News Nosh 6.21.20

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday June 21, 2020

Quote of the day:

"One doesn’t need to read 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion' in order to be filled with feelings of discomfort and injustice by the fact that the team mediating between representatives of the nation-state of the Jewish people and representatives of the Palestinian people is comprised entirely of Jews."
--Carolina Landsmann writes in Haaretz of the hypocrisy of the right-wing, which accuses the left-wing of being 'PC' and which likes to portray itself as “telling it as it is,” but is silent about the make-up of the US team that drafted the Trump peace plan and offered itself as an objective, impartial, unbiased broker between Palestinians and Israelis. Landsmann writes that one of the Trump team members, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, is so pro-settler he "makes Bibi (Netanyahu) look like Ahmad Tibi."*

You Must Be Kidding: 
45 days of community service.
--The sentence an IDF soldier received for shooting and killing a Palestinian fisherman in Gaza in 2018.**

Front Page:Haaretz

  • Report: Second wave began; Netanyahu considering renewing Shin Bet tracking surveillance over infected
  • WHO: Record number of daily recorded infected // Guardian
  • Without transparency, without consulting with experts: This is how Sigal Sedetzky managed the corona crisis
  • The message (Education Minister) Galant received: Education Ministry is not managed by orders - and not by preaching morality // Or Kashti
  • Government’s appeal rejected: School year ended at original date
  • UN: Number of displaced persons reached record of 80 million people in world
  • Not just corona // Haaretz Editorial writes that Israelis didn’t get the 'Emergency' coronavirus government they were promised
  • Stop whining // Jack Khoury writes that the Left must do more than Jewish-Arab union and Op-Eds to create change
  • After Amir Ivgi was appointed news director of Army Radio, Netanyahu can put a checkmark in the box: Another media target was conquered // Ariana Melamed
  • The correction to the distortion that inflated pensions, whose cost is in the billions, must be applied to the whole public sector // Sami Peretz

Yedioth Ahronoth

  • We must come to our senses // Nadav Eyal on the IDF Intel report that Israel is entering a second wave (Hebrew)
  • The teachers’ victory - Labor court ruled: School year won’t be extended (Hebrew)
  • They taught (Education Minister) Galant a lesson // Meirav Betito
  • The best women to IDF pilot’s course: N., M. and A. get their wings (Hebrew)

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • The warning of IDF Intel (on second wave of corona)
  • Price of annexation: High likelihood of violence
  • Instead of 16th birthday - funeral (Neta killed on motorcycle her brother rode)
  • End of school year - Labor court rejected state request to force teachers to teach 9 more days

Israel Hayom

Top News Summary:
Israel enters the second wave of corona and a military intel report foresees it will be much worse and an Israeli labor court ruled in favor of the teachers union and against the Education Ministry not to extend the school year despite lost days due to coronavirus making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Also interesting was an article in Haaretz+ about an Israeli study that revealed that the Palestinians are invisible in Israeli school textbooks. In one example, in a textbook for fourth-graders, a character named “Shulamit” referred to her settlement of Neveh Daniel as “a rural community…located in the Judea and Samaria region and belongs to the Gush Etzion Regional Council.” The only mention of the Palestinian neighbors not having the same rights as the members of her family was in four words at the end of a sentence: Between 1.7 million and 2.9 million Palestinians who live in “the region called Judea and Samaria are not Israeli citizens.” In most textbooks, “the Jewish control and the Palestinians’ inferior status appear as a natural, self-evident situation that one doesn’t have to think about,” wrote researcher Prof. Avner Ben-Amos of Tel-Aviv University. Meanwhile, Israel Hayom focused on a report against Hezbollah by the Anti-Defamation League, which found that two 6th-grade textbooks used in schools  “controlled by Hezbollah” described Judaism as “a religion confined to the Jews, the masters of the world and the emperors of the universe, which nobody is entitled to belong to, no matter his station…This is what made them hated and outcast, and perhaps what intensified people's aversion to them: their unjustness, their arrogance, their greed, and their monopolizing."

There was also more discussion about the case of the two star Maccabi Tel-Aviv soccer players (in their ’20’s) who had sex with 15 or 16-year-old girls, which has raised an angry debate between the soccer fans (some of whom are women) and people who are outraged at the players’ behavior. Maariv’s Lilach Sigan wrote a thoughtful piece about the problem of the culture of debate (or lack of it) in Israeli society and the problem of the generation growing up here who don’t understand right from wrong. (See Commentary/Analysis below.)

