News Nosh: 9.12.18

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday September 12, 2018


You Must Be Kidding: 
Israeli defense officials plan to go to a donor conference to convince the world to give money to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, after the Trump Administration cut off all aid to the agency - with the support of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.*

Front Page:
Haaretz
  • Trump administration announced closing of Palestinian representative office in Washington
  • Abbas’ moment // Jacky Khoury
  • Israel’s investment in preschoolers - lowest in the OECD
  • Hundreds of dunams damaged in fire at nature reserve in northern Dead Sea
  • Despite Interior Ministry commitments - public housing residents forced to pay increased municipal taxes because of municipal renovations
  • Elections in Sweden turned right-wing party into significant political power
  • Silver medal to Linoy Ashram in rhythmic gymnastics at world championships
  • (Jewish tycoon) Akirov closed a public park in Tel-Aviv for his granddaughter’s bat-mitzvah
  • Apartment of scares // Sami Peretz
  • The literacy threat // Noa Osterreicher
  • The Israeli app that became the leading educational method in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
Israel lauded and the Palestinians blasted the decision by the Trump Administration to close the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington, an Israeli female gymnast won a silver medal at the world championships, three Palestinians were arrested on suspicion of setting on fire an Israeli nature reserve in the West Bank near the Dead Sea, and Israel spends considerably less than its Western counterparts on children’s education - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

**Also, in the news over the past few days, the Palestinians also slammed the US cancellation of all financial aid to the UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. Facing a $200 million shortfall, UNRWA is now seeking funding from Europe and from Gulf States. Interestingly, in a meeting with Israeli government officials last week, Israeli defense officials said that Israel now must establish an alternative for UNRWA or Gaza will collapse and violence from Gaza towards Israel will escalate. That comes a week after Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu lauded the US decision to cut UNRWA funds. Ironically, an Israeli delegation will attend a donor conference in New York later this month to encourage donor countries to contribute to UNRWA in order to guarantee the continued delivery of food, education services and the salaries of the UN’s 30,000 employees in the Gaza Strip. Among the Israeli defense officials attending will be Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun, the coordinator of Israeli government activities in the Palestinian territories. On Saturday, the US also cut off the $25 million in aid to Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem. The Palestinian Authority accused the U.S. of trying to "liquidate the Palestinian cause."
 
Quick Hits:
  • Racist graffiti sprayed on Arab home in Afula - Former IDF soldier from Givati Brigades, who fought in Operation Protective Edge, says he never encountered any racism before returning Sunday night to his home, where he lives with his wife and children, and discovering 'death to Arabs' written on his front door. S. moved to Afula five months ago. (Yedioth, p. 8/Ynet)
  • Palestinian boats attempt to break Gaza siege and thousands protest on Gaza coast, Israeli navy opens fire - Dozens of Palestinian boats try to reach Israeli shores Monday. Demonstrators also sent incendiary tires to Israeli shores and threw stones and explosive device. Israeli forces opened fire. Gaza Health Ministry reports 49 wounded, 10 of whom were hospitalized. (Haaretz, Ynet and Maan)
  • IDF to investigate death of 2 Palestinian teens in Friday Gaza border riot - Palestinians claim Ahmad Abu Tayoor, 16, and another boy, 17, were fatally shot Friday by Israeli troops during border riot, 200 others wounded. The military maintains that Israeli troops at the border followed the rules of engagement, says will investigate incidents. (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli military kills Palestinian attempting to damage Gaza border fence Sunday - Man identified as Ataf Mohammed Salah, 32. Earlier, three Palestinians tried to breach the border in northern Gaza. (Haaretz+, Maan and Ynet)
  • Report: Nearly 8,000 acres of land lost to Palestinian arson terrorism - The frequency of fires has dropped, allowing authorities to assess damage • Nature reserves near Gaza have lost up to 78% of plant life, animal populations decimated • Nature and Parks Authority chief scientist: Area will never return to what it was. (Israel Hayom)
  • Court rejects rights group's bid to ease limitations on Gazans' travel - Gisha, an Israeli group advocating for greater freedom of movement for coastal enclave's residents, maintains the ban on travel with basic necessities is "arbitrary and illegal" • Gisha: State must find a way to balance security needs and Gazans' needs. (Israel Hayom)
