News Nosh 7.16.20

APN's daily news review from Israel - Thursday July 16, 2020

 Quotes of the day:

“I’m fighting over my country because I care about it. If it was finished, I wouldn’t be here,” one woman said, imploring the demonstrator, who tried grabbing a microphone from Channel 13 News reporter Avishay Ben Haim, and was now trying to set fire to an Israeli flag. Other protesters gathered around and tried to convince him to stop. At one point, the situation nearly deteriorated into violence. 

“It will be the picture of the protest. That’s exactly what they want. You’re helping our enemies.” The man put out the small flame that had begun to burn on the flag and the woman took it away from the scene. The furious man was forced to relent and came down from the roof.
--Haaretz's Jerusalem correspondent, Nir Hasson, reports from the scene of the biggest most virulent protest remembered in Jerusalem.*

Front Page:


Yedioth Ahronoth

  • In the end, we’ll pay for this // Sever Plocker
  • Cash for every citizen: Netanyahu passes out corona grants to everyone
  • (Minister) Edelstein: We only have 3-4 days in order to prevent a lockdown
  • Education Minister: Every kindergarten will be divided into two groups, up to 18 pupils per classroom
  • Investigation: The Governor’s rule - Terrible screaming at senior managers, key posts remain empty, paving a special access road for him and purchasing expensive machines to polish shoes: This is how the Bank of Israel is managed under Prof. Amir Oren, in the midst of the worst economic crisis in the history of the state (Hebrew)
  • Teheran, the real story - In the background of the mysterious explosions at the nuclear facility: The actions attributed to Israel in Iran are much more exciting than the show (Hebrew)

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links)

Israel Hayom

  • A corona stipend for everyone
  • Health Minister: If a miracle doesn’t happen- we will be in lockdown in two days
  • The beating heart: This is how the crisis is being managed
  • The overload ruled: Without corona symptoms - no test
  • Capsules on September 1st: Kindergartens will be divided in two, 18 pupils to a classroom
  • Demonstrations with black flags waving over them // Amnon Lord
  • People’s demonstration? Left-wing organizations behind the protest demonstrations // Akiva Bigman and Gilad Zwick
  • “Hundreds more jobs are needed”: From Monday, nurses go on strike
  • MK Ayelet Shaked is out: MKs Hauser and Mark are on the Judges Selection Committee

Top News Summary:

As the papers analyzed the rising rage towards Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the intense massive demonstration against him Tuesday (whether they were left-wingers or just average citizens and whether most or some were violent), Netanyahu announced corona grants to every citizen, which coalition members, analysts and the opposition said was unnecessary and even called it “bribe” and “hush” money meant to end the assuage the anger, overburdened nurses announced a strike starting Monday and ministers will meet today to discuss a partial lockdown as the corona virus infection rate reached an alarming 7%.

The right-wing denounced the growing and more virulent demonstrations against the economic situation and against Netanyahu. At the Knesset plenum National Digital Minister David Amsalem said, "We are a small step ahead of total anarchy led by the criminal left" and  said the “anarchist left…acts violently because it fails to replace the rule of the right-wing, and channels its frustration into violent channels.” (Maariv) Public Security Minister Amir Ohana said that the incitement that preceded Yitzhak Rabin's assassination in 1995 “pales in comparison” to what the anger directed at Netanyahu. Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Arieh King, a right-wing activist who works to help Jews settle in East Jerusalem and evict its Palestinian residents, was caught on tape dragging an anti-Netanyahu protester on the ground at Tuesday’s demonstration in Jerusalem (VIDEO). And meanwhile, the police said they won’t approve another economic protest set to take place Saturday night at Rabin Square in Tel-Aviv.

Corona Quickees:

  • PM to convene emergency 'corona cabinet' meeting tonight as infection tally spikes - Cabinet to vote in the evening over weekend curfews and closing restaurants, beaches and synagogues and other restrictions. (Israel HayomHaaretz and Ynet)
  • With nearly 1,800 diagnoses, Israel sees highest daily coronavirus tally - National Knowledge and Information Center reports that with 1,758 recorded in the past 24 hours, the infection rate now stands at staggering 7%; in Beitar Illit every 80th resident is an active coronavirus carrier. (Ynet)
  • Inside the beating heart of Israel's corona crisis management efforts - Every day, the real "corona cabinet" conducts a situational analysis. Unlike the ministerial committee of the same name, this cabinet is a WhatsApp group with 172 members, including ministers, ministry directors, senior clerks, senior IDF officers and others who, in essence, are the ones managing the crisis on a daily basis. (Israel Hayom)

