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Ha'aretz
Time: Sun, 09.19.2021 10:26 PM Local file generated: Sun, 09.19.2021 09:15 PM
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Netanyahu suggests Biden fell asleep meeting Bennett in Facebook video

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 23:09:14 +03:00

Israel's former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested in a Facebook video posted on Sunday that U.S. President Joe Biden had fallen asleep when meeting the new Israeli leader Naftali Bennett last month.

A Reuters fact check previously debunked the idea that Biden dozed off, after social media users shared a video clip of the U.S. president that they said showed him looking down and nodding off as Bennett spoke in the Oval Office.

The clip that was shared around was misleadingly cropped, according to the Reuters fact check. Seconds after the clip was cut, longer footage showed Biden responded to Bennett.


 Netanyahu suggests Biden fell asleep meeting Bennett in Facebook video


Palestinians married to Israeli residents to get cheaper health insurance

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 22:39:56 +03:00

Palestinians who are married to Israeli permanent residents and live in Israel will no longer have to pay thousands of shekels for health insurance. Instead, they will get insurance on the same terms as Palestinians married to Israeli citizens.

Until now, Palestinians married to permanent residents had to pay the government 285 shekels ($89) a month for 27 months to become eligible for the national health insurance program. In contrast, Palestinians married to Israeli citizens had to pay that monthly fee for only six months.

The National Health Insurance Law explicitly covers both citizens and permanent residents, but also authorizes the government to expand coverage to additional groups if it desires. This provision has been used to expand coverage to Palestinians married to Israeli citizens or permanent residents. But the conditions set for eligibility have prevented most Palestinians from obtaining coverage in practice.


 Palestinians married to Israeli residents to get cheaper health insurance


Israeli military to reprimand officer filmed assaulting left-wing activists in the West Bank

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 22:02:30 +03:00

An officer filmed assaulting Israeli and Palestinian left-wing activists will be reprimanded following a military investigation, the Israel Defense Forces said Sunday.

The military concluded in the investigation that the officer "erred and acted in a manner that was not truly necessary and is not compatible with IDF norms."

During the incident in the South Hebron Hills on Friday, soldiers were filmed assaulting several Israeli and Palestinian activists who were bringing a water tank to an isolated Palestinian community, wounding some of them. The military said the activists had attempted to block the entrance to an unauthorized settlement outpost and attacked soldiers.


 Israeli military to reprimand officer filmed assaulting left-wing activists in the West Bank


The alleged abductors of little Eitan Biran don't deserve our compassion

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 20:15:13 +03:00

The woeful story of 6-year-old Eitan Biran, who lost his parents, brother and great-grandparents in a cable car accident in Italy in May, is clearly riveting, moving and heartbreakingly sad. But in the name of milking this tragedy, over the weekend the two main Israeli commercial news channels conducted empathetic interviews with people who do not deserve even a grain of understanding the Peleg family, who allegedly abducted Eitan from his aunt's house in Italy.

On Friday, Channel 12 News interviewed the alleged abductor, Eitan's grandfather, under the headline œSavoir or abductor. This ridiculous question was not seriously addressed even in the interview itself. On Saturday Channel 13 News featured another interview, this time with the grandmother, Eti Peleg, the grandfather's ex-wife, and her daughter Gali, who wants custody of Eitan. The interview was billed as an œexclusive, somewhat ridiculous considering that all the story has been all over the news for a week now; clearly the family of Eitan's mother very much wants for people to recognize their justification and therefore conducted interviews on every possible platform.

The Channel 13 interviewer didn't ask Eti Peleg why Eitan had to be taken without coordinating it with his aunt; what was so urgent. Peleg, in an impressive and particularly infuriating pretense of innocence, claimed that she didn't know the grandfather was going to abduct Eitan, but she didn't express her opposition to it. On the contrary, she defended her ex-husband. œThis is his home, Israel. Judaism. This is what he knew¦ Eitan was raised in an Israeli-Jewish home. They spoke Hebrew. They did Shabbat, there were Shabbat dinners. They spent between two and three months every year in Israel.


 The alleged abductors of little Eitan Biran don't deserve our compassion


Bennett taps new head of Israel's public diplomacy and media, after 7 years of vacancy

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 20:03:54 +03:00

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett named Elad Tene, vice president and head of digital content at the Kan public broadcaster, as the new head of Israel's public diplomacy efforts a position that has been vacant since 2015.

The Prime Minister's Office said Sunday that the appointment would be brought before the cabinet for approval in a forthcoming meeting.

The Public Diplomacy Directorate is a division within the Prime Minister's Office responsible for Israel's efforts to explain and defend its policies to the world.


 Bennett taps new head of Israel's public diplomacy and media, after 7 years of vacancy


'Israel was born in sin. I'm collaborating with a criminal country,' says former PM's son

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 19:35:08 +03:00

At the end of a series of meetings with Yaakov œKobi Sharett, after a total of about ten hours of interviews, with some chutzpah I asked him the obvious question. I wanted to know if he was sure that what he was saying, was said with a clear, considered mind. Sharett, who recently entered his 95th year, smiled and nodded, yes.

Yaakov Sharett, the son of Israel's first foreign minister and second prime minister, Moshe Sharett, feels no need to mince his words. He is sharp, incisive and precise and wants to send to the readers a message that is hard to digest.

The son of the man who signed Israel's Declaration of Independence in 1948 is ending his days as an anti-Zionist who opposes aliyah and encourages emigration from Israel, predicts dark days for the country. He even supports the Iranian nuclear program.


 'Israel was born in sin. I'm collaborating with a criminal country,' says former PM's son


Israel captured the Palestinian fugitives without collateral damage. This may quell West Bank violence

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 19:25:58 +03:00

The Palestinian jailbreak affair that rocked Israel in the past two weeks came to an end on Sunday morning after the last two fugitives were arrested in the West Bank city of Jenin. As was the case in the capture of the two previous pairs of prisoners about a week ago, the security forces operated impeccably: The fugitives were returned to prison alive and well, and no other person was harmed during the search. That is the surest way to calm the atmosphere in the territories, after there was genuine fear that the success of the escape would inspire terror attacks in the West Bank and perhaps even lead indirectly to a renewed escalation in the Gaza Strip.

The realization that the fifth prisoner was in the Jenin area had already begun to dawn last week. When the prisoner crossed into the West Bank, he was caught on one of the cameras placed along the much-breached separation barrier. At a later stage, the film was cross-referenced with additional information, which determined with certainty that he was in Jenin.

Later it turned out that the sixth prisoner was also there, and that the two were most likely hiding inside the refugee camp in the city. There was tight intelligence surveillance by the Shin Bet security service and the Israel Defense Forces intelligence units, in the hope that the escapees would make mistakes and reveal their precise location. The Police Special Anti-Terror Unit was placed on alert for several days, until the decision to activate it on Saturday night.


 Israel captured the Palestinian fugitives without collateral damage. This may quell West Bank violence


Meet Israel's new nomads

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 18:38:59 +03:00

They've been living in the same home for two years. But every ten days or so, the view changes, says Noa Bouzana. œWhen our water tank runs out it's time to move on, she says. Bouzana, 39, lives in a mobile home with her 8-year-old daughter Shai and her partner, Dotan Barzilai, 40.

Two years ago, the Barzilai-Bouzana family decided to ditch monthly rent for concrete walls, give up their car, abandon any possessions that wouldn't fit into 12 square meters of space, dismiss fear and emotional baggage, and embark on a new, minimalist way.

œThe big thoughts that preoccupy us are where we'll eat today, where we'll go and how we'll spend our time together as a family, Bouzana continued. œAround once every two weeks, when we change location, that's the time to shop, run errands, get more sawdust for the composting toilet and make repairs if needed. The day we feel that this no longer suits us, or that Shai wants to go to school with a teacher and after-school clubs and friends who aren't only on Zoom or in the neighboring mobile homes, we'll change, she added.


 Meet Israel's new nomads


Israel's ˜real' national baseball team is a game away from the European title

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 18:14:54 +03:00

Israel's national baseball team plays the Netherlands Sunday night in the final of the European championship, the blue and white's first trip to the big game and a major achievement in more ways than one.

Ostensibly, this is the same team that represented Israel in the Tokyo Olympics this summer. But in reality, only a handful of players who were in Tokyo will step onto the field in Italy.

Israel's Olympic roster was comprised almost entirely of Jewish Americans who were naturalized especially for the Games. After the Olympics, most of them returned to the United States, apparently finished with their job representing the blue and white.


 Israel's ˜real' national baseball team is a game away from the European title


West Bank Palestinians surprised as jailbreakers' manhunt ends in relative ease

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 17:56:07 +03:00

Residents of Jenin are used to waking up at night to the sound of shooting and explosions when an arrest takes place in their city or in the adjacent refugee camp. But on Sundayת they slept soundly through the night only to be wakened by the surprising news that two prisoners who escaped from Gilboa Prison were arrested in the city with barely any resistance.

Many in the West Bank were afraid during the past two weeks that they would be forced to bear the consequences of the escape of the prisoners, with Israeli security forces holding extensive searches for them. The same was true in Jenin. Since the escape there has been intensive movement of Israeli security forces on the perimeter of the city and in the surrounding villages.

In recent days residents reported that forces in the city and the refugee camp had been reinforced and that activity in the area had intensified. œDuring the night, military vehicles entered from several directions, so that it was difficult to understand where they would focus their activity. It was clear there was an incident, but we didn't know exactly where, said a relative of Iham Kahamji, one of the prisoners who was recaptured on Sunday.


 West Bank Palestinians surprised as jailbreakers' manhunt ends in relative ease


˜U.S. is months behind Israel': top COVID experts explain FDA's booster decision

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 16:48:05 +03:00

Israel's top COVID-19 experts say that they view the Food and Drug Administration advisory panel's decision to recommend vaccine booster shots only for Americans over the age of 65 or those in specific risk groups as a vindication of their own country's massive inoculation campaign.

Israel was the first country in the world to begin a widespread booster shot campaign this summer, and Israeli data was used during the FDA panel's deliberations. Yet while Israel is now offering the booster shot to anyone over the age of 12, the advisory committee decided to limit it to specific high-risk populations for now.

Leading experts in Israel have said over the past two days that they view the American panel's recommendation as an acknowledgment that conditions differ between the two countries. œThe FDA in principle confirmed that the third dose is safe, said Prof. Nadav Davidovitch, director of the School of Public Health at Ben-Gurion University of the Desert, Be'er Sheva, and head of the Israeli Association of Public Health Physicians.


 ˜U.S. is months behind Israel': top COVID experts explain FDA's booster decision


Biden sent Egypt a message on human rights. These Democrats want more

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 16:44:37 +03:00

WASHINGTON The Biden administration is trying to send a message to both Egypt and the Democratic Party by partially withholding and restricting a portion of military aid to Cairo.

Democrats in Congress, however, describe the move as a half measure that does not adequately stress human rights in U.S. foreign policy.

In its message to Cairo, the administration is not expected to provide blanket approval of $300 million in military aid via a national security waiver, which previous administrations used, because Egypt has failed to meet human rights conditions attached to the aid by Congress.


 Biden sent Egypt a message on human rights. These Democrats want more


'Just hit Gaza harder': No end in sight for Israel's collective punishment of two million Palestinian civilians

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 16:15:05 +03:00

The expression that if all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail applies to Israel's relationship with Gaza with tragic accuracy. Successive Israeli governments continue to pretend that if they just hit Gaza harder, they'll get what they want. 

