APN's daily news review from Israel - Monday July 20, 2020
Quote of the day:
“‘You say there is no detention, but there is a restraining order. I have not seen in any ruling a legal
anchor for this construction, according to which there is no detention order, yet there is an order to prevent a
person from going out to certain places. After all, no restriction order has been issued...What interest does the
state have in this provision? Suppose there was an order — there is also discretion. Once the arrest warrant has
been suspended, what interest is served by the decision to [keep Maher al-Akhras] at Kaplan Hospital rather than at
home or in a hospital in Ramallah?'”
--At the High Court hearing Monday over detained Palestinian hunger-striker Maher al-Akhras's petition to be released, Justice Menachem Mazuz questioned the state's murky way to hold a Palestinian man, who was not charged or put on trial.*
- State: Restrictions on demonstrations lapse today, no intention to extend it
- Yehoshua Kenaz: 1937-2020 - The greatest humanist of Israeli literature looked at the world with compassion at everyone who deserves it // Ariana Melamed
- Director-general of Defense Minister criticized: Prime Minister pressured me regarding naval vessels
- Head of Department Investigating Police closed the case against the police commander contrary to the recommendation to investigate her over breach of trust
- “After the holidays” has arrived, but the Education Ministry still did not deal with the failures of distance learning // Or Kashti
- Republicans preparing for Trump’s defeat and hoping to minimize damage at least in Congress // Associate Press
- Shoe store owner gave up and distributed his merchandise to passersby
- IDF brought wild animals to its bases in an exceptional experiment. They are still there
- Selective enforcement // Haaretz Editorial
- The new order // Asaf Friedman
- Two municipalities and the JNF are battling over the control of the biggest park in Israel and the coffers of 250 million shekels ($74 million)
- The education uproar: the battle over the kindergartens (Hebrew)
- The representative of the children // Chen Artzi-Srur on the criminal negligence
- Prevent a disaster // Sarit Rosenblum on way to prevent another lockdown
- The encouragers of hatred // Ben-Dror Yemini on ethnic division
- The authority given // Alex Fishman on way to return to routine
- His story, our story - Yehoshua Kenaz, 1937-2020 (Hebrew)
- “Corona took my mother in one week” - (Singer) Korin Allal’s pain (Hebrew)
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
- Breakdowns in the coalition
- Former Defense Ministry director-general’s testimony to High court in Submarines Affair (Case 3000): Prime Minister’s Office pressured to change the tender
- Smoking cannon // Ben Caspit
- The opening battles [on corona restrictions]
- On the way to the soccer fields - Soccer teams will be allowed to practice starting tomorrow
- Slowly, but surely: Easing of restrictions to come - Today, cabinet meets to decide on exit from lockdown
- The ultra-Orthodox: We will agree to a local lockdown - if the yeshivas are opened
- The session that is expected to end the 23rd Knesset // Amnon Lord
- Trump associates: Polls will mislead this time, too
- Most of the dead from the virus - from Jerusalem
- Exclusive: Together, the whole way: Fighting the isolation of the elderly
- The economic virus: In nine months, deficit of more than 102 billion shekels ($30 billion)
- New Facebook policy: “Holocaust denying content will be erased”
- The great man of dreams: Parting from the author Yehoshua Kenaz
Top News Summary:
The Knesset winter session opened with a bang between the two ruling parties, who fought over the yet-to-be-passed 2020 and 2021 budgets, (President Reuven Rivlin slammed the government, saying that Israel has “lost the [moral] compass we have had since the state was founded…Pass the budget now and give Israel's economy the basic stability it needs” and Defense Minister Benny Gantz did not rule out replacing Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu), the former Defense Ministry director-general made big waves when his testimony tied Netanyahu to the scandalous submarine graft case (“Netanyahu pounded on the table, demanding Israel buys the seventh submarine”) and the latest fallout caused by the corona epidemic were the top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers, along with obituaries for one of Israel's preeminent novelists.
What, unsurprisingly, did not make news in the Hebrew newspapers were all the attacks in the last day on Palestinian farmers now harvesting their olive trees and the intentional harm to their crop. (See Quick Hits.)
