News Nosh 2.4.18

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APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday February 4, 2018
 
Quote of the day:
“I’m very proud to defend Israel and I think I’ve done a good job, but this has gotten me so upset and disappointed and I don’t know where to turn. It got me to such a point where I said, you know, this is something I have to stand up for, and if it means criticizing Israel, I just have to do it."
--Jewish American millionaire and philanthropist, Joey Low, says it will be very difficult to defend Israel if it expels African asylum seekers.*

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • He’s not the victim // Raanan Shaked
  • Judged himself - The teacher and artist who held illicit relations with his students committed suicide
  • The legendary school principal: “I didn’t know about anything”
  • He’s not the victim // Raanan Shaked
  • Not shaming - journalism // Chen Artzi-Sror
  • Arafat in his secret diary: “Shimon Peres is a nice decoration”
  • Expose - International judicial experts: Expulsion of infiltrators is illegal
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Special - “At the Holot (detention) facility, my life was good, I had everything”
  • Absurd Kerry: “Egypt and Jordan will protect you”
  • The investigation, the suicide and the hard questions (about the teacher and artist who held illicit relations with his students)
  • Aharon Barak enlisted in the battle against the right-wing // Haim Shine
  • Operation to catch the terrorist from the cell that murdered Rabbi Shevach; Today: Havat Gilad will be recognized as a settlement
  • The recordings affair: Prime Minister’s Office submitted complaint against the driver of Yair Netanyahu
  • FBI’s report was revealed; Trump: “Many need to be ashamed”

News Summary:
An Israeli artist committed suicide over allegations he had illicit sex with his high school students, Israel made over 100 airstrikes against Islamic militants in the Sinai Peninsula with Egypt’s permission, the New York Times reported, and the Ashdod Municipality began issuing fines to businesses open on Shabbat and a former Israeli minister expressed support for a radical right-wing German political party while Germany declared that it, not Poland, was responsible for establishing the concentration camps in Poland making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Also in the news, Palestinian security forces protected an Israeli driver from a mob in a Palestinian town, and Israeli forces killed another Palestinian in the manhunt for the killer of a rabbi from Havat Gilad outpost.

A storm broke out after former Israeli minister Rafi Eitan expressed support for the the German radical right-wing AfD party, a party known for its xenophobia and anti-Semitic sentiments. Eitan, who as a Mossad agent helped catch the Nazi Adolf Eichman, said in a video that he hoped its ideology spread throughout Europe.

Israel's ambassador to Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff, called it shameful, "Hard to believe” and “sad" that anyone who captured Eichmann is capable of praising the extreme right, Maariv reported. On Saturday, Eitan said he was not aware of AfD's anti-Semitic comments.

But he’s not alone in his connections with Europe’s radical right. MK Yehuda Glick (Likud) plans to meet Heinz-Christian Strache, the head of Austria’s Freedom Party who was appointed as Austria’s vice-chancellor a month and a half ago. Strache has friends among Israel’s right-wing settlers, partly based on his promise to move Austria’s embassy to Jerusalem and on his support for settlement construction. “Meetings with leaders of anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi parties lend legitimacy to activists who wink to Israel with one eye while nodding at Israel-haters,” responded MK Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Union) to the meeting.

This news comes as the debate and anger continue over the Polish bill to outlaw saying Poland was responsible for Nazi war crimes or that the concentration camps in Poland were “Polish.” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Poland would never limit the freedom to debate the Holocaust and that Warsaw understood Israel's emotions about the issue and that the timing and presentation of the biil could have been better. Nevertheless, the diplomatic rift continued and on Friday Israel asked Poland to postpone the upcoming visit by its National Security Bureau chief. So Germany tried to make things clearer for Israel: Germany is responsible for the concentration camps in Poland “and no one else,” said Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Saturday. (Also Maariv) Meanwhile, the Israeli Embassy in Poland reported that anti-Semitic remarks were now ‘overflowing' on social media and state TV.

