News Nosh 3.28.18

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday March 28, 2018
Quote of the day:
“It means a lot to us that Israelis, who have changed their way of thinking, stand together with us – the people of Hebron and the Palestinian people.”
— Izzat Adel, a spokesman for the Palestinian group ‘Youth Against Settlements,’ said ahead of the large-scale "Freedom Seder" on April 4th, it is jointly organizing in Hebron with ‘All That’s Left: Anti-Occupation Collective,’ with the goal of reaffirming the “commitment to liberation” and protesting “the dispossession and violence of the occupation.” This year’s Passover holiday is more significant, said the organizers, because it marks 50 years since the first settlers got military permission to enter Hebron to celebrate the week-long religious holiday in 1968 - and then they never left.*

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Chief of Staff Eisenkot: “70-year-old Israel is invincible”
  • Netanyahu examined at Hadassah Hospital
  • The breached border - Row of glitches on the (Gaza) fence: This is how three Palestinians broke through from Gaza 20 kilometers into the country
  • Echoing operational failure // Yossi Yehoshua
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
Three Palestinians from Gaza carrying hand grenades and knives were caught 20 kilometers inside Israel in what Israeli military analysts called a ‘major failure’ by the IDF, while the IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot gave interviews to the Hebrew newspapers and warned Gazans ahead of the mass march planned for Friday, ‘Land Day,’ and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu went to the hospital with a high fever and was released after tests - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. What the papers failed to report was the revival of an ancient Jewish ritual of sacrifice, which was allowed for the first time at the foot of the Temple Mount, sparking anger among the Palestinians.

The Hebrew newspapers called the infiltration of three Palestinians armed with grenades and knives 20 kilometers inside of Israel a ‘serious failure’ of the security forces. That was obvious. But, with the usual exception of Haaretz (whose reporter Yaniv Kobovich wrote “the army is finding it difficult to determine whether they actually intended to carry out a terrorist attack,”) what the Hebrew media failed to question were the motives of the three young men, and instead labeled them as ‘terrorists,’ because the IDF did, due to the three hand grenades found on them. However, the ‘terrorists’ walked by the wide open entry gate of Kibbutz Tze’elim as shown in the kibbutz’s security video camera footage. The papers (not Haaretz) also wrote that the three “were on their way to the Tze’elim military base,” thereby suggesting that their motive was to attack it. But even IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said the situation was unclear: “There are many unknown factors here. On the one hand, they infiltrated with ammunition, and on the other hand, there was no resistance…They didn’t pull out the weapons at any point...We know they passed close to (Jewish) communities and chose not to enter and attack, so we are still investigating their intentions in infiltrating into Israel,” said Manelis. Indeed, a look on the map shows they had to pass by a number of other Jewish communities, which form a ring around the Gaza Strip, in order to get to Tzeelim area. Manelis also noted that most of the Palestinians attempting to cross the border fence are coming to Israel to look for work. (Some of those have come with knives. — OH) The difference here is the three hand grenades.

Ahead of the Passover holiday starting Friday evening, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot gave separate interviews to the Hebrew newspapers in which he expressed the most concern about an escalation with the Palestinians, warning it was an explosive, sensitive situation” and said that the IDF would shoot anyone who harms Israel’s infrastructure. (Maariv)

That may have been a message to Gazans ahead of the Hamas-organized mass march to the border fence this coming Friday, which has the army very tense. Thousands of Palestinians of all ages are expected to participate and the army fears hundreds of protestors may try to reach the border fence and even break through it. [NOTE: Civil disobedience acts are the most challenging for the military. But the Hebrew media has not even noted that this march is an act of civll disobedience and has focused only on the IDF viewpoint. - OH] Haaretz+ reported that the IDF plans to keep Palestinians away from the fence, even at the expense of killing civilians. It reported that the army plans on using snipers and riot control methods that could include spraying rioters with “skunk” liquid and shooting tear gas at them from drones. The IDF has even posted a video in Arabic on its Facebook page, warning not to approach border fence during their planned 'Great March of Return' on Friday, and told them that Hamas is exploiting them for sinister schemes instead of solving their problems.

Inside Israel, Israel’s Police Chief Roni Alsheikh said there was no need to be concerned about Arab Israeli’s actions on Land Day, Friday. "We are coordinated with the Arab sector," he said. "I am unfamiliar with any unusual events in the past 15 years and I don't think anything exceptional will happen this year."

