News Nosh 3.24.20

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday March 24, 2020

 
You Must Be Kidding: 
"Because of the coronavirus," Israel's Education Ministry reduced the number of topics that will be on the high school civics matriculation exam this summer: all those related to aspects of the Jewish character of Israel will remain, but questions about the High Court of Justice, the historical roots of the conflict between Jews and Arabs and inequality in contemporary Israel won't and it will include very little about the rule of law.**


Front Page:
Haaretz
  • High Court: (Knesset Speaker) Edelstein must hold vote for electing his successor by tomorrow; Establishment of Knesset Arrangements Committee was approved
  • The silence screams // Yossi Verter
  • Netanyahu announced tightening movement restrictions, but the regulations were still not formulated
  • Not a total lockdown yet // Amos Harel
  • Matriculation exams were advanced, the assistants were put on unpaid leave and the teachers are confused
  • The material for civics matriculation exam: Almost excluding the rule of law but includes the Jewish Nation State Law
  • First corona infection in Syria; In Africa they fear a breakout
  • Scientists wonder what caused corona patients to lose their sense of smell and taste
  • Insult to injury // Chemi Shalev compares crimes Netanyahu indicted for to his “sordid efforts to rescue himself from his troubles”
  • Also human // Vered Lee on inhumane treatment of the weak: homeless, women and prostitutes
  • Still preparing - Gymnast Linoy Ashram on fear that Olympics will be postponed
  • Hungry public charges on food deliveries. Restaurants still waiting for guidelines from Health Ministry
  • Of all times, when people are not allowed to touch, they need to more than ever. What does corona do to sex life?
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Collision - Unprecedented dispute: High Court vs. Speaker of Knesset
  • Shameful // Sima Kadmon (Hebrew)
  • Provocateur // Ben-Dror Yemini
  • The fire of the High Court // Tova Tzimuki
  • Almost a total lockdown - Likely: Dramatic tightening of movement restrictions
  • We are in war // Amos Yadlin
  • The writing on the (State Comptroller’s) report // Sarit Rosenblum
  • Lesson in lack of leadership // Meirav Betito
  • IDF established corona lab: soldiers to be testing in coming days
  • How (does Social Security) take care of half a million unemployed (Hebrew)
  • “Corona? We survived Auschwitz” (Hebrew)
  • Even the Olympics are expected to be postponed
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom

Top News Summary:
A clash between the High Court and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, who refused to take orders from the court, and the announcement of another dramatic narrowing of the limits of movement of Israelis ahead of an expected total lockdown were top stories in Israel. Meanwhile, Maariv scooped with a report that members of the mostly Arab Joint List faction were likely to become heads of Knesset committees (meaning that they came to an agreement with Kahol-Lavan) and the report on Israel’s health system by the Likud cherrypicked State Comptroller which said Israel wasn't prepared for an epidemic. The report didn’t point fingers or name names for responsibility for the system’s desperate condition - even though - and probably because, say commentators - Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was the Health Minister for most of the last 11 years.

Also interesting, Israel quietly transferred to the Palestinian Authority 25 million shekels of the Palestinian tax revenue it was witholding to help it deal with the coronavirus. The security establishment has warned against economic collapse of the West Bank in the wake of the corona crisis, and Finance Minister Kahlon succumbed to pressure of security establishment. IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, along with Israel's Coordinator of Operations in the Occupied Territories, Kamil Abu-Rukon, and other senior security officials, spoke at length with Kahlon and expressed concern that the Corona crisis was exacerbating the West Bank economic crisis, which could lead to the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, which could in turn exacerbate the conflict with Israel, Maariv reported. Maariv also reported that Israel and the Palestinian Authority arranged for an Israeli doctor to go to Jericho where he gave a training session to Palestinian doctors about how to deal with the coronavirus from Israel's knowledge and heard from the Palestinian medical officials how they were dealing with it.

