News Nosh 7.9.20

APN's daily news review from Israel - Thursday July 9, 2020

Quotes of the day:
"If we don't receive money in the coming days, you will have a world war."
--Unemployed sound technician, Eyal Altraz warned the Prime Minister.*

"Everything that is currently sparking public rage in Israel with violent potential – temporary unemployment, financial insecurity, violation of rights, disgust with leaders and a lack of hope – is considered superfluous among that other nation living under the rule of the Israeli government and the Israeli army."
--Haaretz's Gideon Levy looks at Israelis' rage and asks if it will help them understand Israeli violence.**

Front Page:


Yedioth This Week (Hebrew links only)

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • Coalition disconnect - Knesset hearing on commission of inquiry into conflicts of interest of High Court Justices threatened to bring down government
  • Health Minister Edelstein’s party
  • Waiting for aid - Hundreds of thousand of unemployed waiting for publishing of economic plan

Israel Hayom

Top News Summary:

The debate over a bill to establish an inquiry commission to investigate High Court justices sparked a storm in the Knesset and exposing the rift between coalition parties Likud and Kahol-Lavan, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein hosted a party at his home on the same day he announced corona restrictions prohibiting it and self-employed and unemployed salaried workers waited still for the publishing of the economic rescue plan meant to save them (as the media shared more reports of citizens threatening with violence if their situation gets worse) - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Three Palestinians who made news didn’t make the Hebrew newspapers: The Palestinian President, the Palestinian national cartographer and a famous American model, who said she, too, is Palestinian. Details below.

‘Yedioth Ahronoth’ was very clear about the angry debate that took place Wednesday in the Knesset about whether to establish a Knesset commission of inquiry against High Court justices over conflicts of interest. Yedioth said those who proposed (Yamina party member MK Bezalel Smotrich) and those who supported the bill (Likud and Yamina) were blind to the real problem facing the nation: the economic crisis. (See Yedioth’s front page.) Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi called the debate a “shameful show”, saying: "Citizens of Israel see that instead of dealing with the unemployed, the government is dealing with judges." But what was also so upsetting to the people opposing the bill was that it harmed democracy, they said. Kahol-Lavan vehemently opposed the bill and was outraged that Likud was supporting it. Kahol-Lavan called it a “declaration of war on Israeli democracy in Israel.” The bill was struck down only because not all Likud lawmakers showed up to pass it, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu himself. In an interview, a former High Court chief justice, retired judge Yaakov Tirkel, said, there already is a law dealing with the issue of conflict of interests. “It's good that this stupidity didn't work out,” he said. (Maariv)

If it weren’t enough that the government was busy wrangling over legislative bills instead of worrying how its citizens paid their house bills, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein held a birthday bash for his wife with dozens of guests at their home - shortly after he announced more corona restrictions. Edelstein said the event was in accordance with the guidelines and while it wasn’t clear whether that was true or not, from the point of view of the Hebrew papers it clearly was not. And, if that weren’t enough, Transportation Minister Miri Regev, who held an expensive inauguration event the day before in violation of the regulations, (which she admitted she knew about,) dismissed the criticism against both of them. “It’s not fair to paint us as people who don’t follow the guidelines,” she said. (Maariv)

*The corona restrictions have put hundreds of thousands of people out of work and the Israeli media is sharing more stories of incredibly angry and desperate people who are “willing to steal and burn things” to survive. One of those people who has been interviewed after an angry desperate video he made of himself is Oren Radlev, a freelance sound technician. He also made headlines after writing a Twitter complaint to Minister Tzachi Hanegbi for the latter’s indifference to the people’s economic problems, to which Hanegbi wrote back that he can call Arab MK Ahmed Tibi. Radlev is outraged over the delay in the publishing of the prime minister's and the finance minister’s economic plan. "If we need to go out and steal food - that’s what will happen,” he said. (Maariv and Ynet Hebrew) Another sound technician, Eyal Altraz said to the Prime Minister: "If we don't receive money in the coming days, you will have a world war." (Hebrew) Two other important discussions in the Knesset barely made print headlines: Knesset committee discussions about police violence and other extreme police measures towards citizens in enforcing the corona guidelines. There have been numerous videos of police harming citizens, using excessive force or scaring children - all because they didn’t wear a mask. (See Quick Hits for the most recent examples. - OH] [NOTE: Just as the lockdowns and curfews gave Israelis a taste of what it’s like to be a Palestinians, now the economic desperation due to restricted movement, the excessive force by police on citizens and the scaring of children gives Israelis another taste of being an occupied Palestinian.] Haaretz’s Gideon Levy asks whether the economic crisis will lead to violence by Israelis against their government and will they make the connection to the Palestinians’ plight. (See Commentary/Analysis below.)

