News Nosh 06.24.15

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday June 24, 2015 

Quote of the day:
"It’s possible they wore short dresses, but they were more modest and didn’t reach mid-hip.”
--The main complaint of Magda Haroun, the leader of the tiny Jewish community of Egypt, about the accuracy of the portrayal of Jews in the new big hit TV series in the Arab world, “The Jewish Quarter.”**


Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Family in mourning – Disaster at the wedding
  • “We aren’t willing to suffer another summer camp (with rocket-warning sirens)
  • After UN report: End to B’tselem’s national service
  • State Comptroller: Biometric database is unnecessary
  • A danger called skinny jeans
  • Khamenei: Agreement? We wont’ agree to freeze the nuclear (project) and to the supervisors
  • Touching the skies: three women received ranks – and tomorrow wings
  • Ahead of decision: The gas (monopoly) guideline returns to the cabinet tomorrow

News Summary:
A bride’s aunt is killed in a crash at a wedding party and Israel arrested Golan Druze over the attack on the ambulance carrying wounded Syrians making top stories in today’s Hebrew papers. Meanwhile, Israel campaigns to stop the UN report on war crimes in the last Gaza war, the papers give the Israeli soldiers’ reactions to the allegations and the IDF Soldiers’ Ombudsman slams IDF commanders for making soldiers write goodbye letters to their families. Lastly, a Jewish bus driver saves the life of a young Arab-Israeli man, MK Michael Oren continues criticizing the US President and Maariv lists the new heads of the sub-committees of the key Knesset Foreign Affair and Defense Committee.
 
After Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared a hard stance against those who "take the law into their own hands," police arrested nine Golan Druze suspects in the attack on the IDF ambulance carrying wounded Syrians, which left one Syrian killed. Army investigators are looking into the possibility that a soldier may have provided the angry mob with information, Yedioth reported. While some Druze leaders expressed their opposition to the attack, saying it was not the Druze way, many Golan Druze oppose Israel's aid to Syrians regardless of whether they belong to rebel organizations, Haaretz+ reported. Ynet reported that the soldiers in the ambushed ambulance were actually told in advance to avoid Druze towns. Meanwhile, the IDF and police are mobilizing against possible future Druze attacks on Syrians being treated in the north – possibly by treating them at hospitals in the center of the country, Haaretz+ reported. Maariv’s security affairs correspondent, Yossi Melman, reported that some Druze leaders blamed the attack on Samir Kuntar, a Lebanese Druze who Israel jailed for terror and later released. JPost has the translation of Melman's interesting piece.
 
Israel diplomats are in damage control mode following the release of the UN report on possible war crimes in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge. Haaretz+ reported that Israel is campaigning to pit European states against the report. And Yedioth/Ynet reported that the UN is likely to officially adopt the report, which sparked Israel’s diplomatic campaign to remove the power of the Arab majority voting bloc within the UN Human Rights Council. But the US has Israel’s back – it opposes bringing the UN Gaza report to the Security Council. Nevertheless, many of the newspapers' commentators say the report was balanced and Israel needs to investigate (see translation of Yossi Melman's piece below in Commentary/Analysis).
 
Haaretz+ interviewed Jurist Mary McGowan Davis, the head of the UN commission on the war, who said that committee members wanted to convey that Israel must reexamine its policy of using military might, saying, "Israel cannot dropp one-ton bombs in the heart of (Palestinian) neighborhoods." She confirmed what some Israeli commentators understood: that the report would have looked 'very different' if Israel hadn’t boycotted the commission.
 
The Israeli papers got Israeli soldiers’ reaction to the war crimes accusations. An Israeli brigade commander told Haaretz+ that "excessive caution" in Gaza caused harm to soldiers. He also slammed the decision to open military probes into fighting, claiming that officers will hesitate to order troops to fire in future battles. Israel Hayom interviewed a number of IDF soldiers who gave their side of the story.
 
In his report published Tuesday, the IDF Soldiers’ Ombudsman criticized the request by commanders of their soldiers to write parting letters to their families before they entered Gaza. The Ombudsman said it harmed the morale of the fighters, Yedioth reported. More than 6,500 complaints against Israeli military commanders were found justified in 2014, Haaretz+ wrote. Most of them were about commander-subordinate relations, involving either humiliation, callousness or invasion of privacy.
 
