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PM accused of ‘selling out Israeli security for personal gain’ over Iran presser

Democratic Camp, Blue and White leaders tear into Netanyahu for timing of announcement about alleged nuke site; PMO officials say it was all approved by professionals

Compilation: Ehud Barak, left, and Blue White leader Benny Gantz (Flash90)
Compilation: Ehud Barak, left, and Blue White leader Benny Gantz (Flash90)

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

PM’s rivals hail failure of camera bill ‘spin,’ accuse him of incitement

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political rivals react to the failure to advance the Likud-pushed bill to have voting stations filmed in next week election.

“The camera bill has fallen and Netanyahu is going on a final battle against the Arab community, the legal system and the entire democratic space,” says Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint List alliance of Arab and Arab-majority parties. “Bibi’s show playing the victim is coming to an end.”

MK Itzik Shmuli of the Labor-Gesher party says: “We managed with a combined effort to prevent this act of sabotaging the elections and democracy. Maybe instead of inventing a new spin, Netanyahu will now turn to dealing with what worries us all: the neglect of security in the south, the overcrowded hospitals in the north, and millions of young and elderly people whom the government has neglected and intends to harm to cover the debt it created.”

Blue and White MK Ofer Shelah says: “Today Benjamin Netanyahu suffered his first loss in the current elections. His lame incitement spin and the failed attempt to incite against the judiciary, the Central Elections Committee and large groups of voters — was all so he could blame someone for his loss in the elections. This is the first loss, next week will be the final defeat.”

UK parliament’s suspension to begin late Monday – official

The month-long suspension of the British parliament ordered by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in an apparent bid to stop MPs blocking his Brexit strategy will begin late Monday, his spokesman says.

“Parliament will be prorogued at close of business today,” the spokesman says, using the parliamentary term for the suspension.

He adds it will take place regardless of the outcome of a government-led vote on holding a snap election next month.

— AFP

FM Katz urges Europe to nix Iran nuke deal following IAEA report

High Court rules that Israel can keep terrorists’ bodies for future negotiations

The High Court of Justice rules that the army has the legal right to hold onto the bodies of slain attackers to use as leverage in future negotiations with Palestinians.

The decision, adopted after a majority vote by the seven-justice panel, reverses a ruling by Justice Yoram Danziger on the matter issued in December 2017.

The justices in their decision note that holding bodies of people engaged in an armed conflict is not illegal under international law.

PM reacts to camera bill failure by calling Gantz, Lapid, Liberman ‘leftists’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacts to the failure of the bill he was pushing to film polling stations in next week’s elections, repeating his claim that Blue and White party leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid and Yisrael Beytenu chief Avigdor Liberman intend to form a government with members of the Joint List alliance of Arab and Arab-majority parties. The notion of such a government has been repeatedly rejected by all those politicians.

“There is no reason for those who really want clean elections to oppose the camera law that prevents election fraud,” the premier says in a statement. “But it’s actually no surprise that Lapid and Gantz joined Ahmad Tibi and Ayman Odeh to bury the camera law, because they will go together to the left-wing government where Ahmad Tibi and Ayman Odeh will be ministers in the government of Lapid and Gantz.

“What is particularly disappointing is that Liberman has joined the left and the Arab parties. He once said that within 48 hours he would eliminate Haniyeh and now within 48 hours he flip-flopped and went with Ahmad Tibi and Ayman Odeh.”

3rd poll in recent days predicts far-right Otzma Yehudit will enter Knesset

An opinion poll published eight days before the elections sees the extremist Otzma Yehudit party entering the next Knesset — the third poll in recent days predicting such a result.

However, the voting bloc supporting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu still fails to achieve a 61-seat majority in parliament according to the survey by the Walla news site, falling short with 58 without Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu.

Woman dies after being hit by truck in Ashdod

A pedestrian woman is killed in the city of Ashdod after a truck hit her on Laskov Street.

Magen David Adom medics arrive at the scene and try to resuscitate the woman, who is around 30 years old, but end up pronouncing her dead.

US police delegation arrives in Israel for joint consultations with local law enforcement

A delegation of several dozen high ranking American police officers has arrived in the Jewish state where they are taking part in a series of events and consultations aimed at strengthening the domestic security cooperation between the two countries.

The US delegation known as the Police Unity Tour will be completing a two-day bike ride across Israel to raise awareness of American law enforcement members who have fallen in the line of duty.

The officers will also visit border communities in the north and south, meeting with local law enforcement for briefings on how Israel Police manages responses to both criminal incidents as well as terrorism.

On Wednesday, the delegation will take part in a 9/11 memorial ceremony in Jerusalem along with officials from the US embassy. Fourteen of the 48 visiting officers were on the ground during those attacks and will be sharing their experiences with Israeli law enforcement.

