News Nosh 12.1.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday December 1, 2019

 
Quote of the day:
"When you read the weekend newspapers, and as someone who has experienced the process whose end was that the prime minister of Israel was assassinated, I cannot help but reflect on the possibility that Yigal Amir 2 is already walking among us."
--Former Mossad chief Shabtai Shavit posted on Twitter Saturday.*

You Must Be Kidding: 
"You have to expunge from your identity the term 'settlers' and see yourselves as 'noble pioneers' fulfilling your lost Manifest Destiny."
--Prof. Jason D. Hil wrote in an Op-Ed published in Israel Hayom today.**

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • 11 days to stop the madness // Ben-Dror Yemini
  • Likud gathering 61 signatures to receive an extension; Lieberman: I will sign for both Netanyahu and Gantz
  • Attack in the heart of London
  • “Mommy, can the missile kill?” - Maayan, 5, danced in her house in Ashkelon when she heard the siren; Her mother: “It’s hard to live like this” (Hebrew)
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • “Lieberman will do everything to topple Netanyahu” - Last attempt - The right-wing bloc was asked to sign: Netanyahu will form a government
  • It’s not personal: The beginning of the war of the (law enforcement) authorities // Yaakov Berdugo
  • The battle over democracy is looking for someone to point // Simcha Rotman
  • There is freedom of expression for everyone - except Netanyahu; With him it’s considered “incitement” // Amnon Lord
  • “The enemy shouldn’t try us” - Givati Brigade Commander on the south
  • Even Europe understands: The pressure on Iran must be increased // Eldad Beck
  • Statistics show: “Israelis are getting fatter - and they don’t stop smoking”
  • Britain in a storm after murderous attack on London Bridge; The stabber - a terrorist released from prison
  • Just another drop - rain returns in a few days
  • Israel National Handball team players were caught stealing at a department store in Germany (Hebrew)

Elections 2019/Netanyahu Indictment News:
A demonstration against Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, attempts to get 61 signatures from Knesset members to extend the time to form a government, an attack by right-wingers on Arab Knesset member Ahmed Tibi and a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip were top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Some 7,000 people rallied against Netanyahu at Habimah Square in Tel-Aviv Saturday night, under the slogan 'Resign, the country is more important,’ only days after a similar number of people demonstrated in support of him. Meanwhile, the Likud party was in a race to gather 61 signatures of Knesset members to support Netanyahu to be given another two weeks chance to form a government, after kingmaker and Yisrael Beiteinu chairman, Avigdor Lieberman said he would give his support to both Netanyahu and his opponent, Kahol-Lavan leader Benny Gantz. Lieberman’s party has eight seats. And if all of Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc sign in support of him forming a coalition - along with Lieberman’s party - he has the minimum 61 signatures required. According to Maariv, if Gantz and Netanyahu each get 61 signatures, then the MKs who supported both men will be required to give up one of the signatures.

At the same time, Likud prepared to restart negotiations today with Kahol-Lavan for a  coalition government. [Which is odd, because Kahol-Lavan had earlier given the impression that they would not enter a coalition government with Netanyahu following his indictment - OH.] But Kahol-Lavan said it did not trust the Likud proposal in which Netanyahu will serve for the first few months and then pass the reins to Gantz and it suspected that “Netanyahu was preparing a trap for us.” (Yedioth Hebrew) However, it’s not clear that Netanyahu will receive all the signatures he needs. He won’t the signature of his rival, MK Gideon Sa’ar. Indeed, the Likud party's Comptroller, Attorney Shai Galili, found that the Likud party had misused party resources for Netanyahu’s personal political needs against Saar. The Likud movement published polls and statements against Gideon Saar, Galili found, and he even reprimanded the party's CEO. In a letter from the Comptroller sent to Saar’s attorney, it was stated that Saar was right in his claims and that the said tools should not be used to serve the party against Saar, who himself, is a member of the party. (Israel Hayom Hebrew and Yedioth Hebrew) An Israel Hayom poll published Thursday found that the “Netanyahu indictment has no impact on voters.” It showed that the Likud party under Netanyahu would garner 33 seats if a new Knesset election were called, up from its current 32.

