News Nosh 11.8.20

APN's daily news review from Israel - Sunday November 8, 2020

Quotes of the day:

"Not only has (Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu) just lost his open door to the Oval Office, his stature has been diminished overnight both on the international stage and at home. It’s impossible to exaggerate how much street-cred he accrued over four years by being known as the foreign leader with the closest ties to the president of the United States...It is probably too much to hope for, that Trump’s defeat in the U.S. will bring also an end to Israeli Trumpism, to the lies, smears, the broken promises and lack of shame proudly flaunted by his admirers."
--Journalist, commentator and author of "Bibi: The Turbulent Life and Times of Benjamin Netanyahu," Anshel Pfeffer takes a look at the local effects of US President Donald Trump's defeat.*

"Government? Demonstration? Peace? All in one sentence? The only 'peace' people my age have experienced is the series of diplomatic accords with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan. Accordingly, when we hear a prime minister say 'peace,' we realize he means an agreement that will let the government sell planes or other weapons, or repatriate asylum seekers who fled genocide and put their lives back at risk."
—Journalist Lee Yaron writes about the perspective of an Israeli millenial.**

You Must Be Kidding: 

“They have almost full control of the press, unions and other segments of the society.”
—Eduardo Bolsonaro, the son of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, on left-wingers in Brazil.
“They took control of almost 100% of the mainstream media and academia. They are brainwashing, indoctrinating.”
-Yair Netanyahu, son of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, says of the "most radical left, that represents maybe 5 or 10% of” Israel.
---Yair Netanyahu and Eduardo Bolsonaro commiserate in the first episode of Yair's new podcast, “The Yair Netanyahu Show.”**

Front Page:


Yedioth Ahronoth

  • President Biden - End of the Trump era, the serving president lost, but refuses to accept the results
  • Your success is our success // Nahum Barnea (Hebrew)
  • “You’re fired!” // Orly Azoulay
  • Victory of sanity // Sever Plocker
  • The celebration is over // Shimrit Meir
  • A tranquilizer // Yoav Frumer
  • The Vice who made history (Photo of Kamala Harris)
  • Like a tree - Israel Prize laureate and one of the greatest Hebrew poets, Natan Zach passed away

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • The Biden era - “Good Morning Mr. President” (English words)
  • An American victory // Ben Caspit
  • The death of a cultural hero - Natan Zach
  • The demonstrations conspiracy - Likud adopted Facebook report that Iran is helping demonstrations against prime minister

Israel Hayom

  • Biden is President - Trump: It’s not over
  • Similar to Clinton, not to Obama // Avraham Ben-Zvi
  • Senior official: “Biden is committed to Israel’s security”
  • Like a tree — Poet Natan Zach passed away
  • State Comptroller: Suspicion of criminal acts in Wolfson
  • 261 killed since beginning of year: Special project for week of road safety
  • Street shops will open today,
  • Yamina party’s legislative bill: Shorten election period from 90 to 45 days

Top News Summary:
The defeat of US President Donald Trump and the victory of Joe Biden in the US Presidential elections dominated today’s Hebrew newspapers, with leading Op-Eds and analyses revealing a wide range of political views. Haaretz expressed a sense of salvation, also through its main photo showing Biden lit up with a dark background and a spotlight making a halo around his head. Yedioth revealed thrill and relief: with Op-Eds about “success” and Trump being “fired.” Maariv’s top political commentator, Ben Caspit, who is right-wing, but not unhinged, wrote that Trump’s defeat was a victory for America, but his term was also a gain for Israel. “...It’s clear the man is unworthy of being President, and certainly of the strongest superpower in the world. But we are Israelis, so we have no choice but to separate his revolting personality from the fact that he did some good things for us.” Caspit stung ‘Israel Hayom’ Editor-in-Chief, writing, “You don’t have to be pathetic, like Boaz Bismuth, to understand that the Iranian issue, the security issue, the offer of the “Deal of the Century,” the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, and the “Abraham Agreements,” contributed substantially to the security and prosperity of the State of Israeli.” Interestingly, ‘Israel Hayom’s’ Bismuth, who interviewed Trump more than once and staunchly supported him in his Op-Eds and in the slant of the paper, took a very low-key tone in his Op-Ed today, reporting from Trump’s hometown about the calm atmosphere “as if Wilmington wanted to send America the message that Biden will be the complete opposite of the current president.” He even quotes a neighbor pleading to Israelis, “Have faith in him, he won't disappoint you. He has good relations with [Prime Minister] Netanyahu. In my opinion, it's in the best interest of both countries." It was only at the end of his piece did he ‘pull a Trump’ and insert unsubstantiated claims (“Trump's people, like the 45th president himself, wonder why votes were allowed to arrive late, why people weren't allowed to correct their votes, and why – they claim – there was not full transparency of the vote counting process” and end with what might also be his sentiment: “The (Trumpists’) demonstrations became protests against the media, as well, and in Georgia they shouted, "It's not over, it's not ever, it's fake news!"

