News Nosh 3.14.18

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday March 14, 2018
You Must Be Kidding: 
Because it was allegedly not possible to determine which of the bullets shot by the two soldiers was the fatal one that killed the Palestinian schoolboy who crossed the fence, the prosecution decided not to indict them both on manslaughter charges, but to reach a plea bargain and indict them on the lesser charges of recklessness and negligence.**

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • At the last moment: The draft law was solved - and we aren’t going to elections
  • They chose themselves // Sima Kadmon
  • Election tricks // Amnon Abramovitch
  • (Deceased female religious pilot) Tamar Ariel’s serial sexual harasser
  • Suspicion: The father sexually harassed female fans who were minors; The kid’s pop star: “Those girls are trying to blackmail me”
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu backtracked under pressure from the coalition heads and elections were averted, US President Donald Trump axed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “over the Iran nuclear deal” (Israel Hayom), and the dad of a teen pop star was arrested on suspicion of sexually harassing his daughter’s female fans - making top stories in today’s Hebrew papers, along with what is being labeled as an ‘assassination attempt’ on Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, when explosives went off near his convoy while he visited Gaza, blowing out windows from vehicles, and lightly injuring some guards - but also harming the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. (See Commentary/Analysis for views on whodunnit.)

The papers, with the obvious exception of Israel Hayom, were convinced that no altruism was involved in the draft law compromise, which allowed the coalition parties to avert early elections. (See Commentary/Analysis below.)
Separately, Maariv ran a rare interview with the Israeli Navy colonel in charge of the Navy's submarine fleet. He revealed that the Navy never asked for the nine submarines that Israel purchased from the German company in the deal that is under investigation in Case 3000.  "At no point did the Navy need nine submarines…Five submarines is a minimum, six is optimal," said Col. G. told reporter Tal Lev-Ram.

Also interesting was an article on Ynet titled, “Palestinian textbook immortalizes Coastal Road massacre terrorist,” but which should have been titled, “Palestinian textbook teaches that Palestinian terrorist whose cell murdered 38 Israelis in 1978 did not want to kill her Israeli hostages.” The book discusses the attack in 1978, when 11 Palestinians hijacked a bus on Israel’s Coastal Highway. Reporter Elior Levy writes that the book describes the attack and its leader, Dalal Mughrabi, in a romantic way, stressing that she had no intention to kill, only to do a prisoner swap, noting that the firefight with Israeli forces was asymmetrical, and claiming that some of the hostages were killed by Israeli forces. Levy noted that among the questions the students are later required to answer was why Mughrabi told the hostages ‘We don't want to kill you.’ "It appears the textbook is trying to moderate the abduction and massacre of innocent civilians and embellish it by making it seem like the Palestinians had no other choice but to kidnap Israelis in order to free Palestinian prisoners,” wrote Levy.
Quick Hits:
  • **Soldiers Who Killed Unarmed Palestinian Say in Defense: Israel Rarely Charges for Such Offenses - A conviction would amount to selective enforcement, claim lawyers of soldiers accused of negligence and recklessness in shooting death of 16-year-old Samir Awad in 2013. Israel weighing plea deal. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • In First, Knesset Bars Israeli Lawmaker From Overseas Trip Sponsored by Pro-boycott Organization - MK Yousef Jabareen of the Arab Joint List requested to fly abroad for a series of lectures funded by Jewish Voice for Peace, but was refused. (Haaretz, Israel Hayom and Maariv)
  • Controversial nation-state bill passes committee vote, heads to Knesset - Bill defining Israel as a "Jewish state with a democratic regime" rather than "Jewish and democratic state" passes committee by 9-7 vote. Committee chairman MK Amir Ohana calls it "the law for all laws, the most important in the history of the country." (Israel Hayom)
