News Nosh 8.11.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday August 11, 2019


You Must Be Kidding: 
“You can read between the lines…we don’t accept non-residents, whether from nearby villages or from down below [the Arab part of Nazareth], or from the entire area. We can’t allow some in and exclude others. As soon as I let one non-resident in, I have to allow residents of Nazareth, Kafr Kana and other nearby areas in as well.” 
--Manager of Nof Hagalil country club explained in roundabout way to potential customer who doesn't live in Nof Hagalil that the club does not accept Arabs as members, but then agreed to allow the out-of-towner join, thinking he was Jewish.*

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Double achievement: Enormous attack was thwarted at Gaza border, terrorists who murdered Dvir Sorek were caught near Hebron
  • “The terrorist opened his eyes and saw us in front of him” - Commander of police commando unit.
  • An attempt to explode the (Hamas-Israel) arrangement // Yossi Yehoshua
  • A wake-up call // Alex Fishman
  • Hamas’ patent // Shimrit Meir
  • The daycare center worker: “I feel like giving (the little girl) a punch” (Hebrew)
  • Jeffrey Epstein ended his life
  • Remembering the destruction (of the Holy Temple)
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom

Top News Summary:
The Hebrew papers proudly declared that Israeli security forces killed four armed Palestinians crossing the Gaza-Israel border and detained two Palestinians suspected of stabbing to death a soldier, Corporal Dvir Sorek, in the West Bank last week, making top news in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

The soldier's father said he only regretted that they weren’t killed. Hamas accused the Palestinian Authority of cooperating with Israel to track down the killers. Hamas said in a statement that "The Etzion attack is the most powerful response to talk of an (Israeli) attempt to annex the occupied West Bank.” On Saturday, Israeli security forces released a man detained a day earlier in connection to the killing of the soldier. The Palestinian Authority urged Israel not to implement collective punishment for the soldier's murder.

The IDF said the four armed young men who tried to cross the border fence from Gaza were planning to either make an attack or a kidnapping. Hamas said it was an independent action by youth motivated by rage over the Israeli siege over the Gaza Strip. Sources in the Strip said three of the four were members of a Hamas unit tasked with preventing infiltrations.

Elections 2019 Quickees:
  • In Israel's Do-over Election, Zionist Parties Are Actively Courting Arab Voters - The close race has given center-left parties like Kahol Lavan and Democratic Union a reason to make a fundamental shift in the way they relate to Israeli Arabs. (Haaretz+)
  • Shaked take off gloves in war of words with Netanyahu - United Right leader hits back at PM for recent online comments, calls on him to stop 'throwing dust in the public's eyes' over coalition plans after he urges voters to refrain from choosing another party from the right-wing bloc over his Likud. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • "Incitement to Racism": The left-center files petition demanding the disqualification of Otzma Yehudit party  - Petitions were submitted to the Central Electoral Commission to disqualify the far-right party, including the candidacy of LEHAVA organization chairman Benzi Gopstein. Otzma Yehudit, led by Itamar Ben-Gvir, will request to disqualify Kahol-Lavan party. (Maariv)
Quick Hits:
  • **Israeli-Arab Man Gets Rejected by Country Club. His Lawyer Then Poses as a Jew and Gets In - Jihad Abu Ahmed tried to buy membership for himself and his wife and was told that only Nof Hagalil (Upper Nazareth) residents can obtain memberships. Abu Ahmed’s attorney, Yamin Masalha, then contacted country club and presented himself as Haim Cohen from Migdal Ha’emek. At first he was rejected and told that memberships were only for Nof Hagalil residents, but that this could be further explored with the club’s manager. Manager allowed him to buy membership. Abu Ahmed filed class action against Nof Hagalil club. (Haaretz+)
  • Investigation by the DIP against a police intelligence officer who appeared in the "Jerusalem District" docudrama - A police officer who appeared in three episodes in the series was investigated on suspicion of using a police terminal in violation of the law to retrieve information about a Palestinian family, whose daughter he is suspected of having a romantic relationship with. The policeman, who was put on forced leave, was not one of the characters that was followed in the series. Police: The investigation against him for fraud and breach of trust began after the filming ended. (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • State watchdog committee members resign over interference in Netanyahu case - New State Comptroller Matanyahu Engelman told his special permits committee it does not have authority to ask Netanyahu to return legal defense funds. (Haaretz+ and Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Israeli Education Ministry Secretly Eased Religious Groups’ Access Inside Secular Schools - Former Education minister Naftali Bennett canceled a standing requirement to inform parents about the appearance of Orthodox organizations in their children’s school. (Haaretz+)
