News Nosh 4.12.21

APN's daily news review from Israel - Monday April 12, 2021

Quote of the day:

"This time it went well, next time it might not.”
--Security sources tell Maariv's political analyst Ben Caspit that why Israeli attacks on Iranian targets are problematic and possibly damaging to Israel. See translated article below.*

You Must Be Kidding: 
An Israeli judge issued an arrest warrant for Majed Karshan, a Palestinian man living in Anata village in the West Bank, because he did not show up to a court hearing in Israel, which he could not show up to because his request for an entry permit was rejected.**

Front Page:


Yedioth Ahronoth

  • The sabotage at the Iranian nuclear facility - a Mossad operation” - Foreign reports say: Who is behind the “mysterious accident” at Natanz (Hebrew)
  • Electric shock // Ronen Bergman
  • At sea and on land // Yossi Yehoshua
  • “I was in my mother’s stomach and now she is in my heart” - Kai was only two-years-old when his mother was murdered in an attack in the Barkan industrial zone [in the West Bank] (Hebrew)
  • Assassination one after the next: Shooting in Ashkelon, explosives in Holon (Hebrew)

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

Israel Hayom

  • The message: Israel will act regardless of the nuclear talks
  • Prime Minister in hint to the sabotage at Natanz? “The battle against Iran is a massive task”
  • The double pain - Tehila lost two brothers, one in an attack and the was killed
  • Exclusive - Judoka Eran Zahavi: “Berkovitch? His style is inappropriate”
  • With principles you get to the opposition’s bench // Moria Kor
  • Enough of the politics at the expense of bringing vaccines // Ran Reznick
  • Crime is raising its head: Assassination in Holon; Man shot dead in Ashkelon; Car explosion in Netanya

Top News Summary:
The Mossad, say foreign reports, was behind the sabotage at the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran, after a weekend of crime attacks killing three Arab-Israelis, yesterday Jewish crime rings attacked three Jewish-Israelis, killing two and injuring a third, while the Likud party was at an impasse in trying to form a coalition government - making top news in today’s Hebrew newspapers.
Elections 2021:
“Bennett is trying to prevent the formation of a right-wing government,” sources in the right-wing camp supporting a coalition government led by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told ‘Israel Hayom’ regarding the Yamina party chief, Naftali Bennett. Yedioth Hebrewreported that The Likud “is looking for creative ways to get the ‘Religious Zionism’ party to climb down its tree regarding its rejection of having the Islamist Arab party, Ra’am, give the coalition outside support. The coalition needs both Bennet, ‘Religious Zionism’ and the inside or outside support of one more party in order to have the minimum 61 votes to pass legislation. One of the proposals was to ask 'Religious Zionism' to allow its members to decide the issue by secret ballot. The party reacted with contempt to the idea, calling it a “waste of time on hopeless directions.” UPDATE: Monday afternoon, Bennett told Netanyahu that the Likud party can count on Yamina’s vote to form a right-wing government.

Iran-related News:
Netanyahu hinted that Israel was, indeed, behind the sabotage attack on the electricity grid at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility, Israeli analysts suggested. Iran's Atomic Energy Organization claimed it was a “terrorist” act and did not initially name who was behind it, although the foreign media said it was the Mossad. (Today: Iran accused the “Zionists” of the sabotage attack and said there would be retaliation.) At a ceremony with military and intelligence chiefs marking the 73rd anniversary next week of Israel's founding, Netanyahu said in a speech that “The battle against Iran and its proxies and its nuclearization is a massive task.” Netanyahu was not alone. Speaking at a ceremony on Mount Herzl ahead of Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism, IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi said, "Thanks to sophisticated operational activity, this past year has been one of the most secure Israel's citizens have ever known..This is a full month of warfare." The papers noted that U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who arrived in Israel Sunday, “failed to mention Iran” in his press conference speech with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz. For his part, Gantz said that Israel will cooperate with the US on the Iran nuclear deal.

