Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday he hasn't yet seen any evidence supporting Israel's claim that Hamas operated in a Gaza building housing The Associated Press and other media outlets that was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike. Blinken said he has pressed Israel for justification.
Blinken spoke at a news conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, a day after The Associated Press' top editor called for an independent investigation into the Israeli airstrikeover the weekend that targeted and destroyed a Gaza City building housing the AP, broadcaster Al-Jazeera and other media, saying the public deserves to know the facts.
Israel destroyed a building housing The Associated Press and Al Jazeera and claimed that Hamas used the building for a military intelligence office.
Yigal Yehoshua, a 56-year-old resident of Lod who was hit by stones thrown by Arab rioters in the city, died of his wounds on Monday in Shamir Medical Center in Tel Aviv.
Yehoshua's car was pelted by stones during riots that broke out after the death of Moussa Hassouna, a Lod resident who was shot during clashes between Arabs and Jews on Monday night. He was brought to the hospital in serious condition, and on Monday was declared dead after being declared brain dead.
After Yehoshua was attacked, young Arabs in Lod told Haaretz that "This is the blood vengeance they were looking for in exchange for the death of Hassouna."
An Arab man in his twenties has been arrested by Israel Police and the Shin Bet, over his alleged involvement in hurling a Molotov cocktail into a home in a Jaffa neighborhood, seriousy injuring a 12-year-old boy named Mohammad Gintazi.
The Police's Tel Aviv division, alongside the Shin Bet, opened a joint investigation on May 15. The suspect was transferred to the Shin Bet for questioning.
As part of a closed-door hearing held Sunday night, the judge imposed a gag order on every detail of the investigation, including the identities of the suspects.
MELBOURNE, May 17 (Reuters) - Israel striker Tomer Hemed is facing scrutiny from Australia's A-League over his politically-sensitive goal celebrations during Wellington Phoenix's 2-2 draw with Melbourne City on Sunday.
The Wellington forward netted a double at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium and showed his support for his home nation amid the most serious hostilities in years with Hamas Islamists who rule Gaza.
After scoring a penalty late in the first half, Hemed ran to a group of supporters in the terraces and draped himself in an Israeli national flag.
U.S. President Joe Biden said his administration is working with Palestinians and Israelis to work towards a sustained calm, adding that both deserve to live in safety and security.
"We also believe Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live in safety and security and enjoy equal measure of freedom, prosperity and democracy," he said in a pretaped video aired at an event marking the Muslim Eid holiday on Sunday.
"My administration is going to continue to engage Palestinians and Israelis and other regional partners to work toward sustained calm."
Most Israelis are unaware of the reason underlying the extreme brazenness of Hamas, which is spearheading rocket attacks taking a toll on our lives like never before. The reason is that the leaders of this terror organization know that Israel under Benjamin Netanyahu isn't only reluctant to end Hamas' hold in the Gaza Strip, it wants to preserve it.
Ever since Netanyahu came to power in 2009, he signed an unwritten pact with Hamas, in the words of Haim Ramon, a former deputy prime minister and justice minister. The deal was designed to thwart the Palestinian Authority and its leader, perpetuating the rift between Hamas in Gaza and the PA in the West Bank in order to weaken President Mahmoud Abbas and maintain the diplomatic freeze, based on the claim that the PA doesn't represent all Palestinians.
Netanyahu stuck to this stance during the November 2012 air offensive and the 2014 Gaza war, during which Hamas was offered a cease-fire no less than 10 times. Moreover, since 2012, Netanyahu has let Qatar transfer $1 billion to Gaza, at least half of which has gone to Hamas, including its military wing.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday there was no place for antisemitism in society and that British Jews should not have to endure "shameful racism", after a video online appeared to show people shouting antisemitic abuse from a car in London.
Johnson was responding in part to the video, posted earlier on Sunday, showing a convoy of cars bearing Palestinian flags driving through a Jewish community in north London and broadcasting antisemitic messages from a megaphone.
Police investigating the incident later said they had made four arrests.
A wave of violent attacks that spread across the country over the past weeks hit both Jews and Arabs, but all of the charges Israel has pressed so far are against Arab citizens. Most of the 116 indictments served by state prosecutors up until Sunday afternoon are for assaulting police officers.
Sources at the State Prosecutor's Office said they plan to press more charges "soon," including against Jewish citizens involved in anti-Arab violence.
On Thursday, the acting State Attorney, Amit Eisman, has ordered to expedite the process and filed a request to keep the suspects in custody.
Gershon Franco, 55, was the tenth Israeli fatality following Gaza rocket fire to the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan on Saturday. Franco was a disabled cancer patient who lived alone and in poverty. Over the past five years, he lost his mother, father, and younger sister all to cancer.
Since the beginning of the recent fighting between Israel and Hamas, which has become the heaviest flare-up since 2014 Gaza War, 10 Israelis and at least 188 Gazans were killed as some 3,000 rockets were fired from Gaza toward Israel amid ongoing Israeli airstrikes on the enclave.
Franco's sister and brother-in-law said that he lived rough over the past years, until recently friends found lodging for him next to a restaurant he worked at a ground-floor shack without a fortified safe room.
Jordan's King Abdullah said on Sunday that his kingdom was involved in intensive diplomacy to halt what he characterized as an Israeli military escalation in the worst Israeli-Palestinian violence in years.
The monarch, whose ruling family has custodianship of Muslim and Christian sites in Jerusalem, did not elaborate on the diplomacy, which was communicated via a news flash on state media.
Jordanian government officials have told Reuters the pro-Western kingdom is leading a diplomatic campaign with its European and U.S. allies to put pressure on Israel to end its air and artillery barrage on Gaza since fighting erupted last Monday.
Less than a week ago, Hamas gave Israel an impossible ultimatum: Withdraw your forces from the Temple Mount immediately and release everyone who was arrested in the clashes there or we will attack Jerusalem with rockets.
The subsequent attack, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dubbed the crossing of a red line, served as the casus belli for the massive assault on the Gaza Strip, for which no explicit goal was defined.
Its amorphous goals, such as restoring deterrence or hitting Hamas with blows it never imagined in retaliation for the rockets, cannot provide a clear exit point from the confrontation.
At least two people were killed on Sunday and dozens injured, some critically, when a grandstand seating area collapsed in a crowded synagogue in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.
The incident occurred in Givat Ze'ev, north of Jerusalem, in a synagogue that was still under construction. Television footage from the scene showed the building was incomplete, with exposed concrete and boards visible.
Emergency medical teams reported 184 casualties overall, including six in serious condition and 10 in moderate condition. The remaining 168 are said to be lightly injured.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the attack on the high-rise building in Gaza, which hosted several news organizations, was "perfectly legitimate," as news agencies demand explanations for the attack.
The high-rise building in Gaza hit by an Israeli airstrike this weekend housed a Palestinian militant group's intelligence office as well as offices for the Associated Press and Al Jazeera, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.
There was "an intelligence office for the Palestinian terrorist organization housed in that building that plots and organizes terror attacks against Israeli civilians so it's a perfectly legitimate target," Netanyahu told CBS' "Face the Nation" program.
Hamas has carried out a number of recent unsuccessful attempts to strike the Tamar gas platform off Israel's southern coast, according to defense officials.
The navy ordered a partial shutdown of the platform and a halt in the production of natural gas in wake of the attempted attacks. Senior security officials said that the platform is under the protection of missile boats and defense systems, and that it is not in danger of being damaged.
Navy officials say they are confident that Hamas has been deprived of all the naval assets that it amassed in recent years that military intelligence knows about. Israel has hit seven different production sites for naval equipment in Gaza, five ammunition dumps, eight homes housing naval commandos, a number of military posts and rocket launching positions. Three senior Hamas naval commandos were killed during an attack on Gaza. The military has also made additional attempts on the lives of senior members of the Hamas naval unit, who are still missing and the fate of whom is unknown.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken backed Israel's right to defend itself, and called on both sides to stop the most intense fighting between Israel and Hamas since 2014.
