News Nosh 3.8.20

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday March 8, 2020
  
You Must Be Kidding: 
“You have to understand that before we showed up, knees were the hardest thing to rack up. There was a story about one sniper who had 11 knees all told, and people thought no one could outdo him. And then I brought in seven-eight knees in one day. Within a few hours, I almost broke his record.”
—Eden, who completed his military service in the IDF as a sniper, is one of six snipers who tells about his experiences shooting Palestinian demonstrators on the Gaza Strip border fence, where he was stationed much of his service.**


Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Spreading - Corona panic: 25 ill, 80,000 in quarantine
  • Daddy, murderer - Father murdered his baby and severely injured his 3-year-old daughter and wife
  • Head to head - Political deadlock
  • Corona became a Purim hit! Today kids dress in costumes at schools and get 3 days holiday from tomorrow
  • The voice of mother - Special: Four women write about how their lives went on end and their hearts broke because of the job of their lives: mother (Hebrew)
  • Special supplement for International Women’s Day
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

Israel Hayom

  • Netanyahu: I am not going anywhere - The political deadlock worsens: Instead of unity - exchange of accusations
  • Gantz lost the compass // Yaakov Berdugo
  • Officers against democracy // Amnon Lord
  • The skies are closing: Quarantine of some of those returning from the US is being considered
  • How could Daddy (do that) - Father murdered his baby and severely injured his 3-year-old daughter and wife
  • International Women’s Day

Top News Summary:
As the coronavirus spreads in Israel and the Palestinian Territories and Israel takes more concrete actions, there are signs that the left-center parties were examining a way out of the political deadlock that would make Kahol-Lavan leader the prime minister - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers along with the horrific murder of a baby girl by her father, who also tried to kill his wife and other daughter.

Four more Israelis were diagnosed with coronavirus in Israel, bringing the number to 25 (actually one of them is a Palestinian from E. Jerusalem), while the number in quarantine topped 80,000. Israel cancelled large Purim festivities, put over a thousand soldiers in quarantine and put additional European states on its watch list, ordering all Israelis who returned from them to self-quarantine for two weeks and barring citizens from those countries. Israel also was considering adding the US to that list of coronavirus countries, but for political reasons - i.e the fear over the Trump administration response - the decision was postponed. (Also Maariv) Birthright also stopped all its trips to Israel. And after a group of 21 Greek pilgrims visiting holy sites infected the E. Jerusalem bus driver (who is in serious condition) as well as infecting Palestinians working at a hotel in Beit Jala, near Bethlehem, and at least one Israeli, Israeli and Palestinian officials held a rare meeting to discuss joint efforts to curb the virus. Israel put a closure on Bethlehem and so did the Palestinian Authority and Bethlehem has turned into a ghost town. (News Nosh’s editor tried to visit neighboring Beit Sahur Saturday, but was turned back by Palestinian police wearing medical masks.) And now 13 US citizens are quarantined in the same hotel Regardless of the lockdown on Bethlehem, the whole West Bank and the crossings into the Gaza Strip are under Israeli closure as of midnight tonight until midnight between Wednesday and Thursday during the Jewish holiday of Purim.

With the help of Israel, some 3000 tourists visiting Israel and the Palestinian Authority departed Israel Friday and Saturday at the request of several embassies and consulates. Netanyahu said he will enlist youth and the military to assist in disinfection efforts in public places, while the Air Force will be tasked with ensuring supply of vital materials including medicine. Meanwhile, Israelis were stocking up on food from the supermarket, and the virus was taking an economic toll on El-Al and the tourism sector, as well as people working in the field of holding events and celebrations for large groups.


Elections 2020 / Netanyahu Indictment News:
One half hour after Israeli Prime Minister said on national TV that his rivals, Kahol-Lavan leader Benny Gantz and Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman, were trying to ‘steal’ the elections from the voters through ‘undemocratic' moves, Gantz said on TV that he wants ‘to end the Netanyahu rule’ and that he is trying to form a government. According to reports, it would be a minority government with the backing of Yisrael Beiteinu and the Joint List. Maariv reported that there was fear that the situation would escalate to violence after multiple cases of incitement and threats were made against Gantz on social media networks and photos of Netanyahu in Nazi uniform were posted. The Knesset Guard chief tightened security around Gantz. Lieberman said the reason why he decided he would put his support behind Gantz as prime minister, instead of insisting on a unity government as he did in the last election was because the prime minister was behind the seven complaints filed to the police, the state prosecutor and the tax authorities against him in 2019. “There is no forgiveness for this, even on Yom Kippur,” he said, according to a report by journalist Dana Weiss quoted in Maariv.

