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Ha'aretz
Time: Tue, 08.04.2020 05:03 AM Local file generated: Tue, 08.04.2020 05:01 AM
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Haaretz cartoon

Tue, 4 Aug 2020 03:18:42 +03:00

 Haaretz cartoon


Israel's budget sham

Tue, 4 Aug 2020 02:45:08 +03:00

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is lying to the public when he attributes his insistence on a one-year state budget to economic considerations. His steps are dictated not by the desire to solve the economic crisis, but rather by the desire to dissolve the government. For him, the budget is the only escape hatch from his promise to rotate the premiership with Benny Gantz. He is refusing to sign off on a two-year budget in order to break that promise. Netanyahu is not sacrificing the government in order to save the economy, he is sacrificing the economy in order to remain in power.

A member of his inner circle who weighed in recently on the budget crisis said that Gantz was œplaying poker without cards. It would be more accurate to say that Netanyahu is gambling with money he doesn't have. The multinational credit rating agencies have not yet cut Israel's rating. They did not respond to the failure to push through a budget over the course of three election cycles, trusting the promises that the new government would approve the budget and that the only exceptions would be those necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic.

It now turns out that these were false promises: Netanyahu's Israel is fleeing from a budget and searching for an additional election adventure. It is breaking all of the budget guidelines and apportioning money in a populistic manner. The loss of trust in Israel's promises could cost it a reduction in its credit rating.


 Israel's budget sham


Likud expected to be fined for privacy leaks in its election app

Tue, 4 Aug 2020 02:23:45 +03:00

The Likud party is expected to be fined for the security breaches in its Elector campaign app, which led to the exposure of personal data of 6.5 million Israelis who make up the voter registry, said sources in the Justice Ministry. Tzuriel Yamin, the CEO of the company behind the app and its developer, is also expected to be fined by the Justice Ministry's Privacy Protection Authority.

This is a precedent-setting decision on the part of the privacy authority because no party has ever been fined before for the exposure of information from the voter registry. The amount of the fines that can be levied by law is low relative to Europe, and is likely to amount to only tens of thousands of shekels.

The privacy authority opened its investigation against Likud accompanied by the cyber department of the State Prosecutor's Office after two breaches were found in the application in February, before the last election in March. The examination focused on violations of the privacy protection and elections laws, which make the parties responsible for the confidentiality of the voter information they receive from the Interior Ministry.


 Likud expected to be fined for privacy leaks in its election app


Rashida Tlaib faces primary vote challenge on Tuesday

Tue, 4 Aug 2020 00:34:26 +03:00

Voters in Michigan's 13th Congressional District will decide on Tuesday whether to give another term in office to Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), the first Palestinian-American woman ever elected to Congress and one of the only outspoken supporters of the BDS movement on Capitol Hill.

Tlaib's district, which includes parts of the city of Detroit and its suburbs, is one of the most Democratic districts in the country. That's why the Democratic primary within the district has been for years the de-facto election, since whoever emerges as the winner in the party contest is almost certain to win the general election in November.

Tlaib was first elected to represent the district in the 2018 mid-term election. She won that year's primary with only 31 percent of the vote, which was enough for her to finish first in a six-contender primary. This year, however, she has only one opponent in Tuesday's primary: Brenda Jones, president of the Detroit City Council.


 Rashida Tlaib faces primary vote challenge on Tuesday


10,000 protesters are nothing? Netanyahu is still sweating

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 23:51:19 +03:00

The right-wingers are fuming. They're calling the demonstrators on Jerusalem's Balfour Street and in Caesarea a gang of anarchists, PLO supporters, Bibi haters, inciters to murder, tramplers of democracy, œspreaders of disease and œcoronavirus incubators two antisemitic terms created by Benjamin Netanyahu. They say 10,000 protesters are nothing, barely a quarter of a Knesset seat, so all these demonstrators aren't endangering the prime minister. They're nothing.

The surprising part is that œprogressive circles on the left are also profoundly derisive of the protests. They say they're unsuccessful, haven't changed the Israeli division into tribes, and the people who attend are œanyone but Bibi types. They say there aren't any Likudniks or kippa wearers there, only frustrated Meretz voters. That's why the protests don't represent any change and are pointless.

The problem is, one person has quite a good understanding of campaigning, elections and demonstrations, and he's of an entirely different opinion. His name is Benjamin Netanyahu.


 10,000 protesters are nothing? Netanyahu is still sweating


What comes first, an Israeli army firing zone or Palestinian villages?

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 23:51:04 +03:00

Next Monday the justices of the High Court of Justice will discuss the State of Israel's demand to destroy eight Palestinian hamlets in the southern West Bank. I should say: will once again discuss, because the government's demand is not new.

For about 40 years the Israel Defense Forces and the Civil Administration did everything in their power to make these communities disappear, while they, in their heroic and prolonged battle against the order to become extinct, also turned to legal channels and to petitions. In military Hebrew, the area designated for demolition and the eviction of its Palestinian residents is known as Firing Zone 918. In ordinary Arabic and Hebrew it is Masafer Yatta.

Now the High Court justices are being asked to decide once and for all what comes first: an area for military training exercises, or an ancient fabric of life and relations between a city and the villages that grew up around it.


 What comes first, an Israeli army firing zone or Palestinian villages?


Coronavirus Israel Live: Netanyahu says country's illness rate is among highest in the world

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 23:45:48 +03:00

Israel and the West Bank are dealing with a renewed outbreak of the coronavirus, leading to proposals and measures intended to curb its spread and mitigate the economic ramifications of the crisis by both Israeli and Palestinian authorities.

74,102 people in Israel have so far tested positive for the coronavirus; 546 people have died. 

In the West Bank, there are 7,824 active cases; 80 people have died. In the Gaza Strip, 72 people were diagnosed and one person has died. 


 Coronavirus Israel Live: Netanyahu says country's illness rate is among highest in the world


Otherwise healthy Israeli woman in advanced pregnancy on ventilator with COVID-19

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 23:44:31 +03:00

A woman in her 30s who is 29 weeks pregnant has been in a Tel Aviv hospital for around a week, sedated and on a ventilator due to COVID-19.

Officials at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov Hospital) say her condition has improved and she may be able to breathe on her own soon. A senior physician said tests indicate that her fetus is healthy.

The woman was admitted to the hospital 10 days ago after testing positive for the coronavirus, complaining of shortness of breath. Within 48 hours her condition worsened, and she was sedated and placed on a breathing machine on July 26.


 Otherwise healthy Israeli woman in advanced pregnancy on ventilator with COVID-19


As U.S. warns of Chinese influence, watchdog says Israel fails to vet foreign investment

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 23:36:50 +03:00

Even though the cabinet voted in 2019 to establish a mechanism for vetting foreign involvement in Israeli infrastructure projects, no progress has been made, the State Comptroller's Office said in a report released Monday.

It said ministries and other government agencies still have no obligation to bring projects involving foreign investment to a designated body. Comptroller Matanyahu Englman said that while foreign investment had grown significantly over the last decade and contributed to economic growth, it also comes with drawbacks.

œControl by foreign interests over strategic assets could undermine a range of national interests including national security and our ability to compete in the global economy, the comptroller's office said.


 As U.S. warns of Chinese influence, watchdog says Israel fails to vet foreign investment


Israel strikes Syrian military positions in response to attempted border attack

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 23:31:32 +03:00

The Israeli army said late on Monday it struck targets in southern Syria, in response to an attempted border attack on Sunday night. Syrian state media reported its air defenses were responding to œhostile targets southwest of Damascus.

In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces said its fighter jets and helicopters targeted Syrian army posts, including surveillance and intelligence positions, anti-aircraft batteries and military command-and-control bases. Israel does not normally acknowledge its strikes in neighboring Syria.

Syria's SANA news agency said the strikes led to "material damage only."


 Israel strikes Syrian military positions in response to attempted border attack


Israeli blogger suspected of harassing witness in Netanyahu associates' corruption affair

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 22:57:44 +03:00

The Israel Police's anti-corruption unit Lahav 433 has detained on Monday an independent journalist and blogger on suspicion of harassing a witness connected to the so-called submarines affair.

Lior Koplovich, known as Ishton, is suspected of harassing Michael Abadi-Boiangiu, the former accountant general at the Finance Ministry. 

The unit investigators also arrested on Monday his domestic partner and confiscated computers and papers from his Tel Aviv home. He was taken for questioning at the National Economic Crimes Unit. They were both released lated on Monday.


 Israeli blogger suspected of harassing witness in Netanyahu associates' corruption affair


Changing U.S. aid terms hit Israeli defense industry harder than expected, report says

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 22:45:32 +03:00

Israel's Defense Ministry is expected to reduce procurements from the domestic arms industry by a larger-than-expected 5.6 billion shekels ($1.6 billion at current exchange rates) by the year 2028 due to the changing conditions of U.S. aid, the State Comptroller estimated in a report released on Monday.

The estimate is higher than those that have been cited until now and, if correct, will pose a bigger problem for the Israeli defense industry than had been expected. Moreover, the comptroller said, the Defense Ministry has not acted to prepare the local arms industry for the drop.

Under a 10-year military aid agreement signed with the United States four years ago, the percentage of aid Israel can convert into shekels to spend domestically gradually declines, mostly after 2025, from 26% of the total to zero.


 Changing U.S. aid terms hit Israeli defense industry harder than expected, report says


Know what it's like to be jobless? Most Israelis don't, but they better start

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 22:43:23 +03:00

At the peak of the first coronavirus wave in April, there were 1.3 million unemployed Israelis, of which between 1.1 million and 1.2 million were newly unemployed. The latter were almost entirely workers who had been put on unpaid leave due to the lockdown.

Today, in the midst of the second wave, the number of jobless has shrunk to half a million. In the space of just three months, the Israeli economy was able to absorb some 800,000 people back into the workforce.

A huge success? Not really. We can breathe a sigh of relief that the number has gone down from an unfathomable amount a third of the country's total workforce. Still, the 511,000 who are still not working is cause for alarm. They constitute the hard-core unemployed, the ones who will struggle reintegrating into the labor market. They include most of 140,000 people who were unemployed before the coronavirus crisis.


 Know what it's like to be jobless? Most Israelis don't, but they better start


Israel's financially troubled El Al gets extra time to refund airline tickets

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 22:22:53 +03:00

El Al Airlines was thrown a financial lifeline on Monday after officials agreed that Israeli airlines would only be required to refund ticket holders for flights canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic by October 1.

The agreement between Economy Minster Amir Peretz, Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn and Transportation Minister Miri Regev means that financially troubled El Al will can repay the 1.1 billion shekels ($320 million) it owes ticket holders much later than required under legislation passed by the Knesset last month.

The new deadline, which applies to Israir and Arkia as well as El Al, still needs to be approved by the Knesset.


 Israel's financially troubled El Al gets extra time to refund airline tickets


Iran, not Hezbollah, likely behind attempted attack on Syrian border, Israeli officials say

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 22:04:07 +03:00

Israeli defense officials claimed that it is likely that Iran, rather than Hezbollah, was behind the local cell that attempted to plant explosive devices along the border between Israel and Syria on the Golan Heights Sunday night.

