News Nosh: June 7, 2018

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday June 7, 2018
You Must Be Kidding: 
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely asked to change the name of the location of hotels in Area C of the West Bank from ‘Palestinian Territories’ to ‘Israel.’**

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • No party: Messi isn't coming - Behind the scenes: This is how the game against Argentina was cancelled - Minister Regev insisted the game was cancelled because of threats to Messi’s life..but the Likud did not stand behind her
  • (Main photo: Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev press conference yesterday in Tel-Aviv smiling embarrassingly with her arms spread out in a ‘what-did-I-do-?’ look)
  • Miri did not spare (anything) - The loser of the year // Sima Kadmon
  • Own goal // Ben-Dror Yemini
  • What a disappointment // David D’or
  • “It’s not fair that Messi isn’t coming” - Noam, 9, who suffers from a rare genetic disease, was supposed to escort the Argentinian star to the field
  • Cocaine investigation of (children’s show star) Yuval ‘Hamibulbal’
Maariv This Week (Hebrew linnks only)
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
Culture Minister Miri Regev tried to deflect guilt for the cancellation of the friendly soccer match between Israel and Argentina, blaming it on a ‘new-old’ terror, (which the Israeli commentators didn’t buy - with the exception of ‘Israel Hayom’), a daycare assistant is suspected of squashing an infant until she suffocated to death and a popular children’s show star was accused of buying cocaine - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

There was no need to read the words on today’s front pages in Hebrew to know on whom the paper’s laid the blame for the cancellation of the game in Jerusalem between Argentina and Israel. It was enough to look at the main photo in which Culture Minister Miri Regev starred. Only the pro-Netanyahu tabloid, ‘Israel Hayom,’ did not show a photo of her face from the press conference she held last night in Tel-Aviv and instead of commentaries titled ‘Own goal’ and ‘Mrs. Terror.' Instead, it printed a photo of Argentinian star Lionel Messi and Op-Eds blaming Messi (“Daddy, how could Messi do that to us?”) and the Palestinians. Israel Hayom even blamed Turkey and Qatar. (See Commentary/Analysis below for some amusing insights.)

Regev claimed that the reason for the cancellation was that Messi’s family received death threats and said these threats were equivalent to the terror of the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the Olympics in Munich. But most people blamed Regev for insisting on moving the game from Haifa to Jerusalem and then tacking on that it was part of the 70th anniversary celebrations for Israel. The prime minister and the sports minister each claimed the other was the one to ask to move the World Cup warmup game from Haifa to Jerusalem.

Diplomatically-speaking, this is not ‘just’ the cancellation of a soccer game. “The game’s cancellation is an unprecedented public opinion victory for the BDS movement and the Palestinians, in which they achieved more than they achieved in all the protest march on the Gaza border,” wrote Yedioth’s diplomatic affairs correspondent, Itamar Eichner. “According to Israeli diplomatic officials, this creates a very dangerous precedent that could spread beyond the world of sports and soccer. Israel has experienced quite a few cancellations of concerts, but the non-arrival of a national team like Argentina is a much more significant event.”

Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who is in Europe to discuss Iran, said that more boycotts could happen, as a result of this one. Indeed, Eurovision organizers are reluctant to hold the 2019 event in Jerusalem and the Joint List party will petition the European Association to cancel holding the Eurovision Song contest in Israel, Maariv reported. Regev said that if Eurovision isn’t held in Jerusalem then it won’t be held at all in Israel.

Palestinians celebrated after Argentina cancelled the warmup against Israel. Palestinian Football Association thanked Argentina’s players for refusing to be used to serve a non-sporting goal.” Israeli sports commentator Ron Kaufman said, “We received a knockout from the Palestinian propaganda.” He said that it was a private entrepreneur who was behind bringing the Argentinian team to Israel “and the state took over the event politically.” (Maariv) Now, Israeli soccer fans might not even get refunds.

