News Nosh 7.19.20

APN's daily news review from Israel - Sunday July 19, 2020

Quotes of the day:

"It’s a sure thing that if Hallaq had attacked the cops, or even hiccupped in their direction, all the security footage of all the cameras would have been forwarded immediately to the TV stations and the news sites."
--Haaretz+ columnist Noa Osterreicher writes about the declaration by the Justice Ministry that all seven cameras that pointed at the place where a Border Policeman shot and killed young autistic Palestinian man, Eyad Al-Hallaq, malfunctioned.*

“I will admit that in 2011 I sinned the sin of innocence: I believed that it was possible to translate the protest into a different, hopeful socio-economic policy. But this belief was shattered in the face of the ancient truth: ‘The horse can be brought to the trough, but it cannot be forced to drink’…Today...there is only one option left: not to try to bring the horse back to the trough, but to replace the horse, and soon.”
—Professor Manuel Trajtenberg, who was appointed by PM Binyamin Netanyahu to head the public committee to probe the 2011 social welfare protests, writes in Yedioth about the differences between 2011 and today’s protests.**

Front Page:


Yedioth Ahronoth

  • “I said I’m the soldier of the state, for every task, but they didn’t call me back” - Exclusive interview with former chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot over the administration of the corona crisis (Hebrew)
  • The government epidemic // Yossi Yehoshua
  • Direct clash - The protest is heating up - Violence and detentions at demonstrations against the government

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

Israel Hayom

  • Half a million children waiting for an answer - Today, the grants reach the government, the restrictions go to the Knesset corona committee
  • At midnight: Clashes and blocking streets in Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv
  • Prime Minister’s trial: Today the dates of the hearings will be decided
  • Closure Spain-style
  • There are no tests, there are no plans: This is how Ben-Gurion Airport lags behind

Top News Summary:

There is a thread that connects today’s top stories. That thread is Netanyahu. Last night, for the fourth time in a week, thousands of Israelis protested in Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, his alleged corruption and his failed management of the corona crisis, just as his lawyers go to court today to ask for a postponement of the trial against him in three corruption cases and Israelis feel despairing and furious over contradicting and changing corona restrictions.

Also, Israel Hayom reported that Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz is pushing for shelving the annexation plan and instead focusing on the corona crisis and on ‘cultivating’ existing settlements. And, Israel braced today for the decision on war crimes investigations against Israelis by the International Criminal Court at The Hague. (Update: The ICC adjourned today without a decision.)

Police arrested 28 protesters in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and used water cannons to disperse the masses who showed up to call for Netanyahu’s resignation: in Tel-Aviv it was the unemployed and self-employed over the handling of the coronavirus crisis, in Jerusalem it was about Netanyahu’s alleged corruption and anti-democratic moves. Israel Hayom Hebrew reported that police sources said they are prepared for the possibility of civil "rebellion." A senior police officer said, "Guidelines change rapidly, and the public turns their rage on us." Indeed, last week, the Knesset corona committee overturned a decision to close all gyms and pools. And on Thursday, the government corona cabinet ruled to close all restaurants over the weekend and the gyms and pools. But after restaurateurs rebelled, saying they wouldn't close because they bought food for the whole weekend (Globes Hebrew) the government said they could stay open till Monday.  At the same time, Haaretz+ reported that a new bill might limit the size of demonstrations by preventing those living in restricted areas from joining demonstrations elsewhere. And Netanyahu plans to remove the chairwoman of the Knesset Coronavirus Committee, who dared to oppose and overturn a government decision on corona virus restrictions. (Also Yedioth Hebrew)

UPDATE: At the second hearing in Prime Minister’s corruption trial, his lawyers asked the court today to give them another six months due to the coronavirus crisis, because he said he can’t cross-examine witnesses because it’s “hard to tell if a masked witness is telling the truth.” Meanwhile, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblitt ordered the Deputy State Prosecutor to speed up the evidentiary phase of the trial. And in a scathing letter, Netanyahu loyalist, Public Security Minister Amir Ohana, blasted the Attorney General, accusing him of being “smug” and “going into a personal battle with him.” Ohana said Mendelblitt was not taking seriously Ohana’s petition to probe “incitement” and “threats” against Netanyahu, which Ohana said were worse than what was directed at prime minister Yitzhak Rabin before he was assassinated. (Also Maariv.)

