News Nosh 6.25.20

APN's daily news review from Israel  - Thursday June 25, 2020

Quote of the day:

"Israel is the land of memorials. There are more memorials in Israel in relation to the population than in any other country; a memorial for every eight fallen in battle, on average. In Europe there’s a memorial for every 10,000 fallen. Nevertheless, one can hope that someday Israel will confront its past and find those who will dare to take down both the signs and heroes."
--Haaretz+ commentator Gideon Levy on the hope that Israel will one day be able to review its past as the US is.*

Front Page:


Yedioth Ahronoth

  • The vote and the chutzpah (on the vote against approving unemployment benefits to self-employed) (Hebrew)
  • 532 new corona cases (Hebrew)

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • Back to surveillance tracking
  • The UN against annexation
  • On the edge of an abyss - Health Ministry statistics show rise in suicide; Law for unemployment stipends for self-employed was shot down by the coalition
  • Fear of a second wave: Bank of Israel will update downward the forecast of growth of the economy

Israel Hayom

Top News Summary:
The Knesset passes the first reading of a bill to allow surveillance tracking of citizens to fight corona as well as a law to legalize marijuana, but the coalition government shot down a bill to give unemployment benefits to the self-employed as the rate of suicide rises and the medical specialist interns and social workers demonstrate against the health and welfare systems that are collapsing due to lack of manpower - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers along with the announcement by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres that Israeli annexation of West Bank lands would be a violation of international law.

But what did not make headlines today was the fact that the Ahmed Erakat, 26, driver of Tuesday’s ’car-ramming attack,’ who was shot dead by Israeli soldiers, was the nephew of senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat and he was on the way to pick up his sister from the beauty salon ahead of her wedding later that day. He, too, was to be married next month. The papers stressed that a video released by the Police show that his car sped up and swerved hitting a soldier standing at a military check post. Dr. Saeb Erekat posted a photo of the invitation to the wedding saying that his nephew was murdered in cold blood. His family believes that he lost control over the car. Yet Ynet suggested that the young man may have had a motive to die, to save his family’s dignity. Ynet shared a video that the young man filmed in which he explained that a rumor claiming he is a spy working with Israel had spread online and caused his family great shame, making him slip into depression as a result. It is not clear when the video was filmed.


UN Chief Antonio Guterres and UN Mideast Envoy Nickolay Mladenov said that Israeli annexation of West Bank lands, scheduled to take place in six days, would constitute “a most serious violation of international law.” Speaking at a special UN Security Council meeting on annexation, Guterres called on Israel to abandon the plan. Germany, Belgium France, Estonia, Ireland, the U.K., and Norway also said jointly that they would not recognize the annexation and that there would be diplomatic consequences. Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit warned that annexation could ignite "a religious war in and beyond our region."

What made less headlines was that in Ramallah, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that if Israel annexes “even an inch” of the West Bank, it can take the keys and assume responsibility for all the millions of Palestinians as the occupier of a civilian population, as per the Fourth Geneva Convention. Ramallah officials have floated the possibility of dissolving the Palestinian Authority. In Jerusalem, Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said that "Everyone understands that annexation will not include the Jordan Valley,” Maariv reported. The former chief of staff and number 2 in Kahol-Lavan said in closed talks that the Beqaa Jordan Valley will not be included in the historic move of applying Israeli law. And in the US, Kellyanne Conway, advisor to President Donald Trump, teased that Trump will be making a "big announcement" soon on Israel's plans to annex parts of the West Bank. White House officials are discussing what stance to take about Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s July 1st annexation date. Maariv reported that David Shankar, US Assistant Secretary of State for Middle East Affairs, addressed the warnings from the Gulf states regarding annexation, saying that the US is certain that Israel will take into consideration the perspective of Arab states on the issue of annexation. "Israel has made the right decisions in the past,” Shankar told KAN Radio Bet. On Thursday, Hamas warned Israel against annexation: "Such a move is a declaration of war on our people,” said spokesman Abu Obeida, calling it “an important turning point in the history of the Palestinian people.” (Maariv)

Quick Hits:

  • (Thursday:) Jerusalem Court Approves Disputed Sale of Greek Church Property to Jewish Settler Group - Ruling caps Orthodox Church's 16-year legal battle challenging the validity of the sale of Old City property to right-wing group that seeks to increase Jewish presence in East Jerusalem. (Haaretz+ and VIDEO)
  • Blue and White MKs admit shame for giving Netanyahu money - The coalition succeeded in passing the proposal by and 8 to 5 vote, despite Blue and White MKs boycotting the meeting, because Blue and White had given Likud one of its places on the committee. (Israel Hayom)
  • Yesh Atid protests submarine affair with zeppelin - The Knesset plenum voted 54-25 to reject a request by Yesh Atid-Telem for a commission of inquiry to investigate Netanyahu's role in the submarine affair. (Maariv and JPost)
  • Palestinian Who Killed Israeli Baby, Two Soldiers in West Bank Sentenced to Four Life Terms - Assam Barghouti, whose family has links to Hamas, spent 11 years in Israeli prison until his release in April 2018, after which he carried out two deadly attacks. (Maariv, Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Military Intelligence Directorate launches new, first-of-its-kind drone unit - The unit will deploy drones equipped with sophisticated technology and use methods that differ from the army's traditional use of drone technology. (Israel Hayom)
  • Defying High Court, the Israeli Army Still Presses non-Jewish Soldiers to Convert - Soldiers continue to be approached regarding the army's pre-conversion course, regardless of their interest in participating. (Haaretz+)
  • After Iran cyberattack, IDF honors troops for successful secret activities - In the presence of IDF Intelligence commander Major General Tamir Hyman, a ceremony was held in which certificates were awarded to a number of units (including Unit 8200) that worked in cooperation with each other and resulted in a unique and impressive operational achievement. (Maariv and JPost)
  • “A racist broadcaster who lashes at Arabs”: The listener who left radio host Avri Gilad in shock - After saying on his program that "Arab society only knows rage and anger," a listener who surprised the veteran presenter saying on air: "Your attitude toward Arab culture is reminiscent of the attitude toward Jews in the past." (Maariv)
  • Nefesh B'Nefesh signs deal with El Al for 14 'Group Aliyah Flights' - Move comes on the heels of an unprecedented increase in interest from North American Jews to move to Israel. (Israel Hayom)
  • 'I'm gay and I'm proud': Israeli MK pledges fight for equality - Yorai Lahav Hertzanu from the Yesh Atid party becomes sixth openly gay member of the 120-seat Knesset; Israel has the fifth-highest share of LGBT+ MPs globally. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Report: Ehud Barak named by woman in Epstein sex trafficking scandal - Former prime minister claims his name was added into press report in order to distract from accusations against celebrity U.S. lawyer Dershowitz, who is facing his own accusations of involvement in long-term rape of child. (Yedioth/Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli Social Workers Overwhelmed as Welfare Applications Skyrocket Amid Coronavirus Crisis - Social service departments have collapsed under the weight of caseloads the economic crisis has added to an already struggling system, social workers say. (Maariv and Haaretz+)
  • Archaeologists Discover Jordanian Ammunition Stash in Jerusalem's Old City - Stash found at the bottom of a British Mandate period water cistern contains magazines, bayonets and parts of a rifle. (Haaretz+)
  • A Month After Cyberattack in Iran, Israeli Military Intel Units Honored for 'Successful Covert Operation' - Certificates of appreciation given to intel units after cyberattack attributed to Israel hit Iranian port, causing massive backups. (Haaretz+)
  • U.S. Threatens to Seek UN Sanctions if Iran Arms Embargo Not Extended - Pompeo says that without extending the arms embargo, 'Iran will be able to purchase advanced weapons systems and become an arms dealer of choice for terrorists and rogue regimes all throughout the world.’ (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran's Official Coronavirus Death Toll Continues to Resurge, Nears 10,000 - The daily death toll has regularly topped 100 in the past week for the first time in two months, mirroring a sharp rise in new infections since restrictions on movement began to be lifted in mid-April. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • U.S. Report Cites Rise in Iran-backed and White Supremacist Attacks - The State Department said Wednesday in its annual report on terrorism that while Iran, ISIS and al-Qaida endured serious setbacks in 2019, they remain a global threat - as do white nationalists. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Syrian FM says US sanctions seek to 'starve the people' - Walid Moallem says the US sanctions are a challenge but not impossible to overcome, and insists that the regime will be able to cope with the so-called Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)