The other big story was that right-wing activists attacked Arab lawmaker Ahmad Tibi at event in central Israel. The Joint List faction member was invited to speak in Ramat Hasharon at a ‘Shabbat Culture’ event. A group of right-wing activists tried to prevent Ahmad Tibi from entering the conference. One of them even hit him with the pole of the Israeli flag he was holding. The police had to intervene to prevent Tibi from being harmed, and even detained one of the protesters. The protesters carried signs saying: “Advisor for murderer Arafat, go home" and "Tibi, you are not welcome here". They shouted at him, “Terrorist, terrorist.” “We are not against Arabs,” they said. “We are against Ahmed Tibi. He has never in his life condemned a terror attack," one of the protesters claimed. [NOTE: This is false. Tibi has repeatedly said he is against violence against civilians. - OH] Another said:" He encouraged and encourages the shahids and congratulates them. His place in Gaza, he should go to Gaza, and drink the sea there.” (Also Maariv and Yedioth Hebrew.) At the event, Tibi said that if the Joint List had joined a minority government (with Kahol-Lavan), one of the Arab MKs would have been murdered.”

*Interestingly, Maariv reported that former Mossad chief Shabtai Shavit warned on Twitter Saturday of a political assassination. "When you read the weekend newspapers, and as someone who has experienced the process whose end was that the prime minister of Israel was assassinated, I cannot help but reflect on the possibility that Yigal Amir 2 is already walking among us. Consider yourselves warned!" Yair Netanyahu responded: "I receive threats, forward them to the police and don’t get a response.”

Other Top News Summary:
After a lone rocket fell inside Israel, landing in an open area and causing no injuries on Friday, Israel struck Hamas posts in Gaza. Yedioth and Haaretz noted that the rocket was launched after Israeli forces shot in the stomach 16-year-old Fahed al-Astal, killing him, when he was protesting at the border fence. Earlier this week, Yedioth/Ynet’s Palestinian affairs correspondent, Elior Levy, reported that there was actually progress between Israel and Hamas over a long-term economic arrangement. Hamas announced Wednesday it was canceling Friday's 'march of return' on Gaza border for the third consecutive week, in what is viewed as a progression in mutual understandings reached between Israel and Hamas, wrote Levy. This week's protests were intended to mark the anniversary of the UN resolution on the establishment of the state of Israel. Also on Wednesday, Israel notified Gaza's fisherman that all boats were now allowed to extend their fishing area to up to 15 nautical miles from shore. And Qatar's envoy Khaled al-Hardan traveled between Gaza and Israel where he met with security officials in what a source estimates were discussions on the long awaited understanding between Israel and Hamas, Levy wrote. On Friday, Hamas sources told Levy that talks were renewed on a long-term agreement.


Diplomacy/Hasbara Quickees:
  • New U.S. ambassador to UN to visit Israel - Kelly Craft, a major Trump donor, expected to visit Western Wall, northern and southern border regions, where she will be briefed on activities of Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Syria and Lebanon. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Bolivia renews diplomatic relations with Israel after over decade of severed ties - Ex-Bolivian President Morales decided in 2009 to cut all ties with Israel after Israel's offensive in Gaza, and recognized Palestine as an independent state in 2010. (Haaretz+, Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • Libya's Foreign Minister: Hope for normal relations with Israel - Abd al-Hadi al-Hawaj, in an interview with Maariv, conditioned relations between the states in solving the Palestinian problem. He condemned President Erdogan's activities in the Middle East. (Maariv)
  • Israeli president considering Jordan visit amid souring of bilateral ties - Rivlin may visit the kingdom after meeting a delegation of Jordanian officials in London this week following Abdullah's statement that relations are at 'all-time low.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Russia advancing deal with Israel to free Druze prisoner who spied for Syria, Palestinian sources say - Sudaki Al-Maqt's family members say that the Russian military attaché visited him in jail and told him Israel was willing to free him if he moves to Damascus. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel corrects statement after wishing 'good luck' to Myanmar in genocide hearing - Embarrassed by Haaretz report on ambassador's support for Burmese government facing genocide trial, Foreign Ministry says tweet was an 'error.’ (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • Israel Rescue and Service team assisting emergency operations in Albania - After what is the worst and possibly the deadliest earthquake in decades, Albanian and international teams including one from Israel, are rushing to locate survivors in collapsed buildings and amid the devastation. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israel to launch campaign on CNN to boost image in Africa - The decision to work with CNN comes in light of its broadcast potentially reaching more than 475 million households and hotel rooms around the world. (Israel Hayom)

 

