News Nosh 2.16.21

APN's daily news review from Israel - Tuesday February 16, 2021


Quote of the day:

"The Jewish National Fund’s decision this week to officially work to expand settlements and continue planting forests as part of a policy of seizing land in the West Bank is yet another milestone in the growing gap between the two communities. While Netanyahu’s governments have actively advanced this approach, along with the settlement enterprise and the occupation as a whole, Diaspora Jewry long ago distanced itself from the legendary blue JNF collection boxes."
--Haaretz+ political affairs correspondent, Noa Landau, writes that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has long followed the dictates of the ultra-Orthodox and right-wing religious Zionist communities, rather than reaching out to American Jews, whose views are liberal and pro-peace and whose support he needs.*

Front Page:



  • Commerce will reopen Sunday under restrictions,middle school pupils will remain home
  • Infection rate improving, but the path to returning to normal is still far // Ido Efrati
  • Netanyahu: I spoke “once or twice” with Milchan(prosecution witness in Case 1000) after the indictment was submitted
  • Health Ministry demandsreceiving details of teachers and students who were vaccinated
  • Rise in polls puts (Yesh Atid chairman) Lapid in a dilemma:How to threaten the Likud without harming the (left-wing part) of the (anti-Netanyahu) bloc
  • Sources in Israel and the US: Iran planned to attack embassies in the Emirates and in Ethiopia
  • With Attorney General approval, “The Jews Are Coming” satire show will be removed from teaching plans
  • Call on hold// Noa Landau writes that Netanyahu can communicate with Jewish Americans
  • The eulogizers are mistaken // Or-Li Barlev writes that despite those who make light of the anti-Netanyahu protests, they have caused the elections to be held at a problematic time for Netanyahu
  • For the first time in Israel, the set for filming a movie has an “intimacy coordinator” to prevent unwanted touching

Yedioth Ahronoth

  • “Teaching staff that didn’t get vaccinated are abandoning the pupils” - According to Heath Ministry, only 60% of Education Ministry staff have gotten first dose of vaccine (Hebrew)
  • Encourage, don’t force // Chen Artzi-Srur
  • Culture and sport will be open to the vaccinated
  • “The girl came crying to our room. We understood something terrible happened” - Father of 10-year-old who was raped in her house in the south by three Bedouin
  • The wild south // Ben-Dror Yemini
  • Snow alert (Hebrew)
  • The judo storm - Israelis stuck abroad enraged that 600 athletes participating in judo tournament were allowed to fly into Israel

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • Exiting on the way - Corona cabinet approved easing numerous restrictions
  • He opened his campaign - Prime Minister gave interview to main news broadcast of Channel 12
  • “War” by surprise - IAF military exercise, “Vered Hagalil” (Rose of the Galilee), simulating war in northern front

Israel Hayom

  • From Sunday: Malls and hotels opening up - Corona cabinet approved for partial opening of economy two days earlier
  • ‘Israel Hayom’ initiative: Get vaccinated and on Passover Eve we are all (enjoying together)
  • Lesson in helplessness: “We are failing in the face of the crime in the south”
  • Demand in the Knesset: Hearing over the sharp rise in sexual harassment in the IDF
  • The rape of the 10-year-old in the south proves: Neighborly relations with the Bedouin must be re-examined // Akiva Bigman

Top News Summary:
Israel decided to begin on Sunday to ease corona restrictions, the Israeli Air Force began early an exercise simulating a war against Hezbollah on the northern border and three Bedouin men from the Negev were accused of raping a 10-year-old Jewish girl, causing right-wing commentators to slam the Bedouin communities as a whole and examine relations of the Jewish communities with them (despite no such commentary a day earlier when it was reported that three [Jewish] men raped a 13-year-old girl in the center of the country) - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Elections 2021: 
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave an interview to Channel 12 News that was widely regarded as the opening of his campaign for the election, which is five weeks away. And the latest election poll, sees his Likud party losing one seat, while the extremist right-wing Kahanist faction, ‘Religious Zionism,’ passes the threshold.

Corona-related Quickees:

  • Israel Reduces COVID Restrictions as Most Commerce, Public Activity to Resume Sunday- Stores, malls, museums and more get green light, grades 7-10 will stay home in next phase of Israel's COVID lockdown exit. (Haaretz+)
  • Gantz brands PM economic plan 'election bribery' as 2 spar once again- Coronavirus cabinet reconvenes to discuss the 'Green Pass' outline and 9-step economic aid program, unveiled just hours prior and criticized by senior Treasure officials, who claim to have been left in the dark on the matter by PM and Katz. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israeli Lawmakers Divided Over Palestinian Request for COVID Vaccines- Palestinian Authority requests 1,000 vaccines for Gaza medical teams. Head of Knesset committee: Jabs will reach Hamas, not medics. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinians accuse Israel of blocking vaccine shipment to Gaza- The Palestinian Authority said Monday that Israel was preventing it from sending for a shipment of 2,000 doses of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine that were acquired by the PA, to the Gaza Strip, which are intended for frontline medical workers. (Israel Hayomand WAFA)
  • Palestinians push back vaccine rollout over delivery delay- While PA began vaccinating frontline healthcare workers with Russia's Sputnik V vaccine as well as Moderna doses given by Israel, it is still waiting on some two million doses from various manufacturers and the UN-backed COVAX initiative. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Bolsonaro seeks Israeli anti-Covid nasal spray for Brazil- Ichilov Medical Center researcher Prof. Nadir Arber reports that he had administered the spray to 30 patients with moderate to severe coronavirus cases, and that 29 of them had been released from the hospital in three to five days. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Health Ministry mulls electronic tagging for arrivals from abroad- Officials suggest alternative to quarantining in state-run hotels as they struggle to properly process all arrivals in bid to prevent entry of new COVID-19 variants into Israel. (Ynet)

Quick Hits:

  • Three Israelis Arrested on Suspicion of Acts of Terror Against Palestinians- The suspects were arrested as part of a joint operation by the Shin Bet and police. Gag order placed on details of investigation. Haaretz reported last month about dozens of incidents of violence against Palestinians by Israelis. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli settlers attack and injure Palestinian family south of Nablus; uproot saplings- Israeli settlers attacked Monday evening a Palestinian family in the village of Iraq Burin with rubber-coated steel bullets, stones, and stun grenades , injuring a mother and her two children. (WAFA)
  • Palestinian injured in Israeli settlers' assault south of Nablus- Salah Daraghmeh, 28, was injured Monday by Israeli settlers while planting olive trees on his land in the village of al-Lubban al-Sharqiya. He was hospitalized. (WAFA)
  • Cancer-stricken and critically ill Palestinian prisoner freed by Israel after almost completing his 20-year sentence- Hussein Masalmeh, 39, from al-Khader, near Bethlehem, who is believed to have only a few days to live was uncuffed and the Israeli prison guards watching him left the hospital. Palestinian Commission for Detainees and Ex-Detainees is considering moving him to Palestinian hospital so his family can be with him. (WAFAand IMEMC)
  • Yamina leader Bennett likens Palestinian Authority to ISIS- In a video recorded at the biblical site of Joshua's altar on Mount Ebal, Naftali Bennett addresses the damage done to the altar's outer wall by Palestinian municipal workers. (Israel Hayom)
  • One Palestinian Shot, Injured, others Suffocate at Weekly Kufur Qaddoum March- Locals have demonstrated every Friday and Saturday for years to pressure the occupation authorities reopen the main road out of Kufur Qaddoum and to reject the expropriation of their land for illegal colonial activities. (IMEMC)
  • Israeli Army Displaces Palestinian Family South of Hebron- On Friday, the members of Omar Shanran’s family were terrorized by illegal Israeli settlers from Carmiel settlement. On Saturday, the Israeli army coerced Shamran to tear down his residential tent, which he had set up in order to shelter his 13 member family in the Khirbet al-Thaala hamlet in Masafer Yatta. (IMEMC)
  • Two Palestinian families forced by the Israelis municipality in (E.) Jerusalem to self-demolish their homes- Jihad Awadallah, one of the owners of the structures, said that his family demolished its two-story building in Shuafat neighborhood, which was built 20 years ago. He pointed out that his family tried all these years to obtain a permit without success and that it has paid over $35,000 in fines. (WAFAand IMEMC)
  • Army Delivers 15 Demolition Notices, Uproots Trees in Northern West Bank and Expropriated land- Israel delivered demolition notices to 15 Palestinian-owned homes in Yatma town. Israeli army uprooted and confiscated nearly 1000 seedlings, which the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture had recently replanted, in the Einoun area, east of Tubas. Israeli authorities expropriated 19 dunams of Palestinian land from Azzun Atma village for the illegal expansion of the nearby Oranit settlement. (IMEMC)
  • Israeli authorities order stop-construction work on three homes south of Bethlehem- Israeli forces distributed notices ordering to halt the construction work on three 80-square-meters houses to the west of the town of al-Khader. (WAFA)
  • Israeli military breaches the Gaza border, infiltrates dozens of meters into the northern Gaza Strip- Three bulldozers and three tanks breached the borders and trampled on agricultural land and farms dozens of meters inside the borders, destroying land and building dirt mounds while shooting in the air and firing smoke canisters to obscure the raid. (WAFA)
  • Netanyahu Admits to Speaking With Prosecution Witness Milchan After Indictment Filed- In an interview with Channel 12 news, Netanyahu says he spoke with Milchan, who is at the heart of one of the three corruption cases against the prime minister, 'Once or twice' since the charges were filed. (Haaretz+)
  • Anti-Netanyahu Protesters Reporting Increase in Violent Attacks Against Them- Despite numerous assaults, only seven indictments have been filed in the eight months since the protests began. (Haaretz+)
  • Violence in Arab society: Wave of arrests in two localities in the north- As part of police operations, police arrested 13 people on suspicion of involvement in attempted murder, shooting, drug trafficking and violence in Jisr a-Zarqa and Furadis. Among the suspects, a 15-year-old minor. (Maariv)
  • Anthony Fauci Receives Prestigious Israeli Award- Fauci, who has won the Dan David Prize for his work during the COVID pandemic, has butted heads with Trump over the management of the crisis. [NOTE: Earlier this month, Stevie Wonder was awardedIsrael’s prestigious Wolf Prize and Steven Spielberg was awarded the Genesis Prize [funded by Israeli-Russian oligarchs] - OH] (Haaretz+, Ynet and Maariv)
  • Palestine calls for pressure on Israel to allow elections in East Jerusalem- Fatah Secretary-General Jibril Rajoub stressed the importance of EU’s role in monitoring elections throughout its three phases. (WAFA)
  • Israel cancels participation in UAE defense expo, citing air travel curbs- Dozens of Israeli defense firms had been due to take part in the IDEX conference but Regional Cooperation Ministry refused to issue officials permission to fly over coronavirus fears; cancellation set to spell mass loses of deals to competitors. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Prominent Israeli Rabbi, Sex Offender Suspected of Fraud, Released to House Arrest- Rabbi Eliezer Berland, who had previously done prison time for sexual offenses, is charged with 16 counts of fraud and exploitation, and with money laundering totaling $43 million. (Haaretz+)
  • Neanderthals in West Bank Had 'Homo Sapiens' Technology- Neanderthals hadn't been thought capable of fashioning clever 'Nubian Levallois' tools. Now a tooth found with such tools in a West Bank cave has been identified as Neanderthal. (Haaretz+)
  • Erdogan Says U.S. Supports Militants Who Executed Turks in Iraq-  Turkey summons U.S. ambassador over statement on Iraq killings. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Yemen's Houthis Say Attacked Saudi's Jeddah, Abha Airports- In a statement on Twitter, Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said the attacks halted operations at the airports for two hours as a result. (Agencies, Haaretz)

