APN's daily news review from Israel - Wednesday June 3, 2020
You Must Be Kidding:
“I felt that I had to let them vent.
The reason why officer 1st Lt. Guy Eliahu allowed his soldiers vandalize Palestinian cars at a Nablus refugee camp. (See Features below.)
- Netanyahu to Yesha settler council heads: The annexation will be brought to approval without the other clauses of the (Trump) plan
- Annexation with a limited guarantee // Anshel Pfeffer
- Even without violence, the fury at the demonstrations in New York is felt in every corner // Tzach Yoked
- In the meantime, it’s not a revolution, but the scenes and the voices from Washington provided a movie trailer on how it will look // Chemi Shalev
- 224 pupils and teachers were infected with the virus; 5000 sent to isolation
- Directors of social welfare centers warn: The load on us is too big, we are likely to collapse
- Despite the court order, Petach Tikva Municipality won’t register children of asylum seekers for school in the city
- Genetic study of the Dead Sea Scrolls reveals how daily life looked in the period of the Second Temple
- Distribution of the loot // Zvi Bar’el on settlers and annexation
- Time for change // Gideon Bernoy on need to end parliamentary regime
- Prohibited business - The Bitan Affair: (Former soccer star) Haim Revivo and friend from the Tel-Aviv Municipality, Arnon Giladi, will be indicted for bribery subject to a hearing
- The extreme acts in the series about Jeffrey Epstein leave the viewer indifferent to the daily unending injustice // Ariana Melamed
- Learning fearfully - Despite the spread of corona, schools won’t be closed in the meantime (Hebrew)
- The great looting - Yedioth correspondent reports from the center of the violence in the burning US
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
- Housemaster at Prime Minister’s official residence admitted alleged acquisition violations
- (Education Minister) Galant attacks: Health Ministry causes unnecessary panic
- What a missile - Israel Aerospace Industries completed testing of Lora system far at sea
- Sovereignty in dispute - Netanyahu met with settler leaders and promised to hold negotiations to apply sovereignty on the basis of Trump’s peace plan
- Sovereignty preparation: Security establishment in dramatic discussion (today)
- Prime Minister met with Yesha settler leaders: “It’s not clear what the sovereignty map will look like”
- The trauma returns to New York - Protest and especially the curfew bring people back to the trauma of the Twin Towers disaster
- Schools remain open in the meantime; Today, another discussion
- 79 years since the Farhud: 0 studies by the state
- Next to the Wailing Wall: A Turkish Islamic center was opened
- With the help of DNA of animals: The puzzle of the Dead Sea Scrolls was revealed
- Drama at Tzeelim military base (in desert): (Bedouin) tried to steal military equipment - and they attacked Israeli soldiers
- Smokescreen: Despite the law - tobacco companies not reporting on ingredients of cigarettes
Top News Summary:
The violence in the US, the closure of 31 schools in Israel with others open, but half-empty and the meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and settler leaders on the subject of annexation, which left the latter feeling despondent were top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.
Also making news was an incident that took place in the south of Israel Tuesday, when some Bedouin allegedly tried to steal weapons from a military base in the Negev desert. The papers reported that Bedouin ‘rioters’ had ‘attacked,’ but the reality was different. When soldiers chased the thives in a military vehicle, the soldiers suddenly found themselves surrounded on the highway by numerous SUVs allegedly belonging to friends of the thieves. The papers, including ‘Israel Hayom,’ reported that the soldiers were ‘attacked’ by a group of ‘rioters.’ A video shows that the army vehicle was surrounded by other cars, but no attack was made. According to the article, the soldiers called police who caught up and fined the men in the SUVs. [Obviously if the Bedouin had attacked the soldiers, they would not have been fined. They would have been arrested and taken into custody. - OH]. (Maariv)
Later that night, the IDF instructed its soldiers to stop chasing after Bedouin in similar scenarios in the future, explaining that the IDF's job is to prevent thefts rather than try to chase those who've perpetrated them.
