2020-10-29 01:53:20 58346690 U.S. Supreme Court denies fast, new look at Pennsylvania ballot deadline None Associated Press https://www.ynetnews.com/article/S1MoBwDuv Wed, 28 Oct 2020 23:42:42 +03:00 The U.S. Supreme Court said Wednesday it would not grant a quick, pre-election review to a new Republican appeal to exclude Pennsylvania absentee ballots received after Election Day. But the court's order left open the possibility that the justices could take up and decide after the voting whether a three-day extension to receive and count absentee ballots ordered by the state's high court was proper. The issue would take on enormous importance if Pennsylvania turns out to be the crucial state in next week's election and the votes received between Nov. 3 and Nov. 6 are potentially decisive. message 58346630 Mideast arms race: Is Israel’s qualitative military edge eroding? In depth: Experts on U.S. strategy in region say advanced U.S. weaponry sold to Arab states is traditionally less sophisticated than that sold to Jerusalem, but warn that 'part of price of peace is that Arabs receive American weapons' The Media Line https://www.ynetnews.com/magazine/article/H1hDTMv00v Wed, 28 Oct 2020 23:33:39 +03:00 Following the news of a massive F-35 fighter jet deal between the United States and the United Arab Emirates, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz admitted that Israel has no power to prevent U.S. sales of advanced weaponry to the Gulf states. Steinitz told Ynet on Sunday that if countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia “want it and are willing to pay, no doubt that sooner or later they’ll get” stealth aircraft and other weapons systems. The surprise statement, which may very well be a foreshadowing of things to come, was made as Israel continues to grapple with the revelation of the pending sale between the U.S. and the UAE. More important, reports continue to surface claiming Israeli officials, namely Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, knew of and approved the deal beforehand, but avoided informing defense officials before the normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE was finalized. On Friday, Netanyahu released a statement saying Israel would not oppose the sale “of certain American weapons systems to the UAE,” thereby breaking from a long-standing Israeli policy. The prime minister also claimed that news of the deal was broken to him only on Friday, by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who had returned from an urgent Washington meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Fuming, Gantz immediately released a message of his own, essentially accusing Netanyahu of lying. “After the signing of the normalization accord with the UAE [on August 13], the defense minister discovered that parallel negotiations were being conducted for the sale of advanced weapons – a fact that was known to the Israeli officials involved, but hidden from the Defense Ministry,” Gantz said. Prof. Eytan Gilboa, an expert on American-Israeli relations and U.S. policy in the Middle East at Bar-Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies near Tel Aviv, explains that “Israel has no real power to prevent these deals, but it can and did manage to change them in the past." “Th> <p>“After the signing of the normalization accord with the UAE [on August 13], the defense minister discovered that parallel negotiations were being conducted for the sale of advanced weapons – a fact that was known to the Israeli officials involved, but hidden from the Defense Ministry,” Gantz said.</p> <p>Prof. Eytan Gilboa, an expert on American-Israeli relations and U.S. policy in the Middle East at Bar-Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies near Tel Aviv, explains that “Israel has no real power to prevent these deals, but it can and did manage to change them in the past."</p> <p>“The U.S. has always looked to supply very sophisticated weapons, which nobody else can offer, to countries across the world, but Israel had opposed this, usually through the AIPAC lobby and through Congress,” Gilboa says, noting that the formal opposition was a means of ensuring that Jerusalem would be compensated handsomely for any American-Arab arms deals.</p> <IMG id=captionImageElement11668532> <p>Washington’s commitment to Israel’s qualitative military edge (QME) in the Middle East is enshrined in U.S. law and has been maintained rigorously by all presidents and administrations for decades.</p> <p>“This is a difficult equation to translate into real terms,” Gilboa says. “And the problem here is that Gantz got [to Washington] after Netanyahu had already agreed to the deal.&nbsp;</p> <p>"That’s what happens when the prime minister does this kind of thing without consulting the military and Defense Ministry. [The Esper-Gantz meeting] should’ve been held before [the signing of the Abraham Accords], when Israel had more leverage, not after.”</p> <p>Upon his return Friday, Gantz said he had secured from his American counterpart a reaffirmation of the U.S. commitment to Israel’s military superiority. The two also discussed upgrades for the Israel Air Force, which Washington vowed to partially fund.</p> <p>“This [F-35 jet] has a very unique system, not just the plane but the entire envelope. Its reconnaissance and combat abilities are unparalleled,” Gilboa says.&nbsp;</p> <p>“In the past, the U.S. adjusted such weapons before selling them to Arab nations, and subtracted some abilities so that they would be inferior to the ones Israel received.”</p> <IMG id=captionImageElement11668533> <p>Prof. Ephraim Inbar, president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, was blunter.</p> <p>“Don’t think for a second this is the same F-35 that we got,” he says.</p> <p>“We have to admit: Part of the price of peace is that the Arabs receive American weapons. It happened with Egypt and Jordan. It’s nothing new.&nbsp;</p> <p>“America wants to sell; the military-industrial complex has a lot of sway and especially now, with the Trump Administration. So, they’ll compensate us with something based on the QME. But who knows what that means? That’s why they call it qualitative, not quantitative.” &nbsp;</p> <p>The weekend’s news aligns with reports from early August that claimed Netanyahu had agreed to green light the U.S.-UAE arms deal and committed to not lobby Congress to oppose it, in return for the UAE’s agreement to recognize and normalize relations with Israel.</p> <p>The prime minister denied the allegations and this week doubled down on his denial, claiming the F-35 sale was never officially part of the Abraham Accords.</p> <IMG id=captionImageElement11668534> <p>Inbar sees the dispute between Gantz and Netanyahu as largely insignificant.</p> <p>“That’s a domestic political issue, which shouldn’t have happened. But essentially, strategically, it doesn’t matter much,” he says.&nbsp;</p> <p>“At the end of the day, the sale would’ve happened, unfortunately. It’s part of the package.”</p> <p>Gilboa identifies another problem: the precedent it might set for other nations.</p> <p>“The problem now is that Qatar, Saudi Arabia and others will also want [F-35 aircraft],” he says, adding that a Middle Eastern arms race is quite likely message 58346480 Prosecutors close case against 2 suspected of harassing AG None Tova Tsimuki https://www.ynetnews.com/article/Hyqbkwvuw Wed, 28 Oct 2020 23:19:24 +03:00 Prosecutors have dropped the investigation into two people suspected of harassing and making threats against Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and his wife. The two incidents took place a week apart, in the aftermath of Mandelblit's decision to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges late last year. message 58346250 France to enact second lockdown to put brakes on COVID-19 surge None Reuters https://www.ynetnews.com/article/S1119kIw00v Wed, 28 Oct 2020 22:9:4 +03:00 France will go back into a nationwide lockdown starting this week to try to contain the COVID-19 epidemic that is again threatening to spiral out of control, French President Emmanuel Macron said in an address to the nation on Wednesday. The new measures he announced - which come into force on Friday and will last until Dec. 1 - will mean people have to stay in their homes except to buy essential goods, seek medical attention, or use their daily one-hour allocation of exercise. Anyone leaving their home will have to carry a special document justifying being outside, which can be checked by police, Macron said. message 58346220 Settler leaders boycott West Bank ceremony meeting over snub Most heads of settlement councils skip signing ceremony for inclusion of settlements in joint U.S.