An Israeli spacecraft attempting to make history by becoming the first privately funded craft to land on the moon suffered an engine malfunction during its descent and crashed onto the lunar surface. The Beresheet spacecraft was to have touched down on the moon between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. ET. But officials with SpaceIL, the Israeli nonprofit organization behind the mission, reported that they lost contact with the four-legged spacecraft as it neared the surface of the moon.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secured a clear path to reelection on Wednesday, with religious-rightist parties set to hand him a parliamentary majority despite a close contest against his main centrist challenger, a vote tally showed. With more than 97 percent of votes counted, Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party looked likely to muster enough support to control 65 of the Knesset’s 120 seats and be named to head the next coalition government – a record fifth term as premier.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Saturday that he would extend Israeli sovereignty over parts of the West Bank if re-elected. Israelis head to the polls on Tuesday and in the final stretch of the tight race, Netanyahu is competing for votes with right-wing parties who support annexing part of the West Bank. Netanyahu has promoted Jewish settlement expansion in his four terms as prime minister, but until now, withheld from presenting a detailed vision for the West Bank.
Israeli aircraft bombed targets across the Gaza Strip and Gaza militants fired rockets into Israel early Tuesday, the second day of cross-border fighting that erupted in the last stretch of a closely contested race for Israeli prime minister between the long-serving incumbent and an ex-army chief. The latest violence was triggered by a surprise rocket fired early Monday from Gaza, a territory ruled since 2007 by the Islamic militant group Hamas. The rocket slammed into a house in central Israel and injured seven people.
The Trump administration has backed Israel’s claim to sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The move comes weeks before Israeli general elections and reverses the position U.S. administrations have held for decades. President Trump made the announcement via tweeter Thursday. Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in a 1967 war and annexed the territory, a move not recognized by the U.S. or the international community. For years, the U.S. has tried to broker a regional agreement that would involve Israel exchanging captured territory for peace.
Israel’s attorney general announced Thursday that his office plans to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges after a two-year investigation. The prime minister faces one count of bribery and three counts of breach of trust. With elections just six weeks away, Netanyahu called the prosecution’s announcement “outrageous” and an “unprecedented witch hunt” carried out by his liberal opponents.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has touched off rare criticism from AIPAC, the largest U.S. pro-Israel lobby, over an election alliance with a far-right party loyal to the policies of the late anti-Arab rabbi, Meir Kahane. Faced with a new merger of centrist parties that opinion polls show might defeat him, Netanyahu engineered the deal between Jewish Power and another ultranationalist faction, Jewish Home, on Wednesday. Netanyahu has defended the merger as a way to improve his chances of forming a right-wing governing coalition led by his Likud Party, to serve for a fifth term after the April 9 vote.
Poland on Monday withdrew from a European summit in Jerusalem, derailing the meeting and embarrassing its Israeli hosts, to protest claims by Israel’s acting foreign minister that Poles collaborated with the Nazis and “suckled anti-Semitism with their mothers’ milk.” The abrupt cancellation marked a new low in a bitter and long-running conflict between Poland and Israel over how to characterize Polish actions toward its Jewish community during World War II. Tuesday’s meeting of the leaders of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic — known as the Visegrad group — was to be the first time the summit has been held outside of Europe.
Israel has called Airbnb’s decision to withdraw listings in the West Bank ‘shameful.’ The company claims the decision was made because the removed settlements were ‘at the core’ of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The statement released on Monday said the decision will affect around 200 listings. Critics say the decision is an act of corporate anti-Semitism.
Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned following the cabinet’s decision to accept a ceasefire with Palestinian militants. Lieberman said the decision was ‘surrendering to terror.’ The ceasefire came after two days of violent fighting which led to the deaths of eight people. Lieberman’s resignation pushes Israel’s government into chaos and toward an early election.