News Nosh 2.23.20

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday February 23, 2020
 
 
You Must Be Kidding: 
"(Palestinian construction developer Khaled Sabawi’s goal) is to encourage a Palestinian takeover of the land in Judea and Samaria."
--From a letter written by Defense Minister Naftali Bennett's advisor, about Sabawi's housing development project in the Palestinian West Bank village of Turmus Ayya, which is not under Israeli civilian control and, therefore, Palestinians can build there without Israeli permission.*

Quote of the day:
“The Israeli right seems to think that the Palestinians can build only on the moon, and maybe not even there."
--Jewish-Israeli attorney Michael Sfard, who is represening Palestinian housing developer, Khaled Sabawi, in a petition to Israel's High Court seeking IDF protection to work at the site. The developer and his workers have suffered from harassment, violence and attempts to stop their work by Jewish settlers.*

Front Page:
Haaretz
  • Nine citizens of S. Korea who were infected with the coronavirus recently visited Israel
  • The message permeating to civil servants: Whoever wants to advance must act like Dan Eldad // Gidi Weitz (Hebrew)
  • A big lie was exposed here on the eve of election. Exactly like in 2016 in the US // Chemi Shalev (Hebrew)
  • Mossad chief visited Qatar and requested it transfer money to Gaza
  • Eight days until elections, Kahol-Lavan and Likud fighting over undecided soft right-wing voters
  • At a round of synagogues, Naftali Bennett puts his trust in G-d and cholent // Josh Breiner
  • Intel people in US: Russia is trying to aid Trump by advancing Sanders’ candidacy // NYT
  • Investigative materials reveal: This is how Abu Al-Qayan was shot without reason and left to die (Hebrew)
  • Destroys and runs over // Gideon Levy on the Israeli bulldozer driver in the Palestinian village
  • Where did you disappear to? // Niva Lanir writes that left-wing leaders are silent in the face of continued incitement by Netanyahu
  • The enormous Netflix production in Israel is good for Tel-Aviv, less so for the residents and local productions
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Coronavirus is already here
  • Fear: Thousands of Israelis were exposed to the virus
  • War against the State Prosecutor’s Office (Hebrew)
  • Battles on the way to the polling stations - Eight days till elections (Hebrew)
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Coronavirus is in Israel - dozens of Israelis in isolation after meeting the Korean tourists; “Hundreds were in contact with them”
  • 8 days till elections: This is what the parties plan for the last week of campaigning
  • The final stretch (Photos of Netanyahu and Gantz)
  • The public must know the truth in the affairs // Yaakov Berdugo
  • (Hamas politburo chief) Sinwar takes advantage of (Ismail) Haniyeh’s absence; “Arrangement between Israel and Hamas is close”
  • Democratic primaries in Nevada: Biden’s moment of truth
  • Because of the corona: National Judo team won’t go to training camp in Tokyo


Top News Summary:
The coronavirus reached Israel via Korean tourists, the Likud called for investigating the company formerly headed by Kahol-Lavan leader Benny Gantz and the latest on the national elections that are only eight days away made top news in today’s Hebrew newspapers. However, what barely made news was the killing of a Palestinian young man who Israeli police said tried to make a stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Old City and the angry reaction of the European Union to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s latest declaration of more settlement construction.

Not only was one of the 11 Israeli passengers who arrived this weekend from the ‘corona cruise’ in Japan infected with the coronavirus, but so were at least nine Korean tourists, who visited Israel and holy sites in the West Bank for one week. Some 180 Israeli middle school children, who came in contact with them at a national park, were instructed to stay home for two weeks (Yedioth Hebrew) as were other people around the country.

Israel’s Health Ministry has threatened to jail people, as dozens of Israelis returning from the infected countries ignore the quarantine order. And Israel sent back a plane of South Koreans Saturday after only letting the Israeli citizens off the plane. S. Korea reprimanded an Israeli diplomat and Thailand also expressed dissatisfaction with Israel's entry ban over virus concerns.

Elections 2020 / Netanyahu Indictment News:
Likud and Kahol-Lavan each called for more investigations of the leader of the other party over the weekend. Kahol-Lavan has asked the Attorney General to probe why Netanyahu had stock in his cousin Nathan Milkowsky’s company, whcih did business with Thyssenkrup, the German company that sold Israel the submarines it apparently did not need and which are the subject of Case 3000.

