News Nosh: April 23, 2018

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday, April 23, 2018
 
Quote of the day:
“He should have refused, unhesitatingly and without qualms, to accept any prize — especially the Israel Prize — from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett. The former is bringing about the destruction of democracy and Israeli society, and the latter is nurturing the occupation while bringing about the destruction of public education and Israeli academia.”
—Eli Yassif, the former high school homeroom and literature teacher of renowned Israeli author, David Grossman and present day professor emeritus of Hebrew literature, wrote in an Op-Ed that his former student should have done as actress Natalie Portman did.*

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • They are hiding behind the children - Photos photographed on the Gaza border on the day the 15-year-old was killed show Hamas’ cynical use of children as human shields
  • This is not Gaza, it’s the Negev - Phenomenon of celebratory shooting at weddings spread to major highways
  • Israel has given up // Yoaz Hendel
  • Separation between boys and girls on fun day for elementary school children
  • The age to start? Why do 10-year-old girls need cosmetic treatments
  • Green rises - Medicinal cannabis got more expensive for cancer patients
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • “We will reach everyone, even at the end of the world” - Minister Galant hints after the mysterious assassination of the Hamas engineer in Malaysia
  • The wild west in the Negev - Masked men riding jeeps and pick-up trucks shoot in the air on the highway
  • This is the time to increase the law enforcement // Akiva Bigman
  • The cursing family - Jenna Tamimi, 12, from Nebi Saleh village, cousin of Ahed Tamimi, who will serve 8 months for attacking soldiers, was filmed pushing soldiers Friday
  • Mayor of Dimona interrogated on suspicion of sexually harassing an employee

News Summary:
A storm brews after news that Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh’s term of office won’t be extended, Education Minister Naftali Bennet announces he will bring the controversial High Court overriding clause for discussion in the Ministerial Legislative Committee, despite lacking coalition agreement, and Israel and Iran play down the possibility of war, while Yedioth blames Hamas for Palestinian children being killed by the IDF, even though stone-throwing has long been a means of protest of Palestinian children, making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh hinted he would not stand down on the corruption probes against Prime Minister BInyamin Netanyahu, if that were what it would take for him to get an extension to his term of office, Maariv reported. "If in order to get an extension I will have to give up my values, that they will look for someone else,“ Alsheikh said. Government officials claimed that ‘an additional year' 'was never discussed with him.’ Netanyahu was working to replace Alsheikh, according to a senior member of the the Likud party. He was even interested in moving up the Knesset elections in a bid to prevent Alsheikh from getting a fourth year in office so he can  a more 'convenient' commissioner, said the Likud member.

In an interview with CBS News following exchanges of threats between Iran and Israel, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, “I do not believe that we are headed towards regional war, but I do believe that unfortunately, Israel has continued its violations with international law, hoping to be able to do it with impunity because of the U.S. support and trying to find smokescreens to hide behind.” Zarif was referring to the Israeli attack earlier this month on an Iranian military facility in Syria. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Israeli target was an advanced Iranian air-defense system and not just an attack drone deployment. Netanyahu said there was a “huge gap between (Zarif’s) moderate words and the Revolutionary Guards' actions” (in reference to the Iranian drone that entered Israeli airspace) and that he was “unimpressed" by either. The Iran nuclear deal, which Netanyahu wants annulled, needs to be re-approved by the US next month and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke to Israelis directly through Israeli TV and said that an “imperfect Iran deal is better than no deal.”

In a three-page spread, including the front page, Yedioth set out to show Israelis that Palestinians were to blame for the deaths of their children killed by IDF snipers at the protests near the Gaza border fence. “The pictures prove: terror organizations in Gaza send small children to the line of fire in the ‘March of Return’ at the fence,” read one headline. “This is how Hamas uses children,” read another headline. Across the pages were numerous photos of small boys throwing either stones or tires. The caption read: “The photos document children at the recent Friday demonstrations.” The article quoted a  senior military official, who said that the children “throw Molotov cocktails or sabotage the (security) fence, out of an understanding that we will not hurt them.” Yet, the journalist, veteran military affairs correspondent, Yossi Yehoshua, never questioned the fact that Palestinian children throwing stones has long been a part of the Palestinian protests against Israeli occupation and that indeed, the ‘March of Return’ was planned for families to camp out and participate. The article accused Hamas of sending the children to the ‘line of fire,’ but did not question why there had to be a line of fire. Today’s Haaretz Editorial has called on the IDF to stop shooting at the Gazan protesters.
 
