News Nosh 7.30.20

APN's daily news review from Israel - Thursday July 30, 2020

(NOTE: News Nosh will be on holiday till Wednesday next week.)

Quote of the day:

"God help our democracy if people start to kill each other."
-- President Reuven Rivlin said in response to the latest assault by right-wingers against anti-Netanyahu demonstrators.*

You Must Be Kidding: 
“This was about two groups who provoked each other. I don’t know who started and who hit back.”
--Despite the numerous videos showing right-wingers brutally assaulting anti-Netanyahu demonstrators in Tel-Aviv on Tuesday, Magistrate Court Judge Anat Yahav decided to release to house arrest two of the men suspected of assault.**

Front Page:


  • Rivlin on the attack on demonstrators in Tel-Aviv: Murder is not an imaginary scenario
  • So what if everything burns // Yossi Verter
  • The continuation will come // Amos Harel
  • The anarchist // Aluf Benn
  • Blood on his hands // Haaretz Editorial
  • Protocols reveal: This is how the straw company that the government established to beat the boycott failed
  • Bank of Israel warns: Many families will have difficulty to pay their mortgages, consumption will be harmed
  • Wave of fires in Australia harmed three billion creatures
  • Kahol-Lavan opposed and the clause for equality in the Jewish Nation State Law fell
  • The new hope // Gideon Levy
  • Balfour theater - with cultural centers closed, artists are finding new audiences at the demonstrations across from the Prime Minister’s Residence
  • He’s already doing dessert - The artist who created the “Last Supper” (with Netanyahu in center cutting cake) isnn’t moved by the claims of incitement: “I don’t know of any violence by the left-wing”
  • Shira Haas is paving her way to an impressive Hollywood career. People who worked with her are really not surprised
  • Cyber company Candiru refuses to tell even how many workers it has. Legal dispute gives a rare peek inside

Yedioth Ahronoth

  • Tisha B’Av: State of Israel is more divided than ever
  • The next murder // Nahum Barnea
  • Because you are my brother // Miriam Peretz
  • State in high danger // Meirav Betito
  • Poison without filters // Einav Schiff
  • Call to rise up // Yedidiya Stern
  • The submarines affair (Case 3000): The secret testimonies

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • “Stop the violence”
  • Between coalition and elections (over the budget dispute)
  • A look at the skies - Health Ministry announced a new plan for renewing the aviation and tourism industries
  • Praying in capsules - Due to corona restrictions, only 2000 allowed to visit the Wailing Wall on Tisha B’Av holiday

Israel Hayom

  • “There was always a dispute, this time there is a feeling of hatred between the sides
  • Attack of the demonstrators in Tel-Aviv: Wall-to-wall condemnations, three suspects arrested
  • The last supper of the hated-filled // Amnon Lord
  • Stop the outpouring of hatred // Ariel Kahana
  • The withdrawal that wasn’t - For 15 years, these debates were kept secret. Now it is revealed: Before going into a coma, Ariel Sharon began discussing a second withdrawal - from Judea and Samaria (West Bank)
  • Tisha B’Av for free love
  • Capsule is for me: This is how classrooms will in the coming school year
  • TGI poll: ‘Israel Hayom’ is the most read newspaper in Israel
  • On your marks, passport, go: Skies open on August 16
  • On the way to another bang? Minister Ashkenazi: “If its right for (former IDF chief of staff Gadi) Eisenkot to stand at the head of the (center-left) camp, then he can be at the head”


Top News Summary:
Not the fear of a Hezbollah attack on soldiers along the northern border, but the fear of a right-wing attack on anti-Netanyahu protesters in Israel was the top story in today’s Hebrew newspapers, along with the continued dispute over the budget that could lead to another election and the permission for Israelis to visit and for foreign visitors to come from ‘green’ low corona countries.

Also of interest, in Tel-Aviv’s Rabin Square, an Israeli artist planted a mock reenactment of the ‘Last Supper’ scene picturing Netanyahu alone cutting a cake of the Israeli flag. Netanyahu didn’t think it was funny. Likud MKs called it incitement. Artist Itay Zalait, said it was meant to symbolize the “last supper of the Israeli democracy.” He explained, “The people who are supposed to protect the citizens and represent them – their chairs are empty. We need to begin to understand that this is not democracy, we are at the last minute before it slips through our fingers.” And, Israel Hayom reported that “new revelations show” that prior to suffering a stroke and falling into a coma, then-prime minister Ariel Sharon tasked a special panel with planning a withdrawal from parts of the West Bank.

