News Nosh 06.10.15

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday June 10, 2015 
 
Quote of the day:
“I am an Arab Israeli, married to a Jewish woman and raising a wonderful family. My wife and I devote all our lives to fulfilling co-existence between Jews and Arabs and it was to that end that we established the Jaffa theater. You cannot expect me to go against my conscience and agree to perform in controversial places. … Don’t force me to act against my will just for the sake of removing this threat.”
--Actor and director of Elmina Theater responds to threats of stopping funding.**


Breaking News:
Israeli Border Police forces shot dead a young Palestinian in Jenin at dawn today. There were conflicting reports about what Izz al-Din Walid Bani Gharra, 21 or 23, was doing when he was shot. According to Israel, he was about to throw a pipe bomb at forces who were either in the midst or withdrawing from a raid. Ynet reported that the military operation was of unknown purpose and Reuters reported that the raid was not coordinated with the Palestinian security, as is done in Areas A. According to a Hamas website, he was killed after coming out of a mosque after dawn prayers. Jenin residents and hospital officials said he was shot in the back. Gharra is the 12th Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces since the start of 2015. Israel conducts an average of 86 raids on Palestinians a week, up from last year.

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The Hazan storm [Photo of MK Oren Hazan. Caption: Chips and rule - next to gambling table before entering politics]
  • How did he make it into the Knesset? // Sima Kadmon
  • Knesset Speaker associates: MK Oren Hazan threatened him after he was suspended
  • Hazan: They are making a targeted assassination of me, is an escort girl more believable than I am?
  • The police commander suspect: Bruno Stein – former commander of Central District suspected of perks in Ronal Fisher affair
  • The age catch – Int’l study finds that people aged 40 and up have greater risk of having autistic children
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • “Hazan threatened the Speaker of the Knesset”
  • Until the probe into the affair: Opposition agreed to offset Hazan’s Knesset seat
  • Appropriate cooperation to stop the embarrassment // Dan Margalit   
  • “We won’t give budgets to those who harm the state” – Storm following Israel Hayom report that (Arab-Israeli) actor Norman Issa refused to perform in Bekaat Yarden (West Bank settlements)
  • No reason to fund an internal battlefront // Haim Shine
  • Fisher’s ‘Pandora box’: The charges
  • Netanyahu: “Palestinian state, but demilitarized and with recognition of us”
  • Supervisor of the banks: Dr. Hedva Bar, senior person from Bank Leumi
  • Not boycotting: Bon Jovi to perform in Israel 3 October

 
News Summary:
Opposition chief agrees not to use the scandal of the allegedly drug-taking prostitute-pimping Likud MK to bring down the government and a battle by right-wing Israeli ministers to censor Israeli artists were top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Also, the latest on the boycotts of Israel and the Israeli responses and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says he supports a conditioned two-state solution, while his Defense Minister says he doesn’t see that happening in his lifetime. Lastly, settlers complain that police are trying to coerce violent activists into providing information and becoming agents, Maariv reports.
 
Opposition chief and leader of Zionist Camp, MK Isaac Herzog, agreed to withhold one of its votes until Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein can deal with disgraced Likud MK Oren Hazan, who according to a Channel 2 report, ran a casino in Bulgaria, which he previously disavowed, did crystal meth, and solicited escort girls. But Herzog’s rival in the Labor party, Shelly Yachimovich, slammed him for helping the Likud to clean its name. Edelstein barred Hazan, who also serves as Deputy Speaker, from chairing plenum sessions, for which Hazan allegedly threatened to spread stories about Edelstein. Hazan denied everything and threatened a libel suit against Channel 2. Meretz MKs demanded he resign.
 
Despite the uproar over boycotts of Israel, two Israeli ministers have begun their own boycotting - of local art. Despite the unanimous approval by an Education Ministry committee to keep the play about prison life of a Palestinian man who killed an Israeli soldier budgeted, Education Minister Naftali Bennett ordered the removal of the play, preventing it from being performed at schools. The (Jewish) committee chairwoman said they found nothing “offensive, insulting or any incitement” in the play, “A Parallel Time,” which has been translated to Hebrew. (Maariv emphasized in its article title that it had been professionally approved, while Israel Hayom’s title was that that art and artists “who hurt the state” won’t get budgets.)

