News Nosh 12.4.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday December 4, 2019

 
Quote of the day:
"The story here is not a story of money at all. The story is simply that our education system is in fact an accurate reflection of civil society. The litmus paper used as a murky mirror of the visible and covert processes in the State of Israel. A policy whose motto is 'Our situation is good, if you exclude the Arabs and the ultra-Orthodox' is a policy that promotes failure."
--Yedioth commentator Chen Artzi-Srur looks at the enormous gap between PISA test scores of Jewish and Arab pupils in Israel, whereby in math, science and language, Arab pupils are at least three to four years behind their Jewish peers.*

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • International PISA test for achievement in education: Israeli pupils are under the average (Hebrew)
  • We failed in education // Chen Artzi-Srur (Hebrew)
  • On the way to third round (Hebrew)
  • Holy naivete // Amnon Avramovitch
  • Guy, Lior and Raida received job offers following Yedioth article (on people with disabilities looking for work)
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links)
Israel Hayom
  • Galloping towards elections: Summit, explosion - and lots of accusations
  • The “je accuse” of the flock // Galit Distel-Atbarian
  • State Prosecution considering: “Bezeq,” Walla” and “Yedioth” will be tried in the Netanyahu cases
  • French hug: “Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism”
  • Concerning data of the PISA tests: Enormous gaps between Jewish and Arab pupils


Elections 2019/Netanyahu Indictment News:



Elections 2019 / Netanyahu Indictment Quickees:
Israel ‘failed’ in the international PISA achievement tests and the leaders of Kahol-Lavan and Likud failed to come to an agreement for a coalition government making the top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Meanwhile, the latest in diplomacy and in police violence.

The papers are quite certain that Israel is going to a third round of elections. Iraeli Prime Minister of the transition government and Chairman of Likud, Binyamin Netanyahu, and Kahol-Lavan leader Benny Gantz met Tuesday afternoon at the former’s request, and the two left blaming each other for the fact that they could not agree to form a coalition government. Kahol-Lavan demanded that Netanyahu give up his bloc of 55 MKs and negotiate only on behalf of the Likud. Netanyahu is equally insistent that he represents all the parties in his alliance. Moreover, Gantz has stated that he would not join a government led by a prime minster who is under indictment and Netanyahu demands to be prime minister for the first six months in a rotation government, despite his indictment in three corruption cases. Maariv titled the article, “Back to the polling stations.” Yedioth called it “On the way to a third round.” Kingmaker, Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman, threatened to join a right-wing government if Gantz didn’t agree to Netanyahu’s demand to let him serve first, indictment and all. Kahol Lavan was unsure whether Lieberman was serious or just trying to pressure Kahol-Lavan. Netanyahu and his rival in the Likud, MK Gideon Sa'ar, are both working hard to collect support within the party ahead of primaries. Yedioth Hebrew reported that Sa’ar gathered “an impressive list of support from local heads of government and gained significant - albeit only hinted at - support from the Samaria Council Chairman Yossi Dagan (West Bank).” Netanyahu, meanwhile, held personal meetings with about 250 Likud members over hours yesterday.

Other Top News Summary:
The terrible scores Israel got on the international PISA exam were big headlines. Not only did Israeli pupils get among the lowest scores, it failed to begin to close the gap between the higher level of Jewish pupils and the lower level of Arab pupils - instead it widened further. The same when for the gap between wealthy and poor pupils and those who live in the center of the country versus those who live in the periphery. (See Commentary/Analysis below for insight as to why.)

Diplomacy (and lack thereof):
France ruled that anti-Zionism is a modern form of anti-Semitism, and Netanyahu flew to Lisbon today to talk with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about Iran and annexing the Beqaa Jordan Valley. Yedioth’s diplomatic affairs correspondent Itamar Eichner reported that in Russia, Egypt and Canada there are no Israeli ambassadors because a transitional government cannot approve political appointments. (Yedioth Hebrew) Channel 13 News reported that "The White House is trying to promote non-war agreements between Arab states and Israel.” The US President’s deputy national security adviser met with ambassadors of Oman, UAE, Bahrain and Morocco and examined their positions on a move indicative of getting closer to Israel. (Maariv) Senior security officials have told Netanyahu:: "The (Beqaa) Jordan Valley declaration of annexation is dangerous for peace.” Security officials warned Netanyahu that a popular uprising could break out in Jordan as soon as King Abdullah takes Netanyahu’s statements seriously. It is also expected that Jordan will suspend the peace agreement with Israel. (Maariv)

