News Nosh 3.16.21

APN's daily news review from Israel - Tuesday March 16, 2021

Number of the day:

--Percentage of legislative bills proposals for order submitted by the Arab Knesset members that dealt with social issues concerning all Israeli citizens - despite the common belief among Jewish Israelis that Arab MKs focus mainly on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.*

Front Page:


  • Principals received access to statistics about teachers and pupils who didn’t get vaccinated
  • The law to require employees to get vaccinated is stuck because of opposition by the Finance and Education Ministries
  • The attempt to harm (Kahol-Lavan chairman Benny) Gantz, the motive and the story of sacrifice : What is behind the recordings of Yisrael Bachar and Rabbi Havura
  • Poll: Two-state solution supporters moved from the left-wing to Gideon Sa’ar and Avigdor Lieberman and will give a majority in the Knesset to the right-wing
  • From Shas straight to Yesh Atid: Voters plan to completely change their votes at the polling stations
  • Yehuda Meshi-Zahav arrived at Police Unit Lahav 433 in order to give his version of the suspicions against him - and was rejected
  • Flights from the whole world can land at Ben-Gurion Airport; State: 1,880 Israelis want to return
  • In the name of rehabilitating international relations, Biden compromises on climate targets
  • The crisis is getting worse // Noa Landau on Netanyahu harming relations with Jordan
  • The absurdity of the law // Michal Rozin against the statue of limitations for sex crime cases
  • On the way to California - The Israeli film, “White Eye,” by Tomer Shushan, is a nominee for an Oscar

Yedioth Ahronoth

  • The last week - Sharpening knives: The parties are preparing for the moment of truth
  • A different election // Sima Kadmon on the enigma of the voters (Hebrew)
  • Lapid the gambler // Yuval Karni on the center-left
  • Netanyahu decides - It’s a one man game // Amichai Attali on the right-wing
  • We are here // Nasrin Hadad Haj-Yihyeh on the Arab vote
  • The flowers for Lieberman // Arieh Erlich on the ultra-Orthodox vote
  • The police investigators and the dramatic meeting with the rape victim (of Mesh-Zahav)

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • The battle over the undecided
  • The next epidemic: Depression and anxiety
  • The Meshi-Zahav affair: The testimonies (of sex crimes) continue
  • State Comptroller: A plan for students to learn 21st century skills is needed

Israel Hayom

  • A derby in the right-wing - One week till elections, exchange of blows between Netanyahu and Bennett
  • Exodus of Israel (Ben-Gurion Airport opened)
  • Attorney General: (Israel) needs a independent and strong law enforcement system
  • Statistics of the third wave: Double the number of children and youth are infected
  • Assessment: Senior people in ZAKA emergency medical organization will testify in the affair of Meshi-Zahav; His attorney: He has nothing to hide
  • An eye to an Oscar: Israeli film, “White Eye,” nominee for the prize


Top News Summary:
One week till Israeli elections and the politicians are battling to get the undecided voters, attacking each other and making promises right and left, while police investigators try to find more rape victims of the founder of the ZAKA emergency medical organization and Israel Prize laureate Yehuda Meshi-Zahav and Ben-Gurion Airport finally opens to travelers as the corona infection rate continues to drop and the government gave to principals information about which teachers and pupils did not get vaccinated - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Elections 2021:

  • Israel's Left-wing Camp Didn't Shrink. New Poll Finds What Happened to Its Voters - Only 20.5 percent consider the Israeli-Palestinian conflict an important electoral issue, poll shows. (Haaretz+)
  • 'There is progress in Yair Lapid's policy toward Joint Arab List' - "We want the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be solved by ending the occupation," MK Ahmad Tibi tells i24NEWS. (Israel Hayom)
  • Labor Party Will Back Lapid to Form Government After Israel Election, Candidate Says - Nachman Shai tells Army Radio that the party will back the Yesh Atid chairman to lead the coalition, day after Meretz's Nitzan Horowitz declares the same. (Haaretz+)
  • Poll: Right-wing bloc within reach of stable coalition - Tel Aviv-based 103FM Radio projected the right-wing bloc will secure 47 Knesset seats to the Center-Left's 58. Benjamin Netanyahu will need both Yamina and Ra'am to endorse him as prime minister to receive the mandate to form a coalition. (Israel Hayom)
  • These Israelis Are Keeping Gantz's Political Project Alive, but Just Barely - Despite facing electoral oblivion after Benny Gantz's decision to join up with Netanyahu's government, Kahol Lavan has mustered up a motley coalition of tactical and ideological voters that might keep it in the Knesset. (Haaretz+)