What did not play high in today’s Hebrew newspapers was that the government cabinet unanimously approved the UAE normalization deal and Netanyahu said he would meet with the Abu Dhabi crown prince soon. What made more news was that a new Middle East trade route was cemented after a cargo ship from Dubai docked in Haifa for the first time. Also, the deputy mayor of Jerusalem flew to the UAE to forge business ties. And, the TASE in reportedly in talks with Abu Dhabi's securities exchange on potential cooperation. Interestingly, while Haaretz+ and Ynet reported that 90% of Arabic social media discussion about the Israel-Gulf agreements is negative, according to a report by Israel's Strategic Affairs Ministry with 95% of online publications attacking the UAE (Maariv). Israel Hayom painted a different picture with a poll that found that 59% of Jordanians and Saudis, along with 58% of Egyptians and 56% of the residents of the UAE support normalization with Israel, while 61% of Palestinians oppose it. Go figure.
- Israeli Government Will Not Renew COVID Restrictions Limiting Protests - Once the restrictions lapse, police will no longer be able to prevent protesters from gathering anywhere, even if the lockdown continues. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
- Former senior NSC official: "Netanyahu's use of NSC is almost manifestly illegal" - According to him, the fact that the National Security Council is the body in charge of dealing with corona and not the National Emergency Authority is the reason for the failure to deal with the epidemic. "The National Security Council has no capacity to handle this crisis and the results are what we have been seeing for six months. Netanyahu handed over the responsibility (to the NSC) only because he personally appointed the head of the National Security Council, who does what the prime minister tells him." (Maariv)
- WATCH: In viral clip, Tel Aviv shoe store owner ruined by lockdown gives it all away - ‘It’s all caused by desperation,’ says Avi Samay, who went bankrupt. ‘If I’m going to lose everything, at least others should benefit.’ In further insult, Samay was fined by city, but Mayor Ron Huldai later said his fine will be cancelled. (Maariv and Times of Israel)
- PM praises virus lockdown, promises more financial aid to citizens - Netanyahu says Israel 'would have been marching right into an abyss' without stringent measures, noting recent decline in coronavirus infections nationwide and promises economy will reopen 'in a safe, careful and gradual manner.’ (Ynet)
- 90% Drop in Number of Coronavirus 'Red' Arab Towns in Israel in Six Weeks - Administrators caution against accepting official figures, saying many are avoiding testing as number of Arab towns in high infection category goes down from 32 to four. (Haaretz+)
- 'Quarantine ןs killing Israel's economy,' manufacturers warn - Lockdowns to stop the spread of coronavirus have propelled Israel into its largest-ever budget deficit: over $30 billion. (Israel Hayom)
- Israel Police Issue Far Fewer Fines for Mass Prayers Than for Other COVID Violations - Only 171 tickets were issued for prayer violations nationwide, according to police data, as opposed to 53,514 tickets issued for entering a public area. (Haaretz+)
- Health official seeks to relaunch yeshiva studies despite virus concerns - Health Ministry's liaison officer with ultra-Orthodox sector backs on previous demand to postpone opening of winter semester in religious institutions and holds talks with prominent Haredi figures to allow resumption of studies by next week. (Yedioth/Ynet)
- Over half of elderly COVID patients in Israel hail from ultra-Orthodox sector - The Haredi sector makes up 12% of the general population of Israel, and only a small percentage of citizens age 65 and over. (Israel Hayom)
- Home Treatment of Israeli Rabbi Who Flouted COVID Rules Was Accompanied by Hadassah Doctors - Haaretz initially reported that Hadassah provided Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach with a doctor who managed his treatment. It later transpired that Hadassah doctors only advised the doctor who treated the rabbi. (Haaretz+)
- 'We are trying to move Israel up in line for COVID vaccinations' - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that every country in the world is waiting for vaccinations the moment they are ready, and that Israel is trying to get producers to consider its "special difficulties." (Israel Hayom)
- Germany pledges to share any virus vaccine with Israel - Berlin has promised Jerusalem will receive any viable European inoculation as soon as possible, despite prior EU decision to only supply it to nations on the continent; FM: Move symbolizes special friendship between countries. (Yedioth/Ynet)
- West Bank Settlement Activists Erect Sign Warning Arabs of 'Danger' - After IDF commander says settlement cannot bar entry to Arabs, Yitzhar settlers erect sign resembling those posted by Israel at entrances to Area A. Sign at road linking the cities of Nablus and Qalqilya. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank said, “Israel seems to be starting to turn some roads in the occupied West Bank into a settlers-only roads, indicating a system of apartheid.” (WAFA and Haaretz+)