Police Violence:
And in the most recent case of violence by security forces that reached the media, undercover police beat up an undercover Ben-Gurion Airport security guard - for revenge. The undercover security guard had asked the undercover policeman for his ID. When it became clear to both they were both undercover, the incident appeared to be over. But the undercover policeman went and got two of his undercover police friends and they put the security guard in a room, held him down and beat him till he need stitches. The guard was rushed to hospital and received stitches to his face. A complaint was filed with the DIP. The police officers were suspended from their jobs. One security guard at Ben Gurion Airport said: "Police cannot behave like criminals." The former Ben Gurion Airport security director said: "I have never seen such a brutal incident.” (Ynet Hebrew+PHOTO, Maariv, Maariv/103FM)

The incident comes just a couple weeks after a similar incident, where the police were violent towards people who acted towards them like equals, rather than as inferior. In November, a man in the E. Jerusalem Palestinian neighborhood of Issawiya, asked policemen not to park their vehicles on his private property. Walla news website reported that videos from the incident show police beating one of the residents, Adam Masri. His uncle, Muhammad Abu Hummus, appears to be trying to distance the policemen and then afterward is seen on the ground, injured. The complaint lodged at the DIP, by Attorney Tal Hassin of the Civil Rights Association, states that the policeman punched Adam Masri in the face, and then he was by joined other policemen who violently attacked him, knocked him to the ground, dragged him away and continued to strike him all over his body. Masri was then taken to the police vehicle, suffering from pain and bleeding. According to the complaint, he complained that he was having trouble breathing and then a police officer sprayed pepper spray at him. Masri was taken to the hospital for treatment and from there to the police station, where at the end of the investigation it was decided to release him to house arrest. In his complaint, he further alleges that 2,100 shekels disappeared from his wallet which was held by the police. Masri’s uncle, Abu Hummus, was beaten when he tried to help Masri. According to the complaint, "Abu Hummus approached in an attempt to stop the violence, and then several police officers attacked him, hit him and dragged him in the direction of the police vehicle. Abu Hummus was knocked to the ground next to the vehicle and the police continued to beat him all over his body. At some point, he lost consciousness, and woke up under the patrol car and his face was covered in blood. It also says that he was found to have deep cuts and bruises all over his body. Abu Hummus was arrested five days later on suspicion of assaulting police officers, but the court criticized the police and released him. "I have looked at the videos presented to me by the defense and the investigative material collected. I believe there is no need to expand. The videos presented by the defense speak for themselves. Indeed, the videos show that the respondent (Abu Hummus) is not pure as snow. He interfered with the work of the police officers, a job that is not simple and involves a great deal of effort, "Judge Mordechai Kadouri said in his decision to dismiss the police appeal. "At the same time, this is not a disturbance that involves a real assault against the police or an attack to the extent that it can be considered danger.”As a result, Abu Hummus’ complaint also states that the police "reportedly made a false report about the incident and claimed that Abu Hummus was the one who attacked the police." Police did not address the specific allegations and reiterated the message delivered a day after the clashes. Police said in response that "during a police operation in the village, a serious breach ensued that included a violent assault, Molotov cocktails and stones thrown at the police. During that weekend, 24 Molotov cocktails, rocks and fireworks were thrown at police officers at that location,  causing injuries to a female resident of the local area who was evacuated in serious condition. Five people were detained as a result,” police said. (Israeli activist Oren Ziv interviewed Adam Masri who tells the story in English in +972mag)

