News Nosh 9.13.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday September 13, 2017
 
Quote of the day:
"If the American Civil War were being fought today, there's every chance that the Israel of Benjamin Netanyahu would side with the South."
--Haaretz+ commentator Bradley Burston looks at the people who support Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.*

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Draft order - High Court canceled the draft exemption; Ultra-Orthodox: “This is a declaration of war”
  • Not by force // Yehuda Meshi-Zahav
  • Holiday // Ben-Dror Yemini
  • The X generation - iPhone X
  • Where are the cabinet members? Alsmost all of them avoided the (military) exercise in the north
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
The High Court sparks political political shock waves after ruling that all ultra-Orthodox men must serve in the military, (pushing aside an equally shocking ruling ending the ultra-Orthodox monopoly on kashrut,) a top Israeli general said the Kurdish militant organization, the PKK, isn't terrorist, and the Israeli film academy did not invite controversial Culture Minister Miri Regev to the Israeli Oscars making top stories in the Hebrew newspapers today. Also in the news, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave his blessing to a right-wing plan to annex the West Bank and encourage Palestinians to emigrate.

The High Court struck down the 2015 law giving ultra-Orthodox draft exemptions from military service, and  ultra-Orthodox called it ‘a war on Judaism.’ The justices said the present law perpetuated inequality and they gave the government one year to pass a new law or draft all of them. Despite the scathing criticism, the assessment is that the ultra-Orthodox parties won’t try to bring down the government coalition that they are a part of.

Meanwhile, another High Court ruling may put an end to the Chief Rabbinate’s kashrut monopoly. Now restaurants call themselves kosher without an official certificate from the Rabbinate.

Speaking at a conference at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where he is currently a military research fellow, Israeli General Yair Golan made waves when he said that he doesn’t consider the Kurdistan Workers' Party, a Kurdish resistance organization known as the PKK, to be a terrorist organization. "From my personal point of view the PKK is not a terrorist organization, that's how I see it," Golan said. "When you look at Iran in the east, when you look at the instability in the region, a stable and unified Kurdish entity in the middle of this swamp, is not a bad idea." His words were quickly rejected by Netanyahu, who although visiting Argentina at the moment and focusing on Iran, felt it necessary to release a statement. (In Argentina, Netanyahu said that the nuclear deal with Iran was "bad" and that the U.S. should "either fix it or cancel it.”) The US, Europe and, of course, Turkey, thousands of whose soldiers and citizens have been killed by the PKK, label the organization as terrorist. The timing of Golan’s statement was sensitive: This month the Kurdish government in Iraqi Kurdistan is holding a referendum on independence, which the US and all the neighboring states oppose, fearing that independence will destabilize the region. This isn’t the first time Golan made waves. At a Holocaust memorial ceremony in 2016, he said that he was worried that “…the revolting processes that occurred in Europe in general, and particularly in Germany, back then – 70, 80 and 90 years ago – and finding signs of them here among us today in 2016.”

But what the papers did not mention was that, logically speaking, by ‘rejecting the terrorist’ label for the PKK, which seeks an independent state through military means, Golan is also rejecting the terrorist label for Palestinian militant resistance organizations. Indeed, Netanyahu hinted at that when he said: "Israel objects to the PKK and considers it a terrorist organization, unlike Turkey, which support a different terrorist organization: Hamas.”

At a conference Tuesday of the far-right-wing National Union faction, which has MKs in the Habayit Hayehudi party, hundreds of members approved a plan to annex the West Bank and facilitating the emigration of Palestinian residents or allowing them to remain but without voting rights. The plan was proposed by controversial MK Bezalel Smotrich. And Netanyahu sent a videotaped message of support to the conference, Haaretz+ reported.
 
