News Nosh 9.26.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Quote of the day:
“There is no reason to celebrate."
-- From a letter Peace Now sent to each opposition member of Knesset imploring them to boycott a state ceremony celebrating 50 years of settlement in the West Bank and Golan Heights. Numerous MKs from Zionist Camp and Yesh Atid parties will not attend.*

Breaking News:
Three Israeli security forces killed in attack in West Bank settlement - Border Police officer and two private security guards shot dead by Palestinian with work permit in settlement of Har Adar near Jerusalem. Another Israeli sustained serious injuries. Attacker shot dead. Hamas lauds attack, doesn't take responsibility. (Haaretz and Ynet)
Palestinian assailant, Nimer Jamal, a 37-year-old father of four who had a history of domestic abuse, sent apologetic message via Facebook to estranged wife shortly before making attack.

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The crack - This is what the crack in the Tamar gas rig looks like
  • Stayed home - (Musician) Shlomo Gronich did not arrive to receive hsi lifetime achievement award and his wife went on stage instead of him; Another woman claims he sexually attacked her 25 years ago
  • The Yom Kippur storm - Cable companies debating whether to leave VOD service open on Yom Kippur
  • State is giving you 1500 shekels for a car accident protection system
  • Former ‘Shayetet’ (Israeli Navy Seals), including Minister Galant, in support of the IDF handicapped
Maariv This Week (Hebrew articles only)
  • “The Jews don’t need to worry” - Radical right-wing party entering the Bundestag were quick to reassure
  • Tension with N. Korea: Airlines changed the flight path out of fear of missile hit
  • “Gronich made me get naked” - Channel 2 reveals another  claim of alleged sex crimes against the musician who won a lifetime achievement award (yesterday)
  • Independence Day - Iraqi Kurdistan citizens went to the polls
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
Leaders of the German radical right-wing AfD party tried to reassure Jews and Israelis, the Iraqi Kurds voted for independence and against the wishes of its neighbors, and on the day he received a lifetime achievement award, another woman claimed that Shlomo Gronich sexually attacked her making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. In addition, there were some interesting revelations over connections with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and a shocking news item that something reported as front page news never happened.

In an effort to alleviate concerns of Germany’s Jewish community, AfD leader Alexander Gauland told reporters Monday, "There's nothing in our party or in our platform that could or should in any way concern Jewish people who live here in Germany.” Israel Hayom wrote that ‘Party Chairman Jörg Meuthen, responding to a question posed by Israel Hayom, said that Jews had voted for the party. He cited the Jewish website "Jewiki" as an example of Jewish support for AfD. ‘Many concerns held by Jews in Germany are also our concerns – the massive Muslim immigration to Germany. The rejection of our party is not sweeping. We support Israel,’ said Meuthen.” That said, Haaretz reported that Gaulaund questioned Chancellor Angela Merkel’s declared policy of a special bilateral relationship with Israel. “If Israel’s existence is part of the German national interest," he said at the same press conference, "then we would have to be prepared to send German soldiers to defend the Jewish state,” something he deemed as ‘difficult’ and ‘problematic.’

Ooops. And Haaretz+ and Yedioth reported that Vincent Harris, CEO of Harris Media, the man behind AfD’s successful scare campaign was also an adviser to Netanyahu in the 2015 elections and to US President Donald Trump. And on the subject of problematic connections, the Wall St. Journal revealed that Len Blavatnik, a billionaire friend of Netanyahu, who has been investigated in two of the Netanyahu corruption investigations, donated to Trump's private legal fund.

After his declaration of support for Kurdish independence earlier this month, it appears Netanyahu was told (possibly by the Trump administration or the Kurds themselves) to muzzle such expressions because that is what he told his cabinet to do. Yedioth reported that Netanyahu instructed his ministers to keep quiet on the subject ahead of the Iraqi Kurds national referendum yesterday, which they overwhelmingly voted yes to, despite all the threatening military maneuvers by nearby Iran and Turkey. Israeli support for the referendum was blasted by Iraqi newspapers. Indeed, Iraqis considered the Kurdish-Israeli alliance problematic, the Iraqi papers showed. Jewish Kurdish Israelis however had no problem expressing their support and looked forward to a strong alliance with the Kurdish state. (Haaretz has a ‘who, what, why’ about the Kurds and their national aspirations.)

