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Ha'aretz
Time: Wed, 10.21.2020 06:27 PM Local file generated: Wed, 10.21.2020 06:18 PM
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Italy's daily coronavirus cases soar to new daily record above 15,000

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 19:09:05 +03:00

Italy has registered 15,199 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Wednesday, the highest daily tally since the start of the country's outbreak and up from a previous record of 11,705 posted on Sunday.

Tuesday saw 10,874 new cases of the highly contagious virus.

The ministry also reported 127 COVID-related deaths on Wednesday, up from 89 the day before but still far fewer than at the height of the pandemic in Italy in March and April, when a daily peak of more than 900 fatalities was reached.


 Italy's daily coronavirus cases soar to new daily record above 15,000


Biden holds big lead over Trump with Florida, Pennsylvania Jews, poll shows

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 19:08:01 +03:00

A new poll of Jewish American voters in the swing states of Florida and Pennsylvania shows former Vice President Joe Biden holding a significant lead over President Donald Trump, with less than two weeks until Election Day.

The figures are in line with nationwide polling that shows Biden defeating Trump by a wide margin among Jewish voters.

On Wednesday, the progressive Jewish group J Street released two polls of Jewish voters in the battleground states. In Florida, 73 percent of respondents said they were voting for Biden and 22 percent said they were voting for Trump. In Pennsylvania, 75 percent said they were voting for Biden and 22 percent said they were voting for Trump.


 Biden holds big lead over Trump with Florida, Pennsylvania Jews, poll shows


Pollster predicts 'hidden vote' gives Trump the win, GOP sees voter registration uptick

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 19:04:26 +03:00

The Republican Party has cut into Democrats' advantage in voter registration tallies across some critical presidential battleground states, a fact they point to as evidence of steady ” and overlooked ” enthusiasm for President Donald Trump and his party.

Even though Trump trails in national polls and struggles with fundraising with just weeks before Election Day, Republicans see their progress signing up voters in Florida, Pennsylvania, Arizona and other states as a rare bright spot.

Trafalgar Group pollster Robert Cahaly told Sean Hannity on Fox News Tuesday he believes Trump will be reelected by a "hidden vote" missing from most polls. 


 Pollster predicts 'hidden vote' gives Trump the win, GOP sees voter registration uptick


Knesset drama as speaker cancels vote approving inquiry into Netanyahu's submarine affair

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 18:51:16 +03:00

Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin of Likud annulled a Knesset vote on Wednesday that approved a parliamentary commission of inquiry into the so-called submarine affair. The affair centers around claims that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu interevened to buy more submarines from Germany, against the security establishment's position.

The Knesset held an electronic vote, and a majority of Knesset members approved opening a parliamentary commission of inquiry. Coalition whip Miki Zohar of Likud claimed that he had demanded a roll-call vote rather than an electronic one, and that his electronic vote did not register. 

Levin then annulled the results of the vote, saying that the first vote had either not been announced or was said "softly." In Knesset footage, the announcement of the start of the vote can be heard, and it also appears on the countdown clock in the back of the room.


 Knesset drama as speaker cancels vote approving inquiry into Netanyahu's submarine affair


State prosecutor reprimands Israel police for lax enforcement of COVID restrictions

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 18:32:03 +03:00

Senior officials in the State Prosecutor's Office have reprimanded Israel Police's top brass, who they say avoid enforcing criminal statutes against violators of coronavirus regulations, arguing that selective enforcement could lead citizens to complain of discrimination.  

Data obtained by Haaretz shows that only four indictments have been handed down for œan action that is liable to spread illness. Two were issued during the first wave in the spring, and two others during the latest wave of infection.

Officials have also complained that they've only seen one case brought before them of a person providing misleading or inaccurate contact tracing information to the authorities, that case having been the one involving Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel.


 State prosecutor reprimands Israel police for lax enforcement of COVID restrictions


Barrett was trustee at private school with anti-gay policies

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 17:59:10 +03:00

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett served for nearly three years on the board of private Christian schools that effectively barred admission to children of same-sex parents and made it plain that openly gay and lesbian teachers weren't welcome in the classroom.

The policies that discriminated against LGBTQ people and their children were in place for years at Trinity Schools Inc., both before Barrett joined the board in 2015 and during the time she served.

The three schools, in Indiana, Minnesota and Virginia, are affiliated with People of Praise, an insular community rooted in its own interpretation of the Bible, of which Barrett and her husband have been longtime members. At least three of the couple's seven children have attended the Trinity School at Greenlawn, in South Bend, Indiana.


 Barrett was trustee at private school with anti-gay policies


Jewish director sends message of hope in Pope Francis film

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 17:50:26 +03:00

After tackling war in Syria, Oscar-nominated Evgeny Afineevsky wanted his next documentary to send a message of hope, so he chose as its subject the only world leader he believes capable of uniting humanity: Pope Francis.

Afineevsky, a Russia-born Jew, depicts Francis as the great connector, and "Francesco", which premiered at the Rome Film Festival on Wednesday, places the pope at the heart of a narrative that casts a wide net over some of the world's most pressing problems.

"The main thread of this movie is more about us as human beings, who are creating disasters every day. And he (the pope) is the one who is connecting us through these threads," Afineevsky, now a U.S. citizen, said in an interview.


 Jewish director sends message of hope in Pope Francis film


What fuels ultra-Orthodox Jews' unsettling fervor for Donald Trump

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 17:08:38 +03:00

Recently, two outspoken figures within the American ultra-Orthodox community clashed publicly about whether it was legitimate to target and intimidate a fellow member of their community for the ˜offense' of advocating compliance with New York City and State COVID-19 restrictions.

Borough Park shock-jock and agitator Heshy Tischler and Shlomo Rechnitz, the influential ultra-Orthodox nursing home magnate and philanthropist, may be diametrically opposed to each other, but their rhetoric actually shares a common theme: a tacit rejection of American democracy. 

The language of their recent conflict reflects a turn towards a disturbing paradigm supported and encouraged more broadly by President Donald Trump, which will only contribute to the further isolation of the U.S. Orthodox community and, ironically, to its further retreat into Trumpism.


 What fuels ultra-Orthodox Jews' unsettling fervor for Donald Trump


Trump calls Biden a ˜servant of the globalists,' using term viewed as antisemitic dog whistle

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 17:01:00 +03:00

President Donald Trump has been calling his Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, a œservant of the globalists in speeches at campaign rallies throughout the past week, repeatedly using a term widely viewed as an antisemitic dog whistle.

On Tuesday evening, Trump told a crowd gathered in Erie, Pennsylvania, that Biden was œa servant of the globalists, lobbyists, wealthy donors and Washington vultures who got rich bleeding America dry.

Trump used exactly the same line at an Arizona rally the previous night. It's a charge he seems to have polished over past weeks, turning it into a regular feature of the stump speech he's making at his rallies in key battleground states in the closing weeks of his reelection campaign. 


 Trump calls Biden a ˜servant of the globalists,' using term viewed as antisemitic dog whistle


Coronavirus Israel live: Ahead of school debate, gov't report warns kids could be superspreaders

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 14:42:56 +03:00

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

Israel currently has 22,856 active cases; 2,278 people have died. In the West Bank, there are 5,238 active cases and 453 deaths, and in Gaza 1,921 active cases and 28 deaths.

LIVE UPDATES


 Coronavirus Israel live: Ahead of school debate, gov't report warns kids could be superspreaders


Pat Robertson: Trump will win, followed by war on Israel and the end of times

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 14:32:55 +03:00

Televangelist Pat Robertson claimed on Tuesday that God told him U.S. President Donald Trump will win re-election on November 3rd, which will be followed by mass civil unrest, a war against Israel and œsome kind of asteroid strike on the globe.

œFirst of all, I want to say without question, Trump is going to win the election,'' Robertson said on the Christian Broadcast Network's œThe 700 Club.''

œThat doesn't mean you sit home and don't vote, he added. œThat means you get out and do everything you can to work, but he's going to win. That's, I think, a given.


 Pat Robertson: Trump will win, followed by war on Israel and the end of times


N.Y.C. Mayor Bill de Blasio: I regret how I handled that Orthodox funeral in April

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 14:19:59 +03:00

With tensions high between Orthodox Jews and New York officials, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio expressed regret Tuesday for how he handled a large Hasidic funeral in the pandemic's early days.

Back in April, after a large funeral for a local rabbi in Brooklyn drew thousands of Orthodox Jews into the streets of Williamsburg, de Blasio visited the scene himself and called out œthe Jewish community. His tweet was widely criticized and damaged what had been a relatively close relationship between the mayor and the city's Orthodox community.

Now, with Orthodox neighborhoods again among the city's virus hotspots and residents chafing at restrictions imposed to curb the disease's spread, de Blasio says he regrets what he said ” and how he said it.


 N.Y.C. Mayor Bill de Blasio: I regret how I handled that Orthodox funeral in April


Israeli cop who shot dead autistic Palestinian faces trial: 'He posed no danger'

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 13:48:08 +03:00

A border policeman who killed an autistic Palestinian in May could stand trial for reckless homicide pending a hearing, the Justice Ministry announced Wednesday.

Eyad al-Hallaq, a 32-year-old resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Joz, was shot dead on his way to the special needs school that he attended and worked at.

A case against the border policeman's commanding officer was closed out of lack of guilt.


 Israeli cop who shot dead autistic Palestinian faces trial: 'He posed no danger'


Biden scores major endorsements as Trump wobbles on Fauci attack

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 13:47:16 +03:00

A day after claiming that the American people are tired of listening to Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Donald Trump insisted Tuesday that he gets along with the nation's top infectious disease specialist while also complaining the doctor who has clashed with him at times over the coronavirus is not a œteam player.