Corona Quickees:

  • Israel's coronavirus death toll reaches 400 with 8 deaths in a day - The Coronavirus National Knowledge and Information Center says since midnight Saturday 1,009 new COVID-19 cases have been recorded, bringing the total number of diagnoses reported over the weekend to 2,608. (Ynet and Haaretz)
  • Report: Israel's virus contact tracing apparatus trails behind the West - Israel only allows medical trained staff to conduct epidemiological investigations, creating shortage in the much-needed service, while other Western countries recruit untrained volunteers. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • The three million Israelis who do not need financial assistance - The top four deciles in Israel, more than a million households, will receive grants amounting to two billion shekels, which probably will not change anything in their lives. For the weaker sectors of society, the grant is not enough. "It's a drop in the ocean," says Miriam David, who along with her husband is on unpaid leave. (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Corona effect: A 75% jump in the number of bankruptcy applications in June - Adv. Sigal Yaakovi, Official Receiver who oversees the dismantling of a company: Three times as many restaurants went bankrupt in June 2020 compared to June 2019. The other businesses that are in danger are in the tourism and events industries. (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Political source: "The government’s corona cabinet is ineffective, because that is what Netanyahu wants" - "If Netanyahu were interested in improving effectiveness, he would long ago have appointed one commander, with great experience and proven command or managerial experience, to head an operational body to implement the decisions," the source said. (Maariv)
  • Israeli ministers approve weekend coronavirus lockdown - Lockdown Friday includes malls nonessential shops, full lockdown to be imposed by July 24 pending Knesset approval; public gatherings limited to 10 people in-doors and 20 outside all week. (Yedioth/Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • The daughter of the finance minister in a photo that caused a stir on social media - While thousands of business owners were troubled by the possibility of a closure over the weekend - which was delayed, Yisrael Katz's daughter, who had just celebrated her birthday, posted a story to Instagram in which she joked about the postponement of the decision for the benefit of her birthday party. (Maariv)
  • Large Weddings Blamed for Sharp Rise in Coronavirus Rate Among Israeli Arabs - Local authorities in Arab communities warn residents against holding large gatherings near their homes. (Haaretz+)
  • 'Hebron is the Wuhan of Palestine' - The coronavirus situation in PA-controlled areas is far worse than is being reported. (Israel Hayom)

Quick Hits:

  • Israeli water infrastructure hit with more cyberattacks - The attacks targeted agricultural water pumps in the Upper Galilee and infrastructure in the center of the country, officials confirmed Thursday, but added that they caused no damage and were repaired by local authorities. (Ynet and Maariv, p. 12)
  • Report: Iran has already decided to strike back against Israel - "Tehran's decision to retaliate to the Israeli and American attacks has already been made and will be implemented at the right time and place," sources in Lebanon told Kuwaiti newspaper, Al Rai, published Thursday. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel's Finance Minister Delays Aid to NGOs to Keep Funds From Asylum Seekers - Katz wrote that there were concerns that some of the organizations that were due to receive the aid 'conduct activities that are contrary to the values and policy of the government.’ (Haaretz+)
  • High Court approved allowing Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial institution to continue hosting war criminals - The petition to order the Holocaust Memorial Institute to stop official visits by anti-Semitic leaders or those who were involved in genocide was rejected. The High Court justices accepted the Foreign Ministry's position. (Maariv)
  • Top Holocaust historian says Israel ‘collaborated’ with Holocaust distortion - Yehuda Bauer, 94, says Israel 'accepted the Polish narrative completely' over the Shoah, in order to protect the 'political and economic and security relationship' with the country. (Jewish News)
  • Israeli court upholds ex-Islamic Movement leader's sentence on terrorism charges - Sheikh Ra'ad Salah 'crossed the lines of legitimate freedom of speech' by encouraging violence when he praised a 2017 shooting attack at Jerusalem's Temple Mount, judges say. (Haaretz+)
  • Following new information presented by his defense counsel: The sentencing of the convicted Jewish murderer of a Palestinian family has been postponed - After being convicted about two months ago of murdering members of the Dawabsha family [by setting their house on fire while they slept inside - OH] in the Palestinian village of Duma in 2015, the sentencing of (Jewish settler) Amiram Ben-Oliel was postponed, after his lawyer presented the judges with a new item of information. (Maariv and Times of Israel)
  • Not only will he tweet on Twitter: Yair Netanyahu's new job has been revealed - The prime minister's son will present a weekly program on “Galei Israel” (Israel Waves) radio alongside journalist Yaara Zarad. The program will air every Friday at 11 p.m. (Maariv)
  • Ultra-orthodox Are Proud Israelis Who Don’t Feel Oppressed, Survey Shows - Data by the Israel Democracy Institute shows strong opposition to state institutions and equality for non-Jews and women. (Haaretz+)
  • Democratic Party platform expected to express strong support for Israel - The party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Joe Biden, has successfully rebuffed more critical approaches to Israel advocated by the left flank of the party. (Haaretz+)
  • West Looks for Ways to Combat Assad’s Latest Weapon: International Aid - With Russia pushing for all UN humanitarian aid in Syria to be controlled by Damascus, some Western countries are trying to find ways to bypass the Assad regime. (Haaretz+)
  • Rohani Warns 25 Million May Have Been Infected With Coronavirus in Iran - With a population of more than 80 million, Iran has been the Middle East country hardest hit by the epidemic. (Agencies, Haaretz and Times of Israel)
  • Iran vows to 'deal decisively' with mounting protests - Videos posted on social media from inside Iran on Thursday showed protesters chanting, 'Fear not, fear not, we are in this together!' Some chanted slogans against top officials. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Fifty-four Dead as Migrant Boat Sinks in Eastern Turkey - The boat is believed to have been carrying 55 to 60 migrants, according to Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, and was carrying migrants from countries including Iran and Afghanistan. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Palestinians Are Building a Village on Their Land. Armed Settlers From an Illegal Outpost Are Sabotaging Them
A farmers organization from the Jericho area is building a village in Palestinian-controlled Area A. Local settlers attack the construction workers almost daily, but the entrepreneur believes his group will triumph...The view from the hilltop is spectacular. A valley in bloom, groves and verdant fields with a few buildings scattered among them, a chicken coop and a pigpen – all encompassed by what is otherwise arid, blanched earth. This is what making the wilderness bloom looks like. This is what Israeli apartheid looks like.The Bedouin communities of Al-Kaabneh, Rashidiya, Al-Maajath and Ras al-Auja are fighting for their survival here. But no harm will befall the huge ranch in the heart of the flowering valley, with its houses, its fields, its groves and its animals. It is flagrantly illegal, but who cares? This is Havat Omer (Omer’s Farm), aka Einot Kedem. It was established here in 2004 by Omer Atidiah, a then-newly religious settler and his partner, Naama, on the ruins of an abandoned army base. It has spread out wildly at an amazing pace. Groups of visitors are now offered an odd variety of programs and activities. But the real wonder, of almost miraculous proportions, is happening on the hills to the east of the farm, north of Jericho...A dream is assuming material form here: The Palestinians are building a new village for themselves, for their own farmers and the Bedouin shepherds in the area, on the hills that overlook Einot Kedem from the east. Meanwhile, Atidiah, with settlers from Mevo’ot Yericho and other nearby (settler) communities, are doing everything they can to stop and sabotage the construction work in order to prevent the Palestinians from building a village – God help us! – on their own land, in territory that is supposedly under their control... (Gideon Levy in Haaretz+)
(Report:) Iran uses charities, rights groups as cover for exporting revolution
A new report (by new right-wing pro-settler) Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security is calling on the US to designate three Iranian organizations as terror groups. (Yaakov Lappin, Israel Hayom)
The Rival Iraqi Jewish Clans Who Changed the Face of Shanghai
The Sassoons and Kadoories created huge, competing business empires, helped open China to the West and aided Jewish refugees in Shanghai during the Shoah – but their fates differed greatly, as revealed in a new book by Jonathan Kaufman, whose newly published book, “The Last Kings of Shanghai,” tells the story of the two families. (Tzach Yoked, Haaretz+)

