News Nosh 12.27.20

APN's daily news review from Israel - Sunday December 27, 2020

You Must Be Kidding: 
Pro-settler religious people protesting against the death of Ahuvia Sandak, a settler teen who died in a car chase with police after being suspected of throwing stones at Palestinians, threw stones at police and attacked the car of a Palestinian family in Jerusalem.**
A young religious nationalist couple that participated in the protest put their baby in front of a crowd dispersal vehicle. Women police officers took the baby away until the mother came.**

Front Page:


Yedioth Ahronoth

  • 2020 - Year of Corona (Hebrew)
  • “The vaccine will end the pandemic, there is no doubt about that” - Prof. Roger Kornberg, Nobel Prize Laureate for research on technology which vaccine was based on, speaks to Yedioth
  • Wuhan’s victory - A year after the first cases were found there, there haven’t been new cases in months
  • Reason for pride // (Former Director General of the Ministry of Health) Moshe Bar-Siman-Tov (Hebrew)
  • From 17:00 - Israel under lockdown
  • In the meantime: Vaccine campaign goes up a gear
  • Gantz: Don’t eulogize me, I am adamant to continue
  • Following shooting (from Gaza) on Ashkelon: IDF attacked in Gaza

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • 17:00 - Lockdown, until further notice
  • Continuing to attack - Former Likud Minister Ze’ev Elkin and MK Yifat Shasha-Biton, continued to accuse PM of decision-making based on personal interests
  • (Foreign Minister) Ashkenazi’s dilemma // Ben Caspit on what Ashkenazi considers for his political future
  • Fire against Balfour - Hundreds demonstrated holding burning torches adjacent to Prime Minister’s Residence

Israel Hayom

  • Last effort - From 17:00: Sever restrictions return and the vaccine campaign expands; PM: We will be able to exit the pandemic within a month
  • “Enormous psychological price”: Half a million pupils from 5th-10th grades will stay home starting from tomorrow and return to zoom
  • Assessment: (Foreign Minister) Ashkenazi is out, unless Gantz lets him lead
  • The fact that did not get to ‘Labor’ // Jacob Berdugo
  • Families of corona victims against Wolfson Hospital
  • Silent, we’re voting: Projects that were stopped because of advancing elections
  • There is no reason to reject Erdogan’s outstretched hand // Oded Granot

Top News Summary:
Lockdown begins today in Israel as corona vaccine campaign expands (infection rate still tops 4%) and two ex-senior-Likud politicians hurled severe accusations against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu while adjacent to his home, hundreds of protesters, some carrying burning torches, called for him to step down - making the top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Also making news: Israel intercepted two rockets launched from Gaza toward Ashkelon and then responded by bombing sites in Gaza. The Israeli papers reported that the targets in Gaza included a Hamas military post, a rocket factory and underground infrastructure. Haaretz+ noted that the attack targets were what the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said and not a corroborated fact. With the exception of Yedioth, the Hebrew papers did not mention that a Palestinian baby and a young man were injured in Israel's intensive air and artillery strikes on the central and southern Strip, which damaged a number of civilian targets, including homes, a mosque, and a pediatric hospital, causing material damage. None reported that hundreds of Palestinian families lost access to water and electricity because the Israeli airstrikes hit several water main pipes and damaged overhead street power cables. (See PHOTOS.)Moreover, Israel also bombed the Al-Tuffah Soccer Stadium field and its sports club building, severely damaging both, said Jibril Rajoub, the head of the Palestinian Football Association. Rajoub slammed Israel for targeting a sports center saying it violated all Olympic and international sports charters.

