News Nosh 1.3.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday January 3, 2019

 
Quote of the day:
"The feeling of the [Israeli] government is everything is allowed, that the time to do things is now because the [U.S.] administration is the most pro-settlement you can ever have."
--Hagit Ofran of Peace Now's Settlement Watch program explained after The Associated Press compiled Peace Now figures that showed an increase in building in 2018 and a sharp spike in planning for future construction.*

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • “In the ‘hood, I learned that if someone hits you, you hit back and don’t run to try to make peace” - Labor party Chairman, Avi Gabbay in a special interview after the storm over his dismissal of MK Tzipi Livni
  • (Photo of Gabbay standing in the area where was once the immigrants’ camp where he grew up in Talpiot, Jerusalem)
  • (TV executive) Alex Giladi withdrew his libel suit against (TV anchorwoman) Oshrat Kotler (who accused him of making an indecent proposal) (Hebrew)
  • (Channel 10) producer filed complaint with police: Kotler attacked me
  • The IDF History Museum suddenly closed
  • Trump admitted: “Iran will do in Syria whatever it wants”
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • Waiting for the sentence - The fate of thousands of ill people will be decided today when the committee for the subsidized medicines releases which of 200 medicines and treatments the state will give funding for
  • The weak can wait - Because of early elections, votes on row of bills for the benefit of single moms, victims of violence and of combat shock
  • Ignoring the mentor - Members of the Pink Floyd cover to come perform in Israel, in opposition to the request of the object of their admiration, Roger Waters
  • Decision next month - Channel 10 News: Attorney General Mendelblitt is speeding up the discussions in the Netanyahu (corruption) cases and is expected to announce his decision in February
Israel Hayom

Elections 2019 News:
The political landscape is changing even before the elections, with the division of factions and the creation of new ones, the Hebrew newspapers noted. Yedioth gave Labor Party Chairman Avi Gabbay a front page article to explain why he dismissed his partner MK Tzipi Livni in such a humiliating way. He said Livni wouldn't commit not to join a Netanyahu-led government. Lawmakers were divided over Gabbay's shocking move and polls revealed that the split did not help the Labor party, whose number of mandates dropped to a single digit, while Likud leads by a large gap. (Also Maariv) (Livni said she was surprised, not humiliated by Gabbay's shock split.)

Yedioth also revealed that departing MK Dov Khenin (Joint List) proposed the most legislative bills, 455, with Merav Michael (Zionist Camp) in second place with 227. And that MK Tzipi Livni spent the highest number of days abroad on trips not sent by the Knesset: 95. MK Hanin Zouebi was in second place with 84 days abroad. Of the three MKs who submitted the highest number of parliamentary queries, two of them were from the Joint List: MK Yusuf Jabarin and MK Ahmed Tibi. Haaretz+ reported that Benny Gantz will deliver his first campaign speech next Thursday. Until now, his views are completely unknown. And far right-wing Jerusalem Post commentator, Caroline Glick, joined Ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked's ‘New Right’ wing party, while former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi said he'd join Likud if he entered politics and former IDF chief of staff and defense minister Moshe Ya'alon registered his new party, Telem. And
'New Horizon' is a new Arab party that seeks to bridge gaps between Israelis and Palestinians and solve the Arabs' housing crisis.

Other News Summary:
US President Donald Trump said that Iran ‘can do what they want' in Syria and the Trump administration has barred Israeli law enforcement agencies from questioning former US Secretary of State John Kerry and former American ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, on allegations that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu illegally received lavish gifts from Israeli Hollywood tycoon, Arnon Milchan [also known as Case 1000]. Meanwhile, a ‘senior source’ told the Israeli press that “Netanyahu got almost everything he wanted from the Trump administration.” The source claimed that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agreed to '7 out of 8' requests from Netanyahu during their meeting in Brazil.

Also making news, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad told Iran that it would create a second front in any Israel-Lebanon war and former defense minister and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Lieberman reportedly revealed details of Trump's Middle East peace plan to the Palestinians before resigning his ministerial post in November. Details supposedly include a Palestinian state in Gaza, self-rule in areas of West Bank, and no loss of land for Israel.
 
