News Nosh: 7.19.18

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday, July 19, 2018

Quote of the day:
“Land is one of the most important public resources, and designating it for the use of one group only at the expense of another is one of the clearest characteristics of apartheid."
--Shabtay Bendet, of Peace Now’s settlement-monitoring team, reacted to the news that since 1967, Israel has only allotted .25% (401 acres) of the state land in the West Bank to Palestinians, but almost 50% (148,263 acres) to Israeli settlements. The numbers were revealed by the State following a request by Peace Now and the Movement for Freedom of Information.*

You Must Be Kidding: 
“As of now, I’ve paid about 100,000 shekels [$27,457] and I don’t know when I’ll get it. It’s not defective and it’s hallal.”
--Long-time Gazan meat importer, Mohammed Shaker, is being forced to pay $600 a day for storage at an Israeli port for canned meat he imports to Gaza, because Israel suddenly decided that meat for Palestinians in Gaza requires a Jewish kosher certificate.*

Front Page:
Haaretz
  • Security sources: Hamas demonstrating willingness to restrain balloons and kites // Amos Harel
  • Egypt presented plan to advance reconciliation between Palestinian Authority and Hamas (Hebrew)
  • Knesset started night vote over final approval of Nation-State law
  • The same lady // Mordechai Kremnitzer
  • Despite his promise, Netanyahu thwarted surrogacy for homosexuals
  • Text messages affair: Disciplinary court dismissed judge Ronit Pozansky-Katz
  • MK Broshi of the Zionist Camp touched the buttocks of MK Nahmias-Verbin, was chastised and apologized
  • Shipment of meat to Gaza is being held for weeks because it doesn’t have a kosher certificate
  • Medical interns are abandoning hospital internal departments (after completing their internship) and the departments are lacking hundreds of doctors
  • It’s all talk // Dan Margalit on the Nation-State law
  • They are both guilty // Alexander Yaakobson on Ehud Barak and the Palestinians at Camp David
  • Israel’s high jump champion is from (Arab village of) Arabeh and makes a living as a cashier at a supermarket
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Prohibited touch - Storm after Ynet revealed that MK Eitan Broshi touched the buttocks of MK Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin, both of Zionist Camp faction
  • We didn’t learn anything // Chen Artzi-Srur
  • A state without pride - On Monday, Netanyahu declared support for surrogacy for LGBT parents, but to preserve the coalition government, he dropped his support for surrogacy for the LGBT community and voted against it
  • The Likud doesn’t support him and (Minister Zeev) Elkin will run on independent slate for Jerusalem mayor
  • We won’t forget and we won’t forgive - Parents of the youth killed in the flood demand a investigation commission - “Arrogance killed our children”
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • State Comptroller warns: 7,000 people will be killed in an earthquake
  • Settlers injured a Border Police woman
  • Storm of the MKs and the buttocks slap
  • The LGBTs against Netanyahu
  • The Holocaust and the denial according to Zuckerberg
Israel Hayom
  • IDF presents: Battle over the combat soldiers - Special: The strategic plan to encourage combat service is published
  • A moment before the Knesset summer recess: Nation-State law - goes into the night to a final vote
  • “(Beni) Gantz? I won’t be anyone’s #2” - (Labor party leader Avi Gabbay)
  • Helsinki effect: 71% of the Republicans support Trump

News Summary:
A male member of Knesset pat the buttocks of a female member of Knesset sparking an uproar and forcing an apology, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu voted against allowing homosexual couples to use surrogacy to become parents, even though he had said earlier he supported it, sparking a protest in Tel-Aviv, and reports said that Hamas instructed its members to stop launching burning balloons and kites at Israel and it was making efforts to stop independent groups, but the latter said they “receive orders from no one” and will continue until the siege is lifted - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Meanwhile, Haaretz (Hebrew) reported that Egypt presented a new Hamas-Palestinian Authority reconciliation plan for the removal of Palestinian Authority sanctions on Hamas in Gaza and Hamas has agreed.

And when the newspapers went to print late Wednesday night, the Knesset was still debating on the contentious Jewish Nation-State law, which defines Israel as a Jewish homeland and further marginalizes the Arab citizens of the state. It had already passed a second and third reading 8:7 in a special joint committee on Wednesday morning. The law says that the state encourages the establishment of Jews-only communities, it downgraded the official status of the Arabic language and it declared that "the realization of the right to national self-determination in Israel is unique to the Jewish people.” Late last night the controversial law was passed. Arab lawmakers tore copies of it in protest and were thrown out of the plenum. MK Ahmed Tibi and MK Aida Toumeh-Suleiman confronted Netanyahu yelling: “You passed an apartheid law, a racist law." MK Tibi lashed at Netanyahu: "Why are you afraid of the Arabic language?” to which Netanyahu ironically replied: “How dare you talk this way about the only democracy in the Middle East?" Right-wingers called it “a historic and defining moment.” Arab lawmaker Ahmed Tibi said: "I announce with shock and sorrow the death of democracy.”
 
