The Times of Israel liveblogged Thursday’s events as they happened.
BERLIN — The German parliament votes in favor of the construction of a memorial in Berlin for Jehovah’s Witnesses who were persecuted and murdered during the Nazi regime.
Members of the Christian evangelical movement, known for going door-to-door to try to convert people, were subject to intense persecution under the Nazis.
They antagonized the authorities in various ways, such as by refusing to give the Nazi salute, refusing to join party organizations or to undergo military service.
The memorial will be built near the goldfish pond in Berlin’s large Tiergarten park, where Jehovah’s Witnesses used to meet in secret during the Nazi era.
The motion that parliament backed calls for the government to support the erection of a sculpture along with information boards.
Uwe Neumaerker, director of Berlin’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, says the move was “long overdue.”
“It honors the courage of Jehovah’s Witnesses during [the Nazi era] and at the same time sets an example for empathy, for religious tolerance and against the exclusion of minorities in present times.”
Before Adolf Hitler’s Nazis took power in Germany, there were 25,000 to 30,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany, according to the Holocaust Museum.
At least 3,000 were sent to concentration camps in the Nazi era, many of whom died.
The judges in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial told prosecutors that it would be hard to prove the bribery accusations against him in one of the three cases he’s charged over, Channel 13 news reports.
According to the network, the three Jerusalem District Court judges informed prosecutors and Netanyahu’s defense team during a closed-door meeting this week. The report, which doesn’t cite a source, describes the meeting as a message toward judges and could be aimed at encouraging a plea deal or non-binding mediation.
Netanyahu was indicted for fraud and breach of trust in all three cases, but only the more serious charge of bribery in so-called Case 4000, in which he’s alleged to have advanced regulatory decisions that immensely benefited Shaul Elovitch, who was the controlling shareholder in Bezeq, despite opposition from Communication Ministry officials. In exchange, he allegedly was given what amounted to editorial control over Bezeq’s Walla news site.
Elovitch and his wife have also been charged with bribery in the case. All three defendants deny wrongdoing.
Security camera footage from a mosque Urif shows a masked suspect tearing pages from a book as settlers rampaged through the Palestinian town yesterday.
In the video, the man — who is accompanied by a leash dog — can be seen ripping pages out of what Channel 12 news and several other Hebrew media reports said was a Quran and throwing them on the ground, as other masked suspects look on.
No suspects have been arrested over the incident or for the rioting in other Palestinian towns since Tuesday’s terror shooting in the area left four Israelis dead. Both attackers came from Urif.
תיעוד: יהודי רעול פנים, אחד המתפרעים שנכנסו אתמול לכפר עוריף בשומרון שממנו יצאו המחבלים, גונב ספר קוראן מאחד הבתים – קורע את הדפים ומשליך ברחוב.
אותה קבוצה גם הציתה בית ספר בכפר, מספר כיתות נשרפו.
עד לשלב זה לא נעצרו חשודים pic.twitter.com/Hzm0R3nybS
— דורון קדוש | Doron Kadosh (@Doron_Kadosh) June 22, 2023
The US Coast Guard says that an underwater vessel has located a debris field near the Titanic in the search for a missing submersible with five people aboard, a potential breakthrough in an increasingly urgent around-the-clock effort.
The Coast Guard’s post on Twitter gives no details, such as whether officials believe the debris is connected to the Titan, which was on an expedition to view the wreckage of the Titanic. The search passed the critical 96-hour mark today when breathable air could have run out.
The Titan was estimated to have about a four-day supply of breathable air when it launched Sunday morning in the North Atlantic — but experts have emphasized that was an imprecise approximation to begin with and could be extended if passengers have taken measures to conserve breathable air. And it’s not known if they survived since the sub’s disappearance.
Rescuers have rushed ships, planes and other equipment to the site of the disappearance. Today, the US Coast Guard says an undersea robot sent by a Canadian ship had reached the sea floor, while a French research institute says a deep-diving robot with cameras, lights and arms also joined the operation.
Authorities are hoping underwater sounds might help narrow their search, whose coverage area has been expanded to thousands of miles — twice the size of Connecticut and in waters 2 1/2 miles (4 kilometers) deep. Coast Guard officials said underwater noises were detected in the search area Tuesday and yesterday.
