News Nosh 7.21.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday July 21, 2019

 
Quote of the day:
“To claim that Israel is the victim of the Palestinians isn’t just to ignore the occupation, it’s to justify its practices entirely.”
—Haaretz commentator Rogel Alpher wrote in an Op-Ed after U.S. peace envoy Jason Greenblatt said in an interview with PBS on Wednesday that "Israel is actually more the victim than the party that's responsible.” Greenblatt also rejected the term "occupied" to describe the West Bank and called the use of the word 'settlements' "pejorative." **

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • In the right-wing: Contacts for union led by Ayelet Shaked (Hebrew)
  • Storm following union with Gesher
  • What Labor // Nahum Barnea
  • Iran hijacked British oil tanker
  • “They took turns raping me” - British tourist related what happened in hotel in Cyprus (Hebrew)
  • Today is Yedioth Ahronoth’s 50-year anniversary
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • Stormy waters - In response to the hijacking of an Iranian oil tanker on way to Syria, Iranian Revolutionary Guards took over a British ship in the Hormuz Straits
  • The suspicion of rape in Cyprus: 3 of those interrogated choose to remain silent
  • Peretz returns fire - After connecting with Orly Levi-Abeksis, the Labor party leader says: We won’t sit with Netanyahu under indictment
  • Conversion therapy // Ben Caspit
Israel Hayom
  • “Trump considering: More aggressive line towards Iran” - Record tension in the Persian Gulf: “If the crisis is not solved, the consequences will be severe”
  • The union in the right-wing: Fateful moments
  • Expose - At Wolfson Hospital, they delayed giving a medicine - and the female cancer patients died
  • Dozens of Israeli ambassadors across the world: “We will go on strike at the embassies”
  • The rape in Cyprus: 3 of those suspected of rape choose to remain silent in their interrogation


Top News Summary:
Gulf tension grows, questioning and silence of Israeli youth suspected of gang rape in Cyprus and the surprising mergers in the left and the expected mergers in the right-wing ahead of September elections were the top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Israel prepared to fend off maritime threats after the Iranian Revolutionary Guards seized a British tanker following the seizing of an Iranian oil tanker by the UK (only Maariv noted in its headline that the Brits started it).

Regarding the gang rape of the 19-year-old British tourist in Aya Napa , Cyprus, allegedly by 12 young Israeli tourists, the newspapers took a more balanced stance in today’s paper. Unlike articles last week, where the headlines were about the concerns of the Israeli parents for their detained sons [See Gideon Levy’s biting Op-Ed on this phenomenon in Commentary/Analysis below], today Yedioth the title was a quote from the victim, who described that the 12 youth, mostly minors, raped her in turns. The article was written by a correspondent who went to Aya Napa. The paper also published a short profile about the young British woman, who comes from a small village in England and teaches horseback riding to children. The article also noted that the gang rape made headlines in all the British newspapers and that many people were writing talkbacks against Israel. In its daily supplement, the newspaper interviewed female experts who talked about what to teach children so they won’t become rapists and can try to avoid being raped. Ynet ran an article describing that British women in Cyprus complain about sexual harassment by young Israelis and fear them.

