News Nosh: April 22, 2018

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday April 22, 2018
 
Quote of the day:
"Let us assure ourselves, after Independence Day, to examine once and for all how deeply and seriously our racist and aggressive policies in the (Palestinian) territories have contributed to world anti-Semitism and to what extent it threatens the security of every citizen.
-Maariv commentator Ran Adelist takes a sharp look at Israel on its 70th birthday.*

You Must Be Kidding:
“She’s a fifth-column…she and the rest of her converted friends are more dangerous than any Arab terrorist. ”
Likud MK Oren Hazan’s reaction to actress Natalie Portman’s refusal to receive the Genesis Prize because she doesn’t want to be seen as supporting Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.**

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Elimination from a distance of 7,600km
  • A hit to the wing // Yossi Yehoshua
  • Close surveillance // Ronen Bergman
  • IDF on the death of the youth: “Hamas uses children as human shields”
  • Natalie Portman’s boycott
  • Star war // Binyamin Tobias
  • Black nonsense // Ben-Dror Yemini
  • Love and darkness // Raz Sukenik
  • Former justice and Attorney General Yitzhak Zamir warns (against override power clause)
  • Where did ‘Hallelujah’ disappear to? Why wasn’t it broadcast at the torch-lighting ceremony?
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • The invisible hand: ‘The drones doctor’ was eliminated in Malaysia
  • N. Korea surprised: Stopping nuclear tests
  • Before the summit: We will see that Kim blinks first // Prof. Avraham Ben-Zvi
  • 70 Israelis, 70 thanks // President Reuven (Rubi) Rivlin
  • To the glory of the State of Israel: The unity speech of Miriam Peretz will be taught in schools
  • Iran threatens: “Our finger is on the trigger”; Netanyahu and Lieberman: “Don’t try the IDF”
  • Transfer of embassies to Jerusalem: Dispute between Romania and Czech Republic

News Summary:
The assassination of a Hamas-affiliated Palestinian engineer living in Malaysia, the refusal by actress Natalie Portman to receive the Genesis Prize at a ceremony alongside Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and the IDF killing, caught on video, of a Palestinian teen at the Gaza border fence were top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. And, Israel makes some diplomatic coups against Hamas in the EU Parliament.

Also in the news, Iran and Israel exchanged threats again. The deputy head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards threatened Israel with destruction on Friday, while Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned against such an endeavor, boasting Israel has never been more prepared for an all out armed conflict. Due to all the threats in the north, the Israeli air force withdrew its warplanes from an Alaska exercise.

During the last week, Israel hosted UN ambassadors on a five-day visit - the largest delegation ever to visit. During the diplomats’ trip, both Israel’s President and Prime Minister urged them to work against Iran's growing regional strength and Netanyahu also called on them to move their embassies to the capital, insisting it will promote peace, as "recognizing reality is the way you build peace." Netanyahu is struggling to get European states to relocate their embassies to Jerusalem. Romania’s president spoke out against his government's proposal to move the country’s embassy to Jerusalem, after which the Czech Republic said it won't move its embassy to Jerusalem, after all.

Only a few days after a newspaper reported that Egypt was brokering a prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel, assassins on a motorcycle shot dead Fadi al-Batash, 35, a Hamas-affiliated electrical engineer and university lecturer, outside the mosque where he led services in Malaysia - and the Israeli papers suggested they agreed with the Batash family that Israel was the culprit. A Palestinian source told Yedioth/Ynet’s Elior Levy that Batash might have advised Hamas on drone-making. Batash’s family in Gaza, is trying to bring him back to Gaza for burial, while Education Minister Naftali Bennet and the Goldin family, whose son IDF Lt. Hadar Goldin was killed in Gaza and captured by Hamas, demanded the government prevent the return. Batash was the imam of the mosque where he was murdered and he was also considered outstanding in his field of electrical engineering and served as a lecturer at Kuala Lumpur University's British-Malaysian Institute. Batash has criticized Israel’s siege on Gaza, saying it has what has made Gazans’ lives so miserable.