On Saturday, Israeli forces raided the village of Burqin twice in their manhunt for Ahmad Jarrar, who is believed to be the leader of the group behind the drive-by shooting that killed Rabbi Raziel Shevah, a settler of Havat Gilad outpost - and shot dead a young Palestinian. The forces also detained four people, two of them members of Jarrar’s family. This is the second large raid on a Palestinian neighborhood in order to find Shevach’s killer. Two weeks ago forces raided a Jenin refugee camp and killed a cousin of Jarrar with the same name, who they initially said was the killer and then later said was someone else in the cell and then later said they aren’t sure if he were involved. This time Ahmed Samir Abeed, 19, was killed, shot in the head, when Palestinians hurled stones at IDF vehicles raiding the village.

Israeli media noted that despite the official Palestinian declaration that there would be no security coordination with Israel, Palestinian security forces protected an Israeli man with their own bodies from an angry mob. The Israeli entered Abu Dis, just outside Jerusalem, accidentally, and a worried local called the Palestinian security forces, who came to his defense and coordinated his extraction with the Israeli army.
 
Quick Hits:
  • For second night in a row, Israeli air force attacks Hamas targets in Gaza in response to rocket fire - Second rocket in 24 hours fired from Gaza toward Israel only hours beforehand; false alarm sounded at around midnight. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Security sources: "Gaza’s collapse will lead to military confrontation" - According to a report on Channel 10, a serious assessment of the situation was brought to the attention of the Israeli Prime Minister, according to which Israel would have to inject humanitarian aid, including food and direct medicines into the Gaza Strip, if foreign funds were not provided. (Maariv)
  • UN agency asks Arab nations for funds after US aid cut - Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit says U.S. decision to withhold funding to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency pending reforms puts the stability and security of the region at risk. UNRWA chief: U.S. cut is the most severe crisis in the agency's history. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli attacked by mob, rescued by Palestinian forces after accidentally driving into West Bank town - 59-year-old Tel Aviv resident enters Palestinian town near Ma'ale Adumim by mistake; Palestinian security forces defend him and liaise with IDF forces to coordinate his extraction; 200 Palestinians riot and torch his vehicle when they learned of his presence there; Israeli security forces extricate man, who was lightly wounded in incident. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Hate graffiti sprayed in West Bank town of Palestinian teen: 'Death sentence for Ahed Tamimi' - Tamimi has been in jail since she was filmed striking two Israeli soldiers in her village in December. (Haaretz+)
  • Hundreds of young U.S. Jews send birthday wishes to jailed Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi ahead of trial - Two anti-occupation groups deliver letters of solidarity to father Bassem, days before his daughter faces five counts in Israeli military court of assaulting security forces and incitement. (Haaretz+)
  • Play depicting IDF soldiers as war criminals nixed from culture basket - Education Minister Naftali Bennett: Those who portray Israeli soldiers as war criminals lose right to meet with students. Culture, yes. Lies, no • Play depicting supposed 1948 massacre had been shown to high-school students preparing for military service. (Israel Hayom)
  • Hundreds protest against Netanyahu government corruption across Israel - For the 63rd week in a row, residents of central Israel congregate to protest government corruption and alleged improper and even illegal conduct by PM Netanyahu. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Poll predicts Likud victory if elections were held now - Ruling Likud party would scoop up 30 seats while the Zionist Union would drop to 13, according to poll commissioned by Likud. Yesh Atid, led Yair Lapid, would win 24 seats, making it leader of center-left bloc. Right would win 69 seats, Left 51 seats. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel using tourism to legitimize settlements, says EU report - Exclusive: European Union Heads of Mission warn ‘touristic settlements’ are being used as a political tool. (Maariv, p. 6 and The Guardian)
  • PLO to demand UN Security Council recognize Palestine within 1967 borders - The Palestine Liberation Organization will also formulate a plan for disengaging from Israel in terms of security and economics. (Haaretz)
  • Israeli Labor Leader: If Peace Talks Fail, Israel Should Withdraw From West Bank Without a Deal - ‘The Palestinians must reach a place where it’s worth it for them to reach a deal.' (Haaretz)
