Israel has reached three peace agreements over the last six weeks with Arab or Muslim-majority countries. Meanwhile, another five countries are reportedly on their way to signing agreements with Israel, say U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The course of events should lead to a big boost for Israel's non-defense spending. The education, welfare, health and transportation ministries should also be enjoying bigger budgets as the national security threat recedes and Israel makes new friends in the region.
That has been the equation we've grown used to. Thus, when Israel reached peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan decades ago, it enabled us to cut spending on deploying forces on our eastern and southern borders. Shouldn't there be some kind of knock-on effect from peace agreements with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan?
Turkey's aggressive oil exploration in areas of the east Mediterranean claimed by Greece and Cyprus is visibly setting teeth on edge in the European Union and the United States. We urge Turkey to end this calculated provocation and immediately begin exploratory talks with Greece, U.S. State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a terse statement last week.
Coercion, threats, intimidation and military activity will not resolve tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, the statement said.
Ankara must end the cycle of detente and provocation if the government is interested in talks, said Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, whose country heads the EU's rotating presidency. Maas, who dramatically canceled his planned visit to Turkey, said he was extremely surprised by its latest moves.
The Turkish lira weakened to a fresh record low beyond 8.05 against the U.S. dollar on Monday on investor unease about the central bank's decision last week to keep its policy rate on hold and various sources of geopolitical concern.
Strains in ties with the United States, a row with France, a dispute between Turkey and Greece over maritime rights and the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh have all unsettled investors.
The lira weakened more than 1% to as far as 8.0515 from a close of 7.9650 on Friday. It has lost 26% of its value this year against the U.S. currency. It also hit a record low beyond 9.5 against the euro.
Host Simon Spungin is joined by Judy Maltz, who explains the background to last week's drama at the World Zionist Congress, where a coalition of rightists and ultra-Orthodox delegates tried to seize control of the organization's main institutions.
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What exactly is the World Zionist Congress? Who does it represent? How has the balance of power changed within the WZO? And how does this episode reflect the state of relations between Israel and the Diaspora?
The Saudi-led military coalition engaged in Yemen said on Monday it intercepted and destroyed an explosives-laden drone launched by the Iran-aligned Houthi movement towards Saudi Arabia, Saudi state TV reported.
In recent days the coalition said it had intercepted and destroyed several explosive-laden drones launched by the Houthis.
The Western-backed coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Houthis ousted the internationally recognised government from power in the capital, Sanaa, in late 2014.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday Emmanuel Macron had "lost his way", in his second sharp criticism of the French leader in two days over the treatment of Muslims.
On Saturday, Erdogan said Macron had a problem with Muslims and needed mental checks - a rebuke that caused France to recall its ambassador from Ankara.
"The person in charge of France has lost his way. He goes on about Erdogan all day. Look at yourself first and where you are going. I said in Kayseri yesterday, he is a case and he really must be checked up," Erdogan said in a televised speech in the eastern province of Malatya.
Israel, the West Bank and Gaza are dealing with a renewed coronavirus outbreak, leading to proposals and measures intended to curb its spread and mitigate the economic ramifications of the crisis by both Israeli and Palestinian authorities.
Israel currently has 13,911 active cases; 2,397 people have died. In the West Bank, there are 4,414 active cases and 487 deaths, and in Gaza 2,044 active cases and 31 deaths.
Take 1,000 from us and repay just 999: For the first time in Israel's history, the Bank of Israel will be making loans to commercial banks at a negative interest rates so long as they agree to re-lend the money to small and micro businesses.
The central bank said on Thursday that it would provide 10 billion shekels ($3 billion) at a rate of minus 0.1% on the loans on condition that the loans they make with it do not exceed the prime rate plus 1.3 percentage point which right now comes to a rate of 2.9%.
In fact, it's a 10 billion-shekel gift to the banks assuming they make the credit available to the target group. The problem is that it is reasonable to assume that some of the borrowers will not be able to repay the loan and the gift will be somewhat less than 10 billion.
Almaz (not her real name) is a single mother of three who has been in Israel for a decade. She has long accustomed herself to the Deposit Law that garnished 20 percent of her salary, the lack of official status, health insurance and welfare services, and the racism at every turn. She had managed to support herself and her daughters through hours of cleaning work. But then the coronavirus crisis erupted and by April she was left without any income.
She managed to survive May, June and July because the High Court of Justice overturned the Deposit Law and she had 5,000 shekels released to her. She also got some assistance from Assaf, the aid organization for refugees and asylum seekers in Israel. But by August there was no more help to be had. She was evicted from her apartment and is now living with her daughters in a room in a friend's apartment. She has yet to find work.
Asylum seekers like Almaz, who have been living at the margins of society for more than a decade, were dealt a crushing blow by the emergency situation caused by the pandemic. New data collected by organizations helping asylum seekers indicate that their situation is deteriorating and is on the verge of becoming a humanitarian crisis.
A magnificent Turkish carpet, a unique Egyptian helmet and a rare gold Breguet clock these are three of 268 art and archaeology objects to be sold this week by the British auction house Sotheby's.
In order to alleviate its financial difficulties, the L.A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem is auctioning off nearly five percent of its inventory of 5,525 items, including some of the most rare and unique jewels in its collection. Experts in Israel have expressed outrage at the decision and bewilderment at the reasons given for the sale of certain items, which will take place by means of a live auction in London.
The museum had begun planning this sale more than two years ago, well before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, which has severely threatened the financial situation of museums in Israel and around the world. According to the Islamic museum, the items slated for the block are owned by the Herman de Stern Foundation, a private body and the major funder of the museum's operations.
From the moment I enter the protest compound I feel that the secret police are homing in on me, says Haim Shadmi, describing his most recent arrest on Saturday night a week ago, this time nowhere near the site of an anti-Netanyahu protest.
I was actually arrested at the Mamilla mall, where I had gone to accompany someone, not in the area of the demonstration at all, recalls Shadmi, a prominent figure in the protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
They approached me, two muscular guys, non-brand name T-shirts, very polite. They pulled out police IDs and told me to wait on the side. They started filming me on their personal smartphones It's only a preliminary inquiry.' In the end I was questioned about a crime of disorderly conduct.' For that they put undercover cops on me all evening.
The normalization agreement between the State of Israel and the Republic of Sudan does not automatically pave the way toward resolving the issue of the Sudanese asylum seekers here, who number 6,285 people, a fifth of the asylum seekers in Israel.
The fact that Israel didn't have diplomatic relations with Sudan blocked it from deporting the Sudanese nationals back to their country. However, for years Israel hasn't been deporting nationals of Eritrea or the Democratic Republic of the Congo either, even though it has relations with those countries.
The lack of diplomatic relations isn't the only obstacle to the government's desire to preserve the purity of the nation. The UN Convention on Refugees obligates Israel to examine asylum requests submitted to it and to grant refugee status to anyone eligible, regardless of whether there are diplomatic relations with his or her country. Sudan has diplomatic relations with most European countries, yet more than 60 percent of the Sudanese asylum seekers there were recognized as refugees.
Fighting over the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region continued Sunday, but Armenia and Azerbaijan reiterated their commitment to a peaceful resolution of their decades-old conflict and announced that a third attempt to establish a lasting cease-fire after four weeks of fighting would begin on Monday morning.
The decision on a cease-fire set to begin at 8 A.M. (0400 GMT) Monday was announced in a joint statement by the governments of the United States, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The announcement comes after two earlier Russia-brokered cease-fire agreements, including one last weekend, frayed immediately after taking forces, with both sides accusing each other of violations.
The statement said the agreement came after a meeting between Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen E. Biegun. The two ministers reaffirmed their countries' commitment to implement and abide by the humanitarian ceasefire agreed upon earlier this month, the statement said.
