News Nosh 1.28.20

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday January 28, 2020

 
Quote of the day:
“If you look at the dictionary, you'll understand (the Palestinian entity laid out in the Trump plan) isn't the definition of a state. That is not what the plan allows, and so the resistance from the Right and the rabbis is a mistake."
--Unnamed 'senior US official' tells 'Israel Hayom' that right-wing does not have to be concerned that the Trump plan gives Palestinians a state.*

You Must Be Kidding: 
"Over the course of the past decade, the likelihood of separation has diminished. The right-wing is creating the reality of one large, binational state…Another neighborhood and another outpost - and the binational state, which will be non-Jewish and non-democratic, is forming. So maybe, who knows, this is the last opportunity the right-wing can be a part of. So the choice is not between the Clinton outline, the Geneva Initiative or the John Kerry draft in 2014 and the Trump deal. The choice is between a bi-national state and the Trump deal."
--Yedioth's right-wing commentator Ben-Dror Yemini says the threat of the illegal expansion of the settlement enterprise on the side of Israel should be reason enough to convince the Zionist left-wing leaders to accept the Trump plan.*


Breaking News:
Netanyahu Withdraws Request for Immunity From Prosecution in Corruption Cases, Indictments Filed in Court Against Him (Haaretz+, Israel Hayom and Ynet)

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Making a deal (side-by-side photos of Trump and Gantz shaking hands and Trump and Netanyahu shaking hands)
  • Tonight in the White House: US President reveals the “Deal of the Century”
  • Must not be missed // Ben-Dror Yemini (Hebrew)
  • They don’t really want it // Sever Plocker (Hebrew)
  • The test of fire // Orly Azoulay
  • Alert against the Palestinians: Abu Mazen is angry and declared “Day of Rage” against Deal of the Century
  • Head of settlements to Netanyahu: “We oppose the deal, we must not give up and land of our homeland” (Hebrew)
  • And even before the presentation of the deal: Vote in the Knesset over establishing committee that will deal with Netanyahu’s immunity (Hebrew)
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom


Elections 2020 / Netanyahu Indictment News:
US President Donald Trump met with the Israeli leaders, both of whom declared their support for his peace plan, while the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called to respond with protests, the settlers wrote a letter of protest and the Knesset prepared to discuss the Israeli Prime Minister’s immunity request (which he withdrew at the last minute today) - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

What starkly stood out in all the newspapers - even in ‘Israel Hayom’ -  was that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Opposition leader and Kahol-Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz appeared as equals on the front pages of the papers, each in a photo alongside President Trump. Interestingly, Haaretz’s front page photo was just of Gantz and Trump, in what appeared to be emphasizing how Netanyahu’s move to sideline Gantz, whom Netanyahu had planned would be a background figure at the event, boomeranged. While Netanyahu met with Trump first, Gantz was the first Israeli politician without a government role to meet a US president during an election campaign. Maariv’s US correspondent, Shlomo Shamir, noted that it was apparent that Trump does not like losers and Netanyahu has fallen into that hole.
‘Israel Hayom’ continued for the second day to appear like a promo for the Trump peace plan, declaring in numerous ways by numerous commentators that the plan must be accepted and implemented by Israel (See Commentary/Analysis below). Only Maariv ran a separate article quoting an Israeli politician who opposes annexation of Palestinian territories and unilateral moves. The leader of the joint Labor-Gesher-Meretz list, MK Amir Peretz, was quoted saying that “Israel must not annex before the elections,” because neither Gantz nor Netanyahu have the legitimacy to do so. Moreover he said agreements with the Palestinians must be made with them and he opposed any unilateral moves. Netanyahu thanked Trump for ”the opportunity of the century." Gantz hailed the plan as ’historic' and promised to implement it after elections. Unlike Netanyahu, Gantz called for shared dialogue with Palestinians and neighboring countries.

