News Nosh 9.17.20

APN's daily news review from Israel - Thursday September 17, 2020

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NOTE: News Nosh will be off for Rosh Hashana holiday and return Monday, September 21st.

You Must Be Kidding: 
3.5 years
-The prison sentence of the Jewish-Israeli minor, who was convicted of involvement in the 2015 night-time torching of a Palestinian family's home, killing the parents and their infant. The man was convicted of membership in a terrorist organization (i.e. he is a terrorist) and involvement in a racially motivated crime. He has already been in prison for the past 32 months, making him eligible for release in March.**

Quote of the day:

"Reality ought to have made every Israeli ashamed of their country – because of the occupation, but that’s not all. The violence on the road and on the sidewalk, the aggression, the ignorance, the racism, the ultra-nationalism, the boorishness, the collapsing health system, the army that’s heroic primarily against the weak and built on moral rot, the lack of consideration for others in all realms of life, and now the disgraceful handling of the coronavirus crisis. But wonder of wonders, Israelis are still convinced that they’re the best."
--Gideon Levy in an Op-Ed ahead of the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashana.*

Front Page:


Yedioth Ahronoth

  • The lie and the closure (Hebrew)
  • Prayers and demonstrations // Shosha Chen (Hebrew)
  • Terrible days // Yonatan Geffen
  • The hero from Hebron - Effi Zero, (Ethiopian-Israeli) who protected with his body a Palestinian, speaks. And now it was revealed that this wasn’t the first time

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • A country in red - “We didn’t do enough as the leaders,” declared President Reuven Rivlin in a special speech
  • Back to the south - IDF attacked Hamas targets in Gaza in response to the shooting from the Strip
  • The Governor of the Bank of Israel tells Maariv: “We must plan the exit from the lockdown”
  • On the eve of Rosh Hashanah holiday: 9,246,000 people live in Israel

Israel Hayom

  • The confusion epidemic - Tomorrow at14:00 the holiday lockdown begins: Israelis don’t understand the guidelines
  • Israel offering for sale thousands of respirators it acquired beyond what it needs
  • Exclusive interview with United Torah Judaism chairman, Yaakov Litzman: “I left, it’s over, I won’t be a minister again”
  • The big bang of Bennett and the Yamina party
  • Holiday in high tension - Nasrallah, the alertness and the concern about his son in the area: Commander of the Northern Command, Amir Baram, speaks
  • In favor of females in the army, stretches his hand out to secular Jews: First interview with Rabbi Eliezar Melamed

Top News Summary:
Today’s papers focused on the confusion and contradictions in the regulations for the three-week lockdown that begins Friday, hours before the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah and the harm they will cause. Hotels and B&Bs in lockdown, but airport open for Israelis to go on holiday abroad, restaurants closed even for take-out, but outdoor market in Jerusalem (whose shop owners are supporters of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu) will remain open despite the crowding of shoppers, the indoor religious ritual bathing pools will remain open, but public outdoor pools will be closed. President Reuven Rivlin urged Israelis to comply with the corona regulations. Only Maariv focused on the fact that he also blamed the country’s leadership: “We did not do enough as a leadership, you trusted us and we disappointed.”

