APN's daily news review from Israel - Wednesday February 3, 2020
Quotes of the day*:
“There was a rain of bullets. I thought that was it. All my dreams, everything I have done - it’s all
—Dr. Mohammed Aramush, who was injured by gunfire in the shootout between police and criminals on his street in the Arab-Israeli town of Tamra. Aramush was in his yard when he was hit. His friend, nursing student Ahmed Hijazi, was killed.
“While it’s necessary for the police to enter Arab communities and actively deal with crime, they cannot turn these communities into the Wild West.”
—Haaretz Editorial after police killed Ahmed Hijazi.
“Instead of firing targeted fire, the police fired in all directions. There is no reason to shoot in this way. I do not hear of such incidents in Tel Aviv or Netanya. There are no police officers with M-16 (assault rifles) in Bnei Brak or any other (Jewish cities)."
—Ja’afar Farah, Director of the Mossawa Advocacy Center for Arab Palestinian Citizens of Israel.
“Our public indeed demands a fight against criminals and the eradication of crime, but not to kill the best of our sons.”
—Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi.
- Some 400 investigations opened since the start of the epidemic over spreading the virus; One indictment filed
- Netanyahu: We are preparing for a gradual exit from the lockdown starting next week
- Passerby killed in (Arab-Israeli city) Tamra in exchange of fire between police and criminals
- Ahead of Biden’s decision whether to return to nuclear agreement, sides opened stage of threats // Alon Pinkas
- Strengthening of Labor party in polls threatens Meretz, where they think the excitement is temporary
- Central Elections Committee to begin receiving slates for Knesset today
- The basis for the legislation // Amir Fuchs on the ease with which the Basic Law can be changed
- Actress Gila Almagor is angry at the ministers who abandoned the artists, but at age 81 she is not giving up on the stage
- Tesla began selling cars in Israel revealing the exaggerated prices of (other) electric cars in Israel
- The battle over the (school) pods
- We must not compromise // Prof. Segal Sedetzki on need to opens schools back up carefully
- Ahmad Hijazi, innocent nursing student, was hot dead in exchange of fire between police and criminals
- Land of roars of the breaking point - We live in Hell // Zoheir Bahloul
- Huldai’s junction: Merge with (Labor party chief) Michaeli or withdraw (from the race for Knesset)
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
- Wanting to open, asking to close - Government held discussion on removing some of the restrictions
- The differential grants plan - Finance Ministry plans to limit the corona grants to families
- “The weak vs. the criminals” - Fury in the Arab sector after Ahmed Hijazi, 30, nursing student was caught in exchange of fire between police and criminals and was killed
- Likely: Return to kindergartens and day care next week
- Fear of rise in infection rate: Night discussions to formulate lockdown exit plan
- “(Uranium) enrichment at a high rate” - IAEA documents
- The last minute for mergers: Fear in the right-wing of loss of votes
- 4,000 editions of Israeliness // Boaz Bismuth on the newspaper’s service to readers
- No waiting and a worrying quiet: Our correspondent visited vaccination centers and saw that the long lines disappeared
- After the tragedy in Tamra: Clashes between the police and the masses at the student’s funeral
Top News Summary:
A young Arab-Israeli nursing student was shot dead by police who were in a firefight with criminals in an Arab-Israeli town, the government cabinet will decide (again) today whether to extend the third lockdown till Sunday and the Labor party surprised everyone and made a comeback according to the latest election poll - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.
Also of interest, is the analysis by Attorney Aharon Papu of the significance of the ‘mistaken’ change to the Twitter handle of the US Ambassador in Israel. (See Commentary/Analysis.) Papu’s pro-settler stance aside, his commentary is worth reading. And, MaarivOnline ran an informative debate-interview with the Mayor of Tamra, who accused the Shin Bet of turning a blind eye to the hundreds of thousands of weapons being stolen from IDF bases and transferred to criminals in Arab Israeli villages and towns.
And what the Israeli press didn’t report on were the daily demolitions of Palestinian homes, tents and animal sheds in the village of Khirbet Humsa al-Fouqa in the northern Jordan Beqaa Valley (in the West Bank) and similar actions to hamlets near Yatta in the south Hebron Hills. (See Quick Hits.)
