News Nosh 7.2.20

APN's daily news review from Israel - Thursday July 2, 2020

Quote of the day:

"And so, to sum up, what Netanyahu has managed, right now, to do is to burn the stew, to make Israeli initiatives, once again, loathsome to countries around the world, to harm relations with the United States, to quarrel with the neighbor to the east, and to deepen the chasm between the leadership and the people, between the decision makers and the hundreds of thousands of unemployed who do not understand how a government set up to fight corona and the collapsing economy has plunged us all into a far-fetched, unnecessary initiative, that has no connection to a real solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
--Yedioth Ahronoth commentator Ariella Ringel-Hoffman writes about Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's annexation bid.*

You Must Be Kidding: 
Israel’s Public Security Minister Amir Ohana (Likud) postponed the enforcement of a decision requiring private security guards to leave their guns at work in order to reduce the danger that hovers over the lives of women in violent relationships and he is trying to obtain a six-month delay in the implementation of a law that makes it a crime to pay for prostitution services.**

Front Page:


Yedioth Ahronoth

  • The generation of corona unemployed - Young people don’t succeed in recovering (Hebrew)
  • “We should have announced in advance that we are giving up on the stipend. I admit that it looks bad” - CEO of Fox clothing and house goods company in interview after becoming a symbol of greedy capitalism (Hebrew)
  • The death of a justice warrior - Yehuda Nuriel, journalist and senior commentator in Yedioth, passed away at age 56 (Hebrew)
  • Liberman’s complaint to the Journalists’ Council: “Haaretz and The Marker newspapers are extorting with threats” (Hebrew)

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • The numbers that are closing on us - Fright of the second wave
  • The plan: economic policies (that will cut conditions) of civil servants
  • The house of cards collapsed // Ben Caspit on the investigation case (against the Attorney General) in the Harpaz affair
  • The target date passed, there’s no annexation

Israel Hayom

  • A new record: 900 confirmed new cases in a day - The second wave is here: Spike also in seriously ill
  • “We will speed up the discussions with the US on sovereignty”
  • Critical weeks: If there won’t be sovereignty - then possibly elections // Mati Tuchfeld
  • After the closures: Culture returns - we prepared a guide for you of all the shows
  • Un-honorable Knesset - ‘Israel Hayom’ probe: New testimonies of sexual harassment and silencing at the Knesset TV Channel
  • Four female fighters - Interview with girls who demand: “Let us serve in the military commando units”
  • In the name of the brother and the father - Eli Waxman misses his brother (Nachshon) who was murdered (by Palestinians in 1994) and his father who died last week

Top News Summary:
Corona and Annexation vied over the Hebrew front pages with corona winning the biggest headlines in all but Haaretz, while Yedioth didn’t even mention annexation.

Also of import was the ruling by the Ombudsman for Complaints Against the Prosecution that the police and State Prosecutor should have closed a case from more than 10 years ago, which has been used by right-wing politicians to discredit Attorney General Avichai Mendelblitt ever since he indicted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of crimes in three cases. Ombudsman David Rozen said that leaving the case open “may provoke questions and thoughts that may damage his good name, as well as public trust.” Rozen said there was "lack of guilt" in the case. Also related to Netanyahu's criminal cases, the State Prosecutor’s Office recently opened a probe into the deletion from a computer of confidential documents pertaining to Netanyahu’s criminal case. Officials suspect someone may have intentionally infiltrated the system and erased secret folder, Channel 13 first reported. The deleted files have reportedly been restored. (Also Maariv)