Quick Hits:

  • *Are Arab MKs only dealing with Palestinians? New study examined and what are the results - Study by the Abraham Initiatives organization, examines claim that the 22 Arab Knesset members deal mainly with issues related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and do not serve the interests of their constituents. But 97% of the proposals for the order of the Arab Knesset members dealt with social issues concerning Israeli citizens, Jews and Arabs. The study examined all 1914 bills and 344 proposals for order by the Arab MKs. (Maariv)
  • Israeli occupation forces open fire at youths near Ramallah, injure two - Israeli soldiers last night opened fire at Palestinian youths in Jalazoun refugee camp, while they were in an area close to [fence of] the illegal settlement of Beit El north of Ramallah, and injured two. [NOTE: Maariv reported that IDF said they threw Molotov cocktails.  WAFA reported that the IDF said they were going to throw Molotov cocktails.] (WAFA and Maariv)
  • Israeli soldiers leave Palestinian farmers waiting for hours behind the apartheid barrier - Palestinian farmers working on their lands threatened with seizure behind the Israeli separation barrier were forced this evening to wait for hours for Israeli soldiers to open the gate in the barrier, near the city of Salfit, to enable them to return home. (WAFA)
  • IDF troops arrest Gazan infiltrator armed with 3 grenades - IDF troops apprehended a Palestinian suspect who infiltrated into Israel from the northern part of the Gaza Strip on Friday. (Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinian national dialogue resumes in Cairo with the arrival of factions and other delegations - The two-day meetings will discuss issues regarding upcoming Palestinian elections, the most prominent of which is overcoming obstacles facing the elections and briefing the factions on the latest developments with the elections, which are considered a gateway to achieving comprehensive national unity. (WAFA)
  • Over 50,000 Palestinians With Israeli Work Permits Received First COVID Vaccine - Campaign to vaccinate Palestinians who work in Israel and West Bank settlements sees high compliance by laborers, as settler leader calls on Israel to give COVID jabs to all West Bank Palestinians. (Haaretz+)
  • After pressure, Israeli Health Ministry agrees to vaccinate Palestinian student - Following weeks of criticism, Israel's Health Ministry reverses decision to bar a Palestinian student at Tel Aviv University from getting the COVID-19 vaccine. (972mag)
  • Settler Leader Calls on Israel to Vaccinate All West Bank Palestinians - Call from Yesha Council head David Elhayani comes during meeting with chairman of the Palestinian workers' organization and PA presidential candidate. (Haaretz+)
  • Report: Top Israeli hospital to treat UAE security forces - Israel's Sheba Medical Center is consistently ranked among the top hospitals in the world. As a first step, Israeli physicians are slated to travel to Dubai to meet with diabetes patients. (Israel Hayom)
  • New book reveals the 'Amazons of the Mossad' - Female spy-warriors who worked in Israel's testosterone-fueled intelligence agency are exposed in new book 'The Mossad Amazons.’ (Haaretz+)
  • This historian is preserving North African Jewish music from a bygone era - A professor at McGill University, Chris Silver now possesses about 500 albums recorded by Moroccan, Algerian, and Tunisian Jewish vocalists and instrumentalists. It’s the first archive of its kind. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Morocco Hopes Its Jewish History Will Boost Israeli Tourism When Flights Resume - Morocco has sought in recent years to recognize the Jewish role in its history, launching a program to restore synagogues, Jewish cemeteries and heritage sites, and reinstating the original names of some Jewish neighborhoods. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Israel to push for UN adoption of IRHA definition of anti-Semitism - Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan: Rising anti-Semitism around the world demands we act with additional tools and increase cooperation with the international community. (Israel Hayom)
  • Mideast Arms Imports Grew by a Quarter in a Decade, Watchdog Says - Qatar increased its purchase by 361 percent, while Saudi Arabia, the world's largest arms importer, increased by 61 percent. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Kushner: The Biden administration called Iran's bluff - Former US President Donald Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner says in Wall Street Journal piece that the Abraham Accords exposed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "as nothing more than a real-estate dispute." (Israel Hayom)
  • Iran blames Israel for Mediterranean attack on ship, leaves 'all options' on the table - 'Israeli officials are aware how Iran defends itself,' Foreign Ministry spokesperson says. (Haaretz)
  • Israeli spy firm Black Cube links major oil spill ship to Syrian family - The Environmental Protection Ministry said that, according to the controversial Black Cube intelligence firm, the company that owns the suspect ship can be traced back to the Syrian Malah family. (Agencies, Israel Hayom and Haaretz)
  • WATCH: Iran unveils underground 'missile city,' fitted with 'electronic war' equipment - New Iranian systems 'capable of launching precision missiles from underground, and increasing the range and destruction power in operations.’ (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • 'Republic of Queues': 10 Years On, Syria Is a Hungry Nation - Assad may still be in power, propped up by Russia and Iran, but millions are being pushed deeper into poverty, and a majority of households can hardly scrape together enough to secure their next meal. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Syria says it foiled explosives plot in Damascus on uprising's 10th anniversary - Security forces killed three people they said were terrorists and arrested three more, state media reported. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • U.K. sanctions six allies of Syrian President Assad - Those sanctioned include the president's foreign minister and close advisers as country marks ten years of conflict. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • After Decade of Conflict, Libya Swears in First Unity Government - Despite both main sides of the conflict formally backing the UN-negotiated government, foreign mercenaries and forces remain in place and local armed groups hold sway over specific areas and state institutions. (Agencies, Haaretz)


