APN's daily news review from Israel - Thursday July 23, 2020
You Must Be Kidding:
Israel’s Civil Administration on Tuesday tore down a building at the entrance to Hebron that Palestinians say was meant to serve as a center for coronavirus testing and quarantine.**
- Netanyahu decided not to approve the budget and to go to elections in November
- With the support of Kahol-Lavan, bill preventing LGBT conversion therapy passed in preliminary hearing
- Prof. Barbash: If I don’t get extensive powers, I will withdraw my candidacy for corona crisis manager
- Knesset discusses Corona bill, which gives government expansive emergency authority
- “If he had used a little more pressure, I wouldn’t have been able to breath”: The demonstrator photographed with a policeman kneeing his neck during the demonstration
- Trump changes his attitude: “The situation is expected to get worse, use masks”
- Culture of (political) spins // Rachel Azaria
- Continue to demonstrate // Yechiam Weitz
- “Kosher Netflix” - A new streaming service meant for the religious community offers censored films and series
- 22 years after the death of Aba Kovner (Jewish Hebrew and Yiddish poet and partisan leader), his son presents the mythical figure in one of the most interesting exhibitions ever shown here // Gilad Meltzer
- Protest in the Arab sector: “Weekends are 40% of sales, closure will be a death blow”
- Government going bankrupt // Nadav Eyal on failure to deal with corona crisis properly (Hebrew)
- The appointment ended in disgrace - The candidate to run the crisis is fed up
- You won’t stop us - Special - Interviews with the prominent demonstrators
- Nahal soldier was killed when a military truck flipped on him
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
- Because of bureaucracy: Vaccine developed at the biological institute is delayed
- Prof. Barbash announced he gives up the position of Commander of the corona (crisis)
- (LGBT) conversion therapy storm - Ultra-Orthodox furious
- Voted against - MKs voted for corona bill that neutralizes their power over the government
- The package of laws that will upset Gantz - Coalition on the way to another crisis: Smell of elections in the air
- Judgement day of the school summer camps
- Health Ministry shortens quarantine time
- “A grant for every citizen? The bill will come” - Interview with Karnit Flug, former Governor of Bank of Israel
- Show return - in drive-in style”: Singers will perform in front of an audience in cars
- Improved salaries and a “corona grant”: Social workers’ strike ended
Top News Summary:
Talk of another Israeli elections as Kahol-Lavan votes to ban LGBT “conversion therapy,” Prof. Gabi Barbash, the
corona crisis manager-to-be, withdrew his candidacy because he insisted on being answerable to the Knesset not the Ministry of Health, (and
within an hour or so another candidate was appointed), and a law to give the government
authority to bypass the Knesset was discussed in Knesset (and passed after midnight) - making top stories in
today’s Hebrew newspapers.