Top Commentary/Analysis:
*Cameras broke just when Israeli forces killed a Palestinian. Yeah, right (Noa Osterreicher, Haaretz+) The cameras along the route where Eyad Hallaq walked and died weren’t working. A malfunction. A Jerusalem route of ancient hewn stones, apparently the most photographed 100 meters in the world, with Border Police, Shin Bet agents, soldiers, policemen, informers, recruiters, all of them photographing and photographed around the clock. No fewer than seven cameras are aimed at this slice of street, documenting every millisecond in real time and transferring the footage to storage – and nothing. It’s a sure thing that if Hallaq had attacked the cops, or even hiccupped in their direction, all the security footage of all the cameras would have been forwarded immediately to the TV stations and the news sites.
A pat on the back for condemning anti-Arab racism (Edo Konrad, 972mag) A video of a popular children's entertainer mocking Bedouin children was widely condemned by Israeli society. But does the singling out of one racist prevent a real reckoning?
The Israeli Press Leans to the Left? Absolutely Not (Nadav Tamir, Haaretz+) For years we have been hearing that the Israeli press is biased to the left. The press has consequently found itself targeted by the campaign against the foundations of democracy in Israel, along with civil society, the judicial system, the gatekeepers and the public sector. All these, claim some on the right, are part of the “deep state” of the old, leftist elites, in an effort to preserve their power in defiance of the voter and of public will. The claim may have a point, in that many columnists and opinion writers in Israel lean left, but many analysts and journalists from the right have joined the veteran news groups, beyond those working with the Yisrael Hayom free newspaper which supports the Netanyahu government, and the purely right-wing Channel 20 television network. Furthermore, contrary to conventional wisdom, opinion writers influence the public much less than the news does, and news coverage in Israel leans clearly to the right.
Peter Beinart's one-state solution (Clifford D. May, Israel Hayom) If it were taken seriously, it could lead to a final solution.
Rule of Chaos: Israel is better off with its worse government than the alternative of total disorder (Shmuel Rosner, Maariv) Israel is a country where there has been a lot of talk lately about the fear that the regime in it will become a dictatorship, that it will also turn toward tyranny and fascism. Few in the country talk about the fear of anarchy.
Permission for Anarchy: Protesters make cynical use of protest targets (Prof. Arie Eldad, Maariv) A clear common denominator connects those who call for igniting the fire of rebellion in academia, and those who call for crashing the prime minister's residence in Balfour with torches and ignoring restrictions during epidemic days.
Anti-Netanyahu Protesters Are 'Anarchists'? His Chaotic Coronavirus Response Is True Anarchy (Noa Landau, Haaretz+) An already frazzled public is being driven mad by the way COVID-19 decrees are dumped on it without time to prepare or clear information.
Anti-Netanyahu Protesters Are Excited by the Energy, but the Next Step Isn’t Clear (Nir Hasson, Haaretz+) It's not just leftists at the demonstrations in Jerusalem against the prime minister's handling of the coronavirus and economic crises.
The 2020 summer protests turned Netanyahu into a combination of Hugo Chavez, Che Guevara and Shelly Yachimovich (Ben Caspit, Maariv) This week, too, the Prime Minister chose his personal good over the good of the state, when he renounced his economic conception and decided on a destructive move, aimed at allaying public anger through bribery.
Netanyahu Pours Billions to Douse Coronavirus Flames. It May Not Be Enough (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Fear of public rage is what drives economic decisions. But what worked in Gaza – pumping cash to quell unrest – will not work with Israelis.
Netanyahu cannot buy Israelis' silence (Merav Betito, Yedioth/Ynet) The prime minister is worried about a dip in his popularity and thinks that putting cash in our bank accounts can jump-start a shattered economy and keep the protesters off the streets - but he is wrong on both counts.
**Between the 2011 and 2020 protests, this is not the same despair (Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg, Yedioth Hebrew) In 2011 I sinned the sin of innocence: I believed that it was possible to translate the protest into a different socio-economic policy. Today innocence is not an option…From the bird's eye view, all the protests look the same - a large crowd crowds the square, waving signs, shouting. So it was in July 2011, so it is in July 2020. But as you go lower altitude you notice that it is not at all the same despair, not the same shouts of frustration, not the same uncontrollable rage. In 2011, the slogan “The people demand social justice” resonated loudly in the city streets; Today, "social justice" sounds like a luxury that no one will dream about - instead the struggle is for a piece of bread (what Tzachi Hanegbi referred to as “nonsense”), for existence, for breathable air. Back then, the frightening figure was the rate of increase in apartment prices - today it is the number of respirators: dozens with oxygen in hospitals, hundreds of thousands with dubious oxygen of 1,800 shekel grant to the economic vein of collapsing households. Then, they were disappointed young people because they did everything that was expected of them (served in the army, studied, worked, started a family), but their good will shattered in the face of a petrified economic example and governmental opacity. Today, it is the entire Israeli society that flocks to the squares, everyone whose world has been destroyed in one fell swoop. And no, it did not happen because of the vicious virus, but because of the super-leader's arrogance virus, and the governmental and administrative failure he brought upon us with his own hands. So the "macro" economy flourished, even the "micro" did, in the reality of which every young family suddenly couldn’t buy a house. Today it is both: the economy is plummeting, the