News Nosh 5.26.20

APN's daily news review from Israel - Tuesday May 26, 2020

Quote of the day:

"If you discount the disgraceful events of Sunday outside the courtroom at Jerusalem District Court, where Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stood trial for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust, it was not entirely a bad day. After all, Sunday's events proved that we do live in a law-abiding country, where we can find a modicum of equality before the law for the rich as much as for the poor, the weak as much as the strong."
-- Former politician and journalist, Shelly Yachimovich, wrote in an interesting Op-Ed in Yedioth.*

Front Page:Haaretz

  • Netanyahu declared that the annexation will begin on July 1st, but it’s still not known how it will be implemented
  • Corona crisis brought a recession: Economy shrunk by 7.1%, sharpest drop in 20 years
  • A year since the extradition law protest, Hong Kong is again at a fateful junction // NYT
  • MAIN PHOTO caption: Policemen pour water on face of demonstrator who was harmed by tear gas in Hong Kong, yesterday
  • Social Welfare and Treasury Ministries will advance canceling the cut to (poverty) stipends during the corona period
  • At first it was reported as a terror attack, but the testimonies tell a different story
  • The Shin Bet exercise and the speech that surprised: the moments before the opening of the trial
  • This is how an organization that opposes abortions used confidential information and reached women who wanted an abortion
  • Following the players demand, the Euroleague cancelled the season
  • The beginning of the end // Nehemia Shtresler on Netanyahu’s end
  • They won’t go out to the street // Eitan Nachin on Netanyahu supporters reaction if Netanyahu is convicted
  • The headquarters for saving the world of culture opposes the Health Ministry plan: “It will leave many without ability to making a living”
  • A stormy hearing in the court: (State witness) Nir Hefetz threatens to reveal how Jacob Bardugo and others were appointed to senior jobs in the media (Hebrew)

Yedioth Ahronoth

  • Economy in shake-up (Hebrew)
  • Not seeing the end (of the economic crisis) // Sever Plocker
  • The blow of the symbol of abundance - Dozens of closed shops, businesses empty of people and an atmosphere of gloom: What was left of Kikar Hamedina, the shopping area of the elite, after corona and due to the massive construction in the square’s center (Hebrew)
  • Exclusive - All the Mossad’s corona shopping (Hebrew)
  • Exclusive - Soon: Deer in the Tel-Aviv area (at deer park) (Hebrew)
  • Special - White cloth in a black period

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • Netanyahu to his supporters: “You strengthened me”
  • The economy in recession
  • Exclusive - Chilling interview with former deputy chief of Shin Bet Yitzhak Ilan on secrets behind the big terror attacks, targeted assassinations, the famous spies and the interrogations of terror chiefs
  • From crisis to renewal: Heads of the economy talk about dealing with the difficult period and explaining how we will get out of this stronger

Israel Hayom

  • On the way to sovereignty: “Our target is July 1st” - The countdown ahead of the move to implementing Israeli law in the Beqaa Jordan Valley and in Judea and Samaria
  • We must not miss the opportunity // Ariel Kahana
  • Assessment: Negative growth in 2020; Governor of Bank of Israel: We cannot increase taxes now
  • Damage of millions - Euroleague cancelled the season
  • End to the uncertainty? The plan that will organize the immigration of Ethiopian Jews
  • Hope of millions - Open skies? Senior Health Ministry officials visited the Ben-Gurion Airport
  • Jurists rule according to their political views // Haim Shine
  • 75,000 children without a solution? 80 centers for child development in danger of closing
  • The cry of the medical interns: “After the corona crisis - it is almost impossible to get an internship”

Top News Summary:

The annexation of parts of the West Bank will begin July 1st, the economy is in a recession and unemployed and self-employed see no light and the High Court prohibited the demolition of the home of a Palestinian family whose son murdered a settler - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Also interesting to note was how differently the four main newspapers reported on a violent event that ended with two Palestinian farmers shot by Kfir Brigade soldiers near Turmus Aya village. Most of the papers quoted the initial Israeli army report that two Palestinians tried to stab soldiers and were shot and said the incident took place near Amichai settlement. Israel Hayom said the Palestinians held knives and tried to stab them. Yedioth wrote that there was an “attempt by two terrorists to stab soldiers with agricultural tools during disturbances at ‘Givat Hameriva’ (Hill of Dispute) in the area of Amichai and that the "injured terrorists had fled." Givat Hameriva is where there is a long-running conflict between Palestinian farmers and settlers of Adei Ad outpost. (Ynet Hebrew) [Amichai is a new settlement established in 2017 by the government as compensation to the settlers evicted from Amona outpost. It is located between Shvut Rachel and Adei Ad outpost, the latter which was built illegally on privately-owned Palestinian land and which has become a base for Jewish terror against Palestinians. Ynet Hebrew - OH] Haaretz, however, noted that while the IDF initially said that a “stabbing attack” had taken place, it later said that a verbal spat had erupted between a Palestinian family harvesting wheat and settlers living in the area. And, when the soldiers arrived the settlers had already left. The soldiers ordered the Palestinian family members to sit on the ground. When two Palestinian men approached the site holding sickles they were shot, one in the stomach, the other in the leg. Yet, Haaretz also interviewed the Palestinians who told a very different storyContrary to what the army said, the incident did not take place near Amichai settlement but far from it, on land between the villages of Al-Mughayyir and Turmus Ayya, where the family of a man, his wife and children and his brothers were harvesting their wheat, said the family. Suddenly, a white pickup truck drove over, containing both soldiers and security personnel from the settlement, and a few soldiers got out. “They started approaching us telling us to sit down immediately,” said Murad, who was shot in the stomach. “And then they shot three bullets at my brother Imad’s left leg. I went a little nearer and asked them to stop shooting him, and then they shot me in the stomach.” Murad’s brother Nadal said the claim that they tried to attack with a sickle was a lie. “Someone who wanted to wound and stab wouldn’t come to the area with his wife and young children. (My brothers) were attacked for no reason, just because they were working their land.” (VIDEO Ynet Hebrew)


In a speech to the press at a Likud party faction meeting yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu first thanked all his ministers who came to support him (Maariv) at the opening of his trial and then outlined what he thought were Israel's five biggest challenges: Rebuilding the economy, preparing for a second wave of corona, security and defense; the threat of the International Criminal Court, and applying Israeli law to the Jordan Valley, Judea, and Samaria. Regarding the last challenge, Netanyahu announced that the target date for applying sovereignty to West Bank land was July 1st. The areas designated for Israeli sovereignty were delineated by a joint US-Israeli committee and which is based on the Trump plan. US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman previously told Israel Hayom that "The guiding principle is that Israeli territory will not exceed 50% of Area C, which is 30% of the entire West Bank.” Israel Hayom reported that US officials were frustrated that the leaders of the Yesha settler council had launched a campaign to persuade right-wing ministers and MKs to oppose the Trump plan. Ministers Rafi Peretz (Habayit Hayehudi), MKs Avi Dichter and Gideon Saar (Likud) and MKs Ayelet Shaked and Ofir Sofer (New Right) visited the settler leaders and heard them out. (Maariv)

Meanwhile, at a press conference in Ramallah, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is committed to maintaining order and applying its sovereignty in the West Bank while defending the civil rights of Palestinians. Last week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the PA no longer is bound by agreements with Israel. Internationally, the EU and the UN have condemned the annexation plan. But yesterday, the Czech leadership denounced its Foreign Minister's remarks against annexation. nd Turkish President Tayip Erdogan vowed to defend Palestinians against the ‘annexation project.’

