APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday August 8, 2019
You Must Be Kidding:
Israel's public broadcaster Kan removed all episodes available online of a police docudrama set in Jerusalem and police apologized, following a report by Haaretz that officers planted a gun in the house of an East Jerusalem Palestinian in the course of filming the show.
You Must Be Kidding:
Israel's public broadcaster Kan removed all episodes available online of a police docudrama set in Jerusalem and police apologized, following a report by Haaretz that officers planted a gun in the house of an East Jerusalem Palestinian in the course of filming the show.
Quote of the day:
"The climax of the series was the planting of the gun in Samer Sleiman’s house. That was the moment of truth. That’s how the police operate in the territories. Sometimes they plant evidence, or make up a pretext for brutal behavior. And in general, they plant themselves in places where they shouldn’t be at all. It’s not just the planted weaponry; it’s all based on deceit – the supposedly unoccupied status of the supposedly united city; the dangers exaggerated to the point of absurdity; the security services who fight these dangers and make them worse by their very violent and provocative presence, in Jerusalem as in the West Bank."
--Haaretz commentator Gideon Levy wrote in today's paper.**
--Haaretz commentator Gideon Levy wrote in today's paper.**
Israeli Soldier Killed in West Bank Attack; Security Forces Suspect Failed Kidnapping
Shin Bet, army and police have launched an investigation into the stabbing attack that claimed the life of 19-year-old yeshiva student Dvir Sorek ■ Manhunt underway. (Haaretz, Ynet, Israel Hayom)
- Attorney General decided to indict Minister Haim Katz for fraud and breach of trust
- In (Deputy Health Minister) Leitzman’s world, a politician tries to aid and do good - for criminals // Mordechai Kremnitzer
- The vaults were opened: The drawings, diaries and notebooks of Franz Kafka were revealed
- High Court approved that Education Ministry take fees from parents: excellence should not be sacraficed for equality
- Member of (Council of Higher Education) Planning and Budget Committee resigned in protest of Education Minister’s policies
- Creators of ‘Jerusalem District” docudrama probing three other scenes in which the evidence may have been planted
- In the series, they showed drugs caught. In court, the policeman said: Nothing was found
- Elections Commission will discuss today the Likud demand to put cameras in the polling stations of the Arab society
- Living in the margins // Jack Khoury on de-legitimization of the Arabs by the government
- Bleeding threats // Uri Misgav on Kahol-Lavan
- Pity that Ben-Gurion isn’t alive in order to oppose the establishment of a visitors’ center at a cost of 40 million shekels in his old home
- What is really happening in your child’s daycare center - The negligence, the curses, the violence, the ignoring, the dangers (Hebrew)
- Medicines crisis at the pharmacies (Hebrew)
- Minister Haim Katz will be indicted
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
- Likely: Indictment against Minister Haim Katz
- Police investigation: threatening text messages were sent to the Attorney General’s cellphone
- Health organizations against the social media networks
- The right-wing wars - Prime Minister’s goal: to take mandates from Shaked and prevent vote for Zehut and Otzma Yehudit parties
- Rise and succeed - Israeli satellite, Amos 17, was successfully launched
- “They are attacking me just because I elected to return to Likud” - Kahlon attacks in an interview with ‘Israel Hayom’
- Special: This is how they eliminated the kidnappers of the (three Israeli) youth
- Kafka in Jerusalem
- Likely: Indictment against Minister Haim Katz
- (Satellite) Amos is in space
- Seeing stars: For the first time, space engineering studies in high school
- Storm over Netanyahu’s Op-Ed in ‘Israel Hayom’: In the right-wing they are congratulating, in the left-wing they are attacking
Top News Summary:
Today’s top stories in the Hebrew newspapers focused on internal politics and the likelihood that Israel’s attorney general will indict Labor Minister Haim Katz (Likud) for fraud and breach of trust. The papers noted that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he won't establish a unity government after the upcoming Israeli election, despite the fact that Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman, Avigdor Lieberman, said after the dissolution of the previous Knesset that after the next elections he would no longer automatically recommend Netanyahu to form the next government, and instead would only recommend whoever expresses consent to form a unity government. Yedioth’s Yuval Karni wrote that “These two commitments place the political system, at least according to the polls, in a conundrum from which it is unclear how to exit.” According to the results of a Yedioth poll, either Lieberman joins a left-wing bloc, which would give it 58 mandates to the 61 mandates of a right-wing - ultra-Orthodox bloc. Or Lieberman would not join either bloc, in which case he is expected to receive 10 mandates, the right-wing and ultra-Orthodox parties would form a 56-mandate right-wing bloc and the center and left-wing bloc would receive 54 mandates. (Yedioth Hebrew)