  • Amid Heightened Tensions in North, Israeli Army to Hold Largest Paratroop Drill in Years - The army decided on the upcoming exercise considering an assessment that Iran has resumed building a factory for precision weapons in Lebanon. (Haaretz+)
  • Russian delegation met with Netanyahu 'to prevent Israeli attack' in Lebanon, Syria - Netanyahu reportedly tells Putin during Moscow meeting that Israel plans to attack Iranian weapons factories in Syria and southern Lebanon in light of continued arms shipments to Hezbollah, with Russian delegation sent to Israel to stop it, according to Asharq Al-Awsat. (Ynet and Haaretz)
  • IDF upgrades capabilities of counter terror units - Amid the threat of Hamas or Hezbollah kidnapping Israeli citizens or soldiers to be used as bargaining chips to release security prisoners, elite IDF units train at Counter Terror School, where they work to improve cooperation between snipers and the 'monkeys' who storm into buildings to rescue hostages. (Ynet)
  • Israeli military to establish new ground-to-ground missile force - Defense minister instructs army to set up new unit for missiles with range of up to 300 kilometers. (Haaretz)
  • Asylum seekers deported from Israel to Rwanda warn those remaining: ‘Don’t come here’ - 'I thought maybe it would be better for me in Rwanda than in prison, but it has become like a prison for me here,' says an asylum seeker who left Israel. (Haaretz+)
  • Prison officials warn: No room to jail thousands of asylum seekers who refuse to leave Israel - With the expulsion of African asylum seekers set to begin in April, it's not clear where Israel will detain those refuse deportation. (Haaretz+)
  • International judicial experts: Expulsion of infiltrators is illegal - 25 senior jurists warn the Attorney General: "Expulsion of tens of thousands of asylum seekers to Rwanda will be a violation of human rights." (Yedioth, p. 1)
  • MKs, activists call for at least one woman appointee as Supreme Court judge - Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, however, opposes the influence of equality and gender in the selection process. (Haaretz)
  • Israeli minister pushed government agency to lift aide's travel restrictions - The judicial order on Culture Minister Miri Regev's aide was imposed due to large unpaid debts, including child support. (Haaretz+)
  • Haim Gouri, 'nation's contemporary poet,' laid to rest in Jerusalem - Gouri, whose poetry reflected early Israel’s national ethos, and some of whose songs became heritage assets of Israeli culture, died on Wednesday at 94. (Haaretz)
  • Israeli City of Ashdod Slapping Heavy Fines on Shops Open on Shabbat - The fines follow the passage of the 'Supermarkets Law,' which gives the interior minister more authority to keep stores closed on Saturday. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Hundreds of Ashdod drivers form convoy protesting religious coercion - Protest against Ashdod municipality's intention to force closure of businesses on Shabbat continues with hundreds of vehicles participating in a protest convoy; Mayor Lasry claims he will be presenting a solution to the crisis in the near future; 'We have had our fill of hollow slogans,' counters resident. (Ynet)
  • Jerusalem to start collecting taxes from churches, UN facilities - Municipality seizes bank accounts of Anglican, Armenian, Greek Orthodox and Catholic Churches in effort to collect $190 million in back taxes • City: Current tax-exempt status is discriminatory, burdens residents, jeopardizes city's financial stability. (Israel Hayom)
  • First Temple-era, early Christian ruins featured in new archaeological park near Jerusalem - Ein Hanya treasures include earliest coin found in Israel, Iron Age Proto-Ionic pillar fragment and a nymphaeon, but local Palestinians may find it hard to access. (Haaretz+)
  • US sanctions 6 people, 7 firms under rules targeting Hezbollah - The Trump administration places 6 people and 7 firms assisting Lebanese terror group to finance its activities under sanctions as part of effort to turn back Iranian influence in Middle East and elsewhere; Adham Tabaja, one of Hezbollah's top five financiers, included in sanctions list. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Israel-South Africa tennis match marred by pro-Palestinian rally - Dozens of pro-Palestinian activists wave flags, chant anti-Israeli slogans ahead of Davis Cup tennis match between Israel and South Africa; Pretoria police called to the scene; South African sports minister himself boycotted match. (Ynet)
  • Qatari foreign minister on U.S. Jewish groups visiting: 'We're building good relations' - In response to a question from Haaretz about requests by U.S. Jewish leaders to change Al Jazeera's coverage of Israel, the Foreign Minister says Qatar's government 'should not interfere in the media.’ (Haaretz+)


