News Nosh 4.26.21

APN's daily news review from Israel - Monday April 26, 2021

Quote of the day:

“In Charlottesville they shouted 'Jews will not replace us,' and here the Jews shouted 'Death to Arabs,' but in both cases the demonstrators had clear links to the regime."
—Haaretz+ commentator Iris Leal compares the US alt-right groups that Trump supported with the Israeli extreme right anti-Arab activists, who attacked dozens of Palestinians in E. Jerusalem Thursday night and have continued to do so since.*

Front Page:


Yedioth Ahronoth

  • Special: 100 days of Biden (Hebrew)
  • “Sarah was murdered twice” - Some 20,000 people demonstrated in France and Israel against French High Court decision not to put Sarah Halimi’s murderer on trial (Hebrew)
  • Two whisper about the change // Nahum Barnea
  • about the discussions for a unity government (Hebrew)
  • Damascus (Gate) anguish // Ben-Dror Yemini in Jerusalem’s Old City writes that the moment that MK Ahmed Tibi left, the riot began (Hebrew)
  • The new religion // Amichai Atalli on the crisis in the Religious Zionism party

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • The (Likud) offer to Gantz: You will be first in a rotation government
  • High Court: A Justice Minister must be appointed by tomorrow; Netanyahu refused to commit to that
  • Routine, with a limited warranty - In the Israeli communities on the Gaza Strip periphery, they welcomed the calm, but prepared for escalation

Israel Hayom

  • Prime Minister to Deri’i: “You will be first in a rotation” - ‘Israel Hayom’ website reveals the surprising offer to the Shas leader - and the refusal
  • Until the last breath // Kershina Tiwari - Special report from India on the dire situation due to corona and the hope for Israel’s help
  • Demanding justice (following French High Court decision not to put Sarah Halimi’s murderer on trial
  • Kiryat Shmonah goes to battle over the Jordan River banks (located in a kibbutz)
  • IDF presents: Instead of responding to every rocket - focused attack at a time that suits Israel
  • Fashion world parts in pain: Israeli designer Alber Elbaz died of corona

Top News Summary:
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s latest moves to try to form a government and the deadline he got from the High Court, the “folding” by the police to the demands of E. Jerusalem Palestinians and the concern over the explosive situation with the Gaza Strip were the top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

In E. Jerusalem, after 13 days of clashes, Jerusalem's Palestinian youth succeeded in getting Israeli police “to fold” (Yedioth) and reopen the Damascus Gate plaza, which is one of the most popular places for crowds to gather during Ramadan. Nevertheless, all was not quiet. When Palestinian youth waved Palestinian flags in E. Jerusalem in celebrationof their victory, police tried to take the flags, sparking riots, Maariv reported. And the violence of right-wing anti-Arab youth towards Palestinians continued, too. Yedioth reported that one or more Jewish Israelis attacked three Palestinian sanitation workers of the Jerusalem municipality whiole they were cleaning in west Jerusalem. A young religious man was arrested carrying a knife. Palestinian and Jordanian foreign ministers warned of serious consequences if the violence provocative measures and attacks by racist extremist Israelis did not stop, saying that these were meant to increase tension. Haaretz+ reported that, surprisingly, many of the youth who participated in the recent attacks on Palestinians in Jerusalem were ultra-Orthodox youth who dropped out of their yeshivas and were given no educational or work alternatives.

The violence between Israel and Gaza kept IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi in Israel. The IDF Intel commander and the head of the IDF strategy division, along with Israel's National Security Advisor and the Mossad chief, flew last night to the US to pressure the Biden administration regarding the renewal of the Iran nuclear agreement, even though at the time of the decision, the situation had calmed down.  Update: Late Sunday night Israel intercepted three rockets launched from Gaza over Sderot. ‘Israel Hayom’ reported that the IDF is changing tactics: instead of responding to each rocket that is launched over the fence, the IDF will  make a low-key response at any time it deems. Israeli intelligenceofficials linked the rockets to the violence in Jerusalem.  As a result of the rockets, Israel closed the Gaza fishing zone. Ynet Hebrew’s Elior Levy reported that the Palestinians continue to signal the postponement of their parliamentary elections. Israel has not yet responded to the Palestinian request to hold elections in East Jerusalem, and Fatah is already signaling that it will at least postpone the parliamentary elections - which are due to take place in May. Hamas oppose this saying, “There is no justification." And in Gaza, Hamas is once again sending protesters to the perimeter fence.