And now a dispute has developed in Israel’s State Prosecutor’s Office between senior prosecutors and the temporary replacement State Prosecutor, Dan Eldad, who instructed police Thursday to open a criminal probe against Gantz's ex-company, Fifth Dimension. Gantz is not a suspect in the affair and not only said the probe was politically motivated, but added that he would resign if any indictment was made against him. (Maariv) Haaretz+ revealed that the acting state prosecutor only found out about Gantz's ex-firm case this week - from a Likud minister. Senior prosecutors sharply criticized the hasty decision to investigate the firm and the timing of the announcement's timing, which is seen as a way to harm Gantz, even though he’s not a suspect.

Elections 2020 / Netanyahu Indictment Quickees:
  • FRIDAY: 'Maariv' poll: Blue and White 36, Likud 32, Yisrael Beytenu 8 - The picture of the blocs have the center-left bloc with the Arab Joint List receiving 58 mandates, and the religious-right bloc winning 54. The political landscape remains at a stalemate: center-left bloc with the Arab Joint List would receive 58 mandates while the religious-right bloc would win 54 seats. Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman is still the kingmaker in this scenario, maintaining his eight seats. (JPost/Maariv)
  • With Eight Days to Go to Israel's Election, Likud, Kahol Lavan Vie for ‘Soft Right’ - Gantz’s party is wooing educated, well-off Likudniks while Netanyahu is focusing on the Ethiopian community. (Haaretz+)
  • Lieberman: "The Prime Minister seeks a plea bargain and to retire”; Netanyahu: "He lacks judgment” - Just days before the election, Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman attacked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu: "He’s using everyone - residents of Judea and Samaria, the Jordan (Beqaa) valley, and now also his partners in the (right-wing) block." (Maariv)
  • (For third time this month) Lieberman says Netanyahu's political career is over, he 'can no longer be PM' - Yisrael Beiteinu leader vows his party won't recommend Netanyahu to be tasked with forming a government after Israel's March 2 election, but says 'would very much like to see' the premier's party in a future coalition. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu announces two (E.) Jerusalem neighborhoods: One he froze before, another is in construction - PM accused of election spin Thursday as one neighborhood he halted and another was stopped under U.S. pressure, but he exalts: 'We're bringing together all parts of Jerusalem’. Peace Now: "Construction at Givat Hamatos is a tough blow to the two-state solution. This is the last point that could enable territorial continuity between Bethlehem and East Jerusalem, and if the neighborhood is built it would be impossible to connect the two cities." (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Netanyahu stumps for Arab votes with promises of flights to Mecca and to nix Trump land swap - Head of Joint List slams PM for new campaign strategy: 'Only a racist like Netanyahu can think the Arab citizens are stupid enough to forget' previous anti-Arab statements. (Haaretz+)
  • Benjamin Netanyahu to 'Post': Democratic president can’t stop Trump plan - "What I do in an hour, my opponents can’t do in a year," the prime minister said. (JPost/Maariv)
  • Blue and White will miss historic opportunity presented in Trump plan, PM warns - In an interview with Fox News' Mark Levin, Netanyahu says Kahol-Lavan is "a leftist party in disguise" that will fail to follow through on the "deal of the century" over their dependency on the Joint Arab List. (Israel Hayom)
  • State appeal accepted: Search warrants on Netanyahu's advisors’ phones were approved - The Tel Aviv District Court overturned Justice Masrawa’s decision, accepting the state's appeal and approving the use of search warrants on cell phones of Likud spokespersons and two other suspects. (Maariv)

