News Nosh 1.22.20

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday January 22, 2020
Quote of the day:
"Gantz, the citizens of the country deserve hope and not imitation - that's not how to replace the prime minister. Annexation is the elimination of any chance of democracy and peace. You've probably forgotten that there is life also after the (election) campaign. The pathetic attempt to scramble a few votes from the right is not worth the destruction of the future of us all."
--Chairman of the Joint List, Ayman Odeh, said in response to Kahol-Lavan leader, Benny Gantz's, declaration that Israel must annext the Beqaa Jordan Valley in the West Bank.*

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Leaders from dozens of countries will arrive today in Jerusalem and say: Never again
  • Unforgivable, unfathomable // French President Emmanuel Macron
  • It is impossible to let it be forgotten or to forget // Israel President Reuven Rivlin
  • We need to speak about the price of the release of Naama Issachar // Nahum Barnea
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • “United against anti-Semitism” - 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau Camp - Leaders of the world land in Israel for the events of the Holocaust Forum
  • Making history // President Reuven Rivlin
  • Exclusive - Alexander’s Courtyard (in Jerusalem) was transferred to Russia
  • Cold, rainy, snowy
  • The battle over the annexation of the Beqaa Jordan Valley
Israel Hayom

Other Top News Summary:
World leaders arrive in Israel for an Auschwitz ceremony in order to declare their opposition to anti-Semitism at Thursday’s Holocaust Forum, journalists begin asking - and answering what Israel will have to give to Russia to get jailed backpacker Naama Issachar released and Opposition leader Benny Gantz declares Israel must annex the Jordan Beqaa Valley in the West Bank sparking a ‘declaration war’ with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over who will actually do it and when - abd making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Delegations from 49 countries, including 41 heads of state, are attending Thursday’s events marking 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. French President Emmanuel Macron and US Senator Nancy Pelosi have already arrived and other high-profile dignitaries such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and US Vice President Mike Pence arrive Thursday.

The person starkly missing is the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, who canceled his attendance over not being allowed to give a speech, when the subject of the event, the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, is in his country, and yet Putin is allowed to give a speech. The Israeli commentators have mostly taken the side of Duda, and supported his claim that Putin is trying to rewrite history and blame Poland for the Holocaust. (See Yedioth’s Sever Plocker and Haaretz’s Anshel Pfeffer in Commentary/Analysis).

Maariv also reported that members of the Islamic-Arab Council will participate in a tour of Auschwitz to mark the anniversary. Council President Mohammed al-Issa and CEO of the Council in Lebanon, Dr. Muhammad Ali al-Husseini, have announced their participation in the tour with other members of the Council. "The visit will include a visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp as an expression of Islamic condemnation of Nazi crimes in the Holocaust, these are crimes against humanity,” said Al-Husseini. “We refuse to accept any form of religious oppression be it in the past or in the future.” Al-Husseini joins Saudi cleric Mohammed al-Issa, the former justice minister, who is expected to say a prayer in memory of those who perished during the Holocaust. According to the Arab media, which is closely following the historic visit, the prayer of the Saudi cleric was at the request of the Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, a staunch supporter of the dialogue between the three monotheistic religions.

Meanwhile, after days of reporting how much Israel and Naama Issachar’s mother hope Putin will pardon her during his visit here and how likely it is to happen, even according to Russia’s chief rabbi, the newspapers woke up and began asking what will be the cost that Israel will have to pay for her return. Yedioth suggested there are five different “unofficial gestures” that Russia “expects” Israel to make. They are 1.) to stop expelling Russian citizens landing at Ben-Gurion Airport out of fear that they are coming to seek work or ask for asylum, 2.) to adopt Russia’s narrative that Poland is responsible for the Holocaust, 3.) to return to Russian ownership ‘Elizabeta’s Courtyard,’ known in Israel as the ‘Russian Compound’ in Jerusalem, 4.) to change the train track line in Jerusalem that is yet to be built so it will not go past the Russian church in Ein Karem, 5.) put in order the ownership and payment claims regarding assets and sites like the Russian church in ‘Alexander’s Courtyard’ in Jerusalem’s Old City. Maariv wrote today that the deal - or at least part of it - was the transfer of the Alexander Courtyard in Jerusalem to Russian ownership. Maariv received a document that reveals the complex was already handed over to the Russians on December 30. For fascinating reading on the give-and-take, and why Israelis have ignored this part of the story, read Nahum Barnea’s analysis in Commentary/Analysis and the interview with the former deputy head of Israel’s National Security Council and former senior official in the Foreign Ministry, Eran Etzion, in the Interviews section.

