News Nosh 2.17.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday February 17, 2019
Quote of the day:
"I would just like to add that those who truly listened to what I said at the introduction to the story, and didn't rush to slam me online, (they) realized I was actually in favor of lenient punishment for the accused soldiers, since we are the ones sending them into this impossible reality. Are you happy now? I will continue expressing my opinion on this show. You won't be able to silence me!"
--Channel 13 News TV journalist Oshrat Kotler told viewers after being attacked for saying, "We send the kids to the army, to the territories, and we get back 'animals.' This is the result of the occupation."*

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Obstacles on the way to unity (Photo of Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid)
  • They underestimate those that are undecided - From the diary of the undecided voter // Ben-Dror Yemini
  • Bear hug - Enormous achievement for Israeli film - “Synonyms” won the “Golden Bear” prize at the Berlin Film Festival
  • Oshrat (Kotler, TV anchorwoman) storm - Anger after she said: “We send our children to the army and we receive them back as animals, that’s the result of the occupation”
  • On insult and memory // Sever Plocker in Warsaw on the crisis with Poland
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Fateful week for the right-wing bloc // Mati Tuchfeld
  • The balance of the (political) blocs will determine the percentage of the threshold (to enter Knesset) // Avraham Diskin
  • Moment of truth: On Thursday - the last date for submitting party lists for Knesset
  • Pence: “Iran’s anti-Semitism - is like the Nazis”
  • Exclusive - “Horrific conditions at Abarbanel (institution for mentally ill): Rats on the ceiling
  • Suspicion: Leitzman threatened to fire (psychiatrists) in order to receive the professional evaluation (that he wanted)
  • Anger at (TV anchorwoman) Oshrat Kotler: “She is worthy of condemnation”
  • Troubling: Drivers are being “tricked” at the Sonol gas station at Shilat Junction
  • Assessment in Jerusalem: The clarification to Poland will be enough, the diplomatic crisis is behind us
  • Shame in Greece: Hosts of handball game refused to hang the Israeli flag
  • Mistarevet (Israeli soldier in disguise as Arab): (Singer) Marina Maximilian will join the new season of ‘Fauda’ series

Elections 2019 News:
With five days to go before the deadline to submit party lists to the Knesset, the top election story was about alliances. The papers report of a ‘snag’ in the efforts to unite Benny Gantz’s Hosen L’Yisrael party with Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party. Yedioth reported that Netanyahu pressured two small right-wing parties, Habayit Hayehudi and Ichud Leumi to merge and they did. And the papers wrote about various possible joint lists.

Election Quickees:
  • Labor federation chief, Avi Nissenkorn, leaving post to join Gantz's party (Haaretz+)
  • Openly gay ex-mayor, ultra-Orthodox woman among new candidates joining Gantz's party  (Haaretz)
  • Ad Company Pulls Anonymous Attack Campaign Against Gantz, Funded by Likud  (Haaretz+)
  • Benny Gantz's former AI company received millions from the Israeli police  (Haaretz+)
  • Labor Party's Shabbat Bus Ruled Illegal by Election Committee (Haaretz and VIDEO)
  • Israeli Arab Parties on Verge of Disbanding Alliance, Prepare to Run Separately in Election - A lack of trust and conflict between Hadash, Balad, Ra'am and Ta'al may lead the parties to stand apart in the face of the challenge of reaching the electoral threshold. (Haaretz+)
  • Results Announced in Israeli Left-wing Party Meretz's First-ever Primaries - MK Ilan Gilon, MK Michal Rozin, and MK Esawi Freige retain place in top five of party ticket, while Ali Salalha, a school principal in a Druze village, will be fifth, in the position reserved for a new face. The other spots were won by, in order, former deputy mayor of Tel Aviv Mehereta Baruch-Ron; MK Mossi Raz; Avi Buskila, who ran against Zandberg for the party's leadership last year; renowned human rights attorney Gaby Lasky; and Avi Dabush, head of the Meretz branch in Israel's outlining areas. Candidates who did not enter the top ten included former Peace Now head Yariv Oppenheimer, LGBTQ activist Anat Nir, and Kibbutz representative Yaniv Sagee. (Haaretz+)

Other Top News Summary:
*Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sparked a diplomatic crisis with Poland when he said that the Poles collaborated with the Nazis, and he had numerous other glitches during his trip to the summit in Warsaw, Israeli Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Leitzman reportedly threatened to fire officials in his ministry if they didn't produce a psychiatric evaluation deeming an Australian ultra-Orthodox woman wanted for extradition by Australia for pedophilia unfit to stand trial, an Israeli film director received the top award for his film, ‘Synonyms,’ which was critical of Israeli mlitarism, at the Berlin Film Festival and a Channel 13 News journalist was slammed for saying that serving in the occupied Palestinian territories turns Israeli combat soldiers into animals (also Maariv) - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