July 1st passed and "annexation is not here," as Maariv wrote on it's front page. But Israel Hayom stressed that according to the Prime Minister’s Office, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is continuing to coordinate its actions with the US towards annexation. But right-wing Israeli opposition politicians just mocked Netanyahu. Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman piled on, charging that Netanyahu was “playing everyone and has no intention of applying sovereignty.” Speaking to reporters near the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar in the central West Bank, Liberman said that when he was defense minister, Netanyahu sent him a direct order not to raze the Palestinian outpost long slated for demolition. Liberman said Netanyahu had “lied” about annexation just as he had “lied” about his intention to “immediately” demolish Khan al-Ahmar. Liberman accused Netanyahu of stealing votes with empty promises. (Also Maariv) And Ynet reported that right-wing former minister Ayelet Shaked said that Netanyahu was kowtowing to the Arab MKs and to his coalition partner, Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Kahol-Lavan). Coalition partner, Welfare Minister Itsik Shmuli (Labor), said that "80% of the public wants us to deal only with the economic crisis.” (Maariv) Haaretz+ reported that despite the passing of the target date for annexation, Israel has hardly made any diplomatic or legal preparations on the issue, either with diplomatic missions abroad or about the legal consequences.

And in the Palestinian territories, the long-time rivals, Fatah and Hamas, united in a joint press conference to declare their stance against Israel’s annexation plans. Palestinian official says the main purpose is to increase political pressure. And in Gaza City, thousands of Palestinians participated in the subdued ‘Day of Rage’ rally to protest annexation. While the Gazan protest did not affect Israelis in the south, in Ashkelon they opened bomb shelters just in case, Maariv reported.

And in a highly unusual move, the Vatican summoned both US and Israeli ambassadors to the Vatican on Tuesday to express the Holy See’s concern over Israel’s unilateral annexation plans. The Vatican released a statement about the meeting on Wednesday. Also, the French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said there would be consequences to annexation. "We are examining different options at a national level and also in coordination with our main European partners,” he said. (Maariv)

For a second day in a row, Israel made a new record of daily confirmed cases of corona (868) since the epidemic began, reaching almost 5% of those tested. The government approved week-long lockdowns on several neighborhoods, the Knesset passed a temporary law allowing the Shin Bet to digitally track coronavirus patients and the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee will discuss the possibility of enshrining the move in permanent legislation. Moreover, the Finance Ministry is considering making major cuts to civil servants' salaries and benefits. (Also Yedioth Hebrew) And the Palestinian Authority announced a full lockdown in the West Bank after three deaths in Hebron in 24 hours.

And not long after a beautiful NPR story about a ‘corona hotel’ in Jerusalem, where Arabs and Jews, religious and secular, forged friendships as they waited to become healthy again, Yedioth Hebrew and Ynet revealed that this week a Jerusalem corona hotel became a center of racism when the Jews and Arabs were suddenly segregated. "We have a WhatsApp group of all the young people who are here," says 22-year-old Hamada Harub, an Arab-Israeli from Jaffa, who is staying at the Gold Hotel. "Yesterday we found out that the Jewish soldiers and Jewish civilians had been notified that they were being transferred to another hotel. Our group (of friends) has four people: I am Muslim, two more are Christians and one girl is Jewish. She was the only one among us whom they phoned and told her to get prepared because she was moving somewhere else." Harub said it was really humiliating. “Afterward, I spoke to another representative, who told me that it's true, the Jews are being transferred to another hotel and they are leaving the Arabs together with the people with no status (mostly Eritrean asylum seekers). Why are we treated like this? It made me not want to stay in the country.”

Quick Hits:

  • Israeli Court Clears the Way to Evict Palestinian Family From East Jerusalem Home - After 30-year legal battle, the Sumreen family of 18 will be evicted from house they have lived in since the 1950s and forced to pay $5,800 to the Jewish National Fund, which has been deemed the legal owner of the property.The KKL-JNF received custodianship of the building on the basis of an Israeli law on property regarded as abandoned by Israeli authorities. The court determined that the house’s legal heirs were absentees, as they resided in enemy countries at the time of the death of their father, who was the owner. (Haaretz+)
  • Settler Convicted of Incitement for Saying Jewish Religious Law Condones Killing a Soldier - District court reverses earlier acquittal of Nahum Ariel of the settlement of Yitzhar by the Petah Tivka Magistrate’s Court, on charges of incitement for writing a social media post. (Haaretz+)
  • Case Against Israel's Attorney General 'Should Have Been Closed,’ Says Watchdog - Refusal to close the Harpaz case - which led to unwarranted stain on attorney general’s reputation and was used by Netanyahu supporters to discredit the AG - was 'unworthy,' says Ombudsman David Rozen. Judiciary acted ‘improperly’ in failing to clear Mandelblit’s name. (Haaretz+ and Times of Israel)
  • Mystery in the State Prosecutor's Office: How did confidential documents related to Netanyahu's trial get deleted? - According to TV report, the Justice Ministry began investigating suspicions someone intentionally infiltrated the system and erased secret folder related to the PM's case. Files have apparently been restored. (Maariv and Times of Israel)
  • **Public Security Minister Ohana Seeks to Delay Criminalization of Johns - Public Security Minister Amir Ohana is attempting to obtain a six-month delay in the implementation of a law that makes it a crime to pay for prostitution services. Ohana says that the law is ineffective in not giving violators the option of therapy. Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn and Labor and Social Affairs Minister Itzik Shmuli both object to any delay. (Haaretz+)
  • **Public Security Minister Ohana rejected decision of former Public Security Minister Erdan: 13,000 security guards will remain armed at home as well - Public Security Minister Amir Ohana has postponed the enforcement of a decision requiring private security guards to leave their guns at work. As a result, 13,000 security guards, who were supposed to have deposited their weapons in the workplace yesterday, will continue to go home with them and roam armed in the public domain. Ohana cited the possible outbreak of security disturbances over a planned annexation of parts of the West Bank for delaying the enforcement of the decision. Erdan’s ban came after the killing of a woman by her partner, a school security guard. The goal was to reduce the danger that hovers over the lives of women in violent relationships, and who feel threatened by the presence of firearms in homes and public spaces. Following a petition filed on the matter, the High Court announced that it would hold a hearing as soon as possible. (Middle East Monitor and Maariv)
  • Lieberman complained to press council: "Haaretz and The Marker are extorting a businessman with threats so that he will give information about me“ - Chairman  of Yisrael Beiteinu filed a complaint to the Press Council last night against two journalists from Haaretz and The Marker in which he claims: The two offered the businessman that if they give informationfd about Liberman, then they won’t do an investigation about him. Haaretz responded: "Lieberman is trying to intimidate professional journalists, the recordings prove that the businessman is the one who offered incriminating information." (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Israel Slashes Two Months Off Compulsory Military Duty for Men - Israeli army opposes the move and seeks to amend 2016 legislation mandating the reduction of compulsory service to 30 months. (Maariv and Haaretz+)
  • El Al grounds all passenger and cargo flights indefinitely - The decision to cancel flights comes after negotiations between Pilots Committee Chairman Nir Reuveni and El Al CEO Gonen Usishkin ended without resolution on Tuesday evening. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli advertisers are not quick to jump on the Facebook boycotting wagon - While corporations around the world are joining the call to halt their marketing campaigns on Facebook in protest of the social media giant’s controversial hate speech policies, Israel’s largest advertisers remain, for the most part, on the fence. (Calcalist English)
  • Russia's Putin Urges Turkey, Iran to Help Promote Dialogue in Syria During Video Conference - In a joint statement, Moscow, Tehran and Damascus 'express the conviction' that Syria's war has no military solution and can only be settled via a political process. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • UN raises $7.7 billion for Syrians beset by war and COVID-19 - Rebuilding destroyed cities will take billions of dollars more and cannot start until powers involved back a peaceful transition away from the rule of President Bashar al-Assad, EU governments say. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • In Joint Syria Statement, Iran, Russia and Turkey Condemn 'Israeli Attacks in Syria' - Strikes attributed to Israel are 'destabilizing and violating sovereignty and intensifying the tension in the region,' say three countries backing separate sides of the nine-year war. (Maariv and Haaretz)
  • Italian Police Seize Record Amount of Drugs From Syria - Linked to ISIS - Production of the drug was initially concentrated in Lebanon and the Islamic State group sells it to finance its activities, police said in a statement. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Turkey Determined to Control Social Media Platforms, Erdogan Says - Speaking to members of his AK Party, Erdogan repeated that his party would introduce new regulations to control the use of social media. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Lebanon’s plea to skeptical expats: Come visit, bring cash - Beirut's airport is partially reopening after a three-month shutdown, with the cash-strapped government hoping thousands of Lebanese expatriates will return for the summer, injecting badly needed dollars into the sinking economy. (Agencies, Ynet)