The Meretz party leader, Nitzan Horowitz, and Ehud Barak, leader of the ‘Democratic Israel’ party, criticized the decision of Amir Peretz, chief of Labor party to make a joint run with 'lite' right-winger Orli Levi-Abekasis, leader of the Gesher party. Horowitz said the move 'crushes the possibility' of a wider union on the left. Amir Peretz, also promised he would not sit in a coalition government with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu unless the attorney general clears him of indictments in the three corruption cases. But Barak and Horowitz warned he was paving the way for a government with Netanyahu. And Labor MK Stav Shafir threatened to resign unless Peretz also makes mergers with either Meretz or Democratic Israel. Yedioth Hebrew reported that senior Labor party officials think that Shafir and her associates may join Meretz or Barak. Barak said it might spell the end of the Labor party. The connection with right-wing Orli Levi-Abekasis' Gesher party was meant to strengthen the leftist bloc and attract new voters from the right-wing.   But in the meantime, it appears that the surprising move only undermines the stability of the left-wing bloc and threatens to split it from within, wrote Yedioth Hebrew. Meanwhile former ministers Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett of the New Right party met last night to restore their partnership. Shaked is expected to head the party. (Yedioth Hebrew) Bennett wants to run in the framework of the New Right, but Shaked demands running on a united list with Rafi Peretz and Bezalel Smotrich of Habayit Hayehudi. (Yedioth Hebrew)


Elections 2019 Quickees:
Reconciliation committee fails to revive Arab parties' Joint List ahead of Israeli election
Negotiation efforts ended over disagreement between Balad and Hadash over 12th spot in slate. Final deadline to submit slates to Central Election Committee looms near. (Haaretz+)
The ‘Daily Mail’ photographer tells Yedioth Ahronoth: If Ehud Barak continues with the libel suit, it will open a can of worms
Pictures of Ehud Barak outside the home of Jeffrey Epstein in Manhattan were shot in 2016. But the photographer, Jay Donnelly, did not know that the man he photographed was the former prime minister of Israel. The ‘Daily Mail Online,’ which purchased the pictures from him, published them on January 19, 2016. Under Barak's photographs, whose face is partially covered with a scarf, the caption reads "unidentified person" arrived at Epstein's house. Donnelly, who made an ambush outside Epstein's house for hours and documented Barak and the four girls entering separately, is a veteran and skilled photographer specializing in paparazzi and celebrity photography. Yesterday he told Yedioth Ahronoth that "all the pictures of Barak and the four young women were taken that day, and I do not think that Barak has a basis for the his law suit.   If he moves forward (with the law suit), it will open a can of worms. This is also an indication that the ‘Daily Mail’ is standing firm in its position towards Barak.” (Yedioth Hebrew)
The biggest challenge in Israeli politics? Getting out the vote in this Bedouin city
The vast majority of Israel’s Bedouin voters fall into two categories — they either don’t vote or vote for Arab parties. But could that be about to change in September? Haaretz visits Rahat to find out. (Haaretz+)
 
Quick Hits:
  • Vandalized Cars, Graffiti: Israeli Arab Town Hit by 'Despicable' Suspected Hate Crime - 23 tires were slashed and malicious graffiti spray-painted in Jish Friday. The hateful writings read: "Thousands of orders won't erase the smile," and "Greeting from the restrained," probably referring to right-wing activists against whom the police have issued restraining orders. (Haaretz)
  • 97 Palestinians, Among Them Paramedics and Journalists, Wounded in Gaza-border Clashes With Israeli Army - 49 of those injured in the altercations along the border fence were hit by live fire, Gaza's Health Ministry reports. (Haaretz)
  • Israeli Army Not Spraying Harmful Herbicides at Gaza Border for First Time in Five Years - Chemicals have destroyed Gaza farmers’ crops and inflicted financial and environmental damage. Army says it's trying to reduce range of effects. (Haaretz+)
  • *U.S. envoy Greenblatt: Israel 'victim' in conflict, rejects the term 'settlements' - In interview with PBS, Trump's peace broker says president has 'great credibility' among all leaders in the region except for Palestinians. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Budget cuts place diplomatic corps under siege, ambassadors warn - Citing "erosion of the Foreign Ministry's standing, aggressive budget cuts," some 100 Israeli ambassadors, consuls, and diplomats sign petition calling for all overseas diplomatic missions to go on strike. (Israel Hayom)
