News Nosh 11.29.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday November 29, 2017
 
Quote of the day:
“Because in Israel there aren’t really political parties. A single governing bloc is made up of interchangeable parts, including everyone who seeks legitimacy by donning right-wing costumes. They’re ready to expel foreigners, support antidemocratic legislation, observe the Sabbath and keep it holy, stick a note in the Western Wall, and let the settlements do as they please.”
—Haaretz journalist Zvi Bar’el writes that the Israeli government is aiming for a one leader, one party, one people. And “if anyone is reminded of a party in a different country that adopted a similar slogan in the 1930s, that’s his problem.”*

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • 70 since the historical vote (for UN partition plan) — 33 countries said ‘yes’ to allow the Jewish people to fulfill a two-thousand-year dream
  • I was there // Eitan Haber
  • Then and now // Asaf Schneider
  • State Attorney vs. Bibi law: “This is silencing”
  • In Friday’s Magazine: The courageous athlete who is coming out of the closet. For the first time, the Israeli basketball player will declare proudly, “I’m a homosexual”
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Special - The Jewish Torah, in the heart of Abu Dhabi
  • “Trump is considering when to transfer the embassy to Jerusalem”
  • The skies are the limit? Threats to put Ben-Gurion Airport on strike over weekend
  • Prime Minister in Kenya: We will open an embassy in Rwanda
  • Race in coalition to give final approval to Recommendations Bill by MOnday; Opposition furious: “Stop the lighting legislation”
  • Parting from the ‘ears of the country’: Our listener (radio journalist) Mickey Gurdus passed away

News Summary:
A controversial Likud proposed bill and a couple of embassies made today’s top stories in the Hebrew newspapers. The Israeli political and intellectual circles were in a storm over the government’s move to bring final approval to the highly criticized “Recommendations Bill” - and do so through a lightning quick procedure. The State Prosecutor (and numerous commentators, see Commentary below) called it “silencing” of the law enforcement agencies, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, who heads the Kulanu party, tried to defend his approval of it, while some opposition Knesset members blamed others for not showing up for the vote. As the storm grew, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu flew to Kenya, where he met with African leaders and announced he would open an embassy in Rwanda, (where Israel plans to deport 10,000 asylum seekers), while US Vice President Mike Pence said US President Donald Trump is working to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

The Recommendations Bill received approval by (Likud) Speaker of Knesset Yuli Edelstein to be passed in three readings within one week, despite the opposition’s claim that that “will not allow a worthy and dignified process to be carried out,” so the opposition threatened a filibuster, Maariv reported. The law enforcement agencies are being more vocal now about their opposition to the bill, which would prohibit the Police from publishing its recommendations over an investigation of a public official. Speaking at the Eilat Conference for Journalism, State Attorney Shai Nitzan called the bill the “silencing,” saying that the “Police investigators have a stance, and they need to be heard. The State Attorney’s office does not always accept their stance, and that’s okay. But to silence them? What is this silencing?” He added that “Netanyahu was questioned six times because there are things that need to be asked.” He also said he would be questioned again in Cases 1000 (gifts) and 2000 (deal with Yedioth publisher) and that there isn’t enough evidence to question him in Case 3000 (submarines), Yedioth reported. Senior Police officials told Haaretz+ that the bill, if passed, will hinder and slow down the investigations into Netanyahu. Finance Minister Kahlon, leader of Kulanu party, reportedly said he was given an ultimatum on Tuesday by the ruling Likud party: either vote with the coalition in favor of the recommendations bill or face elections.

Israel held a big event marking the 70th anniversary of the UN Partition Plan vote, which established the State of Israel. it was there that Pence said that Trump was considering when and how to move the US embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem.
 
