APN's daily news review from Israel - Tuesday April 13, 2021
Quote of the day:
“This is the moment I’ve been waiting for.”
—Anti-Arab 'Religious Zionism' party MK Itamar Ben-Gvir said when Arab and Jewish left-wing members of Knesset walked out when he stepped to the podium to speak. Ben-Gvir is a disciple of anti-Arab bigot Rabbi Meir Kahane.*
- String of incidents in Iran raises feeling that Netanyahu lost the last brake gear // Yossi Verter
- 26-year-old disabled IDF veteran set himself on fire in front of the offices of the Rehabilitation Division; He’s in serious condition
- Mother of Batia was killed in a bombing in 1948. Her son fell in Lebanon in 1993
- The Qassam rockets began to fall 20 years ago. Mordechai was the first to be killed
- On the Eve of the 73rd Independence Day, population of Israel is 9.33 million
- Iran blamed Israel for the sabotage attack in Natanz; Assessment: The facility will be closed down for 9 months
- Israel’s moves will lead to friction with the US // Alon Pinkas
- Security sources: The reports will cause Iran to exacerbate Iran’s response
- Elovitch to (state witness in Netanyahu corruption trial) Yeshua after he congratulated him on the merger of Bezeq-Yes: “Thanks, you had a part in this”
- The level of knowledge in proficiencies of language and math at elementary schools dropped by tens of percentiles
- Justice Melcer resigns from the High Court: the battle over the attacks on the court did not end
- Biden wants to buy from Bolsonaro the right to protect the Amazons
- The gatekeepers // Haaretz Editorial
- Union (of Meretz and the Labor party), now // (Meretz MK) Yair Golan
- Two-and-a-half months till summer vacation and the government is not preparing for extending the school year as the Prime Minister promised before the elections
- Itzik’s pain - The trauma from Operation Protective Edge followed Itzik Saidian everywhere, and he battled the Defense Ministry medical committee for hsi rights. Yesterday he set himself on fire in front of the Rehabilitation Division office and is now in critical condition (Hebrew)
- Memorial Day to Fallen Soldiers; Siren for fallen at 20:00
- Doron’s inferno // Special: Former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin writes about his elder brother who was seriously wounded in the Yom Kippur war and suffered for 48 years till he couldn’t anymore
- 9,327,000 Israelis!
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
- In their memory - Eve of Memorial Day
- Disabled IDF veteran set himself on fire in front of the Rehabilitation Division office - he’s in serious condition
- Bennett is getting closer to Netanyahu
- Iran: “We will take revenge on the Zionists”
- ‘I couldn’t get up. I knew the news. I turned to my wife and said, “The boy is no longer” - Tonight at 20:00: Siren will be sound and the country will unite in memory of the IDF fallen
- PTSD-afflicted veteran set himself on fire in protest in front of the Yesterday he set himself on fire in front of the Rehabilitation Division office
- And we will remember everyone - From the bereaved Druze mothers to Bruria, who lost her father and brother
- Starting next week: No more capsules in the education system
Top News Summary:
Today, the day before Memorial Day eve, stories of bereaved families of fallen Israeli soldiers filled the pages of today’s Hebrew newspapers, but the self-immolation of a 26-year-old PTSD-afflicted IDF veteran in front of the Rehab Division office yesterday,revealed the tragedy of those who live with their trauma and the difficulty they have receiving help from the state. (On the same day, the State Comptroller published a report saying that a quarter of Israeli soldiers in compulsory service meet with mental health officers and psychiatrists, Maariv reported.) Meanwhile, Iran blamed Israel for the sabotage attack at the Natanz nuclear facility and promised to take revenge (more below) and Yamina party chairman Naftali Bennett announced he would give his party’s support to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu - leaving the potential coalition government still lacking two seats for a majority - and making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.
*Also making news was the walk-out from the Knesset plenum when outwardly anti-Arab MK Itamar Ben-Gvir took the podium. The religious Jewish daily, ‘Hamodia,’ called it “The moment Ben-Gvir was waiting for.” Indeed, that’s what Ben-Gvir called it. When the extreme-right-wing Religious Zionism party member, MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, approached the podium, members of parties from center-right (Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid) to the left-wing Meretz party, as well as the MKs of the Joint List all walked out of the plenum. Ben-Gvir was a member of the radical right-wing anti-Arab ‘Kach’ party of Rabbi Meir Kahane, until it was outlawed as a terror organization. Ben-Gvir celebrated the moment.“This is the moment I’ve been waiting for,” he said. “For the moment where I get up to speak and they, the supporters of terror, including [Joint List MK] Ahmad Tibi, are exiting.”