-Israel research projects following PM's decision not to invite two prominent officials who have spoken out against American policy on Israel Elisha Ben Kimon https://www.ynetnews.com/article/HyQz003NPdP Wed, 28 Oct 2020 21:59:25 +03:00 More than one dozen heads of West Bank settlement councils boycotted a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, after he refused to invite two senior settler leaders. Both the head of Jordan Valley Regional Council David Elhayani, who is also the head of the Yesha Council of Settlers, and the chair of the Samaria Regional Council Yossi Dagan have spoken out against American policy in the Middle East. Elhayani has publicly criticized Netanyahu’s cooperation with U.S. President Donald Trump, whom the Yesha leader claims is not a friend of Israel. Dagan meanwhile has repeatedly attacked Trump’s self-styled "deal of the century” plan for Middle East peace, which includes provisions for a Palestinian state, saying it could lead to "the establishment of a Palestinian terrorist state in the heart of the country." "We are trying to unite our forces,” wrote one of the council leaders in a group correspondence with his colleagues. “I am aware that there are statements for and against certain issues. But this is a festive gathering designed to honor the prime minister and the American ambassador [to Israel David Friedman], certainly not to go against them. Even with my wish to take part in the meeting, without everyone being invited, I do not see myself there." The meeting was due to take place during a signing ceremony at Ariel University for agreements extending Israeli-American scientific research cooperation to the West Bank and Golan Heights. Another prominent council leader wrote: “I was very hurt that some of us were not invited, and especially the chairman of the Yesha Council who is our official representative in all negotiations. We must stand up for our rights, and therefore I will not be attending to the meeting." Despite the ban, several council members did choose to meet with Netanyahu at the event, including the mayors of the settlements of Beitar Illit, Modi'in Illit and Efrat. "Not everyone understands that we are in the middl"https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-58344270,00.html" class="bluelink" style="">signing ceremony</a> at Ariel University for agreements extending Israeli-American scientific research cooperation to the West Bank and Golan Heights.&nbsp;</p> <p>Another prominent council leader wrote: “I was very hurt that some of us were not invited, and especially the chairman of the Yesha Council who is our official representative in all negotiations. We must stand up for our rights, and therefore I will not be attending to the meeting."</p> <p>Despite the ban, several council members did choose to meet with Netanyahu at the event, including the mayors of the settlements of Beitar Illit, Modi'in Illit and Efrat.</p> <IMG id=captionImageElement11666244> <p>"Not everyone understands that we are in the middle of navigation," Netanyahu told the settlement leaders.&nbsp;</p> <p>“You can see that we know how to navigate and progress to our desired destination. It's important you explain this to your friends, I need your help," he said.&nbsp;</p> <p>A senior settlement official said in response: "It is amazing how the prime minister on one hand signs international agreements such as a normalization agreement with Sudan, while on the other acts in such a petty manner that serves to only embarrass both himself and the residents of the West Bank.”</p> message 58346140 Iran's leader tests Twitter's policy on Holocaust denial None i24NEWS https://www.ynetnews.com/article/HJMHUrwOw Wed, 28 Oct 2020 21:29:44 +03:00 Just two weeks after social media giant Twitter said it was going to start removing posts that deny the Holocaust, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei tested its new policy Wednesday. Following the republication of caricatures displaying the Prophet Mohammed by French magazine Charlie Hebdo, Khamenei took to Twitter, equating insults against the prophet to Holocaust denial. “The next question to ask is: why is it a crime to raise doubts about the Holocaust? Why should anyone who writes about such doubts be imprisoned while insulting the Prophet (pbuh) is allowed?” the Iranian leader tweeted. message 58345890 13-year-old boy among 3 hurt by gunfire in Kafr Qassem None Hassan Shaalan https://www.ynetnews.com/article/rkEerNPOw Wed, 28 Oct 2020 20:14:39 +03:00 Three people were moderately injured by gunfire in Kafr Qassem, including a 13-year-old boy. They were evacuated to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva. Two other men were lightly injured by shrapnel. message 58345800 Albania hosts online forum against anti-Semitism None Associated Press https://www.ynetnews.com/article/HyxWpXwuv Wed, 28 Oct 2020 19:41:7 +03:00 Albania held an online forum against anti-Semitism Wednesday, the first time such a meeting has been staged in the Balkans, with Prime Minister Edi Rama calling anti-Semitism "a threat to our own civilization." The Balkans Forum Against Anti-Semitism was organized by Albania's Parliament in partnership with the New York-based Combat Anti-Semitism Movement (CAM) and the Jewish Agency for Israel. It was held online due to the virus pandemic. "We need to continue and fight any form of anti-Semitism, which is a threat to our own civilization, upon which our common future is being built," Rama said. message 58345710 Coronavirus czar: Poor testing hides Israel's true infection rate Prof. Ronni Gamzu urges more people to get tests, says epidemiological investigations suggest levels of morbidity akin to pre-lockdown statistics, warns several Arab localities suffering from high enough infection to mull special mitigation measures Adir Yanko https://www.ynetnews.com/article/BJd00AMPOw Wed, 28 Oct 2020 19:29:12 +03:00 Coronavirus czar Prof. Ronni Gamzu warned Wednesday that the low number of people getting tested for the disease is concealing Israel's actual infection rate. "Eight hundred verified new cases per day is not the true infection rate in Israel," Gamzu said at a briefing on the pandemic. "The actual amount is several thousand [per day]. There is a hidden morbidity in Israel, similar to what we saw here about a month and a half ago.” The professor was referring to Israel's high infection rate that prompted the country to go into a second, month-long lockdown in mid-September. Gamzu, who has begun working alongside his replacement Nachman Ash ahead of his departure next month, said his task force has an approximate percentage of daily infections due to surveys of preschool teachers who returned to work 10 days ago, and yeshiva students, many of whom attend seminaries that are open in contravention of state health regulations. “The IDF's Alon [coronavirus] task force is conducting epidemiological investigations,” said Gamzu. “Each investigation reveals four or more contacts [per infected case], of which about 6-8% also test positive for the virus.” Gamzu also urged the Arab community to get tested for coronavirus, as the number of tests in the sector plummeted and infection rate rose. "We have noticed that there is significant decrease in the number of tests conducted [in the Arab community],' said Gamzu. "This drastic decrease has led to an increase in the rate of positive tests." Gamzu warned that several Arab communities are seeing high enough morbidity levels to be defined as “orange” by Israel's traffic light model that color codes areas according to morbidity levels, with red for the areas with highest infection rates and green for the lowest. “Certain localities in Arab society are orange and we are still debating the best course of action in those areas,” said Gamzu. "We may ask for certain restrictions to be imposed there. I am currently in the pro the number of tests conducted [in the Arab community],' said Gamzu. "This drastic decrease has led to an increase in the rate of positive tests."</p> <p>Gamzu warned that several Arab communities are seeing high enough morbidity levels to be defined as “orange” by Israel's traffic light model that color codes areas according to morbidity levels, with red for the areas with highest infection rates and green for the lowest.</p> <p>“Certain localities in Arab society are orange and we are still debating the best course of action in those areas,” said Gamzu.&nbsp;</p> <p>"We may ask for certain restrictions to be imposed there. I am currently in the process of examining what is being done in the education system in these locations."&nbsp;</p> message 58345460 Settler leaders boycott a meeting with PM None Elisha Ben Kimon https://www.ynetnews.com/article/SJm3lmDuD Wed, 28 Oct 2020 18:52:26 +03:00 More than a dozen West Bank council heads boycotted a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after the prime minister failed to include the chairman of the Jordan Valley Regional Council David Elhayani, and the chairman of the Shomron Regional Council Yossi Dagan - both of whom attacked the prime minister over his willingness to waiver West Bank annexation plans as part of the UAE normalization agreement. message 58345290 Health Ministry, Treasury officials fail to reach agreement on reopening shops None Adir Yanko https://www.ynetnews.com/article/SyHEufDdw Wed, 28 Oct 2020 18:15:51 +03:00 A meeting between representatives of the Finance and Health ministries over the reopening of stores ends without agreement. The Finance Ministry is demanding that stores be allowed to resume operations in the next phase of easing lockdown measures, which will go into effect on Sunday. Representatives of the Health Ministry, however, oppose such a move and want stores to only reopen in the next phase, which will take place at least two weeks later. message 58345140 Top rabbi recovered from coronavirus, doctors say None Kobi Nachshoni https://www.ynetnews.com/article/Byxn611Ddw Wed, 28 Oct 2020 17:33:43 +03:00 The doctors for Rabbi Haim Kanievsky said on Wednesday that the 92-year-old head of the Lithuanian Haredi community has recovered from the coronavirus, and does not need to remain in isolation. message 58345130 Czech parliament classifies Hezbollah as terror group None i24NEWS https://www.ynetnews.com/article/HJ6eCZDOD Wed, 28 Oct 2020 17:32:5 +03:00 The Czech Parliament on Wednesday moved to classify the Lebanese militia group Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem said.  