News Nosh 01.05.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday January 5, 2017  
 
Quote of the day:
"For obvious reasons, the IDF sought to portray the sergeant as a rotten apple, to be thrown out of the barrel, put on trial and made an example of. But while as an adult he is fully responsible for his actions and, instead of rallying around his family, we should be asking what in his upbringing and education contributed to that fatal shooting, he is one of us. Every single Israeli government of the last 49 years and the Israeli citizens who voted it into power conspired to place him in a bizarre situation that morning in Hebron. The politicians and pundits, not just those on the far-right, who are now baying against the military court, but even “mainstream” ones like centrist Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid, who last year made posturing speeches on how Palestinian attackers should not be allowed to live, gave Azaria a helping hand."
--Haaretz journalist Anshel Pfeffer in an analysis of the verdict.*

You Must Be Kidding: 
"Gadi, Gadi beware, Rabin's looking for a friend."
--Supporters of Elor Azariya chanted threats to IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot outside the courthouse on the day of the verdict in the manslaughter trial of Sgt. Elor Azariya.**


Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • “It is prohibited that the use of force harm IDF values, including purity of arms, which determines that a soldier must preserve his sense of humanity even during warfare. The actions of the accused undermine the IDF’s moral strength and even though this is about a terrorist, the use of force, which deprives human life, was wrong”
  • Elor Azariya was convicted of manslaughter in a decisive unanimous ruling
  • The dangerous incitement against the Chief of Staff and the Judge; The pain of the family; The chance of a pardon; and the ruling that sets the moral standard and values for IDF soldiers and Israeli society
  • The enemies of Azariya // Nahum Barnea
  • Not (a boy) belonging to all of us // Sima Kadmon
  • Where is the empathy // Yifat Ehrlich
  • 39,588 reverberating words // Yossi Yehoshua 
  • Not black and white // Ben-Dror Yemini
  • The IDF moved on // Alex Fishman
  • We were all Elor Azariyas // Asaf Shneider
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
*The manslaughter conviction of Sgt. Elor Azariya, 20, who executed Abdul Sharif al-Fattah, 20, an incapacitated Palestinian assailant, in Hebron last march was the top story of the day.

*The papers covered the riots by Azariya’s supporters outside the courtroom (photos), among them people from the racist groups, such as LEHAVA and La Familia – the fan club of Beitar Jerusalem soccer team, some of whom threatened IDF Chief of Staff, the support Azariya received also from ministers, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who called for a pardon, the threats to the lives of the military judges and prosecutor, who were assigned bodyguards, and the threats against the Palestinian man in Hebron who filmed the execution.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who before joining the government was a vocal supporter of Azariya, made conflicting statements after the verdict and the expressions of anger and incitement against the army brass. “This is a harsh verdict,” he said noting that he didn’t like it. “I ask we all respect the court's ruling and show restraint. What is important – despite the harsh verdict – is that the defense establishment help the family and this soldier.” His predecessor, Moshe Yaalon, accused the right-wing politicians of using Azariya to gain Knesset seats. After the three-hour verdict was read, Azariya’s mother said the “game was fixed.” The family and Azariya’s lawyers were considering an appeal, meanwhile his sentence is to be announced in 10 days.

Only Haaretz and Ynet were interested in getting the reaction to the verdict of the family of the young man, Abdel Fattah al-Sharif, whom Azariya killed. According to Ynet and the Associated Press, Al-Sharif’s father, Yousri, said the conviction was “fair,” but the family feared that public pressure would cause the court to deliver a less severe sentence. But family members demanded equality between the punishment of a soldier and others convicted of manslaughter. "If Israel is indeed a democratic state that champions justice and equality, then we demand that there be equality between the punishment of a soldier and the punishment of others convicted of manslaughter.” However, Haaretz reported that Al-Sharif’s family was disappointed with the verdict and his uncle said they would take the case to The Hague because Azariya should have been tried for murder, as was originally considered.
 
