News Nosh 5.11.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday May 11, 2017
 
Quote of the day:
"This is the nation-state of the Jewish people and all of its citizens. Why does 'democratic state' not appear in the legislation?"
--Meretz leader MK Zehava Galon called out during an angry Knesset debate over contentious Jewish nation-state bill.*


Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • This is how the millennium generation looks – less democratic, more right-wing, less liberal, more religious, less optimistic, more hard-headed
  • (FBI Chief Comey) Investigated and was fired
  • “We will make Europe dance” – Singer Imri Ziv speaks before his performance at Eurovision competition
  • Instead of parting (from the Israel Broadcasting Authority):
  • Sorry that we were defeated // Arieh Golan
  • Kindness wasn’t there // Raanan Shaked
  • Not shedding a tear // Dan Shilon
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Without a laptop, also on flights from Europe – US will likely announce today expansion of flight limitations
  • Dismissal of Comey: It’s not Watergate // Abraham Ben-Zvi
  • The Voice of Israel went silent – End of an era, Reshet Bet radio stopped broadcasting current events – Monday: The Broadcasting Corporation will begin broadcasting
  • Hamas in concerted effort to make showcase attack in Judea and Samaria – Looking for revenge for the assassination of Mazen Fukaha
  • Tonight: Imri Ziv in Eurovision semi-finals

News Summary:
US President Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey and the controversial Jewish nation-state bill passed a preliminary Knesset reading in the Knesset amidst a stormy debate making the top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Also in the news, the latest related to Trump’s upcoming visit to Israel and his plans for a peace deal and moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.
 
With the unsurprising exception of Israel Hayom, Israeli commentators were aghast by Trump’s firing of Comey. (See Commentary/Analysis below.) Haaretz noted that in his last speech before being sacked, Comey spoke before the Anti-Defamation League and said that the Holocaust was "the most significant event in human history" and that "one of its main lessons was how normal people, who might even be thinking that they are doing good, can in fact carry out the most evil atrocities." He also stressed the importance of treating hate speech with urgency and seriousness.
  
*During a tumultuous debate over the contentious Jewish nation-state bill, two Arab MKs were removed from the Knesset plenum Wednesday after repeatedly interrupting Likud MK Avi Dichter while he spoke at the podium over the bill he proposed. Many Jewish MKs also slammed the bill, which passed in a preliminary reading 48:41. Now it has to pass three readings. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said the bill, once passed, will “make the presence of Jewish values felt as a tool for judges” in courts.
  
Yedioth reported that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was wary of Trump's interest in solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but that he would go along with it as much as possible and try to maneuver against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. His concern stems from the fact that he has no "brakes" in the Congress against Trump, Yedioth wrote. The Democrats will support any diplomatic move, as will Republicans. Ahead of Trump’s visit, Netanyahu postponed this week’s meeting of the planning committee that approves settlement construction till after Trump’s visit, Haaretz+ reported. And a White House spokesperson said that Trump hasn't reached a decision regarding moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, but Israeli officials doubt it will happen before or during his trip here, as Trump may want to announce the resumption of peace talks during his visit. Liberal American-Israelis from Democrats Abroad-Israel and Pantsuit Nation plan holding a mass rally outside the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to protest against Trump.
 
Latest on Palestinian Prisoners' Hunger Strike:
 
  • Israel to Let Palestinian Hunger Strike Leader Mawan Barghouti Meet With Red Cross - But Israel nixes meeting between Barghouti and his lawyer at last minute. (Haaretz+ and Maariv
  • Pizza Hut Yanks Facebook Ad Mocking Palestinian Hunger Striker Marwan Barghouti Amid Boycott Threat - Int'l franchise found Facebook ad mocking Barghouti "completely inappropriate." Web users evidently found advice to Palestinian hunger striker – 'If you're going to break the strike, wouldn’t pizza be better?' – somewhat tasteless. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Security prisoners stay on hunger strike despite snacking claims  - Some 880 prisoners remain on hunger strike for 23rd day • Palestinians appeal to U.N. Security Council, claiming Israel has not responded to prisoners' grievances • Israel maintains strike is a political move by jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli authorities continue attempts to break mass hunger strike on 24th day - Palestinian prisoners are calling for an end to the denial of family visits, the right to pursue higher education, appropriate medical care and treatment, and an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention -- imprisonment without charge or trial -- among other demands for basic rights. (Maan
  • Palestinian hunger strikers ask Pope Francis to intervene on their behalf - Strike leader Marwan Barghouti's wife delivers letter to heads of Catholic Church in Ramallah. (Haaretz
  • Supporters of prisoner hunger strike call on Palestinians to boycott municipal elections - The committee of Palestinian prisoners’ families in the Nablus district called on Wednesday for Palestinians to boycott upcoming municipal elections in solidarity with the estimated 1,600 hunger-striking prisoners in Israeli custody. (Maan)
  • Jordanian women hold sit-in at UN headquarters in solidarity with hunger strikers - Action organized as part of week of solidarity actions called for by leaders of the hunger strikers, who announced “Week of Rage” on Saturday in response to Israeli authorities exploring the idea of importing foreign doctors to force feed the hunger strikers. (Maan)

