News Nosh 5.19.20

APN's daily news review from Israel - Tuesday May 20, 2020

You Must Be Kidding: 

While on leave, a Givati brigade soldier from Dolev settlement dressed in uniform and carrying his weapon, stopped Palestinian cars at a fake checkpoint near his settlement, removed the occupants and then stole the cars.*

Front Page:


  • Netanyahu will request not to show up at opening of trial
  • The accused of arson in Duma (village) was convicted of three murders
  • Unavoidable justice: This was already too much to ignore // Gideon Levy
  • Gantz and Ashkenazi: Trump’s plan is an opportunity, we will advance it
  • Only after the grim predictions proved false did (former health minister) Litzman remember to take cheap shots at the director of his ministry // Amos Harel
  • Researchers from Tel-Aviv University: Israel is still far from herd immunity from corona
  • Police tried to deport a Palestinian sentenced to death in the Palestinian Authority (for spying for Israel), contrary to district court ruling
  • About 1000 people protested the way violence against women is being handled
  • Want to applaud? // Neta Ahituv writes that Miri Regev’s new ministry gives her opportunity to revolutionize public transportation
  • Used and thrown away // Merav Arlosoroff writes that ministries are disposable goods
  • (Itsik) Shmuli will be responsible for toddlers, (Zeev) Elkin will be responsible for students: Education Ministry dismantled and there is no one to manage the system // Lior Dattal
  • “It’s hard to love a city that you can barely live in (because of high cost)”: The complicated relationship of Rockfour band with Tel-Aviv

Yedioth Ahronoth

  • “From being so tired after a 21-hour shift on my feet, I didn’t notice that a patient was about to have a heart attack” - Medical interns bravely reveal the dangers of long shifts
  • “The children are boiling in the classrooms” - Because of corona, open windows during record heatwave
  • Convicted of murder - Judges ruled unanimously: Amiram Ben-Uliel, 26, burned to death the Dawabshe family in Duma (Hebrew)
  • Progress in developing vaccine to corona (Hebrew)
  • Now of all times: Big supermarkets raising prices of disinfectant gel and cosmetics (Hebrew)

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • Getting hotter (Photo of firemen putting out a brushfire)
  • The new path (Photo of incoming Defense Minister Gantz and outgoing defense minister Naftali Bennett doing an ‘elbow greeting’)
  • “He was the project of my life” - A week after burying his only son, who was killed in an IDF operation, Baruch Ben-Yigal talks about their deep connection
  • Likely: Binyamin Netanyahu will ask not to show up to hearing at opening of his criminal trial

Israel Hayom

  • On the agenda - Citizens write to the ministers: “We need your help”
  • Global hope: Successful trial test of corona vaccine
  • (Outgoing justice minister) Ohana’s parting speech: “The State Prosecutor’s Office still needs to be fixed” - (Incoming Justice Minister Avi) Nissenkorn: “I will protect you like a wall” - Netanyahu will request not to show up to the opening of his trial
  • The smell of the Harpaz affair is a dark cloud over the government // Jacob Berdugo
  • Finally: At the climax of the heat wave - tomorrow the bathing season will open
  • Keep your tickets: The performance of the Red Hot Chili Peppers will be postponed to 2021

Top News Summary:
The longest heat wave ever recorded caused distress to mask-wearing school children on their first day back in class and sparked numerous brushfires across the country, the Jewish terrorist Amiram Ben-Uliel was convicted of three counts of murder of parents and their child of the Dawabsheh family, the new and the outgoing Israeli ministers had some interesting things to say and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu asked to be a no-show at the opening of his criminal trial - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Noteworthy, there were five murders in Israel in 72 hours and three of them were in the Arab sector. Arab-Israelis blame police for not dealing with rampant crime and armed criminals in their villages and towns. Both Arab-Israelis and Ethiopian-Israelis protest against Israeli security people, saying they use excessive force due to racism and racial profiling. Yesterday, Israeli-Arabs protested the killing of a mentally ill young Arab-Israeli man by a hospital guard and an Ethiopian-Israeli family sued the policeman who shot dead their son. (See Quick Hits.) Meanwhile, police sought to deport to the Palestinian Authority a Palestinian man who spied for Israel despite the fact that an Israeli court said he could stay in Israel because the Palestinian Authority had  sentenced him to death (ostensibly for treason - OH).

