APN's daily news review from Israel - Tuesday April 21, 2020
Quote of the day:
"Where the weakening of democracy and the justice system are concerned, the elimination of an alternative
to (Netanyahu’s) rule, the future of the occupied Territories and the power of the High Court, Netanyahu's deserves
a grade of 9 out of 10 (for fulfilling his election promises). What does Gantz deserve? Students who had a
particularly hard time would once have received the following grade on their end-of-year report cards: 'Graduates
to second grade but not at our school.'"
--Yedioth political analyst Nahum Barnea gives grades to the leaders of Likud and Kahol-Lavan for their unity government agreement on the basis of the fulfillment of their election promises.*
- Netanyahu and Gantz signed agreement to form government; Prime Minister will have veto over appointment of attorney general and state prosecutor
- The economy and the curse // Yossi Verter
- Alliance of the swindlers // Aluf Benn
- Clearance sale // Gidi Weitz
- Paralyzation as an achievement // Noa Landau
- Postdated check // Sami Peretz
- Remembrance by Zoom and ceremonies on Facebook: Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremonies will be held as always - but on the Internet
- “Why are they publicizing easing restrictions before we approved?”: Corona turned the ministers into rubber stamps
- New agenda // Tzvia Walden
- The Other Israel // Nechamia Shtrasler
- The first step - Most of the individual sports will return to practice next week
- The photo from the ‘Black Flags’ protest proves again the importance of Rabin Square to Israel
- Hospital activities cut by 50%, in private medical centers they fear total collapse
- The gates of hell are closed - Holocaust Remembrance Day today begins in ceremony without an audience. Masses won’t make the long journey on the March of Life. And the cursed Auschwitz Camp will remain empty today of visitors (Hebrew)
- Dad’s last battle // Chen Kottas
- When family looked straight into the eyes of the Nazis // Shoshana Chen (Hebrew)
- The largest government in the country’s history (Hebrew)
- The grades stage (A late wedding) // Nahum Barnea (Hebrew)
- The righteous Lamed Vav (36) // Sima Kadmon
- Despite everything // Yuval Karni
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
- Never again - Holocaust Remembrance Day
- There is unity (Photo of Gantz and Netanyahu
- The Lamed Vav (36) government // Ben Caspit
- Exclusive - In the crosshairs: Cut in budget pensions and in public sector salaries
- Shameful deal // Yehuda Sharoni
- Jews, come home - Holocaust Remembrance Day: Special edition
- A painful - and different - memory // Isaac Herzog
- We are all in the same boat // Jason Greenblatt
- End of the crisis: Netanyahu-Gantz government
- A new path // Haim Shine
- The annexation legacy // Mati Tuchfeld
- House of cards // Jacob Berdugo
- Corona effect: Drama in the markets - price of oil parachutes to historic low
Top News Summary:
Israeli Prime Minister and Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu and Kahol-Lavan chairman Benny Gantz signed a unity government agreement on Holocaust Remembrance Day Eve (a coincidence some commentators noted) as the country commemorated the tragedy of the Jews in ceremonies without audiences and in tributes through the internet, the Hebrew newspapers reported today.
Elections 2020 / Netanyahu Indictment News:
Netanyahu and Gantz signed an agreement that will form the most inflated government in the history of the country - 36 ministers - and will keep Netanyahu in the prime minister’s office for the next 18 months and give him veto powers over significant appointments. Yesh Atid Chairman MK Yair Lapid, Telem Chairman MK Moshe Yaalon and Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh all slammed the agreement and Gantz for agreeing to it. "Gantz and Netanyahu's government of surrender is a slap in the face of the civilian majority who goes to the polls time and time again to oust Netanyahu," said Odeh. Only Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman praised the establishment of the government at this time because of the corona crisis. But Lieberman promised to be a opposition that will deal with righting things. Here is the likely next cabinet.
