorities,” regarding the multi-billion shekel deal to purchase the vessels.

According to a Channel 10 report earlier this week, David Shimron, who has spent years defending Netanyahu against dozens of claims of malpractice and misuse of office for personal gain, is being accused of a serious conflict of interest due to his links to the German shipbuilder attempting to sell the vessels to Israel.

Shimron has not denied he represented ThyssenKrupp but said there was no conflict of interest in his dealings.

Molotov cocktail thrown at Jewish house on Mount of Olives

A Molotov cocktail is thrown at a Jewish house in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of the Mount of Olives causing light damage to the building, police say.

There are no injuries in the incident.

Police are searching the area for suspects.

Egypt lifts assets freeze of anti-torture NGO

Egyptian authorities have lifted a week-old freeze on the assets of a prominent rights group that works with torture victims, the organisation says.

“The freeze was lifted on Wednesday after a document was submitted proving we are not subject to the law on civil society groups,” Suzanne Fayad, a co-founder of El Nadeem Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture and Violence says.

She says her organisation was registered with the health ministry and the doctors’ union as a “medical clinic.”

Egyptian and foreign NGOs operating in the country are governed by a stiff law which allows the government to supervise their activities and finances. In September, a court froze the assets of five prominent human rights defenders and three NGOs, under investigation for allegedly receiving foreign funds.

Authorities have tried on two separate occasions to shut down the El Nadeem Centre, which provides psychological support to victims of torture and to families of missing persons.

— AFP

Obama says hopes Trump will ‘stand up’ to Russia

US President Barack Obama says he hopes his successor Donald Trump will “stand up” to Russia when it breaches international norms, citing the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine.

Obama says he hopes Trump, who has voiced admiration for President Vladimir Putin, “is willing to stand up to Russia where they are deviating from our values and international norms.”

Speaking at a Berlin joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Obama says Russia is an important country and a military superpower with “influence around the world.”

US President Barack Obama addresses a press conference with the German Chancellor after their meeting at the chancellery in Berlin on November 17, 2016. (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)

US President Barack Obama addresses a press conference with the German Chancellor after their meeting at the chancellery in Berlin on November 17, 2016. (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)

But he stresses that he hopes Trump does not take an approach of “if we just cut some deals with Russia, even if it hurts people or even if it violates international norms or even if it leaves smaller countries vulnerable, or creates long-term problems in regions like Syria, that we just do whatever is convenient at the time.”

“And that will be something that I think we’ll learn more about as the president-elect puts his team together.”

— AFP

Yair Lapid in BBC interview: Jeremy Corbyn has a problem with Jews

Yesh Atid chair Yair Lapid says UK Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn “has a problem with Jews.”

Speaking to the UK broadcaster’s Newsnight program in an interview recorded two weeks ago and broadcast this evening, Lapid said it is not possible to be anti-Zionist without being anti-Semitic.

When Jeremy Corbyn calls Hezbollah and Hamas his friends, these are terrorist organizations. He never called us his friends so yes he has a problem with Jews,” he said.

Corbyn responded in a statement to the BBC which read: “Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party are implacably opposed to anti-Semitism in all its forms and have a long history of strong support for and involvement with the Jewish community. As leader Jeremy Corbyn launched the first major inquiry into anti-Semitism by any political party. Labour supports a 2 state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict and to achieve it Jeremy will continue to work with those on both sides of the divide to bring last peace.”

Hasidic volunteers searching landfill for lost tefillin come up empty

Volunteers from a New York City Satmar synagogue have sifted through 300 tons of garbage at an upstate landfill to find a pair of tefillin that accidentally landed in a garbage can, but have yet to find the ritual object.

A special bag containing the phylacteries fell from a cubby last week in the synagogue located in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, according to reports, including the Yeshiva World News. No one noticed at the time.

By the time the discovery was made three days later, when community leadership viewed the surveillance camera footage from that hallway, the garbage had already been collected for the neighborhood and taken to the High Acres Landfill. A copy of the footage was posted on YouTube by Yeshiva World News.

The Waste Management company was able to isolate some 30 containers holding 3,000 tons of collected garbage that it thought might have the tefillin.

The community raised thousands of dollars to send volunteers to the landfill to sift through the garbage in the containers. One load at a time was dumped in a cordoned-off area and spread out for the volunteers. They searched through about half of the containers this week and plan to send more volunteers next week to finish the job, according to reports.

— JTA

read more:
comments
Live updates (closed) Latest: Hasidic volunteers searching landfill for lost tefillin come up empty

State prosecution mulling probe over German submarine deal

Israel’s state prosection is considering opening a probe into a multi-billion shekel deal to purchase German submarines after it was revealed that Prime Minsiter Benjamin Netanyhu’s lawyer David Shimron represents the German company, according to Channel 2 news.

According to a report by Channel 10 on Tuesday night, Shimron serves as the representative of a German company trying to sell Israel military submarines that Netanyahu has been pushing for Israel to buy against the will of the IDF and former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon.

The probe would look into the question of whether prime minister acted under a conflict of interest.

Anti-corruption NGO The Movement for Quality Government in Israel called on Attorney General Avichai Mandleblit to investigate the claims earlier today. “It would appear that Netanyahu gave access in exchange for someone else getting a fee. There is nothing conclusive yet but it is certainly suspicious enough to warrant a police investigation,” vice president Michael Partem told The Times of Israel.