Ben-Gvir then asked Tibi if he could set up a tent for himself on the Knesset podium, saying, “I’m prepared to sleep in a tent just for the supporters of terror to stay outside.” (Also Maariv)
Iran’s nuclear program was set back nine months, following the explosion that was remotely activated and damaged the electricity grid at the underground Natanz nuclear facility according to the New York Times. Iran blamed Israel and vowed revenge. In what suggested an admission, Netanyahu vowed to stop Iran's 'genocidal goal of eliminating Israel.’
The papers, with the usual exception of ‘Israel Hayom,’ interviewed Israeli security officials past and present expressed concern about security leaks regarding the Israeli attacks on Iran, some saying they serve personal interests instead of national security. Officials told Haaretz that the leaks “will blow up in our faces.” Former Mossad chief Ephraim Halevi told Ynet that Netanyahu wants the attack to be attributed to Israel. "There has been a change in Israel's policy in recent years, led by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who himself also spoke about it in a way that leaves no doubt. Therefore, I agree that there is a new policy on these issues and it is reflected in activities that until not long ago were not something for which Israel would have taken responsibility." Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered a Shin Bet investigation into the recent security leaks to the press regarding recent attacks on Iran that have been attributed to Israel. Yaakov Amidror told 103FM/Maariv that "Iran has the ability to cause us significant harm.” Amidror said that the US had a reason to leak to the NYT about the attacks after Israel briefed the US. “From past experience, more than once the Americans have made such things public, mainly to prevent the other (harmed) side from thinking - even for a moment - that it was an American action." On Monday, the White House announced officially that it was not involved.
- Ahead of 73rd Independence Day, Israel's population now at 9,327,000 million - Annual Central Bureau of Statistics report reveals the country's population grew by 1.5% after 167,000 babies have been born over the past year; some 16,300 new immigrants have arrived; about 50,000 Israelis have died. (Ynet)
- Israeli settlers pull metal gate down on vehicle driven by a Palestinian, while others set up a tent on Palestinian land - Settlers tied a rope to the metal gate the army had set up at the entrance of Burqin village and then pulled the gate down when a car approached it, falling on the car. The driver was not hurt. In Qusra village, settlers from the illegal settlement of Aish Kodesh, set up a tent on land southeast of the village. (WAFA)
- Palestinian-owned house demolished by the Israeli occupation in south of the West Bank - A large military unit of Israeli forces demolished an 80-square-meter house belonging to the Jaabees family located in the town of Beit Sahour. (WAFA)
- (Palestinian) Ramallah court sentences Palestinian to life in prison on ‘treason’ charges - The sentence, issued by three judges, sentenced the Palestinian, identified only by his initials Kh.A.K., after he was found guilty of “treason by taking up arms against the state in the ranks of the enemy,” based on evidence submitted by the Ramallah prosecutor’s office. (WAFA)
- Seven Israel police officers questioned over beating of MK Ofer Cassif - The police spokesperson claimed that Cassif refused to leave the area after officers declared the protest unlawful. All seven were later conditionally released. (Maariv/JPost and Times of Israel and PHOTOS)
- Israeli Authorities Intensify the Closure of the West Bank and Gaza for Holidays - An army spokesman stated that all checkpoints and border crossings will be closed from Tuesday April 13th until Thursday April 15th at midnight. (WAFA)
- Netanyahu Trial: 'PM's Wife Thanked Tycoon for Helping Husband During 2015 Election' - Key witness says he was told by an associate that Netanyahu was 'pleased' with tycoon's news site coverage on 2015 Election Day. (Haaretz+)
- Israel gets ready for presidential elections - President Reuven Rivlin's term as president is slated to end on July 9, and according to law, Knesset elections for the next president must be held 30 to 90 days before his term is over. (Israel Hayom)
- 'The Plague': Israel Braces for Cyber-doomsday - Israel's cyber authority details threats from the pandemic year - and lays out plan against massive attack on Israel. (Haaretz+)
- Lebanon extends area claimed in border dispute with Israel - The decree signed by Lebanese Public Works Minister Michel Najjar, however, still requires the signatures of the defense minister, prime minister and president to go into effect. (Agencies, Israel Hayom and Ynet)
- Israeli Supreme Court green-lights Israel's 'Cyber Unit' that works with social media giants to censor user content - Israeli Supreme Court Monday rejected a petition filed by Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) giving a green light to the continued operations of the Israeli state attorney’s office Cyber Unit and and its "alternative enforcement" model of censoring social media content. (WAFA)
- Controversial Arab MK wins Israeli TV award - Labor MK Ibtisam Mara'ana, whose candidacy for parliament sparked public ire over her past anti-Zionist statements, wins an Israeli Academy for Film and Television's 2020 award in the fact-based shows category for an episode of "Excuse Me for Asking," which focuses on sectors in society that deal with social stigmas. (Israel Hayom)
- New task force hopes to bolster Abraham Accords through entrepreneurship - Emirati Ambassador to Israel Mohamed al Khaja meets with CEO of Start-Up Nation Central Professor Eugene Kandel to discuss areas of possible collaboration between Israel and the UAE. (Israel Hayom)
