News Nosh 9.18.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday September 18, 2019

Quote of the day:
"Listen Abu Yair, incitement has a price."
--Following a high turnout of Arab voters and 12 seats for his party, Ayman Odeh, leader of the mostly Arab Joint List, rebuked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the father of Yair, for all his election campaign incitement against Arab citizens.**

Front Page:
  • Netanyahu and the right-wing are far from a majority, Lieberman is kingmaker again
  • No longer Bibi // Yossi Verter
  • He ran out of rabbits // Aluf Benn
  • Israel won // Chemi Shalev
  • The rock was worn // Ravit Hecht
  • Prevent a disaster // Noa Landau on possible 3rd round of elections
  • We are all centrist // Gideon Levy
  • Ray of light // Odeh Bisharat
  • Two Israels // Uri Misgav
  • No immunity // Haaretz Editorial
  • Netanyahu got a telephone approval from cabinet for exceptional military action in Gaza Strip and kept out heads of security establishment
  • The ballot box that raised suspicions of voter remained empty
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The government snarl (photo of Avigdor Lieberman)
  • Polls: Netanyahu did not reach 61; Lieberman declares: Only one option - wide liberal unity government with LIkud, Kahol-Lavan and Yisrael Beiteinu
  • The message: Unity // Nahum Barnea (Hebrew)
  • Who is the winner // Sima Kadmon writes that Netanyahu’s situation was never so bad as last night (Hebrew)
  • No choice // Ben-Dror Yemini writes that unity government will help heal the rift in Israeli society
  • Time of apology // Chen Artzi-Sror writes that politicians need to apologize to citizens for ugly election campaign
  • For the people // Limor Livnat on need for unity government
  • The problem is with the political election method // Shlomo Pytrakovsky
  • Disappointed - After the vote: Yamina list divided
  • Remained in (the Knesset) - Representatives of the left-wing barely survived
  • Remained outside - The Kahanists are not in the Knesset
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • The direction: Unity  - Political snarl
  • The goal: To reach unity // Amnon Lord
  • Lieberman remains the kingmaker // Mati Tuchfeld
  • The ability to determine - in Rivlin’s hands // Gideon Allon
  • Life in grey: Country on hold // Emily Amrousi
  • Real change is reachable // Yossi Belin
  • The surprises are still ahead of us // Yehuda Shlezinger
  • Historical opportunity // Ariel Kahana
  • The Arab challenge: Leverage the achievement // Daniel Sirioti
  • And now - to rehabilitate the discourse // David Baron
  • “They should meet this Friday” - Lieberman after the polls: “There is no choice but unity, the President needs to summon Netanyahu and Gantz for a talk this Friday afternoon”

Top News Summary:
The papers were printed after waiting till 2:00AM; that was when the updated poll results declared that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had lost - both his party and his right-wing bloc without Avigdor Lieberman were both smaller than Benny Gantz’s Kahol-Lavan party and the center-left bloc.

Nevertheless, neither party could cobble together a coalition government without Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party and Lieberman insisted he would only join a unity government with both the Likud and Kahol-Lavan - and without the ultra-Orthodox parties and the extremist nationalist religious parties and the Arabs. But Kahol-Lavan said they would not sit in a government with Netanyahu leading it due to the corruption cases against him. So the results showed a political quagmire. By this afternoon, the updated vote count revealed that the poll results late last night were partially wrong. After 91% of all the votes were counted, Kahol-Lavan had one more seat than Likud, but Likud had a larger bloc. Nevertheless, neither had an outright majority so Netanyahu faces the same problem as he did five months ago: without either Kahol-Lavan or both Lieberman and the ultra-Orthodox parties he can’t form a coalition and Lieberman insists on a unity government with Kahol-Lavan. All the votes will be counted by Thursday afternoon, but that won’t solve the riddle of who will be prime minister. And the hopes are that this time, President Reuven Rivlin will be more pro-active in making the leaders form a government.

But in short, the Kahanists (Otzma Yehudit) are out, both the left-wing parties, Labor-Gesher and Democratic Camp are in, and the mostly-Arab Joint List did quite well.

