News Nosh 10.6.20

APN's daily news review from Israel - Tuesday October 6, 2020

 Headline of the day:“The Minister of the Immediate Environment”
-- The headline in 'The Marker,' referring to Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel, who violated corona guidelines that prohibit travel farther than 1 kilometer from home and prohibiting visiting people outside the home. She traveled 150 kilometers to visit her in-laws in Tiberias.*

You Must Be Kidding: 
“While Israel reels from its second lockdown and economic distress, Netanyahu is promoting construction in isolated settlements that Israel will have to evacuate."
--Peace Now responds to Israel's plan to advance next week at least 4,430 settlement units in the Palestinian Territories.*

Front Page:Haaretz

Yedioth Ahronoth

  • Be ashamed of yourselves - The bereaved families of those who died of corona call for the public officials who ignored the corona guidelines (to be dismissed) (Main Photo: Minister Gila Gamliel) (Hebrew)
  • Lack of trust // Sima Kadmon (Hebrew)
  • Lip service fine // Chen Artzi-Srur
  • Likely: The Attorney General will close the case (against Netanyahu) about the stocks (of the company owned by his cousin)
  • Today: 47 years since the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War (Hebrew)

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • The (corona guideline) violation and the storm (Main Photo: Minister Gila Gamliel)
  • The privileged tribe // Ron Kaufman
  • They want to see blood // Michael Kleiner writes that people are being excessively hard against Minister Gamliel
  • Corona cabinet: There won’t be any decisions about easing the lockdown until the middle of next week
  • Not fearful (pun for ultra-Orthodox) of corona - Despite the earlier coordination, more than 1000 (ultra-Orthodox) people attended the funeral in Ashdod of a leading rabbi
  • Trump’s little ride

Israel Hayom

Top News Summary:
A government minister flouted the corona lockdown and lied to cover it up, the  lockdown will be extended by at least another week, hundreds of ultra-Orthodox flouted the special guidelines the police gave them to allow them to attend the funeral of a leading rabbi and commentators wrote about the ‘lack of trust’ in the government. Meanwhile, the Kahol-Lavan party members decided they will remain in the government. And the government is advancing the approval of over 4,000 more settlement homes in E. Jerusalem.

*A photo of Environmental Protection Minster Gila Gamliel was splashed over the front pages of most of today’s Hebrew newspapers, with the exception of Haaretz, which whose main photo was of ultra-Orthodox Jews crammed together to attend a funeral in Ashdod (albeit with masks). It turns out that Likud Minister Gamliel didn’t answer health officials’ phone calls for hours, then intentionally misled them by lying that she got COVID-19 from her driver when she got it apparently from the synagogue she had traveled 150 kilometers from her home to reach - when it is only allowed to travel one kilomter from your home. Coronavirus proctor Ronni Gamzu said her behavior "was extraordinary for a public figure who should lead by personal example, hurts the public trust, warrants an investigation and appropriate steps to be taken in response." (Indeed, a probe has been opened.) Gamliel said she had 'made an error in judgement' and that she would pay the fine. (Ha!) She wasn’t alone. Yesh Atid MK Miki Levy also violated lockdown guidelines when he was hosted by his son. Party chairman Yair Lapid removed him from the Knesset Corona Committee. (Maariv)

**After weeks of pressure from settler groups, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave approval for the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria, an arm of the Israeli military government in the West Bank, to convene and on Sunday it is expected to advance the construction of 4,000-5,000 settlement housing units across the West Bank, which are in various stages of development, including final approval for the construction of 2,500 housing units. Construction is planned  in isolated West Bank settlements and some of the construction blocks expansion of Palestinian villages and towns, Haaretz+ reported. Peace Now noted that this approval is taking place in the midst of a pandemic and economic crisis and shortly after Israel signed normalization deals with the UAE and Bahrain. The plans will make 2020 the highest year on record for advancing settlement units since Peace Now began recording in 2012.

