News Nosh 3.30.21

APN's daily news review from Israel - Tuesday March 30, 2021

You Must Be Kidding: 
Due to a financial dispute between two Israeli institutions thousands of Palestinianresidents of the capital still have not gotten their second dose, even though more than three weeks have passed.**

Front Page:


Yedioth Ahronot

  • “Don’t forget the health system” - medical stuff fear that budgets for health system will not be part of coalition negotiations (Hebrew)
  • The blocs and the mines // Yuval Karni (Hebrew)
  • Tyranny of the minority // Ben-Dror Yemini (Photo of Yair Lapid)
  • Fateful connection // Chen Artzi-Srur (Photo of Naftali Bennett)
  • Five raped an intellectually disabled girl  
  • Again: A policeman shot dead a mentally ill young man armed with a knife

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • Gantz returns to the cockpit
  • Bennett and Sa’ar’s plan: Cracks in the Netanyahu bloc
  • The liberated the (Suez) Canal
  • The mentally ill man was shot dead

Israel Hayom

  • The secret channel of communication between Mansour Abbas and Arieh Deri - Chairman of Ra’am party met with Lapid, but is also talking with chairman of Shas
  • Turkey is prepared to send an ambassador to Tel-Aviv
  • Netanyahu in closed talks: “If Bennett joins, I’ll have 61”
  • Brother of Hadar Cohen [Border Police officer who was killed by a Palestinian in E. Jerusalem] closes a circle: Joins the Border Police
  • For first time since corona outbreak, thousands attend priestly blessing at Western Wall
  • 45-year-old did not get vaccinated - and died in week 39 of her pregnancy. The fetus did not survive
  • Democracy and democracy in retrospect // Yoram Eridor on retroactive laws

Top News Summary:
The two blocs - that of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the other of those who seek him replaced - strive to get enough support to reach the 61 mandates needed to form a government, police shot dead a mentally ill Arab-Israeli man and a pregnant woman died of corona making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Elections 2021: 
The Justice Ministry is looking into the killing of 33-year-old Munir Anabtawi, a mentally-ill Arab-Israeli, who police say tried to stab them. Anabtawi's sister says her 33-year-old brother was killed in 'cold blood.’ Yedioth reported that the police shot dead six mentally ill men in the last two years: Three were Arab, two were Ethiopian, and one was white. What was clear and not noted by the paper was that the ethnicities of those killed was not proportional to their percentage in the country. 103 FM radio (Maariv) interviewed Jafar Farah, the director of the Mossawa Center, a civil society organization to promote equality for Arab citizens in Israel. Farrah said Anabtawi’s mother called the police when her son got restless. A month ago he was in a psychiatric hospital. Anabtawi went downstairs at the entrance to his house, where he waited for his sister when the police arrived. “He started eating an apple and was holding a knife with the apple…He stood at the entrance of the building and did not move from there and then the policemen realized that it was his building. One of the policemen came to him and the other stood a little distance. An argument started with the policeman, one pulled out a gun. The other policeman, who also pulled something out, it is not clear if it was a shocker or a gun.” Farah added, “I don’t claim that the policeman didn’t feel threatened, but that he is skilled in ending such an incident without opening fire. He can take control of him, use a taser or tear gas…I see in Haifa that this is not a single incident but there already have been several incidents where (doing things according to the) commander's spirit probably means, ‘Finish such an incident with bullets.' If it was already necessary to use a weapon, it would be possible to shoot at his legs, they did not have to shoot several bullets into the upper body." Farah emphasized that this is a systemic phenomenon that is recurring. "I think there is something rotten inside the system that to this day the Department Investigating Police are unable to tell the police 'you are professionals you need to handle such an incident professionally'. Such incidents should not end in manslaughter.”

Also, a week after ‘Israel Hayom’ reported that Turkey asked Kosovo to reconsider transferring its embassy to Jerusalem (which Kosovo did not do), ‘Israel Hayom’ reported today that Turkey told Israel that it was ready to exchange ambassadors again. TheTurkish government is now ready to dispatch an ambassador to Tel Aviv once the Israeli government commits to simultaneously reciprocating the measure, a senior Turkish official tells Israel Hayom. The main point of contention between the two former allies remains the presence of senior Hamas officials on Turkish soil, the paper reported.