Quick Hits:

  • Witnesses Refute Israeli Army's Claim Palestinian Killed by Soldiers Tried to Run Them Over - Two eyewitnesses, including Osama Mansour's wife, Sumaya, say he wasn't speeding toward the soldiers at a checkpoint south of Ramallah. Sumaya Mansour said the soldiers asked them where they were coming from and going to. They then signaled that Mansours could proceed, so Osama started the car and began driving. He passed the military vehicles and the soldiers standing nearby on the right. But a few meters past the checkpoint, the soldiers suddenly shot at the back of their car, Sumaya said. The Israeli army said it's looking into the incident. (Haaretz+)
  • Family of Palestinian Teen Who Lost an Eye Blame Israeli Sponge-tipped Bullet - The 14-year-old's cousin tells Haaretz that the two were in a store in Hebron, saw five or six uniformed soldiers clashing with young men who were throwing stones and 'suddenly one of the soldiers shot at us.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli forces kick Palestinian farmers out of their land north of Hebron - Israeli forces, accompanied by a group of settlers, held a Palestinian farmer along with his family for over two hours in their 5-dunams of land before forcing them out of the land for lacking an entry permit. Their land is located adjacent to the Israeli settlement of Karmei Tzur. (WAFA and PHOTO)
  • **Israel Indicts Palestinian, Refuses to Let Him Enter, Then Falsely Arrests Him- The legal proceedings have been underway for about two years and the man did not appear for hearings because his requests for an entry permit were rejected three times, lawyer says. (Haaretz+)
  • Jewish National Fund Pushes Forward Plan to Legalize West Bank Land Purchases - The controversial proposal, still pending a vote by the organization's board, would apply retroactively to several purchases already made, using money earmarked for buying land in 'Jerusalem and the periphery.’ A group of progressive American Jewish organizations said it was “deeply troubled” by the prospect that the JNF-KKL was moving toward making “Palestinian dispossession into its policy.” (Haaretz+)
  • The settlers' leadership to The Hague: "The Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria is good for the Palestinians" - The Yesha Settlers’ Council launches a propaganda (hasbara) attack, amid fears that the settlement enterprise will be investigated in The Hague: "The tribunal is anti-Semitic; we will present the truth." In a document intended for foreign viewing, the difference in life between the West Bank and Gaza is emphasized, although the data is old and the situation in the Palestinian Authority (West Bank) has deteriorated since then. (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Israeli army dismantles, seizes barn near Bethlehem - Israeli forces Sunday evening dismantled and seized for the second time an agricultural shed belonging to a Palestinian resident in the town of al-Khader. (WAFA and IMEMC)
  • Joint List's Cassif files complaint over police beating - MK Cassif says violence against him is a violation of Knesset's sovereignty and dignity; slams Netanyahu for inaction, warning that 'another political assassination is around the corner.’ (Maarivand Ynet)
  • Uncle of the murdered man in Deir al-Assad town in Israel "Where is the law? The police? Where is humanity?" - Lawyer Bilal Sanallah spoke with 103FM radio hosts, Ben Caspit and Aryeh Eldad, about the tragic murder that took place in Deir al-Assad, and sharply criticized the police: "They behave exactly like criminals." (Maariv)
  • Egged bus attacked by rocks, explosives in East Jerusalem - Police say 3 residents of Isawiya, including two minors, were detained after a city bus mistakenly entered the predominantly Palestinian neighborhood; driver and his family, who were in the vehicle with him, fled the scene on foot. (Ynet and Maariv)
