News Nosh 2.22.21

APN's daily news review from Israel - Monday February 22, 2021

You Must Be Kidding: 
Israeli forces detained Aws Ghazi Najeeb, 8, and his brother Mohammed, 6, while they were near their home in the town of Hizma.**

Front Page:



  • Municipalities: We will re-open school for 7th-10th graders on Wednesday
  • The victory of the malls over the schools led the revolt // Or Kashti
  • Agreement achieved between IAEA and Tehran: The supervision will continue, but be lessened
  • The pollution of the coast reminds Israel: It is unprepared for a really enormous disaster that could happen
  • The only hope that lies in the tar is that it will open Israelis’ eyes // Nir Hasson
  • Residents protested, the mayor pressured the Social Welfare Ministry and the hostel for addicted women in Beersheva won’t be opened
  • Proof now // Raviv Drucker against Netanyahu postponing the evidentiary stage of his trial
  • Calibration chain // Zvi Bar’el on Biden’s message to Saudi Arabia and others

Yedioth Ahronoth

  • The people of the country - At Yedioth annual conference - Live Broadcast (Hebrew)
  • Brave woman - The chilling testimony at court of Shira Iskov (whose husband tried to murder her)
  • Our woman in Damascus // Nahum Barnea on the deal with Putin
  • The path to anarchy // Ben-Dror Yemini on the revolt of the municipalities (which intend to open schools in violation of corona guidelines)
  • Stand down with the celebrations // Rabbi Yossi Arbelich on the dangers of Purim holiday parties

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • The education revolt
  • The ecological disaster: Public warned: Don’t come to the beaches
  • “Osnat was scared to get vaccinated” - Mother and fetus died of corona

Israel Hayom

Top News Summary:
Israeli municipalities plan to ‘revolt’ and allow 7th-10th grade classes to reopen (after Israel allowed malls to reopen but kept the children at home), Israel’s beaches could take decades to recover from the oil spill that swept tar onto Israel’s beaches and exposed Israel’s unpreparedness for massive natural disasters, a mother and baby corona died of corona and the daughter of renowned Israeli author, Amos Oz, accused him of abusing her - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers

Also, ‘Israel Hayom’ tries to put in a positive light the deal Israel made with Syria to pay for hundreds of thousands of vaccines in exchange for the return of the Israeli woman with a front page Op-Ed today saying Israel made a wonderful “humanitarian gesture” toward Syria and with a front page Op-Ed yesterday saying Israel did the best thing in light of the circumstances.

The latest in Israeli election news is that Yedioth’s Elior Levy revealed that Likud held talks with Palestinians to get the Fatah party to convince Israel-Arabs to support Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and ditch the mostly Arab ‘Joint List’ party. The Likud denied such a meeting took place. And the Kahanist extremist politician and Netanyahu ally, Itamar Ben-Gvir, invoked Hitler in his election ad, Haaretz reported. Meanwhile, N13 decided not to interview any Likud candidates during the election campaign after Netanyahu gave an exclusive and rare interview to Channel 12 News, ‘Israel Hayom’ reported.

In the back and forth over who makes the first step to return to the Iran nuclear deal, Iran said again that the US must first lift sanctions. And the UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, made a new deal with Iran over the monitoring of Iran's nuclear facilities, which included ending snap inspections, and which some suggested opens a window for saving the 2015 nuclear deal. At the same time, an independent report stated that Israel is expanding its own nuclear research center in Dimona, for which Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the IAEA of hypocrisy. Meanwhile, an Iranian website said Iran and the US are in indirect talks for the release of detained Americans. Former Israeli ambassador to the US, Danny Ayalon, said that the Middle East is not a priority for US President Joe Biden, Yedioth reported.

Also of interest, but getting little coverage in the Hebrew newspapers: In a letter to Biden, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas committed to a two-state solution on the pre-1967 lines. In the first official letter the Palestinian Authority (PA) sent to the White House it stated that all Palestinian factions, including Hamas, were committed to the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. The letter was delivered by Hussein Al-Sheikh, the PA's Head of the General Authority of Civil Affairs, to U.S. President Joe Biden's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr. ‘Israel Hayom’ asked whether this letter shows that Hamas is reconsidering its position regarding the Israeli-Palestinian peace process? However, if the reporter had done his homework, he would have found that Hamas has stated its commitment to a Palestinian state according to the 1967 lines a number of times, as far back as 10 years ago. The letter also outlines the following commitments of the Palestinian factions prior to the elections which are planned to be held in May of this year. IMEMC has the details here. Hussein Al-Sheikh also Tweeted that the PA will ask Israel to allow Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails to exercise their right to vote in Palestinian elections.

