News Nosh 9.23.20

APN's daily news review from Israel - Wednesday September 23, 2020

Quote of the day:

We are honoring "an American Supreme Court justice, a Jew, a champion of human rights in general and of women's rights specifically. An inspiring, brave woman."
--Elad Tesler, a member of Kibbutz Ramat Hashofet (Kibbutz of the Judge Highlands), explained how kibbutz residents were honoring former Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: by changing the kibbutz name to 'Kibbutz Ramat Hashofetet, meaning (Kibbutz of the female Judge of the Highlands).*

Front Page:Haaretz

  • Government cabinet will discuss today the guideline for restricting prayers and demonstrations
  • The plan to disperse the corona patients won’t withstand the load of those hospitalized
  • Senior security establishment officials tell the political echelons: The crisis in the Palestinian Authority could bring about an escalation
  • Report: US and Emirates close to closing deal for purchase of F-35s
  • Studies from home are sputtering and teachers already fear the gaps are beginning to accumulate
  • Likely majority for vote on Trump’s candidate for replacing Bader Ginsburg before the elections // NYT
  • In the shadow of corona, the UN General Assembly convened online
  • The warming of the waters in the gulf of Eilat caused the death of hundreds of fish
  • The protest dilemma // Sami Peretz
  • The lie of separation (of ultra-Orthodox) // Rachel Azaria
  • Finance and Economy Ministers fighting between themselves and in the meantime, 800,000 people are stuck without a plan to for vocational training

Yedioth Ahronoth

  • The battle over Yom Kippur: “Give up on the prayers and the demonstrations”
  • President Rivlin: “Erase the debts of those harmed by corona”; Attorney General: “The poor were not affected”
  • As reported first in Yedioth Ahronoth: The deal is on the way: F-35s to the Emirates
  • Sisters in arms - Two female officers whose work targets terrorists in the south of the country and in the Gaza Strip - and they are by chance sisters

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

Israel Hayom

  • Likely: One guideline for both prayers and demonstrations
  • Country under lockdown - Drama in the government cabinet: Decision over tightening restrictions. Today: Corona director Gamzu tells the ministers: More than 800 seriously ill within a week
  • The Attorney General is not preventing the danger of the demonstrations // Haim Shine
  • “Governments in Europe are funding Palestinian organizations which are suing Israel at The Hague”
  • (Mitt) Romney doesn’t oppose: Trump will present his candidate for the Supreme Court
  • Call of those recovering: “It’s life-threatening”

Top News Summary:
In today’s top news is the debate over whether the Israeli government should ban anti-government demonstrations just as it plans to ban prayers at synagogues over Yom Kippur, due to the increasingly high rate of corona infection. (The Health Ministry’s No. 2 said that demonstrating is a basic one which cannot be revoked.) Hospitals are turning away patients and lack enough staff and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is considering forcing doctors in the private sector to work at hospitals. Thousands more became unemployed since Friday and parents are complaining that they cannot teach young children and demand they be able to go back to school. (Read more in Corona Quickees below.)

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with senior Trump advisor Jared Kushner to discuss Israel’s military edge and additional peace deals. Just as it was confirmed that the US plans to seal by December the deal to sell F-35 stealth planes to the UAE. Despite the jet sale, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told Gantz that preserving Israel's qualitative military edge is a “cornerstone of our defense relationship.” Gantz also said that Israel and the U.S. are continuing their uncompromising efforts to curb aggression by Iran. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had an “outstanding (phone) conversation,” he said, with the Bahraini Crown Prince. And today an Israeli delegation took off to Bahrain - on an Israeli airlines commercial flight - to hash out the details of the peace deal.

At the virtual online UN General Assembly meeting there were sometimes conflicting statements by countries’ representatives. In a pre-recorded address, U.S. President Donald Trump hailed the Israel-UAE-Bahrain peace deals as the ‘dawn of a new Middle East’ and said there were more to come. He said the treaties the US brokered represent 'peace through strength.’ Jordan’s King Abdullah II called for a two-state solution to resolve “the central conflict in my region” between Israel and the Palestinians. And French President Emmanuel Macron called for “decisive” negotiations that would allow the Palestinian people to have their rights. “I don’t believe in a peace that will be built on hegemony or humiliation, even if it would be compensated by money. Because we know too well that we do not compensate for the humiliation of a people with money. It is up to us, collectively, to build this ambitious solution,” he concluded. Macron also said that US' pressure on Iran has failed to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, he dismissed the renewal of santions and called for 'full implementation' of the 2015 deal. Iran's president President Hassan Rouhani said that the U.S. could impose "neither negotiations nor war.” The new Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan told the UN to choose between supporting Iran and terror or supporting Israel and peace.Erdan praised Trump’s speech, saying “Thanks to President Trump who helped by leading a process based on the principle of ‘peace from strength,’ and from the understanding that relations with Israel are a strategic advantage for every nation.” Erdan also attacked Turkey for antisemitism and walked out of the room during the speech of Turkish President Recep Tayipp Erdogan, accusing him of “antisemitic remarks and lies against Israel.” Erdan also said that UN General Secretary António Guterres’ speech was an “emotional speech on the need for a ‘global ceasefire’ and peace during the pandemic, but didn’t once mention the peace agreements signed by Israel. Embarrassing, and (that) says a lot about the UN.”