For days, the Hebrew papers have been focusing on the “honor” that so many great leaders are arriving in Israel and only today the front pages actually focused on the Holocaust itself. That said, ‘Israel Hayom’ reported that Israel’s Foreign Ministry was irked that French President Emmanuel Macron was going to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during his visit here.

Yesterday, Haaretz+ asked if the visit by US special envoy, Jared Kushner, was a signal of the release of US President Donald Trump’s Mideast peace plan. Because Israeli officials were convinced the ‘deal of the century’ would be published before the March 2 election. (However, on Wednesday, Kushner canceled his visit to Israel citing ‘the weather.’)

Elections 2020 / Netanyahu Indictment News:
During a tour of the Jordan Beqaa Valley in the West Bank, alongside his most right-wing partner, Moshe Yaalon, Kahol-Lavan leader Benny Gantz promised to annex the land - in coordination with the international community (Haaretz+'s Noa Landau called that 'spin') and said: “Israeli governments that spoke of the possibility of returning the area [to Jordanian control] were making a grave strategic and security mistake, and we see this strip of land as an inseparable part of the State of Israel." This declaration comes after Netanyahu has said repeatedly that he wants to stay in power so he can arrange for the US to approve the annexation. Hours later, at the Likud Conference launching the party’s election campaign, Netanyahu gave a speech calling Kahol-Lavan “left-wing” and promising to one-up Gantz by applying Israeli sovereignty to all settlements: "They are left-wing it's not shameful. Be you, be real, stop hiding, Kahol-Lavan- you're left-wing. We will soon be applying Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and the Northern Dead Sea. Without delay and without any veto of Ahmed Tibi. Not only will we not uproot any settlement, we will apply Israeli law to all settlements, Gush Etzion, Ma'aleh Adumim, Ariel and all other localities, without exception." (Maariv) Palestinian President Abbas responded that annexation of West Bank territory would 'eradicate the foundations' of the political process and throw region into instability. Next week, Netanyahu will bring to the Knesset a government bill to annex the Beqaa Jordan Valley. (Maariv) But he'll also face the first hearing on his request for immunity -  be held on Thursday, January 30. The date was set even before the establishment of a special Knesset committee that will hear the immunity requests of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and MK Haim Katz. (Maariv)

*The left and center parties slammed Gantz. Labor-Gesher-Meretz MK, Tamar Zandberg said, “The attempt to bypass the (extreme right-wing) fringes from the right will end in a terrible crash.” Labor-Gesher-Meretz list Chairman Amir Peretz also attacked Kahol-Lavan: "I expect Kahol-Lavan not to be dragged into the extreme right-wing agenda led by (Bezalel) Smotrich. The future of the Jordan Valley should be determined as part of negotiations and an overall agreement.” Labor-Gesher-Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz wrote: “If this is the answer of Kahol-Lavan to the hollow spin of the right - it indicates insecurity. And if this is really the intention, to unilaterally annex 40% of the Territories and eliminate any chance of a peace agreement - this indicates a lack of logic. I don't know what's more serious. Either way, it makes it clear that left-center people have nothing to look for in Kahol-Lavan.” And the Chairman of the Joint List Ayman Odeh said: "Gantz, the citizens of the country deserve hope and not imitation - that's not how to replace the prime minister. Annexation is the elimination of any chance of democracy and peace. You've probably forgotten that there is life also after the campaign. The pathetic attempt to scramble a few votes from the right is not worth the destruction of the future of us all." (Maariv)

