News Nosh 05.25.15

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday May 25, 2015 

Quote of the day:
"In our country, the 'Other' is important to me event if he isn't Jewish,"
--President Reuven Rivlin tells students at a Jewish high school in Jerusalem where he made a surprise visit Thursday.**


Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Insulted to death – Facebook post ended in tragedy
  • Lynch in the new square // Ben-Dror Yemini
  • Shaming without borders // Sagi Cohen
  • He took us to an honorable place – Nadav Gadj, 16, reached 9th place at Eurovision
  • Today: Sentencing in Olmert’s trial
  • Heat wave the whole week, Wednesday above 40 degrees
  • Likely: Kahlon giving up on taking inheritance tax
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Life and death on Facebook
  • People need restraint: On the Internet, everyone is a reporter // Dan Margalit  
  • A person’s name is his honor // David Baron
  • Olmert’s judgment day
  • Diplomatic achievement: Discussion over nukes (in Middle East) cancelled
  • ‘512’ Affair: Another senior criminal was arrested
  • The great heat is here again: This week extended heat wave
  • Tragedy on evening of Shavuot holiday: 80-year-olds killed their ill son – and committed suicide
  • ISIS flag over the ancient Tadmor (Palmyra) fortress; Report on mass massacre in city

News Summary:
Three suicides and the killing of a mentally ill son were top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers along with the ‘diplomatic victory’ Israel achieved with US help in canceling a Middle East anti-nuclear proliferation conference. Meanwhile, Iran agreed to limited supervision of its nuclear sites and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah made headlines with his call to unite against ISIS. On the diplomatic front, the new Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said all of the Land of Israel belonged only to the Jews, while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas demanded a timetable for peace and expressed support for a two-state solution, Shimon Peres said most Israelis still supported a two-state solution and former Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman called those people were ‘autistic.’ Lieberman also called on Netanyahu to cancel his meeting with the leader of "the terrorist supporters in the Knesset." Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama’s talked to Jewish-Americans about using Jewish values to understand the Palestinians' needs a day after his criticism of the Israeli Prime Minister for race-baiting was published. Lastly, Ynet does some PR for the IDF.
 
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu thanked US Secretary of State John Kerry for blocking a Friday decision that would task the UN secretary general with convening an international conference on making the Middle East a nuclear weapons-free zone by March 2016. According to the U.S., the statement wasn't issued because the members were unable to overcome disagreements on an atomic weapons ban for the Middle East and it blamed that on Egypt. Haaretz+ had reported that previously, Israeli officials were worried that the Obama administration would not help foil the creation of this international committee for nuclear-free Middle East. On Wednesday, the White House an official to Israel to discuss the push for nuclear-weapons-free Middle East. Talks reportedly continued till 3AM Thursday morning. But despite what appears to be the US desire and failure to convince Israel to join the talk, the US took Israel's side. Ynet has an excellent article describing the background to the talks on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and how Israel got involved and what Iran said.
 
In contrast, scrutiny over Iran’s nuclear program is being discussed in depth. The media reported that Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi contradicted comments of the Supreme Leader when he said that the UN will have 'managed access' to military sites as part of a future deal over its contested nuclear program. But then Araghchi denied the quotes attributed to him, which contradicted position of Ayatollah Khamenei, Ynet reported.

Israeli and Palestinian leaders made headlines with opposing views over a two-state solution. Speaking at the Middle East World Economic Forum in Jordan, Abbas said Israel’s continuing occupation, building of settlements and its policy of making facts on the ground prevented the peace and justice that Palestinians desired. Peres said there was a clear majority in Israel for a two-state solution and that the status quo was not an option. However, (Likud) Deputy Foreign Minister Hotovely told Israeli diplomats, “This country is ours, all of it. We didn’t come here to apologize for that.”
        
And on Thursday, Yisrael Beiteinu leader Lieberman told Israel Radio that “Anyone who thinks going back to the 1967 lines will solve the conflict is autistic.” He later apologized [although unlcear whether to autistic people or supporters of a two-state solution. – OH] He also called on Netanyahu to cancel the meeting the premier had asked to hold with leader of the mostly-Arab Joint List party, Maariv and Ynet reported. “You were correct to warn about Arabs at the polls,” said Lieberman in reference to Netanyahu’s race-baiting on Election Day when he called on right-wing voters to vote because “Arabs were voting in droves.” Lieberman said Netanyahu's meeting with Arab MK Oudeh grants legitimacy to "terror supporters in the Israeli parliament.” He called the Arab MKs a “fifth column.” Odeh said that he intended to bring before Netanyahu the problematic issues of poverty, housing and lack of equal allocation of government funds in the Arab sector, as well as building planning reform in Arab communities "which will provide an answer to the painful subject of demolition houses," Maariv reported [In areas in Israel where city planning has not been approved, residents are not allowed to build homes. In Arab areas the planning has not been approved and subsequently, locals build without permits after which their homes are demolished. – OH]

