Lapid seeking meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah on sidelines of UN – The Times of Israel

Amy Spiro is a reporter and writer with The Times of Israel.
The Times of Israel liveblogged Sunday’s events as they unfolded.
Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska appears moved as she views Queen Elizabeth II’s casket in London before meeting the Princess of Wales.
This is the first visit to the UK by the wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky since Russia invaded in February.
She also meets Catherine, Princess of Wales, at Buckingham Palace, with the women pictured sitting together in checked armchairs.
The UK government opted not to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin or an ambassador to the queen’s funeral due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, prompting anger from Moscow.
While Zelensky does not leave war-torn Ukraine, Zelenska has traveled widely to urge Kyiv’s allies to help the country’s armed forces with weaponry.
Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar vows that there is no chance he will sit in a future coalition with the union of Arab factions Hadash and Ta’al.
After the two factions split from Balad minutes before registering their parties for the election, speculation has run rampant that the remaining parties could be more palatable future coalition partners.
“I don’t know about [Prime Minister Yair] Lapid, but in the name of Gideon Sa’ar and the National Unity party, we will not agree to a government that relies on the Joint List – period,” says Sa’ar in an interview to Arab journalist Menem Halabi.
President Isaac Herzog signs a condolence book for Queen Elizabeth II at Lancaster House in London, after paying his respects as she lies in state at the parliament.
In an English-language video message, Herzog offers his condolences on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people. “She was truly a leader that transcends time, intergenerational, she saw where the world was 70 years ago and how it is today. Her reign was truly majestic and she truly personified the word majesty.”
He also wishes King Charles luck in his new role: “I would like to wish King Charles III a long reign of peace, justice, stability and dignity… God bless the king.”
נשיא המדינה הרצוג ספד למלכה אליזבת השנייה, ושלח תנחומים בשמם של אזרחי ישראל והעם היהודי. הוא שיבח את תקופת מלכותה הארוכה, ואמר שזו סימלה יציבות וחוכמה. הנשיא ציין את הרקע המשפחתי שלו, וסיפר כיצד אביו וסבו פעלו בשירותה של בריטניה בעבר
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) September 18, 2022
A conservative anti-LGBTQ group marches in Istanbul to defend what they describe as traditional family values in the largest demonstration of its kind in Turkey.
Several thousand people join the “The Big Family Gathering” to demand that LGBTQ associations be shuttered and their activities banned.
Kursat Mican, a speaker for the organizers, says they gathered more than 150,000 signatures to demand a new law from Turkey’s parliament that would ban LGBTQ propaganda, which they say pervades Netflix, social media, arts, and sports.
The group holds banners that read: “Protecting the family is a national security issue.”
LGBTQ parades have not been allowed in Turkey since 2015.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz meets with visiting UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
According to Gantz’s office, the two discussed security cooperation between the nations, as well as maintaining regional stability and strengthening the Palestinian Authority.
The meeting took place together with the UAE Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Al Khaja, at his residence in Herzliya.
Bin Zayed has been in Israel since last week on a trip marking the two-year anniversary of the Abraham Accords.
Military chief Aviv Kohavi lands in Poland ahead of a meeting with the chief of the Polish Armed Forces, Rajmund Andrzejczak, the Israel Defense Forces says.
In Poland, Kohavi will also visit the Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, and hold a series of meetings with other officers of the Polish military, according to the IDF.
Later this week, Kohavi will travel to France for a meeting with his counterpart in the French Armed Forces, Thierry Burkhard.
He is slated to return to Israel on Thursday, according to a schedule published by the IDF.
President Isaac Herzog and his wife, Michal, pay final respects to the UK’s Queen Elizabeth II, passing by her coffin, as she lies in state at the British Parliament in London.
Herzog is one of many world leaders who are arriving in London ahead of the queen’s funeral tomorrow.
הנשיא הרצוג ורעייתו חלפו על פני ארונה של המלכה אליזבת השנייה, באולם ווסטמיניסטר שבפרלמנט הבריטי@itamargalit
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) September 18, 2022
Prime Minister Yair Lapid is expected to seek a meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York this week.
The prime minister is said to be hoping to meet with Abdullah as tensions and concerns are high ahead of the High Holidays in Israel, which are often marked by large gatherings at the Western Wall that could provoke security concerns.
Lapid is already slated to sit down with new UK Prime Minister Liz Truss, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
The Israel Defense Forces says troops arrested two Palestinian suspects at the West Bank security barrier near the Arab Israeli city of Baqa al-Gharbiyye, one of whom was armed with a submachine gun.
