News Nosh: June 4, 2018

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday June 4, 2018
Quote of the day:
“All that interests them is cooking competitions on television.”
--In a closed meeting, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah allegedly said that when he was flipping through Israeli TV stations he was shocked to discover how much Israelis love cooking shows.**

Number of the day:
--Percentage of Israeli youth in academic institutions who will consider emigrating due to lack of professional opportunities or because of the high cost of living.*

Breaking News:
Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian youth who allegedly attempted to cross into Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip carrying an ax. Another youth with him was shot and wounded, but managed to flee. [In recent days, small groups of young Palestinians have been cutting the fence and crossing it to set IDF sniper posts and military infrastructure on fire before running back into Gaza. - OH]  (Haaretz, Ynet)

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Revolutionary study: One-third of women with breast cancer don’t need chemotherapy
  • The blue-and-white apple - 100 Israeli scouts, who will seen be drafted to the IDF, marched in New York in solidarity with Israel
  • Habima storm: Shouts and curses on the (stage of the) national theater
  • It’s now official: Shiri Maimoun will star on Broadway
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Stop the fire - In Gaza, they set on fire, in the south, they build: “Whoever loves this land, doesn’t burn it” (Photo with caption: Showing strength: Peretz family is moving to Kerem Shalom)
  • Supporters of Israel Square - The whole boulevard was flags: New York celebrated Israel’s 70th anniversary - and prepared for an enormous party at Times Square
  • Not aware of the danger: 1 out of 3 fell asleep while driving
  • (Former Mossad chief) Pardo storm: From being security-minded to being gossipers // Yaakov Achimeir
  • Culture Ministry gave up 200 tickets to the game against Argentina

News Summary:
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s response to the burning kites in Israeli nature reserves, excitement among Israel supporters as Israeli scouts marched through New York streets celebrating Israel’s 70th anniversary and the latest on the storm following the report on the ‘Uvda’ investigative program, in which former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo called his former workplace a ‘criminal organization with a license’ and the program claimed that Netanyahu asked the Shin Bet to wiretap senior security establishment officials - these were the top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Also in the news, Israel tried to defend its law to expropriate privately-owned Palestinian land in order to give Israeli settlement outposts legal status, but the Attorney General maintained that was illegal.

Netanyahu ordered preparation of a plan to deduct from the Palestinian Authority funds to compensate Israeli farmers for the damages recently caused by burning kites set off by people in the Gaza Strip. Israeli firefighters battled another massive fire Sunday evening, this one swept through a forest in southern Israel. (Photos) Along with the burning kites, Palestinians have also been crossing the Gaza-Israel separation fence on almost a daily basis to damage military equipment before fleeing back across. Sunday a group set fire to equipment meant for constructing an anti-tunnel barrier. [Interestingly, the papers never asked for a Palestinian response to its cross border activities that might suggest that the burning kites or the damage to military equipment could be Palestinian retaliation for Israel’s killing of Palestinian protesters and medics in Gaza, just as Israel retaliates against Palestinians by bombing or shelling places in the Gaza Strip. - OH] Today Netanyahu heads to Europe to get support for American pressure on Iran from the leaders of Germany, France and the UK, while they are likely to raise issue of Gaza with him.

Netanyahu was also putting out verbal fires yesterday. After former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo said on the ‘Uvda’ program that the “fun part” about the Mossad was that it’s “a crime organization with a license,” Netanyahu insisted that the “Mossad is a glorious organization” to which Israelis need to salute. Yedioth’s Tovah Tzimuki wrote in Yedioth that the storm over the various revelations by Pardo last week sparked a call for passing a law that will regulate the activities of the spy agency within the law. The problem is that doing so will mean that “any legislation will mention spying, assassinations and wiretapping, which contravene international law and the sovereignty of the countries in which the Mossad is working,” wrote Tzimuki.
Regarding Netanyahu’s request, which he denied, of the Shin Bet chief to wiretap senior security officials who know about a classified operation (against Iran), Maariv reported that a senior official who attended the meeting in which the prime minister's asked for wiretapping said, "Ministers were going to become targets,” as well. Former Shin Bet chief, Major-General (res.) Ami Ayalon, told Ynet that the Shin Bet has received requests to listen to generals since 1970s and that it is necessary. And a number of former IDF brass also insisted that it is necessary to tap phones in order to safeguard state secrets.