  • Far-right education minister seeking to sway tone of civic studies - New Education Minister Rafi Peretz decides to appoint new committee to oversee subject's curriculum in schools, just weeks before upcoming elections could usher in more liberal replacement. (Ynet)
  • Israeli City Reverses Decision to Host Gender-segregated Concert in Public Park - Israel Women's Network and city council member filed a petition claiming gender-segregated entertainment events defy government resolution on ‘Prevention of the Exclusion of Women from the Public Domain.’ (Haaretz+)
  • New academic track: Master's in Psychology with "Cultural Sensitivity" - The program opening at Achva College is intended to bridge the gaps between the numbers of patients and therapists in the Ethiopian, Arab and ultra-Orthodox communities in mental health services. These communities are not adequately represented among the providers of mental health services. For example, although the Arab sector accounts for about one-fifth of the total population, there are only 60 Arab clinical psychologists (approximately 1.4% of all psychologists in Israel). The situation is similar in the context of Ethiopian and ultra-Orthodox immigrants. (Maariv)
  • Not just from the Joint List: Knesset members who visited security prisoners - Channel 12 News published more than 200 listings from 2010 until 2016 (when Minister Gilad Erdan banned the visits), according to which Knesset members visited security prisoners. The data shows that 25 Knesset visits were made to Marwan Barghouti. Knesset Member and former Meretz member, Haim Oron, visited him 4 times in 2010 and twice in 2012. "He is considered by many and also one of the most prominent people in Palestinian society and I thought it important that he have contact with an Israeli person, as well," said Oron. Barghouti is considered one of the most important Palestinian leaders despite his imprisonment and possibly because of it. Amir Peretz, now chairman of the Labor Party, also visited him twice, in addition to the Arab Knesset members, some of whom visited him frequently. (Maariv)
  • You, too, can be a Mossad hero without leaving the movie theater - Virtual reality hasn’t lived up to its early promise, but Asaf and Eyal Geva think they have a winning formula with their ‘Mossad’ movie tie-up. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli ambassador to Panama, a Druze, decries treatment at Ben Gurion Airport - (A week ago) Reda Mansour wrote in a Facebook post that security guard delayed [humiliated - OH] him and his family upon learning they were from Arab village. Mansour concluded the post with strong language, saying “Ben Gurion, you can go to hell. Thirty years of humiliation and it’s still not over. You used to take us apart at the terminal, and now we’re suspects even at the entrance…I have only one thing left to say to you: I feel like vomiting!” Ben-Gurion Airport: “Tell your daughter we are protecting her.” (Times of Israel, Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Netanyahu apologized to Druze envoy for airport grilling - In a statement last Sunday, PM Netanyahu tells Israel's Ambassador to Panama Reda Mansour that the Druze community is "close to our heart" and that he will work to "strengthen our brotherly bond.” (Israel Hayom)
  • Despite pushback, Tufts University to again offer 'Colonizing Palestine' course - Course offered by university's Race, Colonialism and Diaspora Studies Department and taught by known anti-Israel activist will "explore the histories and cultures of Palestine and Israel in relation to one another and through the lens of colonialism studies," according to class description. (Israel Hayom)
  • Gazans struggle to protect antiquities under Hamas rule, Israeli blockade - Remnants of five millennia of history, from the Bronze Age to the Islamic caliphates and on down to Ottoman and British rule, are at risk, researchers and collectors warn. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • PA economic crisis begins affecting civilians - Analysts say the money received by the PA is political funding and donors base their support of the PA on their political agenda, cutting funds when they do not agree with Ramallah and that includes Arab countries as well. (Ynet)
  • Palestinian leadership split on suspension of agreements with Israel - Sources say implementation of the decision to sever ties with Israel could harm the Palestinian people so the leadership will have to think hard before taking any steps in that direction. (Ynet)
  • ‘They Are Like a Hurricane’: Israelis Flock to Poland, and the Locals Are Not Happy - Poland’s growing popularity as a destination has exposed a culture clash between brash sabras and European gentility. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli architecture student sets her sights on rebuilding Aleppo, her grandfather’s hometown - 'The proposal defines the channels of infrastructure for the continued rebuilding of the city, while also providing for the inhabitants’ welfare during and after the rebuilding process.’ (Haaretz+)
  • French cut secret deal with Palestinian terror group in 1980s, former top spy says - Former French spy chief says authorities agreed not to arrest members of Abu Nidal group if it refrained from attacks on French soil. (Haaretz+)