Elections 2020 / Netanyahu Indictment Quickees:
  • Left-wing slate to back Gantz to form government - Labor-Gesher-Meretz will also back bill that would bar indicted Netanyahu from forming coalition, Chairman Amir Peretz wrote on social media on Friday after a meeting the Kahol Lavan leader. (Haaretz+)
  • Odeh vs. Lieberman: "We will not let a person supporting transfer of Israeli Arabs be a minister" - Ayman Odeh, chairman of the Joint List, also attacked Prime Minister Netanyahu, saying: "When I heard his words, I thought he thought he was living in another country, which doesn't have two million Arabs living in it, and where there are only 105 Knesset members." (Maariv)
  • Israel Election Board Rejects Attempts by Netanyahu’s Party to 'Undermine Its Integrity' - Likud said it was getting 'completely unacceptable excuses' for not yet receiving the vote count material in full, in an election that ended with no decisive result. (Haaretz+)
  • Police may investigate espionage against Netanyahu election rival, report says - The owner of a shell company who paid to dig up dirt on Benny Gantz worked out of the offices of Netanyahu’s lawyer. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Despite anti-establishment protests, the Ethiopian vote went to Likud - Kahol Lavan defector Gadi Yevarkan said he brought the community along with him to Likud – but the youth are with Gantz's party, former colleague says. (Haaretz+)
  • Refugees from the Zionist left: How the Jewish vote for Arab party spiked in Israel's election - Support for largely Arab Joint List in heavily Jewish communities said to have risen from 9,000 votes to 20,000. (Haaretz+)

