News Nosh 10.16.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday October 16, 2019
Conversation of the day:
Audio from video recordings of three Israeli Border Police officers sent to stand near a mosque for hours in the E. Jerusalem village of Issawiyah, during which time they sometimes were seen raising their weapons as if purportedly aiming it a resident seen in the background. A large number of pedestrians and vehicles passed the policemen, but none approached them.
First police officer: “This is really provoking them for nothing.”
Second police officer is heard agreeing.
Later the first policemen said: “Why do this on purpose?”
The second one replied: “Our policy is screwed up from the outset.”
The first policeman then comments: “Let them live. You’re provoking them here for nothing.”
Several minutes later the first policeman addressed a third: “I have a question for you. Isn’t what we’re doing here causing more problems?”
The third policeman replied: “That’s the goal.”*

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The dangerous games of Unit 8200
  • Lighting strike - Deadly storm: Asher Hazut, 14, in critical condition after being hit by lighting
  • Food poisoning at Aroma coffee shop
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • Family hit by a bolt of lighting: 14-year-old critically wounded
  • On the way to returning the mandate: Netanyahu canceled his trip to the Japanese emperor’s swearing-in ceremony
  • Erdogan to the world: Operation in the north of Syria will continue
  • Israel asked Russia: Pardon Naama (who was sentenced to 7.5 years prison for possession of cannabis
Israel Hayom
  • “The plan: Bring down Netanyahu - and then elections” - Suspicion among Netanyahu’s associates - Gantz and Lieberman are cooking plan for short-term narrow government
  • Lieberman is racing towards a left-wing government // Eitan Orkibi
  • Fingers crossed for Naama - Netanyahu turned to Putin: “Give Naama Issachar a pardon”
  • (Foreign) Minister Katz: “Lieberman is politically assassinating Netanyahu”; Yisrael Beiteinu: “Spin”
  • “We just planned on leaving and the lighting struck” - “The kippah burned”: Hazut family shocked and praying for health of Asher, 14, who was critically wounded
  • Missing Nachson for 25 years - On the anniversary of the murder of his son, Nachshon, Yehuda Waxman says that time does not heal the pain and he is worried by the rift in society: “I’m afraid they won’t want to rescue a kidnapped soldier”
  • This morning: Masses will participate in the Birkat HaCohenim (Blessing of the Jewish priests) at the Wailing Wall
  • She ate tuna at the Aroma cafe in Tel-Aviv - and was hospitalized in serious condition

Top News Summary:
An Israeli boy was critically injured after he and his family were struck by lighting during an unusually tropical storm and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has asked for Russia to pardon a young Israeli woman sentenced to a long prison sentence for drug smuggling, but that increasingly appears to be dependent on Israel’s release of a Russian hacker - making top stories in today’s Hebrew. Also, the latest post-election news with only one week to go till the deadline for Netanyahu to form a coalition government.

The Hebrew papers say that Russia is playing hardball with Israel by giving a harsh sentence to Naama Issachar, 25, who was convicted of smuggling a small amount of hashish (9.6 grams) for which she was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison. The reason is because the Russians want Israel to agree to extradite a Russian hacker sitting in an Israeli jail to Russia - and not to the US, and Russia has made the request. On Tuesday, Netanyahu made a formal request to Russian President Vladimir Putin to pardon Issachar. The hacker, Aleksey Burkov, has been put in protective custody to ensure his safety. The papers say Russia is using Issachar as leverage in its campaign to prevent Israel from turning a Russian hacker over to the US. The hacker has also asked to be swapped for Issachar.