Quick Hits:
  • *Palestinians have received 0.25% of state land Israel has allocated in the West Bank since 1967 - State has said it’s helping the Bedouin by giving them land after relocation, but much more land goes to settlers, according to figures released at the behest of rights groups. (Haaretz+)
  • Jordan Valley council refuses to divulge West Bank outpost activities - The Jordan Valley Regional Council confirmed that it is involved in budgeting or establishing illegal outposts. Following a Haaretz report of recordings of the council head's remarks, a Freedom of Information request was submitted. But the Council refused to provide information stating that one of those filling the request criticized settlers. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli authorities demolish Palestinian home in East Jerusalem - Israeli authorities along with Israeli forces raided the al-Tur neighborhood and demolished the newly built apartment belonging to the Abu Sbitan family under the pretext of being built without the difficult-to-obtain Israeli permit. (Maan)
  • Israeli bulldozers uproot 100 Palestinian olive trees in Salfit-area - Israeli bulldozers uprooted more than 100 Palestinian-owned olive trees from the Deir Ballut village to expand the illegal Israeli settlement of Leshem. (Maan)
  • Settler denied service sues under new anti-discrimination law - Yuval Morgenstern of Leshem in western Samaria seeks $5,500 in damages from Hot telecom company over its refusal to deliver SIM card to his home. MK who sponsored law says settlers denied service because of their place of residence can and should sue. (Israel Hayom)
  • In video - Dozens of Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa Mosque - By 9:15 am on Wednesday, 237 right-wing Israeli settlers entered through the Moroccan Gate and toured the Al-Aqsa compound, many performing religious rites, which is prohibited. (Maan)
  • **Israel blocks canned meat shipment to Gaza - because it's not kosher - Thousands of cans stuck in Israel over the past three months, says a Palestinian importer, who has appealed to the Palestinian Authority, MKs. (Haaretz+)
  • Settlers attack Border Police near Yitzhar settlement, injure one - The officer suffered a mild head injury and was evacuated to a hospital; three people from the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar were detained. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Prominent Jewish Donor to Israel Questioned by Airport Security Over 'Palestine' Pamphlet - Meyer Koplow, who sits on Brandeis' board and has donated to numerous Israeli causes over the years, says: 'I have a deep Zionist connection. Whatever was intended by this questioning, I think it accomplished exactly the opposite.’ Koplow was carrying this month’s ‘This Week in Palestine’ booklet, which he received while on an Encounters trip in the Palestinian Territories. (Haaretz+)
  • Jewish Groups Defend Israel Critics From 'False Accusations of anti-Semitism' - Jewish groups from Israel, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, New Zealand, Canada, Germany, Spain, South Africa, Argentina and the United Kingdom also signed the letter. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Israel Passes Controversial Law Muzzling Police on Criminal Investigations - Police and prosecutors won't be allowed to state the reason they opted to close investigation (i.e. whether it was due to lack of guilt or lack of evidence). Opposition slams law as attempt to whitewash Likud Party politicians who have been under investigation. (Haaretz+)
  • Breaking the Silence lecture students in Knesset despite law - The so-called Breaking the Silence Law, which bars activists who present Israel and the IDF in a bad light from entering school premises, motivated high school students to attend a Breaking the Silence lecture in the Knesset. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Netanyahu nixes 'Facebook bill' that sought to expand government control over internet - The measure, introduced by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, would have permitted authorities to take down any potentially criminal content in addition to terrorism-related posts. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • 'NGO Law will not apply to us,' Israeli anti-occupation groups say - The new law, meant to silence organizations critical of the Israeli military, requires NGOs receiving 50% donation from foreign sources to declare it, but Breaking the Silence and B'Tselem say they're under the threshold. (Haaretz)
  • Palestinians Protest U.S. Visa Denial to Experts Headed for UN Presentation - Experts were denied request to travel to Jerusalem, where their visas were supposed to be checked at the U.S. consulate. Palestinian envoy claims 'Israel complicated the matter,' violated UN agreements. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • High Court hearing on return of terrorists' bodies turns violent - Bereaved families clash with relatives of terrorists whose bodies are being held by Israel during a hearing in the HCJ; lawyer from the Attorney General's office says withholding bodies is necessary for future prisoner exchange negotiations with Hamas. [NOTE: Yedioth reporter Telem Yahav does not get reaction from Palestinian family and only quotes leader of right-wing Im Tirtzu movement, who blamed the Palestinian family for the violence, while the video shows the mother of the murdered Israeli officer trying to attack the parents of the Palestinian man who killed her daughter as they filed out of the courthouse, but shows no evidence of the Palestinian families attacking. - OH] (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Family slams PM at Hadar Goldin memorial - Goldin family marks 4 years since Hadar was killed in Gaza, criticizes government for failing to return his body for burial; 'PM enjoys World Cup while bereaved families mourn'; Education Minister Bennett: 'World condemns our Gaza policy, but it is immoral to spare terrorists and endanger our citizens.' (Ynet)