Corona Updates:

  • Israel Is Entering Second Coronavirus Wave, Reopening Risks Hundreds More Deaths, Government Agency Says = If steps to roll back reopenings and increase public awareness are not taken, Israel may see a thousand new coronavirus cases a day within a month, Center for Information and Knowledge on the Coronavirus report warns. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu Weighs Renewing Shin Bet Tracking of Coronavirus Patients as Cases in Israel Rise - Legislation allowing the security service to track confirmed patients' cellphones to identify those with whom they came into contact has been frozen since early June. (Haaretz+)
  • As West Bank Coronavirus Cases Rise, the Palestinian Authority Renews Restrictions - The Palestinian Authority will erect checkpoints, limit movement and close shops in Hebron and Nablus, two new hot spots as coronavirus cases spiked Saturday. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Bedouin mayor: Residents ashamed of having virus test - Rahat Mayor Faiz Abu Sahiben, who is in quarantine himself, says he has moved 80 patients into neighborhoods that will be under lockdown starting Friday, to isolate them. Many residents are ashamed of being infected with coronavirus and as a result avoid getting tested, he said. (Ynet)
  • Coronavirus Surge Imperils Israel's Chance to Get Green Light for Travel Abroad - Cyprus and Montenegro already downgraded Israel in their ranking for COVID-19 risk level, others may follow suit. (Haaretz+)

Annexation:Israel Hayom writes that at a meeting Friday with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Benny Gantz agreed to only a small-scale implementation of the Trump plan, despite the plan allowing annexation of 30% of the West Bank. Maariv reported that the concern of the Israeli security establishment is that annexation will provoke a third intifada. Ben Caspit wrote that the Shin Bet and the IDF are examining the possible implications of annexation. An extreme scenario is that a wave of violence that will begin in the Gaza Strip and ignite the West Bank. Other scenarios include the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, although the Shin Bet and the IDF Intelligence Division are united in the opinion that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would not want his life to end with such a legacy, Caspit wrote.

On Thursday, Channel 12 News reported that Gantz opposes annexing areas 'largely populated by Palestinians.’ And his reasoning illustrates that for Israeli military and politicians, Palestinian violence against Israeli forces can preserve their future country. ”In any scenario, we will not support applying sovereignty to areas with a Palestinian population in order to prevent friction." Gantz also cited the peace agreement with Jordan as reason not to make a move that would upset the Hashemite Kingdom.

And that same day, Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi made a surprise visit to Ramallah where he said that Israel "will be choosing conflict and escalation" if it annexes. Ironically, that visit came on the day that ‘Israel Hayom’ ran another erroneous pro-annexation article that reported that annexation won't damage security ties between Jordan and Israel. The next day it had to quote Jordanian Foreign Minister Safadi saying that “annexation will severely strain the peace deal.”

Nevertheless, ‘Israel Hayom’ also reported that a position paper presented to Intelligence Services Minister Eli Cohen (Likud) presented the advantages of annexation now. According to the analysis, international criticism of the initiative will wane after a short period of time and could even force the Palestinians back to the negotiating table. And religious right-wing Channel 10 Arab affairs commentator Zvi Yehezkeli also said the Arab countries won’t react negatively to annexation. “I think Arab states are not coming to save the Palestinians, which is their big rift. I don’t think that Arab countries can threaten Israel with severing relations because it just will not happen,” he told 103FM/Maariv.

In the US, senior pro-Israel Democrats released a statement opposing West Bank annexation. The ‘Israel Hayom’ English website ran an Associated Press article about how Palestinians in the Beqaa Jordan Valley fear Israel will displace them. Netanyahu said that the Palestinian population in the annexed areas will remain in an "enclave" under limited self-rule and would likely not be given citizenship, leaving their legal status uncertain.

