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Biden calls Netanyahu to congratulate him on election win – The Times of Israel

The Times of Israel liveblogged Monday’s events as they unfolded.
A US citizen who lived in Iraq for two years was shot dead in central Baghdad, Iraqi security sources say, while the motive not immediately clear.
The victim was traveling by car “when unknown persons opened fire,” an interior ministry source says, on condition of anonymity. The US embassy in Baghdad is unable to give an immediate comment.
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt — While the Middle East teeters on the brink of climate calamity, Israel stands ready to lead the effort towards climate resilience in the region, President Isaac Herzog tells world leaders at the UN COP27 climate conference in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
“With studies forecasting imminent, severe consequences for our region, the Middle East is on the brink of catastrophe,” he says. “Here in Sharm el-Sheikh, I wish to reiterate the State of Israel’s solid commitments to achieving net zero carbon emissions and to transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy by 2050.”
“But Israel is prepared to assume far greater responsibility,” Herzog adds. “Israel is prepared to lead the effort towards regional climate resilience. I intend to spearhead the development of what I term a ‘renewable Middle East’ — a regional ecosystem of sustainable peace.”
Issuing an invitation to all to visit Israel’s first ever pavilion at a COP event, Herzog says he envisions that solar energy produced in the deserts of the Middle East can be exported to Europe, Asia, and Africa “in the foreseeable future.”
“I believe that all Middle Eastern nations, abundant with sun and technology, will have the ability to connect the rest of the world to a magnificent source of renewable energy,” he says.
US President Joe Biden calls opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on his win in the national election last week.
According to the Likud party, Biden tells Netanyahu that his commitment to Israel is “unquestionable.”
Netanyahu tells Biden that together the two leaders can “bring more historic peace deals,” and that the US-Israel relationship is “as strong as ever,” according to his office.
Following last week’s vote, Netanyahu is expected to officially receive the mandate to form the next government later this week, and then to build a coalition with his right-wing religious allies Shas, UTJ, and Religious Zionism.
US officials have quietly expressed concern over the likely inclusion of extreme-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir in Netanyahu’s future cabinet.
Israel Police chief Kobi Shabtai says that he has no concerns with the possibility that Itamar Ben Gvir will be chosen as the next public security minister.
“They will choose who they choose, we’re in a democratic nation,” Shabtai tells Channel 12 news when asked about potential conflicts with Ben Gvir, who has publicly demanded the position. “I’ll go along with anything. I have no problem with anyone.”
Speculation has run rampant that if Ben Gvir gets the ministerial job overseeing the police, he will clash with or seek to oust Shabtai, who reportedly blamed the far-right MK for fanning the flames of Arab-Jewish violence during riots last year.
At least seven people are killed when the bus on which they had been traveling collided with two trucks and burst into flames in eastern Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announces.
Another 11 people were injured in the accident in Tutak, which is in Agri province near the borders with Iran and Armenia, according to Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca.
“Seven of our citizens have lost their lives in a bus which caught fire after it overturned. I wish them God’s mercy,” Erdogan says at the end of a speech on another subject.
The passenger bus hit two trucks in Tutak, causing an enormous fire that engulfed all three vehicles and covered the highway in thick black smoke. The vehicles’ charred remains were shown on Turkish television.
President Isaac Herzog speaks with Moroccan Prince Moulay Rachid on the sidelines of the UN COP27 climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh.
Herzog’s conversation with the prince comes after a full day of diplomatic meetings at the summit in Egypt, including with new British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Jordan’s King Abdullah, and United Arab Emirates’ President Mohammed Bin Zayed.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid was initially slated to represent Israel at the conference, but bowed out at the last minute after his loss in last week’s election.
Elon Musk, the billionaire new owner of Twitter, calls for US voters to back Republican candidates on the eve of knife-edge midterm elections.
“Shared power curbs the worst excesses of both parties, therefore I recommend voting for a Republican Congress, given that the Presidency is Democratic,” Musk tweets to his 114 million followers. “Hardcore Democrats or Republicans never vote for the other side, so independent voters are the ones who actually decide who’s in charge!”