  • A storm in „ Military Intelligence: Another resignation from the Special Operations Brigade - The Khan Younis Effect: After the brigade commander left and one of its commanders in the past returned from civilian service in order to head it, a senior officer in the brigade also announced his decision to resign from the position. In his place, one of his predecessors. (This all follows the failed secret operation in Khan Younis, Gaza in December 2018). (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Circassian town can't keep Arabs out, Israel's deputy attorney general rules - 'No legal validity' to mayor's pledge to keep non-Circassian couple from living in northern town to preserve its 'Circassian character.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Ethiopian-Israeli officers in a letter to the chief of staff: Address racism in the IDF - About three weeks after the shooting of Solomon Teka, senior Ethiopian-Israeli IDF officers joined in calling for the elimination of discrimination. "The manifestations of racism do not override the military establishment," they wrote in a letter to the chief of staff demanding the appointment of an officer responsible for preventing racism in the army. The IDF said in response: "The letter was received and will respond directly to the applicants.” (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Longtime Staffer of Israeli President Rivlin Interrogated on Suspicion of Misusing Position - The employee is suspected of breach of trust, and has been questioned twice. Police say Rivlin is not connected to the offenses the man is accused of committing. (Haaretz+)
  • Family of Ethiopian Israeli Shot Dead by Police Says Media 'Killing Him Again' - Solomon Teka's father slammed defamatory reports and leaks from investigation that sparked a wave of protest, while family's request to review evidence turned down. (Haaretz+)
  • One of the earliest rural mosques in the world found in Israel - Built soon after the advent of Islam, the mosque in the Negev town of Rahat indicates how fast the new religion swept through the countryside. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli-U.S. billionaire Haim Saban returning to his roots in music with new company - Power Rangers media mogul Saban plans a $500 million venture focusing on Latin music. (Haaretz+)
  • Germany probes anti-Israel 'likes' by official account - Foreign Ministry in Berlin 'emphastically disassociates' itself from actions of diplomat Christian Clages, who signalled his approval for video praising attack on IDF soldiers, exchange between American white supremacist David Duke and another user about an alleged massacre of Jews. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Ilhan Omar introduces resolution to defend Americans' right to boycott - Legislation is unveiled as Omar plans visit to Israel next month, testing Israeli anti-boycott law. Text cites boycott of Nazi Germany as example for other boycotts of 'Americans of conscience.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Arab Israeli lawmaker sends letter of solidarity to Omar, Tlaib: Trump's racism is like Netanyahu's - MK Aida Touma-Sliman writes to congresswomen that her party is doing 'whatever is in our power' to let them visit Israel despite possible ban over their support for BDS. (Haaretz+)
  • Seoul grants Israeli president Rivlin honorary citizen status - "When I see the innovation in Seoul, I could be in @TelAviv," Rivlin says after special award ceremony. (Israel Hayom)
  • British Airways, Lufthansa Suspend Cairo Flights Over Security Concerns - U.K airline says 'constantly reviewing security arrangements,' move meant as 'precautio.' Lufthansa to resume routes on Sunday. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • PM thanks Argentina for listing Hezbollah as terrorist entity - Argentina's justice minister tells i24NEWS: This is a preventive measure. Designation of Iranian proxy as a terrorist group is a first by any Latin American country. Argentina marks 25ths anniversary of Iranian-orchestrated attack on Jewish community center in capital. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)


Features:
Gideon Levy -  The protest dispersed. Then an Israeli sniper shot a 9-year-old boy in the head
From 100 meters away, an IDF soldier shot a Palestinian boy in the head in the West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum. The bullet exploded into dozens of fragments in the child's brain and he's now in an induced coma. (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+)
Former Deputy Mossad Chief Who Helped Bring Iraqi and Iranian Jews to Israel Dies at 88