For the first time, religious right-wing activists were permitted to hold an ancient sacrifice ritual for Passover at the foot of the Temple Mount, JPost and Maariv online reported. The ceremony, (VIDEO) which included the slaughtering of a lamb and a demonstration of the work of the Kohanim, was attended by hundreds of right-wing religious activists and senior national-religious rabbis, including the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Rabbi Arieh Stern, Rabbi Dov Lior, Rabbi Uri Sharki, and MK Yehuda Glick. This was the closest to the Temple Mount that the Jerusalem District Court and the police have ever allowed the ritual to take place. According to Jewish law, it should take place on the Temple Mount and it is year by year getting closer. Last year it was held on the Mount of Olives. The ritual at the foot of the Temple Mount sparked the ire of the Palestinians, who plan to protest Friday saying the act violates the status quo and that it is another sign of the how the state is allowing religious right-wing Jews to encroach at the Temple Mount. Indeed, three Jewish teens were detained for posting flyers around the Old City calling for Muslims to evacuate the Temple Mount compound to accommodate the Jewish sacrifice ritual, JPost reported. The signs, prepared by the Returning to the Mount movement, requested in Arabic that Muslims evacuate but noted that, if they don't, Israelis will still make the sacrifice regardless. But, as reported, they have yet to get permission to make the ritual inside the compound.
Quick Hits:
  • Israel fast-tracks permits for new US Embassy in Jerusalem  on Independence Day - U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem is slated to open on May 14, Israel's 70th Independence Day · Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon instructs Jerusalem Municipality to waive permits required for wall, escape route at the interim site. Waiver good for three years. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • (Elderly) Palestinian (farmer) claims he was assaulted by settlers near Nablus - Israeli settler vigilantes allegedly attack 62-year-old Palestinian farmer, Tayseer Suleiman, with clubs and metal pipes as he worked on land in the West Bank village of Huwarra, breaking his jaw; claim not confirmed. (Ynet)
  • Palestinian farmer in Hebron attacked by Israeli settlers for second time in March - According to local sources, settlers from illegal Havat Maon settlement assaulted Jumaa Mousa Rabai, 45, Sunday while he was grazing sheep. Rabai sustained minor fractures and bruises across his body and was transferred to hospital. Earlier this month, Rabai was attacked by the same settlers.(Maan)
  • *Israeli-Palestinian 'Freedom Seder' in Hebron aims to affirm 'commitment to liberation' amid 'bitterness of the occupation' - The event is set for April 4 – the same day U.S. civil rights activists held the first Freedom Seder, after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel's Police Chief to Settlers: Fixing Your Cars at Palestinian Garages Abets Crime - 'It’s true that this is a population that prefers to get its cars fixed cheaply,' Roni Alsheich said of settlers whom he urged not to turn to Palestinian car mechanics. (Haaretz+)
  • Defying Rabbinate, Israeli Hospitals Say They Won’t Check Visitors for Bread on Passover - A non-binding request to ban leavened products during the holiday puts pressure on hospitals to comply, lest they risk losing their kosher certification. (Haaretz+)
  • Health Minister Litzman tells hospitals to 'search visitors' for Hametz on Passover - Instructions come after some hospitals announce they don't intend to 'invade people's personal space' at the entrance in search of Hametz; but Litzman and state say it is important to respect patients who do observe the stringent dietary laws. (Ynet)
  • Justice Ministry: Labor Minister, subject of criminal probe, not barred from helping pick judges - The ministry’s statement follows Haaretz’s disclosure that Haim Katz has continued to be a member of a panel that selects labor court judges. (Haaretz)
  • Israeli settler lands helicopter at army checkpoint in attempt to seize it: 'I don't care, I'll take it over' - Yedidya Meshulami, who previously built an unauthorized airstrip near his home and lost his pilot's license, was arrested by Border Police officers. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel sets new age limits preventing hundreds of Gazan Christians from entering during Easter - Of the 500 permits issued, only 10 percent will be used due to the restrictions, say sources in the Strip. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • "Elimination of chametz": Hundreds of illegal aliens [Palestinian laborers without work permits] were detained in a large-scale operation by the police - The Israel Police launched an operation aimed at reducing the phenomenon of illegal residents and criminal elements ahead of Passover. Some 2,300 Border Policemen and police officers participated in the operation. (Maariv)
  • Israel jailing asylum seekers from Darfur despite vowing not to, NGO finds - Hotline for Refugees and Migrants report details harsh conditions endured by illegal immigrants, laments the state's continued policy of detaining asylum seekers who are 'innocent of any crime and also says that transgender people were kept in solitary confinement, and, in one case, denied hormones and feminine clothing. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Comptroller asks PM to address Goldin family's plight - After meeting with family members of Hadar Goldin, whose body is still being held by Hamas, State Comptroller Shapira urges Netanyahu to address their critique of the state's handling of the issue. (Ynet)
  • Israeli expert backs stats pointing to Arab-Jewish parity - Sergio Della Pergola, a demographer from Hebrew University, says it's 'quite childish' for nationalist lawmakers to dismiss Palestinian demographic figures pointing to equal number of Jews and Arabs living from river to the sea. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Ad campaign by Israel's Tourism Ministry, seen by tens of millions of Europeans, expands to the Americas - It’s based on the assumption that, although Israel has a wealth of historic sites and unique landscapes to offer the tourist, what many people are looking for when planning a vacation is sun and beaches. (Haaretz)
  • Christian-Jewish group raises $1.67 million for Israel - Some 500 donors from U.S., Canada, Brazil, Netherlands and Jamaica attend fundraising gala in Florida in honor of Israel's upcoming 70th Independence Day • Israeli U.N. envoy Danny Danon, former Canadian PM Stephen Harper among speakers at event. (Israel Hayom)
  • Kansas legislators try to save law against boycotting Israel - After judge blocks enforcement of 2017 Kansas law barring state from contracting boycott supporters, lawmakers advance bill to exclude individuals and small deals from ban. Israel has "dynamic" business culture and is "prominent" trade partner, law says. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Saudi Crown Prince to Meet U.S. Jewish Leaders for Talks on Iran, Mideast Peace and anti-Semitism - MBS is on a two-week visit to the U.S., where he has held talks with Trump, Jared Kushner and special envoy to Mideast peace Jason Greenblatt. (Haaretz+)

