News Nosh 1.18.18

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday, January 18, 2018
Quote of the day:
 “Public funds are not supposed to be used for political needs. The political debate must be conducted with equitable tools, not with one side getting public funds.”
—Hagit Ofran, Peace Now’s Settlement Watch director criticized the funneling of public funds to Regavim, a prominent right-wing organization.*

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Night battle in Jenin: Murderers of Rabbi Shevach were caught
  • Rabbi Druckman: “What kind of idea is that not to enlist in the army?!”
  • Integration of women: IDF’s secret of success // Maayan Adam
  • Flying forward - Peek into the new airport in Bekaat Timna
  • An achievement in the visit - India to renew its deal to acquire ‘Spike’ missiles
  • Report: Police to recommend indicting (attorneys) Molcho and Shomron in the Submarines Affair
  • A month after attacking an IDF officer and soldier: Ahmed Tamimi will remain in detention until the end of proceedings
  • Philharmonic History: Zubin Mehta resigns, his replacement: 29-year-old Lahav Shani

News Summary:
A battle of words between rabbis over the integration of women in combat units and a gun battle in Jenin in the hunt for the Palestinians who murdered Rabbi Raziel Shevah, the likelihood that two of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s closest associates, Att. David Shimron and Att. Isaac Molcho, will be indicted in the Submarine Affair and the likelihood that Israel’s enormous missile deal to India will be renewed, but for much less money, were today’s top stories in the Hebrew newspapers. Also, the latest following the US withholding of $65 million in humanitarian aid for the Palestinians and the angry speech by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas against US President Donald Trump.

Conflicting reports in the Hebrew papers revealed that it wasn’t really clear what happened last night in Jenin except that at least one Palestinian was killed and it was believed that he was Ahmed Jarrar, the man Israel suspected of being involved in the drive-by West Bank murder of Rabbi Raziel Shevah of the Havat Gilad settlement outpost last week. [A Maariv Online report today said that it may have been someone else they killed.] A gun battle broke out and two members of the Yamam special security forces were injured and numerous Palestinians. During the raid, Israeli security forces demolished Jarrar's home as well as his uncle's and two other homes belonging to the extended Jarrar family.

After the controversial Chief Rabbi of Safed (Tzfat) Shmuel Eliyahu called on the IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot to resign over women serving in combat roles, claiming that ‘healthy’ men will be distracted."

Senior religious Zionist rabbis wrote a letter to the Chief of Staff saying, "Thank youfor strengthening the IDF as the people's army…We are confident that you will continue and deepen the important steps that you are leading,” wrote the head of the Yeshivat Or Etzion, Rabbi Chaim Druckman, head of the pre-military academy, Eli Sadan, and head of the Har Etzion yeshiva, Ya'akov Medan, Maariv reported. Rabbi Eliyahu's attack came a day after the comments made by Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, who said that "until there is complete separation between men and women in the IDF—it is forbidden to enlist."

Channel 2 News reported that the police are preparing to indicting five of Netanyahu'sclose associates, including his personal lawyer and cousin, David Shimron, and his former special diplomatic envoy, Isaac Molcho, as well as his former chief of staff, in corruption-ridden Submarine scandal, also known as Case 3000. Someone even closer to Netanyahu may also be indicted. Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit held a hearing for SaraNetanyahu to decide whether to indict her on fraud, but her lawyers attended instead of her, as she is in India.  

In India, Netanyahu told reporters that the $500 million Spike missile deal was ‘back on the table' with India, but the newspapers said it will probably be a much smaller deal. According to Maariv’s Yossi Melman, the deal will be about $200 million.

Netanyahu also said that the US would transfer the US embassy to Jerusalem within a year. But US President Donald Trump denied that: “By the end of the year?... We’re not really looking at that. That’s no.”