Read more: Trump slams '60 Minutes' for 'electoral intrusion' after abruptly ending interview | In most crucial swing state, Jewish suburban women can't wait to vote out Trump

Trump's strained relationship with Fauci has political overtones as the president defends his record on the coronavirus just two weeks before Election Day. Polls show him trailing Democrat Joe Biden in key battleground states, but Trump says he's confident of victory.


 Biden scores major endorsements as Trump wobbles on Fauci attack


The truth behind Israel and Egypt's submarine affair

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 13:30:19 +03:00

œThe submarines question is really three different questions: 1. Does Israel need a sixth submarine? 2. The matter of Israel's agreement to sell a submarine to Egypt. 3. Who needs nine submarines?

I œencountered the sixth submarine in April 2011 as the head of the National Security Council. Before my first or second trip to Germany, I was asked I seem to remember by then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak to get the Germans to agree to provide financing for a third of a submarine so that we could buy the sixth submarine. So when I was there I asked my German counterpart for funding for the submarine, and financing for the four missile corvettes to be used for defending Israel's exclusive economic zone in the Mediterranean Sea. Less than a year later he responded by telling me that Germany would fund a third of the submarine.

There is an argument within the defense establishment as to whether we need five or six submarines. The decision depends on operations research studies which are supposed to define availability under different conditions and the approach in principle that range between cautious optimism (which means five is enough) to pessimism that does not take chances (such that we need six). This is a legitimate argument in which serious, knowledgeable people can be found on both sides.


 The truth behind Israel and Egypt's submarine affair


Trump slams '60 Minutes' for 'electoral intrusion' after abruptly ending interview

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 12:39:28 +03:00

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday abruptly ended an interview with CBS' œ60 Minutes that is set to air this Sunday.

Trump's interview with Leslie Stahl ended acrimoniously, according to one person familiar with the exchange who was not authorized to discuss it publicly.

In a subsequent Twitter message, the president declared his interview with Lesley Stahl to be œFAKE and BIASED and threatened to release a White House account of the interview before its Sunday airtime.


 Trump slams '60 Minutes' for 'electoral intrusion' after abruptly ending interview


Settler violence against Palestinians increases during annual olive harvest

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 12:12:43 +03:00

Israeli authorities have documented five violent assaults against Palestinians and the destruction of 62 olive trees during the first week of the olive harvest, according to data obtained by Haaretz.

The Yesh Din human rights organization reported 25 incidents linked to the annual harvest since it began earlier this October, including assaults, the destruction of trees, and thefts.

One of the Palestinian victims, Khalil Abedel Haq Amira, 72, from Ni'lin, was attacked while harvesting his trees near the West Bank settlement of Hashmonaim. Six masked people, presumably settlers, accosted him and his cousin Abed, telling them they'd better go home. They then hurled stones and pepper sprayed them, Amira told Haaretz from his hospital bed in Ramallah.


 Settler violence against Palestinians increases during annual olive harvest


Israel reportedly strikes targets in southern Syria in first since mid-September

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 12:09:07 +03:00

Israel struck targets near Quneitra, in the Syrian Golan Heights, the state-run Syrian news agency SANA reported on Tuesday night, in a first since mid-September.

According to SANA, the strike targeted a school in the village of Al Huriah in the Quneitra province in the Syrian Golan Heights, while Syrian Opposition groups reported the strike targeted Hezbollah positions in the village. 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is affiliated with opposition groups, later reported that a pro-Iranian militia headquarters was hit. The Saudi-based Al-Arabiya channel quoted the observatory as saying that there were deaths in the strike, but did not provide more details. 


 Israel reportedly strikes targets in southern Syria in first since mid-September


Coronavirus Israel: Pandemic czar announces free testing without referrals

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 10:47:27 +03:00

This story is no longer being updated. For our most recent coverage, follow live updates here

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

Israel currently has 22,856 active cases; 2,278 people have died. In the West Bank, there are 5,238 active cases and 453 deaths, and in Gaza 1,921 active cases and 28 deaths.


 Coronavirus Israel: Pandemic czar announces free testing without referrals


Is Israel's forbidden affair with cluster bombs making another round?

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 10:38:15 +03:00

A few days after the start of the fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh, Amnesty International claimed that an Israeli-made cluster bomb had been found near the city of Stepanakert, the capital of the contested region. According to the claim, the bomb fell in a residential area after apparently being fired by Azerbaijani forces.

œThe use of cluster bombs in any circumstances is banned under international humanitarian law, so their use to attack civilian areas is particularly dangerous and will only lead to further deaths and injuries, said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International's acting chief for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

œCluster bombs are inherently indiscriminate weapons, and their deployment in residential areas is absolutely appalling and unacceptable. As fighting continues to escalate, civilians must be protected, not deliberately targeted or recklessly endangered.


 Is Israel's forbidden affair with cluster bombs making another round?


Israel's anti-tunnel barrier pays off, but Gaza groups are working on alternatives

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 10:28:04 +03:00

UPDATE: Israel strikes Hamas target after Gaza rocket intercepted

The discovery of a tunnel along the border of the Gaza Strip seems to send Israel and Hamas back in time, to the days when military tension between them was far greater. But conditions today the coronavirus, Hamas' desperate need for financial aid for Gaza and Israel's desire to secure a deal for the return of its missing and captive soldiers and civilians are completely different.

Consequently, there's a reasonable chance that despite the important military asset the Palestinians have lost, the tunnel's discovery won't lead to a violent escalation.


 Israel's anti-tunnel barrier pays off, but Gaza groups are working on alternatives


Black Cube, a late Mossad chief, and a rogue op against a top Romanian official

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 10:26:48 +03:00

In April 2016, two employees of Israeli private intelligence firm Black Cube were arrested at a Bucharest hotel later to be sentenced to  probation and be allowed to leave Romania.

The company's CEO testified that a former Mossad chief, Meir Dagan, suggested that Black Cube work œas an arm of the Romanian Intelligence Service. This testimony is included in the transcript of a police interrogation obtained by Haaretz.

Dagan, who headed the Mossad from 2002 to 2011, died in 2016.


 Black Cube, a late Mossad chief, and a rogue op against a top Romanian official


Turkey seeks to replace Egypt in Palestinian arena and Israel should be worried

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 08:24:10 +03:00

The Rafah crossing, which provides the Gaza Strip's only access to Egypt, has been closed since March, apart from two brief periods. Officially, this is in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus. But although that reason is indisputably valid, Egypt has also likely kept the crossing closed as part of its sanctions on Hamas for daring to take independent political action.

For two months, Hamas and Fatah have been discussing reviving their reconciliation plan and holding new elections first for the Palestinian Legislative Council, effectively the parliament for Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza, then for the presidency, and finally for the Palestinian National Council, the representative institution for Palestinians everywhere.

When Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed their peace agreement, Palestinians were forced to come to terms with reality: Arab states are ditching the Arab Peace Initiative, normalizing relations with Israel and ending their theoretical guarantee that any peace deal with Israel would require an Israeli withdrawal.


 Turkey seeks to replace Egypt in Palestinian arena and Israel should be worried


Shuttered for seven straight months, Israeli cinemas face bankruptcy

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 06:44:00 +03:00

Israel's cinemas have been shuttered since the start of the first lockdown in the middle of March, and owners say that if they aren't allowed to reopen fairly soon even the biggest of the chains will face bankruptcy. Creative solutions for generating revenue have met up with government resistance or indifference.

Like its counterparts abroad, local operators of movie theaters have been decimated by the pandemic. Some of the largest foreign chains including the Israeli-owned Cineworld have closed theaters altogether.

œThe situation in Israel is no different. If the coronavirus continues for another six moths, everyone will go bankrupt, we and all the other chains. No one has an endless supply of money, said Avi Edri, CEO of the Cinema City chain. œThe only business in the country that has been closed for seven straight months is the cinemas.


 Shuttered for seven straight months, Israeli cinemas face bankruptcy


Israel's COVID cabinet to debate opening lower grades as Haredi schools remain open

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 06:07:28 +03:00

The coronavirus cabinet posponed until Wednesday its debate on reopening schools, in the face of disagreements between the Health Ministry and the Education Ministry.

The ministers are slated to decide on the next stage of reopening Israel's economy on November 1: letting children in grades 1 to 4 return to school, or opening stores.

The ministers will be debating a proposal to delay school openings by another two weeks beyond that date.


 Israel's COVID cabinet to debate opening lower grades as Haredi schools remain open


Israel Police brace for economic-driven spike in crime amid COVID crisis

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 05:27:48 +03:00

The police and Public Security Ministry forecast a major rise in crime once the coronavirus crisis ends, due to the dire economic situation facing Israelis.

Documents obtained by Haaretz reveal internal discussions held by the police and Public Security Ministry during the first lockdown and after it, in which police officials said the crisis will lead to a severe dependence by business owners on gray market lenders. They also anticipated a significant increase in property crime and domestic violence.

The documents reported here came from a Freedom of Information Law request made by Haaretz and the Movement for the Promotion of a Fair Society (Hatzlacha) nonprofit, and show predictions of a crime wave were made at the end of April. œThe police need to prepare for the economic crisis just around the corner, said a senior official in the Public Security Ministry. They should prepare by creating a œnarrative of a victory picture. It is important that we come out of this incident with the police being depicted as acting for the public, and not against it, he added. It is doubtful that the police have managed to create such a picture as of now.


 Israel Police brace for economic-driven spike in crime amid COVID crisis


If the state grants the Haredim a license to kill, why denounce them?

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 04:57:42 +03:00

A Jewish state can't complain about an ultra-Orthodox civil revolt that is erupting in the name of a supreme rabbinical authority. That's because after the government granted the œsector the authority to dictate the laws of the state, to rob its budget and to operate an education system that undermines all the principles of the democratic state, and also released it from the obligation to serve in the army, gave it the power to bring down governments and now has even signed a license for it to kill in the name of heaven exactly which law is it violating?