Quick Hits:
  • Anti-Palestinian Hate Crimes on the Rise: Two More Suspected Incidents in West Bank Overnight - Cars vandalized and walls spray painted with abusive graffiti in two separate suspected 'price tag' attacks late Sunday night - nine in three weeks. (Haaretz, Maariv and Ynet)
  • Sharp rise in attacks on Palestinians by Jewish extremists in West Bank - Number of hate crimes in 2018 has already exceeded the total number in 2017. Israeli security officials said that a series of vandalism incidents quickly deteriorates into more serious cases of arson at mosques and churches, and even murder attempts. Now the Shin Bet recommends resuming the issuance of restraining orders and arrest warrants. (Haaretz+)
  • In unusual move, Israeli Public Security Minister demands review of right-wingers' arrests - Gilad Erdan, who is not normally involved in police decisions about arrests, demands to know why activists were detained on Independence Day. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Public Security Minister: Justice Ministry 'acted scandalously' in Bedouin homicide probe - Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan hints, without substantiation, that political considerations influenced results of probe into January 2017 killing. (Haaretz+)
  • Natalie Portman's Boycott of Netanyahu Borders on anti-Semitism, Israeli Public Security Minister Erdan Says - Among widespread criticism from Israeli political sector includes Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who wrote Natalie Portman a letter with references to Star Wars imploring her 'not to let the dark side win.’ (Haaretz)
  • Following killing of 15-year-old on Gaza border, Israeli defense chief says soldiers have 'total support' - 'We've passed the fourth week (of protests), we draw conclusions after every week. I was there myself and saw how the soldiers operate. The way our soldiers function inspires respect’. (Haaretz)
  • Hamas engineer killed in Malaysia 'was not a saint', Israeli defense chief says - Avigdor Lieberman tells Israeli media that he heard about the engineer’s death on the news. 'There’s a tradition at this point among terrorist organizations of blaming Israel for every settling of accounts.’ (Haaretz)
  • Israeli Transportation Minister threatens Hamas leader Haniyeh: Terror attacks abroad will be met with targeted killings - After Hamas leader threatened to carry out attacks against Israelis abroad to avenge assassination of Palestinian engineer in Malaysia, Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz tells Haniyeh 'talk less and be more careful. Gaza is much closer than Malaysia.' (Ynet)
  • Day after Malaysia hit, Israeli Construction Minister says: 'We will find anyone who hurts us' - Construction and Housing Minister Yoav Gallant says Israel will go "to the ends of the earth" to hunt down terrorists • Office later clarifies he was not commenting on assassination of Hamas electrical engineer Fadi al-Batsh a day earlier. (Israel Hayom)
  • 15 Hamas members arrested in Ramallah area - Israeli security forces nab 19 wanted suspects in the West Bank, 15 of them members of Hamas who received funding to carry out different terror-related missions in the area on behalf of the Gaza terror group. (Ynet)
  • Israeli Lawmaker: Palestinian Teen Tamimi 'Should Have Gotten a Bullet, at Least in the Knee' - Ahed Tamimi, 17, the Palestinian teenager famed for slapping an Israeli soldier on camera, should have been shot, at least in the knee, Deputy Knesset Speaker Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) wrote on Twitter Saturday. She is serving an eight-month prison sentence. (Haaretz)
  • Footage of wild gunmen in Negev draws outrage - Videos apparently taken in southern region Bedouin town of Tel Sheva show masked men brazenly shooting into air over wedding celebration in residential area, while riding cars; police have arrested groom hoping other suspects will come forward; local residents fear disaster. Shooting guns at weddings is a common occurrence among the Bedouin, meant to demonstrate the strength of the family. Local residents fear being harmed and some blame the police for not doing enough. (Yedioth/Ynet and Haaretz+)
  • Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner expected to attend Jerusalem embassy opening, Foreign Affairs Ministry gearing up for move - Israel anticipates 800 person delegation for embassy opening headed by U.S. Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Trump asked Netanyahu if he 'really cares about peace', report says - In a call that took place last year, Axios claims Trump raised question with Netanyahu after learning that Israel was planning additional settlements. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Genesis Prize committee member: Disappointed with Portman, PM should be respected - Ben Gurion University President Prof. Carmi criticizes Israeli-American actress who chose to decline to receive award over PM Netanyahu's participation in event, says she believes Portman knew PM would be attending, wonders 'who gave her that ill advice.' (Ynet)
