News Nosh 11.24.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday November 24, 2019

You Must Be Kidding: 
The maximum number of entries is 40 times a year for olives, 50 times for figs, 30 for barley and 220 for tomatoes or strawberries.
--IDF has made limitations on how often Palestinian farmers can access their agricultural land. **

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The revolt - Political drama: Gideon Saar in severe attack against Prime Minister (Hebrew)
  • Test of courage // Sima Kadmon
  • Don’t go to the High Court // Ben-Dror Yemini
  • “Where are my Refael and Elazar?” - Assessment: Construction that did not follow standards caused the death of two toddlers in a fire in Netanya
  • The competition and the dispute: Sayeret Matkal commando unit against Shayetet (Navy Seals)
  • SodaStream will recruit 1000 more employees
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

Israel Hayom

  • What will you tell your grandchildren?
  • Battle over primaries in Likud warms up - The indictment and the deadlock
  • (Likud MK) Barkat initiates: Elections for position of replacement chairman of Likud; Bennett advances: Direct elections for prime minister
  • Unity - first of all at home // Mati Tuchfeld
  • Bring back the Likud of the past // Yaakov Berdugo
  • For the best of us all: The Prime Minister to take leave of absence // Asaf Midani
  • For the information of Channel 12 News: The Prime Minister has yet to be indicted // Gideon Allon
  • ‘Israel Hayom’ poll: 64%: We won’t change our vote
  • In the name of the women who were murdered - Special project
  • “Elazar and Refael were caught in the fire”
  • Parents of Rabbi Itamar Ben-Gal in moving letter to judges: “The terrorist in jail - till his last day”
  • Lieberman, stop the incitement // Rabbi Pinchas Zaltzman


Elections/Indictment News:
Today’s Hebrew newspapers focused on the call for primaries by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s biggest opponent, Gideon Saar,  in order to choose a new leader for the Likud party, who has not been indicted on corruption charges, while Gantz called on senior Likudniks to form a unity government with him as head for the first two years of a rotation government. (Maariv) and after two years, if Netanyahu was no longer facing trial, then Netanyahu could serve.

This comes following the tumultuous news on Thursday that Netanyahu was indicted in three corruption cases against him, after which he gave a fiery speech in which he called to 'investigate the investigators.' Demonstrations took place for and against Netanyahu took place across the country. Gantz warned Netanyahu not to risk igniting a civil war. Maariv reported that a senior police official said that the "Prime Minister and Likud ministers are doing everything possible to impair our ability to conduct an investigation.” A police official referred to the prime minister's attack on the law authorities, saying: "The statements come from distress but are dangerous and are an attempt to damage the police image." (Maariv) Kahol-Lavan demanded Netanyahu resign from his ministerial posts: health, social affairs, agriculture and Diaspora affairs and he will be doing that. Labor-Gesher asked for the formation of a Knesset committee to deal with Netanyahu immunity.  And in Paris, they hope that Netanyahu will be replaced and he will return to the speech he gave at Bar Ilan University where he spoke of a two-state solution.