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid's speech at Reichman University in Herzliya last Sunday revealed that this current government is no exception. 

Israel, which often claims that it ˜left Gaza' during the 2005 disengagement, has actually been enforcing a strict closure on the territory and has rained four major military campaigns as well as hundreds of more minor raids on the Strip, not to mention near nightly air and drone sorties, and attacks on Palestinian fishermen and farmers.


 'Just hit Gaza harder': No end in sight for Israel's collective punishment of two million Palestinian civilians


Why the world's most ancient terrain hasn't changed in 2 million years

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 15:58:23 +03:00

Everyone knows that you can't step into the same river twice, but technically it's also impossible to step on the same ground twice. œThe earth turns over, Israeli poet Yona Wallach wrote, œand that is a condition / and it's not a metaphor. But there is earth that hasn't turned over for almost two million years: the Paran Plains. Yes, it turns out that the Paran Plains, in the Negev desert, are the site of the oldest land on our hyperactive blue planet.

œThe planet's landscape is not preserved, explains the world-renowned geologist Ari Matmon, head of the Institute of Earth Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. œThere is decay, there is erosion, new rocks are exposed. Everything changes. And if you really want to be pedantic: The spot I am standing on today will not be the spot I will stand on a year from now. However, if there had been human beings in Paran two million years ago, they would have trod the same gravel we're stepping on today. I'm certain that there are landscapes in the Sahara Desert, in Antarctica, and possibly in the Atacama Desert in Chile that are the same age as the Paran Plains they just haven't been examined. The Paran Plains are the oldest landscape that has been measured on the planet Earth.

Here we need to distinguish between the age of rock and the age of landscape. The most ancient rocks in Israel are the Eilat Mountains, some of which are 800 million years old. But the landscape of the Eilat Mountains is far younger, the result of the sinking of the Gulf of Eilat and the elevation of its margins 14 million years ago. A curious dinosaur lumbering through what is today the Timna Valley, for example, would not have seen mountains, but rather, a broad, sandy seashore while it splashed through the shallow water. No dinosaur saw the mountains and valleys, the sand and the stones of œour Timna.


 Why the world's most ancient terrain hasn't changed in 2 million years


Israeli school system takes small but significant step in discussing the Nakba

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 15:29:32 +03:00

A question on the history matriculation exams this summer surprised people familiar with the battle of narratives that plagues the subject. For the first time in this exam that accompanies high school graduation, students were asked to analyze a historical source on the Palestinian Nakba when more than 700,000 Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes during the 1947-49 war and the Israeli responsibility for it, even it it's partial.

The text that students were asked to address isn't an insignificant one; it comes from the memoirs of Yigal Allon, who commanded the elite Palmach strike force and was later a leader of the new Israeli army during the war. Allon wrote proudly about how, in the war, he managed to œcleanse the interior of the Galilee of its Arab residents via psychological warfare.

This thought-provoking question was intended for students in a more-thorough history curriculum than the regular one, but its principles are already trickling down into the exam for the regular program.


 Israeli school system takes small but significant step in discussing the Nakba


Why is this Israeli media giant getting into tech?

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 14:59:05 +03:00

Israel's Keshet Media Group, the Israeli company behind shows like "Homeland" and "Beauty and the Baker," is deepening its ties with high-tech. It is launching a venture capital fund called Stardom Ventures that has raised $65 million. 

The fund will invest in startups in the media sector like ad-tech (online advertising firms), content, video and more. It will invest in very new startups that need seed money or first-round funding of between 1 million shekels ($312,000) to 5 million shekels per company. Keshet is also starting a website dedicated to the high-tech industry that will deal solely with news from the sector.

Stardom Ventures will be headed by Danny Peled, who had previously run Keshet's KDC investment fund, and Uri Rosen, the CEO of the Mako news and entertainment website, will serve on the investment committee. Peled is a longtime entrepreneur. Among other companies, he founded Vidmind, which developed a cloud platform for uploading and consuming video content from any device; it was acquired by Israeli-Cypriot billionaire Teddy Sagi. 


 Why is this Israeli media giant getting into tech?


Israeli singer Sarit Hadad comes out, reveals girlfriend in new music video

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 14:25:20 +03:00

The iconic Israeli singer Sarit Hadad, who had long been subject to rumors about her sexual orientation, came out of the closet on Sunday with a new song, "A love like ours."

Hadad is one of the most successful singers of Mizrahi music, a style influenced by Middle Eastern- and Mediterranean musicians. At the end of the video for the new song, which was written by her girlfriend Tamar Yahalomi, along with Hadad's longtime songwriting partner Yonatan Kalimi, shows the couple sitting together on a bench overlooking the sea, embracing.

Hadad, 43, uploaded an Instagram post along with the new video. "The new video presents love from my perspective on the world and on myself," she wrote. "Now that my daughters are growing up quickly with curious eyes, I'm happy to show them the possibility to be just what they want to be, and to teach them that freedom, time and choice than anything." She added, "In the place where my career and my family merge that's a complete moment for me."


 Israeli singer Sarit Hadad comes out, reveals girlfriend in new music video


Israeli eyesores: These are the 11 most hideous buildings in the country

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 13:39:18 +03:00

In the last 70 years, the unlucky Israeli landscape has spawned tens of thousands of ugly buildings and only a few beautiful and successful ones. Why unlucky? Israel was established in 1948, three years after World War II. This was the heyday of international modernism, whose essence lay partially in sophisticated production lines and replicable and unremarkable housing styles. As a country with a rapidly growing population, thanks to immigration, Israel was a tabula rasa for the realization of modernist dreams.

At the Israeli Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale, Israeli­­-built landscapes were categorized as Urburbs the fusion of suburb and city in English. In an article in the exhibition catalog, Uri Shalom presented some problems that account for Israeli architectural ugliness, without explicitly using that phrase. He cited planning permit approval resulting from disproportionate population growth and state control of land.

The Israeli social housing pattern was upgraded after Likud came to power in the 1980s, when the state became neoliberal and capitalist. The residential buildings and housing estates grew into towers, the duplicate floors were turned into mini and regular penthouses, and the facades, streetscapes and urban environment were neglected. Thus, only œprestigious real estate projects come to fruition here, not architectural works that are the result of cultural considerations. Postmodernism, a style born in American architecture with James Stirling and Michael Graves, dominates quite a few residential buildings, public buildings and malls here. Countering a white, plain, and boring modernism, the style consists of pastiche and quotation of other works. But unlike the famous buildings of the two Americans, where the result is amusing and even ages well, the Israeli copy, expressed in malls, hotels and public buildings, is made of cheap materials and is derivative and random.


 Israeli eyesores: These are the 11 most hideous buildings in the country


This is Israeli COVID anti-vaxxers' most crooked, toxic claim

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 13:39:17 +03:00

Israel's summer-long struggle against the virulent delta version of COVID has strained tempers and resources, and cost approximately 1,000 lives in the past six weeks alone. Like some other Western countries, one of Israel's chief obstacles in the fight against COVID is citizens who decline to be vaccinated. 

The portion of holdouts is estimated at 12 to 17 percent of those eligible (over 12 years old).

The Israeli unvaccinated hail from a variety of social communities and, as such, their reasons for abstaining vary. Polls show that fear of side effects (or "fear the vaccine will damage health") is the top reason, while others found that many unvaccinated believe recovered patients have sufficient immunity among the factors driving lower rates within the Arab and ultra-Orthodox communities, who were hard-hit by the disease. 


 This is Israeli COVID anti-vaxxers' most crooked, toxic claim


No wonder Christians, Muslims and Jews fell in love with this ancient site

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 12:24:04 +03:00

Everyone loves Zippori. Even today you can still feel the culture, the grandeur, the power of wealth there. This hill in the Lower Galilee has seen countless incarnations during its existence and is still one of the most fascinating places in the country. Zippori's inhabitants were no great heroes. They just wanted to live well, and peacefully. They cherished art, wine, clear-cut rules and faith. No wonder Jews, Muslims and Christians fell in love with the place.

In the first century B.C.E., Zippori (aka Sepphoris, according to its ancient Greek name) was conquered by Herod the Great, and his grandson later made the site his capital. Christians believe that Joachim and Hannah, the grandparents of Jesus Mary's parents lived there. The city surrendered without a fight in the Great Jewish Revolt against the Romans in 66 C.E. and was spared destruction, unlike neighboring Yodfat. Early in the third century C.E., Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi (Judah the Prince), relocated there along with the Sanhedrin (supreme Jewish council) and codified the Mishnah. According to rabbinic literature, Zippori boasted 18 synagogues at that time. Only one has been uncovered in excavations so far.

Zippori was destroyed in the fourth century by a powerful earthquake and then rebuilt. The Muslims conquered it in 634 C.E. and renamed it Saffuriya; the site was home to several leading Arab scholars. In the 12th century, the Crusaders set out from there for the decisive Battle of Hattin, where they were defeated by Saladin's army.


 No wonder Christians, Muslims and Jews fell in love with this ancient site


Unvaccinated Israelis driving September apex in serious COVID cases

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 12:21:14 +03:00

Over the past two days Israel has experienced the highest numbers of serious cases of COVID since the beginning of September. The data from the Health Ministry shows that the rise in serious cases is significantly higher among non-vaccinated individuals, with the unvaccinated making up 74 percent of new serious cases on Saturday. 

On Sunday, the Health Ministry reported a total of 726 serious cases, of them 245 people are in critical condition and 195 are on ventilators. This represents a steady hike from the preceding days, when there were 654, 658, and 717 seriously ill patients respectively.

Although the unvaccinated constitute about 17 percent of Israelis who are eligible for vaccine, they account for around two thirds of active serious cases in Israel at the moment. By contrast, fully vaccinated patients make up only 7.5 percent of the serious cases. 


 Unvaccinated Israelis driving September apex in serious COVID cases


Despite expert backing at home, Israeli parents still favor FDA approval for vaxxing kids

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 04:36:59 +03:00

Israel has just found itself in the strange situation of getting a pat on the back from the most important medical regulatory agency in the world, while at the same time feeling the heavy weight on its shoulders for being among the first to decide to give its citizens a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Israel has received professional and scientific backing for the daring pioneering step that it took beginning in late July to begin administering a third dose to the Israeli population. But the step has also raised the question of the need to give the dose to children something being asked not only in Israel but by scientists and doctors around the world.

Currently, Israeli children 12 and over are entitled to be vaccinated, but parents have been given limited public information at this stage about the booster shot. There has been considerable information about the safety and effectiveness of the first two doses of the vaccine, as well as information on the third dose administered to groups of young children who received it for various medical reasons. Consequently, the members of the public committee overseeing the vaccination program in Israel feel certain about administering a third booster shot to children.


 Despite expert backing at home, Israeli parents still favor FDA approval for vaxxing kids


Israeli security forces capture last two Palestinian inmates in Jenin

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 02:35:44 +03:00

Israeli security forces apprehended the last two of the six Palestinian high-security prisoners who escaped from Gilboa Prison about two weeks ago overnight Saturday in the northern West Bank city of Jenin. 

The other four escapees were apprehended last week. All six hail from the Jenin area. During and after the arrests, Palestinians clashsed with Israeli forces.   

According to the Israel Police, Kamamji and Infiat hid together in a house in Jenin over the past several days. After the Shin Bet security service received intelligence on their location a few hours earlier, Israeli special police forces and soldiers surrounded the building where the two were said to be hiding.


