APN's daily news review from Israel - Thursday October 1, 2020
Quote of the day:"The Yom Kippur Selichot (repentance prayers) has expired, but it is not too late to apologize to the Palestinians. As human beings and as a people."
—Maariv commentator Ran Edelist writes that it's unlikely that all 3,532 Palestinians killed by Israeli military and security forces between 2009 and 2020, including 694 minors and 324 women, were ticking time bombs.*
- Kahol-Lavan supported restricting demonstrations: Attorney General: There is a need for new regulations
- Protest organizations: We will respond to the law with thousands of demonstrations
- Changing the law is another step towards a civil war // Ravit Hecht
- Netanyahu: People must be restricted from going more than 200 meter from their homes, returning to routine will take a year
- Number of children who got corona has doubled and they are challenging the hospitals
- In some of the ultra-Orthodox sects they are setting up enormous sukkahs and planning events for thousands of participants
- In first debate, Trump acted like a bully and played into Biden’s hands // Chemi Shalev
- At the request of the police, Facebook removed dozens of posts and reactions of civilians against police
- The hunting season in Israel began and with it the young hunters
- 129 years after it was established, the Los Angeles Times apologizes for racist and insensitive reporting
- More than 130,000 without work, for the second time - The economic epidemic - almost a million unemployed (Hebrew)
- (Photo of Biden and Trump in presidential debate)
- They acted shamefully // Orly Azoulay
- The crumbling // Einav Schiff
- He accomplished the goal // Tzipi Shmilovitch
- Playing with fire // Alon Pinkas
- This year, celebrating alone in the sukkah - 500 shekel fine for hosting guests
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
- The battle over the lockdown: Dispute in the cabinet
- The Knesset approved law restricting demonstrations during lockdown
- Exit strategy of going crazy // Ben Caspit
- “The most disgraceful in history” - said most of the commentators and media about the first presidential debate
- Mud wrestling // Haim Isrovitch
- “The high alert in the north continues”
- “The exit from the lockdown will be slow” - Stormy debate in the Knesset over the exit strategy
- Lesson in frustration: Back to classrooms only after Hannukah?
- Mud wrestling and one winner: Trump
- Likely: For Netanyahu’s sake, Kahol-Lavan will support the law to bypass the High Court
- Smelling elections? (Tel-Aviv mayor Ron) Huldai intends to establish a party, Ofer Shelach (Yesh Atid) is also considering
Top News Summary:
Wednesday night, hundreds of Israeli protesters protested the ban on protesting by driving in protest to Jerusalem and blocking roads. (Maariv) The ban passed in the Knesset limits protesters, all of whom are protesting against Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, from going more than a kilometer from their homes to demonstrate and restricts them to groups of not more than 20 people. Benny Gantz’s Kahol-Lavan party agreed to the restrictions after rejecting Netanyahu’s initial plan to prohibit all demonstrations across the country, something Attorney General Avichai Mendelblitt said was illegal. Mendelblitt came out against the amendment and was blasted by the Likud. (Maariv)
While the government says the restrictions are to protect citizens from corona, many think it’s to protect Netanyahu from public dissent. Today (Thursday), small demonstrations sprouted up across the country in protest over the ‘Draconian restrictions.’ Public Security Minister and Netanyahu-loyalist, Amir Ohana, chided police for 'showing restraint' as hundreds marched through Tel Aviv against coronavirus restrictions on protests. And police summoned for questioning two protesters who chided a soldier for taking part in the enforcement of the restrictions on demonstrators. (This was later halted.) Also, Haaretz+ reported that police have changed the procedures for using water cannons to now allow jet-spraying people at close range and at protesters' heads. Haaretz+ reported that one woman protested by hanging a sign on her property fence, that reads, “We’re fed up with you, disconnected people,” for which the Rosh Haayin municipality threatened to fine her.
In the Knesset, Netanyahu loyalist, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Miki Zohar (Likud), verbally attacked (Arab-Israeli) MK Kamel Marih (Yesh Atid) after the latter compared Netanyahu to Middle East dictators who ban the freedom to protest. Marih expressed her opposition to the amendment and accused Netanyahu of assimilating with the dictators and tyrants of the Middle East. Zohar called Marih’s speech "repulsive and disgusting” and dressed her down. Afterward, MK Orna Barbivai (Yesh Atid), called Zohar's actions "belligerent, offensive and incompatible with his duty to uphold the norms as deputy Knesset speaker” and called for him to be removed from his role.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 is raging in Israel, despite the lockdown and Netanyahu said it might be another year until things go back to normal. The High Holiday lockdown appears to be having minimal effect. Nevertheless, many ultra-Orthodox Jews plan on having large events for the Sukkot holiday that begins Friday evening and lasts for a week and during which you are supposed to host guests in your sukkah (hut). Police plan on giving out fines for each person visiting another family on the holiday.
