News Nosh 12.8.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday December 8, 2019

 Quotes of the day:
"This is a period of uncertainty and such periods are fertile ground for incitement and hateful voices, fertile ground for discourse that seeks to turn the tables, to make the guards out as rioters, the protectors as attackers, turn falsehoods into truth. They will lie, and we will tell the truth. This is a period that an unprecedented delegitimization campaign is being made against the law enforcement system in Israel. It is a successful campaign in which hatred and incitement are the currency. This is no longer coming from the lunatic fringes of society."
--Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber said in a speech at the annual conference of the Israel Association for Public Law.*

"Dina's speech was rightly applauded here, but in groups where we have a serious problem of trust it did not achieve its goal - and perhaps the opposite.”
--Deputy Attorney General Raz Nazri said at the annual conference of the Israel Association for Public Law.*


Front Page:
Haaretz
  • Netanyahu acts for direct elections that will weaken the Knesset
  • Iran: Israel held test on nuclear missile directed towards us
  • US Foreign Ministry: Pompeo did not discuss with Netanyahu the annexation (of the Jordan Beqaa Valley)
  • Fake news network based in Israel attacked left-wing politicians across the world // The Guardian
  • The British will be forced to choose this week an unreliable candidate and an unliked one // Anshel Pfeffer
  • Even at the climax of a (violence and crime) crisis in the Arab sector, the murder of a 17-year-old in Shfaram was received with shock
  • Selective equality // Gideon Levy on the laws in France and the US that silence criticism of Israel
  • Boomerang of hatred // Iris Leal on Gideon Saar, ‘who supported the incitement of ‘Im Tirtzu’ and dares to complain now of being attacked by the Likud’
  • High Court stopped teh cannabis reform in order to protect the consumers - and left a mess // Roni Linder
  • If the indictment against David Shimron in the submarine affair proves true, it will be a testimony to the corrupt culture of lawyers in Israel // Ido Baum
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Things you see from up close - Yedioth follows the collapse of the health system
  • You don’t see from afar - Likely date of elections: March 3rd
  • In the meantime, in Sderot: Three rockets launched from Gaza
  • (Past articles marking) 80 year anniversary of Yedioth:
  • No more war // Eliyakim Rubinstein in 1979 on the peace with Egypt
  • A chapter in history // US Ambassador David Friedman in 2017 on the US recognition of Jerusalem
  • Eitan Haber on the Yom Kippur War, Chen Artzi-Srur on the kidnapping of the three youth (in the West Bank) (Hebrew), Tova Tzimuki on the (President) Katzav (rape) affair (Hebrew), Tzipi Shmilovitz on Obama’s victory
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Fateful week - Galloping toward elections - 3 days till end of mandate (to form government), Netanyahu wants direct elections, Likud Central Committee will vote over primaries
  • Direct election won’t solve the problem // Mati Tuchfeld
  • If primaries, then all the way // Yaakov Berdugo
  • In the protest tent against Netanyahu, they are looking for energy // Amnon Lord
  • (Transportation Minister) Smotrich initiates: Primaries for the united list of religious Zionist parties
  • Connecting worlds - President Trump to address the annual IAC conference later in the night
  • Despite the discussions for a long-term arrangement (with Hamas in Gaza Strip): Three rockets launched towards Gaza periphery; Iron Dome intercepted all of them

Elections 2019/Netanyahu Indictment News:
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called for direct elections, the US State Department refuted a claim by Netanyahu and three rockets were launched from Gaza - and intercepted by Iron Dome - while making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Also making headlines, on Friday at Palmachim Beach, Israel tested a missile, which Iran said was nuclear and directed at it, and on Saturday, Israel’s Foreign Minister said bombing Iran to stop its nuclear plans was 'an option.’

