The Times of Israel is liveblogging Wednesday’s events as they unfold.
An 18-month-old child has been hospitalized after falling from a moving vehicle in Ashdod.
The toddler is listed in moderate but stable condition with bruising to his body.
In August 2018, a toddler fell from a car moving through an intersection in the same city. In that incident, caught on camera, the child suffered only minor scratches.
A protest against a ban on high school girls wearing shorts to class is growing, with hundreds of students wearing the prohibited items and being sent home, the Ynet news site reports.
On Sunday, the first day back at school, several girls in one Tel Aviv-area school were sent home for wearing shorts. On Wednesday, schools across the country see protests by shorts-sporting girls in high schools and middle schools demanding equality in dress, especially during a sweltering heat wave.
“Why let him in, he’s wearing the same shorts,” students in Modiin call out. (It sounds better in Hebrew).
עכשיו זו כבר מחאה מאורגנת מראש. תלמידות עירוני ה' במודיעין נשארו מחוץ לבית הספר אחרי שבאו במכנסיים קצרים הבנים כן נכנסו
"למה הוא נכנס יש לנו אותו מכנס" קראו התלמידות pic.twitter.com/I5Rlwtbsg4
— לירן כוג'הינוף (@lirankog) May 20, 2020
The protests, coupled with an affair in which a young girl was made to stay in school in her underwear rather than wear a sleeveless dress, has brought the dress code issue to the fore.
Appearing to back the protest, Meretz party leader Nitzan Horowitz says on Twitter that “this is coercion of girls only, due to a view of women needing to be more ‘modest.’ Why? This all comes from deep discrimination against women. Hegemony and control.”
Route 6, a major north-south artery, has been shut down in both directions near Rosh Ha’ayin as firefighters battle a large blaze that broke out nearby.
Train service has also been shut down in the area, east of Tel Aviv.
The Israel Fire Service says five squads are fighting the brush fire near an old train station and the Tel Afek Fortress.
The Health Ministry has yet to publish figures showing new coronavirus infections, deaths and other data as of Wednesday morning.
The ministry has consistently published numbers twice a day since mid-March, though it has on occasion missed an update, usually in the evening.
Though Israel has seen daily cases dwindle, it has still recorded dozens of new infections each day, and deaths have continued to climb. As of Tuesday night, there were 16,659 infections and 278 deaths. The number of active cases has dropped below 3,000.
It’s unclear if the lack of update is due to a change in policy or an oversight.
As Israeli soccer readies to restart its season without fans in the stands, it may want to avoid mistakes made by FC Seoul, which is facing sanctions over its decision to stock its bleachers with sex dolls.
About 25 mannequins were supplied by a local company and dressed in FC Seoul colors and masks. The Yonhap news agency reported that fans posted suspicions about the life-size dolls on social media during the match and one banner showed the names of an adult toy manufacturer and of models who had inspired those dolls.
Such advertising is in breach of the competition’s rules, and K-League officials have referred the matter to a disciplinary committee.
If found guilty, FC Seoul could be fined about $4,000 or have points deducted. The club could also be punished for damaging the prestige of the league at a time when it had been basking in unprecedented international attention.
Israel may want to instead look to Borussia Mönchengladbach, which filled its stands with cardboard cutouts of fans. Over 12,000 fans paid 19 euros (NIS 73) a pop to have their likeness watch the game for them.
The home stands are filling up nicely though! Over 4,500 cut-outs in place and 12,000+ ordered ????
The website is now live in English too to give our international fans a chance to order their cut-out for €19.00 via bank transfer! ????????
— Gladbach (@borussia_en) May 6, 2020
Israeli soccer is set to restart on May 29.
— with AP
A senior European Union official says he asked the bloc’s representative in Israel and the Palestinian territories to investigate whether any EU funds are benefiting terrorists or their supporters.
“I asked both the heads of delegations in Tel Aviv but also in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, they will have to look deep, and if there is any concern — any concern — we will act immediately,” Olivér Várhelyi, the Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, says at a meeting of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.
“There is no terror financing from EU funds, as long as there are EU funds that will not be happening, this will not be tolerated, and if it happens, it will be rectified. And I will see to it myself that it is done and delivered,” adds Várhelyi, a Hungarian national.