Elections 2019 Quickees:
- Israel's election board to hear petition on cameras at polling stations in Arab towns - AG says panel can't decide on the matter, and has yet to rule whether to press charges against Likud for dispatching 1,200 cameras in April vote, seen as attempt to deter Arabs from voting. (Haaretz+)
- Yisrael Beiteinu filed complaint with police on suspicion of breaking into party computers - The head of party's organization, Alex Kushiner, said the break-in was carried out using the username of the Netanyahu's former chief of staff. (Maariv)
- Netanyahu vows he won't establish unity government after Israeli election - 'It's my obligation to Likud voters' to set up a right-wing government, premier says after Lieberman announced he won't endorse him in such a case. (Haaretz)
- Amir Peretz: "Lieberman is one of the most racist people in the country, a wolf in sheep's skin" - Chairman of the Labor Party-Gesher told 103 FM that chairman of Yisrael Beiteinu is one of the first people in Israeli politics to fight against law enforcement: "He is the champion of tricks." (Maariv)
- The reform leader running to be Israel's first non-Orthodox rabbi in Knesset - Rabbi Gilad Kariv is hoping fourth time’s a charm when he stands in Israel’s do-over election for the Democratic Union. He says issues of religion and state could be a game-changer on September 17. (Haaretz+)
- Israeli election panel rules anti-LGBT campaign ads be allowed to run - The ads, which companies refused to publish, read: 'Pride and buying children, or my son marrying a woman,' and 'Reform, or my grandson remaining Jewish.’ (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
- Social media users mock Likud's petition proclaiming loyalty to Netanyahu - Israeli social media users post hundreds of memes and posts comparing the prime minister to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un after 40 members of his party signed 'unity petition' affirming Netanyahu 'is the only Likud candidate for prime minister.’ (Ynet)
- (Far right-wing) Otzma Yehudit party seeks to disqualify Yair Lapid: "He demonizes a whole public" - The right-wing party will argue in a petition to the election committee that the video of the Kahol-Lavan man is racist: "His statements have crossed the red line." Lapid: "I have not received such reinforcement in a long time." (Maariv)
- Arab Ex-lawmaker Haneen Zoabi, Balad Party to Be Indicted for Forgery, Fraud Pending a Hearing - Zoabi and other party officials are suspected of falsely reporting millions of shekels that went into campaign funding. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
- Gantz vowed to 'pound Gaza' in future conflict if he is elected Israeli premier- Escalating rhetoric, Kahol Lavan leader says Tuesday that his leadership, Israel would launch military campaign if Hamas fails to meet its demands. (Haaretz+)
After merger, Meretz edited out Barak’s tough message on Gaza - 'We believe that we must
restore hope to the residents of the Gaza Strip, not deterrence,' said a Meretz source Monday. (Haaretz+)
- *Palestinian Files Complaint After Israeli Police Plant Gun in His Home for TV Docudrama - Justice Ministry department urges family of Samer Sleiman to file complaint after officers were filmed 'discovering' an M-16 assault rifle ■ Police apologize for incident, say investigation to be launched. (Haaretz+VIDEO)
- Police Reality TV Series Removed After Haaretz Report of Israeli Cops Planting Gun in Palestinian's Home - Police apologize, say will investigate incident, in which officers were filmed 'discovering' an M-16 assault rifle, while the producers said they would 'draw conclusions.’ (Haaretz+VIDEO and Ynet)
- Son of Palestinian who had gun planted in his house was blinded by police. Israel closed the case - Salah Sleiman was only 11 and a half when he was walking home from the grocery store and found himself at a violent protest in Isawiya in October 2014. He was recognized as a victim of hostile act after police shot him in the face with a rubber bullet, costing him his sight. Israel closed the case and never brought the cop to justice. (Haaretz+)
- Suspicion of another instance of planting evidence; Director to face hearing - After an initial probe of the planting of weapons at the home of a resident of East Jerusalem for one of the series' episodes, which aired on KAN 11, Koda production company said the “same motif" was found in three other scenes. "This was a judgment mistake, we apologize to anyone who was hurt.” The production company added that no one else from Coda Communications, except the two directors, were aware of the staging of that scene." (Ynet Hebrew)
- The storm over (docudrama), ‘Jerusalem District’: “They raided my house (too) and misrepresented finding weapons" - Ahmed Alian, a resident of Tzur Baher in East Jerusalem, told Ynet that police raided his home during filming, but found nothing. According to him, in the series they pasted together sections that showed a fake representation of finding a weapon at his home. They also showed his face. His attorneys contacted the DIP: "If a weapon is found in his home and he was not arrested - he will be perceived as an ‘informer’ (for Israel). His life is in danger.” (Ynet Hebrew)