- Iranian Intelligence Used Instagram to Try and Lure Israelis to Meetings Abroad, Shin Bet and Mossad Say - Israel's security services say fake accounts targeted Israelis with business ties overseas in the hopes of harming or kidnapping them. (Israel Hayom and Ynet and Haaretz+)
- EU sanctions elite Iran commander, seven others, over 2019 protests - The bloc, which also hit three Iranian prisons with asset freezes, blacklisted Hossein Salami, head of the Revolutionary Guards, the most powerful and heavily armed security force in the Islamic Republic. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
- US Ambassador to Jordan visits UNRWA Health Center in Amman - Following US announcement to resume financial support to UNRWA, the UN organization for Palestinian refugees, Amb. Jordan Henry T. Wooster visited the center and said, “The U.S. government is proud to once again support the Palestinian refugee community in Jordan – and health centers like this one.” (WAFA)
- Hamas strongman Mashaal named terror group's 'international director' - The decision means Khaled Mashaal, who is based in Qatar, will not seek to oust Ismail Haniyeh as political bureau chief. (Israel Hayom)
Mission implausible: The story of the Israeli police unit that protected Eichmann
They stood guard over Adolf Eichmann 24 hours a day, witnessed his apathy after hearing the testimonies of survivors, and saw him right up to his execution. Sixty years after the trial, a new book by Israel Police unveils the "Iyar Unit" tasked with safeguarding the most notorious Nazi criminal in history. (Tal Ariel Amir, Israel Hayom)
Don’t Cooperate With Ariel (Haaretz Editorial) The last excuse given for Education Minister Yoav Gallant’s decision not to award the Israel Prize in mathematics and computer science to Professor Oded Goldreich of the Weizmann Institute is the professor’s signature on a petition calling on the EU to halt funding for Ariel University. Beyond the baseless disqualification and McCarthyite conduct by the education minister with his comments in recent days, Goldreich reminds us of something that is often forgotten: The academic institution in the territories was born in sin and only continues to exist thanks to laws that seek to erase the Green Line.
The government is closer to BDS than Prof. Goldreich is (Dr. Roy Kibrick, Yedioth Hebrew) Prof. Oded Goldreich is probably a gifted mathematician. I do not understand anything about the subject, but the professional committee of the Israel Prize thought so and chose him unanimously. In his sins, he is also a leftist who thinks that peace should be pursued and that the occupied territories are not part of the State of Israel. So he previously signed a petition calling on the European Union to end cooperation with Ariel University (an Israeli university located in the West Bank -OH]. Following this, the “Im Tirtzu” [semi-facsist - OH] organization and Education Minister Yoav Galant relied on the "Law for the Prevention of Harm to the State of Israel through a Boycott" in order to delay and prevent Prof. Goldreich from receiving the award as planned on this week's Independence Day…With regard to the boycott movement, the boycott law and EU policy, it is important to emphasize the fact that Prof. Goldreich was precise in his answer to the court in distinguishing between the boycott movement and the policy of European differentiation. Whether you like it or not, the whole world separates the State of Israel from the Occupied Territories, and does not treat them as part of the state. The European Union also differentiates between Israel and the territories: it has decided to label products from the settlements as such and has included a geographical clause in the cooperation agreements between us that makes it clear that the occupied territories are not part of the state. The US customs authorities also differentiate between products from Israel and products from the territories. So does the Chinese government, which demanded that its citizens working in Israel not be employed beyond the Green Line. And no less important: Binyamin Netanyahu's many governments in the last decade have also accepted this distinction, signing dozens of agreements that include the geographical section that distinguishes the State of Israel from the Occupied Territories. Moreover, the law in Israel also notices this difference. In the West Bank, the sovereign is the commander-in-chief of the Central Command, and Israeli legislation does not automatically apply to residents in this area. It is not for nothing that the settlers complain that the planning, building, health, education and environmental laws of Israel do not apply to them in the same way. At the same time, the Israeli government is making extensive efforts to blur the Green Line and strengthen the perception and reality in which the territories are part of the state. Netanyahu's governments are promoting a vague process of creeping annexation that includes changes on the ground and changes in legislation. In other words, the actions carried out by the government to blur the Green Line with the support and encouragement of right-wing organizations and other settlers such as “Im Tirtzu” - are the ones that go hand in hand with the BDS movement. After all, this is what most of the BDS members claim - that there is no difference between the State of Israel and its actions in the territories, that the Green Line is irrelevant, and that the State of Israel and the territories occupied by it must be boycotted. In contrast, Prof. Goldreich makes a distinction between the territories and the State of Israel. He claims that the sovereign state of Israel is a worthy entity, but its activities in the territories are illegal, immoral and illegitimate. In fact, in contrast to his categorization, he is the one who works to protect the legitimate State of Israel. Maybe he still deserves the award. (Dr. Roy Kibrik is the director of research at "Mitavim - The Israel Institute for Extra-Regional Policy.)
