News Nosh 11.17.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday November 17, 2019
 
Quote of the day:
"They, who serve in the most moral army and the most advanced intelligence services in the world, didn’t know that the flimsy tin shack had long since stopped being part of the “Islamic Jihad infrastructure,” and it’s doubtful that it ever was. They didn’t know and they didn’t bother to check — after all, what’s the worst that could happen?"
--Gideon Levy in an Op-Ed on the massacre of eight members of a Palestinian family in Gaza by the IDF.*

You Must Be Kidding: 
After reports on Arabic social media that members of the Abu Malhous family in Gaza was killed in an IDF missile attack Wednesday, the IDF's Arabic-language spokesperson, Avichay Adraee, falsely posted on his official social media accounts that a senior Islamic Jihad commander, named Abu Malhous, was killed in a missile strike. Adraee said he was in charge of the group's rocket squadrons in central Gaza. However, Israeli security officials said no militant by that name exists. IDF Spokesman Adraee made it up. Now, the IDF is now probing how it mistakenly bombed a row of tin shacks belonging to the Abu Malhous family, killing eight of them, including a mother and children.**

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • “Emergency situation” - Netanyahu on the possibility of the establishment of a minority government; Gantz: “It’s hysteria” - Race against time: Four days left to form a government (Hebrew)
  • Operation Messi - Tomorrow at Bloomfield stadium (in Tel-Aviv) - The #1 soccer player in the world (Hebrew)
  • Hamas shot at Beersheva
  • Lie will be answered with lie // Shimon Shiffer
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Lieberman agreed to speed up negotiations for a minority government - Decisive Days: Today: Prime Minister to hold emergency meetings with right-wing bloc
  • Gantz needs to come to his senses // Amnon Lord
  • The “Just Not Bibi” government // Yaakov Berdugo
  • Increasing criticism of (State Prosecutor) Nitzan: “Sitting judges should not be involved”
  • (State Prosecutor) Nitzan should suspend himself // Haim Shine
  • Awful mistake // Yossi Beilin
  • Expose - Health Ministry to Medical Histadrut (labor union): An essay you published against vaccinations - danger to the public
  • Tense back to routine
  • And who did not participate in the police’s campaign to collect weapons? The municipalities in the Arab sector



Top News:
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is in a panic, fearing that Kahol-Lavan leader Benny Gantz will form a minority government, Netanyahu supporters are preparing to show their support of him in the streets ahead of his possible indictment this week and two rockets from Gaza were intercepted over Beersheva and Hamas is believed to be the launcher - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. What did not make 'Israel Hayom’s' pages, but was on the front page of Haaretz, was an article on page 6 of Yedioth and was two paragraphs in an article in Maariv, was that the Israeli army is probing why it bombed a tin shack and killed eight members of a poor family in Gaza last week. Haaretz had answers.

Elections 2019:
Ahead of a dramatic week, with only a few days left until Gantz’s mandate to form a government ends and until Netanyahu is expected to be indicted, Netanyahu called Saturday for an “emergency meeting” today with the leaders of the right-wing parties, declaring that if Gantz forms a minority government with the support of the Arab parties, it will harm Israel’s security. Gantz responded that the only emergency for Netanyahu was that the chance that his rule would come to an end soon. Gantz requested a meeting with President Reuven Rivlin Saturday night, and the latter said he was doing everything possible to convince the sides to form a wide unity government. Kingmaker and Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman said that ego and personal interests were what was preventing that from happening.


Other Top News:
Likud officials have received information that on Tuesday Netanyahu will be charged in either two or all three of the corruption cases against him. They are preparing to stage a mass protest Monday night in front of Attorney General Avichai Mendelblitt’s home and at traffic junctions across the country. Maariv reported that recently, right-wing activists spread threats against the Attorney General and senior prosecutors Shai Nitzan and Liat Ben-Ari. Last Thursday, High Court Justice Menachem Mazuz criticized the statements of Justice Minister Amir Ohana, who spoke against the state prosecution. Mazuz said that having a justice minister who pushes against the judicial system 'is a troubling and disturbing situation' and ‘makes it difficult for the system to function.’

