French aviation experts argued Thursday that the black box recordings of the Germanwings aircraft that crashed Tuesday in the French Alps increase suspicion that one of the pilots intentionally downed the flight.
According to the experts, "it was a deliberate action of a member of the flight crew" - potentially a suicide.
The New York Times reported earlier Thursday that one of the pilots onboard had been locked out of the cockpit when the plane descended.
Evidence from the cockpit voice recorder, a senior military official involved in the investigation related, indicated that one of the pilots had left the cockpit in the middle of the flight and could not re-enter.
"The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door, and there is no answer. And then he hits the door stronger, and no answer. There is never an answer," the investigator said.
"You can hear he is trying to smash the door down," the investigator noted, adding that no response from the other side of the cockpit is heard on the recording.
While the audio provided some insight into the reasons for the crash, questions remain unanswered.
"We don't know yet the reason why one the guys went out. But what is sure is that at the very end of the flight, the other pilot is alone and does not open the door."
All 144 passengers as well as the flight's six crew members were killed in the crash. Eyal Baum, a 39-year-old Israeli businessman who was living in Barcelona, was among those who perished in the disaster.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is planning to form a unity government with the Labor party and leave the Jewish Home in the opposition, a source familiar with the coalition talks told Arutz Sheva on Wednesday.
According to the source, Netanyahu is planning a political trick on the Jewish Home. “Something smells wrong,” the source said, adding that Netanyahu invited Bennett to a meeting this week but beat around the bush and only spoke about marginal issues, choosing to avoid subjects such as ministerial portfolios and how to include the Jewish Home in the coalition.
The same source told Arutz Sheva that he updated the members of the Jewish Home on the goings on and asked them, in secret, to be prepared for the possibility that they will be in the opposition and not in the coalition as Netanyahu had promised.
He further said that in the coming hours, Netanyahu will try to be clever with the Jewish Home in order to look like “he was the one who proposed that they be partners in the coalition but was refused. Over the next few hours or few days Netanyahu will make a decision in the case of the Jewish Home."
A source in the Jewish Home responded by saying, "Netanyahu's maneuvers are known and recognized both in Israel and abroad, and we will not be surprised if this time he will again try to keep the Jewish Home out of the coalition, but we will work for our voters also from [the opposition].”
The revelation comes amid tensions between the Likud and the Jewish Home, which began earlier Wednesday when Jewish Home MK Ayelet Shaked charged that Likud is not keeping its promises to approach Jewish Home first as a coalition partner.
"Right now, the Likud is not keeping its word, its word to the electorate and all of Israel was that Jewish Home 'will be the first partner' to which it would turn for coalition negotiations," Shaked told Army Radio. "I am explaining that this is not happening."
"I think that, ultimately, it is Likud's responsibility to make that happen," she added.
While Bennett and Netanyhau met for the first time since elections just two days ago, on Tuesday evening it was reported that Kulanu chairman Moshe Kahlon was the first to be brought into the government and had been guaranteed the Finance Ministry.
Likud MK Yariv Levin responded to Shaked’s criticism later on Wednesday, saying that Bennett would be a “senior minister” in the new government, but that was because Netanyahu wanted him in the government – and not because Likud “owed” Jewish Home anything.
Chairman of the Likud Faction, MK Ze'ev Elkin, addressed on Thursday afternoon media reports about the status of coalition negotiations.
Speaking at the beginning of a meeting between Likud and Jewish Home representatives, Elkin stressed that Likud has kept all of its promises and is working toward forming a government as quickly as possible.
"We are the first official meeting of coalition negotiations which began today. We have conducted ourselves just as the Prime Minister promised: We promised our first telephone call would be to Miriam Peretz and our second call to [Jewish Home Chairman] Naftali Bennett, and so it was. We promised during the campaign that [Moshe] Kahlon would be finance minister, and we reiterated this immediately after elections," Elkin stated.
"We are opening the negotiations naturally with natural partners. Israel needs a stable government as soon as possible. We will conduct negotiations as quickly as possible," he added.
"Obviously, there will be differences of opinion, but in this room we will find good solutions."
Referring to Kahlon and the news that Kulanu had cancelled its negotiation meeting because of promises made by Netanyahu to United Torah Judaism, Elkin expressed his hope the disgruntled party would return soon to the drawing table.
"We are sorry for the cancellation this morning. As I said, it's natural for there to be conflicting demands and requirements. The place to finds solutions is in this room; I don't know anything else. Therefore, I hope that sooner than later we will return to negotiations."
Elkin's reassurances also come after Bennett alleged Thursday morning that Netanyahu would choose the Zionist Union over Jewish Home.
"Unfortunately, it seems the Prime Minister plans to bring in Buji/Tzipi, and therefore skip over us," Bennett wrote on Facebook, before adding, "from the opposition, we will be able serve the people of Israel in a way no less effective than [if we were part of] the government."