In a statement issued Monday by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, he initially said Hezbollah was responsible for the incident, but a correction that his office sent out moments later omitted any reference to the Lebanese group, and only referred to œterrorists.

Iran has used other similar local groups and Shi'ite militia members, who were sent to Syria to aid the Assad regime in the civil war, for similar purposes in the past.


 Iran, not Hezbollah, likely behind attempted attack on Syrian border, Israeli officials say


Israeli Border Police officers held on suspicion of assaulting, robbing Palestinians

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 20:47:21 +03:00

Three Border Police officers were arrested Sunday on suspicion of aggravated assault and armed robbery of Palestinians at the Meitar checkpoint in the south, in eight different incidents over a number of months.

The three officers, all serving in the Border Police as part of their compulsory military service, are also suspected of fraud, breach of trust, and abusing their positions. They are further suspected of obstruction of justice by coordinating their versions of the events in case they were caught. The Be'er Sheva Magistrate's Court ordered them held for another four days on Monday.

They are suspected of robbing Palestinian workers while threatening them with their guns and dividing up the loot, which the Justice Ministry's unit that investigates police officers estimates to be worth thousands of shekels. The possibility that they operated similarly at other crossings is also being investigated. In some of the incidents, the three officers kicked and punched Palestinians, said investigators. The investigation began after a complaint from a contractor whose workers told him they had been robbed at the checkpoint on the border between the West Bank into Israel.


 Israeli Border Police officers held on suspicion of assaulting, robbing Palestinians


Netanyahu adds attorney to his defense team in corruption trial

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 20:45:50 +03:00

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appointed a new lawyer, Boaz Ben Zur, to his defense team, who joins Amit Haddad and Yossi Segev to represent him in the corruption trial that started in May, according to his spokesperson.

Segev replaced Netanyahu's previous lawyer, Micha Fettman, last month. Segev came to the trial with authorization for one hearing only. The lead judge in the case, Rivka Friedman-Feldman, criticized the revolving door of lawyers. œIt's impossible to have a defense attorney show up for each hearing every few months and say I have power of attorney for just one hearing, she said. œSomeone here needs a defense, and the case has to be handled, and it can't be that a new person shows up each time.

The evidentiary phase of the trial will start in January 2021, with three sessions a week.


 Netanyahu adds attorney to his defense team in corruption trial


Jerusalem municipality sued for discriminating against non-Orthodox, gay couples planning to wed

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 20:18:35 +03:00

Several Israeli organizations dedicated to Jewish pluralism and religious freedom filed a suit against the city of Jerusalem on Monday, claiming discrimination against couples who wed outside the auspices of the Orthodox-controlled Chief Rabbinate.

Under a special initiative launched by the municipality this week, couples marrying in Jerusalem this summer are being invited to hold their wedding ceremonies, free of charge, in one of nearly a dozen outdoor sites, including popular parks and gardens, some famous for their spectacular views. However, only couples who marry through the rabbinate are eligible to apply.

That rules out couples who choose to be married by non-Orthodox rabbis or Orthodox rabbis not recognized by the rabbinate. It also rules out gay couples and individuals not recognized by the rabbinate as Jewish according to halakha, or religious law.


 Jerusalem municipality sued for discriminating against non-Orthodox, gay couples planning to wed


Tel Aviv soccer team dismisses two players accused of having sex with minors

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 19:45:31 +03:00

Two Israeli soccer players, Dor Micha and Omer Atzili, accused of statutory rape have been removed from the Maccabi Tel Aviv team effective immediately, their agent said Monday.

Agent Ronen Katzav said he had been informed by the team a week and a half ago and that the two players œwere disappointed and saddened by the one-sided decision but accepted it and would be seeking to reach a financial settlement with the team. 

The two were suspended on June 13 due to being suspected of statutory rape, or having sex with a minor with their consent, and have not taken part in team activities since. The maximum penalty for such a crime is five years in prison. Both girls have testified to the police and the athletes have been questioned.


 Tel Aviv soccer team dismisses two players accused of having sex with minors


Millions of Israelis, vital infrastructure exposed to missile attack, watchdog says

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 19:39:24 +03:00

State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman released on Monday a report warning that 2.6 million Israelis lack proper civil defense protection and that the defense establishment spent billions of shekels on an artillery project without proper advance staff work.

In the third part of his office's annual report, Englman focused primarily on defense. As in prior reports issued by Englman, who took office as state comptroller a year ago, he refrained from pointing a figure at individuals for mismanagement and took pains to also point out positive performance, even though in at least some instances, the praise regarded situations that have only deteriorated since prior reports.

In one main section of the newly released report, Englman noted that about 1.3 million previously classified archival files are off limits to the public despite the fact that their classification as confidential has expired. These documents cover many issues of great public importance, including Israel's wars, the 1948 Deir Yassin massacre and the 1956 Kafr Qasem massacre and Shin Bet involvement of political espionage of Mizrahi protest leaders in the 1950s.


 Millions of Israelis, vital infrastructure exposed to missile attack, watchdog says


In a pickle, Seth Rogen tells Haaretz what he really thinks about Israel and ˜white supremacist' Trump

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 19:25:42 +03:00

It's impossible to resist describing Seth Rogen's current woes as anything other than a pickle.

His problem, after all, surrounds the publicity for his new film œAn American Pickle, which premieres on HBO Max this Thursday specifically, his appearance on the œMarc Maron WTF Podcast, where he delighted progressive circles, infuriated pro-Israel circles and generally set Jewish Twitter on fire.

The two comedians joked about touchy subjects, but what really fanned the flames was Rogen's musings about Zionism and the ill-conceived notion of putting all the Jews together in a œblender. There was also his assertion that he had been œfed a huge amount of lies about Israel while he was growing up in Vancouver, attending the Talmud Torah day school until he was Bar Mitzvah age, and spending his summers at Habonim Dror Labor Zionist sleepaway camps staffed with Israeli counselors, who, he joked with Maron, were œpsychopaths.


 In a pickle, Seth Rogen tells Haaretz what he really thinks about Israel and ˜white supremacist' Trump


Netanyahu's son says Israeli leader 'entertained' by mass protests against him

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 18:21:35 +03:00

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's son Yair said Monday that his father laughs at pictures of œaliens demonstrating against him. œHe sees the sights that all of us see, of these aliens, Yair Netanyahu said in an interview with Galei Israel Radio, a West Bank-based Israeli station. œIt makes him laugh. It's like entertainment.

The prime minister's son elaborated: œSometimes I show him several select clips, try not the cruder things at the protests, because it's still not pleasant. It entertains him. It even gives him a bit of strength.

The younger Netanyahu, who holds no official post, has become known for making controversial comments, particularly on social media.


 Netanyahu's son says Israeli leader 'entertained' by mass protests against him


Jewish studies on the Nile: The rise of Hebrew and Jewish degrees in Egypt

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 17:45:08 +03:00

In the early 20th century, Semitic studies was among the first academic disciplines that Egyptian intellectuals sought to pursue in Europe. Specialization in this field, including biblical Hebrew and ancient Israel studies, was meant to enhance the understanding of the history of ancient Egypt and the origins of the Semitic peoples.

Equally important, the study of Hebrew was meant to aid in the advancement of modern Arabic, by tracking down Arabic words with Hebrew or Aramaic origins and using this knowledge to coin a new lexicon in order to keep pace with contemporary developments.

In this article, I will survey the development of Hebrew-language studies in Egyptian academia since the beginning of the last century. I will show that the growing interest in the field among researchers in Egypt stemmed from the important role they attributed to Hebrew and to Judaism in the development of Egyptian culture.


 Jewish studies on the Nile: The rise of Hebrew and Jewish degrees in Egypt


Racism is everywhere in Israel, even at anti-Netanyahu protests, Ethiopian Israeli activist says

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 17:11:22 +03:00

Shula Mola could be the poster child for the integration of Ethiopian Jews into Israeli society. The 47-year-old immigrated in 1984, part of the Operation Moses airlift, after making the treacherous trek across Sudan from her village in Ethiopia. She holds a doctorate in education from Ben-Gurion University and is a graduate of the prestigious Mandel School for Educational Leadership.

She's also a teaching instructor and curriculum developer at the Center for Educational Technology and other educational institutions. Married and living in south Jerusalem, she's the mother of four children, two of whom have already served in the military.

Mola is also one of the most outspoken activists of the Ethiopian community, fighting against what she considers the institutionalized and deep-rooted racism in all Israeli society. She has been an activist since high school and was a co-founder of the Association of Ethiopian Jews, together with Rabbi Micha Odenheimer. But she has been œalmost consumed by rage, she says, since last year's shooting deaths of Solomon Teka and Yehuda Biadga.


 Racism is everywhere in Israel, even at anti-Netanyahu protests, Ethiopian Israeli activist says


Israeli COVID-19 infection rate stabilizing, but daily deaths still at record high

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 17:10:14 +03:00

After nearly two months in which the situation seemed to be getting out of control, the latest data indicate a stabilization in the incidence of coronavirus in Israel. The infection coefficient (œR the average number of new infections caused by each carrier) has dropped to just over 1 and may even have gone a bit below that; the number of new cases a day is somewhat less than it was a week or two ago and the sharp rise in the number of patients in serious condition has halted.

The worst statistic is that we are seeing 10 or more deaths a day, a rate that is unprecedented since the virus arrived here in late February. However, for the first time a senior health official is saying what we had heard months ago from coronavirus skeptics. According to Shaare Zedek Medical Center chairman Prof. Jonathan Halevy, many of those listed as coronavirus deaths œdied with coronavirus, but not from coronavirus. In other words, they were elderly people who had other serious diseases and were diagnosed with COVID-19 before they died.

In the ongoing argument about possibly imposing another broad lockdown, these statistics serve those who argue against such a step. It's possible that the combination of observing social distancing rules, the increased wearing of masks and the prevention of large gatherings will be enough to gradually reduce the number of new daily carriers.


 Israeli COVID-19 infection rate stabilizing, but daily deaths still at record high


The Palestinian Authority is harming its own people in the name of national pride

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 17:08:07 +03:00

The halting of civil coordination between the Palestinian Authority and Israel doesn't harm Israel but it does harm the Palestinians. The move was supposed to strengthen the PA's standing in the eyes of the Palestinians. Instead, it yet again exposes the PA as an entity that only reacts and doesn't plan, one that demands sacrifices from the people without sharing its decisions with them and without any ability to defend them.

Take the 13 residents of the West Bank who, at the beginning of last week, made their way to the Karameh crossing into Jordan (the Allenby Bridge); Israeli border officials didn't let them leave and not for security reasons.

Their problem is small compared to that of seriously ill patients especially in the Gaza Strip whose exit for medical care in East Jerusalem or the West Bank has been delayed because the PA has stopped handling their applications for exit permits through the Erez checkpoint.


