News Nosh 3.3.20

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday March 3, 2020
 
Quote of the day:
"Israel is a right-wing country, where racism is politically correct and personal corruption is irrelevant. When generals fresh from the army are the alternative, there is none. We must hope a true Jewish-Arab partnership will emerge."
--Gideon Levy in today's post-election Op-Ed.*

Front Page:
Haaretz
  • 60 mandates to right-wing bloc, Likud leading over Kahol-Lavan by 3-5 mandates
  • Netanyahu won, too late // Yossi Verter
  • Netanyahu was counting on Ethiopian-Israelis, taxi drivers and farmers. It looks like it worked // Josh Breiner
  • The incitement against them and life itself motivated the (Arab) residents of the Triangle to go to the polling stations
  • Labor and Meretz stood before a brutal choice. But did they do the right thing? // Jonathan Lis
  • Some 4000 Israelis in self-quarantine out of fear of coronavirus voted at special polling stations
  • The path won // Aluf Benn
  • On the way to unity // Ravit Hecht
  • The achievement and the failure // Jacky Khoury
  • The common denominator // Noa Landau
  • Not something out of nothing // Zvi Bar’el
  • Return of the magician // Gideon Levy
  • They chose corruption // Sami Peretz
  • Victory of the hatred // Uri Misgav
  • Two more Israelis who returned from Italy were infected with coronavirus
  • Five US Presidential candidates remain for ‘Super Tuesday’
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • He won (Photo of Netanyahu smiling as he takes a selfie)
  • - Enormous achievement for Netanyahu - on the verge of establishing a government
  • The people said their word // Nahum Barnea
  • To the legal battle // Sima Kadmon
  • Public gave him immunity // Amichai Atali
  • And now: unity // Limor Livnat (Hebrew)
  • Thanks to the indictment // Sever Plocker
  • Failure of Kahol-Lavan; The fall of Amir Peretz and Meretz; The achievement of the Joint List; The defectors who are in the crosshairs (Hebrew)
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links)
  • (Government) Within reach
Israel Hayom

Elections 2020 :
The surprising turnaround of Binyamin Netanyahu, who after losing two elections, beat Kahol-Lavan by four mandates and won the Israeli elections, but lacks  - at the moment - one or two mandates to form a government, was the top story of the Hebrew newspapers, which almost solely focused on elections: the question of who will be enticed to defect to Likud (four MKs are in Likud’s crosshairs), the success of the mostly Arab Joint List, and the voters in self-quarantine, due to fear of having coronavirus, who voted at special polling stations - meanwhile, two more Israelis tested positive, bringing the total infected to 12.

The 10PM exit polls initially gave the right-wing bloc 60 seats - one seat away from a Knesset majority - with the Likud party receiving 37 seats, compared to Kahol-Lavan's 33 seats. But after 90% of votes were counted by Tuesday afternoon, Likud had 36 seats compared and Kahol-Lavan had 32 and the right-wing bloc had 59 seats. The figures show that Likud received 93,000 more votes compared to the September elections, and the Joint List received 60,000 more votes than the previous elections.

Netanyahu’s smiles were all over the front pages. He told his supporters it was a “night of great victory,” and indeed it was for them. Netanyahu's supporters called for Attorney General Avichai Mendelblitt, who indicted Netanyahu, to ‘go home.’ Benny Gantz told his supporters that he shared their pain and disappointment. At Kahol-Lavan headquarters, the knives came out as Gantz went under attack for the party’s failure.

The success of the Joint List, which received 15 mandates, was bittersweet for its members and supporters. "[The results] are a major success for the Joint List that executed the biggest election success in decades,” MK Ahmed Tibi, #3 in the Joint List said, adding that he was worried of a dark future if Netanyahu got enough mandates after the counting of the soldiers' ballots to form a government. Secretary-General of the Palestinian Liberation Organization Saeb Erekat said that Netanyahu’s victory was a victory for “settlement, occupation and apartheid.”