  • Ahead of visit, documents list Hungary PM's pro-Israel actions - Although Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been attacked as anti-Semitic, Israel Hayom has obtained two documents that list numerous actions his government has taken to foster Jewish life in Hungary and show support for Israel in international forums. (Israel Hayom)
  • Ultra-Orthodox party delays threats of quitting Netanyahu's government over IDF draft bill - Rabbis rule in the hope that Israel's High Court will grant the government an extension until April to pass new legislation regarding draft deferments and exemptions. (Haaretz)
  • Attorney general reviews case of scientist denied post for signing anti-occupation petition - University heads protested that Science Minister Akunis has overstepped his authority in denying Prof. Yael Amitai a post with a German-Israeli scientific foundation. (Haaretz+)
  • Revealed: Convicted terrorist gave regular lectures to IDF troops - Military pulls the plug on lectures by Ali Abu Awwad, who became a peace activist after serving two prison terms for terrorist activities in the 1980s-1990s. IDF Officer: It is unthinkable that soldiers have to sit through a lecture by a terrorist. (Israel Hayom)
  • Birthright drops southern Israel from tours due to Gaza violence - 'At the moment, minor changes being made to daily itineraries in accordance with our security guidelines,' official says. (Haaretz+)
  • Vests, parachutes, maps and photos: The people of Israel returned equipment to the IDF - “Operation Seventy and Returning” led by the IDF’s Military Technology and Logistics Division was held in honor of Israel’s 70th anniversary and called on citizens to return equipment, weapons, ammunition and even historical items. About 400 weapons, including pistols, machine guns, submachine guns, assault rifles, a Kalashnikov assault rifle, and others, were returned. 1,050,957 ammunition items and 395 items of combat control equipment, including optical night vision and communication equipment, were returned, as well as 21,368 items of equipment including tents, vests, camouflage equipment, helmets, parachutes, etc. and another 4,133 historical items were returned, including maps, Torah pamphlets, operation orders, photos and more. (Maariv)
  • Israeli Arab who crossed into Syria on paraglider indicted - Nidal Salah from Jaljulia, who unlawfully left Israel to join ISIS in October 2015, faces series of charges including contact with a foreign agent, membership in a terror organization, and providing information to an enemy. (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Did Qatar Pay the Biggest Ransom in History to Terrorist Groups? New Evidence Revealed - BBC reveals voicemails and text messages that purport to verify that the Qataris paid $1bn in order to secure the release of hostages held in Iraq from 2015 to 2017. (Haaretz)
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Vows to 'Learn and Evolve' on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict - 'I come from the South Bronx, I come from a Puerto Rican background. And Middle Eastern politics is not exactly at my kitchen table every night,' Democrat Ocasio-Cortez says. (Haaretz)
  • Assad regime pounds southern Syria, dozens of civilian casualties reported - 'It’s like doomsday,' local resident says, adding there were 'many corpses in the streets and everyone is unable to pull them.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Thousands Evacuated From pro-Assad Syrian Villages Beseiged by Rebels - Over 100 buses arrived to evacuate some 7,000 Syrians from twp Shi'ite villages in the war-torn country's northwest, war monitor says. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran-backed Houthis claim attack on Saudi oil refinery in Riyadh using drone - 'Our drone air forces have targeted the refinery of ARAMCO company in Riyadh,' a tweet on al-Masira account's said. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • European Investment Bank casts doubt on EU plan to salvage nuclear deal - Despite President Trump's May 8 withdrawal from Iran deal, leaders in Europe say they are determined to to keep the deal alive; However European Investment Bank President says investing in Iran is a big risk which may not pay off; 'There is no European bank which is presently able to do business in and with Iran.' (Agencies, Ynet)
  • US: Sanction exemptions open to those reducing Iran imports - "We want people to reduce oil purchases to zero, but in certain cases, if people can't do that overnight, we'll consider exemptions," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says • Washington to reimpose sanctions on Iran's oil industry later this year. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Iran files suit against US in international court over sanctions - "Iran is committed to the rule of law in the face of U.S. contempt for diplomacy and legal obligations," Iran states in International Court of Justice lawsuit • State Department: Iran's application is baseless, we will vigorously defend the U.S. in court. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)


