Israel government admits journalists beaten by soldiers were not ‘rioters’

22 May 2019; MEMO: The Israeli government has retracted its claim that two journalists “led a riot” in Nabi Saleh in 2015, “and that their beating by soldiers was therefore justified”, reported Haaretz.

According to the article, “this is the gist of a compromise reached between the Jerusalem district attorney and the two photographers, Abbas Mumani and Haim Schwarczenberg”, who had sued the Israeli military over the assault.

Likud officials warn failure of coalition talks could lead to new elections

21 May 2019; MEMO: Likud officials have warned that the failure to find a breakthrough in coalition negotiations could lead to fresh elections, reported Ynet.

According to the news site, the unnamed officials are frustrated at what they believe are “unreasonable demands” from Likud’s natural coalition partners.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has until 28 May to form the next government, having already received the permitted, one-off 14-day extension from President Reuven Rivlin.

Israel’s chief rabbi calls Afro-Americans ‘monkeys’

20 May 2019; MEMO: Israel’s chief Rabbi, Yitzhak Yosef, has stoked controversy by describing Afro-Americans as “monkeys” during one of his weekly religious lessons.

The remark, which will prompt further discussion about entrenched racism within the country, was reported by Israeli newspaper Ynet News.

Palestinians give cool reception to US peace conference

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Palestinian prime minister said Monday that any American peace plan that ignores the Palestinian people’s political aspirations for an independent state is doomed to fail.

Mohammad Shtayyeh’s comments immediately cast a cloud over the American-led Mideast peace conference expected to take place in late June in the tiny Gulf Arab state of Bahrain.

Eurovision: Madonna’s Pelestine flag display on stage causes stir

20 May 2019; MEMO: The Israeli organisers of this year’s Eurovision feared that some of the competitors, under pressure from the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, might inject politics into their performances.

In the end, however, it was Eurovision’s special guest star, Madonna, who used her performance to make a political statement.

Sergey Lazarev performs in Eurovision Song Contest’s final

TEL AVIV, May 18. /TASS/: Russia’s Sergey Lazarev performed his technically sophisticated show without a hitch at the Eurovision Song Contest’s final on Saturday, TASS reported from the scene.

The singer sang his ‘Scream’ surrounded by eight digital screens as each projected an image of the singer creating an effect of doubles amid images of lighting and rain.

Russian celebrated pop singer Philip Kirkorov produced Lazarev’s Eurovision entry. Kirkorov co-authored the song with Dimitris Kontopoulos (Greece) and Sharon Vaughn (US).

Likud’s Gideon Sa’ar publicly slams Netanyahu’s proposed immunity law

17 May 2019; MEMO: Prominent Likud parliamentarian Gideon Sa’ar has publicly criticised plans to pass a special law that would grant Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immunity from prosecution while in office.

As reported by the Times of Israel, Sa’ar told Channel 12 news that “this legislation offers zero benefit and causes maximum damage”.

Facebook busts Israel-based campaign to disrupt elections

JERUSALEM (AP) — Facebook said Thursday it banned an Israeli company that ran an influence campaign aimed at disrupting elections in various countries and has canceled dozens of accounts engaged in spreading disinformation.

Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, told reporters that the tech giant had purged 65 Israeli accounts, 161 pages, dozens of groups and four Instagram accounts.

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