News Nosh 3.15.21

APN's daily news review from Israel - Monday March 15, 2021

Quote of the day:

“Achievements cannot be destroyed because of a desire for revenge.” 
--Unnamed senior official at Israel Ports Authority said after Israeli Prime Minister BinyaminNetanyahu closed Israel's airspace to flights from Jordan after Jordan delayed Netanyahu's flight to the United Arab Emirates.*

Front Page:


  • When Netanyahu is (Kahanist) Ben-Gvir’s lobbyist, Lapid plays with fire and could severely harm the camp for change // Yossi Verter
  • The center-left bloc will come to elections in real danger // Amnon Harari
  • Lapid warned against voting for small parties and raised fear they won’t cross the minimum threshold
  • Right-wingers, veteran Labor party members and strategic voters: The base of Gantz and Kahol-Lavan
  • Mossad chief denied: I have no political connections with the Prime Minister and the Likud
  • Police opened formal investigation against Meshi-Zahav on suspicion of rape and other crimes
  • Netanyahu closed the airspace to flights from Jordan after his flight to the Emirates was delayed
  • A year of Israeli corona: 6,000 dead, a number of variants and a vaccine campaign that changed everything
  • Battle over the wind turbines in the Golan Heights is a battle over identity, tourism and a lot of money // Moshe Gilad
  • Real courage // Raviv Drucker on Gideon Sa’ar’s attempt to bring down Netanyahu
  • Excellent - almost // Meirav Arlosoroff asks why economist are worried about Israel’s economy

Yedioth Ahronoth

  • Criminal investigation against Yehuda Meshi-Zahav
  • Special project: The light punishments for sex offenders (Hebrew)
  • “Transfer the Israel Prize Life Achievement Award to the deceased Rabbi Rachel Haver and donate it for kidney donations” (Hebrew)
  • 6,000 dead from corona (Hebrew)
  • What the filling is made from // Nahum Barnea on Netanyahu’s partners (Hebrew)
  • The failure is still here // Nadav Eyal on dealing with the epidemic (Hebrew)

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • Maariv reveals: Air battle - Prime Minister decided without consulting anyone to block flights from Jordan to fly over Israel
  • In political establishment they said about the storm: “Netanyahu is harming Israel’s national security”
  • More testimonies were revealed, police to investigate Yehuda Meshi-Zahav affair
  • 8 days till elections: Netanyahu began to “drink the votes” of Bennett, in the left-center everyone is against everyone
  • Painful roadmark: Corona deaths in Israel passed 6,000

Israel Hayom

  • Netanyahu charges at Bennett, Lapid charges at the bloc
  • Corona wards are closing
  • “He incited like the last of the anti-Semites”: Calls to investigate (MK Avigdor) Lieberman
  • Yehuda Meshi-Zahav going to criminal investigation
  • “They refuse to give me a lung implant because I have mental issues
  • More countries on the way? France: Will allow Israelis to enter with one week quarantine
  • Amb. Erdan initiates plan: Getting the UN to adopt the recognized definition of anti-Semitism

Top News Summary:
6,000 deaths in one year of the epidemic, the opening of a formal criminal investigation against Israel Prize laureate Yehuda Meshi-Zahav for rape, and the the latest in the election race eight days before polls open were the top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Also, the latest in diplomacy and lack of it and quite a bit of it has to do with the skies:
*It turns out that the tit-for-tat between Israel and Jordan continued. Maariv’s Ben Caspit revealed that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ordered to shut Israel’s airspace to Jordan flights, without consulting the Defense Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, the diplomatic-security cabinet, the Mossad or the Shin Bet, after Jordan delayed Netanyahu’s flight to the Emirates after Israel prevented the Jordanian Crown Prince from visiting the Temple Mount over a disagreement in security arrangements a few days earlier. Netanyahu's order was ultimately cancelled, but many senior people in Israel who were exposed in real time or afterwards to it defined it as Netanyahu “losing his mind," having a “mental eclipse” and "utter turmoil." One senior official in the Ports Authority told Yedioth Hebrew: “Achievements cannot be destroyed because of a desire for revenge.” Closing the skies between Israel and Jordan with a 45-minute advance notice is a blatant and fundamental violation of the peace agreement, wrote Caspit. The story of the open skies between the two countries was one of the founding ones in the peace agreement between them. Moreover, this provision violates countless pilot agreements with other countries that could be harmed: hundreds of American and European planes cross the aforementioned airspace every day. The move is defined as "wild and pirated" and is unprecedented: even countries much much more hostile than Israel and Jordan do not notify each other of the closure of the sky with 45 minutes notice, Caspit wrote.

