News Nosh 10.24.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday October 24, 2017
 
Quote of the day #1:
“Did Netanyahu say he hoped the State of Israel would last 100 years? If that’s what he meant, that the state would keep a prime minister suspected of criminal offenses while its elected representatives ensure no one could touch him—I’m not sure we want the remaining years.”
—Senior Yedioth political commentator, Sima Kadmon, in a sharp Op-Ed on the legislative bill aiming to prohibit investigating a prime minister.*

Quote of the day #2:
“It hasn’t been even a day since the Knesset has resumed, and we are already embarrassed."
--Yesh Atid leader MK Yair Lapid on the legislative bill aiming to prohibit investigating a prime minister.**

You Must Be Kidding: 
Two weeks after Israeli Police seized olives from a settler who was stealing them from Palestinian land, the police inform the Palestinian owner that they have the olives and he must prove that they belong to him.***

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • "We are witness to an attempt to weaken the gatekeepers of the democracy. ..” - President Reuven Rivlin in a harsh rebuke speech from the Knesset podium
  • Netanyahu’s pickles speech - “We are in an unprecedented political and economic momentum, but the industry of gloom still exists and there is even a new branch - the sour pickles branch”
  • I am sour // Sima Kadmon
  • Oil for the bonfire // Ben-Dror Yemini
  • Expedite the investigation // Nadav Eyal
  • It’s all personal // Daniel Friedmann
  • Sour flavor // Yoaz Hendel
  • Investigation - The vegan underground
  • Expose - Bankers will give 9th graders classes on bank accounts
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • “The ruler is also the victim” - President Rivlin opened the Knesset winter session with a speech in which he warned of government attempts to harm the democracy
  • Netanyahu’s “pickles” speech
  • Classic Netanyahu // Ben Caspit
  • Repair needed - Rivlin forgot where he came from // Nadav Haetzni
  • Suspicion: Nursery school teacher tied infants for hours
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
**The sun was shining outside, but the Knesset winter session opened with a raging storm. Speaking from the Knesset podium, President Reuven Rivlin pointedly accused the government of Binyamin Netanyahu of weakening the country’s democracy by trying to undermine the High Court. (Outgoing Chief Justice Miriam Naor said this happened throughout her term, but that the court cannot be intimidated.) Netanyahu returned fire calling all his detractors ‘pickles’ (sourpusses) and saying that Israel was going through a diplomatic and economic boom. This was the front page top story news in all the Hebrew newspapers with the glaring exception of Israel Hayom, which ran Netanyahu’s speech on page 5 followed by Rivlin’s accusations on page 7. The second biggest story was linked to the first: Attorney General Avichai Mendelblitt spoke out against the bill to prohibit criminal investigations against a sitting prime minister. Mendelblitt called the Likud-initiated legislation, also known as the French bill and the ‘Bibi Bill,’ ‘absurd’ and State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan agreed, saying that "Ignoring real criminal suspicions harms the state.” Opposition leaders called the Netanyahu-immunity bill ’embarrassing.’

The other big story was the battle within the coalition over the bill itself. Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon decided to allow his Kulanu party members vote according to their conscience on the bill that would shield Netanyahu from police investigations - of which he faces many. That put Kahlon directly in a clash with the powerful Netanyahu supporter, coalition whip MK David Bitan, who threatened to “dismantle the coalition if we have to.” But then there was an interesting twist revealed in Haaretz: The police are investigating criminal allegations against Bitan.

Meanwhile, outside, multiple protests took place, including the blind, the disabled and the ultra-Orthodox.
 