In Iran, Chief of Staff of Iran's Armed Forces Mohammed Hussein Baqeri vowed to 'teachIsrael a lesson' in wake of a tanker blast off the Syrian coast. "Israelis think they can keep hitting Syria and make mischievous moves elsewhere and in the seas and not receive any response," he said.

Elections 2021:
Maariv and Haaretz reported that Netanyahu offered Defense Minister Benny Gantz, to be first as premier in a rotation deal, which is kind of funny since Netanyahu didn’t respect his previous agreement with Gantz in the last government. Gantz didn’t give a clear answer. And ‘Israel Hayom’ reported that Netanyahu offered Shas leader Arieh Der’i to be premierin a rotation deal. Der’i said no thank you. Likud also tried to woo the Israeli Islamist‘Ra’am’ party leader, Mansour Abbas, offering him to be Deputy Knesset speaker if he agreed to support a bill calling for direct election of the prime minister.

A poll found that if there were a fifth elections, Likud would still have the most seats, but 43% of the public would hold PM Netanyahu responsible for their fifth trip to the polls in two years. Interestingly, the poll found that 37% of the public wants to see Netanyahu head a right-wing bloc endorsed by the Israeli Islamist Ra'am party, while 40% said the better option would be a power-sharing deal between Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and Yamina head Naftali Bennett, with Ra'am's endorsement.

Quick Hits:

  • Settlers Attack Palestinian Farmers in Hebron Hills; No Arrests Made - Witnesses say that IDF soldiers at the scene did not stop the attack, but fired tear gas and stun grenades at the Palestinian farmers. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel Presenting Case to ICC Through Mediators After Official Refusal to Cooperate - Government and military representatives have been holding indirect talks, as the government publicly rejects the ICC investigation into alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories. (Haaretz+)
  • Three Palestinians injured in clashes with occupation army near Nablus - Three Palestinian youths sustained gunfire injuries early today morning during clashes with the Israeli occupation army in the village of Al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya, to the south of Nablus city in the occupied West Bank, according to WAFA correspondent. (WAFA and IMEMC)
  • Israel issues administrative detention order against Palestinian journalist - Israel issued a three-month administrative detention order (prison without trial or sentence) against Palestinian journalist Alaa Rimawi, who immediately began a hunger strike in protest against his detention. (WAFA)
  • Three Palestinian prisoners remain on hunger strike in Israeli detention - Imad Sawarkeh, 37 years old, has been on hunger strike since March 18 after an Israeli court renewed his administrative detention for an additional term in prison. He was first detained in July 2020, and was supposed to be released on the day his first administrative detention order was renewed. (WAFA)
  • Israel to Keep Detained Palestinians From Appearing in Court Even After COVID Subsides - Israel's attorney general slams the move, saying the decision 'not to bring detainees living in Judea and Samaria to court violates legal directives and has no legal foundation.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Supreme Court Chief Issues Ultimatum to Netanyahu: Appoint Justice Minister in 48 Hours - The justice minister post has remained empty since Gantz's term as acting justice minister lapsed on April 1. The appointment of a justice minister is a particularly sensitive issue, given that Netanyahu is currently amid an ongoing corruption trial for bribery, fraud and breach of trust. (Haaretz+)
  • Scientists Call on Education Minister to Give Israel Prize to Left-wing Professor - Education Minister Yoav Gallant witheld the prize given to prof. Oded Goldreich over his political opinions. (Haaretz+)
  • Rocket engine test likely caused blast in central Israel, analyst says - Satellite photos of a known rocket test stand at Sdot Micha Air Base show char marks and foliage burned away at the site after April 20 explosion, but no signs of damage for surrounding buildings. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Commander of the IDF Northern Command addresses the Lebanese people: "Hezbollah is using you as a human shield" - General Amir Baram addressed the citizens of Lebanon and warned them of the future to which the terrorist organization is leading them: "Hezbollah is the Iranian occupier in Lebanon, it is making you a legitimate target and endangering your lives." (Maariv)
  • Israel Orders 45 African Hebrew Israelites to Leave Country in 60 Days - The community started to come together in the 1960s in Chicago, subscribing to a theology promulgated by Ben Carter, a Black Baptist who changed his name to Ben Ammi Ben-Israel. (Yedioth Hebrew and Haaretz+)
  • High Court Orders Israel to Process Darfuri Asylum Requests by End of Year - If government fails to decide on the applications, asylum seekers who have been in Israel without status for years will be given temporary residency. (Haaretz+)
  • New project seeks to restore lost Jewish surnames from Arab countries - "There are many limitations, but we have to try to gather the history because we still have among us people in their 70s, early 80s and in 10 years there will be no one to talk to," says Foreign Ministry diplomat Jacob Rosen-Koenigsbuch. (Israel Hayom)
  • Gaza escalation shows Hamas improved rocket precision - With 22% success rate and Iron Dome's 85%–90% effectiveness, dozens of rockets may hit urban centers in Israel's south should conflict escalate and Palestinian terror groups in Strip hundreds of rockets per day. (Ynet)
  • India asks Israel for help battling COVID devastation - Sourasky Medical Center director Professor Ronni Gamzu offers to dispatch a delegation of medical personnel and equipment: "We can't celebrate life while on the other side of the world, bodies are being burned." (Israel Hayom)
  • In large protest, French Jews ask for justice in Halimi case - "We call on all concerned citizens who want to seek out the truth and fight anti-Semitism to join us," Jewish groups said in a statement before the event. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli Coronavirus Program Exposes Data of Thousands of Israeli Minors - Education Ministry’s coronavirus testing program left data of thousands of young Israelis vulnerable to potential hackers - including medical information. (Haaretz+)
  • At Least 82 Dead After Fire Breaks Out in Iraqi COVID Hospital - Prime minister orders an investigation into the oxygen tank explosion, which left at least 82 people dead and 110 people injured. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Armenians in Israel also demand recognition of genocide from Israel: "Put morality above politics" - Following the US recognition of the genocide, the Armenian community hopes that Israel will join the Americans: "It does not make sense for future generations of Holocaust survivors to let the country forget about another genocide." (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Turkey Summons U.S. Ambassador Over Genocide Announcement - Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal met with David Satterfield late Saturday to express Ankara’s strong condemnation. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Azerbaijan: Ready to host trilateral summit with Israel, Turkey - "Turkey is a sister country of Azerbaijan and Israel is our strategic partner. We want our friends to be friends with each other," Hikmet Hajiyev, one of a handful of officials in Azerbaijan truly dictating Azeri foreign policy, says. (Israel Hayom)