The photos in today’s papers show a bloodied young anti-Netanyahu government protester and a group of 10 men, who used bottles, clubs, pepper spray, and their fists to assault the people who came to protest against Netanyahu and his loyalist Public Security Minister Amir Ohana on Tuesday. (VIDEOS) It was the fourth time in a week that right-wingers injured protesters. One of the protesters said that police abandoned him while he was being beaten by the mob. "We saw a few undercover cops there, I was all bloodied up and asked them for help, to call a cop car or an ambulance, and they simply ignored me," said Sekler. "I am afraid, mainly because I believe the police has chosen a side. Yet, we cannot fight for our country. We have no choice but to take to the street and fight for our democracy."

**Police arrested three people suspected of attacking the demonstrators. However, Judge Anat Yahav accepted the defense’s argument that the violence at the protest was a brawl, not an assault and she released two to house arrest on Thursday, saying: “This was about two groups who provoked each other. I don’t know who started and who hit back.” (Photo of suspects.) Police had requested to extend their detention by a week. The third man was released because he said he had nothing to do with the violence. Since then the police arrested three other suspects.

*Yedioth and Maariv published front page photos of the iconic bloodied and bare-chested anti-government protester wearing a red bandana across his mouth.  Haaretz’s front page photo was of a Border Policeman on a horse that appears to be stepping on an Israeli flag held by a group of anti-Netanyahu demonstrators at the Tuesday protest in Tel-Aviv. Unsurprisingly, ‘Israel Hayom’ did not print a photo from Tuesday’s demonstration its front page. But even Maariv, didn’t say outright that the increasing problem of political violence in Israel was one-way: right wingers against left-wingers. President Reuven Rivlin also made the equation. “The murder of a demonstrator who goes to protest in Israel, or the murder of a prime minister, are not imaginary scenarios," Rivlin said. He called on politicians to raise their voices and take action to stop the violence. However, Yedioth’s senior columnist, Nahum Barnea, was quite clear about it. In a front-page Op-Ed, he wrote that this violence made him fear another murder - not of the Yigal Amir kind (i.e., assassinating the prime minister), but of the Yoni Avrashami kind -  an extreme right-wing activist who murdered Emil Grinzweig at a Peace Now anti-occupation demonstration in 1983.

Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that protesters must not be silenced and attackers must face justice. (VIDEOS) Netanyahu said that police will find those responsible for the violence. Netanyahu also complained Wednesday that the ‘Last Supper’ installation of him was a death threat against him.

On Wednesday, police removed demonstrators from the anti-Netanyahu protest encampment that had been erected in the city’s Independence Park, close to Netanyahu’s residence. Wednesday night, Israelis again protested in front of Netanyahu’s official residence, sitting on the ground and reading prayers in honor of the Jewish holiday of Tisha B’Av, which commemorates the destruction of the biblical holy temples.

Tonight, police are hoping to prevent more violence against anti-Netanyahu protesters and they are bracing for tonight’s protest outside Netanyahu’s residence. The far-right group La Familia, the racist fan club of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team, has called on members to come out and show anti-government protesters that "the rules of the game have changed."

Interestingly, the state claimed in a response to the High Court that anti-Netanyahu protesters tried to breach the Prime Minister’s compound. But there is no testimony to that and it was never mentioned in the police press conferences. Meanwhile, only ‘Israel Hayom’ made big headlines about the man carrying two knives (and a toy gun), who said he intended to harm Netanyahu and his wife and was detained outside the Prime Minister’s Office. The paper failed to report what Maariv reported: that the 31-year-old homeless man made his announcement to the protesters at the protest tent across from the Prime Minister’s Office and they were the ones who called the police. Also of interest, Facebook investigated and found that the post by “Dana Ron,” who threatened to 'put a bullet' in Netanyahu’s head, was a fictitious account. On Wednesday, Netanyahu had Tweeted a screenshot of the post.