Interestingly, without saying in words, Yedioth starkly compared the Israeli diplomatic attention being given to the pretty young Israeli girl with the lack of any attention given to a young Ethiopian-Israeli. On one page, it dedicated the top half to an emotional interview with Issachar’s mother. The bottom half of the page was divided in two: An article reporting that Netanyahu had requested a pardon from Putin for Issachar alongside an reporting that a 32-year-old Ethiopian-Israeli man received a severe sentence of 10 years prison after being caught with smuggling 35 kilos of the illegal gat plant on an interim flight stop in Istanbul between Israel and Germany. The article by Itamar Eichner (Hebrew) revealed that there are dozens of young Israelis in prisons in Europe for smuggling the plant, which is illegal in Europe (but not in Israel - and is commonly chewed on by Yemenite and Ethiopian Jews - OH). Last weekend, two young Israeli women were sentenced to six months in jail and an 80 Euro fine for each smuggling 36 kilos of the plant. The gat smuggling phenomenon started in November of 2018 by an Israeli operator known to the authorities who “takes advantage of people from weak parts of society” by convincing them to take suitcases filled with gat to Europe in exchange for a free flight and 2000 shekels (about $565). The side-by-side articles starkly emphasized the different way the state was dealing with the harsh sentences of the Mizrachi Israeli woman and the black Israeli man.  In addition, last Friday, four Israeli youths were arrested for smuggling gat, three in Paris and one in Sweden. (Yedioth Hebrew)

Elections 2019 Summary:
Netanyahu has one week to go to form a coalition government before he has to return the mandate or ask for a two-week extension. Haaretz reported that President Reuven Rivlin will probably not give him an extension if he asks, but will instead transfer the mandate to Kahol-Lavan chairman Benny Gantz who would then have four weeks to form a coalition. Although Netanyahu’s Likud party is not holding any negotiations with other parties outside his bloc, Maariv reported that Netanyahu is expected to hold the mandate until the deadline. The reason: the party is concerned about the moves of Yisrael Beiteinu chairman, Avigdor Lieberman. Israel Hayom reported that Likud is hesitating to return the mandate out of fear that Gantz would form a minority government with Kahol-Lavan, which would remove Netanyahu as prime minister, weakening his political strength ahead of a third election. Lieberman said it was spin and blamed Likud for the impasse, to which Likud’s Yisrael Katz, presently the foreign minister, shot back accusing Lieberman of having “carried out political assassination against Netanyahu and Likud out of personal revenge and a desire to destroy the Likud.” Maariv also reported that in Kahol-Lavan, they don’t rule out a minority government  that relies on the support of the Joint List: "Nothing is ruled out.“ Meanwhile, Netanyahu cancelled his trip to the coronation of the new Emperor of Japan. Israel Hayom reported that it was both because of criticism of his plans in the Likud and what the party is calling "scheduling difficulties." Haaretz wrote that it was due to these coalition-making problems. (Maariv)
Quick Hits:
  • *Provoking Jerusalem's Palestinians 'for nothing': Cop's recording sheds light on 'screwed up' policy - Israeli officers heard in a body camera video complaining about disputed operation in East Jerusalem neighborhood of Isawiyah, aimed at 'causing more problems.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli TV show that planted gun in Palestinian's home violated order, but watchdog failed to act - Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit has yet to take action, while advocacy groups charges the police violated the 'legal rights of many.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Jordanian Held in Israel, on Hunger Strike for 3 Weeks, Describes Alleged Shin Bet Torture - Heba al-Labadi has been held in Israel since August 20 and was interrogated by the Shin Bet for over a month on suspicion of contact with Hezbollah. (Haaretz+)
  • Man Shot Dead in Israeli Arab Town as Protests Against Police Inaction Continue - Mahmoud Moufid Igbariyya, 35, was was transferred in serious condition to Haemek Hospital in Afula, where he succumbed to his wounds. Police says incident is of criminal nature. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Jerusalem Reopens Natural Spring, but Not to Palestinians - Ein Hanya spring, located within Jerusalem's borders and near the West Bank village of Al-Walaja, was closed off to Palestinians and patrolled by police for three days during the Jewish Sukkot holiday. (Haaretz+)
  • British Tourist Who Accused 12 Israelis of Gang-rape Says She Was Forced to Withdraw Complaint - 19-year-old woman who was charged with falsely claiming she was raped in July, testifies that the Cypriot police 'said they would arrest me if I didn’t say I had lied.’ (Haaretz+, Maariv and Ynet)
