News Nosh 9.24.20

APN's daily news review from Israel - Thursday September 24, 2020

 Quote of the day:

"...(Haaretz Editor-in-Chief) Aluf Benn is wrong when he calls the left-wing criticism of the accords (with the UAE and Bahrain) 'achingly pathetic.' Israel’s control of the territories and its inhabitants and ending the conflict with them are not just the litmus test by which the accords that Israel has signed must be judged – it is the heart of the matter. Benn knows full well that despite the accords, tomorrow a Palestinian will stand humiliated at a checkpoint and when the next Jewish holiday comes around we’ll impose a closure on our neighbors."
--Executive Director of Breaking the Silence, Avner Gvaryahu, writes in an incisive Op-Ed today.*

Front Page:Haaretz

  • Corona cabinet declared full lockdown from tomorrow until after the holidays: Corona law will change limiting demonstrations to within one kilometer from homes
  • The mask fell // Yossi Verter
  • Netanyahu only wants to rile people up, the demonstrators and worshipers will need themselves to compromise // Ravit Hecht
  • The discussion over the closure of synagogues is empty of content. They will open and the police won’t enforce // Anshel Pfeffer
  • The infection among medical staff is spiking - the number doubled in two days
  • “Even in the periods of terror attacks it wasn’t like this.” A trip in five cities under second lockdown
  • Israel took five and a half months to reach 100,000 infected. And another 32 days to reach 200,000
  • Sooner or later someone from the Chief of Staff’s command will need to gather courage and tell him what many think in the army: This is your moment, over this your term will either rise or fall // Amos Harel
  • Government approved that the Intel department receive information from the Tax Authority about every person for any purpose
  • If Biden wins, the chances that the Democrats will conquer the Senate will rise. But it won’t be an easy battle // Chemi Shalev
  • The collapse of the system// Tzafrir Rinat
  • Game of interests - It’s not clear whether will cleanse Beitar Jerusalem soccer team of racism, but it’s clear who will gain from it

Yedioth Ahronoth

  • Full closure - 7000 infected in one day: Ministers approved dramatic intensification of restrictions
  • Expose - October 1973: Another spy in Egypt
  • Investigation - The IDF’s corona mistake
  • Without demonstrations, without prayers // Sima Kadmon
  • The concept failed again // Yossi Yehoshua

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • The battle was decided: Lockdown until after Sukkot holiday
  • “Corona commander,” General Uri Gordin, in an exclusive interview: “It’s an elusive enemy, we will only be victorious after a vaccine is made”
  • “Order 8”: Paramedics will be drafted to hospitals
  • New record of some 7000 infected and 32 died in one day

Israel Hayom

Top News Summary:

The question of prayers in synagogues and outdoor demonstrations was decided. The government corona cabinet went hardball and is closing down the country from Friday till October 11th - at the earliest - and allowing religious people to pray at synagogues on Yom Kippur, but limiting anti-Netanyahu demonstrators to protests only up to one kilometer from their homes and a maximum of 20 people at any single protest. Chief Rabbi David Lau had earlier told Netanyahu that the religious public would not obey lockdown orders if the demonstrators weren’t locked down, too. Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn blasted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for limiting protests, which are a basic democratic right. A poll found that 63% of the public supports a complete lockdown without demonstrations, while only 29% believe that “demonstrations are a basic right of a democratic regime.” (Maariv) There was a drop in the percentage of people who plan to give up praying in a synagogue on Yom Kippur this weekend: 61% said they won’t go to synagogue, compared to 39% last year. The papers also reported that more than 50% of those who are required to go into quarantine, don’t. Which may be part of the reason why Israel now has the highest numbers of people infected daily per one million people. Today there was a new record of almost 7000 people and 32 who died. The poll found that faith in Netanyahu’s functioning during the crisis has dropped - from 56% in April to 27%. While 51% of Israelis trust the ‘Corona czar,’ Prof. Roni Gamzu. (Maariv) Another poll found that if the head of the Knesset Corona Committee, MK Yifat Shasha Bitton (Likud), were to head her own party, she would win no less than eight seats, stealing three from the Likud and putting it at 26 seats. Shasha-Bitton has made headlines for standing up to Netanyahu. (Maariv)