And an Egyptian minister made a rare visit to Israel. Egypt's Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El Molla, arrived in Israel and met with Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz and will also meet with President Reuven Rivlin. The parties discussed issues related to the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum based in Cairo and the promotion of energy security of the two countries. (Also Yedioth HebrewIsrael plans to link its Leviathan gas field to Egypt’s liquefied gas plants. El Molla also visited the Palestinian Territories where he and his Palestinian counterpart also discussed advancing cooperation in the energy sector. and during which El Molla reiterated Egypt's firm support of Palestinian national rights and Palestine's sovereignty over its natural resources and its right to freely develop and utilize them, in particular the Gaza Marine gas field.

Also, Egypt is trying to promote an Israel-Hamas prisoner swap that may include vaccines for Gazans, as well as concessions to facilitate the deal, such as easing the restrictions on Gazan fishing, establishing a seaport in Gaza and freeing a number of Palestinian prisoners.


Quick Hits:

  • **Israeli forces detain two brothers, ages 6 and 8, northeast of Jerusalem - Israeli forces detained Aws Ghazi Najeeb, 8, and his brother Mohammed, 6, while they were near their home in the town of Hizma. (WAFA)
  • Israeli settlers chop down dozens of olive trees near Bethlehem - Fawzi Khalifa was surprised to find out that settlers used an electric saw to chop down around 70 olive trees that are over ten years of age in his village of al-Walaja, which is between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. (WAFA)
  • Israel issues demolition notice against an apartment building near Jerusalem - Fadi Elayyan, an al-Aqsa mosque guards said Israeli West Jerusalem municipality informed him Sunday of its intention to demolish his extended family's 370-square-meter apartment building today. 17 people, including 12 children live in the building.  (WAFA)
  • Israel is keeping Palestinian prisoners medically ignored: Commission - The Palestinian Authority’s Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission said today that Israeli occupation authorities have maintained the unfair policy of medical negligence of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli detention. (WAFA)
  • Palestinians Hold Burial Ceremony Of Detainee Who Died In Israeli Prison In September 2020 - The Israeli army handed the corpse of Daoud Tal’at Khatib, 45, to his family on Friday evening, five and a half months after he died from a heart attack. (IMEMC)
  • Israel to receive last shipments of Pfizer COVID vaccines in next two weeks - The 1.5 million doses will provide enough for Israel to meet its target of five million people vaccinated against the coronavirus. (Haaretz)
  • El Al Prepares to Fire Third of Its Workforce, Pending State-backed Loan - El Al layoffs to go into effect only after receiving a state-backed loan of $300 million; airline will send letter of intent to employees. (Haaretz+)
  • Government affords anti-Israel aid groups over $50M in tax exemptions - Israel grants fuel tax exemptions worth upwards of NIS 167 million to UNRWA and other pro-Palestinian groups, while Israeli aid groups must pay full taxes. (Israel Hayom)
  • Former world leaders take stand opposing ICC investigation of Israel - Newly-appointed Hague chief prosecutor Karim Khan reminded that Israel is not a member of the ICC and has an independent, internationally recognized legal system that investigates and prosecutes when necessary. (Israel Hayom)
  • Protecting Sensitive Israeli Infrastructure From China’s and Dubai’s Money - After years of chaos and willful political blindness, the government and Shin Bet have assembled a plan to review foreign investment in sensitive infrastructure projects. (Haaretz+)
  • Lebanese media: Israeli in prisoner swap deal was seen near Lebanon border in October - Hezbollah-affiliated reporter posts photos allegedly showing woman in a jeep and civilian clothes near the fence during period of high alert for retaliatory attack against IDF by Hezbollah for death of militant in July. (MaarivYnet and Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli gunboat infiltrates Lebanese territorial waters - The statement by the Lebanese military said the Israeli warship fired a flare over the area before returning to the Israeli shores off the borderline village of Naqoura. (WAFA)
  • Newly surfaced Soviet-era footage shows spy Eli Cohen in Damascus - New Russian documentary series opens with video filmed by a Soviet officer of man believed to be Cohen, dubbed 'greatest Israeli spy who has ever operated in an Arab country.’ (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • (Right-wing Israeli organization): UNRWA continues anti-Semitic incitement in schools, report shows - IMPACT-se finds that an "exercise describes 'pieces of corpses' being dispersed throughout city streets to teach grade-nine spelling"; and Israel, a UN member state, "is solely referred to as 'the Enemy' or 'the Occupation' and is erased from maps of the region." (Israel Hayom)
  • Most Middle Eastern children are multilingual, UN study finds - The United Nations has declared Feb. 21 International Mother Language Day, stating its purpose is "to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world." (Israel Hayom)
  • U.S. Defense Secretary Calls Saudi Crown Prince, Reaffirms Strategic Ties - Crown Prince Mohammed, who is also Saudi Defence Minister, reviewed bilateral relations with Secretary Lloyd Austin, especially in defense cooperation. (Agencies,Haaretz)
  • Erdogan Calls for Thawing of Strained Ties With U.S. - Turkish president softens tone after accusations of U.S. support of Kurdish militants, saying common interests far outweigh differing opinions. (Agencies, Haaretz)