The odds of a fifth election remain very high as the Netanyahu-led bloc and the bloc of those who want Netanyahu replaced fail to get enough seats to form a government. [The media is now referring to it as the ‘Change bloc,’ instead of the ‘anti-Netanyahu bloc,’ which sounds negative - OH.] ‘Israel Hayom’ reported that Netanyahu said in closed circles that he can reach 61 seats with Yamina party led by Naftali Bennett. But that would also require the Arab Islamist Ra'am party’s support, as well as another two seats. Netanyahu did not mention who the other two MKs were or even which opposition parties they would come from. Opposition leader Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid and Shas party leader and Netanyahu supporter, Arieh Deri, have spoken with Ra’am chairman Mansour Abbas. A close associate of Abbas said that if it came down to a fifth election or joining a Netanyahu government, he thought Abbas would opt for the latter. Haaretz+ also reported that one ultra-Orthodox party, United Torah Judaism (UTJ) would consider endorsing a different candidate for prime minister, if Netanyahu fails to form a coalition and there’s a possibility of an ultra-Orthodox-right-center bloc coalition with Lapid, Bennett, Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope and Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan. But at the moment, that combo only makes 60 seats. However, in the meantime, the Religious Zionism party has also announced it also supports Netanyahu.

The problem in the anti-Netanyahu bloc is that they can’t agree on a leader, i.e. Lapid or Bennett. According to some reports, Sa'ar is ‘open' to joining a government in which Lapid and Bennett share power. Yedioth Hebrew’s political correspondent Yuval Karni writes that “This is the main question that currently prevents the change bloc from speaking with one voice on the way to a possible formation of a government headed by Netanyahu's opponents.” Lapid has the support of Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu, as well as the Labor party and Meretz. Oddly, according to Yedioth, Gantz does not support Lapid as the next prime minister, nor does Sa’ar.

Meanwhile, President Reuven Rivlin has set to choose a prime ministerial candidate next Wednesday. He’ll begin on Monday to meet with party leaders to hear who they want as prime minister.  Whoever Rivlin chooses will have 42 days to form an government before the president assigns the task to someone else. If the second candidate fails, Rivlin can ask parliament to try to choose someone and if that doesn’t work then Israel will head into a fifth election. (Maariv)

Corona-related Quickees:

  • **Israeli Health Ministry Dispute With Emergency Services Delays COVID Vaccine for Thousands of Palestinians - Magen David Adom played key role in vaccinating East Jerusalem residents in recent months, but Israel's Health Ministry has stopped working with organization over financial dispute. (Haaretz+)
  • Researchers discover Israeli coronavirus variant, but risk is low - The findings of the new study show that between March 2020 and January 2021, more than 180 cases of the variants were discovered in Israel, particularly in Haifa and Netanya. (Israel Hayom)
  • Knesset Panel Bars Digital Tracking of COVID Patients by Israel's Security Service - According to Health Ministry data provided to the parliamentary committee, Shin Bet tracking helped identify a mere 2.2 percent of new COVID-19 cases over the past week. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel's coronavirus positivity rate below 1%, Health Ministry says - Just 0.9% of 42,328 tests conducted Monday were positive, compared to 9.3% rate at beginning of March; country currently has 8,268 active cases of virus with 423 patients in serious condition, including 206 on ventilator. (Ynet)
  • Jerusalem's Holy Sepulchre church opens on Palm Sunday - 'We feel more hopeful, despite all the signs of death,' says Latin Patriarch as he kicks off the most important week in the Christian calendar after Israel allowed small congregations to gather in wake of high-speed vaccination campaign. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • For first time since pandemic onset, masses attend Priestly Blessing at Western Wall - After last year's Passover was marred by strict COVID restrictions, thousands of religious Jews are expected to attend Birkat Hakohanim, which this year is going to last over the course of 2 days in order to avoid overcrowding. (Yedioth, Ynet)
  • Vaccinated Israelis can travel to Thailand starting July 1 - Following a decision last week by Thai authorities to allow vaccinated tourists to visit the island Phuket starting July 1, Thailand's tourism board in Israel has decided to open the entire country to vaccinated tourist from Israel with nearly no restrictions, also starting July 1. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel's Border With Sinai to Reopen for Vaccinated for First Time After a Year- Starting Tuesday, up to 300 vaccinated, recovered Israelis will be allowed to cross into Sinai at the Taba border crossing each day through April 12. (Haaretz+, Maarivand Ynet)
  • Palestinians get Chinese-donated COVID-19 vaccines - Some 100,000 Sinopharm jabs join shipments from WHO, Russia and Israel, with latter vaccinating an estimated 100,000 Palestinians working in the country; more than 69,000 Palestinians receive 1st dose, and around 7,600 have had both shots. (Agencies, Ynet and WAFA)

