News Nosh 3.21.21

APN's daily news review from Israel - Sunday March 21, 2021

Quote of the day:

"The racist Netanyahu thinks we Arab people are idiots. He thinks that we can be lied to our faces and that we will buy it."
—Joint List lawmaker Aida Toma-Suleiman said after Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told an Arab-Israeli newspaper that the Jewish Nation-State Law is not against Arab-Israelis. (The controversial law seeks to define the character of the state as Jewish, but does not make an explicit commitment to equality for all citizens or declare the state as democratic. It downgraded the status of the Arabic language in Israel and it includes a clause establishing "Jewish settlement as a national value," which could lead to discrimination on the basis of nationality in the allocation of land and resources.)*

Front Page:


Yedioth Ahronoth

  • Why me (Photos of Netanyahu, Yair Lapid, Naftali Bennett and Gideon Sa’ar (Hebrew)
  • More than 20,000 (anti-Netanyahu) demonstrators at Balfour (Hebrew)
  • We want change // (Author) Eshkol Nevo (Hebrew)
  • Number of corona deaths: 6,082; Number of vaccinated with second dose: 4,521,811

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • The debate that wasn’t (between Netanyahu and Lapid)
  • Lie culture // Ben Caspit
  • Between fear and calm - Labor party chairwoman called on center-left voters to avoid voting strategically
  • The last demonstration (against Netanyahu)
  • The fourth stage of exit from lockdown began: Ben-Gurion Airport opened, audiences return to culture halls

Israel Hayom

Top News Summary:
Two days till elections and the Hebrew newspapers are abuzz with the latest on who is campaigning where and how, as well as reporting on the beginning of the fourth stage of the exit from the corona lockdown with the opening of airports, cultural halls, sports stadiums - and the border with Egypt.

Also making news, was the Friday double murder in the Arab-Israeli town of Qalansawa, a day after Israelis protested in Tel-Aviv against government negligence in fighting against the surging wave of violence in the Arab-Israeli sector. Even after the double murder of Leith Nasra and Muhammad Khatib due to a feud between families, shooting continued in the town, injuring a 17-year-old youth. The mayor accused the police of negligence. “Only after about 40 minutes did the police arrive to put things in order,” said Mayor Abdulbassat Samara. This is real negligence. Instead of showing their presence following the  double assassination, they disappeared from here and let these groups go wild during the night…We can no longer remain silent and probably, if we understand the police are unable to deliver the goods, we will take the law into our own hands, but not criminally. G-d forbid. We will simply raise money from residents and hire the services of private security companies, which will patrol Qalansawa and keep residents safe,” he told Maariv. A few hours after the killings, hundreds of protesters gathered at the entrance to the town to protest police incompetence. Angry residents blocked Route 5614 leading to the town. "They shot at my house as we sat in the living room, the bullets went over our heads, we saw death in front of our eyes," one resident of the town told Yedioth Hebrew. The double murder brought the number of Arab-Israeli victims since the start of the year to 26.

Elections 2021:

  • Three Days to Israel Election, Tens of Thousands Protest Against Netanyahu Across Country - Israel election: Two protesters report that they were attacked by Netanyahu supporters in 39th consecutive week of protests against the prime minister. (Haaretz+, Israel Hayom)
  • Final Election Polls Give Netanyahu a Growing Chance of Clinching Majority - Neither major bloc secures a majority, polls show, but Prime Minister Netanyahu's Likud may have an easier path. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • Ben Gvir's condition for joining the coalition: Passing an "Arie Schiff" law - The chairman of [Kahanist extremist party - OH] Otzmah Yehudi will work to advance the law designed to rescue from trial Aryeh Schiff, who was accused of manslaughter, who shot dead in the back of the head a Bedouin-Israeli man who was escaping with his stolen vehicle. The bill will be based on a section of the Penal Code that provides protection for those who acted to fend off burglars. (Maariv)
  • Lapid Challenges Netanyahu to Debate Three Days Before Israel Election - In his campaign speeches and press interviews, Netanyahu has singled out Lapid as his adversary for the premiership, though the opposition leader has thus far avoided claiming he's gunning for the position. (Haaretz+)
  • Lapid willing to forgo premiership in order to oust Netanyahu - Yesh Atid leader says that incumbent is working to form 'a bloated government of racists and homophobes'; adds he is willing to work with Joint List if needed and that Israel must mend relations with the U.S. Democratic Party. (Ynet)
  • Labor leader willing to back right-wing candidate to oust Netanyahu - United Torah Judaism head says pledge to back Netanyahu for PM "meaningless" if he doesn't have majority needed to form a coalition. Meanwhile, Netanyahu walks back calls for Lapid to join him for a debate after Yesh Atid accepts his challenge. (Israel Hayom)
  • *Israel's Nation-state Law Not Meant to Harm Arabs, but Stop 'Infiltrators,' Netanyahu Tells Arab Daily - In interview with Arabic-language newspaper Kol al-Arab, premier asserts that there is lack of understanding of law that stipulates only Jews have right to national self-determination in Israel. Netanyahu said on Saturday that Israel's controversial Nation-State Law was not enacted against Arab citizens, but rather to prevent ‘illegal infiltration’ from Africa. (Haaretz+ and JPost)
  • In final stretch, Netanyahu plans to siphon votes from Bennett to Smotrich - The plan is to help Bezalel Smotrich's Religious Zionist party win the same number of mandates as Naftali Bennett's Yamina party, and if possible, even more, officials tell Israel Hayom. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel's Nation-state Law Not Meant to Harm Arabs, but Stop 'Infiltrators,' Netanyahu Tells Arab Daily - In interview with Arabic-language newspaper Kol al-Arab, premier asserts that there is lack of understanding of law that stipulates only Jews have right to national self-determination in Israel. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel Unprepared for Real-time Election Day Disruption Attempts - Israel election, two days to go: Simulation held by three institutions reveals 'worrisome gap between the perception of Israel's preparedness to protect upcoming election and what might actually happen' (Haaretz+)
  • ‘Stop the Steal’ Effort Underway in Israel, Too, Warns Election Chief - From baseless claims of fraud to attempts to fill poll observer spots with pro-Netanyahu volunteers, head of Israeli election committee warns Thursday against attempts to delegitimize the vote. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel's Police Minister Posts Photo Shooting 'Center Bloc' in Election Campaign Post - Public Security Minister Amir Ohana deleted the post soon after. He said the writing was added without his knowledge to the photo from an interview with Israel Hayom, which said 'there was no intention of promoting violence.’ (Haaretz+)


Quick Hits:

  • Palestinian Protester Killed by Israeli Army Fire, PA Health Ministry Says - Witnesses said Atef Hanaisheh, 45, an imam at a local mosque, was shot in the head at close range by live fire during a protest in the West Bank against the establishment of an settler outpost. (Israel Hayom and Haaretz+)
  • Palestinian President calls family of man killed by Israeli soldiers, offers condolences - President Mahmoud Abbas called Saturday the family of Atef Yousef Hanayshe, who was shot dead by Israeli forces yesterday during an anti-settlements protest in Beit Dajan village east of Nablus, to offer his condolences. (WAFA)
  • Palestinian Cars Torched, Graffiti Sprayed Referencing Israeli Settler's Death - 'Greetings from Ahuvia,' says graffiti in Palestinian town of Beit Iksa Friday night referring to 16-year-old Israeli settler, who died in a police chase. (Haaretz+ and PHOTO)
  • A Palestinian Photographs a Trespassing Settler. He Gets Five Head Fractures- This year Said Awwad has filed three trespassing complaints, but the police ask him to 'bring proof.' When he tried to take a picture of an incursion, masked men from the nearby outpost attacked him, his wife and their children ages 1 to 15. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Police Fired Skunk Water Cannon Into Palestinian Couple's Home. Weeks Later, It Still Reeks - Living in a ground-floor apartment in East Jerusalem, the Aabeds watch their street turn into a battleground almost every night. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli forces seize tractor in Salfit-area town - Israeli troops broke into al-Wajh al-Shami area in the Palestinian town of Kufr ad-Dik and seized a tractor belonging to one of the residents who was working his land. (WAFA)
  • ICC Letter Leaves Israel and Palestinians With One Month to Seek Deferral - The letter comes after earlier this month the ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced on a formal investigation of war crimes in the Palestinian Territories. (Agencies, Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • Ukraine ready to welcome vaccinated Israelis for Uman pilgrimage; The apparent payoff: Israel is likely to deliver vaccines to Ukraine - Interior Minister Aryeh Deri agreed with his Ukrainian counterpart, Arsene Abkov, on an outline, according to which, the Ukrainian government will allow vaccinated Israelis to make an annual Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) pilgrimage to the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslev in the city of Uman. The apparent payoff: Israel is likely to deliver vaccines to Ukraine to Corona. (Yedioth HebrewHamodia and Israel Hayom)
  • Israel more popular due to vaccines and normalization with Arab countries - A poll by the European YouGov, whose data looks at the past year reveals: an 8% increase in popularity for Israel. The highest jump was recorded in France: 50%. At the same time: a decrease in the European media's involvement in the conflict with the Palestinians. The main reasons: the (successful) vaccine campaign and the normalization agreements with the Gulf states. The survey was conducted in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Denmark and Sweden, with about 1,000 respondents sampled in each country. (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Israel hopes to tempt its high tech workers abroad to come home - Headhunter CQ Global wins tender from the Israel Innovation Authority to operate Back2Tech program, which will match Israelis abroad with local hi tech employers in an attempt to fill some 18,500 empty tech jobs. (Israel Hayom)
  • Facing shortage, Israel strikes deal with PA to buy construction gravel - In 2025, Israel will face a severe shortage of construction aggregates – gravel used to make cement, which will have a significant impact on the construction industry. Consequently, the Israeli Civilian Administration has advanced an initiative of cooperation with the Palestinian Authority to double the number of aggregates the PA markets to Israel – a move that coincides with the PA's interest to provide jobs to its people. Pilot program to begin shortly. (Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinians take another step in preparations for first election in 15 years - Registration offices are opened to admit the political parties and independent candidates. (Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinian President Abbas gets first jab of COVID-19 vaccine - President Mahmoud Abbas received Saturday the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine ushering in the launch of the social vaccination campaign in the country. The President urged citizens to continue to adhere to public safety protocols so as to pass this difficult time. (WAFA)
  • Unprecedented ruling helps Palestinian collaborators sue PA for torture - The Jerusalem District Court rules that such lawsuits will henceforth require a far less expensive court fee, similar to the fee for lawsuits seeking compensation for acts of terror. (Israel Hayom)
  • Is Israel facing another flood of illegal infiltrators? - Israeli Immigration Policy Center obtains IDF data that show that the number of infiltration attempts from Jordan jumped from 13 in 2018 to 120 in 2019, and the IDF is thwarting fewer attempted infiltrations. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel Up to 12th Place on Global Happiness Index as World Shows Resilience in Face of COVID-19 - European countries are occupying nine of the top 10 spots on the list of the word's happiest places, with New Zealand rounding out the group. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Israel, UAE rugby teams face off for first time - More experienced Israeli team swiftly beats the UAE 33-0. Shaking his head in disbelief, Israeli player Ori Abutbul says, “This is insane, insane. I have no words when people ask me how I feel.” (Israel Hayom)
  • Turkey's Erdogan quits European treaty on violence against women - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pulled Turkey out of an international accord designed to protect women, the government said on Saturday, prompting protests and criticism from those who said it was necessary to tackle rising domestic violence. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Strategic shift? Erdogan moves against Muslim Brotherhood - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan orders Istanbul-based TV channels affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood to immediately stop airing criticism of Egypt. (Israel Hayom)
  • 'Removal of Barriers': Iran's Supreme Leader Ushers in New Year With Message of Hope
  • In Washington, U.S. President Joe Biden issued a Nowruz message calling for peace, prosperity and understanding. (Agencies, Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Iran Says to Cold Test Redesigned Arak Nuclear Reactor - Iran has recently accelerated its breaches of the 2015 international nuclear deal in an apparent bid to pressure U.S. President Joe Biden to reverse his predecessors abandonment of the agreement. (Agencies, Haaretz)


