News Nosh 9.19.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday September 19, 2017

Note: Due to the coming three weeks of Jewish High Holidays, News Nosh will be available intermittently. Tomorrow, Rosh Hashana Eve, a truncated version will be sent. News Nosh will then be on holiday Thursday and Friday September 21-22, on Erev Yom Kippur September 29, and during Sukkot October 4-6. Happy Jewish New Year!
 
Number of the day:
5.6
--Ahead of the Jewish New Year, Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics released the latest numbers about the state, revealing that most of Israel is uninhabited. In all of the State of Israel, i.e. inside the Green Line, only 5.6% is built up area - and that number is particularly significant in light of the country's housing crisis and Israel's construction of homes for Jews in the West Bank.*

Quote of the Day:
"This legislative act of a Basic Law is nationalist, colonialist and discriminatory and it will be an integral part of Israel’s constitution. In these legislative acts, Israel declares, in its constitution, that it is a state in which the Jewish people are entitled to a higher status, and to the inferiority of other peoples who are not members of this higher status. Does that remind you of something?"
—In a biting Facebook post, Israel’s former attorney general, Michael Ben-Yair, warned against the passing of the right-wing proposed Jewish Nation-State Law and against the plan by far-right-wing Habayit Hayehudi ministers to add a Basic Law called ’Legislation,’ which would limit the High Court from revoking Knesset-passed laws.**


Breaking News:
Israel Shoots Down Iranian-made Hezbollah Drone Infiltrating From Syria
Military fires Patriot missile after drone enters Israel-Syria demilitarized zone, military says. Reports of Israeli strike near Syria-Lebanon border. (Haaretz and Ynet)

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The map of Attention Deficit DIsorder - Expose: Rise in percentage of children diagnosed with ADD
  • “We agree about Iran, but it will take time” - Netanyahu after meeting with Trump
  • 8,473,000 Israelis
  • Father’s heroism - Father of 15 drowned saving his daughter
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • After meeting with President Trump, Prime Minister: “There is a clear US interest to amend the agreement”
  • Exclusive: Maj. Gen. Heyman: “Iranian militias who intervene in our issues in the north - will be destroyed”
  • Security network - A rare peek into the Police’s cyber unit
  • Tragedy: Father of 16 children jumped into the Jordan River in order to save his daughter - and drowned to death
  • For the first time: Weapons license not just for ex-members of elite IDF units
  • Historic agreement: State compensating cancer-stricken employees of Dimona nuclear reactor with 78 million shekels
  • State Prosecutor appealed against release of murderer Zvi Gur

News Summary:
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared that US President Donald Trump is interested in amending the Iran nuclear deal, while Israeli and Iranian generals exchanged warnings and a father of 15 drowned and died in the Jordan River trying to rescue his daughter making top stories in the Hebrew newspapers. Also high in the news, was the first publicly held meeting between Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.

In their third meeting since Trump took office, Netanyahu focused on Iran, while Trump opened the meeting with a reminder of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying that there was a “good chance for peace” that it would be a "fantastic achievement...we are giving it an absolute go." Netanyahu said afterward that he and Trump agreed that the 2015 nuclear deal “was terrible” and that he noted a "clear American interest" in amending the agreement. But at the UN this week Europeans will try to persuade the skeptical Trump administration to keep the deal. Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rohani told CNN that “exiting such an agreement would carry a high cost for the United States of America, and I do not believe Americans would be willing to pay such a high cost for something that will be useless for them.”

Then came the exchange of threats: the head of the Iranian army warned Israel against harming Iran. "I warn the Zionist entity not to make any stupid move against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Every [such] stupid act will [make us] turn Tel Aviv and Haifa into dust,” said Maj. Gen. Abdolrahim Mousavi, declaring that Israel won’t survive for more than 25 years. In a fascinating interview published in Israel Hayom, Israeli army’s Northern Corps Commander Maj. Gen. Tamir Heyman responded in kind: "If the next war in the north sees foreign intervention by Shiite militias, they won't be going home. Their involvement in Lebanon, in matters that are not theirs, is intolerable and therefore our response will highly aggressive and will entail their complete destruction," he said. [NOTE: What is unclear in his statement is that a war in the north would be against a Shiite militia: Hezbollah. But likely Heyman meant Iranian forces. - OH] Heyman revealed that the IDF’s recent massive military exercise included a scenario in which Hezbollah made a surprise attack on Israel. “We deliberately went with a scenario that was less convenient for us," Heyman stressed. The need to exercise caution when assessing deterrence, he said, stems from the fact that "deterrence is something you gauge only when it fails. Hezbollah is a logical organization; it's not an organization that has enduring suicidal desires. They're not really Shiite suicide bombers, so if I were on the other side, I would think twice before messing with us."
 
