News Nosh 5.15.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday, May 15, 2017
 
Quote of the day:
“This is a worrying accumulation of incidents that conveys a problematic message that the activities of artists and cultural institutions are always under the watchful eye of the state, because they are subject to constant government monitoring. This is a request that goes to the roots of free expression.”
--Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber responds to Culture Minister Miri Regev's demands for blocking funds to artists.*

Front Page:
Haaretz
  • Public dispute with US over transfer of US embassy
  • Netanyahu acting to appoint his associate Filber as Civil Service Commissioner
  • Macron sworn in as President of France: “The world and Europe need us”
  • Adelson and his wife will testify next week in the Mozes affair
  • Shaked striving to give ministers influence over appointments of their legal advisors
  • Sharp jump in number of asylum seekers who are leaving to Canada – and drop in departure to Uganda and Rwanda 
  • China investing a trillion dollars in a new Silk Road
  • The law as a hack job // Meirav Arlosoroff
  • Apartheid and murder on the way to the center
  • Kitsch taking over the memory of the Holocaust
  • The Jewish mind // Odeh Bisharat 
  • Israel is a paradise for Christian pilgrims, so why don’t they come?
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The show of hatred – Maccabi Tel-Aviv soccer fans made a ‘funeral’ for Hapoel Tel-Aviv
  • Demand in Knesset: Polygraph for the 1600 officers in the police
  • KAN (Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation – ‘here’ in Hebrew) begins our broadcasts tonight – A few hours beforehand the High Court will hear appeal against establishment of corporation separate from the news broadcasts
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • Trump links between the transfer of the US embassy and the negotiations
  • Shameful – Maccabi Tel-Aviv fans celebrated their opponent’s drop to a lower league with a mass march, songs of incitement and the burning of an doll draped in Hapoel’s flag
  • The failure begins in one’s head // Rifaat (Jimmy) Turk (former Hapoel player)
  • Taxes instead of soccer fields // Ron Kaufman
  • Incitement between the flames – At Lag B’Omer bonfires, ultra-Orthodox burned effigies of (IDF) soldiers and compared them to Nazis
  • Finally KAN (Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation – ‘here’ in Hebrew)
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has much reason to be concerned: For the first time, a senior Trump administration official said the US may not move its embassy in order not to harm chances for a peace agreement, Israel’s new broadcasting corporation begins broadcasting news and general programming tonight, after the High Court issued a temporary injunction against the deal that Netanyahu – who feared negative news coverage - made to separate them, and ultra-Orthodox lawmakers opposed the legislation of Israel's controversial 'nation-state' bill, which Netanyahu demanded be sped-up, making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers – along with the disturbing incitement ‘burial ceremony’ that Maccabi Tel-Aviv soccer fans held for Hapoel Tel-Aviv, the latter which dropped leagues for the first time in 27 years.
 
In a televised interview, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson publicly admitted that the impact of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem is being weighed as part of the larger effort to reach an Israeli-Palestinian agreement, to which Netanyahu and the naysayers were quick to respond: Netanyahu said the embassy move would advance peace by ‘shattering Palestinian fantasy.’ Habayit Hayehudi leader, Minister Naftali Bennett, urged Netanyahu “to make it clear to the US that we expect the transfer of the embassy” and that Netanyahu must abandon the ‘Bar-Ilan speech’ in which he said he supported a Palestinian state. And Sheldon Adelson was reportedly furious at Trump, after donating tens of millions to his campaign.
  
Interestingly, Tillerson referred to ‘Palestine’ in his interview on Meet the Press, in which he spoke about the need to weigh the move of the embassy with the consequences on peace-making. He wasn’t alone: Trump’s social media director detailed on Facebook a list of locations and dignitaries Trump was scheduled to meet with on his trip later this month, including: "Palestine: President Abbas." The post was later edited to say "Palestinian Territories."
