News Nosh 3.13.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday March 13, 2017
 
Quote of the day #1:
“It is all so counter to what I know of Jewish culture. Questioning authority makes you a kapo? To question authority makes you a traitor? If you question bad policies you are a self-hating Jew? That is insane. And, of course it’s the last resort of tyrants.”
--In an interview during his visit to Israel, actor Richard Gere slams the demonization of left-wing pro-peace organizations by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Trump administration’s new ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.*
 
Quote of the day #2:
“As for the annexation, I don’t know a Palestinian who will agree to one state, unless he is promised full rights, which means voting for the Knesset, which means the destruction of the State of Israel. If they are allowed to vote for the Knesset, the Zionist vision will collapse. Annexation is an irreversible situation, which will push them into a corner, without hope."
--Amos Gilad said in an interesting interview to Yedioth as he retired after 45 years in the IDF and in the Defense Ministry, in which he served as head of the Military Intelligence Research Division.**


Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Girlfriends of fallen soldiers will receive official recognition
  • A widow without a ring // Gaya Koren
  • Expose: Millions go for Temple Mount legacy
  • Lieberman, kind of – Every week Asi Cohen plays Avigdor Lieberman in the satire show, ‘Eretz Nehederet.’ Yesterday came the revenge: the Defense Minister dressed up as another character that Cohen plays
  • Gold Dome – Special poll found: Iron Dome is the most significant Israeli invention of all times
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • The Dutch test – In the wake of the immigration crisis, will Wilders become the first prime minister on the continent from the radical right wing?
  • Only on Purim: Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman gets the price for most original costume after he dressed up as ‘Shauli, the persona most associated with actor Asi Cohen, who plays Lieberman on ‘Eretz Nehederet’
  • “The murderer of our girls is at home, this is a punch in the stomach” (on the release of the Jordanian soldier who served 20 year sentence for murdering seven Israeli girls)
  • Trump’s envoy for diplomatic negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, comes for a first visit
News Summary:
The main stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers were over the pain and anger of bereaved Israeli parents after the remorseless Jordanian soldier, who murdered seven Israelis girls, was released from prison after serving a 20 year-sentence, the escalation of a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and Holland over Ankara's political campaigning among Turkish immigrants alongside the rising power of Holland’s radical right-wing anti-Islam party, and the visit today to Israel of Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s representative for the peace process, to discuss settlement construction, as Trump mulled a Middle East peace conference following a phone call he had with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The Palestinians intend to tell Trump’s envoy they want a U.S. brokered peace plan with Israel. Meanwhile, Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif 
 
