APN's daily news review from Israel - Thursday May 6, 2021
Quote of the day:
“Sadly, despite Israel’s image as a state that maintains a proper and professional legal system, the
reality paints a different picture – harsh, discriminatory, and outrageous."
--180 Israeli intellectuals and scientists warn the International Criminal Court at The Hague not to rely on Israel to probe war crimes against the Palestinians, accusing the Israeli enforcement and security agencies of allowing ongoing acts of moral injustice and prima facie war crimes.*
- Lapid got the mandate: I will do everything to establish a unity government; Bennett: Only one guiding line: no fifth elections
- Haste is not from the devil // Yossi Verter
- The battle of the residents of Sheikh Jarrah surprisingly turned into an all-Palestinian struggle // Nir Hasson
- The road mines on the way to a ‘change’ government
- (Palestinian President) Abbas won legitimacy and he intends to take advantage of it // Jack Khoury
- We must say to his detractors: Netanyahu contributed a lot // Gideon Levy
- Bennett’s great test // Haaretz Editorial
- Police Commissioner asked Attorney General to establish judge-led state inquiry (into Meron disaster)
- Education Minister Galant summoned Prof. Oded Goldreich to a hearing due to his signing a petition in support of boycott
- Validity of Green Passes will be extended till end of 2021 at least
- The goal: Locating health dangers for space tourists
- Not a magician // Zehava Galon on Netanyahu losing the mandate
- Boiling point - An estimated 300,000 unemployed don’t have eligibility for unemployment
- The right for provocation // Naama Riva on Channel 20’s provocations and the (left-wing’s) right to demonstrate against it
- The pressure is on them (Photos of Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett)
- Lapid the mediator // Nahum Barnea
- Everything is on Bennett // Nadav Eyal (Hebrew)
- The test of the leaders // Merav Betito
- The real change // Amichai Attali
- Yehuda was murdered at Tapuach Junction (in the West Bank) - Last night, the terrorist was caught
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
- The race of the torch (word in Hebrew is Lapid) - 56 MKs chose him, the President will give Yair Lapid the mandate to form a government
- The demolition contractor // Ben Caspit
- In Yemina party they return fire: “Hatred for Bennett is making Netanyahu nuts”
- Yehuda Guetta, who was critically wounded in the attack in Shomron (West Bank), died of his wounds
- Between compromise and protest - After a stormy protest in Jerusalem, the IDF disabled veterans organization waits for budgets decision of Finance and Defense Ministries
- A baby in the bicycle basket - Father in Bnei Brak snatched his newborn intensive care unit at one hospital and rode with him to another hospital
- Lapid’s mandate, Bennett’s choice, Netanyahu’s battle
- An (almost) impossible government // Yehuda Shlezinger
- MK Chikli (of Yamina party who refuses to join Lapid-led government) brought back the honor // Haim Shine
- Netanyahu failed to unite the right-wing // Moria Kor
- (Public Security) Minister Ohana speaks: “You don’t need to resign if your conscience is clear”
- The battle over (fallen IDF officer) Benaya’s pistol
- 30 years ago: A generation made aliya (Photo of cargo plane full of Ethiopian immigrants)
- The attack in Samaria (West Bank): The injured, Yehuda Guetta, died
- “I am just waiting to float”: Astronaut Eitan Stiva in an interview
Top News Summary:
Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid, a leader of the anti-Netanyahu ‘change’ bloc, received the mandate to form a government and now all eyes are on the undecided MK and leader of Yamina party, Naftali Bennett, who is facing a barrage of criticism from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for going with the ‘leftists' and one Yamina MK has said he opposes joining a Lapid government, because it includes the left-wing Meretz and the Arab Joint List parties. (Lapid is a center-right politician and Joint List MK Tuma Suleiman said the only reason her party recommended Lapid "was because we wanted to block the fascist right-wing." (Maariv) Meanwhile, one of the three settler teens injured in a drive-by shooting attack in the West Bank three days ago died last night of his wounds and the Palestinian attacker was apprehended. And in Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv, disabled IDF veterans blocked roads, demanding more financial aid (which the government decided today to give to them) - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.
