News Nosh 7.8.19

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

 
Quote of the day:
“Anyone interested in peace doesn’t busy himself with the archaeology of a ruined kingdom but with the future of the existing kingdom.”
--Zehava Galon writes about US Ambassador David Friedman’s active participation in the ceremony at the so-called 'City of David' archaeological site in the E. Jerusalem Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan.*

You Must Be Kidding: 
“They cuffed my hands and legs like a dangerous criminal and put me in a cell, claiming that I had disrupted a police officer in carrying out his duties and that I blocked the road. I begged them to allow me to pick up my children, ages 3 and 5, from kindergarten. When the policeman realized that he would be responsible if something were to happen to them, they let me go get my children out and return right away to the station for questioning...(When the police realized that the incident had been filmed, the policeman) asked me if I had other films like that and said, 'Come on, let’s close the matter.’ After that they let me go without any citations, but with lots of scars on my body and mind.”
--Dua Saadi, an Arab-Israeli resident of the city of Lod, related what the police did to her before and after what the viral videos showed of her being forcibly pushed into a police car.**

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The mistake and the heroism - Investigation of the operation in Khan Younis: Lt. Col. M. was killed by friendly fire
  • Cry of the mother - “After what she did to my little girl, I will never be quiet”
  • Revealed: Zvi Gur, the murderer of the child Oron Yarden, will stand before the Prisons Release Committee on Wednesday
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • The operation in Khan Younis: The heroism and the lessons - Commander of force shot at terrorists - but stray bullet hit Lt. Col. M. and killed him; 8 months later: This is how the operation took place, minute after minute
  • The exaggerated confidence and the opportunity for correction
  • Netanyahu against Ehud Barak: “Big democrat? He is a little dictator”
  • The brutality comes to light: “Severely punish the nursery school teacher”
  • Prime Minister to European leaders: “Where are you? Join the sanctions on Iran”
  • Parting from a social justice warrior: Former minister Ora Namir passed away
  • For fourth time: US won the women’s World Cup

Top News Summary:
The IDF published the investigation into the botched November military operation deep inside the Gaza Strip and revealed that the killed commander was shot by his own commander, hundreds or thousands of parents protested at 25 places across the country against the abuse of children by those responsible for them at daycare centers as one woman from Rosh Ha'Ayin was indicted on 18 charges of abusing toddlers, and Iran said (again) it was about to exceed the amount of enriched uranium limited in the nuclear agreement making top stories in today's Hebrew newspapers. Also, Yair Netanyahu and 'Israel Hayom' newspapers continued to declare the unproven right-wing rumor that the 'New Israel Fund' and 'Germans' were behind the Ethiopian-Israelis' protests against police brutality (See Quick Hits). While Ben Caspit of Maariv wrote this was nonsense (See Commentary/Analysis).

Iran announced Sunday it will increase its uranium enrichment beyond the terms of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, after which Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called on European powers to impose new sanctions on Tehran. Britain and Germany said Iran must stop and reverse its nuclear activities. Iran’s discussions with European powers are continuing. Reuters explained that under the nuclear deal's dispute process, Iran could argue that the US withdrawal and Washington's sanctions campaign constitute 'significant non-performance.’