The High Court told Knesset Speaker Edelstein to say whether he was willing to hold a vote by Wednesday to have himself replaced. Edelstein announced: He’s not telling. Granted, a speaker has never been replaced before a government was installed, however, a majority of Knesset members requested it in writing. Chief Justice Hayut wrote in the ruling that “the continued refusal to allow for a full vote in the Knesset for the election of a permanent Knesset speaker undercuts the foundations of the democratic process.” Edelstein said vaguely that he will convene the Knesset for a vote “as soon as possible…I am unable to determine an exact date and will decide when the political landscape becomes clear,” which could be any time from the next few days and “no later than when the Knesset convenes to establish a government.” Edelstein and the Likud party criticized the 'unprecedented interference' by the court in political affairs, calling it a ‘coup.’ Justice Minister Amir Ohana told Edelstein to reject the High Court’s request and Transportation Minister told Edelstein not to give in. Interior Security Minister Gilad Erdan said Edelstein should respect the decision, Ynet Hebrew reported.
Meanwhile, Kahol-Lavan slammed Edelstein for dismissing the High Court and hundreds of Israelis drove their cars to Jerusalem in a ‘Democracy Convoy’ and protested waving black flags in front of Knesset, calling on Edelstein to resign.
Hundreds of vehicles with Israeli and black flags made their way to Jerusalem on Monday morning in protest over the Knesset suspension and called on the parliament Speaker Yuli Edelstein to resign. One protester was Hagai Meirom, a former Israeli politician from the Labor Party who served in the 1990s. “We are out here today to save the Knesset,” he said. In an interview, former High Court chief justice Dorit Beinisch said, "Edelstein acted with impunity. The implications of refusing to accept this High Court ruling are absolute chaos.” She also accused Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) of “degrading and threatening the court…His words are a criminal offense.” (Maariv)

The Knesset did vote to form the all-important Arrangements Committee, also know as the House Committee or the Regulations Committee, which is key in forming other committees and voting on who will chair them. Kahol Lavan's Avi Nissenkorn continues to head the Arrangements Committee. It discussed establishing six temporary committees. Remarkably, two of those will be chaired by members of the Joint List, Maariv reporeted. Senior members of the Joint List told Maariv exclusively that they will receive the chair the special committee of Labor and Welfare, and a special committee chaired to eradicate violence in Arab society in Israel as part of an agreement for the Joint List’s support in voting for the establishment of the Knesset Arrangements committee meeting prior. In addition, Joint List will likely chair the permanent committee of  Labor and Welfare, after a government is formed.

This is interesting for two reasons:
1.)  Until today, only two Arabs have chaired Knesset committees. The Joint List’s Aida Touma-Suliman chairwoman headed the Committee on the Status of Women between 2015 to 2019 and between 2005-2007, Labor MK Raleb Majadele was chairman of the Interior and Environment Committee.
2.) It appears that Kahol-Lavan learned to give and take with the Arab MKs after a previous standoff. The Knesset website tells that on February 5th, 2020, just before the March elections, the Arrangements Committee, headed by Kahol-Lavan MK Avi Nissenkorn convened and voted to recommend that the Knesset plenum establish three interim committees, including one on the coronavirus. Joint List MK Ahmed Tibi said in anger that the Joint List would oppose the proposal. “As the third largest faction in the Knesset, the Joint List sought to chair one of the committees,” he explained. “For instance, the chairmanship of the Interior Committee on the Fight against Violence and Crime. You opposed giving us the chairmanship of a single committee. Your refusal is bad, strange, and smells bad. I have a guesstimate [regarding] who you consulted with. Therefore, we will oppose the proposal." Turning to Nissenkorn Tibi said: “You sealed a deal with Yisrael Beitenu. What are we, UFOs? Don't you see us? An Arab woman will be murdered tomorrow, how will you respond? In the next [case of] murder we shall remind you of this decision. I have been here for many years and I shall teach you politics. What's important [to you] is that (Kahol-Lavan Chairman MK Benny) Gantz is touring Arab localities. [But] We are not your subcontractors!" At the end of the debate, 10 MKs from the Blue and White and Yisrael Beitenu factions voted unanimously in favor of establishing the committees. The MKs from the Likud and the Joint List boycotted the vote. Maariv's Arik Bender suggested that this agreement - a division of power - between Kahol-Lavan, Yisrael Beiteinu and the Joint List might be the beginning of future collaborations.