 
Quick Hits:
  • West Bank Olive Harvest Marred by 50% Surge in Thefts, Vandalism and Violence, UN Report Says - Forty-seven incidents of violence toward Palestinians and their property took place over the past tree months. Israel Police closed most cases because perpetrators were not identified. (Haaretz+)
  • These Settlers Got Expropriated Palestinian Plot From the State. Now They Rent It to Jerusalem's Municipality at a Profit - Amana organization receives the same amount it paid the state – $224,000 –every year in return for renting out only the ground floor of the East Jerusalem building. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Government Strikes Down Clause That Would Ensure Settlement Money Used Legally - The clause, which was abrogated at the request of Minister Zeev Elkin, said that local authorities would be notified, in order to remove all doubt, of restrictions placed on the way the money could be spent. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel’s NY envoys champion rights of Jews evicted from Arab lands - 850,000 Jews were expelled from their homes across the Middle East in the last century. Now, Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon and New York Consul General Dani Dayan are demanding justice for the victims. (Israel Hayom)
  • State Prepares to File Indictments in Netanyahu Associates' Submarine Affair - Police ended investigation a year ago, and recommended that Netanyahu’s associate and cousin, attorney David Shimron, be indicted for involvement in bribery and aggravated fraud, as well as money laundering. Former Navy chief also expected to be among those indicted. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Ex-Israel Bar Chief, Judge Charged With Bribery in Bench-for-sex Case - Efraim Nave (Effi Naveh) had intimate relationship with Eti Craif, while allegedly advancing her appointment as judge on the Central District Magistrate’s Court. (Haaretz+, Maariv and Times of Israel)
  • After Haaretz investigation into lone soldier suicides, Israeli army opens new support center - Decision reflects major shift in IDF’s approach to lone soldiers — a desire to take responsibility for Diaspora Jews volunteering in the military rather than outsourcing their care. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel's average temperature has risen by 1.4 degrees since 1950 - An Israel Meteorological Service report says that the rise was most pronounced over the last three decades, on par with global climate trends. (Haaretz+)
  • ICC prosecutor again refuses to launch investigation into 2010 Gaza flotilla raid - Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has acknowledged that war crimes may have been committed in the raid but decided that the case wasn't serious enough to merit an investigation by the International Criminal Court. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Jordanian officers detain Israelis at border over religious gear - Group of religious deputy mayors seeking to visit Petra was reportedly harassed by Jordanian border officers for wearing ritual fringes. "This is nothing less than an anti-Semitic scandal," official detained at the border says. (Israel Hayom)
  • Ireland announces funding of €8.8m for construction of solar plant in Gaza - Statement released by Prime Minister’s office states that the pair discussed 'regional issues and threats to the State of Israel, especially the Iranian threat.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Hamas set to renew Gaza border protests despite talks with Israel - The terror group publishes leaflets featuring violent imagery, calling on the enclave’s residents to come out in droves for the March of Return on Friday after a three-week long hiatus. (Ynet)
  • Bethlehem set for Happy Christmas: more rooms, more inns and part of its manger back - The Palestinian town, located in the West Bank, is preparing for its busiest festive season in decades with several new hotels and longer opening hours for the Church of the Nativity, where Christians believe Jesus was born. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Gal Gadot and Husband to Produce American Adaptation of Hit Israeli Series 'Malkot' - 'Malkot,' or 'Queens,' focuses on women from a crime family and their attempts to rehabilitate the family 'business' after the men are killed by a rival crime syndicate. (Haaretz+)
  • Transgender Palestinian woman beaten, robbed by West Bank gang - Young men from Kalandia refugee camp assault Jaffa resident Sammy; Last August, the Palestinian authorities threatened to "hunt down" and arrest anybody who dared to attend LGBQT events taking place in the Palestinian Authority. The threat was made after the LGBQT Palestinian organization alQaws (rainbow in Arabic) held a controversial event in the West Bank city of Nablus meant to advance gay and transgender rights in Palestinian society. (Ynet)
  • Jewish (American) actor Seth Rogen honored for contribution to Jewish society - The American comedian and his father Mark, receive the Generation to Generation Activism Award from the Jewish organization Worker's Circle during an event in Manhattan. (Ynet)
  • 43 Years After His Death, Jewish Communist Leader in Uruguay Finally Laid to Rest - Family announces 'with sorrow and relief' mourning period over Dr. Eduardo Bleier, who was kidnapped by the army in 1975 and killed the following year. (Haaretz+)
  • Rockets Hit Base Hosting U.S. Forces in Western Iraq - No casualties were reported, it added, giving no further details. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Hundreds of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon Return Home - UN refugee agency's representative says that about 225 Syrians are scheduled to return to the country as anti-corruption protests rage on in Lebanon. (Haaretz+)
  • Trump administration lifts hold on Lebanon security aid - Some $105 million in foreign military assistance, the U.S. State Department decided to withhold last October without providing an explanation, is being released after pressure from Congress and U.S. diplomats. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Trump Says He Is Looking at Sanctions Against NATO Ally Turkey Over S-400 Missile Deal - Sitting alongside French President Emmanuel Macron, Trump was asked whether he would issue sanctions on Turkey over the purchase of the S-400 missile system. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • NYT: Iranian forces shot dead up to 100 unarmed protesters - Report says Revolutionary Guard members opened fire with machine guns without warning as demonstrators against regime hid near a marsh in the predominantly Arab port city of Mahshahr. (Ynet)
  • Iranian television confirmed: Revolutionary Guards killed dozens of "armed" protesters - The Iranian media confirmed that the Revolutionary Guards had killed a large number of protesters: "The regime forces have taken steps towards the protesters to protect the country's residents.” (Maariv)


