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Media Summary

The Independent reports that Israel’s opposition leader testified for the prosecution on Monday against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his corruption trial in Jerusalem.

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The Independent reports that Israel’s opposition leader testified for the prosecution on Monday against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his corruption trial in Jerusalem. Yair Lapid, a former prime minister himself and a major Netanyahu rival, is testifying in one of three cases against Netanyahu. The indictment claims Netanyahu used his position of power to further Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan’s interests in exhange for gifts, representing a conflict between the premier’s public duties and personal friendship. According to the indictment, Netanyahu did personal favours for Milchan, including asking US officials to extend Milchan’s US resident’s permit and extending Israeli regulations exempting Israeli returnees from declaring foreign income.

The Financial Times reports that the US may soon begin unloading oil from an Iranian vessel it seized, which the paper warns, threatens, “to escalate a shadow tanker war with Tehran.”  According to the paper, “The US Department of Justice seized the Suez Rajan under a court order with co-operation from at least one company involved with the vessel… The vessel is carrying about 800,000 barrels of oil, a cargo worth about $56m (£44.5M).

BBC World Service reports on the latest approach of Iranian authorities to clamp down on protestors. It includes the, “use technology to enforce the compulsory dress code that has been a focus of continuing protests across the country. In April, national police chief Ahmad Reza Radan announced the launch of a “smart” programme involving surveillance cameras to identify women failing to cover their hair or wear loose-fitting clothing in public despite the threat of fines or imprisonment He warned that those caught breaking the hijab law for a second time would be referred to courts, that cars carrying female passengers with uncovered hair would be confiscated, and that businesses turning a blind eye would be closed.”

The Guardian previews the leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas’s visit to China this week. However even according to senior Palestinian officials the objective of the visit appears to be “bolstering Beijing’s credentials on the world stage, rather than a serious attempt to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.”

As deaths in Arab-Israeli society surpass 100 for this calendar year, the Israeli media is focused on how to prevent this escalating further. Yediot Ahronot notes, “The worrisome uptick in shootings and in the number of murder victims in Arab society was the topic of the emergency meeting that the prime minister convened last night. Netanyahu asked for preparations to be made to allow the Shin Bet security service to be integrated in the war against crime families in Arab society, notwithstanding the objections voiced by Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar, Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara and State Attorney Amit Aisman.” Various papers cover comments by the prime minister at the start of yesterday’s weekly cabinet meeting, where Netanyahu said, “We are resolved to fight this criminal phenomenon and the snakehead—the crime organisations. To that end, I will call a special meeting to involve the Shin Bet in a focused effort against the crime families. I insist on bringing the Shin Bet in immediately.”

Channel 12 News revealed the debate from within the meeting. National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir said at the meeting: “I was a lawyer for many years and I represented hilltop youth who because of graffiti crimes and torching property, the Shin Bet was brought into the investigations. Had we known beforehand about the plan to murder Shira Banki and had the police not located the murderer, wouldn’t we have brought in the Shin Bet to save human life?” Police Commissioner Insp. Gen. Yaakov Shabtai said: “We were all fully busy with protests. Then it was Ramadan. We are short on resources. We’ve now received a big budget, but it takes time. We need a solution now.” Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar: “Bringing in the Shin Bet can be damaging, there will be complaints of over-enforcement. We focus on preventing terrorism. We help the police today already, but our resources are limited. It would be a mistake to turn the Shin Bet into an organisation that investigates criminal offenses.”  State Attorney Amit Aisman: “Bringing in the Shin Bet could expose investigation practices.” Ben Gvir: “That’s not true. You’ve conducted trials in cases that the Shin Bet exposed and you issued secrecy certificates. There’s no problem here.” Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara said: “There are petitions against bringing in the Shin Bet, this is problematic.” Ben Gvir: “The law can be changed. Within a short time, we can introduce a bill that stipulates that crime families meet the criteria of an issue that the Shin Bet can address.” Maariv notes, no agreement was reached at the meeting, but Prime Minister Netanyahu assigned National Security Council Director Tzachi Hanegbi the task of formulating operative recommendations to be presented at a meeting next week. A ministerial committee for Arab sector affairs will also be formed, headed by the prime minister.

Israel Hayom carry a report from the Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s health has deteriorated to such an extent that he may no longer be able to carry out his duties. According to Fatah sources, “due to Abbas’s medical condition, doctors came to the presidential palace to perform examinations instead of at the hospital.”

Yediot Ahronot highlights the penultimate game of the World Cup Under 20s that saw Israel clinch third place by beating South Korea, 3-1. The paper notes shortly after the match, President Isaac Herzog congratulated the players and tweeted: “Congratulations to the Israeli national youth soccer team on their historic achievement – third place in the World Cup! You have completed a wonderful and exciting journey in the U20 World Cup, and we are all proud of you.”