  • 'Peace on the Gaza border unlikely in the coming decade,' top IDF official says - A military campaign to topple Hamas' regime, seize control of Gaza Strip is unlikely to change the security situation on the volatile border, GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi says. IDF's interest lies only with achieving security, he says. (Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • Envoy: US won't present peace plan that fails to meet Israel's security needs - Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt: We will not put forth a peace plan that doesn't meet all of Israel's security issues, which are of extreme importance to us • Hamas is an obstacle to peace, while Gazans are held hostage, suffer under its iron fist, he says. (Israel Hayom)
  • Evacuation period of Khan al-Ahmar village ended Tuesday - Israeli forces were deployed around Khan al-Ahmar since Tuesday afternoon searching the ID cards of people entering the village, whether residents or supporting activists. (Maan)
  • EU warns of 'serious consequences' to razing illegal Bedouin village - Demolishing Khan al-Ahmar "severely threatens the viability of the two-state solution and undermine prospects for peace," EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says. Rights group urges EU to show Israel "what it stands to lose." (Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • France urges Israel not to demolish Khan al-Ahmar - The French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, expressed France's deep concern regarding Israel's plans to demolish the Khan al-Ahmar village and to displace its Palestinian residents. (Maan)
  • Activists build 'Wadi al-Ahmar' village - During night hours, dozens of Palestinian and international activists built substitute homes for residents of Khan al-Ahmar using wood and steel, in a challenge to the Israeli authorities attempting to uproot Bedouin communities off the area. (Maan)
  • Palestinians Take Israel's Eviction of West Bank Village to The Hague - Palestinians in contact with court over actions at Khan al-Ahmar village, over Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and over his halting of aid to UNRWA, Saeb Erekat says. Move comes day after U.S. announces closure of PLO mission in D.C. (Haaretz+, Maan and Ynet)
  • International Criminal Court vows to continue its work 'undeterred' by U.S. sanction threats - National Security Adviser John Bolton says United States won't allow ICC to 'constrain' Israel's self defense or to investigate U.S. activities in Afghanistan. (Agencies, Haaretz and Maan)
  • Israeli Arab lawmakers meet with Arab League chief to promote action against Nation-State law - Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit promises to act against the law through diplomatic measures with member states. Arab League convenes to discuss U.S. decision to shutter Palestinian mission in Washington. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • (Right-wing) MKs to defend nation-state law at EU, counter 'slander campaign' - Likud MK Amir Ohana proposes Knesset delegation travel to Brussels to defend nation-state law to EU officials • Move follows meetings between Arab lawmakers, EU officials aimed at drumming up support for EU condemnation of controversial legislation. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli Border Policemen Accused of Stealing Cash From Palestinians in Bogus Vehicle Checks - Two officers charged in Jerusalem District Court for robbing thousands from West Bank motorists in the guise of conducting security check. (Haaretz+)
  • Border Policeman assaults Ynet photographer in court - Officer suspected of robbing vehicles of Palestinians whom he arrested was joined by his family in attacking photographer Moshe Mizrahi as latter captures assault on film; cop claims camera was pushed in his face. (Ynet)
  • Terror victim's widow urges judge to sentence killers to death - Yael Weissman, whose husband, Yanai, was murdered in 2016 in a supermarket by 2 teenage Palestinian terrorists, pens letter to judges as they prepare to hand down their sentence. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Two terrorists sentenced to 23 and 35 years in prison - Ayman Kurd, Palestinian who stabbed and wounded two police officers at Jerusalem’s Old City two years ago gets, 35 years. Kurd offered to pay damages to both victims. Amad Agbar, who stabbed 4 people in Tel Aviv a year and a half ago, receives 25 years in jail. (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Right-wing activists defame Military Advocate General - Following IDF decision to halt demolition of house belonging to Abd al-Rahman Bani Fadel who stabbed to death Adiel Kolman, posters attacking Maj. Gen. Sharon Afek are put up in a terrorist's hometown of Aqraba in West Bank; 'Thank you, Major General,' posters read cynically. (Ynet)
  • An (Arab) laborer was trapped under a heavy pile of metal at a Negev chemical site and was killed - Nasrallah Abu Salih from the village of Wadi Naam [largest unrecognized Bedouin village in Israel - OH] in the south was crushed to death at a waste disposal site, run by Rotem Ampert Negev Group, where he worked. He left behind a wife and two children. (Maariv, p. 10 and Yedioth, p. 19)