  • Israel High Court Overrules Education Ministry Decision Against Pluralistic Jewish NGOs - 'This ruling is a major milestone in the struggle on behalf of teaching liberal, pluralistic and secular Judaism in state schools,' said the Reform Movement’s legal Israel Religious Action Center. (Haaretz+)
  • Ministers extend Shin Bet chief's tenure by 4 months - Vote comes following disagreement between Gantz and Netanyahu over the latter's proposal to nominate his confidant, National Security Advisor Ben-Shabbat, to head the security agency. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Moroccan Israelis call to recognize 1948 riots as terrorism - Forty-one Jews were killed when riots broke out in Oujda and Jerada three weeks after State of Israel's founding. Descendants of victims ask Defense Ministry to recognize riots as acts of terror in hope of establishing a monument in their memory. (Israel Hayom)
  • Netanyahu Prosecutor Planned to Resign and Seek Court Appointment - Judith Tirosh froze her candidacy after two lawmakers from Prime Minister Netanyahu's party were made members of the Judicial Appointments Committee. (Haaretz+)
  • Police Investigating Assault of Gay Man in Central Israel by More Than a Dozen Assailants - LGBTQ rights group reported a 27-percent increase in acts of hate and violence against members of the community in the past year. (Haaretz+)
  • Jordanian professor accuses Jews of 'ruling the world, controlling our language' - Jordanian professor Ahmad Nofal: "We have to say 'Zionists' instead of 'Jews' or they cancel us," spreads blood libel that "Zionists harvest Palestinians' organs." (Israel Hayom)
  • Jordan's King Abdullah and Estranged Prince Hamza Make First Joint Appearance Since Rift - Abdullah has addressed the public feud with his half-brother as an attempted 'sedition' that caused him shock, anger and pain. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Egypt sentences senior Muslim Brotherhood leader to life in prison - Cairo court found Thursday that Mahmoud Ezzat, the acting supreme guide of the country's oldest Islamist organization, guilty of terrorist acts that followed the 2013 military overthrow of Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Report: Egypt freezes talks to normalize ties with Turkey - Cairo also halts bilateral security cooperation as it accuses Ankara of slow-walking efforts to rein in Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey, remove Turkish fighters from Egypt's conflict-ridden neighbor, Libya. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Why Are 700,000 Doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 Vaccine Meant for Israel Being Held Up? - The country's most critical business deals are currently being handled as if it were a dysfunctional neighborhood grocery. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestine records 2,762 new coronavirus cases, 26 deaths - Among the new 2,762 cases, 998 cases were recorded in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and 1,764 others in the besieged Gaza Strip. (WAFA)
  • Iran orders 10-day lockdown amid 4th COVID resurgence wave - Iran's coronavirus cases have surpassed 2 million with a new daily average of over 20,000 infections over the past week, according to the health ministry. It has reported more than 64,000 fatalities. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • 'Vaccine inequity threatens Middle East economic recovery' - IMF report warns that while outlook for some parts of Middle East and North Africa might be better than expected, effects of pandemic will be felt in places like Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Lebanon "for years to come." (Agencies, Israel Hayom)