  • Iran unveils 'upgraded missile defense system' - Tehran says system has range of 400 km and is able to defend against cruise and ballistic missiles and drones. (Agencies, Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • German diplomat designated to head Iran trade vehicle pulls out at last minute - Announcement comes after Bernd Erbel, a 72-year-old former German ambassador to Tehran, criticized Israel and its role in the Middle East in an interview with the Bild. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Trump accuses France's Macron of sending 'mixed signals' to Iran - European leaders have attempted to defuse tensions between U.S., Iran, with little success. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Report: Trump wants Israel to bar Omar, Tlaib from entering country - Citing three people with direct knowledge of the discussions, news website Axios reports that the US president believes the two lawmakers should be barred from entering Israel based on their outspoken support for BDS. White House denies report: "The Israeli government can do what they want. It's fake news." (Israel Hayom)
  • Florida Pastor Calls for Death of Jewish Comedian Sarah Silverman in anti-Semitic Rant - Adam Fannin of Stedfast Baptist Church said Silverman is a 'God-hating whore of Zionism' and that he hopes that 'God breaks her teeth out and she dies' (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Muslims call to #boycotthajj in protest of Saudi human rights violations - Online movement urging believers to opt out of annual pilgrimage slammed by Saudi officials as 'unwise' and 'malicious.’ (Agencies, Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • WATCH Lebanese daily publishes blank edition to protest crippling crises - 'We are sounding the alarm bell over the many challenges the country is facing,' the paper's editor-in-chief Nadim Ladki told The Associated Press. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Features:
How a Top Palestinian Lawyer Devoted to Nonviolent Resistance Became a Terrorist
Tarek Barghout, 44, fought the Israeli occupation in court. Now it turns out that he led a double life. In the daytime he defended Palestinians in Israeli courts, but at night he perpetrated terrorist acts in the West Bank. This split existence came to a head when he found himself representing Palestinians who were charged with carrying out an act of terrorism that he himself had perpetrated. How did the lawyer whom clients dubbed the “angel” – a man who went to law school in order to struggle against the occupation nonviolently – become a terrorist? (Ravit Hecht and Josh Breiner, Haaretz+)
On Tisha B'Av: Five people talk about the destruction of their private home
From the families evacuated in the peace treaty with Egypt and in the disengagement (2005), through those who lost their homes in the fire to those whose homes sustained a direct hit from the missile from Iraq in 1991 and from Gaza in 2019. A special project. (Ilana Stutland, Maariv)
Gideon Levy Why Israeli Police Are Terrorizing This Palestinian Village
Some say Jerusalem police's harassment of Isawiyah's residents was inspired by a now infamous documentary series shot there; but there might be another reason. (Gideon Levy and Alex Levac, Haaretz+)
Atomic Conflict
This is the most secret fight in Israel: Nuclear scientists against the Atomic Energy Commission and the government. The reason: A new bill that limits their capability to go on strike, which they say will hurt Israel's supremacy. In a document submitted to the court, the researchers claim that "mouth shutting” was being used against them and that they were attempts to spy on other the representatives of the employees. "I feel suffocation,” says scientist chairman Dr. Arik Maimon in an interview under the watchful eye of the MALMAB. "We are treated like soldiers who must obey blindly.” (Itai Ilnai, Yedioth Hebrew)
For these Palestinian kids, a first-ever day at the beach means the whole world
Sometimes it involves defying the Israeli authorities, but taking children from the West Bank village of Beit Ummar for a day of fun in the waves of the Mediterranean has its own rewards. (Patty Nieberg, Haaretz+)

Commentary/Analysis:
One Alarming Factor Ties Thwarted Gaza Attack and Israeli Soldier’s West Bank Murder (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Failed infiltration of four Palestinians from Strip shows Hamas’ tight grip is loosening. According to reports from Gaza, the squad was unusual in its composition. All four were from a village on the outskirts of the city of Deir Al-Balah, formerly active in the military wing of Hamas. They had been led by one of them, an extremist Salafist. In addition, the gunman killed in the Gaza border infiltration attack last week had previously belonged to the Hamas restraining force assigned with keeping Palestinians away from the fence during weekly protests. He had wished to avenge the killing of his brother by IDF fire. The nature of the squad may reflect a growing frustration among relatively young operatives in Hamas’s military wing, stemming from public criticism in the Gaza Strip over the fact that Hamas is no longer committed to resistance to Israeli occupation and is suppressing the operations of smaller factions. It shows that there is a blurry distinction between Hamas’s restraining force, its military wing and rogue factions. The killers of Dvir Sorek didn’t need to follow orders – they knew what was expected of them.