MK Moshe Gafni, the chairman of the Haredi political faction Degel Hatorah, who explained that in the Haredi sector there is no violation of directives, is right. œThe Haredi public obeys the instructions of Rabbi Kanievsky, Gafni told the prime minister as he explained the entire Torah in a nutshell. The Army of God has one commander, the Jewish state has another leader, and when a dispute develops between those two leaders, the commander of the Army of God will always win, because this is a Jewish state.

And the fact is that the Haredim didn't give themselves this power, they received it thanks to the ancient status quo delineated by Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, but they knew how to nurture it until it reached monstrous dimensions.


 If the state grants the Haredim a license to kill, why denounce them?


Haaretz cartoon

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 04:02:43 +03:00

 Haaretz cartoon


Israeli man indicted for pepper spray attack on anti-Netanyahu protesters

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 03:15:28 +03:00

An indictment was filed on Tuesday against a 34-year-old man for assaulting protesters calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a demonstration in July.

The defendant, Eliran Kambisis, is accused of pepper spraying protesters from a car as it drove by a protest site in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan, although he asserts that he sprayed them with window cleaner.

Kambisis is the first individual charged with attacking protesters to have claimed that he was compelled by incitement.


 Israeli man indicted for pepper spray attack on anti-Netanyahu protesters


Most ritual baths in Israel unlicensed and unsupervised, data shows

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 02:49:14 +03:00

Two out of three public ritual baths, or mikvehs, in Israel operate without a license and without sanitary supervision, data from the Religious Services Ministry obtained by Haaretz shows.

Most of these Jewish ritual baths are for women, who are the only ones required to use them for purposes of fulfilling requirements of Jewish law. There are also hundreds of private mikvehs their exact number is not known that operate without any supervision.

Under the regulations governing the coronavirus pandemic that went into effect in September, ritual baths were exempted from sanitary supervision and remained open during the lockdown. That was also the case during the lockdown in the spring, when the ministry said that the chlorine used in the baths would destroy the virus.


 Most ritual baths in Israel unlicensed and unsupervised, data shows


Yazidi Iraqi keeps tradition alive of arak-making from dates

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 02:14:47 +03:00

Saad Hussein, a 42-year-old Yazidi Iraqi, is one of the last in the northern region of Nineveh producing arak, the anise-flavored spirit typically produced from grapes and aniseed, from local dates instead. 

Forced to flee his home town of Bashiqa, close to Mosul, when it fell to Islamic State in 2014, he returned after the defeat and expulsion of the Islamic militants to reopen his small distillery.

"This is part of our heritage, but it's almost extinct. There is almost no one here in the area that does it," he said. "I have always loved the craft, and used to work in it previously. So I wanted to revive this craft."


 Yazidi Iraqi keeps tradition alive of arak-making from dates


Settler violence against Palestinian farmers only grows during harvest time

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 02:08:10 +03:00

Not even the coronavirus pandemic, which has derailed the entire world, managed to stop the seasonal outbreak of settler violence during the olive harvest, or the odor of collaboration by Israeli law enforcement agencies that always accompanies it.

On the contrary, according to one of the leaders of the Palestinian activist organization Faz3a, which sends volunteers to the orchards to help Palestinian farmers, this year has seen a rise in the number of violent incidents and in the level of settler aggression. The Israeli organization Yesh Din: Volunteers for Human Rights has documented 25 incidents related to the harvest since the harvest season began. These range from stealing olives to burning or chopping down trees to violent assaults on the harvesters. To date, more than 400 trees have been cut down and around 50 have been torched.

The economic fallout from the pandemic has not spared the occupied territories. As a result, the olive harvest has become a primary source of income for many families. The lawless settlers who steal the olives and uproot the trees aren't only vandalizing Palestinian property; they are also sabotaging the livelihoods of entire families at a very difficult time.


 Settler violence against Palestinian farmers only grows during harvest time


Israel strikes Hamas target after Gaza rocket intercepted

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 23:43:30 +03:00

The Israel Air Force struck an underground Hamas infrastructure in the southern Gaza Strip, the Israeli army said Tuesday, adding that it came as a response to a rocket launched from the Strip at Israel earlier.

Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted a rocket fired from Gaza on Tuesday, a few hours after the military said it had uncovered an offensive tunnel that runs from the Gaza Strip and into Israeli territory, adding that it is not known to which Gaza faction the tunnel belongs, but that it held Hamas responsible.

The army said it exposed the tunnel on Tuesday, between the road along the border fence and the wall being constructed along the entire border with the Gaza Strip.


 Israel strikes Hamas target after Gaza rocket intercepted


Critical vote on right-wing takeover of World Zionist Congress delayed

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 22:37:42 +03:00

Faced with opposition from key Jewish organizations in the Diaspora, leaders of the World Zionist Congress resolved on Tuesday to postpone a vote on a controversial agreement that would effectively have handed over control of key institutions to right-wing and rigidly Orthodox parties.

The vote on the so-called œcoalition agreement was scheduled for Tuesday, the opening day of the proceedings of the congress. The agreement, drafted over the weekend by right-wing and Orthodox parties holding a majority of seats in the congress (among delegations with voting rights), would strip non-Orthodox movements and Zionist center-left parties of any real influence in the World Zionist Organization and its affiliate organizations the Jewish Agency for Israel, United Israel Appeal (Keren Hayesod), and the Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael).

In an emergency meeting, the congressional presidium voted to wait until Thursday, the last day of the proceedings, in the hope that changes acceptable to the oppoisiton might be introduced. For the first time in history, the congress, which convenes every five years, is holding its proceedings online.


 Critical vote on right-wing takeover of World Zionist Congress delayed


Israeli pipeline operator signs preliminary deal to transport UAE oil to Europe

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 22:28:02 +03:00

In what could become one of the most significant deals to emerge since Israel and the United Arab Emirates normalized relations, the Israeli state-owned pipeline company Europe Asia Pipeline Company, or EAPC, said on Tuesday that it had signed a memorandum of understanding to store and transport oil and distillates from the UAE to Europe.

Under the preliminary agreement with MED-RED Land Bridge, a company controlled by Israelis and Emiratis, EAPC will manage storing and transmitting the oil. The oil will be shipped via EAPC's pipeline, which connects the Red Sea city of Eilat and the Mediterranean port of Ashkelon.

The MOU was signed in Abu Dhabi on Monday during a ceremony attended by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.


 Israeli pipeline operator signs preliminary deal to transport UAE oil to Europe


As Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen mocks antisemitic COVID conspiracies on Jimmy Kimmel

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 21:16:11 +03:00

Sacha Baron Cohen's latest appearance in character as Borat was heavy on the bathroom humor ” and on satirizing conspiracy theories that target Jews.

On œJimmy Kimmel Live on Monday night, Cohen showed up as Borat ” the antisemitic, misogynist journalist from Kazakhstan who starred in a blockbuster 2006 film and is set to star in a sequel out this week. Right away, Borat said the coronavirus comes from œa place called Wuhan, which is in Israel.

œIt is no surprise, they are spreading everything, he said.


 As Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen mocks antisemitic COVID conspiracies on Jimmy Kimmel


˜Every woman on Instagram is exposed': New AI software creates nude photos of clothed women

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 19:57:14 +03:00

Fake nude photographs of over 600,000 real women have been created using a new program that takes images of their clothed selves from social media accounts and uses an AI bot to make them appear naked.

The program, which operates as a bot on Russian-language Telegram groups, is free to use and draws on œdeep fake technology. Its presence was revealed Tuesday in a report by Sensity, a leading synthetic media watchdog.

Telegram took down the groups, which had over 80,000 members, ahead of the report's publication, citing abuse of its terms of use. Among the images created were nude photos of minors.


 ˜Every woman on Instagram is exposed': New AI software creates nude photos of clothed women


Yom Kippur Zoom reunites Holocaust survivors 71 years later

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 19:45:43 +03:00

Holocaust survivors Ruth Brandspiegel and Israel œSasha Eisenberg call their reunion a miracle that began on the holiest day in Judaism, and it only happened thanks to a prayer service that was held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Decades ago, their families, who came from the same city in Poland, escaped the Nazis, crossed into the Soviet Union and were sent to different labor camps in Siberia, where Eisenberg was born. They later met at a displaced persons camp in Austria, where they became close friends. They last saw each other there, in 1949, before losing track of each other's whereabouts.

More than 70 years later, Brandspiegel, now a Philadelphia resident, heard a familiar name being called out in a Yom Kippur service held in late September via Zoom by her son's synagogue in East Brunswick, New Jersey.


 Yom Kippur Zoom reunites Holocaust survivors 71 years later


Under attack and losing hope, Iraqi activists flee abroad

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 19:13:16 +03:00

Hasanain Alminshid had received death threats for his human rights activism for years, but ignored most of them. After his mentor was gunned down outside a police station, he finally made the difficult choice to flee Iraq.

"It's too dangerous now. There have been killings in the open in front of security forces," he said, speaking by 'phone from Istanbul, where he has based himself since that incident in November last year.

Alminshid, 29, his mentor Amjad Aldhamat and several other activists had attended a meeting with police to discuss a planned protest in their hometown of Amara in southern Iraq during some of the most deadly anti-government unrest that swept Iraq last year.


 Under attack and losing hope, Iraqi activists flee abroad


Israeli army uncovers Gaza tunnel crossing into Israel

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 19:03:34 +03:00

UPDATE: Israel intercepts Gaza rocket fired after army uncovered attack tunnel

The Israeli army has uncovered an offensive tunnel that runs from the Gaza Strip and into Israeli territory, according to a statement by the army released on Tuesday.

The army said it is not known to which Gaza faction the tunnel belongs, but that it held Hamas responsible.