Elementary school classes in first through fourth grades will reopen partially on Sunday of next week, the coronavirus cabinet decided Sunday night, in line with the Health Ministry's recommendation.
First and second graders will attend school for only half a week, as the government says it cannot afford to hire the extra staffers needed to divide them into smaller groups. Third and fourth graders will study in capsules, meaning they will attend school five days a week, divided into smaller groups.
The cabinet has yet to decide on a reopening plan for fifth graders and up.
On October 21, early Wednesday morning, IDF soldiers sealed a room in a meager three-room apartment in Yabed, where Suheila Abu Bakr and her eight children live. The oldest is 19, the youngest almost two. To seal a room means to fill it with concrete. The sealing was done with the permission of the High Court of Justice.
Two cement mixers entered the al-Salame neighborhood backed up by dozens of military vehicles. According to the ruling of Supreme Court justices Menachem Mazuz and George Karra, the soldiers were supposed to pump the concrete into only one room. But the undisciplined concrete spilled over and blocked the hallway too, the bathroom and part of the kitchen. Young people from the extended family worked for a long time and removed the hardening concrete from the parts of the apartment that the honorable justices allowed the family to continue using.
The father, Nazmi Abu Bakr, is charged with murdering IDF soldier Amit Ben Yigal. On May 12, Ben Yigal returned with his comrades from a routine operation to make arrests in the village of Yabed. They marched on the narrow road that leads to the military base in the settlement of Dotan. At least two of the four people arrested that same night were marched along with them. The Abu Bakr home stands at the beginning of the road. Young people from the neighborhood threw rocks at them. There was shouting.
The Education Ministry's Religious Education Administration published an official lesson plan for the 25th anniversary of the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, which does not mention the incitement that led to the assassination or the identity of the murderer, Yigal Amir.
The lesson plan, aimed at grades 3 to 6, was posted on the administration's website. It states that Rabin brought about an agreement with the Arabs that generated a great argument among the people. There were those who thought the agreement would bring peace, and there were those who thought it would bring war.
Immediately afterward it states, Rabin's murder caused a frightful split in the nation, baseless hatred, and accusations between the various camps. It was a truly dark period. But, according to the lesson plan, While after the murder there was division, after a time it turned into unity. People understood that there was no other way that you have to talk, examine, bring people closer and get closer to them.
The Institute for Biological Research, the Defense Ministry and the Health Ministry announced on Sunday that the institute is ready to start clinical trials on a potential coronavirus vaccine. The three-phase human trials are set to start on Sunday, November 1 and last for several months.
The researchers at the government institute said that so far, they have produced over 25,000 doses of the experimental vaccine, which has now been approved for human trials, for the first two stages of the clinical tests. The institute has just finished manufacturing enough of the material for the vaccine for another one million doses.
The first stage will be to conduct preliminary safety trials on 80 healthy volunteers between 18 and 55, in Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer and Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem, 40 people in each hospital. The trial will start at first with just two volunteers and will be increased to 80 people gradually according to their reactions.
The Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem is a rare wonder: an art institution that for almost 50 years has been displaying the incredible richness of Islamic art to an Israeli audience. Vera Salomons, the donor who placed the collection and the building at the disposal of the general public, added to her donation the rare watch collection of Lord David Salomons, one of the world's most import watch collections. The combination of Islamic objets d'art that the donor wanted exposed to the Israeli public, and the breathtaking watches, creates one of the rarest collections in Israel, God's little acre in a city that desperately needs such places.
The past years have been good years for the museum: Its exhibition was updated, the research activity benefited from an increase in cooperative projects with universities, and the exhibitions were highly praised. The group responsible for all these successes is the museum staff, headed by director Nadim Sheiban.
That's why all those who love the museum were shocked to learn about its administrators' decision to sell 268 items from its collections at a public auction, which is being presented as designed to rescue the museum, when it's not at all clear that the museum is in need of such a rescue.
Israeli actor, director, screenwriter and producer Yehuda Barkan died Friday at the age of 75 of complications from the coronavirus, which he had contracted three weeks ago. His death was announced after Shabbat ended; his funeral was held on Sunday at the Rehovot cemetery.
Barkan was hospitalized on Yom Kippur at Hadassah University Hospital, En Karem in Jerusalem after his condition worsened. On Tuesday, he was transferred to intensive care after suffering sustained breathing difficulties.
Barkan is survived by four children, seven grandchildren and countless fans who were raised on Charlie and a Half (1974), Snooker (1975), The Skipper (1987) and other films, which have become Israeli classics.
Moody's, one of the big three international credit rating agencies, said on Friday it was keeping Israel's rating unchanged at A1 and its outlook as Stable, despite widespread concerns about how the government is managing fiscal policy.
Moody's, whose rating is equivalent to A-plus for the other agencies, is the first of the three to issue its report. Standard & Poor, which rates Israel AA-minus, one notch above Moody's and Fitch, is expected to issue its report November 13.
The Moody rating comes at a sensitive time for Israel, whose budget deficit has ballooned to 9.1% of gross domestic product in the 12 months through September as it spends heavily to contain the health and economic fallout of the coronavirus. That is nearly triple the rate on the eve of the pandemic.
The Republican Party is officially supporting Marjorie Taylor Greene, a candidate for the House of Representatives from Georgia, who has espoused the antisemitic QAnon conspiracy theory and employed racist rhetoric before and during her congressional campaign.
According to campaign finance records, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) donated $5,000 to Greene's congressional campaign on September 25, the Daily Beast reported.
On her Facebook page, Greene has expressed support for the unsubstantiated QAnon conspiracy theory, which employs multiple anti-Semitic tropes. It alleges that U.S. President Donald Trump is at war with a cabal of Satan-worshipping international elites, in league with the deep state, the Democratic Party and the media.
I am glad that a defamatory piece published in the opinion pages of this paper (What a Surprise Even a Proud Liberal Zionist Scion Can Be a Racist, Oct. 22) provided an opportunity to raise the imperative of equally upholding international law and its principle of reciprocity in ensuring the return of two deceased Israeli soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul and two civilians Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed held in Gaza in a six-year standing violation of international law.
As I have stated on the record, in both interviews and on Twitter, I am proud to be living in a country in which the defense minister enables the treatment of Saeb Erekat; a country that does not condition its own morality on the morality of its foes or its allies. Any inference or suggestion that attributes otherwise to me is either a misunderstanding, a mistake, or misleading.
Leaving aside the disrespectful and false personal attacks made in the article, the very premise of it is based on an incorrect interpretation of reciprocity.
The cabinet wants to give the police unrestricted access to the information it collects from the contact tracing of coronavirus patients, for use in criminal investigations. This information may include details given to the Health Ministry as a result of tracking by the Shin Bet security service, even though current law forbids this.
On Saturday night, the Prime Minister's Office distributed a draft of the proposed legislation, whose primary aim is to increase the fines for violating coronavirus regulations. But one of the clauses the cabinet seeks to pass, pending Knesset approval, relates to contact tracing, also known as epidemiological investigations.
The change would amend the section of the Public Health Ordinance that states: Information obtained under this clause is to be kept solely in the Health Ministry information systems, by adding Nothing stated in this subclause detracts from the police's authority under any regulation to obtain information if needed for a criminal investigation.
After a process shadowed by unexpected controversy, Stanley Fischer was named to the Bank Hapoalim board of directors on Thursday, amid expectations that the world-renowned economist aims to become its chairman and key figure.
Serving over the course of his career as vice chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Bank of Israel governor and vice president of the International Monetary Fund, Fischer, 77, is regarded as one of the world's leading economists and authorities on monetary policy.
He is the first former Bank of Israel governor to serve on the board of a commercial bank. Hapoalim is Israel's largest bank by market capitalization, and since Shari Arison sold down her stake it no longer has a controlling shareholder.