Meanwhile, one of the state witnesses against Netanyahu, his former spin doctor, Nir Hefetz, accused Netanyahu of being behind the appointment of Yaakov Berdugo (as political commentator) on the Army Radio station. Hefetz raised this because he is threatening prosecution against Berdogo, claiming that in a WhatsApp group of Likud activists, Berdugo spread information about Hefetz’s questioning by police that was prohibited from publishing. (Yedioth Hebrew)

Israel struck Hamas targets in Gaza early Saturday after it intercepted two rockets fired late Friday night after a fragile truce was achieved Thursday between Israel and Islamic Jihad. While the IDF had not hit Hamas last week during the exchange with Islamic Jihad, this time it believed that Hamas soldiers had fired the rockets contrary to their leaders’ orders. Before the shooting on Beersheva: Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and Islamic Jihad's leader spoke and declared unity. (Also Maariv)

**The Israeli army admitted to killing eight members of the Abu al-Malhous in Gaza, saying it thought the house was empty. It promised to invetigate the mistake. The real story was what a probe by Haaretz revealed: That the IDF shot the missile based on outdated intelligence, that could have been altogether wrong in the past. Locals said that the extended family has lived there for over 20 years. And the false attribution by IDF Arabic Spokesman Avichay Adraee was based on social media rumors. Adraee said that the building was a command post for an Islamic Jihad rocket launching unit in the central Strip and the strike was meant to kill the leader, ‘Abu Malhous.’ According to an initial investigation the army conducted, the strike was never intended to target a given individual, despite the statement released by its spokesman, but rather to hit infrastructure used by Islamic Jihad. "This was a very simple, poor family, who lived from hand to mouth in a tin shack, with no water or electricity," said a neighbor. (Also Ynet Hebrew) (Middle East Monitor writes about two other mistaken targeted killings last week, which killed three brothers at the entrance of their home and killed a father and his two children near their house.) The news of the mistaken killings comes after the IDF hailed the assassination of Islamic Jihad northern Gaza military commander, Bahaa al-Ata, as one of ‘surgical precision.' Meanwhile, Israelis are suing Hamas for compensation after their family members, four soldiers, were killed in a truck ramming attack over the Green Line in 2017, by a young Palestinian from E. Jerusalem, not far from his home.

