News Nosh 06.04.15

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday June 4, 2015 

Quote of the day:
"We cannot bear this victimization policy of yours, Ministers Shaked and Akunis. Calm down, because those who work in the service of this boycott are members of the Netanyahu government. They are those who impose separation on buses and release videos of Arabs 'going in droves' (to the polls) and claim Arabs are playing games."
--Meretz Chairwoman MK Zehava Gal-On slammed back against the MKs who said there was no connection between BDS and the occupation.**  


Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
Orange Cellular Co CEO supports boycotting Israel, escalating the mania in Israel over the subject, particularly in the Knesset where things really heated up, a former Labor chief and defense minister is to be indicted for corruption and two rockets from Gaza fall in open fields in the south making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Also of interest was how Israel deals with the boycotts, an article in Maariv revealing Israel’s present military situation in the face of its border foes and how the four main papers titled the article on the day of testimonies in court for the three Jews who kidnapped, beat and burned to death an Arab teen last summer.
 
The CEO of Orange cellular phone company said he would cut ties with the Israeli ‘Partner’ company  'tomorrow' if not for 'huge risk' of penalties. At the end of May, five NGOs and two unions in France asked Orange to state publicly its willingness to sever its ties with Partner and denounce “attacks on human rights” they said the Israeli company had carried out. But Partner says it recently signed an agreement to use the Orange name for 10 more years and along with Minister Naftali Bennett called on Israelis not to boycott the local company. Meanwhile, British universities rejected the student decision to boycott Israel and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu slammed the students for boycotting Israel, “but not the Islamic State.” [Not that ISIS has any exports or lecturers to boycott. ;) OH]
  
Three stormy emergency sessions were held yesterday in the Knesset, which in one way or another discussed the BDS boycott movement. Despite the tense debate and vote yesterday to reject the ‘non-urgent request' to hold a session to mark the 48th anniversary of the Six Day War and the occupation, the Meretz party forced the debate on the occupation to take place by using one proposal from its quota. A tense debate broke out over whether the occupation is “the reason for all our troubles.” Likud MK Oren Hazan said, “Any Arab Knesset member that doesn’t recognize the State of Israel will have to show an identity card at the entrance to the Knesset,” adding, “I call upon them to join me in addressing the concerns of Israeli Arabs. And if you won’t join me, I call on you to move to Ramallah.” Hazan also denied the existence of the occupation and Immigration and Absorption Minister Zeev Elkin (Likud) believed that Arabs today still have the mindset of 1948. “You are selling us the illusion that if we’d only go back to the 1967 border, suddenly everything will work out,” said, (Likud) speaking to Meretz MK Essawi Freij, who submitted the proposal. “You know that’s a lie. For 20 years we weren’t in that area, and all they wanted to do was destroy the Jewish state at any price.”
 
**At the emergency session on BDS (boycotting of Israel), Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked made headlines using the popular right-wing refrain that BDS is anti-Semitism under a new guise. She suggested Israel counter boycott with boycott. She also ignored the siege on Gaza. "If someone thinks withdrawals will help, they are wrong. The biggest diplomatic attacks against the State of Israel were all done because of Israel's operations in Gaza, from which we withdrew until the last centimeter.” But Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Gal-On would have none of it. (see Quote of the Day) Meretz MK Michal Rozin also called on the Israeli government to take responsibility for Israel's part in the worsening of the international boycott. "The way to deal with the increasing boycotting against Israel is not hasbara (diplomatic relations), but in putting an end to the occupation," she said. "The government must internalize that the boycott is a wakeup call and not anti-Semitic propaganda against the state."
 
Despite all the hullaballoo about the threat of BDS, Israel’s Foreign Ministry revealed how it successfully uses its embassies and its widespread connections for the battle. However, the Ministry itself has only one official and a diplomatic cadet and little money, Yedioth’s Itamar Eichner writes. 'We feel like soldiers in a battle, but without resources,' say staffers. We are dealing, insanely under-budgeted, with a worldwide phenomenon that is becoming increasingly widespread. It's a joke.” Eichner writes about the Ministry’s “sophisticated battle tactics” using Israeli embassies' widespread network of connections and working with municipalities in an effort to thwart boycott initiatives. The embassies are also very active behind the scenes when it comes to preventing foreign artists from canceling performances in Israel. "An Israeli ambassador can't call an artist and say: Don't listen to Roger Waters," Foreign Ministry officials admit. "But he can approach an influential agent and ask him to approach the particular artist and convince him to come to Israel and not give in to the boycott." Moreover, he writes, the global boycott of Israel is growing silently, with European banks cutting ties with Israeli counterparts and supermarkets across the world appeasing violent protesters, who attack their Israeli produce.