Quick Hits:
  • Submarine affair: Circle of suspects grows as former intel minister's aides questioned - Associates of Energy Minister Steinitz investigated are his brother-in-law Gary Hakim and former adviser Aviad Shai. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Jerusalem Municipality canceled a panel on women because one of the participants had previously worked for B'Tselem - The festive event was scheduled to take place last night (Tuesday) marking Deputy Mayor Hagit Moshe start as chairwoman of the municipality’s Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women. But Moshe decided to cancel the event after learning that participant Adv. Nasreen Alian of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel had worked in the past as B’Tselem’s spokesperson. Moshe: "Whoever defames IDF soldiers will not receive a stage with us.” (Yedioth/Ynet Hebrew)
  • Israel lagging behind OECD in education, report says - New report published by Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development shows while Israeli teachers now paid more, they are still behind OECD average; Israeli classrooms among most crowded in OECD. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israel Education Ministry Approves Higher-cost Preschools for Rich - The maximum a parent pays is supposed to be 1,000 shekels, but ‘exceptions’ are being granted for up to 3,000. (Haaretz)
  • Great chefs of Europe and the world to descend on Israel - At this year’s Round Tables festival, not only fine dining but also more casual cuisine will be featured – not to mention a farm-to-table twist. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel delivers demolition warrants to Palestinian families in East Jerusalem - Jerusalem city inspectors stormed the Issawiya neighborhood under Israeli police protection and posted demolition warrants, stop-work orders, and court summonses on the walls of several structures, under the pretext that they were built without the nearly impossible-to-obtain Israeli permits. (Maan)
  • Israel cuts off water to Palestinian village for a week - Ein al-Beida is one of only a few Palestinian villages in the Jordan Valley area of the West Bank that are even connected to the water grid. (+972mag)
  • Israel working to thwart Palestinian bid to join UN tourism body - Foreign Ministry: ‘Palestine’ is not a state. Palestine pushes Arab League to block Israeli bid at UN Security Council. (JPost, Maariv and Maan)
  • Israeli forces confiscate cattle, water tanks from Jordan Valley community - Israeli Civil Administration staff accompanied by army forces confiscated a number of cows belonging to Jamal Daraghmeh in Um al-Ubor village, as well as dozens of water tanks, which "are badly needed for the local community who live off farming and herding.” (Maan)
  • Israeli authorities demolish parts of Palestinian cemetery in Jerusalem - Israeli bulldozers escorted by officers of Israel's Nature And Parks Authority demolished the western section of the al-Shuhada, or ‘martyrs’, cemetery, which is an extension of the al-Yusifiya cemetery located at the Lion’s Gate entrance of the Old City. (Maan)
  • Racist, anti-Arab graffiti found among damaged Palestinian property in Nablus - Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said the graffiti was found in the al-Mahjar area of Nablus, and that Palestinian property in the area also sustained minor damages. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian with rubber bullet in Tuqu clashes - Locals told Ma'an that clashes broke out at the entrance to Tuqu village in the West Bank between young Palestinians and Israeli troops, who fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets at the stone throwers. (Maan)
  • Palestinians protest in Bethlehem, demand Israel release slain Palestinian bodies - Dozens of Palestinians in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem took to the streets on Tuesday and demanded that Israel return the bodies of slain Palestinians to their families, as the Israeli Supreme Court is expected to discuss on Wednesday whether to release Palestinian remains that have continued to be withheld by the Israeli state. (Maan)
  • 12 years after Gaza pull-out: 'no life, no work, high unemployment' - Hamas marks 12 years since the Gaza Disengagement and its subsequent rise to power, stating their ‘resistance’ to Israel remains the best solution; despite egregious humanitarian crisis in the strip and inhabitants' disillusionment with Hamas, Gazans face much of the same. (Ynet)
  • World Bank calls for steps to bolster Palestinian economy - New report says removal of Israeli restriction in Gaza and the West Bank, despite the security concerns Israel often cites, 'is the most important factor' in boosting their economies. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Russia urges Syria not to respond to Israel's attack - Senior Russian official reveals Moscow advised Assad not to respond to Israel's alleged attack on its state's Scientific Studies and Research Center, reassuring that if Iran increases its efforts to establish a foothold in the Golan, Russia will make sure to put a stop to it. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Trump administration does not want Israel to give back extra military aid - U.S. defense assistance to Israel to remain at approximately $3.8 billion per year, despite reports saying some want Israel to pay back extra aid. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Qatar Trying to Arrange Meeting With Jewish American Leaders as Part of PR Push - 'They need to stop funding Hamas,' says ZOA chief, who refused meeting with gas-rich emirate, currently paying to improve its relations with U.S. Jews. (Haaretz)
  • Oldest evidence of food storage ritual: 7,200-year-old model of silo found in Israel - Why else would the ancient occupants of Tel Tsaf have created an intricate, nonfunctional pottery miniature of their grain storage facility, archaeologists ask. (Haaretz)
  • Israeli aid group saving lives in Caribbean island hit by Hurricane Irma - 'Every patient or resident that sees us says "Thank you Israel, you Israelis got here first." It's a great honor,' says Fernand Cohen-Tannoudji, the head of the delegation from Israeli organization Rescuers Without Borders to the island of Saint Martin. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Jimmy Carter: Trump Israeli-Palestinian Peace Efforts Are 'Practically Hopeless' - Adding to his indictments of Trump, Carter singled out Benjamin Netanyahu for having 'no intention at all' to bring about a two-state solution. (Haaretz)


Features:
Pepe the Jewish Frog: The Israelis Weaponizing 'Alt-right' Symbols
And how Prime Minister Netanyahu's own son helped them do it. (Judy Maltz, Haaretz+)