Quick Hits:
  • Israeli Army Shoots 18-year-old Palestinian Dead Near Hebron, Ramallah Health Ministry Says - According to IDF, soldiers opened fire and hit one of three Palestinians throwing Molotov cocktails at Israeli vehicle driving by West Bank village. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • 16-year-old Palestinian Teen Said Killed by Live Israeli Fire in Gaza Protest - The teen was wounded in his stomach while participating in an independent protest near the border fence, Gaza's Health Ministry says; four others reported to be injured. (Haaretz+)
  • Car Set Ablaze, Inciting Graffiti Sprayed in Suspected West Bank Hate Crimes - In two separate 'price tag' attacks late Thursday night, Star of David was spray-painted and tires were slashed in Deir Ammar, and some 30 tress were damaged in As-Sawiya. (Haaretz+)
  • 'Jews, Stop Intermarriage': Racist Graffiti Sprayed in Arab-Israeli Town in Central Israel - Dozens of cars vandalized late Wednesday night in yet another attack 'not treated properly' by police, Jaljulia mayor says. (Haaretz+)
  • New Israeli Bypass Will Bring Settlement Closer to Jerusalem and Hurt Palestinian Farmers - A new section of highway will go around a refugee camp; grape growers say it will block access to many of their vineyards. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu Announces $11.5 Million Budget for Settlements as West Bank Leaders Express Political Support - A week after the prime minister was charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust, West Bank regional council heads say they 'want to see the continuation of your blessed work for the State of Israel.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli court freezes sale of Jerusalem church buildings to Jewish settlers - Legal battle between Ateret Cohanim and Greek Orthodox Church Patriarchate takes new turn as court vacates ruling that buildings were sold legally to the Jewish group. (Haaretz)
  • Israeli Supreme Court justice slammed for consoling terrorist's family - In a ruling over the petition of Sami Abu-Diak to the High Court to receive medical treatment that he said he was not being given, Justice Neal Hendel wrote in his approval to cancel the hearing due to the death of the prisoner in prison this week from cancer and added: “I hereby share the family’s sorrow.”  [That is the common saying for expressing condolences in Hebrew. - OH] An organization of Israeli bereaved families, Bohrim B’haim, with the support of the right-wing organization Im Tirtzu, demanded Hendel apologize to the Krivich family. He did: "I didn't mean to hurt anyone.” Abu Diak served 17 years of his three life sentences for the murder of the late Ilya Krivich some 18 years ago, at the entrance to the Palestinian village of Silt next to the settlement of Homesh, where Krivich lived. Abu Diyak ambushed him and shot him dead (during the Second Intifada). (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Bennett instructs security authorities to cease releasing bodies of terrorists - Defense minister issues new directive halting release of bodies of Palestinian terrorists for burial; decision to be brought for Security Cabinet's approval. (Yedioth/Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Israel demolishes homes of Palestinian suspects in soldier's murder - Cousins Nseir Asafra and Kassem Asafra were arrested two days after Dvir Sorek's body was found near the West Bank settlement of Migdal Oz. (Haaretz+, Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • After years of growth, Haredi enlistment in Israeli army dropped last year by 20 percent - IDF says most recruits are former yeshiva students who left ultra-Orthodox world. (Haaretz+)
  • IDF foils mass smuggling of military equipment to Gaza - Israeli security forces seize hundreds of parcels of dual-use products bought online in hopes of eluding detection, say materials were destined for terrorist groups in the coastal enclave. (Israel Hayom)
  • Lebanese Drone Enters Israeli Territory and Turns Around - Israeli military looking into circumstances of the latest in a string of incidents amid growing friction with Lebanon on Israel's northern border. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Video of Israeli kids terrified by (Gaza) rocket siren goes viral, illustrates toll of security tensions - Shpilman family's young children are seen trembling in fear after a false alarm Tuesday rattles Ashkelon. "We can’t go on like this," their mother says. (Israel Hayom)
  • State Witness Sues Justice Minister for Revealing Police Investigation Details - Hefetz, who turned state’s evidence against Prime Minister Netanayhu filed a civil suit on Thursday against Ohana and political commentator Yaakov Bardugo. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel arrests Nigerian woman, Israeli-born son ahead of deportation - Christina Blessing applied for asylum in 2008 but was rejected. In 2015, her request to receive residency on humanitarian medical grounds was also denied. (Haaretz+)
