News Nosh 10.27.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday October 27, 2019
Quote of the day:
"A prime minister has two assets: the law that gives him his high standing and the trust that the public holds in him. The newspaper owner has two assets: the readers' confidence and the professional resilience of the journalists who work at his newspaper. The recordings from the Netanyahu-Mozes talks, some of which (journalist) Raviv Drucker aired last night on Channel 13, collapse the basis for the trust that both of these people stand on."
--Top Yedioth political commentator Nahum Barnea writes about the recording of his publisher and his prime minister.*

Front Page:
  • Netanyahu to Mozes: If you come to bring me down, I will come after you with everything I’ve got
  • Netanyahu’s defense line in Case 4000: Nir Hefetz operated for the benefit of (Shaul) Elovitch out of personal economic interests
  • Gantz expected to meet today with Netanyahu for the first time since the mandate passed to him
  • In IDF, they don’t plan to open an investigation against the brigadier general who had sex with the female soldiers under his command and resigned (Hebrew)
  • Lie of deterrence // Gideon Levy
  • Natalia Zorvova paints the margins of society and is happy to discover that her art is already considered Israeli
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Case 2000: The recordings are revealed - Netanyahu: The law is right, I’ll support it. But if you bring it down, I will come after you with everything I’ve got. It will become the mission of my life”; (Yedioth publisher) Mozes: “Bibi, you are causing it so that they threaten the life work of three generations, you are dropping atom bombs on me, and I am going to sit here with my legs crossed?”
  • Problem of trust // Nahum Barnea
  • IDF : We can pass on a sixth submarine (Hebrew)
  • Tonight: Gantz and Netanyahu will meet in the Kirya
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • Death on the roads - 8 killed in seven road accidents over the weekend
  • Trying to get closer (Photo of Gantz and Netanyahu)
  • Foreign considerations // Avigdor Lieberman
  • The agency for fighting against anti-Semitism - A year since the attack on the synagogue in Pittsburgh, the Jewish Agency is setting out to protect Jews in the world
  • Strong together // Yitzhak Herzog
  • The Case 2000 talks were revealed - Netanyahu: “ If you try to bring me down,I will come after you with everything I’ve got”; Mozes: “Is it possible to avoid based on that that you are promising me something that will take place in the future?”
Israel Hayom
  • “Netanyahu will tell Gantz: Stop the boycotts” - Looking for a way to a unity government: Netanyahu and Gantz will meet today
  • “If you try to bring me down, I will fight you” - This was how Netanyahu answered the publisher of Yedioth
  • The truth is also an option // Aviad Hacohen
  • Stop the criminalization of democracy // Simcha Rotman
  • The killing on the highways: Six killed in bloody weekend

Top News Summary:
A meeting today for political negotiations with and details from criminal investigations against Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu were top news alongside the numerous deaths on Israel’s roads over the weekend. What barely made news was the 25th anniversary of the peace accord between Israel and Jordan.

Channel 13 News broadcast audio recordings of Netanyahu threatening Yedioth newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes - the central evidence in Case 2000, in which Netanyahu is suspected of fraud and breach of trust for allegedly making a deal with Mozes that he pass legislation that would harm Yedioth’s competitor, Israel Hayom, in exchange for  favorable coverage in Yedioth. This recording was released the night before the Attorney General’s office began discussing the three cases against the prime minister. The Prime Minister's associates claimed that the decisions in the cases against Netanyahu are being made hastily, but the State Prosecutor's Office made it clear: The Attorney General is conducting a thorough and thorough process of examining the claims, wrote Maariv. The Attorney General already stated that the decisions about indicting Netanyahu in the cases will be reached before the State Prosecutor finishes his term, i.e. by December.

Haaretz+ reported that in Case 4000, the Bezeq-Walla telecommuniations affair, Netanyahu’s lawyers attempted to counter bribery charges by blaming his former media advisor, Nir Hefetz, who became a state witness.

