APN's daily news review from Israel - Thursday January 14, 2021
Quote of the day:
“He must think Arab Israelis have a short memory.”
--Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh responding to Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's wooing of the Arab-Israeli vote.*
- For the second time during his term: Congress voted in favor of impeaching Trump
- Netanyahu turns to Arabs, but the target is his right-wing voters // Yossi Verter
- Netanyahu’s lie reminds the Palestinian citizens of Israel that they actually do have power // Amira Hass
- Casualties in expansive attack attributed to Israel on Syria-Iraq border
- Facing rising infection and virus mutations, the vaccine campaign is getting closer to its test time
- Corona director: Lockdown may be extended
- Some 50% of math, English and language teachers expect their high school students won’t pass the matriculation exams
- For first time, state recognized a dead man as the father of a baby who is not his biological son
- An olive tree and an atom bomb will help understand how the Mediterranean Sea is changing
- Shutting mouths // Gideon Levy on ban of screening the film, ‘Jenin, Jenin’
- The President’s responsibility // Yusuf Edri writes that Rivlin must declare that he won’t let a man indicted for crimes to form the next government
- The documentary film, “A thousand cuts,” sketches how the anti-Democratic spirit from a leader seeps and influences citizens
- After 30 years - Back to the Persian Gulf War - special project (Hebrew)
- Memories from the sealed room // Ra’anan Shaked (Hebrew)
- Getting into Saddam’s head: The lesson Israel must not forget // Amos Gilad
- The mental health price of the lockdown days - 1:3 parents reported on depression (Hebrew)
- “And then Netanyahu said to me, ‘I will not let you forget this’” - Ex-Likudnik, MK Gideon Sa’ar in interview (Hebrew)
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
- The visit and the storm (Prime Minister visited Arab city Nazareth
- Lover of Arabs who love Jews // Meir Uziel
- “They said the economy would collapse - and it didn’t collapse” - Finance Minister Yisrael Katz defends his economic policy in interview
- Congress voted in favor of impeaching Trump
- Next week: Half a million vaccines will land in Israel
- Report: Casualties and great destruction from Israeli attack on Syria-Iraq border
- Expose - IDF prepares operational plan to deal with Iranian nukes
- Sheldon Adelson, 1933-2021
- Getting closer to the (Arab) sector - (Netanyahu visits Nazareth)
- Yes, gatekeepers // Eithan Orkibi writes that the left-wing aggressively de-legitimize right-wing criticsm
- Green passport in the horizon: Two million vaccinated with first dose
- Winter finally came in January: Fear of floods in south and center of country
- Despite opposition from Netanyahu and Likud: Amit Eisman will be appointed acting state prosecutor
- Mystery of death of Dr. Avi Harlev, esteemed doctor at Barzilay Hospital
- Because of the vaccines, Fitch kept Israel’s credit rating at A+
Top News Summary:
Protests against Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as he continued his efforts to get Arab votes and over his trial being postponed, the latest fallout from the corona crisis - failing high school students, depressed parents, partial facial paralysis among a few of those vaccinated and continued high rate of infection, and the day after Israel killed 57 people in airstrikes on targets on the Syria-Iraq border due to alleged Iranian redeployment there, the UN nuclear watchdog said that Iran is working on uranium metal-based fuel for a research reactor and Israel announced that the Israeli army is crafting new options to counter the threat of a nuclear Iran - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.
*In his third visit to an Arab city in two weeks, Netanyahu declared in Nazareth that "Arab citizens should fully be a part of Israeli society," heralded an “opportunity to start a new era." Outside Arab-Israelis protested and 19 were arrested, including an MK. Netanyahu even tried to ‘clarify’ his infamous words on 2015 Election Day to get his voters to the polls, “The Arabs are flocking to the polls in droves.” Speaking in Nazareth Wednesday, Netanyahu declared that “for years, political elements distorted my words. In the 2015 elections, my intention was not to warn about the vote of Arab citizens of Israel, but to warn against voting for the Joint List…” Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh responded: “He must think Arab Israelis have a short memory.” Netanyahu even offered a reserved Knesset seat on the Likud llist to the mayor of Nazareth, Ali Salam. (Maariv) Salam said he wouldn’t take the offer. “I will remain Nazareth’s mayor. I won’t run for Knesset, even if I’m offered a spot on the Likud list,” he told Army Radio. Meanwhile, Tel-Aviv mayor-turned-politician, Ron Huldai, called for an alliance between his ‘Israelis’ party and the Labor party. And, Labor party chairman, Amir Peretz, said he’s not going to run. Israel's consul general in New York and former settler council leader, Dani Dayan, joined Gideon Sa'ar's New Hope party.
