The Times of Israel blogged Tuesday’s news as it unfolded.
Netanyahu: Both presidential candidates will support Israel
The prime minister says American support for the country will remain strong regardless of who is elected president in November.
Benjamin Netanyahu tells the cabinet about his meeting in New York with both presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and relays their strong words of support for Israel. The prime minister was in the United States to address the UN General Assembly.
Netanyahu says “it doesn’t matter who will be elected — the American support for Israel will remain strong, this alliance will remain strong and will even get stronger in the coming years.”
Netanyahu was accused by some of siding with Republican candidate Mitt Romney in the 2012 election and he has been careful this time to refrain from appearing to favor one candidate over the other.
Syrian state TV: Regime forces advance in Aleppo
BEIRUT — Syrian state TV is reporting that government forces are advancing in the old quarter of the northern city of Aleppo and have captured several buildings.
The station says troops are now advancing toward the central rebel-held neighborhood of Farafra.
The offensive comes after days of intense airstrikes on rebel-held eastern parts of the city, during which scores of people were killed and a number of buildings demolished.
Party magician accused of sexually assaulting 7-year-old girl
A party magician has been arrested in Rishon Lezion on suspicion of sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl who participates in his act.
Police say the man was brought in after the girl complained of his behavior. The incidents are said to have occurred both at her home and in the man’s vehicle on the way to a show.
The man’s lawyer has denied all charges, saying they are false.
On eve of Rosh Hashanah, Israel’s population at 8.6 million
On the eve of the Jewish new year, the Central Bureau of Statistics says Israel’s population grew by 2 percent this year, bringing the number of citizens to 8.585 million.
The percentage of growth is similar to that of previous years.
The population divides as follows: 74.8% Jewish, 20.8% Arab, 4.4% Christian and other.
The number of Israeli babies born over the past year is 189,000. Meanwhile 46,000 people died. Around 30,000 people immigrated to the country.
Doctors: Condition of Shimon Peres is deteriorating
Former president Shimon Peres’s condition has deteriorated significantly over the past 24 hours, and doctors fear he could be headed for multiple organ failure.
The 93-year-old Peres was hospitalized at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv on September 13 after suffering a stroke. He has been under sedation since then, with his condition consistently described as serious but stable.
However, doctors now say his breathing, kidney function and several other indexes have dropped over the past few hours, raising concerns.
Syrian official vows to ‘wipe out’ Aleppo rebels
A Syrian military official says operations in Aleppo have been continuing since they were announced last week and will not stop before “terrorist groups” in the area have been eliminated.
Speaking to The Associated Press in the capital, Damascus, the official says battles will continue daily on all fronts in Aleppo until the “terrorists” in the “eastern parts of the city are wiped out.”
His comments come as state media reports that government forces have captured several buildings in the old quarter of Aleppo.
Peres family: His condition does not bode well
The worsening condition of the hospitalized Shimon Peres “does not bode well,” sources close to the former president’s family tell Walla News.
They add that the 93-year-old statesman’s family is by his bedside at this trying hour.
Peres ‘fighting for his life,’ close source says
AFP reports that ex-president Shimon Peres is “fighting for his life,” quoting a source close to him.
“His health position is very, very difficult. His doctors are worried about his health,” the source says on condition of anonymity.
Iran sets conditions for joining terror finance taskforce
Iran is not ready to compromise on the issues of intelligence sharing, sanctions and definitions of terrorist groups in order to join an international task force against terror financing, a minister says.
Iran, along with North Korea, is blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and aims to be removed from “high risk and non-cooperative” status, even if it does not obtain full membership.
Economy Minister Ali Tayebnia says Iran is not obliged to accept all the conditions put forward by the task force.
Iran provides financial and military support to Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the Hamas terrorist group.
— AFP and Times of Israel staff
IS bombings kill at least 17 in Baghdad
Bombings claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group have hit shopping areas in Shiite districts of the Iraqi capital, killing at least 17 people, security and medial officials say.
IS suicide bombers with explosive vests carried out the attacks in the Baghdad Jadida neighborhood in the east of the city and the Bayaa area in the south.
Officials say at least eight people were killed and 29 wounded in Baghdad Jadida, although some say the area was hit by a roadside bomb as well as a suicide bomber.
Another suicide bomber targeted the Bayaa, killing at least nine people and wounding 30, officials say.
Trump on ‘Miss Piggy’ slur: ‘She gained massively. It was a real problem’
Donald Trump says it was a “real problem” when the 1996 Miss Universe gained significant weight after winning the pageant he then owned.