Quick Hits:
  • Jerusalem Mayor Visits Palestinian Boy Who Was Shot in the Face by Policeman - Nine-year-old Malek Issa is set to undergo a third surgery to remove his left eye, hit by a sponge-tipped bullet. (Haaretz+)
  • Justice Ministry interrogates two policemen over Palestinian child's shooting - Nine-year-old Malek Issa lost an eye as a result of the incident, but the police officer claims he only shot at a nearby wall. (Haaretz+)
  • Qatar Says to Increase Gaza Aid by $15 Million to Help 120,000 Families - Move follows a list of alleviating measures Hamas has obtained from Israel recently, mediated by Egyptian intelligence officials. Poor-stricken families will receive financial support to pay for rehabilitation of their homes and 500 young Palestinians from those families who are about to get married will receive money. Another million dollars will be given to Gazan students whose families are unable to pay their tuition. The announcement came after a meeting between Qatari envoy Mohammed Al-Emadi and Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar. (Haaretz+)
  • Mossad Chief Visited Doha, Urged Qataris to Continue Gaza Financial Aid - Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen visited Doha on February 5 in order to ensure Qatar continues its financial aid policy to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Avigdor Lieberman said they were sent on the mission by Netanyahu. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinian Shot Dead in Suspected Stabbing Attack in Jerusalem's Old City - A woman sustained a leg injury, probably by a ricochet of the bullet fired at the suspect. (Haaretz+ and Maariv and VIDEO)
  • Woman arrested in East Jerusalem attempted stabbing Friday - No injuries reported ■ Police provide no information about suspect's identity. (Haaretz+, Maariv and Ynet)
  • Palestinians slam Israel's West Bank power project: 'Meant to support settlements - The master plan is designated to serve both Jewish settlements and the Palestinians, but the PA's opposition might prevent its implementation in the Palestinian territories. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Taxi App Gett Sued for Allegedly Letting Jerusalem Users Filter Out Arab Drivers - 'Mehadrin' service gives users option to only ride in cabs that don't operate on Shabbat, but attorneys and drivers allege that its true purpose is to hail cabs driven by Jews. (Haaretz)
  • WATCH Video shows Israeli army bulldozer pushing stones at Palestinian protesters - Israeli army says engineering tools were used to clear stones from the road during protests. 'While doing the clearing, mass stone-throwing took place' at hands of demonstrators. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli AG orders criminal probe against activist Jonathan Pollak over Haaretz op-ed - Pollak will be questioned on suspicion that he incited violence and terrorism over comments made in an unedited version erroneously posted on the Haaretz Hebrew site. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • A tense presidential visit to Australia - Three sisters who Malka Leifer sexually assaulted were angry that President Rivlin refused to meet them. “It has been 12 years since Malka Leifer escaped from Australia (to Israel), nine years since we gave our testimonies to police, 63 court hearings and we have not yet reached an extradition trial,” wrote the three sisters. “We did not ask you to intervene in the legal process - just use your authority to ensure this case is completed within a reasonable time.” In the Australian parliament they accused: "Israel, our friend, let us down.” Although he has no control over the pace and manner in which this case is being conducted in Israel, the delay of Malka’s Lifer's extradition to Australia harms the visit of Rivlin to Australia. (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • *Israel's Defense Chief Claims 'Security Difficulties' in Bid to Block Palestinian Housing Development - Defense Minister Naftali Bennett wants to prevent legal Palestinian construction in the town of Turmus Ayya, which is located in Area B, the part of the West Bank under Palestinian civil jurisdiction. His advisor, Avi Roeh, said the Palestinian developer’s goal is “to encourage a Palestinian takeover of the land in Judea and Samaria.” Palestinian developer's lawyer: “The construction project in Turmus Ayya was meant to ease the enormous housing shortage in Palestinian society." (Haaretz+)
  • Attorney general calls for suspending probe into police oversight unit until after Israeli election - Avichai Mendelblit says committee investigating the Justice Ministry's unit into police misconduct may be motivated by political considerations in advance of March 2 election. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel Arrests Four Migrant Workers While Kids at School, Leaving Children Alone - In one case, woman and her two children detained for several hours. Immigration authority: Mothers here illegally 'show a minimum of parental responsibility.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Tarantino reveals newest project: A Half-Israeli son - Quentin Tarantino, 56, and his Israeli actress/model wife Daniella Pick, 36, officially became the proud parents of a baby boy on Saturday afternoon, after Pick gave birth Tel-Aviv's Ichilov hospital. (JPost and Ynet)
  • German gunman who killed 9 called for 'complete extermination' of Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt - Rambling manifesto now taken down decries 'ethnic groups, races or cultures in our midst that are destructive in every respect'; Merkel says shootings exposed 'poison' of racism in Germany, pledges to stand up against those who seek to divide the country. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Explained Flare-up in fighting in northwest Syria pulls in Russian, Turkish and Syrian forces - Plight of civilians at horrifying level, says the UN as fighting intensifies. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • 'Syrian regime' must be stopped in Idlib,' Erdogan tells Macron, Merkel in joint call - Turkish president says he will hold phone conversation with Putin, who backs the Syrian government forces in the conflict in the rebel stronghold, later Friday. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Turkey suffers casualties as Syrian government continues advance on Idlib - President Erdogan says to meet Putin, Merkel and Macron on March 5. Nearly a million people, mostly women and children, displaced since December. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Highway linking largest Syrian cities reopens after eight years - The 450-kilometer highway connects the country's four largest cities and population centers: Damascus, Homs, Hama and Aleppo. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Saudi textbooks call Jews 'monkeys,' espouse Israeli expansionist plot - Study finds that despite recent hints of imminent breakthrough in Jerusalem-Riyadh ties, the kingdom's educational material still teaches that Zionists are enemies of Islam, refuses to use Israel's name, with some even saying it is religious duty to kill Jewish people. (Ynet)
  • Egypt extends detention of activist who criticized president for another 15 days - Student has been tortured, beaten and blindfolded during interrogations, according to group providing him legal representation. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iranians go to polls Friday after thousands of candidates disqualified - Iran's leadership and state media urged voter participation, with some framing it as a religious duty. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Pompeo meets with Oman's new ruler amid U.S. pressure on Iran - Oman is concerned that the Trump administration's maximum pressure campaign against Iran, as well as rising tensions in the region, could harm tourism, economic growth, and oil interests. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Global watchdog places Iran on terrorism financing blacklist  - Move comes after Paris-based task force warned Iran for three years that it must enact terrorist financing conventions, with which the Islamic republic failed to comply. (Agencies, Haaretz and Maariv)