Elections 2020 / Netanyahu Indictment Quickees:
  • Israel's Election Is Over, So Now What? The Key Dates to Expect - Here are the anticipated deadlines for each stage to end Israel's political deadlock. (Haaretz+)
  • Casting his ballot, Rivlin expresses 'deep shame' at political morass - 'We don't deserve this,' says president as he votes in Jerusalem for third time in less than a year; 'We don't deserve another awful and grubby election campaign like the one that ends today and we don't deserve this never-ending instability,' he says. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • 'Thank you ,' tweets Netanyahu as exit polls point to victory - While one short of the 61 Knesset seats he needs, PM vows to immediately start work on forming a new government; Gantz pledges to continue fighting for 'right path.' (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • (Kahanist) Ben Gvir was left out - There was no big surprise last night that Otzma Yehudit, the [far right-wing] party, which until the last moment had been negotiating for withdrawing from the race, remained far from passing the minimum threshold. The party also lost the achievement it made last September achievement, when it received 84,000 votes. (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Netanyahu caught on tape discussing Gantz advisor leak ahead of publication - Netanyahu repeatedly claimed he had nothing to do with the leaked tape and was not familiar with the rabbi who released the recording. Channel 12 revealed a tape where Netanyahu could be heard discussing the leak of the recording by the rabbi with whom the Gantz advisor, Israel Bachar, spoke, in which Bachar said that Gantz was a ‘danger to the people of Israel.’ (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • High Noon on Israel’s Election Day: The Settler Versus the Posh Kid Netanyahu - Haaretz visited the voting districts of Avigdor Lieberman and Benjamin Netanyahu, and doesn’t find much love for either there – while Benny Gantz looks exhausted by it all. (Haaretz+)
  • How Do You Vote Under Coronavirus Quarantine? Just Look at Israel’s Election - Special ‘pop-up’ polling stations have been set up for these determined voters, where masks and gloves and special voting-slip envelopes are the order of the day. (Haaretz+)
  • Meet the Generation That Holds the Key to Israel's Future - Haaretz spotlights 10 young Israelis from a large cross-section of society and learns some surprising things about their politics, passions, positions and plans for the future. (Haaretz)
  • Israel Election 2020: Facebook Deletes Netanyahu Video After He Violates Election Law Again - The social media platform also removed fake accounts designed to suppress Arab voting. (Haaretz+)

 
Quick Hits:
  • Israeli Police Commander Demoted Amid Allegations of Racism by Officers - Subordinates of Chief Lt. Shai Mizrahi at the Kiryat Malakhi police station, made racist comments about a detainee of Ethiopian descent in a work WhatsApp group, where one posted the photo of the man bleeding and shackled. One detective called him a “son of a whore,” while a female detective commented that the picture “looks amazing,” adding a love emoji. “Yes, a colored guy like that,” the first detective replied. Another photo of the detainee shared later showed the man's wounds, sparking the same detective to write "Aw, a scar from the police for life." Another boasted the detainee "ate a lot of road and pepper spray." (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Israeli Army Strikes Vehicle across Syrian Border After Sniper Fire - This follows Israel's acknowledgment that its warplanes struck Islamic Jihad targets south of Damascus last week, in addition to sites in the Gaza Strip. (Haaretz+, Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Serbia announces intention to open 'official state office' in Jerusalem - The country will also open a chamber of commerce office in the Israeli capital, followed by a diplomatic office bearing Serbia's national flag, Serbian President Alexandar Vucic tells the AIPAC conference on Sunday. (Israel Hayom)
  • At AIPAC Conference, an Absent Sanders Takes Center Stage - On the first day of the pro-Israel lobby’s policy conference, Democratic candidates and Israeli politicians defend AIPAC and take aim at Bernie Sanders’ remarks. (Haaretz+)
  • Why did Israel's top UN envoy call Bernie Sanders an 'ignorant fool'? - At annual AIPAC conference Danny Danon lashes out against presidential hopeful. "We don't want him in Israel. Anyone who calls our prime minister a racist is either a liar, an ignorant fool, or both," he says. (Israel Hayom)
  • Sources close to Prime Minister say Danny Danon’s words against Sander were “not coordinated” - Sources around Netanyahu have claimed that the statements by Israel ambassador to UN that were directed against the Democratic candidate, were not coordinated with the prime minister beforehand. (Maariv)
