News Nosh 9.1.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday September 1, 2019

Quote of the day:
"There is no escape from seeing things as they are: the Israeli free press is under a dangerous attack."
--Senior political commentator of Yedioth Ahronoth, Nahum Barnea, writes in a front-page Op-Ed about Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's accusations against journalists and institutions of the Israeli media and about Netanyahu's call to boycott Channel 12 News.*

Breaking News:
Missiles Fired From Lebanon at Israeli Base; Hezbollah Says Destroyed Military Vehicle
Lebanese army says Israeli drone violated its airspace and that Israel shelled southern Lebanon territory. Incident comes after Nasrallah threatened to attack. (Haaretz and Ynet)

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • Opening the year: 2.35 million pupils return today to pre-schools and elementary schools
  • Super alert on northern border: IDF bolsters the area with heavy weaponry
  • Netanyahu against Channel 12: “They are giving me a field trial”
  • Removing the genie from the bottle // Ben Caspit
Israel Hayom
  • Opening a new page (Back to school)
  • Highest alert: Forces to be bolstered on northern border
  • Exclusive - “The Holocaust is part of the Polish memory”
  • Netanyahu: Our stand in the polls is not good, Yamina is stuttering”
  • Iranian Judoka escaped from his country - and will request asylum from Germany
  • Tonight: Speaker of Knesset in special interview on ‘Israel Hayom-i24NEWS’ broadcast

Top News Summary:
Celebrations, preparations and accusations were today’s top stories in the Hebrew newspapers: the celebration of the first day of school, the preparations for a possible war on the border with Lebanon and the accusations by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu against journalists.

Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said Hezbollah would retaliate against Israel for the latter’s drone attacks in Beirut, which, he said, “open the door to assassinations" if left unanswered, and Israel bolstered the northern border with more tanks and artillery, opened bomb shelters and closed off roads. Days after the drone attack that took place a week ago, the IDF said that Hezbollah has an Iranian-backed precision-guided missile project, which Hezbollah denied. The media reported that the drones hit vital equipment. Hezbollah said the drones were likely flown from Israeli gunboats.

Elections 2019 Top News and Quickees:
With the blatant exception of ‘Israel Hayom,’ the Israeli newspapers were very concerned by Netanyahu’s declaration that the media was putting him on a ‘field trial,’ by calling senior journalist Guy Peleg of Channel 12 News, who nightly had been exposing information leaked from the corruption cases against Netanyahu, a ‘puppet,’ (Peleg now has a personal bodyguard), for calling for a boycott of Channel 12 and for calling ‘Our Boys,’ the Israeli produced and directed HBO film series that is being broadcast on Channel 12, “anti-Semitic," and for lashing out at Keshet, its production company. Israel Hayom, instead, focused on Netanyahu’s concerns that the Likud party was losing strength in polls against Kahol-Lavan, which had two more mandates than Likud in a recent poll.
  • Likud files motion to ban publishing transcripts from Netanyahu's investigations until after elections - The Likud Party filed a motion Friday to the Central Election Committee, headed by Justice Hanan Melcer, demanding that the publication of transcripts from investigations into accusations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are banned until after the September 17 elections. (Ynet)
  • Netanyahu's request to prevent publication of more than 4,000 transcripts and documents was denied - Central Election Commission Chairman Justice Hanan Melcer rejects Likud party petition to stop publication, finding no reason. (Maariv)
  • Bennett Will Support Immunity for Netanyahu 'Unless Something Extreme Happens' - Bennett, number two on the right-wing Yamina slate, breaks with previous remarks on whether Netanyahu should get immunity from indictment in corruption probes. (Haaretz+)
  • Blue and White leads in latest i24NEWS-Israel Hayom poll - Poll predicts 32 seats for center-left party, putting it ahead of Likud for the first time in this election campaign. The right-wing bloc is still ahead by one seat. Zehut drops out after party leader Moshe Feiglin is offered a ministerial position. (Israel Hayom)
  • 2 hurt as BB gun fired at Blue and White conference - Police estimate the shooting was conducted from a distance as party's co-founder Yair Lapid, who was at the event when the incident happened, said it will not 'deter or intimidate us.’ (Ynet)
  • "Ma'ariv" poll: A large part of the public believes that Gantz, Ashkenazi and Ya'alon should be invited to emergency cabinet - According to poll, right-wing bloc receives 57 seats, center-left bloc 43 seats, the Joint List - 10, while Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu maintains stability with 10 seats. Lieberman stated that after the elections, he will force the establishment of a national unity government in co-operation with the Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu and Kahol-Lavan, and if there are no dramatic changes by the time of the election, it seems likely to fulfill its promise. The poll for Ma'ariv also shows that 40% of the respondents support the joining of the three former chiefs of staff to an emergency cabinet. (Maariv)
