News Nosh: June 6, 2018

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday June 6, 2018
 
Quote of the day:
"It’s time the politicians vacate the stage. We are not your toy, and neither is Leo Messi."
--Yedioth commentator, Raz Shechnik, slammed Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev for politicizing the warm-up match between the Israeli and Argentinian national soccer teams, leading to its cancellation, and expressed concern the same will happen to the Eurovision contest to be held in Jerusalem next year.*

You Must Be Kidding: 
Israel ordered five 5 families in the Jordan Valley (West Bank) to vacate their homes for 10 days during Ramadan and Eid al-Fiter for Israeli military exercises. Nineteen will be left homeless.**


Breaking News:
Soldier shot dead a Palestinian for allegedly throwing a stone at a soldier
The Israeli military is investigating the killing of Izzideen Tamimi, 21, a cousin of Ahed, in Nebi Saleh. Locals said a soldier shot him from point-blank range. A video shows the aftermath and screaming between the locals and soldiers, while Tamimi is dying on the ground, surrounded by soldiers, who took him away. One of the locals is heard screaming in Hebrew, "WHAT DO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT? YOU KILLED HIM!" as the soldiers walked away.

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • (Argentinian soccer star) Messi cancelled - Heavy pressure on Argentina to renege on its decision
  • When politics are suffocating // Raz Shechnik
  • The hate protest (Photo: demonstrator holding ‘bloody’ soccer shirt at practice of Argentina’s national soccer team)
  • Black south - 13 fires in 7 hours of arson terror
  • Books, ladies and gentlemen - Hebrew book week begins tonight
  • Special for Blind People’s Day - Today’s newspaper can be heard and not only read
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
Apparently, whether soccer star Leo Messi is coming to Israel or not is more important to Israelis than supposed Iranian existential threats. So it appears in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Argentina cancelled its friendly soccer match in Jerusalem against Israel making today’s top story along with the latest news on Gaza (more fires from Gazan kites, threats from an Israeli minister and understanding from a boy and a playwright, rehab plans from a UN envoy and conflicting assessments about Gazan political and military goals). Only Haaretz led with the story you’d expect from all the Hebrew newspapers: Iran announced it will begin enriching uranium again. That news came while Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was in France meeting French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss the Iran nuclear agreement. Netanyahu denied trying to convince Macron to withdraw from the deal, saying that Iran’s economy will decide the matter.

The headlines in Yedioth and Israel Hayom blamed pro-Palestinian demonstrations, Palestinian pressure, BDS pressure, and alleged death threats against the Argentinian players (according to Israeli Culture Minister) for the cancellation of the friendly match that was to take place this Saturday in Jerusalem. However, the articles also quoted Israeli officials who blamed Culture Minister Miri Regev for politicizing the game by moving it from Haifa to Jerusalem, promising that she and Netanyahu would shake Messi’s hand and that it’s all part of the 70th anniversary celebrations for Israel. Yedioth’s Raz Shechnik called it an ‘own goal.’ (See full Op-Ed in Commentary below.) MK Itzik Shmuli (Zionist Camp) attacked Culture Minister Miri Regev and pointed an accusing finger at her in a Tweet: "Regev did politics and got politics.“ MK Shelly Yachimovich (Zionist Camp) tweeted: “So Argentina cancels. So much money, tricks and lies, a bear hug so cumbersome combined with crazy pressure to play in Jerusalem, and for dessert, Regev's angry remark: ‘I want to see if Messi won’t shake mine and the prime minister's hand.’ You'll see, you'll see.” (Maariv) Indeed, Palestinian soccer official Jibril Rajoub wrote a letter urging Argentina to call off the match after it was moved to Jerusalem as a political move. He noted that the Teddy soccer stadium was built over a destroyed Palestinian village. The papers played down the Argentinian moral support for the decision. “I think it's a good thing that the match between Argentina and Israel was suspended," Argentine Football Association Vice President Hugo Moyano told Radio 10 in Argentina. "The right thing was done, it's not worth it. The stuff that happens in those places, where they kill so many people. As a human being you can't accept that in any way. The players' families were suffering due to the threats. Maariv quoted from Argentinian news outlets that the Argentinian players were greatly affected by protesters who showed up at the team’s practice in Spain carrying signs saying, “Messi, don’t go there,” and holding team shirts splattered with blood-red paint -  and some of the players did not want to go to Israel in the first place. Cancelling the event, which was organized and possibly partly sponsored by the Israeli Comtecgroup international production company and partly funded by Israel as part of the 70th anniversary celebrations, will cost the Argentinian team $2 million. But the commentators say the price Israel is paying is higher. “Instead of a photo of Messi with a kippah at the Wailing Wall, there’s Palestinian joy,” someone told Yedioth.