Features:
Arnon Milchan Law' Turned Israel Into Tax Haven for Billionaires. They Left When It Expired
Controversial law promised ten-year exemption, hoping tycoons would put down roots, remain and contribute – but it just turned Israel into a temporary tax haven. The start of 2017 marked 10 years since a wide-ranging change went into effect that granted new immigrants and returning Israelis exemption from taxes and filing tax statements with the Israeli authorities. The full story of its impact can now be seen as its provisions expire for its first users. (Efrat Neuman, Haaretz+)
5 U.S. Billionaires Who Are Potential Witnesses at Netanyahu’s Corruption Trial
Some superrich Jewish-American businessmen are in line to testify in a Jerusalem court at some point in the future about the Israeli prime minister, including Sheldon Adelson and Larry Ellison. (Amir Tibon, Haaretz+)
The Haifa Neighborhood That Came to Symbolize Dispossession, First of Palestinians, Then of Jews
A new exhibition tells the story of Haifa’s Wadi Salib neighborhood, an icon of the Mizrahi struggle in Israel. (Eness Elias, Haaretz+)

Elections 2019/Netanyahu Indictment Commentary/Analysis:
Israel’s Shame: A Billionaire Tax Exemption Born in Sin (Eytan Avriel, Haaretz+) The law that grants benefits to immigrants and returning Israelis is only of help to a handful of the very rich. When the benefits run out, the billionaires run away.
What the Likud knows but won't say (Uri Heitner, Yedioth/Ynet) Although most of the party's members won't express it aloud, and may besmirch Gideon Sa'ar for demanding a leadership race, they know he is right and that to save Likud, the prime minister has got to go.
Israel Has No New Government – and That's Great News (Nehemia Shtrasler, Haaretz+) From all sides we’re hearing cries of woe: Give us a government, we want a government, and it makes no difference to us whether it’s a national unity government, right-wing or left-wing. The main thing is that it be formed and do all the good things that are being delayed. But the government to be formed will have a huge funding problem. It won’t be allowed to add a single shekel to the budget, so it won’t be able to handle all the important tasks. Instead of adding, it will be forced to cut 20 billion shekels ($5.8 billion) to address the tough legacy left by the good and beneficent Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon: a much greater budget deficit than planned.
Why Netanyahu is not planning to resign (Alex Traiman, Israel Hayom) Israel’s prime minister believes that he is the politician best suited to lead the Jewish state at this critical juncture, and until the Israeli electorate tells him otherwise, he’s not going anywhere.
Netanyahu, Admired by the Second Israel, Links Himself Only to Tycoons (Sami Peretz, Haaretz+) Dr. Avishay Ben Haim, Channel 13 News’ analyst on the ultra-Orthodox community, says, “The battle against the persecution of Netanyahu has turned into a battle for the soul of Israeli democracy and against the attempt to deny the Second Israel a role in the democratic game.” To those who wonder what Netanyahu has to do with the Second Israel – the country’s socially disadvantaged – Ben Haim says, “Netanyahu is the Second Israel’s great love; it is his largest electoral base. The attempt to deny identity politics is intellectually ridiculous.”  But Ben Haim, with deliberate blindness, is talking about Netanyahu’s admiration among his voters, and is ignoring those involved in his legal entanglements: His associates Ari Harow, Shlomo Filber and Nir Hefetz, who turned state’s evidence against him; Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit and former Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich, religious Zionists whom Netanyahu appointed; and media and business tycoons like Arnon Milchan, Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes and Bezeq’s controlling shareholder Shaul Elovitch. Any way you look at these indictments, you cannot find even the slightest hint of a link to people of the Second Israel.
Remember Mofaz (Amnon Abramovich, Yedioth Hebrew) In the spring of 2012, Shaul Mofaz and the Kadima party responded to Netanyahu's pleadings and joined his government. Netanyahu vowed, he vowed, to legislate jointly and immediately the issue of drafting ultra-Orthodox men, change the system of government, open negotiations with the Palestinian Authority and formulate a social budget. The truth is that every Israeli patriot, who puts society and the state before him, would find it difficult to resist Netanyahu’s marketing rhetoric. Rhetoric is always steeped in historical fat and spiced with spices such as big challenges and fateful hour. After about two and a half months, Mofaz resigned. Netanyahu did not act, he did not intend to act, to fulfill even a single promise from his promises. Someone has already said of Netanyahu that he does not fulfill any promises so as not to create a precedent. He did, and with all his energy, openly and secretly, to dismantle Kadima and drag some friends from it for the benefit of his own political bloc. I suggest to Benny Gantz and to Gabi Ashkenazi (of Kahol-Lavan) to read Mofaz's resignation letter. It was one of the most stylish and reasoned resignation letters, and especially honest, that I remember. Like many good people in this country, I have dedicated my life and educated my children to serve the homeland, Mofaz wrote, I did not ask for power or for ministries, but only to achieve stately goals. I fell victim, he wrote, to the deception and mischief of a man with no inner truth. There are similarities and much in common between Mofaz and Gantz and Ashkenazi. These are former chiefs of