Israeli store drops Charlie Hebdo promo

An Israeli book chain has dropped plans for an in-store promotion for the latest edition of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, with a cartoon depicting the Prophet Mohammed, local media said on Saturday.

Israeli store drops Charlie Hebdo promo
A branch of Steimatzky in Ramat HaSharon. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/דוד שי

Public Radio said that the Steimatzky chain had intended to hold a promotional event in a branch in the Tel Aviv area but later decided that orders for the issue — which has sparked sometimes deadly protests across the Muslim world — would now be taken only through its website.

The radio quoted the firm as saying it had not received threats or come under pressure but had changed its plans due to complaints from customers living far from the Tel Aviv area who would be unable to buy the magazine in person.

Internet news site Ynet said the issue would go on sale on Monday and continue for as long as stocks last. The radio said purchases would be limited to two per customer due to limited supplies

Ynet quoted Israeli Arab MP Masoud Ganaim as warning Steimatzky and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that selling the cartoon issue could have grave consequences in Israel, where about 20 percent of the population is Arab mostly Muslim, and religious passions run high.

"This is a very serious, dangerous and stupid step, Ynet quoted him as saying. "This is not freedom of expression but a blow to the holy of holies of Muslims which will bring about anger among the Muslims and (other) Arabs in the country."

 The contentious cartoon was published by Charlie Hebdo a week after a January 7th attack by Islamist gunmen at its Paris headquarters killed 12 people.

Depictions of the prophet are considered forbidden in Islam.


French sailor found after weeks adrift: Israeli army

A French sailor lost in the Mediterranean for weeks has been rescued by the Israeli military off the Gaza coast, the army said Friday.

French sailor found after weeks adrift: Israeli army
A file photo taken from the coast of Gaza. Photo: AFP

The man was recovered Thursday night drifting in a boat with a broken radio and no steering system near the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave bordering Israel and Egypt, the army said on Twitter.

“Our soldiers came across his boat near the Gaza Strip, rescued him, and took him for medical treatment,” the tweet said.

An army spokeswoman described the man as a fisherman travelling from Egypt towards Gaza. She said he was injured in the leg.

The tweet included a photo of a smiling man with greying hair wearing a sea jacket and hat and surrounded by soldiers aboard what appears to be an Israeli boat.

There were no further details on the circumstances of the rescue or the man's identity.

The French embassy in Tel Aviv said it had received information about the incident from the Israeli army, but did not have more any more details.

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