Also, the latest on the US-Israel-Iran issue, some interesting news regarding the US renewal of relations with the Palestinians, the appointment of Palestinian-Americans to the State Department and US messages to Israel.
*The rising criminal violence in the Arab-Israeli sector that takes the lives of about 100 Arab-Israelis a year, but never gets the front pages, got the front pages of the Hebrew newspapers today because the Israeli police were involved in the killing of an innocent young passerby. Ahmad Hijazi, a 20 or 22-year-old nursing student was shot in the chest as he left his friend’s home late Monday night in a narrow street in a residential neighborhood and was caught in a shootout between criminals and police armed with assault rifles. It was big news in all the Hebrew papers (with the exception of ‘Israel Hayom’). Yedioth gave it half the front page and two full inner pages. It was one of Maariv’s three front-page stories and it got another 2/3 page. Haaretz gave it the front page main photo and 2/3 of page 6. Hijazi had left the home of a friend where had been studying to find out what the noise of shooting was about when he got shot. His friend’s brother, Dr. Mohammed Aramush, who was right behind him went to help him and was shot in the leg. One of the criminals was also shot dead. The killing of Hijazi sparked outrage in the town and elsewhere in the Arab-Israeli community and hundreds or thousands (depending on what paper you read) of people from the town of Tamra went out to protest, blocking the main highway that leads to the town’s entrance and making a mass prayer. A few people burned tires and knocked down a traffic light. The police let the crowds let off steam for some time then shot stun grenades at them to disperse the crowd. Road 65 was also blocked for a short time near the Arab city of Umm al-Fahm where people also protested,Ynet Hebrew’s Hassan Sha’alan reported. Unlike the numerous murders of Arab-Israelis throughout the year, this time the papers were keen to get the reactions of the residents of Tamra and give it headlines. Residents blasted the police for opening fire recklessly,without regard for the safety of the citizens in the town. (Ynet Hebrew) “The police could have chosen another way and not to shoot in that area and endanger the people who live there," said one. “Police fired everywhere," said the director of the Musawa Center for the Rights of Arab Citizens in Israel. "This would not have happened in Bnei Brak...Instead of firing precise shots, they sprayed fire with an M-16 rifle in a residential neighborhood." (Maariv) Indeed, Dr. Mohammed Aramush, 31, who was injured in the leg, told Yedioth that he was certain he was shot by a policeman. Aramush, a doctor at Clalit Health Organization, spoke from his hospital bed at Rambam Hospital in Haifa about what he saw and Yedioth printed a whole article about it. He said that Hijazi came to their home to study with his brother as he had during the whole lockdown. He was supposed to start his internship at a hospital the next day. They heard shooting outside and he and Ahmed went out to see what was happening. “Ahmed went out first and I went after him. I didn’t go out to the street, but stood in the yard of our house. There was a rain of bullets. I thought that was it. All my dreams, everything I have done - it’s all over. Suddenly, I see Ahmed returning towards the house running. He’s limping. At that moment, I was hit by a bullet. I was protected behind my car, but the bullet went under it and hit me. One of the policemen who shot towards me pointed his gun at me. I saw my life ending. A second separated me from death. I said to him, ‘I’m a doctor, I’m a doctor. Don’t shoot.’ I didn’t know what to say. He looked at me and did not shoot at me.” Dr. Aramush has no doubt he was shot at by police in civilian clothes. “I say it with complete certainty…” Regarding the police claims that in recent days there were shooting incidents in the town, Dr. Aramush said: “A few days ago we heard shooting toward a neighbor’s house. It was not continued shooting.”
*VIDEO of the aftermath of the shooting, showing a body on the ground and a policeman with an assault weapon picking up what looks like shells from the ground.
*VIDEO and PHOTOS from mass prayer and blocked streets and dislocated traffic lightafter Ahmed Hijazi was kille
*VIDEO of the demonstration in Tamra after Ahmed Hijazi was killed by police.