  • Liberman says his party is recruiting poll watchers for Haredi and Arab towns - Yisrael Beytenu chief also attacks right-wing religious politicians as false messiahs who want to return Israel to ‘an absurd and unbearable reality.’ (Times of Israel)
  • Support for Lieberman in Liberal Tel Aviv? What We Learned From Talking to Voters Across Israel - Haaretz reporters go on the stump to find out how small-town Israel will vote in the election next month – and come back with some surprising answers. (Haaretz+)
  • Lieberman: “(Yamina ministers) Smotrich and (Rafi) Peretz want to put us back to the period of trials according to the Torah“ - Chairman of Yisrael Beiteinu strongly attacked the seniors members of the Yamina list and accused them of false prophecy.’ “I recommend that they take down Rabbi Kook's picture and replace it with Shabbat Zvi's picture," he said. (Maariv)
  • Liberman presses Likud officials on ousting Netanyahu after elections - Yisrael Beytenu leader says intense talks already taking place between several key Likud people about future of party after Netanyahu; prime minister hits back: Only I can navigate Trump and Putin. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Hoping to overtake Likud, Kahol Lavan takes aim at left-wing parties' support base - Main opposition party's first choice after Israel's September vote would still be to form a coalition with Netanyahu's party, senior official says. (Haaretz+)
  • Kahol Lavan is betting on the Bedouin vote, and it just might pay off - Weeks before election Gantz visits southern city of Rahat in bid to garner even more support from the Bedouin community than his party enjoyed in Israel's April vote. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu promises cannabis import laws as part of deal with Feiglin - The ruling Likud joins forces with Moshe Feiglin's party ahead of September elections that would see the Zehut leader becoming a minister in the sphere of either economics of welfare in the Netanyahu government. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Meet the Israeli political party waging a holy war against the LGBTQ community - With a platform straight out of a Margaret Atwood novel, the Noam Party is hoping to win seats in the next Knesset. Even if it fails, its anti-secular agenda is gaining ground on the Zionist, religious right. (Haaretz+)
Quick Hits:
  • Palestinian Authority Decides to End Division of West Bank Into Areas Set by Oslo Accords - The accords, signed in 1993 and in 1995, divided the West Bank into areas A, B and C ■ It remains unclear what steps Palestinians will take to implement this decision. (Haaretz)
  • Gazan Dies of Gunshot Wound Suffered in Weekend Border Protest, Palestinians Say - Bader Adin Abu Mousa was shot by Israeli security forces in clashes near border fence on Friday and evacuated to a nearby hospital in severe condition, Gaza Health Ministry reports. (Haaretz+)
  • An IDF soldier was lightly wounded by grenades during a demonstration in the Gaza Strip - Palestinians threw a grenade at a military jeep during protests and clashes over the perimeter fence. Earlier, 4 suspects were arrested who crossed the fence into Israeli territory with a knife and a grenade. (Maariv)
  • Israeli Army Says It Arrested Four Armed Gazans Who Breached Border - Gaza Health Ministry reports 54 wounded by Israeli fire in demonstrations along border fence, including a journalist and a medic. (Haaretz+)
  • Hamas arrests 9 ISIS operatives in connection with Gaza bombing - Palestinian sources tell i24NEWS exclusively that the suspects are former Islamic Jihad operatives, and that one of them is "a senior member of the missile unit." (Israel Hayom)
  • Hamas: PA responsible for double suicide bombing in Gaza - Hamas official says Palestinian Authority's intelligence service had exploited "people with inappropriate leanings and deviant thoughts " to harm and undermine the political situation in Gaza. Hamas spokesman: The PA's intelligence service … is behind every attempt to foment chaos in the Gaza Strip … and is acting on behalf of the Zionist Shin Bet [security agency]." (Israel Hayom)
  • Gazans to seek better life in Europe despite dangers - Human rights activists in Gaza believe around 30,000 of Gaza’s population of 2 million have tried to leave the territory in the past decade, with a surge in numbers after the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinians shun U.S. consular events after widespread protests - Latest meeting initiated by the American embassy in Jerusalem was meant to bring together Palestinian businessmen and embassy’s commercial attaché, but had to be canceled due to public uproar over 'unfair American policies toward Palestinian cause.’ (Ynet)
  • Dual Bureaucracy Blocks Construction in a Palestinian Village - Azzun wants to have a pretty entrance like the Jewish settlements do, but regulations which govern Palestinian Authority and Israeli relationship complicate a simple municipal task. (Haaretz+)
  • Summer conference gives pro-Israel students tools to fight back against campus hostility - “Our Israel activists are more emboldened and outspoken than ever. People understand they are on the right side of history and the truth. They will not be intimidated," says Aviva Rosenschein, international campus director for CAMERA. (Israel Hayom)