Hamas doesn't mind 'rogue' elements doing its dirty work (Shimrit Meir, Yedioth/Ynet) The attempts by disgruntled members of the terror group to infiltrate into Israeli territory in order to carry out attacks are nothing but a tad inconvenient for the leadership, which would willingly claim any achievements as its own - even if it came at a cost of an arrangement with Israel.
Gaza border incidents are warning signs (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) Tensions are always simmering on the Israel-Gaza border, but the murder of an Israeli soldier and the ensuing string of skirmishes indicate the situation could reach boiling point at any minute.
The attempt to explode the (Israel-Hamas) arrangement (Yossi Yehoshua, Yedioth Hebrew) Hamas  renounced responsibility for the incident (of four armed men from Gaza at border -OH), but Israel cannot exempt it from responsibility - whether it was the military deserters who want to challenge Hamas or not. It is hard to believe that such an event would have taken place without Hamas expressly or implicitly approving it. As part of the attempt for an arrangement, the Israeli political echelon and the IDF are giving Hamas extraordinary discounts in Gaza. In once instance, Israel apologizes for killing a Hamas member of the crowd restraint force, in another instance Israel does not respond to an incident, and in a third instance, Israel decides not to change the rules of engagement (opening fire) policy in the security perimeter - the same buffer zone west of the fence [inside the Gaza Strip - OH] that the army should prevent Palestinians from entering. The common denominator of the attack in which Dvir Sorek was murdered in Gush Etzion and the incident yesterday morning is Gaza Hamas, with one hand initiating or allowing terrorist attacks, and the other hand acting as someone who wants the arrangement and does not understand what Israel wants from it. This time the attack was carried out by a squad and not by a single terrorist. The terrorists appeared to be well trained, they moved operationally and with a large amount of weapons, and Hamas' attempt to disassociate itself from them does not mean that they are not related to it, but that it is trying to hide it. Whoever sent them planned not only to kill Israeli soldiers but also to blow up the attempts to have an arrangement - just like the Palestinian squad from Hebron which planned to carry out an attack in Jerusalem and received its guidelines from Hamas Gaza.
Hamas Seeks to Orchestrate West Bank Terror Attacks, but Is Missing Key Ingredient (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) ‘People are no longer standing in line to volunteer,' says a former top Shin Bet official.
Hamas is responsible for Gaza, end of story (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) Hamas fights the recalcitrant jihadist groups in Gaza every time it identifies a threat to its rule, but in other cases – when they aim their aggression at Israel or help ISIS battle the Egyptian army in Sinai – it opts to turn a blind eye and ignore them. This is unacceptable.