 The Palestinian Authority is harming its own people in the name of national pride


Netanyahu says annexation still on the table, but White House needs to back it

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 17:05:44 +03:00

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told told members of his Likud party Monday that plans for annexation of parts of the West Bank is "in Washington, it's not off the table," and that the "possibility still exists," adding that the White House "needs to back it."

Prominent settler leader David Elhayani, who heads the Yesha Council of settlements, called on the prime minister to promote annexation plans œimmediately in response. Elhayani said that Netanyahu, œwho once and again promised to extend Israeli sovereignty over Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley, isn't in Washington, but in Jerusalem. The decision is yours, and only yours to make.

Netanyahu's statement comes after Haaretz reported Sunday that senior Palestinian Authority officials have recently said in closed meetings that if Israel does not carry out its plan to annex territory in the West Bank by the end of September, the window of opportunity for annexation will have been narrowed.


 Netanyahu says annexation still on the table, but White House needs to back it


In Iran, one person dies of COVID-19 every seven minutes

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 15:01:46 +03:00

One person is dying from COVID-19 every seven minutes in Iran, state television said on Monday, as the Health Ministry reported 215 new deaths from the disease and state media warned of a lack of proper social distancing.

Health Ministry spokesman Sima Sadat Lari was quoted by the state TV as saying the 215 deaths in the past 24 hours took the combined death toll to 17,405 in Iran, and the number of confirmed cases rose by 2,598 to 312,035.

State television showed several Iranians in a busy Tehran street without wearing face masks or social distancing.


 In Iran, one person dies of COVID-19 every seven minutes


Jerusalem court rules Israel must allow three Gazans stranded abroad to return home

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 14:39:13 +03:00

Israel must permit three residents of the Gaza Strip who had traveled abroad to return home via its territory, the Jerusalem District Court ruled on Sunday.

The ruling comes despite the fact that the Palestinian Authority has halted cooperation with Israel and has stopped issuing transit permits to travel through Israel.

The three petitioners in the case are an elderly couple who went to the United States in February to visit their son and a psychologist who went to Tunisia in September for additional studies there.


 Jerusalem court rules Israel must allow three Gazans stranded abroad to return home


Yemen's Houthis claim to have shot down U.S.-made drone over Saudi Arabia border

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 14:10:34 +03:00

Yemen's Houthi rebels say they shot down a U.S.-made drone over the country's northern border with Saudi Arabia. The kingdom and the U.S. military on Monday did not immediately acknowledge losing a drone.

Brig. Gen. Yehia Sarie, a Houthi military spokesman, said in a statement their air defenses downed an AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma drone Sunday over the district of Harad in Yemen's northern Hajjah province.

Footage later aired by the Houthi's Al-Masirah satellite channel showed fighters gathered around the hand-launched drone, which appeared to have bullet holes in it. The battery-powered drone had a camera, also apparently struck by a bullet.


 Yemen's Houthis claim to have shot down U.S.-made drone over Saudi Arabia border


Lebanon's foreign minister resigns as economic crisis worsens

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 13:19:54 +03:00

Lebanon's foreign minister resigned on Monday, becoming the first Cabinet minister to defect from his post amid the severe economic and financial crisis striking the country.

Minister Nassif Hitti's submitted his resignation to the prime minister and left the government house without making any comments.

A career diplomat, Hitti became foreign minister in January as part of Prime Minister Hassan Diab's government. He was reportedly unhappy with the government's performance and lack of movement on promised reforms.


 Lebanon's foreign minister resigns as economic crisis worsens


Over 20 killed in Islamic State attack on Afghan prison

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 13:14:20 +03:00

An Islamic State group attack on a prison in eastern Afghanistan holding hundreds of its members raged on Monday after killing at least 21 people in fighting overnight, a local official said.

Another 43 people have been wounded in the assault that began late Sunday when an Islamic State suicide bomber slammed his explosive-laden vehicle into the Jalalabad prison's entrance.

Militants then opened fire on security forces at the prison in the capital of Nangarhar province, some 115 kilometers (70 miles) east of Kabul.


 Over 20 killed in Islamic State attack on Afghan prison


Thousands attend Berlin rally against coronavirus measures featuring antisemitic displays

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 12:53:21 +03:00

A rally supported by neo-Nazi groups drew more than 20,000 protesters in Berlin Saturday to demand an end to coronavirus restrictions.

The rally was called a œDay of Freedom, an apparent reference to a 1935 documentary about the Nazi army by Adolf Hitler's pet filmmaker, Leni Riefenstahl. Some attendees displayed antisemitic slogans, while others compared Germany's rules meant to stop the spread of the coronavirus to Nazi regulations.

œIn retrospect, this demonstration has confirmed many of our fears, Sigmount Koenigsberg, commissioner against antisemitism for the Jewish Community of Berlin, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Sunday. œThe Shoah was repeatedly relativized and antisemitic conspiracy myths were part of the standard repertoire.


 Thousands attend Berlin rally against coronavirus measures featuring antisemitic displays


Lebanon's foreign minister quits over lack of 'will to reform'

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 12:20:26 +03:00

Lebanon's Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti resigned on Monday over what he described as lack of political will to reform as his nation wrestles with a financial crisis posing the biggest threat to stability since a 1975-1990 civil war.

Foreign donors have made it clear there will be no aid until Beirut enacts long-stalled reforms to tackle state waste and corruption, root causes of the collapse. Talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have been put on hold amid a row over the scale of financial losses.

"Given the absence of an effective will to achieve structural, comprehensive reform which our society and the international community have urged us to do, I have decided to resign," Hitti said in a statement.


 Lebanon's foreign minister quits over lack of 'will to reform'


Nasrallah apparently failed to attack Israel for a second time. He may try again

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 12:16:17 +03:00

>> UPDATE: Iran, not Hezbollah, likely behind attempted attack on Syrian border, Israeli officials say

Was the incident overnight between Sunday and Monday near the border with Syria a second attempt by Hezbollah to avenge the death of one of its operatives killed in an airstrike near Damascus two weeks ago? Army officials are not saying explicitly, but there is a good chance that the answer would be yes. And this time too, the attempt failed.

Combat soldiers from the army's Maglan commando unit, backed by aircraft, lay in wait to ambush the Hezbollah squad, whose four members apparently laid an explosive charge near the border fence and were all apparently killed.


 Nasrallah apparently failed to attack Israel for a second time. He may try again


In the name of my future grandchildren, I refuse to be a citizen of an apartheid state

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 11:27:38 +03:00

My grandfather, Elazar Granot, was the Israeli ambassador in Nelson Mandela's South Africa between 1994-1996, right after the fall of the apartheid regime. Last August, I visited there myself and witnessed with my own eyes the reality caused by this racist and discriminatory system and its terrible implications for South African society to this day, 25 years after.

œApartheid is a loaded and complicated term and has the potential to evoke antagonism. Therefore, and due to its conspicuous absence from mainstream media coverage during the entire time the issue of Israel's annexation of parts of the West Bank has been high on the agenda, we at Zulat, a human rights think tank, published a report on how Israeli discourse whitewashes the true meaning of the plan.

Our report looks at the shift the notion of annexation has made from the most extreme edges of the messianic right to the political platform of all major parties in Israel much of it thanks to that discourse laundromat. It reveals the well-orchestrated play by Netanyahu's right-wing government supported by most media outlets designed to hide from the public the fact that annexation anchored in law means turning Israel into an apartheid state.


 In the name of my future grandchildren, I refuse to be a citizen of an apartheid state


Israeli army says thwarted attempt to plant explosives on Syrian border

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 08:00:53 +03:00

The Israeli army said it struck four operatives who attempted to plant explosives along the Syria-Israel border on Sunday night. The military did not officially confirm their deaths, however it estimated all four were killed.

Israeli forces identified the squad near an army outpost in the southern Golan Heights that once housed a field hospital for Syrian refugees, according to the army.

Troops and aircraft "fired simultaneously toward a cell of four terrorists, a hit was identified," the army said in a statement. The strike was carried out before the group managed to cross the border fence into Israel, the army confirmed, adding that there were no Israeli casualties in the incident.


 Israeli army says thwarted attempt to plant explosives on Syrian border


Haaretz cartoon

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 06:42:51 +03:00

 Haaretz cartoon


X-ray firm Nanox files for $125m U.S. offering

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 06:35:15 +03:00

Just a week after raising $55 million in a private placement, Nanox, an Israeli startup that has developed a revolutionary digital x-ray machine, has filed for a $125 million initial public offering on Wall Street that values the company at as much as $600 million.

Founded in 2012 by serial entrepreneur Ran Poliakine, the company has developed an x-ray machine called the Nanox.ARC that is not only more compact and lightweight than conventional devices but produces 3-D images, emits less radiation and costs a fraction of the price of conventional imaging devices. Based on technology originally developed at Japan's Sony for a novel LED screen, the Nanox.ARC uses a proprietary silicon chip embedded with 100 million nanocones that generate x-rays. There are no moving parts, no need for cooling and no need for lots of electric power.

The company says it marks the first fundamental change in basic x-ray technology since the process was first developed in 1895. That technology requires heating a metal filament to 2000 degrees Centigrade. The filament emits electrons that collide with an anode to create x-rays, a process that uses a lot of electricity to keep the device cool.


 X-ray firm Nanox files for $125m U.S. offering


Mishandling of coronavirus crisis is crushing young Israelis' work ethic

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 06:29:27 +03:00

Huliot Advanced Flow Systems, a maker of advanced pipe systems and innovative plastic products based in Kibbutz Sde Nehemiah, is looking for workers. Last week it got 20 applications, half of them referred to the company by the National Employment Service. But just on the basis of a preliminary phone call, none of them worked out. The applicants said they were on unpaid leave and getting unemployment pay, so why take an offer? A few said they would be willing to work off the books so they could keep collecting benefits.

Oren Volosky, Huliot's operations manager, says he is paying the minimum wage but he lets his employees work a lot of overtime and night shifts that increase their pay substantially. The company sells its products to construction companies, which have been working normally during the pandemic, and he needs to hire 10 workers immediately to fill orders.

It's not easy work, which is why Huliot generally hires young people looking for jobs who will stay for no more than a few months. In most cases, they want to save a little money before taking a post-army trip abroad.


 Mishandling of coronavirus crisis is crushing young Israelis' work ethic


Israel's jobless rate rose in first half of July 2020

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 06:25:45 +03:00

Israel's unofficial unemployment rate climbed in the first half of July after dropping sharply in June and is expected to climb further as lockdown measures are reintroduced to cope with the second coronavirus wave.

The Central Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday that the wider definition of the jobless rate that it has been using since the onset of the pandemic rose 12.3% in the first two weeks of July, or 511,000 people.

That was up from 11.8% in the second two weeks of June and about the same as the 12.3% level of the first two weeks. However, it remained far lower than the second half of May when it reached 20.4%, the statistics bureau said,


 Israel's jobless rate rose in first half of July 2020


Israel's credit rating is in jeopardy amid growing debt and budget delays

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 06:19:34 +03:00

Citing the steady deteriorating fiscal situation and the absence of a plan to reduce the budget deficit, the global rating agency Fitch over the weekend downgraded one country's sovereign debt outlook to Negative. The country was the United States, not Israel.