Features:
How a Mossad Plot to Kill Yasser Arafat Nearly Cost Me My Life
According to Ronen Bergman's new book, it's a miracle I'm still alive. Here’s my recollection of the fateful day I met the PLO leader in Beirut and lived to tell the tale. (Uri Avnery, Haaretz+)
'Not Your Habibti': The Palestinian-American Bringing #MeToo to the West Bank Has an Answer to Catcallers
Yasmeen Mjalli, 21, P who returned with her family to the West Bank after years in the US, says starting a conversation about sexual harassment in Palestinian society doesn't mean just copying the #MeToo movement. (Associated Press, Ynet)
Israeli settlers' 'foreign minister' trots the globe on diplomatic missions. Here's how much it's costing
Meetings with members of Congress in D.C., policy talks in N.Y., forays to parliaments in Europe – no, this isn’t the schedule of an Israeli diplomat but of Samaria Council head Yossi Dagan. (Hilo Glazer, Haaretz+)
The abject misery of standing in line to apply for asylum in Israel
For months, hundreds of African asylum seekers fought, sometimes violently, for a place in line at the Immigration Authority's Tel Aviv office; this week the venue suddenly changed, raising fears that arrests and deportation are soon to follow. (Shany Littman, Haaretz+)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
Let the Bedouin Have Their Schools (Haaretz Editorial) A change is occurring in Bedouin society: Parents want their kids to study as much as possible. Israel's High Court should show civic and democratic courage and block the demolitions of Bedouin schools in the West Bank.
In the week when we parted from one of the symbols of Zionism, war was declared against the IDF (Ben Caspit, Maariv) It is customary to say that the War of Independence was the most difficult in Israel's wars. It seems to me that the current cultural war is even more difficult for a simple reason: it is harder to fight one’s brothers…Two things happened this week almost at once. Haim Gouri, the poet of 1948 and the most prominent symbol of Israeliness and Zionism, who created the state against all odds in 1948, passed away in old age. The very next day Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, one of the most prominent messengers of the halachic state (state that is run by Jewish law - OH) hat is forming here under our noses, declared war on the Israel Defense Forces. Two events, the opposite of each other, which occurred almost simultaneously and illustrate the cultural war being waged in Israel.
A Stuttering Response to a Palestinian Refugee (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) A heavy moral shadow was cast over the establishment of Israel, and the Palestinians are entitled to compensation for the injustice.
The next Israeli prime minister’s first speech to the Palestinians (Shmuel Harlap, Haaretz+) A message to the young residents of Rawabi, the new West Bank city that embodies hope for a Palestinian-Israeli future of peace, cooperation and mutual prosperity.
Between quiet and a new war in Gaza stands only chance (Yossi Melman, Maariv) The rogue organizations in the Gaza Strip continue to challenge and embarrass Hamas (by shooting rockets at Israel). The increase in rocket fire, coupled with the continued deterioration of the humanitarian situation, could lead to a new confrontation.
The Expulsion Continues – and the Mizrahim Are Silent (Yair Asulin, Haaretz+) The real Mizrahi movement must enlist now in the struggle against Israel's expulsion of asylum seekers.
The campaign against the expulsion of the infiltrators is built on a huge pile of lies (Kalman Libeskind, Maariv) The courts threw out the window the stories of aid organizations about the horrors awaiting the infiltrators who would be deported to Rwanda and Uganda, but that did not bother them and all the members of the petitions to continue.
They didn't want Ethiopian Jews in Israel, either (Efrat Yerday, Haaretz+) It is terribly confusing, this combination of being both black and Jewish. It is confusing because racism based on skin color does not differentiate between citizens and non-citizens, between Muslims and Jews.
Poet Haim Gouri, Founder of Israel's Religion of Bereavement (Rogel Alpher, Haaretz+) Gouri bequeathed to the people an obsession with memory, the sanctity of death in battle and the worship of it as the pinnacle of an individual's existential significance.