The Tesla boss’s stewardship of Twitter — one of the world’s leading platforms for discourse and activism — has prompted warnings over its political neutrality. Musk has indicated he plans to lift the ban on former president Donald Trump, though not before the midterm vote on Tuesday.
Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir says his first meeting with Likud chair Benjamin Netanyahu after the election was held “in good spirits.”
“We are on our way to establishing a full, full right-wing government,” says the far-right lawmaker, “to protect IDF soldiers, to look into the eyes of people who are afraid to walk around in the Negev and the Galilee, to bring back their sense of security, to bring back their control. We have a lot of work to do.”
Ben Gvir declared before the election that he would demand the position of public security minister, but it is unclear if Netanyahu intends to hand him the sensitive post.
A man is shot dead in Taibe and another is moderately wounded, say police and first responders.
Police say they are opening an investigation into the incident in which two men in their 20s were shot in the Arab city in central Israel.
One of the men was critically wounded in the shooting and was declared dead at Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba, say police.
The Abraham Initiative monitoring group says today’s incident brings the death toll of Arabs killed in homicides in Israel in 2022 to at least 97.
Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, leader of the Yisrael Beytenu party, warns that Israel becoming a theocratic state is “just around the corner” following last week’s election.
Liberman was responding to Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich’s warning against Israeli soccer leagues playing games on Shabbat.
“A halachic state is just around the corner,” tweets Liberman. “Looks like Smotrich needs to give a kosher certificate to soccer games as well. I can only guess what the next step will be? At this rate, the World Cup games on Saturday will have to be seen only in reruns.”
“Smotrich: Soccer on Shabbat existed before you and will exist after you,” Liberman adds.
Following last week’s national vote, Liberman and the current coalition are expected to be replaced by a right-wing religious bloc including Smotrich and led by Likud chair Benjamin Netanyahu.
Amir Eshel, the Defense Ministry director-general, has notified Defense Minister Benny Gantz that he plans to resign from the role.
According to a statement from the ministry, Eshel says he will remain as the director-general as long as necessary.
Following last week’s election, Gantz is to be replaced by a new defense minister picked by Benjamin Netanyahu.
Eshel entered the role shortly after Gantz took over the Defense Ministry in May 2020.
Gantz thanks Eshel for his past two and a half years as director general in remarks provided by the ministry.
“I am sure that Israel will continue to benefit from his unique abilities and experience,” Gantz says.
Hamas or another terror group in the Gaza Strip reportedly test-fired several rockets toward the Mediterranean Sea a short while ago.
Palestinian media outlets publish images of trails of smoke seen in the skies of Gaza.
Armed factions in Gaza frequently conduct tests of rockets, in a bid to improve their weapons.
عاجل| مراسل شهاب: الانفجار الذي سُمع في مدينة غزة ناجم عن تجربة صاروخية للمقاومة تجاه البحر. pic.twitter.com/0OFhwdk26l
— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) November 7, 2022
Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu is sitting down with Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir at Likud party headquarters in Tel Aviv for informal coalition talks.
While Netanyahu carefully avoided being photographed with the extreme-right lawmaker throughout the campaign, his office now releases a photo of the pair chatting this afternoon.
Ben Gvir has publicly declared that he will demand the position of public security minister in the next government.
Yesterday, Netanyahu met separately with Religious Zionism chief Bezalel Smotrich in Jerusalem, though Ben Gvir and Smotrich have vowed to negotiate their entry into the next government as a unit.
Entering the Likud HQ building, Ben Gvir says, “With God’s help, we’ll act to establish a full, full right-wing government.”
President Isaac Herzog meets with new British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on the sidelines of the COP27 UN climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh.
According to Herzog’s office, the president congratulates Sunak on becoming prime minister, calling him “a great friend of Israel,” and describing the Israel-UK relationship as “one of the closest.” Herzog says the pair “have so much to speak about — from climate change to economic development and cooperation, security challenges, and of course maintaining regional stability.”