  • Israeli Educators and Academics Demand Netanyahu Cancel Agreement With Myanmar - Following Haaretz report on an education agreement between Israel and Myanmar, experts protest: 'It's inconceivable that while the Burmese junta is busy committing genocide it has the right to interfere in curricula in Israel.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Over 100 artists urge boycott of Eurovision competition in Israel - Musicians and artists from all over the world, including six from Israel, sign an open letter demanding that Israel be barred entirely from hosting the 2019 European song contest "until the Palestinians can enjoy freedom, justice and equal rights." (Israel Hayom)
  • Iran's foreign minister sends Jewish new year greetings on Twitter - "As the sun gives way to the moon, I wish all my Jewish compatriots and Jews worldwide a Happy New Year filled with peace and harmony. Happy Rosh Hashanah," Mohammad Javad Zarif tweets. He also tweets photos of ceremonies held by Iranian Jews. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • World's leaders greet Jews ahead of Rosh Hashana - In anticipation of the Jewish new year, US President Donald Trump, 'The Jewish people endured and overcome unthinkable persecution and suffering. Yet, despite challenges they have saved, their strength and perseverance continue to inspire us all.' (Ynet)
  • WATCH: PM calls on Jews to embrace ‘great commonality’ - In remarks made in English for Rosh Hashanah, Netanyahu lauds Jewish achievements since the Holocaust, emphasizing its ‘progressive, enlightened, advanced’ character; urging Jews around the world to embrace a fellow Jew, PM invites them to ‘come to Israel for a visit, stay.’ (Ynet)
  • Israeli Officer Who Exposed Sexual Harassment Case to Be Awarded - Lt. Col. Benny Meir was persecuted by his commanders for speaking out about Lt. Col. Liran Hajbi, a commander in the Givati infantry brigade who was later convicted in a plea deal. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu Spokesman Denies Sexual Assault Claim by N.Y. State Senate Candidate Julia Salazar - Claims against David Keyes were first reported anonymously in 2016; Salazar says she chose to take story public now because she was ‘about to be outed as a survivor of sexual assault.’ (Haaretz+ and Times of Israel)
  • Palestinian arrested for impersonating American Jew - Gudat Abdullah Omar from Jericho, is charged with falsely identifying as American Jewish citizen Joe Thomas for several years who was able to live and work in Israel; defendant reportedly has a rich criminal past, spent years behind bars for sexual and violent offenses. (Ynet)
  • Erdogan: Attack on Syria's Idlib would cause humanitarian disaster - After Russian and Syrian warplanes resumed bombing in Idlib, Turkey's president calls upon the international community to take action, warning 'entire world stands to pay the price,' as cited by the Wall Street Journal. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Head of Iranian nuclear agency: 'Consequences against Israel will be harsh' if Iran's scientists harmed - In an exclusive AP interview, Iran’s nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, expresses hope atomic deal between Tehran and world powers survives, but warns the program will be in a stronger position than ever if not; implies Israel to pay price for scientists' assassinations. (Agencies, Ynet)


Features:
In photos - Israeli settlers build houses in Jordan Valley
Israeli settlers started building and setting up housing structures in a settlement outpost in Khirbet al-Sweida village in Tubas in the northern Jordan Valley of the West Bank. Activist Aaref Daraghmeh said that Israel confiscated thousands of dunams of lands from its original Palestinian owners for Israeli settlement expansion in the area. (Maan)
Haaretz Poll: For Rosh Hashanah, a Picture of Israel’s Muddled Jewish Soul
Israelis and Americans lead the West in their belief in God, a factor that can help explain their unique relationship and shared animosity toward secularizing Europe. (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+)
Israeli resident of Gaza border sculpts flowers out of rockets
After Yaron Bob's home sustained a direct hit by a Hamas missile, he decided to create symbols of peace out of remains of rockets as a way to overcome trauma; Shimon Peres, Hillary Clinton and Tony Blair are among those who became recipients of artist's unique creations. (Gil Korotki, Ynet)
A Jew, a Muslim and a Christian Walk Into a Bar... in Northern Israel's Nightlife, That's No Joke
Christian Arab villages in the Galilee have recently become hotbeds of nightlife – and the birthplace of a new culture of coexistence. (Roy Arad, Haaretz+) 
 
Commentary/Analysis:
Palestinians Rage at Trump's Closure of U.S. Mission, but Some in Ramallah See an Opportunity (Jack Khoury, Haaretz+) The Palestinians may be able to free themselves from the economic and security reliance dictated by Washington after the Oslo Accords.