Why Are Only Some Murders Horrible? (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Dvir Sorek was a soldier and a settler, who was killed by a Palestinian in the occupied territories. He was reportedly a delightful young man who was loved by everyone who knew him. His father, too, seems to be an impressive man. The Israeli media is filled with the story of Sorek’s killing, it’s hard to find a politician who has not weighed in, in a single voice of course. Israel called on the UN Security Council to issue a denunciation, while the honest broker Jason Greenblatt blamed Hamas. Sorek was killed while returning from Jerusalem, carrying books by David Grossman he had bought there as gifts for his teachers. Abdullah Gheith did not have Grossman’s books with him when Israeli Border Police officers shot him dead. Gheith probably never heard of Grossman. He was a 15-year-old boy from Hebron who wanted to pray in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque on the last Friday of Ramadan, and who had to climb over the separation fence in order to sneak into the city. Border Policemen shot him from a distance, when he posed no threat, in front of his father and his sisters. Gheith’s killing was barely reported in Israel. No one even considered calling it murder, let alone describing it as horrible. Greenblatt didn’t hear about it, nor did the Security Council. Presumably he was just as delightful and innocent as Sorek. “You in Israel don’t know the pain we live with,” said his father, as broken as Sorek’s father; he didn’t know just how right he was.
Hate epidemic: The spirit of the commander for price tag events is blowing from the prime minister's office (Ran Edelist, Maariv) While the IDF carefully manages the security of the state, the Shin Bet and the police fail miserably at eliminating the Jewish hate epidemic against Arabs.
The Ignorance of Trump Envoy Greenblatt Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg (Shaul Arieli, Haaretz+) In the ocean of international relations, “icebergs” have always popped up that threatened the post-World War II world order and sought to dictate an order based on force rather than decisions by the international community as expressed in UN conventions on issues like occupied territories, human rights, nuclear proliferation and ballistic missiles. The July 23 speech to the UN Security Council by Trump’s special envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, perfectly reflected the president’s outlook. Greenblatt asserted that the three bases of the world order – international consensus, international law and UN Security Council resolutions – aren’t relevant to an Israeli-Palestinian accord. Greenblatt went on to mix truth with ignorance about Jerusalem’s history – who ruled it? When? How did the city’s borders develop? “There is no international consensus about Jerusalem. And no international consensus or interpretation of international law will persuade the United States or Israel that a city in which Jews have lived and worshipped for nearly 3,000 years and has been the capital of the Jewish state for 70 years is not – today and forever – the capital of Israel.” According to Greenblatt, Islam didn’t rule in Jerusalem for 1,300 years, and the Palestinians have no rights in Jerusalem, only aspirations.
The world desperately needs the US, but it doesn't exactly respond to the calls (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) The role of the US ambassador to the UN is second in importance to America's foreign policy. Kelly Craft does not have the experience and knowledge required to be the head of the delegation of a central superpower.
Kushner's Objective: An Economic Carrot to Change the Palestinian Narrative (Yossi Kuperwasser, Haaretz+) The economic part of the U.S. peace plan is the carrot to induce the Palestinians to change the narrative. The stick is composed of reducing American assistance and the revenues of the Palestinian Authority, as long as it continues to pay salaries to terrorists; the U.S. administration’s determination to base its policy on the reality on the ground (which led to the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the transfer of the American Embassy to the city); and an attempt to make it clear to the Palestinians that time is not on their side – which includes the removal of the Palestinian version of the two-state solution (one that doesn’t recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people) from the agenda. The Palestinians are sticking to their positions, one reason being the hope for political change in Israel and the United States. If they persist, it is possible that even before the 2020 U.S. election a plan will be put in place that is centered around maintaining the status quo and improving it: For the settlers by imposing Israeli law on the settlements, and for the Palestinians through additional work permits for those working outside the West Bank and economic development in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Those who have warned of this policy’s ostensible dangers for Israel are activists in the Israeli center-left, including the so-called Commanders for Israel’s Security. In a document they produced together with the Israel Policy Forum (an American Jewish organization with similar views), they claim that imposing Israeli law on the Jewish settlements, which they call annexation, will almost certainly lead to the annexation of all the territories occupied in 1967, to turning Israel into a binational state that is either not Jewish or not democratic, and from there to the end of Zionism.
Listen to Mahmoud Abbas (Ronit Marzan, Haaretz+) The personal announcement by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at a conference of Palestinian leaders on July 26, about ceasing to abide by all signed agreements with Israel, may be just another in a series of empty declarations. But historical processes have a pace and a timing of their own, along with stations along the way that eventually lead to a point where all the rules are broken.