- Israel's coronavirus death toll up to 181, with 13, 883 confirmed cases - The Health Ministry says among the latest fatalities is a 48-year old father of 14 with no underlying health conditions, who passed away at Ichilov Hospital having been transferred from a Bnei Brak hospital. (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
- Attorney General to okay invasive civilian surveillance measures to fight coronavirus - Mandelblit to announce new steps as government set to extend Shin Bet's current remit to digitally track potential virus carriers, will personally oversee all operations under strict regulatory conditions. (Ynet)
- Experts: Coronvirus brings spike in anti-Semitic sentiments - Tel Aviv University report, released every year before Holocaust Remembrance Day, shows an 18% spike in attacks against Jews last year, warning that the pandemic has threatened to amp up incitement even more. (Ynet)
- Anti-Semites' latest weapon? Coronavirus - A report from the group Israeli Students Combating Anti-Semitism, a collaboration between the National Union of Israeli Students and the Foreign Ministry, has cited hundreds of instances of anti-Semitic postings on Facebook Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram in the space of a single month. The posts were made in English, Russian, and Spanish, accusing Jews and Israel of either inventing or intentionally spreading the COVID-19 pandemic. (Israel Hayom)
- U.S. Jews Feeling Much Less Safe in Their Country, ADL Survey Shows - Over 1 in 4 respondents say they have modified their behavior out of fear of attacks, nearly 2 out of 3 feel less safe than a decade ago. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
- ‘You touched my heart,’ Netanyahu tells falafel seller facing ruin from pandemic - In phone call, Yuval Carmi — who has become a symbol of the virus’s financial toll — places blame for economic hardship on PM’s advisers rather than the premier himself. (Times of Israel)
- Meet the Majadlas: An Arab Family of Doctors on Israel's Coronavirus Front Lines - Five doctors in one family are battling to save lives, Jewish and Arab, during the pandemic, and wondering if this historic moment will be a turning point in the war against discrimination of their community. (Haaretz+)
- In Israeli Arab Towns, Support for Harsh Ramadan Coronavirus Restrictions - Experts have warned that Ramadan could accelerate the spread of the coronavirus and even clergy members say there is no need to come to mosques: Pray at home. (Haaretz+)
- Israel Doesn't Oversee Palestinian Workers' Health Amid Coronavirus - 20,000 Palestinian workers are currently in Israel working 'essential' jobs, yet governmental bodies are avoiding responsibility for their health and living conditions despite high rate of infection. (Haaretz+)
- Israeli envoy slams claims that Israel impedes PA's efforts to combat coronavirus - "The Palestinian leadership will have to choose between slandering or receiving support from Israel. It cannot have both," says Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon. (Israel Hayom)
- Coronavirus Could Cause Palestinian GDP to Shrink Over Seven Percent, World Bank Says - Decline could be kept to 2.5% in 2020 if the pandemic comes under control within four months. (Haaretz+)
- PA says it still has coronavirus 'under control' - With less than 400 confirmed cases in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Palestinian Authority seems to have managed containment, but it's a fragile situation given lack of medical material and equipment. (Ynet)
- Concerns Grow After Israel Shuts Boarding Schools for At-risk Students Over Coronavirus - Some of the children have called their counselors and said they didn’t have anything to eat,’ social worker says. (Haaretz+)
- Traffic at Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport Plunged 72 Percent in March, Figures Show - United Airlines boosts market share as Israel delayed quarantining arrivals from U.S. because Netanyahu didn't want to offend Trump. (Haaretz+)
- Coronavirus Grounds Israel’s Independence Day Flyover - Instead, four training planes will fly over hospitals in salute to medical teams. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
- Netanyahu: Unlike Holocaust, We Saw Danger of Coronavirus in Time - Netanyahu, Rivlin speak at pre-recorded ceremony at Yad Vashem marking Holocaust Remembrance Day. Rivlin: Hatred and anti-Semitism too spread like a contagion. (Haaretz)
- WATCH Turkey Builds Coronavirus Hospital Over Istanbul Airport Runways - Footage shot on Saturday showed cargo planes taking off from an open runway as workers continued work at the site of the destroyed runways. (Agencies, Haaretz and VIDEO)
- Amid Coronavirus Fears, Some Syrians Prefer Returning to Ruined Homes to Crowded Camps - Nearly 120,000 displaced Syrians have returned to towns in Idlib and the nearby Aleppo countryside since a truce went into effect in March, according to a local relief agency. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Iran, Syria Call for Lifting Sanctions During Pandemic - Iran has been a close ally of Assad in Syria's long and bloody nine-year-long civil war, lending his government in Damascus vital military and economic support. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- U.S. Pressure on Iran During Coronavirus Outbreak Is 'Inhumane,' Rohani Says - Iranian president says trade mechanism set up with EU countries has so far been insufficient to offset section imposed by Trump. (Agencies, Haaretz)
Other Quick Hits:
- Syria accuses Israel of targeting areas near historic Palmyra - Syrian media: Air defense intercept Israeli air strikes on HomsThe strikes reportedly came hours after Iran's Zarif was in Damascus where he met with Assad and his Syrian counterpart. IDF remains mum. Attack is second in weeks attributed to Israel. (Haaretz+, Israel Hayom and Ynet)
- UC Irvine student government divests from BDS - Resolution says 2012 decision adopting a policy of BDS led to "A sustained campaign of harassment and intimidation against Jewish students and their allies on UCI's campus." (Israel Hayom)