In other election news, Telegrass founder Amos Silver was disqualified from running for the 23rd Knesset elections. Silver, who was extradited to Israel for prosecution on drug-related charges, was the number 2 candidate on the list called "Economic Dawn.” His wife claimed that if Netanyahu can run while indicted, then he can, too. (Maariv)
Quick Hits:
  • Three Palestinian [teens] Shot Dead by Israeli Forces After Crossing From Gaza - Suspects launched explosive devices at a military force several hundred meters inside Israeli territory, army says. The three Palestinians were identified as Muhammad Hani Abu-Mandil, Salem Ana'ami and Mahmoud Said, 16- to 18-year-old residents of central Gaza. (Haaretz+, Ynet, Maariv and VIDEO, Israel Hayom and WAFA Palestinian news agency) [NOTE: Ynet does not use the words ‘shot dead’ and instead uses the ambiguous word ‘neutralizes.’ - OH]
  • Israeli Court Rules Homeless Shelter, Mall Can Be Built Over Muslim Cemetery - Judge rules that interests of the living should take precedence over those of the dead in case of Ottoman-era cemetery in Jaffa. Judge Avigail Cohen’s ruling relied in part on the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem, which was also built on the site of a former Muslim cemetery. [NOTE: In the case of Jewish graves, ultra-Orthodox often demonstrate violently against construction. Israel . And the case of the Museum of Tolerance was very very controversial and the original architect, Frank Gehry, abandoned the project- OH] (Haaretz+)
  • Jerusalem municipality delays Greek Church’s sale of land - The Greek Orthodox Church has petitioned the Jerusalem District Court against Jerusalem Municipality on the grounds that the municipality hasn’t issued a certificate of absence of debts on land the church sold to a private investor group in 2016. The church lands in Jerusalem have political and public significance. The JNF leased thousands of acres of land in Jerusalem and elsewhere in the country for 99-year agreements, which will expire in 30 years, and the JNF has the right to renew the lease. But in the past decade, the church has sold about 500 acres in the neighborhoods of Talbiyeh and Nayot and in the Valley of the Cross to the Nayot Komemuyot Group headed by the Ben-David family. Over the years, dwellings have been built in which 1,070 families live, and they include about 25 public buildings such as the Israel Museum and the Great Synagogue. The deal was revealed only as a result of a petition filed by the church three years ago because of the delay in issuing a certificate of lack of debt that delays the completion of the deal. The municipality said the delays are due to "public aspects" connected to the land, noted the issue was given to the Justice Ministry, but pledged to issue the certificate and the petition was quickly deleted. (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Israel Resumes Spraying Herbicides Along Gaza Border After Yearlong Halt - The herbicides damaged 14,000 dunams of agricultural land in Gaza from 2014 through 2018, destroying all crops sown there, says Palestinian Agriculture Ministry. (Haaretz+VIDEO and YouTube)
  • ICC postpones West Bank 'war crime' debate because prosecutor exceeded page limit - Citing extraordinary length of prosecutor's request, preliminary tribunal rejects motion, instructs to refile documents to 110-page limit. (Haaretz+, Israel Hayom and Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israeli Fighter Jets Damaged in Flooding May Take Months to Return to Service - After their underground hangar in a southern air force base flooded, officials initially said it would only take days to get advanced F-16 jets working. (Haaretz+)
  • Court indicts 6 building contractors in effort to curb fatal construction accidents - State prosecutor vows to continue crackdown on employers responsible for serious injuries to their employees through negligent conduct. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Researchers Reveal Secrets of 2,800-year-old Hebrew Texts Using Artificial Intelligence - Analysis of inscriptions found at ancient Samaria suggests literacy was not particularly widespread in the heyday of the Kingdom of Israel. (Haaretz+)
  • American journalist freed in Lebanon after questioning - Security forces detained Nicholas Frakes on Sunday on suspicion of broadcasting live footage to Israeli newspaper, which denies any connection. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Lebanon forms government with backing of Hezbollah and allies - PM describes cabinet as technocratic 'rescue team' that would work to achieve goals of protesters; anti-Hezbollah Christian and Druze parties left out of coalition. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • New leader of Islamic State said confirmed by intel agencies - Amir Mohammed Abdul Rahman al-Mawli al-Salbi grew up in the ranks and received preferred status because of his scholarly background in Islamic studies, which he used to justify the enslavement of Yazidis. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • US Ambassador to UN Kelly Craft sides with Israel at UNSC meeting - ‘Calling it like it is,’ Craft urges body to point blame for Middle East discord on Iran, not Israel. (Israel Hayom)
  • Iranian MP Announces $3 Million Bounty on Trump, Local Media Reports - U.S. ambassador dismisses the reward as 'ridiculous' and indicative of Iran's 'terrorist underpinnings.’ (Agencies, Haaretz)