What’s Behind the Remarkable Surge in Aliyah From Argentina
Argentina’s economic woes, exacerbated by the global health crisis, have caused a double-digit growth in immigration to Israel and a surge in new files opened with the Jewish Agency. (Haaretz+)
Arab Governments Ban Pornography. Here's How It's Working Out
The Islamic ban on pornography proves to have detrimental effects on the lives of sexually deprived young men – and women. (Rajaa Natour, Haaretz+)

Wanted: Likudniks with backbone to confront Netanyahu (Amos Malka, Yedioth/Ynet) Senior party members stay silent as their leader attacks legal establishment that charged him with corruption, dissolves Knesset to prevent rival forming coalition and refuses to pass budget; how can any of them claim they can lead?
Despite It All, Naftali Bennett (Haaretz Editorial) The talks to form a national unity government headed by Yamina Chairman Naftali Bennett, that would put an end to the toxic regime of Benjamin Netanyahu, are cause for optimism. No one in the center-left has any illusions about such a government: Bennett is a man of the right who is the leader of a right-wing party. His partner in leading the party, Ayelet Shaked, is a woman of the right. The other senior partners are also right-wingers. Gideon Sa’ar and his New Hope party are right-wing, and Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman is a man of the right.
Netanyahu will blink first (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) Something about the "change" bloc's determination appears to have convinced Netanyahu that losing his mandate to form the next government could lead him to lose everything.
Netanyahu’s Rivals Did a Job on Him Just Like in the Movies (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) Like many others, I too received on WhatsApp the GIF of Likud defector Gideon Sa’ar winking behind Benjamin Netanyahu’s back. Such excitement that wink raised in the pro-change camp. They broadcast it again and again on TV. There’s Netanyahu, the main protagonist of Israeli politics, sitting in the Knesset, his nose and mouth covered, his gaze weary, only his ears pricked up, but not enough to understand what was about to happen. For a moment you could actually feel new hope – the name of Sa’ar’s party – filling the camp’s air: First we’ll take the Knesset Arrangements Committee, then we’ll take the government…Netanyahu, the man always a few steps ahead of everyone, didn’t know. That shows he’s weakening. The political chess master missed his rivals’ move…
'A government for change' and other lies (Dr. Eithan Orkibi, Israel Hayom) Propaganda and bluff aside, no one can seriously think that after 12 years in power PM Netanyahu has left Israel in anything close to the disastrous state in which he received it.
The economic and budget gaps in the background of the violence in Jerusalem (Dr. Nasreen Haddad Hajj-Yahya, Yedioth Hebrew) The poverty rate of the Arab population in Jerusalem is double that of the Jewish population. The education budget for the east of the city also falls significantly below that of the west side. The priorities here must change. Arabs, in every media, are required to condemn violence - sometimes regardless of the issue. Following the violence in Jerusalem in recent days, I will fulfill this duty, but not from the language to the outside world and not just to do it and get it out of the way: it is strictly forbidden to attack a person just because of his group affiliation…According to estimates published in recent years, about a third of Arab students in Jerusalem do not complete 12 years of schooling at all. Therefore, it is clear that the wage gap between Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem is thousands of shekels every month. There will be those who will argue that the inclusion of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem as an obligation to act for the benefit of the "poor of your city" is a broad interpretation of the halachic (Jewish religious) principle. To the extent that the Jewish majority is among them, a difficult question creeps in: Why take such a broad and extreme interpretation in relation to the territorial and demographic question in Israel in general and in Jerusalem in particular, and such a narrow interpretation in relation to this question?..The current situation must change. It is time to prioritize the response at the local level, and at the national level, the urgent need to reduce the socio-economic disparities of the residents of the Palestinian neighborhoods. This ticking time bomb is not going to go away.
