News Nosh 10.25.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday October 25, 2017
 
Quote of the day #1:
"A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness."

-- Note that Alfred Einstein scribbled in German to a bellboy after he did not have cash to give him a tip. The note sold for $1.3 million Tuesday.*

Quote of the day #2:
"It is deeply worrying that the military terminology used by senior officials in the Strategic Affairs Ministry is being used in the fight against civilians abroad who criticize the State of Israel."
-- Attorney Eitay Mack, who over the past year, has asked the state to reveal information about a judicial arm it is secretly operating abroad against BDS activists.**

Sweet news item of the day: 
"Yes, yes. My grandchildren do it, too. Just remind me how you do it.”
—The answer President Reuven Rivlin gave to the young son of one of the new foreign ambassadors, who asked to take a picture with him and his brothers doing the "dub" movement together.***

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Eden’s life costs 2.5 million shekels a year - Special feature on the price tag of the medicines that save lives
  • Commander of Hezbollah in the Golan was revealed
  • The lipstick revenge - New low in the Knesset: New MK Leah Fadida parked in space of MK Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Camp), the latter responded by writing in lipstick on her car window: “No parking in other people’s spaces”
  • Yedioth poll - The public opposes the “Bibi Law” - 63% oppose law that would prohibit investigating a serving prime minister
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • (Attorney General) Mendelblitt: The French Law (‘Bibi Law’) harms the rule of law
  • MK Bitan (Likud) responds to Maariv over article on police probe against him: “An attempt to shut mouths”
  • The lipstick protest - MK Ksenia Svetlova was filmed writing in lipstick “No parking in other people’s spaces” on the window of the new MK Leah Fadida. Svetlana apologized
Israel Hayom
  • A replacement for Mughnieh: IDF’s #1 target in the Golan was exposed
  • A moment before the decision regarding supermarkets (open on) Shabbat: Threat to pull the High Court appeal
  • The only solution to infiltrators - expulsion”
  • Shameful lipstick - MK Ksenia Svetlova was filmed writing in lipstick “No parking in other people’s spaces” on the window of the new MK Leah Fadida
  • Infuriating: Father of a terrorist represented the wife of a murdering terrorist - and won a prize
  • Jordan’s King Abdullah opposes internal Palestinian reconciliation: “Integration of Hamas in PLO institutions - harm to security”
  • Embarrassing: Seven employees of a security agency were arrested on suspicion of enormous scale of bribery

News Summary:
The ‘Bibi Bill’ - to protect a sitting prime minister from criminal investigation - got more coalition support even as the Attorney General warned it would create a 'sanctuary for felons' and a Yedioth poll found that 63.1% of the Israeli public opposed the Likud bill - as well as about a half of Likud voters, the IDF named a Hezbollah general operating on the Syrian side of the Golan, Munir Shaito, as its latest target, just as a foreign report said that Hezbollah intended to withdraw all its forces from Syria in 2018 due to growing fears of an imminent war with Israel on the Lebanese border (Maariv), and the police uncovered a bribery scheme in an unnamed state security company, which was operating on an ‘enormous scale, which, along with the undiplomatic lipstick graffiti one (female) Zionist Camp MK scrawled on the car of another (female) Zionist Camp MK, made top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Barely making news was that Israel is hosting firefighters from the Palestinian Authority in a 400-person wide-scale regional emergency exercise that began yesterday and includes emergency response teams also from Jordan, Italy, France and Spain. They are drilling an extreme-case scenario in which a huge wildfire wreaks havoc on a regional scale. The EU paid for the drill. Interestingly, Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said that the exercise “demonstrates a unique collaboration with the Jordanians, the Palestinians and the European Union." This comes after Erdan said last month about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that “It is impossible to speak about a nationalist territorial struggle. This conflict is religious.” This Israeli website has photos from the drill.
 