Rumors have been flying all week that instead of forming a narrow right-wing coalition, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will try form a unity government with Labor leader Yitzhak Herzog.
Such a government would come at the expense of other probable coalition partners, including Jewish Home, Kulanu, and Yisrael Beytenu.
Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett warned again on Thursday that Netanyahu was likely to choose Herzog over Jewish Home, and noted his willingness to work from the opposition should that happen.
Yet, the second man to make such an agreement happen is balking at the rumors.
Writing on Facebook Thursday, Herzog dismissed rejected Bennett's comments and stressed that his party would be the "fighting opposition" in the 20th Knesset.
"The rest is spin," Herzog emphasized. "If someone wants to know what my intentions, and that of our party, are, he is invited to ask and listen to what I have to say.
The rest is spin, "he wrote on his Facebook page." If someone wants to know what my intentions and our party is invited to ask and listen to what I say."
"The Zionist Union is not a pawn in a race to destroy the State of Israel. Bennett has taken to whining and threatening to be in the opposition in order to squeeze out additional settlements, a larger budget, or a ministerial position," Herzog added.
Even so, Likud officials continue to discuss the possibility and even necessity of a unity government between Likud and the Zionist Union.
MK Miri Regev (Likud) warned Thursday that a unity government would be inevitable if Likud's intended coalition partners - Jewish Home, Yisrael Beytenu, and Kulanu - did not stop their demands for top ministerial positions.
"The public cannot come and complain to Likud if we go with a unity government and in two years we have elections again. This is the result of Bennet, Kahlon, and Liberman's extortionist behavior."
Echoing Regev was fellow Likud MK, Gilad Erdan. The Interior Minister told Walla! News that he hoped a situation would not arise in which the "Prime Minister had no choice but to turn to Yesh Atid and the Zionist Union.
Cornell University may be getting a new club - an Islamic State training camp.
During a conversation with an activist posing as a Moroccan student, Cornell's assistant dean for students, Joseph Scaffido, was receptive to all suggestions about bringing ISIS to campus, the New York Post reported.
The conversation, recorded by the undercover activist for Project Veritas on March 16, sees Scaffido casually agreeing to bring an ISIS "freedom fighter" to conduct a "training camp" at the university in upstate Ithaca.
"Is it OK to bring a humanitarian pro-Islamic State Iraq and Syria group on campus?" the undercover asked, to which Scaffido replied, "Sure."
The undercover also posed the suggestion of bringing “a freedom fighter to come and do like a training camp for students.”
"You would be allowed to do something like that. It’s just like bringing in a coach, to do a training, a sports trainer or something,” Scaffido responded, bizarrely likening brutal terrorists to a sports club.
Also not a problem, according to the assistant dean, is support for terror organization Hamas.
“The university is not going to look at different groups and say, ‘You’re not allowed to support that group because we don’t believe them’ or something like that. I think it’s just the opposite. I think the university wants the entire community to understand what’s going on in all parts of the world,” Scaffido said.
The university was quick to backtrack from Scaffido's statements in the video, telling the New York Post that while difference of opinions is welcomed, an ISIS training camp goes far against university policy.
“Cornell fully supports the free exchange of ideas and does not review or control the political ideology of our students. We do not, of course, tolerate unlawful advocacy of violence, and the comment about training by ISIS freedom fighters does not reflect university policy,” said Joel Malina, Cornell’s vice president for university relations.
The attack on a synagogue in north London early Sunday morning was sparked by a dispute between a Jewish teenager and party-goers across the street, the Jewish Chronicle reported Wednesday.
The fight apparently prompted the teenagers attending the party to begin smashing doors and windows at the Ahavas Torah Synagogue in Stamford Hill, after the Jewish boy fled inside.
But the incident was not motivated by anti-Semitism community leaders and police confirmed.
Rabbi Maurice Davis related to the Jewish Chronicle that "there was a party happening across the road. We think a Jewish boy at the party ran out and got into a fight with other party-goers on the street. He came into the shul and it got out of hand, that's when the other people smashed the windows."
"We want people to know it wasn't an anti-Semitic incident. Tottenham is such a wonderful place to live we have tremendous social cohesion here, and everybody gets on and we haven't had any experience of anti-Semitism.
Police backed up the Rabbi's statement, with Metropolitan Police Commander Mak Chishty noting, "it was not anti-Semitic, thank God, but it was a crime and it was anti-social behavior and we all understood that."
Footage of the assault shows around 10 people inside the synagogue attempting to defend themselves with chairs and clubs as a group of drunk youths attempt to force their way in.
The group began hurling sticks, smashing glass windows, and threatening the congregants. Although it was reported the gang shouted "kill the Jews," only one teenager is being investigated for racially aggravated abuse.
