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Knesset Approves New Coalition, Ministers Sworn In


The Knesset on Thursday night approved Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's new coalition by a narrow vote of 61 to 59. "I determine the government has won the confidence of the Knesset. Congratulations," Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein said following the vote. Shortly after the approval, the new cabinet ministers were officially sworn in.

As expected, the vote was preceded by a heated debate in the Knesset between coalition and opposition. As Netanyahu addressed the Knesset to present his new government, he faced a raucous, disrespectful plenum. Three Arab MKs were ejected from the plenum, one after the other, as Netanyahu began speaking, due to loud and incessant interruptions.

The swearing in of the coalition came following 24 hours of marathon talks between the Prime Minister and members of his Likud party as he assigned them ministerial posts. MK Miri Regev was appointed Minister of Culture and Sport, an appointment which was met with criticism from some artists.

MK Danny Danon will be Minister of Science, Technology and Space. Moshe Ya'alon will continue as Defense Minister, and Ofir Akunis will be appointed "a minister in the Communications Ministry."

In addition the prime minister told Minister Yuval Steinitz that he is appointing him as Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, as well as Minister in Charge of Nuclear Energy, and a member of the Security-Diplomacy cabinet.

MK Tzipi Hotovely will be Deputy Foreign Minister, while Gilad Erdan appears to have been left out, despite having the #2 spot on the Likud list. Erdan reportedly called Netanyahu and informed him that if he doesn't get the portfolios he demanded – the Interior Ministry and the Ministry for Public Security – he will not take part in the next government.

Hamas Says IS Has No Foothold in Gaza Strip

By Reuters

Islamic State sympathizers in the Gaza Strip are making their presence felt on social media, but the enclave's Hamas rulers said on Thursday the group has no real foothold in the Palestinian territory.

Statements signed "Supporters of the Islamic State" have appeared recently on Twitter and several websites, accusing the Islamist group Hamas of arresting dozens of jihadists and threatening attacks in Gaza unless they are released.

Hamas said it had detained what it described as "lawbreakers" after an explosion earlier this month near a Hamas security headquarters and another blast outside the headquarters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

A senior security official loyal to Hamas described the explosions, for which no group has claimed responsibility, as no more than "noise bombs," saying Islamic State existed "only on the Internet" in Gaza.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said "there is nothing called the Islamic State in the Gaza Strip", adding that the group only had "some supporters" in the territory. "We do not fight people because of what they think, but at the same time, we do not allow any violations of security, whether by groups or individuals," Abu Zuhri said.

Gaza-based political analyst Hani Habib said some activists identifying with ultra-conservative Salafi Islam were using social media to try to draw the attention of Islamic State and seek its recognition. "They were inspired by the presence of ISIS in Iraq and Syria and moreover in the Egyptian Sinai peninsula," said Habib, dismissing any notion that Salafis in Gaza had formally joined Islamic State.

Islamic State, an ultra-hardline offshoot of al Qaida, has declared a caliphate in captured territory in Iraq and Syria and has gained global notoriety for posting gruesome videos of its members killing captives. It is sometimes referred to as ISIS.

Salafi groups began to surface in Gaza in 2006 and have had a tense relationship with Hamas, which seized the territory from forces loyal to the Western-backed Fatah group in 2007.

A senior Israeli security official said it was hard to assess whether there was a serious Islamic State presence in Gaza. "There are lots of these hardline, 'right-of-Hamas' Islamist groups operating in Gaza. That's been the case for years.

So if one decides to change its name to something ISIS-related, that's not in itself so significant," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "The fact is that Hamas is trying to curb them, and mainly because they are a threat to its rule."

Authorities Nab Israeli Arab Suspected of Car Ramming Attack

By Israel Hayom &

Following a joint Shin Bet and Israel Police operation, investigators on Wednesday were finally able to name a suspect in the April 25 car-ramming terrorist attack in the A-Tur neighborhood of Jerusalem. Three Israeli police officers were wounded in the attack.

According to the Shin Bet, evidence gathered at the scene of the crime and throughout the investigation pointed to Majdi Mahmed Salah, 31, a resident of the Shuafat refugee camp who holds Israeli citizenship.

The Shin Bet added that Salah carried out the car-ramming attack due to nationalistic motivations. After the attack Salah allegedly fled the scene on foot and hid in a safe house. An attempt to arrest him at his home that same night was unsuccessful, but the following day he turned himself in to the police, after which he was transferred to the Shin Bet for further questioning. During Salah's interrogation, it was revealed that the car-ramming attack was premeditated.

According to the Shin Bet: "This ramming attack, along with the vehicular attack that killed Shalom Sherki points to the large risk and grave threat posed by lone terrorists, particularly in Jerusalem.

And in another Jerusalem incident, private security camera footage from Alon Shvut shows the moment in which an Arab terrorist purposely ran over several Jewish teenagers Thursday.

The terrorist's black car enters the screen from the right. One of the boys can be seen, at the right side of the screen, under the tree, being sent sprawling onto the road by the force of the blow he received from the car. See

Four teenage boys were wounded in the car terror attack, at the entrance to the town of Alon Shvut in Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem. One of the boys is in serious condition. The three other victims - all 16-year-old students - are described as being in light to moderate condition. Magen David Adom (MDA) paramedics arrived on the scene and evacuated them to the Shaare Tzedek and Hadassah Medical Centers in the capital.

MDA paramedics Yoni Silman and Abba Richman described the scene: "When we got there, we saw at the junction on the side of the road, near a bus stop, three boys of about 16 lying on the ground. They were fully conscious and suffering injuries mainly to the face, the pelvic region, and the lower extremities."

The Arab driver fled the scene immediately after committing the attack, but was detained by security forces shortly after. A resident of Hebron, he is now being interrogated by the Israel Security Agency.

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