Elections 2019 Quickees:
  • Israel Election Results: With 92% of Votes Counted, Netanyahu’s Bloc Slightly Ahead but Fails to Secure Majority - Arab alliance third largest party ■ Gantz: We succeeded, Netanyahu failed ■ Netanyahu says will form 'strong, Zionist government' ■ Labor, Democratic Union make it in ■ Kahanists wiped off political map ■ Official results delayed. (Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • Netanyahu Failed, We Succeeded': Gantz Says Talks Underway to Form Unity Government - Kahol Lavan leader speaks to supporters after exit polls show center-left party overtakes Netanyahu's Likud. (Haaretz+)
  • Gantz: I intend to 'talk to everyone' about forming coalition - Blue and White leader tells party activists in Tel Aviv that Netanyahu 'unsuccessful in his mission' as Israelis 'said no to incitement and division, and yes to unity. No to corruption and yes to integrity.' (Ynet)
  • *Ayman Odeh attacks Netanyahu: "Listen Abu Yair, incitement has a price" - The chairman of the Joint List attacked the prime minister, saying in an interview on Channel 12 News that “With our votes, we (the Arab citizens) have decisively prevented the establishment of an extreme right-wing government under his leadership.” (Maariv)
  • Israeli Arab Voter Turnout Up, Activists Say, Citing ‘Wild Intimidation’ Factor - Israeli Arab organizations optimistic, with Joint List and possibly Kahol Lavan seemingly the main beneficiaries: 'It wasn’t like this during the last election.’ (Haaretz+)
  • 20 arrested over suspected voter fraud - Police say 69 investigations launched into allegations that include banned election propaganda, forgery, violence, public order violations and impersonating others; man arrested for daubing 'Nazi Bibi' on Tel Aviv promenade. (Maariv and Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israelis enjoy beaches and shopping sprees on Election Day - Thousands of people fill up local malls offering special sales to boost revenue, as well as the country's sandy shores, parks and nature reserves as Israeli public takes advantages of the special day off as politicians battle it out for their vote. (Ynet)
  • Volunteers Drive Bedouin Women to Polls After NGO Blocked From Providing Transportation - Activists from right-wing group document volunteers’ work in unrecognized villages, accuse ‘extreme leftists’ of ‘physical violence’ against them. (Haaretz+)
  • In 'Emergency' Move, Netanyahu Repeatedly Breaks Election Laws Hours Before Polls Close - Flooding the internet with live appearances, PM calls on his supporters to come to his aid and warns of high voter turnouts in ‘Arab’ and ‘leftist’ strongholds. (Haaretz+)
  • On Israel's Election Day, Dutch Court to Hear War Crimes Case Against Benny Gantz - The suit seeks compensation for the deaths six members of Gazan-born Dutch citizen's family in Israel's 2014 war with Gaza. (Agencies, Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Who Is Benny Gantz, the Former General Who Just Overtook Netanyahu - Gantz's Kahol Lavan party overtakes Netanyahu's Likud in early Israel election exit polls. (Haaretz)
  • On Election Day, Russia's Putin Says Plans to Visit Israel in January 2020 - Putin also told a meeting with a Jewish charity fund on Tuesday that Russia is paying a 'high attention' to developing mutually beneficial relations with Israel. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Inside Views on Netanyahu’s Desperate, Illiberal Attempt to Hold on to Power. (Haaretz)


Quick Hits:
  • Elite Israeli Police Officer Found Guilty of 'Shameful' Assault on Eritrean Migrants - Footage of Tel Aviv commander pummeling men in their faces with his fists in a 2016 incident disproved his claim that the victims had hit him first. (Haaretz+)
  • Dozens of Palestinian Prisoners in Israeli Jails Join Hunger Strike Over Cellphone Jamming - Hamas and Islamic Jihad-affiliated prisoners also demanding senior Hamas members be allowed to teach in wards designated for minors. (Haaretz+)
  • King of Jordan warns of 'disaster' if Israel annexes settlements - After talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, King Abdullah II says he is "extremely concerned" about how settlement annexation would affect Israel's relations with its neighbors, two-state solution. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • In rebuff to Netanyahu, Palestinian government meets in Jordan Valley - Palestinian PM Mohammed Shtayyeh warns: If Netanyahu follows through on his annexation pledge, Israel "will have terminated all the agreements it signed with us." "We will do everything we can to strengthen our people's steadfastness on our land," he says. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Saudi Oil Attacks Came From Southwest Iran, U.S. Official Says, Raising Tensions - Three officials, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the attack involved both cruise missiles and drones. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Reports: Iranian militia near Iraq-Syria border hit in airstrikes - "Unidentified warplanes" strike Shiite militia targets in the Al Bukamal region of eastern Syria early Tuesday morning, Arab media outlets report. The airstrikes were allegedly carried out near the Iraqi border and targeted the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Units. One Iraqi news channel says Israel behind the attacks. (i24News, Israel Hayom)
  • Russia to Discuss Selling New Anti-drone Weapons to Middle East Partners - State arms exporter Rosoboronexport will talk sales of the new weapons during the Dubai Airshow in late November. (Agencies, Haaretz)

Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
Bibi the Magician Has Run Out of Rabbits (Aluf Benn, Haaretz+) Israel’s voters joined Trump, Putin, the army chief and others in recognizing Netanyahu's weakness and acted accordingly.
There is nothing to leverage and no one to pressure: Netanyahu finally ran out of rabbits (Ben Caspit, Maariv) Netanyahu's chances of becoming the next prime minister are low. Now he will come with claims against the world and his wife. The skill-laden man became addicted to power and rotted inside himself.
Will Lieberman Go All the Way With His Promise to Take Down Netanyahu? (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) If Yisrael Beiteinu chairman has indeed decided to deliver a coup de grace, it would set into motion an amazing domino effect, which could prove a paranoid Netanyahu right.
Now is the time for unity (Ariel Kahana, Israel Hayom) A unity government is the best solution to the challenges Israel is facing in terms of security and defense, diplomacy, and domestic social issues.
Netanyahu Has No Immunity (Haaretz Editorial) Although the final results are not yet in, and despite the differences between the exit polls of the three TV stations, it may be understood from the polls that the prime minister has failed. Netanyahu was unable to win the 61 seats he had set as his goal to form a government that would grant him immunity from prosecution in the three cases against him pending a hearing. The public said no on Tuesday to the political escape plan he concocted together with his natural partners, the plan that would allow him to evade prosecution and bring down the rule of law in Israel.
The loss of restraint and the fascist radicalization: These are the faces of much of the right-wing today (Dr. Revital Amran, Maariv) The insanity must be severed from the root. Israel has gone too far from its enlightened values, and it needs a through system upgrading. Voting for a centtist party is not enough.
The Day After Netanyahu (Zehava Galon, Haaretz+) It’s 11:00 P.M. and Netanyahu has no coalition. Not for lack of trying. He promised Pnina Tamano-Shata to see to the aliyah of the rest of the Falashmura, three committees against police brutality and a rotating premiership. He promised Lapid the ministries of finance, defense and strategic preservation of Diaspora Jewry. He even tried to win over Moshe Ya’alon – with promises to build the Defense Ministry in Ramallah and convert the Jordan Valley into an aircraft carrier. But there’s no point rehashing all that. Now he has to pack up.
It's easy not to ask for anything from the state when you have the right face and last name (Nir Kipnis, Maariv) A lot of things can be said about someone who belongs to the Kahol-Lavan camp and left of it - but don't rush to take what it deserves.
Exit Polls Prove Netanyahu's Spell Has Been Broken (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Preliminary election results show that the politician who made it his business to win elections has finally run out of effective dirty tricks.
The Likud abandoned the secular public in the right-wing camp, and that is its mistake (Uriel Lin, Maariv) The biggest mistake in the current election campaign was made by the Likud movement, which turned its back on secular voters and could lose them in favor of Lieberman.
Maybe, Just Maybe, the Age of Netanyahu Has Come to an End (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) If Israeli election exit polls are right, the prime minister failed to achieve an overall majority and Likud came up short. If Gantz ends up forming a new government, Netanyahu will have to fend off revolution.
There is no escape from unity (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth Hebrew) Assuming that Israeli politicians have not completely lost their sanity, we are on our way to a national unity government. These things were written immediately after the three TV channels polls were released. Division by blocs indicates a significant difference between channels 11 and 12, which gave an advantage to the right-wing bloc, compared to Channel 13, which gave an advantage to the center-left bloc. But that's not the point. The main thing is that according to the three models, Netanyahu does not have 61 mandates for establishing an immunity coalition. If that figure doesn't change, Netanyahu will have to recalculate a trajectory. President Rivlin will, of course, wait for the final results. But if the full results do not materially change the sample data, the president will have to take leadership, call the Kahol-Lavan and Likud leaders and explain to them what he expects them to do. I believe the vast majority of the electorate will be behind it. Apparently, the man who can promote a solution is Avigdor Lieberman. If the poll samples are accurate, he has achieved his goal: he is the kingmaker. As with any election campaign, also now, Lieberman can be a catalyst, accelerating processes. He cannot force a solution.