**Interestingly, this was one news story in which the commentaries and analyses filled the news pages leaving little space for other news. Moreover, despite Netanyahu’s support for Azariya, some of the most right-wing commentators of his mouthpiece newspaper, such as Haim Shine, expressed support for the verdict and against the mob mentality opposing the rule of law. Haaretz’s Gili Cohen wrote an excellent report on how, in their verdict, the judges took apart the defense’s case point by point. And Haaretz+’s Anshel Pfeffer wrote an analysis noting that this was the first time in 11 years that an Israel Defense Forces court found a soldier on operational duty guilty of manslaughter. Pfeffer noted that “In the dozens of pages read by the judge, there was not one point on which the judges accepted any of the arguments put forward by the defence. This most controversial of trials turned out to be an open-and-shut case.” For obvious reasons, the IDF sought to portray the sergeant as a rotten apple, to be thrown out of the barrel, put on trial and made an example of. But while as an adult he is fully responsible for his actions and, instead of rallying around his family, we should be asking what in his upbringing and education contributed to that fatal shooting, he is one of us. Every single Israeli government of the last 49 years and the Israeli citizens who voted it into power conspired to place him in a bizarre situation that morning in Hebron. The politicians and pundits, not just those on the far-right, who are now baying against the military court, but even 'mainstream' ones like centrist Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid, who last year made posturing speeches on how Palestinian attackers should not be allowed to live, gave Azaria a helping hand."
 
Quick Hits:
  • Police suspect Haifa shootings are an act of terror - Police have growing suspicions that Tuesday's Haifa shootings were actually a continued act of terrorism; manhunt for suspect continues in Arab Halisa neighborhood, as residents call on him to surrender and special forces search the neighborhood with drawn rifles. (Ynet and Haaretz+)
  • World Jewish Congress President Ron Lauder didn't testify he gave Netanyahu gifts, associates say - Netanyahu is expected to be questioned by police investigators for a second time on Friday at his official residence in Jerusalem. (Haaretz+) 
  • Lebanon's president: Israeli Mossad might be behind assassination of Lebanese businessman - Amin Bakri was ambushed and shot in the head by three unknown assailants after leaving one of the factories he owned in Luanda, the capital city of Angola; Lebanese President Aoun says there's 'information the Israeli Mossad might be behind this crime.' (Ynet)


