News Nosh 3.20.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday March 20, 2017
 
You Must Be Kidding #1: 
Some 48% of Israeli Jews do not want Arab teachers educating their children. A similar percentage does not want their children studying alongside Arab students, a new survey reveals.*

You Must Be Kidding #2: 
Some 27% of Jewish Israelis would leave the country if they could. Among those who defined themselves as secular, 36% indicated they would leave, a poll revealed.**


Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The (Israel Public Broadcasting) Corporation will begin, its directors will be dismissed – the likely compromise
  • The cynical wall // Sima Kadmon writes that Netanyahu lost his deterrence
  • Electric bicycles – pull over! – Soon, municipal inspectors can give tickets to bicyclists
  • Elimination next to the border – “I am proud to command over the elimination of an enemy cell,” said the outgoing Commander of the Northern Command, Aviv Kochavi – and then it was reported on the elimination of an officer in Assad’s army
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • “Elimination from the air on the Syrian border”
  • The crisis: Negotiations between Netanyahu’s and Kahlon’s representatives; Ministers in coalition: Oppose elections
  • Again, in the middle of the day: Crane crashed on house in Ramat Gan
  • Minister Lieberman: “Rabbi Levinstein was summoned for a Wednesday hearing”
News Summary:
Likud ministers were divided about whether the coalition crisis over the launching of the broadcasting corporation was reason to seek early elections, Israel reportedly attacked again inside Syria, killing a pro-Assad commander, while the IDF Chief of Staff pointed to the Lebanese government as a future target making top news in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Also in the news, on the day he resigned from Knesset, Arab Israeli MK Basel Ghattas told reporters why he did what he did.
 
Likud and coalition ministers grumbled over the dispute about the launching of the Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation, which could lead to early elections, however a compromise seems likely – which could be at the expense of a free press. Some have said that Netanyahu spurred the crisis because of his concern about the investigations into his alleged corruption. But police officials said that regardless of whether elections are called, they will the continue the investigations.
 
After a very serious incident between Israel and Syria, which ended with Syrian missiles shot at returning Israel jets and Israel acknowledging it shot at an arms convoy inside Syria, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened to destroy Syria’s whole air defense system. Only several hours later, Israel reportedly attacked again in Syria, killing a pro-regime militia commander with a drone strike, to which the Syrian Army and Hezbollah threatened the Israeli Air Force with more Syrian weapons systems.
 
Also on Sunday, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot addressed the IDF’s attempts to prevent Hezbollah from from obtaining advanced weaponry, saying that in a future war on Israel's northern border, the army won't hesitate to strike Lebanese institutions.
 
Arab-Israeli MK Ghattas, 61, resigned from the Knesset Sunday as part of his plea agreement with prosecutors, to which he admitted to smuggling mobile phones and SIM cards to Palestinian security prisoners. At a press conference he held after submitting his letter, Ghattas said he smuggled cellular phones to security prisoners for humanitarian reasons[NOTE: Israel prohibits security prisoners from calling families – OH]: “They asked for one public phone and for one phone number that each prisoner is allowed to call. Just let them have contact with their families. Even a serial killer is allowed to call whomever he wants and to receive visits from all his relatives. I still have belief in your humanity,” Ghattas told the reporters for the Hebrew media. He spoke about security prisoners serving over 20 years in jail. “The security prisoners are freedom fighters in the eyes of their people and freedom fighters make mistakes…There are 14 who should have been released in 2014…But someone who was 21-years-old paid the price, why should he pay it three and four times more than everyone else. It contravenes international stances.” [Ghattas referred to multiple life-sentences given to some Palestinian prisoners. – OH] “I did not steal or rape as your president did…A president who rapes is not my president." He also said Israeli authorities “crossed a series of red lines,” and he blamed “racist incitement” for the reason his parliamentary immunity was stripped. He said he would not seek a pardon. “I hope that the price that I pay will not be for nothing.” (More from Maariv)
 
