News Nosh 9.14.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday September 14, 2017
 
Quote of the day:
“We don’t perform in the Territories. It doesn’t matter the distance, I don’t enter the Territories. Not even into Jerusalem’s Old City. And why? I don’t go to places where they don’t like me. And the Arabs don’t like me and justly so. Because I am an occupier. So I’m not (going) there.”
Comedian Gavri Banai reveals his political views in an interview to Maariv.*

You Must Be Kidding: 
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan is leading a move to exempt Palestinians from a High Court ruling giving prisoners more cell space.**

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The revolution of the combat soldiers
  • To restore to its original splendor // Chen Artzi-Sror
  • A world starlight preserve - Ramon Crater will be declared one of 54 world sights where it is prohibited to turn on lights at night
  • Following interview to Yedioth Ahronoth: Eli Cohen was fired from Beitar (Jerusalem soccer team) - Owners were furious about the coach’s statement that he would not bring a Muslim to the team
  • Ari Harow, the Jewish billionaire and half a million shekels
  • The female agent that brought about the catching of 25 pedophiles
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Expose - (Ehud) Barak, the Swiss bank - and the connection to Iran
  • “A top combat soldier is the best, bro”: The definition of combat is changing
  • The biggest security oversight at the shopping malls
  • The resignation of MK Guetta: “It’s not final”
  • Exclusive: The next battle of Avinoam
  • Due to the overcrowding in the prisons: The sentence threshold, which requires imprisonment could be raised to nine months

News Summary:
Shas rabbis forced an ultra-Orthodox MK to resign after he attended his gay nephew’s wedding to a man, the Israeli army has changed the definition of combat soldiers and is giving incentives to those who join frontline units, while Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that all 18-year-old men must go to the army or serve in national service and that he won’t support any laws that try to bypass the High Court ruling canceling an exemption for ultra-Orthodox making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Also two noteworthy reports came out of the High Court yesterday. The Court criticized the state for secretly burying the bodies of four Palestinian assailants while a court case over their release to their families was taking place. "Is it correct for our country, as a Jewish and democratic state that is proud of being a state that operates by the light of moral values, to act as it does in the matter of returning the bodies of terrorists?" asked High Court Justice Yitzhak Danziger after the State revealed for the first time that the bodies were already buried. “With all due respect to political considerations, bodies have been returned in the past. Questions about how to return, when to return, how to make the funerals and what restrictions can be imposed on the funerals in terms of the number of participants can be understood, but there has been a change. In my opinion, the State of Israel needs to give great thought to whether this is appropriate and correct." Maariv gave the Justice’s criticism, while Ynet only noted they were buried.

Even as it criticized the State for 'inappropriate' actions, the High Court made a ruling overturning a state decision - 11 years after it was implemented. The court ruled that it was unjust of the State to expel from Jerusalem four Palestinian Jerusalemites just because they were elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council on the Hamas ticket. Today, two of the four are living in Ramallah and two are imprisoned by Israel without charges. [NOTE: One of those imprisoned, Sheikh Mohammed Abu Tir, left his home and moved to Kufr Aqab, on the edge of Ramallah, beyond the Qalandiya military checkpoint, but Israel said that wasn’t far enough and he later moved to Ramallah before he was detained without charges.]

MK Yigal Guetta left the ultra-Orthodox Shas party after its rabbis demanded his resignation for attending his nephew’s same-sex wedding. Guetta’s sister, Suzi Ben-Zvi, told Maariv she would no longer vote for Shas after what the “righteous from Shas did to my brother.” Chen Artzi-Sror, a feminist religious journalist, wrote in an Op-Ed on Yedioth’s front page: “MK Yigal Guetta, you are so naive. How could you have dared to be caught on such a serious transgression such as ‘ahavat hinam’ (love for your fellow human beings without expectation of anything in return). How you fell like that, and went be celebrate in the happiness of your beloved nephew who chose to live with a man. You couldn’t organize a more minor transgression, such as 'Do not steal' or 'Bribery do not take'? Shas has a clear standard: Bribery and theft are transgressions, but they can be absolved, but the (Shas) legislative body is not capable of accepting a sensitive and honest man…” [NOTE: A couple of Shas MKs have been jailed for accepting bribes, including its leader, Arieh Deri, who sat in jail, and today leads the party again.]