Quick Hits:

  • **IDF soldier gets community service after killing Gazan - The soldier shot and killed a Palestinian fisherman near the Gaza frontier in 2018, for which he was given 45 days of community service after an army investigation concluded he fired without authorization, the military said Thursday. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • 'Rare window of opportunity for prisoner swap could close' - Officials involved in the ongoing talks say Hamas wants to make a deal but that Israeli decision-makers are dragging their feet. (Israel Hayom)
  • Hundreds of Protesters Call for Netanyahu's Resignation Outside Prime Minister's Residence - Protest organizer tells Haaretz 'We have nothing against the right, we're just against corruption,' calling for Netanyahu to step down amid his three corruption indictments. (Haaretz+)
  • Man arrested after threatening to stab anti-Netanyahu protester - The protester, who had been demonstrating outside the prime minister's residence for two weeks, said it was not the first time she had seen the man there. (Haaretz+)
  • TV anchorwoman, Rina Matzliach: "Netanyahu's supporters say they will vote for him even if he rapes their daughter" - Prime Minister attacked: "Shameful and disgraceful.” His son, Yair, also tweeted against Matzliach: "She's not in good health." The anchorwoman was summoned for a clarification Sunday morning with the CEO of Channel 12. (Maariv)
  • '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)
  • In Israeli Textbooks, the Palestinians Are All but Invisible - A study by Avner Ben-Amos of Tel Aviv University shows that the occupation is rarely mentioned in history, civics or geography textbooks. (Haaretz+)
  • Incoming MK seeks Likud-minded judges - Osnat Mark said that Likud wants to see its 'values' reflected, when asked whether she would support naming Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit or former prosecutor Shai Nitzan to sit on the Supreme Court. (Haaretz)
  • A (Bedouin) school principal was moderately injured after being shot in (Bedeouin town) Segev Shalom - Khatam Abu Qweider was shot near the door of his house in the village of Al-Zarnug on Friday night. Along with him, another man was seriously injured. Police believe the background to a criminal incident is related to a clash between extended families (hamulas). (Maariv)
  • Body of missing IDF soldier found in southern Israel - Sgt. Adiel Fishler, 21, went missing on Thursday. His body was found in a training area near the Shizafon Base in the Negev on Saturday. Military Police launches an investigation. (Maariv and Israel Hayom)
  • New Irish gov't gives Israel a victory after BDS bill shelved - The bill passed several readings in both chambers of parliament but new government has no plans to move further in the legislation process. (Israel Hayom)
  • UN Human Rights Council doubles down on anti-Israel 'blacklist' - Palestinians praise UNHRC's initiatives to establish a group of experts to be charged with providing annual updates to list of businesses that do business with Israeli firms located in east Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, and Judea and Samaria. (Israel Hayom)
  • As East Jerusalem suffers powers cuts, settlers were put on Israeli grid – but Palestinians not - Residents of Nof Tzion had suffered from service cuts to Palestinian provider, to which most Palestinians in East Jerusalem remain connected. (Haaretz+)
  • First Evidence of Life-sized Divine Statues Discovered in Biblical Lachish - Archaeologists find sceptre made of bronze with silver leaf in the Holy of Holies in a Canaanite temple from 3,200 years ago, that likely was held by a large statue of a god. (Haaretz+)
  • Muslim Arab singer poised to take Israeli pop scene by storm - A new ballad by newcomer Amir Abu features both Hebrew and Arabic lyrics. "That represents who I am," the Beersheba native says. (Israel Hayom)
  • Russia denies Israel Hayom report on UN veto threat - Russia's Foreign Ministry releases an official statement Thursday repudiating the Israel Hayom story regarding the reported threat of vetoing a US-led resolution in 2016 endorsing the creation of a Palestinian state. (Israel Hayom)
  • Saudi Arabia to Lift Nationwide Coronavirus Curfew, Resume Economic Activities From Sunday - Restrictions will remain, however, for religious pilgrimages, international travel and social gatherings of more than 50 people. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Draft UN resolution calls to open additional aid crossing to Syria to combat coronavirus - Draft proposes reopening Iraqi border crossing in northeast, after Russia insisted it be shut in January, emphasizing that 11 million Syrians are in 'urgent' need of aid. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • UN Reports a Record 79.5 Million Displaced at End of 2019 - About one percent of the global population fled war or persecution by the end of last year, even though the coronavirus crisis slowed the exodus. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran's Currency Drops to Lowest Value Ever Against the Dollar Amid Sanctions - Rial has hit value of 190,000 per dollar, from a rate of 32,000 to a dollar at the time of the 2015 nuclear deal. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran may offer discounts to lure airlines to fly through its airspace - Iran is one of many countries to charge so-called overflight fees, which are generally used to fund services such as air traffic control, weather data and aeronautical information. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • European states won't back U.S. efforts to revive UN sanctions on Iran - US: "We will not allow Israel to be erased.” IAEA adopts resolution pressing Iran to provide its inspectors access to two suspicious sites. France, Germany and the UK oppose the return of sanctions abolished in the nuclear agreement - but also oppose the cancelling of the arms embargo on Iran. Iran: "Europe is playing into the hands of Trump and Netanyahu.” (Maariv and Haaretz)
  • Turkey plans more military bases in north Iraq after offensive, official says - Turkey's ambassador to Baghdad, Fatih Yildiz, said on Twitter on Tuesday that he had been summoned by the Iraqi foreign ministry over the Turkish incursion into Iraq. (Agencies, Haaretz)