 
Quick Hits:
  • **(Arab-Israeli) Woman Says Policemen Forced Her Into Patrol Car, Broke Her Hand During Arrest - Dua Saadi, from city of Lod, claims that police attacked her over a traffic violation, but police say she cursed at them and resisted arrest. According to Saadi, when she blocked traffic when she stopped to pick up her toddler children from school. Then suddenly a civilian car blocked her. “A man got out of the car, not in uniform, and started yelling at me,” she told Haaretz. “He said that he was a policeman and asked me to go with him. I refused because I was very afraid and I didn’t know who this man standing in front of me was. I asked him to bring a policewoman because I didn’t want to be accompanied by him," she said. He called a police patrol car, but no policewoman came. A video shows them dragging her by force into the car. (Haaretz+)
  • (Palestinian) Cars Vandalized, Threatening Graffiti Found in Suspected West Bank Hate Crime - Spray-painted messages on cars in the town of Awarta, near Nablus, suggest incident intended as revenge for car-ramming attack that wounded Israeli soldiers. It included Stars of David and the statements "when our blood is spilled, we will take our fate into our own hands, hello from Hizma" – referring to the village near the checkpoint where five soldiers were lightly to moderately hurt Saturday night in what the IDF claims was an intentional car-ramming attack. (Haaretz+)
  • IDF investigation into Hizma attack: The soldiers marched in a group - and were hit by a car - The IDF's directive is that a force must split up so that at least part of it can respond…, but the terrorist fled the scene after hitting all the soldiers. From the IDF's point of view, an incident in which a terrorist runs over a number of soldiers must end with the injury and neutralization of the terrorist, which did not happen in this case. Five soldiers were moderately or lightly injured. (Maariv)
  • Homefront Command creates most precise alert system yet - Instead of 255 alert areas, Israel has now been divided into 1,700 areas – meaning that the disruption caused by projectile alerts will be more localized, preventing fear, angst and an unnecessary run to a bomb shelter. (Israel Hayom)
  • Woman, 89, dies from injuries sustained in May rocket attacks - Rivka Jamil, 89, was injured while running for shelter during the last flare-up of violence between Israel and Hamas. Her death brings the total number of Israeli casualties in the May rocket onslaught to five. (Israel Hayom)
  • Five years since Operation Protective Edge (Gaza 2014 war): Sharp rise in number of request for aid by post-trauma victims - NATAL mental health organization, which deals with post-trauma from national and terror incidents, reveals that since the end of the last operation in the Gaza Strip (2014) there has been a 55% increase in use of its services, and in 2018 a record was recorded in the wake of the various rounds of fighting, whereby the percentage of released soldiers and the percentage of civilians was almost equal. Among those suffering are people who were soldiers when they first experienced the trauma, bereaved parents and parents of children coping with trauma in light of the fighting in the south. Forty percent of the requests are from discharged soldiers from Operation Protective Edge, and the rest are parents of young children, who grew up in the reality in the south and have become parents themselves. (Maariv)
  • CEO of largest nonprofit army donor Friends of the IDF makes over $1 million annually - Documents reveal that a substantial percentage of payments to Meir Klifi were described as a bonus. The organization is fully funded by donations for soldiers. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu trades barbs with Barak over Epstein sex trafficking scandal - Wealthy businessman Jeffrey Epstein was arrested on sex trafficking charges Saturday. Barak, who recently returned to the political arena as head of the newly unveiled Democratic Israel party, was a friend of Epstein's and his name and contact details appeared in a copy of Epstein's "black book" that was published in 2015. Prof. Alan Dershowitz, a friend and ally of Netanyahu, has also been caught up in the scandal, and like Barak denies any knowledge or participation in Epstein’s alleged crimes. Netanyahu noted Barak's acquaintance with Epstein, after which Barak posted: "It's painful to find out that people in my acquaintance are involved in criminal activity. First Netanyahu, now Epstein. I hope that in both cases the truth will ultimately emerge. Period." (Haaretz+)
  • Left accused of ‘hijacking’ Israeli-Ethiopian protests - When the tragic shooting of 19-year-old Solomon Tekah touched off nationwide protests, left-wing groups fanned the flames, activists say, seeking to use grassroots demonstrations for political gain. (Israel Hayom)
  • Yair Netanyahu: Ethiopian community's protests funded by 'German Money' - Prime minister's son causes outrage among Ethiopian-Israeli activists, MKs, who call him 'a spoiled boy who lives off the public,' spreader of fake news; 'it's easy being a virtual bully, far more difficult to go out and protest.’ (Maariv and Ynet)
  • Yair Netanyahu wins libel suit against government critic over Facebook post - Court orders Labor activist Abie Binyamin to pay prime minister’s son NIS 20,000 for alleging he hid millions of dollars in offshore accounts. (Times of Israel and Yedioth p. 16 and Maariv)
  • Jordanian PM: Economic Plan Is No Substitute for Israel-Palestine Peace Agreement - Omar Razzaz says 'no compromise or project or deal will divert us' from priority of creating of Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • ‘All politics is local’: US mayors travel to Israel to enhance relations on municipal level - “Our delegation is showing how cities lead on the world stage, how mayors get things done and how urban centers can tackle everything from innovation and climate change to immigration and economic growth,” says Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. (Israel Hayom)
  • Number of Female CEOs at Top Israeli Firms: One - With departure of Leumi, Discount Bank bosses, only one TA-125 company will be led by a woman. (Haaretz+)
  • Iraqi forces begin operation against ISIS along Syrian border - ISIS once held large parts of Syria and Iraq where it declared a caliphate in 2014. The extremists lost in March the last territory they controlled in Syria. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Russian-led assault in Syria kills over 500 civilians, rights groups and rescuers say - Syrian Network for Human Rights says hundreds killed in attacks include 130 children. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Syrian President Reportedly Replaces Security Chiefs - No reason was given for the shake-up, which came as government forces have made little progress in a two-month-old offensive against rebels in the northwestern Idlib province. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Lebanon's Dismantling of Syrian Refugee Homes Could Leave Thousands Stranded - Government ramping up arrests, deportations, shop closures, curfews and evictions to pressure refugees to return to Syria. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Trump Invites Artist Who Drew 'Blatantly anti-Semitic' Cartoon to the White House - George Garrison, who portrayed U.S. security officials being manipulated by George Soros and the Rothschilds, was invited by President Donald Trump to Thursday's social media summit. (Haaretz)


Features:
If you build it who will come?
