Prepandemic, Israel usually allowed tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank to visit Jerusalem on Fridays during the fasting month. The arm of the Israeli government that liaises with the Palestinian Authority said on Tuesday that Israel would allow 10,000 vaccinated Palestinians from the West Bank to pray at the Aqsa on Friday. It also said authorities would permit 5,000 vaccinated Palestinians from the West Bank to make family visits in Israel between Sunday and Thursday next week.

Omar Kiswani, the director of the Aqsa Mosque, said he was overjoyed that the compound was open to worshipers — an estimated 11,000 attended the taraweeh prayers at the compound Monday evening — but he emphasized that people would still need to be careful. He said masks and two meters’ distance between worshipers are required at the mosque, and the indoor and outdoor spaces will be sterilized daily.

“These are times of great happiness,” Mr. Kiswani said. “We hope the blessed Aqsa Mosque will return to its prepandemic glory. But these are also times of caution, because the virus is still out there.”

Vivian Yee reported from Cairo, and Adam Rasgon from Jerusalem. Asmaa al-Omar contributed reporting form Istanbul and Abdi Latif Dahir from Nairobi.

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Archaeologists in Egypt Find Ancient City More Than 3,000 Years Old

CAIRO — Archaeologists said on Thursday that they had uncovered a large ancient pharaonic city that had lain unseen for centuries near some of Egypt’s best-known monuments.

The city was built more than 3,400 years ago during the opulent reign of Amenhotep III, one of Egypt’s most powerful pharaohs, according to the Egyptian archaeologist overseeing the excavations, Zahi Hawass.

The team began searching for a mortuary temple near Luxor in September, and within weeks found mud brick formations in every direction, Mr. Hawass said in a statement.

They unearthed the well-preserved city that had almost complete walls and rooms filled with tools of daily life along with rings, scarabs, colored pottery vessels and mud bricks bearing seals of Amenhotep’s cartouche.

“The city’s streets are flanked by houses and some of their walls are up to three meters high,” Mr. Hawass said.

The excavations lie on the west bank of Luxor near the Colossi of Memnon, Medinet Habu and the Ramesseum, or mortuary temple of King Ramses II, not far from the Valley of the Kings.

“This is a very important discovery,” said Peter Lacovara, the director of the U.S.-based Ancient Egyptian Heritage and Archaeology Fund.

The state of preservation and the volume of items from everyday life brought to mind another famous excavation, he added.

“It is a sort of ancient Egyptian Pompeii and shows the critical need to preserve this area as an archaeological park,” said Mr. Lacovara, who has worked at the Malqata palace area for more than 20 years but was not involved in the excavations.

The site contains a large number of ovens and kilns for making glass and faience, along with the debris of thousands of statues, said Betsy Bryan, a specialist of Amenhotep III’s reign.

“Just to locate the manufacturing centers opens up the detail of how the Egyptians under a great and wealthy ruler such as Amenhotep III did what they did,” she said. “This will furnish knowledge for many years to come.”

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Archaeologists Unearth ‘Ancient Egyptian Pompeii’

CAIRO — Archaeologists said on Thursday they had uncovered a large ancient pharaonic city that had lain unseen for centuries near some of Egypt’s best known monuments.

The city was built more than 3,400 years ago during the opulent reign of Amenhotep III, one of Egypt’s most powerful pharaohs, according to the Egyptian archaeologist overseeing the excavations, Zahi Hawass.

The team began searching for a mortuary temple near Luxor in September, but within weeks found mud brick formations in every direction, Mr. Hawass said in a statement.

They unearthed the well-preserved city that had almost complete walls and rooms filled with tools of daily life along with rings, scarabs, colored pottery vessels and mud bricks bearing seals of Amenhotep’s cartouche.

“The city’s streets are flanked by houses and some of their walls are up to three meters high,” Mr. Hawass said.

The excavations lie on the west bank of Luxor near the Colossi of Memnon, Medinet Habu and the Ramesseum, or mortuary temple of King Ramses II, not far from the Valley of the Kings.

“This is a very important discovery,” said Peter Lacovara, director of the U.S.-based Ancient Egyptian Heritage and Archaeology Fund.

The state of preservation and the volume of items from everyday life brought to mind another famous excavation, he added.

“It is a sort of ancient Egyptian Pompeii and shows the critical need to preserve this area as an archaeological park,” said Mr. Lacovara, who has worked at the Malqata palace area for more than 20 years but was not involved in the excavations.

