News Nosh 1.13.21

APN's daily news review from Israel - Wednesday January 13, 2021

Quote of the day:

“Unlike other Bibi fans, Adelson put his money where his mouth was. He poured hundreds of millions of shekels into the free daily newspaper Israel Hayom, for the sole purpose of making Binyamin Netanyahu Israel’s prime minister. From a journalistic perspective, Israel Hayom was never very important. But as a goal-oriented political project, it was Israel’s most important newspaper, contributing to Netanyahu's 11-and-counting consecutive years in office.”
—Sami Peretz writes about how the great influence the freebie Israeli newspaper, ‘Israel Hayom,’ created and published by the late Jewish billionaire and megadonor, Sheldon Adelson, had on Israelis - in support of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.*

Breaking News:
At least 40 Killed After Israel Struck Syria 'With U.S. Intel After Pompeo, Mossad Head Met in D.C.'
Senior U.S. intelligence official says Israel's strike on eastern Syria targeted arms depots, as well as components linked to Iran's nuclear program. This is the fourth alleged Israeli strike in Syria within two weeks and the deadliest attack since 2018. (Haaretz+, Ynet, Israel Hayom)

Front Page:


  • Dramatic rise in social welfare cases during corona
  • Sheldon Adelson 1933-2021
  • Man who influenced more than anyone in the public sphere // Nati Tucker
  • He refused to be at tool in Netanyahu and (Yedioth publisher) Mozes’ game // Gidi Weitz
  • The kingmaker of the Republicans // Natannel Slyomovics
  • Healthcare service providers to begin vaccinating insured age 50 and up
  • Those vaccinated speak of many more side effects in the second vaccine dose
  • Lapid has no excuse not to unite with anyone in the left-center bloc. Not even Meretz // Ravit Hecht
  • Gantz: Lapid is fit to lead the left-center bloc in the upcoming elections
  • Congress preparing for vote over stripping Trump’s powers, claiming he is unfit
  • For the first time, State recognizes that transgender is not a mental illness
  • The enemy changed, but a 900-year-old rampart still protects Ashkelon
  • Nothing new // Zvi Bar’el on change in attitude to settlers’ violence against IDF soldiers
  • Pure elitism // Samah Salameh writes that Jewish-Arab cooperation in Meretz party is fake
  • 100 years after it was built above the Taninim (alligators) river, the restoration works of the “one-day bridge” stopped
  • Four months after receiving an irregular grant of 3.1 billion shekels, IDF asks for 4 billion more

Yedioth Ahronoth

  • World hope: Drop in infection rate among vaccinated Israelis (Hebrew)
  • Hospitals: The doctor, the spokesperson and the receptionist will be vaccinated, but the cleaning staff won’t be (Hebrew)
  • It’s not over for us - Side effects of virus continue for some Israelis long after the virus is gone
  • Billionaire Sheldon Adelson died at age 87

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • The race against the virus
  • Sheldon Adelson 1933-2021 - “One of the great donors of the Jewish people”
  • United in rejection - Benny Gantz’s call to establish joint center-left faction answered with silence
  • Finance Minister Yisrael Katz to Maariv: “I wont hold election economics, the dollar crisis is worrying”

Israel Hayom

Top News Summary:
Israel made another record in the number of people newly infected with corona, but a study found that Israelis vaccinated with the first dose had a lower rate of infection. No one answered Kahol-Lavan chairman Benny Gantz’s call for center and left parties to unite into a single faction, but he continued his effort, and Jewish billionaire philanthropist and mega-donor, Sheldon Adelson, died yesterday, prompting numerous Op-Eds describing how great he was for the Jewish people - making the top stories in today's Hebrew newspapers.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday outgoing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared without hard evidence that Al-Qaeda has established a base in Iran. On Tuesday evening, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said, “We have acted and will continue to act against anyone who tries to harm us - from near and from far - politically, militarily and economically.” (Maariv) A US journalist said she saw Pompeo meeting with Israel’s Mossad chief on Monday. [Update Wednesday: Israel allegedly made the attack this morning on Iranian-weapons sites in Syria, killing over 40 people.]