Also remaining in headlines was the growing tension and increasing arrests in the E. Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where more Palestinians are joining in nightly protests over Israel’s intention to evict locals and likely install settlers. Wednesday night police detained five Palestinian protesters for disturbing the peace. (Maariv) Maarivalso reported that ten people were injured in the clashes with police. Yedioth Hebrew’s Hassan Sha’alon reported from the scene (VIDEO). A protester told him, “I will not be surprised if there is someone who will sacrifice his life for the sake of their home.” Another said that if the appeal is rejected, "It will drag us into war.” Hamas military wing leader in Gaza, Mohammed Deif, made his first public statement in years and warned that if Israel goes through with eviction of dozens of Palestinians, Hamas "will not stand by helplessly and the enemy will pay a heavy price." UPDATE: Today the High Court postponed to Monday (‘Jerusalem Day’) to give its ruling regarding whether to accept the appeal of the Palestinian families.
In a tragic irony, a Palestinian teen was killed by Israeli soldiers in their search for the Palestinian man who shot and killed an Israeli teen. That news was at the tailend of the reports in Yedioth and 'Israel Hayom' about the death of 19-year-old Yehuda Guetta, one of three settler yeshiva students injured in a drive-by shooting attack in the West Bank, and the satisfaction that Muntasir Shalabi, the 44-year-old Palestinian man and US citizen who killed him, was finally caught. Israeli soldiers who were continuing the search for the drive-by shooter killed 16-year-old Said Yousef Mohammad Odeh near the entrance to Beita village, south of Nablus. The IDF said that in "confrontations" with youth, a few of whom the soldiers said threw firebombs, the soldiers opened live fire, killing Odeh, who is from the village of Udala, adjacent to Beita. But according to Palestinian news agency, WAFA, Israeli forces confronted the Palestinian youth at the village entrance prior to the shooting and that Odeh was not involved in the confrontations at the time he was shot twice in the back. Moreover, a Palestinian ambulance was prevented from reaching the youth for at least 15 minutes, local said. The IDF said, “The incident will be investigated.” (Ynet Hebrew) The Palestinian presidency denounced the “extrajudicial” killing of Odeh.
It wasn’t the only egregious act the IDF perpetrated in the hunt for the killer. Earlier this week, the IDF besieged a building in the West Bank village of Kufr Akraba and troops told the occupants to leave, then hurled grenades inside and fired shots. The soldiers reportedly left two hours later. (VIDEO) The killer was found in the village of Silwad, which is much farther south.
- District Prosecutor's Office: Give harsher sentence for rabbi who incited against Arabs - Criminal district prosecutor's office submitted appeal to district court over light punishment of Rabbi Yosef Elitzur, who was convicted of two counts of incitement to violence against Arabs. Magistrate court had sentenced him to four months probation and fined him 3,000 shekels ($850). (Maariv, p. 6)
- Moshe Yaalon testified at trial of some defendants in ‘Hate Wedding’ Affair - Defendants stabbed, burned, tore pictures of Duma victims at a wedding in 2015. Yaalon said that the "Prime Minister brought a video clip from the wedding to the cabinet. Until this point, some of the members of the cabinet still couldn't believe that Jews were able to perpetrate the murder at Duma (where Jews threw firebomb into the bedroom of a Palestinian family at night killing parents and baby - OH). They weren't willing to say, 'Jewish terror.' After they saw the video clip they understood there was a wider problem here." Ya'alon was asked by a defendant's attorney why the clip was shown in the cabinet, even though the participants in the wedding were not suspects in the murder in Duma. Ya'alon responded: "The participants in the wedding waved weapons and stabbed a photo of a victim (the baby) of the murder in Duma." (JPost and Maariv, p. 6)
- Israeli settlers set torch farmlands, attack houses south of Nablus, stone Palestinian cars - Israeli settlers Tuesday evening set fire to a large tract of farmland in the eastern section of Burin village attacked at least three houses. Meanwhile, a group of settlers hurled stones toward vehicles with Palestinian registration plates traveling along the Nablus-Ramallah Road, causing damage to some of them. (WAFA)
- Israeli settlers erect caravans as nucleus of colonial outpost south of Nablus - Settlers took advantage of the closure imposed by the Israeli military on the southern rural areas of Nablus to set up a number of mobile homes atop Jabal Sbeih (Sbeih Mountain) near Beita village. (WAFA)