Quick Hits:
  • *Israel's population numbers 8,743,000 on eve of Rosh Hashanah - 181,405 babies were born in Israel in 2016, while 25,977 new immigrants made aliyah; 74.6% of the population are Jews, while 20.9% are Arabs; most Israelis live in cities, while 67.6% own their homes. [NOTE: It is unclear whether this includes E. Jerusalem. - OH] (Ynet)
  • The testimony of Channel 10 owner reinforces the suspicion that Netanyahu received bribes - According to Channel 2 News report, Len Blavatnik confirmed to investigators that he had bought Channel 10 following Netanyahu's request and that he had paid him almost double the competing bid. The high cost was payment for (Israeli millionaire Arnon) Milchan's gifts. (Maariv)
  • Proposed bill forbids police from recommending indictment - MK Dudi Amsalem to present bill forbidding police or other 'investigating authority' to recommend indictment to prosecution, instead only delivering evidence of case without comment; current police protocol states press release on cases of public interest will comment on possible indictment recommendation. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Police spokeswoman slams MK Amsalem for bill - Cmdr. Merav Lapidot rails against MK Dudi Amsalem's proposed bill regarding indictment recommendations by police; Lapidot: bill is 'ignorant at worst, grossly inaccurate at best' and hinted the bill might have something to do with the investigations currently in progress into the affairs of different public figures. (Ynet)
  • Coalition tried to prevent the publication of a critical report on IDF force buildup - All members of the committee signed the report, which is critical of the political echelon headed by Netanyahu for not properly instructing and supervising the IDF regarding its preparedness, but Likud MK David Bitan tried to prevent publication of that part of the report and Likud MK Yoav Kish refused to sign on the open part due to the criticism of Netanyahu. (Maariv, p. 8)
  • Civil Service Commission approves political appointments - Following recommendations by [coalition-led] Shaked-Levin committee on appointing deputy directors-general, Civil Service authority approves selection of political appointees meeting prerequisites to high-ranking positions. (Ynet)
  • **"The (Jewish) Nation-State Law gives highest status to Jews, does that remind you of something?" - In a sharp Facebook post, former Attorney General, Michael Ben-Yair hinted at dark periods in history when he attacked the bill proposed by Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennet, and called it "nationalistic, colonialist and discriminatory.” (Maariv)
  • Israeli car stoned on east J'lem back road - Israeli (settler from Kfar Adumim) forced to pull out hand gun as car is attacked by 2 assailants passing near Mt. of Olives on way home; 'I looked death in the eye,' he recounts. (Ynet)
  • WATCH: Settler attacks left-wing activist, breaks his arm - Guess who was detained and taken in for questioning. (+972mag)
  • Jewish Agency Pulls Funding From Israel Experience Program Over West Bank Activism - Following Jewish young adults' visiting an anti-occupation protest camp that is sometimes a flashpoint for violence, the Jewish Agency dumps the program runners. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Are Ph.Ds from a settler university recognized in Israel? - Ariel University has not received formal recognition from the national Council of Higher Education, raising questions about graduates' academic status. (Haaretz+)
  • J'lem municipality reveals PM's wife worked 60 monthly hours in 2016 - Document reveals Mrs. Netanyahu worked 60.1 monthly hours as child psychologist in 2016—less than half-time—with her position officially changing to third-time in September; most monthly hours were 99.25 in March and least were 21.25 in August. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israeli Consulate in NYC shuts down again due to letter threatening PM - For the second time in the past few days, the Israeli Consulate in New York is shut down after receiving a letter threatening PM Netanyahu inside an envelope also containing white powder. (Ynet)
  • Israel's Nuclear Reactor: 10 Years Past Its Projected Lifespan With No Plans to Be Shut Down - Israel admits for the first time that it has no plans to shut down the 50-year-old reactor. Members of the regulatory panel claim the projection was inaccurate. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Court Awards Cancer-stricken Nuclear Reactor Workers With $22 Million - After failing to prove link between their work and contracting cancer, 168 workers to be awarded compensation for their 'unique contribution to state security.’ (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Israel's top cop says police violence against ultra-Orthodox 'unacceptable’; suggests arraigning cops - Investigations into police violence are to be opened after footage emerged of officers pushing, kicking protesters unprovoked at Sunday's protest in Jerusalem. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • In New York, Netanyahu Meets U.S. Jewish Leaders for First Time Since Western Wall Crisis - According to the sources, however, Netanyahu did not make any concrete promises to the Jewish American leaders on the issues they raised, including the Western Wall egalitarian prayer space and the Israeli government's policy on Jewish conversions. (Haaretz)
  • Special Knesset recess debate held on disability benefits - 49 MKs vote in special discussion, initiated partly by opposition MK Shmuli, to move matter of increasing disability benefits to committee; 'This is moral, not economic issue. We won't be wiped out like bugs,' says disability protest leader; opposition MKs call struggle 'heroic', vow to solve it through legislation. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Hundreds of Palestinians, Israelis march to support village encircled by wall - Israel’s separation wall will surround the village on nearly all sides, which will separate its villagers from some 250 acres of agricultural land. (+972mag)