Quick Hits:
  • Jordan’s King Abdullah Warns U.S.: Lack of Progress With Israel, Palestinians Could Fuel Extremism - King urges White House officials to promote Middle East peace deal. (Haaretz)
  • Lieberman: Iran has no military presence in Syria, they have proxies - 'There are some Iranian advisers and experts, but there are no military Iranian forces on Syrian soil,' the defense minister tells Ynet, adding Israel 'won't allow Iran to establish a presence in Syria.' (Ynet)
  • A resident of the retirement home where Netanyahu visited (during controversial vote): "Why did he suddenly find time?" - The Prime Minister toured an institution for the elderly during the Knesset vote on the "Recommendations Law." One of the residents was surprised: "I guard my nervous system, so I try to avoid following the news.” (103FM/Maariv)
  • Israeli Minister Axes Workshop With Civil Rights NGO That 'Defends Terrorists' - Education Minister Naftali Bennett has canceled the workers' rights event organized by the  Association for Civil Rights in Israel after complaints by parents who have lost children to terror attacks. ACRI, which has been working with the Education Ministry for 40 years, was informed of the cancellation by a press release from the right-wing group Im Tirtzu. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Meretz MK becomes third-ever Israeli Arab to join Knesset security panel - MK Esawi Frej also added that security is ''no less important to Arabs'' than it is to Israeli Jews. (JPost and Maariv)
  • (Ultra-Orthodox) MK Gafni takes aim at the Jewish Agency - Haredi MK asks Knesset Diaspora Affairs Committee to discuss whether Jewish Agency is still relevant, apparently due to strong ties between the Agency and liberal Jewish movements. (Ynet)
  • Ultra-Orthodox clash with police outside IDF induction center in Jerusalem - Some 500 ultra-Orthodox protesters hurl eggs and water bottles at police, calling officers 'Nazis'; dozens of police stop protesters from reaching gates of induction center, where a Haredi woman was detained. (Ynet)
  • Parole board rejects Katsav request to lift evening curfew - The disgraced former president, who was convicted of rape and granted early release in December 2016, asks to be allowed to leave his home at nighttime; State Attorney's Office opposes request, says restrictive conditions common among sex offenders. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israeli chess players clash over whether to compete in Saudi tournament - Israel's top three grandmasters decide to boycott the contest, but seven others have submitted visa requests in a bid to take part in next month’s competition in Riyadh. (Haaretz)
  • Iranian wrestler says managers forced him to lose to avoid facing Israeli - Ali Reza Karimi says he was beating Russian Alikhan Zhabrailov when coaches told him to lose: 'In a moment, my whole world seemed to come to an end.’ (Haaretz)
  • European Students' Union visits Israel despite campus boycott calls - Week-long seminar begins in Jerusalem with 120 students attending from 37 European countries. Minister praises Israeli student union for bringing organization to Israel, despite boycott movement. "We are friends, we are neighbors," says Cypriot student. (Israel Hayom)
  • Jerusalem Residents of Neighborhood Sold by Greek Orthodox Church Oppose Luxury Development Plan - A plan for dozens of luxury apartments in the south Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Tor, which overlooks the Old City, is expected to be approved on Wednesday. (Haaretz+)
  • Mickey Gurdus, Israeli Snooper Into Foreign Broadcasts, Dies at 73 - The Israel Radio legend broke stories after listening in on foreign broadcasts and communications in a raft of languages. (Haaretz+)
  • Mortar Found in 'Tomb of Jesus' Cave Dates to Constantine Era - One mystery surrounding the tomb had been the origin and date of the marble slab at the bottom of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The mortar testing supports the theory that the current location is the original site of the tomb of Jesus, according to the NatGeo report. (Haaretz)
  • Colombia deports Israeli accused of running sex tourism network - Assi Moosh allegedly built Latin American network of hostels that provided drugs and prostitutes to backpackersץ Authorities say he also ran a foundation promising to help underprivileged children that in fact was used to recruit them into prostitution. (Israel Hayom)
  • For First Time, China Agrees to Extradite Suspect to Israel - Extradition of crime boss Yaniv Zaguri is considered a breakthrough in Israeli-Chinese relations. (Haaretz+)
  • Eight Decks, a Helipad and an Underwater Observatory: World’s Largest Sailing Yacht Docks in Israel - Russian oligarch Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko’s 144-meter mega-yacht, designed by Phillippe Starck, cost 360 million pounds. (Haaretz)
  • Palestinian Prime Minister Hamdallah: Israeli plans to forcibly transfer Bedouins in E1 'cross a red line' - Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah released a statement on Monday expressing the government’s solidarity with the hundreds of Palestinian Bedouins in the community of Jabal al-Baba at risk of forcible displacement by the Israeli government. (Maan)
  • Israel to release 3 Jerusalemite Palestinians arrested over population census - Israeli police statement said police "detained and arrested 17 suspects on suspicion of working with the Palestinian Authority…[and are]…suspected of violating the Interim Agreement and taking part in activity related to a population census by the PA.” (Maan)
  • Israeli forces detain 19 Palestinians, 5 teens, in West Bank - The teens detained in the middle of the night from the town of al-Khader were Ahmad Mahmoud Saleh Moussa, 13, and his brother Muhammad, 15, and Yazan Abed al-Rahim al-Masri, 13 and his brother Muhammad 15. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces raid Palestinian cemetery, dig up graves in Jerusalem-area town - Locals told Ma’an that Israeli forces prevented Palestinians from reaching the cemetery in Kafr Aqab and were not informed of the reason for the raid and the work inside the cemetery. (Maan)
  • Egyptian forces shoot, injure 2 Palestinians attempting to cross border from Gaza - Four Palestinians were attempting to cross into the Sinai when Egyptian security forces opened fire at them, injuring two of them in the legs. (Maan)
  • Senior Saudi Prince, Once a Contender for the Throne, Freed in $1 Billion Settlement - Saudi Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, who was head of the elite National Guard, was among dozens of royal family members, ministers and senior officials who were rounded up in a graft inquiry at least partly aimed at strengthening the power of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (Haaretz)
  • Saudi Arabia's Millennial Crown Prince Leading Time's 'Person of the Year' Poll - Move aside Donald Trump: Mohammed bin Salman is currently leading the field which includes Taylor Swift and Vladimir Putin - the distinction has been given to controversial leaders in the past like Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. (Haaretz)
  • France is up in arms: Wave of accusations against the senior ideologue of Islam in Europe - The campaign of sexual harassment continues to seep: Numerous women accused Professor Tareq Ramadan, who is considered the darling of the liberal left and the "Martin Luther of Islam,” of sexual harassment. (Maariv)