  • Bereaved brother against MK Oren Hazan - "They tried to climb onto the corpses of our dear ones for political purposes" - Eyal Shiran sent a protest letter to the Knesset because its representative at the Haifa Memorial Day ceremony, MK Oren Hazan (Likud), made a political speech and criticized the judicial system and the government instead of giving a stately speech. (Yedioth, p. 6 and 104.5FM)
  • WATCH: Advanced Israeli Weapons Sold to Azerbaijan Exposed in Army-produced Pop Music Video - An anti-radiation suicide drone and the Typhoon weapon system make a cameo in the video; both Israeli Aerospace Industries and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems decline to comment. (Haaretz)
  • Israel's arms industry sees surge in orders from defense budget boost - Treasury, Defense Ministry due to begin talks on NIS 5 billion addition over three years. (Haaretz+)
  • Relocation of Israeli army's intel division delayed amid fears best officers will leave - 8200 and other units prefer Tel Aviv area to long commute or move to Negev, say sources. (Haaretz+)
  • Chief IDF censor explains objections to releasing report on POWs, MIAs: It could derail release of captives - Movement for Quality Government demands release of full 2012 Shamgar Commission report on return of Israelis held hostage by the enemy, but the military censor says it could hurt efforts to return the remains of two IDF soldiers as well as two Israeli civilians in Hamas captivity. (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Yesh Atid leaders butt heads over removal of provocateur Arab MK - Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid backs Yisrael Beytenu motion to oust Joint Arab List MK Hanin Zoabi, says no other parliament would keep a supporter of terrorism • Yesh Atid faction chair Ofer Shelah: Ousting Zoabi would reward her, cast her as a victim. (Israel Hayom)
  • Convening of Palestinian National Council meeting faces more obstacles - 109 Palestinian lawmakers from warring Hamas, Fatah factions, appeal to postpone scheduled Palestinian National Council meeting—first since 2009—citing exclusion of some representatives due to 'Israeli travel restrictions'; no delays to be expected, says PNC's secretary. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Israeli cyber firm reveals: Hamas planted spyware in Fatah phones - Hamas-affiliated group Arid Viper hacked rival Fatah's website, replaced link to Fatah's Android app with another that collects information about users, Israel's ClearSky finds. CEO: Hamas is sparing no effort to get information on Palestinian Authority. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli Municipality Fires 3 Mentally Disabled Employees, Gives Clock Instead of Severance Pay - 'They didn't say anything to my daughter, I had to tell her,' recounts the mother of one of the women, who have all worked in Eilat's city-run kindergartens for decades. (Haaretz+)
  • In a letter in honor of Memorial Day: Minister Uri Ariel warned his ministry employees against the "Holocaust of assimilation" - "In the Holocaust we lost six million Jews, by assimilation we lose part of our people every day," he wrote in a letter to the workers of the Agriculture Ministry. (Maariv)
  • Employee in Netanyahu's office jailed under alias for sex offenses - The employee admitted to committing sex offenses against several women who also worked in the premier's office, but the incidents have been kept secret. (Haaretz+)
  • Disabled Arab IDF veteran now combats BDS - Christian Arab Youssef Haddad served in Golani despite taunting he suffered when he returned home to Nazareth; wounded in Second Lebanon War, today he fights BDS with Reservists on Duty and works to bring Arab sector closer to the state. (Ynet)
  • Israel Asks to Postpone Freeze on Sex-segregated Training Courses for Civil Service - Civil service is an alternative for Israelis who don't serve in the army; in battle over courses offered to ultra-Orthodox Israelis, court allowed the state to continue excluding women. (Haaretz+)
  • Map proves not all of disputed border town belongs to Lebanon - Village of Ghajar was assigned to Lebanon in 1940s, but Alawite Muslim residents were never fully accepted • Syria seized Ghajar before 1967 Six-Day War to stop water from flowing into Jordan River. Ghajar elders: We hoped to be annexed by Israel. (Israel Hayom)l
  • Assad returns Légion d'honneur to France - In the wake of French participation in strikes against Syrian regime targets in response to alleged chemical attacks on civilians, Assad returns prestigious award to France via Romanian embassy in Damascus, says no desire to hold award from 'slave country that supports terrorists.' (Agencies, Ynet)