Following a drop in army age men joining combat units, the army has decided to give them incentives to become combat soldiers. Infantry and elite combat units are now considered ’Spearhead’ combat soldiers and get higher salaries and other added benefits. Those who go to the elite combat units will have to serve much longer, but will also get paid-for university degrees, among other things.

The ultra-Orthodox accused the High Court of making the ruling nixing the law exempting them from the draft in order topple the government. Shas leader Arieh Deri said he and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu have agreed to push a draft exemption bill that would bypass the High Court.

However, it appears not everyone in the coalition government will back that bill. Lieberman responded saying that “Anyone who has reached age 18 must enlist or go to national service…I don’t understand why an ultra-Orthodox can’t serve in the army. If not in the army as in the national service. The same goes if he’s Muslim or Christian (Arab).”
 
Quick Hits:
  • Police chief: Milchan investigation in London was important (for corruption Case 1000) - Major General Roni Alsheich gave a rare interview and said  the questioning of businessman Arnon Milchan was important for Case 1000, in which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu received gifts from tycoons. About two weeks ago, Channel 10 reported that the police were considering investigating Netanyahu on suspicion of receiving bribes from Milchan. On the storm over the metal detectors placed on the Temple Mount: "We objected to installing them and strove for other solutions…We implemented the political decision. After they were installed, the Shin Bet recommended dismantling them.” In the Channel 10 interview, Alsheikh said the questioning of Milchan was important for that case. (Maariv)
  • Ari Harow allegedly receives kickback from Jewish businessman - Just two days after leaving Prime Minister's Office and founding own consulting company, Ari Harow receives NIS 545,000 payment from Jewish businessman for supposed 'consulting' deposited to company's account; after failing to deliver, businessman asks for money back, claims it was a loan. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Senior lawyer close to Netanyahu questioned on tax evasion - The Israel Tax Authority is reportedly investigating the lawyer on suspicion of tax evasion, carried out via Romanian bank accounts that he failed to declare. (Ynet)
  • Netanyahu vows to lead Likud to 'big' victory in 2019 elections - Addressing rumors he intends to announce his resignation as pressure mounts over a string of corruption probes, Netanyahu dismisses them as ‘nonsense,' says support for him and he wife ‘never been so strong.’ (Ynet)
  • Ex-PM Barak linked to bank seeking to invest in Iran - After leaving politics, Ehud Barak became an adviser to Swiss bank Julius Bär's CEO • Bank's employees took part in the Europe-Iran Forum which was designed to properly prepare and evaluate the post-sanctions trade framework and investment opportunities. (Israel Hayom)
  • **Israel Wants to Exempt Palestinians From Court Ruling Giving Prisoners More Cell Space - Israeli public security minister looking to differentiate between 'criminals' and Palestinian 'security' prisoners. (Haaretz+)
  • Rights group blasts Israeli banks for settlement expansion - Report by Human Rights Watch urges banks not to provide loans and mortgages for construction in West Bank settlements; HRW further urges shareholders to 'ensure their business relationships do not contribute to or benefit from' human rights violations. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Israel Soccer Official Fired for Saying He 'Wouldn’t Accept a Muslim Player on the Team' - Beitar Jerusalem has never had an Arab player, and in the one season it hired a pair of Chechen Muslim players, hardcore fans reacted with violence. (Haaretz and i24)
  • Palestinian Authority Backtracks on Attempt to Gain Membership in UN Tourism Body - Senior Israeli officials note the Palestinian pulled their initiative to join the UN's tourism agency due to American pressure stemming from Abbas' promise to Kushner and Greenblatt. (Haaretz)
  • Israel's navy drills for surprise Hezbollah assault - As IDF continues 11-day drill to bolster preparedness for war on Israel’s northern frontier, the navy simulates countering surprise attacks waged by Nasrallah's forces, envisioning scenarios involving jet skis and small motorboats carrying Hezbollah fighters, divers and suicide bombers. (Ynet)
  • New Israel Fund sues Adelson-owned Israel Hayom daily for libel - The Sheldon Adelson-owned paper said the left-wing NGO took part in financing a party for ex-lawmaker Basel Ghattas, who’s serving two years for smuggling phones to Palestinian security prisoners. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel Hayom honored by Tel Aviv Stock Exchange - On occasion of leading newspaper's 10th anniversary, owners Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson ring opening bell together with chief editor, publisher and CEO. Editor-in-Chief Boaz Bismuth describes Israel Hayom as "safest media stock" available. (Israel Hayom)
  • West Bank leader encouraged establishment of illegal outpost for vegans ** - Members stem mostly from a Facebook group advancing veganism, and members of the Anastasia community, a vegan movement originating in Russia. 'This gives new meaning to the phrase banana republic.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Israel makes it increasingly difficult for Palestinians' foreign spouses to stay in West Bank - Ever more frequent demands by the Israeli authorities in the West Bank are forcing these women to leave and reenter the territories. It’s to urge the families to emigrate, critics say. (Haaretz+)