The site contains a large number of ovens and kilns for making glass and faience, along with the debris of thousands of statues, said Betsy Bryan, a specialist of Amenhotep III’s reign.

“Just to locate the manufacturing centers opens up the detail of how the Egyptians under a great and wealthy ruler such as Amenhotep III did what they did. This will furnish knowledge for many years to come,” she added.

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Reversing Trump, Biden Restores Aid to Palestinians

A senior Palestinian official welcomed the move but said the Palestinian leadership, based in Ramallah, still hoped Mr. Biden would reverse several other measures carried out by the Trump administration.

“This is a positive, important and constructive step in the direction of rectifying Palestinian-American relations, which the Trump administration destroyed,” said Ahmad Majdalani, the social development minister of the Palestinian Authority. “We believe it can be built upon by dealing with some other outstanding issues.”

Senator Jim Risch of Idaho and Representative Michael McCaul of Texas, both Republicans, criticized the move in a joint statement, saying that “resuming assistance to the West Bank and Gaza without concessions from the Palestinian Authority undermines U.S. interests.”

They added that they would scrutinize the package to ensure it did not breach the Taylor Force Act, which prohibits the United States from providing direct economic aid to the Palestinian Authority until it stops payments to families of Palestinians who commit violence against Israelis or Americans.

Ned Price, the State Department’s spokesman, said on Wednesday that the funding was “absolutely consistent” with American law. He indicated that any aid going to the West Bank and Gaza would be done through “development partners” and “not through governments or de facto government authorities.”

Many humanitarian groups criticized the Trump administration for having denied the United Nations agency money that it had been expecting, which hurtled it into financial crisis. Other countries helped plug some of the shortfall, but the agency has continued to operate under severe financial constraints.

United Nations officials were clearly primed for news of the resumption of aid before it was officially announced. Asked about the Biden administration’s plan, a United Nations spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, said that “there were a number of countries that had greatly reduced or halted contributions,” and that “we hope the American decision will lead others to rejoin as UNRWA donors.”

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Jordan’s King Breaks Silence on Feud, Saying It Has ‘Ceased’

AMMAN, Jordan — King Abdullah II of Jordan broke his silence Wednesday night over the unusually public rift with his half brother, Prince Hamzah, justifying the steps he had taken to curb his brother’s movements, while asserting that their “strife had ceased.”

In an open letter addressed to the Jordanian people that was read on television, King Abdullah wrote that Prince Hamzah had committed “to place the interest of Jordan, its constitution and its laws above any other considerations.”

The king added: “Hamzah today is with his family, in his palace, under my care.” The prince has claimed that he was under house arrest.

This past weekend, the Jordanian government accused Prince Hamzah, a former crown prince, of having plotted to undermine the security of the country. Several aides and associates of the prince were arrested and the prince himself was ordered to refrain from making public comments or communicating with people outside the royal family.

The news shocked Jordanians and foreign allies alike. Jordan has historically been a pillar of stability in the turbulent Middle East, and the ruling family has rarely aired its disputes in public.

King Abdullah’s letter constitutes the first time that the monarch himself has commented on the rift.

Prince Hamzah had previously distributed two videos about the situation, denying any involvement in a conspiracy, but excoriating the Jordanian government and saying he had been put under house arrest.

Squeezed between Syria, Iraq, Israel and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Jordan is viewed by western powers like the United States as a key ally in international military efforts to rein in extremist groups like the Islamic State. And with a sizable population of Palestinian origin, Jordan is considered a key player in any future Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

In his statement on Wednesday the king spoke of his personal discomfort at his disagreement with Prince Hamzah.

“The challenges during the past few days were not the most challenging nor the most dangerous that the country has faced in terms of stability,” King Abdullah wrote.

“But it was the most painful to me,” he added, “because the cause of the division was someone from inside our home.”

He added: “Nothing comes close to the pain, shock and anger I felt, as a brother and guardian of the Hashemite family.”

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As Jordan Seeks to Quell Royal Feud, Allies of Prince Remain in Detention

AMMAN, Jordan — Employees and associates of a Jordanian prince accused of plotting to undermine the government were still being held incommunicado by security forces on Tuesday, their relatives said, casting doubt on earlier claims by the royal court that it had resolved an unusually public and bitter rift between the prince, Hamzah bin Hussein, and his older half brother, King Abdullah II.

