APN's daily news review from Israel - Tuesday March 2, 2021
Quote of the day:
"We believe that using JNF (Jewish National Fund) money to buy private lands in the West Bank will not make
Israel better. We worry that doing so will inflame antagonism in the territories. Also, we believe that it will
further alienate many American Jews, especially young American Jews, from Israel and from Zionism itself, which too
many see as inseparable from the dispossession of land from Palestinians."
--From a petition by 250 graduates of the Hadassah-supported youth group Young Judea, imploring the Hadassah Women's Zionist Organization to reconsider its abstention from voting against the JNF plan to allocate $11.6 million for future purchases of land in the West Bank.*
- Netanyahu takes advantage of the pandemic to get citizens to be accustomed to harm to their rights // Mordechai Kremnitzer
- High Court: Conversions by Reform and Conservative Judaism must be recognized according to Law of Return
- Ruling is step to advance Jewish pluralism that long exists abroad // Or Kashti
- The ultra-Orthodox shortcut to the (corona) Exceptions Committee. This is how it works
- Came to argue // Yossi Verter
- Government approved: Junior high schools and restaurants will reopen Sunday
- Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy convicted of corruption crimes and sentenced to jail
- Freezing of (construction) of Jerusalem road turned into double achievement for environmental organizations
- The bouncer // Haaretz Editorial on Miri Regev on control of who enters country
- Lacking trust // Noa Landau on pandemic’s killing of Israeli trust in government
- “I don’t write in the consensus” - Nurit Zarchi is Israel Prize laureate for literature
- Expose - Fighting for a roof over their heads - Spike in needy for aid in rental due to corona crisis (Hebrew)
- From Sunday: Junior high schools to reopen in ‘green’ and ‘yellow’ cities, restaurants and events halls to open to vaccinated
- Conversion ruling storm
- Everyone is guilty except for him // Sima Kadmon on Netanyahu and the corona crisis (Hebrew)
- Nurit’s prize - Nurit Zarchi won the Israel Prize for Literature for her many books for children and adults
Maariv This Week (Hebrew only)
- Despite the concern: Easing of restrictions continues
- The conversion storm - Historic ruling: Conservative and Reform Judaism converted will be entitled to citizenship through Law of Return
- Netanyahu vs. MK Sasa-Biton - Netanyahu slams head of Knesset corona committee
- Panic // Ben Caspit
- Back to junior high school and restaurants - Get your Green Passes ready: The guidelines for the opening of the skies will be brought to the cabinet
- Religion and state or vaccines: The battle over the elections agenda // Mati Tuchfeld
- “High Court again intervening, we will legislate a bypass law” - Conversion Law storm in Knesset
- They should have waited till after the elections // Aviad Hacohen
- The fear: Fast track for giving citizenship to foreigners
- “Closing circle for soldiers and the fallen in Lebanon” - Medals to be given to IDF and SLA soldiers (who served) in south Lebanon
- Trump: “I might try again”
- Biden’s fateful mistake in courting Iran // Prof. Avraham Ben-Tzvi
- Former president Sarkozy sent to one year in jail
Top News Summary:
Israel’s High Court sparked a storm (and possibly a political challenge for the ruling Likudparty) with its ruling that state must also provide citizenship to Jews who were converted by Reform and Conservative procedures, not just by Orthodox Judaism. The Israeli government approved the next stage in easing restrictions: sending 7th-10th graders back to school, opening restaurants and allowing vaccinated people to fly abroad. And, when asked in an interview about corona deaths, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made fun of an ex-Likud MK who headed the Knesset Corona Committee, which political analysts wrote displayed how panicked he is over elections and his trial (See Commentary/Analysis) - making top news in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Also, Yamina party chairman MK Naftali Bennett wants to turn the rape of a Jewish Israeli girl by a young Arab Israeli into a “terror” attack, ‘Israel Hayom’ Hebrew reported.