  • The clans are opposed and thousands of students have not been studying since the beginning of the year - Thousands of kindergarten-to-twelfth grade students in Kufr Aqab in East Jerusalem remain at home because no education network is willing to operate the school. The reason: the opposition of two powerful clans in the village which own the two buildings of the school, and who are close to the former operator of the school, who was dismissed due to suspicion of embezzlement. (Maariv)
  • Israeli Councilman Arrested on Suspicion of Tampering With Municipal Bids - The municipality official was allegedly involved in helping bids for the city’s transportation services, special needs education. (Haaretz+)
  • Posthumous book offers rare glimpse into Shimon Peres' life - "No Room for Small Dreams" is released in time to mark the first anniversary of the death of the former Israeli president • The book charts Peres' encounters with world leaders and fellow Israeli icons such as Golda Meir, Moshe Dayan and Yitzhak Rabin. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel's High Court Orders Words 'To Marry' Removed From Ad for Same-sex Couples’ Rights - The court held that, since same-sex marriage is a controversial subject in Israel, the nonprofit behind the ad will have to content itself with supporting 'the right to love.’ (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • 77% of U.S. Jews Disapprove of President Donald Trump, National Survey Finds - American Jewish Committee poll finds that American Jews are concerned by anti-Semitism at home and abroad and overwhelmingly disapprove of the Orthodox monopoly in Israel. (Haaretz)
  • MKs: Impose anti-boycott law on groups undercutting Israel - After finance minister penalizes Amnesty International, head of right-wing group Im Tirtzu lauds decision as "important step in Israel's struggle against those who seek to undermine it from within."  "Sadly, this is only the tip of the iceberg," he says.  (Israel Hayom)
  • Academic boycott conference in Ireland rejects anti-BDS speakers - 'Freedom of speech and higher education: the case of the academic boycott of Israel' conference kicks off in Dublin's Trinity College, including prominent BDS figures such as Steven Salaita, who called Israel supporters 'awful human beings'; three researchers wishing to present opposing point of view rejected from participating. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • U.S. neo-Nazi: 'I'm Defending Yair Netanyahu Because He Stood Up Against the Jews' - Daily Stormer owner Andrew Anglin tells an Israeli TV channel that he stands with the prime minister's son after labeling his anti-Semitic site the 26-year-old's '#1 Fansite.’ (Haaretz)
  • Egypt defends human rights record after criticism from UN official - UN human rights chief said Egypt government using state of emergency to justify 'systematic silencing of civil society.’ (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Textbook featuring Israeli flag raises ire in Egypt - Study book for eight graders shows the Israeli flag instead of the Palestinian one on a map of the Middle East, causing the Education Ministry in the country to order the removal of the controversial page from the book and bar it from further distribution while it investigates the matter. (Ynet)
  • Accused of war crimes in Yemen, Saudi Arabia sets up panel and clears itself of wrongdoing - Human Rights Watch accused Saudi Arabia on Tuesday of war crimes, saying air strikes that hit family homes and a grocery store were carried out either deliberately or recklessly. (Haaretz)
  • Apparent Crackdown on Dissent in Saudi Arabia Widens - Activists say more clerics, intellectuals have been detained. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Saudi Arabia Urges People to Monitor Each Other on Social Media and Report Critics - Ahead of protests against royal family, Saudi Arabia allegedly arrests activists, asks citizens to report social media posts 'harming the state's reputation.’ (Haaretz)
  • 100 Days Later Qatar-Saudi Crisis Weakens Everyone Involved, With No Resolution in Sight - Moody's Investors Service reports the persistent tensions between Qatar and its neighbors will have the biggest impact on Qatar and the island-nation of Bahrain, but is a negative for all countries involved. (Haaretz)
  • Tunisian plan to improve inheritance, marriage rules for women rattles Muslim traditionalists - Mainstream Muslim clerics almost universally see the inheritance rules as enshrined in the Quran, Islam's holy book, and consider the rules on marriage to be equally unquestionable in Shariah. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Report: Russian defense minister, Syrian president meet in Damascus - Sergei Shoigu meets with Bashar Assad on Kremlin's orders. They reportedly discuss de-escalation efforts opposite rebel groups across Syria and the need to "strengthen efforts to combat terrorism in all Syrian territory until its utter annihilation." (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • History of the Syria war at risk of being lost to the ages thanks to YouTube - YouTube is trying to reign in violent content, but the move could have some unintended consequence. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • EU anti-terror chief: ISIS still has 2,500 European fighters - Gilles de Kerchove says jihadi group used to have about 5,000 European fighters in Iraq and Syria, but 1,500 have returned home and 1,000 have been killed. U.S. estimates Islamic State has up to 13,000 fighters overall left in the Middle East. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Film About Jewish Director of 'The Dybbuk' Wins Big at Venice Film Festival - Documentary film traces the life of Moshe Waks, who was born into a poor Jewish blacksmith’s family and went on to become Hollywood director who made over 40 films. (JTA, Haaretz)