Israel's High Court of Justice ruled Sunday to suspend the administrative detention of Palestinian prisoner Maher Akhras, who is on a three-month hunger strike.
Akhras, 49, who hails from the village of Silat ad-Dhahr near Nablus, will remain in Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot. The justices ruled that if Akhras is released from the hospital, the remainder of his detention will be reconsidered, and the prosecution will need to make this announcement at least 48 hours in advance.
On Friday, the justices issued an interim order preventing Akhras from being transferred from the hospital to an Israel Prison Service medical center, following an urgent petition against transferring him to the service's authority and against the renewal of his administrative detention.
I am a Haredi woman. I live in the heart of Manchester's Haredi community and my parents, siblings, cousins, and nieces and nephews are spread across the global Haredi community.
The framework we live in can feel harsh. It is meant to. Particularly in Israel, luxuries are shunned. There is pride in abstention. We live cheek by jowl. We live lives of love and laughter.
We may be afraid of death, of hate, of prejudice, but we live our lives in spite of that, and that suffering is part of our identity. Coronavirus has accentuated this, and now it is threatening our lives.
An Israeli man was arrested Sunday on suspicion of assaulting an anti-Netanyahu protester in Haifa on Saturday.
The man, 22 of Kiryat Yam, is suspected of assaulting a protester with an object, according to the police, which requested to extend his remand. The protester told Haaretz on Saturday that she was struck with a flag pole from a moving car.
On Saturday, five people were arrested in Tel Aviv for alleged threats and assaults on demonstrators at a protest calling for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to step down. Three 26-year-olds were suspected of threatening protesters at Rabin Square. A 17-year-old was questioned after allegedly throwing an egg at protesters. An 18-year-old was arrested after attempting to go on stage at the protest in Rabin Square. All six were released Sunday subject to restrictions.
Sudan and Israel will discuss agreements to cooperate on trade and migration issues in the coming weeks, the Sudanese Foreign Ministry said on Sunday, signalling steps to implement a normalization pact after decades of hostilities.
The U.S.-brokered accord made Khartoum the third Arab government to establish relations with Israel in the last two months, and only the fifth since 1948.
But prominent political factions in Sudan have rejected the accord. Some Sudanese officials have said it should be approved by a transitional parliament that has yet to be formed over a year after mass unrest ousted Islamist autocrat Omar al-Bashir.
The map showing the presence of the coronavirus in Israel is in large measure a reflection of the level of trust between residents in various parts of the country and the authorities.
The greater the incidence of infection, the less likely it is that the population counts on the authorities or that it trusts them. The sharp decline in the number of cases in Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, which in the current second wave of the pandemic went from being coded red by the Health Ministry the most serious situation to orange and then to best-rated green was therefore a welcome surprise. And it happened before many other communities.
Many people in Jerusalem believe that the primary reason for this is what's been happening in the basement of the Jerusalem city hall, underneath the parking department, where the East Jerusalem coronavirus response team from the Israeli Army's Home Front Command is located. The staff there coordinates the evacuation and isolation of patients.
If you want a sense of the tragicomedy that is Lebanon today, you need not go further than Thursday's headlines. Saad Hariri, who resigned as premier almost exactly a year ago in the face of street protests demanding a purge of the country's corrupt elite, has now been tapped to form the next government.
Those were hopeful times in October 2019, but they didn't last long. In the intervening year Lebanon's economy has collapsed, the coronavirus has spread uncontrolled and an explosion at the Port of Beirut has left a good part of the city in ruins. People have grown desperate enough to fit out flimsy boats and cross the Mediterranean in hopes of fleeing to Cyprus.
Yet, as the pile of problems grew higher and higher, Lebanon leaders just sat back and waited.
Iraqi security forces clashed with anti-government demonstrators in Baghdad on Sunday with at least 39 people, most of them police officers, injured by projectiles unleashed from each side, security officials said.
Police sources said tear gas canisters being fired by security forces had injured at least seven people.
A separate statement from a military spokesman said at least 32 members of the security forces were injured by hand grenades thrown by a group he suggested had hidden among otherwise peaceful protesters, without elaborating.
U.S. President Donald Trump's daughter and son-in-law, both top White House aides, were soundly rebuked after threatening to sue a group of anti-Trump Republicans for posting billboard ads in New York City's Times Square linking them to the country's almost 225,000 coronavirus deaths.
A lawyer representing Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, made the threat on Friday in a letter to the Lincoln Project, calling the ads "false, malicious and defamatory" and saying they constituted "outrageous and shameful libel."
"If these billboard ads are not immediately removed, we will sue you for what will doubtless be enormous compensatory and punitive damages," Marc Kasowitz said in his letter, which the Lincoln Project posted on Twitter.
The one thing most likely to conjure nightmares of the 2016 election night for opponents of President Donald Trump is the Needle.
A graphic on The New York Times' website, the Needle measured in real time the probability of victory for Trump or Hillary Clinton as votes were counted. Its steady movement triggered anxiety for Clinton supporters, who repeatedly refreshed the page, and elation for Trump fans.
There's no sign that the Needle will be making a reappearance on Nov. 3, which would be one change in the world of election probability gurus following the unexpected 2016 result. Nate Silver's influential FiveThirtyEight blog used a number, not a needle, for the same task four years ago but won't on election night 2020.
With only a week to go until November 3, the eyes of the world are fixed on America as it prepares to elect its next president. At the same time, COVID-19 cases are reaching all-time highs, and Israel is signing new diplomatic accords with neighboring countries in the Middle East.
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On Wednesday, October 28, at 9 P.M. Israel time, 3 P.M. EDT, Haaretz will host a special Zoom briefing on the stakes of the 2020 election for Israel and the region. Senior columnist Chemi Shalev and senior correspondent Allison Kaplan Sommer will discuss the state of the election, with Chemi providing analysis of how the election is viewed from Tel Aviv and Allison joining live from Maine, where she is reporting on the state's crucial Senate race.
U.S. President Donald Trump swept into office nearly four years ago as an outsider who promised to get things done quickly on behalf of the American people through sheer force of will and unrivaled knowledge about the art of the deal.
He has checked off some items on his to-do list.
Trump pushed through the most significant overhaul of the U.S. tax system since President Ronald Reagan. Trump, as he said he would, tilted the Supreme Court further to the right with confirmation of two conservative justices and likely a third, Amy Coney Barrett, in the coming days. His promise to get tough on illegal immigration has resulted in a surge in migrant apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Whatever your views on Sacha Baron Cohen the performer, you've got to admit that the guy's got balls of titanium. He's put his head in the lion's mouth more times than Siegfried and Roy over the past two decades, and it's a wonder he's still alive to tell the tale.
Whether taking down pompous politicians or rabid right-wingers, he's become the ultimate prank machine who bamboozles supposedly sane people into saying or doing the most insane things. I am literally counting down the hours till it's revealed he was behind Jeffrey Toobin's Zoom Dick incident earlier this week.
It says something after all the crazy stunts he pulled off in his 2018 television series Who is America? that his latest film Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan may contain some of his wildest, most outrageous moments yet.
A Palestinian teen was killed Sunday during a chase with Israeli soldiers north of Ramallah. The Palestinian Health Ministry, quoting the director of the Ramallah Medical Center Ahmed al-Beitawi, said the teen died after being struck in the neck. The Israeli army said he lost consciousness during a foot chase, fell and hit his head.
The teen, Amer Abdel Rahim Snobar, 18, from the village of Yatma, died after being hit by a rifle butt in the neck, Al-Beitawi said. The Palestinian Health Ministry statement said his body was brought to the hospital at 3 A.M. and doctors there diagnosed him with severe injuries on the back of his head indicating violence.