Quick Hits:

  • Five Palestinians Wounded After Israeli Settlers Attack in Hebron, Red Crescent Reports - Clashes Saturday are a continuation of Friday night's events in Hebron where according to local reports, 12 wounded were evacuated to hospitals as a result of settler aggression. (Haaretz+)
  • Cars Set Ablaze, Graffiti Scrawled in Suspected West Bank Hate Crime - Vandals targeted four different Palestinian villages Friday night, by setting afire cars and olive trees, and leaving on the walls of more than 20 homes graffiti slogans linking incident to the illegal outpost of Kumi Ori near the settlement of Yitzhar. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • **Israel Limits West Bank Farmers' Access to Lands Near Green Line - New regulations impose a quota on the number of times a year Palestinian farmers may enter their fields between the separation barrier and the Green Line. (Haaretz+)
  • Ninth Member of Family Killed in Israeli Strike on Gaza Home Dies of His Injuries - The Israeli airstrike killed eight other members of the family of Mohammed Abu Malhous al-Sawarkah, 40, who died Friday. News comes as leaders of weekly Gaza-border protests say the demonstrations will renew next week after a two-week hiatus. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Gaza said mulling sharp drop in border protests - The planners of the weekly protests at the Gaza border fence are considering reducing the frequency of the protests from weekly to monthly or even only to mark significant events, according to Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper, which is considered close to Hamas. (Ynet)
  • Filmed headbutting (Arab-Israeli) store worker and was not convicted: “He’s normative” - A Magistrate's Court initially sentenced a 30-year-old resident of Kiryat Yam, who headbutted a Rami Levi supermarket employee in Haifa, causing him injury, with a five-month suspended sentence for two years and 200 hours community service. The defendant was also required to compensate the complainant for 2,000 shekels. He appealed the conviction and offered to pay more compensation, saying that a criminal conviction would impair his ability to continue to study and find work with government and state officials. The District Court accepted his appeal and revoked his conviction despite the severity of his act - but the sentence remained in effect. [NOTE: From video it’s possible to see that the man being attacked is Arab. - OH]  (Ynet Hebrew+VIDEO and Haifa News Hebrew)
  • The woman driver who tried to break through the Ashdod port checkpoint died of wounds after she was shot by security guards - Initial investigations revealed that the driver of the vehicle did not comply with the security guards' instructions, broke the first checkpoint and continued driving fast. The security guards initially thought it was a (Palestinian) car-ramming attack. The security guard who shot her was questioned and placed on 5-days house arrest: "I opened fire according to the procedures for stopping a suspect, only when I felt it was life-threatening and I thought she would run me over. I shot at her after I first shot warning shots at the wheels.“ The family of the (Jewish-Israeli) woman from Beit Shemesh claim there was no justification for such massive shooting at her. “She did not get close to the security zone. Why did they need to shoot like crazy at her?” (Maariv and Ynet Hebrew)
  • Coldplay in Amman - The Coldplay band launched its new album, ‘everyday life,’ this weekend in a series of gigs at the ancient Amman Fortress in the Jordanian capital, two at sunset, one at sunrise, and broadcast live on YouTube. The audience was ecstatic, Chris Martin responded with, "Shukran.” (Thank you in Arabic. (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Coming soon: The decision in the submarine affair - Nearing the end of his term, State Attorney Shai Nitzan is expected to support the indictment in Case 3000, which is subject to a hearing against the major suspects. At the center of the submarine affair  are two transactions between Israel and the German corporation “Thyssenkrupp” for the purchase of three submarines and the purchase of missile ships. The investigation dealt with suspicions that senior officers and civil servants demanded and took bribes to further the deal between the corporation and the State of Israel. Police recommended indicting six people: former Navy commander Eli Merom (Cheney), former chief of the Naval Equipments and former Deputy Chief of National Security, Brig. Gen. (res.) Avriel Bar Yosef, Shai Barosh, Eliezer Zandberg and David Sharan for bribery, fraud and money laundering and Netanyahu's attorney and cousin, David Shimron, for fraud and money laundering offenses (the assessment is that the case investigation against him will close). The police recommended closing the case against Yitzhak Molcho, Netanyahu's attorney and special advisor. (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Canada's Trudeau condemns anti-Semitic attack on IDF soldiers - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday strongly condemned violence and anti-Semitic chants directed against a delegation of IDF fighters, who came to appear before students at York University in Toronto. (YNet)