Earlier in the week, Arutz Sheva spoke with Shuki Moses, who was present during the attack. He noted that the incident did not start as an anti-Semitic one, but became so when the attackers began to shout anti-Jewish epithets.
On Monday, the Metropolitan Police said they were treating the incident as anti-Semitic, but added that they did not have a reason to believe it was “a planned or targeted attack”.
A large sports stadium owned by the Municipality of Jerusalem is set to be used for at least two major missionary-sponsored events in the coming months - and Jerusalem city councilman Arieh King is demanding that something be done to stop further rentals of the space to such groups.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva, King said that while such events had taken place in Israel many times, this was the first time the Jerusalem Municipality had been involved in providing space for them.
“Previous events were held in privately-owned spaces,” he said. “The Jerusalem Municipality is the owner of the Arena Stadium, where these events are to take place. It's very clear who these groups are and what their purpose is. There is no excuse for this.”
King said that he was involved in a project that will help identify such events, whose purpose is often wrapped in misleading appearances designed to fool Jews into attending – with the event's true purpose revealed only when unwitting attendees participate in the event.
“We already have a staff in place to identify such events in Jerusalem, and it was through this group we discovered the nature of the upcoming events.”
The group, he said, will expand its activities to the rest of Israel. He has also enlisted the help of anti-missionary group Yad L'achim in the project, he said.
The Arena stadium can hold up to 12,000 people, and the missionaries are planning to bring thousands of people to the event, as well as attract locals.
“This kind of activity is illegal, and I cannot understand how the Jerusalem Municipality can sponsor it,” said King. “I have asked the Attorney General to intervene. Even if there is financial damage to the city, it would be better than sustaining the spiritual damage to Jews.
Unfortunately,” he added, “we all realize that we are dealing with a very wealthy group that is able to use its money to 'blind' politicians, rabbis, and leaders,” he added.
Matt Lee of The Associated Press, who is known for his uncanny ability to ask the tough questions during State Department press briefings, was at it again on Tuesday.
Several days after calling out the State Department over its series of condolence messages to Iran following the death of President Hassan Rouhani's mother, Lee grilled spokeswoman Jen Psaki about Washington’s attitude towards Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Lee asked Psaki why the United States is letting it slide when Khamenei agrees with the “death to America” slogan during a rally in Tehran, while refusing to accept Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s clarification about things he said about a Palestinian state before the election.
While the State Department replied to Lee’s previous challenge regarding Rouhani’s mother with "Don't read into it", this time the exchange was more detailed. The video and transcript are below:
Lee: Okay. And then this has been raised before by other people, but I’ll ask it again now in this same context: When the Supreme Leader of Iran is continuing – in the middle of these negotiations is continuing to make statements like “death to America,” how is that not problematic for you? How is that not something – why are you just willing to let that – let it slide, basically, and you are holding the prime minister of Israel to comments that he made and has since changed?
Psaki: Well, Matt, I think we’d hardly put the Supreme Leader and the leadership of Israel in the same category. Israel is a strategic partner, a security partner --
Lee: Well, the Iranians can be trusted and the Israelis can’t?
Psaki: Let me finish.
Lee: Is that what you mean?
Psaki: No. I’m actually trying to convey that our relationship with Israel is abiding; it’s strong; it’s a security relationship; it’s one that we’re committed to. Do we have disagreements on some issues, like how we should proceed with preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon? Yes. Have we – can we – do we believe that it isn’t possible to just forget what the prime minister says when it’s conflicting with past precedent and past policy for some time? Yes. But obviously, we’re continuing our discussions. The Secretary has been in touch with Prime Minister Netanyahu. We remain committed to our relationship. Remember, we’re not evaluating our relationship with Israel. We’re evaluating how to proceed as it relates to pursuing a two-state solution.
Lee: All right. And all of that is well and good, but the Supreme Leader of Iran represents a regime that took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and held hundreds of American hostages for a long time, is what you say is a leading state sponsor of terrorism, has --
Psaki: And remains, and will be even if there’s a deal.
Lee: Right. And yet you’re willing to take – you’re willing to let his words slide, but not that of a country with which you say you have this great security relationship.
Psaki: No, I would disagree with that. I would say, one, as a reminder, even if there is a deal with Iran, it doesn’t mean we let slide or forget, whether it’s the comments, the – or more importantly the actions, state sponsorship of terrorism, their human rights record, the fact that they’re holding American citizens – they remain – they continue to hold American citizens, including a Washington Post reporter in their jails. I mean, these are all issues that we remain very concerned about. Those concerns are not going to be soothed by a deal.
But we also feel that preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon is not only in our interests, it’s in the interests of the international community, and that’s why we’re pursuing it. It’s not about trust.