News Nosh 7.7.20

 APN's daily news review from Israel - Tuesday July 7, 2020

Quote of the day:

"The hearts of the people of Hura are completely with you, we embrace you and lower our heads in the wake of Michael's death - a brave hero and a man of morals, who jumped without hesitation to save a mother and her children, and paid the heaviest price of all. And their religion, ethnicity…did not matter to him. For him, they were, first and foremost, human beings to be rescued."
--Mayor of Hura, Habes Al-Atawneh, said in condolences to the family of Michael Ben-Zikri, who died when he drowned after saving a family from the Bedouin village of Hura.*

Front Page:


Yedioth Ahronoth

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

Israel Hayom

  • In uncertainty - A step before lockdown: Government decided on dramatic restrictions
  • Most people got infected in their homes - 66% in homes, 10% at schools or yeshivas, 0% at entertainment centers and the beach
  • The second blow of unpaid leave
  • Drama in El-Al: Board of Directors approved…nationalization of El-Al

Top News Summary:
In today's top stories in the Hebrew newspapers, Israelis’ fear for their economic future (60%), commentators’ accused Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of failing to keep corona cases down and the Israeli government decided again to close down bars, gyms and pools (but leave yeshivas and synagogues open due to the ultra-Orthodox parties' threat to quit the government). The El-Al board of directors agreed to a government bailout of the airline, thereby nationalizing the company 15 years after it was privatized, a court named the two Maccabi Tel-Aviv star soccer players accused of statutory rape of 15-year-old girls, and Israel successfully launch the Ofek-16 spy satellite for use against enemies - and at the same time, Israel was concerned that the recent US decision to allow the sale of its high resolution satellite images of Israel and and the Palestinian territories would put Israel in danger from those same enemies. However, on the plus side, Peace Now’s Hagit Ofran said that it would be easier to track the establishment and expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. (Interestingly, the original Reuters article was changed in YnetJPost and Israel Hayom)

Also of interest were two slanted reports by 'Israel Hayom' and a moving story about the reactions of people from the Bedouin town of Hura to the man who died saving a family from the town.

Today Israel Hayom questioned how the US Human Rights annual report, which came to the conclusion that there were only 101 incidents of Palestinian violence, when the IDF and the Shin Bet counted more than 1000 'terror acts," including stone-throwing and fire-bomb (Molotov cocktail) throwing. [Of course the answer was that the US does not consider those acts of violence, and certainly not terror, but probably civil disobedience. - OH] The paper also asked why didn't the authors of the report use the statistics from 'Boomerang' - an Israel advocacy firm, instead of relying on those of Israeli "left-wing organizations" [i.e. human rights organizations - OH] B'Tselem and Hamoked Center for the Defence of the Individual. [The answer was self-evident, although, for some reason, 'Israel Hayom' didn't get it.]

And in yesterday's Hebrew online paper, 'Israel Hayom's' political affairs corresondent, Ariel Kahana, attacked Ismail Khaldi, the Bedouin diplomat who just made history after being appointed the first Bedouin Israeli ambassador. Kahana's article, titled, "The diplomat who called to prosecute Israel has been appointed ambassador," consisted of three "controversial" [not - OH] statements by Khaldi: 1.) In response to a Facebook post of a Foreign Ministry colleague [no mention of what the colleague wrote - OH], Khaldi wrote: "Your hatred of Arabs and Muslims - is worse than the anti-Semitism that was against Jews." 2.) Kahana wrote that following the release of the Jewish spy Jonathan Pollard, "Khaldi made a critical statement to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who was then also Foreign Minister, along with attaching a report on the approval of the state budget at that time. 'Now let's see what gets priority: a Jewish spy in America, a West Bank settlement or a Bedouin village with no access road?'" 3.) Kahana also wrote that "In a 2017 report from the ‘Mida’ website, it was noted that Khaldi accused Israel of 'erasing' Bedouin heritage and called to fight against Israel by appealing to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. After the post was published, Khaldi apologized to those who felt injured. But, Yedioth Hebrew's political affairs correspondent, Itamar Eichner, described Khaldi at length as an Israeli success story and defender of Israel. Khaldi grew up in a tent in the village of Khawaled in the Lower Galilee and herded sheep as a child. Until 2000, the village was not connected to the electricity grid and only six years ago, thanks to a media struggle led by Khaldi an access road was paved, Yedioth reported. Khaldi is Israel's new ambassador to Eritrea. Yedioth reminded readers that just last month, Ismail Khaldi was brutally attacked by Jewish security guards at the Jerusalem Central Bus Station, slammed to the floor and kneed on the neck so that he couldn't breathe. [NOTE: 'Israel Hayom' made no mention of the racist attack.] "As a state representative, I went through experiences I would not wish on you,” Khaldi wrote to fellow members of his ambassador cadet course this week. "I was attacked overseas, and, unfortunately, also in the country, for things I didn't do. People attributed to me things I would not have imagined doing, but I survived and held on...I will continue to move forward in my belief in my path and the path of the country. And I am certain a new and bright dawn will come over everyone. It is exciting to be the first ambassador from the Bedouin population. As the third generation of a tribe whose relations with the (Zionist) pioneers began as early as the 1930s, it is an honor to be a part of you, from the beginning of the journey. Respect for the country we all represent.”