The settler leaders went into the meeting with Netanyahu carrying many questions, but they did not leave with answers, wrote Israel Hayom. Yedioth’s Itamar Eichner and Elisha Ben-Kimon also reported that the meeting was tense. Netanyahu did not present a map and there were loud arguments. The settlers wanted to make clear that they don’t accept that some of the outlying settlements would be left in enclaves within the Palestinian controlled areas, as per the Trump plan, also known as the Deal of the Century. Netanyahu assured them that discussions with the US administration are ongoing. (Also Maariv) Moreover, Israel Hayom reported that the United States will begin speaking through a direct channel with the settler leaders. (Israel Hayom Hebrew and Maariv) Yedioth’s military affairs reporter, Yossi Yehoshua, said that senior IDF and Shin Bet officials are holding a ‘war game,’ which will examine all the possible scenarios in the event of annexation of lands in Judea and Samaria. In the West Bank, Israeli commanders were preparing for a rise in stabbing and car ramming attacks.
This Saturday night, thousands of Arabs and Jews are expected to march from the Tel Aviv Museum Square to Rabin Square in protest of the annexation plan.
And it just so happens that on the same day that Jordan’s Foreign Minister warned against annexation, the Jordanian government also announced that it arrested five suspects suspected of plotting to carry out terror attacks with Israeli targets in the West Bank. Norway also urged Israel not to annex parts of the West Bank, saying it would 'undermine the potential for a two-state solution.’ Meanwhile, Israel Hayom reported that Israeli diplomacy is floundering as date of 'annexation' approaches.
What barely made headlines was the Palestinian statements against the annexation. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayya said that "Israel has not only announced its intention to annex, but has begun the actual plan,” she said, continuing: ”Our hearts and minds are open to any serious international effort designed to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." (Maariv)
Interestingly, a source close to Palestinian President Mahmoud told Maariv that the Palestinian Authority will not work to prevent violence which will erupt following the application of sovereignty. Worthy of attention: A year after the celebratory declaration, settlers are still waiting for Trump Heights to be established in the Golan Heights. (Maariv)
- Israeli Legislator Invokes Nation-state Law in Bid to Block Palestinian Family Unification - Committee chief Zvi Hauser says Israel is ‘entitled to enact a law preventing the entry of subjects of a hostile entity.’ (Haaretz+)
- U.S. Ambassador Friedman 'saddened' by killing of autistic Palestinian by Israeli police - Eyad Hallaq, 32, was shot dead by Israeli police officers, who say they believed he was a terrorist. (Haaretz+)
- Police arrest IDF soldier suspected of threatening Netanyahu on Facebook - Incident comes a day after Netanyahu filed a complaint with the police about death threats made against him in November. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
- Lebanese soldiers caught on camera aiming RPGs at Israeli tanks - Hezbollah-affiliated photographer, along with civilians believed operatives of the Lebanese terror group, document the incident that occurred when two IDF tanks entered one of the enclaves in Upper Galilee. (Ynet)
- Initiative: Use of the Jewish Nation-State Law to Ban Family Unification - MK Zvi Hauser (Likud): "It is Israel's duty to enact a law that will prevent the entry of citizens of a hostile entity [refers to Palestinians - OH] into its territory.” (Israel Hayom Hebrew)
- In first, classified Israeli missile hits target 250 miles away - LORA weapons system, a theater quasi-ballistic missile, was developed by the Israel Aerospace Industries and has been tested two months ago at sea to tryout its effectiveness in naval warfare. (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
- Turkey opens new Islamic center near Western Wall - Middle East expert Dr. Mordechai Kedar: Turkey is trying to buy the east Jerusalem public with money and a "big hug." Activist Maor Tzemach: Israel must stop Turkish activity designed to disrupt unity of Jerusalem. (Israel Hayom)
- BDS co-founder says goal of movement is end of Israel - During a 20-minute interview in Arabic via a podcast, Omar Barghouti appears to have let slip its real objective. (Israel Hayom)
- Israeli city won’t enroll children of asylum seekers in schools, flouting court ruling again - Petah Tikva also refused to register the children last year, capitulating only after a court ordered it to do so. One parent argues 'the municipality says we’re not legal and wants to remove us,' but the city insists families provided no proof of residence. (Haaretz+)
