News Nosh: 8.6.18

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday, August 6, 2018

Quote of the day:
"Within hours the obituary had accumulated dozens of responses, and at the time of writing, it had already reached 300. All of them in Arabic, and the vast majority of them were Iraqi ones. As usual, most of them wished Gabbai the grace of God in the world to come."
--Middle East analyst, Jacky Khougy, writes in Maariv about the warm responses Iraqis wrote on the Facebook post of the Israeli Foreign Ministry about the death of Baghdad-born Israeli diplomat, Zvi Gabbai.*

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Eliminated - “The long arm” reached Assad’s liaison with Nasrallah and Iran
  • A message to Teheran // Ronen Bergman
  • Confidant // Smadar Perry
  • You are ungrateful. Your alliance with my husband’s opponents which could harm the the efforts the Prime Minister is investing in the subject” - Sara Netanyahu’s harsh ‘rebuke talk’ to Leah Goldin
  • Special Yuval Arad writes to her father, the missing navigator - “I grew up knowing that one day my dad would turn from a photo to a real father, but as the years passed, I understood that it will remain a memory. He must not disappear without us knowing where he is”
  • Maglan Unit soldier forced to jump from a jeep during training, hit a rock - and was left paralyzed
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Assassination of a missiles scientist - Syria accuses Mossad of being responsible; In Israel - deafening silence
  • They took advantage of a window of opportunity // Yoav Limor
  • Senior political official: “The arrangement with Hamas - not without the bodies of the fallen soldiers”
  • Special - The voice of a legend: The message of Lt. Col. Moreno RIP - 12 years after her fell in the Second Lebanon War, today the recording of the Sayeret Matkal commando fighter will be heard: “May we leave the crises united”
  • Breaking the rules: When the incitement from the left-wing crosses all lines // Eitan Orkibi on the Nation-State Law
  • The mini-markets storm returns: (Interior Minister) Deri rejected bylaws that allow opening stores on Sabbath; Municipalities: We will fight
  • Worrying report: “Some 30% of the eggs in Israel are infected with salmonella

News Summary:
Israel reportedly assassinated a Syrian missile developer, bereaved parents, whose dead sons’ bodies are being held in Gaza, said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara called them liars and ungrateful and said that allying with Netanyahu’s political opponents could harm efforts to get the bodies returned to Israel, the Israeli security cabinet failed to come to a decision regarding a deal with Hamas for a long-term ceasefire with Gaza and Netanyahu formed a committee as a solution to the crisis over the Druze community’s opposition to the Nation-State law making the top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Based on the commentary in the Hebrew newspapers following the car bombing assassination of Dr. Aziz Asbar, whom the Israelis say was Bashar al-Assad’s liason to the Iranians and Hezbollah, the Israeli intel and military analysts also think that Israel was behind the bombing. Read the translation of Yedioth’s Ronen Bergman interesting piece in the Commentary/Analysis section below.

Israel's security cabinet held a five hour discussion but failed to give an okay to the long-term ceasefire deal with Gaza, that was prepared by the Egyptian Intel and the UN MidEast envoy Nickolay Mladenov and which would entail a prisoner exchange deal. Hamas wants a large number of Palestinian prisoners released in exchange for the bodies of the two Israeli soldiers and for the two living Israeli civilians. Haaretz+ reported that an Israeli official visited Qatar in an attempt to push the proposal forward.Israel wants the UN responsible for promoting the projects, while the Egyptians would be involved in the evaluation and supervision over the projects. The funding would be mainly from the Gulf States, including Qatar, with additional funding from the European Union and the United States. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas felt sidelined by the deal and is hardening his position. Ynet’s Elior Levy reported on the behind-the-scenes of the Gaza ceasefire talks, including the unpleasant reception the Egyptians gave to the prominent Hamas officials arriving at the Rafah border crossing and what Abbas did when he found himself left out of the picture. Meanwhile, the Israeli army revealed it is constructing an impenetrable maritime barrier to prevent Hamas naval commandos from entering Israel via the sea. One of the clauses of the deal with Hamas is to extend the area Palestinian fisherman are allowed to fish. Sunday, Israeli naval forces opened fire on Gaza fishermen. No injuries were reported.

