News Nosh: 8.9.18

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday, August 9, 2018

You Must Be Kidding: 
An Israeli military officer gave permission to male religious soldiers who asked not to watch as a female instructor gave them a lesson on parachuting*

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
News Summary:
Israel pounded the Gaza Strip hitting 150 targets after six Israelis were lightly or moderately wounded after Hamas in Gaza launched 180 rockets on southern Israel in retaliation for the Israeli military killing two of its trainees during an exercise the day before and this was while indirect discussions continued between Hamas and Egypt and the UN Middle East Envoy Nikolay Mledanov for a long-term cease-fire arrangement between Israel and Hamas - making the top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

**Also in the news was the report that dozens of religious - but not ultra-Orthodox - male Israeli soldiers turned their backs on a female parachuting instructor, whose father is a general in the IDF, because they did not want to look at a woman. As it turns out, their commander gave them permission.

Israeli military analysts blamed Israel for the escalation taking place between Gaza and Israel. Yedioth’s Yossi Yehoshua wrote that “if the IDF had known about the (military) exercise that Hamas was conducting the day before yesterday, we apparently would not have entered this round of fighting last night. Maariv’s Yossi Melman also discussed at length how had Israel not mistaken the shooting at the Hamas military training exercise for shooting at its forces and responded with a tank shelling killing two of the young trainees, then Hamas would not have responded last night with rockets. (See full translation in Commentary/Analysis below.) Political commentators such as Maariv’s Ben Caspit noted that Israel is dragging its feet over deciding on whether to move forward on the long-term ceasefire arrangement with Hamas. The day before the incidents between Hamas and Israel, a Hamas official said that by the end of August a five-year ceasefire agreement would be signed and an Israeli official confirmed that. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan acknowledged that there may be secret channels to talks with Hamas “that even the ministers aren't aware of yet, and when a proposal arrives, we'll discuss it." However that news was lost after the barrage of rockets last night that has wounded 11 Israelis so far. The Palestinians say that three Gazans were killed, including a pregnant woman and a child.
 