Quick Hits:
  • Israeli Taxpayers Help Foot the Bill for Settlers’ Return to Amona Outpost - The nonprofit group Ofek Lehityashvut receives hundreds of thousands of shekels in public funds, sources say. (Haaretz+)
  • Shin Bet questions dozens of minors in Jewish terrorism case - Shin Bet and Israel Police questioned over 30 Jewish minors and conducted numerous raids at a yeshiva in the West Bank. The educational institution was attended by three suspects, who were arrested earlier this week as part of a far-reaching investigation into Jewish terrorism in Israel. Suspects' lawyers accused police and Shin Bet of persecution and harassment of innocent people. (Ynet)
  • Security source: "If the trend of escalation (of Jewish terror) continues, there will be a deadly attack like in Duma" - A senior security official warns of a worsening of Jewish terror in 2019: "The hilltop youth are less deterred and more daring, one of the factors leading to an increase in crime - the easing of (punishments by) the courts.” (Maariv)
  • *Israeli settlement activity in West Bank appears to surge in Trump era - Anti-settlement monitoring group Peace Now claims since Trump took over from Barack Obama there has been an unprecedented rise in the percentage of settlement planning and construction as Israeli government feels 'everything is allowed.' (Agencies, Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • 'The Party Is Over': Israeli Minister Announces Harsher Conditions for Palestinian Security Prisoners - Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan vows to 'worsen' prisoners' conditions despite security agencies' opposition. No separation between Fatah and Hamas prisoners, less time to shower, cooking in cells will now be prohibited. Head of Palestinians Prisoners Club says statements are perceived as propaganda rather than actual policy. (Haaretz+)
  • Farming Permits for Palestinians in West Bank ‘Seam Zone’ Cut Drastically - Nearly three-quarters of requests refused in 2018, compared to one-quarter in 2014. (Haaretz+)
  • Study: Israel's National Insurance Institute Website in Arabic Is Substandard - Some pages of the Hebrew website had never been translated into Arabic at all, including important information on benefits ■ NII: Problems will be fixed in two months. (Haaretz+)
  • Hebrew U. lecturer under fire for scolding uniformed soldier - Hebrew University apologizes after political storm erupts as senior literature professor Dr. Carola Hilfrich scolds student after class for making Arab student in the class uncomfortable. Hilfrich told the soldier: "You can't be naïve enough to ask to be treated as a civilian when you are in uniform. You are a soldier in the Israeli army and people treat you accordingly." "Does it bother you that I'm wearing uniform in class?" the soldier asked, to which Dr. Hilfrich replied: "There are people whose civil society is as important to them as the army is to you, and you must accept their priorities as tolerantly as they accept yours." The lecturer later apologized: "I'm committed to a multiplicity of opinions." (Maariv, Yedioth/Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Hamas prisoner gives interview to Hezbollah media from Israeli jail - Nael Barghouti, the longest-serving Palestinian security prisoner in Israel, named "man of the year" by Lebanon-based Al-Akhbar newspaper. "We will never recognize Israel," Barghouti says. Israel Prison Service puts Barghouti in solitary confinement. (Israel Hayom)
  • (Attorney General) ‘Mendelblit Is a Collaborator': Police Launch Probe Into Graffiti Targeting Israel's Attorney General - Incident comes a week after Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, who is facing a crucial decision on whether to indict the prime minister, reported to police that his father's grave had been desecrated. (Haaretz+)
  • Online Hate Speech Targeting Israeli Military Chief Jumped 35 Percent in Past Year - Since 2015, hate speech against Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot has soared by 712 percent. Between November 2017 and October 2018, 74 percent of online incitement against Eisenkot came from right-wing users. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Arab charged with incitement to terror over pro-Hezbollah Facebook post - Galilee resident, 64, posted photos of Israeli soldiers with targets on their heads and the caption 'turn them into chaff’. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • Legal and legal experts warn: Anat Kam's verdict is likely to shake the investigative press in Israel - Experts criticize the District Court's ruling that Haaretz and its journalist Uri Blau will compensate Anat Kam for their responsibility for damages caused to Kamm (who was jailed for two years) as a result of her exposure as a newspaper source. The court expanded the duty of caution of a journalist toward his source. (Globes)
  • More than half of Israel's immigrants in 2018 not recognized as Jews - Jewish status of 54% of new arrivals in doubt, as they join the scores of Israelis who government welcomes under Law of Return but who face problems marrying due to Orthodox monopoly on religious life. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • (Former TV Executive) Alex Giladi will cancel the lawsuit against (TV anchorwoman) Oshrat Kotler and journalist Neri Livneh - After the anchor revealed in a live broadcast that the senior media person had made her an indecent proposal and two days later the journalist revealed Giladi had exposed himself to her, Giladi sued them. Giladi was dismissed from his job as President of Keshet TV as a result of their complaints. But he withdrew his libel suits after mediation between the parties. (Haaretz Hebrew and Yedioth/Ynet Hebrew)
  • A media employee complained that Oshrat Kotler had attacked her; The journalist denies it - TV anchorwoman Kotler said: "All the researcher's claims are false." (KAN Broadcasting)
  • Israel forcibly hospitalizes U.S. tourist for 2 months - Woman suffers psychotic episode shortly after arrival, is treated at the Abarbanel Mental Health Center; but after treatment she was denied boarding on a flight home to California. With the assistance of the Legal Aid Department at the Justice Ministry, the woman filed a lawsuit claiming her detention after returning from the airport was illegal.  (Ynet)
  • IDF History Museum closing came by surprise - The museum was closed on January 1, 1919 and will reopen to the public at its new residence in Latrun in two years. (Yedioth, p. 1 and Israel Defense Ministry)
  • Philippine Airlines Seeks Saudi Overfly Permit for Direct Route to Israel - Philippine official attributes move to successful visit to Israel by President Rodrigo Duterte. Israeli airlines not likely to receive similar rights due to decades-long rift between Jerusalem and Riyadh. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • After Israel commits to stringent standards for scaffolding, Knesset approves softer demands - Pressured by contractors, lawmakers approve relatively lenient demands amid growing concern over jeopardized construction workers. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel to Reconsider Ruling That Desertion From Eritrean Army Is Grounds for Asylum - Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit directs Immigration Authority to reexamine policy from 2015, affecting some 25,000 asylum seekers from Eritrea. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Immigration Chief Says Nixed UN Plan for Asylum Seekers Is the Best - In early April, Netanyahu backed out of a deal to resettle 16,250 asylum seekers in Canada, Italy and elsewhere, while a similar number could receive legal status in Israel. (Haaretz+)
  • Report: Qatar will transfer money to the Gaza Strip next week to pay salaries to Hamas [government - OH]- According to Lebanese newspaper, ‘Al Akhbar,’ Ambassador Mohammed al-Amadi is expected to pass through the border crossing carrying suitcases that include large amounts of cash. This is the third time this has happened. According to the report, Israel informed the Egyptian and Qatari intermediaries that it intends to expand the Palestinians’ fishing zone in the Gaza Strip to 12 nautical miles if the quiet is maintained. (Maariv)
  • Saudi Arabia to Build Entertainment Complex After Decades of Curbing Leisure Activities - Center will be developed in Riyadh by a company operating under kingdom's wealth fund and will feature sports activities, live shows, restaurants and cinemas. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Fighting Among Rebels in Northern Syria Kills Dozens - The new wave of fighting comes after President Donald Trump’s abrupt announcement in mid-December that he was withdrawing 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Lebanon's Hezbollah believes solution to government impasse ‘very close’ - Shi’ite group sees possible breakthrough to create national unity government in line with Lebanon's sectarian power-sharing system as country faces economic problems and regional instability. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • As New Congress Convenes, Democrats Seek to 'Balance Damages' of Trump's Israel Policies - Former diplomats warn of a Netanyahu failure to 'deal with new reality' in Democratic-led House. The Trump administration made as string of controversial decisions in 2018 to almost completely cut U.S. aid to the Palestinians, including money that was supposed to support cancer treatments and coexistence programs. Former US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro thinks Democrats will try to look for ways to “balance some of the damages.” (Haaretz+)
  • Rashida Tlaib to Be Sworn Into Congress – on Thomas Jefferson's Koran - First Palestinian-American congresswoman will take her oath on the Founding Father's copy of Islam's holiest book, which dates back to 1734 and has a complicated history. (Haaretz)
  • The Israeli musician on Obama's playlist - The former president may no longer be sitting at the Oval Office, but even as a private citizen, the entire world takes heed of his annual list of favorite music, which this year features Tali Rubinstein. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • BDS lost: After the cancellation, Pink Floyd's coverers reinstate Israel visit - "UK Pink Floyd Experience" will appear in Israel despite the efforts of Roger Waters, and the pressure he exerted on the band members, which included a series of telephone harrassments and messages on social media networks. (Maariv and Times of Israel)


