APN's daily news review from Israel - Monday July 20, 2020
Quote of the day:
"Security forces would take potshots at Arabs from dozens of meters away, then explain to the journalists
already biased against the protesters (Arabs, you know) that they felt their lives were at risk."
--Arab-Israeli commentator explains why Arab-Israelis are not participating in the demonstrations against the government.*
You Must Be Kidding:
--The number of Arab-Israeli businesses and owners from across the country whom Yedioth interviewed and profiled
for its special supplement today to help small businesses.**
- Knesset Corona Committee requested to open beaches and restaurants as condition to approval of restrictions
- “Czar” or a humane protector // Amos Harel
- Evidentiary stage in Netanyahu’s trial will begin in January 2021 - and will be held three times a week
- Most of the appeals submitted over Shin Bet tracking of corona infected were accepted - and their quarantine was cancelled
- Nurses expected to strike from today, and surgery rooms will operate like Shabbat schedule
- Who is their guarantor? // Odeh Bisharat on why Arabs didn’t join the protests
- Yoram Less is not alone // Rogel Alpher writes that the people and the media realize that Netanyahu led them like sheep to economic disaster
- The battle over the (summer camps for children over) summer holiday (Hebrew)
- Find the (corona crisis) manager // Nahum Barnea
- Danger of the anarchists // Limor Livnat
- The national sentiment // Raanan Shaked (Hebrew)
- The flag bearer - The photo of the “flag bearer,” who tries to protect himself from the spray of the police water cannons, was published throughout the world and turned into a symbol of the protest against the government (Hebrew)
- Embracing the businesses - This is how you can strengthen the small businesses (Hebrew)
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
- The battle over the lockdown
- Protecting the Treasury // Yehuda Sharoni
- The nurses go on strike
- Looking for a (corona crisis) manager
- Netanyahu’s trial - Evidentiary stage begins in January 2021
- Source of worry: The flu vaccines will arrive late
- If there is no last minute change: The nurses will go on strike this morning
- We have no choice - the nurses are collapsing // Ilana Cohen
- A strike during an epidemic is unethical // Ran Resnik
- “Dangerous incitement to murder the Prime Minister” - Minister Deri in an exceptional letter to the head of the Shin Bet
- Health Ministry considering: Cutting short quarantine of corona infected to 10-13 days
- In the path of a hero: Daughter of Emmanuel Moreno, who fell in the Second Lebanon War, is going to the army
- Prime Minister’s trial: Evidentiary stage will begin in January, hearings will be held three times a week
- Another mysterious explosion in Iran; IDF got control of a drone that infiltrated from Lebanon
- “A (Jewish) community in fear”: Our correspondent in Halle, a year after the terror attack at the synagogue on Yom Kippur
Top News Summary:
In the top stories of today's Hebrew newspapers, nurses begin a strike today over manpower shortage, (yet the social workers’ strike for the same reason was all but forgotten as it entered its third
week), Israelis and Israeli ministries battle over what will be closed down due to corona and what won't, and a
court ruled that the evidentiary stage of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s trial hearings will start in January 2021 - and they will be frequent. The
witness cross-examination stage take place three times a week, despite Netanyahu's attorney request to postpone the trial because he can't question witnesses 'with
a mask on.’ Only did 'Israel Hayom' make the top stories about a lack of flu vaccines and alleged incitement
**ALSO: Yedioth explained that it’s important to help small businesses and it dedicated a whole supplement to the subject, interviewing owners and giving descriptions of 26 different restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, gyms, cosmeticians, hairstylists, designers, etc. across the country. Not one of them belonged to Arab-Israelis, who are 20% of the population.
And, Israel Hayom reported that Interior Minister Arieh Deri warned that there is growing incitement against Netanyahu, which could lead to his political assassination. [Meanwhile today, the police indicted a 46-year-old man from Petach Tikvah for threatening to harm Attorney General Avichai Mendelblitt a few weeks ago (Maariv) and also indicted a 26-year-old man from Netanya for threatening to harm Netanyahu and Minister Tzachi Hanegbi. (Maariv) (Also KAN Channel 1 Hebrew)]
Yedioth Hebrew also told the story behind the photo of an Israeli young man holding the Israeli flag as he and other protesters were sprayed down with a police water cannon at the Saturday night demonstration against Netanyahu and the government. Yedioth wrote that the photo became “a symbol across the world of the anti-government demonstrations.” The flag bearer was Nimrod Gross, 27, who served in the Paratroopers and is now a science teacher, who said he identifies with right-wing views and this was the first time he ever participated in a demonstration. "I am not a political man", he says, "but the leadership does not see us.” The flag bearer said, “I wanted to spread the message that we are not in a civil war." The photo can also be found here and here.
