News Nosh 10.10.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday October 10, 2019

NOTE: News Nosh will be on Sukkot holiday from Sunday through Tuesday, October 13-15. The Nosh will be back on Wednesday.
 
Quote of the day:
"One’s heart bleeds over the vast sums, sweat and ideological fervor squandered on the settlement project. But Israel has successfully faced greater challenges. If we were able to absorb 30,000 people each month at the height of the Russian immigration of the 1990s, we can certainly resettle five times that many Israelis over an extended period – in exchange for peace."
--Former general, Chuck Freilich, writes about his recent visit to West Bank settlements and his conversation with settlers.*

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Death on a bicycle - Tragedies on Yom Kippur
  • The miracle of the worshippers - Neo-Nazi attack on synagogue in Germany
  • Lieberman’s plan - Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman released his plan for a unity gov’t: Adopt the Rivlin rotation (Hebrew)
  • “I will defeat Gideon Sa’ar” - (Former mayor of Jerusalem) Nir Barkat: After the Netanyahu era, I will run for the head of the Likud (Hebrew)
  • Expose - The new life of the (Israeli Jewish terror) minor from the attack in Duma (Hebrew)
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Attack during Slichot prayers - On holy day, in Germany, of all places: Attack at synagogue; Condemnations in Israel and the world
  • During the fast: Two children killed in bicycle accidents (by motorists)
  • Hammer, nail - After millions of Jews were in synagogues across the country on Yom Kippur: masses…began building sukkahs ahead of the holiday
  • After US withdrawal: Turkey started operation against the Kurds; White House: “Terrible idea”
  • Lieberman presented plan for unity government; In Likud they attacked: “He isn’t saying anything new”


Top News Summary:
On Yom Kippur, two Israeli children on bicycles were killed by motorists and two German citizens were shot dead by a neo-Nazi near a German synagogue, while Turkey began sending troops over the Syrian border in a massive offensive against Kurdish Syrians, who were abandoned by US President Donald Trump  - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers along with the announcement by kingmaker, Avigdor Lieberman, who said he supports Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s plan for a unity government by rotation, however the Likud party rejected the plan.

The German neo-Nazi tried to break in to the synagogue with explosives and a rifle, but couldn’t get past the barricaded doors and so he opened fire on passers-by and people at an adjacent restaurant, killing a man standing outside the kebab restaurant (Yedioth) or shawarma stand (Haaretz) and a woman near the local Jewish cemetery before escaping. He was later arrested. [Yedioth mentioned that the restaurant was a “Muslim-owned” kebab restaurant. - OH] The head of the Jewish German community said, “G-d protected us.”

The killer uploaded his manifesto before the shooting, saying the Holocaust never happened and Jews are the cause of all problems in the world. Israeli and German officials condemned the shooting and warned of a rise of anti-Semitism. German Chancellor Angela Merkel attended a Berlin vigil in solidarity.

Thousands of civilians are fleeing northern Syria after Turkey launched an air and ground offensive against the Kurds in northern Syria, following Trump’s withdrawal of US forces. Trump, the Europeans and Iran urged Turkey to halt the operation. The US-backed Kurdish Syrian forces halted their counter-Islamic State operations because they had to protect themselves. Trump defended the pullout, saying the US should never have been involved in ‘stupid’ Mideast wars. In an interview on 103FM today, Maj. Gen. Giora Eiland said that the U.S. decision could hurt Israel and that “Trump does not understand that this move could also affect Iranian behavior in the Middle East.” (Maariv) Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu avoided commenting directly on Trump decision, but said today that he ‘strongly condemns’ the Turkish invasion and warned against Turkey ethnically cleansing Syria of ‘gallant Kurds.’ He offered aid to the Kurds.