 Israeli security forces capture last two Palestinian inmates in Jenin


Parents in Israel keep kids home from school to avoid COVID quarantine over holiday

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 01:17:20 +03:00

Parents are choosing to keep children home from school out of concern that they may be required to quarantine over the upcoming Sukkot holiday. According to Health Ministry figures released on Friday, some 147,000 school children were in quarantine, 44,314 of whom were infected with COVID and the rest of whom had been exposed to infected people.

Idan Weisman, 39, of Be'er Sheva, who has two children ages 4 and 6, said he had decided not to send his kids to school because of a family vacation during the interim days of Sukkot, which had been planned months ago. œThe whole family's coming, including the extended family. We're afraid of exposure to someone with the virus and of being forced to quarantine. Weisman said that his 6-year-old son was already in quarantine this year because of exposure to a schoolmate who had tested positive for the virus. œWe made a decision that the kids would miss three days of school in exchange for minimizing the risk of unnecessary exposure to other children, he added.

Raheli Hanuni from Afula has four children ranging in age from eight months to nine years. It has only been 17 days since the school year started and they have already been in quarantine. œOne quarantine was forced on us after a child in my son's kindergarten tested positive for the coronavirus. But we were saved from a second quarantine. On the eve of Yom Kippur we were informed that two children in my daughter's class had COVID, but my daughter wasn't in class because I haven't sent the children to school since Rosh Hashanah, she explained.


 Parents in Israel keep kids home from school to avoid COVID quarantine over holiday


Israel must stop breaching the status quo on the Temple Mount

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 01:11:46 +03:00

Quietly, under the radar, Israel is breaching the status quo on the Temple Mount. For the past two years, under police protection, groups of Jews who ascend the Mount hold daily morning and afternoon prayers, together in a quorum. This goes against the existing agreement between the Israeli government and the Waqf (the Muslim religious authority), the Palestinian Authority and the Jordanian government, by which Jews have access to the Temple Mount but Jewish prayer is held only at the Western Wall.

The change in custom was accepted by quiet assent during the time that Gilad Erdan was public security minister. His successors have not reinstated the status quo ante, and they are playing with fire. So far, the infraction of the status quo has passed quietly, but it cannot be assumed that the quiet will continue. In light of the increasing number of Jews coming to the Temple Mount in recent months, friction at the most sensitive and volatile place in the Middle East, is inevitable.

Jews who want to pray on the Temple Mount have one main argument, which liberal secular people are compelled to support: Freedom of worship is a basic principle of democracy. Supposedly, the party against which to lodge a grievance is the one that tries to prevent freedom of prayer in the most sacred place to Orthodox Judaism. But in the broader context of Jerusalem one third of whose population does not have equal rights the attempt to impose equality of all places on the only place where Muslims have some autonomy, a place that is both a religious and a national symbol for the Palestinians, constitutes needless provocation.


 Israel must stop breaching the status quo on the Temple Mount


Arab cooperation, courtesy of Israel's cruelty

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 00:46:31 +03:00

The speed with which four of the six Palestinians who escaped from Gilboa Prison were caught shows that if you're an Arab, the space outside the prison is almost as well-surveilled as the space inside. There seem to be very few blind spots in Israeli security's visual field. (It's important to remember this the next time Israelis are asked to treat violence in Arab society as a matter of biology, and Arab communities as a jungle where the police have no control over what happens in them.

This isn't only about the ubiquitous security cameras. The Israel Police, the Shin Bet security service and the Israel Defense Forces know everything. The reports about Arab citizens of Israel helping the security forces to find the escapees shows that nowhere in Israel are the former beyond the reach of their Jewish Big Cousin.

It's not clear whether Arab citizens indeed aided in the captures, or whether the reports were yet another deliberate attempt to drive a wedge between the Palestinians in and beyond the Green Line. What is clear is that Arab citizens of Israel did not give aid not shelter, not food or drink to the fugitives.


 Arab cooperation, courtesy of Israel's cruelty


Say it with me: Bennett is establishing an apartheid state

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 00:33:22 +03:00

Haaretz Editor-in-Chief Aluf Benn offered a skillful analysis of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's first 100 days in office in a piece published yesterday. In contrast to the anyone-but-Bibi sect, which is enamored with itself and can't stop effusing about the change in style that Bennett has introduced how he compliments his cabinet ministers and how we don't hear anything from members of his family Benn rightly minimized the significance of the style, to which people now ecstatically cling, and got right to the point: œ gallops softly and determinedly toward one state with millions of Palestinian subjects, Benn writes.

But it's not just œone state that Bennett is establishing. He's establishing an apartheid state. That word "apartheid" needs to appear from now on in every text. Apartheid will be Israel's middle name, at least from the moment its prime minister declared that he has no interest in a peace agreement with the Palestinians and that the occupation is eternal in his view.

Bennett deserves credit for telling the truth: He ended the masquerade of a peace process, which wasn't a process and never intended to achieve peace. His predecessor once mumbled something about œtwo states, which now, too, is over. That's a positive development.


 Say it with me: Bennett is establishing an apartheid state


Israeli soldiers assault activists, Palestinians bringing water to West Bank village

Sun, 19 Sep 2021 00:29:32 +03:00

The Israel Defense Forces said it would open an investigation into an incident Friday in which six Israeli activists and at least two Palestinians were allegedly assaulted and injured by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank's South Hebron Hills. Several other activists were detained briefly. The IDF Spokesperson's Unit said the activists had tried to block the entrance to the unauthorized settlement outpost of Avigayil, and that they had assaulted the soldiers there, allegations the activists deny.

The confrontation followed the arrival of dozens of Israelis from the anti-occupation group Combatants for Peace. They and the Palestinians accompanying them were bringing a water tank to isolated Palestinian communities near the outpost because the army has not allowed them to collect water in cisterns or take receipt of water tanks.

When the activists approached the outpost, Israeli soldiers arrived, commanded by the deputy commander of an engineering battalion. The soldiers barred the group from proceeding with the water tank, after which the activists shouted slogans condemning the occupation. The soldiers pushed them and threw tear gas and stun grenades at them, the activists claim.


 Israeli soldiers assault activists, Palestinians bringing water to West Bank village


Haaretz cartoon

Sat, 18 Sep 2021 23:14:41 +03:00

 Haaretz cartoon


Bennett doubles down: Green passport for Israelis with third COVID jab only

Sat, 18 Sep 2021 21:40:06 +03:00

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stuck to his guns on his decision to extend the green passport for only those who have received the third jab of the coronavirus vaccine from October 1.

The prime minister's decision on Saturday, which came following consultation with Health Ministry professionals, came after an FDA advisory panel recommended against administering the Pfizer booster shot against COVID-19 to Americans under 65. 

The panel rejected administering a third dose of the vaccine to the majority of Americans, aged 16 or over, in a sweeping 16-2 vote. The decision was seen as a blow to the Biden administration's effort to shore up people's protection against the virus amid the highly contagious delta variant. Only older demographics, as well as high-risk populations and healthcare workers, were recommended to get the booster.


 Bennett doubles down: Green passport for Israelis with third COVID jab only


FDA panel's decision on COVID booster shot poses challenge for Israel

Sat, 18 Sep 2021 19:03:24 +03:00

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recommended Friday that the COVID-19 vaccine booster only be administered to those 65 or higher and high-risk populations, just as Israel announced that 3 million of its citizens had received one.

News of the recommendation will likely renew debate over Israel's decision to provide the so-called green passport only to those who have received a booster shot, starting on October 1. We can also expect it to affect Israeli parents' willingness for their children to receive a booster shot.

The head of Israel's public health services, Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, said the panel made a similar decision as Israel when the health ministry first considered administering booster shots. œThe U.S. is three months behind us in terms of the vaccine campaign, she said. œOn April 15 this year, the rate of people who had received two doses in the U.S. was 25 percent. In Israel, it was 50 percent at the time, and therefore they are just not seeing the same trend that we observed.


 FDA panel's decision on COVID booster shot poses challenge for Israel


Algeria's former President Bouteflika dies at 84

Sat, 18 Sep 2021 16:52:53 +03:00

Former Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has died at 84, the presidency said on Friday, more than two years after he stepped down under pressure from mass protests and the army.

Bouteflika, a veteran of Algeria's war for independence, had ruled the North African country for two decades before his resignation in April 2019 after street demonstrations rejecting his plan to seek a fifth term.

He had rarely been seen in public before his departure since a stroke in 2013.


 Algeria's former President Bouteflika dies at 84


How Israel assassinated top Iranian nuclear scientist with 'killer robot'

Sat, 18 Sep 2021 16:14:41 +03:00

Israel used a high-tech remote-controlled machine gun for the first time last year to kill a prominent Iranian nuclear scientist, The New York Times reported Saturday, apparently confirming earlier Iranian reports that conflicted with alleged eyewitness reports of a gun battle.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed by what the article said was a œkiller robot equipped with artificial intelligence and multiple-camera eyes that is operated via satellite. The report cited an intelligence officer as saying that Israel used a special model of the Belgian-made FN machine gun that was attached to a robotic instrument.

Israel's problem, the report said, was that the gun and robot (along with its components and accessories) weighed around a ton. Therefore, according to The New York Times, Israel has to break down the equipment and smuggle the individual pieces into Iran one at a time before reassembly inside the country.


 How Israel assassinated top Iranian nuclear scientist with 'killer robot'


Conservative German election candidate calls for deportations after synagogue attack warning

Sat, 18 Sep 2021 11:41:16 +03:00

After the thwarting of a possible attack on the synagogue in the western German city of Hagen, conservative candidate for chancellor Armin Laschet has again spoken out in favor of the deportation of so-called dangerous persons.

In addition, as chancellor he wants "bans on anti-constitutional organizations and associations, bans on symbols of hatred and terror, entry and residence bans, expulsions and deportations as far as possible," Laschet told the Saturday edition of the mass-circulation Bild newspaper.

The Green Party's rival candidate for chancellor Annalena Baerbock, told the newspaper that there was "no justification, no acceptance, no excuse for antisemitism, whether from the right, from the center of society or motivated by Islamism." Top threats would have to be monitored around the clock, she said.


 Conservative German election candidate calls for deportations after synagogue attack warning


Grandpa defends taking boy from Italian cable car crash to Israel

Sat, 18 Sep 2021 06:20:28 +03:00

The grandfather of a 6-year-old boy who survived a cable car crash in Italy that killed his immediate family and is now the target of a bitter custody battle on Friday defended his decision to spirit the child off to Israel.

Eitan Biran's parents and younger sibling were among 14 killed in May when a cable car slammed into a mountainside in northern Italy. He is now the focus of a custody battle between his maternal grandparents in Israel and his paternal relatives in Italy.

Shmuel Peleg, his maternal grandfather, was questioned by Israeli police on kidnapping suspicions and placed under house arrest amid an ongoing investigation. Biran's paternal relatives say he was taken without their knowledge and have filed a legal complaint in Italy seeking his return.


 Grandpa defends taking boy from Italian cable car crash to Israel


San Diego synagogue shooter avoids death penalty with plea

Sat, 18 Sep 2021 03:17:09 +03:00

A 22-year-old former nursing student pleaded guilty to the murder of one person and the attempted murders of 53 others in connection with a 2019 deadly shooting at a Southern California synagogue on the last day of Passover, effectively ending the possibility of facing the death penalty.