  • Police Arrests Seven Men Suspected of Shooting Police Car in Northern Arab Israeli Town - Initial probe reveals that men from Dir al-Assad opened fire after police signaled a vehicle without front license plate to pull over ■ No casualties reported. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • House Democrats Chide State Department for Settlement Policy Reversal - In a letter sent to Mike Pompeo, more than 100 members of Congress say this will corrode the U.S.'s position as a honest broker between Israelis, Palestinians. (Haaretz)
  • Russia Outs Israel and Jordan in Syria-Iraq Border Strike - 'The intensity of Israel's missile and bomb attacks increased sharply,' Foreign Ministry says in a statement accusing Israel of violating Jordanian airspace. (Haaretz)
  • Car Bomb Kills at Least 10 Near Syrian Border With Turkey - Four civilians from the same family were among those killed by the explosion, says Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • U.S.-led Coalition Announces Joint Action With Syrian Kurds as Pence Pays Surprise Visit to Iraq - Vice president visits U.S. troops in Iraq and will meet prime minister. He reiterates 'strong bonds forged in the fires of war between the people of the United States and the Kurdish people across this region.’ (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Iraqi forces kill three protesters as top cleric warns of crisis - Friday, Iraq's leading Shi’ite cleric called for politicians to hurry up in reforming electoral laws to resolve weeks of deadly unrest. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Tunnel of hope: Baghdad underpass becomes museum for Iraq’s protest movement - Along its walls, young artists draw murals, portraits and graffiti that illustrate the country’s tortured past and the Iraq they aspire to build. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Fear, Turmoil in Lebanon as Its Financial Crisis Worsens - Some businesses are struggling to pay their staff while others have cut salaries or are simply laying off employees. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Hezbollah accuses U.S. of meddling in Lebanon's crisis
  • -  'The first obstruction in the formation of the government is America, because it wants a government that resembles it,' says group official. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Pentagon, State Dep’t, U.S. evangelicals and Israel battle over Lebanese army aid - White House is at center of storm over whether it should be withholding $105 million of military funding to Beirut. (Haaretz+)
  • Mystery Grows Over Trump Administration Hold on Lebanon Aid - Unlike Ukraine, there's no suggestion U.S. president is seeking 'a favor' to release it. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran's Missile Force 'Largest' in the Middle East, Says the Pentagon - Iran will seek new fighter jets, tanks as 2020 embargo lifts. (Haaretz)
  • Iran says army and Revolutionary Guards helped quell unrest, blames 'U.S. agents' - Amnesty said more than 100 people were killed nationwide, the unrest appears to be the worst violence at least since Iran stamped out a 'Green Revolution' in 2009. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran internet shutdown first ever to effectively isolate a developed nation - Shutdown a historic milestone in efforts by authoritarian governments to censor online communications. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran Warns Regional States of Consequences if They Stoked Unrest - Tehran has blamed 'thugs' linked to exiles and foreign foes - the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia - for stirring up unrest following hikes in gasoline prices ■ Rights group Amnesty International says over 100 killed in nationwide protests. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • U.S. imposes sanctions on Iran's information minister over internet shutdown - 'We will hold members of the Iranian regime accountable for their violent repression of the Iranian people,' tweeted U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • British Labour Party Puts Ban on Selling Arms to Israel on Election Platform - Last year, Labour passed a motion strongly criticizing Israel and pledging to halt all U.K. weapon sales to the Jewish state if it rises to power. (JTA, Haaretz)


Features:
Gideon Levy Something's rotten at this settlement winery – and we don't mean the grapes
The land is owned by Palestinians, with documents to prove it – but is now the site of a Jewish winery. After the EU ruling that settlement products must be marked as such, Europeans will know the origin of Psagot's wines. (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+)

Elections 2019/Netanyahu Indictment Commentary/Analysis:
Netanyahu reacts to criminal indictment with seditious call to arms (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Like the witnesses in Trump’s impeachment, the attorney general’s professionalism and gravitas lend credence to the charges against the prime minister.
