News Nosh 11.9.20

APN's daily news review from Israel - Monday November 9, 2020

Quotes of the day:

"But Trump and Netanyahu have turned their lack of credibility into their art. Both use the phrase “Fake News" to fend off proven truths. One should not deal with the facts, but only claim that that those telling them are liberals or leftists."
--Dr. Baruch Leshem, the author of a book about Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's political marketing skills, writes today in Ynet Hebrew that, like with US President Donald Trump, the public may be tired of the spin.*

"So, yes, thanks to Trump the right-wing should understand that even Israel's greatest friend in the world is not buying the vision of non-stop settlements that will lead to one country. But according to what was reflected in the media we became thankless."
-Yedioth's right-wing columnist, Ben-Dror Yemini, writes that even leftists should be thankful to outgoing US President Donald Trump, despite the things Trump did that leftists oppose.**

Front Page:


Yedioth Ahronoth

  • “Israel is on the way to a third lockdown” - Worrying rise in the rate of infection
  • Starting to work (Photo of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris)
  • She gave them wings - Exactly 25 years ago, Alice Miller led a historic High Court ruling that allowed women to get accepted to the Air Force pilots’ course - Yedioth held a rare meeting between her and four female pilots (Hebrew)
  • Welcome to Dubai - The sites you can’t miss, where to eat and shop, the Emirates for children, recommendations from locals, flights, insurance and corona rules (Hebrew)

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • “We are not enemies” - Biden’s reconciliation speech
  • Returning to the cockpit? - Senior Kahol-Lavan people met with Opposition leader Yair Lapid and discussed possibility to ally in order to bring down the government
  • Abandoning ship - At the height of the epidemic, the deputy CEO of the Health Ministry, Prof. Itamar Grotto, resigned

Israel Hayom

Top News Summary:
The election of Joe Biden as US President and the reactions to his victory dominated the Hebrew newspapers today, while the uptick in the rate of corona infections, the opening of shops after two months lockdown and the resignation of the Health Ministry’s deputy CEO due to ‘pandemic policies,’ also made top news.

Maariv's foreign affairs correspondent, Gideon Kotz, noted that "half the world" was quick to congratulate President-elect Biden on his election and half the world was not. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was among those who dilly-dallied, waiting till Sunday to send a Tweet. Yedioth Hebrew’s Itamar Eichner noted that he did not refer to Biden as ‘President-elect.’ Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also waited till Sunday to congratulate. Maariv reported that the Likud is trying to get used to the new reality, in which the president who is considered the prime minister's best friend - will no longer be in the White House. ‘Israel Hayom’ reported that Israel is ‘bracing’ for the outline of the Biden administration, hoping that Biden avoids appointing ‘radical forces’ from the Democratic Party. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also congratulated Biden on Sunday morning, and that was a sign of the end of the Palestinians’ boycott of Washington after nearly three years of a rift, wrote Yedioth/Ynet Hebrew’s Palestinian affairs correspondent, Elior Levy. However, Abbas did not mention Israel, the peace agreements or the two-state solution, Levy noted. And Israel’s security establishment does not expect the Palestinian boycott of Israel to end yet, Maariv’s military correspondent, Tal Lev-Ram, reported. The Palestinian Authority won’t resume security coordination with Israel anytime soon, Lev-Ram wrote. However, the Israeli security establishment does think that the Biden Administration will improve relations with the Palestinians soon. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said that Israel needs to choose between two states and becoming a demographic melting pot through settlements. Speaking on 103FM/Maariv, Israeli MK Ahmed Tibi said he hoped that the Biden Administration will reopen the consulate in East Jerusalem. [The consulate was closed after the US moved its embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem. Previously it was used for Palestinian consular affairs and had a separate staff for liason with the Palestinian Authority and other Palestinian actors. - OH]. Tibi added that "Biden is not the knight of Palestinian dreams.” The chairman of the Joint List faction said that following Biden’s election, “The world without Trump is saner and less delusional." Arabs in the Arab world don’t expect a fundamental policy shift in the Middle East, Haaretz+’s Jack Khoury wrote. Turkey also gave a muted response to the election of Biden, possibly because Biden has called Turkish Prime Minister Tayyep Erdogan an ‘autocrat.’ Saudi Arabia was the only Arab country to wait more than 24 hours to congratulate Biden, who in his campaign had pledged to reassess ties with the kingdom and demanded accountability over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. ‘Israel Hayom’s Arab affairs correspondent, Daniel Siryoti, wrote that Sunni Arab states worry that the Biden administration will roll back sanctions on Iran. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged the results by saying that Biden should make up for Trump's mistakes and should return to the nuclear deal.

