APN's daily news review from Israel - Monday January 11, 2021
Quotes of the Day:
“With all due respect to ‘realpolitik’ and the duty of every country to maneuver between its interests, it is hard to deny that there was a love story here, as well, and there probably still is. And if you were shocked by the photos from Washington last week, the love story and its meaning about Israel's moral image should break your heart as well.”
—Yedioth Ahronoth TV critic and commentator, Einav Schiff writes about the meaning today of Israelis turning Trump into a cult personality.
“After four years of the explicit support of the (Israeli) right-wing, accompanied by enabling silence from the mainstream, suddenly Israelis are remembering to flee for their lives from U.S. President Donald Trump’s sinking ship."
—Haaretz+ political correspondent Noa Landau also holds the Israeli mainstream accountable for staying silent during Israel's support of Trump.*
"As Donald Trump’s term in office comes to an end, we’ve recently seen the birth of the 'Young Settlement' (settler outposts) campaign, part of the settler right’s final attempt to promote land grabs and change the reality on the ground in the West Bank, before an adult once again assumes the seat of the President of the United States…In Israel’s attempts to legalize these illegal outposts, the government is signaling to settlers that the law may be applied selectively, and may even reward them. So, where is the surprise that following this criminal construction comes other types of crime, including severe violence of the likes that we saw in the Hilltop Youth’s recent riots (over the death of settler teen Ahuvia Sandak)?"
--Shaqued Morag, Executive Director of Peace Now, writes in Ynet that it should not surprise Israelis that the result of Israeli settler and government land grab of Palestinian land during Trump's era ends in settler violence.***
- Another shipment of Pfizer arrived in Israel; The goal: 200,000 inoculations a day
- Even after the vaccine: Corona wards are flooded with patients
- Rise in the number of settler attacks on security forces
- Nine days until the end of his term, Trump, isolated and silenced, faces another impeachment // NYT
- High Court Chief Justice Chayut convened the Committee for Selecting Justices during election days without approval from Gantz
- Education revolution taking place across the world, but doubtful that Israel is prepared to implement it
- The cry of the directors of the hospital wards (Hebrew)
- Failed, outstanding // Amichai Attali writes that the vaccines are due to Netanyahu, but if it weren’t for failure to deal with the crisis properly, Israelis wouldn’t need them
- The attack on the (Golani) battalion commander (by pro-settler demonstrators) and the alarming trend // Yossi Yehoshua
- [Right-wing extremists - OH] Ben-Gvir and (MK) Smotrich and Netanyahu’s matchmaker - Who thwarted the effort of Netanyahu’s associates for an alliance on the right-wing
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
- Second dose (of vaccine)
- The protest and the attack - Commander of Golani elite commando was attacked at (pro-settler) protest against police over death of Ahuvia Sandak
- Divided - Trend of dismantling of center-left-wing parties: Yaalon parted from Yesh Atid
- “The curve is beginning to straighten”
- Crowded on the left: Many parties, few votes
- More than 1000 seriously ill: The worst is ahead of it
- Blessed be those who heal the sick - Doctors who gave it all to the corona patients and got infected - and defeated it
- For the good of us all: Stop wearing down the medical staff
- Embarrassment to Yaalon: Added to his party a man suspected of bribery and was forced to cancel his candidacy hours later
Top News Summary:
More vaccines arrived and hospital corona wards became more overrun with corona patients (on Monday, Israel posted a 7.4% coronavirus infection rate and 251 people on ventilators, which is also an all-time-high), but it looks like the infection rate curve is beginning to iron out, a settler was arrested last night for beating the commander of the Golani Brigade’s elite commando unit, and the splits in the center-left camp continue - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Also worthy of noting, in a report on the US Democrats’ move to impeach US President Donald Trump, the headline in the pro-Trump, pro-Netanyahu daily, ‘Israel Hayom,’ was the quote, “The process of the impeachment of Trump contravenes the Constitution.”