Speaking at a closed-door press conference in Denmark, Blinken addressed the conflict, saying the U.S. still remains greatly concerned' by the escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians.
Blinken called on Hamas and other Gaza militant groups to end immediately end the rocket attacks, but emphasized that Israel has extra responsibility to do everything it can to prevent civilian casualties.
A Palestinian driver was shot dead on Sunday by Israeli forces after a suspected car-ramming attack in East Jerusalem, and seven police officers were lightly to moderately wounded.
The suspect, a resident of the city, was shot by officers at the scene, near a police roadblock at the entrance to the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, which has been the flash point of protests and violent clashes over the past weeks.
WARNING: This footage may be disturbing to some viewers
Last week, as rockets began pounding southern Israel, Yael Lachyani and her family joined other residents of Kibbutz Nahal Oz who fled to the north to Mishmar Ha'emek to wait out the conflict. Of the dozens who remained at Nahal Oz, only about a kilometer from the Gaza border, few plan to celebrate the Shavuot holiday that begins Sunday evening.
We can't put a lot of people together, so at Nahal Oz we've decided to delay the holiday, said Lachyani. We hope it'll be in two weeks but we don't know yet. We want to celebrate. We have our tradition of bringing newborn babies and bringing new crops onto the stage, and we have singing and a dinner.
In recent days, Jewish communities across the south have been grappling with just how to mark the holiday while under near constant bombardment. Shavuot is observed by Orthodox Jews as the date of the divine revelation on Mount Sinai, and by secular Jews as an agricultural festival.
Before Evan Fallenberg sealed the doors and windows of Arabesque the boutique hotel he had lovingly built that was vandalized by an angry Arab mob in the northern coastal city of Acre Wednesday night he was so overwhelmed that he paused to sit on the stone steps at the entrance.
All I could do was sit down on those steps, he told Haaretz in an interview on Thursday. It was just too much to take in. As I was sitting there, I insisted that the door be kept open: I wanted everyone passing by to acknowledge the destruction in some way. And they did. Neighbors stopped in. A few cried and some apologized even though it wasn't their fault. They were upset, they were distraught. And they spoke. They told stories of their own experiences and they told stories about Arabesque back when we first started.
Suddenly, I realized that this was kind of a shivah, he says, referring to the seven-day mourning period in Judaism. It had that dynamic. I was the mourner, mourning for Arabesque, and they were coming and consoling me. And as it happens with shivah calls, you often wind up consoling the people who come to visit.
I know this isn't a very encouraging thing for a TV critic to say, but I haven't been in the mood to watch television this past week.
When the main show is taking place outside your window, courtesy of those two forever-bickering siblings otherwise known as Israel and the Palestinians, it's hard to focus on something as trite as entertainment, no matter how important or worthy the show.
That's why this has been the hardest TV column I've ever written even tougher than the one where, despite being a die-hard republican, I had to say nice things about season 4 of The Crown.
There's no shortage of pieces in Haaretz based on the political theory that the great ones to borrow from Bertolt Brecht often slip on banana peels as they go about the work of government.
Consider Haaretz's Hebrew edition this past Wednesday: Columnist and business editor Sami Peretz explained to his readers that the current round of violence began with a series of mistakes by the Israel Police in Jerusalem. Senior Middle Eastern affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote that thanks to Israel's mismanagement, Hamas identified an opportunity to marginalize the Palestinian Authority. And top Military correspondent and defense analyst Amos Harel added that in recent days Israel underestimated Hamas' intentions and operational capabilities. But it's possible that now the Hamas leadership in Gaza is making the same critical mistake.
Another Haaretz military correspondent, Yaniv Kubovich, reported on that same day that defense officials incorrectly believed that Hamas would be deterred from fighting, while chief intelligence and strategic affairs columnist Yossi Melman adopted Barbara Tuchman's March of Folly'' thesis to explain how sometimes leaders act just plain foolishly. As Melman put it, the measures being taken now violate the self-interest of Benjamin Netanyahu. In other words, according to Wednesday's Haaretz, the prime minister and Israel's other decision-makers are, to put it crudely, thickheaded as if they were making mistakes day in and day out.
For 19 years, Israel violated the 1949 armistice agreements that ended the War of Independence. The violations took place on all fronts: Syria, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan, and especially in the demilitarized zones overseen by UN observers.
The most blatant and daring violation took place on Mount Scopus, at the time a demilitarized enclave, an isolated Israeli outpost in the heart of Jordanian East Jerusalem. By order of the government, the new Israel Defense Forces smuggled banned weapons to Mount Scopus while the soldiers disguised themselves as police officers guarding the enclave.
Then as today, Mount Scopus housed the buildings of the Hebrew University and a branch of Hadassah University Hospital. The idea to establish a university for the Jewish people was first raised in 1882 by a rabbi and University of Heidelberg mathematics professor, Zvi Hermann Schapira.
Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid suggested Sunday that political considerations were behind Israel's military operation in Gaza, saying that if Israel had a working government, security matters would not interfere with politics.
Lapid, who has been tasked with forming a coalition after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's mandate expired, also accused Kahanist lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir of having a central role in the escalation in tensions that led to rioting around the country and ultimately Israel's flare-up with Gaza. No one would let a card-carrying lunatic like Itamar Ben-Gvir to set Jerusalem and then the entire country ablaze.
Furthermore, Lapid said, if a government had been successfully formed, no one would have to ask themselves why the fire always breaks out precisely when it's most convenient for the prime minister.
The tacticalization of strategy is a term that, while it isn't uniquely Israeli, captures Israel's often flawed strategic thinking.
It was conceived of by Yehoshafat Harkabi, a former chief of Military Intelligence and for many decades a professor of International Relations and War Studies at the Hebrew University. Used frequently by Harkabi, the term was developed as an explanatory and cautionary concept in his magnum opus, War and Strategy (1999).
Tacticalization of strategy means that a country is substituting, or conflating, the military-tactical for the political-strategic.
The massive riots over the weekend suggest that despite the huge police contingents fighting the violence, mainly in mixed cities, the situation is far from under control as the security forces fail to obtain sufficient intelligence, particularly on Jewish suspects, sources say.
On Friday, tensions eased in Lod and southern cities, while rising in other places, like Kafr Kana, where clashes broke out following the arrest of Sheikh Kamal al-Khatib, the deputy head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel. The town became a battlefield on par with the riots in Jaffa and East Jerusalem.
While police have been preparing for another week of unrest across the country, there is a significant lack of quality intelligence, particularly regarding Jewish suspects, preventing police from halting escalations in time.
Diplomatic officials in Jerusalem said Sunday that the public international support Israel has enjoyed since launching its military operation in Gaza is nearing its end, which will force it to move toward a cease-fire.
While the military has received public support from the United States and European countries during the operation, behind the scenes the message has been conveyed that a cease-fire must be sought as soon as possible. A main reason for the pressure is concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza.
On Sunday morning, U.S. envoy Hady Amr met with Defense Minister Benny Gantz and held a round of talks aimed at ending the hostilities.
What does Poland represent in Israeli culture? The question of Polishness comes up for discussion occasionally, and in almost every case, it's presented in a mocking if not humiliating manner. The latest opportunity for locals to sneak in a joke about Polishness comes in connection with the new Polish television series Sexify (currently available on Netflix), a light comedy revolving around young Polish women who invent an app meant to improve orgasms for females.
In any event, when it comes to Polishness, you can say whatever you like in Israel. This apparently stems from the assumption that Polish culture is a dominant culture here. Polishness equals Ashkenaziness, which equals whiteness. In fact, however, most of us don't know the first thing about Polish culture. Even though many Israelis are indeed of Polish descent, Polish culture is actually almost nonexistent in Israel. In large measure, it can be even be described as a suppressed culture.