Prince Hamzah’s chief of staff, Yasser Majali, and Mr. Majali’s cousin, Samir Majali, were both arrested on Saturday, the day that the government claimed that the prince had been involved in a plot to destabilize the kingdom’s stability.

The Majali family, which comes from one of Jordan’s main tribes, said on Tuesday that the two were still being held in an unknown location, less than a day after the royal court released a statement that quoted Prince Hamzah as saying that he had pledged his loyalty to the king.

“Every time we call someone, they say we will get back to you,” said Abdullah Majali, Yasser’s brother, in an account corroborated by a second senior member of the Majali family. “We still don’t know where they are.”

Prince Hamzah’s whereabouts was also unknown as of Tuesday morning. And the Jordanian government issued a gag order on Tuesday that barred Jordanian news outlets and social media users from discussing the case.

The developments are the latest twists in a royal feud that exploded into public view over the weekend, upending the family’s reputation for discretion and the country’s image as a rare haven of stability in a turbulent region.

Jordan is a key partner in regional counterterrorism missions, a base for American troops and aircraft, and a major recipient of American aid. Bordering Syria, Iraq, Israel and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, it is considered an important interlocutor in regional diplomacy — and a linchpin of any potential Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

Over the weekend, the Jordanian government arrested several of Prince Hamzah’s staff members and associates, and accused the prince himself of working with a former senior royal aide and cabinet minister, Bassem Awadallah, to undermine the country’s stability.

The government’s statements hinted that those arrested had been involved in a foreign-backed coup attempt, but stopped short of using such direct language.

Prince Hamzah fired back with two videos in which he excoriated his brother’s government, but denied involvement in any plot and said he was being held under house arrest — an allegation the government denied.

By Monday night, tempers seemed to have calmed, as the royal palace released a statement written in the prince’s name in which he pledged to “stand behind His Majesty in his efforts to protect Jordan and its interests of the nation.”

But the uncertainty on Tuesday about the whereabouts of the Majalis and the prince himself suggested that tensions had not completely dissipated.

The government’s narrative was also placed under question on Tuesday by the leak of a recording of a conversation last week between the prince and the head of the Jordanian military, Maj. Gen. Yousef Huneiti.

In the recording, which was obtained by The New York Times and other media outlets, the general appears to acknowledge that the prince had not personally moved against the king, but had instead attended social gatherings where criticism of the government was made by others.

With coronavirus-related deaths on the rise in Jordan, the prince’s allies say he had attended more wakes and funerals than usual.

“During these meetings, there was talk about the government’s performance and the performance of the crown prince,” General Huneiti said, according to the recording.

“This talk came from me?” replied Prince Hamzah.

“No,” the general said. “From the people you were meeting with. We both know, sir, this crossed the red lines. People have begun speaking out more than they should. Therefore, I hope his royal highness abides and refrains from attending such occasions.”

The Majali family expressed doubt that any relatives were ever even in a position to support a supposed plot to destabilize the kingdom.

Samir Majali had met just a few times with Prince Hamzah for lunch, in his formal capacity as a tribal elder, said Samir’s cousin Hisham Majali.

Yasser had been convalescing at home after a heart attack followed by a bout of the coronavirus, and had not been to work in several weeks, his brother, Abdullah Majali, said.

Neither man had a connection to Mr. Awadallah, their relatives said.

“They don’t even know him,” said Abdullah. “It’s unacceptable that they would link their names.”

Many Jordanians also believe that Prince Hamzah himself and Mr. Awadallah would be unlikely co-conspirators. Prince Hamzah is closely tied with Jordan’s Indigenous tribes, like the Majalis, while Mr. Awadallah, a former head of the royal court, is one of the many Jordanian citizens from families of Palestinian origin.

The pair have different views on economic and political policy. And while Mr. Awadallah was often a target of government critics while he was in office, the prince presents himself as a proponent of good governance.

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Jordan’s Ex-Crown Prince Vows to Defy Efforts to Silence Him

The former crown prince of Jordan vowed on Monday to defy the orders of the government and his half brother, King Abdullah II, to stop communicating with the world even as he remained under what he described as house arrest in his home.

“I’m not going to obey when they say you can’t go out, you can’t tweet, you can’t communicate with people,” the former crown prince, Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, said in an audio message posted to Twitter by his supporters.

The government has accused Prince Hussein of destabilizing the “security and stability” of Jordan, a vital American ally in the Middle East. The Jordanian foreign minister, Ayman Safadi, suggested on Sunday that the prince was involved in a failed palace coup that had foreign backing.

