News Nosh 01.02.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday January 2, 2017  
 
Quote of the day:
"At least we pay for our own suits."
--Zionist Union's MK Tzipi Livni tweeted after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rebuffed graft suspicions against him, telling a meeting of Likud ministers that he suggested the opposition "cool down and call off their tailors." Jewish-American tycoon reportedly testified that he gave Netanyahu suits as gifts.**


Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

 
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
A woman is suspected of murdering her four small daughters and hanging herself, a young Arab-Israeli woman was murdered in the terror attack in Istanbul on New Year’s Eve, former minister Yaakov Neeman passed away and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to be questioned by police today on suspicion of receiving hundreds of thousands of shekels in gifts making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Also in the news was the upcoming verdict in the military trial of Sgt. Elor Azariya, who extrajudicially killed a wounded and incapacitated Palestinian assailant in Hebron. The defense is calling for a state inquiry.
 
Yedioth’s top political commentator Nahum Barnea wrote today that since he believed the Prime Minister and his office which said that “Nothing will come of this, there is nothing to it” in regards to the suspicions that Netanyahu and his family received hundreds of thousands of shekels in gifts, “I was surprised to hear that he hired the services of three lawyers for the investigation. If there won’t be anything because there wasn’t anything then why did he bother to hire a battery of lawyers.” Haaretz learned that Jewish-American tycoon Ron Lauder already testified that he did give Netanyahu gifts. Likud MK Dudi Amsalem said the investigation was “political persecution” and said he was proposing a bill to protect any incumbent prime minister from any 'light offenses,' including bribery, fraud and breach of trust. But even if the bill passes it will not apply to Netanyahu, wrote Israel Hayom. The pro-Netanyahu newspaper, Israel Hayom, wrote that Zionist Union member Eldad Yaniv reportedly told a conference that police officials are leaking information on allegations against Netanyahu to journalists, in the hope that media pressure will force the attorney general to open an investigation. Police will question Netanyahu today at his residence.
 