Foreign Minister Gadi Ashkenazi hailed the move made by Israel's longtime ally and urged other countries in the EU bloc to adopt the unequivocal classification.  "I call [on] the European Union and additional countries to recognize Hezbollah in all its forms as a terrorist organization," Ashkenazi said.  message 58345030 Bill banning gay conversion therapy to proceed in Knesset Proposed legislation would strip psychologists using controversial method of licenses, repeat offenders fined and/or sentenced to jail time; resuming procedure is expected to fuel already tense coalition relations between Haredi and secular parties Moran Azulay https://www.ynetnews.com/article/Byp606IOw Wed, 28 Oct 2020 17:1:33 +03:00 Likud legislator Haim Katz said Wednesday that he would advance a bill banning LGBTQ conversion therapy after it had passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset earlier this summer. Katz said he initially kept the bill from being discussed in the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee which he chairs, because he hoped to first reach a consensus among lawmakers but that had not come to pass. Katz himself is facing criminal indictment for tax evasion and could be removed from his parliamentary seat. The resumption of the legislation process will likely add to an already tense situation between the ultra-Orthodox community and the majority secular Israeli public, after Haredi communities actively rejected government mitigation efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus despite unusually high morbidity found in their schools, religious institutions and localities. The row was compounded by what some in the ultra-Orthodox sector saw as being unfairly singled out by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government while localities run by his Likud supporters were spared the strict mitigation imposed on predominately Haredi cities and neighborhoods. The bill, which was tabled by Meretz Party leader Nitzan Horowitz and Labor MK Merav Michaeli, would strip psychologists using gay conversion therapy of their medical licenses. Repeat offenders would be fined and/or sentenced to jail time. In the July vote, which ended with 42 lawmakers voting in favor and 36 against, ultra-Orthodox MKs directed their criticism at Blue & White and its leader Defense Minister Benny Gantz for backing the bill in violation of the coalition agreement they had signed with Likud just two months earlier. United Torah Judaism co-leader Yaakov Litzman lambasted Blue & White's "rotten conduct against coalition discipline" and called it "a challenge to the political partnership between them." But Gantz responded by saying that, "Conversion therapy was born in sin and its place is outside of t <IMG id=captionImageElement11661533> <p>In the July vote, which ended with 42 lawmakers voting in favor and 36 against, ultra-Orthodox MKs directed their criticism at Blue &amp; White and its leader Defense Minister Benny Gantz for backing the bill in violation of the coalition agreement they had signed with Likud just two months earlier.&nbsp;</p> <p>United Torah Judaism co-leader Yaakov Litzman lambasted Blue &amp; White's "rotten conduct against coalition discipline" and called it "a challenge to the political partnership between them."</p> <IMG id=captionImageElement11661534> <p>But Gantz responded by saying that, "Conversion therapy was born in sin and its place is outside of the law and the public norm. We will make sure that everyone, from every background and sexual orientation in Israel, has free choice and security over their identity."</p> message 58345000 Education Ministry extends in-school classes for first and second grades None Ynet https://www.ynetnews.com/article/SJfTUbvuP Wed, 28 Oct 2020 16:57:55 +03:00 The Education Ministry says that first and second graders will return to school for four days each week instead of three, following pressure from parents and local authorities. The children will study in groups of 18 while in the classroom and study from home for the other three days of the school week. Education Minister Yoav Galant says that schools can even bring those students back for five days if they are equipped to do so. message 58344860 September deaths in Israel up by almost 20% from last year Health Ministry data shows 1 in 6 of all fatalities last month were coronavirus related; country's total virus death toll stands at 2,483 people; 0.79% patient death rate means 1 out of 126 people treated for coronavirus in Israel dies from disease Yaron Druckman https://www.ynetnews.com/article/ByESnkP00v Wed, 28 Oct 2020 16:24:11 +03:00 The Health Ministry reported Wednesday that 4,036 Israelis passed away during September, a rise of 18.6% compared to the same period in 2019, even though Israel's population only grew by 2%. The ministry also said that 642 people succumbed to coronavirus in September, accounting for 1 in 6 of all fatalities that month. According to data by the Central Bureau of Statistics, 3,403 Israelis died in September 2019, 3,390 in September 2018, 3,220 in September 2017 and 3,241 in September 2016. Excess deaths have also been recorded over the past two months, with 3,999 people dying in August compared to 3,495 in the same month of 2019 - a rise of 14%. A rise of 7.5% in deaths was also recorded in July of this year, compared 2019. During the first 27 days of October, 895 Israelis succumbed to coronavirus, an average of 33 deaths per day. Israel's total virus death toll since the start of the pandemic stands at 2,483, with a 0.79% patient death rate. This means 1 out of 126 people treated for coronavirus die from the disease, which while grim is lower than the global 2.66% patient death rate. In comparison, the declared coronavirus death rate in Italy stands at 6.68%, in Iran 5.72%, in the UK 4.79%, Belgium 3.27%, France 3.01%, the U.S. 2.75% and Russia 1.72%. The countries with the world's lowest declared coronavirus death rates include Cyprus at 0.65%, Bahrain at 0.39%, Slovakia at 0.38% and Iceland at 0.24%. Israel ranks 35th in the world for coronavirus deaths per capita, with 270 coronavirus deaths per million people, while the global average stands at 150 deaths per million people. Experts believe this measurement is a reliable one, as it takes into account a country's population as a variable in calculating how hard hit a nation is. message 58344740 Ahead of U.S. poll, Trump ends a U.S. restriction applying to Israeli settlements None Reuters https://www.ynetnews.com/article/HkXJ9eDdv Wed, 28 Oct 2020 16:2:24 +03:00 The Trump administration lifted a decades-old ban on Wednesday that had prohibited U.S. taxpayer funding for Israeli scientific research conducted in Jewish settlements in occupied territory, drawing Palestinian condemnation. With Tuesday's U.S. election approaching, President Donald Trump's move was praised by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and could resonate with evangelical Christian voters who support Israeli settlement in the West Bank. message 58344670 Gamzu urges Arab sector to get tested, warns restrictions at hand for certain communities None Adir Yanko https://www.ynetnews.com/article/Bkr3XlD00w Wed, 28 Oct 2020 15:39:6 +03:00 Outgoing coronavirus czar Prof. Ronni Gamzu urged the Arab sector to go get tested over a decrease in testing. "Enough already! Go get tested. We must protect our home," he said during a press conference Wednesday. Gamzu also warned that certain Arab communities have shown rising virus morbidity that might lead to localized restrictions. "800 new infections a day is not the full picture. The real numbers are in the thousands, there is covert morbidity," he said. message 58344640 Israel, Lebanon resume maritime border talks Negotiations mediated by U.S. and UN to take place Wednesday and Thursday at UNIFIL headquarters in Lebanese border town of Naqoura following October 14 meeting described by officials as 'productive' News Agencies https://www.ynetnews.com/article/HyQm006Iuw Wed, 28 Oct 2020 15:35:16 +03:00 Israel and Lebanon on Wednesday launched a second round of U.S.-mediated talks over their disputed sea border, an Israeli statement said. Delegations from the long-time foes reconvened at a UN peacekeeper base to "assess the possibility of reaching an agreement on demarcating the maritime border ... in a manner enabling the cultivation of natural resources in the area," the Energy Ministry said. The first round of talks was held on October 14. The U.S. and UN said in a joint statement that the meeting was "productive." Jerusalem and Beirut are still in a state of war. The talks, which are held at the headquarters of UN peacekeeping force UNIFIL in the Lebanese border town of Naqura, come weeks after Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates established official diplomatic relations, with Sudan announcing a similar agreement last week. The meetings, which focus exclusively on the disputed sea frontier, come at a sensitive time as Lebanon, battered by multiple crises, hopes to continue exploring for oil and gas in a part of the Mediterranean also claimed by Israel. Exploration of one of the blocks is more controversial as part of it is located in an 860-square-kilometer (330-square-mile) area claimed by both Israel and Lebanon. Israel's delegation includes Director-General of the Energy Ministry Udi Adiri, senior adviser Mor Halutz, and Aviv Ayash, the Energy Minister’s international adviser. Senior officials from Israel's defense echelon are also set to participate in the talks and include Deputy National Security Adviser Reuven Azar, and the head of the IDF’s Strategic Division Brig. Gen. Oren Setter. The Lebanese four-member delegation is comprised of two army officers, a Lebanese oil official and a maritime border law expert. Lebanon insists that negotiations are purely technical and do not involve any soft political normalization with Israel. The Iran-backed terror group Hezbollah and its Shi'ite ally Amal criticized the talks, describing them as "a momentalutz, and Aviv Ayash, the Energy Minister’s international adviser.