News Nosh 05.27.15

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday May 27, 2015 

Quote of the day:
"It is time we internalize that the Palestinians have changed their strategy; they realized the cannot beat Israel with force, so they have shifted their efforts to the diplomatic front."
--Says Zionist Camp MK Nachman Shai in article about how Israeli diplomacy is being silenced because MKs of this almost evenly divided Knesset are severely restricted in traveling abroad.**


Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The quiet was broken: rocket from Gaza
  • Heat wave
  • Kahlon promised (to work against gas monopoly) and won’t fulfill
  • Together is power – A heart-breaking joint interview with the mothers of the three kidnapped and murdered Jewish youth a year later
  • Oil in the Golan: First findings from drill by Ofek Co show liquid oil
Maariv This Week
Israel Hayom
  • Quiet broken: Rocket on south
  • Hot, getting hotter, burning – 40+ degrees
  • Mayor of Or Yehuda suspected of sex crimes
  • Health? Also organic pesticides
  • (Ethiopian-Israeli) soldier who was beaten (by police) suing for 390,000 shekels from police: “They harmed me from a racist motive”
  • Anger at Tel-Aviv academic college: “Azmi Bishara is in the study materials”

News Summary:
A rocket from Gaza fell in Israel for the first time since Operation Protective Shield, temperatures are expected to be exceptionally high today and Minister Moshe Kahlon backed down from his promise
to break up Israel’s gas monopoly making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Meanwhile, Iranian officials made two announcements, the Palestinians were not pleased with the Israeli premier’s offer and Israel diplomacy is severely suffering in this new government.
 
Early this morning, the IDF made strikes on Islamic Jihad and Hamas training facilities in Gaza after a lone rocket from the Strip exploded in southern Israel last night. No casualties were reported from either side. This morning, a Hamas source told Ynet’s Elior Levy that Hamas arrested the rocket shooters declaring that the rocket fire “goes against the interests of the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip and against our national interests.” The Hamas source said mediation efforts were underway between Israel and Hamas to de-escalate the situation. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Israel holds Hamas responsible for everything that happens in the Gaza Strip. But the Israeli security establishment believes that the military wing of Islamic Jihad shot the rocket, apparently following an internal dispute over the appointment of a new military wing commander, Haaretz wrote. “With this in mind, Israel's response is likely to be limited. Israel will likely blame Hamas for the fire, but probably doesn't intend to escalate the situation,” Haaretz wrote.
 
Iran both flouted its newly acquired, but not yet received, Russian anti-aircraft missile system and declared its people’s desire for peace yesterday, the papers noted. After a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian declared that Russia would be delivering S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to Iran “in a relatively short period of time” although Germany said that was not expected to be before the end of 2015. And defending the nuclear negotiations under way with major powers, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said that "Despite a small minority that speak loudly, the vast majority of the population are in favor of peace, reconciliation and constructive agreement with the world.” Meanwhile, Israel is drawing up its 'wish list' of US goodies as ‘compensation’ for the Iran deal, wrote Yedioth’s Alex Fishman. According to Fishman, Israel is resigned to the fact that the Iran nuclear deal will be signed and now Jerusalem is eyeing the huge arms deals the US has with the Gulf States - and wants a larger aid package.
 
Only Haaretz+ bothered to find out the Palestinian response to the (Haaretz) report that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini that he was willing to negotiate with the Palestinians over the borders of the settlement blocs. PLO executive committee member Saeb Erekat said that the Palestinian stance on settlements is clear: They are illegitimate and discuss about their borders is irrelevant. He had other suggestions about what to negotiate on.
 
Maariv reports on the chaos in the Foreign Ministry following Netanyahu’s decision to divide the authority of the Ministry among six different Likud ministers. Ministry employees says there is an “organizational crisis” and a foreign diplomat said he didn’t know who to turn to in the Ministry: “Foreign Minister Netanyahu? Deputy (Tzipi) Hotovely? The new Director General (Dore) Gold?” Also, Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz is responsible for the Iranian file, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz is responsible for the Intel file and Immigration, Absorption Minister Zeev Elkin is responsible for connections with immigrants from the former Soviet Union and for the Jerusalem portfolio (much to the chagrin of the Jerusalem mayor, Nir Barkat), Interior Minister Silvan Shalom is responsible for negotiations with the Palestinians and relations with the US, and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan was now appointed responsible for strategic threats and Minister of Advocacy and responsible for battle against BDS.