‘Israel Hayom’ devoted the whole front page and the next 14 pages of its paper to conservatiev billionair and philanthropist, Sheldon Adelson, who died at the age of 87. Both Israel’s President and Prime Minister eulogized him on the paper’s front page. The freebie paper was founded by him and paid for by him and has had a significant influence on the views of Israelis due to its support of Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump. Haaretz newspaper, however, stood out for publishing analyses and Op-Eds on the effect Adelson had on Israelis, noting that he spent millions of dollars in Israel and U.S. to push conservative politicians, including Netanyahu. Israeli leaders bid Adelson farewell and Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog said Adelson was no doubt among the greatest leaders of the Jewish people, called him another “Montefiore” and wrote that “Even when we had differences of opinion, I always loved him." US President Donald Trump also praised him as “ a great Jewish patriot.” Meanwhile, Netanyahu removed Trump from his Twitter banner photo.

Elections 2021:
Despite his attempt to unite the center-left parties into one faction, Gantz has so far failed: no one has answered his call. Yisrael Beiteinu chairman MK Avigdor Lieberman called on Gantz to resign. But Gantz didn’t give up and yesterday he said he would back Lapid to lead the bloc. Sources told Yedioth that they believe the political alliances will come. The latest poll found that the anti-Netanyahu bloc still has a majority even though the Likud party would still be the largest party with 29 out of the 120 Knesset seats. However, the Channel 12 News poll predicted that if all center-left parties merged, their slate would win 28 seats while Likud would lead with 30 mandates. Seven small parties were not expected to cross the four-seat electoral threshold.

Quick Hits:

  • Israel Is an 'Apartheid' State, Says Israeli Human Rights Group B'Tselem - B'Tselem blasted Israel's policies. Israel adamantly rejected the term, saying the restrictions it imposes in Gaza and the West Bank are temporary measures needed for security. (Haaretz, Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • Israel Police Say Palestinian Man Shot (Dead) in Hebron After Attempted Stabbing Attack - Security forces shot the 22-year-old Palestinian, who allegedly tried to stab police officers upon entering the Tomb of the Patriarchs. Israeli has been criticized for its reflexive use of lethal force and “extrajudicial killings” when Palestinian alleged attackers no longer pose an immediate threat. (Haaretz+, Maariv and WAFA)
  • Settlers assault Palestinian family, uproot dozens of trees in Hebron-area town - Armed Israeli settlers from Karmei Tzur attacked a Palestinian family in Hebron's town of Beit Ummar and uprooted dozens of their fully-grown trees, threatened Abu Snaineh and his family at gunpoint and prevented them from entering their land. (WAFA)
  • Security forces foil stabbing attack north of Jerusalem - Border Police officers arrest a Palestinian who tried to stab an Israeli guard near Qalandiya. (Israel Hayom and i24News)
  • Former Political Prisoner Dies From Cancer That Went Untreated In Prison - Mohammad Eyada Salahuddin, 20, from Hizma, east of Jerusalem, was diagnosed while in Israeli prisons, but Israel Prison System failed to provide him with necessary specialized medical treatment. Palestinian Detainees and Ex-Detainees Committee said it fought for his release in Israeli courts, but Israel only released him a few months ago, after his condition was profoundly serious when cancer spread to several parts of his body. Committee holds Israel responsible for his death. (IMEMC)
  • Israeli bulldozers raze Palestinian lands to expand an illegal settlement in north of Wes Bank - Israeli bulldozers razed lands in Einabus village that are located close to the illegal Israeli settlement of Yitzhar. (WAFA)