At a hearing against the ‘Regulation Law,’ i.e. the West Bank land-grab law or expropriation law, Aner Helman, a representative of the Attorney General told the High Court that the law was unconstitutional because it harmed Palestinian rights. The controversial law, which was passed in 2017 and then frozen, the land from its owner and giving it to the settlement. But the state defended the law, telling the court that even ‘if someone is hurt,’ it’s an important law because it prevents the demolition of thousands of illegally built Jewish homes in the West Bank. [In other words, Jewish desires take precedence over Palestinian rights. - OH] The petition against the law was filed by over 20 Palestinian regional councils in the West Bank as well as Peace Now, and The Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Yesh Din. Agreeing with the human rights organizations and Palestinian municipalities, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit deemed the law 'unconstitutional, null and void.’
Quick Hits:
  • Cars and homes vandalized in suspected West Bank hate crime attack - Slogans such as 'Jews don’t keep silent' found spray-painted on nearby buildings in the West Bank village of Husan, near (the settlement of) Betar Ilit. Police are currently holding two minors in custody on suspicion of committing similar hate crimes. (Haaretz+)
  • The Israeli woman accused of killing the Palestinian (nurse): "They want to murder me" - Rivka, an immigrant from the US who was accused on Arab social media networks of shooting paramedic Razan Najjar, was released from the army two years ago: "The picture (they are posting is) from an informational video I made four years ago.” (Maariv+PHOTOS)
  • Israeli police investigate alleged flag desecration in protest against Gaza violence - The political establishment is furious at seeing the video clip of young people who grabbed the Israeli flag and stood on it. After the police opened an investigation, MK Boker (Likud) said that "they should be tried." Protesters were demonstrating against the Israeli army’s shooting of demonstrators at the Gaza border fence in recent weeks. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Ex-spy chief said 'fun part' about Mossad is that it's a crime organization. Netanyahu is not amused - Former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo said it's 'a crime organization with a license.' Netanyahu responds: 'Mossad is a glorious organization.’ (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • A senior official who attended the meeting in which the prime minister's asked for wiretapping: "Ministers were going to become targets” - A security source who attended a meeting in which the head of the Shin Bet was asked to oversee all those exposed to a classified operation (against Iran): "Not only the chief of staff and the head of the Mossad could have been targeted.” (Maariv)
  • Former IDF brass insist tapping phones necessary to plug leaks - After former Shin Bet chief Ami Ayalon says bugging phones of top IDF generals and security officials is common and necessary practice after reports surface that PM allegedly tapped phones of two former senior officials, host of former generals justify strategy for safeguarding state secrets, insist they knew they too were being listened to. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Ex-Shin Bet chief: Prime ministers have requested surveillance of IDF generals in the past - Amid reports that Prime Minister Netanyahu asked former Shin Bet Director Yoram Cohen to listen to the Mossad chief and IDF chief of staff, Major-General (res.) Ami Ayalon tells Ynet that the general security service has received requests to listen to generals since 1970s; current affair, he says, is based on 'unfounded hatred for the prime minister.' (Ynet)
  • Die Antwoord, South African hip-hop duo, cancels Israel concert - Show producers insist the cancellation was not politically motivated, but due to the group postponing their tour by two days. (Haaretz+)
  • Pro-Palestinian group pressures Japanese store to ban Israeli wine - Daimaru chain store says decision to exclude Naturael, a Tokyo-based importer specializing in wine from the Golan, from wine fair last month "does not reflect any political stance" • Naturael: Capitulating to boycott campaign sends the wrong message.(Israel Hayom)