**And, Culture Minister Miri Regev said she was considering cutting government funding to the Arab-language Elmina Theater in Jaffa after its leader, famous Arab-Israeli actor Norman Issa, refused to perform in a Jordan Valley settlement. Issa was not alone. Israel’s Arab-Jewish ‘Joint List’ party declared its support for boycotting settlements companies [which Israel has already made illegal.] Regev, meanwhile, got booed again, this time at the Sapir film school in Sderot for vowing not give a voice to anyone seeking to ‘insult’ Israel’s soldiers or to tarnish the image of the state. “As minister of culture it’s my job to ensure a diversity of voices in Israeli society, [but] currently we are in the midst of a diplomatic campaign and we must do everything possible to stop giving ammunition to our enemies,” she said. A

In an even more radical move, right-wing MK Yinon Magal suggested barring pro-boycott foreigners from entering Israel and pro-boycott Jews from obtaining Israeli citizenship. [He is likely also referring to boycotts of settlement products. – OH] Would that include the British artists who are calling to boycott the Israeli film and television festival scheduled to open Thursday in London? Former prime minister and Labor party chief Ehud Barak said, "This wave of boycotts would not have risen if there were a government headed by Herzog." Speaking at the Herzliya conference, Barak said: "We are the victim, the question is what do we do with that,” Maariv reported.
  
The majority (71%) of Jewish Israelis feel the world is against them, a Tel-Aviv University Israel Democracy Institute poll found. That makes sense to Netanyahu’s brother-in-law. Prof. Matania Ben-Artzi says this whole boycott noise is a cover to hide the country’s real problems. Ben-Artzi, brother of Sara Netanyahu, supports boycotting settlements as a means to pressure the government to remove them. He does not understand the recent storm that flared up over the boycott against Israel, he told Maariv. "Just like they talk all the time about Iran, Iran, then suddenly they started talking about a boycott, boycott. They are doing this because they want to distract people and not to talk about the problems we really have. It's easier to talk about an academic boycott than about the settlements. The ignorant public buys it, just like the public went to vote when it was told (by Netanyahu) that Arabs were flocking to the polls.” Ben-Artzi, a professor of Mathematics at the Hebrew University who signed a petition in favor of boycotting settlements continued: “…Jews are masters of boycotts, so they should not talk now about boycotts. You know that there is a boycott against distributing missionary literature? Suppose I were a religious Sheldon Adelson and I wanted to send out missionary material [in reference to Sheldon Adelson's pro-Netanyahu freebie that is distributed - OH]. The mailmen could refuse to deliver this material." Meanwhile, two Jewish-American tycoons, one of them Sheldon Adelson, raised millions to fight BDS.
 
Netanyahu said he was committed to a demilitarized two-state solution that recognized Israel as a Jewish state and blamed the Palestinians for the impasse in negotiations. (Maariv) Times of Israel reporter Haviv Rettig Gur thinks that Netanyahu delivered the speech in such a way that it would be ignored by the Israeli media. It may not have made the evening news, but it was full-page articles in Yedioth and Maariv. But Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said he did not believe peace would be made with the Palestinians in his lifetime. Netanyahu also described Iran as a threat not just because of the nuclear military program Israel believes it has. This came on the day that visiting US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said Iran would fund 'additional military capability' after it gets relief from sanction, but assured Israel that it would maintain military superiority over the Gulf states. Dempsey’s visit comes days after CIA Director John Brennan’s visit to Israel, just weeks ahead of the Iran deadline.
 
Settlers said they were threatened by Israeli security agents in civilian clothes if they did not provide information about their violent activities, Maariv settler reporter Karni Eldad reported. This week five residents of the ultra-Orthodox Asfar settlement, south of Bethlehem, were arrested on suspicion of attacking leftists and Palestinians six months ago near their settlement. After being interrogated, a man in civilian clothes named ‘Dan,’ turned to one of the settlers, an immigrant from Chile, and asked for the names of the people who chopped the olive trees belonging to Arabs in the area. “I wasn’t involved,” said the settler, but when I couldn’t give him names he began to threaten. He asked me, ‘They still haven’t demolished homes in your community, right? If you don’t give me names, that might happen.’ He also threatened that I won’t be able to continue my work as a guard because he’ll get my license revoked if I don’t cooperate.” The settler said ‘Dan’ threatened to get his father and brother fired. “I felt like I had no rights. That anything I did would hurt my community and my family.” The Police response: "They are focusing on the insignificant, rather than the important things.” More from Maariv.
 