Quick Hits:
  • Israel urged not to use Palestinian land-grab law until court rules on legality - In response to petition, Israeli attorney general also calls not to demolish homes in settlements built on Palestinian land and which the law applies to. (Haaretz+)
  • Ministerial initiative on Temple Mount raises ire among Arab MKs - The initiative to establish an advocacy foundation for Jewish connections to the Temple Mount has been met with fury among Arab lawmakers who claim the initiative is an attempt to change the status quo and harm an Islamic holy site. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israeli Police Fail to Charge Offenders in 95% of Reported Attacks Against Palestinians - Police data for 2015 shows that only 4 out of 89 cases yielded indictments. New unit focused on Jewish political crimes did not make improvement. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel extends closure on West Bank and Gaza by 24 hours - This is the second year in a row that all crossings are closed to Palestinians during the Jewish Purim holiday. (Haaretz
  • Israel's new media czar scoffs at the democratic process - New bill exposed by TheMarker exposes plan to create political control over Israel’s public broadcasters. (Haaretz+) 
  • Israel Blocks Head of pro-BDS Organization From Entering Israel - Hugh Lanning, who heads the pro-BDS Palestine Solidarity Campaign, prevented from entering; We won't allow key boycott supporters to come, minister says. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • (Arab) Man filmed attempting arson attack on popular J'lem club - Police believe the suspect may have acted out of frustration of being denied entry, but the precise motive remains unclear. Suspect from E. Jerusalem captured on CCTV last week tampering with a gas cylinder outside premises of popular downtown nightclub. (Ynet)
  • Israel's funding for empowering Arab students not used properly - National student union calls on Council for Higher Education to better monitor how stipends are utilized, after it was discovered that the CHE and its funding subcommittee were giving funding meant for Arab students to institutions, which were not always using it effectively. (Haaretz+)
  • Iran points finger at Israel for deaths of nuclear scientists - "While terrorists financed by Israel assassinated nuclear scientists across the Middle East, nuclear experts from the Israeli regime received access to nuclear facilities in several countries," Iranian envoy tells International Atomic Energy Agency.  (Israel Hayom)
  • Thousands protest bill that aims to mute Muslim call to prayer - Up to 3,000 people in Western Galilee protest Saturday a bill to ban use of loudspeakers in mosques. Protesters chant "Allahu akbar [God is great]," wave Palestinian flags and banners accusing Israel of "racist policy". Hundreds also protest in central Israel. (Israel Hayom and Ynet
  • Nearly half of Jewish Israelis want to expel Arabs, survey shows - Pew study finds 79% believe Jews should get preferential treatment over Arab citizens; number of those who believe settlements are helpful to Israel’s security growing; majority identify as centrist. (Times of Israel and Haaretz Hebrew)
  • Shin Bet arrests Hamas cell said to operate near Jerusalem - The five men are suspected of placing explosive devices, throwing firebombs at security forces and taking part in shootings; two other militants men were arrested separately. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • Hilltop Youth alleges Shin Bet told Ukrainians about him - A right-wing activist claims that Israel's security agency warned Ukrainian authorities that he would be visiting the country, resulting in a three-hour interrogation there. The Shin Bet denies this. (Ynet
  • Israeli army introduces new drones for brigade commanders - 'Skylark 3' unmanned aerial vehicle, developed by Elbit, to be operated by mixed-gender combat teams. (Haaretz+) 
  • IDF closes elite, secret missile unit - With several new units being established within the Artillery Corps in recent years, it was decided in the last year to close the unit—despite internal divisions within the army—due to manpower and budgetary constraints. (Ynet
  • Girlfriends of fallen soldiers officially recognized by the IDF - After prolonged criticism against the IDF's seemingly apathetic attitude towards the girlfriends of fallen IDF soldiers during Operation Protective Edge, new procedures will finally recognize their grief and require that appropriate succor is provided. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Oketz training exercise leads to canine death - The dog, Maya, attacked her handler during an exercise simulating a confrontation with a terrorist, forcing a trainer to kick the dog, accidentally killing it; IDF investigation clears trainer of any wrongdoing and calls use of force 'appropriate given the circumstances.' (Ynet
  • Arab toddler filmed in panic from shooting - The passing weekend included more shootings within the Arab community, which has taken the lives of 13 people since the beginning of the year; in the Arab town of Umm al-Fahm, a 3-year-old is recorded bursting into tears and shivering due to nearby shooting. (Ynet)
  • Netanyahus to be questioned in court on libel suit - Judge rejects their request for postponement, allows defendant Yigal Sarna to call ex-Shin Bet head to testify. (Haaretz+)
  • Meretz leader calls for early, open primaries - MK Zehava Galon wants to change the way her party elects leaders and is moving up the primaries, running for reelection two years earlier than necessary. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israel tops world in increase in housing prices - Purchases of new apartments slow down as real estate sales continuing with trends started in 2016, according to Finance Ministry data. (Haaretz
  • Palestinian children reportedly pretend to execute IDF soldiers in foreign aid-funded schools - Mail on Sunday reports on Palestinian schools operated by British foreign aid: named after terrorists, with photos of terrorists on their walls and children playing at killing IDF soldiers. (Yedioth/Ynet
  • Tunisian authorities foil smuggling of 15th-century Torah scroll - Authorities from the North African country arrest a group of suspects belonging to an international smuggling ring; Torah was set to smuggled and sold in Europe. (Ynet
  • Taking aim at college campus discrimination, South Carolina adopts federal definition of anti-Semitism - Bill creates controversy as some wonder if legitimate criticism of Israel can be considered anti-Semitism. The bill defines anti-Semitism to include the State Department’s definition, which considers demonizing, delegitimizing or applying a double standard to Israel to be forms of anti-Semitism. (JTA, Haaretz
  • Survey shows leap in percentage of Americans who see anti-Semitism as 'serious' problem - 87 percent of Democrats expressed their concern over anti-Semitism, while 53 percent of Republicans said the same. (JTA, Haaretz
  • Iran's FM Accuses Netanyahu of 'Falsifying Torah,' Resorting to 'Fake History' - Rejecting Netanyahu's Purim analogy that "In Persia, they wanted to kill us but it didn't work. Today, too, Persians are trying to destroy us, but today, too, it will not work,” Javad Zarif says Iran saved Jews three times in history. (Haaretz and Ynet
  • Iran's Parliament Speaker Says Israel Is Responsible for Syrian Civil War - Rejecting Netanyahu's Purim analogy, Ali Larijani says the prime minister 'has read neither Torah nor history.' (Haaretz
  • Iran points finger at Israel for deaths of nuclear scientists - "While terrorists financed by Israel assassinated nuclear scientists across the Middle East, nuclear experts from the Israeli regime received access to nuclear facilities in several countries," Iranian envoy tells International Atomic Energy Agency. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)