Features:
Meet the Israeli Volunteers That Offer Rides and Hope to Sick Palestinians
The Road to Recovery organization collects Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza borders and takes them to Israeli hospitals for treatment. Haaretz goes along for a ride. (Dina Kraft, Haaretz+)
How Israel honored Gino Bartali, the Italian cycling champion who saved Jews
Gino Bartali helped save hundreds of Jews during the Holocaust by smuggling forged documents in his bike. (Ariel David, Haaretz)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
If Trump Really Loves Israel, He Would Let His Peace Plan Go (Ori Nir, Haaretz+) Those who suggest a dead-on-arrival U.S. peace plan will be simply thrown into the dustbin of history and will have no long-term consequences are dangerously wrong. A defective plan could have catastrophic consequences.
Is the nationality law a wolf in sheep's clothing? (Yedidia Stern, Yedioth/Ynet) A unilateral nationality law contradicts the vow we made to ourselves and to the world in the Declaration of Independence, which says the state is the national home of the Jewish people, but at the same time will 'maintain full equality for all its citizens, regardless of religion, race or gender.'
A Zionist constitutional revolution (Dr. Aviad Bakshi, Israel Hayom) Some say that that the nation-state bill states the obvious and creates more antagonism. But it helps our judiciary, bolsters the bond with the world's Jews and sends a clear message to Israel's detractors.
Listen to Eisenkot, Not to Bennett (Haaretz Editorial+) There are partners who are willing to help Israel and the Palestinians. The government must advance sustainable plans before and instead of rushing into war.
If Trump Goes, Netanyahu’s in Serious Trouble (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) What happens if Trump’s summit debacle this week proves to mark the beginning of the end of the American president’s obstacle-studded political road?
Breaking Birthright (Dr. Eitan Orkibi, Israel Hayom) The women who walked out on Birthright trips said they did so to learn about the "occupation" because they were not getting the full picture about Israel. What would they know about politics?
Oren Hazan is a disgrace to the Likud and to the Knesset of Israel, which is forced to have him (Maariv reporter, Avishai Greenzweig, Maariv) All of the scandals and provocations to which the name of the Knesset member is attached do not leave room for doubt about his problematic personality. He, for his part, always finds false explanations.
Hamas Willing to Rein in Launchers of Flaming Kites , Israeli Defense Sources Say (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Hamas leadership has been sending indirect messages showing its willingness to tone down the 'kite terror,' but will probably demand easing of Gaza restrictions as a condition for cease-fire.
We have to think carefully if we want to enter and manage Gaza (Right-wing Journalist Erel Segal, Maariv/103FM) I suggest that we all be careful in this scenario that is playing out now that Egypt is closing the border and at the same time we are cutting the number of trucks entering Gaza. You have to let this process ripen, although I think going to war because of kites would be a little overkill…Israel needs to think whether it wants to conquer and manage the Gaza Strip. I do not see any other force coming in there. The Gaza Strip is not mud - it's shit. If you go in there, you have to manage this thing. There should be no adventurism and risking soldiers' in vain. I think that sometimes we have to get out of political positions because there is meaning to what we broadcast. Shakespeare was right - life is theater. There is an outward appearance here and I think we have to tell people that the situation in Gaza is annoying and terrible, but the question is whether going to war is more complicated, regardless of the suffering of the people of the south.
Israel, Land of Miracles (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) The days of kites abound with miracles here. The fact that more Israelis were scratched while shaving in recent months than from kite fires is attributed entirely to miracles.
Good decision, Mr. Science Minister (Ariel Bolstein, Israel Hayom) Ofir Akunis should be praised for refusing to allow a scientist who questions the legitimacy of the nation and its military to represent Israel in an international forum.
How Putin's Russia Is Taking Over the Middle East, One Country at a Time (Chuck Freilich, Haaretz+) Obama thought Syria would be Russia’s Vietnam: in fact, the Mideast has become Putin’s playground. Thanks to diplomacy, arms sales and nuclear reactors - and Trump’s policy mayhem - Russia is back, big time.
From destruction to Orban: We should welcome the Prime Minister of Hungary(Shmuel Rosner, Maariv) The visit proves that we are not above cynical politics, but sometimes we have to plug our nose and ears and rely on one interest: the survival of the State of Israel.
Netanyahu and Orbán: An illiberal bromance spanning from D.C. to Jerusalem(Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) The parallels between the current prime ministers of Israel and Hungary are astonishing, so it is perhaps unsurprising they have forged a strong alliance over the past decade and learned new tricks from each other. The third and final part of a special report.
 
Interviews: 
Meet the 'The Band’s Visit' Surprising New (And Old) Israeli Star
Sasson Gabai shines in the musical, as he did in the film, while starring in the critically acclaimed miniseries ‘Stockholm’ back home. (Interviewed by Itay Stern in Haaretz+)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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