Only Haaretz noted that the vast majority of West Bank attacks by Israelis last year were aimed at Palestinians. But following the attack by one settler on Lt. Col. Ayub Kayuf, both Haaretz and Yedioth reported that Israeli security officials are now warning that the settler protests over Sandak’s death could transform into 'a battlefield' between settlers and law enforcement. [NOTE: The papers, with the usual exception of Haaretz, have not been reporting on the daily settler attacks on Palestinians and their property - for which Ahuvia Sandak was being chased by police. Everyday for months the settler - and soldier - attacks on Palestinians and their property have been reported on in Palestinian news and printed here at the top of the Quick Hits section. - OH] Kayuf was hit numerous times by Attorney Yehuda Shimon, a settler from the Havat Gilad outpost, when he and his forces were trying to evict protesting settlers from blocking traffic at a junction in the West Bank. [It just so happens that Kayuf is Druze. The papers forgot to note that this was not the first time that settlers attacked Golani Brigade commander, Kayuf and in the same area. In October 2019, a group of 30 settlers - also in the Yitzhar settlement area - blocked and stoned Ayoub’s vehicle, slashed its tires, opened the door and threatened to seize the vehicle. The attacker, Shimon, has already been interviewed on right-wing online websites denying he attacked Kayuf despite the fact that numerous soldiers were with him. - OH] The settlers have been protesting nightly in locations in Israel and the West Bank against the death during a police chase in the West Bank of settler teen, Ahuvia Sandak, who was suspected of throwing stones on passing Palestinian cars. Israel security sources said the phenomenon of settlers attacking security forces was cause for concern. Ynet posted a video of Shimon being arrested, with the misleading caption, “Lt. Col. Ayub Kayuf is attacked as troops…” Meanwhile, a court ruled that the Police must compensate pro-Netanhyahu demonstrators who gathered outside the home of a bereaved family that hosted anti-Netanyahu activists. The police had confiscated the pro-Netanyahu protesters' loudspeaker equipment.
The big story was that “embarrassment” (‘Israel Hayom’) of Telem party chairman, Moshe Yaalon, for choosing a man suspected of bribery to join his list, and only finding out about it a few hours later, forcing him to remove his candidacy. (Ayman Abu-Riya, the representative of the Arab sector who was removed from the Telem party list told 103FM/Maariv that he was not offended by Ya'alon, and that he plans to run again after clearing his name of all suspicions.) Yaalon and Yair Lapid of the Yesh Atid party officially broke up a few hours earlier. Yedioth quoted Lapid saying, “I’ll work to unite left-center.” ‘Israel Hayom’ reported that not only is Netanyahu trying to gain the Arab vote, but Ron Huldai’s ‘Yisraelim’ (Israelis) party is trying to get the Druze vote and will be adding a candidate from the Druze sector to its list. On the far-right, Yamina faction leader and Habayit Hayehudi party chairman, Naftali Bennett, won't be allying with the even more far-right-wing National Union chairman, MK Bezalel Smotrich, this time around.
- Settlers uproot, steal olive saplings south of Nablus - A group of hardcore Israeli settlers sneaked into the village of Qusra Sunday and uprooted and stole 130 olive saplings. (WAFA)
- As Tensions Run High, Residents Report Increasing Presence of Israeli Jets Over Beirut - According to reports on social media, the frequency of low flying warplanes over Beirut has intensified in the last two weeks in what has become a daily routine in the final days of the Trump administration. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
- Assessment: The attacks in Syria will continue in the near future - In the last two weeks, there have been three attacks attributed to Israel. At the same time, Israel wants to take advantage of the window of opportunity before the change of government in the US, in addition to the good operational conditions: good weather and the forces of the other side are limited in their ability to retaliate. (Maariv)
- A fifth of Arabs fear violence in their area of residence - The survey published by the Central Bureau of Statistics deals with the feeling of personal security, and raises gender and sectoral gaps: more Arabs are afraid of being harmed in their area of residence, men are also relatively more afraid compared to women. In the north there has been a positive improvement in the sense of security. (Maariv)
- Israel's High Court Says Hospitals Can't Bar Visitors From Bringing Bread During Passover - The Chief Rabbinate expressed disappointment with the decision, saying it 'harms a majority of the public and the Jewish character of the state.’ (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
- Israel's Court President Orders Irregular Meeting of Judicial Appointments Panel - The courts administration says the move to convene the committee under a caretaker government was approved by acting Justice Minister Gantz, but he denies having anything to do with the decision. (Haaretz+)