Also, there was more interesting and worrying news about the joint demonstrations against Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the government’s handling of the corona crisis, the IDF deployed more forces on the northern border in expectation of retaliation by Hezbollah for the killing of one of its members in Syria in what is widely believe to be an Israeli attack. And earlier this week, there was almost no mention in the print newspapers of the meeting between Egyptian President Sameh Shoukry and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, where, according to senior Palestinian officials, Abbas reportedly said he was ready to return to negotiations with Israel. (Also Maariv)
After Kahol-Lavan voted with the opposition in favor of a bill that bans gay “conversion therapy,” infuriating its ultra-Orthodox coalition members, as well as the Likud, Likud sources said this could lead to elections, the papers said. (Worthy of note: Gay Likud Minister Amir Ohana voted with the opposition, too, and Netanyahu was a no-show.) The ultra-Orthodox parties were furious and vowed consequences including cutting ties with Kahol-Lavan. Likud MKs said this could lead to another elections, which has already been being discussed, and ‘Israel Hayom,’ too, tried to blame a possible elections on Kahol-Lavan. But Haaretz reported that Netanyahu intends to go to elections on November 18th so that he can stay on as caretaker prime minister and pass laws that will prevent him from facing the evidentiary stage of his corruption trial at the beginning of January. To do this, he won’t pass the state budget, thereby forcing elections. ‘Israel Hayom’ (Hebrew) reported that the Likud is planning to pass a blitz of ‘right-wing’ bills, which are expected to receive strong opposition from “left flanks” of the coalition. Knesset Speaker Yariv Levine presented the package of bills to Netanyahu, who has not yet given an answer, but if he approves, the laws will be brought to the plenum for approval in a preliminary reading as early as next Wednesday. Meanwhile, MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) announced that he intends to bring to the plenum for approval two laws on behalf of his faction: a law to override High Court rulings, and a law bypassing the High Court, after the court allowed the introduction of chametz (wheat) products into hospitals during Passover Among the laws contained in Levin's explosive package are MK Gideon Saar's (Likud) Evidence Law, which allows courts to disqualify evidence obtained by improper means - a law that directly concerns the Netanyahu trial currently underway. According to the law, the court could disqualify evidence such as the testimonies of State Witness Nir Hefetz, and possibly that of indicted Bezeq Telecommunications main shareholder, Shaul Alovich, if it is proven that they were obtained by inappropriate means of pressure. Another bill is a cut in the budget of the Public Broadcasting Corporation, a law initiated by MK Shlomo Karai (Likud). Under the proposal, the broadcasting corporation, with the exception of Reshet B radio station, will be sold as part of a tender to the Second Broadcasting Authority and its budget will be cut dramatically. ‘Israel Hayom’ quoted a a senior Likud official who said Netanyahu does not want an election, “but the conduct of Kahol-Lavan will lead us to elections.”
Today (Thursday) President Reuven Rivlin blasted the coalition government for suggesting there may be another election in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. Rivlin said Israel is not a 'rag doll' for politicians to 'drag around.’
Regarding the recent demonstrations outside the Prime Minister’s Residence against Netanyahu and the handling of
the corona crisis, protesters have said that police tried to recruit them as informants, Haaretz reported. Very
worrying was the very police aggressive force used by the police against the demonstrators. A chilling video and photo of a Border Policeman with his knee pressing on the neck of a
protester has been circulating. 'If he had applied just a little more force, I wouldn’t have been able to breathe,' said the
young man, who participated in the Tuesday demonstration. Police commanders are meeting today
ahead of another demonstration tonight in front of the Netanyahu’s residence to prepare to prevent a situation
of deterioration to violence and to avoid incidents of using force and assaulting police officers, the police
Yesterday there were two more protests: one of Israeli activists blocking the entrances to the Knesset in protest of a law about to be passed (ironically) to give the government the power and authority to bypass the Knesset in decisions regarding the corona crisis. That protest was not violent. The bill was passed after midnight.
The other demonstration was of ultra-Orthodox men in Jerusalem and it barely made headlines, although it was more violent with protesters setting garbage bins on fire and blocking roads. (Maariv) Ultra-Orthodox Demonstrators also attacked the car of a driver who mistakenly drove in their area. But not until the fourth paragraph, does the reporter say why they demonstrated: in protest of the of closures impose on various ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods in the capital. Interestingly, far-right racist religious MK Bezalel Smotrich accused the police of handling the anti-Netanyahu and anti-government protesters, whom he called ‘anarchists,’ of dealing with the demonstrators “with kid gloves.” (Maariv) But Smotrich did not describe the ultra-Orthodox protests that way even though the demonstrators were more violent. (Maariv) Moreover, he called for a Knesset Committee to be established to examine “discrimination” against the ultra-Orthodox. “You can see it in the treatment of left-wing demonstrations compared to the treatment of ultra-Orthodox demonstrations.” (Maariv). The print newspaper reported that an ultra-Orthodox minister asked him to stop. The ultra-Orthodox voted against the bill.