Elections 2020 / Netanyahu Indictment News:
Making headlines on his first day, the new Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi declared that US President Donald Trump’s peace plan was a ‘historic opportunity’ and that Israel will ‘responsibly’ advance it. Ashkenazi did emphasize that the goal is peace: ”Much like military power, peace with our neighbors is a strategic asset and we must preserve it.” Leaders of the mostly Arab Joint List faction responded warning that "Annexation will set the whole area on fire.” MK Ayman Odeh and faction chairman MK Ahmad Tibi asked:  "How many victims is he willing to sacrifice to help Trump?" (Maariv) Ashkenazi was not alone. Incoming Defense Minister, Kahol-Lavan chairman Benny Gantz, said he will promote all aspects of the Trump peace plan. However, he made no mention of annexation of West Bank lands. On his first day, Gantz also met with families of Israelis captive in Gaza, two Israeli mentally unstable young men and two fallen IDF soldiers, and he promised to bring them back. Gantz appointed former Air Force Chief, Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, as the defense ministry director-general. Outgoing defense minister Naftali Bennett appeared to be doing some PR in his parting speech, saying that Iran is starting to withdraw from Syria, that Israel has intensified attacks on Iranian forces there, and that Israel will 'finish the job.’

At the Justice Ministry there were opposing declarations. outgoing minister Amir Ohana, a Netanyahu loyalist, continued on his line of bashing the State Prosecutor’s Office saying “it still needs to fixing.”  But Attorney General Avichai Mendelblitt stood strong against the accusations in his speech to the incoming justice minister, Avi Nissenkorn (Kahol-Lavan). “You are facing many challenges and we’re here to help you. We have one path, the path of law and justice,” Mendelblit said. “Even when the winds outside are stormy, even when they try to divert us from our path, raising false claims and trying to harm our work, we will continue walking this path without fear.” Nissenkorn responded:  “I will protect you like a shield.”

Outgoing Health Minister Yaakov Litzman took a stab at his former ministry director general, saying Israel may acted too harshly against coronavirus. He reportedly also wouldn’t say goodby to him. But, other ministers pushed back, denying that Litzman expressed opposition during cabinet meetings to forecasts that tens of thousands Israelis could die from COVID-19. Litzman had called ministry director-general Moshe Bar Siman-Tov's warnings of a potentially high death toll “exaggerated” and said he railed against them at a cabinet meeting.

Duma Murders:
The court found Amiram Ben-Uliel guilty of three counts of murder of the Dawabshe family: Riham and Saad, and baby Ali. Ben-Uliel was also found guilty of two attempts of murder. The other son, Ahmed, survived the gruesome 2015 arson attack on the family home in the village of Duma in the West Bank. Ahmed’s grandfather, Hussein, said the verdict would not bring back his daughter and her husband and son, but maybe it would deter such attacks in the future. Speaking about his surviving grandchild, he said: "Ahmed is constantly looking at his wounds, and when he is around kids his age, he feels he is missing parents," the uncle added. "I took Ali out of the fire, he was completely incinerated. It's a heinous crime." The court did not find Ben-Uliel guilty of being a member of a terrorist organization because it could not be proven, which the Dawabshe family lawyer, Attorney Omar Khameisi, said was disappointing.

Haaretz+ ran a profile on the murderer, Amiram Ben-Uliel, the son of a rabbi from a settlement, who became extremist and lived on a bus in the Adei Ad outpost, on a hilltop that overlooks Duma. He married another extremist, Orian Nizri, who was known for her radicalism. One Purim, she dressed up as Eden Natan-Zada, the Israeli soldier who killed four Israeli-Arabs during a shooting spree in the Israeli town of Shfaram 10 years ago. After the murders, Ben-Uliel and his wife and 1-year-old daughter moved to Jerusalem and Orian joined the extremist ultra-Orthodox Jewish ’Taliban’ cult, named for the burka covers the women wear.

Outside the courthouse arguments erupted between left-wing protesters from Machsom Watch and religious right-wing activists. Orian Ben-Uliel even argued with the grandfather, Hussein Dawabsheh. (See photos.)Orian also argued with an Arab-Israeli young man, who kept saying to her, “Say, ‘I am against terrorism.” But she wouldn’t and just kept shouting at him. (See Maariv video.) Ynet Hebrew has photos from the arguments outside the courthouse. Oddly, Yedioth’s English website, Ynet, did not even  publish a report on the conviction.