Kahol-Lavan said Netanyahu’s call for direct elections was meant to deflect attention away from his indictments, and in any case, with just a few days left till the Knesset dissolves, it’s unlikely it will approve any changes in the election method. Labor lawmaker Omer Bar-Lev is trying to collect 61 signatures from MKs to give the Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) a chance to form a coalition government. A Channel 12 News poll found that if elections were held now Kahol-Lavan would pass Likud by one seat. The poll also found that 52% of Israelis believe Netanyahu should resign over the indictments. Yedioth Hebrew reported that more than 70 high-tech entrepreneurs and academics are submitting an urgent petition to the High Court today demanding that Attorney General Avichai Mendelblitt decide - even before the election - whether in view of Netanyahu’s legal situation, he is fit to form a government. Joint List MK Ahmed Tibi predicted that his faction will be strengthened even more in the third elections, Ynet reported. Moreover, Tibi said, “2020 will be the year of impeachment of two people without whom the world will be better - Trump and Netanyahu. We will replace Netanyahu with the election where Arab voters will cast more votes than the last election."

Speaking at a Shabbat culture event in Beersheva Saturday about the impact of Netanyahu's cases on the law enforcement system, former Attorney General Moshe Lador said, "The only coup I see is the prime minister’s against the State of Israel as a state of law.” Lador said “There is a complete system meant to weaken law enforcement on the grounds that the public will decide.” (Maariv)

*But the elections/indictment-related statements that attracted the most attention were those of Deputy Attorney General Dana Zilber at the annual conference of the Israel Association for Public Law on Friday. Zilber called on the public to stand on the side of the law enforcement establishment following the recent attacks against it over the treatment of Prime Minister Netanyahu's cases. "To all concerned citizens - make your voice heard,” Zilber said. "This is a call to civil society, the intellectuals, the silent masses, the media. Now we need you to keep us safe so we can keep you safe from ruling power…This is a period of uncertainty," she said, "and such periods are fertile ground for incitement and hateful voices, fertile ground for discourse that seeks to turn the tables, to make the guards out as rioters, the protectors as attackers, falsehoods into truth. They will lie, and we will tell the truth: This is a period that an unprecedented delegitimization campaign is being made against the law enforcement system in Israel. It is a successful campaign in which hatred and incitement are the currency, this is no longer coming from the lunatic fringes of society. Loyal public servants find themselves [being portrayed - OH] as corrupt, power hungry, revolutionary monsters…Mantras such as 'The officials are stealing the state', ‘Stop the rule of the Attorney Generals’, ‘Corrupt prosecution,’ are spreading and buying hold among parts of the public. Seeds of evil borne in the wind, are awaking unrest, undermining basic conventions." Zilber also said that "the State Prosecutor's office and the Attorney General's Office are not free of mistakes. It is possible to criticize them. But it is not possible to distort the picture because of specific decisions which there is a particular interest in stopping, nor to tarnish the integrity and the professionalism of the system as a whole.” Zilber’s colleague, Deputy Attorney General Raz Nazri, praised Zilber's speech, but disagreed with the sharpness of her remarks. “It implied that we are always right and they, the inciters, are dark people," he said at the conference on Saturday. “Dina gave an excellent, superbly written speech, in which it was evident that it was written from the heart. My problem is the tone that comes from us on these issues. Dina's speech was rightly applauded here, but in groups where we have a serious problem of trust it did not achieve its goal - and perhaps the opposite.” Nazri also said that “we need to remember that the attacks on the Attorney General did not start now, they have been going on for three years on the part of those [who supported speeding up the indictment decision - OH] who claimed that [the Attorney General] was dillydallying in the Netanyahu cases, that he was a collaborator, a conciliator. Also against this it is appropriate to speak out." (Maariv and Yedioth Hebrew)

Marking its 80th anniverssary, Yedioth Hebrew shared a number of essays by people about the front-page story that was most significant for them. In a possible message, Yedioth’s legal affairs correspondent, Tova Tzimuki, chose her story about President Moshe Katzav going to jail in 2011. In today’s paper she wrote: “Former state president Moshe Katzav's criminal sex scandal had occupied the country for several years in the mid-2000s. Katsav, who was a political star at the end of the last century, was a symbol of the integration of the 'Other Israel,' from the periphery, into central politics. He was an immigrant who arrived, after an impressive career in local government, the Knesset and the government, to serve as president of the state. However, the forced ending of his term and the replacement of it for the benches of a prison symbolized for the citizens of the state that there is equality before the law and zero social and legal tolerance for sex offenses, treating women as objects and coercion in a criminal manner."