Don't go to the High Court (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth Hebrew) Allow the political process to exhaust itself: Each petition will only harm Israel and strengthen Netanyahu. In some circles, let’s call them the "enlightened public," there is a sense that it is time for another blow. Netanyahu has already measured it. His enthusiastic appearance immediately after the Attorney General’s decision to file charges was not his height of glory, nor one of his compelling appearances. He hurt himself. Not all of his claims were unfounded. But those allegations [against the law enforcement agencies - OH] are not the correct answer to the very solid facts that appeared in the indictment. Even if there were political motivations here and there during the investigation and assuming that outrageous moves were being made in the investigation - they cannot hide the public corruption, even if it is not criminal. Last Friday,  I was, as usual, shopping at the Carmel Market. I have news for Likud leaders in general and Netanyahu in particular. The atmosphere is changing. On social media networks, the level of fervor is actually rising. And yet, in the market I heard from the Likud leader's fans that his time has passed. That he only causes harm. He clings to the altar by the horns and it's no longer working. In the Likud leadership, there are politicians who know the field. They realize that something has happened. So the desire to strike the iron while it's hot is leading members of the “Just not Bibi" camp to the High Court. Judicial impeachment instead of political impeachment. The judges, it is likely, will not throw the petitions out the window. They will discuss them seriously. Retired judge Eliyahu Matza has already granted approval for such a move. And that's exactly, but exactly, what Netanyahu needs. He wants to prove that judges and jurists rule the State of Israel. Netanyahu's fan camp claims and will claim that in the case of a prime minister conducting a criminal trial against him - the law is very clear. And here, they would argue, they might be breaking the law, through legal tricks. If that happens - it will not be an invalid claim. And no, it will not be the rule of law. This is the rule of the judges and judiciaries. Netanyahu has become corrupt. But corrupt people are sometimes right, too. Netanyahu's most outspoken minister in his defense is Betzalel Smutrich. Most of the top Likud people, on the other hand, do not provide automatic backup to Netanyahu. Even if they are silent, it is a thunderous silence. They understand that Netanyahu is no longer an asset. They want to rule. However, a petition to the High Court may push them again to support him. After all, if it is accepted, the legal oligarchy will, again, replace the political process. And if the petition is rejected - Netanyahu will argue that he can continue (to serve as PM). Whatever the High Court decision - it will harm Israel. So please, restrain yourselves. Let the political process exhaust itself. We are at a sensitive time. Israel needs a strengthening of democracy. A High Court petition will lead to the opposite result.
The Netanyahu Corruption Case That Changed the Attorney General's Mind (Gidi Weitz, Haaretz+) It may have taken more than a couple of years, but when a reluctant Mendelblit was exposed to evidence in the then-secret investigation into Case 4000 he had his light bulb moment: The prime minister was deeply afflicted with corruption.
Likudniks, Wake Up and Ditch Netanyahu! (Haaretz Editorial) Netanyahu won’t quit the political ring of his own accord. Only petitions to the High Court of Justice or a change of heart among Knesset members from the rightist/ultra-Orthodox bloc can dislodge him. But the best way to get rid of him would be for his own Likud party to do it.
Threat from home (Amit Segal, Yedioth Hebrew) Benny Gantz lost the mandate Wednesday, and how many seats did Benjamin Netanyahu lose yesterday? Even before the Attorney General's signature on a serious indictment, Netanyahu failed twice in an attempt to form a government. Regardless of the debate on the moral and legal questions, the prime minister's political situation is painfully clear: his chances of reaching 61 seats are almost nonexistent, and hence - his chances of forming a fifth government. But he's going to battle. His belligerent speech Thursday testified that conceding did not occur to him. The question is whether he has thought of a way out of this dead end. His voters know him, but it is still unclear if he still knows his voters enough. Will he campaign against the state prosecutor's office or try to hide the case and focus on issues like annexation of the (West Bank part of the Jordan) Valley? These will not be elections, they will be a civil war minus the weapons. There is a large audience who believes in what Netanyahu said yesterday, but he is far from anything close to being a victory. The most important people in the next 20 days are Gideon Sa'ar, Yuli Edelstein, Yisrael Katz and Nir Barkat: If the Attorney General announces that Netanyahu can no longer form a government, will they openly stand up and act to form an alternative government? For that to happen they would have to sit in one room and trust each other, which has not happened for a decade. Apparently, there are signatures out there waiting for someone to collect them. The big threat to Netanyahu is now viewed from home…A statement that Netanyahu cannot form a government, contrary to the language of the law and its spirit and perhaps - depending on the results - contrary to the position of about half of Israeli citizens, would be a miserable mistake for Attorney General Mendelblit and State Attorney Shai Nitzan. The demand for respect for the law made by the Attorney General yesterday must also be expressed in respect of the Basic Law. It is better for them history remember that the voter sent Netanyahu home rather than the Attorney General. The sight of Mendelblitt slowly and loudly reading the charges of bribery against Netanyahu, recall a similar incident, 20 years earlier: Justice Yaakov Zemach reading slowly and with a guttural accent of Iraqi immigrants the bribery conviction of (Shas leader) Arieh Deri. Deri built his fight on the claim of sectarian discrimination on the part of the judiciary, and Netanyahu built it on leftist persecution. The picture of Mendelblitt, wearing a kippah, was meant to ground Netanyahu's case, even without words. In this case, the medium is the message.
