News Nosh 11.15.20

APN's daily news review from Israel - Sunday November 15, 2020

Quote of the day:

“How is it that you always think the judges we propose aren’t as good, and that the judges you suggest are all wonderful? What do the conservative judges we propose eat that makes them not as good?”
--Transportation Minister Miri Regev (Likud) reportedly said to High Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut in discussions over promotion of a conservative judge to the District Court, whom Regev said takes a hare line against Bedouin Israelis. Hayut reportedly rejected Regev's allegations, saying judges are promoted based on merit.*

Front Page:


  • Agreement with Pfizer does not include sanctions in case the vaccines are not supplied
  • Law born in sin // Mordechai Kremnitzer on law for ‘Alternate Prime Minister’
  • Thousands protested against Netanyahu, police arrested demonstrators who marched to Jerusalem
  • Intel sources: Israel assassinated a senior Al-Qaeda figure in Teheran in August
  • Trump: Time will tell who will be President: Number of electors that Biden won rose to 306
  • Woman addicted to drugs stole 200 shekel bill ($60) from a car that was left open as a lure and is on trial for breaking in
  • He believed and he was wrong // Amira Hass on Saeb Erekat
  • Spare us // Akiva Novick on hate-filled election campaigns
  • Government hoped that working from home would decrease traffic jams - but corona only increased them

Yedioth Ahronot

  • “In the heart of Teheran, Mossad killers shot Al-Qaeda’s #2”
  • The long arm // Ronen Bergman (Hebrew)
  • This is just the beginning // Yossi Yehoshua
  • “It won’t bring Davir and Noi back to us”
  • Vaccine sale
  • (Danny Abadia) On the way to NBA (Hebrew)

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

Israel Hayom

Top News Summary:
The assassination of a top Al-Qaeda figure last month was revealed to be a Mossad job done at the request of the US (MK Avigdor Lieberman claimed that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu leaked the story to the New York Times to brag, Maariv wrote), Israel is advancing the vaccine deal with Pfizer and a showdown began between the government and the High Court, the latter which ordered the state to explain the legislative amendment that created the position of ‘alternate prime minister’ for Kahol-Lavan leader Benny Gantz, without which the coalition government would fall - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

The contrast between the presentation of news in ‘Israel Hayom’ and Haaretz was particularly stark today. ‘Israel Hayom’ gave a supportive front-page headline to US President Donald Trump’s claims that the ballots were not counted properly with a photo of Trump supporters demonstrating in Washington, while Haaretz’s front page photo was of of Border Policemen seizing an anti-Netanyahu protester marching to Jerusalem to join the thousands demonstrating against Netanyahu. In ‘Israel Hayom,’ the demonstration was a small item on page 9 that suggested violence on the part of the demonstrators with the headline, “Protests against the PM: 18 demonstrators arrested following clashes with police. Haaretz+ reported that it was the police that tried to stop the march to Jerusalem of protesters who carried enormous submarine-shaped balloons (in reference to Netanyahu’s alleged corruption in the submarine acquisition case). Maariv wrote that the weekly protests “are dying down,” as fewer people participated Saturday night. Maariv also reported that according to a poll, 69% of Israelis give the government a failing grade in its basic duties of addressing the five most important needs: food, housing, education, medicine and security.

Haaretz also made space on its front page for the accusation by former US President Barack Obama that Netanyahu will justify doing anything to stay in power. In ‘Israel Hayom’ that story was on page 15 with a headline that suggested that Netanyahu acted in the interests of the state and not his own: “Obama: Netanyahu sees himself as the defender of the nation, will do everything to stay in power.” The ‘Israel Hayom’ headline in the English version was even more complimentary: “In new memoir, Obama describes Netanyahu as 'smart, canny, tough.’” ‘Israel Hayom’ also reported that the New Israel Fund, an organization that supports local civil and human rights organizations, donated to NGOs “that tried to influence the Israeli elections.” That “influence” was essentially driving Bedouin, many of whom don’t have cars, to polling stations.