Corona Quickees:

  • Health Ministry confirms Tuesday 5,647 new cases of coronavirus - National rate of positive COVID-19 tests stabilizes at 11% for the fourth consecutive day; ultra-Orthodox communities continue leading in daily virus diagnoses. (Ynet)
  • Israel's Coronavirus Czar Says Lockdown Can End When Cases Down to 2,000 a Day - Ronni Gamzu tells ministers drop must be accompanied by lowering of R number; over past week, new cases have averaged two to four times higher than proposed level. (Haaretz+ and Times of Israel)
  • Ministers lean towards full Israel lockdown until October 18 - With no final decision on issue, coronavirus cabinet agrees immediate goals are containment efforts and reducing infection rate across country; ministers clash over protest restrictions, reopening preschools and non-public facing businesses. (Ynet)
  • Jerusalem Police Reached Deal With ultra-Orthodox to Allow Mass Events if Not Filmed - Despite Israel's surging COVID-19 infection rates, sources say huge events were held in Haredi communities, but police refrained from enforcing ■ Police deny claims. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel Police Allow Thousands to Attend Funeral of Rabbi Who Died of COVID-19 - According to agreement with police, participants were meant to be divided into capsules while following health guidelines, but footage shows otherwise. (Haaretz+)
  • Clashes erupt as police disperse thousands at funeral of rabbi who died of coronavirus - Violence breaks out between officers and Haredi mourners who turned out for burial of of Rebbe Mordechai Leifer, head of the Pittsburg Hasidic dynasty, who succumbed to COVID-19 on Sunday after two month battle
  • Clashes erupted in the southern city of Ashdod on Monday as police tried to disperse thousands of of ultra-Orthodox Jews attending a rabbi who died of COVID-19. (Ynet)
  • Domestic Violence Reports Triple Amid Israel's Second COVID Lockdown - Social Affairs Ministry plans new shelters for battered women and permanent apartments for violent men for the first time in years. (Haaretz+)
  • In first, Israel charges patient with spreading coronavirus - The indictment says the 24-year-old man from southern Israel violated quarantine a week after being diagnosed with COVID and went to a party attended by 20 people, knowing he could infect others with the pathogen. (Ynet)
  • Prominent pro-Israel Evangelical Pastor John Hagee Tests Positive for COVID-19 - The 80-year-old conservative, whose organization Christians United for Israel has a millions-strong membership in the U.S., was diagnosed on Friday. (Haaretz+ and Times of Israel)
  • Educators fearful COVID distance learning will lead to 'lost generation' - Parents worried about the emotional effects of children being cut off from their peers and their routines, while high school students are worried about their matriculation exams. (Israel Hayom)
  • Top rabbis, U.S. envoy pray for Trump at Western Wall - 'May He who blessed our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Moses, Aaron, David and Solomon send healing to Donald John, son of Fred,' says Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch during Birkat Kohanim ceremony pared down due to lockdown. (Ynet)
  • Nearly All of Iran on Coronavirus Red Alert as Cases, Deaths Hit Records - Death toll rises by 235 in a day to total of 27,192 as officials complain many citizens are defying regulations and going on trips. (Agencies, Haaretz)

Quick Hits:

  • IDF strikes Hamas target in Gaza after rocket launch - This is the first launch since 13 rockets were fired at Israel during the White House signing ceremony of the Abraham Accords establishing normalized relations between Israel and Bahrain and the UAE. There was no report of damage or injuries after the projectile was believed to fall in an open field. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Palestinian Shot Dead by Israeli Forces; Army Says He Threw Firebombs at Soldiers - Army forces reportedly arrived at the home of Samir Ahmed Hamidi, 28, after killing him.Two other men the army also accuses of hurling Molotov cocktails fled the area in the northern West Bank. (Haaretz+)
  • Despite 71 days of hunger strike, Israel insists on keeping Palestinian administrative detainee behind bars - Maher Akhras, a 49-year-old a father of six from Jenin, remains behind bars after the Israel Prison Service refused to set him free, despite an Israeli High Court ruling. The IPS only agreed to freeze the administrative detention order against Akhras but not cancel it or secure his release, which Akhras rejected. Akhras is hunger-striking to end his detention without charge or trial. (WAFA)
  • Israeli occupation forces detain at least 12 Palestinians, including one after an alleged stabbing attempt - Israeli Police said on Monday said that a 19-year-old Palestinian man tried to stab an officer at the GUsh Etzion junction near the West Bank city of Hebron. The forces caught him and found a knife on him. There were no Israeli injuries in the attack. (Times of Israel and Maariv and VIDEO and WAFA+PHOTO)
  • Following Adalah’s legal action against East Jerusalem home demolitions, Israel freezes demolitions nationwide - Israel Attorney General office responded to Adalah’s legal action saying that, due to the state of emergency from COVID-19, Israel would stop implementing demolition orders for residential buildings, reduce the issuance of new demolition orders, and  keep the issuance of warning notices about demolition orders “to a minimum.” Israel had amped up its demolitions of Palestinian homes in E. Jerusaelm after COVID-19 morbidity rates dropped during the summer months, demolishing 112 Palestinian buildings from January through August this year, leaving 261 people homeless. (WAFA)
  • Suspect in Car-ramming of anti-Netanyahu Protesters Tells Court He 'Feared for His Life' - Court extends driver's detention, urging Tel Aviv police to look into reports of 'intentional hit and run,' while detained protesters says suspect told him he was 'proud of it.' (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Anti-Netanyahu Protesters Try to Tell Cops About Car Ramming, Get Treated as Suspects - Two witnesses answered a call from police to the public to provide more information on ramming at Tel Aviv rally, and the third was brought in by police to provide testimony but were treated as 'criminals.' (Haaretz+)
  • Israel's Foreign Minister to Meet UAE Counterpart in One-day Berlin Visit - German foreign minister, who is also set to attend the Tuesday meeting, hails 'an opportunity for new movement in the dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.' (Haaretz+)
  • Israel under diplomatic fire over arms to Azerbaijan - According to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute , over the past five years, Israel has been the top supplier of arms to Azerbaijan, with sales of more than $740 million, putting it ahead of Russia. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Saudi Arabia reaffirms strong support to UNRWA with US$ 25 Million Contribution - The contribution is part of a larger pledge by the Kingdom to help the Agency's maintain critical services to 5.6 million Palestine refugees in the region. (WAFA)
  • Saudi business leader urges boycott of goods from 'hostile' Turkey - On Thursday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan took a swipe at the Gulf states in a speech to parliament. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Oman becomes first Gulf state to reinstate ambassador in Syria since civil war began - Despite pressure, Oman kept diplomatic relations with Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad after 2011. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Kurdish Official Says Thousands of Syrians to Leave Detention Camp for ISIS Families - Leaders administering Al-Hol cite overcrowding of the camp that houses nearly 65,000 people and inability to hold foreigners indefinitely, despite foreign governments hesitating to repatriate their citizens. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Jewish scientist, colleagues win Nobel Prize for hepatitis C discovery - American Jewish scientist Harvey J. Alter is one of three honored with Nobel Prize for Medicine or their discovery of the hepatitis C virus, a disease affects millions worldwide. (Israel Hayom)