- Gazans renew arson balloon attacks on southern Israel - Arson investigator from the Ashkelon Fire and Rescue Service determines that a fire that erupted in the Simhoni forest on Wednesday was caused by an explosive-laded balloon released from the Gaza Strip, the first identifiable such attack in a month. (Israel Hayom)
- Israeli Court Orders Bedouin to Pay Cost of Their Eviction From Unrecognized Village - The $372,000 to be paid by six people is the latest chapter in a years-long battle by Bedouin in the south to remain on land the courts say they have no right to. (Haaretz+)
- Israeli man assaults Bedouin lifeguard at public pool, screaming he 'hates Arabs' - Aviad Dahan, 34, a resident of Sderot, repeatedly punched the 19-year-old lifeguard and threatened to kill 'the stinking Arab' after the lifeguard - from Bedouin town of Rahat - asked the man to keep away from the pool while intoxicated. (Ynet)
- State promotes building of 2,304 homes in settlements, some 100 in illegal outposts - Planned construction of 838 homes gets final okay (Tuesday) while the rest approved for early planning; educational facility in outpost near Palestinian village set to be evicted also approved for planning. (Yedioth/Ynet and Israel Hayom)
- UN slams Israel's 'effective annexation' of West Bank after 2,000 settlement units approved - EU, U.K. and UN Mideast envoy denounce move, calling on Israel to halt settlement expansion in violation of international law. (Haaretz+)
- Foreign Ministry officials: FM Yisrael Katz is a 'puppet' - Senior ministry officials tell Israel Hayom that Katz's presence is virtually unfelt and that PM Netanyahu continues to manage foreign affairs. Meanwhile, Katz meets with a “high-ranking persona” from the United Arab Emirates to improve ties between Israel and Arab states. (Israel Hayom)
- Report: Israel involved in US-led naval mission in Strait of Hormuz - Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz reportedly tells Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Israel is providing intelligence and other unspecified operations to the US-led naval mission protecting ships in the Strait of Hormuz. US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper 'optimistic' that other countries will join the effort soon. (Israel Hayom)
- After Outcry, European Academic Group Reconsiders Plan to Cancel Conference in Israel - The decision to change the venue was prompted by fears of backlash from the international boycott movement. In a statement issued this week, the European Network for Mental Health Service Evaluation (ENMESH) announced that it would continue discussions with local organizers “to see if we can proceed to host the ENMESH conference in Israel.” (Haaretz+)
- Member of Israel's Council of Higher Education Resigns Over 'Politicization' - Prof. Yeshayahu Talmon of the Technion protested the conduct of far-right education ministers Naftali Bennett and Rafi Peretz. (Haaretz+)
- PA, NGOs irked by UN refusal to slam Israel for 'violating' children’s rights - UN report on children and armed conflict calls to investigate deaths of 59 Palestinian children in 2018, but stopped short of explicitly condemning Israel. Over the weekend, Palestinian UN envoy calls on UN chief to include Israel in "list of shame," warns doing otherwise "undercuts efforts to put an end to the criminal violations against children around the world." (Israel Hayom)
- PA vows to bolster presence in Judea and Samaria over 'Israeli aggression' - "Israel continues to attack cities and villages in Areas A, B and C on a daily basis and treats them all as areas under its security and civilian control," says Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh Tuesday, vowing to "deal with all places as if they are part of Area A," which is under PA control. (Israel Hayom)
- US legislation seeks to restore USAID projects to Palestinian areas - After US House of Representatives passes bill that would amend Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act that led US Agency for International Development to halt its projects in West Bank and Gaza, critics worry funds could be used to finance Ramallah's "pay to slay" program. (Israel Hayom)
- Greek Orthodox church files new suit in Jerusalem property battle - Supreme Court ruled in favor of Ateret Cohanim, which seeks to increase the Jewish presence in Arab areas of capital, in 2004 purchase of three Old City properties; but patriarchate says Monday that deal involved bribery, claims to have 'clear proof' of corruption. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Palestinian man awarded Israeli residency for saving family of murdered rabbi - Unnamed man from Hebron area initially granted temporary visa to live in Israel after receiving death threats in West Bank hometown due to role in saving Mark family in 2016; interior minister praises him for his 'selfless, noble' actions. (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
- At historical sites around Israel, no sign of Arabic - Hebrew and English speakers receive detailed explanations, but Arabic-speaking visitors get only warnings. (Haaretz)
