APN's daily news review from Israel - Tuesday June 16, 2020
Quote of the day:
"He's not here."
-- The answer Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu received when he called to speak with King Abdullah of Jordan about Israel's intention to annex 30% of the West Bank.*
- Annexation in the West Bank is getting farther, but the a narrow move is still possible // Noa Landau
- Senior officials in security establishment: Government is hiding details of annexation from us
- “No food to eat”: Thousands of workers from the field of culture demonstrated in Jerusalem
- Most of those infected with corona in Tel-Aviv are from the south of the city and Jaffa
- Before the approval of the Norwegian Law: Gantz agreed to discuss change in the Government Basic Law for the benefit of Netanyahu
- Supreme Court in US banned discrimination of LGBTs at workplaces
- Finance Ministry: Salary of 9th grade teachers will be harmed if they don’t teach in the summer; Teachers union: Empty threats
- Rock hyrax discovered the advantages to living in the city, and that is worrying news for Jerusalem
- We deserve more // Nechemia Shtresler says Health Ministry directors should resign for terrifying public over corona
- Don’t get respect // Abed Sattal asks if the Muslim cemetery in Jaffa had been a Jewish one, would buildings be built on it?
- The Mandel Fund building inaugurated in Jerusalem flaunts a roof of thousands of plants and shows compensation for the loss of nature in the city
- Unemployment is at a record high, but that doesn’t stop the state from paying salaries of 15,000 shekels and higher to hi-tech workers
- The fear: Corona outbreak in the hospital's internal ward (Hebrew)
- Exclusive: (King) Abdullah isn’t answering
- The summer holiday farce // Limor Livnat on the education battles between the Teacher’s union and the Education Ministry
- Exclusive - “Waiting for the Israelis” - Interview with Greek Prime Minister ahead of his visit
- Good morning, Europe: The continent is waking up from closure and opening its borders (Hebrew)
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
- A government without sovereignty
- Rocket launched from Gaza Strip landed in open area - no injuries
- Cultural explosion - Workers of the culture industry clashed with police in enormous protest against government over their economic distress
- The target: 1/4 of the manpower in the new battleships will be female fighters
- (Minister) Steinitz will allow (gov’t owned) Israel Electricity Company Chairman to continue for a fourth term
- “Going towards annexation with all (my) power” - Prime Minister said. Tension in coalition: Netanyahu met with Gantz, without agreements
- Sovereignty is more important than empty threats // Caroline Glick
- Applying Israeli law - is legal // Jason Greenblatt
- Likud and Kahol-Lavan testing boundaries // Mati Tuchfeld
- Something happened to Yair Lapid // Gilad Tzweik
- Exclusive - Purchase of respirators: Only 5% arrived
- Art of protest - Escalation in protest of culture industry people
- Ministry of Finance in threat to teachers: “Your salaries will be cut”
- Grounded: The faces of the people behind the collapse of the tourism industry
- Tension in the south: Rocket exploded near kibbutz, IDF attacked in Gaza Strip
- Soccer players’ affair: The second teenage girl will give testimony today; Associates of the players: “The case will be closed”
Top News Summary:
The Education Ministry threatened to cut teachers’ pay if they don’t work nine extra days this summer, employees in the culture and events industry clashed with police at a protest their difficult economic situation and the Likud and Kahol-Lavan parties can’t reach an agreement over annexation of parts of the West Bank making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.
Also, a mortar shell from the Gaza Strip landed in an open area in southern Israel without causing injuries. Israel retaliated by targeting Hamas ‘targets’ through bombing from the air and shelling from tanks. The mortar shell fell after Israel agreed to transfer $50 million from Qatar to Gaza, according to a report in the Lebanese ‘Al Akhbar’ that was quoted widely in the Israeli media. The transfer came following recent talks with Hamas mediated by the UN Middle East envoy and Qatar, as Gaza factions weighed renewing the border protests. Recently, explosive balloons have floated over the border fence, too. Maariv reported that they were seen by sources in Israel’s security establishment as an attempt to speed up Israel’s transfer of Qatari money. In exchange for the money, Hamas pledged to stop flying incendiary balloons into Israeli territory.
