News Nosh 3.5.18

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday March 5, 2018
Quote of the day:
"The flip-side of Israel’s May 14th celebration of statehood is the stateless Palestinians’ commemoration of the Nakba (Arabic for “catastrophe”), the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland in the 1948 war. By choosing this date, Trump privileges the Israeli narrative of 1948 over the Palestinian one – just as he recognized Israeli claims to Jerusalem while ignoring Palestinian claims."
--In an Op-Ed, three peace-builders, Jewish, Christian and Muslim, write about the significance of choosing to inaugurate the opening of an interim US embassy in Jerusalem on May 14th and call on President Trump to re-calibrate U.S. policy to acknowledge legitimate claims for both Israelis and Palestinians.*

Front Page:
  • (Ministers) Leitzman and Kahlon entrenching themselves in positions and increasing threat of dismantling of government
  • Elections as per his request // Yossi Verter
  • Shfaram resident intentionally ran over policeman and two soldiers in Acre
  • Senior officials in IDF: Imprisonment of draft refusers is ineffective, better to put civilian sanctions on them
  • State to offer aid to victims of torture in Sinai - only after most of them are deported
  • Jewish Law bill softened ahead of final approval - authority for Jewish law will be given if it does not contradict the principle of justice
  • Bennett announced an Israel Prize for hi-tech, which Gil Sweid received
  • Empty words - Netanyahu claimed Israel is building hospitals while Hamas digs terror tunnels. But he distorted the truth // Letters to the Editor
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
While Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu awaits his meeting today with US President Donald Trump, where they will talk about Iran and the US embassy move, the coalition government crisis grows at home, (President Reuven Rivlin called for 'dialogue, not coercion' over the Draft Bill, the ultra-Orthodox parties want passed), but some say the crisis was staged because polls show that Netanyahu will win if the country goes to early elections. The other big news was the awarding of a new Israel Prize - for Hi-Tech - to GIl Sweid, the founder of Checkpoint cyber-security company.

