Media Summary

Expo 2020 begins in Dubai

BBC News and Reuters report on the historic visit of Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to Bahrain yesterday. Lapid met with King Hamad Al Khalifa, opened Israel’s first embassy in the country and visited the base of the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet.

BBC News, Reuters and The Associated Press report on the Expo 2020, which opened in Dubai after several delays due to COVID-19. This is expected to be the largest global gathering since the start of the pandemic with over 190 countries participating. The UAE has reportedly spend £5.2 billion on the event. This marks the first world fair to the held in the Middle East. Yesterday’s opening ceremony included a “lavish ceremony of fireworks, and music.” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai’s ruler, said during yesterday’s opening ceremony that the expo “offers a platform to forge a united worldwide effort to build a more sustainable and prosperous future for all of mankind.”

The Times reports on the rapidly deteriorating economic situation in Lebanon which has forced citizens to sell kidneys in an effort to stay afloat. The paper notes that several women were overheads at a doctor’s clinic discussing selling their kidneys in order to provide for their families.

The Independent reports on the chaotic beginning of the school year in a crisis struck Lebanon. Thousands of teachers are on strike demanding salary adjustments to meet the country’s hyperinflation. The paper notes that “With severe fuel shortages, it is not even certain they can fill up. School buses are no longer a given, and heating for classes in the cold winter months is far from guaranteed… Many fear not just a missed academic year, but a lost generation in a country that prided itself in competing globally with the number of scientists and engineers it graduated.”

The Telegraph reports that a drunk Turkish man joined a search party looking for him in the country. There were concerns he had gone missing on Tuesday when his friends and family could not find him. According to the paper the man “eventually stumbled across one of the groups in the woods and joined their search. He was only discovered when someone called out his name and he replied ‘I am here.’”

Kan Radio News and Yediot Ahronot report on Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s postponed visit to a vaccination center at the Arab town of Umm el-Fahm. Bennett was due to visit with United Arab List Chairman Mansour Abbas, to encourage people to get vaccinated.  He decided to postpone the visit as it fell on the anniversary of the 2000 October demonstrations were thirteen Israeli- Arabs were killed, including two from Umm el-Fahm. The Prime Minister’s office cited “security concerns” as the reason for the postponed visit. The Likud and Religious Zionist parties were quick to issue statements condemning the visit calling it “a disgrace that will forever be remembered” and “Bennett’s gesture to the October 2000 riots surpasses all imagination. For shame”, respectively.

Maariv reports Israeli Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz and Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Frei, both from Meretz, were invited for meetings in Ramallah next week by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Bennett’s office claimed that he had no knowledge of the invitation and visit, while Horowitz says the Prime Minister had been informed of the upcoming visit.  Minister Frej told Army Radio yesterday “The meeting is next week. We are in a government in which we’ve agreed to disagree. We did not agree not to meet. As for meeting with Abu Mazen, there’s no reason to get excited. We are still not solving the Palestinian problem.” The Israeli security establishment was informed of the trip and is preparing to make the necessary arrangements for the visit.

Yediot Ahronot reports on the ongoing violence in the West Bank and Gaza. In separate incidents three Palestinians were killed.  The first incident took place two nights ago, during an operation to arrest members of a Hamas cells, troops killed a Palestinian man who shot at them. The Palestinians said that the man who was killed was Ala Ziwad, 22, and that he belonged to Islamic Jihad’s military wing.  Yesterday morning Border Police killed a Palestinian woman in the Old City of Jerusalem who tried to stab police.  A few hours later, a 41-year-old Palestinian man who approached the Gaza border fence was shot to death. Palestinians said that the man, Mohammed Omar, had been shot in the head while out hunting for birds. The IDF issued a statement that lookouts had spotted three suspicious people approaching the fence, one of whom was seen digging in the ground and carrying a suspicious bag.

Kan Radio News reports that the Israeli police have arrested two more Israeli settlers suspected of assaulting Palestinians near Hebron earlier this week. Overall, six Jews have been arrested, five of whom are still in custody, as well as a Palestinian who has been released.

In Yediot Ahronot Sima Kadmon comments on Bennett’s UNGA speech, writing “Bennett’s first UN speech can correctly be summarized as neither here nor there. Neither meat nor dairy. Not a dizzying success, but not a fiasco either. Bennett upheld the standard. He did not embarrass the State of Israel; then again, he did not elevate it either. His English is just as good as Netanyahu’s, but his name does not yet attract international attention. Were it not for the way that Israelis gratuitously inflate the value of these kinds of appearances at the UN, the event would be a featherweight.”

Kan Radio News reports that an investigation by the IDF’s Engineering Corp found that the prisoners that broke out of the Gilboa facility used Coca-Cola to erode the concrete floor. They also said that an improvised nail file was used to cut the iron lattice within the concrete. The unit responsible for the investigation primarily deals with locating tunnels across the Gaza Strip and Israel’s northern border.

Ynet reports that the number of seriously ill Israelis who are hospitalised with COVID-19 has continued to drop. There are currently 619 people in serious condition – the lowest number since August 20 and down from 713 last week. On Wednesday, 3,079 new cases of COVID were confirmed after 80,000 tests were conducted, indicating a nearly a 4 per cent infection rate. Nine people died on Thursday. The fatality rate since the beginning of September reached 652, and since the start of the pandemic, now stands at 7,761.