News Nosh 9.30.20

APN's daily news review from Israel - Wednesday September 30, 2020

 Quote of the day:"There is the indicted Mr. Binyamin Netanyahu and there is the Prime Minister of Israel Binyamin Netanyahu. It is not the same thing. If you mix things up and use your governmental power as prime minister to influence you criminally, then it begins to be a serious problem.”
—In a leaked tape recording, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblitt is heard saying that Netanyahu could be incapacitated as prime minister due to a conflict of interests.*

Front Page:


Yedioth Ahronoth

  • Expose - Netanyahu’s offer to Bar-Simon-Tov: Come back to the job of corona coordinator
  • “Death sentence to the school year”
  • The ultra-Orthodox and corona: The contempt and the danger
  • The face of evil - Released for publication: Aviad Moshe is the man who tried to brutally murder his wife, Shira
  • Actress Nelli Tegar: “I was sexually assaulted in the street”
  • Attorney General Mendelblitt: “It’s possible that we will roll into incapacitation (of Netanyahu)”
  • Trump or Biden: Who won the first presidential debate (see Ynet)

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

Israel Hayom

  • Intentional loosening (of following restrictions): Some of the ultra-Orthodox sects are aiming towards “herd immunity”
  • The ultra-Orthodox sects which admit: We gave up // Yehuda Shlezinger
  • “Back to classrooms: Only after Hannukah”
  • The dilemma of the exit from the second lockdown
  • Almost some 800 seriously ill
  • Beirut’s next tragedy - Netanyahu revealed in his speech at the UN: Hezbollah has a missile arsenal
  • Round one: Trump and Biden debated
  • The table of despair - The pilot, the chef and the computer technician: the faces behind the furloughs
  • Attorney General Mendelblitt: “If the Prime Minister uses his power to influence the criminal procedure - it can roll into (his) incapacitation”
  • Also during corona: minority vs. masses // Karni Eldad
  • The twilight zone of the ultra-Orthodox sector // David Zeldan

Top News Summary:
In today’s top stories in the Hebrew newspapers, the rate of corona infection continued to rise (making it the highest in the world), yet many ultra-Orthodox Jews flout the regulations and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warns that the lockdown will be extended. His Likud party and Kahol-Lavan debated into the night about plans to restrict Israelis from demonstrating against the government (and early this morning they passed the law).

Meanwhile, in a speech over the internet to the UN General Assembly, Netanyahu asserted that Hezbollah was hiding missiles in residential areas of Beirut (VIDEO), Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah accused Netanyahu of lying to pit Lebanese against Hezbollah and the Shiite party took journalists for a tour of the sites that Israel had declared had missiles.

*And Attorney General Avichai Mendelblitt was revealed as saying that Netanyahu could be suspended as prime minister due to a conflict of interests.  

ALSO: Hundreds of Israeli motorists drove in a convoy to the Knesset and jammed the streets of Jerusalem as a protest of the bill (which was passed today) to curb anti-government and anti-Netanyahu protests. What shocked them was a VIDEO that went viral of armed IDF paratroopers deployed outside the Knesset to enforce restrictions on demonstrators. Most politicians were appalled. Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that would be stopped immediately. The video showed demonstrators shouting at the soldiers questioning why the military had been called in to deal with peaceful demonstrators. MK Bugi Ya'alon said, “Deploying IDF troops in the Knesset area against civilians, who want to protest democratically and fight against the violation of freedom of expression, is a dangerous action! I demand an immediate convening of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to find out who is responsible." Others called it a “scene we never wanted to see.” Only ‘Israel Hayom’ focused on dissing the protesters with the headline: “Demonstrators verbally attacked two soldiers and a policewoman near the Knesset.” And in small letters: “IDF and the Police decided that soldiers will enforce the lockdown in Jerusalem.” Like ‘Israel Hayom,’ Minister David Amsalem (Likud) accused the protesters: "The privileged lords of the land, who go up to Balfour with their magnificent jeeps from north Tel Aviv and the kibbutzim, despise and humiliate IDF soldiers and the Israeli police. Watch the video and see how low the anarchist left has gone. Shameful!"