*Is it possible that the escalation with Iran is a result of Netanyahu's personal interests? (Ben Caspit, Maariv) Political sources are beginning to suspect that the escalation between Israel and Iran, the extrapolation of some of the alleged actions and the excessive risk-taking, are not the result of an Israeli-security interest, but of Netanyahu's political-personal-criminal interest…A very senior minister recently "accidentally" revealed that the security establishment was preparing for a particularly dangerous and distant military operation, with explosive potential. There was no discussion in the cabinet, because there is no cabinet. There was no discussion between the top government officials (Prime Minister, Minister of Defense, Foreign Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, etc.), there was no constitutional forum that made a decision. Things are somehow being agreed upon solely between Netanyahu and Gantz. Is Bibi taking Gantz for a ride? And if so, does Ganz understand that Netanyahu is taking him for a spin? The said minister immediately demanded that a discussion be held prior to the action. The hearing took place. Not all opinions in that discussion matched the consensus between Netanyahu and Gantz. The operation was carried out anyway. Criticism of this pattern of action, which is beginning to appear like centralized management of the most sensitive security issues, has not abated. On the contrary. At the top of the political and security policy, quite a bit of criticism has recently been leveled at operational and security policy, especially with regard to the battle against Iran. Part of it is focused on Israeli maritime activity. "The benefit of these actions is very limited," a senior political source told Maariv. "In a week or two of rising Iranian oil prices, they are recovering from all the damage done to them," he said. “But we are putting ourselves at risk in an arena in which we are inferior. Maritime trade lines are a weakness of Israel, we have very long maritime trade lines that cannot be protected. Taking the risks in this arena is not reasonable."...According to this review, there are elements in the establishment who prefer to reap short-term credits, which have no real benefit to national security, at the expense of maintaining the low profile that is so essential for the continuation of the activities of the “MBM,” the front that the IDF and Israeli Intel wage between wars against the arming of enemy states, ‘the war between the wars.’ “Imagine the Iranians starting to regularly sabotage our tankers and ships. After all, it has already begun, and insurance companies will raise insurance rates sharply. In a single moment, we will suffer heavy damage that no one will be able to repay,” the source warned. Another senior security official said last week in a closed forum that "the advantage of the MBM is that it is under the radar, that it is on a small flame, that it is conducted with almost no risks. As soon as the MBM rises above the water, it is no longer a MBM. It forces the Iranians to start responding. They have already begun to respond, it is not at all certain that this will benefit the Israeli interest in the medium and long term.” These things are not meant regarding Israeli covert activity against the Iranian nuclear project, which continues throughout the day. If the glitch at the centrifuge site at Natanz is indeed an Israeli operation, then it is a vital operation. At the same time, it must not be forgotten that the Iranians today are much closer to nukes than they ever were. "In this covert operation we know how to slow them down, but we will not be able to stop them," a senior security official said yesterday. At the same time, there are demands from all corners of the defense and political establishments to impose on the Shin Bet to check the publication of the alleged to the American media, before the sensitive operation was carried out by Israel. To date, no evidence has been found that any Israeli source leaked the details of a military operation to a foreign journalist before it was carried out. "This probe must be fully exhausted," a senior political source told Maariv. "This time it went well, next time it might not.”
Is recent maritime unrest rocking the regional boat? (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) The ocean is becoming another sphere when Israel must spare no effort to stop Iran's efforts to increase its regional foothold. 
While the defense establishment is angry about the leaks, Netanyahu is sending a message to Iran (Tal Lev-Ram, Maariv) While senior security officials are furious at the leaks released in recent days, the prime minister met with the General Staff Forum and said: "The fight against Iran and its metastases and with Iranian armaments is a huge task."
Loose lips sink ships (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) The NYT revelation about an Israeli strike on vessel belonging to Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps in Red Sea could compromise future missions and have serious diplomatic implications - but some in Jerusalem apparently don't care.
