News Nosh 06.25.15

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday June 25, 2015 

Quote of the day:
"We know that the road to peace is not easy, that the answers are not straightforward, and that it takes two sides to make peace. But we also know that in the absence of progress towards peace, Israel loses support, and peace becomes even harder to achieve."
--Outgoing Jewish UK Ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, writes a warm goodbye letter to Israelis.**

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The gas compromise
  • Q&A: So who won? And will do the citizens get? // Amir Ben-David
  • Intelligence erred in forecast of results of disengagement
  • Suspicion: Palestinians murdered the farmer at Moshav Padia
  • Not going to sleep – Tonight is White Nights in Tel-Aviv
  • Idle threats – Attorney General Weinstein: (Culture Minister) Regev cannot stop culture budgets
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Khamenei laughs – and the West offers him nuclear reactors // Boaz Bismuth on the ‘red lines’ that the ‘Supreme Leader’ Tweeted about
  • The latest mayhem: The identity storm – in a discussion about the Citizenship Law in the Knesset: Deputy Interior Minister Yaron Mazuz shouts to (Arab) MK Zouebi – “The State is doing you a favor that it gives you an ID card”
  • The Air Force family – Kibbutzniks Karni and David have four children: their 3 sons are pilots and their daughter is married to one
  • Which hospital do they treat a heart attack fastest? Ranking of hospitals for the first time
  • For nationalist motives? Suspicion that Palestinians beat to death 70-year-old farmer David Bar-Kapra
  • Today: Decision in cabinet about future of natural gas; Source at Prime Minister’s Office: We will get the gas out of the ground, everyone will profit

News Summary:
An Israeli deputy minister told Arab MKs that Israel is doing them a favor by giving them citizenship, a hunt for illegal Palestinian workers suspected of murdering an Israeli farmer out of nationalist motives and the Israeli government cabinet decides today whether to give the monopoly on Israel’s gas reserves what it wants - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Also, Israel is using different means to try to block the Gaza protest flotilla from reaching Gazan shores and has decided to block Gazans from reaching Al-Aqsa this week, while Israel and the Palestinian Authority argue over who is blocking West Bank Palestinians from reaching Jerusalem during Ramadan - despite an Israeli permit. And on the 'Culture War' front, the Attorney General will likely block the Culture Minister from blocking funds to an Arab theater.

