News Nosh 06.16.15

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday June 16, 2015 

Number of the day:
761.
--The number of Palestinian civilians that Israel now says were killed in last summer's Gaza war. The IDF's figure, released for the first time since the war, is almost half of the UN number. Israel says that nearly half of the Palestinians killed were armed.**


Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Obama invited Netanyahu for a meeting
  • (Culture Ministry) Regev’s ultimatum: If the film about (Rabin’s murderer) Yigal Amir is screened, I won’t transfer money to the film festival
  • Did the Louvre boycott Israeli students?
  • Not just coffee: Summer camp for 5 shekels
  • Compulsory car insurance to decrease 250 shekels
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • The new soldiers – the Cyber Corps
  • In military terms this is a revolution // Yoav Limor 
  • Kotler’s “cultural terror attack” // Haim Shine
  • “Israeli human rights organizations acted against Israel at the UN”
  • “Oren Hazan sexually harassed female employees at a bar”
  • Starting next year, compulsory car insurance to drop by 35%
  • Police considering: confiscating cellular phones from drivers who called or text-messaged while driving
  • Officially: Jeb Bush declared his candidacy for US President

News Summary:
The censorship of films in Israel, the boycott of Israeli students at the Louvre and the creation of a Cyber Corps in the IDF were top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Also, US President Barack Obama invited Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to the White House, Hamas is reportedly discussing a five-year truce with Israel in exchange for a seaport and Israel is using social media to mock Hamas and foreign reporters. 
 
Outcry follows outcry in the storm over freedom of expression. Netanyahu slammed theater director Oded Kotler, who criticized the Likud-dominated government’s censorship policies on art and called Likud voters a ‘herd of beasts.’ Even Regev’s Likud colleague, Minister Gila Gamliel, argued with Regev at a Likud faction meeting yesterday saying, "If the funding is discontinued, those who will be harmed are children and the culture-loving public." (Maariv) Author and intellectual, David Grossman, accused Culture Minister Miri Regev of turning Israel into a militant fundamentalist sect, favoring Jewishness and Israeliness over freedom of expression. Regev is threatening to pull funding for the Jerusalem Film Festival if it doesn’t pull a documentary about Yitzhak Rabin’s killer. And former President Shimon Peres agrees with her on this one.
 
The Israeli army decided it needs to handle cyberdefense differently and within two years will complete the establishment of a separate cyber corps, similar to the air force or navy. It will handle all cyberwarfare operations: cyberdefense, cyberattacks, cyberintelligence gathering and operational planning. Meanwhile, an Israeli cyber security firm reported that Iranian hackers are carrying out cyber attacks against Israeli targets, under the auspices of the Iranian government.
 
Yedioth’s Alex Fishman reported that Obama kept his promise and invited Netanyahu to visit White House, and despite saying he wouldn’t do so before the nuclear agreement with Iran was signed. The invitation is for mid-July and the atmosphere will be “very tense,” wrote Fishman. “The Americans will try to explain why the deal was good for the Jews and Netanyahu will demand in exchange a security compensation package,” he wrote. 
 
The Palestinian Al-Quds newspaper reported Monday that senior Hamas leaders are in Qatar now discussing a 5-year truce with Israel in exchange for a seaport for Gaza, Ynet and Maariv reported. The draft was formulated by UN special envoy to the Middle East Nikolay Mladenov, according to Israel Radio. Interestingly, Maariv’s and Channel 10’s military affairs commentator Alon Ben-David wrote a fascinating Op-Ed two weeks ago in Maariv that discussed this very issue, suggesting he got word of it from the IDF and that IDF is supportive of the plan. Ben-David writes why a Gaza seaport is good for Israel and reveals other interesting information about Gazan youth who climb across the fence to Israel in order to get arrested so that they can get three meals a day and a shower in an Israeli jail. (See translation of Ben-David’s piece in Analysis/Commentary below).
 