Features:
Zionism’s Dark Secret: The Tale of the Jews Who Left Pre-state Israel During the British Mandate
Meir Margalit studied Jewish emigration from Palestine during the British Mandate. It had numerous causes — economic distress, the precarious security situation and even the Zionist movement’s cruelty toward the sick and the old — but its effect on the Zionist project at the time was minimal. (Tom Segev, Haaretz+)
No More Holyland - (Top artists canceled performances in 2018)
The year was indeed fuller than its predecessor with veteran stars, including Cliff Richard, Ringo Starr, Ozzie Osborne, Nana Mouskouri, Don McLean, Brian Wilson ("The Boys Boys"), Julio Iglesias, A-Ha, Jethro Tull, and a few others, who with all due respect, are has-beens. And if that were not enough, this year, one after another, there were painful cancellations of the best foreign artists: Rita Ora, Bruno Mars, Future, Lil Wayne, Beyoncé, Pharrell Williams, Lorde and Valena del Rey. Everyone canceled their arrival this year; Some were not afraid to admit that this was due to intense pressure exerted by the BDS organization. (Dudi Steimer, Maariv)
The grassroots movements in Israel-Palestine that won 2018
+972 Magazine’s story of the year for 2018 is the protest movements that managed to beat the odds by forcing governments to revisit and even change their policies. The story of African refugees stopping their deportation from Israel, and Gazans using popular protests to make sure the world doesn’t forget about them. (Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man, +972mag)
A Peek at the Most Secretive Cybersecurity Firm in Israel
Candiru quietly sells gear used for hacking into computers. (Amitai Ziv, Haaretz+)
The departure of the moshavs from Hanoar Haoved Vehalomed (Working and Learning Youth Movement) tears the blue shirts
The moshav youth decided to replace the red strings of the blue shirts with  an olive-green string. This is not merely a symbolic step:  the red represents the workers' blood, while the green symbolizes roots, agriculture and renewal. Behind the change of the string is the decision of the Council of Moshavs to disengage from the Working and Learning Youth Movement, which for many years has sponsored it, and to seek recognition as an independent movement. The decision of the moshavs to become an independent movement sparked a bitter conflict, the end of which is not in sight. In the meantime, it isn't eligible for funding from the Education Ministry, and its future remains unclear. Hanoar Haoved Vehalomed maintains that withdrawing from a youth movement that includes almost all the population groups in Israel - Jews, Arabs, Druze, kibbutzniks, moshavniks and others - will create a small sectoral movement. (Haaretz Hebrew)
 
Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
Labor and Meretz should join forces (Yossi Beilin, Israel Hayom) After its split from Hatnuah, Labor will need a new political alliance if it has any hope of rehabilitating itself politically. Meretz is a natural choice; such a partnership would do both parties good.
Dov Khenin's legacy - A presenter of democracy (Yedioth TV critic, Einav Schiff, Yedioth) When politics are just another more fateful edition of Guy Pines' (fashion and celebrity program), it's no wonder that the Knesset is losing such an active MK such as Dov Khenin (a member of the Hadash communist party, which is part of the Joint List faction - OH), who is held in admiration and who has achieved so much. Now, a person who was adamant to do the work for which he was sent to Jerusalem, prefers to try to make change in new horizons. It's sad, not only because Khenin succeeded from the political sidelines, never from the offices with real power, to change and shape the reality through laws that he led and the activities in Knesset committees. It's also sad in a symbolic way, of what does it mean to be a member of Knesset today: Does it mean to invent legislative bills in order to get into the nightly news and into tomorrow's newspapers - preferably with the word 'storm' - and to forget about them the next day, or to think seriously how t improve the lives of citizens? Khenin, and the variety of MKs who took the time to part from him with their feeling so obvious in their voices, did the highest type of parliamentary work. His colleagues expressed sorrow because they learned that behind dry and superficial definitions there is a man who did not come to politics because it was urgent to him that the whole country know his name. Dov Khenin was the presenter the Knesset need. Yet, with his departure, it's not certain at all that enough Israelis can identify him and name the laws he passed in numerous fields, from the environment to the rights of animals. [NOTE: Yedioth reported on page 3 today that Khenin proposed the most legislative bills: 455. Merav Michaeli (Zionist Camp) came in second place with 227 and Itsik Shmuli (Zionist Camp) third place with 183. - OH]
Israel's Political Scene Is Drowning in the Drama (Zehava Galon, Haaretz+) Firings on live TV, dramatic press conferences and changes in the polls have become the focus of political reporting – our own version of America under Trump.
EXCLUSIVE: We need to talk about Iran and Russia in this Israeli election (David Makovsky and Dennis Ross, Yedioth/Ynet) Makovsky, who served as senior policy advisor in the Office of the Secretary of State 2013-2014, and Dennis Ross, who has served as US Middle East peace envoy 1993-2001 and senior Middle East advisor in the White House 2009-2011,  say that while no politician will want to acknowledge the reality of a diminished U.S. role in the Mideast, they should at least address Moscow’s regional prominence and new criticism of Israeli actions in Syria and Lebanon.
Mendelblit, Decide Before the Election (Haaretz Editorial) For Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, it his duty to the public to render his decision on the Netanyahu cases, at least the decision pending a hearing, before the election.
The simple reason for Gabbay’s dismissal of Livni: impulse and ego, and the realization that she overshadows him (Ran Edelist, Maariv) It is not that Gabbay is bad, it’s that Livni has political and security mileage, and this is evident in her behavior. It was not difficult to identify her anger at the moment of the announcement, as if in the language of the ‘hood “he came out like a real man.”
Zionist Union split was just politics as usual (Sima Kadmon, Yedioth/Ynet) Gabbay behaved inexcusably when he threw Livni to the curb in front of the cameras, but she can definitely handle it; ultimately, the two hated one other and should have separated long ago.
Build a united bloc against the Left (Dr. Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) Anyone who thinks that the New Right will help the mainstream Right in the April Knesset election is mistaken. Even a few lost seats could lead to the rise of a center-left coalition.
It can be said in the defense of Gabbay and Livni that they have honestly earned their sufferings (Ben Caspit, Maariv) The chairman of the Labor party woke up the last demon that had not yet risen against him - and became a chauvinist overnight. The chairman of Hatnua was kicked out of her fourth party and took over the mega-subversive and mega-treacherous slot.
To succeed, Livni must overcome her negative image (Ben Dror-Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) Many try to paint Tzipi Livni as a leftist, but she is one of the most experienced, articulate, resolute and successful politicians, if she can overcome the bias about what she has to offer.
The opportunist's dance card is empty (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) Tzipi Livni's sheer opportunism stands out even in the Israeli political landscape as she has never passed on a chance to zigzag politically • This time, however, she was outmaneuvered by Labor's leader and may find herself out in the political cold.
In Israel, There's No Left. There's Only a Right in Different Forms (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) The sad and unbelievable joke about the break-up of the Zionist Union faction: Israel fancies this a rift on the left.