As it turns out, all those commentaries and analyses about Iran’s ballistic missile test last Saturday were a waste of time and energy. It never happened, Fox News revealed. The video that Iran’s state media broadcast was of a failed missile test from January. US officials said Iran never fired a missile. Which is actually jaw-droppingly shocking because it shows how easily nothing came become something across the world.
Quick Hits:
  • Knesset report blasts PM, cabinet on failure to command IDF - Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense subcommittee publishes bipartisan report detailing political echelons' aversion to setting clear objectives for army, propensity to shirk responsibility; Chief of Staff Eisenkot lauded for managerial skills but report’s conclusions warn Israel unprepared for next conflict. Likud, Habayit Hayehudi MKs refuse to sign off on report, which they claim is politically biased. (Yedioth/Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • UN Mideast Envoy Says Israel Ignoring Security Council Demand to Halt Settlements - Despite the December declaration that settlements are a 'flagrant violation' of international law that the U.S. didn't veto, Israel is speeding up their construction, envoy says. (Haaretz)
  • *Event celebrating Israeli settlements sparks political uproar - Zionist Union lawmakers may boycott event marking 50 years of Israeli settlement in Judea and Samaria after Peace Now slams celebration of the "occupation.” (Israel Hayom)
  • Another Palestinian West Bank Village to Be Emptied, Israeli Security Official Says - Sussia in South Hebron Hills now on chopping block, joining Bedouin village Khan al-Amar. (Haaretz+)
  • Settlers enraged by PM decision to halt settlement planning talks - Heads of settlement committees accuse PM, ministers of 'messing us around', vow to 'fight to the end' following Netanyahu's announcement of decision to halt discussions this week by West Bank Civil Administration's planning committee after request by President Trump; ‘Gov’t is good at declarations, but it only pretends to build.’ (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Bereaved father: “(Jewish) Nation-State law - spitting in the face of the Druze"- "As someone who lost his son and wrapped himself in the state flag at the time of his burial, I call upon the Knesset members - do not accept the law without mentioning the word 'equality'," said former MK Shakib Shanan. (Maariv)
  • Israeli failure in the diplomatic arena: Interpol general assembly to discuss Palestinian accession - Joint US-Israel efforts to have organization's executive committee block the Palestinian request to join on the claim that it doesn’t fulfil the conditions of being a state, failed as the committee said it cannot rule on that. (Yedioth/Ynet and Maariv)
  • After Hamas folds, Palestinian government to convene in Gaza for first time in years - After 10 years of bitter rivalry between Hamas and Palestinian Authority, Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah announces plan "to begin assuming the responsibilities of the government" in Gaza. Hamas welcomes announcement. United Nations offers to help. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Hamas calls IDF general 'de facto Palestinian president' - IDF Coordinator in the Territories Yoav Mordechai pilfers power away from PA, tries to "penetrate Palestinian consciousness" to recruit youth, Hamas says in video • Economic projects allegedly approved to advance "President Mordechai's" goals in PA zone. (Israel Hayom)