Maariv reported that Arab-Israeli journalists left all the police spokesperson’s communication groups in an act of protest, after the police initially said that Hijazi and the doctor were also criminals involved in the shootout. The group of journalists announced that as part of their protest, they are exiting all the update groups (WhatApp, etc.) of police spokespersons, in both the Hebrew and Arabic languages: “We, the Arab journalists, field reporters, editors and opinion columnists in various and varied media, national and local, hereby announce a joint protest exit from all police-spokespersons groups in the Hebrew and Arabic languages. Our decision is a protest move against the various and strange police announcements, which consistently accuse the victim, the Arab public, to which we belong."
Surprisingly, an Israeli minister said that Iran would be able to reach a nuclear weapon in six months and not in weeks, as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken predicted. Later in the day, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif suggested a way to overcome the U.S.-Iranian impasse over who goes first in returning to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal: European mediation. Maariv gave this proposal headlines, while ‘Israel Hayom’ reported on its front page that according to an internal document of the IAEA, Iran was enriching more uranium at a faster rate. ‘Israel Hayom’ also reported that Netanyahu will coordinate with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on Iran in his meetings in their countries next week. [NOTE: Netanyahu flies to UAE the day after his trial reopens. - OH] Meanwhile, the UAE has said it is confident the F-35 jets sale will go through.
PALESTINIANS, PALESTINIAN-AMERICANS AND ISRAEL:
In his first official press briefing, the new US State Department Spokesman Ned Price had two key pieces of news: the US will resume providing financial aid to the Palestinians, reversing the cripling cuts imposed by the Trump administration, and said that normalization deals with Arab countries are no substitute for Israeli-Palestinian peace. And what may demonstrate that point is that a Biden administration official spoke with a Palestinian counterpart on Monday, the first official contact between the US and Palestinian governments in several years. Hady Amr, the newly appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Palestinian-Israeli file in the US State Department called Hussein Al Sheikh, head of the Palestinian General Authority of Civil Affairs and a member of the Fatah Central Committee. US President Joe Biden tapped Amr for the Palestinian-Israeli file a few days ago. Amr, an Arab-American, previously worked with U.S. special envoy Martin Indyk as former President Barack Obama’s deputy special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations for Economics and Gaza. According to Al-Arabiya sources, Biden will not appoint a special envoy specifically for the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.The White House has had to hit back against criticism of the appointment of a Palestinian-American - and a Jewish-American, whose family foundation donates to AIPAC. Biden picked Maher Bitar to the role of senior director for intelligence programs at the National Security Council. The right-wing ‘Israel Hayom’ newspaper wrote that Bitar’s past “as an anti-Israel activist” sparked an immediate backlash. But a Jewish-American appointment also got flak. Biden's second pick for Deputy National Security Adviser for Cybersecurity, Anne Neuberger, came under fire for alleged dual-loyalty due to her family foundation's support for AIPAC, ‘Israel Hayom’ reported.
- Labor Makes a Comeback in Latest Election Poll, Giving anti-Netanyahu Bloc Clear Majority - The prime minister's Likud loses some support three seats since 103FM poll. Far-right alliance could score six seats, Yamina ten. RA’AM (United Arab List) solo run might still take it into the Knesset. (Haaretz, Maariv and Israel Hayom)
- Emboldened Labor and Meretz Nix Last-minute Merger, Hoping Both Will Get Enough Votes - Parties plan to run markedly different campaigns to distinguish themselves from each other, as latest polls find both with enough support to enter the Knesset in Israel's March election. (Haaretz+)
- As election race heats up, fear in the right-wing of loss of votes - Most of the small and sectorial parties are not expected to cross the four-seat electoral threshold. Hawkish national-religious parties may find themselves out of parliament, and most political newcomers cannot seem to gain momentum. (Israel Hayom)
- Netanyahu continues to woo: Muslim Arab woman is expected to be included in the Likud list - In anticipation of the closing of the party lists and in parallel with the prime minister's attempt to garner several more seats, it is believed that he is expected to reserve a seat between seat 31-40 for a Muslim woman from the town of Manda. (Maariv)
- Netanyahu appoints Steve Bannon protege to lead his election campaign - Former Breitbart reporter Aaron Klein has been dubbed ‘the Bibi whisperer’ by the Israeli media and has been working full-time for the PM as a strategic adviser since June 2020. (Haaretz+)