Features:
Gideon Levy Israeli Soldier Kills Palestinian Cop at His Own Station. No Explanation Is Offered
An IDF soldier shot a Palestinian police officer standing 100 meters away, at the entrance to his station, talking to other members of the force. Sgt. Tarek Badwan, a father of two with a family of police officers, was killed. (Gideon Levy and Alex Levac, Haaretz+ and VIDEO: Times of Israel)
[NOTE: The YOUTUBE link to the video showing the killing of the Palestinian policeman allegedly by IDF forces has been removed by YouTube for ‘violating YouTube’s policy on violent or graphic content.’ However, the video is not graphic and only shows the policeman suddenly falling. Meanwhile, numerous videos showing Palestinian violence towards Israelis is allowed to be on YouTube. The video of the killing of the policeman is the only evidence that shows he was not involved in any violence when he was suddenly shot dead. It is highly likely that someone pro-Israel, who did not want Israel seen as doing something wrong, requested that YouTube remove the video. It is a serious error on the part of YouTube to agree - OH] The link was in the February 6th edition of News Nosh.
Tinder, Parties and No Morality Police: An Israeli Reporter's Journey Through Saudi Arabia
Dating, freedom to divorce, women in the labor market and behind the wheel, foreign tourists, coed leisure – Saudi Arabia is becoming a society that wants to resemble the West. How do people live with all this sudden freedom, yet no hope of democracy? (Tamara Baraaz, Haaretz+)
Who ratted out Zionist militia leader Yair Stern to his killers 78 years ago?
Moshe Svorai, a partly exonerated fellow Lehi member, inadvertently disclosed the commander’s hideout, scholar says. (Ofer Aderet, Haaretz+)