The central mountain that's how the West Bank is labeled in a new book called Wine Journey An Israeli Adventure, a guide that tries to map Israel using 179 wineries across the country, reflecting local culture through the stories of people, places and wines.
Wine, as is well-known, is a faithful expression of the environment where the grapes that produced it were grown (called terroir by professionals), a product of the meeting of natural processes and human intervention. In a silent map (which speaks no less than the more detailed maps that also appear in this book) with no state borders at the beginning of the guide, the writers delineate six wine-producing regions: the Golan Heights, the Galilee, the coastal plain, Judea, the central mountain and the Negev. The more detailed maps at the end or beginning of each section do show state borders and neighboring countries, but the Green Line, the pre-1967 armistice demarcation that separates Israel and the West Bank, or the borders of the Palestinian Authority are not shown.
The central mountain. I repeat this term since it's so beautiful and poetic some words ignite one's imagination, evoking pastoral images. It saddens me to think that this term, used by modern archaeologists to describe the story of the kingdoms of Judea and Israel, will become identified with wines originating in Judea and Samaria in the West Bank, which are occupied territories. My four grandparents, who settled in the Jordan Valley and the Sharon area, were considered part of the labor settlement. Today, the term settlement is identified with settlers in the West Bank, and I'm worried that the term central mountain is the next term we'll use for whitewashing and removing from public awareness around the world, but mainly from our own consciousness the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and what is taking place in the West Bank. The book is bilingual, appealing to English-speaking wine tourists and potential consumers of Israeli wines.
At least 42 people were killed in an Israeli airstrike overnight Saturday, making it the deadliest night in the Gaza Strip since the latest round of hostilities between Israel and Hamas began last week.
The deaths, according to Gaza authorities, include 10 children and 16 women. The Palesitinian Health Ministry added more than 50 people were wounded, and rescue efforts are still underway.
The Israeli strikes just after midnight hit a busy street in downtown Gaza City, destroyed two adjacent buildings and one about 50 yards (meters) down the road.
In recent years, the IDF has identified a trend that Hamas will move its activists into the many kilometers of tunnels under Gaza in times of emergency and has developed a plan for turning the tunnels into a death trap for Hamas combatants in the event that another high-intensity round of fighting broke out. It appears that military intelligence managed to crack open Hamas's secret and systematically map the network of tunnels and underground headquarters which were built at great cost. However, the army was only able to reap limited benefit.
The idea for the operation was first formulated in 2016, with the final, more polished form, completed two years later. The original plan called for the destruction of tunnels serving hundreds of Hamas fighters who would take shelter there during a war. The idea was that after such a blow, if inflicted, Hamas would have to desist from further combat.
In November 2018, after a special-ops unit ran into trouble in Khan Yunis, with the death of Col. M., then-Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman recommended to the cabinet that the plan be implemented in response to the firing of hundreds of rockets from the Gaza Strip into the Negev.
Two weeks ago, just before the first sandy winds of Israel's short spring painted the stalks of the wheat fields yellow, the field crops staff of Kibbutz Dalia in Galilee set out for a last harvest of green wheat for freekeh hulled kernels of green durum wheat that absorb a smoked flavor and aroma while they are roasted in the field.
The last harvest of the season, in contrast to the commercial ones that preceded it and were done mechanically with a combine, was a small-scale operation, with just three harvesters and manual labor. Harvesting the green wheat for freekeh in the fields of the Arab fellahin one of the few places in Israel where the ancient tradition is preserved is still frequently done with a sickle, and in the kibbutz version, the stalks were cut using simple kitchen knives.
This is our experimental plot of land, said Avia Padida-Myers, an agronomist. We sowed modern species of wheat to examine whether they are appropriate for growing and processing freekeh, alongside traditional species. The green wheat that was harvested, from different species and relatively late in the season, is intended for research being conducted by Dr. Alon Cna'ani, a plant scientist, about the traditional food's flavor and aroma qualities.
Most foreign airlines will suspend incoming and outgoing flights in upcoming days due to Israel's escalation with Hamas in what has become the heaviest flare-up since the 2014 Gaza War.
Only a few foreign airlines continue to operate flights to Israel, including Ethiopian Airlines, Fly Dubai, and Aegean Airlines. This is in addition to Israel's flag carrier El Al, as well as other Israeli airlines Israir and Arkia.
Delta, United Airlines and Lufthansa were among the first companies to halt their flights to Israel, as hundreds of rockets were fired at central Israel by Gaza militants.
A true aesthete can be divined in the meticulous attention paid to details of attire a light-blue shirt ironed down to the last of its button holes, a gold chain hanging below a tight clerical collar and silver-gray hair immaculately combed and in the attention paid to the quality of the tabun-made bread worthy of being anointed by his blend of za'atar (wild hyssop). Such is Bishop Hani Shehadeh, who prepares some of the finest za'atar I've tasted lately, splendidly airy and balanced with sumac sourness, with a crunchy sesame texture.
Dr. Shehadeh, a gourmet who strives for perfection, refuses to partake of bread baked in a tabun from an unknown source. In his view, there is only one baker in his hometown, Kafr Yasif, who can be relied on when it comes to the quality of both the ingredients and the baking process itself and that exclusive baker, too, receives a measured amount of his personal blend of za'atar before the man of God buys a loaf from him.
This za'atar is the best antibacterial and antiviral product we have in the country, he says. But people aren't aware of those characteristics, because who even knows what's goes into the industrial spices that are sold in stores?
Fighting between Israel and Hamas escalated in what has become the heaviest flare-up since the 2014 Gaza War. At least 200 people were killed in the Gaza Strip, and 10 in Israel in the most intensive aerial exchanges in years.
On Saturday, an Israeli man was killed after a barrage of rocket fire targeted Tel Aviv and central Israel, shattering two days of calm in the region. Buildings and infrastructure have been damaged in several cities in central Israel and the IDF downed a media tower housing offices of Al Jazeera, The Associated Press, and other media outlets.
Israel carried out hundreds of air and several ground strikes in Gaza, but IDF troops did not enter Gaza as part of a ground invasion. Gazan militants have fired some 3,000 rockets at central and southern Israel since Monday.
Pro-Palestinian protesters took to the streets of Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta and other U.S. cities on Saturday to demand an end to Israeli airstrikes over the Gaza Strip.
Thousands of people shut down traffic on a major thoroughfare in west Los Angeles as they marched two miles from outside the federal building to the Israeli consulate. The protesters waved signs that said free Palestine and shouted long live intifada, or uprising.
A protest that started in a neighborhood in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, which has a large Arabic-speaking community, continued through the streets for several hours on Saturday afternoon. Footage on social media showed people had climbed up the poles of street lights to wave flags while others set off fireworks. As the sun set, some protesters walked onto the Interstate 278 shutting down traffic in at least on direction, according to video posted online.
The silent majority is in shock and can't believe its eyes, President Reuven Rivlin said when asked to comment on the violent riots in Israel. This of course doesn't mean that the silent majority is divorced from the situation, or shielded from it. The members of the silent majority hear the sirens and run into their shelters; the danger hovers over their heads and lands on some of them.
The silent majority can fall victim to a loud minority. I just received footage showing an Arab family fending off Jewish rioters trying to break into their home and harm them. The family that fell victim to violence is in the center of the drama, the situation forced them to participate, but still, we can see the silent majority in it. So what does it mean to be the silent majority?
Rivlin was certainly referring to the shock that stuns anyone who watched the mob stampeding through the streets as in a trance, like someone directed by a frequency that the silent majority simply doesn't hear. From where does this enormous energy flow, the kind that gets a group of people to run in unison and attack someone, punching and kicking in a rage that doesn't end until the victim lies dead or half dead?
Without knowing how the fighting would develop as I wrote this late last week, the word being repeated in the media seemed to be deterioration. A deterioration of the situation, a sudden deterioration, a deterioration in the south.
