News Nosh 2.17.21

APN's daily news review from Israel - Wednesday February 17, 2021


Word of the day:

--Now erased from the entry regarding the Palesitnian Territories by Hebrew Wikipedia community of volunteer editors on Hebrew Wikipedia, who replaced it with Israel’s “rule” or “control."** 

Front Page:


Yedioth Ahronoth

  • The vaccine law - Expose - The draft of the legislative bill that Health Minister is advancing (Hebrew)
  • Waiting for snow: At Mt. Hermon and in Jerusalem and even in Mitzpeh Ramon
  • The man with the key // Sima Kadmon on [kingmaker] Naftali Bennet and Netanyahu
  • Secret government meeting: “Humanitarian issue” in Syria
  • A message to Nasrallah // Yossi Yehoshua on the IAF exercise in the north (Hebrew)

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • The great storm
  • The weak link - Health Ministry warns of sharp rise of infection among children at return to school
  • Today: Elections Commission to discuss the petitions to disqualify candidates for the Knesset; Attorney General: “I oppose all the requests submitted”

Israel Hayom

  • “It is a humanitarian and sensitive issue”- At a time of a series of contacts with Russia: Government ministers convened to discuss secret issue
  • A barcode for a new life: The Green Pass is on the way
  • The virus of disregard: Look how difficult my recuperation has been and run to get vaccinated // Gal Makel
  • Na na na na na: Netanyahu left the Channel 12 News studio with a crushing victory // Akiva Bigman
  • Buckle up: Due to the success of the vaccines - the airline industry is prepared to take off

Top News Summary:
Israeli government cabinet held an emergency secretive meeting, two-thirds of Israelis have received at least their first corona vaccine dose and Israel looks at ways to pressure teachers and youth to get vaccinated, too, and a long-awaited snow storm is expected in the country today making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Diplomacy and Security:
‘Israel Hayom’ reported that the secretive cabinet meeting on a ‘humanitarian issue’ in Syria could be related to the Russian military's recent excavation of a cemetery in Damascus in search of a fallen Israeli soldier.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Air Force wrapped up its surprise drill in which it simulated attacking 3,000 Hezbollah targets a day. Yedioth Hebrew’s military affairs commentator, Yossi Yehoshua, said the three-day exercise was “a message to Nasrallah,” Hezbollah’s secretary general. Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah gave his answer in a speech last night: “We are not interested in war," he said and warned. “If we escalate into this, the Israeli home front will see things it has not seen since 1948.” ‘Israel Hayom’ wrote that Nasrallah accused Israel of 'killing Diaspora Jews' in many countries because they refused to immigrate.

Iran and Russia began their own joint drill, a naval exercise in the northern part of the Indian Ocean. Israel’s ministers approved buying $9.4 billion dollars worth of arms from the US, including refueling aircraft and 25 more F-35 fighter jets. Israel hinted it may not engage with the Biden administration if it returns to the Iran nuclear deal. And, President Joe Biden’s spokesman said the President’s first call with a Mideast leader will be with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The International Criminal Court at The Hague assured Netanyahu that its decision to investigate Israel for war crimes was ‘not political’ and if an investigation is launched, it will also cover actions by Palestinian groups, ‘Israel Hayom’ reported. The Palestinian Authority will be receiving $10 million from Turkey for a new industrial zone in the city of Jenin. ‘Israel Hayom’ reported that Turkish President Recep Tayyip “Erdogan seeks to keep the Palestinian Authority happy alongside Hamas in Gaza.”

Elections 2021:

  • Election Poll: Anti-Netanyahu Bloc Gains Majority as Likud Loses Seat- New poll sees bloc of parties opposing Netanyahu secure 61-seat majority. (Haaretz+)
  • Election Panel Asked to Bar Israeli Arab Labor Party Candidate- Committee convenes Wednesday to discuss request to disqualify Ibtisam Mara’ana for comments she made on social media. Committee will also address request by Otzma Yehudit to disqualify the Joint List. (Haaretz+ and JPost)
  • Twenty Arab Party Activists Quit Israel's Labor, Taking Aim at Newly Elected Chairwoman- A former minister slams Labor leader Merav Michaeli's pick of Tel Aviv-based candidate for Arab slot on party list, deliberates teaming up with other parties. (Haaretz+)
  • Na na na na na Netanyahu: PM’s mockery of media critics goes viral- Clip from premier’s interview with Channel 12 set to music, while opponent Sa’ar seizes on the phrase: ‘For him, 5,406 dead is na na na.' (Times of Israel)
  • Netanyahu Rival Sa'ar to Review Ties With Lincoln Project Following Sexual Harassment Allegations- Last week, revelations surfaced that the Lincoln Project knew about allegations of sexual harassment involving one of its co-founders several months before acknowledging them publicly. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Quick Hits:

  • Palestinian Cars Vandalized After Israel Evacuates Settlement Outpost- Police say they have launched an investigation into the incident in the settlement of Shiloh, which comes after five suspects have been detained on suspicion of committing hate crimes in the West Bank in the last two days. (WAFAand Haaretz+)
  • Israeli forces raid Palestinian-owned land in E. Jerusalem area, remove barbed-wire fence- Sources said Israeli forces, accompanied by bulldozers, raided an area in Jabal al-Mukaber neighborhood and removed the barbed-wire fence surrounding it. The land belongs to Talab family. (WAFA)
  • Israeli authorities demolish residential sheds in E. Jerusalem- Israeli police escorted bulldozers into Ras Kabseh area in the neighborhood, where the heavy machineries tore down the sheds belonging to a member of the Abu Rumoz family, displacing his entire family. (WAFA)
  • **Israeli ‘Rule,’ Not ‘Occupation’: In a Sign of the Times, Hebrew Wikipedia Renames a Key Article- The occupation may be a fact of life for Palestinians, but on Hebrew Wikipedia, too, the creeping annexation is making headway. (Haaretz+)
  • AG Mendelblit Approves Removal of Satirical Clips From Bible Studies Curriculum - Despite the removal of the skits, taken from satirical comedy 'the Jews are Coming' from the Education Ministry website, teachers can still use them in lessons. (Haaretz+)
  • Gaza law barring women from travel without male consent to be revised, judge says- Palestinian rights groups protest edict dubbed as discriminatory; analyst says original ruling aimed at stemming recent increase in Gaza women seeking work, studies outside coastal enclave. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • 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+)
  • WATCH 'I Am a Hostage:' Dubai's Sheikha Latifa Issues Video From 'Villa Jail'- In footage published by BBC, the daughter of Dubai's ruler says she is being held against her will in a barricaded villa with police officers stationed outside and inside. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Satellite Images Show Devastation From Fuel Tanker Blast on Afghan-Iran Border- The blaze spread for three days after an explosion on Saturday which set off a huge fire that engulfed many of the hundreds of trucks lined up at the border crossing. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Turkey Will Expand Operations Against Kurdish Militants, Erdogan Says After Iraq Killings- Ankara accuses Kurdish PKK militants of killing 13 Turkish captives in northern Iraq. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Israeli Media Also Helped Itamar Ben-Gvir (Sami Peretz, Haaretz+) The responsibility for the appointment of the successor of right-wing extremist Meir Kahane would be Netanyahu’s, but he is not alone. He had collaborators in recent years. Long before Netanyahu turned Ben-Gvir into a potentially legitimate coalition partner the television and radio studios had already done the job. They made Ben-Gvir a regular guest in their studios, reacting on current affairs and representing the right in the circus of talk shows.
Along with the harsh words and condemnations, we must ask ourselves: what next?(Amram Mitzna, Maariv) The Biden administration's statements and the investigation in The Hague are only the first signs of the return of the political issue to the world agenda. Continuing to ignore the issue on the part of Israel will cost us dearly.
The Bibi Show Continues (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Netanyahu is in good company. Biden hasn’t called the Saudi Arabian king and his omnipotent crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, either. Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also waiting tensely for a call, and Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi of Egypt, the first Arab leader to congratulate Biden on his election, is expecting a slap in the face. Until he gets the call, it is not superfluous to note that Bibi has stopped making Jerusalem his chief joy, and is doing his best to conceal his national achievement of having had former U.S. President Donald Trump recognize Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights. Those gifts have been carefully wrapped and stashed in a drawer as if they were unreported bonuses.
The law of logic (Aharon Papu, Maariv) According to the indictment (against Netanyahu), all the information against Netanyahu is 100% correct, and only his attempts to correct it are prohibited by law and constitute a criminal offense.
The international miscarriage of justice at The Hague (Dan Schueftan, Israel Hayom) Should non-democratic, non-pluralistic societies be allowed to use the ICC as a way of defending themselves against democracy and entrenching the perverse "symmetry" that compares mistakes to wanton violations of human rights?
When Israel Sells Arms to Everybody, 'Dr. Strangelove of Drones' Feels Invincible(Yossi Melman, Haaretz+) The arrest of Israelis on suspicion of developing, producing and illegally selling arms to an Asian superpower rival of the U.S. doesn’t reflect good law enforcement – but fear. Meanwhile, Malaysia, Vietnam and Azerbaijan remain controversial markets for Israeli weapons.


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