Israeli Cyberattack Caused Mysterious Accident at Iran’s Natanz, Previous Reports Indicate (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) As Iran keeps violating the terms of the nuclear deal during talks with world powers, it seems as if the escalation between Israel and the Islamic Republic is going up a notch.
Israel fears Iran could become next North Korea (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) The new advanced centrifuges at Natanz mean Tehran could produce a nuclear weapon in weeks, lacking just the detonation mechanism; meanwhile, the U.S. is sending Israel a clear message not to interfere in nuclear negotiations.
With Democrats in Control, J Street Pushes New Mideast Agenda in Washington(Ben Samuels, Haaretz+) After four years in opposition, the left-wing Jewish organization now has the ear of the party in power. Its upcoming annual conference will focus on how to restrict Israel's use of U.S. aid in the occupied territories.
Intimidation. Extortion. Eviction: This Is the Brutal Reality for Palestinians in Silwan, Jerusalem (Jawad Siyam, Haaretz+) I'm a Palestinian community organizer in East Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood. Let me show you what it's like to be besieged by settlers and under constant attack by the Israeli authorities.
Why is Abbas trying to bully Israel on east Jerusalem? (Yoni Ben Menachem, Israel Hayom) The Palestinian leader's international campaign over the right of eastern Jerusalem residents to participate in upcoming elections may be the ladder allowing him to climb down from the electoral tree.
Blinken’s perilous two-state diktat to Israel (Michael Fenenbock, Ynet) The obsolete two-state solution has suddenly been given new life by the Biden administration rushing back to status quo, which was adored by Obama, who was so determined to bring Israelis down a peg, he elevated Iran’s role in the region.
The Netanyahu Era Will One Day End. But What Will Follow Might Be Worse (Iris Leal, Haaretz+) Before he died, the Jewish writer Primo Levi, a Holocaust survivor, was disturbed by Israeli society’s turn to the right. When he said “the oppressors of those days are human beings like us,” and therefore the oppressed can become an oppressor – he feared that of all places, in the homeland of the survivors this lesson would be forgotten. I thought about this when, on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, I read the tweet by the Bezalel Smotrich addressed to Ahmad Tibi. While Smotrich addresses Tibi by his first name, he continues to define him in a generalized way as a “true Muslim,” and makes clear that “Ahmad” is a generic term for all Arabs who live here…Smotrich knew how his words would be understood when he addressed Tibi publicly and wrote that “the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people.” He understood that he was actually threatening ethnic cleansing, with everything that means, and was aware of the historical echoes he brought up when he promised Tibi he would make sure that Arabs who don’t recognize that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jews will be expelled. And in fact, initially it sounds like brutal insolence, but immediately thereafter it turns out to be even more terrible than a momentary, unaware slide into the despicable thinking and language of fascism. This was done with complete equanimity, and for petty political reasons…
As Iran's Election Nears, the Regime Is Trying to Figure Out What to Do With Social Media (Zvi Bar’el, Haaretz+) With less than 100 days to go, Tehran wants to boost voter turnout to gain public legitimacy. But the government fears that opening up social media could lead to its undoing.
Israel, a Country Fleeing Its Past (Haaretz Editorial) Last Tuesday’s High Court of Justice ruling, which upheld the state’s argument that declassifying historical Shin Bet security service documents could “endanger national security,” is a major blow to historical research and the principle of the public’s right to know.
The 100th birthday of the "most unstable country in the Middle East" (Prof. Eli Podeh and Prof. Ronen Yitzhak, Yedioth Hebrew) The West, including Israel, did not believe that the political-artificial fiction called Jordan would survive for long. And here, despite all the storms around, the millions of refugees and the frantic demographics, it’s still here. "Jordan is an artificial country that has no future," Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion said shortly before the 1956 Suez War. Western intelligence services also assessed at the time that King Hussein's days were few. Complaints about Jordan's instability or fear of a collapse of power have been heard over the years and yet, not only has Jordan survived, but it marks today (Sunday) 100 years since its establishment and is considered one of the most stable countries in the Middle East…During the 46 years of his reign, King Hussein maintained the stability of the kingdom against all odds. He prevented the PLO from establishing itself in Jordan and did not hesitate to reach a confrontation with it in September 1970 ("Black September"), with the help of Israel and the United States. Over the years, he has cultivated ties with the United States and the West and maintained