</p> <p>Senior officials from Israel's defense echelon are also set to participate in the talks and include Deputy National Security Adviser Reuven Azar, and the head of the IDF’s Strategic Division Brig. Gen. Oren Setter.</p> <p>The Lebanese four-member delegation is comprised of two army officers, a Lebanese oil official and a maritime border law expert.</p> <IMG id=captionImageElement11658035> <p>Lebanon insists that negotiations are purely technical and do not involve any soft political normalization with Israel.</p> <p>The Iran-backed terror group Hezbollah and its Shi'ite ally Amal criticized the talks, describing them as "a moment of unprecedented political weakness for Lebanon", arguing that Israel is the real "beneficiary".&nbsp;</p> message 58344510 The 'Palestinian Godfather' who sued UK over Balfour Declaration Industrialist Munib al-Masri, along with several activists, filed a lawsuit seeking compensation from Britain for the 'wrongs' caused by the 1917 proclamation, which pledged London's support for the creation of a national home for the Jews in Palestine AFP https://www.ynetnews.com/article/H1tWR68dD Wed, 28 Oct 2020 15:19:21 +03:00 Sitting in an antique armchair in the dappled light of his Renaissance-inspired West Bank mansion, Palestinian billionaire Munib al-Masri raised a subject that has angered him for eight decades. "Can you quote me the 58 words of Balfour's declaration?" he asked AFP, referring to the 1917 statement that set out London's support for a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. Sometimes referred to as the "Godfather of Palestine", Masri is the patriarch of a family empire that has interests in telecommunications, finance, industry and Palestinian real estate. The 86-year-old lives alone in Beit al-Falestine (Palestine House), his mansion overlooking Nablus in the West Bank. On display in the opulent home are photos of Masri with Nelson Mandela, U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden and iconic Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, whom Masri smuggled from Jordan to Syria in 1970 in the boot of his car. He has served as a minister in the Jordanian government and in the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority. But despite his financial success, political achievements and advanced years, Masri told AFP that he remains consumed by the declaration by British foreign secretary Arthur James Balfour, seen as a precursor to Israel's creation in 1948. Political rights The Balfour Declaration begins by stating that "His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object". After the sentence was read to him, Masri said: "you forgot the main thing." He then completed the declaration himself. "Nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine." "That tells you that we have no political rights," Masri said. Earlier this month, he and several activists filed a lawsuit in Palestinian court seeking compensation from Britain for the "wrongs" caused by Balfour. The largelystablishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object".</p> <IMG id=captionImageElement11664866> <p>After the sentence was read to him, Masri said: "you forgot the main thing." He then completed the declaration himself.</p> <p>"Nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine."</p> <p>"That tells you that we have no political rights," Masri said.</p> <p>Earlier this month, he and several activists filed a lawsuit in Palestinian court seeking compensation from Britain for the "wrongs" caused by Balfour.</p> <IMG id=captionImageElement11664867> <p>The largely symbolic gesture will almost certainly not force Britain to pay reparations, but Masri said filing the case fulfilled a childhood dream.</p> <p>"I remember the day the teacher told us about the Balfour Declaration and its meaning," he recalled, perched next to his fireplace.</p> <p>"I was eight years old. He read it and put it in my head. Since that day, I have been angry."</p> <h3 class = "pHeader">A big prison</h3> <p>The entrance to Beit al-Falestine includes a painting of St Mark's Basilica in Venice, hung across from a depiction of the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem.</p> <p>Masri said the latter image serves as a reminder that Arabs "knew how to build domes" before the Europeans.</p> <p>The center of the building features a marble Hercules statue.</p> <IMG id=captionImageElement11664868> <p>There are also reminders of Palestinian setbacks, including frescoes of the "Nakba" (disaster) -- the Palestinian term describing Israel's creation -- and a portrayal of the "Naksa", the Arab defeat by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.</p> <p>"Today is the worst period in Palestinian history," Masri told AFP. "We live in a big prison."</p> <IMG id=captionImageElement11664869> <p>Masri also voiced concern over the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain establishing relations with Israel, which broke decades of Arab League consensus against normalization until the Palestinian conflict was resolved.</p> <p>Masri's business interests include servicing Gulf oil companies.</p> <p>Sudan has since said it will also establish ties with the Jewish state.</p> <h3 class = "pHeader">Share the cake</h3> <p>The father of six, with an untrimmed white beard, told AFP he had been enthusiastic about the Oslo peace accords in the 1990s but had since grown disillusioned.</p> <p>He voiced hope that the Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas can reconcile with its rival, the Islamist Hamas, to give the Palestinians a united voice.</p> <IMG id=captionImageElement11664870> <p>Masri's political influence has waned, but he still writes letters in Arabic to Donald Trump, encouraging the U.S. leader to change course in the Middle East, even if he has little hope of a reply.</p> <p>But Masri's main frustrations lie with Israel.</p> <p>He argued that Balfour gave the Jewish state a blank cheque to occupy and even annex Palestinian territory and that now Israelis, in control of the lands, refuse to "share the cake".</p> <p><br></p> message 58344390 Saudi Arabia reports budget deficit of nearly $11 bln None Reuters https://www.ynetnews.com/article/B1BhiJwuw Wed, 28 Oct 2020 15:1:54 +03:00 Saudi Arabia posted a 40.768 billion riyal ($10.87 billion) budget deficit in the third quarter this year, the ministry of finance said on Wednesday. Revenue amounted to 215.577 billion riyals and expenditure at 256.345 billion riyals in the three months to the end of September, it said. message 58344270 Israel, U.S. sign deal extending funding to research projects in West Bank, Golan Netanyahu says the amended agreements are a demonstration of the commitment of the Trump administration to a new approach in the Middle East, adding that the American peace plan provides a realistic solution for the Palestinians Elisha Ben Kimon, Moran Azulay, Reuters https://www.ynetnews.com/article/PQ3I8ZYSZ Wed, 28 Oct 2020 14:34:6 +03:00 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Freidman on Wednesday signed agreements extending scientific research cooperation to the West Bank and Golan Heights. The agreements which lifts the ban on funding scientific research projects conducted in the West Bank and Golan Heights, allows scientists and researchers from the Ariel University situated in a West Bank settlement, to cooperate with and receive funding from American institutions. “We are righting an old wrong and strengthening yet again the unbreakable bond between our two countries,” Friedman said at a signing ceremony “I couldn’t be happier or more proud to sign on behalf of the United States the amended and corrected BSF, BIRD and BARD agreements as well as the new Science and Technology Agreement,” the ambassador said. Netanyahu said the amended agreements are a demonstration of the commitment of the Trump administration to a new approach in the Middle East. “By rejecting the failed mantras of the past, the Trump [peace] plan not only provides a realistic solution for the Palestinians…but it also put forward something else we see today. It opens Judea and Samaria to academic, commercial and scientific engagement with the US.” Past scientific accords with the U.S. government stipulated that Israeli research projects receiving U.S. grants could not be carried out in areas that came under Israeli administration in 1967. The Trump administration last year effectively backed Israel’s right to build West Bank settlements by abandoning a long-held U.S. position that they were “inconsistent with international law”. Under a peace blueprint that Trump announced in January and which Palestinians rejected as biased towards Israel, Israel would retain control of most of its West Bank settlements. In May, Trump recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau captured from Syria. He has also challenged international consensus by recognizing Jerusalem as Isra under Israeli administration in 1967.</p> <p>The Trump administration last year effectively backed Israel’s right to build West Bank settlements by abandoning a long-held U.S. position that they were “inconsistent with international law”.