Let’s play soul-searching: How much have we sinned, betrayed and twisted the Palestinian cause? (Ran Edelist, Maariv) Abu Mazen is constantly speaking out against terrorism, and his security services have recently prevented a major attack, and yet Netanyahu is negotiating with Hamas. Why? So there will be something to atone for the next Yom Kippur.
The Strong Earn Respect (Haaretz Editorial) Palestinian diplomacy is perceived as weakness whereas violent struggle is treated with reverence
Israel's war between wars (Former IDF Intel chief, Amos Yadlin, Yedioth/Ynet) Israel has stuck to its policy of non-intervention in the Syrian civil war beyond launching strikes to prevent Iran from gaining a foothold in the country. But as it carries out bombings on strategic targets to maximize its deterrence capabilities, it is important to ask whether Israel is delaying the next war or catalyzing it.
The court's harmful interventionism (Erez Tadmor, Israel Hayom) The High Court has adopted the absurd position that vast experience in the public sector disqualifies one from advising the government on senior appointments. Kafka couldn't have said it better.
Israelis Can’t Escape Apartheid (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) Netanyahu and supporters of annexation don’t understand that without the Green Line it will no longer be possible to divide the Israeli consciousness.
Closing PLO Office Is Part of Trump's Effort to Tame the Palestinians via Humiliation. It's Bound to Fail (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) The Israeli right rejoices in the one-sided U.S. offensive, but history proves it's a time bomb that will eventually blow up in our faces.
Rehab: Five things we should all stop doing next year (Lilach Sigan, Maariv) The time has come to stop holding endless discussions about hugs and boycotts, to stop looking outside for solutions to our internal problems, to stop confusing between the need to doubt and the need to trust, to stop sharing with all our might and to stop arguing about the Oslo Accords.
How educated Arabs present a dilemma for Israel (Yaron London, Yedioth/Ynet) Unlike ultra-Orthodox Jews, country’s Arab sector is eager to acquire education and integrate into modern labor market, and although this is excellent news for economy, Israeli government views educated minority as a potential threat that might be able to form adequate political opposition and exacerbate current hostility.
They Subjugate Hebrew, Too (Zehava Galon, Haaretz+) To build an apartheid regime, it is not enough to suppress the Palestinian people; one must also crush the resistance within Israel.
From the south will come good tidings (Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi, Israel Hayom) The defense and settlement of this country are intertwined. This mission entails numerous security challenges, and the IDF and Southern Command work tirelessly to create a strong, stable security reality.
Netanyahu and his government turn their faces away from the problems and try to convince us that there is nothing bad (Dr. Revital Amiran, Maariv) The long lines at Ben-Gurion Airport are not a measure of comfort, but rather a testament to the Israeli's desire to escape the pressures of the country. Unlike the line to get an apartment and health (treatment), the line for a flight at least leads to a pleasant experience.
This was Bibi's best year ever. Next year could be his worst (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) The Jewish year ends with Netanyahu in his strongest position ever on the international stage and reigning supreme at home. But looming indictments might still bring his empire crashing down.
Sliced thin (Ron Meiburg, Maariv) 13 years after he emigrated to America from Israel, no one recommends that he go home. Ron Meiberg understands that while it is good to live among your own people, Israel must first decide what it wants to be.