  • In Defeat for Boycott Movement, Academic Conference Back on Track to Be Held in Israel - Had decision not been reversed, it would have been the first time an academic association canceled a planned conference in Israel. The European Network for Mental Health Service Evaluation (ENMESH), which has 400 members, voted several days ago to uphold a resolution to hold its biennial conference in Israel. (Haaretz+)
  • East Jerusalem Palestinian Says Israeli Hospital Denied Her Application to 'Jewish' Nursing Course - Woman says she tried to join course that combines nursing and Jewish religious studies but was turned down by hospital's secretary. Hospital refutes claim, says course is open to anyone who commits to it. (Haaretz+)
  • Significant improvement in health of suspect of murder of Rina Shenrav - Shin Bet expected to continue interrogating Samer Arbid, who regained consciousness. Arbid was hospitalized in critical condition September 28th, after he got a heart attack during his interrogation. Before his hospitalization, the interrogators received special permission to use ‘exceptional measures’ against him. (Maariv and Times of Israel)
  • Israel Again Bars Colombian Children From Visiting Their Jewish-Israeli Mom - Sarah Debora Meyer’s teenage daughters were deported after arriving to the country last November because the ministry said they didn’t have the necessary visas. (Haaretz+)
  • Dancing under rocket fire on the Gaza border - Liat Dror's Sderot-based dance company is staging a new performance that attempts to convey the reality of living under constant attack while trying to maintain our humanity; 'It's my responsibility to put on a show even under rocket fire,' she says. (Ynet)
  • Mysterious UAE Cyber Firm Luring ex-Israeli Intel Officers With Astronomical Salaries - Probe finds DarkMatter works for UAE’s intelligence agency attacking Western targets, journalists and human rights activists, with graduates of Israel's Defense forces earning up to $1 million annually. (Haaretz+)
  • IDF commanders will be obliged to reading professional literature - Each year, the Chief of Staff will list a compulsory book, articles and digital media for reading: "Continuous learning of the art of war is synonymous with professionalism.” (Maariv)
  • Explosion reported in Technion lab, man seriously injured - Special teams on site to make sure no hazardous materials are being released as a result of the explosion. Man in his 60s who sustained severe burns to his face and upper body is receiving treatment at Rambam Medical Center. (Israel Hayom)
  • British cemetery in Haifa desecrated with swastikas - Police official to Israel Hayom: We suspect this is a hate crime. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: We take the desecration of the graves of World War I heroes very seriously. (Israel Hayom)
  • McDonald’s Dominates the Battle of the Burger in Israel, Rival Contends - In a lawsuit it later withdrew, Israeli chain Burger Ranch cited figures showing the U.S. fast-food giant has a lock on the Israeli market. (Haaretz+)
  • A score for feminists: Israel pledges equal budgets for men's and women's soccer teams - The state’s promise came in response to a petition by women’s soccer teams. (Haaretz+)
  • Saudi national soccer team played Palestinians in historic West Bank match Tuesday - Arab teams have historically refused to play in Palestinian territory, and the game marks a change in policy for the Saudi kingdom. Saudi players enter through Israeli-controlled (West Bank) border crossing. Visit al-Aqsa compound. All tickets at 8,000 stadium near Ramallah were given away free, with thousands queuing to get in. (Haaretz and Ynet and Ynet Hebrew)
  • Saudi soccer players visit al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem - 'This is the most beautiful day in my life,' says Yasser Al-Mishal, president of Saudi Football Federation; team due to play Palestinian national squad in West Bank on Tuesday for World Cup qualifier. (Agencies, Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Putin: Trump's peace deal is 'pretty vague,' keeps Palestinians in the dark - In a conversation with Arabic media ahead of Saudi Arabia visit, the Russian president called for a two-state solution, said Moscow peace talks between Israel and Palestinian Authority never materialized. (Haaretz)
  • Palestinians split by walkback on tax revenue collected by Israel - Cash-strapped PA reverses refusal to accept monies collected on its behalf over deducation of stipends for terrorists and their families, earning condemnation from those who had salaries cut for months. (Ynet)
