APN's daily news review from Israel - Sunday February 14, 2021
Quote of the day:
"We will not stand silently by as the Jewish National Fund, an agency that was created to build the State
of Israel, serves as a tool to destroy the prospects of building a Palestinian state, thus denying Palestinian
self-determination and undermining Israel's future as a democracy."
—Americans for Peace Now President and CEO Hadar Susskind says after the Jewish National Fund put up plan to purchase land in the West Bank for to expand Israeli settlements.*
- For second time, US Senate acquitted Trump in impeachment trial
- Trump survived second impeachment, US will pay the price // Netanel Slyomovics
- From a cubicle in the center of the country, 11 young people are battling fake news about the vaccines
- Due to the improvement in the infection rate, the fight over decreasing the restrictions is expected to get worse
- Scientists began developing a prototype of the vaccine against all types of corona vaccines
- Jewish National Fund (JNF) intention to expand settlements is a provocation to the Biden administration during a sensitive period // Alon Pinkas
- MKs Sa’ar and Bennett started strong then petered out quickly. Do they have a real chance against Netanyahu? // Chaim Levinson
- Climate is getting warmer, but the drying process has yet to start in Israel
- The people lacking a conscience // Gideon Levy on Israelis concerned about the harm of the lockdown to children, but ignoring fate of Palestinian children in Gaza
- The first step // Eran Yashiv on how to replace Netanyahu
- Chick Corea, who died this weekend, was an amazing pianist who greatly influenced Israeli musicians
- “The vaccine saves lives” - Cry of the epidemic orphans (Hebrew)
- The (ICC) Chief Prosector vs. Israel: The prosecutor who represented the ‘Devil from Kenya” and Qaddafi’s son (Hebrew)
- Wave of robberies: New plan to protect military bases
- The man who dared to dream // President Reuven Rivlin on the occasion of 125th anniversary of Herzl’s “State for the Jews”
- Trump acquitted in US Senate of responsibility for the riots at the Capitol
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)]
- Too early to celebrate - Gantz demands the opening as early as this week of the economy, Health Ministry objects
- Suspicion: The helicopter hit an electric cable and crashed, 2 killed
- Today, hearing at Rabbinical Court, which refused to help woman to divorce from husband who has refused to divorce her for 30 years
- The girl who is suspected of being a victim of a gang rape in the Sharon area was found; Her mother demands: Release her from the closed mental institution
- Fear: The boycott virus will lead to elections again - Special project: “The veto map” - Parties mark with whom they won’t sit (in a government coalition)
- Exclusive - Son of Shaw of Iran: “Biden is wrong in his attitude towards Iran”
- (Plane crash) Disaster in the skies of the valley
- Blow to the Democrats: Trump was acquitted in impeachment trial
- The love virus
- Like mushrooms after the lockdown: The people of Israel went out to hike in masses (over the weekend)
- Encouraging trend: The rate of infection is lowest in three months; Health Minister Edelstein: Soon we will open gyms
- Following the lockdown in the skies - US threatens: We will prevent El-Al flights from landing
Top News Summary:
The drop in infection rate, the battle over when to end all corona lockdown restrictions and the plans to pressure people who won’t get vaccinated, the acquittal of former US president Donald Trump and the choice of the new chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court at the Hague were today’s top stories in the Hebrew newspapers.
In other news, Yedioth made The Hague’s choice for its chief prosecutor, Karim Khan,a front-page story, depicting Khan as unethical because he served as the attorney of a Kenyan leader accused of war crimes (the paper mentions that the charges were later dropped) and of Seif al-Islam, the son of Libyan dictator, Muammar Qaddafi. [NOTE: Israeli lawyer Nick Kaufman has represented numerous controversial figures, including the Qaddafi family, and highly-respected Israeli human rights lawyer, Avigdor Feldman, served as defense lawyer for Israeli criminals and rapist former president Moshe Katsav, which the paper had no problem with - OH] Maariv and Haaretz just reported that he was chosen, but nothing more.
France, Germany and Britain expressed concern that plans to advance in developing nuclear weapons and said that “Iran is harming the possibility of returning to diplomacy,” Maariv reported. And Iran will be joining the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union of States, much to the concern of Western states because it will allow Iran to bypass US sanctions and advance its nuclear program, Israel Hayom reported. Meanwhile, Iran has slashed funding for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group over the dire economic crisis, according to the Egyptian daily Al-Masry al-Youm, Maariv reported.