Elections 2021:

  • Netanyahu Is a Danger to the State of Israel, Former Ally Elkin Says - Talking to Israeli press, former minister and Netanyahu confidant slams PM for prioritizing personal interests above national interests. Former Minister of Higher Education in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government Ze’ev Elkin said that Netanyahu is a “danger to the State of Israel,” and vowed never to sit with him in a government under any circumstances. (Haaretz+)
  • Thousands Protest Against Netanyahu; 6 Arrested, Protesters Report Attacks by PM's Supporters - Video shows police attempt to forcefully remove demonstrators. Protesters start small bonfire (Haaretz+)
  • Protest Leader Detained After Anti-corruption Demo in Front of Netanyahu's Caesarea Home - Dozens called on authorities to probe Netanyahu's alleged involvement in procuring submarines and patrol boats from a German company. (Haaretz+)
  • Could Ashkenazi remain in Blue and White after all? - Gabi Ashkenazi appears poised to quit Blue and White unless party leader Benny Gantz retires from politics or offers to be his No. 2. In effort to differentiate themselves from New Hope, Yamina members say Gideon Sa'ar's party offering voters "more of the same." "They're all politicians who were recently in the Knesset and the government and failed," they say. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel's Left-wing Party Meretz May Forgo Primary, Aims to Secure Arab Candidates - Party source says internal elections would be redundant as the same central committee that chose previous slate will do so again. Negotiations to reserve two slots for Arab female social activists began recently. (Haaretz+)
  • Elections leave Israel's key initiatives in deep freeze - Among the plans stuck or shelved due to the Knesset's dissolution are legalization of marijuana, reducing MKs' salaries, fixing the Haredi draft and massive housing and transportation projects to improve the lives of Israelis. (Calcalist/Ynet)

Quick Hits:

  • **Right-wing Protesters Attack Arabs During Demo Against Teen's Death in Police Chase: 11 policemen were injured, 21 protesters were detained or arrested - People protesting against the death of Ahuvia Sandak, 16, who died in a car chase with police after being suspected of throwing stones at Palestinians, threw stones at police and passing cars and attacked the car of an Arab family (VIDEO) outside National Police Headquarters in Jerusalem and a couple place their baby in front of a crowd dispersal truck (VIDEO.) (Haaretz+ and Maariv and VIDEO)
  • Top Justice Ministry Official Refused to Probe Israeli Teen's Death in West Bank Police Chase - Hundreds protest the death of 16-year-old Ahuvia Sandak, a resident of Ba Ayin settlement, who was in a car that flipped when officers crashed into it during a pursuit following suspected stone-throwing at Palestinians. The unit's chief, Keren Bar-Menachem, has refused to investigate the officers involved in the chase, arguing Sandak’s friends remained silent during their interrogations and therefore there was no one to file a complaint against the officers. (Haaretz+)
  • Pregnant woman, paramedic injured in an Israeli attack on a hospital in Ramallah - Israeli soldiers broke into the courtyards of the Complex, fired teargas canisters and rubber-coated rounds randomly at medical staff and patients, injuring a pregnant woman by a rubber-coated round in her shoulder and a paramedic in his arm. (WAFA)
  • Israeli Army Shoots, Injures mayor of Palestinian village northeast of Ramallah - The mayor of Deir Jarir village, on Friday, was shot with a rubber-coated steel round, when Israeli troops suppressed a peaceful demonstration rejecting the occupation state’s intent to construct a new colony in the area. (IMEMC)
  • Settlers attack Palestinians' homes in E. Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood - Settlers, protected by Israeli police, gathered at Road 1 in Sheikh Jarrah and attacked homes, vehicles and passers-by, while the police did nothing to stop them. In the meantime, Israeli settlers attacked with stones Palestinian vehicles passing at Route 60 near the village of Sinjil, north of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. (WAFA)
  • Israeli Forces Shoot, Injure Two Palestinians at Weekly Kufur Qaddoum March - Israel forces opened fire with rubber-coated steel rounds and tear-gas canisters on the weekly anti-settlements protest in the northern West Bank village of Kufr Qaddoum, striking a child in the hand, and a teen in the abdomen, both with tear-gas canisters. (WAFA and IMEMC)
  • Football association condemns Israel's missile targeting of a sports club in Gaza - The Palestinian Football Association (PFA), headed by Jibril Rajoub, condemned the Israeli targeting and bombing of the headquarters and stadium of al-Tuffah Sports Club in al-Tuffah neighborhood in the east of Gaza City. Israel claimed the attacks came after two missiles were fired from Gaza and fell in open areas in southern Israel without causing any damage or injury. (WAFA)
  • Palestinians suffocate in Jenin-area clashes - Several Palestinians suffocated today during clashes with Israeli forces at the entrance to the town of Ja'aba, when Israeli forces stationed at the checkpoint fired tear gas canisters and stun grenades towards residents. (WAFA)
  • Following criticism, minister clarifies terrorists will not be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccine, despite directives - Interior Minister Amir Ohana says prison staff to receive vaccines while prisoners to be inoculated in accordance with guidelines for vaccinating general population. Israel Prison Service hopes to receive coronavirus vaccines for inoculating staff this week. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • Christmas trees set on fire in Israeli Arab town Sakhnin - One tree was set up outside a Catholic church, and the second had been put up by a Greek Orthodox church. Police suspect arson. (Haaretz+ , Maariv and Israel Hayom)
  • Netanyahu Speaks With Morocco's King Mohammed, Invites Him to Israel - A joint Israeli-U.S. delegation visited Rabat earlier this week, where they met with the king and signed a number of agreements, despite Morocco not viewing renewal of ties as part of Abraham Accords. (Haaretz)
  • Moroccan delegation to visit Israel to advance relations - Diplomatic source speaking on condition of anonymity said the timing and composition of the delegation has not been determined yet; Netanyahu says on Twitter that had invited Moroccan king to visit Israel on Friday call. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • 'Erdogan indeed wants normalization with Israel,' former ambassador says - After Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he would like to bring ties with Israel "to a better point," former ambassador to Turkey Pini Avivi tells Israel Hayom: If Erdogan speaks, he means what he's saying. (Israel Hayom)
  • ‘Number of cybercrimes in Israel will be sky-high in 2021' - Over 8,000 cyberattacks perpetrated against Israeli targets in 2020, Israel Hayom discovers. Most common complaints include identity theft and digital forgery. (Israel Hayom)
  • Big shoes to fill: Advisory committee approves next Mossad director - Veteran agency member D. will succeed Yossi Cohen, who is scheduled to step down in June 2021 after four and a half years. (Israel Hayom)
  • Deputy Education Minister Asks to Act as Guarantor for Rapist’s Furlough - The prisoner was sentenced to seven years for multiple counts of rape and other violent offenses against his wife, and requested a furlough from prison in order to attend his son’s bar mitzvah. Ultra-Orthodox Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism) and the municipal rabbi of Migdal Ha’emek, Yitzchak Dovid Grossman have offered to sign him out of prison. (Haaretz+)
  • Next to (convicted rapist and former president) Katzav's statue at the President's Residence: a brief explanation of his actions - President Reuven (Ruvy) Rivlin ordered that the sign be affixed, stating, among other things, that the eighth president was convicted of rape and serving a prison term. (Maariv)
  • Bostonian becomes first American woman to complete IAF pilots course - Lt. O. enlisted in the IDF with no immediate family in Israel and became one of only two women to complete the latest pilots training course. According to FIDF, there are currently about 1,000 lone soldiers from the United States serving in the Israeli military. (Israel Hayom)
  • Explosion hits gas pipeline in Egypt's Sinai, no casualties - An explosion at a key natural gas pipeline in Egypt's restive northern Sinai Peninsula caused a fire but no human casualties late Thursday, a senior Egyptian official said. (Israel Hayom)
  • At Least Six Killed by Israeli Missile Strikes in Syria, Monitor Says - Syrian Observatory of Human Rights says attacks in the Masyaf area of Syria overnight Thursday into Friday, targeted depots and missile production sites belonging to Iranian militias. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Jewish and Israeli authors are favorites for literature-loving Tehran women - Academic Yuval Noah Harari, poet Osip Mandelstam and Anne Frank's diary, all translated into Persian, can also be found on display tables of bookshops in the Iranian capital; Mary Trump's tell-all on her uncle Donald has also hit the shelves. (Agencies, Ynet)