Diplomacy and Security:
- Israel's AG Says Netanyahu Needs Cabinet Approval Before Exporting Vaccines - The prime minister had intended to use surplus vaccine doses as a bargaining chip with other countries. (Haaretz+)
- Pompeo: U.S. officials tried to thwart Abraham's Accords - Former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo accused elements within the US and Europe for trying to prevent the historic breakthrough of the Abrahamic Accords, with the aim of helping the Palestinians keep their cause at the top of the political agenda. (Israel Hayom)
- US says it wants to push Israel-Saudi pact, but only if Riyadh honors its values - State Department spokesman says US wants to advance a wide-ranging agenda in its relationship with Saudi Arabia that includes brokering a peace deal between the Gulf power and Israel, but will only be able to do so if Riyadh improves its human rights record. (Maariv and Times of Israel)
- Foreign Minister Ashkenazi greets first UAE envoy to Israel in 'historic day for Mideast' - Mohamed Al Khaja, former chief of staff to the UAE foreign minister, was due to present his credentials to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at the start of a three-day visit. (Israel Hayom, Ynet and Haaretz)
- Europeans Push Iran Resolution by UN Nuclear Watchdog Despite Warnings by Russia, Tehran - Britain, France and Germany voice 'serious concern' amid Iran's growing nuclear breaches. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Israeli Cabinet Votes to Reopen More Schools, Cafes on Sunday - This goes against the advice of the Health Ministry, which advocated for a slower exit in light of rising infection rates. Eateries will be able to all serve patrons outdoors, Green Pass holders indoors. Grades 7–10 students to return to in-person schooling; hotels to resume full operations, including dining area. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
- Coronavirus cabinet to mull lifting some restrictions on entry to country - Arrivals to be asked for proof of vaccination, proof of recovery from COVID or a negative coronavirus test done no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in the country; Israelis to be given option to quarantine in hotel or be monitored electronically. (Ynet)
- Israel's Top Court Limits Digital Tracking of COVID Patients, Warning of a 'Slippery Slope' - High Court president says the move to collect data on coronavirus patients in quarantine, justified as a temporary measure, might become permanent. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
- World Bank: Additional $10 million to increase jobs for Palestinians during COVID-19 - It aims to create an additional 1,500 jobs and mobilize an additional $18 million in private capital by supporting an expected 10–15 investments in mostly medium-sized firms. It will also provide technical assistance to support firms’ adaptation to the COVID-19 crisis. (WAFA)
- Israel Rushed Ill Prisoner's Release to Avoid First COVID Death in Jail, Officials Say - Officials say release was granted to preempt criticism that the prisoner died because Israel's Prison Service failed to vaccinate inmates in a timely manner. (Haaretz+)
- Despite being hemophilic, Palestinian was tortured during interrogation in an Israeli prison - PPS - Qassem Baghdadi, 20, from Amari refugee camp in Ramallah, said that for two days he was beaten on the limbs and suffered bleeding in the knees when he was held at the Russian Compound (police interrogation center in Jerusalem). An Israeli military court ordered his release Monday night on a 2100 shekel ($640) bail and he was immediately taken to hospital in Ramallah. (WAFA)
- For the fourth time, Israeli municipality demolishes home of an East Jerusalem paraplegic Palestinian resident - Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem demolished two-story house in Issawiya owned by owned by Hatem Abu Mayaleh, who suffers from paraplegia paralysis caused in 2009 when he fell and broke his spine during one of the times the municipality was demolishing his house. (WAFA)
- Palestinian forced to demolish his house in E. Jerusalem - Israeli police ordered Nidal Salaymeh to tear down his house in Silwan neighborhood to avoid paying exorbitant costs if the Jerusalem municipality carries out the demolition on its own. (WAFA)