- Labor candidate called Gaza a 'ghetto,' Israel 'ugly' - Ibtisam Mara'ana is an award-winning Muslim Arab filmmaker whose films have highlighted the suffering of Arab-Israelis. She called Gaza “a ghetto under cruel occupation” on social media. Labor party chief Merav Michaeli defended her, saying Mara’ana "opposes violence wherever it is and does her best to eradicate it." (JPost and Yedioth, p 8)
- Anti-Netanyahu bloc in Israel moves from generals to journalists - Three parties on the left or center of Israeli politics are now headed by former television stars who all learned their craft on live TV – and it’s no coincidence. (Haaretz+)
- 'I Paid a Personal Heavy Price': Diaspora Minister From Gantz's Party Won't Run in Israel's March Election - Omer Yankelevich becomes the latest in a long string of Kahol Lavan lawmakers to leave the party. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
- How many Israelis have already been vaccinated for COVID - 35.1 percent of Israel's population (3.2 million) was inoculated with first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, while 20.1 percent has received their second jab (1.8 million). (Haaretz)
- Israel Has Not Indicted Anyone for Holding Illegal Gathering During Pandemic- Despite procedure to make it easier to indict someone for organizing illegal gathering, only indictment has been against someone who attended party while infected. (Haaretz+)
- Israel's Vaccine Drive Losing Steam as Number of Daily Jabs Drops by Half in One Week - The slowdown, which health workers believe stems in part from young people's view that coronavirus poses only a minor risk to them, could foil plans to fully immunize 5 million Israelis by April. (Haaretz+)
- As virus surges, IDF suspends leave for combat troops - Chief of staff's order comes after 2,500 active duty troops, including two generals, were found infected with COVID; entire naval cadet course found infected after one soldier returned from leave having been exposed to virus. (Ynet)
- Palestinians Give First Vaccines After Israel Shares Supply - While Israel is on course to vaccinate its entire population by the end of March, the Palestinians are likely to contend with major procurement and delivery problems for months. [NOTE:WAFA makes no mention that Israel gave the PA the first doses - OH] (WAFA and Ynet)
- U.S. Democrats 'Heartened' by Israel's Vaccine Delivery to Palestinians, Urge Further Cooperation - 'Entire population in West Bank, Gaza must also be covered,' progressive lawmaker Jamaal Bowman says. (Haaretz+)
This Figure Shows the Incomprehensible COVID Failure of Israel’s Education System -
Israel is the only OECD country that never fully reopened its school system. For many pupils, especially
between the fifth and tenth grades, school exists only in the distant past and the uncertain future. Along with
S. Korea and Mexico, Israel never opened the entire school system in the current school year. (Haaretz+)
- Five Palestinian minors say they were severely beaten, tortured by Israeli soldiers during detention - Mustafa Salameh, 17, was beaten with the butt of guns, smacked and kicked around before being trampling on in an army jeep where he lost consciousness. Later, at a detention center was interrogated for long hours while tied to a chair. Mohammad Zalloum, 17, was dragged out of his house, severely punched in his stomach causing him to vomit, and then moved to a detention center where he was kept in cells for 23 days, occasionally severely beaten. (WAFA)
- In First Since 2008, Israel Convicts Rabbi of Incitement, Encouraging Hate Crimes - Rabbi Yosef Elitzur, from the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar, praised hate crimes against Palestinians in 2013 in two opinion pieces. (Haaretz+)
- Israeli settlers attack Palestinian vehicles on northern West Bank roads - A group of settlers from Yitzhar hurled stones toward vehicles with Palestinian registration plates at the junction leading to the Nablus-Qalqilya road, causing damage to a number of cars. Israeli soldiers closed the road following the attacks.Last Friday, Palestinians shut down Nablus-Qalqiliya Road to settler movement, successfully preventing groups of Israeli settlers from launching planned attacks on Palestinian vehicles and property. Israeli forces intervened and opened fire towards the Palestinian activists who kept watch that night to fend off planned settler attacks, detaining two, including a 61-year-old man, and causing a number of people to suffocate from tear gas. Palestinian communities across the West Bank have been organizing “popular committees” to defend villages at night, and, on several occasions, these committees have defended the village successfully against night-time military raids and settler attacks.(WAFA)
