News Nosh 4.5.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday April 5, 2017
 
Quote of the day:
“The paradox is that an unruly president for whom liberal values are far and away and for whom racism is not a dirty word might become the hope of the Israeli left because he has managed to scare the right. And perhaps there is no paradox here at all, but rather a realistic approach borne of the Israeli strategy that always held that the Arabs only understand strength. Now maybe the Jews will understand what strength is as well.”
--Haaretz journalist Zvi Bar’el writes that Israel is getting a bit of its own medicine from US President Donald Trump.*

You Must Be Kidding: 
 "Enlightened leftists are just bullies."
--Likud MK Oren Hazan said at a Breaking the Silence protest he tried to bust.**


Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Children murderer – Using chemical weapons, Assad massacres his people
  • It’s impossible to breathe // Majed Halafi in bombed Idlib
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • The children massacre – Another escalation in the civil war in Syria
  • Question marks // Yossi Melman
  • The West needs to act // MK Eyal Ben-Reuven
  • Aid yes, intervention no // MK Anat Berko
  • Accept the wounded // MK Ayub Qara
  • Poll: Half of the public will have to cut back on Passover shopping compared to last year
  • The Knesset plenum will meet today, while on recess, for a special debate on the crisis of the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation
Israel Hayom
  • The Assad hell – and the world stands by – Horrifying massacre Syria; White House: It happened because of the Obama administration
  • After 40 years: Haruv commando unit returns
  • Today: special recess debate of the Knesset plenum on the subject of the crisis of the (Israeli Public Broadcasting) Corporation
News Summary:
The chemical weapons attack in Syria, that killed over 100 civilians and injured hundreds more, was today’s top story. Also in the news, the latest on the Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation (IPBC) crisis. And, a poll showed some interesting and some surprising results: Israelis fear a ‘painful reaction’ from US President Donald Trump if Israel upsets the US on settlement construction and most think that schools should teach both Jewish and Palestinian viewpoints on conflict.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu condemned the chemical weapons attack in Syria and called on the world to intervene. Israeli ministers, MKs and commentators blamed former US president Barack Obama’s anti-interventionist policy (Nadav Eyal in Yedioth), called on Israel to help the wounded (Minister Ayub Qara), told Israel not to get physically involved (Likud MK Anat Berko), reported that the chemical weapons used were Sarin gas and called on Israel to take into account that they could be used against Israelis (Alex Fishman, Yedioth) because they were likely used with Bashar Al-Assad’s approval, suggested that if Arab states did the same to Israel the West would also not intervene (Eitan Haber, Yedioth).
 
Meanwhile, today, during its spring recess, the Knesset is holding a special session on “Prime Minister Netanyahu’s attempts to take over the media in Israel” – i.e. over the crisis over the Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation (IPBC). Yedioth reported that Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit wrote that he didn’t give his moral stamp to the deal that Netanyahu made to close down the IPBC’s independent news broadcast, he simply did not have a legal reason to block the deal. Haaretz+ already reported that another top justice official opposed the deal. The coalition government fears that the new broadcast law, which will limit free press, won’t be passed before the new broadcast corporation law goes into effect on May 15.
 