Elections 2020/Netanyahu Indictment Commentary/Analysis:
The role of leaders is to mark a red line between them and fans of murderers (Noa Setat, Maariv) (New Right Chairman) Naftali Bennett's decision not to run with Otzmah Yehudit (led by Kahanist Itamar Ben-Gvir) marks the beginning of making the Kahanist discourse illegitimate. The next step is to curb the media influence of this discourse by changing its widespread exposure.
Gantz Promised Annexation to Win Right-wing Votes, but the Only Winner Is Netanyahu (Noa Landau, Haaretz+) Kahol Lavan leader wants annexation of the Jordan Valley 'by agreement,' but Trump may be the only world leader who would ever agree.
Gantz and Netanyahu against national interest (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) Although PM's questionable initiative to annex Jordan Valley seems to go against Israel's interests, main rival Gantz backs motion in attempt to sway voters from right.
Gantz Annexed to the Right (Haaretz Editorial) Even though Gantz later stressed that the process of annexing the area would be coordinated with the international community, annexation advocates on the right can view his remarks as an ideological victory they can take credit for. Who would have thought only a few years ago that the two main political alternatives in Israel would both be championing annexation? As might be expected in an arms race, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hastened to raise the bar. “Why wait until after the election if we can apply sovereignty to the Jordan Valley now with a broad consensus in the Knesset?” he asked rhetorically. By the evening, he had already promised to apply sovereignty to the whole settlement enterprise, no less. With this tilt to the right and irresponsible promises of annexation, both may end up taking a step that endangers Israel’s future. But even if this is all just hollow campaign rhetoric, the annexation discourse Gantz has adopted should cause concern among those who see him as a center-left candidate for prime minister, and raise questions about his diplomatic vision.
These days, Israeli politics is similar to the flea market (Zalman Shoval, Maariv) What will be the future of Israeli parliamentarianism, and in fact Israeli democracy, when on the one hand, it experiences almost complete erosion, and on the other, a legal guild erodes the principle of separation of powers?
Analysis Israeli Army Budget Falls Victim to Election Politics (Hagai Amit, Haaretz+) Netanyahu has repeatedly promised the military more money, but not until after the vote.

