News Nosh 9.12.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday September 12, 2017
 
You Must Be Kidding: 
The IDF Spokesman and Hezbollah PR in a war of words:
IDF spokesman to the Arab press, Maj. Avichai Adraee published a picture of himself holding a sign with the words in Arabic saying: "If you dare, we will surprise you."
Hezbollah responded with posters of their own in Hebrew and Arabic saying: "If you (even) think about it, we will destroy you."**

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Force of life - Diary of Gil-Ad Shaar, one of the three Jewish youth kidnapped and killed in the West Bank in June 2014 - was found in the charred car
  • A letter to my daughter Tair - “I won’t sleep or be silent till I know what happened to you” Ilana Rada writes to her daughter who was murdered
  • The death of a photographer - Parting from Micha Kirshner
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • (Education Minister) Bennett: “Iran could discover that Syria is its Vietnan”
  • US bowed its head in memory of th evictims of 9/11
  • Clinton: I won’t run for the Presidency again”
Israel Hayom
  • For the first time: Israel applies the Boycott Law - Following ‘Israel Hayom’ expose: State vs. Amnesty International
  • Police are threatening: We will establish a professional union
  • Storm in the Labor party: Chairman Gabai caught in legal trouble

News Summary:
Israeli ministers made headlines at a security conference in Herzliya, each warning about a different threat to Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu started his trip to Latin America with a disappointment from Africa, and Hamas expressed willingness to compromise with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas over reconciliation talks making the top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

**At the ‘World Summit on Count-Terrorism’ at the IDC Herzliya, Israel's Intel Minister Yisrael Katz called Iran 'the new North Korea' and urged Netanyahu to push US President Donald Trump to cancel the Iran nuclear agreement when the two meet on sidelines of the UN General Assembly in ten days. Katz said that Syrian leader Bashar Assad was prepared to make an agreement to allow an Iranian military presence in his country, including a naval port and bases for Iran's air and ground forces, which would pose a long-term “danger and threat against Israel.” Education Minister Naftali Bennett warned Iran that it may be sorry if it tries to establishing itself in Syria. "Iran may find out that Syria is its Vietnam,” he said. He also said that Israel must pay attention to Iran as a nuclear threat because “ an Iranian nuclear missile strike in Israel is annihilation,” Maariv reported. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned Syria that any confrontation with Israel will ‘end badly for them.’ His words came after Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad threatened repercussions after accusing Israel of carrying out the airstrike last week on the state's Scientific Studies and Research Center. The IDF Spokesman and Hezbollah also had an exchange of threats - which was a bit more amusing. While Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said that Israel and the West have an interest in an independent Kurdistan. Shaked’s comments come exactly two weeks before Kurdistan's planned independence referendum, which the US, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria fear will lead to regional destabilization.

The conference took place during the largest IDF military drill held in nearly 20 years—an 11-day combined arms exercise along its border with Lebanon, involving tens of thousands of soldiers, and simulating a war against Hezbollah. The troops are drilling a scenario in which hundreds of Hezbollah fighters are able to infiltrate several locations in Israel under the cover of Borkan missile fire (heavy mortar bombs that can carry 100-200km warheads), Ynet wrote. Interestingly, a senior IDF officer involved in the military exercise told Israel Hayom that “Hezbollah won't be able to seize Israeli territory in next war.” (NOTE: Hezbollah hasn’t seized territory before and the fact that he said this shows that there is a concern about this happening.) "The trick is to understand the offensive and defensive campaigns you're up against and target their weaknesses," he said.

Hezbollah deputy secretary-general Sheikh Naim Qassem commented on Israel’s military drill and on the attack in Syria in an interview, which Israel interpreted positively.  Qassem said that the attack on the Syrian facility, attributed to Israel, was not a reason for war against Israel and there were other ways to respond and there was no need to blow the situation out of proportion. He also explained how Hezbollah interpreted the military exercise: ”In our assessment, the Israeli drill is not meant to prepare them for a war at the present time," noting that according to their estimations it stems from political consideration and is primarily designed for recruitment purposes.