  • Saudi reporter secretly visits Israel, says 'loves Jewish people' - Prominent scholar slams Palestinians, says Arab countries should work toward 'real peace' with Jerusalem. (Israel Hayom)
  • Two youth national handball team players were suspended after being caught stealing at a department store in Germany - Amir Schneider and Lidor Peso, participants in the "Project Germany" for outstanding young Israeli players, were released by police after compensation payment for the items they stole. The Israeli Handball Association decided to suspend the players immediately and send them back to Israel today: "They are finished on the national team." (Haaretz Hebrew, Ynet Hebrew and Israel Hayom Hebrew)
  • Iranian Judoka to Compete in Tel Aviv as Part of Refugee Team - Mohammad Rashnonezhad, who fled his home country, said he hopes to show 'sports are separate from politics.’ (Haaretz+)
  • 'Iranian Hulk' joins bare-knuckle fighting contest - The 190kg bodybuilder and internet sensation, who vowed in the past to join the fight against ISIS, will make his debut in 2020 with fight organizers already planning 'Iran vs. U.S.A.' bout. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Relic thought to be from Jesus' manger arrives in Bethlehem - Some 1,400 years after it was sent to Roma as a gift for pope, the relic returns to its native city of Bethlehem in the West Bank where Christian tradition says Jesus was born. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Cyprus court rejects British woman’s claim of police coercion in gang rape case against Israelis - Last month the woman testified about the events at night in the police station, saying she was forced to renounce her story about the alleged rape. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Iraqi PM Formally Submits Resignation as Three [more] Protesters Said Killed - The unrest, which has killed more than 400 people, mostly demonstrators, amounts to the biggest crisis confronting Iraq since Islamic State insurgents seized vast swathes of the country in 2014. PM Abdul-Mahdi addressed Iraqis, saying that the Cabinet would be demoted to caretaker status, unable to pass new laws and make key decisions. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Iraq Protesters Burn Shrine Entrance in Holy City, Say PM Quitting 'Not Enough' - Public unrest, in which over 400 people were killed, mostly demonstrators, amounts to biggest challenge for Iraq since ISIS insurgents seized vast swathes of Iraqi and Syrian territory in 2014. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • (Israeli news) Report: Iran deployed US-trained Iraqi forces in deadly crackdown on protests - i24NEWS cites "credible source" who says some of the Basij forces cracking down on Iranian protesters are in fact Iraqi troops who have been given training by the US. (i24News, Israel Hayom)
  • Baghdad's 'Wall of Wishes' is source of hope - The wall of an abandoned public bathroom in the Iraqi capital has turned into a place of dreams for better times, where visitors leave prayers and comments in manner akin to Western Wall. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Iran Opposition Leader Compares Supreme Leader to Shah Over Response to Protests - Hossein Mousavi says crackdown on popular protest over gas price hike is similar to last-straw moment for Iran’s Shi'ite theocracy in 1978. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Violence Grows as Lebanese Crisis Deepens - As unrest spreads, clashes between rival groups awaken memories of the civil war. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Algerian protesters keep up pressure on authorities as election nears - The protest movement’s continued momentum poses major challenge to the military, which has pushed for the December 12 election as the only way to resolve the deadlock. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • United Arab Emirates Ramps Up Weapons Abilities - The oil rich state is investing massively into the development of a domestic advanced weapons industry. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Trump warms to Syria Kurds again, alarming Russia and Turkey - Washington will step up its forces and expand the war on ISIS with the Kurds, who hope to win a seat at the negotiating table. Meanwhile, Russia’s efforts at ending the conflict have failed and Iran is watching closely. (Haaretz+)
  • Egypt using secret agency to crush free speech, Amnesty says - According to international human rights group, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi has instructed Supreme State Security Prosecution to detain any who voice even the slightest opposition to his rule, labeling them as terrorists and dissidents; thousands jailed since his rule began in 2014. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Israeli president praises UK rabbi in veiled swipe at Corbyn - There is "no room for anti-Semitism in the halls of power," says Reuven Rivlin, adding that Mirvis’ “clear voice and leadership, particularly in the last few days, fills us all with pride.” (Agencies, Israel Hayom)