  • Pence to AIPAC: Sanders would be 'most anti-Israel president in the history of this nation' - Making the case for US President Donald Trump's re-election, Pence warns that if elected, Senator Bernie Sanders would be the complete opposite of Trump as it pertains to US-Israel relations. (Israel Hayom)
  • Sanders hits back in AIPAC row: I am pro-Israel. I am pro-Palestinian - Jewish senator and presidential hopeful responds to criticism for skipping annual conference of powerful pro-Israel lobby, said on CBS’ "Face the Nation' program that he wants to 'bring people together to finally achieve peace in region.’ (Ynet)
  • In AIPAC Appearance, Mike Bloomberg Takes Aim at Sanders Over His Israel Policy - The former New York mayor, the only Democratic candidate to appear in person at AIPAC’s policy conference, said he would never limit military aid to Israel as leverage. (Haaretz+)
  • Explained Why is Turkey threatening a full-blown conflict with Syria and to shatter its alliance with Russia - Fifty-five Turkish soldiers were killed in Syria's Idlib in February as tensions between Turkey and Syria continued to spiral out of control. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Syrian troops attempt to retake key northwestern town from rebel forces - The attempt comes after escalating and direct clashes between Syrian and Turkish forces that could signal a new stage of the war. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Turkey Destroys Scores of Syrian Army Targets, Says Defense Minister - Turkish military strikes airport in Syria's Aleppo. (Haaretz)
  • Migrants clash with Greek police at border for second day after Turkey opens floodgates - Greece, Bulgaria on high alert, as UN says 13,000 people crowd at border ■ Greeks scream at migrants 'The Borders are Shut!' via loudspeakers. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Top Adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Dies of Coronavirus, Death Toll Reaches 66 in Country - Iran has the highest death toll in the world after China, the epicenter of the outbreak. The death of Expediency Council member Mohammad Mirmohammadi, 71, comes as other top officials have contracted the virus in Iran. (Agencies, Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Tunisia Confirm First Cases of Coronavirus - Jordanian patient returned from Italy nearly two weeks ago on a plane with 100 passengers. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Elections 2020/Netanyahu Indictment Commentary/Analysis:
Israel's Election Results Usher in a Black Day for Israeli Democracy (Haaretz Editorial) But it isn’t just the center-left that lost on Monday. A victory for defendant Netanyahu is a defeat for the rule of law, and for every Israeli who wants to live in a democratic country governed by law, in which nobody is above the law. This is a black day for everyone who sought to put the nightmare of Netanyahu’s years in power, which were characterized by incitement, division and racism, behind us.
Netanyahu's indictments were the fuel to his victory (Sever Plocker, Yedioth/Ynet) Netanyahu's incitements have ultimately only emboldened undecided supporters to vote for Likud under his leadership and it is quite possible that their vote would have been different had the premier been subjected to the moral judgment of the people.
A vote of no confidence in the legal system (Amnon Lord, Israel Hayom) Despite all the political and legal chaos, the public trusts Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. As a global economic crisis unfolds, Netanyahu must establish a stable coalition as soon as possible.
Israel election: Netanyahu's dream of 61 seats spells certain danger for rule of law (Aluf Benn, Haaretz+) A victory for the right-wing bloc will permanently cripple the rule of law in Israel, under the guise of ‘judicial reform’ and ‘reining in the High Court of Justice.’
Time to dismantle the blocs (Ben Caspit, Maariv) Netanyahu and Gantz need to give up their egos, break a few promises and understand the importance of the hour - and open, already this morning, quick negotiations for establishing a unity rotational government, because Israel before everything...Elections for a fourth time would be a terrible disaster. A limping government of 61 seats led by a man indicted for bribery - equally bad. The continued deadlock is no less than a disaster that needs to be avoided at any price. It's possible that Netanyahu will succeed in controlling for another year or two, but the chaos will worsen...The only way for Gantz to keep his role as Chairman of Kahol-Lavan is through a rotational unity government. Any other option, the likelihood that he will survive is low. When he entered politics, I claimed that he was a goldfish in a pool of piranhas. He succeeded in stopping Netanyahu and twice and failed, apparently, in the third time. The goldfish was eaten.