The indictment against Netanyahu: an opportunity for some public figures to save their trampled on honor (Ben Caspit, Maariv) Politicians must make it clear to the Prime Minister that it is over and that he needs to liberate the entire country to continue onwards. Soon we will know if there is a chance that this strangulation will weaken…This is the last call to the Likud leadership. To elected officials such as Yuli Edelstein, Avi Dichter, Gilad Erdan, Haim Katz, Nir Barekat, Yoav Kish, Yisrael Katz, Moshe Kahlon, Tzahi Hanegbi, Yuval Steinitz (Gideon Sa'ar we will come back to later). Aryeh Deri is also on this list. He is one of the responsible adults on the government’s Political-Security Cabinet, and I think this country is dear to him too. It's in your hands. War is expected here. The studio sample demonstrates that Benjamin Netanyahu does not intend to bow his head to the rule of law. It's not on his menu at all. He'll put everything up in flames. He won't stop until everything is destroyed. You can prevent it. You can save your honor. You need to make it clear to him that it's over. It is time to release the country. Israel is more important than Netanyahu. It's time you understand the magnitude of your responsibilities. If you allow the Netanyahu family to continue to set fire to our country, Israel's blood will be smeared on your hands forever. There will be no forgiveness of this sin. This stain will not be cleansed.
Is this what Netanyahu risked his legacy for? (Aluf Benn, Haaretz+) The prime minister risked his government, and apparently also his freedom, not to fight Israel’s enemies or jump-start the economy, but for flattering pictures of his wife Sara on Walla news.
Mendelblitt’s next decision (Tova Tzimuki, Yedioth Hebrew) After deciding to indict him, the Attorney General will determine whether Netanyahu's new legal status prevents him from forming a government. Attorney General Avihai Mandelblit is preparing for the upcoming legal confrontation. In the coming days, the High Court is expected to publish its opinion on Netanyahu's legal competence to form a government after it has been decided to indict him for serious offenses. The High Court does not intend to wait for a petition to the High Court that must be submitted to this question and judicial review. Mendelblit will sum up the opinion that there are "considerable legal difficulties" that Netanyahu, under such a severe indictment, can and should deserve to form a government. He will also emphasize that this is mainly a matter of public opinion. However, the absurdity is that due to the fact that the law does not prevent Netanyahu from competing until a final ruling, the assessment is that the Attorney General will be forced to defend Netanyahu in the High Court.
Now That Netanyahu Has Been Indicted, It's Time for His Real Test: Is He Going to Resign? (Mordechai Kremnitzer, Haaretz+) The ball is now in Netanyahu’s court. What he owes Israel’s citizens is an immediate resignation. Regardless of the legal norm, which will probably require a High Court of Justice ruling, the public-moral norm is clear and compels the prime minister his resignation. In this way he can atone for his reckless conduct regarding the investigations against him. Clinging to the prime minister’s seat will leave an indelible stain on his name. He will enter history as one who preferred his personal, illegitimate interest (to evade going on trial for his acts) over Israel’s well-being. Everything he did for the state won’t help erase this stain. The lack of justification to hold onto his seat is compounded because Netanyahu isn’t serving as a prime minister who got a mandate from the public through the Knesset.