As Israel denies the occupation, it is busy trying to silence those who tell about it. The Culture Ministry removed sponsorship of a dance show over video clips from B’Tselem human rights organization. Yesterday, the papers reported that Israel was trying to convince the Swiss not to fund an exhibition of Breaking the Silence, an organization that collects and shares testimonies from IDF soldiers about crimes against Palestinians. Israel slammed Holland for warning its citizens that Israeli settlers throw stones at foreigners and Palestinians. Israel called it ‘slander.’ However, just yesterday Israeli settlers pelted Palestinian vehicles traveling near a settlement south of Nablus, Maan reported. According to Al-Haq Palestinian human rights group, between January and May of this year, a total of 152 assaults were carried out by settlers on Palestinian civilians. As part of the silencing effort, the Netanyahu-supporting freebie, Israel Hayom, ran a large article today accusing European countries of giving $27 million to 24 ‘left-wing’ Israeli organizations over the last three years. [Most of the Israeli papers refer to Israeli human rights organizations as ‘left-wing’ groups, in order to de-legitimize them among right-wingers. – OH] However, the article does not anywhere describe what the organizations actually do and why that is 'anti-Israeli.' The report was released by "NGO Monitor," which the newspaper omitted referring to as a ‘right-wing group,’ but rather called it an ‘institute.’ According to the Foreign Ministry, many of the organizations that receiving massive funding promote anti-Israel activity.

Maariv’s excellent security affairs commentator Yossi Melman and its military affairs reporter Noam Amir gave perspective about the IDF press conference for Israeli military correspondents. According to the reporters and the IDF, the IDF and its northern neighbors are exchanging messages. To the parties taking part in the struggle for Syria, Israel is trying to send a clear message: “While Israel is not interested in a conflict, it is prepared for any scenario and will retaliate very forcefully when prompted.” [Note: This is not a new IDF message. – OH] The senior officers believe that Hezbollah has made great efforts in recent days to understand what is happening on the Israeli side. "I do not remember when Nasrallah spoke so much in such a short time,” said one, noting that the Hezbollah chief appeared on local TV no less than six times in one week. "They are trying to send us messages," he explained. One top Israeli officer said that the Syrian army is in its worst state since the start of the civil war, while another said that despite the fighting, in recent years the Syrian air defenses have grown a great deal” because they have not been harmed. In what sounded like a warning to all its foes, one officer said, "The next conflict in the north must be finished within 7 days of fighting.” The army understands very well that the strategy Operation Defensive Shield does not suite a potential future battle in the north, write the Maariv reporters. "In Operation Protective Edge (last summer against Gaza), we began on the 43rd day to evacuate our civilians and then we gave them harsh firepower. Today we know this strategy will be put into effect from day one. The next conflict should be completed within seven days of fighting and the way to reduce the firing of rockets on Israel is maneuvering by air and land,” said one senior officer. "Nevertheless, neither they nor we have any interest in heating up the area."
 
The three Jewish Israeli defendants who kidnapped, beat and burned alive the 16-year-old Palestinian boy, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, from E. Jerusalem last July gave their testimonies in court yesterday. Haaretz+, Maariv, Ynet and Israel Hayom titled the articles in ways that benefitted the two minor defendants, 'We never dreamed it would end in such a horrible murder. But the headlines on Maariv online (‘Abu Khdeir’s father interrupted the trial: “You are a liar”’) and in Yedioth (“’We poured gasoline on him and saw a bonfire” emphasized the crime and the pain. 