Will the prime minister please rise and face the court (Tova Zimuki, Yedioth/Ynet) Netanyahu's legal status as a defendant may not be relevant as a majority of MKs recommend him for PM, but the AG, the president and the Supreme Court having all come under attacks from Likud, will have the final word.
The Night They Tore Old Israel Down – and Seven More Comments on Netanyahu’s Stunning Triumph (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) If U.S. Democrats want to see how Trump can beat them in November, they should watch and learn.
The people have spoken (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth Hebrew) It shas spokenfrom the mouth of right-wing voters, who in the previous rounds stayed home or voted Kahol-Lavan, and has spoken through center-left voters who chose to stay home yesterday. Assuming that counting the actual amount of will not dramatically change the trend, the message that emerges from the polls is clear: The exit from the deadlock that paralyzed Israeli government systems is passing through Netanyahu. You can love it, you can hate it, but that's what it is. The question is how to move on. The dilemma is first and foremost Netanyahu’s: whether he favors a government that relies on a clear majority in the Knesset, or a narrow, right-wing ultra-Orthodox government. If avoiding the law is his top priority, he will go for a narrow government. That was also the commitment he gave his voters during the campaign. On the other hand, a narrow government has difficulty passing laws in the Knesset and is subject to extortion by its margins. It does not guarantee stability. The ideal solution, from Netanyahu's point of view, is to go for two steps: In the first stage, to form a narrow coalition, which will pave the way for the deletion or cancellation of the indictments. Once this unpleasantness is removed, invite more partners in. Kahol-Lavan, for example, or parts of Kahol-Lavan that will have difficulty being in the opposition; Or Lieberman. The anger there is very great, both for Netanyahu and Deri, but there is no lack of mutual friends who will turn the world upside down to bring about a reconciliation. The dilemma also exists among the losers. After the second round, a minority government led by Gantz could have been formed, with the Joint List (in the background). This did not happen either because of Lieberman's reluctance and because of the resistance in the right wing of Kahol-Lavan. It was a missed opportunity. There are no gifts in politics - either take what is given, or give up. Gantz's attempt to position himself as a cleaned up Netanyahu, and his party's attempt to position itself as a Likud-lite did not go well. Soft right voters favored the original. At the beginning of the campaign, I asked most of Meirav Michaeli (Labor) what the point would be for the continued existence of her party, as a small niche party alongside Kahol-Lavan. “Kahol-Lavan will fall apart," she said. "Someone's going to have to be there to collect the debris." If Kahol-Lavan is destined for the opposition, Michaeli's prophecy may come true. Parties that arise around one issue - the sense of disgust toward Netanyahu - and extend to unclear territory that is defined as central, don’t last long. That is what happened to the historical Center Party, which emerged in the late 1990s as an alternative to Netanyahu's Likud; This is what happened to Dash, which was established in the late 1970s, as an alternative to Mapai rule. The joyous news from the results yesterday is that there will probably not be a fourth round. From this curse we seem to have passed. I can name at least two less happy results: One, we will have a prime minister that a large number of Israelis do not consider a legitimate prime minister. He entered into the field of illegitimacy because of the false, vicious, maybe even delinquent way in which he ran the three campaigns, and the most recent campaign in particular. Netanyahu will probably now say - perhaps he already said - that he will be everyone's prime minister. Only those who elected him will believe him. The second unhappy result is that the impressive success of the campaign brings about a profound change in the political rules of the game. From now on, anyone who wants to succeed in the elections will act like Netanyahu. More than that: going for what the political base likes, regardless of national interest and national responsibility, will accompany the government even after the election. Something fundamental, deep, in our democratic heritage is lost to us. But the nation has spoken, and the nation’s words will rise.