And a nice story in Maariv: Ultra-Orthodox MK Moshe Gafni made a point of sharing how the treatment by Arab-Israeli doctor Abed Zahalka, the cousin of former MK Jamal Zahalka, saved his life when he was suffering from a heart attack. Gafni, who is the chairman of the  Knesset Finance Committee and was absent for three weeks, shared the story at the opening of the committee meeting yesterday.

Also of interest were the high number of Palestinian buildings and structures that the IDF bulldozed over the last day. (See Quick Hits below.)


  • Saudi king makes rare appearance at UN, calls to disarm Hezbollah - King Salman calls to disarm Hezbollah, backs U.S. Mideast peace and accuses Iran of exploiting 2015 nuclear deal with world powers 'to intensify expansionist activities, create terrorist networks, and use terrorism.' (Agencies, Israel HayomHaaretz and Ynet)
  • US Embassy at the UN: “Another peace agreement within one or two days” - Ambassador Kelly Craft announced that another Arab country is expected to join the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, after they have already signed normalization agreements with the State of Israel. (Maariv and Israel Hayom Hebrew)
  • Israeli Officials in First Bahrain Visit After Normalization Accords - Unidentified senior representatives meet to discuss areas of future cooperation. First direct commercial flight lands in Manama to little fanfare. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • US Ambassador to Jerusalem Post: "It will take about 7 years for Abu Dhabi to get the F35" - David Friedman referred during an interview at the Jerusalem Post conference to the deal to sell the aircraft to the United Arab Emirates, saying: "The experts in Israel and the United States are discussing how to maintain the Israeli advantage." (Maariv)
  • Israel's Harel joins forces with Dubai Insurance - Harel said it was the first agreement forged with the UAE insurance sector in the wake of the countries agreeing to establish bilateral diplomatic and trade ties last month that officials have said will create significant economic opportunities. (Israel Hayom)
  • Tony Blair: Israel-Palestinian peace will come through ties with Arab states - “The foundation of the approach in the region, that Israelis and Palestinians negotiate peace and then the rest of the region joins, is the diametric opposite of what should happen," Blair said at the Jerusalem Post Conference. “Actually, what you need to do is create peace between Israel and the Arab nations and include the Palestinian issue in that peace.” (Ynet)
  • In the meantime, the most important thing for Israel to do is to try to alleviate the Palestinians’ economic situation - Peace between Israel and the Palestinians will come through Israel establishing relations with Arab states, former British prime minister and longtime Quartet envoy to the Middle East Tony Blair said at The Jerusalem Post conference. (Maariv/JPost)
  • Sudan discusses Arab-Israeli peace and terrorism list with U.S. - Sudanese, U.S. officials hold talks on how peace could stabilize region and secure two-state solution for Israeli-Palestinian question, discuss removal of Sudan from U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Sources to i24NEWS: Netanyahu to meet Sudan's Burhan in Uganda soon - Sudanese-Israeli Friendship Association to be inaugurated in Khartoum on September 26. The event, where media will be invited for coverage, will set off a normalization process between the two countries, sources told i24NEWS. (i24NEWS)
  • Israel sends emergency supplies to malaria-stricken Chad - An Israeli organization flew down to Chad last week, carrying several tons of medical supplies and equipment seeking to help the central Africa country win the war on malaria. (Israel Hayom)

Corona Quickees:

  • Government approves full coronavirus lockdown starting Friday - Ministers vote for new measures more extreme than Israel's first closure in March-April; outdoor prayer services, protests, individual sports activities limited to one kilometer from home; 'non-essential' factories, services will be shuttered. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Health Ministry reports 6,826 new cases of coronavirus - Daily virus diagnoses near 7,000 for second consecutive day; 667 COVID-19 patients in serious condition receiving treatment across the country's hospitals, among them 164 patients on ventilators. (Ynet)
  • COVID-19 Infections Among Israeli Medical Staff Double Over Two Days - On Monday there were 722 medical staff members with the coronavirus, but by Wednesday the number had jumped to 1,697, according to Health Ministry data – but few caught it from patients. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel Recorded 100,000 COVID Cases Over Six Months, Then Doubled It in 32 Days - Few Israelis seem to be catching the virus at work, with families and communities proving key vectors for infection. (Haaretz+)
  • Troubling study finds Israelis lie about contracting corona, put lives at risk - IDF Home Front Command data shows many Israelis who have tested positive do not cooperate with epidemiological investigation, violate quarantine directives. (Israel Hayom)
  • Overloaded Haifa hospital turns car park into coronavirus ward - In lieu of enough space to contend with the recent surge of coronavirus patients, Rambam Healthcare Campus in Israel's major northern city has approved the decision to turn its underground area into a fully functioning ICU facility. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Distance Learning for Some: Israel Yet to Provide Needy Pupils With Computers - With global demand hampering procurement and the Education Ministry yet to calculate how many students lack computers, the situation for underprivileged students looks bleak. (Haaretz+)
  • The Coronavirus Caused a Jump in Riskiest Israeli Household Debt - Those with rating showing chance of near-term default grew during the first wave. (Haaretz+)
  • Coronavirus Crisis Could Undo Decade of Israeli Economic Growth, OECD Warns - Organization says pandemic has exposed weaknesses of Israeli economy, urges structural reform and increased investment. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli pain measurement startup helps COVID patients on ventilator -  The Ramat Gan-based Medasense Biometrics, which has developed technology for pain-response monitoring, has raised $18M in a Series C round, the company announced Tuesday. (Israel Hayom)

Quick Hits:

  • Israel's Top Court Delays Sentencing of Soldier Who Shot and Killed Innocent Palestinian - Family of victim, 23-year-old Ahmad Manasra, killed while trying to assist family that suffered a car accident, petitioned High Court against lenient plea deal of three months' community service. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinian youths shot, injured and detained by Israeli soldiers in two separate incidents in the West Bank - One youth was shot in the abdomen and injured late last night in Jericho, when youths clashed with Israeli soldiers near Ain al-Sultan refugee camp at a location where the Israeli occupation authorities turned a Palestinian-owned house into a Jewish synagogue. Israeli forces injured two other youth when they shot at them at the entrance to Kufr Malek village. (WAFA and WAFA)
  • Israeli prison ban on phone calls risks ‘breaking spirits’ of Palestinian minors - Israel claims Palestinian children incarcerated in Israeli jails pose a threat to national security just like adults — and therefore can't contact their families. (972mag)
  • Israeli settlers chop trees in northern West Bank town - Settlers, protected by soldiers, broke into an area of Khillet Hassan in Bidya town and chopped dozens of olive trees. Last week, the Israeli army destroyed 200 trees in the same area and a month earlier destroyed another 200 trees in a nearby area as bulldozers worked on leveling the land. (WAFA)
  • Israeli forces demolish agricultural wall in Ramallah-district town - Israeli forces raided the town of Nil'in and tore down a wall surrounding the plot of agricultural land belonging to Hussein al-Khawaja. (WAFA)
  • Israeli forces demolish wedding hall near Tulkarm, to pave way for settler industrial zone; plan to level land for settler bypass road - Demolished building in Jubara village belongs to a Palestinian citizen of Israel to make room for construction of new settlement industrial zone. Almost a month ago, Israeli forces clamped down on peaceful protestors marching against Israel’s move to level a large swathe of their land for the construction of a settler-only bypass road between Jubara and Shufa villages. (WAFA)
  • Israel seals off road in Nablus-district village - Israeli occupation forces today sealed off a road in Asira al-Qibliya village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, according to a local source. (WAFA)
  • Israeli settlers raze large tracts of Palestinian-owned land south of Nablus to expand their illegal settlement - Israeli settlers today razed large tracts of Palestinian-owned land in Jalud village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, in order to expand their illegal settlement, Shvut Rachel, according to a local source. The land leveling took place a day after Israeli forces and settlers prevented the villagers from reclaiming their land and constructing an agricultural road. (WAFA)
  • Israeli occupation authorities tear down Palestinian residential structures, sheds east of Bethlehem - Bulldozers of the Israeli occupation authorities today tore down residential tents and livestock sheds in Kisan village, east of the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, according to a local municipal source. (WAFA)
  • Israeli forces infiltrate into central Gaza Stripshoot and raze lands - Farmers tending to their farmlands in Gaza had to flee the scene in fear of getting hurt amidst all the shooting and razing operations. (WAFA)
  • Israel Tightens Demands on Gazan Breast Cancer Patients in Need of Urgent Care - Previously, Israel followed the recommendation of doctors in Gaza to allow travel to East Jerusalem for treatment. Now the army wants proof. (Haaretz+)
  • Report: Palestinian textbooks remain openly anti-Semitic despite revision promise - Palestinian Authority's curriculum continues to encourage "holy war" and martyrdom. (Israel Hayom)
  • YouTube follows Zoom, Facebook, pulls plug on Palestinian hijacker's livestream - A roundtable conversation from San Francisco State University featuring Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled suddenly goes dark, after Zoom and Facebook previously disabled their links to the online event. Study compiled by IMPACT-se [a right-wing Israeli organization - OH]. (Israel Hayom)
  • Global mobilization launched for UN investigation of Israeli apartheid - In a letter, 452 civil society groups – unions, movements, political parties and organizations – from tens of countries around the world called on the UN General Assembly and its Member States to investigate Israeli apartheid and to impose targeted sanctions to stop it and illegal annexation of Palestinian land. (WAFA)
