News Nosh 7.8.20

If you were expecting the "Action Alert: Say No to Your Tax Dollars Paying For Illegal Annexation" - you will find that HERE

APN's daily news review from Israel - Wednesday July 8, 2020

You Must Be Kidding: 
"We are not exactly following the limits set by the Ministry of Health.”
--Transportation Minister Miri Regev said in her speech before dozens of people at the (expensive) inauguration of new highway interchange. Afterward she warned that if people don't follow the guidelines, "we will be forced to make a decision to return to closure."**

Front Page:


Yedioth Ahronoth

  • Yedioth investigation revealed: This is how the institution that was supposed to stop the second wave failed
  • The fear: Back to a million unemployed
  • Our heroes: Mother of Moti Ben-Shabbat, who saved a mother and a baby in the flood in Nahariya, met at the initiative of Yedioth with the widow of Michael Ben-Zikri, who died saving a family from drowning in Ashdod
  • The moving legacy of the lone soldier who fell in Operation Protective Edge

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • Cry of the self-employed
  • The rescue plan
  • Head of Public Health Services, Segal Sedezky resigned and attacked the government policy
  • Alternate guilty // Ben Caspit
  • The judges are coming to the Knesset - to debate over conflict of interests in High Court
  • Personal example - Transportation Minister Miri Regev held an inauguration ceremony of a new highway interchange

Israel Hayom

  • Fear: School year will only open after the High Holidays - Dramatic discussion today in Education Ministry over special preparations (Hebrew)
  • “Corona patients died because of wrong treatment” (by nurses at Wolfson Hospital)
  • Because of rise in corona rates: Beitar Illit under lockdown
  • Only outside: Get used to the new usual
  • Wave of despair
  • Likely: Kahol-Lavan will compromise on a one-year budget

Top News Summary:
Corona, which has skyrocketed in Israel, filled the pages of today’s Hebrew newspapers. And police violence towards people not wearing masks has exposed practices used mainly against Arabs and Ethiopian-Israelis. Meanwhile, Israeli annexation of West Bank lands has become a distant dream or nightmare (depending on your view) with almost no mention in the papers.

Corona Quickees:

  • More serious cases, more ventilated as virus surges in Israel - Health Ministry says 107 people now in serious condition, up from 83 by Tuesday midnight; data shows 14,104 active cases, a rise of almost 500 diagnoses; COVID-19 national death toll climbs by one to 343. Ministers also vote to impose a one-week lockdown on the West Bank ultra-Orthodox settlement of Beitar Illit. (Ynet and Haaretz)
  • West Bank are dealing with a renewed outbreak of the coronavirus - In the West Bank, there are 4,390 active cases; 21 people have died. In the Gaza Strip, 72 people were diagnosed and one person has died. (Haaretz)
  • Coronavirus infections all over Israel shot up 500% in past month - Number of active cases up in 262 communities. (Haaretz+)
  • Knesset passes bill allowing gov't to bypass parliament on COVID-19 regulations - New law allows coronavirus-related cabinet decisions to go into effect before parliamentary approval. The Knesset would then have seven days to review them. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Palestinian rights group decries ‘surge’ in Gaza suicide attempts - Al Mezan Center for Human Rights says it has registered 17 suicides and hundreds of attempts this year, as pandemic batters already impoverished territory; Hamas, which rules the coastal enclave, contests the data. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • As Criticism Mounts, Israeli Secret Service Wants Digital Coronavirus Tracking Reexamined - Shin Bet to convene urgent meeting with top officials, as Knesset panel demands solutions after thousands of Israelis claim they were mistakenly sent into quarantine with no way to appeal. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Government’s New Coronavirus Rules Threaten Fatal Blow to Many Businesses - Resuming restrictions on businesses will lead to spike in bankruptcies, acting Justice Ministry director general says as central bank forecasts GDP will shrink 6% this year. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • ‘We’re Alone in This War’: Desperate Businesses Fear Collapse as New Coronavirus Rules Force Them to Close Again - Business owners nationwide are desperate and confused about the new rules, and don't see how they can survive a second shutdown. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel's Public Health Director Resigns, Says Coronavirus Response 'Lost Direction' - Sadetzki, who has been a highly public presence during the coronavirus pandemic, said her professional opinion was recently being ignored. In May, the Health Ministry's director general resigned. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • **Contrary to the corona guidelines and at a cost of 80,000 shekels: Miri Regev cut a ribbon for another interchange - The new Minister of Transportation held a ceremony that cost 80,000 shekels to inaugurate the Ashkelon North interchange, to which dozens of people were invited - contrary to the Ministry of Health's instructions limiting gatherings. Regev admitted during the ceremony that the event did not meet the Ministry of Health's restrictions and urged the public to follow the new restrictions. "There is no other way, the guidelines must be kept - people do not keep the guidelines and at the end of the day, we will be forced to make a decision to return to closure." (TheMarker HebrewN12 Hebrew+VIDEO and Haaretz Hebrew)
  • Israel orders hospitals to limit non-coronavirus care - Chief of Jerusalem's top medical center warns against the Health Ministry's order, saying many patients suffering from cancer, heart disease and other serious ailments already delayed their treatments due to nationwide lockdown. (Ynet)
  • Wedding season brings new virus outbreak in West Bank - Marriages usually held in the summer months are major community events to which large families typically invite hundreds of guests and feature lavish meals, dancing and music late into the night. (Agencies, Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • No masks, no rules: Illicit high school parties trigger virus outbreak - 39 young people infected with coronavirus after Ra'anana bash; attendee at Modi'in party says 'kids were sharing bottles of alcohol and hugging a lot' in final act of rebellion after ban on graduation events that did not take them into consideration. (Ynet)
  • The concern: The school year will start late -
    In winter classes may turn into corona incubators. Parents are concerned: "Not sure we will send our children." This morning: Education Minister Galant will meet senior ministry officials to review the preparations for next year. (Israel Hayom)
  • [WATCH: Police harming boy as they try to handcuff him] - Detention of the boy in Dimona who did not wear a mask: Police said he didn't identify himself, but video shows otherwise - Police claimed he did not identify himself, but additional video from the incident shows how the boy gives his name and address. The boy, Omri Peretz, who has special needs, was riding his bike when he was accosted. Sigal Peretz, Omri's mother, sharply criticized the conduct of the police. "My child is lying on the floor handcuffed, they are sitting on his stomach..." she said. "In my life I never saw people behave like that."(Channel 12 News/N12+VIDEO)
  • [WATCH: Police drag man into car - OH] "I'm without a mask - fine me": The provocation that developed into a confrontation with the police - On social media networks, a video was posted showing cops dragging an ultra-Orthodox man toward a police car, allegedly for not wearing a mask. Police have now released a video from a security camera at the local supermarket that records moments before the confrontation with police officers. In the video, the man appears to be taunting police and removing the mask from his face repeatedly. N12 learned that the police had asked him to identify himself, but he refused - so the police had to exert force. He eventually agreed to identify himself to the police - and then he was detained by them and taken to the police station where he was fined and sent home. [NOTEThis is a slanted report that assumes what the police said was true and suggests the excessive violence was justified. - OH] (Channel 12 News/N12 Hebrew and VIDEOS)
  • WATCH: A 13-year-old girl was detained by police and burst into tears - A new video stirs up social media: Police detained an ultra-Orthodox girl during a stroll with a baby stroller because she didn't wear a mask. The girl's mother told Channel 12 News: “They told her they were giving her a fine. My daughter didn't start crying because they admonished her. They asked her for her mother's phone number and where she lives and what her name is. Why? If they just told her to "put on the mask" she would put the mask on, she would understand." (Ultra-Orthodox) Deputy Minister Meir Porush reacted: "It's heartbreaking to see police give a fine to a crying girl for not wearing a mask." Porush added it would not have happened to a secular girl. (Arutz 7 Hebrew and Israel Hayom and VIDEO with girl speaking and citizen trying to protect her)
  • WATCH: The mother of the young man from Holon who was filmed being beaten and tasered by police: "We won't file a complaint" WATCH THE VIDEO: - Disturbing video of  police officers beating and tasering a young man for not wearing a mask sparks rage in social media networks. Originally the police claimed he wouldn't identify himself, but video showed otherwise. Israel Police: "The video of the incident and the details will be transferred for investigation at our initiative." Watch the video: (Hashikma Holon news website)
  • "Enforce the law with discretion" - Public Security Minister Ohana tells the police Monday- In light of several instances of excessive force in enforcing the corona restrictions and the criticism against the police, the Minister of Public Security asked the police and civilians to have a dialogue between them. (Israel Hayom Hebrew)

 Quick Hits:

  • "You have no idea what you got yourself into": Three police officers accused of attacking a security guard at Ben-Gurion Airport - The Police Investigation Department filed an indictment alleging that undercover police at Ben Gurion Airport attacked an undercover airport security guard. The indictment attributes them to offenses involving injury in aggravated circumstances, threats and false imprisonment. (MaarivYnet Hebrew and Channel12 News/N12+PHOTO)
  • Jaffa Islamic Council Loses Legal Battle to Stop Construction on Site of Burial Ground - Court rescinds restraining order that prevented the Tel Aviv municipality from building a homeless shelter on the site, but local Arab leader decries 'legal acrobatics' in ruling that followed a wave of protests against the project. Judge Limor Bibi also ordered the petitioners to pay the court costs. Tarek Ashkar, director of the Islamic Council, told Haaretz that the ruling was based on technicalities and “legal acrobatics” and that it was an example of the legal system functioning as part of a discriminatory establishment. “They could have said the permit was valid, but they didn’t say that ... The system is tipping the scales for the benefit of Tel Aviv’s municipality,” he said, adding that the city had not provided any documentation as evidence of its claims. [NOTE: Maariv did not get a response from the Islamic Council - OH] (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Israel's Justice Ministry Rapped for Early Search for Prosecutor in Netanyahu Trial - 'The feeling is that somebody high up wants to make a grab before the government chooses a state prosecutor,' one official says, but ministry insists tender was 'issued according to the accepted rules of the civil service.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Annexation can still happen in July, US source tells ‘Post’ - The peace plan team, headed by Jared Kushner, is expected to begin a series of discussions on the Middle East Action Plan, as well as the issue of applying sovereignty in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley. (JPost/Maariv)
  • Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan warn Israel on annexation - "We would not recognize any changes to the 1967 borders that changes not agreed by both parties in the conflict might have consequences for ties with Israel and that they would support any attempts of Israelis and Palestinians to hold negotiations. (JPost and Ynet)
  • Netanyahu discusses annexation with Boris Johnson - In joint statement, Jordan, Egypt, Germany and France say they would not recognize any changes to 1967 borders that were not agreed by both parties to the conflict. (Haaretz+)
  • Hezbollah Will 'Do Everything' to Block Israeli Annexation, Nasrallah Says - In a televised address, the leader of the Iran-backed Lebanese group also called on Beirut to get closer to Iran, Iraq and China to rescue it from economic disaster. [NOTE: ‘Israel Hayom’s misleading headline was “Hezbollah leader: Israeli sovereignty an 'extremely dangerous plot” - OH] (JPost and Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • East Jerusalem offers grim model for post-annexation future - Palestinians in annexed territories likely to refuse citizenship so as not to legitimize Israeli rule, instead set to get permanent residency like most Palestinians in eastern parts of capital, who claim systematic housing discrimination. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Father, Son Gunned Down in Israeli Arab Town, Suspect in Custody - Locals say fatal shooting in Marjeh involves family land dispute. Forty-four Arab-Israelis have been murdered since the start of the year. (Haaretz+, Israel Hayom Hebrew and Maariv)
  • Coalition partners appear to reach 1-year national budget compromise - With a new election a non-starter, Likud and Kahol-Lavan hammer out a framework that includes long-term planning to address the coronavirus crisis. (Maariv and Israel Hayom)
  • Rejecting State's Appeal, Israeli Top Court Ruling Removes Hurdles to Asylum Requests - The state will have to prove that at least part of a country is safe for deportees following ruling in case of asylum seeker fleeing female genital mutilation. (Haaretz+)