Elections 2019 Quickees:
  • Lieberman implies Netanyahu sent investigators to spy on him, calls Israel's culture minister 'beast' - Kingmaker and Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Lieberman also bashes FM Katz as 'pathetic liar' and says that Likud can 'go to hell' if they offer him rotation agreement. (Haaretz)
  • "After Netanyahu, I will be prime minister" - Former Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat already knows who Netanyahu's successor will be at leading the Likud party and the state: himself. On the way there, he is convinced that he will defeat Gideon Sa'ar and any other contestant who joins the race. On Gideon Saar’s declaration that he will run against Netanyahu he says: “It’s a mistake. On a battlefield, they come together and support the leader.” (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • The swearing-in of the Knesset gave the signal for blitz legislation - Yisrael Beteinu has submitted religious and state bills, and in Kahol-Lavan they want to allow high-tech workers who work abroad to be able to vote - and to prevent people charged with crimes from voting. Labor-Gesher offer bill for zero VAT on basic food and medicine, and the ability to lease an apartment. (Haaretz Hebrew/TheMarker)
  • Last day of Netanyahu hearing: Attorney general decides not to add extra day, but gives defense two more weeks for written submissions - Attorney general said aiming to decide by mid-December on whether to file charges. 10-hour hearing focused on suspicions that the prime minister and his wife improperly received lavish gifts from wealthy businessmen. Unsourced reports claim PM’s team failed to shake bribery allegations. (Haaretz+ and Times of Israel)
  • Sara Netanyahu fails to appear before court in labor abuse suit - Judge says 'no reason' the prime minister's wife should skip key hearing, rebukes lawyer's 'outrageous' reasoning. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)

 

