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Media Summary

Israel sends police representative to the UAE to help fight crime

In the UK media, the Independent and the BBC note that a legal battle over the custody of six-year-old Eitan Biran, who survived a cable car crash in Italy that killed the rest of his family, has begun in Israel. His paternal aunt, who lives in Italy, was given guardianship by an Italian judge afterwards, but earlier this month he was flown to Israel on a private jet by his maternal grandfather without her permission. Israeli police then opened a kidnapping investigation and questioned the grandfather, who has insisted that his actions were legal and in Eitan’s best interests.

The Telegraph reports that Israel is sending a permanent police representative to the UAE to tackle a surge in Israeli gangsters in the Gulf state, an unprecedented act of co-operation after the two nations formalised ties just a year ago. Members of some of Israel’s biggest gangs, such as the Hariri and Chaya families, are believed to be taking advantage of the thaw in relations to expand their crime networks in the UAE away from the watchful eyes of Israeli authorities. An Israeli police source said the new attache would be vital in the ongoing development of relations between the two countries. But he called for more officers to follow: “The question is, will one attache be enough?”

Reuters follows statements by a senior US official who said the window is still open to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal but won’t be forever, adding Iran has yet to name a negotiator, set a date for talks or say whether it would resume where they left off in June.

The Guardian writes that Iran has told British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss that Britain should repay its four decade-old £400m debt to Iran and take serious steps to lift sanctions, in the first meeting between the two countries at foreign secretary level since 2018. Truss’s meeting with Hossein Amir-Abdollahian came in the week that the British-Iranian dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe marked her 2,000th day in detention in Iran. She is now staying with her mother in Iran, pending an appeal on her additional sentence of one year.

In the Israeli media, Kan Radio reports that the Israel Police is considering co-opting the Shin Bet security services to help fight crime and lower the murder rate in Arab society. Data from the Abraham Initiatives NGO has found that 91 Arabs have been murdered in Israel since the start of the year in circumstances related to violence and crime. A high-ranking police officer said that cooperation with the Shin Bet would be welcome but would not solve the problem on its own and must not come at the expense of investing in the police. The plan to involve the Shin Bet is being formulated at this time and is currently in the legal phrasing stage. A large majority of the cabinet is in favour of the plan.

Maariv reports that top Health Ministry officials have fiercely criticised the government and the prime minister’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic due to the failure to bring the infection rate and death rate down. According to health ministry data, 6,134 people were infected with the virus yesterday, and the number of people hospitalised in serious condition has remained steady at 710. 508 people have died since the start of the month, an average of 22 a day. The Health Ministry’s team of experts met and reached the conclusion that the government’s approach to battling the pandemic based on the number of seriously ill is “dangerous”. The experts believe that the effect of the third vaccine dose has been exhausted, because the infection data keep rising, mainly among the unvaccinated – about 70 per cent of the seriously ill are unvaccinated. They also discussed the return to school after the holidays and said that restarting school is liable to produce a rise in infection, mainly in Arab society, where there has been a major increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases who continued to attend school during the holiday. The experts warned of a situation of the hospitals being forced to prioritise younger patients in need of critical treatment.

Haaretz notes that the Education Ministry informed school principals yesterday that starting October 3, teaching staff will not be allowed to enter schools without showing the green pass or a negative COVID test. If teachers fail to conform, they will not be paid. The reaction from teachers has been mixed. “I got vaccinated with three doses and I believe in them, but they can’t be discriminating against teachers,” said one teacher from central Israel. “This is a decision that should apply to the entire economy and not just teachers. From the start of the pandemic, we’ve been a punching bag for the government, and sometimes for the public. This situation has to stop.” In contrast, another teacher from central Israel said, “This is the right decision. The schools can’t be a source of infection, and as teachers, we have a responsibility to set a personal example. Unvaccinated teachers pose a danger to others and to themselves.”

In Yediot Ahronot, Sima Kadom argues, “The impression is that the government has taken off the gloves when it comes to the anti-vaxxers, with a totally balanced decision. The teachers are not required to be vaccinated. They are required to do at least what their students do: get tested. There is no justification for teachers to keep going into school or to stay at home and get paid when they are unwilling to even get tested … yes, that’s how Bennett regards the unvaccinated: as suicidal. Bennett wants us to see the other side too: the government has provided the citizens with all of the tools needed to protect themselves, including vaccines and a huge number of tests, and still there are some 900,000 people whose green pass will be revoked in another ten days.”

The Jerusalem Post reports that Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev published this morning the list of officials on the government commission of inquiry slated to investigate the Gilboa prison escape.  The committee will be headed by former military advocate-general Dr. Menachem Finkelstein, Prof. Efrat Shaham and Shin Bet cyber division founder Arik “Harris” Barbing. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said last week that a commission of inquiry would be established to thoroughly investigate the incident, in which six high-security Palestinian prisoners dug themselves out of Gilboa Prison earlier this month. Bennett said at the time that it would be “a comprehensive and serious inquiry, but we are taking a wider look, and see what happened as a wake-up call”.

Former Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon writes a response to Ehud Barak’s assessment of the Iranian nuclear programme that appeared on Monday in Yediot Ahronoth. “Indeed, the Iranian nuclear programme is today at its most advanced stage, but I do not accept the argument that it has ‘reached the point of no-return’ (as Barak contended in his article), meaning that there is no longer anything we can do and that we have to accept a nuclear Iran,” Yaalon argues. “Had the Iranian regime ignored the pressure that was put on it up until now, most likely Tehran would even now have military nuclear capability, but that did not happen … the superficial debate between a military strike and accepting a nuclear Iran misses the point … we have to persuade the US administration to rebuild the coalition that Trump broke and to focus an effort on formulating a policy that will consist of three components: 1. Diplomatic isolation of the Iranian regime; 2. Stiff economic sanctions—initial, secondary and tertiary; 3. Preparing a credible military option.”