The bitter family feud and public airing of palace intrigue has been a blow to Jordan’s image as an island of stability in a volatile region.

defending himself in a video released on Saturday.

He denied involvement in any plot against King Abdullah, though he did condemn the government as corrupt, incompetent and authoritarian.

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Israel offers a hint of what post-pandemic life may look like.

Israel’s vaccination program has been remarkably swift and successful. In recent weeks, new coronavirus infections have dropped significantly, from a peak of 10,000 a day in January to a few hundred by late March. The economy has almost fully reopened.

And just as Israel became a real-world laboratory for the efficacy of the vaccine, it is now becoming a test case for a post-lockdown, post-vaccinated society.

The Green Pass, a document that can be downloaded to a smartphone, is the entry ticket.

Green Pass holders may dine indoors in restaurants, stay in hotels and attend cultural, sports and religious gatherings in the thousands both indoors and out. They can go to gyms, swimming pools and the theater. They can get married in wedding halls.

Local newspapers and television stations are advertising summer getaways for the fully vaccinated in countries prepared to take them, including Greece, Georgia and the Seychelles.

Restaurants ask those booking tables: Do you have a Green Pass? Are you vaccinated?

The system is imperfect, and, beyond the Green Pass, in many ways “system” may be an overstatement. Enforcement has been patchy. There are troubling questions about those who are not vaccinated and noisy debates playing out in real time — some landing in court — about the rules and responsibilities of the return to near normalcy.

Moreover, there’s no guarantee that this really is the start of a post-pandemic future. Any number of factors — delays in vaccine production, the emergence of a new vaccine-resistant variant and the huge numbers of Israelis who remain unvaccinated — could rip the rug out from under it.

The new world has also underscored the inequities and divides between societies with more or less access to the vaccine. Many in the West Bank and Gaza have not been able to get vaccinations yet.

The Palestinian vaccination campaign is just getting started, with doses largely donated by other countries amid a bitter debate over Israel’s legal and moral obligations for the health of people in territory it occupies. Israel has vaccinated about 100,000 Palestinians who work in Israel or in West Bank settlements but has been criticized for not doing more.

More than 5.2 million Israelis have received at least one shot of the Pfizer vaccine. About four million remain unvaccinated, half of them people under 16 who are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine pending regulatory approvals and further testing on children. Hundreds of thousands of citizens who have recovered from Covid-19 were only recently included in Israel’s vaccination program.

And up to a million people have so far chosen not to get vaccinated, despite Israel’s enviable supply of doses.

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My Life in Israel’s Brave New Post-Pandemic Future

A Green Pass allows us, the vaccinated, to go to concerts, restaurants and sporting events. But Israel’s real-time experiment in post-lockdown living leaves many questions unanswered.


TEL AVIV — As the lights dimmed and the music started up, an audible wave of excitement rippled through the crowd. Somebody a few rows above me ululated with joy, as if at a Middle Eastern wedding.

I had come to Tel Aviv’s Bloomfield soccer stadium for a concert by Dikla, an Israeli singer of Iraqi and Egyptian origins, which was hailed by the city as a celebration of the “comeback of culture.” It was the first live performance I had attended in over a year. There were only 500 vaccinated Israelis in a stadium that ordinarily holds nearly 30,000 people but it felt strange and exhilarating to be in a crowd of any size after a year of intermittent lockdowns.

The audience was confined to their socially distanced seats, dancing in place and singing along through their masks. But the atmosphere was exuberant and it confirmed my status as a member of a new privileged class: the fully vaccinated.

We, a group that includes more than half of Israel’s nine million people, are getting a taste of a post-pandemic future.

new cases of Covid-19 have dropped dramatically, from a peak of 10,000 a day in January to a few hundred by late March. The economy has almost fully reopened. Just as Israel became a real-world laboratory for the efficacy of the vaccine, it is now becoming a test case for a post-lockdown, post-vaccinated society.

The Green Pass is your entry ticket.

Green Pass holders may dine indoors in restaurants, stay in hotels and attend indoor and outdoor cultural, sports and religious gatherings in the thousands. We can go to gyms, swimming pools and the theater. We can get married in wedding halls.

celebrated the spring holidays of Passover and Easter in the company of family and friends.

Local newspapers and television stations are advertising summer getaways for the fully vaccinated in countries prepared to take them, including Greece, Georgia and the Seychelles.

And when you book a table at a restaurant, they ask, Do you have a Green Pass? Are you vaccinated?