For 40 minutes a young Arab-Israeli from Wadi Ara stood on the side of the road, writhing in pain from a heart attack, waving for help. Everyone honked and continued and only the Egged bus driver, Tzion Elul, 61, didn't think twice. Elul stopped the bus with all the passengers on board - and massaged the young man’s heart until an ambulance came, reported Udi Etzion in Yedioth. The following day Elul called the hospital and was happy to find out the young man, only in his 20's, was released home. The young man's father: "I want to hug and kiss this man. Because of him my son was born again. This incident is an example for us all, especially in this period of lack of understanding and hatred. In the end, beyond the politics, we are all human beings, and humanity wins." The father plans to invite Elul to a celebratory dinner after the Ramadan fast.
 
In an interview in Maariv to be published in full on Friday, MK Michael Oren continued his criticism of US President Barack Obama. “The talks with Iran were behind our backs, Israel is less secure than it was five years ago,” Oren said. “Palestine is the subject (that interests) him. The Muslim world, coming to terms with Iran. You would expect that the experience in the Middle East over the last five years would change someone’s thinking, and it's remarkable to see how Obama’s thoughts are sealed from change."
  
Appointments made Tuesday to head the sub-committees of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee: (Maariv)
MK Michael Oren (Kulanu): Head of Foreign Affairs and Public Diplomacy (Hasbara) subcommittee
MK Amir Peretz (Zionist Camp): Head of Home Front Affairs committee
MK Ofer Shelah (Yesh Atid) Head of security strategy subcommittee.
MK Moti Yogev (Yisrael Beiteinu) Head of Civil Affairs in the West Bank subcommittee.
MK Omer Bar-Lev (Zionist Camp) Preparedness and routine security sub-committee.
And the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, MK Tzachi Hanegbi, will, as is customary, head the Intelligence and Secret Services sub-committee, which deals with the supervision of the intelligence agencies and secret services of Israel.
Another sub-committee, which has yet to be established, will focus on the defense budget and will be jointly headed by the chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense and the Chairman of the Finance Committee.