Tomorrow is ‘Naksa Day,’ and the end to the March of Return events that begin in March in Gaza and Maariv reported that the Israeli security establishment is on high alert and that large-scale violence is expected. Nevertheless, Maariv noted that no order has been given to kill kite launchers, despite public statements by Israeli ministers. Outgoing GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir warned that Israel "must be prepared for escalation" on the Gaza border, as well as "draw conclusions and find a suitable solution for the kites terrorism as well." On Wednesday, Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian youth in Gaza, who along with his friends, had managed to cut through the border fence east of Gaza City and were reportedly able to bring parts it back to the “return camps” set up along the border. Former Israel prime minister Ehud Olmert said he was sad about the Gazan casualties. “Is it necessary to use the guns the ways they were used?" Olmert asked in an interview with German TV. “The number of casualties in Gaza is sad. Less violent actions should be considered.” (Also Maariv) Firebrand Arab MK Haneen Zoabi sparked a storm in Knesset when she called Israeli soldiers 'murderers.’ She was removed from Knesset. On the cancelling of the soccer game she said: “Learn a lesson, you aren’t above international law.” (Also Maariv)

Interestingly, some Israeli media were finally looking to hear the Palestinian side of launching of burning kites towards Israel. KAN (Israel Public Broadcasting) Radio Bet interviewed ‘Mahmoud,’ an active participant in the events. "We are a people that wants to live. Give us our rights, the lands from which we were expelled, until then we will continue to launch kites, until our last drop of blood. Israel is injuring medical crews, journalists and Israel kills regardless of rockets or kites. Israel kills innocent people. (Burning kites) is not terrorism, but a legitimate act of protest." (Maariv) Ynet’s Elior Levy interviewed ‘H.’ a member of the Gaza Strip’s independent youth ’kites unit.’ H. said the group has no ties to Hamas. “We have no aid from Hamas and we don't need it. Preparing each kite, with its incendiary device, costs us three or four shekels,” he said. "We watch TV and realize you have great fear of these kites. Because of that, every Friday there are more and more youths who participate in this activity," he added.