Nation-State Quickees:
  • Netanyahu's solution for mass Druze outrage over nation-state law: a committee - Netanyahu defends controversial legislation, saying individual rights are anchored in many laws, 'but without a nation-state law it is impossible to fortify Israel's status as a Jewish state.’ Forming such a committee was part of the outline already presented by Netanyahu to the Druze community leaders on Wednesday. They rejected it on Thursday, demanding an amendment to the nation-state law addressing all minorities in Israel. (Haaretz, Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Israel's Justice Minister Warns of 'An Earthquake' if Top Court Kills Nation-state Law - The High Court has never been conclusive on whether it has the authority to overrule a Basic Law – the controversial nation-state law might be the litmus test. (Haaretz+)
  • 'Netanyahu Will Try to Divide and Conquer': Israel's Druze Both Hopeful and Wary After Landmark Protest - The demonstration, led mainly by retired army officers and mayors, is seen as a challenge to the Druze traditional spiritual leadership. A key activist told Haaretz that the spiritual leadership sensed the energies of the demonstration and heard its messages, which is why it was not quick to accept the plan offered by the prime minister last week. The only way to bring about a change in the nation-state law or create legislation that would ensure equality for everyone, the activist said, was to continue fighting on all fronts: publicly, legally and in the Knesset. (Haaretz+)
  • Bedouin petition High Court claiming Jewish nation-state law is illegal - Joining the Druze and other minorities, Lt. Col (res.) Hassan al-Heib and Yakub Abu Al-Gian demanded the controversial legislation be annulled or changed to apply equally to all Israeli citizens. (Times of Israel and Maariv)
  • Senior member of the headquarters of the Druze struggle: "A large organization offered us financial support in the demonstration and we refused" - Col. (res.) Anwar Saeb claimed that the Druze rejected proposals to finance the demonstration: "No left-wing organization contributed to us, we raised money from home. Most of the officers who have spoken are registered with the Likud party. And if not Likud, then (far-right-wing) Lieberman and Bennet. We aren’t against the government, we want to be together. We did not come from a place of politics and we aren’t going there either. This rally was because we are in favor of transparency, there is no left or right-wing here. People came who wanted to support equality and the Druze community…Everyone thought that the Druze would make trouble, but I think that the people of Israel learned yesterday how to organize rallies and deliver messages...There is no problem that the state is Jewish and democratic. On the contrary, we want it to stay with a Jewish majority and that the flag will be the flag of Israel. We oppose what is not in the law, not what is in it." (Maariv)
  • 40 former Israeli diplomats come out against Nationality Law - 'We're proud that it was our duty to serve our country alongside Druze, Christian and Muslim ambassadors and diplomats,' former Foreign Ministry employees say. 'We're embarrassed and pained by what has happened to our good and beautiful country, and call to remedy the damages of this latest legislation.' (Ynet)
     
Quick Hits:
  • U.S. Jewish Activist Simone Zimmerman Held by Shin Bet at Border, Questioned on Work With Palestinians - Founding member of IfNotNow says she was asked about opinion of Prime Minister Netanyahu as she and fellow activist Abigail Kirschbaum were detained. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel issues 49 administrative detention orders (jail without charges) - The 49 administrative detention orders were issued between July 19-31. Most of the orders have been renewed for several times now and range from four to six months of prison. 17-year-old Laith Abu Karma has been detained without charges since September 2017. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces detain 6 Jerusalemites in East Jerusalem cemetery - The Wadi Hilweh Information Center Israeli forces raided the Bab al-Rahma cemetery and detained six Jerusalemites, including the director of the Center. Prior to the detention, two female Israeli settlers raided the cemetery and began to perform religious prayers under the protection of Israeli forces and verbally assault the (Palestinian) Jerusalemites. (Maan)
  • Israel's Green Plan for West Bank Blasted as Step Toward Annexation - Opposition lawmaker Mossi Raz (Meretz) says $350 million environmental plan is an attempt to divert funds to Jewish settlements. (Haaretz+)
  • Plans to prevent Israeli seizure of Palestinian land - Bethlehem Governor, Jibrin al-Bakri, is working on guiding Palestinians through legal framework to secure their land and prevent attempts by Israel to seize more. He revealed that Israel has targeted 82% of lands located in the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem to continue illegal Israeli settlement expansion. (Maan)
  • Third Flotilla ship to depart from besieged Gaza - The “Freedom Ship 3” will be the third humanitarian flotilla to set out from besieged Gaza since Palestinians first began “The Great March of Return” protests along the Gaza-Israel security border on March 30th. (Maan)
  • U.S. May Lay Off Palestinian Security Guards After Embassy Move to Jerusalem - The opening of the Jerusalem embassy requires new security arrangements, meaning guards will have to be armed, but Israel does not issue weapons permits for Palestinians guards. Embassy: no layoffs planned. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli carjacked in West Bank: 'I thought they were going to kill me' - Natan Said, 71, was stopped by two Palestinians who put a gun to his head and ordered him to take them to Qalqilya, where they left him and drove away with his car; Palestinian police 'treated me very well. They brought me coffee and calmed me down.' (Ynet)