 
Quick Hits:
  • Israel's Chief Rabbi Should Be Disciplined for Racist Comments, Judicial Ombudsman Says - Controversial comments by Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef targeting Israelis from former Soviet state prompted backlash, with Netanyahu labeling them 'outrageous.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Defense Minister's Twitter Account Hacked; Feed Features Palestinian Flag - Naftali Bennett's office says hackers had access to his account for merely several seconds, but Pro-Turkish and Palestinian statements were seen on the minister's feed for at least seven minutes. (Haaretz and Maariv)
  • Israeli police shoot sponge-tipped bullets at two Palestinian boys in East Jerusalem - In one of the incidents, a policeman is caught on tape inserting his weapon between the bars of a school gate and firing some five shots at children standing in the schoolyard. Sixteen-year-old Mohamed Atia was shot Monday while standing in the schoolyard and his arm was fractured. Ten-year-old Fawzi Abid was shot Tuesday while standing on the balcony of his home when clashes erupted between youths in the neighborhood and the police. (Haaretz+)
  • Watchdog seeks probe into leftist NGO it claims collects military intel - Ad Kan, which monitors NGOs that accuse the IDF and its personnel of human rights violations, says Breaking the Silence has moved from collecting "testimonies" to amassing classified security information that if made public could endanger national security. Breaking the Silence rejects the allegations. (Israel Hayom)
  • Scope of gender-separated college programs in Israel to grow - Proportion of college students in these programs will increase from 10 to 15 percent, Council of Higher Education decides. (Haaretz+)
  • Jordanian PM warns kingdom's ties with Israel 'at risk' - Citing Israeli pledges to extend sovereignty to the Jordan Valley, as well as Israeli "violations" on the Temple Mount, relations between the two countries seem at their lowest point since 1994, Jordanian Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said on Monday. (Israel Hayom)
  • At least 10 Palestinians killed in Gaza market fire - The flames that spread rapidly through the market at the Nusseirat refugee camp Thursday also injured 58 people, of whom 14 were in critical condition. The dead include six children and two women. (Israel Hayom)
  • Report: Israel, US coordinating response to potential ICC war crimes charge - Jerusalem and Washington are not signatories to the treaty upon which the International Criminal Court is predicated, but the Palestinians joint the Rome Statute in 2015. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Democrats in US House of Representatives block anti-BDS bill - Lawmakers defeat consideration of the bill by a tally of 219-194. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act would have expanded the Export Control Reform Act of 2018 to include prohibiting US support for groups including the European Union and the UN Human Rights Council. (Israel Hayom)
  • Iran says IAEA case for inspecting sites based on fake Israeli intelligence - The agency, (which) is policing Iran's troubled nuclear deal with major powers, says Iran is not cooperating in its investigations into the country's nuclear activities. Iran on Thursday stood by its decision to deny UN nuclear inspectors access to sites where they have questions about past activities, arguing that the agency's case is based on "fabricated" Israeli intelligence. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Coronavirus and protests wreck Iraq's pilgrimage industry - The industry has already been in decline for some years due to political and economic turmoil in Iraq and neighboring Iran. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Lebanon announces it can't pay its debts, seeks restructuring talks - Debt default represents new phase in crisis that's seen as the biggest risk to Lebanon's stability since the end of the 1975-90 civil war. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Saudi Arabia Detains Senior Royals for Alleged Coup Plot, Including King's Brother - Royals who are seeking to change the line of succession view Prince Ahmed, King Salman's only surviving full brother, as a possible choice who would have the support of some Western powers, according to sources. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Features:
Gideon Levy Gazan girl fighting cancer died after Israel denied her parents' visit. She won't be the last
Miral, the 10-year-old Gazan cancer patient whose parents weren’t allowed to be with her in a Nablus hospital, died last weekend. Now Israel is keeping another young Palestinian, who has leukemia, from receiving vital treatment. (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+)
The woman in the tank won
They loaded shells, fired at distant targets, operated in complex terrain conditions, and after intensive training, became the first female tank commanders in the IDF. But the pilot program they participated in was criticized and frozen, and the female tankists had to petition the High Court to keep their combat overalls. “Judge us by abilities,” they demand. “We fell in love with what we did, we gave it our all.” (Chen Artzi-Srur, Yedioth Hebrew)
Counterfeit Egyptian Money, Stamps and Poisoned Wells: When Young Israel Stirred the Water of the Nile
A new book sheds light on some of the most adventurous and dangerous plots planned and carried out by agents to harm Gamal Abdul Nasser’s Egypt in the years leading up to the capture of group of Egyptian Jews working for Israeli intelligence. Those Jewish Egyptians were part of the failed operation which came to be known as esek habish (“the rotten business”), or the "Lavon Affair”, that shook up the Israeli security and political establishments for more than a decade, and sparked developments that led to the resignation of then-Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. Information that I reveal in a new book, published after a lengthy legal battle, shows that the operating patterns that led to the scandal were not unique, but rather systematic Israeli intelligence methods used against Egypt during the years before the failed operation – and to some degree afterward. They included poisoning wells, counterfeiting currency and stamps, psychological warfare, political murders and drug sales. (Yossi Melman, Haaretz+)
Is Linda Sarsour anti-Israel? Her book says something else
The Investigative Project on Terrorism examines the gap between the flowery hype aimed at driving Sarsour's book sales and the uglier reality about her message. (Steven Emerson, Israel Hayom)
The findings from a furniture store that got a Netanyahu ally in trouble
David Bitan has denied the suspicions, but the Likud legislator will be tried for graft pending a hearing. Transcripts reveal the police's tough questioning and his tentative answers. (Josh Breiner, Haaretz+)