Outrage of The Day: 
The Knesset erupted into a fury yesterday after Deputy Interior Minister Yaron Mazuz (Likud) accused Arab MKs of participating in “terrorist acts” and said Israel was “doing you a favor by letting you sit here… It's unthinkable that from this abode, people will go out and participate in terror flotillas against the State of Israel,” he said in reference to the Gaza protest Flotillas, the first of which MK Hanin Zouebi (Joint List) participated in and third which MK Basel Ghattas will participate in soon. Shouts, boos, clapping all ensued between the right-wing coalition and the Arab and Jewish left-wing MKs. MK Zoabi demanded he apologize. Culture Minister Miri Regev (Likud) yelled from her seat: "Anyone who gets on a flotilla should turn in their ID card." (Jewish) Meretz MK Michal Rozen walked up to the Knesset podium and tried to hand MK Mazuz her ID card. "I submitted my ID to Yaron Mazuz in solidarity with the Arab MKs,” she said. “A Knesset member who dares to incite on the plenum podium is not fit to serve as a deputy minister.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu then took to the podium, calling the Arab MKs hypocrites for not condemning “the real war crimes happening in Syria, and Yemen.” He added, “No one has the right to raise false accusations of war crimes against IDF soldiers who protect all of us.” MK Aida Toma-Suliman (Joint List) responded at the podium saying that her father was born in this land before the state was created and no one will tell her that they are doing her a favor that she is here. She slammed Netanyahu for incitement and slander and for justifying, not denouncing, Mazuz’s statements. The mayhem broke out during a debate requested by MK Toma-Suliman to discuss canceling an article in the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, which dictates that Palestinians who marry Israeli citizens will not be eligible to receive citizenship or residency status. Most Zionist Union MKs left the session, boycotting the vote and so did one member of the right-wing coalition, MK Eli Elalouf (Kulanu). [See interesting Op-Ed by Maariv’s top political commentator Ben Caspit in Commentary/Analysis section below.] Caspit writes that Mazuz’s remarks were part of a plan to get Zionist Camp MKs, who would normally vote against the change to the law, to vote with the Arab-Jewish Joint List faction – in order to make them look bad in his voters’ eyes. Indeed, Zionist Camp MK Tzipi Livni said she had planned to vote against the proposal, “And then a deputy minister gets up to the podium and announces he will revoke the citizenship of anyone who acts or talks against the state, with each word becoming more and more inciting, bad, and meant to shut people up. He is not talking on his own behalf, but on the behalf of the government.” (Haaretz+ and Maariv have the video. You don't need to understand Hebrew to find it of interest.)
In response to the Zionist Union MKs' decision not to vote, Meretz leader MK Zehava Gal-On announced her party would not attend opposition meetings with Zionist Camp and Yesh Atid until further notice, Maariv reported. “Zionist Camp has revealed itself in all of its servile nature, Netanyahu can rest easy,” said Gal-On. Both Gal-On and Livni connected Mazuz’s declarations to Netanyahu’s “Arabs voting in droves” election campaign race-baiting. Opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog called on Netanyahu to “clearly and unequivocally explain where he stands in this battle over the character and nature of the state, on which side of the line he stands. I urge our Arab brothers not to be dragged into the ugly provocations of the Likud, not to empower the right-wing side of this house and to help the moderates in the Zionist Camp to put an end to the ongoing demeaning of Israeli democracy.”
The so-called 'Freedom Flotilla III,' which sparked that ugly debate in the Knesset, is set to leave from Greece with MK Basel Ghattas aboard one of the boats - and Israel is doing what it can to prevent it from coming to Gaza’s shores – both externally and internally. The Foreign Ministry sent a letter to the UN chief and is appealing to participating countries. Israel’s Navy said it will intercept the boats. And in Israel, the Shin Bet detained a left-wing Israeli activist at the airport to glean intel from her about the flotilla, Haaretz+ reported. The Israeli Knesset House Committee voted in favor Tuesday of stripping MK Ghattas of his immunity from prosecution for joining the protest flotilla. MK Ghattas told Maan the Flotilla is peaceful and they can remove his immunity. Still, the committee lacks the authority and the motion must be passed by the Knesset Ethics Committee. Arab MK Ahmad Tibi (Joint List): “Every time we say something you don’t like, you tell us to go to Gaza. So now [Ghattas] is going. What more do you want?” The convoy of ships, which is also carrying a former Tunisian president and at least one European lawmaker, will try to reach the shores of the Gaza Strip by the end of the month, in a fresh bid to break Israel's blockade of the territory. 
While the flotilla moves closer to Gaza, Gazans are only trying to leave. But Israel revoked more Ramadan travel perks after a rocket from the Strip fell in Israel. There was no damage or injuries; a Salafist group claimed responsibility, but Israel said Hamas was ultimately responsible because it ruled Gaza. In a collective punishment response, the IDF decided not to allow 500 Palestinians to enter Israel from Gaza in order to pray at the Al-Aqsa mosque during Ramadan.
The Israeli Air Force also responded by bombing a rocket launcher. But Egypt decided to open the Rafah crossing for three days allowing five buses and four ambulances filled with 448 people to leave the Strip, Maan reported. Earlier this week, Israel cancelled the 500 permits for West Bank Palestinians to fly abroad from Ben-Gurion Airport.

Interestingly, one of Israel's Ramadan perks to Palestinians is not taking place due to a disagreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Maan reported. Israel says the PA is 'not cooperating' with Ramadan travel plans that will allow Palestinian and Israeli buses to travel from Palestinian cities directly to Jerusalem to take worshipers to Al-Aqsa Mosque. This is the first time Israel has agreed to this since the Oslo Accords. But, a Palestinian official, who wished to remain anonymous, told Ma'an that Israel had demanded that PA security forces take over security responsibilities from Israel and check all Palestinian buses before they left cities in the West Bank, which the PA is not prepared to do.
The ‘Culture War’ in Israel may be coming to an end. Israel’s Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein will limit Culture Minister Miri Regev’s authority, Yedioth’s Tovah Tzimuki revealed. After recently receiving numerous petitions to declare the state’s policy regarding the limits to ministers’ powers, particularly following the ‘Culture War’ between Culture Minister Miri Regev and the artists and theaters, Weinstein held a first meeting yesterday with heads of his office and of the Culture Ministry to discuss how the minister can implement her policies vs. her need to preserve state-like ethics – in particular, freedom of speech. Tzimuki wrote that Weinstein is likely to limit Regev’s ability to cancel budgets to cultural institutions (e.g. Al-Midan, Jerusalem Film Festival, etc) as well as her ability to prefer some institutions over others [e.g. settlement theater over Arab theater - OH. It was made clear in the meeting that a minister cannot act arbitrarily to prevent public funds and that the Culture Minister is not authorized to intervene in the content of art or decide whether to fund it based on its subject or the messages that she wants to advance, except if the art is racist and incites. It was agreed that because all the cultural institutions in Israel are funded by the state, preventing any of them from receiving budgets could be a death blow to their ability to continue to function. 