The Gaza kite-sparked fires in Israel have sparked very different statements from Israelis. As fires spread, almost reaching the Sapir College outside Sderot, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said Israel should assassinate Palestinians who launch the burning kites. However, Israeli playwright and author Yehoshua Sobol said if he were a child in Gaza, he'd send incendiary kites toward Israel, too: "Desperate people leave scorched earth." He sparked an uproar among the right-wing.

Channel 2 journalist, Dani Kushmaru asked children at a school in a kibbutz near the Gaza Strip, “Why the Gazans are doing this to us?” Kikar Shabbat, the religious Jewish Hebrew website, focused on the response of one child in the report, calling him ‘confused’ for answering: "Because they were in Israel and we expelled them, and we also killed some of them…” Kikar Shabbat called 9-year-old Nir’s response a “strange and disjointed claim, probably because of the environment in which he grew up.”  Another child, Ido, said: "I don’t really like them so much. Sometimes (I do) when we're in peace with them, okay, but when they bomb us, no.” Another child added: "We want to make peace with them, they don’t agree." (VIDEO)

Haaretz+ reported that the Israeli Army believes Hamas is willing to talk. Haaretz's Amos Harel wrote that last week’s ‘day of combat,’ was retaliation for Israel killing three Islamic Jihad members. The group shot almost 150 rockets and mortar shellst Israel and it “began as a response to the killing of three Islamic Jihad members by IDF fire.” Yet, Israel Hayom claimed that the IDF believes that Iran was behind Islamic Jihad’s barrage on Israel last week. Meanwhile, Maariv’s Ben Caspit reported that, according to high-ranking Israeli officials, Nickolay Mladenov, the UN envoy to the region, was preparing a large ‘Marshall Plan’ for the rehabilitation of Gaza, with funds raised by the UN and which will be transferred by the international community.

