News Nosh 3.18.21

APN's daily news review from Israel - Thursday March 18, 2021


You Must Be Kidding: 
“I know there is a real religion, the Jewish religion. A religion of peace, love and tolerance…And there is a religion, unfortunately, of violence, of terror, of jihad. That is the religion that Mansour Abbas represents."
— Leader of Jewish supremacist party, ‘Religious Zionism,’ MK Bezalel Smotrich compares Judaism and Islam. **

Front Page:


Yedioth Ahronoth

  • In the Emirates, they stopped preparations for a regional summit
  • “It’s a wound, knife that is always twisting. I ask for forgiveness” - For the first time since Galia, the daughter of Amos Oz, revealed her father’s abuse towards here - an unpublished chapter from the talks between him and the author Nurit Graetz are revealed in which he admits to the violence against (Galia). “She comes in my dreams, she doesn’t leave”
  • “CEO of the Elections Committee warns: “They are trying to de-legitimize the results of the elections”
  • Number of dead from corona: 6,057
  • Number of people vaccinated with second dose: 4,407,083

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • Stormy skies - Despite warnings, High Court ordered removal of restrictions of travelers at Ben-Gurion Airport
  • Organizing the (political) blocs

Israel Hayom

  • “I will advance a new leadership in the Likud” - Five days till elections: Prime Minister in special interview to ‘Israel Hayom”
  • Naftali Bennett: “I won’t be the kingmaker of a left-wing government”
  • Gideon Sa’ar: “The nationalist camp - an enormous majority”
  • Yair Lapid: “We will stop the government of darkness”
  • Nitzan Horowitz: “The small parties will decide (who will form the government)”
  • Corona virus czar: “High Court bringing us closer to a fourth wave”
  • Suspicion: Stabbed his 14-year-old son and ran away; Youth in critical condition
  • First official complaint against (Israel Prize laureate) Meshi-Zahav: “He sexually assaulted me at a mikva when I was 14”

Top News Summary:
Five days till elections and the leading players continue to try to steal each other’s voters, the United Arab Emirates rejected a request from the Prime Minister’s office to meet today in Abu Dhabi with the UAE Crown Prince and the High Court ruled that Israel cannot restrict entry and exit from Ben-Gurion Airport, much to the dismay of the Health Ministry - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

The UAE pulled a major campaign trick out from under the feet of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu when it refused Netanyahu’s request to hold a meeting with the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed today in Abu Dhabi. Former UAE foreign minister Anwar Gargash said the UAE “will not be a part of any internal electioneering in Israel, now or ever.” Bin Zayed was reportedly furious that Netanyahu was trying to exploit the normalization deal with Israel for his campaign efforts. [NOTE: That said, Netanyahu did have the green light to go last week, but didn’t after Jordan delayed his flight. - OH] Earlier this week, Netanyahu even blocked Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi’s Monday tripto the UAE, where he was to inaugurate the opening of Israeli missions there, because he wanted to be there first high-ranking official to visit. Meanwhile, Netanyahu hinted that peace deals with four more countries are in the works.

Also of interest, US President Joe Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “murderer” yesterday, while Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi was in Moscow where he thanked Russia for its commitment to Israel, stressed Russia's importance in maintaining stability in the region and called for tightening cooperation between the two countries, Maariv’s Anna Bersky also reported. He also called on the Palestinians to returnto the negotiating table.

Speaking of the Palestinians, an internal US document revealed that the Biden administration is formulating a plan to reset US ties with the Palestinians, which will reverse parts of Trump’s failed peace plan, the United Arab Emirates-based newspaper, The National, reported. The US also plans on providing $15 million to the Palestinians for corona aid. Today, it was reported that Israeli President Reuven Rivlin was invited to address a joint session of the US Congress. Rivlin is presently visiting countries in Europe to convince them to oppose the International Criminal Court investigation of Israel for war crimes. Yesterday, ahead of his visit to Paris, he called on France to stand by Israel.