Today, Yedioth (Hebrew) reported that the IDF will recommend against purchasing a sixth submarine and making do with five, in opposition to Netanyahu's previous decision to buy six or more. The submarines are the subject of Case 3000. According to the IDF, the billion shekels that will be saved will strengthen the IDF in other vital areas: air defense, full precision armaments and strengthening the ground forces. In the past, former chiefs of staff, from Gabi Ashkenazi through to Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, thought five submarines was enough. But Netanyahu thought differently and alone made the decision to purchase another submarine, wrote Yedioth. The security establishment believes that a sixth submarine is a legitimate diplomatic decision, but the problem was with the failure to share this (decision - OH) with the military echelon led by then-defense minister Moshe Ya'alon. Another claim that was made against Netanyahu was that he sought to promote the purchase of three more submarines, so the Israeli Navy would have had nine submarines. Netanyahu claimed that his intention was to replace the first three, when they go out of service. Netanyahu was not named in Case 3000, but some said he should be. Several of Netanyahu’s close associates are suspected of receiving illicit funds as part of a massive graft scheme in the multi-billion-shekel state purchase of the naval vessels from German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp. Gantz said ahead of April elections that if Kahol-Lavan wins, it will establish a parliamentary commission of inquiry into Netanyahu’s ties to the case.

Saturday was the 25th anniversary of the Israel and Jordan peace treaty and Maariv reported that leader of the Labor party, MK Amir Peretz, criticized the Netanyahu government for not officially marking the day the Israel-Jordan peace agreement was signed. “Today, 25 years have passed since the peace agreement with Jordan, but unfortunately, the Netanyahu government does not find it necessary to note this important turning point, and the prime minister is not making every effort and is not investing what it takes to lead reality-changing diplomatic moves like the peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt.” (Maariv) Alongside the Maariv article was a photo of a Peace Now activist putting up a banner marking the anniversary with the words on it: “Brave leaders make peace.” MaarivOnline reported that Channel 13 News reported that the Jordanian King Abdullah was considering calling back his ambassador to Israel or downgrading the relationship between the countries following Netanyahu's pre-elections announcement of his intention to annex the Jordan Beqaa Valley. The Israeli sources said the king decided not to make an issue out of it in order to avoid giving it more traction.

Elections 2019 News:
Last night, Likud and Kahol-Lavan published a joint statement that Kahol-Lavan leader Benny Gantz will meet with Likud leader Netayahu this evening to discuss the formation of a broad unity government. The issue of contention between the two is that Bantz refuses that Netanyahu server first in a rotation government - or rather Netanyahu insists that he server first in a rotation government. The meeting will be the first in a blitz of meetings Gantz is holding with leaders of all the political parties, except for the Joint List. The head of the Joint List, a list of four different Arab-Israeli parties, said that its leaders won’t meet with Gantz unless he is willing to talk with all four. The statement follows Gantz calling the leaders of all the parties, except for the Balad party. Balad did not declare support for Gantz, but neither did right-wing parties, whose leaders Gantz did speak with.

Quick Hits:
  • Thirty-one Gazans Wounded by Israeli Gunfire in Weekly Border Protest, Palestinians Say - Gaza Health Ministry says 77 protesters were wounded during clashes with Israeli forces along the border fence. (Haaretz+)
  • Hamas arrests dozens of activists in bid to deter Gaza protests - With eye on anti-government demonstrations in Lebanon and as calls for rally spread on social media, police units in Strip have focused round-ups on people affiliated with left-wing and centrist political factions, including PFLP and Fatah. (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Military Court Extends Remand of Israeli Soldiers Suspected of Assaulting Bedouin - Military police find contradictions in stories of the suspects, who say they were threatened with violence before brawl. (Haaretz+)
  • Attack of Bedouin in the south: Parents of the soldiers' contacted the chief of staff in a letter - The parents say the soldiers were humiliated… The organization Bzalmo who is escorting the soldiers' families said: "We will not abandon the IDF soldiers who did what is expected of every soldier." (Maariv)