Facing corruption trial, Netanyahu aims to bring the house down on the state of Israel (Noa Landau, Haaretz+) Like Samson in the Bible, who brought down the house 'upon all the people,' the prime minister has persuaded his supporters that the entire system is fundamentally tainted by corruption and political bias.
Netanyahu, Go Home Now (Friday Haaretz Editorial) Something momentous happened in Israel Thursday. Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit announced three indictments against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in Case 4000 and for fraud and breach of trust in cases 1000 and 2000. Netanyahu’s promise to the public that “there will be nothing because there is nothing” has turned out, like his other promises, to be false.
The reign of the prosecution (Caroline B. Glick, Israel Hayom) Ever since Mandelblit gave his “recommendations,” he and his comrades have been the only political actors with any power to speak of.
Netanyahu Won’t Go Quietly and Will Opt for the Burning Torches (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) It was totally clear in his remarks Thursday: The embattled prime minister aims to accuse the legal system of launching a coup against him – and wait for the masses to follow his lead.
The other Likud (Sima Kadmon, Yedioth Hebrew) It is less important what Gideon Sa'ar said last night on the "Meet the Press" program. What matters is that he spoke. After a long time when the voices of Likud officials were not heard, and during a day in which their miserable and cowardly tweets of support were posted one by one, when it was clear that at the end of every sentence they wrote sat the Balfour landlord (Netanyahu) - it was refreshing to see that Likud also had a different voice. And against the background of the silence of the sheep, it was a brave and important bleating.
Israel’s Political Waiting Game Exacting a Growing Price From Its Economy (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) The economy is showing signs of a slowdown at a time when there’s no effective government to address it.
Is Netanyahu Finally Facing a Full-scale Likud Rebellion? (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) So far, lawmaker Gideon Sa’ar is the only heavy hitter to call for an immediate primary. Netanyahu’s problems will start when others join the call.
Trump and Netanyahu - My shadow and myself (Orly Azoulay, Yedioth) They conduct themselves like a voice and its echo. They both headbutt their opponents in the language of bulies. They both are affected by paranoia and a sense of victimhood, despite the fact that each one of them stands at the head of a country and enjoys the power and comforts of the rule. Trump spoke about law enforcers in terms of witch hunts and called the media ‘fake news,’ and Netanyahu adopted that. Since the day that Trump entered his role as president of the US, they are dancing a duet in the space between Washington and Jerusalem that appears crazy - they one up each other as they go lower and lower. And both of them are from a spoiled elite and rose to power due to the votes of those who are not from among them…They both went hand in hand as their friendship helped each of them to keep his seat, not to serve his people…
Sa'ar goes for the jugular (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) Gideon Sa'ar is a skilled politician, but it's possible he misread the situation this time. Netanyahu is fighting for his political life and personal liberty, but no less than that he is howling the cry of an entire camp that feels its power is being stripped undemocratically.
Netanyahu indicted: What now? (Tova Tsimuki, Yedioth/Ynet) The actual charges against the prime minister are unlikely to be brought in near future, given that he can request immunity from a Knesset committee that like the rest of the government is at a standstill; in the meantime, the High Court should brace itself for a plethora of petitions.
Netanyahu, the Enemy of Competition (Sami Peretz, Haaretz+) The man who portrayed every one of his moves in the media market as having been intended to increase competition in fact acted against competition. The indictment, especially the charge of bribery in the Bezeq-Walla case (Case 4000), exposes grave misconduct on Netanyahu’s part. According to the charge, the prime minister instructed Shlomo Filber, the former Communications Ministry director general and current state witness, to bring about the approval of a Bezeq-Yes deal that did Shaul Elovitch considerable benefit. It also says in the charge sheet that Netanyahu instructed Filber to “moderate the prices’ reduction as part of the wholesale market reforms” and that “the prices Bezeq will be able to charge for access to its infrastructure as part of the wholesale market reform will be higher than those previously set in the Communications Ministry, in a way that would benefit the Bezeq group.”