John T. Earnest entered a similar guilty plea on July 20 on state charges in San Diego Superior Court and agreed then to serve the rest of his life in state prison without the possibility of parole. Sentencing is scheduled for September 30.

In the federal case, sentencing has been set for December 28. Defense attorneys and prosecutors are also recommending a term of life in prison, plus 30 years, according to the plea.


 San Diego synagogue shooter avoids death penalty with plea


NSO spyware used against Belgian journalist, likely at behest of Rwanda, reports say

Sat, 18 Sep 2021 02:17:07 +03:00

Two Belgian civilians a journalist and his wife were cyberattacked using spyware built by Israel's cyberespionage firm NSO Group, likely by the Rwandan government, Belgium's military intelligence service has said, according to reports in Belgian media on Friday. 

Two Belgian media outlets, Le Soir and Knack, are currently publishing reports as part of the Pegasus Project. First released in July by a global consortium of journalists, the investigation has shed light on the use of NSO's Pegasus spyware against journalists in countries like Azerbaijan and Hungary. NSO, meanwhile, denies the findings of the reports and claims that the company is being persecuted.

According to the Belgian reports, Belgium's ADIV military intelligence service, which answers to the country's Defense Ministry, has confirmed that two Belgian civilians, the journalist Peter Verlinden and his wife Marie Bamutese were targeted by NSO's spyware. Verlinden is an African affairs reporter for Belgian public broadcaster VRT. Bamutese is a Rwandan refugee who holds Belgian citizenship.  


 NSO spyware used against Belgian journalist, likely at behest of Rwanda, reports say


'A tragic mistake': U.S. says Kabul drone strike killed 10 civilians, including children

Sat, 18 Sep 2021 00:54:39 +03:00

 A drone strike in Kabul last month killed as many as 10 civilians, including seven children, the U.S. military said on Friday, apologizing for what it said was a tragic mistake.

The Pentagon had said the August 29 strike targeted an Islamic State suicide bomber who posed an imminent threat to U.S.-led troops at the airport as they completed the last stages of their withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Even as reports of civilian casualties emerged, the top U.S. general had described the attack as "righteous".


 'A tragic mistake': U.S. says Kabul drone strike killed 10 civilians, including children


After Palestinian escape, Israel's prison chief faces moment of truth

Sat, 18 Sep 2021 00:29:47 +03:00

At a cabinet meeting early this week, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the escape of six high-security inmates from Gilboa Prison two weeks ago revealed a long string of failures, while œsome of the state's systems have atrophied in recent years.

>>Israeli forces capture last two Palestinian inmates in Jenin

Obviously Bennett has an interest in shifting responsibility for the escape to his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, but in this case he's right. The cumulative damage of 12 years of Netanyahu's rule, particularly the last three under the shadow of criminal proceedings, is vast. Cronies promoted, overly-political hirings, loose oversight and at times a deliberate weakening of the law enforcement system all this comes with a price.


 After Palestinian escape, Israel's prison chief faces moment of truth


Islamic Jihad inmates, Israel holding talks on prison conditions, Palestinian reports say

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 23:54:42 +03:00

Palestinian inmates linked to Islamic Jihad will be returned to the cells where they were kept before being dispersed among the country's prisons this month, Palestinian media reported Friday.

The inmates were dispersed after six prisoners escaped from Gilboa Prison in the north on September 6. Four of them were captured last week, while two are still at large.

According to some reports, the prisoners will be returned to their original cells after the holiday of Sukkot. One report said that the inmates and the prison authority agreed that all Islamic Jihad prisoners will be placed in cells reserved for their movement only.


 Islamic Jihad inmates, Israel holding talks on prison conditions, Palestinian reports say


'God tells women, enjoy yourself first': The educator fomenting an Orthodox sexual revolution

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 23:01:42 +03:00

œIn the state religious school system there's a time of the year that I call the ˜papilloma season,' says Michal Prins, who studies sexuality among the religiously observant, referring to a virus commonly spread via sexual activity. œEvery year, an announcement arrives from school about the possibility of being vaccinated against it and suddenly social media is flooded with discussions about ˜whether to be vaccinated,' ˜what does being vaccinated say about girls if they are not engaging in sexual relations in any case?' ˜Why now?' Go try to tell them how it works. There is a great deal of silence around it.

œToday, if a boy and a girl sleep with each other, they won't have any knowledge about how to protect themselves, and sometimes they will also not realize that they need to protect themselves. Furthermore, the army will underwrite up to two abortions for female soldiers, but what happens if a girl doing National Service becomes pregnant? There's no funding in that case, and the girl has a serious problem if it happens, because from the outset there is no recognition that such a possibility even exists. So as a society, it's incumbent upon us to want information about sexual relations and contraceptives to be open and accessible.

Dr. Prins, 40, a social worker and a bridal counselor, has for years been engaged in slaughtering an assortment of sacred cows relating to sexuality in Israel's Orthodox community. She founded Merkaz Yahel: The Center for Jewish Intimacy while pursuing her master's degree in the Department of Gender Studies at Bar-Ilan University, in 2011. The nonprofit's aim, according to its website, œis to address sexuality and intimacy in the context of Judaism and the Jewish community, by means of educational activities as well as personal counseling. Prins went on to complete her doctorate at Bar-Ilan, and wrote her dissertation about the sexuality of religious women. In her recently published book, œSimply to Want, (Hebrew) and in a podcast, she fearlessly addresses a number of burning issues affecting religious society, among them what she sees as its defective sex education, the prohibition against touching between the sexes, and the connection between religion and feminism. As such, Prins is helping to foment a general wave of sexual awakening which for some time has been washing over the entire community no less than a genuine upheaval, in her view.


 'God tells women, enjoy yourself first': The educator fomenting an Orthodox sexual revolution


U.S. marks Abraham Accords anniversary, with no mention of Trump or Netanyahu

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 20:38:49 +03:00

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken marked the first anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Accords on Friday with a half-hour video call where no one mentioned Donald Trump or Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister who pushed the deals through. 

The event was attended by representatives of the member states: Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, his Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita, the United Arab Emirates' diplomatic adviser to the foreign minister, Anwar Gargash, and Bahrain's ambassador to the United States, Abdulla Al-Khalifa.

The event was not attended by Sudan, which also signed an agreement with Israel.


 U.S. marks Abraham Accords anniversary, with no mention of Trump or Netanyahu


Iran joins expanding Asian security body led by Moscow, Beijing

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 17:52:08 +03:00

Iran joined a rapidly expanding central Asian security body led by Russia and China on Friday, calling on the countries in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to help it form a mechanism to avert sanctions imposed by the West.

The body, formed in the 2001 as a talk shop for Russia, China and ex-Soviet states in Central Asia, expanded four years ago to include India and Pakistan, with a view to playing a bigger role as counterweight to Western influence in the region.

In a sign of its growing influence, the body's summit in Tajikistan was the first appearance abroad of Iran's new hard line president, Ebrahim Raisi, since taking office in August.


 Iran joins expanding Asian security body led by Moscow, Beijing


War with Hezbollah may not be imminent, but Israel has a long-term problem

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 17:37:30 +03:00

During Yom Kippur week 5782, the Israeli army hasn't been particularly concerned about the possibility of a war with Hezbollah. Lebanon still seems preoccupied with itself. The country remains volatile, with some people on the brink of hunger and the new government that formed last week not expected to deliver them from the crisis.

Even Hezbollah's launching of 20 Katyusha rockets last month from southern Lebanon at nearby Har Dov did little to shake the forecast by the Israel Defense Forces. Earlier, Palestinian cells linked to Hamas and operating in the refugee camps around Tyre fired rockets at Israel twice. Israel escalated in response, as jets bombed a road near the launch site.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah felt bound to respond to the use of planes, seen on the Lebanese side as a violation of the unwritten rules. But Nasrallah also took care only to fire on open areas, and to clarify immediately that, as far as he was concerned, the escalation was over.


 War with Hezbollah may not be imminent, but Israel has a long-term problem


Israel saves ancient eucalyptus trees in blow to planned bus line

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 16:01:33 +03:00

Israel decided that dozens of the most impressive eucalyptus trees will not be cut down in favor of a mass-transit project due to their great landscape and historical value.

The trees, located between the community of Bustan HaGalil and the city of Acre in northern Israel, will not be cut down decided Erez Barkae, the Forest Commissioner and Head of Division of Forestry and Trees at Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Barkae reached the decision after an objection was raised to a permit given to the transport infrastructure company Netivei Israel clear the trees.


 Israel saves ancient eucalyptus trees in blow to planned bus line


FDA advisory panel recommends COVID booster shot for 65-year-olds and older

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 15:38:56 +03:00

An influential federal advisory panel has recommended authorizing a Pfizer booster shot against COVID-19 to Americans aged 65 or older and high-risk populations, the New York Times reported Friday.

The panel, however, rejected administering a third dose of the vaccine to the majority of Americans, aged 16 or over, in a sweeping 16-2 vote. The decision was seen as a blow to the Biden administration's effort to shore up people's protection against the virus amid the highly contagious delta variant.

Over several hours of discussion, members of the Food and Drug Administration panel of outside experts voiced frustration that Pfizer had provided little data on safety of extra doses.


 FDA advisory panel recommends COVID booster shot for 65-year-olds and older


Bennett ends his first 90 days with few mistakes and an assist from Egypt

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 14:31:47 +03:00

Naftali Bennett concludes his first three months as prime minister this weekend. It's a random marker, like the American presidency's œfirst 100 days. If it has any significance, it's in the prediction of his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, to his fellow Likud lawmakers when the government was formed on June 13: œIn two to three months this thing is breaking up.

This government's next milestone will be the passage of the national budget in the first half of November. So far there are no signs of a problem. The budget was approved easily, by a comfortable majority, in the first of three mandatory votes in the Knesset.

Occasionally a coalition lawmaker will flex his or her muscles. This week it was the turn of the chairman of the United Arab List, Mansour Abbas, who wrote the profile of Bennett for Time magazine's œ100 most influential people of 2021, which was published Tuesday. Abbas won't be the one to break up the government, his political career is too dependent on Bennett's success.


 Bennett ends his first 90 days with few mistakes and an assist from Egypt


Schism between U.S. and Israel on Iran may grow in coming months

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 14:09:00 +03:00

The United States and Israel ostensibly share a strategic imperative and common interest: not to allow Iran to develop a military nuclear device. The premise is twofold: A nuclear weapon in the hands of a radical, messianic, Islamic-revolutionary regime could precipitate a regional nuclear arms race. Secondly, Iran is a direct threat to Israel as it often declares itself to be and Israel, given its size, is a œone bomb country, irrespective of its own deterrence power or second-strike capability.

For over two decades both countries have completed each other's sentences on Iran: œWe will not allow¦; œIran is a threat and a menace and cannot have nuclear power; œIran will not become a nuclear state under my watch.

Even when the countries' policies diverged in 2015 over the Iran nuclear deal, the prohibitive rhetoric on Iran remained the same and the differences were explained as two distinct approaches seeking the same objective: preventing Tehran from weaponizing its nuclear program and removing, or indefinitely postponing, what both countries agreed is an existential threat on Israel.


 Schism between U.S. and Israel on Iran may grow in coming months


U.S. marks Abraham Accords one-year anniversary in online event

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 13:52:25 +03:00

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken hosted an online summit Friday to mark the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Accords, attended by the foreign ministers of the signatories Bahrain, Israel, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.

The four countries discussed ways to deepen ties.