Israel Is Too Strong (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) If Israel were weaker, it would work harder to be accepted in the region. If it were less strong, Israel would have had to put an end to the curse of the occupation.
Those who seek peace should be willing to destroy its obstacles (Brigadier General Amir Avivi (ret.) Yedioth/Ynet) With the death of the Oslo Accords it is time to push toward The New State Solution. But good ideas cannot rise and fall according to the whims and ideologies of terror organizations. It's time for the world to tell Hamas they have three options, including being militarily demolished and destroyed.
How Israel’s Labor Party could have chosen a real scenario for peace (Israel Harel, Haaretz+) This is how Shimon Peres could have left Oslo’s architects behind, battled Yasser Arafat and terrorism, and put the Jordanian option back on the table
Moscow demonstrates the extent to which we can not justify the loss of our democracy (Shai Lahav, Maariv) Israel 2018, with all its shortcomings, is a much freer country than the "old and good" Israel, where education, employment and economic welfare were blocked from a large part of the citizens. The term "freedom" is complex and multi-dimensional.
It All Could've Been Different: Imagine Israel Today, Had the Oslo Accords Been Implemented (Akiva Eldar, Haaretz+) Imagine what Israel would be like today had the negotiations that began at Oslo ended in success — had Yitzhak Rabin completed the task of bringing peace and Yasser Arafat, instead of riding the tiger of terrorism, fought terrorism.
How Oslo Accords contributed to Israeli occupation (Roni Shaked, Yedioth/Ynet) A set of agreements signed between Israel and Palestinians 25 years ago contributed greatly to current reality and developments in the region, but only because they were never fully implemented. For Israel, occupation became much cheaper. For Palestinians, international legitimacy was achieved.
The Jerusalem Embassy Flop (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) Relocating embassies to Jerusalem violates a worldwide consensus, and what’s happening now proves that Trump’s exhibitionist move didn’t change that.
Let the automatic left-wing continue to cry over the “occupation": I refuse to apologize, let alone evacuate (Nir Kipnis, Maariv) Before he became fanatic, there was once a secular and pragmatic left-wing. I miss it even more than I miss the sane and reasonable right-wing that was before MK (Bezalel) Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) and (Culture Minister Miri) Regev came along.
Anti-democratic Revolution (Sunday Haaretz Editorial) Justice Minister Shaked uses the instruments of democracy to undermine democracy, relying on the principle of majority rule to strike against other fundamental principles.
A list of issues Israeli public had to face in the past year (Shai Cohen, Ynet) With all due respect to Israeli achievements in the field of cyber technologies, and Israel's macro-economic accomplishments, the country’s problems with security, health care and housing have only been exacerbated over the past year.
A Jewish Year and Its Curses: Holding Up a Mirror to Israel in 5778 (Ori Mark, Haaretz+) As we celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, a look at the year that was.
Every year we note to ourselves with a sigh of relief: Well, we survived that, too (Meir Uziel, Maariv) On the question of the Palestinian refugees, we have until now looked at this kind of black stain, in which we haven’t seen the truth. And so, we almost fell into the pit. I wish that in 5779 we will be able to truly see and understand more.
The borderless military campaign (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) Things are never totally peaceful on Israel's borders, but overall, the past year has been quieter than others, despite numerous potential frictions • The military and intelligence agencies wage a constant battle to maintain Israelis' sense of security.
As U.S. midterms near, Israel seen needing less love for Trump and better ties with Democrats (Amir Tibon, Haaretz+) With a ‘blue wave’ possible in November – including candidates more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – Israel could find itself suffering for its Trump messiah complex, analysts say.
A question of identity  (Maj. Gen. (ret.) Gershon Hacohen, Israel Hayom) The more secure Israel's physical existence becomes, the more urgent it is for us as a society to define why we are here and how we want to live as Jews in our ancestral homeland.
The Day the Music Died: Will BDS Bring Tel Aviv's Club Scene to a Standstill? (Idit Frenkel, Haaretz+) We may be reaching the day when the boycott movement bursts the escapist bubble of Israel's nightlife.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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