And, at the Warsaw summit on Middle East security Netanyahu sat alongside Arab leaders - and he also leaked a video clip of Saudi and Bahraini leaders blaming Iran for blocking the path to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Netanyahu said that the Arab leaders’ overtures towards Israel (and against Iran) were meant to prepare their people for accepting normalization of ties. However, Arabs expressed on the internet their opposition to their leaders’ normalization with Israel, calling it treason. Many Arab voices on the Internet claimed that the Arab leaders who were photographed next to Netanyahu at the Warsaw conference gave him a "free service.” (Maariv/JPost) Netanyahu also expressed anticipation for the Trump ‘Deal of the Century.’ At the Munich Security Conference in Germany, the Pakistani Foreign Minister told Maariv, “We will advance our relations with Israel if the peace process continues.” However, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi said Saturday that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the main source of Middle East instability.

Meanwhile, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence had sharp words for Iran, accusing its regime of making “murderous threats with the same vile anti-Semitic hatred that animated the Nazis in Europe.” Iran responded saying: We respect Judaism but oppose Israel for acting like a "killing machine against the Palestinians." Earlier, Pence urged Europe to quit the Iran nuclear deal and back US sanctions, but German leader Angela Merkel said “keeping the small anchor we have” would help exert pressure on Tehran on other issues.
Quick Hits:
  • Twenty Palestinians, Israeli Border Police officer lightly wounded in clashes along Gaza border - Some 11,000 Gazans came out to demonstrate on 47th Friday protest in a row. Israeli Border Officer lightly wounded from shrapnel after explosive device was thrown at him. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Palestinians in Hebron patrol city after Israel kicks out international observers - After Netanyahu scraps international peacekeeping mission in Hebron, some Palestinians decided to take matters into their own hands and fill the void created in the contested, conflict-prone West Bank city. (Agencies, Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Israel Won't Let Gazan Visit Stroke-victim Father in West Bank. The Reason? He Isn't Sick Enough - According to Israeli criteria, a permit to leave the Strip is not provided if there is no death or funeral. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel Knows We Can Invade and It Can't Attack Us, Hezbollah Chief Nasrallah Says - Hassan Nasrallah claims Middle East-themed Warsaw summit was meant to promote normalization with Israel and isolate Iran, but failed. (Haaretz+)
  • Hezbollah Airs New Footage of 2015 Attack Where Two Israeli Soldiers Were Killed - Video shows launch and impact of anti-tank missile at Israeli army vehicle in disputed border area. (Haaretz and VIDEO)
  • Israeli military arrests unarmed man who crossed border from Lebanon - Incident follows another one in January in which the Lebanese army arrested a U.S. citizen who entered the country from Israel. (Haaretz+)
  • IDF conducts exercise with US military - Biennial Juniper Falcon exercise concluded Thursday and took place amid realistic scenario of Iran retaliating with thousands of missiles, via proxies in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, for an IAF strike in Syria. (Ynet)
  • Waiving posters of Assad, Golan Heights Druze mark anniversary of Israeli annexation - 'This land is the land of our fathers. No one has the right to it other than the Syrians,' Druze residents of the Golan say in protest over 1981 annexation. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Netanyahu defends confirmation of Syria strike: I wouldn't reveal things they don't know - 'When our airplanes are flying, they know very well that it's us,' Netanyahu says after defying Israeli defense establishment by taking credit for attack. (Haaretz+)
  • Kushner: Middle East peace plan expected after Israeli election - Despite long odds of forging peace between Israel and the Palestinians, U.S. senior adviser Jared Kushner reportedly tells Warsaw Middle East conference he believes "privately, people are much more flexible" than their public positions. (Israel Hayom)