“The bonds we form between US and Israeli police are very strong,” says Michael Safras, chief of New Jersey’s Essex County Sheriff’s Department, in a conversation with The Times of Israel.

— Jacob Magid

A US police delegation takes part in a welcoming ceremony at the Israel Police Academy in Beit Shemesh on September 9, 2019. (Israel Police)
US and Israeli police delegations at the Israel Police Academy in Beit Shemesh on September 9, 2019. (Israel Police)

Egypt wants Sudan off US terror list

Egypt’s foreign minister wants more support for neighboring Sudan’s new civilian government, including getting it off the US list of countries sponsoring terrorism.

Sameh Shoukry says Cairo is working with Washington and other countries to remove Sudan from the list.

Newly appointed Sudanese Foreign Minister Asma Abdullah speaking to Al Jazeera on September 8, 2019. (Screenshot: Al Jazeera)

He spoke at a press conference in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, beside the country’s first female foreign minister, Asmaa Abdalla.

She was sworn in a day earlier as part of the first Cabinet since the military ousted autocratic President Omar al-Bashir in April following mass pro-democracy protests.

The US named Sudan a state sponsor of terror in 1993, and the designation stuck through the rest of al-Bashir’s rule.

Sudan’s prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, said last week that he’d held a “long discussion” with the Trump administration on the matter.

— AP

Israeli tourist killed in Spain named as mountain climber Suf Adler

The Israeli tourist who died in Spain yesterday while hiking in the scenic mountains in the country’s north is named as Suf Adler, a mountain climber from the central Israel city of Hod Hasharon.

The 22-year-old fell from a ridge on the Rodellar Mountain in the Sierra de Guara mountains.

סוף שלי, אחי הקטן המאומץ נהרג אתמול בצהריים במצוק בספרד.אני עוד לא מצליחה לעכל ולהבין , אני רק יודעת שהלב שלי מרוסק.אם יש מטפסים ישראלים שכרגע בספרד בבקשה צרו איתי קשר.

פורסם על ידי ‏‎Mickey Marienfeld‎‏ ב- יום שני, 9 בספטמבר 2019

“He was a strong climber, so gifted that I can’t put it into words,” Mickey Marienfeld, a climber who says she has known Adler since he was 14, tells Channel 12. “We met at a climbing wall and he decided I was his older sister. We have been close ever since.”

Marienfeld says she doesn’t know how a professional climber like Adler fell to his death. “We are trying to find the real reason,” she says, adding that the Foreign Ministry should make sure that a British climber who was with him didn’t leave Spain until the matter is clarified. She claims his story doesn’t add up.

US mulling sanctions on Turkey over S-400 purchase

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says Washington is considering sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of the Russian-made S-400 air defense missile system.

“We’re looking at that, I’m not going to make any comments on any specific decisions, but we are looking at it,” Mnuchin tells reporters at the White House after being asked about the matter, according to Reuters.

Fire destroys US synagogue in Minnesota

A US synagogue in northern Minnesota has gone up in flames.

Adas Israel congregation, a synagogue in Duluth, Minnesota, was ablaze overnight, according to local news reports. The cause of the fire is unclear. It appears to have destroyed much of the building.

According to the St. Paul Jewish Federation, the synagogue has 75 members and daily prayer services.

— JTA

US pulled top spy from Russia due to fear Trump would leak info on him — report

The United States in 2017 successfully pulled one of its top spies inside the Russian government from the country, after US intelligence officials were alarmed by President Donald Trump discussing highly classified information on a secret Israeli mission in Syria with Russian officials, CNN reports, citing multiple Trump administration officials.

The report says the then-CIA director told other officials that too much information was being shared by Trump regarding the covert source. The spy was extracted in a complex mission after it was determined he was in danger.

That was done after Trump in May 2017 met Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office.

A Vanity Fair report from November of that year said during the meeting, Trump discussed details of a daring top-secret mission into northern Syria by Israel’s Mossad spy agency and elite Sayeret Matkal commando unit to prevent Islamic State attacks, sticking a dagger into the robust Israeli-American intelligence-sharing apparatus.

Though Trump didn’t reveal information on the US asset in Moscow, intelligence officials decided to pull him out, in part out of fear that Trump would reveal details on that as well, CNN says.

Queen Elizabeth approves Brexit delay law: UK House of Lords

A bill that would force British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to seek a delay to the October 31 Brexit deadline if no deal is reached has become law with approval by Queen Elizabeth II.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party, Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace, London on July 24, 2019, where she invited him to become prime minister and form a new government. (Photo by Victoria Jones / POOL / AFP)

The royal approval is announced by Norman Fowler, the speaker of the House of Lords.

The queen’s approval is seen as a formality after the bill was approved by Parliament. It is opposed by the government.