- Israel to Share Vaccination Data With Pfizer as Part of Secret Deal - The Health Ministry says it would only share information already in the public domain with Pfizer, who would have much to gain from the information collected in Israel. (Haaretz+)
- Palestinian Authority Expects First Vaccines in March, Accuses Israel of 'Ignoring Its Duties' - The PA's public health chief announces deal with AstraZeneca, while the Foreign Ministry says Israel is 'committing racial discrimination against the Palestinian people, depriving them of their right to health care.’ (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
- Mine-free River Jordan Shrine Ends 50 Year Wait for Epiphany Procession - After declaring the area landmine-free, custodian of the Holy Land for the Roman Catholic church commemorates the baptism of Jesus. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
- No more pay-for-slay: Bank of Palestine will no longer be paying terrorists - Unless the bank discontinues its involvement with terrorists' accounts, it will be subject to enormous legal and economic risks under to the 2016 Counter-Terrorism Law. (Israel Hayom)
- Bahrain Says It Will Open Airspace to Qatar Starting Monday - Saudi Arabia and the UAE have already announced reopening air, land and sea entry points to Qatar. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Iran will expel UN nuclear inspectors unless sanctions are lifted, says lawmaker - In a statement, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran had an obligation to allow the inspectors access. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Iran holds naval parade in Persian Gulf - Footage showed scores of vessels took part in the maneuver. State TV said hundreds of boats participated. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Iran Tells South Korea Not to Politicize Seized Vessel, Demands Release of Funds - Tehran pushes Seoul to release $7 million in funds frozen amid sanctions, denying allegations that seizure of ship is equivalent to hostage taking. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Lebanese Christian leader rules out joining Hariri government as political deadlock worsens - Gebran Bassil, leader of Lebanon's biggest Christian bloc, says he won't join the cabinet as long as Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri insists on naming all the ministers. (Agencies, Haaretz)
A Teen Died in a Police Chase. In His Outpost, Steadfast Settlers Want Arabs to 'Keep Their Heads
Two weeks after the death of hilltop youth Ahuvia Sandak in a police chase, a visit to Maoz Esther reveals a small community convinced that they the victims, and are doing God’s will. (Hagar Shezaf, Haaretz+)
Revealed: How Israel's Submarine Scandal Was Buried
As early as 2009, an inquiry was held into possible corruption in Israel's bid to buy submarines from Germany. The secret probe, triggered by an anonymous whistle-blower, took testimony from high-ranking officials about signs of bribery – but the powers-that-be covered it up. (Gidi Weitz, Haaretz+)
How Egypt Is Using Cyber Laws to Crack Down on LGBTQs
From entrapment on Grindr to draconian family values and public morality laws, Egypt is using tech to persecute its LGBTQ community. (Eitan Leshem, Haaretz+)
*When Trump's Israeli Groupies Abandon Ship (Noa Landau, Haaretz+) After four years of the explicit support of the (Israeli) right-wing, accompanied by enabling silence from the mainstream, suddenly Israelis are remembering to flee for their lives from U.S. President Donald Trump’s sinking ship. When Capitol Hill is literally burning, that’s the sign for the absolutely last passengers to flee to the quay in panic, to the right side of history. These passengers want to pay the lowest possible price for their ethical choices: Not to anger the centers of power when they’re on top, and not to pay a price for abandoning them when they’re down. And that’s exactly how Channel 12 News anchor Yonit Levi’s interview with Boaz Bizmuth, editor-in-chief of the free daily newspaper Israel Hayom, sounded on Thursday, after the invasion of Congress by Trump supporters. When Levi asked if Bismuth would concede that the ‘President crossed a red line,’ Bismuth, who is still fiercely defending the former candidate of his patron, U.S. billionaire Sheldon Adelson, gave her the most accurate reply: “Yonit, all the reports this evening could have been heard two days ago.” In other words, Yonit, we’ve heard the claims about Trump’s contribution to the end of democracy before. What has actually changed, and where were you then? Bismuth is right. He represents those who for four years vocally supported Trump, for ideological and utilitarian reasons. Levi represents those who for four years only maintained an “objective” facade, while providing approval for the support. Now they’re remembering to be shocked. In an interview with Army Radio, Dani Dayan, former Israeli consul general in New York, provided a fascinating glimpse at another aspect of the phenomenon. When asked, “Do you feel that Trump has lost it?” he replied: “Ah, there’s no doubt, and not only yesterday, I’ll say it in a broader