Quick Hits:
  • Israeli Army Defends Soldier and Says B'Tselem Created Incident for Video Posted on Haaretz - IDF spokesman accuses organization of seeking publicity even through the use of provocation. (Haaretz and Ynet
  • B'Tselem denounces Israel for unjustified killing of Palestinian teen in Jerusalem - After 16-year-old Fatima Hjeiji was shot dead in occupied East Jerusalem for allegedly attempting to carry out a knife attack on Israeli police and border police guards, Israeli NGO B’Tselem denounced the incident as yet another example of Israel's shoot-to-kill policy against Palestinians who did not pose a real danger. Eyewitnesses said Hjeiji had been standing more than 10 meters away from a group of Israeli border police when one of them shouted “Knife! Knife!” Moments later, five soldiers opened fire at her, shooting her with some 10 to 20 bullets. (Maan
  • Israeli settlers set fire to Palestinian lands in Nablus-area village - Several Israeli settlers from the illegal Bracha settlement near Burin deliberately lit a fire in the village, which spread rapidly throughout the area. Several Israeli settlers also attacked a Palestinian house belonging to Hamzi al-Zein and attempted to enter it but locals prevented them and proceeded to force them from the area. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces close road leading to Nablus-area village - Israeli forces closed a road with dirt mounds and cement blocks near the Palestinian village of Osarin in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus on Wednesday, residents said. (Maan)
  • Top police unit poised to become national counterterrorism force - Move could finally end rivalry between Israel Police and IDF's elite commando units over who should lead hostage rescue and counterterrorism operations, particularly in Judea and Samaria. Public security minister: Israeli unit is the best in the world. (Israel Hayom
  • 30 Amona families still without permanent homes - A 100 days after the evacuation from the illegal outpost, some of the settlers are still living in a youth hostel in cramped conditions as the government tarries in building them a temporary site to live in until their permanent homes can be built. (Yedioth/Ynet
  • Border Police stop attempted bombing at military court - Palestinian teen tries to smuggle two pipe bombs hidden in his clothes into an IDF court in the West Bank, but stopped by troops at a security checkpoint. (Yedioth/Ynet and Maan)
  • German president laid a wreath on Arafat's grave and was criticized - Frank-Walter Steinmeier did not meet with the left-wing organizations in Israel, but was sharply criticized in his country after he visited the grave of the former PA chairman immediately after a visit to Yad Vashem. (Maariv and Maan
  • Simulated shooting of terrorist at school raises ire among parents - Police officers riding motorcycles and blaring sirens held a live-fire exercise in front of elementary school students in which a 'terrorist' was neutralized; parents claim children should not have been exposed to that level of violence, especially without their consent. (Ynet)
  • Can you show kids how to kill an assailant? Israeli mayor says no, police say yes - Ramat Hasharon council head Avi Gruber says police commander called him to apologize for Monday's incident, which showed fifth-graders how to confirm a kill, but police say he’s lying. (Haaretz+)
  • Unexploded IAF decoy flares discovered in Israel near Gaza border communities - In what the IDF is calling a 'technical malfunction,' some 30 very dangerous unexploded IAF decoy flares fell in Israeli communities by the Gaza border; flares are highly combustible and civilians are advised to report suspicious objects to security forces.  (Ynet
  • Defense Ministry weighs status for fallen soldiers' girlfriends - Girlfriends or fiancees do not receive official notification of partners' deaths or invitations to memorial ceremonies. IDF widow MK Shuli Mualem-Rafaeli: Women are expected to just move on, because there was no wedding. (Israel Hayom
  • Netanyahu says he didn't order sudden shuttering of public broadcaster's news show - The state-run Israel Broadcasting Authority was notified hours before Tuesday's broadcast that 'Mabat LaHadashot' was to be shut down. (Haaretz
  • Most of Knesset Ethics Panel threatens to resign over proposed travel ban - Likud MK seeks to bar lawmakers from going on trips sponsored by BDS and terrorist organizations. (Maariv p. 11, Knesset, Israel Hayom  and JPost)
  • C’tee on Ethiopian rights: ‘Discrimination remains’ - Ten months after an inquiry committee was established for the treatment of Ethiopians in Israel in wake of mass demonstrations, members of the committee are also divided on how to implement its recommendations. (Yedioth/Ynet