Top Diplomacy and Security News Summary:
In a move that rebuked the Trump administration’s overtures to Israel’s pro-settlement right-wing and Netanyahu at its head, the US House of Representatives passed a resolution that opposed the Israeli annexation of the West Bank and emphasized the need for a two-state solution. The vote took place just weeks after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that US administration considers West Bank settlements as legal. Deflecting the rejection of Netanyahu’s right-wing efforts, ‘Israel Hayom’ took a different look on the pro-peace, anti-Netanyahu vote with headlines that said that the ’Squad’ opposed the House's 2-state resolution on Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Rep. Ilhan Omar was said to be unhappy about the inclusion of language committing the US to $38 billion of military assistance to Israel.

Interestingly, it seems like there was some fake news being disseminated supporting Netanyahu.

1. ) The US State Department denied Netanyahu’s claim that he discussed Israeli annexation of the Beqaa Jordan Valley in the West Bank with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Netanyahu had also reportedly said he wants to be prime minister first in a rotation unity government so he can implement the annexation of the Beqaa Jordan Valley in the West Bank that he declared just before the second elections in September. Netanyahu said Thursday that during his meeting with Secretary of State Pompeo in Lisbon last week they had discussed his annexation proposal. Netanyahu said Israel has a ’full right' to annex the valley. Moreover, he denied reports that he agreed to serve only 6 months as premier as part of the rotation agreement with Kahol-Lavan. The ICC chief prosecutor expressed ’concern' about Israeli proposals to annex the Jordan Valley. The US State Department also rejected a report, according to which the US was working to bring Israel and some Arab states closer. It said that normalization "wasn't a topic of discussion" during Pompeo's Thursday meetings with Morocco's Prime Minister.

In other news, Israel conducted a missile test Friday, the Defense Ministry confirmed. Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said that the test was of a nuclear missile, and that it was aimed at Iran. Zarif slammed the United States, Germany, France and the United Kingdom for not condemning 'the only nuclear arsenal in West Asia.’ Then, on Saturday, Italy's Corriere della Sera printed an interview with Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz who said bombing Iran to stop its nuclear plans is 'an option.' He also said that “Israel and Saudi Arabia have a common interest.” The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Israel pushed US President Donald Trump to send 14,000 troops to the Middle East. Ynet reported that Netanyahu discussed on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday the situation regarding Iran, Syria and Israel's security needs in order to prevent any friction with Russian forces in the area.
 
Quick Hits:
  • Israel Threatens Hebron Municipality: Consent to New Jewish Neighborhood or Lose Property Rights  -The Hebron wholesale market site was under Jewish ownership before Israel’s establishment in 1948. Most of the Jews left in 1929, when Arabs attacked Hebron’s small Jewish population. Under Jordanian rule, Jordan leased land to Hebron Municipality through protected tenancy. After Six-Day War in 1967, buildings on the site were transferred to the Custodian for Abandoned Property, but municipality remained a protected tenant. In 1994, after an American-Israeli extremist, Baruch Goldstein, murdered 29 Palestinians at the Tomb of Patriarchs in the city, the Palestinian merchants were evacuated [sic - evicted - OH] from the market and it was declared a closed military zone. Municipality claims Israel needs its consent for proposed plan because protected status rights include entire site, including air rights to build additional floors or demolish existing buildings. (Haaretz)