Congo Files: Cash Was Deposited Into Dan Gertler's Accounts,
A 70-year-old Letter Will Make You Hopeful About the Future of Jewish-Arab Coexistence
The text reveals personal ties between Jews and Arabs that persist despite the fraught history of their peoples in this land. (Ofer Aderet, Haaretz+)
‘Gaza is a one-way ticket’: How Israel’s relocation policy is separating Palestinian communities
Israel is systemically routing Palestinian movement in one direction — from the West Bank to Gaza. Families and advocates say the silent transfer is splintering Palestinian society. (Henriette Chacar, 972mag)
Then Millions Were Transferred to Top Israeli Figures
Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler owns mines in the Congo. In 2017 the U.S. imposed sanctions on him due to corrupt deals with the DRC's former president. Documents from the African state reveal irregular cash deposits made by Gertler's associates into his accounts. Some of the money was then sent to lawyers and advisers in Israel. Gertler: 'The documents are stolen and fabricated.’ (Gur Megiddo and Hagar Shezaf, Haaretz+)

Annexation Commentary/Analysis:
*So what did we get out of this? (Ariella Ringel-Hoffman, Yedioth Hebrew) Well, so today (July 1st) it won't happen. Probably. Neither annexing nor applying sovereignty, which is the same only sounds better. Probably not in the big, dramatic, one-sided format of the past few months. A format that should be said fairly that no one - perhaps even those at the Balfour (PM’s) Residence  - has any idea what it looks like, what it has and what it doesn't have. It won't happen tomorrow either. Probably. Not the next day either. Probably. Not even after the day after. Probably. And maybe not at all in the foreseeable future. So what are we left with? With a kind of balloon experiment? Empty statement? With the "delusional and unnecessary process,” as Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi, who was the commander-in-chief of the Central Command, said when he - like the two reserve generals, Roni Numa and Yaakov Aish - who refused Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s request to head the annexation administration? Another one of those things which is more damaging than useful, like in that joke about the man who also ate the smelly fish, also got beaten and was also expelled from the city? It began in April 2019. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who until then had actually bothered to block such proposals, found it appropriate, just before the first round of elections, to declare his intention to apply Israeli law to the Beqaa Jordan Valley and the Northern Dead Sea. Following President Trump's Plan of the Century, Netanyahu annexed the plan to other parts of the West Bank as well, announcing that he would bring the proposal to the cabinet in early February. That didn't happen either. But with the establishment of the 35th government, a new deadline was set: July 1st. And so they spent, not leisurely, 47 days, which were enough for world heads of state to make their opposition to the idea clear…And so, to sum up, what Netanyahu has managed, right now, to do is to burn the stew, to make Israeli initiatives, once again, loathsome to countries around the world, to harm relations with the United States, to quarrel with the neighbor to the east, and to deepen the chasm between the leadership and the people, between the decision makers and the hundreds of thousands of unemployed who do not understand how a government set up to fight corona and the collapsing economy has plunged us all into a far-fetched, unnecessary initiative, that has no connection to a real solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Annexation Leaves Palestinians Nothing to Discuss (Yehuda Shaul, Haaretz+) Despite the trust of Haaretz's finest, no phone call from Abbas will overcome Trump’s scorched earth approach to international peace, or the ideological determination of his associates.
From Silwan to DC, the Jewish National Fund is enabling Israeli annexation (Seth Morrison, 972mag) Israel would not be on the verge of formalizing its control of the West Bank were it not for the key role of the JNF — an organization I was once a part of.
In American eyes, annexation is like playing with fire (Natan Sachs, Yedioth/Ynet) Most Americans don't have any stock in either Palestinian nationalism or statehood; they are invested in the idea that all people should have civil rights in the nation they live in – challenging this idea with annexation could prove detrimental to Israel.
Many Will Take Credit, but This Is the Real Reason Netanyahu Delayed His Annexation Plan (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) To avoid his biggest nightmare, the Israeli prime minister has to show some restraint.
Israel must not miss this annexation opportunity (Yifat Erlich, Yedioth/Ynet) The Trump administration has presented Jerusalem with an historic opening to break away from a policy of passivity and initiate a move that would benefit the entire country as well as the residents of the West Bank settlements.
Netanyahu Is Lying Again (Haaretz Editorial) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is continuing his campaign against Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, whose only sin is that he’s doing his job: He objected to Netanyahu’s request to take 10 million shekels ($2.9 million) from American businessman Spencer Partrich to help pay for his legal defense in the three criminal cases pending against him. Mendelblit was asked to rule on the matter by the permits committee in the State Comptroller’s Office. In his legal opinion, Mendelblit wrote that in principle any benefit given to the prime minister is given to him because he’s a public servant, and as such is forbidden. In response, Netanyahu the prime minister vacated his place in favor of defendant Netanyahu. That’s why the public was treated to a flood of additional condemnation of the attorney general and another version of the blood libel that there’s a conspiracy against him…The only one with a serious conflict of interest here is Netanyahu himself, who zigzags between the state’s interests, which are entrusted to him as prime minister, and his own interests as a defendant being prosecuted by the state.