But the reasons Fitch gave for the downgrade could apply to Israel as much as they do to America. It was also an example of how even the world's biggest and most powerful economies can be hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.

Should Israel, whose debt outlook has been tagged Positive or Stable for the past decade, be worried?


 Israel's credit rating is in jeopardy amid growing debt and budget delays


Netanyahu's tirades against protesters highlight his growing detachment from reality

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 05:47:04 +03:00

Benjamin Netanyahu lives in a world of his own. It is a dark and treacherous place. The Israeli prime minister believes he is surrounded by powerful enemies who have banded together to destroy him. The elites, media, police, justice system, malevolent external forces and the thousands of protestors demonstrating outside his home in Jerusalem are all part of a œDeep State plot aimed at getting rid of him by whatever means possible.

Netanyahu is not new to his concocted world. He has been railing against sinister elites and œenlisted media from the moment he entered politics over 30 years ago. In the past, however, Netanyahu kept his conspiracy theories separate from the actual day-to-day management of Israel's affairs. His incitement against the nasty leftists out to get him peaked during election campaigns; it was seen as posturing meant to inflame supporters and drive them to the polling booths.

Netanyahu's police investigations and subsequent criminal indictments, however, changed the equation. His efforts to undermine the legitimacy of the proceedings against him became Netanyahu's number one priority, propelling his paranoid fantasies to center stage. The most powerful man in the country started depicting himself as a helpless nebbish, victimized by sinister forces that, for the most part, remain unseen.


 Netanyahu's tirades against protesters highlight his growing detachment from reality


Stop splitting newborns from moms with COVID-19

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 04:14:13 +03:00

As part of Israel's general idiocy and irrationality in dealing with the coronavirus, newborn babies are being separated from mothers who have the virus, even if the mothers have no symptoms, and sometimes even when they're merely suspected of having the disease.

This separation can last for up to two weeks, according to reports by new mothers in hospitals nationwide that were collected by the organization Zero Separation. Yet separation violates the Health Ministry's regulations and is also counter to the position of many official bodies, including the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the British Association of General Pediatrics and the European Pediatric Association.

Admittedly, there are also organizations that do advise separating mothers with the coronavirus from their babies, such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. But all these organizations think the decision should be left up to the mother.


 Stop splitting newborns from moms with COVID-19


Save embattled El Al, not top shareholders

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 03:51:31 +03:00

The coronavirus crisis has dealt a mortal blow to airlines worldwide, and El Al is no exception. Many have entered bankruptcy and face the threat of immediate collapse. To land safely, they will need infusions of capital, cost-cutting measures and a rapid recovery of the aviation industry.

El Al is publicly traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Its controlling shareholder is the Knafaim company, owned by Dedi Borovitz and Tami Mozes Borovitz. But ever since the crisis began, the controlling shareholders' role has been in question. It was clear that the state would have to help, and that it would do so through loans and loan guarantees. But it wasn't clear how committed the controlling shareholders were to saving the company. After all, it's unreasonable for the taxpayer to inject hundreds of millions of dollars into the El AL, while the controlling shareholders get a pass on doing anything.

Yet this logic has somehow escaped the controlling shareholders, who don't want to stick their hands in their own pockets. The latest idea to be proposed was having the state guarantee a loan of $250 million, which El Al would take from the banks, while the company would raise another $150 million. But the government would also commit to providing that sum if necessary, while diluting the controlling shareholders' stakes. Thus in practice, this would transfer control of the company from the controlling shareholders to the state.


 Save embattled El Al, not top shareholders


Where are the religious Zionists in defense of Netanyahu?

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 03:36:23 +03:00

Opposite the demonstrators who are pleading with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to vacate his residence immediately, there is often a small counter-demonstration: a group of supporters, mainly activists from the Jerusalem Likud branch, who usually number only a few dozen. They wave Israeli flags, rain down a shower of Mahal (Likud) ballots, and sing songs of praise to the first lady.

Totally absent from these demonstrations is a group that was a key factor in Netanyahu's rise, and is now choosing to sit on the fence because this may turn out to be his downfall: Religious Zionism and the ideological right are simply not to be found on Balfour Street.

Where are the right-wing masses who knew how to fill Rabin Square when they cared to? Where is the country's most skilled, effective apparatus for organizing demonstrations? Where are the masses who voted for the Netanyahu camp three times? These are the smallest right-wing demonstrations ever. It's true that counting demonstrators is so 2011, but something is happening at Balfour. To be more precise, something isn't happening.


 Where are the religious Zionists in defense of Netanyahu?


Seth Rogen's not alone in doubting the Zionist dream

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 00:44:38 +03:00

œWe're gonna piss off a bunch of Jews, said American comedian Marc Maron, in an hour-long interview conducted on his podcast with colleague Seth Rogen. The two spoke of their complex Jewish identity and their experiences growing up Jewish in Albuquerque, New Mexico (Maron), and Vancouver, Canada (Rogen).

Maron knew what he was talking about. Every criticism of the only democracy in the Middle East, even from Jews, is perceived as antisemitic (or Jewish self-hatred), no less. As expected, quotes from the fascinating discussion were taken out of context, inserted into the assembly line of clickbait headlines (Israel Hayom went with œSeth Rogen attacks Israel), and were offered up in a few opinion pieces and pathetic tweets by Jewish pundits, who condemned an anti-Zionist joke by Rogen with holy Zionist rage.

But beyond the fact that some people just can't appreciate a good joke when they hear one, the most subversive part of the conversation focused on the erasure of the Palestinians from the Zionist narrative. Rogen, who said his grandmother had fled pogroms in Poland and his parents had met on kibbutz, says, œ a Jewish person I was fed a huge amount of lies about Israel my entire life. They never tell you that, ˜Oh, by the way, there were people there.' They make it seem like was just like sitting there oh the fucking door's open.


 Seth Rogen's not alone in doubting the Zionist dream


Arab or Jewish, none of us want LGBTQ youth to suffer

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 00:43:53 +03:00

I would like to declare that I have acquaintances from the LBGTQ community, Jews, Arabs, and others from abroad. I have never asked anyone what they do in the bedroom. Nor do they, to my great disappointment, take any interest in what goes on in my bedroom. (Well, okay, it's not as though there's anything to be interested in, especially at my age.)

Sometimes I ask myself, and not only on this personal matter, but on other personal matters as well, why do I need the headache? After all, I barely manage to run my own private life, so why get involved in the sexual proclivities of others? The Arabs say, œLet everyone lie on the side that suits them. Whether on the left side, or the right side, or one's back. And they also wondered: œIf someone has a beard, why does the other person complain that he suffers from it?!

I would like to testify that none of those friends and acquaintances have ever tried, even by implication, to attract me to his or her private lifestyle. Nor have I ever tried to convince anyone to choose a certain side in their private lives. Moreover, in the case of most of those whom I've had the privilege of meeting and befriending, I didn't know beforehand that they were from the LBGTQ community. Only after the fact, due to a word here or a sentence there, was I exposed to the terrible œsecret. Strange, but that sensational news didn't cause me to bat an eyelash.


 Arab or Jewish, none of us want LGBTQ youth to suffer


Israeli lawmakers are trying to rattle the coalition with embarrassing bills

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 00:39:07 +03:00

It's going to be another tense week for Israel's governing coalition as several controversial bills are expected to be brought to a Knesset vote.  

Not only is the conflict over passing the budget still raging, but the right-wing Yamina alliance is threatening to embarrass Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud by presenting a bill allowing the Knesset to override the High Court. in addition, Yesh Atid-Telem in the opposition is demanding that Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan vote to set up a special committee to probe Israel's controversial submarine purchases.

Ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism announced Sunday that they planned to provide the coalition with a œsafety net. For example, they made it clear they will not support a bill allowing the Knesset to override rulings by the High Court of Justice, essentially foiling an effort by Yamina to push it through on Wednesday. They also declared that they were committed to œthe endurance of the coalition and preventing elections, meaning they would not cooperate with any party seeking to undermine the coalition agreement.


 Israeli lawmakers are trying to rattle the coalition with embarrassing bills


Israel strikes Hamas sites after Gaza rocket intercepted

Mon, 3 Aug 2020 00:07:17 +03:00

The Israeli army said it struck targets belonging to Hamas in retaliation for a rocket that was fired from the Gaza Strip on Sunday night.   

The airstrike targeted a cement production facility and underground infrastructure, according to a statement.

The rocket, launched earlier on Sunday evening, had been intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. 


 Israel strikes Hamas sites after Gaza rocket intercepted


Israel's Education Ministry to help pay for school culture program, but it's not clear how

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 23:36:24 +03:00

The Education Ministry over the weekend announced that it would allocate half of the sum needed to operate the œculture basket program in schools until the end of 2020. The rest of the money for the program comes from the local authorities and parent payments, although the amount parents will be expected to pay for the coming school year has yet to be approved by the Knesset Education Committee as required.

Education Minister Yoav Galant's office refused to explain from what budgetary source the 8 million shekels ($2.35 million) allocated would come from or what other programs might be cut to finance the culture basket, a program that exposes high-schoolers to plays, films, music, literature, art exhibitions and dance performances. .

The culture basket is one of several extracurricular programs the Education Minister had frozen recently because of the delay in approving the state budget. Other programs whose continuation is in doubt include the Milat program, which gives pupils in outlying areas after-school help; Hila, which allows dropouts to earn a diploma or matriculation certificate; projects to prevent drug and alcohol use and various programs for at-risk teens. Thousands of employees in these programs face dismissals.


 Israel's Education Ministry to help pay for school culture program, but it's not clear how


Prosecution official rebukes Israeli investigator over canceled traffic ticket

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 23:34:28 +03:00

The ombudsman for the State Prosecutor's Office has criticized a senior officer in the Justice Ministry department that investigates police misconduct for asking police to cancel a traffic ticket against him.

The ombudsman, Judge David Rozen, said the incident smacks strongly of a conflict of interests. He also implied that the head of the department, Keren Bar-Menachem, should have taken action against the officer. However, Rozen refrained from criticizing her directly.

This is the second time in as many weeks that Rozen has criticized the department, known by its Hebrew acronym Mahash. The complaint was filed by attorney Pinchas Fischler, one of the department's prominent critics.


 Prosecution official rebukes Israeli investigator over canceled traffic ticket


What a waste: Israeli air force tackles alternative refuse disposal to avoid colliding with birds

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 23:30:53 +03:00

For several years the Israel Air Force has been forced to deal with a problem of large flocks of birds that gather near waste disposal sites in a search for food. The birds endanger the IAF planes that take off from nearby bases in the south of the country, and planes often collide with these flocks.

Due to the accumulation of incidents the Defense Ministry recently asked the planning institutions to change the system for managing the country's waste disposal sites a request that emphasized the poor handling of waste in Israel, where there is almost total reliance on landfills.

