News Nosh 3.6.18

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday March 6, 2018
You Must Be Kidding: 
"We didn’t spend more than 15 minutes of the conversation on the Palestinian issue."
--Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reportedly said after his long meeting with US President Donald Trump.**

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
News Summary:
Again, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s troubles took the top headline away from his pleasant meeting with US President Donald Trump, as the government coalition crisis over the budget and the draft law continued to make trouble at home and all were the main stories of today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Nir Hefetz, Netanyahu's ‘spin doctor,’ became a state witness, the third of his confidants to sign an agreement to testify against him. Hefetz, who is suspected of bribery in Case 4000, the Bezeq telecom affair, will in return not stand trial, face prison time or be fined. Yedioth already shared details of his testimony: Hefetz claims that Netanyahu’s wife and son influenced Netanyahu to take security decisions which went against the recommendations of security top brass, ‘harming Israel's national interests and state security.’ Netanyahu's associates said Hefetz’s claims are ‘baseless.' Moreover, Channel 10 sources told Yedioth that Hefetz tried to convince Channel 10 not to air the satirical show of comedian Lior Schleien, saying that Schleien ‘is against the prime minister.' Former prime minister Ehud Barak said that with “Hefetz’s signature, “Bibi’s fate was sealed.” Meanwhile, coalition members were alternately trying to solve the coalition crisis or digging in their heels.

**But Netanyahu did not have to physically face the ‘hysteria’  as his supportive Israel Hayom columnist, Dror Eydar, called it. He was in Washington, meeting with Trump or as Yedioth put it, getting ‘a hug from Trump.’ Maariv called it ‘a moment of ease in the White House.’ Netanyahu summed up the meeting saying that it was all about Iran and just “15 minutes” about the Palestinians. What was said in that meeting was retold to reporters, probably through Netanyahu’s spokesman. The reporter simply wrote Netanyahu ‘reportedly said.’ (Full text here)

After the meeting with Trump, Netanyahu told journalists that the Palestinians were "trying to run away from negotiations, or at least they're not exactly rushing towards the (negotiating) table." Netanyahu also said that he was not been presented with the US peace plan. (Maariv’s US correspondent Shlomo Shamir didn’t buy that. See Commentary/Analysis below.) Trump warned that “if the Palestinians don’t return to the table, there won’t be peace.” Today Netanyahu is giving his speech at AIPAC and Yedioth columnist Ben-Dror Yemini wrote that everyone is wondering whether it will be his last speech at AIPAC, in light of the investigations.

Haaretz.com has live updates from Netanyahu's visit to the US.

AIPAC Headlines:

 