Features:Breaches in Israel's Security Fence Are No Secret. Why Do Troops Still Ambush Palestinian Laborers Who Cross?
Every day thousands of Palestinian workers enter Israel via breaches in the security fence, between Jenin and Qalqilyah. Sometimes, however, the army ambushes them – and shoots them in the legs. (Gideon Levy and Alex Levac, Haaretz+)
The Dark Truth Behind the Israeli Army's Reenactment of the Six-Day War
The popular propaganda film ‘Six Days’ glorified Israel’s achievements in the 1967 war – but a horrific price was exacted while it was being made. (Adam Raz, Haaretz+)
Egyptians struggle to keep art of papyrus-making viable
Locals in the Land of the Nile fear the millennia-old tradition would disappear completely as tourist hotspots on the Red Sea and Cairo are abandoned due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Reuters, Ynet)
These Jaffa Women Are Reclaiming Space for Palestinian Culture
Two new businesses that opened recently in Jaffa, despite the coronavirus odds, tell the story of the ancient-modern locale from an unusual viewpoint – that of the Arab women who established them. (Ronit Vered, Haaretz+)
Dressmakers keep Palestinian tradition alive in refugee camp in Jordan
In the sprawling Baqaa camp in Jordan, a group of women sews colorful dresses they sell to customers in fashionable parts of nearby Amman, giving them an income and upholding old customs. (Reuters, Ynet and Israel Hayom)

