News Nosh 4.12.20

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday April 12, 2020

NOTE: APN will be holding a briefing call, “From Settlements to Annexation,” featuring Shaqued Morag and Brian Reeves of Israel’s Peace Now (Shalom Achshav). You are invited to call in.
DATE: Monday, April 13th, 12:00 noon (Eastern Time)
Dial-in Number: 951-797-1058; Participant Access Code: 147414

Quote of the day:
"Hatred for Arabs turns to gratitude for their contribution to the health care system as nurses, physicians, pharmacists and hospital employees, and Palestinians in the Territories become, if only briefly, partners in a shared fate, exposed to the same danger. It’s a good time to ask what is it that we have been fighting over for generations."
--—A Haaretz Editorial suggests that issues which until recently seemed all-important, such as nationalism, ethnic identity and religion, fall away in the face of a pandemic.*

Breaking News:
President Rivlin Denies Gantz's Request for Extension to Form Government
Gantz, who is still negotiating a unity deal with Netanyahu, now has until Monday at midnight to form a government. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The Ben-Gurion Airport oversight: People land in Israel - and disperse without supervision
  • How do they dare// Raanan Shaked on the Prime Minister, President and Health Minister who had family visit for the Passover holiday despite guidelines that prohibit that (Hebrew)
  • No trust // Sima Kadmon
  • Uplifted from the people // Limor Livnat
  • Save the economy // Ben-Dror Yemini
  • Stay under closure // Sarit Rosenblum
  • It hurts but less (than in other countries): Israeli economy and corona (Hebrew)
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • The battle over the closure on Jerusalem
  • More than 100 died in Israel; From today: People must wear masks
  • Defense Ministry opposes Health Ministry: “It is endangering lives”
  • The guidelines after the oversight (at Ben-Gurion Airport)
  • We will rise from the dust // Dr. Miriam Adelson (Wife of ‘Israel Hayom’ publisher)
  • A fateful day: Gantz requested extension from the President
  • Rule of law is not judicial rule // Yaakov Berdugo

Top News Summary:
Corona screw-ups led today’s news in the Hebrew newspapers after Israelis who landed at Ben-Gurion Airport returned home without supervision and the country’s top leaders violated the guidelines they had called repeatedly on the people to adhere to. Meanwhile, Kahol-Lavan leader Benny Gantz asked President Reuven Rivlin for a two-week extension to form a government. (Update: Rivlin said no!)

So for the second time in a week, Israel allowed in passengers from abroad, despite declaring it had grounded all flights, and authorities did not check passengers for fever or did it send them all to state isolation centers. Instead they were allowed to go home without masks - some traveling in taxis. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ordered to halt all flights to Israel. (Update: The government blocked the move in a Knesset discussion on Sunday morning, allowing flights to continue arriving in Israel.)

But what really angered Israelis was that while so many spent the family-oriented Passover Eve holiday at home alone, as per the Health Ministry guidelines that Netanyahu has hammered into Israelis during his nightly press conferences, both Netanyahu and President Rivlin spent the feast with family members who do not live with them.

Elections 2020 / Netanyahu Indictment News:
Kahol Lavan chairman Gantz asked President Rivlin for two more weeks to make a unity government with the Likud party after talks collapsed last week, but were renewed on Friday. Gantz said an agreement was close. (Update: Rivlin said no.) The selection of High Court judges continued to be a dispute between the two parties, with those around Netanyahu demanding to strengthen the right-wing’s influence on the committee. Gantz's party made clear: "We cannot hurt democracy.” (Also Maariv)