Elections 2020/Netanyahu Indictment Commentary/Analysis:
Netanyahu Is Playing a Numbers Game, but He's Closer Than Ever to His Ouster (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) Against the pitiful backdrop of Likud's Petah Tikva office, Netanyahu tried to broadcast full control over the country's future, but in the national referendum for his leadership, he already lost.
It doesn’t make sense that Lieberman would cooperate with Tibi in a personal law against Netanyahu (Prof. Arie Eldad, Maariv) The prime minister has achieved a very impressive election, but not yet a victory. Everything connects, for example, to the parable about the wolf, the sheep and the cabbage, and the impossible rules of the game imposed by the political system. Remember the parable? One farmer had to cross a river and to bring to the other side his companions - a wolf, a sheep and a cabbage. He has a boat that can accommodate only one of the three - it was probably a huge cabbage. If he leaves the wolf with the sheep - the sheep will be devoured. If left with the cabbage - the cabbage will be eaten. What will he do? The equivalent of the carnivorism of the wolf and the vegetarianism of the sheep in our political arena are the "rules of the game" imposed by the participants, and the high “moral” trees that they climbed up during the election campaign: Lieberman gobbles up the Arabs and the ultra-Orthodox. Gantz and his friends despise Netanyahu and will not agree to serve in his government. The Left opposes annexation and reforms in the judiciary, and it will not sit in the government of those who are indicted for serious crimes. That is, Gantz cannot seat the Arabs and Lieberman in a single government boat, and even if you say - they will support him from the outside, with encouragement calls from the closest river bank, while at the same time, he sails with (Amir) Peretz-Meretz to the promised deerskin-chair country, it seems like a mission impossible.
More Than Just Netanyahu vs. Gantz – This Is the New Political Landscape (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+)The Knesset will now have only eight groupings, the smallest number ever. And if the left keeps imploding, that number can get even lower.
But Benjamin Netanyahu Didn’t Really Win Israel's Election at All (Uri Misgav, Haaretz+) You have to understand what is happening in Israel since Election Day: The media is persisting in its efforts to strengthen Benjamin Netanyahu and steal both public opinion and the government. This is a huge final effort – and so, a few more of the lines that were not crossed earlier in this saga of surrender and collaboration are now being crossed. First, the facts: Netanyahu didn’t win the election. I’m sorry to disappoint his many admirers…Israel is governed by coalition. The only goal of the accused, barricaded in his residence on Balfour Street, was to put together a bloc in favor of immunity that would win the confidence of most voters, and in doing so, establish a government that would allow him to evade justice. This was his goal in the previous two elections as well. He failed then and he failed this time, too. In April his bloc had 60 seats, in September, 55, and this week he won 58 seats. It’s close, but it’s not enough – a third loss in a row for the great magician, the big winner.
Nobody likes a sore loser (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) Blue and White lost the election and now it is trying to devise ways to change the rules of the political game.
Netanyahu cannot form a government, even his capabilities are limited (Ben Caspit, Maariv) The prime minister erases the 15 mandates of the Israeli Arabs with a wave of the hand, and for their rise in power is due to him. What will happen now? Nobody knows: The top people in Kahol-Lavan are divided, and the only one who dictates the tempo, as usual, is Lieberman.
Benjamin Netanyahu, Liberator of the 'Third Israel' (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) Might Benjamin Netanyahu not only just represent the “second Israel” – code name for Mizrahim in poorer communities – in its struggle against the first – code name for the Ashkenazi elite – but perhaps also be the liberator of the “third Israel”? A historic irony is that the one who set the goal of snuffing out the Palestinian struggle may be remembered in the history books as a formative figure in that endeavor. During his years in power, Netanyahu has sought to establish the concept that a two-state solution cannot be implemented. He has constantly incited against Israel’s Arab citizens and strived to undermine their right to vote and be elected to office…If violent struggle is rejected as terrorism and diplomatic struggle is rejected as “diplomatic terrorism,” then now that they have become a political force that can’t be ignored, the day is coming when they will be defined as engaging in “democratic terrorism.” It appears that Netanyahu’s governments have acted as a historic trigger to change the course of the Palestinian national struggle, reminiscent of the key role that the Dreyfus affair played in crystalizing Theodor Herzl’s Zionist vision.
Stronger Arab sector is good for all Israelis (Chen Artzi Sror, Yedioth/Ynet) The latest election results prove that Israel's largest minority has had enough of sitting on sidelines; now is the time for their voices to be heard, for the sake of a better, more inclusive country.
Netanyahu's Worldview? All Means Sanctify the Pursuit of Power (Eyal Chowers, Haaretz+) The Netanyahu era has seen a dramatic shift in Israel’s perception of the nation-state: no longer a democracy that operates for the sake of its citizens, but a military-economic entity striving relentlessly to augment its might
The Arab public in Israel has never had such a significant representation in the Knesset (Ruth Wasserman Lande, Maariv) The Arab public did not discover the light in the MKs of the Joint List, which they had previously ignored. It sought to regain for itself its sense of respect, which was taken from it.
Now We Can Panic: With No Room for Political Compromise, Israel Is Down a Risky Path (Rogel Alpher, Haaretz+) There’s a good reason for that stomach-churning feeling that you have: Benjamin Netanyahu has no intention of passing the baton. After all, that was one of the reasons Benny Gantz didn’t sign a rotation deal with him after the September election: the understanding that the prime minister did not intend to honor such an agreement…Will he do a handover during his trial? Will he do a handover if convicted? It’s scary to admit it, but the answer is probably not. About half of all Israelis, and a large majority of Israeli Jews (whose votes are the only ones that count in the political arena), have stopped recognizing the supremacy of the rule of law, express distrust in the legal system and can be expected to resist using force in the event Netanyahu is sent to prison and removed from power. There’s no longer agreement in Israel about the meaning of the concept of democracy.
The election results are a real national rupture that there is currently no way to bridge (Ran Edelist, Maariv) The left-center bloc should not be tempted by all kinds of "national reconciliation" noise offered by the poisonous snake from Balfour St. (i.e. Netanyahu), who suddenly spreads his arms and calls for unity after wreaking havoc and venom during his hate campaign.
Netanyahu Has Now Provided Us With Israel’s Watergate (Thursday Haaretz Editorial) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the person who introduced negative campaigning to Israeli public life. From “Peres will divide Jerusalem” in 1996 to the effort over the past year to portray Kahol Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz as unstable, Netanyahu has repeatedly played the hatred card all the way to the ballot box. But before this week’s election, Netanyahu apparently crossed the line between ugly and illegal. With his approval, the business intelligence firm CGI Group was hired to try to dig up incriminating information on Gantz. Having a rival put under surveillance may be a lowly act, but it’s not illegal. Still, based on the way the investigation was funded, it appears to have violated the law.