An Olympic village on the ruins of the abandoned Israeli settlement of Netzarim is an ambitious, some might say fantastical project while Gazan homes have not been rebuilt since the 2014 war with Israel. (Yedioth/Ynet)
'Palestinian Authority Is Tyrannical': Joint Gaza, West Bank Conference Amps Criticism of Abbas and Hamas
At a recent confab, panel members and everyday Palestinians discuss democracy, with their openness only highlighting the obedience enforced on Fatah and PLO. (Amira Hass, Haaretz+)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
Mizrahim Who Forgot Their Roots (Iris Leal, Haaretz+) …The camp was “a fenced-in pen of hundreds of hungry people, while all around were orchards with oranges and tangerines and fields of vegetables. In that situation you could not realistically expect people not to steal,” said Zadok Malihi, who was 10 at the time. To prevent stealing, a guard was hired: “A fearless guard riding a horse and armed with a pistol, always accompanied by his dog, Menorah,” Shai Fogelman wrote in a fascinating article in 2010 about the first Mizrahi uprising. When one of the camp residents was caught, whether elderly or child, the guard would give him a sound beating, which he did also to Razal Gadasi. Her son, a soldier, “charismatic, sturdy and brave,” went with a few of his friends to take revenge. The clash between them ended with the death of the dog, the abduction of the horse and the injuring of the guard. All the rest – the clash between police and dozens of camp residents, the officers’ testimony that they felt threatened and therefore beat the residents with clubs, the stone throwing and the arrests – is familiar to us from the past few days. So are the protests that spread through all the transit camps in the country at the time, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s efforts to stamp them out and the claim that Maki, the Israel Communist Party, and Herut, the forerunner of Likud, organized the riots and added fuel to the fire. This time, the very day after the Ethiopian community’s protests in the wake of the killing of Solomon Teka by an off-duty policeman, the government mouthpieces were quick to declare that activists of extreme leftist organizations funded by the New Israel Fund and George Soros were behind the riots, encouraging and inflaming the demonstrators…The ongoing rage and frustration of the Ethiopian community can be seen as a later echo of the ongoing hunger and humiliation of the residents of the transit camps, the Yemenite community, or the outpouring of rage that ignited the Wadi Salib riots in Haifa after a police officer shot a neighborhood resident – and the government tactics are identical. The opposition, say Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s supporters, are riding on the backs of the demonstrators, inflaming their anger and using them to goad the government in an election season. All of this is nauseating, both because of the cynical propaganda that wipes out the autonomy of the demonstrators and their demand to own their cause and portrays them again as a sub-standard cultural group lacking independent opinions. Moreover, the fact that this time many of the Mizrahim of the riots of 1952, 1959 and 1971 are Netanyahu’s supporters, playing the role of the Mapainiks (Labor party) of those days, is maddening.