Elections 2021: 
Yedioth reported that in response to some politicians’ claims that the Election Commission is not trustworthy, Orly Adas, the Election Commission CEO, said that there are politicians trying to delegitimize the results of the elections and she is preparing for the fake news that will be spread regarding the results. Yamina party leader Naftali Bennet said he was a real right-winger and he would not approve of a government led by Yesh Atid leader MK Yair Lapid. Right-wing Jewish supremacist, MK Bezalel Smotrich, declared that Judaism is a real religion and Islam is religion of terror. And the Meretz party is working to get the votes of the Druze. Also:

  • Netanyahu Says He Plans to Employ ‘New, Young’ Players to Continue His Work - Netanyahu says Bennett's Yamina will join his government only if it wins a low number of Knesset seats. (Haaretz+)
  • Bennett, Recalling Past Elections, to Take Aggressive Line Against Netanyahu- Naftali Bennett and Yamina party colleague Ayelet Shaked havent forgotten the trauma of the 2019 election or the last one. (Haaretz+)
  • The Arab lists are concerned about low turnout - The Joint List and the USSR fear very low voter turnout on Election Day, which could hurt their chances. MK Ahmed Tibi: "Trying to encourage voting, but it will not be like last time.” (Maariv)
  • 'Another Netanyahu government will be a catastrophe' - "If we work hard and convince undecided voters, we can win these elections," Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid tells supporters. New Hope chief Gideon Sa'ar and Yamina head Naftali Bennett hint of possible collaboration following the March 23 elections. (Israel Hayom)
  • **WATCH: MK Smotrich: The Jewish religion is a religion of peace. (Islam) is a religion of terrorism - Chairman of the ‘Religious Zionism’ party says that his party will not sit with the Arab parties in the same coalition government and that the "religion" that Ra’am party chairman, MK Mansour Abbas, represents is a religion of violence, terrorism and jihad. "Even if these two religions are both called 'religion,’ it is not really the same thing." (Kipah Hebrew)
  • Anti-Netanyahu Protesters Plan One Last Show of Force – but Worry He Will Take Election - Organizers will have to overcome several obstacles, including a petition filed against the protest and Jerusalem's decision to start comprehensive work to upgrade Paris Square the main site of the protests. (Haaretz+)
  • An Israeli Yelled 'Bibi Go Home.' The Shin Bet Security Service Had Him Arrested - The protester was detained as Prime Minister Netanyahu's motorcade passed by even though there were no legal restrictions on protesting in the area. Shin Bet says arrest has nothing to do with what was yelled. (Haaretz+)
  • Gollum' Netanyahu statue causes stir in Tel Aviv square - Bronze and concrete image that appeared in heart of city is latest in series of protest art directed against prime minister; with no one claiming the piece that drew comparisons to Lord of the Rings character, authorities barricaded it off and then removed it. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Labor Leader Merav Michaeli Promises Israelis a Feminist Paradise, but First She Must Revive a Dying Party - On the campaign trail, Labor's Merav Michaeli rallies the party faithful but has no illusions about the huge task facing her ahead of Israel election. (Haaretz)


Quick Hits:

  • 'Maybe You'll Kill Some of Them': Netanyahu Tells Police to Use 'Full Force' Against Arab Crime Rings - In wake of a massive protest wave over police inaction on violence in the Israeli Arab community, Netanyahu tells senior officers they should act to 'bring crime organizations to a breaking point.’ (Haaretz+ and Times of Israel)
  • Entire family assaulted by Israeli soldiers during raid-and-arrest operation near Hebron; seven people total detained - Israeli soldiers assaulted Thursday an entire Palestinian family during a search-and-arrest operation in the town of Beit Ummar. (WAFA)
  • JNF illegally fired and discriminated against Palestinian workers, court rules - Tel Aviv court rules JNF must rehire 10 Palestinian workers excluded from collective bargaining agreement and dismissed for living in the West Bank. (Orly Noy, 972mag)
    ‘The settler bashed my head with a pipe, and everything went dark’ - A family picnic in the South Hebron Hills turned bloody last week after a settler beat Said Abu Aliyan with a metal pipe, sending him to the hospital. (Basil al-Adraa, 972mag)
  • Settlers uproot, steal scores of olive saplings from Nablus-district village - A group of settlers sneaked their way into Jalud village Wedneday, where they uprooted and stole 40 olive saplings belonging to Rajeh Hamoud. In February, settlers broke into a sheep barn belonging to a shepherd from the Hamoud family, causing damage to the barn and stealing sheep. (WAFA)
  • IDF evacuates Sa-Nur, settler challenge to Netanyahu fails - They demanded that Netanyahu agree to rebuild that settlement and three others in northern Samaria that Israel destroyed in 2005 as part of the Disengagement Plan. (JPost)
  • Israeli settlers level area opposite to Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque - Israeli settlers razed Wednesday the interior of an old house belonging to the Idris family, located opposite to the resting area of the Ibrahimi Mosque and within an area deemed a closed military zone. The house was handed over by the Israeli occupation authorities to settlers. (WAFA)
  • Israeli forces razes land, uproot olive trees near Ramallah - The landowner, Nu‘man Nofal, said that Israeli soldiers escorted a bulldozer to the village Wednesday, where the heavy machinery leveled his five dunams of land and uprooted more than 20 olive trees. (WAFA)
  • Israeli forces raid Al-Matar Street in Jerusalem-district village - Israeli forces intensified their military presence Wednesday in Al-Matar Street Kafr 'Aqab. Tuesday night, a number of Palestinian civilians were injured with rubber-coated metal bullets and many others suffered from suffocation due to inhaling tear gas during clashes with the Israeli forces in the village. (WAFA)
  • Israeli forces dismantle agricultural room in South Hebron Hills near Hebron - Israeli forces barged their way into al-Fakhit, one of 19 hamlets of Masafer Yatta, where they dismantled an agricultural room made of tin and seized it. (WAFA)
  • UN: 77 humanitarian aid structures, including 47 EU-funded, targeted by Israel in February - So far in 2021, the Israeli targeted 153 structures and tripled the number of EU-funded aid structures compared with the monthly average in 2020 and Israeli settlers damaged and stole donor-funded aid, said the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory. (WAFA)
  • After plans to demolish 100 homes in East Jerusalem, more Palestinian homes under threat of demolition by Israel - As plans loom for the demolition of an entire area that includes 100 houses in occupied East Jerusalem, at least eight more Palestinian-owned homes in the occupied city are facing an imminent threat of demolition. (WAFA)
  • Palestinian Presidency: “Israeli unilateral actions designed to torpedo international peacemaking efforts” - Statement made in reference to Israeli courts’ decision green-lighting the demolition of 100 Palestinian homes in the Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Bustan; confiscation of dozens of Palestinian homes in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, al-Matar neighborhood, the Hebron-city area of al-Baqa’a, and the Hebron-district area of Ayn al-Bayda, demolition of the Kharabeesh community near the village of Nuway’imah in the Jordan Valley, razing Palestinian-owned lands in the Ramallah-district village of Ras Karkar, and uprooting dozens of olive trees in the Nablus-district village of Jaloud. (IMEMC)
  • B’Tselem & Kerem Navot Report: “This Is Ours – And This, Too: Israel’s Settlement Policy in the West Bank” - New report exposes the mechanisms Israel uses to encourage its citizens to move into the occupied territory. The report also reviews developments on the ground over the last decade, focusing on the spatial impact of the two large settlement blocs, Modi’in Illit and Beitar Illit (both for ultra-Orthodox Israelis). (IMEMC)
  • Gas Grenade Fired by Israeli Border Police Causes House Fire in Lower Galilee - Rafaya said that only two months ago he had completed renovations in his house 'and now its all soot and smoke and smells of gas in all the rooms.’ (Haaretz+)