Quick Hits:

  • Israel Forms Secret List of Hundreds of Officials Who May Stand Trial at International Court - Ahead of the ICC's decision on whether to investigate suspected war crimes in the territories, a list of 200 to 300 officials was compiled, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Alternative Prime Minister Benny Gantz. (Haaretz+)
  • Following flawed report, US to publish new figures on Palestinian terrorism - According to March report, which used incomplete UN figures, Palestinians committed 101 acts of violence against Israeli civilians in the West Bank, "primarily stone-throwing." After Israel Hayom highlights inaccuracies, State Department agrees to amend document. (Israel Hayom)
  • Dutch Gov't Threatens to Fine Store Selling Wine From Hebron Labeled as Made in Israel - The European Commission adopted regulations in 2015 barring the labeling of products from areas it considers occupied by Israel as made in Israel. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Israel Says May Uproot Trees Planted to Deny Negev Lands to Bedouin - Trees planted in the southern desert could be uprooted if land is allocated to formalize Bedouin settlement unrecognized by the state. (Haaretz+)
  • Hungarian Foreign Minister Set to Visit Israel, Meet Counterpart - Hungary is considered biggest supporter of Netanyahu's government in the EU, and the only member state that has yet to condemn its annexation plans. (Haaretz+)
  • Right-wing MKs tapped as Knesset reps on judge-appointing panel; Shaked snubbed - Vote goes smoothly despite fears that tense relationship between Likud and Kahol Lavan could prompt some members to violate the coalition agreement. (Haaretz+ and Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Army Appoints Point Person on Hamas to Avoid Criticism of Gaza Aid, Sources Say - 'Inexperienced' reservist has been drafted as part of efforts to allow coronavirus aid into Gaza without sparking the ire of bereaved Israeli families, circumventing government unit. (Haaretz+)
  • Hebrew U President Takes Over University Council After Chairman's Resignation - Prof. Asher Cohen was appointed following the resignation of Prof. Roy Rubin over what he claimed was increased politicization of higher education in Israel. (Haaretz+)
  • Without Kahol Lavan, Joint List Backing, Knesset Vote to Ban 'Conversion Therapy' Delayed - Opposition tried to pressure lawmakers from Gantz's party to vote break with coalition line to vote against so-called conversion therapy, which aims to change the sexual orientation of LGBTQ. Sources in the Joint List told Haaretz that the Hadash faction of the list intended to allow its members to vote whichever way they wanted, but estimated that only two lawmakers would have actually voted. (Haaretz+)
  • Likud Lawmaker Accuses Wexner Foundation of ‘Poisoning the Minds’ of Beneficiaries - Karhi accuses U.S.-based foundation of 'clear left-wing bias,' alleging that its funding came from late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. (Haaretz+)
  • Young Gazans sell recycled cloth bags to challenge plastic - Palestinian entrepreneurs hope to provide an alternative to the rolls of free, single-use bags that line the aisles of Gaza's produce markets to raise awareness and stop waste plastic piling up in streets and landfill. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Hardline Iranian lawmakers back off from move to impeach President Rohani - Parliamentarians reportedly abandoned the attempt after Khamenei expressed support for the government amid the economic crisis. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • At least seven ships caught fire at southern Iranian port, local media reports - Incident comes amid several explosions and fires around Iranian military, nuclear and industrial facilities in recent months. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Tanker off UAE sought by U.S. over Iran sanctions ‘hijacked’ - It wasn’t immediately clear what happened aboard the Dominica-flagged MT Gulf Sky, though its reported hijacking comes after months of tensions between Iran and the U.S. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Yemen’s Rebels Say Saudi-coalition Airstrike Kills 10 Civilians - The Houthi-run Health Ministry said the airstrike took place in Masafa village east of the provincial capital of Hazm, which rebels took control of in March. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Ethiopia Denies It Started Filling Dam That Put It at Loggerheads With Egypt - After the latest round of talks with Egypt and Sudan failed, an International Crisis Group analyst said on Tuesday satellite images showed a 'natural backing-up of water behind the dam.’ (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Lebanon looks to China as US, Arabs refuse to help in crisis - After Lebanese pound loses nearly 80% of value against the dollar, China offers aid worth $12.5 billion to the Mediterranean country at the expense of Beirut's relations with Washington. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Turkey marks fourth anniversary of failed coup attempt - Since the attempt to overthrow Erdogan’s government, tens of thousands have been arrested for alleged links to the coup and to U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen. (Agencies, Haaretz)