Corona Quickees:
  • Coronavirus in Israel: Death Toll Rises to 103 as Curfew Extended in Jerusalem Hotspots - 10,878 cases diagnosed so far in Israel. Thus far, 1,388 Israelis have recovered from the disease. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • UPDATE: Former chief rabbi Bakshi-Doron dies Sunday after contracting coronavirus - Sephardic religious leader, 79, had been admitted to Jerusalem hospital last week; death raises toll to 104. (Times of Israel)
  • Israelis Must Now Wear Face Masks in Public. Here's What You Need to Know - The new regulation goes into effect on Sunday morning, but will not be enforced by police initially. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Israeli Nursing Home Directors Say Coronavirus Testing Expansion Is Too Little, Too Late - A third of the country's coronavirus deaths are from assisted living facilities and nursing homes, and authorities are mandating testing only in those with confirmed cases. (Haaretz+)
  • Amid coronavirus crisis, Israel tells Palestinians to download app that tracks phones - Palestinians who want to ensure their permit to stay in Israel is still valid are required to install an app allowing the military to access data on their cellphone since army offices are closed due to the coronavirus. (Haaretz+)
  • Hamas Arrests Gazans for Holding Zoom Video Chat With Israelis - Gaza's Interior Ministry says 'any contact with occupation is treason' after self-professed freelance journalist and member of a group called The Gaza Youth Committee partakes in chat organised by Israeli peace activists. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
  • 'The Coronavirus Finally Gave the World a Chance to Feel What We Gazans Have Always Felt' - Three young Gazans tell Haaretz about their turbulent journeys out of the enclave and how being from the Strip is a never-ending bureaucratic nightmare, no matter where you end up. (Haaretz+)
  • Lockdown in West Bank, crowds in Gaza: Palestinians divided over coronavirus - Authorities swoop on restriction violators in PA-run territory; while Hamas-ruled coastal enclave imposes only few limitations on public life as isolation may have slowed arrival of virus. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • The patriarchy is actually supportive: How have women in the Bedouin sector turned into the explainers against the virus? - In a reality of a shortage of running water, health infrastructure and internet connection, Ayah Ibn-Faraj and Ahlam Abu-Keren are fighting the spread of the corona virus among the Bedouin population in the Negev through an advocacy team to implement the Ministry of Health guidelines. (Maariv)
  • Vaccine developed by Israel could be used by those boycotting it, BDS co-founder says - 'Cooperating with Israel against the virus isn't normalization,' Omar Barghouti says. (JTA, Haaretz+)
  • About 75 percent of Jerusalem coronavirus cases are Haredi - Mayor sends harshly worded letter to Health Ministry claiming promises to provide coronavirus equipment to East Jerusalem hospitals are not being fulfilled. (Haaretz+)
  • 1 in 100 Bnei Brak residents infected by coronavirus - Infection for the Haredi city is 10 times higher than neighboring Tel Aviv; Jerusalem ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods placed under similar restrictions, preventing residents from leaving areas. Haredi Health Minister Yaakov Litzman slams move he says signals out one sector of population. (Ynet)
  • Israel's online shoppers can wait two weeks for food deliveries - Coronavirus finds supermarkets overwhelmed by a flood of web shopping. Mom-and-pop groceries pick up the slack. (Haaretz+)
  • For these Israelis, farm work offers refuge from the coronavirus crisis - Over a million Israelis have been fired or laid off due to the coronavirus crisis, and border closures have left farmers desperate for workers. In that void the pioneering ‘Jewish labor’ ethos is making a comeback. (Haaretz+)
  • 'We have to make the most of the IDF's abilities to fight the coronavirus' - IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Eyal Zamir has one mission these days: brining the pandemic to its knees. "The military cannot sit on the sidelines when Israel is dealing with an unprecedented event," he asserts. (Israel Hayom)
  • From Jerusalem to Rome: Christians Around the World Mark Good Friday in Isolation - In any other year, tens of thousands of pilgrims from around the world retrace Jesus’ steps in Jerusalem in the week leading up to Easter. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran's corona death toll hits 4,474, government reports - Despite worst COVID-19 outbreak in the Middle East, Iranian government is in a hurry to restart economic activity. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Iran Begins Lifting Restrictions After Brief Virus Lockdown - For weeks, Iran declined to impose the kind of wide-scale lockdowns adopted by other Middle Eastern countries, even as the number of confirmed cases and fatalities steadily climbed. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Coronavirus Disrupts Food Supply Chains in Struggling Lebanon - This comes at a grim time for the country, with a financial crisis that has wiped out about half the value of the currency and sent prices skyrocketing for months. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Other Quick Hits:
  • Hamas official in Arabic newspaper: "Waiting for an answer from Israel on prisoner exchange” - A senior official in the Gaza Strip was interviewed by Al-Quds newspaper Saturday, in light of reports of progress in negotiations with Israel, saying that "Israel has not responded to the Egyptian mediator, or any other party, on the proposal." He said the organization was very serious about the deal and the existing crisis (the Corona crisis) could be exploited to reach the deal.” (Maariv)
  • Israeli spyware company NSO names tech executive as chairman - Asher Levy, former CEO of Orbotech, vows to deepen controversial firm’s commitment to ethical policies. (Haaretz+)
  • Murder in Umm al-Fahm: A young man known to the police was shot dead - 24-year-old Muhammad Mahajana was murdered while sitting in his car. As may be recalled, at the end of 2019, a widespread protest in the Arab sector took place over the wave of violence in this sector and the over the police's inappropriate dealing with it, the protesters claimed. (Maariv)
  • Syrian air force behind chemical attacks, investigation team finds - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement the United States concurred in the new report's findings. (Agencies, Haaretz)