*In contrast, 'Israel Hayom's Gadi Golan reported Monday at length about the moving gestures and words by people from the Bedouin town of Hura for Michael Ben-Zikri, the Jewish Israeli man who died drowning Saturday after he saved the lives of the members of a family from Hura, as did Yedioth Hebrew. Dozens of residents of Hura arrived at the cemetery in Ashkelon Sunday to pay their respects to “Michael the angel.” Golan also quoted the Mayor of Hura, Habes Al-Atawneh, who expressed his condolences, saying: "Dear Ben Zikri family, the author Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote, that 'The only time a person is allowed to look at another person from above is when he helps him stand up.' The hearts of the people of Hura are completely with you, we embrace you and lower our heads in the wake of Michael's death - a brave hero and a man of morals, who jumped without hesitation to save a mother and her children, and paid the heaviest price of all. And religion, ethnicity, race did not matter to him. For him, they were, first and foremost, human beings to be rescued. There are no words that can ease your pain, except that we, the residents of Hura, will always remember Michael for his blessing and the noble deed he did, and in the hope that the sons and daughters of our community will remember the giving and the sacrifice of dear Michael. May you not know more sorrow.” Golan's article included photos of a wreath with a band written in Hebrew saying it was from the residents of Hura and a photo of Hura youth at the funeral holding a handwritten sign in Hebrew that read, “Michael Ben-Zikri, May your memory be blessed. We express our sorrow to his family. (Signed) Hura." The Israel Hayom Hebrew article was only on the website. Yedioth Hebrew printed a similar article with photos in the newspaper titled, "In his death, he commanded co-existence." Yedioth and the Ashkelon news website quoted former Bedouin Knesset member, Taleb a-Saneh, who gave a eulogy at the funeral: "He saved an entire family and sent us a message about how to be a human being. When the father cried out for help because he couldn't save his children, Michael didn't think twice and didn't think of himself, he went in and saved the first child ,and could have said, 'I did my part.' But he continued and he saved the second, and the father said, 'There is another child.' And he dived in and at first he did not find him, and he dived a second time and did not find him and a third time and only the fourth time did he locate the child and hand him to his father. You could have extracted one child and then stopped, but you continued to extract them all and paid the highest price. What greatness, what a man. In our religion, Islam, the name Michael means 'angel.' You were the angel of that family. Michael, you have become the symbol of our community." A-Sanaa said that Ben-Zikri "has become symbol in every Arab house" and that he intends to name the main street of Hura after Michael. In an article titled "Boundless Humanity" in today's Yedioth HebrewItamar Eichner reported that Ben Zikri's act evoked sympathetic reactions across the Arab world, after Israel's Foreign Ministry shared the story on its Arabic and Persian social media pages. "This is real humanitarianism," Mirna of Iraq wrote in response. "There is no difference between humans. Allah has taught us to love one another." Another person wrote: "Humankind has no religion. May he sit in heaven and may his family and loved ones be blessed for his noble deeds." Uthman, a resident of Saudi Arabia, quoted a verse from the Qur'an, which has a parallel in the Jewish mishnah: "Allah said that whoever saves one soul it’s as if saving all people, and he was right." Majdi, a resident of Egypt, wrote: "The fact that we have political disagreements with you does not mean that there is a humanitarian debate between us." And Fahad from Iraq wrote: "It is the Israeli people who love everyone and help everyone."

