News Nosh: May 15, 2018

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday May 15, 2018
Quote of the day:
"We pretended that we are a normal country. We got carried away with the delight of our leaders, that everything is fine. Hey, we defeated Iran in Syria, we were hosted like kings in Russia, we received recognition like we never had before from the US and even we conquered Europe with our Netta."
--In an insightful commentary, senior Yedioth commentator, Sima Kadmon, looks at the 'split screen' in which Israel celebrated the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem and the winning of the Eurovision contest, while its soldiers killed 60 Palestinian protesters at the Gaza border demonstration.*

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth (in special front page - back page spread)
  • Between the celebrations and the riots: A special edition
  • Historic Day - Jerusalem (Photo: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner do selfie with Binyamin and Sara Netanyahu in front of plaque of US Embassy in Jerusalem)
  • Battle Day - Gaza (Photo: Gazan protesters standing before black smoke)
  • Toy Day - Tel-Aviv (Photo: Eurovision winner, Netta Barzilai)
  • On the bitter and the sweet // Nahum Barnea
  • The split screen // Sima Kadmon
  • Gaza went to war // Alex Fishman
  • Milestone // Shlomo Pyotrakovsky
  • Self Nakba // Ben-Dror Yemini
  • And what now? // Nadav Eyal
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
Israeli celebrations over the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem and over the winning of the Eurovision contest took place while on the Gaza Border Israeli soldiers killed 60 Palestinian demonstrators making today’s top stories in most of the main Hebrew newspapers, with the usual exception of Israel Hayom, which pushed the Palestinian deaths to page 8. The disconnect between the celebrations and the carnage was not lost on the Israeli commentators - except again for those of Israel Hayom, who noted that after all applause dies down, nothing has changed in Israel and it still has to deal with its Palestinian neighbors, with whom its relations are now worse.

US Embassy Quickees:



Quick Hits:
  • Deputy AG resigns after blast at rule of law’s enemies - Avi Licht recently complained of 'declining professionalism in the legal service' and development of ideological attitude painting judicial system as illegitimate. (Haaretz)
  • 26 Palestinian cars vandalized in East Jerusalem, firebomb thrown into Jewish home - Tensions on edge as U.S. embassy to open Monday in capital. (Haaretz)
  • Israeli, Palestinian censuses count 250,000 Arabs twice - More than a quarter of a million people have been counted in both Israeli and Palestinian census, bringing into sharp focus need for clarity on already sensitive demographics issue; Israeli statistics bureau counts 332,000 Arabs as Jerusalem residents, while Palestinian bureau counts 265,000 in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, meaning they were counted twice. (Ynet)
  • East Jerusalem residents will be able to renew travel documents at any other Interior Ministry offices - Move will shorten long waits, but will not apply to everyone or most other services. (Haaretz)
  • $40 million expansion-renovation planned for Jerusalem’s Tower of David museum - The museum of the history of Jerusalem, Israel’s fourth most popular museum, is to gain a new entrance complex, new wings for contemporary art and a tunnel. (Haaretz)
  • For the Israeli army’s tech units, a few rich men - Figures obtained by TheMarker show that soldiers from wealthier families make up a disproportionate percent of those in elite units, ensuring them a future in Startup Nation. (Haaretz+)
  • Nasrallah: 'If Israel crosses red line, next strike will be at its heart' - Hezbollah leader comments on Israeli strike in Syria last week and Syrian retaliation, claims 55 Syrian missiles launched, some of them 'heavy', reaching as far as Safed, Tiberias; Israeli home front not ready for war, he adds—a 'well-known Israeli blunder.' (Ynet)
  • Al-Qaeda chief says Tel Aviv is also Muslim land - In a four-minute and 43-second recording posted on social media, Ayman al-Zawahri says all Muslim countries have effectively recognized Israel by signing the UN charter which calls for respecting the territorial integrity of every member state, including Israel. (Agencies, Ynet)