The papers examined Trump’s effect on Israel, the region, and the world - with comparisons between Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and between Trumpists and Israelis who vote for Netanyahu - and also considered how different it will be with Biden. Political sources said that for Israel, the critical question is who will be on Biden's transitional team and later, his administration, ‘Israel Hayom’ reported. The papers also noted that in the four or five hours between Biden being declared the President-elect and bedtime in Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu offered no congratulations. Only silence. He only congratulated Biden Sunday morning, 12 hours after the big announcement through a post on Twitter. And Yedioth Hebrew’s correspondent Itamar Eichner noted that Netanyahu did not call Biden, “President-elect.”

Not unrelated, thousands of Israelis attended anti-Netanyahu demonstrations across the country Saturday night, many celebrating Biden’s victory, saying, ‘Bibi is next,” or so they hoped. In Tel-Aviv, thousands attended a Rabin Memorial marking 25 years since his assassination. ‘Israel Hayom wrote that just 2,000 attended. For the second year in a row, the event was funded with private money, “because no movement or nonprofit group had agreed to sponsor it,” Haaretz+ reported. The paper noted that no Arab-Israeli or leftist speakers were allowed to speak; offers by the Joint List and Meretz parties were rejected by the organizers.

Two deaths also made news: Renowned Israeli poet and literary critic Natan Zach, died at age 89. And Israeli President Reuven Rivlin eulogized former UK chief rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, who died of cancer at age 72. “Israel will always remember his warning against violence in the name of God and his belief that we can heal a fractured world," Rivlin said.


Quick Hits:

  • Palestinian ends hunger strike after Israel promises to halt administrative detention -Maher Akhras, a West Bank dairy farmer, will soon be transferred to a West Bank hospital after 103 days of refusing to eat in protest of his detention without charges or trial. But he will remain in Israeli custody until November 26. (Haaretz+ and Times of Israel)
  • Israel carries out largest West Bank demolition operation in a decade - Israel demolished over 70 structures in the Humsa al-Fuqa community in the occupied West Bank, displacing 11 Palestinian families. (972mag)
  • US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar blasts Israel for 'ethnic cleansing' after IDF partially razes illegal Palestinian hamlet - The partial demolition of Khirbet Humash is "in direct violation of international law. If they used any US equipment it also violates US law," controversial congresswoman, a supporter of the BDS movement, tweets. (Israel Hayom)
  • Yamina lawmaker urges Israel to apply sovereignty in West Bank before Biden takeover - On Thursday, Yamina MK Bezalel Smotrich called to pressure Netanyahu to apply sovereignty in case President Trump ended up losing presidential race, but said he has no doubt a Biden administration will maintain friendly Israel policy. (i24News/Ynet)
  • WAFA documents 17 Israeli violations against journalists in October - Six journalists were either injured by live fire or rubber-coated rounds, or suffocated by teargas or were beaten by Israeli forces during the month, while another nine journalists were either arrested or targeted by Israeli gunfire, but were not injured. Other journalists, meanwhile, had their press card revoked by Israeli soldiers. (WAFA)
  • After nearly two months, Israel's high street shops reopen - The Retail Federation and BIG Shopping Centers Group say they will petition the High Court of Justice to allow shopping centers and mall to reopen; coronavirus infection rates continue to remain steady and low. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Facebook Removes 'Inauthentic' Iranian Accounts Targeting anti-Netanyahu Protests - 12 Facebook accounts, two pages and 307 Instagram accounts taken down after sharing content in Hebrew and Arabic about protests in Israel and Iraq. (Haaretz)
  • **In his podcast debut, Yair Netanyahu interviews son of Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro - Netanyahu, 29, served in the Israel Defense Forces spokesperson’s unit and has emerged as a fierce right-wing defender of his father, particularly on social media. (JTA, Haaretz and Times of Israel)
  • Senior Likud MK questioned over allegedly extorting AG - Miki Zohar grilled under caution Thursday over radio interview in which he threatened to release recordings of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit if he did not drop corruption charges against PM; coalition chair slams 'delusional investigation' targeting right-wing figure. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • TV hit shines light on only female soldier killed in 1973 war - Among the 2,673 Israeli troops killed during the fighting, there was also a female soldier: Niva Shaul. (Israel Hayom)
  • Drones to Descend on Israeli Hospitals for New Air-drop Delivery Service - Zipline deliveries blood and medical equipment in the U.S. and Africa, and will drop medical supplies to remote hospitals in Israel next year. (Haaretz+)
  • Lebanon's president challenges U.S. sanctions against Hezbollah-allied Christian leader - President Michel Aoun asks foreign ministry to secure evidence and documents that prompted U.S. Treasury sanctions. (Agencies, Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • UAE announces relaxing of Islamic laws for personal freedoms - Under the loosened laws unmarried couples will be allowed to cohabitate, alcohol restrictions will be loosened and so-called 'honor killings' will be criminalized. (Agencies, Haaretz)