 
Quick Hits:
  • Plan to Build New Homes in Israeli Settlement in West Bank Put Into Motion - Israel approved construction of Tel Zion apartments in 1980s, but developer’s bankruptcy stalled project – until now, one week before Trump visits Israel. "In practice, there was no [construction] freeze and there is no freeze in the settlements. This is a large project beyond the separation barrier that will continue to undermine the two-state solution,” said Hagit Ofran, Settlement Watch director of Peace Now. (Haaretz+)
  • Disguised as charity, Israeli firm enlists lawmakers' support for establishment of new settlement - The United Jerusalem Fund is selling plots in the future settlement of Mitzpeh Yehuda, but there aren't any government plans for its construction. (Haaretz+) 
  • Vote on bill blocking High Court petitions on behalf of Palestinians expected to be deferred - The bill, which requires petitioners to be personally affected by the matter in their claim, is expected to be postponed at Finance Minister Kahlon's request. (Haaretz+)
  • The father of the spokesman for 'Breaking the Silence' was appointed Israeli ambassador to Germany - The appointment was approved Sunday by a special ministerial committee attended by ministers Yuval Steinitz and Yoav Galant who said that "there is nothing to prevent him from being appointed to the position." (Maariv)
  • Sheldon Adelson, wife to testify during upcoming Israel visit in 
case against Netanyahu - Police to ask the casino magnate about the degree of the prime minister's involvement with the heavily supportive Israel Hayom newspaper. (Haaretz+) 
  • "As a sign of admiration": A Druze couple decided to call their baby "Sara” - When Manal and Bader Sarhan, Likud members from Kfar Nahaf in the Galilee, gave birth to a daughter, they decided to call her Sara, "as a sign of appreciation and admiration for the first lady in Israel. (Maariv)
  • Sewage from Ramallah attracting swarms of mosquitoes to Modi’in Illit - The effluent is distressing residents of the West Bank settlement; Ramallah population growth and construction are apparently the cause; government says it’s working on a plan. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • *Deputy Attorney General: Funding cannot be blocked in the field of culture because of the contents of the works - Attorney Dina Zilber wrote the statement at the request of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel following the Ministry of Culture's demand to read plays in advance and due to the Minister of Culture Miri Regev’s demand from local authorities that events be banned. Regev responded to Zilber: “…any complaint that reaches my table about cultural institutions that incite against IDF soldiers and harm 'in the name of art' the values and symbols of the State of Israel will be examined thoroughly by the professional and legal bodies in my office. I expect Dina Zilber to be dedicated to this task and certainly not give support for these illegal activities.” (Maariv and Times of Israel)
  • Israel faces antiestablishment dissent over widening wage gap - Discontent focuses on the country’s tech sector. (Agencies, Haaretz
  • (Arab) Man allegedly beats, chains up brother to stop him from enlisting - Man from Tayibe suspected of beating and imprisoning his younger brother to prevent him from converting to Judaism and enlisting to the IDF; the suspect admits to the allegations, but claimed that he did it to protect his brother after he fell in with a bad crowd. (Ynet)
  • Asylum seekers in Israel angry over new law making them deposit 20% of pay - Critics say “Israel knows it can’t forcibly expel asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan and doesn’t want to give them refugee status … so it is doing everything it can to have them leave ‘voluntarily.’” (Haaretz+) 
  • African asylum seekers leaving Israel for Canada, Europe - ‘Here I don’t feel like a refugee, I feel like any other person,’ Dawit Demoz says about his new home in Toronto. (Haaretz+) 
  • Responding to Netanyahu, Jordan says stance against terrorism 'clear to everyone' - After Israel and Jordan trade accusations and condemnations over Saturday's stabbing attack which resulted in the killing of a Jordanian citizen, Jordan announces, 'Our positions against violence and terrorism are clear to everyone,' adding that they are invested in 'establishing security, peace and freedom for the Palestinians.' (Ynet