Corona Quickees:

  • 1 in 6 Israeli virus tests comes back positive, Israeli Health Ministry says - Health officials report that despite limited testing, the contagion rate is still exceptionally high; 205 patients are currently ventilated, the vast majority of whom are men; 16 Israeli cities have over 1,000 active patients. (Ynet)
  • Serious COVID-19 Cases in Israel Top 800, Upper Limit Set by Health Ministry - Passing this number will cause deficiencies in coronavirus patient care and hospital function, health system figures have said. (Haaretz)
  • Palestine records 358 new coronavirus cases, eight fatalities - There are 39 COVID-19 patients who are still receiving urgent treatment at intensive care units, including 14 who are still connected to respirators. (WAFA)
  • Netanyahu: Israel's coronavirus lockdown to last at least a month - 'We are in this boat together,' prime minister says as he urges Israelis to follow closure rules, warns death toll and serious COVID cases both rising; Edelstein says second lockdown will end with graduated reopening of economy, education system. (Ynet)
  • Israel sees 50% of total virus caseload in past month - Health Ministry reports 2,009 new coronavirus cases; 778 patients in serious condition, with 203 connected to ventilators; death toll at 1,523; lawmakers estimate lockdown will last more than a month. (Ynet)
  • Israel Coronavirus Mortality Rate Surpasses U.S. for First Time Since Pandemic Began - Army intelligence report shows Israel also has higher coronavirus infection and mortality rates than U.S., France, U.K., Italy, Austria and South Korea. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Tens of Thousands of Yeshiva Students Sent Home Without Coronavirus Test Results - Many ultra-Orthodox yeshivas required that their students be tested for the coronavirus at the beginning of the school year and prior to vacation after Yom Kippur, but many were sent home untested, or with a positive result. (Haaretz+)

Quick Hits:

  • Israel to Leftist Expat: Deposit NIS 100k (($29,000) or Else You Can’t Visit Your Sick Mom - Dror Feiler has started to solicit donations because neither he nor his mother have the required funds for him to visit his mother. Over the past decade Feiler has participated in a few of the flotillas protesting the blockade on the Gaza Strip. In 2010 the Interior Ministry issued an order banning him from Israel for 15 years. (Haaretz+)
  • Man shot dead in Tira, police probe suspected murder - Circumstances of shooting in Arab town not immediately clear, no reports of arrests. (Maariv and Times of Israel)
  • Tel Aviv U. places 8th in international entrepreneur rankings - The PitchBook index looks at universities worldwide in terms of the number of their graduates who become entrepreneurs. (Israel Hayom)
  • Did James Baker really say ‘F*** the Jews’? New book clarifies U.S. diplomat’s infamous quote - Biography of the GOP elder statesman chronicles his battles with Israel, including the time he barred Netanyahu from entering the State Department. (Haaretz+)
  • Gazans left stranded abroad by Israeli-Palestinian standoff - Many Palestinians from Gaza and the Palestinian Authority unable to return home since Ramallah is not coordinating travel permits with Israel after cutting ties over plans to annex parts of the West Bank. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • NGOs call on Facebook to stop censoring Palestinian content and get rid of an Israeli Oversight Board member - The Palestinian and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have also called on Facebook to get rid of an Israeli member of Facebook’s Oversight Board who has a history of censoring Palestinian social media content. (WAFA)
  • Palestine and India sign $36 million protocols to extend MoU’s on developmental projects - $29 million will be to establish an Indian hospital in Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem in the West Bank, specializing in orthopedic, pediatric, gynecology, and internal medicine. (WAFA)
  • Egyptian FM affirms Egypt's support for Palestinian rights, unity - Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry affirmed on Monday Egypt's steadfast stance on the Palestinian cause and support for the Palestinian people’s legitimate rights. The remarks were made in his meeting with the Secretary-General of the Central Committee of Fatah Movement, Jibril Rajoub, and member of the Committee, Rawhi Fattouh, the ministry in Cairo, according to a statement. (WAFA)
  • Kuwait emir who struggled for Gulf unity dies at 91 - Dubbed the 'dean of Arab diplomacy' after four decades as Kuwait's foreign minister, the emir tried up until his death to resolve the row over Qatar which he said left him 'bitter.' (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Crown Prince Becomes Oil-rich Kuwait's New Ruling Emir - Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah succeeds Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, who died Tuesday at the age of 91. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • PLO official: Passing of Sheikh Sabah great loss to region and world - “Palestine will remember the late Emir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah as a principled champion of Palestinian rights and an ardent advocate for the liberation of our homeland. The late Emir spared no effort to stand by our people and defend the Palestinian people's inalienable rights to self-determination and freedom. Palestine will forever be grateful,”PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said in a press statement. (WAFA)
  • Israel Targets 100,000 UAE Tourists, Eyes Further Potential - Israeli tourism officials acknowledge obstacles of security, low hotel standards. (Haaretz+)
  • UAE defends decision to normalize Israel ties -  Emirati foreign minister tells UN General Assembly that newly signed Abraham Accords will provide the opportunity for Israelis, Palestinians to re-engage in talks; in apparent dig at Iran, Turkey, Al Nahyan accuses regional states of 'expansionist ambitions.’ (Agencies, Ynet)
  • UAE to launch unmanned mission to the moon by 2024 - Gulf state boosts space program, could become fourth nation in the world to land on the moon. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Turkey Denies 'Propaganda' Reports of Sending Syrian Fighters to Help Ally Azerbaijan - Dozens have been reported killed and hundreds wounded since clashes between Azeri and Armenian forces broke out on Sunday. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Orthodox Church Petitions UN Over Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia - Erdogan issued a decree in July that converted the Byzantine-era church back into a mosque, drawing praise from the Muslim faithful and widespread international opposition. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Threat to evacuate US diplomats from Iraq raises fear of war - Any move by the United States to reduce its diplomatic presence in a country where it has up to 5,000 troops would be widely seen in the region as an escalation of its confrontation with Iran. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Some 700,000 Children in Syria Risk Hunger, Aid Group Warns - Save the Children says new figures mean that in the last six months, the total number of food-insecure children across the country has risen to more than 4.6 million. (Agencies, Haaretz)