Quick Hits:
  • Israeli running for mayor was convicted of killing Palestinian teen in 1989 - Raz Sagi was convicted of killing a Palestinian teen while he was a soldier during the first intifada; he was sentenced to three months of community service and was never demoted. (Haaretz+)
  • Knesset speaker refuses to sign lawmaker's resignation letter in Arabic because he doesn't speak it - MK Wael Younis of the Joint List resigns from Knesset as part of rotation agreement in his party, but Speaker Edelstein refuses to accept the resignation and sign the letter, written in Arabic, because he doesn't 'understand its contents’ and only signed the letter after getting it translated into Hebrew by Knesset staff. (Haaretz+, Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • Israel's offer to Bedouin community facing eviction: Evacuate peacefully and get a new village - Residents of Khan al-Ahmar have been waging a legal battle to halt eviction from their village, which court ruled was built without authorization. (Haaretz+)
  • Despite Netanyahu's claim, EU says no final decision on cutting funds to civil liberties umbrella project - A day after Netanyahu says Brussels is halting funding for Freedom Protection Council, EU says it has not yet reached a decision. (Haaretz+)
  • Behind Israel's back: The EU has prepared a transportation plan for the Palestinians - The European plan, prepared over 18 months without Israel's knowledge, includes sea ports, air, railways and roads, connecting East Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Minister Katz: "Everything is on paper.” (Maariv)
  • Report: Security establishment warned Netanyahu of the ramifications of the nation-state law - Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu received a report from the security forces, asking him to change the wording of the controversial law and warnings of damage that could be caused to the state, according to Kuwaiti newspaper, ‘Al-Jarida.’ Political sources: “National Security Council never dealt with the Nation-State law." (Maariv)
  • Opposition leader MK Livni: 'Government is tearing up the Declaration of Independence' - While the legislature was holding a special meeting on the Nationality Law at the request of the opposition, protesters from ‘Women Wage Peace’ hold up copies of the Declaration of Independence in the guest gallery , with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein calls the protest 'a disgrace.' (Yedioth/Ynet and PHOTOS)
  • Birthright Co-founder Says Walk-out Protesters Don’t Have Right to Criticize Israel ‘On Our Nickel’ - Charles Bronfman tells Haaretz that protesters aren’t being fair to fellow participants, but admits complaints about a map that showed the West Bank as part of Israel are valid. (Haaretz+)
  • French President Macron cancels Israel visit - After initially planning to arrive in the spring and then postponing to the fall, Macron cancels planned November visit; Paris doesn't provide reason for cancellation, but it is likely tied to crisis the French president faces at home after his bodyguard was filmed assaulting protesters. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Colombia Recognizes Palestine as Sovereign State, Israel disappointed - Diplomatic move in favor of Palestinians comes in final days of Colombian President Santos' tenure ■ Netanyahu canceled a work trip to Bogota last over situation in south. Israel expresses disappointment and surprise, calls on Bogota to reverse the move • Palestinians welcome the decision. (Agencies, Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Israel's Watchdog to Probe Military Training Accidents - Focus of state comptroller investigation will be on elite units, which have been rife with mishaps, including fatal ones. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel sees Syrian army growing beyond pre-civil war size - The Syrian military "is not satisfied with just taking over all of Syrian territory but is expressly building a broad-based, new ground army that will return to its previous proportions and beyond," Israeli defense minister says during Golan Heights tour. (Israel Hayom)
  • Gaza Sea Barrier Will Harm One of the Most Beautiful Beaches in Israel - The Ministry of Environmental Protection has sent a brief warning that the newly-erected barrier north of the Strip will reduce the width of Zikim beach by up to 50 meters for one kilometer. (Haaretz+)
  •  A resident of Hadera was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a medical team at Laniado Hospital - Another violent incident just after the nurses' strike. A man, 31, physically and verbally assaulted the hospital staff in Netanya and the policemen who came to arrest him. (Maariv)
  • Raging violence: A young man and his father choked a doctor by the neck at Hadassah Hospital - Hospital. Country-wide plague of violence at hospitals: 20-year-old attacked a doctor who treated him in the emergency room and his father joined in. The security guard stopped them and called the police, who arrested the two. (Maariv)
  • Israeli prison to join Armageddon's list of ancient ruins - After years of red tape, Megiddo prison to be relocated to allow full excavation of the Megiddo site, which dates back some 7,000 years • Archaeologist Israel Finkelstein: Whoever held Megiddo controlled the most important road in the ancient world. (Israel Hayom)
  • 2,000-year-old horned gold earring found near Jerusalem's Temple Mount- What animal appears on the elaborately worked hoop earring remains a mystery. It was found at an archaeological dig in the City of David [in the E. Jerusalem Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan. - OH] Find reflects Greek rule over Jerusalem. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • Three Palestinians caught attempting to rob ancient Sebastia - Palestinians were caught in the act damaging the Samaria archeological site and in possession of a metal detector and excavation equipment; court sentences them to 36 days in prison, 9 months suspended sentence, and gives them NIS 4,000 fine. (Ynet)
  • First House of Historic Jerusalem Neighborhood Slated for Partial Demolition - Designed in 1924, the house in Rehavia belonged to two prominent figures during the British Mandate. (Haaretz+)
  • Brazilian presidential candidate vows to move embassy to Jerusalem if elected - Right-wing lawmaker Jair Bolsonaro said he would shutter the Palestinian embassy in Brazilia if tapped for president: 'Palestine is not a country.’ (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Saudi Arabia Crucifies Murderer While Human Rights Spat With Canada Escalates - The execution comes at a time when a row over Saudi Arabia's human rights record escalates between Canada and Saudi Arabia. (Haaretz)
  • Palestinian Who Assaulted Jew in Switzerland Jailed - The Gaza-born perpetrator was jailed for four months for assault, but the court ruled it did not constitute a hate crime. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Cheered at Conference Hosted by Jewish Museum - The rising progressive star once called clashes on the Gaza border a 'massacre.’ (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Kuwait Airlines to pay damages for denying Israeli passenger service - The law is clear: Direct discrimination on grounds of nationality in the provision of a service to the public is illegal, U.K. Lawyers for Israel say. Kuwait Airways now legally obliged to either end this policy or its services from the U.K., group says. (Israel Hayom)
  • WATCH: Iranians Chant 'Death to the Dictator' as U.S. Sanctions Take Aim at Already Weak Economy - As Trump sanctions snapback, video of labor and social protests go viral on social media with scenes of protesters attacking the Iranian government. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • "Iran is in its most difficult situation ever, the sanctions terrorize it" - Professor Uzi Rabi commented on the sanctions against Tehran that came into effect: "People are offering the grocery store their organs and show in videos their empty refrigerator. The citizens understand they were deceived.” (Maariv/103FM)
  • Ayatollah Khamenei: Iran has nothing to be worried about - Supreme leader dismisses reimposed sanctions, which have already led banks and global companies to scale back dealings with Iran. Iranian FM: U.S. plan to reduce Iran's oil exports to zero will fail. U.S. officer: Iran navy exercise was message to U.S. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Iran may launch cyberattacks in face of US sanctions, experts warn - Concern over cyberattacks, which grew when U.S. withdrew from Iran nuclear deal, spikes as sanctions reimposed. Iran is "destructive cyber operator," says U.S. intelligence official. Security expert: Iran historically acted in a retaliatory manner. (Israel Hayom)
  • Damascus: Syria's first lady starts breast cancer treatment - Asma, mother of 3, said to have discovered an early stage tumor; Bashar Assad posted a Facebook photo of the couple sitting in a hospital room with an IV in wife's left arm; Cancer is generally considered taboo in Arab world. (Agencies, Ynet and Maariv)