Why are you upset about the scandal over the Israel Prize? (Limor Livnat, Yedioth Hebrew) Contrary to the impression, there is no right-wing persecution of Israel Prize winners. For 46 years there have been occasional disputes over the identity of the winners, but they do not detract from the country's most important and prestigious award.
Israel Prize laureates: You must stand up and announce that you will refuse to accept the prize on Independence Day (Yitzhak Ben-Ner, Maariv) A question for the winners of the Israel Prize, those who were shocked by what happened to Prof. Oded Goldreich (whom the Education Minister said must not get the Israel Prize because he supports BDS, which anyway Goldreich said wasn’t true): Why did you write a letter of protest, but did not get up and announce that you would refuse to accept the award on Independence Day, due to the “postponing” of the award to your aforementioned colleague, at the request of the failed Minister of Education and a bizarre High Court decision? In February 2015, I was nominated for one of the Israel Prizes. Then Netanyahu intervened in the apparatus and demanded the removal of three committee members from the fields of literature and cinema, Prof. Avner Holtzman and Ariel Hirschfeld and film producer Haim Sharir, whom Netanyahu did not like because "Too often it seems that extremist committee members hand out the prizes to their members," as he put it. We then stood up, many of the committee members and nominees for the National Prize and withdrew our nominations, in protest of his gross intervention. It was part of his offensive, even then, to conquer the strongholds of thought, influence and communication. President Rivlin called to try and persuade me (and certainly appealed to others as well) to cancel the cancellation, after the public storm that arose. I did not agree. I said then (if I may quote myself), "The act is intended to strengthen the prime minister's distorted control and direction over the centers of cultural influence, including the media. The removal of judges and the resignation of candidates makes the event political, Zhdanovistic and deceitful, and my candidacy impossible.”..
A Dishonorable Prize Given on a Day That Is All Hypocrisy (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) There is no splendor in an official (Israel) prize that is given on a day that is all hypocrisy: when they say independence and mean expulsion, wax poetic about freedom while planning the next land theft, praise our enlightenment and bolster the rule of Jewish supremacy. One cannot denounce scientists, artists and writers for needing public recognition and esteem. But one can say that it’s worth paying attention to the phony part of the ceremony, the self-righteousness and arrogance of its organizers and the pretense that everything here is fine and normal and the way it should be. And one may request: Don’t be a part of this criminal normalization…
If Israel has committed no war crimes, then why does it refuse the ICC probe?(Professor Kamel Hawwash, IMEMC) In the letter to be sent to the ICC, Israel will argue that it has its own ‘independent judiciary’ capable of trying soldiers who commit war crimes. Palestinians would beg to differ as investigations by Israel of its own crimes have yielded no justice. Take the example of the investigation of the 2018 killing of 21-year-old Palestinian paramedic Razan Al-Najjar near the fence in Gaza. An Israeli investigation stated that “during an initial examination of the incident that took place on June 1st, 2018, in which a 22-year-old Palestinian woman was killed, it was found that a small number of bullets were fired during the incident, and that no shots were deliberately or directly aimed towards her”. Commenting on the investigation Al-Haq Human Rights organisation stated: “The hastily concluded preliminary examination highlights Israel’s inability to conduct an independent, effective and impartial investigation into alleged war crimes.”…Israel therefore cannot be trusted to conduct its own investigations impartially and that is the reason why external investigation is needed. Furthermore, it has a history of denying impartial international investigating teams’ access to investigate potential war crimes going back decades…
Don’t Worry, Israeli Parents, Our Forces Are Well (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) If the commanders of the soldiers who killed Osama Mansour had the slightest suspicion of a car-ramming attack, they would have abducted his body, arrested his wife and broken into their home. The reporters didn't ask the army the obvious question.