  • The Maglan combat soldier jumped from a jeep and sustained irreversible damage. The IDF stopped training and will investigate - The army decided to launch an investigation into two unusual incidents, during which one soldier was seriously injured when, as part of a tradition, he jumped from a moving vehicle but hit a rock and was paralyzed. Another soldier was moderately hurt the week before when he was punched in the stomach during Krav Maga training, which may not have been given approval. Morover, the commanding officer did not send the injured soldier to the hospital because it appears he didn’t want it to be known that the training took place. the IDF will investigate the incidents in the elite Special Forces unit. (Ynet and Maariv)
  • Israeli pride: 'Krembo Wings' inclusive youth movement is UN's Special Advisor - The UN recognizes the importance of the Israeli movement for children and youth with and without disabilities; Chairman of the organization's executive committee: 'Proud of the team and thousands of active youth.’ (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • $162K in Confiscated Jewelry Returned to Telecom Tycoon Embroiled in Netanyahu Corruption Scandal - The jewelry was seized when Shaul and Iris Elovitch were arrested in February for suspicion of bribery, obstruction of justice and money laundering. (Haaretz+)
  • The EU, Netherlands contribute over €10 million to Palestinian Authority - The money is for the salaries and pensions of Palestinian civil servants in the occupied West Bank. (Maan)
  • First time ever, Iraqi national football team arrives to Palestine for friendly match - The team entered Palestine through Jordan and via the Allenby Bridge (Jordan's King Hussein Bridge) border crossing between the occupied West Bank and Jordan. (Maan+Photos)
  • Palestinian teens' fire-prevention app takes them to Silicon Valley - High schoolers from Nablus are one of 12 teams in the finals of the Technovation Challenge, designed app to teach fire prevention skills and expanded it to combat wildfires. Competitor Wasan al-Sayad, 17: The competition helped us pick our path in life. (Israel Hayom)
  • Following pressure, Tunisia allows 7-year-old Israeli girl to compete in chess tournament - The FIDE World Chess Federation pressured its Tunisian affiliate and the country’s authorities to allow her to compete, threatening to revoke Tunisia’s privileges to host the match. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Egypt to Begin Importing Israeli Gas in 2019 -
    Egypt's Dolphinus Holdings is set to begin importing Israeli gas for re-export under an agreement signed in February to buy $15 billion worth of gas from Israel over the next decade. Deal stirs controversy in Egypt, which used to export gas to Israel. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Galant: Syrian gov't will also have to answer for Iranian presence - Minister Yoav Galant, a former IDF general, dismisses assassination of Syrian scientist as 'another' death, saying 'he sounds like not a positive person'; questions Russians' ability to keep Iran away from Israel-Syria border. (Ynet)
  • Lebanon's Legendary Music Festivals on the Downswing Despite Talk of Recovery - Regional instability, a depressed Lebanese economy and a lack of funding have affected the the organizers. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • UK's Labour Party could disappear in shame, deputy leader warns - Deputy leader Tom Watson urges party head Jeremy Corbyn to drop inquiries against two Jewish Labour MPs who expressed concern about anti-Semitism in the party. In video, Corbyn steps up efforts to allay Jewish concerns about anti-Semitism in Labour. (Israel Hayom)


Features:
Remembering the only Israeli director to ever win an Oscar
The films of the Egypt-born director Moshé Mizrahi, who died Friday, sparked a cinematic revolution in Israel. His sensitive work was in sharp contrast to the ‘bourekas films’ he loathed. (Uri Klein, Haaretz+)
This Young Progressive Could Become the First Palestinian-American Member of Congress
Will Rashida Tlaib be Michigan’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? The Democrat has been endorsed by J Street, but backing from Linda Sarsour may prove problematic for the Jewish community in Tuesday’s primary. (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+)
Top Sociologist's #MeToo Scandal Could Change Research of U.S. Jews
Over and over, across decades and cities throughout the United States, sociologist Steven M. Cohen painted a picture of American Jews using a consistent set of questions. How much do Jews love Israel? How many Jewish friends do they have? Do they attend a synagogue? Do they belong to one? Perhaps above all, are they married to Jews and raising Jewish children? Cohen's departure from the Jewish communal scene has prompted some of his colleagues to call for a shift in the questions the community asks about itself. (JTA and Ben Sales, Haaretz)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
Why It's Now Every American Jew's Duty to Oppose Israel's Government (David Rothkopf, Haaretz+) Netanyahu's zealous dissolution of democratic norms is a critical moral and political mistake. It's leading U.S. Jews to question even attenuated support for the Jewish state, while framing Israel as an unreliable, undesirable ally for America.