*The Tribe Has Spoken. We Must Respect Its Say – and Start a New One (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Israel is a right-wing country, where racism is politically correct and personal corruption is irrelevant. When generals fresh from the army are the alternative, there is none. We must hope a true Jewish-Arab partnership will emerge.
The Triumph of Ideology Over Ambiguity (Aluf Benn, Haaretz+) Netanyahu and the Joint List won voters by staying on message with clear positions in Israel's election. Gantz and Labor-Gesher-Meretz waffled and were bogged down by internal disputes.
Israeli Arabs, It’s Time to Play the Political Game Till the End (Salman Masalha, Haaretz+) It is clear to any intelligent person that advancing the interests of Arab citizens, a minority, cannot bear results without participating in the countries institutions of power and without the support of the Jewish majority. Therefore, the Joint List has to think bigger, and for Arab citizens that means building bridges with the wider public among the Jewish majority, who are ready to cooperate for the sake of joint goals for all Israeli citizens.
The 'anyone-but-Bibi' camp is bankrupt (Ariel Kahana, Israel Hayom) The question everyone in the anti-Netanyahu camp must ask themselves Tuesday morning is: What would be the point of a fourth election?
Israel Said Yes to Netanyahu’s Message: Everything Is Allowed (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) Bibi’s supporters, who admire his cruelty, have been joined by so many Israelis who are exhausted by the repeat general elections.
Netanyahu won the fight of his life (Gideon Allon, Israel Hayom) The votes for the Likud were first and foremost an expression of support for PM Benjamin Netanyahu and a protest at the legal system and media enlisting to topple him.
Netanyahu Reaps the Fruits of a Messianic, Racist and Nationalist Decade (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The Chosen People failed to foster a worthy alternative and chose to crown the mafioso once again. The next trap is already beckoning.
This election is (was) about stopping the coup on Israel's judiciary (Yedidia Stern, Yedioth/Ynet) Netanyahu and other prominent right-wing figures have vowed to make radical changes in the country's judicial system, which may politicize it to the point where human rights of Israel's public will no longer be protected.
A clear win: Israel has decided (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's resounding win was an equally ringing failure for Blue and White and Benny Gantz. The people have spoken.
The Enemy Is on Balfour Street, Not in Umm al-Fahm (Odeh Bisharat, Haaretz+) Some will say that Arabs and Jewish democrats in this country have nothing to do with the intense power struggle taking place on the top floor, and that politically there is no difference between Likud and Kahol Lavan, and therefore they should be left to stew in their own juices. That’s a dangerous attitude, because if we don’t take action at some point against the most dangerous elements, those sitting on the bottom floor – including the Arabs and other deprived communities – will be the first victims of the extremist takeover. Today this whole situation is embodied in the so-called Balfour gang and its allies. The good news is that on this day, and despite the dark clouds of lies and incitement, we sense that many people, even those on the top floor, already realize that the winds of danger are actually blowing from Balfour Street – not from Umm al-Fahm, which is being threatened with revocation of its residents’ citizenship. And so, without even noticing, we are witnessing a rare sight: Members of the “first Israel,” as people like to call it, are joining hands with the “third Israel” – i.e., Israeli Arab citizens – in order to generate a profound change in the State of Israel. This is the epitome of the End of Days! Against the enemy from Balfour and for the sake of a country that embraces its children, Tel Aviv will go with Umm al-Fahm, Netanya with Nazareth, Haifa with Rahat and Sakhnin with Ra’anana.
Stability and security or chaos? (Amnon Lord, Israel Hayom) There's no point in mincing words on Election Day. The public has to decide whether they want to see Israel thrive domestically and on the world stage or wither in endless negotiations that get us nowhere. 
Israelis Brought Bibi Back From the Dead, but True Test of Democracy Lies Ahead (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) With Netanyahu having no clear majority for a governing coalition, President Rivlin could force the Knesset to decide, leaving the defendant to battle the courts alone.
Could the Joint List rise as Israel’s left-wing vanguard? (Edo Konrad, 972mag) With consensus on annexation among the center and right in third election, the Zionist left will have to radically rethink its mission.