Quick Hits:
  • Settlers arrested after writing 'revenge' in stones near Palestinian village - The three were detained after getting into a confrontation with Israeli security forces and Palestinians near the village of Sussia. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Minister Proposes Annexing Large Settlement East of Jerusalem - Annexation of Ma'aleh Adumim is a divisive issue in the coalition, mainly due primarily to the anticipated reaction of the international community. (Haaretz+) 
  • Constitution Committee discussing the application of sovereignty over Maale Adumim - The campaign to annex the city is underway, ahead of Donald Trump's entry into the White House on January 20. Mayor: “It’s unreasonable that t have to be under the regime of civil administration and the Gneral Command." (Maariv)
  • Unilaterally annexing parts of West Bank would be disaster for Israel, minister says - Hanegbi, a minister from Netanyahu's ruling Likud party, says unilateral annexation is Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett’s vision, not that of Netanyahu. Opposition Leader Herzog: We should hold a referendum to see if Israelis want to annex 3 million Arabs and create an "Israstan." (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • Channel 10 poll: Yesh Atid would overtake Netanyahu's Likud if elections held today - The Zionist Union would lose 2/3 of its seats, leaving it with eight Knesset members. (Haaretz)
  • Report: Trump team wants Israeli PM to attend inauguration - PM Netanyahu is being "aggressively courted" to attend the Jan. 20 event, New York Post reports. Trump advisers are reportedly exploring a possible meeting between the two leaders before then. Netanyahu's office: No plans have been made to attend. (Israel Hayom)
  • Rivlin: Kerry speech, UNSC resolution put Israel on trial - Speaking to Israeli diplomats, the president says 'the adoption of the resolution proves that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is on the world’s stage and we cannot look the other way in the hope it disappears.' (Yedioth/Ynet
  • Australia's ex-PM Tony Abbott Suggests Moving Israel Embassy to Jerusalem - Tony Abbott also calls on Canberra to cut its aid to the Palestinian Authority as a show of support for Israel. (Haaretz)
  • Israel government rejects bill banning funding by lobbyists for lawmakers - Bill initiated in wake of Haaretz report that Justice Minister Shaked accepted contribution from lobbyist and later advanced his client’s interests. (Haaretz)
  • Hamas releases mock videos showing 'birthday party' for slain IDF soldier - Al-Qassam Brigades, the Gaza terror group's military wing, release cruel videos implying that Oron Shaul—who was killed during Protective Edge and his body snatched by Hamas—is still alive. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Goldin family accuses PM of giving up on abducted soldiers - Scathing letter, published ahead of new year's first political-security cabinet meeting, scolds Netanyahu and the government for lackadaisical efforts to secure the release of their son's body while simultaneously returning terrorists' bodies and delivering goods to Gaza on an unprecedented scale. (Yedioth/Ynet
  • Israel won't return bodies of Hamas men killed during terror attacks - Israel's Cabinet decides special cemetery will be set up for Hamas-linked assailants as part of attempt to pressure group dominant in Gaza to return bodies of slain Israeli soldiers. (Haaretz+ and Ynet
  • Brother of security prisoner gave Arab MK cellphones to smuggle into jail, indictment charges - Asad Daqqa accused of giving Basel Ghattas four packages containing 12 cellphones and SIM cards. (Haaretz+ and Ynet
  • For First Time in Its History, Israel Forced to Seek Donors to Fund Anniversary Celebrations - Ministers back plan for 70th-birthday events in 2018, but not before complaining that treasury failed to allocated state funds. (Haaretz+) 
  • Immigrants Make Up More Than One Third of All Suicides in Israel - Despite the statistics, many new Israelis cannot get psychological support in their own language. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli army announces new cyberwarfare command – invest millions - Cybersecurity command to become part of army’s Teleprocessing Branch, which may now be renamed. (Haaretz+ and Ynet
  • Israeli Bedouin and Christian Arabs, the Israeli Army Wants You - Israeli army asks some of Israel's Arabs to sign up voluntarily in return for shortened service and a truck driver's licenses. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Safari making endangered species DNA bank - Taking a page out of the book of Noah, the Ramat Gan Safari is teaming up with a leading German institute to collect and preserve DNA from endangered species in the hope that they can be resurrected once they go extinct. (Ynet)
  • UN Seeks Millions in Humanitarian Aid for Palestinians in 2017 - United Nations taps donor countries ahead of Israeli demolitions in West Bank, saying money is needed in part to maintain Palestinians’ resilience. (Haaretz+) 
  • Israelis advised not to travel to India over concrete terror threat - The Counterterrorism Bureau at the Prime Minister's Office issues travel advisory suggesting an imminent threat by terrorist groups • Israelis in India should avoid beach parties, nightclubs, busy markets, festivals and shopping centers, advisory says. (Israel Hayom
  • Syrian Regime Resumes Bombings on Third Day of Fragile Ceasefire - The raids hit areas of Wadi Barada, where government forces and their allies launched an operation more than a week ago, rebel spokesman says. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • New UN chief urges New Year's resolution: 'Put peace first' - António Guterres takes reins of UN promising to be a 'bridge-builder'; he issues 'Appeal for Peace' a few minutes into 2017; he says there is a need to develop 'the diplomacy for peace,' which he plans to focus on. (Agencies, Ynet)