What Is Israel Hiding on Murder of Israeli Suspected of Nazi Collaboration
An Israeli historian demands to know why a gag order was placed on the identity of Shin Bet security agents involved with the assassination of Rudolf Kasztner, a murder that rocked Israel. (Haaretz+)
The Canaanite Files: How Israel's Security Service Spied on Political Activists
Newly declassified files show that the Shin Bet saw the Canaanite movement as a subversive sect, and kept it under surveillance for years. (Yossi Melman, Haaretz+)
Separated by politics, a Gaza family longs for Mother's Day reunion
Niveen Gharqoud sent her 5 children to live with their father in the West Bank 3 years ago; she longs for reunion but time and time again being denied by COGAT as she does not meet the necessary criteria. (Reuters, Ynet)
In Israel, a Druze and a Jew Bond Over a Shared Tradition: Syrian Cooking
A chance encounter on Instagram between Sigi Mantel and Saffa Ibrahim led me to an exceptional friendship. One is exploring her family's Syrian roots, the other is preparing splendid meals in her Druze village, which was once part of Syria but is now in Israel. (Ronit Vered, Haaretz+)
Remembering the Battle of Karameh of March 1968
On this day 53 years ago, about 15,000 Israeli occupying troops began a military onslaught on the military bases of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the east bank of the Jordan River, attacking the Karameh (refugee) camp near the King Hussein Bridge (Allenby), hoping to eliminate the PLO fedayeen (commandos) under the command of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat who were based there. The Jordanian Armed Forces artillery stopped Israel's tank column at the Allenby Bridge, near the crossroads of the main road from Shuna to Karama, while Palestinian commandos were able to destroy several of Israel's tanks and armored cars, and engaged Israel's airborne troops entering the town of Karameh…The significance of the 15-hour battle lies in the fact that, for the first time, Palestinian fighters had successfully engaged the Israeli occupation army face to face, scoring a major symbolic victory… (WAFA)