- Palestinian Prime Minister condemns Israeli demolition of community and displacement of its residents in Jordan Valley - Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said Israel's demolition this week of shelters and animal sheds, as well as the seizure of tents in Khirbet Humsa al-Fouqa that belong to two local families with 85 people leaving them without shelter in the cold weather, and the seizure of a privately-owned car, and the demolition of 40 structures owned by 11 Palestinian families in the community the day after is "organized state terrorism, which involves ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population by favoring the settlers in the Israeli election campaigns for which our people pay for with their land, property, and suffering." Most of the structures in the community were demolished in November in Israel’s efforts to empty the Jordan Valley of its Palestinian residents as it seeks to annex it despite international outcry against the illegal annexation of occupied Palestinian territories. (WAFA)
- Three homes, animal sheds in south of West Bank near Yatta are slated for demolition by Israel - Israeli occupation forces gave a local resident four notices of demolition against three 130-square-meter houses and the animal shed in Um al-Amad community. (WAFA)
- Israel Denies East Jerusalem Resident's Citizenship Because His Home 'Doesn't Make Sense' - The toothbrushes seemed too new, there were too many cleaning products: Wasim Masis' case gives an insight into the many hurdles Jerusalem's Palestinians face when they apply to become Israeli citizens. (Haaretz+)
- In Reversal, Israel Lets High School Students Submit Research Proposals in Arabic - The Education Ministry announced the change in the wake of a Haaretz report that such proposals needed to be submitted in Hebrew, even though the papers themselves could be written in Arabic. (Haaretz+)
- Israel Invests $4 Million for (Israeli) Arabs in High-tech - The Economy Ministry is giving incentives to employers to hire students or fresh graduates who are Israeli Arab, Druze, Bedouin or Circassian. (Haaretz+)
- Israeli Cyber Firm Sold Spytech to South Sudan, Investigation Finds - Amnesty International reveals South Sudan is waging an aggressive campaign against journalists, human rights activists and critics – and Verint's spy-tech plays a role. (Haaretz+)
- Bangladesh bought Israeli spytech, despite lack of diplomatic ties, Al Jazeera reports - An investigation by Al Jazeera claims that Bangladesh made a deal with Israeli spytech firm Picsix through a middleman: ‘The technology is very aggressive and intrusive.’ (Haaretz)
- Facebook Draws Ire After Employee Says the Site Could Police the Term ‘Zionists’ - Facebook debuted a new pop-up last week aimed at combating Holocaust denial on the platform. (JTA, Haaretz)
- Palestinian social media watch group: New violations of Palestinian digital content in the first month of 2021 - Sada Social Center, a Ramallah-based social media watch group, said it found documented more than 28 violations of Palestinian content by Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok and Instagram. Through a social media campaign, Sada was able to return 10 blocked Palestinian accounts on Twitter. (WAFA)
- Abdul Rahim Mallouh, former deputy leader and co-founder of PFLP, laid to rest in an official ceremony in Al-Bireh - During the memorial, President Abbas laid a wreath over the coffin of the veteran Palestinian official as the Palestinian national anthem and funeral music were played. Born in 1945 in Qalqilya, Mallouh was a member of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which he co-founded in 1967. He served as the party’s deputy secretary general until 2013. He was also a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee. (WAFA)
- Trump's New Lawyer Once Blasted His Administration for ‘Betraying Terror Victims’ - David Schoen, a member of the Zionist Organization of America's national board, has filed lawsuits in U.S. courts against the Palestinian Authority. (Haaretz+)
- Future of Holocaust research in Poland hinges on libel case - Two Polish historians face libel trial for scholarly examination of Polish behavior during World War II, which Yad Vashem condemns as 'serious attack on free and open research.’ (Agencies, Ynet)
A Revolutionary Palestinian Poet Who Saw Jews as Brothers
'I do not deny any right / Whatever it would be / Of your Jews, Israel,' wrote Tawfiq Zayyad in 1970. A new biography about his life examines his important work. (Ron Gerlitz,Haaretz+)
Israeli Arabs Are Being Killed in Droves (Haaretz Editorial) What happened Monday night in Tamra simply cannot be glossed over. Neither Ahmed Hijazi, the 22-year-old nursing student who was shot to death during a firefight between police and three criminals, nor the doctor who was with him and was mistakenly shot and wounded, must be allowed to become dry statistics for those keeping track of “violence in Arab society.” While it’s necessary for the police to enter Arab communities and actively deal with crime, they cannot turn these communities into the Wild West. “Our public indeed demands a fight against criminals and the eradication of crime, but not to kill the best of our sons,” said MK Ahmad Tibi. The Mossawa Center for the Rights of Arab Citizens in Israel also wondered why such an incident had to end with harm to innocent people.