Features:
'My Color Is Beautiful and Strong': A Fierce Takedown of Racism, Courtesy of Ethiopian-Israeli Girls
A group of Ethiopian-Israeli teens who penned a searing rap opens up about racist teachers, facing discrimination and finding solidarity with Palestinians. (Meital Shapiro, Haaretz+)
Son follows in ill father's footsteps aboard INS Tarshish
Eli Koren served on INS Tarshish in the Israeli Navy when he was struck by debilitating illness, rendering him paralyzed; his son, Omer, is now set to serve on same ship; the pair board it together for Omer's graduation. (Yoav Zitun, Ynet)
Before Netanyahu's Cigars: Israeli Leaders' Hedonistic Acts Through the Ages
'I don’t know of any Israeli leader who wasn’t tainted by power,' historian Yossi Goldstein says. (Ofer Aderet, Haaretz+)

Commentary/Analysis:
Yes, in Israel We Elect a Family (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) It's a mistake to only hold Prime Minister Netanyahu accountable for his son Yair's behavior. There’s no division of labor within the ruling family and no defined roles.
Why are right-wing journalists defending corruption? (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) Netanyahu didn’t create the norm of benefits at the expense of wealthy people or the state. He simply took it to new heights, allegedly of course. The journalists defending him on a daily basis have lost their decency and common sense.
The Goal: To Weaken Israel's Supreme Court (Haaretz Editorial) Ultra-Orthodox parties are joining the assault on Israel’s already-fragile democratic institutions after it struck down the law exempting ultra-Orthodox Jews from the draft.
End the saga: it is time to leave Vaanunu alone (Ran Adelist, Maariv) The State of Israel does not appear to have suffered any security damage due to the revelations of the nuclear spy, Mordechai Vaanunu. Perhaps we even gained a strong image. Now that he has finished serving another sentence, it is time to stop chasing him.
Throwing Decency – and Jews – Under the Bus, Yair Netanyahu Becomes neo-Nazis' Newest Surrogate (Nancy Goldstein, Haaretz) Yair has just shown the real family values the Trumps and Netanyahu's share.
Israel’s missed opportunity with Sunni states (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) Israel had a golden opportunity to reach agreements with region's Sunni countries on future of Middle East and Israel’s role in it. Unfortunately, someone waited too long, and now with Syrian President Assad's surprising survival, and Iran and Hezbollah's growing strength, Israel is recording yet another diplomatic failure.
Suddenly Israelis Care About Equality (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) We want only one thing – ultra-Orthodox men in uniform. That will make our society fair and our camp pure.
Who is running this show? (Yehuda Shlezinger, Israel Hayom) Perhaps the nature of the draft law should be decided by the country's 8 million citizens, rather than the nine judges of the High Court of Justice.
En Route to Separating Religion and State in Israel (Shuki Friedman, Haaretz+) One of the Chief Rabbinate’s two significant monopolies – kashrut, the other being marriage – has now been broken.
Haredi draft ruling: High Court at the public’s service (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) Court’s decision to strike down law allowing mass ultra-Orthodox exemptions from military service is an important milestone against political cynicism in which a minority repeatedly prevents State of Israel from being a slightly more decent and civilized country.