Now, for the news that didn’t make the news:
1.) In talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he was ready for talks with Israel under the auspices of the Mideast Quartet. (Also Maariv.)

2.) Renowned Palestinian cartographer, settlement expert and head of the Maps Department of the Arab Studies Society in Jerusalem, Khalil Tafakji, was detained Wednesday by Israeli forces. Israeli forces also stormed, searched and seized computers of the office of the Arab Studies Society, and the staff were forcibly held in the office, during the operation, IMEMC reported. Tafakji was also detained in February at his home in Jerusalem by Israeli police and questioned for several hours. That detention took place a month after his latest book in French, “31° Nord 35° Est. Chroniques géographiques de la colonisation israélienne,” ("31 degrees North 35 degrees East: A Geographical Chronicle of the Israeli colonization") was published. (Israeli forces also detained numerous other people Wednesday, including a Palestinian judge.)

3.) And top model Bella Hadid made waves in foreign news when she accused Instagram of “bullying” after it deleted a post she wrote about being “proud to be Palestinian” and with a photo of her father’s US passport that says place of birth “Palestine.” After the deletion, Bella wrote another post and asked, “Instagram, in what part of my pride that my father's birthplace is Palestine is 'bullying, harassment, abusive graphics or sexual nudity?...Do you want me to change his birthplace for you?…You can’t erase history by silencing people. It Doesn’t work like that.” Instagram later apologized. Only ‘Israel Hayom’ Hebrew website mentioned it in a critique by Dean Shmuel Elmas, who accused Ms. Hadid of “historical inaccuracy.”  Elmas wrote: “According to her, the social media network deleted the story she published of a photo of her father's US passport, which states the birthplace "Palestine,” although he was born on November 6, 1948 in Nazareth. This is, to say the least, a historical inaccuracy, as (Palmach pre-state military) Brigade 7, under Ben Dunkelman's command, conquered the city with the assistance of the Carmeli and Golani brigaes on July 16, 1948.” [NOTE: Two points: 1.) When exactly a person can no longer be called born in Palestine is tricky. Parts of the country were conquered by Israel at different times. If the logic goes that the people born in an area already conquered by Israel are no longer considered born in Palestine, that means people living in a yet unconquered area are still born in Palestine. And it’s impossible to consider Palestine as enclaves. Moreover, the Jews declared their country over the whole land in May 1948, when most of it was yet to be conquered. So according to that logic, it should only have been declared over certain areas. Not till 1949 did Israel sign separate armistices, i.e. formal agreements of warring parties to stop fighting: with Egypt on 24 February, Lebanon on 23 March, Transjordan on 3 April, and Syria on 20 July, 1949. 2.) It’s a US passport, meaning that the US authorities also considered it Palestine.

Corona-related Quickees:

  • Health minister hosts party same day as latest virus steps announced - Yuli Edelstein hosts wife's birthday bash at his private residence with dozens in attendance, shortly after him and Netanyahu rolled out new restrictions on mass gatherings; Edelstein says event held in accordance with health regulations. (Maariv and Ynet)
  • Israel Considers Shortening Compulsory Coronavirus Quarantine - Health Ministry mulls measure in response to complaints about phone-tracking errors. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel sees 1,231 daily coronavirus cases, with 118 in serious condition - The Health Ministry lists a host of Israeli towns and cities, including Jerusalem, Ra'anana, Beit Shemesh, as 'red zones' allowing them to potentially be declared as 'restricted areas' and put in lockdown. (Ynet)
  • THURSDAY: Coronavirus outbreak in the IDF sends 10,000 troops and chief of staff into quarantine - Aviv Kochavi among those asked to isolate for his second time since start of outbreak; army says will not reinstate closure of bases, most of the 350 confirmed COVID-19 carriers are asymptomatic and some even well enough to train. (Ynet)
  • Gantz in isolation after contact with coronavirus sufferer - Defense minister says he feels 'great' and will 'continue working as usual, just remotely'; special equipment placed in his home in order to allow to fulfill his duties while in quarantine after having been in vicinity of infected relative. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israelis to sue state over 'wrongful' virus quarantine orders - Many told to enter isolation say they lost income after misidentified by controversial tracking system normally used in counter-terrorism; woman placed at maternity unit despite not even being pregnant while man currently in UK receives order to isolate. (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Israel to reopen schools on September 1 with major virus adjustments - Education Minister Yoav Galant presents 3 plans of action for managing the upcoming school year, depending on the severity of the virus, which includes both in-class and remote studies; worst case outline set to cost taxpayer around 2 billion shekels. (Maariv and Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Rivlin slams government over its handling of virus crisis - The president in rare public criticism says Israel hasn't developed a 'clear and coherent doctrine' to help fight coronavirus; Rivlin also urged the ministries to stop internal bickering over control to manage the epidemic. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israeli doctors warn of 'brutal winter' if hospitals aren't bolstered - Over 100 doctors from internal wards across the country write a letter to Netanyahu and Edelstein, warning they will resort to strikes and protests if more resources are not allocated in order to deal with mounting coronavirus cases. (Ynet)
  • Coronavirus Gives Urgency to Israel’s National Drone Delivery Project - Project organizers say drones will reduce traffic in major cities, but implementation and profitability could prove to be difficult. (Haaretz+)
  • A reason to party - It appears that all the local celebrities, who partied at Titi Ayano's birthday party two weekends ago were infected with Corona, including Titi herself, after two people with confirmed cases were at the party. (Ynet Hebrew and Maariv)

Quick Hits:

  • Annexation Puts EU-Israel Cooperation at Risk, EU Foreign Policy Chief Says - 'Peace cannot be imposed, it has to be negotiated, however hard this can be,' writes Josep Borrell in support of multilateral initiative to restart Israeli-Palestinian talks. (Haaretz+)
  • Canadian PM candidate vows to move embassy to Jerusalem - Conservative lawmaker and long-time advocate for strong relations with Israel, criticizes PM Trudeau for demonstrating 'weakened and wavered' support for the Jewish state, says he wishes to 'reverse trend.’ (Ynet/i24NEWS and Israel Hayom)
  • Settlers trespass on Palestinian land to build a pool for their children - Under COVID-19 lockdown, Amer Abu Hijleh discovered settlers were digging a hole on his land. While Israeli forces prevented his access to the area, the hole became a pool. (972mag)
  • VIDEO: Palestinians were hit by a bomb blast during a military exercise of the commando brigade - Two illegal workers from the Ramallah area infiltrated into Israel through the a fire zone near Modiin and passed just a few meters from a engineering blast in the training of an elite unit. The two from Shuqba village survived by a miracle and claimed they were looking for a lost horse, and that they thought that the IDF normally does not usually train on Thursdays - and were taken to be dealt with by police. (Ynet Hebrew and YouTube)
  • Palestinian security prisoner died in Israeli hospital, Hamas threatens: "Israel will bear responsibility" - The Gazan father of 10 who got cancer died at the age of 75 after his medical condition deteriorated. Hamas and Islamic Jihad have accused Israel, as usual, of medical neglect of the Gazan. He was sentence to life in prison for the murder of David Mashli 26 years ago. The Goldin family [whose son was killed in Operation Protective Edge in Gaza and whose body is being held there by Hamas -OH] demanded to delay the release of the body for burial. (Maariv and Ynet Hebrew)
  • (Police) Choking arrests - Photo and video evidence of detainees in Eilat reveals harsh and humiliating conditions: left in closed police cars in heat for long periods of time and spraying pepper gas inside the cars. The trial of one of the detainees has been put on hold until his the complaint he filed is looked into (PHOTO: Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Stormy debate in Knesset Committee over police enforcement of corona guidelines: "The things are being done that are unbearable" - The Constitution committee convened following videos showing harsh incidents by police against civilians while enforcing the corona regulations to wear masks. The debate focused on treatment of minors and “special populations.” (Ultra-Orthodox) MK Yaakov Asher said: "It is impossible to save lives and destroy lives at the same time…The role (of the police) is to explain and deter and only in the end to enforce. Someone turned things upside down.” Police representative: “We work transparently with body cameras.” At the same time, another discussion was held in the State Control Committee on police conduct, which 24-year-old David Biton participated in. Biton was detained last Friday for four days for an incident that began due to his failure to wear a mask in Holon. Videos showed great use of force against him, including the use of a taser. Biton burst into tears during his testimony, watching the [violent - OH] video of his arrest. "Why were the cops causing me this trauma? I presented an ID card and did nothing. I am a normative, educated person. I have no criminal record. Only after four days did they release me. They just wanted to brutally hit me, they decided to torture me and I don't know why. I vomited, I was on the floor for 40 minutes before they treated me. I passed out at the police station. I told them I’m going to die. People shouted to the cops that I was going to die, and they ignored it, "he said. (93FM Hebrew, Maariv and Globes Hebrew and Ynet Hebrew with VIDEO of young man crying during Knesset hearing)
  • Fearing Israeli Public Backlash, Likud Stalls on Funding Coalition Parties - Members of Likud are concerned that signing deals worth billions of shekels during the economic crisis caused by the pandemic could reflect badly on the party. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu’s Lawyer Resigns Over Unpaid Fees Days Before Second Corruption Trial Session - Attorney Micha Fettman says decision is in light of permits committee’s decision not to hear Netanyahu’s request to accept nearly $3 million from U.S. businessman Spencer Partrich to help fund his legal defense. (Haaretz+ and Maariv and Ynet)
  • Israeli Man arrested for expressing desire to 'join' attacks on PM Netanyahu - Suspect who allegedly posted Twitter message saying he would be "happy" to take part if anyone had plans to harm the prime minister has been remanded and is under investigation. (Israel Hayom)
  • AG asks High Court to remove Likud minister Katz’s immunity from prosecution - In legal opinion, Avichai Mandelblit tells justices that Knesset ‘exceeded authority’ in shielding former minister from corruption charges. (Times of Israel and Maariv)
  • A demand that the President’s Residence remove the statue of (convicted rapist and former president) Katzav - Against the backdrop of the worldwide trend to remove controversial statues, social media network users have recently asked the president to remove the statue of rapist former state president Moshe Katzav, who is serving a prison sentence for rape. The bust sits in the Presidential garden with busts of all the other former presidents. One person wrote: "If Katsav's head looks out on the people visiting the garden and they see him, it should be removed." In 2011, then-state president Shimon Peres said in closed talks that the statue should be removed. The Knesset Ministerial Committee on Symbols and Ceremonies decided to leave it. (Ynet Hebrew)
  • Ayelet Shaked submits candidacy to serve in Judicial Selection Committee - Former Justice Minister MK Ayelet Shaked (Yamina) on Wednesday submitted her candidacy to serve as a member of the Opposition in the Judicial Selection Committee. (Ynet)
  • IDF cancels large drill planned for September, citing financial woes - Decision to scrap the exercise, in which thousands of reservists were to take part, comes amid negotiations between military and treasury over defense budget. (Times of Israel, Ynet and Ynet Hebrew)