Fighting violence (in the Arab-Israeli sector) must be a national priority (Jalal Bana, Israel Hayom) Anger is simmering among Arab Israelis who are tired of having no sense of personal security. This is a national problem, not a sectorial one and it is time a united front takes it on.
What can we learn from the recent "mistake" of the US State Department? ([Pro-settler] Adv. Aharon Papu, Maariv) “We see a day is nice from the morning" - this was one of the proverbs that my late mother would quote whenever the context required it to illuminate in a cynical or ironic light an occasional human situation, and I add that the same is true of the so-called "mistake" that occurred on the Twitter account of the United States Ambassador to the State of Israel, which was changed to describe him as "Ambassador to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza,” in conjunction with the change of presidents and the departure of the Zionist [pro-settler - OH] ambassador, David Friedman. This "mistake" also heralds from the first morning of the Biden administration what will happen next. "A small mistake," is how Nadav Eyal described in "Yedioth Ahronoth" the kick under the belt that the American embassy or the State Department dropped on us. But the "mistake" occurs precisely with the renewed hope of US State Department officials who identify with the far-left wing of the Democratic Party, otherwise it is impossible to explain how such a "mistake" has not occurred during the 73 years of the state's existence. The embassy itself said the name change was caused by "unintentional editing." I have never heard of a country that has made such a fundamental mistake that its goal must have been to reduce the State of Israel in the eyes of viewers and readers all over the world and to put it in a triangle of illegitimate non-state creatures which aren’t really states, such as the West Bank and Gaza. And as much as it diminishes and degrades the importance of the State of Israel, this definition points to the glorification of the West Bank and Gaza because they are at the same level as the State of Israel, and their status is supposedly equal to it at the diplomatic level. Moreover, the very use of the term "West Bank,” which is the convention of our extreme left and of the Kingdom of Jordan, indicates that the mistake also has a significant diplomatic weight that attributes to the US State Department an explicit anti-Israel stance, a major scandal that Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi should have taken care of. He should have found out who was responsible for this scandal: Is the diplomatic apparatus in Washington or frustrated and anti-Semitic officials at the embassy itself? The results of the inquiry - plus an apology from the embassy - should have been officially published in the press. The press is also to blame: how did they not investigate who made the mistake? Maybe it's the maid who cleans the embassy offices and accidentally presses the keyboard? And who gave the instruction anyway? It is true that the previous wording was reinstated, perhaps with the intervention of the Prime Minister himself, but there are things that cannot be corrected because they indicate the intention behind the move. The fact that the American ambassador is also an ambassador to what is called the "West Bank" means that the United States denies Israel's right to the territories of Judea and Samaria. This is a deliberate political trend on the part of US bureaucrats in the State Department who are in a hurry to return to Obama's policies. This affair is unfortunate because it is reminiscent of the behavior of the US State Department on the eve of the founding of the State of Israel, and when the behavior does not change - it means that the bureaucracy has not changed and remains hostile to Zionism. Clark Clifford, who was President Truman's special adviser and later served as Secretary of Defense in President Johnson's administration, wrote in a lengthy article at the time that George Marshall, who was Secretary of State, and his aides knowingly acted against the will of President Harry Truman, who supported a Jewish state, and tried their best to prevent such recognition. Clifford even accused Marshall of giving false data to President Truman in order to persuade him to vote in the UN General Assembly against the establishment of a Jewish state. But President Truman disregarded the bureacrats and was the first to recognize the establishment of a Jewish state. Anyone who wants to harm the dignity and status of the State of Israel is not always just "wrong" but is sometimes anti-Semitic. And as we know, the anti-Semitism virus is more common and deadly than corona, and most of all it is eternal.