Asked if he had discussed the plan with the Palestinians, Trump said that “It’s something they should want. They probably won’t want it initially, but I think in the end they will.” Palestinian President Abbas’ anger made headlines in the Hebrew papers. He reportedly refused a call from Trump and Palestinian sources told Ynet’s Elior Levy that Abbas received warnings from US officials that not talking to Trump “will carry consequences.” The Palestinian factions called for mass protests, which in Gaza will now renew after they were frozen. Abbas also said that the Palestinian security forces won’t prevent clashes in the West Bank. (Maariv) ‘Israel Hayom’ quoted a Lebanese report that in a furious tirade, Abbas said Trump was "a dog, son of a dog… he won't threaten me. This is a sh*t person, a bastard who wants to force a plan on us that we don't want. His government is a government of dogs."
Interestingly, only ‘Israel Hayom’ reported that a senior Palestinian official said that the Palestinian Authority’s security echelon does not support outright rejection of the Trump plan. “The widely held view among senior officials within the PA's security and intelligence services is that if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Trump both win another term in office, the Palestinians will not receive a better plan than the deal of the century and that the Palestinians should examine its details, and demand that amendments be made so that the Palestinian leadership will agree to accept it,” Israel Hayom reported. Meanwhile, ISIS urged its fighters in its Sinai branch in Egypt and those in Syria to attack Israeli targets and thwart the Trump plan.

On the other side of the opposition, 50 religious Zionist settler rabbis and activists sent a letter to Netanyahu opposing the creation of a Palestinian state and saying that the “government cannot agree to a terrorist state on 70% of Judea and Samaria (West Bank).” (Maariv) The letter was initiated by dozens of prominent yeshiva leaders, including Rabbi Haim Drukman, Rabbi Dov Lior, Rabbi Elyakim Levanon and Rabbi Eliyahu Zini, and settler activists, including those who head outposts and settlements such as Eli, Adi Ad, Migron, Shavei Shomron, Adora and Adam. At the end of their letter, the heads of the communities threatened: "If our demands are not met, we will have to oppose the plan, especially when it comes to our lives and the lives of our children." (Yedioth Hebrew) ‘Israel Hayom’ also interviewed a 'senior American official,' who said that the deal doesn’t give the Palestinians a real state. “If you look at the dictionary, you'll understand this isn't the definition of a state. That is not what the plan allows, and so the resistance from the Right and the rabbis is a mistake,” said the unnamed official who emphasized that Trump's plan was the “best deal the Right will ever get.”
 