Israeli ministry sets sights on millions of 'potential Jews' to improve country’s image and fight BDS - Diaspora Ministry recommends 'strategic plan' for communities with 'affinity' to Judaism or Israel, some of which can be converted. Plan calls for introducing Jewish and Israeli studies, launching public diplomacy projects and even finding a framework for them to make Aliyah. (Noa Landau and Chaim Levinson, Haaretz+)
'Yoni Netanyahu’s mistake nearly led to disaster': U.K. historian sets the record straight on Operation Entebbe
The PM's slain brother was not a central figure in the operation, Saul David, on whose book the film '7 Days in Entebbe' was based, tells Haaretz. (Ofer Aderet, Haaretz+)
To the settler chief who insists Jews must rule Israel even if Arabs become the majority (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) If nothing else, the right has persuaded me of this: We need to offer every West Bank Palestinian the option of voting in Israeli elections. If you refuse to allow them a country, for God's sake, allow them the vote.
If infiltrators reached Tze'elim, they could have reached Tel Aviv too (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) The three Palestinians who entered Israel from Gaza on Monday night likely wanted to get caught with weapons so they would be defined as terrorists and placed in an Israeli jail, where living conditions are better than in the strip; regardless of their motive, the entire incident points to a serious border protection failure.
Palestinian Infiltration From Gaza Reveals Cracks in Israel's Border Defenses (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Ahead of Friday's anticipated mass Land Day demonstrations on the Israel-Gaza border, it’s no secret that the fence around the Strip can hardly serve its purpose anymore.
A policy dilemma (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) The mass Palestinian march on the Israel-Gaza Strip border planned for Friday is far more than a military issue. Israel must review its policies regarding Gaza and make potentially difficult decisions.
It’s not the march that should concern the IDF, but the ability of the forces within the Gaza Strip (Tal Lev Ram, Maariv) A series of three events from which failures appeared in the conduct of forces constitutes a warning sign about the quality of security around the fence area and the ongoing erosion of the security space.
Exodus and Expropriation (Rawnak Natour and Ron Gerlitz, Haaretz+) This Passover, Israelis living in a moshav in the Arava will be sitting around the seder table and telling the story of Exodus; in Arabeh, Arabs will be marking the day their lands were taken from them.
African Lives Matter. Except on Passover Eve. Except Now (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) Why will this Passover be different from all the others? Because on this night, instead of welcoming the stranger, we will hunt him down and round him up and dump him like a dog in a country that doesn't want him.
New academic code: A breath of fresh air (Eytan Meir, Israel Hayom) The code aims to create an environment in which students can think critically, engage in vibrant debate, and come to their own conclusions, returning pluralism and sanity to Israeli academia.
The Jewish Mission (Haaretz Editorial) The Diaspora Affairs Ministry has decided to track down Jews at every corner of the globe and bring them home at any cost. It would do better for the Zionist project if Israel had focused on the two-state solution.
The haredi love affair with Netanyahu (Mandy Grosman, Israel Hayom) As long as the prime minister uses Jewish terminology when he speaks, the haredi path to becoming part of the story of the State of Israel remains possible.
How Trump and Netanyahu Are Riding the Rising Tide of Neo-fascism (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Both exploit the hyper-nationalism and adulation for strong leaders that brought the world to grief in the not too distant past.
Abbas’ sanctions on Gaza are bad news for both the Palestinians and Israel (Elior Levy, Ynet) Past experience shows that when Hamas detects growing civilian unrest in the strip which could lead to civil disobedience, it tends to divert the fire towards Israel. As far as Israel is concerned, the Palestinian president’s curses aren’t the problem; the problem is further sanctions that will deepen the crisis and civilian distress in Gaza.
If Meretz Voters Truly Want to Have Influence (Tzvia Greenfield, Haaretz+) The lesson must be thoroughly learned by all those who were persuaded to believe that gutter politics as practiced by Benjamin Netanyahu and his people could produce good results.

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