The Man Who Made More Than a Billion Shekels Out of Thin Air. Literally
With an innovative and entirely green technology, Or Yogev hopes to break into the global renewable energy market. (Yoram Gabison, Haaretz+)
Archaeologists Debunk 3,000-year-old Fake News: The Hyksos Didn’t Invade Ancient Egypt
Study of human remains found in Hyksos capital Avaris suggests that century of their rule over Nile Delta was not the result of conquest but rise to power of longtime immigrants from the Levant. (Ariel David, Haaretz+)

Top Commentary/Analysis:*Jerusalem Has Seen Many Protests, but This One Was a Turning Point for the anti-Netanyahu Movement (Nir Hasson, Haaretz+) On the roof, one demonstrator tried to set fire to an Israeli flag – the same person who two hours earlier had tried to grab a microphone from Channel 13 News reporter Avishay Ben Haim. The flag just wouldn’t ignite and the man left and then came back with two cigarette lighters, but was spotted by another protester. “You’re causing harm,” the other demonstrator yelled, “It’s your country too.” “My country is finished, scorched,” he responded. Other protesters gathered around and tried to convince him to stop. “I’m fighting over my country because I care about it. If it was finished, I wouldn’t be here,” one woman implored. At one point, the situation nearly deteriorated into violence. “It will be the picture of the protest. That’s exactly what they want. You’re helping our enemies.” The man put out the small flame that had begun to burn on the flag and the woman took it away from the scene. The furious man was forced to relent and came down from the roof. Three mounted policemen repeatedly charged at groups in the crowd and in the center of it all, members of the Yasam Special Patrol Unit began carrying out mass arrests. Ironically, the detainees were loaded onto a bus with signage showing that it belonged to a regional council of West Bank settlements. 'We're young and no longer willing to shut up and be nice,' says one of the thousands of demonstrators who turned up near the Prime Minister's Residence angry and bold. Tuesday’s demonstration was a turning point in the evolution of protests against Netanyahu. The protests had been sustained up until now by older demonstrators, most of whom are relatively well off – retirees from the center of the country who are furious over what they see as the prime minister’s betrayal of their values, and have a hard time reconciling with the fact that someone under indictment is prime minister. On Tuesday, however, the protest baton was passed on to the younger generation, whose anger is of an entirely different kind. Jerusalem District police commander Doron Yedid called them “leftists” and “anarchists,” but it’s more complicated than that…
Protests dangerously close to crossing the line (Amnon Lord, Israel Hayom) Make no mistake, the violent protests outside the Prime Minister's Resident in Jerusalem reek of an attempt to topple an elected leader.
There will be other demonstrations that will be fueled by the substance that connects most of the protesters: Hatred of the Prime Minister (Ran Edelist, Maariv) Street language: The health and economic corona horrors and the disgust with Netanyahu’s I-don’t-care-a-bit-about-you could bring the public to the streets to express its protest more widely. This will begin after larger sections of the public understand that Netanyahu's economic corona plan is nothing more than temporary "bribe payments" designed to correct the dive in polls in support of him and his party. The tragedy is that there is no way to bridge the gap between the finance ministry's demand for economic stability, the public’s demands and the economy's ability to return to function. Certainly not this coming winter and the time for disaster, which is destined for disaster. And especially against the background of the negligent management by a prime minister in a panic that he is losing his grip on power. So there will be more rounds and they will be fueled by the [inflammable] substance that unites most of the protest: The anger and loathing for the Prime Minister. These will be completely personal demonstrations. Not even political. Simply "Bibi go home" or “Go to prison,” like the angry singer (Asaf Amdursky) shouted at the demonstration in Tel Aviv…
Netanyahu Deploys Trump’s Antifa Tactics in an Effort to Undermine Escalating Protests (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Increasingly ferocious and violent demonstrations could serve the prime minister’s personal and political interests.
The true face behind the anti-government protests (Akiva Bigman and Gilad Zwick, Israel Hayom) A core group of well-known left-wing activists and organizations with a clear agenda are playing prominent roles in the recent protests.