  • Netanyahu: Global cyberattack causes minor damage in Israel - 'There has been no evidence of damage to essential and national infrastructure or of systematic harm to the economy,' National Cyber Defense Authority says. IDF bracing for growing threat. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • The IDF is preparing for what may come on cyberattacks - The current cyber threat was familiar to the army, which has spent the past two months preparing for it; in light of the threats, the number of cyber specialized soldiers was increased by 30 percent compared to last year. (Ynet
  • Founder of Islamic Movement in Israel, Abdallah Nimr Darwish, dies at 69 - By creating institutions like mosques and welfare agencies, Darwish's movement became a dominant force in Arab society in Israel. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Fidget spinner most likely not invented to distract Palestinian kids from throwing stones - While Catherine Hettinger did obtain a patent for a spinning device in 1997, it has little resemblance to the fidget spinner that's become a sensation among kids and adults. (JTA, Haaretz
  • Hunger Strike Leader Barghouti Meets Lawyer for First Time, Calls on Palestinian Factions to Unite - Marwan Barghouti calls on Fatah, Hamas to reconcile political differences, resist negotiations with Israel on basis of principles used in previous talks. (Haaretz and Maan)
  • Palestinian hunger strike leader says 'snacking video' fake - A lawyer says Palestinian hunger strike leader Marwan Barghouti denies the authenticity of the video purportedly showing him snacking secretly in his cell. (Agencies, Ynet
  • Barghouti in a message from prison: "All extortion attempts increase our faith in our victory" - The leader of the prisoners' strike responded implicitly to the video in which he appeared to break the hunger strike while he was eating the toilet in the toilet. He also called for civil disobedience on Nakba Day. (Maariv
  • Committee demands hunger-striking prisoners receive treatment on 28th day - Committee head Issa Qaraqe said in statement that hunger strikers urgently needed be taken to hospitals for treatment, under the medical supervision of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) doctors. (Maan)
  • Jonathan Pollard to petition against parole restrictions  - Former American Israeli spy cannot leave the U.S., is subject to a curfew and GPS monitoring, and cannot freely use the internet or give media interviews • Pollard's lawyer says parole conditions "arbitrarily imposed" and "politically driven." (Israel Hayom)
  • Ruling Fatah party fares poorly in Palestinian elections - President Mahmoud Abbas's ruling Fatah Party posts a poor showing in Palestinian municipal elections across the West Bank, reflecting public discontent, even though the rival Hamas movement stayed out of the race. (Agencies, Ynet and Maan
  • Palestinians and international activists maintain solidarity with hunger strikers - Tens of Palestinians participated in painting a mural on the al-Bireh Cultural Center in the central occupied West Bank on Sunday, in collaboration with the al-Bireh municipality, the Islamic Charity organization, and the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs. The Palestinian embassy in Italy organized a candlelit march in Rome on Saturday evening. And more… (Maan
  • Hamas organizes Gaza march ahead of Nakba anniversary - Hamas organized a march to commemorate the 69th anniversary of the Nakba and to support hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners on Saturday in the besieged Gaza Strip. (Maan)
  • Palestinians in Lebanon mark 69 years of discrimination - On Monday, Palestinians mark 69 years since hundreds of thousands fled during the 1948 war that led to the creation of the State of Israel; many fled to Lebanon where they suffer discrimination in nearly every aspect of daily life, feeding a desperation that is tearing their community apart. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Israeli military bulldozers stage incursion into Palestinian lands in Gaza - Israeli military incursions inside the besieged Gaza Strip and near the “buffer zone," which lies on both land and sea sides of Gaza, have long been a near-daily occurrence. Palestinians who work near the “buffer zone” often come under fire from Israeli military forces, as the authorities have not made clear the precise area of the designated zone. (Maan
  • 14 Palestinians detained in raids, including former prisoner, writer Ahmad Qatamish - Local sources said that Qatamish, 66, was detained from his home in the city of al-Bireh near Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank, after Israeli soldiers thoroughly searched the house, damaging some of his possessions. He was then take to an unknown location. (Maan
