News Nosh 9.18.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday September 18, 2017
You Must Be Kidding: 
Parents of grade school students in state-religious schools were outraged to find a comic strip in the journal given to their children depicting the Jewish law regarding a "beautiful captive woman"—in which the woman is presented as a seductress and property of the soldier who captures her.**

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • “Relations with Israel - like family” - US Amb. to Israel David Friedman tells ‘Israel Hayom’
  • Tonight at 20:00: Trump-Netanyahu meeting in New York
  • Policemen, you went overboard! // Haim Shine
  • “I only wanted to return to my children” - Niv Nechemia, who was critically wounded in the supermarket attack, speaks
  • Exclusive interview: Aharon Aharon, who established Apple in Israel: Failure? There is no option
  • Fire zone without smoke: IDF declares war on smoking

News Summary:
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu meets US President Donald Trump with high hopes focused on Iran, Israeli police and ultra-Orthodox draft protesters clashed violently over the arrest of draft-dodgers and Hamas declared it would dismantle the separate government in the Gaza Strip and reconcile with Fatah - throwing the ball in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ court and making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Netanyahu is keen to convince Trump during their meeting at 1PM New York time and 8PM Israel time that at the very least the US President should change the Iran nuclear deal and push Iran from Israel’s northern border. However, Maariv’s US correspondent Shlomo Shamir writes that Netanyahu is forgetting that their are other partners to the nuclear deal. (See Commentary/Analysis below.)

In his speech tomorrow before the UN General Assembly, Netanyahu will urge the UN to prepare for day the after the defeat of ISIS and accuse the Islamic Republic of Iran of destabilizing the Middle East. Maariv reported that in his speech Netanyahu may speak directly to Iranian Ayatollah Khamenei - possibly in Persian!

There were conflicting reports on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process issue. Haaretz+ reported that the Trump administration doesn't expect a peace breakthrough during the UN General Assembly. While Israel Hayom reported that Trump was ‘very hopeful’ about a potential deal.