perspective: For Israel it was a diplomatic miracle. The dividends we received from the Trump administration are inconceivable. On the other hand, for American democracy it was a serious traffic accident.” And what does Israel do when it witnesses a serious accident? It gives the drunk driver another gulp of wine from the territories. “Isn’t it embarrassing now to be on the side of Trump supporters?” asked Udi Segal. “Yes, in a certain sense, yes,” Dayan admitted. But he hastened to explain: Those same “dividends” (Trump’s unilateral recognition of the Israeli occupation) were worth the price. In other words: For four years most of the Israeli public, whether publicly or by maintaining silence, supported all the things that the majority is now hastening to condemn. And when the mainstream is afraid to express an opinion in the face of anti-democratic forces that are strong and in power – and only because they are – that’s the real danger to democracy…
**With friends like these (Einav Schiff, Yedioth Hebrew) Turning Trump into an icon in Israel hid a duty to be accepting and to also encourage the whole set of values that he brought with him to the White House - and certainly when he made no effort to hide them…Donald Trump's public shares are dropping as if he were an airline around March 2020. Even the most skilled charlatans have failed - and it's not that they didn’t try - to disconnect between the conduct of the US President and the assault on Capitol Hill, with the aim of disrupting the ratification of the election results. For years they have tried to separate "rhetoric" and "policy" from their words and their dangerous potential. Then came the anti-democracy attack, which was carried out according to Trump's message page and his incitement shortly before, leaving them embarrassed for at least a few minutes. Do not worry: there won’t be any soul-searching. In Israel, too, there is not really a discussion about four years of personality worship. During Trump's term, Israel became a red state at the level of Wyoming. The White House synergy with the prime minister, after eight years of hostility under the Obama administration, has been marketed here with great success as a gift that requires ‘horah dances’ in the streets. Those who shy away from the bone-breaking hug with them are painted in shades of lack of patriotism. The real "deal of the century" was that the man in orange would give whatever Netanyahu asked of him more or less and receive in return the only thing that interested him: horribly embarrassing expressions of admiration, including a settlement in his name in the Golan Heights. For Trump it also went great with wanting the evangelical base - another branch that is leveraged here detached from the foundations of his faith - so there was generally one point on the globe that he had fun looking at (when his eyes were not on Fox News and Twitter). And now there are voices as if Israel has used up all profits without giving anything in return. But in practice, Trump's personality, which measures everyone solely through the prism of his ego, does not allow for this kind of relationship. Therefore, his becoming an icon also entailed a complete duty and encouragement of the entire set of values he brought with him to the White House - certainly when he never tried to hide what he believed in. From the disgraceful treatment of women to the refusal to accept the election results - everything was visible and known even before he was elected. He conducted over the table the dangerous game with the darkest forces of white supremacy in America, including neo-Nazis, as evidenced by the shameful reaction to the events of Charlottesville. Obviously, Trump's many supporters in Israel were not required to decide whether to give him their vote at the ballot box. They are unlike many American conservatives, tens of millions, who agreed with his takeover of the Republican Party and its engulfment within Trumpism, and are now facing the consequences. Still, Israel's identification with Trump and his administration is unusual even in terms of close ties between the two countries, and certainly compared to skepticism and criticism in the West. With all due respect to “realpolitik” and the duty of every country to maneuver between interests, it is hard to deny that there was a love story here as well, and probably still is. And if you were shocked by the photos from Washington last week, the love story and its meaning about Israel's moral image should break your heart as well.
The Con-men League: How Netanyahu’s Bromance With Trump Could Come Back to Haunt Him (Alon Pinkas, Haaretz+) A year ago, Likud assured Israelis that Benjamin Netanyahu's friendship with Trump put him in ‘a different league.' Now his critics are using that quote against him.
Recognized the potential: American Jews were not partners in the aura around Trump (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) The Jews living in the United States have repeatedly demonstrated their loyalty to the Democratic Party and its values, even before Donald Trump was portrayed as an instigator, someone who disparages his opponents and conventions in general.