Maariv Friday poll: Lapid continues to leap, Saar and Netanyahu fall
According to the poll conducted for Maariv Weekend, the Likud party will not be able to form a government - even in a scenario that includes Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party. In the index over which candidate is most suitable to be prime minister, Gideon Saar is just behind Netanyahu by a few percent
Yesh Atid: 19
Tikva Hadasha: 13
Joint List: 8
Yisrael Beiteinu; 7
Yehadut Hatorah (UTJ): 7
Religious Zionism: 4
- Ministers spar over trade reopening as cabinet set to reconvene - Kahol-Lavan pushing for fast-tracked approval of 'Green Pass' outline which will see culture and trade industry reopen to vaccinated Israelis only; Edelstein argues that 'feverish push' to reopen was what lead to deaths in previous lockdowns. (Yedioth/Ynet)
- Israel's COVID Infection Data Takes Turn for Better – but Remains Far From Good - The number of new coronavirus cases and patients in critical condition reflect a drop, but it is still much too early for hospitals in Israel to celebrate. (Haaretz+)
- Police attacked while breaking up illegal Jewish wedding in Samaria (West Bank settlement) - While breaking up the event held in violation of COVID restrictions, a few dozen participants began throwing rocks and other objects at the police. Three police officers were injured and evacuated for medical treatment. Additional forces were scrambled to the scene to send the guests home and restore order. (Israel Hayom)
- Inside Israel's War Room Combating COVID Vaccine Fake News - Israeli Health Ministry's operation center, dedicated to tracking and countering false reports and forgeries about the coronavirus vaccine, has its sights set on those hesitant to inoculate. (Haaretz)
- Opponents of the vaccines: "We will make a yellow badge with the caption 'Don’t get vaccinated' and do selfies with it" - The battles continue on social media between vaccine supporters and their opponents, with a number of business owners declaring that they will not allow unvaccinated to enter, even if it will hurt their profits. (Maariv)
- Just 4 of 660 COVID victims received both vaccine doses - Health Ministry data - Vast majority of coronavirus fatalities in monitored period had not been vaccinated at all or only received first dose in two weeks before their death; hospitals again sound alarm on increasing numbers of serious cases in young people. (Yedioth/Ynet)
- Can Israel Force People to Get Vaccinated for COVID? Legal Experts Weigh In- Israel has precedents for enforcing coronavirus vaccination, but attempts to compel citizens to get the jab or to impose sanctions will encounter hurdles, experts say. (Haaretz+)
- 'Essential businesses can't deny entry to Israelis not immune to COVID' - Government panel rules that presenting negative coronavirus test will not be enough to enter leisure and entertainment facilities; unimmunized essential workers will have to present COVID test every 48 hours. (Yedioth/Ynet)
- Israel, Cyprus to Announce COVID Vaccine Certificate Agreement and Renewal of Tourism - Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades to visit Israel Sunday and expected to announce a mutual coronavirus quarantine exemption if flights resume. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
- US threatens to ban El Al flights over Ben Gurion Airport closure - With Tel Aviv airport shuttered outside of rescue flights to prevent entry of virus mutations from overseas, US Department of Transportation says ban on American airlines violation of bilateral aviation agreements. El Al is now the only airline permitted to operate rescue flights from New York. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
First Batch of Pfizer COVID Vaccines Arrive in Lebanon - Lebanon succeeded in containing
the virus during the pandemic’s early months, but the numbers began to increase following a massive blast in
the capital’s port in August. (Agencies,Haaretz)
- Jewish National Fund aims to officially work to expand West Bank settlements- The Israeli organization has until now operated in the West Bank through a subsidiary, and is set to discuss a proposal to allow it to officially purchase land in and near settlement blocs. (Haaretz+)
- *U.S. Reform Group Condemns Jewish National Fund Plan to Expand Israeli Settlements - Americans for Peace Now also strongly opposed the plan, which it said could "significantly bolster the Israeli settlement enterprise. Until last year, JNF was headed by the Labor Party's Danny Atar, but the latest election for Zionist institutions shifted power from the left-wing to the right, and former Likud official Avraham Duvdevani was made chairman of the organization. (Haaretz+)
- As Election Campaign Kicks Off, anti-Netanyahu Protesters Around Israel Face Violence - Four detained for attacks on protesters; demonstrators threatened at gun point, pelted with stones and assaulted amid weekly rallies calling for Netanyahu's resignation. (Haaretz+)
- After Backlash, Israel Police Won't Reinstate Cop Embroiled in Black Teen's Death - The officer who shot dead Ethiopian Israeli Solomon Teka in 2019 was initially reinstated behind the back of police commissioner, sources say, but following public outrage, he was instead given a job in the Fire and Rescue Service. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
- Beitar Jerusalem soccer club pulls out of partnership with UAE sheikh - The cancellation comes, among other things, because of Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan's failure to present the relevant documentation about his integrity to Israel Football Association and issues with UAE royalty over money. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
- Israel Briefly Reopens Its Airport for 302 Immigrants From Ethiopia - The Ethiopians, among about 8,000 with Jewish ancestry awaiting immigration to Israel, had been tested for COVID-19 prior to arriving. (Haaretz+)
- Road Construction in Palestinian Town Near Nablus Damages Important Archaeological Site - Some experts claim the site is home to the biblical altar erected by Joshua; local authorities say contractor damaged ancient stone wall in course of work. (Haaretz+)
- Tel Aviv Claimed It Wasn’t Segregating Foreign Kids at School. This Document Proves Otherwise - Before reissuing the document, dozens of schools were denoted for ‘the foreign community’ in the field for type of school, alongside state schools, ultra-Orthodox schools and Arab schools. (Haaretz+)