Israel's High Court: Bull in the China Shop (Israel Cohen, Haaretz+) If anger towards the High Court has until now mainly come from religious Zionists and rightist activists, now the ultra-Orthodox may join them.
High Court shows military service is at the heart of Israeli consensus by nixing ultra-Orthodox exemption (Revital Hovel, Haaretz+) The ruling is the latest in a string of challenges the High Court has made to the government, showing it has more moxie than some have thought.
Civilian Hardships in Gaza Force Hamas to Become More Pragmatic (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Terror organization finally agrees to pay for some of Strip’s electricity, signaling shift in policy.
Why Mexico's Jews are embracing Netanyahu, even though he endorsed Trump's wall (Alan Grabinsky, Haaretz+) In January, Bibi implied that Trump’s envisioned wall was a good thing. Now on an Israeli prime minister’s first visit to Latin America, Netanyahu gets a chance to make amends.
 
Interviews:
*Gavri Banai shoots: "I will not perform in the Territories, I won’t enter there"
Star of the comedian group ‘Hagashash Hachiver’ reveals his political views in an interview in Ma'ariv Weekend: "Everything must be returned, including East Jerusalem." On Miri Regev: “She’s simply shameful.” (Interviewed by Yaakov Bar-On in Maariv)
GB: “Return everything, but really everything, including E. Jerusalem," says Banai in an interview ahead of his joint performance with his two sons.
GB: “We don’t perform in the Territories. It doesn’t matter the distance, I don’t enter the Territories. Not even into Jerusalem’s Old City. And why? I don’t go to places where they don’t like me. And the Arabs don’t like me and justly so. Because I am an occupier. So I’m not there.”
Interviewer: So, what do you say? We need to return everything?
GB: “Yes, everything. For peace I would be willing to return even East Jerusalem.”
Interviewer: Also Jaffa (in Israel)?
GB: “There’s a moment when you said ‘Only this far.’ If in the past they spoke about going back to the ’48 borders, now the Arabs are satisfied with the ’67 borders and they don’t demand Jaffa and such. We need to accept this. If not yes, there will never be peace. If you want to achieve this, you have to end things. If not, there would be no end to it. When they say five minutes from Kfar Saba, it's also three minutes from Qalqiliya. You have to think about the other side as well. Enough scaring us. This is a country of intimidation. And Bibi does not stop intimidating; Today on Iran, tomorrow I don’t know what.”
On Culture Minister Miri Regev, Banai says: "Leave me alone. I do not want to talk about her. Shameful. "
Interviewer: You once called her a "beast.”
GB: ”I did’nt know they were recording me. I don’t usually talk like that."
Interviewer: Did you regret it?
GB: ”I regretted saying what I said. But Miri Regev is making every effort to prove that I was right. As a not so little trickster, she knows what she’s doing, she does it on purpose and is constantly in the news and on television.”
Interviewer: Actually, what do you have against her?
"Miri Regev keeps talking that she supports the Mizrahim and does the opposite of what she is talking about. She is making an ethnic issue out of the Mizrachi ethnicities. That's what I have against her. "
 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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