Features:
The writing on the wall: Being a Jew in Trumpland
It started during the presidential campaign with anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish journalists, but since Donald Trump’s election the ripples of hatred have turned into a giant wave. In a special coast-to-coast project, Yedioth Ahronoth presents excerpts demonstrating the extent to which American Jews have become consumed with trepidation and who are beginning to realize that ‘never again’ is a very fragile phrase in the current climate. (Tzipi Shmilovitz and Ayala Or-El in Yedioth's weekend magazine)
Muslim-Jewish Ties in U.S. Flourish, but Skeptics Make Their Mark
Activists on both sides say the new harmony has staying power barring another Gaza war. That hasn't stopped some Muslims and Jews from charging NGO leaders with ulterior motives. (Debra Nussbaum Cohen, Haaretz+)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
Once a Messiah, Trump Could Turn Out to Be the Israeli Right’s Worst Nightmare (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz) The U.S. president’s cordial phone conversation with Mahmoud Abbas shows the growing influence of Sunni states, led by Saudi Arabia.
As Fatah hardens, Hamas becomes more receptive (Eliior Levy, Yedioth/Ynet) Thought it isn't clear who will replace Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, his heir will likely be less agreeable to Israel. But as Mahmoud Al-Aloul, Abbas's only current deputy, accepts a one-state solution but only 'under our conditions,' Hamas begins to warm up to a Palestinian state within the '67 borders.  
A Boy Without a Leg, an Occupier Without a Heart (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Perhaps Israel would only understand what's happening in the territories if the roles were reversed – if the Palestinians had shot a disabled Jewish child and taken him away for interrogation. 
Lack of hope: Israelis need to see the squalor in which Palestinians live (Lior Dayan, Maariv) Israelis need to visit the Palestinian territories in order to see first hand the poverty of their neighbors. Perhaps in this way, pressure will be made to change the reality that grows terrorism. 
My Parents Founded a Settlement, Now Trump Could Make Their Dream Come True (Yair Svorai, Haaretz+) The expansion of Jewish settlements has followed a consistent pattern for about 100 years – the replacement of Palestinians by Jews. The new U.S. president provides a historical opportunity to accelerate the process. 
Our country’s masochistic nature (Elyakim Haetzni, Yedioth/Ynet) ‘In return’ for the services Israel gives the Arabs, Netanyahu is delaying the US embassy’s move to Jerusalem, freezing Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, adopting the Saudi initiative (‘with rectifications’) and reciting a formula of ‘two states or less.’ 
The Sun Isn't Setting on the Settlement Enterprise (Yigal Dilmoni, Haaretz+) Contrary to the picture presented by Shaul Arieli, the Israeli population in Judea and Samaria has grown by 66 percent in the last decade, with 167,000 more added since 2005.
Trump kicks the ball to Abbas's court (Smadar Perry, Yedioth/Ynet) In his belated first phone call with the Palestinian leader, the new US president sent out a clear message: If you really are committed to peace, stop running around international. 
The Religion of the IDF (Rogel Alpher, Haaretz+) On the face of it, the Israeli army belongs to the state and serves it. But in fact, it is feeding off the people.
In the spirit of Purim: A body needs to be established that will make processes that will strengthen the connection between the different sectors of Israeli society (Avihu Sofer, Maariv) Esther commanded Mordecai: "Go, gather all the Jews." This is good advice for us too. What succeeded against Haman is guaranteed to succeed even in the face of modern enemies. 
With Lebanon No Longer Hiding Hezbollah's Role, Next War Must Hit Civilians Where It Hurts, Israeli Minister Says (Amos Harel, Haaretz) Naftali Bennett and Lebanese president agree: There's no line between Hezbollah and Lebanese state. Lebanese must realize another war with Israel means Lebanon will be sent back to Middle Ages, Bennett tells Haaretz. 
The tenants at Balfour Street are beginning to realize the extent of the problem they find themselves in (Ben Caspit, Maariv) Behind the smug pretense Netanyahu has realized he is in trouble, and recruited his personal physician. Also, why did he sit for 3 hours with Rivlin? Bennett and Shaked smell elections and what Lieberman learned in the US. 