The city that doesn’t connect (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth Hebrew) Between coexistence and death wishes, between solemnity and battle cries - Jerusalem went through another tense evening yesterday. It was supposed to be a city of unity, but it does not work. The hostility is too great. Police checkpoints were removed last night at Damascus Gate, but the tension remains. Challahs? Why are you suddenly making challahs, I asked at the "Al Amin" bakery, two minutes away from Damscus Gate, the focus of the riots of recent days. It's just Ramadan, they replied. These were "Angel" challahs, and ahead of the sounding of the ‘boom’ that marks the end the fast, shopping began to increase. On Prophets Street, where there was almost a lynch only two days ago, Jews were walking among Arabs. No fear. Harmony? Coexistence? This is also an option…
*Trump’s neo-Nazis, and Israel's (Iris Leal, Haaretz+) In many ways, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s long goodbye from government is reminiscent of the twilight of the Donald Trump presidency…But more than anything it was the events of Thursday that showed how similar these two leaders really are, when participants in the march of the far-right Lehava organization, joined by members of La Familia, Beitar Jerusalem’s militant soccer fan club, as well as many Haredim – something we hadn’t seen before – under the slogan “Restoring Jewish honor,” walked through the streets of Jerusalem looking for Arabs to beat up, as they shouted hateful and racist comments…
Why it's crucial to educate about Israel's rights to the land (Diane Bederman, Israel Hayom) The time has come – in fact, it is long overdue – to educate students of high school and university age, starting in Israel, and eventually Jewish and non-Jewish youth, and the public at large, about Israel's legal rights.
The split between Gaza and the West Bank will begin to take a toll on Israel (Shimrit Meir, Yedioth Hebrew) …There have been cases in the past where Hamas has restrained itself from more serious incidents than those we have seen in recent days (in Jerusalem), including incidents that included (Palestinian) casualties. The decision to shoot rockets over the weekend, and a lot of them, is also related to the Palestinian political time schedule: in less than a month, parliamentary elections are due to take place. Abu Mazen, who is expected to crash at the ballot box, intends to cancel them. Hamas is not willing to hear anything about that. Hamas' message to Israel: If you prevent elections in East Jerusalem and thus save Abu Mazen, you will pay a price. This is a warning shot that is also not bad election propaganda, since Hamas is also portrayed as not abandoning the (Palestinian) Jerusalemites. Abu Mazen doesn’t really care. Tensions in Jerusalem provide him with a good excuse to cancel the election. The clashes, even if they reach into the West Bank, take place mainly in the territory of Israel and Hamas. He, for his part, wishes success to both sides. So far, Israel has rightly seen the split between Hamas and the development of a strategic advantage. There have been crises over the years, but there is always a lifeline to Abu Mazen in the end. This time he maneuvered himself, combined with stubbornness and lack of self-awareness, into a particularly dangerous junction. We are approaching a point where the Israeli desire to preserve the existing order is beginning to take its toll. The Palestinian political map seeks to get back on track. If it does not go well, it will go bad.
US policy pushing Israel, Turkey closer together (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) Jerusalem and Ankara have much in common and while relations may never be as warm as the once were, there is no reason not to pursue mutual inserts.
The United States must use all means to prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons(Col. (res.) Dr. Ephraim Laor, Maariv) We must pressure the US administration must be pressured not to be fooled by Chamberlain EU policies and to continue with a firm line until the Iranians repeal the nuclear program.
A final push for a different deal (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) The US has made it clear that Israel is not to interfere with its negotiations to bring Iran back to the JCPOA, including "flashy" military actions.


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