News Nosh 6.15.20

APN's daily news review from Israel - Monday June 15, 2020

Quote of the day:

“I can’t breathe.”
--Arab-Israeli diplomat Ismail Khalidi said to Israeli security guards who pinned him to the ground and put a knee on his neck at the entrance to the Jerusalem Central Bus Station.*

You Must Be Kidding: 
"The riots prove that there is no chance for coexistence in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, and all the minorities must leave the city.”
--Yair Netanyahu, son of the prime minister, called to ethnically cleanse Jaffa from Arabs following Arab-Israeli protests in Jaffa.**

Front Page:


  • The main obstacle waiting for Netanyahu on way to annexation is in the US and not in Israel // Amos Harel
  • Jerusalem municipality built hundreds of classrooms in violation of guidelines in manner endangering pupils
  • Threat letters sent to High Court Justice Anat Baron
  • Riots broke out in Atlanta after policeman shot dead a black man
  • Four days before it’s original date, it’s not clear when high school studies will end
  • Academy for Sciences: Israel no longer leads the world in Holocaust studies
  • Science Minister Shai approved the appointment of the scientist who Akunis rejected due to her support for military refuseniks
  • Two years ago Trump and Kim shook hands. What happened since? Not much and not for the better // NYT
  • Keep looking // Raviv Drucker
  • The corona spring // Zvi Bar’el
  • Bill Clinton was a frequent flyer in the private plane of Jeffrey Epstein. Netflix helped him get out of that clean, too
  • Communications Ministry gave HOT Communications Company a 2 billion shekel perk: It won’t have to lay out fiber infrastructure across the country

Yedioth Ahronoth

  • The freedom turmoil - Dispute between Education Ministry and teachers: When does school end? (Hebrew)
  • The first Bedouin diplomat: “Security guards attacked me” - “A security guard at the Jerusalem Central Bus Station put a knee on my neck,” said Ismail Khalidi. “I yelled, ‘I can’t breathe.” Station manager: “He tried to do a provocation” (Hebrew)
  • Oshri, 26, died of a rare corona complication after he already no longer had the virus
  • Inspiration for incitement // Nahum Barnea on the threats to the High Court Justice
  • She was murdered three months pregnant - Rawan Alkranawi, 29, was beaten to death by her husband

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • Judge in the crosshairs
  • Me? Never // Ben Caspit
  • Silencing attempt // Kalman Liebeskind
  • In the focus of the argument: annexation
  • When does school end? Apparently the court will decide
  • Drama at Clal Insurance Co. Chairman of directorate Danny Naveh resigns, after he was prevented from dismissing his CEO

Israel Hayom

  • “The opposition in the right-wing is a hysterical miss” - Likud sources in sharp attack against the opposition in Judea and Samaria (West Bank)
  • It’s now or never // Ariel Kahana
  • The glass wall of the Gulf states // Eyal Zisser
  • Nine-day war - Teacher’s Association did not sign to extend school into summer holiday and Education Minister went out to battle
  • Option of holidays abroad becoming less likely - Montenegro and Cyprus making entry for Israelis more dificult
  • The best Haganah (defense) - Stories from elderly people about the Haganah - pre-state military organization on 100 years anniversary
  • The soccer players were questioned, one of the teenage girls to her friends: I feel humiliated
  • Check-in: Weddings are now limited to 250 people
  • The Europeans’ excuses ran out: IAEA report requires putting sanctions on Iran // Yaakov Nagal and Andrea Stricker
  • Due to the threat letter: Judge Baron filed a complaint with the police
  • The shameful deal of the law enforcement establishment: Investigate the appointment of (Attorney General) Mendelblitt // Haim Shine

Top News Summary:

The Teachers Union and the Health Minister are at odds over extending the school year, a High Court Justice received threatening letters and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman looked for the right wording for annexation making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

After High Court Justice Anat Baron received death threats, Netanyahu said that 'zero patience must be shown to anyone who threatens judges.’ However, the Israeli commentators pointed their fingers at Netanyahu for his incitement against the judicial and law enforcement agencies. Baron was given a security detail. Gantz promised to protect the Justice Ministry’s independence.

Netanyahu, Gantz,  and Ambassador Friedman held a long meeting together with Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin to hammer out a plan that they could agree upon on unilaterally annexing West Bank land - ahead of Netanyahu’s declared July 1st annexation implementation date as internal and international pressure mounts against application of sovereignty in the West Bank. Israel Hayom stressed that the Likud called the settlement leaders who oppose the Trump plan “Irresponsible” and “crazy.”