This video conference was the main event by President Joe Biden's administration to mark the agreements, which were brokered by former President Donald Trump. The foreign minister of Sudan, which is also a signatory, did not attend the meeting.


 U.S. marks Abraham Accords one-year anniversary in online event


Israel to revoke citizenship of Ukrainian man who allegedly forged birth certificate

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 11:41:09 +03:00

Israel is seeking to revoke the citizenship of a Ukrainian-Israeli whom it claims forged his mother's birth certificate.

Boris Redko, who made aliyah in 1995 from Ukraine with his daughter, was granted citizenship under the Law of Return based on the Jewishness of his mother as the birth certificate he presented revealed.

Before Redko entered Israel, he declared that he was aware that his immigrant status could be annulled if it turned out that it was given under false pretenses. However, Redko told Haaretz that all the documents he presented are real and that there had been a mistake.


 Israel to revoke citizenship of Ukrainian man who allegedly forged birth certificate


Israel's unvaccinated 17% now account for nearly half of COVID deaths

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 11:35:00 +03:00

The number of coronavirus patients in serious condition has remained stable, according to data released by Israel's Health Ministry on Friday.

There are 658 patients in serious condition, compared to 654 a day earlier. Unvaccinated Israelis who account for 17 percent of the population eligible for a vaccine make up about two-thirds of the total number of serious cases.

Meanwhile, more than 3 million people in Israel have received a third COVID shot, according to the Health Ministry. 


 Israel's unvaccinated 17% now account for nearly half of COVID deaths


Bennett presents: How to establish one state without ruffling feathers

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 09:37:22 +03:00

So what did we have in Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's holiday interviews? He spoke politely to his interviewers, was careful not to anger them or the viewers at home, and handed out an abundance of credits to his ministers and coalition partners. What can we say the very essence of change. It's hard to believe that the polite reader of the talking points is the same Bennett who once competed with former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over pithy slogans. Where are the days of œno more apologies, and œBennett will beat Hamas, and of course, the hit that catapulted him into government: œHow to beat a pandemic.

Now Bennett is in government and the belligerent and restless figure he presented in his campaigns is hidden in a drawer for future use. Instead, he plays the role of not-Netanyahu. We can imagine that in the preparatory conversations for the interviews marking his 100 days in office, Bennett and his advisers binge-watched Netanyahu's interviews and practiced what not to do. But just as Netanyahu's outbursts on television were scripted lines and not a manifestation of spontaneous emotion, so is the statesmanship of his successor. Take another valium, his coaches told him the important thing for you is that they see you in the wood-paneled office of the prime minister and not get a single headline out of it.

Bennett took the credit himself for three issues he is dealing with: COVID-19, the Iranian nuclear program and ties with Israel's main allies the United States, Jordan and Egypt. All the rest he distributes generously to his ministers. For example, in an interview with Tal Shalev on the Walla website, he said this about the Gaza Strip: œThe defense minister has taken upon himself to bring about a peaceful arrangement. If it works, excellent If it fails and the Gaza Strip flares up, it will be possible to blame Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who volunteered with such gallantry to bear responsibility. Good job, Benny. And Foreign Minister Yair Lapid? He's œfocusing on his comparative edge in the Foreign Ministry. Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman got an excellent state budget passed, according to Bennett, and Gideon Sa'ar is altogether amazing as justice minister a message that sounds like a dig at his embittered partner and former justice minister, Ayelet Shaked.


 Bennett presents: How to establish one state without ruffling feathers


Anhar al-Dik spent half her pregnancy in Israeli prison. She's hoping her newborn won't grow up there

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 00:52:00 +03:00

Congratulations. Ala al-Dik was born via C-section on September 9 in Istishari Arab Hospital, near Ramallah. He weighed three kilos (6.6 pounds) at birth, suffered from neonatal diabetes and was discharged four days later. Anhar, his 25-year-old mother, had been discharged two days earlier. On Monday afternoon this week, Anhar sat in the living room of her mother Aisha's house, in Nima village, in the central West Bank, where she is under house arrest. Her face bespoke restrained happiness and demonstrative weariness. All she wanted was for us to leave so she could be with her husband and children.

We had visited here two weeks ago. At that time it looked as though the military court was not going to release Anhar from prison. Israel Prison Service authorities decided at that point that she would have a pre-scheduled delivery by C-section on September 12 in an Israeli hospital, while still under detention. It seemed unlikely then that the court would wake up at the last minute and order the release of this woman who was in her ninth month and whose family attests that she suffers from mentally instability.

Anhar, too, didn't believe she would be released before giving birth. This week she told us that she had been certain she would have the baby behind bars, in the Damon Prison, south of Haifa. A few weeks earlier she had written in a letter from her jail cell: œYou are familiar with the C-section. How will it be performed inside the prison, with me handcuffed and alone?... I have no idea where I will be after the operation and how I will take my first steps after the birth with the help of an Israeli guard who will hold my hands in disgust.


 Anhar al-Dik spent half her pregnancy in Israeli prison. She's hoping her newborn won't grow up there


The Israeli interior minister is cynically violating Palestinian rights

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 00:31:22 +03:00

Over two months ago, the Knesset voted against extending the emergency order that allowed the state to prevent Palestinians from the territories coming to live in Israel with their Israeli Arab spouses but Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked doesn't care.

Shaked doesn't want to bid farewell to the law that allowed Israel to discriminate against Arab Israelis for 18 years on security pretexts. So what did the minister do? She ordered the Population and Immigration Authority to ignore the expiration of the order, and handle family unification requests according to the legal situation that prevailed when the order was still in force.

She found a fine ploy: instead of an emergency order, a ministerial order. Palestinians who turned to the population authority either received no response at all or were told: œAt this time we cannot make new appointments until additional instructions are received.


 The Israeli interior minister is cynically violating Palestinian rights


Israel must codify equality

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 00:28:55 +03:00

The Knesset's Constitution, Law and Justice Committee began a series of debates this week on enshrining of equality in Israel's Basic Laws, which serve as the equivalent of a constitution.

One should commend the committee's chairman, Labor's Gilad Kariv, for his initiative in continuing the task of formulating Israel's constitution. The current issue is an attempt to rectify a shameful situation whereby, 73 years after the state's establishment, there is still no Basic Law that guarantees the obvious: In a democracy, everyone is equal before the law. There is no discrimination between people. These are elementary words which appear in every constitution around the world as a cornerstone of democracy.

Israel's Basic Laws lack this bare minimum, and each initiative to legislate it unleashes shameful debates where lawmakers vote for or against equality. In each of these debates, the minutes record participants saying things such as œObviously, all citizens are equal, but¦ followed by a long list of empty excuses, as if there were a logical reason why Israel should not have full civic equality, as promised by the Declaration of Independence. In reality, opponents of such a clause support claims made by Israel's adversaries, whereby a Jewish state, by definition, cannot be democratic or egalitarian, even though equality is a Jewish and Zionist value deriving from the history of Jews as a persecuted minority.


 Israel must codify equality


'Sometimes, Hamas turns Israel's spies into double agents instead of killing them'

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 00:26:50 +03:00

Tell us something about yourself and your research.

I'm Nati Flamer, 34 years old. I served in the Israel Defense Forces for almost a decade, in Military Intelligence. I engaged in research and taught an intelligence officers' course, and at the same time I studied at a university. In one of my master's-level courses I wrote a paper about Hezbollah's intelligence activities during the second Lebanon war. When I examined the available sources on the subject, I discovered that this was an almost untouched area in academia. The study of intelligence in non-state organizations is simply an unplowed field. For my doctoral dissertation I decided to try to fill that vacuum in academic, and perhaps also public, discourse about the phenomenon as such and regarding Hamas and Hezbollah in particular.

How do you explain that vacuum?


 'Sometimes, Hamas turns Israel's spies into double agents instead of killing them'


Where are Israel's school nurses?

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 00:26:34 +03:00

I remember Nurse Sara from Jezreel Primary School in Afula of the 1960s and 1970s. Always in a blue uniform and a pure white coif. Someone you could go to during class or recess and get a warm, sweet cup of tea. Someone who would always place a cool hand on your forehead, even if afterward she would take your temperature with a thermometer the fragile kind, with mercury.

Sara was the one who vaccinated us. We stood in a long row next to her room, waiting for the shot. Sara gave us the first and only class in sex education. Today it seems anachronistic and naïve, but it seems to me it was far more accommodating and enveloping than the profusion of information and porn to which children today are exposed on the internet.

I hear the wearisome bickering between the education system and the Health Ministry over the vaccinations. I read the remarks of exhausted parents about the home tests and the long wait in line for tests needed for a Green Pass. I read about the lengthy and frequent self-isolations. Sometimes they seem exaggerated and hysterical. They disrupt the lives of the children and the parents. And I think how it could all have been different, if the authorities hadn't removed the institution of the school nurse from our children's life.


 Where are Israel's school nurses?


Who will carry the torch of Bedouin leadership?

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 00:22:50 +03:00

An earthquake hit the Negev, breaking hearts throughout the Bedouin community, upon the death of Knesset member Saeed Alkharumi. œThe Son of the Negev left behind an aching community, bereft and isolated, riven and poor. An entire sector, represented since the first Knesset by a succession of six lawmakers, was left without someone to represent it. The question is: Who will carry the burden of the Bedouin community now?

The United Arab List (Ra'am) is now debating whether to let someone from this community into the party. In my opinion, as a member of the community, this is a heavy load that requires several representatives, with just one being insufficient. To understand the scope of this burden and the mission lying ahead, one must understand the nature of the problem. The Bedouin community's problems don't begin and end with the demolition of houses. That is only the tip of the iceberg.

Here are some facts that can highlight the issues. Bedouin society is afflicted with poverty, as Bedouin villages occupy the lowest socioeconomic tier. The education level in Bedouin schools is very low in comparison to that in the Hebrew and general Arab education system. This is proven by standardized assessment tests, with only 53.5 percent of pupils eligible to take high school matriculation exams, a very low figure compared to the rest of Israeli society.


 Who will carry the torch of Bedouin leadership?


Netanyahu's defense claims Walla provided biased coverage to Lieberman, Kahlon

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 00:14:23 +03:00

The cross-examination of former Walla CEO Ilan Yeshua in the trial of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continued Tuesday in Jerusalem District Court. The trial resumed Monday after having been in recess for three months.

Netanyahu's lawyer Boaz Ben Zur confronted Yeshua with correspondence from 2016 between him and former Walla owner Shaul Elovitch in connection with the way Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman, then defense minister, was being covered.

Yeshua testified that Elovitch œpresented me with his interests regarding Lieberman, gave me clear instructions not to hurt ˜the Russian,' not to go for ˜the Russian's' head. He said Elovitch had told him that he œneeds him to help me with something soon. Upon hearing this in court, Elovitch burst out with, œLiar. I never gave you any instruction, and left the courtroom.


 Netanyahu's defense claims Walla provided biased coverage to Lieberman, Kahlon


Israel must prove its loyalty to its Arab citizens, not vice versa

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 00:09:12 +03:00

Mohammed Zayat was murdered four years ago, in September 2017. He was a truck driver and father of four from Jisr al-Zarqa. When we came to the bereavement tent to hear about the circumstances of his death, we realized that no one in the town was surprised by the murder.

The family and neighbors told how two and a half years earlier, another resident of the town had murdered someone and then fled to Zayat's house, where he took a shower and changed his clothes. Zayat, a conscientious citizen, reported this to the police and later testified in court. Subsequently, his and family's life became hell. Shots were fired at his home, the family car was torched, and even after he left town for a few months at the suggestion of the police, it didn't stop. Ultimately, Zayat was murdered.