- Israeli navy targets fishermen offshore Gaza, destroys boat - the fishermen were sailing within three nautical miles when Israeli naval boats opened gunfire and water hoses toward them, causing damages to a boat and forcing them to flee for safety. No injuries were reported though. (WAFA)
- Court: Meretz Chairman’s support of The Hague (investigation of Israel) is not treason - MK Itamar Ben Gvir slammed the State Attorney's Office after it announced it would not open an investigation against Meretz party chairman MK Nitzan Horowitz over his statement that "there was room for the opening of an investigation against the State of Israel in the International Criminal Court in The Hague" on war crimes against the Palestinians. Chairman of the (extremist) ‘Religious Zionism’ party, MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, accused the court of "letting Meretz off easy" and accused Horovitz of “helping the enemy.” Horovitz (Israel Hayom, p. 18 and Maariv)
- *Over 180 Israeli Intellectuals, Scientists Warn ICC: Don't Rely on Israel to Probe War Crimes - The 185 signatories to a letter to the International Criminal Court, including 10 Israel Prize laureates, suggest that the court rely instead on information from Israeli human rights groups to obtain information. (Haaretz+)
- Methodists Divest from Caterpillar citing Palestinian Evictions - More photographs have recently emerged of Caterpillar vehicles being used in the destruction of Palestinian farmland and olive groves, as well as the construction of illegal settlements and the demolition of Palestinian homes. Caterpillar claims it is not directly involved in sales into Israel but the likely path of trade via the US military and local agencies is widely known. (WAFA)
- Connecticut Senator pays landmark visit to UNRWA training centre in Jordan - Senator Murphy received an on-site briefing about the situation of Palestine refugees in Jordan, the response of UNRWA during the COVID-19 pandemic and the way the Agency runs its vocational training programs. Last month, the Unites States announced the restoration of US$ 150 million to UNRWA and Palestine refugees. (WAFA)
- Israel issues 100 administrative detention orders against Palestinians - Israel’s widely condemned policy of administrative detention allows the detention of Palestinians without charge or trial for renewable intervals usually ranging between three and six months based on undisclosed evidence that even a detainee’s lawyer is barred from viewing. (WAFA)
- Russia ready to promote direct Israeli-Palestinian contacts - In meeting with Palestinian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov calls for a meeting on the issue by the so-called Mideast Quartet. (Agencies, Ynet)
- A 13-year-old (Palestinian) boy from (E.) Jerusalem was charged with the murder of another boy during a brawl - According to the indictment, the youth from Shuafat refugee camp intervened in a mostly verbal brawl between kids he didn’t know, ran towards one of those involved and tried to stab him several times, hitting his heart. The prosecutor's office requested that the minor be imprisoned in a locked facility. (Maariv)
- Worrying rise of use of taser guns by police officers - Of all times during corona year when we were at home a rise in the use of taser guns is sparking controversy. Used 572 times - a 24% rise compared to 2018. “Should be used only as a last resort.” (Israel Hayom Hebrew, p. 17)
- Indictment: Female soldier filmed other female soldiers in the shower - at the request of her boyfriend - Horrifying indictment in the Home Front command: Private H. accused of filming her friends naked. She sent the photos to her boyfriend, Cpl. M., who made fun of how the female soldiers looked. (Israel Hayom Hebrew, p. 17)
- Watch: Israeli, Egyptian soldiers dance together at the border - The video shows two female IDF soldiers dancing with two Egyptian soldiers in the distance to the song "Habib Galabi" by the popular Israeli band A-Wa. (Israel Hayom)
- 'If your conscience is clear, there's no reason to resign,' public security minister says - Amir Ohana, who has been criticized for saying he is responsible for, but not guilty of Mount Meron tragedy, says, "Responsibility means doing everything so that incidents like this don't happen again: investigating, learning, drawing conclusions. The question of guilt is a separate legal question." (Israel Hayom)
- Netanyahu trial: Yeshua admits lying to Schocken after saying 'I never lied to you' - “I wanted to stop the campaign against Walla,” he said, under defense cross-examination. (JPost)
