The Times of Israel is liveblogging Tuesday’s events as they happen.

While other destinations have seen tourism rebound with the fading of the coronavirus pandemic, Israel’s hotel industry has yet to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels, figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics show.

Israeli hotels hosted 23 million guest-nights over 2022, down 11 percent from 25.8 million in 2019, a banner year for Israeli tourism.

Of those stays, only 31% percent were foreign tourists, as opposed to 2019, when 47% were coming from abroad. Despite a record number of stays in hotels by Israelis, occupancy rates were still at 61% for 2022, down from 70% in 2019 — though hotels added some 2,100 rooms in the interim.

Lebanon’s chief prosecutor Ghassan Oweidat says the judge leading the investigation into Beirut’s massive 2020 port blast cannot proceed with the probe until the country’s judicial authorities rule on the matter.

The statement by Oweidat comes a day after Judge Tarek Bitar resumed the investigation, following a 13-month halt over legal challenges raised by politicians accused in the probe — including the chief prosecutor. Bitar ordered the release of five of 17 detainees in the case, and charged eight officials, among them top intelligence officials Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim and Maj. Gen. Tony Saliba, as well as Oweidat.

Lebanon’s highest court, the Court of Cassation, has not ruled on those challenges.

Hundreds of tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate detonated at Beirut Port on August 4, 2020, killing 218 people, injuring over 6,000 and damaging large parts of the Lebanese capital. Afterward, port, customs and legal documents revealed that the chemicals had been stored improperly for years at a port warehouse — and that senior politicians and officials knew about it.

A probe into the affair has threatened to rattle Lebanon’s ruling elite, rife with corruption and mismanagement, that has helped push the country into an unprecedented economic meltdown over the past few years. Some politicians have challenged the judge in court, accusing him of violating the constitution or of showing bias. There were also reports of threats leveled against the judge and the government vowed in late 2021 to increase his security.

Oweidat tells The Associated Press that reports he is planning on pressing charges against Bitar are “as of now, incorrect.”

A hand-drawn map with a red letter X purportedly showing the location of a buried stash of precious jewelry looted by Nazis from a blown-up bank vault has sparked a modern-day treasure hunt in a tiny Dutch village more than three-quarters of a century later.

Wielding metal detectors, shovels and copies of the map on cellphones, prospectors have descended on Ommeren — population 715 — about 80 kilometers (50 miles) southeast of Amsterdam to try to dig up a potential World War II trove based on the drawing first published on January 3.

“All kinds of people have been spontaneously digging in places where they think that treasure is buried — with a metal detector,” says local resident Marco Roodveldt.

It is not yet clear if authorities could claim the loot if it was found, or if a prospector could keep it.

So far, nobody has reported finding anything. The treasure hunt began this year when the Dutch National Archive published — as it does every January — thousands of documents for historians to pore over, including the map, which includes a sketch of a cross section of a country road and another with a red X at the base of one of three trees.

Photos on social media show people digging holes more than a meter (three feet) deep, sometimes on private property, in the hope of unearthing a fortune.

Dutch authorities using the map and the testimony of a German soldier went hunting for the loot in 1947. The first time, the ground was frozen solid and they made no headway. When they went back after the thaw, they found nothing, says National Archive researcher Annet Waalkens.

After the unsuccessful attempts, the German soldier said “he believed that someone else has already excavated the treasure,” she adds.

Just over half of American adults are familiar with the number of Jews killed during the Holocaust, and even fewer know that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler came to power democratically, a new survey on the state of Holocaust education shows.

According to the poll of 1,004 adults published by the American Jewish Committee days ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, only one in four American adults could correctly answer four basic questions about the Shoah.

While 85% identified Auschwitz as a death camp and 76% were able to place the Holocaust between 1930 and 1950, just 53% knew that 6 million Jews were killed. Another 20% said they did not know how many, while 13% said fewer than 3 million and 11% said over 12 million.

Thirty-nine percent of respondents knew how Hitler came to power, but almost as many (34%) thought he took over Germany via a violent coup.

According to the AJC, the results show a strong link between general education level and knowledge about the Holocaust.

“Lacking knowledge can open pathways to trivialization and denial of the Holocaust that also contribute to rising antisemitism,” says AJC CEO Ted Deutch in a statement.

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The Times of Israel is liveblogging Tuesday’s events as they happen.

While other destinations have seen tourism rebound with the fading of the coronavirus pandemic, Israel’s hotel industry has yet to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels, figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics show.

Israeli hotels hosted 23 million guest-nights over 2022, down 11 percent from 25.8 million in 2019, a banner year for Israeli tourism.

Of those stays, only 31% percent were foreign tourists, as opposed to 2019, when 47% were coming from abroad. Despite a record number of stays in hotels by Israelis, occupancy rates were still at 61% for 2022, down from 70% in 2019 — though hotels added some 2,100 rooms in the interim.

Lebanon’s chief prosecutor Ghassan Oweidat says the judge leading the investigation into Beirut’s massive 2020 port blast cannot proceed with the probe until the country’s judicial authorities rule on the matter.

The statement by Oweidat comes a day after Judge Tarek Bitar resumed the investigation, following a 13-month halt over legal challenges raised by politicians accused in the probe — including the chief prosecutor. Bitar ordered the release of five of 17 detainees in the case, and charged eight officials, among them top intelligence officials Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim and Maj. Gen. Tony Saliba, as well as Oweidat.

Lebanon’s highest court, the Court of Cassation, has not ruled on those challenges.

Hundreds of tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate detonated at Beirut Port on August 4, 2020, killing 218 people, injuring over 6,000 and........

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