- For first time in weeks, Israel sees less than 1,000 daily virus cases - The Health Ministry reports 951 people tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday, putting the contagion rate at 5.5%, the lowest it's been in the past 2 weeks; death toll increases to 415, with over 10 deaths in less than 48 hours. (Ynet and Haaretz)
- Ministers approve NIS 6 billion for coronavirus payout - The original plan to distribute at least 750 shekels to each citizen came under attack from economists and the opposition factions in the Knesset claiming they were an attempt to buy silence from anti Netanyahu protesters. (Yedioth/Ynet)
- Knesset Coronavirus Committee Questions New Regulations, After Netanyahu Vows to Oust Chair - After new data traces few infections to pools, beaches, bars and restaurants, Knesset committee head, MK Yifat Shasha-Biton, asks that they be exempt from new coronavirus closures. Health Ministry fails to present infection data for gyms, beaches. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
- Doctors slam government handling of coronavirus pandemic - In a petition doctors urge government to focus health efforts on elderly and high-risk groups, but allow the young to get infected and advance herd immunity while saving the economy. (Ynet)
- Data Shows Where Israelis Contract the Coronavirus - Weekly data provided to the coronavirus Knesset committee shows that only very few Israelis get ill after visiting beaches, pools or bars. (Haaretz+)
- About 60 Percent of Israelis' Appeals Against Quarantine Based on Digital Tracking Granted - Less than a fifth of the 30,000 people who appealed the order, given following monitoring by security service in first half of July, firmly told to remain in isolation. (Haaretz+)
- PA fears loss of control over second coronavirus wave - Palestinian Authority reports virus cases tripling in three weeks, with West Bank doctors pleading for more manpower and small business owners protesting virus restrictions. In the West Bank, there are 7,756 active cases; 58 people have died. In the Gaza Strip, 72 people were diagnosed and one person has died. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Latest in series of mysterious blasts rocks power station in central Iran - A huge fire in a compound that supplies electricity to the nuclear site in Natanz. The alleged explosion didn't cause any casualties, Iranian media reports. On Saturday, an oil pipeline reportedly went up in flames in western Iran. (Yedioth Hebrew and Israel Hayom)
- Two Palestinian Cyclists Injured in Alleged Assault by West Bank Settlers - Mear the Palestinian village of Turmus Ayya, masked men in a car threw stones and beat the Ramallah residents, who are members of a group of cyclists who go on trips around the West Bank, said the alleged victims. The police said they had opened an investigation “following a number of complaints submitted today by Palestinian residents of Ramallah” about the incident. (Haaretz+)
- Police Clash With Jaffa Residents Protesting Construction on Muslim Cemetery; 4 Arrested - 'If this isn't police racism in action, I don't know what is', local leader says after police use flash grenades against protesters; demonstrators lit fires, threw stones and fireworks toward officers. (Maariv and Haaretz+)
- In half a day: three murders in the Arab sector - Three (Arab-Israeli) men in their 50s, two of them fathers of children, were shot to death a few hours apart. In the Arab sector they are desperate: "We are afraid to go outside because of the violence, not because of corona.” A 55-year-old Kfar Qassem resident was shot dead at a construction site in Petah Tikva, and about three hours later, a resident of Tira was shot dead in his hometown. During the night, a 53-year-old from Ibtin village was killed. (Yedioth Hebrew and Maariv)
- Israel fights UN discrimination [against businesses over the Green Line] with green initiative - The plan calls for giving budgetary support to companies that engage in sustainability and other environmentally friendly activities, as well as contribute to society through other means. The plan is part of an effort to offset potential blacklisting by the UN of Israeli companies that operate beyond the Green Line. [NOTE: The article initially does not make it clear that the boycott is directed only at Israeli businesses in the West Bank. - OH] (Israel Hayom)
- ICC adjourns without decision on 'war crimes' probe against Israel - Israeli officials believe the ICC will resume work on the case in mid-August, after its summer vacation. (Israel Hayom)
- Israeli Army Neutralizes Drone Entering Airspace From Lebanon - Incident comes as concerns grow that the coronavirus could precipitate a confrontation between Hezbollah and Israel. (Haaretz+ and Ynet and Israel Hayom)
- Israel Clears East Mediterranean Natural Gas Pipeline Plan - Project would supply natural gas to Europe from Israel via Cyprus. (Haaretz+)