- Netanyahu Trial: Defense Tries to Blame Walla’s pro-Bibi Slant on Prosecution Witness - Defense attorney quotes Ilan Yeshua’s statements to police that all news sites owned by tycoons, including Walla, play favorites. (Haaretz+)
- Elbit teams with US company on vehicle for Marine Corps - The Cottonmouth prototype Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle incorporates enhanced situational understanding technologies. (Israel Hayom)
- Australian military says will cease using advanced Israeli technology of Elbit - Tensions between Elbit and the Australian Department of Defense had been simmering over the Israeli company imposing "huge premiums" on its Battle Management System. (Israel Hayom)
- Pollard lands new job with Israeli security advocacy group - "Welcome Jonathan, we are happy you're with us," says the Habithonistim–Protectors of Israel organization (to the US citizen who spied for Israel in the '80's and was released recently - OH). (Israel Hayom)
- First team of mounted archers takes aim in Gaza - "I want to revive this sport and to encourage youth to practice it because it helps release bad energy," says Mohammad Abu Musaed, who is training the team. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
- Report: Saudi Arabia has promised Iran that it will not normalize its relations with Israel - Against the background of reports that Saudi Arabia and Iran are holding talks to repair relations between them and although there have been talks between Israel and the Kingdom about normalizing relations, Al Akhbar newspaper reported that Saudi Arabia has changed its mind regarding its relations with Israel. (Reuters, Maariv and Teheran Times)
- Iraq's president confirms Saudi-Iran talks, said more than one round took place - Iraq's President Barham Saleh confirmed on Wednesday Baghdad's mediation in the talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran, two-long time-regional rivals and described them as 'ongoing,' 'significant' as Baghdad seeks mantle of regional mediator. (i24News)
- Archaeologists Find 'Grotesque' Roman-Era Oil Lamp as a Foundation Deposit in Jerusalem - The bronze oil lamp, featuring a goaty male half-face complete with (half a) satyr’s beard and a horned forehead, was found in the wall of a building dating to almost 2,000 years ago, situated on the old pilgrimage route into the city. (Maariv, Haaretz+ and Ynet)
- Canadian Jews Protest ‘Antisemitic’ Allegations Against Former Ambassador to Israel - Jewish groups are angry after unnamed officials in Canada's Foreign Ministry claimed that Vivian Bercovici, who is Jewish, was 'a spokesperson for the Israeli government' while serving as ambassador in Tel Aviv. (Haaretz+)
- UAE National Archives, National Library of Israel ink historic agreement - National Library of Israel chairman says "to doubt that the real leap forward in ensuring sustainable peace and cordial relations over time will be in the realm of cultural ties and respect for other cultures." (Israel Hayom)
- Trump's son-in-law sets up institute to preserve legacy of peace deals - Former senior adviser Jared Kushner, a key mover behind the Abraham Accords that saw four Arab countries normalize ties with Israel in late 2020 and early 2021, to set up new organization aimed at promoting process. (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
- French FM in Lebanon with a message of 'great firmness' - Ahead of his arrival in the Levantine nation, which is grappling with its worst crisis since 1975-1990 civil war, Jean-Yves Le Drian justifies France's decision to impose travel restrictions on Lebanese officials suspected of corruption or hindering efforts to form government. (Agencies, Ynet)
Following the tragic incident of Itzik Saidov (a PTSD IDF veteran who self-immolated in protest of neglect by the Defense Ministry's Rehab Authority) and in the wake of the protests of disabled IDF veterans, this week a new initiative was launched, "Fighters in the Living Room." In this project, soldiers who fought in battle fields visit homes and yards and reveal their stories. "It's not easy to tell about the periods I was scared to get up in the morning and I didn't fall asleep at night. But I discovered that people are interested," Said Itamar Glezer, who was injured in Operation Protective Edge. (Ilana Stutland, Maarivmagazine supplement, cover)
Language, culture and bureaucracy: the challenges of lone soldiers
New immigrants who join the IDF face language, cultural and bureaucratic difficulties alongside the need to adapt to the military framework - and a program from Nefesh B’Nefesh and FIDF guarantees them a soft landing. (Meital R. Fishman and Nefesh B’Nefesh, Ynet English)
This Checkpoint Revitalized the Palestinian City of Jenin. Why Has Israel Refused to Reopen It?