Corona Quickees:

  • Palestinian Authority Inches Toward Boiling Point Amid Economic Crisis, Israeli Security Officials Warn - Economic development has been keeping Palestinian protests focused on civil issues, but the coronavirus crisis could provide spark for a new outbreak of violence. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Coronavirus Patients Wait Hours in Ambulances as Hospitals Fill Up; Health experts warn of staff shortages - Senior Israeli doctors fear existing staff at overburdened emergency rooms and on coronavirus wards may soon fail to provide patients with optimal treatment as workload continues to increase rapidly. First responder teams are sent to hospitals only to be turned away once they arrive, or are blocked from entering by security guards. (Haaretz+ and Yedioth/Ynet)
  • PM wishes to force private doctors to aid in the fight against the virus - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the Corona Cabinet to enact a law that would make it possible to force private doctors to aid in the fight against the pandemic, by treating the growing number of coronavirus patients in medical clinics across the country. (Ynet HebrewYnetMaariv)
  • Lawsuit by Israeli Doctors Urges High Court to Revoke Nationwide Lockdown - Suit by 100 doctors and researchers says measures are based on erroneous data on COVID threat. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu aides fined for violating quarantine - Topaz Luk and Reuven Ezer were ordered to pay NIS 5,000 after they were filmed outdoors when they were meant to be self-isolating after accompanying the prime minister to Washington last week. (Ynet)
  • Israel Employment Service says over 28,000 new job seekers added Monday - There were 70,141 newly unemployed reported one day before the nation-wide lockdown was imposed with 64,023 of them let go due to the restrictions. (Ynet)
  • Rivlin urges salary cut of public officials apply to him as well - President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday asked the Finance Ministry to include his wages in the salary reduction of public officials, in solidarity with Israelis hurt financially by the coronavirus pandemic. (Ynet)
  • Likud MK Zohar attacks Knesset Corona committee chairwoman MK Shasha-Biton: ‘She should consider her path in the Likud' - Coalition chairman Miki Zohar (Likud) attacked MK Yifat Shasha-Biton (Likud), after her attack on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (after he blamed her for rise in corona infection - OH). "Ungratefulness is not acceptable in our midst, so I believe we should consider her path in the Likud ." Zohar added that "(Shasha-Biton) has not been running as part of the Likud faction for a long time and does not serve its purposes." (Ynet)


Quick Hits:

  • Israeli forces demolish structures, remove electric poles in Hebron-district town - Mayor of Beit Awwa Abdulkarim Masalma told WAFA that Israeli forces escorted bulldozers into the town, where the heavy machinery tore down a house under construction purportedly for being unlicensed, destroyed two rainwater collection wells and removed 15 recently-installed electric poles in the area. (WAFA)
  • Stones Thrown (by settlers) at Border Police Vehicles, Tires Slashed in the West Bank - Attacks took place near the Yitzhar settlement, assailants have not yet been apprehended. (Haaretz+)
  • Parents of Autistic Palestinian Shot by Police Petition High Court to Charge Officers - Eyad Hallaq's parents seek explanation as to why, almost four months after, Israel has failed to charge the officers who killed their son, despite substantial evidence. (Haaretz+)
  • Report: EU governments funding Palestinian legal actions against Israel - Watchdog says that governments of European countries, including Denmark, Ireland, and Sweden, are knowingly funding ICC petitions, especially those submitted by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. (Israel Hayom)
  • **Israeli Kibbutz Tweaks Its Name to Honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg - Justice delayed: Kibbutz Ramat Hashofet honors deceased judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a weeklong name change, finally outdoing its neighbor Kibbutz Ein Hashofet in the fame of the jurist behind its name. (Haaretz+, Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • In Subtle Message to Egypt, Palestinians Hold Reconciliation Talks in Turkey - Fatah and Hamas meet in Istanbul, hoping to pave the way for a united Palestinian front against normalization - but no major steps are expected before the U.S. elections. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinian Authority arrests supporters of Abbas Rival Mohammed Dahlan - Dahlan has cultivated close ties with UAE leaders since his exile and some say he helped forge the Gulf state's ties with Israel. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Palestine, Germany sign 56m euros multi-sector support agreement - Palestinian Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh thanked the German government for their continuous support to the Palestinian people, noting that 27 million euros will be allocated to support the water sector in Gaza. (WAFA)
  • Israel, PA Join Newly-established East Mediterranean Gas Forum - The East Mediterranean Gas Form, which seeks to promote energy exports from the region, also unites rivals of Turkey amid dispute with member states Greece and Cyprus over regional gas drilling rights. (Haaretz+)
  • Powerful Blast Rocks Hezbollah Stronghold in Southern Lebanon - Lebanon's news agency says explosion coincides with intense Israeli overflights 'that did not leave the skies' over the area. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Security source: Technical error causes Hezbollah arms depot to blow up in Lebanon - Explosion shakes the southern village of Ain Qana, above the port city of Sidon, sending grey smoke billowing over the village; Hezbollah members impose a security cordon around the area. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Major fire breaks out at a factory near Iran's capital, no casualties - A fire broke out at an Iranian factory near Tehran on Tuesday, Iran's state TV reported, the latest in a string of fires and explosions, some of which have hit sensitive sites. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Netanyahu and Attorney General Ask to Postpone Court Hearing on PM’s Conflicts of Interest - Netanyahu's attorney says two sides are making progress in solving disputed points regarding whether or not Netanyahu can deal with law enforcement while being charged with crimes. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu Calls to Curb Protests Against Him Under Coronavirus Restrictions - As coronavirus cabinet mulls intensifying lockdown restrictions, protests and prayer services become a central point of contention. (Haaretz+)
  • Likud Minister Request for Outside Legal Opinion on Curbing Protests Shot Down - Amir Ohana wanted to present a legal opinion from right-wing think tank Kohelet Policy Forum, but Kahol Lavan objected. Attorney general: Request is ‘provocative and unnecessary.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Egypt cuts highways across pyramids plateau, alarming conservationists - "The roads are very, very important for development, for Egyptians, for inside Egypt," says head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities. "Know that we take good care of our antiquities sites everywhere in Egypt." (Agencies, Israel Hayom)

This Bedouin Poet Started Writing at 46. Her Feminist Work Is Now Celebrated Globally
Sheikha Helawy hasn’t lived the traditional life of a feted writer, overcoming childhood hardships to become an award-winning poet who confronts the oppression of women in Bedouin society. (Vered Lee, Haaretz+)
Meet the ‘five nines’: The Israeli army’s new data center for everything from combat to intel
‘The idea was to create a protected facility that was bigger than what the IDF had, with new levels of protection and operational continuity,’ commander says in first interview. (Amitai Ziv, Haaretz+)