- Guardian Columnist Says He Was Fired Because of ‘Joke’ About U.S. Aid to Israel - Nathan Robinson, 30, wrote Wednesday on his website Current Affairs that the editor of the British daily’s U.S. edition had decided not to use his pieces following two tweets. (JTA, Haaretz)
- 'Mandalorian' actress fired after comparing Holocaust to U.S. political climate - Lucasfilm says Gina Carano is not currently employed with the production company after posting that 'Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbors,' referring to having different political views. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Yad Vashem on Polish libel verdict: Blow to academic freedom in Holocaust research - The verdict handed down by a Warsaw court this week ruled that two senior historians must apologize for allegations in their book that a Polish mayor had turned Jews over to the Nazis. (Ynet and Haaretz+)
- Israeli scientists bid goodbye to biopsies with blood test - Researchers at Hebrew University of Jerusalem hope new method, which examines what cells are dying and why, will replace invasive procedures that are painful and only useful when a disease has reached sufficiently advanced stage. (Ynet)
- Israel ranks 7th among world's 60 most innovative economies - The United States dropped out of the top 10, falling two spots to 11th place, according to the Bloomberg Innovation Index. The Jewish state went down one spot from its standing in 2020 and two places from 2019, where it came in fifth place. (Israel Hayom)
- Gazans hope to vote after years of Hamas rule - Over 90% of Gaza City's 385,000 eligible voters register to vote as Fatah, Hamas reaffirm commitment to holding first parliamentary, presidential elections since 2006. Palestinian poll workers fanned out across the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, where they found voters eager to register ahead of elections that could serve as the first referendum on Hamas' rule since the terrorist group seized power more than a decade ago. (Israel Hayom)
- Hamas leader to Israel: Don't interfere in our elections said earlier this month - Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar warned Israel that if it tries interfering in the upcoming PA parliamentary and Hamas primaries, it will "destroy" the Knesset election scheduled for March 23. (Israel Hayom)
- Hamas has amassed vast arsenal, IDF commander reports - Group now in possession of thousands of rockets, guided missiles, and drones. Palestinian Islamic Jihad has also equipped itself for war. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Gaza burn victims get 3D-printer face masks made close to home - In the past, burn patients had to travel to Jordan for reconstructive surgery. Due to COVID travel restrictions, a local business is now providing masks to help Gazans heal and prepare for reconstructive surgery. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Twenty Israelis suspected of selling advanced missiles to U.S. rival in Asia - The suspects, who include former Israeli defense officials, 'developed, manufactured and tested' the weapons before clandestinely selling them. Sources say case could have led to crisis between superpowers. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
- Explosion Heard in Quneitra Province, Syrian State Media Reports - Report gives no further information about cause of explosion or source or whether it left any casualties. (Agencies, Maariv, Haaretz+ and Ynet)
- Fuel Tanker Blast Causes Massive Fire at Iran-Afghan Border - It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the blast, which injured at least seven people and caused a massive fire that consumed more than 500 trucks carrying natural gas and fuel. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Kuwaiti singer announces she plans to convert to Judaism - Ibtisam Hamid, better known as Basma al-Kuwaiti, explains that Islam does not treat women with dignity and that she opposes the Kuwaiting ruling family, which rejects normalization with Israel. (Israel Hayom)
- Hezbollah officials to serve as observers in Venezuelan gubernatorial elections - The Maduro regime in Venezuela has decided to use Hezbollah officials as international observers in the gubernatorial elections set to take place later this year, former Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma told local media on Wednesday. (Israel Hayom)
An unarmed Palestinian is shot dead at a settler outpost. The Israeli army's conclusion? He was a
What was an accountant from the Palestinian Finance Ministry doing late at night near an unauthorized outpost, where a settler shot him to death? (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+)
The unit set up to perform retaliatory actions (against Palestinians) and became engraved in the collective memory
After 12 years of research, Efrat Zakbach published a book on [the controversial - OH] Unit 101 and tells how the myth that surrounded fighters such as Ariel Sharon, Meir Har-Zion and ‘Katcha’ and which shaped the country’s ethos of fighting and heroism changed in parallel with the changes that took place in Israeli society. Unit 101 was established in August 1953 to carry out retaliatory actions in response to the infiltration of Arab infiltrators in the Jerusalem area - and other areas - OH]. In January 1954, the unit was disbanded by the new chief of staff, Moshe Dayan, and its fighters were merged into the 890th Regiment of the Paratroopers Brigade. "There were two well-known operations of the unit: the Kibia operation in October 1953, and the 'Silk Gloves' operation in Hebron in December 1953," says Zakbach, 43, a civics and history teacher who lives in (the settlement) Mevo Horon. "What led to its founding was the operation in Nabi Samuel in July 1953, which did not achieve its goal: to blow up the gang leader's house. "After the fighters were forced to retreat at Nabi Samuel, Arik Sharon and Col. Mishael Shaham, then Jerusalem District Commander, realized that a skilled and professional raid unit was needed that would specialize in special commando operations across the border. This was the definition in the Operation Ordinance." The book was written following Zakbach’s doctoral dissertation at Bar-Ilan University in the Department of Palestine Studies. (Sigal Ben David, Maariv)
Will 200 Rich Arab Men Save the World From the Climate Crisis?
