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Health Ministry said to push to ease COVID restrictions amid declining morbidity

Officials reportedly set to recommend in coming days that ministers abolish remaining limits on large public outdoor gatherings and event halls

Israelis, some wearing face masks, shop at the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem on October 5, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israelis, some wearing face masks, shop at the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem on October 5, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Saturday’s developments as they unfolded.

Lebanese army says soldier suspected of firing on protestors, sparking Beirut violence

Lebanese Army soldiers take a position in the area of Tayouneh, in the southern suburb of the capital Beirut, on October 14, 2021. (Joseph Eid/AFP)
Lebanese Army soldiers take a position in the area of Tayouneh, in the southern suburb of the capital Beirut, on October 14, 2021. (Joseph Eid/AFP)

The Lebanese army says it is investigating a soldier for opening fire on protestors in Beirut on Thursday, sparking violence across the capital.

At least seven people were killed and dozens wounded when violence erupted following a protest staged in front of the Justice Palace in the Lebanese capital Beirut.

The rally was organized by the Shiite Amal and Hezbollah terror groups to demand that Tarek Bitar, the judge leading the investigation into last year’s monster blast at Beirut port, be removed.

On anniversary of killing, France pays tribute to teacher beheaded over Mohammed cartoons

French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer (righ) while unveiling a book sculpture as part of a tribute ceremony to French teacher Samuel Paty, in Conflans-Saint-Honorine, northwestern Paris, on October 16, 2021, one year after Paty was beheaded by an extremist after showing his class cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed. (Alain Jocard/AFP)
French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer (righ) while unveiling a book sculpture as part of a tribute ceremony to French teacher Samuel Paty, in Conflans-Saint-Honorine, northwestern Paris, on October 16, 2021, one year after Paty was beheaded by an extremist after showing his class cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed. (Alain Jocard/AFP)

France pays tribute to schoolteacher Samuel Paty, one year after he was beheaded by an extremist after showing his class cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohammed.

Paty, 47, was stabbed and then decapitated after leaving the middle school where he taught history and geography in the tranquil Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine on the evening of October 16, 2020.

Paty’s violent death stunned the French. Educators saw it as an attack on the core values teachers have taught generations of schoolchildren, including the separation of church and state and the right to blaspheme.

“To pay tribute to Samuel Paty is to pay tribute to the Republic,” says Prime Minister Jean Castex, speaking at a ceremony unveiling a plaque at the entrance to the Education Ministry.

“Homage to Samuel Paty… Murdered by an Islamic terrorist for teaching and defending the values of the Republic, including freedom of expression,” reads the plaque.

Terror suspect in UK politician’s killing named by news outlet as Ali Harbi

Flowers are placed as a tribute in Parliament Square following Friday's death of member of Parliament David Amess in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, in London, on October 16, 2021. (Aaron Chown/PA via AP)
Flowers are placed as a tribute in Parliament Square following Friday's death of member of Parliament David Amess in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, in London, on October 16, 2021. (Aaron Chown/PA via AP)

The suspect being held by UK police on suspicion of the terrorist murder of MP David Ames is named Ali Harbi, Sky News reports.

The channel says that Harbi is a 25-year-old British citizen with Somali heritage, who is not thought to have been previously known to the security services.

British police on Friday night declared the killing of Amess earlier in the day a terrorist incident.

The long-serving member of Parliament was stabbed to death Friday during a meeting with constituents at a church in England, an attack that united Britain’s fractious politicians in shock and sorrow. He was 69 and a married father of five.

Education Ministry chief: quarantine exemption pilot a success, should be implemented nationwide

Education Ministry Director-General Yigal Slovik tells the Ynet news site that the pilot program to exempt schoolkids from quarantine if they were in contact with a coronavirus carrier, implemented in some schools last week, was a success and should be implemented in all educational institutions.

“The ‘green class’ pilot ended successfully and proved that it is possible to interrupt infection chains and reduce quarantines,” Slovik says in an interview.

“Health officials will present the findings to the prime minister in two days, who will decide on the application of the model throughout the education system, including kindergartens. We are prepared to expand the model throughout the entire education system,” he says.

Under the new quarantine system, students exposed to someone infected with COVID-19 are allowed back at school once they take a PCR test and receive a negative result. The students, though back in class, have to undergo rapid antigen tests every day for a week, at the end of which they will take another PCR test, which, if negative, declares them all-clear.

The exemption for quarantine only applies to school attendance. Children will not be able to utilize the testing program to exempt them from general quarantine, nor will they be able to attend afterschool activities.

Independence-seeking group urges UN guarantees for West Sahara referendum

The Polisario Front urges the UN Security Council to clarify the mission of the new UN envoy for Western Sahara and provide guarantees on a long-delayed referendum on the territory’s future.

The UN considers Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, a “non-self-governing territory,” with the question of its control up in the air for decades.

The issue has pitted Morocco against the independence-seeking Polisario Front, which is backed by Algeria. Rabat, which controls 80 percent of the vast desert territory and its rich Atlantic fisheries, has proposed a plan for Western Sahara self-governance under Moroccan sovereignty.

The Polisario continues to demand a UN-supervised self-determination referendum, which was agreed to in a 1991 ceasefire accord but has still never taken place.

The administration of former US president Donald Trump recognized Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara as part of a deal for the country to normalize ties with Israel late last year.

— with AP

With morbidity declining, Health Ministry set to recommend further easing of restrictions

With coronavirus infection rates on the decline, the Health Ministry is expected in the coming days to recommend that the ministerial coronavirus cabinet ease a number of remaining restrictions, Channel 13 news reports.

