News Nosh 2.20.18

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday February 20, 2018
You Must Be Kidding #1: 
"Yes, I'm comparing the Rabin assassination to what's being done to the prime minister. I compare them because what's being done to (Netanyahu) is everything except taking his life."
--Chairman of the Knesset's House Committee MK Miki Zohar (Likud) compared the murder of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin to the corruption investigations against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and their media coverage, alleging that they were equally bad.*

You Must Be Kidding #2: 
"We have to thank God he sent Trump to be president of the United States."
--Settler leader Yaakov Katz says that last year the settler population in the West Bank grew twice as fast as Israel's overall population and 21.4% in the last five years. Peace Now said Katz's figures were "in the ballpark" of Peace Now's estimates.**

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Case 4000 - The details are revealed - The arrested: The (Bezeq and Walla) owner, Shaul Elovitch; the (Communications Ministry) CEO, Shlomo Filber; the (PM’s media) advisor, Nir Hefetz; the (Bezeq) CEO, Stella Hendler
  • Expose: Former Prime Minister’s spokesman testified about the relations between the Netanyahu family and Walla website
  • The new company of the founders of MobilEye is worth a billion dollars
  • He returned to the cockpit - Navigator who was lightly wounded last week when his (F-16) was downed
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • Case 4000 - The Bezeq affair: The arrested
  • MK Miki Zohar (Likud) must apologize for his remark that the conduct toward Netanyahu is “Like the Rabin murder, just without a bullet”
  • Back in the skies - 10 days after his plane was downed by a Syrian missile, the navigator returned to activity
  • The big gas deal - Delek and Nobel Energy companies signed a $15 billion deal to export gas to Egypt
  • Gabbay against Livni - Embarrassment in Labor party after Chairman criticized his partner from Hatnuah party: “She barely passes the threshold”
Israel Hayom
  • The arrested are revealed - Main suspicion: Positive coverage for the Prime Minister on Walla website - in exchange for enormous benefits for Bezeq Telecom
  • Pressing on the gas - $15 billion over 10 years: Delek Company signed deal to sell gas to Egypt, which will stream billions into the Israeli economy
  • The pessimism drowned in the sea // Haim Shine
  • Shortened school holidays from Passover? Bennet’s revolution is in question
  • UNIFIL soldiers reveal what really happened in south Lebanon: “We are scared”
  • Shilo Siman-Tov, Golani soldier injured in the accident on Hwy 6, died of his injuries
  • Infuriating - Movie about the Entebbe Operation at Berlin Film Festival presents the hijackers as heroes

News Summary:
The names of the people arrested in Case 4000, the Bezeq affair, were revealed and they included two of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s confidants and Bezeq chief Shaul Elovitch and evidence pointed to a quid pro quo relationship in which Bezeq received huge benefits in exchange for favorable coverage for the Netanyahu family on the Walla website owned by Elovitch. This was the story of the day. Also in the news, the Israeli natural gas company signed a $15 billion natural gas export deal with Egypt. And security-related quickees below.

What didn’t make headlines were the meetings regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israeli finance minister Moshe Kahlon met in Ramallah with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and Kahlon urged the latter to return to US-led peace talks. The Palestinian premier called on Israel to rescind approval for thousands of settlement houses and to cancel the bill to withhold money over 'terrorist salaries.’ Also, the foreign ministers of Jordan and Turkey met and reiterated their commitment to the two-state solution, saying it was key to Mideast peace and above other regional issues.

*Even Sara Netanyahu may be questioned in the so-called "Case 4000" after she boasted of skewed, "sweetheart" coverage on the Walla news site, Channel 10 News reported. The CEO of Walla news site reportedly told police that Netanyahu pressured him to dismiss the site's chief editor over unfavorable coverage of him and his wife, as well as articles contradicting PM's positions. Haaretz+ reported that journalists from Walla are ‘dying to testify' about how they were pressured to cover Netanyahu in a positive light. Likud MK Miki Zohar compared Netanyahu to Rabin saying it was ‘murder…stopping short of taking his life,’ for which he drew fire. Yesh Atid leader, Yair Lapid, said there was no need for elections, but Netanyahu needed to be replaced by another Likud member.