The Palestinians’ Not-so-secret Weapon Against Austerity (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) Slashed salaries are the price being paid by tens of thousands of families for the battle of principle that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is waging against Israeli policies.
The case of the ambassador at Ben-Gurion Airport: Security considerations are understandable, but everyone deserves respect (Prof. Rafi Carasso, Maariv) Just as there is a procedure for examining suspicious people, there must also be a way of dealing with them, to make sure that the unpleasant experience does not become a humiliation….I was annoyed and hurt by the attitude toward the Israeli ambassador to Panama, Reda Mansour, a Druze, at the entrance to Ben-Gurion Airport. Again and again, the media reports on feelings of discomfort that accompany the checks at Ben-Gurion, when exiting and at entry. For people passing through the airport, their first meeting with an Israeli upon their arrival, or their last one with an Israel, may turn into a traumatic experience accompanied by an insult. Isn’t it possible to question people politely? Or to distinguish the name of a Druze village from the name of a village in the Occupied Territories? And why are the security personnel not emphasizing this sensitive issue anymore? Even if the security person or the selector feels that something is arousing their suspicion, and it is their duty to look into it, they can begin by apologizing and get the subject's empathy by emphasizing the need to maintain his safety and the safety of the other passengers. Can't this be done a little more respectfully? And all this is said knowing that it is indeed a sensitive, unpleasant task, both for the examiner and certainly for the examined. Only that this is repeated over and over the years, and the damage done to the image of the state is great. Does not every person - even those who do not exactly like Israel - deserve respect until the end of the questioning, which usually ends with the passenger boarding the plane. If, for example, it is necessary to put the subject in a separate room, it is possible to offer him a glass of water, to apologize for the delay, to call a selector (questioner) who speaks his language and to generally ensure that the unpleasant experience does not become a humiliation. As there is a procedure for examining suspicious people, there must also be a procedure for dealing with them. The most important thing each person has is their respect. Once a person is suspected - your dignity is damaged. There is no reason to add more vulnerabilities that do not serve the situation and only leave a bad taste.
One apology too many (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak's apology for the deaths of Arab protesters in the October 2000 riots could be seen as justifying violence or even giving legitimacy to the Arab leaders who seek to incite it.
Covert Religious Indoctrination (Haaretz Editorial) The awakening of the secular public over the last three years has led to a significant drop in the activity of some of the religious nonprofits within the national school system.
However, the Education Ministry has recently canceled a standing requirement to inform parents about the appearance of Orthodox organizations in their children’s school.
Distorting the definition of antisemitism to shield Israel from all criticism (Amos Goldberg and Raz Segal, +972mag) The IHRA initially sought to combat racism against Jews and Holocaust denialism, but its definition of antisemitism serves as a tool to silence all criticism of Israel, making it harder to identify actual forms of anti-Jewish hatred.
Why the Failed Saudi Campaign in Yemen Is Bad News for Israel (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Houthi presence in the region helps Iran's weapon smuggling in the Red Sea – a route that often ends with Hamas.
How I learned to stop worrying and acknowledge the Nakba (Michal Talya, +972mag) For more than seven decades, Israelis haven’t been able to come to terms with the consequences of the Nakba. To do so, they’ll have to confront the hard truths about 1948, and shed their moral superiority.
Jordan's king wants 3rd intifada (Mudar Zahran, Israel Hayom) Abdullah is in trouble and doing anything he can to stay in power, including playing poker with a global bunch who want to see the Palestinians suffer and the peace process dead in the water.
Time to negotiate Israel's eastern border (Yossi Beilin, Israel Hayom) Israel needs a border with the Palestinians in order to remain a Jewish and democratic state. Such a border could be created through an agreement or, for lack of any other option, but the fact that it is vital to one side does not make it harmful to the other.
The White House Once Labeled Them Terrorists. Now They're Being Called Iran’s Next Government (Jonathan Harounoff, Haaretz+) With high-profile supporters like John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani, the Mujahedeen Khalq — or MEK — is being touted as a viable alternative to the ayatollahs. But many question these Iranian dissidents’ intentions for their homeland.