The Contradictions of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
As one of the stream’s most prominent and influential rabbis, he personified the contradictions and limitations of Modern Orthodoxy, especially in the Diaspora – not being traditional enough for Haredim, too cautious for non-Orthodox Jews, and too foreign for Israelis. (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+)
An unholy alliance
Two documentaries reveal how the U.S.'s pro-Israel coalition swung to the far right — endangering American Jews in the process. (Natasha Roth-Rowland, 972mag)
A small Palestinian business is burglarized over and over, and Israeli police stand by
Mohammed Mahmadi couldn't go on working in Israel because his baby is sick, so he borrowed money and opened a plant nursery near his West Bank village. It has been robbed five times this past year. The thieves' car and ritual fringes leave little room for doubt about their identity….Any doubts were dispelled by the footage on the security cameras that Mahmadi installed after the fourth burglary. The telltale tzitzit, Jewish religious ritual white fringes, can be seen hanging out from under the shirt of one of the thieves as he climbs up a pole to steal the spotlight mounted on it. His nursery is located near Highway 60, across from the entrance to his village, As-Sawiya, at a junction from which a road leads to the village of Yatma. Mahmadi has no way to cover his losses. “I’ve had it,” he says. He estimates the value of the stolen merchandise and the damage from the latest break-in at 11,000 shekels ($3,220). (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+ and YouTube of burglary)