According to the IDF, soldiers operating surveillance cameras spotted the two men attempting to cross the fence close to the Baqa checkpoint that separates the Israeli city from the Palestinian village of Baqa a-Sharqiyya.
The IDF says troops were dispatched to the scene and arrested the pair. One was found to be carrying a Carlo makeshift submachine gun in his bag.
The pair are taken to be questioned by the Shin Bet security agency. It is not immediately clear if they planned an attack or were seeking to sell the weapon.
Gadi Eisenkot, the former IDF chief of staff running with the National Unity party, says while he supports settlement blocs, he believes a one-state solution would be disastrous for the State of Israel.
“Those who want to dismantle the Palestinian Authority… to return to Gush Katif [in Gaza], in my opinion, will bring disaster upon the State of Israel,” says Eisenkot, speaking at a campaign event at a high school in the West Bank settlement of Efrat.
Eisenkot says he believes Israel must prevent a binational state and must seek “to end the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict.” He cites the three “most significant steps” toward shrinking the conflict: the Oslo Accords, the Hebron Agreement and the Gaza disengagement.
Nevertheless, he says he supports the “value” of settlements and is “in favor of strengthening the settlement blocs,” but does not back illegal outposts, which he says must be dismantled.
Following his remarks, Jewish Home leader Ayelet Shaked and Religious Zionism MK Ofir Sofer slam Eisenkot, saying his comments prove that party chief Benny Gantz is dangerously left wing.
Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll will represent Israel at a conference in Los Angeles that begins tomorrow aimed at connecting Israeli writers and producers with Hollywood executives.
The conference, called “Scripted Israel,” will match up 17 Israeli producers with US TV and film executives “to bring new and diverse Israeli stories to viewers around the world,” according to the Foreign Ministry.
Roll, who just landed in Los Angeles, calls the conference “an incredible opportunity to advance Israeli creations in the world and share Israeli stories with new audiences.”
The European Union’s executive branch recommends that the bloc suspend around 7.5 billion euros (dollars) in funding to Hungary over concerns about democratic backsliding and the possible mismanagement of EU money.
The European Commission, which proposes the bloc’s laws and ensures that they are respected, says it is acting “to ensure the protection of the EU budget and the financial interests of the EU against breaches of the principles of the rule of law in Hungary.”
EU Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn says that despite measures Hungary has proposed to address the deficiencies, the commission is recommending the suspension of funds “amounting to an estimated amount of 7.5 billion euros.”
The money would come from “cohesion funds” granted to Hungary. This envelope of money, one of the biggest slices of the bloc’s budget, helps countries to bring their economies and infrastructure up to EU standards. Any action to suspend the funds must be approved by the EU member countries, and this requires a “qualified majority,” which amounts to 55% of the 27 members representing at least 65% of the total EU population.
Meretz chief Zehava Galon says she believes Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz could work with the remaining parties in the Joint List following their split from Balad.
“I think what happened now is an opportunity for Lapid, because Hadash and Ta’al [the two factions left in the Joint List] are certainly parties that can be under consideration” in a future coalition, unlike the more extreme Balad, Galon tells Army Radio.
“If Lapid wants to be prime minister together with Gantz and the so-called change bloc, he needs Arab representatives, Ra’am, Hadash and Ta’al on his side,” Galon adds, noting that Meretz can play a “critical role in mediating, serving as a bridge between the Arab parties and Lapid and Gantz, because of our close ties.”
In Armenia, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, says that the United States deplores recent attacks by Azerbaijan and calls for a negotiated solution to the countries’ conflict.
Pelsoi’s visit to the Armenian capital, Yerevan, with a congressional delegation comes just a few days days after two days of shelling by both sides that killed more than 200 troops. It is the largest outbreak of hostilities there in more than two years.
Armenia and Azerbaijan each blame the other for starting the shelling attacks last week.
Pelosi met today with Alen Simonyan, president of Armenia’s parliament, and tells reporters afterward, “Our meeting again had a particular importance to us because the focus was on security following the illegal and deadly attacks by Azerbaijan on the Armenian territory.”
“We strongly condemn those attacks — we in our delegation on behalf of Congress — which threaten prospects for a much-needed peace agreement,” she says. “The United States… has clearly and has long stated that there can be no military solution to the conflict. We continue to watch the situation closely and we continue supporting a negotiated, comprehensive and sustainable solution to all issues relating to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”
Israel Police say they are preparing to intensify efforts to keep Israelis and tourists safe over the upcoming Jewish holidays.
In a briefing today, police say their efforts will focus in particular on mass events in Jerusalem’s Old City and the Western Wall, including selihot prayers leading up to Rosh Hashanah and before Yom Kippur, as well as the priestly blessings throughout the week of Sukkot and the large crowds expected for Simhat Torah.