staff who were drawn to politics and not into it. Politics for them was not a platform for a second career, but a means to continue to serve the people and the state. They…truly believe that we have no other country. Kahol-Lavan is the most impressive political success story ever since Kadima [formed by Ariel Sharon when he left the Likud in order to fulfill his plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, which Likud opposed. - OH]. Within a few months, it has become a major party, it appears to be a governing alternative, tagged in the center and not the left. It is a federation of three parties - Yesh Atid (Yair Lapid’s party), Telem (Moshe Yaalon’s party) and Hosen L’Yisrael (Benny Gantz’s party) - which has right and left, hawks and doves, secular and religious, but has, or at least had, one consensus: no more Bibi! At first glance, the Likud proposal captivates the heart. Establishing an equitable government… and at the end of five months, Netanyahu pledges to retire and remain Likud chairman, at the same time requiring a change in basic legislation that would allow for him to emerge as a deputy prime minister under indictment. The title is important to him for personal-legal-criminal uses and important to his lawyers. Ya'alon and Yair Lapid consider the proposal a transparent trap. Gantz and Ashkenazi think it should not be rejected outright, and that it is worth challenging. They see no purpose in a third round of elections that even after it would not be possible to form a coalition without Netanyahu. Between getting stuck with him and letting him fade with respect - the second option is better for them, from their point of view. If Netanyahu is dragging us into another election, and that is where he is dragging, he has at least another six months as prime minister - so why then his generosity? To this, Gantz and Ashkenazi have no answer. They, virginal politicians, unlike Lapid and Ya'alon, did not experience on their flesh Bibi the politician…Gantz and Ashkenazi are truly well-groomed, but careful for the holy naivete, it is impossible to make a coalition between those for whom Israel is above all and with one for whom Israel is after all.
A Civil War Is Raging in Israel. Now the State Must Rebuild From the Ruins (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) A civil war is raging in Israel. It’s not like the one in Iraq or the one that tore Lebanon apart for 15 years. There’s no bloodshed here yet, but the war is going on in cyberspace, and with blows exchanged in Tel Aviv squares as the sides threaten to bring millions onto the streets….Ostensibly, this is a battle over Benjamin Netanyahu’s fate, but actually it’s a struggle over the overall system. The prime minister’s opponents portray his remaining in power as a crime against democracy, an insult to morality, integrity and the foundations of proper governance. His supporters latch onto the law that lets a prime minister continue to serve under an indictment. The law, after all, is the basis for the alliance between government and the citizens. For Netanyahu’s supporters, anyone who questions the legitimacy of his rule is akin to someone negating the rule of law itself. This is how the demand to remove Netanyahu has turned from a personal matter into an ideological campaign waged around the status of the rule of law in a democratic Israel. It has become a polemic on the character of society. Should Robin Hood be prosecuted for allegedly accepting gifts and bribes worth hundreds of thousands of shekels from wealthy people around the world while giving the weaker segments of society  – the “Second Israel,” the “riff-raff”  – status and power? Or should he be viewed as a deplorable highway robber? …The law is just a bunch of words and letters, the will of the people is the real law and the city square is the court for handing down the verdict on the prime minister. For Netanyahu’s followers, obeying a written law isn’t only a political surrender, it’s a class defeat, an end of history and a return to rule by a [Ashkenazi elite - OH] mafia that wrote the warped laws in the first place, not seeing that it now faces a revered and exceptional leader. But without referring to the damage Netanyahu can still inflict in a term lasting only a few months, and without considering the threat of granting him immunity that hasn’t completely passed, we should note that extending his tenure could lead to further extensions until the final post-appeal ruling is reached. His immediate removal is essential if we want to start taking down the barricades, rebuilding from the ruins and returning the rebuilt house to its rightful owners.
The sick and divided Israel does not require leadership, just a work arrangement (Nir Kipnis, Maariv) At the end of a year of political chaos, we seem to have plenty of ideology from the left and the right. Now is the time for action.
Israel's Last Chance to Stop the Coup D’état (Tzvia Greenfield, Haaretz+) The expectation that Israeli politics would oust a rotten prime minister from his fortress on Balfour Street is hardly feasible. The political arena operates almost solely based on political interests, so we need another government institution such as the legal system, whose raison d’être is based on different values and commitments, to intervene and force the prime minister out. It’s interesting: The same right wing that’s demanding an overt politicization of the legal system through the appointment of “our people” to key positions is now claiming that the legal system is already totally politicized (in favor of “our enemies,” of course), and therefore isn’t allowed to criticize anyone and make decisions about democratic government.