  • Strategic tours offer ‘immense exposure,’ new perspective on Israel - Our Soldiers Speak tours aim to provide the “gold standard of substantive programming” to those likely to affect the public space in the near future. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli city on Lebanese border celebrates 70 years with message for Hezbollah - 'Nasrallah is the one who should be scared,' say mayor of Kiryat Shmona, which took its share of rocket fire during the 2006 Second Lebanon War; local security officer laments lack of government funding to reinforce bomb shelters. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israeli Schools Teach Three Times as Much Bible as Europe's Schools - While many OECD countries are adding information technology to the curriculum, Israel has been cutting maths and sciences in favor of religious and Jewish studies. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel's rabbinical courts begin to recognize DNA tests, potentially opening gateway to proving Jewishness - 'Scientists are reluctant to deal with this since it's reminiscent of what Nazis did,' says researcher whose work paved path for use of DNA testing as proof of Jewish heritage. (Haaretz+)
  • Revealed: The Plan to Expand the Israeli Knesset by More Than Double - New plan more than doubles the footprint of the Israeli parliament; experts criticize the design, which they say is 'bombastic' and will conceal the original structure. (Haaretz+)
  • Ousted Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Finally Gets to Go Home - Irenaeus I, who reportedly sold strategic church properties to a Jewish settler group, accused the church of preventing him from returning to Greece after he fell seriously ill. (Haaretz+)
  • Georgian-Israeli Businessman Convicted of Bribing Former Israeli Defense Minister - Avraham Nanikashvili payed the late Benjamin Ben-Eliezer $400,000 to testify on his behalf in a tax appeal hearing. (Haaretz+)
  • Iranian Judoka Mollaei Defects, Seeks Asylum in Germany - International Judo Federation president says Mollaei told him he was instructed by Iranian authorities to throw a match to avoid facing Israeli judoka Sagi Muki. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • South Pacific nation becomes next country to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital - Oceania island of Nauru, which numbers only 10,000 citizens, regularly votes in favor of Israel at UN; move follows negotiations conducted by PM Netanyahu and FM Katz. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • 'Israel can rely on diplomatic, military aid in any war with Iran' - US secretary of state says he has "every confidence" that President Trump, "who moved our embassy and who made clear Israel’s rights in the Golan Heights will do all that is necessary to ensure that our great partner, Israel, will be protected." (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Democrats Challenge Trump’s Take That Omar and Tlaib Set Party’s Stance on Israel - For many Democrats, it’s ‘support Israel, not Netanyahu,’ while backing the two-state solution that the Trump administration has played down. (Haaretz+)
  • Ocasio-Cortez 'was very excited to pursue' Israel visit before Tlaib, Omar barred - Democratic congresswoman tells Haaretz she had wanted to see 'firsthand a lot of what is happening' in Israel and the West Bank, but reaffirmed she wouldn't visit until Netanyahu's decision to bar colleagues is reversed. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu Urges Macron to Avoid New Talks With Iran - Israeli PM says 'this is precisely the wrong timing to hold talks with Tehran, while it is increasing its aggression in the region.’ (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran official says U.S. showing 'some flexibility' on oil sales - State media quotes Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying this is a sign that Washington's 'maximum pressure' policy against Tehran had been defeated. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • After heavy air strikes, calm in Syria's Idlib as cease-fire declared - This marks second truce called this month in the embattled region, the first of which collapsed after three days. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Erdogan says Turkey to launch own Syria plan unless it secures control of 'safe zone' - Erdogan pledges to put operational plans into effect if talks with the U.S. fail to give Turkish troops control of the area within a few weeks. (Agencies, Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • U.S. Strikes al-Qaida Facility in Syria in Attack on Leadership, Pentagon Says - Monitor says strikes killed more than 40 militants, including some commanders. (Agencies, Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • UAE business delegation attends Syria trade fair, defying U.S. warning - One of Washington's main regional allies has been drawing closer to Damascus to counter influence of Iran and Turkey. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Rising seas threaten millions of residents and archaeological sites in Egypt's Alexandria - Surrounded by the sea on three sides and backing up to a lake, Egypt's second city is uniquely vulnerable to rising sea levels caused by climate change. (Agencies, Haaretz)

This Place Is Only for Jews': The West Bank's Apartheid Springs (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Settlers have taken over dozens of springs in the West Bank, all of them on private Palestinian land, and are keeping the owners away. Rina Shnerb, a Jewish teen, was murdered last week at one of them.