In other strikes: The social workers ended their strike yesterday after 17 days, when the Finance Ministry agreed to raise their salaries and give them a corona grant. Tonight: Parents are holding demonstrations against the closure of school summer camps over corona restrictions. (Maariv)
- **Israel Demolishes Building Palestinians Say Was Meant to Be Coronavirus Testing Center - Resident of Hebron, West Bank city hardest hit by corona, donated the land where the building was erected to the city for temporary use during the pandemic. Civil Administration says illegal building was meant for personal purposes. Residents say Israeli soldiers watched construction on desperately needed facility go ahead for two months before sending in the bulldozers. Farid al-Atrash, a 44-year-old human rights lawyer and activist from Hebron, said the demolition could be a way for Israel to pressure the PA into resuming bureaucratic coordination, which it had stopped in protest at Israel's plans to annex parts of the West Bank. (Haaretz+, MiddleEastEye, PHOTO)
- For second day, Israel sees over 2,000 new daily coronavirus cases - Health officials say the infection rate now stands at 8.3%, meaning every 12th person tested for COVID-19 turns out to be positive; 3 more patients pass away from the virus, bringing death toll to 433. (Ynet)
- East Jerusalem Struck by Record Number of Coronavirus Cases - Sources say real numbers may be even higher as some residents and entire neighborhoods are seeking health services from the Palestinian Authority, not Israel. (Haaretz+)
- Health Ministry cuts quarantine period for coronavirus patients - Patients can step out of isolation after 3 consecutive days without symptoms, at least 10 days since testing positive or onset of symptoms; move expected to lift workload off healthcare system. (Ynet)
- Israel biochem lab hosts U.S. envoy, seeks FDA nod for vaccine prototype - American official says David Friedman's visit to defense laboratory in Ness Ziona comes as he is 'working tirelessly to ensure that things that [can] help the American people can get to them in the most effective and efficient way.’ (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
Due to bureaucracy: The development of an Israeli vaccine for the corona virus is delayed -
The vaccine, which was developed at the Biological Institute in Ness Ziona, will be ready for trials in humans
starting this September, but the trials will be delayed at least until mid-October, at the request of the
committee in the Ministry of Health. (Maariv and Corona24News)
- Police arrest, then release Palestinian cultural leaders in East Jerusalem - Police raided home of Yabous Cultural Center head and detained and her husband, Suheil, National Conservatory of Music director. Khoury and Elias are the organizers of festivals and events in the Palestinian cultural scene. Police say they’re suspected of tax evasion. Elias's lawyer Nasir Odeh said the couple was "detained on charges of financing terrorist organizations." The Yabous center and the conservatory were also raided by police and Israeli tax investigators. (Israel Hayom, Times of Israel and MiddleEastEye)
- Gantz: Israel could help make Gaza a 'normal place to live' - If the terrorist group returns the remains of IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, and releases two Israeli civilians, Alternate PM Benny Gantz also says Israel is "obliged to provide humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza." (Israel Hayom)
- MK Dichter gets into heated exchange with Palestinian delegate during Inter-Parliamentary Union conference - MK Avi Dichter (Likud), head of Knesset delegation to Committee on Middle East Questions of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), got into a heated exchange Wednesday with a member of the Palestinian Arab delegation, senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad. MK Dichter called on the IPU to condemn the transfer of salaries by the Palestinian Authority to terrorists imprisoned in Israel and to families of terrorists. In response, al-Ahmad said, "We will continue to take care of the prisoners. They are not terrorists. It is a fact that Defense Minister (Benny) Gantz gave the banks permission to open accounts for them. Marwan Barghouti is not a terrorist; Shimon Peres and Israeli leaders met with him." (Knesset website)
- At Security Council Meeting, China Warns Israel Against West Bank Annexation - Beijing's envoy to the UN says the 'Palestinian people can always count on China’s support.’ (Haaretz+)
- Israeli Forces Evacuate West Bank Outpost in Area Earmarked for Palestinians Under Trump Plan - Outpost is far from any other settlement and was moved from privately owned Palestinian land closer to Israeli army base. (Haaretz+)
- Despite economic crisis, Netanyahu backs bid to increase defense spending by nearly $1B - PM's office says extra funding needed for 'routine IDF activities, Gaza border barrier, and other critical issues that cannot be delayed.' Call could face resistance from Treasury officials expected to demand that increase come from existing army budget. (Maariv, Israel Hayom and Ynet)