- MSNBC admits error in calling 'Palestine' a country - HonestReporting CEO Daniel Pomerantz: When news outlets prematurely recognize a Palestinian state, they are not only being factually inaccurate, but undermine prospects for peace by rewarding unilateralism and intransigence by the Palestinian government. (Israel Hayom)
- IDF chief: Our mission is to protect Holocaust survivors - "We will follow in their path and remain vigilant, so that we need never depend on someone else's kindness," Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi write in directive to all IDF personnel. (Israel Hayom)
- Periphery in Aliyah (Jewish immigration): Why did thousands of new immigrants choose to settle on the edges of the country? - About 9,000 new immigrants have settled in the Negev and the Galilee over the past two years, according to data from the Nefesh B'Nefesh organization, which, together with the JNF, also runs a program to encourage immigration and strengthens the periphery. (Maariv)
- One in three suicide cases in Israel - of new immigrants - The ‘Movement to Keep Immigrants in the Country’ claims that one-third of the suicide cases are new immigrants, and notes that the phenomenon is rising. Aid attempts include conversations with native language-speaking psychologists. (Maariv)
- Explained Saudi-Russia Oil War Continues Despite Official Truce - 'Beyond the cooperative statements the fight is still going on,' a source at a trading firm told Reuters. (Agencies, Haaretz)
"Universal person" explains why he chose this name for himself
Universal Person was born (named Mahmoud Ahmad Abu Sharab) as a Bedouin [sic- he still is a Bedouin - OH] from the Abu Sharab clan in the Negev. He changed his name about 30 years ago, and with no choice recently declared a complete disengagement from his family….Since I met him about a year and a few months ago, after both of us were at the “Tzavta“ theater, at the ceremony for the deceased Amos Oz, he told me fascinating things, the main point of which was: Israel is a good country, and unfortunately the Arab world will not change until the Arabs do not adopt progress and democracy. (Meir Uziel, Maariv)
The Eichmann Files
Sixty years after Eichmann's capture, the evidence used against him is revealed: Thousands of telegrams and transcripts prove how his monstrous policy was implemented, how he tried to cover up the annihilation, how he raged when the monthly targets for Jews on death trains were missed, and how he personally made sure to send even children to Auschwitz. (Tal Ariel Amir, Israel Hayom)
Elections 2020/Netanyahu Indictment Commentary/Analysis:
Netanyahu Hired Gantz as His Personal Bodyguard for the Next Three Years (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Netanyahu may have failed to gain immunity from prosecution, but he got the next best thing: Once his biggest threat, Gantz is now the indicted prime minister’s chief protector and defender.
*The results test - A late wedding (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth Hebrew) There are two ways to examine the agreement to establish the fifth Netanyahu government. One way compares the clauses of the agreement to the promises made by both parties to their voters in the election campaign. Netanyahu promised to serve as prime minister and he fulfilled that; He promised a majority for annexation of the West Bank and he fulfilled that; He promised that the right would control the committee for appointing judges and he fulfilled that; He promised to remove from his shoulders the fear of the High Court and in effect he fulfilled that; He promised his ultra-Orthodox partners to continue the recruitment bluff and he fulfilled that. The situation is less impressive when examining Gantz's promises. Gantz promised not to serve under Netanyahu and he did not fulfill that; He promised to change the Jewish Nation State Law and he did not fulfill that; He promised to condition every act of annexation on international agreement and he did not fulfill that; He promised to fight corruption and (instead) agreed to an inflated 36-minister government during a time of serious economic crisis; He promised to bodily protect the legal system and he did not really fulfill that; He promised that the hearings at the High Court regarding Netanyahu's competence (to serve) would be released from a political threat and he did not fulfill. Regarding the weakening of democracy and the justice system are concerned, the elimination to an alternative to (Netanyahu’s) rule, the future of the occupied Territories and the power of the High Court, Netanyahu's deserves a grade of 9 out of 10. What does Gantz deserve? Students who had a particularly hard time would once have received the following grade on their end-of-year report cards: “Graduates to second grade but not at our school." In the field of jobs, Likud got screwed. It’s 16 - and in another 1.5 years - 18 ministers will have to be divided with the ultra-Orthodox and perhaps with the [other- OH] right-wing parties. In the first year and a half, Likud will not be able to pass laws with a political scent, apart from the annexation laws. When it comes to jobs, Gantz deserves a score of at least 8. So what does Netanyahu deserve? The answer is complex. Netanyahu did not negotiate to secure jobs for the Likud. He came to secure his job. To this end, he achieved quite a bit. If Gantz were a corrupt man, you could see in the agreement signed a tremendous achievement, a historical achievement. But Gantz is not a corrupt man and his party, at this point of its existence, is not corrupt, so he now comes to his constituents empty-handed. Gantz explains to his associates that, compared to what Netanyahu initially demanded, he achieved important achievements. Maybe. The test result is in bad shape…
Netanyahu-Gantz Deal Ensures Accused Premier Will Have the Last Word (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) Benny Gantz surrenders yet again after giving up his strategic leverage, going against everything he believes in on the matter of annexation.