UNRWA-Abbas-Trump Quickees:
  • After US cuts, Palestinian refugee agency seeks global donations - Trump administration suspends $65 million for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, demanding operations undergo fundamental review • U.N. fears aid cut will deepen economic hardship in Gaza • UNRWA warns schools, healthcare will be hit the hardest. (Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • Head of Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington says UNRWA funds 'not a bargaining chip’ - After US announces decision to withhold $65M to UN agency assisting Palestinian refugees, Husam Zumlut accuses US of 'taking food and education from refugees,' vows to 'never relinquish refugees' rights.' (Ynet)
  • Belgium Steps in After Trump Admin Suspends Aid, Pledges $23m to UN Palestinian Refugee Agency - The country's full three-year budget will be 'immediately dispersed.' For many Palestinians, 'UNRWA is the last life buoy,' says Belgian Deputy Prime Minister. (Haaretz)
  • Abbas: Jerusalem can be gate for peace or war, Trump must choose - During speech in Cairo, Palestinian president insists peace can only happen if Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine; also claims Palestinians are the 'Canaanites who built Jerusalem.' (Ynet)
  • Abbas Rips Into Trump: Palestinians Are Original Canaanites, Were in Jerusalem Before the Jews - Abbas rips into Trump in speech in top Muslim institution in Egypt, saying 'every U.S. administration curses its predecessor – how can we have faith in them as mediators.’ (Haaretz)
  • US Mideast envoy to arrive in Israel ahead of VP Pence's visit - Jason Greenblatt's visit comes without official announcement following friction with Palestinians • VP Mike Pence is scheduled to visit Israel, Egypt and Jordan next week • Secretary of State Tillerson: U.S. to stay in Syria, stop ISIS regaining power. (Israel Hayom)
Quick Hits:
  • Knesset legal adviser: Boycott is legitimate part of freedom of expression - However, the Knesset can set ethical guidelines preventing lawmakers from traveling at the expense of groups that support a boycott of Israel, he says. (Haaretz+)
  • *Prominent Right-wing NGO Receives Millions of Shekels in Public Funds - A Haaretz investigation shows that Regavim organization, which fights alleged illegal Arab construction, gets money from several West Bank councils funded by taxpayers. Organizations like B’tselem, Peace Now and Yesh Din have never gotten a shekel of taxpayer money. (Haaretz)
  • West Bank outpost cannot be authorized because it's mostly built on private Palestinian land, say security sources - Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman's move to legalize Havat Gilad settlement outpost, whose resident was murdered in terror attack last week, is likely to prove unsuccessful on legal grounds. According to defense sources, the plot that was purchased and registered as private Jewish-owned land is only a tiny fraction of the settlement’s current area. Moreover, according to state records and Palestinians living in the area, the rest of the land on which the settlement lies is private Palestinian land. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli fugitive in killing of Palestinian extradited from Brazil - Yehoshua Elitzur was driving near Nablus in 2004 when he suddenly stopped and exited his car carrying an M-16 and shot and killed the Palestinian driver Sael Jabara al-Shatiya who he thought ignored his instructions to stop. (Yedioth/Ynet and Haaretz+)
  • Cops investigate series of hate crimes against Arabs - Residents of Arab village near Jerusalem find punctured tires and ‘Arabs out’ graffiti scrawled on vehicles; in separate incident, extremist Jewish activists distribute leaflets protesting against hiring of Arab doctor in West Bank. (Ynet and Maan)
  • Israel will not release Palestinian teen who slapped soldier until trial's end - The 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi stands accused of assaulting an IDF officer and soldier, as well as a slew of other incidents; her trial is set to begin January 31; court determines Tamimi is 'dangerous'; her father claims: 'When both the prosecutor and the judge are soldiers, the decision was obvious.' (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • A group of 42 Jews was arrested during a visit to the Temple Mount area - According to the police, one of the members of the group sparked a provocation, while the others claim that an employee of the Waqf harassed someone, leading to a confrontation: "They are giving the enemy the chance to raise their heads.” (Maariv)
  • Israeli military to school kids: Earthquakes only happen ‘if God wills them’ - A booklet handed out to Israeli fifth graders says 'we know and believe that all natural phenomena take place solely if God wills it and at his command.’ (Haaretz)
  • Israeli bulldozers level lands in southern Gaza - Witnesses said the bulldozers came from the Kissufim military site into the “buffer zone” along the Gaza border, and razed and leveled lands as Israeli drones hovered overhead. The practice has in effect destroyed much of the agricultural and fishing sector of the blockaded coastal enclave. (Maan)
  • Last fallen soldier from Lebanon War laid to rest 31 years later - Sgt. Abraham Ajami suffered a critical head injury in 1987 while serving in an Artillery Corps battery in Lebanon. He spent the last 31 years in a vegetative state, and passed away on Tuesday; 'He never got to have a girlfriend, because he was only 19 and remained 19,' says his sister. (Ynet)
  • Navy's new defense system can mislead enemy missiles - Upgraded system to fire chaff rockets that would create a 'wall' of iron wires, making enemy projectiles 'think' this wall is the Israeli navy vessel; 'This is a dramatic leap forward that will provide us with solutions for the next 20 years,' says navy officer. (Ynet)
  • Elbit Ready to Buy Israel Military Industries Without Its Missiles Business - Unfolding deal has Elbit paying about $550 million billion for state-owned arms maker. (Haaretz)
  • Amos Oz, David Grossman, Etgar Keret Implore Netanyahu: Do Not Deport Asylum Seekers - 'We call on you to act morally, humanely and with compassion worthy of the Jewish people... Otherwise we will have no reason to exist,' write 35 Israeli authors. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Inspired by Anne Frank, Rabbis in Israel Plan to Hide African Asylum Seekers Facing Deportation - Rabbi Susan Silverman, sister of U.S. comedian Sarah, is behind initiative to support some 40,000 Sudanese and Eritrean migrants who are facing forced deportation from Israel. (Haaretz+)
  • Holocaust survivor denounces refugee deportation - With hundreds protesting outside houses of government officials against recent decision to expel African asylum seekers, one protester stands out—a Holocaust survivor, trying to come to terms with 'criminal' state policies concerning people she says represent the history of the Jewish people. (Ynet)
  • 'Jewish Nobel' winner donates $1 million prize money to refugees - 2017 Genesis Prize winner Anish Kapoor donates funds to help refugees from South Sudan and Syria, stateless Rohingya in Myanmar. British-Indian sculptor compares refugees to his Jewish ancestors, who "not long before them" also fled persecution. (Israel Hayom)
  • Bulgaria begins much-delayed trial on 2012 attack on Israeli tourists - The defendants, Australian national Meliad Farah and Canadian national El Hajj Hassa - both also holders of Lebanese citizenship - remain at large for the 2012 attack and are being tried in absentia. (DPA, Haaretz)