Other Top Commentary/Analysis:
The case against a binational state (Jason Shvili, Israel Hayom) If history and current events are any indication, a binational state would be an epic disaster, especially for the Jewish people.
My Son Insists on Wearing Dresses in Ramallah (Umm Forat, Haaretz+) How can we raise our children to thrive in a flawed world, where garb is genderized and Daddy can’t come to Tel Aviv? ■ Post # 16.
Racism is a collective problem for white and black people alike (Genet Dasa, Yedioth/Ynet) The day I begin seeing white Israelis protesting alongside Ethiopian Israelis, I will begin believing that things are moving along, that there is a chance to defeat a bit of the scourge of racism.
The UN Security Council embraced Iran, and Netanyahu suffered a severe blow (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) Apart from Pompeo's speech, the contents of last week's discussions made Iran sound like a normative state, which behaves a bit badly, but causes no reason to fear. And the Prime Minister? He’s busy with annexation.
Vilify Netanyahu as Much as He Deserves, but Who Are You Proposing Instead? (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) The State of Israel actually has somewhere to go, but it has no one to go with it, no one to lead it. The simple cutting fact is that we have no one to go with. No one is positioned opposite Benjamin Netanyahu. No person and no idea, no leader and no plan. And that is what justifies most of all the great despair.
After the establishment of the government: There is no responsible adult who has taken it upon himself to navigate Israel (Lilach Sigan, Maariv)  Just a month ago, “they called us from all over the world" to ask how we got over the epidemic, but once the emergency is over, no one is running the show. The government's energy is elsewhere. The prime minister is busy annexing, the alternative prime minister is busy trying to stop him, and their party members are busy backing up the various positions. The feeling is that the only person involved in the details of corona is Naftali Bennett, who is not in the government at all.
Iraq's Leadership Is Finally Setting Limits on Iranian Intervention (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) All of a sudden, Iran's Quds Force chief needs a visa to enter Iraq, while PM Kadhimi is taking aim at Iran-leaning officials. Still, everyone knows real change only comes to those who wait.

‘Opposing apartheid is the only way this struggle can go’
Tareq Baconi, a Palestinian economist and political analyst, says he is 'pessimistic' about the impact of annexation — but sees hope in the growing anti-colonial nature of the Palestinian struggle. (Interviewed by Meron Rapoport in 972mag)

Can New Spy Thriller 'Tehran' Affect Israeli-Iranian Relations? Its Writer Hopes So
'We present a different, pleasant side of Iran, which no Western series has ever shown,' says Moshe Zonder, the creator of 'Tehran. (Interviewed by Itay Stern in Haaretz+)

The Israeli Version of Netflix: ‘There Are a Lot of “Faudas” Out There’
Streaming service Izzy wants to let those outside Israel watch films, documentaries and TV shows that showcase Israeli talent. Co-founder Josh Hoffman explains how a Birthright trip led to his new venture. (Interviewed by Nirit Anderman in Haaretz+)

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