  • (Arab Israelis) demonstrate against Israeli government demolition policy in the Negev - Participants in the demonstration chanted slogans condemning the Israeli government's practices and its policy of discrimination against the Palestinian citizens in the Negev. They accused the government of stealing their lands and turn it into forest areas while denying them their basic civil rights as citizens of Israel. (WAFA)
  • Yehuda Glick made a sulha yesterday with one of his attackers - A resident of East Jerusalem who attacked the former MK last June will compensate him with 60,000 shekels according to the court's decision. Glick in response: "This is a drop in the sea compared to the suffering and humiliation I experienced.” (Maariv)
  • Palestinians receive first batch of COVID vaccines from UN - Delivery of some 60,000 doses of Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines through the COVAX program arrived earlier at Ben Gurion Airport; PA set to begin vaccinating the elderly, cancer patients and medical personnel from Sunday. (Agencies, Ynet and Haaretz+)
  • Israel Innovation Authority kicks off campaign to bring expat techies back to Israel - Facing a severe personnel shortage in the tech sector, Israel hopes to lure back emigrants with promises of job security and a cushy landing. (Yedioth/CTech English)
  • After Sotheby's Auction Nixed, Jerusalem's Islamic Art Museum Head Steps Down - The sale of rare artifacts from the museum was canceled at the last minute in September, casting a pall over Nadim Sheibans tenure as museum director. (Haaretz+)
  • Docs Reveal Business Dealings by Key Figures in Corruption Affair Involving Netanyahu Associates - Documents show two figures in the so-called submarine affair were involved in businesses in Israel and Cyprus reliant on regulation, foreign relations. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli town abuzz with drones in coordinated airspace test - "This is an opportunity for the regulators to learn what is needed to establish delivery drones as a daily reality, and for the drone operators to learn what is expected of them in turn," says Hagit Lidor of the Israel Innovation Authority. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Ex-official Sued for Claiming Netanyahu Is Contractually Obliged to Run Nominations by Wife - The prime minister's former lawyer and cousin is suing for $129,000 in compensation for the claims David Artzi made in a recently release video ■ Shimron denies all allegations. (Haaretz+)
  • Liberal Jewish Scholars Present Antisemitism Definition That Allows More Freedom for Israel Criticism - Critics have warned that the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's alliance of antisemitism is too broad and limits debate on Israel. (JTA, Haaretz+)
  • Israel tops resilience index among Middle East countries - Index created by the Institute of Economics, Society and Peace in the Middle East Studies evaluates six main criteria: economic, social, gender equality, the degree of openness to globalization, ethnic variance, and religious variance. (Israel Hayom)
  • Abbas rival Dahlan says president failed Palestinians - Speaking to Al-Arabiya, the exiled former Abbas ally, Gaza strongman accuses Fatah of silencing opponents, citing expulsion of Arafat's nephew; did not announce his candidacy for upcoming elections. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Germany Commits to Support Israeli German-Speaking Jewry Heritage Museum - The foundation already received 200,000 euros in funds as part of the anniversary of 1,700 years of Jewish life in Germany. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Egypt Says Concrete Wall Will Protect Resort of Sharm el-Sheikh - Authorities hope that additional protections will help improve tourism at the Red Sea resort, which has been dented by a long-running Islamist insurgency, the coronavirus pandemic and other disasters. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Prominent Egyptian Activist Gets 18 Months in Prison for Spreading 'Fake News' - Sanaa Seif was accused by prosecutors of broadcasting fake news and rumors about the country's health conditions and the spread of the coronavirus in prisons. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Turkey's Move to Shut pro-Kurdish Party Worries Its Western Allies - EU Parliament rapporteur says move will harm Turkey-EU ties as U.S. State Department says it would undermine democracy. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Lebanon's President Tells PM-designate to Form Government or Step Down - Aoun and Hariri have been at loggerheads over government formation for almost five months, as Lebanon nears an economic abyss that is posing the biggest threat to its stability. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Tunisian Court Frees Prominent Women's Rights Defender, LGBTQ Activist - Rania Amdouni had been jailed on charges of 'insulting police and abuse of morals,' in a high-profile case that raised concerns about freedom of expression in Tunisia. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Anger Simmers Over Syria's Economic Collapse, but Assad Appears Secure - Residents say lines for bread across government-controlled areas can run up to five hours long as wheat imports dwindle. Despite popular discontent, Assad appears to be on course to win elections. (Agencies, Haaretz)

