News Nosh 4.8.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday April 8, 2019

Quote of the day:
"The political bloc that built the country and held the reins of power for decades is now decimated by the country's shift in political proclivity; but politicians would do well to understand that the shift could easily reverse itself too."
--Yedioth commentator Sever Plocker.*

Front Page:
  • Small right-wing parties in battle for survival, in left-wing, they are turning to the Arab public
  • What determines, the size of the party or of the bloc? Three possible scenarios for the election results
  • From militarism to economy: Radical right-wing conquering new districts // Anshel Pfeffer
  • Netanyahu talks about annexation, but he thwarted the legislation on the subject // Noa Landau
  • The life of the party at the Kahol-Lavan convention was the veteran Likudnik
  • In the Arab parties, they are developing careful optimism // Jack Khoury
  • Itamar Ben-Gvir has a dream, which also could come true // Bar Peleg
  • From the cellphone to the submarines: 19 top moments of the elections
  • Fewer exams, higher salaries, subsidized afternoon care: Party promises regarding education
  • Tens of thousands participated in protest, exceptional in its size, against Sudan President Al-Bashir
  • State advancing plan that will prevent construction of hotel in Sasgon Valley in Arava desert
  • By car and by foot // Odeh Bisharat
  • Shopping for Passover got 15% more expensive and prices expected to rise more after elections
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Moment of truth - Tomorrow at 7AM in the morning: Israel goes to elections (Hebrew)
  • Cat and mouse over till the polling station // Nahum Barnea (Hebrew)
  • Math lesson // Yuval Karni
  • The battles over the ministerial portfolios
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • “Nothing is certain, the right-wing must wake up” - Moment of truth arrived: 24 hours to the polling station
  • Gives Gantz - Riding to the polling station: Gantz launched a convoy of motorcycles as part of a field campaign - and Kahol-Lavan got three new supporters: Former Labor party person Amos Yadlin, and former Likud people, Shaul Mofaz and Dan Meridor
  • Last call for undecided voters
  • Yes, there is reason to panic: If you don’t vote tomorrow, the left-wing will return // Arel Segal

Elections 2019 News:
The day before elections, the Hebrew papers gave the parties another opportunity to share why voters should vote for them and noted that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, leader of the Likud party, and Lt. Gen. (ret.) Benny Gantz, leader of Kahol-Lavan party, were essentially saying the same message: Gantz is going to win. Gantz encouraged his supporters, saying he was at the finish line, while Netanyahu warned his supporters that if they didn't get out and vote then Netanyahu would lose the elections Gantz would be victorious.

Oddly, what didn't make much news - except on the websites - was the reactions to Netanyahu's announcement that, if elected, he would impose Israeli sovereignty over settlements in the West Bank. Haaretz’s Noa Landau noted that it was Netanyahu who blocked three West Bank annexation bills just last year. A top Palestinian minister said Netanyahu will face a 'real problem' if he fulfills his election promise. And two Democratic Presidential hopefuls also bashed Netanyahu for making such a promise. Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, a Netanyahu loyalist, said Netanyahu’s announcement was not a surprise. "We will never uproot settlers, we will not grant citizenship to Palestinians” adding that "After the American recognition, this should certainly be the next target. (Maariv)
Election Quickees:
  • Ahead of elections, Israeli Arabs are disillusioned and undecided - While some of Tira's residents are outraged over rightist parties that incite against Arabs, others complain that their very own MKs are focused on the Palestinian issue, while neglecting domestic matters, and some are even voting for Netanyahu. (Ynet)
  • President Rivlin: The election campaign filled us with fear - In an event dedicated to the memory of Israeli author Amos Oz, Rivlin expressed his hope for next government will work from a sense of civic responsibility. (Ynet)
  • The question of floating votes: 9 seats are looking for a warm home - Half a million Israelis have yet to decide who to vote for, many of whom are debating between Likud and Kahol-Lavan. Pollster Mina Tzemach: "Less undecided than in previous elections.” (Maariv)
  • At the last minute: 875 million shekels transferred by the Finance Committee - Two days before the opening of the polling stations, the Knesset Committee, chaired by MK Moshe Gafni, approved the transfer of surpluses from the ministries' budgets in 2018 for use this year.  Most of the money: for public transport, education and absorption. (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Trump: "Both Gantz and Netanyahu are good people, it will be tight" - "If the 100-year deal does not succeed, no one can bring peace," he said. (Maariv)