Commentary/Analysis:
Soccer Hooligans in Suits: Israel's Ruling Party More Dangerous Than pro-Azaria Mob (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) Ministers and Likud politicians likened Israel to a dictatorship, and even some in the opposition experienced a sudden numbing of the senses.
Trying to be like them: They hate the Arabs, but are trying hard to copy them (Ben Caspit, Maariv) The fact that in the State of Israel and in the IDF you don’t shoot someone who  already lying on the ground and doesn’t signify a threat renewed unanimous support in the military court, but was walked all over by the incited and blood-thirsty public. In the Palestinian society, there are many murderous principles, it is covered in blood and it sanctifies murderers. We get so upset when they name their streets and squares after ‘Shahids.’ We make such a big deal out of how they pay salaries to prisoner-murderers in Israeli jails. So why, for G-d’s sake, do we try so hard to be like them? Because turning Elor Azariya into a hero is the Palestinianization of Israeli society. It is exactly what our enemies do, in contrast to the values and rules of universal morality. This is the watershed that separates between them and us. 
The Azaria Verdict Is a Temporary Setback for Right-wing Enemies of the Israeli Republic (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) The dismantlement of the liberal rule of law is a prerequisite for the establishment of Jewish ethnic supremacy in Israel and the West Bank. 
Not a child, a soldier (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) Elor Azaria is not ‘everyone’s child.’ Most importantly, he is not a child. If he were a child, we wouldn’t have given him a weapon capable of killing and we wouldn’t expect him to risk his life for the State of Israel. 
Hebron Shooter Elor Azaria Is Indeed The Norm (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) Over the past year and a half, dozens of Palestinian men, women and children have been killed, even though they could have been overpowered while they were still alive. The difference between them and Azaria is that he was videotaped.
The boy of La Familia (Amir Zohar, Maariv) The beans were spilled: ELor Azariya is, as of yesterday, the official symbol of the disgusting and hatred-generating movement, La Familia, [official fan club of Beitar Jerusalem soccer team] with fans from the eastern exit of the galleys at the Teddy Stadim who represent the Ugly Israeli.
No gray areas, no doubts: How the judges unraveled Elor Azaria's defense, point by point (Gili Cohen, Haaretz+) In the end, one of the key pieces of evidence that led to the Hebron shooter's undoing were his own words. 
A danger to the consensus (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) Even more so than the matter of Sgt. Elor Azaria's conviction, it is the matter of the military's standing that is worrying, as the IDF has lost the trust of many among the public. 
Attempt to present Hebron soldier Elor Azaria as hero sealed his fate (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Elor Azaria is not the victim of a conspiracy, he only reminded Israelis of the harsh realities in the West Bank, and now the IDF must work to mend the trial's divisive impact. 
Azaria pardon options seem unlikely (Yoav Zitun and Yehonatan Bnaya and AP, Ynet)
Whether through a presidential pardon or a military one, having a parole board cut his prison time cut short or a surprisingly lenient sentence, the chances of Elor Azaria benefiting from a last-minute savior appear rather slim. 
Hebron Shooter Convicted at Last, but Those Responsible Will Never Be Put to Trial (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Every Israeli government of the last 49 years and the Israeli citizens who voted it into power conspired to place Elor Azaria in a bizarre situation that March morning in Hebron. 
Paramedics treated wounded people, not shoot them: Azeri lost humanity (Dudu Levi-Reich, Maariv) The soldier blatantly trampled on every orders and ethical rule possible when he avoided from the outset to treating a the dying terrorist. Therefore, in my view, Elor Azariya was convicted and found guilty before he shot a bullet into the head of a dying terrorist from a meter’s distance, and that is because he did not fulfill order that determines that medical people (and Azariya, for those who forgot, was a military medic in the field) to treat every (!) [exclamation mark by the writer – OH] injured person in the field of an attack or battle with the end of the fighting – whether that person be from our forces or not. Period. In actuality, the fact that Azariya did not even approach to check what was the medical situation of the terrorist, who fluttered between life and death on the street in Tel-Rumeida, he already broke the oath of medics, which he committed to at the end of his course. At that moment, Azariya lost in my eyes his humanity. 
Elor Azaria Verdict: Netanyahu Threw Army and Its Values Under the Bus (Barak Ravid, Haaretz+) Netanyahu's 54-word statement, issued five hours after the Hebron shooter's conviction, was a marvel of Orwellian doublespeak. Of all the responses today, only that made by Moshe Ya'alon, the ousted defense minister, stands out.
A dangerous development (Dr. Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) Woe to the nation that lets the street and the media serve as judge, jury and executioner. In a civilized society, only the courts are qualified to decide guilt. 
Supporters of convicted Hebron shooter Elor Azaria also seek justice (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) It’s hard to avoid the feeling that the reason Azaria’s action was accepted so calmly by others on the scene, as the videos of the incident shows, is because that’s the way it’s done. 
Follow laws of warfare (Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror, Israel Hayom) An army is violent by definition. Only by adhering to the standards of ethical warfare and following orders can we prevent the military from devolving into a bunch of thuggish gangs. 
How Israeli politicians flipped and flopped over the Hebron shooter's trial (Judy Maltz, Haaretz+) From declarations of loyalty to the army and judicial system to demonstrations of sympathy and support for the now-convicted soldier and his family, Israeli politicians exhibited signs of schizophrenia these past nine months. 
Rule of Law, Not the Mob (Haaretz Editorial) Calls to pardon Sgt. Elor Azaria immediately after his conviction, heard from both right and left, must be rejected. 
Key questions for proponents of two states (Benjamin Anthony, Ynet) The idea that dividing Israel and its capital would necessarily lead to peace has been one to which many have been wedded for at least half a century: Some fundamental questions need answering before confidence is placed in its success. 
The public has the right to know (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) The statement issued by Attorney General Mandelblit on Monday night avoids answering the question troubling Israelis: Why was a criminal investigation launched against Prime Minister Netanyahu? This confidentiality cannot continue much longer.

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