**Right-wingers, particularly from the Likud, were in a storm after Natalie Portman clarified that the reason she was skipping the Israeli ceremony for the Genesis Prize, Israel’s ‘Jewish Nobel,’ was because she doesn’t want to be seen as endorsing Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who was meant to give a speech at the ceremony. The ceremony was cancelled. The Likud party said that Portman “simply refuses to accept the people's decision,” to elect Netanyahu. However, the infamous Likud MK Oren Hazan had more venomous words for Portman.  "We are finished with the Diaspora mentality - we react and attack back,” he said as Maariv reported. “Portman is a fifth column of the state and I call on all my friends, the Zionists who love the people and the country, beat her with all your might in social media networks in Hebrew, English, Spanish, French and any other language. Time after time, Portman criticizes the state, but this time she has crossed all lines, and she and the rest of her converted friends are more dangerous than any Arab terrorist. As pretend Jews, they give legitimacy to attacks against the state and they encourage terrorism. In order to stop her attack, we have to strike her in her soft underbelly, both among important and leading Jews, who are in key positions around the world in general, as well as those specifically in the movie industry, from which she draws her livelihood. I have no doubt that this is how she and those like her will learn to shut their treacherous mouths and stop pulling tricks on the back and at the expense of the security of the State of Israel and the blood of its citizens.

In a Facebook post, Portman wrote that “The mistreatment of those suffering from today's atrocities is simply not in line with my Jewish values. Because I care about Israel, I must stand up against violence, corruption, inequality and abuse of power.” She added that she will donate the $2 million prize money to Israeli charities that she will name in the future. However, this post came after the backlash from Israeli officials and others following the Friday announcement by her spokesperson that the Oscar-winning actress was skipping the Israeli ceremony because she finds recent events in Israel "distressing,” making one think of the killings of Palestinian demonstrators by Israeli soldiers on the Gaza border.

Indeed IDF snipers killed four more Palestinians demonstrating on the fourth Friday of the ‘March of Return’ protest, three of them with bullets to the head, and the IDF made no comment on it, initially, which the newspapers noted was highly unusual. However, the killing of one of them was caught on video and sparked an international outcry. The chilling video clip showing 15-year-old Mohammed Ayoub running hundreds of meters away from the border fence, then being shot in the head and falling to the ground first circulated Palestinian social media on Friday. After the UN's Mideast envoy Nickolay Mladenov saw the video he reacted by blasting Israel on Twitter, “It is OUTRAGEOUS to shoot at children! How does the killing of a child in Gaza today help peace? It doesn’t! It fuels anger and breeds more killing. Children must be protected from violence, not exposed to it, not killed! This tragic incident must be investigated.” Ynet English appeared to be downplaying the UN envoy’s reaction. Elior Levy’s Hebrew article in Ynet called Mladenov’s reaction a “sharp and unusual attack” but Ynet English omitted translating those words and other key parts of Levy’s article. The original Hebrew article was titled, “UN envoy attacked: ‘Israel shoots children, it's outrageous.’” However the English article was titled: UN Mid-East envoy chides IDF response at border protest. The English translation jumped from the first paragraph to the fifth one giving the IDF viewpoint and omitting the three key paragraphs in between, including the following: “In a post on Twitter, Mladenov added: "Children must be protected from violence and not expose them to it or kill them! This tragic incident must be investigated.” Shortly after the post, Peter Lerner, the former spokesman for the IDF, responded: "This Tweet (post)  contributes nothing and does nothing to prevent the next death. Here is an idea: ‘Make with them - the recipients of salaries from the UN - a human chain that will protect the demonstrators and prevent them from reaching the fence." Mladenov replied: "Here's another idea - stop shooting the children." The print edition of Yedioth blamed the boy for his own death, emphasizing that his mother had warned him not to go to the protests and that the IDF dropped leaflets on Gaza on Friday morning, warning Palestinians not to approach the border fence with Israel, Maariv and Haaretz emphasized that the European Union had demanded that Israel open a ‘full investigation’ into the killings and that Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Hamas was responsible for their deaths because it used the four as ‘human shields.’ Haaretz further reported on its front page that according to Gaza doctors: Israeli fire at the border protests has caused ‘devastating’ wounds not seen since the 2014 War, most of which will result in disabilities. The WHO said that a lack of medical equipment in Gaza was endangering the wounded. Following the international criticism, the Israeli army said it would investigate the death of 15-year-old Mohammed Ayoub. The day before, the Friday protests, Palestinian activists moved the camping tents 50 meters closer to the security fence in Gaza so that the tents were between 500-700 meters away from the border line.