Features:
Collaborator: "The engineer disguised himself as a woman, answered the phone, exploded and goodbye”
K, a Palestinian businessman from the Gaza Strip, told The News Company how he transferred the booby-trapped phone to senior Hamas official, Yehiyeh Ayash, in 1995: “Someone came in from the Shin Bet, I found out in the end that he was (then Shin Bet chief) Avi Dichter.” He said he collaborated with Israel because Ayash harmed both peoples. "At first there was no connection [with the Shin Bet], it was with the Civil Administration," he said, "and then they asked me to try to model the problem of the refugees, to make peace. The biggest obstacle was that Sheikh Ayash came into the picture and killed Israelis. He killed Israelis and Arabs, killed the whole business of peace. He caused damage to both peoples, he did not cause harm only to the Jews. " K. said he was happy Ayash was assassinated, but that he paid a heavy personal price.   After the assassination, he entered the Shin Bet rehabilitation program, tried to move to the United States, but quickly returned to Israel. One of the strongest and richest people in the Gaza Strip lost everything. "$21 million was taken, confiscated, by the Palestinian Authority,” he said. "I helped the country with the biggest things there is, everything I was asked to do, I did, I risked all my assets for peace. That's the truth." (Maariv)
IN PHOTOS With Jews largely gone from Iraq, memories survive in Israel
Some 120,000 Iraqi Jews airlifted to Israel in the 1950’s. (Reuters, Haaretz)
Dr. Arad broke through the road to Jerusalem, now his granddaughter is continuing his path and is a navigator in the Meglan Unit
He broke through the road to Jerusalem during the War of Independence, and she is the first woman to head the navigational department in the prestigious IDF unit. Recently they closed circle, when 92-year-old Yitzhak Arad shared his story with the members of 21-year-old Adi Arad’s military unit. (Maayan Haruni, Maariv)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
Stop Shooting Gazan Protesters (Haaretz Editorial) The government and army are deliberately refraining from using nonlethal methods, which don’t cause permanent disabilities, to prevent a few of the demonstrators from crossing the border into Israel.
The Tragedy of Jewish Nationalism (Yitzhak Laor, Haaretz+) Jewish nationalism in Israel is a disaster: It requires religion to justify itself, it uses its citizens to trample the Palestinians, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Portman's clear words fell on the naked ears of those who blindly support Netanyahu (Dr. Revital Amiran, Maariv) The criticisms that the Israeli-American actress suffered, among other things, reflects the weakening of the parliamentary democracy in the country, which Netanyahu is leading. Portman, who represents a young liberal generation of American Jews who love Israel, stressed that she decided not to attend the award ceremony not because she is boycotting Israel, but because she is dissatisfied with its boss: "I did not want to appear to be supporting Netanyahu. One can be critical of the Israeli leadership without wanting to boycott the entire nation. " But her clear words fell on the naked ears of many right-wingers, including ministers and Knesset members who support blind support for Bibi and who labeled her as nothing less than the enemy of the state…In a consistent process, the government is eroding the power of the Knesset.
*David Grossman’s Mistake, Natalie Portman’s Success (Eli Yassif, Haaretz+) How sad that our national author — a man who has served as our conscience — must learn a lesson in morality from a Hollywood actress.