- IDF moves to expand integration of transgender troops - Israel's army making adjustments from very start of the recruitment process, including addressing soldiers by new names and gender identity, offering special arrangements for religious trans soldiers, consultations with doctors and commanders. (Ynet)
- Palestinian app helps drivers avoid Israeli checkpoint bottlenecks - Doroob Navigator, designed by Palestinian app developers, navigate West Bank drivers through ever-changing checkpoint traffic and Israeli settlements, which apps like Google Maps and Waze do not account for. (Agencies, Ynet)
- In First for Israeli Police Unit, Indictment Recommended in Death of Construction Worker - Work accident investigators recommend charging five suspects for causing death by negligence and other safety violations over April fatality of Chinese man. (Haaretz+)
- Gaza-run Hamas cell uncovered in Hebron, Israel's Shin Bet says - The security agency said Tuesday that one of the arrested men stored bomb-making materials at a school and set up his lab in a residential area. (Haaretz+, Israel Hayom and Ynet)
- Police recommend criminal charges against deputy health minister - One of the cases revolves around Melbourne school principal Malka Leifer, who has been fighting extradition to Australia where she must stand trial for multiple charges of sexual assault of minors. (Yedioth/Ynet and Israel Hayom)
- Attorney General set to limit deputy health minister powers as police call for corruption indictments - Deputy health minister , a key Netanyahu coalition partner is facing charges of bribery, breach of trust and fraud in two investigations, including efforts to thwart extradition of accused child sex abuser to Australia. (Yedioth/Ynet)
- Explained: How accused pedophile Malka Leifer is trying to block her extradition to Australia from Israel - And how did Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman get the police seeking his indictment for corruption in the proceedings? (Haaretz+)
- Israelis get lost on Yasser Arafat Street in central Tel Aviv - Streets named 'Death Penalty for Terrorists,' 'Ismail Haniyeh' and 'Incendiary Balloons' appear in Israel's coastal city after an organization protesting Israeli government's 'weak' response to Palestinian terrorism launches another PR stunt. (Ynet)
- After Decade-long Legal Battle, Vaults Open: Kafka's Diaries Unveiled in Israel - National Library at last presents never-before-seen manuscripts by the renowned Czech author, including journals and notebooks featuring words in Hebrew. (Haaretz+)
- Israeli cybersecurity firm says no Saudi money in $200 million fundraiser - Cybereason raised $200 million from Japan’s SoftBank: 'We’re a unicorn with wings.’ (Haaretz+)
- Superheroes, Israeli style - Have you ever wondered how world-famous comic book characters would cope with Israeli reality? Well, comic book artist Matan Cohen puts the world's most famous superheroes - from Batman to Wonder Woman - into tricky situations in his latest exhibition. (Ynet)
- At summit, Israel, US, Greece, Cyprus agree to boost energy cooperation - "Energy can be a bridge for broader political stability," US Assistant Energy Secretary Frank Fannon says. (Israel Hayom)
- University must recognize pro-BDS group, New York court rules - Fordham University 'did not abide by its own published rules governing the approval and recognition of student clubs' and its own rules don't include any reference to whether an organization is 'polarizing,' judge says. (Haaretz+)
- Stressing They're Not All in the 'AOC Camp,' Democrats Reaffirm Support During Israel Visit - Two weeks before a trip by colleagues Omar and Tlaib, members of Congress have come to Israel on AIPAC-affiliated trip. 'The press has their story, but this is what’s really happening,' says one participant. (Haaretz+)
- As Hundreds of Thousands Descend on Mecca, Saudis Warn Against Politicizing Hajj - 'Hajj is not a place for political conflicts or to raise sectarian slogans that divide Muslims,' imam says amid tensions between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite Iran. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Over 100,000 Detained and Missing in Syria's War, Top UN Official Says - Political chief urges Security Council members to ensure accountability for human rights violations, deemed 'central to achieving and maintaining durable peace.’ (Agencies, Haaretz)
- U.S.-Turkish Safe Zone Is 'Blatant Attack' on Our Sovereignty, Syrian Government Says - Ankara and Washington's decision to manage jointly territory in northern Syria is a 'dangerous escalation,' Syrian warns. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Yemen airport closure 'death sentence' for thousands, aid groups warn - Aid groups call on Yemen's warring parties to reopen the Sanaa airport for commercial flights to 'alleviate humanitarian suffering caused by closure.’ (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Tunisia's moderate Islamist party VP Mourou to run in presidential elections - Abdel Fattah Mourou has long demanded reforms to the party to make it more open and to distance it from the Muslim Brotherhood in other Arab countries. (Agencies, Haaretz)
WATCH The story of the 19th-century Palestinian Jerusalem hotel fighting a settler takeover