Earlier this month, Brussels and Jerusalem argued over the EU’s ostensible funding of terrorists and their supporters, after the bloc’s envoy to the Palestinian territories said in a letter that individuals affiliated with or supportive of terrorists organizations are not automatically ineligible for EU support. The EU insists that it careful vets all recipient of aid and makes sure no funds are going to supporters of terrorism.
— Raphael Ahren
New Education Minister Yoav Gallant is vowing to investigate an incident in which a young girl was told to take off her dress in school and was left for the rest of the day in a T-shirt and underwear.
The incident occurred at a Petah Tikva elementary after the girl’s teacher objected to the sleeveless dress as inappropriate and had her change into just a T-shirt.
The incident draws shock and criticism of the teacher’s behavior after a relative posts about the incident on social media.
זה לא רק סיפור על קוד לבוש זה סיפור על אטימות. אטימות של מורה והנהלת בית ספר.
אנה אמה של הילדה שאולצה להחליף את השמלה שלא על פי תקנון בית הספר ונשארה עם תחתונים מספרת ל @kereneubach על ההשפלה שחוותה הילדה ועכשיו מרגישה אשמה ואף מורה לא תאהב אותה
מיד ב- @ReshetBet pic.twitter.com/WF0amohETH
— לירן כוג'הינוף (@lirankog) May 20, 2020
The girl’s mother tells Kan that the girl has language troubles, but the teacher should have guided her. She says her daughter was embarrassed by the incident and does not want to return to school.
She also says that the teacher would not let her wear her own T-shirt above the dress, because it does not have the school logo on it, though it’s unclear why she did not wear the shirt below the dress, or the T-shirt with the school logo she was given above the dress.
“I was sure she would put the shirt over the dress, but instead she asked the girl to go to the bathroom, take off her dress and put on the shirt – and so the girl was left in just the shirt and her underwear. When she returned from the bathroom [the teacher] did not say that there was anything was wrong [with her apparel] and let her stay in her underwear and the T-shirt for the rest of the day,” the mother tells Ynet.
An attorney representing the family says a police complaint has been filed.
Despite what the Washington Post reported as a massive disruption to Iran’s Shahid Rajaee port, and Israeli reports that the port is the most important terminal for the Islamic Republic, the New York Times reports that the damage caused by an alleged Israeli hack on the site was minor — and by design.
“The attack on the computer systems at the Shahid Rajaee port in the strategically important Strait of Hormuz was limited in scope, creating traffic jams of delivery trucks and some delays in shipments, but causing no substantial or lasting damage,” the Times reports.
According to the report, the port has been hampered by US-led sanctions on Iran and only handles 20 ships a month at most.
The Times says the attack, in retaliation for a minor attack on Israeli water infrastructure, was meant to send a message more than to do actual damage, and Israeli officials originally did not even think it warranted a response.
According to the report, the retaliation was pushed by outgoing defense minister Naftali Bennett, who also ordered that it be leaked to international media.
The Yesh Atid-Telem faction is praising the removal of the Norwegian Law from the Knesset agenda.
“Whether it’s because of disagreements within the coalition, or someone in this disconnected government realized the travails of the public, it’s good that the Norwegian Law has been taken off the table.”
According to the Ynet news site, passing the law would allow 12 more lawmakers into the Knesset from government parties, and cost the government NIS 1.7 million ($480,000) per person per year.
Should the government last the full four years (it’s set to last for three years, but the law allows for a one-year extension), it would mean an extra NIS 81.6 million ($23.4 million) to pay for the extra lawmakers and their parliamentary activities.
Mere hours after being given the go ahead to head back to the seashore, Israelis are being told to stay away from the popular Dor Beach south of Haifa.
The Health Ministry says the beach is being shut due to irregular results from a test of the water quality, without elaborating.
A bill that would allow ministers to resign from the Knesset, thus allowing more lawmakers from a party slate to enter parliament, has been taken off the legislative agenda according to Hebrew media reports.
Issues regarding the so-called Norwegian Law within the coalition have seemingly delayed it moving forward, a day after the Knesset Arrangements Committee approved the bill for a plenum vote.
The law is included in the coalition deal signed last month between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s Blue and White.