This is one tragic story, but it's not the only one. More than anything, it attests to the intolerable dilemma facing many Arab citizens of Israel. For much of the Jewish public, this element is not part of public life.


 Israel must prove its loyalty to its Arab citizens, not vice versa


Haaretz cartoon

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 00:02:44 +03:00

 Haaretz cartoon


Number of serious COVID cases in Israel falls to lowest number in a week

Thu, 16 Sep 2021 23:44:45 +03:00

The number of serious coronavirus cases in Israel declined to 654 on Wednesday, the lowest in over a week, according to Health Ministry data released Thursday. 

The R number, which represents the average number of people that each infected person will go on to infect, rose to 1.14, indicating that the current outbreak is continuing to grow. The figure represents an increase, after it fell below 1 for a few days.

The numbers showed 8,586 people testing positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, with a positive test rate of 5.93 percent. The death toll rose to 7,465.


 Number of serious COVID cases in Israel falls to lowest number in a week


Crime scourge in Arab community: Two men shot dead, another seriously injured

Thu, 16 Sep 2021 22:20:40 +03:00

Two Arab citizens of Israel were shot dead in separate incidents in Acre and Jisr al-Zarqa on Wednesday, with another man seriously injured in Shfaram on Thursday rounding off a bloody Yom Kippur in Arab communities. 

The 54-year-old resident of the predominately Arab city of Shfaram was shot and seriously wounded on Thursday, according to the police. The wounded man was the owner of a supermarket and was hit when a masked man on a motorcycle fired at the store, the police added.

Eighty-six Arab Israelis have lost their lives to violent crime this year so far, after 97 Israeli Arabs were murdered last year the most in at least 20 years. Of the 86 cases this year, 69 involved firearms and 45 of the victims were under the age of 30, according to the non-profit organization Abraham Initiatives.


 Crime scourge in Arab community: Two men shot dead, another seriously injured


When the Shin Bet chief warned that educated Arabs are a 'problem' for Israel

Thu, 16 Sep 2021 21:49:27 +03:00

When it comes to the state's attitude toward its Palestinian citizens, the policy of making available historical documents from the archives is made on the basis of several criteria. One of them starts with the assumption that declassifying documentation that reveals a policy of inequality is liable to harm the country's image and generate a possible reaction from Israel's Arab population.

Because the state's approach to the Arab public has long been essentially repressive, it's not surprising that the documentation available for perusal is very limited. It follows, then, that any attempt to present an ongoing description of the positions taken by senior figures in the security establishment over the years is almost doomed to fail. Nonetheless, two files that recently became available for perusal in the Israel State Archives offer an exceptional look at the bedrock views of the country's top security officials toward the country's Palestinian citizens during its early decades, and reveal their guiding principles.

The two documents in question were declassified following a request submitted by the Akevot Institute for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Research. The first, titled œSummary of a Meeting about the Arab Minority in Israel, relates to a meeting held in February 1960, at the request of Uri Lubrani, the Arab affairs adviser to Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. Lubrani convened the heads of the security units that dealt with the œArab issue, a term used frequently in discussions during that period. 


 When the Shin Bet chief warned that educated Arabs are a 'problem' for Israel


12-year-old killed in Yom Kippur bike accident, police open investigation

Thu, 16 Sep 2021 21:48:34 +03:00

A 12-year-old boy was killed on Thursday after a vehicle hit his bicycle near Giv'at Shmuel in central Israel, as Magen David Adom, Israel's emergency services, reported high numbers of calls over Yom Kippur.

The driver, 40-year-old Eran Azulai, was arrested on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence of alcohol. The Tel Aviv District Court extended his arrest through Sunday. Azulai had been charged twice in the past with drunk driving.

Paramedics were called to the aid of 2,583 people across the country, including the fatal accident of the boy from Ramat Gan. The police suspect the driver, a man in his forties, was driving under the influence when the accident occurred, and have taken him in for questioning.


 12-year-old killed in Yom Kippur bike accident, police open investigation


Israeli study finds COVID booster shot increases protection elevenfold for older people

Thu, 16 Sep 2021 21:22:18 +03:00

Coronavirus vaccine booster shots increase protection from infection over tenfold in those over 60, according to an Israeli study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study used data on 1.14 million Israelis aged 60 and up who had received two doses of the vaccine by the end of August. It divided cases into two groups: one consisting of people who received two doses of the vaccine, and another consisting of people who received a third dose. The researchers found that at least 12 days after the booster shot, the rate of infection in the non-booster group was 11.4 higher than the booster group, while their rate of severe illness was 19.5 times higher.

The peer-reviewed study was authored by 11 researchers, including Health Ministry director general Nachman Ash and Israel's director of public health services, Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis. They used several statistical methods and wrote that they had attempted to account as much as possible for variables such as behavioral differences and differences between different demographic populations.


 Israeli study finds COVID booster shot increases protection elevenfold for older people


'Munich is very family-friendly. It's like a kibbutz'

Thu, 16 Sep 2021 20:17:40 +03:00

Heloise Temps, 34, Asaf Yaacobi, 42, Eden Yaacobi, 4, Zoe Yaacobi, 1; live in Munich and flying there

How was your visit in Israel?

Heloise: In Germany, there is a protocol for everything. You need to do A, B and C, and everything is written down systematically, everything happens by the book. In Israel there is simply no f---ing playbook!


 'Munich is very family-friendly. It's like a kibbutz'


Israel's ultra-Orthodox parties had a terrible year. The new one could be worse

Thu, 16 Sep 2021 20:12:01 +03:00

On Yom Kippur last year, Israelis prayed in the streets. Observing the social-distancing rules while the second wave of COVID-19 swept across Israel, synagogues remained closed. It was a sobering time, but the scenes of thousands of Israelis religious, traditional and secular joining together in prayer and song in unexpected places like Tel Aviv's Dizengoff Square, in a rare moment of unity, were a rare ray of hope.

There was one place where the synagogues defiantly remained open. In the Haredi autonomy, the ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods and towns, services took place indoors, often without masks or any form of separation (except the usual kind between men and women, of course). It was a stark sign of how a community comprising 13 percent of Israel's population had detached itself from the rest of the country.

A few days later, after pressure from above, the police, who had largely abandoned any attempts to enter the Haredi areas, launched a perfunctory investigation into the prayers that had taken place in Jerusalem's largest synagogue: the Beit Midrash of the Belz Hasidic sect, where over 10,000 men and boys had been packed in on Yom Kippur. It was a desultory affair that reached no conclusions. Instead of phoning the Belzer rov, Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach, under whose direction the prayers had taken place, the police questioned journalists who reported on the event.


 Israel's ultra-Orthodox parties had a terrible year. The new one could be worse


Why are Israelis scared of Palestinian identity?

Thu, 16 Sep 2021 19:49:40 +03:00

The violent upheaval that embroiled Jewish and Arab citizens this past May generated increased public discussion of the feasibility of a shared Jewish and Arab society in Israel. During and after those events, prominent actors in various sectors local government, business, organized labor, education and academia, and other public institutions called for maintaining or even intensifying efforts to forge a shared life. This is a new approach, not evident in prior rounds of escalation between Jews and Arabs inside Israel. Nor is it a typical response to escalation in national conflicts generally, and it was unusual in its scope and force. We think those calls at the height of the crisis were crucial in limiting or reducing the violence and preventing the implosion of relations between Jews and Arabs here.

This new pattern did not come out of nowhere. In the last few years, we've seen more and more public spaces and institutions where Arabs and Jews routinely meet, mainly workplaces and campuses. More Arab citizens have also established a greater presence in centers of power and influence. 

Additionally, more public agencies and civil-society initiatives have taken steps to include Arab citizens as partners, participants and sometimes leaders in their programs. The process first trended widely within the Jewish left, and then spread beyond it to the political center. This is fortuitous because as the foundations for a shared society for Jews and Arabs become broader, encompassing larger and more diverse public constituencies and public, private and civil-society entities the stronger and more stable those foundations will become. In turn, those foundations will have greater capacity to support bridge-building between Jews and Arabs, and perhaps even to forestall any future escalation of conflict.


 Why are Israelis scared of Palestinian identity?


First shipment of Hezbollah-commissioned Iranian oil arrives in Lebanon

Thu, 16 Sep 2021 17:25:41 +03:00

A convoy of tanker trucks carrying Iranian diesel crossed the border from Syria into Lebanon early Thursday, the first in a series of deliveries organized by the militant Hezbollah group to ease crippling fuel shortages in the crisis-hit Mediterranean country.

The delivery violates U.S. sanctions imposed on Tehran after former President Donald Trump pulled America out of a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in 2018.

It was portrayed as a victory by Hezbollah, which stepped in to supply the fuel from its patron, Iran, while the cash-strapped Lebanese government grapples with months-long fuel shortages.


 First shipment of Hezbollah-commissioned Iranian oil arrives in Lebanon


German police detain four over synagogue threat on Yom Kippur

Thu, 16 Sep 2021 14:14:53 +03:00

German security officials said Thursday they had detained four people, one of them a 16-year-old, in connection with a suspected plan to attack a synagogue in the western city of Hagen.

The detentions took place on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism, and two years after a deadly attack in another German city on the Yom Kippur holiday.

Officials had received œvery serious and concrete information that there could be an attack on the synagogue during Yom Kippur, said Herbert Reul, the interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia state, where Hagen is located. The tip pointed to œan Islamist-motivated threat situation, and named the possible timing and suspect, he added.


 German police detain four over synagogue threat on Yom Kippur


Larry Ellison offers Netanyahu lucrative Oracle post

Thu, 16 Sep 2021 13:14:18 +03:00

The American-Jewish billionaire Larry Ellison, who founded the giant software firm Oracle, has asked former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to join the board of directors of the company.

Sources close to Netanyahu and Ellison said they did not know if Netanyahu accepted the offer or even responded to it. Netanyahu denied receiving the offer from Ellison.

An Oracle spokesman, speaking for Ellison, declined to respond to the report. Although details of the reported offer aren't known, such a board appointment would apparently include compensation of as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.


 Larry Ellison offers Netanyahu lucrative Oracle post


Israel has bolstered Red Sea activities over Iran threats, ex-navy chief says

Thu, 16 Sep 2021 13:11:25 +03:00

Israel's navy has stepped up its activities in the Red Sea œexponentially in the face of growing Iranian threats to Israeli shipping, the country's just-retired navy commander said in an interview.

Vice Adm. Eli Sharvit stopped short of confirming a series of attacks and mishaps on Iranian ships that have been attributed to Israel. But he described Iranian activities on the high seas as a top Israeli concern and said the navy is able to strike wherever necessary to protect the country's economic and security interests.

œThe state of Israel will protect its freedom of navigation across the globe, Sharvit told The Associated Press, days after completing his five-year term. œThat's not related to distance from the country.


 Israel has bolstered Red Sea activities over Iran threats, ex-navy chief says


Bennett makes Time Magazine's 2021 list as Islamist coalition partner hails his 'courage'

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 22:30:09 +03:00

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has made Time magazine's list of the world's 100 most influential people, and his Arab-Israeli coalition partner Mansour Abbas thinks he knows why.

œIt all comes down to courage, Abbas, the leader of the first Arab party to join an Israeli governing coalition, writes in the accompanying blurb explaining why his political opposite was recognized on the list published Wednesday.