IAEA chief's death could spell the end of the Iran nuclear deal (Shemuel Meir, +972mag) With the recent death of the head of the IAEA, Netanyahu is finding renewed opportunity to bring the ‘atomic archives’ back to center stage and further sabotage the Iran nuclear deal. This is a grave strategic mistake.
As U.S. and Turkey Argue Over Idlib, Syria's Wild South Reawakens (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Despite the cease-fire announced a year ago, violence in Daraa province has resumed. The clashes may provide Israel a new front.

Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
The Only Issue Currently Preoccupying Netanyahu's Party (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) If ‘bad boy’ Yair Lapid keeps it up, Kahol Lavan’s demise may be a matter of time – as may Bibi’s if a certain scenario is realized.
Where do Lieberman's new voters come from, and will they come to the polls? (Shmuel Rosner, Maariv) Chairman of Yisrael Beitanu probably understood better than others what scares the public: religious coercion. Maybe he can afford to wage war, because he won't have to form a coalition.
In order to block Lieberman, I’m even willing to vote for Likud (Iris Leal, Haaretz+) Benjamin Netanyahu’s incitement against Israeli Arabs is ugly, but it doesn’t stem from emotional or racist sources; he knows that a high voter turnout in Arab towns and villages poses a threat to his rule, and he tries to thwart it with different methods every time there is an election. It’s serious and it’s terrible, but it’s not as bad as a dark and rapacious hatred toward Arabs, just because they’re Arabs. Such ethnic racism is more befitting of Netanyahu’s son Yair, who behaves and expresses himself like a rabid Kahanist. Until recently, such an attitude was the flagship of Lieberman’s party.
What Is Ashkenazi Afraid Of? (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) Kahol Lavan’s “cockpit” is getting weirder by the minute. Benny Gantz gives the impression of a basically good man, but beyond the touching feeling that he’s a nice guy caught in an unfamiliar situation he doesn’t entirely own, he’s not very coherent and generally doesn’t seem like someone who wants to or is capable of leading. Yair Lapid, on the other hand, wants to very much, and unlike Gantz he has the political fighter’s spirit. But he’s simply unelectable, because he is worshiped by only one tribe of many in the Israeli jungle. It’s clear to anyone with a brain in their head that were it not for the repeat election, Lapid and his cult would have cut loose from Kahol Lavan and this will very likely happen after the election, probably over the dilemma of whether or not to join the government. The clip he posted from the parking lot in Ramle where Ofir Hasday was stabbed to death, in which he associated Israelis’ parking problems with Benjamin Netanyahu’s problematic leadership, raises concerns for Moshe Ya’alon’s state of consciousness. In this mess there’s only one man with leadership potential and electability – Gabi Ashkenazi. On the face of it he crossed the anxiety Rubicon when he entered politics and concocted the connection between Gantz and Lapid. But it seems that so far he has waded only knee deep into the water, without immersing his entire body.
Netanyahu knows that if he does not form the next government, no declaration of loyalty will save him (Ben Caspit, Maariv) The prime minister knows that even the Stalinist declaration (of loyalty) forced on Likud members will be worthless if he does not form the government.
Detoxing From Netanyahu (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) To borrow from Charles Dickens, in the future we’ll be able to say about these times: It was the most critical election, it was the most unnecessary election.
Netanyahu is fighting for his personal life, not his political survival (Shimon Shiffer, Yedioth/Ynet) The prime minister should not be dragging down the state institutions responsible for potentially bringing him to justice for his alleged crimes and endangering the democracy for which Israel has earned international respect.
Netanyahu's Putin campaign alienates Israel's Russian-speaking voters (Lily Galili, +972mag) A new election poster of Netanyahu gloating about his relationship with the Russian authoritarian leader may have entirely missed the mark with younger Russian-speaking voters, revealing deep generational divides.
Another radical-right Netanyahu government would decimate Israel’s ties with American Jews (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) A shift of a few points in the polls would set up Netanyahu’s ultimate deal with the devil: Immunity in exchange for destructive government zealotry.
The candidate for prime minister: There is no doubt that Ayelet Shaked is an extraordinary political phenomenon (Abraham Tirosh, Maariv) I do not remember anyone in the past who entered political life and then immediately, in his first term, was recognized as a practical, not just potential, candidate for prime minister and who gained popularity in the polls.


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