 
Quick Hits:
  • Transcripts Show Israel Police Refused (Arab-Israeli) Family's Plea for Protection After Shooting - Family was afraid to leave the hospital after the father and son were shot as part of an ongoing family feud. When the man, who is in his 60s, was recently discharged from the hospital, he called the police officer to request protection for his family from the other family. The officer said he didn’t understand what the man wanted the police to do, at one point saying, “You want me to take you home? What am I, a taxi service?” (Haaretz+)
  • Israel's Top Court Bars State From Giving $62m in Sick Pay Owed to Palestinian Workers - State recently decided to give the money to Israeli employers, although critics point out that there is no transparency in the way it's calculated. Kav LaOved and the Civil Rights Association argued that employers set to receive hundreds of thousands of shekels will have an incentive to fire veteran workers, to whom they are obliged to give sick pay, and replace them with new workers who are not yet entitled to sick pay. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Settler Charged With Throwing Stones at Palestinian Village, Recklessly Firing Gun - Indictment says Assaf Sadeh shot weapon in the air in residential area. Suspect's lawyer claims stones were thrown by Palestinians at settlers first. (Haarez+)
  • Microsoft Probing Israeli Facial Recognition Startup Over Concerns About Surveillance of Palestinians - Company's investment in AnyVision, which has come under scrutiny following reports that it is used to surveil Palestinians living in the West Bank, was slammed by human rights groups. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Palestinian City Warns It Will Seek International Redress if Israel Doesn't Halt Power Plant Approval - Authorities in Qalqilyah, located in the West Bank right on the Israeli border, say plant near city would harm residents' health and the environment. (Haaretz+)
  • Arab Israeli leader Ayman Odeh makes it into Time's list of '100 rising stars' - Magazine suggests politician's rise all the more extraordinary in light of greater obstacles faced by non-Jewish politicians in Israel. (Haaretz+)
  • Knesset speaker: Labeling [settlement] goods could undermine economic ties between Israel, EU - Top EU court's order to label goods from Israeli settlements could have "far-reaching negative consequences for the prospects for peace between Israel and its neighbors in the Middle East," Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein warns. (Israel Hayom)
  • A swastika was sprayed in one of the neighborhoods in Nof Hagal (formerly ‘Upper Nazaretzh) - Graffiti, apparently sprayed during the night, was discovered on a street in a southern neighborhood in the northern city Saturday. Police said police arrived on the scene and collected findings. (Maariv)
  • Israeli Army Arrests Lebanese Man Who Jumped Border Fence - Lebanese media report unidentified man, held in Israel for questioning, shot two people before crossing the border. (Haaretz)
  • Bedouin in Israel Get a New Center to Help With Job Training - Center near city of Rahat is project of Harry Oscar Triguboff Institute, founded by one of Australia's wealthiest people. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Despite Israel, U.S. Pressure, and Ongoing Probe, UN Renews UNRWA Mandate - The Palestinian refugee agency, which recently lost its chief amid misconduct allegations, received overwhelming support at the General Assembly. (Haaretz)
  • Cyprus Police Confiscate Israeli Ex-top Intel Officer's 'Spy Van,' Probe Privacy Violations - Investigation started following Forbes report on the former intelligence officer, who showed off the $9 million van’s surveillance capabilities. (Agencies, Haaretz and Maariv)
  • Chinese corporation wants to regain control of Israeli Partner cellular firm - China's Hutchinson is waiting for approval from Israel’s regulator for a strategic, long-term investment in Partner, some 10 years after it sold its controlling share in that company for billions of shekels in profit. (Haaretz+)
  • Iran isn't calling for elimination of Jews, supreme leader Khamenei says - 'Calling for the elimination of the state of Israel means that the people of Palestine - be they Muslim, Christian or Jewish - should choose their own government,' leader Khamenei says. (Agencies, HaaretzMaariv and Israel Hayom)
  • One Killed in Iran Protests Against Fuel Price Hike, as Tehran Demands Iraq Close Border - Iran's ISNA news agency reported that the killing is under investigation. Iraq closed its southern border crossing with Iran to travelers in light of protests in both countries. (Agencies, Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Five Iraqi Protesters Killed Amid Violence in Baghdad Squares - Security forces use live fire, roadside bomb explodes in central square as death toll in protests reached at least 320 since October 1. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iraqi protests spark the question: 'Where does the oil money go?' - This year’s federal budget anticipated $79 billion in oil money, but the fruits of these riches are rarely seen by the average Iraqi. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • After 2 days, Lebanon's Safadi Withdraws Candidacy for PM, Urges Hariri for Post - Former Lebanese finance minister Mohammad Safadi, 75, emerged as a candidate on Thursday when political sources and Lebanese media said three major parties had agreed to support him for the position. His decision to withdraw throws Lebanon's push to form government needed to enact urgent reforms back to square one in face of unprecedented protests that prompted prime minister Saad al-Hariri to resign last month. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Russia lands military helicopters at former U.S. airbase in northern Syria - Armed Russian military police flies into the Syrian airbase in Aleppo near the border with Turkey. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Car Bomb Kills at Least 18 in Syrian Town Held by Turkey - Groups give differing casualty counts after explosion Saturday in al-Bab, with Turkey placing blame on Kurdish YPG. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Turkey Says It Bought Russian S-400 Missile Defense Systems to Use, Not Put Aside - Statement comes days after U.S. President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed sanctions over Turkey's purchase of the S-400s, which U.S. says pose a threat to its F-35 fighter jets. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Anti-Islamic State coalition at odds on jihadi detainees - Washington wants fighters sent back to their home nations and either prosecuted or rehabilitated there while Europe does not want to try its Islamic State nationals at home, amid concerns of fresh attacks. (Ynet)
  • Netflix Makes Changes to Holocaust Series Following Polish Claims of 'Historical Inaccuracies' - Move comes after Polish Prime Minister complained that the streaming giant's series about the trial of Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk shows a map of Nazi death camps inside the borders of modern Poland. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Bernie Sanders remarks on Gaza rocket fire draws ire from Israelis, Palestinians - The Democratic nominee hopefully's Thursday night tweet drew scathing criticism across the board. (Israel Hayom)