Corona Quickees:

  • Death toll, serious cases rise as Israel tackles escalating epidemic - 691 new patients diagnosed since midnight, bringing the number of those actively battling the coronavirus to 12,359; 349 people being treated in hospital and 88 said to be in serious condition, including 35 on ventilators. (Ynet)
  • Palestinian Prime Minister Calls on Israel to Close West Bank Crossings to Curb Coronavirus Spread as Deathtoll Rises - There are currently 4,089 active coronavirus cases in the West Bank, mostly in Hebron area. Eight people are in a serious condition and three are on life support and 11 people have died over the past week. During the first wave of the virus, Israel allowed the Palestinian Authority to place checkpoints in Area C, but now Shtayyeh says Israel is preventing them from doing so. (Haaretz+)
  • Dramatic survey: Netanyahu lost public trust during the corona war - Netanyahu's support rates continue to decline as 46% of respondents defined his or her performance as "overall good", compared to 58% who thought so last month. 25% of respondents think his treatment of the battle was "pretty bad," and 24% thought it was "very bad." (Maariv)
  • Gilat Bennett: “From, Netanyahu's point of view, we can go through an economic holocaust, as long as people don’t like anyone more than him" - The wife of Yamina leader, Naftali Bennett, responded to a Facebook post that called for her husband to lead the corona campaign. She wrote: “The fact that Netanyahu, despite his resounding failure, doesn’t consider (appointing her husband) is proof that he doesn’t care about this country. He’d rather we go through an economic holocaust, as long as people don’t like anyone more than they like him.” Naftali Bennett was lauded for establishing a ‘civil coronavirus cabinet’ comprised of experts. (Maariv)
  • Israel's hospitals showing strain as coronavirus cases spike rapidly - Large numbers of people are arriving at emergency rooms in the center of the country, either suspected patients showing COVID-19 symptoms or confirmed cases fearing they might need hospitalization. (Ynet)
  • Israeli Government Pushes Bill to Bypass Knesset on Coronavirus Regulations - Last week, Netanyahu complained about the need to legislate emergency regulations. Bill would allow decisions to go into effect before parliamentary committees debate them. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Jewish Agency Chairman Predicts Coronavirus Will Drive Dramatic Increase in Immigrants to Israel - Herzog predicted Israel would see 500,000 new immigrants in the next few years, saying calls to the agency from English-speaking countries had increased 50 percent. Economic concerns were also expected to drive up aliyah numbers in the coming years, Herzog said. [NOTE: The social medicine in Israel is very appealing to Americans, particularly during a pandemic. - OH] (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Central Bank Downgrades Economic Forecast as Coronavirus Bites - The Bank of Israel says the economy will contract 6% in 2020, a considerable cut from the 4.5% it had predicted at the end of May. (Haaretz+)

Quick Hits:

  • (CHILLING) VIDEO: Israel Police Beat and Taser Man Without Mask Who They Say Was Too Slow to Produce ID - Officers say the man was violent towards them, but said they would refer a video of the incident in a Tel Aviv suburb to the Justice Ministry's police misconduct unit. (Haaretz+VIDEOMaarivYnet Hebrew and VIDEO and Ynet and VIDEO)
  • Violence Between Israeli Police and Public Rises With Coronavirus Enforcement, Source Says - Official describes serious jump in complaints of police misconduct, amid claims that body cameras are covered or footage confiscated. (Haaretz+)
  • (Violent) Israeli Army's Elite Unit Officer Removed From Combat Duty After Haaretz Report - Incidents exposed in report include hate crime against Palestinians in Nablus, misconduct that led to an accident in which three combatants were killed, forgery of official document and unauthorized incursion into Syria. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinian Who Ran Over, Killed Israeli in West Bank in 2015 Sentenced to Life in Prison - Military judge Zvi Heilborn rules defendant intentionally caused victim's death in 2015 when Israeli exited his car after a stone was thrown at it. Sabhan Titi, 30, of Hebron, said he hit Avraham Hasno, 54, of Kiryat Arba, with his car because he was afraid of him. After the incident, Titi had turned himself in to Palestinian security forces and claimed that the incident was an accident. The charge was originally manslaughter, but was changed in 2016 after intervention by Hasno’s family (Ynet Hebrew), which Titi’s lawyer, Attorney Nashef Darwish, called “scandalous." (Ynet Hebrew) Haaretz+ wrote that Titi "alleged" Hasno was walking between the cars with a club, [sicPHOTOS of 2015 incident showed it - another PHOTO  -OH]. Heilborn ruled that Titi had deliberately hit Hasno even though he could not determine the motive. Titi was convicted of premeditated homicide, the equivalent under military law to murder and was also ordered to pay 1.8 million shekels ($525,000) in restitution to Hasno’s family.  (Haaretz+ and and VIDEO of Hasno family attacking Titi in military court yesterday)
  • AIPAC Slams Democrats' Proposal to Ban Israel From Using U.S. Aid Toward Annexation - The proposal linking aid to the issue of a possible annexation was presented by a group of Democratic Senators as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, but it has little chances to pass Congress. (Haaretz+)
  • Lieberman Calls to Gag the 'Middle Eastern Intelligence Official' Claiming Israeli Attacks in Iran - Former defense minister turned opposition figure says everyone knows the identity of the New York Times source who said Israel planted a bomb at an Iranian nuclear site and that he expects the prime minister to shut him up. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Hackers Find Many Israeli Facilities at Risk of Attack - Following a suspected Iran attack on a water-treatment facility, a mapping project reveals 188 vulnerabilities in controllers. (Haaretz+)
  • [Israel Hayom distorted headline - OH:] Iran vows to stand by Hamas in destroying Israel - "Iran will not spare any effort to support the oppressed people of Palestine and to revive their rights as well as to repel the evil of the fake, usurping Zionist regime," says Supreme Leader Khamenei in letter to Hamas chief, in which he wrote that it was essential for Hamas to join forces with its rival in Ramallah – the Palestinian Authority – in order to frustrate Israel's intentions of annexation. [NOTE: Israel Hayom’s claim that Khamenei is writing about “destroying Israel” is commentary. The call for to Hamas to join forces with Fatah against the “plots” of the “usurping Zionist regime” more likely refers to annexation. - OH] (Israel Hayom)
  • Failed U.S. Expansion Behind Resignation of Israel Aerospace Industries' CEO - IAI hired expensive local talent for its North American unit, but two months ago decided to shutter it. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel feels exposed as U.S. drops satellite-imaging cap - Under the 1997 regulation, satellite images of Israel and the Palestinian territories could show items no smaller than 2 meters (6.56 ft) across; June 25th ruling, however, allows enhanced resolutions of 0.4 meters to be sold. Israel worries that Hezbollah and Hamas could use high resolution images for more precise rocket strikes. Hagit Ofran of Peace Now said sharper images could potentially help track the expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. (Original Reuters article - changed in YnetJPost and Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli trauma center lends FBI, NYPD hand in wake of civil unrest - Seeking to help officers dealing with increased anxiety and stress caused by the unprecedented events rattling the US in the past few weeks, American law enforcement agencies seek Natal's help due to its unique experience in treating members of the security forces who suffer from these conditions. (Israel Hayom)
  • The Democrats' New Policy That Could See Bernie and Biden Find Middle Ground on Aid to Israel - Democratic senators submit an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, suggesting that none of the $3.8 billion in military aid to Israel would be used for advancing unilateral West Bank annexation. (Haaretz+)
  • Iran's Hardline Lawmakers Prepare Potential Impeachment of President Rohani - Economic crisis, exacerbated by rising inflation, growing unemployment, a slump in the local currency, and the coronavirus crisis, leads lawmakers to carry out the rare move. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Egypt Arrests Healthcare Workers Sounding Alarm on Coronavirus - Doctor and nurses were detained for speaking out on protective gear shortages and alleged miscount of cases. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Families of Syria's detained and missing find answers in whistleblower photos - U.S. sanctions imposed by on Assad's regime led to resurfacing of thousands of images of torture victims. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Strange 10,000-year-old Artifacts From Jordan Tied to Cult That Dug Up the Dead, Archaeologists Say - Crudely shaped flints found in Kharaysin could be figurines used in Neolithic ceremonies in which bones were buried and exhumed, study suggests. (Haaretz+)

Features:‘This Is Discrimination – I Feel Like a Second-class Citizen Because I Didn’t Marry a Jew’
Israel’s borders slammed shut to foreigners in mid-March due to the coronavirus, creating a nightmarish situation for hundreds of Israelis living overseas with nonnational partners. Many accuse the state of discrimination, especially as some Diaspora Jews are now being allowed in. (David Stavrou, Haaretz+)