Quick Hits:
  • Israeli lawmakers may grant defense chief broader powers in West Bank - The defense minister would have greater authority to issue administrative orders often used to bar right-wing activists from the West Bank. (Haaretz)
  • **Israel Secretly Using U.S. Law Firm to Fight BDS Activists in Europe, North America - Israeli government hired the Chicago-based firm Sidley Austin to prepare legal opinions and handle court proceedings to counter BDS; nature of work is kept a secret, and defined as 'extremely sensitive.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Coalition promoting bill limiting the powers of the State Comptroller - According to Channel 2 News, MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) wants to pass legislation stating that the comptroller can not deal with current issues and correct defects in real time, but rather deal with them only after the fact. (Maariv)
  • Israel can now deport African asylum seekers without their consent - A diplomatic agreement between Netanyahu and Rwanda's president would help circumvent a High Court ruling viewed as sympathetic to migrants' rights. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Police looking into coalition chairman Bitan's past debts - Lahav 443 anti-fraud unit examining new information pertaining to allegations the MK paid off debts by borrowing money from the 'grey market'; Bitan questions timing of examination, saying 'It is recycled material. There's no new information.' (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Prime Minister: Don’t let assault allegations erase late minister's achievements - The Knesset marked 16 years since the assassination of Minister Rechavam ‘Gandhi’ Ze'evi. Netanyahu: “They are trying to erase his legacy, it will not happen.” Meretz and Joint List MKs abandoned the event and pitched bill to cancel memorials for (controversial) minister and general, who was assassinated by PFLP. (JPost, Ynet and Maariv)
  • Shaked and AG prepare to lock horns over legal advisor bill - Mandelblit objects to bill Shaked intends to bring before Knesset committee next week designed to overhaul way in which ministerial legal advisors are elected and to increase input from ministers in influencing selection process. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Dozens of Israeli Highway Corporation Employees Suspected of Wide-scale Corruption - 30 suspects from the Israel National Roads Company were informed they face possible criminal prosecution for alleged bribery, tax offenses and money laundering. (Haaretz)
  • Israeli Schools Deliberately Distorting Story of Rabin's Murder, Says High Court Petition - 'The Education Ministry has become the ministry for rewriting history,' a legislator says, as the petition goes to the High Court. (Haaretz)
  • The battle for Be'er Sheva: 100 years later, Australian pride is making Israel's Negev blossom - To commemorate major WWI battle against the Ottomans, Australians are partnering with Israelis in museum, tourism project; 'They feel this is their story.’ (Haaretz+)
  • *Einstein's secret to happiness sells for $1.3 million at Jerusalem auction - His theory of happiness, scribbled on a note, was handed to a bellboy in Japan in lieu of a tip. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Soldier who confronted (pepper-sprayed and cursed) Haredim defends her actions - After being recorded hurling expletives at Haredi protesters and spraying tear gas in the air after she saw abuse of a 50-year-old woman, Amit Nazri tells her version of the events; 'That could have been your grandmother.’ (Ynet)
  • Israeli settlers throw stones at Palestinian homes in Hebron-area village - Israeli settlers reportedly attacked Palestinians in the southern occupied West Bank village of Umm al-Kheir village, located in the Hebron district, on Monday afternoon. (Maan)
  • Settlers pitch protest tent outside PM's Residence - Members of families who have lost relatives to terror attacks in West Bank decry government's failure to fulfill promises to allocate budget intended to boost security in area; 'How many more people need to die?’ asks protester; ‘people on the Left are not the only sourpusses.’ (Ynet)
  • Israeli forces escort (far right-wing) Israelis onto (Temple Mount) Al-Aqsa compound - A group of ultra right-wing Israelis entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday morning under the escort of armed Israeli forces. (Maan)
  • Israeli bulldozers raze lands along Gaza border - Palestinian security sources told Ma’an that four Israeli bulldozers entered dozens of meters into the Juhr al-Dik area and razed lands as drones flew overhead. (Maan)