Unlike the Druze: Israeli Arabs are the last to complain about exclusion (Efraim Ganor, Maariv) These lines are addressed mainly to Arab Knesset members from the Joint List, and to my good friend Zouheir Bahloul: What have you done over the years in order to bring the Arab population closer to the people of Israel and the state? How can you complain about exclusion, racism and discrimination, while you oppose and prevent the Arabs of Israel from fulfilling the elementary duty required of every citizen with equal rights, such as national service? This is not a matter of enlisting in the IDF, but of contributing to institutions that serve you as well, such as hospitals, nursing homes or institutions of the Ministry of Social Affairs.
National Inciter Strikes Again (Haaretz Editorial) The aim of Netanyahu’s incitement is clear: to undermine the legitimacy and authenticity of the Druze protest against the nation-state law by portraying them as a herd of fools led by “the left” and the New Israel Fund.
Their endurance ran out: those who listened to the Goldins and Zahava Shaul understood that they were nearing the end (Ben Caspit, Maariv) …It isn’t clear whether this was a slip of the tongue or a deliberate statement, but Zahava Shaul opened yesterday the black, encrypted box of the murky relations between the Goldin and Shaul families and the prime minister. Or rather, the prime minister and his wife. The first incident was described by Shaul yesterday, when she said that the prime minister rebuked her and the Goldin family at a meeting two years ago, and even called the bereaved families "liars." Dr. Simcha and Leah Goldberg, who sat next to her at the press conference yesterday, confirmed the story, adding that the prime minister also “put his feet on the table." The details of the story did not leak for two years, until they were released yesterday. The second story is more serious. It was first told by (journalist) Sefi Ovadia on the Channel 10 broadcast yesterday. According to Ovadia, the story was locked up and shelved in the system for nearly two years, until it was decided to release it. I can add my testimony: This story was locked up and shelved in Maariv for a similar period of time. All my requests to the Goldin family or its representatives throughout this period for a response were unsuccessful. The family refused to confirm the story. Sometimes, they denied it. I decided not to publish it, although I knew the story was accurate. Even today, after the story has been published, it is hard to complain to the family. In the horrific situation, when the body of the fallen son is gone, the family is entitled to preserve the intimate details connected with the critical relations with the decision makers. One way or another, this is another typical story in which Sara Netanyahu loses it. This story also took place about two years ago, after Mrs. Netanyahu discovered that the Goldin family…invited Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked to speak at the annual ceremony for Hadar, of blessed memory. (Sara) was furious and let Goldin understand that the contact with the political enemies of her husband (Netanyahu) would not help his efforts to return Goldin's body to be buried in Israel. Leah Goldin was shocked. What happened to many good people before her - Monique Ben-Melech (who received a long reprimand at night in the midst of the Operation Protective Edge campaign), the late Shaya Segal (who has since died) and many others who had been rebuked and who got it on the head because the lady did not like what they were doing. Since then, there has been a lot of water flowing through the various sewage pipes, and it turned out that this is a plague in the country that no longer surprises anyone. Those who listened yesterday to the Goldins and Zahava Shaul understood that the families were nearing the end. Their endurance was exhausted. For more than four years now, the end has not been in sight. The commentators continue to trickle the criticism voiced by the cabinet, or the defense establishment, at the families who "seize the decision-makers and exert heavy pressure and hold an arrangement (with Hamas) in Gaza hostage," while the families continue to hear those hollow vague promises that have nothing but despair and futility. The reality is simple: Yahya Sanwar is not prepared to hear about the return of the dead bodies in return for a (long-term) arrangement. Period. In exchange for the bodies he wants prisoners, and not a few. Israel will not release prisoners in significant numbers (maybe those who were released in the Shalit deal and imprisoned again). It's a non-starter. The question is whether we are stopping the whole story of the Gaza arrangement over this issue, or trying to bypass it and return to it later on. Ostensibly, it's simple. We need to decide. In reality, it's complicated. Because leadership is needed. We reached the main point. A courageous, self-assured and honest prime minister