Hummus, kubbe and knafeh: A culinary tour of Tira
Fresh meat and fish, great hummus, a grocery store featuring seasonal produce and a bakery that shouldn't be missed in Tira, an Israeli Arab village-turned-city. (Omri Levy, Haaretz+)
"Palestinians from the Occupied Territories will take care of the elderly"
Low wages, hard work. To cope with the situation in retirement homes, the government decided: We will recruit Palestinian workers. Senior health care professionals object: "Why not train workers from the Philippines?" Ministry of Health: "Deputy Minister opposes plan." The entire country was shocked by the harsh images of battered, bruised and humiliated elderly in an old age home in Haifa. But very little has changed since last year's exposure, and the 22,000 elderly patients in nursing homes in Israel continue to pay the price. In light of the difficult situation, senior Health Ministry officials put forward a new and controversial proposal: Palestinian workers will treat the elderly in old age homes. The Ministry of Health said: "This is a lateral decision by the government to add Palestinian workers to many branches of the economy, including nursing. This is not a decision by the Ministry of Health but by the Ministry of Finance and Defense." (Yedioth)
Christian pilgrims from across the world come to this site in Israel. There's just one problem: It's sitting in a minefield
Despite promises they’ll be cleared away, land mines still dot the area abutting the Jordan River that’s known for the site where Jesus was baptized. (Moshe Gilad, Haaretz+)
Abbas Is Right. Why Does Israel Keep Saying He's Wrong? (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) Abbas speaks the truth. Israel's comments against him aren't about reality— they're just nationalistic snarls.
Israel and the Palestinians: So what now? (Nadav Eyal, Yedioth/Ynet) People who have nothing to lose pose a risk to themselves—as Abbas demonstrated in his delusional speech—but to others too; even if Israel wants to keep occupying Judea and Samaria forever, a wise tactic would include some kind of hope for the Palestinians living there.
What really sparked the latest rabbinical attack on the army? (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Just look at the number of religious women enlisting in the IDF to understand the frustration of rabbis.
Keeping the State Archives Secret (Haaretz Editorial) The state’s own chief archivist has condemned the widespread censorship of historical documents containing information that the public has a right to know about.
Ideology is no substitute for policy (Polly Bronstein, Israel Hayom) The desire to annex Judea and Samaria, our biblical homeland and the site of historical Jewish nationalism, although legitimate, if implemented could lead to the destruction of the Zionist enterprise.
For Mike Pence, backing Israel’s occupation is a matter of faith (Zaha Hassan, Haaretz+) In Mike Pence’s eagerness to be the evangelicals’ messiah, he’s happy to boost the occupation, kill the idea of two states and bully the Palestinians, and frame it all as divinely ordained.
After neutralizing tunnels, IDF faces a new threat (Yossi Yehoshua, Yedioth/Ynet) Only three and a half years ago, Hamas’ underground attack tunnels seemed like an unsolvable threat; but as Major-General Yoav Mordechai said, ‘the Israeli genius and the Jewish mind found a solution.’ Now, the next mission is to find an operational solution to Hezbollah’s heavyweight mortar shells.
Hamas is as much to blame for Gaza's situation as Israel (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) Hamas is a liberation movement that is far too ready to sacrifice everything, including Gazans' well-being, in the name of fighting Israel: There are better strategies for creating a Palestinian state.
The real pressure is at home: Religious young women mobilize (to enlist) despite the position of most rabbis (Tal Lev Ram, Maariv) The religious girls can be found today almost everywhere in the army. Dark opinions and statements by a Knesset member or a rabbi will not stop them from dreaming about being in the role of a squadron commander.
Why Closer Ties Between India and Israel Must Not Become an anti-Muslim Alliance(Shairee Malhotra, Haaretz+) There are many good reasons for Modi and Netanyahu to celebrate warming relations. But if they exploit that closeness to boost a shared narrative of extreme nationalism, exclusion and defining Muslims as the enemy - we, in India, must discredit it.
Yad Vashem Responds to Criticism: North African Jews Were Always Part of the Holocaust Narrative (Irit Abramski, Haaretz+) It is important to understand that this 'competition' over the degree of suffering in the Holocaust leads to a distortion of reality and a loss of proportion.
Two nations, one goal (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) The rock star welcome Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi received in Gujarat shows that Israel is seen as a source of inspiration in many fields.
We're Not Colorblind: Racism Is a Lucrative Industry in Israel (Yossi Klein, Haaretz) We need foreign workers not just because we won't pick cucumbers. We need them to trample on. Once it was Mizrahim, then it was the Russians, always the Arabs and now the blacks.

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