“Hope in America, disappointment in Africa,” read the headline in Maariv today after Netanyahu landed in Argentina, opening his ‘historic’ trip in Latin America, just as Togo announced it was cancelling the Israel-Africa summit it was to host with the participation of 14 African countries. Togo cited lack of time to prepare following days of anti-government protests targeting President Faure Gnassingbé. Israel Hayom wrote that Togo also faced Palestinian pressure to cancel the summit, but the paper gave no sources or details.

Regarding Latin America, Yedioth’s diplomatic affairs correspondent, Itamar Eichner, wrote that “Netanyahu is hoping to create a thaw in what has been an icy relationship with regimes hostile to Israel in South America, particularly some of which cooperated with Iran in covering up the 1992 attacks against the Israeli Embassy and against a Jewish community building in 1994.” As part of the prime minister’s visit to Argentina, President Mauricio Macri will the announce transfer of 139,544 classified documents containing information on Argentina’s record with the Nazi regime and the government’s post-war harboring of Nazi war criminals. His trip will also include a stop in Columbia and in Mexico, just as an Israeli company was named as being chosen by the US to build a US-Mexico border wall prototype. However, it seems the US - not Mexico - will pay that bill.

After meetings with Egyptian intelligence, Hamas said it was willing to hold reconciliation talks with Fatah, which runs the Palestinian Authority (PA), without any preconditions, however Maariv and Maan reported that there was a precondition. Hamas reportedly agreed to dissolve an administrative committee it set up earlier this year to run the Strip, and which sparked outrage from the PA, which accused Hamas of attempting to form a shadow government and run Gaza independent of the occupied West Bank. Following the announcement of the administrative committee, the PA slashed funding of salaries of public servants in Gaza and cut payment of electricity to Gaza, as well as other hurtful policies putting Hamas under great pressure. Maariv’s Arab affairs correspondent, Yasir Ukbi, reported that Hamas politburo chief, Ismail Haniyeh, agreed to cancel the committee if the Palestinian Authority lifts sanctions against the Strip, i.e. to start paying for electricity again, etc. Strangely, Palestinian news agency, Maan, already reported August 3rd that “in an attempt to achieve national reconciliation between feuding Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah, and alleviate a dire humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, the Hamas movement announced on Thursday its readiness to do away with its administrative committee in Gaza, should the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) retract all punitive measures imposed on the besieged coastal enclave in recent months.”
 