Quick Hits:
  • Netanyahu sends his chief of staff to D.C. to discuss curbs to settlement construction - Delegation headed by Yoav Horowitz set to meet Trump's Mideast peace envoy Jason Greenblatt and other White House officials/ Greenblatt said U.S. seeks 'slowdown' in settlement construction, Israeli official says. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • In rare appearance, Mossad chief rejects Gaza war report's claim that (politicians) lacked info - Comptroller report found that members of the inner security cabinet did not receive sufficient information during the 2014 conflict from the National Security Council. (Haaretz+, Ynet and Maariv
  • *Poll: 48% of Jewish Israelis do not want Arab teachers for their kids  - Survey also shows that about 42% do not want ultra-Orthodox teachers for their children • Poll presents "a sad picture" and "demonstrates that Israeli society has its work cut out for it," says president of Kinneret College, which organized the survey. (Israel Hayom
  • **Poll: About a third of the Jewish population in Israel wants to leave the country - According to the survey, conducted for 'Masa Israeli the Israeli roots odyssey,' the percentage was highest among secular Jews: some 36% of them indicated they would leave the country if they had the option. The survey also found that about half of secular Jewish Israelis define themselves as "Israelis" and the rest define themselves as "Jews." "The survey data indicates a problem with a sense of identity, connection and belonging to the people, to the land and to the state among a growing part of society in Israel and that reality already has created a rift and split in all of Israeli society," said Masa Israeli director, Uri Cohen.(Maariv, p 19 and WallaNews)
  • False-alarm rocket sirens heard in Israeli communities near Gaza border - Sirens sound amid growing tensions on the Israel-Gaza border. (Haaretz
  • Hamas Is Plotting Attacks on Israel Every Day, Shin Bet Chief Warns - Don't be fooled by the recent lull, Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman says, noting the security service has foiled over 400 terror plots. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Hamas sentences 2 drug dealers to death in Gaza - The two were previously given lighter sentences, but the Gazan Interior Ministry says the dealers 'were not deterred'; executions will be carried out by firing squad and hanging. (Agencies, Ynet
  • Palestinian Gets Four Life Sentences for Murder of U.S. Student, Two Others in West Bank - Ezra Schwartz was spending his gap year studying in Israel when he and two others were killed in the shooting attack. (Haaretz
  • Israel's travel ban may prevent Israel Studies scholars from entering the country - Association of Israel Studies warns that it will not hold any more conferences in Israel until it's assured all its members will be allowed in the country. (Haaretz+) 
  • Bloggers from around the world attended the Int'l Tourism Conference in Jerusalem - In the framework of the event held in Israel this year, more than 400 travel bloggers, journalists, etc. from dozens of countries around the world came to Israel. The conference is expected to expose Jerusalem to hundreds of millions of people on various social networks. (Maariv)
  • IDF expects manpower shortage due to shortened service - A year before the first soldiers serving a shortened tour of duty are released, the IDF is seeking solutions for the expected manpower shortage. (Ynet)
  • IDF calls up reservists for surprise exercise in south - Southern Command's reserve forces will drill different operational scenarios, with an emphasis put on threats on the southern front, after 5 rockets fired at Israel from Gaza since early Feb. (Ynet
  • IN PHOTOS: Identical replica of 2,500 year-old Hellenic merchant vessel launched in Haifa - The replica, which researchers say was rebuilt using the same materials, methods and tools as the original, set sail under close supervision of a team from Haifa university. (Haaretz
  • Palestinians give award to UN official who condemned Israel - President Mahmoud Abbas awards Rima Khalaf, former UN official who accused Israel of apartheid, the Palestine Medal of the Highest Honor in recognition of her ‘courage and support’ for the Palestinian people. (Agencies, Ynet
  • Jewish Groups, Lawmakers Say Trump's Budget Cuts Will Gouge U.S. Influence Abroad - American Jewish Committee says national security interests at stake; J Street decries budget's isolationism. (JTA, Haaretz
  • Eyeing Recent Attacks, Jewish Leaders Worry Trump's Budget Cuts Will Slash Security Grants - U.S. Congress currently funds a security assistance program for nonprofits at $20 million a year, with the vast majority going to Jewish institutions. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Iran's supreme leader calls objectifying women a Zionist plot  - In a series of tweets, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei asserts the West's perception of women as "means of pleasure" is the product of a "Zionist conspiracy to destroy human community." Genders "are different" in aspects like "duties in handling life," he says.(Agencies, Israel Hayom
  • Egyptian president to meet Trump in Washington in early April - Meeting will mark Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's first visit to Washington since taking office in 2014 • Two leaders met in September on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly • Egypt, U.S. are expected to forge closer ties under Trump. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)