Elections 2020/Netanyahu Indictment Commentary/Analysis:
Gantz's Time Runs Out, and Netanyahu No Longer in a Rush to Form 'Emergency' Government (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+)  Minutes before a unity coalition agreement was to be signed, Netanyahu demanded control of appointing judges. The two sides have had no contact since.
Gantz knows that Netanyahu doesn't really want a fourth election - and he has a few more cards in his hands (Ben Caspit, Maariv) Netanyahu shudders at the possibility that the High Court will make a ruling on the petitions that are piling up on his desk in recent months. That explosive petition, which on Monday will finally become relevant. The appeal, according to which, you cannot give the mandate to form a government to an MK who is a criminal defendant. Unlike a mid-term prime minister who, according to the law, can continue to serve while indicted, Netanyahu in his current position (according to many legal commentators) is an ordinary MK. His tenure as prime minister has long ended. He is the head of a transitional government three times. The last time he received the trust of the people was five years ago. Therefore, when he comes to form a government, he is an MK. And therefore, it is possible to determine that the mandate to form a government cannot be given to him. Gantz knows that Netanyahu's only way to get around this explosive obstacle is the current twist: The formation of a government was imposed on Benny Gantz, and he is the one who should announce to the president that he succeeded in forming a government, for Binyamin Netanyahu. True, it is unbelievable and it is ridiculous and it is only possible in our crazy (and beloved) country, but there are two people here whose interests are now intertwined. This is what it looks like from Gantz's perspective. This is the reason for Netanyahu's call on the eve of the holiday and for the Likud's semi-conciliatory messages. And we haven't talked about the possibility that Gantz would get an extension from Rivlin and succeed in passing Lieberman's law, which states that the formation of a government cannot be given to a criminal defendant. In short, Gantz's hand has a few more cards. Rest, Twitter leftists. Nothing is over yet.
Is It Time for a Meretz-Yesh Atid Union? (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) The spotlight on Benny Gantz’s dramatic move toward a unity government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, at the cost of dissolving the partnership with Yesh Atid and Telem, obscured a no less dramatic move made at the same time by the leader of Yesh Atid, Yair Lapid, toward Haaretz. With perfect political choreography, Gantz turned his back on Lapid at the very moment that Lapid – after years of boycotting Haaretz and hurling virulent epithets like “it’s anti-Zionist, anti-Israeli and it’s no longer really a newspaper” – published a lengthy, serious essay, as befits “thinking people,” in the paper, setting forth his political credo (Hebrew edition, March 27). Is it possible that these were not just two unconnected moves, which occurred concurrently only by coincidence, but were actually two political seismic waves resulting from the same political earthquake triggered by the coronavirus pandemic? The dramatic force of Lapid’s act should not be underestimated. From the moment of its genesis, Yesh Atid defined its identity as the opposite of Haaretz. Lapid branded himself by means of the artificial and forced negation of everything identified with the newspaper, be it Breaking the Silence, the Palestinians or the “infiltrators” from Africa. Lapid and Yesh Atid depicted Haaretz and the Israeli left as a caricature, and then savaged them for the purpose of self-determination.
The anti-Netanyahu Camp Needs a Netanyahu of Its Own (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) Gantz made a mistake when, in the coronavirus panic, he rushed to answer Benjamin Netanyahu’s call to reach a deal for a coalition agreement with him before exhausting the leverage of his anti-Netanyahu bloc in the Knesset and the mandate to try to form the next government. Gantz’s top partner in Kahol Lavan, Gabi Ashkenazi, also deserves some of the blame for this political amateurism…Even if a government is established, sooner or later Netanyahu will presumably call a fourth election, the coronavirus crisis permitting, after having crushed any chance of an alternative to his rule. He will try to pull off a win to give him additional political power in a bid to continue to delay his trial. So far it’s worked pretty well for him. Instead of being in the dock at the height of a trial, he is polling in record numbers. This man, who has no boundaries or inhibitions, manages to do whatever he wants, in defiance of logic and often of what is right.