There was also more news about the peace agreements with the UAE. Yedioth’s Udi Etzion reported that not only does the US sale of F-35s to the UAE stand in the background of the peace agreement, but there is also a high chance that the wings of the stealth fighters will be built in Israel. This is despite Netanyahu’s denial that he never agreed to the sale of the F-35s to the UAE. Israel’s Army Radio station interviewed the UAE ambassador to the UN, Lana Nusseibeh, who said: “We expect the F-35 deal to be completed.” She also said that “the arms deal with the US (precedes the (normalization) agreement." (Maariv) More rockets were shot from Gaza at southern Israel in a show of opposition to the peace deals. There were no injuries. Israel responded with missile strikes, which according to a Palestinian journalist caused extensive damage to nearby civilian property. The commander of the Southern Command, Brigadier General Zvika Fogel, said, “There is no need to occupy Gaza - but to return to targeted assassinations.” He said Israel must draw a red and unified line. “If we hit all our opponents directly, they will raise a white flag." (Maariv) Iran said that the UAE and Bahrain will bear the ‘consequences’ of the deals with Israel. US President Donald Trump said that any Iranian attack will trigger a response “1,000 times greater.” Interestingly, a Channel 13 News poll found that now after the deals with the UAE and Bahrain, if elections were held today, the Likud party, led by Netanyahu, would weaken and stands at 30 seats, while Yamina party, led by Naftali Bennett, continues to strengthen and would stand at 22 seats. Kahol-Lavan would win almost half the number of Knesset seats it won in March. (Also Maariv)

Corona Quickees:

  • Coronavirus Israel Live: Government Approves Lockdown; 4,537 new daily coronavirus cases - Three-week lockdown starts Friday. Israel active cases top 40,000, more than 10,000 in the West Bank. Al-Aqsa Mosque closes for three weeks. Ban on visiting private homes of other people. Fines between 500-5000 shekels (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Netanyahu's White House delegation pushed for quarantine exemption, and got a reduction - Health Ministry forms special five-day isolation framework for delegation members, who were required to take COVID-19 tests before departing to signing ceremony and upon their return. (Haaretz+)
  • From 500 to 5,000, Israel approves lockdown fines for virus violators - New notable curbs include a ban on visiting private homes of other people and permission to travel to airport at least eight hours ahead of flight; those who leave their homes beyond 500 meters, for purposes not permitted by law, will be fined NIS 500. (Ynet)
  • Israel Finance Ministry Drafting Plan to Compensate Businesses - Plan would compensate businesses that do not put their workers on unpaid leave ■ To date, some 1.8 billion shekels has been paid out to employers who took workers back after putting them on unpaid leave. (Haaretz+)
  • Key Ministries, Police Draw Up Protest Restriction Plan for Coronavirus Lockdown - With the final details to be thrashed out and demonstrations set to continue, the police insist they will protect the freedom to protest. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel Shuts Schools on Thursday, a Day Ahead of National Lockdown, Angering Parents - Netanyahu, health minister vote to shut schools, while education minister opposes move ■ Parents say government decisions change constantly. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Just 10% of child virus infections come from schools, kindergarten - Majority of children aged 3-18 contracted COVID-19 at home rather than at educational facilities, while 60% of school staff also appear to have contracted the virus at home, according to the data presented to the government ahead of the coming lockdown. (Ynet)
  • Governor of Bank of Israel: "The exit from the economic crisis could take two to three years - Prof. Amir Oren tells Maariv that "the cost of the closure of the economy stands at 7 billion shekels (approximately $2 million), if Israel doesn't go under another lockdown in the winter." (Maariv)

Quick Hits:

  • **Minor convicted in gruesome 2015 arson attack gets 3.5 years - The man, who was 17 at the time, has already spent 2 years and 8 months in jail and will most likely be freed as soon as March 2021; the defendant conspired with main suspect Amiran Ben-Uliel to set on fire the home of the Dawabsheh family, killing parents and infant. He was found guilty last year of membership in a terrorist organization and involvement in a racially motivated crime. (Israel Hayom, Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Press Release: Israeli Authorities Arrest Cancer Patient at Erez Crossing - This week Israeli authorities at Erez crossing arrested Mohammed Tayseer Sawali, a 36-year-old cancer patient from Khan Younis, despite having granted him a travel permit. Sawali was on his way with his mother to a hospital in E. Jerusalem. He was diagnosed with colon cancer six months ago and had been referred to Augusta Victoria Hospital for treatment. However, when they arrived at Erez crossing at around 1 pm on Monday, Mohammed was called in for interrogation by Israel Security Agency officers at the crossing. Several hours later, his mother was ordered to go back to Gaza without her son who had just been arrested. (IMEMC)
  • Israel demolishes “unrecognized” Bedouin-Israeli village for 178th time - Israeli authorities demolished all shelters in the Palestinian Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Naqab (Negev) desert for the 178th time since the year 2000 and for the seventh time this year, according to local sources. Village is one of 51 Bedouin-Israeli villages Israel and is constantly targeted for demolition. Every time the residents rebuild their tents and the rudimentary shacks, Israeli police return to raze them. (WAFA)
  • Occupation forces demolish a home near Ramallah - The Israeli occupation army demolished a Palestinian-owned home today in the village of Beit Sira under the pretext of construction without a permit, according to a local source. The owner, Mohammad Ismail Anqawi, a local Palestinian villager, said he had since obtained an Israeli court order to delay the demolition, but was shocked that the occupation army decided to demolish the home despite the court's ruling. (WAFA)
  • Israeli settlers fence off lands east of Bethlehem - Extremist Israeli settlers of  Avne Hanahel fenced off about 20 dunams of land  in the village of Kisan that they seized last month. the mayor said that the Israeli authorities seized a month ago about 660 dunam of land in Kisan and prevented its owners from accessing and planting it, as they also opened a settler-only road and installed four mobile homes. (WAFA)
  • Israeli forces detain 13 Palestinians from the West Bank - At least 13 Palestinians were detained last night by Israeli occupation forces, during wide-scale raids and search operations in several areas in the occupied West Bank. (WAFA)
  • Islamic Jihad operatives arrested on suspicion of trying to smuggle telephones to security prisoners - Three operatives were arrested on suspicion of planning to use a drone to smuggle  cell phones into the Gilboa prison for the use of security prisoners [who Israel does not allow to call their families, like it does for other prisoners. Article does not explain that. - OH] (Maariv)
  • Palestinian Refugee Agency Warns of Instability Amid Financial Crisis - UNRWA provides aid to millions of Palestinian refugees, but faces a budget deficit without donations from the U.S. which refused to fund the agency for the past two years. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • The military tribunal ordered the release of the soldiers, who were arrested on suspicion of committing serious security offenses - The three fighters in the Nahal Brigade were interrogated after they were suspected of helping to transfer illegal (Palestinian) residents into Israeli territory, while providing them with sensitive information. According to the father of one of them, the real reason for the arrest was not driven by security considerations, but by their commander's personal hatred towards the soldiers involved. "This is ongoing harassment, the hatred got a hold of him. There is a sergeant major who marked the soldiers as 'Arab lovers.’ He is probably a right-wing man who hates leftists and has done everything to make them suffer over the last few months. They filed complaints against him, but there was no end to the harassment.” The IDF released the soldier for lack of evidence of the accusations against them. (Maariv)
  • Abu Dhabi Investment Office to Open First Outside Office in Tel Aviv - Office will be used to 'connect innovators from around the world to solve global challenges,' statement says. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Israel's Cardiacsense signs $7.5M distribution deal in UAE - Cardiacsense, which develops and markets a wearable watch-like device for scanning arrhythmia, has signed an exclusive distribution agreement valued at $7.5 million to distribute the company's medical wristwatches in the United Arab Emirates. (Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinian unity grows in face of wave of Israel normalization - Israel's agreements with UAE and Bahrain have served to infuriate all Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who convened via video conference in an effort to forge a united front against normalization, annexation and the so-called U.S. 'deal of the century.' (Ynet)
  • On eve of Rosh Hashanah, Israel population tops 9 million - According to Central Bureau of Statistics, number of residents has grown by 150,000 since Jewish New Year of 2019, and is actually expected to reach 10 million in less than five years; life expectancy reaches 84.7 years for women and 81 years for men. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Knesset Rejects Proposal to Form Inquiry Commission on Judicial System - Only six lawmakers voted for the bill, seen as a challenge to Netanyahu's party, who did not appear for the vote. (Haaretz+)
  • Jerusalem Post Owner Eli Azur Buys Israeli News Website Walla From Bezeq - Of the $19 million purchase price, a portion will be paid through Bezeq advertising on the website. (Haaretz+)
  • US plans to enforce UN sanctions on Iran with its own action - Washington could deny access to the US market to anyone who trades in weapons with Iran, says US Special Representative for Venezuela and Iran Elliott Abrams. (Israel Hayom)
  • Cyprus Says It Is Ready for Dialogue With Turkey but Only 'Without Threats' - EU seeks to tame tensions between two countries locked in dispute over drilling rights in the Mediterranean ■ On Tuesday, Turkey said had extended a drilling vessel's operations in disputed waters. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Delve Into Israel-UAE-Bahrain Accords
A “Treaty of Peace, Diplomatic Relations and Full Normalization”: Neither the Trump administration, Netanyahu nor the Emiratis wanted to leave any doubt that the U.S.-brokered agreement, launched under the Biblical “Abraham Accords” brand was, indeed, a peace deal.
But that’s not what happened. (From's Opinion editor, Esther Solomon, Haaretz+)
The History of Rosh Hashanah Which Wasn't Always the 'New Year'
Much of today's traditions originated with Babylonian worship, and you have to read this to believe how a calf's head morphed into gefilte fish. (Elon Gilad, Haaretz+)