Netanyahu’s Humiliation Campaign Against Arab Allies Takes Off (Yossi Melman,Haaretz+) In the past week Netanyahu has punished Jordan, mocked Egypt, irked the Saudis and gotten the UAE to send a plane for nothing. For his election campaign he's also revealing secrets; it's nothing new.
On the Lebanon War medal and the great lie (Dr. Gal Amir, Yedioth Hebrew) Every day they lied to me that I was protecting the northern communities. And I believed them. I was a good boy. We did not understand that we had been put into a malicious war and they did not know how to get us out. So I will wear the medal, but not with pride…When you hear a lie repeated every day, you tend to believe it. This is human nature. I believed a lie. Every time I would get off the outposts and reach Kiryat Shmona or Nahariya, I would feel that everyone I see at the bus stop owes me his life in person. It was a lie. We have killed and been killed for 18 years in vain. An entire generation was just wasted there. An Israeli generation, a Lebanese generation. People left with extremely severe physical and mental injuries. Countless lives of Israelis and Lebanese who were cut off and destroyed in an unnecessary occupation. It was very easy for us to believe this lie. In front of us were Amal and Hezbollah, and they shot at us and we shot at them, shelled us and we shelled them. And behind us were the lights of Kiryat Shmona and… Metula and Nahariya. It was very clear to us that if we had not been there - they would not have shot at us but directly at Kiryat Shmona and Dan and Dafna and Metula and Nahariya. This is a bit of a problematic logic, because this equation lacks the figure that we are sitting on their land, killing their people, and also the fact that the didn’t want:  they could hav shot directly at Kiryat Shmona directly, and they don’t have to go passed us first. But we swallowed this lie because it was said by people with a lot of authority, commanders and politicians, and also because it was easier than believing we got in there in a malicious deception war in 1982, and just do not know how to get us out. And so an entire generation was wasted there for no reason. It is this generation of ours that is running things here now. True, Bibi Netanyahu, but he does not control alone. Our generation has brought him there, and keeps him there. We did not draw any conclusions. No mass political party arose that relied on the insights from the great lie of the security (south Lebanon) strip and recorded the telling of the truth on its banner. No politician I know has spoken in recent years about his experience in Lebanon as something formative, nor has he brought insights from there. On the contrary. We reigned over the man whose telling of the truth is his trademark, and swept Lebanon under the rug. I'm still serving in the reserve. I will carry this battle medal on the lapel of my shirt pocket. Not proudly, but as a memento. A memento for friends who remained there. A reminder that one should re-examine the assumptions every day, and understand that even the clearest truth, said daily, can be false. I could have assured myself it would not happen again, but I know it will happen. We were good kids and did what we were told. We too have raised another generation of good children, and they too will do what they are told, and believe the lies that are being told today. It's only going to end when we're a little bit of bad kids, when we’re doubtful, when we use critical thinking. So whoever sees the sign on the uniform of the elderly, of a father or a grandfather, will remember to be sometimes a little bad boy, and not believe what is told to him.
Israeli democracy is still not in danger (Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) Netanyahu's critics are again predicting the demise of democratic rule should he and a right-wing/religious-party coalition emerge from the next election. They're still wrong.
Israel Concerned as Iran Provides Its Mideast Proxies With Better Weapons (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Tehran is encouraging Hezbollah and Hamas to manufacture weapons independently ■ Despite Netanyahu's hawkish rhetoric, Israel is coming to terms with the prospect of U.S-Iran nuke talks.
The cold shoulder of the Emirates to Binyamin Netanyahu (Shimrit Meir, Yedioth Hebrew) In Abu Dhabi, they tried to gently evade from taking part in the country's election campaign. You don’t volunteer to participate in campaigning. You need to get something out of it, and right now Ben-Zayed is not getting anything out of it. Just the opposite.