US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides says the Biden administration “will not stand by and watch settler violence occur” following a string of rampages targeting Palestinians in the West Bank.
“We will not stand by and watch settler violence occur. No one should have to worry about a rogue army,” Nides says at a Tel Aviv gathering of young Israelis and Palestinians organized by the Geneva Initiative.
Nides, who was accused of drawing an equivalency between Israelis killed in a Palestinian terror shooting on Tuesday and Palestinians killed during an IDF raid in Jenin on Monday, was careful to condemn the former attack in its own right.
“My heart breaks for the families who lost a loved one 48 hours ago. We need to make sure that justice is done properly,” he says.
But the ambassador went on to insist that there was nothing wrong with having sympathy for both sides of the conflict. “I can have an emotional connection to the Israeli families and also the Palestinian families. No one wants to stand by and watch that happen. My heart breaks for all these families.”
Nides reiterates the administration’s commitment to the two-state solution while acknowledging that the stance of those in Washington is not enough. “We can’t want peace more than the parties want peace. The people have got to want it. It takes the next generation. It’s this generation of people who will have to demand of the politicians to do the right thing.”
“This room is the future. Don’t listen to those politicians. They’re not the future. You are,” he says to the several dozen youths in the room — 15 Israelis and 20 Palestinians from Nablus, Hebron, Jenin and villages next to Turmus Ayya, which was ransacked by settlers yesterday.
Palestinian media outlets are reporting clashes between Israeli settlers and Palestinians near the village of Jalud.
Footage shows settlers and Palestinians hurling stones at each other in the area. Another image shows a large fire burning near the village.
مستوطنون يهاجمون المنازل في بلدة جالود جنوب نابلس، وسط مواجهات مع الأهالي. pic.twitter.com/rG3IE8CAtU
— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) June 22, 2023
Jalud is located close to the settlement of Shiloh, and not far from Eli, the site of a deadly terror attack on Tuesday.
Since the attack that left four dead, settlers have been rioting in nearby Palestinian villages, setting fire to homes, cars, and terrorizing residents.
UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations has added Russian military forces and affiliated armed groups to its “list of shame” over violations of children’s rights in conflict during the war in Ukraine, according to a copy of a report seen today by AFP.
In an annual report to be released next week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he’s shocked by frequent attacks on schools and hospitals and “by the high number of children killed and maimed attributed to the Russian forces and affiliated armed groups.”
The hummus restaurant at a gas station outside the West Bank settlement of Eli has reopened after four Israelis were killed there in a terror attack this week.
“The time has come for the State of Israel to invest in businesses in settlements and not only after serious terror attacks. We will continue to act and develop the economy,” Aviad Gazber, who owns the Hummus Eliyahu branch, tells the Ynet news site.
Among the diners throughout the day were Likud MK Yuli Edelstein and opposition National Unity MKs Benny Gantz and Chili Tropper.
הגעתי יחד עם חבריי היקרים, ראש המועצה האזורית מטה בנימין, ישראל גנץ ויו"ר הישוב עלי, אריאל אלמליח כדי לתמוך ולחזק את תושבי עלי הנפלאים ואת תושבי הסביבה כולה.
הפיגוע הברברי שהיה כאן רק לפני יומיים >> pic.twitter.com/xNtRqpKsAl
— Yuli Edelstein 🇮🇱 יולי אדלשטיין (@YuliEdelstein) June 22, 2023
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praises last night’s drone strike on a car carrying three Palestinian gunmen near Jenin, the first such attack in years.
“We are always surprising, we are always changing the equation,” he says in a video statement.
Netanyahu says the cell was behind several shooting attacks and was planning more.
“But we settled the score with it by surprise,” he adds.
Far-right Jewish activists from the Yitzhar settlement tell the Kan public broadcaster that they disconnected the power to the nearby Palestinian village of Urif, the hometown of the two terrorists that killed four Israelis in a terror attack this week.
“We need to change the perception in the war on terror. Only civil pressure on the terrorists’ environs will lead to change,” one of them is quoted as saying.
The village’s municipality says it has been without power since last night.
Paramedics are treating five people wounded in a shooting at a barbershop in the northern Arab town of Shfar’am.
Magen David Adom says one of the men is seriously hurt and the other four moderately wounded.