The Republican presidential nominee was responding to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s reference in their first debate yesterday to Alicia Machado’s claim that Trump called her “Miss Piggy” when she gained weight.
Trump tells “Fox and Friends” today that Machado was “the worst we ever had.”
Trump says “She gained a massive amount of weight. It was a real problem. We had a real problem.”
Iran’s Ahmadinejad says will not run for president again
Former hardline Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he will not compete in next year’s presidential vote, following advice from Iran’s supreme leader, media reports.
“In following the will of the great leader of the revolution, I have no plans to be present in next year’s presidential competitions,” he writes in a letter to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei published by Iranian media.
It comes a day after Khamenei, in his own cautiously worded remarks, said: “A certain person came to me and I told him not to do a certain thing, believing it would be to the benefit of both the person himself and the country.”
Khamenei implied that Ahmadinejad’s candidacy would create “a bi-polar atmosphere” that would “damage the country.”
Former minister Misezhnikov: I’ll fight to prove innocence
Former tourism minister Stas Misezhnikov says he will fight to prove his innocence after the Justice Ministry announced yesterday that he and over a dozen other political officials will be indicted for various charges, including bribery and fraud.
“As of now I am beginning to fight to prove my innocence,” he writes on Facebook.
He claims the indictment against him consists of recycled charges that are part of a “desperate” attempt to sully his image.
Tiberias construction worker seriously injured in fall
A 27-year-old construction worker was seriously injured this afternoon after falling from a height of seven meters (23 feet) in the northern city of Tiberias.
He was taken to a Haifa hospital under sedation with a severe head injury.
Syrian troops capture rebel territory in Aleppo
Syrian government forces capture a central rebel-held neighborhood in Aleppo after a week of blistering airstrikes.
Syrian state TV says troops captured Farafra, near Aleppo’s famous citadel, and that fighting is underway near the historic core of the northern city.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists inside Syria, confirms that government forces advanced on the old quarter.
“There was intense shelling earlier. It seemed the (government) was preparing for the attack,” said Ibrahim Alhaj, a member of the Syrian Civil Defense, volunteer first responders. He adds that news from the front line suggests a large mobilization of pro-government militias in the old city.
Syrian FM: Israel wants to occupy southern Syria
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem says Israel plots to seize a strip of southern Syria along the border as it once did in Lebanon, Israel Radio reports this afternoon.
Muallem made the claim yesterday while speaking to Hezbollah-affiliated TV channel Al-Mayadeen.
He added that Israel wanted the civil war in Syria to drag on and was aiding rebel groups in the border area in order to achieve this purpose.
17-year-old Palestinian run over, killed near West Bank settlement
A 17-year-old Palestinian was killed in a car accident south of Hebron a short time ago.
The teen was hit by a car near the Israeli settlement of Beit Hagai on Route 60, the main road crossing the West Bank from north to south.
Paramedics declared the young man dead at the scene.
There are no immediate details on the circumstances of the incident.
Jewish Labour member heckled while voicing concerns on anti-Semitism
A Jewish Labour member addressing a party conference on his concerns over rising anti-Semitism in the party was heckled during his speech, the Daily Mail reports.
As Mike Katz called on delegates to adopt tougher laws to deal with anti-Semitic incidents, a man on the floor shouted at him that he was not speaking for all Jews, and that his claims of an increase in expressions of hate were “rubbish.”
“It makes me weep,” Katz said. “The party…that has done more than any other to promote tolerance and inequality, the party to which the Jewish Labour Movement has been affiliated since 1920, is not seen as a welcoming home for Jews.”
The heckler was drowned out by delegates, who cheered and clapped Katz as he said the party must work to show that “like every minority community, Jews are welcome in the Labour Party.”
Jerusalem police on high alert over security threat
Police say they are on high alert in Jerusalem over an unspecified security risk.
Officials say forces are deploying in central roads throughout the city, and setting up makeshift checkpoints to check vehicles.
The public is advised to remain vigilant and report any suspicious persons or objects, though there is no instruction to deviate from routine activities at this time.
— Judah Ari Gross.
Police reportedly searching for potential 15-year-old attacker
More on the security alert in Jerusalem:
Channel 2 News reports authorities have information on a 15-year-old Palestinian from Hebron who is believed to be planning an imminent attack.
Saudi petition seeks ‘full’ rights for women
Thousands of Saudis have signed a petition urging an end to the guardianship system that gives men control over the study, marriage and travel of female relatives, activists say.