- Two Palestinians forced to demolish their installations north of Jerusalem - Businessman Adham Tabash said that Israeli Interior Ministry ordered him and his neighbor to tear down their commercial installations in Atarot to avoid paying exorbitant costs if the Jerusalem municipality carries out the demolition on its own. (WAFA)
- Israeli forces demolished three Palestinian-owned homes in Masafer Yatta in south of the West Bank - Israeli soldiers raided Khillet al-Daba hamlet in Masafer Yatta and demolished three homes owned by two brothers under the pretext they were built without a permit. (WAFA)
- Hundreds of European lawmakers push for action against Israel's 'de facto annexation' through demolition of Palestinian structures and settlement expansion - Addressed to European foreign ministers and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, the letter signed by 450 parliamentarians argues that "the Biden administration presents a chance to correct course" in Middle East diplomacy. (Israel Hayom)
- Euro-Med Monitor welcomes letter by European parliamentarians against Israel's 'de facto annexation' - Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor welcomed Monday a letter signed by some 450 European parliamentarians calling for pressuring Israel to stop the "de facto annexation" of the West Bank. "This European parliamentarians’ wide-scale stance requires a translation on the ground by reviewing European partnership and cooperation agreements with Israel," said Chairman, Ramy Abdu. (WAFA)
- *Hadassah Under Fire for Enabling JNF Decision on Settlement Expansion - Hundreds of graduates of affiliated youth movement 'implore' Hadassah's Jewish National Fund (JNF-KKL) representative to reconsider position on funds to purchase West Bank plots, after she abstained in a board of directors vote. (Haaretz+)
- Israel Hands Palestinian Lawmaker Khalida Jarrar Two-year Prison Term for PFLP Membership - Jarrar has been in detention since October 2019 after arrests related to the murder of an Israeli teen, and will only serve seven more months. (Haaretz+ and WAFA)
- “Father and son, siblings among almost 20 Palestinians detained by Israel” - Soldiers also detained at least seven Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and surrounding areas, including two brothers from the town of Hizma, northeast of Jerusalem, and a 15-year-old boy from Isawiyya neighborhood of Jerusalem. (WAFA)
- WHO: 12-year-old Ali’s life could have been saved if peritoneal dialysis were available in beleaguered Gaza - Two weeks ago, Ali Radwan, 12, from Jabalia, urgently needed peritoneal dialysis. But Gaza does not have the equipment or expertise and he died on February 16th. Now, bringing the equipment and training for peritoneal dialysis to Gaza is a priority for Palestinian Ministry of Health, which is looking for support to introduce this service. (WAFA)
- Israeli Minister Attends West Bank Road Opening That May Be Illegal Electioneering - The ceremony could only be described as a campaign appearance designed to appeal to Transportation Minister Miri Regev's electorate, but Israel Roads Company says the 'important benchmark' justifies her 'visit.’ (Haaretz+)
- Netanyahu Claims He’s Not Involved in Promoting Bills That Could Save Him From Trial - ‘I’m not intervening in this at all, neither promoting it nor blocking it,’ the prime minister insists after a lawmaker from his Likud party said he plans to table legislation. (Haaretz+)
- Yair Netanyahu ordered to pay NIS 500,000 in defamation lawsuit - The decision to charge Netanyahu was made after the Prime Minister's son did not file a letter of defense and also did not accept the lawsuit - claiming that it is "ridiculous and delusional." (JPost and Maariv)
- Government approves $45M plan to combat crime in Arab sector - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urges Arab leaders to recruit more residents to get vaccinated against COVID. (Israel Hayom)
- Work accident: A 40-year-old man was killed in a crane collapse incident in Or Akiva - MDA medics found the man trapped under a crane, unconscious and with no signs of life and were forced to determine his death. This is the second incident in the last day in which a worker was killed at a construction site. (Maariv)
- Israeli Natural Gas Royalties Top 1 Billion Shekels in 2020 - The Energy Ministry said that the increase was due to a 48.4% increase in natural gas production from Israel’s large offshore gas reserves, after the Leviathan reserve came online at the end of 2019. (Haaretz+)