GNP is shrinking, the deficit is soaring, unemployment is expanding, and all of these are being landing with excessive force on the world of every individual, of every household. Then, there an almost festive atmosphere, a feeling that something had fallen - the young people are taking their destiny into their own hands, they are stirring up the imagination, want to believe that social justice may come here as well. Today the feeling is of tremendous distress, of despair, of loss. Despite the disappointments, the protest then managed to bring about quite a few changes: the tycoons lost height, public discourse changed in favor of social issues, a free education law for children from age three was implemented. But the government did not change the disk: the "fat and thin" image that Netanyahu coined at the time as finance minister, that is, that the public sector must continue to starve in favor of the business sector, continued to lead the policy. Therefore, health services, and education, and transportation, and nursing, continued to deteriorate, and additional costs continued to fall on the shoulders of families. I will admit that in 2011 I sinned in the sin of innocence: I believed that it was possible to translate the protest into a different, hopeful socio-economic policy. But this belief was shattered in the face of the ancient truth: "The horse can be brought to the trough, but it cannot be forced to drink." That said, it is possible to chart a path and even get the government to make decisions, but if these contradict the self-believer or the narrow political interest of the person at the top of the pyramid, it will not happen. Today innocence is not an option, as the problem is not in the absence of smart outlines for dealing with the crisis, but in an inflated government, which is run as a masquerade (literally) in the drowning Titanic. Today, having fallen into an unimaginable abyss, and when it is clear beyond any doubt that the deterioration did not happen because of the reality, but that it was by the hand of a government and its leader, there is only one option left: not to try to bring the horse back to the trough, but to replace the horse, and soon. Let's not forget: Although then and still today, the same prime minister holds the helm, but unfortunately, he is not the same person at all. So Netanyahu devoted himself mainly to advancing important national issues - one could disagree with his view, but it cannot be disputed that he expressed the amazing abilities of an experienced, powerful, one-minded leader. Today he is a haunted, detached, even cruel man, who devotes his whole being to only one goal: his survival at all costs. There is nothing more dangerous than that, and it is doubly dangerous when that person is the one who insists on navigating the boat in the stormy waters of the most severe (not security-related) crisis that has ever befallen Israel. [Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg, of Tel Aviv University and the Samuel Neiman Institute at the Technion, chaired the public committee appointed by Netanyahu following the 2011 protest.]
Netanyahu's Universal Aid Package Is an Attempt to Bribe the Public (Friday Haaretz Editorial) The protests over the past week, both in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square and outside the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem, produced an unintended result: A pressured Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided, contrary to the positions of both the Finance Ministry and the Bank of Israel, to make payouts to every single Israeli that will cost six billion shekels ($1.7 billion) in total. Six billion shekels is an enormous amount of money that could be spent in many fairer and more effective ways, such as larger payments to the true victims of the crisis or professional training for people who have lost their jobs to prepare them for the moment when the economy starts recovering. But Netanyahu – in contrast to his policy as finance minister from 2003 to 2005, when he cut government allowances to push people into the job market – decided this time to adopt a populist, ineffective solution.
Who's afraid of political protests? (Michal Aharoni, Israel Hayom) Demonstrations by the unhappy public are part and parcel of the political game. The economic ramifications of the government's pandemic policies have caused some to lost everything and these protesters understand that quiet demonstrations will get them nowhere.
Not just a particular sector of society took to the streets - the protest was across sectors, camps and hearts (Ben Caspit, Maariv) Netanyahu knows how to identify what is happening here. The madness in Balfour (Prime Minister’s Residence) will only get worse. The election has turned from a refuge into a trap. There is nowhere to run. Maybe you should just relax and do what is right for the country, and not for your family?
Who decided Trump was good for Israel? (Nadav Tamir, Yedioth/Ynet) From annexation to Iran, the president's Mideast policies have been severely detrimental to Israel, while diminishing the standing of our most important strategic ally both on the international stage and in the region - not the actions of a true friend.
ICC is anything but impartial (David Billet, Israel Hayom) In what world is it acceptable for the International Criminal Court, which is supposed to investigate criminals, to consult with terrorists prior to opening an investigation?
Israel needs an alternative national anthem (Fadi Maklada, Yedioth/Ynet) As various different populations in Israeli society feel excluded by the current anthem, we can look to New Zealand for a solution that can leave all parties satisfied.
‘Are we not allowed to be Palestinian on Instagram?’ (Karim Kattan, 972mag) Seeing Bella Hadid be vocal about Palestine is a delight rooted in a history of erasure and denial.
Israel’s military chief had big plans, but the new abnormal got in the way (Yossi Melman, Haaretz+) The three general elections in 11 months and the coronavirus crisis have battered Israel’s economy. So Aviv Kochavi, who tries to avoid clashes with Benjamin Netanyahu, is trimming his wish list.