- Lebanon's 'regional neutrality' up in the air, country's PM says - Against the backdrop of a financial meltdown and simmering domestic unrest, Prime Minister Hassan Diab says political dialogue is needed over the Beirut's stance on regional conflicts. (Israel Hayom)
- Iranian security forces clash with protesters chanting 'No Gaza, no Lebanon' - "People are angry. The economy is so bad that we cannot survive," says Iranian protester by phone as regime reportedly blocks internet access. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
- Tehran is under pressure: Social media networks stormed over death sentences of three young men - The three were sentenced to death by hanging for demonstrating in protests and sharing videos of it on social media - and they will be re-tried. But a legal source clarified: "The regime is only trying to gain time.” (Yedioth Hebrew)
- Report: Qatari businessmen funneled millions to Hezbollah - A German security contractor who worked with the Qatari government accuses factions and individuals within the Gulf kingdom of channeling funds to the Lebanese terrorist group, "with the knowledge of influential government officials," German paper Die Zeit reports. (Israel Hayom)
- Turkey arrests 27 suspected members of Islamic State - Anti-terrorist police forces carry out dawn raids in 15 locations to foil alleged plans for imminent terrorist attacks. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
Bombshell: Fake News From Pre-state Days of Jewish Underground Militias
For years, a special report gathered dust in the archives alleging that the forerunner to the Israeli army paid the Irgun to blow up the King David Hotel. A more complex story lies behind the story, centering on a Jewish journalist who was denounced as a liar and a traitor: George Marantz. Marantz, of whom little is known, was accused by many in the Yishuv – the Jewish community in what was then British Mandatory Palestine – of inventing the story to sow discord in the Zionist movement. The contacts between the Haganah and the Irgun are dramatically described in the document. It was claimed that the local Jewish leadership had decided to take revenge on the British for the so-called Black Sabbath – June 29, 1946, when the British authorities launched a major operation to round up Jewish fighters and weaponry. According to the document, the Haganah refused to carry out the planned revenge mission “because only people trained in commando action can do it,” and so the Irgun was handed the task. (Ofer Aderet, Haaretz+)
Let Us Count the Ways the Heat Can Kill You: It’s 27
Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq on watchlist for hunger due to dual threat of global warming and coronavirus: It's time for the Haaretz climate change briefs. (Ruth Schuster, Haaretz+)
In Colombia, it took courage to make peace. I worry Israel is choosing conflict, instead (Juan Manuel Santos, Haaretz+) When I was President, Hugo Chávez called Colombia 'the Israel of Latin America.' I took it as a compliment. But Israel’s founding vision is under attack from a hyper-nationalist government openly scorning human rights and international law.
Yesterday's hearing speeds up the hourglass that has begun in the Netanyahu trial (Matan Wasserman, Maariv) What used to seem far-fetched to the accused prime minister, now takes on reality and a time frame. Attempts to postpone the end by (the accused) Shaul Elovitz, Noni Mozes and Netanyahu did not receive a sympathetic ear, but neither did they get a cold shoulder. They still got a few more months.
Don’t Go Like Sheep to Economic Slaughter (Rogel Alpher, Haaretz+) The Israeli conversation about the coronavirus has undergone a revolution. During the first wave, the submissive, obedient media fell in line with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s fearful, tyrannical policy, which locked people in their homes, subjected them to tracking by the Shin Bet security service and destroyed the livelihoods of a million people. The lockdown’s few opponents were afraid to make their voices heard. A frightened herd immediately trampled over them in its flight from the existential threat, which, according to Netanyahu, is one of the worst in human history. The demonstrations against him are having a real impact on the national mood. The people are no longer blind. Television news show hosts and pundits are openly and vigorously opposing the government’s coronavirus policy. A few months ago, doing so would have been considered treason.
Protest in front of the Prime Minister's House: We know where it starts and where it can lead (Dr. Esther Luzzatto, Maariv) The demonstrations in front of the Prime Minister's House have a violent, wild and provocative nature and the aim of some of the demonstrators is to create an atmosphere of despair and anarchy. In struggles of this nature there are only losers.
