News Nosh 8.10.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday August 10, 2017
 
Quote of the day:
“After so many years in power, it can be said that Netanyahu has changed [Israelis] as no one before him could. Israelis resemble him and behave like him. He taught them to be suspicious of the world and of their future, instilled in them a burning hatred of everything that symbolized Arabs and Arabism, shared with them the deep distaste for the region in which we live and for our neighbors and altered their identity from Israelis to Jews with almost no resistance.”
— Journalist and former politician, Daniel Ben Simon, examines Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s legacy. **

You Must Be Kidding: 
"The military courts ruled that Azaria's action caused 'serious harm to the value of sanctity of life and purity of arms.' Did it?"
--Israel Hayom commentator Dror Eydar writes that Elor Azaria, the IDF soldier convicted of killing an already wounded an incapacitated Palestinian assailant, who attacked a soldier, should have faced disciplinary measures in his own unit for flouting military orders, "nothing more."**

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The coup speech - in response to the investigations against him, PM Netanyahu stood before thousands of Likud activists and attacked the media, the left-wing, and Ehud Barak
  • The accusations and the facts - We checked Netanyahu’s claims
  • He returned to the balcony // Nahum Barnea
  • The Likud is I // Sima Kadmon
  • “I arrived in the morning, and Zion wasn’t there. They said he got sick, but I left him healthy” - Expose: Dramatic testimony in the affair of the Yemenite children (kidnapped and given away or sold by Israeli authorities)
  • IDF speeds up construction of underground barrier along Gaza Strip
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • From defense - to offence - Netanyahu in forceful speech: “A hunt is being held against me in order to make a coup”
  • The pressure on people’s conscience blew up on those who made it // Dror Eydar
  • “We will build an obstacle on the Gaza border - also at the price of a conflict”
  • (Elor Azaria’s lawyer,) Adv. Sheftel: “The people love me”
  • Initiative: The responsibility for aiding Holocaust survivors - belongs to the state
  • Senior Palestinian officials: US administration is biased in favor of Israel
  • Last respects: Gravestones of Jews in Babi Yar were revealed and repaired
  • US in unprecedented threat to N. Korea: “Your actions will bring the destruction of the regime”
News Summary:
At a Likud rally to show support for him while he’s under investigation for corruption, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu accused the media and the left-wing of trying to overthrow him, while the IDF sped up the construction of an underground barrier with the Gaza Strip and gave a citation of honor and courage to the IDF soldier who neutralized a Palestinian terrorist without killing him, while the ‘Shooting Soldier from Hebron,’ Elor Azaria, entered jail (where supporters greeted him outside) to serve an 18-month prison sentence 17 months after shooting in the head and killing a Palestinian assailant who was already wounded and laying incapacitated on the ground for 11 minutes - making top news in today’s Hebrew newspapers along with the outrage after the Knesset reneged on its promise to raise disability benefits for handicapped to 4,000 shekels a month, because “they didn’t prove that they cannot exist from 2,342 shekels ($651).

Addressing a couple thousand Likud activists, Likud ministers and MKs, some of whom were cajoled or threatened by the rally organizer, MK David Bitan, into showing up, Netanyahu made the ‘coup speech,’ in which he attempted to make the corruption investigations against him, his wife and his associates appear as political persecution by the media and the left-wing, which he accused of making a witch hunt against him and his family in order to topple him and the Likud party.

Yedioth’s Itamar Eichner compared Netanyahu’s main declarations to the facts,  full text of speech) starting with the thanks he expressed to all those who came. Eichner wrote that ‘many of the ministers and MKs attended only because of coalition whip David Bitan’s threats that if they don’t show up “they’ll pay in the primaries.” Eichner wrote that “Some of the ministers and MKs who were in the audience said in closed circles beforehand that Netanyahu is nearing the end of his tenure. Eichner and other analysts noted how Netanyahu tried to link his own legal troubles with the fall of the party and the right-wing when he said that the media and left-wing aren’t only trying to bring him down, but the Likud and the nationalist camp because “they know they can’t beat us at the polls, so they are trying to bypass the democracy and to bring our collapse without elections.” But in actuality, another Likud minister could replace him if he had to step down due to an indictment. Eichner noted that while Netanyahu accused a “thought police in the media of working full-time, 24/7, of determining the line and everyone fall in place after it,” it was Netanyahu who appointed Attorney General Avichai Mendelblitt and Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh. Netanyahu also claimed that the media was busy trying to find fault with minor things at the Prime Minister’s Residences, such as ‘serving a cup of tea to (Sara’s) 97-year-old righteous father.” Eichner noted that she was suspected of hiring a full-time caretaker for her father on the public’s dime. And when Netanyahu said, “It’s clear, they want Israel to withdraw to the ’67 borders and establish a Palestinian state on the edges of Kfar Saba,” Eichner noted that while Netanyahu was trying to sound as if he is trying to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state, he himself recently suggested to US President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoys the plan of Avigdor Lieberman that Israel swap Gush Etzion for Wadi Ara and create a Palestinian state in the West Bank. One of Netanyahu's targets, former prime minister Ehud Barak, called the rally a ’pathetic performance of whining' and he and Labor leader MK Avi Gabbay and Yesh Atid leader MK Yair Lapid called on Netanyahu to resign and go to elections.
 