But also last Thursday in an interview published in The Atlantic, Obama criticized Netanyahu’s race-baiting election call against Arabs and said it would likely have foreign policy consequences. He also said that Iran's supreme leader is anti-Semitic but that does not stop his regime from being pragmatic about its own survival [in other words, is not likely to harm Israel – OH] Likud strongman MK Tzachi Hanegbi accused Obama of “hypocrisy” for allegedly not criticizing Israel’s neighbors and Public Security Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) accused Obama of meddling in Israeli affairs. But Joint Arab List MK Aidah Touma-Suliman said that Obama's recent remarks “reflect the seriousness with which the world views Netanyahu's racist policies.” She said Netanyahu would not get away with racism.
 
The next day, in a speech at a US synagogue, a kippah-wearing Obama tried to explain how Jewish values made him care about Palestinian rights. Obama struck the right chord with his Jewish audience, Haaretz+ reported. Maariv also wrote about how Obama said that "Jewish values teach me to think about the rights of the Palestinian boy in Ramallah." Ynet noted that Obama expressed, "how deeply I care about Israel and the Jewish people.” He also said, "Like Israelis, Palestinians have right to be free on their land,” Obama tells congregants. Full text of Obama's synagogue speech here
 
After the short-lived segregated buses plan last week, which caused a raucous in Israeli and foreign media with calls of Apartheid, it appears the IDF’s Spokesperson department is attempting to improve the army’s image in the West Bank. Ynet published an article titled, “IDF improves life for Palestinians: 'It brings peace and security" in which it writes that "Most Palestinians in the West Bank have full freedom of movement...Palestinians are currently allowed to travel freely with their vehicles on the main roads used by Jewish travelers, such as Route 60 and Route 35." However, no Palestinian is interviewed to give his or her view on anything written in the article - only IDF officers, who are the sole source of information. According to an unnamed "senior officer in the Judea and Samaria Division," 700-800 truckloads of goods pass daily through the Tarqumia crossing, and more than 13,000 work permits and 4,000 trade permits have been granted to Hebron residents so that they can earn a living in Israel. However, there is no comparison to the past, to pre-Second Intifada numbers to appreciate if this is indeed an increase and to what extent. 
Quick Hits:
  • Stabbing attack in Jerusalem's Old City leaves two Jewish youths wounded - Palestinian suspect arrested upon returning to his residence a short time after the attack near Damascus Gate. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Palestinian boy may lose eye after being shot by police - This is second time in two months a Palestinian boy has been hit in the face with a sponge-tipped bullet. Police say 10-year-old Yahya al-Amudi was hit Thursday near entrance to Shoafat refugee camp after stones-throwing at Border Police. Haaretz revealed that the police's new sponge-tipped bullet causes more damage than the old version. In one case last September, it apparently even caused the death of Mohammed Sunuqrut, 16. (Haaretz+) 
  • Pizza shop owner arrested in central Israel for drugging cops - 'They told me to put whatever I wanted on it, so instead of oregano I sprinkled Mr. Nice Guy,' owner tells police. (Haaretz)
  • Three Israeli soldiers charged with raping, sodomizing female comrade - Indictment says Air Force men filmed assault; victim was crying but one defendant says it was consensual sex; fourth soldier to be charged. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Military judge holds up release of Palestinian lawmaker freed on bail - MP Khalida Jarrar was arrested from her West Bank home last month in a pre-dawn raid; judge has ordered her held for at least three more days pending a possible appeal. (Haaretz+)
  • Settlers turning West Bank church compound into new outpost - The site, situated near a Palestinian refugee camp on a major route linking Bethlehem and Hebron, was purchased by right-wing activist Aryeh King three years ago, Haaretz has learned. (Haaretz+) 
  • Abbas: Israeli settlement expansion blocks any peace deal - Palestinian president reiterates Friday importance of two states side by side; Peres: Majority of Israelis support two-state solution. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Bedouin to ask court to postpone demolition of their southern Israel village - Rights group notes residents will be made homeless if government carries out decision to evacuate the unrecognized Negev site. (Haaretz+) 
  • **Rivlin: We must learn to live together - President makes surprise visit to (Jewish) Jerusalem school, suggests cross-school soccer games with Arab students. (Ynet)
  • Gaza's unemployment rate highest in world, World Bank says - Gaza Strip's economy on 'verge of collapse,' new report says; GDP would have been four times higher if not for conflicts and restrictions, including the Israeli-Egyptian blockade. (Agenices, Haaretz)
  • Gazans fume over new Hamas tax - Hamas officials say tax on non-essentials is needed to avoid 'collapse'; merchants foresee decrease in sales. (Ynet)
  • Gazans reach beyond blockade through start-up - Gaza Strip software start-up gives its workers a sense of freedom despite blockade. As part of its ideal of being socially responsible most of its workers are young women. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Stuck in Gaza, hackers open lines to the world - VolP fraud has been a phenomenon for years, but now the Gaza Strip is getting in on the act by using the strongest link it has to the outside world -- the Internet. For Gazan hackers it is a chance to use their technical skills to earn money. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli arms exports down $1 billion in 2014 - 12.9% slump reflects reduction in defense budgets and acquisition programs in the United States and Europe, but Israel remains among world’s top 10 arms exporters. (Haaretz+) 