  • Fearing Israeli sanctions, PA banks refuse to disburse terrorists' salaries - PA-area banks cancel ATM cards of terrorists and their families after new Israeli anti-terror legislation exposes them to criminal prosecution. (Israel Hayom)
  • Despite the deadlock: Israel reportedly sends Hamas new proposal for prisoner swap - So far, Hamas has not responded to the proposal Israel transferred through a third party several weeks ago. Recently, Hamas made it clear that a prerequisite for the deal was the release of the prisoners who were released in the Shalit deal and were arrested again.  (Ynet Hebrew and Times of Israel)
  • Arab media report: "Salafist activists in Gaza used by Israel to hit Hamas" - According to the Lebanese newspaper Al-Ahbar, the squad members believed they were working for ISIS, and gathered information on strategic goals in the Gaza Strip. Interrogation by Hamas of the Salaf operatives revealed that the squad members were close to carrying out attacks - and that the first target was a strategic attack against one of the military arms in Gaza, apparently Hamas. In addition, they planned attacks on Hamas security infrastructures, at checkpoints, in courts and at government targets in Gaza. The investigation led to other activists, who hid “special equipment” in some apartments in Gaza City. (Ynet Hebrew)
  • Former Israeli negotiator Daniel Levy tells Expo event antisemitism 'weaponised' to silence Palestinian struggle - Labour peer Lord Levy's son joined speakers including Jeremy Corbyn at the Palestine Expo conference last weekend. (JC News)
  • Israel’s El Al Strikes Deal to Fire 1,300 Employees, Saving $88 Million a Year - Efficacy agreement states that 500 maintenance and 800 management workers will be laid off or retire. National carrier hasn’t yet signed an agreement with its 600 pilots. (Haaretz+)
  • Accused Pedophile Malka Leifer Appeals Ruling That She Is Fit to Stand Trial - Leifer fled to Israel in 2008 after being indicted in Australia on 74 counts of rape and sexual assault ■ Leifer's attorneys say court's ruling isn't evidence-based. (Maariv and Haaretz+)
  • Banned Israeli Book Finds New Life on Stage – Once the Pandemic Is Over - Dorit Rabinyan's controversial bestseller about an Israeli-Palestinian romance, which was banned by the country's Culture Ministry, was adapted into a new play. That story, actress Avigail Harari says, is 'alive and kicking.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinians hope Biden would roll back Trump's pro-Israel policies - 120 prominent Palestinian-Americans, who have been pressing U.S. presidential hopeful to take pro-Palestinian stance, sign 'Statement of Principles' that includes making aid to Israel conditional on it ending 'practices that violate Palestinian rights.' (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Young Gaza amputees play soccer again after coronavirus curbs eased - Some of the 26 athletes lost limbs to the various rounds of violence between Israel and Hamas, the terrorist group that rules Gaza. (Agencies, Israel Hayom online only)
  • U.S. Affirms Support for Lebanon as Hezbollah Steps Up Criticism - American general's visit to Beirut triggers protest amid group's criticism of U.S. ambassador, accused of blatant interference in Lebanese affairs. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Changes tone - Nasrallah: "Become farmers and industrialists instead of fighters against terror" - In a long speech Tuesday, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah had a new spirit, possible as a result of the criticism against his organization in light of Lebanon's terrible economic situation. He spoke about a revolution in the activities of his organization's members "from fighters against terror to farmers and industrialists." He said that hunger must be eradicated and industrialists in China and Iraq must be convinced to invest in Lebanese industry. (Wednesday Yedioth Hebrew, p. 18)
  • Lebanese man convicted of financing Hezbollah in U.S. returns home - Kassim Tajideen was sentenced last year in D.C. federal court for role in money laundering conspiracy aimed at evading sanctions; 64-year-old granted early release in May due to health conditions, fears virus infection in prison. (Agencies, Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • Top U.S. general sees smaller but enduring troop presence in Iraq - Trump has vowed to bring troops home and halt what he calls America’s endless wars. But he has also warned Iran to expect a bold U.S. response if Iranian-backed militias attack Americans in Iraq. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • New Iraqi PM's Actions Could Bring About Escalation, Iran-backed Militia Warns - The murder of prominent analyst Hisham al-Hashimi on Monday comes amid escalating tensions between the government and militia groups. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • UN Security Council Rejects Russia Bid to Cut Turkey Border Aid Access to Syria - This comes one day after Russia and China veto resolution aiming to keep aid coming into war-torn country from Turkey. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran vows to bolster Syrian air defenses - Iran, Syria ink agreement on furthering defense cooperation with focus on anti-airstrike capabilities. Iranian general: Move aimed at reinvigorating Damascus and Tehran's determination to confront the pressure from the US. (Israel Hayom)
  • Pompeo Says U.S. Seized Boat Carrying Iranian Weapons for Houthis in Yemen - U.S. Secretary of State reveals details on the operation while urging the UN Security Council to extend an arms embargo on Iran. (Agencies, Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Libyan migrant centres are like concentration camps, pope says - Thousands of refugees and migrants are held in about 20 official detention facilities in Libya, some controlled by armed groups. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Unprecedented 4,200-year-old rock art found in Northern Israel Could Indicate Lost Culture - Panels showing horned animals and non-utile cups carved into the ceiling of the monumental Bronze Age structures could attest to a powerful unknown civilization of nomads, archaeologists suggest. [Note: The rock was found in the path of the Meshushim stream, known in Arabic as Wadi Fahura, which starts in the occupied Golan Heights and empties into Lake Kinneret, but it’s unclear which place it was found. (Haaretz+, Maariv and Times of Israel)