Book Review Nicole Krauss's New Novel: If Kafka Met Dante in an Israeli Desert
Two New York Jews adrift in Israel seek answers through Kafka, kabbalah and the Tel Aviv Hilton in Krauss's eagerly awaited new novel, 'Forest Dark.' In narratives paralleling and playing on each other, the two protagonists inhabit the Israeli-Palestinian landscape in a way none of her novels have to date, and they experience a kind of Kafkasque metamorphosis. (Ilene Prusher, Haaretz+)

Commentary/Analysis:
*If America's Civil War Were Today, Netanyahu's Israel Would Side With the South (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) There was a time when Israelis joked, half in hope and half in reservation, that this country was becoming the 51st Of the United States. No longer. Now it feels more like the 12th state - of the Confederacy.
Russia Seeks Hamas-Fatah Reconciliation in Order to Save Assad, Weaken Iran (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The only player capable of working a diplomatic miracle, Moscow's regional involvement is noteworthy and proves Palestinian reconciliation is high on its agenda.
Could Forcing ultra-Orthodox Jews to Enlist in the Israeli Army Lead to Netanyahu's Collapse? (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) Ruling is a fantasy for the left to curry favor with the public and for the right to finally enact a law to bypass the justices.
There are no elections in sight: the ultra-Orthodox will not bring down the government over the High Court draft ruling (Ben Caspit, Maariv) Within ultra-Orthodox society there is a quiet revolution in which obsessive-compulsive attitudes can harm it. In any event, until the golden path is found, everyone will continue to enjoy a seat in the current government, perhaps apart from Netanyahu.
Milchan and Netanyahu: Close friends in high places (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) Arnon Milchan isn’t the kind of billionaire who showers his acquaintances with expensive gifts. It’s not in his nature; it’s not the way he behaves. The gifts had to be requested.
The Israeli Army Needs to Draft the ultra-Orthodox, for Its Own Sake and Society’s (Amos Harel, Haaretz+)
With general enlistment rates falling and combat duty almost volunteer, inequality in ‘sharing the burden’ poses a real danger.
The art of public diplomacy (Ariel Bolstein, Israel Hayom) The major success of a recent festival in London proves that Israel can counter the BDS movement when it comes to the battle for the hearts and minds of the silent majority.
Like the Trumps, Netanyahu Jr lies down with the dogs of America's anti-Semitic alt-right (Nancy Goldstein, Haaretz) The Netanyahu camp has been weaponizing bigotry and fomenting ethno-nationalism since Donald Trump was just a wee speck of a pussy-grabber, a mere dot on the political map. Now, they're ‘total bros’
Israel is carrying out dangerous stunts in Syria, but in the meantime it is succeeding (Nadav Haetzni, Maariv) We think of the Israeli acrobatics being displayed in Syria lightly, but this is an achievement not to be taken for granted, which is succeeding greatly. What's more, the alternatives are much more dangerous.
Policy Required: It is doubtful whether the Knesset will find an alternative solution to the draft law (Attorney Yechiel Gutman, Maariv) When David Ben-Gurion gave a draft exemption to several hundred ultra-Orthodox Jews, he had to have understood then that these would become much more. Now is the time to ignore political whims and work for equality.
State Religious Schools Have Gone Mad (Idit Shafran Gittleman, Haaretz) Pupils received books with material explaining things like when a Jewish soldier can sleep with a non-Jewish female captive, and how to demand something from non-Jews that belongs to us.
Right failed test in its response to Yair Netanyahu’s meme (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) The Zionist left and the sane right should present a clear and united stance when it comes to manifestations of anti-Semitism: Neither forgiveness nor understanding, and definitely not justification. But instead of condemning the prime minister’s son over his Facebook post, the Right is pointing an accusing finger at the Left.
Whether in Israel or the West, the Left Doesn't Want to Win (Tzvia Greenfield, Haaretz+) If the Israeli left were really interested in changing the government and ending the conflict with the Palestinians, it wouldn’t strive so hard to dismiss other options.
Cooking the books? Not quite (Akiva Bigman, Israel Hayom) The sums reported for food expenses at the Prime Minister's Residence are reasonable. And regardless, his wife Sara Netanyahu was not involved in accounting matters.
Money Should Not Talk in Israeli State Preschools (Haaretz Editorial) The Education Ministry allowing public preschools to charge parents another $848 annually will further entrench the gap between education for families of means and for the rest.
Molad institute continues producing biased 'research' (Yoaz Hendel, Yedioth/Ynet) Priding itself on being a serious research institute, Molad continues to produce studies based on so-called facts and drawing predetermined conclusions. Its recent study about settlements being a security burden on Israeli ignores all high-ranking security officials saying exact opposite.
 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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