- Hunger striking Palestinian prisoner in Israel rejects court deal; Palestinian premier demands his release - Palestinian hunger striker, Maher al-Akhras, who is on 78th day of fast protesting his administrative detention (no charges, no trial), rejected Monday a deal from the Israeli High Court that recommends Israel to release him from prison by November 26 in return for ending his hunger strike, instead of ruling that Israel must release him by a specific date. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh urged international pressure on Israel to release him and to end its illegal administrative detention policy against the other 350 Palestinians. (WAFA)
- *High Court Justice questions validity of state's refusal to release ailing Palestinian hunger striker and exposes state's murky way of holding him - 3-justice High Court panel refused to release ailing Palestinian hunger striker, Maher al-Akhras, but Justice Menachem Mazuz gave the state representative a hard time and exposed the aribtrariness of the state holding al-Akhras as a detainee. (Orly Noy, 972mag)
- Facing International Outcry, Jewish National Fund Reconsidering East Jerusalem Family's Eviction - Fearing donor wrath, JNF attempts to distance itself from settler organization Elad, which in response threatens individual legal action against board members of JNF subsidiary. (Haaretz+)
- Israeli occupation blocks roads in northern West Bank villages, obstructing olive harvesting - Israeli military occupation today blocked several agricultural roads in villages of Zububa and Ti'inik, west of Jenin, preventing the farmers from accessing their lands as they began the olive harvest. (WAFA)
- Settlers steal Palestinian crops and cut trees on Palestinian land located beyond Israel’s apartheid barrier - Palestinians who were able to access their land located beyond Israel’s apartheid barrier in the Salfit area in the north of the occupied West Bank were shocked to find that settlers from nearby Eitz Efraim settlement stole their olive crops and cut dozens of trees, according to residents. (WAFA)
- Settlers steal olive harvest in Nablus-area village - A group of Israeli settlers stole the olive harvest belonging to Burin village resident Yehya al-Kurdi. (WAFA)
- Israeli settlers attack Palestinian farmers harvesting olive crops near Ramallah, injure five - Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian farmers harvesting their olive crops in the village of Burqa, northeast of Ramallah on Monday, according to the village’s head of local council Adnan Habas. The settlers also hurled stones at the farmers, injuring five of them and damaging two vehicles. (WAFA)
- Israeli Navy Ships Open Fire at Gaza Fishermen - Israeli navy ships opened automatic fire and aimed water canons at the fishermen, who were sailing three nautical miles from the shore of the besieged Gaza Strip, forcing the fishermen to end their fishing. (IMEMC)
- IDF to punish soldiers and their commanders for brawl over line in dining room at military base - Fight breaks out between troops from Shaked Battalion and Bedouin reconnaissance unit, while standing in line for the dining hall. In light of the brawl, Col. Itzik Cohen halted all training exercises through the weekend for the two training companies so that the soldiers could receive “educational classes on values and accepting the other,” after which the two units will spend the evening together in an event overseen by the commander of the training base. (Maariv and Times of Israel)
- Israel to ‘immediately’ bring over 2,000 Ethiopian Jews - Netanyahu tells Ethiopian PM the Jewish state is committed to 'continued aliyah of Jews to Israel' that was halted due to coronavirus. (Maariv, Ynet and Israel Hayom)
- 'Hundreds of millions' promised to Israelis under gas deal fail to materialize - According to energy researcher at the Mitvim Institute, Israelis are paying prices that are "wildly above" those available on the international market. (Israel Hayom)
- Lebanon Names Team for Maritime Border Talks With Israel - Beirut wants to make sure this is seen as a purely pragmatic affair, not a step towards normalization, with access to crucial gas resources in the balance. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
- Jordan's King Abdullah swears in new government to speed reforms - The new premier, Bisher al Khaswaneh, who comes from a family that has long held senior political posts, has spent most of his public career as a veteran diplomat and peace negotiator with Israel with a last stint as palace adviser. President Abbas congratulates Jordan on formation of new government. (Israel Hayom)
- Critics Accuse Gal Gadot of Cultural Appropriation for Accepting Cleopatra Role - Gadot’s husband Yaron Varsano and the couple’s Pilot Wave production company will be involved in the project as well. (JTA, Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