Saar's move was asking to be made, but the question is whether it is good for Likud (Anna Barsky, Maariv) In the period…that the Likud is currently in, there are always two options: Either the competition will contribute to recovery and advancement - or it will result in the party falling apart. Time will tell.
The Lieberman framework: Strong leader, weak minorities (Noa Landau, Haaretz+) Avigdor Lieberman's vision to strengthen government stability, announced on Thursday, is packed with promises, but raises even more questions.
Even after Mendelblit's announcement: Netanyahu is still the big winner until proven otherwise (Lilach Sigan, Maariv) By the time the indictment was published, the maestro of Israeli politics also won this round. The fact is that he remains in the prime minister's chair. The only question is how it serves us.
The Legacy of Hatred: It is difficult to understand what is happening in Binyamin Netanyahu’s soul (Ben Caspit, Maariv) The man has a historical consciousness. He knows that the sickening hate speech he made Thursday against the state institutions he purports to lead cannot be erased from the internet…In 15 years, when (senior Likudnik) Avi Dichter’s grandchildren ask him, "Say, Grandpa, where were you when they came with torches to the High Court?" Grandpa will turn red. "I don't like to talk about that period," he’ll mumble. But the grandson insists. "I read on Wikipedia about what happened that terrible year," he says to his grandfather, "when there was a prime minister called Bibi, and he said he was making a government coup and he called in to investigate the police and went out against the state and against the court and police and people believed him and a civil war almost erupted. Grandpa, what did you do then?” A similar experience is expected for everyone else when they meet with their grandchildren, or just face their acts from those dreadful days. Gilad Erdan, whom Netanyahu flung from the Ministry of Communications to sink the corruption scam. Yuli Edelstein, who Netanyahu flung from being the beacon of the torch-lighting ceremony so he could get some more close-ups in prime time. Yisrael Katz, who suffered bitterly from Netanyahu time after time, returned every time crouched and teased more than the last time. Nir Barekat, for whom no flattery is too small for him to give. Tzachi Hanegbi, who swallowed his tongue. And many more and cowards. Gideon Sa'ar yesterday rescued the honor of a party that was once glorious, stormy, free and democratic. He showed up at the "Meet the Press" studio and told the truth. He did not hesitate to compliment Netanyahu, stating that he should not be prohibited from forming a government, and even criticized the judiciary. But beyond all that, he simply said the truth: In Netanyahu's ten years of continuous rule, nothing has been done to reform the law-enforcement, justice and justice system. On the contrary, the neglect flourished, and the one who encouraged the situation was Netanyahu. Now that the fire is burning his cloak, he storms the system with pitchforks.

Commentary/Analysis:
When Life Gives Them Arabs, Israel's Jewish Politicians Make Lemonade (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) On Thursday I met with an acquaintance who breathed a sigh of relief when the possibility of a minority government supported by the Arab Joint List dropped off the agenda. Imagine what would have happened, what a swamp of hatred and racism Benjamin Netanyahu and his colleagues on the right would have dragged us into. Life here would have become a Ku Klux Klan-like nightmare.
Pompeo, AIPAC and Jewish American priorities (Caroline B. Glick, Israel Hayom) For the Europeans and the American Left, the term "settlement" is a password that opens Pandora’s Box of anti-Semitism. Pompeo took their buzzword away.
The U.S. Believes Israel Is Allowed to Rule Here. But What About Us? (Nave Dromi, Haaretz+) The U.S. policy change is encouraging – for years we’ve been hearing from anti-Israel officials – Jews and non-Jews – that the settlements aren’t legal according to international law. But there are different legal interpretations regarding the legal status of the settlements.
Settlements are not just a land dispute up for negotiation (Melanie Phillips, Israel Hayom) Every part of that claim—that Israel is in “occupation,” that the land it is “occupying” is “Palestinian territory,” and that Israel is acting illegally—is false.
Extreme reactions to Pompeo’s announcement explain demise of Israeli left (Israel Harel, Haaretz+) Labor leader Amir Peretz joined the chorus of critics ignoring the history of his own party and the importance of the settlement project.