On Tuesday, opposition lawmakers revolted over the fact that a parallel bill they were promised would be moved forward at the same time, meant to increase unemployment benefits for small business owners who have been hurt by the coronavirus crisis, had been left on the cutting room floor.
An Iranian parkour athlete has been arrested for committing “vulgar” acts, police say, after he posted photos online of himself kissing a woman on Tehran’s rooftops.
“We are against this individual and his companion’s norm-breaking and vulgar behaviour and the police and the judiciary will certainly deal with them,” the capital’s police chief Hossein Rahimi is quoted as saying by semi-official news agency ISNA, without naming the person who was arrested.
The individual appeared to be Alireza Japalaghy, a Tehran-based parkour athlete with more than 133,000 followers on Instagram.
Japalaghy had posted a series of photos and videos last week showing him and an unidentified woman in revealing outfits hanging off buildings and kissing.
According to Rahimi, the woman in Japalaghy’s photos “will also be arrested soon.”
The IDF confirms an incident in which an suspected weapons smuggler was shot while trying to sneak into the country from Jordan.
The army says the suspect was lightly injured and is being treated in Israel. A second person managed to escape back to Jordan, according to the IDF.
“Nine pistols, six rifles, and other arms were seized,” a statement from a spokesperson says.
Fires that were sparked by flares have been brought under control and no troops are injured, the IDF says.
Iran’s Tasnim news agency is quoting an unnamed official claiming that no major disruptions were caused at the Shahid Rajaee port near Bandar Abbas during a hacking attack attributed to Israel. earlier this month.
The official claims that civil defense units were able to mostly thwart the attack “due to their timely and effective response to the infilration attempt.”
The report, dated Tuesday, also quotes Mohammad Rastad, managing director of the Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran, saying that the hack didn’t damage any of its systems but “was only able to infiltrate and damage a number of private operating systems at the ports.”
According to the Washington Post, the attack caused “total disarray” at the port.
Satellite images of the port on May 11 and May 12 taken by Planet Labs and seen by The Times of Israel appeared to show a large number of ships idling off the port and a buildup of containers on dry land, days after the alleged Israeli cyberattack.
Eitan Dangot, a former general who once headed the Defense Ministry body for coordinating with the Palestinians, joins the ranks of Israelis casting doubt over the practical ramifications of Mahmoud Abbas’s declaration ending agreements with Israel and the US.
“He’s just ratcheting up the threat level. Abbas won’t take a practical step, and is trying to put pressure on Israel,” he tells Army Radio.
An analyst for the station notes that the timing of the announcement — during Ramadan — and Abbas’s relatively jolly tone also do not line up with the seriousness of such a move.
However Nasser Laham, the head of the Palestinian Maan news agency, calls Abbas’s speech “historic” and “serious.”
“The man who signed the Oslo Accords 25 years ago is ending them and opening up all kinds of possibilities,” he tweets.
A brushfire has broken out near Kibbutz Gesher following the shooting of a man crossing the border from Egypt, the Kan news outlet reports.
The suspect is identified by the station and other media outlets as a Jordanian man, 49, who had been trying to smuggle weapons across the border.
United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres is warning that the coronavirus pandemic threatens Africa’s progress and could push millions into extreme poverty.
Guterres says in a video message launching a policy briefing on “The Impact of COVID-19 in Africa” that countries on the continent have responded swiftly to the crisis, “and as of now reported cases are lower than feared,” with more than 2,500 deaths.
But the UN chief says “much hangs in the balance,” and calls for “international action to strengthen Africa’s health systems, maintain food supplies, avoid a financial crisis, support education, protect jobs, keep households and businesses afloat, and cushion the continent against lost income and export earnings.”
To help address the devastating economic and social consequences of the pandemic, Guterres says Africa needs more than $200 billion and “an across-the-board debt standstill for African countries.”
The pandemic “will aggravate long-standing inequalities and heighten hunger, malnutrition and vulnerability to disease,” he warns.
Israeli forces shot and injured a man spotted crossing from Jordan into Israel, according to Hebrew media reports.
The man was brought to an Israeli hospital and is listed in moderate condition, according to Channel 12 news.
Soldiers early Wednesday called for the man to halt, but when he did not fired at his legs, hitting him, according to the channel. It is not immediately clear what the suspect’s motivation was.