Other Commentary/Analysis:
Israel Is Mobilizing Its Occupation Skills to Fight Coronavirus (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The IDF is doing what it’s learned to do over the last 53 years – how to occupy. First it took Bnei Brak. Subsequently, it may also take over Mea Shearim, and on Wednesday it locked down over the entire country. Let the defense ministry win, demands Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, give us your elderly, your infants, your ultra-Orthodox and the quarantine refusers. Actually, give us all your citizens and the army will do the rest. The holy trinity - composed of the Mossad, responsible for supplying equipment “borrowed” from around the world, the Shin Bet security service, which has the largest database in Israel so it can locate the whereabouts of every single person, and the IDF, which imposes a military administration on the ground - is sovereign, at the moment, acting under the authority of the 1945 emergency defense regulations. This is but a temporary measure, which one hopes will not last for decades.
Israel and Trump's war on the coronavirus (Caroline B. Glick, Israel Hayom) We cannot know if Trump will beat the virus or if, with the lavish support of the Democrats, the "experts" and the media, the virus will beat him. The same can be said for US-Israel relations. Netanyahu is right, the time to act on Trump's "deal of the century" is now.
Israel, beware the wrath of Trump (Jonathan S. Tobin, Haaretz+) Israel's right-wingers and religious nationalists are hurrying to change West Bank facts on the ground because they're betting Trump is distracted by coronavirus now and loses in the fall. They're playing with fire.
Impossible Love (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth Hebrew) ...A-Salam mosque, the peace mosque, one of the largest mosques in the Bedouin city of Rahat, was empty on Monday afternoon. The green iron door was locked. A large pigeon band landed on the roof railing, on the dome, on the window sills…“Issam King of the Schnitzel, chicken breast in different flavors,” on the other side of the street, was closed with iron shutters…More than 70,000 people live in Rahat. No one is forcing a closure, but the closure is an existing fact: on the streets I see mostly children. Traffic is sparse. The muezzin calls for prayer, but asks the worshipers not to come to the mosque. Here and there young people violate the guidelines: three passengers in the car, avoiding wearing masks, meeting in a group. Rahat is no different from Tel Aviv. The possibility of an outbreak of the pandemic in the Arab sector must not be ignored. In the meantime, this is not happening. Nevertheless, myths are created. The first to claim on TV that the Arab sector was not obeying the (health ministry) guidelines was Netanyahu. It was fiction. Someone fed Netanyahu with the story, and he repeated it with complete confidence, just as he repeated the story of the droves of Arabs (going to the polls). Bennett was quick to embrace the myth; that was comfortable for him. Experts repeated it on TV channels. None of them bothered to check. “We were afraid that the young people, who have been disciplined, will say, if that's what they say about us, from today we are ignoring the guidelines," says Dr. Nihaya Daud, an epidemiologist at Ben-Gurion University. To her delight, it didn't happen. Daoud is a member of the National Committee for Health in Arab Society. The committee appointed a subcommittee for dealing with corona, which meets on zoom daily. The committee has ten members, including three professors and six Ph.D.s. The committee disseminates information in Arabic to the sector. The Jewish sector is prepared for emergency: There is the Home Front Command and MDA (national emergency medics) and the experience gained during wars. They ignore the Arab sector. Ambulances belonging to private companies provide the service that MDA provides to the Jews. Their crews were not trained to check and collect corona patients. "There is a stigma for corona patients," says Daoud. "As soon as you call an ambulance to your home, you and your entire family are marked. That's why we demanded they build drive-in checks for the Arab communities. It's a shame they didn't think about it beforehand." The Ministry of Health is attentive to the demands of the committee. They are all professionals, all members of the same bodies. “Many of the Arabs on the medical teams (at hospitals) don't go home," Daoud says. "In Arab society, the older family members live together with the young. They are afraid of infecting the families.” Dealing with corona opens up an opportunity for change in sectoral relations. Ultra-Orthodox gladly allow soldiers in uniform into their homes; Arab doctors and paramedics are honored. Maybe it's an illusion: once the fear is gone, whatever was is what will be. Politicians will make sure of that. But we need to hope. I went to Rahat to talk to Alean Al-Krenawi, a professor of social work at Ben-Gurion University, about Jews and Arabs, politics and corona. On the eve of the election, Amir Peretz announced that he would appoint Al-Krenawi as Labor Minister. The fate of the promise was like the fate of Peretz's other promises. Gantz also promised. Al-Krenawi is now awaiting news from Gantz. "A culture of mutual fear has been created," Al-Krenawi said. "In recent years there has been a distance between Arab and Jewish society. Fear intensifies prejudice and leads to racism and discrimination." Someone might think it was heaven before, I said. “No,” he said. "There have been ups and downs. There are people on both sides  who support coexistence, and there are both people on both sides who oppose it…”