  • "Big loss”: Palestinian soccer team refused to play with settlers - Two settlers from Gush Etzion established a regional football league, and offered that a team from the village of Wadi Nis join. However, the head of the Palestinian Football Association, Jibril Rajoub, banned the players from playing games with Jews. [NOTE: The reporter, a settler, chose to portray the Palestinian’s rejection as racist, by using the word ‘Jews,’ instead of the real issue: the occupation.] (Maariv)
  • Israel grounds drone fleet after two crash in West Bank - Three Sky Rider drones have already crashed in 2017, all as a result of technical failures. (Haaretz)
  • Waiting on Compensation for Torture by PA, Palestinians Ask Israel to Seize the Funds - The Palestinian Authority (PA) has ignored an Israeli court order to pay victims of (PA) torture, so Palestinians accused of working with Israeli authorities are pressing Israel to pay them out of funds it holds for PA. (Haaretz+)
  • Marchers demand gov’t recognize Yemenite child abduction affair - 700 protestors demonstrate in Tel Aviv calling for state recognition of 'abduction of the children of Yemen, the Middle East and the Balkan'; MK Herzog: 'Gov't should apologize, investigate affair.' (Ynet)
  • In Hunt for Local Talent, Amazon Poaches Microsoft Executive - Amazon is in the process of ramping up its research and development operations in Israel. (Calcalist/Ynet)
  • Israeli wine exports to China skyrocket - Hayotzer winery set to build an $8 million facility in central China; The Chinese 'are very enthusiastic about Jews and Jewish creativity,' says Hayotzer CEO. 'They also see the kosher symbol as a mark of quality,' importing tens of thousands of bottles from Israel. (Ynet)
  • Tnuva's Muuna cottage cheese to hit Walmart shelves - The Muuna brand, owned by Tnuva, will be initially available in 150 northeastern Walmart locations starting October; Tnuva already registers NIS 9 million loss in Q1 2017 for US operations, wishes to bounce back. (Ynet)
  • Mexican public pines for IDF rescuers - Assistance given by IDF delegation to Mexico has been invaluable and lauded by country’s public, but appreciation for soldiers' comely appearance over social media has also come to light. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israel Refuses to Stop Arms Sales to Myanmar, Despite Its Campaign of Rape, Torture and Massacres Against the Rohingya - The state's lawyer tells the High Court that it shouldn't interfere in Israel's foreign relations. (Haaretz)
  • Egypt Arrests Seven People for Raising Rainbow Flag at Music Concert - The seven attended the Lebanese rock band Mashrou' Leila's Friday show, and face charges of inciting immorality and promoting homosexuality, said a security source. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • 'Highest Ranking' Russian General Killed in ISIS Attack in Syria - Russians say Lt. Gen. Valery Asapov, head of the 5th army in Russia's eastern command, was killed in a mortar attack near Deir al-Zor. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Russian Airstrikes Kill 36 Civilians in Syrian Safe Zone, Activists Say - The deaths in Idlib mark the highest death toll in the region since it had been marked a designated de-escalation zone in September 15. (Agencies, Haaretz)