Interestingly, the car-ramming in the city of Acre did not make big news, as such incidents usually do. The police said the Israeli-Arab man who intentionally hit a Border Policeman and two soldiers had political motives, (i.e. it was an attack), but a witness said he was just angry that he got a 1000 shekel parking ticket for parking in a handicapped spot. He was taking his 8-months-pregnant wife for a medical check-up. The man’s father and lawyer insisted the man was not a terrorist, noting that many in the family work for the Israeli security forces. With the exception of ‘Israel Hayom,’ none of the main papers labeled the incident a ‘terror attack.’ Haaretz did not accept the police’s conclusions at fact value and called it an ‘intentional car-ramming.’ Yedioth noted that the “police’s evaluations have not yet satisfied the Shin Bet, who have yet to investigate the driver, in determining his motive.”
Quick Hits:
  • Following Trump, Guatemala Will Move Embassy to Jerusalem in May - President Jimmy Morales tells AIPAC conference the decision to return his country's embassy to Israel's capital 'strongly evidences Guatemala’s continued support and solidarity with the people of Israel'; in unofficial talks, Guatemala asks Israel to help fund the move, and Israel is expected to comply with the request. (Ynet and Haaretz)
  • Elovitch, Hefetz released to house arrest in Bezeq affair - After two weeks in remand in Case 4000, Bezeq majority shareholder Shaul Elovitch and former Netanyahu family media adviser Nir Hefetz released to house arrest for 10 days under restrictive conditions. (Ynet)
  • State's witness Filber confronts Bezeq CEO Handler - Bezeq CEO Handler, suspected of bribery in Case 4000, called in to be questioned under caution, taken aback when investigators set up confrontation with state's witness Shlomo Filber; 'We met at Eli Kamir's house,' Filber accuses, 'you knew about everything that happened'; 'Everything I did was for Bezeq, within confines of the law,' Handler retorts. (Ynet)
  • Additional suspect in Bezeq affair: Netanyahu's right-hand man when he served as communications minister - Eitan Tzafrir, former chief of staff at Communications Ministry, questioned by police's Lahav 433 Unit on suspicion of breach of trust; lawyers deny reports he signed a state's witness agreement, say 'he wasn't involved in any way in decisions related to Bezeq.' (Ynet)
  • Only a single woman announced to receive 2018 Israel Prize - Ten men, one woman: Yehudit Bronicki only woman announced to have won the 2018 Israel Prize thus far; MK Merav Michaeli: 'Government that does not appoint female Supreme Court justices, attempts to boot women out of significant IDF service—it's no wonder that it cannot find any women worthy of the Israeli Prize'; Education Minister Bennett's office: 'Decision up to professional committees, minister uninvolved.' (Ynet)
  • New poll finds Israelis ambivalent about the future - Ahead of Israel’s 70th anniversary, a poll finds that most Israelis are optimistic about the economy, ethnic tensions, female empowerment but pessimistic about peace prospects, social rifts, cost of living, government corruption. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • State asks court for 9 year extension on prison conditions - After the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) petitioned the High Court, the court ruled in June 2017 that prisoners must receive 4.5 square meters of living space by end of 2018. State now asking for 9 year extension, saying ruling would require them to release about a third of all prisoners; community service as alternative to short sentences is being examined. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • New budget crisis as Israel's defense chief demands extra army spending - Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman says a 2015 agreement allocates $2.4 billion not currently in the 2019 budget. (Haaretz and Yedioth/Ynet)
  • (Culture Minister) Regev's attack on gatekeepers slammed by fellow minister - Minister Gila Gamliel refers to culture minister's comparison of Israel's gatekeepers to Bigthan and Teresh from the Book of Esther, who were hung in punishment for plotting to kill the king, as 'an unfortunate comparison.' (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israeli army officials: Arresting ultra-Orthodox draft dodgers is ineffective - A contentious bill seeking to protect Haredim from mandatory conscription has created a major rift in the government, with some predicting snap elections. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu struggling to find Sharansky successor at Jewish Agency - Various names have been floated for the top role, but politics and internal considerations are obstacles to choice. (Haaretz)
  • Israeli acquitted of assaulting police after probe shows forced rectal exam - The 27-year-old Kiryat Malachi resident was given an invasive rectal search, contrary to procedure, after police thought he was breaking probation terms. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinian who impersonated hospital staff to assault moms gets 3 years in prison - The man was sentenced to an additional five months for an attempted theft earlier on the day the rape took place. (Haaretz)
  • Israel Is Welcoming Record Numbers of Tourists – and It's a Nightmare - In 2017, 3.6 million tourists visited Israel, a 25 percent increase on 2016. But the boom is proving a headache at popular sites like Jerusalem’s Old City and the Sea of Galilee. (Haaretz+)
  • This Israeli filmmaker swiped for Palestinians on dating apps – and it may land her an Oscar next year - Inés Moldavsky just won the best short film award at the Berlin Film Festival for ‘The Men Behind the Wall,’ about a very real obstacle that stops her from hooking up with Palestinians in the West Bank. (Haaretz+)
  • Footage shows Hamas siphoning Gaza power - COGAT Mordechai publishes video allegedly showing Hamas operatives illegally siphoning power intended for Gaza's 'hospitals, schools for terror. Watch this daylight robbery'; Gaza currently receives half of power its people require, with strip's sole power station shutting down due to diesel shortage. (Ynet)
  • Fatah names potential successor for PA leader Abbas - If PA President Mahmoud Abbas is incapacitated, Mahmoud al-Aloul will replace him as "acting president of Palestine" for a period of three months until elections can be held. Fatah officials say decision was prompted by rumors of Abbas' failing health. (Maariv and Israel Hayom)