There's something mesmerizing about this word, in the profound passivity it implies, in its ability to create a feeling of a reality devoid of context and responsibility, something that arises out of nothing and isn't going anywhere, something just crumbling like a rock in the desert.
It's not purely by chance that this is the word being used by the media which serves the government when seeking to describe the current state of affairs. With this language, the media numbs the mind that tries to understand, to ask, to draw conclusions, to criticize.
A raft of victory photos hang on the walls of Israel's Hall of Glory. They haven't been won in the current round of fighting, waiting for a victory of its own. Ever since Israel imposed a suffocating blockade on the Gaza Strip, it has notched one victory after another. It won the Pillar of Defense air offensive in 2012, Operation Cast Lead in the winter of 2008-09, Operation Protective Edge in 2014 and Operation Black Belt against Islamic Jihad in 2019, as well as hundreds of smaller clashes.
In all these operations, thousands of people were killed or wounded, many of them innocent bystanders, including women and children. The mutual damage is enormous, with houses destroyed, factories shuttered, Gaza turned into rubble and Israelis losing their sense of personal security.
Each time anew, Israel's leaders have vowed to topple Hamas, deter the terror organizations and achieve long-term calm. Each time these operations have ended with a set formula: calm in exchange for calm, something that has infuriated the warmongers striving for a decisive blow (even if this means wholesale bloodletting on both sides), something that would entail the occupation of Gaza and the elimination of all Hamas' leaders.
There's no issue that all (Jewish) Israelis agree on more than the launching of a war. Almost a week has passed and no one is opposing this horrific war, not even center-left leaders Yair Lapid, Merav Michaeli and Nitzan Horowitz.
They attack Benjamin Netanyahu you don't have to be brave to do that they express sorrow over our suffering, but not a word about this criminal war of choice whose death toll and minuscule advantage it awards Israel is yet to be determined. Yet again, this is proof that there's no peace camp in Israel, not even a tiny hut.
The TV studio commentators are Ã la Apocalypse Now, hordes of retired generals and Shin Bet agents trumpeting a uniform and repulsive chorus. The saliva flows and the eyes flash, lifted upward toward the glorious pilots who have managed to elude and destroy the enemy's sophisticated air defense: two torn kites on a good day. The bombing of the helpless favela of Gaza is proof that our air force is the best in the world, one senior newscaster said in a voice trembling with emotion.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to violence by Arabs against Jews as terrorism on Saturday, adding that "anyone who acts like a terrorist will be handled like one."
Speaking at a televised press conference, the prime minister deplored the "grave" violence between Jews and Arabs in mixed cities, saying, "Arab law-breakers are attacking Jews, burning synagogues and Jewish homes. We will not stand for it." Netanyahu stated that "it's not the entire Arab population, or even a majority of the Arab population, but all of us must condemn violence by Israeli Arabs."
He added that it was unacceptable for Arabs to attack Jews and for Jews to attack Arabs. "We must all stand against the rioters and terrorists, shoulder to shoulder," he said.
WASHINGTON - U.S. President Joe Biden on Saturday spoke with both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, updating both on diplomatic efforts to deescalate tensions amid the latest flare-up of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.
According to a White House readout of the conversation, Biden raised concerns about the safety and security of journalists and reinforced the need to ensure their protection. Press Secretary Jen Psaki said earlier that the U.S. had "communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility" after Israeli strikes destroyed a Gaza building housing international media outlets.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with AP's CEO and President Gary Pruitt after the Israeli strike, according to a State Department statement, "offering his unwavering support for independent journalists and media organizations around the world and noted the indispensability of their reporting in conflict zones." Blinken also expressed relief that the Associated Press team on the ground in Gaza remains safe.
WASHINGTON - Sen. Robert Menendez, the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and perhaps the most ardent Democratic supporter of Israel in the Senate, issued rare criticism of Israel after airstrikes destroyed a building in Gaza City that housed offices of The Associated Press and Al-Jazeera.
"I am deeply troubled by reports of Israeli military actions that resulted in the death of innocent civilians in Gaza as well as Israeli targeting of buildings housing international media outlets," Menendez said.
The 12-story al-Jalaa building also contains other offices and apartments, and was evacuated after advance warning of the strike was given. The Israeli military said the building "contained military assets belonging to the intelligence offices of the Hamas terror organization" and that it had provided advance warning.
Clashes resumed on Saturday in mixed Jewish-Arab cities for the sixth day, following several nights of violent attacks and as Palestinians marked Nakba Day, which commemorates the displacement of hundreds of thousands during the war of 1948. Demonstrators also protested Israel's ongoing operation in Gaza, which has killed at least 145 people.
In the northern city of Umm al-Fahm, some 300 people demonstrated in the central square, with some masked protesters calling on Hamas to strike Tel Aviv. Police dispersed rioters using sponge-tipped bullets and stun grenades and later arrested a group that was throwing stones and setting off fireworks at a separate location. Earlier in the day, confrontations broke out following the arrest of young people who participated in disturbances on Friday night, when residents clashed with police officers and set fires outside the city hall.
In Haifa, where 28 people were arrested in demonstrations on Thursday, a driver attempted to ram into police and fled, police said. Two minors, age 15 and 17, were meanwhile arrested for allegedly throwing stones at a municipal police office in the city of Rahat. Police also used stun grenades to disperse dozens of young people throwing stones and launching fireworks at police in Kalansua.
Israeli police's main line of investigation on Saturday regarding Friday's firebomb attack that wounded a 12-year-old Arab boy in Jaffa, is the possibility that the perpetrators were Arabs who mistook the house for one owned by Jews.
Police are still investigating, and have not ruled out that the assailants were Jewish.
According to a senior police official, four other homes were targeted in the same area on Friday night all four owned by Jews. The police have not arrested any suspects in the case.
Hundreds protested in Jaffa on Saturday over the firebomb attack that severely wounded a 12-year-old Arab boy in the area on Friday night.
The boy was left in serious condition when a firebomb was thrown at his house. No suspects have been apprehended, and police say they are investigating whether the attack was committed by Jews or by Arabs who were mistaken about who lived in the house in the largely Arab neighborhood of Ajami. The boy is in a medical coma with burns on his upper body.
Tensions ran high in Jaffa on Saturday, with ads for the protest starting: "We won't be silent over the burning of our children. The Nakba of 1948 will not be repeated! The largest demonstration ever in Jaffa today."
Foreign journalists stationed in Israel and senior editors in international media outlets are enraged over reports in the Israeli media stating that the Israel Defense Forces deliberately misled them as part of a wider scheme against Hamas. Several reporters who spoke with Haaretz said that the incident will lead media to mistrust IDF statements in the future.
The incident from Friday night is not the only reason for tensions between Israel and the international media: On Saturday afternoon, the IDF bombed a high-rise building in Gaza that housed the offices of several international media outlets, including the Associated Press.
The IDF said that the building was bombed because it was used by Hamas' intelligence units. The army said Hamas was using the civilian media outlets as "human shields."
A 50-year-old man was killed when a Gaza rocket landed in the city of Ramat Gan on Saturday, during a barrage aimed at cities in the center of the country.
Initial evidence suggested that the man had been on the ground floor of a building and was killed by shrapnel. According to one rescuer who responded to the scene, the man lived in an apartment without a fortified safe room. At least six buildings in the vicinity were damaged.
After strenuous efforts Israel has finally found a victory image around which it is possible to construct a justification for a ceasefire to end the fighting in the Gaza Strip. A successful Israel Defense Forces operation in which the elaborately ramified Hamas underground tunnel systems have been damaged is being leveraged in two directions first, for the Israeli public, in order to convince it that we have won the battle against Hamas; and secondly, vis-Ã -vis Hamas, so that it will agree to a truce.
However, until a ceasefire agreement is achieved, the tension is spilling over into additional arenas: Lebanon (where an Hezbollah activist who crossed the border has been killed), Syria (from which three rockets have been fired into the Golan Heights) and the West Bank (where 11 Palestinians have been killed by IDF fire). The air force, for now, is continuing attacks in the Gaza Strip. As long as there has been no agreement on a ceasefire, the risk of complications in the wake of errors or developments in other arenas is growing dangerously.