Don't Be Scared of Biden's Commitment to Palestinian Refugees (Abe Silberstein,Haaretz+) The Biden administration's recognition of Palestinian refugees goes beyond reinstating aid: It walks back Trump's adoption of the right wing's fantastical, punitive dreams. The rest of the pro-Israel camp should welcome it.
At a Critical Moment for Netanyahu’s Future, Israel’s Iran Ambiguity Blows Up (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) Netanyahu knows time is running out, and this time he can’t use the coronavirus to paint the picture of an apocalyptic emergency – but he always has Iran.
Israel's high stakes game (Itamar Eichner, Yedioth/Ynet) Israel may be taking a dangerous risk that would find it without much-needed U.S. support if war was to break out with Iran but the long-time allies may also be in lockstep, understanding Tehran will only agree to renew negotiations if it believes it's in real danger.
Iran's thirst for revenge, mutual deterrence against Israel remains unquenched (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) Israel, meanwhile, must deliver a clear and unmistakable message to Iran that any attack will result in resounding retaliation.
The Israeli Left Has Failed, and Arabs Aren't Going to Keep Waiting for It (Jack Khoury, Haaretz+) A well-known police academy training exercise involves hinting to potential suspects under questioning in hopes of getting them to respond. Usually it’s the main suspect who feels the pressure to respond – reminiscent of the saying that “a thief thinks every man steals.” That’s how Odeh Bisharat’s op-ed "Arabs will not bend their principles to fit a twisted ‘reality’", which criticized an analysis I wrote on the Arab vote should be understood. I understand Bisharat’s anger and that was felt by others outraged at the criticism of the left, including in Haaretz. I don’t intend to quarrel with Bisharat in the newspaper, but it’s important to refine a few points that Bisharat chose to ignore.
At the Heart of the Netanyahu Trial Is His Desire for ‘My Own Media’ (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) After losing the 1999 election to Ehud Barak, Netanyahu came to a conclusion: ‘Next time, I will need my own media,’ he told a small group of benefactors and trusted advisors. He has been working on acquiring that ever since.
There is nothing ‘noam' (kind) about the (right-wing religious homophobic) Noam party (Yochi Rapaport, Maariv) In these days between Holocaust Remembrance Day and Independence Day, we all need to remember more than ever: the State of Israel is the home of the entire Jewish people, without exceptions and reservations, even if the people of "Noam" don’t really like it…In 2019, a new party was formed in Israel, named Noam. Or in the full version: Noam - ‘Normal People in Our Country” party. Since its inception, the party with the pleasant…name has done just the opposite. It spoke bluntly and brutally against LGBT organizations, spoke of the "normal" family and declared that anyone who is not straight and married was beyond the normal boundaries and it demanded imposing prison sentences on women active in the Women of the Wall women [which advocates allowing women to carry a Torah to the Western Wall and to pray - OH] and members of the Reform movement. Towards anyone who promotes a liberal agenda…And they have power. They are sending battalions of boys and girls to demonstrate against us, the Women of the Wall, trying to advance laws that will outlaw us. Only recently, the party's senior official, Rabbi Dror Arieh, called the Women of the Wall prostitutes. Several days ago, we stood by our sisters and brothers from the various women's organizations, the LGBT organizations and the Judaism renewal organizations and demanded that the Noam party not bring the hatred party into a coalition government. In these days, between Holocaust Remembrance Day and Independence Day, we all need to remember more than ever: the State of Israel is the home of the entire Jewish people, without exceptions and reservations, even if the people of Noam do not really like it. (The author is the CEO of “Women of the Wall," an organization, which strives to help women achieve the right to wear prayer shawls, pray and read from the Torah collectively and out loud at the Western Wall.)
Israel's Medieval, Anti-woman Party Is More Powerful Than Ever, and Channeling Erdogan (Ariela
Haaretz+) Thanks to Netanyahu, the regressive, contemptible theocrats of the Noam party are now within touching
distance of unprecedented political power to push their agenda for Israel from wild misogynistic fantasy to
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.