  • Palestinian Authority claims Israeli planning to seize land for new settlements - Palestinian Authority legal adviser Mohammed Elias says lands of Qaryut village and southwestern area of Nablus are being targeted by a big settlement bloc in an attempt to divide the West Bank. (Ynet)
  • IDF chief: Israel's next main security challenge is Iran-led activity to north - Unveiling the army's new multi-year plan, Aviv Kochavi warns that situation is tense and fragile in both north and south, with possibility situation may deteriorate into conflict - despite Israel's enemies not being interested in war either. (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Due to the passing of time, the IDF will not investigate allegations that a brigadier general in the Navy has sexually harassed (female soldiers) - Brig. Gen. Shai Elbaz resigned following a Channel 12 News investigation in which soldiers testified that he sexually harassed them a decade ago. (Haaretz Hebrew)
  • Police Tent Set Ablaze, Cars Vandalized as Tensions Rise Around West Bank Settlement - 'We are seeing a rise in violence directed toward security forces, and intend to do everything possible to locate the suspect,' a police statement said. (Haaretz+)
  • Number of East Jerusalem home demolitions at record high, says rights group - The demolition of homes built without permits comes amid major increase in Jewish settlement activity both in East Jerusalem and the West Bank since Trump took office. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • The Israel Police’s Secret (Nonviolent) Weapon for Quelling Violence in the Arab Community - Unofficial sulha agreements are considered desirable for keeping a lid on family feuds, even if witnesses then retract their allegations to the police. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel Hayom journalist assaulted by ultra-Orthodox youth - Group of ultra-Orthodox men attack, try to stab Daniel Siryoti while he was on assignment. Siryoti sustains a minor concussion, several lacerations, and multiple contusions. Attackers warded off by a passerby who shielded him with her body. (Israel Hayom)
  • Immigration to Israel is on the rise thanks to these 'non-Jews' - Two out of every three immigrants to Israel come from either Russia or Ukraine, but most aren't recognized as Jewish – which makes things like marrying, starting a family and getting buried a problem. (Haaretz+)
  • Murder in front of the cameras - Violence in the Arab sector continues to kill: A 36-year-old man was shot dead in Acre Thursday night. After the incident, video was released showing one of the shooters out of a vehicle - and opening fire at the victim. (Yedioth Hebrew and Times of Israel)
  • Gantz to Be Main Speaker at Event Marking 24th Anniversary of Rabin's Murder - Organizers of next Saturday's event are appealing to the public for donations after, for the first time, no movement or non-profit has agreed to sponsor it. (Haaretz+)
  • School honors fallen soldiers as microcosm of Israeli society - Uri Grossman, Adam Goren, Benayah Rein and Alex Bunimovich came from very different backgrounds, but they fought together and died together coming to the aid of comrades in the Second Lebanon War. (Ynet)
  • Jewish Agency to Prioritize Fight Against anti-Semitism in New 10-year Strategic Plan - The quasi-governmental agency plans to increase the funds it allocates for ensuring the safety and security of Jewish communities outside Israel. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel's Civics Exam to Require Students to Memorize Controversial Nation-state Law - Meanwhile, the concept of a multicultural state, which appears in the curriculum, will not be studied for the next two years. (Haaretz+)
  • 'Tel Aviv Was Built With Raw Materials From Nazi Germany' - Two parallel exhibitions in Tel Aviv and Dessau tell the strange story of an agreement between early Nazi Germany and the Jewish leaders in Mandate Palestine. (Haaretz+)
  • Ashkenazi Jews Find Spanish, Portuguese Roots After Passport Offer to Descendants of Expelled - It turns out quite a few Ashkenazi Jews, even those who thought they had 'pure' Polish blood, might be able to be recognized as descendants of those expelled from Spain. (Haaretz+)
  • Psychoanalyst, Haaretz Contributor Carlo Strenger, Dies at 61 - His 1999 book 'Individuality, the Impossible Project' became a bestseller, garnering praise from leading colleagues around the world for his research into the creation of the self. (Haaretz+)
  • WJC to honor Nikki Haley for calling out anti-Israel bias at UN - World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder: Haley exemplifies America's "unwavering friendship for Israel and commitment to world Jewry, relentlessly calling out the biases and double standards that pervade in the United Nations and its bodies and demanding action." Thanks to Haley and her allies, international community is "waking up," he says. (Israel Hayom)
  • Marble and mosaics: Byzantine church is opulent tribute to 'glorious martyr' - It is unclear to whom the recently uncovered 1,500-year-old structure near Jerusalem is dedicated, but its size and rich trappings lead archaeologists believe it was a popular pilgrimage site until it was abandoned in the 9th century CE. (Ynet)
