News Nosh 9.13.20

APN's daily news review from Israel - Sunday September 13, 2020

You Must Be Kidding: 
The Israeli government appointed settlers to examine whether Palestinians are constructing with Israeli authorization or not.**

Front Page:


Yedioth Ahronoth

  • Gulf of peace - History continues: Bahrain also joining agreement (Hebrew)
  • Connected // Smadar Perry (Hebrew)
  • Disconnected // Raana Shaked (Hebrew)
  • The Domino // Shimrit Meir (Hebrew)
  • Where did we go wrong? Where didn’t we // Sarit Rosenblum
  • All the way to lockdown: This is how Israel failed in the battle against corona

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • General lockdown in dispute
  • Poll: 55% support imposing lockdown
  • General attack // Yehuda Sharoni
  • On the way to peace - UAE is not alone: Normalization agreement to be signed with Bahrain

Israel Hayom

Top News Summary:
Not only is the focus of reporters today on the declaration that Bahrain, too, will sign a normalization agreement with Israel on Tuesday, but about the fact that Netanyahu changed his mind under public pressure and won’t fly on a private plane to Washington, as he planned. Instead, he will fly on El-Al with the rest of the delegation and the reporters, as is normally done. Commentators criticized his departure at such a sensitive time for Israelis when an imminent corona lockdown is causing fear among so many business owners and employees. For that reason, on Netanyahu’s way out of the country this evening, protesters will ‘greet’ him by trying to disrupt his departure, Maariv reported. Oddly, Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi won’t be part of the delegation to Washington.

Besides Jewish right-wing pro-Israel organizations who support the deal with Bahrain, all 37 Bahraini Jews welcomed the peace agreement and thanked the king, calling it “a historic moment we never thought we would see in our lifetime," Maariv reported. Bahrain insisted that the deal is the best way to ensure the rights of the Palestinians.  Egypt called it an 'important step' to reaching 'just and permanent settlement of Palestinian issue’ and Oman welcomed the move, hoping it will lead the establishment of “an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as capital,” the state TV channel said.

However, Turkey and Iran strongly condemned the deal, and the Iranian foreign minister said Bahrain had become a "partner in Israeli crimes." The Palestinian Authority called Bahrain’s deal a “betrayal of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Palestinian issue," Hamas labeled the deal an "act of aggression" and Fatah said normalization encourages settlements and land theft.

Bahrainis themselves blasted Bahrain’s ‘betrayal' of the Palestinians and rallied throughout the kingdom Saturday night setting Israeli flags on fire in defiance of a government ban on protests. Bahrain has a majority population of Shiites (70%), many of whom oppose the Sunni tribe’s rule and identify with Iran. Maariv’s Haim Isrovitch wrote that Iran has always seen Bahrain as its proxy. And Israel Hayom interviewed an Israeli expert, who said that Iran could target Israelis in Bahrain.

Meanwhile, Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi held a phone call with his Bahrain counterpart and Israeli officials said Israel would open an embassy in Bahrain soon. Moreover, following the Israeli normalization deal with the UAE, which includes the US sale of F-35s to the UAE, Israel is drawing up a defense tech wish list as its compensation for allowing the sale of the stealth fighers, Israel Hayom reported. A group of nine Congressional Democrats signed a letter urging the US government to ensure that Israel retains its qualitative military edge in the Middle East. The Weizman Institute and a UAE university agreed to cooperate in the AI field and an Israeli delegation will travel to Abu Dhabi next week to finalize details.

A general lockdown is expected to be approved for two weeks starting Friday and in advance, ultra-Orthodox minister Yaakov Leitzman resigned today in protest that the lockdown will prevent religious Jews from praying at synagogues over the High Holidays. The Western Wall has raffled off tickets for the High Holy days, and health officials said they expected religious people to 'revolt' against the High Holiday prayer restrictions. The papers reported that business owners say they on the verge of collapse and restaurant owners say they won’t survive the lockdown. Owners say that without compensation they won’t close their doors. This lockdown is expected to cost Israel upward of $4 million. As of Sunday morning, over 500 corona patients are in serious condition with 139 on ventilators. In the Palestinian territories, 12 people died of corona in the last 24 hours, said Minister of Health Mai Alkaila. Ten of the deaths were in the West Bank while two were in the Gaza Strip.