***The Lie of the “Young Settlement” that is Annexing Israel (Shaqued Morag, Executive Director, Peace Now, Ynet Hebrew) “Young Settlement” is a cover name used to obscure the settler movement’s construction of ten illegal outposts a year. These masters of the land understand, without a doubt, that there is no problem in breaking the law, and the results of this understanding are evident in their demonstrations...For about two weeks now, the Hilltop Youth have been raging without restraint and the government remains silent. Why? Because above every rolled-over police car, bleeding policeman and shattered glass shines the headline “Young Settlement.” As Donald Trump’s term in office comes to an end, we’ve recently seen the birth of the “Young Settlement” campaign, part of the settler right’s final attempt to promote land grabs and change the reality on the ground in the West Bank, before an adult once again assumes the seat of the President of the United States. Although in 2020 we did not see an official annexation of the West Bank, we did see the highest level per year of settlement construction plan approvals in the past two decades. Now the settlement enterprise is trying to scrape together a few more final achievements. “Young Settlement'' is the new clean label given to the dozens of illegal outposts that the right-wing leadership seeks to legitimize [retroactively authorize], and our government is actively participating in their campaign. “A humanitarian step,” lauds Minister Michael Biton. “Salt of the Earth”, exclaims Minister Omer Yankelevich. Tzachi Hanegbi and Yuval Steinitz’s words of support do not even warrant special mention. So what about these representatives of the “Young Settlement,” dressed in their military uniforms and even suits, and the Hilltop Youth, with their payot, sandals and flying stones? Well, all of the inhabitants of the outposts share a worldview, according to which all of the land beyond the Green Line is ours, and must be conquered one way or another. Each outpost has its own story about the way in which the land was seized, how it was built and the operations behind its establishment. However what they all have in common is a blatant disregard for law and order. Because we are the masters of the land, all means are permissible and legitimized in order to fulfill our vision. In recent years, roughly ten new illegal outposts have been built each year. With enough insistence, a little bit of luck and a lot of political pressure, each of these outposts will eventually receive an access road, connection to a water system, and possibly even electricity from a neighboring settlement. Over the years, their residents will knock on the doors of government offices and demand the ultimate treatment--legalization. In their attempts to legalize these illegal outposts, the government is signaling to settlers that the law may be applied selectively, and may even reward them. So, where is the surprise that following this criminal construction comes other types of crime, including severe violence of the likes that we saw in the Hilltop Youth’s recent riots? Precisely in the year that the Israeli public and its leaders chose peace over annexation, an alternative reality continues to emerge in the Occupied Territories. The masters of the land are rioting, the security forces are accommodating them, the government is backing them, and the de facto annexation continues to advance at a stubborn crawl. In particularly shocking cases, the settlement leadership will denounce the “weeds” of its society but has no intention of sealing the crevice through which they grow. Jewish terrorism has proven very effective in removing Palestinians from the land and clearing the way for the next settlement to be built, despite the anger of the majority of the Israeli public, which prefer peace. This is what the “Young Settlement” campaign would prefer to hide. When the law is a mere recommendation, it is the beginning of a slippery slope. When you turn a blind eye to crime, it becomes the norm. And when it happens beyond the Green Line, it is only a matter of time before it seeps over into Israel. Every day that we continue our military control in the West Bank, the line becomes evermore blurred. Very soon, if not already, we will realize that the essential question that should bother us is not whether Israel is interested in annexing the settlements, but rather are the settlements about to annex Israel.
A shot in the neck and strangled population. Routine (military mission) in Area C ( Sarit Michaeli, B’tselem member, Ynet Hebrew /Ynet English) The first shocking thing about watching the footage of in the Palestinian village of a-Rakeez in the South Hebron hills happens even before two shots are heard, when he is found lying on the ground, as his family members cry out for help. The shock is due to the sight of Palestinians physically resisting the soldiers trying to confiscate their generator. Harun himself tries to salvage the generator with such determination that he loses his sandals. It is rare for Palestinians to resist a demolition or confiscation this way…Watching this footage reveals that most Palestinians are so intimidated that it does not occur to them to do more than argue, swear, or film the demolition that will leave them homeless and exposed to the scorching summer sun or winter storms...The activities of Israel’s Civil Administration and of the IDF, which led to the "generator incident" and the shooting of Harun Abu Aram, were not unusual. [A soldier shot the young shepherd, Abu Aram, in the neck from point-blank range last week when Abu Aram tried to try to wrest back his electric generator from three armed soldiers. Abu Aram is paralyzed now from the neck down and on life support. - OH]..The IDF Spokesperson’s laconic and detached statement got one thing right: “Yesterday, IDF forces carried out a routine seizure operation of tools used for illegal construction.” Indeed, Palestinian construction in villages like a-Rakeez is always “illegal construction.”…No matter how many outline plans and permit requests Palestinians submit and how many times they prove it is their own land – they will never receive building permits because such permits are not given to villagers in the Masafer Yatta area…A sober look at the situation on the ground reveals that Israel perceives the strangulation of Palestinian development as a key goal designed to strengthen its control of the West Bank…Palestinian victims are well aware that in the current reality their lives are so worthless that if they try to resist they may find themselves in the sandals of Harun Abu Aram.