  • This Jerusalem Community Stands in the Way of a Cable Car to the Kotel - And it has to do with a roof over a cemetery. The Karaite community has rejected the Jerusalem Development Authority’s request to build a roof over the community’s ancient cemetery in the Hinnom Valley in the capital. The Development Authority, the Jerusalem municipality and the Tourism Ministry view the plan as a way to ease access to the Old City, but conservationists, city planners and left-wing activists, as well as the Palestinian residents of Silwan, are expected to (vehemently - Hebrew version) object to it. (Haaretz+ and Haaretz Hebrew)
  • Israel Funded Over 200 Gender-segregated Events, Violating Government Resolution - Israel allocated 15.4 million shekels ($4.2 million) for gender-segregated events in the past three years, for cultural as well as religious activities. (Haaretz+)
  • Girl, 15, suffers brain injury due to mishap at construction site - Victim on respirator in hospital after being hit by falling steel rod; three passersby killed in construction accidents last year. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli cyberattack firm NSO bought back by founders at $1b company value - Two founders are partnering with European private equity fund Novalpina to purchase the controversial firm from Francisco Partners. (Haaretz+)
  • Doctors' strike at Hadassah ends, hospitals to hire residents - After labor court hearing, hospitals to hire seven residents who were due to start work February 1. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli college submitted false data to hide compliance failure - Rector of Achva Academic College, Professor Yael Fisher, resigns over President Professor Shosh Arad’s attempt to conceal that school program had failed to meet academic requirements. (Haaretz+)
  • Chaos at Jerusalem rabbinical courts after corruption allegations exposed - Accusations fly between Israel's chief rabbi and the ousted head of the court panel that oversees lucrative property trust potrfolios. (Haaretz+)
  • WATCH: ’Dirty Zionist Sh*t': French Jewish Philosopher Alain Finkielkraut Attacked by Yellow Vest Protesters in Paris - Demonstrators cornered the French thinker and yelled profanities ■ Macron denounces incident: 'Anti-Semitic insults are the opposite of what makes us a great nation.’ (Haaretz)
  • Polish hipsters reviving Jewish musical treasures from before the Holocaust - In light of Poland's 100th anniversary celebrations and the current preoccupation with its image and its past, young Polish musicians find a renewed interest in the Jewish interwar soundtrack. (Haaretz+)
  • Islamic State Losing Last Pockets of Territory in Syria as U.S.-backed Forces Encircle Enclave - Battle to capture the terror group's remaining stronghold underway after Trump says he will make 'great announcements' about Syria. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Isis Claims Responsibility for Attack That Killed 15 Egyptian Military Personnel - The Egyptian army launched a campaign a year ago against Islamist militants focused on Egypt's Sinai peninsula. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Egypt lawmakers approve possible 3-decade rule by president - Egyptian parliament votes to extend term limits for President el-Sissi until 2034, part of package of constitutional amendments set to further enshrine military's role in politics • Critics argue move signals Egypt slipping back into authoritarianism. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Iran Mourns 27 Revolutionary Guard Soldiers Killed in Suicide Bombing - Revolutionary Guard chief threatens to retaliate, claims U.S. and Israel behind attack they pushed Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to carry out. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Qatar Revamps Investment Policy After Kushner Bailout - The rescue of the tower on Fifth Avenue is an intricate tale involving Brookfield Property Partners, in which Qatar owns 9%. (Agencies, Haaretz)

Reminder: Israel Is Still Holding a Palestinian Lawmaker as Political Prisoner Indefinitely
Palestinian lawmaker Khalida Jarrar has been incarcerated in an Israeli jail without a trial for 20 months. Another period of ‘administrative detention’ will soon expire. Will she come home? (Gideon Levy and Alex Levac, Haaretz+)
Honenu: The legal arm of Israel's radical settlers
Once a small NGO, the organization is now one of the main weapons in the arsenal of West Bank settlers. It goes head-to-head with the Shin Bet, represents 'price tag' suspects in court, hands out calling cards to soldiers in case they're charged with violence against Arabs, and in the past even provided financial support to families of Jewish terrorists, including Yitzhak Rabin's killer Yigal Amir. (Elisha Ben Kimon and Itay Ilnai, Yedioth/Ynet)
Two tales of a city: Jerusalem tour guided by a Palestinian and an Israeli
MEJDI Tours operates a Dual Narrative tour of the Holy City where tourists can hear both the Jewish-Zionist version and the Palestinian narrative of the conflicted city side by side. (Reuters, Ynet)
In Japan, 'Jewish domination' is a good thing, says prof.