Arab Israelis are on the political map (Yoseph Haddad, Israel Hayom) The March 2020 campaign will be remembered as the one that made Arab Israeli voters a highly desirable electorate.
Arab Alliance's 'Historic' Gains Overshadowed by Netanyahu's Surge (Jack Khoury, Haaretz+) The increasing Arab representation is an impressive accomplishment, but the right-wing bloc growing stronger signals hard times are ahead.
The election proves the Arab public is hungry for integration (Daniel Siryoti, Israel Hayom) Sadly, the Arab public's leadership isn't mature enough yet to give them what they want.
Netanyahu’s Election Comeback Puts Israel on Course for Constitutional Crisis (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) According to Israeli election exit polls, a majority voted for Netanyahu two weeks ahead of his trial. How did Bibi do it? The answer is simple
What ballot would Menachem Begin have decided to put had he been with us today? (Yossi Ahimeir, Maariv) Begin was a great warrior for the Jewish people's right to the Land of Israel. And so, if he were with us, he could only, in my view, have inserted the ballot for which he was proud - Likud.
The Two Benjamins Are Inching Toward National Unity (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Israel election: Netanyahu and Gantz both left crucial elements out of their election night speeches. Add them together and you have a framework for cooperation.
A day of reckoning for the Left (Yossi Beilin, Israel Hayom) The leaders of the Blue and White party have to do some serious soul-searching. The decision not to form a unity government back in September will go down as one of the most egregious mistakes in Israeli politics.
Even the political genius needs a unity government (Limor Livnat, Yedioth Hebrew) Benjamin Netanyahu gave a show in this campaign that will still be taught in schools of politics. But after a multi-faceted campaign and defamation - the healing of the rifts is necessary.
As Groundhog Election Blurs Left From Right, the Real Danger Lies in the Quiet Consensus (Noa Landau, Haaretz+) Election results might kill the superficial debate over Netanyahu or Gantz; what will remain is unanimous agreement on foreign policy, annexation and disdain for Israel’s Arab community.
No matter who wins elections, Israel’s victory image is clear (Hagai El-Ad, 972mag) A poster featuring Palestinian leaders defeated and humiliated is the epitome of Israel’s vision of absolute 'victory' over Palestinians.
An Absolutely Final Warning About Netanyahu (Uzi Baram, Haaretz+) I wonder about supporters of the prime minister – those who are not necessarily among the “base” or the gang of yes-men, like Gadi Taub and his ilk. Doesn’t their hand shake when they give a stamp of approval to a candidate who has three indictments against him, including for bribery? Do they accept their leader’s desire to form a coalition with messianic religious believers, and hold a daily dialogue with abject Kahanists? Are supporters of the prime minister willing to live in a political culture where anything goes? A political culture in which the social media only empower that culture’s leaders? Don’t they realize that Netanyahu’s reelection, following his ugly campaign of incitement, is like spitting in the face of anyone who believes in multicultural, liberal democracy, which in spite of everything is still an integral part of Israeli culture? Do Netanyahu’s supporters see no problem with his cursing and viewing as traitors a fifth of the population under his rule, until anyone who draws close to them politically will also be condemned and turned into the enemy?
The reason for the political deadlock: The hatred that divides the people in two (Ephraim Ganor, Maariv) The real reason why a broad government cannot be formed is because the State of Israel is afflicted with a serious disease of fragmentation and racism fueled by deep internal hatred that divides the people in two.