Quick Hits:
  • In First, Israel Will Penalize Amnesty International for Anti-settlements Campaign - Finance Ministry moving to deny tax benefits to Israelis donating to the human rights group after its campaign to boycott West Bank settlement goods. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinian Authority suspends funds to prisoners' rights group 'due to Israeli, U.S. pressure' - Palestinian Prisoners Club says that although it hasn't been officially notified, all signs suggest funds are being frozen; PPC leads fight for prisoners' rights in Israeli jails. (Haaretz+ and i24News)
  • Artists decry funding limitations as curtailing freedom of creation - Representatives of artists' organizations and cultural institutions convene at Jaffa Theater to discuss recent government steps to condition state funding of artistic endeavors on their content. Such restrictions are "absolutely unacceptable," they say. (Israel Hayom)
  • Three Palestinians involved in deadly Rosh Hashanah [stone-throwing] attack convicted of manslaughter - The group's members—Muhammad Abu Kaf, Walid Atrash and an unnamed minor—are convicted of manslaughter by J'lem District Court for throwing rocks at car of Alexander Levlovitz, causing him to lose control, swerve into ditch and evetually die of his wounds; last year, the group's fourth member—Abed Dawiat—was sentenced to 18 years in prison. (Ynet and Maan)
  • Azerbaijan Pardons Israeli Blogger After Prison Suicide Attempt - Azerbaijan accused Alexander Lapshin of criticizing the country and its president. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Previous PMs' spending habits were heavy, review finds - Invoices from past administrations show Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's food expenses are within the norm • Under Ehud Olmert, food for Passover meal cost $8,000 • Under Ariel Sharon, $4,800 were spent for meals at private ranch for three months. (Israel Hayom)
  • (Interior Minister) Deri grilled for fifth time amid corruption allegations - Shas Leader Deri interrogated for fifth time by Lahav 433 corruption unit on Monday; Deri, who has already been convicted of bribery, is currently suspected of bribery, tax evasion and illegal involvement in election of local official. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israeli minister: Independent Kurdistan would benefit Israel and the West - Ayelet Shaked's comments come exactly two weeks before Kurdistan's planned independence referendum, which the U.S. and Russia fear will lead to regional destabilization. (Haaretz)
  • Counter-Terrorism Bureau advises against travel to Turkey - Terror-monitoring agency publishes report detailing travel warnings; threat levels remain elevated in Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, extremely elevated in Sinai and Mandanao island of Philippines. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Trump supports $75m. additional aid to Israel beyond Obama-era MOU - The original agreement negotiated by Prime Minister Netanyahu and former US president Barack Obama provides Israel with $38 billion through 2028. (JPost/Maariv)
  • US mulls demand for refund of Israel aid - The US Department of State is planning to demand that Israel return tens of millions of dollars in US aid money for 2017 it says were illegitimately obtained. The White House's view on the State Department-led initiative is not clear. (Maariv, p. 5/Globes English)
  • Diary found of yeshiva student kidnapped, killed by Hamas - Scorched by fire and stained by water, a notebook in which Gil-Ad Shaer documented his final months, before he was taken and brutally murdered along with two other yeshiva students, presents a glimpse into his inner world, his faith and his joy of life. (Yedioth/Ynet)
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  • Award-winning Lebanese film director briefly detained in Beirut over Israel visit - Ziad Doueiri questioned by Lebanese military for three hours, blasts those who accused him of normalization with the Jewish state: 'My mother breastfed me Palestinian milk.’ (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • In Tel Aviv, dozens of Israeli-Arabs protest treatment of Rohingya Muslims - Demonstrating outside the embassy of Myanmar, the protest organized by the Islamic Movement in Israel condemned 'atrocities' committed by the Burmese government. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Israeli company to build US-Mexico border wall prototype - Elta North America, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, is named one of four companies to win tender to build prototype of smart systems integrated into border wall US Pres. Trump plans on building between US and Mexico; 200 companies participated in tender, Elta will receive $300,000-500,000 grant to develop model. (Ynet)
  • WATCH Sebastian Gorka addresses Israeli counterterrorism conference: U.S. not at war with Islam - Gorka, fired from Trump's White House, praised Israel on its outlook on terror, saying Netanyahu was 'right' about Iran. (Haaretz)
  • Palestinian film takes jab at Sara Netanyahu - Short film by Palestinian Annemarie Jacir—on Oscar shortlist in its category and premiering in Toronto Film festival—pokes fun at PM wife's legal scandals; Toronto festival to showcase Foxtrot, movie criticized by Minister of Culture Regev. (Ynet)
  • Syrian report: "We fired a missile at Israeli planes over Lebanon" - Syrian media reports that the anti-tank missile SA-5 fired a missile at Israeli F-16s flying over Lebanon. It was also claimed that an Israeli warplane was hit. (Maariv)
  • As Jordan and Russia talk Syrian ceasefire, diplomats say Iran-backed fighters to be pushed from border - Jordan and Russia working to finalize details for de-escalation zone which has U.S. concerned about Russian involvement in Syria and Israel irked by Hezbollah. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Sinai blast kills 18 Egyptian policemen; ISIS claims attack - Militants detonated explosives in the northern Sinai, followed by a deadly firefight between Egyptian forces fighting the region's ongoing Islamic State insurgency. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Features:
Jewish-Arab ice cream business a sweet symbol of coexistence
Five years after teaming up to produce ice cream, Adam Ziv from Kibbutz Sasa and Alaa Sweitat of Galilee village of Tarshiha are now proud owners of successful chain with five stores in northern Israel and Tel Aviv, becoming first Israeli business to win prestigious UN prize. (Shirley Golan, Yedioth/Ynet)
'Dimona reactor helped ensure Israel would never be destroyed'
A month before passing away, Shimon Peres completed the writing of an autobiography that provides a rare glimpse behind the scenes of some major chapters in Israel's history and his own: from the construction of the Dimona nuclear reactor to Operation Entebbe, his secret meeting with King Hussein in Jordan and his lifelong passion for innovation. (Yoav Keren, Yedioth/Ynet)