Contempt Instead of Leadership (Haaretz Editorial) At a time in which over 10,000 people are ill with the virus and one million people have lost their jobs, with everyone required to make sacrifices, the country’s leaders must set a personal example. Instead, Minister of Health Yaakov Litzman refuses to take his temperature and spreads the virus, the prime minister ignores isolation orders and the president bypasses procedures for corona testing and hosts guests at his residence, flouting regulations.
Coronavirus crisis offers Israel rare opportunity for Hamas deal (Elior Levy, Ynet) Despite its best efforts, the terror group ruling Gaza has difficulty hiding its desire to carry out a prisoner exchange, now the global pandemic provides the organization a chance to drop its cast iron demand when it comes to releasing its two Israelis captives and the bodies of two IDF soldiers.
Opportunity in Gaza (Friday Haaretz Editorial) Gaza Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar’s statement that Hamas is willing to offer easier terms in negotiations with Israel for the return of missing and captive Israelis, still does not ensure a successful conclusion to the affair. Sinwar has so far given no details as to what concessions he intends to make and what his red lines are. But it seems that Hamas is now prepared to separate a general ceasefire agreement from a prisoner swap, and in return for the release of women, elderly and sick prisoners held by Israel, he would agree to convey information about missing and captive Israelis in Gaza. Israel should examine Sinwar’s proposal seriously, out of a sincere intention to end an affair that is delaying further discussions on a ceasefire agreement. Netanyahu, who according to Hamas has not yet delivered his response to the proposal, can and must adopt a humanitarian approach, and not use the proposal as diplomatic or political leverage.
It is worth taking the opportunity in a crisis to make a journey to ourselves (Nadav Haetzni, Maariv) Precisely during the week of the Seder we are closed in a kind of collective prison. Because we have been thrown into the eye of this global storm without any choice, we might want to take advantage of the positive aspects of the drama…Much of the world, and tiny Israel in it, is now experiencing dramatic restrictions to freedom. Infringement of personal liberty, of freedom of work and movement, even of national liberty…In Israel because of the wars and the states of emergency, the current situation should have seemed more natural compared to other places. And yet, the series of restrictions imposed for weeks on the public shocks every free man and shakes the basic notions of Western thought about freedom and democracy…Freedom to move from place to place, freedom to do what you want, to meet who you want. So much so that during the week of Seder, which marks the climax of the Jewish journey to freedom, we are closed in a kind of collective prison. Steps we saw just two months ago on TV in the far-off Chinese dictatorship are eagerly adopted in each of the most prominent democracies, including ours…To a large extent, we are going through a journey to redefine our personal, sectoral and national identity. We have the opportunity to re-examine our core assumptions and habits. To look at life, the social patterns, to refocus on what really matters.
*Passover Seder Night Lockdown (Wednesday Haaretz Editorial, Passover Eve) Passover - this most family-oriented of festivals - will be the holiday of isolation and social-distancing; the festival of freedom become the festival of closure; the festival of spring now the festival of staying home. This is a rare opportunity for reflection. The pandemic has taught Israel that the peace and security of its inhabitants do not depend solely on the force of arms. There are perils that even the most advanced weapons and espionage cannot conquer. The lesson must hit home: Respirators are no less essential to national security than are submarines, intensive care units no less critical than fighter squadrons. The second lesson is that matters which until recently seemed all-important fall away in the face of a pandemic. Nationalism, ethnic identity and religion become less relevant…Hatred for Arabs turns to gratitude for their contribution to the health care system as nurses, physicians, pharmacists and hospital employees, and Palestinians in the territories become, if only briefly, partners in a shared fate, exposed to the same danger. It’s a good time to ask what is it that we have been fighting over for generations.