>> Latest updates: Massive rocket barrages over central Israel kill one Israel; IDF flattens major Gaza building
Palestinians have been mourning the loss of their homeland since 1948, but Nakba Day, an annual day of commemoration inaugurated by the Palestinian Authority, is a relatively new addition to the calendar.
"Nakba" is just the Arabic word for disaster. After 1948, with the definite article al (i.e., al-Nakba), it became the proper name for the displacement of hundreds of thousands of persons and the establishment of a Jewish state following the Israeli War of Independence.
Yet for decades, no day was singled out as a day of commemoration, though some Palestinian Israelis took advantage of the national holiday on Israeli Independence Day to visit their lost homes or deserted villages within Israel.
Fighting between Israel and Hamas escalated in what has become the heaviest flare-up since the 2014 Gaza war. At least 150 people were killed in the Gaza Strip, and 10 in Israel lost their lives in the most intensive aerial exchanges in years.
On Saturday, an Israeli man was killed after a barrage of rocket fire targeted Tel Aviv and central Israel, shattering two days of calm in the region. Buildings and infrastructure has been damaged in several cities in central Israel.
Israel carried out hundreds of air and several ground strikes in Gaza, but IDF troops did not enter Gaza as part of a ground invasion. Gazan militants have fired more than a 2300 rockets at central and southern Israel since Monday.
The many senior Hamas leaders the IDF has killed demonstrates that Hamas isn't some ephemeral organization, as many analysts have claimed. Some of these men held impressive positions the Gaza City brigade commander, the head of Hamas' cyber unit and missile development, the head of the projects and development department, the head of the engineering department, the commander of military intelligence's technical department and the head of industrial equipment production. This is a budgeted, hierarchical and organized army, whose members have the relevant professional education and know-how to manage infrastructure for both survival and offensives.
It is subject to an elected political and civil leadership, which has branches in Lebanon, Turkey, Qatar and even Saudi Arabia. It has a Shura advisory council that dictates its strategic principles, a civil administration tasked with running the education and health systems, commerce, and the water and power supplies. This is an organization that largely succeeds in entrenching its monopoly on military violence, knows the limits of its military force and manages its wars accordingly.
After a decade and a half of ruling the Gaza Strip, Hamas has positioned itself as the Palestinian Authority's competitor, and as a political organization that can determine the rules of the game for Palestinian. It has amended its charter to open the possibility of diplomatic negotiations, opted to take part in the Palestinian legislative and presidential elections and paved the way to ruling all of the Palestinian territories. Such an organization doesn't collapse because its senior officials are killed. They have replacements.
WASHINGTON - Nearly half of the Jewish-Democratic lawmakers in the House urged the Biden administration to do more on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, calling for the U.S. to lead immediate deescalation through diplomatic engagement.
The letter, led by Rep. Jerrold Nadler and co-signed by 11 others, argues that with "more lives being lost each day, the United States cannot simply hope and wait for the situation to improve." It adds that "American engagement, action and leadership are needed now to stop the pain and suffering of both Israelis and Palestinians."
The letter comes amid growing criticism of the Biden administration's approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with former officials and policy experts calling it neglectful and accusing the U.S. of empowering the growing assymetry of power between Israel and the Palestinians.
Of course you did. It was all over social media, after all. Those Israeli teenagers with their kippot and white shirts, bouncing up and down, singing a Biblical song of vengeance at the Western Wall, as a cypress tree ablaze beyond the wall made it look like the Al-Aqsa mosque was burning down.
Did you shudder and think, that's not my Judaism? Or perhaps even tweet some words to that effect?
Not a single Lebanese company bid in the city of Beirut's recent tender to fix the street lights along the main roads and in tunnels. In the past tenders of the sort were the bread and butter of private companies and of course, of officials who pocketed pretty hefty fees.
Meanwhile, the corporation collecting and processing trash in Beirut announced that it will stop honoring its agreement with the city unless payments to it are adjusted to the real exchange rate of the dollar. When the contract was signed, it was worth $14 million to the Lebanon company, payable in Lebanese lira. Today its value has sunk to about $2 million.
Just those two examples and there are countless more suffice to attest to the magnitude of the crisis Lebanon faces, and to the utter lack of faith the business sector has in state and local government institutions.
Naftali Bennett could have become a prime minister of historical stature. A one-time opportunity fell into his hands: to head a governing coalition whose likes Israel has never seen, from the Islamic party the United Arab List to his own Yamina and Gideon Sa'ar's New Hope. The ingredients were in the pot, the fire was burning and all that remained was to stir, season and serve.
But Bennett collapsed. The man who in the last election campaign aspired to replace Benjamin Netanyahu because of the most dire management failure, equivalent to the Yom Kippur War debacle, as he put it, lost his moxie after three days of riots.
He phoned Yair Lapid, who now holds the mandate to form a new government, and the other party heads in the pro-change bloc and told them: It's over. Because of the situation, he's returning to the arms of Netanyahu, whose weight has landed on him many times before.
Three rockets were launched from Syria toward Israeli territory, the Israeli army said on Friday.
Two of the rockets landed in an open area in the southern Golan Heights, while another landed in Syrian territory. No casualties were reported.
On top of around 2,000 rockets fired from Gaza, three rockets were launched from Lebanon toward northern Israel on Thursday but landed in the Mediterranean Sea. They also caused no damage or casualties, the Israeli military said.
WASHINGTON - Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israel and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr landed in Tel Aviv on Friday as the Biden administration works to de-escalate tensions between Israel and the Palestinians amid the latest violent flare-up.
Amr is expected to hold an extensive rounds of meetings with representatives from the Israel's Foreign Ministry, Defense Ministry and probably with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well. Israeli sources believe that Amr's arrival signals a deeper interest from the Biden administration in pushing for a ceasefire, possibly even before the UN Security Council convenes on Sunday.
One Israeli source said that this would "mostly depend on developments on the ground, the progress of the Israeli operation and on Hamas' conduct."
A Lebanese man who was hit by Israeli gunfire after breaching the border with Israel and later succumbed to his wounds was a Hezbollah operative, the militant organization said on Friday.
The man was identified as Mouhammed Tahen, aged 21.
Earlier on Friday, a group of people came close to the northern Israeli town of Metula, but fled back to Lebanon after the Israel Defense Forces opened fire. One of the Lebanese suspects was hit by the gunfire and was later pronounced dead, according to Lebanese reports.
A 12-year-old Arab boy was wounded by firebombs thrown at his home in Jaffa, and is in serious condition. He is in an induced coma at the Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv.
On Friday night, Magen David Adom emergency services evacuated the 12-year-old boy, who at the time was in a moderate condition with burns on his upper body. His 10-year-old sister was lightly injured in the head. Police are checking if Jews lobbed the firebomb, or whether it was an internal dispute.
His father told Haaretz the family was sitting in the living room "when the house was hit, and fire started coming in through the window." The boy's grandfather said the police prevented him from coming to help, "despite the tragedy. How long will it stay like this? And they say we're the terrorists. They lock us in our homes and let the settlers do what they want". Two neighbours told Haaretz "the police protects the settlers, and lets them enter Jaffa. These are militias working with police permission. We don't touch the Jews living here, and treat everyone with respect".
Arabs and Jews came together on Thursday across Israel to urge reconciliation and calm as violence rages on the streets of mixed Jewish-Arab cities, leaving dozens wounded, some in serious condition.
While some events and initiatives were fostered by institutions, others were spontaneous gathering between locals.
Mayors of Jewish and Arab municipalities in southern Israel gathered in the Negev on Thursday and issued a joint statement condemning violent incidents in the area. After seeing the recent incidents and events, we see it as our duty, as Arab and Jewish mayors, to take responsibility condemn together the violent, racist and extremist events that are now ongoing in our society, Naif Abu Arar, the mayor of the Arab town of Arara, which hosted the meeting said.