The Committees:
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee will be chaired by Maj. Gen. (res.) MK Gabi Ashkenazi (Kahol-Lavan).
Finance Committee will be chaired by MK Oded Forer (Yisrael Beiteinu).
Special State Commission on the Corona Crisis will be chaired by MK Ofer Shalah (Kahol-Lavan).
Special committee for the preparation of the education system will be chaired by MK Nitzan Horowitz (Labor-Meretz).
Special Committee on Labor and Welfare will be chaired by a member of the Joint List.
Special committee for eradicating crime in Arab society will be headed by a representative of the Joint List.

At the end of the vote, MK Miki Zohar (Likud) led the exit of the right-wing bloc from the debate room. The Likud attacked Kahol-Lavan for getting the support of MKs of the Joint List in order to pass votes, Maariv reported. They have “trampled on democracy with a single vote, with the help of the Joint List, among them terrorist supporter Heba Yazbak. Throughout the years of the existence of the State of Israel and in all the 22 Knessets, there has never been a situation in which voting in the plenary brings about the establishment of the Regulatory Committee and the additional committees without consent." After the court storm, Edelstein will allow voting Tuesday to approve the establishment of the committees Monday, Maariv reported. Right wing bloc members are expected to boycott these votes, as well. MK Ofer Shelah (Kahol-Lavan) said in an interview with IDF Radio, "We need to reach agreement within the 61 bloc on the version of the law that prevents a defendant from forming a government."