Politics in a time of pandemic (Chen Sror Artzi, Yedioth/Ynet) Only by trusting one another and the mechanisms of the state can we protect ourselves and our children from coronavirus; the country's leaders should take heed and form a unity government that can help us all deal with the challenges ahead.
The election may be over, but the real campaign begins now (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) Despite the Likud winning the hearts and minds of Israeli voters, the political impasse of the past year has only been cracked – not broken.
Netanyahu's hat has run out of rabbits. Now Lieberman can finish him off (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) Israel's right didn't get the victory it expected – but at least there's corona. Netanyahu's 2020 achievement: Boosting the Joint List. Left and right, Naftali Bennett and Amir Peretz are waging the same war.
Again the tune returns. Again, the same press mobilization against Netanyahu, as before any election (Kalman Libskind, Maariv) And how funny to think that these propagandists, who volunteered to serve Gantz's election campaign, are the ones who consider themselves exemplary of decent communication, and usually call their right-wing counterparts the mocking term, ‘shofars’ (ram’s horn - loud speakers - OH).
Israel Didn't Need Russia to Compromise Its Election. It Did So All on Its Own (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) All sides use private investigators and cyber ops, but Netanyahu was way ahead of his rivals. Netanyahu said he almost 'ignited' the Mideast – what did he mean?
Lieberman has only one goal: To unseat Netanyahu (Rabbi Dov Fischer, Israel Hayom) Lieberman knows he has to do something to break the deadlock, or he will be blamed for compelling a fourth round of national voting. But what does he actually stand for?
The Israeli right has no clue how to deal with the Joint List’s surge (Meron Rapoport, 972mag) The Joint List's remarkable campaign demonstrated Palestinian citizens' growing power. It could bring new political horizons — but also dangers.
Laws for the War on Corruption (Friday Haaretz Editorial) Yisrael Beiteinu, headed by Avigdor Lieberman, was the first political party to announce, in light of the results of this week’s election, that it will sponsor legislation limiting a prime minister to two terms in office and barring any Knesset member who has been indicted from serving as prime minister. These laws would not apply retroactively, but would be in force as of the next general election. If they pass with the support of 62 Knesset members – that is, all legislators from Kahol Lavan, Labor-Gesher-Meretz, the Joint List and Yisrael Beiteinu – Netanyahu won’t be able to run in the next election as a candidate for prime minister, if his trial is still under way at the time of the election. Had these laws been in effect during the 2010s, when Netanyahu himself supported them, Israelis would have been spared the fierce debate over whether a person who has been charged with bribery can serve as prime minister, and they also would not have had to face three general elections in the space of a year. Moreover, such legislation would have kept the issue from winding up in the High Court of Justice. It’s even conceivable that it would have saved Netanyahu from indictment for serious offenses, since the alleged crimes were born of his desire to stay in power.
Three scenarios are facing Netanyahu, as well as a fourth election (Anna Barsky, Maariv) Although the prime minister once again proved to be a magician, he did not succeed in winning. A 70-year-old man with three indictments, he raced ahead against all odds and returned his camp to the position where it all started a year ago….Right now one of the realistic scenarios is a unity government in one form or another with Kahol-Lavan or an updated "president's outline.” The second and more realistic scenario is the joining of the Labor party to the coalition. The third option for the right is to go for a fourth election. Is there a fourth option of YIisrael Beiteinu’s return to the right-wing bloc and a coalition with the ultra-Orthodox, despite the statements of its leaders? For Netanyahu, this story is impossible.
Diplomacy at a standstill (Ariel Kahana, Israel Hayom) America might be grudgingly willing to let a transitional Israeli government redraw its lines (not "borders"), but for the most part, diplomatic activity is at a halt because of Israel's ongoing domestic political crisis.
If there had remained some of the Beitar glory in Likud - we would have already seen Netanyahu's resignation (Yosef Fritsky, Maariv) Despite all the (rather pathetic) attempts by the right-wing camp to try and convince the Israeli public of its victory, the truth is, of course, that the prime minister lost and the bloc he heads will fail to form a government. If we were a normal state, or at least if there were left even a smidgeon of the Beitar glory in the Likud and its leader - we would have already seen Netanyahu's resignation from the Knesset and the government. A party leader who repeats elections again and again resigns. And if he doesn't, his party shows him the door out.
The Joint List’s triumph over hate (Samah Salaime, 972mag) The Joint List may not save this place, but it showed that it is the only real alternative to the racism and incitement of the Israeli right.
Netanyahu's Writing of Incitement Is on the Wall Again (Haaretz Editorial) Anyone on social media would have trouble disagreeing with Gantz’s diagnosis that the writing is on the wall regarding the next murder. The day he wrote that, an activist with the Movement for Quality Government in Israel was assaulted at an anti-Netanyahu protest tent in Jerusalem by a self-identified Netanyahu supporter. The activist was taken to the hospital with mild injuries – bruises on his face – and discharged. Gantz is also spot-on about Netanyahu’s role in this incitement. From the moment he entered politics, Netanyahu has consistently used hate-mongering and incitement as weapons against his political rivals. What hasn’t already been said about the public mood that preceded Rabin’s murder? But even though 25 years have passed since Yigal Amir fired three bullets at Rabin’s back, Netanyahu has never taken responsibility for his role in that incitement. Even worse, he has never abandoned his despicable methods.
Two neighbors badly wanted the fall of Netanyahu: the Palestinian Authority and the Kingdom of Jordan (Jacky Khougy, Maariv) Ramallah and Amman are longing for a change of government in Jerusalem, but there are also those in the region who wanted the Likud victory. Cairo, for example, wanted Netanyahu to remain. The Israeli Prime Minister is in close friendship with Egyptian President Al-Sisi, and he also removes the chestnuts from the fire in the Palestinian field. Today's Egyptians, unlike the past, are not in harmony with the Palestinian Authority. They are comfortable that this government is isolating Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas), keeping him out of the Gaza Strip, and leaving Gaza for oversight. Thus the Egyptians enjoy two worlds. They have a partner in the Gaza Strip, but one who desperately needs them in his complex relationship with Israel.
How I (Literally) Joined the Drive to Get Out the Bedouin Vote (David B. Green, Haaretz+) Thousands of Bedouin women in southern Israel need rides to the polling places on Election Day – here’s how I got involved and what I learned.