  • Palestinian shot in the leg after Israeli raid sparks clashes in Jenin refugee camp - Israeli forces shot a 20-year-old Palestinian in the leg with live ammunition Sunday morning, after an Israeli military detention raid into Jenin refugee camp sparked clashes between locals and Israeli soldiers. (Maan
  • Israeli ambassador donates party fund to soccer league for Nigerian children - The Israeli ambassador to Nigeria canceled the latest Independence Day celebration, and with the money saved, he established a league with 225 children who escaped the Boko Haram terrorist organization. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Parents sue pro-Palestinian US group over son's death - Stanley and Joyce Boim, whose teenage son was killed in a 1996 terrorist attack in Jerusalem, are trying to force the American Muslims for Palestine group to pay a $156 million judgment obtained over the attack, attributed to Hamas. (Israel Hayom)
  • eBay Founder's First Look Media Buys Rights to Israeli Docu on Lynching of Asylum Seeker Mistaken for Terrorist - The acclaimed film 'Death in the Terminal' describes events leading to the 2015 death of Haftom Zarhum, who was killed after he was shot and beaten by nearby bystanders at the Be'er Sheva bus station before dying of his wounds. (Haaretz
  • Egyptian Colonel Killed in Bomb Attack on Armored Vehicle - Sunday's attack in northern Sinai was the latest in an area where security forces have been battling the local affiliate of ISIS. (Agencies, Haaretz
  • Egyptian Judges Defy Controversial Law on Judiciary Appointments - The new law gives the president the power to choose which senior judges will head each branch of the judiciary. (Agencies, Haaretz
  • Macron’s Party Boots Politician Over pro-BDS, anti-Semitic Tweets - LICRA, one of France’s oldest civil rights watchdogs, said earlier this week that there are 'clear anti-Semitic connotations' to Christian Gerin's tweets. (JTA, Haaretz)


Features:
Security cameras and a tennis game: new details about the assassination of a senior Hamas figure
News of the capture of the man who assassinated Mazen Fuqha continues to stir up the social networks, and gradually, the picture surrounding the murder that caused the organization a severe shake-up is becoming clearer. According to a source of the ‘Arab 21’ news website, Ashraf Abu Laila was recruited only a few months ago by Israeli intelligence. "One of the agents recruited for the purpose of monitoring Fukha and renting an office opposite the building where Fukha lived led to the arrest of the murderer," the source stressed. "The agent found out that he had received a call from Israel's intelligence officers, apparently by a UAV, in which he was asked to leave the area a few minutes before the assassination. However, the agent was able to identify anyone who operated across from the building in which Fukha lived, including the assassin himself, Abu Laila, who appeared to be leaving the apartment building during the assassination. This testimony was consistent with what the security cameras picked up." (Yasir Ukbi, Maariv
Something Is Rotten in the Israeli Pavilion of the Venice Biennale and It's Entirely Intentional
The heart of Gal Weinstein’s work is a topographical map of the Jezreel Valley, in moldy coffee grounds. In an interview, he links the biblical Joshua to the state’s relationship with time. (Shany Littman, Haaretz+)
A lone soldier's journey from Iran to top-secret IDF unit
Cpl. Y. left relatives behind in Iran; unlike other lone soldiers, he has not seen them since moving to Israel and probably never will again • "I knew it was a one-way trip. Close family members knew what my intention was and were very opposed," he says. (Israel Hayom)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
Weak-kneed on Mount Scopus (Haaretz Editorial) At the Hebrew University, in the spirit of the times, it is enough to send a letter of protest or post on Facebook to make events discussing the occupation disappear. 
Palestinians Shift Strategy, Playing National Security Card With Trump (Jack Khoury, Haaretz+) Officials are pushing the indispensability of Palestinian Authority and suggesting that if the two-state solution disappears, consequences for the region would be grave.
Why a ‘nationality law’ is unnecessary (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) There is a broad agreement among Zionist parties about Israel’s definition as a Jewish state; when controversial clauses are added, strife becomes inevitable. 