Police discretion made the difference between a difficult night and a national trauma, Nir Barkat disappoints and Amir Peretz is the man of the hour (Ben Caspit, Maariv) 1.) The time has come to eradicate the demon of racism from Israeli society. The Israeli police deserve a citation for their behavior on the night when the country burned with the fire of Ethiopian anger. The restraint, containment and discretion displayed by the police made the difference between a harsh and violent night and an irreversible national trauma that could tear what remains of social cohesion. In the same way that the police officer who shot (dead) Solomon Teka became the first person to remove the genie from the bottle on Sunday night, the police managed to begin bringing him back on Tuesday night… We paid a small price: Tuesday night's eruption was something that was not seen here in the present era. All attempts by the police to establish a dialogue with the demonstrators failed. There was no leadership, no guiding hand, no organization, nothing. The senior officers and the minister above them also contacted community leaders, heads of associations and organizations of Ethiopian origin, Ethiopian public opinion leaders, but zero, nothing, nada. No one wanted to interfere. Some were furious themselves, some feared the rage. There was no one to talk to. All at once, without any prior planning, according to ad hoc coordination on social media networks, the residents of the Ethiopian neighborhoods in 15 cities in the country left their homes and went to the nearest central intersection to explode. In retrospect, it is good that no one tried to stop them on the way there. It would have ended like the October 2000 riots [reference to the demonstrations of the Arab Israelis against the Israeli police, which ended in 13 Arab citizens killed by the police. There the police opened live fire on protesters blocking roads, including snipers. - OH]..This does not diminish the responsibility of the police for the killing of Solomon Teka, excessive policing of the Ethiopians, or a thousand small daily issues that make the life of the young Israeli (or adult) Ethiopian in the Holy Land an ongoing nightmare. This business is being handled. The Ami Palmor Committee did a good job. The conclusions are being implemented slowly. In the past year there has been a 21% drop in the opening of police cases for Ethiopian youth. The decline should be steeper. The project of body cameras on police officers came into the world to minimize cases in which young people are arrested for no reason. 2.) What is more worrisome is the speed with which are spread the conspiracy theories that were once the domain of the most false and hallucinatory disciples of the royal entourage. To my horror, the torchbearer was one named Nir Barkat. Former mayor of Jerusalem. A rational man with receipts. An enlightened person, a high-tech billionaire, someone who did something and who it was once thought that he could still turn into the Likud's big white hope. It turns out that it was Barkat's turn to have a weak mind and it happened faster than expected. "Unfortunately, I heard that the New Israel Fund poured out its resources to fan the flames," the great light told the nation. Who did you hear that from, he was asked, and he answered: “From Ethiopian friends.” This is the level that elected officials have reached. By the way, no need for "Ethiopian friends." Miki Gitzin, the director of the New Israel Fund, said on his own that one of the non-profit organizations that also receive support from the NIF joined the protest. It was a pity that all the non-profit organizations in the country did not join the protest. This would have convinced the Ethiopians that they were not alone. That we are there, with them. This would have diluted the violence and influenced the nature of the protest. The New Israel Fund is very active in the periphery, in neighborhoods, among Ethiopians, minorities and Israeli Arabs. Among its goals - reducing the gaps, easing tensions, empowering the weak. It’s natural that (an organization it is supporting) would join or try to contribute to such a protest. To make them out as if they fuel the violence is madness at best, weak of mind in a less good case or simply acting like servants to the monarchy in the truly worrisome case. It is unbelievable that this happened to Nir Barkat. Ironically, in a matter of seconds it turned out that Barkat himself had been involved with the NIF in development projects in the not-too-distant past. He knows the truth. As many others in his party know. It does not bother him, nor them, to dig into their own intellect every time a new low level. 3.). Work plan: "I'll drive you crazy," says Amir Peretz. "I'm in a fit of energy, I stole all the enriched uranium from Iran, and I'm not going to stop." I think Peretz is still underestimating the real story. This 67-year-old man, at the age of retirement, seems to have swallowed all the steroids he found at the drugstore. Around him were the drivers, the spokespersons, the advisors and the strategists fell like tower of cards. They change shifts, and he goes on. After he survived cancer, after he was elected and dismissed and returned and ignored and retired and was eulogized and humiliated and in general, Amir Peretz is the man of the hour. His election to lead the Labor party signals one thing: this party wants life, still. It is not built for further gambling, after the saga of Avi Gabbay. If there is someone who can lift it from the planks, it's Amir Peretz. If he lifted himself from the planks after the Second Lebanon War, even before it became known that its results would be impressive in Israel's wars and before he received the justified credit for Iron Dome, he could lift anything…He has an orderly plan. "Plan 15 mandates." He is willing to talk about everything, with everyone. One goal: to bring as many votes as possible from the right. He is convinced that it is possible. He will return four seats lost from Kahol-Lavan. The rest he’ll leave there. He will bring a mandate and a quarter from the Arabs and another three-quarters of a mandate from the Druze. He knows that the Arabs and Druze believe him. He says he is the most accepted Zionist figure in the sector. He will promise them that he’ll build a bridge. Not a bridge of electoral exploitation. The bridge of a real house. He will locate the 250,000 voters of Orly Levy-Abekasis and Moshe Kahlon and bring 100,000 of them to the Labor party. He hopes to bring Levi-Abekassis herself. He is packed with plans like a spray grenade and looks like a fish thrown back into the sea after many years of wandering in the desert. This is good news for the Labor Party, and it seems to me that the party is not bad for the center-left bloc.