- Israeli school bars 12-year-old after her skirt deemed too short - Mother of the schoolgirl from Petah Tikva says the child has worn the same skirt before and was never stopped; she alleges bias against Russian-speaking students from the school staff. (Ynet)
- 79 years since the Farhud: The state has not funded any research on the riots - Hundreds of people were massacred and thousands injured in riots against Jewish Iraqis in 1941. A call at the Knesset: "Correct the historical injustice - and get increased research that will increase awareness of the subject.” Ministry of Education: “The events of the Farhud are included in the material for matriculation exam.” (Israel Hayom Hebrew)
- Israeli Government to Weigh Long-delayed Appointment of New Ambassador to Egypt - The position has been vacant for a year, after Netanyahu froze Amira Oron's appointment and considered appointing a minister from his party instead. (Haaretz+)
- Worker in Central Israel Run Over and Killed by Bulldozer at Construction Site - Government categorizes incident as traffic incident. 12 construction workers killed on the job in the first five months of 2020. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
- Israeli Anti-abortion Activists Who Used Confidential Info to Influence Women Get Plea Deal - State won't request jail time for activists who obtained personal details of termination candidates from clinic secretary. (Haaretz+)
- Israeli Startup Optimal Plus Being Bought by National Instruments for $365 Million - The company analyzes and improves electronics production processes, primarily microchips. (Haaretz+ and Globes English)
- Israeli Tech Firm AudioCodes Raising $100m at Peak $1.1b Valuation - The company supplies video and audio services for Microsoft’s Teams software, and has been boosted by the coronavirus trend of working from home. (Haaretz+)
- Moon God Stele Discovered at Sacred High Place in Northern Israel - About 3,000 years ago, it seems the people in what may have become the Jewish village of Bethsaida saw invaders coming and carefully buried their sacred icons. (Haaretz+)
Israeli Soldiers Committed Hate Crime Against Palestinians to Avenge Friends' Death. Their Commanders
Covered It Up
Only after a query from Haaretz did the army's top brass learn of the cover-up of vandalism in a refugee camp by vengeful fighters from an elite Golani unit, in February 2018. On February 13, 2018, a multi-vehicle accident on Route 6 in which three Golani soldiers, members of a team commanded by 1st Lt. Guy Eliahu, were killed. The rest of the unit was in low spirit, so Lt. Col. Shimon Siso decided the best thing would be to get the unit quickly back into a routine. He sent them on a nighttime arrest operation in the Nablus refugee camp. The next morning, a soldier from the Civil Administration, the governing Israeli body operating in the territories, came to the soldiers’ base and asked to speak to those in charge. He was referred to Siso, whom he told that he had received documentation from local Palestinians showing that the soldiers had vandalized cars in the refugee camp and punctured their tires. Siso ordered an investigation of the incident. When it became clear that everything had been documented and that other IDF brass were aware of what had transpired – Eliahu confessed to the acts of vandalism. He claimed that his fighters felt a need to take revenge on Arabs, because the driver of the truck that caused the accident on Route 6 a few days earlier had been an Arab from East Jerusalem. Under questioning Eliahu testified that after making arrests during the night in question, one of his soldiers started to vandalize a car to “let off steam.” When the other fighters saw this, he said, they decided to join in, damaging other vehicles and threatening Palestinians who were in the area. Eliahu did not stop them. “I felt that I had to let them vent,” he said. “We wanted to avenge the attack [i.e., the accident].” Siso decided to do nothing initially – neither to punish Eliahu, nor to report his actions to anyone. But there were members of the reconnaissance battalion who were apparently uncomfortable with the cover-up, which is how, at some point, word of the incident in Nablus reached then-brigade commander Col. Shlomi Binder. Yet more time passed and nothing happened; for the battalion it was business as usual. Not long afterward, Binder was promoted to brigadier general and is now commander of the 91st Division, a territorial division in the IDF Northern Command. As a result, there were fighters and commanders who tried to raise the subject of the Nablus debacle with senior Golani officers, but the message they got was that the story had to remain within the reconnaissance battalion and that there were no plans to take action against any members of Eliahu’s team. Thus it was that more than two years passed until Haaretz recently contacted the army to get a response to the story. The request was received with surprise: Senior IDF brass, including members of the military prosecution, had no idea that those responsible for the vandalism in the Nablus camp had been fighters in Golani’s elite unit. Eventually, the IDF Spokesman sufficed by responding that “the event was investigated by the battalion commander and it was decided to suspend the fighter from the rest of the operational deployment and to reprimand the team’s commander for not stopping the act.” However, information obtained by Haaretz indicates that despite the army's response, no soldier has been suspended... (Yaniv Kubovich, Haaretz+)