œAfter four elections in two years, a bold act was needed to unite a country frayed by political stalemate and brought to a desperate standstill. Something dramatic needed to change, but more importantly, someone courageous needed to make that change.


 Bennett makes Time Magazine's 2021 list as Islamist coalition partner hails his 'courage'


Man seriously wounded in Jaffa stabbing; Palestinian suspect arrested

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 18:15:00 +03:00

A Palestinian man was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of stabbing and seriously wounding an East Jerusalem resident in Jaffa, with police saying the assailant planned to harm Jews. 

The Palestinian, in his 20s from the West Bank, was taken in for questioning. Police are searching for two additional suspects.

The 49-year-old victim, a Christian from East Jerusalem, managed to call the police after he had been stabbed and was taken to Wolfson Medical Center in Holon with impaired consciousness.


 Man seriously wounded in Jaffa stabbing; Palestinian suspect arrested


EU, Israel to mutually recognize COVID proof of immunity

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 16:04:42 +03:00

Israel and the European Union agreed Wednesday that each side will recognize the other's proof of immunity regarding the coronavirus, the governments announced in a joint statement.

The move will ease travel for Israelis upon arrival to EU states, but each country still has the right to impose further restrictions on visitors such as quarantine or the need to present a negative test result for COVID-19.

>>> Israel's 17% unvaccinated now account for 65% of all serious COVID-19 cases


 EU, Israel to mutually recognize COVID proof of immunity


Hundreds arrive in Israel from Iran, Syria, other enemy states, COVID data reveals

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 15:11:45 +03:00

What do Iran, Yemen, Syria and Libya all have in common?

None of these states has any kind of diplomatic relations with Israel, but according to data released by the Health Ministry, hundreds of people have recently entered Israel after traveling to those countries.

The information appears on the ministry's online dashboard, which provides COVID-19 statistics. One set of data shows how many cases were found in tests on people who recently entered Israel from foreign countries.


 Hundreds arrive in Israel from Iran, Syria, other enemy states, COVID data reveals


Israel could accept a U.S.Iran nuclear deal, Defense Minister Gantz says

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 14:43:14 +03:00

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that Israel would be willing to accept a new nuclear deal between the United States and Iran, marking a shift in the policy led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toward Theran.   

In an interview with Foreign Policy on Tuesday, Gantz said he would accept œthe current U.S. approach of putting the Iran nuclear program back in a box.

According to Gantz, Israel would like to see a "viable U.S.-led plan B" which would include economic sanctions on Iran in case talks falter.


 Israel could accept a U.S.Iran nuclear deal, Defense Minister Gantz says


Palestinian escapees wanted to reach West Bank, says one of their lawyers

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 13:36:58 +03:00

The six Palestinians who fled an Israeli prison last week planned to reach the West Bank and had no intention to commit terror acts, says the lawyer of one of the escapees.

After their escape, the prisoners were able to follow the manhunt via a radio they had smuggled along from the Gilboa prison. According to attorney Raslan Mahagna, the prisoners waited for the search efforts to wane before trying to cross into the West Bank.

Mahagna, who met with Mahmoud Aradeh on Tuesday, said the group didn't expect to assistance from Arab citizens of Israel or anyone else and "didn't want to get anybody in trouble." He added that the prisoners never considered to reach Lebanon or Jordan.


 Palestinian escapees wanted to reach West Bank, says one of their lawyers


Palestinian inmates backtrack on hunger strike as hunt for last two fugitives continues

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 12:17:21 +03:00

A hunger strike among 1,380 Palestinian inmates in several Israeli jails, set to begin on Friday, has been called off, the Palestinian Prisoners' Club said on Wednesday.

The Palestinian Prisoner's Club added that the decision was made after Israeli prison officials halted some of the punitive measures taken against inmates, including those from Islamic Jihad, following the escape of six captives last week. 

The chairman of the Palestinian Prisoner's Club, Qadura Fares, said on Wednesday that the organization negotiated with senior security and Israel Prison Service officials in recent days and both sides agreed to go back to normal. 


 Palestinian inmates backtrack on hunger strike as hunt for last two fugitives continues


Drones strike pro-Iran militants in Syria, war monitor says

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 11:28:16 +03:00

Unidentified drones struck on Tuesday pro-Iranian militants in Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

The attack occurred near the Syrian city of Albukamal shortly after the combatants crossed the border in a vehicle. There were unconfirmed reports of casualties, according to the news agency Alarabia.  

The center said that explosions were heard in Syria's Deir Ezzor province, where many pro-Iran militias and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps forces are stationed.


 Drones strike pro-Iran militants in Syria, war monitor says


COVID in Israel: Testing sites to shut down for Yom Kippur as infection rate rises

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 11:17:58 +03:00

Israel's Health Ministry reported on Wednesday that the R number, which represents the average number of people that each infected person will infect in turn, rose for a fifth straight day and now stands at 1.06, as the country sets to shut its testing centers throughout Yom Kippur.

When the R number is above 1, the pandemic is spreading, whereas under 1 signifies it is shrinking.

>>> Israel's 17% unvaccinated now account for 65% of all serious COVID-19 cases


 COVID in Israel: Testing sites to shut down for Yom Kippur as infection rate rises


Prescription magic mushrooms? This Israeli startup wants to make it happen

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 11:13:49 +03:00

The psychedelic revolution, albeit not the first, is indeed in full swing. Though the results will not be felt for a few years, but academic institutions like Johns Hopkins and Yale, have established departments to study psychedelic materials. Compass Pathways, a company founded to treat problems like depression using compounds found in hallucinogenic mushrooms, is being traded on the Nasdaq at a value of nearly $1.4 billion.

This revolution is not bypassing Israel; it has drawn a number of serial entrepreneurs, some of them with background in cannabis. œCompass Pathways has essentially written a treatment protocol for treatment-resistant depression; the patient goes to psychiatrists or psychologists who were trained by them, and after a few preparatory sessions, they undergo treatment with consciousness-altering mushrooms accompanied by the therapist, explains Dr. Kobi Buxdorf, a biotech entrepreneur.

The U.S. Federal Drug Administration recognized these treatments, pushing the industry forward. It permitted the company to submit a fast-track request for approval, Buxdorf says. Since then, many companies have been launched that are trying to treat depression, PTSD, and phobias using psilocybin, a psychoactive component found in mushrooms from the Psilocybe family, which are known to be hallucinogenic.


 Prescription magic mushrooms? This Israeli startup wants to make it happen


Why are U.S. Jews still calling Jimmy Carter an antisemite?

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 09:23:06 +03:00

Forty years after leaving the White House, Jimmy Carter, aged 96, still seems to have a Jewish problem. 

In America and abroad, Carter is often feted as the very model of an ex-president. But among many American Jews, he is sometimes openly accused of being intransigently anti-Israel or, worse, an antisemite. The latter label is simply an outrage, a slander against the most decent man to have occupied the Oval Office in the 20th century. 

Carter's whole life is proof of his stellar personal ethics and dedication to liberal humanitarian principles. A born-again Christian, reared in segregated, white supremacist South Georgia, he has never displayed a shred of racial or religious prejudice.


 Why are U.S. Jews still calling Jimmy Carter an antisemite?


Hebrew Israelite community ordered to leave Israel, but they plan to stay and fight

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 05:44:32 +03:00

The Hebrew Israelite community in the Negev town of Dimona never thought the day would come when the authorities would order scores of them to leave Israel.

In fact, they were so sure about their legal status in Israel that in 2015, at their own initiative, they gave the Interior Ministry a list of community members living in the country under the radar and lacking any legal status. Five years later, however, they found that the government had made its own use of the list, sending deportation notices to around half of those on it. There has been no decision about the rest, but they will almost certainly face the same fate.

After their request for legal status was rejected, 45 members of the community 24 of whom were born in Israel filed a lawsuit against the deportation orders. A few days ago the suit was rejected, meaning they must leave the country within two weeks. They, however, don't intend to do that and are planning a court battle that is expected to delay the expulsions. A few have declared they'd rather to die than leave the place to which they believe God sent them to serve him.


 Hebrew Israelite community ordered to leave Israel, but they plan to stay and fight


A Palestinian Christian bought a Jaffa house. That's not gentrification

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 04:58:03 +03:00

In her article, œThis Luxury Home Epitomizes the Erasure of Jaffa's Historical Landscape (Haaretz, August 26), Naama Riba discusses a new house built in the place of an old one in Jaffa.

The author argues that this constitutes a blatant example of cultural and historical erasure in Jaffa. In her telling, the erasure is being carried out by a Palestinian, the builder of the new house. In a strange mode, Riba subsequently shifts the focus to œneighborly disputes that have nothing to do with architecture.

I can't quite figure out how, of all things, a house that I, a Palestinian Christian, bought from the CEO of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team (with all the symbolism that entails!) in an area that was originally known as a Palestinian Christian neighborhood before it was emptied out in the wake of the Nakba became a story of erasure and gentrification. It is worth reframing the narrative set forward in the article. This ought to be a story of architectural and human renewal in a neighborhood that is celebrating a cultural revival.


 A Palestinian Christian bought a Jaffa house. That's not gentrification


A wake-up call for meaning on Yom Kippur

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 04:21:42 +03:00

Sometimes reality creates the images that evoke it most precisely. The collapse of a building, the digging of a tunnel there are no better images to illustrate repression, shutting one's eyes, denial, blindness, self-deception, turning one's face from a looming disaster. No building ever actually collapses all at once, no jailbreak ever takes place from one moment to the next. There are always prior signs, warning lights always go on.

How many cracks appear in the walls of a building before it collapses? How much sand needs to be displaced to dig a tunnel? How many people saw those cracks spreading on the wall and did nothing? How many of those told themselves that so far the building is still standing, and so far, so good? In like manner: How many prison guards saw more sand than usual, in odd places, time and again, and turned their head? How many of them saw suspicious movements or heard words which, after the escape, suddenly acquire a different meaning? It's the cruelty of processes: It becomes impossible to deny them only when it's no longer possible to do anything to prevent them. Until then the psyche tends to hold fast to the oh-so-beguiling yearning to stay asleep.

Well, neither the building nor the tunnel is the subject of this text. They are, as suggested beyond the tragedy of the occupants of the building in Holon, or the failure of the Prison Service principally images of the state of our consciousness. Just as the yearning to sleep is above all a state of consciousness. And it's precisely against that sleep that the Days of Awe as a whole, and Yom Kippur in particular, speak. œWhat are you doing asleep? the captain shouts at the prophet Jonah in the story of his flight from God, when the ship he is on is wrecked. œMan, what are you doing asleep? the liturgical hymn of slihot penitential prayer cries out.


 A wake-up call for meaning on Yom Kippur


Over 1 in 3 hungry families are unknown to welfare authorities in Israel

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 03:50:59 +03:00

The overwhelming majority of families living with food insecurity the lack of reliable access to sufficient, affordable, nutritious food are not known to the welfare authorities. This is the finding of a new study conducted by the Hebrew University in conjunction with the Health Ministry.

The study shows that 17 percent of Israeli families suffer from food insecurity, but only 11 percent of those families are known to the authorities. Another study published recently shows that more than half of needy families are single-parent families.

The first survey, published by Prof. Aron Troen of the Hebrew University's Agriculture Faculty in cooperation with the Health Ministry's nutrition department, which was conducted in March, showed that around half of the needful who participated in the survey got help from relatives, and a third said they got help from nonprofit associations and private organizations.