Two more Op-Eds by top political commentator were published today in the Hebrew press. This time it was Yedioth’s right-wing columnist, Ben-Dror Yemini, and, of course, ‘Israel Hayom’’s Boaz Bismuth. Yesterday, Maariv’s Ben Caspit, acknowledged that Trump was ill-fit to be President, but said that Israel was lucky he did the things he did in regards to the Israeli-Palestinian issue and in the region. Today, Yemini said the same, but berated Israelis who didn’t think or say so: “There’s something a little screwed up with us, sorry for the phrase. True, (Trump) is a blunt man. True, he is not polite. True, he made abominable remarks. Still, close to 50 percent of Americans support him, and a larger percentage of Israelis view him favorably. (See Commentary/Analysis for full Op-Ed.)

Quick Hits:

  • Palestinian Shot in Attempted West Bank Stabbing Attack, Army Says - Army reports no casualties, and says the suspect was transferred to the hospital in unknown condition after being shot by troops. (Israel Hayom, Haaretz+ and Maariv and VIDEO and Ynet)
  • Citizen files first-ever lawsuit against Israeli settler in a Palestinian court - Palestinian Minister of Justice Mohammad Shalaldeh said today that a Palestinian citizen from the northern West Bank village of Burin filed a lawsuit, for the first time ever, before a Palestinian court against an Israeli settler who vandalized his under-construction house. (WAFA)
  • Israeli Navy Shoots, Injures Two Palestinians off Gaza Coast - Local fishermen committee said an Israeli navy ship opened fire with rubber-coated steel rounds at the fishing boat, lightly injuring Mohamed al-Sultan, 26, and his 12 year old brother. (IMEMC)
  • Attorney General Throws Conflict of Interest Dispute With Netanyahu Back to High Court - Avichai Mendelblit reverses his original position after the prime minister informed the court that he rejects the attorney general’s authority to impose an agreement. (Maariv and Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Man Charged With Threatening Attorney General, Blames Autocorrect - The 70-year-old suspect insists he wrote an innocent message to Avichai Mendelblit, but autocorrect changed it to ‘commit suicide.’ (Maariv and Haaretz+)
  • The cracks in the coalition are expanding - Kahol-Lavan officials met with Opposition leader Yair Lapid, as the dispute with Likud, which won’t agree to passing the 2021 budget, continues. Kahol-Lavan began to coordinate moves with the opposition leader: "Gantz is holding discussions, he meets, consults - but does not decide." Likud does not fold: "They are trying to drag us into elections at all costs.” (Maariv)
  • Nine Attorneys Apply for Israel's State Prosecutor Position - Fearing the government may soon disband, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit hopes to pick a candidate within weeks. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel's Stores Reopen, but Retail Sector Will Take Years to Recover From Closure - Rents have fallen sharply in many areas as merchants give up the ghost, with a quarter of the country's 40,000 downtown retailers having gone out of business. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • One of the women appealing to the High Court: "There is no difference between the training I did and the one the men went through” - The High Court will hear today the petition of four young women, who demand that the IDF allow them to participate in the physical training tests to be accepted to elite units such as the Sayeret Matkal, Shayetet 13 (like Navy Seals), Golani and Paratroopers Reconnaissance units, and Duvdevan unit. (Maariv)
  • Arab League welcomes UN adoption of Palestine-related resolutions - The resolutions, which were adopted by a large majority of votes, are related to the operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territories and Jerusalem. (WAFA)
  • President Abbas receives a letter from UN chief regarding call for a peace conference - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres thanked Abbas for his call for a peace conference and said he will continue his consultations with UNSC members and other relevant actors in order to find the best way forward to achieve peace in the Middle East. (WAFA)
  • First Flight With Israeli Tourists Arrives in UAE After Normalization Deal - Plane from Tel Aviv to Dubai flies over Saudi airspace, with regular commercial flights flights to be launched soon. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Trump advances $10 billion defense sale to UAE, congressional source says - The informal notification comes after Trump informed Congress it plans to sell sophisticated armed aerial drones to the UAE. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • 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)
  • Israel-Azerbaijan relations likely to improve following Abraham Accords - Azerbaijani FM: We have always supported the establishment of peace and security in the Middle East. We believe this will contribute to the development and prosperity of the whole region. (Israel Hayom)