The system is imperfect, and, beyond the Green Pass, in many ways “system” may be an overstatement. Enforcement has been patchy. There are troubling questions about those who are not vaccinated and noisy debates playing out in real time — some landing in court — about the rules and responsibilities of the return to near normalcy.

Moreover, there’s no guarantee that this really is the start of a post-pandemic future. Any number of factors — delays in vaccine production, the emergence of a new vaccine-resistant variant and the huge numbers of Israelis who remain unvaccinated — could rip the rug out from under it.

post that getting vaccinated was for the common good, balancing public health against personal liberty, part of the social contract and a civic duty just like stopping at a red light.

“We have an issue here,” she said in an interview. “The world is paralyzed, people have lost their livelihoods, their health, their hope. When you put all those things on the scale, come on, just get inoculated! And if you really don’t want to, stay home.”

To solve the conundrum, and cater to under 16s, the government has allowed venues to offer rapid testing as an alternative to the Green Pass. But many business owners, responsible for ordering and financing the testing stations, have found the logistics impractical.

Unlike concerts and soccer matches, however, going to work is not a luxury for most people.

A teaching assistant at a school for children with special needs in central Israel refused to be vaccinated or, as her employer, the town of Kochav Yair-Tzur Yigal, demanded instead, present a negative Covid test on a weekly basis.

The school barred her from coming into work, with backing from the town council.

The teaching assistant, Sigal Avishai, appealed to the Labor Court in Tel Aviv. She argued that the council’s demands “impinged on her privacy” and were “without legal basis,” and that the requirement of a weekly test “was intended to pressure her into getting vaccinated contrary to her beliefs,” according to court documents.

Last month,the court ruled against her, saying her rights had to be balanced against those of the teaching staff, the children and their parents to “life, education and health,” citing the particular vulnerability of the children in question.

In a country with plenty of doses to go around, access to the vaccine is not an issue, said Gil Gan-Mor, director of the civil and social rights unit at the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.

In Israel, he said, “Anybody who is complaining can get the vaccine tomorrow morning.”

But in the absence of legislation, employers have been making up their own policies. At least one college of higher education was relying on the Labor Court precedent to require all staff and students to obtain a Green Pass in order to attend classes on campus.

In another case that went to court, the Health Ministry wanted to distribute lists of unvaccinated people to the local authorities so the authorities could, for example, identify unvaccinated teachers who have returned to school and try to persuade them to get vaccinated.

Citizens rights groups sued to prevent the ministry from distributing the lists, arguing that it was an invasion of privacy and that the medical information could not be adequately safeguarded. The case is before the Supreme Court.

Even where there are rules, enforcement is spotty.

The concert in Tel Aviv was the first time I was asked to show my Green Pass — and the last. My family has since spent a weekend at a B&B in the Galilee where breakfast was served in a closed room for all the guests, including unvaccinated children. A crowded Italian restaurant in the area made it clear that it was not sticking to the regulations, offering us indoor seating with a 7-year-old.

Back in Jerusalem, when I phoned to make a reservation for two at my favorite restaurant, serving pricey fresh market cuisine from a lively open kitchen, I was asked if we both had Green Passes. But when we arrived, nobody asked to see them.

The tables were placed as cozily as ever. Strangers sat shoulder to shoulder at the bar. Our young waitress was unmasked. A diner at the next table questioned how Covid-safe it all was, then shrugged and carried on with her dessert.

Some restaurant owners and managers complained that the pandemic has left them chronically short staffed and that they could not be expected to police the customers as well.

“It’s embarrassing,” said Eran Avishai, a part-owner of a Jerusalem restaurant. “I have to ask people all sorts of personal questions.” Some customers have come up with excuses and notes explaining why they have not been vaccinated, he said, and “all sorts of things that I don’t want to have to hear about.”

However, some restaurants are strictly observing the regulations, even checking the Green Pass against customers’ identity cards. Based on experience, friends are swapping tips and recommendations on Facebook regarding the entry policies of local eateries and watering holes. And at least one hipster pub in Jerusalem is asking only unfamiliar clientele to show Green Passes and using the system to keep out undesirables.

I feel a personal sense of lightness and relief as I go about my new, vaccinated life. I even caught myself the other day in the supermarket without my mask on, which is still required in public places.

We are living in splendid isolation. Virus restrictions still make most travel a daunting proposition and non-Israelis generally cannot enter the country. I miss my family overseas. Until the rest of the world catches up, we are a nation living in a bubble.

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