Israeli commentators and analysts write that the lack of the US administration's support, at this point in time (with the exception of pro-settler US Ambassador David Frideman), is making Netanyahu's annexation plan less of a reality. Yedioth’s lead political cartoon: Netanyahu asks Trump, “But what’s going to happen with the annexation?” Trump answers, “Frankly, my bibi, I don’t give a damn.”

Former Trump envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt declared that Israel has every right to annex the West Bank, claiming it “was not Palestinian land.” However, senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat was quoted saying that “Annexation will destroy any chance of peace,” adding that if Netanyahu goes ahead with the plan, "He must ally with the American racist organization called the Klu Klux Klan." In an interview on 103FM, former prime minister Ehud Olmert said, “The reason for wanting annexation of the Beqaa Jordan Valley is not related to security or political needs.” He ridiculed: “To say that the '67 borders are indefensible on the basis of the fears we had in '67? Whoever says that lives in '67, I live in 2020." (Maariv)

Meanwhile, as if in warning, suspected explosive-laden balloons were found in Israel near the Gaza Strip, just as Gaza factions considered resuming the weekly protests. A Hamas official said that West Bank annexation could spark escalation.

Quick Hits:

  • * Arab Israeli Diplomat Says Security Guards Attacked Him, Knelt on His Neck - Ismail Khalidi, 49, who has served in consulates in California and advocated for Israel on campuses and with BDS organizations, filed police complaint against security guards in Jerusalem's central bus station, one of whom he said knelt on his neck, adding that he screamed "I can't breathe" until others in the station came to his aid. (Haaretz+ and Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Israel's New Science Minister Okays Appointment of Anti-occupation Professor - The previous science minister had blocked the professor's appointment to the board of a joint Israeli-German committee because she expressed support for soldiers who refuse to serve in the West Bank. (Haaretz+ and Times of Israel)
  • Senior Likud source says Netanyahu seeking to dissolve government – report - Likud officials believe that under the pressure of the Netanyahu family, and because of the party's excellent situation in the polls, the prime minister is aiming to advance elections in order to form a narrow right-wing government. Irate at Blue and White over combative remarks, PM said to be demanding retroactive change to unity deal; tension flares as Likud tries to block law important to Gantz’s party. Netanyahu seeks to promote a law to leave himself in office if the High Court intervenes. (Times of Israel and Maariv)
  • ‘Netanyahu Pushed Me to Create an Israeli Fox News, Said I Can Make a Lot of Money From It’ - In police testimony seen by Haaretz, the prime minister approached billionaire Len Blavatnik with a request to buy a news channel long seen as a thorn in Netanyahu’s side and turn it into a right-wing media outlet. (Haaretz+)
  • "Bad and mentally ill woman": New recordings of former employees of Prime Minister’s Residence are revealed - Channel 13’s Aviad Glickman airs a leaked recording of a conversation between two former employees exchanging negative words about the conduct of Netanyahu's wife and son, Yair, (towards the,). The family's attorney claims: “Completely false. Sarah is the real victim.” (Maariv)
  • Justice minister vows to block any attempt to bypass High Court - "The legal system needs to be defended. Its public image has been tarnished, mostly without justification," says Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn. (Israel Hayom)
  • **Yair Netanyahu: Clear Tel Aviv of minorities [i.e. Arab citizens] - "The riots prove that there is no chance for coexistence in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, and all the minorities must leave the city," Yair Netanyahu tweeted. (JPost)
  • The attack on the Palestinian and the IDF soldier in Hebron: Two other (settler) suspects were arrested - Police arrested a youth and a minor on suspicion of involvement in the attack on the Palestinian and the Golani fighter, in addition, six other suspects were arrested for throwing stones and causing damage to vehicles belonging to Palestinians. The attack event was filmed on Friday night. Two soldiers rescued a Palestinian young man who was caught in a violent attack by a group of young Jews in the city of Hebron. The group surrounded the Palestinian and shouted at him while beat him vigorously. Shortly afterwards, two IDF soldiers patrolling the area spotted the violent event, and hurried to the scene. There, they separated the parties and even protect the battered Palestinian with their own bodies. (Maariv and VIDEO)
  • The IDF Chief of Staff praised the soldier who rescued a Palestinian who was attacked (by settlers): "Nationalist-motivated violence must be denounced" - Speaking to the Chief of Police, Brig. Gen. Aviv Kochavi noted that the Golani soldier who was filmed rescuing a Palestinian attacked by Jews in Hebron acted as is expected of a soldier in the IDF: "Nationalist violence must be dealt with severely." Police Chief Moti Cohen: "We will continue to work until we find those involved." Two more (settler) youth were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the assault. (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Israel Advances New Golan Heights Settlement Named After Trump - 'We will start today with practical steps to construct Ramat Trump (Trump Heights),' said Netanyahu as the $2.3 million project to develop the settlement got underway. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Pregnant Israeli woman dies after head injury that led to husband's arrest - 29-year-old Rahat woman's family says husband called to say she'd fallen in the shower, while father says couple had problems but there was no physical violence. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli man sentenced to life for murdering neighbor - In the town of Arab town of Shfaram, Ashraf Tahimer broke into the home of Mirwat Abu Jalil, a mother of four, and stabbed her in her sleep in 2016. Motive unknown. (Haaretz+)
  • Spate of fires in western Negev identified as arson, but who set them? - Arson investigator says that while the 11 fires that broke out in fields on Saturday were set intentionally, they have "nothing to do" with the balloons that security personnel saw being inflated on the Gaza side of the security fence. (Israel Hayom)
  • IDF continues restructuring of general staff to contend with Iran threat - The army's "Strategy and Iran Directorate" will be renamed the "Strategy and Third-Circle Directorate," to indicate that all countries in Israel's "third-circle" periphery, and not just Iran, are under its purview. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel Is Responsible for COVID-19 Response in Gaza, West Bank, ex-Red Cross Chief Tells Haaretz - Ending a ten-year mandate as director general of the Red Cross, Yves Daccord tells Haaretz about the challenges asylum seekers across the global are facing during the pandemic. (Haaretz+)
  • Even the Coronavirus Crisis Can’t Get Israelis to Take Hotel Cleaning Jobs - The treasury hoped otherwise, but it looks like 1,000 Jordanians will be coming back to their old jobs in Eilat. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel Deports U.S. Billionaire's Son for Breaking Virus Rules - Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority said it had granted Brandon Korff, son of American media magnate Shari Redstone, an exceptional permit to enter the country on Friday to visit his brother, who is serving in the Israeli military, but he payed a secret visit to his model girlfriend. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Pompeo Warns American Jewish Committee: China Is 'Growing Challenge' for Israel, U.S. - Speaking at virtual annual conference, secretary of state says Trump administration considers China a threat to American 'way of life', slams human rights abuses. (Haaretz+)
  • Drone strike kills 2 al-Qaeda commanders in NW Syria - Opposition groups report that the two men - a Jordanian and a Yemeni - headed local militias linked to the terror group as part of Coalition efforts to stamp out radical factions in region. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • UN links items in arms shipments and missile attacks to Iran - According to Guterres report, the arms shipments seized by the U.S. were assessed by the UN Secretariat to include parts of anti-tank guided missiles from Iran with 2016, 2017 and 2018 production dates. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Uncovering the Secrets of the Indus Valley Civilization and Its Undeciphered Script
A century after the great Indus Valley civilization, its unique script and the 'godless' city of Mohenjo Daro were discovered, mysteries endure, but some insights have been gained. (Qaseem Saeed and Ruth Schuster, Haaretz+)
Tech Giants Stage Facial Recognition Retreat, but Israeli, Other Startups Stay in the Game
Technology has grown more controversial amid anti-racism protests, but China dominates market as a seller and user. (Sagi Cohen, Haaretz+)