Why I brought a Palestinian flag to an Israeli Pride rally (Shai Gortler and Haokets, 972mag) I reject the government's exploitation of the LGBTQ+ struggle to further its supremacist goals.
Druze are sitting on an explosive barrel, waiting for a spark (Adv. Shakib Ali, Yedioth/Ynet Hebrew) 33 years have passed and again a violent clash took place in the Mount Meron Reserve between residents of the Druze village of Beit Jann and inspectors from the Nature and Parks Authority (NPA).Last Monday, NPA inspectors, accompanied by anti-riot police, arrived at the scene to implement demolition orders to agricultural warehouses and water reservoirs. The incident ended without any injuries, but after a violent riot and with a burned NPA vehicle. It is clear that any use of violence of any kind, let alone against the law enforcement agencies, should be condemned. By the same token, aggressive conduct by the other side must be condemned. Note that the reaction of the nearby residents came following the sounds of gunfire. It is likely that this incident could have ended differently with the inspectors complete their mission. The incident took us back to the summer of 1987. Demobilized soldiers from Beit Jann set up a tent on their private lands in the Meron Reserve in protest of the NPA’s refusal to approve the village's master plan, which came to rescue residents from housing distress, especially to rescue students from 40 rented classrooms around the village. The expansion of the plan did not affect the nature reserve, but the NPA conditioned its consent on the imposition of restrictions on private land cultivation. NPA saw the encampment as a kind of settlement, and one morning in June 1987, dozens of policemen and inspectors raided and dismantled it. Many residents arrived and a violent brawl ensued, which resulted in many NPA vehicles being damaged and dozens injured. The incident led to the signing of a compromise agreement between NPA and the Beit Jann Municipality, and residents began to prepare and cultivate their private lands for agricultural purposes. Some planted cherry trees, others grapes, and some focused on olive trees. Many set up agricultural warehouses and huge reservoirs. For irrigation purposes. For more than 30 years, agriculture has been the main source of livelihood for these landowners in a way that has made the Meron Reserve one of the most beautiful in the Middle East. It all ran smoothly until NPA began exercising its powers under the Planning and Building Act - the so-called "Kaminitz Act" - which came into force about two years ago. This law, which former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked admitted was intended only for Arabs, makes it possible to demolish agricultural warehouses without a court order and impose administrative fines of up to 300,000 shekels ($85,000). And what happened this week? The Nature and Parks Authority ignored the Attorney General’s instruction that permits those who set up an agricultural warehouse without a permit, and therefore the violation has become obsolete, to act to make the warehouse legal within the period specified in the document. But the end is known. Even before the Corona crisis, which left many unemployed and with heavy concerns for their livelihoods, the Druze community is in a serious crisis in its relationship with the state and its institutions against the background of the Jewish Nation State Law, the Kaminitz Law and the freezing of local government budgets. This crisis is manifested in every aspect of Druze society. You can read it on social media, hear it at the various conventions and demonstrations of the heads of municipalities, and feel it in the destablization of the blood alliance [reference to alliance between Druze and Jewish Israelis due to Druze serving in the IDF - OH] and in the voices calling for a boycott of military service. The disbandment of the Druze battalion "Sword" is also on the agenda and some claim that the purpose of the move is to harm the unity of the Druze community. (Full disclosure: I, the author of this Op-Ed, filed a petition against the disbandment). The Druze community today sits on a barrel of explosives and fears the spark that will ignite the bloody alliance that has been forged with the Jewish people for more than seven decades. Beit Jann's response to the activities of the NPA inspectors was disproportionate, but there is no doubt that this visit, accompanied by armed riot police officers, was a trigger for the release of Druze anger and frustration towards the authorities. If the older brother, i.e. the Israeli government, does not get a hold of itself and rush to deal with the Druze community at as equals, in full equality, as real brothers, and especially not through the method of mediators and activists who have lost their power, the gunpowder barrel could explode.
Erdogan Has a New Mosque and the Turks Will Pay for It (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) By turning Hagia Sophia back into a mosque, Erdogan trades historical Turkish attempts to bridge East and West for unclear personal gains, and with little regard for his voters’ already empty pockets.
Israel and the Sino-Iranian alliance (Caroline B. Glick, Israel Hayom) In the midst of the global recession caused by China's export of the coronavirus, the preposterous has become reality.
Plagued by a String of Blasts and Fires, Iran Gets a Helping Hand From China (Amos Harel, Haaretz+)  A draft cooperation agreement with Iran would give the Chinese an important foothold in the region, and could even affect the Israeli and American front against Iran’s nuke program.
Hitting Iran where it hurts
(Neta Bar, Israel Hayom) Diplomacy has failed to curb the Iranian regime's nuclear ambitions. A recent series of explosions and fires at sensitive facilities appear to indicate that the world is determined to stop Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons in any way possible. When and how is the regime likely to respond?
Is Iran leaning towards changing its executions policy? (Tobias Segal, Maariv/JPost) As millions of Iranians unprecedentedly took to social media platforms demanding to stop executions in the country, Iran may see a change to its execution policies sooner than one might expect.


Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin: "The Americans have cooled down regarding the annexation plan"
Head of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) says at the Calcalist “Price of Occupation” conference:
"There is a high chance that within 6 months another president will enter the White House and then the only country in the world that will recognize this annexation - will cancel its recognition. When no one recognizes the border, we are in serious trouble." (Interviewed by Sophie Shulman at Calcalist (Hebrew) Conference on July 14)

‘The Fact I Support the Palestinian Cause Means I’m Not the Most Loved Person Among French Jews’
Jewish historian-turned-politician Esther Benbassa has never been afraid to speak her mind, whether discussing the environment, antisemitism or Israel. Red lines matter for this Greens senator in France’s upper house. (Interviewed by Nicolas Rouger in Haaretz+)

Gadi Eisenkot on his candidacy for becoming the manager of the Corona crisis: "I agreed - and they never got back to me”
In an exclusive interview with Yedioth Ahronoth published this morning, the former chief of staff explains: “I don’t know anyone serious who, if he had been approached, he would not have put all the other things aside and enlisted," Eizenkot said, adding that if the offer returned to the table he would accept it once more. When asked why the government has not yet appointed a ”Corona Chief of Staff,” he replied: "Good question.” According to Izenkot, "The first phase (of the struggle against Corona) was conducted in a reasonable manner, also in relation to the other countries of the world. What needed to be done next was to build a continuous structure of management and control that knows how to handle the second wave in a quality way as well. According to the results, it was not carried out. I think it's a shame, there are risks in that. But it is not too late to build such an operation…The assumption should be that there will be another, more serious, wave, and that the epidemic will follow us at least until the end of 2021…” (Interviewed by Itai Ilnai in Yedioth Hebrew)

'There's No Alternative to Netanyahu; Our Democracy Is Safe,' Says Israel's Top Public Policy Expert
No danger Israel will slide into fascism ■ Iran should have been attacked ■ Expelling the Arabs in 1948 was superb statesmanship ■ Trump's peace plan is the best deal Israelis and Palestinians will get ■ A world government of geniuses is needed ■ We need to get used to the idea of having sex with robots ■ At age 92, Prof. Yehezkel Dror publishes his ‘great valedictory work.’ (Interviewed by Aluf Benn in Haaretz+)

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