Quick Hits:
  • Today: Arab MKs lead convoy to Jerusalem for ministerial meeting against violence in Arab community - Hundreds of vehicles bearing black flags left the Arab town of Majdal Krum in the north and the Shoket junction in the south Thursday morning and headed towards Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem to protest what Arab citizens says is lack of police response to spiraling murder rate amid violent crime in sector. Near Yokneam, clashes between protesters and police. Protest under the slogan "Up to Here." MK Jabrin: "A State Commission of Inquiry is needed to investigate the issue." (Haaretz+, Ynet and Maariv)
  • Israel Police Solve Murders Among Jews at Almost Twice the Rate of Murders in Arab Community - Arab community leaders and police cite late arrivals to crime scenes, lack of cooperation in investigations as reasons for disparity. (Haaretz+)
  • Heads of Bedouin Towns Oppose Plan to Host Bedouins From Unrecognized Villages - 'We don’t have room to breathe, the resources aren’t enough for the local residents,' says one mayor of a Bedouin town. (Haaretz+)
  • Firefighters for the Arab sector (of Israel) - 78 people perished in fires in Israel between 2014 and 2018, 30 of them from Arab society. Now they are trying to change the picture by recruiting fire-fighters from the non-Jewish sector to the Firefighting and Rescue services. Soon a firefighter course will begin, with 62% of its trainees being from the Muslim and Druze sectors. (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • The new Commissioner of Inquiry into Investigating Complaints in the Shin Bet is a former Shin Bet employee - Guy Asher previously worked in the service and served in its reserve unit until recently. He is not a lawyer, unlike the manager he replaced, and he does not speak Arabic - the language of most of the people interrogated by the Shin Bet. (Haaretz Hebrew)
  • Israel Prize laureates petition Supreme Court against (Jewish) Nation-State Law - Some of the country's leading writers, entertainers, researchers and scientists seek amendment to controversial legislation so that it not only defines Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people but also as homeland of the minorities that live in it. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • 'Cabinet discussions are secret,' IDF spokesman chides foreign minister - FM Yisrael Katz announces on social media that Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi informed the cabinet that he was behind the decision for Israel to claim airstrikes against Iranian drone activity. (Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinians cry foul over Facebook pro-Israel bias - New campaign, in cooperation with Sada Social Center, which monitors social media violations against Palestinian content, hopes to expose what it calls double-standard policy of social media giant in dealing with Israeli and Palestinian incitement. Campaign calls on users to tweet using the hashtag #FBblockspalestine by Wednesday night at 8 p.m. in order to highlight “the threat posed by Facebook against Palestinian content, and to make it public". (Ynet)
  • UN reschedules 'decolonization committee' meeting that fell on Yom Kippur - The Special Committee on Decolonization is notoriously anti-Israel, singling out the Jewish state by adopting various resolutions against Israel – and only against Israel. (Israel Hayom)
  • 'Women Have No Security': Israelis Protest Against Femicide in Front of Politicians' Homes - Demonstrators demanded the immediate implementation of a government plan to curb domestic violence, held without funds since 2017. (Haaretz+)
  • ‘It’s an Emergency’: Activists Protest Apathy Toward Climate Crisis in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem - Dozens of activists from Israel’s Extinction Rebellion movement joined protesters in 60 cities around the world. (Haaretz+)
  • Burning Garbage a Major Cause of Israeli Air Pollution - Garbage fires were source of 60 percent of all emitted substances known or suspected to be carcinogens in 2018. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli spy's widow 'hurt' by Netflix biopic, but welcomes publicity - Nadia Cohen, who's now 84, says although some parts of the mini-series starring Sasha Baron Cohen 'raised her blood pressure' due to inaccuracies, she would 'hug all of Netflix' if the show helped raise awareness and led to her husband's remains being returned. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • 'All the Arabs Will Pounce on Us': Newly Released Protocols From Yom Kippur War Reveal Moshe Dayan Feared Massive Israeli Loss - Minutes from top army brass deliberations during the 1973 war show then-IDF Chief of Staff David Elazar thought the war was an existential battle, while Dayan warned that 'no one will fight for us.’ (Haaretz+)
  • 'We don’t have enough people to defend the state' – Israel's military leaders feared the worse in 1973 - The day after the Yom Kippur War began with a surprise Arab attack on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, both IDF Chief of Staff David Elazar and Defense Minister Moshe Dayan warned that the conflict could lead to the destruction of the 25-year-old country. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Early Humans in Israel Invented Food Storage 400,000 Years Ago, Scientists Find - Earliest sign of hunger anticipation? The hominins living in Qesem Cave in central Israel during the early Palaeolithic preserved marrow-rich bones of fallow deer. (Haaretz+)
  • Gigantic Prehistoric City Found in Israel During Roadworks - En Esur, with its monumental temple and huge population, was vastly bigger than anything thought possible in the Southern Levant 5,000 years ago. (Haaretz+)
  • Incoming EU foreign policy chief says Europe 'must continue to defend two-state solution' - Spain's Josep Borrell says that he would not sabotage EU-Israel trade agreements to promote. (Haaretz+)
  • Massive underground necropolis to ease Jerusalem's grave shortage - Mile-long labyrinth, with 23,000 burial chambers lining the walls and ground, was tunneled into the hillside beneath Jerusalem's main Jewish cemetery to help overcome a looming shortage of gravesites for Jewish people in the city. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • SodaStream CEO Allegedly Profited From Insider Trading - Allegations in lawsuit follow investigation into Birnbaum’s alleged violations of giving information to an associate. (Haaretz+)
  • Ronan Farrow reveals how he ‘turned’ Black Cube investigator shadowing him during Weinstein probe - In excerpt from new book, New Yorker writer says Israeli private intelligence agency was misled by the Hollywood producer when he hired the firm. (Haaretz+)