And while the IDF gets badgered for killing Palestinian protesters, Israeli diplomats are scoring against Hamas in the European Union Parliament. Diplomatic pressure by the Israeli Foreign Ministry caused the EU Parliament to completely alter Thursday the motion for a resolution submitted against Israel for shooting Gazan protesters and for the continued siege on Gaza and turned it into one that corresponded with Israel’s stances regarding Gaza, including condemning Hamas and holding it accountable for much of the Gaza Strip’s problems. The Parliament also called for the first time on Hamas to release the Israeli citizens and corpses it holds. Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Affairs committee of the European Parliament, Anders Primdahl Vistisen, welcomed the decision, reiterating the parliament's stance that that "Hamas is a terror organization.” (NOTE: What the reporters failed to note was that the Israeli Foreign Ministry had a supportive ear in the way of Vistisen, who is a Danish politician from the far-right-wing nationalist, anti-Islam, Danish People’s Party.) Moreover, the EU Parliament passed a law against Palestinian incitement. The law prevents the transfer of funds from the European Union's PEGASE, the Palestinian Authority’s main source of funding, if those funds are to be used for ‘education to hatred’ at schools. This time it was the Israeli research institute, IMPACT-SE, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which studies and analyzes official text books around the world, that aided the European Union in formulating the legislation that was passed on Wednesday.
 