The race for the US Embassy in Jerusalem: Who will be Biden's man in Israel?(Itamar Eichner, Yedioth Hebrew) More than two weeks have passed since Biden entered the White House and he has not yet spoken to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. But the issue of the ambassador to Israel continues to be examined: The name of former Chicago mayor Ram Emanuel has been dropped because of the murky relations with the prime minister, and the United States is now considering another term of former ambassador Dan Shapiro, who lives in Israel. These are the possible candidates…Emanuel previously attacked Netanyahu and accused him of interfering in the US election. He claimed that Netanyahu "gambled on the wrong man and lost,” referring to Mitt Romney in the 2012 election. Emanuel said of Netanyahu in the past that, "It is inconceivable that the prime minister comes to the Oval Office as a guest, and does what no guest has done. It is unforgettable and that is not how one behaves.” For the time being, the latter's name is mentioned as a candidate for ambassador to China or Japan. Right now, Biden's list of candidates for the post of ambassador to Israel includes several well-known names in Israel. The first candidate on the list is Dan Shapiro, who served as ambassador to Israel between 2011 and 2017, and currently lives in Israel. Other names are Tom Nides, who was deputy secretary of state in the Clinton administration, Michael Adler - a personal friend and donor of Biden from Florida, former Jewish congressman Robert Wexler and Amos Hochstein, who previously advised Biden and is a fluent Hebrew speaker. Dan Shapiro's name is also mentioned at the same time among the list of candidates for the post of assistant secretary of state for the Middle East, in place of David Shenkar who mediated between Israel and Lebanon in negotiations on the demarcation of maritime economic borders. Informed sources said that Shapiro would prefer to return to Washington, but on the other hand will not refuse to return to the embassy in Israel, this time (at its location) in Jerusalem. Since Shapiro ended his tenure during the Obama era, he has served as a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies. Although he has lived in Israel since leaving the US administration, he has not met with Prime Minister Netanyahu. At the same time, it should be noted that more than two weeks after his entry into the White House, President Biden has not yet spoken to Prime Minister Netanyahu. When Donald Trump entered the White House, for comparison, it took three days until he called Netanyahu. Biden has spoken with a number of leaders since entering the White House. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in response to a question as to why Biden did not speak to Netanyahu because "he has only been in the White House for two weeks and has not had time to talk to many leaders. We have a long and strong relationship with Israel, and I'm sure he will talk about this with Netanyahu when they speak.”
Trying to Oust Netanyahu, the Israeli Left Shoots Itself in the Foot (Noa Landau,Haaretz+) The Talumud teaches that sometimes what appears to be a shortcut may, in the final analysis, turn out to be the costliest route, and that what seems to be the most difficult path may end up yielding the greatest benefit. Israelis who still consider themselves leftist might do well to write that sentence on their hand before their memory betrays them, as it generally does, when they step into the voting booth on March 23. In recent years many of them, in a desperate attempt to oust Benjamin Netanyahu, have drifted further and further to the right – holding their noses as they do so, or not; and making credible justifications, or not. In the long run, their nearsighted ideological shortcut strengthens the opposing side. In other words, they are shooting themselves in the left foot.
The leftists don’t learn (Uri Zaki, Yedioth Hebrew) The doctrine of unification in the center-left doctrine failed, and voters were supposed to rush towards Yesh Atid, Labor, and Meretz. But Huldai, Shelach, Zelika and Gantz insist on getting the crumbs. Two days are left, and the center-left bloc is in danger.
Greetings from the New World: Why does (Labor party chairwoman) Merav Michaeli's speech in female language irritate you? (Uri Mintz, Maariv) True - in terms of dry language laws, the chairwoman of the Labor Party errs when she speaks in a female plural. But that is exactly why she does it: to point out discrimination and inequality. So who is afraid of that?