A flash point during the second intifada, Jenin enjoyed a dramatic economic transformation after Jalameh checkpoint became a key crossing point for visiting Arab Israelis in 2007. Now, a prolonged and unexplained closure threatens to sink the city. (Jonathan Shamir and Nicolas Rouger, Haaretz+)
How Palestinians Put Aside Their Fear and Rallied Behind Sheikh Jarrah (Nir Hasson,Haaretz+) Palestinian residents of the East Jerusalem neighborhood have been fighting for nearly a decade and a half against their eviction.
In Sheikh Jarrah, Palestinian youth are leading the struggle to defend their homes(Oren Ziv, Haaretz+) Sheikh Jarrah's youth are holding nightly vigils to raise awareness and protect their neighborhood from evictions and gradual takeover by Israeli settlers.
My first month with the Sabras (UAE Ambassador Mohamed al Khaja, Yedioth/Ynet) In a Ynet exclusive, Mohamed al Khaja, the UAE's first envoy to Israel, celebrates the stark similarities between the two nations, their budding bonhomie and sends a warm invitation to all Israelis to visit his homeland and enjoy locals' hospitality.
(Hamas military leader in Gaza) Muhammad Deif's statement illustrates Hamas' determination to set the area on fire (Tal Lev Ram, Maariv) Since the end of Operation Protective Edge, the voice of the commander of Hamas' military wing has not been heard in public. The man of mystery, who has returned from the world of the dead several times already [Israel tried to assassinate him several times - OH], prefers to always remain behind the shadows…His departure yesterday from the world of silence illustrates Hamas' determination to try and set the area on fire. In a recorded statement made by Deif yesterday, he says that if Israeli aggression continues in East Jerusalem, Hamas' military arm will not remain silent. But more than a threat and a warning to Israel, this is a message intended for the Palestinians themselves, in an attempt to encourage continued escalation in East Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria (West Bank). Such a statement by Deif should provide another major boost of motivation to continue the struggle in (East) Jerusalem and try and warm up the sector in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) as well. In the coming days (Hamas’ military wing’s) promise is expected to stand the test again. But a further escalation in events in East Jerusalem or in Judea and Samaria may actually lead to escalation in the Gaza Strip - and Deif should also understand this well.
Human Rights Watch's attack on Israel goes beyond antisemitism (Clifford D. May,Israel Hayom) HRW has arrogated to itself the authority to act as prosecutor, judge, and jury. They will leave to others the task of acting as executioners.
This ‘progressive’ Israel lobby group has a racism problem (Alex Kane, Israel Hayom) Democratic Majority for Israel has come under fire over a series of offensive social media posts, highlighting the group's aggressive and racist tactics.
Israelis Should Not Be Afraid of the Nakba, Because They Did Nothing Wrong (Hanan Amiur, Haaretz+) In his essay “Jewish Israelis should stop being afraid of the Nakba,” (Haaretz, May 1), Haaretz editor-in-chief Aluf Benn suggests that Israeli society “must not run from its past, even when it’s not pleasant to deal with and it raises difficult moral questions,” and to start dealing with the Nakba, “the dark part of the War of Independence.” Benn is adopting the determination of researcher Walid Khalidi, that the Arab Higher Committee’s order to flee in 1948 “was invented by a Jewish American supporter of the right-wing Revisionists, as fuel for the young country’s propaganda,” and also assigns blame for the prevention of the Arabs’ return after the war solely to the Zionist establishment. In this Benn is twice inaccurate.