Features:
When Arabs and Mizrahi Jews dreamed of a joint homeland
Before Israel’s establishment in 1948, some Jews and Arabs saw each other as ‘brothers’ and had a utopian vision of a shared future. (Ofer Aderet, Haaretz+) 
The fight over Château Pèlerin—the ancient Crusader fortress
The ancient castle, also known as Atlit fortress, is currently under the control of the navy’s commando unit, is again in the midst of controversy; the IDF wants to keep it as part of the naval commando’s base of operations, yet residents of the area want it to be opened for tourism, which will generate significant income; researchers are keeping silent, hoping to keep the site intact. (Assaf Kamar, Yedioth/Ynet
"We are blessed that we have (Rabbi) Levinstein": Meet the man who wants to replace Bennett
A moment after he announced that he will run in the upcoming primaries run for the leadership of Habayit Hayehudi, [religious – OH] Col. (ret) Yonatan Baransky opposes the party’s leader: "He does not represent what I believe in.” He opposes women serving as combat soldiers: “When the female combat soldiers of the Carakal Battalion come to train at our base, the condoms at the commissary run out.” (Arik Bender, Maariv
It’s Sex, Stupid: Why Israel's Orthodox Rabbis Are Battling the Idea of Women in Combat
The fear of members of the opposite sex touching each other has even the more moderate rabbis worried. (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+VIDEO
Explained: Why does it seem like Israel is always having a new election?
The government last completed a full four-year term in 1988, the same year one Benjamin Netanyahu entered the Knesset. He might call for another early vote. (Omer Benjakob, Haaretz+) 
"The Jews of Europe are sick, they always vote against their interests"
A moment after he was elected to the Dutch parliament, Gideon Markuszower, 39, a member of the party of radical right-wing politician Geert Wilders, today the most senior Jew in Europe (politically) responds to the criticism of him and attacks the Jews of Europe. (Gideon Kotz, Maariv Magazine supplement, cover)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
The Liquidator From Washington Comes Calling on Netanyahu (Aluf Benn, Haaretz+) It took Trump's envoy two meetings with the Israeli PM to plant a mine in the heart of the right-wing governing coalition and bring Israel to the brink of early elections. 
Netanyahu on the road to self-destruction (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) The prime minister’s sudden concern for the Israel Broadcasting Authority workers is completely false. The only rational explanation for his conduct can be found elsewhere—in the police investigations. But even if he does decide to resign and call elections, the Knesset doesn’t have to be dissolved, and the president can task a different MK with establishing a new government. 
Israeli Elections Now (Haaretz Editorial) To put an end to this government of gloom, it would be best to hold elections, and the sooner the better.
A turnaround? Some of the public that supported Elor Azaria has backed away in the wake of the appeal (Attorney Yechiel Guttman, Maariv) In the lives of nations sometimes legal proceedings occur, which become greater than the events for which they began, and their results are the effects they have that are many more than the fate of the people involved in them. Israel has had affairs that left their imprint on society, on the values ​​and the morals of the country. For example, the ‘Lavon Affair’ in 1951 [when Israel used Jewish-Egyptians to plant bombs inside American, British and Egyptian-owned civilian buildings in Egypt in order to make it seem that it was by Muslim Egyptians and encourage Britiain to leave its occupying troops – OH], the Kfar Kassem trial in 1954 [over the murder of innocent Arab farmers by IDF soldiers – OH] and the Bus 300 affair in 1984 [when the Shin Bet secretly executed two Palestinian hijackers it had captured and then lied about it – OH]. Another incident now joins this frightening list: the trial of Elor Azaria. The verdict was focused and convicted him of manslaughter, punishable by a maximum 20 years in prison. Probably due to the particular circumstances of the incident [great public pressure – OH], the judges wanted to balance and sentenced him to a light and disproportionate sentence of 18 months in prison…Since Azaria chose to appeal the sentence, the Military Prosecutors were right to appeal the light punishment and demanded a minimum of two and half years in prison, because the lack of much prison time was begging to the heavens. Parenthetically, a cursory look at the media and social networks, it looks like there has been a change. Part of the public that supported Azaria has now backed away following his appeal and that tensions that he continues to create. So we'll have a few more days when Azaria is a media presence until he begins serving his sentence, and then no one will remember him, but the consequences of the trial will remain forever in Israeli society. 