Quick Hits:

  • Israeli Settlers Injure A Palestinian Near Salfit - Settlers from the illegal Bruchin outpost attacked Sunday evening numerous Palestinian farmers on their lands in Kafr Ed-Deek town, wounding Salman Shawkat Ahmad, who was struck with a rock in the head, and causing damage to a car. (IMEMC)
  • Palestinian Worker Chased by Army, Seriously Injured near Jenin - The family of the young man told Palestinian WAFA News Agency that the young man, Mahmoud Qasrawi, 24, from Misilyah village, suffered severe bleeding from his head after falling while he and other Palestinian workers were being chased by the army. (IMEMC)
  • Soldiers, Settlers Block Palestinian Farmer from Working on his Land near Salfit - Jaser al-Qaq said the army and settlers harassed and coerced his maintenance workers working on his own land near Kifl Hares, demanding they leave the area Saturday. (IMEMC)
  • Palestinian Teen Assaulted by Israeli Police, Prison Guards - Nour al-Din Nasri Ubaid, 17,  has implicated Israeli police and prison guards in assaulting and torturing him during his arrest in December of 2020, and subsequent interrogation and imprisonment. (IMEMC)
  • “A Model for a Public Struggle ": The 45th Land Day is marked in the Arab sector - The anniversary of Land Day events, which first took place on October 30, 1976, is marked this year during a politically sensitive period. Maki and Hadash party called on the general public to participate in activities and especially in the main procession in Araba town in the north. In a statement issued, they stated that “Land Day was a turning point in the history of the Palestinian Arab sector in Israel - from being a beaten people after the Nakba to a public that fought for its rights."  (Maariv)
  • Academics and experts: “In sharp disagreement with IHRA, new definition insists BDS is not anti-Semitic” - שׁgroup of over 200 academics and experts have created a new anti-Semitism definition which excludes the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and several other examples included in the IHRA that conflates criticism of Israel with hatred towards Jewish people. (IMEMC)
  • Lawfare Project: California curriculum violates civil rights laws - In letter to California governor, Lawfare Project argues against implementation of recently approved ethnic studies curriculum it says "remains highly problematic" due to a "repeated emphasis on supposed Jewish experiences of 'conditional whiteness' and 'racial privilege.'" (Israel Hayom)
  • IDF to stage large-scale summertime drill in Cyprus - Maneuvers aiming to simulate multiple battle scenarios pertaining to the northern sector, Judea and Samaria, and the Gaza Strip, will mark the first time the Israeli military holds a drill on foreign soil. (Israel Hayom)
  • Report: Microsoft eyes $1B investment in Israel - Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reportedly speaks with PM Netanyahu, detailed plans for the tech giant to massively investments in its operations in Israel. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel’s State-owned Water Company to Provide Consulting Services to Bahrain - $3 million pact may grow as Gulf emirate faces growing water shortages. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel Issues UAE Travel Warning, Citing Iranian Plans to Target Israelis Abroad - Israeli officials fear Tehran still wants to avenge the killing of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. (Haaretz and Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli Ministries Fail to Archive Government Files as Mandated by Law - Some ministries have not been handing over any documents at all. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinian Factions stress Jerusalem Palestinians’ inalienable right to participation in elections - They described the legislative elections as an “advanced form of the Palestinian national struggle” given that Jerusalem and the Jerusalemites “lie at the core of the conflict with the Israeli occupation.” (WAFA)
  • Hamas unveils own list for Palestinian polls - Islamist group's roster includes 'a dozen' women, senior official says; polling body says 15 factions submit lists, with five already approved while rest were being examined ahead of May elections. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • UNRWA calls for support to help Palestine refugees in Syria and the region - UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini addressed attendees: 'Today, 90 per cent of the nearly 440,000 Palestine refugees who remain in Syria live in absolute poverty. The more than 45,000 Palestine refugees from Syria who are now in Jordan and Lebanon are also amongst the most vulnerable people as both countries struggle with the impact of COVID-19.” (WAFA)
  • Gulf Sovereign Wealth Funds Eye Israel, but Need Time to Make Their First Moves - Energy, manufacturing, water, space, health care, agri-tech likely to be prime targets. (Haaretz+)
  • U.S. offers $10 million reward for info on Hezbollah operative - Salim Jamil Ayyash, a senior member of Shi'ite terror group's assassination squad, was sentenced in absentia by an international tribunal to five life sentences over his role in the 2005 killing of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Iran mulls shuttering Bushehr nuclear plant over US sanctions - US banking restrictions have made it difficult for Iran to transfer money and procure necessary equipment. (Israel Hayom)
  • Houthis expel Yemen's last Jewish families - Remnants of millennia-old Jewish presence in Yemen looking for country that will take them in, refuse to make aliyah.(Israel Hayom)


