News Nosh 12.4.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday December 4, 2017
Quote of the day:
“It is not the role of the State of Israel to be the kashrut supervisor of American Jewry and to define for them who is truly a Jew. It’s their right to determine who is a Jew. We may define who is an Israeli or a Zionist, but not who is a Jew, and certainly not who is a good Jew."
—Co-founder of the Peres Center for Peace and the ‘Yallah - Young Leadership’ movement, Uri Savir, writes in an Op-Ed in Maariv, following the controversial remarks by Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely.*

You Must Be Kidding: 
Leading Sephardic Israeli rabbi bans followers from looking at new 50-shekel banknotes, which feature a Jewish Russian-Israeli poet who was married to a Christian.**

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • Bitan suspected of receiving bribes in millions  - Case #1803
  • Yellow card from High Court: Issued an interim order against government initiative to appoint deputy directors (to ministries)
  • Netanyahu folded, Recommendations (Law) won’t go to vote
  • Burial of a donkey // Ben Caspit
  • Better late // Adv. Yechiel Gutman
Israel Hayom
News Summary:
Coalition whip, David Bitan, the key ally of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was interrogated on suspicions of bribery and Netanyahu folded and ordered the controversial ‘Recommendations Law,’ which Bitan had been in the process of ramming through Knesset votes, to be revised so as not to apply to him making top stories in the Hebrew newspapers. Also in the news, Arab leaders make efforts to sway US President Donald Trump not to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. But barely making news was that a popular TV and radio host incited against Palestinians.

The Israeli political analysts wrote that Netanyahu ‘folded’ and ordered the revision of the controversial ‘Recommendations Law’ that was supposed to be voted on today due to the interrogation of his close ally, Likud MK David Bitan, who was pushing that law through votes, as well as because of the tens of thousands of Israelis who demonstrated on Saturday against it - but also, wrote Maariv’s Arik Bender, because Netanyahu was afraid of the defeat in the vote. Hence he called the other ally who was pushing the bill through, MK David Amsalem, and told him to call the vote off. The commentators wrote that this was not an issue of right-wing or left-wing, just simply against corruption. Members of the Kulanu and Habayit Hayehudi parties, which are part of the coalition, had voiced reservations at the rushed legislative process and over the claims the bill was tailor-made for Netanyahu.

The leaders of Palestine, Jordan and Egypt were making strong attempts to get Trump not to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, while Trump’s advisor Jared Kushner said that Saudi Arabia has prioritized resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that Trump still hasn't reached a decision about Jerusalem's status. Trump's National Security Adviser, General HR McMaster, also said that he doesn't know what Trump will decide regarding potentially moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem or recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Top PLO official Saeb Erekat said the move would 'promote international anarchy and disrespect for global institutions and it would disqualify the US from playing any role in any peace initiative.