شفاعمرو:اصابة ٥ اشخاص جراء تعرضهم لاطلاق نار في المدينة!
שפרעם:5 פצועים באירוע ירי בעיר …
והמשטרה חוקררררת pic.twitter.com/NI7CMPvYD5
— |فرات نصار|פוראת נסאר|FURAT NASSAR (@nassar_furat) June 22, 2023
Military chief Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi has appointed a new commander of the Paran Regional Brigade in southern Israel, following the deadly attack on the Egyptian border earlier this month.
Lt. Col. Raviv Shemer will be promoted to the rank of colonel and enter the position once his appointment is approved by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.
Col. Ido Sa’ad, the current commander of the Paran Brigade, is to be dismissed and moved to another role in the IDF in light of the attack on June 3, which saw an Egyptian policeman infiltrate into Israel and kill three soldiers.
National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi meets with US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf, who has been visiting this week.
A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office says Leaf expressed her condolences over the four Israelis killed in a terror shooting in the West Bank and that the two discussed how to prevent a further escalation in violence “after the recent terror incidents.”
The two also discussed expanding the Abraham Accords, with Leaf sharing her impressions of recent trip to Saudi Arabia and noting the US efforts to advance a normalization deal, according to the premier’s office.
The statement doesn’t mention Iran, with Leaf’s trip coming amid growing reports of a potential nuclear interim deal between Washington and Tehran.
There is no immediate readout from the State Department.
The military wing of the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group confirms one of its fighters was killed today in the Jabaliya refugee camp.
According to Hamas-linked media, Ayman Attiah Deeb Mansour and his son Attiah Ayman Mansour were shot dead by a perpetrator who was later killed by Hamas authorities, who say they are probing the matter while notably not pointing the finger at Israel.
Palestinian media describe the incident as criminal.
Surveillance camera footage published by Palestinian media shows the moment a car carrying three gunmen was struck by an Israeli drone near the West Bank city of Jenin last night.
The strike, the first in the West Bank since 2006, killed Suhaib al-Ghoul, 27, Muhammad Awais, 28, and Ashraf a-Saadi, 17, members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades terror groups.
The IDF and Shin Bet said the trio had fired at a nearby checkpoint moments before they were targeted by a Hermes 450 unmanned aerial vehicle, operated by the Artillery Corps.
Surveillance camera footage shows the IDF drone strike on the car carrying three Palestinian gunmen near Jenin last night. pic.twitter.com/jvzkelzxaS
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) June 22, 2023
The Saudi foreign ministry releases a statement stressing Riyadh’s “total rejection and condemnation” of settler rampages in Palestinian villages following a terror attack Tuesday in which four Israelis were killed.
“The ministry expresses the kingdom’s categorical rejection of acts of intimidation of Palestinian civilians, and renews its firm support for all international efforts aimed at reaching a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue,” the statement says.
The denunciation comes amid intensified US efforts to broker a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the pursuit of such an accord is one of his government’s leading priorities.
An illegal West Bank outpost is set up just several kilometers across from the Eli settlement, the scene of Tuesday’s terror attack in which four Israelis were killed.
Photos provided by Peace Now show five buildings made of prefabricated metal walls erected at the site, just outside the Maale Levona settlement in the northern West Bank on the other side of Route 60 from Eli.
Also visible are heavy earth-moving bulldozers and excavator drill machinery, as well as a newly dug access path to the site which is yet to be paved.
The IDF, Defense Ministry, and Civil Administration have not immediately responded to a request for comment as to how such a complex, illegal construction operation was carried out and whether the site would be evacuated. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who is also a minister in the Defense Ministry, similarly has yet to respond.
Peace Now condemns the development, accusing those behind the construction of using Tuesday’s terror attack as cover for setting up new settlements.
“The settler terror is dancing on blood, cynically exploiting the terrible terror attack, and continuing to establish facts on the ground. We will all pay the price of the failure to deal with this and the continuation of the bloody cycle,” says Peace Now.
“The security forces must dismantle the outpost, evacuate the settlers who went to Evyatar, and deal with Jewish terrorism with a heavy hand when it rears its head,” the organization adds in reference to the resettlement of the illegal Evyatar outpost on Tuesday night and the riots and arson committed by settlers in the Palestinian village of Turmus Ayya yesterday.