Meanwhile, the Israeli Foreign Ministry used social media to make fun of Hamas rule of Gaza – but also mocked ‘clueless’ foreign journalists [who risked their lives covering last summer’s Gaza war. – OH]

Quick Hits:
  • Canadian-Jordanian millionaire released from Israeli custody after month without seeing lawyer - Ibrahim Siyam, 58, who is originally from a West Bank village, but left decades ago, visited last month at the invitation of Palestinian President who hosted businessmen for investment. Siyam was arrested upon his departure because Shin Bet suspected that money he donated to a Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus was for Hamas. After one month, Shin Bet: "(We) reached the conclusion that the evidence obtained by the interrogation constituted an insufficient basis for putting Siyam on trial." (Haaretz+)
  • Israel stops UN special rapporteur from visiting Palestinian territories - Foreign Ministry spokesman says Israel won't cooperate with rapporteurs 'when mandate is anti-Israel and Israel has no chance to be heard'. The UN special rapporteur on human rights in the territories was to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories last week to prepare report to be presented at UN General Assembly in New York this fall. (Ynet)
  • Israel Police arrested 7 times more Arabs than Jews at illegal rallies - Arab leader calls police 'effective government tool for silencing the Arab public in Israel.' (Haaretz+)
  • Illegal house demolished for second time, despite Arab MKs' pleas - House was rebuilt by activists after first demolition caused outcry among Israeli Arab public. (Haaretz+)
  • Arab municipal authorities demanding 5.5 billion shekels from government’s development budget - Mossawa Center’s economic-social department formulated document saying government needs to transfer the funds in order to create industrial zones, establish new Arab towns and neighborhoods, deal with poverty and unemployment, etc. (Maariv
  • Deputy Health Minister: Says doctors refusing to force-feed prisoners undermines rule of law in Israel - Cabinet approval of bill to force-feed hunger-striking prisoners ignites dispute between the Health Ministry and the Israeli Medical Association. (Haaretz+)
  • Louvre Museum, other French sites refuse to book Israeli students' visit - French governor asks prosecution office to probe the incident over suspicions of illegal discrimination. (Haaretz+ and Times of Israel)
  • **IDF says 761 Palestinian civilians killed in Gaza war - half of UN figure - IDF's figures, released for the first time since the war, contradict UN coordinator on humanitarian affairs, who said at least 1,436 Palestinian civilians died. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli tourism still sagging under weight of Gaza war - Ten months after fighting ends, security concerns shadow industry amid headlines about Syria, Iran and ISIS. Arrivals are down 17% in first five months from same time in 2014. (Haaretz+) 
  • Local anthropologists issue statement opposing academic boycott of Israel - The statement by the Israeli association comes as a debate is being conducted by the American Anthropological Association about a boycott on Israel. (Haaretz+) 
  • IDF to allow opening of 70 Palestinian shops closed since 2002 in Hebron - The IDF closed more than 500 Hebron shops during the second intifada, most of them along the (now) deserted Shuhada Street near the old city, according to a local planning official. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • French PM calls on France's Muslims to 'name the enemy' - 'Hate speech, anti-Semitism hiding behind anti-Zionism and hatred of Israel, hideous sermons' are not Islam, says Manuel Valls, calling to show the world that 'France and Islam are fully compatible'. (Ynet
  • Ministers reject sexual orientation non-discrimination bill - Many of the ministers who voted against the bill are on record as supporting the LGBT community and some even attended the Gay Pride parade in Tel Aviv last week. (Haaretz+) 
  • You live in Ramallah? Do you want me to help get you out? - Amira Hass received an unusual phone call on her Palestinian cellphone the other day. (Haaretz+) 
  • High Court rules separating genders in religious schools discriminates against non-religious schools - Petition was filed two years ago, after then-Education Minister Shay Piron changed the policy to allow separate-sex classes starting in first grade, instead of only in fourth grade. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli company trains mice for airport security - CEO tells security conference that mice are far more effectively than humans, dogs or machines and are easier to train. (Haaretz)
  • Israel helped Obama with Syria chemical disarmament plan, writes Michael Oren in new book - Former ambassador Michael Oren writes that Obama never acknowledged Israel's role in formulating the plan to ship Syria's weapons out of the country. (Haaretz)
  • Syrian chef becomes star in Gaza after fleeing civil war - 'I had to choose whether to ride the death boats to Europe, with an uncertain future, or go to Gaza on the advice of some Palestinian friends,' Wareef Hameedo said. Against the odds, he chose Gaza. (Agencies, Haaretz
  • Egypt to keep Rafah crossing into Gaza open for another two days - Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing on Saturday for an initial three days to allow Palestinians to travel in and out of the territory for the first time in three months. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Golda Meir portrait in Egyptian museum causes storm - Head of Giza museum dedicated to world's leading women removes former PM's picture after uproar in local media. (Ynet)
  • Cypriot FM: Cyprus likely thwarted Hezbollah bomb plot against Israelis - Senior Israeli official says stock of ammonium nitrate seized by Cyprus was intended to make large store of bombs for future attacks, rather than an immediate one. (Agencies, Ynet
  • Greek official compares IDF to Nazis, sparks firestorm - At dedication ceremony for Kavala Holocaust memorial, official says that atrocities did not end with Holocaust, cites invasion of Cyprus by Turkey and IDF "siege" on Gaza as examples. Madrid mayor asked to fire city official over anti-Semitic tweet. (Israel Hayom
  • Al-Qaida confirms no.2 leader killed in U.S. drone strike in Yemen - Nasser al-Wuhayshi, a charismatic former associate of Osama bin Laden, turned Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) into a force to be reckoned with. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Middle East Updates / Syrian Kurds seize major road, encircle ISIS-held town - UN confirms Houthis on way to Yemen peace talks in Geneva; Key U.S. senator 'alarmed' by reports on Iran talks; Yemen FM: Open to discussing ceasefire if Houthis withdraw. (Haaretz)