Netanyahu Voters, Here's What He Thinks of You (Tzvia Greenfield, Haaretz+) Nathan Eshel’s pronouncements in recordings aired on the investigative TV series “Uvda” are so important for the public discussion in Israel that it’s worthwhile to clarify once again what he actually said. The man who is closest to Benjamin Netanyahu, who serves as the prime minister’s closest proxy in political horse trading, openly admits not only that Likud’s campaign strategy is based solely on inciting hate – “This hatred is what unites our camp” – but also that he and his boss operate on the appalling assumption that the only people in government who Netanyahu voters admire are thieves. Eshel ostensibly speaks on their behalf when he says: “You went into politics because you went to steal, and you have to be a man. ... If you didn’t steal, who are you? Why did you come? ... Now, in this community – I even call it this non-Ashkenazi community. Yes. What riles them? … They hate everything. We’ve succeeded in driving them crazy.” These terrible words, which throw mud not at the genuine and the imagined enemies of the prime minister, who has long since gone off the rails, but at hundreds of thousands of Likud supporters, who for some reason continue to vote for him and to keep him in power, came from the mouth of Netanyahu’s closest adviser, as he explains to his interlocutor how to understand Likud voters and how best to work with them. If there is a moment when the shocking truth behind the inflammatory speeches is revealed, then this is the moment.
50 shades of Ashkenazi right-wing (Gal Stav, Ynet Hebrew) Nathan Eshel and the Kahol-Lavan campaign sharpened the bitter truth about Israeli politics: there is no right and left. It's an internal battle between two right-wing and white elites. Here, in a loose translation, is what Nathan Eshel said in the recording: Mizrahim are retarded. We filled their heads with hatred and incitement and they swallowed it like beasts. We did a bit of "clapping in the air" with the trash, Miri Regev, and they were orgasmic. Those people, tell them enough times "jackass left-wingers" - and they will already add "Ashkenazi" and "traitors" by themselves. This is how we can do what we need with these primitives. These things were said by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's dubious associate, who himself once said to Moshe Kahlon, "Only I know how to bring them (the Mizrahim)." He certainly does.
Indeed, it is tempting to roll out of the Likud here as some party that is exceptional in its racism, had it not been that only a few days before Eshel's recording, a formal, public Kahol-Lavan racist campaign that said that if you for Amir Peretz (Mizrachi leader of left-wing Labor-Gesher-Meretz list), you'll get Rafi Peretz (Mizrachi head of far right-wing religious party) instead , and if you vote for Orly Levi-Abukasis (Mizrachi member of left-wing Labor-Gesher-Meretz list), you'll get Miri Regev (Mizrachi Likud MK) instead. As if Mizrahim only come at the expense of each other and within each of them, hides a right-wing Messianic demon. Attempting to attribute this disgusting campaign to the rogue and fired Kahol-Lavan adviser, Israel Bachar, will also not clear the party's leadership. The responsibility is fully that of Benny Gantz. The sad truth is that in both Likud and Kahol-Lavan they secretly agree with Nathan Eshel and think that
Miri Regev is unintelligent trash. And this anecdote is an excellent example of all Israeli politics: Israeli elections are taking place between two imaginary camps. There really is no fight between two ideologies here. There really is no right and left in Israel. There are many shades to the right, but the base color is always right. The "left" in the country, the same huge enemy inflated by the hate-propagation method that Eshel described most favorably, is hardly two parties: the Joint List (minus the Islamist elements within it) and Labor-Gesher-Meretz (which also has several capitalists and militarists). According to the polls, they will not receive more than 25 seats together. All the rest is pure right-wing. And clean. And chauvinistic. And Ashkenazi. Whatever the outcome of the elections, the next government to come will be right-wing. Whether the Likud's publicly declared right-wing or Kahol-Lavan's right-wing that is denied out of electoral needs. It's a fixed fight between two white and right-wing elites. Right A uses a parchment of Jewish nationalism and Arab hatred, Right B pulls out the "Just Not Bibi" card and the alternative to the 'hood' [reference to Mizrachis - OH] in the original right. And here, in this imaginary battle, good morning - our Ashkenazic racism mushroom is back. The only way to stop this may be to stop the hated left-wing camp hatred. We, the left, are not the enemy. At least not within the current battle of the titans. Voting for Likud and Kahol-Lavan makes their supporters into their greatest enemy. Kahol-Lavan, to some extent, but mainly Netanyahu, build themselves on the back of racism - sometimes declared and sometimes repressed but always nasty and morbid. The Prime Minister will continue to invite Eden Ben-Zaken [popular Mizrachi singer] to appear at Likud conferences, but he will never listen to her himself. He probably thinks about her exactly what he thinks of Miri Regev or any random person he met in the outdoor market. Another Mizrachi I should bring to the polling station. (Gal Stav is a social-justice activist and Ph.D. student in the Religious Department at Syracuse University.