Alone at Passover, but not lonely (Shimon Shiffer, Yedioth/Ynet) Coronavirus doesn't only force us to hunker down at home and stock up on toilet paper, it exposes issues we have long suppressed in the endless rat race of life, offering us a chance to.
Israel-PA cooperation on coronavirus is encouraging, but will it last? (Israel Kasnett, Israel Hayom) While experts say there's been a "significant and positive shift" in cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians due to COVID-19, much uncertainty remains regarding what will happen if the situation in the P.A. and Gaza deteriorates.
Mutual responsibility, Israeli trickiness, the value of statements: What has changed? (Lilach Sigan, Maariv) Despite the waves of hatred this year, we still have the basic knowledge that we are all together in the hour of troubles. On the other hand - we should not take that for granted, especially if politics continue on the path they are on.
Will we change? (David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom) What moral lessons might people the world over draw from the coronavirus crisis? Will anybody truly be transformed by the upheavals that are underway? Might we become "better" people? Or, when the dust settles, will people revert to established patterns and (misplaced) priorities?
Open Letter to the Next Generation: The Opportunity of Calamity (Dan Ben-David, Haaretz+) Israel’s political establishment has been leading us straight towards the iceberg for decades. Now the coronavirus pandemic actually creates opportunity for profound change.
Will coronavirus be a moderating factor in the Middle East? (Micky Aharonson, Israel Hayom) The assumption that the virus will curb Middle East conflicts does not stand the test of reality. Israel must remain on high security alert
‘Jews and Apostate Muslims Deserve Punishment’: How Jihadists Justify Coronavirus to Hustle for Recruits (Fiyaz Mughal, Haaretz+) Muslim extremists – from ISIS to Yemen’s Houthis – see COVID-19 as an unparalleled recruitment opportunity. From India to Iran to Saudi Arabia, they’re exploiting old hatreds and inciting violence.
In Jordan, the day after coronavirus may be no less dangerous than the pandemic (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Despite devastating effects on the economy and the country’s poorest, emergency regulations seem to have curbed the coronavirus outbreak. But many worry the crisis might be used to quell dissent.
Coronavirus as a political tool (Dr. Ibrahim Nawar, Ynet/Yedioth/Al-Quds Al-Arabi)  From Saudi Arabia to Israel and the U.S. to Iran, various regimes across the globe are using the virus to curb unrest and to promote agendas that are in no way related to the health of their citizens.
Pro-Palestinian, Without the anti-Semitism: Post-Corbyn Labour’s New Foreign Secretary (Colin Shindler, Haaretz+) Lisa Nandy disentangles pro-Palestinian views from kneejerk anti-Zionism and disdain for Jews. That counts as remarkable for a Labour party emerging from its toxic, electorally disastrous Corbyn era.
Israel Has a Promising Coronavirus Exit Strategy. There Are Just Two Problems With It (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) In the thick of the crisis, the government's lack of transparency and condemnation of the lockdown policy have undermined the fight against the coronavirus.
No, Israel cannot go back to normal just yet (Sarit Rosenblum, Yedioth/Ynet) Despite optimistic predictions that some of country will return to normal after Passover, we are not yet ready to tackle the perils of returning to even partial activity, nor are we ready to lift isolation regulations meant to keep safe those who are most in danger
Israel's Mismanagement of Coronavirus Testing Is Clouding Exit Strategy Talk (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Officials have been imprudently pushing lockdowns instead of ramping up testing, ignoring efforts by Defense Minister Naftali Bennett.
Tsk-tsk, Rivlin and Netanyahu (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) It really is unpleasant to see a prime minister doing what he preaches to his people to abstain from doing, and it’s no less disturbing to see a popular and folksy president behaving as if he were more entitled. Unpleasant, but not that terrible. Israelis straining under the weight of fear and a lockdown are searching for ways to vent their understandable frustrations. The dearth of leaders leading by example became a good channel for doing so. Good, but not that important. Correct, but not something critical. In Scandinavia this would have been self-evident, but in Israel, where so many excessive privileges are accepted, Rivlin’s daughter in the presidential residence and Netanyahu’s son in the prime minister’s residence are a pretext for a protest such as has not been seen here for a long time. One can only snort in ridicule.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.