Quick Hits:

  • Three Palestinians Shot, Injured at Weekly March in Kufur Qaddoum - Israeli soldiers, on Friday, fired rubber-coated steel rounds and tear-gas canisters at Palestinian demonstrators at the weekly protest in Kufur Qaddoum village in the West Bank. Locals have been demonstrating each Friday and Saturday since 2003 to demand that Israel reopen the main road to Nablus that it closed. (IMEMC and video)
  • Report: Pompeo to make unprecedented visit to Samaria, Golan Heights - Outgoing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is planning to visit a Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria and tour the Golan Heights during his scheduled trip to Israel next week. (Israel Hayom)
  • Presidency denounces Pompeo’s planned visit to Israeli settlements - Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas, said today that US Secretary of Defense Mike Pompeo’s decision to visit Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank is a provocation to the Palestinian people and leadership. (WAFA)
  • *Israeli minister touts judge’s appointment perceived as tough on Bedouin - Transportation Minister Miri Regev supports Judge Ron Sulkin as his candidacy for Be’er Sheva District Court divides Judicial Appointments Committee. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel continues to hold the body of Palestinian prisoner who died in jail from medical negligence - Kamal Abu Waar, 46, from Qabatiya in the north of the West Bank, died on Tuesday of cancer while in prison prompting Palestinian rights organization to accuse the Israeli authorities of neglecting the health of the prisoners and not providing them with the proper medical treatment. (WAFA)
  • Report: Pollard hopes for pardon before Trump leaves office - Released from prison in 2015 after serving 30 years of a life sentence for passing classified information to Israel, the former Israeli spy's parole is set to be reviewed on November 21. (Israel Hayom)
  • Head investigator in PM corruption cases retires - Brig. Gen. Eli Assayag, head investigator in Case 3000 and Case 4000 in which PM Netanyahu is suspected of corruption among other things, announces surprise retirement after 35 years on the force. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison got Hollywood's Arnon Milchan to give Netanyahu his lawyer - Ellison and Milchan are both testifying for the prosecution in Netanyahu's corruption cases ■ Why Ellison refused to buy Netanyahu rival's newspaper ■ And what Rupert Murdoch thought about founding an 'Israeli Fox News’. (Haaretz+)
  • Declassified paper torpedoes allegations of corruption in submarines affair - Working paper that served as draft of MoU between Israel and Germany shows that Israel never intended to add three submarines to its fleet, but was preparing to replace three old submarines that would be decommissioned. (Israel Hayom)
  • WHO meeting devolves into attack on Israel - Among those blaming Israel for violating health rights of Palestinians and Syrians are Venezuela, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, Malaysia and Lebanon - all of which are embroiled in civil war, political strife or human rights violations. (i24news/Ynet)
  • 'The Time Has Come': Israel Announces Plan to Legalize Recreational Cannabis Use - According to Justice Ministry plan, which politicians say has a good chance of passing in the Knesset, adults 21 and up would be allowed to buy cannabis, but home grow would not be allowed – at least not for now. (Haaretz+)
  • Jordan denounces Israeli violations of the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque - Jordanian Foreign Ministry spokesman Daifallah al-Fayez said in a statement that allowing entry of Israeli fanatics to the holy compound was a blatant disregard of the historical and legal status quo, which gives Jordan the sole right to run the affairs of the compound and organize Muslim prayers there. (WAFA)
  • Putin, Merkel congratulate President Abbas on his 84th birthday - Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel today congratulated President Mahmoud Abbas on his 84th birthday Friday. (WAFA)
  • IDF takes big picture approach in dealing with Iranian threat - The recently formed Strategy and Third Circle Directorate takes a holistic view of the Iranian threat, which stretches from its territory all the way to Israel’s borders, and describes how the new approach optimizes Israel’s readiness for future perils. (Israel Hayom)
  • Ex-NSA chief: Israel could act against Iran before end of Trump administration - "Israel follows the Begin Doctrine. It will not accept [a] hostile state having the world's most destructive weapon," H. R. McMaster says. (Israel Hayom)
  • Britain's Prince Charles makes private donation to Peres Center for Peace - Heir apparent's private donation for an undisclosed sum marks first time palace makes any donation known to public and the first time a member of the royal family makes a private donation to an Israeli cause. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Women, Islamists Suffer Setbacks in Election in Jordan - The government in Jordan, a close U.S. ally, is more representative than others in the Middle East, but most power is held by King Abdullah II. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Israel Says a Palestinian Teen Fell and Died as He Fled Soldiers. But a Witness Describes Gruesome Violence
Amer Snobar's friend, who was at the scene, says he was beaten to death by officers wielding clubs. The army denies killing him. (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+)
Subterranean stronghold: IDF's secret anti-Hezbollah bunker
The Northern Command's underground complex close to the Lebanese border is nothing less than a concrete-studded city that helps to ensure Israel's military superiority even under heavy shelling or attack from unconventional weapons. (Itay Ilnai, Yedioth/Ynet)
The Zionist Activists Who Collaborated With Nazis, and Were Executed by Jewish Partisans -
The Betar movement has ignored a melancholy chapter of its history that occurred in the Vilna ghetto during the Holocaust: the execution by Jews of other Jews who collaborated with the Nazis. (Ofer Aderet, Haaretz+)
Remembering the Palestinian Declaration of Independence
On this day 32 years ago, the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat declared from Algiers the independence of the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital. (WAFA)