would look into the eyes of the families and tell them the truth. Not avoiding, not promising, not playing for time. Just tell the simple, hard, ugly truth. That's exactly why he is there. Ehud Olmert did so in early 2009, in the final days of his term, when he decided he could not sign the Shalit deal and told the family. Netanyahu does not decide, nor does he tell the family. He hopes, as usual, to walk between the drops. He hopes that in the end something will happen that will save him. Either the villain will die, or the dog will die, and so on. The problem is that in our case the soldiers have already died. Their parents (with the exception of Herzl Shaul, who has already passed away from a broken heart) are entitled to hear the truth. Naked and precise. In the first year after Operation Protective Edge Netanyahu enjoyed relative quiet. Zehava Shaul once told someone why Herzl, her late husband, did not come out against Bibi for a long time. "The prime minister calls him on his cellular phone every Friday," she said. "He speaks to him directly and promises him he’ll return Oron. Herzl believed him.” Herzl Shaul was a follower of Netanyahu. Until he got over him, and he fell sick and died. Mr. Prime Minister, you do not have to return the bodies now, you do not have to return the bodies at any price. You do have to tell the families the truth. You were elected to weight the considerations, decide and face the decision and the families. That's why you're there. If there is a place where it is forbidden to give the spins a foothold, this is the holy place.
The Goldins’ Revenge on Gaza’s Cancer Patients (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) In the crusade to return their son’s remains, the family demanded reduction of the number of humanitarian exit permits issued to Gazans, causing horrific pain to sufferers of life-threatening diseases.
The dilemma that does not leave us in peace: (POW) Cases like Goldin and Shaul will chase every prime minister (Meir Uziel, Maariv) It is possible that the government and its leader have no choice but to consider greater considerations. Such dilemmas, in which a righteous cry of an individual collides with great strategic objectives, are not going to leave us alone.
Get ready for Netanyahu's Hungary-style campaign (Nitzan Horowitz, Haaretz+) Just as with the Eastern European regimes that are pulling away from democracy, hurting minorities is merely a tool. Israel's nation-state law is a springboard for an Orbánesque hate campaign.
“The Demonstration-stan“: Democracy is raging, bordering on anarchy, and there is no barrier to mouth, pen and finger (Yossi Ahimeir, Maariv) Less blockades of traffic intersections, less radicalization of expression, more responsibility in action, both on the part of government supporters and opponents - this is what is urgently required, so as not to deteriorate into an abyss. Once, there was someone who proposed replacing the name of the country from Israel to “Demonstration-stan." It was the days of demonstrations and public revolt. The owner of the rights to this creative name did not foresee that “hotter” days would come, which would further justify giving this name to our country. In Afghanistan, as is well known, suicide bombers and car bombs explode, while in “Demonstration-stan" - we only "explode" on each other, (this political) camp on (that political) camp, with fierce and aggressive words of rage, living from demonstration to demonstration. They have always excelled in extreme, loud discourse in turbulent political struggles, without listening to it, without one allowing the other to complete a sentence. This is especially the case with the talk shows on television or on the radio, but even in the printed media, sharp words are written in an unprecedented manner. On the social media networks, the situation is much worse. Facebook has no restrictions on the sewer language and the offensive tongue.
The Criminals Who Passed the Nation-state Law Must Be Tried at the ICC (Odeh Bisharat, Haaretz+) Arabs and democratic-minded Jews in Israel have the right to turn to the United Nations and request support against the abusive parties.
Leapfrogging backwards (Jackie Khougy, Maariv) Israel is succeeding in containing the bloody events on the Gaza fence, but the Gaza Strip continues to sink: an increase in the rate of prostitution, mass flight and the sale of private property all indicate that the economic crisis is deepening. In Jerusalem, the Israeli politicians can make things easier, but they hesitate.
It's not too late for an arrangement in Gaza - Even Netanyahu can be Trump (Roni Shaked, Yedioth) Despite the difficulties, it's a pity that that the cabinet did not say 'yes' to an (long-term ceasefire) arrangement. 'Yes' would put the blame on Hamas, if it would refuse to accept the plan that the UN special envoy Nickolay Mladanov and the Egyptians prepared, and it would award Israel extra points in the international arena.