- Campaign Medal Awarded to Israeli Soldiers Who Served in South Lebanese Security Zone - Cabinet approves IDF’s November 2020 decision to recognize years 1985-2000, following first Lebanon War, as a campaign. Medal will also be awarded to SLA soldiers. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
- Widow of spy Eli Cohen appeals to Russians to recover his remains - Nadia Cohen says she hopes reports of ongoing searches are credible and that her husband will be buried in Israel. says that recently released footage of late spy 'shows a trapped, broken Eli.’ (Yedioth/Ynet)
- Economist Manuel Trajtenberg to head prominent Israeli think tank - Prof. Trajtenberg is the first economist to helm the Institute for National Security Studies, which is usually run by former senior defense officials. (Haaretz+ and JPost)
- Sports court lifts Iran judo suspension over Israel policy - The court acknowledged the Iranian judo federation had "committed severe violations of the IJF rules" on discrimination and should be punished, though within the world governing body's rules. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
- Khashoggi's Fiancee Says Saudi Crown Prince Should Be Punished 'Without Delay' - 'If the crown prince is not punished, it will forever signal that the main culprit can get away with murder,' Hatice Cengiz writes after U.S. intelligence report released. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Fate of Tens of Thousands of Syrian Detainees Is 'National Trauma,' UN Report Says - UN investigators argue 'enforced disappearance' by Syrian authorities during a decade of conflict, with many tortured, raped or killed, may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. (Agencies, Haaretz)
The program of dialogue with the hilltop youth
Just as General Tamir Yadai speaks to Palestinians, settlers, the police and the Shin Bet, he also speaks to the "Giv'onim" (hilltopers) who are players on the board and ignoring them causes damage to everyone. (Elisha Ben Kimon, Yedioth Hebrew)
Despite Sanctions, Millions Flowed Into DRC Bank Accounts Linked to Israeli Tycoon
International accountancy firm PwC warned that activity at company tied to Israeli billionaire may not comply with U.S. sanctions, yet cash kept flowing. (Gur Megiddo and Hagar Shezaf, Haaretz+)
Israel's Government Is Using COVID to Deprive Citizens of Their Basic Rights(Mordechai Kremnitzer, Haaretz+) It’s no surprise that no other country is barring its own citizens from returning. This is an Israeli innovation.
VIP Passes for Netanyahu's Allies at Ben-Gurion Airport (Haaretz Editorial) "Rescue flights" are approved by the government to enable the return of Israelis who were stuck abroad but must come back for humanitarian reasons. The only people allowed on these flights are people approved by the exceptions committee. And what’s an exceptions committee worth if Transportation Minister Miri Regev doesn’t control it? That’s how the committee has become mainly a VIP lane for the ultra-Orthodox and other people with government connections.
Israel's Vaccine Apartheid (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) COVID strains will not take into account Israel's lies that it's 'not responsible' for Palestinians' health.
Thousands of Miles From Home, My Kids Get Their First Positive Exposure to Judaism (Umm Forat, Haaretz+) The ‘Jewish Moms of Raleigh’ shower us with clothing and toys following our arrival from Ramallah, but injustice is never far away ■ Post #29.
For the Biden Administration, Saudi Arabia Is Both an Ally and a Problem (Ben Samuels, Haaretz+) Anyone who expected the Biden administration to immediately sever ties with Crown Prince Mohammed is overlooking the Saudis’ strategic importance, several experts tell Haaretz.
Courting Iran will cost Biden dearly (Prof. Abraham Ben-Zvi, Israel Hayom) With its eagerness to return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, the new US administration is abandoning its allies in the Middle East for the sake of theoretical benefits, which will most likely never come to fruition.
The Peace Formula (Eyal Biram, Yedioth/Ynet) As the ink slowly dries out on Israel's peace deals with Arab nations, Israelis now can connect with people from areas that were out of reach only a little while ago through Zoom events aimed at building bridges and personal connections.