Israeli Prime Minister BInyamin Netanyahu gave confused messages over his plans to have Israel annex 30% of the West Bank on July 1st. First, he blamed Kahol-Lavan leaders Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi, calling them the main obstacle to the implementation and as a result, the annexation “map wasn’t ready yet.” He also said that the still unclear Trump plan will not be brought for approval to the Knesset or the government, but then he said it would. “This is not an annexation - it is applying sovereignty. The American plan will not be brought to the government and the Knesset for approval. Did Menachem Begin bring the Camp David agreement to the Knesset?" asked Netanyahu, adding: "When I have an agreement, I will bring it to the Knesset and the government for approval. I have agreed to negotiations based on President Trump's plan, there is no freeze on (construction in) existing (settlement) communities." (Maariv)
Netanyahu tried to decrease fears over the Arab reaction to annexation. In a meeting with Likud faction members, Netanyahu said they don’t have to worry about the reactions in the Arab world: There would be "protests and fuss, (but) the interests that are bringing Israel and the Arab states closer together remain in effect and so, after a few months, things will get back on track,” ‘Israel Hayom’ reported. However, that remains to be seen. The papers reported that Jordan's King Abdullah refused to speak to Netanyahu over the annexation plans. "When Netanyahu rang he was told that 'the king is not there,’” the Palestinian Maan News Agency reported. The Jordanian leadership also rejected overtures made by Defense Minister Benny Gantz. The Prime Minister's Office denied the report, Maariv wrote. The Trump administration thinks that annexation will ignite the region and urged Netanyahu to settle for partial annexation, Yedioth Hebrew reported. Moreover, Kahol-Lavan leaders, Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi, also prefer a limited move and they demand giving the security establishment sufficient time to prepare. Indeed, Haaretz+ reported that Israeli security officials warned that the government is not sharing information about how the move will actually look, making it unclear how security agencies should prepare. Netanyahu also revealed the condition required of Israel by the Trump plan to pave the way for annexation and how he was going to deal with it: "All we have to do is to agree to hold talks with the Palestinians," he told members of the right-wing HaBithonistim movement.
Right-wing leaders, who oppose the annexation because they oppose a Palestinian state in the West Bank and they oppose leaving some isolated settlements in enclaves, said that Netanyahu “shouldn't hide behind Kahol-Lavan” regarding applying sovereignty. ‘Israel Hayom’ reported that top officials in the Palestinian Authority expressed satisfaction that the settlers are doing our work for us.”
Meanwhile, Israel Hayom and Maariv reported that the European Union urged US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to join a new peace effort. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Europeans "recognize the merit of the US plan because it has created a certain momentum where there was a deadlock,” but that the EU insists that any initiative must respect "internationally agreed parameters." Pompeo also heard the positions of the ministers on the possible annexation of territories by Israel, and, according to Borrell, different positions were expressed - Hungary on one end (pro-annexation) and Luxembourg on the other. Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas expressed opposition to annexation and warned of negative consequences for the process and the regional security situation. Maas made it clear that annexation would also have implications for union relations with Israel. Today (Tuesday), Greek Prime MInister Kyriakos Mitsotakis arrives in the country to meet Netanyahu to push for tourism with Israel and discuss the gas pipeline. But Haaretz+ reported that Netanyahu plans to ask him to soften the European reaction to annexation. In the US, House Democrats who support Israel wrote a letter to Netanyahu warning against annexation.