In a dramatic announcement, Hamas accepted the rival faction Fatah's key demands and dissolved a contentious administrative committee set up earlier this year to run Gaza, and invited Fatah to return to Gaza and to hold new unity government elections. The announcement came following heated Egyptian mediation efforts in Cairo with Hamas and PLO delegations. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, from Fatah, kept his word and announced an end to sanctions that the Palestinian Authority had put on the Gaza Strip. Hamas and the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority have been embroiled in a conflict ever since Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections in 2006. Angry at losing power, Fatah refused Hamas’ request to jointly govern the Palestinian Territories and a bloody conflict between the two groups broke out. Azzam al-Ahmad, the head of Fatah’s delegation to the Cairo talks, welcomed Hamas’ announcement: "It will strengthen Palestinian unity.” (Maariv) (See Commentary/Analysis for more interesting information.)
Quick Hits:
  • Israeli defense minister wants to increase defense budget, violating predecessor's 'historic' deal - Avigdor Lieberman has been saying privately that $20 billion a year is insufficient to address new regional challenges. (Haaretz+)
  • Jewish Law Should Not Be Above Israel's Democratic Values, Knesset Counsel Says - Legal opinion comes as committee convenes Monday to discuss controversial nation-state bill proposed by Ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked of Habayit Hayehudi. (Haaretz)
  • Nation-State Law: Kulanu will support clause that requires adjudication according to Jewish law in the absence of a precedent in civil law - The article was criticized for the discrimination existing in Jewish law against women, homosexuals and non-Jews. Today, the Special Committee for the Advancement of the National Law in the Knesset will hold a special special session in an attempt to formulate an agreed text. (Haaretz Hebrew)
  • Minister Kahlon is expected to oppose the initiative of Ministers Bennett and Shaked to limit the High Court of Justice - According to a Channel 2 report, the finance minister is expected to block the Basic Law initiated by the ministers to limit the judiciary. Anger among coalition partners over Habayit Hayehudi’s unilateral move. (Maariv)
  • Shin Bet using forbidden scare tactics against right-wing activists - Israel's security agency violating High Court ruling by failing to inform persons called in for 'warning talks' of their rights. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel to mark 50 years to 'return to historical lands' with state ceremony - Event to be held in Gush Etzion (West Bank) September 27 will feature stories about Judea and Samaria, the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights and the Jewish communities established there; slew of Israeli singers to perform at event. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Mixed-gender IDF units to see lighter physical tests for female soldiers - Six months after instructing that women in mixed brigades carry 4 full magazines rather than 6, Brig. Gen. Mordechai Kahane announces decision to do away with demand that female soldiers clear an obstacle wall as part of physical assessments; ‘In two wars in Lebanon and Gaza I never saw a need to clear this kind of wall.’ (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • First Druze becomes combat navigator in the IDF - Maj. A. wanted to join the Shayetet 13 frogmen, but ended up in the Air Force Flight Academy, as his fellow Druze take on other senior combat roles; 'The uniforms I wear are a source of great pride for me and for the Druze sector.' (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Fewer Golan Druze seeking Israeli citizenship as Assad tightens grip - Israeli Interior Ministry's Population Registry shows 69 Golan Heights Druze were granted citizenship in 2017, compared to 183 in 2016. Druze in disputed Golan Heights tend to be loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad rather than to Israel. (Israel Hayom)
  • Two Israeli Druze Men Convicted in 2015 Attack on Ambulance Carrying Wounded Syrians - Offenses carry maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. (Haaretz)
  • Head of Iconic Israeli Theater Festival Unfazed by Pressure to Quit Over Banned Play About Palestinian Prisoners - Director Moni Yosef has been called a Nazi for taking over the Acre Fringe Theater Festival after the play ‘Prisoners of the Occupation’ was banned. He tells Haaretz why he's sticking to his guns. (Haaretz+)
  • **Parents outraged by 'inappropriate' school journal - Journal—sold for nominal fee to grade school students—contains comic depicting 'beautiful captive woman' dilemma of Jewish soldier forcibly taking gentile bride at wartime; parents now returning journals to schools en-masse; journal's contents are 'unsuitable for children of that age group, outdated,' says one parent. (Yedioth/Ynet and NRG Hebrew)
  • Israel's left-wing Meretz party votes symbolic no confidence in leader - Nearly 55% percent of convention vote to shorten Zehava Galon's term as chair, but measure falls short of 60% needed to pass. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Battalion commander critically wounded in Protective Edge honored - Col. Shai Siman-Tov was hit by a concrete beam from a collapsed tunnel during the 2014 Gaza war, but was able to return to service a little over a year later; 'Victory for me is to return to the army, to continue serving in the army, to wear uniforms,' Siman-Tov says upon receiving medal of honor. (Ynet)
  • Israeli Broadcasters Face Struggle for Survival as Channel 2 Splits Up - Three-way competition between Keshet, Reshet and Channel 10 is being made tougher by the decline of reality shows, their traditional cash cow. (Haaretz)
  • Bahrain king denounces Arab boycott of Israel, says countrymen may visit - The king of the island nation has plans to establish a Museum of Religious Tolerance in the capital city by the end of the year. (JPost/Maariv)
  • 62% of the religious Jews and 30% of the ultra-Orthodox Jews support an egalitarian prayer plaza at the Western Wall - A survey by Mina Tzemach and Midgam Institute published prior to the holidays indicates a surprising trend among the Israeli public regarding prayer in the holy place. (Maariv)
  • IDF declares war on smoking - New army regulations to enter into force in November ban smoking on 56 bases, set disciplinary measures for smoking in public areas, delineate and limit smoking zones and prohibit commanders to smoke near subordinates; smoking during army service rose by 40%, Medical Corps report says. (Ynet and Maariv)
  • Israel halts work on donor-funded agricultural road near Bethlehem - Israeli forces issued the stop-work order against a road that is being constructed to serve several Palestinian farmers in the area, which was funded by the Basque Agency for Development Cooperation through Cooperation for Peace and Progress. Soldiers informed workers their vehicles and tools would be confiscated if work on the road continued. (Maan)
  • Report: Israeli forces detained 522 Palestinians in August 2017 - 130 minors and 16 women were among the 522 Palestinians Israeli forces detained in August 2017, according to a joint report released by the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, prisoners' rights group Addameer, and the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs. (Maan)
  • NGO says Israel's censoring of online content 'has no legal basis' - Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, has called on Israel to shut down its so-called Cyber Unit, which collaborates with social media platforms to censor content, saying the unit has “no legal authority.” The Israeli government launched the unit in the second half of 2015, when Israeli authorities alleged that a wave of unrest that erupted that fall was encouraged largely by online "incitement." The crackdown has seen hundreds of Palestinians detained. (Maan)
  • In Nazareth, Christians Protest Sale of Church Land to Private Developers - Dozens of protesters call to remove Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilis III and annul land sales, including several high-profile sales in central Jerusalem. (Haaretz)
  • High-tech Execs Dominate List of 100 Most Influential People in Israeli Economy - Startup Nation leaders take 11th through 23rd spots, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sits atop the pile. (Haaretz)
  • Israel promises to end same-sex adoption discrimination - State commits to introduce legislation by June 2018, responding to a court petition challenging the discrimination in the current law against gays and lesbians. (Haaretz)
  • Last surviving pilot of Operation On Wings of Eagles honored - Captain Elgen M. Long, 91, is the last surviving crew member of Alaska Airlines who took part in the 1948-1950 campaign to secretly airlift some 47,000 Yemenite Jews to Israel to save the from rising anti-Semitic violence; last week, an event was held in his honor in New York. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Russia Intentionally Bombed Near U.S.-backed Forces in Syria, Claims Pentagon - Russian FM Lavrov and Secretary Tillerson talk Syria after bombing allegations as the situation on the ground becomes increasingly complicated. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Russia, Iran, Turkey agree to form 'de-escalation zones' in Syria - Zones should in no way undermine Syria's sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity, sides say. Turkey: Observers' mission will be to prevent clashes between the Syrian regime and the opposition forces and any violations of the truce. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Iran Leader Khamenei Warns Against 'Wrong Move' on Iran Nuclear Deal - Trump said Iran was violating 'the spirit' of the deal under which it got sanctions relief in return for curbing its nuclear program. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • 'We Won't Allow the Creation of a Second Israel,' Iraq Warns Ahead of Kurdistan Independence Vote - As the Kurdish referendum for independence nears, Iraqi VP's comment comes on the heels of Netanyahu's support for an independent Kurdistan. (Haaretz)