Born in Herzliya in 1931, he joined the Haganah at the age of 14, served as a bodyguard for Ben-Gurion, and reached number two in the Mossad: Menachem (Nahik) Navot, whose career spanned 40 years and included bringing Jews from Iraq via Iran in 1972 and extracting the last Israelis from Tehran during the Islamic Revolution, died at the end of the week. After being head of the directorate branch of the Mossad, he was appointed head of the Tevel department in 1980, and together with Dave Kimchi, they pushed for deepening ties with the Christians in Lebanon. Despite the variety of positions he served in, his name was mainly connected to the controversial relationship that he cultivated and deepened from the 1970s with the Christians in Lebanon, which led to Israel's invasion of Lebanon in June 1982 and to the war that lasted 18 years. On the day Syrian agents assassinated Lebanese President Bashir Gemayel in September 1982, Navot was in Beirut and when he heard of the assassination his world collapsed, as testified by those who met him at the time. Maariv's Yossi Melman wrote, "In conversations I had with him, he always tried to justify himself and explain that he had been wronged and that he actually opposed the reliance on the Christian Phalangists and he believed in prime minister Yitzhak Rabin's policy that Christians should be helped to help themselves. "Unfortunately," he told me, "this approach was changed during the period of Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Defense Minister Ariel Sharon. About twenty years later, Navot was asked: "Did you see the film 'Waltz with Bashir'?" The question was posed by Aliza Magen, who was also the deputy head of the Mossad. She referred to the Israeli animated film that displayed the horrors of the Lebanon War from the perspective of director Ari Folman, who was a tankist in the war. Navot admitted that "a lot of people think that I am responsible for the war, and when they talk about the war in Lebanon, unfortunately, they raise my name. That's the image that stuck to me and to the Mossad." (Ofer Aderet, Haaretz+, Yossi Melman, Maariv and Inbar Toyzer, Yedioth Hebrew)
Island of irregularity
In the wake of the suspicion of the rape of the British female tourist by Israeli youth, tour guies talk about the phenomenon of violence, vandalism and sexual harassment at the Cyrpiot tourist town of Aya Napa in the summer months. (Talia Levine, Maariv Magazine, cover)
What do we do with our sons?
The gnawing fear of every parent in Israel after the publication of two gang rapes. On the one hand, the nightmare of every mother and father: How to protect our daughters from sexual violence. On the other hand, a no less terrifying nightmare: Is it possible that we will wake up one day and discover our son participated in a crime like this? A row of female experts explain what is important to talk with the children about, what social dynamics can turn into gang rape and how to identify warning lights. (Noam Barkan, Yedioth's '24 Hours' supplement, cover)
From amputee to Israel's martial arts champion
Assaf is the only para Taekwondo athlete in Israel training with 'healthy' men, heavier, older and stronger but that only prepares him for the challenges he hopes will be ahead as he fights to take part in the 2020 para Olympian games in Tokyo. (Arie Maliniak, Ynet)
When Jews Praised Mussolini and Supported Nazis: Meet Israel's First Fascists
Some worrying components of Hebrew fascism are still evident in Israel's right wing, 80 years on. (Dan Tamir, Haaretz+)
Palestinians seeking to disengage economically from Israel
Aiming to end the reliance on Israel and counter the U.S. plan for the region, the Palestinian prime minister is looking for trading partners and investment in Amman and Baghdad; 'The move is part of the Palestinian development strategy for 2017-2020,' says PA official Abd al-Rahman. (Media Line, Ynet)
As it fights for its land, one Palestinian village struggles to preserve its cultural heritage
Wedged between settlement expansion and plagued by water shortages, land confiscation, and settler violence, Wadi Fuqin’s agricultural heritage is increasingly coming under threat. (Arianna Skibell, +972mag)
The Unsung Savior of Cairo’s Jewish Community
Using gifts, bribes and his personal charm, Clement Behar put his life on the line to save the Jews of the Egyptian capital from persecution during the 1940s and 1950s (Flora Hastings, Haaretz+)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