  • Arabs Sue Tel Aviv Realtor for 'Racist' Housing Discrimination - Three women told by a realtor detecting their accent that an apartment was already spoken for, but he later agreed to show the same flat to Jews. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinian demonstrations held on Israeli Gaza border - Over 4,000 Palestinians demonstrated along the Israel Gaza border on Friday as part of the "March of Return" protests.
    IDF troops used crowd dispersal means in response. (Ynet)
  • WATCH: Israel Detains Palestinian Authority TV Journalists in Jerusalem - The journalists with the daily 'Good Morning Jerusalem' program were held for four hours at a police station in Jerusalem and later released, said Mohammad Barghouti, Palestine TV's general manager for news. (Haaretz)
  • In First, 13 Countries Oppose UN Resolution Against Israel - The five anti-Israel resolutions that the UN General Assembly did pass last Tuesday are among 20 concerning Israel up for vote, as opposed to six on other countries, including Iran, Syria, North Korea and Myanmar. (Haaretz)
  • Amid wave of violence, teen’s killing shocks Israel's Arab community - The murder of a 17-year-old has shocked people to the core amid violence that has claimed the lives of 90 Israeli Arabs this year. (Haaretz+)
  • Australian Lawmakers File Motion Urging Israel to Immediately Extradite Accused Pedophile Principal - Proposal could deal another blow to the increasingly fraught Israeli-Australian relations five years after Malka Leifer's extradition was first requested. (Haaretz+)
  • Wrong PM pictured on official invite to Israeli founding father's memorial - The announcement for the annual ceremony honoring David Ben-Gurion bore the Culture Ministry logo though it denied any involvement. (Haaretz+)
  • Dispute over a standards test is delaying implementation of compulsory use of safety scaffolding - Construction sites will be required to use scaffolding according to a stringent European standard from July to reduce accidents in the industry. Scaffolding importers say: "The Standards Institute requires us to have very expensive tests, the construction industry will find itself in July without scaffolding." (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Two Israeli Students Named as Rhodes Scholars - Anat Peled and Lev Cosijns received the fellowship to study at Oxford. Plus, David Zwebner reveals Ashkelon's secret South African history, and nominations now being accepted for two prestigious awards for immigrants. (Haaretz+)
  • Iron Dome's key technology to be sold to Czech Republic - In a deal, worth some $115 million, 8 radar systems capable of detecting incoming targets - from a mortar shell to a ballistic missile - are expected to be supplied to the NATO nation over a period of 8 years. (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • German Chancellor Merkel begins her first ever visit to Auschwitz - Poland's Foreign Ministry called her visit 'historic,' in an obvious acknowledgment of the unique status Auschwitz has in the world's collective memory. The ministry also noted that it was just the third visit of an incumbent head of a German government. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Air strikes kill at least 20 in Syria's Idlib - Airstrikes by Syrian government and Russian forces killed at least 20 people in rebel-held northwestern Syria on Saturday, activists and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. (Ynet)