  • WATCH: 'Your Prime Minister Netanyahu': Watch Trump's Very Awkward Speech to American Jews - At Republican Jewish conference, U.S. president mocked refugees, asked crowd to push for tariffs with 'your people' and seemed to suggest all Jews voted Obama. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • 'Such Statements Feed Bigotry': Jewish American Groups Slam Trump for Dual Loyalty Comment - 'Netanyahu is the leader of his country, not ours,' groups say in response to bombshell Trump comments in speech given to Republican Jewish Coalition. (Haaretz)
  • IDF troops vote 72 hours before ballots officially open - Some 643 ballot boxes were set up across all military bases in what the head of the elections committee described as 'a celebration of democracy'; for many troops, this is the first election they are legally allowed to vote in. (Ynet)
  • LGBTQ Leaders: Netanyahu Told Us the Education Ministry Will Not Go to Far-right - For the second time, the prime minister contradicted his pledge to give the education portfolio to Habayit Hayehudi. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • The battle for ministerial positions - The race for the most sought after government portfolios is already underway; Bennett and Lieberman expected to fight it out over the defense minister position, while Kahlon and Feiglin will battle over treasury portfolio. (Ynet)
  • IN PHOTOS Election Campaign Just Got a Lot Darker: Israeli Designer Draws Candidates in the Underworld - Designer Jan Clayman drew the heroes of the Israeli election campaign as eyeless zombies: 'Most of them don't see us, we're nothing to them,' he explains. (Haaretz+)
  • Hacker claims they breached Israel's voter registry three days before election - Some believe the hacker simply recycled old information from an 11-year-old breach of Israel's population registry, which was leaked on the internet. (Haaretz+)
  • The numbers predict: Netanyahu will win the elections, but will resign by the end of the year - Numerologist Alin Shlomo gives her forecast for the next and subsequent elections: The partnership between Gantz and Lapid will break up, Lieberman will end his political career and Trump should be careful. (Maariv)
  • Tears and Loathing in ‘Israel’s Ohio’ as Election Day Nears - Rehovot has long been considered a bellwether for Israeli elections, which is why leading politicians were out in force there last week — along with Bibi die-hards and youthful support for a pro-pot party. (Judy Maltz, Haaretz+)
Quick Hits:
  • The security prisoners belonging to Hamas launched a hunger strike in the prisons - The terrorists who identify themselves with the terror organization began to strike. IPS officials say they are prepared for mass protest: "We have sovereignty in prisons." (Maariv)
  • Palestinian Prisoners Say Hunger Strike Postponed After Negotiations With Israel - Prisoners claim Israel gave in to their demands to remove cellphone jammers and install payphones. Israeli officials deny the reports. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Punishment was imposed on Gaza fishermen for smuggling explosives from Egypt - The court accepted the position of the State Prosecutor's Office and sent Hamis Araishi and Mamdouh Bachar from the Gaza Strip to 13 and 8 years in prison respectively. The two smuggled dozens of bags of explosive material and bags of tobacco to the Gaza Strip for money. Ruling: “The potential for risk inherent in their actions is high.” (Maariv)
  • Israel Is Barring Palestinian Woman Married to Gazan From Returning to West Bank - Shada Shandghali moved to Gaza two years ago to live with her husband. Now she wants to go back home, but Israel claims she agreed to be subject to the restrictions on movement that apply to other Gazans. (Haaretz+)
  • Military court convicts Palestinian man of murdering Israeli soldier - Islam Mohammed Yousef Naji, 32, confessed he threw the marble slab that killed special forces soldier Ronen Lubarsky, 20, during a raid on a West Bank refugee camp in May. (Haaretz+)
  • The FBI May Be About to Probe Netanyahu's Ties to Cousin Milikowsky - Everything you need to know about the possibility of a federal investigation: PM not expected to be a suspect, but his cousin may turn state's evidence. (Haaretz+)
  • Noble Energy Wins Big Gas Deal From Israel Electric Corporation - Israel Electric awarded the deal to the partners in the Leviathan gas field over the Tamar field partners. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Apartheid Week or Hebrew Liberation Week? At Columbia U., It Depends Where You Stand - ‘I’m not going to lie, the attendance at their events is significantly larger than for ours,’ says Students Supporting Israel president Ofir Dayan about the rival Students for Justice in Palestine. (Haaretz+)