An Israeli bridge between Startup Nation and the Arab world
Dona Haj heads up a program under the aegis of the British Embassy in Tel Aviv that helps Israeli-Arab technology entrepreneurs to hone their interpersonal skills and to form partnerships with U.K. companies. (Eliran Rubin, Haaretz+)
The Day Donald Trump Was Crowned King in Jerusalem (Debra Shushan, Haaretz+) Along with many other U.S. Jews, I wanted to feel pride at the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. But amid the carnage in Gaza, I felt nausea.
*The divided screen (Sima Kadmon, Yedioth) When the applause for the festivals disappears - 'divided screen' appears to be the closest summary predicting the future of this day of celebration. A day when the US embassy was transferred to Jerusalem, when in the same hours, 55 Palestinians are being killed in Gaza and more than 1,200 injured. Just like in Naomi Shemer's poem, we acted as if we had a day of celebration. We pretended that we are a normal country. We got carried away with the delight of our leaders, that everything is fine. Look, we defeated Iran in Syria, we were hosted like honorable kings in Russia, we received recognition like we never had before from the US and even we conquered Europe with our Netta. What else will you ask of us. In Jerusalem, Ivanka Trump unveiled the embassy emblem, and in Rabin's Square thousands danced to the clucking sounds of 'I'm not your toy.' But the cheers of the festivities will disappear this morning. Jerusalem will remain with the recognition of the world's largest power that it is the capital of Israel. Will that change something here? Will this symbolic act...change something significant in our day-to-day lives? Apparently a lot less than it will affect our relations with our neighbors the Palestinians. Today, the first day of the US embassy in Jerusalem - is also Nakba Day. The bloody events that began yesterday could continue today, and maybe get worse. How can we solve this split screen, in which on the one hand the celebratory ceremony is one side and the blood, fire and death of civilians on the other side without suffering from schizophrenia. How can we contain, on the one hand, an event in which the guest of honor was G-d, with a place where G-d has not visited for ages. Because the number of times that G-d was mentioned at the ceremony in Jerusalem was greater than the number of times its name is said during a month in the synagogue. Or in a church. It seems to me that the secular Israeli, as patriotic as he may be, and even moved by the transfer of the embassy, had difficulty watching the broadcast from Jerusalem. It was hard to find a more surreal combination of people in a cross section of the guests, especially the choice of messianic religious people invited to give addresses...including a preacher known for...saying, among other things, that Hitler fulfilled the will of G-d and Russia led by Putin will ally itself with the Arab states and they will invade Israel in a war in which most of the Jews will be annihilated. Yes, yes, this man sat yesterday among the invitees of the ceremony. And Netanyahu (says) he has problems with the Israeli left-wing. Netanyahu knew exactly who was in the target audience. He knew that for a few hours the the new US embassy building was being appropriated for the benefit of the messianic and surreal 'base' of Donald Trump. And he did it willingly. Maybe he hoped that the Israeli public wouldn't notice. And maybe he didn't hope, because he simply doesn't care what the Israeli public thinks: He himself gave up on a great part of Jewish America and actually on anyone who is not messianic, be they Christian or Jewish. So allow me to move to the other side of the split screen. To those same pictures we saw from Gaza. To the riots at Kalandia checkpoint. And to wake up this morning, Nakba Day, with great despair. And to ask what we all need to ask today: Where is this taking us.
Stop the Bloodbath (Haaretz Editorial) There is no dispute over Israel’s right to defend its border, but this does not mean it has the right to do whatever it pleases to those who try to cross it
Hamas's march of folly (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) Neither Hamas nor Israel want another round of fighting in Gaza, which would force the IDF to enter the strip, but the high number of casualties on the border might leave Hamas with no choice but to respond. If Hamas, or one of the other Palestinian factions, fires rockets at Israel, a full-blown conflict might erupt.
It's not a 'Hamas march' in Gaza. It's tens of thousands willing to die (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) The Israeli army's characterization of the demonstrations diminishes their gravity, but also unwittingly cast Hamas as a responsible, sophisticated political organization.