Japanese history expert says while Germans believed the solution to the anti-Semitic cannard that 'Jews rule the world' was expulsion and annihilation, in Japan, people concluded that they must learn from the Jewish community, turning anti-Semitism into philo-Semitism. (Yaniv Pohoryles, Yedioth/Ynet)
This groundbreaking Mossad photographer's most intriguing works can't be published
Her professional photographs, which documented the secret operations she conducted round the world, have never been published, but luckily for us, she kept a portfolio of impressive unclassified work at home. (Ofer Aderet, Haaretz+)
Israeli Researcher Proposes New Explanation to Why Dome of Rock Was Built on Temple Mount
It has dominated the Jerusalem skyline for 1,300, but there is no single accepted explanation for why it was built. A recent article by Dr. Milka Levy-Rubin in the Cathedra journal published by Yad Ben-Zvi, says the Dome of the Rock was built in order to restore Jerusalem’s place on the regional map of holy sites, not vis a vis Mecca, but rather as a rival to Constantinople, the Byzantine capital. This is why the Muslims depended on the Jewish traditions at the site. (Nir Hasson, Haaretz+)
Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
There's no line Netanyahu won't cross on his way to a fifth term as prime minister (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) With a week remaining for the parties to finalize their slates, Gantz hits Netanyahu where it hurts.
Why is Netanyahu pushing to embrace Kahane's successors? (Nadav Eyal, Yedioth/Ynet) Racist, extremist Kahanism did not die with the racist, extremist rabbi who gave this ideology its name. His disciples and admirers walk among us and for some reason, Netanyahu has been lobbying to include them in a merger of small right-wing parties.
Netanyahu's fight against the state knows no bounds (Friday Haaretz Editorial) The prime minister sees himself as a rogue taking on the establishment when he is, in fact, the establishment.
How low can Israeli politicians go? (Shimon Shiffer, Yedioth/Ynet) As Election Day approaches, it seems that the campaigns are getting uglier and more absurd, with personal attacks and past national tragedies deemed acceptable ammunition in the quest for a Knesset seat.
Netanyahu turned the hollow diplomatic ceremonies into an way to improve his image as if the world were supportive of us (Ran Edelist, Maariv) The goal of the prime minister's visit to Poland is to present him as an influential international statesman, but in practice he puts Israel on the wrong side of a global campaign between fascism and enlightenment.
Will grandstanding in Warsaw help or hinder Netanyahu? (Sever Plocker, Yedioth/Ynet) The 1996 Sharm El Sheikh conference was meant to help Shimon Peres keep his PM's chair and save the peace process. The 2019 conference on 'peace and security in the Middle East' has similar objectives, but unlike the Sharm summit, there are no world leaders coming to Netanyahu's aid in the Polish capital.
Netanyahu's threats and declarations - playing with fire that harms national security (Yossi Melman, Maariv) Threatening Iran, breaking the policy of ambiguity, spreading arrogance and inflammatory declarations - against the background of the election period, the prime minister is losing his brakes and using security issues for his political needs.