Poised on the cusp between economic and climate disaster, and an amazing commercial opportunity, Gulf-based petroleum giants realize today that the golden age of oil is about to end, Dan Rabinowitz asserts in his new book, “The Power of Deserts: Climate Change, the Middle East, and the Promise of a Post-Oil Era” (Stanford University Press). Is the era of green on the horizon? (Lee Yaron, Haaretz+)
How Israelis Came to Be the Kings of New York’s Locksmithing Trade
They account for some 30% of the profession, and these days they are prospering like never before after a coronavirus-led surge in crime. (Haim Handwerker, Haaretz+)
Israeli Children Have Been Forsaken in the COVID Crisis? Tell It to the Palestinians(Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Israelis find the lockdown unbearable – who doesn’t? – but in contrast to the people of most nations, Israelis should count to ten before they dare complain about lockdowns, about children with no future, about teens serving as cannon fodder and about a generation with no horizon, for whom the lockdown never ends. A bit of proportion, a bit of shame, a little guilt and above all a drop of self-awareness wouldn’t hurt here. It’s true that suffering is suffering, and people think first of all about themselves and their children, but from a society that is wreaking such horrific damage on generations of children (in Gaza) while ignoring the facts and maintaining its silence one can demand some humility and integrity before indulging in self-pity and moaning.
Don't stop JNF from doing its job (Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) A controversy about the West Bank is exposing the legacy Zionist institution to attacks from the left and the Biden administration. It should stand its ground.
Why Netanyahu chose racist Jewish supremacists over his oldest political allies(Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) There was a time when Netanyahu was entirely unwilling to cooperate with the Kahanists. Now, in his desperation, he’s rescuing them from political oblivion, no matter what it takes.
Herzl dared to dream the impossible (Reuven Rivlin, Yedioth/Ynet) Marking the 125th anniversary of the publication of Theodor Herzl's book 'The Jewish State', President Reuven Rivlin urges the people of Israel to draw inspiration during the current crisis from the example left to us by the father of modern Zionism.
Bennett, convince me: will you sit with Netanyahu? (Amos Malka, Yedioth Hebrew) I am a former Mapainik [Labor party member - OH] who is considering voting for a sane right-wing party this time, including Yamina. But as someone who himself has a reputation of giving in, who will convince me that Naftali Bennett will not fall for Netanyahu's temptations? And why is the majority of the public convinced that he will be Netanyahu’s kingmaker again?
Joint List or the Worst of All Evils (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) The left I belong to doesn’t waste its time on tedious debates about which right-wing prime minister is preferable, be it Benjamin Netanyahu, Naftali Bennett, Avigdor Lieberman, Gideon Sa’ar or Yair Lapid. The fashionable squabbling over who is more suitable for crowning only highlights for those of us on the left how far we are from their world. And now we hear people saying that since these contenders’ parties are at the front of the political pack, and our own options are so skimpy, we should vote for the least of all evils. Yet, each and every aforementioned leader who could become the next prime minister is the worst of all evils, a source of concern and fear…In essence, the left stands on three legs: the adherence to the principle of equality among all human beings, the opposition to the state’s expropriating nature of the state on both sides of the Green Line, and the striving for a society in which capital would not dominate and profits and commodies cease to determine the value of human beings and their lives. The linkage between them explains why the left is so shrunken, having so few options for voting…
If Netanyahu Is Convicted, the 'Second' Israel Will Be Dethroned (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) Journalist-researcher Avishay Ben Haim could not have said it better than legal affairs journalist Baruch Kra. “I’m TV Channel 13’s legal commentator,” Kra repeatedly told his colleague Ben Haim, who had dared describe the scene of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waiting for his judges as “humiliating, a huge success of the elites.” Ben Haim could and should have responded: “You’re right. You’re only Channel 13’s legal commentator. I’m its socio-political commentator.” Kra’s error is based on his understanding of Ben Haim as someone interpreting legal issues, whereas Ben Haim is actually telling Israel’s real socio-political story. This involves the Ashkenazi-Mizrahi conflict, the rift between the “first” Israel and the “second” Israel, in the context of which Netanyahu’s trial could be perceived as an attack by one camp on the leader of the other camp. There is no truth more trivial than the theory of the two Israels, espoused by Ben Haim. Being so trivial, it evokes a quote by George Orwell that has already become a cliché. Orwell said, “The further a society drfits from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.” The hatred towards Ben Haim, which made Kra blow up (“what you’re saying is not an opinion, it’s a lie”) stems from a denial of the sectarian truth underlying the political struggle in Israel. Ever since Netanyahu became identified with Mizrahi Jews (roughly when he appointed Miri Regev as Culture Minister in 2015), the struggle turned into one between the “Only Bibi” camp and the “Just not Bibi” camp. All the attempts to crack the million-dollar question – why do Mizrahi Jews vote for Netanyahu – just like the attempts to recruit underprivileged peripheral areas of Israel to the left, among other ways by posting Mizrahi candidates, confirm Ben Haim’s theory. The left is now synonymous with Ashkenazi, with Tel Aviv, with the just-not-Bibi camp, just like the term “Bibi-ist” is roughly overlapping with Mizrahi. That’s why Netanyahu had