News Nosh 11.21.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday November 21, 2017
 
Quote of the day:
"These days, when government ministers no longer view morality, reason or the public's needs as determining factors and are motivated solely by the quest for power, the president was wise to draw this line and define a moral bar, one which an enlightened society must strive to meet."
--Peace Now Secretary-General Avi Buskila explains in an Op-Ed in Israel Hayom why President Reuven Rivlin's decision not to pardon the 'Shooting Soldier from Hebron,' Elor Azaria, was wise.*

You Must Be Kidding: 
Israel is now seeking to retroactively legalize the expropriation of privately owned Palestinian land in the West Bank settlement of Ofra, even though in 2016 it admitted that the land was expropriated by mistake and it said it would return it. Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit approved the new decision.**

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Emergency Room report - Yedioth probe
  • Death of a monster - Charles Manson
  • The intentions (of the #MeToo campaign) were good (the means less so) // Nahum Barnea
  • Sara, I understand you // Gil Riva
  • This morning: Strike at high schools
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • The father, the son - and the battle in ‘Breaking the Silence’ - German Ambassador instructed to act against his son, spokesman of ‘Breaking the Silence’
  • Good news: Long-term care insurance reform on its way
  • Rain arrived
  • Merkel’s problems - Crisis in Germany
  • Strike again: No studies to be held at high schools today
  • The battle over the budget: Lieberman demands additional budget; Finance Ministry opposes
  • Death of a serial killer: Charles Manson died in jail
  • Secretary-General of Peace Now, Avi Buskila: President Rivlin is marking proper norms

News Summary:
A police investigation and a campaign by Knesset members against the incitement in right-wing circles against President Reuven Rivlin and evidence from Haaretz and ‘Breaking the Silence’ that contradicts the police investigation that concluded that ‘Breaking the Silence’ spokesman Dean Issacharoff lied made top stroies in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Also in the news were two reports about Israel and Saudi Arabia. In an interview to an Egyptian network Monday, Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir said that normalization with Israel hinges on peace with Palestinians. "There are no relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia. There is only the Arab peace initiative, which constitutes a roadmap to peace and for Israel normalizing its relations with Arab countries," he said and downplayed the split with Qatar over its support of Hamas. Separately, a former senior Saudi official spoke in Paris with Israeli newspaper Maariv. Dr. Mohammed Issa, who was the justice minister and is considered to be a close associate of the crown prince, said: "Terrorism in the name of Islam is unjustified anywhere, not even in Israel.”

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said he wasn’t surprised by the incitement against him after he rejected a pardon request from Elor Azaria, the soldier who shot in the head and killed an already prone and injured Palestinian assailant. Police launched an investigation into incitement after people wrote on social media networks that Rivlin was a 'damned Nazi,' 'piece of trash' and 'filthy traitor', and circulated a photo of Rivlin wearing a kaffiyeh. Yet, Rivlin knew he would pay a heavy toll, Yedioth reported. Research for the Berl Katznelson Foundation's hate report found that in the 24 hours after Rivlin’s decision, out of 15,000 conversations about the pardon, 60% contained invective or incitement against the President, with the main culprits responsible for posting inflammatory comments being Culture Minister Miri Regev, MK Oren Hazan and rapper-turned-rigtt-wing activist HaTzel ("The Shadow"), while 25% contained calls to actual violence and statements calling to kill Rivlin. Nevertheless, the Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan criticized the police probe of incitement saying, “It is disgusting, but not criminal." Moreover, Prime Minister Netanyahu insisted that harsh criticism should not be silenced, as long as it is ‘topical and to the point, respectful, without a kaffiyah, without nooses and without Nazi uniforms.’ MKs came to Rivlin's side in a campaign in collaboration with Maariv newspaper, which published on its front page today photos of some of the dozens of Knesset members who were photographed with signs of support for President Rivlin.

