Media Summary

IDF soldiers thwart a shooting attack near Nablus last night

A Jewish graduate of the University of Leeds is suing the university after her graduation was delayed as a result of her essay being failed due to a lack of criticism against Israel, reports The Times. Danielle Greyman wrote an essay on the crimes committed against the Palestinian people at the hands of Hamas, but Danielle claims this essay was marked down as she did not blame the Jewish state. Her lawyers are suing on the grounds of victimisation, discrimination and negligence.

The National relay information from a phone call between departing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and current Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid this week, where the two insisted that Iran must not be allowed to gain nuclear weapons. The phone call included Johnson standing firm on the UK convincing Iran to return to the JCPOA deal which limits their nuclear programme, as well as an encouraging conversation on a new fair-trade agreement between the two states that will advance their partnership.

Talks between Ben and Jerry’s and Unilever, the parent company of the ice cream producer, have broken down as they attempted to reach an out of court agreement on the sale of Ben and Jerry’s Israeli business to a local licensee, reports Reuters. The break down means the issue now goes back to a federal judge. Ben and Jerry’s feel their sale of ice cream in Israel is still inconsistent with their attitudes towards Palestinian human rights.

In the Israeli media, Kan Radio reports that IDF soldiers thwarted a shooting attack near Nablus last night. No soldiers were injured. A terrorist cell drove to one of the entrances to the city. An armed assailant who is a former member of the Palestinian security forces got out of the car and opened fire on the IDF position. Troops who were lying in ambush returned fire. The terrorist who had opened fire sustained very serious injuries and was taken to Israel to receive medical attention and will be turned over to the Shin Bet for interrogation. The two other members of the cell sustained moderate injuries and fled to a hospital in Nablus. Shortly after another Palestinian came on the scene and picked up the weapon that the terrorist had fired. Security officials believe that it was an attempt to avenge two armed men who were killed in an operation by the IDF and Yamam, the Special Unit for Counter-Terror Warfare, in Nablus earlier this week.

Maariv focuses on election news after Yoaz Hendel’s Derech Eretz party and Ayelet Shaked’s Yamina announced their merger on Wednesday. In a poll, Zionist Spirit is projected to win four seats in the next Knesset, likely at the expense of Blue and White-New Hope and of Yesh Atid. The poll predicts that the Likud would win 35 seats, followed by Yesh Atid on 23, Blue and White-New Hope on 11, Religious Zionist Party on 10, Shas on 8, United Torah Judaism on 6, Joint List on 6, Yisrael Beiteinu on 5, Labour on 4, United Arab List on 4, Meretz on 4 and Zionist Spirit on 4. The entry of Zionist Spirit into the political fray means the Netanyahu bloc could win over 61 seats if Shaked decides to join the bloc. However, Shaked said Wednesday that she and Hendel “strongly oppose a narrow government, [headed either by] Netanyahu or by the left”.

Also in Maariv, deliberations about shuttering the Jewish Agency in Russia were held yesterday in a Moscow court. The session was considered a “conversation” and a substantive hearing was set for August 19. Members of the Israeli delegation left the court without speaking to reporters. However, the Foreign Ministry’s legal advisor is expected to meet with a representative of Russia’s Justice Ministry in an attempt to find a solution to the crisis. According to Russian law, the main goal of yesterday’s court “conversation” was to review and familiarise the parties with the case materials. During the next hearing, the Jewish Agency will try to challenge the Justice Ministry’s decision to order the cessation of its activities in the country on grounds that the latter is in violation of Russian law. If the appeal is rejected, the Jewish Agency will begin to disband. Following the session, Chairman of the World Zionist Organization Executive Yaakov Hagoel said: “The Jewish Agency plays a vital role in developing Jewish identity and strengthening the connection between Israel and Jewish communities around the world. The Jewish Agency’s critical work inside Russia’s important Jewish community will continue in order to ensure that it continues to thrive.”

The Jerusalem Post reports that the IDF briefed reporters about several future military targets in Gaza built in the heart of urban areas. They include a weapons warehouse next to Shifa Hospital as well as several mosques that will likely be targeted in a future conflict. The military believes that legitimising its actions even before war would provide it with more freedom of action when conflict breaks out. The sites include a tunnel used to store weapons next to a now-closed Pepsi factory and an UNRWA elementary school used as an emergency shelter during hostilities. Another tunnel used by Hamas in the Zabara neighbourhood of Gaza City is under an UNRWA school and a central ambulance centre with 14 ambulances. The tunnel also runs under a church and schools that are used as shelters during hostilities.

In an exclusive interview with Israel HayomMahmoud al-Habash, a senior Palestinian Authority (PA) official and Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s religious affairs advisor, warned that the PA would move to make changes to its relationship with Israel, including shelving agreements between the sides and freezing security coordination, if the situation on the ground worsens or in a case in which there is no progress on the political front. “These aren’t threats; they are decisions made by the Central Council, with a goal of protecting Palestinian national interests. What is happening in Jenin and in Nablus — if this situation continues and things escalate on the ground, you’re likely to wake up one day to find that the decisions have been put into practice. We will not remain hostage to whatever way the winds are blowing in Israel. When will it happen? How will it happen? That will depend on how we assess the situation.”

Senior US officials have strongly condemned the “outrageous” and “antisemitic” comments made by a UN expert heading an open-ended Commission of Inquiry on Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, reports Haaretz. Miloon Kothari, one of three human rights experts on the UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry, told the Mondoweiss website that he “would go as far as to raise the question of why [Israel is] even a member of the United Nations”. He added that “we are very disheartened by social media that is controlled largely by — whether it is the Jewish lobby or specific NGOs”. US Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Michèle Taylor said the US was “outraged by recent antisemitic, anti-Israel comments made by a member of the Israel COI. These unacceptable remarks sadly exacerbate our deep concerns about the open-ended nature and overly broad scope of the COI and the HRC’s disproportionate & biased treatment of Israel.”