</p> <p>Under a peace blueprint that Trump announced in January and which Palestinians rejected as biased towards Israel, Israel would retain control of most of its West Bank settlements.</p> <p>In May, Trump recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau captured from Syria. He has also challenged international consensus by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the U.S. Embassy to the holy city.</p> <p>The United States are six days away from an election with the president trailing his Democratic opponent by 10 points in national polling.</p> <p><br></p> message 58344150 Netanyahu: I'm working day and night to get a vaccine for Israel None Moran Azulay https://www.ynetnews.com/article/B1KLPAIOw Wed, 28 Oct 2020 13:38:3 +03:00 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday noted that there is a global race to procure a vaccine for the coronavirus, saying that he is "working day and night" to get it for Israel. According to him, Israel is working through three avenues to get this vaccine: self-production by the Israel Institute for Biological Research, talks between the Health Ministry and pharmaceutical companies and direct talks with global leaders. message 58344100 Netanyahu: IDF continues to develop military capability despite pandemic None Moran Azulay https://www.ynetnews.com/article/S1nV8CUOP Wed, 28 Oct 2020 13:33:45 +03:00 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that the IDF is continuing to develop its military capabilities despite the coronavirus pandemic. "These state of the art technological a scientific developments bolster our strength against Hezbollah or any other enemy - which they should take note of," he said at a ceremony for the extension of the scientific accords between Israel and the U.S. into the West Bank settlements. message 58343990 Turkey to take legal, diplomatic steps against French caricature of Erdogan None Reuters https://www.ynetnews.com/article/rJQZpaIdv Wed, 28 Oct 2020 12:50:55 +03:00 Turkey said on Wednesday it will take legal and diplomatic steps in response to a caricature of President Tayyip Erdogan in the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, which officials called a "disgusting effort" to "spread its cultural racism and hatred". Turkish anger at the caricature added fuel to a row between Turkey and France about cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, which flared after a teacher who had shown pupils the cartoons in a lesson on freedom of speech was beheaded in France this month. The cartoon on the cover of Charlie Hebdo showed Erdogan sitting in a white T-shirt and underpants, holding a canned drink along with a woman wearing an Islamic hijab. message 58343830 Turkey condemns French caricature featuring Erdogan Anger at the caricature added fuel to a row between Turkey and France about cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, which flared after a teacher who had shown pupils the cartoons in a lesson on freedom of speech was beheaded in France this month Reuters https://www.ynetnews.com/article/Skebn9IdP Wed, 28 Oct 2020 11:56:33 +03:00 Top Turkish officials condemned a caricature scorning President Tayyip Erdogan in the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, calling it a “disgusting effort” to “spread its cultural racism and hatred”. Turkish anger at the caricature added fuel to a row between Turkey and France about cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, which flared after a teacher who had shown pupils the cartoons in a lesson on freedom of speech was beheaded in France this month. “We strongly condemn the publication concerning our President in the French magazine which has no respect for any belief, sacredness and values,” presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin wrote on Twitter. “They are just showing their own vulgarity and immorality. An attack on personal rights is not humor and freedom expression,” he said. The cartoon on the cover of Charlie Hebdo, showed Erdogan sitting in a white T-shirt and underpants, holding a canned drink along with a woman wearing an Islamic hijab. Turkish presidential communications director Fahrettin Altun said “Macron’s anti-Muslim agenda is bearing fruit!”. “We condemn this most disgusting effort by this publication to spread its cultural racism and hatred,” Altun wrote on Twitter. Erdogan sharply criticized Macron at the weekend, saying the French leader needed a mental health check, prompting France to recall its ambassador from Ankara. On Monday, Erdogan urged a boycott of French products. The Prophet Mohammad cartoons, considered blasphemous by Muslims, have been displayed in France in solidarity and Macron has said he would redouble efforts to stop conservative Islamic beliefs subverting French values, angering many Muslims. message 58343740 Iran parliament speaker contracts coronavirus None Associated Press https://www.ynetnews.com/article/Bk5Bi3Uuv Wed, 28 Oct 2020 11:35:41 +03:00 Iran's parliament speaker said Wednesday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus, joining a growing list of top Iranian officials infected in the Middle East's worst outbreak. Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf tweeted that he received the news after one of his colleagues tested positive for the virus. He said he would continue to carry out his duties from self-quarantine. Earlier this month, he was on state TV visiting a coronavirus ward in one of capital's overwhelmed hospitals to show support. "I decided to appear in the hospital to see problems from a close distance," Ghalibaf told local media from the ward in Tehran. "Supervising is the main duty of parliament." message 58343710 Egypt's Sisi says freedom of expression stops at offending more than 1.5 billion people None Reuters https://www.ynetnews.com/article/H1w11i2Ldw Wed, 28 Oct 2020 11:34:6 +03:00 Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said on Wednesday freedom of expression should stop at offending more than 1.5 billion people, following the display of images in France of the Prophet Mohammad that Muslims see as blasphemous. Sisi also said he firmly rejects any form of violence or terrorism from anyone in the name of defending religion, religious symbols or icons. message 58342800 Israel says U.S. will now fund Israeli research projects in West Bank, Golan Updated agreements announced one week before the U.S. presidential elections represent the latest nod of legitimacy by the Trump administration to Israeli settlements ; agreement to be signed by prime minister and U.S. ambassador in the West Bank settlement of Ariel Reuters https://www.ynetnews.com/article/ryfHPKUdw Wed, 28 Oct 2020 11:21:44 +03:00 Israel said on Tuesday the United States is effectively lifting a ban on U.S. funding of Israeli scientific research projects conducted in the West Bank and Golan Heights, areas Israel captured in 1967 Six-Day War. There was no immediate Palestinian comment on the move, announced a week before a U.S. presidential election in which opinion polls show incumbent Donald Trump, hailed by Israel as one of its staunchest allies, trailing Democrat Joe Biden. Past scientific accords with the U.S. government stipulated that Israeli research projects receiving U.S. grants could not be carried out in areas that came under Israeli administration in 1967. The Trump administration last year effectively backed Israel’s right to build West Bank settlements by abandoning a long-held U.S. position that they were “inconsistent with international law”. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman will sign amended scientific cooperation agreements at a “special ceremony” in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank on Wednesday, Netanyahu’s office said in a statement. The revised agreements “will expand scientific cooperation between Israel and the United States to Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights,” the Israeli statement said, using the biblical names for the West Bank. Palestinians seek a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem and along with many countries consider the settlements illegal. Under a peace blueprint that Trump announced in January and which Palestinians rejected as biased towards Israel, Israel would retain control of most of its West Bank settlements. In May, Trump recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau captured from Syria. He has also challenged international consensus by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the U.S. Embassy to the holy city. message 58343490 Israel says second round of sea border talks with Lebanon under way None Reuters https://www.ynetnews.com/article/Bkul4hL00w Wed, 28 Oct 2020 11:3:59 +03:00 Israel and Lebanon on Wednesday launched a second round of U.S.