Elections 2020/Netanyahu Indictment Commentary/Analysis:
Netanyahu’s Farewell Legacy Tour: By Harking Back to His Past, Bibi Guides Historians of the Future (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) For two weeks now, Benjamin Netanyahu has been giving campaign speeches to the faithful two or three times a night. It’s his last chance to secure his narrative before others do it in court.
How did our friend, "Akibush," (occupation) disappear from the election struggles? (Ran Edelist, Maariv) Ignoring the occupation and the Palestinian issue in the election campaign is the Netanyahu government's greatest success, and it was achieved with the help of a three-stage public drugging mechanism.
Netanyahu welcomes the last 43 victims of his callous, cynical reign to Israel (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Netanyahu suddenly decided that bringing a large group of Falashmura just before the election was exactly what was needed to boost Likud votes from the Ethiopian Israeli community.
As his trial gets closer, Netanyahu is ready to use every magic trick he can (Anna Barsky, Maariv) As far as the prime minister is concerned, ten meetings with a Democratic US president are better than doing a live televised debate. Likud's election headquarters repeats a single mantra, but not all of them are broadcasting a fighting spirit.
Netanyahu hoped Trump's plan would help him win. How much difference did it actually make? (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) Netanyahu commissioned polls to find out. The findings were a slap in the face.
Polarization Isn’t the Reason for Israel’s Third Election (Israel Harel, Haaretz+) We are in a profound national crisis, the national mood says. People despise one another. This crisis, many fine folks believe, is a greater threat to Israel than all the enemies that surround it. We’ve reached the point, I hear in meetings with individuals and groups, where we’ve lost our Zionist and national common denominators…The voices of hate, from the left and the right, may be loud, but they’re deceptive. Most of the nation doesn’t subscribe to them. Most of the despair derives from a crisis of leadership. Leaders who cling to glory are fueling and intensifying the polarization.
Democracy is alive (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth Hebrew) It is possible that the question in regards to the case of the "Fifth Dimension" (company Gantz headed) is not why an investigation was opened but why it was delayed? For the past two years, it is worth noting that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit was Netanyahu's...subjugated servant and enemy of the rule of law. There was no denial that the anti-corruption campaign spared him. Time ran, and then Mendelblit became the most hated man by Netanyahu's followers. He is corrupt. He succumbed to the oligarchy. He is the man who decided to remove a prime minister of the State of Israel. What wasn't said about him? Everything. From every direction. Mendelblit is neither this nor that. One may wonder about some of his decisions, but he did not sell his soul to any devil, neither right nor left. But law enforcement agencies have flesh and blood. Not everyone is an angel. There are also people with political or non-kosher motivations. These are the people who managed to whitewash the Ruth David affair. And these are the people who are responsible for the countless leaks that are intended to hurt Netanyahu. This happened long before investigative materials reached the Prime Minister's Office. One can assume that they did not cook evidence. You can even believe that they are confident that Netanyahu's removal is good for the country. But they failed to separate their political position from their professional judgment.
A dangerous lie is being spread these days, on the eve of the election. It also happened in the US in 2016 (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz Hebrew) The "Fifth Dimension" affair may be a local version of the email affair, which led to Clinton's election loss. The media understands that this is a scam but inflates the coverage of the affair to evade right-wing outrage.
Why Vote for Labor-Gesher-Meretz in Israel's Election (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) It’s the most reasonable, sensible act for the common leftist. Let’s start small. For months leftists ranted bitterly over the annoying behavior of Meretz and Labor’s leaders, who, losing touch with reality, plunged into a swamp of in-fighting and false consciousness. Now that they’ve united, there’s no reason to punish them by subtracting from their combined Knesset seats in the last election. Labor Party Chairman Amir Peretz, who despite his problems has considerable virtues – did what he had to do. This is the time to build him up, not tear him down.
The first dimension (Shimon Schiffer, Yedioth Hebrew) 1. To Netanyahu's credit, it should be said that in preparation for the latest elections in the current election campaign, he managed to take control of the agenda and give us the feeling that he is just playing on the field. Compared to Gantz, who apparently believes he has to do nothing to be declared a winner. "The public must know the truth, now," Netanyahu demanded at the announcement of the opening of the investigation into what was happening at the "Fifth Dimension" company that Gantz headed. But if that is the case, then the Prosecutor's Office should also announce the opening of an investigation into Netanyahu's "stocks affair." What's more, the public must know everything about Netanyahu's bank accounts around the world. Who is funding his election campaign? Which overseas banks are holding accounts of money transferred to them? Those who demanded to investigate the "Fifth Dimension" should stand before voters today and express their consent to investigate the first dimension, that is related to him.
Gantz, Don’t Shy Away From a Debate, the Public Can Handle It (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) “Bibi, you know that people, including some of your best friends, don’t believe you. What was it that Arik Sharon said about you? That you endanger Israel and that he doesn’t believe one word you say. What did Limor Livnat say? This leadership needs to be replaced … the problem is that no one believes you.” This is what Center Party leader Itzik Mordechai said to Benjamin Netanyahu when debating him in 1999, and this is exactly what Benny Gantz should have said in a debate between them ahead of the upcoming election: Bibi, you know that your best friends don’t believe you. Nobody believes you. A confrontation with Netanyahu is a wonderful opportunity for Gantz to publicly admit that Netanyahu is indeed the glue holding Kahol Lavan together, and to state that what binds Yael German to Gabi Ashkenazi, Ofer Shelah to Moshe Ya’alon, Yair Lapid to Zvi Hauser, is the common acknowledgment – stronger than anything that divides them politically on the backdrop of tensions between left and right – that Netanyahu is bad for Israel.
Does Bernie Sanders Really Have a 'Principled, Progressive' Foreign Policy?  (Matt Johnson, Haaretz+) Sanders has a noble cause: to fight the world’s authoritarians. So why was his first partner in the 'global progressive movement' an apologist for anti-Semites, dictators and theocrats?
We Arab Americans and Muslims Are Voting for Bernie. Because He's Jewish (Amer Zahr, Haaretz+) Nominating the old Jewish guy comes naturally to us voters in the Arab Disneyland of Dearborn, Michigan - and people like us across America.