At least 11 Palestinians were killed and 17 more wounded in the West Bank on Friday, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry as demonstrations proliferate into new points of contact in the Palestinian territories and Israel's borders with Jordan and Lebanon.
Those killed were hit by Israeli gunfire in Nablus, Jericho, and the villages of Yabad, Urif, Marda, and Iskaka. In addition, 17 Palestinians are reported to have been wounded by live fire and rubber-tipped bullets.
Earlier on Friday, a Palestinian was shot and killed near the West Bank settlement of Ofra after he had attempted to stab an Israeli soldier, according to the IDF's Spokesperson's Unit.
On the eve of Shavuot this Sunday, Zizet and Shmuel Messalem will eat pkayla, a Tunisian stew of spinach, white beans and meat that's cooked for hours until almost black. The stew is served ceremonially over couscous. It's a delicacy they've served on Shavuot and special occasions for over 70 years, even before they moved from their native Tunisia to Israel in 1949.
But they'll be eating this festive dish all alone.
None of their loving seven children, 24 grandchildren or 25 great-grandchildren will be joining the family patriarchs for the traditional meal marking the beginning of the religious holiday. Members of the younger generations, who all grew up in Israel, would rather celebrate Shavuot the way the rest of the country does: with cheesecakes, dairy kugels and rich cheese platters.
Israeli military forces targeted a network of defensive underground tunnels in the Gaza Strip, built by Hamas in past years, in extensive strikes overnight Thursday. The IDF says that dozens of Hamas operatives were killed in the strikes, but as many bodies are still believed to be buried in the rubble, the exact death toll might take time to determine.
The strikes represent a serious escalation in the cross-border fighting, and the operation is one of the IDF's largest in Gaza in past years. As about 160 Israeli jets were ready to take off, ground forces began a maneuver as if they were preparing to enter the Strip. Hamas forces then quickly entered the tunnels. The Air Force struck targets for over 40 minutes, while ground forces were on standby to shoot anyone emerging from the tunnels.
The tunnel network, which spans several thousand kilometers, were built after the 2014 war to be used in attacks on Israel. Top Hamas officials, the IDF believes, were in the tunnels at the time of the strike.
A number of headstones were defaced in a Muslim cemetery and a synagogue was set ablaze in the city of Lod on Thursday night as clashes between Jews and Arabs continue in mixed cities throughout Israel.
The Muslim cemetery, on the central city's east side, is located close to a former municipal building that is now housing, with the municipality's permission, West Bank settlers who came to secure Lod's Jews. On Friday, a curfew will come into place from 4 P.M. and all non-residents will be barred from entering the city.
"It's very serious and hurtful and scary, and it's clear that the ones who did this are the people who are here now under the protection of the municipality," said resident Maha al-Naqib, who added that her mother's grave remained unharmed. "They're giving shelter to rioters, to terrorists."
Shortly after midnight on Friday, leading international news outlets released breaking news updates saying that Israel Defense Forces ground troops had entered Gaza. The development, which made top headlines all over the world, was described as a major escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
But within hours, all of these outlets retracted those reports. In conversations with Haaretz, several foreign correspondents working in Israel described how they were told on the record by the IDF Spokesperson's Unit that a ground invasion had begun only to later receive a retraction and apology from the military for the misleading information. The IDF Spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Hidai Zilberman, told Israel's Kan Radio that there could have been a mistake in how the military described the situation to the foreign media.
At 12:17 A.M. Israel time, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit sent a WhatsApp message to a group of foreign correspondents based in Israel, informing them on the record that ground troops are operating inside Gaza. A short time after issuing the briefings, the IDF began pummeling targets in Gaza from the air, sending out 160 warplanes that dropped approximately 450 bombs.
The building watchman spoke on his mobile intently, pacing up and down a quiet street in Gaza. In video footage caught by an onlooker, Jamal Nasman showed no panic. Yet what he was hearing was deadly serious.
He later told Reuters an Israeli officer had been giving him advance warning that the 13-story block he looked after would be the target of an air strike. Israel said Hamas militants used the building.
Amid the fiercest escalation in fighting between Israelis and Palestinians since 2014, this is what Nasman said in Tuesday's call, offering an insight into how at least sometimes these neighbors and antagonists fight their wars:
Individuals involved in a new eruption of Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed may be targeted by an International Criminal Court investigation now under way into alleged war crimes in earlier bouts of the conflict, its top prosecutor said in an interview.
The ICC's Fatou Bensouda told Reuters she would press ahead with her inquiry even without the cooperation of Israel, which accuses her office of anti-Semitic bias and like its closest ally the United States rejected membership in the treaty-based court, objecting to its jurisdiction.
Israel and Palestinian Islamist groups plunged this week into their fiercest round of fighting since 2014, with punishing Israeli air strikes on Gaza and militants based in the densely populated enclave firing over 1,600 rockets into Israel. At least 83 Palestinians and seven Israelis have died.
Turkey's Karpowership, which provides electricity to Lebanon from two barges, said on Friday it was shutting down supplies over payment arrears and a legal threat to its vessels amid the country's economic crisis.
The company, which supplies 370 megawatts (MW), or about a quarter of Lebanon's supply, had told the government this week it would have to shut down in the absence of moves towards a settlement.
The shutdown threatens longer daily power cuts across the heavily indebted nation, which did not have enough capacity to meet demand even before Karpowership's move on Friday.
Since the beginning of the current round of hostilities between Israel and Hamas, 42 percent of Gazans killed are women and children, according to figures release Friday by the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza.
This week's violence has killed 119 Palestinians, including 31 children, 19 women, and wounded 830 people in the impoverished territory. Israeli airstrikes have pounded apartments, blown up cars and toppled buildings.
Israeli artillery pounded northern Gaza early Friday in an attempt to destroy a vast network of militant tunnels inside the territory, the military said, bringing the front lines closer to dense civilian areas and paving the way for a potential ground invasion.
One need not be overly impressed with the confident, aggressive rhetoric. The truth is that almost everyone wants to end the conflict in the Gaza Strip. It appears that Hamas has had enough of this round of fighting after its first rocket attack on central Israel, if not after the attack on Jerusalem that preceded it. The image of victory Hamas portrayed in a giant poster featuring its leaders was hung by worshippers at the entrance to the al-Aqsa Mosque on Thursday. In the competition with the Palestinian Authority, East Jerusalem and the Temple Mount are already in Hamas' hands. Any more fighting with Israel will only increase its losses.
The Israel Defense Forces, which tells us morning and night that Hamas is close to the breaking point, wants to go home, too. The amount of significant damage it can inflict on Hamas will diminish over time, and the army has no appetite for a ground invasion. In addition, the cabinet realizes that the main threat to the country to Hamas' joy is the anarchy in the streets of Israel's mixed Jewish-Arab cities. This has become a problem demanding urgent and decisive attention more than the conflict in Gaza.
The ball, as usual, is in the court of one man: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Like with the coronavirus in March a year ago, the timing of the events of recent weeks have played into Netanyahu's hands perfectly (at least some of the first phases of the escalation in Jerusalem were done with his active encouragement). When his back is against the wall, a minute before his enemies were about to form a government that would remove him from power after more than a dozen years, possible salvation arrives in the form of the Jerusalem disturbances, the fighting in Gaza and the rioting in Arab communities inside Israel.
Israel's Shin Bet security service has taken over the investigation of recent cases of ethnic violence, as authorities aim to quell the unrest that engulfed both Jewish and Arab communities over the past week and led to dozens of wounded, some in serious condition.
Legal documents obtained by Haaretz show that Israel Police handed over to Shin Bet the handling of cases of serious violence over the past week, and the agency has been increasingly involved in making arrests.
Some police units are still involved in some of the cases alongside Shin Bet, which is generally under less legal and public scrutiny than police.