Other Top Commentary/Analysis:
In New Battle Over Auschwitz Legacy, Poland Falls Victim to Holocaust Geopolitics (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Forced to choose between offending Russia or Poland, Israel was always going to side with Vladimir Putin – which is why there will be two separate events marking the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in coming days.
Israel cannot let Russia re-write Holocaust history (Sever Plocker, Yedioth/Ynet) The warm relations between Moscow and Jerusalem yield strategic advantages and the friendship of our leaders may facilitate Naama Issachar's release but Russia cannot dictate the terms of this friendship.
Putin Wants Historic Gestures From Netanyahu, Not Military Cooperation, to Release Jailed Israeli (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Israeli PM is keeping his cards close to his chest, but sources say quid pro quo will not be military and initial leaked information shows just how far he's willing to go.
Why is the European Left so angry? (Dan Schueftan, Israel Hayom) Israel has outsmarted the boycotters and successfully defied the international community's dictates. This has had "progressives" resort to anti-Semitism.
There is no place for me at the Yad Vashem whitewashing event (Human rights attorney Eitay Mack, Haaretz Hebrew, translated here in full by Yoni Molad for Middle East News Service.) This Thursday, an event will be held at Yad Vashem to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp...After World War II, as a “lesson” of the Holocaust, the international community agreed on a series of conventions designed to enshrine the recognition and protection of basic human and civil rights, prevent genocide and discrimination, and protect refugees... For decades following the liberation of the Auschwitz camp, most of these countries not only remained silent once again in the face of a long line of massacres, rape, disappearances and mass torture, but actively assisted in these crimes...With the consent of the United States, Israel soon became a major weapons supplier to a series of murderous regimes in Central and South America, Africa and Southeast Asia....In contrast to the Holocaust Museum in Washington...Yad Vashem (with a few notable exceptions among its researchers) avoided anything that did not concern the Jewish topic...At Thursday's event, there won’t be any discussion of the lessons that can be learned from Auschwitz and the turn of events during the 1930s, certainly not in the context of the xenophobia and Islamophobia in Western countries, the global refugee crisis, the ongoing wars in South Sudan and Syria, the Rohingya that are trapped in refugee camps in Bangladesh, the fear of genocide in Burundi, and the scorched grounds of the regimes’ opponents in Cameroon and Honduras. Nor will they talk about the plight of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Territories, France's responsibility for the Rwandan genocide, Britain's responsibility for the disastrous partition of India and the torturing of resistance fighters in detention camps in Kenya, the American responsibility for the mass slaughter of Communists and Leftists in Indonesia or about the genocide committed against the indigenous populations of Canada, the US and Australia. --Lawyer Eitay Mack is a human rights activist focusing on the Israeli arms trade. (Translated by Yoni Molad for Middle East News Service.)
The daughter of all of us (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth Hebrew) My heart is with the Issachar family: with the daughter, Naama, who made a criminal violation, but whose sentence was beyond all proportions, and she became, not to her benefit, a hostage in the hands of a malicious regime; with her mother, Yafa, who is bouncing in recent weeks between Moscow and Jerusalem, between cynical politicians and populist media, teary, she recites what the various PR people advise her to say and hopes for good news. The distress of the Issachar family cries out for a happy ending. But something is missing in the river of emotion that is flowing towards us from the TV and social media reports. Everyone is talking about what will be received; no one is asking what is the price. The negotiations that are being held in recent weeks between Jerusalem and Moscow is give and take. About the happy moment when Naama Issachar lands at Ben-Gurion Airport they talk endlessly; But about the price Israel will ahve to pay no one says a word. In a decent society such as ours, full of compassion as ours is, it’s not polite to talk about prices. So here’s the thing: Vladimir Putin, our dear friend, ruler of all-powerful Russia, does not do anything voluntarily. “I do only what suits Russia’s interests,” he explained once to a foreign diplomat. The biographies written about him (I recommend “The New Czar”) make clear what materials this man is made from. He is cold and cruel. In his world, there are no humanitarian acts of kindness….In the case of Issachar, the moment that her imprisonment became a inter-country affair, the regime prepared itself accordingly…With all the obvious differences, the worrying negotiations for the release of Gilad Shalit jump to mind. The emotional embrace of the daughter-of-us-all made clear to the Russians the Israeli weak side in negotiations and it caused a rise in the price. We didn’t learn a lesson from the Shalit deal, not the media, not the government. The blackmail is the same blackmail and the prime minister is the same prime minister. The difference - one of the differences - is that Netanyahu, on the eve of elections, is thirsty now for good news more than he was every thirsty before. He is willing to go very very far. If he offers the Kahanist, Itamar Ben-Gvir, the position of minister or of ambassador…The relations between Israel and Russia are a world in and of itself: There are things that can be demanded; There are things that can be received. Starting with the cancelation of the construction of the Jerusalem light rail tracks to Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital (the tracks will pass close to the Russian church), and (giving Russia) ownership over buildings in the Russian Compound (in Jerusalem), to closing eyes to the entrance of illegal migrant workers
Slave Labor, Mass Shootings and Gas Chambers: The Roma, World War 2's Forgotten Genocide (Barbara Warnock and Toby Simpson, Haaretz+) In comparison to the Holocaust, the mass murder of half a million of Europe's Roma and Sinti communities is unknown and unrecognized. That absence, and their continued persecution, pose questions we still struggle to answer.
Our vow to 'never forget' is more important now than ever (President Reuven Rivlin, Yedioth/Ynet) President Rivlin writes in his editorial that when him and dozens of world leaders gather in Jerusalem on Thursday, the main goal is to make sure the memory of 6 million slain Jews is neither forgotten, nor besmirched by those trying to instill hate.
Holocaust remembrance, Palestinian irrelevance (Ruthie Blum, Israel Hayom) Bemoaning all the apparent attention on the Jews prior to the Fifth World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem, a columnist for the official Palestinian Authority daily newspaper “Al-Hayat Al-Jadida” proposed murder as a solution to stop the proceedings.
Iran's Weak Points, and How Israel and U.S. Could Exploit Them (Ephraim Kam, Haarez+) Although Iran has developed a concept of asymmetrical combat, which is meant to provide it with tools in its attempts to deal with more powerful countries, this concept has yet to be tested in a large-scale conflict with the United States. Meanwhile Tehran is stressing that it does not want a such a conflict with Washington, but is also warning that the firing of the missiles is not the end of the story, and that it will continue in its attempts to remove U.S. forces from the Middle East.
Sovereign or beggar – It is Israel’s choice to make (Caroline B. Glick, Israel Hayom) The fact that world leaders have come to Jerusalem at the same time that Israel's elected leaders are openly working to extend Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley only underscores the wisdom and success of Netanyahu's model of statesmanship.
The War Is Over, but Syria's Economic Misery Is Growing Worse (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) Amazingly, now of all times Syria's currency is plummeting and inflation is rising and Assad has no solutions except to jail speculators.
Want to influence Israel? (Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) A major international Jewish institution is holding elections and the ballot is no symbolic vote.
Not on the backs of the residents (Elisha Ben Kimon, Yedioth Hebrew) The residents of the Jordan Valley are repeatedly forced to hear about the land they live in from the mouths of politicians. Again the issue of sovereignty is pulled out. Just before any political junction or at a crucial point of time, the question of annexation comes up. But among these “peaks” the residents of the valley do not receive elementary services that are legally owed to them. Most of the area's residents are engaged in agriculture. Farmers from Netiv Hagdud and Petzalel wake up early in an area they defined to me as a gateway to heaven, but repeatedly they have to deal with a water crisis. When they expressed a protest, the issue came up on the agenda and then a series of steps were taken to resolve the situation in the short term as well as the long term. But just a month ago, there was a delay again - disagreement between the various water organizations postpones the implementation of the solution and that may produce an inappropriate solution. Residents of Shadmot, who are in love with the area and have arrived from various cities in Israel, suffer from power cuts in the mornings, especially during extreme winter and summer days, such as this week. This is a result of old electricity infrastructure. Only a few months ago, it was reported that the government and the electricity company were ineffective in finding a suitable solution. Residents of the Jordan Beqaa Valley try hard to put the area on the agenda - and not just in terms of sovereignty. But what every resident in every other city receives, they haven't been receiving for years.