A poll by 103FM/Maariv found that the majority of the Israeli public is in favor of imposing a general closure and about 60% of the right-wingers support the move. The poll also examined the distribution of votes in the Knesset elections, if the elections were held now: the Likud would receive 30 seats, Yamina (led by Naftali Bennett) - 21, Yesh Atid - 16, the Joint List - 15, Shas - 9, Kahol-Lavan - 8, Yisrael Beiteinu - 8, United Torah Judaism - 7 and Meretz - 6 seats. An analysis of the results shows that Bennett is continuing the strengthening trend, while Kahol-Lavan and Yesh Atid-Telem are weakening. The right-wing bloc would get 57 seats, the center-left would get 45 seats and Yisrael Beiteinu would have 8 seats.

Thousands demonstrated against Netanyahu in Jerusalem Saturday night near the Prime Minister’s residence, near Netanyahu’s private home in Caesarea and at traffic junctions across the country. This time, business owners joined the protests, due to Netanyahu’s departure ahead of the country’s lockdown (also Maariv). Anti-Netanyahu protesters expressed concern that the government will impose an ‘anti-democratic' coronavirus lockdown that will quash their demonstrations. Meanwhile coalition whip, Miki Zohar (Likud) said he is “one hundred percent certain that (the law enforcement authorities) stitched a case against Netanyahu," Maariv reported.


Quick Hits:

  • Israeli settler fires at a home in Hebron - Hardcore Israeli settlers opened gunfire tonight at a Palestinian-owned home in the center of Hebron city, according to witnesses. No injuries were reported in the attack. Also, Israeli forces raided multiple neighborhoods in the town of Yatta, southwest of Hebron, and confiscated surveillance cameras of several shops, under the pretext of locating the whereabouts of a settler who had gone missing in the area. (WAFA)
  • Egyptian Delegation Visits Gaza to Negotiate Hamas-Israel Prisoner Exchange - Egyptian defense officials, who also spent four hours in Israel, are said to be promoting the implementation of truce agreements. In an interview with the Lebanese media, Ismail Haniyeh, leader of the organization, said that discussions are currently taking place on the subject, with members of the Egyptian delegation dividing their time between the Gaza Strip and Israel. (Haaretz+, Maariv and Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli Parliamentary Committee: 39% of West Bank Suffices for Palestinian Construction - The legislators revel in cuts to humanitarian projects funded by the EU but ask for more measures against Palestinian construction in Area C, which some call a ‘virus,’ ‘cancer’ or ‘territorial terror.’ (Haaretz+)
  • **Israel's Settlement Affairs Ministry Gets $6 Million to Survey Unauthorized Palestinian Construction - Unusually large funds to map out construction in the West Bank's Area C included in state budget for the first time. Even though the authority for enforcing the Israeli law on illegal construction in Area C is in the hands of the Civil Administration, the survey budget was allocated to the newly founded Settlement Affairs Ministry. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel Police obstructed investigation of 2017 killing of Bedouin man, official says - Police interrogated officers involved in the Yakub Abu al-Kiyan killing and delayed passing material to Internal Investigations Department. (Haaretz+)