Last week, Netanyahu and right-wing commentators celebrated calling ’Breaking the Silence’ (BtS) liars and slanderers, but the anti-occupation movement appears to be showing that the police did a lousy job in investigating the BtS spokesman’s claim that he beat up a detained Palestinian years ago, while he was a soldier stationed in Hebron. Dean Issacharoff told the police that they had questioned the wrong man. Indeed, today Haaretz reported that it spoke with the man that the police said told them that Issacharoff didn’t harm him. The man said he actually was beaten, but by Border Police and in a different incident than the one Issacharoff described. Moreover, Yedioth (but not Ynet) and MaarivOnline (not print) reported that BtS released a video that corroborates Issacharoff’s claim that the police investigated the wrong man. The video (filmed by B’Tselem) shows Issacharoff leading away a different man with cuts on his face. The State Prosecutor said it was unfamiliar with the video clip. Meanwhile, Israel Hayom reported that the Israeli Foreign Ministry has instructed Israeli ambassadors in Europe to take steps against Breaking the Silence, because it allegedly maligns the IDF. However, Issacharoff is the son of Israel's envoy to Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff, who must now act against him.
 
Quick Hits:
  • **Despite Initial Promise, Israel Moves to Seize Private Palestinian Land in West Bank - The state has said it is attempting to legalize the expropriation of some 45 dunams that are part of the West Bank settlement of Ofra and were initially seized by mistake. (Haaretz+)
  • Report: The attorney of suspects in the Submarines affair is advising Netanyahu - Channel 10 claims Jacque Chen, an attorney representing Avriel Bar Yosef in the submarine affair, and Shaul Elovitch in the Bezeq Telecom investigation, is secretly providing secret counsel to Netanyahu on his various corruption investigations, according to reports broadcast Monday night by Channel 10 News. Chen denies wrongdoing. (Ynet)
    Police working to have suspects in submarine affair dismissed from public roles - Former PMO chief of staff David Sharan, who holds senior position at Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company, and former minister Eliezer (Moodi) Sandberg, who chairs Keren haYesod, have been barred from their offices after their arrest, but as the ban order is about to expire, police and State Attorney's Office are looking for ways to keep them away from public service. (Ynet)
  • Israeli Court Throws Out Charges Against Minors Who Participated in 'Wedding of Hate' due to technical error - The Jerusalem Magistrate Court for Youth accepted the defense lawyers’ claim that the charge of incitement offenses was submitted to court before receiving the Attorney General’s approval, and not as required by the law. The State Attorney's Office is considering the possibility of appealing the decision. The five minors and 8 adults were indicted for their part in the wedding in which they waved guns, stabbed images of Palestinian toddler from the murdered Dawabshe family and called to burn mosques. They were indicted for support for a terror organization [probably Kahane Chai - OH], incitement to terror or violence, incitement to racism, possession of weapons, and more. (Haaretz, Ynet and Maariv)
  • From Iran to Russians in Syria, Israeli defense minister demands millions in extra funding for army - ‘We’ve reached a situation where we’re having trouble providing for our security needs,’ announces Israeli defense minister. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Leader of anti-Arab group disinvited from speaking at Knesset hearing on sexual harassment - Lehava leader Bentzi Gopstein had been invited to present data on alleged harassment of Jewish women by Arab men. (Haaretz+)
  • In backtrack, Israeli opposition party now supports deportation of asylum seekers - New Labor party chairman Avi Gabbay led support among Zionist Union lawmakers for a government bill calling for the expulsion of asylum seekers, marking a stark u-turn in the party's position. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Israel Authorizes Right-wing Settler Group to Run Western Wall Archaeology Site - Right-wing Elad organization will run the Davidson Center archaeological park, but will not have authority over the egalitarian prayer site within the park, which is used by non-Orthodox worshippers. (Haaretz+)
  • Religious youth were asked when they showed up for their first draft order: "What would you do if you were in the place of Elor Azaria?" - Religious teenagers claimed to have been asked about topics that are irrelevant to first stage on the way to the army. One said he was asked what he would do if his faith told him he needed to open fire, but the commander said not to shoot. Another was asked how he felt about integration of women in combat units. ”I felt they were marking me as a religious person,” said one. (Maariv)
  • In Israel, over a third of women killed by partners had complained to police - Over the past decade, 126 women have been killed by their domestic partners, statistic show, with a disproportionate number of victims among immigrant women. (Haaretz)
  • High Court rebukes Police Commissioner, orders him to be more stern with (Police commander) Ritman over sexual harassment - Though the High Court did not order Roni Ritman's dismissal, it ruled on Monday that the police commissioner's decision regarding Ritman was problematic. (JPost, Maariv and Ynet)