Features:
Gideon Levy: These Boys Would Have Made It Home After School, if It Weren't for Israeli Sniper Fire
Two children, aged 11 and 13, from a refugee camp near Ramallah, were hiding from army forces during a stone-throwing incident. When they stood up they were wounded – shot from a distance by an IDF sniper. (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+)
Could future US administration undo Trump’s policy on Israeli settlements?
More than 100 Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to US Secretary Mike Pompeo, expressing "strong disagreement" with the State Department’s new policy and urged him to "reverse this policy decision immediately." (Israel Kasnett, Israel Hayom)
Operation Israeli citizen
Border Police officer Jamaysa Yael Bontong was born in Israel 20 years ago to a Filipina mother and Thai father, but never had Israeli nationality; when her commanders discovered that she wasn't a citizen, they embarked on a mission that ended in a very special ceremony. (Meir Turgeman, Yedioth/Ynet)


Elections 2019/Netanyahu Indictment Commentary/Analysis:
What really guides our elected officials? (Rafi Karaso, Maariv) If you really care about the state, its situation and ours, the citizens, and not just your chair, you will transcend yourself and reach a compromise. We'll see who lifts the glove and saves the economy billions.
A direct vote for PM won't solve the problem (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) Anyone who wins such a vote would be a prime minister without a coalition, without a majority in the Knesset, and incapable of surviving for long.
How Avigdor Lieberman Won the Battle for the Israeli Media That Netanyahu Lost (Gidi Weitz, Haaretz+) From Shaul Elovitch to Arnon Mozes – two names caught up in the prime minister's corruption affairs – the kingmaker of Israeli politics has taught a lesson about schmoozing media barons.
The nationalist camp has to ask itself what is more important: the leader or the goal (Kalman Libeskind, Maariv) Netanyahu was an excellent prime minister, despite the all out war that the left-wing and the press waged against him. Now he is blocked by a political wall, and this requires his supporters to make a tough decision...We will not go into the analysis of the evidence here in Netanyahu's cases, but according I will just say: At the level of the narrative, at the level of the essence, at the level behind the bottom line, I am not moved about most of Netanyahu's cases. Attempts to tell a story that portrays Netanyahu's "takeover" of the Israeli press seems like a funny joke…As far as the legal angle is concerned, there is no reasonable way to prevent the prime minister from continuing (in his role) if he does not decide to retire. Still, having said that, if the prime minister sends IDF soldiers to one or another military operation, it would be enough to have one soldier, one soldier, who would look suspiciously at the prime minister's decision and think he was acting for non-operational reasons and that his considerations got mixed with foreign considerations which are also related to his legal and public situation - it is enough for this one mother in order to make this situation problematic…In the current situation, when he is indicted, every move Netanyahu will make will appear to be a suspicious one stemming from personal interests. And from this point, Netanyahu's continued serving in the role, before or after the election, will be the largest insurance certificate for the police and the state prosecutor's office, which will ensure that nothing will change. What should be done to fix it? Require any candidate who wants to replace Netanyahu to present a plan of action to correct any flaws in the system, to support only those who would draft such a serious plan - and not give up as we have given in to Netanyahu all these years…Here, I would like to speak to those with a world view of the national camp. Let us suppose, for the sake of further discussion, that you are completely  justified in claiming that a great injustice was done to Netanyahu, that he should not have been indicted, even the most minor indictment; That the prosecution stitched a case against him; That the left-wing put pressure on it, and that Kahol-Lavan is acting unacceptably when it decided, even before the indictment, to reject him personally… Now you have to look into reality with your eyes and decide what to do with it, even given the healthy instinct that calls for a war to be fought for those who think you are wronged. After all, as unfortunate as it is, one must recognize that Binyamin Netanyahu, in his current state, is becoming a weight on the back of the nationalist camp…
The winners and losers of a third round of elections (Moran Azulay, Yedioth/Ynet) Netanyahu's prosecution is on hold, Lapid will once again be up for the position of PM, and Bennett will get to keep his dream job; while politicians pledged to make every effort was made to avoid another national vote, almost everyone in the political system had something to gain from another trip to the polls.
Netanyahu heading for a plea deal (Avi Tiomkin, Haaretz+) In his view, he will always be Dreyfus on steroids – but the costs of fighting the indictments are just too high, and a bargain with the law just too good to pass up.
The demonstrations were just a trailer: in the upcoming elections, members of the judiciary will also be in the cross hairs (Anna Barsky, Maariv) Both Netanyahu and Gantz have good reasons to fear further elections, but the third round is already here. And those who thought we had already seen a record of filth are apparently living in an illusion.
Explained: Same Same, but Extremely Different: Trump Impeachment vs. Netanyahu Indictment (Amir Tibon, Haaretz+) Both leaders are attacking law enforcement to push back against their legal woes, but the comparison ignores important distinctions between them and between the Israeli and American legal systems.
On his way to court, the Prime Minsiter creates a hostile environment towards those who will do decide his fate (Attorney Yechiel Gutman, Maariv) Netanyahu's incessant attacks on the justice system are a grave mistake. If Kahol-Lavan fears that Netanyahu will not retire at the end of the agreed period of a rotation unity government, this could be regulated by legislation.
Netanyahu Is the Obstacle to a Right-wing Government (Israel Harel, Haaretz+) Benjamin Netanyahu’s supporters on the right are making a double error, both moral-educational and political-utilitarian. Their main fear is that if he is no longer prime minister, the right will be defeated and the left will return to power. This is a total misunderstanding.
Netanyahu’s Greatest Assault (Friday Haaretz Editorial) Netanyahu is busy with everything except the most shameful failure in the country he has headed for the past decade – the results of the 2018 PISA exam, which were released this week. These showed a frightening drop in Israeli students’ performance, to below the international average, in language, math and science. And above all, they revealed growing gaps between different segments of society. His blatant disregard of Arab students’ failure on the PISA exam is the clearest possible evidence of the criminal carelessness of his leadership.