Retired general’s solution to Israeli army’s flaws: Fewer tanks, more training (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Maj. Gen. Amiram Levin rubbishes talk that Israel’s enemies have become stronger over the years, but warns that the years spent in the occupied territories have adversely affected the army during times of war.
Lebanon is expected to become the main challenge of Military Intelligence in the coming years (Tal Lev-Ram, Maariv) While Syria was the one who attracted most of the attention during the tenure of Hertzi Halevi, Beirut will be the relevant sector for his replacement as head of Military Intelligence, Tamir Heiman. Also: the public relations campaign against (the enlisting of) religious girls lost its brakes.
Israeli threats to strike Lebanon missile factory not intended to provoke war, but to distance it (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) The last time Israel issued such warnings, in September 2017, the message was apparently received.
A letter to the Polish president (Shoshana Langer, Israel Hayom) If I were standing next to you, President Duda, I would give you two slaps and tell you to your face: "To us, you were full partners in what transpired. Accept responsibility!"
I would replace the Holocaust perpetrated by the Germans and exchange it for the behavior of the Poles (Meir Uziel, Maariv) The death camps were not Polish. They were German. Why is it so hard to say this clearly and unequivocally in Hebrew as well? How did it happen that there was suddenly an argument over who committed the Holocaust?
Genocide Victims as Refugee Dealers (Yair Auron, Haaretz+) It's hard to believe that the people behind the deal to expel asylum seekers from Israel to Rwanda are the leaders of two peoples who suffered genocide recently.
Polish Holocaust law isn’t the way to deal with the past (Aviad Kleinberg, Yedioth/Ynet) Is it right to turn an interpretation of history into a criminal offense? Should someone who attributes war crimes to the Polish nation go to jail? Such debates should be held in the public arena, not in court.
Who Owns Auschwitz? (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) The law that would prohibit any mention of Polish complicity during World War II is wrong. But it is also a stark reminder that Jews no longer have exclusivity over the Holocaust’s narrative.
Why Democrats sat on their hands when Donald Trump celebrated recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (Ron Kampeas, JTA, Haaretz) ’A deeply polarized Washington, where Democrats blame Trump for sowing division with unfettered attacks on their party, the media and at times, on minorities.’
Lieberman's leading candidate in race for IDF chief (Yossi Yehoshua, Yedioth/Ynet) The person with the highest chances of replacing Lieutenant-General Gadi Eisenkot at the end of 2018 is his deputy, Major-General Aviv Kochavi; the two other contenders, former Deputy Chief of Staff Yair Golan and Major-General Nitzan Alon, are unlikely to be selected.
Seize the opportunity, end the conflict (Yossi Beilin, Israel Hayom) PM Netanyahu must take advantage of his warm relationship with the Trump administration to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as Israel will never be in a more favorable position.
The UN's Israel 'blacklist' is one giant shaggy dog joke (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) The punchline of boycotting companies doing business with settlements is destined to be a letdown.
No End in Sight to Yemen's War Within a War as New Front Opens (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Some 10,000 Yemenis have been killed and over 50,000 wounded since 2015, but the Arab state’s civil war is about far more than a confrontation between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims or Saudi Arabia versus Iran.
 
Interviews:
*Jewish millionaire: It’s going to be very difficult to defend Israel
American businessman Joey Low has invested millions of dollars in Israel PR efforts over the years, but the Israeli decision to deport some 40,000 Africans has gotten him very upset and disappointed. ‘The government is doing things which are so against the traditional Jewish values of welcoming the stranger and taking in those who are in need,’ he says.  (Interviewed by Attila Somfalvi in Ynet)

'If I’m hit by a bullet in Tel Aviv and someone says maybe it’s a soldier – you wouldn’t even investigate?'
On the line with Shlomit Bakshi, spokeswoman for the Israel Police’s Judea and Samaria District in the West Bank. (Nir Gontarz, Haaretz+)

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