  • (Jewish) Israeli lawmaker: Arab society permits sexual harassment of Jewish women - MK Miki Zohar says state needs to change the mentality of Arab society when it comes to treatment of women. His comments came during a session of the Knesset Special Committee for Distributive Justice and Social Equality, and were both supported and strongly denounced by other MKs and participants at the hearing. (JPost)
  • Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel protest arrest of draft-dodgers - All the demonstrators belong to extremist faction that refuses to even step into conscription offices to receive their exemption. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Israeli lawmakers step in after rabbinate prevents reform to lower food prices - A reform that would increase competition by easing the import of dry foods has been held up by the Chief Rabbinate that is insisting on additional kashrut certification. (Haaretz)
  • 'We Will Not Back Down' Fighting despair, family of Israeli civilian allegedly held in Gaza turns to international community - Abera Mengistu, an Israeli man with a mental disability, walked into Gaza in 2014. 'Since her son disappeared, her life has become a nightmare,' said Mengistu's brother of his mother. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • No Longer Israel's Black Sheep: Israel to Reintroduce Syrian Goats to Its Forests - Considered essential for preventing forest fires, Israel on way to repeal law that bans goat grazing in forests after 67 years. (Haaretz)
  • Israeli minister praises Trump: Palestinians must decide between 'axis of evil' or peace - Katz added his expectations of Trump to 'repair the historical distortion' regarding Jerusalem, and to transfer the U.S. embassy to the city. (Haaretz)
  • Trump's ex-staffer Anthony Scaramucci visits Israe -
  • Former White House communications director is scouting for high-tech investments as guest of Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce • Fired after just 11 days on the job, he says he remains "an advocate for the president, media surrogate when I need to be." (Israel Hayom)
  • Scaramucci: Israelis should be 'super excited' about Trump's peace efforts - Upon landing in Israel, ex-White House communications chief 'The Mooch' defends Trump's attempts to resolve conflict. (Haaretz)
  • Report: Indian gov't backs out of $500m Rafael missile deal - Indian newspaper claims country's Defense Ministry backs out lucrative defense contract with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to manufacture Spike anti-tank missiles on-site in India; 'We have yet to receive official word regarding cancelation, work carries on as planned,' says Rafael. (Ynet)
  • Israeli defense firm denies reports that half-billion-dollar arms deal with India is off - Rafael Advanced Defense Systems tells Haaretz the deal has already been set into motion and 'will continue as planned.’ (Haaretz)
  • Iran, Lebanon reject Arab League criticism as tensions mount - Day after meeting between Arab League foreign ministers to discuss ways to confront Iran and its proxies, Tehran dismisses initiative as 'full of lies' and product of Saudi 'pressure and propaganda.' (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Nasrallah to the Arab League: “Who will protect Lebanon from Israel, you?” Admits smuggling advanced arms into Gaza - Hezbollah Secretary General: "We are not sending arms to Arab countries, only to Palestinians and Syria." He added that Hezbollah's weapons maintain stability in Lebanon. Lebanese President Michel Aoun also voiced concern that Israel was targeting Lebanon and that the Arab League designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. (Maariv, Haaretz and Ynet)
  • As regional tensions boil up, Egypt's Sissi to meet with Lebanon's Hariri - Sissi and Hariri's meeting will address the 'latest developments in the region and developments of the Lebanon situation,' a statement from Egypt's presidency said. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • 'P Is for Palestine' Children's Book Sparks Outrage Among Some U.S. Jewish Parents - Dr. Golbarg Bashi says she wanted to write an ABC rhyme book with lots of references to the Holy Land and Palestinian culture. However, her book risks being overshadowed by a ruckus about an entry called 'I is for Intifada'  (Haaretz+ and NYPost)
  • Nick Cave plays Israel to 'take stand' against BDS movement - "I love Israel and I love Israeli people," Australian rocker says • At press conference ahead of first of two nearly sold-out shows, Nick Cave accuses boycott, divestment and sanctions movement of bullying musicians, says, "BDS made me play Israel." (Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • Palestinian activists angry at Nick Cave over Israel shows - Supporters of international boycott movement against Israel call the musician's shows a "propaganda gift" that helps "art-wash" Israeli policies on Palestinians. Cave: Shows are a principled stand against anyone who wants to censor and silence musicians. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli satellite to help global agriculture flourish - U.N. set to debate Israeli draft resolution calling for advancing agricultural technologies in developing countries • Resolution expected to pass. Israel to assist global efforts with images from Israeli-French vegetation monitoring microsatellite Venus. (Israel Hayom)