Meanwhile, the flight to Dubai of an Israeli production team for the popular Israeli reality show, “Survivor,” was delayed after Saudi Arabia failed to give permission for the plane to use its airspace. And Ynet revealed in a photo on Twitter that a Brazilian Air Force jet carrying senior Brazilian diplomats from Israel made a refueling stop in Algeria, sparkingan outcry by Arabs, because such a stop requires relations between Israel and Algeria. Algerian officials denied it happened. Kosovo opened an embassy Sunday in Jerusalem, the third country to do so. And Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi will be traveling to Europe to convince the Presidents of Germany, Austria and France, all members of the International Criminal Court in The Hague to try to get the war crimes investigation against Israel cancelled. France is considered the most important of the three meetings, wrote Maariv’s Europe correspondent, Gideon Kotz.

Israel’s security establishment denies that the attacks on Iranian commercial ships is related to the Iranian tanker, which Israel accuses of intentionally leaking oil that damaged Israel’s beaches, Maariv reported.

Elections 2021:

  • Violent melee at the Mahane Yehuda market: "(New Hope candidate) attacked by Likud activists" - During a tour of Gideon Sa'ar and his party candidate Ofer Berkovich in the Jerusalem market, Likud activists gathered around them. Berkowitz's wife's phone was taken from her hands. Sa'ar: "Once again, activists of New Hope were attacked by Bibists. We are not afraid." (Ynet Hebrew)
  • Mossad Chief Denies Political Links to Likud, Netanyahu - 'There never was any political connection between the Mossad director and the prime minister or the Likud party,' Yossi Cohen said following suggestions Netanyahu made in a TV interview that Cohen was joining the party. (Maariv and Haaretz+)
  • Poll: Far-right Party Allied With Kahanists Gains a Seat at Netanyahu's Expense - The Channel 13 poll projects Religious Zionism to secure 6 seats, leaving the landscape of the left and right wing blocs unchanged. 38% of voters still undecided. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • Likud slams Yamina after it warns of another early election - "We have great momentum and we are going to get 13 seats or more," Ayelet Shaked says, saying that this will ensure Israelis won't be called to the polls in the near future. (Israel Hayom)
  • Attorney General: The Likud must shelve the slogan "Returning to Life" - Avichai Mendelblitt stated that the Ministry of Health's campaign slogan, "Returning to Life,” is more important than the Likud’s. (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • How Netanyahu’s Likud Uses This Popular Free App to Collect Voter Data Illegally - Despite law, text messages show Likud gathered personal information on voters from the Truecaller app; Netanyahu’s party blasts ‘false allegation.' (Haaretz+)
  • Benny Begin hints at future defections from the Likud - The former Likudnik who is number six in Gideon Saar's New Hope party noted that "we are close to a situation where Netanyahu cannot form a government, even with Bennett, and this could open up new possibilities." Noting remarks by Shas chairman Arieh Der’i at a conference, Begin said: "Minister Deri is very knowledgeable about the parties' internal politics and said he expects Likud members…to cross the lines." (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • 'A Catastrophic Move': As Lapid Courts Their Voters, Leftist Parties Fear Eradication in Upcoming Election - While Lapid's Yesh Atid claims his latest campaign was meant to convince undecided voters, the smaller parties on the left fear they could find themselves outside the Knesset after Israel's election. (Haaretz+)