Top Commentary/Analysis:
Biden Conjures Dreams of New Middle East, but Trump's Damage Will Be Difficult to Repair (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Trump's loss is a blow to his friend Erdogan and an opportunity for the U.S. to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal. But Biden may find that America's traditional foreign policy isn’t necessarily relevant anymore in a Middle East after Trump.
Before Biden is sworn in: we must promote construction in Jerusalem and establish facts on the ground (Adv. Yair Gabay, Maariv) The time until the inauguration of the new American president on January 20 must be used to continue promoting construction plans in our capital, which under democratic governance will probably not succeed.
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.
An amazing friend to Israel departs the White House; thank you, President Trump (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) The celebrations by supporters of the Democrats in the US were predictable, but it's hard to understand the gloating by some in Israel over the Republicans' defeat. How can one reject the outstretched hand of a president who saw us as a family? Trump has his own style and his substance was different, something his voters understood.
Now That Trump's Out, It's Time for Netanyahu's Israel to Sober Up (Haaretz Editorial) We cannot ignore the fact that in recent years Netanyahu has tied the fate of the State of Israel to that of the Republican Party and Trump. Netanyahu did so at the price of damaging relations with the Democratic Party…Now Netanyahu’s Israel has to sober up from the intoxication of power that marked the four years of Trump’s rule. Trump helped to fuel the dangerous illusion that Israel can ignore the conflict with the Palestinians. He even contributed to the destructive belief that the question of sovereignty over the territories is distinct from sovereignty over the Palestinian inhabitants, and that in any case Israel has the right to determine the future of the territories on its own. Biden must shatter this dangerous illusion, which is leading Israel along a path that ends in apartheid or a binational state…
*Is Netanyahu worried? On Trumpism, Bibism and populism (Dr. Baruch Leshem, Ynet Hebrew) The outgoing US president took advantage of the media to deepen controversy and rifts in the public, thus pushing away the moderates who eventually sent him home. Is his media twin from Israel going his way?…For these two politicians the truth is only a recommendation. A basic rule in political marketing is to avoid statements that are factually incorrect - not because it is immoral, but because they can be refuted. The basic premise is that credibility is an essential element in a politician's image. How can his promises be believed on the eve of an election, if it has already been proven in the past that he he breaks them afterward? But Trump and Netanyahu have turned their lack of credibility into their art. Both use the phrase “Fake News" to fend off proven truths. One should not deal with the facts, but only claim that that those telling them are liberals or leftists. In the eyes of their public this is an absolute truth, that the others utter every possible lie to overthrow a head of state not through the ballot box. Both face legal hardships that affect their political conduct. Trump, who has so far enjoyed immunity as president, is facing criminal charges after his term ends (paying money as a silence fee to a porn star, an act that sent his lawyer to jail, women's allegations of sexual harassment, tax scandals and more). Netanyahu is facing trial. Their grip on power is therefore desperate, leading to a sharp clash with what they call a "deep state" - that is, a deep state made up of progressive or leftist officials seeking to sell the country to the forces of darkness, whether from China and Iran or Arab Israelis and ISIS. Both Trump and Netanyahu have used their super-media skills to increase public controversy and deepen rifts, in order to strengthen their electoral base support. But there was a price to pay: they woke the moderate and undecided public up from their beds. Trump managed to excite his base to ecstasy in the huge rallies, but he lost this election because it turned out that at the same time he managed to get voters, who are usually hidden from the polls, to go out and vote in unprecedented percentages for a century. His lies and insults ended their patience. Despite the differences between the United States and Israel, Netanyahu may also be on this path of collision. The base is still with him, but the center and left-wing public has changed. Those who usually murmur in secret, or in encounters with beautiful and melancholy songs of the Land of Israel, have reached their boiling point. They go to Balfour and the streets with a determination that has not been seen for many years. Their patience for maneuvers and tricks has also ended.
To Trump-trained Israeli Ears, Biden’s Victory Rhetoric Sounds Alien and Potentially Hostile (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Biden's liberal worldview and traditional positions on Palestinian conflict sure to shock Netanyahu’s Israel.