Quick Hits:
  • Israel’s Attorney General Says No Basis to Disqualify Arab Lawmaker From Election Run - In response to a request for clarification from Attorney General Mendelblit, Joint List Knesset member Hiba Yazbak said she had not called for violence against Israeli soldiers or civilians. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Attorney General: The political party led by Larissa Amir cannot be disqualified from running for election - Avichai Mendelblitt stated in an opinion submitted to the Central Election Commission that no evidentiary basis was established in MK Itzik Shmuli’s request to disqualify the list of the wife of the assassin of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin that justifies the petition. (Maariv)
  • Homeless Man Jailed for Three Days to Ensure He Testifies in Israeli Military Court - After the man, who wasn't suspected of any wrongdoing but was supposed to testify against someone else, explained he didn't have the money for a round-trip ticket from Eilat to Tel Aviv, a military judge ordered his arrest. (Haaretz+)
  • Because his commanders ignored his complaints: Fear that an armored corps soldier will become disabled - Already in basic training, A. complained of intense pain, but his commanders claimed that he was exaggerating. He later received negligent medical treatment, which resulted in his hospitalization being months late and a now a serious fear of disability. (Maariv)
  • Six IDF soldiers arrested in alleged West bank smuggling ring - Soldiers accused of allegedly allowing entry of weapons, tobacco and other contraband in return for tens of thousands of shekels while on duty; 8 Israeli civilians and 8 Palestinian civilians also arrested. (Yedioth/Ynet and Maariv)
  • Indictment filed against Navy officer for raping civilian working at the military base - The Military Prosecutor's Office opened legal proceedings against a officer of rank of major for three acts of sodomy and rape of a woman working on one of the bases, where he served. (Maariv)
  • Shin Bet exposes Hamas spy network in Israel - Group reported to record locations of Iron Dome defense system and landing sites of Hamas rockets during operation 'Black Belt' in November. Two suspects were born to Israeli mothers and Gazan fathers and had moved to Israel. Shin Bet said Hamas "took advantage" of these Israeli civilians ability to enter Gaza Strip to visit family and recruited them to the terror group’s military wing. (Yedioth/Ynet and Maariv and Israel Hayom)
  • Hamas raises stakes with weaponized drones - Alongside a diminishing number of riots along the Gaza border fence, there is a drop in the number of attempts by terror groups, to use weaponized drones to attack Israeli targets, and yet one incident marks a spike in both Hamas' capabilities and its audacity. (Ynet)
  • Air combat: The Gaza periphery is dealing with the return of the incendiary balloons - The phenomenon, which has been pushed to the margins of the news, has recently returned to the lives of residents, and is much more dangerous. "The balloon has turned from being an innocent children's game to something scary.” (Maariv)
  • Russian Panel Greenlights Jailed Naama Issachar's Pardon Request in High-profile Case - Putin has the final say in whether or not to release Naama Issachar, sentenced to seven and a half years on drug charges. (Haaretz+ and Yedioth/Ynet)
  • "How is my son different from Naama Issachar?": Mother of Nati Haddad’, who is imprisoned in Thailand, in a special interview - Nurit Haddad, whose son has been incarcerated for over two years in Thailand, for operating a medical clinic (for Israeli tourists) without a permit and for having a firearm, watches the Naama Issachar affair and does not understand why her son is not treated similarly. (Maariv)
  • Israeli President in Poland: Many Poles Aided in Murder of Jews - Polish President tells ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz 'we know well the truth about what was happening here.’ (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Poland's president invited to Israel amid row over WWII - President Reuven Rivlin extends invitation to Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda with aim of boosting bilateral relations following tensions over Poland's World War II history. (Israel Hayom) [NOTE how the Netanyahu supporting paper, 'Israel Hayom,' doesn't mention in its headline what Rivlin said, as noted in Haaretz and Maariv above. Read why that is in Ofer Aderet's analysis in Commentary section below. - OH]
  • Saudi FM Says Israeli Passport Holders Cannot Visit, CNN Reports - Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said Israeli citizens are not welcome to visit the kingdom after Israel decreed that Israeli citizens could visit Saudi Arabia under certain circumstances. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom) [NOTE: Read Smadar Perry's fascinating analysis of the Saudi denial below - OH]
  • 'Jewish Nobel' Cuts Ties With Netanyahu’s Office in Order to Fight Claims Prize Is Politicized - The Genesis Prize was established was launched in 2013 by a group of Russian-Jewish billionaires in a partnership between the Genesis Prize Foundation, the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel and the Jewish Agency. Benjamin Netanyahu has served as Israeli prime minister during this entire period. The Genesis Prize has been embroiled in scandal in recent years. Now the Foundation says association with PMO ended by mutual agreement. (Haaretz+ and Times of Israel)
  • Construction Workers Indicted for Negligent Homicide in Death of Coworker in Central Israel - 45-year-old Chinese national was killed when a crane allegedly hit a protruding beam that fell on him and penetrated his construction helmet. (Haaretz+)
  • Rocket Attack on U.S. Embassy in Baghdad Injures One - One rocket slammed into a restaurant inside the embassy compound. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Hackers Acting in Turkey's Interests Believed to Be Behind Recent Cyberattacks, Sources Say - Sweeping cyberattacks targeting governments and other organisations in Europe and the Middle East are believed to be linked to Turkey. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran Prepares Site for Satellite Launch That U.S. Links to Ballistic Missiles - The United States fears long-range ballistic technology used to put satellites into orbit could also be used to launch nuclear warheads. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Features:
We Are Memory Keepers’: New Project Photographs the World’s Remaining Holocaust Survivors
Some 250 professional photographers from around the globe volunteered to take the images, which also capture survivors’ successful postwar lives. (Dina Kraft, Haaretz+)