**Israel Hayom reports on how Israeli diplomacy is further harmed by the razor-thin majority in the Knesset that is keeping MKs from flying abroad in order to prevent or to pass votes in the Knesset. The situation has made both the coalition and opposition force their MKs to surrender their passports in order to enforce this grounding. As a result, numerous important trips have been cancelled. For example, no Israeli representative could attend the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean convened in Lisbon, Portugal, and as a result, Israel was dealt a blow when the assembly adopted a resolution that criticized Israel's human rights record.

Quick Hits:
  • IDF transferred private Palestinian land to settlement, state reveals - Government response Tuesday to High Court petition shows that hundreds of square meters belonging to the Samsara family were mistakenly declared state lands in 1983 and transferred to the Shim'a settlement for its expansion. The land's owners petitioned the court together with Rabbis for Human Rights, demanding a halt to construction. (Haaretz+)
  • Security employees at Allenby Bridge caught stealing from Palestinians - Israel Airports Authority fires 5 employees after internal investigation finds they stole tobacco from Palestinians going through security at the border crossing; Authority criticized for not filing police complaint. (Ynet)
  • Israel 'refusing' to repair disconnected Gaza electricity grid - Gaza's electricity distributor has accused Israel of refusing to repair a 12 megawatt grid supplying power to Gaza City that became disconnected in Israeli-controlled territory last Thursday. (Maan)
  • Bill by the Joint List: Establish an Arab city and university - Members of the party proposed a series of bills designed to promote the needs of the population they represent, including the proposal to allow Israeli Arabs to visit Arab countries without obtaining permission from Israel. (Maariv
  • Violations against female Palestinian journalists triple since 2010 - 103 violations -- 66 committed by Israel's military -- between Jan. 2010 and April 2015 were documented by the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA). (Maan)
  • Protesters close Bank of Palestine branches in Gaza for hours - Demonstrators have been protesting for weeks against a decision by the bank to refuse money transfers from abroad to charitable organizations. Participants say they are widows, orphans and family members of Palestinians killed by Israel who benefit from such organizations. (Maan)
  • Druze soldiers up in arms over move to disband battalion - High-ranking Druze reservists urge Netanyahu to intervene, warns they are ready to petition High Court, hold demonstrations outside the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv. (Yedioth/Ynet
  • Netanyahu embarks on senior civil service 'beheadings' - Several ministry director-generals have either resigned or were dismissed in what is perceived as an attempt to weaken these ministries. (Ynet
  • Netanyahu family's lawyer made district attorney - Attorney who represents the Netanyahu family and Prime Minister Office in lawsuit by former caretaker Meni Naftali is chosen as Jerusalem District Attorney. (Ynet)
  • Police: Commissioner Danino told senior officer to hire lawyer charged with corruption - Senior police officer says Danino called to recommend services of lawyer Ronel Fisher, who currently stands at the center of a corruption scandal; Danino's office denies claim. (Ynet)
  • IDF to stop enlisting both parents for reserve duty at same time - During Protective Edge, many couples were enlisted to reserve service at the same time, leaving their children with no parents at home; IDF appoints special committees to deal with issue. (Ynet)
  • Egyptian navy shoots, injures Gaza fisherman - Egyptian naval forces late Monday opened fire on a Palestinian fishing boat off the coast of the southern Gaza Strip, injuring fisherman Muhammad al-Bardawil from Rafah. (Maan)
  • 1,000-year-old ketubah goes on display in Jerusalem - "This is one of the first and only existing artifacts that testifies to the Jewish community in Safed during that period," says Dr. Yoel Finkelman, the National Library's Judaica curator. The ketubah, written in Aramaic, dates from Nov. 28, 1023. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel may cut child subsidies for anti-vaxxers - According to a clause in the coalition agreement signed last month by Likud, Israel will not provide child allowances to families that refuse to vaccinate their children. Will the new government enact this clause? (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Egypt reopens Rafah crossing with Gaza, after more than 2 months of closure - Hamas says over 3,000 Gazans still waiting to cross after Egypt opens border to allow Palestinians return to coastal enclave, but not leave. (Haaretz)
  • Between the two banks of the river: Christian tourists held a joint prayer in Israel and Jordan - Christians who attended an Empowered21 conference Jerusalem joined at the Jordan River [Qasr al-Yahud in the West Bank – OH] with Christians from the Arab and Muslim world who attended the conference in Amman for the Pentecostal Feast, the parallel Christian holiday to the Jewish Shavuot holiday. (Maariv)
  • An anti-Semitic meal? Dutch restaurant wipes Israel off the culinary map - Rotterdam restaurant replaces Jewish state with Palestine in map on its signature placemat The restaurant owners decided to be creative and painted on their napkins a map of the Middle East. The problem began when they replaced the State of Israel with “Palestina.” (JTA, Times of Israel and Maariv)
  • Israeli Embassy slams ‘outrageous’ Dutch textbook - Text terms Begin ‘a terrorist,’ says ‘Jewish militias carried out murders in Arab villages.’ (Times of Israel)
  • Hungarian man accosts Israeli consul: 'Dirty Jews' - Israel's Consul to Hungary, Motti Rave, accosted while waiting outside a cafe with his son in Budapest and speaking in Hebrew; Hungarian Catholic university makes Holocaust education compulsory. (Yedioth/Ynet
  • For an ISIS fighter, a paid honeymoon in the 'New York' of the caliphate - Islamic State militants hold up their weapons and wave its flags while riding in Raqqa. (AP, Haaretz)
  • Middle East updates / Syrian army raid kills 140 ISIS fighters in Raqqa air raid - Poland to resettle 60 Syrian families; Iraq begins operation to retake Anbar from ISIS; Russia says no date yet for delivering S-300 system to Iran; pro-regime forces retake southern Yemen city. (Haaretz)