Annexation Commentary/Analysis:
The Fate of Netanyahu's Annexation Isn't in His Government's Hands – It's in Washington's (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) In his planned annexation of West Bank territory, Netanyahu may meet resistance in the form of Jared Kushner.
Annexation must wait (Giora Eiland, Yedioth/Ynet) With Trump focused on domestic turmoil in the U.S., the trust and good will Israel has built with Gulf States on the precipice of collapse, and the ravages of the coronavirus still around us, the prime minister would do well to postpone his plans as to save Israel from an economic and security disaster.
Annexation could be Netanyahu’s prelude to dismantling Israeli democracy (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) The proposed West Bank land grab is so patently unhinged it sparks suspicions of more ambitious and sinister designs.
Take what you can get (Ariel Kahana, Israel Hayom) Israel is facing a historic opportunity to extend sovereignty to Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley. This plan may not please everyone, but at the end of the day, we have to think about future generations.
Netanyahu’s Irrational Case for Annexation Is a Tragedy for Israel (Mark A. Heller, Haaretz+) Netanyahu fancies himself a grand strategist. But his annexation argument rests on blind faith that the worst consequences won’t happen. Israel doesn’t have that margin of error.
Time to make the map public (Elnatan Scharia, Israel Hayom) Israel has not faced a political decision of similar magnitude to the current plan to apply sovereignty to large parts of Judea and Samaria since signing peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt. Yet the public, and especially the settlers, know very little about it. 
The word "annexation" makes people from right and left jump to respond without delving into the issue (Yoram Dori, Maariv) The public debate on the subject reminds me of Pavlov's experiment. Here too, there are those who immediately jump and see it as a source of danger and evil in the world and there are those who think it is a gain (for Israel) and a rescue for the people of Israel.
One Day We’ll Thank Mahmoud Abbas (Odeh Bisharat, Haaretz+) …After U.S. President Donald Trump moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem he declared that the problem of Jerusalem – the core of the lovely conflict – was off the table. There were those who were impressed by this magician who with a blink of an eye could make problems disappear. Now he wants to eliminate the Palestinian problem from the list of the universe’s problems. You want a Palestinian state? So there’ll be one, but it will be like a game, which in the evening the Israeli master will fold up and put away in a cardboard box for tomorrow. The whole world thinks Trump is crazy, and in America the masses, apparently even those who voted for him, see in him the embodiment of evil, stupidity and arrogance. But here? Here they bow down to him and treat him with awe because of the legitimacy he has conferred on occupation and annexation. They don’t want to anger him…