 Israeli army uncovers Gaza tunnel crossing into Israel


Navy admiral from bin Laden raid endorses Biden: U.S. needs decency and respect

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 18:11:59 +03:00

William McRaven, the retired U.S. Navy admiral who directed the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, endorsed Joe Biden for president in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

The article titled, "Biden Will Make America Lead Again" argued that  the U.S. is in "need of a president with decency and a sense of respect."

McRaven wrote: "I am a pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, small-government, strong-defense and a national-anthem-standing conservative. But, I also believe that black lives matter, that the Dreamers deserve a path to citizenship, that diversity and inclusion are essential to our national success, that education is the great equalizer, that climate change is real and that the First Amendment is the cornerstone of our democracy. Most important, I believe that America must lead in the world with courage, conviction and a sense of honor and humility."


 Navy admiral from bin Laden raid endorses Biden: U.S. needs decency and respect


Israeli man charged with sabotaging Haaretz office, threatening journalist

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 18:00:49 +03:00

An indictment was filed on Tuesday against a Ramat Gan resident for sabotaging an electrical cabinet in the Haaretz offices and threatening journalist Gidi Weitz.

Levy, 41, is charged with making threats, trespassing and intentional property damage. Levy, who was arrested last Wednesday, is detained on probation due to his psychological condition. Levy had a forced hospitalization order at the time of the incident and his family demanded that he receive psychiatric treatment.

According to the indictment, Levy came to the Haaretz offices on Schocken Street in Tel Aviv last week and began following investigative reporter Gidi Weitz when he arrived. Levy looked at Weitz as he was at the front door. Weitz, after seeing him, turned and entered the building through the parking lot entrance, with the defendant following him.


 Israeli man charged with sabotaging Haaretz office, threatening journalist


Poland turning National Stadium into COVID-19 field hospital

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 17:53:35 +03:00

 Poland's government is transforming the National Stadium in Warsaw into a field hospital to handle the surging number of people infected with the coronavirus, and expects it to be operational within days, officials said.

The government is also making preparations to create other temporary hospitals as Polish hospitals are filling up and threatening to turn into a major crisis.

œWe assume that it will not be possible to stop the dynamics of the epidemic and that we will have to open more temporary hospitals, Mariusz Kaminski, the interior minister, said.


 Poland turning National Stadium into COVID-19 field hospital


Trump is bullying Sudan into embracing Israel. It won't end well

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 17:35:40 +03:00

As the Trump administration seeks to clinch another diplomatic breakthrough ahead of the November election, it has zeroed in on Sudan. 

Exerting heavy pressure on Khartoum to normalize relations Israel, the White House has announced Sudan's long-awaited removal from the U.S. list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, a major component in a larger package of incentives.

Although engaging in diplomatic high-handedness for the purpose of brokering peace deals is legitimate practice in international affairs, the risks in this case are considerable, both to Sudan's political future and to the very viability of peace between it and Israel.


 Trump is bullying Sudan into embracing Israel. It won't end well


France shuts Paris mosque in crackdown after teacher's beheading

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 17:29:00 +03:00

France ordered the temporary closure of a mosque outside Paris on Tuesday, part of a crackdown on Muslims who incite hatred after the decapitation of a teacher who showed his class caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad.

The Grand Mosque of Pantin, a low-income suburb on the capital's northeastern outskirts, had shared a video on its Facebook page before the attack that vented hatred against history teacher Samuel Paty.

Police plastered notices of the closure order outside the mosque as the authorities promised a tough response against the disseminators of hate messages, preachers of radicalised sermons and foreigners believed to pose a security threat to France.


 France shuts Paris mosque in crackdown after teacher's beheading


Lockdown is a big mistake: What top Israeli doctors really think about COVID-19

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 17:23:00 +03:00

Dr. Avi Mizrachi, director, coronavirus department, Shamir Medical Center (Assaf Harofeh), Tel Aviv

œThere are immense gaps between approaches for dealing with the coronavirus, and the truth is not in the middle.

Where is the truth, on a scale of 1 to 10?


 Lockdown is a big mistake: What top Israeli doctors really think about COVID-19


Trump claims protesters were urban Antifa radicals, arrest records show a very different story

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 16:17:28 +03:00

U.S. President Donald Trump portrays the hundreds of people arrested nationwide in protests against racial injustice as violent urban left-wing radicals. But an Associated Press review of thousands of pages of court documents tell a different story.

Very few of those charged appear to be affiliated with highly organized extremist groups, and many are young suburban adults from the very neighborhoods Trump vows to protect from the violence in his reelection push to win support from the suburbs.

Attorney General William Barr has urged his prosecutors to bring federal charges on protesters who cause violence and has suggested that rarely used sedition charges could apply. And the Department of Justice has pushed for detention even as prisons across the U.S. were releasing high-risk inmates because of COVID-19 and prosecutors had been told to consider the risks of incarceration during a pandemic when seeking detention.


 Trump claims protesters were urban Antifa radicals, arrest records show a very different story


The brouhaha over the 'bald pterosaur'

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 16:05:25 +03:00

Oddly, considering they've been dead for 65 million years, pterosaurs keep springing surprises. Among the latest wrinkles in pterosaur paleontology are the discovery of a new species with a beak so strange it was mistaken for a fish's fin spine; and a smackdown over the flying reptiles' body coating. Specifically: Did pterosaurs have feathers, as claimed in 2018? Or were they bald?

In 2018, a paper published in Nature Ecology and Evolution concluded that pterosaurs had feathers. Then a paper published in September 2020 rebutted that they didn't. To which the original team replied: Yes they did. To which the rebutters reply: You're not engaging in our arguments.

For us iggies out there in layman-land, feathers on a flying creature makes sense until we consider the bat. Anyway, so what if pterosaurs did or did not have feathers? Actually, the evolutionary implications for saurians are huge.


 The brouhaha over the 'bald pterosaur'


In most crucial swing state, Jewish suburban women can't wait to vote out Trump

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 16:05:20 +03:00

PHILADELPHIA Driving around the quiet, tree-lined streets of Merion, Pennsylvania, it's impossible not to notice the fake spider webs, plastic skeletons and pumpkin ornaments outside almost every home. But among the seasonal decorations, something else catches the eye this year: election yard signs, which in this suburban community overwhelmingly show support for Democratic nominee Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. 

Local resident Nikki Avershal Brafman, 32, told Haaretz that while in previous elections it was possible to see some yard signs for other candidates as well, things are different this year. œIt really feels like this is a fight for the soul of the nation, she says, using the same words former Vice President Biden often invokes when speaking about the stakes this time around.

As Election Day approaches, Pennsylvanians like Avershal Brafman are being increasingly targeted by the presidential campaigns. Beyond the creative yard signs some reading œBye Don with Biden's logo, others quoting Martin Luther King Jr.'s œThe time is always right to do what's right residents encounter an endless stream of election ads on local TV and radio stations, urging them to vote and œmake a plan in order to avoid long lines at polling places on November 3. 


 In most crucial swing state, Jewish suburban women can't wait to vote out Trump


Israel, UAE sign visa waiver agreement

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 15:49:11 +03:00

A delegation from the United Arab Emirates landed in Israel on Tuesday to sign agreements, including a mutual visa waiver, representing another step in the normalization of ties between the two countries.

The delegation is also signing deals on cooperation in aviation, investment, science and technology, and is accompanied by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House adviser Avi Berkowitz. The UAE delegation is led by Minister of State for Financial Affairs Obaid Humaid Al Tayer. 

The visa waiver will allow the citizens of either country to visit the other without needing to be approved in advance.


 Israel, UAE sign visa waiver agreement


Trial of Israeli minor accused of killing of Palestinian woman begins

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 15:11:00 +03:00

The evidentiary state of the trial of a minor accused of the 2018 killing a Palestinian woman, Aisha Mohammed Rabi, by throwing a stone at the vehicle in which she was traveling in the West Bank, began Tuesday morning.

The defendant, a resident of the West Bank settlement of Kokhav Hashahar, is standing trial for manslaughter at the Central District Court in Lod, with the hearing taking place behind closed doors.

Rabi's husband, Yaqub, and their daughter, who were in the car during the incident, also arrived in the court. Before the hearing, Yaqub says he believes in the integrity of the legal proceedings, "otherwise I would not have come." He added that he was eager to "talk about what he saw," and spoke about his hardships since his wife was killed: "It's hard to cope with what happened. I am now both a mother and a father to nine children. It's a completely different life."


 Trial of Israeli minor accused of killing of Palestinian woman begins


Beloved Israeli singer, daughter of two cultural icons, dies of COVID-19

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 15:03:44 +03:00

Ilana Rovina, one of the biggest Israeli pop singers of the 1960s and 1970s, died Saturday at the Shoham Medical Center in Pardes Hannah, after being infected with the coronavirus. Rovina, 86, also had bone cancer. Her funeral was held Sunday at the Yarkonim Cemetery. She leaves behind a daughter, Maya.

Rovina was the daughter of legendary theater actress Hanna Rovina and poet Alexander Penn the offspring of an illicit affair, which put her at the center of a scandal at the time. She was born in Jerusalem in 1934 and named Ilana (ilan means tree in Hebrew) because she was born on Tu Bishvat, Jewish Arbor Day. Her mother couldn't cope with raising her so she spent four years with a foster family in Jerusalem before going to live on Kibbutz Geva.

After her army service, Rovina spent three years in Milan, where she studied classical music and worked as a model. While in Italy, in 1956, she married an American student named Bill Stewart but they divorced soon afterward.


 Beloved Israeli singer, daughter of two cultural icons, dies of COVID-19


Record number of Holocaust survivors in need as state fails to allocate funds, report says

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 14:14:00 +03:00

The number of Holocaust survivors in need of welfare in Israel has soared to 70 percent of the population group, a report by the state comptroller says, blaming the increase on the failure of different government offices to use earmarked funds.