The decision to change the policy of ambiguity (regarding Israeli attacks in Arab countries) cannot be made on the whim of a moment on the way to Poland (Alon Ben-David, Maariv) The mysteriousness that characterized Israel was replaced by showing off. The pathetic race for attention on the Internet has not left out the prime minister, and he is determined to win it, even at the price of damaging Israel’s deterrence.
The Crybabies on the Left Are Preparing for the Day After (Nave Dromi, Haaretz+) Disdain for Netanyahu and the right reflects the ideological collapse of the left. Don’t be surprised if in a few years Gideon Sa’ar, Gilad Erdan and Naftali Bennett have replaced Bibi in their ‘resemblance to Meir Kahane.’
The magic of hypocrisy (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) The Left is coming out against a possible merger between right-wing parties, accusing them of racism. But its own obstructionist bloc would include Arab parties that deny the Jewish nation's right to self-determination. Who are the real racists?
The Joint List Has No Right to Exist (Salman Masalha, Haaretz+) Putting all Arab representatives together is an obstacle to the possibility of creating a civic national discourse that crosses ethnic and communal boundaries.
Although it is a right-wing government, Hamas favors Netanyahu as prime minister (Jacky Khougy, Maariv) While Abbas is dreaming of a turnaround in the upcoming elections, in Gaza the dilemma is difficult. If you have to guess who Hamas politburo chief Yahiya Sinwar wants, you can bet that he will choose Netanyahu. And not because of the dollar-filled suitcases.
If Likud officials claim that what happened in Operation Protective Edge puts Gantz out of the reace, this applies to Netanyahu as well (Tal Lev-Ram, Maariv) At the moment it seems that the road leads in one direction: escalation. Violations at the (Gaza border) fence have become more violent, and the number of Palestinian casualties is expected to rise as the scale of events increases.
For whom should you vote? (Isi Leibler, Israel Hayom) In terms of crucial policies, a broad consensus unites the government and centrist opposition. But only Netanyahu has a record of proven, exceptional performance in both diplomacy and defense.
Reasonable, avoiders and procrastinaters: Netanyahu and Gantz are more similar than you thought (Udi Segal, Maariv) The Prime Minister accuses the Benny Gantz, Chairman of Hosen L’Yisrael party, of being a weak left-winger, while he himself has made several "weak leftist" decisions, from which he is trying to distance himself.
Heads of Israel's Labor, Meretz parties falling victim to chronic leftist syndrome (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) This pathology grows stronger in the face of the stability of right-wing rule, especially the imperial kind like that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
The seat of power (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) Parties have a week left to form alliances. It won't matter much if the Center and the Left join forces, but if the small right-wing parties can form a bloc, they might be able to keep the Left – which needs the Arab factions to form a government – out.

The fact that the Palestinian issue won’t be discussed in Warsaw is of great significance (Amos Gilboa, Maariv) The International Conference on Peace and Security in the Middle East will not discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is a new phenomenon, reflecting the reality that has developed in the region.
History is changing course (Ariel Kahana, Israel Hayom) For the first time, an international summit for Middle East peace didn't focus on Israel or the concessions it must make. The main focus was stopping Iran's expansion.
Israel looks ahead to new Hamas war, but doesn't look back at old lessons (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Three major Gaza operations yielded the same results.
Israel's strategic and intelligence situation is improving and the threats against it are small (Yossi Melman, Maariv) The strategic balance and the annual assessment of Military Intelligence indicate that we are far from existential threats, but the defense establishment is increasingly concerned that more countries in the region will develop a nuclear program.
Ruling on divisive 'McJesus' sculpture fulfills Israeli culture minister's censorship fantasies (Nirit Anderman, Haaretz+) Following years of attempts by Miri Regev to curb offensive artistic expression, this week a court in Haifa upheld the mayor's right to intervene in content at a municipal museum to 'maintain public order.'
For Israel's Golden Intel Boys, It Starts With Terror and Ends With Greed (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Veterans of Israel’s famed signal intelligence corps, Unit 8200, already well versed in violence against the helpless, are now indulging in rotten meddling abroad.