- Israeli Parliament Bans LGBTQ 'Conversion Therapy' in Preliminary Vote, Risking Coalition Crisis - Gantz's party breaks with coalition line to pass bill in a 42-35 vote that is threatening alliance with ultra-Orthodox parties. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
- Another Group of Ethiopian Immigrants Set to Land in Israel Thursday Morning - Thirty-four immigrants are third group to come since coronavirus struck. (Haaretz+)
- Tamar gas field to start paying taxes on profit in 2021 - Natural gas field off the coast of Haifa became operational in 2013. State's income from the levy alone is expected to reach about $2.3 billion, with royalties and other taxes hiking it to $4.3 billion. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
- First Temple period seals unearthed in ancient Jerusalem treasure trove - 2,700-year-old administrative storage center containing more than 120 royal seals from the days of Kings Hezekiah and Manasseh found at site, hailed as 'one of the most significant discoveries from the period of the Kings in Jerusalem.’ (Maariv, Israel Hayom and Ynet)
- Democrats' Presidential Platform Commits to Return to Iran Nuclear Deal - A final draft of platform also opposes 'regime change' in Tehran and espouses more traditional U.S. views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, defeating the party's vocal left-wing. (Haaretz+)
- Israeli High Court Slams Expansion of Gender Segregation in Colleges - Justice Melcer says the entire world accepts that separate isn't equal ever since the desegregation ruling of Brown vs. Board of Education in the middle of the last century. (Haaretz+)
- Monumental Building From King Hezekiah’s Time Found in Jerusalem - Huge number of seal impressions and storage jar fragments typical of Kingdom of Judah found at the site, but why the whole thing was covered by a giant mound of stones remains a mystery. (Haaretz+)
- Turkey Shifts Fight Against Kurdish Militants Deeper Into Iraq - Turkey has set up 30 bases inside Iraq, Turkish official says. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Yemen's Children Starve Amid Rising Fears of Famine - Coronavirus restrictions, reduced remittances, locusts, floods and significant underfunding of this year's aid response have compounded an already dire hunger situation after five years of war. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Bodies of Young Afghans Who Died in Turkey Seeking Asylum Brought Home - The migrants drowned while trying to cross lake Van, in eastern Turkey close to the border with Iran, in an attempt to avoid police check-points on the land route toward the western part of the country. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Economic crisis, not pandemic, is crushing Lebanon's hospitals - Lebanese hospitals, long considered among the best in the Middle East, are letting go of staff, reporting shortages in vital medical supplies and pouring money into fuel for generators because of power cuts. (Agencies, Haaretz)
How Many American Jews Are There? Depends Which Jewish Expert You Ask
The number of U.S. Jews now totals 6.97 million, say editors of ‘American Jewish Year Book 2019.’ Try 5.7 million, says rival professor. (Judy Maltz, Haaretz+)
The Jewish community in the United States is concerned about what is happening in Israel these days
As far as Israel is concerned, there is an unwritten law in the Jewish community according to which criticism of Israel is not expressed publicly. But in private conversations, community officials express great concern. "We, the Jews in America, have enough to worry about what is happening here," says Abraham Foxman, who served for almost a decade as head of the Anti-Defamation League and is considered a valued figure in the community. “Anti-Semitism, the epidemic, racism. But those of us who love and care for Israel, are anxious about the internal crisis in Israel, the political chaos, the paralysis of the government and the attacks on democracy. I watch the news on Israeli television and feel anxiety and sorrow. I am also concerned about the extremism in rhetoric in Israel.” Recently, even a shred of appreciation for the leadership in Israel has completely disappeared. "The community in America, which is connected to Israel, is watching in horror what is happening in its beloved Jewish state, which is falling apart before our eyes," says Eric Yoffe, one of the leaders of the Reform movement. "The community is used to debates and struggles in Israel, but even if it did not agree with the prime minister in the past, it still perceived him as a brilliant politician. These days, however, in the face of the collapsing economy, the dysfunctional health system, the demonstrations in the streets, and the prime minister who seems more desperate every day, baiting the judges, attacking his coalition partners and blaming everyone else - what is happening in Israel is frightening.” (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv)
Israel said it had a firefight during Gaza’s Return March. Where’s the evidence?