Features:
In Tel Aviv, Airbnb May Have Revealed Its Darkest Side Yet
The city has become the world leader in the number of tourists who stay in Airbnb apartments. As a result rents are rising, tenants are being evicted to make room for tourists and the authorities are turning a blind eye. (Moshe Gilad, Haaretz+)
In Sissi’s Egypt, Art Has a Way of Landing You in Jail
Artists are trying to figure out how to express frustration with post-Arab Spring politics without irking the president. (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+)

Commentary/Analysis:
*It's good we have a president (Avi Buskila, Israel Hayom) President Reuven Rivlin's recent decisions show that it is possible to rise above the shallow populist political discourse and act according to the values and morality that have made Israel a superpower.
Netanyahu vs. the Police and Media: Gag and Rule (Haaretz Editorial) The prime minister and a top Likud official understand what anyone interested in totalitarian rule understands: At some point, you have to arrest the journalists.
Getting into trouble: With the closing of the interrogations ring, Netanyahu sends out distress signals (Ben Caspit, Maariv) Sources exposed to the sixth interrogation of the prime minister describe a tense, sweaty, frightened man who was dragged into throwing irrelevant answers to his interrogators questions. Is this why we met with attorney Jacques Chen?
No institution is safe from the corrupting power of occupation (Noam Sheizaf, +972mag) The persecution of Breaking the Silence’s spokesperson is further proof that the state’s investigative bodies are not only deeply politicized, they are simply uninterested in doing their job.
How Israel Avoided Breaking the Silence About the Occupation (B. Michael, Haaretz+) Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked thought she was being smart when she called for an investigation into a member of the anti-occupation group Breaking the Silence. More fool her.
An angry emoji: the discourse on the Internet after the president's decision (not to pardon Azaria) was not inciting (Meir Uziel, Maariv) Not when he wears a kaffiyeh, but rather wears a silk bow tie, so Reuven Rivlin sees himself as a man of morality  while ignoring the criticism of his decision not to pardon Elor Azaria.
A Typical Case of Israeli Blind Justice (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) The strange logic an Israeli prosecutor and the Shin Bet security service used to argue against restoring a Palestinian man’s permit to commute into Israel to work.
'You are all traitors': The political persecution of Breaking the Silence ( Joshua Leifer, +972mag) That the minister of justice can singlehandedly launch an investigation against the anti-occupation group is a symptom of the decline of the rule of law and creeping authoritarianism within the Green Line.
As Israel marks 40 years since Sadat's visit, Egyptians refuse to join the party (Smadar Perry, Yedioth/Ynet) In Cairo, which initiated the move that led to a peace agreement with Jerusalem, there is no desire to celebrate and no nostalgia. The only thing the Egyptians are doing is analyzing the motives of the dramatic decision made by their president in 1977. Israel is an established fact even in the changing reality, but normalization is a different story.
Auschwitz responds: We have no 'nationalist bias' pushing us to downplay Jews' suffering in the Holocaust (Bartosz Bartyzel, Haaretz) We keep far away from political disputes: Our visitors are presented with the fate of all groups of Auschwitz victims – including, but not exclusively, Jews
What did School Principal Iris Gur do wrong? (Ram Cohen, Israel Hayom) The school principal whose dismissal is being called for because of her support for her draft-dodging daughter may not win any popularity contests, but she should not be punished for being a mother and backing her daughter's decision of conscience.
Israel Hayom's new target: Conscientious objector's mother (Yael Marom, +972mag) ‘Israel Hayom’ put a high school principal in its crosshairs after she expressed support for her daughter’s refusal to serve in the IDF. This is what a witch hunt looks like.
Saudi Arabia's Jew-hating Founder Would Be Shocked by His Kingdom's Public Flirtation With Israel
(Seraj Assi, Haaretz+) Imagine the shock of Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, who called Jews 'treacherous', 'fraudsters' and 'vagrants', declared 'The Jews have no right to Palestine' and called for a holy war against them, to his kingdom's current bromance with the Jewish state.
Sometimes you have to distance yourself from home and cross the sea just to go back and look at it correctly (Talia Levin, Maariv) At a conference of young people from conflict zones, which was held in Jordan, we left politics aside and talked about life. There was also one quarrel: not about coexistence but about couscous.

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