Features:
A.’s new page in life
Life in the pre-military preparatory program to which he was sent by court order, agricultural work, fitness training and an aspiration to enlist in the IDF. Just before his verdict: This is the new life of A., who was 16 when arrested by the Shin Bet and charged with participating in the horrific attack in which a Palestinian father, mother and toddler were murdered in the Palestinian village of Duma, when he and others threw firebombs into their home while they were asleep. Only one child  (Elisha Ben Kimon, Yedioth Hebrew)
Yom Kippur War: The Price of Israeli Hubris
He went to war raring to fight, but after half an hour he saw his company crushed. Oded Meggido's historical research explains how ‘arrogance’ cost the lives of 61 men. (Ofer Aderet, Haaretz+)
Israeli POW reunites with mentor who helped him survive torture
Capt. Gil Vogel was captured by Syrian troops during the First Lebanon War, and this year, he had the chance to say thank you to the Military Intelligence officer whose advice kept him alive. (Matan Tzuri, Yedioth/Ynet)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
*My Day With the West Bank Settlers Who Are Destroying Zionism (Chuck Freilich, Haarez+) Of greater concern was the settlers’ contention that terrorism began after “Oslo,” a vile epithet to them. We chose not to be petty; we refrained from mentioning that the first intifada and many heinous terrorist attacks occurred long before the 1993 Oslo Accords. In the settler reality, the ongoing military rule of the region does not really pose a deep moral problem. They believe that they live in genuine coexistence with the Palestinians. They offer proofs: the Palestinians employed in the Barkan industrial zone. The settlers don’t see them as a people who have been living in impossible circumstances for 50 years, who smile falsely for their Israeli employers (once known as “effendis”) and who are still licking their wounds from the second intifada. A people who will rise up against us, sooner or later, as they have in the past.
Iran and a Dash of Politics: Behind Israel's Scramble to Boost Missile Defenses (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Israel's politicians, namely Netanyahu, are warning of a 'state of national emergency' and 'daily threats.' What do they know that we don't? I found good and caring people. The only problem was that they are living in denial, in a fervent but alternative reality where the occupation is not only sustainable but irreversible. In the settler reality, the ongoing military rule of the region does not really pose a deep moral problem. They believe that they live in genuine coexistence with the Palestinians.
The Racist for Public Security (Haaretz Editorial) In a crude attempt to absolve himself of responsibility for the national failure registered in his name, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan gave an interview Monday in which he accused Israel’s Arab community of violence. “Arab society is a very, very – and a thousand more ‘verys’ – violent society,” he told Radio Jerusalem. Instead of apologizing for having abandoned the Arab communities to gangs and organized crime and promising to reverse this policy of neglect, he added to his list of failures the sin of victim-blaming, claiming that the violence stems from “cultural codes.” As if he were an expert in sociology and anthropology observing society from afar, not the official responsible for protecting Israelis, Erdan spouted baseless notions smelling of racism – which, largely due to him, has become the hallmark of the government of which he is a key member.
Arab citzens, Israel needs you (Michael Milshtein, Yedioth/Ynet) The slogan bandied about in the Arab public is practical inclusion, but the community must take action to show how serious it is both about integration and its willingness to become involved in the goings-on within the sector and the state.
Arabs in Israel Need Proof That They're Not Alone (Esawi Freige, Haaretz+) Rivers of words have been written about violence in Arab society. We are living in a state of constant fear, frightened that any one of us could be the next victim. Criminal terror has seized control of Arab towns and cities, and when the criminals reign, the law gets shunted aside and every little business dispute can develop into a firefight and gang war, simply because there’s no one to stop it. In last month’s election, the Arab public came out to vote, first and foremost out of a desire to be part of “Israeliness.” It was a desire to influence the image of the national leadership, and as a result, the country’s image. Now it’s the Jewish public’s turn to prove that the desire for the true integration of Arab citizens is a mutual one. Just as the struggle against Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to undermine democracy and the rule of law needn’t be reserved solely for Jews, the struggle to impose law and order in Arab society needn’t be reserved solely for Arabs.
There Is Only One Word for ‘Our Boys’: Masterpiece (Adrian Hennigan, Haaretz+) Short of Larry David reading extracts from the Talmud, this may be the most defiantly Jewish show on HBO ever. (This review contains spoilers about the entire series, which finished this week)
How Israeli doctors enable the Shin Bet's torture industry (Ruchama Marton, +972mag) From approving brutal interrogation techniques to writing false medical reports, doctors in Israel have taken an active role in the torture of Palestinian prisoners.