The social media networks were up in arms after the Reshet TV Channel 13 Morning Show co-presenter, Avri Gilad, expressed support on the Friday show for revenge acts against innocent Palestinians following the incident in Qusra village on Thursday, Yedioth reported today on page 22. The popular presenter, Gilad, said that “Last night there were riots ... riots is perhaps too strong a word ... Residents of Judea and Samaria [settlers - OH] went to the village [of Qusra] and made trouble there," adding the word “wonderful.” Hila Korach, who cohosts the show with him, shouted in response: “Wonderful?! You think it's wonderful? In what world!? How so?!? Gilad asked her to lower her tone and explained that "many of the villagers participated in the lynch [settlers claimed that Palestinian villagers tried to lynch Jewish hikers by throwing stones at them. One settler shot an uninvolved Palestinian farmer dead - OH], and it can not go without a response…I think that sometimes there is no choice but to demonstrate a presence - a violent presence in order to ... that we won’t be weak Jews, we will not be those who they come to kill who just hide under the bed…” Following the storm, Gilad said he was “happy” to have set it off. “I think that if someone tries to murder your child you have a duty to go set a car on fire.“ (Channel 20 website, Hakolhayehudi Hebrew website.) Today, four days after the incident at Qusra village, right-wing activists set off to hike to the village to ‘show Jewish presence’ without military authorization. “We don’t need permission to tour the land of Israel.” NOTE: Like Avri Gilad, Yedioth/Ynet reporter Elisha Ben-Kimon presented the settler version of the events as fact, that there was a ‘lynch’ attempt on the Jewish hikers, without giving Palestinian version: that settlers started the dispute. Moreover, only at end of article did the reporter note that the settlers killed a Palestinian farmer.]
Quick Hits:
  • IDF recruits' motivation for combat service at 10-year low - For first time, percentage of 18-year-old recruits dropped to under 50%, meaning more than half of the youth in Israel are not going to the army. "Forty percent of the people we sent to combat [units] don’t want to be combat [soldiers],” an senior IDF official said. Nevertheless, rise in number of females volunteering to be combat soldiers. (Israel Hayom, Maariv p. 14 and Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Army, Education Ministry to Promote Combat Service in High School Classrooms - Enlistment rates are sinking and dropout rates stand at over 7,000 male and female soldiers annually. (Haaretz+)
  • Projectile fired from Syria hits Israel's northern Golan Heights - No casualties or damage after fighting from Syrian civil war spills into Israeli territory. (Haaretz)
  • UN refugee chief slams Israel over migrants policy: Don't forget your own painful history - UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi tells Haaretz the planned deportation of 40,000 African migrants is of great concern and runs counter to Israel's religious teachings. (Haaretz+)
  • Cabinet Votes in Support of Bill That Would Allow Closure of Shops on Shabbat - The bill, which would not apply in Tel Aviv, is the result of a commitment by Netanyahu to diffuse ultra-Orthodox opposition to Shabbat railroad maintenance work. Although Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman expressed opposition last weekend to the bill, he did not exercise his veto to scuttle the bill. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • (Deputy Foreign Minister) Hotovely depicted as harboring Nazi views in Kibbutz weekly - Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hotovely lampooned in Kibbutz Movement weekly caricature showing her alongside Nazi soldier telling American Jewish couple, 'Kikes… Draft dodgers!'; Cartoon is 'somewhere between ignorance, slander,' Hotovely retorts; weekly's editor: 'American neo-Nazi site said Hotovely's remarks mirrored its own views.' (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israeli justice minister moves to reduce transparency for large donations to political nonprofits - Ayelet Shaked proposes increasing limit for anonymous donations from 20,000 ($5,700) to 150,000 shekels. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel pulls out of Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit in Germany as Palestinians refute ownership - German officials have said that they consider the ownership of the scrolls to be unclear, although Israel has been displaying them since 1967. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Soldier killed in Arad attack laid to rest - Sgt. Ron Kukia, killed in stabbing attack in Arad, was laid to rest in Kiryat Shaul military cemetery with 2,000 people, Science Minister Akunis, chief army personnel in attendance; 'Israel does not do enough to combat its enemies from within and without,' says Kukia's father; perpetrators not yet found. (Ynet)
  • Sexual harassment case closed against HaBayit HaYehudi MK - Citing insufficient evidence to corroborate sexual harassment allegations, attorney general decides to drop investigation against MK Nissan Slomiansky. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • **Israeli Rabbi Bans Followers From Looking at 50-shekel Banknote Featuring Poet Married to Christian - Sephardi rabbi rules against image of Russian-Israeli poet Shaul Tchernichovsky on the banknote introduced in 2014, noting 'people like that are called apostates.’ (Haaretz)
  • Holy Land custodian launches Christmas season in Bethlehem - Hundreds of Palestinians, pilgrims gather to welcome pope's envoy Father Francesco Patton and other senior priests as they arrive in the city revered as the birthplace of Jesus. Festivities held outside Church of Nativity as city readies for Christmas. (Israel Hayom)
  • Temple Mount riddles resolved by tens of thousands of tiny pieces - The monumental buildings on Temple Mount, Jerusalem turn out to have been decorated chiefly with images of plants and geometric forms, patient researcher finds. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu at Saban Forum: Iran, Like Nazi Germany, Has 'Ruthless Commitment to Murdering Jews' - Netanyahu tells Saban Forum in D.C. that half of Middle East believes that their respective countries could benefit from Israel ties. Predicts open Israeli-Arab relations in '50 or 100 years': "Israel will be openly embraced by its Arab neighbors." (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Middle East leaders paint 'dark picture' at Rome conference - Iranian, Saudi foreign ministers trade barbs • "Since 1979, the Iranians have literally got away with murder in our region," says Saudi minister • Islamic State can still "create destruction and terror," says Arab League head • U.S. absent from event. (Israel Hayom)
  • Tunisian Security Forces Thwart Attack on Jewish Community, Report Says - Two Tunisians have been arrested for planning an attack on Tunis' Great Synagogue, Army Radio reports. (Haaretz)
  • UAE Denies Yemen's Houthi Rebel Group Fired Missile at Nuclear Plant - Denial comes as heavy fighting in Yemen's capital unraveled a rebel alliance that has been at war with a Saudi-led coalition, including the UAE. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Egypt's ex-prime minister missing after announcing presidential candidacy, family says - Ahmed Shafiq, a former air force chief and government minister, has been seen by critics of President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi as a potential challenger in next year's election. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • In First, Dutch Jewry Accuses pro-Palestinian Ex-prime Minister of anti-Semitism - Dries van Agt said that the Dutch Labor party 'is good for the Palestinians despite the strong Jewish lobby' at an event last week. (Haaretz)

This 'Inglorious Bastard' Hunts the Few Remaining Nazis, No Matter How Old They Are
Thomas Walther, 73, is a gentile lawyer who's driven to pursue justice for the victims of the Shoah: 'There is no statute of limitations on murder' he tells Haaretz. (Ofer Aderet, Haaretz+)