secret ties with the State of Israel - a bond that developed into a peace agreement in 1994, following the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians. Throughout its years of existence, Jordan has hosted many refugees from various countries in the Middle East. First it was the Palestinians, then Iraqis, later Syrians, Lebanese and more. According to estimates published in the West, the number of refugees absorbed by Jordan in the last decade alone - about 1.5 million - is the highest in the world in relation to the size of the population. Many migrant workers also came to the kingdom, including Egypt, Morocco, India and the Philippines, but despite the demographic change and rapid population growth (the share of Palestinians dropped to half), the kingdom's political stability was not harmed. Contrary to popular belief in the past, the Palestinians are involved in the economic life of the country and do not pose a threat to the stability of the regime. Many migrant workers also came to the kingdom, including from Egypt, Morocco, India and the Philippines, but despite the demographic change and rapid population growth (the share of Palestinians dropped to half), the kingdom's political stability was not harmed. Contrary to popular belief in the past, the Palestinians are involved in the economic life of the country and do not pose a threat to the stability of the regime...The publication of the arrest of Prince Hamza and the news of an attempted coup, a few days before the centenary celebrations, obscure the event and seemingly convey that stability depends on containment, but a sober and historical look strengthens the assessment that the slogan published for the celebrations - "100 years of Jordanian statehood... the march continues,” is not unfounded. However, the Hashemite House will have to continue to be attentive to the voices coming from the public and the threats posed to the kingdom from outside. The continued stability of Jordan under the leadership of the Hashemite House is in Israel's top interest, but sometimes it seems that Israel is not doing enough to preserve this alliance.
Write it down: I am a Palestinian citizen of Israel (Dr. Wael Karim, Yedioth Hebrew) The hysterical Jewish response to the term "Palestinian" stems from confusion in the definitions of nationality, nation and people. There is no contradiction between my Palestinian identity and my citizenship in a country whose laws I obey…For more than 70 years we have been debating, twisting and wrestling with a definition that fits our identity and that can, on the one hand, put the minds of the Jews to rest and, on the other hand, leave us with a reasonable degree of respect that we can pass on to our descendants. The great confusion between the basic concepts of nationality, nation and people is the main reason why we have not been able - Arabs and Jews alike - to solve the complicated issue, once and for all, and the result is that every Arab who defines himself as "Palestinian" immediately became a supporter of terrorism, an enemy of Israel or at the very least, someone who identifies with the enemy. To make order, the concepts must be redefined. Nationality, ‘Le’um,’ is a definition for a group that shares a common culture and social customs, and they can come from different sources, different religions and speak different languages. The nation, on the other hand, is a group that shares a common language. For example the Arab nation, the French nation or the Turkish nation. These two definitions - of nationality and the nation - have nothing to do with the geographical location, while “people” has throughout history been a definition for a group that shares a particular area, in which it maintains a set of laws established by its members. So who am I? I am an Arab belonging to the Arab nation, speaking the Arabic language, and I have no choice but to change this affiliation. I am a Palestinian in the nation - which is a collection of culture and customs that are also part of my personality and I do not give up. In any case, this is not something I can change, regardless of my place of birth, citizenship or political affiliation. Whereas my citizenship depends on the country in which I live and I obey its laws. It could be Israel or Jordan or the United States. Religion is a different affiliation, crossing cultures, nations and nationalities, and it is not an element of differentiation in the modern peoples of the world. Hence I am an Arab belonging to the Arab nation, a Palestinian belonging to the Palestinian nation, and an Israeli living within the State of Israel and therefore part of its people. The same is true of a Jew in the State of Israel: he is part of the Hebrew (Jewish) nation. Some of the Jews here still live the culture of their place of origin (and therefore they are still part of the Moroccan, Yemeni, Russian or other nationality, ‘Le’um’), but they too, like me, belong to the Israeli people (‘Am’) living in the State of Israel. The state can include within it different nationality backgrounds (‘Le’um’ and different nations, but all its citizens are its people as long as they obey its laws and bear its citizenship. Of course, there are