  • US lawmakers announce bipartisan resolution against PA's 'pay to slay' policy - The "Resolution to Stop Rewarding Terrorists" is co-sponsored by Reps. Tom Reed (R-NY) and Rep. Max Rose (D-NY). The Palestinian Authority spends millions of dollars every year on salaries for convicted terrorists and the families of terrorists killed while carrying out attacks against Israel. (Israel Hayom)
  • Arab funding for Palestinian Authority slashed by 85% in 2020 - Despite pandemic, PA officials suspect decline in funding linked to recent peace deals between Israel, UAE and Bahrain; coupled with slump in other foreign funding, PA coffers shrink by some 70%.
    • The European Union contributes EUR 30.6 million to support Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon - The European Union renewed its commitment to support Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon through a EUR 30.6 million contribution from the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis, the EU Madad Fund. (WAFA)
    • The European Union contributes EUR 12.6 million to support Palestinian refugees from Syria in Jordan - The European Union (EU) renewed its commitment to supporting the work carried out by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) with a EUR 12.6 million contribution targeting Palestinian refugees from Syria in Jordan.
    • President Abbas discusses latest developments with his German counterpart - In a telephone call with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier, President Mahmoud Abbas discussed the latest political developments, internal Palestinian conditions, and bilateral relations between their two countries. (WAFA)
    • After meeting in Turkey, Fatah and Hamas delegations agree on a common vision of action - Fatah and Hamas delegations meeting in Istanbul, announced today that they have agreed on a common vision for action that would end the 14-year-long intra-Palestinian rift. (WAFA)
    • The Palestinian people will have a national printing press before the end of the year, says official media minister - The National Printing Press building is funded by the Palestinian National Authority, and the printing machines are provided as a grant from the Indian government. (WAFA)
    • Israel holds virtual memorial for late President Peres - The service was attended by Israeli and foreign dignitaries and the late president's family. Over 100,000 students from across Israel tuned into the virtual memorial, which was the first of its kind in Israel. (Israel Hayom)
    • Washington Post: Netanyahu Brings Suitcases of Dirty Laundry for U.S. Government to Wash - Report claims Prime Minister and wife bring laundry from Israel on official visits to be cleaned 'free of charge by U.S. staff,' matching years of Israeli reporting on the Netanyahus' habit. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
    • Israeli Gets Two-month Probation for Facebook Threats Against Netanyahu’s Family - 57-year-old wrote on social media the police should prepare for 'the funerals of Benjamin, Sara and Yair Netanyahu.’ (Haaretz+)
    • 48-yr-old laborer killed after falling from height on construction site - "We saw worker lying inside the construction site, unconscious and suffering from a severe multi-system injury. He was without signs of life and we had to declare his death on the spot," said a MDA paramedic. (Maariv and Newstral)
    • Amazon to go on a recruiting spree in Israel, exposes scope of local workforce - “We are excited to be creating 150 new jobs, in addition to our robust workforce, which will enable us to tap into the amazing technology talent pool here in Israel,” says GM of AWS Israel. (Calcalist English)
    • Are ultra-Orthodox officials in Beit Shemesh afraid of naming streets after women? - Ultra-Orthodox councilmen are forced to compromise: rather than exclude the full names of prominent female figures from street signs completely, signs will bear only last names. (Israel Hayom)
    • Putin Investigators Targeting LGBTQs, Navalny, Use Israeli Phone-hacking Tech - Russia’s Investigative Committee, headed by Putin associate Alexander Bastrykin, claimed it used Cellebrite’s technology more than 26,000 times for hacking phones. (Haaretz+)
    • 'Foreign intervention in Libya could harm Israeli interests' - According to the Intelligence Services Ministry, Turkey is seizing control of Libya’s territorial waters and could torpedo a massive regional natural gas project. (Israel Hayom)
    • Turkey Avoids EU Sanction Threat After Agreeing to Greece Talks - EU mediation leads to headway on Mediterranean gas reserve dispute, but Cyprus' dissatisfaction leave Belarus sanctions on hold. (Agencies, Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
    • Amid 'Increasing' Crackdown, Saudi Dissidents Form Opposition Party - The National Assembly Party, made up mostly of exiled activists, calls for elected parliament and balance of powers but stop short of calling for protests in the kingdom. (Agencies, Haaretz)