Features:
Bitter waters: Settlers invade ancient pool under Palestinian control
Dozens of Israeli soldiers ordered Palestinian children to get out of a swimming pool in Area A – ostensibly under PA control – in advance of a visit by hundreds of settlers. (Gideon Levy and Alex Levac, Haaretz+) 
Lone soldiers fighting to make 'home away from home' liveable
The American youth, who came to protect Israel, arrived at their hosting kibbutz on the Gaza border on the heels of last summer's conflict to find their clubhouse in terrible condition; now, they are trying to rebuild it and make it a good place for those who will follow them. (Adam Evenhaim, Ynet)
Misquoting Golda Meir: Did she or didn’t she?
Two of her most famous quotes remain sourceless and bereft, despite the best efforts of The Jewish Press writer Harvey Rachlin. (The Jewish Press and Harvey Rachlin, Haaretz)

Commentary/Analysis:
Israel's force-feeding of prisoners: A blatant violation of human dignity (Haaretz Editorial) The Knesset must reject the bill that would permit the force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners. 
Settlements first: Israel must change its tactics towards the Palestinians (Uri Sevir, Maariv) There is one way to stop the boycotts: change policies. Not unilateral concessions, but tough negotiations with the Palestinians on a two-state solution.
It's Israelis, not BDS, who must end the occupation (Iris Leal, Haaretz+) If anything can be learned from the case of South Africa it’s that one cannot expect boycotts alone to change the situation.
Made in Israel: The people who will actually manage to beat the boycott of Israel (Ran Adelist, Maariv) The international boycott is gaining momentum, because, without feeling it, we, as a state and society, crossed the vague line of legitimacy. Today we are in a state of being a fugitive, and it is we who must lead the real boycott on government policy. 
Exit section: Opening a Gaza seaport could be good for Israel (Alon Ben-David, Maariv May 29th) For years Israel has been unable to break the cycle of violence with Gaza and unable to make strategic decisions, even when the opportunity is before our eyes. When Hamas is at its weakest and the Gaza Strip is under siege, such an opportunity is happening right now...(Ben-David then describes at length the difficult lives of Gazans.) The distress in the Gaza Strip is severe and the youth attest to it as they daily cross the fence (illegally – OH) into Israel. Some of them hope to find a job, some dream of receiving three meals a day in an Israeli prison. After they realized that Israel returns the unarmed infiltrators into Gaza, some of them return carrying a grenade in their pocket, to ensure they will be getting a shower in prison….Hamas’ military wing people, Mohammed Deif and Marwan Issa, would like to see a resumption of fire against Israel but they accept, in the meantime, the authority of the political wing, which prefers to find a solution through an agreement. Hamas is crying out to the world for a solution and in exchange for one will agree to put aside for many years its struggle against Israel. They did not become lovers of Zion, but they are pragmatic, and if given a horizon of hope they will go for a cease-fire of a decade and possibly more. This proposal, promoted by Qatar, embodies only profits for Israel. It will give Gaza a national project, in the form of a seaport, which will occupy them for many years, and it will give Hamas something it won’t want to endanger or lose. Eventually, it will also free Israel from the responsibility of continuing to feed the Gaza Strip, and it will complete the process of