Hamas takes extraordinary step to quell Gaza's 'angry youth' (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Rare Islamic fatwa aims to put an end to independent actions against Israel.
There is no magic solution for the Gaza Strip (Michael Milshtein, Yedioth/Ynet) Five years have passed since the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, and it seems like another war is on the horizon; there are steps Israel can take in the short term, but its long-term strategy is far more important.
On its way to change power relations in the Gaza Strip, Islamic Jihad is also slaughtering Hamas policemen (Jacky Khougy, Maariv) Attempts to penetrate Israel and the shooting at Sderot are part of Jihad's effort to upgrade its status in Gaza. Israel and Hamas remain indifferent, together and alone.
Closer to the brink than ever (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) After hits on major Hezbollah targets, Israel is readying itself for a response, which Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah must calculate very carefully to avoid sliding into an all-out war, which he does not want.
First Drone War Pulls Israel's Conflict With Iran Out of the Shadows (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) A battle over optics also being waged: Nasrallah paints Beirut targets as marginal, while Israel makes effort to expose the Hezbollah precision-missile project. What happened to Israel's promise on China?
The right-wing has never had any solution to the Palestinian issue (Dr. Arnon Degani, Ynet) Almost a decade before the Six-Day War erupted, a naïve high schooler wondered what Israel would do with millions of Arabs it would potentially annex into its midst; Begin had no answer then and his political successors have no answer today.
The IDF Is the World’s Biggest Jewish Organization — but Should Be for Israelis Only (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Allowing the Israeli army to be a draw for young foreign Jews is building the connection between Israel and the Diaspora on very problematic and narrow foundations.
A new existential challenge (Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, Israel Hayom) The growing threat posed by the "war of attrition" that Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas are now fighting against Israel is aimed at curbing Israel's prosperity. This growing threat is gnawing at the Jewish people's hopes for a safe and thriving homeland.
Germany is no place for Jews (Zeev Avrahami, Ynet) In their desire to free themselves from inherited guilt over the Holocaust and the mass slaughter of the Jewish communities in Europe, Germans have adopted a vicious anti-Israel stance that Israelis in the country must adopt if they want to fit in.
Israel's Ethnic Cleansing Continues (Ilana Hammerman, Haaretz+) No more occupation? No, that slogan has become hollow. Write it in your opinion pieces, scream it at demonstrations. Apartheid? Yes, that’s the right term to define the situation in the West Bank. But quashing this apartheid is a far cry because the military and political-power balance binds the hands of those who want to destroy it, both here and around the world.
Puncturing the big lie of Palestinian identity (Melanie Phillips, Israel Hayom) The Palestinians' claim that they are the rightful inheritors of the land represents one of the most successful, if fiendish, propaganda achievements ever to have been pulled off – to have persuaded millions of people that this ludicrous falsehood is an unchallengeable truth.
I embrace my Israeli Arab identity (Ali Adi, Israel Hayom) I would like to feel the same pride in my Arab culture and traditions that I feel as an Israeli.
It's time for Arabs to hold governmental posts in Israel (Riad Kabha, Yedioth/Ynet) Ayman Odeh voices a growing Arab desire to be a part of a center-left government, and with power will come great responsibility and sense belonging; but will Jewish leaders dare to be as courageous and strive for real co-existence?