A ‘Paradise’ Is on Tap Outside an Israeli Village, but Not Necessarily for the Poor Arab Locals
Jisr al-Zarqa on the Mediterranean coast is one of Israel's poorest places, but with apartments at a new development starting at around $900,000, the village's housing shortage might last a while longer. (Or Kashti, Haaretz+)
The Zionist James Bond? How a Mossad Agent Helped a Brutal Dictator Retain Power
Declassified Foreign Ministry documents shed light on the secret ties woven by an Israeli businessman and Mossad agent with the military dictatorship that ruled Panama for 20 years. (Eitay Mack, Haaretz+)
The Seminal Work About Arab-Israeli Peace That Jolted Egyptian Intellectuals
A tribute to Egyptian Marxist intellectual Mohamed Sid-Ahmed, who foresaw the signing of the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement exactly 42 years ago. (Yossi Amitay, Haaretz+)

Jordan Keeps Israel's Border Secure. Netanyahu Aides Mock a Country 'In Decline'(Amos Harel, Haaretz+) A serious crisis is prevailing between Amman and Jerusalem. The recent history with Egypt could attest to what Israel benefits from a stable, friendly Jordan.
Voice of the Ra’am from the Arab-Israeli sector: Netanyahu and (Shas leader) Deri are trying to make Ra’am party seem as the Muslim sister of Shas (Anna Barsky,Maariv) Naftali Bennett looks at Mansour Abbas, who at the last minute robbed him of the role of kingmaker - and is green with envy; The ultra-Orthodox have to send a huge bouquet of flowers to Avigdor "Landfill" Lieberman [Lieberman called the ultra-Orthodox a landfill - OH], who saved their campaign.
For a 'Political Genius,' Netanyahu Screwed Up Real Bad (Alon Pinkas, Haaretz+) Of the four election cycles Israel has gone to since 2019, this one was supposed to be the easiest for Netanyahu to win. Instead, he lost support in his own party's strongholds.
Election results spell doom for Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul (Uri Cohen, Ynet) Underwhelming poll performance deals severe blow to Netanyahu's hopes of suspending trial as he remains unable to form government to let him push through favorable legislation.
Let the lion lie down with the lamb (David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom) Minimal national unity, or simple political sanity, must override a pull toward the extremes.
Who Cares What Pushed Netanyahu Into the Arab Israelis' Arms? It's a Revolution 
(Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) We’ve read and heard right-wing media stars such as Shimon Riklin and Jacob Bardugo speak out against immediately dismissing any cooperation with United Arab List. And, writing in Hebrew on Facebook, Caroline Glick has recommended “working with Abbas to implement the principle lying at the basis of the Abraham Accords, which relates to our ties with Israel’s Arab citizens,” while hoping that this bears fruit for the benefit of “relations between Jews and Arabs here at home.” All this attests to a revolution taking place before our eyes.
Sitting with Ra'am is bound to backfire (Avi Bareli, Israel Hayom) There is a difference between relying on an Islamist, anti-Israeli party and wanting to appeal to Arab Israelis out of a desire to strengthen the standing of non-Jewish citizens in the democratic Jewish state.
Netanyahu and Lapid must understand - it is forbidden to reach a fifth election (Yossi Achimeir, Maariv) In order to prevent a fifth disastrous election, both the prime minister and the opposition leader must change their way of thinking, transcend themselves and understand what the people need. Just not a continuation of the political chaos.
Is Facebook about to crack down on criticism of Zionism? (Oren Ziv and Alex Kane,972mag) Palestine advocates have long charged Facebook with suppressing criticism of Israel. Now they fear the company will escalate its censorship using a single keyword.