  • Israel-Kazakhstan relations continue to expand under new president - The Central Asian country, former Soviet republic and Muslim-majority country has a history of strong connections with Israel and supports its local Jewish population. (Israel Hayom)
  • Death Toll Climbs to 67 in Iraq Protests, as Government Beefs Up Response - Embattled PM sends elite counter-terrorism forces out in Baghdad, southern city of Nasiriya, authorizes 'any measures,' as protests show no signs of abating. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Lebanese Army Fires Gunshots Near Tripoli as Lebanon Protest Hits Tenth Day - Army says it both used rubber bullets and fired live rounds into the air as it tried to open up a road blocked by protesters in the north of the country, causing several injuries. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Nasrallah against the protesters - Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah hinted to protesters in Lebanon that it is better to stop the protest, saying they are now being manipulated by domestic and regional rivals including Israel. Hezbollah supporters clash with demonstrators. Demonstrators reacted with mockery campaign against him. (Yedioth Hebrew and Times of Israel)
  • Turkey Will 'Cleanse' Syria Border if Russia Fails to Clear Kurdish Fighters, Erdogan Says - Under the Sochi agreement signed between Turkey and Russia, Syrian border guards are to clear YPG fighters from within 30 km of the Syria-Turkey border by Tuesday. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Leaders of secret Dubai synagogue hopeful about future of UAE's Jewish community - Though its members keep precise location secret, synagogue’s existence and tacit approval it has received represent a slow rebirth of Jewish community in Persian Gulf. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • U.S. to send troops to Syrian oil fields; Russia blasts move as 'state banditry' - Adding reinforcements in eastern Syria could mean sending several hundred troops, which would partially reverse ongoing decrease of U.S. troop presence in Syria. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • U.S. must extradite Syrian Kurdish commander, says Turkish official - U.S. senators urged the State Department earlier this week to quickly provide a visa to General Mazloum Kobani so he can visit the U.S. to discuss Syria. (Agencies, Haaretz)

Armed with passports, military attachés form Israel's lesser-known line of defense
Twenty IDF officers work tirelessly to protect and promote Israel's security interests worldwide. In a special interview with Israel Hayom, six of them speak of the important role their missions play in fostering robust defense ties with Israel's allies. (Edith Druyan-Ohayon, Israel Hayom)
When You Learn Your Grandpa Was a Jewish Partisan Hero – and a Fervent Stalinist
A French journalist explores three generations of 'bad Jews.’ (Rokhl Kafrissen, Haaretz+)
The incredible story of the IDF's Iraqi Arabic instructor
For years, Command Sgt. Maj. V.'s family lived in fear under the regime of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and hid their Jewish identity. Eventually, they became the last Jews to arrive in Israel from Iraq, whose once-glorious Jewish community no longer exists. (Neta Bar, Israel Hayom)
Israel's Policing Army Is in Breach of Contract (Yagil Levy, Haaretz+) In addition to widespread public condemnation, the attacks on Israel Defense Forces soldiers by settlers from Yitzhar have elicited criticism of the army itself, which for years has been tolerating breaches of the law by settlers. However, this criticism does not take into account the army’s complex structure. It’s easy to criticize the chief of staff for not acting with resolve against settlers who harm soldiers, but Aviv Kochavi is only one of the commanders of this policing army. This army is subordinate to a whole matrix of authorities, consisting of settler communities, security coordinators in various settlements, rabbis and others.
Settlements must punish those who attack IDF soldiers (Yossi Yehoshua, Yedioth/Ynet) Settlers assaulting and threatening the troops sent to protect them is a phenomenon that demands not words but concrete steps by those who shelter them, while the army should also take a hard look at its deployment decisions.
The Marble Slab of the Occupation (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Islam Abu Hamid is neither a “murderer” nor a “terrorist.” He is a violent adversary of the occupation, a member of a family whose sons fight the occupation by force, four of whom have been sentenced to life in prison. In May 2018 he threw a heavy marble slab at the soldiers of the Duvdevan unit who had invaded his home. The slab struck the soldier Ronen Lubarsky in the head and killed him. If he were Israeli, Abu Hamid would be considered a daring hero who fought the enemy courageously.