Annexation Commentary/Analysis:
Israel’s Illusion of Annexation Is a Hopeless Adventure (Shlomo Avineri, Haaretz+) Supporters of annexation seize on two systems of reasoning that they use interchangeably; one is the security-strategic system and the other is ideological. The security reasoning argues that in light of the country’s narrow 1967 borders, Israel must ensure a security presence in the West Bank, especially in the Jordan Valley. This is a legitimate reason, valid also now, despite the current weakness of Arab countries and the slim chances of achieving any significant negotiations for a peace agreement with the Palestinians. Still, Israel de facto controls these territories, and annexing the West Bank or any part of it will not improve its situation; on the contrary.
Beware: Annexation is a Palestinian trap (Yossi Beilin, Israel Hayom) The numerous voices on the Palestinian street favoring annexation shouldn't be viewed as an endorsement of this capricious endeavor – rather as a stark warning against it.
*The Jews Are Coming, Starting With U.S. Ambassador David Friedman (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) The battle against political correctness must not remain in the hands of the right, in part because the defense of political correctness then becomes identified with the left and its values and leftists are turned into the thought and language police. People who have been wondering lately about the odd correlation among support for Benjamin Netanyahu, the defense of soccer players who have sex with underage girls and police officers who shoot Palestinians with developmental disorders ignore the equivalent on the left: the correlation between the struggle against the occupation and the pile-on against a female author who insists that only women menstruate, for example. Anyone who refuses to adopt the entire page of talking points for each of the issues in the left’s basket is denounced as a collaborator and given two options: Either defect to the right or shut up.
On the verge of exploding (Shimon Shiffer, Yedioth Hebrew) After reading the news that North Korea had blown up its coordination offices with the South a few days ago and is threatening to transfer military and artillery to the border with Seoul, I have come to the sad conclusion that our reliance on Donald Trump could end in an explosion that cannot be assessed. "We will have a great relationship," Trump declared on one of the three occasions he met with Northern leader Kim Jong Un. “He is so full of shit,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote. And here, Trump promised us that America would support the annexation of the Jordan Valley and large areas of the West Bank. So what if he promised. Just try to imagine the picture in which Netanyahu and sat sitting last week in front of US Ambassador David Friedman, who mediated between their positions on the issue of the extent of the territories that will be annexed to Israeli sovereignty. Delusional...Without being an expert in international relations, one can easily point to the line connecting the explosion at the Coordination Office in the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas and an explosion that might happen in our area if we continue to lay all the eggs in Donald Trump's basket full of holes.
Applying sovereignty reflects governability (Jacob Bardugo, Israel Hayom) Gantz and Ashkenazi need to learn that to become actual statesmen they first have to present a real worldview, rooted in ideology rather than in a political shopping spree meant to get them elected.
Full Annexation or Limited Sovereignty: Netanyahu's Multiple Scenarios Have One Goal (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Even the ideology behind annexation is informed by political considerations – and these are tied directly to the prime minister's corruption trial.
Build now, talk later (David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom) Whether sovereignty over some or all the settlements is declared or not, the Netanyahu-Gantz unity government should be building like crazy in all the critical zones.
In the West Bank there is a particularly flammable recipe, even before annexation enters the equation (Alon Ben David, Maariv) …After months of quiet in both Palestinian arenas (Gaza and West Bank), the temperature there has been climbing in recent days and may well boil, regardless of whether or not there will be a declaration (of annexation) in July. Although the annexation is even less of an interest to the Palestinian public than it is to Israelis, the breaking off of communication between the Palestinian Authority and Israel and the cessation of (PA) salary payments are a flammable recipe. Abbas will be happy that the explosion will happen in Gaza and that Judea and Samaria (West Bank) will remain quiet - Hamas wants the exact opposite. The result may be a flare in both arenas. In case you were wondering, the Gaza Strip is also not quiet.
The Zionist Left Is Dormant as West Bank Annexation Nears (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) The annexation drama seems to be imploding. Less than two weeks before the target date, it appears that what will be left of the confetti thrown in the air after Donald Trump’s plan was unveiled in Washington is some declarative or symbolic scrap. As usual with Benjamin Netanyahu, there’s a lot of noise but little action (without making light of the noise’s potential to do harm). The argument over annexation is happening exclusively within the right. The moderate school, represented by people like Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi, accepts Netanyahu’s explanation that applying sovereignty only requires launching negotiations, which the Palestinians are so far refusing to participate in, without any substantive Israeli commitments, and certainly not to a Palestinian state. So Israel – that is, the settlements – can only gain by adopting Trump’s plan. This is the classic position adopted by Mapai, Israel’s first ruling party (and first Labor party - OH), and it also suits Netanyahu’s character. He has always favored buying maximum time with minimum action.