Commentary/Analysis:
So what if I stole? (Yossi Klein, Haaretz+) Netanyahu won’t let a corruption trial happen no matter what it costs – war, casualties, threats or lies. Besides, Israelis no longer seek moral justification for their country’s actions.
My Father Amos Oz Left Us With World-changing Words (Fania Oz-Salzberger, Haaretz+) My father died, and anyone who thinks that hope died in Israel with the death of Amos Oz did not really know him. Because he knew we could go on. He invented with his words a kind of invention so hope would not die.
Thank heaven we're done with UNESCO (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) The U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization aids and abets the Palestinians in their ongoing campaign to take over Jewish holy sites in people's consciousness when they failed to do so through wars, political deals or violence.
Israel's Nation-State Law also discriminates against Mizrahi Jews (Orly Noy, +972mag) Mizrahi academics and activists demand Israel’s High Court strike down the Jewish Nation-State Law, saying it erases their cultural legacy and perpetuates injustices against both them and Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Poland's Ambassador to Israel: We Are the Only State in Europe to Properly Honor the Holocaust (Marek Magierowski, Haaretz+) Polish leaders consciously chose to commemorate the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto. Astonishingly, Israeli scholars call that 'suspicious,' 'politically prejudiced' and a 'historical distortion.’
The IDF doesn't investigate Palestinian deaths — it whitewashes them (Hagai El-Ad, +972mag) The Israeli army says it would like to conduct thorough investigations of the Palestinians it kills or wounds. The only problem? It is unable to do so honestly.
Backing Trump on Syria, America's So-called 'Progressives' Are Enabling a Kurdish Genocide (Robert Hockett and Anna-Sara Malmgren, Haaretz+) By applauding Trump gifting northern Syria to a theocratic, tyrannical Erdogan, fatuous self-styled 'anti-imperialists' are complicit in the torture, abductions, killings and ethnic cleansing of Kurds that will follow.
 