Top Commentary/Analysis:
**Distress, Humiliation, Uncertainty: Israelis, Do You Now See What Drives Palestinian Resistance? (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Slowly but surely the option of violent opposition is surfacing. The combination of economic distress, fear, humiliation, uncertainty and a lack of leadership are bringing voices to the fore in broadcast studios and on social media that have probably never been heard in Israel before with such intensity. For the first time in years, there is rage. For the first time in Israel, the threat of violent opposition exists. Soundman Eyal Altraz has already threatened a world war and to “burn the country down” if “the money doesn’t go into the bank account.” And Zvika Buzaglo, who runs a children’s theater, threatened: “I am capable of killing or doing anything. I will do anything I have to so that my son doesn’t say ‘I’m hungry.’”…Soon enough, there will also be those who understand those threatening violent opposition and who will justify it…Despair, hunger, joblessness, humiliation, the deprivation of rights and tyrannical and arrogant governance spawn resistance, which becomes violent. Israelis are liable to learn this up close and from personal experience. It’s a shame that they never had the fairness and honesty and sense of justice to understand it even when it relates to others.
Enforcement and a sharp problem with it: The police must find the right balance (Alon Hachmon, Maariv's crime reporter) In recent weeks, I have criticized the police for their powerlessness with regard to enforcement against those who allow themselves to roam the public space without a mask on their faces. I alerted, spoke up and insisted that enforcement should be carried out. About two weeks ago, police began to deal with this problem and as the number of corona virus patients increased, the number of police reports also increased, indicating disregard for civilian emergency regulations. The police presence is important. Most police officers do their job faithfully, and any citizen who allows himself to endanger others should receive a ticket. But there is a way to write a ticket, and police officers have to show patience towards civilians. I have no intention of repeating the few instances of the last few days, some of which I have a different opinion about than quite a few people. Unlike others, I think civilians who agitate against police officers deserve a ticket. I also believe that a 13-year-old girl, if she walked without a mask and the law requires her to wear a mask, is not bad if the police spoke with her and in the end refrained from filing a report. In contrast, I am not sure this incident was unnecessary, especially in the situation where she was with her two little siblings. Police who use discretion would have ignored or at best offer her a mask and ask her to cover her face. On the other hand, there was a case in which police officers lost themselves at the time of a Holon resident's arrest, and used a taser and punched him in his face repeatedly. We did not see if the young man assaulted and if he did (as police claimed - OH), show it. If not, then you should not be allowed to wear the uniform even one more day. I still do not judge them, but such situations shame the whole police and that's a pity.
In the West Bank, Coronavirus Is Bad, but the Economy Is Worse (Jack Khoury, Haaretz+) As the number of cases spikes, the Palestinian government is trying to convey that the situation is under control – but public criticism keeps growing.
Israel’s Coronavirus Strategy Is About Making Life Bearable Until a Vaccine Is Found (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) The government will focus on limiting gatherings and economic pain. Meanwhile, Israelis aren’t getting a full picture of the rate of infection.
For the love of God, don't let IDF manage coronavirus crisis (Dr. Meir Elran, Yedioth/Ynet) There are many reasons why the IDF shouldn't be in charge of stopping the outbreak; the basic definition of democracy rules out the option of letting the army lead; such a move will result in politicization of the military, and who knows how that will end?
Netanyahu Fled a Crucial Knesset Vote, Rendering Gantz Relevant for Once (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) The prime minister told Likud to vote against a committee to investigate judges, but changed his mind at the last minute, apparently at his son's urging
The only advantage to the Mossad chief is that he is less dangerous than Netanyahu (Ran Edelist, Maariv) Perhaps the head of the Mossad is both Herzl and Churchill. The problem is that Yossi Cohen never showed a sign that he is capable of national leadership during these difficult days...Meanwhile, Cohen is reinforcing the Iranian threat. I don't know exactly what the benefits of the actions attributed to Israel are, but it is quite clear that they are playing into the hands of the extremists of Supreme Leader Khamanei and against the moderate President Rouhani. Meanwhile, Cohen is establishing a media infrastructure for his political campaign, or in the words of (MK Avigdor) Lieberman, "Everybody knows who the intelligence official was who told the New York Times that Israel is responsible for the explosion in Iran" and that "the same senior official began his primaries within the Likud party." The truth is, Lieberman exaggerated. The six-month extension as head of the Mossad gives Cohen a year from now, along the way there is the required time-out of politics period, which does not deter him from fertilizing the soil already. "I am not there yet," he said a few months ago after the publication of his political ambitions.