- Coronavirus Israel Live: Israel Extends Lockdown Until October 14, Approves Protest Restrictions - Expert team finds that patients dying more quickly and at higher rates. Netanyahu says exit strategy may take six months to a year. Serious cases pass threshold officials warn might lead to collapse. West Bank deaths top 300. (Haaretz)
- Palestinian Health Minister: 8 deaths, 521 new corona cases and 881 recoveries in Palestine in last 24 hours - Six of the eight deaths were in the West Bank, one in E. Jerusalem and one in the Gaza Strip. One person who died was 33 years old while the others over 60. Of the new cases, 105 were in the southern West Bank district of Hebron, 98 in E. Jerusalem and 127 in the Gaza Strip. (WAFA)
- Israel posts nearly 9,000 new daily coronavirus cases - Health Ministry says 8,919 people tested positive for COVID-19 after record-breaking 68,128 tests had been conducted; overall tally of confirmed virus carriers doubled over the month of September alone. (Ynet)
- Gamzu: 40% of newly-diagnosed virus patients are ultra-Orthodox - Coronavirus czar says during press briefing he is worried by the situation in the Haredi sector and will visit the communities to better understand 'the complexity'; hints government's conditions for lifting of lockdown unrealistic. (Ynet)
- Netanyahu says full lifting of lockdown may take up to a year - PM tells Coronavirus Cabinet 'exiting lockdown will be slow and gradual this time', insists on further restrictions on travel as number of ventilated COVID-19 patients reaches new high. (Yedioth/Ynet)
- Home learning in Gaza hindered by blackouts and poverty - With schools closed since August, Gazans struggling to pay for internet or buy extra computers or phones as they get an average of 8 hours of electricity a day from its lone power plant. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Expert warns COVID vaccine may not become available in Israel before next summer - Top immunologist says medical teams, at-risk groups should be vaccinated first, calls on Israelis to not count on inoculation and continue making every effort to prevent the spread of the disease. (Ynet)
- Shin Bet to continue tracking corona patient's phones for additional 21 days - The Ministerial Committee on Intelligence Services on Wednesday extended the mandate given to the Shin Bet security agency to trace the mobile phones of coronavirus patients, as part of the epidemiological investigations held by the Health Ministry. (Israel Hayom)
- 'Third of Israel's coronavirus caseload in ultra-Orthodox sector' - Health Ministry DG warns that some yeshivas show 'dangerously high infection rates' and reopening facilities in 3-weeks' time, along with the Sukkot holiday, could lead to more outbreaks; says 'huge infection rate' in Haredi sector must be addressed. (Ynet)
- Defiant ultra-Orthodox vow to keep Sukkot rite despite lockdown - Many Haredi communities in Jerusalem have already prepared enormous sukkahs to accommodate large gathering during the holiday in spite of promises of huge fines; 'The virus is God's best soldier,' says one Haredi man. (Ynet)
- As virus rebounds in New York, Haredi Jews decry stigmatization - Authorities say the most significant jumps involve ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods of Brooklyn and while many leaders in the community promote awareness of COVID-19 risks, others dismiss it as 'fake news.' (Agencies, Ynet)
- With His Administrative Detention Frozen, Palestinian Continues Hunger Strike in Hospital - Doctors received permission to forcibly treat Maher Akhras but are refusing to do so on ethical grounds. (Haaretz+)
- Israeli military infiltrate Gaza border, raze farmland - Israeli military vehicles and bulldozers advanced infiltrated Gaza’s border to the east of Khan Younis Thursday and proceeded to raze farmlands near the borderline. (WAFA)
- Israeli bulldozers uproot olive trees west of Bethlehem - Mayor of Husan Village confirmed that Israeli forces uprooted scores of olive trees and leveled the three-dunam grove belonging to Adel Shusha because it was purportedly located on land “under Israeli sovereignty,” where Palestinian farmers are banned access. (WAFA)
- Israeli forces detain 42 Palestinians in West Bank raids - Israeli forces Thursday overnight conducted large-scale detention raids across the West Bank, including E. Jerusalem, detaining 42 Palestinians, including a journalist. (WAFA)
- Adalah: Israel's perception of Palestinian citizens (Arab Israelis) as 'enemy' continues to grant blanket impunity to police for killings - On the 20-year anniversary of the October 2000 killings (when Israeli police killed 13 Arab-Israeli citizens who were protesting) Adalah demanded an end toIsraeli police killings of its Arab citizens, and an end to the state culture of impunity policy of no criminal charges filed against law enforcement authorities who have killed Arab-Israelis, even where there is clear evidence of the illegal use of force. (WAFA)