IAF destroys Gaza Hamas tunnel in overnight blitz
Qatari envoy says both Israel and Gaza terrorists want calm
Israeli Army Plans to Use Harsher Measures Against Palestinian Protesters
UN chief warns of nightmare scenario if Israel, Hezbollah clash
Lebanese army chief vows to 'confront any Israeli aggression,' no matter the cost
Iranian official threatens to 'level Tel Aviv to the ground'
Russia condemns Iran's calls to destroy Israel, but also tells Jerusalem that Tehran is not the problem
Quick Hits:
  • U.S. ambassador warns Jewish leaders: Israel could risk civil war if settlements dismantled - 'The settlers aren't going anywhere,' David Friedman announced to a group of U.S. Jewish leaders at a closed onference in Jerusalem, Channel 10 News reported. (Haaretz)
  • **Israeli settler leader says settlements grew rapidly in 2017 - Noting population in West Bank settlements grew at almost double the rate of the rest of the country in 2017, settler leader opines trend will continue as Trump's policies are cemented. (Ynet)
  • Netanyahu eyes paying settlers millions for leaving illegal outpost built on private Palestinian land - Ruling coalition to convene to discuss 20 million shekel pay out to 15 settlers from Netiv Haavot in the West Bank. (Haaretz+)
  • Arab bus driver attacked by Kiryat Arba settlers - Saleh Abu Jamal, from E. Jerusalem, was assaulted by Jewish youth while driving a bus from Jerusalem to the settlement; according to the driver, the youths swore at him, threatened him and hit him in the face; Abu Jamal was hospitalized; two suspects arrested, aged 19 and 21. (Ynet + PHOTO)
  • (Deputy Foreign Minister) Hotovely: Israelis live under 'terror of migrants' - During discussions on planned deportation of illegal African migrants, Joint List MK asks that deputy FM's comments be erased from protocols; Lashing MK Yachimovich's evocation of the Holocaust, Hotovely urges her not to 'misuse' it and it's survivors. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Ultra-Orthodox lawmaker to pressure Netanyahu on shielding yeshiva students from army draft - United Torah Judaism chairman says his party won't back the 2019 Knesset budget without a new military draft bill. (Haaretz+)
  • HCJ rules to delay terrorists' bodies return until further hearing - Chief Justice Hayut accepts state's request for further hearing on appeals by terrorists' families to return their bodies; original December ruling stated state had no authority to use bodies as bargaining chips in negotiations with Hamas over return of Israeli POWs, MIAs. (Ynet)
  • Ministers back bill to deduct terrorists' stipends from PA taxes - Palestinian Authority paid terrorists or their families $358 million in 2017 • Bill aims to redirect taxes collected by Israel on PA's behalf to war on terrorism, compensation to victims. Defense minister: This will put an end to this theater of absurd. (Israel Hayom)
  • After two failures, Israel successfully tests Arrow 3 - but not on a real target - After 2 canceled trials in as many months due to technical malfunctions, Israel successfully launches exoatmospheric anti-missile system, paving way for giant experiment of upgraded version in the US. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • 3rd Golani soldier succumbs to wounds sustained in Highway 6 crash - Staff Sgt. Shilo Siman Tov succumbs to his injuries and becomes 3rd victim in deadly accident involving truck hitting military jeeps travelling south on Highway 6, coming from a training exercise, preparing for operations; driver had 115 driving violations. (Ynet)
  • Israeli lawmakers to discuss boycott of Austrian far-right cabinet ministers - Session to be held following a meeting by Likud lawmaker and leader of Austria's Freedom Party. (Haaretz)
  • The improved muezzin law: The police can break into mosques and confiscate loudspeakers - According to a report in The News, a government committee that included ministers Erdan and Elkin recommends toughening legislation on noise hazards, which will apparently include additional powers for the police in its enforcement. (Maariv)
  • ‘Pimping For Terrorists’ -  Sarah Silverman Slammed After Calling for Palestinian Teen Ahed Tamimi’s Release - U.S. comedian is both attacked and applauded on Twitter for saying Jews have a special duty to stand up when wrongdoing is committed by Israeli government. (Haaretz)
  • New film on Operation Entebbe 'likely to anger Prime Minister Netanyahu' - British historian Saul David, whose book is basis of screenplay, says '7 Days in Entebbe' downgrades slain Yoni Netanyahu’s hero status. “(Netanyahu has) put a lot of pressure, even on people who are involved in the story,” he said. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Azealia Banks Responds to BDS Anger: 'I Too Live in a Country Which Has Issues' - Banks' Tel Aviv concert tour announcement has fans calling for cancellation in support of the BDS movement, but she is not having it. (Haaretz)
  • Gabbay: Livni's Hatnua barely passes Knesset threshold on its own - Labor leader says there will be no 'gifts' of reserved spots, 'not even to Hatnua,' in Zionist Union's Knesset list next elections, raising questions about the alliance between his party and Hatnua; also admits his own comments led to drop in support. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israel refuses to register both women in lesbian couple as mothers after baby's birth - Defying a court ruling, a population registry office refused to register Adi and Hela Maoz Ofir as mothers after the birth of their daughter. (Haaretz+)
  • Pence and Haley to address upcoming AIPAC conference - Netanyahu will also speak at the conference, and is slated to meet with Trump while in Washington. (Haaretz)
  • Israeli scientists grow 'tiny brains' to study how its folds are created - The question of how the brain's convolutions develop has preoccupied brain researchers for years. (Haaretz)
  • Why one of Trump's top faith advisers was urged to stay away from the Knesset - Pastor Jim Garlow will not be in attendance at a Bible study session he helped organize, since the event is taking place the same day as an annual Knesset tribute to Israel’s LGBTQ community. (Haaretz+)
  • Iranian wrestler temporarily banned after intentional loss to avoid Israeli opponent - Iran's youth and sports ministry is hailing the wrestler a hero, even though his decision resulted in suspension from international competitions. (JTA, Haaretz)