  • Israel dragging its feet on recognizing social work degrees from Palestinian university - Al-Quds University, located in both Jerusalem and West Bank is still a center of controversy; Social Affairs Ministry denies Jerusalem municipality's claim of shortage in social workers. (Haaretz)
  • Minister wants police included in prayer for soldiers' welfare - Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan argues that members of Israel's police forces are on the "front line of the war on terrorism" and sacrifice their lives to defend the country, so are deserving of mention in prayers recited in synagogues nationwide. (Israel Hayom)
  • Political crisis looms as Haredim fight proposed conversion law - Former Minister Moshe Nissim presents Prime Minister Netanyahu with conclusions of special committee recommending creation of new conversion authority that would no longer be subject to Israel's Chief Rabbinate and recognition of liberal conversions performed abroad; ultra-Orthodox parties outraged, threaten to veto legislation. (Ynet)
  • Israeli students claim: We want to be politically involved, but we are collapsing under the burden - The youth report, published by the National Student Union, shows that 40% of those studying in academic institutions indicated that their way of life does not allow them time to participate in political activity, 30% cited the cost of living as the most important challenge in Israeli society, while 63% indicated that their institution is not encouraging at all or is encouraging little political activity within the boundaries of the institution. (Maariv)
  • *59% of Israeli students will consider emigrating - The career wins: Many youth in academic institutions don’t plan on staying here. Students are concerned by the high cost of living and don’t see opportunities to develop professionally and don’t reject the idea of emigrating. Reasons for considering leaving: 35.5% due to lack of professional opportunities, 31.5% due to high cost of living. Subjects of most concern: 30% high cost of living, 22% political-security situation, 21.5% situation of democracy, 14.5% treatment of weaker communities. (Yedioth, p. 19)
  • Girls on mixed-gender basketball teams in Israel barred from playing against religious boys' teams - It turns out the Israel Basketball Association requires girls who want to play in boys’ leagues to sign a form agreeing that they won’t play against religious-boys’ teams if the opponents haven’t approved it. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu Postpones Debate on Recognizing Armenian Genocide - Sources say the prime minister has delayed the vote until after the Turkish election so as not to aid Erdogan's campaign. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Foreign Ministry: Proposals to recognize Armenian genocide could benefit Erdogan - In official statement, Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it advised Prime Minister Netanyahu to postpone a discussion on bills to recognize the Armenian genocide until after Turkey's presidential election, explaining vote might help Turkish president get reelected. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • ‘Sharp Flame’: Rafael’s new rocket precision guidance system - Rafael develops mini-kit, borrowed from fighter jets, to upgrade unguided rockets such as Grads, using Image Adjustment technology as an alternative to GPS, that is prone to enemy jamming. (Ynet)
  • Following the criticism: Government Cancels Controversial Pre-sale to Culture Ministry employees of tickets to National Team's Soccer Match vs. Argentina - Israeli culture minister heavily criticized for arranging a pre-sale of 200 tickets for ministry employees; state watchdog to look into ticket sales. The ministry said that the decision was made "in light of the heavy feeling of discomfort among the employees due to recent publications and the damage to their image as public servants:  (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Culture Minister Regev: "Messi is coming to kiss the Wailing Wall, we'll see who will shake hands with whom” - The Minister of Culture and Sport rejected the reports that the soccer star would refuse to shake hands with the prime minister, and regarding the tickets for her ministry employees she said: “jealous people, hysteria over 200 tickets.” (Maariv)