those who will disagree with these definitions. These people cling to old narratives, whatever they are, which prevent us from advancing towards modernity, tolerance, acceptance and mutual guarantee. They do so in an attempt to impose nationality (‘Le’um’) or nation (‘Umah’) identity and even religious affiliation on the citizenship that defines the people, which has been a major reason for most historical wars between human beings. There is no contradiction between my Palestinianness as a ‘Le’um’ and my Israeliness as a citizen as someone who lives in the State of Israel and obeys its laws. (Dr. Wael Karim is a lawyer and an accountant.) [NOTE: The translations of ‘Le’um, Umah and Am’ to English are tricky. The first, ‘Le’um,’ I translated as nationality (i.e. people who live in a certain place and pay taxes there; in this case, Israeli). I translated ‘Umah’ to nation. And ‘Am’ to people, an ethnic, cultural and religious group, i.e. the Jewish people or the Palestinian Muslim and Christian people. - OH]
Punish the hill boys in ideology (Elisha Ben-Kimon, Yedioth Hebrew) It won’t help. Not even in another 50 years of outposts. As long as the hilltop youth don’t defend violent acts, they will not talk to them about world views. When the hand strikes, the ear does not hear. The brat who brutally beat (human rights activist Rabbi) Arik Asherman a few days ago should be punished with ideology: Don’t let him drive a stake into the ground for a shelter on the hill [in a settler outpost - OH] or hold a plank, or climb the roof in the cold to repair a leaking thatch roof for his friends. He must not be able to feel his ideology in his bones. But above all condemn his actions. The chaotic reality in the territories of Judea and Samaria [West Bank] has been producing incidents for 50 years that are difficult to grasp. The mix of the groups operating in the field and the wild expanses is fertile ground for the loss of one’s compass. For the loss of morality. Last Wednesday, while in the company of Palestinian shepherds, left-wing activist Arik Asherman arrived near the Ma'ale Ahuvia outpost in Binyamin, where several hilltop youth were staying. Asherman is a well-known figure in the hills and has already experienced quite a few violent confrontations. It is alleged against him that he is a provocateur who comes to the arenas with a pre-determined clash. An argument developed between him and the boys, [NOTE: REPORTED DOESN”T SAY OVER WHAT: HILLTOP YOUTH ON PRIVATELY OWNED PALESTINIAN LAND - OH], cell phones were pulled out and with them the insults, curses and all the rest. But then, out of nowhere, a young boy arrives and attacks Asherman, who could be his grandfather, with a club. Again and again and again and again and again. Asherman, wearing a helmet, tries to defend himself. The young man's friends shout: "No violence. Don’t hit," but they don’t stop him. The young brat stops only after he is satisfied. Asherman gets out of there, files a complaint with the police and the filmed incident goes viral and floods with media. The hilltop youth, most of them non-violent, don’t condemn the act. In response, they issued a statement that Asherman is a provocateur who came to the scene with a Palestinian who is a terrorist. Without a word about the violent incident, without a gram of remorse. Asherman is not the story. This violent situation occurs at a very critical point in time and geography for the hilltop youth, some four months after the tragic incident, which is still being investigated by the police, in which (hilltop youth Ahuvia Sandak) was killed in a car accident during a police chase , and at the place where the accident occurred. A few hours before the incident, the outpost, which was established shortly after the accident, was evicted by Border Police forces. The boys arrived to re-establish it. The IDF did not leave any soldiers there. If it wanted to prevent the re-establishment of the outpost it could have done so. Asherman was there, kept his distance and filmed. Every part of this complex mosaic of Judea and Samaria did its part. But then the winds heated up. In recent months, after the death of the Ahuvia Sandak, a shepherd who walked around with a notebook and wrote love songs about the Land of Israel, began a process of listening to the hilltop youth. The highlight was a visit by and IDF regional commander to the Maoz Esther outpost. Rabbis and public figures from the heart of religious Zionism heard about the establishment of outposts, the struggle to preserve the open spaces, the ideology. Suddenly a twist in favor of these boys. They are giving a chance. The incident is also a chance. Condemnation could take the situation one step back, to the moment when they are listening. But now, with the noise of the club and the shouts of Asherman, it is already hard to hear them.
Should academics seeking to censor peers win Israel Prize? (Assaf Harel, Israel Hayom) In his role in the academia, Professor Oded Goldreich publicly supports the prevention of academic collaboration with researchers whose only sin is that they are employed by an academic institution situated in Judea and Samaria.


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