Other Commentary/Analysis:
Dear Israeli Fighter Pilot, Now That You Know You Might Kill Innocent Children, Will You Still Obey? (David Enoch, Haaretz+) I know, it’s not what you wanted to happen. It’s not what you planned. Maybe it’s not what you thought would happen. It’s certainly not what you thought you would do when you wanted so badly to be a combat pilot. The heroic scenarios that came to mind were not bombing a rickety shack and wiping out nine members of the al-Sawarka family. The killing of innocent children, as sweet and innocent as my own, and perhaps yours as well. That was not the plan. Not that there weren’t warning signs. For years, the majority of the missions of the best army in the Middle East — the best in the world, they sometimes tell us — have not been heroic missions of survival, but rather ludicrous missions of occupation. The massive bombing of densely populated areas by our best men, serving in the most moral army in the world, has become routine, at least in the Gaza Strip.
Bennett's Dreams Are the Stuff of Nightmares (Haaretz Editorial) Defense Minister Naftali Bennett is acting like someone who believes his appointment was not merely an empty gesture, one aimed at filling a crack in the “right-wing bloc” that, for a moment, threatened Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s strategy for entrenching his rule. At the rate he’s been making declarations during his three weeks in the post, by the next election Bennett may bomb Tehran, or at least declare that he will.
Will donors demand change in UNRWA policies? (Rachel Avraham, Israel Hayom) Following the renewal of UNRWA's mandate and against the backdrop of corruption allegations, it remains to be seen whether donors will demand the Palestinian refugee agency undergo reforms.
Israel's Real Existential Threat Is the Gap Between Jewish and Arab Students (Haaretz Editorial) Israeli students’ poor results on the PISA exam sends a warning of unprecedented severity to the Education Ministry. The average scores, which fell below the international average in language, mathematics and science; the rise in the percentage of students who failed the test; and above all, the inconceivable gaps among diverse segments of society all require an immediate change in policy. Without such a change, successive education ministers will be leading Israel into an unprecedented socioeconomic disaster, even as the prime minister for the past decade, Benjamin Netanyahu, has demonstrated zero interest in the subject. The latest exam, given in 2018, reveals a real decline in the achievements of Arab students. As a result, the gap between them and their Jewish peers (whose scores didn’t change much) rose significantly. In math, science and language, they are at least three to four years behind. If you isolated Arab students’ scores from those of Jewish Israelis, they would be in last place among the 79 countries where students took the exam. Embarrassingly, the ministry found it difficult to accept these results, so in an unusual move, it asked the OECD to recheck them. Nevertheless, the ministry’s own internal check found no flaws.
*Failed Score - PISA test scores reveal: The startup nation and the people of the book are collapsing (Chen Artzi-Srur, Yedioth Hebrew) What will the State of Israel look like in 20 years? What and who will be its driving forces? Will it remain the startup nation and the people of the book? According to the PISA prophecy, all the impressive achievements achieved in epic sweat in seventy years could go down the drain. The PISA tests, unlike any other test conducted in Israel, test independent thinking, ability to draw conclusions and to process learning. You will not find any memorization or test on a particular material, but a test of a knowledge base that should have been acquired over years. The score of the State of Israel is a resounding failure. The score in science, reading and math - failed. Very low relative to OECD countries and considered terrible by any parameter. Score in the number of outstanding pupils - fail. The percentage of outstanding students is significantly lower (8% compared to 20% in similar countries). And who is outstanding? Jewish boys from the center of the country, of course. We didn't think otherwise. Gap Reduction Score - Fail Fail Fail. The State of Israel is the country with the most dramatic gaps. Between periphery and center, between boys and girls, but first and foremost: between Jews and Arabs. The Arab sector has a gap of half a