Quick Hits:
  • Jewish Israeli teens lean right, many support ‘price tag’ [attacks on Palestinians – OH] - Only 9% of adolescents consider themselves left-wing; 45% say they wouldn’t study in a class with Arabs. (Times of Israel
  • Israeli army chief of staff plans 
to curtail powers of IDF rabbinate - Sources say Eisenkot will take rabbis out of education, put Education Corps back in, after rabbinate criticized for attempting to preach religious, political messages to units. (Haaretz+)
  • Settler vehicle hits Palestinian near Salfit - Separately on Wednesday, Israeli settlers pelted Palestinian vehicles traveling near the illegal Maale Efrayim settlement south of Nablus, damaging several vehicles including smashing a windshield. (Maan)
  • Hunger-striker Khader Adnan to be moved to hospital - Adnan, who was detained on July 8, 2014 and sentenced to administrative detention for the 10th time, said he refuses to be moved to any civilian hospital, and is currently being held in the solitary confinement. His family told a press conference he is barely able to move after one month on hunger-strike. In 2012, Adnan's 66-day hunger strike in an Israeli prison inspired hundreds of prisoners to take on Israel's policy of holding detainees without charge. (Maan)
  • Old City of Jerusalem ablaze with Festival of Lights, clashes - Annual Festival of Lights uses Old City of Jerusalem as a backdrop for light-related artwork and installations, some of which are projected onto the ancient stone walls. Police use stun grenades to disperse Palestinians protesting Israeli festival. (Israel Hayom+VIDEO)
  • Remembering abducted teens with Unity Prize - A year after Eyal Yifrach, Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Frenkel were kidnapped and murdered, non-profit founded in their memories honors those honor those building unity among the Jewish people. (Yedioth/Ynet
  • Abbas to escalate international moves against Israel, predict intel officials - Despaired of Netanyahu's commitment to two states, Palestinian Authority to pursue efforts to undermine Israel at dozens of international organizations, according to Israeli intelligence assessment. (Haaretz+) 
  • UN chief calls for new Israeli-Palestinian talks, brands UNRWA outcome of 'political failure' - In speech marking 65th anniversary of UNRWA, which serves Palestinian refugees, Ban Ki-moon said UNRWA was never meant to exist for 65 years, but "it exists because of political failure." He said the world's 5 million Palestinian refugees face 'existential crisis'. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Incoming Foreign Ministry head to meet with senior Saudi official - Dore Gold and Anwar Eshki have spent a year laying the groundwork for meeting in Washington. Mutual Israeli, Saudi interest in stopping Iran from going nuclear and Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be discussed. (Israel Hayom)
  • Jailed PFLP leader threatens to start hunger strike - Secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) threatened Wednesday to begin an open hunger strike in protest of being denied family visits by Israel's prison service. (Maan)
  • Slim Knesset majority grounds Defense Minister from Paris Air Show - Moshe Yaalon won’t travel in two weeks to largest defense show in the world in order to avoid coalition defeat in Knesset votes. Cancellation speaks volumes about difficulties in managing super-slim Knesset majority. (Israel Hayom, p. 7 and Times of Israel
  • First female Arab MK 
to run Knesset committee - Aida Touma-Suliman from Joint Arab List elected chairwoman of Knesset’s Committee on the Status of Women. (Haaretz+) 
  • Ambulance drivers refuse to ride with female volunteers in Israeli city - High school students who completed emergency medical training with Magen David Adom were forced to go home or do office work rather than treat people. (Haaretz+) 
  • Herzog received threat letter; security beefed up - Letter reached Labor party office threatening to use explosive car against Opposition leader Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal. (Israel Hayom, p. 7 and Maariv)
  • AG says no grounds for sedition probe against Israeli Arab MK  - Arab List MK Hanin Zoabi will not face criminal investigation for comparing Israeli soldiers to Islamic State terrorists, attorney general rules. Policy regarding investigations over issues concerning free speech is conservative, official says. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli military attorneys back decriminalizing off-base 'soft' drug use - Many offenders 'are very good soldiers,' not criminals, 'so there’s no reason to stigmatize them with a criminal record,' Chief Military Defender tells Haaretz. (Haaretz+)
  • IDF to open third mixed-gender combat battalion - New light infantry battalion will be assigned to border protection missions. Total number of female conscripts volunteering for combat service jumped 123% from 2012 to 2014. IDF hopes to see 7% of female soldiers serving in combat positions. (Israel Hayom)
  • Panel tells attorney general: 'Israel Police aren’t fit to track shady money changers' - Expert panel urges AG to enable Tax Authority to handle investigations against crooked money changers, who are frequently involved in laundering money for mobsters. (Haaretz+) 