  • Israel ranks just behind US in largest income inequality rate - According to a study commissioned by the National Economic Council, Israel must take steps to ensure rates of inequality and poverty decrease in order to retain workers and increase labor production to aid the overall standard of living. (Ynet)
  • 80% of secular Israeli Jews prefer not to get married via Orthodox Rabbinate - Poll by the Smith Institute for Hiddush, organization for freedom of religion, found surprising statistics that point to a change in the perception of the enormous institution that holds a monopoly over religion in the country. (Hiddush and Maariv)
  • Gaza's Health Ministry warns: Palestinian Authority to stop sending medicine, baby formula to hospitals - ‘This decision has destructive implications for the chronically ill and children,’ a ministry official says, adding he sees Ramallah's decision as a political one. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinian Authority denies reports that shipments of medicine and baby formula to Gaza were halted - The PA Ministry of Health said on Wednesday that not only were the Gaza ministry's claims false, but that a shipment of children’s formula was expected to be delivered to the Gaza Strip in the coming few days. (Maan
  • Hamas prompts voters to take part in West Bank elections despite its boycott - Hamas rejected the PA’s plan to hold municipal elections in both the occupied West Bank and Gaza, saying that elections should only take place after the more than decade-long rivalry between Hamas and Fatah came to an end and reconciliation was achieved. (Maan
  • Leading Hamas official says no softened stance towards Israel - Despite much focus on Hamas’s alleged ‘softening’ of its stance toward Israel in a newly published document, senior official insists it is no substitute for its charter which advocates Israel’s destruction; ‘When people say that Hamas has accepted the 1967 borders, like others, it is an offence to us.’ (Agencies, Ynet
  • Hamas plotting major revenge attack, defense officials say - Defense officials warn of security escalation should Gaza-based terrorist group carry out mass attack to avenge March assassination of Mazen Faqha. Hamas official says group's revised manifesto does not replace charter advocating Israel's destruction. (Israel Hayom)
  • Russian lawmaker drowns in Dead Sea - Vasily Tarasyuk was a member of the far-right Liberal Democratic Party of Russia. (Haaretz
  • 6 Israeli scientists win prestigious Howard Hughes grants - Israelis represent 14.6% of 41 scholars who make up the 2017 International Research Scholars list • Scientists to get grants of $650,000 each from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to develop "top-notch scientific programs" in biomedical research. (Israel Hayom
  • Turkey Furious Over U.S. Promise to Arm 'Terrorist' Syrian Kurds - Foreign Minister Cavusoglu says Erdogan will discuss the issue when he meets Trump next week. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • The bizarre 'water bottle' interview with the Syrian president - In an interview with a Belarusian television station, the Syrian president referred to the Soviet victory over the Nazis; when the interviewer poured Assad some water, Assad responded: 'This water was drenched in the blood of the Syrian fighters.' (Ynet
  • Iran’s Supreme Leader Warns Against Disrupting Presidential Election - The election will be held as President Hassan Rohani, elected in a landslide in 2013, is coming to the end of his four-year term. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • These Iranian Elections Are Pushing the Boundaries of Public Discourse - The government’s ability to clamp down on criticism is waning as Iranians turn to encrypted messaging applications and internet chats ahead of the May 19 election. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Features:
Palestinians and Settlers Tried to Make Peace on Their Own, and Then This Happened
The documentary 'The Field' follows an Israeli-Palestinian grassroots organization during an unusually trying period in the West Bank. (Judy Maltz, Haaretz+)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
Who Will History Favor: Palestine's Arch-terrorist or Israel's Arch-jailer? (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) The contest is between Marwan Barghouti, leader of the hunger strike who was caught nibbling a wafer, and Gilad Erdan, the minister who set a trap for him 
Israel shoots itself in the foot with anti-Arab racism (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) Resurgent anti-Arab sentiment, whether by vandals or ministers, is a good way for Israel to undermine itself. 
Israel's Nation-state Bill Is Undemocratic (Aeyal Gross, Haaretz+) Opposing the bill doesn’t mean negating Israel’s history, only recognizing that a democratic state cannot identify itself with only part of its population 
Netanyahu can only envy Trump for being able to fire FBI director James Comey (Amir Oren, Haaretz+) Israel's prime minister is also under investigation for alleged misconduct, but unlike the U.S. president he can only rail against law enforcement. 
