News Nosh: May 23, 2018

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday May 23, 2018


You Must Be Kidding: 
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman smiles as he receives a photo of Jerusalem with the Third Jewish Temple replacing the Muslim Mosques.**

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Expose - Last battle of the Kishon fighters: 18 years after Yedioth revealed the suspicion that dives in the Kishon river gave the Navy divers cancer, the former soldiers are renewing their struggle and demanding the High Court recognize the source of their illness
  • Exclusive - “I request the harshest sentence for the terrorist” - Nirit Zamora stands today in court before the terrorist who stabbed her and before the judges who convicted him only of aggravated battery - “because after one stab the knife broke”
  • Most die - in the south of the country; the least die in Judea and Samaria
  • The Messi panic in Jerusalem - Hundreds of thousands trying to get tickets to the game against Argentina

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

Israel Hayom
  • “Adir” (‘amazing’ - name of the F-35) message to Iran above the skies of Beirut - Senior Air Force commander: “Iranian resolves continues, we continue to thwart”
  • The echoes of the F-35 will reach Teheran // Yoav Limor
  • Sanctions: In order to change the regime in Iran // Raz Zimmt
  • Rescue out of the movies - Two Israelis lost their way in the Negev, but resourcefully made an SOS message out of rocks and were found by a helicopter
  • “I’ve stopped counting the requests for selfies, this love really moves me” - Exclusive: Netta Barzilai is still getting used to the new status of ‘nation’s sweetheart’
  • “Israel is back to drying out”: Water Authority asks to shorten showers
  • Sick 7-year-old Daniel will be expelled to Ukraine: “His fate is sealed in writing”
  • Trump: “The meeting with Kim Jong Un won’t take place if the conditions are not fulfilled”

News Summary:
In today’s Hebrew newspapers top stories, Israel’s Air Force chief prided Israel for being first to use the F-35 stealth fighter jet in combat in the Middle East, in thereby admitting publicly what was until then unknown, Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit hinted that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu cannot get involved in the appointment of the next police commissioner because of the police investigations against the premier himself, and the Knesset prepared to make a flood of anti-Turkey legislation, while Turkey’s premier suggested boycotting settlement goods. Also in the news, Palestinians briefly crossed into Israel from Gaza and the Israeli army hits Hamas target with tank fire in response.

At a conference, Israel Air Force chief Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin revealed that Israel made the world's first F-35 stealth fighter air strike and Israeli military analysts said that was a message of air superiority to Iran, Syria and Hezbollah. (See Commentary/Analysis below.) Norkin said Iran fired 32 rockets at Israel in the May 10 attack. Norkin also shared a photo of the Israeli F-35 over Beirut skies. (No one noted that this was an invasion of Lebanese sovereign space. - OH) (See video of F-35B making a vertical landing on an amphibious ship.) Another senior IAF officer - unnamed - said Israel continues to disrupting Iranian activity in Syria and maintaining freedom of action in Syria. That said, Netanyahu has ordered that the security cabinet convene its weekly meetings in an underground bunker.

Israeli newspapers, with the usual exception of Haaretz, referred to as ‘terrorists’ the ten Palestinians who breached the Gaza-Israel border fence and set a sniper outpost on fire. Ynet reported that according to a Palestinian report, “the Palestinians managed to return to the Gaza Strip after trying to vandalize an abandoned IDF post. It was unclear whether they were wounded.” MaarivOnline noted that Al-Jazeera broadcast a video showing the men carrying a Palestinian flag with them. [Note, people planning on going out to murder don't usually carry national flags with them...-OH] In the Gaza Strip, Hamas military leader Yahya Sinwar said, “We will go all the way if Gaza blockade not eased,” He announces plan for mass Palestinian protest on June 5, Naksa Day, when Palestinians commemorate Arabs’ defeat in 1967 Six-Day War and the Israeli conquering of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. (Also Maariv.) Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority asked the International Criminal Court to investigate Israel's 'grave crimes,’ which Israel called a 'cynical step without legal validity.’