  • Sporadic clashes erupt at Ethiopian-Israeli demonstration in Tel Aviv - The previous demonstration last month in Rabin Square, currently the site of the Book Week exhibition, turned violent and resulted in dozens of injuries. Protesters block Tel Aviv's Begin Road as they about 100-200 people demonstrate against police brutality and racism; 7 arrested. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • US advisor: Nuclear deal will reduce Iran enrichment capacity - Dr Colin H. Kahl, speaking at the US-Islamic World Forum in Doha, insists that current deal being formed is best option, warns that failure to reach comprehensive agreement would lead to Iran installing tens of thousands of centrifuges. (Agencies, Ynet
  • Kahlon to ask housing cabinet for wide-ranging power of land use - Finance Minister’s proposal would clip wings of local planning committee and Israel Lands Authority in bid to speed up construction approvals. (Haaretz+)
  • Ben-Gurion flights delayed due to Air Force exercise - Delays in flights that enter Cypriot airspace are expected to continue until 11 P.M. on Wednesday. (Haaretz+)
  • Growing population is a pressing but touchy subject in Israel - Continuous population growth may cause growing dependence on food imports and adversely impact quality of life, but in Israel it’s not an easy subject to talk about. (Haaretz+) 
  • From mortar victim to mayor, Gadi Yarkoni triumphs over Gaza war tragedy - A year ago, a mortar on the cusp of the ceasefire killed Yarkoni's friends and took his legs, and now he assumes a new role as head of Eshkol Regional Council. (Ynet)
  • Soldiers petition High Court against closure of Druze battalion - Druze officers and soldiers petition against IDF chief's decision to disband 299th Battalion, saying it will curtail Druze enlistment. Decision came after consulting with Druze leaders and in light of most Druze recruits preferring regular combat units. (Israel Hayom)  
  • OECD boosts its growth forecast for Israel - International organization sees expansion by 3.4% in 2015, 3.5% in 2016. (Haaretz+)
  • Hamas: IDF attempted to stop paving of Gaza border road - Hamas official magazine reports that four IDF bulldozers crossed the border fence, accompanied by ground troops and drones in an attempt to stop construction on new border road. Hamas: IDF attempt failed. (Ynet)
  • 65 degrees Celsius in Saudi Arabia this Ramadan? 'Nonsense' - An Israeli professor explains why temperature is unlikely to reach such highs during Ramadan in Saudi Arabia. (Haaretz+) 
  • Town in southern France names street after Yasser Arafat
  • The town also has a street named after Yitzhak Rabin. 'To the best of my knowledge, the two men received the Nobel Peace Prize together,' says the mayor in response to criticism. (Haaretz
  • Jews still highly regarded in Europe, despite reports to the contrary - High percentages of French, British, Germans, Italians and Spanish have favorable views about Jews, according to new survey. (Haaretz)
  • Middle East updates / Syrian army airstrikes kill more than 30, monitoring group says - Qatar says airstrikes hopeless without Iraqi national dialogue; Saudi Arabia names suspects in mosque bombings, offers $1 million bounty; Family of eight also killed in Yemen airstrikes. (Haaretz
  • Hezbollah seizes ground from insurgents near Syria-Lebanon border  -Pushes forward attempt to clear Arsal area of militant groups, including al-Qaida's Syrian wing. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • U.S.: Assad should have no role in long-term solution to Syria conflict - Syrian troops and militia fought fierce battles with Islamic State fighters in Syria's northeast overnight. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Features:
Battle deaf
A week after the end of the Six Day War (writer) Amos Oz and Avraham Shapira met with soldiers who had gone out to protect their countries and returned silent and sad. The conversations they had with them were put into the book, “The Seventh Day: Soldiers' Talk about the Six-Day War," which recently became a film. In the film are conversations that were censored by the IDF. Now Shapira returns to the recordings, which he keeps in his home. "There are sounds of crying alongside screams in and a minute of silence." (Yaakov Bar-On, Maariv Magazine supplement, p. 4)
'Censored Voices' film tears apart Israel's heroic narrative of Six-Day War
In the wake of the 1967 war, Israel’s victorious soldiers were lionized as heroes; but many didn't feel that way, a new documentary shows. (Anthony Weiss, Haaretz+)
The Youth Edition
In the first decade of the state, children's newspapers were at the height of their popularity. A new study dealing with reveals that woven into the songs, stories and drawings were also ideological issues. "The newspapers turned to the children as political animals, and saw them as creatures that need to be educated at an early stage about certain positions," explains the researcher Dr. Rima Shikhmanter. (Carmit Sapir-Katz, Maariv Magazine daily supplement, p. 8)
Egyptian Jew behind winning horse paved path of bold bets
Owner of thoroughbred racehorse American Pharoah still manages to keep kosher while attending races. [Also interesting is that he was born in Cairo in 1962 and continued to live there till he went to college in the US. – OH] (Richard Rosenblatt, Times of Israel)