Interviews:
Gaza march leader to conscientious objectors: 'Turn your words into weapons'
The leader of Gaza’s Great Return March, Ahmed Abu Artema, holds a rare conversation with Israelis who refuse to serve in the army because of the occupation. ‘Those who refuse to take part in the attacks on the demonstrators in Gaza — they stand on the right side of history.’ Abu Artema also displayed a genuine, empathetic understanding of the reality that conscientious objectors are born into. “We are all born into a particular society. Over time, we become part of that society and internalize its values. The biggest challenge is to be able to stand up to the immoral things that take place and be able to refuse to take part in society’s immoral demands,” he told the crowd of Israelis present at the event at Hagada HaSmalit, a political space in central Tel-Aviv that hosts various left-wing groups. (Edo Konrad and Oren Ziv in +972mag)

Anat Kamm: "Haaretz newspaper threw me to the dogs. My career is stuck"
In an interview with Channel 10 News, the journalist welcomed the court's decision to recognize her right to demand compensation from Haaretz newspaper for violating its obligation not to expose her as its source: "There are essentially two principled statements (in this ruling). One principled statement is that the secrecy of a source is the soul of the free press," Kamm said. "I took responsibility for my criminal acts, I never denied them. But the way Haaretz just threw me to the dogs is something I thank the court for recognizing." Kamm describes the professional damage she has experienced since the affair broke out: "My career is still stuck. I'm not giving up responsibility for my part in it, but I needed two for this tango. People in the media did not want to hire me because of this," she said, "When people google my name, certainly in English, it's the first, the tenth, and the hundred, and the only thing they're seeing. It's the thing you most want to do for your career, but no one wants to let you do it." (Channel 10 News)

"The split of the parties weakens the ability of democracy to function as a coalition and opposition"
Former minister Meir Sheetrit, who in 2012 left the Kadima party and joined the movement headed by Tzipi Livni, says that in the current election campaign all the records are breaking, with the establishment of new movements and the disintegration of Habayit Hayehudi and the Zionist Camp. What does this mean about our democracy? (Interviewed by Karin Spingold in Maariv)

 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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