Quick Hits:
  • Israel's Security Cabinet to Discuss Bill That Would Allow Death Penalty for Terrorists - The legislation, promoted by Netanyahu and Defense Minister Lieberman, is facing sweeping professional objections from the security services. (Haaretz+)
  • Report: Elor Azaria’s father called the soldier (who killed a Palestinian man in) Jericho who refused to talk to him - In the wake of the shooting, in which Palestinian Yassin Saradih was killed, Charlie Azaria telephoned the soldier who was at the heart of the case being investigated by the IDF and told him that he was supports him and wishes him success, but before he could finish, the soldier said he would not talk, ended the conversation and hung up, according to Army Radio. Among those being interrogated by the IDF over the incident is the soldier who shot, the other soldiers in the video [meaning who were beating the man - OH], among them a female combat soldier, the company commander and paramedics. (Maariv)
  • "Elections for a new PLO leadership - in May" - A senior Palestinian official announced that the organization's national council will meet in May when the US embassy is moved to Jerusalem. The last conference of the Council was held in 2009. (Maariv)
  • Death of the man of the shadows: Uri Lubrani dies at 92 - He made secret missions and was involved in prisoner exchange deals. Yesterday, he died following a security career that spread over dozens of years. As a diplomat, Lubrani served as Israel's ambassador to Iran, Uganda and Ethiopia, and also as envoy for prime ministers Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak. (Haaretz, Maariv and Yedioth/Ynet Hebrew)
  • Supreme Court chief justice announces inquiry into judge texting affair - Esther Hayut appoints senior panel to look into relationship between prosecutors and judges following exchange of text messages between Judge Ronit Poznanski-Katz and Israel Securities Authority investigator in the Bezeq affair. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israel Begins Expelling Asylum Seekers From Holot Detention Facility - Israel Prison Service bars detainees from bringing application forms for asylum requests into the compound. (Haaretz+)
  • Survivors of Sinai 'torture camps' to be deported before Israel's aid plans are completed - The Justice Ministry team is scheduled to submit its recommendations on a program for survivors in June, two months after the expulsion of citizens of Eritrea and Sudan is slated to begin. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel's deportations of asylum seekers spur tensions between Rwanda, Uganda - Deportees from Israel are reportedly being smuggled from Rwanda into neighboring Uganda, causing tensions to rise between the neighbors. (Haaretz+)
  • (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)
  • Radical haredi sect blasts Israel for 'using' Holocaust against Poles - Neturei Karta, anti-Zionist sect that calls for dismantling the State of Israel, expresses support for Polish law absolving Poles of complicity in Nazi crimes • Israel and Zionist movement have been "misappropriating the memory of the Holocaust," it says. (Israel Hayom)
  • New exhibit shows slumping Israeli flag, draws culture minister's ire - Political art installation erected in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square shows a tilted Israeli that is about to fall; it's creator says it signifies the state of the country—in-between, standing yet prone to fall. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Highly Classified Israeli Army Systems Revealed Online - Official document posted on internet mentions two Israeli army systems whose existence had never been made public and can't even be discussed. (Haaretz)
  • Turkey Detains ISIS Suspects for Plotting to Attack U.S. Embassy - The U.S. embassy said on its web page late on Sunday that the mission would be closed due to a security threat, and urged U.S. citizens to avoid the embassy as well as large crowds. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Arab World's Largest Private Broadcaster Stops Showing Turkish Dramas - The popularity of Turkish soap operas failed to affect the harsh decision, which came into effect amid high tensions between Ankara and some Arab states. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Saudi Arabia, Egypt set up $10B fund for planned mega-city in Sinai - Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visits Egypt to deepen alliance between two regional powerhouses • Mega-city is part of plan to wean Saudis off oil revenue • Egyptian court dismisses challenges to Red Sea island deal with Riyadh. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Royal Dutch Shell gives up stake in undeveloped Gaza natural gas field - With Shell's exit, the control over Gaza marine is now solely in hands of the Palestinian sovereign wealth fund. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Mississippi looking to invest in Israeli bonds - Mississippi legislature passes bill allowing state to use excess general funds to invest in Israeli bonds. Investments would be capped at $20 million. State treasury chief of staff calls Israeli bonds safe investment with high rate of return. (Israel Hayom)
  • White House directly accuses Russia of killing civilians in Syria - Russia ignored terms of U.N. cease-fire "to kill innocent civilians under the false auspices of counterterrorism operations" in eastern Ghouta, White House says • Egypt and U.S. agree to work jointly to "end the humanitarian crisis in Syria," U.S. says. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)