'Every stone in this building means a lot to me,' says Abu al-Walid Dajani, who is fighting eviction from the hotel his family has run for 70 years. (Haaretz+VIDEO)
After 74 years: The Etzel (Irgun) Archives will apologize to an 82-year-old who was injured in the blast
When he was 8 years old, Yehuda Tauber was hit by an explosive device aimed at British soldiers in Jerusalem. When the story was published by the State Archives, it was located and invited to a conciliation meeting at the Jabotinsky Institute. It all began with a recent post on the Facebook page of the State Archives, which occasionally posts documents from the pre-state days. The post recounts five explosions that shook Jerusalem on the evening of August 15, 1945. Members of the Irgun put bombs in the Geula neighborhood wrapped in the organization's leaflets, warning the Mandate police not to approach the Western Wall on Yom Kippur. They apparently intended to attract British policemen and police officers to set off the explosions wheb the leaflets were lifted. On behalf of the State Archives, the public was asked to help locate Tauber and five others who were injured in the incident. The man who raised the glove was a volunteer researcher of the Etzel Archives at the Jabotinsky Institute, who after detective work, succeeded to locate Tauber, who is now a resident of Karmiel. (Maariv)
Born and Raised in Israel, Moroccan Jew Sets Out to Find Erased Identity in Her Parents' Homeland
Khen Elmaleh's Moroccan roots shaped who she is. On a first visit to Africa's northwestern corner, she tackles cultural erasure and fulfills her grandfather's dream ■ Part 1 of 2. (Khen Elmaleh, Haaretz+)
How to Design a State, According to a Pioneer of Israeli Landscape Architecture
A book devoted to veteran landscape architect Ruth Enis offers a glimpse into a profession largely unfamiliar to the general public. (Naama Riba, Haaretz+)
**Israeli Occupation Productions, Ltd. (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) A convoy of police cars this week roamed the streets of the occupied village of Isawiyah, which Israel has annexed to Jerusalem. Members of the police’s special patrol unit Yasam drove slowly, in a provocative, lord-of-the-land fashion, and their goal was transparent – to inflame tempers so a stone would be thrown at them. In recent weeks, Isawiyah has become a training base for Yasam members. Here, they are trained in thuggery. Here they learn how to be even more violent and brutal than they usually are. Here, it’s permissible to do anything – throw a stun grenade at a bound detainee; banish excited young campers on their way to Jericho; shoot a child in the face and make him blind; kill a young man who threw a firecracker; arrest, curse, kick and beat; invade houses in the dead of night to arrest innocent people; set up checkpoints whose purpose is abusive; announce ridiculous enforcement operations that mean checking whether every car in the village has a warning triangle for breakdowns – that’s how much they care about the residents’ security. One of the many explanations for the recent crackdown in Isawiyah is that it’s due to the documentary television series “Jerusalem District.” The climax of the series was the planting of the gun in Samer Sleiman’s house. That was the moment of truth. That’s how the police operate in the territories. Sometimes they plant evidence, or make up a pretext for brutal behavior. And in general, they plant themselves in places where they shouldn’t be at all. It’s not just the planted weaponry; it’s all based on deceit – the supposedly unoccupied status of the supposedly united city; the dangers exaggerated to the point of absurdity; the security services who fight these dangers and make them worse by their very violent and provocative presence, in Jerusalem as in the West Bank...
Jennifer Lopez did more for Israel's image than any politician ever could (Raz Shechnik, Yedioth/Ynet) At a time when Israeli producers struggle to convince top international artists to perform in the country due to BDS pressure, JLo unapologetically made her presence in the Holy Land known to her 100 million social media followers.
Time to Straighten Out the Israeli Police Docudrama's Lies (Ariana Melamed, Haaretz+) The devious and shameful deed committed by Kan public television’s hit docudrama “Jerusalem District” goes beyond Nir Hasson’s report that police officers planted an army rifle in the home of a Palestinian from Isawiyah in East Jerusalem so they could show themselves finding it. This reprehensible deed, with all its criminal and ethical aspects, had many accomplices – myself included. I was an unwitting accomplice when I wrote a flattering review of the show after watching the first two episodes that were distributed early to critics…I’d pointed out that a series like this couldn’t have been made without close cooperation with the Israel Police, on the backs of the Palestinians who live in the capital, ostensibly as residents but essentially as subject to the rule of occupation, which is completely overlooked by the show. I’d noted that I belong to the critical minority that cannot accept the show as “truth,” but even then I didn’t know that I – and all the other viewers – had been blatantly lied to.