Top Commentary/Analysis:
Coronavirus Won't Destroy the Israeli Economy, but Netanyahu’s Hysteria Could (Meirav Arlosoroff, Haaretz+) The prime minister has shown no interest in weighing risks properly, and is determined to tighten coronavirus lockdown no matter what.
Playing politics with coronavirus could trigger open revolt in Israel (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) Violent measures by police, belligerent attitudes towards protesters and interest-driven policies do not only endanger an effective response against pathogen, but the country's political and civil system as a whole.
The harder the hard hand of the police, the greater the rebellion and rage (Yitzhak Ben-Ner, Maariv) It is better for the Netanyahu family internalizes: the 200th demonstration in front of the residence at Balfour and the tens of thousands in the squares, intersections and on bridges will be for the (Netanyahu family at Balfour) like a terrible mosquito buzzing in their ears.
Don’t Be Fooled by Erdogan and Hezbollah: The Gas Wars Aren’t Over (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) Negotiations between Greece and Turkey and between Israel and Lebanon are tactical retreats, not the start of peaceful resolutions.
The world must wake up (Dan Schueftan, Israel Hayom) Erdogan's megalomania has entangled Turkey in a whole host of regional flashpoints.
'Jerusalem Is Ours': Behind Erdogan's Remarkable Claim (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) To Turkey's leader, what’s good for Hagia Sophia, Istanbul's church-turned-mosque, is apparently appropriate for Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre as well.
Is Israel's 'brand' at risk? (Dr. Shuki Friedman, Israel Hayom) It seems that beyond the massive health risk and economic damage the coronavirus is inflicting in Israel, the pandemic may also seriously undermine the Jewish state's international image, and this may take years to rectify.
Promising change or clinging to power? Behind the Palestinian leaders' vow to hold elections (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) Building up expectations for an imminent election, 16 years after the last one, is a way to preserve the legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority’s political elite and civil service.
For our exalted elected officials, the law is only a non-binding recommendation (Ron Kaufman, Maariv)  The privileged tribe, too, has a clear hierarchy: the president, the prime minister and his advisers, and ministers - those who have permission to lie, deceive, defraud the public - on any issue related to the corona restrictions.
Rule-breaking is killing us (Ran Reznick, Israel Hayom) The public isn't following the rules, but neither are the elected officials who make them. We will all wind up paying the price.
Turkey's Trojan horse and Iran appeaser Azerbaijan is no ally for Israel (Alex Galitsky, Haaretz+) Thanks to the Gulf, Israel no longer needs its oil-for-arms alliance with a Baku in bed with Erdogan’s ultranationalist military adventurism. For moral and strategic reasons, Israel should now pivot towards Armenia.
Battle against coronavirus is a war for our lives (President Reuven Rivlin, Yedioth/Ynet) In exclusive opinion piece, President Reuven Rivlin urges Israelis to adhere to health orders, reminding them that just as in all the country's previous wars, when there is no cooperation, there is no victory.
To the Palestinians and My Fellow Arabs: Your Hatred for Israel Achieves Nothing (Khalaf Al-Habtoor, Haaretz+) Palestinians should quit blaming Arab allies for their failures, feuding and violence, and take responsibility. There’s a brave new dawn in Arab-Israeli relations: Which Arabs have the courage to embrace it?
Lift the US ban on journalist Jonathan Spyer (Ben Cohen, Israel Hayom) Up until this week, the most critical adjective I'd heard applied to Spyer (whom I know personally) was "crazy" – and that was the affectionate observation of someone who spoke admiringly of his writing and incredulously of his willingness to travel in the heart of the Arab world, despite being an Israeli citizen.
The Israeli Left Never Learns (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) Let me tell you something about the left. Israelis often talk about it, using the loosest, most bizarre definitions that the dictionary offers. So perhaps they’ll agree to listen to some comments by someone who has spent 80 of her 64 years of life in Israeli left-wing circles. We, the consistent, radical left, welcome the demonstrations because they shout out the truth – Israel’s government is bad for its citizens. We’re happy about them because they have a chance at thwarting the plots of those in power, and because without freedom to think and criticize and to express those thoughts and criticisms, human beings are diminished. Finally, we welcome the potential the protests embody – the possibility that more Israelis will make the desperately needed connections about how what is being done towards Israelis has been being done to Palestinians: violent police suppression of protests, government discrimination towards different groups, government undermining natural right to protest, the government privileging the tycoons and the super-rich at the expense of the general public. That’s just what happens in the West Bank: Every day, successive Israeli governments have stolen Palestinian land and water sources and given them to ... Oops. That’s where we get stuck. The daily thefts of Palestinian land that successive Israeli governments have perpetrated and are still perpetrating (and let’s not forget that it began inside Israel proper) are intended to benefit Jews simply because they are Jews. To a growing share of Israeli Jews, this theft is a birthright, the 11th commandment given at Mount Sinai. Together with the rifles they were given and the cult of blood and soil they nurture, together with the governments that sent them and serve as their emissaries, they are determined to continue down the path of expulsion that began in 1948…
When Netanyahu Has Nothing to Say (Haaretz Editorial) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu didn’t condemn the fact that some 2,000 Hasidim attended the funeral for the rabbinical leader of the Pittsburgh sect in Ashdod on Monday. He didn’t condemn the fact that during this funeral, Hasidim clashed with police. He also didn’t condemn the fact that hundreds of Hasidim refused to leave the area. Netanyahu said nothing about the fact that even though police set up barriers to separate the Hasidim into capsules, hundreds arrived at the site in a way that made it impossible to observe the rules of social distancing. Nor did he comment on the fact that a permit was given for this mass funeral procession at all, amid a lockdown that is being strictly enforced on all other Israelis. Netanyahu also didn’t condemn the fact that a member of his cabinet, Gila Gamliel, tried to avoid Health Ministry contact tracers after being diagnosed with the coronavirus. He didn’t condemn the fact that she then tried to mislead them by saying it was her driver who infected her. He didn’t demand her resignation despite the fact that she broke the rules barring intercity travel during the lockdown by driving from Tel Aviv to Tiberias, and then attended services indoors at a synagogue there (Chaim Levinson, Monday’s Haaretz). Every day, Israelis are exposed to this double standard.
If Biden Wins, Adelson and Evangelicals Are Out, AIPAC’s Back and J Street’s in With a Bang (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) The polarization and division of the Trump era created two separate Jewish power structures that alternate when the administration changes hands.

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