New Documentary Offers Delayed Justice for Eric Garner
An Israeli director's semi-experimental documentary 'American Trial: The Eric Garner Story' imagines the trial that never was. (Nirit Anderman, Haaretz+)
The Three Most Commonly Held Misconceptions About the Annexation (Michael Sfard, Haaretz+) The public discussion about annexation got started very late, initially due to doubts over the seriousness of the intentions to pursue the move and later due to the coronavirus pandemic. The small window of time remaining for discussion increases the risk that misconceptions and deliberate deceptions surrounding its implications will not be dispelled. Here are three mistakes that have taken hold, even within the “deep” left. The first and most egregious mistake is the claim that annexation will not change anything, since “In any event there’s de facto annexation” and “Even without annexation the Palestinians are suffering.” A second mistake that has gained popularity holds that according to the Trump plan a Palestinian state will be established in the territories not designated for annexation. Only in the American president’s Orwellian language could the term “state” be used to describe what the Trump plan offers the Palestinians.
With all of Trump’s good intentions - the Deal of the Century Plan will lead to hell (Shai Alon, Maariv) Applying sovereignty in its present form would transform designated communities into isolated enclaves and into the next Netzarim (reference to isolated former Israeli settlement in the Gaza Strip, whose residents needed military escort to enter and exit), that to reach it will only take place in armored carriers and tanks, and it will lead to a delusional and impossible reality of life, which will end with a second destructive Disengagement (withdrawal from those settlements).
It's Now Clear: Gantz's Party Isn't Seeking to Stop Netanyahu's Dangerous Moves (Haaretz Editorial) The farce of the Kahol Lavan party never ends. People who voted for the “anyone but Bibi” party hadn’t yet finished digesting the bitter truth that Benjamin Netanyahu had won another term only thanks to them when they were smacked by the realization that the person who headed this “governmental alternative,” Benny Gantz, has turned out to be Netanyahu’s ideological Siamese twin, even effectively volunteering to serve as coordinator of government activities in the territories during the annexation.
Scaremongering about sovereignty (David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom) The sky will not fall in if Israel applies sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley.
Trump’s U.S. Conflagration Makes Netanyahu’s Annexation Riskier – and Shadier (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Israel will be seen as exploiting not only the presidential election campaign, but America’s pain and anguish as well.
Netanyahu badly timed his annexation schedule (Shimrit Meir, Yedioth/Ynet) In the midst of national emergency and violent clashes on streets across America, the Trump administration may not want to deal with ramifications of PM's plans for West Bank settlements and Jordan Valley.
On Annexation, Netanyahu and the Settlers Have Never Been on the Same Page (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) The prime minister, who sees sovereignty over the West Bank as a means to an end rather than a religious obligation, could use settler disagreements as a smokescreen to postpone the move.
Other Top Commentary/Analysis:
On the brink of the American nightmare (Avi Dabush, Israel
Hayom) There is terrible police violence in Israel and violent cops need to get more than slaps on the wrist.
We need to remember that the police force is not an army and civilians are not the enemy. Remember Yanki Rosenberg?
He was the young, autistic, ultra-Orthodox man who was beaten to a pulp by police officers around a year ago. And
what about Solomon Teka? Let's also discuss Yacoub Abu al-Kiyan, who was killed in Umm al-Hiran. The police's
unequivocal tone insinuated he was a dangerous killer, an agent of the Islamic State terrorist organization. The
truth that later emerged, however, told a completely different story: al-Kiyan, a teacher by profession, was
horrifically and unnecessarily shot to death in an incident that also claimed the life of police officer Erez Levi.