The killing of Palestinian demonstrators worries European leaders much more than the fires in Israel’s nature reserves and they made that clear to Netanyahu. British premier Theresa May told Netanyahu that the UK is “concerned about the loss of Palestinian lives' in Gaza border clashes.” UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Israel must investigate its killing of Gazan demonstrators. Their statements echo those of French and German leaders earlier in Netanyahu’s tour of Europe. What Netanyahu wanted to focus on was the Iran nuclear deal and on that the Europeans said the deal must remain. And according to Israeli officials, they also agreed that Iranian forces must leave Syria. And, a senior delegation of Russian defense and Intel officials is in Israel to discuss the Syrian conflict. Meanwhile, Iran has opened a new nuclear facility for centrifuge production and the French foreign minister said Iran's uranium enrichment plans are close to the red line.
Quick Hits:
  • Palestinian shot dead after throwing stone at IDF soldier - Izzideen Tamimi, 21, killed in clashes during military detention activity in West Bank village of Nabi Salih; army says he hurled a rock that hit one of the soldiers in the head, incident being investigated. Locals said soldiers shot Tamimi from point-blank range. (Ynet and Maan+VIDEO)
  • Code Red siren in Gaza vicinity a false alarm - After several days of a relative calm in southern Israel, siren sounds Wednesday morning in Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council; IDF confirms it was a false alarm. (Ynet)
  • (Days after State Attorney's Office decided to withdraw indictment against two former soldiers) Video surfaces showing how they killed the Palestinian teen in 2013 - IDF ambush spots 16-year-old Samir Awad entering fence area in effort to sabotage it; force's cover was blown and the troops opened fire, killing the teen who was making his escape; earlier this week, prosecution withdrew indictment against officer, soldier over involvement in the incident. (Ynet)
  • Bill That Would Heavily Fine anti-Israel Boycott Promoters Heads to Knesset - The bill is being advanced even though the government and the Knesset's legal adviser oppose it. (Haaretz+)
  • Citing 'pro-Palestinian Provocations,' Israeli Minister Pushes to Nix Funding for Jerusalem Gallery - Miri Regev accuses Barbour Gallery of seeking to 'subvert the state’s existence and nurture fairy tales about the Nakba.’ (Haaretz+)
  • The Legal Advisor of the Ministry of Culture opposes Minister Regev’s initiative: “It’s suitable for dark governments" - Hadas Ferber-Almogi wrote her opinion and expressed opposition to the culture minister's intention to change the funding of the film foundations: "This is the nationalization of Israeli creativity.” (Maariv)
  • Israeli parole board denies Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi early release - Board says Tamimi, imprisoned for slapping an Israeli soldier, lacks remorse and remains dangerous. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • **Ministry asks major tourism site to list Area C hotels as Israeli - Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely tells CEO of TripAdvisor booking website Stephen Kaufer that Area C is solely under Israeli control and that classing sites and accommodations there as "Palestinian" is tantamount to adopting a political stance. (Israel Hayom)
  • Billions will be invested in developing the Golan Heights, the goal is to double the number of residents - Kulanu party planning to present plan, which includes tax benefits, upgrading infrastructure and clearing mines. Deputy Minister Oren: "This is a Zionist and security interest.” (Maariv)
  • Billionaire's suit against Haaretz cannot proceed in Canada, Supreme Court rules - Mitchell Goldhar, who owns the Maccabi soccer team, claims an article about his management of the team was defamatory. (Haaretz)
  • In Syria, a Russian move causes friction with Iran-backed forces - Uncoordinated Russian troop deployment near Lebanese border leads to friction with Hezbollah, two non-Syrian officials tell Reuters; military commander says move, which may have been aimed at ‘assuring the Israelis,’ has been resolved. (Agencies, Ynet and Maariv)
  • Netanyahu offered Syria four-way land exchange deal in 2009, former aide says - Former national security adviser Uzi Arad says PM used American intermediaries to propose plan for territorial exchange involving Jordan, Saudi Arabia: 'Netanyahu ran indirect negotiations with Assad, the psychopathic son, over leaving the Golan.’ (Haaretz+)
  • 2004 warning about Syrian reactor was ignored, report finds - Then-head of Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Yuval Steinitz, dismayed at intel gaffes on Libyan, Iraqi nuclear programs, convened a committee of inquiry • Report on Syrian nuclear reactor came three years before Israel destroyed the site. (Israel Hayom)
  • Students on archaeology program unearth 1,700-year-old coin - Students from Sharon region are helping excavate Byzantine-era site as part of a local initiative to spark an interest in history among youth • Site director Ahiya Cohen-Tabor: They are learning about children who lived where they do 1,000 years ago. Most of the finds in this area east of Netanyahu date to the early Muslim period (700-1050 C.E.), but the coin predates that by several centuries. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli Television on a Roll With Three New U.S. Adaptations, Including One About the Mossad - HBO working on adaptation of the book 'Rise and Kill First' and Israeli teen drama 'Euphoria,' while Keshet is making U.S. version of local hit 'When Heroes Fly.’ (Haaretz)
  • Female prison guards allege sexual harassment by terrorists - Prison guards say they were forcibly transferred to security ward at terrorist's request • In a statement, Israel Prison Service insists it assigns staff according to their training and abilities and purely out of consideration of the needs of the system. (Israel Hayom)
  • At Israeli conference, Giuliani says Mueller's team is trying to frame Trump - Giuliani's comments were the latest salvo in his attacks on the probe into Russia's potential meddling in U.S elections. (Haaretz)
  • Jewish museum in Cyprus aims to build bridges to Arab world - New $10.5 million Jewish museum to open in May 2019 with displays on Judaism, Holocaust, Cyprus internment camps • Through education, we can make a big difference, says Rabbi Arie Zeev Raskin, museum founder with Jewish Heritage Foundation's Sibyl Silver. (Israel Hayom)
  • Germany investigating suspected member of Nazi death squads - Former SS officer believed to have been part of the mobile death squad that perpetrated the Babi Yar massacre — one of the most notorious of the Holocaust. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Qatar calls Saudis 'reckless' as Gulf row enters 2nd year - Dispute between Persian Gulf states has evaded mediation efforts by U.S., which has strong alliances with both sides and fears split among Sunni Muslims could benefit Shiite Iran • Doha slams Riyadh for threatening military action over Russian arms deal. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Washington warns allies against financial dealings with Iran - Western firms should be aware of Iranian efforts to exploit them in an effort to fund its support for terrorism, destabilizing actions in the region and rights abuses at home, U.S. says • Treasury: Companies doing business with Iran face substantial risk. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)