  • Activist questioned after 'rapist' sign hung on bridge named for disgraced Israeli minister - Police say activist is suspected of violating the right to privacy, while allegations of sexual assault by numerous women against Rehavam Ze'evi – assassinated in 2001 – have been made public in 2016. (Haaretz+)
  • New Sign Calling Disgraced Israeli Minister 'Rapist' Hung After Activist's Questioning - 'The days are over when rapists are commemorated in the public space,' activists say after action on bridge named after Rehavam Ze’evi. (Haaretz+)
  • WATCH It's my problem: Israeli men lead social media campaign against sexual violence - A video featuring 15 Israeli media figures using the hashtag 'it's my problem' calls on men to take responsibility for violence against women in the wake of shocking allegations of a gang rape of a 16-year-old girl. (Haaretz+)
  • Despite sanctions, Israeli firm Cellebrite sold phone-hacking tech to Venezuela - Nicolás Maduro's regime says it bought tech from Cellebrite, an Israeli firm that creates devices to extract information from most handheld mobile devices. Cellebrite denies plans to sell them its latest system. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel's State Archives to use artificial intelligence to release millions of documents - The technology will locate classified information and enable archives to examine documents quickly – without it, the process would take thousands of years. (Haaretz+)
  • Powerful and influential, Meridor family also tries hard to stay clean - As it emerged when Shaul quit the treasury last week, the family has distanced itself from Netanyahu’s Likud which, it says, has lost its values. (Haaretz+)
  • (Israeli Bedouin) Woman Murdered in Southern Israel Had Complained About Violence From Brother, Ex-husband - Police were aware of previous instances of domestic violence against Hanin al-Abeid, shot dead in her Rahat home. (Haaretz+)
  • Al Mezan Issues a Fact Sheet on Water Shortage in the Gaza Strip Amid COVID-19 Outbreak - The fact sheet addresses the deteriorating living conditions in the Gaza Strip as a result of Israel’s 14-year blockade and recent punitive measures, notably the ban on fuel entry to the Strip,  and their repercussions on the provision of municipal services, particularly water and sanitation. In addition, it sheds light on the struggle of low-income families to access alternative sources of water to offset the intermittent supply of municipal water amid a full lockdown imposed on Gaza to fight the spread of COVID-19, which further exacerbated these families’ financial troubles. (IMEMC)
  • U.S. investor Paul Singer seeks to block Chevron purchase of Noble Energy - Noble has agreed to sell itself for $5 billion in deal that would bring Israeli gas fields under control of Chevron.  Company reportedly urged to wait until oil price recovery. (Haaretz+)
  • Ukraine deports Israelis after rioting in Uman - Ultra-Orthodox Israelis on the annual pilgrimage to the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov broke down barriers in place to maintain order and the health directives set by Ukrainian authorities. (Ynet)
  • Iran executes man whose case drew international attention - Iranian state TV on Saturday reported that the country's authorities executed a wrestler for allegedly murdering a man, after US President Donald Trump asked for the 27-year-old condemned man's life to be spared. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)