Just how much meat did Neanderthals eat? Perhaps not as much as we thought. A new study claims that, just like us, our cousins the Neanderthals ate starchy foods too. That had not necessarily been expected.
The Homo line took a sharp turn to carnivorousness at least 2 million years ago, recent research has concluded. That's well before Neanderthals and Homo sapiens even began to evolve. So both of us, Neanderthals and sapiens, would have evolved from an ancestor with a heavy meat habit.
Unlike cats, the human line cannot subsist chiefly on protein. Our livers can't cope. Hence in the pre-agricultural era, animal fat was a crucial component of the archaic diet, leading to the theory that the archaic humans hunted chiefly the biggest animals, which had the most alluring layers of fat. When the mega-fauna were gone, whether because we hunted them to extinction or because of other adaptability issues, our ancestors had to resort to smaller animals and other foods.
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Fighting between Israel and Hamas enters day five, and escalated in what has become the heaviest flare-up since the 2014 Gaza war. At least 126 people were killed in the Strip and eight in Israel, in the most intensive aerial exchanges in years.
Israel carried out hundreds of air and ground strikes in Gaza, as Palestinian militants fired more than 1,700 rockets at central and southern Israel since Monday.
Perched on a small plateau, the townspeople of Hippos had a spectacular view of the Sea of Galilee hundreds of meters below. Not that they could see if from the recently identified Roman theater built down the hillside. Oddly enough, the seating was oriented toward the setting sun, the archaeologists excavating the site have deduced.
Hippos has a highly unusual Roman theater in the sense that the auditorium was oriented to the southwest, avers Dr. Michael Eisenberg of the Hippos Excavations Project, which is affiliated to the Zinman Institute of Archaeology at the University of Haifa. He has been co-leading the city's excavation since 2000, in recent years with co-director Dr. Arleta Kowalewska.
Hippos is part of the Sussita National Park that is managed by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. The hilltop city connects with the environs only via a narrow saddle ridge.
The IDF was scheduled to begin war month this week, a long exercise period on the basis of a scenario of fighting on two fronts at the same time: Lebanon and Gaza.
On Wednesday the drill was aborted and the calls to most of the reservists who were supposed to take part in it were canceled. Instead, some 7,000 reserve soldiers received emergency calls to the real thing. It wasn't the first time this has happened. A drill in 2000 had the exact same fate when it was halted due to the outbreak of the second intifada and the October riots in the Arab community. This time too it reality seems to surpass the exercise planners' imagination.
The current crisis began in Jerusalem, first with Arab attacks on ultra-Orthodox Jews that were shared on TikTok and then with the police's stupid insistence on placing barriers around Damascus Gate while driving away Muslim youngsters who came there on Ramadan nights. And in the background were the riots in Sheikh Jarrah, rising from to the attempt to evict Palestinian families from their homes.
Everyone has been watching the shocking scenes in a few mixed Arab-Jewish cities in Israel, especially Lod, Ramle and Acre. They followed violent clashes in Jaffa in April between Arab residents and right-wing Jewish religious communities that have been settling in the city's Arab neighborhoods parts of the city to demonstrate presence, a euphemism for the domineering takeover of their most prized possession.
Just two weeks later, these riots and protests spread to other mixed cities. In Acre, young men threw Molotov cocktails into new boutique hotels. In Lod, things got so bad that a military curfew was imposed.
It's tempting to believe the main cause of these incidents is the violation of the status of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip (which of course had a direct affect on the situation). But the causes of this violence have long been simmering beneath the surface in fact, since Israel's establishment.
WASHINGTON - Two blocs of Democratic lawmakers gave a series of remarks on the House floor on the current flare-up between Israel and the Palestinians, with one offering staunch defense of Israel amid Gaza rocket fire with the other offering unabashed support for Palestinians.
It is perhaps the most staunch example to date of the growing rift within the party concerning the longstanding U.S. stance toward Israel, with prominent lawmakers growing increasingly emboldened in their support of Palestinians and offering unprecedented criticism of Israel within the halls of Congress.
The first bloc of speakers supporting Israel included Reps. Elaine Luria, Brad Schneider, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Josh Gottheimer, Brad Sherman, Ted Deutch, Kathy Manning, Jim Costa and Lois Frankel.
Wednesday night was the worst night in Israeli history that I can remember. I wasn't here during the Yom Kippur War, and certainly not in 1948, when Palestine's Jewish community buried 1 percent of its population. But I do remember riding in the shocked silence of a crowded bus the morning after Yitzhak Rabin's assassination, when the only sound in the vehicle was the rustle of a plastic bag, a weak but insistent echo of the deep shame inside.
I do remember, physically, the thickly oppressive feeling and the weight of the sorrow pressing upon my chest after the bus bombings in the 1990s, the helicopter disaster, the lynching in Ramallah, the Dolphinarium and Park Hotel bombings and, during the 2014 Gaza war, deceptively dubbed Operation Protective Edge. The war in which barbarity and brutalization reared their ugly heads from teeming Israeli tunnels that no one thought to investigate or deal with. Wednesday night was worse.
Lamentational op-eds won't help, a publisher who was averse to kitsch, and possibly to all emotion, or at least its display, emotion, once told me. After all, the commentator or essayist is supposed to point out failures, name the responsible parties, back up his words with facts and figures and conclude, of course, by saying what is right and what should be done. He or she isn't supposed to wail about the situation, and he or she should just have drawerfuls of insights and custom-tailored solutions to offer. After Wednesday night, the only thing possible to write is a lament. Yes, it must be written. We must lament if we want to try to remain human.
The horrific sights of the last few days in Acre, Bat Yam and Or Akiva mob attacks on Arabs and Jews, businesses vandalized and thugs terrorizing entire neighborhoods raise deep concern for the state's future and for the ability of Jews and Arabs to live together as Israelis.
The violence in mixed Jewish-Arab cities smashed the illusion that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sold the public, that the Palestinians in Israel had renounced their feelings and aspirations and are now only interested in their standard of living. It has once again transpired that the perception of discrimination and deprivation, alongside offenses to their religious sensibilities and the ongoing occupation are continuing to boil under the relative calm prevailing here in recent years,
But even in the shadow of the violence, the beatings and the fires, we must not be dragged to groundless comparisons. These aren't the 2021 pogroms. Israel isn't the small, defenseless Jewish community of 100 years ago, but a developed state with a strong army, police force and legal system, which are tasked with deterring external threats and handle internal anarchy displays firmly and swiftly. Returning to references of the British Mandate era reflects a lack of confidence in the authorities and encourages acts of revenge.
The world's ecosystems offer humanity more than 20,000 types of edible plants. Yet human nutrition for the most part is based on just 30 species, and 40 percent of the average daily calorie consumption of every person on the planet is based on just three plants: wheat, corn and rice. Basic human existence thus rests on a dining table with three legs. Any major fluctuation of weather can lop off one of those legs and could lead to global hunger. And it's not just the weather. There could also be an epidemic that disrupts the food-supply chains, or locust plagues (as occurred this year in East Africa), or diseases originating in animal-based food, such as swine flu and avian flu (necessitating the slaughter of sick livestock), or even small fungi that run rampant through whole silos of grain and ruin a whole year's crop.
The existence of this nutritional fragility has long been known, and efforts are underway to address it. Research studies, experiments and methods used in the field are being devoted to improving the cultivation of wheat, corn and rice so that they are better able to withstand bouts of cold and periods of drought. The best minds are working on this, but the result is an improvement of a mere 1 percent a year in the crop yield of wheat, corn and rice. That's a minuscule difference given what's at stake: More than a billion people who are hungry; 250 million more people suffering from malnutrition during the past year alone, due to the coronavirus pandemic; 25,000 people around the world dying every day from malnutrition; and, looming over everything, climate change that is liable to endanger all the sources of food in the near future.