Bennett Will Join Lapid if He Really Cares About Israel (Haaretz Editorial) It seems that Lapid is but a small step away from a coalition that speaks change: an end to the 12-year rule of Benjamin Netanyahu and, no less than that, a turn toward Israeli unity. The question now is what will Naftali Bennett do. On the assumption that his colleagues on the right will not join the anticipated unity government, he will be put to a great test: Is he strong enough to rebuff the pressure exerted on him by Netanyahu and his followers; is he committed to combating the culture of divisiveness and incitement waged by a person accused of criminal malfeasance, one who has mortgaged this country’s future to finance his own? Will he be able to take the necessary step and join Lapid, and thus halt the country’s deterioration that has taken place under Netanyahu’s regime?
Bennett's mission: to suppress the revolt (Nadav Eyal, Yedioth Hebrew) With all the solemnity of the transfer of the mandate to Lapid, the big story of the day is the Yamina faction, and the cracks in the ability of its Chairman Naftali Bennett on his way to becoming prime minister. If he does not tidy his house and make sure that everyone is with him, and especially Ayelet Shaked - the elections are closer than ever.
Netanyahu Is Now More Dangerous Than Ever. Lapid and Bennett Must Act Fast(Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) It’s said that haste is of the devil; in Lapid and Bennett’s current political reality, they have to establish a government as if they were being chased by demons.
With government formation out of his hands, Netanyahu still a threat (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) Although the ball to form a government is now in the 'coalition for change' court, the challenges facing those hoping to oust Netanyahu are great; though temporarily devoid of political powers, PM can still ignite fires.
Netanyahu Won’t Be a Footnote in Israeli History (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Contrary to what his many detractors claim, Netanyahu will get a full chapter, and it won’t be all bad. Maybe his time has passed, or maybe not yet, but at this point we can assess the mark he has made, both for good and bad.
Don't count on a civil war (Michal Aharoni, Israel Hayom) Despite all the warning signs, riots will not break out all over Israel the moment Benjamin Netanyahu becomes our outgoing prime minister.
The Antithesis of an Intifada (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) Every day, Israel provides the Palestinians with dozens of good reasons to mount an intifada, a popular uprising. Yet it does not erupt. Shooting a number of yeshiva students at a hitchhiking post at the West Bank intersection Za’atara is the opposite of an intifada. That applies to any armed action by individuals, even if they were operating as part of some Palestinian organization.
"Angel of Sabotage": Binyamin Netanyahu is an outstanding demolition contractor(Ben Caspit, Maariv) Yesterday he rolled up his sleeves and went to the job he loves most: demolition, thwarting, intimidation, destruction, restraint and blocking of anyone who dares to consider the possibility of replacing him.
Lapid and Bennett are in race against time and Netanyahu maneuvers (Moran Azulay, Yedioth/Ynet) All parties involved in talks to build an anti-Netanyahu coalition know that the task must be completed as soon as possible, as the PM and his Likud party reportedly work to sabotage efforts by swaying Yamina MKs against it.
A government with completely colliding agendas (Yehuda Shlezinger, Israel Hayom) The effort to form a Lapid-Bennett government lacks any common ground beyond "anyone but Netanyahu."
Unlike Israel, Saudi Arabia Doesn't Rely on Miracles to Keep Its Pilgrims Safe (Zvi Bar’el, Haaretz+) After large-scale disasters during the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia took action and invested in the safety of its holy sites. It's time for Israel to do the same.
'The main goal is to connect American Jewry to Israel'
"The average Jew in the United States is not so enthusiastic about the IDF or Israel. The situation is quite pessimistic. That is until they visit Israel," says Friends of Israel Defense Forces Director Steven Weil. (Interviewed by Ran Puni in Israel Hayom)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.