Quick Hits:

  • Three Jerusalem Teenagers Indicted for Assaulting Arabs in Deadly Purim Riot - According to the indictment, they went looking for Arab drivers with the goal of assaulting them and attacked any vehicles that they identified as driven by Arabs. Police apparently won’t charge Arab driver who fatally ran over pedestrian while trying to escape (Jewish) attackers. (Haaretz+ and Times of Israel)
  • B’Tselem Researcher from Susiya Interrogated, Warned by Israel’s Shin Bet - Nasser Nawaj’ah, a field researcher for B'Tselem who lives in the South Hebron Hills, was told by Shin Bet officials that he was 'making trouble and threatening the army. His job is to document operations by official Israeli forces like the army, the Civil Administration and the police, as well as actions taken by settlers, against Palestinians. He photographed, for example, the arrest of five boys from the village of Umm Lasafa by soldiers last Wednesday. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu carries out provocative visit to Susiya - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu carried out a provocative visit Sunday evening with settlers to the ancient village of Susiya in Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron. Prior to the visit, Israeli forces attacked a mass march held in Masafer Yatta area in protest of Netanyahu’s anticipated visit. (WAFA)
  • "I was miraculously saved, I salute you": Dochifat Unit soldiers caught a stone-throwing squad on a scooter - In the last two weeks, they have caused a great deal of concern in the defense establishment: two scooter riders who approached Israeli cars in the (West Bank) and threw large stones at them. "I came across stone throwing, but not from such a close range," described Uri Ofri, who was injured. (Ynet Hebrew)
  • Palestinian Detainees’ Commission reports on testimony of Palestinian minor prisoner in Israeli jail shot five times by Israeli forces - Ahmad Falna, 17, who is in an Israeli prison, relayed the details of the day he was shot and injured with live ammunition by Israeli forces when standing near the separation barrier on February 26th. (WAFA)
  • Israel to take over large swathes of Palestinian land near Bethlehem - Israeli occupation authorities ordered the confiscation outside the illegal settlement of Beitar Illit for opening settler-only roads and building new housing units for the colonial Israeli settler population. (WAFA)
  • Palestinian Family Forced to Demolish own Home in East Jerusalem - Ahmad Hejazi and his family had to demolish their home in Silwan neighborhood after being given only hours notice to start the demolition, otherwise the Jerusalem Municipality would impose a “demolition fee” of up to 150 thousand shekels ($45,000 USD). (IMEMC)
  • Euro-Med Monitor slams: Three Israeli decisions threaten to evict, demolish dozens of homes in East Jerusalem” - The Israeli decisions to evacuate and demolish Palestinian homes in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood coincide with the authorities’ establishment of settlement projects, such as a theater and tourism observation points, in the heart of Palestinian communities in East Jerusalem to perpetuate a policy of racial discrimination against the Palestinian population. (IMEMC)
  • Israeli Navy Opens Fire at Palestinian Fishermen, Damage Boat, off Gaza Coast - Fishing boats were sailing at 3 nautical miles off the coast northwest of Gaza City, when the Israeli navy opened fire with live rounds and water cannons, causing damage to one fishing boat. (IMEMC)
  • Border Police to tackle agricultural crime costing Israel $7 million a year - New report by Hashomer Hahadash finds agricultural crime increased 46% in 2020. The average farm was the target of 12.1 acts of agricultural crime. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel unveils guided mortar system for future urban warfare - After a decade of development, the 'Iron Sting' system will become operational in several months and will serve infantry battalions, bringing about a real revolution on the battlefield. (Maariv and Agencies, Ynet)
  • In first, Hamas names woman to powerful Politburo - Former legislature Jamila al-Shanti is the widow of Hamas terrorist mastermind Abd al-Aziz al-Rantisi, who Israel eliminated in 2004, during the Second Intifada. (Israel Hayom)
  • Assad's Wife Under Investigation in U.K. for Encouraging Terrorism, Report Says - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's British-born wife could face extradition if formally charged. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Interpol drops warrant against architect of Jerusalem suicide bombing - International law enforcement body says Ahlam Tamimi no longer 'subject to Interpol notice,' does not provide further details; convicted terrorist sentenced to 16 life terms for role in 2001 attack at Sbarro pizzeria, freed 8 years later in Shalit swap. (Agencies, Ynet)