  • Palestinian Families petition Israeli Supreme Court to return bodies of 3 slain Palestinians - Israel has detained their bodies since the three were shot dead after carrying out a stabbing and shooting attack that left an Israeli police officer dead outside of Jerusalem's Old City on June 16. Prisoners’ rights group Addameer called it a form of “collective punishment” against Palestinians who had not been accused of any wrongdoing. (Maan)
  • For the first time in history, the US military established a permanent base in Israel - The force will be located in the school of the air defense system. It was not disclosed what the American soldiers would do, and what weapons systems they would use. In addition, the issue of the legal status of the force is still under discussion. (Maariv, Haaretz and Times of Israel)
  • Israel to tell High Court it stands by decision against egalitarian prayer at Kotel - Prosecutors: 'Prime minister decided not to bring up the matter for another debate by the Israeli government.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Thousands of asylum seekers at risk of losing their jobs in Israel after court ruling - The Supreme Court ruled government bodies are not permitted to employ asylum seekers from Eritrea or Sudan, leaving them stuck 'between a rock and a hard place.’ (Haaretz)
  • Israel demolishes Palestinian home in Jerusalem-area village - Israeli bulldozers on Monday demolished a Palestinian residential building in the village of al-Zaayyem, in Area B, which is under Palestinian civil control and joint Israeli-Palestinian security control. [NOTE: Construction permits for buildings in Area B are given by the Palestinian Authority, not Israel, making this demolition unusual. -OH]  (Maan)
  • Families of disappeared Yemenite children demand reparations - Several families affected by Yemenite Children Affair demand reparations from government for unresolved disappearances and alleged kidnappings of their children, in addition to the hardship is has caused them. (Ynet)
  • Two Armon Hanatziv terrorists sentenced to 18 years - Terrorists, aged 16 at the time, attacked two elderly Israeli women from behind with knives and an ax in May 2016 in the Jerusalem neighborhood as they walked on the Golden Promenade; third suspect who fled the scene before the attack sentenced to just over 2 years. (Ynet and Maan)
  • Man critically wounded in stabbing attack recounts horror - Niv Gil Nehemia was wounded in the head, chest, neck and hands, and still has a piece of the terrorist's knife lodged in his brain. "I'm not a hero, just a dad trying to get back to his kids," he says. Trial of attacker Ismail Abu Aram starts Tuesday. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli naval forces detain 2 Palestinian fishermen, seize boat off Gaza coast - An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that a Palestinian vessel “deviated from the designated fishing zone” in the northern Gaza Strip, prompting Israeli naval forces to call on the vessel to halt. As part of Israel's blockade of the coastal enclave since 2007, the Israeli army, citing security concerns, requires Palestinian fishermen to work within a limited "designated fishing zone," the exact limits of which are decided by the Israeli authorities and have historically fluctuated. (Maan)
  • Israel fears missing Bedouin man may have joined ISIS - Father of Ahmad al-Aasem, 19, who recently went missing in Turkey accuses Israel of indifference to his whereabouts 'because he's an Arab'; denies any chance his son crossed into Syria; 'He wouldn’t move a meter without informing us.' (Ynet)
  • Southern barrier proves 100% effective in preventing infiltration - No infiltrations from the Sinai Peninsula were recorded over the past 12 months, Population and Immigration Authority says. More than 2,400 illegal migrants were deported during the same period. Some 38,000 African migrants live in Israel illegally. (Israel Hayom)
  • U.S. Adds Israeli to Mobileye Insider Trading Indictment - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last week amended its indictment in the Mobileye insider trading case against U.S. citizens Lawrence Cluff and Roger Shaoul, adding Israeli citizen James Shaoul and raising the possibility that Mobileye founders Amnon Shashua and Ziv Aviram may be eventually named as well. The indictment accuses the three of illicitly profiting from Intel’s $15.3 billion acquisition of Mobileye last March. (Haaretz)
  • Israeli jailed in Russia after trying to open plane door mid-flight - Violent Israeli passenger gets six months in jail after boarding flight drunk and displaying disorderly behavior; becomes first to be prosecuted under stricter Russian Aviation Code. (Ynet)
  • Palestinian search and rescue team arrives in hurricane-devastated Cuba - An urban search and rescue team from the Palestinian Civil Defense arrived in Cuba on Monday as a part of a humanitarian mission, dispatched upon orders from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister and Interior Minister Rami Hamdallah. (Maan)
  • ZAKA Rescue Unit team sent delegation to aid Jewish communities hit by hurricanes - Among the many victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma were Houston and Florida’s Jewish communities. When the ZAKA Rescue Unit commander heard about the immense damage, a rescue delegation from the Israeli organization was immediately sent to help. Now that most of the aid efforts are coming to an end, the commander explains what he saw. (JerusalemOnline)
  • Bahraini Prince Makes Unusual Visit to 'pro-Israel' L.A. Museum - The visit to the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance follows a trip to Bahrain by Wiesenthal Center dean Rabbi Hier, who prayed at Trump's inauguration. (Haaretz)
  • Trump calls for UN reform, but with more restrained tone -
  • "The U.N. has not reached its full potential due to bureaucracy and mismanagement," U.S. president says • "I think the main message is 'make the U.N. great' – not 'again.' 'Make the United Nations great.' … [It has] such tremendous potential," he says. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)