In diaspora Jewish communities, just don't call it the 'occupation' (Mira Sucharov, Haaretz+) Denial runs deep. Five decades on, it's still the one word you mustn’t mention in polite Diaspora Jewish society 
The attorney working on the Prime Minister's investigations has responded with a war against the trend of treading water (Ran Adelist, Maariv) Liat Ben-Ari chosen now to tell the world that "friendship is a claim that cannot explain every gift," apparently in order to signal to the Attorney General – ‘note, you have been warned.'
Protecting Our Children (Haaretz Editorial) In wake of the case of Elor Azaria, it is particularly incomprehensible that the police would demonstrate shooting and confirming the death of a prostrate man. 
No deal, Mr. President (Elyakim Haetzni, Yedioth/Ynet) There is a fundamental failure in drawing an analogy between a business deal and a political-territorial conflict. Not everything is merchandise in the market, and real estate in Manhattan is not equivalent to the lands of Jerusalem. 
If You Served in the Army, You Know: Breaking the Silence Is Telling the Truth (Assaf Danieli, Haaretz+) A group of reservists is trying to discredit the group, saying it lies about Israel's actions in the occupied territories. I'd like to thank them for getting me to finally speak up about what is being done in Israel's name. 
Surprise: Once again, Trump shocked the Americans with the dismissal of the head of the FBI (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) The citizens of the United States, including the president's critics, had already accepted the fact that he was leading their country and even believed that his shenanigans had ended. And then a bomb was dropped that reminded them of how unpredictable he was. 
Trump’s Tuesday Night Massacre Implies His Guilt in Russiagate (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) New D.C. scandal after firing Comey could spur Trump to redouble his efforts to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian breakthrough during his upcoming visit.
Go with Trump's vision (Zalman Shoval, Israel Hayom) President Trump deserves praise for his declaration of intent to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and Israel must not throw cold water on his good intentions.
Trump, the Middle East Peacemaker? Give Craziness a Chance (Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, Haaretz+) Naïve, ignorant, narcissistically over-confident. Could that mean Trump can broker Middle East peace? 
New charter: Should Hamas rewrite the past? (Ramzy Baroud, Maan) Hamas of 1988 may have seemed unrefined and lacking savvy, but its creation was a direct expression of a real, existing sentiment of many Palestinians. Hamas of 2017 is much more stately and careful in both words and actions, yet it is adrift in new space that is governed by Arab money, regional and international politics and the pressure of ten years under siege and war. Indeed, the future of the movement, and its brand of politics and resistance will be determined by the outcome of this dialectics. 
Erasing Arabic: Israel Tries Again to Distance Itself From the Middle East (Noam Shuster Eliassi, Haaretz) When Israel attacks Arabic, its violence is felt by Mizrahi Jews as well as Palestinians. Without Arabic, we're lost here.
If it were not for US Jewry, we probably wouldn’t have a state (Prof. Gur Alroey, Yedioth/Ynet) The Zionist success story should be seen as a joint project of the entire Jewish people—not just the Jews living in Israel. US Jews were, and remain, a crucial factor in the Zionist enterprise’s success, and their contribution must be sufficiently acknowledged.
Another Targeted Assassination of Israeli Media (Emilie Moatti, Haaretz+) Half an hour before the state-run TV station’s flagship program is aired, 49 years after it debuted, its staff gets half an hour to say goodbye, half an hour to find the words
Erdogan's uncontrollable urges (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) Despite his occasional diatribes, which Jerusalem appears willing to overlook for now, the Turkish president is facilitating improved economic and commercial ties and is even re-engaging with Israel on security issues. 
‘The Rothschilds’ meet ‘the globalists’: Where Steve Bannon and the anti-Macron movement meet (Marc Weitzmann, Haaretz) France is where the first populist anti-modern movement shot though with anti-Semitism emerged. The level of hate already directed at Macron, often using anti-Jewish tropes, gives some idea of what lies ahead 
Israel's Campaign Against Arabic (Muhammad Amara, Haaretz+) The Knesset bill to demote Arabic will have ruinous consequences within Israel and in the region. When will Israel start seeing Arabic as an asset, not a threat?
 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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