  • Palestinian-owned agricultural structure dismantled, seized by Israeli occupation forces in south of West Bank - Israeli forces seized agriculture structure in Tuqou town used for selling flowers and plant saplings owned by two residents after dismantling it despite the fact that the owners have a permit for its construction. (WAFA)
  • 90% of arrested weapons crime suspects from Arab-Israeli sector - Data on police activity in 2020 indicate a significant increase in the scope of enforcement of shooting offenses and weapons in Arab localities in Israel. 96 Arab Israelis were killed and hundreds were wounded in violent crimes in 2020. [NOTE: 2016 article in JPost also says gun violence disproportionately high in Arab sector. (JPost, Maariv)
  • Israeli Justice Sees Conflict of Interests in PM Role in Protest Limits Legislation - The remark came at a session of an expanded High Court panel on a petition challenging legislation that could limit the right to demonstrate during a lock down period aimed at curbing the pandemic. (Haaretz+)
  • Lebanon files urgent complaint to UN against Israel flights - President Aoun calls for condemnation of Israel’s 'aggression and violations of Lebanon’s sovereignty' while breaking 2006 UN-brokered ceasefire; Israeli officials say overflights necessary because Hezbollah builds up military capabilities and operates near Israeli border. (Agencies, Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • IDF says it arrested shepherd who entered Israel from Lebanon - Lebanese media claims man ‘kidnapped’ from inside Lebanon after arrest in disputed border area of Mount Dov (Shebaa Farms). (Maariv and Times of Israel)
  • Jewish Agency Expels Christian Group From Galilee Campus Over Proselytizing Scandal - Canada-based Return Ministries is being asked to leave the education center after its social media posts implied it was proselytizing new immigrants. (Haaretz+)
  • Ben-Gurion University to Require Gender Parity on Key Appointments Committees - The university is the first in Israel to require gender balance in committees, and by doing so hopes to increasing the number of female professors at the university. (Haaretz+)
  • Global terrorism sums up a year: Are suicide bombings on the verge of going out of fashion? - Annual study by Tel-Aviv based Institute for National Security Studies indicates continuation of trend of fewer suicide bombings around the world. And no, it's not just because of corona - attacks have been dropping since 2018. There were 127 suicide attacks in 2020 – a 14.5 percent drop from the previous year. Most are in Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria and 95% of those responsible are identified with Salafi jihadism. (Maariv and Haaretz+)
  • Interpol issues notices over Lebanon's massive port blast - Red Notices were for the owner and captain of the Rhosus, the ship that carried the 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate to Lebanon in 2013, as well as a Portuguese nitrate trader who visited the port's warehouse in Beirut where material was stored. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Egypt follows Gulf allies in reopening airspace to Qatar - The decision follows moves by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt to end a boycott in which they severed diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Qatar in 2017. (Israel Hayom)
  • Egyptian Court Orders to Free Two Female TikTok Stars Jailed for Posting 'Indecent' Videos - Several women have been accused of 'inciting debauchery' by challenging Egypt's conservative social values, and the battle has moved online as the use of social media by young Egyptians surges. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Mind the Gap | Scholars Have Been Vastly Mistaken in Filling the Holes in Our History, Israeli scholars discover
The standard way to estimating the missing length of ancient scrolls is wrong by as much as 1800 percent, Israeli scholars find. Why it matters if an ancient text is missing 6 inches or 6 feet. (Ruth Schuster, Haaretz+)