Sunak thanks Herzog for the “very warm words,” and adds that “Israel is one of our closest friends, our closest allies, and there is an enormous amount for us to continue working on together, whether it’s economic cooperation, security cooperation, or indeed climate change, that we’re here discussing. So I look forward to our time together.”
Religious Zionism leader MK Bezalel Smotrich pens a letter to the head of the Israel Professional Football Leagues expressing his dismay at games being held during Shabbat.
Smotrich, who is expected to become a senior minister in the next government, writes that it is “very serious in my eyes” that the league is “choosing to close the gates” in the face of the religious community by holding games that begin during Shabbat.
Religious Zionism MK Itamar Ben Gvir pens a column in the Israel Hayom daily dedicated to “my brothers on the left,” promising them that “this isn’t the end of your country.”
The far-right anti-LGBT incendiary lawmaker — whose party won 14 seats in last week’s election — writes that “despite the disagreements… and despite the demonization and the hatred, despite all that, we are brothers!”
Ben Gvir dismisses concerns over religious coercion or “thought police,” and rejects a suggestion that, if appointed public security minister, he would not assign police protection to the Pride Parade.
“Do I want to see a heinous murder of a girl attending the parade?” asks Ben Gvir, referencing the deadly 2015 stabbing at the Jerusalem parade. “Of course not, and even if I am not enthusiastic about the parade, I will make sure the lives of the marchers are protected at all costs.”
Ben Gvir also references his history of extremist activity, including threatening prime minister Yitzchak Rabin, writing: “I have matured, I have moderated, and I have understood that life is more complicated.”
Prosecutors file indictments against two East Jerusalem men for supplying a gun to a Palestinian attacker who killed an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint last month.
According to the indictment, Udai Tamimi initially purchased the gun and two magazines from an acquaintance, Nader Abu Rajib, 29.
Tamimi then gave the gun to another acquaintance, Ammar Allahaliya, 25, for safekeeping, before returning to take it back from him to use in the deadly attack.
Tamimi is accused of killing Sgt. Noa Lazar, 18, and seriously wounding a civilian guard on October 8 at a checkpoint near the Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem. He fled the scene and was killed attempting another attack 11 days later.
Abu Rajib and Allahaliya are charged with various weapon offenses. Prosecutors have requested they be held in custody until the end of legal proceedings.
The Israel Defense Forces announces it will be conducting several emergency preparedness exercises this week in various towns and cities across the country.
Tonight at 7:05 p.m., a terrorist infiltration alert will sound in the West Bank settlement of Oranit.
Tomorrow at 10:05 a.m., an earthquake alert will sound in the northern city of Beit She’an, and at 10:15 a.m., an incoming rocket siren will sound in the northern village of Beit Jann.
On Wednesday at 10:05 a.m., sirens will again sound in Oranit, this time an earthquake alert. At 10:15 a.m. earthquake alerts will also sound in the Negev city of Arad, and at 10:25 a.m. in the coastal city of Haifa.
Lastly on Thursday at 10:35 a.m., incoming rocket sirens will sound in the northern town of Kisra-Sumei.
In case of a real emergency during the tests, the sirens will sound a second time, the army says.
President Isaac Herzog sits down with Jordanian King Abdullah on the sidelines of the COP27 UN climate conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
According to Herzog’s office, the two leaders discussed trilateral cooperation between Israel, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates on energy and water issues, as well as an initiative to clean portions of the Jordan River.
Last year, Israel, Jordan and the UAE signed a major deal between the three nations to see a solar power plant built in Jordan by Emirati businesses to harness energy for Israel.
Herzog and Abdullah also discussed advancing bilateral relations in regards to regional concerns, the president’s office says.