The fight to get Israel's Holocaust survivors their benefits
'We are always encountering survivors who aren't getting even half of what they’re entitled to,' says head of aid organization; meanwhile a third of Israel's 200,000 survivors live in poverty and 1,000 die each month. (Lee Yaron, Haaretz+)
Current Lord Balfour: Everyone knew Jews needed a home
As Britain prepares to celebrate 100th anniversary of declaration supporting establishment of Jewish national home in Palestine, Roderick Balfour says his great-great-uncle Arthur James Balfour would have been incredibly proud of what he and his generation set in motion, but would have been disheartened about ‘hopeless situation’ between Palestinians and Israelis. (Yaniv Halily, Yedioth/Ynet)
'We save our enemies' lives too,' says Israeli doctor
Over 3,000 wounded Syrians, including hundreds of children, treated by Israel since 2013 • IDF offers baby food, medicine, generators, school supplies to 200,000 civilians in Syrian Golan Heights as part of Operation Good Neighbor. (Adi Hashmonai, Israel Hayom)

Israel Can't Point the Finger at Germany (Haaretz Editorial) Israel has lost its special historic moral status and the right to warn the world against fascist tendencies.
Israelis don’t believe Netanyahu, but see no alternative (Sima Kadmon, Yedioth/Ynet) On one hand, most Israelis reject Netanyahu’s version that he’s innocent and believe he should resign if indicted. On the other hand, he is considered best suited to be prime minister. Special New Year survey also shows Israelis are more concerned about cost of living than about security situation, and 86 percent are satisfied with their personal situation.
Why Israel Won't Condemn the Shocking Success of Germany's Far-right Extremists(Shimon Stein and Moshe Zimmerman, Haaretz+) After its improper, evasive, even complicit responses to Charlottesville, to Trump and to Hungary's anti-Semitic anti-Soros campaign, it's no surprise that Israel's response to neo-Nazis in the Bundestag is a deafening silence.
Hasbara: The most critical front (Roi Kashi, Israel Hayom) Israel must invest more in its public diplomacy or it risks allowing the Palestinians to succeed in subverting our legitimate right to a Jewish state.
BDS Is Our Only Lever Against Israeli Occupation and Apartheid (Dr. Ruchama Marton, Haaretz+) Thinking that Israel can fix a colonial, apartheid regime without outside help is a dangerous illusion based on Israeli macho pride.
Politicians conspicuously absent in crafting Israeli army's multiyear plan (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Knesset subcommittee paints picture of dysfunctional security cabinet.
Israel Isn’t Doing the Kurds Any Favors by Openly Supporting Independence (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) While everyone should be in favor of a free Kurdistan, Netanyahu's support for Kurdish independence is both premature and unwise.
The Danger of Alienating Diaspora Jews (Yehuda Bauer, Haaretz+) 'They don’t want us?' American Jews can say of Israel. 'Let Israel take care of itself.' Hezbollah, Syria, Iran and Hamas will be pleased.
Mohammad Bakri, enemy of the Palestinians (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) With an official apartheid policy, Lebanon is the worst country in the world for Palestinians, but the Israeli Arab filmmaker couldn’t care less about the facts. His incitement is directed at Israel, because propagandists nurture deception—especially self-deception.
AfD's Questioning of Germany's Relationship With Israel Is Just Calculated Provocation (Kirsten Rulf, Haaretz+) Alexander Gauland, who's been involved in German politics since 1970, skillfully brought up German troops fighting for Israel to force the media and established parties to engage.
It was expected: The misrepresentation succeeded in bringing the extreme right to the parliament in Germany (Prof. Moshe Zimmerman, Maariv) The “Alternative for Germany" voters are those who feel that the refugees and the foreigners "drank theirs.” The party created a populist opposition between "us - the people" and "them - up there” and it was effective, as it is everywhere…It can be said - that’s ‘their’ problem, not ‘ours.’ First of all we must say, if it has fallen into the flames, and a country with the knowledge of being a past Nazi-era state which had until (these elections) blocked the entry of extreme right-wing parties into the Bundestag has failed in the battle of containment, the situation in the West is tough. And second, we must not fall into the trap of illusion that the party (and its sisters) is trying to create - an alliance between it and Israel or the Jews against the Muslims and the Arabs. Such a party will not allow us to wait long until we discover that a war is not only against the Muslims, but also against the Jews.
The Real Danger of Germany's AfD Party Is Not Its Similarity to the Nazis (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Today's populist, far-right parties share a xenophobic base with old-school racist fascism, but their outlook leads to opposite conclusions.
Learning the lessons of botched assassination attempt on Hamas leader (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) Twenty years have passed since the failed attempt on the life of Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Jordan, but it is safe to assume this was not the last operation of its kind • Any future mission will require better intelligence and procedural frameworks.
No More Funny Business: 'Alt-right' Reinventing Itself as a Leaner, Meaner White Nationalist Power (Asher Schechter, Haaretz+) The alt-right movement is moving away from the irony of Pepe the Frog and rallying more seriously around the white supremacist hard core.
Rise up: Israel must be on the right side of the Kurds (Ksenia Svetlova, Maariv) Sooner or later, the Kurdish state will become a tangible thing, and it should be our ally, since its emergence in the Middle East will fundamentally change the system of forces.
The Birth Pains of a New Kurdish State Start Today (Ofra Bengio, Haaretz) Kurds suffered their worst catastrophes in a 'united' Iraq. Today, they're voting and celebrating - but casting a wary eye at Baghdad's threatening language, and whether Iraq will escalate to outright conflict.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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