By planting gun for reality TV, Israel Police reveal truth about East Jerusalem (Nir Hasson, Haaretz+) Everything must be done, they say, so they do everything, whether planting a gun at a Palestinian's home or opting for collective punishment and violent actions.
Why is there still a Chinese wall between Trump and Netanyahu's diplomatic and security moves and their criminal cases (Ran Edelist, Maariv) The view is that every time you see the Prime Minister or the US President, you should see both of them in prison clothes, and this should also be reflected in the polls. This is not happening.
Soldier's Stabbing May Have Been a Botched Kidnapping – West Bank Terrorists' Ultimate Mission (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) The use of force to free prisoners is a holy cause for terrorists' ethos, looking to Hamas’ success in the Gilad Shalit deal as a model to be imitated.
There might be something to 'deal of the century' after all (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) The long-awaited Trump peace plan is not expected to include an offer of statehood for the Palestinians, unlike offers made by previous administrations and it would be wise for Ramallah to understand there will be no better offer on the table.
Israel's education minister demands loyalty to the occupation (Haaretz Editorial) The decision by Education Minister Rafi Peretz not to extend the term of Prof. Yossi Shain on the Council of Higher Education’s Planning and Budgeting Committee proves that promoting Ariel University is more important to the interim minster than concern for the higher education system. Distancing Shain from the council’s most important committee removes another obstacle to the medical school at the university in the territories, and it repeats a practice we’ve seen in other instances – appointing loyalists, weakening the gatekeepers and bending decades-old rules and procedures to satisfy random political needs.
Israel's Largest Live Music Club Is Legitimizing the Extreme Right. The Artists Are Mum (Uri Agnon, Haaretz+) The Zappa B’Gai festival is linking up with the City of David, which is operated by a messianic right-wing organization that funds efforts to Judaize East Jerusalem.
When the mix of news and opinion also reaches the security organizations - the situation is bad (Prof. Arieh Eldad, Maariv) It is not in his favor that former Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen recently exposed this disorder in all its severity. It is impossible to know whether he made an intelligence assessment or attempted to impose his leftist worldview…About a week ago, former Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen warned on IDF Radio that "annexation of Area C could lead to unnecessary bloodshed. We must go about reducing the occupation in Judea and Samaria.” The timing of the statement was unclear to me, since no one imagines that Netanyahu wants or dares to annex even a square foot, certainly not now. Someone who dares not demolish Khan al-Ahmer, who approves Arab construction in Area C - does not intend to annex anything.
Can Rightists Be Moral? (Ofri Ilany, Haaretz+) A provocative new book maintains that morality and liberalism go hand in hand. But red morality, together with those who advocate it, is disappearing. “How I Learned to Overcome My Fear and Love Ariel Sharon,” a documentary film by Avi Mograbi, depicts the hesitations of a radical left-wing filmmaker who decides to cover the election campaign of the politician most hated by the Israeli left. It was the period before the 1996 election, and in Mograbi’s eyes Sharon was the most dangerous person on the right – responsible for the settlements, for the Lebanon War and for the Sabra and Chatilla massacre. But when he spent time with Sharon – who at the time was running for Knesset on the Likud list – and got close to him, he discovered that the person he’d loathed for decades could be a nice guy. The overbearing general turned out to be a good-tempered fellow who liked classical music and lived with his wife in exceptional harmony.
When moderation is gone only the extremes survive (Shlomo Puterkovsky, Yedioth/Ynet) The political makeup of religious Zionism is a reflection of its social makeup with none of the moderate voices that made this sector of Israeli society relevant in past decades under great leaders.
After the Apology: The Truth About Our Special Israel Studies Issue (Donna Robinson Divine, Miriam F. Elman, Asaf Romirowsky, Haaretz+) The academic journal’s ‘Word Crimes’ issue caused controversy for having ‘an anti-BDS, pro-Israel’ bias. Its editors claim they’re being silenced.
A new diplomatic arena (Edith Druyan-Ohayon, Israel Hayom) Jerusalem, which is busy waging the war over global public opinion through yesterday's means, would be wise to look to China to learn how to conduct a public diplomacy campaign tailored to the digital diplomatic era.