The report, issued on Monday, follows up on deficiencies reported in 2017, when 67 percent of survivors, or 51,000 people, were receiving aid. From January to March, the comptroller examined the operations of the Treasury, and especially its Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority unit, and other ministerial bodies handling survivors' welfare, to see how they were attempting to address its concerns.

œThe treasury and authority have not yet found a solution to improve economic situation, Comptroller Matanyahu Englman said. œThe follow up showed the failures had not been corrected and the handling of the situation had actually worsened.


 Record number of Holocaust survivors in need as state fails to allocate funds, report says


Israel's Haredim have to change and coronavirus could be the catalyst

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 13:47:49 +03:00

There are Haredim out there who take the lockdown directives seriously. They are keeping their children home from school. The men (not just the women) have jobs that they are not going to, or are doing online from the house. They may even use the internet to keep informed about the progress of the coronavirus and how to cope with it. When they go out, they wear masks and when they pray, they do it in capsules.

A lot of them are undoubtedly the much-touted Haredi middle class, the avant garde of what many have hoped will be the slow but steady integration of the ultra-Orthodox into Israeli society. But the coronavirus and the Haredi rebellion against the lockdown have shown just how marginal the phenomenon of this middle class really is, and how urgent is the need for integration.

It's long been acknowledged that the Haredi œsociety of learners, in which children receive little more than a Torah education and adult men shun regular work for a life of religious study, poses a long-term threat to Israel's economy. Such a big and growing share of the population failing to work and pay taxes and reliant on government help is an insufferable burden on the rest.


 Israel's Haredim have to change and coronavirus could be the catalyst


A. B. Yehoshua bids farewell to a literary great

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 13:30:09 +03:00

After hearing that Yehoshua Kenaz had passed away, I was surprised by how many requests I received from the media to talk about our relationship as well as his literary work.

I was surprised because Yehoshua was someone who categorically refrained from contact with the media in any form and from any personal exposure whatsoever. Moreover, because of his illness over the course of the past five or six years, he had been disconnected from any ongoing, live contact with Israeli reality.

His distance from media outlets was particularly noticeable in comparison to some of his close friends, like Amos Oz and myself, who interacted regularly and freely with them. Granted, he closely followed our non-literary interactions, our speeches and essays. He would voice his opinion and encouraged this active involvement of ours, which he considered important. But even though he had a clear, tightly constructed world view, he didn't see himself as suited to appearing in the public arena.


 A. B. Yehoshua bids farewell to a literary great


Selective enforcement will destroy Israel's trust in its police

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 12:52:06 +03:00

Recent reports about the way the police have been enforcing the coronavirus regulations are deeply troubling.

At first, we were told that a senior police officer reached understandings with ultra-Orthodox leaders that the police would refrain from enforcing regulations as long as those who violate the rules make sure the violations including massive ones are not photographed.

The lack of enforcement invites violations without fear. And telling lawbreakers not to get their photo taken is encouragement, because without evidence there cannot be enforcement. The police are therefore making themselves a central partner in violating the law.


 Selective enforcement will destroy Israel's trust in its police


Trump claims Biden will cancel Christmas - despite inauguration being in January

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 12:48:04 +03:00

U.S. President Donald Trump attacked his opponent while imploring supporters in Nevada on Sunday to cast ballots early in a state he narrowly lost in 2016, while Democrat Joe Biden urged North Carolina residents to "go vote today," as the final presidential debate looms later this week.

Some 27.9 million Americans have already cast ballots either by mail or in person ahead of the Nov. 3 election, according to the U.S. Elections Project at the University of Florida. The record-shattering figure is being driven in part by concerns about crowds at polling sites on Election Day during the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more: As Netanyahu ally Lindsey Graham fights for political life, South Carolina Jews are torn | Biden's lead over Trump among American Jews at all-time high, new poll finds


 Trump claims Biden will cancel Christmas - despite inauguration being in January


Trump will debate Biden despite rule changes, including muted mics

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 12:47:07 +03:00

President Donald Trump plans to attend Thursday's debate with Democratic nominee Joe Biden despite rule changes ” opposed by his campaign ” that are meant to foster more ordered discussions.

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien says Trump œis committed to debating Joe Biden regardless of last minute rule changes from the biased commission in their latest attempt to provide advantage to their favored candidate.

The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates announced Monday that the second and final debate between the two candidates will have each nominee muted while the other delivers his two-minute remarks at the outset of each of the six debate topics. The remainder of each 15-minute block will be open discussion, without any muting, the commission said.


 Trump will debate Biden despite rule changes, including muted mics


Jewish Republican congressional candidate calls George Soros a ˜Nazi sympathizer'

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 12:42:11 +03:00

The latest political candidate to condemn George Soros, the Jewish billionaire Democratic megadonor, is Jewish himself.

Eric Early, a Republican who is running for Congress in California, tweeted Sunday, œNazi sympathizer Soros is a danger to our nation. Soros, who is a frequent target of Republican officials, in fact survived the Holocaust as a teenager.

The false accusation that Soros aided Nazis is not uncommon among criticism of him, which has become unrelenting in this election cycle and frequently veers into antisemitism. In reality, Soros was hidden as a child by a Hungarian bureaucrat and once accompanied him to survey the property of a Jewish household.


 Jewish Republican congressional candidate calls George Soros a ˜Nazi sympathizer'


Three films you must see before U.S. Election Day, including ˜537 Votes' and ˜Totally Under Control'

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 12:13:46 +03:00

Here's what Gal Gadot should have tweeted last week to anyone complaining about her playing Cleopatra: kiss my asp.

The furor over the casting of the Israeli actress would perhaps have made more sense if she'd been chosen to play legendary Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum I mean, have you heard her voice in that œImagine video? But playing a first century B.C.E. queen who most people think looks like Liz Taylor? Sure, why not.

However, I do have a diplomatic suggestion that could calm these clearly troubled waters: In return, Rami Malek must now be cast as Yair Netanyahu in a film about his dad, Bibi but only if the actor doesn't think that would be too similar to his paranoid hacker role in œMr. Robot.


 Three films you must see before U.S. Election Day, including ˜537 Votes' and ˜Totally Under Control'


Netanyahu touts second lockdown's success, but uncontrolled exit sows seeds of the next one

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 12:02:36 +03:00

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's renewed burst of activity on the coronavirus crisis apparently shows that he too understands that the public is having a hard time digesting his current policy or accepting his excuses. Since Saturday evening, Netanyahu has convened a news conference broadcast live to the nation, conducted a situation assessment at the national police control center, and visited the coronavirus command center at the Rambam Health Center Campus in Haifa.

The prime minister did not manage to convincingly explain why "green" cities, which have a low incidence of COVID-19, were strangely not being rewarded, and instead, the government was deliberately looking the other way when violations happened in "red" cities  all of which have large ultra-Orthodox populations.

In fact, a large portion of students from first grade and up went back to school in ultra-Orthodox communities, with only a few righteous citizens choosing to follow the rest of Israel and respect the regulations that stipulate only pre-schools are allowed to reopen. And the police are barely confronting the principals of schools in violation of the law, making do with citations and fines.


 Netanyahu touts second lockdown's success, but uncontrolled exit sows seeds of the next one


With anti-Palestinian hostility surging, can Israel's peace camp find allies in the Gulf?

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 11:42:25 +03:00

Since the signing of the Abraham Accords, activists and institutions from the Israeli peace camp have been forced to reconsider their approach to the conflict.

With the normalization of relations between Israel and two Gulf states, with more states waiting in the wings, the dynamics of Middle East politics are changing, and old paradigms and ways of working need to be rethought. The ambitions of the United Arab Emirates and other GCC states to play an increasingly critical role in regional conflicts, and not only Israel-Palestine, mean this is a crucial and ongoing necessity.

To engage with this new reality, and ensure its relevance and influence, the Israeli peace camp Israeli and joint Israeli-Palestinian initiatives that work towards ending the occupation and promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians needs to upgrade its understanding of the Gulf, its external and domestic politics, its civil society, how the issues of the occupation and Palestinian rights plays out in those societies, and how to build common ground.


 With anti-Palestinian hostility surging, can Israel's peace camp find allies in the Gulf?


Israel gives Palestinian Authority control over three West Bank power stations

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 11:39:42 +03:00

The Israel Electric Corporation has given the Palestinian Authority control over three West Bank power substations in Tarqumiyah, near Hebron, Qalandiyah, between Jerusalem and Ramallah, and Nablus. They join a fourth in Jenin, which was transferred to Palestinian control in 2017 following lengthy negotiations.

Despite the diplomatic standstill with Israel, the Palestinian Authority welcomed the deal, announced on Monday, which Israel says will also help improve the power supply to West Bank settlements.

Until now, most Palestinian energy needs in the West Bank were supplied by the Jerusalem District Electricity Company, a semi-private company owned in part by the municipality of Jerusalem and several Palestinian cities. It purchases the power from Israel and then supplies it via high voltage lines to Palestinian consumers.


 Israel gives Palestinian Authority control over three West Bank power stations


Israeli minister told ultra-Orthodox leaders Netanyahu agreed to open schools in violation of COVID rules

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 08:26:33 +03:00

Interior Minister Arye Dery, leader of the Sephardi ultra-Orthodox party Shas, told ultra-Orthodox leaders that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Public Security Minister Amir Ohana had agreed to allow the community's elementary and middle schools to operate unofficially, in violation of coronavirus regulations, while police would carry out minimal enforcement, several sources told Haaretz. 

The alleged agreement was not ultimately implemented, as Dery said that the prime minister and Ohana had rescinded their consent. 

Dery, Netanyahu and Ohana all denied that the agreement ever existed.