Iran, Yemen and Two More Bleeding Fronts Awaiting Trump's Next Tweet (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Washington has become the most threatening front for Israel amid reports the United States is prepared to negotiate with Iran.
EU's product labeling is skewed (Yisrael Medad, Israel Hayom) Why would “Judea and Samaria” on a label not suffice? After all, those names are the historical terms. “Judea” is in the New Testament so it’s not just a Jewish thing.
Israel's Jews should meet Arab outreach with an open hand (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) Ayman Odeh's comments on the possibility of the Joint List joining a center-left coalition have stirred some controversy among his political allies, but they actually make more sense than it seems at first glance, as 87% of Arabs would like the party to be in the coalition.
Is Pakistan Preparing to Recognize Israel? (Kunwar Khuldune Shahid, Haaretz+) Prime Minister Imran Khan and his military backers are giving unprecedented freedom to a highly-censored media to talk about establishing relations with Israel. 14 years to the day since the countries' only public bilateral meeting, are conditions now ripe for a formal move?
DNA Testing to 'Prove' Jewishness Is Spine-chilling (Haaretz Editorial) Over the past year the rabbinical courts began proposing that individuals in the process of “clarifying their Jewish states” undergo genetic testing: specifically of mitochondrial DNA, which is inherited from the mother. Dozens of Israelis have undergone the test in the past year, and it has helped about two-thirds of those whose Judaism had been in doubt. In Israel, which grants citizenship according to bloodlines only; where a person’s Jewishness has legal significance that affects the right to immigrate and to obtain citizenship, as well as affecting personal status and even the right to buy property, the thought of making DNA testing part of the process of determining Jewishness according to religious law is spine-chilling. No door should be opened for Israel to become a country where entry and citizenship will someday depend on a genetic test.

Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
It's Now Clear: Netanyahu Won't Rest Until a Journalist's Blood Is Spilled (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) Netanyahu and his family see before them the danger of forced separation from the official residence on Balfour Street, from immunity and power, and they are losing it.
September 17: The importance of voting is reminiscent of the UN partition proposal (Ben Caspit, Maariv) Messianic extremists spread their teachings on Netanyahu's watch. Also: Bugie Ya'alon connects the dots, Amir Peretz talks to everyone, and what did Ayelet Shaked know?
This is what a chaotic spin-based discourse looks like
(Lilalch Sagan, Maariv) The HBO TV series “Our Boys" is not really anti-Israeli, and Yaron London did not fail in his description. But why dwell on it? There is no room for complex characters in the wildly predatory culture.
The hot potatoes of the election (Yossi Beilin, Israel Hayom) A possible meeting between US President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani would be a headache for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also hoping that the Trump administration keeps its "deal of the century" under wraps until after the election.
Netanyahu Seeks to Silence Critical Media by Hitting Their Revenues (Hagai Amit, Haaretz+) After failing to prevent channel from publishing leaked materials from his corruption probes, PM tells Israelis they should boycott it for producing show that 'slanders Israel.’
*Free media is under attack (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth Hebrew) Journalist Guy Peleg is the current victim of the incitement campaign of Benjamin Netanyahu and his supporters. The objective is to silence the journalist and paint Peleg's and his colleagues revelations (about the Netanyahu corruption cases) in a political color...There is no escape from seeing things as they are: the Israeli free press is under a dangerous attack. It includes not only the delegitimization of journalistic work, but also threats to the lives of journalists and calls for a boycott of media institutions. The media in Israel is very competitive. The competition is impassioned. It involves business and personal fights and it makes mistakes. It would not harm us if we were to study this issue as it is in the United States: there free media institutions, newspapers, and TV channels, are also under a wild attack by an unrestrained political system. And they are not afraid to return fire. In the face of the attacks they are sharing a solidarity that is so lacking today in the Israeli media.
He was warned in 1995: Only one man dared to act with such violence against the media (Ben Caspit, Maariv) Netanyahu’s purpose in walking on (journalist Guy) Peleg's head was not to hurt him. It is to hurt his and the media's legitimacy, a violation of the basic idea of a press that exposes and critiques.