  • Israel's very own 'Batman' dies at 70 - Dr. David Makin is believed to have saved tens of thousands of bats in Israel through a campaign to stop exterminating them by tossing poison into caves, which the Agriculture Ministry did until the 1980s. (Haaretz+)
  • Hebrew University makes Times Higher Education top 100 list - Hebrew University places in the 91-100 range of most powerful global university brands for 2018 • It marks first time since 2014 an Israeli school has made the list • Hebrew University President Asher Cohen hails achievement as "a great source of pride." (Israel Hayom)
  • The Jews who survived Baghdad's 'Kristallnacht' and their struggle to be recognized as Nazi victims - Survivors are appealing a decision not to recognize connection between Nazi incitement and the 1941 pogrom that killed 179. (Haaretz+)
  • **Watching from the bunker: Master Chef Nasrallah - Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah follows with interest what is happening in Israel, but it turns out he’s not only interested in military and intelligence affairs, but also in what interests Israeli TV viewers. In a closed meeting, Nasrallah recently said that every time he flips between Israeli TV channels he was shocked to discover how much Israelis love cooking shows. “All that interests them is cooking competitions on television,” he told those in the meeting, whose main subjects reached Israeli security sources. Nasrallah’s comments show on the one hand, how much he knows about what is happening in Israel and on the other hand strengthens his theory according to which Israeli society is a tired, sinking, degenerate society, which doesn’t want and cannot fight and prefers instead to stare at cooking shows. (Yedioth, p. 19)
  • Gold to (journalist Ben) Caspit for his book ‘Netanyahu’ - At ceremony at Tel-Aviv Museum marking opening of National Book Week, journalist Ben Caspit (Maariv) was awarded the ‘Golden Book’ award for selling almost 40,000 copies of his book, ’Netanyahu - Biography.’ “The book is being bought at an unprecedented rate from the moment it was published and from then until today it continues to star on the best-seller lists,” said Yedioth Books publishing house director, Dubi EIchnold. (Yedioth, p. 19)
  • U.S. to Dismantle Base in Exchange for Iranian Withdrawal From Southern Syria, Report Says - Secretary of state's aide in talks with Russian, Jordanian and Turkish officials, Saudi-owned paper reports. (Haaretz)
  • In First, Israel Participates in Major NATO Exercise Near Russia - 18,000 soldiers from 19 countries are participating in Saber Strike 18 drill in NATO's eastern flank as Russia's military maneuvers are increasingly worrying nearby NATO members. Several dozen Israeli paratroopers are being sent to Eastern Europe to take part in the exercise. (Haaretz)
  • Jordan's King Abdullah Expected to Ask PM to Resign, Political Sources Say - The sources said King Abdullah had ordered PM al-Malichi for an audience in his palace later Monday as country deals with largest protests in years. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Top Saudi commentator calls for peace with Israel - Abdulhameed AlHakeem calls on Saudi Arabia, Israel to establish full ‎diplomatic ties, open embassies in Riyadh, ‎Jerusalem. Highlighting shared interests, AlHakeem says it is time to "eradicate the culture of hatred for Jews in the Arab world." (Israel Hayom)
  • Iran's Foreign Minister Urges World: Stand Up to Trump's Bullying Behavior - Javad Zarif says remaining signatories of the nuclear deal must 'make up for Iran’s losses' caused by the U.S. exit if they want to save the deal. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Houthis claim: "Israeli planes seen in the skies of the city of Hudayda in Yemen" - The head of the Houthi Ansar Allah organization claimed that his operatives identified the movement of Israeli Air Force aircraft over  the past few days amid a push by Saudi mercenaries to seize the city, where clashes between the organization and the Yemeni government forces were taking place with the backing of Saudi Arabia. “Yemen is actually fighting against a Saudi-Zionist coalition,” he said. (Maariv and APN)
  • Argentine Prosecutor Was Murdered for Probing Cover-up in Jewish Center Bombing, Court Confirms - Argentinean Federal Chamber of Appeals backs federal judge who ruled last December, more than two years after Alberto Nisman's death, that it was a murder and not a suicide. (JTA, Haaretz)