Quick Hits:
  • Israel's Defense Chief Blamed Hezbollah for Syria Rockets but Didn't Have the Intel to Back It Up - Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman says Saturday’s rocket fire was deliberate and ‘a direct order of Nasrallah,' not a spillover effect. Senior source to Ma'ariv: "We can not confirm Lieberman's statements about the Syrian fire.” (Haaretz and Maariv)
  • Germany approves sale of three Thyssenkrupp submarines to Israel - Memorandum of understanding signed for estimated $2 billion deal; new submarines to go into service from 2027 and join six other submarines Israel has purchased from Germany in the past. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Senior IDF officer who hid weapons for personal use suspended - Brig.-Gen. Kahane suspended by GOC Army Headquarters for 2 weeks until inquiry into his possession of illicit military, civilian equipment runs its course; Kahane was in possession of bullets, night vision gear, AK-47 presumed to come from Hamas. (Ynet)
  • Israeli Minister Denies He Seeks to Lower Knesset Electoral Threshold - Such a move ostensibly would help smaller right-wing parties reach parliament in the next election. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel arrests over 50 Palestinians in large-scale overnight raids in East Jerusalem - Hundreds of Israeli officers descend on Isawiyah in East Jerusalem overnight, arresting Palestinians for 'criminal offenses, public disorder and terror.’ In an attempt to curb the residents' hostile reaction, the police were joined by scores of Jerusalem municipality employees who, in parallel to the arrests, examined the licensing and safety conditions of businesses providing services in the neighborhood, installed and fixed lighting in public spaces, cleared garbage dumps and safety hazards, removed and repaired street signs, erased graffiti and the like. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox block Jerusalem entrance in fresh draft protests - Police use tear gas and 'skunk' spray to disperse demonstrators who blocked the Chords Bridge, 10 arrested. (Times of Israel and Maariv)
  • Watch: During the ultra-Orthodox demonstrations: Female soldier sprayed demonstrators with tear gas - The disturbances in Jerusalem continue: hundreds of members of the "Jerusalem faction" blocked traffic in the capital. During their dispersal, a policeman beat one of the demonstrators. Police: Rise in ultra-Orthodox violence, they are endangering lives. (Maariv)
  • WATCH: Policeman punches ultra-Orthodox protester in Jerusalem - During Haredi demonstration blocking Jerusalem's Chords Bridge in protest of conscription law, cop confronting protesters caught on camera punching member of hardline Jerusalem Faction; protest showed violence on both sides, as Haredim smash bus window. (Ynet)
  • Jewish National Fund Agrees to Give Israel $287 Million a Year in 2018 and 2019 - The funds will be used to fund Israel's development and infrastructure needs, such as highways and schools, as set by the cabinet. (Haaretz)
  • ***Israeli Police Say Palestinian Must Prove He Owns Land From Which His Olives Were Stolen - The Palestinian claims that the olives, from which he makes a living, were held by the police for two weeks without him being informed. (Haaretz+)
  • Top police adviser linked to leftist EU projects in Israel - Goldfinger Communications, through which strategist Lior Horev was hired by the Israel Police, represents EU bodies that fund groups such as New Israel Fund • Head of police's Communications and Population division found to be linked to Horev. (Israel Hayom)
  • Arabs and Jews Join Hands to Keep Palestinians Out of Israeli Town - Adding 2,400 units would triple size of Abu Ghosh; local opponents, both Arab and Jewish, note government would never do the same to a Jewish community. (Haaretz+)
  • 1,500 ultra-Orthodox Protest After More Draft-dodgers Arrested, Blocking Jerusalem Light Rail - After last protest grew violent, over a hundred were arrested, some 45 of which were discovered to be wanted by the army for draft dodging. (Haaretz+)
  • 70th Independence Day festivities to highlight Israeli innovation - Flagship Independence Day event will bring representatives from 160 countries to Israel to meet with the country's Nobel Prize laureates. Science Minister Ofir Akunis: "Many want to understand this miracle of Israel as a science powerhouse." (Israel Hayom)
  • East Jerusalemite sentenced to 16 years for planning (foiled) terror attack - Bahaa Iwisat told investigators he wanted to kill Jews and become a martyr; plan was foiled by cops in 2015. (Times of Israel, Ynet and Maariv)
  • Israeli government stalling on conversion deal despite looming deadline - Netanyahu appointee Moshe Nissim, tasked in mid-August with heading off crisis with Diaspora Jews, admits he hasn’t even begun. (Haaretz+)
  • With new bill, Israel aims to curb global WMD proliferation - Israel plans to update existing legislation to meet international standards on money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Draft bill aims to close loopholes that allow Israeli companies to do business with Iran and North Korea. (Israel Hayom)
  • Court rejects Raed Salah’s appeal for release - Judge says that his ‘blood-dripping’ statement makes him dangerous for the public and sent him back to detention until the end of proceedings. (JPost and Yedioth, p. 18)
  • Well-known Moscow journalist stabbed by Russian-Israeli - Boris Grits tells investigators he stabbed Ekho Moskvy deputy editor Tatyana Felgenhauer because he has 'telepathic contact' with her. (Times of Israel, Maariv and Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Ramallah Cancels Film Screening Due to Activists’ Fury Over Director's Normalization’ With Israel - Uproar comes because Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri shot scenes in Israel for an earlier film five years ago and didn't apologize for it. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • Hamas deputy hopes Iran continues aiding their 'resistance' - While leading a delegation of senior Hamas officials to the Iranian capital of Tehran, Saleh al-Arouri admits Iran acts as Hamas’s main benefactor, expresses his hope for continued aid to terror group's 'resistance' against Israeli 'occupation'; vows to never disarm. (Ynet)