From COVID to Corruption, Eight Issues That Will Decide the Outcome of the Israeli Election (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) From who wins the coronavirus narrative to whether Yair Lapid can break the 20-seat ceiling (and at whose expense), these are the key factors ahead of the March 23 Israel election.
Common sense prevailed (Prof. Abraham Ben-Zvi, Israel Hayom) Both Biden and Trump are glad the impeachment saga is over, for different reasons.
Kahanism, xenophobia and homophobia under the sponsorship of Netanyahu (Gadi Gavriyahu, Yedioth Hebrew) In the right-wing, they are trying to blur the shocking views and statements of the leaders of the Religious Zionist Party (e.g. MK Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir) by comparing to Arab candidates…It is impossible to tell everyone in one breath that we are a Jewish-democratic state and at the same time accept the existence of a racist-Kahanist party that has no trace of reverence for God and Judaism. The comparisons between statements and behaviors of MKs or candidates - Arabs and Jews - are not similar to the reality in which a Jewish-racist-Kahanist party was formed under the explicit guidance of the Israeli prime minister, and which may even serve under him.
*Netanyahu, Pick Up the Phone and Call American Jews (Noa Landau, Haaretz+) The Jewish majority in Israel has become more right-wing and more conservative, while most American Jews are tending to be more liberal. Most Israelis see their Judaism as either secular or Orthodox, while most Jews in the United States are Reform or Conservative. Having developed a dependency on representatives of the ultra-Orthodox and religious Zionist communities, Netanyahu has always chosen to surrender to their dictates regarding religion and state, rather than to try to bridge the fundamental differences with those for whom Israel purports to be a national home. Instead of reaching out to American Jews, he preferred to reach out to the Evangelicals. The Western Wall, conversion, marriage, the rabbinate’s monopoly, budgeting of congregations, kashrut, even combating antisemitism – those are just some of the issues where Netanyahu has clearly chosen sides: against American Jewry.
The ICC elephant in the room (Pinhas Inbari, Israel Hayom) The court's ruling that it may investigate Israel for war crimes also allows it to investigate Hamas, potentially throwing a wrench into the developing Hamas-Fatah partnership.
Yair Lapid's Election Challenge: Threatening Netanyahu's Likud Without Getting Too Strong (Jonathan Lis, Haaretz+) Lapid's Yesh Atid could become the second-largest in the Knesset, but it fears eating into support for its center-left allies.


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