no problem pigeonholing Avigdor Lieberman as a leftist as soon as he opposed Netanyahu, and that’s why “leftists” have no problem voting for an extreme right-wing person such as Lieberman after he distanced himself from Bibi-ism. This is why Gideon Sa’ar is received on the left as a worthy alternative, as is Naftali Bennett. Anyone who doesn’t see the two camps that have formed here and the dividing line that roughly aligns them on a sectarian basis, trampling the older division between left and right, with Bibi and the ultra-Orthodox in one camp, and Sa’ar, Bennet, Lapid, Lieberman, Michaeli, Horowitz (and the Arabs) in the other camp, is oblivious to the facts. No one is claiming that Netanyahu belongs to the “second” Israel. But while the left claims that Netanyahu is using Mizrahi Jews, Ben Haim argues that they are the ones exploiting Netanyahu, and that the “second” Israel has imposed on him a sectarian narrative, identifying his/their political persecution through the lens of his legal tribulations. If Netanyahu is convicted, the “second” Israel will be dethroned…
Paving the way for Kahana’s disciple (Ben Caspit, Maariv) What do the sane Likud members think about the alliance with (the Kahanist politician Itamar) Ben Gvir, who is a disciple of Meir Kahana. Also: Avishai Ben-Haim [TV commentator who supports Netanyahu and the Other Israel perspective - OH] has long been more than just an oddball. He is a dangerous, cynical and venomous instigator who should have been sued for a collective libel suit...The Likud had four leaders. Three of them would have preferred to be burned by the fire of hell than to pave the way for Rabbi Meir Kahana's heirs to the legislature of the Jewish state. Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir and Ariel Sharon would rather lose the election and retire from political life than sell their souls and "put a (devil) in the plenum” (as Zeev Binyamin Begin put it in an interview with Aryeh Eldad and me on 103 FM Radio this week). The fourth leader, Binaymin Netanyahu, is the only one who prefers his personal good to the good of the state. He himself incited against Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin with all his might and did not stop even after he was warned by the Shin Bet and his own people. Now he is putting on his back Itamar Ben-Gvir, who waved a symbol torn from Rabin's car and said, "As we reached this symbol, so can we reach Rabin." As you may recall, in the end they reached Rabin. Now they are coming to the Knesset. What a glorious closing of a circle. Begin's successor paves the way for Kahana's successor. Hand washes hand. On the one hand, Netanyahu, on the other, Ben-Gvir, on the other, MK Mansour Abbas, the head of the Islamic Movement, the sister movement of the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement defined by Yair Netanyahu as "the Israeli branch of Hamas." There is no creep whose entry to Knesset will be denied so that (Netanyahu) can continue destroying the country from within. Only a few months ago, Netanyahu waged an incitement campaign against more than one-fifth of Israeli citizens. Everything was included: billboards threatening that Gantz, Lapid, Ya'alon and Ashkenazi are going to introduce "terrorist huggers" into the Knesset. Netanyahu's Facebook shouts on election day that "Israeli Arabs want to destroy our presence here." All of this dissipated at once when it became clear that Netanyahu could be rescued from the terror of the law through some of the fingers of those terrorists. All it takes is a small hint from the Prime Minister’s Residence at Balfour for a large herd of trumpets and foolish devotees to pave the way in a flash for all that is needed. All means are valid. Netanyahu is in a good starting position for winning the election. And what if he fails to win again? I assume that in such a case in the fifth election he will introduce Meir Ettinger to the Knesset. Who is Ettinger? One of the main targets of the Shin Bet. He is the man who conceived the “Rebellion" plan, which aims to destroy Israeli sovereignty in our country and cause a war of Gog and Magog with our enemies, at the end of which a state of Jewish law will be established here. [Ettinger, a leader of the West Bank 'hilltop youth,' is also a nephew of Kahana. - OH] Do you think I'm exaggerating? And if I had written three or four years ago that Netanyahu would bring the neo-Kahanists into the Knesset, would you not think I am exaggerating? We live in an exaggerated period. Reality dwarfs our nightmares of the past and turns them into a battered joke. Meir Kahana, arrived at the Knesset in 1984, the same year as former minister and Likud member, Dan Meridor…Kahana was the father of Jewish racism, who made himself popular on the sleepy fringes of the right-wing and was elected to the Knesset. Meridor was shocked by this idea. (Then Likud leader Menachem) Begin, who then retired to his home, was also shocked. As was (Yitzhak) Shamir (Likud). The person who prevented Kahana's disqualification was, hold on tight, [liberal - OH] Judge Aharon Barak in a reasoned judgment. The reason: lack of authority. The law did not then allow disqualifications of this kind. Barak was right. Meridor and his friends in the Likud understood that the Jewish state could not afford a mutation like Meir Kahana in the Knesset of Israel. They passed section 7A of the Basic Law "Knesset", which allows the disqualification of a party list that it or one of its members incites racism. The clause also included the denial of the existence of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state or support for an armed struggle of a terrorist organization or state against Israel. The Minister of Justice, who led the adoption of this amendment, was Moshe Nissim. Right-wing man, Likudnik, religious. I wonder what he is saying today. In the meantime, Rabbi Kahana spent two full terms in the Knesset. Almost all members of the Knesset, except Kahana himself, were deeply shocked by the amount of hatred spread by one person in the Knesset and the entire country. Michael Eitan once prepared a comparative list of bills submitted by Kahana with the Nuremberg Laws. Prohibition