- Israel Demolishes Buildings in Two Illegal West Bank Outposts - 13 buildings evacuated and destroyed in Baladim and Maoz Esther, near the settlement of Kochav Hashahar. 13 buildings demolished and 13 settlers arrested during eviction, and a few dozen people rioted and threw stones, said Border Police. A 2019 Peace Now report said that at least 16 new outposts have been established in the West Bank since 2017. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
- Fearing Structural Collapse, Israel Halts Archaeological Dig in East Jerusalem - Palestinian residents have been complaining for years that controversial excavation is damaging their homes, which the Israel Antiquities Authority denies. The archeological group Emek Shaveh recently conducted a survey of the neighborhood, finding cracks and structural problems in 38 apartments housing more than 200 people. In one instance in 2017, the municipality evacuated a family from its home for a few months until repairs on the structure could be completed. In another case a parking lot collapsed into one of the entrance pits to the Second Temple-era stepped street. (Haaretz+)
- Israeli Justice Files Police Complaint Over Anti-asylum Seekers Tag Near His House - Activist leader of group calling to deport asylum seekers admits being behind stickers reading 'Jewish blood is forfeit' near Supreme Court justice's home. (Haaretz+)
- Foreign Minister tells its [attacked Arab] diplomat: "We are with you” - Storm following Yedioth Ahronoth publication of report about the Bedouin (Israeli) diplomat, Ismail Khalidi, who allegedly was attacked by Jerusalem Central bus Station security guards last Thursday. One dug his knee into the diplomat's neck and the diplomat said, "I can't breath." The bus station manager said that the guards act according to rules and that Ismail Khalidi made a provocation. To prove that he was attacked for no reason, the diplomat is prepared to undergo a polygraph exam. He also asks the station's management to release the recordings of the security cameras from the incident, images that he says provide unequivocal proof that he was attacked for no reason.”They treated me like a terrorist," claimed Ismail Khalidi. Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi's had warm words for the employee of his ministry: “Be who you are. We're proud of you. We're with you," he said, and after the conversation tweeted: "I spoke with Ismail Khalidi, a long-standing and esteemed diplomat, following the violent incident he experienced, and I sought to give him our backing. There is no place in Israeli society for violence. I believe in law enforcement officials that they will investigate this matter.” Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog also tweeted: "Khalidi, a Foreign Ministry man, a pastoral shepherd in the past, is one of Israel's most eloquent speakers in the world. Enough of the racism!” The news of the incident, published yesterday in Yedioth Ahronoth, caused a stir. MKs on the left and right as well as many Foreign Ministry officials telephoned Ismail Khalidi and expressed their support of him. Khalidi, 49, a resident of Khawald village, joined the Foreign Ministry in 2004 and became famous as the first Bedouin diplomat in the foreign service. He is considered one of Israel's most respected diplomats, and is currently serving in the Jerusalem office. (Yedioth Hebrew)
- Netanyahu turns to rich friend to fund corruption trial fees - In-depth: PM asks the oversight committee to allow a NIS10 million ($2.9 million) donation from a Michigan-based real estate magnate to fund his legal defense, in a move that some might say plunged Netanyahu into legal trouble in the first place. (Agencies, Ynet)
- West Bank Settlement Must Allow Mixed-gender Swimming Pool, Israel's Attorney General Says - Petitioners turn again to High Court when Kiryat Arba’s pool reopens with only separate hours for men and women. (Haaretz+)
- In First, Israel Files Charges Against Parents for Underage Marriage - Five Bedouin parents charged with marrying off their teenage daughters. (Haaretz+)
- Lawmakers Approve Law Allowing Ministers to Be Replaced in Knesset by Party Members: Opposition leader, Lapid: “Like thieves at night” - The passing of the so-called 'Norwegian Law' is of particular interest to Kahol Lavan, with only three of the party’s 15 member faction not cabinet members. (Haaretz+, Maariv and Ynet)
- Navy’s goal: A quarter of the manpower in the new battleships - female fighters - According to the plans, some 70 fighters, of whom 15 are women, will be mooring each of four 6 ships arriving in Israel within the next two years. There are now five women on the first ship's establishment team. (Maariv)
- Report of the Institute for Peace Research: "Israel has increased the number of nuclear arrowheads" - According to the report, Israel currently has 90 arrowheads compared to 80 last year, contrary to the global downward trend. There are about 3,700 nuclear warheads in the United States, Britain, Russia and France. (Maariv)
- The Prime Minister of Greece will come to Israel tomorrow to discuss renewal of tourism between the two countries - Kiryakos Mitsutakis will come with six ministers and become the first senior figure to sleep overnight in Israel since the corona crisis broke out. In Israel, the fact that Mitsutakis is sleeping here is seen as signifying the importance of relations between countries. The further outbreak of the virus in Israel could delay the arrival of tourists from Israel to Greece. (Maariv)