- Forbes ranks Gal Gadot third highest-paid actress in 2020 - Israeli actress said to have pocketed most of her $31.5 million in earnings after staring in upcoming Netflix thriller 'Red Notice'; 'Modern Family' star Sofia Vergara tops the Forbes chart with $43 million, while Angelina Jolie comes 2nd with $35 million. (Ynet)
- 6,500-year-old copper workshop shows ancient Beersheba was a hub for cutting-edge tech - The furnace used to process copper purchased from present-day Jordan may have been a local invention, but even if the technology was imported, Beersheba played an "important role in the global metal revolution," says Professor Erez Ben-Yosef of Tel Aviv University. (Israel Hayom)
- Facebook to Ban 'Any Content That Denies or Distorts the Holocaust' - Mark Zuckerberg said in a blog post Monday he believe the new policy strikes the 'right balance' in drawing the lines between what is and isn’t acceptable speech. (Agencies, Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
- Iran-backed militias offer truce for U.S. pullout from Iraq - Kataib Hezbollah spokesman says militia factions will not attack U.S. in Iraq, including the often-targeted U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, if American-led forces withdraw within 'acceptable timeframe.' (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Poll shows Israelis overwhelmingly favor Trump win in upcoming U.S. election - Republican leader wins over 63% support among Israelis compared to Democrat rival Biden's 18%; little over half of the respondents believe U.S.-Israel ties will be harmed if Biden is elected. (Israel Hayom and Ynet)
Contempt for Palestinians’ Time Is in the DNA of Israeli Rule (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) Who ever thought that replacing ordinary soldiers with military police would be considered an achievement? It certainly makes no difference for the farmers living in three West Bank villages west of Salfit. What matters to them is whether the gate in the intimidating separation fence that divides them from their groves opens on time. It is opened and closed three times a day for about half an hour each time. For years, soldiers opened it belatedly, with delays of half an hour, 45 minutes, an hour or more. Farmers wasted thousands of precious hours waiting for the soldiers, in rain, in burning heat, on fast days during Ramadan. Contempt for Palestinians’ time is in the DNA of Israeli rule. There has never yet been a gate that soldiers scrupulously opened on time. But at Magen Dan, lateness has become a chronic disease. Soldiers come and go, but the delays never change. Hamoked finally decided to petition the High Court of Justice…
Normalization cannot silence Arab resistance forever (Samah Salaime, 972mag) Israel will one day have to face Arab opposition to its alliances with dictators who care little for the people under their rule.
How Chevron Could Easily Earn Israel’s Goodwill (Eran Azran, Haaretz+) By ceding its veto power over the Tamar gas field, the U.S. energy giant would set things right.
Turkey is the next Iran (Dan Schueftan, Israel Hayom) Under Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey – once modern and moderate – is destabilizing the entire region and poses a threat to Europe as well as the US.
As the demonstrations intensify, thousands more young people imbued with anger and frustration will join them (Yitzhak Ben-Ner, Maariv) Despite their insults and threats, protesters will increase week by week. And also: in order to defeat corona, the exclusive authority to conduct the campaign must be taken out of the hands of the Prime Minister and the National Security Council.
Yes, It’s Selective Enforcement and Ordinary Israelis Are Paying the Price (Haaretz Editorial) There’s no need to elaborate on the police’s determination to enforce restrictions on protesters. Both the mainstream media and social media have been flooded with pictures of their brutal enforcement. While not a single police officer could be seen during the mass celebrations at the end of the Simhat Torah holiday, tickets were issued at a demonstration that took place at the same time outside the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem on Balfour Street. There’s no need to elaborate on the police’s determination to enforce restrictions on protesters. Both the mainstream media and social media have been flooded with pictures of their brutal enforcement. While not a single police officer could be seen during the mass celebrations at the end of the Simhat Torah holiday, tickets were issued at a demonstration that took place at the same time outside the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem on Balfour Street.
The only thing that unites all Knesset members is a feeling of helplessness (Dr. Alina Berdach-Yalov, Maariv) The recent period in the Knesset has made all its members, from right to left, realize how ineffective they are. Outwardly they make statements, but inwardly they know the statements have no meaning.