Top Commentary/Analysis:
The IDF Spirit: These Aren’t Human Beings. They’re Palestinians (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+ and YouTube) We ought to thank the driver of the military tractor who went crazy on the streets of Kfar Qaddum the other day, even give him a citation: He drew an amazingly accurate picture of reality for Israelis and the outside world. Take a look at the video clip that’s been circulating on social media: That’s the occupation. This is what it looks like. This is how it behaves. It’s heavy-handed, violent and unbridled. It’s hard to think of an image that better reflects the situation than this vehicle of steel heading wildly down the streets of a Palestinian village, slamming into a crowd that tries to flee for its life. Never mind the tongue-clucking: This tractor speaks the language of the IDF, more than anything else does. Forget about the coronavirus, this is the real epidemic, with millions of carriers all over Israel.
Israel’s Dark Times Are Already With Us, Mr. President (Ilana Hammerman, Haaretz+) Open your eyes and see them, Mr. President – you, Reuven Rivlin, who said the publication of the list of businesses with ties to West Bank settlements was “reminiscent of dark periods in our history.” Those dark periods are here, right here, right now. They’re here in Jerusalem, your city and mine. Go to the Shoafat refugee camp and see the crowded ghetto that has arisen behind the barriers walling in Arab residents of Jerusalem. Go to Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah and see how Arab families are evicted in Jerusalem neighborhoods, their homes becoming Jewish property. Join the Flag March that takes place in the Old City every year and see the masses of Jews parading through the narrow alleys, where all the shops are closed out of fear. Isn’t this what happened to the Jews in the “dark periods”?
Why wait for Mideast peace? (Joseph Tipograph, Israel Hayom) If we believe that peace and prosperity for the Middle East is important, then it is incumbent upon all of us to read the US peace plan and think about the civilization we want to create for our children.
The Temple Mount Express Has Already Left the Station (Rogel Alpher, Haaretz+) The messianic-nationalistic dialogue about the Temple Mount did not seep into any of the main television newscasts but whoever reads the opinion pages of right-wing media such as Yisrael Hayom, Mekor Rishon and Arutz Sheva would see that it is already well-rooted. The arrest of former MK Yehudah Glick on the Temple Mount, for “walking too slowly” in a defiant way, the handcuffs placed on him “in front of Muslims” and the police searches of his home that night – all this has happened in the eyes of the right due to the same left-wing conspiracy of the “rule of law” which has targeted Netanyahu. From their point of view, the “rule of law” has set a goal of repressing representatives of Jewish nationalism – first it was Netanyahu and now Glick.
Israel's construction plans mean Palestinians can't divide Jerusalem (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) The PA is unabashed about its desire to create a contiguous urban foothold from Bethlehem, through Beit Jala and Givat Hamatos.
Freedom of expression was born exactly for the billboard signs that annoy us (Kalman Libskind, Maariv) (Tel-Aviv Mayor Ron) Huldai and the other opponents of the billboard showing (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) Abu Mazen and (Hamas leader Ismail) Haniyeh humiliated, find it difficult to see what most citizens see: terrorists that need to be defeated and to wish for their downfall.
Tel Aviv's mayor vs. the Middle East Forum (Daniel Pipes, Israel Hayom) The concept of Israel Victory, a simple idea with immense implications, gets hugely under some people's skins.
Netanyahu Uses His Gaza Formula to Rule Israel's Palestinian Arabs (Jack Khoury, Haaretz+) For Palestinians in Israel, the West Bank and even Gaza, the national discourse has been pushed to the sidelines and remains merely declarative.
Abbas' 1,000 Nos (David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom) How far can Abbas go in opposing negotiation and compromise, encouraging violence, venerating terrorists, spewing hatred, and pushing the criminalization of Israel – while still being considered a paragon of peace?
There could be trouble brewing for Israel in Syria (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) Putin is tolerating Israeli military action across its northern border for now, but if the Russian president listens to his advisers who are less happy with IDF operations as it strives to bring stability to this war-torn country, Jerusalem could find itself on the wrong end of Moscow's ire.
