News Nosh 6.18.20

APN's daily news review from Israel 

Thursday June 18, 2020

Quote of the day:"It's called apartheid via salami tactics."
--Former Meretz Chairwoman Zahava Galon said of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's 'annexation in stages' proposal.*

Front Page:Haaretz

Yedioth Ahronoth

  • The big casino // Sarit Rosenblum (Hebrew) on government’s corona decisions
  • A journey between wild boars (in the cities)
  • Without masks, without distancing: A peek into the celeb parties during the corona era (Hebrew)
  • Two (Israeli) stars are going out to conquer the world - Singer Noa Kirrel with a contract in the millions (Hebrew) and basketball player Danny Abadia on the way to the NBA (Hebrew)

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • US on hold (regarding annexation)
  • Elections will wait // Anna Barsky
  • The honey and the sting // Prof. Uzi Rabi
  • Senior UAE official: Keep in contact with Israel
  • Despite the rise in (corona) infection: Easing of restrictions
  • One of the teenage girls: “We knew that if we told them our real age it would affect the relationship” - Messages revealed yesterday could close the case of the minors against the soccer players

Israel Hayom

  • Number of sick increasing, extent of restrictions decreasing
  • Prime Minister in closed discussions: Even if Kahol-Lavan opposes, we will pass the sovereignty
  • Horrific: Daughter found her elderly parents committed suicide
  • Suleiman Al-Abid, who was convicted of killing Hanit Kikus, was released (after 27 years): Even a moment before my death I won’t admit” [He claims he is innocent - OH]
  • Case of the soccer players and the minors: Player wrote the girl, “I thought you were 17”

Top News Summary:

Despite rise in corona infections, the government approved easing restrictions, after 27 years in prison, a Bedouin-Israeli man, who always claimed he was not guilty of the the murder of an Israeli teen, was released and the latest on the rift between Likud, Kahol-Lavan and the Trump administration over Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s annexation plan were top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Also, various partial reports in the newspapers about more murders in the Arab-Israeli community. 42 Arab-Israelis killed have been murdered since the start of the year, four between Tuesday and Thursday. Only 30 percent of the alleged murders in the Arab Israeli community in 2019 — 27 out of 88 — were solved, the Haaretz daily reported. The Arab-Israeli community has called on police to take more initiative in dealing with the violence in their towns and villages, which is far higher than in the Jewish sector. The four killed this week:
1. Farid Khalaf, 20, Jaffa, shot dead (and a 13-year-old walking near him was seriously injured)
2. Adham Natour, 23, was shot dead for unknown reasons in Kafr Yasif, near Acre.
3. ) Mohammed Raad Watad, 22, Baka al-Gharbia, stabbed to death Tuesday night.
4.) Malakais Abu al-Ful, 24, from Jatt was shot dead on Wednesday night (between Wednesday and Thursday) in the village of Jatt . A second man, also in his 20s, who sat next to the victim in the car was lightly injured when the Molotov cocktail he was holding caught fire as the pair were shot at in the vehicle. Police said they were investigating whether the two had moments earlier fired shots and thrown another Molotov cocktail at a nearby home in the town. They arrested the wounded man as a suspect in that attack. He is reportedly a relative of another Mohammad Watad who was stabbed to death the day before.


Netanyahu met with his Kahol-Lavan coalition partners, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and showed them maps with different scenarios ranging in the annexation of 30% of West Bank land to a much milder, 'symbolic' step. But the meeting ended without an agreement and without progress, the papers reported. Moreover, they wrote, the Trump administration made it clear that it is impossible to move forward in implementing the Trump plan until an understanding is reached between the two main parties. (Maariv)

*The political affairs correspondent of Israel Hayom, Mati Tuchfeld, had an informative insider report from the Likud side. According to Tuchfeld’s sources, Netanyahu said he no longer intends to wait for Kahol-Lavan’s consent. Moreover, he has said, even if Kahol-Lavan opposes the annexation initiative – he will raise the matter for government approval next week, where it will pass by one vote: that of Communications Minister Yoaz Handel (Derech Eretz), who comes from Gantz’s bloc but will give the right-wing bloc the required majority. And if that doesn’t work, he will call for another election, because new "Alternate Prime Minister Law" grants him the right to disperse the Knesset within the first six months of the government's term. [And Likud leads in the polls - OH.]