With an Israeli soldier's knee on his neck, this 61-year-old Palestinian remembered George Floyd
'You want to breathe and you can’t. For a few seconds I couldn’t breathe at all,' says Khairi Hanoun, a veteran anti-occupation protester who was beaten and choked by an Israeli soldier at a demonstration. (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+)
Exclusive: Former world leader, Tony Blair, played key role in Israel-UAE deal
Israel Hayom is the first to reveal how former British Prime Minister Tony Blair worked for years to bring Israel and the United Arab Emirates closer together, and turn the accepted formula of "peace with the Palestinians before normalization" on its head. (Ariel Kahana, Israel Hayom)
'Anti-Arab Group La Familia Is Only as Violent as Israel's Leaders Allow It to Be'
The militant La Familia organization of Beitar Jerusalem soccer fans has been the subject of study by Ben-Gurion University doctoral student Sophia Solomon. Her conclusion: The group’s violence benefits both the team and the politicians. (Ayelett Shani, Haaretz+)
This Founding Father of the Jewish State Was a Serial Cheater Who Hated Israel
The most comprehensive study ever conducted on Chaim Weizmann casts a new light on Israel’s first president. (Ofer Aderet, Haaretz+)

Top Commentary/Analysis:
Trump's White House Peace Pageant Bound to Deny Netanyahu the Glory He Yearns For (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Impending coronavirus lockdown, critics' sour grapes and the Israeli prime minister's own missteps mar ceremony marking historic Gulf normalization accords.
The disconnected (Raanan Shaked, Yedioth Hebrew) Go, Bibi, go. Travel to the Emirates. Travel to Bahrain. Fly to Washington. Take a train, take an airplane, take a small gift for a child, for the two children, for a woman, and take a backpack, take a stick, and flee from the Land of Israel.
Netanyahu's Flight to Washington and the Politics of Humiliation (Iris Leal, Haaretz+) It’s difficult to decide what was more shocking, the fact that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planning to fly to Washington for a ceremony to which he could have sent his foreign minister, as the United Arab Emirates is doing, while Israel is in a state of emergency and headed for another full lockdown, or that he had planned to fly there on a private plane, with his wife and their two sons, rather than with the rest of the Israeli delegation. The official reason for the scandalous decision to fly separately – which was reversed Friday – was the need to comply with social distancing rules to curb the spread of the coronavirus, but the Boeing 777 the delegation is using has a first-class, a business and an economy section, with 300 seats. Netanyahu, who just two days earlier spent hours in a closed room with his fellow Likud lawmakers discussing his legal issues (this time, it was a call to appoint an independent commission of inquiry to examine the law enforcement system), can sit separately and at a safe distance…
The UAE lie of 'stopping' Israel's West Bank annexation (Oraib Al Rantawi, Yedioth/Ynet) Abu Dhabi has always been interested in going public with its hitherto covert relations with Israel; the Emirati leaders were just looking for a cover story, and Jerusalem's ambitions in the disputed territory are an easy excuse.
With Bahrain Deal, Israel's Mantle in the Gulf Expands, Eyeing Big Saudi Prize (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Question of who's next arises, as if Manama were a whistle-stop on Israel's normalization route leading to the final destination in Riyadh.
Trump's White House Peace Pageant Bound to Deny Netanyahu the Glory He Yearns For (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Impending coronavirus lockdown, critics' sour grapes and the Israeli prime minister's own missteps mar ceremony marking historic Gulf normalization accords.

The domino effect (Shimrit Meir, Yedioth Hebrew) The announcement of the imminent agreement with Bahrain felt like a rerun of the agreement with the Emirates: Trump was recommended for another Nobel Prize that he has little chance of receiving, in Gaza, they automatically burned the picture of Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa the Bahraini instead of the picture of Muhammad bin Ziad from the Emirates, in Israel, the reactions were as usual divided among the Bibists, who cheered excessively, and the sourpusses, who mentioned that Bahrain - yes, it too - is not a liberal democracy, and that the Sunni minority controls the Shiite majority there in a way that is not sympathetic at all.