Shin Bet cyber fighter: 'My parents think I’m saving the world'
For the first time, members of the Israeli security agency’s Cyber and Technology Division reveal the secret activity taking place behind the scenes; ‘there isn’t a dull moment in the cyber units,’ says the head of the development and assault team. ‘The work provides the drive, the creativity and the passion for the important things we do.’ (Itamar Eichner, Yedioth/Ynet)
IN PHOTOS: Meet the Cat Man of Syria's War-torn Aleppo
As the war raged in Syria and cat lovers fled the city, he was left with 170 cats to feed and a new nickname. (Haaretz)
Israel Has to Talk to Hamas. Otherwise, It's War (Peter Lerner, Haaretz+) Israel can fight Hamas but it can’t retake Gaza militarily; the human cost would be appalling. The PA can't retake Gaza politically. For the sake of both Gaza and Israel’s south, we can no longer bypass Hamas.
The loser of the year (Sima Kadmon, Yedioth) It was so transparent you could practically see the bottom. The press conference (Culture and Sports Minister) Miri Regev held last night, in which she declared there was a new-old terror that was terrorizing athletes, was meant to deflect the fire away from her. She? Certainly not. It wasn't her scandalous conduct, it wasn't turning a private sport event into a political story, it wasn't a matter of Jerusalem or Haifa, it wasn't even BDS. It was terror. These are the same terror agents who brought about the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the Olympics in Munich in 1972, no less and no more. They are the ones who sent threats to the lives of Messi's family. The story about the cancellation of the game is an example of what happens when the whole subject, state, cultural, sport - turns into something political of the Likud Central Committee. When what is facing it is primaries. It seems like with each day, Regev appears like her more vulgar, aggressive, blunt character in the satire show, 'Eretz Nehederet.' And when to all this the hubris is added of the one who gets unshakeable support of the Prime Minister and especially his wife - the sky is the limit. If one had to rank all the embarrassing things that the Minister of Culture and Sport did since her appointment, there is no doubt that the cancellation of the game stands at the top of the list. It's no less than a catastrophe from Regev's point of view, because in this case, it's not just the 'lefties' that are annoying, the connoisseurs, the consumers of the theater culture, but also, and maybe especially, the Likud voters, among them the residents of the periphery. All those for whom soccer is the love of their life and Messi is the source of their admiration will find it hard to forgive Regev for the dish she cooked...And what's the surprise that at the end of her press conference, Regev looked like she completely lost it...
The big lie: How apologists for Israel’s occupation justify killing unarmed Palestinian protestors (Dean Issacharoff, Haaretz+) Israel’s military and government ministers claim Israeli snipers opening fire across the fence into Gaza are 'defending our border.' That’s just not true.
Who Needs BDS: Israel Scores Spectacular Own Goal in Argentina Soccer Fiasco (Uzi Dann, Haaretz+) The Argentines didn’t want to play an exhibition match in Israel in the first place, but would have come to Haifa. Then Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev moved in.
Argentina Soccer Fiasco: Israel's Culture Minister Got Jealous of Netanyahu's 'Iran Lied' Show, and Made Her Own (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) Miri Regev's press conference on Argentina cancelling the match with Israel broke the record for being ridiculous and pathetic.
The Roseanne Barr affair shows that American democracy, unlike that of Israel, is alive and kicking (Ran Adelist, Maariv) The reason for the gap between the public and the American media and betweem the Israelis is the strength of American society in the face of murky movements that have emerged since the appointment of Trump and the success of the Republican Party.
We Are All BDS (Dmitry Shumsky, Haaretz+) The left must begin preparing for life in a new political reality, with Israeli citizens and Palestinian subjects in one apartheid state.