  • Despite Palestinian Boycott of White House's Gaza Conference, White House Touts Israeli, Arab Presence - 20 countries - including Israel but not the Palestinian Authority - 'left their politics at the door' to discuss the worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza. (Haaretz+, Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • IDF, US Marines hold urban warfare drill in mock Mideast village - Exercise takes place as part of Juniper Cobra 2018, the flagship joint training exercise Israel and the United States have been holding every two years since 2001 • Maneuvers includes battle formations, helicopter deployment and medical evacuations. 'This increases our already rock solid relationship with Israel,' says Marine battalion commander. (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Knesset Panel Mulls Long Waits at East Jerusalem Population Registry - It will take at least six months before pressure on the population registry office in East Jerusalem subsides, straining Palestinian residents beginning the citizenship process. (Haaretz+)
  • Details of Jerusalem deputy mayor's alleged criminal affairs emerge - Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Turgeman revealed to have been arrested for bribery, fraud and breach of trust, abuse of power and tax offenses along with 5 others and has yet to be released from remand; Turgeman allegedly used pull with city's Planning and Construction Committee to advance interests of 2 others suspected in probe. (Ynet)
  • Jewish Agency's Sharansky: Open Archives on Immigration of Jews From Mideast and North Africa - The information could provide more detail on the Mizrahi Jews who suffered in 'development towns' early in Israel's history. (Haaretz+)
  • In Surprise Move, Knesset Approves Law to Reduce Use of Cash - Its aim is to squeeze Israel’s black market by limiting cash transactions, and will increase tax revenue by some 500 million shekels ($145.7 million) annually. (Haaretz)
  • Want to sign Israel’s Declaration of Independence?\ - Ahead of Israel's 70th anniversary, Israelis will be able to digitally add their signature to the State of Israel's most important historic, legal and moral document: The Declaration of Independence. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Roger Waters releases 'Supremacy' in protest of US Jerusalem move - Waters reads out poem by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish to music composed by Palestinian group Le Trio Joubran; 'On the surface, it narrates the last speech of The Native American to The White Man, but it speaks also to Darwish's beloved Palestine, and its indigenous people, in fact to all victims of settler colonialism everywhere, always,' Waters says. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Mother of female IAF pilot who was killed in Nepal: "I'm afraid to go to my daughter's grave because of a troublemaker" - Anat Ariel, whose daughter Tamar lost her life in a snow avalanche 3 years ago, said that since the incident, the family had been sent abusive messages: "We have exhausted our energies in dealing with this nightmare.” (Maariv)
  • German aid to UN Palestinian refugee agency soars under Merkel - Since Angela Merkel became chancellor in 2005, German aid to U.N. Relief and Works Agency has risen from €3 million to €56 million. At times, Israel requested funding to help peace talks. Far-right German politician: Germany funding hatred of Jews, Israel. (Israel Hayom)
  • Lebanon releases actor accused of collaborating with Israel - After being accused of collaborating with Israel and in wake of findings pointing to a former cyber security official framing him out of vengeance, Lebanese actor and director Itani is released from jail. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Syrian Observatory says war has killed more than half a million - British-based war monitor, which tracks death tolls using a network of contacts inside Syria, says it has identified more than 350,000 of the 511,000 people who have been killed in seven years of war; civilian death toll reaches 106,390, including 19,811 children and 12,513 women. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Iran Sentences Woman to Two Years in Prison for Removing Headscarf in Public - Tehran prosecutor quoted as saying the unidentified woman took off her headscarf in Tehran’s Enghelab Street to 'encourage corruption through the removal of the hijab in public.’ (Agencies, Haaretz)

