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Media Summary

Chinese ambassador to Israel found dead

The Guardian, the Associated Press, the Financial Times, The Independent, Reutersand The Times report that Benjamin Netanyahu has been sworn in as Israel’s prime minister, heading a unity government in which he will rotate the leadership with his former rival, Benny Gantz, in a deal that could see the annexation of large parts of the West Bank. The Telegraph reports that Netanyahu reaffirmed his vow to annex West Bank settlements on Sunday as his emergency unity government was sworn in just a week before his corruption trial is due to start.

The Associated Press reports that an evangelical broadcaster who boasted of miraculously securing a TV license in Israel now risks being taken off the air over suspicions of trying to convert Jews to Christianity.

The Associated Press reports that an Israeli district court on Monday convicted a Jewish extremist of murder in a 2015 arson attack that killed a Palestinian toddler and his parents, a case that had sent shock waves through Israel and helped fuel months of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

The Telegraph and the Huffington Post report that China’s ambassador to Israel was found dead in his home in a Tel Aviv suburb on Sunday, an Israeli police spokesman said.

Reuters reports that Egypt will bring forward the start of its curfew by four hours to 5pm and halt public transport from May 24 for six days during the Eid holiday, as it seeks to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said on Sunday. The Financial Times reports that Egypt has imposed looser coronavirus restrictions than other countries, but the pandemic is still exacting a heavy economic toll.

The Guardian and The Independent report that Egyptian security forces briefly arrested the founder of the country’s last independent media outlet in a growing crackdown on freedom of expression linked to coronavirus.

The Times reports that a French-Iranian academic is a victim of Iran’s arbitrary and politically motivated justice system and should be freed immediately, the French government said, after she was sentenced to five years in prison.

The Independent and the Financial Times report that Afghan president Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah signed a power-sharing deal to end a months-long political stalemate, Ghani’s spokesman said on Sunday, a step that could smooth efforts to end the country’s long-running war.

The Guardian reports that Saudi Arabia may be forced to forego new weapons contracts and delay already-agreed weapons purchases as a financial crisis grips the kingdom, experts predict.

In The Telegraph, Ed Clowes argues that Saudi Arabia started an oil price war and now the country’s entire future hangs in the balance, following the “crown prince’s series of reckless gambles”.

All the Israeli media focus on the establishment of Israel’s 35th government yesterday. Writing in Yedioth Ahronoth, Nahum Barnea offers a reason why many experienced Likud MKs accepted lower level ministerial positions: “Sharon is to blame, someone told me who was there yesterday. Ariel Sharon told them: politics is a Ferris wheel — sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down. The main thing is never to get off the wheel.” About Benny Gantz, Bernea writes: “Gantz is not there to alternate as prime minister but rather in order to prevent, or at least to moderate, the annexation plans; the destruction of the justice system; the religious indoctrination in schools, in culture, in the division of shouldering the burden. He will be judged based on how he accomplishes these tasks.”

In Maariv, Ben Caspit writes: “This is the government’s first day. Its success is our success. Its failure is our failure. We have no other government. We wanted one, but that didn’t help… In the future, historians will try to understand the earthquake that took place in Israel in the year 2020, which dismantled all the various institutions of government into tiny pieces in order to reassemble them, but backwards, and place them into random hands, usually less skilled than one would expect.”

The number of people in Israel who have died from the coronavirus rose last night by two to 272. Eleven new cases have been confirmed, seven more than yesterday. The number of ill people has dropped to 3,403. Israeli children in all grades went back to school on Yesterday. Students are required to wear a mask in the classroom and maintain a two-meter distance from one another. The Education Ministry has asked the Health Ministry to reconsider the obligation on students from fourth to 12th grades to wear masks during class due to the hot weather.

All the Israeli media report on the death of the Chinese ambassador to Israel yesterday morning. Du Wei was found dead in his bed and appears to have died in his sleep. China has dispatched a special team to investigate the death of its ambassador, who arrived in Israel in February. Yesterday evening, Chinese government sources told media outlets in the country that Du “apparently died of natural causes but it is necessary to examine all the details.” He left behind a wife and a son.

Kan Radio News reports this morning on remarks made by outgoing Health Minister Yaakov Litzman who said that there had been excessive panic in the coronavirus pandemic and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had reacted to the fears of Health Ministry Director General Moshe Bar Siman Tov. In an interview to Kan Radio, Litzman said Netanyahu agreed with Bar Siman Tov’s assessment that 10,000 could die in Israel. However, Litzman also said that nobody could complain too much about Netanyahu, since the number of people who had died in Israel from the coronavirus was relatively low.

Yedioth Ahronoth and Haaretz report on suspected new Israeli airstrikes on a position held by Iranian forces and their local allies in eastern Syria on Saturday night. According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, during the attack against a base on the Syrian-Iraqi border town of Albu Kamal seven Iran-backed paramilitary fighters were killed. Yesterday, Israeli soldiers opened fire towards a suspect who crossed into Israel from Lebanon. According to the Israeli military, soldiers opened fire toward the suspect, allegedly a shepherd, near Har Dov in the Israeli Golan Heights. The man was wounded and evacuated to an Israeli hospital.