Other Top Commentary/Analysis:
The Israeli Army Doesn't Have Snipers on the Gaza Border. It Has Hunters (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) They’re the best of our boys. One is a “musician from a good high school,” another a “boy scout” who majored in theater.” They’re the snipers who have shot thousands of unarmed protesters along the Gaza border fence. In the Gaza Strip there are 8,000 permanently disabled young men as a result of the snipers’ actions. Some are leg amputees, and the shooters are very proud of that. None of the snipers interviewed for Hilo Glazer’s frightening story in Haaretz (March 6) has any regrets. If they are feeling at all apologetic it’s because they didn’t spill more blood. One was mocked in his battalion with “here comes the killer.” They all act like murderers. If their actions don’t show it – more than 200 dead as a result of them – then their statements prove that these young men have lost their moral compass. They are lost. They will go on to study, to have careers and to raise families – and will never recover from their blindness. They disabled their victims physically, but their own disabilities are more severe. Their souls were completely twisted. They will never again be moral individuals. They are a danger to society. They lost their humanity, if they ever had it, on the shooting berms facing the Gaza Strip. They are the sons of our friends and the friends of our sons, the young people from the apartment across the hall. Look how they talk.
Qatari cash for Hamas will backfire on Israel (Udi Levi, Israel Hayom) Given the ongoing payments to the Islamic terrorist group controlling the Gaza Strip seeking to maintain the calm on the southern border, one has to wonder what may happen when Hezbollah seeks a similar deal to for a lull on the northern front.
The connection between Iran's nuclear bid and regional aggression (Ron Ben Yishai, Ynet) IAEA report indicates stockpiling of low enriched uranium increases, demanding Israel and the U.S. prepare a coordinated response to an imminent threat.
Coronavirus in the Middle East: It's Not All Bad News (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) The coronavirus crisis has one positive aspect: A calming effect on the region's battlefronts. But there is one exception – the humanitarian disaster around Idlib.
Only experienced leadership can deal with Iran (Avraham Gover, Israel Hayom) Israeli political blocs must find a way to work together to counter this tangible threat. Netanyahu's experience and diplomatic ties are essential in playing this aggressive chess game with none other than the nation that invented it.
Why Abbas rejects Trump's deal - and any other deal with Israel (Benny Begin, Haaretz+) Abbas’ vehement objection to the American move is understandable, as it represents a concrete withdrawal from some major components of proposals made by the U.S. and Israel over the last 20 years in attempt to attain a peace agreement between the parties. But the fact is that none of these proposals brought about the hoped-for accord. Hence, as a reality check, it is worth revisiting the PLO’s reaction to the last Israeli proposal, presented by the prime minister of Israel at the time, Ehud Olmert, to Mahmoud Abbas on September 16, 2008, a proposal that went even further than the compromise proposed by U.S. President Bill Clinton in 2000, which was accepted by then-Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak.
Syria conflict is shifting from a proxy war to a clash of superpowers (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) A series of strikes has sparked recriminations between Turkey and Russia, and the threats that come with them will have to be defused to avoid direct violent conflict.