Israel's advocates abroad: Aharon Lavie creates a connection between young Jews and the state
"One of the communities took an old synagogue where there were hardly any people and it as about to close down, revived it and it’s now vibrant," Lavie, 35, from Moshav Shuva, who is the founder of the ‘Kahal’ (community) project about his life project, adding: “Their attitude toward Israel has changed completely.” By the end of this month, the Kahal project will have 45 starts of young, mission-oriented communities around the world. Most of them are in the United States, but there are also communities in Panama, South Korea and Eastern Europe. (Ilana Stutland, Maariv)
Jewish pilgrimage a rare sign of Israeli-Palestinian cooperation
At Jewish heritage sites across Judea and Samaria, Palestinian and Israeli security forces still carry out vestiges of cooperation that have remained intact at ground level. Visits are not without incident, but rarely escalate into full-scale clashes. (Israel Hayom)
Letters to the Editor: Suffering Gaza, Republicans Shunning Muslims, Kashrut in Israel (Haaretz+)

Netanyahu’s Hesitation at the Brink Shows He’s Vulnerable (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Three ways in which the prime minister is in a worse position now than before the snap-election crisis was resolved on Tuesday by his coalition partners.
Limitations of power: Bennett, Shaked and Deri gave Netanyahu the fight from hell and won (Ben Caspit, Maariv) The prime minister tried to convince them that even from the battle over the draft law crisis he had won the upper hand, but the truth is that he is the big loser of this unnecessary round.
The opposition is irrelevant (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) If anything, the latest coalition crisis shows that the opposition is incapable of scoring even a single point from political tumult.
Netanyahu Took Credit for Averting Elections. In Truth, He Lost Control (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) Netanyahu's partners were wise enough at the last minute to unite and isolate him.
Netanyahu remained strong but blinked first (Udi Segal, Maariv) The prime minister allowed the unnecessary political crisis to develop under his nose, without stopping it in time: Lieberman stood erect the whole way, and (Opposition leader) Avi Gabbay breathed a sigh of relief.
Public interest won (Amnon Lord, Israel Hayom) As the dust settles over the coalition crisis and the threat of early elections dissipates, politicians who prioritized public interest over political gain will reap the rewardsץ
Netanyahu's ulterior motive (Yoaz Hendel, Yedioth/Ynet) Even if the prime minister turns a future election campaign into a modern ‘Dreyfus trial,’ waging an impulsive battle against the state’s institutions and the media—like Trump— it will have no effect on the results of the legal proceeding against him; 30 or 40 Knesset seats, a third of the public, can’t stop a legal process.
Dear Mr. Arens: Netanyahu is more Pied Piper of Hamelin than Gulliver (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Roars of approval at AIPAC cannot atone for Netanyahu’s targeted assassination of Israeli democracy.
All the political crises accompanying the present Netanyahu government are imaginary (Dr. Sagi Elbaz, Maariv) Laws or bills that do not change reality but do cause shifts in the political tectonic plates will not overthrow the government, but each of the components of the coalition can strengthen its political base.
The New Israel Fund spokesman: Netanyahu (Mickey Gitzin, Haaretz+) Israel's prime minister is two people: abroad, it's progressive Prime Minister Netanyahu; In Israel, it's corrupt King Bibi. The dissonance is clear- and disturbing.
What Israel needs is leadership (Amir Eshel, Yedioth/Ynet) Leadership requires a personal example. A leader has more obligations than rights, and a strong leader is one who possesses the ability to fearlessly admit a mistake. We are living in an era where the real ethical discourse is being pushed aside, and when we fail to protect our values—we quickly reach a slippery slope.
Who's Behind the Attempted Assassination of a Top Palestinian Leader? (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) It's easy to blame Hamas for the attack that took place in Gaza, but there are much more likely suspects.
Hamas can't even protects its guests (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) It is evident that Hamas' rule in Gaza Strip is a complete failure, not just in the economic and social fields, but also in the realm of security – its pride and joy.
Assassination Attempt on Palestinian PM Failed, but Dealt Mortal Blow to Reconciliation (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Though the senior PA officials escaped with their lives, one thing is clear: Egyptian efforts to effect reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah have suffered a mortal blow.
The Palestinians are saying that the Jews use Muslim blood to bake Purim cookies (MK Ksenia Svetlova, Maariv) This false and malicious blood libel continues to be heard and written even in the 21st century. In the 2000s, the plot reached Egyptian and Lebanese television. This time it reached the Palestinian Ma'an website.
The Hatred and Mistrust That’s Killing Palestinian Unity (Muhammad Shehada, Haaretz+) Tuesday's unprecedented attack on Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Gaza reflects the continued enmity between Hamas and the PA, even if the attack was the work of disgruntled Hamas security personnel acting independently.
Dreams Deferred in the Gaza Strip (Mariam Abu Alatta, Haaretz) After struggling to develop a career in architecture in the Gaza Strip, I grew to understand that promoting women’s rights was another way to be involved in improving my community.
Tillerson's Sacking Will Shock America and the World - but Delight Israel (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) The secretary of state’s cardinal sin was that he didn’t kowtow to Trump to the degree that the president craves and requires.
Rex Tillerson's minimal performance also surprised his fans in Washington (Shmuel Rosner, Maariv) Rooms remained empty because no senior officials were appointed, major arenas in the world were abandoned. The deposed Secretary of State came to the political-diplomatic arena without experience, but despite the thought he would learn quickly, it did not happen.
New U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Has a Hawkish History on Iran and Israel (Amir Tibon, Haaretz+) Mike Pompeo, who Trump nominated to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, has a record as a strong Israel supporter and a fierce critic of the Iran nuclear deal.
Tillerson's Legacy in Syria: Avoiding Conflict, Abandoning America's Allies (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) One of the last acts of the deposed secretary of state was to sign an agreement with Turkey — at the expense of the Kurds.
Can Mike Pompeo Fix Trump? (Daniel B. Shapiro, Haaretz+) Tillerson sank without a trace on U.S.-Israel relations. Will Pompeo as secretary of state take back the Mideast brief Kushner has made his private fiefdom?
Black Sites and Torture: Gina Haspel, Trump’s Controversial Pick to Be CIA Director, Slammed by the ACLU (Alexander Griffing, Haaretz+) 'One man held at the secret prison she ran was waterboarded 83 times, slammed against walls, sleep deprived, and locked in a coffin-like box,' said the ACLU of Haspel's record.
African lives matter. Except when Netanyahu needs racism for votes (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) Netanyahu's electoral target is the swing vote of the hardest of the hard right. This is the political message the deportations are meant to send: 'You're under attack. Only I will put those people on a plane.'
Prove to Israelis That Deportation to Rwanda Is Safe, Not Just a Dubious Deal (Haaretz Editorial) Attorney General Mendelblit will decide whether to accede to the Supreme Court’s request to temporarily freeze forcible deportation of African asylum seekers.
Should the IDF Be an Army of the People or Army for the People? (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Those who still believe high concepts like 'the people’s army' and 'the melting pot' can only lament their own naiveté, or perhaps their stupidity.

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