Symbiosis between state and settler attacks (Sarit Michaeli, Yedioth/Ynet) In attempt to drive them out of their homes, Israel is hounding underprivileged Palestinian farmers who have given up filing complaints, having learned from experience that they get no protection from Israeli police.
Biden's hypocrisy unmasked (Mendi Safadi, Israel Hayom) We must sent a clear message to the Biden administration that we have learned, internalized, and implemented various defense mechanisms should he choose to pursue a continuation of Obama's disastrous policies in the region.
Israel's next prime minister will not conduct the country’s national foreign policy (Ran Adelist, Maariv) …The next government will be able to embitter for itself and its citizens life in the country within, or improve it for them. It will be able to steal for itself some crumbs of fame and power, or understand that it is supposed to serve and not tyrannize. There is one issue that is out of its control: it will not manage the bloody battle between us and Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Gaza and the West Bank. This is too big for any government that is elected. The one who will manage Israel's foreign and security issues will be the world led by President Joe Biden. In this "world", despite its shortcomings, there is a mechanism that makes an effort to manage the affairs of human society in a more proper manner. It does not always succeed, but often, in times of famine or unjust wars, the same mechanism flies air support to areas in dire need, and imposes sanctions on countries involved in human rights abuses and war crimes. In this respect, the world, the United States and the United Nations have historically issued a red card to Israel, similar to the cards issued to Iran or Russia, Syria and Myanmar. For the United States, the world and the UN, Israel, before and after the election, does not have the discretion and ability to stop the bleeding in the Middle East. The Biden team issued a thunderous statement of intent: "We do not believe that military force is the answer to the region's challenges and our partners in the Middle East cannot be given an 'open check' to pursue policies that conflict with American interests and values.” Words like spurs, but where are the spurs here? Anyone who expects game-changing American pressure can relax. There will be no military and intelligence embargo and aid will not be reduced. Perhaps only in a small way, to signal to a reluctant Israeli government to "move its ass." Nor will it be God's salvation in the twinkling of an eye or a bang and we’re done. It will be "We made Israel move in that direction." It will be a slow-moving Deus Ex that will affect any future coalition formed after the election.
Jared Kushner's curious change of heart (Melanie Phillips, Israel Hayom) With the Biden administration having re-empowered Palestinian aggressors against Israel, Kushner has shown that he doesn't grasp the significance of what he helped achieve with the Abraham Accords.
Perfect Storm Brings Arab Israelis Into the Political Mix (Carolina Landsmann,Haaretz+) When Avigdor Lieberman and Benjamin Netanyahu decided in 2013 to raise the electoral threshold to 3.25 percent, they wanted to reduce Arabs Israelis’ representation in the Knesset. Who would have believed that six years later Netanyahu – and all the other parties on his heels – would be frantically courting the Arab vote, tears welling up in his eyes as Arab young people shouted at him “Abu Yair.” Who would have believed in 2013 that eight years later, Netanyahu would call on Israel’s Arabs: “Be part of the government, be part of the state, come with us.”…The seminal move by the chairman of the United Arab List party, Mansour Abbas, who said the Arabs aren’t in the left’s pocket, cracked the Arab cohesiveness, and Jewish Israelis are starting to discern the various ideological streams in Arab society. Abbas in fact smashed the truism that the Arab minority’s natural place is on the left. By so doing he laid the cornerstone of the Arab Israeli right.
Immunity in exchange for the (Palestinian) right of return? Netanyahu will pay any price (Brig. Gen. (res.) Eival Gilady, Maariv) The prime minister cannot take a risk of going to trial (for alleged corruption crimes). Netanyahu must have immunity. He is accused of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, and he also knows the truth in the submarine affair (Case 3000).  If he is unable to form a government, he will be forced to stand trial and his sentence will be handed down as an equal before the law. Netanyahu will not take this risk, he must have immunity. Therefore, he will be willing to give anything to gain immunity, even the Right of Return (to Palestinians to live in Israel). It will of course not be presented that way. The propaganda machine will present this as family unification, granting the right to marry, and humanitarian measures for Israeli Arabs and their Palestinian brothers. We will remind the public that between 1994 and 2003, about 140,000 Palestinians entered Israel through family unification, this was stopped by the Sharon government, and later in the Citizenship Law, which restricts the granting of permanent resident status or the granting of citizenship to Palestinians from Judea and Samaria (West Bank). Family reunification of 100,000 Palestinians (10,000 a year for ten years), whom they and hundreds of thousands of children will vote for in the Knesset in the future, will not be presented as a Right of Return, but as a humanitarian step for Israeli Arabs. In order for the Ra’am party to support the government under Netanyahu’s leadership, Netanyahu will pay any price. Now he is busy preparing the hearts of his [right-wing - OH] voters for the move…I wonder what Fatin Mula, the deputy minister (Likud) in the prime minister's office, offered (to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) when he traveled to Ramallah last month to ask the Palestinians to encourage Israeli Arabs to support Netanyahu. The upcoming election is not just not about Bibi. It’s also about the character, image and future of the State of Israel. Israeli citizens will have to choose between the right of return, and the continuation of conflicts within a divided state (led by Netanyahu), and a state with a Jewish majority that has a large Arab minority, integrated into Israeli society and enjoys full rights - education, employment, and welfare - just as all citizens of the country do. (The writer, a brigadier general (in reserve), was the head of the IDF’s Planning Directorate and one of the people closest to Prime Minister Sharon.