- At Israel's Request, Facebook Removed Dozens of Posts Against Police Officers - Prosecution did not pass on requests by police to take down posts about police brutality. Majority of requests focus on social media activity supportive of terrorism. (Haaretz+)
- Palestine issues first batch of building permits in the Israeli-controlled northern Jordan Valley - This step is seen as defying Israeli control of the occupied Jordan Valley and its plans to annex it despite strong international opposition. (WAFA)
- President Abbas briefs the EU's foreign policy chief on the latest political developments - President Mahmoud Abbas received this evening a telephone call from the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union, Josep Borrell, during which President Abbas briefed Borrell on the latest political developments and Palestinian readiness for an international conference at the beginning of next year in coordination with the International Quartet and on the basis of international legitimacy. (WAFA)
- Euro-Med Monitor at UNHRC: Israel targets our staff and human rights defenders - Euro-Med Monitor gave examples of Israeli attacks against human rights defenders in the Palestinian territories to highlight the serious impact of this policy on restricting human rights work and impeding the documentation, monitoring, and combating of ongoing violations. (WAFA)
- Israel, Lebanon Agree to Begin Talks on Maritime Border - Thursday report: Negotiations between the two nations, which will be mediated by the United States and under the auspices of the United Nations, are expected to begin after mid-October. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
- 'It would take IDF months to clean out Hezbollah strongholds'
- - Swiftly destroying Lebanon’s infrastructure would be the quickest way to get the terrorist group to agree to a ceasefire, says Defense Ministry Director-General Amir Eshel at a workshop at Tel-Aviv university. (Israel Hayom)
- Columbia University students' referendum ends with win for BDS - The referendum passed with 1,081 students, or 61.04%, in favor of actions against Israel. (Israel Hayom and Ynet)
- The Palestinian rights organization, Al-Haq, receives the Gwynne Skinner Human Rights Award - The award, presented by the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR), was for Al-Haq’s work in the field of corporate accountability for human rights and international law violations in the occupied Palestinian territory. (WAFA)
- Azeri official: Military using Israeli-made drones in war with Armenia - "We appreciate very much the cooperation with Israel," says aide to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. (Israel Hayom)
- Israel delivers first Iron Dome battery to US - The delivery is part of the implementation of the agreement between the US and Israel for supplying the sophisticated interceptor, whose development has been funded in part by the US. (Haaretz+, Maariv and Israel Hayom)
- Kuwait Bids Farewell to Late Ruler and Pillar of Arab Diplomacy as New Emir Takes Over - Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah succeeds Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah at a time when low crude prices and COVID-19 have strained the finances of the oil-rich country. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- US blacklists more Syrians in fresh push for Assad to end war - US imposes sanctions on 13 entities and six individuals, including the governor of the Central Bank of Syria. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
- UN Nuclear Watchdog Inspects Second Iranian Site After Standoff Over Access - A deal passed this month ended a long standoff over access to the former secret atomic facilities, with Iran alleging IAEA interest is based on fake Israeli intel. (Agencies, Haaretz)
Deploy the West Bank Brigade to the Protests. Let Israelis Meet Their Army (Gideon
Levy, Haaretz+) The soft souls of Israel Defense Forces soldiers are about to be
corrupted: They’ve been sent to disperse a demonstration and to stand alongside police officers at roadblocks.
At a roadblock in Jerusalem, a paratrooper has already been insulted by a demonstrator; where will this shame
lead? In response, Chief of General Staff Aviv Kochavi, who is meticulous about preserving the purity of his
soldiers, ordered them back to their bases immediately. “This is awful,” said protest activist Giora Inbar, a
brigadier general in the reserves. “Once they sent paratroopers to Jerusalem to rebuff the enemy; yesterday they
positioned armed paratroopers to push back demonstrators who had gone to Jerusalem to defend democracy.”