An activist looked into an Israeli army claim of a shootout with Hamas militants during Gaza's mass protests. Two years later, the army still can’t confirm if the 'battle' even took place. (Oren Ziv, 972mag)
Israel's Law to Bypass Its Public (Haaretz Editorial) The Knesset convened late Wednesday night to give its final approval to
the “Law Granting Special Authorities to Combat the Novel Coronavirus,” also known as the “Big Coronavirus Law.”
In force for a year, the law grants the government the ability to declare a state of emergency and thereby issue
regulations for combating the coronavirus, which will go into effect even without Knesset approval. This sets a
very dangerous precedent in which the Knesset delegates to the cabinet the authority to set norms and to balance
health interests and fundamental rights. It contradicts the principle of the division of authorities…
Does government chaos mean elections are coming? (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) The ultra-Orthodox parties are at a loss. Kahol-Lavan has proven an unreliable coalition partner and they find PM Netanyahu's ambiguity over whether he plans to call early elections very troubling. The unity government has long since lost its public appeal, but now it is also losing its grip on relevant politics. With government infighting breaking records on a daily basis, and with a state budget nowhere in sight, the question of whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will trigger another general election has again been presented, but still has no definite answer.
Israel Has a Confused and Childish Government (Wednesday Haaretz Editorial) Knesset coronavirus committee Chair Dr. Yifat Shasha-Biton’s message to the coronavirus government was clear: “We will continue to insist that every directive that comes from the government has an orderly outline.” She said this yesterday just before the committee rejected the government’s closure order for restaurants and permitted them to remain open. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of Shasha-Biton’s demand to understand the logic guiding the cabinet and the Health Ministry when they seek to impose draconian restrictions on the public that spell economic doom for many. Shasha-Biton described the government’s complete confusion regarding its communications with restaurant owners and said, “I can’t explain why they are acting this way. We need guidelines that will be easy for the public to understand, because the public is our main partner in the war against the virus.”
Netanyahu wanted to make the partiers happy with cash, but he wasn’t informed that no one was celebrating anymore (Dr. Orit Miller-Katab, Maariv) Instead of spreading 6 billion shekels everywhere, it would have been appropriate to invest this money wisely and sensitively in the sectors that really need it. And that's not to mention the irony of the grant to the richest.
Can Netanyahu Really Answer the Hotline in the Prime Minister's Office? (Zvi Bar’el, Haaretz+) The man called the prime minister of Israel doesn’t really exist. It’s an algorithm gone mad that has begun to produce crazy outputs at a dizzying pace. The program by which he operated has become so full of bugs it seems like it may have been the target of an Iranian cyberattack. In the course of a single workday, he can order the opening of restaurants and the closure of swimming pools, and then reverse his instructions that same evening. One day he spits out money like an out-of-control ATM and the next day he changes the way it is distributed. He clashes with the finance minister and alternate prime minister, he’s more than willing to run roughshod over the attorney general, to trash the officials at the Finance Ministry and to drive the courts bonkers.