- Palestinian Activist Detained Hours After Protest, Charged With Assaulting Israeli Soldier - Sami Harini was apprehended at night at his West Bank home, long after he participated in a demonstration over the shooting of Harun Abu Aram during a confrontation with soldiers in the Hebron Hills earlier this month. (Haaretz+)
- (Israeli troops,) settlers assault and injured two Palestinian farmers southeast of Nablus - In the small village of Khirbet al-Taweel, near Aqraba, Israeli troops and settlers severely beat two Palestinian farmers, a father and son, who were plowing their land in the village, inflicting wounds to their heads. They were hospitalized and the assailants escaped. [WAFA wrote: Two days earlier, settlers began plowing Palestinian lands in the area, aiming to seizing them eventually. Yedioth's Elisha Ben-Kimon wrote today that settlers from Gitit and Palestinian farmers are in a dispute over 'state land.' Ben-Kimon interviewed settlers who accused the Palestinians of attacking them. But the Ynet story says the opposite. - OH] (WAFA and Ynet)
- Israeli settlers set cars on fire in Turmus Aya and stoned passing Palestinian vehicles on main highway - In town of Turmus Aya, settlers set fire to two Palestinian-owned vehicles and smashed the windows of a third in early morning hours. The mayor accused Israel of trying to cover up the vandalism after Israeli forces came and took the cars away. Settlers also attacked Palestinian vehicles damaging cars Wednesday night on the Ramallah-Nablus road, near Turmus Ayya. (WAFA)
- Israeli bulldozers raze land, uproot trees near Hebron - Israeli soldiers escorted bulldozers Beit Ummar agricultural land Wednesday, where heavy machineries leveled about eight dunams and uprooted more than 80 trees, including olive trees, belonging to Issam Abu Ayyash, who was given a permit by the Israeli Supreme Court to cultivate his land. (WAFA)
- Cancer-Stricken Detainee Enters Serious Health Condition - Hussein Masalma, 37, from Bethlehem, is in intensive care unit of Israeli hospital and added that he had not received immediate treatment when he started suffering from a sharp pain in the abdomen. Now he was diagnosed with leukemia. (IMEMC)
- Islamic Waqf says Israel's 3D survey of Al-Aqsa Mosque reveals hidden intentions toward the holy site - Waqf said Israeli authorities gave permission Wednesday to unidentified group claiming to belong to a foreign company to carry out a three-dimensional survey and imaging of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound using advanced equipment. Waqf believes unidentified group are Israelis and warned group had hidden intentions. Waqf said Jewish fanatic groups described the surveying as first step to build alleged Jewish temple after destroying the Islamic mosques in the holy compound. (WAFA)
- Israeli forces infiltrate Gaza’s border, raze farmland - Israeli military tanks and bulldozers advanced several dozens of meters to the east of the city in the southern besieged coastal enclave, razed large tracts of farmland near the borderline and erected earth mounds in the area. (WAFA)
- In Two Separate Incidents, Israel and Hamas Exchange Fire on Gaza Border - The incidents mark the first escalation on the Israeli-Gaza border in 2021. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
- Gaza's Hamas rulers bar patients from U.S. charity's hospital: “It’s not providing services” - Terror group says cooperation with evangelical Christian group FriendShips 'unwelcome', claiming the 'Camp Gaza' field hospital is not providing services that were promised, despite overwhelmed local health system. (Agencies, Ynet)
- After Denial, Israel Says It Provided COVID Vaccines to Palestinian Authority - State tells High Court of Justice 100 vaccines were given to the Palestinians, with another delivery expected in a week and a half. (Haaretz+)
- Palestinian Health Ministry denies receipt of Covid-19 vaccine from Israel - The Ministry described Israeli media reports that Israel has transferred dozens of coronavirus vaccine to the Palestinian Authority at the start of the week as “groundless rumors.” (WAFA)
- "Scandalous": High Court rejects (right-wing legal organization) Honenu attack on police probe into death of settler youth case - A three-justice panel including some of the court's most conservative justices supported the police approach of having the incident analyzed by two separate divisions of law enforcement. Honenu and Ahuvia Sandak’s parent’s had demanded an independent judge investigate the case. Sandak was killed on December 21 when the vehicle he was in flipped over while he and a group of settlers were fleeing from police for allegedly throwing rocks at Palestinian vehicles. (JPost and Maariv)
- 11 arrested in protest against Netanyahu on day of delayed trial hearing - The protesters were arrested after arriving outside the prime minister’s official residence at 5:45 am Wednesday morning carrying torches and shouting for Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s resignation. Protesters used clown horns and claimed to have done so in accordance with the noise law and the High Court ruling. (JPost, Maariv and i24News)
- Police Question anti-Netanyahu Protester for 'Harassing and Insulting' Cop - The anti-gov't activist accused the policeman of behaving violently and sexually assaulting a female demonstrator during protests outside Netanyahu's residence. (Haaretz+)
- Netanyahu Moves Up Plans to Approve New U.S. Embassy Building in Jerusalem - Israel rushes project onto city licensing agenda as sources say there is concern that Biden may slow U.S. Embassy building plans. (Haaretz+)
- Israel and UAE to Launch Mutual Tourist Visa Waiver Program Next Month - Beginning on February 12, Israeli tourists will no longer need to pay $95 to visit the UAE, after the Emirates ratified the agreement. (Haaretz+)
- Report: An Emirati pilot [sic - Tunisian pilot of Emirati Airlines] refused to fly a plane to Tel Aviv and was suspended - Tunisian pilot Monem Sahib al-Taba wrote on his Facebook page that Emirates Airline suspended him “due to my refusal to participate in a flight to Tel Aviv.”Arab activists denounced the suspension, and praised al-Taba for his “heroic stance” to refuse to recognize the “Israeli” regime despite Abu Dhabi's normalization of ties with Tel Aviv. (Maariv and Islam Times)
- Vandals scrawl 'Free Palestine' on 3 Israeli restaurants in Portland - Spokespeople for the eateries said they didn't want to "get into the politics" behind the incident. (Israel Hayom)
Adelson’s Legacy: Israeli Democracy Can Easily Be Bought (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) U.S. megadonor Sheldon Adelson wasn’t the first foreign businessman to corrupt Israeli politics, but he set a whole new standard.