Other Commentary/Analysis:
France's New Definition of anti-Semitism Has Nothing to Do With Fighting It (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) It’s hard to think of a purer expression of “Netanyahu-esque manipulation” – a combination of legal bullying, emotional extortion and sophisticated engineering of meaning – than defining anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism and charmingly imposing it on foreign countries.
French resolution: First victory in long fight against BDS (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) The decision by France's National Assembly to recognize anti-Zionism as a form of anti-Semitism puts a considerable spoke in the wheels of the BDS propaganda machine and will hopefully lead to further actions against the racist anti-Israel movement.
From Now On, Every Palestinian Is an anti-Semite (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) The plague is spreading. Under cover of the (just) war against anti-Semitism, Europe and the United States silence every voice daring to criticize Israel. Under cover of this war, they are undermining their freedom of speech. Incredibly, this new phenomenon is not triggering any protest, as one would expect. Laws labeling anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism and the anti-occupation movement as anti-Semitic, are passed with overwhelming majorities. Now they are playing into the hands of Israel and the Jewish establishment, but they are liable to ignite anti-Semitism when questions arise about the extent of their meddling.
The West's lethal triple lock of Jewish hatred (Melanie Phillips, Israel Hayom) Many think that anti-Semitism is a prejudice against Jews as people, whereas anti-Zionism and Israel-bashing are legitimate attacks on a political project.
Arab Education Is Our (the Arabs') Responsibility (Esawi Freige, Haaretz+) It's not enough to blame the state for the poor results of Arab students in Israel: The community needs to take action too.
The PISA (international education exam) tower: The ministers in charge are not responding to failure in education (Lilach Sigan, Maariv) Israel's students dropped to 29th place out of 37 countries of the OECD, and a silence is recorded by the education minister of the last term, Naftali Bennett. He's busy with security now, and (the scores) are uncomfortable for propaganda.
Restoring Security in Arab Communities (Amnon Be’eri-Sulitzeanu and Thabet Abu-Rass, Haaretz+) How does one create a sense of security? First of all, the state must establish a good policing system – an effective but fair one. This means a permanent presence in communities, with police officers seeing themselves as public servants, cease to constantly try to turn criminals into collaborators; and instead deliver equitable public services to Arab citizens, without relating to them as a security threat. Secondly, one has to deal with the deeper roots of violence. This includes the elimination of poverty in Arab communities, since this is a well-established cause of crime; improving the education system as a key for better integration into the workforce; the establishment and operation of youth centers, with sport and leisure facilities that offer the nargila (hookah) generation other alternatives; increasing available land and relieving the dire housing shortage that causes great stress in these communities; and developing financial tools that increase accessibility to capital and credit, thereby avoiding the need to take out loans in the grey market, a major source of violence. Thirdly, one must enhance the fight against criminals and gangs through stricter law enforcement and stiffer sentences. Criminal elements aren’t interested in a sense of security (on the contrary, they thrive in societal chaos) and they will never voluntarily surrender their weapons…
Israel and Hamas are making progress, but the potential for further rounds remains high (Tal Lev-Ram, Maariv) The relationship between the terrorist organization and Israel has never been closer, even if conducted indirectly. And as in other areas, the political deadlock affects decision-making ability.
House resolution on annexation is a wake-up call for Israel and Netanyahu (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+)  House Resolution 326 is non-binding, but the Democrats’ warning is crystal clear: Israel’s total alignment with Trump comes at a price.
Trump doesn't really care about Israel (Tzipi Shmilovitz, Yedioth/Ynet) What seems like unconditioned support for the Jewish state from the U.S. president is primarily a personal political survival mechanism – keep Christian right and Orthodox Jews fully united behind him.
The One Move Trump Should Make to Actually Defend Israel (Chuck Freilich, Haaretz+) Israel’s defense establishment has always been cool to the idea of a defense treaty with America. But a formal pact is now urgent - and strategically vital.
Hezbollah commandos are back on Israel's border, and they're armed with the element of surprise (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Israel believes Nasrallah is deterred since the 2006 war, but thinks Hezbollah and Iran are seeking to challenge it with a limited conflict
The King of Jordan is losing public points, and he’s taking the cost from Israel (Jacky Khougy, Maariv) This week's show trial in Amman for an Israeli citizen, who infiltrated Jordan by crossing the Jordan River in middle of the night and was caught with one marijuana cigarette on him, was one of the highlights of a series of anti-Israeli stings by the Hashemite kingdom. Something strange is passing over His Highness.