And Israel’s Channel 10 reported that US President Donald Trump’s envoys to the Middle East have completed their work on the proposed agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, but that Trump had not yet decided when to publicize it. (Maariv)
Quick Hits:
  • Palestinian vineyard vandalized in second suspected hate crime within a week - Last week 300 vines were pulled from the ground in a vineyard in Hebron. A graffiti was sprayed on a rock nearby, saying: 'We will reach everywhere.’ (Haaretz)
  • Palestinians open fire at Israeli vehicle in southern Samaria - Attempted terror attack takes place near Palestinian village of Nu'eima in Binyamin region; several bullets located on scene. (Ynet)
  • Some 300 housing units go up for sale in West Bank's Beit El settlement - Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon's Buyer's Price program offers for sale some 300 new apartments in the West Bank settlement of Beit El, the biggest marketing move in the settlements since the program started; Kahlon's decision coincides with stalemate in talks with the Palestinian Authority. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Under questioning, police officer denies injuring Israeli Arab activist - Police chief slams 'totally illegitimate and extremely violent protest' in Haifa at which activist Jafar Farah was injured, as Jufriedmstice Ministry investigators launch probe of suspects. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Israeli Minister Blasts 'Biased and Obsessive' EU Over Calls to Investigate Police Brutality - European Union calls on Israel to investigate violence against Arab activist, urges Jerusalem to revoke deportation of local Human Rights Watch representative. (Haaretz+)
  • Eurovision organizers tell fans to hold off on booking flights to Israel - sparking instant controversy - Eurovision management expressed concern over the politicization of the contest, according to Israeli broadcast source. (Haaretz)
  • Dutch parody of Netta's 'Toy' causes furor over hints of anti-Semitism - Netherland's Jewish community decries comedian Sanne Wallis de Vries' parody of Israeli Eurovision winner’s song for implying US embassy was opened for Israeli financial gain, insinuating world leaders 'eat out of Israel's hands.’ (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israel lodges official protest over Dutch parody of Eurovision winner 'Toy' - Dutch TV comedian blasts Israel with spoof of Eurovision winner ‘Toy’, song criticizes Israeli army for killing of Gazans: ‘Look how beautifully I launch missiles.’ (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • **U.S. Ambassador to Israel Receives Picture of Jerusalem With Third Temple Replacing Muslim Mosques - Embassy: Image 'thrust in front' of David Friedman, U.S. supports status quo on Temple Mount. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • The Palestinians are outraged: "How long will the humiliating American conduct continue without an Arab response?" - PLO General Secretary Saeb Erekat responded harshly to the photograph given to US Ambassador David Friedman and told Ma'ariv: “They are turning the conflict from national into religious.” (Maariv)
  • Palestinian crowd pelts US vehicle with eggs - Small group of Palestinians in the West Bank hurl eggs at diplomatic American vehicle Monday in protest of recent US Embassy move to Jerusalem; incident deepens rift between the US and Palestinians. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Settler urges Swiss government to move embassy to Jerusalem - With the help of a minor political party in Switzerland, settler Nati Rom collects 20,000 signatures on petition to the Foreign Ministry in Bern, demanding embassy's move. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israel Set to Advance Bill Nationalizing Land Secretly Sold by Church - Reworded bill excludes all references to the role of churches in fire sale to developers ■ Lawmaker: 'We will not allow thousands of Jerusalem residents to be harmed.’ (Haaretz)
  • Terror victim urges court to give attacker maximum punishment - After terrorist Hamza Faiz was acquitted of attempted murder and convicted only of aggravated battery, his victim Nirit Zmora criticizes court decision and demands harshest punishment; 'This is a bouquet from my children to the murderer as a thank you for not trying—according to the court's claims—to murder me.' (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israel urges farmers near Gaza border to harvest wheat early due to threat of burning kites - Government offers to pay 60 shekels per dunam of wheat, but farmers say this is well below normal profit margins. (Haaretz+)
  • Watch drone in action intercepting burning kites from Gaza - In bid to counter kites flown from Gaza which have proven a menace to Israel's southern town as farmland is set ablaze, Defense Ministry purchases lightweight drones that tear into primitive weapon, knocking 150 out of the skies in the last week alone. (Ynet)
  • 2 Gazans charged with flying incendiary kites to Israel - Ahmed Amawi, 26, and Mu'ataz Abu Eid, 20, face series of terror charges; they both flew incendiary kites at Israel and assembled some 30 of them for others; they also infiltrated Israel and set fire to a field. (Ynet)