Religious Zionism MK Simcha Rothman appears to downplay yesterday’s settler violence in the West Bank town of Turmus Ayya that took place following a funeral for four Israelis killed in a nearby terror attack, invoking the blocking of roads by protesters against judicial overhaul that he is helping shepherd through the Knesset.
“When you protest against the [judicial] reform you can call to take up arms and be violent, but when you protest against a trivial matter like four people being murdered, then that’s not alright?” the far-right lawmaker says to Army Radio.
Rothman appears to be referring to comments by lawyer David Hodek, who said in February that “if someone forces me to live in a dictatorship and I have no choice, I won’t hesitate to use live fire.” Hodek later apologized as police opened an investigation.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Iran’s foreign minister concludes a three-day tour of Gulf Arab neighbors with a visit to the United Arab Emirates where he holds talks with the country’s president.
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian’s visit to the UAE follows stops in Qatar, Kuwait and Oman — the latest in a flurry of diplomatic moves by Tehran as it seeks to reduce its isolation, improve its economy and project strength.
Today, he discussed “bilateral relations and ways to enhance cooperation” in a meeting with UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, the official WAM news agency reports.
Amir-Abdollahian extended an invitation from Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi for Sheikh Mohammed to visit, Tehran’s foreign ministry says.
Gulf Arab countries are seeking to ease tensions with Iran, fueled in recent years by the conflicts in Yemen and Syria.
In a dramatic shift, China brokered an agreement in March between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore ties after a years-long rupture.
Tehran’s nuclear program is also an issue of mutual concern, as Iran seeks to revive a landmark 2015 deal granting sanctions relief in return for curbs to prevent it from acquiring an atomic bomb — a target it has always denied seeking.
Iran said last week it had been engaged in indirect negotiations with the United States through Oman, with nuclear issues, US sanctions and a possible prisoner swap on the agenda.
The following day, Iran’s nuclear negotiator said he had met with diplomats from three European countries in Abu Dhabi to discuss a number of issues including the country’s nuclear program.
Security officials are accusing far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir of “dragging the country into a war with the Druze” by insisting that work on a wind farm in the northern Golan Heights go ahead, according to the Haaretz daily.
A day after major clashes between Druze and police, the newspaper cites unnamed police sources warning that if the work isn’t halted, “it will end in bloodshed.”
The comments come as Ben Gvir heads to the northern town of Julis to meet with Druze spiritual leader Sheikh Mowafak Tarif. In a statement, Ben Gvir stresses his appreciation for the community while saying the work will briefly pause for a holiday next week before resuming.
“This is the law and in the State of Israel it is the law that decides,” the far-right leader says. ”
The statement adds that Ben Gvir made “his stance clear” to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
MOSCOW — A Russian court has rejected an appeal to release US reporter Evan Gershkovich from detention in Moscow, an AFP journalist in the courtroom says, ahead of his trial on contested espionage charges.
“The appeal is rejected,” the judge says, following a short hearing held behind closed doors. Gershkovich’s detention was extended in late May until August.
The military’s top spokesman denounces yesterday’s settler rampage in the West Bank town of Turmus Ayya, during which a Palestinian man was killed in unclear circumstances.
Speaking with Army Radio, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari acknowledges the Israel Defense Forces had “failed to prevent” the rioting, which he describes as “very grave.”
“This is an incident that creates terror and escalation, and takes the population that isn’t involved in terror and pushes it there, while preventing the IDF from fighting terror in operational activities,” he says.
Hagari adds that the military was probing the matter internally and vowed it would learn from the incident.
“We will improve,” he says.
There's no paywall on The Times of Israel, but the journalism we do is costly. As an independent news organization, we are in no way influenced by political or business interests. We rely on readers like you to support our fact-based coverage of Israel and the Jewish world. If you appreciate the integrity of this type of journalism, please join the ToI Community.
We’re really pleased that you’ve read X Times of Israel articles in the past month.
That’s why we started the Times of Israel eleven years ago - to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.
So now we have a request. Unlike other news outlets, we haven’t put up a paywall. But as the journalism we do is costly, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.
For as little as $6 a month you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREE, as well as accessing exclusive content available only to Times of Israel Community members.
David Horovitz, Founding Editor of The Times of Israel