A Palestinian Tried to Resist When Israeli Cops Razed His Home. So They Took Revenge
Jaber Dababsi stood up to Israeli forces as they demolished his South Hebron Hills home for the third time. Two weeks later, Border Police officers caught up with him, and taught him a lesson. (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+)
Investigation: This is how the state sells Jewish land that belonged to those perished in the Holocaust to non-Jews Jews in Europe bought land as part of a land redemption and later died in the Holocaust. That land is being sold today for as much as possible. Colette Avital, who dealt with the issue of restoring the property of the victims: "I assume they would not want their land to be sold to the Arabs."[NOTE: The writer sees the sale of land in the country to Arabs as negative. - OH](Kalman Liebskind, Maariv)
Rare 1986 Document Reveals Biden's Views on Israel and Saudi Arabia
At a meeting with Israel’s ambassador in Washington, Joe Biden called U.S. aid to Israel ‘the biggest bang for our buck’ and described Saudi Arabia as ‘no more than a collection of 500 princes and their families.’ (Chaim Levinson, Haaretz+)
Pilots on the ground: A peek inside the unit training soldiers to drive behind enemy lines
The IDF Operational Driving School is training soldiers to evacuate the wounded and supply the fighting forces on the ground, under fire, over harsh terrain and often in complete darkness. (Hanan Greenwood, Israel Hayom)
The secret connection between Israel and the President of Lebanon
After Morocco and the Emirates, there is also talk of normalization between Israel and Lebanon - talk that became particularly hot after the President’s daughter, Claudine Aoun, called for the establishment of relations between the two countries. Smadar Perry reveals the past ties between Israeli officers and the President of Lebanon, in the days when he was a senior in the army. One of them, Maj. Gen. Matan Vilnai, even secretly rescued him in his vehicle after a complicated military operation. (Smadar Perry, Yedioth/Ynet)
A 350,000-year-old Turning Point in Human Evolution Found in Israel
Analysis of a single rock used to abrade materials, probably hides, indicates sophistication in tool use much deeper in time than had previously been thought. (Ruth Schuster, Haaretz+)