You, the Silent Majority, Go to This Palestinian Village (Odeh Bisharat, Haaretz+) Go to the Bedouin village Khan al-Ahmar and do this in the name of the Jewish people, or at least the sane part of it.
In memory of Razan al-Najjar (Orly Noy, +972mag) The 21-year-old paramedic was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers while trying to aid wounded protesters near the Gaza-Israel separation fence. Many Israelis either refuse to believe she was actually killed or claim that her killing was somehow justified. The bitter truth is that the Israeli collective consciousness is light-years away from a place where it can even begin speak about the basic concepts of justice, human rights, and human equality before God. I doubt that years of occupation and moral corruption can be corrected. I also apologize to Razan, the young Gazan woman who lived her whole life under occupation, more than half under the brutal siege. She did not taste a single day of freedom in her short life. She went out into the Valley of Death by the separation barrier to care for her wounded countrymen and never came back.
Renewed Gaza rocket fire could serve Hamas and test Israel's policy (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Israel understands toppling Hamas will not usher in a better alternative ■ Syria deal likely to push Iranians back from border, but not from entire country.
Rebel groups trying to drag IDF into war in Gaza (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) Seeking to turn the strip into Islamic State’s ‘Sinai district,’ radical Muslim organizations fired rockets at the Gaza vicinity communities Saturday night in a bid to get the Israeli army to enter the strip for another round of fighting. Meanwhile, the only reasonable solution as far as Israel is concerned is a long-term arrangement with Hamas.
It's not the 'occupation,' it's the Jews (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip 13 years ago, but to this day, the Palestinians there have not made civil government a priority • Why aren't the Egyptians, who monitor their border crossings with Gaza just like Israel, accused of being occupiers?
Hamas Rule in Gaza Isn’t the Enemy of the Israeli Right, It's the Loyal Servant (Salman Masalha, Haaretz+) Had the Palestinians been blessed with a fertile political imagination, they would have chosen Marwan Barghouti as the successor to the Palestinian president and Salam Fayyad as prime minister.
The European media's Palestinian propaganda (Eldad Beck, Israel Hayom) European media treats Palestinian deaths that result from their own border riots as sacrifices on the altar of their war on Israel, while largely ignoring Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli communities.
The IDF Is an Army, Not a Synagogue (Haaretz Editorial) The latest case of religious coercion in the IDF violates official policy and must be investigated.
What is the difference between incitement and legitimate criticism? It depends who said the things (Avishai Greenzweig, Maariv) When will sharp criticism be considered incitement, and when will it be perceived as legitimate in the framework of freedom of expression? Judging by the current media discourse: "incitement from the right, criticism from the left.”
Israel is 'blacklisting' U.S. Orthodox rabbis to defend Jewish identity. We should back it (Rabbi Avi Shafran, Haaretz+) By defending standards of Orthodox Jewish conversion, Israel is ensuring it doesn't end up as divided and incoherent as the U.S. Jewish community.
Israel counts 43% of the Jewish people of the world, unfortunately, the remaining 57% are transparent (Charles Bronfman, Maariv) The State of Israel denies recognition of what most American Jews believe in so deeply. Both communities, American and Israeli, must do everything to save the Jewish people from disintegration.
The forced kiss that launched Israel’s #MeToo movement, sort of (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) The severity of the punishment is determined not by the gravity of the act but by the social capital of the group that sues and judges.
In era of Brexit and Tory power, Israel sees shift in relations with Britain (Noa Landau, Haaretz+) Prince William's visit to Israel in three weeks will be the first official visit by a member of the royal family, and there are many other signs that relations between the two countries are changing.
Jordan's King at Critical Juncture as Public Unrest Boils Over Into Mass Protests (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The imposition of a sales tax on 165 items and an increase in the price of fuel, electricity and water have pushed the Jordanian people to take to the streets and threaten the balance of the Hashemite kingdom.
Israel warily watches as Jordan rocked by biggest protests in years (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Israel fears that unrest in the neighboring country, whose stability is a key security interest, could lead to further chaos in the Middle East.
Israel and Saudi Arabia: From foes to potential friends (Dr. Michal Yaari, Yedioth/Ynet) The need to eradicate radical elements and stabilize the Middle East has brought Riyadh and Jerusalem closer; but normalization between the two countries carries a price, and Israel must do whatever it can to avoid missing this unique window of opportunity.
Saudi Crown Prince Goes After the Bin Ladens (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The kingdom’s business leaders apparently realize they’d better work with Mohammed bin Salman lest they lose the rest of their whittled-down holdings.

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