'Deal of the Century' Commentary/Analysis:
Evangelicals and Settlers Anxiously Wait to Show Trump and Netanyahu Who's the Boss (Noa Landau, Haaretz+) Finally, the debate of Trump's 'deal of the century' will be conducted on the basis of fact, not rumor.
Trump's dilemma for Netanyahu (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) The president is offering a cohesive plan that includes bitter pills for both sides, but with elections looming, the prime minister may try to adopt only aspects palatable to his base - and the White House may let him get away with it.
Netanyahu Wants Trump's Mideast Peace Plan to Fail (Ehud Barak, Haaretz+) U.S. Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” seems to be the most favorable approach to Israel ever adopted by an American president regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is a significant change, which creates an important opportunity. The question is “what should Israel want?” Netanyahu, who has formed an alliance with the far right, including Kahanists and racists, while fleeing from the threat of the trial about to begin against him, is interested in causing the Trump plan to fail, while claiming that the other side is responsible, and immediately beginning steps toward unilateral annexation with Trump’s support. Everyone agrees that Jordan should be the security border in the east. Netanyahu’s proposals to immediately annex the Jordan Valley reflect personal hysteria, like the behavior of an escaped convict, and a loss of judgment, not to say an irresponsible attitude toward security. The immediate annexation of the Jordan Valley would destroy any chance of implementing the so-called "deal of the century.” There is no immediate value to the annexation of the Jordan Valley, because there is no threat to Israel from that direction at present.
History won't forgive the leaders who say 'no' (Ariel Kahana, Israel Hayom) Jewish history will not forgive the Israeli leaders who squander the chance to eternally anchor, with international backing, parts of the homeland that are so crucial to the country's security.
Opinion Trump's Peace Plan Means Settlements Are Permanent. Democrats, Get Used to It (Jonathan S. Tobin, Haaretz+) Even when Democrats hold the White House again, they won't be able to reverse the core terms of Trump's Middle East peace plan, and U.S. leverage over Israel will have diminished. This is why.
Blue and White's first real test (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) The would-be right-wing party, which strives to become the ruling party, faces a real dilemma when it comes to supporting the Trump administration's peace plan. The wrong move could cost it dearly come the March 2 elections.
**Letter to the Zionist left (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) Hello, (Labor party leader) Amir Peretz. A few days ago, you said that "our position is that negotiations should be based on a two-state solution for two peoples, with the principle of land swaps. We oppose any unilateral move." And hello to you (Meretz leader) Nitzan Horowitz. You also commented on the deal of the century, claiming "this is not how peace is promoted." Are you serious? You can understand the right-wing. It always opposed a Palestinian state, over 90 percent and 30 percent (of the land). Principled resistance. But the left-wing? If the Palestinians had agreed to a Palestinian state on 95 percent (of the West Bank and Gaza Strip) and had asked the peace organizations and the left-wing parties for support in reaching peace agreement - okay, (I’d understand). But that is not the situation. After all, in response to the Geneva Agreement - which is probably the document that reflects the most serious point of agreement between Israelis from the Zionist left and the Palestinians - many Palestinian speakers have made it clear that they will not give up the Right of Return. So what exactly does the left intend to propose that it has not yet proposed? More talks? More concessions after which the Palestinians make it clear that they want more concessions, and back again? The details of Trump's deal of the century are scheduled to be released tonight. But what is known until now is we’re talking about an agreement that can create separation between Israel and the Palestinians, take down dozens of outposts and stop the expansion of the settlement enterprise outside the large blocs. This is a change of direction. Because, over the course of the past decade, the likelihood of separation has diminished. The right-wing is creating the reality of one large, binational state…Another neighborhood and another outpost - and the binational state, which will be non-Jewish and non-democratic, is getting skin. So maybe, who knows, this is the last opportunity the right-wing can be a part of. So the choice is not between the Clinton outline, the Geneva Initiative or the John Kerry draft in 2014 and the Trump deal. The choice is between a bi-national state and the Trump deal. The hard right opposes the deal because it stops fulfilling the vision of one great country. It’s possible to also understand the the opposition of BDS supporters and anti-Zionist leftists to the Trump deal. After all, they also aspire to one big country. But you, the Zionist left? Over what and why are you upset? After all, if the deal of the century doesn't come to fruition - then we will have another decade of more settlement outposts and neighborhoods, which are actually new settlements. Is that what you want? You might have thought of a better deal. But it is not on the horizon. And even if Democratic Party diplomats enter the White House - they won't make it. They will offer the Palestinians what Clinton and Obama offered them. The answer is known in advance. Peace will not be. And the current situation - mistakenly called "stagnation" - is very dynamic. After all, the ideological right-wing takes advantage of it to advance the vision of the Land of Israel. The result is the end of the Jewish state and the end of the Zionist vision. The historical labor movement, of which Meretz is largely a part, formed the state. It always chose the proposals that were on the table to fulfill the vision of a national home for the Jewish people. The test of the Trump deal lies neither in the controversial personality of the bidder nor the timing of the presentation of the plan set precisely for the date when the Knesset discusses Netanyahu's immunity. Yes, the timing is political. But is that what matters? The test is one and only: whether or not this deal promotes the Jewish-democratic vision. The answer is clear. Opposition to the deal on the left will serve the opponents of the deal on the right. It will also strengthen Palestinian refusal. And the result is one. One state. Yesterday, Amos Yadlin, who was recently the Labor Party candidate for the post of defense minister, published a sobering article about the need to adopt the plan. I have a request for you: Listen to this wise man. It is true that your support of the deal of the century will cause serious problems for Netanyahu. It will strengthen the resistance on the right. It will portray Netanyahu as having achieved partial annexation, but also as having moved to the left and giving a hand to the establishment of a Palestinian state. But on further thought, this is actually an important and desirable outcome.
