The Times of Israel liveblogged Sunday’s events as they unfolded.
Rabin’s sister slams PM silence on Bitan comments
Yitzhak Rabin’s 91-year-old sister Rachel lashes out at Benjamin Netanyahu for failing to condemn a claim by his coalition chairman that her brother’s murder at the hands of an extremist Jew was “not political.”
Left-wing and centrist politicians responded furiously yesterday to David Bitan’s claim that the 1995 assassination was not political because it was not carried out by a politician. The comments became the central focus of the speeches at last night’s memorial rally in Rabin Square, marking 21 years since the murder.
“The one who should [be talking about] this isn’t,” Rachel Rabin says, according to Channel 2. “The one who chairs the coalition says a weird thing — there is no other word — and … the prime minister is silent, as he always is. I expect that as prime minister and Likud leader he would tell the coalition chairman that it was indeed a political murder. What [Bitan] said is nonsense.”
German president ‘worried’ about possible Trump win
German President Joachim Gauck tells Der Spiegel he is worried about the prospect of Donald Trump winning the race for the White House, citing the US Republican hopeful’s “unpredictability” as a cause for concern.
“We can’t say what could be expected from a President Donald Trump,” Gauck tells the German magazine in an interview published today. “To me, and to many people in the United States and here at home, this constitutes a problem.”
With just two days to go in a closely fought election that is being watched around the world, Gauck adds: “When I look at Washington, I am worried.”
The German president, whose role is largely ceremonial, says he hopes “that American democracy, which does not allow the president to act as an autocrat, that the system of checks and balances, of mutual control” of power would be maintained.
The latest major survey, the ABC/Washington Post tracker released early Sunday, gives Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton a five- percentage point 48-43 lead over Trump. Polling averages, however, are closer.
Justice minister names shortlist for Supreme Court
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked publishes her shortlist of 28 candidates for the Supreme Court for 2017.
The new justices will replace Supreme Court President Miriam Naor, Deputy President Elyakim Rubinstein, and judges Zvi Zilbertal and Salim Joubran, who are all retiring next year.
Shaked, of the right-wing, pro-settler Jewish Home party has already clashed with Naor over the nominees on the list, Haaretz newspaper says.
De Niro terminates Arnie photo op in Trump row at IDF gala
Variety reports that Robert De Niro picked a fight with Arnold Schwarzenegger at a Friends of the IDF gala in Beverly Hills, saying he would not have his photo taken with the former California governor unless he stated that he was not voting for Donald Trump.
“If you’re supporting Trump, I want nothing to do with you,” De Niro tells the Terminator star, apparently unaware that Schwarzenegger tweeted last month that he would not be voting for the GOP nominee.
As proud as I am to label myself a Republican, there is one label that I hold above all else – American. My full statement: pic.twitter.com/biRvY8S3aZ
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) October 8, 2016
The gala, at the Beverly Hills Hilton, was hosted by Israeli-born mogul Haim Saban, a strong Hillary Clinton supporter, and was also attended by Larry King, movie actor Gerard Butler and “Modern Family” star Julie Bowen.
Ramat Gan Safari shows off newest foxy additions
Ramat Gan Safari introduces its new additions — four 7-week-old fennec fox kits.
The four babies are the offspring of proud parents Penny, who was born in the UK, and French fox Louie.
Penny gave also birth to three kits in 2014, of which just two survived, Ynetnews says.
IDF renews search for soldier missing since 1997
The IDF announces it will renew its searches for Guy Hever, an Israeli soldier missing since August 1997, beginning tomorrow.
The army will be conducting “focused searches” in the Golan Heights — where Hever went missing — as well as the mountainous upper Jordan Valley region.
There is no immediate indication that this effort is based on new evidence or testimony. Similar searches have been conducted almost every year, around this time of year, since Hever went missing.
“Over the years, a large number of efforts have been put into locating the soldier, which continue until today, in terms of investigations, searches and intelligence work,” the army says.
No trace of Hever has ever been found, and the case remains one of the country’s most confounding mysteries.
— Judah Ari Gross
Assad regime shells Damascus preschool, killing 6 children
Syrian activists say a rocket or mortar barrage struck a preschool in an opposition-controlled suburb of Damascus, killing at least six children.
The activist-run Unified Medical Bureau of Eastern Ghouta reports the death toll, saying medical facilities in the suburb of Harista received tens of wounded children and adults following the shelling.
The locally-run Education Directorate says government forces struck the school during the first recess of the day. It says more than 25 children were wounded in addition to the six killed.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of local activists, also blames government forces for the strike.
Shaked halts plan to upend Supreme Court selection process
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked informs Supreme Court President Miriam Naor that she is postponing the advancement of controversial legislation that would change the way in which the court’s justices are selected.