of shared bathing beaches for Jews and Arabs, prohibition of sexual intercourse between a Jew and a non-Jew, and all that good stuff. Meridor then collected all of Kahana's statements, his legislative bills and his other ultra-racist and violent activities in three large binders. He carries them with him to this day. There is, for example, an article from the "Hadashot" newspaper, which covered Kahana's election rally in Acre. Kahana opened his speech to the those attending his conference in the city with "Peace for the Jews, peace for the dogs, as well." Such was the man he was. "I didn’t understand,” Meridor recalls today, “how we, as Jews, after everything we went through, could behave like this. It was a disaster. Opposition to Kahana was from all directions, from all parties, from all ends of the political spectrum. People understood that there is a limit." Meridor was one of the leaders in the campaign to disqualify Kahana, along with the entire Likud and almost all other factions in the Knesset. At the end of that term, and with the assistance of Article 7A, the Election Commission decided to disqualify the Kach party list. Kahana petitioned the High Court. His petition was rejected. The ruling was written by Justice Menachem Alon, an expert in Jewish law and a historian of Jewish law, and is considered to this day one of the most important, moral and Jewish rulings written in Israel. One of Rabbi Kahana's slogans at the time was "Give me the power. I will deal with them.” It seems to me that Netanyahu can adopt this slogan even today. Give me the power, he asks the voters, I'll deal with them. Kahana meant the Arabs. Netanyahu meant anyone who is not Netanyahu. From the treacherous leftists, to the decent Likudniks, to the ultra-Orthodox Israelis for democracy and the rule of law, to anyone for whom the image of Israel, as it was treated by its founding fathers, is dear to him. More than 30 years after Rabbi Kahana was disqualified from running for Knesset, Israel is returning to those dark days. Binyamin Netanyahu, Begin's successor, paves the way for Itamar Ben-Gvir, Kahana's successor. He does not do it because of ideology. He does this because only in this way will he be able to evade the terror of the law and continue the systematic campaign of destruction he is waging against the state and its institutions. I ask myself what people like reserve general Uzi Dayan, former Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter and other refugees like Nir Barkat, Yuli Edelstein, Israel Katz and their friends are saying to themselves now. Dichter knows by heart the Kahanist beliefs of Ben Gvir and his friends and also of the members of the ultra-homophobic and racist Noam party. Edelstein himself was a victim of blatant racism on the part of a cruel dictatorship (in the former Soviet Union). He was persecuted because of his Judaism. Barkat was the mayor of Jerusalem, the holy city of peace for the three religions. Now they are silent. A herd of battered, frightened sheep, led to the moral slaughterhouse named after the Netanyahu family. They are harnessed to the plow of hatred and hope that someday this nightmare will end. I have news for them: even if this nightmare ends sometime, the stain smeared on your forehead will never be removed. The stigma will be engraved there forever...In his personal journey of survival, Binyamin Netanyahu also desecrates the body of religious Zionism. There is no sector in Israel that today bears more of the security burden than the sons of this glorious Zionism. Its mother party, the historic NRP (National Religious Party), was here from the first moment, fighting side by side with the founding fathers of Israel and Zionism. Look what is left of all this today, when MK Bezalel Smotrich, the man who protested the fact that his Jewish wife was kneeling to give birth together next to an Arab mother at the same hospital (or, G-d forbid, an Arab midwife, nurse or doctor), an event he described the event as a "pure Jewish moment,” and the man who called the LGBTs beasts, is the responsible adult on the party list. I examined for a moment the military service of the first five spots in this party, which is supposed to represent the sector whose sons and daughters bear the burden of military service en masse with great devotion. Note: Everything has already been written about Smotrich. He served a partial service in which he was placed ninth on the Tkuma party list, which allowed him to be released for three months (in the middle of the shortened military service) to volunteer in the election. Itamar Ben-Gvir did not serve in the IDF. The two women in the first five, Orit Struck and Michal Waldiger, did not serve in the IDF. Adv. Simcha Rotman served one year. In total, all five have around two years of military service. What an honor. [NOTE: military service for men is about three years and for women it is two. - OH]…By the way, if you look at the Likud list, you will find another inconceivable poison pill there: Boris Applichuk, the prime minister's personal choice for the 40th spot on the Likud list. If Netanyahu forms the next government and the Norwegian law is passed, the aforementioned Applichuk could take his place on the benches of the Israeli legislature, alongside Ben-Gvir. What are the man's virtues? He is presented as a "Russian immigration activist" and an Israeli success story. His main success, at the moment, is a constant confrontation at the house of the prosecutor in the Netanyahu trial, Adv. Liat Ben-Ari, in Moshav Herut. Applichuk stands there at night with a megaphone and screams. "You have to face a commission of inquiry into a legal coup," he shouts, adding alleged crimes of the fugitive criminal Liat Ben-Ari. Yes, here too it is very difficult to imagine an event of this kind just a short time ago. The prime minister confiscates the Likud's list for the Knesset in order to give benefits to the emissaries he sends to incite and attack the heads of the law enforcement system in general and the prosecutor in his trial in particular. No one says a peep about it. No one is outraged. The sheep continue to bleat, watching what is happening and not seeing.