According to Inbar, between the “liberation” of Jerusalem in 1967 and the dispersal of the “democracy
demonstration” on Balfour Street in 2020, the paratroopers were a local branch of the Salvation Army…With all
due respect to Mr. Inbar, this is a rose-colored misrepresentation. The paratroopers who were brought to
Jerusalem this week were doing exactly what they’ve been doing most of the past 53 years, only less brutally, of
course…Every night (the soldier raids) homes and drags people out of their beds, especially for their political
activity, another disgraceful and illegal action. Once every few years they conduct criminal operations in Gaza
or Lebanon that are hard to call wars, since there is no army opposing them. Even when they are guarding
settlers in patently illegal outposts and settlements, they are actively participating in the State of Israel’s
biggest political game, taking a clear and unequivocal political stand…
Why are Israelis shocked when the army shows up at the Knesset? (Orly Noy, 972mag) The sight of soldiers policing protests outside the Knesset rightfully angered many. But in Israel's militarized society, this scene should not be surprising.
*Yom Kippur has passed, but it is not too late to apologize to the Palestinians (Ran Edelist, Maariv) Wednesday. The Yom Kippur Selichot (repentance prayers) has expired, but it is not too late to apologize to the Palestinians. As human beings and as a people. The account for the bloodshed on our part - the Palestinians can do their own accounts for our bloodshed; Yom Kippur is for the Jews' to take account - is as follows: According to B'Tselem, from January 2009 to August 31, 2020, 3,532 Palestinians were killed by IDF gunfire and security forces, including in the Gaza Strip, and in Operation Protective Edge. The policy of right-wing governments is that there is an existential threat on the part of the Palestinians, so we must eradicate it when it is small. Note, for the glory of the State of Israel, that number includes 694 minors killed and 324 women, and does not include 28 Palestinians killed by Israeli civilians. Now go back and look at the total number of those killed in the Kingdom of David: 3,532 Palestinians. How many of them are ticking bombs and terrorists who go out to strike for reasons of policy that threatens the existence of the State of Israel? How many of them were anger due to their situation and/or held personal bereavement and went out to take revenge? And yet we have not talked about the millions who live in the reality of a violent military regime, that destroys legitimate resistance and destroys a basic human sense of identity and freedom of expression and movement. Leave for a moment the number of assassination, pinpoint or not-so pinpoint, for the little stories of everyday life that build reality alongside the corpses. A video on the B'Tselem (Israeli human rights organization about Israeli violations of human rights in the Palestinian Territories) website shows how about a month ago, on the night of September 11, several boys from Kiryat Arba (settlement in Hebron) approached a Palestinian woman and her children, near their neighborhood. They threw stones and held a dialogue that included swearing and harsh expressions towards the occupants of the house, including "pig". In home, there was silence. Another settler swears at the (Prophet) Muhammad vulgarly. Another one says: “Shut-up, you whore.” Another settler walks to the house, turns around and exposes his buttocks: “If you have something to say, say it,” he says to her. it goes on and on and deteriorates. The house does not respond. Stone-throwing continues. There seems to be no connection between the abuse on a daily basis and government policy. But in fact, these are interlocking tools aimed at expelling the Palestinians for the benefit of settlers throughout the West Bank. Allegedly, in the broad dimension of Shin Bet and IDF activity, this is a war on terror. In fact, it is a policy of pressure from a government that exploits the security forces and refuses to negotiate a political or military settlement - any situation that requires calm. This is called conquest, or washing - if you insist that God has commanded that the land is for us, and he will forgive us for all our sins every Yom Kippur every year. For those who have an iron stomach, a polished conscience and are bored on the High Holidays, it is recommended to enter the B'Tselem website or join the big protest march. It’s not just a protest against Netanyahu. The protest is against the situation, and the occupation is part of the situation. You won’t see a lot of knitted kippahs [nationalist religious Israelis - OH] and certainly not ultra-Orthodox - they have their own G-d and hidden ways to get what they wanted.
Israel Didn't Just Limit Demos. It Neutered the Right to Protest (Mordechai Kremnitzer, Haaretz+) The right to protest, the beating heart of freedom of political expression, is the cornerstone of democracy. It's even more so during a health crisis.
The path of the populist right is to undermine democracy (Nir Reisler, Yedioth/Ynet Hebrew) A straight line connects Trump's sneaky interception after the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the Israeli attempt to subordinate the judiciary to the government.