It is designed to prevent Johnson from taking Britain out of the European Union without an agreement with the other 27 nations in the bloc.

Johnson has said he will not seek a delay to the deadline.

— AP

North Korea says it’s willing to resume nuke talks with US

North Korea says it’s willing to resume nuclear diplomacy with the United States in late September.

But First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui says that the United States must come to the negotiating table with proposals that satisfy North Korea, or dealings between the two countries will come to an end.

Talks between the countries on North Korean nuclear disarmament fell apart in February when US President Donald Trump rejected North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s demand for sweeping sanctions relief in return for partial disarmament at their second summit in Vietnam. The two leaders met again at the Korean border in late June and agreed to restart diplomacy.

Choe says North Korea has given the US enough time to map out new proposals to salvage the nuclear negotiations.

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, right, and US President Donald Trump cross south of the Military Demarcation Line that divides North and South Korea, after Trump briefly stepped over to the northern side, in the Joint Security Area (JSA) of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized zone (DMZ) on June 30, 2019. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)

— AP

UN nuclear watchdog urges Iran to respond quickly to its concerns

The UN nuclear watchdog’s acting head urges Iran to respond quickly to its concerns as the country abandons further agreed limits to its nuclear activities.

Acting Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Cornel Feruta from Romania waits for the start of the IAEA board of governors meeting at the International Center in Vienna, Austria, August 1, 2019. (Ronald Zak/AP)

Cornel Feruta makes the remark while addressing the quarterly board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) a day after meeting high-level Iranian officials in Tehran.

He says that in his meetings he “stressed the need for Iran to respond promptly to Agency questions related to the completeness of Iran’s safeguards declarations,” adding: “Time is of the essence.”

Earlier today, the IAEA confirmed that Iran was installing advanced centrifuges, a move that puts further pressure on the troubled 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

— AFP

Netanyahu reveals new ‘nuclear weapons development site’ in Iran

At a brief news conference in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu begins by noting that uranium traces were found at a facility at Turquzabad flagged by the premier last year. He says the UN’s IAEA watchdog has confirmed the find.

More dramatically, he then reveals the existence of another “secret” Iranian facility, which he terms a “nuclear weapons development site,” in Abadeh, south of Isafhan.

He shows how Iran has tried to hide the traces of nuclear activity at the sites in question. At Turquzubad, the site has been razed and covered with gravel since he outed it last year — “literally covered up,” he says.

Likewise at Abadeh, once the Iranians realized that Israel knew what they were up to, they quickly moved to cover it up. He shows before and after Abadeh photographs from June and July of this year. And he adds: “It’s incredible. Every time we reveal, they try to cover up their tracks.”

Addressing Tehran, Netanyahu says: “We know what you’re doing, when you’re doing it, where you’re doing it, and we will continue exposing your lies and violations.”

Netanyahu calls on the international community to employ “pressure, pressure and more pressure” on Iran and join US President Donald Trump’s sanctions.

He delivers his remarks in Hebrew and then in English.

As he leaves, he points to the photographs of the Iranian weapons site, and says, “Yes, and it’s important that there be cameras everywhere” — in a reference to his efforts to fast-track legislation allowing surveillance cameras inside polling stations at next week’s elections.

That legislative initiative was derailed by opposition from Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party in a committee vote earlier today.

Lapid accuses Netanyahu of ‘using intelligence for his election propaganda’

Blue and White No. 2 Yair Lapid accuses Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of “shocking irresponsibility” in revealing an alleged Iranian nuclear weapons development facility days before Knesset elections.

“Again Netanyahu uses intelligence information for his election propaganda,” Lapid says in a statement. “That is shocking national irresponsibility. The Iranian nuclear program cannot be used for campaign shenanigans.”

Over 120 churches damaged in Syria war since 2011: report

A Syrian war monitor associated with the opposition says over 120 Christian places of worship have been damaged or destroyed by all sides in the country’s eight-year conflict.

The Qatar-based Syrian Network for Human Rights says in its report that the Syrian government was responsible for 60 percent of the attacks. It says the rest were done by the Islamic State group, the al-Qaeda-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other rebel groups.

In one attack, IS used bulldozers to destroy the ancient Saint Elian Monastery in 2015. Other sites were damaged by combat or shelling.

Christians made up about 10%  of Syria’s pre-war population of 23 million. Half the population are now either internally displaced or have left the country.

The Syrian government has no immediate comment on the report.

A Syrian flag raised over the damaged Saint Mary Roman Orthodox church at the mountain resort town of Zabadani in the Damascus countryside, Syria, May 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

— AP

Democratic Camp says Netanyahu ‘selling out’ Israel’s security with Iran presser

The left-wing Democratic Camp party issues a strongly worded statement against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after the latter revealed an alleged Iranian nuclear weapons development site, linking it to an effort to have polling stations filmed in next week’s elections which was struck down earlier today by a Knesset committee.