The end of the two states solution is just a myth (Shaul Arieli, Haaretz+) Every year, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics discloses the truth about the settlements in the West Bank and in Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. This year, the disappointment for annexation adherents is greater than ever, thanks to the expectations stirred by Israel’s most messianic-ultranationalist government ever and the unprecedented support of the Trump administration. The figures again show that any annexation would harm Israel’s democracy and its Jewish identity, and that the settlements’ existence does not preclude a two-state solution — if and only if both sides and the U.S. administration have a sincere, responsible political will to achieve it. In Judea and Samaria, the Israeli population rose by 14,395 this year. At the end of 2018, the number stood at 427,000, less than 5 percent of Israel’s total population. This year the proportion of Palestinians in the population of Judea and Samaria rose to 87 percent, making any attempt at annexation a security, economic and social nightmare. This year, again, the growth rate for the Jewish population in the district was higher than for Israel as a whole, but the multiyear trends show that this is having no effect on the Palestinians’ demographic and territorial dominance (98 percent of the land in Judea and Samaria is owned by them).
Netanyahu’s Indictments Aren’t the Biggest News in Israel This Week (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) It’s not Madonna and Messi who can make Israel a more normal place. Sylvan Adams is a Jewish billionaire with an interesting strategy to his philanthropy. He believes that by bringing major sporting and music events to Israel, he can enhance Israel’s image as a thriving and most important, normal country. Last year, he spent $80 million on bringing the first stage of the Giro D’Italia, the world’s second-most important bicycling race, to Israel, where it launched from the walls of the Old City. Earlier this year, he funded the performance of Madonna at the Eurovision contest in Tel Aviv. And on Monday, he was one of the main sponsors behind the Argentina-Uruguay football game. But does the fact that, thanks to the largesse of billionaires, Israel hosts such luminaries, make it a “normal” country?
How shakshuka and other Middle Eastern dishes turned into iconic 'Jewish food' (Rafram Chaddad and Yigal Nizri, Haaretz+) Taking what Jews and Arabs have cooked for generations and attaching the label 'Israeli' to it is culinary injustice.
Gaza's Hamas rulers must choose between Iran and their own people (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet)  Iranian financial and military aid to the terror group comes with strings attached that increase the strength of the Islamic Jihad and threaten improvements to the lives of Gazans through international investments.
The Missing Ingredient in Hamas' and Islamic Jihad's War Against Israel (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Politicians' embrace of the Israeli army chief blurs lines, raising uncomfortable questions.
Iran's restraint over Israeli attacks could change in a heartbeat (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) The Iranian regime is preoccupied by protesters at home, in Iraq and in Lebanon all threatening the Republic's hegemony and demanding regime change, risking its grand Mideast strategy.
Iran unrest gave Israel a window to strike. Now the danger lurks elsewhere (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) At what point would Russia demand Israel cease its hostilities?
Israel sends rare message to Tehran, Damascus and Moscow (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) The IDF's unusually aggressive attack on Iranian military targets in its war-torn neighbor to the north is supposed to demonstrate its new, harsher retaliation policy to attacks on its population centers.
From Iran to Hong Kong, the world is becoming ungovernable (Ofri Ilany, Haaretz+) The dominant political trend of the past year has been popular uprisings that are jolting the ruling institutions. But anarchy isn't the worst that could happen.
Yad Vashem Doesn't Have the Courage to Be a Global Beacon of Conscience (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) For years, Barry Lando was a senior producer for CBS’ “60 Minutes,” working alongside the legendary Mike Wallace. Lando, an author who splits his time between Paris and London, recently visited Israel for the first time in some 20 years, with his wife, Elisabeth, who is French. An incident with Israel’s Holocaust memorial and museum, Yad Vashem, cast a shadow on their trip and caused them great distress. “My wife, a Catholic and myself, a Jew, had mistakenly thought that that honor was conferred on Gentiles who had risked their lives to rescue Jews from the Holocaust. We were wrong,” he wrote me. Here’s the story.


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

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