Top Commentary/Analysis:
These Are the Israeli RBGs (Michael Sfard, Haaretz+) A Happy New Year to you, Mr. Attorney General! Let’s hope that this year, your talents and abundant powers will be devoted to strengthening and entrenching the rule of law in Israel. Oh, that’s already the case? Great. But I’m referring to the rule of law in the more profound sense, not the technical one. I’m referring to the idea that social life be governed by norms that were decided upon with the participation of all the citizens, apply equally to all, and were designed to guarantee conditions of freedom, equality and dignity which in turn allow everyone to fulfill their potential and pursue their happiness…Nor does collective punishment accord with the idea of a humanistic-type rule of law. Mr. Attorney General, during the past year, as you did every year during your long legal career, you invested most of your time, resources, abilities and professional talents in providing a legal umbrella for perpetuating oppression and denying civil rights to millions of people, Israel’s subjects in the occupied territories…And a Happy New Year to you too, legal adviser of the Judea and Samaria region, and to your officers, the “J&D deputy AGs”. You are the “Justice Ministry” of the Israeli apartheid regime in the West Bank…What do you say? Maybe one of you wants to be the Israeli RBG?…But to “RBG-ize” your career means changing your attitude. For example, it means that you will no longer be able to draft orders that apply one law to Israeli Jews in the West Bank and another to the Palestinians. Also, the legal support you provide for demolishing the homes of the weakest elements of the occupied population of the West Bank, for uprooting communities, for destroying electricity and water installations – between us, all activities actually meant to pave the way for settlement expansion – doesn’t exactly accord with what RBG represented. Will you give up all that ? No? I understand…
To Murder, but Only According to Jewish Law (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) “A rabbi in Israel, as part of his rabbinical freedom of expression and in keeping with his role, is permitted to speak from his own religious-Zionist perspective, to say words of Torah as he understands them, and to convey to his adherents – who are not considered a captive audience – any halakhic message he sees fit, so long as it is indeed a halakhic message that is truly and in good faith being promulgated as such.” That is the convoluted conundrum Justice Alex Stein presented in his ruling regarding a petition against Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, who said: “Nowadays we must try to make sure that anyone who raises a hand against a Jew in order to kill him, will be avenged. Even if he didn’t kill but just hit [a Jew] or wanted to kill him.”…Anyone who enjoys splitting hairs can claim that from now on anyone who wants to incite, to taunt and to encourage murder will have to meet two conditions: a religious Zionist perspective, and an adherence to it “truly and in good faith.” In other words, if a rabbi “truly and in good faith” believes that the halakha requires killing a prime minister, and he expresses his opinion in public based on that same “perspective,” he should not be accused of bloodshed, but should be offered the portion of rabbinical freedom of expression to which he is entitled…
20 years since the outbreak of the Second Intifada: the parade of nonsense of peace supporters with the enemy (Meir Indor, Maariv) Scholars of the future will investigate how an intelligent nation freaked out and created an autonomy of terror, which funds terrorists, glorifies them in ceremonies, educates in its schools to hate Jews and love its heroes - the murderers.
Days of awe and loopholes (Ruthie Blum, Israel Hayom) With fear of the virus at an all-time low, Israelis have been acting as though the only thing they have to worry about is coming up with convincing lies about why they're not at home.
A Message of Incitement (Haaretz Editorial) A senior civil servant who receives his salary from the state and for many years publishes incitement toward various groups – Israeli Arabs, Palestinians, members of the LGBTQ community and others – would have long ago been dismissed, and perhaps even faced criminal charges for incitement to racism. But the rabbi of the city of Safed, Shmuel Eliyahu, has continued at his post for many years, paid from the public coffers, without having to account to anyone for his actions.
The Abraham Accords and forgotten Mizrahi refugees (Karmel Melamed, Israel Hayom) Peace treaties are just a first step between Israel and its Arab neighbors – key to maintaining that peace will be educating the Arabs about the 850,000 Jewish refugees from the Islamic countries.
US determination more important than rhetoric (Dan Schueftan, Israel Hayom) Trump might not be drafting a doctrine but his actions can together be cobbled into a clear approach against Iran, designed to focus on its strategic threat to the US and its allies, and on the best means of dealing with it.
Four years since Shimon Peres' death: Has his vision come true? (Yona Bartel, Maariv) On September 23, we mark four years since Peres' departure. I can only imagine how happy he would have been if he had heard about the peace agreements with the UAE and Bahrain. I have no doubt that Netanyahu, with whom Peres had a relationship of mutual respect, despite their disagreements, would have taken him with him to sign the agreements in Washington. I can only imagine the speech he would have given there, with sparkling eyes, a sense of infinite happiness and hope for the fulfillment of the dream…On the other hand, when the national compass dial spins, and everyone longs for someone to take command and lead us to a place of hope, Peres' absence resonates loudly. Peres always said, "A leader needs to set a vision and make tough decisions. He needs to go with what the country needs, even if the price is heavy." Looking back on the difficult times we went through in the Middle East - revival, wars, insane inflation - we need to thank the tough and brave generation of the founding fathers, who were symbolized by giants of the Peres type…Even if there is a vaccine for the virus, someone will have to steer the ship to places of hope, conquer the hearts of the people, embrace us all and mend the fragments with great love. Shimon, you are missed, by me and the country. Rest in peace.
What the World Needs to Know About Israel's Failure (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) At a time when Israel is a world leader in the highest daily infection rates Netanyahu should be telling world leaders to avoid series of mistakes he’s made.
Why is this wave unlike the other? (Jalal Bana, Israel Hayom) Plenty of people are pointing fingers at the Arab population, but during the first wave, we were fully disciplined and committed to the national effort to stop the spread of COVID.
As hospitals fill up with coronavirus patients, Netanyahu casts off responsibility (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) With Israel's vague, second nationwide lockdown underway, hospitals are reaching their breaking point, and so is the public.

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