Reasons why we will go to the polls. 3 reasons why the government will survive (Yuval Karni, Yedioth Hebrew) On the one hand: the atmosphere of chaos dominates with repeated violations of the coalition agreement, the ultra-Orthodox are furious with Gantz and the battle for the budget seems like the perfect excuse for Netanyahu to blow everything up. On the other hand: elections will be too big a bet for him now. Following the storm over the law against LGBT conversion therapy treatments that passed a preliminary reading: why the "Corona government" will disband - and how it will still last. Reasons elections are close: 1.) An atmosphere of war. The main coalition parties keep voting in opposition of the government stanc. Record level of suspicion. Appears that every small crisis leads downhil to another election. 2.) The fury of the ultra-Orthodox towards Kahol-Lavan and members of Likud for voting to ban LGBT conversion therapy - and Netanyahu's absence from the vote. 3.) The budget is an exit window. If therei is an immediate reason for elections it is the dispute over the state budget. Netanyahu insists on a one-year budget in opposition to the coalition agreement he signed. Gantz wants two years. --Reasons the government will survive: 1.) This time the battle isn't between left and right. 2.) Elections now is a dangerous gamble. 3.) It's the time to show national responsibility.
Likudniks Are Hungry and Mad at Netanyahu Too (Yossi Klein, Haaretz+) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s doomsday weapon has been to call on his supporters to take to the streets because “they’re stealing the country from you” and “look what the left wing is doing to us.” In the meantime, he has been labeling today’s demonstrators anarchists, repeating it over and over. Maybe ultimately, as Joseph Goebbels taught us, it will stick. But it hasn’t stuck. The coronavirus and unemployment have immunized them from that. From their standpoint, the state is no longer Netanyahu and those hurting him are not hurting the country. The protesters are not demonstrating against the government but rather against him. Not on behalf of everyone but rather on behalf of themselves. They will remain supporters of Netanyahu’s Likud. They won’t join Meretz and won’t demonstrate in support of the separation of religion and state. They are demonstrating because their businesses have also been shut down, because they have also been laid off, because they also don’t know whether to send their kids to school. And Netanyahu can no longer find an enemy to pin the blame on…
Here Is What the Jerusalem Protests Really Look Like (Uri Misgav, Haaretz+) The demonstrations in Jerusalem against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s are an amazing thing from a civil and democratic perspective. They are also terrifying. The protesters come out of there emotionally overwhelmed. The demonstrations have no defined leadership, steady funding or a clear plan of action. Information is decentralized and spread by word of mouth or social media. All kinds of political groups stream to the Balfour Street protests, along with many who don’t belong to any group. The demonstrators make their own signs, accessories and sometimes costumes. They make a lot of noise, shouting, singing and whistling, and with bicycle horns, pots and pans. This is an authentic civil protest and the most exciting one I’ve ever been privileged to see...
Let Me Tell You About Israel's Treasury Bureaucrats (Stav Shaffir, Haaretz+) The response of Finance Ministry Director General Keren Terner-Eyal to the prime minister’s slander against the treasury sparked an uproar, and everyone automatically took the side of the innocent bureaucrats whose honor had been sullied. But Terner-Eyal’s claim that the Ministry’s bureaucrats are free of political interests is pure fantasy. One day, the head of a nonprofit for disadvantaged teens asked to speak with me discreetly. With no small amount of trepidation, he told me that the fight I was leading for transparency in the Knesset Finance Committee endangered his organization’s state funding. How can that be, I asked. “I had a meeting at the Finance Ministry about our future funding,” he said. “It was implied that if you keep asking questions, [the money] might not be forthcoming.” The treasury is totally professional – if the profession is the mafia. Nor did the treasury bureaucrats shun political doings in dealings that were completely in the open. Once, they (illegally) forgot to mention political agreements in the state budget. Another time they “mistakenly” said that a grant designated for the settlements was for “security” purposes, even though it was transferred to the Yesha Council’s propaganda department…Nor did the treasury bureaucrats shun political doings in dealings that were completely in the open. Once, they - illegally - forgot to mention political agreements in the state budget. Another time they “mistakenly” said that a grant designated for the settlements was for “security” purposes, even though it was transferred to the Yesha Council’s propaganda department...