school year behind the Jewish one, and this gap is only widening. And what about the ultra-Orthodox, you ask? They were not tested at all. One can imagine what the results would look like if we also put them into the equation. The Israeli Ministry of Education has a huge budget. The biggest after the Ministry of Defense. The story here is not a story of money at all. The story is simply that our education system is in fact an accurate reflection of civil society. The Israeli Ministry of Education has a huge budget. The biggest after the Ministry of Defense. The story here is not a story of money at all. The story is simply that our education system is in fact an accurate reflection of civil society. The litmus paper used as a murky mirror of the visible and covert processes in the State of Israel. A policy whose motto is “Our situation is good, if you exclude the Arabs and the ultra-Orthodox" is a policy that promotes failure. A policy in which we all suffer from poor welfare, medical, and education services is a policy that will never produce excellence. The Ministry of Education tried to reduce gaps between the Arab and Jewish sectors, for example, while allocating huge budgets. It did not work. In districts of neglect, violence, crime, and a sense of being invisible and feeling hostility, you cannot develop curiosity. That is Maslow’s hieararchy of needs. Social processes have no magic solutions. Only a real overhaul for the entire civil system can help in the end the child measured by the PISA test and who should be promise of our future. While politicians exchange accusations like socks, the most vital systems in the throbbing body called the State of Israel are in collapse and there is no captain who purports to offer root treatment. The PISA tests show a thousand witnesses that we are living today by the gas fumes of past successes, and that this has a deadline. If we don't wake up, we will find that the deadline is closer than ever.
'Why do they hate us?' (Ruthie Blum, Israel Hayom) Europeans, specifically those in the UK as they approach elections, “are reluctant to accept and admit that, despite all the Holocaust education and commemoration that’s taking place, and all the solemn declarations about having thoroughly learned the lessons of the past, anti-Semitism has returned in such strength.”
Iran's Middle East Empire of Anarchy Can't Survive (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) The grievances animating protests in Lebanon and Iraq are beyond anything Tehran or local leaders can cope with: This isn't an Arab Spring, this is a Persian Autumn.
Thanks to the pressure, and the spies (Shlomo Nakdimon, Yedioth Hebrew) Last week, Israel marked 72 years in November 1947, a Gregorian date that was partially translated into a Jewish date by David Ben-Gurion.. I was a 12-year-old boy sitting next to his parents in front of the radio receiver listening to the live broadcast from the United Nations. The joy was great, but Ben-Gurion, who was then staying at the Kalia Hotel in the northern Dead Sea, did not join in the celebration in the lobby…Indeed, the partition of the country and the declaration of independence thereafter led to a declaration of war against the "Jewish side" by six Arab states, to which joined irregular armies and Arabs of the Land of Israel. The story of the events that preceded the establishment of the state has not yet been fully told - for example, how until the last minute a struggle for US support at the UN vote.
Israel should carefully consider the Mutual Defense Pact (Amos Gilad, Yedioth/Ynet) Even though it seems like an obvious choice to make, agreeing to a defense pact with America might do us more harm than good, especially when you factor in restrictions on Israel as it tries to balance a relationship with both Russia and America.
 
Interviews:
Jews Should Speak Out for Marginalized Communities, Seth Rogen Tells Haaretz
Honored by progressive Jewish group for his activism, the actor-writer makes the case for social justice — and how Jews should be at the forefront of the fight. (Interviewed by Danielle Ziri in Haaretz+)

Trump's anti-Semitism Czar Thinks American Jews Should Be Thanking the President
Special Envoy Elan Carr says America never had leaders ‘this focused and determined’ to fight anti-Semitism, despite escalation in violent attacks against Jews and concerns by the community that Trump is at fault. (Interviewed by Danielle Ziri in Haaretz+)

 


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