Stop the Evil Spirit: On your way to the ballot box, remember it could be better here (Ben Caspit, Maariv) The next prime minister will not have to attack Iran, conquer Gaza or even recruit ultra-Orthodox to the army. He will have to heal the malignant sore that threatens to take control over all of us.
D-Day for democracy in the all-out culture war launched by Netanyahu (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Leaked tapes of Netanyahu’s Rasputin reveal what everyone knows: Against Gantz - hate and incitement are his nuclear weapons of choice.
Goodbye to innocence (Dr. Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) Just like the last two elections, no one is talking about serious issues or the future of the nation. Go out and vote, but don't let hatred and baseless incitement overtake your judgment.
Eight years after protests, Israeli prices remain high (Avi Waksman, Haaretz+) In the category of housing expenses, which includes water, electricity and gas for heating and cooking, Israeli prices are 52% above the OECD average. For eggs and dairy, the price gap is 79%.
 
Interviews:
To heal the rifts: Former MKs speak about restoring people's confidence after the election
Three rounds of elections in a year have brought the disgust and distaste of citizens towards their elected officials to a negative climax. Can public confidence in politicians and politics be restored? Or is it too late for that? (Interviewed by Eyal Levy in Maariv’s magazine supplement, cover)
Former justice minister (Likud) Dan Meridor is considered in our districts to be an old-school politician - a gentleman, not a shouter, or one who rushes to throw slime at his rivals, he is a model that has been out of stock for many years.
DM: “In elections of 2013 I went to a house meeting for (Likud) primaries campaign (with potential voters) and told them what I think, that that a Palestinian state is unavoidable. The host told my assistant, ‘Tell Dan that I won’t support him because he speaks about two states.’ My assistant explained that Bibi also talks about that and the host answered, ‘But Dan means it.’ That’s the cynicism that I’m talking about and not just Netanyahu’s…There are also politicians today whom the public believes and there are those they don’t. But there is a problem that is developing. You tell voters what they want to hear and not what you really think, and that's how elections are won. They do it all over the world and not just here, but what is the role of a leader? To lead. In 1948, Ben-Gurion did not ask the public what it wanted. Menachem Begin, my teacher and mentor, did not ask the public what was right when he said the Supreme Court needed to be protected. Today there are no leaders.”
Haim Oron, former chairman of Meretz, is a left-wing representative who has for years followed the rules of the game.
HO: ”Good people are moving away from politics today," Oron is convinced. “A person who has made a career in academia, agriculture, public administration, can say what do I need (politics) for? After all, tomorrow I will they will infiltrate my phone. I will not be able to sit down on Friday night and tell my friends 'Miri Regev is a beast' because on Sunday I will find it in the paper…When was there a real debate about the things that are really in dispute? Not about who is afraid to bomb Iran, but should we bomb there, or stay in the (Palestinian) Territories? Or questions about the health system rather than election night slogans. If the status of Israeli politics and the Israeli politician is not upgraded, we will be on a very difficult track. What is happening now is not accidental. There are forces that have a vested interest in making all politicians thieves, suspects, who make no connection between what they say and what they believe in, because they believe in nothing but themselves. That's the way democracy eats itself.”
Can the image of Israeli politics be restored?
HO: “They said of Meretz that it is an honest party. None of us have been interrogated, or gone to prison, but there is no electoral bonus in that. I know many people today who tell me, 'You are an honest politician. If you thought differently, I would vote for you.’ Thank you very much, but if I thought otherwise I would no longer be an honest politician and I would start lying. For not saying what one thinks, there is Benny Gantz. I'm not saying he's dishonest, but there are big parties that don't say what they think and that's why Bibi is fooling everyone.  One must distinguish between parties that are more ideological and more sharply defined and between parties that are large in the first place and have a wide range of positions. The problem is that the center has become blurred. What is the real difference between Kahol-Lavan and Likud? ”

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