The global agricultural system today is not fulfilling its principal goal: to provide universal nutritional security, says Asaf Tzachor, head of the program for outstanding students in the School of Sustainability at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, and director of the world food security project at the Center for the Study of Existential Risk at the University of Cambridge.
A preliminary investigation by the Home Front Command concluded that 5-year-old Ido Avigal of Sderot was killed Wednesday night by rocket shrapnel that entered into the family's fortified room flying in a rare ballistic trajectory.
The trajectory caused the window, which was termed the fortified room's weak point, to burst. The steel plate that protects the window was taken for examination to determine whether it met safety standards.
As a result, the Israel Defense Forces issued revised instructions stating that occupants in safe rooms should stay below the level of the room's window.
"You know how much I hate Hamas rockets. But if they don't act this time, they'd be collaborators¦ If they don't stand up to Israel now, then what is the use of their armed resistance?"
These were the unusually forthright words of a close Gazan friend and intellectual whom I know loathes the de facto rulers of Gaza almost more than anybody else.
And now, as full-scale conflict has broken out between Israel and Hamas, with Israel striking multistory residential buildings in Gaza, and Hamas and other militant groups firing over 1000 rockets towards Israel, Hamas is determined to show it can deter Israel and consolidate that rising tide of support.
WASHINGTON - U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday said that he has not seen a "significant overreaction" from Israel in response to rocket fire from Gaza amid the latest regional flare-up.
The question is how we get to a point where they get to a point where there is a significant reduction in the attacks, particularly the rocket attacks that are indiscriminately fired into population centers, Biden told reporters.
Also Thursday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. was deeply concerned about recent Jewish-Arab violence throughout Israeli cities.
Lori Rosner wasn't paying particular attention to Israel's rapidly deteriorating security situation as she checked in at Newark Liberty International Airport on Tuesday afternoon. She had only received permission to enter the country to visit her daughter 27 hours earlier after a long struggle and was totally focused on making her flight to Tel Aviv.
She was standing at the gate, waiting to board, when she received a call from her daughter, Nili Yammer, in the West Bank settlement of Efrat, informing her that due to that evening's rocket barrage, Ben-Gurion Airport had been shuttered.
Rosner, who flew several times a year before the pandemic but hadn't been to Israel since March 2020, knew she had to make a decision.
Hamas' demonstration of its abilities in recent days, culminating in the massive rocket barrages into central Israel, forced the military to bolster its efforts in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday. Alongside the preparations for the next phase, the army has been striving to cast a positive light on everything that has happened so far.
The government and military have been wildly praising their own accomplishments, particularly the assassination of leaders of Hamas' military wing. The hope is to somehow compete with the enemy's accomplishments. But this seems a hard sell Israelis aren't fully convinced, one of the reasons that the flare-up might continue.
As both Israel and Hamas are not interested in a broader confrontation, nor they expect concrete victory or defeat for now, both sides are playing mind games. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's problem is that Hamas has a more impressive string of victories thus far. The militant organization has appropriated the Palestinian struggle for Jerusalem, completely sidelining the Palestinian Authority. Hamas has sent millions of Israelis in the center of the country running for shelter and disrupted traffic at Ben-Gurion International Airport.
Historic, archaeological, heritage and cultural sites all over Israel some ancient and important were damaged in recent days in the violent riots. Some were completely destroyed, others were severely damaged by break-ins, fires and looting by Arab rioters. The two main centers of importance damaged in the past few days are the Old City of Acre and the Lod Mosaic museum, which the Israel Antiquities Authority describes as among the most prominent symbols of preservation of ancient heritage.
These symbols are being destroyed in front of our eyes, the Antiquities Authority's chief scientist, Prof. Gideon Avni, told Haaretz.
Acre's Old City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Gangs of looters have systematically destroyed property after property over the past day, a professional official with knowledge of the details, who asked to remain anonymous, told Haaretz.
Curtis Wright had vetoed and approved the sale of no few medications during his career. A director at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, he headed a team that was in charge of review and approval of new medications. Pain-relievers were his personal responsibility.
On December 28, 1995, the FDA official signed off on a new medication called OxyContin, a more powerful painkiller than anything previously marketed in the U.S. The opioid was twice as powerful as morphine, had dangerous side effects and was quite possibly addictive. Available in the form of tablets in different dosages, some of them particularly high, and delivering its relief through delayed absorption, the drug was intended to alleviate the suffering of terminal cancer patients. Within a short time, it triggered one of the most serious and most tragic health crises in the history of the United States.
No fewer than half-a-million Americans have died over the past two decades from addiction to painkillers from the opioid family of narcotics. It's very simple, says journalist Patrick Radden Keefe. OxyContin was the first, the drug that pioneered a new way of prescribing opioids. And that gave rise to the opioid crisis.
Hundreds of Israeli families living in communities near the border with the Gaza Strip have left their homes in the past few days due to the escalating security situation, which has included intense rocket fire directed at the communities and well beyond from Gaza. Some residents have gone to relatives or are being hosted by families living at a distance from the border region, while others have simply decided to go on vacation elsewhere in Israel.
At least one kibbutz has begun preparations to evacuate its residents as a group. Local governments are encouraging residents to leave the region for a respite, in contrast to previous rounds of hostilities between Israel and Hamas and its allies in Gaza, when leaving had been considered more controversial step seen by many as abandoning ship or surrender.
Over the past several days, 370 families out of a total of 2,200 in the Sha'ar Hanegev border region have decided to go elsewhere temporarily. According to data collected by the regional council, the phenomenon is more pronounced in communities very close to the Gaza border, where 40 percent of the residents have left, while in the communities farther afield, the figure is about 20 percent. In the nearby Eshkol region,185 families have left.
With every shelling I feel all Gaza shaking, as if everything were turning upside down. What's in the ground is booted out, like a continuous earthquake. They shell us, and the sound of the children's screams erupts from the apartments and houses all around.
From my home I saw the bombing of the Hanadi building not with one bomb but with six. I also saw the bombing of the Al-Jawhara tower , but it didn't collapse. We gathered, the whole family, in my sister's apartment in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood in Gaza City. We feel safer together. But no one actually sleeps. We brought my mother over from northern Gaza not long ago she recovered from the coronavirus.
Facebook announced last week it had removed hundreds of fake accounts linked to Palestinian parties, including those of President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction, ahead of the since-canceled Palestinian elections.
It also took down fake accounts connected to some of Ukraine's best-known Jewish politicians, including former Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman and several unnamed individuals connected to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's Servant of the People party.
Zelensky and Groysman's respective political achievements have been touted by the local Jewish community as proof that antisemitism is on the wane in the former Soviet republic.
Yamina leader Naftali Bennett has said in a closed-door meeting between members of his party and Likud representatives on Thursday that a "government of change," composed of the parties that seek to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is off the table.
He said that given the state of emergency in mixed Arab-Jewish cities, the planned makeup of the government led by Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and Bennett won't be able to manage the situation because it has become necessary to deploy military troops and conduct arrests. He said that doing so would be impossible with Mansour Abbas and his United Arab List party.
Bennett said he now prefers a large unity government.
While Gaza rocket fire into Israel continued on Thursday, Jews and Arabs again attacked each other. Throughout the day, calls for violence persisted on social media. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was considering the use of administrative detentions against rioters and deploying military troops to quell the violence in mixed Arab-Jewish cities.
In Lod, where Defense Minister Benny Gantz extended the state of emergency another 48 hours on Thursday evening, the Dossa Synagogue complex was set ablaze. Earlier in the day, a 19-year-old medic was shot in the lower part of his body. He reportedly suffered a minor injury. He was evacuated to Assaf Harofeh Hospital.
Around 800 police officers in uniform and undercover police have been deployed in the area. For the first time since the beginning of the riots, the police set up roadblocks leading to the pre-army academy and to the Ramat Eshkol neighborhood.
Oppdatert for 11 år 349 dager 21 timer og 53 minutter siden: 4. juni 2009
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