Quick Hits:
  • Two Israeli Border Police officers charged with beating, threatening to shoot Palestinian in E. Jerusalem - The defendants allegedly assaulted a Christian Arab resident of Jerusalem's Old City, whom they said they suspected of having carried out a terrorist attack simply because he had been walking in the area. They called on another officer to shoot him and shouted that there was a knife, which there wasn't. (Haaretz+, Ynet and Maariv
  • Palestinian, 23, Shot and Seriously Wounded During Israeli Raid on West Bank Refugee Camp - Akram Alatesh, 23, was hit by three bullets and taken for treatment to Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem. (Haaretz
  • Remand of two IDF soldiers held on rape accusations extended - Two IDF soldiers accused of raping a female soldier while intoxicated on an IDF naval commando base to remain in custody while a military criminal investigation is being conducted; the two contend the sex was consensual. (Ynet
  • EU ambassador denounces Israel’s West Bank demolitions policy - EU wants Israel to stop demolitions in West Bank village; many Bedouin homes, EU-funded school to be dismantled; EU envoy says Israel failing in its legal obligations; Israel says buildings erected without necessary permit. (Agencies, Ynet
  • Israel Slams EU: 32 Humanitarian Crises in the World and Europe's Obsessed With Palestinians - The criticism comes after the European Union demanded that Israel stop demolishing Palestinian homes in Area C of the West Bank. (Haaretz
  • **Police remove (Likud) MK from Breaking the Silence protest event - Breaking the Silence held protest outside the Kiryat Ono city library, after Israel’s national lottery cancelled a convention the group planned on holding there. “MK Hazan took advantage of his stature and immunity to break in to an event, attack people and attempt to get on stage using violence,” said Meretz MK Michal Rozin, who was one of the event’s organizers. (JPost and Maariv)
  • Stabbing victim relieved that terrorist was not a local (Arab) - "The [cultural] fabric here is high-quality; the population is special and it lives in co-existence," says stabbing victim Revital Kenino of her home city of Lod • Kenino returns home from hospital, visits students at school where she works. (Israel Hayom)
  • Official says proposed bridge over Jerusalem valley 'will infuriate international community' - Most of the planned pedestrian bridge would be situated in the former no-man's land that separated Israel and Jordan before the Six-Day War. (Haaretz+)
  • 4 employees at PM's Office require treatment after opening suspicious envelope - Envelope containing unknown substance sent to Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem • Substance discovered during routine mail security screening • Four employees felt ill upon dealing with suspicious envelope • Substance sent to a laboratory for testing. (Israel Hayom
  • In highly irregular move, Israel demolishes Palestinian homes within Jerusalem borders - Had residents known the homes lay within Jerusalem's jurisdiction, and not in the West Bank's Area C, the demolition could have been prevented, rights group says. (Haaretz+) 
  • Residents stunned at further delay in establishment of new Amona community - The legal advisor to the West Bank has expressed opposition to approving a necessary legal injunction required for establishing temporary living quarters on the site of the new Amona settlement recently approved. (Yedioth/Ynet
  • Leading Israeli Rights Group Riled Up Over Culture Ministry's Revised Funding Criteria - Association for Civil Rights in Israel claims the new form that cultural institutions must fill out to get ministry support is even worse than its precursor. (Haaretz
  • Israel has million gas masks in case of chemical attack - in warehouses - While Israel stopped distributing gas masks in 2014 following the dismantling of Syria's chemical stockpile, it retained production facilities should the need arise. (Haaretz+) 
  • Maglan clinches first place in commando examination - IDF's elite units compete in exhausting 3-day military examination, testing their combat abilities in a range of fields, including swift transitions from fighting Hamas in the south to facing Hezbollah in the north; assessments also included, inter alia, conducting operations in the dark, liquidating key targets through a sniper's lense and differentiating between combatants and innocents: 'The role of sniper requires calmness and relaxation.' (Ynet
  • IDF revives legendary Haruv Unit, dismantled after Yom Kippur War - Haruv, assigned to the Central Command from 1966 to 1974, was dismantled as part of the IDF's streamlining efforts at the time • New and improved Haruv is classified as a special forces unit, will join Kfir Brigade and specialize in counterterrorism. (Israel Hayom
  • Renowned Israeli Architect's Work in 'Occupied Palestinian Territories' - Rights group in Sri Lanka, where Moshe Safdie is planning a complex, level charges about his East Jerusalem projects. Safdie: 'I plan in Saudi Arabia and Dubai, and they accept me there.' (Haaretz
  • Foreign Ministry employees to strike at embassies around the world - Israeli Foreign Ministry employees will strike Wednesday in 102 embassies around the world, leading to a cancellation of most embassy services in all 102 missions; strike is over working conditions and salaries. (Ynet
  • Hamas-bound scuba equipment intercepted on Israel-Gaza border - Some 30 professional diving suits earmarked for Hamas naval commandos are found in a shipment of sporting goods intercepted by Land Crossing Authority inspectors at Kerem Shalom crossing • Hamas arrests dozens of suspected collaborators with Israel. (Israel Hayom
  • Military cemetery in Beit Shemesh vandalized - Police launch investigation after words "army = destruction" found spray painted at cemetery entrance • Investigators believe graffiti is related to demonstrations, which continued Monday in the capital, by extremist haredim against military enlistment. (Israel Hayom
  • Watch your Messenger mouth: Israeli court fines Facebook user for defamation - Kfar Sava judge slams 9,000-shekel fine on man who wrote chat to a relative, calling a third party – who got wind of the message – a 'thief.' (Haaretz+) 
  • No, Paris Hilton Did Not Join Forces With Israeli Scientists to Reinvent Water - Viral video of so-called 'Paris Hilton Institute of Plastic Pollution Solutions' revealed to be SodaStream ad. (Haaretz
  • Dublin City Hall to raise Palestinian flag in solidarity against 'brutal' Israeli occupation - The provocative gesture is being initiated by a known pro-Palestinian councilman who claims that Israel is 'an apartheid regime.' Council: Event is expected to take place on May 15 to mark 50 years of 'Israeli occupation.' (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israel finalizes deal for major subsea gas pipeline to Europe - "The Israel-Europe Gas Pipeline will allow Israeli gas to reach every home in Europe," Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz says • Ambitious infrastructure project, privately funded to the tune of NIS 20 billion ($5.5B), can be completed by 2025, he says. (Israel Hayom
  • U.K. apologizes to Saudi Arabia after attempted 'citizens arrest' of visiting general - Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Asseri is the spokesman of a Saudi-led military campaign against rebels in Yemen - a campaign the UN says has killed some 5,000 civilians. (Haaretz)