Corona Quickees:
  • Israel's coronavirus sick count leaps by 234 to 1,656 - Number includes 31 people in serious condition and 49 who have recovered from the illness; So far, 135,549 Israelis have self-isolated at home and 71,029 citizens are currently in isolation, 773 of them entered isolation on Tuesday. (Ynet)
  • "Army preparing to give assistance during full-scale closure: eight regiments will be assigned - An IDF spokesman revealed in a conversation with reporters that after the cancellation of joint maneuvers with foreign armies, aerial training with the Americans is expected. He further noted that "the army is working with the police." (Maariv)
  • Joint Israeli U.S. military drill begins - The Israeli Airforce and Navy will begin a joint military drill with the U.S. military on Tuesday. Exercises will take place in the south of the country and will last through Thursday. (Ynet)
  • Former Senior Defense Ministry officials: "Do not transfer crisis management to the Defense Ministry" - Former leaders of the National Emergency Authority (NEA) sternly say NEA is not in the position to manage the event. Former NEA director, Brig. Gen. (res.) Bezalel Treiber: "The same elements that are currently seeking the transfer of powers are the ones that most severely destroyed and harmed the NEA.” Treiber says the prime minister must continue to run the crisis, but there is a need for a national headquarters to run the inter-ministerial issues. Defense Ministry rejected the accusations. (Maariv)
  • Dozens of Chabad ultra-Orthodox men test positive for corona after visit to Brooklyn - A group of 114 was quarantined at a hotel immediately upon return to Israel this weekend and 65 of them tested positive and will be transferred to hospital. M., who tested positive, describes "massive community spread" in Brooklyn and warns that "almost everyone" on their flight has likely contracted the virus. (Haaretz+, Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • "We won't prosecute the Chabad men who returned sick" - Authorities decided not to prosecute the 65 young Chabad Hasidim, who returned to Israel from Brooklyn sick with corona after signing before boarding the plane that they were not exposed to the Corona virus, because it's not clear that they knew they had come into contact with someone infected. Among the issues being considered now - how to prevent other members of the same ultra-Orthodox community in Brooklyn from coming to Israel. "There is an outbreak there in unprecedented numbers. You cannot take a risk on this issue," concluded Dr. Ashi Shalmon, Director of International Relations Dept at Health Ministry. (Israel Hayom Hebrew)
  • Israel won't extend winter time to fight virus, Interior Ministry says - Daylight saving time was set to be delayed by a month but following widespread opposition to the move proposed by the interior minister, winter time will end as planned on a night between Thursday and Friday. (Yedioth/Ynet and Maariv)
  • Women’s Groups in Israel Sound Alarm After Abortions Not Deemed Urgent Procedure - Coronavirus risks lead to cancellation of most procedures planned in hospitals, except for a list of exceptions that doesn’t include abortions. Health Ministry: Abortions continuing in hospitals and clinics. (Haaretz+)
  • Netflix to reduce quality of streams in Israel to help ISPs - The world's largest streaming media service will comply with a government request to reduce stream quality in Israel to help ease data congestion from people staying home due to the coronavirus. It also cuts traffic on networks in Europe. (Agencies, Ynet and Maariv)
  • In Jerusalem, Church of Holy Sepulcher is eerily empty - Holy site asks the few worshipers not to enter in groups of more than 10, maintain distance of at least two meters from one another - a stark contrast with crowds of Christian pilgrims who normally visit in lead-up to Easter. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Citing corona pandemic, ICC delays proceedings against Israel - International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda seeks more time before deciding whether a criminal investigation into Israeli military actions in the Gaza Strip as well as Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank is warranted. (Israel Hayom)
  • As Coronavirus Ravages Israel’s Tourism Industry, Workers Find Creative Ways to Survive - From hotel employees to guides, people in tourism are suffering the most and warning about a collapse. The projected loss in the industry tops $2.7 billion. (Haaretz+)
  • McDonald's suspends commercial operations in Israel over coronavirus - The fast food chain closes all but 5 branches that will operate in emergency footing to supply food to hospitals, Magen David Adom and security forces; some 4,000 employees put on unpaid leave. (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Coronavirus could send 'thousands' of Gazans to Israeli border - Palestinian health official confirms that PA and Israel are working in "close coordination" to check spread of coronavirus, provide aid to the Gaza Strip. Israel worried that corona outbreak in Gaza could crush healthcare system there. (Israel Hayom)
  • WHO sends Gaza dozens of test kits for coronavirus - The World Health Organization also transferred on Monday protective gear for medical teams to the Gaza Strip. (Ynet)
  • Qatar offers $150M to support Gaza in coronavirus battle - Qatar will provide $150 million to support the Palestinian-controlled Gaza Strip in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic, the state news agency QNA tweeted on Sunday. QNA said this package aims "to complement the efforts of Qatar to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people, and in support of UN relief and humanitarian programs in Gaza, and to combat the outbreak of the Coronavirus." (Ynet)
  • After Israel, Jordan talks, custodian closes Temple Mount to worshipers over coronavirus - Sources in the Waqf say Israel committed not to allow Jewish worshipers and tourist into the compound. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • War-torn Syria braces for lockdown after first virus case - Syria's Health Ministry reported the first case of coronavirus late Sunday, raising concerns the virus could run rampant in some of the most vulnerable areas in the Middle East even though many countries have already sealed their borders and cancelled flights. (Agencies, Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Iran death toll from coronavirus close to 2,000 -Iran's death toll from the coronavirus outbreak increased by 122 in the past 24 hours to 1,934, Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said on Tuesday, adding that 24,811 people were diagnosed with the disease. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • EU to provide 20 million euros in humanitarian aid to Iran - The humanitarian aid to Iran is subject to U.S. sanctions, said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. "We also agree in supporting the request by Iran and also by Venezuela to the International Monetary Fund to have financial support," he said after a video conference of EU foreign ministers, although he did not give more details. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • UN chief calls for immediate cease-fire in conflicts around the world to tackle coronavirus pandemic - UN chief, António Guterres, called on Sunday for immediate cease-fire in conflicts around the world to tackle coronavirus pandemic. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • UAE Closes World's Busiest International Airport as Gulf States Further Shut Down - The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council has recorded more than 1,800 infections and four deaths from the virus. Saudi Arabia has the most confirmed cases with 562. (Agencies, Haaretz)