Features:
A Palestinian Removed His Glass Eye to Prove an Israeli Court He Needed Surgery. It Didn't Go Well
In urgent need of an eye operation but denied entry numerous times, Yusef Echlayl jumped the Israeli border. He got as far as the hospital when he got arrested. (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+)
Life Endangering
This story is just outrageous. The psychologists serving the Israeli periphery of the Gaza Strip, who do sacred work and treat thousands of traumatized and post-traumatized victims, are collapsing. Now they going to battle against the state. The allegations: a huge workload, low wages that sometimes are about 3,000 shekels a month… In an interview with Yedioth Ahronoth, they talk about the difficult coping with children who go back to wetting their beds and are afraid to leave the safe rooms and parents who suffer depression and guilt. (Noam Barkan, Yedioth Hebrew)
'What Do We Tell Kids Who Lost Classmates in an Israeli Strike?': Gaza Reeling From Family’s Death
Relative of (Palestinian) children who died [reference to members of Abu Al-Malhous family mistakenly killed Wednesday night by Israeli missile - OH] says at visit to their school, where classmates paid tributes: 'Why should they care that the army admitted it hit them by mistake?' (Jack Khoury, Haaretz+)
A Third of This Kibbutz's Residents Left During the Latest Gaza Escalation, and No One Was Surprised
'I think anyone in this situation would do whatever possible to get the children out' says one veteran resident of Kibbutz Nirim, where two were killed in the 2014 Gaza war. (Almog Ben Zikri, Haaretz+)
Here he comes: [The Israeli advocacy operation to bring Messi - OH]
Controversial goal: Until two days ago, the arrival of world soccer star Messi in Israel was set to be canceled due to the security situation and the fears of the (Argentina) national team to come play. Amazing goal: Then the feverish and creative actions behind the scenes, including sending text messages and photos from Tel Aviv beaches to the superstar and to the phones of the families of the soccer players, led to the decision to hold the match between Argentina and Uruguay, as planned, tomorrow in Bloomfield…After the start of the last round of fighting last week, …Danny Benaim, the owner of Comtech, which is organizing the game at a cost of 14.8 million shekels decided to establish a war room. His partner, Ariel Raber, received the cut of South America. He was engaged in talks with the coaches of the two national team, Lionel Scaloni of Argentina and Oscar Tavares of Uruguay, the national team managers, lawyers and the agents of the senior national team players. Uruguayan and Argentine ambassadors in Israel also came into the picture, as did Foreign Ministry Director Yuval Rotem and Shin Bet members who joined the persuasion campaign... As part of the campaign, they mapped out who are the people closest to the key people, the same opinion makers in each country, in order to help persuade them to come to Israel. One of the main people who worked to bring the game to fruition is Messi's father, Jorge, who is in direct contact with Benaim. Also, families of senior players in both teams also received reassuring phone calls from Tel Aviv. Another important figure was Argentine Association chairman Chiki Tapia, who had a sense of commitment after the cancellation of a game last year, and made it clear that he did not want to disappoint the Israeli children again. Argentina was the first to Tweet at noon Friday that it was coming to the country, and Uruguay fell in line at noon yesterday. One of the areas of influence was of course the media, which Comtek's PR person, Ayelet Frish, was commissioned to influence. Among other things, recent photos of the beaches of Tel Aviv were taken to give players a sense of routine, including restaurants packed with diners and crowded entertainment venues. The players were tagged in the story or in posts uploaded on Facebook or Instagram…With the landing of Uruguay at Ben Gurion Airport last night…, organizers hope to get a green light on the the take-off of the Argentina team from Saudi Arabia this afternoon. Uruguay will hold open training in Netanya tonight (18:20) and then a press conference. Argentina is expected to land tonight and its players have given up a pre-match training. Thousands of Argentina fans are planning a show of support for their team, and they have received special approval for huge speakers and a celebration in the area of the hotel. Uruguay fans are preparing a march …to Bloomfield Stadium. 100 countries have acquired the broadcasting rights to the game. 30,000 fans, many of them Israelis born in Argentina and Uruguay, will come to Bloomfield tomorrow for one of the most prestigious games played in Israel, with tickets costing even NIS 2,000. (Nadav Tzanzifer, Yedioth Hebrew)
The Suez Canal, Inaugurated 150 Years Ago, Brought Economic Benefits – and a Marine Invasion
The shortcut between two seas has driven intruders to the Mediterranean shores that push out local species and make life miserable for swimmers. (Zafrir Rinat, Haaretz+)
The new right
After many years in which the world of literature and publishing was dominated by the left-wing, a resurgence of the opposite direction has recently been felt. (Shibolet), a new book publisher, offers to teach you “how to beat left-wingers to a pulp,” a journal with a national agenda inviting poets to go up to the Temple Mount, settler writers to stop being ashamed and to start claiming a place for themselves. Why is this happening right now, how it is connected to social networks, and whether right-wing writers are really discriminated against here. (Anna Zetterberg, Yedioth Hebrew)
Trans with Bashir
After the Israeli police declared war on the major trance music festivals, they moved to Sinai (Peninsula, in Egypt). Crowds of Israelis cross the border and dance on the beach, doing drugs and enjoying freedom from local security forces, who even set up a tank to protect the revelers. But unlike parties in Israel, at Taba (village in Sinai, Egypt), there is no one to give medical and psychological treatment, nor is it clear how long the Egyptians will allow thousands of stoned people on their beaches. (Yaara Jacob, Yedioth Hebrew)