'Call Anytime': The Settlers' New 'Snitch Line' Is Targeting Palestinians (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) 'Have you seen Palestinian construction work that looks to you to be suspicious and unauthorized? Have you encountered a sanitation hazard created by Palestinians who disdain the law? From now on you have a 'snitch line' of your own.’
COVID Vaccines: The Most Lethal Example of Israel’s Disregard for Palestinian Lives (Shannon Maree Torrens, Haaretz+) It is one thing to blockade the people of Gaza for supposedly security purposes. It is another level of deplorable to deny them a life-saving vaccine.
Vaccinating the Palestinians is in Israel's interest (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) Beyond scoring Israel diplomatic points, a campaign to vaccinate Palestinians in Judea, Samaria, and possibly the Gaza Strip would make it clear that despite agreements, declarations, and the 2003 disengagement, Israel remains the sovereign on the ground.
Public Security Minister Amir Ohana Is Cruel and Dangerous (Sunday Haaretz Editorial) Public Security Minister Amir Ohana’s response to the attorney general’s announcement that Ohana has no authority to refuse to vaccinate prisoners against the coronavirus is no less outrageous than his initial malicious decision not to vaccinate them. Avichai Mendelblit’s deputy for criminal affairs, Amit Merari, sent a letter to Ohana reminding him that the right of prisoners and detainees to receive medical treatment is enshrined in law and in court rulings. The Prison Service, she added, must work to vaccinate the prisoners without delay. The Health Ministry’s deputy director general, Itamar Grotto, also complained that the Prison Service hadn’t yet started vaccinating prisoners, adding that the ministry’s order to vaccinate all people aged 60 and older includes prisoners. But Ohana doesn’t care about either Merari or Grotto. His desire to be cruel to the weak overrides the prisoners’ legal right to receive necessary medical treatment. In general, Ohana views the law as a mere recommendation and the attorney general as a mere adviser. In Ohana’s theory of political science, a minister has the right to decide whatever he pleases, even if he thereby endangers human life. And that’s all the more true during an election campaign, when he has to flex his muscles against the weak, on one hand, and against the “dictatorship of the bureaucrats,” as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it, on the other.
It’s about time: Netanyahu has turned from the way in which the Arab public is viewed in politics (Lilach Sigan, Maariv) Although he does this to seek Arab votes, at least we also remembered to view the Arabs as an electorate, after all the references about the rising morbidity in the sector, the mass weddings and the disregard for guidelines. After all, there are almost 2 million (Arab) people who make up 21% of Israeli citizens. In contrast to the ultra-Orthodox electorate, which is completely exploited and blackmailed, in the case of the Arab sector it is a huge electorate that has been lying on the political floor, withered and neglected for years. Netanyahu's latest discovery, for which he suddenly hopes to find a solution to his mandate shortage in this particular sector, at least for a moment illuminated the sector in the right light. After all, to this day, Israeli Arabs have received stereotypical, diminishing, fixed and unfair treatment from all shades of the political spectrum - from the right, the center and the left. The Arab public in Israel suffers from many problems. High crime, illegally illegal weapons that are pulled out easily, the murder of women, unregulated construction, and all that before we talked about the gaps [in education, etc. - OH]. There is nothing new in the fact that the representation of the Arab public in the Knesset is poor and negligent. For years, this has been a representation that deals only with Palestinian nationalism, and suffers from zero pragmatism. Until a few years ago, there was a "good reason for this" - the Arab parties were small and meaningless, and their whole essence was the ability to protest and make provocations. But what is the excuse for the Joint List, the united political force that has existed for about six years? In the last election the Joint List reached a peak, 15 seats, but again failed to use its power for the benefit of its voters. Is it any wonder it falls in the polls?…The Likud at least knows how to use the Arab public for political purposes. To this day (the Arab sector) has been a tool for anti-propaganda and intimidation purposes [for example race-baiting to get Jewish right-wing voters to vote for Netanyahu - OH. It worked for quite a few Likud voters, and for some reason the right and center immediately aligned with the perception. Gantz and Lapid faltered with their plan to form a minority government in the previous elections, precisely because of the fear of their party members to be portrayed as terrorist-lovers by Likud propaganda…The chances that (Netanyahu’s) Arab trick will work are not great, but at least Netanyahu is not stuck in his perception. He recognized the huge gap between the Arab public and those who represent it. This is a sector that over the years has given up on voting, and rightly so. The most neglected and battered political segment of all sectors. So Netanyahu saw the seats on the floor, and said to himself - wait, why not pick them up?