Price for Naama's return: "Israel's cards against Russia not many"
Former deputy head of National Security Council and former senior official in Foreign Ministry, Eran Etzion, spoke on Tuesday to Ben Caspit and Inon Magal on 103 FM about the report of the possible return of Alexander's Courtyard in Jerusalem to the Russians in exchange for the release of Naama Issachar to Israel. (103FM/Maariv)
Recent reports speak of Israel giving Putin the court of Alexander in return for Naama Issachar's return. Why does it annoy you?
EE: "I'm not annoyed, I'm just asking questions. From what I know from my experience between Israel and Russia, there are a lot of interests and relations of give and take. About 15 years ago, a Cabinet meeting took place where I presented work that mapped out all Israeli and Russian interests, including the possible give and take deals, including Russian assets in Jerusalem, and there are many. There was the Sergei’s Courtyard that Sharon gave to Putin. "
What's wrong with giving Alexander's Courtyard in exchange for Naama Issachar?
EE: "It's not necessarily bad. Israel has does not hold many cards in relation to Russia. We wonder why this or that piece of land or 100 meters or so meters of land is so important to Putin. It is important because this is Russian internal politics and the Russian church, which is one of Putin's strongholds for his voters. The question is whether it is right that in exchange for this card we demand only the return of Naama Issachar or that it it possible to include other things."
There is a prime minister here who is under great political and legal pressure and is fighting for his life and freedom. I do not see that a serious discussion was held here and it is being asked why the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee did not convene and where the was the Opposition (on this issue). He is acting solo.
EE: "I do know that in such a discussion, many people need to be involved. This is not a discussion about a specific courtyard or about Naama Issachar. It is about discussion of Israeli-Russian relations."
Why was the Sergei Courtyard returned during the Ariel Sharon period?
EE: "There was a deal that included, among other things, a Russian commitment to restrict sales of weapons to Hezbullah in Syria. If this was possible once, it does not mean it is possible a second time. But the questions need to be asked at this point in time. The moment a political issue of this kind has a name and a face, such as Gilad Shalit and Naama Issachar, all Israeli sentiments are immediately mobilized, sometimes cynically.”
Of course, there is also an election campaign here that Naama's return to the country can influence.
EE: "Things need to be probed more in a colder manner that does not involve parties suspected of political motives."
Netanyahu released a thousand murderers to release Gilad Shalit. So it is clear that he will return Alexander's Courtyard and Alexander himself to get Naama Issachar and gain another quarter of a seat at elections.
EE: "I think you have to ask who is involved and how the decision was made, including bringing in the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee. It is possible that it will be a painful compromise, but it should give us enough and not just a compromise on the Russian side."