There is one person who owes us quite a few explanations, and that is Benny Gantz (Ben Caspit, Maariv) Netanyahu and his eunuchs managed to turn Benny Gantz, the defense minister and former chief of staff, into a hallucinatory, half-crazy man, an alien who fails following an imaginary submarine cruise towards the horizon. I hope someday they will be punished for this.
Don't lose sight of compassion (Dr. Shuki Friedman, Israel Hayom) Enforcing the law is a must in every correct society, but the court of public opinion seems to have lost the ability to give anyone the benefit of the doubt, no matter the issue at hand.
The attempt to attribute racism to (anti-government activist) Amir Haskel is nothing more than pathetic spin (Moshe Nestelbaum, Maariv) Despite what they claim about him, Amir Haskel is not a racist, but a victim of professional spin intended to commit character assassination and serve as a political blow to opponents and supporters of the (anti-Netanyahu) demonstrations at (the Prime Minister’s Residence at) Balfour.
It's Not Just the ultra-Orthodox: Israeli Culture Is at Fault for Pandemic Debacle (Ziva Sternhell, Haaretz+) When Prof. Ronni Gamzu energetically took up the reins as coronavirus czar, he truly believed that the combination of scientific data, rational behavior and Israeli common sense would swiftly help him head off the pandemic’s worrisome advance. Presumably, he did not foresee the obstacles that cunning politicians would place in his way, nor the clashes that would arise among the professionals involved...A cultural tradition that has been deeply rooted in local history since the early 20th century has contributed to the failed management of the coronavirus pandemic: Israelis’ characteristic scorn for behavioral norms in the public domain – as seen constantly on the roads, at the beach, in national parks and in public institutions – has become even more conspicuous during this age of the pandemic. It’s all too easy to slide into superficial definitions of the so-called first and second Israel. But the roots of Israeli culture lie in the worldviews that shaped society here in its early days. From the outset of contemporary Jewish settlement in Palestine the seeds were planted that contained the DNA of resistance to the “hypocritical” and “artificial” bourgeois European culture, which dictated behavioral norms and cut man off from his authentic self. This directly and indirectly contributed to the rise of the ideal of spontaneity and authenticity, which have been trademarks of Israeli society from the start and made the notion of “courtesy and manners” laughable.,..
Minister Miri Regev's screams at soccer coach Eyal Berkowitz reminded me of a boxing match (Dr. Orit Miller-Katab, Maariv) How did we get to the point where in an interview on a talk show, we witness such a lame and aggressive speech culture? How did we degenerate to a situation of wild outbursts by elected officials and uninhibited statements?
Are Jews betraying Jews? (Kenneth Levin, Israel Hayom) The Jewish Democratic Council of America, in its Trump as Nazi ad, covers up the truth about who is battling anti-Semitism and who is abetting it.
Although it is of no interest to Americans, foreign policy is a major issue in the US elections (Zalman Shoval, Maariv) Washington's foreign and security policy may not play a prominent role in the election campaign, but it is critical to the future of the United States, no matter who sits in the White House.
GOP twists debate over civil rights law to smear Democrats as antisemitic (Alex Kane, Israel Hayom) A parliamentary maneuver centered on antisemitism is part of a Republican effort to peel away Democratic Jewish voters ahead of the election.
Long off-limits, new anti-Trump ad suggests Nazi comparisons are becoming kosher (Ron Kampeas, Times of Israel) While ADL chief calls JDCA campaign spot ‘deeply offensive to the memories’ of Holocaust victims, his predecessor says ‘it’s not Nazism, but our antennas are quivering.’
They forgot the meaning of democracy (Avi Bareli, Israel Hayom) Why is a small minority of the Israeli Left hoping Trump loses? So it can force the Israeli people to accept a diplomatic line that has failed repeatedly.
‘“Fauda” Is Really Bad – I Turned Them Down Three Times’
Since starring in ‘Paradise Now’ 15 years ago, Ali Suliman has become one of the most successful Arab Israeli actors of his generation. ‘I’ve been optimistic most of my life but now, regrettably, I can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel,’ he says about life in Israel. (Interviewed by Itay Stern, Haaretz+)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.