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Media Summary

Israel to become the first country to ban the buying and selling of animal fur

The BBC and Telegraph report that Israel is preparing new legislation that will make it the first country to ban the buying and selling of animal furs, apart from in specially approved cases. Environmental protection Minister Gila Gamliel said the use of skin and fur for the fashion industry was “immoral”. Animal rights group Peta said it “applauded” Israel’s move. Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community, among whom many of the men wear large round fur hats called shtreimels, will be exempt from the new rules.

The Times notes that Israel’s national team will be greeted by about 200 protestors organised by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) when they arrive at Hampden Park tomorrow night. The paper says that football has been chosen for this protest after the SPSC were contacted by Palestinian players who, it is alleged, have been harassed by Israeli occupation forces. Israel are captained by Bibras Natkho, the first from a Circassian-Muslim background to have worn the armband.

The Telegraph’s Jerusalem Correspondent, James Rothwell, tours the Mahane Yehuda Shuk during the country’s second lockdown. In what is usually Israel’s busiest market, many of the shops are closed, and only a smattering of masked people weave through the maze of fruit, meat, and spice stalls. “The situation is really bad,” says Yoram Ben David, a spice seller. “Today it should be packed, but it’s deserted. We are doing our best to comply with the rules, but people have seen the reports in the media about the situation worsening and they stay away.”

The Guardian writes how packed funeral for ultra-Orthodox rabbis have inflames tensions in Israeli society over the flaunting of lockdown restrictions. Images of thousands gathered at the ceremony for Rabbi Mordechai Leifer in Ashdod have been described as ‘a spit in the face of entire country’.

The Financial Times leads with the interview on Saudi Arabia’s al-Arabiyya with Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, a former ambassador to the US and intelligence chief, who said the Palestinian leadership was a failure and that their criticism over the UAE and Bahraini peace deals with Israel was a “transgression” that was “reprehensible” and “entirely unacceptable”.

Patrick Cockburn from the Independent questions whether Idlib, the last remaining opposition stronghold in Syria, will become the next Gaza Strip.

The Times reports that Fifteen thousand Syrian women and children are set to be released from a camp holding ISIS families in northeast Syria. They will leave al-Hawl, a squalid holding centre, and return to their family homes. The Kurdish administration said it had been decided to “empty the Syrians from the camp completely”.

At least 19 civilians have been killed and another 80 injured in a car bomb attack in the northern Syrian town of al-Bab, controlled by Turkish-backed rebels, as reported by the BBC. The town has come under several attacks since it was captured by rebels and Turkish troops from ISIS in 2017. It is not known yet who was behind the blast.

The Telegraph, The Times, BBC report that Iran registered its highest number of new coronavirus cases per day with 4,151 over the last 24 hours, in which 227 patients died. The worst-hit country in the Middle East, Iran has now reported 479,825 COVID-19 cases and 27,419 deaths from the virus. On Monday, the health ministry warned the whole country was on red alert amid a ‘third wave’ of surging infections.

A Guardian investigation has found that the UAE and Turkey sent military cargo planes of people and goods to proxies in war-torn Libya, in blatant violation of an UN arms embargo which both sides promised to uphold.

The Israeli media report that Health Ministry data shows a decline in the coronavirus morbidity rate in the wake of the lockdown. There were 3,600 new cases of the virus yesterday and 27 deaths, with the rate of positive tests falling to just above 10 per cent. Nevertheless, Kan Radio News reports that the cabinet extended by one week the special state of emergency that allows it to place restrictions on demonstrations. Almost every Blue and White minister supported it due to the high rate of morbidity. The state of emergency that permits demonstrations only up to one kilometre from home in groups no larger than 20 will last until next Tuesday.

Maariv leads with the demonstrations last night across hundreds of cities, including in Rosh Haayin’s Neve Afek neighbourhood, which is home to Benny Gantz and Miri Regev and outside the home of Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn in Hod Hasharon. Most of the demonstrators held up signs with the new one-word slogan that calls on Netanyahu to “go.” In Tel Aviv, hundreds of demonstrators gathered at Habima Square before marching down Rothschild Boulevard without a police permit. The police informed them over loudspeakers that their demonstration was illegal and called on the demonstrators to disperse. The demonstrators successfully traversed a first police barrier without clashes and continued to march. Several dozen people were fined for violating the Health Ministry’s guidelines. The Prime Minister, the Knesset, the Attorney General and the General Security Service all have to submit their responses to a petition that was filed by the Movement for Quality Government against the restrictions on demonstrations to the High Court of Justice by 6:00pm local time today.

Several newspapers report on the the increasing numbers of cabinet ministers, MKs and public officials who defied the coronavirus-related restrictions. Yediot Ahronot reports this morning that the Prime Minister’s wife, Sara Netanyahu, violated the restrictions by summoning a hairdresser to the Prime Minister’s Residence ahead of the Sukkot holiday. Yediot Ahronot also reports that Yamina Chairman Naftali Bennett’s son also violated the lockdown regulations that took effect on the eve of Rosh Hashanah by inviting his girlfriend to his family house on the eve of Yom Kippur. Commenting in Israel Hayom, Emily Amrousi writes: “We’re better than you. The Israeli public is better than the people who hold positions of power and authority over it. The Israeli public is more mature that its leaders are. The public is more intelligent and responsible than its publicly elected officials are. And we deserve better. After everything we’ve been through and are still going through — we deserve a better leadership.”

A Channel 12 News poll last night revealed that Bennett’s Yamina party has closed the gap on its rival, the Likud, to a margin of only three Knesset seats. The poll found the Netanyahu-led Likud as still projected to be the largest party in the Knesset with 26 seats, followed by Yamina with 23, Yesh Atid-Telem with 18, the Joint List with 15, Blue and White and Shas with 9 seats each, Yisrael Beiteinu with 8, United Torah Judaism with 7, and Meretz with 5. Four parties failed to cross the electoral threshold in the poll: Amir Peretz’s Labor Party Rafi Peretz’s Jewish Home, Orly Levy-Abekasis’s Gesher Party, and Yoaz Hendel and Zvi Hauser’s Derech Eretz. Commenting in Maariv, Ben Caspit writes: “The State of Israel has gone mad. Only in a disturbed country could there be a candidate who gets shut out of the Knesset after failing to cross the electoral threshold by winning just three seats in 2019, only to rake in 23 seats in polls in 2020. That candidate’s name is Naftali Bennett… if anyone were to have told him last April, while he was still scrambling at the Central Elections Committee’s offices in an attempt to cobble together the few [thousand more] votes he needed to cross the electoral threshold, about the Channel 12 poll from last night, he would have doubled over in laughter. The problem is that in this case, the joke is on us.”