Reelected Likud MK Galit Distel Atbaryan backs the controversial comments made by Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich yesterday blaming the Shin Bet for the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Likud MK Avi Dichter, a former Shin Bet chief, hit back at Smotrich’s comments, calling them a dangerous conspiracy theory, and the security agency itself also criticized his speech.
“The Shin Bet has no right to criticize a democratically elected lawmaker for saying his opinion,” Distel Atbaryan tells Army Radio.
“To scold him and to discipline him and to say that real facts are conspiracies is a terrible deviation from the boundaries of discourse allowed in a democratic state,” Distel Atbaryan adds, saying that Smotrich “has a lot of courage to say these things in this context, on this day in front of this crowd.”
Smotrich’s comments were made in the Knesset at a ceremony marking 27 years since Rabin’s assassination.
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt — Former US vice president Al Gore makes an impassioned call for leaders to “choose life over death” by ending the use of fossil fuels that are stoking climate change.
Gore, a long-time environmental campaigner who was among the first to raise the alarm about climate change, tells leaders at this year’s UN climate summit in Egypt that they should turn away from destructive behavior, insisting that “we have other choices” in the form of renewable energy.
“We need to obey the first law of holes,” he says. “When you’re in one, stop digging.”
Gore calls for massive amounts of private capital to be unlocked in order to fund the transition to clean energy, saying this would provide the trillions, not billions, needed.
Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu is slated to meet Religious Zionism MK Itamar Ben Gvir for informal coalition talks at a hotel in Tel Aviv this afternoon.
Ben Gvir, who heads the Otzma Yehudit faction, and Religious Zionism chief Bezalel Smotrich vowed yesterday to conduct joint negotiations to enter the next government, promising not to split up.
Nevertheless, Netanyahu met with only Smotrich in Jerusalem yesterday as Ben Gvir was in Eilat.
Many Western allies have expressed grave concern over the prospect of the extreme-right firebrand Ben Gvir holding a cabinet position in Netanyahu’s expected future government.
Iran’s official news agency claims that the gunman who killed 13 people at a major Shiite shrine last month was a citizen of Tajikistan.
The militant Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the Oct. 26 attack on Shah Cheragh in the city of Shiraz, one of Iran’s top five Shiite shrines. But the government has tried to blame the attack on the largely peaceful anti-government protests, without offering evidence.
Iran initially said 15 were killed in Shiraz but later revised the number to 13 over double-counting.
The report on IRNA identifies the gunman as Sobhan Komrouni. He died in a hospital in southern Iran, days after the Oct. 26 attack, from injuries sustained during his arrest.
Citing Iran’s Intelligence Ministry, today’s report says the gunman’s accomplice was an Afghan citizen, Mohammad Ramez Rashidi. A third suspect, from neighboring Azerbaijan, was allegedly the “main coordinator” of the attack from Iran’s capital, Tehran, the report claims.
IRNA says authorities have arrested 26 suspects — purportedly with links to extremist groups — over the shrine attack, all reportedly nationals of Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan.
Ukraine announces it has received more air defense systems from Western military allies, saying the weapons will help defend against Russian attacks that have recently targeted energy infrastructure.
“NASAMS and Aspide air defense systems arrived in Ukraine! These weapons will significantly strengthen the Ukrainian army and will make our skies safer,” Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov says on social media.
“We will continue to shoot down the enemy targets attacking us. Thank you to our partners — Norway, Spain and the US,” Reznikov adds.
Britain Prime Minister Rishi Sunak congratulates Benjamin Netanyahu on his return to power in Israel.
“On behalf of the UK, I would like to congratulate @netanyahu on his victory in the Israeli elections,” Sunak tweets while on a visit to Egypt for the COP27 climate summit.
“Across areas like trade, security and technology there is a huge amount our countries do together and I look forward to working with the returning Prime Minister.”
Sunak’s spokeswoman on Thursday, however, urged all parties in Israel to “refrain from inflammatory language and demonstrate tolerance and respect for minority groups,” a likely reference to the expected inclusion in Netanyahu’s future government of the far-right firebrand MK Itamar Ben Gvir.
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