In Arabic, 'Work Meeting,' in Hebrew, 'Return to Gaza': An Israeli Underhanded Trick(Amira Hass, Haaretz+) The state says that Mohammed Habbash, 41, decided to return to Gaza and settle there, and therefore he is forbidden to leave there now. Habbash says this is not the case: He is a resident of Bethlehem, as the address on his ID shows. He works in Israel in construction, and this is how he supports his wife and children, who live in Gaza. The state – i.e., the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) – insists: He took up residence in Gaza. While he repeatedly insists that he is being forced to remain in Gaza against his will.
Time for politicians to take a stand (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) With the elections two weeks away, party leaders, regardless of where they stand politically, cannot afford to be ambiguous over the High Court's bombshell ruling over non-Orthodox conversions.
How Israel’s Jewish conversions ruling entraps Netanyahu (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) The battle lines between Netanyahu’s Likud and its ultra-Orthodox allies who are determined to minimize the power of the High Court and the parties that continue to support the court, are already deeply drawn.
We are the first to return to the King's Road, but there are those who are not interested (Zalman Shoval, Maariv) For the attention of the “Just Not Bibi" camp: even the failures in the struggle against Corona don’t change the fact that Israel succeeds more than almost any other country in the West in stopping the spread of the plague and returning to the path of health and economic integrity.
Netanyahu is in distress, and his pre-election media blitz proves it (Yossi Verter,Haaretz+) When the prime minister’s plans go awry and the polls don’t brighten, he opts for dustups with interviewers and silly gestures that delight his base.
Netanyahu's blitz of interviews come early this time, and have turned into an ongoing embarrassment (Ben Caspit, Maariv) The hegemon who is well aware of his hegemony has lost it. The Likud is in a slow but steady decline. The whole party is in a panic, and soon they will have to pull out a new rabbit - and I'm not jealous of that rabbit.
Warm-up shows (- Netanyahu's recent interviews) (Sima Kadmon, Yedioth Hebrew) We are familiar with the lies, half-truths and denial of facts by Netanyahu. What stands out in his recent interviews is the contempt shown to anyone who opposes him or what is his responsibility. The prime minister's situation in the polls brings out the worst in him…Anyone who advised Netanyahu, or (rather…) "suffered - a Hebrew acronyms for Saar, Bennett and Lapid - probably suffers from opacity and lack of empathy. Just as in the hanging house one does not speak of rope, in the house of the groaning one does not speak of suffering. The last thing to mention to the people that is already burying close to 6,000 dead, whose hundreds of thousands of residents have lost the source of heat, and all this is happening in on its shift and under its management - is the word suffering. And evenmoreso in the context of a political struggle.
Why some on the Right let the Left define them (Dr. Eithan Orkibi, Israel Hayom) In this election campaign the dismantling of the intra-Right solidarity has been clearly evidentץ
Why does the center-left camp continue to run away from its only way of forming a government? (Yair Klein, Maariv) You don’t need core studies to understand that the possibility of bringing about a real change of government is through cooperation with the ultra-Orthodox parties. But the center-left refuses to internalize this.
The NIF Is Hiding Behind Ambiguity. We Need Clarity (Gadi Taub, Haaretz+) Prof. David Myers, president of the New Israel Fund, believes I’m on the “wrong side” of democracy ("Trump Still Has His Jewish Enablers, and Gadi Taub Is One of Them," Haaretz, February 2). This is because, he writes, “The only right which matters to Taub is self-determination. And the only group that deserves that right, in his view, are the Jews.” What does Myers mean by saying I believe only Jews deserve self-determination?
Why Is India’s Government Celebrating an Antisemitic, Pro-genocide Hitler Devotee?(Samaan Lateef, Haaretz+) When the Culture Ministry honored a Nazi sympathizer who mocked democracy and called for the forced subjugation of the Muslim minority, it was a chilling indication of where Narendra Modi is leading Hindu nationalism – and India.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.