 Quick Hits:

  • Palestinian Shot After Attempted Stabbing Attack, Jerusalem Police Say - According to police, the suspect, who is in serious condition, attempted to stab officers in East Jerusalem. (Haaretz+, Maariv and Ynet)
  • Norwegian MPs reject bill seeking to label settlement goods - The legislative proposal was the culmination of an anti-Israel campaign by Norwegian NGOs. Jewish state's friends in the Oslo legislator stress that dialogue must supersede boycotts. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel's Top Court Halts Home Demolition of Palestinian Accused of Killing Soldier - The army didn't issue the demolition order until five months after the murder of Dvir Sorek in the West Bank in 2019, meaning it wouldn't serve as a deterrent, justice says. The Jewish advocacy group Betzalmo, which is representing the Sorek family, said in response to the ruling that "The High Court is responsible for the next murder." (Haaretz+, Maariv and Ynet)
  • Kahol Lavan Bill Would Allow Five Ministers to Quit Knesset and Make Way for New Lawmakers - Hoping to increase its representation in Knesset committees, Benny Gantz's party seeks to win over members of subparties that broke off and joined opposition, but preliminary vote set for Wednesday delayed. (Haaretz+)
  • Criticism of Netanyahu's speech in Kahol-Lavan and Labor party: "This is not our style" - MK Ginsburg, chairman of Kahol-Lavan faction, addressed the PM's remarks against the State Prosecutor's Office and the police, saying in a 103 FM interview: "I did not like it." Minister Shmuli: "These things are unacceptable to us.” (Maariv)
  • Olmert likens PM to 'godfather' of crime ring made up of Likud ministers - Former PM, who himself served 27 months in prison for corruption, tells Ynet that Netanyahu's speech ahead of his trial opener was akin to a scene in the classic film, where a crime boss is surrounded by his criminal posse. (Ynet)
  • Lapid: "Netanyahu is trying to lead us to civil war, it will end violently, he must go" - Opposition leader MK Yair Lapid accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of attempting to start a civil war and to carry out a coup, railing against the prime minister’s statements bashing the judicial system that he made outside the Jerusalem courthouse where his trial opened Sunday. (Times of Israel and Maariv))
  • Military Police Commander Dismissed After Suicide of Soldier-turned-informant - Investigators failed to report on the distress of Cpl. Niv Lubaton, whom they tried persuading to inform on alleged illegal drug use by fellow soldiers, military investigation shows. (Maariv and Haaretz+)
  • Israel Police Arrest 57 in Major Drug and Arms Raid, Including Crime Family Heads - Police were aided by former major Arab crime figure who documented the crimes for over a year. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Netanyahu warns of second wave of coronavirus in Israel - Speaking at meeting of Likud faction, PM warns fresh outbreak of highly infectious virus could be more lethal than first; thanks supporters who turned out Sunday for start of criminal trial and calls West Bank annexation plan 'opportunity that cannot be passed up.’ (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israel limits controversial phone surveillance as virus cases decline - The cabinet says that from now on, the measure that allows Shin Bet to track location of confirmed COVID-19 carriers, will only be available to security and health services in 'specific instances.' (Ynet)
  • No isolation obligation: Advanced contacts with six countries to restore tourism activity - The outline of flights will probably allow entry to Cyprus, Greece, Georgia, Austria, Montenegro and the Seychelle Islands without being subsequently isolated - due to their low morbidity data. (Maariv)
  • Israel to restart commercial flights in mid-July, says airport chief - Ben Gurion Airport official says even after flights restart, the number of departures will be limited; Israel Airports Authority also introduces outline meant to revive industry, including health measures and a pact with states that have low COVID-19 spread. (Ynet)
  • Amid Growing Public Pressure, Palestinian Authority Set to Lift Coronavirus Restrictions - Reopening of houses of worship, shops and factories across the West Bank will coincide with the last day of the Eid El-Fitr holiday. (Haaretz+, Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • Israeli Boy Finds Tablet Immortalizing Victorious Canaanite and His Naked Captive - Nothing remains of the 3,500-year-old Canaanite mud-city of Yerza but scattered pottery and this gloating triumph from the past, now found by a 6-year-old boy. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Hezbollah releases video of unit tasked with 'conquering' Galilee - Footage of the elite Radwan Unit, released after Iran's Quds Day and 20 year anniversary of IDF withdrawal from Lebanon, shows fighters firing at targets painted with a blue Star of David. (Ynet)
  • Iran spent up to $30 billion on propping Syria's Assad, lawmaker says - Tehran's expenses into bolstering government forces in Syria said to be near twice its annual defense budget throughout 2019, about 6.5% of its GDP that year. (Ynet)