Quick Hits:
  • Palestinian man succumbs to wounds in sustained during May 14 Gaza protests - Naim Hamadeh, 30, succumbed to his wounds sustained during protests on May 14 along the eastern Gaza border with Israel, during which Israeli forces killed over 60 Palestinians. (Maan)
  • **Israel orders evacuation of 5 families in Jordan Valley for military exercises - The five families, including 19 children, will be left without homes for the duration of the training, which coincides with the last 10 days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. (Maan)
  • Video: Israeli forces assault, arrest Muslim worshipers at Al-Aqsa Mosque - Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli special forces and police attacked a group of Muslim worshipers sitting in a group and reciting the Quran in the compound. (Maan+VIDEO)
  • Israeli plan against 'illegal and hostile Bedouin construction' falsifies data - Housing minister declares the Negev desert is under attack from 'agricultural terrorism' and calls to strengthen the Jewish hold on the region. (Haaretz+)
  • Rabbis urge PM to halt legal proceedings against Duma suspects - In letter addressed to Netanyahu and justice minister, prominent rabbis and yeshiva heads demand establishment of independent committee to investigate allegations that Shin Bet used torture to solicit confessions from Jewish suspects in case in which Jewish terrorists firebombed a Palestinian home in 2015, killing three family members. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Knesset legal adviser blocks proposed fines on repeated calls to boycott Israel or settlements - Proposed amendment stipulating $28,000 fine raises significant legal difficulties and contradicts a High Court of Justice ruling on the subject, adviser says. (Haaretz+)
  • Terrorist convicted for killing spree in Haifa - Muhammad Shinawi, 22, confesses to murder of Guy Kafri and attempted murder of Yehiel Iluz in January 2017, admits his acts were nationalistically motivated; indictment concluded seeds of his hatred toward Jews were sown during Second Lebanon War. (Ynet)
  • Netanyahu Meets Controversial Right-wing U.S. Ambassador to Germany in Berlin - Richard Grenell told 'alt-right' website Breitbart he wants to empower 'other conservatives' in Europe and cited Austria's government as an example. (Haaretz)
  • Macron to Netanyahu: Jerusalem embassy move led to people dying, didn't promote peace - Israeli PM says he did not ask France to quit Iran nuclear deal, saying he believes economic pressure will 'dissolve' it. (Haaretz)
  • 'Hard to Fathom Israel Didn't Know' About Black Cube's Spying Operations, Former Obama Aide Says - Ben Rhodes, who was spied on by Black Cube as part of anti-Iran deal operation, says he'd be surprised if it was 'somehow operating without the knowledge of the Israeli government.’ (Haaretz)
  • For Obama, Working With Netanyahu Was Like Dealing With the Republicans, Former Aide Writes - ‘It’s not on the level’ was the mantra used to describe the prime minister, Ben Rhodes says in his new book, adding that Netanyahu's 2015 speech to Congress angered Democrats and helped Obama win the votes needed to preserve the Iranian nuclear deal. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Military Police launch probe two months after shooting of unarmed suspect - Iyad Azbarka from the Arab town of Kalansua crashed a stolen car while he was fleeing soldiers. (Haaretz+)
  • Gaza medic killed on border wasn't intentionally shot by Israeli soldiers, military finds - Probe into killing of Razan al-Najjar, 21, hasn't concluded yet and is still in preliminary stages, army says. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli minister: Tally of Gaza casualties doesn't 'tell story' of border riots - Former GOC Southern Command and Diplomatic-Security Cabinet member Yoav Gallant: The issue is not the numbers, the issue is who is doing what. Gallant stresses IDF's efforts to minimize casualties. Calls Syrian leader Assad worst murderer since World War II. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Israel avoids purchasing Supertanker to fight mass fires - IAF officials say purchasing mini US-developed Supertanker system will solve Israel's inability to fight huge summer fires as well as fires caused by rockets and incendiary kites from Gaza; Prime Minister's Office: System doesn’t provide solutions to possible scenarios. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israel Closes Beaches in South for Army Training Exercise  IDF did not say what the exercise was about and how it might endanger bathers at the beach, which is near Ashkelon; Nitzanim beach may reopen Thursday. (Haaretz)
  • Report: Israel is expected to transfer a large amount of half-shekel coins to the Gaza Strip - These measures are part of a US plan aimed at easing the lives of civilians in the Gaza Strip. Army Radio also reported that Jordan would transfer a million dinars in bills and that the Americans would transfer millions of dollars. (Maariv)
  • Arab report: Israel and Lebanon are conducting UN-mediated negotiations on borders - Lebanese leaders gathered at the presidential palace to discuss US-brokered negotiations with Israel, according to the report in Al-Hayat, discussing both the maritime and land borders. (Maariv and Ynet)
  • In Libel Suit, Yair Netanyahu Says Defendant Did Not Apologize in Full - The prime minister's son is suing a social activist for $39,000 for falsely posting that the PM requested a fake passport for his son to wander the world and hide the family’s alleged ill-gotten gains. (Haaretz+)
  • Police detain senior J'lem council member on sexual harassment suspicion - The investigation was opened after police received a complaint from a woman who said she was sexually harassed by senior officials during the period she worked at the council. A man who formerly held a senior position on the city council was also detained. (JPost and Maariv)
  • An alarming survey: 83% of elementary students experienced physical violence - A new sample reveals that 87% of first to sixth graders experienced verbal abuse, with only 30% of them saying they turned to their parents, while 19% did not report it to anyone. (Maariv)
  • Asylum seekers, Eritrean regime supporters brawl in Tel Aviv for second straight day - One seriously wounded, 11 arrested ■ Representatives of Eritrean dictatorship are attacking refugees who fled to Israel, rights activist says. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel planning one of the world’s biggest solar-energy fields  - Far behind in meeting its targets for renewable energy, Israel’s Energy Ministry announced it was going to seek bids to build a 500-megawatt solar energy field, which will spread out over 6,000 dunams (1,500 acres) near the Negev town of Dimona. (Haaretz)
  • Despite wave of fatal building accidents in Israel, safety is rarely enforced - Housing Ministry fails to impose serious sanctions despite 100 deaths since 2016. (Haaretz)
  • French supermarket manager filmed removing Israeli products - A junior manager at a small town Carrefour supermarket branch removes Israeli dates placed on a special shelf for Ramadan after a Muslim customer complains they offend Muslims' feelings. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • New Prime Minister Appointed as Anti-government Protests Resume in Jordan - Hani al-Mulki resigned Monday as King Abdullah II tried to get a handle on the biggest protests in the kingdom in years. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Mueller Investigated ex-Trump Adviser Papadapoulos as Unregistered Agent of Israel, Wife Claims- Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos claims her husband came 'under scrutiny' for his Israel ties before pleading guilty of lying to the FBI about his ties with Russia. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel trolls Iran on Twitter with 'Mean Girls' meme - After Iran's supreme leader tweets that Israel is a 'malignant cancerous tumor,' embassy responds with meme, breaks internet. (Haaretz+)