Quick Hits:
  • Under Trump, U.S. human rights report no longer calls West Bank 'occupied' - The report seems to demonstrate the Trump administration's approach towards Israel and the Palestinians, seeking input on human rights violation accusations mainly from the Israeli government. (Haaretz+)
  • Thousands march against override power clause in Tel Aviv - In Tel Aviv, demonstrators accuse Netanyahu of being 'against the state,' demanding: 'take your hands off the High Court'; in Haifa, protesters also lash out at Kahlon for 'leaving the elderly and disabled below the poverty line.' (Ynet and Maariv)
  • Israel Prize recipient Miriam Peretz moves nation with call to unity - "In this puzzle called Israel, there is a place for everyone and even if only one piece is missing, it will be incomplete," says bereaved mother and educator. Peretz, who lost two sons in battle, insists "no political camp has ownership over patriotism." (Israel Hayom)
  • Following the dispute with Netanyahu and Regev: Knesset Speaker Yoel Edelstein was portrayed as Hitler on the Internet - After Edelstein opposed Netanyahu giving a speech at the Independence Day ceremony, a picture of the Speaker of the Knesset, in which he was depicted as Hilter, was published on Facebook alongside the caption: "Yoel Hitlerstein." Minister Regev: “This is unacceptable." The person who posted the photo: “He is an anti-Semite and a left-winger.” (Maariv)
  • Author David Grossman awarded prestigious Israel Prize on 70th Independence Day - Speaking at the ceremony, Minister Naftali Bennett says 'not only the right loves the land of Israel and not only the left seeks peace. Both aspire for the best of the state.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Over 20,000 march in northern Israel to mark 'catastrophe' of Israeli independence - The 'Procession of Return' commemorates the Nakba and calls to attention the rights of Arabs uprooted from their villages during the 1948 Israeli-Arab war. (Haaretz+, Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • Joint Israeli-Palestinian memorial went ahead under eye of heavy security - Over 7,500 Israelis and Arabs attend alternative memorial service in Tel Aviv Tuesday evening as Israel marked Memorial Day, sparking anger among Israeli groups, who stage protests nearby against ‘the crazy Left'; writer David Grossman says during ceremony, 'Enemies can connect out of grief.' (Ynet)
  • Israeli settlers attack Palestinian students in Hebron on way home from school - Israeli settlers physically attacked students Wednesday and “used foul language against them,” as the students were leaving school in the al-Salaymeh neighborhood in the Old City of Hebron. No injuries were reported. (Maan)
  • Israeli settlers attack Palestinian families, attempt to take over homes in Hebron - A group of Israeli settlers “attacked” two homes in the Old City and attempted to take them over, demanding that the families leave their homes. The homes belonged to the Jaber and Kfeisheh families. “These continuous threats by Israeli settlers are meant to terrify Palestinian families in order to force them to leave their homes,” said local activist Aref Jaber. (Maan)
  • Israel arrests four settlers over posters accusing colonel of 'shooting Jews' - Youths were apparently motivated by the recent evacuation of an unauthorized outpost during which residents threw stones at troops led by Col. Gilad Amit. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel issues 41 administrative orders to Palestinian prisoners since April 1 - Israel uses administrative detention almost exclusively against Palestinians. The widely condemned Israeli policy allows for a detainee to be sentenced for up to six-month renewable intervals based on undisclosed evidence. (Maan)
  • Palestinian with truck carrying explosives for 'Independence Day terror attack' arrested - Explosives found in truck trying to cross the West Bank's Reihan Crossing, cargo marked as 'intended for border communities.’ (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Right-wing extremists filmed slashing tires and damaging property in Palestinian village for fourth time this week - Abusive Graffiti also sprayed on vehicles and homes calling for expulsion and death for 'terror supporters' in the Palestinian village of Burqa and olive trees destroyed; attack comes as Shin Bet warns of spike in number of hate crimes carried out by Israeli extremists in West Bank. (Haaretz+ and Ynet+VIDEO and Maan)
  • Injured Gaza journalist arrives to Ramallah for treatment - A Palestinian journalist from Gaza, who was shot in the head and critically injured by Israeli forces while covering protests 10 days ago, was transferred to a hospital in Ramallah late last Sunday night, after all Israeli hospitals allegedly refused him treatment. (Maan)
  • MK Set to Ask High Court to Quash Ban on His Jewish Voice for Peace-funded Lecture Tour - MK Yousef Jabareen slated to petition against Ethics Committee decision keeping him from giving talks in the US paid for by organization that supports BDS movement. (Haaretz+)
  • Tel Aviv municipality accidentally removes iconic Rabin mural - Residents of Florentine neighborhood discover community installation was to cover up neighborhood's iconic mural depicting former PM Rabin's assassination, raise public outcry causing municipality to apologize, transfer installation to another wall; despite transference, municipality employee arrives to begin covering up mural; artist says 'in shock', municipality purports it was 'honest mistake.' (Ynet)
  • State Archives release historical documents shedding light on Israel's early days - President Truman's letter recognizing Israel is among 150 documents released by State Archives detailing the creation of the IDF, functioning of provisional government, election of first president and deliberation over state symbols. (Ynet)