The petition calls for the kingdom’s women to be treated “as a full citizen, and decide an age where she will be an adult and will be responsible for her own acts,” says campaigner Aziza Al-Yousef of Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia has some of the world’s tightest restrictions on women, and is the only country where they are not allowed to drive.
7-month-old child dies after car accident
A seven-month-old baby has died after being seriously injured in a car accident this morning.
The child’s father was seriously injured in the crash east of Beersheba while her mother suffered moderate injuries.
They remain hospitalized in Beersheba’s Soroka Hospital.
Swiss lawmakers approve step toward burqa ban
Switzerland’s lower house has narrowly approved a draft bill on a nationwide burqa ban, the ATS news agency reported, but the measure remains far from coming into force.
The proposal by lawmaker Walter Wobmann of the populist right-wing Swiss Peoples Party (SVP) won 88 votes, with 87 against.
ATS quotes Wobmann as saying that the goal of the national burqa ban is to “maintain public order and respect for the dignity of women.”
Peres’s family told to say their goodbyes
The family of Shimon Peres has been told to come and say their goodbyes to the former president, as doctors fear his condition could swiftly deteriorate further.
Physicians believe Peres’s neurological condition has become irreparable and he may soon suffer multiple organ failure.
President Rivlin: I am praying for Peres
President Reuven Rivlin, on a visit to Ukraine, has sent his thoughts and prayers to his predecessor Shimon Peres, amid news of a deterioration in his condition.
“I wish to send my prayers to the health of my friend Shimon Peres,” Rivlin tells the media.
“My concern right now is with…Peres who is fighting for his life at these very moments.”
Turkey sacks 87 spy agency staff over failed coup
Turkey has dismissed 87 staff from its spy agency over alleged links to the failed July 15 coup, state media says, in the first purge of one of the country’s most powerful institutions.
The National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) has suspended 141 personnel in an internal probe over links to US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen who Ankara alleges was behind the coup.
Of these, 87 have now been expelled, the Anadolu news agency says. Criminal complaints have been lodged against 52 of them, it adds.
Car comes under fire in town of Ramle
Shots were fired at a vehicle in the city of Ramle a short while ago, in what is likely a criminal incident.
No one was injured in the shooting, and police are investigating.
Iran dims hopes for deal on oil output freeze this week
Iran is playing down hopes that a deal to limit oil production will emerge this week in a meeting in Algeria, prompting big falls in oil prices.
Speaking in Algiers at a meeting of oil producing countries, Iranian Petroleum Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh says an informal gathering of OPEC ministers on Wednesday is “just a consultation meeting … If there is a decision, it should be taken at the next (OPEC) meeting in Vienna in November.”
Iran is likely to play a pivotal role in any decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to limit production in an attempt to get oil prices higher. The country has sharply increased output since international sanctions over its nuclear program were lifted earlier this year as it looks to recover market share.
Low oil prices have hurt the finances of all producers, notably the likes of Venezuela and Nigeria.
Foreign press group blasts ‘racial profiling’ at Prime Minister’s Office
Israel’s Foreign Press Association has issued a scathing condemnation of the Prime Minister’s Office after an Arab Israeli journalist was asked to remove her bra during a full-body search in order to enter the weekly cabinet meeting this morning.
“This is the latest in a long line of intrusive and inappropriate body checks against Arab Israeli journalists by the prime minister’s security staff,” the FPA says in a statement.
“The Foreign Press Association condemns this act of racial profiling, which not only runs counter to Israel’s democratic ideals, but makes a mockery of the accreditation process and raises deep questions about the prime minister’s repeated claims that he is committed to equality for all of Israel’s citizens.”
The FPA is demanding an apology and an immediate stop to such practices.
Giuliani: Clinton ‘too stupid to be president’
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has called Hillary Clinton “too stupid to be president.”
In remarks captured on video Monday night after the debate between Clinton and Donald Trump, Giuliani tells Elite Daily’s Alexandra Svokos that Trump had been “too reserved and too gentlemanly at the end to say what I would have said” when Clinton attacked his attitude towards women.
Giuliani, stating that Trump is “a feminist,” blasts Clinton for “what she did to Monica Lewinsky” over the sexual scandal with Clinton’s husband Bill.
“After being married to Bill Clinton for 20 years, if you didn’t know the moment Monica Lewinsky said that Bill Clinton violated her and she was telling the truth — then you’re too stupid to be president.”