Quick Hits:
  • Rocket fired from Gaza explodes in southern Israel - Israeli aircraft strikes target in northern Gaza in response to the shooting; Lieberman: Government willing to accept this situation has no right to exist. (Haaretz)
  • Israel's High Court: State must explain why West Bank homes shouldn't be razed - The state has 90 days to show why 17 homes in Gush Etzion outpost of Netiv Ha’avot, built on private Palestinian land, have not yet been demolished. Among structures is home of Ze’ev Hever, sec.-gen. of Amana settlement movement. (Haaretz+) 
  • B’tselem report: “(IDF) Military courts are an abusive mechanism of the occupation” - According to the organization, the IDF does not publish data on the number of requests for detention until the end of proceedings that the prosecution filed, claiming that the information was "not computerized.” The report, “Presumed Guilty,” indicates that remand in custody is the rule rather than exception for Palestinians, therefore, ending in plea bargains, in most cases. (Maariv
  • (Arab MK Haneen) Zoabi removed from meeting during verbal fight on Gaza flotilla - Knesset House Committee meets to discuss impending flotilla to be joined by (Arab) MK Basel Ghattas; Israel Beiteinu MK calls for legislation on conduct of Arab peers. (Ynet+VIDEO)
  • Habayit Hayehudi revives bill limiting foreign funds for left-wing groups - MK Yinon Magal says law aiming to limit foreign funding for organizations that support the prosecution of IDF officers in international courts or campaign for boycotts of Israeli institutions or products is meant to ‘maintain Israel’s identity as a sovereign state’ and prevent bowing to international pressure. (Times of Israel)
  • Minister Ariel: NGOs who testified before UN Gaza c'tee should not be part of National Service - Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi) ordered the director general of National Service to remove NGOs that testified before the UN Human Rights Council commission of inquiry into the 2014 Gaza war from the list of organizations in which Israeli youth can serve in order to fulfill their National Service requirements. (JPost
  • Israeli forces shoot, injure 2 Palestinians in southern Gaza - The two young men were left bleeding for a quarter of an hour after they were shot before they were able to call an ambulance. (Maan
  • Abbas met with MK Zuheir Bahloul: 'Regrets the political deadlock " - Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met Tuesday with (Arab) MK Bahloul of the Zionist Camp and said, "Israel is neglecting to return to the negotiating table.” According Bahloul, Abbas congratulated him on his commitment to Arab-Jewish dialogue in Israel. (Maariv)
  • Palestinians to submit accusations against Israel to ICC - File spanning hundreds of pages is response to request for information from ICC chief, rather than an official criminal complaint. Israel was also asked, but refused to provide information. (Ynet)
  • Border policeman hurt in terror attack makes dramatic recovery - After suffering multiple stab wounds on Sunday in Jerusalem while still managing to neutralize his attacker, border policeman no longer in life-threatening condition. "He was one step from death, but he has recovered amazingly," doctor says. (Israel Hayom
  • Israeli police issue 15-day Aqsa mosque ban for 6 Palestinian women - Israeli police on Monday banned six Palestinian women from visiting the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for 15 days, a lawyer for the women said. (Maan
  • On request of Knesset Speaker Edelstein, the sounds of the German language will be heard today in the Knesset - President of the German Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, will give a special plenary speech at the Knesset to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Germany and Israel. (Maariv)
  • Report: American, Iranian soldiers sharing base in Iraq - BloombergView says US troops and Iran-backed Shiite militias are sharing the Taqqadum military base in Iraq; US officials reportedly concerned for their soldiers' safety. (Ynet)
  • Khamenei rules out freezing sensitive nuclear activities for long period - A week prior to deadline, Khameini calls for sanctions to be removed immediately, rules out inspection of military sites and precludes freezing nuclear activities. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • WikiLeaks Saudi cable: Iran shipped nuclear equipment to Sudan - WikiLeaks last week released more than 60,000 cables and documents which it says are official Saudi communications, and plans to release half a million in total. (Agencies, Haaretz
  • (Israeli-Arab) woman feared to have joined IS was coerced, says family - Following report that Sakhnin resident fled to Syria with wife and children to join Islamic State group, relatives express shock and anger at the man they say ruined their lives. (Ynet)
  • ISIS blows up two ancient shrines in Syrian UNESCO site - Report is first of any damage being done by the militants to buildings in Palmyra since they seized control of the city. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Middle East Updates / ISIS suicide attacks kill 10 in northeastern Syrian city - Anti-Houthi forces in Yemen seize Saudi border crossing. (Haaretz)
  • Portuguese citizenship law attracts 250 Jewish applicants, primarily from Turkey - New law granting descendants of Jews forced into exile the right to citizenship passes three months ago. (Haaretz+)
  • Teeth found near Tel Aviv point to a new prehistoric human species - The 400,000-year-old teeth reveal that the origin of prehistoric man may be in Israel; anaylsis of teeth shows owner was vegetarian. (Ynet)