Cyprus Rape Case: Israel's Boys Struck at Dawn (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Our forces went into action as night fell. There were 12 of them, each the salt of the earth, hailing from the Haifa area, from the eternal capital Jerusalem and from the capital of racism, Afula. Some of them, amazingly, were even about to join elite army units. Your heart cries out to them. Just let them return home in peace. They’re now under arrest, in the hands of Gentiles, and who knows what they’re going through there. There are reports that they’re shackled, that they’re being beaten. There’s a rumor going around that they’ve been transferred to the Turkish side on the Midnight Express. What, after all, did they do? They’re only good kids who wanted a bit too much. They’re allowed to have their fun, and how, before being drafted. They deserve to let go a bit. Let them have some fun. What’s the problem? The nation stands with them. Even their mothers say they’re good kids. The usual Israeli narrative is clear in most of the reports from Ayia Napa in Cyprus: The whole world is against us. We (again) are the victims. If they weren’t Israelis no one would have arrested them. Twelve Jewish kids under arrest in the Diaspora – do you realize what that means? They’re children, obviously. If they were Palestinians, they’d be called young men. The rape victim is a young woman, not a child, even though she’s the same age as the perpetrators. Only we love our children, which is why they’re the children of us all. Just wait and see the reception they get when they return, assuming they return anytime soon. The heroes will return home, appearing with the mayor in the city’s main square. Reports of Cypriot anti-Semitism are on the way. And who can trust the Cypriot justice system anyway? It’s cruel and primitive, unlike ours, the most progressive and humane one in the world. How dare they, those Cypriots, arrest 12 Jewish kids before their induction into elite army units? The parents who told the media, as a mitigating circumstance, that their boys were about to join these units were oblivious to the irony: Some of them were about to serve in an army whose main mission is abuse, just like what happened that night in Ayia Napa. Maybe that night was a prelude to basic training? The victim is obviously making it up, the suspects are victims, the entire Israeli story encompassed in one night in room 723. If they were suspected of raping an Israeli-Jewish woman, your heart wouldn’t reach out to them the same way. But they’re suspected of raping a female goy, a shiksa, a little whore, and that’s an entirely different story. This isn’t stated explicitly, obviously, but it’s planted deep within the subtext of the reports, enveloped in a thin veneer of decency and correctness under which the true emotions seethe and bubble. If one could only say aloud what many Israelis feel inside about that night: a mixture of male chauvinism and ultra-nationalist supremacy. These kids remain the salt of the earth. They screwed a shiksa and now they’re the victims. Ostensibly, this is heart-warming national solidarity. Actually, it’s dark and benighted tribalism and nationalism, blind and reflexive, revolting. Our children are always just – we’re the chosen people, always the victims. It’s the same solidarity shown with Elor Azaria, the soldier who shot an assailant who was already motionless on the ground, and with soldiers aiming for the head of a 10-year-old in the West Bank village of Qaddum, or with the ones who shot a 15-year-old climbing the separation fence near Bethlehem. The soldiers who shoot are perceived by most Israelis as victims, as are the suspects in the rape in Ayia Napa, not as scum. They hurt non-Jews, who only want our destruction. That’s why what they did is good, both in Qaddum and in Ayia Napa. Very little has been said in the Israeli media about the victim, that poor British woman, or about the Palestinian victims of another horrific mass rape, one that’s been going on for years, the rape of the occupation. That might generate some sympathy for the true victim, or at lease raise some moral doubts among the perpetrators. The ones perpetrating these acts, in both cases, in Ayia Napa and in Qaddum, are our children, the purest and most innocent of all children. Just dare think otherwise.
Not only Afula: More communities in Israel are keeping out people for racist reasons (Shay Lahav, Maariv) The demonstrations against the sale of houses to Arabs in the city of Afula are unacceptable and embarrassing to all of us. But it is convenient not to see that the same thing is happening in kibbutzim, joint communities and even among the Circassians.
How to Deal With Racist Leaders Who 'Love' Jews (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) It's now a global trend: Israel and Jewish Diaspora communities cynically courted by democracy-eroding, 'pro-Israel' nationalists who present themselves as philo-Semites.
Tlaib and Omar’s planned West Bank trip embroils Israel in Trump’s battle with ‘the squad' (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+) Netanyahu's decision to allow the congresswomen entry into the country shines spotlight on Israeli 'travel ban' on BDS activists.