  • The chief censor questioned the lack of publication of the recommendations of the Shamgar Commission - Chairman of the Movement for Quality Government will investigate Brigadier General Ben-Avraham in the framework of the movement's petition against the Ministry of Defense due to the non-publication of the report, which deals with Israel's policy regarding the release of captives and abductees. (Maariv)
  • PTSD plagues Israel’s undercover special ops fighters - All the 15 Duvdevan members who have fallen in the line of duty have been killed in training accidents or by friendly fire. Now veterans of the unit are finally getting help to cope. (Haaretz+)
  • Key faction threatens to boycott rare PLO parliament session - Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine says it requested a postponement to enable factions like Hamas, Islamic Jihad to attend • Fatah: Session will be held as planned. On the agenda: Discussion of U.S. President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Durham, North Carolina becomes first U.S. city to bar police from training in Israel - 'The Israeli Defense Forces and the Israel Police have a long history of violence and harm against Palestinian people and Jews of Color,' according to the petition brought to Durham's City Council. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Berlin Jewish Community Launches 'Wear a Kippa' Campaign After Israeli Arab Posing as Jew Attacked - Campaign to oppose hatred comes after Israeli Arab wearing skullcap as 'experiment' was attacked in Berlin. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • German FM says anti-Semitism in his country a 'disgrace' - 'As long as Jewish schools and synagogues in Germany need to be guarded, as long as youth are being attacked on the street for wearing a kippah, it's a disgrace,' says Heiko Maas; Palestinian Syrian attacker of Israeli Arab who wore kippah as experiment hands himself in to police. (Ynet)
  • Outrage in Germany after theatergoers offered free tickets for wearing swastika - Theater in German city of Konstanz says it will hand out tickets to play on Hitler if they wear controversial symbol as part of an experiment on how easy it is to "corrupt" people morally. Spokesman defends measure, despite authorities launching probe. (Israel Hayom)
  • Poland marks 75th anniversary of Warsaw Ghetto uprising - Thursday, Polish President Andrzej Duda lauds Jewish resistance fighters' heroism while arguing that any hint that Poland was complicit in the Holocaust "hurts their memory.” Holocaust survivor honored in separate ceremony decries Poland's "dangerous nationalism. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Polish President tells Maariv: "I wish I could protect my country as Israel protects itself" - In a series of impressive events and in the shadow of the controversy surrounding the Holocaust Law, Poland marked the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. President: “The rebels refused to go like sheep led to slaughter.” (Maariv)
  • Hans Asperger, Autism Research Pioneer, 'Actively Cooperated' With Nazi Child Euthanasia - Article in the journal Molecular Autism claims that Asperger referred severely disabled children to Vienna’s notorious Am Spiegelgrund clinic where almost 800 children died under the Nazi program. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Features:
FULL TEXT 'Israel is a fortress, but not yet a home': David Grossman's Memorial Day speech to bereaved Israelis and Palestinians
Grossman's own son Uri was killed in combat in the Second Lebanon War in 2006. (Haaretz)
Palestinians uncover history of the Nakba, even as Israel cuts them off from their sources
For Palestinian historians researching the 1948 exodus of their people, the greatest challenge is getting access to the few surviving documents of the period: most are locked away in Israeli archives. (Dina Kraft, Haaretz+)
Israel deports Palestinian mom to West Bank, cutting her off from her Jerusalem family
After living 17 years in East Jerusalem, Ibtisam Abid was separated from her husband and three children, and expelled to the West Bank. (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+)
Who was Israel's top leader? 12 prime ministers ranked from best to worst
Which Israeli prime minister had the most vision, who made history with average charisma and whose integrity brought his or her score down badly? Historians and other experts help Haaretz figure it out. (Netta Ahituv, Haaretz+)
Giving the Jews of Port Said a name that will endure forever
At its peak during the 1920s, the Jewish community in this Suez Canal city numbered almost 1,000 people. Efforts are being made to preserve their legacy before it’s too late. (Jacob Rosen-Koenigsbuch, Haaretz+)
Herstory: The forgotten story of the women who built Israel – and their fight for equality
There have generally been three ways in which women have entered Israel’s history books: as artists, martyrs or grieving mothers. Feminist historians are working for the state’s hidden figures to get the recognition they deserve. (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
Killing of Gaza Protesters Undermines Israel's Claims of Self-defense (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Tensions in north, West Bank and Gaza likely to continue until mid-May – when they converge. In the meantime, Iran continues to threaten Israel.
On indifference: The silence about the death of the Palestinian boy has hurt Israel (Tal Lev-Ram, Maariv) Expressing sorrow and investigating exceptional events has for many years been a central part of the IDF's internal strength. It is not a weakness, and it does not contradict the justness of the path and the dedication to the mission and the value of victory.
Gaza and Jerusalem (Elliott Abrams, Israel Hayom) As with the Arab protests against Trump's Jerusalem decision, protests about Gaza are not large and will probably disappear soon. But the problem that Gaza signifies to Israel and Egypt will not.