Top Commentary/Analysis:
Netanyahu’s Greatest Failure: Iran. Here’s a Complete Breakdown (Ariel E. Levite, Haaretz+) The (justified) jubilation over normalization with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain must not blind us to the biggest failure of “King Bibi,” a flop that dwarfs even the government’s egregious mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic. It is in the very area that for years Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu touted as paramount from his perspective: dealing with Iran’s nuclear program. This failure is resounding and prolonged, leaving us today at a serious disadvantage in confronting a real and very troubling threat, precisely because of the way Netanyahu has been handling it for years.
The signing of the agreement in the White House proved: Netanyahu now has a legacy (Ben Caspit, Maariv) The prime minister continues the chain of generations, he continues the tradition of agreements, he gives up the messianic dreams and reaches out for peace. That no one will take it from him anymore.
Israel-UAE-Bahrain peace deal is the new Middle East (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) The peace treaty, alongside the rocket fired from Gaza to Israel during the signing ceremony, symbolizes the shift taking place in the Arab world for the last two decades - a split between the axis of peace and the axis of violence.
Peace Pipe: The recent agreements are important - but different from those signed in the past (Prof. Eitan Gilboa, Maariv) The new agreements are significant but not similar to the previous ones. Trump and Netanyahu were looking for a victory picture that would dim their failures in the corona crisis, but in both cases it is doubtful whether the White House will deliver the goods. The ceremony will accompanied by the noise of a diplomatic achievement. The ceremony is also beneficial to Netanyahu because it illustrates his international status and diverts attention, at least temporarily, from the corona crisis. Due to a severe economic crisis, Jimmy Carter's impressive peace ceremonies did not help him win a second term, and Trump is in the same situation today; And beyond the next few days, it is doubtful whether the ceremony will strengthen Netanyahu's status. In both countries, the epidemic and economic collapse are far more important than the ceremony.
Iran Is Just an Excuse for the Gulf to Embrace Israeli Tech (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) Israeli innovation, including, alas, its cyber-hacking abilities, is what makes it such a desirable partner for the UAE and Bahrain.
Israel needs a worthy leader more than covert peace deals (Limor Livnat, Israel Hayom) While the normalization agreements with UAE and Bahrain are indeed an achievement for Netanyahu, the people of Israel are more concerned with upcoming lockdown, the surging coronavirus caseload and the economic crisis.
The Real Reason Gulf States Are Normalizing Relations With Israel Right Now (Shira Efron, Haaretz+) Israel and Gulf states have engaged in discreet cooperation for years, on issues from Iran to Islamist radicalism. What has changed is not only the tempting prospect of arms deals with the U.S.
The Red-Green alliance's war against Israel continues (Caroline B. Glick, Israel Hayom) Members of the Islamist bloc finance and direct the terror forces in Judea and Samaria and Gaza and work in cooperation with their BDS front groups in the West.
Netanyahu’s Split Screen: Triumphant Peace, Hamas Rockets, Coronavirus Carnage and Trump’s Meshugas (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Celebration of Gulf agreements marred by wholesale White House snub of elementary safety precautions against raging pandemic.
Sanity in the Middle East (Julio Messer, Israel Hayom) President Donald Trump and the leaders of several so-called "moderate Sunni countries" have finally understood three crucial points that Benjamin Netanyahu had been emphasizing for a long time.