The Smoking Tweet (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich boasted in one of his Twitter spats with MK Ayman Odeh a few days ago, that The Jews “have been the world’s most welcoming hosts since the days of Abraham our forefather, and therefore you [the Palestinians] are still here. At least for now.” Smotrich is just one of many. But when we warn the world that Israel’s messianic Jewish Zionist camp is fantasizing nonstop about a final expulsion of the Palestinians and preparing a hell on earth here, attorney Smotrich’s frankness provides us with the smoking gun.
Returning to Yaffa, but only as a ‘tourist’ (Mariam Barghouti, +972mag) It is hours — days, weeks, maybe some months if we’re fortunate — before my permit expires, when I would have to make my way back to the West Bank, or else Israel will deem my presence in my own ancestral city ‘illegal.’
Forgive Us, American Jews, for We Have Sinned Against You (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Netanyahu turned his back on U.S. Jewry in its greatest time of need – and most Israelis couldn’t care less.
Germany's Jews are once again easy prey (Eldad Beck, Israel Hayom) In Germany in 2019, anti-Semitic violence can no longer be treated as a passing phenomenon. This is an epidemic. All efforts to deny this reality, whether from the authorities, local Jewish leadership, or recent Israeli immigrants, crumble in the face of the terrible day-to-day reality that is the product of an industry of repudiation and denial.
Germany Synagogue Attack: Liberal Values Make Jews Everywhere Prime Target for White Supremacists (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) The synagogue shooting in eastern Germany wasn't just an anti-Semitic attack. It was also an attack against immigration and values that have been identified with Jews
The Israeli Army Doesn’t Need More Money, It Needs a Functioning Government (Hagai Amit, Haaretz+) Netanyahu talks about a four-billion-shekel budget increase, but prolonged political paralysis is what is harming security.
Lesson not learned: Let's take the battle cry across the border with all seriousness (Yossi Ahimeir, Maariv) Perhaps because the style is familiar, the lies are not new and the texts are familiar, in the sense of "repeated anti- Semitic refrain,” we are indifferent. It is a mistake to ignore the Arab incitement.
Israel's true failures on Iran (Dr. Limor Samimian-Darash, Israel Hayom) Even after Israel exposed Iran's nuclear weapons program, and the US withdrew from the deal, reimposing sanctions on the ayatollah regime, journalists and lawmakers on the Left continue to blame the Israeli government for the current state of affairs.
Iran and a Dash of Politics: Behind Israel's Scramble to Boost Missile Defenses (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Israel's politicians, namely Netanyahu, are warning of a 'state of national emergency' and 'daily threats.' What do they know that we don't?
A state that threatens Jewish genocide isn’t normal (Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) Why is Europe still trading with Tehran? Why are Democrats still planning on reinstating a nuclear deal that doesn’t stop them from getting a bomb?
Trump's Decision to Abandon Syria's Kurds Is Bad News for All U.S. Regional Allies
(Amos Harel, Haaretz+) President's move lays the groundwork for other players on the Syrian court to fulfill their interests – and Israel should worry, too.
American treachery (Yossi Shine, Yedioth Hebrew) Trump and government officials want to build a new image: US president who brings honor to the US, who stops the "defeatism” of the Obama era, retaining allies and not "just talking" about "empty" values. Thus, the administration has built new Middle East relations with the Saudis, Egypt and Jordan, and of course with the Iranian enemy. That's exactly what the president has said, almost verbatim, also about US policy in Asia - tightening ties with Japan, the Philippines and South Korea - the policy against the threat of North Korea, and in different ways, relations with China in trade agreements. Syria was a problem at the outset. Trump talked about ISIS eradication but also against Assad's crimes. The Tomahawks against the Syrian president were not only against the chemical weapons, but also a signal that Trump is changing Obama's "betrayal" policy.
Trump Is Complicit in Erdogan's Ethnic Cleansing (Simon A. Waldman, Haaretz+) What Turkey's president is openly planning is the forced exchange of one ethnic population for another. That’s Ethnic Cleansing 101. And Trump rolled over to let it happen.
The lessons from northern Syria (Dr. Jonathan Spyer, Israel Hayom) The decision to pull out troops confirms that the current US administration is not interested in heading an alliance of regional forces against Iranian expansionism or Sunni political Islam.
The Seeds of Trump’s Abandonment of Syrian Kurds Were Sown by Obama (Elizabeth Tsurkov, Haaretz+) Like the Democratic incumbent before him, President Donald Trump seems to believe that conflict is the natural state of things in the Middle East.
Turkey’s War on the Kurds: Quick Conquest or Quagmire? (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) An effective war of attrition can enlist public opinion in Europe and the United States, and above all, stoke a mass protest in Turkey itself as its number of soldiers killed rises.
The Kurds were left alone (Smadar Perry, Yedioth Hebrew) Kurdish panic culminated last night after US President Donald Trump said "the Kurds only helped us because we paid them." The proud Kurdish fighter was hurt, but even more so was the final stamp of what began to emerge earlier this week: they have no one to protect them.
As far as Trump is concerned, the Kurds have done their job and now can go to hell (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Turkey's Erdogan has proved that his unyielding stubbornness pays; only Russia can help the Kurds in Syria, but it has no interest in doing so.

Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
How Boris, Bibi and Trump are learning the limits of their populist power (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) The three leaders have tried to ride roughshod over democratic traditions in recent months, but they are finding that they aren't bigger than the state.
Even without a legal achievement, Netanyahu recorded a small victory in the battle for the minds of the people (Matan Wasserman, Maariv) It appears that people working on behalf of the prime minister managed to put a crack in the manner in which the prosecutor's office conducted the indictment procedure. Despite this, the arguments do not appear to have put a crack in the suspicion.
To Protect Netanyahu, Israel's Foreign Minister Is Happy to Throw Army Chief Under the Bus (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) With a tweet, Minister Katz tries to blur responsibility for violating Israel's policy of ambiguity.
From the protest against violence to the recommendation of Gantz: Arab society is reviving its power (Dr. Revital Amiran, Maariv) If a unity government is established here with or without Bibi, the seven mandates of the Yamina party, which constitute the spirit of delegitimization to the Arab public, will make their welcome way to the opposition.
Netanyahu’s post-Yom Kippur Will Be Even Grimmer (Nehemia Shtrasler, Haaretz+) Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman holds the balance of power in the Knesset. He’s a right-winger preventing the formation of a right-wing government, a resident of a West Bank settlement  fighting the ultra-Orthodox, the right flank of religious-Zionism and the messianists. An ordinary politician would have already cashed in his election achievement. Some people say he refused because he wants more, but that doesn’t make sense. The current political situation in which neither side can form a government is the best possible situation for Lieberman. His price will never go higher. If that’s the case, what does he really want? He’s not guided by political accomplishments or even a post for himself. He wants something else entirely, something personal. He wants to get rid of the king. He wants Netanyahu to be removed from office, put on trial and sent to prison. Nothing less.
 