The incident occurred near Kibbutz Gesher, south of Tiberias and near what was until recently the so-called “Island of Peace” where Jordanians and Israelis both has nearly free access.
On Tuesday evening, the IDF said two Sudanese men crossed into Israel from Lebanon, ostensibly searching for work.
The New York Times quotes senior Palestinian officials saying PA President Mahmoud Abbas is not bluffing with his announcement that agreements with Israel and the US are canceled, effectively ending security cooperation.
The paper cites Maj. Gen. Adnan Damiri, a spokesman for the Palestinian security services, saying that Palestinian officials understood from Abbas’s words that they are to no longer cooperate on security with Israel or the CIA.
“This decision is for immediate implementation,” Wasel Abu Yousef, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, tells the paper. “It is not to be studied or discussed in committees.”
Mahmoud al-Habbash, Abbas’s religious affairs adviser, tells the paper that “there’s no room for maneuvering.”
Security cooperation is seen as a vital mechanism for thwarting terror in the West Bank and while Abbas has threatened to cut it off in the past, he has never actually done so.
Mahmoud Abbas’s announcement that he is cancelling all agreements with Israel and the United States has many puzzling over the actual ramifications of the announcements and whether it means vital security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority will be canceled.
Al-Jazeera notes that Abbas did not explicitly say he was dissolving the PA, a body that was formed by the Oslo Accords, one such agreement that has ostensibly been canceled.
“Mahmoud Abbas has announced I can’t remember how many times that he’s suspended this agreement or that agreement and the fact is that he’s never (actually) done that. He’s never (actually) suspended an agreement,” says anti-Israel activist Ali Abunimah to the station. “The reality is that the Palestinian Authority cannot move a salt shaker from one side of the table to another without the permission and help of the Israelis.”
Daniel Levy, the president of the US/Middle East Project, tells The Guardian that “the bar is very high,” for Abbas to back up his words with actions and show this is not another empty threat.
Former IDF general Alon Evyatat tells Army Radio that Abbas is waiting to see if Israel actually annexes before making an actual move.
“This is the sharpest we’ve heard Abbas regarding agreements — but he has not burned [the bridge],” he says.
The government also announces that museums may reopen, though hands-on activities or exhibits are out of bounds.
The museums must restrict entry to one person per 15 square meters of space.
Ministers also voted to allow those who can prove they can self-quarantine at home to do so, granted that they don’t take public transportation from their point of entry to their place of quarantine. Those who cannot meet the necessary qualifications must still go to quarantine hotels.
Synagogues and beaches are reopening Wednesday morning after being shuttered for some two months as part of regulations meant to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Pictures on social media and in the Hebrew-language press show worshippers attending morning prayers.
“We missed this! Back to Synagogue, Halleluyah!” tweets former Likud MK Yehudah Glick from a prayer service.
Back to Synagogue
— yehudah glick (@YehudahGlick) May 20, 2020
Under the rules, synagogues may host up to 50 people, so long as they maintain a distance of two meters between each other and wear masks. They must also appoint a coronavirus coordinator, kind of like a sexton, but for a pathogen.
Beaches are also officially opening, though Israelis have not exactly been staying away amid a sweltering heatwave. Under new regulations, the beaches will need to keep “Purple Badge” hygienic standards, including regular disinfecting of public facilities, like bathrooms.
Brazil’s daily death toll has crossed 1,000 for the first time, with the country’s health ministry announcing 1,179 deaths on Tuesday, boosting the nation’s death toll to 17,971. Brazil has 271,628 confirmed cases, the third most in the world after Russia and the US.
US President Donald Trump says he is considering barring entry to flights coming from Brazil due to the spread of COVID-19 in Latin America’s hardest-hit country. It was the second time Trump has said he is studying such a measure.
“I don’t want people coming in here and infecting our people. I don’t want people over there sick either. We’re helping Brazil with ventilators. We’re sending them ventilators,” Trump tells reporters during a cabinet meeting at the White House.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, who like Trump has previously downplayed the disease and encouraged supporters to go back to work, neither responds to Trump’s remarks nor commented on the record daily figure.
Worldwide there have been 4.9 million confirmed infections and over 323,000 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.