Police tell reporters that they will deploy thousands of police officers around Jerusalem, and that there have been warnings of potential terror attacks during the holidays.
Right-wing Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked and left-wing Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli trade barbs during and after today’s cabinet meeting.
Following the meeting, Channel 12 reported that Michaeli and Shaked clashed after the former called on ministers to advance peace talks with the Palestinians. According to the report, Shaked retorted that there was no need and that such a move “doesn’t interest the United Arab Emirates,” Israel’s new Arab ally.
In a Twitter exchange seemingly confirming the report, Shaked says that “Merav got confused. I recommend that we wean ourselves off of the obsession with bowing down to the Palestinians. The Arab world understands Israel’s strength and is interested in ties with us without separating us from our property and our land.”
Michaeli retorts: “Dear Ayelet — the one who has been confused over the past year is not me.”
Michaeli adds that “the greatest danger to the State of Israel is the loss of its identity as a Jewish and democratic state due to combining with 3 million Palestinians. Shutting our eyes to this existential danger due to political fears threatens the existence and the future of the State of Israel.”
Likud MK Amir Ohana defends his party leader’s push to have the anti-LGBT party Noam join forces with Religious Zionism ahead of the election to avoid wasting right-wing votes.
In an interview to Walla News, Ohana, who is gay, says that “I can promise that there will not be any anti-gay legislation, nothing that sends us back in time.”
Ohana says no matter what the party may demand, “it won’t happen… I have some pull as well.”
The Likud MK says that he nevertheless hopes Noam is part of the next coalition, “because I hope that we will have enough seats to establish such a coalition.” Ohana says that he obviously does not agree with Noam MK Avi Maoz, but he prefers him to anti-gay Ra’am MK Waleed Taha, “because with Taha there are other problems too, like his opposition to the idea of a Jewish state.”
Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu intervened at the last minute last week to successfully press the extremist anti-gay Noam party to combine with Religious Zionism to ensure it would not slip beneath the electoral threshold and waste right-wing votes come November 1.
Russian President Vladimir Putin calls for no further escalation between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in calls with the Central Asian countries’ leaders today following intensifying border clashes.
“Vladimir Putin called on the parties to prevent further escalation and take steps to resolve the situation as soon as possible by exclusively peaceful, political and diplomatic means,” the Kremlin says in a statement.
A strong earthquake shakes much of Taiwan, toppling a three-story building and temporarily trapping four people inside, stranding about 400 tourists on a mountainside, and knocking part of a passenger train off its tracks.
The magnitude 6.8 quake is the largest among dozens that have rattled the island’s southeastern coast since last night, when a 6.4 quake struck the same area. There were no immediate reports of serious injuries.
Most of the damage appears to be north of the epicenter, which Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau said was in the town of Chishang at the relatively shallow depth of 7 kilometers (4 miles).
The three-story building, which had a 7-11 convenience store on the ground floor and residences on the upper ones, collapsed in nearby Yuli town, the island’s Central News Agency says.
More than 7,000 households are reported without power in Yuli, and water pipes were also damaged.
LONDON — London’s transport authority says it is preparing for around 1 million people to visit the British capital tomorrow for Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral.
Transport for London chief Andy Byford says the capital has seen “huge numbers of additional passengers” since the queen died on Sept. 8. But he says demand will “reach a climax” tomorrow.
Across the country some 250 extra train services will run, including some overnight trains. Peter Hendy, chairman of Network Rail, says tomorrow will see the “biggest public transport operation since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
More than 100 Heathrow Airport flights will be canceled to prevent aircraft noise disturbing the funeral at Westminster Abbey tomorrow morning and the queen’s committal service at Windsor Castle afterward.
The west London airport said 15% of its 1,200 flights due to take off or land tomorrow will be disrupted.
Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party files a petition to the Central Elections Commission to disqualify Balad chief Sami Abou Shahadeh from running in the November 1 election.
The party cites a section of the Basic Law which says that candidates should be disqualified if they deny the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, incite to racism or support an enemy country or terror group.
In a statement, Yisrael Beytenu says that Abou Shahadeh “must be outside of the Israeli Knesset. One who denies the existence of the State of Israel and does not recognize it as a Jewish and democratic nation is not worthy of being part of [the Knesset] — it is fitting for him to be part of the parliament in Ramallah, that’s his place.”
In response, Abou Shahadeh tells Army Radio that “I’m not interested in this violent man [Liberman], who supports transferring [Arab citizens out of Israel]… Liberman is not far from the electoral threshold and therefore he is trying to attract extremist voters.”
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