  • PMO report: 55% rise in Netanyahu's Caesarea home expenditure - Overall expenditure for both Caesarea and Jerusalem homes drop in 19%; expenditure for both the prime minister's private and official residences are paid using tax-payers' money. (Ynet)
  • Income inequality in Israel among highest in OECD - Although Israel succeeded in reducing inequality in poverty and income over the two years through 2013, it still remains among the most unequal economies in the Western world, according to new OECD report. (Haaretz)
  • Head of West Bank council turns state’s witness in major corruption case - Samaria Regional Council’s Gershon Mesika will not face jail time, but will face lesser charges for his actions. (Haaretz+)
  • 2,000-year-old aqueduct unearthed in Jerusalem - Infrastructure work in the capital's Umm Tuba neighborhood turns up section of 13-mile subterranean conduit built by Hasmonean kings to bring water to Jerusalem. Aqueduct was used off and on for two millennia, replaced by modern system 100 years ago. (Israel Hayom)
  • WATCH: Israel players appeal to FIFA over possible ban - 'We leave the politics aside to play football,' say soccer players ahead of vote that could push Israel out of FIFA. (Ynet+VIDEO)
  • Israeli nuclear whistle-blower can't visit Norwegian bride - Mordechai Vanunu weds Oslo theology professor last week, but his restrictions will not allow him to leave Israel. (Haaretz)
  • Families to honor memory of kidnapped Israeli teens with 'Unity Day' - Jerusalem mayor and families of Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach seek to bring back sense of togetherness in June 3 event; Jerusalem Unity Prize to be given organizations and individuals who promote message of unity through their work. (Ynet)
  • Netanyahu slams media outlet for 'not getting over' his re-election - PM Netanyahu attacks Yedioth Ahronoth over "unsubstantiated attacks" aimed at casting his decisions in unethical light. He says Yedioth's biased coverage is guided by ulterior motives but vows to carry on. "The attacks on me will not succeed," he says. (Israel Hayom)
  • Hezbollah touts rockets, tunnels on border with Israel - Report from pro-Hezbollah newspaper As-Safir showcases group's new offensive strategy – from round the clock patrols to special combat rations, this is how Hezbollah hopes to scare Israel. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Hezbollah calls Lebanese rivals to join 'existential' fight against ISIS: They are no longer stronger than US and Israel - Hassan Nasrallah says coalition strikes will not defeat Islamic State and other Al-Qaida-affiliated groups, says a strong Hezbollah is the only path to victory. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Israeli recruit to ISIS killed in fighting for Palmyra in Syria - Yunis Madani, 28, from the village of Taibeh, left Israel in January to fight with the Islamic State in the Syrian civil war. (Haaretz+) 
  • Middle East Updates / Syrian army preparing for to retake Palmyra from ISIS, official says - Iraqi forces regain ground from ISIS east of Ramadi; Taliban fighters launch wave of attacks on Afghan police. (Haaretz
  • WATCH: Egyptian journalist assaulted in Cairo after dressing up as a Jew - Wearing a black coat and sporting a fake beard, a journalist draws both helpful advice and violence from locals after asking for directions to the synagogue. (HaaretzVIDEO)
  • Morsi, secular camp in dock again for 'insulting' Egypt judiciary - Ousted Egyptian president, who was sentenced to death last week, is on trial Saturday yet again, this time for 'insulting the judiciary'. (Agencies, Ynet
  • Thousands of Israeli Arabs protest Morsi's death sentence, organizers say - In protest Saturday in Kufr Kana in northern Israel, demonstrators call for Egyptian President Sissi's execution. (Haaretz and Maariv)
  • Venice police close Iceland's Bienalle mosque, deemed 'Not art' - Swiss-Icelandic artist Christoph Buechel's exhibit inside a former church creating the first mosque ever in the historic center of Venice sparked controversy from the outset. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Features:
The father, the son (Bibi) and the spirit of catastrophe
Far from being a politician with no vision or plan, Benjamin Netanyahu is in dialogue with history. His ideology was inherited from his father, but it harkens back to 15th-century messianic writings. (Avner Ben-Zaken, Haaretz+) 
Handlers recall 'hero' Eli Cohen
Newly released recordings recall the moment that Israel's intelligence agents discovered that their spy in Damascus had been caught. (Itamar Eichner, Yedioth/Ynet)
On U.S. campuses, when does ‘anti-Israel’ become anti-Semitic?
Something bad is happening on American campuses, and it’s not unrelated to the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. (Dan Pine, JTA, Haaretz
Between home and the homeland
Their parents and grandparents left Israel in search of the American dream but now, second and third generation ex-Israelis are increasingly interested in the Zionist dream. A journey in search of the Israeli identity in America. (Naama Lanski, Israel Hayom
IN PHOTOS: Second annual Midburn Festival
Burning Man's Israeli counterpart, a festival which celebrates art, creativity and personal expression, was held near Sde Boker in the Negev over the past five days and attended by 6,500 people; this is Midburn in pictures. (Ynet