Why Israel's nation-state bill is not worse than useless, it’s harmful (Moshe Arens, Haaretz+) It's a step in the wrong direction for every community involved. 
The nationality law will not only harm the Arab citizens (Dr. Revital Amiran, Maariv) The bill makes two changes to the Declaration of Independence: it makes the Arabic language a special language, rather than an official one, and it allows for separate settlement for each community that chooses to live separately. These are two innovations that stand in stark contrast to the Declaration of the Independence, according to which the State of Israel will maintain complete social and political equality for all its citizens, regardless of religion, race or gender. If the nationality law is accepted, the harm to the honor of the Arabic language will be a spit in the faces of 20% of the general population of the State of Israel and 50% of its Jewish residents, for whom Arabic is their mother tongue. In addition, the strong groups of Israeli society will be encouraged to establish separate settlements while turning their back on its weakened groups. 
Needed in Israel: An Arab-Jewish Front to Combat Annexation (Daniel Blatman, Haaretz+) Without cooperation between Meretz, a virtually all-Jewish party, and Joint List, which is virtually all Arab, a solution to end the occupation and block annexation will be impossible to promote effectively. 
Just an Israeli Force That Burst Into Seven Homes (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) This column is being written in protest against the high threshold that routine Israeli violence must reach for something to be written about it 
Ron Dermer is simply in the wrong place (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) It is easier and more convenient for the Israeli ambassador in Washington to destroy the trust between former President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu than to build and cement trust between President Trump and Netanyahu. 
Waking from the Trumpian dream of Israel’s right wing (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) Yet another lesson that teaches: Be careful what you wish for. 
Trump will not hesitate to blame Netanyahu (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) In light of the euphoria that seems to be prevailing in our country ahead of the US president's visit, we must warn: it will probably produce friendly statements but zero results in promoting a political solution to the conflict. Moreover, Trump does not like failures. If he finds out in the coming months, just as his predecessors in the White House did, that instead of getting peace he gets frustrated, he will not hesitate for a second to blame Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He will probably do it in his well-known brutal style. 
Will Trump and Netanyahu Continue to Misread Iran? (Trita Parsi, Haaretz+) Iran will top the Trump-Netanyahu agenda in Israel. But it was Netanyahu's arrogance and ineptitude that midwifed the unlikely U.S.-Iran nuclear compromise.
Iranian expansion in Middle East is coming to an end (Prof. Nimrod Hurvitz, Prof. Dror Ze’evi, Ynet) Tehran’s hopes of becoming a regional power has raised a lot of concern in Israel in recent years. But despite its huge investment and alleged achievements in the region, the Islamic Republic has failed in creating a new Middle Eastern order which would serve its interests and has been losing fighters and influence.
Trump Visits the Pope: Cooling the 'Holy War' Between the Vatican and the White House (Ariel David, Haaretz) The Pope has called Trump's policies 'not Christian'; Trump called the Pope 'disgraceful'. But will Trump’s new rhetoric on Muslims and the Middle East bring reconciliation with Francis, but tension with Netanyahu?
Israel as a regional, maritime superpower? (Rear Adm. (Ret.) Oded Gour Lavie, Yedioth/Ynet) From its ancient roots in overland commerce, to the modern day opportunity to become a hub for global maritime trade, the time, circumstances and naval tech are ripe for Israel to implement its own grand maritime strategy. 
Let FIFA Bring Peace (Assaf Gavron, Haaretz+) The powerful and impartial world soccer association might be just the right body to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Too bad its president balked. 
WJC president must not promote Abbas (Isi Leibler, Israel Hayom) Ron Lauder has breached a cardinal rule: Diaspora Jewish leaders must not lobby foreign governments to intervene in Israeli security policies.
Barghouti Betrayed the People Who Trusted Him (Iris Leal, Haaretz+) The last thing the glorious history of political hunger striking needs is this video clip of the Palestinian leader sneaking a candy bar in jail
 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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