disengagement from the Gaza Strip…Will Hamas will use this time to continue to arm itself? Certainly, yes. But Israel has never sought to prevent the arming of enemies or succeeded. Also the demand that Hamas recognize Israel (right to exist) as a condition for negotiations with it is childish and irrelevant. Israel has negotiated a cease-fire with Syria and Egypt in 1949, in 1967 and 1974 without either of these countries recognizing Israel or agreeing to stop arming themselves. But the rationale behind those armistice agreements was to buy Israel years of relative calm and security…Traditional Zionism has always sought peace, but given that this is a hostile environment, which does not accept our existence here – it looked for ways to delay the next war and to enable its existence and prosperity in conditions of relative peace…The Israeli interest is that these neighbors, hostile as they are, will not stay hungry. A starving Gaza will erupt on us soon. The interest is also that they should have some kind of horizon of hope. President Rivlin tried to signal that this week (when he said he was willing to speak to Hamas to find a solution – OH), but it is difficult to identify anyone in the fourth Netanyahu government that could recognize the opportunity and take advantage of it. If the concern of the ministers for the south is real and not just lip service - this government should recognize the opportunity and advance towards a move that would stabilize our relations with Gaza, at least for the coming years. 
Cyber warfare: A new, dangerous world (Isaac Ben-Israel, Yedioth/Ynet) Discovery of sophisticated computer virus at hotels hosting Iran nuclear talks points to a new phenomenon embodying a new danger: Cyber technology makes it possible to not only spy and obtain information, but to also plant misleading information.
Refusing to acknowledge that Jerusalem is in Israel has drained Obama of power (Seth Lipsky, Haaretz+) Former Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson got it right when, decades before Zivotofsky passport case, he said a president's power reaches its lowest ebb when he contravenes will of Congress. 
A festival in the service of murderers (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) Film about prime minister's assassin and play about IDF soldier's murderer are a cynical use of freedom of expression and artistic freedom in order to advance murderous ideologies. 
Carving out a separate identity with an axe (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) Leading Israeli artists, with their loud condescension, aren't moved by a love of art, but by a desire to distinguish themselves from the "straw-munchers."
Like Rachel Dolezal, I understand the temptation of taking on someone else's heritage (Joanna Chen, Haaretz+) I, too, have constructed my own narrative over the years. Though my parents are both Jewish, as a child I was more comfortable with Christianity.
A cynical, duplicitous world (Dr. Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) On one issue, the world is in almost complete agreement: Israel must abide by norms that apply to no other country.
The Druze's growing predicament (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) Unlike the Alawite sect, the Druze in Syria do not play a critical role in the survival of Bashar Assad's regime and therefore have to fend for themselves. 
How the UN endangers the West (Judith Bergman, Israel Hayom) Israel's extraordinary adherence to the laws of war set a precedent that could ultimately undermine the West's ability to fight asymmetric wars efficiently.
 

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