The massive – but reversible – defeats of Iran and Turkey (Caroline B. Glick, Israel Hayom) Israel's two most formidable adversaries have both come up short in their quests for regional domination, and Israel is reaping the rewards of their losses.
Evangelicals to the left, Iran to the right (Liran Friedmann, Ynet) Trump thirst for more supporters both in conservative circles and voters has firmly brought the evangelical community into the halls of power and influence, but at what cost for him and for us?
Iran: The fabrication of democracy (Tamar Eilam Gindin, Israel Hayom) The hardliners' landslide win in the Iranian parliament is a surprise to no one. The regime's opponents not only stayed home, they had no one to vote for regardless.
Israeli confab tackles Iran, cyber and Gaza. But there was an elephant in the room (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) A seminar involving ex-army brass and academics paints a mixed strategic outlook for Israel, all in the shadow of Netanyahu's political future.
Thousands of exit permits are contributing to the Gaza economy, but increasing Hamas' appetite (Jackie Khougy, Maariv) There is no other way to call it: Israel is gradually removing the closure from over the Gaza Strip. The problem is that it is occurring under pressure and through the bandaid method, and not as part of an organized political plan.
Trump’s Mideast plan represents a deep paradigm shift. What should Israel do next? (Michael Herzog, Haaretz+) The proposal could leave a mark by creating a new, powerful point of reference for any future Israeli leader, but it must not be adopted as a rigid operative blueprint.
The European response to the "deal of the century" revealed the weakness of Israeli foreign policy (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) Even if the European Union recognition of a Palestinian state is thwarted, the US and Israel will not be able to prevent the expected moves, placing Palestine at the top of the world diplomacy agenda.
Anti-Semitism can't be fought with lip service (Fiamma Nirenstein, Haaretz+) The EU's message with regard to the settlements grants tacit permission to blame and hate Israel and, by extension, the Jews. To combat this, words are not enough; action is required.
The blacklist published by the United Nations is largely indicative of hypocrisy on the part of the organization (Prof. Arieh Eldad, Maariv) The UN Human Rights Council is not just a bunch of anti-Semites - members of which also have direct links with terrorist organizations. But the original sin comes from among us. From those Jews who want to uproot Jewish settlement from the heart of our homeland, and do not hesitate to harness to their cart the enemies of Israel, as well. Faced with the "black list" of the enemies of Israel, we must put together our "black list,” featuring the hypocritical "human rights organizations" in Israel and around the world, the Arabs and their supporters, the front organizations of the terrorist organizations, and their collaborators.
The UN Human Rights Council strikes again (Clifford D. May, Israel Hayom) The UNHRC has condemned Israel more than all other nations of the world combined. Now, a motley crew of rights violators seeks to harm Israelis and Palestinians alike.
Wanted: A smart way to starve terrorist funding (Uri Heitner, Yedioth/Ynet) The law to deduct stipends paid to terrorists from the tax revenue transferred to the PA has not had any impact on their allowances, coming at the cost of Palestinian healthcare and education, so Israel must find another way to strip these evildoers of their money.
Israeli army report on Haredi draft figures shows it may be best to exempt ultra-Orthodox (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) The headache involved for the military is too great, and this community would be better off doing civilian national service in places like emergency services' ambulances.
 
Interviews:
'It's been a tough year, but I still have a lot to do'
Yamina MK Ayelet Shaked is ready to storm policymaking once again and warns against voter fatigue and petty politics. "Likud likes it when the national-religious parties are small, weak, pathetic, with the Science and Space portfolio. They don't want us with Justice or Defense. That's less convenient. Why? Because we challenge them," she asserts. (Interviewed by  Naama Lanski in Israel Hayom)
 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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