Features:
The Hardest-hitting Protest Song Ever Written in Israel
In ‘Employment Office,’ the late Moroccan-Israeli singer Jo Amar describes the humiliation a moment before the fury erupted. (Ben Shalev, Haaretz+)
Bobby Kennedy's Little-known Visit to the Holy Land That Made Him pro-Israel – and Got Him Killed
In June 1948, a young Robert Kennedy had four articles printed in the Boston Post on the ‘Palestine situation.’ What he witnessed would eventually contribute to his assassination 20 years later. (Judy Maltz, Haaretz+)
Long Before Israel-Argentina Soccer Match Saga, Messi's Career Was Saved by This Jewish Doctor
The Barcelona forward may have been at the heart of the diplomatic spat that led to Argentina canceling a friendly against Israel in Jerusalem. But back in 2011, Haaretz reported on the big debt the diminutive superstar owes to Dr. Diego Schwarzstein. (Shlomo Papirblat, Haaretz+)
One step ahead of Iran? Israel's new Farsi speakers start young
In an attempt to bolster recruits in the IDF's intelligence units, some Israeli high school students have begun to learn Farsi. (Reuters, Haaretz)

Commentary/Analysis:
Trump Envoy David Friedman’s Crude pro-Israel Activism Devalues U.S. Diplomacy (Jonathan S. Tobin, Haaretz+) When Trump’s ambassador tells the U.S. media it’s biased towards the Palestinians and to 'keep your mouths shut,’ he’s not even pretending to be diplomatic any more. But he’s hardly damaging a thriving peace process.
*When politics suffocates sports (Raz Shechnik, Yedioth/Ynet) Everything was ready for the Argentine team’s arrival, but Prime Minister Netanyahu and Culture Minister Regev scored an own goal when they insisted on moving the game from Haifa. Jerusalem is our eternal capital and most important city, but that doesn’t mean everything related to Israel has to be held in Jerusalem.
The fake Jews who’ve invented their own Judaism (B. Michael, Haaretz+) How much chutzpah and racism does it take to call the police in order to sabotage someone else's tradition? Leave it to them.
A practical solution to the crisis in Gaza (Eran Yashiv, Haaretz+) Israel could act behind the scenes to establish an international task force, without being part of it. It would bring together experts and include European countries acceptable to both sides.
Israel as a Slave State: What Do You Feel When You See That Flag? (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) This week, a new flag of Israel is going up, a hint of what a truly free nation might have been, and may yet be: The rainbow of the Pride flag, a Magen David in its center.
The victory of the agents of hate: The riots in Haifa did not start spontaneously (Nir Kipnis, Maariv) This is the place where a responsible adult needed to stand up (and say): Get rid of "the Tibis and the Zouebis” [reference to Arab MKs Ahmed Tibi and Hanin Zouebi - OH] and they can open a thousand investigation files against him and roll the extreme right-wing activists down all the steps between the Hadar neighborhood and the city center.
How Hamas acts as Israel's de facto partner in Gaza (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The distinction Israel has made in recent years between Hamas and other organizations creates a hierarchy that places Hamas as the only party with which Israel is willing to do business.
As far as Hamas is concerned, Israel was deterred (Daniel Friedmann, Yedioth/Ynet) As the threat of long-range rockets reaching Be’er Sheva, Ashdod and Rishon LeZion—and maybe even Tel Aviv and Ben-Gurion Airport—keeps hanging over Israel, Hamas believes it has the freedom to fire at the Gaza vicinity communities fearlessly and send incendiary kites across the border.
Let the Knesset Decide (Haaretz Editorial) The legislature's presidium must allow a debate on the proposed Basic Law on Israel as a State of All its Citizens
Trump and Netanyahu Are Helping Brew the Perfect Storm Over the EU (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) The U.S. president is happy to stymie old elites in Europe, while Netanyahu welcomes any party that reduces the nuisance of the EU's involvement in the Middle East.
Israel is a magnet for the world’s moneybags, and we need to stop it (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) The super-rich have been swarming to Israel, for all the wrong reasons, such as law that helps them dodge tax.
By Capitulating to Trump and Netanyahu, GOP and Likud Betray Their Oaths to Democracy (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) In both ruling parties, kowtowing is the name of the game, sycophants are amply rewarded and flattery gets you everywhere.
 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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