A Red Crescent representative told Haaretz that the organization was asked by the IDF to come to the Hugo Chavez Hospital in Turmus Ayya: "We got there and the teenager was at the entrance of the hospital. We saw that there was an attempt to resuscitate him and give him medical care, apparently by the army. A Red Crescent ambulance brought him to the Ramallah Medical Center, but when he got there he had no signs of life."
There may be virtually no chance that Donald Trump could win New York State in the presidential election.
But that's not stopping his Orthodox Jewish supporters from coming out to show their support.
This Sunday, at least four pro-Trump rallies are being organized in Orthodox Jewish communities across the New York area. In the more Modern Orthodox communities in Long Island's Five Towns, in Brooklyn Marine Park, in Rockland County's Monsey, and in a number of Brooklyn neighborhoods in a car parade, Orthodox fans of the president are planning a major show of support in the final stretch of the campaign.
UPDATE: Baron Cohen responds to Giuliani as Trump calls him a 'creep'
Rudy Giuliani is shown with his hand down his pants after flirting with an actress playing a young woman pretending to be a television journalist in a scene in Sacha Baron Cohen's latest mockumentary, a sequel to his hit Borat film. Giuliani responded on Twitter, claiming the "video is a complete fabrication" in a series of odd tweets.
Giuliani concluded his denial, despite the video footage, by saying, "We are preparing much bigger dumps off of the hard drive from hell, of which Joe Biden will be unable to defend or hide from. I have the receipts." Giuliani was alluding to the dubious New York Post stories about Hunter Biden's purported laptop.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets on Sunday to mark one year since mass anti-government demonstrations swept Baghdad and Iraq's south, sparking hope for change and calls to end to rampant corruption.
Protesters marched in the capital and several southern cities including Najaf, Nasiriyah and Basra to renew demands proclaimed a year ago to bring an end to corruption by politicians.
Mustafa Hussein, in his 20's, participated in the demonstrations last year and returned to Baghdad's Tahrir Square on Sunday. He said little had changed.
The Israeli army will hold an extensive general staff exercise in the near future, which will be attended by thousands of reservists, as decided by Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, despite the coronavirus and concerns over mass infection of soldiers. The army will take a series of safety measures whilst applying lessons learned from the previous outbreak of infection. The IDF still sees some chance of a military conflagration next year in the northern area and the exercise will deal with the General Staff's preparations for this possibility.
In the meantime, more than 90 days have gone by since a high alert was declared in the Northern Command, for fear of a Hezbollah retaliation from the Lebanese border. The organization is still looking to avenge the death of one of its former activists, a driver who was annexed to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, in a bombardment that was attributed to Israel at the Damascus airport at the end of July. Israeli intelligence assesses that Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah still seeks an eye for an eye, the killing of a single IDF soldier, to maintain the deterrence equation with Israel. The preparedness remains in effect, in parallel with the talks between Israel and Lebanon about establishing the maritime borders between the two countries.
Another attack attributed to Israel was reported on the Syrian border, in the area of Quneitra in the Golan Heights. The attack was aimed at a position being used in tandem by the First Corps of the Syrian army and the local Hezbollah command. The IDF has issued explicit warnings to the First Corps commanders, because of their connections with Iran and Hezbollah. Southern Syria hardly ever makes the headlines in the Israeli media, but the reality there is still stormy, despite the return of control there into Syrian President Bashar Assad's hands in the summer of 2018. Every month 50 to 60 deaths are recorded in various incidents between the Syrian army and local rebel groups. The large rebel organizations that operated in the area in the past have been dismantled and their leaders have fled but, in their stead, new local organizations have sprung up for self-defense.
The Biden campaign held an online meeting for Jewish mayors featuring Doug Emhoff, vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris' husband.
Mayor Rick Kriseman of St. Petersburg, Florida asked Emhoff how his Jewish upbringing had shaped him. According to the pool report on the Thursday virtual event, Emhoff said standing up to bullies, and made it clear he thought President Donald Trump was a bully. We are going up against the biggest bully there is.
Eric Garcetti, the Jewish mayor of Los Angeles, said he had known Emhoff, an entertainment lawyer based in Los Angeles, longer than he had known Harris, who currently serves as a California's senator. On the campaign trail, he's our secret weapon, Garcetti said.
Afghanistan claimed Sunday it killed a top Al-Qaida propagandist on an FBI most-wanted list during an operation in the country's east, showing the militant group's continued presence there as U.S. forces work to withdraw from America's longest-running war amid continued bloodshed.
The reported death of Husam Abd al-Rauf, also known by the nom de guerre Abu Muhsin al-Masri, follows weeks of violence, including a suicide bombing by the Islamic State group Saturday at an education center near Kabul that killed 24 people. Meanwhile, the Afghan government continues to fight Taliban militants even as peace talks in Qatar between the two sides take place for the first time.
The violence and al-Rauf's reported killing threatens the face-to-face peace talks and risks plunging this nation beset by decades of war into further instability. It also complicates America's efforts to withdraw, 19 years after it led an invasion targeting the Taliban for hosting al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden after the September 11 attacks.
Arab-Israeli travel blogger Nuseir Yassin denied that he receives support from the Israeli government to spread pro-Israel propaganda.
In a video posted Tuesday on his Facebook page, Nas Daily, which has more than 17 million followers on the social network, Yassin said that the satellite news network Al Jazeera had falsely portrayed him as trying to make Israel look good using tools provided by the Israeli government. Yassin described the report as fake news and denied that his Nas Academy educational program works with the Israeli government.
In the past month, there was a coordinated Fake News campaign against Nas Daily accusing us of things that are factually incorrect, Yassin said in the video.
Italy on Sunday ordered bars and restaurants to close by 6 p.m. and shut public gyms, cinemas and swimming pools to try to halt a rapid resurgence in the coronavirus that has pushed daily infection rates to new records.
The measures, which take effect on Monday and were agreed between Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte's government in Rome and regional authorities, arrived after two nights of protests in Naples and Rome against curfews introduced in a number of regions last week.
Aware of the huge cost of shutting down the economy, the Rome government has said it does not want to repeat the blanket lockdown ordered in the first phase of the crisis. But it has been forced to ratchet up restrictions steadily as the pandemic has raced ahead after slowing down in the summer.
A magnificent Turkish carpet, a unique Egyptian helmet and a rare gold Breguet clock these are three of 268 art and archaeology objects to be sold this week by the British auction house Sotheby's.
In order to assuage its financial difficulties, the L.A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art is auctioning nearly five percent of its lot of 5,525 items, including the rare and unique jewels of its collection. Experts in Israel have expressed outrage at the decision and bewilderment at the reasons given for the sale of certain items.
The museum had begun planning the sale more than two years ago, much before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, threating the financial state of museums in Israel and around the world. According to the museum, the items are owned by the private Hermann de Stern Foundation, which is the major entity funding the museum's operations.
A 'rediscovered' student of many years past caught me recently in a chance encounter. "As an Orthodox rabbi living in Israel I imagine that you are supporting President Trump," he stated.
But no, I immediately responded: as an Orthodox rabbi, I am compelled to vote him out. He stands against everything we believe in.
As a covenanted people, our theological DNA affirms the holiness of all human beings, while Trump makes common cause with racists and white supremacists; we have always allied ourselves with the best findings of scientific investigation and Trump ridicules that process and the scientists behind it; we believe in the preciousness of human life, while Trump indicates that as long as he is healthy, the rest of the country be damned.
The United Nations announced Saturday that 50 countries have ratified a U.N. treaty to ban nuclear weapons triggering its entry into force in 90 days, a move hailed by anti-nuclear activists but strongly opposed by the United States and the other major nuclear powers.
As of Friday, the treaty had 49 signatories, and the United Nations said the 50th ratification from Honduras had been received.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres commended the 50 states and saluted the instrumental work" of civil society in facilitating negotiations and pushing for ratification, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
During the past week, Rep. Adam Schiff's opponent falsely accused him of being related to George Soros, the Jewish Democratic mega-donor who is a constant target of right-wing criticism.