  • Jordanian king extends land lease to Israeli farmers, temporarily; Jordan denies - Following diplomatic efforts on behalf of Israeli farmers, Jordan's King Abdullah II agrees on Wednesday to extend a land lease with Israel in the Tzofar enclave in the Arava region for a period of 5-7 months, or one agricultural cycle, Jordanian media reports. It is still unclear whether he will extend the land lease in Naharayim, in the Jordan Valley. The Tzofar extension will give negotiators more time to discuss potential economic models. (Israel Hayom and Maariv)
  • Explained What's driving Turkey’s Syrian fighters' brutal assault on the Kurds - Turkey’s Syrian fighters paraded their Kurdish captives in front of cameras and, in one graphic video, fired several rounds into a man lying on the side of a highway. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Trump sanctions fail to slow Turkey assault, Assad makes land grab - Syrian army launches its own offensive in effort to upstage Turkish military's efforts and reclaim territory lost during the civil war. Kurds and Syrian government strike alliance against Turks. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Israelis protesting Turkish operation in Syria call Erdoğan 'a murderer' - Some 300 protesters decry Turkish action in northern Syria, demand that Israeli government provide humanitarian aid to Kurdish forces. (Israel Hayom)
  • Syrian Kurds shift alliance in deal with Assad government to resist Turkey - Russian officials have been mediating low-level talks between the Kurds and Damascus ■ Syria says army enters Turkey border town. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Trump imposes sanctions on Turkey over invasion, threatens its economy - 'I am fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey's economy,' warns the U.S. president in an effort to restrain Turkish assault, which began following Trump's announcement to pull all American troops out of Syria, on Kurdish groups in the war-torn country. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Qatar, Hamas defend Turkish incursion into Syria - Turkey is trying to push 'the threat away from its borders,' Qatar's Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Russia moves into Syrian territory abandoned by the U.S. - buffers between Turkey and Assad - Moscow moves to entrench its role as de facto power broker U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the pullout of American forces. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Chad issues stamps with image of Israel's Eurovision winner - The landlocked African country's postal service issues special Israel themed stamps, which include images of Israeli Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai, after country renewed relations with Israel last year. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • U.S. sanctions amp up the pressure on Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon - The push is further adding to Lebanon’s severe financial and economic crisis, with officials warning the country’s economy can’t withstand the strain. (Agencies, Haaretz)

Desperate Kurds See Only Enemies Around Them. A Special Report From Qamishli, Syria
As Erdogan and Assad’s forces threaten to converge on northern Syria, fleeing Kurds fear that their haven will be gone forever. (Wilson Fache, Haaretz+)
The Bedouin recruiting campaign
A pre-military preparation program, a special academic path and even Nahal military units in Bedouin villages.  The Ministry of Defense and the IDF launched a campaign aimed at increasing the number of military recruits from the Bedouin sector: “It will improve their acquaintance with Israeli society and open doors once they are civilians.” (Corinne Elbaz-Alush, Yedioth Hebrew)
25 years since Israel-Jordan peace, security cooperation flourishes but people kept apart
Most involved say when it comes to relations, it's a 'chicken and egg' situation: If public support for ties among the Jordanian public continues to shrink, advancing joint civilian projects will face even more difficulty. (Noa Landau, Haaretz+)
The Kaffiyeh Art Exhibit That’s Making Israel Tremble
Joining a forum of Palestinians and Israelis following the 2014 Gaza war opened the eyes of artist Yael Yudkovik. But her kaffiyehs covered art was not welcomed with open arms in Tel Aviv. (Naama Riba, Haaretz+)
The Israeli Arab town where digital nomads come to connect
The Jewish-Arab partnership Beachub helps high-techies do their thing in a stunning atmosphere while boosting the neglected local economy. (Yasmine Bakria, Haaretz+)
Way off the beaten path: These tours could change your way of thinking about Israel-Palestine
From a meal in an Arab village to a political discussion in the West Bank, there are excursions to match everyone’s interests. And you might just learn something about yourself. (Moshe Gilad, Haaretz+)

How Bashar Assad Won in Syria (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Obama, Netanyahu and Erdogan all allowed the Syrian president to survive and ultimately, with a lot of help from Russia and Iran, murder his way to victory.