- Israel Set to Invest in High-priced, Unapproved Coronavirus Vaccine - Health Ministry working to ensure Israel's place in the list of countries to be supplied with vaccines as soon as they are approved for use. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
- Israel preparing for remote studies next school year - Due to rising coronavirus infections and second wave fears, Education Ministry equals distance learning to frontal lessons, both financially for teachers and pedagogically for students. (Yedioth/Ynet)
- Israeli University in West Bank Withdraws Accusation of Vice President in Scholarship-for-kickbacks Scandal - Ariel University agreed to settle the vice president’s severance pay and withdrew his letter of dismissal with a new one omitting claims against him. (Haaretz+)
- Israeli Archaeologists Shed New Light on Great Wall of Mongolia - The monumental wall running almost 750 kilometers in Mongolia and China wasn’t built to fend off Genghis Khan and his horde but to control mass migrations of climate refugees, archaeologists suggest. (Haaretz+)
- Death of Egyptian LGBTQ Activist Jailed for Waving Rainbow Flag Mourned - Sarah Hegazy, 30, was found dead in her apartment in Toronto where she had been living in exile for about 18 months and struggling with depression. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Turkey embraces Iran once again, defying US - "Iran's stability and peace is important for us," Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu says at joint news conference with Iranian FM Javad Zarif. (Israel Hayom)
"The (Palestinian) Rabi family is a victim of terror and entitled to compensation"
About six months ago, the Ministry of Defense recognized an incident in which Palestinian woman Aisha Rabi was killed as a hostile act. But despite the recognition and her family's special appeal to the Ministry of Defense, no Israeli official contacted her relatives to explain their rights she deserves. Rabi, 47, from the village of Bidiya, was killed in October 2018 near the Tapuah junction after the car in which she drove was stoned. Her husband, Yakub, who was traveling with her, was injured in the incident. Five Jewish youths were arrested after the incident. One of them, 16, was indicted. The Rabi family applied to Israel’s National Insurance Institute (Social Security) to receive compensation, but according to the law, only Israeli citizens or residents who entered Israel through a visa are recognized as victims of hostilities. Rabi was not an Israeli citizen, and the event did not even occur in the territory of the State of Israel. In January this year, the Ministry of Defense made it clear that "a family is reserved the right to contact the inter-ministerial committee for the payment of compensation, as per the law, for people injured for nationalistic motives.” In April, the Rabi family did address the committee through lawyers Mohammed Rahal and Nabila Kabub, but it has not yet received an answer. "The state is expected to address this tragedy," the lawyers say. "Not only did the family lose the mother, it also is now not financially viable and now faces difficulties. The State of Israel, which recognized its responsibility, must award compensation to allow the family to rehabilitate. A terror victim is a terror victim. The family is entitled to compensation for the act." The Ministry of Defense said: "The incident was recognized as hostile act, in accordance with the definitions of the Compensation Law for Victims of Hostilities. Rabi is not an Israeli citizen and therefore does not meet the criteria for receiving rights as a victim of hostilities from the National Insurance Institute. The request is being looked into and upon completion of dealing with this, a message will be provided to the family.” (Gilad Cohen and Elisha Ben Kimon, Yedioth Hebrew)
How Russia saved Israel from a Palestinian state based on the '48 borders
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells the story of a major drama that unfolded behind the scenes at the UN Security Council. It appears that Russia demonstrated a rare willingness to use its UNSC veto on Israel's behalf to block a resolution led by then-US President Barack Obama, shortly before he left office, which would have compelled Israel to set up a Palestinian state based on the 1948 (pre-1967) borders. (Ariel Kahana, Israel Hayom)
Kashrut (Permission) for shaming
Many restaurants have been forced to cut spending due to the Corona crisis, and opted to say goodbye to the kosher approval of the rabbinate. The savings can reach tens of thousands of shekels a year. In response, they get shaming from the rabbinate, and they fear that that is not all: “They better not take revenge on us, like a mafia.” The Rabbinate: “We are committed to informing the public.” (Meirav Crystal, Yedioth Hebrew)
Because of annexation: the country where the majority became a minority and the historical dream faded (Itzhak Levanon, Maariv) The territorial expansion of the Christians in Lebanon at the expense of others and the reliance on the then superpower, France, turned the Christians into a minority in their own country. We do not want a similar fate for us in Israel.
Chance of West Bank Annexation Is Fading, but Limited Move Still Possible (Noa Landau, Haaretz+) What is certain is that for everyone except Netanyahu, what will help is a slow and consistent postponement of the July 1 deadline – to never.