Shin Bet Changed Security Protocol for Netanyahu’s First Day in Court – and Didn’t Tell Court Guards
The route inside the building that the prime minister took ended with him using his own podium to make his speech and have photographs taken in an area that violated court rules. (Netael Bandel, Haaretz+)
Northern Drift: What Happened to a Thriving Border Town After Israel Withdrew From Lebanon
Once a gateway community for Israeli troops entering south Lebanon, Metula is now more likely to house students than international journalists. Yet before the May 2000 withdrawal it was a place ‘full of life and action,’ as locals recall. (Judy Maltz, Haaretz+)

Netanyahu Trial Commentary/Analysis:

For the Radical Left, Gantz Is to Blame for Everything. But He Won, and Netanyahu Lost (Nehemia Shtrasler, Haaretz+) The bottom line is that Netanyahu has lost. Despite his battery of lawyers and the mobilization by politicians, he didn’t manage to prevent the indictment from being submitted. The fact is that he was put on trial this week on charges of bribery and fraud.
*Netanyahu's victim mentality (Shelly Yachimovich, Yedioth/Ynet) The prime minister's trial will be conducted in two parallel universes - one inside the courtroom where the rule of law prevails and another orchestrated by the defendant; but he must remember that criminal proceedings are decided by judges and not in the court of public opinion.
Gantz, Wake Up and Give Netanyahu an Ultimatum (Haaretz Editorial) Benny Gantz didn’t show up at the Jerusalem District Court Sunday with Benjamin Netanyahu’s slavish ministers to express mute support for the criminal defendant. But the Kahol Lavan chairman’s response to Netanyahu’s hateful diatribe wasn’t very different from a show of support for the prime minister’s atrocious messages.
Palestinians may have bitten off more than they can chew (Elior Levy, Yedioth/Ynet) PA wishes to prove it can act as an independent agent by cutting security ties with Israel; for now it appears that it is business as usual, albeit under the radar, and like in the past, Jerusalem has left Ramallah a lifeline in case things turn sour.
What Netanyahu Had Done During His Investigations Is Even Worse Than the Actual Charges (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) If Israel's law enforcement system is so corrupt that it 'fabricates cases,' then where has the prime minister been for the past decade?
High Court is detached from reality (Dr. Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) The High Court of Justice's decision to overturn the demolition order for a terrorist's home is the perfect example to why the public has lost confidence in the judiciary.
Israel's Despondent Center-left Impotent Against Netanyahu’s Masked Mutiny (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) His viral photo with masked Likud ministers seemed taken from grotesque horror-comedy hybrid about Contagion and The Hunger Games in Zombieland.

Other Top Commentary/Analysis:

Concerns notwithstanding, we cannot miss this opportunity (Ariel Kahana, Israel Hayom) David Ben-Gurion adopted the partition map, with all its disadvantages, at a time when the threats to the fledgling state were much greater than what we face now.
As Annexation Looms, What Kind of Zionism Will Survive? (Ben Reiff, Haaretz+) Israel’s ‘emergency government’ intends to begin unilaterally annexing chunks of the West Bank. It may seal the historic victory of a menacing Zionism of Jewish power.
Arab Israeli leaders need to step out of their comfort zone (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) Just look around any hospital, any university, and today many other fields, and you'll see the restless Arab youth striving to advance themselves and integrate into Israeli society. The key to change is in their hands.
Embracing Anti-asylum Seeker Activist, Minister Ohana Also Embraces Abuse of the Weak (Vered Lee, Haaretz+) The decision by Amir Ohana, the new public security minister, to meet with Paz and activists struggling to persuade the government to expel asylum seekers, and Ohana’s embrace of them before the cameras, symbolizes his embrace of incitement against the court, hooliganism, the trampling of the law and abuse of the weak.
Moscow on the Jordan: Why Russia Is Eyeing the Palestinian Arena (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Russia's apparent interest in Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not because it is concerned with resolving it.

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