Top Commentary/Analysis:
Biden’s Biggest Priority on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Isn’t a Peace Plan (Susie Gelman, Haaretz+) Trump brought U.S. foreign policy into dangerous alignment with the expansionist Israeli right. Biden has to rebuild American leverage – starting with reconstructing Washington’s relationship with the Palestinians.
Biden's victory dictates nature of the next election campaign (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) The results of the US presidential elections serve as a sober reminder to Israeli voters that when it comes to dealing with a potentially semi-hostile administration in Washington, no one can rival Netanyahu.
Netanyahu's reports of his relationship with Biden indicate panic in his office (Ran Edelist, Maariv) While most world leaders sent congratulations and best wishes to the President-elect of the United States, the Prime Minister was busy conducting a calculation of profit and loss. In Jerusalem they know that the people of the new president will not make life easy for them.
Why Israel’s settlers aren’t scared of Joe Biden (Cas Mudde, Haaretz+) A Biden administration will end the unprecedented Trump White House access given to the settler movement and their ambitions. But history teaches us that whoever is in power, the settlers keep marching on.
Biden must heed history when managing Iran (Danny Danon, Israel Hayom) Will the US president-elect forge his own new, independent path and stop the Iranian nuclear race? Or will he enable a dangerous situation to continue and worsen?
After Trump, restoring ‘normal’ US policy on Palestine isn’t enough (Omar Baddar, 972mag) Biden may be a pro-Israel stalwart, but progressive activists and representatives can push for a foreign policy that respects Palestinian rights.
Biden Win Doesn't Mean the World Can Breathe a Sigh of Relief (Yair Assulin, Haaretz+) Anyone looking at the United States and the election results there, understands the extent to which Biden’s victory, with respect to truth, reality and the impact it will have on people around the world, is almost meaningless, minor. All the emotions it arouses amount to little more than aesthetics.
Anyone who wants to silence politicians should understand that he too can be silenced (Kalman Liebskind, Maariv) When Trump is taken off the air in the United States, and Israeli journalists are enthusiastic and want to apply similar criteria to ours, they should be reminded that the biggest lie industry is in the press, and that someone can ask them to shut up. .
A Toast to Mike Pompeo for Visiting an Israeli Apartheid Winery (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Pompeo wine has been sold at this Israeli settlement winery for a year.
Joe Biden has plans for Israel and the Middle East (Itamar Eichner, Yedioth/Ynet) The next U.S. president will likely make an effort to improve and return to the Iranian nuclear deal, resume ties with and aid to the Palestinian Authority, while avoiding tensions with Netanyahu that were a hallmark of the Obama era.
Israeli settlers want to make business deals in Dubai. Pity they have nothing to offer (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) Even if Gulf financiers can overlook the politics, there’s little business in West Bank settlements to invest in.
Will Netanyahu Strike Iran? Unlikely, but Trump Might (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Faced with the most unpredictable president to ever sit in the White House, Israeli officials are trying to decipher Trump's intentions about Iran until January.
Trump fooled half of the American people (Sever Plocker, Yedioth/Ynet) It is terrifying to see that the country of Lincoln, Edison and Bill Gates has also given the world Trump, who though aligning himself to other populist leaders is far more ignorant; still he managed to win over almost 50% of the electorate.
There Is One Thing Trump Can Do to Help Netanyahu (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) After Trump was elected, Netanyahu told his aides to 'be like Trump.' It would be interesting to see what Biden's style would have on Israeli politics. After talking with Pfizer's CEO, Netanyahu sounded as if the firm's vaccine was in fact an Israeli breakthrough.
Lieberman's hypocritical agenda (Amnon Lord, Israel Hayom) Leader of Yisrael Beytenu called on Israeli Arabs to form a separate party, a move that might undermine the alliance between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Joint Arab List MK Mansour Abbas.