*Good Thing the Arabs Aren’t in the Streets (Odeh Bisharat, Haaretz+) everyone asks why the Arabs don’t take to the streets and join their Jewish brethren in the rising wave of demonstrations against Benjamin Netanyahu and his socioeconomic policies, as well as his failed management of the coronavirus crisis. Especially since the Arabs are the first to be harmed by the economic damage, both personally and communally. Arab local authorities have gotten ridiculously low amounts of aid during the crisis compared to Jewish ones, primarily those at the top of the economic pyramid. Let me explain. Arabs think first and take action afterward. They think that if they stage mass protests in Nazareth, Tamra, Rahat and Umm al-Fahm, then based on the rage level we have been witnessing lately – in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, on Balfour Street in Jerusalem and in the stormy protests in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods – one can guess that the conversation of billy clubs being conducted by police with the Jews will quickly turn into a harsh attack on Arabs. Security forces would take potshots at Arabs from dozens of meters away, then explain to the journalists already biased against the protesters (Arabs, you know) that they felt their lives were at risk. Such things have happened; just turn the historical archives’ yellowing pages.
Many in Israeli society suffer from covert racism, which is dangerous (Hilik Bar, Maariv) Actor Roy Boy [who filmed a video of himself speaking to Bedouin children as if they were animals - OH] is not the problem, he's just the symptom. The real question is when will we really look at ourselves in the mirror and do something about it, before we are doubled over ourselves, all of us, in the future to come.
The corona was supposed to unite us. This of course did not happen (Meir Uziel, Maariv) The burning rage of the elites is everywhere in Israel, in demonstrations by those claiming to be heirs of the legacy of those who brought down the Bastille. In the streets, in the squares. The demonstration immediately was shifted in the known direction: hatred of Bibi.
Netanyahu losing his grip as coronavirus tremors rattle Israel (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) The resurgent pandemic, economic crisis and mounting protests erode support for an increasingly hysterical prime minister.
Danger of the anarchists (Limor Livnat, Yedioth Hebrew) I fear those who are spreading evil and anarchy at the demonstrations. I suggest that we all fear. Whoever calls to go to the Prime Minister’s Residence with torches could bring a disaster upon us, G-d forbid.
The smell of political violence is in the air (Doron Matza, Israel Hayom) One does not have to be an intelligence officer to see that the public unrest simmering over the past few weeks could be heralding a horrific scenario.
National sentiment (Raanan Shaked, Yedioth Hebrew) The educated right-wing got into a whirl of embarrassing reactions and tweets on Saturday. Beyond crowning the protesters as "Ashkenazis from the Brasserie (restaurant)” - which deserves no discussion - many tweets were addressed to the relatively low number of protesters ("300 people in Tel Aviv, 1,000 in Jerusalem", as someone tweeted) as an indication of the fact that this is not a national protest or a “country in protest” - as it has been defined in the media - this is definitely worth discussing. So yes, it must be said that the numbers - even if they were enough to produce full and impressive television frames - were only a few thousand. It was not the night of the 300,000 hoarse throats of the 2011 protest record. And yet, there’s no getting around it, this protest is a national one. And there’s also no getting around that it is against the incumbent prime minister and his demonstrably detached government. It's less a matter of left-right. It's a matter of this-is-enough-Bibi. So why, despite the limited numbers, is it still appropriate and accurate to call it a "country in protest"? Because national sentiment…has become completely oppositional at the moment. It is clear to all that the government has failed miserably in preventing the second wave and is dressing up in dealing with it; It is clear that the immediate economic distress is expanding in in the circles of infection much faster than that of the corona; And it is quite clear that government solutions are stingy, hasty and hysterical at best…It is enough to take to the streets - every street, everywhere in Israel - and listen to the voices. You do not have to strain at all to feel the direction of the wind. It's out there. And yes, it's a protest - or a great and unequivocal displeasure, if you prefer - and it is all directed at the government and its leader. There is no point in trying to dwarf it. So why are the numbers of protesters not much bigger? Quite clearly: the fear index has become significant in the years since 2011; Many Israelis are afraid of being marked or tagged as "leftist” - probably in an unstable and threatening labor market - and many more are afraid of the corona and possible contagion in overcrowded conditions, as well as the possible flare-up in front of the police of some of the demonstrations. The risk - health, social, occupational - is simply too great, and in one word: fear. Another thing that will be registered, finally, under Netanyahu's legacy.