Features:
Why are there so few Arabs on Israeli zoning boards?
Arab representation in the bodies that decide on building and development is low to negligible at all levels, contributing to the ongoing housing shortage in Arab communities. (Jack Khoury, Haaretz+) 
After capturing Haifa, Ben-Gurion gave order to stop fleeing Arabs from returning
A letter going to auction reveals that Israel's first PM tried to thwart British attempts to resettle 'the enemy' in Haifa. The letter contradicts a testimony by Golda Meir. (Haaretz+) 
Breaking the glass ceiling: Gaza women open their own businesses
'Women need to become economically independent,' says successful Palestinian businesswoman Maram Ganem, who owns Gaza's first fast-food place and a large upscale restaurant in Gaza City. (Ynet)
These photos show life in Israel and the West Bank from 14 different perspectives
Internationally acclaimed photographer Wendy Ewald handed digital cameras out to a diverse group of Israelis and Palestinians, telling them: Document your lives. The resulting images are intimate and unique, yet also universal. (Alona Ferber, Haaretz+)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
Israel's right-wing government is pulling the country into an abyss (Avirama Golan, Haaretz+) Israel's right-wing government is close to loosening the last ties of any reasonable order. The events now coming to light reflect not chaos, but rather a systematic disassembly. 
**Netanyahu is destroying Jewish Jerusalem, with Herzog's help (former Labor MK Haim Ramon, Yedioth/Ynet) Only one-third of 'united' Jerusalem's 860,000 residents are Zionist Jews; there isn't another capital in the world in which the majority of residents don't identify with their state's national identity.
Two bus lines for two peoples (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Brutal discrimination is the lot not just of thousands of Palestinian laborers en route to work, but of five million Palestinians living under occupation for 48 years. 
The inciter is back: Netanyahu's at it again (Yoel Esteron, Calcalist/Ynet) In 1995, Netanyahu was among those who incited the people against Rabin; in 2015, he's spearheading a campaign to silence the media. This must be nipped in the bud. 
In Israel, religious Zionism is the problem (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) Religious Zionism provided Israel with a mythical exit from its dead-end street. But it is just an illusion from which we must wake up, and quickly. 
Worrying signals from Europe (Zalman Shoval, Israel Hayom) This is not the first time Europe has tried making its mark on the Palestinian issue while outflanking the United States, but we can hope that, as in the past, Washington will take the wind out of its sails.
Israel is politically unstable – and that threatens its national security (Maya Kornberg, Haaretz+) Going to the polls every two years or so may be fun for the politicians and pundits, but it is ultimately destructive for Israel.
How to postpone the third Lebanon war (Giora Eiland, Yedioth/Ynet) Israel must declare in advance against who it will wage its next war in the north: Not just Hezbollah, but mainly the Lebanese state, its institutions, infrastructures and army. 
To salvage its democracy, Israel must be divided into cantons (Carlo Strenger, Haaretz+) It turns out that liberal democracy has its limits; it can’t bridge yawning gaps — even within Israel’s Jewish community, for example.
Gazan rocket shows the quiet isn’t so quiet (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Israel, like Hamas, doesn’t currently want another war. But nonetheless, it is unlikely to let Tuesday's rocket-fire pass with no response.
 

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