Commentary/Analysis:
Netanyahu Weakening Israel's Civil Service (Haaretz Editorial) Netanyahu is sacrificing the government’s most senior posts on the altar of his narrow personal considerations, while castrating its professional work and threatening the propriety of its administration.
Ya'alon does not need to become an accountant for circle of bloodshed (Prof. Arieh Eldad, Maariv) Since when do we adopt the Arab narrative that explains the murder of Jews in retaliation for actions carried out by Jews? And since when do we see ourselves as partners in the responsibility for such acts of murder? [Eldad reacts to former defense minister Moshe Yaalon’s recent statement that incitement by right-wing Israeli ministers led to Jewish extremists murdering the Dawabsheh family and doing other acts of terror against Arabs and against churches and mosques, which in turn led to Palestinians murdering the Henkin family in revenge. See September 11, 2017 News Nosh. - OH]
Right under the prime minister’s nose (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) The decision to indict Sara Netanyahu without even mentioning her husband appears to be a consistent policy adopted by the State Attorney’s Office: When it comes to housework, the husband has no responsibility. He didn’t see, he didn’t know.
16 Years After 9/11: Global Terror More Complex, More Widespread (Anat Hochberg-Marom, Haaretz+) In the years since 9/11, Al-Qaida has adopted a new policy of building social infrastructures while still preaching global jihad, that could pose an even bigger problem than ISIS.
Much ado about a meme (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) Yair Netanyahu shared a tasteless cartoon. But was it any worse than the Haaretz content that regularly gets picked up by white supremacist, pro-BDS, and Islamist websites?
Dear patriotic friends on the right, this time the Prime Minister's son was wrong (Lilach Sigan, Maariv) Some of the right-wingers took all the justifications that were heard against the extremists on the left, and turned them into legitimization to do exactly the same - because they started. [Sigan refers to justifications for Yair Netanyahu's anti-Semitic cartoon - OH]
Distress of Gaza’s Civilians Forces Hamas to Become More Flexible (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Terror organization finally agrees to pay for some of Strip’s electricity, signaling shift in policy
New Hamas leadership cosying up to Tehran (Elior Levy, Yedioth/Ynet) Half a year after Hamas pumped new blood into its leadership, the Palestinian terror organization is deepening its strategic ties with the Iran-led Shiite axis and establishing a new foothold in Lebanon, while simultaneously maintaining relations with the Egypt-led Sunni axis.
Why Israelis Don’t Really Want to Replace the Government (Nehemia Shtrasler, Haaretz+) Four words: It's the economy, stupid.
The adverse effect of toppling statues (Zalman Shoval, Israel Hayom) Removing statues to calm racial tensions can be counterproductive. The best way to make ensure that the memory of a controversial leader remains alive is to write books and not erect statues.
Blood brothers? Why illiberal nationalists like Gorka are at home in Netanyahu's Israel (Naomi Paiss, Haaretz+) The common ground between the self-declared 'pit-bull' for Trump and Israel's right-wing government goes even further than Islamophobia, rejection of Palestinian rights and demonization of the left.
New lines in the sand (Elliott Abrams, Israel Hayom) Israel is trying to establish some ‎limits to acceptable Iranian behavior.‎ A U.S. statement of approval and support for Israeli self-defense could help avoid a wider conflict.
Why Is Alt-right Favorite and Academic Fraud Seb Gorka Starring in an Israeli Counter-terror Conference? (Mia Bloom, Haaretz) He's out the White House, but Sebastian Gorka is still the same anti-Muslim fearmonger with primitive and misleading ideas that still pose a threat to American values and social cohesion.
Because of the pressure: For Netanyahu, everything is legitimate, even ridiculing Barak's diction (Dr. Revital Amiran, Maariv) The battles between the prime minister and the former defense minister (Moshe Yaalon) show that Netanyahu doesn’t even think about Avi Gabbai and Yair Lapid, but he actually paves the way for the opposition to power.
Iran Judging Rohani on Issues Like Soccer and Concerts, Not Nuclear Deal (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) These protests may look somewhat anecdotal, incapable of being a real threat to Rohani or bringing about any real change, but they are the result of the general atmosphere of dissatisfaction.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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