In an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Schiff said the Soros meme fit into a pattern of bigotry condoned by the very top of the Republican party. Schiff accused not only President Donald Trump but Republican congressional leaders of encouraging antisemitism through criticism of Soros, which has become unrelenting in this election cycle and frequently veers into antisemitism.
Schiff, the Jewish Democratic congressman from California who led the House's impeachment inquiry of Trump last year, also floated the idea of Congress removing legal immunity from social networks that fail to crack down on hate if their recent steps to curb bigotry prove insufficient.
Israel's Labor and Social Affairs Minister Itzik Shmuli has rejected proposals to aid asylum seekers in receiving the deposits their employers deducted from their salaries and kept to themselves illegally, Haaretz has learned.
In April, the High Court of Justice struck down the law requiring asylum seekers to deposit 20 percent of their wages into a fund, which they would only receive back when they leave the country. But many asylum seekers discovered that even though their employers had deducted the money from their salaries, they never deposited the money in the fund.
Knesset members Aida Touma-Sliman and Sondos Saleh of the Arab-majority Joint List asked Shmuli to help these workers get their money back. They proposed doing so by allowing the workers to receive the money they are owed directly from the state and the government would demand the money from the employers or by providing legal help to enable them to sue their employers.
The Israeli government ratified the declaration on the establishment of relations between Israel and Bahrain Sunday, following a similar procedure to ratify the agreement with the United Arab Emirates.
The proposal will now be sent for approval by the Knesset, after which it will return to the cabinet for a final vote.
The wording of the declaration is identical to the one published after the deal was first signed. The document, signed by national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat, the director-general of the Foreign Ministry, Alon Ushpiz, and Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, includes general declarations of non-aggression, the intent to promote common values and civilian cooperation in the areas of air traffic, trade, energy, science, health and others.
The United States reported over 94,000 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, the highest daily caseload since the epidemic broke out in the country in March, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 8,571,941 on Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The deaths brought by the highly contagious disease rose to 224,771, figures from the university's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) showed.
Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, warned in an TV interview that the daily new cases could exceed 100,000 and deaths would continue to surge as "people are just tired of the virus, even though the virus is not tired with them."
Rabbi Mordechai Vardi thought he already knew quite a bit about Orthodox LGBT people when he decided to direct the film Marry Me However, a documentary on one of the burning issues in recent years in the religious-Zionist community: gays and lesbians who want to marry a member of the opposite sex to maintain an Orthodox way of life.
After meetings with his students in the Netanya and Ma'alot yeshivas, he began to research the issue. When he told his family about the film, he was surprised to hear that his own daughters had had experience with boyfriends enduring such dilemmas.
One of my daughters went out with a young man who told her he was attracted to men, but they wanted to get married. They got along well, and she agreed. She didn't want to abandon him because of this. She didn't come to me, she didn't tell me, Vardi says.
It's starting to look like a fitting metaphor for Benjamin Netanyahu in his 11th consecutive year in office. The announcement of the normalization agreement with Sudan the third with an Arab state in a little over one month was received in Israel with something akin to apathy. No one took to the streets in celebration. Furthermore, much of the media attention surrounding the diplomatic achievement was overshadowed by yet another of the prime minister's characteristic run-ins with the truth.
Netanyahu's claim in late August that the agreements with the United Arab Emirates and with Bahrain would not lead to the U.S. sale of F-35 fighter jets to the UAE was shown to be a total deception. Not that this surprised the Israelis who took an interest in the episode, with the exception of a handful of Netanyahu cheerleaders who persisted in defending him.
The announcement of the breakthrough with Sudan, which was reported Friday afternoon, coincided with Israel admitting that its efforts to delay or restrict the sale of U.S. warplanes to the Emirates had failed. After Defense Minister Benny Gantz returned from a brief visit to Washington, the offices of the prime minister and the alternate prime minister issued a rare joint statement to the media. It said that Gantz and his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, had reached an agreement that will allow the long-term procurement of advanced weapon systems to Israel.
The planned normalization of relations with Sudan will facilitate the repatriation of asylum seekers back to that northeast African country, sources in Israel say.
While Israel has in the past cited the principle of non-refoulement for its agreement not to forcibly repatriate asylum seekers from Eritrea, with Sudan the official position is that the absence of diplomatic relations between Jerusalem and Khartoum prevents Israel from deporting Sudanese nationals.
The establishment of ties is expected to change that stance, despite international conventions mandating that asylum applications be examined on a case-by-case basis.
Finally, Israelis will be able to seek political asylum in Sudan, ran the joke last Friday after the announcement of an agreement to normalize relations between the two countries. In a more serious vein, there was already talk in Israel of the anticipated benefits of finally being able to deport Sudanese refugees and asylum seekers back to their country.
As expected, the routine of signing normalization agreements with Arab states automatically opened diplomatic and military Excel sheets, replete with columns showing losses and gains made by both sides, as if peace with another Arab state in the Middle East is no more than a business transaction.
The advantages for both sides are clearly obvious. Sudan will be removed from the list of countries supporting terror and will be able to start receiving crucial loans from international financing agencies, mainly the International Monetary Fund. Multinational corporations will be able to invest there and create thousands of jobs, allowing one of the world's poorest countries to perhaps start rebuilding itself after decades of being led by a murderous leader, Omar al-Bashir.
In a week and a half, Americans will decide for the whole world: Will we remain in the political-cultural-economic conceptual world as created by Donald Trump, or will we, as Israelis say, change the disk?
Trump's campaign managers are troubled by the loss of the senior-citizen vote. This is an important point due to the classic identification between the Republican right and conservatism. A Pew survey in February found that two-thirds of Americans feel exhausted by the flood of news Trump produces every day. This tempo is the essence of everything the conservatives, and older people in general, are afraid of: The world is moving too fast; stop for a moment.
But it isn't only a matter of style. We have to make an effort to remember the world before Trump. What was the status of the United States and its presidents, what did its relations with Europe, the United Nations and international law look like?
At the recent demonstrations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, we've seen the police riding into the crowds on their horses. The frightened horses have knocked demonstrators in their paths to the ground and trampled them with their hooves. A number of protesters have been injured and a few have had to be taken to the hospital with broken limbs.
Fortunately, the protesters in Israel have not fought back and attacked the horses, as recently happened at Black Lives Matter protests in the United States over the death of George Floyd. At those demonstrations, the protesters didn't hesitate to attack the horses, throwing objects at them and sand in their eyes to drive them and the police officers riding them away. A large number of horses were injured and taken to veterinary hospitals.
The horse is a noble, friendly and sensitive animal like no other, and that is able, for example, to help children with special needs. It's difficult to exaggerate the sensitivity of a horse to people who appear to the horse to be hostile, or the intensity of the suffering caused to horses forcibly brought to demonstrations and other gatherings where horns and megaphones are used, causing them severe distress.
Did you love Charles Aznavour? Did you melt when he sang La BohĂ¨me or hum Au printemps tu reviendras? Did your heartstrings tremble when he sang She in his rasping voice?
You filled auditoriums when he performed in Israel in 2013, 2014 and 2017, when he was already in his 90s, the last chansonnier. You may have also bought tickets for a concert he had scheduled for June 2019, which was canceled after his death. Now listen to what one of his sons has to say to you in his name.
Nicolas Aznavour published an open letter in Haaretz on Friday, addressed to President Reuven Rivlin. This letter should rattle all Israelis, causing them deep shame.
The cabinet is set to discuss Sunday a proposal by the Energy Ministry to advance the use of renewable energy. Under the outline, by 2030, around 30 percent of Israel's energy would be produced from renewable sources, the rest from natural gas. In parallel, Israel would stop generating electricity from coal.