Natalie’s Choice (Haaretz Editorial) It wasn't the American-Israeli actress who ruined the Genesis Prize celebrations. It was Netanyahu and his government.
Natalie Portman’s double standards (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) Anyone who claims to love Israel should understand Israel is a democracy. Anyone who claims to love Israel doesn’t boycott Israel. Anyone who boycotts Israel bolsters our haters, the demonization campaign and the BDS movement, which opposes the state’s actual existence.
That’s the Spirit, Ms. Portman, but It's Just a Start (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Natalie Portman's refusal to appear at the Genesis Prize ceremony was a huge shot in the arm. Her clarification blunted the force of the step she had taken.
Netanyahu-phobia: Natalie Portman was ruined it because we gave her the opportunity to ruin (Meir Uziel, Maariv) For fear of being considered as a supporter of the prime minister, some Israelis did not raise the flag of Israel, and were unable to admit that the meat on the grill was delicious, so as not to be suspected of lack of hatred for the prime minister.
Portman’s V for Vendetta Against Netanyahu Touches Raw Nerve for Israel (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Because of who and what she is, Portman’s move symbolizes, and might actually accelerate, the already significant parting of ways between Israel and the American liberal left, especially its large Jewish component...The Russian funders of the Genesis Prize she spurned are allegedly implicated in the probe of Trump’s ties to Putin.
US Jewry no longer in Netanyahu's pocket (Yael Patir, Yedioth/Ynet) J Street has introduced a new type of pro-Israeliness into the Jewish-American discourse, which sees its main mission as advancing a two-state solution for two people, even if it contradicts the israeli government’s worldview.
*This Independence Day was the culmination of the Other Israel's attempt to prove that it was the first and the only one (Ran Adelist, Maariv) The two peoples of Israel were hurting this week on Memorial Day, and both of them celebrated Independence Day. Separately…In the 70th year of the establishment of the state, like that same couple that had no chance from the beginning, we can give up the false display of unity, or as Dan Halutz said in one of the holiday broadcasts: "We are not one nation." This day was supposed to be the happiest day of all those who lived the State of Israel at the level of fulfilling national expectations - we established a nation and a state from dust and ashes. But it was the most screwed-up, sad, revolting and frightening Independence Day that has been celebrated in the State of Israel since its establishmentOf all 70 Independence Days, the present one was the culmination of the effort of the Other Israel to prove that it is the first and only Israel. It was a sweaty, squeaky, shrill endeavor, driven by a variety of quiet stunts, deadly and half-legal. At the ceremonies in Jerusalem, Miri Regev and Naftali Bennett lead the armored caravan of the religious-nationalist right, figuratively and literally, with the exception of a few fig leaves like David Grossman and Shlomo Artzi….And if we are already celebrating Independence Day, let us not forget that until we make peace with our neighbors, we will not have true independence either…Independence? The job of independence is to give the citizens of the independent state a sense of national identity and existential security. But what is a sense of identity worth if it is based on trampling the identity of another people? Other peoples who have tried this patent have all failed. Self confidence? There are hundreds of countries in the world whose level of personal security, including among Jews, is much higher than ours. An escape from anti-Semitism? Let us assure ourselves, after Independence Day, to examine once and for all how deeply and seriously our racist and aggressive policies in the (Palestinian) territories have contributed to world anti-Semitism and to what extent it threatens the security of every citizen. There is indeed classic anti-Semitism, which is the hatred of the other, which is inherent in every society, and part of it is fueled by the policy of the right-wing nationalist-religious government. To watch everyday on TV soldiers who are armed and helmeted above their ears is to turn from an anti-Semite of one of the "guys," a kind of light racist, into an anti-Semite on steroids. As if we don’t know any Israelis who have become ‘anti-Semites’ (against the State of Israel, not against Judaism in general) because of Israeli governments’ policies in the territories.
When Jews Are Outsiders in Their Own Home (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Just as Israel’s African refugees at last saw a flicker of justice, another callous deportation crisis erupted in Britain. That sudden feeling of being unwanted in the place you consider home? We know it too.
A generation reborn (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) After the almost miraculous victory of the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel was created anew • Israel Hayom writer Nadav Shragai interviews four of his personal heroes, who reflect the deep divides in Israeli identity in the 50 years since then.
How Netanyahu hijacked Israel's Independence day ceremony (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) The Independence Day torch-lighting ceremony was a blatant, thuggish, shameful act of high-level fraud on live prime-time television.
Mount Herzl is in our hands: Netanyahu buried the Israeli stateliness with a donkey’s burial (Ben Caspit, Maariv) Almost a precious quarter of an hour of the most formal and unifying night was expropriated for the benefit of the one whose speech was his art. But despite the forced cheerfulness, the prime minister understands the seriousness of the State Prosecutor's intentions regarding Case 1000.