“The ink hasn’t dried from the latest failed spin, and already Netanyahu presents another attempt to sell out the state’s security for personal gains,” the party says in a statement.

“It would be better for someone suspected of bribery, fraud and breach of trust not to deal with security,” it adds, referring to three corruption cases in which charges have been announced against the premier, pending a hearing.

Blue and White chief Benny Gantz says: “Netanyahu’s use of sensitive security information for propaganda indicates flawed judgment.”

PMO officials say timing of Iran presser was recommended by professionals

Responding to criticism that Netanyahu revealed the existence of the third nuclear facility in Iran one week before the elections for political reasons, officials in the Prime Minister’s Office say that professional security officials recommended that he reveal the information immediately after today’s press conference by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who returned yesterday from Tehran.

— Raphael Ahren

New book uncovers fresh Harvey Weinstein revelations

A new book about sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein, written by journalists who broke the story in 2017, details how his brother pleaded with him get help for his “misbehavior.”

To be released tomorrow, the book publishes a letter that Bob Weinstein wrote to his brother in 2015, and also unearths new information about how Weinstein’s lawyers tried to silence his alleged victims.

The charges against Weinstein, one of Hollywood’s most powerful movie producers, sparked the global #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct.

“You have brought shame to the family and your company through your misbehavior,” Bob Weinstein wrote in the letter.

Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein returns to the State Supreme Court in New York, after a break in a pre-trial hearing over sexual assault charges, on April 26, 2019. (Johannes Eisele/AFP)

“Your reaction was once more to blame the victims.

“If you think nothing is wrong with your misbehavior… then announce it to your wife and family.”

The new book, “She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement,” was written by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, reporters who helped bring the Weinstein scandal to light in the pages of The New York Times.

The Times has published extracts of the Weinstein letter ahead of the book’s publication.

Bob Weinstein told the authors that he gave up trying to influence his brother’s conduct, saying: “I got worn out … I said, ‘I surrender,’ see?”

Published by Penguin Press, the book names alleged victims who had previously not been identified and provides new information about the web of secret legal agreements that kept the allegations hidden.

— AFP

Probe ordered into financial dealings between Gantz’s former firm and police

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has ordered a new probe into potential criminal aspects of the ties between police and hi-tech firm Fifth Dimension, which was owned by now-Blue and White party chief Benny Gantz, and shut down last year, Channel 13 reports.

Mandelblit gives the order despite the state comptroller six months ago finding no evidence that criminal offenses were committed.

The State Comptroller’s Office in March castigated the Israel Police for negotiating a NIS 50 million ($14 million) contract with the cybersecurity company instead of issuing a tender, in violation of acquisition regulations.

At least 3 killed in shooting in Dutch city of Dordrecht — local media

Dutch media report that at least three people have been killed and others were injured in a shooting in the city of Dordrecht, citing local police.

Further details of the incident, including the motive, are still unknown and are being investigated by local authorities.

Lebanon PM, US diplomat talk offshore gas feud with Israel

Lebanon’s prime minister and a US diplomat are discussing a maritime border dispute with Israel, with both sides claiming areas with potentially lucrative offshore gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea.

Saad Hariri meets David Schenker, the US assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, during the latter’s first visit to Lebanon since taking the post earlier this year.

Lebanon hopes to unleash offshore oil and gas production as it grapples with an economic crisis.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, right, meets with David Schenker, US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, in Beirut, Lebanon, September 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

— AP

Iran FM responds to Netanyahu: ‘the possessor of real nukes cries wolf’

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reacts to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s press conference, in which he revealed an alleged Iranian nuclear weapons development site in Abadeh that he said was destroyed after Israel discovered it.

Zarif says Israel, which does not confirm or deny that it has nuclear weapons, is “crying wolf” over the matter and that Netanyahu and hardline US officials “just want a war, no matter innocent blood & another $7 trillion” — recalling the Iraq War and a clip from 2002 in which Netanyahu encouraged the US to start it.

Man moderately wounded in Haifa shooting

A 47-year-old man is shot and moderately wounded on Kibbutz Galuyot Street in the northern city of Haifa.

He is taken to Rambam Hospital in the city.

The incident marks the second shooting in the city in three days, after a local physician was shot on Sunday on Allenby Street.

Police have said there are no immediate indications linking the shootings to terror groups, and are treating the cases as criminal.

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US mulling sanctions on Turkey over S-400 purchase

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says Washington is considering sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of the Russian-made S-400 air defense missile system.

“We’re looking at that, I’m not going to make any comments on any specific decisions, but we are looking at it,” Mnuchin tells reporters at the White House after being asked about the matter, according to Reuters.