Like the suicide bomber (in her film ‘Free Zone,’) who runs toward the border: so Portman turned from being a student in Jerusalem into an enemy (Einat Olivier, Maariv) Like the character she played in the Free Zone, Natalie Portman has been moving all her life in the conflict of identity that characterizes young Americans. She was thrilled by what has happened here and was an avid spokesperson of ours. So what happened?…Portman was wrong when she expected people to distinguish between boycotting Netanyahu and boycotting the state in such a sensitive international period. While she thought she was doing a courageous public service and a wake-up call to the incumbent government by refusing to be the Jewish symbol or mascot in current policy, and expressing, apparently, what many of her friends felt, the government was insulted and attacked her back. Miri Regev was correct when she said that "Portman fell like a ripe fruit.”  But Regev should know that Portman fell, not to the arms of BDS, but to the arms of the Minister of Culture herself and the government that condemned her, she only was looking for a reason to differentiate and separate and dissuade, this time between the Jews of the land and the Jews of the Diaspora. And just like at the end of the film "Free Zone", which seemed to predict the event, while the Jewish woman and the Palestinian woman argued about the border and about rights and about money, Portman wanted, as if she were in a craze, as if she were a Shiite suicide bomber that can’t take it anymore, to run pass the border checkpoint.
Bibi-DS instead of BDS: Portman's strategy of boycotting Netanyahu could be next wave of political protest (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Natalie Portman's motives in declining to appear at the Genesis Prize ceremony aren't important. The real question is whether the Netanyahu brand has grown toxic and if it can be disassociated from Israel.
Idol Worship on Jerusalem's Mount Herzl (Odeh Bisharat, Haaretz+) ‘We kept faith with Zion,’ said Netanyahu on Independence Day eve. He’s proud the Jews kept faith with a piece of land? Aren’t religious groups supposed to keep faith with God?
Conflict Between Iran and Israel Will Rest on Fate of the Nuclear Deal (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) With Trump expected to announce if he is nixing the deal by May 12, Tehran is contending with a sluggish economy, the worst drought in 50 years and growing public discontent – making Russia ties ever more important.
Malaysia assassination: Hamas left hanging in the air (Yossi Yehoshua, Yedioth/Ynet) The professional killing of electrical engineer Fadi Albatsh in Kuala Lumpur is just another operation in a long list of assassinations, in and outside Gaza, against the minds taking part in the development of the terror group’s aerial system.
Threats Ltd.: Hamas does not yet have operational capabilities and infrastructure to carry out terrorist attacks abroad (Yossi Melman, Maariv) Hamas and Islamic Jihad are the only Palestinian organizations that have never harmed Israeli or Jewish targets or individuals abroad. All the other Palestinian factions tried and succeeded at one point or another.
Time to target Hezbollah in Europe (Ron Prosor, Israel Hayom) Israel must launch a diplomatic campaign to sever the Iran-sponsored terrorist group from its sources of funding and support well before any Israeli soldier ever sets foot on Lebanese soil.
Jebalya (Refugee Camp in Gaza) or Malaysia: Egypt will decide the burial location of the Palestinian engineer (Yasir Ukbi, Maariv) After the assassination of Fadi al-Batash in Malaysia, the battle between Israel and Hamas over bringing his body to the Gaza Strip began. It all depends on whether Cairo will allow the body to be transferred through the Rafah crossing.
Approaching Elections, Turkey's Erdogan Gives a Master Class in Dictatorship (Simon A. Waldman, Haaretz+) He's jailed the opposition, controls the media and enjoys autocratic political powers: Erdogan’s never lost an election. And he’ll make sure it stays that way.

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