Commentary/Analysis:
Don't Label Israeli Settlement Products. Ban Them (Saeb Erekat, Haaretz+) There is nothing ethical in trading in products made with stolen natural resources on stolen land. There can be no meaningful peace process that normalizes war crimes and violations of international law.
‘Labeling’ Israel as an unequal player on the world stage (Melanie Phillips, Israel Hayom) The European Court of Justice has discriminated against Jews by singling out Israeli businesses from Arab ones. Its ruling is deeply politicized and disreputable, owing everything to boilerplate European prejudice against Israel, and nothing to law and justice.
When Is a West Bank Product Made in Israel? When Settlers Say So (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+)  The EU ruling on labeling settlement products elicited a hysterical reaction from the Israeli right, which wants to pretend there is no border between Israel and the occupied territories.
Our European 'friends'
(Caroline B. Glick, Israel Hayom) The European Court of Justice's ruling to label goods produced in Judea and Samaria is nothing short of an anti-Semitic bombshell.
Paving the way to total boycott (Itai Reuveni, Israel Hayom) Let's be clear, the anti-Israel organizations in Europe that support the BDS movement have no intention of stopping at Israeli products made in Judea and Samaria.
*No One in Israel Knew They Were Committing a Massacre, and They Didn't Care (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) The bomber pilot didn’t know. His commanders who gave him the orders also didn’t know. The defense minister and the commander in chief didn’t know. Nor did the commander of the air force. The intelligence officers who aimed at the target didn’t know. The army spokesman who lied without a qualm also didn’t know. None of our heroes knew. The ones who always know everything suddenly didn’t know. The ones who can track down the son of a wanted man in a Damascus suburb didn’t know that sleeping inside their miserable hovel in Dir al-Balah was an impoverished family. They, who serve in the most moral army and the most advanced intelligence services in the world, didn’t know that the flimsy tin shack had long since stopped being part of the “Islamic Jihad infrastructure,” and it’s doubtful that it ever was. They didn’t know and they didn’t bother to check — after all, what’s the worst that could happen?...
Netanyahu Had More Than Islamic Jihad in His Crosshairs (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Right-wing identifies former IDF chief as a threat.
The valuable lessons of the IDF operation against Islamic Jihad (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet)  With meticulous planning and impressive coordination between various security forces, Israel managed to eliminate Baha Abu al-Ata, ostracize Islamic Jihad, and yield valuable lessons for the government, security forces and citizens alike.
Islamic Jihad Reminds Gazans That Hamas Disappoints and Israel Aims to Cut Them Off (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) A friend from Gaza tells me how Islamic Jihad’s rockets express the enormous fury of every Palestinian in the caged-in Strip, where the suffering is beyond words, Hamas takes care of itself and Israel keeps making new demands.
Israel's economic shutdown during Gaza flare-up was justified (Elior Levy, Yedioth/Ynet) The assassination of a prominent Islamic Jihad military commander will make most Palestinian officials in the coastal enclave fear for their lives from now on; while it should be clear to Israeli politicians there is someone to talk to in Gaza as long as they keep it low-profile.
Hamas Rockets Send a Message to Israel: Don't Celebrate, We Aren't on Your Side (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Israel believes Saturday's fire came from lone Hamas activists, but the group's leadership was pressured to act. Strike that killed family of eight has to be thoroughly examined by the army, to understand what went wrong.
Second front (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth Hebrew) One jihadist, Baha Abu al-Ata, was eliminated, and an entire state was paralyzed. Schools from Tel Aviv and the South were closed. The malls were empty. All because of some rockets towards Tel Aviv. Israeli leadership bit its fingernails. Will Hamas join or not? What does deterrence look like? The problem is not the final round, nor the point of the success in the elimination of Abu Al-Ata. The problem is that for years this "trickle" (of rockets) has paralyzed hundreds of thousands of residents. With such conduct we all need to worry. It is unclear whether the opposition (led by) Gantz and his friends has an alternative. And if there is, no one has heard of it. It's nice that they backed up Netanyahu, that's a necessity. But Israel needs strategic change.
Islamic Jihad has long-range rockets. Hamas has long-term goals (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) And how one decision by the Home Front Command cast a shadow on Israel's military success.
Gaza trap: Who is to blame for the situation and what does the public think should be done? (Shmuel Rosner, Maariv) For a decade and a half, since the disengagement (withdrawal from Gaza Strip - OH0, Israelis have been unhappy with the government's conduct against the Gaza Strip. But that largely depends, to a certain extent, on the options presented to him in polls. When a left-leaning polling institute presents questions to the public (Mitvim Institute), it turns out that almost half of Israelis support activity that improves living conditions in the Strip (43%). When a more hawkish institute presents questions (the National Security Research Institute), it turns out that the majority of the public (52%, Jews only) support "deterrence by military activity against Hamas in Gaza", and much less (12%) for "lifting the blockade and sharply improving the lives of the population in the Gaza Strip.”
Hamas stopped Gaza escalation this time — but Israel should know there are no free gifts (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Israel knows it needs to preserve Hamas as the force blocking Iran. If the current round ends without the group's intervention, it will have to let it wield its political influence.