Commentary/Analysis:
Netanyahu has ways of putting critics of the occupation to sleep (Peace Now settlement watch director, Hagit Ofran, Haaretz+) His proposals on discussing the borders of the settlement blocs is the latest plank in a strategy crafted in 1996. 
Israel's censorship frenzy is hurting its democratic image (Haaretz Editorial) Right-wing ministers seeking to defend Israel's 'just image' by cutting funds to cultural performances which clash with their views are doing just the opposite. 
Israel and Hamas held hostage by Gaza 'rogue elements' (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) In the absence of an honest broker to mediate between the two sides, a stagnant Gaza economy and little prospects, the breakaway groups can lay the groundwork for the next war.
The real alternative to the Netanyahu government (Amnon Abramovich, Yedioth/Ynet) Unless the government dramatically changes its character, Israel will soon have new elections; as the Labor Party will likely still be stuck with the Buji-Tzipi duo, Kahlon and Lapid will have to join forces. 
Talking about soccer and veering treacherously close to treason (Yossi Klein, Haaretz+) My friend A., who wanted Israel kicked out of FIFA, has only harsh epithets for those like Netanyahu who say there's no connection between politics and sports. 
Fight boycotts through funding (Lena Bakman, Israel Hayom) The most effective way to counter groups calling for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel is by cutting the purse strings. 
What really is the cost? The economic impact of the boycott is not significant (Yehuda Sharoni, Maariv) While a number of companies in Europe label (settler) products, Israeli products are welcome. Consequently, the boycotters focus on more areas that are more comfortable for them, such as sports, academia and art. 
Netanyahu can no longer blame his failures on others (Israel Harel, Haaretz+) Now that he has the government that he wanted, without adversaries on the left, Netanyahu has no more space for excuses.
The world is not against us (Joanna Landau, Israel Hayom) There are two parallel universes: one of boycotts and attacks on Israel, and another in which Israel is the most popular kid in class.
Israel presents: How to fight BDS the wrong way (Ari Shavit, Haaretz+) It's good that the government acknowledged threat posed by boycott, but trying to battle it with legislation and silencing alone is destructive.
Obama's unanswered questions (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) It was clear from the start that the U.S. president's Channel 2 interview would be one big charm offensive. But what if Obama is wrong on the substance?
The era of Iran is over; the age of BDS begins (Peter Beinart, Haaretz+) How the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is changing organized American Jewish life.
Obama's angry, but we're right (Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) Nothing is as disappointing as a savior who fails. So it's no wonder that the president still hopes to leave a legacy in a deal with Iran and a peace process he will force on Israel.
Israel's strategic situation has never been better (Yossi Melman, Maariv) The words of Deputy Chief of Staff, that the situation in the north has improved because of the Syrian civil war, shows that the country we knew ceased to exist and is now divided into sections. Druze, Kurds, ISIS and other insurgents are trying to take what was is possible from the regime. 
Israeli propaganda isn't fooling anyone – except Israelis (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) 'Hasbara' is the Israeli euphemism for propaganda, and there are some things, said the late ambassador Yohanan Meroz, that are not 'hasbarable.' One of them is Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
With Assad increasingly under pressure, what lies ahead for Syria? (Roi Kais, Ynet) Sources connected to the Syrian regime admit pressure is growing, but say the Syrian government is certain its army - with help from its allies - can protect critical territories.
How Hezbollah is undermining the Lebanese army — and why that's bad for Israel (Aaron Balshan, Haaretz+) Hezbollah claims its participation in Syrian civil war is needed to secure eastern Lebanon, since the Lebanese military is 'not capable' of defending borders.
http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.659401
 



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