Features:
**The Jews are coming: Terrific new TV-series in the Arab world
The birth pangs of the new State of Israel, a Sabbath meal, the prayers in the synagogue and coexistence with Muslims. How Jews turned from anti-Semitism figures into the great and admired stars of Arab television series? The Egyptian-made series, ‘The Jewish Quarter’, which is being shown daily throughout the month of Ramadan is a big hit. Even the Embassy of Israel in Egypt posted on its Facebook page, "The series presents the Jews as they are, including their humanity, as human beings before anything else, and we welcome this series." (Yassir Ukbi, Maariv)
Unique farm project offers sustainable high-tech for Negev Bedouin
Combining traditional agricultural skills with cutting-edge technology, and a little help from New York, Wadi Attir farm produces energy, protects the land and saves water. (Zafrir Rinat, Haaretz+) 
Jumping into the water: Special project to rehabilitate the Jordan River and the region
Against the backdrop of unrest in the Middle East, the governments of Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority decided to set off on a long-term joint project to save the Jordan River. Does the answer to ISIS lay in the Bekaa-Jordan Valley? Earlier this month, EcoPeace, an international organization operating in Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, revealed a complex and long-term plan, the cost of which is estimated at $ 4.5 billion, which would restore the entire (Jordan Valley) region by 2050. (Tamar Dressler, Maariv and Melanie Lidman, Times of Israel)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
Israel must look in mirror held up by UN report (Aeyal Gross, Haaretz+) Among the panel's concerns was the fact that the IDF continued the same pattern of aerial and artillery attacks even after it was clear they caused many casualties and much destruction.
Playing into Gaza flotilla activists' hands will make Israel 'heroes' - but fools (former military governor of Palestinian territories Shlomo Gazit, Haaretz+) About two weeks before the Marmara incident, I wrote to Defense Minister Ehud Barak, recommending to ignore ships that were seeking to break the blockade. The inner cabinet completely rejected my recommendation.
A damning indictment (Ruthie Blum, Israel Hayom) The U.N. report on last summer's war in Gaza is an old story with a predictable punch line.
In Israel's eyes, the UN's greatest sin is condemning Israel (Haaretz Editorial) Israel is indeed at the height of a delegitimization campaign against it, as an occupying state for the past 48 years. But its response to the report shows that it doesn’t know its place or understand its status.
Want to make sure Israel doesn't become a Jewish-fascist state? Take a tip from Turkey (Kobi Niv, Haaretz+) People who wish to live in a secular-democratic-liberal Israel must go beyond tribal lines, or else slide into the abyss of a religious dictatorship.
Keep visiting Judea and Samaria (Yohai Damari, Israel Hayom) Throughout history, Zionists have not fled from areas where they have come under attack.
UN's Gaza war report bolsters the Palestinian ICC camp (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) The report was published on the day the Palestinian unity government dissolved, yet shortly before the Palestinians depart for The Hague in a rare act of unity.
A new Hamas-Saudi-Egyptian triad is emerging (Zvi Bar’el, Haaretz+) The realignment of alliances in the Middle East may just yet play in Israel's favor.
Advice from one Israeli tourism minister to another (Uzi Baram, Haaretz+) Mr. Levin, tell the big travel agencies abroad you want to bring tourists to Judea and Samaria and that the occupation is a myth promulgated by Israel-bashers.
Outgoing U.K. envoy in Israel leaves legacy of quashing 'dual loyalty' claims (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) While Matthew Gould, Britain's first Jewish ambassador to Israel, succeeded in launching various social projects and engaging with the public over politicians' heads, his message that U.K. backing for the Jewish state may be at risk has not registered. 
Flotilla of illusions (Dr. Reuven Berko, Israel Hayom) Joint Arab List MK Basel Ghattas is under the deluded impression his presence on flotilla guarantees its success.
After Gaza report, Israel is losing its clout on Iran (Zvi Bar’el, Haaretz+) Israel isn’t free to deal with the Iranian threat right now, because a far more dangerous threat is hovering over it – the UN Human Rights Council’s report on last summer’s war with Hamas in Gaza.
What war crimes did Israel commit in Gaza? (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) The problem with Operation Protective Edge was not the war crimes, but the fact that Israel found itself in a war. The Israeli government prevented the transfer of salaries to Hamas, prevented the transfer of goods and reinforced the siege on the Strip as much as it could. Had the government let into Gaza in 2014 everything it lets in today, there would have been no Protective Edge. This is where the leaders' guilt lies.
Obama has a stronger record on Israel than you might have been led to think (Greg Rosenbaum, Haaretz+) While Democrats sometimes get a bad rap, let’s not forget that Republicans have a mixed record on standing with Israel, which continues to be top recipient of U.S. foreign military financing.
An outrageous comparison (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) There is simply no grounds for comparison between the IDF and Hamas, contrary to what the U.N. report suggests.
Israel is between Syria, the Druze and a hard place (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Despite IDF efforts to calm Israel's Druze community about its brethren in Syria, it looks like Israel is losing control in the north. Monday's deadly attack on an IDF ambulance is the latest evidence of this.