Interviews:
"We are constantly on the brink of war"
He promises that a "thousand-ton hammer" hangs over Gaza, but makes it clear that only the political echelon will decide when to strike. Convinced that Hamas has more assault tunnels, but rejecting allegations of erosion in the south. Brigadier General Eliezer Toledano, former military secretary of Prime Minister Netanyahu, closes first year as commander of Gaza: burning period of incendiary balloons and rockets, rockets and red alarms, infiltration attempts and weekly demonstrations on the fence. "I don't know a concept called ‘containment policy'," he says, he describes his picture of victory over terrorism. (Interviewed in Yedioth Hebrew by Yossi Yehoshua and Reuven Weiss)

From Mexico, with love
Andres Romer was fired from his post as Mexico's envoy to UNESCO for refusing to vote in favor of a resolution denying the Jewish people's ties to Jerusalem. When the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan decided to name a street in his honor, Roemer responded by gifting residents with tequila. (Interviewed by  Danielle Roth-Avneri in Israel Hayom)
 

A city in human terms
In the fall of 1982, writer Amos Oz set out on a series of meetings with various people around the country. Between Ashdod and Beit Shemesh, Ofra and Tekoa, Ramallah and Jerusalem - Oz documented a mix of different colors, testimonies and ideologies, which was brought together under one roof in the earth-shaking book "Here and There in the Land of Israel.” He criticized harshly, but explained the reasons for his journey in an excerpt from the book, which is published in full here in March 1983. (Amos Oz, Yedioth Hebrew)

"When we heard Netanyahu talking about Arabs flocking (in droves), we said, that’s enough”
The sounds from the Al-Jazar Mosque, the smells of arisa and the baklava, the conversations at the humous place in the outdoor market, and the children jumping from the walls of the Old City: author Mohammad Ali Taha returned to Acre, the first city he visited as a child, and tried to understand how the dream of partnership between Jews and Arabs worked. It ended in frustration over the economic situation and a lot of love for the northern port city. And also, what people in the Jewish neighborhoods think about the success of the Joint List in the last election….I arrive in Acre two days after the 22nd Knesset elections. I meet people in the street, in the hummus place, in the market. They know me and welcome the rise of the Joint List, which they supported. They wanted the unification of the Arab parties and demanded that Knesset members move from protest to influence. They wanted to oppose the Prime Minister's incitement. ‘Listen, sir! My name is Said, I'm 42, and I never voted,’ one of them says to me. "But when I heard him talk about the masses of voters from Manda village, I said - that’s enough! I'll vote. I took my wife and mother and drove to the polling station.’ The Arabs I talk to talk about the election results. They believe that the Netanyahu era is over and enjoy having a part in this result. But the Jews I'm talking to - Haim, Esther and her father - don't talk about the election at all. I meet Uri, 43. He tells me he studied at the Technion with Arab students and got along very well. “It's true that there were difficult conversations between us and it's natural," he says. "In Acre, I have no Arab friends. I am a Likudnik and I fear a third round of elections because Gantz will not agree to a unity government headed by Netanyahu. He wants Likud without Bibi as if you want Barcelona without Messi. We have problems in Acre.” "Most of the well-off Jewish families are moving to Nahariya. I fear the migration of Jews from Acre to Nahariya. The Jews sell their homes at a good price to the Arabs who come from the villages. The Arabs flock to Acre," he laughs. "Many neighborhoods have become Arab neighborhoods in recent years and the government is falling asleep." I ask Uri if he wants the government to ban Arabs from buying houses in Acre, and he replies "God forbid. I want the government to worry about us having a plan to improve the economic situation in Acre. I'm sure Bibi will take care of the city." Aviha Lavi, 39, is a lawyer by profession. We meet in her office on Herzl Street and she welcomes me in a beautiful manner. "I was born in Acre and I live in the east of the city," she says. "Life is good in Acre and my clients are Jews and Arabs. Me and my husband have Arab friends who bring us cakes during the holidays. Acre is a developing city and I love the cooperation and living together. It is true that people leave because there is a shortage of jobs. In my opinion in Acre it does not matter if you are Jewish or Arab. Everyone is a citizen. I am crazy about Old Acre and walk there and shop in stores.”…Bolus Nahas, a 55-year-old accountant, is an Acre resident from birth. He lives in a mixed neighborhood and explains that when the Arabs start buying Jewish homes the Jews leave. Nahas looks at me sadly, and says, "We live together and we don’t live together. It worries me. Acre's people are poor and the Arabs are poorer." (Muhammad Ali Taha, Yedioth Hebrew)

In the name of the journey
David Grossman was a young 29-year-old writer when he first read "Here and There in the Land of Israel,” by Amos Oz. Four years later, and the father of a small child, Grossman went on his own journey in the occupied territories, between Palestinians and settlers, and wrote, "The Yellow Wind.” But only decades later did he realize how much he was influenced by Oz's book and how much he owed him as a writer, teacher, and friend. (David Grossman, Yedioth Hebrew)

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