Gantz's Party Must Reject Trump's 'Deal of the Century' (Yael Patir, Haaretz+) The identity of the seller is a central part of any deal, and just as you wouldn’t want to buy a used car from someone who doesn’t really own it, we should treat deals proposed by the Trump administration in the same way. When talks about “the deal of the century” began, it was the early days of the Trump presidency, but time has passed – we have arrived at the last year of his term, with a president who, as of now, and with all the necessary reservations, is losing in most of the public opinion polls to most of the Democratic candidates. That’s why “the deal of the century” won’t even be the deal of the year, since this may be Trump’s last one in the White House. A Democratic administration – and for that purpose, the identity of the president who will head it will make no difference – will oppose any unilateral annexation process. That is the opinion being heard today from all those running in the primaries and that is the opinion of all the branches of the Democratic Party.
Petty politics shouldn't get in the way of history (Amnon Lord, Israel Hayom) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's political rivals should know better than to undercut him at a time when he is trying to seize a rare diplomatic opportunity that could boost any future political steps and reshape Israel's borders.
Israel must abide by Trump plan, prepare accordingly (Amos Yadlin, Yedioth/Ynet) Palestinian rejection of the 'Deal of the Century' renders negotiations on it pointless, but Jerusalem could leverage this obstructiveness to shape its image into conditions that are undoubtedly favorable.
Silence speaks louder than words as Arab leaders signal PA has exhausted their patience (Oded Granot, Israel Hayom) Arab leaders have more pressing domestic and international issues to attend to than the obstinacy of the Palestinian leadership, which has consistently rejected every peace plan ever presented to it.
Running nowhere (Sever Plocker, Yedioth Hebrew) Trump has no desire to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the main thing is to create a sense of movement. The multi-year negotiations between the Israeli governments and the Palestinian leaderships have spawned a series of partial interim agreements that did not have any agreement on basic issues. The attempts since then in the international community, and in the US at the head, to get both sides to agree on the outline for Israeli-Palestinian peace have failed one by one. The Palestinian leadership, under Arafat and then Abbas, has consistently failed to approve or reject detailed peace plans designed by three US presidents: Clinton, Bush and Obama. Official Israel for its part approved the plans, but added far-reaching reservations. As previously stated, the maximum concessions supported by Jewish public opinion in Israel do not launch to the minimum requirements deeply entrenched in Palestinian public opinion in the Territories and beyond. The Trump administration's plan is different from its predecessors at this point: From the beginning, it is clear to everyone that, as a vision of peace, it is unfounded and unacceptable to any Palestinian, moderate or extreme leadership. But the vision doesn't really matter and doesn't really change anything; In any case it is meant to be rejected. What is important, however, is the strong desire of the administration and the president to personally reinvigorate the "process" and reach some more partial interim agreements that will unfold in the coming months. "There will be what will be there,” Trump said at the entrance to the White House yesterday. This is the unique aspect of the "Trump plan” that may affect considerations of leaderships in Arab countries and the Palestinian leadership. Obviously, they will frantically reject the target that the plan is aiming for - but it is not at all clear that they will also reject the offer contained in it to open negotiations. And not just as a tactic: The strategy of the Palestinian leadership in the past 30 years is to avoid taking responsibility for the character and essence of a peace agreement with Israel. The Palestinian leadership speaks in a high language of a sovereign Palestinian state, but in fact prefers interim agreements. The same interim agreements that are also the core of Trump's foreign policy: In every political negotiation he presides over, the US president is always bombastic, then the development is modest and faltering, as is the case with trade agreements with China. Despite his past statements, Trump has no desire to "resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." The main thing is that it creates a sense of movement and running. Running anywhere? For him, and perhaps even for the current Palestinian leadership and the Israeli transition government, running nowhere is preferable to actual progress toward profoundly disputed national-political goals. For both peoples, Jewish and Palestinian, it is not preferable.
Israel facing monumental decisions (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) Fate has sent Israel a rare set of circumstances that is unlikely to come our way again. The "deal of the century" really is a once-in-a-century opportunity, and Israel must seize it.
Similar to Arafat, Abbas is choosing to play with fire (Oded Granot, Israel Hayom) The outright rejection of the entire Trump plan puts the PA president on the same footing as his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, as a peace obstructionist who would rather go down in history as refusing to give an inch over ending the bloody conflict through fair compromise.