Top Commentary/Analysis:
With Biden Victory, ultra-Orthodox Lose Influence, AIPAC and J Street Gain (Amir Tibon and Judy Maltz, Haaretz+) It appears Trump’s attempts to portray himself as the most 'pro-Israel' president in U.S. history made little to no impression on the vast majority of American Jews.
Biden Is Good for Israel (Tzipi Livni, Haaretz+) The transfer of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem was emotional, even if it was symbolic. I also haven’t forgotten Trump’s efforts to weaken Iran, even if the payoff from Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal, not taken as part of a long-term strategy, is still unclear. When the leader of the world’s most important democracy distances himself from international democratic institutions, attacks them and rejects the rules of the game, he crosses red lines that could be wiped out in other democracies as well. The example closest to us is Benjamin Netanyahu, who has sensed which way the wind is blowing.
Biden is expected to be a pro-Israel president, but not an ardent fan like Trump (Anna Barsky, Maariv) It's time to realize that if Trump loses, Biden may be positive for Israel, but chances are his staff will be closer to the critical wings of the Democratic Party, which have never been in the Israeli pocket. [Published before Biden was declared President]
Palestinians are hopeful about Biden, but know they won't top his agenda (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Meanwhile, Palestinian President Abbas is making the Israeli occupation more digitally efficient.
Biden Realizes the Palestinian Authority's Importance to Israel, but Expectations Remain Low (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) The Biden administration will presumably restore support for development agencies working in the Palestinian territory, but will not block Israeli settlement policy.
Which Israeli Cares About Palestinian Hunger Striker Maher Akhras? (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) When a person goes on a hunger strike to demonstrate for something he believes in, he probably believes that the possibility he might die will weigh on the consciences of others. When a person decides to starve himself to death in protest, it’s reasonable to assume he’s doing this to give others the time and opportunity to stop him. If the person had only wanted to die in protest, he would have committed suicide all at once, not stretch out the suicide over months. The hunger striker commits suicide in slow motion because he believes that someone will come to his aid and do what’s necessary to stop him from killing himself. The person on the hunger strike believes that someone in this world can’t bear the thought of him dying, and this person will create the change that the hunger striker is demanding in his protest. On Friday, the Palestinian Maher Akhras ended his hunger strike after 103 days. He had been protesting his detention without trial, and Israel promised not to extend this administrative detention. He was determined to continue until his freedom, or his death, whichever came first...
Our ambition to be the 51st state in America is quite humiliating in the level of its stupidity (Ron Kaufman, Maariv) What do you care what's going on in America? Have we solved our own problems? Have we fixed the rotten infrastructure? Is the health system ready for winter? Has anyone taken care of the roads ahead of the rains? The elderly who are dying from the flu will no longer lie in the hospital corridors? Did anyone take care of the roads in the run-up to the rains, to clear the tar that settled in the asphalt? How many victims will we count because of skating? What do you care what's going on in Idaho or Maine? Whether they are red or blue? Do you live there? Every other idiot explains that Donald is good for Judaism and especially good for Israel. I just nod politely.
***Rabin's Murder: The First Shots of the Era of Lies Into Which We Were Born (Lee Yaron, Haaretz+) Like us, 44 percent of Israelis were born on or after the peace rally where Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated. When at the beginning of that 1995 newscast, Sari Raz reported from the studio about back then was a routine news report - “the rally supporting the peace process and the government has started”  - to us Millennials like an oxymoron. Government? Demonstration? Peace? All in one sentence? The only “peace” people my age have experienced is the series of diplomatic accords with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan. Accordingly, when we hear a prime minister say “peace,” we realize he means an agreement that will let the government sell planes or other weapons, or repatriate asylum seekers who fled genocide and put their lives back at risk…“I have always believed that the majority of the people wants peace,” Yitzhak Rabin said from the podium at the square later in that broadcast, as if he were trying to confuse us even further. All our lives we’ve heard political speeches saying that “the majority of the people” wants Benjamin Netanyahu or doesn’t want him. We don’t know the concept of a people that might want to see the realization of some ideology, some lofty goal beyond rule by one person, or the removal of this person from office…
Your success is our success (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet)  During his presidency, Donald Trump reached several decisions that most Israelis welcomed. He recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and announced the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem; He recognized the annexation of the Golan Heights; He tightened sanctions on Iran and promoted normalization with the Emirates. These moves have meaning: most, if not all, will remain after him.