  • Colombian Pop Star Causes Social Media Storm After Posting Photo With Israeli Police Officer - Maluma's post garnered 1.3 million likes and 28,500 comments, such as 'Did you ask how many Palestinians she killed before posing for a photo with her?” and 'Posing with a member of Israel's killer army.’ (Haaretz)
  • ***President Rivlin does the ‘dub’ move with the children of the ambassador - Of the four new ambassadors who presented their credentials to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Monday, Ambassador of the EU, H.E. Mr. Emanuele Giaufret, arrived accompanied also by his wife and their three young sons. The eldest asked the President if he wouldn’t mind taking a picture with him doing the "Dub" movement together. Rivlin immediately agreed, saying, "Yes, yes. My grandchildren do it, too. Just remind me how you do it.” [Great clip and photos! - OH] (Ynet+VIDEO)
  • Israeli forces detain 66 Palestinians, majority teenagers, in overnight raids - Lawyer of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affair Muhammad Mahmoud, who visited detainees at different detention centers, said that he followed up on the cases of 27 of the detainees, who he said were all teenagers between the ages of 15 to 18. (Maan)
  • FIDF New York Gala raises NIS 122 million for IDF soldiers - Speaking at event, outgoing IAF Commander Maj.-Gen. Eshel gives keynote address, speaking about security challenges facing Israel and latest air force innovations including F-35 fighter jets. (Ynet)
  • Palestinian activists build monument to Saddam Hussein - The late Iraqi dictator gave millions of dollars to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers during the Second Intifada • He remains popular among many Palestinians because he fired Scud missiles at Israel during the 1991 Gulf War. (Israel Hayom)
  • Hamas' Sinwar boasts better than ever capabilities - Gaza’s Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar boasts group can shell Tel Aviv in 51 minutes with more than it did the entire 51 days of Operation Protective Edge; says ‘we cannot give up our weapons.’ (Ynet)
  • Qatar to supply Gaza with second cellular communication network - Wataniya Mobile, subsidiary of Qatar's Ooredoo, has provided service for West Bank since 2009 but expansion to Gaza has been delayed. PA minister says Palestinian, Israeli officials met Monday to discuss allowing 3G cellular equipment to enter Gaza. (Israel Hayom)
  • Iran sentences alleged Mossad agent to death - Prosecutor says suspect provided information on officials involved in military and nuclear programs in exchange for cash, Swedish residency. (Times of Israel and Maariv)
  • Report in Lebanon: "Hezbullah will withdraw fully from Syria in 2018" - Lebanese news website "Lebanon 24" reported that the withdrawal of the Shiite organization comes against the background of growing fears of an imminent war with Israel. (Maariv)
  • Kurdish Peshmerga beat back Iran-backed Iraqi militia in strategically vital victory - Peshmerga had successfully beaten back an advance by Iranian-backed pro-government paramilitaries in the region of Rabi’a. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iraqi PM defends Iran-backed force at meeting with Tillerson - Iraq's Haider al-Abadi says Popular Mobilization Forces are "part of Iraqi institutions," not an Iranian proxy • U.S. secretary of state says "Iranian militias in Iraq, now that the fight against ISIS is coming to a close, those militias need to go home." (Israel Hayom)
  • Under Trump, anti-Semitic incidents in U.S. surged 76 percent in first half of 2017 - The increase can be attributed to an environment in which 'extremists feel emboldened,' Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt says. (Haaretz+)
  • 'Just Say No to Jewish Lies' Fliers Found at Cornell - University denounces posters, increases security around Jewish buildings on campus. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • U.S.-Jewish Playwright: 'If You Have Any Criticism of Israel, You Are Not Allowed to Exist' - A public reading in Manhattan of Dan Fishback’s latest play, about a family split between a settlement and the United States, was canceled following right-wing pressure. The playwright is angered by the decision – but not surprised. (Haaretz+)
  • Maryland governor signs order to block boycotts of Israel - Gov. Larry Hogan: BDS runs counter to Maryland's long economic relationship with Israel • "Contracting with businesses that practice discrimination would make the state a passive participant in private sector commercial discrimination," he says. (Israel Hayom)
  • One of the Strongest Jews in Olympic History Is Selling His Gold Medal - Isaac Berger, now 80, is auctioning off his gold medal. As of Monday, the current bid stands at $6,278. (JTA, Haaretz)