Other Top Commentary/Analysis:
Then, Israel's Attorney General Was Thrown in Jail (Aluf Benn, Haaretz+) Former state prosecutor Shai Nitzan had read about Stalin’s purges, but couldn't believe his turn had come…The first to be arrested was Shai Nitzan. The police came to his home in Jerusalem at 5 A.M., accompanied by television crews, and spoke to him aggressively: “Come with us, Mr. Nitzan.” “There must be some mistake,” the former state prosecutor said, in a well-known refrain from movies and TV series. “No,” the superintendent said, “you’re Shai Nitzan, ID number so and so? Then move it and get in the van.” And he locked the handcuff around the suspect’s right wrist. Channel 12 news opened with a live broadcast of the arrest, under the logo “Investigating the investigators.” “The state has regained control of the legal system,” anchorwoman Yonit Levi explained, with Justice Minister Amir Ohana, in his blue suit, smiling beside her. “We’ll hand over to you in a moment, Mr. Minister, but first, an update from the…police station.” ..Meanwhile, the investigators rounded up his co-conspirators – prosecutor Liat Ben Ari, former Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich, senior police officers Meni Yitzhaki and Coresh Barnoor…Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit was arrested at his home in Petah Tikva.
This Arab Lawmaker Poses a Challenge to Israeli Democrats (Haaretz Editorial) Hearings on requests to disqualify Arab Knesset slates and candidates can be counted on during every election cycle. On Wednesday the Central Elections Committee will hear the requests to disqualify MK Heba Yazbak of the Joint List, a member of the Balad party. The requests, submitted by Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu and Otzma Yehudit, are based on Section 7A of the Basic Law on the Knesset, which deals with “support for armed struggle by an enemy state or a terror organization against the State of Israel.” Support for an armed struggle is a serious accusation, and one would hope that those trying to attribute this to Yazbak would be equipped with more than a few social media posts, most of which were written years before she became an MK. Indeed, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit declared Monday that there was no evidentiary basis for disqualifying her candidacy. But in the nation state of the Jewish people, Arabs are terrorists unless proven otherwise. “I’m against harming human beings, period, and the attempt by extremists to claim that I’m in favor of harming children or blowing up buses is absurd and disgusting,” Yazbek wrote on this page yesterday. Her words leave no room for doubting that she denounces terror.
Rivlin Told Poles What Netanyahu Wouldn’t (Ofer Aderet, Haaretz+) Israel's president refused to mince his words and said that 'too few' Poles helped their Jewish neighbors, aligning himself with Yad Vashem's historians rather than Netanyahu's version.
On the way to Jeddah (Smadar Perry, Yedioth Hebrew) On the one hand, Adel Jubair, Saudi Arabia's young foreign minister, insists on making it clear that "we have no ties of any kind with Israel." On the other hand, Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, in a historic statement, calls on Israeli businessmen to travel for Saudi Arabia and explore options for joint ventures. So who should we believe? Only a day passed between the Saudi message and the Israeli message. The first denies, the second carries a surprising line - but beneath the surface everything is coordinated, Deri knows, and Jubeir - an experienced political fox who managed to serve as his country's ambassador to Washington - also knows well. This is the truth: Israeli delegations have been going to Saudi Arabia for the past two years, quietly. Some with senior members of the security community, some with businessmen, most - but not all - with dual passports. The Saudi hosts know who came from and where they came from. And lo and behold, I recently received a box of cookies written in English and Arabic "Made in Jeddah." The gift giver did not have to explain. At present, not everyone will be able to enter Saudi Arabia - those with only Israeli passports will not be able to enjoy first-hand conversations with locals and tourist journeys. The permits for entering the kingdom are in the hands of the heir to Mohammed bin Salman and his associates, and they are the ones who decide who will come from our side, who will move around and set up business plans. At the same time, they will also make sure to monitor them closely. Ben Salman continues to cultivate the new desert city as a modern tourist district, and investors and businessmen alike are launching international partnerships there as well - and Israel is proposing to introduce Saudi Arabia into the high-tech world and expand the local food industry. Everyone who has travelled from Israel toJeddah so far has done so on a special flight (from the security community) or through the Jordanian airline. The average man in Saudi Arabia does not yet recognize Israelis, and does not imagine that they will be next to him very soon. He also finds it difficult to speak openly about relations or partnerships with Israel. But for Bin Salman this is an opportunity to draw attention away from the murder of journalist Jamal Khashouggi and make people forget the scores of prisoners - mostly women - who fought for human rights. He knows that Israeli visitors who come openly to the kingdom will be raise great interest. But there is another issue regarding Israeli tourism: it will be a ringing slap in the face to Iranians. In Saudi Arabia, they have not yet forgotten the sophisticated and severe damage to Aramco's oil facilities by Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Iran has already strongly attacked the "new relationship" without explicitly naming names - as the Saudis officially announce that there are no "ties with the Zionists." Everyone knows that Deri's message did not arrive without prior coordination, and all are waiting to see - especially the Iranians - what will happen next.