Look at Trump and You'll See the Israelis (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Standing on line Friday in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Aviv Gimel to pick up the weekend edition of Israel Hayom, affluent residents discussed the likely defeat. “We’re screwed,” one man said sadly; his companions nodded in agreement. It’s a dark day for Israel: Donald Trump has lost the election. No other country in the world, with the possible exception of the Philippines or Nebraska, was as saddened by his fall. A poll by Israel’s Mitvim think tank found that 70 percent of Israelis support Trump. A survey by the Washington-based Pew Research Center had similar findings. Whereas 75 percent of West Europeans are fed up with the U.S. president, in Israel a large majority – including centrists and some leftists – admires him….The explanation for Trump’s rising popularity in Israel goes much deeper; its roots are much more disturbing. Israel admires Trump not despite his many repellent shortcomings but because of them. Trump is the embodiment of everything that’s bad and ugly about Israel while normalizing and whitewashing them for us…Trump is the embodiment of Israel the unbeautiful; he could easily be elected prime minister. The vulgarity, coarseness, belligerence, ignorance, scheming and lies; the contempt for the weak, for the law, for justice, the media, science and the environment – all this fits us like a glove…
With all due respect to Biden, Trump's achievements against Iran stand to his credit (Ben Caspit, Maariv) What happened in America was not a victory for Biden, but a sweeping defeat for Trump. The one who is uprooting him from the White House is America. And regarding the next president: he knows Israel very well, and we need to help him help us - instead of quarreling with him.
U.S.-Israel Relations Will Continue Comfortably With Biden as President (Noa Landau, Haaretz+) Netanyahu may have lost his good friend in Washington, but Biden is a classic student of AIPAC and unlikely to make dramatic political moves.
Between propaganda and incitement: How to turn a person into a political assassin (Prof. Yoram Yuval, Ynet Hebrew) The murderer of Yitzhak Rabin, until that evening in the square, was probably also considered a normative person. But systematic and goal-oriented propaganda over time breeds abysmal hatred, which can end in disaster. Think about it next time you hear "disease spreaders,” "traitors,” "anarchists" and "aliens.”
Back to the Clinton era (Prof. Abraham Ben-Zvi, Israel Hayom) We can expect Joe Biden's presidency to be characterized by partnership, cooperation, and pragmatism, as well as continue the US's traditional friendship with Israel.
Biden victory will free Israel from Trump’s sinister soul (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) President Trump’s selfish assault on integrity of U.S. elections echoes Netanyahu’s destructive attack on the rule of law.
Just before Netanyahu brings about the collapse of the Likud, party members must wake up (Nadav Haetzni, Maariv) What's going on in the minds of senior Likud members these days, do they not notice that they are being led into a deadly maze? Who like them, polished politicians, did not need Joe Biden's apparent victory in the US to notice how the Likud is losing all the cards. It’s reputation has been tarnished, voter confidence is crashing, government fuel is running out. Like in the cartoons, the Likud flies over the cliff but does not look down, not realizing that it is on its way to the abyss. The revered leader continues to knead the party seniors for his personal needs, and they continue to remain silent. Admittedly, they are showing signs of nervousness, but still let him maneuver as he pleases. Precisely it was the second lockdown, which led nowhere, that illustrates how much the Likud and the government are in the grip of a pre-determined failure…These are tragic circumstances for all of us, what a fate is known in advance to whoever leads the government, especially to the chief executive - Benjamin Netanyahu. Even before the epidemic, Netanyahu was unable to bring the goods, forming a quarrelsome and paralyzed government because he quarrels with Avigdor Lieberman and hates Naftali Bennett. But the virus is not going anywhere, and the pattern of failure is becoming more tangible and frustrating every day. We need visionary leaders who are detached from foreign motives. But whoever leads us and the Likud is only concerned with his personal troubles. He has failed to establish a functioning government apparatus, but worst of all - he does not adopt the only method that can work (against corona): a strict and severe ‘traffic light’ method…