Netanyahu's Blatant Attempt to Stifle Democracy Fails, With the Israeli Public to Credit (Haaretz Editorial) The prime minister's capitulation to change the 'Recommendations Law' that it not apply to himself is a major achievement for the Israeli public.
Rothschild Boulevard protest: The second generation (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) The shift of the anti-corruption protest from a small Petah Tikva square to one of Tel Aviv’s main streets reflects much more than a change of location on the map. What began as a protest of two people is turning into a mass protest before our eyes against government corruption.
Smelling Defeat, Netanyahu Surrendered and Abandoned His Lackeys (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) The stench of corruption within Netanyahu's Likud party is so strong that tens of thousands took to the streets of Tel Aviv to demonstrate - and forcing the heads of the coalition parties to recalculate their route.
The protest on Saturday night has nothing to do with the left-wing or the right-wing, but with disgust from Netanyahu (Ben Caspit, Maariv) Those who deserve compliments for thwarting the Recommendations Law are Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon, who understood belatedly that there is a blatant trampling of fundamental values, and a young Likudnik from Afula named Meni Naftali (former manager of PM’s official residence).
Trump’s Jerusalem declaration could ignite a major fire (Shimon Shiffer, Yedioth/Ynet) While the US president’s expected recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has a clear symbolic value, there will be no actual change on the ground and the statements about the embassy’s relocation will remain on paper. Nevertheless, in the violent region we live in, such a declaration has a highly explosive potential.
Netanyahu Is Worse Than Trump, Don’t Believe a Word He Says (Uzi Baram, Haaretz+) Netanyahu wants everyone in Israel to talk only about issues like Iran and Hezbollah, anything that will overshadow the criminal cloud hovering over him.
A mistaken notion (Prof. Abraham Ben-Zvi, Israel Hayom) Before President Donald Trump, the idea that the issue of Jerusalem could only be resolved within the framework of a permanent status deal was a constant fixture in American foreign policy. Things may soon change.
A new western front against Israel will open if Iran comes into Syria (Brigadier-General Shachar Shohat (res.), Yedioth/Ynet) If Syria becomes home to Iranian aerial platforms, Iran could head west to the Mediterranean Sea, and then fly toward any Israeli coastal city; be it Haifa, Tel Aviv, or Ashkelon.
Revolutionary recognition (Amnon Lord, Israel Hayom) America's historic refusal to recognize Jersualem as Israel's capital means that, in many ways, the U.S. has implictly refused to recognize the State of Israel itself.
*(Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi) Hotovely's entrance exams into the tent of Judaism are unacceptable and dangerous (Uri Savir, Maariv) A lot of water has flowed in the Jordan River since Netanyahu was the beloved child of American Jewry as Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, and up to the days when he canceled the Western Wall plan, as ordered by the ultra-Orthodox….It is not the role of the State of Israel to be the kashrut supervisor of American Jewry and to define for them who is truly a Jew. It’s their right to determine who is a Jew. We may define who is an Israeli or a Zionist, but not who is a Jew, and certainly not who is a good Jew. For Netanyahu, a good Jew is one who supports him and monetarily supports the projects and initiatives that he initiates, including expanding settlements. American Jews have the right to criticize the State of Israel as many good people do, such as the brilliant columnist Thomas Friedman in The New York Times…The entrance exams (given by) Hotovely, as Netanyahu's envoy, to (enter) the tent of Judaism and the patriotic training are unacceptable and dangerous. In this way, Israel sins against its central and historical role vis-à-vis American Jewry, not only because of its aggressive criticism of them, but also because it is no longer a source of pride and continues to distance them from government policy.
Israel Must Not Divide Jerusalem (Moshe Arens, Haaretz+) Arbitrarily altering a city's boundaries based on demographic forecasts is hardly the way to manage a municipality. Instead, all of East Jerusalem should be rehabilitated,
The crisis with the State of Israel forces American Jews to adopt new strategies (MK Nachman Shai, Maariv) For decades, American Jewry and world Jewry have accepted the Israeli leadership as they are, but the teeth of time have taken their toll. It is certainly possible to declare that we have entered a new era in the relationship.
The Fall of Netanyahu's Right-hand Man Further Discredits His Judgment (Gidi Weitz, Haaretz+) Netanyahu should have understood that Coalition Chairman David Bitan, a man with a dubious past, could naturally fall hostage to people with special interests.
What’s new in the IDF’s new Namer APC? (And how the IDF plans to face Hezbollah) (Yoav Zitun, Ynet) Facing a better prepared Hezbollah, IDF prepares for hi-tech modern warfare, fitting the Namer APC with guns, grenade launchers, an ability to charge the battlefield, and smash through walls; new vehicle also provides cover for infantry.
Not only Netanyahu must go - his Likud party must be shelved too (Guy Ronen, Haaretz+) Likud has defiled, corrupted and destroyed any semblance of proper government in Israel.
The "Recommendations Law" is worth considering and serious consideration, but without defending Netanyahu (Attorney Yehiel Gutman, Maariv) The idea embodied in the recommendations law is certainly worth considering, but somehow the impression has been established, and not without justice, that it is personal and intended to protect the prime minister, and democracies do not legislate personal laws.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.