We are not just in a leadership crisis, but in a deep democratic crisis (Orit Lavie-Nashiel, Maariv) For reasons of convenience and habit, they are still called ‘parties,’ but the political lists that will run in the upcoming elections deserve a different name - national teams or assemblies or just groups of candidates. All in all, this is an eclectic collection of people standing behind a chairman who is known as a leader. In fact, as it becomes clear who the old and new actors will face in the upcoming election, a rather heavenly political repertoire of solo performances is revealed before our eyes. Most of the new parties do not pass the blocking percentage at all, and the minimal support for them is inversely related to the aspirations of their leaders. Huldai, Zelicha and Shelach from the left, and from the right, Ya'alon and Smottrich. Politics has become a tender in the style of a beauty contest. Instead of concentrating energy and pooling resources to present a serious alternative to Netanyahu, who has corrupted the political system, everyone is self-centered…The old order arrangement, which was based on a party that reflected a basket of ideological views, collapsed, and in its place no proper alternative arose. Israeli society needs leaders who can conquer their egos.
Netanyahu’s Ministry of Truth (Zehava Galon, Haaretz+) Over the last week we’ve witnessed a heavy media bombardment, aimed at defaming the demonstrators at Balfour Street. TV newscasts on Friday night presented an orchestrated choir of mouthpieces, disseminating a reckless fabrication whereby protesters attempted to break into the prime minister’s official residence, forcing him to hide in a protected bunker. Every lie must contain a kernel of truth – in this case it was the well-known tendency of the prime minister to panic. You remember his missing the bus in Paris, or his being hustled offstage during a rocket attack on Ashkelon, right? The news item was false, but the mouthpieces asked no questions. The news came from the prime minister and his close associates and no one bothered to check it. This is how Soviet propaganda used to work: The commissars knew that what was important was the initial news item. No one remembered the corrections.
The Truth and Nothing But (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) If Mohammad Bakri’s film “Jenin, Jenin” is banned from being shown in Israel, then every television news broadcast will have to be banned too. In nearly every broadcast, there is more propaganda, slander, exaggeration, psychological repression and lying than in Bakri’s wonderful, genuine and heart-wrenching film. I watched it again Tuesday. Memories of the Jenin refugee camp resurface, along with the atrocities, the tears, the pain and disaster, as well as the Israeli army’s crimes. The group of Israeli reservist soldiers who are sensitive about their honorable reputation and who over the years have hounded Bakri should therefore be thanked. Thanks to them, Bakri’s film has been alive and kicking for 20 years and is now gaining new success. Since the Lod District Court’s decision on Monday, there has been a sharp increase in the viewership of “Jenin, Jenin” on the Palestine Film Institute’s website. Lod District Court Judge Halit Silash, who handed down the dark, primitive, draconian and anti-democratic decision, should also be thanked. Thanks to her, the situation has been revealed in its full ugliness: An Israeli court is banning the showing of a documentary film. Judge Silash is in charge of the truth, and she knows what happened and didn’t happen in the Jenin refugee camp in 2002. There’s even symbolic significance to the location of her courthouse. Lod – Lydda, as it was known before Israel’s establishment – knows a thing or two about massacres, ethnic cleansing, discrimination and dispossession. Now there’s also a judge in Lod who is silencing people and surrendering to soldiers who participated in a criminal raid and who, in their great impudence, dared to sue for defamation. This says it all: None of the soldiers who participated in the raid in Jenin faced a trial for their crimes. It was only the person who documented them – who gave the pain and suffering a camera and a microphone – who was placed on the pillory. Israel also never paid compensation to any of the residents of the camp whose lives and homes it destroyed. It was only Bakri who is being required to pay compensation – to a soldier for his three seconds in the film…
Liberal U.S. Jews Couldn't Stand Adelson. Liberal Israelis Wanted to Replicate Him (Amir Tibon, Haaretz+) Sheldon Adelson didn't intend on creating a profitable media operation; the tycoon's aim was to achieve political goals he cared about, no matter the cost.