Israel must not be dragged into it: Trump is exploiting undemocratic Democrat congresswomen (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) For President Trump they are a lever, a tool and a means of smearing the Democratic Party. "Who are they anyway?" said a well-known and admired Jewish official in New York recently claimed. "They are so unimportant, they do not represent the Democratic Party, that is a shame what an effort is made to respond to their statements. They are not anti-Semitic, they are stupid." A commentator on a public channel in New York called Ilhan Omar "dumb". The Israeli ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, made the right announcement this weekend that "Israel will allow Congress members Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib to enter Israel next month." The ambassador cut the dilemma before Minister of Education Rabbi Peretz and Minister of Transportation Smmotrich or Minister of Communications Amsalem were able to respond to the intention of the legislators who support the boycott movement to visit Israel and the Territories. But Ambassador Dermer's explanation for his statement was exaggerated and misleading. "Out of respect for the American Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America, we won't prevent any member of Congress from entering Israel." What is the ambassador talking about? Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib have nothing to do with respect for Congress and less so for "the great alliance between Israel and America." It does not matter and does not matter when the two members of the Congress arrive in Israel. It can be said in advance that their visit to Israel and the Territories has no value, no meaning. Zero importance. It does not matter what they say when they stay in Israel and less importantly what they will say about what they saw. The attitude toward them during their stay in Israel should be as cool as official permits.
In Trump vs 'the Squad,' American Jews have picked the wrong target (Melanie Phillips, Israel Hayom) The president wasn’t attacking the women’s color or ethnicity. He was attacking their disloyalty to America. Racism is picking on people for who they are; Trump attacked them for what they do.
Trump's Logic Means He Supports a Palestinian Right of Return (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how....” Trump tweeted…The women of the Squad were "sent back to their own countries" even though, apart from Omar, who was born in Somalia, they were all born in the United States. But an interesting situation was created here. Tlaib was born and raised in Detroit and represents Michigan in Congress, but she’s the daughter of Palestinian parents who immigrated to the United States in the '70s – her father is from East Jerusalem and her mother is from a village near Ramallah. According to Trump’s tweet, Tlaib should return to the place she came from; that is, Palestinian East Jerusalem. It appears then that Trump believes that Palestinian refugee status is hereditary, in contrast to his administration’s policy.
Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s Special Troll to the Middle East (Rogel Alpher, Haaretz+) Jason Greenblatt, U.S. President Donald Trump’s envoy to the Middle East, a crafter of the failing deal cooked up by the administration to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is simply a provocateur. In an interview Wednesday with “PBS NewsHour,” he said that in the conflict with the Palestinians, Israel isn’t responsible for the situation that has been created – it’s the victim. This amazing statement is a sweeping denial of reality – of well-based facts and of precise and extensive documentation of the occupation’s injustices. Greenblatt is an occupation denier. The occupation is less serious than the Holocaust, so denying the occupation is less serious than denying the Holocaust, but still, it’s quite serious. To claim that Israel is the victim of the Palestinians isn’t just to ignore the occupation, it’s to justify its practices entirely. And since the occupation is a proven and ongoing act carried out by Israel, justifying it is just a cheap provocation.
The Russian-Turkish deal for the sale of the S-400 should turn on a warning light in Israel (Yossi Melman, Maariv) Recep Tayyip Erdogan doesn’t care what the US thinks, booming defense exports to Vietnam encounter US competition and intelligence games between Israel, US and Iran enter the literary arena.
Israel must decide: Territories or peace with Jordan ('Ureib al-Rantawi, Yedioth Hebrew) Soon, the lease of the areas of Tzofar and Naharayim n the Arava will end  and Israel is due to return to Jordan. [In this Op-Ed published in ‘Al-Dustoor,’ ‘Ureib, a Jordanian publicist and researcher, writes that he fears that the right-wing government in Israel and the US administration are preparing a surprise.
Israel's Right Wing Is Worse Than Europe’s (Zeev Sternhell, Haaretz+) In truth, the Israeli right, which maintains the settlements with their racist, backward rabbis, is much worse that the European nationalist right, which is wary of displaying open racism and anti-Semitism, lest it be accused of fostering an ideology akin to Nazism. Here we have no such problem because hey, we’re all Jews, and who would dare accuse a Jew of approximating the kind of Nazi ideology that preceded World War II? Therefore we get an education minister who is ignorant, not just on sexual matters but also of history, feeling no qualms about calling for the annexation of millions of Arabs while cynically denying them of political rights.
Gulf crisis poses strategic opportunities (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) The rising tensions between Iran and the US increase chances of a flare-up in the Persian Gulf, something neither side wants. Israel must be vigilant and ensure that its interests are maintained.