The expected crisis of confidence of the Prime Minister (Prof. Yuval Noah Harari, Yedioth Hebrew) For years, Netanyahu has been urging citizens not to believe in the media, academia, the judiciary, the police, the State Prosecutor's office and the Treasury. Is it any wonder that in the midst of the crisis, many do not believe the authorities?
Netanyahu Reveals There Are Arabs He’s Willing to Negotiate With (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) All told, one of Israel’s most ignominious political swindles is about to end with an election that will very likely benefit the swindler and crush the decent partner, Benny Gantz.
Could Netanyahu's Curse on the Arab Community Become a Blessing? (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) There are some things only the right can do. Only the right can give back territory and evacuate settlements in return for peace – and stay alive and in power. Only the right can sign normalization agreements in return for selling advanced weaponry to Arabs without being considered traitors. “Don’t give them rifles,” they shouted at Rabin and his government back then. Now it turns out that everything was just one big misunderstanding. They simply meant to say: “Give them F-35 warplanes.” The same goes for political cooperation with the Arabs in government. Prime Minister Benjamin (“The Arabs are flocking to the polls”) Netanyahu has recently invested a great deal of effort into drawing in close the United Arab List (Ra’am) and its leader, Joint List lawmaker Mansour Abbas. And the right, which thinks that forming a narrow left-wing coalition that relies on Arabs is an act of betrayal of the country, has kept silent…
Arab Lawmakers, Don't Trust Netanyahu (Friday Haaretz Editorial) The Joint List alliance has been grappling for months with an acute internal crisis that threatens the continued cooperation among its four factions – Hadash, United Arab List, Ta’al and Balad…In recent months the quarrels have become worse, after United Arab List leader Mansour Abbas began talks with Likud figures and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s aides. Abbas was attacked by his colleagues in the party and by circles in Arab society, who maintained it was untenable to cooperate with a prime minister who keeps inciting against the Arab public, who called the members of Joint List terror supporters and who acted to pass the nation-state law. Abbas dismissed the criticism, claiming that his course of action would enable him to play a role in the political game and accumulate achievements like the implementation of the program to combat crime, which Netanyahu promised to submit to the cabinet within two weeks…
Erekat was neither 'enemy in disguise' nor one of us (Michael Milstein, Yedioth Hebrew and Yedioth/Ynet English) The late Palestinian negotiator was a man with whom you could sit at the table, even as he continued to promote propaganda against Israel; he wasn't a friend of Israel, but he did wish for peace and a better future.
The hate camp (Ariel Kahana, Israel Hayom) The supposedly enlightened Left is calling Donald Trump "evil" and a "liar" and rejoicing over his apparent election loss, while praising PLO man Saeb Erekat. This only proves that neither Israel nor peace is their top priority.
Hardliner and peace-seeker: The puzzle of Saeb Erekat, 1955-2020 (Martin Indyk, Haaretz+) Saeb Erekat was respected and reviled for his years as chief Palestinian negotiator: sometimes acid-tongued, always a proud Palestinian nationalist, who refused to boycott Israelis and who kept the faith of a two state solution.
In Ramallah they are optimistic: Biden's victory will get the Palestinian Authority back on track (Avi Issacharoff, Maariv) Saeb Erekat was called "the great negotiator of the Palestinian Authority," before the title became empty of content and the object of ridicule. Against the background of the general depression, only one thing could have brought the blush back to the cheeks of senior Fatah and PA officials: a victory for Biden.
The personal diplomacy delusion (Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) Like the false Oslo narrative, tributes to Saeb Erekat from diplomats show that the belief that peace is attainable through building relationships remains a myth.