Quick Hits:
  • The Get-out-the-vote Effort for Americans in Israel at the Heart of the Netanyahu Corruption Probes - The mysteriously funded group iVoteIsrael has consistently claimed to be non-partisan. New revelations tell a different story. (Haaretz+)
  • Ignoring Court Case, Israel Seizes Solar Panels Powering Bedouin School in West Bank - Army authorities violate established procedure of waiting until High Court makes an interim decision on a petition before acting. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli defense minister slams 'obsessive racist' journalist for questioning IDF purchases - Channel 10's Raviv Drucker expressed concern after a local company was preferred over a German firm due to concerns that the latter would restrict cannons from firing cluster bombs. (Haaretz)
  • Palestinian Vehicles Torched in Suspected West Bank Hate Crime - Spray painted slogans called for revenge for the Halamish attack. (Haaretz and Maan)
  • 15 Palestinians injured, 5 detained during Israeli raid on Kobar - Clashes erupted between Israeli forces and Palestinian youth who attempted to prevent Israeli soldiers from raiding the house of Palestinian prisoner Omar al-Abed, 19, who was detained last month after he stabbed and killed three Israeli settlers from the nearby illegal Halamish settlement. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces seize lands in Bethlehem area to build military training site - When residents of al-Jabaa went to the site in protest, Meshaala said, Israeli soldiers told them that “the army declared this area a closed military zone to be used for military trainings,” adding that Palestinians were forbidden from entering or approaching the area. (Maan)
  • Brazil to extradite Israeli settler who fled from Israel after killing Palestinian - Court decision comes two years after Yehoshua Elitzur, 46, from Itamar settlement who was convicted in Israel of killing a Palestinian taxi driver in 2004, was arrested in Sao Paulo ending a decade-long manhunt. (Times of Israel, Ynet and Maariv)
  • Palestinian UN official released after being detained on suspicion of security offenses - Hamdan Timraz, a Palestinian official with UNDSS, is released by Israel after being arrested by the Shin Bet for security-related offenses; UN kept abreast of Timraz's detention by Israeli authorities. (Ynet)
  • Palestinian committee demands release of 71-year-old Palestinian detained in Hebron - Israeli forces detained Badran Jaber, 71, after raiding and searching his home in Hebron City and said that Jaber was a leader in the left-wing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). (Maan)
  • Israeli settlers launch march to Abu Rajab family home in Hebron's Old City - Hundreds of Israeli settlers originating from France launched a march on Wednesday afternoon toward the Abu Rajab home in Hebron’s Old City, which was forcibly taken over by settlers some two weeks ago, to reportedly show solidarity with the settlers. (Maan)
  • Rivlin and Merkel to meet in Berlin amid submarine scandal - President Reuven Rivlin will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin in September and is expected to smooth tensions related to the submarine affair and lobby for the purchase. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Cape Verde denies it will no longer vote against Israel at UN - After PM Netanyahu announces last week that Cape Verde will no longer vote against Israel at UN, Cape Verde's Pres. Fonseca releases official statement denying that such a decision was made. (Ynet)
  • Israeli AG withdraws from probe into acquaintance - a gesture he didn't grant former boss Netanyahu - Avichai Mendelblit also recused himself from the investigations into Moshe Katsav, who was convicted of rape, and Netanyahu’s former chief of staff Gil Sheffer. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli forces delivers 14 demolition notices to Palestinian structures in Area B - One of the 14 structures is a private school, which has been operating for more than 10 years and is the only private school that serves villages in eastern Ramallah. (Maan)
  • Israeli Soldier Injured by Friendly Fire During IDF Operation Near Bethlehem - Soldier from undercover Duvdevan Unit moderately injured was hit by fellow soldier's gunfire in Deheisheh refugee camp. Two Palestinian men also sustained injuries in the incident. (Haaretz, Maariv and Ynet)
  • Israeli forces ban Palestinian citizens of Israel from entering Old City of Jerusalem - Israeli forces prevented dozens of Palestinian citizens of Israel (Arab-Israelis) from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday afternoon, claiming that they had been subjected to bans from “higher orders.” (Maan)
  • Israeli forces raid Hebron-area town, confiscate private Palestinian vehicle - Israeli troops raided home of Nidal Shihada Jabarin in al-Dhahiriyya and confiscated his private vehicle. An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into reports. (Maan)
  • Israeli think tank files libel suit against prime minister's son - Yair, son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, called Molad "radical and anti-Zionist" on social media after the liberal think tank criticized him for reportedly neglecting to pick up after the family dog • Molad seeks public apology, $39,000 in damages. (Israel Hayom)
  • Protesting hate speech, Israeli artist plasters Twitter HQ with racist tweets - German-Israeli artist Shahak Shapira, who reported some 300 tweets containing messages such as "Let's gas the Jews" and "Jew scum" but received only nine responses, says, "If Twitter forces me to see these things, they should have to see it as well." (Israel Hayom)
  • Danish journalists urge Israel not to shutter Al-Jazeera - Danish Union of Journalists appeals to Israeli Ambassador to Denmark not to shut down Al-Jazeera's Jerusalem offices, saying, 'It is not in the interests of your fellow Israeli citizens to reduce the freedom of the press.' (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Authorities: Israeli bomb threat suspect sold 'threat services' online - Court documents link Michael Kadar, 18, to a dark net account that offered to make bomb threats for $30 • U.S. prosecutors say they have identified a co-conspirator. Wave of threats earlier this year sparked fear of a spike in anti-Semitism.  (Agencies, Israel Hayom and Haaretz)
  • 4 Hamas terrorists petition Israeli court to reinstate family visits - Prisoners claim barring them from family visits constitutes "unacceptable discrimination" that violates "fundamental right" to maintain family ties. Israel barred visits in move to pressure Hamas to return Israeli nationals, bodies of fallen soldiers. (Israel Hayom)
  • After 5 months of closure, Egypt to open Rafah crossing for Hajj pilgrims in Gaza - Egyptian authorities have decided to open the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the besieged Gaza Strip from Monday until Thursday next week to allow the passage of Muslim pilgrims traveling to Saudi Arabia for Hajj. (Maan)
  • Palestinian Journalists Syndicate demands PA release journalists from jail - According to Palestinian news agency Wafa, the five Palestinian journalists -- identified as Mamdouh Hamamreh, Tareq Abu Zeid, Amer Abu Arafeh, Ahmad Halaiqa, and Qutaybeh Salem -- were detained by Palestinian security forces for leaking “sensitive information to hostile parties.” (Maan)
  • Palestinian reportedly dies of natural causes in PA cell - A Palestinian Police spokesman said that a 43-year-old man from the Bethlehem area was found dead in his cell on Tuesday morning and his body would be autopsied to determine the exact cause of death. PA has been accused of abusing detainees in its custody. (Maan)
  • Palestinian kickboxer refuses to compete against Israeli at World Youth Championship - Sultan Abu al-Hajj, from Ramallah district, was set to spar against an Israeli opponent in the final rounds of the competition, but refused to do so, “as there has not yet been an official Palestinian decision over whether to face Israeli athletes in any sporting event.” Israeli kickboxer, Amit Madah, won a bronze medal after Abu al-Hajj forfeited. (Maan and Ynet Hebrew)
  • Iran's Rohani Adds Three Women to Cabinet After Social Media Criticism - After being heavily criticized on social media for campaigning on women's rights but not furthering them when in power, President Hassan Rohani changes his proposed cabinet. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Qatar Announces Visa-free Entry to Citizens of 80 Countries Amid Gulf Boycott - The new visa rules reportedly make Qatar 'the most open country in the region,' but it is suffering from a two-month old boycott for alleged terrorism support and Iranian ties. (Haaretz)
  • Top Senators, Including Bernie Sanders, Urge Tillerson to Monitor Case of Palestinian Activist Indicted by IDF - State Department says U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and U.S. General Consulate in Jerusalem have been in touch with the activist, Issa Amro (who founded the ‘Youth Against Settlements’ grassroots organization in Hebron. (Haaretz and Mondoweiss)