Other Top Commentary/Analysis:
Unlike George Floyd, the Arab World Largely Ignores the Latest Palestinian Victim of Police Brutality (Rajaa Natour, Haaretz+) When I think about the murder of Eyad Hallaq, I don’t have to imagine his last moments the way another Haaretz columnist did earlier this month. Such moments are daily fare for both me and many Palestinians trying to survive Israel's armed police, Border Police, soldiers and security guards…Nor do I have any desire to stir Israelis’ feelings of sympathy, solidarity or identification with our loss of Eyad. In the same way, I have no intention of mediating between you and the fears and anxieties of Palestinian men and women so that the story will “touch” you and you’ll be kind enough to listen and maybe even agree that this was murder with malicious intent…No, I’ll speak to you the way a Palestinian woman speaks to Jews – sterilely, rationally, substantively, politically, straight to your face, without the loathsome discourse of humanization…So what do I imagine? I imagine Eyad’s murderers getting together for a beer at a Tel Aviv pub, boasting, laughing, raising glass after glass. And in this space free of Arabs, one of them lets the sentence slip, “What a great guy you are, bro! You took down an Arab!” ..ץ
The US protests are precisely the time to link Black, Palestinian oppression (Gabriel Khoury, 972mag) Highlighting shared experiences of deadly state violence is meant to complement the Black Lives movement’s goals, not detract from them.
Here in Israel, Racism Is Alive and Well (Iris Leal, Haaretz+) In Boston, Christopher Columbus was beheaded. In Bristol, England, the Tory member of Parliament and slave trader Edward Colston was thrown into the harbor. King Leopold II of Belgium, whose brutal rule in the Congo killed millions, was disfigured and pulled down. It continues throughout the world, but not here: Baruch Goldstein’s grave in Hebron is fine, and the Rehavam Ze’evi Bridge is strong and stable. The foundations of the world are changing, but Israel watches from the sidelines and has not joined the upheaval…
Arab-Israeli relations have a glass ceiling (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) Without any realistic chance for peace in the Middle East, it would be a mistake to assume that one particular Israeli initiative can fundamentally alter the reality on the ground, either negatively or positively.
Steps Must Be Taken to De-escalate the Situation in Jaffa (Haaretz Editorial) While the protests are over the resumption of construction work at the cemetery, they aren’t solely about respect for the dead. Their roots lie in the many problems from which Jaffa residents suffer and the inequality between Jews and Arabs in Israel…The cemetery was closed to new burials in 1915, and in 1936 the mufti of Jerusalem had the graves moved to a different cemetery in the city. Until 2018, Jaffa residents didn’t even know that this land – which in the past has housed a soccer field, a well-baby clinic and a homeless shelter – still contained dozens of graves. The court denied a petition demanding that it halt construction on the site, ruling that the interests of the living must take precedence over those of the dead. But in Israel, where the sanctity of the dead and of archaeological finds are often used to justify decisions on construction, demolitions and sovereignty, it’s hard to avoiding seeing this as discrimination on the basis of religion or ethnicity. The authorities’ insensitivity toward the sanctity of the dead cries out in this case primarily in light of their excessive sensitivity toward Jewish graves…
This is how a photo from a sad evening became the "symbol of corruption" which Netanyahu waves (Ben Caspit, Maariv) After all the lies and incitement directed by the Prime Minister which turned a man who is doing his job into Public Enemy # 1, pray that a journalist will not be killed someday…Netanyahu demanded this week to put (journalist) Raviv Drucker in jail. In fact, it wasn’t Netanyahu at all. Whoever made this crazy demand is the ruling party, the Likud…”In a corrected world," the Likud said in response to the investigation of the investigative program ‘Hamakor’ (‘The Source’) on Wednesday evening, "Raviv Drucker would go to jail today." This demand is backed up by a dramatic video with background music suitable for the invasion of Normandy and bright red subtitles detailing Drucker's and his assistants' crimes, which are a clear and immediate danger to public peace. Anyone who bothered to check will understand that there is not a single word of truth in the entire text…One great, resounding Fake News that turns a journalist doing his job (as he did during Ehud Olmert's, Ariel Sharon and Ehud