This would be significant progress from the previous goal of 17 percent of energy produced from renewables, and it's evidence of a positive change in approach. It would enable Israel to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and deepen its commitment to the international effort to halt climate change. The resulting reduction in air pollution and toxic emissions would significantly improve health.
This wouldn't only be a decision on paper. Israel is already shutting its coal-burning power plants, and over the past two years has significantly increased solar energy production; solar will soon account for 10 percent of Israel's electricity production. This proposal, however, isn't far-reaching enough for achieving environmental and economic goals.
Seven were arrested in Jerusalem Saturday night as thousands of demonstrators nationwide demanded that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu step down in light of his criminal indictments and handling of the coronavirus crisis.
About 2,000 protesters marched from the Knesset building towards the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem, where uninterrupted weekly protests have taken place, with the exception of a few weeks during the lockdown, since the beginning of July.
Four other marches from other sites in the city also converged on Balfour Street. Thousands of demonstrators are now gathered at the nearby Paris Square; police had earlier set up roadblocks on nearby streets in preparation.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday that there is no basis to Defense Minister Benny Gantz's claim that a deal to allow the UAE to purchase F-35 fighter jets from the United States was conducted without the knowledge of the Defense Ministry.
Speaking at a press conference regarding the recently announced peace deal with Sudan, Netanyahu said, "There is no basis for that claim." Netanyahu added, "I can tell you that there were no undercover negotiations and that the sale of weapons was not one of the Emirati conditions for the peace deal. Only yesterday did we agree to it."
In response, Gantz said, "As defense minister I can say definitively that the defense establishment did not know of and was not informed of the negotiations to provide advanced weaponry to the UAE by the prime minister."
The secret that was uncovered this week in a Tel Aviv archive was kept for 138 years. This forgotten, surprising story, told in a 10-page letter in Hebrew, could have proved very embarrassing to certain people, tarnishing the reputation of Zionist pioneers in pre-state Palestine.
The author of the archival document is known today mainly for the eponymous street in Tel Aviv, the first Jewish city. Zalman David Levontin was a Russian-born Hasidic Jew, a small-scale banker who immigrated to Palestine as part of the so-called First Aliyah, from 1881 to 1903. A pioneer of Jewish settlement, he was among the 10 founders of Rishon Letzion, the second Jewish farm settlement established in Ottoman Palestine in the 19th century, after Petah Tikva.
The story begins in 1882. Excitement ran high when Levontin's aides bought land 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) south of Jaffa. After spending the first night under the stars, they were greeted by a spectacular sight at dawn: To the west lay the sea, to the east the Judean Hills, in the south were rolling hills and fields, with Yavneh on the horizon, and in the north stretched the Sharon plain. Rishon Letzion the first in Zion was the name they gave the rural settlement, echoing their aspiration for the return to Zion.
Israel's daylight saving time ends on Saturday night, and clocks are going back an hour as the country returns to standard time. At 2:00 A.M. Sunday morning, the clock will retreat to 1:00 A.M.
In 2013, the Knesset approved the implementation of daylight saving time in Israel, following Europe's schedule. It lasts from the Friday before the last Sunday of March until the last Sunday of October.
In recent years, Israeli and Palestinian rights groups have made a breakthrough discovery that may one day earn them a Nobel Prize in physics. Their researchers have observed that along with the speed of light and the laws of gravity, nature has given us two more universal physical constants: despicable settler criminality, which surges during the olive harvest, and collaboration by Israeli law enforcement that just lets it happen.
Time may expand or shrink, space may swell or contract, but the speed of light will always remain 300,000 kilometers per second. It will never change nor will the criminal activity of settlers. In times of peace talks or annexation conspiracy, normal times or pandemic times, times of economic growth or recession, the theft of olives, the cutting down of trees and assaults on the olive harvesters persist as always.
The bored soldier and commander who wearily roam amid the hilltop youth Klansmen as they throw rocks at the Palestinian olive harvesters show up every year, too, with the accuracy of an atomic clock.
A 17-year-old boy was killed early Saturday morning during a brawl between Jewish and Arab youth from adjacent communities in the north of Israel.
Itai Yitzhak, from the Gan Ner community south of Afula, was fatally wounded during the confrontation with boys from the nearby Arab town of Muqeible in the Gilboa area, and his friends evacuated him to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Israel Police arrested one adult and six teenagers aged 16 and 17 from both Gan Ner and Muqeible, and then imposed a gag order on the rest of the details of the investigation.
Sudan's former Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi on Saturday slammed an announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump that Sudan would start normalizing ties with Israel.
Al-Mahdi, who is the country's last democratically elected premier and heads the country's largest political party, said he withdrew from a government-organized religious conference on Saturday in the capital, Khartoum, in protest against Friday's announcement.
>> The secret history of Israel's explosive relations with Sudan
Which of these two shapes below, in your opinion, is called bouba and which kiki?
Those who think that the shape on the right is called bouba and the one on the left kiki are not alone. Nine of every 10 people think the same thing. The phenomenon, discovered by German psychologist Wolfgang KĂśhler, has been investigated for nearly 100 years but still isn't fully understood. What's the connection between shape and sound?
One of the conventional explanations for the phenomenon is that when we say bouba, our mouth makes a more circular motion than when we utter kiki. In other words, the intuitive coordination between shape and sound stems from the system of connections in the brain between the part that senses the movement of the mouth and the tongue and the visual part, which sees the shapes. From the perspective of Amir Amedi, this is a simple illustration of a far more complex phenomenon that he's been investigating from multiple aspects throughout his career: the deep, mysterious and ramified connection between the senses.
Benjamin Netanyahu recently rediscovered the lost continent, a land called mamlakhtiyut in this case, being statesmanlike. We thought it had sunk in the sea of the corruption investigations or disappeared in the whirlpool of indictments and his mad revenge campaign against Israel's judiciary and law enforcement system.
The prime minister's language, as you must have noticed, has become more respectable. The rage attacks that seized him occasionally (against a very specific population group) have vanished. He's gone back to talking about unity, as he did on the eve of the government's formation, when he was courting Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan.
If not for the broadcasts on television news of selections of his summer 2020 hits, showing him firing off the blood libel against disease-spreading anarchists and the incubator of the coronavirus and anarchy, we'd have thought it was all a bad dream.
The U.S.-brokered Sudan-Israel deal to normalise ties is "phony" and was secured by a "ransom", Iran's Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.
"Pay enough ransom, close your eyes to the crimes against Palestinians, then you'll be taken off the so-called 'terrorism' blacklist," the ministry tweeted. "Obviously, the list is as phony as the U.S. fight against terrorism. Shameful."
Israel and Sudan agreed on Friday to take steps to normalise relations in an acord engineered with the help of the United States, making Khartoum the third Arab government after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to set aside hostilities with Israel in the last two months.
The 19-year-old man alleged to have plotted to kill Joe Biden was the son of a prominent Jewish attorney who helped broker the first meeting between a U.S. president and the Dalai Lama.
News broke Friday about the May arrest of Alexander Hillel Treisman, a teenager who a court document says had purchased an automatic rifle and traveled to multiple states, and who allegedly had a checklist in his car whose final item read execute. Treisman has also been charged with three counts of child pornography, according to court documents that were obtained this week by local North Carolina station WBTV and reported on Friday in The Washington Post.
Treisman is the son of a Jewish human rights activist and one-time Senate candidate in New Mexico. Eric Treisman was known for his work with Tibetan immigrants and was once called an Oscar Schindler for Tibetans, an allusion to the German famous for saving more than 1000 Jews during the Holocaust. Eric Treisman died in 2009, days after finalizing his divorce from Alexander Treisman's mother.