  • Dozens of neglected animals evacuated from Gaza zoo - Members of animal welfare group - Four Paws International - transport at least 40 animals into Israel from the Rafah zoo to be resettled in sanctuaries in Jordan and South Africa; animals suffered from a combination of neglect and lack of resources. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Ill-equipped hospitals crowded with malnourished infants, wounded Syrians after ISIS defeat - 'Medics keep saying they have more urgent cases to deal with,' says mother of a six-month-old, desperate to have him operated after months-long battle. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • At least 15 killed as Syrian regime and rebels exchange fire - The escalation is part of an attempt by the Syrian government to take back Syria's northwest, the last major foothold of insurgents. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran threatens retaliation if U.S. puts Revolutionary Guards on terror watchlist - The U.S. will regret this 'inappropriate and idiotic action,' lawmakers say over unprecedented decision expected to be officially announced in coming days. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Pope Blames Europe, U.S. Weapons for Children Killed in Middle East Conflicts - 'A country that produces and sells weapons has on its conscience the death of every child and the destruction of each family,' Francis said. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • U.S. Getting Dragged Into 'Quagmire' on Behalf of Netanyahu, Iran's Foreign Minister Says - Zarif blames Israel for U.S. decision to put Iran's Revolutionary Guards on terror watchlist. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Erdogan's Ruling Party Calls for Total Recount of 'Tainted' Votes in Turkey Election - Move comes after opposition took control of Ankara, Izmir and won a tight race in Istanbul. (Agencies, Haaretz)

Eritrea's Capital Is Lovely. But Scratch the Surface and You'll Find a Terrifying Reality
People are jailed in cellars of houses, a network of informers has destroyed trust between people and hundreds of thousands have fled. A rare visit to the ‘North Korea of Africa.’ (Tamara Baraaz, Haaretz+)
Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
Israelis, You Are Scary (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) You are scary. Yes, you, Jewish Israelis. Particularly now, as we head into an election. For you, the Center is someone who supports continued land theft, but not necessarily the expulsion of Palestinians. A legitimate candidate who could get your vote is someone who supports the expulsion of Arabs and the repeal of the minimum wage, but who also supports the legalization of cannabis. For you, the Left is a tall Ashkenazi general who boasts of the thousands of Palestinians whom he has killed and who, when he thinks about a bloc of parties that would stand in the way of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reelection, doesn’t include the Arab parties.
*Israel's lurch to the right (Sever Plocker, Yedioth/Ynet) The political bloc that built the country and held the reins of power for decades is now decimated by the country's shift in political proclivity; but politicians would do well to understand that the shift could easily reverse itself too.
To Bibi or not to Bibi (Ra'anan Shaked, Yedioth/Ynet)This election campaign is on values. Netanyahu espouses to values of self preservation, victimization and disrespect of institutions of democracy and the state. This election must be for anyone but Bibi.
Just don’t stay home on Election Day (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) Even if many of us are disgusted by the filth and lies flung around in this election campaign, we must not forgo the privilege and obligation given to us once every four years.
My Good Tidings for Election Day (Odeh Bisharat, Haaretz+) It is important to note that this election, despite the absurdities accompanying it, is slowly but surely creating a nation of citizens, in which an Arab citizen has an important role, and sometimes even decisive one in setting the direction in which the country will march.
Cat and mouse to the ballot box (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth Hebrew) At the height of the election campaign, Netanyahu convened a press conference at the Prime Minister's Residence. The law states unequivocally that party propaganda signs must not be placed in government installations, and, as everyone who worked there and knows, the Prime Minister's Residence is a government facility. The first time Netanyahu did so, the Likud representative admitted that there had been a mistake. Then Netanyahu convened another press conference at the Prime Minister's Residence. Twenty minutes before the start of the incident, a petition was submitted to the chairman of the Central Elections Committee, Vice Justice of the High Court Hanan Meltzer, who allowed the event to take place - news is news - provided that this time there are no billboards for his campaign. "What happened," the judge asked the Likud representative. “We did not have time to take it down,” he answered. And aside from that, he added, the event did not take place in the prime minister's residence. It was on the patio. The patio is the inner courtyard of the residence. Show me the lease of the place, the Judge asked, we will see if it is a separate property. There was no lease contract. Explain to me whether the security check at the entrance to the residence is before the patio or after the patio? Before, the Likud representative admitted. You disrespected my previous decision, the judge told them, do you want me to issue an order against you? Likud representatives understood that a third time would not work. Netanyahu convened the following propaganda events outside the residence. An election campaign, every election, is a game of cat and mouse. The parties, from the right wing to the far left, walk on the line at every opportunity. When you catch them red-handed they act innocent. The media are also trying to be clever: The Israeli brain is inventing patents for us.