The longest 14 minutes of his life (Sima Kadmon, Yedioth/Ynet) Knesset Speaker Edelstein should not be shocked at PM Netanyahu breaking his word, speaking for 14 minutes during torch lighting ceremony, as duplicitous ploy by Culture Minister Regev, PM's wife Sara comes to fruition. All points on gentlemanly agreement between Edelstein, PM voided, as Regev showed everyone who's really in charge.
Time to say goodbye to the two-state solution. Here's the alternative (A.B. Yehoshua, Haaretz+) A.B. Yehoshua, one of Israel's staunchest fighters for the two-state solution, lays out a proposal for an Israeli-Palestinian partnership.
They say that we are a people of choice (chosen people), so let's justify the title and make the choice ourselves (Udi Segal, Maariv) To love, fight, believe, connect, dream, delve and rest: these are the choices we have to make in the country’s 71st year so that we can tell ourselves that we have done something for us and for the country.
Israel 2048: Who knows, maybe there won't even be apartheid here (Nir Hasson, Haaretz+) It’s quite possible to expect that in 30 years, Israelis and Palestinians will tend towards more individualism in their goals, while their willingness to become martyrs or die for the homeland will decrease.
70 years of strategic success (David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom) The State of Israel is winning on all fronts and its citizens' lives are marked by all that is satisfying and exciting – sacrifice, commitment, achievement and joy.
The Crazy State of the Israeli Nation (B. Michael, Haaretz+) ‘An Israeli nationality?!’ cried government officials. ‘Never!’ – and with the flourish of a bureaucratic pen, the ‘Jewish nationality’ was invented.
Israel at 70: What next for the nation and its people? (Jack Rosen, Yedioth/Ynet) This small country, 58 percent of which is largely barren desert, has despite all odds become a world leader in the fields of energy and technology, a veritable breeding ground for innovative start-ups. Despite being in its infancy as a nation, Israeli innovation has spawned myriad inventions, from the UBS memory stick and essential smart phone technology, to cherry tomatoes and water conservation technology.
From fear to a formidable nation (Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror, Israel Hayom) In its short 70 years, Israel has noted amazing achievements in every sphere and has positioned itself as a global leader • Still, we are not without our security, economic and social challenges and we must keep our efforts well-focused to overcome the tests that lie ahead.
How We All Got Here (Salman Masalha, Haaretz+) Reflections on Israeli independence day, the Nakba and how the thugs of tribal and religious nationalism from both peoples are tightly grasping the fabric of the land.
Celebrating Israel’s independence: A story of hope, courage and freedom (Arsen Ostrovsky, Ynet) Today, we are no longer stateless, no longer voiceless and no longer without a national home. Today, the Jewish nation has regained our independence, our sovereignty, our army and control of our destiny.
Israel 2048: Long Live the State of Tel Aviv (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) In 30 years, Israeli liberals will be living behind walls and no longer try to convince others of the justice of their cause, insisting instead on the right to exist cut off from the nationalist public.
Questions and conclusions following US-led Syrian strikes (Giora Eiland, Yedioth/Ynet) If the Russian claim that 70 percent of the missiles were intercepted by the Syrian defense system is true, there is cause for concern. And why did the Americans limit the pretext for a future attack to the exclusive use of chemical weapons? Would it be wrong to retaliate if the Assad army burns hundreds of people alive?
Trump's Disengagement From Syria Is More Important Than the Embassy Move (Sami Peretz, Haaretz+) If the U.S. leaves Syria in the hands of Russia and Iran, this is bad news for Israel.
Israel playing on Iranian nerves (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) Israel's recent 'mistakes' surrounding the attack on the T-4 airbase in Syria are not coincidental, it's a policy. It's trying to provoke Iran into a direct conflict on Syrian soil so it could thwart Tehran's entrenchment before it has a chance to fully establish itself in Syria.
More operational, sharper, and without fingerprints: Is the Mossad responsible for the elimination of al-Batash? (Yossi Melman, Maariv) Malaysia, a Muslim country with no ties to Israel, has become a base for the training and guiding of young Palestinians. At least twice the Shin Bet revealed the activity of the military wing of Hamas in the country.
Judges are not God (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) There is no historical proof that judges protect human rights more than politicians do. The ‘notwithstanding clause’ is an essential need, which does not harm the rule of law or democracy. On the contrary, it’s an opportunity to reach a much more decent and democratic arrangement concerning asylum seekers.
Hazards of the job The fate of Palestinian journalists who risk attending protests (Netta Ahituv, Haaretz+) Not only do Palestinian journalists who document demonstrations get shot by the Israeli military, now they are also denied proper medical care. The case of photojournalist Ahmed Abu Hassin is the latest example.
 
Interviews:
'Doctors will never admit they're racists'
In the Israeli health system, racism is economically worthwhile. A conversation with the director of public outreach at Physicians for Human Rights Israel, Hadas Ziv. (Interviewed by Ayelett Shani in Haaretz+)

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