*In a post-Trump World, Israeli Politics Will Never Be the Same (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Trump’s defeat will dent Netanyahu’s already tarnished aura of invincibility and its effect may soon be reflected in the prime minister's already dismal polling….The Trump years cannot be erased and the question of what the regional and domestic environment will be like for Israel in the post-Trump world will be decided in the coming months by the policy priorities of the Biden administration and the personalities who come to the fore. Even with the Trump Plan thrown out with the rest of the outgoing administration’s trash, there is so much other stuff by Trump and his people that the Biden team will have to decide what to do with…The U.S. embassy’s move to Jerusalem, the recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights, the cutting off of American aid to the Palestinians, the closure of the PLO’s representation office in Washington, and the omission of designating the West Bank in official U.S. statements as “occupied.”
Correcting the world (Shimon Shiffer, Yedioth Hebrew) In many countries, there are people leading who have characteristics similar to Trump, who ignore basic values that are the components of a democratic regime. It’s likely that they will become weaker and even disappear.
Would a lame duck Trump give Israel one last gift? (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Trump does not intend to go gentle into that good night, and may complete some irreversible steps.
Iran nuclear deal will be back in Biden's White House (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) U.S. president-elect is expected to renegotiate treaty with Tehran; outline to include provisions pushed by Israel, with security officials saying agreement far preferable to possible military engagement that could affect entire region.
What a Biden Win Means for U.S. Ties With Israel (Judy Maltz, Haaretz+)  The two-state solution and engagement with the Palestinians is back in, support for settlement activity is out. Experts offer a few scenarios for a Biden victory over Trump.
Local pride (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) In Joe Biden's hometown this weekend, there was a celebratory but calm atmosphere, night and day from the eruptions of joy that washed over the US after his election victory was announced on Saturday. It was as if Wilmington wanted to send America the message that Biden will be the complete opposite of the current president.
A Biden Revolution in the Middle East Will Have to Wait (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) His presidency would stress human rights, but he knows you can only achieve so much with dictators. He likes the Iranian nuclear agreement, but that deal depends on who’s in power in Iran and Israel.
From China to Iran: The Challenges Joe Biden Will Have to Deal With (Chaim Isrovitch, Maariv) Donald Trump's four years in office have shaken the global establishment and created a complex reality for the new administration, which the president-elect will have to deal with immediately after he is sworn in.
Biden Will Face an Uneasy Trump Reality in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Power, weapons and protection: Rival Middle Eastern leaders all have everything to lose from a Trump defeat, and a Biden administration would have to reconcile radical promises with a transformed region.
In Iran, they only say that they do not care who is elected (Smadar Perry, Yedioth/Ynet Hebrew) In the palace of the Supreme Ruler Ali Khamenei they may declare that for them there is no difference between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, but in practice they are biting their nails, because the future of the nuclear agreement is on the table. [Published before Biden was declared President.] Iran does not dream of admitting it, but they are closely following the news of the US election. "The results will not affect our attitude towards the Americans. We have a calculated policy that will not change even if Trump is replaced by Biden,, it does not interest us and it does not matter," Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said (Wednesday). Perhaps not coincidentally that was the day his country marked 41 years since the break-in to the US embassy in Tehran, after which relations between the countries ceased. The day before, the Iranian foreign minister, who was the first to comment on the American election, also addressed this. "Our regime does not differentiate between Trump and Biden," he said. "We want deeds, not promises. I myself try to hope that Biden is elected, because he wants to negotiate and Trump does not." Thus, the Iranians may declare that it does not interest them, but they should not be believed… if Biden wins, Iran will try to smile outwardly, and if he promises to return to the nuclear negotiating table, Khamenei's associates will accept the offer with open arms, as they remember how comfortable they were with Barack Obama. Until then, the Iranians will try to deftly advance hidden nuclear programs. This is the background on which to read the Iranian leak this week, three days before the US election, about the construction of the new nuclear facility in Natanz: it will be one of the issues the next US president will have to deal with. If Biden is elected, the Iranians believe he will adopt Obama's path and go for the nuclear deals. Trump, even in a second term, is not expected to do so. Although he announced three years ago that he wanted negotiations with Iran, he later adopted Netanyahu's line and declared Iran a state of terror. So at Khamenei's palace they may be declaring that "for us there is