"If Needed": The infamous phrase hit us again this week (Prof. Arie Eldad, Maariv) As you may recall, in January 2017, when a police force arrived to demolish illegal homes in Umm al-Hiran and evacuate the nation's land robbers, Yaakub left his house, got into his car and drove towards the police force down the road. The police feared that he was going to hit them in his vehicle and opened fire. Another policeman, Erez Amadi Levy, was run over and died. Yaakov Abu al-Kiyan, who was injured in the shooting, bled to death in his vehicle. Police said it was a car-ramming attack. This was also announced by the then Commissioner of Police Roni Alshikh and the Minister of Internal Security at the time, Gilad Erdan. A possible connection of Abu Al-Kiyan to ISIS was also mentioned. Netanyahu relied on them when he determined that the policeman had been killed in a car-ramming attack. But an investigation of the incident and tests by external sources revealed that Yaakub was injured before he ran over and killed Amadi-Levy and was shot again after the crash. A Shin Bet investigation determined that there was no evidence of an attack, and the Department for Investigating Police (DIP) said there was a suspicion of "serious functional failure" by the police. Only (then police commisioner Ronnie) Alsheikh has adhered to this day to the police version of the attack. In November 2017, the police commissioner sharply attacked DIP for its assessment that Yaakub was not a terrorist and that the "attack" was nothing but a tragic accident. This week, journalist Amit Segal revealed on Channel 12 News that after Alsheikh attacked the DIP, Uri Carmel, then DIP chief, turned to State Attorney Shai Nitzan to protect him from the commissioner. Nitzan refused and ordered Carmel not to comment on the attack. Nitzan knew at that time that Al-Sheikh’s conduct was "scandalous,” but he feared that criticism of him would undermine the credibility of the police, who were at the forefront of the prime minister's investigations. In Nitzan's opinion, clearing the name of Yaakub Abu al-Kiyan at this stage could have "benefited those who want to harm the law enforcement system, and it is enough to be wise." A day after Segal’s report, Netanyahu hurried to appear in front of the cameras to apologize for Yaakub’s death. "They said he was a terrorist. Yesterday it became clear that he was not a terrorist," he said. Simply put, as it was known to  all, and known to Netanyahu, for more than three years. But now Netanyahu stood up and apologized. Because he needed to. And why was there suddenly a "need"? Because the it all turned upside down. Because all of a sudden, the good people are not fighting the bad people. It wasn’t the good cops who attacked the bad Bedouins. Suddenly, he had the opportunity to prove that "senior members of the prosecution and the police had turned him (Abu al-Kiyan) into a terrorist in order to defend themselves.” And not just to "defend themselves" the lawyers and police officers covered up the conclusions and prevented investigations. Netanyahu is right in this matter. State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan hinted why it was forbidden at that time to attack Alsheikh. This was not the time to weaken Alsheikh. And it is enough to be wise in this hint. This is the corrupt modus operandi of the senior police officers, the State Attorney's Office, and often (not in this case) also of DIP. But it is also precisely Netanyahu's "modus operandi.” They are fighting a battle between themselves. And both sides do not hesitate to sacrifice even the highest values to win. The prosecution is ready to continue defining Abu A-Kiyan, the tragic victim, as a terrorist. And the policeman who was killed in the accident - as a victim of terrorism, just so as not to harm its efforts to convict Netanyahu. Just as it is willing to make a state witness deal with a criminal to indict a felon heavier than him. Willing to make a deal with a killer and agree with him on eight years in prison - if he indicts the head of the criminal organization. It may be immoral because murder is murder, but it may benefit society. And similarly, the prosecution is willing to cause injustice in order to do what in its eyes is perceived as justice. They will correct the injustice only with no choice, "if necessary," or when they come to the conclusion that doing justice to the Bedouin victim no longer bothers them in their war with the prime minister. And Netanyahu? He knows very well "what is needed.” Also towards the Abu al-Kiyan family, the application of sovereignty [annexation of West Bank lands - OH], in the publication of the tender for the construction of the Jewish neighborhood on Givat Hamatos, in the approval of construction at Atarot Airport, or in the removal of the Bedouin takeover of state lands in Khan al-Ahmar…He would not have wasted an apology to the Abu al-Kiyan family if the apology had not been used by him as a (justified specifically in this case) as a shooting position against the prosecution and the police. He will not again promise to destroy Khan al-Ahmar "very soon" or build in Jerusalem - if he does not urgently need the votes of the right. And if these worn-out promises are not enough, and his situation in the polls will be really bad - maybe he will even destroy a symbolic hut in the Bedouin outpost, or hold a hollow ceremony to lay the cornerstone for a new neighborhood in Jerusalem. And if on the eve of the election he fears Bennett's rising power, he might even mumble something like "Immediately after the election we will consider the possibility of applying sovereignty in Greater Jerusalem", because doing justice or building the homeland and fighting its land robbers are not his wish. He only implements the ideology of the right-wing camp "if necessary."