Today almost 80 percent of Israel's waste is transferred to several landfills, the largest of which are in the south. At these sites a large quantity of waste remains exposed for long periods of time and serves as a source of food for birds, which endanger aircraft. The main problem is at Dudaim and Ganei Hadas, north of Be'er Sheva and a relatively short distance from the Hatzerim air base.


 What a waste: Israeli air force tackles alternative refuse disposal to avoid colliding with birds


Israeli expats hold anti-Netanyahu solidarity protest in New York's Washington Square

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 23:28:50 +03:00

NEW YORK A few dozen Israelis living in New York City held an anti-Netanyahu rally in Washington Square Park on Sunday in solidarity with the protests in Israel.

œI think in normal times I would be in Israel, but times are not normal, Kobi Cohen, one of the organizers, told Haaretz.

Many of the 70 people at the protest held signs in English and Hebrew that read œCrime Minister, œBB let my people go'' and œStanding for Israel's democracy.


 Israeli expats hold anti-Netanyahu solidarity protest in New York's Washington Square


Can Democrats stomach this HBO documentary about one of Trump's biggest cheerleaders?

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 22:45:03 +03:00

Most awards are political in nature, but that was literally the case last week when the documentaries œHillary and œBecoming were named among this year's Emmy nominations.

The series and film about former first ladies Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama one a four-parter from Hulu looking back on Clinton's career, the other a Netflix doc following Obama on her U.S. tour promoting her 2018 memoir were pretty ordinary portraits of extraordinary women.

That's why, for me, it's hard to see the nominations as anything but a nod to the subjects themselves rather than the filmmakers' achievements in portraying them. It's as if they were saying: Thank heavens for Hillary and Michelle in this tragic time when Joe Exotic is in the White House.


 Can Democrats stomach this HBO documentary about one of Trump's biggest cheerleaders?


In Turkey, Twitter is the enemy of the people

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 21:51:10 +03:00

The countdown on continued operation of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube in Turkey began on Thursday evening, after the Turkish parliament passed a law to supervise social media. According to the law, all foreign social media platforms with over a million daily users will have to appoint a representative in Turkey as a liaison between the government and the platform.

The goal is to shorten the process for removing content so that within 48 hours from the moment the Turkish Communications Ministry approaches a platform to take down content, it must do so. The government can ask for and receive, among other things, the history of specific users of social media platforms and also delete histories without explanation. A platform that does not fulfill these conditions will be fined up to $4.3 million, will not be able to post advertising and its bandwidth will be reduced gradually up to 90 percent.

The law, based on a similar law passed in Germany intended to fight hate content, murder threats and rape, gives the platforms until October 1 to comply with its demands. It sets five stages for implementation, with non-compliance of each stage linked to increasingly high fines and far-reaching sanctions up to the maximum.


 In Turkey, Twitter is the enemy of the people


Netanyahu chose his target for next election campaign: Protesters and the media

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 21:32:48 +03:00

The man who entered the cabinet room on Sunday and sat on the prime minister's chair looked like Benjamin Netanyahu. But the words coming out of his mouth were those of Yair Netanyahu. The boundaries between the two have blurred of late to the point of being erased entirely. The son's violent style, the lies, the sick situation assessment and the conflicted personality reflected by the tweets have taken control of the father. The prime minister is becoming a hostage.

The excuse, this time, is the intensification of the demonstrations against him. The family from Balfour is focusing on the three TV channels. They, and Netanyahu, are simply incapable of accepting the fact that they are covering the protests against him - to the proper and necessary extent - given these events are taking place across the entire country, north and south, bridges and city squares, Tel Aviv, Caesarea and Balfour Street. In their eyes, it's an illegitimate phenomenon, an injustice, coverage = support = an attempt to oust the tyrant and his family.

œCoronovirus incubators, he dubbed the demonstrators, in order to encourage his black-shirted cohorts to continue attacking them. He described the lynching of peaceful demonstrators in Tel Aviv by his fans as a œscuffle between soccer team fans. And there were other such comments from the man for whom truth is not an option and lying is an obsession.


 Netanyahu chose his target for next election campaign: Protesters and the media


LISTEN: Seth Rogen's post-Zionist pickle meets Bibi's protest pandemic

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 20:45:43 +03:00

Host Simon Spungin is joined by Haaretz's Allison Kaplan Sommer to discuss Seth Rogen's assertion that he was lied to about Israel, a country which, he says, œmakes no sense to him.

We ask: How representative is the Canadian-American actor and comedian of Jews of his generation? Has anything changed since the internet made exactly the information Rogen feels was kept from him instantaneously available to curious adolescents? And how does Rogen differ from Peter Beinart, who recently reflected on his disillusionment with Zionism?

We also discuss the ever-spreading protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which are now taking place nightly not only across Israel, but overseas as well. Is this the most female protest movement in Israel's history, will our moms protect us from overzealous cops and why are more and more Israelis standing on overpasses on Saturday evenings?


 LISTEN: Seth Rogen's post-Zionist pickle meets Bibi's protest pandemic


Court extends remand of man suspected of throwing stones at anti-Netanyahu protesters in Haifa

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 20:43:56 +03:00

After five people were arrested on Saturday night on suspicion of attacking protesters at demonstrations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, one had his detention extended on Sunday, two were put under house arrest and two were released from custody.

Out of the 12 protesters arrested at Saturday night's protest outside the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem, 10 have been released, and two suspected of attacking a police officer were placed under house arrest.

About 10,000 people protested in Jerusalem Saturday night, in the latest of a series of demonstrations calling for Netanyahu's ouster, in light of corruption charges against him and his failure to rein in the coronavirus crisis. Across the country, thousands of activists representing the anti-corruption Black Flags movement gathered at 260 bridges and junctions for the sixth consecutive week.


 Court extends remand of man suspected of throwing stones at anti-Netanyahu protesters in Haifa


Netanyahu's office puts a hold on lavish 'Air Force One' project

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 20:11:01 +03:00

The Prime Minister's Office has ordered work frozen on the aircraft meant to serve Israeli heads of state, Haaretz's Uri Misgav has reported in a blog post for Haaretz's Hebrew edition.

Israel Aerospace Industries has received instructions that the plane is not to be seen in flight at this time, therefore the requisite test flights before the plane is handed over to the Israel Air Force for operational use cannot be made, Misgav writes.

The decision bears the risk of laying waste to a project that has so far seen the state allocate 793 million shekels ($232.9 million). The last brief test flight was made in February. The explanation for the directive is clear: The Prime Minister's Office is worried that the cost of flying the aircraft in this sensitive and stormy economic period would spark waves of protest and criticism. Beyond this, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife are in any event unable to travel abroad at this time due to the coronavirus pandemic. Thus, the winds have changed and there seems to be no hurry to complete the project.


 Netanyahu's office puts a hold on lavish 'Air Force One' project


Israel confirms settlement affairs minister as ambassador to London

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 19:11:17 +03:00

The cabinet on Sunday approved the appointments of six new ambassadors and consuls at Israeli missions abroad, including the appointment of Settlement Affairs Minister Tzipi Hotovely as ambassador to London.

The decision made at a weekly session accepted the recommendations of the Foreign Ministry appointments committee.

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said: œThese appointments constitute a significant landmark, after a long period in which some of the posts were not filled. These are professional and experienced people who will be stationed in a number of important capitals and will help advance the diplomatic, economic and security interests of Israel in this challenging period.


 Israel confirms settlement affairs minister as ambassador to London


Apple TV+ thriller ˜Tehran' starts strong but winds up a huge disappointment

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 18:38:04 +03:00

New Israeli spy thriller œTehran was this year's TV sensation for local audiences and an affirmation of the maturity of the public broadcasting corporation, which sold the series to Apple TV+. It's a thoughtful, high-budget drama very relevant to current events and gracefully tying into subgenres and clichés.

We get a mission gone awry, an agent in distress, time running out, chases and victims, cellphones and computers. There are collaborators and traitors, a painful family story, a hostage, well-meaning declarations by inveterate rivals and a nice dismantling of gender, cultural and political stereotypes.

Despite a few contradictions that were the fault of the screenplay and the natural limitations of TV, by the end of Episode 4 overall credibility is achieved in the story line, acting and directing. Then, alas, the big trouble begins; even the mysterious real-life explosions across Iran haven't helped.


 Apple TV+ thriller ˜Tehran' starts strong but winds up a huge disappointment


Netanyahu says protests are attempt to trample democracy, calls them 'coronavirus incubators'

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 18:31:16 +03:00

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that the Israeli media is fueling the country's anti-government protests at "North Korean levels" and that the demonstrations are themselves are "an attempt to trample democracy."

Speaking at a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, the prime minister said that the media in Israel has rallied behind the protests. "They are being encouraged. They are allowed to paralyze neighborhoods, block roads, contrary to everything that was acceptable before."

He added that he condemns "the one-sidedness of most of the media," he continued. "They don't report on the protests. They take part in them."


 Netanyahu says protests are attempt to trample democracy, calls them 'coronavirus incubators'


Court orders Netanyahu's son to delete tweet doxing protest leaders

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 18:25:55 +03:00

The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court Sunday ordered the son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Yair Netanyahu, to remove a tweet in which he published the personal information of people leading the protests against his father and calling on followers to protest in front of their homes.

The judges also ordered Netanyahu to "avoid harassing in every way, shape and form" the protest leaders for six months.

On Thursday, Netanyahu tweeted: "I invite you all to protest, day and night (the High Court says it's allowed) under the homes of these people, who have organized all the anarchy in the country for us in the past few weeks," the tweet said. It included a picture of a document from the government's NGO registry, which shows the full names and other personal details of members of the anti-corruption New Contract NGO's management committee.


 Court orders Netanyahu's son to delete tweet doxing protest leaders


Syria says U.S. firm signed deal with Kurdish-led rebels to 'steal' country's crude oil

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 18:18:50 +03:00

Syria's foreign ministry said on Sunday that an American oil company had signed an agreement with Kurdish-led rebels who control northeastern oilfields in what it described as an illegal deal aimed at "stealing" Syria's crude.

A ministry statement, published on state media, did not name the firm involved in the deal with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance that seized swathes of north and east Syria from Islamic State with U.S. help.

There was no immediate response from SDF officials to a Reuters' request for comment. There was no immediate comment from U.S. officials on Sunday.


 Syria says U.S. firm signed deal with Kurdish-led rebels to 'steal' country's crude oil


Anti-Netanyahu protests have no leaders. That's why they're getting stronger

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 16:55:23 +03:00

œThanks, but no thanks, is how a number of posts over the weekend began on Facebook pages from groups identified with the recent anti-Netanyahu protests near the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem. œOver the past few days, various figures have been trying to appropriate the protest for themselves. We won't let you. Don't leave us your funding and don't leave us your messages. We won't be a protest 'under the auspices' or a protest 'on behalf of.' Stages and speakers, associations and political organizations, printed signs, politicians with statements on camera not on our backs¦. You have a message? Write it on a piece of cardboard and come.