 

Other Quick Hits:
  • ** Matriculation Exam in Israel Omits High Court, Jewish-Arab Conflict - Officials from within the Education Ministry dispute its claim that narrow range of topics in exam was result of the coronavirus pandemic. (Haaretz+)
  • Remembering the Founder of Famed Jerusalem Literary Café - David Erhrlich, who founded ’Tmol Shilshom’ cafe, a cultural hub that hosted writers, poets and intellectuals in 1994, suffered a fatal heart attack. He was 61. (Haaretz+)
  • Court extends detention of Border Police officer suspected of raping young woman at gunpoint - The policeman, a resident of Eilat in his 20s, is suspected of raping about a 26-year-old woman a year and a half ago with a gun belonging to police. (Maariv)
  • NGO 'Breaking the Silence' accused of collecting classified IDF intel, given 2 months to respond - Ad Kan, [right-wing organization - OH] which monitors left-wing NGOs in Israel, is urging an investigation into IDF "watchdog" group Breaking the Silence, arguing that it is in illegal possession of material that could put national security at risk. (Israel Hayom)
  • For the first time in 17 years, Sea of Galilee is nearly full - The Water Authority reports that Israel's main water source is only 19 inches short of its maximum level, thanks to a winter of heavy rain. The last time the Sea of Galilee reached the Upper Red Line was the winter of 2003-2004. (Israel Hayom)
  • Democracy has teeth - Readers of Yedioth Ahronoth and Ynet users chose: The Knesset Guard's new puppy, which is supposed to prevent the infiltration of explosives into the Knesset building, will be called "Mika.” (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Syria Says It Intercepted Drone Near Hmeimim Air Base - Syrian air defense activated near Jableh, according to state media. (Agencies, Haaretz)