  • EU calls on Israel to reinstate visa for Human Rights Watch head - Omar Shakir's visa was revoked after Israel accused him of supporting boycotts against it, but EU notes if not reinstated, 'Israel would join a very short list of countries' which have barred HRW staff. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • A win for BDS: Brazil's Gilberto Gil cancels show in Israel - Although Gil did not mention the Gaza violence directly, the BDS movement praised the world–renowned Brazilian musician. (Haaretz+)
  • Former officer recounts IDF undercover mission (in West Bank) gone wrong - In affidavit submitted by former ordnance officer, he tells of night dozens of undercover elite Duvdevan soldiers got stuck inside hostile Palestinian village during arrest raid because of car malfunction. (Ynet)
  • Petition to the High Court of Justice: Order the Attorney General to explain why he did not open an investigation against (Arab) MK Jamal Zahalka - Zahalka, from the Joint List faction, said that in his view the Israeli flag “Is much worse than a rag.” He told the residents of Umm al-Hiran [whose resident was killed by police while driving his car, thereby causing the death of a policeman - OH] that "if blood is to be shed, so it will be. It is the only way that the authorities will understand that we are crazy.” (Maariv)
  • For the first time, a Christian-Jewish party will run in the next Knesset elections - The "Biblical Bloc" party, founded by Avi Dennis Lipkin, wants to make history and run for the Knesset. "Our list will consist of Jews and Christians in equal numbers.” (Maariv)
  • Graffiti sprayed in yeshiva calls for gassing Netanyahu - Students of Bar Ilan Yeshiva in on Tel Aviv's popular Rothschild Boulevard return after Shavuot holiday to find courtyard covered in graffiti, apparently sprayed by Antifa radicals, calling for PM and Naftali Bennett's death, renouncing God's existence; police launch investigation. (Ynet)
  • 64 leading businessmen submit plan to Netanyahu on how to solve asylum seeker crisis - Five proposals include resurrecting deal that Netanyahu made with UN in April, and resettling remaining asylum seekers to more well-off communities throughout the country. (Haaretz+)
  • Israelis asked to cut down shower time in bid to combat five-year drought - More efficient use of water at home and in municipal gardens, along with increased desalination efforts are among means mooted to address huge rise in consumption. (Haaretz)
  • Lost couple in Israeli desert found next to rock-written SOS - The Tel Avivian couple, who were meant to stay in a luxury hotel before they went missing, were rescued after two days in the desert. Sister says the man ate lizards. (Haaretz)
  • Israel hopes Trump could ease rules for US-made military aid - MKs urge government to resume talk with US on 2016 defense deal aid signed with former president Barack Obama according to which all the aid has to be spent on US equipment by 2026. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Homegrown weapons manufacturer Refael signs collaboration agreement with Romania - Multi-million dollar deal signed between Israeli defense systems manufacturer Refael and Romanian defense contractor Romaero last week; this is Refael's first collaboration with Romania. (Ynet)
  • 'Clown Prince' Jared: Exposing the billion dollar scheme to push Trump to punish Qatar for the Saudis - Elliot Broidy and his business partner, Lebanese-American George Nader, pitched themselves to Saudi princes as a backchannel to the White House capable of influencing policy - for a fee. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • WATCH: Jews from all over the world sing 'Hatikvah' - As part of celebration for Israel's 70th year, Jews from 50 nations sing Israel's national anthem for a moving video put together by the World Jewish Congress; 'Israel is an integral part of the Jewish identity and will always be our home,' says WJC President Lauder. (Ynet)

Israel's advocacy people: "I document the shores of the Dead Sea by boat"
Noam Badin markets Israel through ecotourism and describes the reality of the residents living in the vicinity of the Gaza Strip to journalists: "If we do not supply the product, then who are we to complain about?" (Ilana Stutland, Maariv)
Who Is Joel Zamel, the Australian-Israeli Linked to Mueller’s Trump Probe?
The Israeli social media expert, allegedly linked to the Trump campaign through an online manipulation campaign, founded several companies, including one offering 'honey traps' and 'deep web' capabilities. (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+)
The Israeli secure smartphone sold around the world
CommuniTake’s advanced smartphone is probably one of the safest encrypted devices on the market; it is not surprising that military forces, banks, and security agencies throughout the world buy it; 'Most devices' current security measures are insufficient to counter sophisticated cyber risks.' (Liat Zand, Yedioth/Ynet)


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