National Paralysis Agreement (Moran Azoulay, Yedioth Hebrew) In a government where every appointment and every step requires consent, it is unclear what can be moved. What is the concession that indicates a lack of experience in negotiating. Except for one person, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, these will be three weeks that everyone will want to forget - coalition negotiators, politicians, the public and most of all Kahol-Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz. Three weeks of never-ending conversations, hours upon hours feeling tired and even with an empty stomach at Balfour (the prime minister's residence does not usually provide food for guests, even when they spend long hours there) - in an attempt to produce unity. The unity agreement signed yesterday did not create a festive atmosphere that such agreements should bring. The sour feeling that accompanied it and the heavy atmosphere was not just a product of the Eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, which of all days was when the parties chose to sign. The sense of something sour was also a product of the distrust between the parties, and of knowing that they are going on an adventure that no one knows how it will end, and especially when…And another point that must be mentioned today: After being a minority in the Knesset, having almost lost power, Netanyahu returned to the game yesterday and big time. The center-left camp is dismantled and conflicted with itself, with no prominent prime ministerial candidate. Not only did Gantz give Netanyahu a safe half term, he also arranged great terms for an election campaign.
Bribery Suspect Netanyahu and Vote Thief Gantz Form an Alliance of Scoundrels (Aluf Benn, Haaretz+) Gantz must think he made a great deal, but his voters never imagined that they would become the rescue squad for Netanyahu and the threat he poses to democracy.
The public has trouble understanding the price that the prime minister is willing to pay for the continuation of his term (Yossi Ahimeir, Maariv) In the emergency situation of the spread of the epidemic, citizens in their homes cannot understand why the prime minister is continuing the political wrestling for just another year and a half in office.
Netanyahu-Gantz Unity Deal: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly and the Ominous (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Savaged not only for his betrayal but also for his poor negotiating skills, Gantz actually took Bibi to the cleaners. Replacing the xenophobic, nationalist, Netanyahu-dominated ultra-right government that has ruled Israel for the past five years with a saner, power-sharing rational right or center-right coalition is nothing to be sneezed at. And, supposedly, it’s the bottom line that counts.
Sidelined by Coronavirus and Netanyahu, Israeli Ministers Become Rubber Stamps (Noa Landau, Haaretz+) In private conversations several ministers admitted that they can't criticize the decision-making process because Netanyahu is about to distribute portfolios in a new government and no one wants to cross him.
Germany will never stop being responsible (Heiko Maas, Israel Hayom) Trust can grow out of memory, which is why Germany has committed to an additional 10 years of support for the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.
Israel's Teachers Should Join National Effort to Mitigate Coronavirus Impact (Haaretz Editorial) Since the coronavirus outbreak, the 170,000 educators in Israel’s schools and preschools have been operating under a deluge of conflicting and inapplicable instructions that come from the Finance and the Education ministries as part of a “policy” that changes every few days.
The discussion with going back to routine takes attention away from the implications for Arab society (Dr. Thabet Abu Ras, Maariv) We are at a critical time. Just before Ramadan, the Arab public receives conflicting messages from the government. Therefore, enforcement must be increased at the outbreak centers before the holiday begins.
Humanity is in this together (Jason D. Greenblatt, Israel Hayom) I recognize that today, even in the United States, this beautiful "land of the free," the age-old pernicious ideology of anti-Semitism is nipping, biting and in some cases now ferociously attacking our communities.
Here We Are, Holocaust Survivors, Caged Once Again (Abraham Roth, Haaretz+) As a Holocaust survivor, I am sometimes asked about similarities and differences between the era of the Shoah and that of the coronavirus pandemic regarding the fear of death and of being shut in. If at first there seemed to be no similarities, now we see that they have much in common, together with one major difference.
Cementing our community values (Isaac Herzog, Israel Hayom) Every Jewish community around the world today stops to remember the massacred and those who fought and died under the worst of evils, which threatened to destroy the world and especially the Jewish people.
'Never in My Life Have I Compared the Nakba of the Palestinians to the Holocaust'
Fury and vilification have been the lot of actor and director Mohammad Bakri ever since he made his 2002 documentary ‘Jenin, Jenin,’ which criticized Israel’s army. Now he’s back in court to defend his work – and name. (Interviewed by Nirit Anderman in Haaretz+)