Israel and Sudan on Friday agreed to normalize relations. We are re-upping this piece, originally published February 2020
The meeting in Uganda between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of Sudan's transitional Sovereignty Council, is just another chapter in the convoluted history of the two countries. It is a story of ups and downs, war, expedience, animosity, gun-running and people-smuggling, conspiracies, the long reach of Iran, clandestine bank transfers and - above all a relationship wrapped in overlapping layers of secrecy.
Israel and Sudan on Friday agreed to normalize relations. Here's a look back at one of the Israeli intelligence agency's most daring missions in that country - to save thousands of Ethiopian Jews' lives. Originally published April 2018
It was one of the Mossad's most daring, complex and longest-running operations. But only now, 37 years on, is the story of a Red Sea diving resort run by the agency getting its moment in the sun.
Like the last of the storks perhaps the weak, dreamy ones who weren't ready on time and got left out in the cold after the rest of their elegant, symmetrical flock flitted across the sky and completed their autumn migration we arrived at the empty airport early in the morning near the end of the Sukkot holiday.
Ten days earlier, my husband called at 1:45 P.M., seriously stressed. Fast, now! Find tickets for Greece and buy them. Right now it doesn't matter where. Hurry!
Really? I replied. The last time I checked, tickets cost $800. It's not for us. But he was adamant. Check again; maybe the prices went down. Now. They announced that anyone who buys by 2 o'clock can go.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that Israel's authorization of the United States' sale of F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates was not part of the peace deal signed between the nations in Washington, and that this came about through discussions held by Defense Minister Benny Gantz with the Pentagon.
Meanwhile, in a statement of his own, Gantz claimed that negotiations on the sale of arms were known to some Israeli officials, but were kept hidden from him and Israel's security establishment.
Earlier on Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that Israel and Sudan agreed to normalize relations in a deal brokered with the help of the United States, making Sudan the third Arab country to set aside hostilities with Israel in the past two months.
Otters face a serious threat of extinction in Israel as their population in the far north and the hilly banks of the Jordan River continues to decline, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel said this week.
The percentage of habitats that support otters has fallen 44 percent this year as fish ponds recede in areas such as the Hula Valley in the far north, the group said in a report.
The authors note that a similar process took place in the Harod and Beit She'an valleys in the north before otters suddenly disappeared from those areas.
Over recent months, hundreds of millions of people have been subject to restrictions that would have been hard to imagine a year ago. Coronavirus emergency regulations have led to aggressive lockdowns and to a need for social distancing and the wearing of face masks. In many countries this situation has contributed to the creation of a political schism, with rival camps positioned on each side.
One camp raises the standard of common concern for the general good: preservation of the health and life of all people. The second camp warns against both a blow to individual freedom and the brutal intervention of the state in its citizens' lives. What results is a standoff between two core values: the public welfare and the freedom of the individual.
In fact, the two poles need not be mutually exclusive. In most countries, many people are positioned somewhere between the camps, among them people who think a lockdown is a legitimate measure but think it is not being implemented fairly. But in the United States, the conflict between advocates of individual freedom and proponents of social solidarity has assumed a distinctly political character.
Israel and Sudan on Friday agreed to normalize relations in a deal brokered with the help of the United States, making Sudan the third Arab country to set aside hostilities with Israel in the past two months.
U.S. President Donald Trump, seeking re-election on November 3, sealed the agreement in a phone call on Friday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Transitional Council Head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, senior U.S. officials said.
Netanyahu welcomed the announcement and hailed the third Arab country to join the expanding the circle of peace.
Prime Minister Netanyahu faced an awkward situation on Friday during a phone call with President Trump, which was broadcast live to reporters in the White House.
Netanyahu and Trump spoke in order to jointly celebrate the beginning of normalization talks between Israel and Sudan. Trump put the Prime Minister on speaker in front of the media, and presented an opportunity to denigrate the Democratic presidential nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden.
Bibi, do you think Sleepy Joe could have made that deal? I don't think so, Trump asked Netanyahu, grinning. The Prime Minister hesitated for a moment but then said Uh, well, Mr. President, one thing I can tell you is we appreciate the help for peace from anyone in America.
In December 1987, an academic conference was held at an Israeli university to mark 20 years since the Six-Day War. The guest speaker was Bernard Lewis, a renowned professor of Middle Eastern history, who said there were two miracles about the war. The first was Israel's astonishing victory over Egypt, Syria and Jordan in June 1967. The second was that in the subsequent 20 years, the pressure cooker of tension created in the occupied territories had not exploded. The first intifada broke out days after his speech, sparked by the death of four Palestinians in a road accident involving an Israeli truck in the Gaza Strip.
One of those in attendance at Lewis' lecture was then-Maj. Gen. Ehud Barak. At the time, Barak was the Israel Defense Forces' deputy chief of staff a post he had recently moved to from Central Command, where he was in charge of the West Bank. Barak, who would be Israel's prime minister when the second intifada broke out in September 2000, likes to use the anecdote to illustrate how difficult it is to predict the outbreak of a third intifada.
While much has been made in recent weeks of the 20th anniversary of start of the second intifada, one point that's been lost is that there is no agreement on when it ended though it's generally accepted it had petered out by the time of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's death in November 2004.
Western intelligence agencies have revealed that Hamas' leadership has been operating a second clandestine office in Istanbul for cyber operations and counter-espionage against its enemies, including the Palestinian Authority and Hamas dissenters, unbeknownst to Turkish authorities, The U.K. newspaper The Times has reported Friday.
According to the report, the Hamas headquarters were established approximately two years ago in order to purchase equipment that can be used to manufacture weapons, to implement cyber-attacks against enemies, including embassies of hostile Arab states such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East and Europe, and even against the Palestinian Authority in Gaza, as well as for surveillance and cracking down on dissenting members within its own ranks.
>> Turkey seeks to replace Egypt in Palestinian arena and Israel should be worried
Israel, the West Bank and Gaza are dealing with a renewed coronavirus outbreak, leading to proposals and measures intended to curb its spread and mitigate the economic ramifications of the crisis by both Israeli and Palestinian authorities.
Israel currently has 17,590 active cases; 2,319 people have died. In the West Bank, there are 5,238 active cases and 453 deaths, and in Gaza 1,921 active cases and 28 deaths.
A roadside bombing on Thursday killed a senior Syrian cleric who played a key role in government deals with rebel fighters, according to Syrian state media and a government website.
The explosion that killed Damascus Mufti Mohammed Adnan Afiouni took place in the town of Qudsaya, west of the capital of Damascus. It was not known who planted the roadside bomb and no group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
The cleric was first reported wounded and then declared dead soon after.
Palestinian hunger striker Maher Akhras will be transferred to the prison service's medical center on Friday after being released from Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot.
Akhras has refused to eat for some 90 days in protest of his administrative detention. He was released from Kaplan because of his refusal to receive any medical treatment, and because his many visitors endanger others in the hospital in light of the coronavirus pandemic, according to his lawyer Ahlam Haddad.
His administrative detention was renewed after his release, after having been suspended following his hospitalization in recent weeks, due to his deteriorated condition during his hunger strike. The hospital said that they "acted on medical considerations only, and in accordance with the decisions of the competent authorities."
The United States has imposed sanctions on two officials from the Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah, the U.S. Treasury Department said, including one who served as a senior military commander in the south of the country.
Nabil Qaouk, a member of the group's executive council who fought during Israel's 1982-2000 military occupation of south Lebanon, and Hassan al-Baghdadi were both designated "for being leaders or officials" of Hezbollah.
The United States deems Hezbollah, the heavily armed, Iran-backed group that is also a powerful political presence in Lebanon, to be a terrorist group. It has sanctioned several Hezbollah members, including its leader and deputy leader.
Libya's warring sides signed an agreement for a permanent ceasefire in all areas of the country on Friday, months after frontlines stabilized following a failed eastern assault on the capital Tripoli.