no difference who the next president will be," but in practice they are biting their nails. A special team monitors the vote in the US, and places the data in the Supreme Leader's office several times a day. The demonstrated indifference must not be bought: the Iranian government is certainly troubled. Khamenei's office also has no plans to forgive Trump for the assassination of Qassem Suleimani, commander of the Quds Force in the Revolutionary Guards. If Biden is elected, the Saudi story is also expected to be overturned. Already two years ago, Biden expressed a firm opinion on Heir to the throne, Mohammed Ben-Salman, when he accused him of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashougi - in contrast to Trump who not very elegantly ignores this issue. In Biden's account, Saudi Arabia has not yet paid the price, and he also makes a point to remind the royal palace in Riyadh of the arrest of hundreds of political prisoners. The case of human rights activist Lujin al-Hazlul, who was arrested two years ago, is lying in a prominent place on the table. And Iran, of course, is thrilled.
Who gets to define 'disinformation'? (Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) When journalists and social-media oligarchs declare some stories or ideas out of bounds and then discredit voter decisions, trust in the media and democracy is lost.
Where’s Israeli Media's Gratitude for Trump? (Israel Harel, Haaretz+) Donald Trump wasn’t good for America. In contrast, he was a good president, even a very good one, for Israel. As an Israeli, had I been asked who I’d prefer in the White House, I’d reply, albeit with slight hesitation, Trump. On the other hand, had I been living in the United States, I’d most likely not have voted for him. His pranks, antics and especially the lunacy that has taken hold of him during the coronavirus pandemic, leave no doubt as to the disaster he has brought on his country.
What did Biden do, and what could the left-wing do in Israel? (Yehezkiel Oved, Ynet Hebrew) Despite the temptation, the Democratic candidate was careful to avoid the “Just not Trump" campaign, which would probably have achieved the opposite result. In the run-up to the elections in Israel, will the center-left understand what his secret was?
Trump Can Still Raise Hell in the Day After Biden's Victory (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) With 74 remaining days before Biden’s inauguration, Trump could stir up a lot of trouble, but despite heated remarks of a few followers in Israel, little is likely to come from the president’s legal challenges to election results…Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who expected Biden to win, avoided being sucked into Trump’s pre-Election Day orbit. Even so, his alliance with the president was too close and it soured Netanyahu’s relations with the Democratic Party. But when Trump tried last month to persuade him to admit that “Sleepy Joe” couldn’t have secured the normalization deal with Sudan, Netanyahu deflected. His potty-mouthed son Yair, whose Twitter account has been exercising surprising neutrality regarding the election results, apparently also took a vow of silence recently. It’s unlikely that a Ramat Biden will ever be built in Israel, neither in the Golan Heights nor anywhere else in the country, and Netanyahu will feel less secure about his relations with the next president than he does with the current occupant of the White House. The Palestinians, who recognize that they won’t be at the top of the incoming administration’s agenda, nevertheless have a cause for optimism. That will allow the Palestinian Authority to end its spat with Washington and to renew security and civilian cooperation with Israel in the West Bank. No less important is what will happen with Iran…
Israel needs a friend in the White House (Limor Livnat, Yedioth/Ynet) Trump delivered 3 peace deals for Israel and moved the Palestinian naysayers to the side, Biden is set to bring them back; as Israelis we must see the election from our own perspective and Trump is the friend Israel needs. [This was published on Thursday. Sorry, Limor, Trump’s gone!]
Is becoming Israel's president Netanyahu's 'get out of jail free' card? (Matan Gutman, Yedioth/Ynet) The law states that a sitting president is immune from criminal prosecution and from being put on trial, which could postpone the prime minister's legal proceedings by seven years, but there are still two major hurdles he must pass first
They have become their party's symbol and are expected to be investigated at the same time: the lines that connect Trump and Netanyahu (Ran Edelist, Maariv) The results of the US presidential election in the long run pave the way for the ideological victory of the secular, liberal and democratic camp - and also for the nuclear agreement with Iran.
How Biden VP Kamala Harris Could Tip U.S.-Israel Ties (Allison Kaplan Sommer and Amir Tibon, Haaretz+) Harris has walked the tightrope on the issue of Israel, facing criticism from the left wing of the Democratic Party after meeting AIPAC leaders in 2019. She co-sponsored a Senate resolution in January 2017 criticizing President Barack Obama – in his last week in office – for abstaining in a vote on a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s settlement policies. In 2019, she quietly attended an off-the-record session at AIPAC that was later revealed in social media posts by attendees. She also made a point of releasing photos with AIPAC leaders in her Capitol Hill office.