Features:
How the Fight Against Malaria Infected the Future Map of Israel
Nearly 100 years ago, Dr. Israel Kligler single-handedly eradicated the disease in the Holy Land - and gave birth to the Partition Plan. (Nir Hasson, Haaretz+)
A decade after the terror attack at Merkaz Harav: "We did not stop life at the place where the terrorist tried to stop it”
The yeshiva rabbi and two of the students who studied there - and who miraculously made it through alive and saw their friends murdered before their eyes - retold the harsh moments from 10 years ago that haunt them to this day and the frontal confrontation with the terrorist. (Maayan Harouni, Maariv Magazine supplement, cover)
Meet One of Syria's Palestinian Refugees
Abd al-Salam was in prison in Homs before being transferred to a prison in Damascus. He received beatings with a club to electric shocks for three months before being released. (Zvi Barel, Haaretz+)
Letters to the Editor: 'Alternative Facts' at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion Airport
Liv Snesrud writes that representatives of the Population, Immigration and Border Authority presented misinformation about her in a January 8 article. (Haaretz)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
Netanyahu Came to Washington for a Few of His Favorite Things. Then Reality Struck (Noa Landau, Haaretz+) Netanyahu's meeting with Trump reflects the rapid death of the peace deal – before it was even born.
Trump-Netanyahu meeting: That’s what friends are for (Orly Azoulay, Yedioth/Ynet) Two leaders with a lot in common met at the White House on Monday to help each other in a time of need; Netanyahu gave Trump his admiration, and the US president said exactly what the prime minister wanted to hear about the Palestinians and Jerusalem.
Netanyahu and Trump are about to lose all use for each other (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Monday’s meeting in Washington is the beginning of the end for the romance between the Israeli prime minister and the U.S. president.
Netanyahu holds the key to solving the coalition crisis (Moran Azulay, Yedioth/Ynet) There is consensus in the political system that the prime minister’s motivation to solve the draft law crisis isn’t particularly high. Who stands to gain from elections, and was Finance Minister Kahlon wrong to insist on passing the state budget now despite having almost an entire year to do so?
Testimony by Netanyahu's disgraced spin doctor may mean early elections – but risks abound (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) Even during an election campaign, police investigations won't stall. But they could increase support for the prime minister on the right.
The subject of the news: Nir Hefetz, of all the people in the world, exposed Netanyahu's path (Ben Caspit, Maariv) The prime minister has already missed his honorable exit: Anyone who is determined to fight to the end must know that the end may not be good - and soon Mandelblit has to decide - and quickly.
The theme of the visit is Iran (Prof. Abraham Ben-Zvi, Israel Hayom) PM Netanyahu's visit to Washington comes at a particularly important time, with the clock running down on President Trump's ultimatum to plug the holes in the Iran nuclear deal or he will withdraw from it.
No PR victory for Trump or Netanyahu, but a shoulder to cry on in trying times (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+) The American media was focused on the White House on Monday – just not on events the two leaders would have wanted.
A suspicious object: Something is rotten in the Netanyahu kingdom - and Trump might take advantage of it (Udi Segal, Maariv) The testimony of Nir Hefetz may be explosive. At the moment of political climax, he became like an object stuck in Netanyahu’s throat. You can’t swallow and you can’t vomit. In addition to this must be added the worsening political crisis.
Netanyahu's Disastrous Rule Is a Dream for an Arab Nationalist (Salman Masalha, Haaretz+) During his time in the office, he has brought rot to every corner of the country. His continued rule will bring disaster to Jews and Arabs alike.
What will history say about Netanyahu? (Yoaz Hendel, Yedioth/Ynet) Unlike his representatives on social media and his written responses, the prime minister values journalists and values words. He understands that history is written by historians like his late father—the ‘elites’ in the right and in the left—and that’s why he is focused on convincing those who don’t and won’t vote for him.
Why Young Jews and Democrats Are Waving Goodbye to AIPAC (Emily Mayer, Haaretz+) My generation has only known Israel as an occupier. We won’t back anyone who supports that injustice – including the powerful lobby that is AIPAC.
How much fruit did the conversation between Trump and Netanyahu bear from Israel's political perspective? Very little (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) Regarding the promotion of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we are not expected to see any breakthrough in the foreseeable future. But the prime minister received from the president what was most important to him: Updated information and details about the clauses of the peace plan being formulated at the White House ("The Palestinians will not be informed by the White House in advance," a senior Western diplomat told me yesterday in New York). On the other hand, Netanyahu also received a thick friendly hint that Israeli rejection of key elements in the plan would provoke a harsh response from the president.
Tell-all plea deal of Netanyahu’s Rasputin shakes Israeli politics (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz) Nir Hefetz knows where the bodies are buried when it comes to the Netanyahus. The prime minister’s Hail Mary pass may have to be thrown all the way from Washington.
A history of violence (Ram Cohen, Israel Hayom) After the Elor Azaria case, the killing of yet another Palestinian who posed no threat appears to be a symptom of a serious ethical crisis in our military.
Holocaust trips to Poland for Israeli youth should start in Germany (Shlomo Avineri, Haaretz+) Because of the structure of these trips, tens of thousands of young Israelis unintentionally associate the Holocaust with Poland, sometimes far more than with Nazi Germany.
Gaza held hostage (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) When Hamas murderers wail about the fate of Gaza and point the finger at us, we must remember and remind others: Hamas, just like the Nazis, raised the banner of exterminating Jews for being Jewish.
Billy Graham Was Tarred by His Sycophantic Compliance With Nixon. Will Trump's Jews End Up the Same? (Samuel G. Freedman, Haaretz+) Graham's legacy, tarnished by his eager complicity with a bigoted, criminal president, should be a cautionary tale for AIPAC, which legitimized Trump's candidacy, and for the prominent rabbis who've insinuated themselves with him.
 A Fake Government (Haaretz Editorial) Minister Shaked is wrong. The conscription crisis isn't a fake crisis, but a real one that affects every 18-year-old, mother and father.
No need to crucify the judge in Israel's telecoms-giant case (Tzvia Greenfield, Haaretz+) Horrified by multiple corruption stories, the public was all too quick to burn Judge Ronit Poznanski-Katz at the stake - without first finding out whether their anger was justified.
Turkey's Erdogan Threatens to Give Trump a Lethal Ottoman Slap (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Turkey warns that Ankara's relationship with Washington has reached a 'critical point' that would either be 'fixed' or 'totally destroyed.' The U.S. is willing to swallow Turkey's 'chutzpah' as long as it keeps away from Russia.
 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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