    Features:In Photos: How an Abandoned Syrian Military Base Became a Posh Israeli Hotel
    Once a home to Syrian officers, the rebuilt Upper Customs House in the Golan Heights is set to open its doors in January – offering stunning views and an even more stunning history. (Judy Maltz, Haaretz+)
    With joint forces
    Cooperation between Israel and France tries to put an end to the international sting operations by people with double nationalities who live in Israel. (Gideon Kotz, Maariv, Magazine supplement cover story)

    Top Commentary/Analysis:
    Netanyahu Pits Protests Against Prayers. Compromise Won’t Come From Him (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) The tension between democracy and religion is imprinted in Israel's DNA – and the prime minister has chosen to mine political capital from it.
    Saving a life, if not now then when? (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) In a properly functioning, sane society, the government should never have even had to discuss the legality of the demonstrations, because the organizers themselves would have suspended them of their own volition.
    A leader who won't accept blame (Yuval Karni, Yedioth/Ynet) In lieu of responsible leadership and a well-established plan to deal with the pandemic, Netanyahu and his advisers are looking for someone else to accuse, this time its the turn of the protesters in Jerusalem.
    The actions and failures of the government led to a general collapse of systems (Orit Lavie-Nashiel, Maariv) The Israeli government did not cause an epidemic, but it did cause a general system collapse and a loss of public trust. It happened on Netanyahu's shift, so he bears responsibility.
    As Israel Faces Rampant Coronavirus Outbreak, Will Army Chief Rise to the Challenge? (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Kochavi is hell-bent on implementing his long-term reform plan, but generals don't have the privilege of choosing the test by which their entire term will be judged.
    This pandemic is a war like no other (Giora Eiland, Yedioth/Ynet) Unlike during military conflicts, Israel's leaders have been found to be unprepared for the coronavirus outbreak, unable to recognize its danger and adapt, and unwilling to implement methods to deal with it quickly and effectively.
    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.
    *Israel's Deals With Gulf States Normalize Immorality. An Ethical Left Shouldn’t Accept Them (Avner Gvaryahu, Haaretz+) Once upon a time, ages and ages ago, when a new young prime minister came to power, a right-wing American research institute composed a policy paper for him, laying out a new strategic approach that sought to shatter the formative principle of “territory for peace.”
    A brief paragraph from that document is most illustrative of its spirit and intent: “We cannot make peace unilaterally, no matter how many concessions we make. Only the Arabs’ unconditional acceptance of our rights, particularly in their territorial dimension – ‘peace for peace’ – offers a solid basis for the future.” Nearly a quarter-century has passed and Netanyahu has not changed his policy. Denial of the occupation, total blindness to the needs and rights of the neighboring people subject to our rule, total rejection of the two-state principle, placing all the responsibility on the other side and demanding that it surrender “unconditionally” – all of this was at the basis of Netanyahu’s outlook and actions in 1996 when the above text was written, and it is all now being realized today with the signing of the accords with the UAE and Bahrain.
    Therefore Aluf Benn is wrong when he calls the criticism of the accords from the left “achingly pathetic.” Israel’s control of the territories and its inhabitants and ending the conflict with them are not just the litmus test by which the accords that Israel has signed must be judged – it is the heart of the matter. Benn knows full well that despite the accords, tomorrow a Palestinian will stand humiliated at a checkpoint and when the next Jewish holiday comes around we’ll impose a closure on our neighbors...
    Arab allies should mean more to Israelis than airplanes (Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) Friends of Israel fear the impact of a sale of American F-35s to the UAE. But Begin's lost AWACS fight with Reagan teaches a lesson about seeing potential friends as enemies.
    Arms, Drones and Spy Tech: How Israeli Weapons Power Vietnam’s Cruel Surveillance State (Vu Quoc Ngu and Eitay Mack, Haaretz+) Vietnam is now one of Israel’s largest markets for weapons and surveillance technology. But those defense exports are used by Hanoi’s repressive communist regime to silence its own population.
    Ahead of the election: Chances are high that the United States will bomb Iranian bases (Ren Edelist, Maariv) As Biden's chances of replacing Trump increase, and despair in the Trump camp increases, so does the danger that the United States will pull the bomb program at Iranian bases out of the drawer, including the possibility of Israel joining.
    India must join the Israel-Gulf axis in the Middle East’s new cold war (Mohamed Zeeshan, Haaretz+) For India, as for Israel, the split in the Muslim world is a strategic opportunity. It’s in Afghanistan that New Delhi needs Arab Gulf allies – to push back against an Iran joining hands with Pakistan and the Taliban.
    'Because of the government's criminal negligence, 9 million people are on lockdown'
    In a week marked by dramatic events on the diplomatic front, Yamina leader Naftali Bennett speaks to Israel Hayom about why the country needs a different kind of leadership, and why he would choose sovereignty in Judea and Samaria over peace deals with Gulf states. (Interviewed by Jacob Bardugo in Israel Hayom)

    What to Expect From the UAE: Joint War on Climate Change, ‘Game-changer’ Investment
    Haifa University President Ron Robin is a rare Israeli who has spent an extended period in the Emirates. In an interview with TheMarker he talks about what will come from normalization. (Interviewed by Israel Fisher in Haaretz+

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