Again, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s troubles took the top headline away from his pleasant meeting
with US President Donald Trump, as the government coalition crisis over the budget and the draft law continued to
make trouble at home and all were the main stories of today’s Hebrew newspapers.
Nir Hefetz, Netanyahu's ‘spin doctor,’ became a state witness
, the third of his
confidants to sign an agreement to testify against him. Hefetz, who is suspected of bribery in Case 4000, the
Bezeq telecom affair, will in return not stand trial, face prison time or be fined. Yedioth already shared
details of his testimony: Hefetz claims that Netanyahu’s wife and son influenced Netanyahu to take
security decisions which went against the recommendations of security top brass, ‘harming Israel's national
interests and state security.’ Netanyahu's associates said Hefetz’s claims are ‘baseless.' Moreover, Channel
10 sources told Yedioth that Hefetz tried to convince Channel 10 not to air
the satirical show of comedian
Lior Schleien, saying that Schleien ‘is against the prime minister.' Former prime minister Ehud Barak said
that with “Hefetz’s signature, “Bibi’s fate was sealed.” Meanwhile, coalition members were alternately trying to solv
e the coalition crisis or digging in their heels
**But Netanyahu did not have to physically face the ‘hysteria’ as his supportive Israel
Hayom columnist, Dror Eydar, called it. He was in Washington, meeting with Trump or as Yedioth put it, getting
‘a hug from Trump.’ Maariv called it ‘a moment of ease in the White House.’ Netanyahu summed up the meeting saying that it was all about Iran and just “15
the Palestinians. What was said in that meeting was retold to reporters, probably through
Netanyahu’s spokesman. The reporter simply wrote Netanyahu ‘reportedly said.’ (Full text here
After the meeting with Trump, Netanyahu told journalists that the Palestinians were "trying to run away from
negotiations, or at least they're not exactly rushing towards the (negotiating) table." Netanyahu also said that he was not been presented
with the US peace plan.
(Maariv’s US correspondent Shlomo Shamir didn’t buy that. See Commentary/Analysis below.) Trump warned that “if the Palestinians don’t
return to the table, there won’t be
peace.” Today Netanyahu is giving his speech at AIPAC and Yedioth columnist Ben-Dror Yemini wrote that
everyone is wondering whether it will be his last speech at AIPAC, in light of the investigations.
Haaretz.com has live updates
from Netanyahu's visit to the US.
How the Fight Against Malaria Infected the Future Map of Israel
Nearly 100 years ago, Dr. Israel Kligler single-handedly eradicated the disease in the Holy Land - and gave birth
to the Partition Plan. (Nir Hasson, Haaretz
A decade after the terror attack at Merkaz Harav: "We did not stop life at the place where the terrorist
tried to stop it”
The yeshiva rabbi and two of the students who studied there - and who miraculously made it through alive and saw
their friends murdered before their eyes - retold the harsh moments from 10 years ago that haunt them to this day
and the frontal confrontation with the terrorist. (Maayan Harouni, Maariv
Magazine supplement, cover)
Meet One of Syria's Palestinian Refugees
Abd al-Salam was in prison in Homs before being transferred to a prison in Damascus. He received beatings with a
club to electric shocks for three months before being released. (Zvi Barel, Haaretz
Letters to the Editor: 'Alternative Facts' at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion Airport
Liv Snesrud writes that representatives of the Population, Immigration and Border Authority presented
misinformation about her in a January 8 article. (Haaretz
Netanyahu Came to Washington for a Few of His Favorite Things. Then Reality Struck
+) Netanyahu's meeting with Trump reflects the rapid death of the peace
deal – before it was even born.
Trump-Netanyahu meeting: That’s what friends are for
(Orly Azoulay, Yedioth/Ynet
) Two leaders with a lot in common met at the White House on Monday
to help each other in a time of need; Netanyahu gave Trump his admiration, and the US president said exactly
what the prime minister wanted to hear about the Palestinians and Jerusalem.
Netanyahu and Trump are about to lose all use for each other
(Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz
+) Monday’s meeting in Washington is the beginning of the end for the
romance between the Israeli prime minister and the U.S. president.
Netanyahu holds the key to solving the coalition crisis
(Moran Azulay, Yedioth/Ynet
) There is consensus in the political system that the prime
minister’s motivation to solve the draft law crisis isn’t particularly high. Who stands to gain from
elections, and was Finance Minister Kahlon wrong to insist on passing the state budget now despite having
almost an entire year to do so?
Testimony by Netanyahu's disgraced spin doctor may mean early elections – but risks abound
+) Even during an election campaign, police investigations won't stall.