An Arab terrorist is always a "lone perpetrator", while the settler will always be a member of a group (Kalman Liebeskind, Maariv) Somehow, the scourge now directed at the residents of Yitzhar, despite their condemnation, has never been directed at Arab MKs who embrace murderous terrorists and refuse to condemn terrorist attacks on soldiers.
Raze Ramat Hasharon (Israel Harel, Haaretz+) MK Tamar Zandberg consistently opposes any and all ethnic discrimination. So it makes sense that she, who is adamantly opposed to the demolition of terrorists’ homes, was the one to propose the obvious punishment for the stone throwers near Yitzhar: “Evacuate the settlement, the yeshiva and the outposts.” “Evacuation,” based on the precedents of uprooting Jews from Sinai, Gush Katif, Migron, Amona and so on, also means razing their homes. So it is only right to give her proposal the serious examination it deserves. And, on this festive occasion, also to compare the crimes of the hilltop youth — which she and many others believe express the values of the religious-Zionist-settler community — with the crimes committed by youths in the community this Knesset member represents, and in whose name she speaks.
What we learned this week following the confrontation between the rioters in Yitzhar and the IDF forces (Shmuel Rosner, Maariv) Anyone who confronts soldiers automatically loses public opinion. Especially when it comes to a controversial group in the first place.
The Anti-democratic Teacher’s Guide (Haaretz Editorial) Israel's Education Ministry’s new instructions to civics teachers mark another chapter in the battle the right wing has waged in recent years against human and civil rights. Step by step, the right wing, through its emissaries in the education system, seeks to undermine the foundations of democratic life and impose their distorted viewpoint, according to which there are no restraints against the tyranny of the majority, and in which judicial oversight has no role.
*A problem of trust (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth Hebrew) A prime minister has two assets: the law that gives him his high standing and the trust that the public holds in him. The newspaper owner has two assets: the readers' confidence and the professional resilience of the journalists who work at his newspaper. The recordings from the Netanyahu-Mozes talks, some of which (journalist) Raviv Drucker aired last night on Channel 13, collapse the basis for the trust that both of these people stand on. Each of them violates in his way the public's trust. Much of the texts have been published in the past, mainly by Guy Peleg on Channel 12. But there is a significant difference between a text that a journalist reads during a news broadcast and the authentic voices of the two. The tone betrays a kind of relations that completely contradicts what they both projected at the same time to the public, one from the prime minister's spot and the other through his newspaper and news site. They are secret partners. There is intimacy between them. Later, tension is created, perhaps even a kind of mutual hostility. I am sure that this discourse does not align with the values that should guide a prime minister and not with the values that should guide a newspaper publisher. I have no assurance that this discourse crosses the criminal threshold. This should be decided by the Attorney General and, later, the court. It’s easier to understand Netanyahu than Mozes. For 30 years, Netanyahu has made promises that he does not keep. Sometimes he means to, sometimes he's not sure he meant to, and sometimes he really doesn’t intend to. Mozes was supposed to know that. His very meetings with politicians, including the prime minister, are completely legitimate to me. There have been such things - from Ben Gurion to Netanyahu. It is also quite legitimate, and in Netanyahu's case, it is also common for a prime minister to complain about the coverage he receives in the media to the owners of that media. It is not legitimate to turn this dialogue into a trade business…"Israel Hayom," the free newspaper that came to the world to crown Netanyahu and destroy the free press in the State of Israel, is an event in itself. An American billionaire, who does not understand Hebrew, decides he will be the free press receiver in the country, and he does this by flooding the market with free newspapers.  If it were any other product, the Antitrust Authority would have had to stop this phenomenon aggressively. This was not done, and the attempt to curb the phenomenon through legislation complicated everyone involved in an ethical and possibly a criminal problem. Politics and the media are a strange couple. The media needs regulation, but the moment the politicians become the regulators the explosion is on the way. Netanyahu decided that he would be the regulator of media in Israel, print, electronic and digital. It was a fatal mistake; Mozes, who in trouble, turned to Netanyahu, was equally wrong. Netanyahu's talk of the legendary influence of Noni Mozes on the political system is a myth. Perhaps Netanyahu believes it: he has quite a few flags on his back. The description of Mozes' influence on the contents of the paper, its authors and editors is also exaggerated. Trust the newspaper, not the recordings. The broadcast last night was the professional achievement of Raviv Drucker, Channel 13 commentator. However, one cannot help but smile at Drucker's interpretations of things within Yedioth Ahronoth. This is not how things are conducted at this newspaper, and Drucker should have known that. In the past, when the transcripts were first released, I suggested that Mozes suspend himself as publisher as long as the investigation is ongoing. As soon as possible, without being influenced by media commentary, including this column.