Top Commentary/Analysis:
The Epidemic of Police Violence (Haaretz Editorial) The widely shared video of the violent arrest of a young man from Holon after police officers stopped him for not wearing a face mask highlights once again the problem of police violence in Israel. As a result of the ubiquity of cellphone cameras and of social media, such violence is often made public, and law enforcement can no longer conceal irregular incidents. Moreover, the publicity forces police to acknowledge a problem that it tries to ignore, and instead to contend with it. No part of the population is immune to police brutality: Arabs, Haredi Jews, secular Israelis and settlers all face it, in the name of “maintaining public order.” In Israel, in contrast to the United States, the police enjoy a lack of oversight…The only weapon remaining to civilians in the face of police brutality is the camera lens. Only the recording and distribution of evidence of violent incidents can hold a mirror to the police and bring about change.
Germany's parliament has a condemnation ready to go (Eldad Beck, Israel Hayom) It took opposition members of Iranian descent to point out the absurdity of the Bundestag deciding on punitive measures before Israel even decides how or if it will proceed with sovereignty.
Israel Will Continue Its Campaign of Dividing and Conquering Palestinians, Annexation or Not (Gisha director, Tania Hary, Haaretz+) srael doesn’t even bother hiding behind the sacred cow of ‘security’ anymore to justify controlling Palestinians’ lives. Even three year-old kids are a threat to its demographic and political goals.
Following corona, right over the Green Line (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) The infection routes tell us that the Green Line, which many in Israel and abroad view as some sort of official boundary, has essentially been erased and doesn't exist in actuality.
The tie breaker: The election method that will strengthen the stability of the Israeli government (Prof. Shimon Sheetrit, Maariv) The change required by the government to strengthen political decision-making is the addition of 40 Knesset members, who will be elected in regional elections, or determine that the head of the largest faction will form the government.
Is the Latest Purge of Journalists an Attempt to Appease Netanyahu? (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Even if the prime minister isn’t behind the firings, the atmosphere of suspicion serves him well.
Netanyahu: From first to worst in under 2 months? (Moria Kor, Israel Hayom) The man who has accomplished so much as prime minister is throwing it all away with his current handling of the corona pandemic.
Summer's End Scenario: Netanyahu Usurps Democracy and Assumes Absolute Rule (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Resurgent pandemic, bubbling social unrest and a paranoid prime minister haunted by imaginary plots– the writing was clearly on the wall.
Israelis were hungry even before corona (Avi Dabush, Israel Hayom) No one wants to admit how many Israeli families live in a constant state of food insecurity, and until that happens, nothing will be done to help.
Iran’s Centrifuges Are in the Crosshairs Again (Yossi Melman, Haaretz+) An examination of the more distant and recent past are necessary to understand the series of explosions that have rocked Iran in recent days.
A window of opportunity in Iran (Alex Fishman, Yedioth Hebrew) The bomb blasts in Iran show that some are taking advantage of the regime's increasing hardship in order to harm it…The events that have taken place in recent weeks on various sites on Iranian soil are very similar to the series of air operations attributed to Israel against Iranian targets in Syria in recent months. When the Iranians are weakened in Syria - this is an opportunity to push them out, to damage military installations and to break the morale of the pro-Iranian militias in Syria. And when Iran is in a tremendous socio-political crisis - it is an opportunity to try to undermine the regime, encourage domestic opponents, compel it to invest money in defense and in infrastructure reconstruction at the expense of military projects...
After launching Ofek 16 missile: It's time for a civilian space program (Tal Inbar, Maariv) The field of civilian entrepreneurial space in the world operates in huge sums, and despite the understanding of the Ministry of Science and the Space Agency and the work done over the years, the Israeli government has not yet given it an appropriate budget.
Are Israel's eyes in the skies at risk? (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) Widespread layoffs in the defense sector could pose a risk to flagship projects, like Israel's satellites, that give it a strategic advantage in the volatile Middle East.
'No one went easy on me,' says female IAF navigator
Lt. N., one of three women to finish the IAF's 180th pilots course, is the third generation of her family to fly in the Israeli Air Force. (Interviewed by  Bat-Chen Epstein Elias in Israel Hayom)

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