Indeed, Maariv reported, Hendel said he would support applying sovereignty in the West Bank, “regardless of Gantz's position…I agree with Netanyahu's political approach, the Beqaa Jordan Valley is very significant, the settlement blocs should have been part of the State of Israel long ago.” But the Beqaa Jordan Valley is also important to Jordan and Israel does not want to upset its relations with the Hashemite Kingdom. So then come two contradicting reports. In 36 hours, Jordan’s King Abdullah II has held at least five briefings with senior members of Congress from both parties, to recruit them to oppose annexation, Haaretz+’s Washington reporter, Amir Tibon, wrote. But ‘Israel Hayom,’ which has published misleading reports that the Arab world supports annexation, quoted an unnamed Jordanian official who said: We won't damage security ties with Israel for the Palestinians. Yet at the same time, he said, "Our position on the matter of the Jordan Valley is known: We believe it is supposed to be part of the future Palestinian state.

Foreign policy adviser for Joe Biden, Nicholas Burns, warned that annexation would be “a huge mistake and that it could “most harm the U.S.-Israel relationship.”

Meanwhile, three former generals refused Gantz's proposal to head an “Annexation Directorate,” Channel 12 News. The directorate would be established to with the goal of preparing the army for applying sovereignty in the West Bank. Maariv reported that it is believed that the three, who are currently working in the various industries, did not want to get themselves involved in the political debate.

Quick Hits:

  • Israeli Court Freezes Construction on Jaffa Muslim Cemetery After Days of Protests - Clashes erupt again and police arrested three protesters for disorderly conduct.  as judge rules construction will be halted until the court hears the petition filed by the Islamic Council, according to which, the building permit had expired. (Haaretz+ and Maariv and Ynet)
  • Israeli Police Brace for Possible Wide-scale, Violent Protests Inspired by Scenes in U.S. - In closed meetings, commanders are concerned that protesters will act more aggressively, influenced by police brutality protests in the United States following the killing of George Floyd. Recently, police have seen a rise in the scale of the protest, especially because of the economic crisis resulting from the coronavirus outbreak, but because of other issues, too. The demonstrations, which police call “events involving public order,” have attracted great attention lately from the police’s highest levels. (Haaretz+)
  • Settlers torch construction site in Palestinian village - Hilltop youth filmed setting fire in Burin, claim Palestinians first ignited brushfire outside Givat Ronen outpost. (Times of Israel)
  • The settler attacks in Hebron Saturday: Six settlers released from detention and one detention extended of settler) was extended - The incident of the assault on a Palestinian and an IDF soldier in Hebron: Yedioth Hebrew reported that Wednesday morning, at a hearing in the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court, the detention of another suspect was extended until Friday. Srugim reported that on Monday, a Magistrate court judge ordered the release of six settler detainees in “one of the assault incidents” by settlers that took place on Saturday. (Maariv and
  • A 26-year-old (Arab-Israeli) laborer from Sakhnin was killed after a scaffold fell at a construction site - At the Nahariya Galilee Medical Center, the death of a 26-year-old resident of Sakhnin was declared dead, apparently from falling from a high height. Another worker who worked alongside him, 39, was seriously injured, with multiple systemic injuries. (Maariv)
  • Four Kahol Lavan Ministers Resign From Knesset, Following Passage of 'Norwegian Law' - Another cabinet member is expected to resign on Thursday, meaning that five new MKs will be sworn in, but the coalition will lose one Knesset seat to the opposition. (Haaretz+)
  • Foreign Ministry officials say new minister Ashkenazi brings welcomed change - After years of being marginalized and having budgets severely cut by the government, Foreign Ministry officials say they are now involved in all major policy discussions and enjoy the faith of their peers overseas. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Up to 90,000 New Immigrants to Move to Israel in Next 18 Months, Aliyah Minister Predicts - Forecasts presented by Pnina Tamano-Shata at Knesset committee differ substantially from those of Jewish Agency. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel Prison Service to Review Its Policy on ADHD Medications - Claiming that Ritalin and similar drugs are 'dangerous,' the state corrections agency is withholding pharmacological treatment from prisoners with attention deficit disorder. (Haaretz+)
  • Jewish Settlers in East Jerusalem Now Receive Their Electricity From Israel - Residents of Nof Tzion had suffered from service cuts to Palestinian provider, to which most Palestinians in East J'lem remain connected. (Haaretz+)
  • Sudanese Man Returned by Israeli Army to Lebanon After Crossing Border - Woman in town close to the border found the man more than an hour after military search force left the area. (Haaretz+)
  • Scorned MK vows to challenge Netanyahu for Likud's leadership - Former Public Security Minister Avi Dichter says PM Benjamin Netanyahu's decision not to name him a minister in the unity government was a "gross, personal affront." Running for Likud's leadership against Netanyahu "doesn't scare me," he asserts. (Israel Hayom)
  • Christian Town Destroyed by Persians 1,400 Years Ago Found in Northern Israel - Great house with Christian symbols in the Byzantine town of Pi Metzuba also had a mosaic with pagan motifs, including animals and a goddess. (Haaretz+)
  • EU cuts grant to Palestinian group refusing to sign anti-terror clause - Organization loses funding for project seeking to expose alleged Israeli crimes in Jerusalem, says adoption of article 'criminalizes the Palestinian struggle.’ [NOTE: According to international law, an occupied people is allowed to take arms against security forces of occupier. - OH] (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • 'Zionists are humanity's enemies,' Hezbollah textbooks teach - Anti-Defamation League reveals shocking propaganda against Jews in books used in schools supported by Iran's regional proxy. (Israel Hayom)
  • IDF thwarts Hamas arms smuggling attempt into Gaza from Sinai - Joint operation between Navy, Shin Bet, and Military Intelligence leads to arrest of two operatives en route to coastal enclave, among them veteran smuggler for terror group. (Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • IDF hosts virtual conference with militaries to discuss pandemic insights - Lt. Col. O, an officer from the IDF’s J6 and Cyber Defense Directorate, told JNS about efforts to create “a community of knowledge that knows how to share information in the context of the current times.” (Israel Hayom)
  • Experts worried over 'critical shortfall' of US stockpile in Israel - A new report from the Jewish Institute for the National Security of America finds that the US stockpile is falling “dangerously short of meeting its stated purpose to support Israel’s efforts" as threats from Iran and Hezbollah intensify. (Israel Hayom)
  • U.S. Imposes New Sanctions on Syrian Government, Assad and His Wife - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said 'many more' sanctions against Assad government should be expected in the coming weeks and months. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Turkey Begins New Offensive Against Kurdish Rebels in North Iraq - The development came days after Turkey launched an air operation in the region. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran sees biggest one-day spike in coronavirus cases as more restrictions lifted - Health experts worry that growing complacency among the country’s 80 million people may further allow the virus to spread. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Diaries reveal overwhelmed British officials in Palestine wanted to go home
Sarcastic, exasperated entries show Mandate-era leaders appalled by Arab violence, repulsed by Jewish ‘arrogance,’ espionage; sides seen as ‘childish,’ heralding today’s conflict. (Steven E. Zipperstein, Times of Israel)
On the Threshold of Hope
Nurjan dreams of making it to the Olympics and winning a medal in gymnastics. All you need to do is meet her to believe. Her backflips are smooth, she can walk the walk, on her hands, with stamina and grace, and her self-confidence is as clear to see as her radiant Julia-Roberts smile. Her father Abbas is a construction worker, and her mother Izabella is a security guard. He is a non-Jew from Turkey; she is an Israeli of Russian heritage. Rather, I am sharing Nurjan’s story, because I believe she embodies the spunky quality that has helped catapult Israel to stand proudly among the first-world countries of the world. She and her family also represent an admirable way for people to look ahead as we emerge from our lockdowns and restart our daily routines. (Marc Kornblatt, Times of Israel)

Top Commentary/Analysis:

Annexation Will Officially Turn Israel Into an Apartheid State (Zehava Galon, Haaretz+) In Israel they don’t like to talk about apartheid. That’s a harsh word. It recalls shameful memories of contemptible cooperation with an unjust regime, and other memories from the times when we were the ones who were not allowed to be part of institutions because of inferior status. We have a hard time with apartheid – the word, not the policy. It has what they call connotations. But apartheid is the precise word for the annexation that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planning, and if it’s hard for us to look in the mirror, maybe the problem is not the mirror. In Israel very little is taught about apartheid-era South Africa and our close ties with it…
Time to defuse the racism bomb (Jalal Banna, Israel Hayom) Israeli elected officials must wake up and change the political culture where hatred in general, and the hatred of Arabs in particular, are legitimate means for political ends.
No Monuments Will Be Toppled Here, but Jewish Israelis Need to Start Talking About Systemic Racism (Idan Ring, Haaretz+) Israel is a young country, a fifth of whose citizens are Palestinian Arabs, and the tension between its “Jewish” and “democratic” nature is always present – in the public space as well. The comprehensive health-related, economic and social crisis that we are still experiencing has emphasized for the first time the solidarity and shared fate of the Jewish and Arab citizens who share this country. As opposed to security-related crises in the past, this time the contribution of Arab citizens received broad public recognition. Arab doctors and health care workers became heroes thanks to their battle against the coronavirus. How do they feel at the end of a shift, when on the way home they drive on the Ayalon Highway under the bridge named after IDF general and politician Rehavam Ze’evi, who supported the transfer of Arab citizens? Or when on the road to Nazareth they drive on the highway named after former IDF Chief of Staff Rafael Eitan, who in response to stone throwing in the West Bank said that we have to build more settlements there, until the Arabs there “scurry like drugged cockroaches in a bottle”? In the eighth decade of its existence, commemoration in the public space in Israel is still reserved for the most part to generals, politicians and founders of Zionism, almost all of them Ashkenazi Jewish men…
Lie and forget: Bibi's method for operating lies is similar to launching a missile (Ran Edelist, Maariv) ”In an amended world, (journalist) Raviv Drucker would go to jail today,” said the Likud spokespeople in responded to the investigation by “The Source” investigative TV program. And the answer to this, at least as documented in legal evidence, is that in the amended world Binyamin Netanyahu would go to prison. Yesterday. Something that really could happen. He doesn't really believe that Drucker can be put in prison unless his spacecraft has disengaged from Earth - Netanyahu's, not Drucker’s. I do not believe that Netanyahu intends for an unstable Bibist will harm Drucker…alhough that seems to be…approaching. It is a statement that has no chance of materializing, nor does it scare the rest of the journalists, and in some respects it is even a kind of boomerang, so the conclusion is that the man lost it. Both his reasoning and his self-control. The problem is what to do with a guy who has lost the brakes for reasons of lack of a reality tester…What’s it like to lie 24/7? Netanyahu needs to lie to his partners, his investigators, the settlers, the Americans, the public in Israel, his judges, to every leader in the world he met, including his moderate Arab friends. It's not at all easy to throw ten balls into the air, each of which contradicts and collides with the one flying next to it. Of course, he was caught in his lies in the mornings, but it is part of the autobiography of lies and falsehood. And in general, everyone is accustomed to both the lies that no one believes and the denials. So what if the prime minister said, stated, argued, blamed, dismissed, lamented, validated, censured, ridiculed, etc…The question, of course, is whether he knows he is wrong or misleading, and the answer is, of course. As long as he remembers that two plus two is four, he will not be able to escape reality. Every wanna-be psychologist, which we all are, knows that there is nothing like a house of cards of an alternate reality - and deep breathing exercises - to gather strength and skip between alternate realities…
Across Israeli Media There's No Microphone for Left Wingers (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Right-wing presenters are competing with one another in their complaints about short-changing and silencing, but that’s the tried and true extortionist method of the right: to lament and take control, in the media as in the settlements. Right- and left-wing programs are internal discussions of the right, an undisguised right-winger argues with a disguised one, together they mark the boundaries of debate…There is not a single left-wing broadcast, a place where they regularly and seriously discuss the crimes of the occupation, human rights, the violation of international law, the pursuit of asylum seekers, the shortchanging of Israeli Arabs and genuine diplomatic solutions.
No such thing as a 'lone-wolf' terrorist (Founder of right-wing legal group, Shurat Hadin, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, Israel Hayom) Lone-wolf terrorists are cogs in an orchestrated attack, and action must also be taken against the states and organizations that support them. [NOTE: Yair Netanyahu, the PM’s son, worked as social media coordinator at Shurat Hadin. - OH]
Don’t Believe the Hype. Immigration to Israel Is About to Go Down, Not Up (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Officials' projections, based on aliyah groups' estimates of a rise they link to coronavirus pandemic, are detached from reality.
Will Germany Be Bombing Afghanistan With Israeli Drones? (Jonathan Hempel, Haaretz+) Within some weeks, the German parliament will be voting on whether to arm Heron TP unmanned aerial vehicles made in Israel, which the German military uses in Afghanistan and Mali. The Israeli drones were supplied to the German army in a 1 billion euro deal signed in 2018 despite enormous public protest in Germany. The deal was approved because the drones were not armed, and thus could not be used for attacks. German soldiers are being trained in Israel to operate the new drones.
Dispute Over Nile Dam Keeps Tensions Between Egypt and Ethiopia High (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Cairo fears dam on the Blue Nile will reduce the water on which the entire country depends, while Addis Ababa decries U.S. intervention on behalf of Egypt.