Win or Lose, Geert Wilders Has Won Netherlands' Battle for Hearts and Minds (Shlomo Papirblat, Haaretz+) The far-right leader is slipping in the polls before Wednesday’s election, but he has managed to turn it into a referendum on migrants and Muslims. 
A trial balloon for Europe: The extreme right was wakened just before the elections in the Netherlands (Gideon Kotz, Maariv) Until a week ago, the leader of the [radical right-wing] nationalist "Freedom Party", Geert Wilders, led in the polls over the incumbent Prime Minister, Mark Dutta, who only recently was able to overtake him, 
Netherlands-Turkey Crisis Only Plays Into the Hands of Both Leaders (Asaf Ronel, Haaretz+) Erdogan gives Dutch premier Rutte a golden opportunity to embrace some of the rhetoric of the provocative nationalist Geert Wilders regarding Muslim migrants, while also bolstering Turkish leader’s camp.
Intimidation as a tool for political survival (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) Leaders should tell the people the truth and instill them with a sense of security, rather than provide them with regular doses of anxiety and panic in order to retain their grasp on power. 
The Most Important Policy for Israel's Future (Dan Ben-David, Haaretz+) Israel ranks last in the OECD in terms of students' inability to plan ahead or understand the consequences of their decisions. 
How Resilient Will the Muslim-Jewish Alliance in America Be? (Haroon Moghul, Haaretz+) Short-termism endangers Muslim-Jewish alliances facing the Trump administration. What if there's another Gaza or Lebanon war? Will our current compassion and concern for each other survive the onslaught? 
Brexit and Israel (Dr. Howard A. Patten, Israel Hayom) British PM Theresa May is easing her country away from the EU in singularly presidential style. How can Israel benefit? 
In the West Bank, a Test for God (Uzi Benziman, Haaretz+) Like the members of Israel's Jewish Underground in 1980, today’s right-wing politicians are aware of the trouble their actions are likely to bring on the country, but they are secretly counting on divine salvation. 
Racism with a kosher seal of approval (Aviad Kleinberg, Yedioth/Ynet) Traditional Judaism does not believe in equality between Jews and non-Jews, between men and women, or between scholars and the uneducated. The discrimination against Sephardim may not be according to the Bible, but it’s definitely prescribed by rabbis.
The 1948 War Through Arab Eyes (Salman Masalha, Haaretz+) A study of Arab newspapers in the run-up to the Israeli War of Independence shows the kind of rhetoric that led to the Nakba, and is still present today.
Israel’s wars: Is anyone capable of setting policy? (Zeev Sternhell, Haaretz+) As far as I can remember, the last time Israel crafted national goals for a war was in 1956. Recent conflicts, including the Gaza wars, have simply been forums for massive force. 
Iranians at the gate (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) While Iran is most likely not interested in direct conflict with Israel, it will not hesitate to use its regional proxies to do its bidding, which is why Iran's presence on the northern border is a red line for Israel.
A Purim Who's Who for 2017: Recasting the Jewish Holiday With Trump, Bannon and the Rest (Don Futterman, Haaretz) This year's Purim casting is a bit sticky, imperfect and Oedipal, but some of the alignments are too perfect to ignore. 
 Why Stop at Baseball? Israel Should Also Recruit Scarlett Johansson, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Bernie Sanders (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) If American Jews can give us victories on the playing field, why not in other arenas as well?
 
Interviews:
*Richard Gere to Haaretz: Settlements Are an Absurd Provocation, the Occupation Is Indefensible
'Norman' star had a hard time deciding whether to come to Israel for local premiere: 'I had people living here who told me, "Look, no good will come of this. The bad guys will use you."' (Interviewed by Allison Kaplan Sommer in Haaretz)
  
**I will even miss my enemies, says retired general Amos Gilad
As head of the Defense Ministry's Political-Military Affairs Bureau and as a secret emissary to Arab countries, Gilad made quite a few friends in the Arab world. In his long career as an intelligence officer, he got to know some of Israel’s most bitter enemies. In a special interview following his retirement, he reveals how he was almost lynched by angry Palestinians and how he prevented a war with Syria. (Interviewed by Smadar Perry in Yedioth/Ynet)
 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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