Palestinian Prime Minister to Haaretz: 'The Fact That We Even Survive Is a Miracle'
Palestinians must 'disengage from our colonial dependence on Israel,' strengthen their economy and assert their political will, Mohammad Shtayyeh says in an interview. He explains the four wars Israel is waging against the Palestinians, and why the alphabet soup cooked up in the Oslo Accords needs to be scrapped. (Interviewed by Amira Hass in Haaretz+)

This is how Jaber Habish from Kufr Yarka (Druze-Israeli village) became a famous spiritual teacher
He is one of the most sought-after spiritual trainers in Israel, with a long list of patients that includes celebs, millionaires and high-tech executives. Now, Jaber Habish, 37, tells what the secret of his success is that attracts clients such as Neta Barzilai, whom he accompanied all the way to the Eurovision, actor Itzik Cohen and acting agent Zohar Yaakobson,  real estate woman Lynn Hajaj, choreographer Claude Dadia, actor Uri Lazarovich and more. About Neta he says: “Neta is also mature spiritually, she has positive energies and high spiritual frequency. This was a great part of how she won the competition.“ (Interviewed by Yakir Alkarib in Yedioth Hebrew)
Want to predict what will be in the elections ?
JH: "If there is no change, Israel is going into an abyss. I used to be a proud Druze, they want to make me a pet Druze. It will not happen. We will not give up our Israeliness. Abroad, I am Israel's ambassador in every country I visit. Israel is an empire, but it is tarnished with gratuitous hatred. "
What do you think is the problem of Jews on a mental level?
JH: “The Jew went hungry for many years, and when he came to Israel and settled in it he became satisfied, and he began to eat his surroundings, too. A lot of people came to this country hungry. And today, when they are full, they eat each other. I tell you: look at Israel is (to watch) a movie. And this third election, it's a warning bell,” he says.

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