Quick Hits:
  • Israel Police arrest 9 suspects in attack on IDF ambulance carrying wounded Syrians - Five of the suspects were arrested in Majdal Shams, near the site of a mob attack which left one Syrian killed; Druze oppose Israel's treatment of Syrians regardless of whether they belong to rebel organizations. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Netanyahu meets leaders of Israel's Druze public amid high tensions - Prime minister stresses need to prevent recurrence of events such as Monday's attack on an IDF ambulance carrying wounded Syrians. (Haaretz+)
  • Members of Joint List propose: Repeal the annexation of the Golan Heights - The initiator of the proposal MK Jamal Zahalka, who was joined by all the faction’s members. The explanatory notes to the proposal states that the annexation of the Golan was never accepted by the world and it was enacted out of political considerations. (Maariv)
  • Shin Bet detains left-wing Israeli activist to glean intel on Gaza-bound flotilla - The woman was held at Ben-Gurion Airport, then ordered to report to a police station where she was questioned about flotilla activists. (Haaretz+)
  • John Kerry held up to $1m in Noble Energy stock - As Israel prepares to move forward with a compromise deal over its natural gas reserves, website claims Kerry held stocks in key monopoly partner; Kerry had in the past pressured Netanyahu to resolve gas dispute. (Haaretz+)
  • Bar-Ilan University appoints its first Arab department chair - Prof. Elinor Saiegh-Haddad to head Department of English Literature and Linguistics at Israel's only religious institute of higher education. (Haaretz+)
  • Following UN Gaza probe, Palestinian Authority to present documents to ICC on Thursday - Palestinian Authority plans to seize the momentum from the UN's recent report on the Gaza war and file documents concerning Israel's 'violations' in three areas. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Foreign investment in Israel cut by half in 2014 - UN World Investment Report says Gaza op to blame for sharp decrease in foreign direct investment; report recognizes Israel as a world cyber superpower. (Yedioth/Ynet
  • BDS websites see 33% increase in traffic over past year - Despite consistent rise in people browsing websites promoting boycott against Israel, their overall traffic remains low. (Ynet)
  • New bill could make it harder for Israeli Arab MKs to get reelected - Submitted by Yisrael Beiteinu MK Sharon Gal, the bill would require Knesset candidates to prove they have never encouraged armed struggle against Israel. (Haaretz+) 
  • Jailed PFLP leader moved to Nafha prison - Ahmad Saadat, the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who is serving a 30-year sentence, was previously imprisoned in Gilboa jail. Palestinian detainees in Gilboa jail will refuse their evening meals to protest the move. (Maan)
  • Settlers oppose opening Palestinian business near Cave of Patriarchs in Hebron - Jewish Hebron residents opened protest against IDF intention to allow the re-opening a number of Palestinian shops on Shuhada Street, which IDF closed during Second Intifada. Two years ago, a public campaign, 'Open Shuhada,' began on social media networks and left-wing websites across the world. Jews of the Hebron settlement say int'l pressure may have begun to influence IDF. (Maariv, p. 4)
  • President of Bundestag in Knesset: "We will hold a conference to combat Aanti-Semitism conference" - Norbert Lammert, who spoke German from the plenary, stressed several times during the hearing Germany's commitment to Israel and added that "Israel deserves to live within permanent borders, alongside a peaceful Palestinian state." (Maariv)
  • 39 years after Entebbe operation: 'Yoni Netanyahu wasn't around to see his success - 'At a ceremony marking anniversary of daring raid in Uganda, officials speak in memory of the only soldier to die that day, the raid's commander Yoni Netanyahu, prime minister's brother. (Ynet
  • Turkey confirms secret reconciliation meeting with Israeli representative - 'Ball is in Israel's court' on ending Israel-Turkey crisis, says Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Two (Jewish Israeli) men indicted for faking West Bank kidnapping - Niv Asraf was trying to evade gambling debts, sparked nationwide manhunt. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Knesset rejects inquiry into claims of racism against Ethiopian-Israelis - With many coalition MKs supporting the proposals, government had to impose coalition discipline to get its way. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Students from 25 nations honored for Jewish roots art projects - Hundreds of middle-school and high-school students who created artworks illustrating their families’ Jewish histories join together for a special ceremony of Beit Hatfutsot's popular My Family Story program. (Ynet)
  • Rebuilding of Gaza's destroyed homes set to begin - "Some 90,000 partially-damaged homes have already been repaired in coordination with the United Nations," Palestinian Housing Minister Mufid Hasayneh said. "In the coming days, the operation of reconstructing those totally destroyed will begin. Some 18,000 homes were destroyed or severely damaged, according to UN figures. (Agencies, Maan)
  • Israel to Jordanian media: 'Stop praising attacks on Israelis' - In response to Jordanian Ad- Dustour article praising 'heroic' attacks against civiliains, Israeli embassy posts message expressing its disgust at the incitement to violence. (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)
  • Iran, world powers discuss state-of-the-art (nuke) equipment in exchange for crimped weapons programs - Draft document shows world powers prepared to supply Iran with light-water nuclear reactors if Iran limits programs that could be used to make atomic arms. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Hezbollah officials slam Nasrallah for hand outs to Mughniyah family - Leader of Lebanese terror organization is receiving flack from inside Hezbollah ranks for giving key positions on the basis of personal connections. (Ynet
Mayim Bialik in Israel: 'It's good to be home' - Jewish American actress, known as an ardent Israel supporter, informs her Twitter followers of her arrival immediately after landing in Jewish state. (Yedioth/Ynet)