Russian Flour, Kurdish Fuel, Turkish Power: Assad May Control Syria, but Not Its Economy (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Goods flow from parts of the country controlled by opposition forces to regime-run areas, disrupted by occasional fighting in poverty-stricken Syria, which has largely dropped from the headlines.
Netanyahu versus Abu Yair (Afif Abu Much, Yedioth/Ynet) An uninformed visitor to Israel on eve of elections could be forgiven for thinking the PM was running as head of an Arab party due to his efforts to present himself as a lover of the sector, despite 12 years of race-baiting, discriminatory laws.
Judaism Dies in Darkness - and When Netanyahu Wins (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) In the quarter century that passed since he first took office, Netanyahu has transformed Judaism in destructive ways. In the end, that will be his main legacy.
What happens when America turns its back 
(Sarah N. Stern, Israel Hayom) Iran has felt emboldened and empowered to colonialize the Middle East with its proxy, terrorist armies stretching from Tehran to Baghdad, to Damascus to Beirut, and all the way to the Mediterranean.
Biden Navigates Through Yemen Hell, but Solution Lies in Riyadh and Tehran (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Sixteen million Yemenis are on the brink of hunger, but internal power struggles are preventing a diplomatic solution.
Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon, Stop the Bulldozers (Haaretz Editorial) In the two and a half years since Moshe Leon was elected mayor of Jerusalem, he has been a source of quite a few surprises in his attitude toward East Jerusalem. Free of the need of his predecessor, Nir Barkat, to prove his right-wing credentials, Leon began to deal with some of the most difficult issues in the Palestinian-populated sections of the capital…This is precisely the reason for the disappointment over the municipality’s decision to withdraw from agreements between it and the residents of the Bustan neighborhood of Silwan, and to move ahead on a plan to demolish the neighborhood to create a tourism park…
"Sulha committees" are the root of evil in Arab society (Jalal Ayoub, Yedioth Hebrew) The concept of ‘sulha committees’ (meetings held between family members from both sides of the conflict) should disappear because violence cannot be eradicated when criminal elements are involved in resolving civil disputes. That's how you perpetuate violence, you don't perpetuate it. The situation requires an extreme solution...This is the central role of the leadership of the Arab public and of the entire Arab sector. Although it is difficult to see how heads of authorities and Knesset members who do not help the police to collect the illegal weapons (they fear the introduction of symbols of government to the Arab localities and create difficulties in establishing police stations in the centers of violence) will do the right thing, but the Arab sector must press them. This is their role and responsibility. In addition, the education system also plays a large part in a real solution to eradicate the phenomenon. Proper attention of the education system, through curricula that sanctify the value of human life, will help create the infrastructure needed for the difficult action required. At the same time, our public leadership must allow girls and boys who have graduated from high school to join the existing systems of civil service, instead of ignoring and blaming the volunteers for betrayal and subservience. There they will be able to recognize and adopt other cultural codes, which will also lead to the abolition of archaic concepts that led the Arab public to the current situation.
Benny Gantz: How I Prevented Israel Becoming a Pariah in Washington (Benny Gantz, Haaretz+) Kachol Lavan head: We stopped a series of dangerous Netanyahu geopolitical debacles, from annexation to Israel losing its qualitative military edge to the UAE.
No One Is More Deserving of Israel's Highest Honor Than Its Colonialist Settler Leaders (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) This year’s Israel Prize for lifetime achievement for a special contribution to society has been orphaned: Yehuda Meshi-Zahav (accused of rape) is not getting the prize after all…The time has come to give the prize to a truly deserving candidate, someone who contributed to society and the country more than anyone else, until it completely changed the country’s face and border and character, even its regime. The time has come to award the prize to the Yesha Council of settlements. No one is more deserving. Several representatives of this enterprise have already won the prize, like the champion of dispossessing Palestinians in Jerusalem, Elad director David Be’eri…