‘Teach Your Children Well’ — for Their Sake, and the Country’s Sake (Dan Ben-David, Haaretz+) Increasing labor productivity (the amount produced in one hour) is the main key to improving the living standard of individuals and of entire countries. The upshot of this is that a growing economy needs an increasingly educated and skilled labor force, and a decreasing share of less-educated and unskilled workers. The latter group is largely composed of adults who received a poor education as children. But when a country provides a deficient education to a large share of its children, it falls victim to an additional phenomenon. In democratic countries, where the vote of each person carries equal weight, the provision of shoddy education to large population segments returns like a boomerang during recessionary periods. The most poorly educated and least skilled workers tend to suffer the most negative effects in an economic downturns. These people demand rapid solutions, and understandably so. The strong link between low levels of knowledge that substantially increase economic vulnerability and the difficulty in understanding the long-term implications of actions implemented today provides fertile ground for demagogues.
Israel's Health Czar, Accused of Aiding Pedophile, Knows He Can Do as He Pleases (Mordechai Kremnitzer, Haaretz+) Recent police allegations show that in Yaakov Litzman's case, public interest isn't a priority. But will Netanyahu do anything about it?
What real incitement to murder looks like (Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) A false analogy reminds us that blaming Trump for mass shootings is nothing like Palestinian incitement.
The election of William Daroff to the head of the Conference of Jewish Presidents is a confirmation that this is a right-wing organization (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) The very choice and appointment of the new CEO is a something new in the organized Jewish landscape, because he comes from the Republican camp, which is considered to be less acceptable and popular in the Jewish community in the US.
Reforms, but Millions of Egyptians Barely Survive (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) While IMF dishes out compliments, more than a third of Egypt's population lives on less than $2 a day.
Forget Islamists, the International Monetary Fund Is the Real Danger to the Egyptian Regime (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) The 1% are thriving under IMF reforms while ordinary people are hurting. This sounds eerily like the situation before Mubarak was toppled in 2011.
Inside Hezbollah's American Sleeper Cells: Waiting for Iran's Signal to Strike U.S. and Israeli Targets (Matthew Levitt, Haaretz+) In case of war with the U.S., Tehran can draw on 200,000 Mideast proxy militants to attack Israel. But less well-known are Hezbollah’s overseas Black Ops units - and both Israeli and American targets are in their sights.
Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
Did You Sign Netanyahu's Loyalty Pledge? Ask for a Guarantee (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The signature of 40 Likud members on a declaration of allegiance to the prime minister is a right and proper step for a country in the Middle East. In Islamic political culture such a signature is known as ba’yah, an expression of loyalty to the ruler and commitment to accept his authority. In ancient times the caliphs would demand a ba’yah from conquered tribes or those who joined Islam. In the modern period, the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi compelled his followers and organizations that joined ISIS to declare the ba’yah publicly as an expression of total obedience to his orders. The ba’yah, Likud MKs should know, lasts for the duration of the leader’s lifetime or his time in office. It obligates not only tribal leaders and commanders of organizations and fighters, but the entire tribe and the public. But there is also a worrisome side to pledges of loyalty. Every one of the Likudniks who received the order to sign sent by MK David Bitan, should feel insulted. They are, after all, a sacred congregation, bearers of the Tent of Meeting, who for their entire lives have promoted the Likud, put Bibi on the kingdom’s throne, whipped his opponents and bad-mouthed his rivals, and blasted the law and the courts that have dared to investigate and formulate an indictment against the caliph and his wife, the messenger of God on earth. So all of a sudden, they are now suspected of disloyalty?
Shameful comparisons in the name of politics (Ruthie Blum, Israel Hayom) Referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the same breath as Kim Jong-un and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan goes beyond the pale. It is shocking when Israel’s existence is under global assault at the UN.
The enslavement pledge to the leader: Is that the crushing blow of the right-wing crush to Lieberman's moves? (Yitzhak Ben-Ner, Maariv) This will be the legacy they will leave to the nation, full of tears and magic, Netanyahu and his loyal trustee, before their possible entry into court and prison.
The last of the large, democratic parties (by Dr. Limor Samimian-Darash, Israel Hayom) When the Likud is denigrated, it's not because it isn't democratic. Just the opposite: The goal of its enemies is to erode the foundations of the last democratic and grassroots party remaining. It's the only way to remove the Right from power.
Justice Melcer, Don’t Give in to Kahane (Zehava Galon, Haaretz+) In Itamar Ben-Gvir’s living room hangs a picture of Baruch Goldstein, who in 1994 massacred 29 Arab worshipers at a mosque in Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs. The explanation given by the head of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party was that Goldstein was “a physician who saved the lives of Jews.” By chance Ben-Gvir found a doctor to adorn his wall, by chance a mass murderer, and by chance the picture includes a quote praising the zealotry of the biblical figure Phinehas and an image of the minaret of the mosque at the Tomb of the Patriarchs falling. I recalled this barefaced lie in light of another dissembling sham, on which the Central Elections Committee is to rule Wednesday: the placement of hidden cameras in polling stations in Arab communities “for the sake of fair elections,” Likud explained. How could you think otherwise? One may wonder how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s natural coalition partners would respond had Likud chosen to put cameras at polling stations in ultra-Orthodox communities, justifying this by old stories about dead people resurrected to vote and 120 percent voter turnout. If the Central Elections Committee, headed by Supreme Court Justice Hanan Melcer, approves this action, he will be giving a judicial stamp of approval to racism.