Israel must help the Kurds and if, on the way, we need to hurt the Turkish army, that’s not a terrible thing (Prof. Arie Eldad, Maariv) Kurds need weapons and air assistance. It is also time to signal to Turkey that we are tired of their overt support of Hamas and their attempts to take over important parts of Jerusalem.
Trump's Retreat From Syria Is Already Changing the Mideast for Worse, and Israel Should Beware (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) U.S. president's conduct should concern Israel especially in connection to the ongoing battle against Iran's regional influence ■ Affair of Israeli woman jailed by Russia ruins Netanyahu's claim of sway over world leaders.
Yes, Netanyahu’s Iran Policy Has Failed and Tehran Will Strike Back (Amiram Levin, Haaretz+) Rather than leave Syria, Iran, which is militarily and economically weak, did the expected and pushed Hezbollah and other militias into the Golan Heights.
Who exactly is Abbas threatening? (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) His threats to resign and dismantle the PA, but also his promise to hold elections, which Hamas will almost certainly win, are essentially aimed at getting the international community to force Israel to meet his demands. This won't happen.
Arab Leaders, Police Share the Blame for Crime Afflicting Israeli Arab Towns (Salman Masalha, Haaretz+) The Arab community has rightly pointed a finger of blame at the government, and also at the police, which abandoned it to the mercy of criminal clans that sow fear and have taken many lives. The police counter that they are making great efforts, and they blame the Arab community’s leadership for not helping them fight this battle. The Israeli Arab political leadership also continues to wallow in the mire of populist slogans that reveal the schizophrenic status it seeks for the Arab community. On one hand, it demands that the police enter Arab towns and take action against the criminal clans. But on the other, many members of that same leadership oppose opening police stations in Arab towns, and they also oppose Arab citizens joining the police force. The time has come to resolve this contradiction. It’s inconceivable for citizens who seek full civic equality not to integrate into all government agencies, including the civilian police force, whose job is to maintain order in the streets and defend all Israelis, without distinction.
The Calves’ Rebellion (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) The nation of high-tech and (according to foreign reports) nuclear bombs is once again threatened by a malicious, anti-Semitic plot — a Palestinian boycott on purchasing calves from Israel. If only it were a Palestinian vegetarian intifada, but no. It’s a decision made in September by the Palestinian Authority to stop buying 120,000 head of cattle a year from Israel, which account for 60 percent of the beef consumed in the Palestinian enclaves of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The PA is searching for and encouraging its ranchers and traders to find alternatives. Oy gevalt! The coordinator of government activities in the territories, Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon, of course rushed in to help. Last week he warned that “Israel will not allow boycotts of any kind against Israeli produce.” The proud Zionist response is, as usual, a threat of collective revenge. “If the status quo is not restored, Israel will not permit most Palestinian agricultural products into Israel,” said a message sent by COGAT at 8:43 P.M. Saturday.
How Israelis' self-deception left many of them confused about 'Our Boys' (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) After all, we are a nation that tends to appropriate to itself every Jewish victim, whoever it may be, and to cast out anyone who has been identified as a murderer. Gilad Shalit can be “everyone’s son,” while Elor Azaria can never be. It is this self-deception that led many to conclude that if the series deals with “our boys,” that is, the events surrounding Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, then it necessarily deals with our victims, and not with our murderers. Because our murderers are always rogue elements, in other words not ours.
Bibi’s Party With Trump Is Over (Haim Tomer, Haaretz+) The election of President Donald Trump and his early view of Benjamin Netanyahu as a strategic mentor, the abandonment of the nuclear treaty, the transfer of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and the recognition of Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights – all these created a feeling at the start of Trump’s term that this was the beginning of a Golden Age, and that Israel and its prime minister had almost unlimited strategic influence on Washington. However, in recent months, and especially in recent weeks, it looks as though the Golden Age was short-lived, and that a new Trump policy is developing, one that involves a 180-degree reversal and that is opposed to Israel’s interests. At first glance it seems based on the adage “If you can’t beat them, join them.” The first sign of the sharp turnaround was the revelation of the U.S. president’s attempts, not to say pleas, to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rohani, while sending signals – which were denied – that the administration was willing to lift the sanctions as a confidence-building measure in advance of negotiations for a new nuclear treaty.