Israel Is Being Held Hostage by One Person, and It's Not Netanyahu (Noa Landau,Haaretz+) The person yet again holding the entire country by its unmentionables is Yoaz Hendel. Yes, the statesmanlike one with the good looks and down-to-earth air, who has been seen washing floors and making coffee over a bonfire, all with a faux-bashful smile. He’s the person who has repeatedly prevented the country from returning to a path of sanity. This time he has relocated to the New Hope party, under the leadership of a new sucker called Gideon Sa’ar. But the ploy is the same ploy. This time too, one of the greatest obstacles to forming a government of change is Hendel’s refusal to form a coalition supported by the legitimate representatives of Israel’s Arab citizens.
Netanyahu is facing painful payday from former political allies (Baruch Leshem, Ynet) PM appears unable to form a right-wing government after a host of his former disgruntled political partners ran against him in the March 23 elections; he also can't count on unity government after shamelessly violating agreement with Gantz.
The Left's plan to politicize the president (Yaakov Ahimeir, Israel Hayom) If President Reuven Rivlin bows to the Netanyahu haters, he will go down in history as having tarnished the office.
The Kahanists Won Even Before Making It Into the Knesset (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) In its various incarnations, religious Zionism has been dictating for years the conditions of the Palestinian population in the West Bank, which can't vote for the true rulers that shape and endanger their lives.
Instead of talking about justice and equality - we continue to play with identity struggles (Ran Adelist, Maariv) Instead of talking about economic justice and equal opportunities, our heads are confused here about a Jewish or Israeli or Mizrahi or Ashkenazi identity, when in fact it is an economic identity that defines all other identities.
Remember Trump? This Is How Netanyahu Will Look to Us When He's No Longer in Power (Tchia Dov, Haaretz+) Trump’s so-called colorful persona, which had been a regular feature on our screens, felt so jarring after just a few weeks’ absence; his diction and facial expressions, the racial innuendo and insinuations, the toupee, the lies and manipulations and, above all, the hateful and divisive discourse. These qualities, though always vulgar, became far more apparent after just a short break. The things we’d grown accustomed to when we were exposed to them on a daily basis for four years assumed their true absurd and grotesque proportions. Just like his friend, the former president of the world’s greatest superpower, our prime minister was arrogant enough to believe that it was acceptable for him to make unliateral economic and diplomatic decisions for the country without consulting his cabinet or the knesset. He behaved as if this was his own private domain and not the country he was elected to safeguard.
When the media is raging a war against Netanyahu, a bit of “Bibism” wakes up in my heart (Kalman Liebskind, Maariv) This week, when the possibility arose that the (Arab) Ra’am party would help Netanyahu, the media recalled that this was a party tainted with homophobia and support for terrorism. That’s how it is when large sections of the press have one overarching task: to bring about the replacement of Binyamin Netanyahu.
Israel's elections pandemic (Yuval Karni, Yedioth/Ynet) Following the latest national vote, it's clear the rules of the game have changed; bloc or party size no longer hold the significance they once had; now, the key to forming government lies with country's smaller political factions.
