Israel denies Palestinian Authority has stopped paying terrorists’ families, contradicting Tillerson

JERUSALEM (JTA) – The Palestinian Authority (PA) has not stopped paying salaries to the families of terrorists jailed in Israel, according to Israeli officials, contradicting U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The officials, including Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, said Wednesday that they have not seen a change in the PA policy. A day earlier, Tillerson told senators at a meeting of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the policy had changed. [Read more…]

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Israel’s defense minister proclaims peace closer than ever

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speaking to the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, March 6, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speaking to the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, March 6, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Israel is “far closer” to an agreement with the Palestinians than it has ever been before.

In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 TV station Thursday, Liberman expressed confidence that an offer of normalized relations with Arab states would bring the government and people of Israel on board. [Read more…]

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Liberman says Israel tweaked intel sharing after Trump revelations to Russians

(JTA) – Israel’s defense minister said Israel made changes to how it shares intelligence with the United States in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump’s revelation of highly classified information to Russian officials.

Avigdor Liberman told Army Radio on Wednesday that the change would not affect the close intelligence-sharing relationship between Israel and the United States. [Read more…]

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Trump and Netanyahu speak by phone, reportedly don’t discuss intelligence leaks

JERUSALEM (JTA) – U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have spoken by phone in the wake of the revelation that Trump shared Israeli intelligence with Russia.

The conversation took place late Tuesday afternoon in Israel, the Israeli media reported, citing unnamed senior Israeli officials. It is not known who initiated the call, which reportedly lasted 20 minutes. [Read more…]

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Family of Palestinians killed in arson attack sues Israel

(JTA) – The family of a six-year-old Palestinian boy whose parents and brother were killed in an arson attack on their West Bank home has filed a lawsuit against the State of Israel demanding $2.78 million US in compensation, saying its settlement policies led to the attack.

Right-wing Jewish extremists were indicted in the July 2015 firebombing in the Palestinian village of Duma in the northern West Bank. Ahmed Dawabshe, then four, was the only survivor of the attack that killed his brother, Ali, 18 months old; father, Saad; and mother, Riham. [Read more…]

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Pre-military yeshiva head who denigrated female soldiers goes on leave

(JTA) – The rabbinic head of a religious Zionist pre-military yeshiva in the West Bank who said the Israeli army drives female soldiers “crazy” and upsets their Jewishness has gone on an indefinite leave from his position.

The Bnei David academy in the Eli settlement told Israel’s Channel 2, which first reported Rabbi Yigal Levinstein’s leave, that it has nothing to do with calls to have him removed over his controversial statements in March. [Read more…]

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Palestinian boy, 6, won’t get compensation for attack attributed to Jewish arsonists

JERUSALEM (JTA) – A six-year-old Palestinian boy whose parents and brother were killed in an arson attack on their West Bank home is not eligible for compensation given to terror victims, Israel’s defense minister said.

Avigdor Liberman offered the official response in a letter Sunday to Arab Joint List lawmaker Yousef Jabareen, who had asked why the child, Ahmed Dawabshe, had not received money from the state. [Read more…]

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North Korea threatens Israel with ‘merciless’ punishment

(JTA) – North Korea threatened Israel with “merciless, thousand-fold punishment” and labelled it the only “illegal possessor” of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

The country’s Foreign Ministry in Pyongyang issued a statement Saturday after Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman in an interview with the Hebrew-language news website Walla! called North Korean leader Kim Jong-un a “madman” who is in charge of a “crazy and radical group” that is “undermining global stability.” [Read more…]

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