Killing Islamic Jihad commander was a calculated risk (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) Unrestrained rogue element Baha Abu al-Ata was a guiding hand in previous - and future - attacks on Israel, and although it seemed necessary to cut off that particular head of the snake, the long-term ramifications could be dire.
For the Glory of the State of Israel (Israel Harel, Haaretz+) Contrary to all logic and combat doctrine, at the very moment when its forces were starting to be depleted, when its rocket arsenals began to empty, when its lines of communication were disrupted, when demoralization began to spread through its ranks — at precisely these critical moments for victory, Israel’s leaders, including Bennett, returned to the routine of previous rounds: halting the operation without conditioning it, as Bennett had demanded in the past, on the cessation of terror.
Why does the national camp choose to follow the left-wing and lose its way? (Lilach Sigan, Maariv) Commentators and politicians who have been trying to cover up the lack of policies against Gaza for 13 years have turned "Oslo" and "disengagement" into slogans worn just like "the occupation.” …A strange thing has happened lately, and it's hard to notice it through all the “rounds.” As the missiles fly, the slogans and headlines and spins are pulled out, which repeatedly drag the same commentary. But beyond this noise screen, a new ironic reality is slowly forming, and the Israeli right, once pragmatic, thoughtful and realistic, follows the anachronistic left-wing and puts itself in danger. The round that popped into our world (last) week left quite a few in the right-wing camp in astonishment, and rightly so. Suddenly, we faced a real situation: Israel carried out a targeted assassination of a medium-rank jihadist and what was once a routine operation that, at worst, triggers a three-Qassam response - has become an event that draws hundreds of missiles and the paralysis of the state.
Israel's Education Minister Diluted Civics Studies Because That’s the Citizens He Wants (Zehava Galon, Haaretz+) Civics studies are supposed to be part of the curriculum from a young age. Instead, we cram them into two years, and then argue that “there’s no room for sensitive issues.” But sensitive issues are the beating heart of this subject, the reason why it’s so important – and therefore also the reason why the current Education Ministry prefers it in a low-calorie, lactose-free version. Civics studies are supposed to touch on the disagreements at the core of the state. They are supposed to explain to students what lies behind the noise that politicians and ordinary people are constantly creating.
No one talks of justice (Prof. Nimrod Aloni, Maariv) Authoritarian-formalist democracy, in which nationalist right-wing people demand to rule over us, is also a primitive democracy - self-centered, bullying, ignorant and impervious. (Writer is head of UNESCO chair at the Kibbutzim College of Education)
The Sheikh Said: Go Out and Vote (Nesya Shemer, Haaretz+) The Joint List’s enormous achievement in the last election was made possible by a rise in Arab voter turnout. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s incitement against the Arab community apparently played a role. But it’s not just ordinary voters who mobilized to raise the turnout rate. Surprisingly, religious leaders in the Arab world also dedicated themselves to this task. Sheikh Prof. Ahmed al-Raissouni, head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, issued a religious ruling, or fatwa urging Arab Israelis not to boycott the election. The International Union of Muslim Scholars is the organization that unites the largest number of Muslim scholars. It was founded in 2004 by Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, who served as its head until 2018 and he has hard-line views on Israel. Raissouni’s fatwa is diametrically opposed to Qaradawi’s previous rulings on these issues. For religious Muslims living in Israel, participating in elections isn’t self-evident. Between the 1992 election and that of 1996, the local Islamic Movement faced an internal schism between those who favored participating in elections and those who opposed it. Ultimately, this led the movement to split in two. The southern faction, led by Sheikh Abdallah Nimr Darwish, favored participating in elections, while the northern faction, headed by Sheikh Ra’ad Salah, opposed it. The religious ruling Raissouni issued a month before the last election, in which he urged Israeli Arabs to go out and vote, represents a sharp turn from complete non-recognition of Israel and its institutions to adoption of the pragmatic position taken by the Islamic Movement’s southern faction, which favors integrating into state institutions. In an interview with a French newspaper, Raissouni explained his position by saying that Israeli Arabs must protect their rights and interests, and boycotting the elections won’t help them to do so.
Fight with Islamic Jihad was breeze compared to future war with Iran (Amnon Abramowitz, Yedioth/Ynet) The government will have to answer to an official commission of inquiry about its decisions and how the civilian population has remained exposed to missiles and rockets, unable to maintain a daily routine.
Has Netanyahu’s Iran Strategy Blown Up in His Face? (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Prime minister’s policy has hit two major obstacles: Tehran’s obduracy in Syria, no matter what the cost; and the fickleness of U.S. President Donald Trump.
Aid to Israel keeps America safer (James Sinkinson, Israel Hayom) Our support of Israel is an investment first and foremost in our own security, and linking it to the Palestinian conflict is a serious mistake.
Trump Impeachment Holds Pitfalls and Perils for American Jews (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) After 'Shifty Schiff,' will Trump disparage his committee’s brilliant attorney as 'Greedy Goldman'?
Bernie Sanders' cynically self-serving guide to fighting anti-Semitism (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Be prepared for a complete lack of self-awareness, strange ahistorical assertions - and a jarring similarity to the selective framing of anti-Semitism championed by one Benjamin Netanyahu.

Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
Netanyahu is already preparing for his next war (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) The prime minister is plotting what he'll do while on trial – because going home is not an option.
Gantz's choice (Ben Caspit, Maariv) Netanyahu is lying again when he claims that a narrow government endangers the security of the state. The only thing that it endangers is the continued sitting of the roayl family at the Balfour (official prime minister) residence. Gantz sees the Prime Minister's office from close range, the chairman of Kahol-Lavan has four days to make one of the most difficult decisions of his life. He is torn between the narrow government option and the president's outline (for a unity government led first by Netanyahu) or a third round of elections...The relevant option right now is to go to elections. Kahol-Lavan will arrive in an improved state. Netanyahu will carry on his back two to three indictments. Kahol-Lavan's voters are hungry, the Likudniks are tired, confused and some of them have thoughts of treason. The majority of the public, from all sides, blames Netanyahu of deteriorating to round three (of elections)..
With days left to form government, Gantz under attack from Netanyahu (Yedioth/Ynet) If Gantz-led minority government is indeed formed, Netanyahu will be out as PM within days, making third election a much more lucrative prospect for Israel's leader, who has gone on the offensive appealing directly to Blue and White MKs.
A racist unity government (Friday Haaretz Editorial) Every time Israel faces a military “escalation,” the thin wrapping that barely covers its institutionalized racism is revealed. The primary inciter, as usual, has been Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who, in a series of tweets and Facebook posts, sent the message in recent days that a minority government supported by the Arab parties would be “a slap in the face of IDF soldiers and a danger to the State of Israel.” In his address to the Knesset this week, he similarly exploited the opportunity to depict Arab Knesset members as supporters of the enemy. Next in line after Netanyahu, and sometimes even surpassing him, is the man who has become the kingmaker du jour, Avigdor Lieberman. With the entire political system as his feet, the Yisrael Beiteinu party chairman has gone around in recent days like someone whose every racist thought deserves special attention. In an interview with Channel 12 News on Wednesday, he regurgitated his usual incitement against members of the Arab parties’ Joint List. “As far as I’m considered, they’re a fifth column – people who want to destroy the State of Israel from within and work against its interests,” he said.
Netanyahu and Other Signs (Carolina Landsman, Haaretz+) 1. “What I’m lacking is a clear, sharp statement from all of Kahol Lavan’s chiefs that they accept the president’s blueprint,” Avigdor Lieberman said, referring to Reuven Rivlin’s proposal to break the deadlock and achieve a rotating premiership for Benny Gantz and Benjamin Netanyahu. What do you say? Maybe he’ll also demand that Kahol Lavan’s Yair Lapid wear a floral dress and that Gabi Ashkenazi put on lipstick for the occasion? Lieberman’s aggressiveness isn’t only related to the political stalemate that Israel is in. It also relates to the fact that anyone here who embraces liberal rhetoric is seen as weak, even if, like Gantz, he’s a former army chief. The only way to stand next to Netanyahu and his colleagues and still look like a man is by not being liberal. That’s Lieberman’s luck, and the masculinity of anyone who has a background with a right-wing or criminal worldview is protected. It’s another possible explanation for “the left wing’s problem.” Being left-wing became synonymous with femininity. Men are right-wing. 2. and 3. Make no mistake, this thing that the right is doing by vindicating Rabin amid allegations that he was a traitor and then portraying him as a senile grandfather who left home for a daily stroll and got lost in the Norwegian capital is the same as labeling Rabin and his colleagues “Oslo criminals.” It’s all designed to deny the incitement that led up to the assassination and to rewrite the history of the political discourse that produced Rabin’s assassin.
 
