News Nosh 3.10.21

APN's daily news review from Israel - Wednesday March 10, 2021


Quote of the day:

“The amount of condemnation of the incidents (on Capitol Hill) was so great and from so many directions that it’s doubtful that there will be a significant part of the public that will turn in that direction in Israel. And I don’t expect any influential (Israeli) leader to go with that claim (of a ‘stolen election’) in a significant way in light of the bitter experience of Trump.”
—Professor Tamar Hermann of the Israel Democracy Institute speaks about the results of a survey showing that one-third of Israelis will doubt the results of the upcoming elections.*

Front Page:


  • High Court justices: There is a continued eroding of the right to privacy during corona
  • IDF to receive addition 2.2 billion shekels. Next government will have to find a budget
  • 14-year-old murdered and 12-year-old seriously injured from shooting in (Arab-Israeli town) Jaljuliya
  • The Meretz catch: Drafting Arab voters and, in parallel, leading the battle of the LGBTs
  • Rising rate of infection in West Bank and Palestinian Authority asking international community for aid in obtaining vaccines
  • In the middle of the path // Zvi Bar’el on voting for centrist party to bring down Netanyahu
  • In the presence of one side // Michael Sfard on Israeli public not questioning who is responsible for situation that The Hague is probing
  • Israel lags behind in the field of renewable energy. It will remain that way even after (Environment Minister) Gamliel’s plan

Yedioth Ahronoth

  • The Nasrallah file has been opened - Secrets from the bunker: What does Israeli Intel know about the leader of Hezbollah? (Hebrew)
  • 15-year-old Mohammed was murdered by gunfire (Hebrew)
  • 13 days till elections: 1 out of 3 people gives up the right to vote (Hebrew)
  • Earthquake in Hamas: Sinwar is on the way (of being voted) out

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

Israel Hayom

  • The optimal (Passover) seder: “We hope that Passover will be without restrictions”
  • The female combat soldiers of Unit 8200
  • Tal Zilberstein, convicted of crimes, is Gideon Sa’ar’s campaign advisor
  • Votes? Silence: The cities where people barely go to the polling stations
  • When Lapid and Sa’ar don’t make you fall asleep // Jacob Bardugo
  • The battles at the top of Hamas: If Sinwar falls, it will pave the way to Teheran’s entry into Gaza // Daniel Siriyoti (Hebrew)
  • The shooting in (Arab-Israeli town) Jaljuliya: 15-year-old killed, his 12-year-old friend seriously injured

Top News Summary:
One Arab-Israeli child was murdered and another was severely injured in the latest murders in the Arab sector, the battle over undecided voters and the concern in Israel that Yahya Sinwar, the present politburo chief of Hamas in Gaza, will lose his job in the internal Hamas elections to Nizar Awdallah, whom ‘Israel Hayom’ writes is considered close to Iran (today is the second round of voting) - making top news in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Elections 2021:

  • Bennett overtakes Sa'ar in latest poll - In FM103 radio poll released Tuesday morning, Naftali Bennett's Yamina party has for the first time overtaken Gideon Sa'ar's New Hope. Poll projects 12 Knesset seats for Yamina versus 11 for New Hope. Avigdor Liberman's Yisrael Beitenu also strengthens ito 8 seats. (Globes English)
  • Netanyahu Fails to Secure Majority With Bennett's Support in New Israeli Election Poll - In Channel 13 Israeli election poll released Tuesday evening, anti-Netanyahu parties also fail to reach 61-seat majority, and former Likud member Gideon Sa'ar's party drops below 10 seats, while Lapid's Yesh Atid gains momentum. (Ynet and Haaretz)
  • President warns politicians: Public fed up with elections - As Israelis go to the polls this month for the fourth time in 2 years, the man who will preside over the results says elected officials must compromise. (Israel Hayom)
  • The price of indifference - 5 seats evaporated in Tel Aviv, 4 in Jerusalem and 3 in Haifa: In the last election a year ago, dozens of seats went down the drain due to the indifference of more than two million eligible Israelis who preferred to stay at home. "We are tired", declare many young people who are debating whether to bother and get to the polls in 13 days. (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • *Poll: 1/3 of public will cast doubt on election results; More right-wingers open to coalition with Arab parties - Findings of the Israel Democracy Institute show serious fear of de-legitimization of results. 31% expressed distrust that results that will be released will exactly reflect the public's votes. That lack of trust is far higher among Jewish voters (43%) than Arab voters (29%) and without significant differences between the different camps. Among those who cast doubt, 44% plan to vote for the Joint List and 37.5% plan to vote for the 'Religious Zionist' party. Despite the concern, the Institute's assessment is that there won't be a charge on the Knesset, similar to what took place on Capitol Hill. The report also showed a change in the attitude of the Jewish public towards the possibility of bringing Arab parties to the coalition, with a decrease in opposition to the idea, which was recorded mainly among right-wing and center-right voters. (Maariv)
  • Netanyahu agrees to debate Lapid only if he ‘admits he is running for PM’ - Opposition leader challenged premier on Sunday; New Hope leader Sa’ar also offers a debate invitation. (Maariv, p. 2 and Israel Hayom)
  • "Many Israelis are stuck in New York and want to vote at the consulate" - The Israeli consulate in New York will have the largest number of voters in overseas countries: 550 people. (Israel Hayom Hebrew)
  • Netanyahu Says Haaretz Seeks His Diary to Discredit Him - Netanyahu was asked to respond to the petition by Tuesday, after the Prime Minister’s Office said that disclosing the diary would constitute an invasion of privacy. (Haaretz+)
  • From David Broza to Yizhar Ashdot: Meretz party has revealed the list of celebrities who support it - After the storm of the conversion law and the polls according to which the party won’t pass the minimum threshold to enter the Knesset, Meretz launched a new campaign in which it revealed the list of Israeli artists, musicians and intellectuals who support it. (Maariv and Photo of flyer with list)

Corona-related Quickees:

  • From Diplomats to Students, Foreigners in Israel Get Vaccinated but Are Denied 'Green Pass' - Foreign students, diplomats, asylum seekers and other non-citizens have received the Pfizer vaccine in Israel. But getting certification that grants them access to public spaces is proving more complicated. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel Halts Law Giving Cities Info on People Who Didn't Receive Coronavirus Vaccine - High Court Chief Justice Hayut: Privacy rights are being eroded because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinian hospitals fill up as Israel loosens COVID-19 restrictions - Palestinian PM says hospital occupancy in some areas has reached more than 100%. A WHO report on the pandemic in the West Bank noted a rise of 38 percent in infections and 61 percent in deaths in the last week. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Israel to vaccinate Palestinians without legal residency against COVID - The group, numbering in thousands, includes suspected collaborators with Israel, LGBTQ Palestinians and those married to Israelis. Two COVID vaccination centers, in Tel Aviv and Be'er Sheva, were allocated for the drive. (Haaretz+)
  • Poll: Jewish Israelis split about providing Palestinians with vaccines - Poll by Israel Democracy Institute found that Jewish public is divided on the question of whether Israel should accede to the Palestinian Authority's request to give them vaccines against Corona, with 47% supporting and 45% opposing. The Arab public has an almost full consensus in support of this (80%). Significant gaps in this question between the political camps (Jews): support for the left (71%) and the center (56%), compared with the right (37%). (Maariv)


Quick Hits:

  • Palestinian Dies in Jerusalem Fire After Israeli Checkpoint Holds Up Firetruck- The neighbors called the fire department but when the firetruck arrived at Qalandiyah checkpoint, Israeli soldiers blocked the rescuers from passing and made them wait for a military escort. After about half an hour, the neighbors called Palestinian rescue forces from Ramallah, who also took their time in arriving, but in the end arrived and evacuated the family. The family home is in the neighborhood of Kafr Aqab, which is technically in E. Jerusalem, but beyond the separation barrier. Ahmad Doula, 27, died and his wife is in serious condition and his child is moderate condition from smoke inhalation. (Yedioth Hebrew and Haaretz+)
  • Settlers assault farmer, his wife in nature reserve near Salfit - Some 80 settlers forced their way into the nature reserve, north of Deit Istya town, where they hurled stones at Jihad Mansour, a local farmer, and his wife. Several other farmers and livestock herders intervened and confronted the settlers. (WAFA)
  • Palestinian Shepherd and Child Injured in Separate Explosions of Israeli Munitions - ‘Ala Iti’mat was herding his sheep in the pastures near Yatta south of Hebron when an explosive device left behind by the Israeli occupation army went off, causing him moderate injuries which necessitated his transfer for treatment. Taj Sawafta, 13, was injured when the remnants of an Israeli ordinance exploded near him in Tubas city, in northeastern West Bank. (WAFA and IMEMC and PHOTOS)
  • Dramatic increase: Record number of complaints of racism and discrimination in 2020 - According to the Ministry of Justice’s report on combating racism, in the past year more than three times the number of complaints were received than in the previous year. More than half of the reported cases are for racism and discrimination against Ethiopians or Arabs. 26% of complaints were about discrimination in providing public services, 19% about racism, 15% about discrimination in employment, 11% about racist or stereotypical advertising, 9% about police and law enforcement, 4% about education and 3% of complaints were about crimes out of racist motives. (Maariv and Israel Hayom)
  • Qatari-owned Group to Pay Sotheby's to Return Islamic Artifacts to Jerusalem Museum - Al Thani Foundation will pay Sotheby’s to return the 268 rare artifacts to the Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem, which came under fire for its decision to sell them. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinians suffocate during Israeli army incursion into Nablus area-town - A large military force stormed the town of Burin amid the firing of live ammunition and tear gas canisters, leading to clashes and causing several residents to suffocate. (WAFA)
  • Gaza Rights Group Urges Hamas to Release Probe of Fishermen's Death by Errant Rocket - Al Mezan makes rare public call as its own investigation finds the three Palestinians died in an explosion on their boat, apparently caused by a rocket fired by a local armed group. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu confirms search for remains of spy Eli Cohen in Syria - In first official confirmation, PM says in televised interview that searches were ongoing but denies reports that an 'item' belonging to the late spy had been found by Syrians; he also denies Russia's involvement in the search. (MaarivJPost and Yedioth/Ynetand Israel Hayom)
  • Netanyahu reveals: "I sent two helicopters to Cairo in an attack on the embassy in 2011." - The prime minister told people on his Facebook page that after a crowd stormed the building, where five security personnel were trapped, he sent forces to rescue the detainees: "I promised them I would rescue them." (Maariv)
  • Minister Eli Cohen: "Sharm el-Sheikh is safe for Israelis" - Minister of Intelligence, Eli Cohen, participated in Sharm el-Sheikh in the largest meeting between Israeli and Egyptian representatives in the last 20 years. The meeting was attended by 60 businessmen from Israel and Egypt. The main purpose of the meeting was to expand economic cooperation between the countries. According to Cohen, "Sharm el-Sheikh is a safe and secure place from the rest of Sinai." (Israel Hayom Hebrew)
  • Israel to demolish 10 structures northeast of occupied Jerusalem - Israeli forces distributed notices for the demolition of several structures and homes belonging to Palestinian families and raided several structures located near the separation barrier that runs through the town of Jib, including homes, storage rooms, and a wedding hall, where they photographed the structures before leaving behind the demolition notices. (WAFA)
  • The good (female) ones go to Unit 8200 - The IDF Intelligence Division employs female fighters whose job it is to carry out technological missions in enemy territory. Commander of the unit, Lt. Col. D.: "We bring the best women in technology." (Israel Hayom Hebrew)
  • "The secret appendices from the Rabin assassination investigation must be revealed" - Activist Avi Zellinger in his court peition: "Many details concerning the events that preceded and followed the murder remain unknown and confidential, and the public has come up with angular conspiracy theories surrounding the murder." (Maariv)
  • Israel, Cyprus Strike Understanding to Settle Long-standing Gas Dispute - The Aphrodite gas field, discovered in 2011, has remained untouched because part of the Cypriot reserve juts onto Israeli waters. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Israeli Cellebrite sold spy-tech to Bangladesh ‘death squad’ - The Rapid Action Battalion is accused of extrajudicial killings and torture of hundreds of civilians. Documents show they purchased Cellebrite’s phone-hacking tech and received training. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel to send aid to Equatorial Guinea after deadly blasts - The death toll from a series of explosions at a military camp in the African country rises to at least 98. The joint Health Ministry-IDF delegation will include intensive care physicians, pediatricians, and other medical specialists. (Israel Hayom)
  • Lebanon's Army Chief Warns of 'Implosion' as Economic Collapse Takes Toll on Security Forces - The military denied reports that economic hardship spurred a rise in forces abandoning duty, but sources say a buildup of pressure on lower-ranking servicemen has fueled concerns. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran denies it attacked Israeli-owned ship in Gulf - Islamic Republic's UN ambassador writes letter to Security Council, accusing Israel of 'playing the victim' and insinuating the attack on cargo vessel Helios Ray 2 weeks ago was 'false flag operation.’ (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Academic Imprisoned in Iran for Two Years Recalls 'Psychological Torture' - 'You go completely insane,' said British-Australian Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who was sentenced to 10 years on espionage charges, in first public remarks since her release in a prisoner swap. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Disreputable Israeli lobbyist to be paid millions by Myanmar junta - Iranian born Ari Ben-Menashe was arrested in the U.S. in the 1980s after he tried to sell American weaponry to Iran; claimed to be former Mossad agent and advisor to then prime minister Shamir but Israel denied both claims. (Agencies, Ynet)