Annexation Commentary/Analysis:
Netanyahu Played the Annexation Card Too Soon, and He Knows It (Yossi Klein, Haaretz+) A thousand wise men can’t retrieve a stone that one fool threw into a well. A thousand wise men, commentators, associates and advisers can’t catch the annexation that one fool threw into the air.
The great myth of Israeli 'annexation' (Alex Traiman, Israel Hayom) The Jewish state is not about to march across any border or claim even an inch of new territory. To the contrary, its footprint in Judea and Samaria will remain exactly the same.
Engel’s Defeat in N.Y. Should Spur Netanyahu to Rethink Annexation – but It Won’t (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Strategic importance of U.S.-Israeli ties mandates postponement of any final decision on the Palestinian territories until the presidential elections in November.
US's decision could push Israel toward another election (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) Things could go either way when it comes to PM Netanyahu's plan to declare sovereignty, with or without support from Blue and White.
Israel's High Court Is Willfully Blind to Theft of Palestinian Land (B’tselem research director, Yael Stein, Haaretz+) In striking down the regularization law, the High Court of Justice could have focused on the narrow issue at hand: the retroactive legalization of homes built on privately owned Palestinian land in settlements, or on unregistered land and without construction permits. In striking down the regularization law, the High Court of Justice could have focused on the narrow issue at hand: the retroactive legalization of homes built on privately owned Palestinian land in settlements, or on unregistered land and without construction permits. A few additional details: That declaration was based on a skewed interpretation of the law and carried out in violation of the basic tenets of due process. Moreover, even if this were in fact public land, it was meant for the Palestinians, not the settlers, who were not supposed to be there: The entire settlement enterprise is prohibited and constitutes a war crime – a point that Hayut ignored…On the basis of the facts that Hayut chose to mention, it transpires that the theft of land, the establishment of 250 settlements and their expansion over the years, and the population of these communities with hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens who enjoy rights that are stripped from their neighbors, briefly appear to be reasonable…
Shattering the Oslo illusions (Sarah N. Stern, Israel Hayom) Many other variations set along the same basic themes have been offered: Oslo II, the Hebron Accords, the Wye River Memorandum, the "road map for peace." The same set of conditions was continuously placed upon the Palestinians, all almost entirely ignored.

Other Top Commentary/Analysis:
Israeli War Criminals Shot My Cousin, Then Let Him Bleed to Death (Dalal Iriqat, Haaretz+) We Palestinians are used to Israel’s attempts to blame the victim, to swing the blame for each field execution back on us. Don’t let the occupation rewrite Ahmed's story.
It's time we look out for ourselves (Dan Schueftan, Israel Hayom) The international community will oppose any Israeli sovereignty move, as it does whenever Israel prioritizes its own interests. But Israel's vital needs cannot be dependent on its
*America Is Smashing Statues and Falsehoods. Will Israel Someday Also Confront Its Past? (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) America is now smashing its statues and its falsehoods; myth after myth is being debunked. The statue of Theodore Roosevelt, flanked by an African American and Native American, is going to be removed from the entrance to the Museum of Natural History in New York. They’ve already written “killer scum” on the pedestal of the statue of Andrew Jackson in Washington. Jackson expelled tens of thousands of Native Americans from their lands, and now it’s time for an accounting. A movement that’s gaining strength is seeking to shatter the reputations of American heroes who were involved in slavery, racism, oppression and expulsions. When will this happen here?…
After 75 years: In what year did Israel change its status in the UN? (Daniel Carmon, Maariv) Israel needs to add and promote new diplomatic strategy in the UN, shake off the complexities of the past and adopt an enterprising approach, according to which it will conduct itself, as all members, by right and not by grace.
Unemployment, Coupled With Leaders Looking Out for Themselves, Could Lead Israel to Mass Social Unrest (Sami Peretz, Haaretz+) It’s clear that the labor market is in a delicate, critical situation that needs significant action in order to recuperate, so temporary unemployment doesn't become permanent.
Israel's Security Service Opposes Tracking Citizens to Fight Coronavirus, but Government at a Loss (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Cabinet found no solution to limit the virus’s spread, so comprehensive digital tracking is the plan.
Engel’s defeat in N.Y. should spur Netanyahu to rethink annexation – but it won’t (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Strategic importance of U.S.-Israeli ties mandates postponement of any final decision on the Palestinian territories until the presidential elections in November.
The deep state approaches (Dr. Limor Samimian-Darash, Israel Hayom) The system of "watchmen" set up to protect the public from the officials they themselves elect could repeat itself in the nation's military.
Surveillance, Generation 2 (Haaretz Editorial) The combination of an increase in coronavirus infections and a chaotic and confused policy that has been heavily criticized has led the government to lose a sense of proportion and focus on policing residents. The first decision by the coronavirus cabinet this week was to raise the fine for not wearing a mask to 500 shekels ($146) and to crack down on violations by businesses.

‘If you take the land, you must give people citizenship’
Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem should be a lesson to Palestinians in the West Bank, says activist Aziz Abu Sarah. 'The central lesson I learned as a Jerusalemite is: You are on your own.' (Interviewed by Orly Noy in 972mag)

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