The arrogance of the crumbling Left (Uri Cohen, Israel Hayom) The Left, in light of the crashing of the concept of the elections, has turned to a strategy similar to civil disobedience, in which they threaten unstoppable social collapse.
Unlike today, in the Yom Kippur War the leaders knew how to retire in time (Dr. Orit Miller-Katab, Maariv) The leaders of that period knew how to take responsibility, give others the podium and retire at the right time. They also knew how to respect the public and put the state and the people first, before themselves.
Curbing Protests, Israel Takes Another Step Toward Civil War (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) Netanyahu's supporters called demonstrators monsters, and the Knesset gave them a seal of approval. It is a shocking failure of the government, at the lowest point of Israel's democracy.
They fail, and you must not demonstrate about it (Gilad Grossman, Yedioth Hebrew) The way the government is dealing with coronavirus is only getting worse, but Netanyahu's obsession with the protests has affected his coalition partners [reference to Benny Gantz’s Kahol-Lavan party - OH]. Who are the innocent people who think that "it's only for two weeks"?
Could Netanyahu's days be numbered? (Yossi Beilin, Israel Hayom) With the liberal Blue and White camp in his own government on one side, and the apparent rise of a new right-wing leader on the other, Netanyahu seems to be flanked from Left and Right.
Israeli Military Intel Wants to Access Israelis’ Tax Files (Yossi Melman, Haaretz+) With the blessing of the attorney-general, the state is allowing MI to access every detail of your tax files, without explanation why that’s necessary.
Pundits saw a horror show, but voters got what they wanted (Erez Linn, Israel Hayom) Trump ignored the rules and dominated the debate, putting the coronavirus crisis on the back burner. Biden played defense and didn't even lay out a vision.
America gets taste of Israeli politics in debate (Gil Hoffman, Maariv/JPost) For years, Israelis thought they would adopt elements of US politics, but this time it went the other way.
The debate that broke the rules (Prof. Abraham Ben-Zvi, Israel Hayom) US President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger former Vice President Joe Biden turned into a boxing match. There was no watershed moment, and it's doubtful if it will significantly influence the candidates.
The myth of Rabin the peacemaker (Amjad Iraqi. 972mag) The cult of personality around Yitzhak Rabin conceals the fact that the Oslo Accords were not derailed by his death, but achieved exactly what he wanted.
US Left wants no part of liberal Israel (Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's snub of Rabin event means more than just hurt feelings at Peace Now. The star of "The Squad" is sending a message to pro-Israel Democrats: The party's over. By accepting and then rejecting an invitation to appear at a virtual event hosted by Americans for Peace Now that honored the memory of slain Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Ocasio-Cortez sent a loud message to Jews who hoped that the increasingly influential activist wing of their party could be persuaded to line up with the Israeli left. If, as many claim, Ocasio-Cortez represents the future of the Democratic Party, then that is a future in which it will be aligned with the BDS movement and opposed even to Israelis who cling to forlorn hopes for a two-state solution.
As AOC cancels Rabin event, Palestine movement finds new clout in Washington (Alex Kane, 972mag) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's withdrawal from a memorial for Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin organized by liberal Zionist group Americans for Peace Now demonstrates the Palestinian rights movement's growing influence on the progressive left.
How Democrats Could Take Back the Senate – and What It Would Mean for Israel (Alexander Griffing, Haaretz+) Republicans are under pressure in 11 Senate races, and five Democratic victories would be enough to flip the chamber for the first time since 2014. These are the key races to follow.
Israeli society needs to disengage from ultra-Orthodox (Dr. Ram Fruman, Yedioth/Ynet) The coronavirus pandemic has proven the gap between the secular and the Haredi sectors in Israel is too deep to ever mend effectively; the only solution is to separate the two, by turning Israel into a federation with sectoral subdivisions.
Bahrain’s Rulers Are Eager for Close Ties With Israel. Bahrainis Are Not (Jane Kinninmont, Haaretz+) Bahrain’s ‘resistance’: Despite the kingdom's decade-long decimation of dissent, there's clear opposition to normalization with Israel. Deeply-felt solidarity with the Palestinians is only part of the story.
Netanyahu and Erdogan in unlikely alliance against Iran in Nagorno-Karabakh? (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Historical enmity between the Ottomans and the Persians, and rivalry for control in various hot spots across the region, make it difficult for Turkey and Iran to create a lasting partnership.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.