When it comes to annexation, 'compromise' is not a dirty word (Mordechai Shklar, Yedioth/Ynet) The national-religious sector, which is at the forefront of the settlement movement, has addressed the issues of 'the Land of Israel' with an 'all or nothing' approach, rejecting compromise of partial annexation and subsequently tearing Israeli society apart.
Sovereignty bid will improve Israel's negotiating position (Dan Schueftan, Israel Hayom) Establishing control in the Jordan Valley entails abandoning the delusional idea of Israeli and Jordanian security based on technology and foreign presence.
It’s the Trial, Stupid, Not the Economy or the Coronavirus (Nehemia Shtrasler, Haaretz+) The pundits are fretting over what Benjamin Netanyahu will do next. Will he really impose Israeli law on the Jordan Valley and the settlements? Some say yes: He is looking for a legacy, and there is nothing better than going down in the books as the person who annexed the land of our forefathers. Others say no – on the grounds that such a move is too dangerous politically and could break up the government, and that he is totally risk averse.
Other Top Commentary/Analysis:
Flying Checkpoints and Traffic Jams: The Genius of the Israeli Occupation's Architecture (Umm Forat, Haaretz+) So-called flying checkpoints are not unusual in the West Bank, but they still manage to achieve their goal: to undermine Palestinians' control over their daily routine ■ Post #15.
A strategy that ensures the security of Israel from the East is just as important as our birthright (Oded Tira, Maariv) In order to prevent the establishment of a terrorist infrastructure in Judea and Samaria (West Bank), the IDF must have freedom of movement at every moment, at every point. To do this, military reliance must be made on the largest Jewish civilian fabric [i.e. settler paramilitary - OH]
Fourth elections not in the cards, yet (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) PM Netanyahu might be tempted to call an election, but it won't happen that soon. Coalition partners are testing limits and trying to improve their positions, but the national unity government will last at least a few more months.
The Judiciary's response to threats to (High Court Justice Anat) Baron - a blatant attempt to shut mouths (Kalman Libeskind, Maariv) The threat to Justice Anat Baron should not be underestimated, but if there is anything that jeopardizes Israel's strength, in this context, it is the legal system's attempt to cause fear and to cool those who criticize it.
Even before the trial: Netanyahu has already let blood shed in his life - probably it’s not enough for him (Ben Caspit, Maariv) It is permissible to criticize the legal system. It is desirable to criticize the judicial system. Many good people do that - (Maariv right-wing commentator) Kalman Libeskind, for example. It's part of democracy. But when they turn judges, lawyers and prosecutors into ‘traitors,’ as if they endanger the Jewish state, as if they are leading us to a second Holocaust, as if they are trying to destroy Israel from the inside, they are allowing for blood to be shed. Netanyahu has already allowed bloodshed in his life. It was probably not enough for him.
Hezbollah's headache (Itzhak Levanon, Israel Hayom) The Shiite terrorist group is facing a return of popular protests demanding that Hezbollah disarm; a US law that would target it for cooperating with the Syrian regime; and the question of UNIFIL.
Politicians who retired have all the rights to protest, as long as it is done inside the country (Yossi Ahimeir, Maariv) Many former politicians have retired to private life, and among others the political-public bacteria continues to fester. They have every right to oppose government moves, however, please, not abroad.
This Likud Lawmaker Prefers the Interests of Insurance Agents Over the Public (Haaretz Editorial) Nine years have passed since a million Israelis took to the streets to protest the cost of living. Given the bill that MK Miki Zohar of Likud has been promoting aggressively – which puts the interests of the strong and well-connected over those of the general public – it seems as if the influence of those protests has totally dissipated. The private member’s bill being advanced by Zohar would block the MAX credit card company (formerly LeumiCard) from being able to sell insurance. If the bill is passed, it will maintain the insurance market as a closed club for insurance agents only and block efforts to compete with them.
'Greece is waiting for our Israeli friends to return'
EXCLUSIVE: To mark his visit to the State of Israel, which begins Tuesday, Ynet's diplomatic correspondent spoke to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis about bilateral ties, anti-Semitism and annexation. (Interviewed by Itamar Eichner, Yedioth/Ynet)
"Trump can support and pave the way for annexation and the price is minimal for him"
Journalist Shimrit Meir addressed the US perspective on the application of sovereignty, on the eve of the power elections: "This is a dramatic period in the US - what happens in the Middle East doesn't interest them.” (103FM/Maariv)