Secrets from the bunker
The extreme narcissism, the centralized management, the in-depth acquaintance with all the writers in the Israeli media, the opposition to the Corona vaccines, the life without a cell phone and the shame that his son did to him on Twitter Senior security officials reveal for the first time the full psychological profile of the bitter enemy from the north, Hassan Nasrallah. Friday in the double issue of "7 Days": The IDF's intelligence file on the Hezbollah leader has been opened…He is Israel's most bitter enemy. He heads the terrorist organization that controls Lebanon, and holds tens of thousands of missiles that cover almost the entire territory of the country. Now, for the first time, extensive parts of the IDF's intelligence portfolio on Hassan Nasrallah are being exposed - and provide a glimpse into the comprehensive psychological profile we have built for him. (Yossi Yehoshua and Reuven Weiss in Yedioth Hebrew’s upcoming Friday magazine.)

Israel's Far-right Uses Yeshivas as Campaign Tool (Haaretz Editorial) The hesder yeshivas, whose students combine religious study with military service, have always served as a hothouse for political education in the spirit of ultra-Orthodox Zionism, especially the hesder yeshivas in the territories. Occasionally the debate returns over the inequitable hesder track (inequitable because its participants serve a shorter stint in the army), mainly when a rabbi from a hesder yeshiva makes a controversial statement. Therefore, the fact that several hesder yeshivas hosted Knesset candidates from the Religious Zionism party this week is no surprise. Nor is the fact that the head of the Association of Hesder Yeshivas, Rabbi Haim Drukman – the dean of the Or Etzion hesder yeshiva – accompanied these visits and called on the students to aid in the election campaign of Bezalel Smotrich’s party…
The right-wing no longer shoots inside the APC. It blows it up (a saying meaning sabotage of the actions of the group to which he belongs - OH) (Adv. Ran Bar-Yoshpat, Yedioth Hebrew) The split in the nationalist camp and the disputes within it between the “Only Bibi", “Just Not Bibi" and “Maybe Bibi" schools, will cause the right to continue to promote left-wing policies. This is how it is when you do not act according to ideology.
Israeli Elections: Live Armadillos in the Middle of the Road (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) …In the past it was possible and even necessary to criticize choosing the center. It’s a fearful, herdlike, conciliatory choice, one that cannot bring change, rebuild the ruins, conduct a decisive policy and restore a worthy hierarchy of values. Especially when the Israeli center is made up of scraps of parties and politicians, like spare parts that don’t fit together. But we now find ourselves in a bad place, in which getting rid of Netanyahu is a value in and of itself, and not only that – it’s a supreme value. That’s because a society that seeks to ever come back to itself cannot once again choose a prime minister who is the epitome of corruption and arrogance, a guided missile targeting democracy and the public good. Even if Netanyahu weren’t on trial, 12 years in power is enough. A society that isn’t capable for replacing its government every so often is a society that has become accustomed to authoritarianism, has fallen in love with it and is bequeathing it to future generations…
The "stolen election" narrative is a winning card (Ma’ayan Efrat, Yedioth Hebrew) As in the US, there are politicians who want to lead changes in the system and belittle the power already given to them. Even if one side seems to be working in its favor at the moment, it could eventually lead to paralysis.
Tehran's new gateway to Gaza (Daniel Siryoti, Israel Hayom) If the rumors are true and Hamas Politburo hardliner Nizar Awadallah unseats Yahya Sinwar as the terrorist group's military leader in Gaza, then Iran will have succeeded in naming a man it favors at the top of Hamas' leadership.