*As Trump and Netanyahu Meet, Our Plea as Interfaith Leaders: Stop Boosting the Proponents of a Religious War (Mae Elise Cannon, Yahya Hendi and Debra Shushan, Haaretz+) Trump has consistently privileged the Israeli narrative and claims over those of the Palestinians. In his Jerusalem decision he also helped the destructive, unnecessary transformation of the conflict from a political to a religious struggle.
Why were the new Supreme Court justice's social media accounts deleted? (Yehuda Nuriel, Yedioth/Ynet) The new High Court Justice Prof. Alex Stein deleted his Twitter and Facebook accounts “in the final stretch before his appointment.” The diligent journalist who revealed this revealed a number of troubling comments from the account that vanished. But before examining their content, we should ask ourselves: why were the accounts deleted? Was Stein ordered to do so? What else is hidden there? And most importantly, was the Judicial Selection Committee exposed to it when it got acquainted with the candidate? Habayit Hayehudi, the so-called ‘Jewish’ Home party, is quietly smuggling America’s deep right into Israel. MK Moti Yogev’s bulldozer will strike the Supreme Court from the outside, and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked will import elements to undermine the democratic system from the inside. So what if they’re emigrants?
Netanyahu Keeps Destroying the Rule of Law (Haaretz Editorial) Later this week, he will address the AIPAC Policy Conference. As is his wont, he will describe the threats facing Israel, use statesmanlike rhetoric and be rewarded with enthusiastic applause.
My city will succeed in passing the crisis: Rage must not lead to an act that can take innocent lives (MK Zuhair Bahlul, Maariv) As in any heterogeneous community, occasional crises arise that must be dealt with in a manner that Acre has managed to deal with over the years. I am praying that our common sense will return and increase and that we will return to our normal course of life.
Netanyahu's millennials: The loyal crew that’s sticking around Israel's embattled leader (Noa Landau, Haaretz+) The prime minister is now left with only a small band of advisors as the investigations against him continue and more and more of his staff depart.
The politics of social justice (Earl Bowen, Jr. and Asaf Romirowsky, Yedioth/Ynet) Groups like Black Lives Matter have distorted Mideast reality, pushing many African-Americans to make assumptions and conclusions based on falsehoods and misinformation. BLM statements are anti-Semitic because it selectively chooses the Jewish state out of all states in the world to demonize.
Israeli Demonstrators, It Won’t Help (Ran Shimoni, Haaretz) When protests are coordinated with police, when everyone knows the evening will pass quietly, the cause is lost from the outset.
Meretz is back in the game (Moran Azulay, Yedioth/Ynet) Tamar Zandberg’s surprise decision to join the left-wing party’s leadership race created a huge swing in her direction. Her challenge will be to end to Meretz’s delegitimization and restore its status as a legitimate, influential factor in Israeli politics. Now that Zeheva Galon and Ilan Gilon have dropped out of the race, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to estimate that the election has already been decided.
Terrorist Sponsorship for a Night (Odeh Bisharat, Haaretz) As editor of newspaper Makor Rishon, convicted Jewish terrorist Haggai Segal is a sponsor of a conference about Israel’s “Seventy Years – A Vibrant Democracy.”
In the shadow of the investigations, the Netanyahu-Trump meeting will be a record of absurdity (Ran Adelist, Maariv) Comedy, drama and masks, each theatrical element will be used by the two leaders to hide their secret as they march hand in hand towards the disgrace of history.
In Syria, force will prevail (Moshe Arens, Haaretz+) Israel's determination to commit its strong military capability is probably higher than that of most of the parties fighting in Syria. Hopefully that threat is enough.
Putin's announcement of new nuclear weapons does not threaten world peace (Yossi Melman, Maariv) The Russian president's announcement of the development of a new "stealth" missile did not surprise the US and NATO security systems. This is merely a return to the era of threats and intimidation from the days of the Cold War.
A Planned, Calculated Killing of Sheep in the West Bank (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) The attack last month, like hundreds of others before it, was clearly directed toward one goal.
A silly "peace plan" and the prime minister's investigations have created a reality that necessitates a cleansing at the polls (Nadav Haetzni, Maariv) Under normal circumstances, elections should be held in the State of Israel once every two or three years. To this particular rule of thumb were added special circumstances this time, which apparently will lead to early elections and have created a murky reality among the public.
Ignore the smiles: Trump-Netanyahu get-together is a collision of bad karmas (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) The relationship between Israel and the U.S. is truly special when both their leaders are mainly preoccupied with escaping the law.
If Netanyahu Calls an Early Election, It Could Only Mean One Thing (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) If Israel finds itself in an election campaign that purportedly no one wanted, then Netanyahu probably has a political deal brewing.
The prime minister must play politics in order to make the most of the visit to the US (Shmuel Rosner, Maariv) Netanyahu wants the support of all Americans, but also the support of the Israelis. The louder the noise about coming election is, the more difficult it will be to deliver the goods.
The Downfall of Crown Prince Kushner (Daniel B. Shapiro, Haaretz+) It was always folly that Jared Kushner, a key example of Trump's terrible, nepotistic distortion of American government, monopolized the U.S.-Israel relationship. Now he's going down, how much further will critical decision-making deteriorate?

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