Prepare for war, the right way (David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom) The IDF must return to the fundamentals: a ground maneuver to achieve a decisive outcome in any conflict with the enemy.
In Israel, being liberal does not mean what you think it means (Sever Plocker, Yedioth/Ynet) Avigdor Liberman has called for a liberal unity government, which is curious given his party's policies when it comes to the country's Arabs population and their Palestinian brethren, and it seems that liberal in his mind simply means anti-Netanyahu.
A source of inspiration for the Mossad (Eulogy by Mossad chief, Yossi Cohen, Yedioth Hebrew) Marcelle Ninio, may the memory of her be a blessing, was a hero. Her heroism was proven time and time again for clandestine activity for the State of Israel, in the way she endured a harrowing, agonizing 14 years (in jail in Egypt), and no less in the way she returned to life as a free person in her country, the State of Israel. As a free person in her country and among her people, two years ago we hosted Marcelle and others sentenced in Cairo, Robert and Meir, may they have long lives. We first convened in my office and then met with the entire senior forum of the department heads. We felt excited and blessed to host these heroes. They are no longer young people, one can say, but their eyes are bright and full of joy and optimism. Marcelle's name in the intelligence network that operated in Egypt in the early 1950s was Claude. Claude's role was to link the Cairo and Alexandria squads. Later, she also became the fighter of Max, who was arrested along with the network members. Marcelle and her incarcerated friends who were still alive came to Israel in February 1968. Since then, they have served as an inspiration to us in the Mossad and to all Israeli citizens. Their legacy is a legacy of intense love for the State of Israel and the Jewish people, endless courage and willingness to sacrifice. During her time in the Egyptian prison, Marcelle was admitted to a Cairo hospital, where she managed to smuggle several letters she sent to her brother in Paris. The letters were signed by the pseudonym Marian and they were full of hints. "Don't worry," she wrote, "I'll hold on if need be." And in another letter she wrote: "If you have good books kept well, I intend to read them all." And so she did. Marcelle knew how to stand up as a lion in the midst of the terrible suffering at the prison. Upon her arrival in Israel, she received the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the IDF, she found love and married the beloved. The bridesmaid at her wedding was Prime Minister Golda Meir. Marcelle passed away on in good old age, almost 90. This event reminds us all, as well as the presence here of the late Eli Cohen's brother, that we, as a state, have a continuing commitment to always bring back, at any cost, our prisoners and our missing, those who paid the greatest price of all for the State of Israel, for burial here.
Israel Is Turning an Ancient Palestinian Village Into a National Park for Settlers (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) The unbelievable story of a village outside Jerusalem: from its destruction in 1948 to the ticket issued last week by a parks ranger to a descendant of its refugees, who had the gall to harvest the fruits of his labor on his own land
The disparaging treatment towards the peace agreement with Jordan is infuriating (Nurit Canneti, Maariv) Israel is acting in different ways in the face of this icy peace, and it seems that it is not only its insignificance that it is reflecting in its behavior, but it also dismissing the periphery parts of Israel, which benefit from its fruits...If one learns from the anniversary of the peace treaty with Egypt, which took place a few months ago, it is likely that even in this case, Israeli students will not get to hear today about the strong handshake and friendship formed between the two leaders, arguing for the correctness of their steps, but it is impossible not to admire their courage for going against the current and against the thunderous voices in order to try to find a better future. Even this is a message that our children need to hear. And in general, we are making great efforts to upgrade relations with the Gulf states, ensuring in every possible way our future in the Middle East. A country that so derides the peace deal with a neighbor so close, just across the river, what does it really want to reach?
Turkey’s Pyrrhic victory in Syria (Burak Bekdil, Israel Hayom) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is wrong to think a cross-border military operation into Syria will solve an ethnic conflict that dates back to the early 19th century.