Al-Kiyan was left to bleed to death after he was withheld medical treatment. What about the investigation into the
officers who pulled the trigger you ask? It was closed. There exists a common denominator for all of these
incidents: The victims were all "other" Israelis.
Eyad Hallaq Isn't George Floyd. He Had No Constitution or Judiciary to Protect Him (Alon Sapir, Haaretz+) …There are more differences than similarities between the cases. The Americans are protesting many years of veiled racism against black citizens, which sometimes manifests itself in the extreme, including police violence. In Israel, there’s nothing veiled in the government’s violence against its Palestinian subjects. As opposed to the United States, modern Israeli racism is institutionalized, sanctioned and a basic tenet in the government’s methodical control and oppression of the Palestinians living in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The “itchy trigger finger” is just the tip of the iceberg of Israeli violence against the Palestinians – which includes a routine abrogation of civil and human rights, a dual and separate judicial system for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank, a policy of expropriation and stealing of land and of persecuting opponents and critics of the regime…
The Jews are to blame, again (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) With the world still in the grip of the 'Jewish Disease,' anti-Semites are embarking on a new blood libel, alleging that Israel and Jewish people are somehow to blame for the brutal death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
For pro-Trump Racists in America and Israel, Black and Palestinian Lives Really Don't Matter (Joshua Shanes, Haaretz+) After police killings of African Americans and Palestinians, an increasingly integrated white nationalist, Evangelical and right-wing Orthodox Jewish coalition blames them for being shot.
Israeli society is losing its ability to allow the expression of different worldviews (Adv. Uriel Leen, Maariv) If there is anything that could really put us into another national-historical disaster, it is not the differences of opinion, social rift, party or movement affiliation - but our style and manner of expression. Expressing a position in the public arena is done in a wild and crazed manner, with insults, with the rejection of the other, and of course with a loud and enthusiastic voice. Israeli society is losing its ability to express different worldviews and about disputes in a matter-of-fact and polite way that also respects others. We personally and completely reject, not just the worldview, but the person himself. We have put a clear marking tag that allows us to express our disgust easily, “He belongs to the right-wing,” and we are supposed to see in front of our eyes all the groups of raving and shouting on the right. "He belongs to the left-wing” and then we are supposed see in front of our eyes all those extremists in their worldview to the point of rejection of the entire State of Israel. Extremism is the public domain, both among the right and the left.
Israel's New Political Punching Bags (Sami Peretz, Haaretz+) Meet the new punching bags of Israeli politics – the bureaucrats. When a politician wants to vent his frustration and beat up on somebody, he aims his fire at the civil servants. Nir Barkat, who was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “finance minister-designate” during the campaign, was left without that ministry or any other ministry and is walking around with nothing to do. He was supposed to be the Likud party’s second most important politician, but reality and Netanyahu left him far behind Ofir Akunis, Gila Gamliel and several young politicians from the Kahol Lavan party, all of whom became ministers.
If Biden is elected, there will probably be no significant change in US foreign policy (Zalman Shoval, Maariv) Democrats have been basing their hopes for victory in the presidential election on the expectation that economic problems will obscure Trump's achievements, but the end of the crisis may actually lead to an unprecedented surge in growth.
They forgot the Jewish interest (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) Discussion of Muslim interests on the Temple Mount has almost eclipsed the fundamental fact that it is, first and foremost, the holiest site to the Jewish people.
Israel should give citizenship to every Jew who wants it, even if he does not immigrate to Israel (Pierre Basanino, Maariv) Many Jews were surprised that the Zionist state did not allow Jews to enter the country during the Corona crisis. It is time to allow them to translate their love for Israel into practice, even without requiring them to leave their country.
Turkey Uses Libya for Its Mediterranean Expansion Vision, but It Could Backfire (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Ankara's moves into Libya risk triggering clash with Russia, undermining its foothold in the region, but this isn't the only possible scenario.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.