U.S.-Iran Escalation on Verge of Turning Into Real Slugfest (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Neither Washington nor Tehran is in a rush to arm its warplanes, but the risk that this tug of war becomes an exchange of military blows has become more real.
The takeover of the British oil tanker: Tehran is not afraid to walk on the brink (Tal Lev Ram, Maariv) Taking over the tanker is not a momentary whim or a local initiative, but expresses a planned policy in Iran. Israel believes Hezbollah will not rush into war adventures.
The Gulf states and the new silk road (Mordechai Chaziza, Israel Hayom) The rise of China over the past two decades represents an opportunity for the Persian Gulf states as they seek to diversify their economies, increase trade and locate investment opportunities in emerging markets.
Time for Palestinian Culture to Go Beyond Nationalism (Rajaa Natour, Haaretz+) Palestinian art, which generally avoids emotions, dark desires and controversial identities, must reach a deeper level.
The friendship between Netanyahu and Al-Sisi is also an opportunity to warm the peace relations between the two nations (Jacky Khougy, Maariv) On the lawn of the Egyptian ambassador's home in Herzliya, Netanyahu made public his personal relations with the Egyptian president. Far from the media, the contacts may indicate a much broader regional coalition.
A hug from Bahrain (Orly Azoulay, Yedioth Hebrew) Foreign Minister Israel Katz held yesterday in Washington a first public meeting with Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled al-Ahmad al-Halifah. The two met at a conference on religious freedom in Washington, hosted by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who also coordinated the joint photograph. During the meeting, the two foreign ministers discussed Iran, regional threats and cooperation between the two countries and agreed to continue to maintain contact. About two weeks ago, Foreign Minister Katz visited Abu Dhabi where he met with a senior political figure in the United Arab Emirates. Minister Katz concluded with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on setting a clear goal for Israeli foreign policy to promote the signing of peace agreements between Israel and the Arab Gulf states over the coming years.
Stop neglecting the peace treaty with Egypt (Itzhak Levanon, Israel Hayom) The time has come to bolster the 1979 accord by acting to actually implement its provisions, and the initiative should come from Jerusalem.

Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
Is Labor's new partner a bridge or a barrier for Israel's left? (Haaretz Editorial) The decision by Amir Peretz’s Labor Party and Orli Levy-Abekasis’ Gesher to run jointly in the upcoming election should be judged only by the results: If this partnership prevents other parties on the left from joining in, or if it turns out that the purpose for running jointly was to enter a Netanyahu government, this will be an unfortunate, destructive decision for the center-left bloc. If, on the other hand, it is a sign that other parties will be joining the bloc, it will be a decision of unparalleled significance.
In the lurid battle over political scandals, Israelis are the real losers (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) What does Ehud Barak propose we do about Gaza? What do any of Netanyahu's challengers think? We don't know, because all we hear is a slanging match over which politician (or scion) is most corrupt, most disgraceful - and we have to break this self-defeating cycle.
Israeli Labor Leader's Choice to Merge With Right-wing Lite Is Very Momentous Bet (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) Linkup between the Labor Party’s Amir Peretz and Orli Levi-Abekasis will benefit the two, but could hurt the left as a whole.
The do-over election is beginning to take shape (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) If Netanyahu doesn't have a trick up his sleeve he can pull out soon, it looks like Yisrael Beytenu's Avigdor Lieberman will succeed where Yair Lapid has failed.
How to Unify the Left and Save Israel (Stav Shaffir, Haaretz+) Women don’t battle, they “quarrel,” they aren’t assertive, they’re “shrill.” I’ve often heard that my main political problem is that “you have opinions.” Only journalists like Haaretz’s Yossi Verter still think it’s legitimate to call a 34-year-old Knesset member (the age at which Yitzhak Rabin headed the army’s Northern Command) “a girl” and a “Pokemon battle.” And all this disapproval has come when, under the current leaders supported by such critics, Israel and its democracy have reached the edge of the abyss. The upcoming election will decide the future of Israeli democracy. The political gossip, which is preoccupied with the candidates’ internal disputes in the election campaign, doesn’t interest Israelis. They want to know if we’ll be able to save the country and prevent it from becoming a corrupt state based on religious law that controls 3 million Palestinians and becomes a nightmare of terror and apartheid. Will Israel be a country that offers hope for its young people or a country where they’ll seek the fastest way to obtain a foreign passport?