The Settlers’ Servants (Haaretz Editorial) Some 15 Israel Defense Forces soldiers and officers, accompanied by several settlers, chased five Palestinian children aged 8, 10, 12 and 13, and detained them for more than five hours. Their parents were not told where they were, and they were subjected to unauthorized questioning without being told their rights. If anyone needs any more proof of the degree to which West Bank settlers control the IDF and its agenda, they got it last Wednesday.
Can another PM annex parts of Judea and Samaria? (Yoram Ettinger, Israel Hayom) Does Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's personal commitment to former President Donald Trump on the subject carry weight?
Eyeing a 'Full' Right-wing Government, Netanyahu Becomes Lobbyist for Kahanist Party (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) Religious Zionism's Ben-Gvir will be made minister ahead of many others for one simple reason: He will be the 61st lawmaker Prime Minister Netanyahu needs for a Knesset majority.
What is the filling made of? (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth Hebrew) When Netanyahu assures us that his next government will be a "full right" one, I do not look at Netanyahu: I look at the filling. Here they are, the friends that Netanyahu brings us: [Jewish supremacist] Bezalel Smotrich, [Jewish supremacist and Kahanist] Itamar Ben-Gvir, [religious anti-LGBT] Avi Maoz, [anti-asylum seekers] May Golan. This is not the Likud you knew; Neither is it the National Religious Party. This is the new, neo-Kahanist right-wing.
Netanyahu’s dream government is a nightmare for everyone else (Alon Pinkas,Haarez+) If Netanyahu succeeds in the upcoming Israeli election and forms the next government with an unholy alliance of far-right and religious extremists, democracy will suffer, and so will the country's ties with the United States.
The cry of Arab society is justified, but it is impossible for them to blame everything on the police (Yossi Ahimeir, Maariv) As long as the Arab demonstrators continue to wave PLO flags at their demonstrations, please they should not come with complaints against their country. The police must take care of this as well - the flag of hatred of Israel will not be raised within Israel.
Netanyahu Wants to Keep the Arabs Scared and Desperate (Odeh Bisharat, Haaretz+) Once, in the good old days, the police caught criminals, who were then tried and served long sentences behind bars. But no longer. For a long time now, the police have been busy preparing a plan to end crime in the Arab community. Criminologist, Dr. Walid Haddad said that if the police wanted to confiscate guns in the Arab community, they could do so within in a month; they already have all the tools they need. I understood that only one thing was missing – a decision. Without a decision, it’s all bullshit. Why is the prime minister doing this? Oh, that’s easy. He wants to keep the Arabs scared and begging him to protect their lives…Here’s an anecdote: When the police were determined to suppress a demonstration against violence in Umm al-Fahm, they had no need for plans. Everything ran like a Swiss watch. The (police) people responsible for beatings beat, the ones responsible for shooting shot and the water cannons also performed outstandingly.
Israel's Arabs and Jews must redefine their relationship (Michael Milshtein, Yedioth/Ynet) Despite deep-rooted animosity towards each other, Israelis of both sectors must create a social contract to change long-held paradigms that have proven to be nothing but obstacles for peace and prosperity for all.
The Bluff of Israel's Stately Right-wing (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) Gideon Sa’ar party, New Hope, which started out with strong polling numbers that surprised even its founders, has found itself in trouble in recent days, and is now collapsing in public opinion surveys with single-digit percentages of support. Apparently that’s why Sa’ar declared this week that he may support the law that would prevent a prime minister under indictment from serving – the golden spear of the anti-Netanyahu camp…The former Likud MK, perhaps even more than Netanyahu before he faced indictments, believes that the prosecutor’s office is not an innocent player at all, and that it is not averse to taking aggressive action against politicians – and not always in good faith.It is no exaggeration to assume that had Netanyahu not become entangled in criminal cases and were Sa’ar to be serving as justice minister, for example – the premier would have thrown cold water on any initiatives by Sa’ar to restrain and weaken law enforcement, headed by the state prosecution and the attorney general.