Features:
'The Official Was Stunned That We Were Leaving Switzerland for Israel'
A Swiss-Israeli couple that redefined the idea of online dating talks about what it's like to own seven stores while parenting seven kids. (Liat Elkayam, Haaretz+)
Asis D'Orange, New Generation of Israeli Drag Queens
'Inside me,' says Aviv Shalem, 'I have both a religious person who eats kosher and a gay man who dances in tight clothes on a truck.’ (Avshalom Halutz, Haaretz+)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
Netanyahu Sets Israel Up as Fall Guy for U.S.-Iran Clash (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Even when Israeli leaders, unlike Netanyahu, kept a low profile, it took years to shake off the accusation that the country pushed for the Iraq war.
We’ll always have Iran (Alon Pinkas, Yedioth/Ynet) Governing and conveying messages through speeches is possible, like in Winston Churchill’s case, but only when coupled with diplomatic action and courage. Netanyahu just offers overwhelming statements about the future of the planet if the world fails to deal with Iran.
What Abbas will say to the UN, and to Trump: Recognize Palestine. End our people's captivity (Hanan Ashrawi, Haaretz) America routinely offers Israel impunity and rewards. Towards Palestine, it offers only threats. If this White House is serious about peace, it's time to show it.
Why prisoner swap must be part of a package deal (Giora Eiland, Yedioth/Ynet) When only a single issue is negotiated, it’s always a ‘zero sum game.’ When several issues are discussed, it turns out each side has different priorities: What we see as the most important thing is not as important to the other side, and vice versa.
With Israel, Even for Trump, Peace With Palestinians Comes First (Barak Ravid, Haaretz+) Despite the White House's talking points in recent days, the U.S. president wants peace talks to resume and expects gestures and concessions from both sides.
Putin Looks to Keep Both Israel and Iran Happy With Syrian Solution (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Sources say Moscow is planning to propose formula whereby no foreign country will be allowed to turn Syria into platform for attacking neighboring states.
A false reconciliation (Oded Granot, Israel Hayom)  There is no love lost between Hamas and Fatah, and any rapprochement between them is the result of pressure, not a newfound desire to benefit the Palestinian people.
Where Tensions Will Arise in Trump and Netanyahu's New York Speed-date (Daniel B. Shapiro, Haaretz) On Iran, Syria and the Palestinians, the two leaders will try to maximize agreement where they can. That won't prevent wild card, uncoordinated declarations that could upset their arrangements.
A tactical concession (Dr. Gadi Hitman, Israel Hayom) Hamas is not abandoning its political platform or vision for the future of Palestine. Its latest maneuver is of tactical significance, nothing more.
Between a Rock and a Hard Place in Israel (Haaretz Editorial) The firing of thousands of asylum seekers who are doing jobs that Israelis don’t want won’t serve anyone’s interests.
Happy Holidays? Not in the Middle East (Elie Podeh, Haaretz+) The Arab world remains racked with problems, but it would be a grave error for Israel to view these struggles as a chance to strengthen control of the occupied territories.
Netanyahu's Israel is a cauldron waiting for the next explosion (James J. Zogby, +972mag) While Israel proceeds along its merry way, each day building more settlements and demolishing more Palestinian homes, it is far from being the secure and stable dream Netanyahu envisioned.
Anything but Funerals in Bnei Brak (Nehemia Shtrasler, Haaretz+) The High Court is right that ultra-Orthodox men should be drafted into the army at 18 like everyone else, so the government must stop legislating deceptive laws on this issue.
How Israel's Tourism Industry Enables Prostitution and Human Trafficking (Vered Lee, Haaretz+) Often pimps and crime organizations prefer to use hotels as a substitute for brothels to blur their involvement and evade the enforcement authorities.
Egypt's exercise in diplomacy (Dr. Shaul Shay, Israel Hayom) Egypt's decision to diversify its arms suppliers and bolster cooperation with other militaries has made it into a regional power.
It’s Time Arabs Enlist in Israeli National Service (Yagil Levy, Haaretz+) If the ultra-Orthodox have to serve, why not Arabs citizens?
Will the establishment of a Kurdish state soon become a reality? (Jackie Hugi, Maariv) If all goes well, within a week, millions of Kurds, one of the world's persecuted minorities, will go to the polls and call on their government to declare independence. What is behind the historical process and how is Israel connected to it.
Why BDS Won’t Save Us (Uri Avnery, Haaretz+) The movement must decide whether it’s for peace with Israel, or peace without Israel.
 