Features:Review A Painful and Joyous Journey Through the Histories, Languages and Cultures of Jaffa
Anthropologist Daniel Monterescu examines the role of politics, economics, art and nightlife in the mixed city that is so much more than just Tel Aviv’s backyard. (Vered Lee, Haaretz+)

Top Commentary/Analysis:
Opponents of All Peace Deals, Unite! (Aluf Benn, Haaretz+) I don’t know if the new agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain will intensify the occupation and oppression in the territories. In the case of Sadat, the result is clear: Menachem Begin leveraged the peace with Egypt to build “a hundred Elon Morehs” in the West Bank, as he promised. Ariel Sharon, Ze’ev Hever of Amana, the settlement arm of Gush Emunim, and settler leader Benny Katzover filled the hills with settlers, and the West was silent – and granted Nobel peace prizes to Sadat and Begin. Was peace with Egypt a mistake? Would it have been better to continue the wars until the occupation ended and justice was achieved for the Palestinians? What about peace with Jordan, which deprived the Palestinians of the Temple Mount? That’s the question that’s at the root of the current debate...
Peace in exchange for a dream: the meaning of neglecting annexation in the shadow of normalization (Shaked Morag, Maariv) If in exchange for the normalization agreements with Bahrain and the UAE the prime minister agreed to bury the plan to annex the (Palestinian) Territories, it probably says something about the plan itself, not just about Netanyahu.
A Body Blow to Democracy (Haaretz Editorial) The Knesset debated Tuesday an amendment to the law defining the government’s authorities in handling the coronavirus pandemic, a change that would render impotent the two main factors determining the force of a protest in a democracy: the number of people taking part and the location. This is a measure that is unprecedented in the history of Israel.
Let's forgive Netanyahu and let him go (Prof. Yoram Yuval, Yedioth Hebrew) I propose to the protest organizations and the opposition to declare that if the prime minister resigns and apologizes, we will support a personal law for him that will allow him to leave with dignity and without punishment.
Nobody is ignoring the Palestinians (Stephen M. Flatow, Israel Hayom) There is no occupation. There is no apartheid. There is no demographic danger. Israel has addressed the Palestinian Arab problem to the best of its ability.
Israeli zealots of any stripe cannot have the upper hand (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) The weeks of protests against the prime minister have not succeeded in bringing about a change and organizers should not allow radicals among them to mirror the Haredi community in its catastrophic disregard of health measures.
The Israeli arrogance epidemic is celebrating 47 years (Dr. Nachman Shai, Yedioth Hebrew) How is dealing with the corona crisis similar to the fiasco of the Yom Kippur War? In the complacency, in the insanity and in the refusal to bow one's head and be modest.
How the Emirates' Dark Financial Corruption Threatens Israel-UAE Peace Bonanza (Dmitriy Frolovskiy, Haaretz+) The UAE has become a global symbol of tolerance – for financial corruption, money laundering and complicit courts. Is that a dealbreaker for Israeli business partners? Will the Emiratis clean up their act?
Shimon Peres, The Man Who Saw (Yitzhak Tshuva, Maariv) As the years go by, it becomes clear to us how great Shimon Peres was, how important his ideas were, and how far he sailed in his dreams and in the effort to make them come true. The history of the Jewish people will perpetuate him.