Netanyahu’s Stump Speech Reveals Which Political Rival He Fears the Most (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Netanyahu's election campaign is laser-focused on centrist competitor Yair Lapid, but also makes big short-term economic promises that would require his full-time attention.
Never have so many said so little (Dr. Eithan Orkibi, Israel Hayom) The "Anyone but Bibi" camp is capable of screaming about what it doesn't want, but has yet to say who, or what, it does.
Israel's elections are all about Netanyahu (Amichai Attali, Yedioth/Ynet) PM enjoys more adoration than any of his predecessors, including state founder David Ben Gurion; now his sights are set on stealing voters from fellow right-wing parties, including that of former ally and Yamina leader Naftali Bennett.
Benjamin Netanyahu, Godfather of Israel's Rising Jewish Fundamentalism (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Jewish extremism has broken its Haredi glass ceiling with the rise of the ultra-nationalist, virulently racist Religious Zionism party, and it's thanks to staunchly secular Netanyahu. But the battle for Judaism's future will continue after he's gone.
Netanyahu Is Willing to Die for Power. His Opponents Aren’t (Nehemia Shtrasler, Haaretz+) What is the secret behind Benjamin Netanyahu’s power? After all, everyone is familiar with the criminal indictments he faces, the 6,000 COVID-19 victims, the 600,000 unemployed, the ravaged institutions of the legal system and his endless lying. And yet, he keeps rising in opinion polls, going from 28 seats to 29, then to 30. On Monday, Netanyahu was supposed to appear at an election rally in Ashkelon. His supporters waited for two hours but he never showed up. Finally he appeared via Zoom, saying he couldn’t make it for reasons he could not disclose. The reason he wasn’t disclosing was a video clip released by Islamic Jihad, threatening to launch Qassam rockets at Ashkelon. The clip also showed Netanyahu fleeing Ashdod during a rocket attack that occurred during an rally a year and a half ago. If Gideon Sa’ar, Naftali Bennett or Yair Lapid were prime minister and fled Ashkelon like Bibi, you’d never hear the end of it…
It’s within Netanyahu's reach: the disaster is imminent, closer and more tangible than ever (Ben Caspit, Maariv) If Netanyahu succeeds in his fourth attempt to reach the 61 MKs minimum majority, his plan to crush what is left of the backbone of the state established by our ancestors here will be fulfilled. At the same time, preparations are being made for the Israeli version of the event that occurred at the Capitol. 
They want change (Eshkol Nevo, Yedioth Hebrew) Netanyahu has forgotten what it means to be Israeli. The basic values here are clear: democracy, mutual guarantee, integrity. Netanyahu has challenged them all since the beginning of his tenure, but in the past year he has crossed all lines. The numbers show: The public wants change. This is not a wish: in polls where people are asked if they want to replace Netanyahu, there is an absolute, unequivocal majority of those who say "yes." The new and unprecedented political map created in the run-up to this election is also crying out for change. Ever since I can remember - as a teenager, as a soldier voting for the first time, as a father taking his daughters to the polling station - the seamline of Israeli society has shifted between right and left, left and right. And here in the current election, in an admirable way, leaders and public figures who are the flesh and blood of the "national" camp [right-wing camp - OH] come out with great courage against Binyamin Netanyahu and tell him: Only so far. You cannot continue any longer.
The settlement movement is a house divided (Elisha Ben Kimon, Yedioth/Ynet) While Israel's right-wing politicians are eager to woo the Yesha Council of Settlers, the division and stagnation among the its leadership means that this will be short-lived and ultimately not lead to any gains.
How the Supreme Court Ended Up on the Ballot (David B. Green, Haaretz+) Right-wing and religious politicians are vowing to curtail the powers of Israel's top court if their bloc triumphs on Election Day. How and why did the judicial branch become such a divisive issue in Israeli politics?
(Kahol-Lavan leader) Gantz and (Meretz leader) Horowitz Should Drop Out of the Election (Lior Kodner, Haaretz+) Instead of displaying an ideological alternative, values, ambition or leadership – the easy solution in the campaigns of Meretz and Kahol Lavan are sowing fear that they won’t pass the electoral threshold - meaning the votes of those voting for the two parties will wind up in the trash. The person who will benefit from this situation is Netanyahu, who is close to achieving a coalition of 61 Knesset seats. Instead of quitting and calling for their diminishing supporters to vote for Yesh Atid, the Joint List or Labor, Gantz and Nitzan Horowitz are threatening to go down with the ship along with their voters.
Today, more than ever, the country needs Meretz and its envoys (Meretz MK Ilan Gilon, Maariv) It has been more than 40 years since I joined Meretz. Over the years I have seen how its representatives have stood at the forefront of important struggles in society. This time, too, we need those whose mission is greater than any other consideration.
Meretz's positions are its strength, not its weakness (Mossi Raz, Israel Hayom) To understand why Meretz has dropped from 12 to four seats since 1992, one has to step back and look at the big picture and the changes Israel has undergone since then.