Netanyahu's Cynical Crusade Against Law Enforcement Will Cost Israel Dearly (Gidi Weitz, Haaretz+) Under his watch, corruption inside Israel's police and judiciary grew. Now that he’s in the eye of the storm, he’s prepared to destroy it all, in a lethal show of hypocrisy.
Netanyahu's slave took over the "professional elements" in the ministry and subordinated them to his authority (Ben Caspit, Maariv) There is no chance that a situation in which the Prime Minister flies on a private plane to the United States would have happened if there had been a reasonable director general of the Prime Minister’s Office, of the kind that have served there until recently. Eyal Gabay, Harel Locker, Eli Gruner or Yoav Horowitz would not approve of such a disgrace. Each of them, in turn, prevented the surrender to the endless whims of the Netanyahu family. Everyone, in turn, paid the price for it. There were those who were expelled, there were those who fled, there were those who swallowed the rage and managed to last until the end of the term. The director general of the ministry? There is no such thing. A frightened, unqualified deputy serves there, a junior Likud activist who came to the bureau as second deputy to the cabinet secretary, but showed a willingness to sign and approve all demands coming from Balfour.  Since then, his term as acting director general has been extended every three months and all is well.
Netanyahu's Strategy at Play: Go Into an Election With the Whole World Against Him (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) Even Benny Gantz realizes this, and he and Naftali Bennett are each crafting strategies of their own, as Bibi attacks the law enforcement system.
Everything is in your head: What happened this week in the country can only be defined as chaos (former Shin Bet chief, Yaakov Peri, Maariv) Corona has exposed Israel's weaknesses: a divided country, a dysfunctional government and la ame leadership. Instead of accusing the public of disobedience, it is better that they stop with the conflicting and confusing demands.
Netanyahu the Defendant Is Calling the Shots (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) The response of Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn to the reports concerning former State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan and former Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich should be repeated every day like a mantra. “Every week we have a ‘new,’ in quotation marks, exposé whose entire purpose is to upend reality: To take the investigators and turn them into suspects, to take the judges and turn them into the ones under attack.” Indeed everything Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does is aimed at this goal: To bring about the opening of an investigation against Alsheich, Nitzan and/or Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit – and then to use the existence of such an investigation to claim injustice in his case and to have the charges against him dropped.
In the UAE, citizens have the right to choose between a mosque, a pub - or a prison (Jacky Khougi, Maariv) It is doubtful that any of us would have voluntarily chosen to live under such a regime, but the Al-Nahian tribe and its members have managed to blend nicely between Western democracy and al-Shura (Islamic Law) - the Arab model of governing.
Israel's looming defense disaster (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) Defense industries hit by coronavirus crisis, but gov't focuses solely on surviving from day to day, drags its feet on new plan to help them and IDF, putting country's security at risk.
The public good: The impossible dilemma of the Arab mayors (Ruth Wasserman-Lande, Maariv) The expectation that Arab sector leaders will go out against crowds in the midst of the wedding season is simply unrealistic. When combined with the public's lack of trust in the central government - no closure will help.
Eliminating Israel as We Know It (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) The likelihood that Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit will declare Benjamin Netanyahu incapable of carrying out his duties as a result of a conflict of interest between his elected position and his status as a criminal defendant is small to nonexistent…What ever happens in court will happen – if it happens. In the public sphere, the system simply doesn’t know how to act in the face of a bully of such a scale. This isn’t the story of Ehud Olmert or Abraham Hirchson, politicians with combat kills to a certain extent, but with no cult behind them. Netanyahu has at his disposal a fatal combination of a broad base of support, extremely high political skills and a particularly troubling lack of conscience. In a normal world, a leader embroiled in a trial and whose country is the global leader in new coronavirus cases and that is headed for another lockdown would be a political corpse.
Why this is the ideal time for a 'Zionist Spring’ (David Suissa, Israel Hayom) No wonder Israel-haters are unhappy. Their lie is crumbling. The Zionist state is turning into a source for solutions and hope rather than hatred.
Incapacity Now (Friday Haaretz Editorial) Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit must declare Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu incapacitated. Incapacity isn’t reserved only for serious medical conditions like Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s coma. The High Court of Justice has already addressed this issue, when it ruled on a petition seeking to force the then-attorney general to declare Prime Minister Ehud Olmert incapacitated due to the criminal investigations against him. The justices said that in exceptional cases, a prime minister under criminal investigation could severely undermine the ability to conduct the investigation, and if so, the attorney general would be compelled to declare him incapacitated.