Features:
Palestinian Shot Dead When Israeli Troops Mistake His Towel for a Firebomb
Omar al-Badawi stepped outside to douse a small fire that started when a Molotov cocktail accidentally struck the wall of his house. At that very moment, Israeli soldiers shot him dead. (Gideon Levy and Alex Levac, Haaretz+)
Cold and alone, Israel’s poverty-stricken elderly brace for winter
In need of assistance, these old men and women who have no families they can turn to, say that feeling cold to the bone is worse than feeling hungry; 'I'm afraid of going to sleep because I'm not sure I will wake up,' says one elderly man. (Amir Alon, Yedioth/Ynet)
Why Jewish Israeli High-tech Entrepreneurs Are Commuting to This Arab Town
Klika QasemHub is the first government-funded co-working facility to open in an Israeli Arab town. It is becoming a role model for a shared Jewish-Arab society. (Judy Maltz, Haaretz+)
Nonprofit seeks to even playing field for Israeli Arab techies
Itworks offers advice and aid to job seekers, including women and Haredim, underrepresented in industry. (Amitai Ziv, Haaretz+)
The man behind Commando Bibi
Meet Guy Levi: The diehard member of the Prime Minister's protest group. He is from Beer Sheva, was the spokesman for Justice Minister Amir Ohana, and today he coordinates from his car the battle, together with the tight-knit group of Bibi admirers. Reporter Amichai Attali accompanied him during the tumultuous week he went through and gained an inside look at the ideology of the Bibists: how, in the end, everything is connected to Mapai (early Labor party that discriminated against Mizrachi/Sephardi immigrants - OH] and where, in their view, is the border between a legitimate demonstration and wild incitement that could end in disaster. (Amichai Attali, Yedioth Hebrew)
Secrets and Lies: Scenes From the 1947 UN Partition Plan for Palestine
A deep dive into the UN archive reveals a lively trade in ideas and plans that were thrown into the ring but ultimately left on the cutting room floor of history. (Ofer Aderet, Haaretz+)