'Cops only shoot black people'? Not exactly (Hillel Gershuni, Israel Hayom) The vast majority of the victims of police shootings in Israel are not, in fact, members of the Ethiopian community.
Israel Isn’t Taking Advantage of the Gift That Is the Trump Administration (Nave Dromi, Haaretz+) U.S. Ambassador David Friedman has been assailed by Haaretz this past week in both an editorial and an op-ed by Zehava Galon. Friedman is indeed a unique ambassador. Not only is there no problem with his kind of commitment to Israel and the connection he drew between strong Jewish sovereignty and the possibility of peace, these are wonderful, refreshing tidings. If there’s any problem, it’s Israel’s government, which isn’t properly using the existence of such a sympathetic U.S. administration to promote the country’s interests.
It is not clear how we succeeded: Israel's situation has never been so glamorous in the international arena (Meir Uziel, Maariv) The situation of the country in the international arena has never been as good as it is now. Is it thanks to the belief in the return to Zion and the righteousness of Israel that has become the belief of millions of people in the United States, Africa, South America and the Far East? Is it thanks to the economy? Was it due to the collapse of communist theory? Why wonder. It happened. The question is what we do with our very good relations. True, there is still a lot to advance, especially in the UN vote, because even the worst relations are not in such a bad state. The irrational hatred for Israel has not exactly stopped, although it has softened and eroded. Even some Arab countries are starting to open a small window through which we can squeeze through even on condition that we don’t make noise when we enter. That’s new. I warn not to be enthusiastic about the Arabs' rapprochement. The Arabs have a long tradition of eliminating allies…Still, it's nice to be photographed in Bahrain, land in Abu Dhabi or travel with local security near the Pyramids or in Petra. Perhaps this half-peace will one day be a true peace between peaceful peoples.
The U.S. Ambassador to Israel's Flimsy Cardboard Wall (Zehava Galon, Haaretz+) The coupling between the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government has created some iconic, unforgettable pictures. But none can compete with the messianic radiance on the face of the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, when he was breaking down a fake wall with a sledgehammer in the tunnels under Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood. In any case, this engineered picture, planned down to the last detail, is the problem. The sledgehammer that Friedman hoisted didn’t blaze a path to any archaeological discovery, it just hammered another nail into the coffin of Donald Trump’s “deal of the century.” Anyone interested in peace doesn’t busy himself with the archaeology of a ruined kingdom but with the future of the existing kingdom. There’s no point in explaining this to Friedman, the person who called J Street “worse than kapos” and who supports annexing the West Bank.
Rejectionism is the name of the game (Matan Peleg, Israel Hayom) For there to be any chance for peace in the region, all existing financial incentives for the PA's policy of rejectionism must be made obsolete.
Netanyahu Is Leading Trump Into Disaster With Iran (Eric H. Yoffie, Haaretz+) Netanyahu pushed Trump to leave the nuclear deal, helped by his enthralled evangelical base. But as Iran announces yet more nuclear enrichment, it's clear the results have been catastrophic, not least for Israel.
Iran is defiant, but its deviations from the nuclear agreement are not dangerous (Yossi Melman, Maariv) Enriching uranium to a level of 5% is still very far from the situation required to prepare fissile material that is between 93-90%, and the expectation is that the Islamic Republic will continue to conduct itself cautiously.