Barak's) into Public Enemy #1, into a man who threatens the right-wing leader, the traitorous smoker who conspired with the people of Satan, whoever they are, against Israel and Zionism…Let’s just leave the lies aside for now. Leave the incitement. Pray that a journalist or legal advisor won’t get killed here so that we will not have to revisit Netanyahu's whining excuses from November 1995 [reference to the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin - OH] Let's talk about Netanyahu the person. The man behind the spins and lies. The man who approved that the editors of this video use the background image in which Drucker appears to be sitting with his friends at the time, Yair Lapid and Ofer Shelah (shirtless), in what looks like an evening of friends on the beach.This image has been distributed in recent years every time another transcript, another recording, another strong evidence is released in the media regarding Netanyahu's cases. This is the appropriate Zionist response from Netanyahu's followers to any suspicions against him, which have become three serious indictments. All the fuss of this rotting family is answered with a damning picture of Shelah, Drucker and Lapid drinking beer at the beach. Ahh! This is how we reveal the real faces of the people who are chasing the leader. What does this picture prove? Netanyahu finally lost his humanity. The process of turning an aspiring politician into an unscrupulous machine of lies is complete. Drucker and Ofer Shelach, who are old friends, submitted ‘Hamakor’ show together, wrote books, and did a fair amount of joint kilometers in the media. Full disclosure: Drucker was once a deputy at Ma'ariv (and argued with me all the time). We accepted Shelah at the time to work in the Ma'ariv sports section when he returned from his studies in New York. Yair Lapid worked in "Maariv,” and moved to "Yedioth Ahronoth.” (Shelach also moved there, unfortunately.) In this damning picture, they were photographed drinking beer at the beach. It was taken shortly after Michal, Shelah's wife, died after a heroic battle with ovarian cancer. Michal was a talented ophthalmologist, an expert in her field. The story of her love and marriage to Shelach is known to everyone who was a journalist in the 1980s and 1990s in Israel. She shattered the statistics on survival of this type of cancer, but eventually she gave in. Drucker met Yair Lapid at the Shiva (mourning) for Michal Shelach. This was their first meeting in social circumstances. They decided to try to cheer up Shelah and take him out for dinner together. It happened one afternoon, after ‘Hamakor’ was broadcast, in a restaurant on the beach not far from Lapid’s house. It was hot, so he took his shirt off. Thus, the sad evening of three friends, following the death of one of their wives, became the symbol of corruption of the media, the left, haters of Israel, and those plotting against it. This all happens courtesy of the man called the prime minister of Israel. It's time to swallow a pill against nausea.
It’s Only a Matter of Time Until a Journalist Is Jailed (Rogel Alpher, Haaretz+) The urge to censor is growing. There’s a deep and direct connection between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call to jail journalist Raviv Drucker for his investigative report on the Channel 13 program “Hamakor,” and the forced resignation of New York Times editorial page editor James Bennet because of the publication of an opinion piece by Republican Senator Tom Cotton, who called for the U.S. Army to be sent in to use force to quell protests and riots. These are not two isolated cases. They are happening in the broader context of growing restrictions on freedom of expression in countries that are considered democratic.
Israel needs to leverage the positive developments in the region to advance the resolution of the conflict (Dr. Nimrod Goren, Maariv) Re-launching the peace process should be a priority for the new government. The Mediterranean angle can bring fresh ideas to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
How Long Can Trump Bully Israel to Downgrade Ties With China? (Charles Dunst, Haaretz+) Three years ago, Netanyahu told a Beijing audience that Israel-China ties were a 'marriage made in heaven.' Since then, Israel has folded to intense U.S. pressure to rollback Chinese investment – but how long can it last?
As Assad marks 20 years of brutal rule, U.S. tries to force his hand by sanctioning allies (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Washington is due to slap harsher sanctions on Syria and those who help it, but that will likely do little to deter Russia and Iran from aiding the regime.

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