Features:
Inside Israel's Christmas reprimands of foreign diplomats
An enraged Foreign Ministry disrupts the holiday for the representatives of those countries who voted against Israel in the UN Security Council; adding insult to injury, small talk is dispensed with, no national flags are displayed, and refreshments aren't even offered; find herein a glimpse into the machinations of the biggest simultaneous scolding the MFA has ever had to administer. (Itamar Eichner, Yedioth/Ynet)
How the world loves Netanyahu - and other posts from the PM's Facebook page
In an effort to compensate for what Israel’s prime minister sees as the hostile mainstream media he has taken to social media in a big way, with 556 Facebook posts in 2016 and almost 2 million followers. (Lior Dattel, Haaretz+)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
The Two-state Solution Is Already Dead (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Supporters of a two-state solution respond aggressively to anyone who tries to undermine their magical faith in a miracle that what is dead will somehow be resurrected. 
Kerry’s failure, Netanyahu’s liberation (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) The six principles specified by the outgoing secretary of state are, more or less, the basis for any agreement, if one is ever reached. In the past, the Palestinians would have rejected such a speech out of hand. Now, they are keeping a low profile while Israel is lashing out at Obama and Kerry in a bid to flatter the new king, Donald Trump. 
Radical change: what made the Elor Azariya affair so stormy? (Dr. Revital Amiran, Maariv) The verdict will be given the day after the trial of the ‘Shooting Soldier' and the reactions to it will be evidence of the severity of the moral wound to democracy in Israel and to the degree of our ability to heal it. 
Are We Really Giving an Impulsive Novice Like Trump the Nuclear Codes? (Avner Cohen, Haaretz+) President-elect Donald Trump’s tweets not only breach a sacred U.S. presidential taboo; they are also likely to usher in an era of uncertainty and fear not seen since World War II.
Who gives the orders? (Yossi Yehoshua, Yedioth) The IDF has one of the best cyber warfare systems in the world, but against social networks, that influence the mood of the soldiers, it is clueless. The Elor Azariya trial proved that the commanders of the Facebook generation are no longer the exclusive source of authority in the field. They are forced to compete against rabbis, political leaders, civil rights organizations, parents and in actuality the whole public, for the soldiers' hearts.
Blocking peace (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) Both Kerry's speech this week and the UN Security Council resolution last week enabled Palestinian intransigence. But Netanyahu's response to the resolution causes just as much damage—by undermining Israel's relations with important countries and doing BDS's work for them.
Soon Israel Will Be Left With Just One Friend in the World (Tzvia Greenfield, Haaretz+) The UN resolution and Kerry's speech have essentially ended the era of right-wing settlement. 
Religious Zionism Is the Strongest, Most Deluded Elite in Israel (Rami Hod, Haaretz+) The movement used to balance its backing of the settlement enterprise with socioeconomic concerns, but those days have long gone. 
An Earthquake in the Jewish World  (Eva Illouz, Haaretz+) A feeling of the uncanny accompanies the start of the new year, as Jews witness their religious and political leaders aligning themselves with anti-Semites and anti-democrats. 
Conforming to Israel's Malignant Occupation (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) A.B. Yehoshua toes the line by subdividing the Palestinians into various categories and thus overlooks their general predicament. 
Rapid Probe of Netanyahu Is Essential (Haaretz Editorial) Considering Netanyahu's vehement denial of the graft suspicions against him, one would expect him to hasten to prove his innocence. Instead, he is making a mockery of the principle of equality before the law.
Like in a democracy: when you want to replace the prime minister – you do it at the polls (Avihu Sofer, Maariv) For people in the media and in politics, the Attorney General Avichai Mendelblitt became an outcast. Until when? Until he convicts Netanyahu. For what? It does not matter.
The bully alliance (Yoel Esteron, Yedioth/Ynet) with the world order changing before our eyes, will big-time bullies the likes Trump and Putin allow their little friend Netanyhau tag along?
Netanyahu’s Sweet Temptation Is to Seal the Trump-Putin Deal (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) The Israeli leader is most admired among conservative hawks who are enraged at Trump's soft approach to the Kremlin. 
Turkey: String of Terror Attacks May Signal War of All Against All (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The perceived success of massive attacks by ISIS and Kurdish groups in Turkey could spur disenfranchised entities to join the terrorist ranks – including the lone assailants that Israel is so familiar with.
 
Interviews:
IDF interviews newest female fighter pilot
Lt. Shahar, who became the fourth female fighter pilot in Israeli Air Force history last week, gives an interview on the IDF's new website; she explains that she was not a stereotypical overachiever and that piloting was her first true niche; 'There are a lot of women who have the potential to join the piloting world, but they don't know it.' (Interviewed by Yoav Zitun, Ynet)
  
Ex-CIA director: I was sure if we didn’t strike Syria’s nuclear reactor, Israel would
Gen. Michael Hayden provides an inside look into the attack that stopped Assad's nuclear ambitions in their tracks. From that fateful moment when Meir Dagan entered his office with photos of the reactor, through the clash between the Mossad director and the CIA’s analysts, who feared an all-out-war with Syria, to the secret meeting at Bush’s residence in which Hayden announced: ‘Mr. President, the Syrians are building a nuclear reactor, and it is part of a weapons program.’ (Interviewed by Ronen Bergman in Yedioth/Ynet)

 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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