Interviews:
"The decision to label products from the settlements made me feel like a Jew with a yellow (star) badge”
When the European Union decided that products from the settlements should be labeled, Psagot Winery CEO, Jacob Berg, chose to fight the directive by legal means. He lost, but declared that the fight was not over. (Interviewed by Ilana Stutland in Maariv’s daily Magazine supplement, pp. 4-5)

The Gatekeeper: Former senior Shin Bet official on the collapse of the illustrious unit
Shlomo Harnoy, who was appointed Commander of the Personal Security Unit after Rabin's assassination, analyzes the failures that led to the national tragedy and shatters the conspiracy theories. (Interviewed by Eyal Levy in Maariv)

Who moved my tahini?
An interview of the winning chef of ’Master Chef' (reality show), Nuf Atamana-Ismail, published last month in Yedioth's “7 Nights” magazine supplement, sparked a culinary battle between senior Israeli chefs in the past month. On the Arab side, they claim that the Jews also stole their food and that the success of the "new Israeli cuisine" came at the expense of another erasure of the Palestinians. On the Jewish side, they answer that they got inspired and developed what was here, explaining that this is exactly how local cuisine is brought into the world. Eyal Shani, Erez Komarovsky, Farah Raslan and others explain why this is not just another conversation about hummus and shawarma. (Alon Hadar, Yedioth Hebrew)

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