Despite The unflattering polls, it appears that Gantz and Ashkenazi are ready to go toward elections (Anna Barsky, Maariv) The polls indicate a decline in the party that has been an alternative to the (Likud) government for a year. Nonetheless, Kahol-Lavan leaders are trying to flex muscles, but the power, as usual, is in Netanyahu's hands…Last week, Gantz made a trip to the Justice Ministry for a visit that was defined as "demonstrating support for the judicial system in light of the threats to Justice Anat Baron."Gantz spokeswomen sent the news websites a photo in which Gantz was seen walking down the narrow corridor of the Justice Ministry along with Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit. The picture shocked Likud members. "Since when does the defense minister patrol the Justice Department?" They were furious. "What minister does a media tour of another ministry? If this is not a political act meant to tell us something to us, then what is it?" they asked. Well, it was a political act that came to say something to the prime minister and the public. And the message was: We have not been lost in this huge and strange government, we have not surrendered to the “Just Bibi" there, and “We are ready”…To someone, for whom going to an election is (political) suicide, it is difficult to threaten with elections. Especially when it comes to a threat on a man who has managed to take apart all his enemies from inside and outside, who has increased his power and intends to remain at Balfour Street - at a time when the one threatening has only lost power…
As Gantz Implodes, Netanyahu Is Dreaming of Another Election (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) The Kahol Lavan leader, who seems to have fallen in love with the trappings of power, is determined not to give Bibi an excuse to break up the unity government.
America, Israel, and original sin (Ben Cohen, Israel Hayom) However battered our current system looks, it remains true that a democratic system is the best framework for balancing the freedom of individuals with the requirement for social order and civic justice.
Netanyahu’s (Last?) Chance (Israel Harel, Haaretz+)  Contrary to the disinformation in the media, Netanyahu is determined to implement U.S. President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century,” if only with a “humble beginning.” On Wednesday, Israel Hayom diplomatic correspondent Ariel Kahana reported that in this “humble beginning,” Netanyahu plans to apply Israeli sovereignty to about 10 percent of Judea and Samaria, comprising “the heart of the historical Land of Israel.” The proposal submitted to the Knesset won’t include any mention of a Palestinian state.  Netanyahu, per this report, terms the move a “first tranche.” In subsequent installments, sovereignty will be applied to the Jordan Valley and the major settlement blocs. Only time will tell whether this time, for a change, Netanyahu will demonstrate resolve and implement this plan without the consent of the Americans (who have conditioned their support on the consent of Kahol Lavan)…
The honeymoon is over (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) The discord in the unity government is growing louder by the minute and it seems no one is wary of contemplating the possibility of elections in public. Speaking with close associates, Netanyahu made it clear this week that he plans to push through with the move regardless of any reservations expressed by Blue and White. The fact that MK Yoaz Hendel said he would back the plan will give the Right the necessary majority to pass the motion in the government, even if by only one vote.
The reasons behind Palestinian apathy towards annexation (Khaled Abu Toameh, JPost/Maariv) Right now, Palestinians feel less motivated to take to the streets to protest Israeli or US policies as Fatah and Hamas leaders continue to engage in an incomprehensible struggle over money and power.
The Palestinian Authority Isn't Gunning for an Intifada. Hamas Might Be a Different Story (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) If Israel's annexation scheme doesn't spark violence in the territories, the dire economic situation might.
In annexation, it's maximum land, minimum Palestinians (Gilad Sharon, Yedioth/Ynet) It is in our interest to annex settlements and unpopulated West Bank land, while threats from regional allies, primarily Gulf states, can be put aside since those regimes depend on Israel's help in order to survive Iran's aggression.
Trump plan offers chance to change the Hamas equation (Col. (res.) Ronen Itsik, Israel Hayom) The approach of withdrawal and "separation" has proven to incur the maximum cost and maximal damage. There is no worse alternative.
Is Chabad about to make the most calamitous mistake in its history? (Eric H. Yoffie, Haaretz+) Chabad wants to play a two-faced game, backing Israel’s most fanatic settlers on annexation but maintaining its non-political Jewish outreach image, and funding, in the U.S. It’s not going to work.