  • Former Saudi, Israeli intelligence chiefs meet in NYC (synagogue) - Fmr. Mossad chief Efraim Halevy meets Saudi counterpart Prince Turki al-Faisal in NYC forum; pair discusses Iran nuclear deal, Israeli-Palestinian conflict; al-Faisal: Saudi Arabia, Israel talks possible only after Palestinian issue settled; officials disagree on Iran deal, with al-Faisal saying it worsened Iranian aggression, Halevy claims deal was best possible outcome considering circumstances. Al-Faisal: "I want to thank the IPF for giving me this opportunity to come for the first time to a synagogue. That is an occasion that I will value, and hopefully, it will not be the last." [Video] (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • ISIS Slaughtered at Least 128 People in Syrian Town, Rights Group Says - Syrian activists say at least 65 bodies have been found in Qaryatayn, a central town in Homs retaken by government forces from ISIS. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • WATCH Kurds Protest Lack of U.S. Support as Russia Urges Kurdistan to Remain Part of Iraq - Russia announces it would continue its economic ties with Kurdistan, as it does with other constituent parts of Iraq. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Report: Iranian president slams 'corrupt' Revolutionary Guard - Hassan Rouhani targets powerful Revolutionary Guard Corps over their tight grip on the country's economy, perceived as a threat in the post-nuclear deal era. Criticism is reportedly backed by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (Israel Hayom)
  • Trump tells Europe on Iran deal: We don't need you on this one - In Fox News interview, U.S. president says he does not know what will happen with the nuclear deal, but he told EU leaders to "just keep making money. Don't worry about it" • In Qatar, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seeks Arab help to isolate Iran. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Gay Dating Apps Grindr and Hornet Help LGBT Egyptians Stay Safe Amid Crackdown - After a rainbow flag was raised at concert headlined by Mashrou' Leila, whose Lebanese singer is gay, over 70 people have been arrested in Egypt. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Commentary/Analysis:
In America, Self-declared Nazis Can Get State Aid. Israel Boycotters Increasingly Can't (Simone Zimmerman, Haaretz) Israel's already criminalizing its anti-occupation dissenters. Don't let America do the same.
Classic Netanyahu: The prime minister was again at his best when he took things out of their context (Ben Caspit, Maariv) The prime minister is again seen at his peak, turning his opponents into enemies of Israel and reaping applause. Next week he will drag out a meeting in London over five days-all to get away from Unit Lahav 433 (police investigating corruption).
President Tries to Save Israel From Pyromaniac Netanyahu's Anti-Democratic Revolution (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) President Reuven Rivlin's attack on Netanyahu is nothing compared to what he says in private. Rivlin sees his role as keeping Israel from descending into an abyss, led down by a PM plagued by graft investigations. Netanyahu wants an election, but doesn't yet have the power to get it done.
Rivlin forgot about where he came from and adopted a world of concepts that is the opposite of democracy (Nadav Haetzni, Maariv) In high-fluted language, combined with beautiful words, the President joined the choir of those turning things around and attacked those who came to correct. And if he wanted to know how wrong he was, he should listen to the praises [sarcastic - OH] he had been given.
*PM immunity bill proves there’s no shame left (Sima Kadmon, Yedioth/Ynet) We knew where things were headed, but we didn’t realize how desperate and determined Netanyahu was to stop the investigations against him. All of his preparations—the attacks on the court, on the State Attorney’s Office, on the police and on the media, the mass Likud rallies, the long trips abroad—was for the creation of a quick aggressive legislative move to stop all his probes right away.
Moshe Ya'alon for Prime Minister of Stupidity (Uri Misgav, Haaretz+) The drivel Israel's ex-defense minister spouted last week, essentially supporting institutionalization of the West Bank apartheid regime, is a perfect expression of the country's new mainstream.
The right of self-determination must be earned (Zalman Shoval, Israel Hayom) The Palestinians, unlike the Kurds, have yet to show they are ready for self-governance or prove they will not threaten their neighbors. But what really matters are the geopolitical interests at play.
Why Is Only One Arab a Righteous Gentile for Saving Jews During the Holocaust? (Ofer Aderet, Haaretz+) Where are the others, and is there really a possibility Yad Vashem will ever recognize them too?
Remember the man, not the controversy (Smadar Bat Adam, Israel Hayom) Commemorating slain PM Yitzhak Rabin and Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi should be an opportunity to examine the internal and external conflicts Israel deals with, not play the blame game.
Too Many IDF Officers Believe Battlefield Heroics Spare Them From Punishment for Wrongdoings (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) The IDF chief has a short fuse when it comes to disciplinary infractions, so he'll likely see to the suspension of the brigadier general who plundered enemy arms and other materiel.
What does Israel’s left have against Trump? (Tzvia Greenfield, Haaretz+) The American left has understandable political objectives, and its battle against Trump is necessary and justified to realize its political plans. But the struggle of the American left cannot be the struggle of Israelis who desire peace
Netanyahu isn’t Putin, and it’s time he understood that (Sima Kadmon, Yedioth/Ynet)  If Breaking the Silence didn’t exist, the prime minister would have had to invent it. Otherwise, who would be his ultimate punching bag? The chief military censor and the Knesset’s legal advisor defended not only Breaking the Silence against the attempts to outlaw the organization—they defended Israeli democracy.
If you gave up on Netanyahu, why hold out hope for Trump? (Noa Osterreicher, Haaretz+) Netanyahu is a great speaker and Trump has a hard time putting together a coherent sentence, but both share an inability to deliver. They are dying to expel, annex, throw out and destroy – but they can’t.
Israel Must Stop Arming Myanmar While It Commits Ethnic Cleansing (Haaretz Editorial) The Israel government must remove the moral stain it bears. The political polarization in Israel isn’t relevant in this fight.
A Disgraceful Disease': Egypt Takes No Prisoners in War Against LGBT Community (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Community members are being arrested, 'support' in the media is prohibited and rights groups won’t protect them. Now a bill before parliament makes homosexuality an offense punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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