  • PA continues to dump waste while Israel grapples with coronavirus crisis - "We find it implausible that the Palestinian Authority managed to hide thousands of trucks dumping garbage” into the Binyamin Region's Tarrifi Quarry, just outside the Jewish communities of Kochav Ya'akov and Psagot for weeks on end, said (right-wing organization) Regavim, which is pressing for cleanup and a resolution to the situation. [NOTE: The paper does not get a response from the Palestinian side - OH] (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel Police Say Officers May Be Involved in Gantz's Ex-firm Case - Police ask to hand over probe into Fifth Dimension, formerly chaired by Defense Minister Gantz, which will now be handled by market competition authority. Prosecution transferred the investigation to the Antitrust Authority. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Israeli Government Pushes Back Start of Sovereign Wealth Fund as Gas Revenues Trickle in - 1 billion shekel target sum to begin operations won’t be reached till end of 2021 because tax revenue from natural gas has not yet hit the minimum needed to begin investing, and fund managers have not yet been chosen, Bank of Israel Deputy Governor Andrew Abir said. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Israeli Military Committee to Consider Medals for Troops Who Served in South Lebanon - Panel to examine giving name to campaign that lasted over a decade and a half, after 20th anniversary of withdrawal revives debate over how it was carried out and its ramifications. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Arab world mourns Israeli who died saving Bedouin family from drowning - Michael Ben Zikri becomes symbol of co-existence between Jews and Muslims after Foreign Ministry shares his story on its social media accounts in Persian and Arabic; 'There is no difference between humans,' writes Iraqi commenter. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • U.S. Congress Votes to Include Legislation for Israeli-Palestinian Peace Fund in 2021 Budget - The ‘Partnership Fund for Peace’ has become a rare issue of consensus among leading Jewish American groups, winning support both from AIPAC and J Street, as well as from the Jewish Federations of North America, the Anti-Defamation League, Americans for Peace Now and American Jewish Committee. (Haaretz+)
  • Prominent Iraqi critic of Iran, proxy groups shot dead in Baghdad - Advisor to Iraqi government, U.S. coalition in Iraq shot dead by motorcycle rider outside his home after receiving threats from Iran-backed militias; no group claimed responsibility for assassination. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Iran records highest daily death toll yet from COVID-19 - Iran was one of the hardest hit countries early in the pandemic. The highest number of deaths recorded in a day in that first phase was 158 on April 4. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Explosion in Tehran Kills Two, Damages Factory, Iran's State Media Reports - Local official says blast at factory for filling oxygen tanks caused by 'human error,' The explosion is the fourth  across the country in the last two weeks. (Agencies, Haaretz and Maariv)
  • UN Expert Deems U.S. Drone Strike on Iran's Soleimani an 'Unlawful' Killing - The Jan. 3 drone strike was the first known incident in which a nation invoked self-defence as a justification for an attack against a state actor in the territory of a third country, said a UN human rights investigator. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Iran says nuclear program 'unstoppable,' warns Israel not to strike - Days after explosion causes major damage to key uranium enrichment center, ayatollah's regime heats up rhetoric against the Jewish state. (Israel Hayom)
  • UN Investigators: Syrian, Russian Airstrikes in Idlib, Jihadist Attacks Amount to War Crimes - 'Pro-government forces and UN-designated terrorists flagrantly violated the laws of war and the rights of Syrian civilians,' chairman of UN panel says. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • New at Saudi Pilgrimage: Bottled Holy Water, Sterilized Pebbles - Coronavirus guidelines also mandate that foreign residents making the hajj be between the ages of 20 and 50, and that they have not performed it before. (Agencies, Haaretz)