How did two reports about the army's readiness for war contradict each other? (Brig. Gen. (res.) Eli Ben-Meir, Maariv) The contents of the documents written by the heads of the subcommittees of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee contradict each other.
The Hypocrisy of the University Cartel (Israel Harel, Haaretz+) The fuel that is igniting the campaign against Ariel University is purely political and ideological.
Palestinians Have No Confidence in the Palestinian President (Yasmin Zaher, Haaretz+) There were strikes and protests this month in Ramallah – and they weren't against the occupation. Palestinian workers demanded Israel keep their hard-earned social security payments rather than entrust them to the 'safekeeping' of its nepotistic proxy – the Palestinian Authority.
Poland's 'Holocaust Law:' The Wound Is Still Open (Haaretz Editorial) The latest diplomatic crisis with Warsaw shows that the controversial Israeli-Polish declaration about the law resolved nothing.
Yemen's War Is a Mercenary Heaven. Are Israelis Reaping the Profits? (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The privatization of the war in Yemen has entered a new stage.
The Knesset Candidate Who Says Zionism Encourages anti-Semitism and Calls Netanyahu 'Arch-murderer'
Few Israelis have heard of Dr. Ofer Cassif, the Jewish representative on the far-leftist Hadash party's Knesset slate. On April 9, that will change. Indeed, the assault on him began as soon as he was selected by the party’s convention. The media pursued him; a columnist in the mass-circulation Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, Ben-Dror Yemini, called for him to be disqualified from running for the Knesset. It would be naive to say that this was unexpected. Cassif, who was one of the first Israeli soldiers to refuse to serve in the territories, in 1987, gained fame thanks to a number of provocative statements. The best known is his branding of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked as “neo-Nazi scum.” On another occasion, he characterized Jews who visit the Temple Mount as “cancer with metastases that have to be eradicated.” On his alternate Facebook page, launched after repeated blockages of his original account by a blitz of posts from right-wing activists, he asserted that Culture Minister Miri Regev is “repulsive gutter contamination,” that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is an “arch-murderer” and that the new Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, is a “war criminal.” (Interviewed by Ravit Hechts, Haaretz+)
Do you regret making those remarks?
Cassif: “‘Regret’ is a word of emotion. Those statements were made against a background of particular events: the fence in Gaza, horrible legislation, and the wild antics of Im Tirtzu [an ultranationalist organization] on campus. That’s what I had to say at the time. I didn’t count on being in the Knesset. That wasn’t part of my plan. But it’s clear to me that as a public personality, I would not have made those comments.”
Is Netanyahu an arch-murderer?
“Yes. I wrote it in the specific context of a particular day in the Gaza Strip. A massacre of innocent people was perpetrated there, and no one’s going to persuade me that those people were endangering anyone.

"He is perceived, and rightly so as someone who closes doors to Hadash activity within Israeli society,” said a party veteran figure. “Each of the other Jewish candidates presented a record of action and of struggles they spearheaded. What does he do? Curses right-wing politicians on Facebook.” At the same time, as his selection by a 60 percent majority shows, many in the party believe that it’s time to change course. “Israeli society is moving rightward, and what’s perceived as Dov’s [Khenin] more gentle style didn’t generate any great breakthrough on the Jewish street,” a senior source in Hadash notes. “It’s not a question of the tension between extremism and moderation, but of how to signpost an alternative that will develop over time. Clarity, which is sometimes called crudity, never interfered with cooperation between Arabs and Jews. On the contrary. Ofer says things that we all agreed with but didn’t so much say, and of course that’s going to rile the right wing. And a good thing, too.”
'No reason why Canada shouldn't move its embassy to Jerusalem'
During his 10 years in office, former Canadian PM Stephen Harper took a pro-Israel stance that has remained the country's policy to this day • In an interview with Israel Hayom, Harper talks about anti-Israel bias and the investigations into PM Netanyahu. (Interviewed by Erez Linn in Israel Hayom)

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