Lastly, on this subject of right-wing violence toward left-wingers was Liaison Minister David Amsalem ‘divisive’ (Ynet Hebrew) and ‘scathing,’ (Maariv) speech at the Knesset. Amsalem (Likud) said that it’s the other way around. “On the left, there is basic violence, spreaders of corona. The right-wing people are decent.” From the Knesset podium, Amsalem accused left-wing MKs of incitement: “We hear that the justice minister expects the prime minister to condemn the violence; there is insane incitement, and he expects the prime minister to speak out against it,” Amsalem asked, referring to Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn of Kahol-Lavan. “Gentlemen, you are inciting against Netanyahu on a daily basis. You have begun all this division in the State of Israel. You and all the bodies that support you in the State Prosecutor’s Office. You started it…You are the most anti-democratic people…you won't accept the decision of the people [who voted for Netanyahu]. You call the right-wing public grass-eaters, because you are arrogant. You think you are allowed to do everything you wish in Israel….You shed the prime minister’s blood on a daily basis. If he went out into the street, he would be shot. Why? Because he works 20 hours a day for the benefit of the citizens of Israel. None of you come anywhere near his capabilities…You are liars, violent, with a double standard. You block the center of Jerusalem. Why? Because you want to. You receive permits to hold demonstrations, the judges allow it. Why? Because you want it.” Amsalem summed up: “You started this. You are the most anti-democratic people and you call us outlaws? You are talking about violence? You are like the robbed Cossack.” (Also Hamodia)

The battle over the budget continues, with Gantz now accusing Netanyahu publicly of what all the commentators have been saying for weeks: That Netanyahu seeks elections by rejecting the two-year budget he committed to in their coalition agreement. Meanwhile, there have been some surprises. Yesh Atid chairman and opposition leader, Yair Lapid, who has been slamming Gantz from the moment Gantz changed sides and joined the Netanyahu government, said he does not rule out cooperation with Gantz: "Whoever wants to join - with pleasure, (but) we will lead.” And in regards to the suggestions flying around that former chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot should head the center-left camp, Kahol-Lavan’s #2, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, said he was open to it: "If it is true that Gadi Eisenkot will lead the camp - so be it. The kingdom is important and not the royalty.” (Maariv)

Corona Quickees:
Israel sees 1,960 new virus cases as COVID spread keeps surging - Healthcare providers carried out 25,046 tests on Wednesday, Health Ministry says; national death toll remains at 491; there are 32,505 people currently battling disease, including 331 in serious condition. (Ynet)
Israel approves cash stipends to all citizens, more money for large families - The proposal, which undergone several changes, provides NIS 750 to every Israeli, NIS 500 for every child - if the family has up to 4 children - and NIS 300 for the fifth child and on; NII to begin transferring the money starting Sunday. (Maariv, Times of Israel and Ynet)
Next school year in Israel will see only half of students attend classes - Education Ministry's outline, tabled for government's approval, would see kindergartners and children in first and second grade study with no adjustments, while children in third grade and up would study either in small groups or remotely. (Ynet)
Analysis As Schools Near Collapse, Israel to Spend More Than $1b to Open Them in Fall - The Education Ministry hasn’t presented any plan for high-risk students or teachers, nor one to enable students without computer access to participate in distance learning. (Haaretz+)
Health Ministry No. 2: No quarantine for arrivals from 'green countries' - Tourism minister welcomes Prof. Grotto's call for easing restrictions on international travelers; head of Knesset oversight committee welcomes decision, says travel industry one of hardest hit sectors in coronavirus pandemic. (Ynet)
In West Bank, Eid sacrifices plummet as Palestinian virus cases soar - 'Who can afford sheep to sacrifice?' asks a livestock merchant, 'People are unable to cover expenses for their children, there’s no work', 'the coronavirus is weighing down on us' says another as 75 deaths are already recorded. (Ynet)

Quick Hits:

  • First photos from the scene of the incident on Mount Dov: UNIFIL opened an investigation - Two days after the attack on the border was thwarted, documentation was published from the scene where the terrorist cell was exposed before it withdrew into Lebanese territory. Additional details about the incident indicate that the cell climbed hundreds of meters from the Lebanese slopes of Mount Dov and stayed for a few minutes inside Israeli territory. The high alert in the area continues. (Israel Hayom and Ynet Hebrew)
  • Sarkozy on peace talks: "Olmert felt at the time that he had no backing" - Former president of France, Nicolai Sarkozy said that during his visit to Israel in June 2012,  then Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert told him that he was "willing to go quite far" towards the Palestinians. However, according to Sarkozy, "it was too late, because the elections in the country were approaching.” (Maariv)
  • Gantz's Party Members Vote Against Adding Right to Equality to Controversial Nation-State Law - Kahol Lavan says working on its own wording to soften law which gives right to national self-determination only to Jews, after leader Benny Gantz misses vote and five of its lawmakers vote against proposed amendment. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Archaeologist Identifies Battlefield Where Crusaders Defeated Saladin - Little remained of the 12th century site of war after centuries of construction. Now an archaeologist has deduced where the Arsuf battle should have taken place. (Haaretz+)
  • Seth Rogen slammed on social media after questioning need for Israel - "If it is for truly the preservation of Jewish people, it makes no sense," Canadian actor tells Marc Maron on his podcast "WTF." (Israel Hayom)
  • Ex-IDF officials to US Congress: Trump plan critical to Israel's security - In letter to both chambers, some 1,000 security heavyweights wholeheartedly endorse Trump's "Vision for Peace" and call for applying Israeli sovereignty to key areas in Judea and Samaria, citing the move's great contribution to both Israel and the US. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel donates 3rd water generator to Gaza Strip - Recent water tests show that the quality of the drinking water is the best seen in the Gaza Strip in years. (Israel Hayom)
  • Jordan sets Nov. 10 as date for parliamentary elections - The election comes amid a severe economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and the threat of a unilateral annexation of West Bank territories by Israel, which Jordanians say would bury the prospect of a Palestinian state. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Turkey Passes Controversial Law to Regulate Social Media Content - The law requires foreign social media sites to appoint Turkish-based representatives to address authorities' concerns. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Mysterious blast takes out fuel tanks in industrial area in western Iran - Iran's Student News Agency says six fuel tanks exploded, causing a major fire in the area. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Iran holds annual Gulf drill amid rising tensions with US - The US military said the drill caused two bases with American troops in the region to go on heightened alert and said Tehran's missile launches were irresponsible. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • 'I Wish They Killed You': Syrian LGBTQ and Rape Survivor Refugees Struggle for Aid - Sexual violence has been prevalent since the start of the Syrian Civil War, which the UN said in 2018 meted out against thousands of men and women by Syrian government forces and allied militias. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • New Round of U.S. Sanctions Target Assad's Son, Syrian Army Unit - This marks the second round of sanctions imposed by the Washington aiming to deter 'bad actors who continue to aid and finance the Assad regime's atrocities.’ (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Lebanese Christian party leader blames Hezbollah, allies for crisis - Monday's border skirmish between Hezbollah and Israel "gives a clear idea about the state of sovereignty for the Lebanese state. Is that acceptable?" asks Samir Geagea, leader of a major Christian group in Lebanon, the Lebanese Forces Party. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)


‘I want Battir to go to hell’: Settlers move in on Palestinian World Heritage site
Palestinians in the West Bank agricultural village of Battir are encountering armed Israeli settlers trying to push them off their land. (Yuval Abraham, 972mag)
Not Your Typical Mossad Agent: Marvel’s Israeli Superheroine Sabra Turns 40
From her first meeting with the Incredible Hulk in Tel Aviv, Sabra represented the Jewish angle in American comics. (Nirit Anderman, Haaretz+)