Iran Still Has Room to Maneuver, but Trump Is Running Out of Diplomatic Options (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Rohani's move in violation of the nuclear deal may indicate Tehran is ready for a new formula, but the true question is whether Washington is willing to change tack.
Europe shows its true colors (Eldad Beck, Israel Hayom) The Europeans are not really bothered by Iran's calls for Israel's destruction or the Palestinians desire to annihilate the Jewish state. They can live with that. We can't.
Tunisia's Openness Put to the Test With Gay Presidential Candidate (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Post-Arab Spring Tunisia is a symbol of Middle East optimism. But is it ready for the candidacy of Mounir Baatour?
Lessons from Operation Protective Edge - there is something that can be done (Giora Eiland, Yedioth) Four lessons can be learned from Operation Protective Edge [3rd Gaza War or 2014 Gaza War - OH]. Israeli policy towards Gaza didn’t change in the eight years before the operation and hasn’t changed in the five years since the operation. It can be called ‘continuing the existing situation.’ But there are alternatives: 1.) Reconquering the Gaza Strip, 2.) Renewing the negotiations with Abu Mazen with hope they will lead to the return of the Palestinian Authority to rule in Gaza, 3.) Trying to create a wedge between the civilian population and the government in Gaza and 4.) Recognizing that Gaza is a de facto independent state and as such reaching agreements with the government there - understandings that are based on full ceasefire in exchange for recognition and even support in rehabilitating infrastructure, together with the Hamas government and not behind its back. In my view the first three options are either not a good idea or not possible. So we are left comparing the existing situation with the recognition of Gaza as an independent state. Now, five years after the operation, it’s time to hold a discussion on the right strategy…Another lesson: the Israeli public is interested in operations that drastically improve the situation not just return the situation to what it was. But it doesn’t want to pay the price necessary to do that and it needs to come to terms with that. Another lesson, there are other military options between reconquering the Gaza Strip and just fighting against them. The last lesson is about the painful subject of returning the bodies of the soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin.  For years Israel has separated the subject of prisoner exchanges from the subject of a long-term arrangement with Hamas. That’s a mistake. But what can be done? Israel customarily holds an emergency cabinet meeting at the hour that an escalation over Gaza is starting, instead of discussing these key issues now - and reaching decisions on policy not when we’re under fire.
What have we learned in 13 years? (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) The 2006 Second Lebanon War was more successful than many believe it to be, but despite the deterrence Israel secured, the challenges Hezbollah poses remain.
Nazareth, the Thorn in Israel’s Side (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) Nazareth is stuck in the intrigues of Judaization, expulsion and the distortion of history. The family, urban and cultural continuum is very much in evidence there. And in Nazareth Illit? Judging by the nameplates, many of the residents are Arabs who live their lives in the lower city.

Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
Israel Doesn’t Like Female Leaders (Mor Altshuler, Haaretz+) What do Tzipi Livni, Ayelet Shaked, Orli Levi-Abekasis, Adina Bar-Shalom and Tamar Zandberg have in common? They came to the political arena to be politicians, not to decorate the party slates of men. But as of now, they’ve either been spit out of the political system or their status has been undermined. Livni gave up; Levi-Abekasis and Bar-Shalom didn’t survive the tornado that swallowed up smaller parties; Shaked made a mistake when she stressed her beauty in that “perfume commercial,” breaking the unwritten rule that just as magicians don’t reveal the way they pull rabbits out of hats, politicians aren’t meant to use their attractiveness and sex appeal except perhaps as a subtle enhancement of their “serious” capabilities. The most painful failure was that of Zandberg, who was knocked out as Meretz leader even though she had managed to bring an unexpected Knesset seat from the Arab community and saved her party from obliteration.
Barak’s party - whereto? The second chance (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth) The buzz around the establishment of Barak’s new political party has died out, as buzzes do. It is very hard to conquer the voters when starting from zero. Barak can learn about this issue from the failure of Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, who left Habayit Hayehudi party and created the New Right party, which did not pass the electoral threshold.