The ongoing battle over illegal construction in Judea and Samaria
Following the recent discovery of four new illegal Arab structures built on Israeli state land, several hundred Gush Etzion residents held a protest to call on the government to take action. (Josh Hasten, Israel Hayom)
A small, digital army is preparing for the war of succession in Judea and Samaria
On the hills, at intersections and in squares in the [Palestinian] territories, one can already see the advanced technological means by which the IDF is trying to deal with Palestinian terrorism. The system is based on innovative technologies that are supposed to streamline and improve by hundreds of percent the counterterrorism and the ability to respond quickly and effectively to terrorist attacks and disturbances, and do so while causing minimal "incidental damage" to the area's residents - Jews and Palestinians. The hold on the terrain allows (IDF military) observers and information system operators to spot suspicious people and movements, identify them, assess their danger, and if necessary - alert the forces on the ground to intercept or disable them quickly.  (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet Hebrew)
How does Israel negotiate prisoner exchanges with enemy states?
The recent return of an Israeli woman who was held captive in Syria after crossing the border has dominated headlines. How does Israel contact the party that is holding its citizen? What are the rules of such negotiations? (Assaf Golan, Israel Hayom)

How Biden Can Undo Trump's Dirty Deal With Morocco and Israel Over Western Sahara (Ali El Aallaoui, Haaretz+) Trump bartered the Sahrawi people as a kickback to Morocco to normalize its relations with Israel. But Biden can challenge Rabat’s occupation - and help liberate the last colony in Africa.
Israel must have a role in new Iran nuclear talks (Sever Plocker, Yedioth/Ynet) Despite Netanyahu's support for his political rivals, Biden does not hold grudges and is a friend to Israel who understands its security concerns and needs; all Jerusalem needs to do is present a factual, science-based position.
Iran's nuclear weapons program never really slowed down (Dr. Raphael Ofek, Israel Hayom) Iran has not yet provided the IAEA with a plausible explanation for any of the gross violations of the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
A light unto the nations, and vaccines (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) As always, Israel's strength isn't just a matter of its military and scientific might, but also its righteousness, specifically its humanitarian gestures toward its neighbors.
Palestinian elections are attempt to settle political landscape (Mohammad al-Kassim/The Media Line/Ynet) Internal warring may spell the end of President Mahmoud Abbas's long career as his Fatah party rows over potential successors Barghouti and Dahlan, even as its popularity erodes due to perceived corruption.
Living in Israel, voting in the PA (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) This coming May, the Palestinian Authority will be holding elections for the first time in 15 years, but PA President Mahmoud Abbas wants to make them conditional on the participation of east Jerusalem Arab residents. Everyone – from Israel to Hamas to the Biden administration to Saudi Arabia – has an opinion.
Is the land-for-peace route the way to go with the PA? (Yoram Ettinger, Israel Hayom) "Cleansing the 1948 land of the Zionist presence" – not peaceful coexistence, is the focal point of the Palestinian ethos.
Rich Israelis Can Breathe Easy: Major Parties Won’t Touch Them (Eytan Avriel,Haaretz+)  A review of the economic platforms of Israel’s largest political parties running for the Knesset shows that they all ignore socioeconomic reforms like inheritance taxes or climate change.

Left-wing former general: Division between Meretz and Labor 'stupid'
Maj. Gen. (res.) Yair Golan, known as one of the most militant generals in the IDF, explains why it was natural for him to find a political home on the Left, and calls PM Benjamin Netanyahu "the biggest danger to the state of Israel." (Interviewed by  Yoav Limor in Israel Hayom)


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