That is apparently the closest thing to a spokesperson's statement that has come out of the wave of protests since they began and, based on conversations with prominent activists, they appear to reflect the spirit of the movement no hangers-on, no association with establishment organizations and no organized leadership that speaks on behalf of the protesters as a whole.

Protesters arrested at the recent demonstrations have been asked under interrogation to identify the people behind the scenes of the protests, but the police and the demonstrators themselves have had difficulty pointing to leaders or identifying them by name or through photos.


 Anti-Netanyahu protests have no leaders. That's why they're getting stronger


Commemorating a patriarch in a heat wave

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 15:47:35 +03:00

If ever there's an unpropitious time for a heat wave, it's probably Eid al-Adha, the Muslim holiday that began on Friday. Eid is marked by animal sacrifice in memory of the devotion of Abraham (Ibrahim), who was prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac (Ismail) to God who relented and let him slaughter a sheep instead.

The weather in the Middle East was broiling last week, and broke records in some places. On Sunday, Kuwait City is experiencing a mere 41 degrees Celsius, but reached 52 degrees Celsius (125.6 degrees Fahrenheit) last week. Note that these are absolute temperatures: in terms of œheat index (how hot it actually feels), Kuwait actually reached 56 degrees Celsius. Damascus also broke its own record at 46 degrees Celsius, while violence flared in Baghdad as the temperatures rose past 51.5 degrees Celsius around the Iraqi capital's all-time high. It isn't the kind of weather that encourages catching recalcitrant animals and feasts.

No flies on Karachi


 Commemorating a patriarch in a heat wave


In test to Netanyahu, opposition to present bill overriding High Court

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 15:27:06 +03:00

Lawmaker Ayelet Shaked of the right-wing Yamina alliance is expected to bring to a Knesset vote this week a bill that would permit the parliament to bypass High Court of Justice rulings, even though the two main coalition partners said they would not support such legislation.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud and Defense Minister Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan have agreed not to back any bill that do not concern the coronavirus crisis.

On Friday, Justice Minister and chairman of the Ministerial Committee on Legislation Avi Nissenkorn of Kahol Lavan, and his deputy on the committee, Likud lawmaker David Amsalem, announced the decision.


 In test to Netanyahu, opposition to present bill overriding High Court


Israel not planning preemptive strike against Hezbollah, army source tells Al Jazeera

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 13:25:50 +03:00

Israel has no intention of executing a preemptive strike against Lebanon's Shi'ite militant organization Hezbollah amid recent tensions along the border, an Israeli army official told Al Jazeera on Sunday.

The official was quoted as saying that "Israel does not strive for a confrontation with Hezbollah, and our top priority is preventing Iranian entrenchment in Syria," and added that Israel would "Forcefully react to any attack by Hezbollah, and its targets would also be infrastructures in Lebanon."

He added that preparedness along the border would continue "For as long as necessary." However, the Israeli army Spokesperson's Unit denied the comments and said the military was "prepared for every scenario."


 Israel not planning preemptive strike against Hezbollah, army source tells Al Jazeera


From Soros to Shakespeare 16 great books to read this summer

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 13:18:55 +03:00

There has never been a better time to get lost in a book, but that can prove harder than you think with a pandemic at the door. Six Haaretz writers select the books that are getting them through the summertime, when the living isn't easy...

OMER BENJAKOB

I've only recently made peace with audiobooks. Though still on the fence regarding consuming fiction through my ears, I've discovered that the medium works like a charm for nonfiction. Even the longest and most tedious tomes are remarkably congruous with headphones like having a history professor read you to sleep. And yes, while reading quasi-academic books by anyone who isn't Yuval Noah Harari tends to be exhausting, listening to nonfiction works can turn even the most detailed historical analysis into a thing of entertainment.


 From Soros to Shakespeare 16 great books to read this summer


CERN to tackle the greatest dark matter: Why any of us exist

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 13:02:49 +03:00

Perhaps the greatest mystery in science today is why are we here and not metaphorically.

Material existence confounds a pet theory of physics, which is that every creation of matter simultaneously creates an equal amount of antimatter, and matter and antimatter cancel each other out. But everything we observe is made of matter. Where's the antimatter?

Maybe we'll gain insight into that conundrum and many more after the CERN Council last month accepted the recommendations of its strategy-guiding committee, the European Strategy Group for Particle Physics, chaired by the celebrated physics professor Halina Abramowicz of Tel Aviv University's Faculty of Exact Sciences. 


 CERN to tackle the greatest dark matter: Why any of us exist


'No method in the madness': Israeli shop owners revolt, open despite coronavirus ban

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 10:58:12 +03:00

Many retail establishments across Israel opened their doors on Saturday despite weekend restrictions the government imposed on them as part of its battle to contain the coronavirus while keeping the economy afloat.

Police officers were in evidence in a few of these shopping areas, most of which are suburban shopping centers or in Druze and Arab towns, but they mainly focused on enforcing mask requirements.

Businesses deemed nonessential were required to close from Friday at 5 P.M. to Sunday at 5 A.M. after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided against lifting the weekend restrictions in a meeting with Health Minister Yuli Edelstein and Israel's new coronavirus czar, Prof. Ronni Gamzu, on Friday.


 'No method in the madness': Israeli shop owners revolt, open despite coronavirus ban


Palestinian Authority sees Netanyahu's annexation chances dwindling after September

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 09:06:17 +03:00

Senior Palestinian Authority officials have recently said in closed meetings that if Israel does not carry out its plan to annex territory in the West Bank by the end of September, the window of opportunity for annexation will have been narrowed.

They said that if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ends his public support for the move, talks could begin on resuming full security and economic cooperation with Israel.

A recent assessment conducted in the PA and presented to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas suggests a number of scenarios, all based on the determination that if Netanyahu and the Trump administration still intend to carry out any annexation plan, it will presumably happen between mid-August and mid-September. The assumption is that the likelihood of annexation will decline with the approach of the United Nations General Assembly in New York and the U.S. election, scheduled for September 15-20 and November 3, respectively.


 Palestinian Authority sees Netanyahu's annexation chances dwindling after September


Iran's secret anti-aircraft weapon

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 08:33:51 +03:00

Esmail Ghaani could not contain his excitement. His agents in Syria reported back to him that since the July 21 airstrike that killed Hezbollah operative Kamel Mohsen Jawad, Israel took fright and halted its aerial operations against Iranian militias and the shipment of missiles to Lebanon. Ghaani, who replaced Qasem Soleimani as the head of the Revolutionary Guards, immediately realized the opportunity he had stumbled upon.

In a situation analysis he held two days ago with senior Al-Quds Force officers, he stated: Since the killing of the martyr Jawad, the Zionists have stopped bombing us. Out of fear of Nasrallah's revenge, they've sent massive forces to their northern border, and their army is on high alert. Today, when a cell of our Lebanese brothers attacked one of their positions on Jabel Ros (Har Dov), the Zionists let them retreat unharmed. This, by the way, was a decision made by their prime minister.

Since their expulsion from Lebanon in 2000 and then in 2006, they have not solved the equation of deterrence posed by Hassan Nasrallah. For any harm inflicted on a member of Hezbollah there is a painful reprisal. The Jews, worried about any harm to their soldiers, stopped attacking his people, thereby losing strategic maneuvering room. This is how we should exploit the panic that gripped them again this time: Every vehicle carrying accurate missiles to Lebanon should be accompanied by a Hezbollah fighter. This is the most effective anti-aircraft weapon we have against the Zionist air force.


 Iran's secret anti-aircraft weapon


Twelve anti-Netanyahu protesters arrested at thousands-strong rally outside PM's residence

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 08:15:55 +03:00

Police arrested 12 people as thousands gathered Saturday evening outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's official residence in Jerusalem, his private home in Caesarea and junctions throughout the country in the latest wave of protests calling for his resignation.  

Some 10,000 people protested near the prime minister's official residence in Jerusalem and began marching toward the city center.

The protest and march were approved by the Israel Police, saying they will not tolerate any disturbances of the public order. Last week, five protesters were injured after being attacked by far-right counter demonstrators. 


 Twelve anti-Netanyahu protesters arrested at thousands-strong rally outside PM's residence


Netanyahu is driving without brakes til the bitter end

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 06:27:00 +03:00

On those few occasions when Israel's prime minister speaks without  reading a prepared text from a teleprompter, people get a rare peek at the depths of his mind. Social Equality Minister Meirav Cohen managed last week to find and open the door to Benjamin Netanyahu's secret inner world. A real Kahol Lavan version of Ali Baba.

All Cohen did was ask why were there no women in the new coronavirus cabinet. Imagine her surprise when she realized that the magic key had fallen into her hands, the œopen sesame to the gate of Netanyahu's mind. œWhen I travel at night and there's a red light, I don't always think that it's logical, but that's the way it is, he replied.

The first thing that popped into my head when I tried to understand the meaning of the association between a woman and a red traffic light at night is that Netanyahu had confused a red light with menstruation, as the words sound similar in Hebrew. I thought about niddah the impure woman about his attitude toward women. About his wife, his mother, his daughter, other women. I thought about emasculation.


 Netanyahu is driving without brakes til the bitter end


Just one picture

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 05:59:19 +03:00

The charade according to which the incitement and violence are taking place œon both sides has reached absurd heights. During a week in which right-wing thugs assaulted anti-government protesters with fists, broken glass bottles and pepper spray, and sent threats on social media, the police has found time to pay a house call on a citizen who shared an unflattering news photo of the prime minister.

On Thursday, a man from the Tel Aviv suburb of Givatayim posted an old photograph of Benjamin Netanyahu raising his arm in the air in a gesture suggestive of a Nazi salute. In response, a police officer came to the man's home and ordered him to delete the image on grounds that it constitutes incitement - despite having no authority to do so. The police are not authorized to determine whether something constitutes incitement, much less to order someone to remove content from the internet. Such a move requires the approval of prosecutors.

The incident was not only an example of a dangerous overstep of authority, political persecution and violation of freedom of expression. It exposed a serious lack of judgment on the part of the police. By way of comparison: On Friday, activists from the far-right Beitar Jerusalem soccer team fan club La Familia assaulted a Channel 13 news team. La Familia posted messages on social media detailing their plans to be at the protest, and nevertheless it seems the police can't manage to be at the place and time of these attacks in order to prevent them. Yet a police officer went to the Givatayim home of a man who posted a photo of Netanyahu shortly after it happened, and even threatened him with interrogation. The man's efforts to explain that the image was genuine, taken by Haaretz photographer Alex Levac at a Likud party convention some 30 years ago and currently on display as part of a solo exhibition of his work, were for naught.


 Just one picture


A crumbling Lebanon demands a lifeline, not war, and Hezbollah may have to change course

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 04:58:46 +03:00

œHelp us help you, dammit, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian urged during a state visit to Lebanon last week. But the word œhelp means one thing in Lebanon and another in France.

Le Drian left his diplomatic lexicon in Paris and didn't refrain from castigating the Lebanese government, which has proven incapable of reaching an agreement on the vital economic measures needed to save the country from the deep crisis in which it has been mired for months.