A contentious play caught in the eye of a political storm
If not for the protests, it’s unlikely that anyone would tie ‘A Parallel Time’ to Walid Daka. At one point in the play, one of the prisoners is asked, “What were you caught for?” And he answers: “I had big dreams.” At another point, the following exchange takes place on stage: “Why did they lock you up?” “I kidnapped a soldier.” “And where is he?” “The instructions were: If there are problems with smuggling the soldier, then he must be gotten rid of.” “Instructions from whom?” “From above.” “From above? From God?” (Michael Handelzalts, Haaretz+)
When a liberal Bedouin woman confronts tradition
New TV show ‘Salma’ tells the story of one woman's clash with her husband's religious, traditional and conservative family after she moves to his home town in the Negev. (Gili Izikovich, Haaretz+)
Northern residents in support of the Druze in Syria, "W will not sit idly by"
While the Druze community in Israel is asking the state to help their brethren in Syria, northern kibbutzim are preparing to host refugees. (Eyal Levy, Maariv magazine Wednesday supplement, p. 4-5)

One righteous man: MK Elalouf angrily abandoned the Knesset plenum in protest against Mazuz's remarks (Ben Caspit, Maariv) The MK from Kulanu party was absent during the vote and someone even heard him talk about resigning. Elalouf: It hurt me to hear such things against the Arabs. We need to learn to live together.” The party’s secretary ran after him and tried to return him to the plenary. The vote on the “Citizenship Law” was about to take place and the coalition needed his vote. But Alalouf was adamant. He heard Mezuz’s belligerence against the Arab MKs and simply escaped from the plenum. “Why do you debase us?” he asked someone from the Likud who tried to stop him. "I don’t understand it. How did you appoint a Deputy Minister that demeans us? Why was he talking in this manner? He does not respect us, it only creates hatred.”…. Yesterday, I called Elalouf. He confirmed in honesty the story. “It pains, pains, pains me to hear these things,” he said. “It was not civilized, it was not a stately. We live here together and we need to learn to live together. I am barely three months in the Knesset and I get along fine with the Arab MKs. There are differences, there are gaps, but this behavior is unnecessary." Elalouf, 70, denies he intends to retire. He, apparently, is not built for politics. He did not realize there was a sophisticated conspiracy in the Knesset yesterday expounded by Netanyahu. Mazuz did his thing, and then rose Bibi, who did not condemn the remarks by the Deputy Interior Minister, but instead went for the Arab MKs soft spot: their hypocrisy with regard to condemning Israel. Incidentally, on this point Netanyahu was absolutely right. But this point is not relevant to the discussion on the rights of the Arab citizens of Israel. Immediately afterward there was supposed to be a vote on the Citizenship Law and Netanyahu had hoped that the vote would connect members of the Zionist Camp with some of the Arab Joint List. Yes, in the end, Bibi was trying to tie Yitzhak Herzog’s neck to Hanin Zouebi’s. That’s the whole story. He started with this during the election campaign and he continues it now. Zionist Camp faction chairperson, MK Merav Michaeli, reacted quickly and correctly and called on the whole Zionist Camp faction to boycott the vote. Originally, the faction members were given the freedom to vote on this issue, but in light of what happened yesterday in the plenum, it was better to just to leave. That’s what one brave coalition member did. His name is MK Eli Elalouf. 
It’s MK Ghattas’ right to join the Gaza flotilla (Haaretz Editorial) MKs are elected to represent the positions of their parties and the public that elected them. Imposing sanctions on an MK who participates in a political protest strikes at the heart of his role.
Implications of Druze mob attack on Israeli Golan may reach Syria (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Dozens of masked Druze blocked IDF ambulance, attacked soldiers and dragged wounded Syrians out of vehicle, before killing one of them. Senior officer: Israel must reevaluate its tactics on the Syrian border.