Netanyahu's Party Can’t Fathom Politicians Aren’t Above the Law (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) Coalition whip Miki Zohar fails to grasp why the State Prosecutor’s Office seems to believe that an elected official can't threaten the attorney general, however close he may be to royalty.
The corona epidemic was recruited to ensure the continuation of another village of robbers (Prof. Arieh Eldad, Maariv) This week something happened: the corona crisis also contributed to ensuring the continued existence of Khan al-Ahmar. Apparently the prime minister has another commitment, or is he being blackmailed…On Sunday (a week ago), the state had to submit its response to the (sixth!) petition of the Regavim [pro-settler] movement and declare its plans to evict Khan al-Ahmar. Such an answer was not submitted at the time set by Judge Noam Sohlberg, and the sky did not fall. The Bedouin who took over a strategic outpost adjacent to Highway1 have for the past decade waged legal and political battles funded and supported by far-left organizations, the European Union and other anti-Israel activists, so that the state does not carry out the dozens of demolition orders issued in 2009 and approved two years ago: to prevent the state from demolishing the buildings and transferring the residents to alternative plaes that have already been established for them with a huge investment near Al-Azariyah. Two years ago, after the High Court spoke, and the Europeans began to press and threaten, Benjamin Netanyahu spoke and was as clear and resolute as a solid rock (after he had already decided to postpone the evacuation): "It will not take many weeks, it will be much shorter, we will make some essential preparations in the international arena, we will give one last chance to [Bedouin to] evacuate by consent, but in any case, Khan al-Ahmar will be evacuated…We are all united in our goal: to evacuate this illegal construction. There is no debate about that ... Khan al-Ahmar will be evacuated very soon." But as mentioned, there were pressures. The EU has hinted that evacuation could be considered a "war crime.” …Therefore, and although he has repeatedly pledged, both before the public in Israel and in the courts, to destroy and evacuate, the prime minister probably also has another obligation: not to evacuate or to destroy…
The Israeli Occupation Is Making the Most of One More Day of Trump (Hagai El-Ad, Haaretz+) Israel has in its sights to destroy dozens of small Palestinian communities. The regular technique requires patience: turning the lives of the residents into an ongoing nightmare through orders to temporarily vacate, demolitions and not allowing to be hooked up to running water and electricity. On Election Day in the United States, Israel made the most of one more day of the Trump administration, dispatching its bulldozers to destroy an entire Palestinian community in the northern Jordan Valley, Humsa al-Fuqa. Eleven families – 74 people, including 41 minors – were made homeless…
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the Modern Orthodox Ideal Who Couldn't Thwart Orthodoxy's Slide to the Right (Samuel Heilman, Haaretz+) The former UK Chief Rabbi was a model for a modern Orthodox generation, excelling in both Jewish and secular learning, and elucidating Jewish thought to a global audience with intellect and grace. But he bent those principles with the compromises he made with religious conservatives to his right.
As Israel’s Budget Deadline Nears, Gantz May Have to Launch an Ultimatum (Chaim Levinson, Haaretz+) At stake is whether Netanyahu will be able to call an early election when he wants, scuttling the unity government he formed with the Kahol Lavan chief.
The government, the police and representatives of Arab society are not eliminating the violence in the Arab sector (Yaakov Perry, Maariv) The road to equality passes through joint actions, but neither the government nor its institutions, nor the police nor Arab society and the leaders of public opinion within it fulfill their role in eradicating violence and its consequences.
Defund the WZO, Defund the JNF, Defund UIA, Defund JAFI (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Packed with cronyism, slush funds and political corruption: Meet Zionism's 'national institutions' to see why every Zionist with a conscience should be agitating to close them down…I’m pretty sure you have never heard of Yaakov Hagoel, the new chairman of the WZO, a job once occupied by the likes of Theodore Herzl, Chaim Weizmann and David Ben-Gurion. I’m not even sure how to describe Hagoel, a 49 year-old lawyer of little distinction other than being a mid-level Likud functionary. He’s irrelevant to your lives, and will stay so. Hagoel is not the story. He’s merely an illustration of how irrelevant and pointless an organization the WZO has long ago become that anonymous time-servers can rise to its top office.


These Israelis Heard Yitzhak Rabin Speak Right Before His Murder – and They'll Never Forget It
Twenty-five years after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, six Israelis who were at the peace rally on November 4, 1995, recall the fateful night and its impact on their lives. (Judy Maltz, Haaretz+)


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