Lieberman: The ultimate agent of political chaos (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) The goods the Yisrael Beytenu party head is selling have lost their luster. From one election to the next, he must become more radical and more provocative, or in other words, offer ever more incredulous lies to the point where there's no one left to believe him.
The Jordanian test (Smadar Perry, Yedioth Hebrew) It took too long for Prime Minister Netanyahu to admit that the cancellation of the flight to Abu Dhabi was caused by the royal palace in Amman and not by the sudden surgery of his wife. In the simplest terms: a day after the dispute over the number of armed security guards of Jordanian Crown Prince Hussein, King Abdullah rolled up his sleeves and gave an unequivocal order to prevent the passage of Netanyahu's plane in Amman, on his way to the Gulf emirates. The king’s foreign minister, Ayman Safadi, also hinted at what they think of Netanyahu.
The renewal of relations with Morocco has given birth to countless cooperation initiatives on both sides (Sam Ben Sheetrit, Maariv) Since the announcement of the renewal of diplomatic ties, we, the members of the Federation of Moroccan Jewry, have been inundated with letters from tens of thousands of Arabs from the Maghreb (Morocco). I was privileged to continue my mission to strengthen ties with it.
The Stubborn Ph.D. Student From the Gaza Strip (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) At a certain European university, they have been waiting for half a year for the arrival of S.O., a young doctoral student from the Gaza Strip. He was supposed to begin his research there on October 1, 2020. If he doesn’t arrive by April 1, he will lose his scholarship and it will be given to a student from another country. Wouldn’t that be a shame. The university, and the Foreign Ministry of the relevant country, are well aware that Israeli authorities have declared an all-out war against the young man, and have kept him from leaving Gaza several times for an interview at the country’s embassy in Tel Aviv in order to receive the requisite visa. But what can the university do except exhibit patience, which will run out on April 1? And what can the diplomats from that country do, except to share their frustration with diplomats from other countries? n September 2020, I wrote about the case of S.O., and I’m writing again, because on Sunday, the Be’er Sheva District Court, sitting as an administrative tribunal, was scheduled once again to discuss S.O.’s fate, his future and his new petition, requesting that he be allowed to travel to the embassy in question. The state prosecution for Israel’s southern district already asked that the petition be dismissed out of hand – this time, using an excuse that it has not yet used in the case of S.O. (A spoiler: The court hearing was short.)…
Facts and fictions in Rouhani's speech (Salem al-Ketbi, Israel Hayom) The Iranian regime is pursuing regional expansion with a sectarian face, but one must remember that it is a theocracy that has failed to transition from revolution to statehood, but still believes in exporting the revolution.

Cornel West explains why he's convinced his views on Israel led him out of Harvard
After Harvard denied his tenure review, Cornel West tells Haaretz that he finds reason for optimism in the evolution of pro-Palestinian activism over the past decades, and why he's especially bullish about the movement's future. (Interviewed by Ben Samuels in Washington for Haaretz+)

We, the children, are the main victims of the violence in the Arab sector
The paralyzing sound of gunshots, the explosives that blow up near the playgrounds, the fear of going into the streets and meeting friends, and the hope that one day they will wake up from a nightmare to a safer and better future: the murder of 15-year-old Muhammad Adas has flooded the lives of thousands of children with terror. Special: Five monologues revealing their pain and cry for change (Interviewed by Lior Ohana in Yedioth Hebrew)

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