I asked Giuliani if Trump is a feminist #DebateNight pic.twitter.com/xWvkgVuKXV
— Alexandra Svokos (@asvokos) September 27, 2016
Rivlin commemorates Babi Yar massacre in Kiev
President Reuven Rivlin was in Ukraine today to mark the 75th anniversary of the Babi Yar massacre, when Nazi forces massacred more than 33,000 Jews in a ravine in Kiev. They later attempted to hide their atrocities.
“The blood of our brothers and sisters, that was spilled at that dark time, places upon us the duty to remember, and teach the whole world, about the dangers of not just anti-Semitism, but of all hatred, and all racism,” he told a special plenary of the Ukrainian Parliament.
“Two terrible sins took place in that valley. The first was the sin of murder and extermination, and the second sin was the sin of concealment and the destruction of memory.”
Rivlin, who also met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, hailed the 25 years of diplomatic relations between Jerusalem and Kiev and the recent surge in cooperation with Poroshenko’s government.
Jerusalem security alert called off
Police have called off a security alert announced in Jerusalem earlier.
Officers have removed roadblocks set up throughout the city, and have said there is no longer an imminent threat.
No word yet on whether any arrests have been made. Officials earlier said they were searching for two suspects possibly planning an attack.
Clinton celebratory after debate, had ‘a great, great time’
Hillary Clinton appears to be in a celebratory mood today, telling reporters on her campaign plane she had a “great, great time” and was “thrilled” by how yesterday night’s debate went.
She’s accusing Trump of making “demonstrably untrue” claims in the debate and mocking him for floating the possibility that debate organizers had set him up by lowering the volume on his “terrible” microphone so he was quieter than Clinton.
“Anybody who’s complaining about the microphone is not having a good night,” Clinton says.
Israeli Embassy mistakenly tweets that Peres has passed away
Israel’s UK Embassy mistakenly tweeted a short while ago that former president Shimon Peres had passed away.
The tweet, which included a photo of Peres, stated that “Today we say goodbye and celebrate the life of a true legend.”
It was promptly deleted from the Embassy’s feed.
Army opens probe into soldiers’ torching of Palestinian property
Military police are investigating an incident in the West Bank last week, in which Israeli soldiers from the Nahal Brigade were caught on camera setting fire to a Palestinian storehouse in Nablus, the army says.
Meanwhile the brigade will discipline a group of soldiers who were photographed beating a Palestinian man in Hebron who they say did not agree to be frisked during an operation.
Army says 2 soldiers killed in July blast were ‘playing with grenade’
The military says an accidental grenade blast that killed two IDF soldiers in July was caused by the soldiers “playing with the grenade.”
The army is announcing the results of the investigation into the incident in which Sgt. Shlomo Rindenow, 20, and Staff Sgt. Hussam Tafesh, 24, were killed. Three other soldiers were wounded.
The soldiers’ battalion commander and platoon commander have both been reprimanded for the incident, while their company commander, who was released from service soon afterwards, has been barred from commanding troops in reserves for the next three years.
— Judah Ari Gross
PM ‘asked coalition factions for OK on Herzog joining government’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked coalition faction heads today if they would support the addition of the Zionist Union and its leader Isaac Herzog to the coalition, Channel 10 News and Haaretz report.
The faction leaders present all voiced their agreement to such a move, according to the reports.
Likud told Channel 10 that it was not Netanyahu who brought up the issue but “one of the faction heads who asked for the prime minister’s opinion on the matter.
“The prime minister made it clear that he had always sought to widen the coalition but it had so far not been achievable, and [said that] if there were a widening of the coalition it would only take place with all member factions in the current coalition.”
Sources close to Peres: ‘These are his final hours’
Sources close to Shimon Peres say they believe “these are the former president’s final hours.”
Peres is not receiving any life saving treatment at this point. His family is at his bedside as he remains unconscious and in grave condition.
Rock thrown at Jerusalem light rail in East Jerusalem
A rock was thrown a short while ago at Jerusalem’s light rail in Shuafat, East Jerusalem, causing some damage to a railcar window.
No one was hurt, and police are searching the area for the perpetrator.
Egypt recovers sunken migrant boat and 33 more bodies
Egypt has raised the wreck of a migrant boat and recovered at least 33 bodies, taking to 202 the death toll from last week’s sinking off the country’s Mediterranean coast.
Survivors say up to 450 migrants had been crowded aboard the fishing trawler when it keeled over off the port city of Rosetta on September 14, including an estimated 100 in its hold.
“The boat is being dragged to shore” after bodies trapped in the hold were recovered, says Wahdan al-Sayed, spokesman for Beheira province in northern Egypt.
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