Netanyahu Is the One Who's Dividing Jerusalem (Israel Harel, Haaretz+) “He simply doesn’t want to close all options of making concessions in Jerusalem” says an influential figure in Jerusalem. That’s interesting. Only now, two months before the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, has the city launched a frantic attempt to advance work on a few of the sites that have been quiet for years. These efforts will most probably end, as in the past, in frustration. The distinguished fullback will continue to block them...
The court as an alternate government (Dr. Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) No one in Israel voted for the Supreme Court justices to run the country, cancel or change laws, or led us into a new election.
Israel should save its worries for real security concerns (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) Gaza's rulers have no interest in conflict with Israel with internal elections coming up and prisoner swap negotiations underway; their real challenge is an uncontrolled coronavirus pandemic and 50% unemployment.
Another Assault on the High Court (Haaretz Editorial+) In the chaotic reality of Israel, there could be nothing more predictable than the right-wing thugs’ assault on the High Court of Justice following its ruling on Thursday that the Knesset must give justification for the amendment on the Basic Law on the Government that created the rotation agreement for the position of prime minister. Right-wing politicians’ claims that the High Court is undermining the people’s sovereignty is baseless, and it’s no wonder that the lawyers representing the right wing in the High Court are addressing the matter in a completely different tone. An amendment to the Basic Law on the Government allowed the establishment of a mutation of a unity government suited to the measurements of the man who was indicted and refuses to step down, enabling at least on paper a rotation that would not force a resignation as ministers indicted for serious offenses must do…
Netanyahu's Biggest Fear: What if Gantz Decides to Decide? (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) The past year tells us that Defense Minister Benny Gantz will end up dropping the idea to probe the so-called submarine affair. But some in the defense establishment are hoping he will grow some skin.
Biden Win May Be the Straw to Break Erdogan's Back (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The new U.S. administration will want to settle accounts with Erdogan, who is already neck-deep in domestic damages caused by his associates.
Why the Arab Spring Never Really Arrived (Shlomo Avineri, Haaretz+) A new book by Jacob Lassner traces the links between today’s situation in the Arab states and the region's cultural and religious legacies. In short, one must hold up the mirror of history to the contemporary Middle East.
Spare Us Another Hate-filled Israeli Election Campaign (Akiva Novick, Haaretz+) Sharon Dartaba is one of the Likud’s secret weapons. His job is to collect information of the less pleasant kind about political adversaries. People in Likud are apparently quite happy with his work because his monthly salary in September was 71,049 shekels ($21,094). The people who disseminated the information Dartaba collected, Jonathan Orich and Topaz Luk, each earned about 66,000 shekels, and Likud’s director general, Zuri Siso, brought home 83,204 shekels.
(Acclaimed poet) Natan Zach Was a Wonderful Poet – but Also a Racist (Mati Shemoelof, Haaretz+) “The Mizrahim will get the Blacks, and the Ashkenazim will get the bastards .... The idea arose to take in people who have nothing in common. Some come from the highest culture – Western European culture – and some come from the caves.” This is how the late poet Natan Zach described Israeli society in an interview on the Channel 10 program “Hamakor” (“The Source”) in July 2010. No, Zach didn’t invent racism in Israel but gave it a voice, provoking demonstrations and boycotts against him and becoming a disgrace among the educated Mizrahi community.
What’s Behind Israel’s Reported Hit on Al-Qaida Leader in Iran (Yossi Melman, Haaretz+) Israeli assassination of Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah in August is a psychological blow to Iran's Revolutionary Guards – but who is best served by releasing details of the killing now?

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