But they could increase support for the prime minister on the right.
The subject of the news: Nir Hefetz, of all the people in the world, exposed Netanyahu's path
) The prime minister has already missed his honorable exit: Anyone who is
determined to fight to the end must know that the end may not be good - and soon Mandelblit has to decide -
The theme of the visit is Iran
(Prof. Abraham Ben-Zvi, Israel Hayom
) PM Netanyahu's visit to Washington comes at a particularly
important time, with the clock running down on President Trump's ultimatum to plug the holes in the Iran
nuclear deal or he will withdraw from it.
No PR victory for Trump or Netanyahu, but a shoulder to cry on in trying times
+) The American media was focused on the White House on Monday – just not
on events the two leaders would have wanted.
A suspicious object: Something is rotten in the Netanyahu kingdom - and Trump might take advantage
it (Udi Segal, Maariv
) The testimony of Nir Hefetz may be explosive. At the moment of political
climax, he became like an object stuck in Netanyahu’s throat. You can’t swallow and you can’t vomit. In
addition to this must be added the worsening political crisis.
Netanyahu's Disastrous Rule Is a Dream for an Arab Nationalist
(Salman Masalha, Haaretz
+) During his time in the office, he has brought rot to every corner of
the country. His continued rule will bring disaster to Jews and Arabs alike.
What will history say about Netanyahu?
(Yoaz Hendel, Yedioth/Ynet
) Unlike his representatives on social media and his written
responses, the prime minister values journalists and values words. He understands that history is written by
historians like his late father—the ‘elites’ in the right and in the left—and that’s why he is focused on
convincing those who don’t and won’t vote for him.
Why Young Jews and Democrats Are Waving Goodbye to AIPAC
(Emily Mayer, Haaretz
+) My generation has only known Israel as an occupier. We won’t back
anyone who supports that injustice – including the powerful lobby that is AIPAC.
How much fruit did the conversation between Trump and Netanyahu bear from Israel's political perspective?
(Shlomo Shamir, Maariv
) Regarding the promotion of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, we are not expected to see any breakthrough in the foreseeable future. But the prime minister
received from the president what was most important to him: Updated information and details about the clauses
of the peace plan being formulated at the White House ("The Palestinians will not be informed by the White
House in advance," a senior Western diplomat told me yesterday in New York). On the other hand, Netanyahu also
received a thick friendly hint that Israeli rejection of key elements in the plan would provoke a harsh
response from the president.
Tell-all plea deal of Netanyahu’s Rasputin shakes Israeli politics
(Chemi Shalev, Haaretz
) Nir Hefetz knows where the bodies are buried when it comes to the
Netanyahus. The prime minister’s Hail Mary pass may have to be thrown all the way from Washington.
A history of violence
(Ram Cohen, Israel Hayom
) After the Elor Azaria case, the killing of yet another Palestinian
who posed no threat appears to be a symptom of a serious ethical crisis in our military.
Holocaust trips to Poland for Israeli youth should start in German
y (Shlomo Avineri, Haaretz
+) Because of the structure of these trips, tens of thousands of young
Israelis unintentionally associate the Holocaust with Poland, sometimes far more than with Nazi Germany.
Gaza held hostage
(Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom
) When Hamas murderers wail about the fate of Gaza and point the
finger at us, we must remember and remind others: Hamas, just like the Nazis, raised the banner of
exterminating Jews for being Jewish.
Billy Graham Was Tarred by His Sycophantic Compliance With Nixon. Will Trump's Jews End Up the
(Samuel G. Freedman, Haaretz
+) Graham's legacy, tarnished by his eager complicity with a bigoted,
criminal president, should be a cautionary tale for AIPAC, which legitimized Trump's candidacy, and for the
prominent rabbis who've insinuated themselves with him.
A Fake Government
) Minister Shaked is wrong. The conscription crisis isn't a
fake crisis, but a real one that affects every 18-year-old, mother and father.
No need to crucify the judge in Israel's telecoms-giant case
(Tzvia Greenfield, Haaretz
+) Horrified by multiple corruption stories, the public was all too quick
to burn Judge Ronit Poznanski-Katz at the stake - without first finding out whether their anger was
Turkey's Erdogan Threatens to Give Trump a Lethal Ottoman
Slap (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz
+) Turkey warns that Ankara's relationship with Washington has reached a
'critical point' that would either be 'fixed' or 'totally destroyed.' The U.S. is willing to swallow Turkey's
'chutzpah' as long as it keeps away from Russia.