Among the recommendations, health officials are reportedly considering abolishing the restrictions on large outdoor gatherings that set limits of between 1,000 and 5,000 participants, and limits on event halls of 400 people in closed spaces and 500 in open spaces.

Settlers filmed lighting fires, throwing rocks

Israeli settlers are filmed lighting fires and throwing stones at a Palestinian near the border between the Palestinian town of Burin and the illegal settler outpost of Givat Ronen in the West Bank.

In footage from the scene, the Israelis, some of whom are wearing tzitzit, or garment fringes mandated by Jewish religious law, grab fistfuls of grass and light the ground ablaze.

A Palestinian family lives in a home on the outskirts of the village only a few hundred meters from the outpost’s border, making it a frequent site for violence between settlers and Palestinians.

Israeli soldiers can be seen milling about through the cluster of Israeli civilians, but they appear to be taking little action to stop their actions. In a statement, the Israeli army said they were looking into the incident.

According to the Palestinian witness, the fires were eventually extinguished by the Palestinian Authority’s Civil Defense firefighters.

1,560 new coronavirus cases over past 24 hours; overall death toll nears 8,000

The Health Ministry publishes data showing that 1,560 new coronavirus cases were identified nationwide over the past day

The rate of positive tests was 1.6 percent, out of nearly 100,000 administered.

The number of serious cases was 382, including 166 on ventilators.

The death toll since the beginning of the pandemic is nearing 8,000, reaching 7,983.

‘Never again’: Giant Rome rally urges ban on extreme right

An anti-fascist rally called by Italian Labour unions CGIL, CISL and UIL at Piazza San Giovanni in Rome, on October 16, 2021, a week after a demonstration against the so-called Green Pass degenerated into an assault on the CGIL trade union building, led by the neo-fascist Forza Nuova party. (Alberto Pizzoli/AFP)
An anti-fascist rally called by Italian Labour unions CGIL, CISL and UIL at Piazza San Giovanni in Rome, on October 16, 2021, a week after a demonstration against the so-called Green Pass degenerated into an assault on the CGIL trade union building, led by the neo-fascist Forza Nuova party. (Alberto Pizzoli/AFP)

Tens of thousands of Italians call for a ban on the extreme right as they rally in Rome, after protests over a tough coronavirus pass regime last weekend degenerated into riots blamed on neofascists.

Carrying placards reading “Fascism: Never Again,” the protesters in Piazza San Giovanni — a square historically associated with the left — demand a ban on openly neofascist group Forza Nuova (FN).

FN leaders were among those arrested after the Rome headquarters of the CGIL trade union — Italy’s oldest — was stormed on October 9 during clashes outside parliament and in the historic center.

Today’s demonstration is being attended by some 200,000 people, organizers say, with 800 coaches and 10 trains bringing people to the capital for the event.

It coincided with the 78th anniversary of the Nazi raid on the Jewish Ghetto in Rome. Over 1,000 Jews, including 200 children, were rounded up at dawn on October 16, 1943 and deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Sexual harassment claims against Peres aired from 2nd woman

A week after Colette Avital, a former Labor member of Knesset and a former Israeli consul general to New York, claimed that the late president Shimon Peres sexually assaulted her in the 1980s, Channel 12 airs a short statement from a second person accusing Peres of sexual harassment.

The channel says the woman contacted one of its reporters and described an incident where he pressed her up against a wall and slipped his hand into her shirt without her consent.

The woman was said to have been a former senior secretary. It was unclear when the alleged assault took place.

Prominent Egyptian blogger to appear in court after 2-years in pre-trial detention

Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah, a blogger who rose to prominence in Egypt's 2011 revolution. (Photo credit: CC BY-SA 2.5, Alaa Abd el-Fatah/Wikimedia)
Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah, a blogger who rose to prominence in Egypt's 2011 revolution. (Photo credit: CC BY-SA 2.5, Alaa Abd el-Fatah/Wikimedia)

Prominent Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel Fattah is to appear in court on Monday after spending more than two years in pre-trial detention, a lawyer and family members say.

Abdel Fattah, his lawyer Mohamed al-Baqer and blogger Mohamed Ibrahim will be tried in a State Security court whose verdicts cannot be appealed, lawyer Khaled Ali announces on social media.

Abdel Fattah’s mother Leila Soueif said her son had been questioned in September about “spreading false news.”

Abdel Fattah was a prominent figure in Egypt’s 2011 uprising aginst autocratic president Hosni Mubarak and had already spent time in jail before his 2019 arrest.

He and lawyer Baqer were imprisoned after rare, small-scale protests in September of that year against the government of current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

They were both added to Cairo’s “terror” list late last year, a move involving a travel ban and an assets freeze.

Report: Police believe indebted real estate developer was killed by mob ring

Real estate developer Eldad Peri poses for a picture in Jerusalem, on February 26, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Real estate developer Eldad Peri poses for a picture in Jerusalem, on February 26, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Police believe real estate businessman Eldad Peri was shot dead in Rehovot Friday by a mob ring he owed money to, Channel 12 news reports.

Police have reportedly made progress in their investigation into Peri’s murder outside a synagogue early Friday morning, and have identified a potential suspect. Police sources told the network Peri had been under surveillance by his killers prior to the murder.

Peri’s real estate business had gone bankrupt over debts worth hundreds of millions of shekels, and he himself was in deep personal debt as well.

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