Israeli Labor Leader's Choice to Merge With Right-wing Lite Is Very Momentous Bet (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+)  Linkup between the Labor Party’s Amir Peretz and Orli Levi-Abekasis will benefit the two, but could hurt the left as a whole.
If Amir Peretz's reading of the situation is wrong, the party that established the state will disappear on his watch (Ben Caspit, Maariv) In 2006, Peretz took a rare historic opportunity to penetrate the Likud districts to bring them to the Labor party. Today the situation is completely different. He may discover that leftists are fleeing much faster than the right-wingers are coming in droves.
We’ve Had It With Netanyahu (Haaretz Editorial) Netanyahu has avoided major wars (except for Operation Protective Edge in the south five years ago) and has kept Israel out of the civil war in Syria. But he sees continued occupation and settlement in the territories as desirable, and with the help of his political partners on the right he is strengthening the foundation of an apartheid regime in the West Bank. He has put to sleep the internal debate on the territories and peace, but despite the seeming consensus, Israel still doesn’t have recognized borders, millions of Palestinians are still groaning under its rule and in the West, a boycott movement has awakened.
Ehud Barak's bluster and plunder (David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom) The former prime minister is fueling his attempted political comeback with dreadful demagoguery to hide his record of failures and lack of ideas addressing Israel's future.
13 Years, 128 Days and Counting: Netanyahu Surpasses Ben-Gurion. But What’s His Legacy? (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Although he claims all of the credit for the country’s economic and diplomatic achievements, Bibi is merely reaping the benefits of his predecessors’ efforts. His legacy is his longevity, and precious little else.
A historic tenure (Dr. Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will forever be remembered as someone who, within the span of 10 years, succeeded in turning a small country on the sidelines of the Middle East into an esteemed global power.
Lieberman is laying a trap for Netanyahu (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) The prime minister has handed his rivals a gift they could never have dreamed of.
In the lurid battle over political scandals, Israelis are the real losers (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet)What does Ehud Barak propose we do about Gaza? What do any of Netanyahu's challengers think? We don't know, because all we hear is a slanging match over which politician (or scion) is most corrupt, most disgraceful - and we have to break this self-defeating cycle.
Does Ehud Barak Have Any More Jeffrey Epsteins in His Closet? (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) Ehud Barak’s forceful return to politics came to a discordant screech last week after Haaretz’s Gidi Weitz exposed Barak’s ties with billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender. A few days later, the car began to catch fire – a photo that was miraculously conjured by the British tabloid The Daily Mail showed Barak near Epstein’s New York residence with a scarf wrapped around his face. With all due caution, it wouldn’t be groundless to assume that Barak is suffering a bout of character assassination by the Bibi-ist right, which is trying to link him to pedophilia. All this is happening while in real life, more real than any photo or speculation, three indictments subject to a hearing are pending against Israel’s prime minister, one of them for bribery.
 
Interviews:
He Fled Iran for Israel When He Was 12. But He Couldn't Stay
This week at the Tel Aviv airport: An Iranian Jew who left Israel for Canada, and an Israeli therapist who treats kibbutzniks. (Interviewed by Liat Elkayam in Haaretz+)

When Zionism imagined Jewish nationalism without supremacy
In his recent book, Dr. Dmitry Shumsky shows that, contrary to popular belief, the forefathers of Zionism did not envision a state based on Jewish supremacy. And yet Zionism, he says, inevitably involves the oppression of Palestinians. (Interviewed in +972mag by Meron Rapoport)

Reform movement leader: Equating intermarriage to ‘second Holocaust’ was ‘needlessly inflammatory’
In first interview with Israeli press, HUC president Andrew Rehfeld slams comments of Israel's education minister. (Interviewed by Judy Maltz in Haaretz+)

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