Commentary/Analysis:
How telling the truth gets an Israeli soldier thrown in jail (Haaretz Editorial) Cpl. Shachar Berrin, 19, told of his personal experience of the occupation in a show for German TV, and was promptly tried and jailed by the IDF.
How can Israel deal with international pressure? (Udi Segal, Maariv) Only a practical plan, which has great vision and small realistic moves that are tailor-made to the right-wing sizes of the new government, will serve as a shield for Israel.
Obama's message: I represent American Jewish values better than Netanyahu (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) The president’s speech highlighted the growing ideological gap between Israel and its greatest Diaspora: One is from Venus, the other from Mars.
Labor shouldn’t bet on Herzog again (Amnon Abramovich, Yedioth/Ynet) The Labor Party needs a leader like Amir Peretz, Shaul Mofaz or Ron Huldai – someone who is capable of marketing leadership and security, rather than baby food.
Goodbye, love of man (Jalal Safadie, Yedioth) Safadie writes to his 'Dear Friend' Ariel Ronis, who committed suicide over a Facebook post that accused him of being racist. "I met Ariel two years ago through Facebook. We wrote each other extensively on the subject of his new book, "My friend and I against my cousin (Arab)" on the subject of the status of Arab citizens of Israel within the state, and he would say to me unilaterally that he wants to advance the issue of Israeli Arabs and to make them closer (to Jewish citizens) so that they can integrate into the life of the country. After the discovery of the bodies of the three youth in Gush Etzion and the burning of the body of the Arab youth from (E.) Jerusalem, a great wave of incitement and hatred between the two people came. Arik (Arieh) called me to tell me we need to act in order to calm the winds using Facebook and every means possible in order so that the worst of all won't happen. We talked about how to fix relations between Jews and Arabs after this wave passes. And then Operation Protective Edge began. Arik called me to uplift my spirits. He asked that I don't lose hope and that we continue to try to bridge between the two peoples also in this period of chaos. And then we had an idea: to hold a Jewish-Arab conference at Kibbutz Beit Hashita with the participation of dozens of people from both peoples in order to broadcast to the two populations that we are all human beings and we want to live in co-existence, together within the State of Israel. And then, Arik and I lead the conference together with two more friends of ours, Yaakov Yunish and Ali Zahalka. The event was very successful. Arik Runis is not a racist. He is a tolerant human being, who loves people for who they are and his whole life he has worked to bring people of the two nations and all the other peoples in the State of Israel together. He will be sorely missed. Goodbye friend. 
A house divided: Hamas torn between long-term truce and renewed war (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) While its political leadership appears to be making efforts to avert conflagration, it's not clear how long Hamas’ military wing will obey and avoid attacks on Israel.
Not everyone hates Ayelet Shaked's appointment (Daniel Friedmann, Yedioth/Ynet) While there are still some parts of the public and the Knesset that worship the Supreme Court, criticism of its rulings and justices is now permissible.
Israel and Iran: So much in common (Zvi Bar’el, Haaretz+) Israel has much to learn from its adversary about controlling its citizens' social media habits, but it's going in the 'right' direction. 
Protest and applause (Emily Amrousi, Israel Hayom) We have no spare blood to spill to show how open-minded we are. This is not a fairy-tale land.
The way Obama punishes apartheid Israel, I feel like sinning (Oudeh Basharat, Haaretz+) With one hand the hypocritical president condemns Israel, and with the other he signs a deal to supply it with arms. 
The balance of terror: the real threat of this summer actually comes from the West (Alon Ben-David, Maariv) The huge deal in which the US will provide Israel with weapons improves Israel’s position against Hezbollah, but we need to pay attention to the political tsunami that is coming from Europe. 