 
Commentary/Analysis:
Stop the Quiet Transfer (Haaretz Editorial) Israel must cease the imbecilic trend toward uprooting Palestinian communities in the West Bank, one of the most shocking aspects of the occupation. 
The future of Israeli democracy is in our hands (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) Our government takes every opportunity to remind the world that we are the only democracy in the Middle East, but the moves initiated by its members are eating into the democratic rules of the game, violating minority rights and preventing anti-government criticism. There are people who can curb this trend, but why isn’t their voice being heard? 
Serious Alarm: Israeli Democracy in Danger (Nehemia Shtrasler, Haaretz+) Netanyahu's obsession with the new public broadcaster shows that all he really cares about is keeping his seat.
How Do You Defend Israel? Abuse? A War on Women? Felony Assault? (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) As for the nastiest, the most black-hearted, the bent and sadistic and borderline criminal shock troops of the "pro-Israel" fringe, it's time to ask: Why, really, are you doing this?
*Please, Trump, Only by Force (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) By scaring the Israeli right, an unruly president for whom liberal values are far and away might become the hope of the left.
Hamas fumbles its way through assassination investigation (Elior Levy, Yedioth/Ynet) Hamas's delayed launching of an investigation into the hit against their senior military official, its haphazard measures to ascertain the identity of the killers, their repeated blunders, their declarations of revenge against Israel are indicative of the utter state of confusion in which the terror organization is embroiled. 
Eyewitness: JDL Beat Up Peaceful Protestors Outside AIPAC and Tried to Burn a Quran (Benjamin Bernard-Herman, Haaretz+) They called us Nazis and Kapos, attacked us with their flagpoles, and ripped up a Quran, while AIPAC participants came out to cheer them on. 
Trump is abandoning Syria to Moscow's whims - with grave implications (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) One outcome of Trump's policy on Syria is an accord designed to eradicate the country's various ethnic rebel concentrations, which will lead to a flood of refugees. 
Assad's Chemical Attack in Syria: Two Failures and Two Lessons to Consider (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Assad's chemical attack also demonstrates the long-term danger facing Israel, even with Putin playing mediator in Syria. 
Someone should save us: once again our fate is in the hands of the High Court (Yitzhak Ben-Ner, Maariv) Will we again have to hang our hopes on the High Court of Justice, which will rule against the compromise in the Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation affair and defeat the evil spirits that threaten us? And how is it that the hand of the Attorney General that is supposed to prohibit also allows? 
Serious Alarm: Israeli Democracy in Danger (Nehemia Shtrasler, Haaretz+) Netanyahu's obsession with the new public broadcaster shows that all he really cares about is keeping his seat. 
Netanyahu Rival Lays Groundwork for Prime Ministerial Run With Well-timed Comeback (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) During his 30-month hiatus from politics, Gideon Sa'ar didn't fade away or evaporate, but even grew stronger, say the polls.
Arab upheaval and Trump (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) As Washington returns to playing a central role in the Middle East, there is no wonder that Cairo describes the change in U.S. policy as the "sun shining anew on Egypt-U.S. relations after many years of darkness."
Israel’s Growing Isolation, the Myth That Refuses to Die (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) Calls for boycotting Israel are loud and shrill, but actions speak a lot louder than words, and they tell another story. 
After 50 Springs (Yitzhak Laor, Haaretz+) This Passover, like every other one since 1967, Israel will be full of hollow words.
Media lacks real pluralism (Dr. Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) The country has changed dramatically over the past several decades, but the Left continues to control the media.
Israel’s Feeble and Fearful Politicians Are No Match for Netanyahu’s Weird Obsessions (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) A weakened Supreme Court and a besieged free press are the last obstacles guarding Israel's democracy. 
What Israeli Journalists' Public Broadcasting Fight Is Really About (Hint: It's Not Democracy) (Irit Linur, Haaretz+) It's not about free press, either. 
Indifferent to Assad, anti-Iran: Trump's Syria policy baffles experts (Amir Tibon, Haaretz+) While saying it will not demand Assad's ouster, the Trump administration has also vowed to push back against Iran's influence in Syria. Experts are wondering how the two go together.
 
Interviews:
MK Glick: Netanyahu won't meet with me, Bitan ignores me
MK Yehuda Glick (Likud), who filed an unprecedented High Court petition against the prime minister’s refusal to allow lawmakers to visit the Temple Mount, is not afraid of the price he is paying in his own party. While all his proposed bills are being thwarted by the coalition chairman, he is busy strengthening ties between Jews and Muslims while at the same time supporting the annexation of Judea and Samaria. (Interviewed by Yifat Erlich in Yedioth/Ynet)
  
"The state is turning into a dark right-wing religious state": Uzi Baram looks ahead with apprehension
A few days before his 80th birthday, the man who was one of the leaders of the Labor Party worried about Israel's future and feared the fate of his former political home: "It’s in an ongoing process of decline." (Interviewed by Yaakov Bar-On in Maariv)

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