Elections 2019/Netanyahu Indictment Commentary/Analysis:
Netanyahu's Dilemma (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) Netanyahu’s loyal attorney, the late Jacob Weinroth, believed that the prime minister should resign and try to reach a plea bargain in order to avoid a trial. Netanyahu rejected the idea at the time, and given his speech a week and a half ago, it seems he is still refusing to end the saga of his political life this way. On the other hand, if he takes the risk to cling to power and run in the next general election, then the worst-case scenario — for him —could come true. There’s a chance, proved by the sparse attendance at last week’s protest in the plaza of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, just a few thousand people and a single cabinet minister — that in a third election he will discover that his voters have also abandoned him. A loss at the ballot box will lead to the collapse of the main story arc: that the people are with him.
Fear Not, Israel, the State Has Been Saved (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) There’s no difference between the apocalyptic prophecies of the two camps. If Netanyahu stops being prime minister, it’s the end of the world. If Netanyahu remains in office, it’s the end of civilization. Neither side will settle for anything less. The Holocaust even stars in both visions — Netanyahu the Nazi, State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan the Nazi. There are verbal bullies on both sides, though the gutter language of the right is inferior and more threatening than that of the center left. There is an ideological vacuum in both camps. They put up strawmen to fight against and make them seem like an existential threat. Netanyahu on one side and the prosecutor’s office and media on the other, to each its enemy. Instead of engaging with the issues that will shape the face and the future of the state, we’re engaging with Netanyahu. And exactly what will happen to Israel on the day after? The political center will jump in the fountain in the town square. The right will put on sackcloth and ashes. And then what? Will we be in a different state? Absolutely not.
Every additional hour that Netanyahu heads the Likud causes serious damage to the right-wing (Nadav Haetzni, Maariv) It seems that since the mass suicides at Masada and during the Crusades, there has been no mass suicide movement in Jewish history like the one that emerged recently. They must concede that the game is over.
Netanyahu should be careful what he wishes for (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) The PM and his supporters claim collusion by law enforcement authorities in a bid to oust him, but their demand to investigate the investigators may drag up issues from the prime minister's history that do not show him in a favorable light.
Demonstration of support for Netanyahu was another failure to raise support within the camp (Prof. Arie Eldad, Maariv) Netanyahu's political fate is doomed, and it must be ensured that his downfall does not bring down the entire national (right-wing) camp. Following such a leader is not only a moral flaw, but also a serious political error.
The country is more important to your principles (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth Hebrew) The politicians are in the blame game phase: Who's to blame? But most Israeli citizens, an absolute majority, are not interested.
No Quick and Dirty Way to Dump Bibi (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) In contrast to the divided strategy of the left, the strategy on the right consists of total loyalty to the leader, while demonstrating a chronic contrariness towards anything identified as an elite. Netanyahu has applied this strategy to perfection. He played the role of a strong father figure, playing like a concert pianist on feelings of inferiority, a very elastic raw material. For now, a not insignificant portion of Likud still prefers going with Netanyahu into the wilderness of parliamentary opposition, rather than betraying the religion of loyalty or yielding to the loathed elites. This will change, but it will take time. Any parting involves a slow, prolonged process. Instead of understanding that the Likud community has had a consistent strategy that worked for many years, which is why parting from it is so complicated, Netanyahu’s opponents are constantly trying to educate Likud members while feeling superior to them.
When Netanyahu Eventually Departs, Don't Celebrate (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Netanyahu's powers are dwindling. But the coalition of resentment he so skillfully built, fueled by anti-elite anger, won't fade away – and all of Israel's problems will still remain.
His Majesty: Reading recommendations for Netanyahu's fans (Nathan Zehavi, Maariv) I have heard people say that it is time for Israel to have a king. And if a king, only Bibi is suitable. The only thing missing is that the prophets of today - (Netanyahu loyalists) David Amsalem, Miri Regev & Co. - will make Netanyahu king according to the will of the people.
Netanyahu’s End: A Frightful Spectacle (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) For the sake of gaining a few more months in the Prime Minister’s Office, anything goes.
Set Term Limits for Prime Ministers (Sami Peretz, Haaretz+) If the law would have determined that the prime minister cannot remain in office for more than two terms, the likelihood that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would have gotten into criminal trouble would have been much lower. Netanyahu was not born corrupt, but the longer he remained in office, the more his standards deteriorated and he mortgaged any and all important public values to guarantee his continued rule. He became corrupted and corrupted others because of his desire to remain in power.
Holding out for a hero in Trump and Netanyahu’s Sodom and Gomorrah (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Likud and GOP politicians deserve their own sequel to JFK’s bestseller: 'Profiles in Spinelessness.’
The prosecutor's office is a dangerous intersection of unlimited power and lack of control (Kalman Libskind, Maariv) Critics of the system are not fools and are not a danger to democracy. Attorney General Mendelblit, who talked about cases that frame people, and Judge Gerstel, who said that State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan was unworthy of his position, are not “Bibists.”