Netanyahu, Gantz, Sa'ar and Bennett Battle It Out to Mark Their Territory (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) Sa'ar succeeds in disrupting Bennett's plans while cunningly dismantling Likudץ Gantz and Kahol Lavan have totally lost their valueץ Netanyahu's pawn Elkin effectively demolishes the PM.
Israel’s High Court Judges Are Playing Dumb About the Nation-state Law (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) “Why is this so painful?” Supreme Court Justice Isaac Amit asked attorney Hassan Jabareen, who was representing the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, during last week’s High Court hearing on several petitions against the nation-state law. Amit’s question was referring to the status of Arabic in the law, which turned it from an official language into a “special” one. Of course, he prefaced his question by politely explaining that he was “just asking, not expressing an opinion.” There’s something outrageous about this seemingly minor query, maybe because God is in the details. What is Amit actually asking? What isn’t clear to him? Does someone have to explain to the honorable justice that the nation-state law – the 2018 Basic Law on Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People – discriminates against the country’s Arab citizens? Obviously not. Had Amit needed such an explanation, he wouldn’t have gotten through his first year of law school. So why play dumb?…
Israel's anti-Netanyahu Protesters Are Sick of Keyboard Heroes (Limor Moyal, Haaretz+) For 26 weeks we’ve been outside the prime minister’s residence on Jerusalem’s Balfour Street. From tank tops and flip-flops we’ve moved to wool hats and gloves. And we have no intention of stopping until the nightmare known as Benjamin Netanyahu has departed from our lives. Meanwhile, if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s keyboard heroes who give out grades to the protests.
Netanyahu is no longer the master of the game (Limor Livnat, Yedioth/Ynet) The prime minister is facing a challenge from a former ally who is a skilled politician in his own right, and despite the normalization deals and the vaccine, the upcoming election will not turn out as he plannedץ
Ignoring the Elephant in the Square (Shaul Arieli, Haaretz+) Saturday night at Balfour Street. I listen to the 10th speech, read the signs of the numerous organizations. And finally, ponder the meaning of the various protesters’ ignoring the elephant in the room (in this case, Jerusalem’s Paris Square). The elephant, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, stands there in all its might, filling the square. It enables the despicable rule of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his flock of loyalists. Leaving the State of Israel without permanent borders for more than 70 years now. Trapping it in a reality of state and society that don’t know where they begin and where they end, who is within them and who is outside, what their identity is and what their regime is. A collection of warring tribes without a single, unifying idea…
The Joint List against the Arab public (Yusuf Haddad, Ynet Hebrew) The opposition of the Joint List faction members to the peace agreements is a refined expression of the detachment of its members from Arab society in Israel. Ahead of the 2021 election, the ball is now in the hands of the other parties.
The Israeli Left Should Take a Time Out in the Upcoming Election (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) The election of Israel’s 24th Knesset will be the first in the country’s history in which the two parties with the best prospects of forming a coalition are both right-wing.
No more Mr. Nice Guy (Einav Schiff, Yedioth/Ynet) Gantz' short-lived political career and little-to-zero political instinct serves as example that politics is not just about good intentions, but about actions and their eventual consequences for the people you wish to lead.
An Impressive Defection From Netanyahu’s Party, but Not Yet a Game Changer (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) Hard as the blow to Netanyahu may be, the big question is whether Elkin’s exit will generate what Likudniks call “a breach in the right wing.” Today Sa’ar’s enterprise derives its strength mainly from the collapse of the wide stretch between Likud and the Joint List of Arab parties, and from people who once called themselves leftists but today sum up their entire ideology with hatred for Netanyahu and his voters. Yesterday they supported broken-backed Benny Gantz and Avigdor Lieberman, who doesn’t greet Arab legislators when he sees them. Today they support Sa’ar, who fights against asylum seekers, and Bennett the settlers’ leader. Let’s see what the day after tomorrow brings. We should check what settlement activist Daniella Weiss is doing these days. She’d be a game changer…
Shame on Israel's leaders for putting their careers above our health (Amitai Avnon Savitzky, Yedioth/Ynet) Just as we doctors vow to never abandon our patients, our politicians should do the same, especially in the throes of a pandemic that is ravaging our already struggling healthcare system and destroying our economy.
Yariv Levin - the outstanding beater in the legal system (Adv. Liron Libman, Ynet Hebrew) When the Speaker of the Knesset dares to send a letter to the Chief Justice of the High Court ahead of a discussion of a law, this is like an ordinary citizen who sends a letter to a judge hearing his case. The latter could have found himself in a police investigation.
Erdogan reaches out to Israel – but new allies will influence Jerusalem’s response (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Up until a few years ago, Erdogan’s statements would have been welcomed as an important diplomatic message whose fruits Israel should quickly harvest, but the new geopolitical map demands more caution.
What do we want from our soldiers? Whatever the soldier does - it ends up bad for him (Rafi Carasso, Maariv) ]In response to the IDF dismissing a soldier from the Golani Commando Brigade because he didn’t shoot a Palestinian youth who threw a firebomb at him, note: the soldier was not injured, Carasso writes the following:) I expect the IDF to give precise instructions and give backing to the soldiers, and also to understand a little about a person who may have been in a state of shock and whose behavior stems from a survival reflex that keeps us all alive.
Two dramas could rock the Middle East even before Biden enters office (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Joe Biden will take office in the middle of the Israeli election campaign. An escalation with Iran is still on the table – but so is a breakthrough in Israeli-Saudi relations.
Pakistan Recognizing Israel Is Dirty Politics. But It's Legitimate (Imran Jan, Haaretz+) Normalization with Israel doesn’t mean relinquishing support for the Palestinians. But it would be the kind of political pragmatism that Pakistan, now more than ever, needs.
A Dirty Policy (Haaretz Editorial) Israel continues to sink to new lows in its attitude toward the weaker members of society. Every time it seems that it can go no lower, the state finds a new nadir of despicableness. Next week, about 60 asylum seekers, employed through a human resources agency as sanitation workers for the Tel Aviv municipality, will be fired. This follows a cabinet decision from a decade ago designed to “encourage employment of Israelis.”

One of the Best Musicians in Israel Sings About the War to Liberate Palestine
Amal Murkus’ music is rarely played on the Israeli radio. ‘I pay a price for being a free person,’ she tells Haaretz ahead of the release of a new album. (Interviewed by Ben Shalev in Haaretz+)


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