Naor last week slammed the bill, which would see new judges appointed with a regular majority of votes from the nine-person Judicial Selection Committee. At present, nominees need the votes of seven panel members, or two less than those present during voting.
The current system — which Shaked seeks to change — effectively prevents the appointment of justices without the approval of the Supreme Court, which has three of its members on the selection committee.
WATCH: Ivanka visits Lubavitcher rebbe’s grave to pray for Trump win
Ivanka Trump, the Jewish daughter of Republican nominee Donald Trump, visits the New York grave of Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson, to pray for her father’s victory in Tuesday’s US presidential elections.
Trump converted to Orthodox Judaism ahead of her marriage to Jewish businessman Jared Kushner, who accompanied her to the cemetery in Queens.
Knesset to hold special session on Jewish ties to Temple Mount
The Knesset will tomorrow hold a special session on the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, in the wake of two UNESCO resolutions effectively rejecting non-Muslim ties to the Jerusalem holy site, the Israel National News website reports.
The session, which will be overseen by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, coincides with the date on which venerated rabbi and physician Moses Maimonides is believed to have visited the Temple Mount almost 900 years ago.
US Army chief in Ankara as push begins to oust IS from Syria stronghold
The top US general Joseph Dunford is making a previously unannounced visit to Ankara, the army says, as Kurdish-Arab forces launch an operation to capture the jihadist bastion of Raqqa in Syria.
The chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff is to hold talks with his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar, the army says, without giving further details.
The Kurdish-Arab force leading the fight to retake Raqqa says Washington agreed Turkey would play no role in the offensive.
Ankara previously expressed alarm that the Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were dominated by the Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) militia.
Clinton distantly related to French president, book claims
US presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is distantly related to French President Francois Hollande, according to a new book that claims they share royal blood from doomed kings of the 14th century.
Clinton descends on her mother’s side from families from Canada’s French-speaking province of Quebec, according to French genealogist Jean-Louis Beaucarnot.
These immigrant families can be traced back to more than a dozen regions all over France, Beaucarnot writes in his book “Dico des Politiques,” which was published last week.
Most notably, back 23 generations, she counts as a relative king Louis X le Hutin, known as “Louis the Stubborn” in English. Hollande is distantly related to Louis’ successor and brother, Philip V, known as “Philip The Tall,” who lasted six years before dying without a male heir.
Clinton also shares genes with singers Madonna and Celine Dion and actress Angelina Jolie, Beaucarnot writes.
Likud MK to protest Moscow’s UNESCO vote during Russia trip
Likud MK and former Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter says he will protest in the Russian parliament over Moscow’s vote for a UNESCO resolution effectively rejecting Jewish and Christian ties to holy sites in Jerusalem.
“Russia is a friend and partner for Israel,” Dichter says, according to a statement sent out by his office. “However, it is important for me to set the record straight: We view the UNESCO decision supported by the Russians as scandalous and unacceptable.”
Dichter, who chairs the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, arrived in Moscow this morning at the head of an Israeli delegation visiting the Russian capital to mark 25 years of bilateral ties.
— Judah Ari Gross
Netanyahu bans ministers from discussing US elections
Netanyahu categorically orders members of his cabinet not to make any public comments on Tuesday’s US presidential elections, Channel 10 reports.
In a written directive to his ministers, Netanyahu says that the issue is “sensitive” he will “set the tone.”
The prime minister drew fire for his apparent support for the previous Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who met with Netanyahu during a visit to Israel in July 2012.
Top Trump aide: Clinton planted Nevada protester
Donald Trump’s campaign manager says without evidence that a protester involved in a disturbance at a Trump rally in Reno, Nevada was “a Democratic plant or operative.”
Trump was speaking to supporters last night when chaos broke out in the crowd, and Secret Service agents hustled him off stage. No weapons were involved, although the candidate’s son Donald Jr. labeled it an “assassination attempt.”
A man claiming to be the protester later tells The Guardian and Reno Gazette-Journal that he was carrying a sign that read “Republicans against Trump” when he was attacked. The man tells The Guardian he heard one person yell “something about a gun.”
Kellyanne Conway says on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the protester was canvassing for Clinton and was put there by the Democratic campaign, but offers no details or proof.
Prosecution seeking to cancel Katsav parole hearing
The State Prosecutor’s Office wants the parole board to cancel a Friday hearing on the early release of former president Moshe Katsav, who is serving a seven-year sentence for rape and other crimes.
According to Ynet, the prosecutor says the Israel Prison Service has not yet submitted its recommendation on the matter, which is needed for the hearing to go ahead.
The prosecutor also says that the required six months have not elapsed since the last parole hearing for the former president.
Al Franken: New Trump ad has feel of Elders of Zion
Jewish Senator Al Franken joins criticism of a new Donald Trump campaign ad that repeats the candidate’s accusations of a conspiracy against the American people, coupled with images of prominent Jews.