Preserving the peace with Jordan (Caroline B. Glick, Israel Hayom) By all accounts, peace with Jordan, and the survival of the Hashemite monarchy are among Israel’s key strategic interests. But as Netanyahu rightly noted, that peace is not a function of Israel’s popularity among the Jordanians. It is predicated on Israel’s deterrent power.
Damage to Israel's security inflicted by submarine affair will linger for decades (Hagai Amit, Haaretz+) Since the scandal involving Netanyahu's associates broke, Israeli defense procurement has become a sensitive issue, making hardly any progress.
The questions remain open (Giora Eiland, Yedioth Hebrew) The criminal aspects of Case 3000 (the Submarine Affair) should not be the forefront of everything. The affair is actually made up of six issues in which politically puzzling decisions have been made, and strange processes have taken place between government ministries, the defense establishment and private entities. These issues can be divided into two groups: First, there are three issues regarding submarine procurement, i.e. the intention to purchase a sixth submarine, the decision to purchase three more submarines, and to the strange process in which Germany was allegedly authorized to sell advanced submarines to Egypt. In the second group there are equally serious issues, and they include the puzzling activity to acquire two naval vessels (anti-submarine); the acquisition of four ships for protection of economic waters;  and an attempt to seize control of navy shipyards. Due to the shortness of time I will only focus on the second group. Former Defense Minister Ya'alon claims that prime minister at the time [Binyamin Netanyahu - OH] turned to Germany with the intention of acquiring from Thyssenkrupp, in addition to two submarines, also two ships with anti-submarine capability. This statement raises questions: First, is it possible for the PM to initiate such a move behind the back of the IDF and of the Defense Ministry? This is similar to a request to buy squadron of F-16s without the Air Force commander knowing it. Secondly, since when did Israel buy anti-submarine ships? Anti-submarine dedicated equipment is installed on ships. The Israeli Navy, due to its small size, is built on versatility, with its missile boats being built to perform a variety of missions, some of which also discover submarines. Butexpensive ships were never “wasted” only for this mission. Third and foremost, suppose such ships were necessary. Why buy from Germany? Contrary to submarines which make sense to continue to buy from the same supplier (Thyssenkrupp) there is no logic to prefer this manufacturer. There are dozens of shipyards capable of producing such ships, including shipyards in Israel and the US…
Needed: A Commission of Inquiry Into the Submarine Affair (Haaretz Editorial) The corruption involved in the purchase of submarines and ships from the German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp makes it among the worst such affairs in Israel’s history. It involves bribery, fraud, breach of trust and money laundering by a criminal network that functioned at the highest levels of Israel’s government and business people between 2009 and 2019 , funnelling government funds from the defense budget into private pockets, by swaying decisions regarding purchases from the German shipbuilder. Almost all the suspects in this case, known as “Case 3000,” are close associates of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, or officials who worked with him in the past. A whole array of indications shows the involvement of Netanyahu himself in some of the affairs, and key questions in the matter remain unanswered – for example, the reason the Germans were given permission to sell advanced submarines to Egypt behind the back of the defense establishment. And yet Netanyahu was not questioned in the affair, with the heads of Israel’s law enforcement system, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit and State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan, at pains to make clear that there was no suspicion at all about Netanyahu in this context.
Democracies or dictatorships, which will fall first? (Ken Abramowitz, Israel Hayom) Governmental instability is rising in democracies and dictatorships all over the world, which of these two forms of government is more unstable?
Let's stop calling each other Nazis (Shoshana Chen, Yedioth/Ynet) The lax use of this awful epithet to describe one's political opponents is commonplace in Israeli society, and it is highly disrespectful to the memory of the Holocaust; we must respect those whose opinions we oppose.
Forget billionaires: Israel shouldn't be subsidizing aliyah at all (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) The idea of mass immigration is uneconomic for a country this rich and crowded. Immigrants should be welcome but Israel doesn’t need to be giving them aid.
If NATO is going to fight terrorism, it needs Israel (Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) The real dispute over the future of the alliance isn’t about Trump, but why Turkey remains inside the tent and the Jewish state remains on the outside looking in.
Libya's Civil War: The Real Reason Putin Is Playing Both Sides (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Russia's moves have awakened Washington, but it's not clear what it has to offer.
Iraq Loses Billions as Key Oil Port Kept Shut 'By Order of the People' (Zvi Bar’el, Haaretz+) In addition to over 400 people killed in two months of unrest, protesters have blocked off key roads and paralyzed business as the national debt climbs.

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