 
Elections 2020/Netanyahu Indictment Commentary/Analysis:
Netanyahu Dispatches His Mercenaries to Thrash Israel's Top Court (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) Amid Israel's constitutional crisis, Knesset speaker sinks to new lows and Benny Gantz faces the greatest dilemma of his life.
Public servants calling for a rebellion are crushing the High Court (Ben Caspit, Maariv) Yesterday at nine o'clock, the Speaker of the Knesset announced his decision: I do not intend to comply with the High Court's ultimatum, he stated. Something big has happened in Israel. A High Court decision is seen as an ultimatum. In a moment, Edelstein will say he feels like a Prisoner of Zion again. The judges abducted him. And let's not forget: The High Court did not even make a decision, it only demanded that Edelstein justify his decision not to allow the Knesset Speaker to be elected, even though 61 MKs demanded it in writing. This event is formative. Remember this day. The prophecy of Amir Ohana, soon after being launched out of nowhere to the post of "Minister of Justice," came true prematurely. No, there is no need to respect court rulings. Period, end. The end of us all, and the beginning of anarchy. You can criticize the High Court. You could say he's wrong. It’s possible and it is done, too. I did it, too. But, until recently, it was clear that court rulings must be respected. History will judge us, the journalists, with severity: The most important news broadcast in Israel did not bother to report yesterday (at least until 8:30 pm) on the calls by senior ministers, including the Minister of Justice, not to comply with the High Court ruling. A senior minister announced that the High Court Chief Justice is running over the Knesset with a bulldozer. Public servants call for a revolt, they are demolishing the High Court and turning the vision of a mob armed with pitchforks charging the court from a nightmare into realistic. The prime minister?  Silent at best, dispatching his envoys to continue unrestrained attacks on the court, at best. All this for what reason? The High Court has not even made its decision yet. It instructed the Speaker of the Knesset to explain why he did not meet the demand of most MKs (61) to elect a new chairman. It was enough to drive the Rottweilers mad to the sounds of the masses. And the media, the last watchdog of democracy, is turning its other cheek. In the meantime, the magnitude of chaos is becoming more apparent when it comes to managing the Corona crisis. Talks with many and talented senior officials within the entourage around the prime minister reveals a troubling reality. There is no organized headquarters, no manager, everyone is struggling for the attention of one man, whose eyes are adorned with black circles and who is torn between the Ministry of Health and the Treasury, regretting and retracting five times an hour, eight hours a day, almost every day, including yesterday. The National Emergency Authority, which was to coordinate this headquarters, was absconded and almost dismantled. The national information system is paralyzed, abandoned…And it is impossible without the person who has made a hostile takeover of the State Comptroller's Office recently, Matanyahu Engelman [a Netanyahu pick - OH]. This person sat yesterday and said, unabashedly, these things: "This is a forward-looking criticism. The epidemic was found to be a real risk to the State of Israel.” He was pleased to finally submit the State Comptroller's Report (prepared in the days of his predecessor, Yossi Shapiro). A serious report revealing the state of the health system states that Israel is not ready for the epidemic and is issuing some other resounding assertions that demonstrate how neglected the system that is supposed to save our lives is here. So whats the problem? It’s simple: The report was ready in November 2019. The final draft was then passed on to auditors. According to the practice of the Comptroller's Office for years, this kind of report is published between four and six weeks after the final draft is submitted. But Engelman, who came to whitewash and waste time, delayed the publication. This report could have been published in January and perhaps, together with the corona eruption in China in December, would have lit some warning lights. Maybe some health ministry officials would bother ordering some protective containers of protective measures, at least for medical teams. Maybe they would think of swabs! [Reference to what was missing when the Mossad recently ordered tests - OH] But no. The state comptroller buried the report and intended to publish it only in May! After that, with great audacity, he declares that it is a "forward-looking criticism.”…And something else: “The audit found deficiencies in the way the Ministry of Health, the health funds and the hospital system were prepared,” the auditor states. Ministry of Health? Who's there? Who has been the Minister of Health most of the last 11 years? No names. At the Comptroller's Office, they tried to pressure to make the names appear at least in the footnotes. No. The state comptroller blocked it with his body. He is not here to criticize. He's here to bury.