For the Druze in the Golan Heights, the Syrian Civil War Opened a New Door to Israel
Ten years after the Syrian civil war began and with their motherland lying in ruins, young Druze in the Golan Heights are increasingly shifting their focus, if not always their allegiance, to Israel. (Jonathan Shamir, Haaretz+)

Netanyahu Abuses Democracy as Biden Tacitly Nods in Agreement (Akiva Eldar,Haaretz+) Prime Minister Netanyahu is showing voters that no U.S. president will prevent him from promoting a quiet transfer in the West Bank or imposing an apartheid regime in the territories.
Surprised Netanyahu's Supporters Are After You Now? (Haaretz Editorial) “The people who stood outside took detonators, put them in a glass bottle and threw them so they exploded at the entrance of the house.” That’s how an activist in the New Hope party who attended Saturday night’s campaign rally in Moshav Azaria described the attack by supporters of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “My daughter, who was there, was traumatized. She’s six, and she asked me, ‘Why does Bibi Netanyahu act this way?’" As expected, New Hope  leader Gideon Sa’ar denounced the incident, calling it “a glimpse of what we as a country can expect if Netanyahu remains prime minister.” But it’s slightly odd to use the future tense in connection to such violence, as if it were new and Sa’ar and his party were its first victims. Until recently, the innocent question “Why does Bibi Netanyahu act this way” could have been directed toward Sa’ar himself by the same token. Sa’ar and his party colleagues Zeev Elkin and Sharren Haskel have been given a taste of the medicine they saw being cooked up during their many years as Knesset members in Netanyahu’s Likud.
Fight for the Right enters new phase (Dr. Eithan Orkibi, Israel Hayom) Yamina chief Naftali Bennett is not in the same leadership league as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but he is certainly a more worthy opponent than New Hope leader Gideon Sa'ar.
The buck stops with Bibi (Nadav Eyal, Yedioth/Ynet) Netanyahu does deserve credit for his successes in responding to the pandemic, but as head of the last two governments he is also responsible for the failures and the final death toll, which will be higher than it should have been.
Why do right-wingers lie more in polls? Because of the shame (Prof. Eyal Winter, Yedioth Hebrew) The "instinct of good impression" brings down pollsters around the world in general and in Israel in particular, who tend to overestimate the (popularity of the) left. Because of the reluctance to appear as if they are “Bibists,” many Israelis simply do not answer the polls truthfully.
Bennett’s Choice: Will He Ever Be Able to Break Away From Netanyahu? (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) No one seems to believe that Bennett has burned his bridges and won't find himself back in Netanyahu's coalition after the election.
Commitments like sand (Sima Kadmon, Yedioth Hebrew) On Tuesday in a week, the citizens of the State of Israel are going to the polls for the fourth time in the last two years. It was not fate or a supreme power that forced us to go and vote time after time, but man-made. Those who dragged us there are the same people who were supposed to do everything to prevent us from making unnecessary and costly choices during a global epidemic that left more than 6,000 dead and hundreds of thousands unemployed, businesses collapsed and an economic and health crisis like no other in the country.
Why elections are key to re-energizing Palestinian politics (Omar H. Rahman, 972mag) Instead of discouraging voting in the PA elections, Palestinians should use the opportunity to finally shake up their unaccountable political leaders.
Why did Israel abandon American Jewry, its most important ally? (Zalman Shoval,Maariv) Is the State of Israel doing everything necessary to fulfill its mission as the nation state of the Jewish people as stated in the Jewish Nation State Law? The answer is no, even in the sense that we don’t see everyone as full partners of the Jewish people.