Dual volatile potential (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) For years, Israel's Druze have maintained allegiance to both Israel and Syria, but it is time to choose between them and declare the choice clearly.
UN report gives Hezbollah the green light (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) A report which creates a moral and legal symmetry between Israel and Hamas cannot reflect reality, but its conclusion that the IDF made excessive use of fire should serve as a warning sign against what might happen to Israel in the international arena during the next Lebanon war.
UN Gaza war report brings Israel's top leaders closer to The Hague (Barak Ravid, Haaretz+) The report hints that after all other measures have failed, the ICC is the only thing that can actually deter the two sides from yet another round of fighting.
Breaking the Silence and its slanderers (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) There are two sides to the IDF’s conduct during the Gaza war, but only Breaking the Silence’s soldiers are revealing the dark one.
Israel must take action to reduce international damage (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) An Israeli initiative such as 'Gaza reconstruction in exchange for demilitarization' won't affect the dark and hostile majority in the UN Human Rights Council, but it will give Israel a lot of credit. 
UN report on Operation Protective Edge was full of politics. So was Israel's conduct (Yossi Melman, Maariv) The game was fixed and political. It’s hard to imagine the UN commission would publish a different report. But that does not mean that everything written in it deserves to be dismissed out of hand. It has a serious and profound statements that are rooted in reality. Take, for example, the following statement of the Chairman of the Committee: “When an Israeli soldier's life is on the line, all laws are ignored.” This statement certainly is anchored in what happened on August 1, 2014, on Black Friday in Rafah, when Lt. Hadar Goldin was killed and his body was kidnapped. Until now the military advocate general has not formulated conclusions about what happened there. Also the conclusion that “Children on both sides suffer from nightmares, tremors, bedwetting, and an increase in aggression" is accurate, just like the sentence “Israel’s new operational patterns in attacking residential buildings, killing entire families and women who were particularly harmed.” Also the statement that, in fact, the two sides, Israel and Hamas, committed war crimes is correct. At least in the test result. Of course, the important question is whether Israel committed war crimes intentionally. Of course not. The IDF is making every effort to avoid harming the innocent and uninvolved. Hamas, on the other hand, does not weigh such considerations…. This equation, which states that Israel and Hamas are one, angered Israel, and rightly so. Still, it’s a pity that Israel would not cooperate with the commission. Every beginning PR consultant knows to advise his client who fears bad publicity about him in the media, that it would be better for him, despite everything, to cooperate and to share his version. Israel’s political and military leadership decided, for internal reasons, not to cooperate with the Commission. That too is politics and that too is a fixed game. But it was an error: it is likely that cooperation would have yielded a softer report…. What really matters is that the IDF thoroughly and seriously investigates every suspicion of possible violation and harm to innocent civilians, and makes certain that IDF soldiers memorize the code of conduct in battle, that it re-consider the excessive use of fire on the battlefield, and that it genuinely investigate suspected violations. This is in order to remove the suspicion that the investigations were a way to go through the motion, not to mention to whitewash. And by the way, does Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu know that Foreign Minister (Netanyahu) intends to read the report? Netanyahu said ahead of the publication of the report that it would be a waste of time to read it, but the Foreign Ministry, headed by - surprise surprise - Netanyahu, yesterday issued a statement that said, 'Israel is studying the report.’
The stupid, racist Israeli tweet heard around the world at the worst time possible (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+) A bad joke comparing the U.S. president to 'black and weak' coffee was far from the Interior Minister’s wife’s first social media faux pas - but it was by far, her worst.
The UN Council for the Encouragement of Terrorism (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) The most damaging aspect of the U.N. Human Rights Council report is that it essentially prevents Israel from fighting or even just defending itself.
Put an end to subversion: how to fight the internal BDS agents (far-right-wing Im Tirtzu member, Alon Scwharter, Maariv) The Israeli delegitimization organizations are spearheading the campaign to boycott the state. Therefore, the members of the Knesset and the government must direct their initiatives and activities inward and not out.
What is Qatar’s ultimate World Cup goal? (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The world’s largest Muslim organization has come out in support of Qatar and its hosting of the 2022 soccer World Cup. Why is it taking aim at the Western media now?
Mofaz's fear of arrest - proof of the persecution campaign by the Palestinian organizations (Eliezer Merom, Maariv) The threat to arrest a former (Israeli) defense minister upon his arrival in London exposed the activities of Palestinian organizations that are vilifying Israel and its leaders.

Correction: 
The UNHCR report on last summer's Gaza war found that one third of the civilians that were killed in Gaza were children and not one third of all Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip. According to the report, more than 2,100 Palestinians were killed and 1,462 of them were civilians. 


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