Netanyahu Said He'll Never Do It, and That's When I Knew He Would Go With Islamist Party (Nehemia Shtrasler, Haaretz+) He was asked whether he would establish a government with the support of the United Arab List, possibly with the party backing him from outside the government, and he answered: “I unequivocally pledge not to do such a thing. I will not rely on them, I will not include them, not by abstaining or anything else, because they are an anti-Zionist party.” And when the interviewer pressed him, Bibi answered: “Abbas voted against the peace agreements that I brought with Arab countries, see how far his hatred leads. I won’t make an offer to him, I won’t rely [on him] or anything.” In other words: “I intend to reach an agreement with him as quickly as possible. After all, I always do the opposite of what I say. That is my specialty: lying, leading astray, promising and not delivering. Not for nothing am I considered an arch-con man.”
Israel's Jews must start listening to their Arab neighbors (Afif Abu Much,Yedioth/Ynet) Gone are the days when pollsters make election predictions while disregarding the opinions of 20% of the electorate; also gone are the days when the Arab voice was absent from the national political discourse - and it's about time.
Letting Gantz Form Israel's Next Government Would Be Poetic Justice (Salman Masalha, Haaretz+) As a state and as a society, Israel is a sick creature. Even the  coronavirus vaccine airlift failed to get it back on its feet. The election maelstrom into which Benjamin Netanyahu dragged the country is proof of the disorders and the social divisions that this bad guy fosters to feed his goal of remaining in power, like some Ottoman caliph who cannot be deposed.
Each of the scenarios now facing Netanyahu is a nightmare in itself (Nadav Haetzni, Maariv) Even if he somehow forms a homogeneous right-wing government, for the first time in his life the prime minister will be forced to implement the policy of the nationalist camp, while on the other hand Bennett and Shaked will have to restrain the ultra-Orthodox and the nationalist ultra-Orthodox.
Israel, a Vengeful Democracy (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) The Shin Bet security service has ruled that Laith Zeyad, 30, would be a danger to Israeli security if he travels to London for a year to work in the head office of Amnesty International. The risk he poses to our security is so great that Israel didn’t even allow him to be at his mother’s side as she was dying from cancer in an East Jerusalem hospital, three kilometers from their home in Al-Azzariyeh in the West Bank. After much effort was exerted, the permit came through, two days after his mother died.
Is the end of PLO political hegemony in the West Bank near? (Pinhas Inbari, Israel Hayom) Whether there is an election in May or not, the demon is out of the bottle, and the fight will not be between Hamas and Fatah but within Fatah itself.
A very different Passover in Bahrain (Houda Nonoo, Yedioth/Ynet) The most profound way this holiday will be a new experience will come when we say 'Next year in Jerusalem' at Seder, for thanks to the Abraham Accords that dream is now a reality that many of us Jews of the Gulf can make come true.
Israelis Don't Care if the State Is Spying on Them (Ofri Ilany, Haaretz+) Israelis can only imagine what sorts of information are being collected about them. Not that they seem to care.
The Biden administration versus Bashar Assad (Yoni Ben Menachem, Israel Hayom) Russian President Vladimir Putin wants Assad to continue in office, but America has taken a firm stance against a presidential election in Syria.

What Being the 'Chosen People' Really Means, According to Rabbi Benny Lau
Rabbi Benny Lau, 59, is the founder and head of the 929 Bible study project, and he is worried about the schisms in Israel. Dispute is the heart of Judaism, he says, but not discord. His dream, he said before this week's election, is a joint leadership that seeks to do good. Rabbi Benny Lau, with four elections over two years and a protracted dispute between the “tribes” and the blocs, many people have the feeling that something here is unwell. Instead of talking about Knesset seats and the electoral threshold, we have come to your home in Jerusalem’s Katamon neighborhood to talk about healing. (Interviewed by Ronny Linder and Rotem Shtarkman in Haaretz+)


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