Quick Hits:
  • Turkey sends message to local Hamas operatives to cut back on anti-Israel terror - Ankara’s request to Hamas member Saleh Aruri, released in Shalit swap and deported to West Bank, stems from fear of U.S. reaction. (Haaretz+) 
  • Egypt intel officials meet Hamas in bid to mend rift - Hamas official says that while sides are discussing easing of Egyptian blockade of Gaza, it is impossible to speak of completely restoring Hamas' former close ties with Egypt. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinian poll shows discontent with Hamas, Gaza war - 63% of Palestinians back indirect talks between Israel and Hamas on long-term ceasefire, but still support rocket fire at Israel. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Poll: Support for Hamas rising in Gaza, but most feel devastated by war - Despite the growing support for the Islamist group running the coastal enclave, most Palestinians feel the devastation caused by the conflict outweighs its achievements, a new poll shows. (Agencies, Haaretz
  • In south, Israelis fear rerun of last year's Gaza war - Spate of rocket strikes from Gaza spark concerns of another summer conflict; Rivlin: No one will disrupt our lives. (Ynet)
  • Gaza fish farms bring fish to the plate - The revolution of Gaza fish farms is making seafood accessible to the average Gazan; Gaza's first shrimp farm kicks into action. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Northern Command Chief: We must prepare for war in the north - At a ceremony for those who fell during the Second Lebanon War, Aviv Kochavi warns that Shiite terrorism and global jihad was spreading, could lead to war breaking out. (Ynet)
  • State panel offers first-ever solution to Arab housing crisis - Newly-released report suggests retroactively approving some illegal building and reorganizing land registration and ownership. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel frees Palestinian Parliament Speaker after year behind bars without trial - IDF took Aziz Duweik, 67, from his home during the massive "Operation Brother's Keeper" arrest campaign in June 2014, which was carried out in search of three missing teenage settlers. Commentators suggest Israel's real motive was to drive wedge between Hamas and Fatah, which earlier that month formed a national unity government. (Maan)
  • Palestinian hunger striker forcibly hospitalized and restrained - Khader Adnan Musa, who is serving his ninth period of administrative detention, has been on hunger strike for a month. (Haaretz+) 
  • Dimona nuclear reactor worker goes on hunger strike - Sets up tent outside Israel Atomic Energy Commission in Tel Aviv to protest suspension. (Haaretz+)
  • Google boss: Israelis succeed because you don't follow the rules - Eric Schmidt tells Weizmann Institute meet that 'impact Israelis are having on science and technology is immense, that's why I'm here.' (Ynet)
  • Family at center of Jerusalem passport battle: We're disappointed, but we tried - Zivotofskys' 12-year legal battle ended Monday, with Supreme Court ruling that their son cannot register his place of birth as 'Jerusalem, Israel.’ (Ynet)
  • Series of fires break out in northern Israel, one on Jordan border - Dozens of firefighting teams fight blazes caused by hot weather in the Golan and the Jordan Valley, assisted by airtankers; no injuries were reported. (Ynet
  • Defense Ministry to remain in charge of Home Front, despite criticism - Ministers Gallant, Regev and Steinitz call for change, but Netanyahu seems unwilling to press Ya'alon, who insists the Home Front Command belongs in the IDF. (Haaretz+)
  • Amid EU bid to label settlement goods, Ahava mulls new factory inside Green Line - Cosmetics company's main production site is at Mitzpe Shalem, at the southeastern tip of the West Bank; they deny politics is behind move to open site. (Haaretz)
  • Must-see sites for Tel Aviv's gay tourists - From the Jaffa Port to the Tel Aviv Port, from Habima Square to Rabin Square and from Dizengoff Center to Meir Park – these are just a few recommendations for tourists visiting the White City during Pride Week. (Ynet)
  • Middle East Updates / Obama weighs sending several hundred more U.S. troops to Iraq - ISIS affiliate fires rockets at Sinai airport used by UN peacekeepers; no casualties reported. (Haaretz
  • Report: Palestinian fighting for ISIS killed in coalition strike - Sources identify Gazan man as Wahid Mahir al-Haw; say he died in Syria. (Haaretz)


Features:
 