Netanyahu Borrows a Page From Tyrants to Divert Attention From Trial (Zvi Bar’el, Haaretz+) To the category of “Worth the Wait” that Netflix uses to tout upcoming new movies, we should add the trial of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which will begin on Monday – provided no new deadly coronavirus variant is discovered that requires the courts to be closed. By sheer coincidence the trial will open the day before Netanyahu is hopping over to the United Arab Emirates for a snap visit of just a few hours. After all, there’s nothing like an international performance in a “red” country to take the edge off reports about the first step in the long journey that could land the prime minister in prison. What better proof could there be of his phenomenal ability to manage the State of Israel and his trial at the same time?..
Israel is not alone in its stance on the Iranian threat (Zalman Shoval, Maariv) The importance of Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi's message to Iran is precisely in the wake of the strategic and geopolitical changes in the regional arena. Intensive diplomatic moves must accompany it.
Israel could find itself alone against Iran (Oded Granot, Israel Hayom) Qatari-Iranian relations have not been severed and the Saudis are more concerned with ending the war in Yemen. Meanwhile, only Israel views an Iranian bomb as an existential threat.
Deputy Mayor Tamra attacks police: "Take us seriously and do not come with 3-2 policemen"
Attorney Nidal Othman was a guest on the 103FM radio program of Ben Caspit and Yinon Magal and sharply criticized the government, the police and the Shin Bet in the wake of the shooting in Tamra (of an innocent young man by police) and the surging violence in Arab society. (Maariv)
OTHMAN: "50% of the victims in that incident are innocent. After all, the police announce in the media 'the police shot at 4 suspects', one was deprived of his life, the other a doctor who received a bullet in his leg and is in the hospital, and another who died from the same gang that came to shoot."
In the army, too, there are sometimes situations in which casualties on both sides require investigation but understand that the intention is good and there is a price.
OTHMAN: "You ask why the rage? We have at least 100 deaths each year. The police should continue to work and do what they need to in a more professional, a more calculated way, thwarting the same gangs before they come to shoot people, collecting the illegal weapons in the hands of crime gangs. Former Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said in 2016 that 90% of the weapons that get into the hands of criminal gangs in Arab society come from the IDF. I did not say that.”
They steal it.
OTHMAN: "Criminals who steal it through failures and negligence from the state, the government and the Ministry of Public Security."
Is this a call to use the Shin Bet intelligence capabilities to crack down on crime families in the sector. Do you support this?
OTHMAN: "I do not support the Shin Bet actions in Arab society, but worse than that - doesn’t the Shin Bet know that this was happening in Arab society? Do you think (that it didn’t know) everything that has happened to date in the smuggling of those hundreds of thousands of weapons? They are talking about 400,000 weapons in Arab society. The Shin Bet did not know about it? So it was silent? The Shin Bet cooperated for years through its lack of action.”
What you are saying is not fair. We know - and I am not comparing because you are Israeli citizens - but in Hezbollah rockets are accumulating and yet no one has had the courage to decide that it is worth a war. Entering Arab (towns and villages), taking 400,000 weapons, is war. There will be dozens killed and you know it.
OTHMAN: "I bring us back to a quote from a decision within the military establishment regarding an officer who smuggled dozens of weapons from his base and he was (only) demoted. This is ridiculous. The weapons come from IDF bases, you ask if I trust the Shin Bet? I do not trust the Shin Bet, which closed its ears and I think it heard and knew and saw and yet allowed weapons to enter Arab society."
Why is there less crime and violence in the Jewish sector?
OTHMAN: "Why is there less crime in the Palestinian Authority?"
Is there less crime there?
OTHMAN: "Of course, there are statistics by researchers. There is much less crime within Palestinian society in the Palestinian Authority because there is enforcement. There is no enforcement here in Arab society when it comes to smuggling weapons and it reaching the hands of criminal gangs."
And what about the violence that took place (at the demonstration after the killing)?
OTHMAN: "These are angry teenagers and young people and what they did is not acceptable, but I was there and tried to prevent it. I will not quarrel with angry teenagers and young people when they come to express their anger incorrectly. But it happened in all sorts of places in the country in your neighborhoods and cities and yet the treatment of it was different.”
Israeli Arabs Explain Why They Might Vote Netanyahu
Voting for niche parties is futile and they’re sick of empty promises. They haven’t forgotten who Netanyahu is, but they want influence from the inside. (Interviewed by Jack Khoury in Haaretz+)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.