Hamas stands to emerge dominant from possible Gaza deal – at Abbas' expense (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Accord may hail fundamental change in ties between Israel and Palestinian Authority.
Walking a tightrope: Negotiating a ceasefire deal with Hamas (Smadar Perry,Yedioth/Ynet) PM cancels his trip to Colombia while a delegation of senior Hamas figures arrives in Gaza. For the first time under Netanyahu's leadership, Israel is holding ceasefire talks with Hamas; everything is still open and each side is suspicious of the other.
A Simple Majority Should Not Enough to Change a Country (Moshe Arens, Haaretz+) The nation-state debacle is telling us that it's time to finally pass a law that requires more than a two-thirds majority to pass major legislation in Israel.
On Saturday night, a picture of an alternative Israeli reality emerged (Dr. Revital Amiran, Maariv) …Shaked, Smotrich and the lawmakers of the Nation-State Law cannot imagine a reality in which Zionism lives and breathes in full cooperation with equal rights - including settlements - and with an official Arabic language. Beyond that, there is a reasonable basis to assume that the law is also supposed to pave the way for an apartheid state. In other words, to implement the plan of the extreme right to annex Judea and Samaria, while preserving the inferior status of three million Palestinians, lest they be required to become equal citizens and bury the Jewish character of the State of Israel…On Saturday night at Rabin Square, a picture of an alternative Israeli reality emerged from the reality of the law, a reality in which minorities respect the right of the Jews to a national home while building a shared and egalitarian society that shares mutual respect for the language, identity and needs of each community. Young Jews were wrapped around the flag of the Druze. Young Druze spoke in pure Hebrew, hugged their Jewish friends and sang Hatikvah. A lot is now at stake. Rightist attacks are trying to paint the protest in a leftist light, thus undermining its legitimacy and destroying it. The Druze are beginning to suffer slurs, and it is not far the day that those who fought and were killed for defending the state will be branded traitors. It is to be hoped that the prime minister and his associates understand the explosive situation and the danger of a civil war.
Why Corbynism Is a Threat to Jews Throughout the Western World (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Even his close advisors are astonished by the Labour leader’s refusal to act on the party’s crisis with British Jews. This is why Corbyn can’t and won’t face up to anti-Semitism on the left – and why it will have international consequences.
*Translate this nicely (Jacky Khougy, Maariv) On Friday afternoon, the translator and foreign service officer Zvi Gabbai suddenly died. At birth, 80 years ago in Baghdad, he was given the name Fuad, which means heart. Indeed, Gabbai dealt extensively during and after his diplomatic career with the core problems of the Arab world. After he retired from his last position in the Foreign Ministry, he translated many poems from modern Arabic poetry into a collection, poems by Nizar Kabbani, Mahmoud Darwish, Adonis and the great Egyptian poets. I have often written here about the affinity with which ordinary Iraqi citizens treat Israelis and Jews, and yet these expressions from them are always surprising again. On Sunday afternoon, two hours after he was buried, the Israeli Foreign Ministry posted a eulogy on the Ministry’s Arabic-language Facebook page aimed at Iraqis. Biographical items about the deceased collected together, wrapped in warm words. A simple but timeless text that not only taught about the man, but also served as a monument to him. Within hours the obituary had accumulated dozens of responses, and at the time of writing, it had already reached 300. All of them in Arabic, and the vast majority of them were Iraqi ones. As usual, most of them wished Gabbai the grace of God in the world to come. Others expressed more. Sa'adun Zeidan al-Hajjaji, from the city of Dajil, wrote: “They left Iraq without a word, without saying about us a bad word, they remained the lovers of Iraq. That is loyalty and honesty on earth." Taleb al-Saadi of Baghdad wrote: "You want to say that he will go to hell, and our politicians and those who wear the turbans will go to heaven? All that they gave to Iraq was murder, theft and theft of the country's resources." Ali al-Asmar responded: “They [the Jews] should return and participate in the political process and they’ll get senior positions, and you will see what will happen to Iraq." These reactions, all of which were published in the full names of their writers, express an increasing call for the return of the Jews. This is a popular call, which you will find among politicians. It expresses a desire to revive the days of the monarchy, in which life was more stable and less cruel. It is not surprising that in recent years Gabbai has been one of the leaders in the struggle to restore Arab Jewish property: he loved Baghdad and longed for his childhood there, but expected its sons to pay for the original sin. In their life paths, Zvi Gabbai and his contemporaries expressed great historical processes. His immigration from Iraq, at age 13, symbolized the Jewish citizen's aversion to the discriminatory treatment he received from the homeland. From the moment they were kicked out, they are not there anymore. Yet his death far away in Israel, 67 years later, caused the country to regret and repent. But none of the Iraqi Jews is enthusiastic about the call to return. During the twentieth century, the Jews of Babylon changed three loyalties. From the Ottomans to the British and to Zionism. Not one of them was for the Iraqi state.