-mediated talks over their disputed sea border, an Israeli statement said. Delegations from the long-time foes reconvened at a UN peacekeeper base to "assess the possibility of reaching an agreement on demarcating the maritime border ... in a manner enabling the cultivation of natural resources in the area," Israel's Energy Ministry said. The two sides held their first round of talks on Oct. 14 and are expected to hold another round on Thursday, the statement said. message 58343430 With six days left in race, Trump heads to Arizona and Biden delivers COVID-19 speech With national polls showing a comfortable lead for the former Democratic VP, over 70 million Americans have already cast their vote in early in-person and mail ballots, more than half of the total turnout in 2016 Reuters https://www.ynetnews.com/article/S1bH8sLuv Wed, 28 Oct 2020 10:56:22 +03:00 U.S. President Donald Trump will hold two campaign rallies on Wednesday in the battleground state of Arizona, where polls show him narrowly trailing Democratic rival Joe Biden, as the White House race heads into its final six-day stretch. Biden, who has repeatedly criticized Trump for failing to contain the coronavirus pandemic, will receive a briefing from public health experts and deliver a speech near his home in Delaware on his plans to combat COVID-19 and protect Americans with pre-existing health conditions, his campaign said. Biden still leads Trump comfortably in national opinion polls in a race dominated by the pandemic, which has caused more than 225,000 U.S. deaths, cost millions more their jobs and spurred a rush to vote early by many Americans looking to avoid health risks from exposure. The race is tighter in several battleground states where the election might be decided. More than 70 million people have cast early in-person and mail ballots, according to data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project at the University of Florida. That is a record-setting pace and more than half of the total 2016 turnout. The huge volume of mail ballots - more than 46.8 million have already been cast - could take days or weeks to tally, experts say, meaning a winner might not be declared the night of Nov. 3, when polls close. Trump, who has repeatedly criticized mail-in voting as prone to fraud even though experts say that is rare, questioned the integrity of the process on Tuesday and said it would be “inappropriate” to take extra time to count mail ballots. “It would be very, very proper and very nice if a winner were declared on Nov. 3, instead of counting ballots for two weeks, which is totally inappropriate and I don’t believe that that’s by our laws,” Trump told reporters. Arizona has emerged as a top battleground in the White House race after Trump won it by 3.5 percentage points over Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016. A Reuters/Ipsos poll taken from Oct. 14-2 even though experts say that is rare, questioned the integrity of the process on Tuesday and said it would be “inappropriate” to take extra time to count mail ballots.</p> <p>“It would be very, very proper and very nice if a winner were declared on Nov. 3, instead of counting ballots for two weeks, which is totally inappropriate and I don’t believe that that’s by our laws,” Trump told reporters.</p> <p>Arizona has emerged as a top battleground in the White House race after Trump won it by 3.5 percentage points over Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016. A Reuters/Ipsos poll taken from Oct. 14-21 found Biden with a 3-point edge on Trump, within the survey’s credibility interval.</p> <IMG id=captionImageElement11648302> <p>A Biden win in Arizona, which has 11 electoral votes, would be the first for a Democratic presidential candidate in the state since Bill Clinton carried it in 1996.</p> <p>After staying overnight in Las Vegas, Nevada, Trump will hold airport rallies in Bullhead City, Arizona, in the state’s northwestern corner near Nevada, and in Goodyear, outside Phoenix, the state’s biggest city.</p> <p>On Tuesday, Trump raced across three states - Michigan, Wisconsin and Nebraska - and Biden made two campaign stops in the emerging battleground of Georgia.</p> <IMG id=captionImageElement11648303> <p>Biden has made what he calls Trump’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic his principal theme in the closing weeks of the campaign, including criticisms that Trump played down the threat, failed to listen to his health experts and never developed a plan to contain it.</p> <p>Polls show Americans trust Biden more than Trump to contain the virus, and record numbers of new U.S. COVID-19 cases in recent days have given Biden repeated opportunities to remind voters of the Trump administration’s mismanagement of the pandemic.</p> <p>Biden also has used the pandemic to remind voters of Trump’s efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and its protections for people with message 58342920 Satellite photos show construction at Iran nuclear site Images by San Francisco-based Planet Labs show Islamic Republic is beginning a possible reconstruction of the damaged enrichment facility in Natanz facility Associated Press https://www.ynetnews.com/article/rJ1111OcUdP Wed, 28 Oct 2020 9:38:27 +03:00 Iran has begun construction at its Natanz nuclear facility, satellite images released Wednesday show, just as the UN's nuclear agency acknowledged Tehran is building an underground advanced centrifuge assembly plant after its last one exploded in a reported sabotage attack last summer. The construction comes as the U.S. nears Election Day in a campaign pitting President Donald Trump, whose maximum pressure campaign against Iran has led Tehran to abandon all limits on its atomic program, and Joe Biden, who has expressed a willingness to return to the accord. The outcome of the vote likely will decide which approach America takes. Heightened tensions between Iran and the U.S. nearly ignited a war at the start of the year. Since August, Iran has built a new or regraded road to the south of Natanz toward what analysts believe is a former firing range for security forces at the enrichment facility, images from San Francisco-based Planet Labs show. A satellite image Monday shows the site cleared away with what appears to be construction equipment there. Analysts from the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies say they believe that site is undergoing excavation. “That road also goes into the mountains so it may be the fact that they’re digging some kind of structure that’s going to be out in front and that there’s going to be a tunnel in the mountains," said Jeffrey Lewis, an expert at the institute who studies Iran's nuclear program. "Or maybe that they’re just going to bury it there.” Iran's mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, last month told state television the destroyed above-ground facility was being replaced with one “in the heart of the mountains around Natanz.” Rafael Grossi, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told The Associated Press on Tuesday tn front and that there’s going to be a tunnel in the mountains," said Jeffrey Lewis, an expert at the institute who studies Iran's nuclear program. "Or maybe that they’re just going to bury it there.”</p> <p>Iran's mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, last month told state television the destroyed above-ground facility was being replaced with one “in the heart of the mountains around Natanz.”</p> <IMG id=captionImageElement11646370> <p>Rafael Grossi, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that his inspectors were aware of the construction. He said Iran had previously informed IAEA inspectors, who continue to have access to Iran's sites despite the collapse of the nuclear deal.</p> <p>“It means that they have started, but it’s not completed. It’s a long process," Grossi said.</p> <p><br></p> message 58342870 Border Police arrest East Jerusalem teen suspected of throwing Molotov cocktail None Elisha Ben Kimon https://www.ynetnews.com/article/SknHicUOP Wed, 28 Oct 2020 9:19:6 +03:00 Border Police arrested a 17-year-old from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat on Wednesday on the suspicion that he threw a Molotov cocktail at a security station in the area. message 58342740 Israel's coronavirus positivity rate remains low 10 days after some restrictions eased There are 844 new cases confirmed in the past day showing a 2.2% positivity rate after 38,840 tests conducted, 453 patients in serious condition, 196 of them on ventilators; after 24 people succumbed to the virus on Tuesday ,death toll reaches2,483 Yaron Drukman https://www.ynetnews.com/article/BJVfx9IuD Wed, 28 Oct 2020 9:10:42 +03:00 The Health Ministry on Wednesday said 844 new coronavirus cases were confirmed on Tuesday after 38,840 tests conducted showing a positivity rate of 2.2%. There are 453 patients in serious condition being treated in hospitals with 196 of them on ventilators. After 24 people succumbed to the virus on Tuesday alone, the death toll from the virus has reached 2,483. There are currently 12,768 Israelis fighting COVD-19. After the government decided earlier to allow first and second graders to study three days a week, and in separate groups as of Sunday, some local and regional governments have announced they would be providing schooling for grades one to four for at least five day a week. But not all municipalities have the budget and teachers' unions have also said they would oppose the move leaving parents uncertain if they would be able to return to work. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that his government could not fund additional schooling estimated to cost approximately six billion shekels. message 58342730 IDF begins to test teachers for coronavirus ahead of return to schools None Yoav Zitun https://www.ynetnews.com/article/SJma11qIOw Wed, 28 Oct 2020 8:38:40 +03:00 The IDF, in cooperation with hospitals and clinics, has begun testing teachers and school staff on Wednesday to prepare for the return of grades one through four to school next week. The tests are expected to be completed by Saturday. message 58342650 U.S. accuses Syria of delaying constitution ahead of election None Associated Press https://www.ynetnews.com/article/HJsVnYLdD Wed, 28 Oct 2020 8:15:18 +03:00 The United States and several Western allies on Tuesday accused the Syrian government of deliberately delaying the drafting of a new constitution to waste time until presidential elections in 2021, and avoid UN-supervised voting as called for by the UN Security Council. U.S. deputy ambassador Richard Mills urged the Security Council to “do everything in its power” to prevent Bashar Assad’s government from blocking agreement on a new constitution in 2020. The Trump administration believes Assad's hope is to “invalidate the work” of UN special envoy Geir Pedersen who has been trying to spearhead action on a constitution, and the council's call for a political transition. message 58342610 Israel says U.S. will now fund Israeli research projects in West Bank, Golan None Reuters https://www.ynetnews.com/article/rJuM5K8dD Wed, 28 Oct 2020 8:6:37 +03:00 Israel said on Tuesday the United States is effectively lifting a ban on U.S. funding of Israeli scientific research projects conducted in the West Bank and Golan Heights, areas Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the U.S. ambassador to Israel will sign amended scientific cooperation agreements at a "special ceremony" in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank on Wednesday, Netanyahu's office said in a statement. The revised agreements "will expand scientific cooperation between Israel and the United States to Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights," the Israeli statement said, using the biblical names for the West Bank. message 58342560 Israel records 844 new cases in past day None Yaron Drukman https://www.ynetnews.com/article/S1kX8t8uP Wed, 28 Oct 2020 7:54:6 +03:00 The Health Ministry o Wednesday said 844 new coronavirus cases were confirmed on Tuesday after 38,840 tests conducted showing a positivity rate of 2.2%. There are 453 patients in serious condition being treated in hospitals with 196 of them on ventilators. After 24 people succumbed to the virus on Tuesday alone, the death toll from the virus has reached 2,483. There are currently 12,768 Israelis fighting COVD-19. message 58342550 U.S. early voting tops 70 million, continuing historic pace None Reuters https://www.ynetnews.com/article/rk11kvF8OD Wed, 28 Oct 2020 7:51:59 +03:00 More than 70 million Americans have cast ballots in the U.S. presidential election, over half the total turnout of the 2016 election with one week to go until Election Day, according to a Tuesday tally from the U.S. Elections Project. message 58341220 Health Ministry: 24 Israelis died of COVID-19 since midnight None Yaron Druckman https://www.ynetnews.com/article/SJj3311LOv Tue, 27 Oct 2020 23:11:47 +03:00 The Health Ministry reported Tuesday evening that 24 more Israelis have passed away after contracting coronavirus, bringing the national death toll to 2,483 fatalities since the onset of the pandemic in Israel. message 58341200 Comedian Jon Stewart to return to TV on Apple's streaming service None Reuters https://www.ynetnews.com/article/HyP0sb8dD Tue, 27 Oct 2020 23:6:44 +03:00 Former "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart will host and produce a new current affairs series for Apple Inc's streaming television service, the company announced on Tuesday. The multi-season series on Apple TV+ will bring the comedian back to TV on a regular basis for the first time since he ended his Emmy-winning run as host of "The Daily Show" in 2015. No debut date for the untitled series was announced. Apple said in a statement that each one-hour episode would address a single issue and explore topics related to current events and Stewart's advocacy work. message 58341130 NXIVM head Keith Raniere sentenced to 120 years in prison None Associated Press https://www.ynetnews.com/article/HJbpXW8dv Tue, 27 Oct 2020 22:32:23 +03:00 Disgraced self-improvement guru Keith Raniere, whose NXIVM followers included millionaires and Hollywood actors, was sentenced to 120 years on Tuesday for turning some adherents into sex slaves branded with his initials. U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis handed down the sentence in federal court in Brooklyn after a lengthy hearing featuring statements by victims of a sex-trafficking conspiracy that resulted in Raniere's conviction last year. Prosecutors had sought life in prison while defense lawyers said he should face 15 years behind bars. message 58341100 Minister thwarts censure of chief rabbi for bashing women, Reform Jews Shas lawmaker refuses to take steps that would see Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef removed from rabbinical court for accusing Reform Jews of perverting Torah, declaring he would block women from being recognized as religious scholars Kobi Nahshoni https://www.ynetnews.com/article/rkDN0OBOv Tue, 27 Oct 2020 22:28:7 +03:00 Religious Affairs Minister Yaakov Avitan has refused to take steps that would see Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef ousted as a rabbinical judge for comments disparaging women, the Supreme Court and the Reform movement. Ombudsman of the Israeli Judiciary Uri Shoham, a retired Supreme Court justice, asked Avitan, a member of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, to convene the Selection Committee for Rabbinical Judges in order to remove Yosef from his seat on the Great Rabbinical Court. Shoham said Yosef had made public comments claiming the Supreme Court sees itself above all else, accused the Reform Movement of perverting the Torah and declared he would block women from officially being recognized as religious scholars, despite a court ruling to the contrary. Yosef said his comments were made in his capacity as chief rabbi and not as a member of the rabbinical court. But Shoham insisted Yosef is bound by the same rules as any other judge. "This is not the first time the rabbi has made comments that are inappropriate for a jurist in any court and especially in the Rabbinical Court," Shoham said. Under Israeli law, only the Selection Committee for Rabbinical Judges can remove a sitting judge, but the authority to convene the committee is in the hands of the religious affairs minister. Shoham has come under fire from Interior Minister Aryeh Deri and other members of Shas and right-wing legislators, who argued the ombudsman was violating the agreed status quo between religious and state affairs. Avitan accused Shoham of aiming to ultimately grant the Reform Movement equal footing in Jewish affairs in Israel, which that are currently entirely under the control of the ultra-Orthodox rabbinate. "I will not allow this to happen," Avitan said. "I will act in any way under my authority to prevent Orthodox rabbis from fearing to voice their religious views and I will protect the rabbinical courts." The Orthodox control over religious affairs has been a bone of contentiand right-wing legislators, who argued the ombudsman was violating the agreed status quo between religious and state affairs.</p> <IMG id=captionImageElement11635281> <p>Avitan accused Shoham of aiming to ultimately grant the Reform Movement equal footing in Jewish affairs in Israel, which that are currently entirely under the control of the ultra-Orthodox rabbinate.</p> <p>"I will not allow this to happen," Avitan said. "I will act in any way under my authority to prevent Orthodox rabbis from fearing to voice their religious views and I will protect the rabbinical courts." &nbsp;</p> <p>The Orthodox control over religious affairs has been a bone of contention between Israel and Jewish communities around the world - in particular in North America, where most Jews are non-Orthodox.</p> <IMG id=captionImageElement11635282> <p>In 2017, under pressure from the ultra-Orthodox parties in his coalition, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government went back on a commitment to dedicate a section of the Western Wall for non-Orthodox worship.&nbsp;</p> <p>The decision left the entire holy site in the hands of the ultra-Orthodox and caused a rift with the Reform and Conservative movements.</p> message 58340850 Dozens of children rescued in Ohio anti-trafficking crackdown None Reuters https://www.ynetnews.com/article/Hk50GeUOv Tue, 27 Oct 2020 21:20:41 +03:00 More than 100 human-trafficking victims - many of them missing children - were rescued in a sweeping operation involving state and federal law enforcement agencies in Ohio, the state's attorney general's office said in a statement. Dubbed "Operation Autumn Hope", the sex-trafficking crackdown also led to 179 arrests, including 22 people who were charged for seeking sex with a minor - among them a pastor, Monday's statement said. Seventy-six of the 109 victims were missing children who were referred to social services upon their rescue. message 58340830 Trump supporters rally at U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem Some two dozen vehicles join the procession organized by Republicans Overseas Israel; 'More people are wakening and seeing who Trump truly is, that he's for the people and for the Jewish people,' says one supporter Associated Press https://www.ynetnews.com/article/S1b00LyIdw Tue, 27 Oct 2020 21:13:27 +03:00 A convoy of cars decorated with American flags and Trump 2020 banners on Tuesday drove from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, holding a rally outside the U.S. Embassy in support of the American president ahead of next week's election. Some two dozen vehicles joined the procession, which was organized by Republicans Overseas Israel. While Jews in the United States are expected to vote overwhelmingly for Democrat Joe Biden, Donald Trump is a popular figure in Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described