The hero of a Operation Protective Edge (3rd Gaza War) is stuck under the concrete ceiling of the Druze (Fadi Maklada, Yedioth Hebrew) Former Golani Brigadier General Ghassan Aliyan may have received the rank of major general, but his path was paved, like top Druze generals before him, to the position of Coordinator for Government operations in the territories. And what about significant positions in the field command?...Many expected that, like many brigade commanders in the past, Aliyan's path to the senior IDF command, such as a position of a commander of a division, would be paved and from there to one of the top command positions and to be a senior member of the General Staff. But that was not the case. Aliyan was appointed commander of the unit of government operations coordinator in the Territories, and later manned the position himself. With the surprise change of Aliyan's track after receiving the rank of Major General, the understanding became clearer that the senior Druze officer is facing a ceiling of concrete in the General Staff in particular and in the IDF in general: the most senior position to reach is commander of the unit of government operations in the Territories. Aliyan is the third Druze to fill this role, in which the Druze majority stands out anyway….The Druze (generals) are returning to senior positions in the unit for "minorities” and not in what is known as the "Great IDF."
UAE cold shoulder is clear message to Netanyahu (Shimrit Meir, Yedioth/Ynet) The Emiratis' reluctance to host the prime minister days before Israel goes to the polls was open acknowledgement that there is a new man in the White House, and even if Israel can't see it, Trumpian stunts will not sit well with him.
Israel's Public Security Minister's 'Killer Instinct' (Friday Haaretz Editorial) The euphoria following the gradual return to normal after the coronavirus, thanks to the successful vaccination drive, must not allow us to forget what is really at stake in the choice between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s camp and that of his opponents. But if anyone has forgotten, Public Security Minister Amir Ohana provided an instructive reminder of the potential for danger in Netanyahu’s continued rule. Ohana posted a screenshot on his Facebook page from a filmed interview with him that was published on the digital platform of the Israel Hayom newspaper. In the photo he is seen at a shooting range aiming at a virtual target on which the words “center bloc” are written. In the full clip, to which a link also appears on Ohana’s Facebook page, the same shooting range is shown and the public security minister’s voice is heard asking whether he should aim at the center.
Netanyahu needs to look to the east (Smadar Perry, Yedioth/Ynet) The prime minister's rocky relationship with Jordan's King Abdullah, which has recently nosedived, could see Israel being viewed in the White House as an impediment and not a partner to ending regional strife.
The Coronavirus Gave Israel Another Reason to Choke Gaza (Noa Galili, Haaretz+) In March 2020, the Gaza Strip was placed under the traditional Purim lockdown, but this time it didn’t come out of it, not even to the status of the everyday lockdown that Israel has imposed on the Gazans for years. At the end of the holiday, under the pretext of the fight against the coronavirus, Israel locked the Erez crossing – the main gateway to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan – almost completely. Tens of thousands of people were stuck, both inside and outside Gaza, unable to return to their homes, families and jobs. A year later the coronavirus lockdown is still in place. Among those stuck in Gaza is A., 20, who recently celebrated a remote wedding with N., a Palestinian with American citizenship. N. doesn’t appear as a resident in the Palestinian population registry, which is controlled by Israel, so as far as Israel is concerned, she’s not allowed to unite with A. in Gaza…
Israel has a chance to heal itself (Anat Lev-Adler, Yedioth/Ynet) The coronavirus crisis has shone a light on multiple issues that have festered under the surface for decades, and the pandemic has given us the opportunity to look these issues right in the face and finally take steps to resolve them.
Much ado about nothing (Najat Al-Saied, Israel Hayom) It is best if the Abraham Accords were left outside of any political game. They should not be used as fodder for fake media clangor.
The Arms Deals Morocco and Israel Don't Want You to Know About (Jonathan Hempel, Haaretz+) Last December, Israel signed a normalization agreement with Morocco as part of a U.S. initiative. Many Israelis think that relations between Israel and Morocco are new, aside perhaps from some ancestry-tracing trips by Israeli families to Rabat and Casablanca…Israel’s military exports have also remained mostly secret until now.
Expect the unexpected (Lilach Shoval, Israel Hayom) The Israeli-Syrian border will continue to be volatile in the foreseeable future. The Israeli lesson from the Syrian civil war should be that the only rule that applies is zero predictability.

Shas leader and Interior Minister Arieh Deri: "Rabbi Ovadia would give (Kahanist) Ben Gvir a smack and tell him ‘get in the groove'"
In an interview with KAN Bet Radio, the chairman of Shas told how in his opinion the late religious leader of Shas would have seen Shas' cooperation with tge leader of Otzmah Yehudit: "Rabbi Ovadia was a man of the golden path for all people. He would have told us to include him and make sure he goes in the path of the coalition. He would give him a friendly smack and tell him 'Itamar, get in line with everyone.’ The public wants Netanyahu. People from the other camp cannot pull political stunts and decide that things will be otherwise.” Deri also revealed: "From an in-depth survey we conducted, I know that there are many people debating between (voting for) us and Labor and Meretz (parties), people who have the social welfare issue in their blood. (Interviewed on KAN Bet Radio and published on MaarivOnline)


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