Features:
Memories from a momentous day in Israel's history
As UN commemorates landmark vote creating Jewish state, telegrams congratulating Jewish Agency delegate on vote revealed; 'Godspeed, with love,' wrote Ben Gurion; 'Dawn is rising, new light will now shine on Zion,' wrote Chief Rabbi Herzog; children of 1947 recount their experiences on day of vote; 'Joy went for days,' remembered one. (Itamar Eichner and Hadar Gil-Ad, Yedioth/Ynet+PHOTOS)
The historic approval of the Partition Plan did not amount only to festive rejoicing
Starting from the profound shock of Neturei Karta (anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox) to the "terrible decree" and to the revisionist statements. Seventy years after the dramatic decision on November 29, our reporter returned to the numerous reactions of the Jewish community. (Carmit Sapir Weitz, Maariv)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
Investigations Die in Darkness (Haaretz Editorial) It’s not enough to let prosecutors see police recommendations, the public needs to see them too.
‘Recommendations bill’ a possible obstruction of legal proceedings (Nadav Eyal, Yedioth/Ynet) We are witnessing a criminal act and a complete loss of shame. Had Ehud Olmert initiated such a law, the road to the Knesset would have been blocked by thousands of right-wing protestors in an effort to stop the vote. This is where the Israeli public must draw a bright red line.
The ultimate threat Netanyahu’s people used to pass the bill silencing the police (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) The bill would prevent the police from publishing a summary of their investigations into public figures like the prime minister.
Shattering Israel’s Democratic Tablets of the Covenant (Uzi Baram, Haaretz+) Now any Ben-Gurionesque, statesmanlike value is considered contemptible, like the way Netanyahu’s lackeys criticize the president for not pardoning a soldier convicted of manslaughter.
*Israel's One Leader, One Party, One People (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) That is what the government is aiming for. If anyone is reminded of a party in a different country that adopted a similar slogan in the 1930s, that’s his problem.
November 29: American Jews support Israel, which turns its back on them (Nurit Canetti, Maariv) Some of our leaders, who will wave off excitedly to mark the anniversary of the dramatic UN decision, are also those who turn their back on Diaspora Jewry. But what happened then and what is happening today has a direct connection.
Netanyahu Needs a War. He Needs It to Be With Iran. And He Needs It Soon (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) Netanyahu needs a war because he’s desperate, and because a war might answer two of his more immediate needs.
November 29th: The State of Israel was not established thanks to the famous decision (Nadav Hatzeni, Maariv) Exactly 70 years since the dramatic decision at the UN - it is time to remind ourselves that the state was created because of the strength of the Jewish community and the facts on the ground. It was not presented to us on a silver platter.
The window of time to prevent the establishment of an Iranian outpost against Israel is very short (Dr. Ofer Yisraeli, Maariv) Israel must take a strategic turn: no more indirect damage to Tehran, but direct damage to the head of the Iranian snake while creating a tripartite coalition - Israeli-American-Saudi.
We will keep believing (Emily Amrousi, Israel Hayom) Contrary to the constant refrain, no Israeli government has ever been more connected or invested in the Diaspora than the current leadership.
The lowering of requirements from female combat fighters is something that cannot be ignored (Prof. Arieh Eldad, Maariv) If, at the end of the sniper course, it is revealed that only a few of the fighters manage to hit the targets, would we not have ridiculed an army that would have preferred to increase the targets in order to make it easier for the shooters?
Egypt's peace interest (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) President Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi knows he must drastically improve the economy to save his country and restore it as leader of the Arab world. For this he needs an atmosphere of peace, which can ensure long-term stability.
Israel Will Always Be the Home of World Jewry, but U.S. Jews Cannot Dictate Israel's Behavior (Nave Dromi, Haaretz+) In this complex family relationship Israel also has the right to criticize or to follow its own piper when it comes to domestic policy.
We can do it ourselves (Eldad Beck, Israel Hayom) The success of the campaign by a Cologne woman, who convinced a German TV station to cancel its sponsorship of a Roger Waters concert, proves that BDS can be defeated by grassroots activism.
Extremists on Left and Right Empowering BDS on U.S. College Campuses (JTA and Seffi Kogen, Haaretz) From Michigan to Maryland, student governments debate joining the BDS movement against Israel, with mixed results.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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