Features:
'When They Target Bibi, They Target Us': An Evening With Netanyahu Supporters
Ministers, lawmakers and party members flocked to show support for the embattled premier. But even amid the display of loyalty, one of them admitted: 'This is the last party. They've caught him.’ (Roy Arad, Haaretz+)
Support rally for Netanyahu: "Even those who hesitated before, are now supporting him"
The event at the exhibition grounds looked like a state of war between the media that symbolizes those who want to topple the prime minister, and in fact to topple the Likud, and those who came here to protest. (Meir Uziel, Maariv)
From a Satmar anti-Zionist community to IDF Border Police
Zalman Schwartz, 20, is just one of 153 foreign volunteers in the IDF's July-August conscription class. However, Schwartz stands alone in that he was raised in the most anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox community.
(Kobi Nachshoni, Alexandra Lukash and Attila Somflavi, Yedioth/Ynet)
The Israelis Who Take Rebuilding the Third Temple Very Seriously
Eran Tzidkiyahu, a guide to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, explains why Temple activists are so driven - and how their mission clashes with a fundamental part of Palestinian identity. (Ayelett Shani, Haaretz+)
Gaza Power Watch: How Many Hours of Electricity Did Gaza Get Yesterday
A severe electricity shortage in Gaza leaves residents with as little as four hours of power a day in the sweltering summer heat. Who gets electricity and when? (Haaretz)