If there are places where it is impossible to be without the expression of hatred, at least keep the children away (Meir Uziel, Maariv) There is terrible hatred on every side. I never understood how politicians like Reuven Rivlin (President), Ehud Olmert (former prime minister), Binyamin Netanyahu (Prime Minister) or Avigdor Lieberman (former defense minister), for example, could sit in the stands of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team, among an audience shouting "Death to the Arabs.”
It is time to admit: Israel has a culture of rape, and the establishment is silent (former anchorwoman and CEO of South Radio, Keren Ozen, Maariv) With hundreds of complaints a year about gang rape of girls and a public discourse stuck in the last century and advocating victim blaming, one has to admit: the toxic roots of rape culture are deeply rooted in Israeli society…In cases of a sexual nature that have been exposed in recent years in the Israeli media, one can easily find the recurring motifs of the characteristics of rape culture. The young girls who were "harassed" by the soccer players; The case of the gang rape in Cyprus, in which the boys were portrayed as righteous who were caught in a blood libel; And the way parts of society treat the gang rape in Eilat, as if the girl wanted to have sex with several boys and accused them of rape only after realizing that there were videos that could harm her good name…It is not possible that in the Israel of 2020, women who have been raped will have to move their place of residence for fear of encountering a man who attacked them. This week I was exposed to the shocking story of A., who was brutally raped by an assailant living on the street where she lives. Now, with the rapist's expected release from prison and his return to his place of residence, A. realizes that she has no choice - and she and her family will move out of where they lived for many years and move their place of residence. Due to their financial situation they are forced to raise funds to make the move, all because no law has been enacted that the rapist must live far away from his victim. There are many problems that lead to women who have been harmed and raped becoming victims of the system. Just this week it was revealed by the chair of the Committee for the Advancement of Women, MK Oded Forer, that in the Ministry of Health guideline on the treatment of victims of sexual assault, there is a section where a raped or sexually harassed person should be questioned about her masturbation habits. The absurdity is that even in the draft of the ministry's new procedure, which came to amend the procedure from 2003, they plan to change the wording to "touching yourself habits." All of these, whether explicitly or implicitly, contribute to the feeling that the victim - the woman - is the problem…
Israel’s COVID-19 Tragedy: How Hubris, Hasbara and Netanyahu Downed the Start-Up Nation (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) How an enticing slogan fed the complacency which led to our downfall against the coronavirus, while our prime minister was focused on tearing the country apart.
Hallucinations and lies: In order to maintain the image of the "magician,” Netanyahu must lie (former prime minister Ehud Olmert, Maariv) Even when Netanyahu does the right thing for a change, the preservation and maintenance of the hallucinatory self-image he has built for himself requires him to flourish practices that have nothing to do with reality…The agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is a very positive step, and it is very possible that it will soon mature into a full peace agreement, including diplomatic relations and the opening of embassies, flights, tourist visits, open business moves - as is customary in peace relations between countries. There is no doubt, and I also expressed this in a recent column, that the decision of Muhammad bin Zayed, the heir to the United Arab Emirates, required courage and that it could pave the way for more moderate Arab and Muslim countries in our region. True, there have been ties between Israel and the Emirates for more than 20 years. This matter, like others, was not born of Binyamin Netanyahu. Although his son (Yair) said that before his father became prime minister there were only golden apples in the country, but actually there was a country before Bibi. It had an advanced industry, it had impressive technological innovations, and also relations with moderate Arab countries, although they did not mature into overt normalization or peace agreements. We also had many contacts with Jordan, years before the atmosphere in the Middle East changed following the Oslo Accords (I voted against them - for the sake of fair disclosure) and paved the way for a public and important peace agreement. The incubation process of relations between Israel and the Emirates was lengthy, but stable. During Netanyahu's time, this process reached full maturity and normalization, which we all hope will also lead to a peace agreement. Meanwhile, it is still not a peace agreement. Not peace for peace, but normalization for normalization. This is quite a bit, and for that the Prime Minister deserved a moment of appreciation, and I did not prevent him from doing so in this column. But the moment of appreciation is very short. It is quite clear that the normalization agreement obliges the Emirates to demand something from Israel in return, so that Ben Zayed can justify it and protect it among the other Arab countries, the emirates' natural allies, its