Top Quick Hits:

  • 5 murders in 72 hours: three in the Arab sector - Yesterday, 26-year-old father of two from Jasr a-Zarqa (Arab-Israeli village) was shot dead in his vehicle in Harish. Several months ago, his brother was shot and wounded in the leg due to a dispute with another family. Police are trying to locate the shooter. A 59-year-old Arab-Israeli was killed in a shooting incident in Qalansawe town in central Israel and a resident of Maghar village in northern Israel was shot dead on Friday. (Maariv and Times of Israel)
  • Dozens Protest Fatal Shooting of Mentally Ill Israeli Arab Who Stabbed Hospital Guard - Residents of Ararar (Arab-Israeli village) convened across from Tel-Hashomer Hospital to protest the incident, during which Mustafa  Darwish Yunis, 26 was shot dead. Arab-Israeli leaders called for investigation into killing of disarmed citizen, citing institutionalized racism. Joint List party members among the protesters. (Haaretz+ and Maariv and PHOTOS)
  • (Ethiopian-Israeli) Salomon Teka's family sues millions from police and the officer who shot him dead: “He crossed the line" - The father of the (mentally ill Ethiopian-Israeli) young man who was shot dead last summer filed the 2.5 million shekel civil lawsuit at the same time as the criminal case against the police officer. "The officer campaigned (against us) and tried to make things look the opposite of what happened. He turned the deceased into the head of a crime organization," the lawsuit states. (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • More than 100 Ethiopian immigrants set to land in Israel at end of week - The new immigrants to depart from the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on a special flight Thursday. (Israel Hayom)
  • Police Sought to Deport Palestinian Despite Pending Death Sentence for Collabora target="blank"tion With Israel - Judicial ombudsman blocked the move to return the man to the West Bank, citing court rulings against it. ( target="blank"Haaretz+)
  • *Soldier used dummy military checkpoints and car-jacked Palestinian vehicle(s) - An IDF soldier who is a squad commander in the Givati brigade was accused of erecting a fake checkpoint near the settlement where he lives, stopping Palestinians car to allegedly inspect them - and then stealing the cars. [And leaving the Palestinians stranded! - OH] After using the vehicles for his personal needs, the soldier left them abandoned on the side of the road. The indictment filed yesterday by the State Attorney's Office indicates that on three separate occasions in March, the soldier, who was on leave, stood armed and uniformed in the middle of a road near Dolev settlement and flagged passing Palestinian cars to come to a halt. Police suspected that the soldier - who has been charged with armed robbery and misconduct - had partners who stole the cars with him, but no evidence was found. Yesterday, the prosecution sought to extend his detention until the end of the proceedings. (Yedioth Hebrew, JPost and Times of Israel)
  • Laborer falls to his death at construction site in the town of Harish - Construction worker in his 30s dies after falling at building site in Harish. (Israel Hayom)
  • A group of 23 immigrants from Brazil arrived in Israel with the assistance of the Jewish Agency and the Friendship Fund - Families with children, the youngest of whom is one year old, and a number of college students and students who planned their immigration even before the outbreak of the corona crisis arrived in Israel. They will be received by municipalities around the country. (Maariv)
  • Israeli Hacker, Jailed for Terrorizing U.S. JCCs, Gets Another Year for Bomb Threats - After being sentenced to seven years in prison in 2018, the man called two elementary schools in central Israel and an Eilat hotel claiming that he had planted bombs at their facilities. (Haaretz+)
  • Environmental Group Objects to Israeli Army’s Plan to Build Roads Through Nature Reserve - Military aims to shore up Lebanese border region, but activists fear damage to the area's rare flora and fauna. (Haaretz+)
  • "I lost a girl here, why are they deporting me?” - About two years after baby Yasmine Vinteh was strangled to death by her day care center aid, the Population and Immigration Authority refuses to extend her parents' residence visa. The mother, Dorina: “I’m in shock…I have been through a tragedy, I did nothing bad to anyone in Israel, I really don’t understand.” The Population Authority: "They must respect the laws in Israel and return to their homes.” (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Woman, 41, with PTSD arrested for digging up soldier's grave - Security cameras on construction site adjacent to cemetery caught a woman digging near the grave of the late Staff Sgt. Amit Ben-Yigal, who was killed in Samaria last week. Woman from Rishon L’Tzion suffers from mental problems. Last year she was arrested for desecrating grave of dead husband. (Yedioth/Ynet, Maariv and Israel Hayom)
  • 2,000-year-old complex near Western Wall puzzles experts - Researchers wonder why the residents of ancient Jerusalem went to all the trouble to carve a multi-level complex out of rock when stones were generally used for building. (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Israel reports 22 new coronavirus cases, 4 new deaths - After reporting no new cases in 12-hour period, the Health Ministry says Monday night that the number of confirmed diagnoses now stands at 16,643 with the death toll climbing to 276; among the newly-diagnosed is a 2-year-old toddler. (Ynet)
  • Israeli Inventors Develop Mask With Remote Control Mouth for Restaurant Dining - The mask uses a lever to open a slot in front of the mouth and is expected to cost between one and three dollars. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Study: Israel far from COVID-19 herd immunity, 70% of cases originate in U.S. - A Tel Aviv University study finds almost no Israelis were infected with the coronavirus by a carrier from China. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Why does COVID-19 make some people so sick? Israeli study may hold the key - According to researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has a "dramatic impact" on the immune systems of patients with severe cases of the disease, though the mechanism is not yet clear. (Israel Hayom and Times of Israel)
  • Egypt uses coronavirus to renew detention without trial for dissidents - Authorities briefly detained the editor-in-chief of the independent Mada Masr while she was interviewing the mother of jailed activist. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • China to send team to Israel to repatriate envoy's body - Chinese officials, who are due in the coming days, initially said they would send forensic experts to investigate the death of Ambassador Du Wei, but later went back on the claims, accepting the findings of Israeli specialists. (Ynet)
  • Biden 'Completely' Opposes Withholding Aid to Israel Over West Bank Policy, Adviser Says - The Democratic presidential candidate doesn't think U.S. aid to Israel should be conditioned on any particular policy, including West Bank annexation, Biden's foreign policy adviser says. (Haaretz+)
  • Iran Supreme Leader says Americans will be expelled from Iraq and Syria - Khamenei tells students Americans' actions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have led to them being hated, according to a transcript of the speech. (Agencies, Haaretz)