These Four Timelines Will Decide Whether Netanyahu Wins the Election (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Israel’s prime minister is fighting for survival on four separate fronts, but while he can probably control three of them, there’s one 6,000 miles away he’s powerless to do anything about.
I had Meretz (pun on party name and meaning is ‘energy’: the veteran party gives no reason to vote for it (Uri Mintz, Maariv) With the center camp split into 400 party fragments with no difference between them, the left-wing party had a golden opportunity to position itself as an alternative and become stronger. But it chooses to stay stuck in the Nineties. Instead of trying to appeal to new audiences and present a diverse and refreshing list, it prefers to remain a Tel Avivi, Ashkenazi and detached party. When even Netanyahu and the Likud decide to change direction and embrace the Arab public, even if out of cynical considerations, Meretz chooses to avoid Jewish-Arab cooperation. [NOTE: Meretz is placing 3 people in its top 10 spots - OH] Instead of presenting action plans, waking up the area and gaining media prominence, Meretz prefers to tweet from the side. And the result? Instead of being a vigorous left-wing party that influences the political map and gains enough power to realize at least some of its ideas, this political corpse will continue to flutter and leave us with the nostalgia for the days of Shulamit Aloni and Yossi Sarid.
Crime in Arab sector could morph into terrorism (Zvika Fogel, Israel Hayom) Local authorities and Arab Israeli legislators have a very hard time admitting the failure of their leadership policy, which has focused on the Palestinians' right to establish a state at the expense of Israel, rather than the needs of their constituents.
Israel's Police Watchdog Has Failed (Haaretz Editorial) The case of Ahuvia Sandak, a 16-year-old boy killed in a car crash during a police chase of youths suspected of throwing stones at Palestinians, offers more evidence of how the Justice Ministry’s unit that investigates police misconduct has lost its way. Keren Bar Menahem, head of the unit, has made every possible mistake in her handling of the case. This comes on top of a decrease in the number of indictments of policemen, the continuous cooperation between the unit and the police, and the refusal to investigate senior officers suspected of crimes. Bar Menahem’s first mistake in this case was her refusal to investigate the suspicion that the police had deliberately sideswiped the car in which Sandak was riding with his four friends, which may have caused it to overturn. Bar Menahem forbade her investigators to summon four policemen for questioning, despite the assumption that they were involved in the incident…
Iran fostering chronic tension in the Gulf (Salem al-Ketbi, Israel Hayom) Tehran is a key player in unleashing tensions in the region, not only because of the suicidal and militaristic tendencies that dominate the ayatollahs' practices but because the regime also plays brinkmanship politics in dealing with any issue it faces.
The Arab Spring created a consensus against Middle East interventions (Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) Ten years later, the neo-conservative dream of spreading democracy is dead. But both Israel and America are largely content with their undemocratic Arab allies.
Trump's 'Favorite Dictator' Prepares for a Tough Relationship With Biden
Two Egypt experts tell Haaretz why the incoming U.S. president will face some difficult choices concerning Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi’s regime in Cairo. (Interviewed by Ben Samuels in Haaretz+)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.