Necessary intervention of the High Court for the protection of the Knesset (Prof. Susie Navot, Ynet Hebrew) The ruling on the issue (of a vote for a new) Knesset Speaker was a lesson in citizenship that seemed to be forgotten: a separate government and a separate Knesset. Knesset Speaker Edelstein, who anyway is in a conflict of interests, exceeded his authority.
The High Court is making society suffer (Dr. Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) The principle of separation of powers no longer exists, and the public's faith in the Supreme Court is dwindling to the level of its faith – or lack thereof – in the country's political parties.
This time, High Court intervention is justified and essential (Prof. Daniel Friedman, Yedioth Hebrew) The Speaker of the Knesset is undermining the foundations of democracy, and it is good the court decided as it did.
The High Court's intervention in the issue of the Knesset Speaker is a violation of the principle of separation of powers (Simcha Rotman, Maariv) The High Court judges' decision to discuss the convening of the plenary is reminiscent of the Little Prince's decision, when he told the sun to shine when it already shines and to set when it sets, and in that way, he thought he was having an effect.
Edelstein's choice (Sima Kadmon, Yedioth Hebrew) Yuli Edelstein had to choose between war and disgrace yesterday. He could say to Netanyahu and to the director of the Knesset Albert Sakharovitz that he has no intention of trampling on the Knesset's dignity and that he chooses to fight for its independence. This is what a stately Knesset Speaker would do, a speaker who understands the immensity of the moment and the immensity of the role. That is what a brave man would do, a man with a spine and an inner compass, who did not surrender to the prime minister and refuse to become a rag doll in his hands. But Edelstein chose disgrace. His response to the High Court, which ordered him to answer whether he intended to convene the plenary and vote on the replacement of the speaker, is inconceivable. He, Edelstein, believes the court's intervention in its discretion is wrong these days. Or in other words, Edelstein said: I am don’t care a hoot for the High Court and its decisions…
After the corona we will discover that we have become two peoples (Chen Artzi-Srur, Yedioth/Ynet Hebrew) Jews are experts in divisions. And the more our narrow and sparse common denominator continues to fall apart, we are heading there. Each to his tent Israel. There is no greater danger than this…While the medical teams are battling an invisible enemy at the forefront, while we are all preoccupied with such great fears as livelihood, health or loneliness, a different opera is taking place in the Knesset. There they fight foxes, overt and covert tricks, to earn another day or two of superiority over the opponent. They trust us to stay dormant. We will continue to worry about tomorrow - arrangements for the children, shopping for older parents, how to organize a holiday out of a house that has become a fortress. As long as we are busy, tired, exhausted, the rules of the game can be changed. Yuli Edelstein, who was a symbol of stateliness and a presidential candidate, fought to keep his chair. It was embarrassing, he was small. The current Minister of Justice, who aspires to be the future Minister of Justice, calls for the High Court to be ignored. The Minister of Culture declares within the House of Representatives that anyone who voted for the Joint List is a terrorist supporter. An unbelievable statement. But these jarring sounds have no audience…And when we get out of this long continuing night, it is unclear what world we will wake up to. What kind of society. At the moment, everyone in his home physically and metaphorically. The little house…became the essence of everything. But the day after, when we look outside, we will see there is nowhere to look. Under darkness they have changed the rules, institutions have lost their meaning. A court is a recommendation, a House of Representatives is only a house of certain representatives…
Blue and White's Plan B will backfire (Avi Bareli, Israel Hayom) With all political eyes on Benny Gantz, not enough people have noticed that Blue and White No. 2 Yair Lapid is trying to reinstate direct elections for the prime minister, which caused irreparable damage to Israel's political system.
Netanyahu's coronavirus circus (MK Avigdor Liberman, Yedioth/Ynet) Without a proper rehabilitation plan for the economy and better handling of the health crisis, the day we declare victory over the virus will also be the day we announce the death of countless Israelis businesses.
Gantz can be prime minister after he gets experience in a unity government with the most experienced of all (Yossi Ahimeir, Maariv) The public expects him to break free of the cockpit of hostility and take the required leadership step this week, and establish with the Likud a unity government, which is needed at this difficult time.