Top Commentary/Analysis:
The lie of violence on both sides (Gilad Sher, Yedioth Hebrew) Netanyahu and his envoys in the Ministry of Public Security and in the media are trying to create an equation between the demonstrators and the attackers. This is of course not new. Civil war is not a far-fetched scenario…This week, Netanyahu's supporters praised Yigal Amir, the assassin of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. A right-wing man pepper sprayed left-wing protesters. One stabbed a participant at a demonstration in the south. Gangs of right-wingers beat and attacked with cold weapons protesters in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Some of the incidents were filmed and occurred in front of police officers. In the summer of 2014, a group of right-wing activists who support “The Shadow" (right-wing rapper Yoav Eliasi) came to a demonstration in Tel Aviv of left-wingers [against the Gaza War - OH]. They violently attacked the participants and injured some of them. The victims accused the police of not doing enough to protect them. This claim was reinforced by some right-wing activists, who claimed that the policemen encouraged them with a wink, and that they were supported by a Likud member who passed by in the area: "The policemen disappeared for 20 minutes and there were blows... Masked men with batons and fists ran in front of (the left-wing protesters) and beat them. I have never seen anything like this in my life... it could have ended in murder.” After the same event, right-wing groups began to organize and attend demonstrations by left-wing organizations all over the country in order to disrupt and provoke a brawl, more than once with violence against the protesters. That’s what is happening also now. Who are the protesters at Balfour, at the hundreds of bridges across the country's roads, at intersections, and at Rabin Square? Citizens of all ages who are tired of a tainted leadership. Many of them have served the country or contributed to its resilience in other ways. They proudly wave the Israeli flag. And today, also a black flag. Patriots. These right-wing leaders call them “anarchists," "traitors," "haters of Israel," "extreme leftists," "anti-Zionists." It is obvious that even the demonstrators who are not Jews, or who have not served in the military, are entitled to the protection of the police from violent attackers. All of these protesters are exercising their fundamental right. They express disgust at the behavior and failures of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and of his political associates and his family. They are tired of corruption and whims, of the systematic incitement and abuse of the country’s gatekeepers. The demonstrators made it clear, with signs and shouts, that they were not willing to let Netanyahu destroy the country and castrate its institutions. They strive for a normal life in a moral, secure and democratic state, where the power of law rules and not the law of power. The freedom to demonstrate is a fundamental right granted to every person in Israel. In the current atmosphere, if Netanyahu and his government colleagues do not get a hold of themselves, a violent and bloody civil war could break out. It is the duty of the state to allow citizens to demonstrate, and it is obligated to protect the demonstrators as much as necessary. (Adv. Gilad Sher is a senior researcher at the INSS Institute for National Security Studies, and former head of the Prime Minister's Office and one of the directors of the political negotiations (with the Palestinians))
Netanyahu Has Launched the Decisive Part of His Plan: To Set the Country on Fire (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) The prime minister offers limp condemnation for injured protesters over social media and seems to be fueling extremist right-wing violence.
We must make sure that hatred does not bring us closer to the destruction of our home (President Reuven (Ruvy) Rivlin, Maariv) The hour of despair is the great hour of hatred. And even if it seems to us that hatred is not prejudiced hatred, it is incumbent upon us, as in every generation, to make sure that it does not bring us, even with the slightest imaginary threat, to the destruction of our home. Tisha B'Av rings in the ears of the Jewish people as a time of calamity. For a night and a day of social and national introspection. This is a time when loneliness seems to be overflowing. The difficulties of earning a living, caring for the family, the home, social distancing, which for some of us also became real isolation. All of these make us feel lonelier than ever. The much loved summer vacation has become a bubbling pressure cooker. In "An Evening Song”,” Yonatan Geffen wrote: "From loneliness people become difficult." This crisis does make us lonely and difficult. Hard and desperate. We lost confidence. Behind the masks that hide our faces we have become suspicious. We suspect each other. Suspicious of decision makers. Of protesters in the streets. Of aid providers. Tell me which group you belong to - and I'll tell you what you'm guilty of. Tell me which side of the political map you belong to, and tell you what you are suspicious of. Instead of aid programs, studies, data, there is only a thick filter of a stance, of one camp or another, through which everything passes and there is no one else but him. This difficult time must be the great hour of the country. The great hour of democracy. This may be the greatest hour of this people, who have built with their own hands a strong and developed country, based on concern and commitment to girls and boys of all groups and all ages. This could be the great hour of society, which has always known how to build from crises and overcome them…