 Israeli minister told ultra-Orthodox leaders Netanyahu agreed to open schools in violation of COVID rules


Future of Israel's Strauss food company in limbo after death of family's patriarch

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 06:09:30 +03:00

Since they started a small dairy in the northern Israeli town of Nahariya more than 80 years ago, the Strauss family, which controls the giant food company of the same name, has worked hard to maintain internal harmony, at least toward outsiders. Even when there were disputes, such as when the late Michael Strauss disagreed with his sister Raya Strauss-Ben Dror over the 2004 takeover of Elite Industries, they were settled relatively quietly.

The calm has persevered even as control of Strauss Group moved into the hands of the third generation and it was clear that both the contributions and compensation of individual family members would differ.

However, the death of Michael Strauss over the weekend may signal the end of that harmony. It not only threatens to alter family dynamics but how the company, Israel's second-biggest food maker, is controlled. A lot is at stake: Strauss Group controls close to 12% of the Israeli food market, has operations in 20 other countries and its market cap in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange today is 11.3 billion shekels ($3.3 billion).


 Future of Israel's Strauss food company in limbo after death of family's patriarch


Israel's second lockdown defies skeptics by succeeding faster than first one

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 05:12:00 +03:00

œThe lockdown has been a major success, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week. Many disagreed, justifiably. A lockdown and certainly a second lockdown just a few months after the first one had lowered morbidity rate to almost nil is a failure in every respect for the damage it does to the economy and society. Yet one thing is clear: The tool may be primitive, but it is effective.

In fact, the data show that it has been even more effective in reducing the number of coronavirus cases than experts had expected. That is the interim assessment by TheMarker a month after the second lockdown was imposed, based on an analysis by Prof. Eran Segal of the Weizmann Institute of Science and his students Hagai Rossman and Tomer Meir.

The prevailing view on the eve of the second lockdown was that Israelis were exhausted. The public no longer trusted the government and wouldn't adhere to the directives, so the lockdown was destined to fail. That didn't happen.


 Israel's second lockdown defies skeptics by succeeding faster than first one


Israel's unemployment rate soared during second lockdown

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 04:19:48 +03:00

The broad measure of unemployment, which counts the jobless and those on unpaid leave, jumped in the second half of September to 19.1 percent as Israel entered a lockdown, the Central Bureau of Statistics said Monday.

Nevertheless, the rate was far lower than the peak of 26.6 percent in the first half of May, during the first lockdown. In the second half of August it had fallen to 11.8 percent.

The traditional unemployment figure, which includes only people over age 15 who have not worked for a single hour in the week prior to the survey but are looking for a job, actually declined in the second half of last month to 4.2 percent, or 165,000 people, from 6 percent in the second half of August, the bureau said.


 Israel's unemployment rate soared during second lockdown


Trump is the best U.S. president for Netanyahu but for Israel, he might be the worst

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 04:18:54 +03:00

It has become an article of faith that whatever his other shortcomings, Donald Trump is good for Israel. Most Israelis believe that the 45th U.S. president was the best of them all, as Benjamin Netanyahu says, and many American Jews grudgingly concur. The latest American Jewish Committee poll found that only 22% of American Jews plan to vote for Trump but 42% believe he will be better for Israel than Joe Biden.

Trump was crowned as Israel's BFF by virtue of commission and omission. Trump and his administration didn't pressure Israel, didn't urge it to make concessions, didn't curtail settlements, didn't stand up for Palestinians and didn't criticize or condemn Netanyahu's incitement against Israeli Arabs, erosion of the rule of law or undermining of Israeli democracy. A good President, by this criterion, is one who apparently couldn't care less.

Trump's supposedly incomparable record of friendship, however, mainly rests on four proactive decisions. Trump's December 2017 decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, and, to a lesser degree, his March 2019 recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, were hailed as transformative historic landmarks. Both decisions, however, failed to produce any tangible benefits beyond symbolic: Trump's isolation in the international arena precluded the U.S. from persuading allies to follow in its path.


 Trump is the best U.S. president for Netanyahu but for Israel, he might be the worst


While Israel burns, the state budget is frozen

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 03:43:27 +03:00

The High Holidays are behind us, an easing of the lockdown lies ahead and we're racing toward the end of 2020. This is the time businesses and organizations are busy preparing their work plans and budgets for 2021. Except for one: the government of Israel.

Unfortunately, the fact that the state budget has been taken hostage by this dysfunctional government will reverberate throughout the economy and to just those businesses and organizations trying to plan for next year. So long as the government doesn't clarify what its priorities are for the coming year and how it plans to advance them, how can anyone else do so in Israel's centralized economy?

In one respect, the lack of a budget is signaling one priority that of Netanyahu to bring down his own government and call an election. If that's so, however, he should make it clear. At least it would be one point of certainty in the otherwise chaotic situation created by the coalition.


 While Israel burns, the state budget is frozen


Hallel Rabin, prisoner

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 02:09:12 +03:00

With her privileged background, Hallel Rabin could have done military service in intelligence. Or at Army Radio. Or in any non-combat unit that is prestigious enough to enhance her future career. But Rabin, who is just over 19, comes from the anthroposophical community of Harduf and has never tasted meat, chicken or fish, refuses to be drafted because she opposes violence of any kind.

She could have found ways around the draft to get an exemption. She could have pretended to be religious or gotten released on mental health grounds. But instead she is seeking to have the Israeli army recognize the legitimacy of her conscientious objection. As I wrote this column on Monday, she was reporting to an army recruitment center for the third time since August and is due again to declare her refusal to become a soldier and her desire to do volunteer civilian service instead.

She is expected to be judged on the spot and sent again to Prison 6. The first time she refused, she was jailed for a week, and the second time, for two weeks.


 Hallel Rabin, prisoner


Historic correction needed

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 01:23:20 +03:00

The sight of masses of young ultra-Orthodox students returning to class this week, in defiant violation of lockdown provisions, while Israel's other pupils remain at home, where they have been for a month, symbolizes more than anything the disconnected existence of an autonomous Haredi population that lives according to its own laws, ignoring the state's decisions. This sight also exemplifies the helplessness of the government and most of the Israeli public in the face of extremist rabbis whose authority is accepted by a minority constituting about 13 percent of the population.

The Haredi revolt takes it for granted that the funding for Haredi educational institutions that have opened in violation of the law will continue to flow from government coffers and that the public health system will continue to treat members of that community who are infected as a result with the coronavirus. It would be appropriate for the instigators of this to be punished, fined and indicted, but it is very doubtful that that will happen.

On Saturday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged that the police do not have the means to enforce the closure of ultra-Orthodox elementary schools. What Netanyahu did not say was that even if the police did have the means, he would not have ordered them deployed. The support of United Torah Judaism and Shas parties are the last branch on which his government rests.


 Historic correction needed


Israel's top court orders state to give migrant workers enough time to prepare for expulsion hearings

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 01:04:10 +03:00

Israel's Supreme Court has ruled that the state must give foreign migrant workers subject to deportation, as well as their families, a suitable amount of time to prepare and competent legal representation for their expulsion hearing.

Justices Uzi Vogelman, David Mintz and Yosef Elron were critical of the Population and Immigration Authority's practice of arresting migrant workers and ruling within hours that they are to be deported. The court's decision came on a request for the Supreme Court to review the case of a family of migrant workers after a Tel Aviv administrative court refused to postpone their hearing.

œIn light of the potential harm to minors as a result of their expulsion, it is necessary to ensure before a decision is made in their case that they and their parents are given a suitable chance to be heard, the justices said in their decision, which was issued on Thursday.


 Israel's top court orders state to give migrant workers enough time to prepare for expulsion hearings


'You really believe Netanyahu wants the coronavirus pandemic to last?'

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 00:36:48 +03:00

Some good friends of mine were indignant: œYou really believe that Bibi wants the coronavirus pandemic to last, so he can use it for his personal needs? That's inhuman. It doesn't make sense. You shouldn't think that. They were referring to my September 18 article (in Haaretz's Hebrew edition) that argued exactly that.

I thought it over and realized that these friends are people who are too good and too moral to conceive of a prime minister who was elected to do good knowingly sacrificing public health and writing off a million unemployed, just to evade trial.

So maybe this will convince them: All day and all night Netanyahu is in the grip of a tremendous panic that never leaves him the thought that he could end his career in the same small cell with the same narrow bed in Ma'asiyahu prison where Ehud Olmert spent a year and a half. And in order to escape that outcome, he will rule out nothing.


 'You really believe Netanyahu wants the coronavirus pandemic to last?'


Israeli man indicted for assaulting anti-Netanyahu protester in Tel Aviv

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 23:53:23 +03:00

A 54-year-old man from Tel Aviv was charged on Monday in the violent assault of an anti-government protester, only the second such indictment to be filed since the beginning of the demonstrations, despite numerous incidents and police declarations committing to protesters' safety.

On Monday, police said this joined "a string of indictments" related to violence against anti-Netanyahu protesters, which despite dozens of incidents, has led to almost no legal proceedings, Haaretz revealed last week. Yet, besides the indictment filed against 20-year-old Felix Eliav for the attempted stabbing of a protester in July, the only other charge recently brought was against a 23-year-old anti-Netanyahu protester, who was released after the court ruled she had been provoked. 

According to police, the 54-year-old man confronted protesters in Tel Aviv on October 17 while he was intoxicated. He allegedly punched one of them, a 66-year-old man, in the face. When the protester tried to defend himself, the man hurt his hand, according to police. 


 Israeli man indicted for assaulting anti-Netanyahu protester in Tel Aviv


Trump says U.S. to remove Sudan from state terrorism sponsors list after payment to victims

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 21:41:09 +03:00

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday the United States would remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism once Khartoum sets aside $335 million for payments for American victims.

The deal could also set in motion steps by Sudan toward establishing diplomatic relations with Israel, a U.S. official told Reuters, following similar U.S.-brokered moves in recent weeks by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Details were still being worked out, the source said.