Why Younger Saudis Won't Fund, Facilitate or Fight for a Palestinian State(Haisam Hassanein, Haaretz+) An emerging Gulf leadership has shaken off its elders' attachment to the Palestinian cause. They're convinced an independent Palestine means handing Iran and Sunni political Islamists yet another Arab capital.
Israel’s rating upgrade ignores critical aspects of its economy (Eytan Avriel, Haaretz+) Standard & Poor’s analysis is about whether the government can repay its debt, but it says almost nothing about the country’s economic, political and social performance, or lack thereof.
A message to Teheran (Ronen Bergman, Yedioth) On 25th of July, 2007 a 'glitch' happened at the Al-Safir facility of the "Scientific Studies and Research Center" (SSRC), on the manufacturing line of one of the parts for nerve gas VX. One of the pipes that funnels chemicals to the production line exploded and within seconds turned the site into a fire trap. The price in blood: At least 15 Syrians were killed and apparently also a number of Iranians and 200 people were wounded. The one who was absent from the site on that same day, despite being a senior member of Assad's chemical project, was Aziz Asber, who was eliminated yesterday...The Mossad, Military Intel and the Israeli military establishment invest great efforts in an attempt to understand the extent of the activities of Iran and Hezbollah in Syria with the aim of locating their centers and destroying them. Israel, according to foreign reports, has attacked hundreds of times in Syria in the last five years. The goal, preventing the establishment of Iranian bases for the Shiite militias and the activities of the Revolutionary Guards in Syria, and to stop the arms convoys from Syria to Hezbollah. Al Masyaf facility was attacked last month by Israeli Air Force, according to foreign reports...But it's possible that wasn't enough: While following one of Al-Masayef's projects, the name of Asbar came up, who has been known to Israel for years. He is seen as someone at the forefront of the coordination between the Assad regime and Iran and Hezbollah. He came from a scientific background but became an important persona in the administration of projects of developing weapons in Syria. Israel had all the reasons to want to see him dead. This assassination attributed to Israel gives a clear message that scientists - and not just facilities - are also targets...In February 2011, Palestinian electrical engineer Dirar Abu-Sisi was kidnapped in Ukraine. The reason: Israel believed he was connected to the development of Hamas weapons...Israel tried to warn some of the members of Hamas' secret unit for developing weapons through transferring messages via their relatives in Gaza and the West Bank because "it's very much in their benefit" to stop research activities in the service of the organization...One of the members of the unit, Fadi al-Batsh, found his death in an assassination in April this year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Meir Dagan (RIP), the Mossad chief of the previous decade, saw great importance in integrating efforts with the US in order to prevent Iran from importing critical parts for its nuclear project... "In the average car there are 25,000 parts. It's enough that the company manufacturing them can't get a few of them, a few parts only, and the car won't drive. On the other hand," added Dagan with a smile and returned to the method he liked most, "sometimes it's most effective to just kill the driver and that's it."
Netanyahu's hyper-nationalist Israel is now part of Trump's legacy (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Plus a few other comments on anguished American Jews, surprisingly ferocious Druze and the controversial nation-state law.

Interviews:
“Look, now women can make their voices heard in a respectable way”
Alongside the military men, Sabil Hatar, a young female Druze activist from Yarka, stood out on the stage (at the protest) at Rabin Square Saturday night. After the speech, she explains why women of the Druze community don’t take an active part in the Druze protest and why it was actually the Nation-State Law that caused her to get up and do something. “I felt humiliated.” (Interviewed by Ilana Stutland in Maariv Magazine supplement, cover)
"I always felt I was Israeli, that I was a resident of the state, that we are part of the state. I was not raised on a dialogue of army and the right-wing and we are not a home that expresses itself politically in a clear and distinct way. We are a regular home that is located in the middle - a home that is part of the country. For me that's a given."
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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