Top Commentary/Analysis:

An Exceptional Verdict in Palestinian Family's Murder Proves the Rule Israel Won't Admit About Its Judiciary (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) When a Molotov cocktail is thrown into a house where an innocent family sleeps, you can no longer hide, blur, repress or deny. Even if they are Palestinians. Even in Israel.
Mustafa Went to the Hospital for Medical Tests – and Was Killed (Sondos Saleh, Haaretz+) Wednesday, May 13. Abir and Mustafa Younis from the village of Arara arrived at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer for tests. Abir was accompanying her 26-year-old son, who has epilepsy and mental health problems. According to reports, an internal investigation by the hospital found that during his examination, Mustafa threatened a doctor with a knife. On the way out of the hospital the two stopped at a shop. The pictures released seem to show that an argument began between Mustafa and another person, and Mustafa pulled out a knife. Abir thrust herself between them, explaining that her son had a mental illness, and calmed things down. Then at the exit from the parking lot, the Younises were blocked: Armed security guards surrounded their car and one of them pulled Mustafa out. It seems an argument developed between the young man and the guards; again he took out his knife, and injured one of them. Within minutes he was on the ground. Ten shots were fired. The guards shot him in front of his mother. Mustafa, prostrate, was fighting for his life…Sound familiar? Do you remember the execution of Yakub Abu al-Kiyan? (Bedouin-Israeli teacher driving at night near Border Police officers - OH). Of Yehuda Biadga (a mentally ill Ethiopian-Israeli - OH). Or (Ethiopian-Israeli) Solomon Teka? In the meantime, Arab social media roil in pain and anger. Videos and other images from the field show an excessive and disproportionate use of violence on the part of the hospital security guards. The incident described in Hebrew parlance as a “stabbing incident” is looking more like an execution of a Palestinian Arab citizen. This was the shooting of a person who – even if he previously constituted a threat and had a knife – no longer represented a threat at the stage where he was caught, shot at some 10 times, and left to bleed on the floor of the parking lot. Then, a “return to routine.” Since 2000, 57 Arab civilians have been shot to death by police officers. Mustafa Younis was the 58th fatality…
King Abdullah's empty threats (Caroline B. Glick, Israel Hayom) Abdullah will not cancel his kingdom's peace deal with Israel because the peace treaty guarantees the survival of his regime.
One must admit regretfully: The public in Israel is not right-wing (Ran Bar-Yeshofat, Yedioth Hebrew) The majority is not eager to apply sovereignty and does not support a liberal economy, it is indifferent to High Court control and not particularly religious. The only reason the right-wing thinks it is in power, and the left feels it is perpetually losing, is Binyamin Netanyahu and his ability to lead impossible coalitions that have nothing in common ideologically, while the left-wing, since the fall of Mapai, does not know how to put together a three-part puzzle. Still, the majority is not right-wing and hasn’t been in the last 40 years. The majority is a soft and sleepy center..Thoughts about Netanyahu's left-wing government by lawyer Ran Bar-Yeshofat,  a historian and researcher of the Israeli legal system and government.
Applying sovereignty in Judea and Samaria is legal (Michael Calvo, Israel Hayom) The Jews are the indigenous people in Judea and Samaria. Security Council resolutions stating otherwise are not binding.
Israel must gear up for battle against ICC (Eytan Gilboa, Yedioth/Ynet) As court lies in wait for Jerusalem to extend sovereignty over West Bank lands in order to launch war-crime probe, Washington's support can prove beneficial for both parties as it faces own probe threat.