 Over 1 in 3 hungry families are unknown to welfare authorities in Israel


Israel extends digital monitoring as serious COVID cases drop

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 02:39:36 +03:00

Israel extends the use of electronic monitoring of people in quarantine starting Wednesday. Moreover, entry to swimming pools will no longer require proof of immunity, according to new regulations approved by the cabinet on Tuesday.

The Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee approved the use of electronic monitoring by police of people in quarantine, beyond those who have returned from abroad.

Anyone who is required to quarantine will receive a text message asking them to agree to electronic GPS supervision. Police will use increased means of enforcement for people who do not agree.


 Israel extends digital monitoring as serious COVID cases drop


Cable car accident survivors' grandfather questioned on suspected abduction

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 02:12:34 +03:00

Israel Police questioned on Tuesday the maternal grandfather of the 6-year-old who survived a cable car accident in Italy this summer, Shmuel Peleg, in the Tel Aviv central unit on suspicion of kidnapping a minor under 16. Peleg was later released under restrictions.

In addition, Aya Biran, the paternal aunt of Eitan Biran, whose parents and brother were killed in the accident, filled a lawsuit in the Tel Aviv Family Court on Tuesday to have the boy returned to Italy, based on The Hague Convention on Child Abductions.

Earlier this week, Eitan's mother's family said that Eitan had been returned to Israel œas his parents wanted, and that he was being treated at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer œin light of his complex and sensitive condition, which cannot be detailed. However, the father's family, who lives in Italy, say that the child was abducted to Israel. The Italian newspaper La Republica reported that the police in the city of Pavia have opened an investigation against Peleg on suspicion of aggravated kidnapping.


 Cable car accident survivors' grandfather questioned on suspected abduction


Bennett says Israel pushing for long-term truce in Gaza 'but if not, there are alternatives'

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 02:05:18 +03:00

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was interviewed on Tuesday evening by several television channels. On Channel 12, Bennett responded to contradictions between promises he made before his premiership commenced, and his actions since he took up the position.

œThis room is the most important room in the world. And when you arrive here, go through the door, you have to arrive clean, and leave all the politics behind. He added that his value system is "stable and long-term, but certainly, when you are sitting here, there are complex considerations behind every move, and it isn't like anything else.

In response, Netanyahu's Likud party said, œWe all saw just three months ago what Bennett's word is worth when he's interviewed he generally does just the opposite ¦ it would behoove Bennett to stop dealing just with his survival and work for the health and lives of Israeli citizens.


 Bennett says Israel pushing for long-term truce in Gaza 'but if not, there are alternatives'


Surprise! Monumental camel sculptures in Arabia are prehistoric, archaeologists find

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 01:59:59 +03:00

A series of ancient reliefs carved into the desert rocks of northern Saudi Arabia depicting life-sized camels and equids are older than initially thought, it turns out. Much, much older. Far from dating to the Roman era as initially thought, they are prehistoric, a new study reveals.

Back in 2018, when archaeologists announced the discovery of nearly two dozen reliefs, they were at a loss as to who had created the so-called œCamel Site, , why, and when. While rock art is common throughout the Levant, there was nothing in the region quite as spectacular as these monumental sculptures.

The initial theory was that the reliefs dated to some 2,000 years ago and were linked to the Nabateans, whose nomadic kingdom amassed great wealth and power during the Roman era. But a new scientific analysis of the time-worn sculptures of Camel Site shows that the early estimate was a bit off by thousands of years. The data published Wednesday in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports suggests that the reliefs were carved during the Neolithic, and specifically in the 6th millennium B.C.E., or between 7,000 and 8,000 years ago.


 Surprise! Monumental camel sculptures in Arabia are prehistoric, archaeologists find


The first 100 days of the Bennett-Lapid government

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 01:31:34 +03:00

Next week will mark one hundred days since the establishment of the Bennett-Lapid government. It was customary in the past to treat this period with generosity, with the understanding that a new government deserves some minimal amount of time for learning the ropes. This period was known as the hundred days of grace. This time, things have been reversed. There were indeed one hundred days of grace, but the beneficiaries were the citizens of this country, courtesy of the new government. As expected, the new government did not enjoy even one moment of goodwill on the part of the opposition (just recall the swearing-in ceremony).

In the opposition's footsteps came broad swaths of the media, which had grown accustomed to eating out of the hand of the opposition leader during his endless term in office, flattering him while constantly catering to his personal, family and legal interests. It is therefore particularly important to remind ourselves of reality as it is, not as reflected in hysterical TV studios or on manipulated social media.

The new government was labeled a œgovernment of change. Well, let's note the changes one can see. Government ministries have resumed working for the citizenry. Cabinet members in charge of these ministries are interested in serving the public, not just their voters and close associates. They look for solutions, re-examining the issues, working hard rather than prattling ad nauseam in the media.


 The first 100 days of the Bennett-Lapid government


Israel's government of change is taking commendable diplomatic steps

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 01:28:46 +03:00

Despite Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked's insistence on continuing with the stale rhetoric of the Netanyahu era, and despite her clumsy efforts to broadcast right-wing business as usual while sabotaging any effort to re-open clogged and rusty Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic channels (œAbu Mazen is paying terrorists who murder Jews and is prosecuting IDF soldiers in The Hague; he's not a partner), the government of change is continuing to take its first commendable diplomatic steps.

The meeting between Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi in Sharm el-Sheikh on Monday was the first official and public visit by an Israeli prime minister to Egypt in the last decade. Benjamin Netanyahu and Sissi met many times over the years, but these meetings were unofficial and mostly undercover. Moreover, Egypt went out of its way to publicly broadcast its respect for the diplomacy of Israel's new government and for the person heading it, placing Israel's flag behind Bennett for the photo of their meeting, a gesture never made for Netanyahu or, before him, Ehud Olmert.

The relations between Israel and its neighbor Egypt are important in and of themselves, and any step that could bring the two nations, not just their leaders, closer, is significant and desirable. But Egypt is also important as a mediator between Israel and the Hamas leadership in Gaza, and as the leader of the international community's efforts to rebuild the Gaza Strip. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid presented on Sunday a two-stage initiative for the rehabilitation of Gaza (œthe economy in exchange for security). The plan is not innovative in its principles, but its presentation reinforces the message that Israel's government wants to open a new page in its relations with its nearby neighbors, including the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.


 Israel's government of change is taking commendable diplomatic steps


Israel should help those who cannot live with the coronavirus

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 01:27:18 +03:00

The coronavirus infection statistics, and the reasonable prospect of a fifth and maybe a sixth wave, require us to infuse some content into the phrase œliving with the coronavirus. Because there are those who are living quite well with the virus, whose lifestyle, livelihood and functioning have not been affected at all, and there are those whose lives and the lives of their loved ones have been turned upside down.

The government effort to allow most Israelis to go about their business is crucial, but the need to identify those who aren't managing to function is no less crucial. No one can tell us how much longer we'll have to live with the pandemic, but there are assessments that it could go on for a few years. This means that in addition to planning and coping in the short term, there needs to be long-term government programs to provide a solution for those who cannot adjust in the workforce, the educational system and in business.

Practically speaking, we are œliving with the coronavirus since the beginning of the year, when the vaccination campaign began and the economy gradually reopened. Businesses were open, restrictions were lifted at workplaces and the schools reopened, albeit at a faltering pace given the quarantines imposed on many teachers and students. In principle, if no new variant emerges that is resistant to the vaccine, the way to live with the coronavirus is by using the tools available: Vaccines, quarantines, masks and green passports. This will allow the economy to function and most employees to work, make a living and pay taxes, and for critical systems to work properly.


 Israel should help those who cannot live with the coronavirus


Prestigious medical journal challenges need for third COVID shot, spiting Israel

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 01:26:19 +03:00

Questions about the purpose and expectations of the third coronavirus vaccine have been preoccupying experts around the world, and provoking debate in the medical-scientific community, both at the epidemiological level and at the ethical and strategic level in connection with the global response to the epidemic.

A review published Monday by an international group of scientists in The Lancet, one of the world's most prestigious medical journals, says that none of the data on coronavirus vaccines so far provides credible evidence in support of boosters for the general population. It adds that whatever advantage the third dose might provide does not outweigh the benefit of using those doses to vaccinate the billions of people around the world who are still not protected.

The publication comes just as Israel has given nearly a third of its population (31 percent) a third dose of the vaccine, two months after it launched the booster shot campaign despite it not being backed by any evidence or recommendations by any leading health organization. Israel was spurred by June's outbreak of the delta variant of the virus, which posed the first test to the vaccine's level of protection.


 Prestigious medical journal challenges need for third COVID shot, spiting Israel


Bennett and Sissi understand that they can scratch each other's back

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 01:25:32 +03:00

The meeting between Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi in Sharm el-Sheikh on Monday was reportedly a good one. Bennett and Sissi met for about an hour, according to plan. The meeting lasted for three hours. Israeli media outlets reported at length that the Egyptians had made sure to give the meeting as public and official an air as possible.

The warm reception will of course come at a cost. The Egyptian delegation came to the meeting with a long wish list for Israel assistance in improving ties with the United States, mediation in the crisis between Egypt and Ethiopia over the dam on the Nile River, strengthening economic ties between Jerusalem and Cairo, among other things. Israel wants the assistance of the Egyptian president and his intelligence officials to achieve a relatively long-term agreement with the Gaza Strip.

Expectations, on both sides, will only be partially met. A series of complicated problems came up during the conversation, which in some cases will require good will from third parties as well.


 Bennett and Sissi understand that they can scratch each other's back


Ida Nudel, legendary ex-Soviet ˜prisoner of Zion,' dies at 90

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 01:24:21 +03:00

Ida Nudel, the former œprisoner of Zion who became a symbol of the struggle of Soviet Jews to come to Israel, died Tuesday at age 90. She was buried in Hayarkon Cemetery in Tel Aviv.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Nudel's life story, which œsparked interest and sympathy around the world, was the story of the olim and of the entire Jewish people the longing for Zion, the love of the land and the struggle to come to Israel at any cost.

Nudel was born in 1931 near Moscow, and said that as a child she suffered from antisemitism. Her father, a soldier in the Red Army, was killed in World War II and his place of burial is unknown. Her mother died in 1971. In that year, Nudel and her sister Ilana Friedman and Friedman's husband requested permission to move to Israel. The Friedmans were granted it, but Nudel was not. She was later dismissed from her job as an economist for what she described as œinsulting the Russian soul.


 Ida Nudel, legendary ex-Soviet ˜prisoner of Zion,' dies at 90


Haaretz cartoon

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 23:54:04 +03:00

 Haaretz cartoon


Israel, Arab states celebrate Abraham Accords anniversary at Kushner's party

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 23:29:27 +03:00

WASHINGTON - On the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Accords on Tuesday, the ambassadors to the United States from Israel, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates marked the occasion in Washington.

The event, hosted by Jared Kushner's new non-profit organization, is one of several this week celebrating the blossoming ties between the countries since the accords' signing.

The Abraham Accords Institute for Peace ” co-founded with former Trump Mideast peace envoy Avi Berkowitz and Democratic mega-donor Haim Saban ” is dedicated to deepening the normalization pacts between Israel and its Arab allies. It will focus on promoting trade, tourism, and people-to-people development between the countries, as well as showcasing opportunities presented by bringing additional countries into the fold.


 Israel, Arab states celebrate Abraham Accords anniversary at Kushner's party






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!