The Israeli Supreme Court's Arab Ghetto (Yuval Elbashan, Haaretz+) Judge Kaboub would have been the first Muslim and second Arab on the court. But he withdrew his candidacy when he realized the system wouldn't allow more than one Arab judge at a time.
The short fuse - how to heal a violent society? (Moti Ravid, Yedioth) Over the last year, over 3,000 incidents of violence against nurses and doctors have been reported - a significant rise compared to the previous year…Sometimes it’s enough for the medical team not to respond to the demand of a patient or of a relative of a patient in order to light the fire: From speaking in aggressive language, to insulting and threatening, “turning tables over,” and to blows. Medical personnel learn to absorb the violent language and not respond, they learn rules of behavior in order to prevent the danger of the short fuse of so many Israelis, but it does not help. The Health Minister appointed a committee to recommend how to remove violence from the health system. The truth is that there is no solution to the problem. The violence is not particular to the health system and is more severe there than in the offices of social workers or schools. The instances of violence in educational institutions are no less horrific and possibly worse. Children beat children who are weaker than they are or different or fat or who speak with an accent. Children beat teachers, parents beat teachers. The violence on the roads and in public spaces has long been an epidemic. The normative public learned not to respond when someone pushes in line, to give in immediately when a quick driver takes the parking place you were waiting for, not to make a remark to youth who make noise and disrupt sleep. The way to deal with the violence in Israeli society is long and difficult. It starts at home and in the preschools. Whoever has seen abroad children in kindergarten or school walking down the street, escorted by a number of adults, is filled with jealousy. The children march in twos, they don’t go out of the line, they don’t yell and they don’t push each other. When they need to enter a place, they stand patiently and wait for their turn. If an adult comes, they let him pass. In class, they stand when the teacher enters. It’s enough to remember how children act here in order to understand the difference. Education against violence, education towards respecting the other, is a high interest of Israeli society. Otherwise, we will continue to slide down the slope and who knows where will will arrive.
Unholy Trinity Brings Fire to Netanyahu's Door (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's media obsession, recklessness and misplaced self-confidence clung to the newly arrested suspects in Case 4000 as well.
When Israel strikes, the US benefits (Yoram Ettinger, Israel Hayom) The U.S. profits immensely when Israel battle-tests its weaponry. When the U.S. gives Israel weapons, it is not foreign aid but a wise investment that yields fantastic returns.
Now It's Official: America’s Ambassador to Israel Trolls for Its Right-wing Extremists (MK Ahmad Tibi, Haaretz+) In closed meetings and openly on Twitter, Friedman propagandizes for Israel’s annexationist right; his only mention of Palestinians is to blame and vilify them. Sadly, in Israel’s foreign diplomat circles, he’s not alone.
Why are the rabbis of religious Zionism and ultra-Orthodox not fighting against racist hatred as they are against the recruitment of women to the army? (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) It’s amazing. While rabbis of religious Zionism are so concerned about girls enlisting, they completely ignored the wave of protests in Israel in response to Polish law forbidding the claim that the Polish people were involved in Nazi crimes.