The accord, concluded in Geneva after talks between military representatives of the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) and Khalifa Haftar's eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), will be followed by political discussions in Tunisia next month.
As a first commercial passenger flight in more than a year from Tripoli landed in the eastern city of Benghazi on Friday, UN acting Libya envoy Stephanie Williams hailed both sides for reaching a deal.
The facts took a hit right out of the gate Thursday night.
President Donald Trump's first line of the night, about COVID-19 deaths, was false and set the tone as he and Democratic rival Joe Biden unleashed a torrent of claims in their last presidential debate.
Trump misrepresented the reality of the pandemic in myriad and familiar ways, insisting against obvious reality that the pandemic is drawing to a close. He also boasted about clean facilities at the border for migrant children, ignoring the filthy conditions under which they were held in 2018.
Volunteers with the Palestinian group Faz3a, whose members accompany olive harvesters to protect them from attacks by settlers, fill a vacuum. It's a vacuum that the Palestinian Authority's security forces never could fill in the West Bank's areas B and C, where the Oslo Accords bar them from operating.
Tens of thousands of Palestinian youths train in martial arts and the use of weapons for recruitment to the Palestinian security forces, including the police. Under the agreements with Israel, they must help the Shin Bet security service and the army monitor Palestinians, arrest and interrogate them.
They're expected to avert any harm to Israeli citizens. But they're barred from protecting Palestinian civilians against attacks by thugs who are Israeli citizens.
On Tuesday, a day before the incident in the Knesset chamber in which Speaker Yariv Levin annulled the results of a vote in favor of a measure introduced by the opposition with the consent of Deputy Knesset Speaker Mansour Abbas members of Abbas's Joint List faction met in closed session.
On the agenda at the alliance of majority-Arab parties' meeting: a discussion of the continued erosion of the faction's strength. Some of those present described heated tones, tough remarks and finger-pointing over poor management that they said was affecting the Joint List's electoral base.
We don't need polling data. We are aware of it. It's clear that we are slipping, one Joint List lawmaker told Haaretz. Since the establishment of the government , the List has gone from crisis to crisis.
Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly told Israeli-American billionaire Haim Saban that he couldn't have joined neighbors Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in normalizing ties with Israel because doing so would get him killed by Iran, Qatar and my own people.
Saban related the story of his meeting with the crown prince at an online campaign event on Wednesday called Israel's Security and Prosperity in a Biden White House, sponsored by Florida for Joe Biden and Kamela Harris.
In his trademark blunt and humorous style, Saban simultaneously praised the Trump administration's favorable policies toward Israel while strongly downplaying their effectiveness in what he called the test of results. In an interview with Rep. Ted Deutch (Democrat of Florida), he also criticized Trump's policy of fighting our allies and embracing our foes.
President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden fought over how to tame the raging coronavirus in Thursday's final 2020 debate, largely shelving the rancor that overshadowed their previous face-off in favor of a more substantive exchange that highlighted their vastly different approaches to the major domestic and foreign challenges facing the nation.
With less than two weeks until the election, Trump sought to portray himself as the same outsider he first pitched to voters four years ago, repeatedly saying he wasn't a politician. Biden, meanwhile, argued that Trump was an incompetent leader of a country facing multiple crises and tried to connect what he saw as the president's failures to the everyday lives of Americans
The night in Nashville was centered on a battle over the president's handling of the pandemic, which has killed more than 225,000 Americans and cost millions of jobs. Trump declared that the virus will go away while Biden warned that the nation was heading toward a dark winter. Polling suggests it is the campaign's defining issue for voters, and Biden declared, Anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States of America.
The nub of the dispute now in the coronavirus cabinet and among the government ministries is the pace of Israel's exit from the second lockdown. In any practical sense, the economy is far from returning to what it used to be certainly from the time before the pandemic, but also in the period following the lifting of the first lockdown in May of this year. In the background, there is the failure of the previous exit.
At that time Israel celebrated victory over the coronavirus too soon, the government lost interest in the matter and stopped managing the crisis, and the infection started spreading again in a series of waves that peaked in the outbreak in September, which in turn led to the second lockdown.
The main discussion concerns the question of how and at what speed should schools reopen, after daycare centers and kindergartens were allowed to welcome pupils again last week. Each side in the debate the ministries of education, health and finance is pulling in a different direction and is armed with different scientific findings to prove its points. The cloudy relationships among the three cabinet ministers, Yuli Edelstein at Health, Yoav Galant at Education and Yisrael Katz at Finance are making it difficult to find an arrangement. So too is the frenetic management by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is still occupied with a string of other matters, from his efforts to evade justice at his trial to the re-election chances of his friend U.S. President Donald Trump.
For too many years, women worldwide have been struggling to realize their right to economic freedom. This fight is taking place not only in the labor market, where women as a group have not achieved parity with men in wages and in status, but also within the patriarchal family unit. Israel is no exception in this regard.
Numerous studies have shown that for many Israeli women, economic abuse by an intimate partner is not a theoretical debate, but rather a painful reality. A 2011 survey by the Na'amat women's organization found that about 5 percent of Israeli women are not free to make decisions on household expenses and do not have free access to a bank account. One-fifth 21 percent reported that their partners check each of their expenses, 9 percent said they needed their spouse's approval for every expense and 14 percent said they had no information about the family's financial situation.
Many participants in this study and others described complete economic dependence on their spouses, against their will, which translates into dependence on a toxic relationship. This is a controlling mechanism. The women become captive in their own homes. It is classified as economic abuse, or economic violence, but lawmakers Bezalel Smotrich (Yamina), Ariel Kallner, Shlomo Karhi and Amit Halevi (Likud) don't care about that. For them, the draft law against economic violence, which is meant to enable the courts to help these women, is mainly an opportunity to advance their conservative agenda against Israel's justice system.
Waking up every morning right on the water, living a five-minute walk from the heart of Tel Aviv, no mortgage to pay and the option of moving your home lock, stock and barrel to another idyllic location, without packing.
Sound like a dream? This is what life looks like for 110 privileged people living almost undisturbed on their boats smack in the middle of Israel's most desirable locations marinas in Tel Aviv, its wealthy northern suburb of Herzliya and the port in Jaffa. A few dozen people live the same life in Ashdod, Haifa and Ashkelon.
We believe in the simple life: good energy, healthy food, physical activity and a lot of love, says Shiri, a marina resident who asked that her full name not be disclosed. We're preparing our small yacht before setting out to fulfill our dream of sailing together around the world.
A crisis that threatened to drive a deep wedge between Israel and the Diaspora Jewish communities was averted on Thursday evening, after a compromise was reached allowing the non-Orthodox movements and center-left parties to retain some influence in the key Zionist institutions.
This agreement over the allocation of senior positions in the World Zionist Organization and its affiliate organizations the Jewish Agency, United Israel Appeal and the Jewish National Fund was reached after three intensive days of negotiations among the various delegations to the World Zionist Congress, which met this week.
A preliminary agreement, drafted over the weekend by the right-wing and rigidly Orthodox parties that hold a slight majority in the current congress, sought to deprive the non-Orthodox movements and center-left parties of almost all positions of power in the Zionist institutions.
Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system on Thursday intercepted a rocket launched from Gaza over the skies of the southern city of Ashkelon, the Israeli army said, after sirens sounded off in communities bordering the Strip.
The statement from the Israeli army said two rockets were launched from the Strip, and that one was intercepted.
The Israeli air force struck Hamas targets inside the Strip in retaliation, hitting an ammunition factory and underground infrastructure, an army statement said.
Large number of US citizens demonstrated against the war in Iraq (and the possible war in Iran) during this October weekend. Massive turnout in Boston and San Fransisco, and also in Chicago, LA and DC people took to the streets. The message was: NO more war in Iraq! NO to a war with Iran!