œI can say clearly that what has been done until now in this field is not encouraging, Le Drian scolded. œWhat is striking to us is how passive the authorities of this country are.


 A crumbling Lebanon demands a lifeline, not war, and Hezbollah may have to change course


Leave the violence to those on the right

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 03:42:37 +03:00

Benjamin Netanyahu and his confidants have been busy for the past few months crafting a narrative: The prime minister's political rivals are inciting against him and plan to hurt him physically. As part of the effort to reinforce this argument, the most protected person in the country who is also one of the most protected leaders in the world filed a complaint with the police against individuals who posted calls to use violence against him on social media. Some of these calls barely received any attention until Netanyahu excavated them from the depths of Facebook and shared them with his millions of followers.

Even though this was a cynical political maneuver, aimed at portraying Netanyahu as a victim, there is a disturbing kernel of truth in it that needs to be addressed honestly. Over the past year, the public conversation among Netanyahu's opponents has been radicalized. The political crisis and the three general elections in succession, the indictments and Netanyahu's verbal attacks on law enforcement and the institutions of the state and democracy have contributed to this. But what contributed the most was the egregious and methodical incitement campaign he has been waging for years against his political opponents and their voters.

Israeli leftists and liberals feel persecuted in their own state, political orphans. They are subject to threats, slander on social media and even physical assault by right-wingers as we have seen in past weeks and in more than a few cases, their livelihoods have been in danger due to their political views.


 Leave the violence to those on the right


He incites, they agitate, and we weep

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 02:58:59 +03:00

1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

The Likudniks' delicate souls couldn't comprehend it. They rose up against œThe Last Supper installation in Rabin Square. Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz determined that it is œnot art; apparently he knows something about the field. He subsequently said that the sculpture condemns the prime minister to death. Where did he get that?

Transportation Minister Miri Regev went a step further: œThis is not incitement but a call for action. And Minister for Cyber and National Digital Matters David Amsalem said: œIf Netanyahu were to go out into the street, they would shoot him. Does he remember who shot whom 25 years ago?


 He incites, they agitate, and we weep


An exercise in self-awareness for Israel's very own Gantz

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 02:16:11 +03:00

Benny Gantz is Israel's most middle-of-the-road politician. It's hard to think of a figure who better represents the middle: The œthis, and that too; the œon the one hand and on the other, the officers' neighborhood in Rosh Ha'ayin, the belly button of Israel. True, his reputation did a nose-dive in the eyes of many by joining the government, but he was and remains the voice of Israel, a mother's voice. Gantz is the pinnacle of Israeli dreams to be strong and right, cruel and humane, an occupier and enlightened, democratic and tyrannical, both light and darkness unto the gentiles, the greatest there is, bro. Gantz is our ego and our alter-ego, Jekyll and Hyde, the way we love to be. He's a clear example of an Israeli lack of self-awareness. Israel has an alternate prime minister in its image.It's not Gantz. It's everyone.

Gantz said that he's against violence. That was encouraging. Who is for violence, especially in Israel? A democratic, peace-loving nation, of course it is against violence. No people in the world is for violence. Gantz is for freedom to protest and against anarchy. œI very much respect them. But in places where I see them starting fires, smashing things, throwing glass, all kinds of things like that¦somebody's walking down the street, grabs a stone and breaks a glass wall in a bank, to me that's an anarchist¦those are things I will not accept¦I simply do not accept violence from any side, Mahatma Gantz told Radio FM 103. He doesn't accept any violence. On any side. He's sensitive, when he sees glass breaking he's shocked.

Shortly thereafter, speaking elsewhere, almost in the same breath, the same Gantz thundered from military headquarters in the Kirya in Tel Aviv: œLebanon and Syria will bear painful responsibility for any terrorism that comes from their territory. Any act against Israel will be met with a powerful, sharp and painful response. The leopard changed his spots. Suddenly he is in favor of violence, powerful, sharp and painful. Now it's not a stone through the wall of a bank. Now he's threatening that the Israeli army will destroy infrastructure, the way he knows how to. œWe know already how to strike in Lebanon, said the pacifist of just a moment ago, with a boastful gesture showing how easy it is to him. Jekyll transforming into Hyde; Gandhi to Gantz. In the blink of an eye.


 An exercise in self-awareness for Israel's very own Gantz


Collection of old letters tell of love and longing in Israel's early years

Sun, 2 Aug 2020 01:02:45 +03:00

œWill you not understand, my dear, that the length of my life is not normal¦Will you walk by my side in this hard life? Think well before you decide.

These moving words were written by Michael Ashbel, of the Israeli pre-state underground military force Etzel, to his love, Bilha. He sent the letter from the British prison where he was held after taking part in an attack on a British military camp in Tzrifin (then Sarafand) in 1946.

œI have been alone long enough, and now I want to walk on the road of my life with you at my side¦and when I leave for work, your kiss will accompany me. And I want a warm heart to wait for me when I return for lunch. Can you understand this feeling?


 Collection of old letters tell of love and longing in Israel's early years


Haaretz cartoon

Sat, 1 Aug 2020 23:52:23 +03:00

 Haaretz cartoon


Egypt says Turkish seismic survey plans could encroach on its waters

Sat, 1 Aug 2020 23:41:11 +03:00

Egypt said on Saturday that part of a seismic survey planned by Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean potentially encroached on waters where Cairo claims exclusive rights.

An advisory issued last month by Turkey for the survey overlaps with Egypt's exclusive economic zone (EEZ), constituting "a violation and an attack on Egypt's sovereign rights", the Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement.

It did not give details, but said the potential encroachment came under point eight of Turkey's advisory.


 Egypt says Turkish seismic survey plans could encroach on its waters


Israelis from San Francisco to Berlin join anti-Netanyahu protests

Sat, 1 Aug 2020 18:23:24 +03:00

A group of 150 Israeli expats gathered on Friday evening next to San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge to protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the first of a series of demonstrations set to take place this weekend in the United States and Europe.

Protesters in San Francisco held signs that were almost all in Hebrew, as well as Israeli and black flags representing the Black Flags movement calling for the prime minister's resignation.

Other protests are slated to take place in New York City, London and Berlin. The organizers of the San Francisco rally said they knew of more organizing efforts in Los Angeles, Seattle and other U.S. cities.


 Israelis from San Francisco to Berlin join anti-Netanyahu protests


When Ariel Sharon took Gideon Levy to Gaza to convince him that disengagement is a mistake

Sat, 1 Aug 2020 17:28:22 +03:00

We arranged to meet early that morning at the ranch. The secretary told me to turn left after the PazChem Fine Chemicals sign. Waze wasn't even a dream back then, nor did anyone dream of leaving the Gaza Strip then, either. After breakfast in Lily's kitchen, Arik took me to the bedroom balcony, on the second floor, to show me the vine tangled around its metalwork, from which he picked a cluster of grapes every morning during the season and brought them to Lily in bed or so he related.

It was a November day in 1989, and I don't remember whether there were still clusters on the vine, but the story of the grapes worked its spell, indelibly. As has often been recounted, Lily and Ariel Sharon were warm and gracious hosts, and my impressions from a few visits to their Sycamore Ranch in the Negev are etched upon my heart. There was something intoxicating, bedazzling about them.

My trip with Sharon to the Gaza Strip that same day is another unforgettable memory. The then-minister of industry and commerce called to suggest we visit the Strip, to try to persuade me that the Israeli presence there must remain forever.


 When Ariel Sharon took Gideon Levy to Gaza to convince him that disengagement is a mistake


Algorithms can help fight COVID-19. But at what cost?

Sat, 1 Aug 2020 15:06:36 +03:00

This past spring, as billions of people languished at home under lockdown and stared at gloomy graphs, Linda Wang and Alexander Wong, scientists at DarwinAI, a Canadian startup that works in the field of artificial intelligence, took advantage of their enforced break: In collaboration with the University of Waterloo, they helped develop a tool to detect COVID-19 infection by means of X-rays. Using a database of thousands of images of lungs, COVID-Net as they called the open-access artificial neural network can detect with 91 percent certainty who is ill with the virus.

In the past, we would undoubtedly have been suspicious of, or at least surprised by, a young company (DarwinAI was established in 2018) with no connection to radiology, having devised such an ambitious tool within mere weeks. But these days, we know it can be done. Networks that draw on an analysis of visual data using a technique known as œdeep learning can, with relative flexibility, adapt themselves to decipher any type of image and provide results that often surpass those obtained by expert radiologists.

œThey should stop training radiologists now, Geoffrey Hinton, one of the fathers of deep learning and a highly opinionated scientist, asserted. œI think that if you work as a radiologist, you are like Wile E. Coyote in the cartoon," he told The New Yorker in 2017. You're already over the edge of the cliff, but you haven't yet looked down. There's no ground underneath. 


 Algorithms can help fight COVID-19. But at what cost?


The Israeli company that has come as close as possible to the sun

Sat, 1 Aug 2020 09:07:35 +03:00

In mid-June, when Education Minister Yoav Gallant was threatening teachers with restraining orders (if they refused to work during the summer) and then-Health Ministry director general Moshe Bar Siman Tov warned against a second wave of the coronavirus in Israel, a spacecraft the size of a minivan was on a bold journey.

The European Space Agency's Solar Orbiter was photographing the sun from a distance of 77 million kilometers (about 48 million miles) approximately half the distance between the sun and Earth. The images the closest ever taken of the sun revealed a previously unknown phenomenon: The sun's surface turns out to be covered with miniature solar flares, which the scientists quickly dubbed œcampfires. But no less impressive is the fact that the computer that operated the spacecraft's camera was manufactured in the industrial zone aka œstartup village of Yokne'am, a town in Lower Galilee.

The company behind the computer is Ramon.Space, the great Israeli hope in the œNew Space revolution that is, the privatization of the space sector. In the past few years, the semiconductor chips produced by the Israeli company have reached halfway to the sun, in the ESA's Solar Orbiter; gone to the moon, in the first Israeli spacecraft (the SpaceIL Beresheet Lander, 2019); Mars, taken part in the ExoMars project of the European and Russian space agencies; and participated in the Hayabusa2 asteroid sample-return mission of the Japanese space agency. Next year, Ramon.Space chips will be launched to the Jupiter moons Ganymede, Callisto and Europa as part of the search for signs of life beneath the planet's ice cover.


 The Israeli company that has come as close as possible to the sun


Hezbollah failed to attack Israel, but made one significant achievement

Sat, 1 Aug 2020 07:36:42 +03:00

Kamal Mohsen Jawad, the Lebanese fighter whose death in a Damascus bombing raid sparked the current tension on Israel's northern border, was not exactly a rising star in the Hezbollah firmament. Jawad, who hailed from the South Lebanon village of Itit, had served in the Shi'ite organization in the past. But a few years ago he was loaned to the relief bureau, a subunit of the Lebanon Corps in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

The two Lebanese who were killed a year ago in an Israeli attack in Syria which triggered tension between the sides last August had followed a similar track. All in all, Hezbollah apparently does not loan its outstanding people to the Iranians, but rather those it can get along without. But in their death they are reclaimed by the organization, and the secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah, heaps the appropriate honors on them.