Interviews:
Elor Azaria wasn’t on my mind, says soldier who shot Halamish terrorist
With one accurate gunshot through a closed window, in poor lighting and with perfect composure, Staff Sergeant A. neutralized the 19-year-old Palestinian who murdered three members of the Salomon family in their home last July. In an extensive interview, the Oketz Unit fighter who was awarded a citation for his courage recounts what happened that night and how he saved the life of his former kindergarten teacher. (Interviewed by Yossi Yehoshua and Reuven Weiss, Yedioth/Ynet)
INTERVIEWER: Some people wondered if you avoided killing the terrorist because of the Elor Azaria case [soldier convicted after extra-judicially killing an incapacitated assailant].
“I didn’t even think about it throughout the event. As soon as my first shot neutralized him, the thought of shooting him again didn’t even cross my mind.
The immediate decision was to search for other terrorists in the house, and when it turned out there weren’t any—to tend to the wounded. I didn’t think about anything. My actions were automatic. The terrorist was no longer a threat. So Azaria who? He wasn’t on my mind during those moments.”

'We will destroy anyone threatening us,' Northern Corps chief warns
Israel's military capabilities have advanced beyond anything Hezbollah can imagine, Maj. Gen. Tamir Heyman says. The Shiite terrorist group has undergone significant changes in recent years, but it is far from being a match for the IDF, he says. (Interviewed by Yoav Limor in Israel Hayom)

Margaret Atwood to Haaretz: Trump Is Creating a Catastrophe for Women in America
The Canadian author's fans believe she has prophetic powers, although she famously only draws on historical facts for her work. With her 1985 novel 'The Handmaid’s Tale' now an acclaimed television series, she talks totalitarianism and women’s rights. (Interviewed by Gili Izikovich in Haaretz)
INTERVIEWER: You describe how basic values such as liberty and freedom of thought are things people are willing to give up collectively.
MA: “And very quickly. People will surrender their liberty under extreme duress, or when they are afraid, if a leader comes along and tells them he’ll fix it, that he’ll see to it that life returns to normal and the trains run on time. All governments have to do is broadcast the message that it is not only the ruler, but the source of all that is good, the right religion, the only true moral stance. If you oppose this you’re not just a political rival, you’re the embodiment of evil.”
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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