With Nowhere Else to Turn, Syrian Kurds Will Have to Embrace Assad's Army (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Erdogan has no reason to risk a direct confrontation with Russia, its only powerful ally now that relations with the U.S. have reached the edge of the abyss. But will he have a choice?
A Few Palestinians Needed to Be Killed (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) The embarrassment caused by the Israeli soldiers' negligence Saturday couldn't be papered over by shelling Hamas positions. More was needed…In the terror attack on the Gaza border at 9:30 P.M. Saturday, two boys, 15 and 17, were killed and two others, 16 and 17, were wounded. An Israeli military force fired around 10 artillery shells into Palestinian territory at the four, who were about 50 meters west of the border fence…One of the two teens who survived told a researcher that he and his friends, whose lives were cut short at such a young age, hoped to cross the fence and look for work in Israel… Recently there has been another rise in the number of people trying to enter Israel without permission. In the face of grinding poverty and growing despair, young people have grown bolder. “Usually, if whoever the soldiers catch is younger than 18, the soldiers release him on the spot and return him to Gaza. The soldiers are familiar with this spot and know the people leaving from it are hoping to find work. They have night-vision equipment, and they could have seen the four teens were unarmed. So why shell them directly and kill them?” said a resident of Rafah.
Miki Zohar, apologize, it will only be for the better. This is the most important act (Meir Uziel, Maariv) After Rabin's assassination I was really worried that Israeli society would fall apart. The fact that we remained together as one people, despite the bitter arguments, is not self-evident. It demands from us all.
Netanyahu Is Only Focused on Survival. The Rest Is a Facade (Nehemia Shtrasler, Haaretz+) The prime minister is performing his governmental duties as if they're incidental, and we are all paying for that.
A calculated risk (Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror, Israel Hayom) The drone incursion into Israel violated what until now has been taboo – Iran targeted Israel directly. The prime minister was right to warn Iran that it crossed a line and will be made to pay a price.
Putin’s Syrian dilemma: Back Israel or Iran? (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) All of the Russian president’s achievements in Syria could come crashing down unless he answers this one fundamental question.
(Labor party chief Avi) Gabbay's escape from the left-wing left him bald on both sides (Dr. Revital Amiran, Maariv) (Yesh Atid leader Yair) Lapid's escape from the left-wing succeeded for him. On the other hand, Labor's leftists fled to Meretz and the people in the center went to Yesh Atid. If Gabbay would raise his head, he would see how many burning battles are waiting in the field.
The Slippery Slope in Syria (Haaretz Editorial) Netanyahu owes citizens an explanation of his policy toward Syria and its Iranian allies, before he drags Israel into an unnecessary war
What do the Poles have to say for Netanyahu to recall the ambassador? (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) After Poland's premier said there were Jewish perpetrators in the Holocaust, Netanyahu vowed the two countries would 'soon' discuss the issue – exactly what he vowed only last month.
Egypt has always held the Palestinians of Gaza in contempt (Muhammad Shehada, Haaretz+) Every Egyptian military regime has sealed off Gaza, blamed Gazans for Cairo's own problems and sown fear, humiliation and misery among the enclave's Palestinian population. Al-Sissi is no exception

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