Settler Leader: Trump's Plan Is a Scam, Netanyahu Will Establish a Palestinian State
Yesha Council head David Elhayani has become an unlikely critic of the ‘deal of the century.’ He charges that Jared Kushner has stabbed Benjamin Netanyahu in the back and that the U.S. president doesn't have a clue what’s in his Mideast peace plan. (Interviewed by Ravit Hecht in Haaretz+)

I’ll Support Annexation if Goal Is Separation, Left-wing Meretz Lawmaker Says
Meretz’s Yair Golan says if Israel reaches a solution in which Palestinians 'do not live under our control, I’ll support that.’ (Interviewed by Jonathan Lis in Haaretz+)

Gone with the rage
Churchill's statue was defaced with the word “racist," the movie "Gone with the Wind" was shelved from the streaming service, and the famous "Penny Lane" street from the Beatles song could change its name due to the claim that it commemorates a slave trader. The wave of protests over George Floyd's death ignites a heated debate over what are the borders: Where does the war on racism end and real harm to freedom of expression and cultural icons begin….(Interviews by Tzipi Schmilowitz in Yedioth Hebrew)
”Welcome to life in a persecuting society," says Dr. Danny Orbach, a researcher from the Department of History at the Hebrew University, who explains that a persecuting society is one that constantly tries to cleanse itself of some alternate enemy that is in it, "and the dynamic is one that always needs a new enemy, to sustain these mechanisms of persecution.”…Dr. Pnina Levy, an expert in US history from the Bar-Ilan University's General History Department, wonders what the next phase of this protest will be. “In the United States there is a massive commemoration of figures from the beginning of the nation, and what can you do when among its important founders were also slave owners?" she asks, referring to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson…
Dr. Orbach does not know when rage will pass. For him, a wave chases a wave and every day the struggle only expands. “That's the dynamic of a persecuting society,” he explains. “The definitions of what are you constantly fighting against continues to expand and it is a wave that will continue to spread in directions we didn't even think about.”
Journalist: So what will they do here? Get rid of Hasamba [children’s book series racist against Arabs - OH]? Or ‘borekas movies’ [reference to Israeli chauvinist and racist comedies - OH]?
Orbach laughs. "I do not see this phenomenon coming here. The danger of freedom of expression in Israel comes from the right, because in Israel the left barely exists and has zero political power. The left-wing here has no ability to go out to demonstrations that provoke resonance, as in the US, and it has no support from the government like the mayor in Alabama, who told protesters who had defaced a slave-supporting statue: ‘Be careful, the police are on the way. I'll finish the work and I'll take the statue down, you leave the place.’ We have a right-wing government and the tailwind it gives is in the opposite direction, and comes mainly from the right.”

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