Among the positive reactions to Cohen's competence as a future prime minister were (far right-winger) Arieh Eldad and Ben Caspit, as they said on their radio program...
Netanyahu's crime and punishment (Yuval Karni, Yedioth/Ynet) Ministers, Likud officials and other people who have worked with him over the past three decades all tell tales of similar modus operandi on his part: Taking credit for success, finding a fall guy for failure. After a decade of political maneuvering, scheming and intrigue, the prime minister's self-satisfaction has caught up with him as he finds himself standing alone during one of Israel's darkest hours.
The Dangerous Mix of Netanyahu's Two Biggest Obsessions (Sami Peretz, Haaretz+) Netanyahu’s fixation with controlling the media is dangerous enough; controlling law enforcement will be worse.
Trump’s Polarizing Election Campaign Raises Stakes for Netanyahu and Israel (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Mutual hostility breeds binary vision in which Trump’s best friend is perceived as the Democrats’ worst enemy.
52 years late isn't too late (Shoshana Bryen, Israel Hayom) The United States believes that Israel has waited long enough to redeem promises by the United Nations, and in the absence of Palestinian engagement, Israel is entitled to begin the process of securing its border in the east: in Judea and Samaria.
Facebook Has Leverage Over Arab Regimes, but Will It Use It to Advance Civil Rights? (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Social media greatly contributed to civil rebellions in the Middle East, but this lifeline has been regularly blocked by regimes and leaders who are afraid of civil uprisings.
A budgetary virus has infected the IDF (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) Existing and future plans for military procurement, development and training have been delayed because the army is operating on a minimal budget due to the political stalemate and ministerial infighting.
Shut Down Israel's Army Radio and Leave the IDF Above the Politics of Right and Left (Nave Dromi, Haaretz+) Arguing about Israel's Army Radio from a left-right perspective may be convenient, but it’s beside the point. The station should be closed not because it’s right-wing or left-wing, but because a radio station – a journalistic media outlet whose success depends upon its independence – is not supposed to be subordinate to a hierarchical and antidemocratic organization like the army.
‘That’s the point of the checkpoint, to remind you they’re always there’ (Mya Guarnieri Jaradat, 972mag) The scariest thing about 'The Container,' which divides Palestinian areas from each other, is not knowing when — or if — you will make it to the other side.
Hardly a Palestinian #MeToo: Don't slaughter the sacred cow called Mahmoud Darwish (Samah Salaime, Haaretz+) I have no interest in singling out national poet Darwish as a statue that must be toppled for my own liberation as a woman and my people's liberation as a nation.
To remain the best, IDF must keep its best people (IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Yedioth/Ynet) IDF's chief of staff writes in this exclusive piece that the army's strength stems from Israeli people, who are willing to forfeit more lucrative careers and remain in the military to serve their nation, knowing we would provide them with education and financial security.
Do Five Million Syrian Lives Matter? Ask Russia and China (Anna McMorrin, Haaretz+) U.K. shadow minister for international development: Open border crossings are critical for Syrians. Without them millions will starve, and face COVID-19 with no medical aid at all. But at the UN Security Council, two countries are blocking those lifelines.


‘An illegitimate regime’: How a top rights group shed Israeli myths to recognize apartheid
In an exclusive interview, human rights lawyer Michael Sfard explains what led Yesh Din to charge Israel with the crime of apartheid in the West Bank. “Up until now, Yesh Din would say that specific policies are illegal or are even war crimes, but now we are talking about the regime being illegitimate,” Sfard told +972. (Interviewed by Amjad Iraqi in 972mag)

'I don't think the government will live out its days'
Coalition chairman Miki Zohar doesn't trust Blue and White leader Benny Gantz. "I have no great desire to see him become the prime minister," he says. (Interviewed by  Yehuda Shlezinger in Israel Hayom)

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