Police discretion made the difference between a difficult night and a national trauma, Nir Barkat disappoints and Amir Peretz is the man of the hour (Ben Caspit, Maariv) 1.) The time has come to eradicate the demon of racism from Israeli society. The Israeli police deserve a citation for their behavior on the night when the country burned with the fire of Ethiopian anger. The restraint, containment and discretion displayed by the police made the difference between a harsh and violent night and an irreversible national trauma that could tear what remains of social cohesion. In the same way that the police officer who shot (dead) Solomon Teka became the first person to remove the genie from the bottle on Sunday night, the police managed to begin bringing him back on Tuesday night… We paid a small price: Tuesday night's eruption was something that was not seen here in the present era. All attempts by the police to establish a dialogue with the demonstrators failed. There was no leadership, no guiding hand, no organization, nothing. The senior officers and the minister above them also contacted community leaders, heads of associations and organizations of Ethiopian origin, Ethiopian public opinion leaders, but zero, nothing, nada. No one wanted to interfere. Some were furious themselves, some feared the rage. There was no one to talk to. All at once, without any prior planning, according to ad hoc coordination on social media networks, the residents of the Ethiopian neighborhoods in 15 cities in the country left their homes and went to the nearest central intersection to explode. In retrospect, it is good that no one tried to stop them on the way there. It would have ended like the October 2000 riots [reference to the demonstrations of the Arab Israelis against the Israeli police, which ended in 13 Arab citizens killed by the police. There the police opened live fire on protesters blocking roads, including snipers. - OH]..This does not diminish the responsibility of the police for the killing of Solomon Teka, excessive policing of the Ethiopians, or a thousand small daily issues that make the life of the young Israeli (or adult) Ethiopian in the Holy Land an ongoing nightmare. This business is being handled. The Ami Palmor Committee did a good job. The conclusions are being implemented slowly. In the past year there has been a 21% drop in the opening of police cases for Ethiopian youth. The decline should be steeper. The project of body cameras on police officers came into the world to minimize cases in which young people are arrested for no reason. 2.) What is more worrisome is the speed with which are spread the conspiracy theories that were once the domain of the most false and hallucinatory disciples of the royal entourage. To my horror, the torchbearer was one named Nir Barkat. Former mayor of Jerusalem. A rational man with receipts. An enlightened person, a high-tech billionaire, someone who did something and who it was once thought that he could still turn into the Likud's big white hope. It turns out that it was Barkat's turn to have a weak mind and it happened faster than expected. "Unfortunately, I heard that the New Israel Fund poured out its resources to fan the flames," the great light told the nation. Who did you hear that from, he was asked, and he answered: “From Ethiopian friends.” This is the level that elected officials have reached. By the way, no need for "Ethiopian friends." Miki Gitzin, the director of the New Israel Fund, said on his own that one of the non-profit organizations that also receive support from the NIF joined the protest. It was a pity that all the non-profit organizations in the country did not join the protest. This would have convinced the Ethiopians that they were not alone. That we are there, with them. This would have diluted the violence and influenced the nature of the protest. The New Israel Fund is very active in the periphery, in neighborhoods, among Ethiopians, minorities and Israeli Arabs. Among its goals - reducing the gaps, easing tensions, empowering the weak. It’s natural that (an organization it is supporting) would join or try to contribute to such a protest. To make them out as if they fuel the violence is madness at best, weak of mind in a less good case or simply acting like servants to the monarchy in the truly worrisome case. It is unbelievable that this happened to Nir Barkat. Ironically, in a matter of seconds it turned out that Barkat himself had been involved with the NIF in development projects in the not-too-distant past. He knows the truth. As many others in his party know. It does not bother him, nor them, to dig into their own intellect every time a new low level. 3.). Work plan: "I'll drive you crazy," says Amir Peretz. "I'm in a fit of energy, I stole all the enriched uranium from Iran, and I'm not going to stop." I think Peretz is still underestimating the real story. This 67-year-old man, at the age of retirement, seems to have swallowed all the steroids he found at the drugstore. Around him were the drivers, the spokespersons, the advisors and the strategists fell like tower of cards. They change shifts, and he goes on. After he survived cancer, after he was elected and dismissed and returned and ignored and retired and was eulogized and humiliated and in general, Amir Peretz is the man of the hour. His election to lead the Labor party signals one thing: this party wants life, still. It is not built for further gambling, after the saga of Avi Gabbay. If there is someone who can lift it from the planks, it's Amir Peretz. If he lifted himself from the planks after the Second Lebanon War, even before it became known that its results would be impressive in Israel's wars and before he received the justified credit for Iron Dome, he could lift anything…He has an orderly plan. "Plan 15 mandates." He is willing to talk about everything, with everyone. One goal: to bring as many votes as possible from the right. He is convinced that it is possible. He will return four seats lost from Kahol-Lavan. The rest he’ll leave there. He will bring a mandate and a quarter from the Arabs and another three-quarters of a mandate from the Druze. He knows that the Arabs and Druze believe him. He says he is the most accepted Zionist figure in the sector. He will promise them that he’ll build a bridge. Not a bridge of electoral exploitation. The bridge of a real house. He will locate the 250,000 voters of Orly Levy-Abekasis and Moshe Kahlon and bring 100,000 of them to the Labor party. He hopes to bring Levi-Abecassis herself. He is packed with plans like a spray grenade and looks like a fish trhown back into the sea after many years of wandering in the desert. This is good news for the Labor Party, and it seems to me that the party is not bad for the center-left bloc.