Israel's great supporters: A rare visit to the Evangelical Embassy
Their children serve in combat roles in the Israel Defense Forces and they are fighting anti-Semitism and the BDS organization.  Meir Uziel visited the center of hundreds of millions of Christians in Jerusalem. (Meir Uziel, Maariv)
With Ariel Sharon Gone, Israel Reveals the Truth About the 1982 Lebanon War
After 35 years, with the leading figures of the 1982 Lebanon War gone, the IDF is issuing its official history of the conflict. (Amir Oren, Haaretz)
“The Hidden Fighters": The unknown secrets of Israeli Intelligence in a new book
Despite the missile arsenal, experts estimate that Hizbullah has no precise guided missiles. A new book reveals the anecdotes behind the work of Israeli intelligence in the 1960s and 1970s. (Yossi Melman, Maariv)
Israel and Hezbollah Will Both Fight Battle to Win Hearts and Minds in Next War (Amos Harel, Haaretz) In the event of war, Hezbollah will try to achieve what appears like a quick victory, Israeli general says.
Mr. Prime Minister, talk to the people (Yaakov Ahimeir, Israel Hayom) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rarely addresses the citizens of Israel directly. As the new year approaches, he should speak to the nation on camera. We deserve it.
Prescribing Jewish law in absence of legal precedent sacralizes Israel's judicial system (Haaretz Editorial) The Bible, the Talmud and Jewish law can indeed be sources of inspiration, but cannot replace laws, regulations and legal rulings, unless Israel is seeking to resemble fundamentalist caliphates.
A moment before the flood: Israel will also play a role in the reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah (Yasir Ukbi, Maariv) At the Muqata (Palestinian Presidential headquarters in Ramallah) they were very surprised when they heard the announcement by the Gaza organization, according to which it was dismantling the shadow government in the Gaza Strip, when apparently the Netanyahu government was also involved in the issue…For many hours, the Egyptians, led by intelligence chief Khaled Fawzi, sat with Hamas leaders in Cairo. The arrival of the new leader of the organization, Ismail Haniyeh, to Egypt, signaled to the Egyptians that there is someone to talk to, and there is someone with whom to close details of an agreement. Moreover, the UN's announcement that Gaza is about to collapse completely, ten years after it took power in the Gaza Strip, spurred them to take another step forward. It isn’t clear whether Hamas's announcement came within the framework of a much broader agreement with Egypt, which in recent days has been trying to take greater responsibility for a possible prisoner exchange deal in the future. Apparently, during the transition period, the Egyptian security forces will either separate or mediate between the security forces of the Palestinian Authority and the forces that actually control the Gaza Strip. It is not inconceivable that Israel has also become involved in all matters relating to the return of control of the Palestinian Authority over the Gaza Strip and the reopening of the crossings to Israel, and not only to Egypt. The so-called, moment before the flood that no one, and especially not the security forces in Israel, are interested in happening. Another point is that this move by Hamas is aimed at ending the measures taken by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in recent months against Hamas. Among other things, the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority cut budgets to the Gaza Strip, salaries for workers and diesel fuel. A colleague in Gaza with whom I spoke today told me that the reaction in the Muqata to the Hamas announcement is much more important than the Hamas announcement. In fact, the next moves after Hamas' announcement. Now the ball is in the court of Abbas, and all eyes are on him. Especially the Gazan street. "Hamas has responded to Egypt's efforts, and the dismantling of the shadow government in Gaza makes Fatah face a real test in the face of the Egyptian effort and the Palestinian people, who expect true unity and partnership," said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum…"In the coming days, real steps will be taken to begin the renewal of the Palestinian government's activity in the Gaza Strip as it operates in the West Bank," said senior Fatah official and head of its Cairo delegation, Azzam al-Ahmad. Mahmoud Abbas's rival, Muhammad Dahlan, also welcomed Hamas' announcement, stressing that Hamas thus pulled out the excuses used by Abbas to avoid making progress in the reconciliation efforts, and Dahlan said that his men had worked hard with Hamas members to persuade them to do so. "This is a goal in overtime in Hamas’ favor," said Dr. Nasser Al-Laham, quoting the world of soccer: "It brought everyone back to the first framework, with the question of how in the Gaza Strip they will suffer from the disagreements between the (two) sides. Another question is what is Israel's position on a possible reconciliation agreement in the near future."