On the Israeli Left, Tussling Twins Are Locked in a Death Match (Yossi Verter,Haaretz+) When Labor and Meretz compete over which one is more leftist, one of them is liable to find itself alone in Israel's March election.
The Palestinian Rosa Parks (Friday Haaretz Editorial and VIDEO) Like many other families seeking alternative forms of open-air entertainment these days in the shadow of the coronavirus crisis, Lubna Abdul Hadi and her family wished to enjoy a family picnic in nature last Saturday. But a routine picnic, attended by grandparents, parents and two infants, held in a public space near the West Bank village of Jibiya, near an illegal settlement called “Zvi’s Farm,” was interrupted by armed settlers. The settlers argued that the location belonged to them “because the Bible says it does.” The assailants did not make do just with verbal threats – they started moving items belonging to the babies, pouring drinks and throwing food into the fire the family had built…But the most shameful thing was the settlers calling in the army to evacuate the family. Instead of protecting the ones who were attacked, the soldiers, who are used to doing the settlers’ bidding, drove the family away, declaring that the public space was now closed.
Moving the Middle East from confrontation to coexistence
(Ali Al Nuaimi, Yedioth/Ynet) The people of the Mideast have to live together regardless of religion and ethnicity; while tolerance was a step in the right direction, coexistence is the essence of what we must achieve for all the cultures that are part of the region’s rich tapestry.
Like a regular guy, Netanyahu sat around and waited for his judges for 20 minutes(Moran Sharir, Haaretz+) The window near him was open. No way he didn’t hear the horns and catcalls of ‘Bibi go home!’ Did he feel any humility as he sat before the trio of judges?
Netanyahu Worries That Star Witness Milchan Will Drop Bombshell (Gidi Weitz,Haaretz+) Prosecution may call key witness in Netanyahu's trial, Arnon Milchan, earlier than planned to prevent his being ‘influenced.’
The International Criminal Court in The Hague allowed itself to become another institution used to punch Israel (Dr. Alan Baker, Maariv) What was meant to be an independent non-political body designed to prosecute and punish the most serious and horrific perpetrators of war crimes is now undergoing political manipulation against Israel.
IDF is reframing its battle for international legitimacy (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) Kochavi's stark warning to Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad that Israel will not tolerate attacks on its home front that emanate from civilian areas in Lebanon and Gaza aims to preempt any demand to bring Israeli officers or politicians to trial.
Israel should cooperate with the ICC (Yossi Beilin, Israel Hayom) Instead of seeing every judicial decision as an existential threat, Israel must present a united front with the US. If an investigation is opened, cooperate with the court, and explain everything there is to explain.
The return of the United States to the UN Human Rights Council is a right and hopeful step (Isaac Levanon, Maariv) In the face of the decision of the International Criminal Court in The Hague and the activities against Israel of organizations such as UNRWA, the United States' task of working to correct the flawed apparatus of the Human Rights Council in Geneva is becoming more important.
Zionism received a depressing wake-up call from The Hague (Nadav Tamir, Yedioth Hebrew) How do you reconcile the horror of the idea that IDF officers will be arrested abroad, with the hope that the Israeli public will remember that it is still occupying another nation and that it will still pay a price for it? The CEO of J street in Israel gives it a try.
On the international battlefield (Amnon Lord, Israel Hayom) Was Israel aggressive enough on the International Criminal Court's decision a week ago? It's not certain, but we should wait until the summer.
The US president is moving towards returning to the nuclear deal and is leaving the Israeli prime minister behind (Ran Adelist, Maariv) The Biden administration's steps signal that the United States is determined to return to the Obama nuclear deal. Netanyahu and Yossi Cohen can only shout all the way to the polls.
Before the Nuclear Talks, Iran and U.S. Are Sparring Over Who Will Blink First (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Tehran and Washington are indirectly sending messages that are also aimed at the Saudis and Israelis. Any delay could put Biden under pressure at home to block the contacts.
Israel must expect every unexpected threat (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) While Iran has been stuck at 'two years from the bomb' for decades and Jerusalem is basking in the glow of the Abraham Accords, the country must recall the unpredicted 2006 war - and never forget dangers of domestic socio-economic strife.