Israelis on Both the Far-right and Far-left Are Stuck in the Past – and That's Good for Netanyahu (Tzvia Greenfield, Haaretz+) There are interesting similarities and parallels between the right’s ideological wing – which currently comprises three small parties, two of which failed to pass the electoral threshold in the last election – and the left’s ideological wing, which comprises three small parties that are all currently hovering close to the electoral threshold. These two ideological extremes, on both left and right, are dying, and for the general public, they apparently represent anachronisms for which there is no longer any demand.
Instead of internal quarrels, the left-wing should concentrate on those refusing to vote (Ran Edelist, Maariv) In Israel there are 6.3 million potential voters, the right-wing received 2.5 million votes - less than 40%. If those 30% who did not vote walked out of their house (to the polling stations), there very well could be a turnaround.
 
Interviews:
Love at the checkpoint: The artillery soldier who wrote a book about his affair with a married Palestinian woman
At the age of 19, while serving at a checkpoint in the Territories, Rea Ekhaus fell in love with a woman who passed by him every day. One day, a large Mercedes stopped at the checkpoint Ekaus was manning, and Diana (a pseudonym), a beautiful and impressive 29-year-old woman who works in Ramallah, asked to pass through it, as she did every day. Ekhaus was almost instantly enchanted by Diana, fell in love with her and was swept into a stormy two and a half month romance, under the noses of the soldiers and commanders who served with him and knew nothing. Thus, for two and a half months they had a secret affair, which story he reveals in his new book. (Interviewed by Talia Levin in Maariv Magazine supplement)
"It happened seven years ago, and the truth is that it took me six years to write this book," admits Ekhaus. "I knew there was something here that I had to tell, and over the years, when I told this story to people, I understood that it was fascinating, and I was glad to have written the story: I wanted to convey a message beyond the situation itself. I am of course not advocating harm to the IDF, and I was a good commander overall. The bottom line, apart from myself, I did not put anyone at risk."
Does she know she is starring in the book?
"The truth is that I have not been in contact with her since ... Our story ended with an explosion when she asked me to pass her brother, who came from Britain, through the checkpoint, and I could not do it without permits. She saw it as a betrayal of friendship. But I could not. I don’t know why on that day I chose to be loyal, but she took it hard. She got out of the car and started yelling at me next to everyone. Then her friends tried to look for me. I think her husband is still in the picture and he doesn’t know. Three weeks ago I tried to contact her and tell her about the book. And I admit, for a while there is something that has made me want to contact her. Not in a romantic context, heaven forbid, but just sit around for coffee and come closed circle."
In the book you talk about someone from the unit who knew and helped back you up.
"One of the young sergeants backed me up whenever I was off to see her. I guess if they knew what I did then I would still be in jail today. I do not want to give a bad example or rebel against the IDF. I was a different type of commander. I was perhaps more accepting than others of acts of nonsense. I wanted my soldiers know from the first stage that we're all in the same shit here. And yes, I did very brave things in order to follow my heart. And in retrospect I don’t regret it. I just understand that today I wouldn’t have the courage to do what I did then. I was enchanted by her almost uncontrollably.”
Did this romance change anything in your worldview as a soldier at a checkpoint?
"Checkpoints are never pleasant. My soldiers and I were very tough and careful with who we needed to be. But we also knew how to be very nice to those who pass every day and sell food and we knew that he was not a threat. Fortunately, I always knew how to make that distinction.”
 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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