In Israel, Political Success Comes Through Crushing Minorities (Israel Cohen, Haaretz+)  The path to power in Israel requires the hatred and exclusion of minorities. Yesterday it was the Arabs, today it’s the ultra-Orthodox, and tomorrow it will be the leftists or the settlers.
Ethiopians ditched Likud after country-wide summer protests (Ortal Mogos, Yedioth/Ynet) Demonstrations against racism included voices calling for end to support for Likud. This downturn among a traditionally Likud-voting community highlights the impact of protests on political opinion within the sector. Some Ethiopian Israelis, who decided to switch allegiance from the traditional Likud ballot, received backlash from other Likud and right-wing voters.
A Vote to Buy Time (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) Whatever the results of today’s election, they won’t stop the Israeli colonial project, which is speeding ahead like an express train, in broad daylight, not in the shadows as was the case in the 1990s amid all the blah-blah about peace. Even if Benny Gantz ends up in the conductor’s seat, the direction won’t change. On the other hand, the Palestinians – who for all their weakness and flaws, refuse to be silenced, to disappear or to submit – act like a large and heavy cargo ship, navigated by obsolete written agreements, promises of a Palestinian state by a traitorous world, international law and justice. Every move made by the captains of the Palestinian ship is always very late and so maddeningly slow that they are irrelevant by the time they’re carried out, because the train has arrived first.
Netanyahu declared the annexation (of the Jordan Valley) for votes and stuck a finger in Jordan's eye (Dr. Roy Kibrick, Maariv) Netanyahu's annexation statement, even if not implemented, causes damage to the Israeli interest in the global political arena and deepens the crisis with the Hashemite kingdom.
For Bibi It's All About Getting a 'Stay Out of Jail' Card (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Withholding immunity means betraying a large constituency that believes that only Netanyahu can run this country. This is the answer anyone aiming to join a unity government will get – Gantz too.
The elections that decided the future of the conflict (Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) Israeli voters won’t determine whether peace is possible. That happened when Abbas succeeded Arafat and subsequently refused to hold another vote.
Patience, my friends, patience! (Emily Amrousi, Israel Hayom) We can complain about the candidates, we can shut our ears to the mudslinging, and hold our nose to avoid the stink of fakery – but we can also vote, and by doing so, choose the type of country we want to leave for our grandchildren.
Can Netanyahu Escape the Corruption Cases Against Him? (Alison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+) The results of Israel’s election and Netanyahu’s legal fate are intertwined.
It's good that it's over (Yehuda Shlezinger, Israel Hayom) Election Day is always a celebration of democracy, but this campaign was marked by what we loathe – incitement, hatred, old resentments, and lies.
The Real Challenge Facing Israel's Arab Leaders (Jack Khoury, Haaretz+) Low turnout affects the entire Arab community, but one specific sector among them in the least likely to be persuaded to go out and vote.
Lieberman is no ideologue, he's just a survivor (Akiva Bigman, Israel Hayom) Less than a year ago, he helped the haredim win the municipal election in Jerusalem. This isn't hypocrisy, it is typical Liebermanist politics. Who knows, maybe one day we'll see him heading the Joint Arab List.
Real Voter Fraud Will Be a Third Israel Election. We Shouldn’t Let It Happen (Noa Landau, Haaretz+)
If the person who the president entrusts with forming a government doesn't succeed in recruiting 61 lawmakers, they shouldn't be allowed to dissolve the Knesset as easily as Netanyahu did after the April election.
How Israel Will Prevent Trump Appeasing Iran (Yossi Mansharof and Jason M. Brodsky, Haaretz+) Despite Iran’s role in the Saudi attack, there’s still speculation that presidents Trump and Rohani may meet, perhaps this week. Even a tentative rapprochement would severely strain Israel’s close ties with the White House.
The Washington Post smears Israel
(Sean Durns, Israel Hayom) Regrettably for both Israelis and Palestinians, the paper doesn’t consider Palestinian illiberalism – embodied by Mahmoud Abbas, who’s serving the 15th year of a four-year term – to be worth column space.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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