Mutiny Brews After Netanyahu Drops Political Bombshell, Heads to China (Yossi Verter, Haaretz) At least half of Likud lawmakers believe dragging Israel to early elections is senseless. Crisis will make or break Finance Minister Kahlon.
All Trump wants is an Israeli-Palestinian deal (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) The Israeli Right’s dream about a US administration that would support the settlements anywhere, at any time and at any extent, seems to have vanished. Trump’s envoy, Jason Greenblatt, came to the region looking for a deal. It doesn’t matter what deal, as long as it’s finalized quickly, and as long as Netanyahu and Abbas thank Donald the miracle worker. 
Not Invaders but Landlords (Odeh Bisharat, Haaretz+) The High Court of Justice ruled last week that residents of East Jerusalem have the rights of native sons. I was excited. Not that the decision will lead to a breakthrough in the attitude toward the Arabs in East Jerusalem, but still, here the truth is overshadowing all the distortions: After 50 years, during which the state has been abusing the Arabs by any means, the voice of truth is echoing from inside the courtroom. 
The lack of an alternative plan to the two-state solution is a magnificent political failure (Udi Segal, Maariv) The right-wing doctrine should consider the “Federation plan" of former Mossad man, Emanuel Shahaf, which calls for Israel to be divided into districts, each with local governments. 
In his attempt to threaten elections, Netanyahu lost his deterrence (Sima Kadmon, Yedioth/Ynet) If the prime minister intended on leading Israel to early elections because of the police investigations against him, he found himself even weaker. The recklessness, emotionality and irrationality in his actions left him with no support, and he now knows that his coalition members are unwilling to commit political suicide for him.
This time, the Russians are mad (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) Departing from their usual discreet style, the Russians publicly summon Israel's ambassador for clarifications after Israel acknowledges striking an arms convoy in Syria. While the exact reason is unclear, the situation in Syria is clearly escalating. 
A Spoke in the Wheel of Israel's Colonial Regime (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) The government is constantly looking for tricks to expel the native population, so the High Court's ruling on Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem is a welcome twist. 
The defense minister and the Chief of Staff are taking a deliberate risk in holding these attacks in Syria (Yossi Melman, Maariv) Lieberman and Eizenkot are taking a calculated risk that the attacks won’t undermine relations with Russia. And - despite the brutality in the statement, it must be acknowledged that the war that disintegrated Syria serves the security interests of Israel. 
The Missing Knesset Seats (Tzvia Greenfield, Haaretz+) Zionist parties won’t cooperate with the Joint List, so absurdly, the positions of Arab MKs undermine the political ability to protect Israel from the extreme right. 
Netanyahu’s attempt to politically assassinate Kahlon – in order to get rid of the most senior Mizrachi politician (Dr. Revital Amiran, Maariv) The Mizrachi-ness that Netanyahu likes is the one represented by coalition whip, MK David Bitan: aggressive, ingratiating, and he makes himself insignificant before his white ruler, and he is proud that he does not read books. This is exactly the image that has the (left-wing) Mapai party stamped on the Mizrachim when they immigrated. This is exactly the image that Menachem Begin sought to shatter (when he made an alliance with the Mizrachim). Likud, headed by Netanyahu makes a U-turn. He is putting Mizrachi Jews back at the same point whereby they struggle to see themselves in a leadership position. Two former Likud party members, Kahlon and Levi-Abueksis, can give Mizrachim back what the Herut (Freedom) movement took from them. 
Linda Sarsour Doesn't Need to Make Zionist Women Feel Comfortable (Mairav Zonszein, Haaretz) Women who identify with Zionism are free to participate in the feminist protest movement. But, rightly, it's a space in which supporters of a Jewish ethno-nationalist state should feel uncomfortable.
 The US is back (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) After eight years of neglect, the United States is once again taking an active role in the Middle East and making a clear distinction between the region's good guys and its bad guys. 
A Potential Modesty Bomb in the IDF (Yofi Tirosh, Haaretz+) My friends and I would prefer to deal with issues like work and family. But silence in the face of the risk posed to female soldiers from the obsession with separation and modesty is not feminist. 
Together, not hand in hand (Tehila Friedman-Nachalon, Israel Hayom) The question of women in the military puts religious Zionists' dearest values -- military service and modesty -- at odds.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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