The Next Big Battle in U.S. Jewish Politics: Who Will Be Biden's Antisemitism Envoy(Ben Samuels, Haaretz+) In a letter to the 46th president, left-wing Jewish leaders and activists urged him to pick an envoy for combatting antisemitism who will fight anti-Jewish bigotry within the context of other progressive issues.
Not Just to Save It: Five Reasons to Vote Meretz in Israel's Election (Zehava Galon,Haaretz+) 1.) Ideology. Meretz is the only party that does not stammer and does not bend when it comes to its ideology. The only party that raises two banners, those of repairing Israeli society and of ending the occupation. 2.) Solidarity. The struggle against the occupation is a key principle of Meretz.
The differences between Israel's 2020 and 2021 elections (Alex Traiman, Israel Hayom) Polls show that the election is Netanyahu's to win or lose. If he cannot form a coalition, it's unlikely that another candidate would fare any better, although one should always expect the unexpected in Israeli politics.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Must Resign – or Be Deposed (Bishara A. Bahbah, Haaretz+) The geriatric, ineffectual, corrupt and authoritarian Palestinian president has finally called elections and an unprecedented array of candidates is snapping at his heels. But there's little chance he'll go quietly.
What Each of Israel's Election Night Scenarios Will Mean for Working Ties With Biden (Ben Samuels, Haaretz+) Experts discuss how the coalitions that could emerge after Tuesday's election, from an extreme right-wing government led by Netanyahu to a more moderate one without him, would impact U.S.-Israel relations.
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.
Gaza is still under siege, in case we’ve forgotten (Maher Al-Tabba, IMEMC) Despite Israel’s repeated announcements about easing the blockade, the reality at the nominal border crossings is quite the opposite. It still prevents the entry of hundreds of kinds of goods and raw materials from entering Gaza, as well as the export to the West Bank of many industrial and agricultural products…After 14 years of the suffocating siege, it is surely time for international institutions to carry out their legal and humanitarian duties towards the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and ensure that their basic needs are provided. They must liberate them from the largest open-air prison in the world, and apply real and serious pressure on the Israeli occupation authorities to open all Gaza crossings for the movement of people and goods, and to end this unjust blockade immediately.
To Avoid an Unnecessary Clash, Israel Should Closely Follow Biden's Moves on China (Alon Pinkas, Haaretz+) Biden has made it clear that containing China's influence is a priority. Israel's warming trade relations with the superpower can throw a wrench in an already-complicated relationship.

'Hamas wants an Islamist state in the West Bank, and might win the PA elections'
Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun talks to Israel Hayom prior to his upcoming retirement about the COVID situation in Gaza, the alienation the Palestinian public feels from the PA leadership, and the chances for substantive progress toward peace. (Interviewed by Yoav Limor in Israel Hayom)

‘LGBTQ rights have become a litmus test in Palestinian society’
The growing visibility of queer Palestinians poses a challenge to Arab political parties that are exploiting homophobia ahead of the Israeli election, says attorney and activist Fady Khoury. (Interviewed by Fadi Khoury in 972mag)

'Netanyahu is the only one who can form a right-wing government'
Religious Zionist Party chief sits down with i24NEWS and Israel Hayom to discuss the March 23 elections. (Israel Hayom)

'Israel doesn't jeopardize Russian interests in Syria'
Israel can act freely against Iran and Hezbollah in Syria because "everyone understands that Israel isn't acting against the Syrian regime," former Military Intelligence official Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser says. (Interviewed by Daniel Siryoti and Shahar Klaiman in Israel Hayom)


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