Top Commentary/Analysis:
The Powers Israel’s Politicians Are Usurping Are Worse Than the Coronavirus Itself (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) It’s easy to frighten the public; it’s much harder to courageously manage risks out of a realization that the economy, social fabric and mental health are no less important than the coronavirus infection rate.
Success has turned out to be a failure: This time Netanyahu has no one to blame (Ben Caspit, Maariv)A leader who loves Israel would have appointed a corona battle director, delegate to him all the authority, make every means available to him, subordinate to him to the corona cabinet and let him work. No candidates for this position are missing. A leader who loves his country would have ignored political considerations, personal rivalries and domestic turmoil, and appointed to this position Maj. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, or former defense minister Naftali Bennett, or (MK and) Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, who announced yesterday that he would resign immediately from the Knesset and serve in this position. A leader who loves his people would have avoided panic in the first wave and euphoria in the second, so that he would not have to reach the third stage. Israel does not have a leader who loves the state, but a leader who loves himself and is convinced that his very existence is essential to the future of the state. This time, Netanyahu has no one to blame.
Netanyahu Is Trying to Blame Democracy and the Public for Israel's Sorry Coronavirus Response (Haaretz Editorial) On Monday at 4:00 A.M. the Knesset passed a law, by a tiny majority of 29 to 24 MKs, that allows the government to bypass it. According to the new law, the government will be able to implement its decisions regarding the fight against the coronavirus before they are discussed by the Knesset, and even before they are subject to debate in Knesset committees (if such discussion goes on too long). The reason, the government claims, is that the process of debating proposed laws in the Knesset delays. This is clearly anti-democratic legislation, which is extremely harmful to the separation of powers and erodes the sovereignty of the Knesset – that is, of the people. This legislation subordinates the Knesset to an omnipotent government…
Systemic Violence Against Israel’s Citizens Is Not Limited to Police Brutality (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) A shocking video clip that shows policemen throwing a young man to the ground for not wearing a mask, then beating, dragging and injuring him, is not an “anomalous event” that will “obviously” be investigated. Police brutality is part of the way our system of government works. True, police spokesmen try to justify the incident by claiming there was a danger to the public and they were assigned the difficult job of preventing or at least thwarting that danger. But the system works. As one internet commenter captivated by the system’s charms wrote, “There’s a pandemic outside, sorry.” And during a pandemic, as we all know, anything is permissible. If you don’t wear a mask, a policeman will show up armed with a baton, Taser, handcuffs and muscle power…What ought to truly worry and frighten us is covert violence, the kind that infects the herd. Nobody challenges or judges that…Grocery stores, floral shops, falafel stands, pubs, bars, teachers and parents are all frequently threatened these days by violent orders drafted by bureaucrats and doctors, politicians and experts, all of whom are divided among themselves over the right way to deal with the coronavirus pandemic…
What do US Jews really think about sovereignty? (Stephen M. Flatow, Israel Hayom) The only way to know is to poll the Jewish population. But the answers may come as a surprise.
The Message: West Bank Annexation = Apartheid (Dmitry Shumsky, Haaretz+) A recent report by a new human-rights think tank – established and led by former Meretz chairwoman Zehava Galon – is likely to become a seminal civil-political document in the public battle against the formal imposition, and validation, of an apartheid regime between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. the report by Zulat explains how the application of Israeli law to the occupied territories, or parts of them, will create a single political regime that will form the basis of two separate systems of law: one for Israeli citizens and another for the Palestinian population. The latter has no civil rights and will largely remain trapped in Bantustan-like enclaves…The report uncovers the right’s calculated, comprehensive program to invent a new lexicon of annexation, aimed at concealing the fact that the planned move will result in apartheid. The linguistic and conceptual whitewashing by the right – of the apartheid state in the making – has been a success for years. Positive-sounding and deceptive civil expressions such as “applying sovereignty,” whose purpose is to market to Israelis the apartheid projects wrapped in the shiny cellophane of officialdom, found their way to the heart of the mainstream media, turning these outlets into the abject handmaiden of the pro-Netanyahu right…
The great danger to American sympathy for Israel emerged from Trump's celebratory speech (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) It was not a speech. It was a collection of blasphemy, of overt incitement, of exhortation, of reaction, of encouragement of xenophobia. Exactly such speeches encourage and enhance anti-Semitism.
Recruiting us is harder than you think (Jalal Banna, Israel Hayom) On the surface, one might be inclined to think Hezbollah and Iran are fishing in the right waters. Supposedly, it should be easy to find Arab Israelis who are ready to turn. In reality, however, this is far from the case.
In contrast to the first wave, this time a security escalation could happen during the corona (Tal Lev-Ram, Maariv) The outbreak of the Corona epidemic, in its first wave in our region, has brought with it a period of almost unprecedented security calm. But as time passed and the epidemic waned, the challenges returned. Iran is determined not to give up on its desire to establish itself in the region, and continues to deliver arms and support to Hezbollah's precision missile project. At the same time, it is also progressing in its nuclear project. Lebanon is in a situation of bankruptcy. Even before corona the state was in a state of insolvency. Now the situation is much worse and in Israel it is believed that the situation is also putting pressure on Hezbollah's leadership, which has been severely criticized for its priorities. The defense establishment understands that the pressure valves in Lebanon may also be directed at us. The tension with the Palestinian Authority has also risen sharply recently, given the issue of annexation. Security and civilian coordination was completely stopped. So far, there is no escalation in the field, but the security establishment is also preparing for such options. In the background, the second wave also hit the PA, especially in Hebron, and that could have consequences as well. In any case, recent events - the rocket fire from Gaza and the explosion at the Natanz Iranian nuclear facility, which was attributed to Israel - are already signaling that, alongside Israel's response to the corona's re-eruption, this time it could also be accompanied by significant security tension. At the same time, voices are calling again to transfer overall responsibility for crisis management of corona to the security establishment and the IDF. However, in the meantime, valuable time has been wasted, and now, even if the decision is made, the preparations must be made in an emergency procedure.
Pandemic politics in America and Israel (Ruthie Blum, Israel Hayom) While American conservatives consider COVID-19 restrictions an infringement on their freedom, Israelis of the same political bent believe that abiding by regulations is a civic duty.
Experts: Natanz Explosion Set Back Iran’s Nuclear Program by More Than a Year (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) It's unclear if the explosion and other incidents that occurred in Iran over the past week were connected, but there is pressure mounting on Iran to respond. In the meantime, Israel is keeping quiet on whether it was responsible.
US Jews and Israel are drifting apart (Dan Schueftan, Israel Hayom) Both demographic changes and the increasingly different lived experiences of Jews in Israel and in the US are leading to increasing polarization between the two communities.

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