There’s Nobody Like Netanyahu to Tell the Story of Our Sorry Situation (Iris Leal, Haaretz+) Wednesday was a terrible day, because I realized that we were in deep trouble, and as the hours passed it only got worse. Unfortunately, I spoke in the afternoon with two close friends; one lives in Portugal and the other in Toronto. They both told a similar story: From the first minute everything was organized, every announcement of a closure due to the coronavirus was issued alongside an economic plan. In Portugal there’s a social democratic government and in Canada – a combined liberal welfare state with conservative principles. In both places quarantines were lifted slowly and wisely and they’re living normally alongside the coronavirus. The pandemic is no longer the center of life, but rather background noise. nd then evening came and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as if to answer my sorrowful thoughts, called a press conference and announced excitedly his universal grant plan, money for every citizen…The grant was a correct and necessary decision: quick money deposited straight to people’s bank accounts will also be received by a small group of people who don’t need it, but it will save most people who need the money desperately from having to undergo exhaustive income vetting. The problem was that Netanyahu had done too little too late.
Preempting ICC's decision to invent 'Palestine' (Maurice Hirsch, Israel Hayom) The United Nations should be warned that all of its Israel staff will be declared personae non gratae if the ICC moves ahead with its politically motivated case against the Jewish state.
Chefs Became Fighters for Human Rights in Israel Overnight (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) At long last there is a true protest here, and look who is representing it and how the campaign is presented. A stranger landing in our midst in recent weeks would find themselves convinced that in tandem with the growing political protest against Benjamin Netanyahu, another popular resistance movement has arisen, roiled by two fateful causes: the future of gyms and restaurants. Food and body sculpting, the war over muscle tone, the battle over entertainment in Tel Aviv. Tahrir Square at the Brasserie restaurant…After years in which Israelis have been fed ad nauseam with food-related shows, chefs are no longer only social leaders; they’ve become fighters for human rights in Israel overnight. The good and charming Haim Cohen is now Israel’s Nelson Mandela. A painful and just social protest is presented to viewers as another game show with the usual celebrities. The struggle of hundreds of thousands of Israelis to survive, people who have never seen the inside of a gym or who have probably not eaten at a restaurant lately, now living in existential dread, is presented as a campaign for the freedom to gorge out and sculpt one’s body...
The Ignorance of Israel's Higher Education Minister (Menny Mautner, Haaretz+) The presidents of the universities in Israel have found themselves in sharp conflict with Higher Education Minister Zeev Elkin in the wake of his meddling in the ways the universities manage their affairs. The conflict has reached the the High Court of Justice. It is important to understand the minister’s worldview with regard to the role of the universities, as it emerges in the first interview he has given to the right-of -center weekly Makor Rishon. The way in which the minister perceives the universities can explain much of his behavior in the conflict with the university presidents. Upon reading the interview with Elkin, it becomes clear that in his perception the main role of the university is to serve the needs of the state – primarily its economic needs – as well as the students’ need for professional training. He relates almost incidentally to the humanist ideal of knowledge for its own sake.
Netanyahu Knows Who He Wants as Coronavirus Czar. But He Will Have to Delegate Authority (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Prof. Gabi Barbash seems to favor cautious approach to contain virus, including lockdowns. Netanyahu will have someone to blame if things get worse.
Acting against Iran (Michael Calvo, Israel Hayom) The United States and Israel should exercise their inherent and natural right of self-defense as understood in customary international law.
Are UN Peacekeepers Still Keeping the Calm Between Israel and Lebanon? (Zvi Bar’el, Haaretz+) A report published in June on the UN observer force describes necessary reforms, but also applauds UNIFIL’s efficiency at preventing clashes between Israel and Hezbollah.
Mike Pompeo, Enemy of American Values (David Rothkopf, Haaretz+) As the Trump administration deploys unmarked police on the streets of Portland, its Secretary of State, eyeing a presidential run in 2024, gave a ‘pro-human rights’ speech that was actually a defense of the violation of human rights.
'We Said That Ruling Over Another People Will Come at a Price. But There's No Price'
Zehava Galon tells Haaretz how ‘the world went along with the occupation,’ while Israeli leftists weren’t willing to pay a personal cost. (Interviewed by Ravit Hecht in Haaretz+)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.