Why the Upcoming Election Will Determine the Fate of U.S. Bipartisan Support for Israel (Alon Pinkas, Haaretz+) It’s perfectly legitimate if the prime minister’s political inclinations sit squarely with the Republicans. It’s not legitimate to make Israel a wedge issue in American politics.
Former senior members of the defense establishment have no legitimacy to harm the state (Zalman Shoval, Maariv) In recent days, a former senior security official, the deputy head of the Mossad, no less, was interviewed by Yedioth Ahronoth and revealed details about his previous work. His name was not mentioned. He did not refrain from making critical remarks about various government decisions, the very fact that they are widely publicized could undermine important political and security moves of the country that are actually taking place at present or may be planned for the future, on the Iranian nuclear issue. It is not inconceivable that he did so as an act of disappointment for not having, as expected, taken over the post of head of the Mossad after the retirement of the current head of the Mossad, Yossi Cohen. He may have revealed more in the interview than he intended, but even if that is the case, there is no forgiveness in that, all the more so that according to his own words in the interview, he is aware of the dimensions of the Iranian threat and its consequences… Moreover, his previous important professional role did not necessarily give him an advantage in understanding the full range of strategic and political considerations of the state…One of the worrying consequences of the interview may be that officials in the Biden administration seeking to return to the original Iran nuclear deal will use his words to advance their position vis-à-vis other bodies - both in government but especially in Congress, including the Democrats - who are trying to curb this dangerous move or at least condition it on adding important restrictions not only on the nuclear issue, but also on the issues of missiles, terrorism and the hegemonic aspirations of Tehran.
The question of timing: Were A.'s claims also heard in real time? (Ronen Bergman,Yedioth Hebrew) Is a public official, certainly a senior official like the deputy head of the Mossad who was at the decision-making junction, allowed, and perhaps obliged, to express his opinion on a decision that is about to be made - even if it is contrary to the position of the political echelon above him? Should the Prime Minister or the Cabinet consider his opinion? And if his opinion is not accepted, and he is sure that disaster is inherent in the decision, is he allowed to express his opinion in public? And when he retires - is it his right, and perhaps his duty, to come and find out what was there for the public?
U.S. is back to policy of appeasing Iran (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) Israel's next government, which must understand it cannot stop American return to the 2015 nuclear deal, has to insist negotiations include measures against Iranian support for terror and the stated policy to destroy Israel.
How the mullahs respond to 'calculated calm' (Salem al-Ketbi, Israel Hayom) Iran is convinced that the US sanctions will be lifted but the ayatollahs are not making any concessions that encourage this course of action.
The ICC Prosecutor Was My Superior. It Is Unfortunate That Netanyahu Should Speak of Antisemitism (Nick Kaufman, Haaretz+) From my personal acquaintance with both Bensouda – who was formerly my direct superior at the court – and with the person who will replace her, Karim Khan, neither will be looking to make hasty decisions in the Palestine situation. That could not be said about the previous prosecutor – Luis Moreno-Ocampo. Both are attentive, even sensitive, to public opinion and to the views of victims on both sides.

'We will work to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization'
"I think we should have done it already," says Eduardo Bolsonaro, the son of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, "but right after I return [to Brazil] I will put the matter back on the table with the defense minister and president." (Interviewed by Damian Pachter in Israel Hayom)

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