Other Top Commentary/Analysis:
Black Lives Matter in Israel? Sounds Like Science Fiction (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) …Last week I visited the “Tulkarm Terminal” – one of the larger makeshift crossings. Hundreds of people, among them entire families, cross the fence there on a daily basis. Destitute unemployed youths, hardscrabble elderly people, life partners torn apart by draconian family unification laws and children who go to beg at traffic intersections to enhance their families’ meager income. All these people should inspire a sense of compassion in Israel. But the IDF decides every few weeks to ambush these poor people and shoot them in the legs or beat them to a pulp. Besides the aim of just plain abuse, this mockery of “operational” action on the army’s part has no value. The holes are left open, and thousands of desperate Palestinians continue to endanger themselves by infiltrating through them. If they had sought to use them for waging attacks in Israel they could have done so long ago. The occasional shooting at young men in the legs therefore has nothing to do with security…
The case of the soccer players (who had sex with the high school girls) reminds us that there is generation being raised here is that doesn't understand proper relationships (Lilach Sigan, Maariv) The norm is manifestly bad, and the beastly behavior, even if it is legal, does not really deserve being defended. Those who say that the public attack on the soccer players was a lynch are correct. But those who say they have to take responsibility as adults are right and to realize that you must pay a price for an ugly act, even if it is not criminal. Is it possible to have a situation where there minors with problematic judgment and parents who aren’t listening, and for soccer players whose priorities in life are wrong? Not according to the way we argue (in Israel), which is conducted as a zero-sum game, even though it is not. We just got accustomed to the dynamics of a lynch. One lynch seems to justify the opposite side to lynch. The righteous attacked the soccer players, so the soccer fans attacked the minors, and the righteous attacked back in shock that someone dared to defend the soccer players. Except that, in practice, there is a degree of justice in both arguments, and the arguments do not necessarily contradict each other. What seems to be leading all our arguments in recent times is the sense of discrimination. Just like every issue on the public agenda, both sides argue belligerently over who is the discriminated underdog. After all, those who protect minors can also linger on what motivated them - the celebs' culture and the publicity of the moment, which is the be-all and end-all of life, and the implicit assumption that the whole world needs to protect them as a way of life, in addition to their parents and themselves. And those who defend the soccer players resent the feminist jihad, the damn elites, and of course - how not - discrimination of the Mizrahim. After all, there can be no soccer player in the world who is also Ashkenazi. That is how the argument looks. In the end no one wins. The shallow culture remains, real problems are buried under the inflated discrimination arguments, and then everyone goes home disgruntled with feelings of discrimination that have not received enough recognition, and no one feels guilty about anything. The cultivation of (the sense of) discrimination is a disease that decays discourse and values. Apparent discrimination is instrumental in permitting everything: If anything is done wrong to me, I can riot, in every conceivable way, to defend myself. And on the way, we all miss the essence - the fact that we have become a society with far less tolerance, fast to judge those who are "not our own," and worse - that we no longer agree with what is an ugly act and what is not. Even if the soccer players are not convicted of a criminal offense, their act is not worthy of respect or defense. It's better to respect soccer players who spend their free time training at-risk youth, rather than going out of their way to protect the (soccer players who had sex with minors) on the grounds that there is nothing wrong with sleeping with minors, right? To some extent, this is reminiscent of the story of the youth in Cyprus. [Reference to the 9 Israeli youth who were accused of gang raping a British girl, who a Cypriot court later found guilty of lying - but which no one believes. - OH] The real problem, underneath all the discriminated, is that a generation was raised here on Instagram and items from Guy Pines (celeb TV program) and not a small part of these people understand what is a normal relationship with the opposite sex. Beastly behavior, even if it is legal, does not really deserve protection. It creates norms that cause daily misery for many young people who do not know how to make contact. Marginal norms can also cause a 24-year-old man to cajole a 13-year-old girl on Instagram and rape her. The norm is clearly wrong, but it is not so clear how the lynching debate culture which we have adopted will correct it.
How Israel became exempt from the global reckoning over racism (Ofri Ilany, Haaretz+) World sensitivity to racism and oppression is surging, but historical injustice in Israel is hardly drawing to an end. In fact, it’s only getting worse.
When the media decides to take one small event and inflate it for political reasons (Kalman Libskind, Maariv) The threat to Justice Baron is no more serious than daily threats to ministers, which the media is making light of Jewish boys raising their hand on Arabs in Hebron [reference to a gang of Jewish settlers who beat an Arab youth - OH] is esoteric when compared to serious attacks on Jews, which the media ignores.
Tzipi Hotovely Is the Ugly, Extremist Face of Israel. British Jews Should Welcome Her (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) …As an Israeli, I hate the fact that Hotovely will be representing my country in the country of my birth. As a British Jew, I hate the fact that Hotovely will be Israel’s public face in Britain for the next few years…Israel has been represented for too long by urbane professionals who lull a liberal audience into forgetting they represent a Netanyahu government. Hotovely is an unabashed Islamophobe and religious fundamentalist who denies the existence of the Palestinian people and supports annexation of the entire West Bank and Jewish control of the Temple Mount. She is entirely dismissive of the Diaspora…