Netanyahu Will Have Protesters' Blood on His Hands (Haaretz Editorial) Five protesters were injured in an assault at a demonstration in Tel Aviv against Public Security Minister Amir Ohana Tuesday night…Although many protesters found it relatively easy to spot the disrupters, the police didn’t lift a finger to stop the onslaught. Furthermore, photographs from the field show the assailants marching near undercover police detectives and throwing the sticks they were holding into the trash, while the police detectives didn’t do a thing in response. This material warrants serious review, for we must ensure beyond a reasonable doubt that there is no collaboration between the assailants and the police. It is doubtful whether Ohana, who incites against the protesters all day long, is capable of ordering such a review.
Time to step back from apocalyptic rhetoric (Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) The historic legacy of the day of mourning about senseless hatred is a reminder that democracy doesn't work when political parties deem each other illegitimate.
From the corona, through the demonstrations to the trial: a letter to the prime minister (Gideon Reicher, Maariv) Mr. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, I suggest you resign. If you do not accept my advice and continue to serve, then what is right for you in the not-too-distant future are failures and harsh blows.
While Israel's Coronavirus Czar Enchants the Public, a More Sinister Crisis Brews (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Ronni Gamzu has managed to finally enact the measures Israel knew it needed months ago; but however smart the band-aid, it is not going to fix the increasingly violent confrontation around the anti-Netanyahu protests.
Whoever longs for the arrival of a new general to be an alternative (leader), deceives himself (Orit Lavie-Nashiel, Maariv) The potential for leadership lies in local government heads, graduates of the public system, social leaders and honest politicians who have been pushed to the margins.
The Israeli Left Is Still Expecting the IDF to Produce Yet Another Political Savior? (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) What do we know about former army chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot? Very little. And what do those who tout him as a future political leader know? Even less. A half dozen articles or so have appeared in the Hebrew edition of Haaretz over the past week touting the former chief of staff. They described the despair and leadership vacuum in the opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the longing for a miracle solution more than what this new promise may hold. It’s frighteningly similar to past expectations of army chiefs of staff, who then proved a disappointment. It’s based much more on a wish than reality. When Prof. Uri Bar-Joseph and Raviv Drucker want Eisenkot, we have to ask why.
"Miracles" along the border (Alex Fishman, Yedioth Hebrew) The series of incidents in the north in recent years indicates a permanent and mysterious pattern in which all parties are satisfied.
Hezbollah Is Caught in a Dilemma. Israel Is Caught in a Guessing Game (Zvi Bar’el, Haaretz+) Like the Israeli government, Hezbollah must consider the reaction of Lebanon’s residents, who see it as one of the main culprits in the country’s economic collapse.
A unified reminder of the Iranian threat (Ruthie Blum, Israel Hayom) Ironically, the jolt back to Israel's pre-pandemic reality served as a refreshing break from the incessant coverage of the coronavirus, economic crisis, and nationwide protests.
Annexation aims to cut Palestinians out of Israel’s demographic equation (Yehuda Shaul, 972mag) Israel's West Bank plans are driven by the logic of the Gaza Disengagement: control Palestinian land while shirking responsibility for its people.
Controversy Over Seth Rogen's Israel Comments Exposes Widening Rift With U.S. Jews (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+) Cherry-picked quotes from talk between Rogen and Marc Maron on 'being lied to about Israel' not only ignored the humor in their conversation, but overlooked the fact it was the deepest dive into Jewish identity in modern celebrity culture in recent memory.
False charges of antisemitism are the vanguard of cancel culture (Mairav Zonszein, 972mag) The right is voicing alarm over progressive views restricting free speech, but says nothing about how antisemitism is weaponized to quash speech on Israel.
Trump's slide in the polls is misleading (Eerz Linn, Israel Hayom) Facing re-election, the American president is now at the most critical juncture in his political life.
Israeli Arab Lawmaker's Remarks on LGBTQ People Exposes Unbridgeable Gap (Salman Masalha, Haaretz+) …Classical Arab literature is replete with stories and poems about homosexual love. Arab sources also record a kind of “conversion therapy” that was applied to the Abbasid Caliph al-Amin (Harun al-Rashid) by his mother Zubaidah…When visiting the U.S., Iran’s former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was asked about the execution of homosexuals in his country. His answer, which was received with boos and catcalls, was that there were no homosexuals in Iran. “I don’t know who told you there were.” I was reminded of that following a similar declaration by MK Waleed Taha, from the Joint List, who said that the “homosexual phenomenon” is almost non-existent among Israeli Arabs. The Ra’am faction of the Joint List voted with Likud against a bill prohibiting conversion therapy. This vote has again exposed the nature of the parties comprising the Joint List. It’s not just slogans relating to the occupation, the Palestinian struggle and other assorted issues, just and necessary as these may be, which distinguish between good and evil in Arab society. The truth which must be spoken is that taking a stand and voting on social issues such as this bill are what distinguishes between light and darkness, between good and evil, between those living in denial and those attempting to build a sane and tolerant society.
Why India Should Let China Snatch Iran and Commit to Israel Instead (Mohamed Zeeshan, Haaretz+) Faced with a rapacious China, India’s fence-sitting diplomacy has run its course. New Delhi must invest whole-heartedly in genuine strategic allies, like the U.S. and Israel, and cut its losses with Iran.

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