Iran's bid for splendid isolation (Smadar Perry, Yedioth/Ynet) Tehran is trying to convince the world of catastrophic scale of its coronavirus pandemic, hoping to persuade U.S. to ease the pressure until the health crisis is over; meanwhile, the regime also appears to be bracing for more domestic unrest.
Who Cares About Explosions in Iran? (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) In the last few months, a mysterious country whose identity is unclear has been provoking Iran more than it has ever been provoked before. This anonymous country is blowing up production plants, torching seaports, and sowing chaos along with humiliation. It is exploiting Iran’s weakness, as the country has been hard-hit by the coronavirus on top of the severe international economic sanctions. The rest of the world is also preoccupied with the pandemic, and the president in Washington is fighting for survival. The hidden country is exploiting this international weakness to carry out bold, provocative and dangerous attacks. This reckless behavior includes countless incidents that may have occurred because of “infrastructure problems,” as the official explanation goes, but may also have been deliberately caused with sophisticated tactics from afar. Incident after incident – and Iran is silent. Attack after attack, and Iran is humiliated. How long will it persist in this behavior? Hard to know…
This government is amateur hour (Yehuda Shlezinger, Israel Hayom) This conversion therapy law is just a tiny example of the ineptitude prevalent in this country.
Netanyahu Is Too Busy for Coronavirus, and Israel Is the Butt of the Joke (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Coronavirus czar nominee rescinding candidacy over authority squabble should cast shame on Israel’s executive.
The common denominator between the left and the extreme right in the United States is hatred of Israel [and a note about Peter Beinart] (Zalman Shoval, Maariv) The proliferation of antisemitic remarks and incidents should light red lights even among those who have so far preferred to ignore them, especially when they openly carry motives of racism from the previous century. These trends are also spreading in American universities with the support of left-wing professors - a situation that has made it increasingly dangerous to voice pro-Israel views on campuses. Recently, the Jewish journalist and lecturer Peter Beinart also joined the choir, and although he had sharply criticized Israeli policy in the past, he still defined himself as a Zionist, while now he is probably “leaving the faith,” so to speak. In a long and manipulative article on the front page of the New York Times, Beinart rejected the right of the Jewish people to self-determination, meaning the very existence of the State of Israel, and eliminated…the dangers facing Israel by its enemies. On the other hand, he ignored the enormous achievements of the state in its 72 years of existence, as if to say that it was no longer needed and that there might not have been any justification for its establishment, and all this in a tendentious abolition of history, and of the right of the Jewish people, like for other peoples, to freedom. The history of the Jews is full of the phenomena of Jews who converted and became extremists among the enemies, and the same is probably true of converted Zionists, which Beinart decided to become one of. Beinart received an immediate response from veteran diplomat Dennis Ross, not necessarily a far-right man, who in a joint article with David Makowsky came out as a buffer against Beinart’s positions and lies. In logical language, the article exposes Beinart’s shame as someone who actually favors a process that could lead to the destruction of the State of Israel and the Jews who live in it. Hopefully this will not be the only reaction.
Peter Beinart Proclaims He’s Still a Zionist, Though He No Longer Believes in a Jewish State
In an interview with Haaretz, the enfant terrible of U.S. Jewry says the ethos of Black Lives Matter will change the discourse on Israel-Palestine – and he even has a tip for Biden about Netanyahu. (Interviewed by Chemi Shalev in Haaretz+)
Why a Palestinian Secret Agent Working for Israel Doesn't Have Kids
R. couldn’t care less if he’s dubbed a “traitor” or a “collaborator.” Now 57 years old and working in a shop in Tel Aviv, he still feels he made the right choice, even though it led him to interrogation, torture, financial hardship and cost him his family. He wanted to tell his story. (Interviewed by Yossi Melman in Haaretz+)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.