Putin wins in Syria, but he is not the only one (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) Russian leader achieved his goals in meeting with Turkish president, while Erdogan was forced to give up on most of his objectives in northeastern Syria; meanwhile, Islamic State is busy rebuilding, unfettered by beleaguered Kurds or recently departed Americans.
Hezbollah and the WhatsApp Intifada (Dr. Yaron Friedman, Yedioth/Ynet) While Iraqi demonstrators have felt emboldened enough to burn Iranian flags and chant anti-Iranian slogans, in Lebanon even the prime minister was reluctant to call out Hezbollah or Iran by name.
Iran-Israel Flare-up Inches Closer Just as U.S. Turns Back on Mideast (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) A military front may not be limited to Israel's north.
Trump, Israel and the Democratic crackup (Caroline B. Glick, Israel Hayom) The Democrats in the media and the federal bureaucracy are now full partners. After they are done with Trump, they will turn their attention to Israel.
U.S. Out, Russia In: Can Israel Stand Up to the New Sheriff in Town? (Avi Bar-Eli, Haaretz+) Russia’s growing presence in the Middle East includes economic interests like energy and arms. Israel should tread carefully as the new era evolves.
Left vs. Right? The Battle for U.S. Jews’ Hearts on the Israel Question Is Far More Complex (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+) Jewish liberals and Jewish leftists are fighting it out over whether criticism of far-left voices amounts to a common cause with racists and white supremacists.
The Pittsburgh shooting should still be off-limits to partisans (Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) One year later, the anti-Trump “resistance” is still trying to exploit a synagogue massacre for political purposes, rather than honoring the victims of a hate crime.
The Great British Disenfranchisement of the Jews (Esther Solomon, Haaretz+) Pushed out of the anti-Semitic left and repelled by the nativist right, Jews are now at a unique political disadvantage among U.K. minorities.
Progressive Jewish Americans and the legitimacy of Zionism (Eric R. Mandel, Israel Hayom) Will they ever feel comfortable with a powerful and self-confident Israel? Can they see beyond Israel’s occupation of the disputed territories as defining the legitimacy of the state?

Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
Netanyahu Is Already Campaigning Hard. Here's How He Hopes to Win (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) For the first time in over a decade, Netanyahu finds someone else tasked with forming a government. But Gantz won't have an easy time of it, and a third election looms.
Gantz’s empty mandate may lead back to Bibi (Alex Traiman, Israel Hayom) The strongest horse in the race remains Benjamin Netanyahu. Despite the best wishes of Benny Gantz and the left side of the Israeli electorate, there is no possible government formation that doesn’t include at least some portion of Netanyahu’s Likud party.
"Maximum support and hatred": Who will blink first? (Anna Barsky, Maariv) Right and left are waiting for the last 21 Knesset days, following the expiration of Gantz's mandate. Now it remains to be seen who will really give up first.
The National Conciliator (Friday Haaretz Editorial) In receiving on Wednesday the mandate to form the government, Kahol Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz is faced with a near-impossible political mission. The “liberal unity government” slogan he adopted after the election was meant to win him some freedom of action in building a coalition. However, the election results left Gantz very little room to maneuver among Avigdor Lieberman, who at any moment could jump back on the right-wing bandwagon; the religious-right bloc, that for now remains united behind Benjamin Netanyahu; and the Joint List alliance of predominantly Arab parties, which is deliberating over whether and to what extent to seek entry to a club that isn’t eager to admit it.
Gantz, Drive Netanyahu Crazy and Save the Day (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) Sources in Likud dismissed the dramatic statements by former Coalition Chairman David Bitan. “I believe that all the blocs will fall apart – the bloc on the left and the bloc on the right …. Each will be willing to do something to avoid an election,” Bitan told Channel 12 News. Bitan, a man who loves to play with the media, and he’s not bad at it, also said there’s a weak link in the right-wing bloc. About a half an hour after the interview, Likud released an order prohibiting party members from being interviewed.
"Arab society wants to be involved (in Israeli society)”: Esawi Freij talks about everything
The last election pushed the Knesset member out of Meretz after six years. Just before returning to his previous position as an accountant, he makes a loud cry against the violence in the Arab sector. (Interviewed by Eyal Levy in Maariv)

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