Feiglin Is Selling a Bottle of Free Market Snake Oil (Sami Peretz, Haaretz+) A close reading of the Zehut Party platform reveals impossible contradictions, especially vis-a-vis settlers.
Israel’s libertarian moment (Dennis Mitzner, Israel Hayom) As Israel’s elections approach, the political campaigns have largely been focused on security issues. However, the rise of Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut is a sign that issues relating to individual and financial freedom are gaining in popularity.
Netanyahu's Dangerous Annexation Spin Helps Normalize Marginal Ideas (Haaretz Editorial) What begins as election campaign spin can, during coalition bargaining, turn into an official agenda that makes the temporary apartheid permanent.
Choosing between Israel and Judea: (What really divides Israelis) (Dr. Sagi Elbaz, Maariv)  If liberal Israel and conservative Judah can no longer agree on one core of values, then there is no real purpose in their existence as a single people…It's acceptable to assume that Israeli society is dealing with four central rifts: The Jewish-Arab rift, the secular-religious rift, the Ashkenazi-Mizrachi rift and the rift between right-wing and left-wing. The four last years of Netanyahu's government, especially the present election cycle, prove that that assumption is wrong. More than anything, Israeli society is divided between the tribes whose base is not nationalist, religious, ethnic, but rather value-based. On the one hand, the tribe that supports meaningful democracy, state institutions, the superiority of the rule of law, freedom of expression and free press, tolerance, openness and sensitivity to the Other, human rights, equality before the law, equality of opportunities. On the other side there is a tribe that supports ethnocracy, in other words, the superiority of the ethnic group of the majority over the smaller minority group because its [different] ethnicity, and national identity. This tribe despises democratic institutions and shows almost blind loyalty to strong leadership - political, religious, community - even if that leader acted improperly, committed a crime and became corrupt. It's true that the Israeli right-wing is mostly Jewish, religious and Mizrachi and according to in-depth research prefers the characteristics of an ethnocratic rule over a democratic one. The ethnic identity is more prominent for him than his civil status. But there are parts of the right-wing that criticize the cynical corrupt and non-democratic government of Netanyahu. People in high standing such as Benny Begin, Reuven Rivlin, David Levy, Limor Livnat and many others who remained loyal to the democratic institutions and the rule of law. They are part of the same tribe that identifies with a center-left political leadership, even if in their view the chance of a diplomatic arrangement with the Palestinians is not realistic at this point. And therefore, if these two tribes, liberal Israel and conservative Judea can no longer agree on one core value that is based on respecting democratic institutions, the rule of law, the advancement of civil rights and equality, then there is no more real purpose in their existence as one people.
Why Netanyahu’s Paranoid Hail Mary Might Turn Out to Be Political Hara-kiri (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) U.S. silence over the PM’s pledge to annex swaths of the West Bank could have a very simple reason: It’s part of Trump’s peace plan.
We want to serve you (Lt. Gen. (ret.) Benny Gantz, Israel Hayom) I ask you to vote for the Blue and White party. Any other ballot will allow the continued incitement and division in our society, the continued focus on indictments instead of Israel's citizens, and our continued weakness in the face of our enemies.
We have only ourselves to depend on (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel Hayom) Likud voters think that victor is in the bag, so they don't need to vote. That would be a serious mistake. Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid could wind up forming the next government, and we must not let that happen.
Israel's identity politics is failing voters (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) The Israeli public often votes against their own positions while government policies contradict the public's stated preferences. This is the Israeli paradox and it crosses party line.
Who Will Win Israel's Election Is Unknown. One Thing Is Sure: The Losers Are the Pollsters (Amnon Harari, Haaretz+) At no point in the campaign have the polling results been so disparate. Here's why.
Netanyahu Keeps Winning Because His Story Is About Israelis' Weakness, Not Strength (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) It would be tempting to end the story with Netanyahu’s defeat at the polls. An election loss would be proof that Israelis were mature enough to understand, at the last possible moment, that Netanyahu is dragging Israel to the brink of an abyss. The people would come out looking good from the perspective of time. The nation could even boast of how, against all odds, it managed to gather the forces necessary to rid itself of Netanyahu by choice and stop the attack on Israeliness.


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