A guide to the perplexed: What does Israel's sovereignty move mean? (Ariel Kahana, Israel Hayom) Where will Israel apply its sovereignty? What will the price be? And why is the Trump plan better than previous proposals?
ObamaHate and love of Trump reflect Israel's deep moral malaise (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) The 44th president, recently returned to the spotlight, was vilified by Netanyahu and Co. for opposing settlements, seeking peace and standing up for decency.
Stuck between Washington and Brussels (rof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) The Europeans are flogging Israel over the sovereignty issue, but their aim is to hurt US President Donald Trump, who many Europeans view as an adversary. It is a symptom of deeply rooted anti-American sentiment, which combines jealousy with a touch of condescension.
The U.S. Demands Israel Takes its Side in the New Cold War with China (Sophie Shulman, Calcalist English) The U.S. secretary of state’s irregular visit to Israel last week was meant to signal that the trade war with China is escalating in the wake of Covid-19.
From libel to bloodshed (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) What role does radical Islamist ideology and lies about Israeli schemes for the Temple Mount play in Palestinian terrorism? A new book delves into that very question.
For Israel, Apocalypse Now Is Over. Apocalypse Maybe Later Remains (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) The lockdown didn’t destroy the economy, and Netanyahu’s new government may well perform better than expected. But what about a second coronavirus wave?
No need for American peacekeepers in Sinai (Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) Trump's plan to withdraw troops recognizes that obsolete paradigms need not be preserved. His critics are thinking about the requirements of the past, not the present.

Elections 2020/Netanyahu Indictment Commentary/Analysis:
In Netanyahu-Gantz Government, Experience and Talent Are a Drawback (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) Veteran politicians have been sidelined in favor of sycophants in the past, but a situation like that of Netanyahu and Gantz's bloated new government has never been seen before.
Netanyahu promised, cemented and anchored his complete takeover of Israel's foreign policy (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) Throughout his tenure (serving also as foreign minister), the Prime Minister made sure to effectively control Israel's foreign policy. It’ll be interesting to see what a serious, talented and effective man like Gabi Ashkenazi will do in his post as Foreign Minister? On official visits he will make to either Washington or Moscow, Ashkenazi will discover that the prime minister has already spoken to with the two Presidents of the two superpowers on the phone and is in contact with the Secretary of State. In Western capitals, Ashkenazi will be accepted with dignity and according to all the diplomatic traditions, but Ashkenazi doesn’t need to be an expert in foreign relations to understand that the foreign ministers who greet him are well aware of the fact that Prime Minister Netanyahu is the owner of Israel's foreign relations. A year and a half is not a long time, but it is a sufficient time to give Ashkenazi the opportunity to act, and do something to restore the Foreign Ministry's status.
In Israel's new government, ministries are disposable goods – use once, throw it away (Meirav Arlosoroff, Haaretz+) The crude sacking by Miri Regev of her ministry's director general was just one example of how this isn't politics as usual.
Let the judges stay within bounds (Dan Schueftan, Israel Hayom) Israel needs a Supreme Court to defend civil rights and hold the other branches of government in check but also recognizes the limitations of its own prerogative.

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

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