him as the "greatest friend" Israel has ever had in the White House. Most of the people in Tuesday's convoy appeared to be American immigrants, though there were also some activists from Netanyahu' Likud party. "More and more people are wakening and seeing who Donald Trump truly is - that he's for the people and for the Jewish people," said Jacob Lieberman, who wore a Trump 2020 baseball hat and covered his face with an American flag. "What he has done for the Jewish people, there are no words, no words to explain. Exceptional president." During his time in office, Trump has taken a number of moves welcomed by Israel - beginning with his recognition of contested Jerusalem as Israel's capital and the subsequent move of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Trump also recognized Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights, has taken a softer line toward Israeli settlement construction on occupied lands and recently brokered diplomatic pacts between Israel and three Arab countries. Republicans Overseas Israel estimates there are 300,000 U.S. citizens living in Israel. message 58340730 Trump supporters rally at U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem None Associated Press https://www.ynetnews.com/article/rJIASJ800P Tue, 27 Oct 2020 20:25:27 +03:00 A convoy of cars decorated with American flags and Trump 2020 banners on Tuesday drove from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, holding a rally outside the U.S. Embassy in support of the American president ahead of next week's election. Some two dozen vehicles joined the procession, which was organized by Republicans Overseas Israel. Most of the people in Tuesday's convoy appeared to be American immigrants, though there were also some activists from Netanyahu's Likud party. message 58340640 Likud MK to be indicted on tax evasion charges None Tova Tzimuky, Gilad Morag https://www.ynetnews.com/article/HJB5e1Ldw Tue, 27 Oct 2020 20:6:36 +03:00 The State Prosecutor's Office announced on Tuesday Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit indents to indict Likud MK Haim Katz on tax evasion charges. Katz is suspected of failing to report or reporting late around NIS 2.2 million in income. message 58340630 'Trump reelection could push Iran, Hezbollah into attacking Israel' Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. says if Trump is reelected, Iran would have to either negotiate with the U.S. president under humiliating terms or launch an attack on Israel using the help of its powerful, Lebanese proxy The Media Line https://www.ynetnews.com/article/HJXpiTSuw Tue, 27 Oct 2020 20:5:0 +03:00 Thre reelection of U.S. President Donald Trump on November 3 could trigger Iran and it's Lebanese proxy Hezbollah to launch an attack on Israel, says former Israeli ambassador to the United States. Michael Oren, who served as the envoy during the administration of Presient Barack Obma believes the IDF should be factoring in Iran’s reaction to the re-election of Trump, who is currently trailing in polls to his Democratic challenger, former vice president Joe Biden. On Sunday morning, the IDF launched its biggest military exercise of the year, focusing on the northern front and simulating a war with the Shi'te terror group. The drill is called “Lethal Arrow” and is expected to end on Thursday afternoon. “Hezbollah takes its orders from Iran who is waiting to see how the election will turn out," says Oren. "If Donald Trump wins, Iran can do one of two things: It can negotiate under Trump’s humiliating terms or it can pick a fight with Israel, if it picks a fight with Israel, [Israel] is going to pick a fight with Hezbollah." According to Oren, Hezbollah has some 130,000 rockets "buried under 200 villages in southern Lebanon, and the only way to eliminate that threat would be to go village to village, house to house. And that’s what [the Israeli soldiers] are training for." Despite being scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic, Lethal Arrow remains the largest IDF drill of 2020, and includes thousands of troops from different branches of the military. According to an IDF statement, the exercise is following strict health regulations d the coronavirus pandemic. The drill comes after the IDF canceled its annual general staff “Keystone” exercise, originally scheduled for September, because of the health crisis. Military analysts point out that the drill has been in the works for a long time and is not in response to any specific threat. “At least once a year there is a major drill. Sometimes with the forces, sometimes without forces like the present one, which ies thousands of troops from different branches of the military. According to an IDF statement, the exercise is following strict health regulations d the coronavirus pandemic.</p> <p>The drill comes after the IDF canceled its annual general staff “Keystone” exercise, originally scheduled for September, because of the health crisis.</p> <p>Military analysts point out that the drill has been in the works for a long time and is not in response to any specific threat.</p> <IMG id=captionImageElement11632361> <p>“At least once a year there is a major drill. Sometimes with the forces, sometimes without forces like the present one, which is mostly simulation,” says Dr. Meir Elran, a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. &nbsp;</p> <p>“It has nothing to do with the external situation, with any military tension that goes on around Israel. It has to be taken as a regular drill and not a consequence of any specific or urgent needs.”</p> <p><br></p> <p><strong>Article written by Joshua Robbin Marks, published with permission from </strong><a href="https://themedialine.org/top-stories/oren-us-election-results-could-trigger-hizbullah/" class="bluelink" style=""><strong>The Media Line</strong></a></p> message 58340570 Israel sees coronavirus infection rate drop below 2% According to health authorities, 464 coronavirus patients hospitalized in serious condition across the country, 196 of them are on ventilators; 8 Israelis succumb to COVID-19 since midnight and 480 test positive Ynet https://www.ynetnews.com/article/BJpi4CS00P Tue, 27 Oct 2020 19:34:57 +03:00 The Health Ministry reported on Tuesday evening that Israel's coronavirus infection rate has dropped below 2% for the first time in weeks. Health authorities have conducted over 26,000 coronavirus tests since midnight Tuesday and found 480 new cases, meaning 1.8% of all test results came back positive. There are currently 464 coronavirus patients in serious condition receiving treatment across the country's hospitals, 196 of them are on ventilators. Eight Israelis have succumbed to complications from COVID-19 since midnight, bringing the country's total virus-related death toll to 2,463 fatalities. Jerusalem has reported the most coronavirus infections in the last 7 days with 784 new cases. The capital is then followed by Bnei Brak with 209 new cases, Ashdod with 151, Tel Aviv with 135 and Modi'in Illit with 115. Meanwhile, ahead of a partial reopening of the education system on November 1, the Health Ministry on Tuesday called on all teaching staff to get tested for COVID-19 at specially designated centers, in what health officials call "Operation Education Shield". The so-called coronavirus cabinet, which leads the government's response to the pandemic, voted on Monday to reopen schools for grades one through four on a three-day-a-week footing and the rest of the studies being conducted remotely. message 58340460 Married for 64 years, dead within days of virus Adnan and Hakmat Masri from northern Israel were hospitalized in the same room and lost the battle against the virus just 2 days of each other; they are survived by 6 children, 28 grandchildren and 46 great-grandchildren Hassan Shaalan https://www.ynetnews.com/magazine/article/Syc44hruw Tue, 27 Oct 2020 19:19:28 +03:00 Hakamat and Adnan Masri - an elderly Israeli couple who had been married for 64 years - died this week in the span of only two days after contracting coronavirus. Hakamat, 83, and Adnan, 84, from the Arab town of Makr in the Galilee in northern Israel, are survived by 6 children, 28 grandchildren and 46 great-grandchildren. "Earlier this month, my mom [Hakamat] did not feel well. We took her to see a doctor here in town, and from there she was transferred to Carmel Hospital in Haifa," their son, Ghassan, told Ynet. "It turned out she had contracted coronavirus, and her condition worsened. The next day, my dad [Adnan] also felt ill and we took him to the hospital where he also had tested positive. They were treated in the same room and were next to each other. "Mom took care of dad and supported him. As her condition worsened in the last few days, he waited for her to wake up. He kept telling us that, 'everything will be fine, do not worry. Sing songs and smile. Mom will recover soon'." Hakamat passed away on Sunday at the age of 83. After her death, Adnan's condition also deteriorated on Monday and he passed away at the age of 84. "We received a phone call from the hospital that his condition had worsened. He had respiratory inflammation and difficulty breathing. Ultimately, the medical staff had to announce his death. We expected him to be released and return to the family, but he collapsed within hours" said the son. "We had great parents. We saw them and talked to them about interesting and happy things every day. It hurts us to only have a small funeral for them, and the condolences are only through the phone, but that is the situation and we must accept it." message