Other Commentary/Analysis:
Israel Is Rewriting the History of Middle Eastern Jews for Propaganda (Lior Sternfeld and Menashe Anzi, Haaretz+) After decades of being virtually absent from historical discourse in Israel, its communities of Jews from Middle Eastern and North African lands are finally getting their due, albeit in a partial and revisionist way.
Arab states are claiming the heritage of their expelled Jews (Lyn Julius, Israel Hayom) The international community’s wish to prevent the looting of ancient artifacts is understandable, but shouldn't apply in the case of the Middle East’s persecuted Jewish communities.
Arab Israelis' existence is a fact, recognition is a right (Maha Agbaria, Yedioth/Ynet) We are not a fifth column, and it is only right for the president to criticize such comments, but this should not even be open for debate; the Arab population of Israel sees itself as an integral part of the state, demanding full liberty under the law.
Freedom of Speech for One Side Only (Esawi Freige, Haaretz+) I’m fighting for my home. I was willing to sacrifice my life in the army and I’m still ready to do so. Don’t mess with us, it’s bigger than you. Do yourself a favor.” This is the warning issued by right-wing activist Ran Carmi Buzaglo to Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit in an interview he gave to TV Channel 20. Buzaglo is the person who set fire to a field in Kibbutz Nahal Oz a year and a half ago, after trying to fly an incendiary balloon into Gaza without taking account of prevailing winds in the area. Carmi Buzaglo was never questioned about his actions, and certainly not prosecuted. Only following public pressure after his latest statement did the police issue some feeble announcement, according to which they are “investigating” these statements. Carmi Buzaglo is not alone. Social media is filled with hate, which is spilling over into the street. A “hate report” issued by the Berl Katznelson Foundation found that in recent months there have been thousands of online posts calling for violence against leaders of the Joint List. Thousands of calls for violence and zero investigations. Despite past experience, the police are giving the right wing almost complete freedom of action, allowing it to say anything it wants to. The sharpest and most rankling contrast lies in the attitude of the police and other law enforcement authorities to the freedom of expression of Arab citizens and their leaders. This week, the head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, Sheikh Raed Salah, was convicted on several counts, including incitement to terror. Salah was convicted for things he said, harsh words, often irritating, but also because of a Facebook post in which he called on his followers to come to a court session that dealt with ownership of a Moslem graveyard in Nesher, near Haifa. The court convicted Salah even for a video in which he showed a book called Torat Hamelekh, which permits Jews to kill Arabs, a message which, amazingly, appears in this abominable book.
Netanyahu’s indictment could be a game changer for freedom of the press (Gol Kalev, Israel Hayom) A journalist’s interaction with sources, including politicians, is now suddenly under scrutiny – criminal scrutiny.
'You Can’t Knock on Their Door': Israel Strikes Some Gaza Targets Without Checking for Civilians in Real Time (Yaniv Kubovich, Haaretz+) The (IDF)  killing of the (nine members of the) al-Sawarkah family in Gaza reveals failures in 'fire and forget' attacks, where pilots don't see the target and intelligence isn't updated.
Israelis' invisible mental scars (Oren Helman, Yedioth/Ynet) We're used to dismissing it when we hear someone has been treated for anxiety due to rocket sirens, but those people carry the wounds of PTSD, and that's without even mentioning children growing up in constant danger.
The Israeli army's excuses won't help. Only war criminals kill nine innocent civilians in their sleep (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Had the IDF wanted to, it could have known exactly who was inside the shack it targeted in Gaza. But it didn't care, and now a little girl is left alone in the world.
US must be tougher on the Palestinians (Rachel Avraham, Israel Hayom) In the current regional climate, being “tough on Israel” is just a waste of time. It is like yelling at a cheerleader in a football stadium to give a round of applause.
Both Israel and Hamas Seek Long-term Gaza Deal. But That's Not Enough (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Israeli military chief finds surprising ally on easing of Gaza blockade, as threats on northern front take priority.
It is precisely under a transitional government that good news may come for residents of the South (Alon Ben-David, Maariv) A dramatic opportunity has been created to move forward in long-term economic agreement (in the Gaza Strip) and, for a change, there are also those among us who get that. Regarding the Iranian issue, however, the IDF will be required to keep one leg on the gas and another on the brakes.
IDF policy on Gaza could give rise to a more powerful enemy (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) Even though we've experienced relative peace, that doesn't mean Hamas suddenly decided to change its policies regarding Israel, it could be nothing more than quiet before a very big storm.
In apparent U-turn, Bennett in favor of deal with Hamas (Yossi Yehushua, Yedioth/Ynet) With the death of Islamic Jihad commander leader 2 weeks ago, Hamas and Israel recognize an opportune moment to advance a long-term understanding that could ensure quiet on the volatile border, and the new defense minister appears to be on board.
A desperate man put to the test (Shimon Schiffer, Yedioth Hebrew) 1.) Netanyahu does not intend to give up the possibility of continuing to serve as prime minister, even if it requires a run for the third-term elections. He stands in front of his supporters, asking them to abide by the law, and in the same breath he says ugly things about the media reporting on the acts of violence and rudeness towards the reporters who are doing their job. What will happen now? You can use a quote from Shakespeare's Richard III: "Please don't put a desperate man to the test." In other words, Netanyahu will do anything to stay in the Prime Minister's Residence. 2.) Bennett's proposal to step up our attacks on Syria is startling. He said that Israel must take advantage of the window of opportunity because of the weakness of the Ayatollah regime in Iran and remove its presence from the northern border. But what is even more startling is the fact that a new defense minister in the transitional government of someone accused of corruption is allowing himself to order the military to prepare for a proactive war against Iran. This must keep us awake at nights. If Shamir, Rabin or Sharon had been prime minister now, I am guessing that Bennett would have been invited to a brief meeting at the Prime Minister's Office, where he would eventually find himself fired or at the very least obliged to dam up his mouth. From Netanyahu one cannot expect such a reaction - his political fate depends on Bennett, and in the first place he appointed him to the post only because of rumors of his possible connection to Gantz. The fact that Bennett, a fresh defense minister in a corruption-accused transition government, is allowing himself to order the military to prepare for a proactive war against Iran must put some sleep before our eyes.