We were spoiled by Trump's four years, how there is no need to fear Biden's victory (Yossi Achimeir, Maariv) The fact that Biden succeeds Trump should not worry us too much. One can only hope that all fears will be dispelled and that he will shed the liberal-leftist glory of Sanders and the like.
**You got carried away. We need to say thank you to Donald Trump (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth Hebrew) The impression created in the TV studios and in most of the media in Israel is that the enemy of the Jewish people has come down from the stage. But the truth is that both the right and the left in the country should thank those who have done much for us. There’s something a little screwed up with us, sorry for the phrase. True, (Trump) is a blunt man. True, he is not polite. True, he made abominable remarks. Still, close to 50 percent of Americans support him, and a larger percentage of Israelis view him favorably. I’m not sure they’re right. If I were American, I doubt I would have voted for him. But it seems that now, right now, as he steps off the stage, Donald Trump needs to be told one more word: Thank you.” And this is annoying, because once it became known that Joe Biden was the winner, the impression created in the TV studios and most of the media in Israel is that the enemy of the Jewish people came down from the stage. For long hours there was hardly a sound that presented a different position. We know the media is unbalanced, but we got a little carried away. Because without Trump we would not have reached peace with three Arab states, and without Trump there would have been no recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel, and without Trump there would have been no recognition of Israel's sovereignty in the Golan. And for those of us who are on the slightly more dovish side of the political map: without Trump, the Netanyahu government would have led us to the disaster of annexation. And thanks to Trump's imperfect peace initiative, the Israeli right was also forced to digest the fact that the Palestinians deserve a state in at least 70% of Judea and Samaria [West Bank], as well as the addition of territories from Israel. So, yes, thanks to Trump the right-wing should understand that even Israel's greatest friend in the world is not buying the vision of non-stop settlements that will lead to one country. But according to what was reflected in the media we became thankless. The nuclear deal cooked by John Kerry and Federica Mogherini gave Iran permission to continue its regional subversion, arming of Hezbollah, ballistic missile development, and most importantly, to continue to threaten the very existence of the State of Israel. And in return - it won countless benefits and easing of sanctions….It is permissible and necessary to criticize Trump for objectifying women, and it is a bit difficult to speak in praise of a leader who refuses to respect the election results. Most of the media outlets seem to have made the effort to repeatedly mention the shortcomings of this extroverted man. But the media in Israel almost completely ignored the good things the man did. So it is worth mentioning that despite everything and after all, Trump was not only a personal friend of Binyamin Netanyahu, he did some good things. A great friend of Israel descends from the stage. It is permissible and he should be told thank you.
The Palestinians' Ultimate Demand From a Biden Win (Jack Khoury, Haaretz+) People in both Ramallah and Gaza are waiting to see to what degree the election results will encourage all the Palestinian factions to continue efforts to stop the intra-Palestinian rift.
Trump Is Trying to Push Hezbollah Out of Lebanon. He Could Turn Them Into Heroes (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The defeated president is trying to pressure Gebran Bassil to abandon his ally Hezbollah, but may make the controversial politician and his friends national martyrs.
As Trump era ends, Israel must tread carefully (Shimrit Meir, Yedioth/Ynet) With Biden set to occupy the White House, the Jewish state finds itself in uncharted waters, and the faster it copes with the new reality the better it would be for us, the incoming U.S. administration and the entire region.
Biden must not appease Iran (Eldad Beck, Israel Hayom) As Europe breathes a sigh of relief at the news US President Donald Trump will be leaving the White House, there are those across the continent who are beginning to come to terms with the failure of the Iran nuclear deal.
Don’t Buy Bibi’s Spin: Iran Is Not Behind anti-Netanyahu Protests (Ran Bar-Zik, Haaretz+) Facebook did take down Iranian accounts active in Hebrew. But it never said 'Iran used social media to fuel the left-wing demonstrations against Netanyahu.’
Israel, the Sunnis and the return of a pro-Iran White House (Caroline B. Glick, Israel Hayom) The Israeli media grotesquely cheers the apparent defeat of Israel's best friend ever in the Oval Office and his replacement by the vice president of the most hostile US leader in history.
Prophet Cartoons? Let Muslim Women Deal With It (Rajaa Natour, Haaretz+) The murders that raged in France clearly show that the male defenders of the dominant Islamic discourse are panicking. Time to listen to women.

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