Rapprochement between Israel and another Arab country would give Trump a new diplomatic achievement as he seeks re-election on November 3.


 Trump says U.S. to remove Sudan from state terrorism sponsors list after payment to victims


Jewish world organizations push back against ˜hostile takeover' of key Zionist institutions

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 20:27:33 +03:00

Several large Jewish world organizations, including Hadassah and B'nai B'rith International, indicated on Monday that they would not be complicit in the takeover of key Zionist institutions by right-wing and rigidly Orthodox political parties.

They made their position known in a sharply worded letter addressed to the leaders of the World Zionist Organization, just one day before the World Zionist Congress is scheduled to vote, as it does once every five years, on who will fill key positions and control key departments in these institutions.

At the heart of the fracas is a so-called œcoalition agreement drafted over the weekend by right-wing and Orthodox parties holding a majority of seats in the WZC (among delegations with voting rights) would effectively strip the non-Orthodox movements and Zionist center-left parties of any real influence in the WZO and its affiliate organizations the Jewish Agency for Israel, United Israel Appeal (Keren Hayesod), and the Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael).


 Jewish world organizations push back against ˜hostile takeover' of key Zionist institutions


Turkey withdraws from base in northwest Syria, sources say

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 19:41:23 +03:00

Turkey is withdrawing troops from a military post in northwest Syria that was surrounded by Syrian government forces last year, but is consolidating its presence elsewhere in the region, sources familiar with the operation said on Monday.

The observation post at Morek was one of a dozen set up by Turkish soldiers in 2018 under an ill-fated deal to calm fighting between Syrian government troops and Turkey-backed rebels controlling the northwestern Idlib region.

Morek and several other Turkish posts were surrounded last year by advancing Syrian government forces. Ankara has kept them manned and re-supplied since then, while reinforcing the remaining rebel-held territory to hold back government forces and prevent millions of refugees streaming towards Turkey.


 Turkey withdraws from base in northwest Syria, sources say


UAE cabinet ratifies normalization deal with Israel

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 18:18:57 +03:00

The cabinet of the United Arab Emirates on Monday approved an agreement to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel that was signed in Washington last month, ahead of a visit by a UAE delegation to Israel.

The UAE and fellow Gulf state Bahrain in September became the first Arab states in a quarter of a century to sign agreements to establish formal ties with Israel, forming a new axis in the Middle East against Iran.

A cabinet statement said the Abraham Accord would be "an avenue of peace and stability to support the ambitions of the region's people, and enhance efforts for prosperity and advancement, especially as it paves the way for deepening economic, culture and knowledge ties."


 UAE cabinet ratifies normalization deal with Israel


'It's not working': Gantz's party escalates rhetoric on partnership with Netanyahu

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 17:49:04 +03:00

Prominent Kahol Lavan ministers warned their coalition partners in Likud on Monday that if the 2021 state budget is not passed and major appointments are not made, Israelis will have no choice but to return to the polls. 

The government is "not working," Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi of Kahol Lavan said on Monday, and called for new elections if the situation doesn't change by November.

œIt is not just the budget, it's appointments, it's laws, it's the cabinet meetings we came for a unity government to be partners, we didn't come to rescue Netanyahu, Ashkenazi said in an interview with the Ynet news website. œIf it doesn't change by the end of the month, we simply need to go back to the voters. Period.


 'It's not working': Gantz's party escalates rhetoric on partnership with Netanyahu


Israel examines using grenade-launched mini drones

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 17:38:27 +03:00

The Defense Ministry is examining the use of miniature drones that can be fired from a grenade launcher. The new technology has recently been developed by Spear, an Israeli startup company.

The IDF, like other armies around the world, has been equipping troops with miniature drones for surveillance, reconnaissance and intelligence in recent years. The soldiers equipped with the drones can use them to get a bird's eye view of the battlefield, or of the goings on beyond a hill or structure, and gather immediate tactical intelligence.

>> Israeli Tech & Cyber: Sign up for our exclusive new weekly newsletter 


 Israel examines using grenade-launched mini drones


'Operation Quicksand': Iran-linked hackers target Israel in 'new cyberwar phase'

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 17:24:57 +03:00

Two Israeli cybersecurity firms said Thursday that they thwarted a large-scale, Iranian-linked hacker operation in September called Operation Quicksand, which targeted œprominent Israeli organizations.

The alleged attack would seem to indicate a œnew phase in Iranian attacks against Israel, the firms said, adding that the tools used have previously been reserved for criminal operations as opposed to destructive offensive cyberattacks by state actors like Iran.

The claims were made in a report by cyberfirms Profero and ClearSky. Two independent experts who read the report confirmed that its findings are in line with what is known about Iranian-linked hacking operations. They said the incident may well be the latest in the covert cyberwar between Israel and the Islamic Republic.


 'Operation Quicksand': Iran-linked hackers target Israel in 'new cyberwar phase'


Two Israeli women found dead within hours, partners suspected of murder

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 17:12:40 +03:00

Two women were found dead within hours in Israel on Monday, and in both cases their partners are suspected of having murdered them.  

In the first case, a resident of the southern Israeli city of Be'er Sheva is suspected of murdering a 67-year-old woman, his partner, at their home.

Police later located the man on the roof of the building, suspecting that he was trying to commit suicide. After he came down from the roof and received care, police became suspicious that he had harmed his partner. They found the woman dead in the apartment.


 Two Israeli women found dead within hours, partners suspected of murder


As Netanyahu ally Lindsey Graham fights for political life, South Carolina Jews are torn

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 16:45:12 +03:00

Nobody expected this year's U.S. Senate race in South Carolina to be a competitive nail-biter that would capture national attention least of all, South Carolinians themselves. In a red state that hasn't elected a Democrat to statewide office in nearly 15 years, Republican dominance seemed inevitable. 

But in 2020, nothing is predictable.

The combination of an attractive Democratic challenger, rapidly shifting demographics and growing disaffection with longtime incumbent Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, has landed the race for Graham's seat, which he has held since 2002, in a statistical tie according to recent polls. 


 As Netanyahu ally Lindsey Graham fights for political life, South Carolina Jews are torn


Attorney General: No grounds to investigate Netanyahu in submarine affair

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 15:22:29 +03:00

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit informed the High Court of Justice on Sunday that there was no reasonable basis for opening an investigation against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the so-called œsubmarine affair.

In the state's response to a petition filed by the Movement for Quality Government, the State Prosecutor's Office said that Mendelblit's decision not to open an investigation because of a lack of a reasonable suspicion had already had judicial review by the High Court. œThe court saw no reason to intervene in the decision, after it was presented with the evidentiary considerations it was based on.

The submarine affair petition was submitted by the Movement for Quality Government in June. It asked the court to order Mendelblit to open a criminal investigation against Netanyahu on suspicions surrounding the purchase of submarines and missile corvettes from German company Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems five years ago.


 Attorney General: No grounds to investigate Netanyahu in submarine affair


Did Giuliani peddle foreign disinformation? FBI investigation a risk to Trump

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 15:16:16 +03:00

A New York tabloid's puzzling account about how it acquired emails purportedly from Joe Biden's son has raised some red flags. One of the biggest involves the source of the emails: Rudy Giuliani.

Giuliani has traveled abroad looking for dirt on the Bidens, developing relationships with shadowy figures, including a Ukrainian lawmaker who U.S. officials have described as a Russian agent and part of a broader Russian effort to denigrate the Democratic presidential nominee.

Yet Giuliani says foreign sources didn't provide the Hunter Biden emails. He says a laptop containing the emails and intimate photos was simply abandoned in a Delaware repair shop and the shop owner reached out to Giuliani's lawyer.


 Did Giuliani peddle foreign disinformation? FBI investigation a risk to Trump


Global coronavirus cases surpass the 40 million milestone

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 14:50:34 +03:00

Worldwide coronavirus cases crossed 40 million on Monday, according to a Reuters tally, as the onset of winter in the northern hemisphere fuelled a resurgence in the spread of the disease.

The Reuters tally is based on official reporting by individual countries. Experts believe the true numbers of both cases and deaths are likely much higher, given deficiencies in testing and potential under-reporting by some countries.

The Reuters data shows the pace of the pandemic continues to pick up. It took just 32 days to go from 30 million global cases to 40 million, compared with the 38 days it took to get from 20 to 30 million, the 44 days between 10 and 20 million, and the three months it took to reach 10 million cases from when the first cases were reported in Wuhan, China, in early January.


 Global coronavirus cases surpass the 40 million milestone


Biden campaign ad mocks Trump for saying 'maybe I will leave the country'

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 14:44:22 +03:00

U.S. President Donald Trump came under fire from his Democratic challenger Joe Biden over the weekend as the Biden campaign released an ad mocking Trump for saying he might leave the United States if he loses the election. 

Trump, speaking at a rally in Macon, Georgia on Friday, said, œI shouldn't joke because you know what? Running against the worst candidate in the history of presidential politics puts pressure on me. Could you imagine if I lose? My whole life, what am I going to do? I'm going to say ˜I lost to the worst candidate in the history of politics.' I'm not going to feel so good."

œMaybe I'll have to leave the country? I don't know. Trump concluded.


 Biden campaign ad mocks Trump for saying 'maybe I will leave the country'


As U.S. election looms, Europe weighs risk of a disputed result and paralyzed U.S.

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 14:35:45 +03:00

With less than three weeks until the U.S. presidential election, European capitals are concerned about the risk of a disputed outcome and the impact it would have in the United States and abroad.

While Democrat candidate Joe Biden leads in opinion polls , the 2016 election produced a split between the popular vote and the Electoral College. Analysts say that remains possible on Nov. 3.