From Ben-Gurion to Messi - The author as a political person (author Nir Baram, Yedioth) Yesterday, maybe because of National Book Week, journalists asked me my opinion about the cancellation of the game, Messi's conduct, the failure of the Culture Minister and the victory of the BDS movement. It was kind of amusing because over the years they have asked authors to comment on fateful issues, like war and peace issues regarding morality - and here, 70 years after the establishment of the state, a soccer game became a fateful issue...In Israel of today authors don't have a unique status as 'prophets of wrath,' as they did in the Fifties. Authors no longer give advice to prime ministers. But because they write about the society they live in, analyze it, note the nuances and identify the underground processes, they can challenge the popular views and spark public debate. In my view, that is almost a higher goal.
Israel's Culture Minister Ruined the Party (Haaretz Editorial) Argentina's cancellation of the soccer match with Israel is a harsh blow to Israeli public relations efforts, which have tried time after time to blur the fact that Jerusalem stands at the center of the conflict with the Palestinians
Canceling of the game: Only here in Israel the Minister of Sports got more news headlines than the captain of the (Argentinian national team (Eyal Levy, Maariv) Think of what would have happened if the friendship match between Israel and Argentina had remained in the warm light of the sports section of the papers. Only that in the state of provincialness, you can’t focus on the main news when the emperor, Messi, lands at Ben-Gurion Airport.
From Jesse Owens to Lionel Messi (Daniel Blatman, Haaretz+) Sports stars who are admired by millions can influence and shock public opinion far more effectively than politicians, academics and intellectuals.
When 'facts' are based in ignorance (Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror, Israel Hayom) The mechanisms for safeguarding vital state secrets, including wiretaps through the proper legal channels, have kept Israel out of serious trouble in the past.
How UNRWA prevents Gaza from thriving (Adi Schwartz, Haaretz+) As long as Gazans are defined as refugees from Palestine, there’s no real chance to rebuild the Strip.
Own goal (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth) Regev is right. This is terror. And (Palestinian soccer association chairman) Jibril Rajoub is a ruthless thug and also incites in the service of the boycott. But as long as Israel's actions are more foolish, so the boycott terror gets greater successes.
Israel Should Stop Playing Into BDS' Hands or Argentina Soccer Fiasco Will Only Be the Beginning (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Israeli sports minister’s intervention and agitation has handed the movement a moral victory that could spur South Africa-style sports boycott.
Leo Messi is an amazing artist, a soccer genius, a soul player - and a coward (Udi Segal, Maariv) Anyone who gives in to threats is miserable and cowardly. Unfortunately, also Messi. This does not diminish the responsibility on the Israeli side for this political defeat. In the face of South American cowardice, there is Israeli arrogance.
BDS Is Still a Failure – Don’t Let Netanyahu’s Argentine Soccer Debacle Fool You (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) The Israeli prime minister and Minister Miri Regev have a lot to learn about mixing sport and politics, but their defeat highlights how rare BDS victories are and how ineffective the boycott campaign actually is.
Burning down the Zionist enterprise (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) The Left's knee-jerk support of Palestinian terrorism stems from an inability to reconcile Israel's inception with the Arabs' defeat.

Argentina soccer fiasco: Israeli minister gets jealous of Netanyahu's 'Iran Lied' show - with pathetic result (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) In the public diplomacy battle with Palestinian soccer chief Jibril Rajoub, Miri Regev lost – and that's what ticks off Israelis the most.

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