Features:
Is the Bible a True Story?
Despite feverish searching with Scripture in one hand and cutting-edge technology in the other, evidence backing the Bible remains elusive. But there are some surprising anomalies. (Nir Hasson, Haaretz+)
The Female Entrepreneur Behind Baghdad's Literary Revival Has Big Plans for Iraq's Future
On Al-Mutanabbi Street, the heart of Baghdad's cultural life, 28-year-old Baraa al-Bayati is disrupting a society steeped in male chauvinism. (Sofia Barbarani in Baghdad, Haaretz+)
In Ramallah, Vibrant Arts, Culture and Literature Build Palestinian Sanctuary
Despite awareness of the Israeli barbed wire, cultural activity builds the illusion of sovereignty or independence. From the spirited city, Palestine is almost whole. (Amira Hass, Haaretz+)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
Incitement Is Not Merely a Fashionable Word Used by Netanyahu's Critics (Haaretz Editorial) The prime minister can't play innocent to his targeting of rights groups, the media, Israeli Arabs and so many others.
In Netanyahu's Latest Rant, Iran's Meddling in Syria Overcame the Nuclear Threat (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Netanyahu may be dividing responsibilities: Trump will take care of changing the nuclear agreement, while Israel will deal with the Iranian-Hezbollah danger next door.
California Is Talking Secession. In an Ever-more Trumpian Israel, the Left Coast Should Do the Same (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) With sneers and dog-whistles, Netanyahu laid it out for his base to devour: There is this limp-wristed, sub-potent smattering of whining ingrates. Left Coasters. Let's face it: Not Really Israelis. Not Real Jews. Not Us.
Opinion Waiting Around for Trump's 'Ultimate Deal' Will Kill the Israeli Left (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Relying on an American panacea creates an idle left, a silent one drowning in inaction and paralyzed by fatalism.
There are teachers in Tel Aviv: Rehavam ‘Gandhi’ Zeevi Memorial Day will be the lesson day about that dark period (Ran Adelist, Maariv) Contrary to what recent voices are saying, one must preserve Rehavam Zeevi’s heritage for generations, so that the Jews will see and learn a lesson: That is how we were, this is the hero that our children were educated about at that time.
Trump and Netanyahu, Masters of Their Parallel Universes (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Many Americans believe a glitch in the matrix has transferred them to a Bizarro World in which a loutish red-haired charlatan is president.
A special column by MK Bitan: "They are trying to weaken my hand, I am not running away from my past and I am not ashamed of it”( MK David Bitan, Maariv) All I own is an apartment I bought together with my wife and our livelihood is my salary. My public activity is being attacked by recycled information that turned into a headline. The coalition chairman responds to the accusations that he is reportedly under police investigation for alleged corruption.
Opposition Leaders, Give Israelis the Democracy They Want (Uzi Baram, Haaretz+) To harness public sentiment, Netanyahu's opposition must not hole up in the Knesset. It must be part of a great wave of public protest to wear down the government.
No one is above the law (Prof. Aviad Hacohen, Israel Hayom) The proposed "French law" bill prohibiting criminal investigations into sitting prime ministers would put them above the law. We must not let it pass.
Rivlin Blasts Netanyahu’s Dangerous Putsch and Likud’s Profiles in Cowardice (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Unlike several brave Republicans resisting Trump, no senior Israeli right-winger has stood up for Israeli democracy and the rule of law.
For the sake of stability (Dr. Gabi Avital, Israel Hayom) The French law upholds the people's will, because in a democracy a prime minister should be replaced by the voters, not through hollow investigations by purists waging a witch hunt.
Welcome to the golden age of Bibism (Attila Somfalvi, Ynet) Addressing the Knesset this week, Prime Minister Netanyahu presented the political world he wants to live in, a world in which criticism is a crime, free thought is sourness, and flattering the leader and his regime is a way of life.
How can anyone blame Netanyahu for future conflict with Iran? (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) In his claim that ‘the government is dragging us to war,’ Major-General (res.) Amiram Levin crossed a dangerous red line. It’s Iran that is moving forces. It’s Iran that is taking steps to change the strategic map. It’s Iran that is repeatedly declaring its intention to destroy Israel. But to hell with the facts.
Hamas and Fatah Must Transform to speak on behalf of Palestinians (Ramzy Baroud, Maan) The recent reconciliation agreement in Cairo is not an outcome of a new commitment to a Palestinian national project. Both Hamas and Fatah are out of options. Their regional politicking was a failure, and their political program ceased to impress Palestinians who are feeling orphaned and abandoned. For the Hamas-Fatah unity to become a true national unity, priorities would have to change entirely, where the interest of the Palestinian people - all of them, everywhere - would, once more, become paramount, above the interests of a faction or two, seeking limited legitimacy, fake sovereignty and American handouts.
The Democratic Gamble That Failed: Why Iraq's Kurds Lost Their Own Independence Referendum (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Kurds belatedly waking up to new reality that independence cost them - and the West - bolstering Iran and Iraq in the region.
 
Interviews:
Former PM confidant Uzi Arad: Netanyahu unfit to run the country
Arad says it's not about whether Netanyahu knew about the alleged corruption linked to the submarine purchase deal, 'it is enough that it reached officials very close to him for the Germans to reserve the right to withdraw from the deal'; PMO: 'Arad has been away from inner circles of gov't for years, his position is not informed or relevant.' (Interviewed by Ronen Bergman in Yedioth/Ynet)

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