Commentary/Analysis:
When a Leading ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Urged Begin to Trade Land for Peace (Aaron Rabinowitz, Haaretz+) Ultra-Orthodox MK Moshe Gafni unveils letter penned by Rabbi Eliezer Schach in 1978, in which he supported territorial concessions.
The incitement and lies won’t help: Netanyahu's fate is in the hands of the law enforcement authorities (Ben Caspit, Maariv) Not the left or the media - what is humiliating Netanyahu is his behavior over the years and his close friends who dare tell the truth. The walls of silence are beginning to collapse around him and that's what makes him afraid.
Netanyahu Is Only Netanyahu (Dan Margalit, Haaretz+) Ben-Gurion, Eshkol and Begin all left office suddenly, and their political camps remained in power long afterward. Netanyahu is no different.
In recent days, Israeli cabinet ministers have been conducting a show under orders (Avraham Tirosh, Maariv) The Channel 10 poll undermines the widespread consensus that whatever happens, if Netanyahu leads the Likud, the Likudniks will be able to vote for him. The ministers were dragged almost by the neck by Netanyahu to the media in order to protect him.
The Cluster-Bomb Nation (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) The cluster bombs are aimed mainly at densely populated areas. There they can kill most effectively. That’s why the Israeli army wants them.
**Hold you head high, Elor! (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) Military court judges are no more capable of deciding morality than the Left, which wants to hand down judgments that fail to take into account time, place, and circumstances.
*Molded in Netanyahu's Image (Daniel Ben Simon, Haaretz+) In his decade in power, prime minister hasn't made any significant acts of leadership. He was simply there to block any glimmer of hope.
Left-wing NGOs working for all Israeli citizens (Mickey Gitzin, Ynet) Unlike right-wing NGOs, which favor projects that serve the Right’s political agenda, civil society organizations affiliated with the Left have universal goals. The New Israel Fund supports feminist groups without asking the women who they plan to vote for, and has been promoting public housing regardless of the political views in the periphery.
At Rally, Netanyahu Uses West Bank Settlements as a Shelter From Corruption Investigations (Barak Ravid, Haaretz+) Satire becomes reality as Netanyahu's spins allegations against him as attempt by left to remove him from power to clear the way for a Palestinian state. Israeli right wingers should be concerned.
‘The Palestine exception’: War on BDS is now a war on American democracy (Ramzy Baroud, Maan) The bill has already had chilling effects on many groups in the country, especially among African-American activists who are fighting institutionalized racism. If the bill becomes law, the precedent will become the norm, and dissidents will find themselves standing trial for their mere opinions….However, the real danger is that such laws go beyond the traditional blind allegiance to Israel -- into a whole level of acquiescence, where the government punishes people and organizations for the choices they make, the values they hold dear or the mere inquiry of information about an issue that they may find compelling.
Israel's Lucrative Industry of Corruption (Gidi Weitz, Haaretz+) Bribery, fraud, breach of trust: Indictments against top Israeli politicians point to a culture where the government is up for sale.
As in America, here too people are going crazy over the change of government (Shmuel Rosner, Maariv) The flow of news and opinion distorts voters' sense of time, and when every day feels like 50 years, it is hard to answer the question of whether it is better or worse than 50 years ago.
Whitewashing Political Appointments (Haaretz Editorial) No tender and no vetting for deputy directors of ministries means politicizing Israel's civil service.
Yes, Most Israelis - Jewish or Arab - Are Racist (Samer Adwan, Haaretz+) What is the difference between wanting to perpetuate a pure Jewish dynasty and any other racial doctrine?
How the Israeli Right Delegitimizes Critics, and How the Left Should Respond (Assaf Sharon, Haaretz+) Spokesmen of secular Zionism should learn from the iconic writer Y. H. Brenner: He never dreamed of justifying himself to critics who accused him of being funded by foreign missionaries.
North Korea-Trump Nuclear Crisis: Good News for Iran, Bad News for the Mideast (Avner Golov, Haaretz+) The campaign against North Korea is not only an important learning opportunity for preventing an Iranian nuclear bomb, but it may define the American position against Iran
 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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