Commentary/Analysis:
Whitewashing Under a Black Flag (Haaretz Editorial) In expanding the size of the outpost of Adei Ad, the government thinks it can sideline the High Court’s ruling and fulfill its undertaking to the U.S. administration not to build new settlements.
Netanyahu and Lieberman fear war on the eve of elections - and that's exactly what they will get (Yossi Melman, Maariv) This is what negotiations look like. The IDF accidentally fires at a Hamas position and kills two of its members, who participated in a demonstration exercise for senior Hamas operatives, and a day later, Hamas sends a barrage of hundreds of rockets to Sderot and the communities surrounding the Gaza Strip. Iron Dome fails to intercept all but a few of them (for years that a few isolated voices claim that Iron Dome anti-missile battery cannot cope with launches from short range or short flight time). The result is a number of Israeli casualties. And we have not yet talked about the continued launching of the fire balloons. And all this happens when a senior Hamas delegation is in Cairo to continue discussions with Egyptian Intelligence Chief General Kamel Abbas and UN envoy to the Middle East, Nikolai Mladenov, and Hamas is ready for a long hudna - a cease-fire and a five-year truce in return for the lifting of the Israeli blockade, fully opening the border crossings in Kerem Hashalom and with Egypt in Rafah, serious rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip with short and long term plans, which will include regular and continuous supply of electricity, the construction of a desalination plant, the improvement of sewage and the establishment of seaports and airport in Sinai. Hamas is also prepared to negotiate the return of the remains of two IDF soldiers and the return of the two civilians, but it demands a high reward - the release of several hundred terrorists, including those with blood on their hands. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who is under pressure from the families of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul and Ebra Mengistu, which demand that there be no agreement between Israel and the Palestinians as long as there is no exchange deal yet, passes over the clauses. And that is despite the fact that he knows that in the absence of a long-term cease fire arrangement, it becomes very difficult for residents of the Gaza Strip vicinity and there is a very high likelihood of war. However, Netanyahu is afraid to show leadership. On the one hand, as someone who was burned in the Shalit deal, he is unwilling to agree to a painful exchange deal in which Israel will pay a high price. On the other hand, he is afraid to tell the families and the public that Israel's strategic interests require an arrangement - even without an immediate solution to the problem of the POWs and MIAs. Alternatively, in the absence of willingness to reach an agreement, he must tell the truth that there will be no choice but to embark on a military operation in order to remove terror from the 100,000 residents of the Gaza perimeter. But here too he hesitates. Add to this the fact that both the prime minister and defense minister Avigdor Lieberman know that a war on the eve of elections can lead to commissions of inquiry or the loss of power. Therefore, they prefer to skip the clauses and manage the crisis of the continued of fire (balloon and kite) terror, the launching rockets and the responses of the air force. But the end of this hesitation is that there will be no arrangement and it will end in war.
Hamas takes advantage of Israeli wariness of military campaign (Ron Ben Yishai, Ynet) While the IDF's response to terrorism is bearable, and the Israeli leadership appears to be waiting with bated breath for a ceasefire, Hamas realizes it has all the cards and can get what it wants without concessions. But if even the more serious airstrikes don't help deter Hamas, Israel will be forced into a defensive war and Gaza too will burn.
Not Partners, at Most Collaborators (Zehava Galon, Haaretz+) Israel’s Druze send their sons to die defending settlement outposts, only to discover that the right doesn’t consider them partners.
The masquerade is over (Noam Tirosh, Israel Hayom) Any honest person will admit that the nation-state law merely gives voice to the political consensus in Israel, a state that was never fully democratic and that always privileged Jews over non-Jewish citizens.
In order to deal with the problem of Gaza, we have to decide, but there is no one to do it (Ben Caspit, Maariv) In order to deal with the problem of Gaza it must be decided: Either we conquer it, overthrow Hamas and the clean out the area; Or we bring the Palestinian Authority back to Gaza while promoting Palestinian reconciliation while waiving the return of the bodies of the fighters at this stage; Or we tell the public (and the bereaved families) the simple, painful truth that we have no idea what to do because we mostly do not want to do anything. Salvation will not come from (UN Envoy) Mladenov, nor from Egyptian intelligence, and not from Qatari money and not even from the Tweeting American envoys. The decision must be made here, courageously, by the person chosen for the purpose of accepting it. Right or left, backward or forward (not the political party), but (he) needs to decide. This is the meaning of leadership, which there isn’t.
Hysteria over nation-state law (Isi Leibler, Israel Hayom) Opposition to the law is exaggerated, but the government should have consulted with minorities and accepted amendments referencing democracy and equality.
Jeremy Corbyn for U.K. Prime Minister (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Israelis regard him as a sort of alien – the left here has never been led by an Israeli Corbyn, nor by anyone who can hold a candle to him.
A figment of the imagination (Uri Heitner, Israel Hayom) Many people are both for and against the nation-state law because they believe what the media has told them about it. Please look at it with an open mind, without prejudice, free of indoctrination.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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