 
Interviews:
**’42 Knees in One Day': Israeli Snipers Open Up About Shooting Gaza Protesters
Over 200 Palestinians were killed and nearly 8,000 were injured during almost two years of weekly protests at the Israel-Gaza border. Israeli army snipers tell their stories. Of the dozens of snipers that we approached, six (all of them discharged from the IDF) agreed to be interviewed and to describe what reality looks like through their gun sights. Five are from infantry brigades – two each from Golani and Givati, one from Kfir – plus one from the Duvdevan counter-terrorism unit. The names of all of them have been changed. They are not out to “break the silence” or to atone for their deeds, only to relate what happened from their point of view. In Eden’s case, even the fact that he also killed a protester by mistake doesn’t rattle him. (Interviewed by Hilo Glazer in Haaretz+)

"My dad bragged about me all over the village"
Nussi Sama'an Sabaga, a mother of three, decided she had to challenge herself and think and act out of the box. Today she is head of a ward at Hermon Prison and the first female Arab officer in the Israel Prison Service. (Interviewed by Lior Ohana in Yedioth Hebrew)

As Israel’s Left Wing Implodes, a Giant of the Camp Says Farewell
Meretz legislator Ilan Gilon, who just missed making it into the Knesset, is one of the last veterans of Israel’s progressive glory days. (Interviewed by Jonathan Lis in Haaretz+)


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