Can the Palestinians still get away with their lies? (Hillel Frisch, Israel Hayom) The importance of the Arab states' growing distaste for a Palestinian movement that has lied for far too long must not be underestimated.
No entry for Arabs. Doctors or others (Yusef Haddad, Yedioth Hebrew) Fadi, who came to perform corona tests at Yitzhar settlement, was expelled from there for "ideological reasons." An inquiry I made revealed that I, an IDF handicap and an activist against BDS, also won't be given entrance there.
Why Haredi Willingness to Contract COVID Could Bankrupt Israel (Meirav Arlosoroff, Haaretz+) The coronavirus is the latest example of a long-term act of self-destruction.
Why Are Haredim Hated and Envied? (Yossi Klein, Haaretz+) It’s easier to admit to hatred of the Haredim than to envy of them. The envy is over the obedience, the stubbornness and the herd-like behavior. They have no moderate left, radical left, white left and Mizrahi left. That is, they are a varied and multifaceted public, but they unite as one when (we) the enemy loom at the gates…Their display of religious and political identity stirs powerful feelings of envy in us. The pride and the disregard for what others may think. They don’t wage wars, they present facts. They crowd in the synagogues not to protest or be defiant like the protesters on Frishman Beach. They’re there because prayers are not the government’s or anyone else’s business…We can distinguish between their generals and the soldiers, but still we envy them and hate them. We ourselves are startled to see how much racism and hatred of the other they evoke, and how much of it we harbor. Their scorn for democracy frightens us and their incredible ability to exploit it infuriates us. We’re angry about the fiction known as a “Jewish and democratic state.” This notion does not have any foundational basis anywhere. We’ve been seduced into believing that it was handed down at Sinai or appeared in the Declaration of Independence. But it doesn’t. It was no more than an amendment to a law that came into being in 1985 to prevent Meir Kahane from being elected to the Knesset…They are not above the law, they don’t even oppose it. But they have laws of their own, and you better not bother them with your laws. You take care of your health, and we’ll take care of ours…We envy them and hate them because they were the first to notice that “solidarity” is nonsense and “unity” is a joke. They were the first to realize it’s every tribe for itself. We envy their politicians who have Bibi by the balls. Oh how we wish we could say that about our politicians!..
A true Brazilian warrior and an Israel lover (João Lemos Esteves, Israel Hayom) President Bolsonaro sees Prime Minister Netanyahu as his role model – and Israel as his political, existential and spiritual inspiration.
The dangerous waters of the Mediterranean (George Tzogopoulos, Israel Hayom) The national agendas of Greece and Turkey continue to clash in the Mediterranean, and as matters stand, the possibility of a breakthrough is limited.
'Israel is a cyber superpower, the potential is endless'
National Cyber Directorate personnel spend every waking hour warding off the wide array of cyberattacks launched at Israel on all levels by terrorist groups, hackers, and malicious state actors. NCD chief Yigal Unna: Cyber threats to Israel only expected to grow. (Interviewed by Yoav Limor in Israel Hayom)

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