“When I saw the ad I thought that this was something of a German Shepherd whistle, a dog whistle, to a certain group in the United States,” the Minnesota Democrat tells CNN’s Jake Tapper.
“I’m Jewish so maybe I’sensitive to it, but it clearly had a sort of Elders of Zion kind of feel to it, international banking conspiracy and a number of Jews, so I think that it does speak to a certain part of his alt-right base,” Franken says, referring to a forged document purporting to detail a Jewish conspiracy for world domination.
“Trump has retweeted a lot of that sort of thing, and I think that it’s an appeal to some of the worst elements in our country in a closing argument. I think that people who aren’t sensitive to that and don’t know that history may not see that, but that’s what I immediately saw,” the senator concludes.
Battlegrounds in play in US election’s frantic final 48 hours
Just two days before the bitter US presidential election, national polls give the edge to Hillary Clinton, although results are too close to call in some key battleground states where the race will be won or lost.
A final NBC/WSJ poll shows the Democratic hopeful with a four-point lead ahead of Republican rival Donald Trump, at 44 to 40 percent in a four-way national survey.
“If you only have 44 percent of the vote that means you’re vulnerable if most of the undecideds break in a certain way,” pollster Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com tells ABC’s “This Week.”
“In that sense both candidates still need a good turnout on election day and still have their work cut out for them,” Silver says.
That is nowhere more apparent than in Ohio and Florida polling results out today, where CBS News Battleground Tracker polls show Clinton’s lead evaporating. CBS gives Trump a one-point lead in Ohio (46 to 45 percent) and shows a tied race in Florida (45 percent apiece).
Trump and Clinton have packed their last-minute schedules with campaign events, particularly in swing states, hoping to woo voters in the final 48 hours of a race that is too close to call.
“The electoral college map is less solid for Clinton than it was for Obama four years ago,” Silver says. “You’d rather be in her shoes than Donald Trump’s but it’s not a terribly safe position.”
Police summon Palestinians who claim attack by settlers
Israel Police ask two Palestinians to make statements after they say they were attacked yesterday by settlers, Channel 10 reports.
The two say they were injured in the attack by residents of the West Bank settlement of Talmon, who threw stones at them as they picked olives outside the village of Janieh, near Ramallah.
RNC’s Priebus says election in a ‘dead heat’
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus says voter data tells him the two candidates are in “a dead heat.”
In interviews on CBS’ “Face the Nation” and ABC’s “This Week,” Priebus defends Donald Trump’s decision to use his final days to pitch himself to voters in states like Minnesota, Michigan and Pennsylvania that are typically considered unfriendly territory for GOP presidential candidates.
Priebus says Trump isn’t using a traditional playbook because he’s not a traditional candidate. He tells CBS: “We have got a candidate that appeals to a lot of voters that haven’t engaged in a long time. And he actually appeals to a lot of folks in the Midwest.”
Carter: ‘Fight will not be easy’ in IS Syrian stronghold
US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter warns it “will not be easy” to regain control of Raqqa, the Islamic State group stronghold in Syria.
“The effort to isolate, and ultimately liberate, Raqqa marks the next step in our coalition campaign plan,” Carter says in a statement.
“As in [the Iraqi city of] Mosul, the fight will not be easy and there is hard work ahead, but it is necessary to end the fiction of ISIL’s caliphate and disrupt the group’s ability to carry out terror attacks against the United States, our allies and our partners,” he says, using an alternative name for the jihadist group.
“The international coalition will continue to do what we can to enable local forces in both Iraq and Syria to deliver ISIL the lasting defeat it deserves,” the US defense chief adds.
Carter makes his remarks as US-backed Kurdish-Arab forces launch an offensive on Raqqa, increasing pressure on the jihadists who are already battling Iraqi troops in Mosul.
US in ‘close contact’ with Turkey over Raqqa assault
Washington is in “close contact” with Ankara over the assault launched by American-backed Kurdish-Arab forces on the Islamic State group’s bastion Raqqa in Syria, a senior US official says.
“We are in close close contact with our Turkish allies and that is why the chairman of joint chiefs is in Ankara today,” Brett McGurk, Obama’s envoy to the US-led coalition battling the jihadists, tells a news conference in the Jordanian capital Amman.
“We want this to be as coordinated as possible, recognizing that there will be a mix of forces on the field and that many of those forces of course do not see eye to eye, but they do share a very common and still very lethal enemy,” he says of IS.
Ultra-Orthodox hold multiple protests against IDF draft
A police spokesman says officers are dealing with a number of demonstrations against the IDF draft taking place in ultra-religious communities across Israel.
Protests are taking place in Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, the Yavne intersection in the south and the central town of Bnei Brak.
Police units are in the areas to prevent incidents.
— Judah Ari Gross