Jawad was originally given a specific assignment in the Revolutionary Guards, having to do with regularizing arms smuggling from Iran to Lebanon via Syria. When that proved difficult for him, he was reassigned. Which, it would seem, is how he found himself, in the early hours of July 21, at a site that was bombed at Damascus' international airport. Jawad was sitting with drivers of the Iranian unit when he was killed. The target of the attack was probably combat materiel destined for Lebanon.


 Hezbollah failed to attack Israel, but made one significant achievement


Three charged with hacking Obama and other celebrities' Twitter accounts

Sat, 1 Aug 2020 00:43:21 +03:00

A 17-year-old Florida boy masterminded the hacking of celebrity accounts on Twitter Inc, including those of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk, officials said on Friday.

A 19-year-old British man and a 22-year-old man in Orlando, Florida were also charged under U.S. federal law with aiding the attack, the Justice Department said.

A Florida prosecutor identified the 17-year-old as Graham Clark of Tampa and charged him as an adult with 30 felony counts of fraud.


 Three charged with hacking Obama and other celebrities' Twitter accounts


As anti-Netanyahu protests ramp up, women take charge

Sat, 1 Aug 2020 00:04:05 +03:00

œYou have the face of a leftist, shouted a man demonstrating in support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem a week ago. He was addressing Leah Tonic, who was protesting against the prime minister.

When Tonic got closer to the man, he yelled in disgust: œYou have hair under your arms! The young woman kept her cool and responded: œSo what? You have hair on your face.

Her response drew a barrage of violent curses from the man, and before her friends had time to call for the police, Tonic decided to defend herself. She lifted up her skirt, took off her underwear and gave the man a lesson on the wonders of the human body.


 As anti-Netanyahu protests ramp up, women take charge


Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wins death penalty appeal

Fri, 31 Jul 2020 23:48:18 +03:00

A federal appeals court on Friday overturned Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's death sentence for helping carry out the 2013 attack, which killed three people and wounded more than 260 others.

Tsarnaev and his older brother set off a pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line of the world-renowned race, tearing through the packed crowd and causing many people to lose legs.

A three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld much of Tsarnaev's conviction but ordered a new trial over what sentence Tsarnaev should receive for the death penalty-eligible crimes he was convicted of.


 Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wins death penalty appeal


Iraqi prime minister calls early election, accepting anti-government protesters' key demand

Fri, 31 Jul 2020 22:25:39 +03:00

Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Friday called an early general election for June 6, 2021, roughly a year ahead of when it would normally be held.

Early elections are a key demand of Iraqi anti-government protesters who staged months of mass demonstrations last year and were killed in their hundreds by security forces and gunmen suspected of links to militia groups.

Iraq's parliament must still ratify the election date.


 Iraqi prime minister calls early election, accepting anti-government protesters' key demand


Court hears of 'extremely unreasonable' decisions by Netanyahu associates in submarine affair

Fri, 31 Jul 2020 22:13:36 +03:00

Dozens of Israeli defense officials told the High Court of Justice the purchase of submarines and missile boats from German industrial group ThyssenKrupp was unnecessary, contradicting claims made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his associates. The officials' statements, filed by the court following a petition calling to reopen an investigation into alleged corruption in the so-called œsubmarine affair, were revealed on Friday by Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. They reinforce the claim that Netanyahu and his associates made decisions that were contrary to the defense establishment's needs, pointing to pressure exerted by the prime minister to promote the huge deal.

The œsubmarine affair deals with negotiations between Israel and ThyseenKrupp about five years ago, focusing on two deals in particular: one regarding the 1.5-billion-euro purchase of three submarines, and the other a 430-million-euro purchase of missile boats intended to defend Israel's offshore natural gas drilling rigs. Senior military officials, public servants and other officials connected to Netanyahu are suspected of demanding and taking bribes for promoting these deals.

The Yedioth Ahronoth report details dozens of statements by senior figures who attest to a strong stance at the time in the Israel Defense Forces and the greater defense establishment against purchasing more submarines. œDecisions were made in a very hurried fashion, in a way that contradicts existing data and professional work, one official is quoted telling the court. He also spoke of œPersonal involvement of business figures, and compliance with œUnreasonable demands set by the prime minister himself, partially rooted in the greed of figures in close contact with decision-makers.


 Court hears of 'extremely unreasonable' decisions by Netanyahu associates in submarine affair


Chasing down Palestinians, threatening anti-Netanyahu protesters: A night with far-right group

Fri, 31 Jul 2020 21:28:36 +03:00

Thursday evening in Jerusalem started out as a celebration, as is normally the case at the end of the Jewish fast of Tisha B'av. Many came out to Hatachana outdoor mall complex to grab some food and have a good time, and perhaps to enjoy the live band that was playing.

But at the entrance to the complex, an unusual scene erupted. About 80 members of the far-right extremist group La Familia, composed of fans of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team, gathered in order to show œleftist wimps that the œrules of the game have changed, according to invites shared on social media, ahead of a planned protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The La Familia activists' average age was 16. Most of them wore all black, some covered their faces, with the initials LF embroidered in bright yellow on their masks, caps and shirts. One of them, a soldier, wore an olive green shirt and was bearing a military rifle.


 Chasing down Palestinians, threatening anti-Netanyahu protesters: A night with far-right group


They're brainless, they terrorize beachgoers and they may be able to help humanity

Fri, 31 Jul 2020 20:16:47 +03:00

The 10 brave Israelis who boarded a ship in the Mediterranean Sea one day about two weeks ago, knew what they were getting into: Most of them were likely to come back with painful burns. Actually, that was even one of their unofficial aims: to examine different methods for treating jellyfish stings. One of the leaders of the maritime excursion, Prof. Dror Angel, a marine ecologist from the University of Haifa, said he was taking aboard œliters of vinegar, in order to examine if and how vinegar helps people who are stung by different jellyfish.

That was not the only purpose of the jellyfish-study excursion organized by EcoOcean, an organization that promotes preservation of Israel's coastal and maritime environments. œThe sea was calm and convenient, and we had the feeling that the jellyfish were cooperating with us, says doctoral student Hila Dror, who was involved in one of five studies carried out by the researchers on board. œWe brought a few of them on deck very easily, and we worked with them as if they were on a conveyor belt. First, we measured and weighed each specimen. Then we analyzed their stomach contents to understand what they eat.

Dror herself took a tissue sample from each jellyfish (to build a genetic database), other researchers examined the creatures' sexual organs (to understand the proportion of males and females in a swarm) and still others focused on their sensory organs (to figure out their age). For Dror, the major success of the day involved extracting jellyfish mucus all in the name of science, of course. œSomething like half a liter of mucus was extracted from each jellyfish, which is a lot, she says. œI collected it all and put it into deep freeze.


 They're brainless, they terrorize beachgoers and they may be able to help humanity


The biggest anarchist on Balfour Street

Fri, 31 Jul 2020 20:16:11 +03:00

The Encyclopedia Britannica defines anarchism as a œcluster of doctrines and attitudes centered on the belief that government is both harmful and unnecessary. There is one person who clearly embodies this worldview in Israel: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Nobody does more damage than he to the legitimacy of the regime and its institutions. Nobody has caused greater destruction to the government, Knesset, political parties, army and law enforcement more than he has.

Left-wing activist Jonathan Pollak and his peers at the protests in the West Bank village of Bil'in will have to forgive me, and the anarchists of the œJerusalem faction of ultra-Orthodox Jews will have to as well, but they can only be jealous of the man from Balfour Street who has trampled the national flag even more than they have and with greater success.

It's no surprise that Netanyahu and members of his court are calling those who protest against them œanarchists. The encyclopedia says that political rivals called each other this back in the days of the French Revolution. But in Israel of 2020, the protest is in reverse: The protesters want a strong state and not to be free of authority or of the rule of law and order. They want the prime minister to face his criminal trial the same as any other citizen would, for the government to take care of the unemployed and of the businesses that have gone under during the coronavirus crisis, for enforcement of social-distancing regulations to be transparent and made clear to the public at large.


 The biggest anarchist on Balfour Street


Israeli charged with murder of his wife in front of 5-year-old daughter

Fri, 31 Jul 2020 19:26:56 +03:00

An man from the Israeli Arab town of Taibeh was indicted on Friday in the murder of his wife in front of his young daughter earlier this month. The prosecution charged Ayman Masarwa with aggravated murder and disrupting legal proceedings

The prosecution had ample evidence against Masarwa: In all of his testimony to police, he confirmed that he was at the scene of the murder, as well as the attack on his wife, Wafa Johar, and her stabbing. The prosecution even relied on the testimony of Masarwa's 5-year-old daughter, who witnessed the attack.

According to Haaretz's tally, 12 women were murdered this year by their partners or close family. Since the start of the year, eight Israeli Arab women have been murdered, according to community organization Abraham Initiatives.


 Israeli charged with murder of his wife in front of 5-year-old daughter


In first for Israel, Tel Aviv to discuss city plan for climate crisis

Fri, 31 Jul 2020 18:57:40 +03:00

The Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality will discuss next week the first climate change plan ever drafted by an Israeli municipality. The report contains recommendations for steps the municipality can take to cope with anticipated scenarios, in which global warming results in a growing number of extreme heat waves and winter floods.

The recommendations include cutting down fewer trees in the city, setting up residential centers with air conditioning to house people during extreme heat waves and increasing the amount of land where rainwater can drain into the ground to reduce severe flooding. The plan comes after Tel Aviv experienced severe flooding in January that resulted in two deaths. 

The plan, which is slated to be implemented by 2030, was drafted after Tel Aviv joined C40, a global network of cities preparing for climate change. It was prepared by the municipality's Environment and Sustainability Authority following consultations with experts in the climate, vegetation and drainage fields, including those from New York's Columbia University. During the drafting process, municipal employees and representatives of some cabinet ministries were briefed by the Climate Adaptation Academy in Rotterdam, which was set up by C40.


 In first for Israel, Tel Aviv to discuss city plan for climate crisis


Coronavirus in Israel: Shop owners say they plan to defy weekend restrictions

Fri, 31 Jul 2020 18:39:22 +03:00

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Israel and the West Bank are dealing with a renewed outbreak of the coronavirus, leading to proposals and measures intended to curb its spread and mitigate the economic ramifications of the crisis by both Israeli and Palestinian authorities.

70,970 people in Israel have so far tested positive for the coronavirus; 512 people have died. 


 Coronavirus in Israel: Shop owners say they plan to defy weekend restrictions






US  US NO






Peace demonstrations in the US October 26-28 2007
29.10 - 2007

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Large number of US citizens demonstrated against the war in Iraq (and the possible war in Iran) during this October weekend. Massive turnout in Boston and San Fransisco, and also in Chicago, LA and DC people took to the streets.
The message was: NO more war in Iraq! NO to a war with Iran!