News Nosh 3.13.18

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday March 13, 2018
Quote of the day:
"We must not allow the criminal test to be the only test. We need to demand more from ourselves. Our test is a test of values. And when we don't preserve our values - we quickly reach a slippery slope."
--Former Israel Air Force commander, Amir Eshel, in a speech he gave yesterday.*

Breaking News:
Palestinian Prime Minister survives assassination attempt in Gaza; Abbas blames Hamas (further escalating tensions between the rival factions), Hamas blames Israel
Rami Hamdallah, who was traveling with Palestinian intelligence chief on a rare visit to Gaza to dedicate a long-awaited sewage plant, was unhurt and vowed to continue reconciliation efforts. Several people lightly wounded and several suspects arrested. Manhunt underway. (Haaretz, Ynet, Israel Hayom, Maariv)

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • His choice - Zigzag in elections - Yesterday it appeared we’re going to the polls in June
  • Leadership needed // Amir Eshel, former commander of Air Force
  • Elections surprise - the poll that predicts 5 mandates for Orly Levy-Abukasis’ (new party)
  • (Singing duo) Statik and Ben-El signed an enormous international deal
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Up to the last moment - If a formula isn’t found: Citizens of Israel will go to the polls in June
  • A mystery and its name is Avigdor Lieberman // Haim Shine
  • The suspicion that is leading towards elections // Yehuda Shlezinger
  • Scandal at Clalit HMO: Medical treatment on conditions
  • Polygraph questions for the police officers: Leaks, drugs and illicit benefits
  • Jerusalem: Deputy Mayor Meir Turgeman detained on suspicion of bribery
  • Report in Belgium: There is no (legal) reason to prevent the return of infiltrators to Sudan
  • Spotify was launched in Israel

News Summary:
Today is the day when Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will decide if early elections will be held in June - that is, if he hasn’t already decided to hold them, and many are convinced that he and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman have decided. (See Commentary/Analysis below.) Today the two meet, supposedly in an effort to come to an agreement about the Draft Law, which Lieberman said he vehemently opposes. But coalition members accused Netanyahu and Lieberman of coordinating the crisis. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked again called the political crisis 'fabricated'  and said that toppling the right-wing government would be a ‘historic mistake.’ Nevertheless, Netanyahu acted as if he had no such intention. He came to the Knesset plenum following the demand of 40 Knesset member and called for unity and keeping the government in place, but told the plenum that “If there are elections, we'll win – but we're not there yet.” Indeed, polls continued to show Likud as leading and even getting stronger than earlier polls showed. Opposition MK, Isaac Herzog told him: "We are not afraid of elections, we are afraid of you.” Meretz and Yesh Atid sought to dissolve the Knesset, arguing that if the coalition is allowed to raise private bills to a vote in the Knesset, they should be able to do so as well.