Netanyahu has left Israel exposed to Trump's caprices (Dr. Revital Amiran, Maariv) The Prime Minister, who has come to terms with the purely utilitarian logic of the US president, has left Israeli interests in the hands of a capricious man without values and solidarity.
The man at the top appears to have lost his mind (Shimrit Meir, Yedioth/Ynet) Donald Trump has decided to reward Erdogan, the anti-American, anti-Israel, Islamist leader whose refusal to fight Islamic State had pushed U.S. forces into the alliance with the Kurds in the first place, with a visit to Washington.
Why Netanyahu has to stay silent about Trump’s abandonment of the Kurds (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+)  Israeli premier has more in common than ever with Republican senators who have blindly supported Trump in the name of political self-preservation.
The Kurds are being massacred and the world is silent (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) The American military presence in Syria was supposed to counter Turkish President Erdogan's expansionist aspirations, but Donald Trump's decision to abandon the Kurdish people leaves them in grave danger.
Withdrawing ahead of an assault (Col. (res.) Ronen Itsik, Israel Hayom) While President Trump's decision to leave the Kurds in northern Syria to their fate might be difficult to accept, it was neither impulsive nor unreasonable. The Middle East is boiling and national interests must prevail.
The far right's murderous bible (Tomer Persico, Haaretz+) A rereading of ‘The Turner Diaries,’ the most popular anti-Semitic text since ‘Mein Kampf,’ reveals the depth of the anxiety over the imaginary takeover of the West by migrants. A modern incarnation of this conspiracy has infected the Jews.
Expulsion, Refuge and Racism: The Bitter Ironies in Relations Between the Philippines, Israel and Jews (CJ Chanco, Haaretz+) The Philippines' president gave shelter to Jews - the 'race' that birthed 'our Lord' - fleeing Nazism. Today, Israel is expelling hundreds of Filipino families, while embracing the murderous Hitler-praising Duterte regime.
Save the peace treaty with Jordan (Itzhak Levanon, Israel Hayom) While both Israel and Jordan recognize that the 1994 peace accord serves their mutual interests and is of strategic importance given the volatility of the region, neither has done enough to prevent a deterioration in ties.
The Evil Beneath the Idiocy of an Israeli Minister's Remark About Slain Women (Zehava Galon, Haaretz+) Communications Minister David Amsalem’s response to the remarks by Lili Ben Ami, the sister of Michal Sela, who was murdered earlier this month, could perhaps have been attributed to his stupidity if he hadn’t gotten backing from Tourism Minister Yariv Levin. In response to Ben Ami’s complaint that the government had never funded its plan to prevent domestic violence, Amsalem said, “the police have to decide what its priorities are; the prime minister’s cigars or the murder of women.” While Levin said, “the enormous resources” invested in investigating the cases against the prime minister, “perforce come at the expense of many things.” Although having to respond to these miserable remarks is frustrating, it’s still worth recalling that the coalition voted against establishing a parliamentary inquiry committee on the murder of women, because it knew that such a committee would force it to allocate resources. If you scratch at the idiocy, you reveal beneath the surface a thick layer of evil. The Netanyahu cult has priests, an array of beliefs and talking points, which are becoming increasingly abnormal and shady.

Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
A Jewish-Arab, Anti-occupation Left (Avner Gvaryahu, Haaretz+) The Jewish center-left camp in Israel was relieved when Benjamin Netanyahu’s incitement-immunity coalition didn’t win the 61 Knesset seats it needed to remain entrenched in power, and when the Joint List announced that it was recommending that Kahol Lavan’s Benny Gantz be tasked with forming the next government, but grumbled when the Joint List boycotted the Knesset swearing-in ceremony to protest the neglect in dealing with violence in the Arab community. But almost no one stopped to ask what role we play in the complex political reality in which Israel’s Palestinian citizens live, to what extent we influence their Knesset representatives and, even more importantly, on what basis is it possible to establish a true partnership? It took many years for the left-wing Jewish parties to understand that including the Arab public’s elected representatives in their bloc was vital for democracy. This period – in which the Ten Days of Repentance merge with the transition period between the end of the campaign and the riddle of who will form the next government – should be used for a leftist introspection. Not the repulsive self-examination of “the problem with the left” kind, but the kind that focuses on formulating and reinforcing agreements that will facilitate a Jewish-Arab partnership and opposition to the occupation.
With a week to go, there is no new government in sight (Moran Azulay, Yedioth/Ynet) Netanyahu seems to be wasting everyone's time by not returning mandate to form new government to the president, seeing as Blue and White will never agree to the terms put forward by Likud.
Democracy Is Still Under Siege, Despite Orbán and Netanyahu’s Election Defeats (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) While the Hungarian leader suffered a rare defeat in Sunday’s key municipal elections, Poland’s ruling nationalist party cemented its position in power — increasing its vote by 6 percent.
The Problem Isn’t Just Bibi: It’s the Bibism With Which He Has Infected Israeli Politics (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Benny Gantz cannot join a government headed by a leader who sought to undermine democracy and corrupt the rule of law.
Bye-bye Trump, Shalom Bibi (Uzi Baram, Haaretz+) In terms of their characters there is great similarity in the way in which each puts his personal interests above principles such as morality or decency. However, in terms of diplomatic and political parameters, Netanyahu beats Trump…Trump is angry at Netanyahu not over some specific matter but because he didn’t manage to win the election despite favorable U.S. policies. Trump likes winners. He doesn’t need a leader who is a loser and who is incapable of turning the American Jewish community into his supporters. All of this has landed a blow on Netanyahu’s image as an invincible politician. He’s gambling on the results of a third election, but he comes to it as a lame duck, given his failure in September. He is seen as the main culprit in causing repeated cycles of elections. He, the great wizard, is incapable of forming a government for the second time, while facing the threat of criminal indictments. He is a beatable and weak candidate.
To topple Netanyahu, Lieberman will veer far left (Dr. Eitan Orkibi, Israel Hayom) After the Yisrael Beytenu leader's astonishing political conduct this past year, we must never underestimate how far he is willing to go to see Prime Minister Netanyahu's head on a platter.
A lesson from Weimar 1932: A third election could save Israel (Daniel Blatman, Haaretz+) Kahol Lavan needs to drop its policy of keeping it 'all very normal,' if it doesn’t want to be remembered the way history remembers Germany's Social Democratic Party.
'After Netanyahu - it's my turn'
Former Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat sees himself as the heir apparent to the prime minister and as the next head of the Likud party; the millionaire businessman turned politician is sure that he can outperform his fellow Likudniks, despite party claims to the contrary. (Interviewed by Sari Makover-Belikov in Yedioth/Ynet)

'We assume there are weapons stockpiles on the Temple Mount'
During a visit to the world's most volatile site, former head of the Shin Bet Avi Dichter shares his insights about what he sees as the Palestinians' true intentions for the Temple Mount and what Israel must do to stop them. (Interviewed by Yoav Limor in Israel Hayom)

"I would break my head to help the Kurds, I don’t recommend that they build on Assad"
Retired Brigadier General Tzuri Sagi, who is still considered a Kurdish darling in northern Iraq due to his war plans that overpowered the Iraqi army in 1966 and in 1974, fears for the fate of the Kurdish people. (Interviewed by Yaakov Bar-On in Maariv)

Father of murdered soldier Nachshon Wachsman calls for unity
Yehuda Wachsman, father of Cpl. Nachshon Wachsman, who was killed by Hamas terrorists during a botched rescue mission in 1994, misses the unity and clarity of purpose the Israeli people showed as they prayed for his son's safe return. (Interviewed by  Hanan Greenwood in Israel Hayom)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.