The heavy price Netanyahu paid in the Shalit (prisoner exchange) deal makes it difficult to bring back the boys from Gaza (Avi Issacharoff, Maariv) The repercussions of the Shalit deal continue to make it more difficult for resolving the issue of the prisoners [two presumably dead IDF soldiers - OH] and missing persons [an Ethiopian-Israel and a Bedouin Israeli - both mentally ill who entered Gaza of their own accord - OH]. And also: the Gaza time bomb: It is difficult to ignore the dire economic situation in Gaza. A, a resident of the Gaza Strip, told me this week that corona is still alive in Gaza, along with the economic collapse. "People have a lot less money to live off of. Look what happened in the past two weeks: Hamas government officials (20-30,000 people) received only half of their salary because of the organization's budget crisis. Palestinian Authority officials did not receive their salaries at all - the PA stopped collecting tax money from Israel and does not transfer salaries to about 30,000 people -  and even those thousands who work for organizations affiliated with Muhammad Dahlan (a (former) senior Fatah person and rival of Abu Mazen) received only half a salary. Add to that all the unemployed (almost 50% unemployment), and you get a time bomb. People today do not have enough money to eat meat or chicken. So they buy vegetables. You can buy a pound of tomatoes, eggplant, or potatoes for a shekel (about 25 cents). So we manage to produce meals that will last for a few days at a cost of 3 shekels (less than a dollar)." Meanwhile, a lot of mediators, and even Qatar, are trying to keep things calm.
Gantz's Party Keeps on Breaking All Its Promises (Friday Haaretz Editorial) They promised not to serve in a government led by a man who has been charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust, and here they are filling the abundant ministries of this wasteful government. They had talked about forming a secular government that would take action against religious coercion and that would not include ultra-Orthodox parties. They even specifically mentioned that they would act to introduce public transportation on the Sabbath. But on Wednesday, Kahol Lavan lawmakers joined with Haredim to foil the passage of a bill that sought to loosen slightly the ultra-Orthodox chokehold from around the neck of Israelis who are not observant Jews. Eleven Kahol Lavan legislators and 42 Knesset members from other parties voted against the draft law sponsored by MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) to operate public transportation on Shabbat. But now the ultra-Orthodox party is demanding a separate, “kosher” electricity grid for Haredi communities, including the construction of dedicated power stations that will not operate on Shabbat. Perhaps they believe that with the help of their new friends from Kahol Lavan they will be able to push through this preposterous project as well, and that once again the rest of the country will pay for it.
The UAE wants to capture the heart of America, and on the way it parked in Israel (Jacky Hougy, Maariv) The pro-Israeli blitz initiated by Abu Dhabi hides an effort to get closer to the White House. And, yet, they put a magical proposal before us: give up the annexation plan, and get a ‘peace minus’ agreement. Their proposal is not contingent on a permanent settlement with the Palestinians or on withdrawal from (biblical forefathers’) graves , but on the waiver of the annexation, which is fragile anyway. And it is not accompanied by threats or the use of force. On the contrary. Not anytime soon will we Israelis fill the streets of Dubai, their business capital. The UAE will not give a full peace agreement (to Israel), including the exchange of ambassadors, as long as no political agreement is signed by the Palestinians, as an act of justice. But contractual peace agreements, such as those signed with Jordan and Egypt, are in yesterday's world. In today's world, reality determines peace, not the dead written word.
Defending America's defenders (Clifford D. May, Israel Hayom) The Trump administration begins to stand up to a hostile international organization.
When the director of the Al-Qassum Village Council returned the keys in order to stay alive (Kalman Libskind, Maariv) The story of Eyal Nazri, who left the Bedouin council in the Negev, after being attacked by masked men, is the story of a state within a state, with its own rules, its own culture, and its own laws.
"I said: 'Don't bring the police anti-terror unit or the IDF Duvdevan Unit (pretend to be Palestinians). We will catch the terrorist who killed Amit (Ben-Yigal)"
He was the first Druze to finish the Shaldag unit training and has since held numerous roles in elite units. But the childhood dream of Lt. Col. Ayub Kayuf was fulfilled only when he was appointed commander of the Golani Brigade’s commando unit. In an exclusive interview, he tells why he insisted that his fighters capture the stone-thrower who caused the death of Sgt. Amit Ben-Yigal, he spoke about the unusual inappropriate incidents that occurred in the commando unit before his term and revealed why the Golani soldier who rescued a Palestinian from a lynch (by settlers) blocked him on his phone. (Interviewed by Yossi Yehoshua and Reuven Weiss in Yedioth Hebrew)
About two months after receiving the command of the commando unit, he faced a confrontation with the residents of Yitzhar (settlement).
AK: ”We caught one of the settlers, unjustly, they claim," he recalls. "Then, on Friday morning, I gave my soldiers a settlement protection exercise. I was not satisfied and did the exercise three times in succession. When we finished to my satisfaction and I intended to do a military exercise in the next settlement, (the settlers) made a barrier at the exit from the settlement. They threw stones at one of the jeeps in my convoy. An argument developed between me and the settlers. I kept myself restrained. It could easily have developed into a more aggressive confrontation. It ended with police complaints.”
Journalist: How did you feel?
AK: “Due to my age and experience, I know how to mediate the situation for myself. I understand somehow. But the soldiers who defend the settlement day and night, they simply risk themselves in protecting the settlers, it's hard for them to understand this.”
Journalist: And how did you feel when you saw Effi, the Golani Battalion 51 soldier, who rescued a Palestinian in Hebron from the hands of settlers who attacked him and tried to lynch him?
AK: "I don't know this soldier personally, but I was moved to see how he behaved there. As soon as I saw it, I called Efraim Tehila, his commander, and asked him for the soldier’s phone number. Although I am a lieutenant colonel and he is a soldier in another regiment, and we do not know each other at all, I wanted to personally praise him for his conduct. He did not answer my call. Then I called again, and again he did not answer. I called back Efraim and told him that his soldier wasn’t answering. He explained to me that immediately after the incident was publicized, the soldier was instructed not to answer phone calls from numbers he did not recognize. Of course he didn't know my number, so it turned that he didn’t answer the commander of the commando unit."

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