Trump just outed the anti-Iran axis (Chuck Freilich, Haaretz+) Today, Tehran is very unhappy. But the Israel-Gulf accords can’t hide a dangerous policy failure on Iran, failing to contain its nuclear and conventional weapons programs, by both Trump and Netanyahu.
Not Everything Is Golden in the United Arab Emirates (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) But the crisis atmosphere also offers opportunities to anyone seeking a long-term investment or looking to take advantage of the dip in property prices.
Why are ‘anti-imperialists’ defending dictators? (Joseph B., 972mag) By echoing the narratives of repressive regimes, left-wing 'tankies' are forcing targeted activists to spend energy combating smears and disinformation.
*What Are You Proud of When You Think of the State of Israel? (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) A group of Palestinian laborers leaned on the felled trees that were dragged like corpses by a tractor, and sawed down the trunks into small logs. The first light was rising over the fields north of Tel Aviv. Only a few hundred meters from there, a luxury neighborhood was still asleep; the noise from the saws and the smoke had not penetrated the double windows of the elegant villas. The workers in their worn and tattered clothing were working without any kind of protective equipment. They had left their homes in the West Bank in the middle of the night and gone through the humiliating checkpoints to cut down the trees along the Ayalon Highway, where a new lane is being built for the jammed road. Those traveling on the highway didn’t even spare a glance for the workers who will be making their journey easier in the future. That’s the natural order of things – Palestinians as the woodcutters for the Jews. They worked like that under the blazing sun the entire day. The Jewish contractor sat in the shade, supervising from afar. The sight recalled scenes of slavery in the United States, or of apartheid in South Africa; the upscale neighborhood in the background, the Jewish contractor, the Palestinian laborers, the starvation wages, the return to the Bantustan in the evening; in a white sea, a group of blacks does the picking...
Time for soul-searching: Why do the rabbis of religious Zionism support the (Jewish) killer of the Dawabsha family? (Orit Lavie-Nashiel, Maariv) It is difficult to accept the support that senior spiritual leaders of religious Zionism are giving to Amiram Ben-Uliel, not to mention that they express no shock or opposition and also no compassion for the victims.
Gaza rockets bring Palestinians to the White House lawn (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) But Israel's normalization agreements with the UAE and Bahrain confirmed that Netanyahu was right in claiming that diplomatic breakthroughs in the Middle East are possible without a solution to the conflict.
The Danger of the Second Lockdown (Haaretz Editorial)  Throughout the crisis, Netanyahu and his government made decisions and then relented, causing and sending a message of chaos. Only Wednesday, the cabinet reversed a decision it had approved two days earlier, deciding in a vote by telephone to close the country’s schools one day before the start of the lockdown. When the attempt to introduce localized restrictions based on each community’s infection rates failed, the cabinet instead announced a nationwide lockdown. This lockdown is devoid of all internal logic, there is no exit strategy and the cabinet members themselves have no faith in its necessity or its likely efficacy.

'This is the beginning of the end of the Israeli-Arab conflict'
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman urges the Palestinian leadership to join the 21st Century, says they are "on the wrong side of history at the moment.” (Interviewed by Ariel Kahana in Israel Hayom)


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