Gantz is human. Israel desperately needs him (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) If I had to come up with a headline that captures my impression of the opposition’s candidate for prime minister, it would be this: Benny Gantz is a human. Not like a mensch, not as a synonym for a person with a good heart, but rather, simply, a person who has a heart. A human being. Benny Gantz is a human being. The fact that Benny Gantz is human contrasts with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who I see as more like Agent Smith in the film, ‘The Matrix.’ When I studied Gantz while he was speaking, I discovered that the sun’s rays left a mark on his skin. The temperature outside was evident on his face. His movements were imperfect; his attire was messy, like the average Israeli.
Benny Gantz Is Just Like Us, and That's Not Good Enough
(Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Carolina Landsmann describes Benny Gantz wonderfully on this page today, as does Iris Leal (in the Hebrew edition). They both saw a human being, which is rare, even sensational, in Israeli politics. But like both of them, I too saw a “human being” at that meeting, in the best sense of the word. Humble, genuine. Not puffed up with self-importance. Nice, decent, schlumpy. But that’s not enough. Far from it. The enthusiasm of non-right-wing Israelis for Gantz says more about them than it does about their candidate. Gantz’s watch comes to life every few minutes with a blueish light. When it glows for a second, one can believe that its wearer is the best answer today to the critical problems of this country. But then it stops glowing, darkness falls and once again it becomes clear that it’s not enough to be “as good as it gets.” It’s not by chance that there isn’t another option, because Gantz is good for his voters. He’s just what they want, the imprint of his native landscape as they imagine it. He’ll promise them what they want above all: quiet. These Israelis want a respite from the noise Benjamin Netanyahu heaped on them. They want to go about their business, to send their children to oppress others, as long as they come home in one piece; to go on a cruise, to buy an SUV and feel good about themselves. Netanyahu has disrupted their quiet, Gantz will restore it.
Gantz also knows: In today's Israel, racism is an almost necessary bonus (Ran Edelist, Maariv) If we realized that "the Arabs are flocking in droves“ sentence (that Netanyahu said in) the 2015 elections was an exercise designed to scare the Jews, so now in the September election Likud is going for intimidating Arabs.
Israel's Democratic Union Fails to Take Off (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) Many Kahol Lavan voters were expected to throng to the Democratic Union, after seeing their leftist vote go to waste on eccentrics, spineless incompetents and just plain right wingers. Many Labor voters, who were disappointed with Amir Peretz’s association with Orli Levi-Abekasis, were expected to follow suit. But they didn’t. The first reason for this is indeed the split between the Democratic Union and Labor. This split doesn’t stem from ideological differences, but from the most fundamental issue in Israel, the one that shapes opinions, life style and cultural viewpoints, as well as voting patterns: the ethnic rift.
The left is considered condescending by the public, and condescension is a certain type of racism (Prof. Arieh Eldad, Maariv) The Yaron London Storm, the faux pas by Ram Ben-Barak, and democracy as per Prof. Zeev Sternhell: Three instances this last week have again demonstrated the link between racism, condescension and left-wing enlightenment.
A looming war lifts Netanyahu's spirits (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) Although the attacks in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq added some fuel to Bibi's campaign fire, he is coming around to the idea of a unity government with Kahol Lavan's leaders – at least, some of them.
Scaring Arab Voters Away in Droves (Friday Haaretz Editorial) the presence of the cameras scared off many Arab voters and lowered the turnout rate in the Arab community. In advance of September’s do-over election, Likud once again sought to put cameras in the polling stations. Now the governing coalition is trying to ram a law through the Knesset that would also allow party representatives serving as polling booth officials or observers to use cameras. The bill that Likud is trying to pass is unacceptable.
Let Israeli Political Parties Film in Polling Stations (Nehemia Shtrasler, Haaretz+) Election transparency. The Central Elections Committee’s barring of party representatives from filming in polling stations is a problem. And its proposed inspectors aren’t a good substitute. After all, everyone knows there’s massive fraud at the polls, especially in ultra-Orthodox and Arab precincts.  The system is simple: Party representatives put envelopes into the ballot boxes on behalf of the people who don’t bother showing up to vote at all. In the last election, in April, it was harder to commit fraud, thanks to the cameras brought in by Likud party members. Consequently, it shouldn’t just be Likud. Yisrael Beiteinu, too, should bring cameras into ultra-Orthodox polling stations. And other parties should do the same. This would contribute to the integrity of the election. It’s nothing more than an expansion of the principle of mutual supervision.

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