As long as the political echelon does not formulate a strategy for the Gaza Strip, the road to escalation is very short (Tal Lev-Ram, Maariv) War in Gaza is not an objective at this time. But it is clear that without a clear decision in the political echelon, the State of Israel is being dragged toward a military confrontation in Gaza that it is not interested in.
Messianic U.S.-Israel axis showcased at Jerusalem embassy ceremony is gut-punch for most American Jews (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Horrendous Gaza casualty count mars Netanyahu and Trump's historic day of glory
Israel has only one capital (Ron Huldai, Yedioth/Ynet) Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai congratulates his city's older sister on its moral victory ahead of inauguration of new US Embassy, says expects all embassies to move to their natural place—Jerusalem.
Every time we were so euphoric - it ended in tears. Let 's hope not this time (Ben Caspit, Maariv) Two huge parties took place on one side versus zero achievements on the other - sounds like the road to redemption. The bad news: The Palestinians are still here and they wake up a with little more despair this morning than yesterday.
The day Jerusalem won (Ron Prosor, Israel Hayom) The relocation of the U.S. Embassy to the capital of Israel gives us all hope that truth will win out over fake history and that vision and faith will defeat the naysayers.
A predictable bloodbath in Gaza: Israel did not lift a finger to prevent lethal clashes (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Hamas has been preparing for months for a storming of the fence, knowing it would end in dozens of deaths – a result voices in Israel warned would come should Gaza's economic crisis not be eased.
Confrontations in Gaza: Both sides declared victory, but without a plan to end the crisis (Yossi Melman, Maariv) Hamas reveals the strength of the popular protest, which is also rubbing shoulders with terrorist acts on the Israeli border. Israel has no answer to this weapon and it will not be able to find a solution.
Hamas incites violence to hide its own shortcomings (Amos Yadlin and Ari Heistein, Yedioth/Ynet) As self-interest appears to be Hamas' only guiding principle, it seems appropriate to warn the group that if they continue to escalate tensions with Israel as a way to deflect from their own failures, they run the risk of losing control of the situation and being dragged into a war they do not want and cannot win.
Israel, Jerusalem and Trump (Prof. Abraham Ben-Zvi, Israel Hayom) In implementing his campaign promise to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, President Trump underscores the nature of the special alliance between the two nations.
After 3,000 years of history in Jerusalem: Why does the left-wing miss Jordanian rule? (Prof. Arieh Eldad, Maariv) Nothing would help them, anyone who wanted to redistribute the capital. There are solutions to the demographic problem, the illegal construction, the long-term neglect of East Jerusalem. The capital of Israel is stronger than all its enemies at home and abroad; Even those indifferent to her.
Dozens of Palestinian deaths in Gaza didn't disturb Netanyahu's 'great day for peace' in Jerusalem (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) While Trump's praises were sung and scripture was quoted in Jerusalem, a bloodbath raged on in Gaza. But as long as he has Washington's support, nothing can rain on Netanyahu's parade.
Hamas is trying to create a regional wave that will shake stability in Egypt and Jordan (Yoni Ben Menachem, Maariv) The leadership of the governing organization in the Gaza Strip seeks to create a security "earthquake" that will cause Israel to fear a large explosion and push the international community to force Israel to lift the siege.
Trump choosing a 'Jews are going to hell' evangelical to pray at the Jerusalem embassy is offensive. But it's no accident (Jonathan S. Tobin, Haaretz+) Pastor Robert Jeffress also thinks Islam is evil, Mormons belong to a cult, Catholicism is a product of Satan's genius and 'gay is not OK.' But what's a bit of bigotry and theological anti-Semitism between pro-Israel friends?
Netta’s Eurovision Win Is Also a Challenge (Aeyal Gross, Haaretz+) A victory for diversity or for propaganda? Can we look at this subject in a manner a little less polarizing, a way that doesn’t choose only one side in this story?
Still believe the leaders? Trump has lied 3,000 times in 466 days of presidency (Ron Meiburg, Maariv) Ron Meiberg wonders how we agreed as free democracies to live under the rule of leaders with a very loose connection to the truth.
Israel's High Court Doesn’t Defend Minorities (Hassan Jabareen, Haaretz+) Liberal Zionists say the court is a defender of human rights, but it has never overruled even a single law because it harmed the rights of the Arab minority.

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