For Bibi, it's time to take revenge on the media (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) If there is one reform the prime minister considers truly important, it’s getting the free press off his back. The only one capable of stopping him is Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon.
The communicating vessels of terror (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) The more Israel succeeds in damaging the infrastructures of institutionalized terror organizations in the West Bank, the higher the number of terror attacks committed by unorganized 'lone wolves.'
Dery, Kahlon and the ‘invisible class’ (Guy Spigelman, Haaretz+) Both cabinet ministers grew up in Israel’s economic periphery, and together are uniquely placed to provide the political leadership to turn the Haredim and Arabs into the ‘opportunity class.’ 
Why can't Israel behave like Albania during the Holocaust? (Igal Harmelin Moria, Ynet) Albania, whose citizens are mostly Muslim, saved all of its Jews while under Nazi occupation; 'It’s like your culture,' said the country's president, and I was ashamed.
My big fat Israeli arsenal (Uri Misgav, Haaretz+) With Washington's latest gift — thousands of smart bombs, missiles and bunker busters — our pace of armament continues to spiral, yet I don’t feel any safer. 
Rights out of nothing (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) The issue of Bedouin lawsuits over Negev land cannot be left hanging.
Homs in Syria is likely to be ISIS’s next great temptation (Zvi Bar’el, Haaretz+) As with the takeover of Ramadi, the conquest of Palmyra is part of a regional strategy to connect the Iraqi and Syrian fronts into a single entity. 
Bus segregation decision isn't racist (Yifat Erlich, Yedioth/Ynet) The reality in which Samaria residents prefer to hitchhike instead of getting on buses filled with Palestinian laborers is intolerable; Jews are also entitled to return home safely without feeling threatened.
World not willing to buy Netanyahu's deceit anymore (Friday Haaretz Editorial) Netanyahu's new government, which conveys to the world revulsion for any peaceful solution to the conflict with the Palestinians, is steering Israel onto a destructive collision course with its most important allies. 
How Israel created deterrence in the Second Lebanon War (Amos Yadlin, Yedioth/Ynet) Two significant moves – impairing Hezbollah's rocket launching ability and destroying its headquarters in Beirut's Dahiya Quarter – were essential components in the restoration and intensification of the Israeli deterrence in 2006; attacking state infrastructures would have strengthened this deterrence even more.
Olympic attack: Palestinian pressure on Israel also reaches Rio 2016 games and news about hung spy Eli Cohen (Yossi Melman, Maariv) Pro-Palestinian organizations are demanding from organizers of the games in Rio to cancel the security contract awarded to an Israeli company. Also: a new discovery in the Eli Cohen affair. According to all the stories and reports about the Egyptian-born Israeli spy operating in Damascus, his cover story was that he was an Argentinian, the son of Syrian immigrants, who was returning to his homeland. But last week, on the 50th anniversary of his execution in Syria, Mossad Chief Tamir Pardo said at a ceremony at the President’s Residence that "Eli Cohen posed as an Egyptian-born Argentine and traveled to Damascus." That must be a mistake. So I contacted the Prime Minister’s Office media department to clarify the Mossad’s embarrassing mistake. They didn’t answer. But Mossad Chief Tamir Pardo said it, although it is hard to believe, when we seemingly already knew everything there was to know. I asked for more details: How was he introduced as an Egyptian businessman to Damascus, and how he managed to ingratiate himself as an Egyptian businessman and get close to the leaders of the regime in Syria. Unfortunately, my appeal for information and explanations was not met with a response. 

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