Other Interesting Corona Commentary/Analysis:
If leaders like David Ben-Gurion and Menachem Begin were with us today, things would feel different (Ephraim Ganor, Maariv) You can feel in these crazy days a yearning for a responsible adult who radiates concern for the resilience, credibility and genuine concern for the people’s needs. This is definitely not what Netanyahu is broadcasting to the people in his theatrical performances.
Preparing for an Economic Crisis (Haaretz Editorial) An exceptional crisis requires a dynamic government response suited to the accumulating economic challenges. The usual paradigms, which are based solely on minimal government intervention – keeping the budget deficit under control and capitulating to lobby groups – can’t continue in this new situation…The most important messages the government must send are that it’s taking responsibility for dealing with the economic crisis and its victims; that it’s concerned for the entire population, and above all for those who have been affected, not just lobby groups; and that it’s willing to use every possible tool to prevent a prolonged economic and social crisis.
The Titanic is already here (Yehuda Sharoni, Maariv) The aid program that will be presented is too little and too late. Business owners need oxygen like those infected with the corona virus. Finance is their respirator but the number of machines is limited.
Netanyahu's Coronavirus Fear-mongering Is Causing Irreversible Damage to the Economy (Hagai Amit, Haaretz+) Treasury aiming to get economy functioning after Passover, but prime minister could snag the recovery.
Israel's economy needs resuscitation, not Netanyahu's outdated ideals (Sever Plocker, Yedioth/Ynet) With a mere one-tenth of the amount needed to save jobs, pensions, companies and businesses the prime minister is committing an unforgivable crime that could bring country to its knees.
Pandemic's impact on Israel's national security cannot be ignored (Prof. Efraim Inbar, Israel Hayom) Israel's national security is unquestionably compromised by the global coronavirus outbreak. The assertion that preoccupation with the pandemic will temper the behavior of Israel's enemies is wishful and mistaken thinking.
The Coronavirus Endgame Strategy: How We Exit the Lockdown Stage (Ran Balicer, Haaretz+) If Israel doesn't control the rate of coronavirus transmission, tens of thousands of people could get infected in the next two weeks…Even if Israel were a country with the optimal ICU infrastructure, the health system would collapse after a week. And it doesn’t have the optimal ICU infrastructure – instead, we’re at the bottom of the charts in the index of ICU beds for the population. Therefore, at this time there is only one solution: a dramatic reduction in the number of those infected, starting tomorrow, in order to halt the multiplication. Otherwise, within two weeks Israel could reach tens of thousands of people infected, and a week later 5 percent of them would fill up all the country’s ICU beds. Such a reduction is attainable only one way: home quarantine. For every person in his home and with his nuclear family, and to have no contact, even the most minimal, with other households.
The UN's time to shine (Ambassador Danny Danon, Israel Hayom) We are prone to criticizing UN institutions, and justifiably so, given their hypocritical approach toward Israel. But in times like these, we must put our criticisms aside and focus on the world's preeminent international body's advantages.
Israeli Health Minister's Cure for COVID-19? The Messiah (Netta Ahituv, Haaretz+) “We are praying and hoping that the Messiah will arrive before Passover, the time of our redemption. I am sure that the Messiah will come and bring us out as [God] brought us out of Egypt. Soon we will go out in freedom and the Messiah will come and redeem us from all the troubles of the world.” This remark was made by Health Minister Yaakov Litzman last week, after Yaniv Kalif of the Hebrew-language news website Hamal asked him whether Israelis will be forced to remain under lockdown until the holiday, which begins April 8th. Litzman’s ignorant answer was not met with uproar.
A crisis cannot be managed under threat (Dr. Shuki Friedman, Israel Hayom) The specter of facing an investigative committee could force our leaders to make biased decisions that will cost lives. Demanding a probe while the corona crisis rages does more harm than good.
The corona challenge and the crime threat: How the Arab society is coping with crisis (Michael Milstein, Maariv) “Ilzam beitak,” stay in your home, has been the slogan that has been burned into the media of Israeli Arabs in recent days. This has led to an improvement in responsiveness, which, at the outbreak of the crisis, was very limited in the Arab sector…The Corona campaign, which also highlights the contribution of the Arab public, as embodied in the activities of Arab citizens on medical teams throughout the country, reflects the maturity of Arab society in Israel, and its actual integration in many aspects of the country. The successful model should also be copied in the fight against other challenges facing Arab society in Israel, which have resulted in many more fallen than the Corona - most notably the crime and violence.  During the Corona crisis, three Arab-Israeli civilians were murdered in criminal incidents. Fourteen were murdered since the beginning of the year, compared to 93 in all of 2019 - which was the deadliest ever in this context. Along with moves required by the state, in particular a significant expansion of enforcement and policing in Arab society and increased resources in the fields of welfare and youth, it is recommended to promote publicity campaigns starring prominent public opinion shapers in Arab society, for example, who will deal with the subject of violence against women and between youth, and even encourage cooperation with the police. As part of the fight against the Corona virus, Arab citizens have shown their central weight in critical actions in the country and their successful integration. If they are also integrated into the policing and enforcement authorities, success can also be seen in the fight against the scourge of crime and violence that many in the Arab public regard as the most serious threat today. (The author is the head of the Palestinian Studies Forum at the Moshe Dayan Center at Tel-Aviv University and the coordinator of the fight against violence and crime in Arab society in Israel at the INSS Institute.)
The truth about digital tracking to fight coronavirus (Shalev Hulio, Yedioth/Ynet) It is important to appreciate that the historical information for each mobile subscription is already and routinely available to the cellular companies and only includes cellular locations and does not require any collection of information from the device itself.

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