Elections 2020/Netanyahu Indictment Commentary/Analysis:
Ahead of the elections - the time has come for the religious Zionist leadership to do soul-searching (Dr. Haim Misgav, Maariv) The right-wing religious Zionist camp's struggle is about the future of the Jewish people's national home, no less. This is not the time for protests and clashes between the various parties.
The legal attack on Netanyahu will not allow him to function without immunity (Adv. Aharon Papu, Maariv) It's so simple and clear: If the prime minister does not have immunity, massive empty claims will be filed against him. Without the amendments to our law, his immunity would have been absolute.
 
Interviews:
Her Father Fought for Mandela, Now She’s Fighting to Become an Israeli Lawmaker
Michal Cotler-Wunsh, 49, who spent her formative years in Montreal, is cautiously optimistic about being one of the few Canadians ever to be elected to the Knesset. Her father was Canada’s justice minister. Her mother was Likud’s parliamentary secretary. As things look today, with just over a month to Election Day, Michal Cotler-Wunsh has a decent shot at becoming the first bona fide Canadian to serve in the Israeli Knesset. Kahol Lavan recently announced that Cotler-Wunsh had been moved up its slate for the March 2 election, from 46th to 36th place. That was after Gadi Yevarkan – like her, a member of the Telem faction headed by former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon – defected to Likud, clearing the way for others to advance. (Interviewed by Judy Maltz in Haaretz+)


Polish FM: Israel is very important to us as a Jewish state
In an exclusive interview with Israel Hayom, Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz adopts President Rivlin's proposal to leave World War II history "to the historians." Warsaw supports the two-state solution, he says, "The status of Jerusalem, the state of Palestine and peace should be negotiated between the Israeli and the Palestinians." (Interviewed by Eldad Beck in Israel Hayom)

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