Meanwhile, The New York Times reported that US President Donald Trump’s peace plan is being finalized - and it won’t clearly endorse a two-state solution. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah to discuss the plan. The Palestinians continue to stand by their decision to sever ties with the Americans on peace-making issues.
Quick Hits:
  • In First, Israeli Drone Drops Tear Gas to Disperse Palestinian Protesters - For the first time, the defense establishment used a quadcopter, a low-flying visible unmanned aerial vehicle, to drop ammunition on Palestinian protestors on the Gaza Strip border Friday, pan-Arabist satellite television channel Al-Mayadeen reports. Army says crowd-control method still experimental. (Haaretz, Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • Israeli forces raid East Jerusalem cemetery, destroy tombstones of slain Palestinians - Husni al-Kilani, supervisor of the al-Mujahideen cemetery, told Ma’an that he received a call at 3 a.m. on Monday informing him that the lock on the main door of the cemetery had been broken, and that the cemetery had been raided. armed Israeli forces were deployed at the entrance of the cemetery, while what he claimed were officers dressed as civilians, raided the cemetery and destroyed several tombstones using a variety of hand tools. (Maan)
  • 19-year-old Palestinian killed by Israeli forces laid to rest in Urif village - Omar Shehada was shot in the chest by Israeli forces during clashes in the Nablus-area village, after settlers from the notoriously violent Yitzhar settlement attacked the residents of Urif. (Maan)
  • Despite Initial Ban, Israeli Army Has No Objection to Trying Palestinian Teen Tamimi in Open Court - Army prosecutor says keeping trial of teenage Palestinian activist closed, as per court decision, works to her advantage. (Haaretz)
  • Report: Military prosecution opposes Elor Azaria's release - The plaintiffs in the case of the shooter will not agree to release him at this stage, but will support the shortening of his sentence by one-third due to good behavior. If their position is accepted, he will go home in May. (Maariv)
  • Israeli forces detain 10 Palestinian fishermen off southern Gaza coast - Meanwhile, witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli forces opened fire during the detention of the fishermen and confiscated a boat belonging to fisherman Adel Miqdad. (Maan)
  • Top court okays eviction of Israeli settlers from contested Hebron house - High Court rejects settlers' proposal to retain partial control of the building until it is determined to whom it belongs. (Haaretz+)
  • Pilot: Training the female Karakal soldiers to be tank soldiers - The Chief Armored Officer speaks of the revolution that transformed the tankists into fighters that employ advanced technologies, and about the operational activity that increased the recruitment to the Armored Corps. (Maariv)
  • Rignt-wing lawmakers condemn IDF's 'war on religious Zionism' - Rabbi Tzvi Kostiner was fired for saying IDF is "waging a cultural war, trying to destroy families" by encouraging women to enlist. Habayit Hayehudi minister: IDF can't dismiss rabbis over legitimate comments. Ex-Shas leader slams move as "outrageous." (Israel Hayom)
  • Deputy Jerusalem mayor arrested in new corruption affair - Meir Turgeman, who chairs municipality's Planning and Construction Committee and has announced his decision to run for mayor, arrested along with a relative of his and four other suspects, including a leading entrepreneur, on suspicions of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, abuse of power and tax offenses.  (Ynet)
  • Ultra-Orthodox protesters block road near Tel Aviv over draft-dodging student's arrest - The yeshiva student in question was arrested last week when police pulled his car over for a random routine check. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Top U.S. Jewish Leader Has Little-known Side Job as Director of Israeli Gas Giant Behind $15b Egypt Deal - Days after Delek Drilling announced the Egypt deal, the Presidents Conference – lead by Malcolm Hoenlein at the time – hosted a panel promoting gas extraction as a route to Mideast peace. (Haaretz)
  • Israel's top court slams asylum seeker deportation plan: 'Rwanda denies deal, what legal recourse will deportees have?' - Chief justice ask state to check deal’s security states, suspend deportations until it responds to petitions. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli justice minister admits: My party backed bill to curb pro-Netanyahu daily 'because the paper bullied us' - Although Ayelet Shaked had been one of the bill's co-sponsors, neither she nor any members of her party, including Education Minister Bennett, voted for it when the crunch came. (Haaretz+)
  • Driver Who Recorded Yair Netanyahu’s Strip-club Tape Faces New Legal Fight - Roy Rosen taped Netanyahu’s son and his friends while he was driving them around Tel Aviv from strip club to strip club. He sold the tape to Israeli and is now being sued by the civilian security company that hired him. (Haaretz and Maariv)
  • Israeli man assaults police officers with saw, wounds elderly couple - The man, apparently mentally unstable, barricaded in the couple's apartment was arrested by Israeli SWAT officers. (Haaretz)
  • "If the Mizrachi Jews were to establish the state - it would be another shitty monarchy" - The former mayor of Sderot [himself a Mizrachi Jew - OH] attacked the initiative to change street names from Ashkenazi ones to Mizrachi ones: "How many universities were there in Morocco, what did we know about the advanced world?... "It's good that the Ashkenazim accepted the Sepharadim and not the opposite, because otherwise they would have established just another Arab state in the Middle East." Yael Ben-Yefet, director of Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow, who clashed with Moyal in the radio interview, called him a "racist" and a "collaborator." (Maariv)
  • Israel Is Offering Farmers Over $500 for Every Wolf They Kill - Aim is to stop wolves from preying on calves and sheep, but zoologist warns program could endanger Israel’s wolf population. (Haaretz)
  • Argentine game show sparks ire with Israeli capital question - On-air controversy erupts when game show host asks finalists: "Tel Aviv is the capital of what country?" Contestant challenges the question, saying Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Jewish groups condemn effort to "erase Jewish history." (Israel Hayom)
  • US warns Syria against 'unwise' gas attacks, hints at response - Following alleged chlorine attack on Syria's beseiged eastern Ghouta region, U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis says Russia either "incompetent or in cahoots with Assad" • U.S. president has "full political maneuver room" to respond as he sees fit, he says. (Israel Hayom)