Why B’Tselem is calling Israel an apartheid regime, from the river to the sea (Orly Noy, 972mag) One of Israel's top human rights groups recognizes the occupation cannot be viewed in isolation from the goal of Jewish supremacy inside the Green Line.
The Fate of Adelson's Political Empire Lies in the Hands of His Israeli Widow Miriam (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+) Miriam Adelson was often credited with increasing the late Sheldon Adelson's interest in Israel. Right-wing politicians will be watching to see what happens next.
An enormous patriot, a huge donor, and a man of keen intelligence (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel Hayom) Sheldon Adelson was one of the biggest donors in the history of the Jewish people. He was a huge Jewish patriot, who worked to strengthen Israel, bolster its standing in the United States, and strengthen ties between the Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora.
The Montefiore of our generation (Isaac Herzog, Israel Hayom) Just like the famed philanthropist who built Jerusalem's first neighborhoods outside the Old City walls, Adelson was a central pillar in the great enterprise of ensuring the survival of the Jewish people and instilling a strong Jewish identity in the young generation.
*How Adelson Shaped Israel’s Media – and Netanyahu’s Legal Entanglements (Sami Peretz, Haaretz+) Netanyahu fell in love with Israel Hayom, Adelson's daily newspaper, and the Netanyahus began treating it like personal property.
The man who shattered the monopoly (Amos Regev, Israel Hayom) Sheldon Adelson was a Zionist who cared about Israel and the Israeli public. He believed freedom of expression meant every opinion deserves to be heard – and let the public be the judge.
The death of truth (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth Hebrew) There is no doubt that Trump is a producer of Fake News, but he is only a student of his predecessors in academia and the press. The loss is twofold: both an unprecedented mouth-clogging, and a victory for the veteran liars…An Israeli professor, Ilan Pepe, wrote so many lies that one of his colleagues, Prof. Benny Morris, dedicated an article to him entitled "The Liar as a Hero." Peppe, to his credit, admitted that he had no real interest in the truth. The problem is that his publications have become the most studied about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A professor at the prestigious Columbia University wrote that Tel Aviv is the only city in the West that does not have Muslims. The parade went on and on. In fact, academics have been publishing lies and more lies for decades. Non-stop lies…Investigators, journalists and organizations such as CAMERA and Honest Reporting have been warning for years about the lies, which also appear in the most respected newspapers. Here and there serious newspapers publish corrections. In the academic field the situation is much worse. Any attempt to correct is broken in the face of the sacred principle of "academic freedom" and the maintenance of academic permanence. In some faculties lies are not an exception - they are the norm. After all, academia, itself, has nurtured the legend of "narratives," which turns any blatant lie into a legitimate statement…
No, No, a Capitol Siege Won’t Happen Here (B. Michael, Haaretz+) A vigorous debate has been taking place in all of the media outlets around one single question: Could it happen here? That is, will we, too, have the privilege of looking on blindly as a savage mob storms the legislature to punish it and impose its will on it. It’s just too bad that it’s completely unnecessary. Because here, it already has happened – long ago. Our revolution is behind us. The “base” took control of the government a decade or more ago. Our legislature has long since become the “base legislature.”..Our revolution needed no violence. After all, why use force when it’s possible to do it peacefully, through deceit? That is how we reached this point – a government that’s entirely dependent on a gang of egotistic evangelicals who educate their children to believe that slavery is freedom and ignorance is strength; on a gang of delusional, avaricious thugs who have convinced themselves and others that war is peace and that the eyes of Big Brother in the heavens are always watching; and on a herd of corrupt people who see the state treasury as their private purse from which money is available for the taking…
Do the police want to protect the Arab-Israeli public? (Khaled Hassan, Ynet Hebrew) The answer is that it is not at all certain. Does anyone really believe that there are no tools to stop the armament in Arab-Israeli society? There are steps that need to be taken immediately. It is possible to start from the networking of localities with cameras.
Center-left Leaders, Wake Up (Ehud Barak, Haaretz+) TThere are three weeks left for submitting the party slates, and we have before us 11 different parties from the center leftward. Although there is a legitimate right to political organization, there is also a real error in judgment here, which is likely to cause serious damage…The calls by Ofer Shelah and Benny Gantz this week are a step in the right direction, but that’s not enough.
Center-left suicide (Shelly Yachimovich, Yedioth Hebrew) Only in Israel do only just-not-Bibi voters from the Zionist left intend to vote for right-wingers. Is there a collective suicide and a greater loss of way than that? Surprise! There is. Who will give up this egocentric journey (to unite)?
Ezra Nawi, the Activist Who Upset Jewish Supremacy (Ezra Nawi, Haaretz+) The hatred of Israeli settlers, as well as of police and soldiers for Ezra Nawi is a badge of honor for him; proof that he disturbed the order of Jewish supremacy, which the former represent and bolster, and the latter secure. But Ezra did not defy this corrupt and corrupting order for the sake of honor, publicity or fame. Contempt for this order was part of his personality. His activism for the sake of human sanity was a natural part of his life, of his daily routine. To be more precise: He embodied sanity when, together with other activists from the Ta’ayush organization, he accompanied Palestinian shepherds that violent Jewish thugs were and are eyeing their land; when, alone, he entered a tent that the jaws of a Civil Administration bulldozer were preparing to crush; when he joined in restoration work on a road or water cistern in Palestinian communities that Israel seeks  to destroy; when, helping a lawyer,  he translated from Arabic to Hebrew the testimonies of Palestinian farmers who were being harassed; when he demonstrated in Sheikh Jarrah against the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes; and when he challenged the authority of armed soldiers and police officers…
Israel has a bigger problem than its record 160-billion-shekel deficit (Sami Peretz, Haaretz+) If Israel’s credit rating is lowered, it won’t be because of the deficit, but because the government has no economic plan and never passed a budget.

Tillerson's advice for Biden: 'Hope the Israelis don't do something provocative'
Former secretary of state under Trump says President-elect Joe Biden must also try to contain Iran and keep Turkey from tilting further away toward Russia. (Interviewed by Ben Samuels in Haaretz+)

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