Trapped in Gaza: The faces behind the blockade of the Strip
From a U.S. resident who came for his father's funeral and isn't allowed home, to a rights activist unable to attend conferences, Haaretz speaks to five Gazans who can't leave. (Jack Khoury, Haaretz+) 
A Zionist ambassador
Uzi Hangadi spent his youth advocating for Israel in the U.S. Now 27, he is fulfilling a promise he made to his dying father and has moved to Israel and has enlisted in the IDF. Beyond his army service, he remains devoted to advocating for Israel. (Yori Yalon, Israel Hayom)
Jordanian karate master fights for peace in Israel
Sensei Imad Khalil, a master in martial arts and social media, holds special special practice session on Herzliya beach for Jews and Arabs. (Asaf Kamer, Ynet+PHOTOS+VIDEO
A rare breed of Israeli lawmaker: Russian-born, leftist and Reform
When opportunity knocked, Ksenia Svetlova left an exotic career as Arab-affairs journalist to join the Zionist Union. From its ranks, she aims to fight for the two-state solution and civil marriage. (Judy Maltz, Haaretz+)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
News Flash: We were all wrong. Israel is perfect, after all (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) Moral: Criticize at your peril. 
Settlement enterprise based on illegality and deception (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) The culture of 'winking' at wrongdoers is shared by government ministries, MKs, IDF officers, gatekeepers and law enforcers – and even the Supreme Court.
The truth about international law and BDS (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) Pre-eminent legal scholars have determined that there is no legal foundation that prevents companies from conducting business over the Green Line. 
Six lies they told me about the anti-Israel boycott (Ronen Bergman, Yedioth/Ynet) A mixture of nationalistic and false statements about BDS campaign is blinding Israeli public and preventing a real discussion of the issue.
Avoiding West Bank settlement goods isn't boycott - it’s the law (B. Michael, Haaretz+) According to int’l law - by which the State of Israel was established and recognized - the settlements are stolen lands, which is a war crime, and abetting war criminals, such as by financing them, is a crime, too. 
Why not privatize the Military Rabbinate? (Gideon Eshet, Yedioth/Ynet) Considering the current government's makeup, no one will let the chief of staff touch the settlement set up by rabbis within the IDF, including their involvement in Jewish missionary activitIes. There is an elegant solution, however.
Mutual suspicion likely to trump economic benefits of peace for Israelis, Palestinians (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Report forecasts that Israel could reap $123 billion peace dividend, but facts on the ground are likely to stymie any progress. 
Reuven Rivlin has proven that he is president of the real Israel (Asher Schechter, Haaretz) His radical speech to the Herzliya Conference was remarkable, first of all, because it was true: he revealed that something even Israel's politicians refuse to acknowledge.
Naftali Bennett: Unlikely champion of Arab education (Meirav Arlosoroff, Haaretz+) Few expected the new right-wing education minister to advance his predecessor's scheme to help weaker populations. Still, when it comes to educational equality, he's got his work cut out for him.
They said he wasn't born in Israel (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) Let the boycotters make threats and the judges hand down worthless rulings.
Bennett and Regev, ministers without culture (Haaretz Editorial)
Unlike in autocratic regimes, financial support by the state doesn’t give it control over what is performed, much less over the actor's opinions and actions. 
Let us look for hope after 48 years (British Consul-General in Jerusalem, Alastair McPhail, Maan) From my travels around the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem I know that life is still desperately hard for Palestinians today, forty-eight years later. According to the UN, more Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in 2014 than in any year since 1967. In 2014, NGO figures show that construction began on 40% more new settlement structures than in 2013. The young people I meet in refugee camps lack hope for their future. We are supporting Palestinian refugees in the OPTs and in the region.  
Once again, Hamas may be coming to Israel's rescue (Zvi Bar’el, Haaretz+) Reaching an agreement with Hamas means that Israel can avoid entering into peace talks - and at a cheap price. 
With Hamas vs. ISIS in Gaza, Israelis feel caught in the middle (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+) Each siren and explosion reduces the hopes that this year’s summer vacation will be very different from last year.
Charles Schumer sounds like he’s getting ready to support deal with the ayatollahs (Seth Lipsky, Haaretz+) In speech to Orthodox Union, one of the most pro-Israel Democrats seems to be gearing up to back Obama in abandoning the military option on Iran.
Why Israel's left must end the occupation but not support BDS (Don Futterman, Haaretz+) Singling out Israel for punitive measures while murderous governments massacre their own civilians is not only hypocritical but bizarre. 
Pinkwashing debate / Gay rights in Israel are being appropriated for propaganda value (Aeyal Gross, Haaretz+) Using gay rights as a yardstick for a country’s human rights record makes it seem as if the Israeli occupation does not undermine democracy and human rights.
On child brides and other Syrian horrors (Zvi Bar’el, Haaretz+) Besides destroying the country's social fabric and domestic life, the civil war calls into question the very survival of an entire generation of young citizens.

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