neighbors and partners in the fight against Iran. The normalization agreement therefore involved an unequivocal commitment by Israel to relinquish the unilateral intention of annexing territories in the West Bank, as well as a commitment to freeze construction in existing settlements and agree to the idea of two states as key to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In addition, the agreement also involved an Israeli agreement for an extensive arms deal between the United States and the Emirates, under which the Emirates would purchase advanced F-35 aircraft and other weapons systems. I will state immediately: The American arms deal with the Emirates is legitimate, reasonable and logical, and has no dimension of risk to Israel's security. I would add that this deal cannot even tickle Israel's qualitative advantage in the military field. On the contrary, the strengthening of the Emirates, along with a statement of normalization of its relations with Israel, establishes the stability of the moderate forces in the region, and Israel has no reason to oppose this. Beyond that, Israel itself, through both government and private companies, has over the years made deals with the UAE that have involved the supply of various components, some of them highly sensitive, that have security implications. Simply said: Netanyahu's announcement that he opposes the arms deal with the Emirates makes no political sense, has no military justification, and at best may even cause the Emirates' leaders second thoughts. Why is the strengthening of the security of the Emirates creating an infrastructure for security risk for us? If this country has several F-35s and other weapons and defense equipment that may be very effective in the event of any friction with Iran, will our security be harmed? If so, why is Netanyahu lying here as well? Why does he declare that he is against the arms deal, when it is clear and obvious that the deal preceded the declaration of normalization and perhaps was also a precondition for it? Why even when the prime minister is doing the right and helpful thing (there are few cases that that has happened in recent years) must he lie, tell grandma's stories, deceive and blind people? The answer is that the weak, spineless Netanyahu, the man that Deri, Gafni, Litzman and Porush force him to change his commitments, submit to their dictates and do the opposite of what he promised the day before - has long been captive to the hallucination that has become his hallmark. What kind of magician in his own eyes and in the eyes of his fans brings a peace agreement in exchange for a waiver of the Greater Land of Israel and the construction of the settlements, and while reconciling with the vision of the two states? After all, such an agreement could be made by any leftist who is willing to betray the country, like me for example, or maybe even one like Benny Gantz or Yair Lapid. Bibi, in his own eyes, cannot be just like Begin or Rabin. A sane, normal leader who looks at reality with sober eyes and understands that in real life there is give and there is take, there is a burden and there is a give, there is an achievement and a profit and there is a waiver. The balance between these two poles - the ability to reap the benefits and offer the inevitable concessions - is the recipe for sane, responsible statesmanship that can be appreciated and praised. But Netanyahu is captive to the delusional self-image he has created for himself with the help of his deranged wife and son. He is completely captivated by this image. In his own eyes, he is not just a political leader. He told those around him that he has one of the highest IQs of people in the world, that he is a magician who is capable of doing things that no one before him has done. He is convinced that he is brave, daring, that nothing deters him in trying to achieve his goals. He will eliminate Hamas, he will destroy Iran, he will destroy Hezbollah, he will defeat the corona. And all the leaders of the world will make a pilgrimage to him to learn from him how to do these magic tricks…Netanyahu must lie. If he did not lie in everything he does - everything would look and sound completely different.
'How Much Do You Want to Challenge Them?' Osama Asked When I Wore My Bikini (Umm Forat, Haaretz+) For a brief moment, amid the coronavirus crisis and the exacerbation of the West Bank’s economic crisis, I caught a glimpse of the Ramallah I hadn’t seen in a while.
There is a Jessica Krug in every Jew (Michael Laitman, Israel Hayom) Jessica Krug is not an exception. She is an eccentric expression of a problem from which the majority of Jews suffer, and of which US Jewry is the most prominent example.
Nasrallah Boasts About Stretching the Israeli Army to the Limit. He’s Not Wrong (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) The Israeli public and media may have forgotten, but Hezbollah is still hell-bent on exacting revenge for the killing of an operative in July.
Small revenge: Nasrallah wants to be the responsible adult of Lebanon, but has not given up on harming Israel (Alon Ben-David, Maariv) The crisis in Lebanon forces the Hezbollah leader to act with restraint and pragmatism, but even from his glorious loneliness in a bunker in Beirut, he insists on keeping the IDF and the north on their feet.
It Only Makes Sense for the ultra-Orthodox to Call in a COVID Favor From Netanyahu (Israel Cohen, Haaretz+) A caricature posted by Amos Biderman on Facebook shows Construction and Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman holding Netanyahu by a sensitive place in his anatomy, suggesting that the Haredim are controlling and maneuvering him and he is acting according to their whims.

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