Offering Netanyahu a Pardon Is a Threat to Democracy (Zehava Galon, Haaretz+) The offer of a pardon will tell every corrupt politician that they only need to step down to escape the clutches of the law - which will shape the future of Israeli politics.
If I were Mandelblit, here’s what I would offer Netanyahu (Amnon Straschnov, Yedioth/Ynet) Mr. Prime Minister, the moment of truth has arrived. My advice is that you follow the example of Ezer Weizmann, who sensibly quit his post as president before it was too late without being prosecuted. Otherwise, you may end up like Moshe Katsav.
Netanyahu and Lieberman are perfectly coordinated and run the city's best show (Ben Caspit, Maariv) They began the political road together and they will probably finish it together. Only that the defense minister makes a mistake for himself because with him it can be between being or not being (in the next government), with a good chance for the second possibility.
A Scheme for Survival (Haaretz Editorial) The prime minister’s coalition partners failed to stand up and say the new military conscription bill is both discriminatory and a political ploy.
*Leadership needed (Former IAF commander, Amir Eshel, Yedioth) We must not allow the criminal test to be the only test. We need to demand more from ourselves. Our test is a test of values. And when we don't preserve our values - we quickly reach a slippery slope. Hence, leadership requires personal example. A leader has many more obligations than rights and a strong leader is one that has the ability to admit a mistake, without fear. Only the weak hide behind poses and are scared to admit they erred...And the last principle is modesty and humility. A leader is not a god. He is flesh and blood. Without the people whom you lead you won't get anywhere and, therefore, you need to put yourself among the people and to deal with them and among them with modesty and humility. The journey of our people over generations is unique. It is the outcome of far-sighted leadership. And to our young generation...I say - you are our young generation and however high you point that's how high we will reach. [Words taken from his speech given at the Haifa Conference for Leadership 2.]
It seems that Netanyahu will do everything in his power to evade justice (Ron Kaufman, Maariv) If the prime minister is forced to exempt hundreds of thousands of ultra-Orthodox from military service and national service in the next few years, that’s small stuff for him. The Council of the ‘Wise Men’ will continue to instruct their representatives to focus on the taking advantage of the secular majority in Israel.
To Bibi or not to Bibi: Does Netanyahu want early elections? (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Netanyahu is caught between his wish to capitalize on his popularity and the fear that state attorneys might choose an opportune time right to leak damaging details from the investigations.
Reason and responsibility will prevail (Dr. Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) There can be no coalition government without collective responsibility. Running a government as if the interests of the state are a secondary concern is irresponsible.
The sweeping exemption of 'His Torah is His Belief’ is an open wound in Israeli society (Prof. Arieh Eldad, Maariv) The election campaign, if it breaks out now, is not about the equality of the burden (of military service for ultra-Orthodox). There is not even a milligram of ideology in the current crisis, only political cynicism, narrow personal or party interests, and hollow slogans.
Who benefits from an early election? (Gideon Allon, Israel Hayom) With the exception of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, no party stands to gain anything tangible from early elections. In the overall calculus, the risks outweigh the benefits.
Who Will Fight the New Israeli Right? (Rami Hod, Haaretz+) Israel's Justice Minister Shaked is leading the new right – will a left-wing alternative emerge and take a page from her book?
3 reasons why Israel's largest privately-owned defense contractor will pay $520m for IMI (Yoram Gabison, Haaretz) The synergies are clear, but so are the costs and risks, which might explain why the company’s shares fell sharply Monday.
How did the term 'globalist' become an anti-Semitic slur? Blame Bannon (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+) White supremacists have used the term as a barely concealed dog-whistle for several years, but the problem comes when it’s used in the ‘globalist vs. nationalist’ economic debate.
Trump's abrupt new romance with Kim leaves Netanyahu hurting, and stranded (David Rothkopf, Haaretz+) We’ll always have Jerusalem? North Korea would remain, even under any deal, a far greater imminent threat than Iran to the U.S. That's bad news for Netanyahu, and for U.S. - Israel relations.
Glamorous Women Visiting Temple in High Heels and Sexy Clothes – Isaac Mizrahi’s Unlikely Memories of Orthodox Life
The Jewish-American fashion designer is best known these days for his flamboyant lifestyle and work. Yet his Jewish upbringing as the descendant of Syrian Jews in Brooklyn was decidedly different. (Interviewed by Shachar Peled in Haaretz+)

Israeli sculptor Zigi Ben-Haim: For me, art is a part of life
The Baghdad-born Zigi Ben-Haim, who has shown his paintings and sculpture all over the world, is about to open a solo exhibition in Tel Aviv. "My ideas grew with time and required another dimension. I work with materials from life, not the art world." (Interviewed by Maya Cohen in Israel Hayom)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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