Using an extended hand of ‘peace’, Hamas backs Abbas into a corner (Elior Levy, Yedioth/Ynet) In its decision to dismantle Gaza’s administrative committee, Hamas has moved the ball into Abbas’s court. A refusal to lift all the sanctions he imposed on the strip five months ago would portray the Palestinian president in a very negative light, especially vis-à-vis Egypt.
Israel's Arabs and the Arab world (Moshe Arens, Haaretz+) Will Israel's Arabs join the modern world, or will they be pushed back into the medieval way of life that prevails in much of the Arab world?
Visiting the US: Netanyahu is expected to discover that the international community has not become a Lover of Zion (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) The main issue that the prime minister will raise in his meeting today with Trump will be, of course, Iran. But it is on this issue, which is so important and critical to the prime minister, that he is expected to be frustrated and disappointed. According to reports, Netanyahu will recommend to Trump to introduce changes to the nuclear agreement with Iran. However, the assessment among diplomats in New York is that even if Trump responds with understanding to Netanyahu's proposal, and even against the background of the intensification of the President's statements against Iran, the chances that significant changes will be made in the agreement are slim and close to zero. Because the agreement has other “in-laws” besides the United States. The Western powers that signed the agreement - Britain, France and Germany - and the other two powers, Russia and China, will reject any proposal or initiative for changes to the agreement. These powers have no problem with the agreement as it is and have no intention of changing it.
Israelis, Pray for the Health of the Palestinian National Movement (Chuck Freilich, Haaretz+) Netanyahu is itching to claim defeat over the Palestinians. But that 'victory' would also be a swansong for Zionism.
The government uses its power to justify trampling on democratic values (Dr. Revital Amiran, Maariv) The populist sword is one that changes and is disloyal. Anyone who enjoys it today may be injured from it tomorrow, when his basic right does not sit well with the position of the majority.
The Real Drama Behind 'Foxtrot,' the Most Talked-about Israeli Film of the Year (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+) Culture Minister Miri Regev will be a notable absentee when the Israeli Oscars are presented on Tuesday, but she still hopes to steal the show.
A moral and patriotic teacher had to resign because of the spirit of the right-wing and authoritarian commander (Uri Savir, Maariv) The resignation of a teacher because of her political views is an earthquake for Israeli democracy. When freedom of study and creativity is in danger, autumn 2017 will likely be cold.
Israel's Most Combative Minister Actually Invites Dialogue (Ron Cahlili, Haaretz+) We can't wait for the perfect politician who will speak and act precisely as we would like in all areas. In the push for cultural justice, Miri Regev is all there is.
Good Cop, Bad Cop of Expulsion (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) Far-right lawmaker Bezalel Smotrich merely takes the trouble to publicize his plan, while Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai prefers quiet.
Why Jews Shouldn't Be Scared of the Palestinian Right of Return (Rebecca Vilkomerson, Haaretz+) Liberal Zionists: Your liberal values are compromised by the reality of Israel today. If you oppose injustice, white supremacy, Muslim bans and deportations in America, oppose them in Israel as well.
Get Netanyahu and Abbas to shake hands, Mr. President (Smadar Perry, Yedioth/Ynet) Instead of wasting your time with the leaders of Jordan, Egypt, Qatar and Turkey on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, bring the Israeli and Palestinian leaders together and force them to talk and shake hands in front of the camera. If that happens, you’ll gain the image you’ve been looking for, and maybe even jumpstart a process.
The aggressor becomes the deterred (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) Hezbollah, previously eager for battle, is now pleading for Israel to stand down. Accustomed to threatening Israelis, it is now busy allaying the fears of its alarmed supporters in Lebanon.
A Letter From Amos Schocken, Publisher of Haaretz (Amos Schocken, Haaretz) Celebrating 20 years of Haaretz English Edition, we are proud to be one of the few critical voices in Israel speaking out against injustice. Your continued support is vital.
Iraqi Jewish archive must not be returned (Dr. Edy Cohen, Israel Hayom) Iraq murdered and expelled the remaining members of its 2,000-year-old Jewish community. The archive discovered in Baghdad in 2013 and restored in the U.S. belongs to Jews, not the Iraqis.
The Most American Thing This Israeli Arab Writer Has Ever Done (Sayed Kashua, Haaretz+) The myth of the American dream sometimes seems to be stronger outside the U.S.

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