Two peoples: the political chasm that has opened up between American Jews and Israeli citizens (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) Senior members of the large community in New York do not even know the names of those running here in the election, and there is not even a report of a new candidate for the position of consul in New York…This is not a relationship crisis, because there is no relationship. There is also no break in relations. There are no ties to break away from. Nor is it a distancing. There has been no closeness in recent years from which to move away. The truth is that in Israel and the large community in the United States today there are two peoples with a different scale of values, with separate goals, with different purposes. There are expressions of sympathy, and even expressions of love between the two peoples. For both sides it is uncomfortable to admit this. But the differences, between the people living in Zion and the people living in the Diaspora, have been created, formed and intensified in recent years and have become a reality, a reality that both sides seem to have come to terms with…For almost a year now, in New York, the largest Jewish community in the United States and the Diaspora, has not had an Israeli Consul General.  This is a prestigious and coveted position that contributes greatly to Israel's presence in community life. The fact that the last Consul General, Danny Dayan, is considered one of the best and most excellent consuls who served in New York, highlights the disadvantage, shortcoming and damage of the continued absence of a senior and central an Israeli representative in a huge metropolis, with a Jewish population of 1.5 million, a Jewish public equal in size to the number of Jews in Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington and San Francisco all together. But who in Israel cares if there is or is not a consul general in New York? "Note that there are not even reports of candidates for the consulate in New York," a senior consulate official said.
Why American Jews should reject Israel's Law of Return (Bernard Avishai, Haaretz+) Israel's Law of Return entrenches Jewish exceptionalism, suffocates democracy and empowers a grotesquely theocratic and discriminatory view of citizenship. American Jews should oppose it.
Dangerous structure: Our country is a set of countries within countries (Yitzhak Ben-Ner, Maariv) A true leader would work to dismantle this structure, to reassure, reconcile and unite - but Netanyahu, on the contrary, is actually careful to preserve the social cantons and ignite their mutual hostility. Hence his power.
Violent militias in the guise of shepherds (Sarit Michaeli, Yedioth Hebrew) The attack on the Palestinian family who had a picnic, and the arrest of the children near the Havat Maon farm, are examples of the state's encouragement of settlers' actions to expel Palestinians from the West Bank.
Israel’s Dangerous Precedent in Syria (Yossi Melman, Haaretz+) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be delighted if the bones of Israeli spy Eli Cohen were brought to Israel from Syria for burial before next week’s election. Netanyahu is certain that such a move, which has so far eluded him and been repeatedly touted with deceptive hints, would boost his showing at the polls. To this end, the premier is relying on assistance from Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, Military Intelligence and Yaron Blum, the government’s negotiator for the return of POWs and MIAs. But the real key person here is Russian President Vladimir Putin. And this may explain why Netanyahu agreed to the questionable deal for the return in February of the Israeli woman, D., who illegally crossed into Syria (and has since been indicted in Israel). That deal set at least two precedents; It marks the first time an Israeli government agreed to pay ransom for a civilian who crossed the border of their own free will...


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