Israel Air Force Will Get Its New Weapons. But an Entire Year Was Squandered(Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Netanyahu obstructed things and the military stalled, but the IDF chief finally has some good news.
Israel Pension Protection Forces (Haaretz Editorial) Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi told the High Court of Justice Thursday he was willing to set aside his busy schedule and appear immediately before the court to defend the position of the Israel Defense Forces. On what issue: Iran? Hamas? Other security threats? Not at all. The High Court is hearing arguments on the Chief of Staff’s Increase, an addition of about 10% to the pension of career officers given at retirement that the Justice Ministry believes is illegal.
Illegal missile sale to 'Asian Country' could harm Israel-U.S. ties (Amos Harel,Haaretz+) The criminal case revealed Thursday, involving more than 20 Israelis, some former defense officials, will mandate full transparency in Israel’s dealings with the already-suspicious Biden administration.
Increasing Jewish presence in the Golan Heights is a must (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) Presidential charts and manifestos are not the answer to ensuring that Israel will retain control of the Golan Heights. As with Jerusalem and parts of Judea and Samaria, so with the Golan Heights building Jewish settlements is what will make all the difference.
The Palestinian legacy of destruction (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) The damage inflicted by Palestinian construction workers on Joshua's altar should be condemned by all members of society regardless of their religion. Israel must act to ensure such incidents never happen again.
'Jewish plots and money': In Pakistan, Israel is now an even more explosive political issue (Hamza Azhar Salam, Haaretz+) Pakistan's opposition hosts Hamas at mass rallies against a 'Jewish-Indian plot': Illegal funding for Prime Minister Imran Khan's army-backed party, in exchange for normalizing relations with Israel. It’s a potent rallying cry.
What fires revealed about Egypt's economic disparity (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Failings within Egypt's electricity grid and education system demonstrate the enormous gap between the improvement in Egypt’s economic situation and the state of its public services.
Who killed Lokman Slim? (Clifford D. May, Israel Hayom) We actually know who is behind the death of the prominent Lebanese filmmaker, publisher, and activist, who had the audacity to criticize Hezbollah for the incalculable harm it has done Lebanon. The question is, what will we do about it?
'I'm Moving to France for a Good Reason, but Israel Is Home. It’s Crap Here, but It’s My Crap'
Conversations at the Tel Aviv airport: A production manager leaves Israel for his country of birth, while a land assessor considers moving to Singapore, where COVID is under control. (Interviewed by Yael Benaya in Haaretz+)
Exiled Iranian crown prince confident end of ayatollahs' regime is near
Reza Pahlavi, the exiled son of the last Shah of Iran, believes that the majority of the Iranian people see the Islamic republic's track record in the global theater as a failure, and would therefore be happy to strike peace with the Jewish state. "I would love to travel to Israel," he says. (Interviewed by Dean Shmuel Elmas in Israel Hayom)
The wave of violence and the surprising embrace from Netanyahu: Israeli Arabs between hope and despair
With a shocking figure of 113 murders a year, the Arab sector feels that it is impossible to continue like this. We went out to Kafr Qara and to Tamra, where innocent citizens paid the price of the negligence (by the government of their problems).
"There have been those who have said in the past, 'When an Arab kills a Jew, it is a security incident and the whole system mobilizes to arrest him. When an Arab kills an Arab, it is a civilian issue that can be left behind,'" said former MK Muhammad Baraka, who is serving for a second term as the Head of the The High Monitoring Committee of the Arab Public in Israel. "Nearly 1,500 (Arab-Israelis) have been killed since October 2000. If you haven’t noticed, this is a war. Eight times as much as in the West Bank and eight times as much as in Jordan. These are the same families, the same customs, so why is there more here, because the Palestinian police are more organized? Of course not. In my opinion, some people think that the more the Arab population deals with itself and its main concern is personal security, it will distract it from the main issues of house demolitions [by government], discrimination [by government - OH], the Jewish Nation State law and the Palestinian cause. They want to lower the ceiling of social aspirations (of Arab-Israelis) to only worrying about ensuring their stay alive. Netanyahu wants to approve a plan to fight violence. What is the purpose of the police? To ensure these things. The rising crime is a serious indictment of the state and the government.” (Interviewed by Eyal Levy in Maariv)
Forget the politicians: This U.S. lawmaker thinks high-tech can bring Israelis and Palestinians together
Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna says citizen diplomacy and a focus on innovation can cut through some of the ‘gridlock that has been created by the government-to-government approaches’ in the Middle East. (Interviewed by Ben Samuels (Washington) in Haaretz+)
'Europe's perception of Israel is finally beginning to shift'
The Democratic administration of US President Joe Biden takes Europe's opinion of Israel very much into account. As such, the work of Shai Bazak, a former Israeli diplomat and currently CEO of ELNET, an organization dedicated to fostering Israeli-European ties, becomes that much more critical. (Interviewed by Ran Puni in Israel Hayom)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.