Another futile report on Israel's wild adventure in Gaza (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) If in the wake of the latest UN commission, the international community does not take practical steps against war criminals, then there is no further reason for commissions. 
**Thank you and goodbye (Matthew Gould, Yedioth/Ynet) Britain's first Jewish ambassador to Israel bids farewell to the country he loves, knowing that nowhere will be quite the same.
The oppression of Israeli culture begins with the occupation (Avshalom Halutz, Haaretz+) Artists who ignore the stark contrast between the creative freedom they enjoy and the oppression of the Palestinians shouldn't be surprised when that same oppression shows up on the doorsteps of their auditoriums and cinemas.
The Palestinian Authority's nasty little war (Elliott Abrams, Israel Hayom) Mahmoud Abbas is using the power of the state in his statelet to bring absurd criminal charges against his critics and ‎freeze their accounts. Abbas has frozen the bank accounts of ‎former PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and of his nongovernmental organization, ‎‎"Future for Palestine," and accused Fayyad of money laundering.‎
The UN is preserving the Israeli occupation (Ari Shavit, Haaretz+) All Israel’s gestures resulted not in a peaceful, humane Palestine, but in a totalitarian, violent Hamastan.
Blowback from the Oren revelations (Isi Leibler, Israel Hayom)
We can only pray former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren's intervention will have long-term positive repercussions for the balance of Obama's term of office as well as long-standing American policy.
The good Druze and the bad Druze (Yossi Yehoshua, Yedioth/Ynet) Israelis must remember that despite the huge suffering experienced by Syria's residents since the civil war began, quite a few of them are Israel haters.
Who is more naive – Michael Oren or Barack Obama? (Peter Beinart, Haaretz+) Oren is accusing Obama of being naive and detached, but it's the former Israeli envoy who claims West Bank Palestinians don't have it so bad.
A dangerous document (Smadar Bat-Adam, Israel Hayom)
The U.N. report allows terrorist organizations the use of democratic instruments to which they do not subscribe.
Why I wear the hijab (Saadia Faruqi, Haaretz+) As Ramadan begins, an American woman from Pakistan talks about the benefits, and the burdens, of being identifiably Muslim in a post-9/11 world.

Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken: Israel’s settlers have won
In a wide-ranging interview with the student newspaper of Ariel University, Schocken discusses how the Israeli right has redefined Zionism, how Israel isn’t interested in peace, how the future of Israel is cause for concern – and how, despite all this, peace is still possible. (Interviewed by Almog Ben Zikri in Ariel University student paper and published also in Haaretz
Rearguard Battle: Head of International Law Department of IDF’s Military Advocate General during Operation Cast Lead is not afraid of the UN report
Israel rejected the findings of the UNHRC Commission report on Operative Protective Edge, but Pnina Sharvit-Baruch, who served during the Goldstone Report, was relieved by it and thinks that we have things to learn from it. “This report is not good and not celebratory, but it’s balanced…A relatively balanced report is better than a terrible report.” She explains how we have progressed from the Goldstone Report, she renounces allegations of war crimes and she is not afraid of The Hague. (Interviewed by Sara Dar-Leibovitz, Maariv magazine Wednesday supplement, cover) 
“In the Likud, everyone is worried about his own piece of paradise"
Twenty years after his retirement from politics, former minister Gideon Patt, 82, remains loyal to Likud, but does not hesitate to criticize it. He is also outraged about salaries of the executive in the economy and about the lack of leadership, as he says, in the face of the artists' protest: "In my era, they would not have let this happen." (Interviewed by Yaacov Bar-On in Maariv)

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