Adelson death could tank Case 2000 against PM, indirectly harm Case 4000 (Yonah Jeremy Bob, JPost/Maariv) Any loss in Case 2000 could also affect Case 4000, since part of the strength of the two cases is to show a pattern.
The Only Way to Wean America's Orthodox Jews Off Trumpism (Hannah Lebovits, Haaretz+) The Capitol siege has, finally, triggered calls for soul-searching within an Orthodox community in lockstep with Trump. It will be hard work.
Netanyahu, the Arabs are not some hooligans who are after bribes (Limor Livnat, Yedioth Hebrew) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's pathetic and well-publicized visit to Nazareth yesterday (Wednesday), similar to his visit to Umm al-Fahm in honor of the "millionth person vaccinated," undoubtedly marked a new record of cynicism in his election campaign. Another record of cynicism from Netanyahu's seminary will be recorded only when a seat on the Likud's list for a Muslim Arab MK is reserved, for the first time in the Likud's history. Netanyahu, who did not spare his rebukes from the Arab public, among other things, when he posted on his Facebook page to his supporters on the eve of the 2019 elections that Israeli Arabs want to destroy us all, he sharply criticized their representatives in the Knesset and even attacked Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid when he feared they would form a government without him using the support of the Arab MKs from the Joint List, but he did not hesitate for a moment to enlist the help of members of the RA’AM (Arab party) faction in support of Matanyahu Engelman's candidacy for the position of state comptroller [Netanyahu’s choice - OH]…The prime minister went out to get votes in new districts. He flocks, moves and wanders across the country to Arab localities. He still needs to repay at compound interest the injury to their honor. Remember Jabotinsky….
Netanyahu’s Overtures to Israel's Arabs Are Also Aimed at His Right-wing Voters (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) The premier's strategy - smart, it must be said - is not merely intended to scrounge up another vote, and leftists will certainly not be able to complain.
Minorities in America and Israel Are Turning Nationalist, and That's Great News (Srulik Einhorn, Haaretz+) From Israeli Arabs to U.S. Latinos, minorities are emerging from the grip of the pro-globalization leftist elite that never really cared for them or their advancement.
Israel sending a signal to Biden (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) The era of the Trump administration, which backed Israel's anti-Iran actions in Syria, will end next week, but Jerusalem plans to make it clear to Washington it will not change its proactive policies in the northern sector.
Gantz, We’ll Take It From Here (Haaretz Editorial) Kahol Lavan chairman Benny Gantz should have concluded his statement on Monday with an announcement that his party would be dismantled and he would be retiring from political life. His insistence on remaining in politics – against every survey of his chances of success and despite the damage he did to the camp he heads – shows that same dangerous disconnect that led him into the arms of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Assaults on Soldiers? What’s New (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The IDF has suddenly discovered a” trend” of escalation, along with serious concerns regarding the “level of daring” exhibited by right-wing activists and the silence that’s taken hold of political echelons in view of the rising violence committed by Jews. But what constitutes an assault, and when is an assault deemed a terror attack? When it comes to a Palestinian, suffice it for him to get out of his car to help a friend who’s been hurt by shots fired by soldiers to label him a terrorist…But with Jews the story gets complicated, especially when it come to settlers assaulting soldiers or policemen. If someone is striking a lieutenant-colonel? Obviously, if he’s an Arab he won’t stand trial – very promptly he won’t be standing at all. But a Jew? Will he be arrested for causing bodily harm or will his action be considered a tussle among friends? The more fascinating question concerns the definition of “daring.” What scale does the army use in defining the daring of settlers, and when does this assessment begin?…“Daring” was not part of the lexicon then. “Trends” or escalation definitely weren’t. All of these incidents were localized, contained events, which grew on a fertile and rotten ground that legitimized assaults by Jews against IDF soldiers in the early years of the occupation.
Why This Jewish GOP Donor Has Had It With Party's Attempts to Overturn the Election
Sam Fox, who disavowed Sen. Josh Hawley over vote to block election certification, says Capitol attack 'unleashed by a Big Lie,' echoing Biden reference to Goebbels. (Interviewed by Ben Samuels, Haaretz+)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.