Nobody talks about economy in this election campaign (Gad Lior, Yedioth/Ynet) Candidates should know we will decide our vote based on the solutions presented for the huge deficit and the budget cuts that will surely be needed, so it is time for them to tell us what their economic plans are.
Lapid Is Right, Israel’s Coddling of the ultra-Orthodox Community Will Lead to Disaster (Meirav Arlosoroff, Haaretz+) Kahol Lavan co-leader was accused of anti-Semitism when he portrayed Haredi leaders as extorting money, but figures on education show an even more worrying trend.
Thinking outside the box on Israel's Haredi community (Amihai Attali, Yedioth/Ynet) Instead of arguing with the ultra-Orthodox, let's find creative solutions to integrate them into society, even if that means dropping the conscription demand and investing instead in higher education and professional training that would benefit society as a whole.
The ultra-Orthodox Are the New Israeli Right (Sagi Elbaz, Haaretz+) As Election Day nears, calls are growing in the center-left camp to explore the possibility of forming a future coalition with the Haredim. But 20 years on, such aspirations from the center-left should be seen as naïve at best and foolish at worst. Tomer Persico explained in a recent piece (Haaretz, July 5) why the Haredim prefer the right over the left. His main argument is that “the Haredi parties are Likud’s ‘natural partners’ not because of their attitude toward the Land of Israel, but because of a shared fondness for tradition.” But Persico’s thesis is incomplete and fails to take into account changes that have occurred in Haredi society, as well as in-depth analyses from recent years concerning the Haredim’s positions on issues of foreign affairs and security…An in-depth study published in April 2019 by the Israel Democracy Institute found that the positions of supporters of the Haredi parties on matters of foreign affairs and security are even more hawkish than those of right-wing parties like Likud and Hayamin Hehadash.
Netanyahu cannot do to Israel what he has done to Likud (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) The gulf between the interests of the nation and those of its leader is growing as the prime minister places his own preservation above everything else, and now his party is required to declare he is their one and only leader.
Instead of Tossing Out Fantasies, Kahol Lavan Promises Voters a Good War (Uri Misgav, Haaretz+) This is what the promise of an alternative looks like: Four pompous middle-aged men standing next to the Gaza border one afternoon spouting haughty threats and making empty pronouncements. At least they didn’t also send a blue-and-white arson kite flying into Gaza, as a loony right-wing activist did a few months ago. But they sound almost as loony as he does. And unlike him, they have the potential to cause danger. “The next time something happens here, we’ll make sure the round (of fighting) is the final round,” prime ministerial candidate Benny Gantz, the leader of the Kahol Lavan slate, recites from his new list of talking points. “We’ll pound the whole area with fire, we’ll operate on the ground whenever we want, where we want, as much as we want and for as long as we want,” he says. Tell me, Kahol Lavan, have you lost your minds? Did you get sunstroke? Were you blinded by the neon lights at the office of your political strategist Moshik Teumim? This is your election campaign – war before everything? All of you were part of the top decision-making team in the decade of “managing the conflict” and “rounds of fighting.” I don’t recall any of you being involved in any “total victory.” You all know there is no such thing, that these are empty words. In any event, the damage is real and immediate, because what you’re doing is adopting the kind of talk that characterizes the populist and settler right, including the new bit of rubbish that was also stated on the same occasion: “We are a security right and a diplomacy left.” You can’t talk about a diplomatic left without proposing a diplomatic plan.
Democrats Following Israeli Left Down (Tzvia Greenfield, Haaretz+) At first glance, there’s no connection between the Israeli election and the upcoming elections in the United States. But if the Democratic Party wants to know what awaits it in the future – including on the most important question of all, which is who will be elected president in 2020 – it would be very wise to take a look at Israel and learn some lessons from what has happened to the Israeli left. If the Democrats don’t find a way to stop the radicals’ noisy takeover of the party’s agenda, which is happening right now, millions of the party’s longtime voters, whose positions are far more moderate than those of party activists, will abandon it, and it will gradually turn from a ruling party into a marginal one devoid of influence. That’s exactly what happened to Israel’s left-wing parties.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.