A Year and a Half On, Israel Police Body Camera Project Is Mainly a PR Tool (Josh Breiner, Haaretz+) The police force seems to be failing to monitor compliance of the wearing of body cameras and rarely provides footage to courts or the media. However, they are all too happy to release footage that perpetuates the ‘good cop’ image.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Leader Who Can't Take Responsibility (Haaretz Editorial) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the person responsible for the coronavirus failure. From the moment he learned of the outbreak of the pandemic, Netanyahu took the reins and managed the crisis in a centralized manner without delegating authority or involving others in decision-making, without transparency, behind the back of the Knesset and the cabinet, while lauding his own resourcefulness and achievements every evening on live TV. Only thanks to him did we manage “unlike in the Holocaust, to recognize the danger in time,” he boasted. Leaders from all over the world are calling him to learn how to quash the virus, he bragged. When it became apparent that a second wave has erupted, that the infection rate is surging, that the return to normalcy flopped and restrictions that were lifted have to be reimposed, that the odds of another full lockdown are increasing daily and that Israel has fallen into an unprecedented economic crisis, Netanyahu stopped seeing himself as the sole person responsible for managing the coronavirus. While other nations used the lockdown time to prepare their health systems and strengthen their apparatus for interrupting the chains of infection, Netanyahu was in a hurry to move on, to his dreams of annexation and to his political and legal struggles. His failed management has cost billions of shekels. More importantly, it has brought economic hardship, often economic ruin, upon hundreds of thousands of Israelis.
Any connection between reality and aliyah due to the corona is absolutely coincidental (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) I reject the forecasts that herald an increase in immigration to Israel, although I have not conducted a survey on the matter. Any assessment based on the corona as a major factor in what happened or what will happen in the future is exaggerated.
Israeli sovereignty's unlikely benefactors (Alex Joffe, Israel Hayom) Long-term pressures aside, the short-term reality is that the Trump administration has shown itself to be uniquely favorable to Israel. Still it is Barack Obama who may turn out to be an unintended godfather of Israel's sovereignty bid.
When Hope Dies: Why So Many Young Palestinians in Gaza Are Committing Suicide (Muhammad Shehada, Haaretz+) Nearly everyone I know in Gaza has contemplated suicide more than once. Despite the deep taboo, 2020 is heading toward a record spike in suicides, and most are young, unemployed and suffocated by despair.
A reply to the honorable Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Julio Messer, Israel Hayom) The major contribution of US President Donald Trump's "Peace to Prosperity" plan is the message it sends to the Palestinians that time is no longer on their side.
Nationalist Fragility Took Over the Twitterstorm I Accidentally Unleashed Over My City (Zehava Galon, Haaretz+) “For anyone who is wondering how it felt to get up in the morning and discover I’d reached 100,000 followers on Twitter, I can tell you that it was great until I opened the window and remembered that I still live in Petah Tikva.” The mayor, who has lit up Goren Square with colorful lights, erected “Kikar Ha’izzot,” moved a sculpture by artist Zvika Kantor to the trash and invested in public spaces named after Donald Trump and after Benjamin Netanyahu’s parents, responded angrily.  Just a mayor, also a master builder of public squares and active in hasbara to boot. Pretty impressive. Presumably, Greenberg wasn’t really offended on his city’s behalf. He sent a statement to the press because he saw an opportunity to show off his “patriotism” and he leapt at it. The same petty interest that guided Greenberg also guides certain MKs, who react with mixed feelings to any criticism of Israel – anxiety mixed with a voracious desire for “likes.”... A person can be critical of something he loves too. But not nationalists – whose love is so fragile that it requires layers of ludicrous justifications and grandiose pomposity. The nationalist develops a dependence on these things.
Back to rewarding terrorism? (Stephen M. Flatow, Israel Hayom) The Democrat-controlled House Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs officially adopted an amendment to send $250M in aid to the PA, despite its ongoing pay-to-slay Israelis policy.
Peter Beinart Is So Disappointed by Israeli Jews He’s Given Up on Them (Charles Dunst, Haaretz+) In America, Peter Beinart has been both praised and flayed alive for his one state preaching; in illiberal Israel, his ideas have little traction. But rather than trying to convince Israeli Jews, Beinart prefers to condemn them.
Coronavirus has birthed a nation of liars (Itai Vered, Yedioth/Ynet) The conduct of the country's leaders during the pandemic has served to bolster an existing ethos of lying and scheming to survive, breeding a virus that we may find much harder to eradicate once the health crisis is over.
Egypt's Privileged Military Elites Feel Little Pain During the Coronavirus Crisis (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The army has long managed an extensive economic empire, guaranteeing employment standards unknown to everyday Egyptians. With the pandemic, the gap is only widening.

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