With Trump equivocating on whether he would accept a peaceful transfer of power if he loses, and suggesting the Supreme Court may have to decide the winner, the risk of a contested result is significant.


 As U.S. election looms, Europe weighs risk of a disputed result and paralyzed U.S.


In 2016, Trump won these key counties. In 2020, he might lose them over coronavirus

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 14:14:32 +03:00

Tanya Wojciak, a lifelong Republican and suburban mom from northeast Ohio, is the kind of battleground state voter President Donald Trump can't afford to lose - but already has.

She is angry at Trump's handling of the novel coronavirus crisis that has killed more than 219,000 Americans, the largest death toll of any country. She lost a friend to COVID-19 in April.

Wojciak, 39, said Trump's spotty use of masks and repeated attempts to downplay the seriousness of the coronavirus - even after being hospitalized for it himself - is "not presidential at all." She said she regrets voting for him four years ago. A hand-painted Biden sign now graces her front lawn in Cortland.


 In 2016, Trump won these key counties. In 2020, he might lose them over coronavirus


Diplomatic bullying: Israel won't renew visas to UN workers in West Bank and Gaza

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 13:51:23 +03:00

The branches of the Offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, or OHCHR, in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are being emptied of members of their international staff, citizens of foreign countries.

Israel is not renewing their work visas and so they are being forced to leave the country. This is an act of diplomatic bullying. Its purpose is to silence and paralyze any international opposition to the occupation and the settlements and to portray it as antisemitism.

Bullying is our trademark. Of the self-righteous and God-fearing thugs who descend from West Bank hills and the outposts, the darlings of the Israeli establishment, and assault Palestinian olive pickers and shepherds. They are the auxiliary force of the Civil Administration, the Israel Defense Forces and the "honorable" settlements, which are officially authorized to engage in the task of expulsion.


 Diplomatic bullying: Israel won't renew visas to UN workers in West Bank and Gaza


The foreseeable death of an Egyptian peace activist

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 13:03:53 +03:00

With Amin Al-Mahdi, the Egyptian left-wing intellectual, writer and peace activist, you could know only when and where an evening would begin, but not where it would end, and certainly not when it wasn't even worth venturing a guess.

œLet's begin at the Greek club and we'll see where it takes us tonight, he used to suggest to me. He was always willing to meet up, without fear. On the rooftop balcony of the Greek club, near Cafe Groppi on Talaat Harb Square in Egypt's capital, Mahdi felt at home. Of course the waiters knew what his favorite delicacies were and how to serve them, and they didn't forget to bring over a bottle of Stella beer, which would be followed by others.

A tall and handsome man with a captivating manner of speaking, Mahdi liked to explain his philosophy and his opinions at length and without restraint. And on every issue he had a sharp and well-phrased opinion, not always free of conspiracy ideas and not necessarily based on facts but always original and clever.


 The foreseeable death of an Egyptian peace activist


Biden's lead over Trump among American Jews at all-time high, new poll finds

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 13:00:20 +03:00

A new poll of U.S. Jewish voters shows former Vice President Joe Biden with a commanding lead over President Donald Trump as the presidential race enters its final two weeks. While the results are in line with previous polls and with historical voting habits in the Jewish community, Biden's lead in the new poll, released on Monday, is the largest documented so far in 2020 election polling.

The new poll, conducted by the SSRS polling company and commissioned by the American Jewish Committee, included a relatively large sample of 1,334 Jewish American respondents. Seventy-five percent of them said they will vote for Biden in the election, while 22 percent said they will vote for Trump. Only three percent were undecided or planned to vote for other candidates.

Last week, a national poll by the Pew Research Institute showed Biden winning the support of 70 percent of Jewish respondents, while 27 percent said they would support Trump. A September poll published by the Jewish Electorate Institute showed Biden gaining 67 percent of the Jewish vote and Trump 30 percent, a much better result for the president, who only got 25 percent of the Jewish vote in the 2016 election, according to exit polls.


 Biden's lead over Trump among American Jews at all-time high, new poll finds


Trump official made a secret trip to Syria seeking Americans' release

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 12:34:42 +03:00

A White House official traveled to Damascus earlier this year for secret meetings with the Syrian government seeking the release of at least two U.S. citizens thought to be held there, a Trump administration official said on Sunday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, named the official as Kash Patel, a deputy assistant to President Donald Trump and the top White House counterterrorism official, saying he had flown to Damascus.

"It is emblematic of how President Trump has made it a major priority to bring Americans home who have been detained overseas," said the official, who was confirming a report in the Wall Street Journal.


 Trump official made a secret trip to Syria seeking Americans' release


PODCAST: Why is Israel arming Azerbaijan against Armenia? Listen to Yossi Melman

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 11:59:15 +03:00

Haaretz's veteran intelligence and strategic affairs analyst Yossi Melman joins host Simon Spungin to discuss Israel's continued sale of weapons and ammunition to Azerbaijan, which is engaged in a bloody conflict with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region in of the South Caucasus.

Want to get an email every time a new episode is available? Click "Follow" and you'll never miss out.

Amid shifting and cynical regional alliances, how has Israel found itself on the same side of this conflict as Turkey? What role should the Holocaust play in Israel's relations with the Armenian people, themselves the victims of genocide? And are there any regimes to which Israel won't sell weapons?


 PODCAST: Why is Israel arming Azerbaijan against Armenia? Listen to Yossi Melman


UN embargoes on Iranian weapons expire, drawing U.S. ire

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 10:14:10 +03:00

A decade-long UN arms embargo on Iran that barred it from purchasing foreign weapons like tanks and fighter jets expired Sunday as planned under its nuclear deal with world powers, despite objections from the United States, which insists the ban remains in place.

While Iran says it plans no œbuying spree," it can now in theory purchase weapons to upgrade military armaments dating back to before its 1979 Islamic Revolution and sell its own locally produced gear abroad.

In practice, however, Iran's economy remains crippled by broad-reaching U.S. sanctions, and other nations may avoid arms deals with Tehran for fear of American financial retaliation. The Trump administration has warned that any sales of weapons to Iran or exports from Iran will be penalized.


 UN embargoes on Iranian weapons expire, drawing U.S. ire


Senior PLO Official Saeb Erekat, hospitalized in Israel with COVID-19, in critical condition

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 09:31:51 +03:00

The health of Dr. Saeb Erekat, the Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization's Executive Committee, has deterioriated Monday morning and he is now a critical condition, says Hadassah Medical Center.

Dr. Erekat was transferred to an intensive care unit at the Israeli hospital Sunday night and is anesthetized and on a ventilator.

His treatment, the hospital said, is a "huge challenge" because he underwent a lung transplant three years ago and has a "weakened immune system and bacterial infection in addition to coronavirus." 


 Senior PLO Official Saeb Erekat, hospitalized in Israel with COVID-19, in critical condition


Ultra-Orthodox schools that violated Israel's lockdown could lose funding

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 08:37:54 +03:00

Israel's Justice Ministry has drafted a plan to strip funding from schools that reopen in violation of the emergency coronavirus regulations.

On Sunday, ultra-Orthodox elementary schools for tens of thousands of students reopened despite lockdown regulations, which only allowed preschools to open.

Maj. Gen. (res.) Roni Numa, who is coordinating the Health Ministry's efforts against the virus in the ultra-Orthodox community, announced the plan in a statement on Sunday. œInstitutions and organizations that violate the rules and break the law risk administrative or criminal proceedings, the cancelation of their licenses and the cancelation of their funding in appropriate cases, the statement said.


 Ultra-Orthodox schools that violated Israel's lockdown could lose funding


After the ultra-Orthodox rebellion, Netanyahu looks weaker than ever

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 05:04:56 +03:00

Under the terms of the historic agreement signed by Israel's founder David Ben-Gurion in 1947, the ultra-Orthodox community had every right to decide for itself when to open its schools this week. In what would become known as the œstatus quo letter, Ben-Gurion promised the Haredi leadership he would preserve œautonomy of every education stream.

In principle, he was against separate school systems in the soon-to-be Jewish state. But 11 months before its foundation, he made the necessary concessions to ensure the Haredi leaders wouldn't adopt a contradictory position to that of the Zionists in talks with the United Nations.

Five years later, when all other education streams were combined under the new Education Ministry, Ben-Gurion kept his promise: œChinuch atzmai, ultra-Orthodoxy's œindependent education, stayed out of the system.


 After the ultra-Orthodox rebellion, Netanyahu looks weaker than ever


Jewish National Fund seeking to revise report that cites spending, other irregularities

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 02:26:58 +03:00

Just over four years ago, the government retained forensic accountant Izik Slovedianski to conduct an audit of the Jewish National Fund. Slovedianski worked for 18 months and in June 2018 presented a 70-page draft report that documented a long list of irregularities at the JNF.

The draft report, which was commissioned by a unit of the Justice Ministry's Corporations Authority called the Registrar of Associations and Public Benefit Companies, concluded that the problems were so serious that consideration should be given to liquidating the corporation so that a court could address what Slovedianski called œgrave findings.

But his conclusions were never published. Slovedianski withdrew them and they do not appear in a second draft of the report that was issued in August. The new draft contains additional findings.


 Jewish National Fund seeking to revise report that cites spending, other irregularities


Israeli town sued for refusal to enroll ˜non-Jew' in its religious school

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 01:01:20 +03:00

The Justice Ministry has sued a city in central Israel for refusing to let a young boy study in a state-religious school in Ramle on the grounds that his mother is not Jewish.

According to the suit, which was filed in the Ramle Magistrate's Court Sunday, the city's schools department also threatened to expel relatives of the boy who are enrolled at the school.

The ministry is demanding an apology from the city's Education Administration and damages of 265,867 shekels ($78,700).


 Israeli town sued for refusal to enroll ˜non-Jew' in its religious school






US  US NO






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

tn_10-275.jpg

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!