Gaza immortalizes what Gantz and Netanyahu have in common (Hagai El-Ad, Yedioth/Ynet) It was no coincidence that the prime minister reminded his so-called rival of their actions in Operation Protective Edge in 2014, when one was PM and the other IDF chief; the two are bound together by the blood of Palestinian children.
Where Netanyahu sees an Iranian threat, his new defense chief sees an opportunity (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) However, setbacks in Iran's expansionist military project in Syria won't change Tehran's long-term agenda.
Defining the confrontation with Iran as a war of life and death - is excessive (Tal Lev-Ram, Maariv) Even today, the defense establishment does not claim that Netanyahu makes decisions from foreign considerations, but even declarations have meaning, and they only serve an unnecessary sense of stress over a major confrontation.
The Iron Dome hides the real cost of Israel’s wars (Assaf Mond, Yedioth/Ynet) There is no censorship on the fact that Israeli soldiers or civilians have been killed but by having the protection of the Iron Dome, Israelis can remain oblivious to the risk that war presents.
**There are no settlers in the West Bank (Jason D. Hill, Israel Hayom) To begin with, the Israeli Jews are not settlers in Judea and Samaria; only noble and heroic pioneers refounding sacred Israel.
Kushner’s new priorities: Middle East peace out, border wall in (Amir Tibon, Haaretz+) From Israeli elections to the Palestinian boycott, Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ has faced countless delays. Now, with Jared Kushner tasked with building the border wall and getting his father-in-law reelected, its release seems more remote than ever.
In Arab countries, they are already talking about relations with Israel even before a solution to the Palestinian (issue)
(Jacky Khougy, Maariv) The path is far to a Ramallah bypass road, but the discourse about it began to interest the Arabs. Also: the election exercise that Mahmoud Abbas is doing against Hamas, and vice versa.
The dilution of higher education by BDS (Melissa Landa, Israel Hayom) American educators, particularly tenured professors, must find the courage to address the propaganda and the other unethical tactics being employed by the BDS movement.
The split screen (Caroline B. Glick, Israel Hayom) Circumstances provide an opportunity for Israel to use the chaos in Iran to its advantage. But our government is incapable of fulfilling its duty because Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit has decided that almost all activities require his prior approval.
Religious Zionism is put to the test (Motti Shklar, Yedioth/Ynet) The movement's uncompromising unity behind Netanyahu despite his corruption indictments ignores a considerable difference between its vision of the Jewish state and reality in Israel.
Why the Most Fiercely anti-Zionist Rabbi in the World Just Visited Israel (Samuel Heilman, Haaretz+) The tens of thousands who thronged to welcome the head of the Satmar Hasidic court weren't really celebrating his 'triumph' over the Jewish state at all.
Good Luck in Your Genocide Trial (Friday Haaretz Editorial) A diplomatic scandal that erupted Wednesday demonstrated once more the depth of Israel’s dubious relations with Myanmar (formerly Burma), which faces trial in the International Court of Justice in The Hague over allegations for the genocide of the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority. For years Israel secretly authorized weapon sales to Myanmar, even after the accusations of mass slaughter, rapes and the burning of Rohingya villages become known and after a European Union arms embargo and U.S. sanctions on the country. Only the tenacious battle waged by a small group of Israeli human rights activists, headed by lawyer Eitay Mack, brought an official halt to this trade. Despite the ostensible end of arms sales, relations between Israel and Myanmar in a number of civilian areas have become increasingly closer. For example, in May 2018 the Foreign Ministry signed an educational cooperation agreement with Myanmar. Ironically, it includes curriculum materials on the lessons of the Holocaust and on fighting racism. Recently, following Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s announcement that she would represent her state in The Hague, Israel’s ambassador to Myanmar, Ronen Gilor, sent hearty wishes to those charged with the massacre. “Good luck,” he tweeted on two occasions this week. He only deleted the messages after Haaretz addressed a query to the Foreign Ministry about it (Noa Landau, Wednesday).
Who can speak for American Jews against anti-Semitism? Not the ADL (Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) While British Jewry has pulled together against the threat of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, American Jews seem more focused on partisan grudges then on combating hate.
Even the Labor Union Doesn’t Care (Haaretz Editorial) With no deterrence and in the absence of a government, fatal accidents at construction sites continue to occur. On Thursday, another worker plunged to his death at a Jerusalem site. Amin Odeh Radaideh, 63, was the 43rd fatality in the construction industry this year. Despite the growing number of deaths, the agencies that are supposed to combat negligence in this area are not doing what’s required in order to fix the situation. Due to a lack of public interest in construction workers, most of whom are not Jewish [most of whom are Palestinian - OH], anarchy reigns.
With Over 400 Dead and PM Resigning, Iran's Hold on Iraqi Politics Is Eroding (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+slideshow) The next Iraqi prime minister will have to at least profess distance from Iranian influence, without jeopardizing close economic ties with Tehran, including dependence on Iranian aid.
What does Egypt's el-Sisi really want?
(Shlomo Nakdimon, Yedioth/Ynet) The Egyptian president recently brokered another ceasefire between Gaza and Israel with great élan, but continued armament raises questions about the Land of the Nile's true intentions.
Losing Its Grip on Gulf, Saudi Arabia Is Desperate for Political Win (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Trump's indecision and a wary Congress impel Riyadh to appeasement with neighboring Qatar, which has been under a Saudi-led blockade since 2017.
The Contract on Corbyn (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Corbyn is not an anti-Semite. His real sin is to fight against injustice in the world, including the version Israel perpetrates.
Boris Johnson Won't Protect the Jews, Either (Daniel Harris, Haaretz+) As U.K. Jews, we should be denouncing Johnson, the ultimate racist opportunist, and his xenophobic Conservative party, with the same fervor we oppose the institutional anti-Semitism in Corbyn's Labour.
 
Interviews:
How a Pioneering Geographer Envisions the Israeli-Palestinian Border
How did Israel ‘lose’ Taba? What happens if the Israeli government insists on including every tiny West Bank settlement on the map? Meet Prof. Moshe Brawer, the centenarian and the atlas. (Interviewed by Netta Ahituv, Haaretz+)
Pompeo to Israel Hayom: New policy on settlements will help resolve conflict
In special interview, US secretary of state elaborates on White House's recent announcement on legality of Israeli communities beyond Green Line. Regarding the administration's peace efforts and the political crisis in Israel, he says that he hopes that "before too long we will present our peace vision to the world." (Phone interviewed by  Ariel Kahana in Israel Hayom Wednesday)
 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
comments powered by Disqus