News Nosh: 11.7.18

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday November 7, 2018
 
Quotes of the Day:
--"Loyalty in culture is an oxymoron, like 'thundering silence.'”
--“Culture means a free imagination and beauty, and a plethora of voices of courage and honest and open challenges that don’t simply adapt to the government."
--“Give us obedient attorney generals, artists who are eunuchs, a reined-in media, and a disciplined and educated people whose thinking is uniform." 
--“These are not simple days and they are bringing us not only new laws, but also new words like loyalty, governability and more. This (they’re-all-against-me) dialogue offends and scars our shared culture, labeling and branding — who is for us and who is against us. Because if someone is loyal, the other must be a traitor."

--Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber spoke against the government's Loyalty in Culture Law at a Knesset Committee Tuesday.*


Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Thanks to them - Hadas Malka (RIP) didn’t stand on the stage, to receive the Police Commissioner's Medal of Courage, but her family was there in her stead. 54 other heroes received honors, including Ari Fald (RIP), the civilian who saved life with his last breath
  • America’s moment of truth - Trump’s test day: Americans voted in mid-term elections - All the results and updates on Ynet
  • Citizens of Israel, embarrassing Knesset 
  • Lacking honor // Shlomo Pyotrakovsky
  • Students in black - Across the country thousands of children and youth went to school wearing black - in a sign of identification with the residents of the Gaza envelope
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom


News Summary:
The question over whether US President Donald Trump will continue to rule Congress (Israeli papers went to bed before the results came out), the canceling of the general strike following government agreement to adopt European safety standards at construction sites and storms inside the Knesset as MKs insult one another and the Deputy Attorney General and the Knesset legal advisor speak out against a government-backed legislative bill - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Barely making news: the Hamas government in Gaza declared that an agreement was reached with Israel (details below). And, in diplomacy, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is considering canceling his trip to the Paris Peace Forum, possibly because Russian President Vladimir Putin won’t meet with him, and the son of Brazil’s President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, insisted that despite Arab pressure, Brazil will move its embassy to Jerusalem.

*Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber will no longer be able to represent the Justice Ministry in the Knesset and that she should go to politics instead. In a letter to Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit she called on himto fire her, after Zilber spoke out against the Loyalty in Culture bill at the Knesset’s Education, Culture and Sports Committee. The bill, which has already passed a first reading, was introduced by Culture Minister Miri Regev with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s support, to block state financial support of cultural works that are critical of the state and its institutions. Critics of the law say it will essentially enshrine state censorship over the arts. Zilber said the bill poses some “real difficulties” and that it would have a “chilling effect and lead to self-censorship” in cultural life. “Culture means a free imagination and beauty, and a plethora of voices of courage and honest and open challenges that don’t simply adapt to the government,” Zilber said. MK Itzik Shmuli (Zionist Union) said in response to Shaked’s letter: “We can always count on our justice minister to be the first to lead an offensive against the gatekeepers trying to protect law and the truth, and the first to be silent and hide when we must face those who try to crush these principles.” MK Amir Ohana (Likud) criticized Zilber and further urged Shaked to support his bill to make the appointing of the attorney general and legal advisers political appointments. “Someone like Zilber gets to sit and mock the public and its elected officials, while all we can do is tweet back at her,” Ohana wrote on Twitter. The Knesset’s legal adviser, Eyal Yinon, called the “cultural-loyalty bill” an oxymoron that he doubted could “pass the test of constitutionality.” “An artist and a creator in a democratic country has to be loyal to himself and his work. Loyalty to the country isn’t something that should guide them,” Yinon said. Haaretz+ reporter Jonathan Lis wrote that “Shaked has complained several times about Zilber's conduct, which was not backed by Mendelblit. In the past two years, Shaked and the attorney general have ordered the reduction of Zilber's authority on two issues: exclusion of women and law enforcement in the West Bank. Mendelblit also rebuked Zilber last year, following implicit criticism of Shaked. Mendelblit responded yesterday to the protest by the legal advisors in the government ministries against the Legal Advisors Bill, a bill that calls to make their jobs political appointments, and ruled that only he has the authority to express his opinions in an ethical manner and not legal manner. From this it can be understood that the attorney general views Zilber's statements in the Knesset as a deviation. Zilber believes that the Loyalty in Culture Bill promoted by Culture Minister Miri Regev is unconstitutional and cannot be defended in the High Court of Justice. This is contrary to Mendelblit's position that there is no legal impediment to advancing the law despite legal difficulties arising from it.” Yedioth’s Tova Tzimuki wrote that when Shaked began her job she asked that Zilber’s authority on the subject of lands in the Palestinian territories be taken from her and Mendelblit fulfilled her request.

Also at the Knesset Tuesday, MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid party) was accused of sexism after he seemed to suggest that Culture Minister Miri Regev slept her way to the top ranks of the Israeli army. Regev responded saying that he had “joined the ranks of men who speak ill of women, objectify and disrespect them” and called on Yesh Atid’s chairman, Yair Lapid, to suspend him. But Lapid backed Stern, saying, as Stern himself said, that Stern meant that he kowtows to her higher-ups. Stern added: “She turns herself into the Prime Minister’s carpet in order to advance herself," Maariv reported.

It made practically no headlines in Israel, but it was big news for Gazans - and if it holds - then also for Israelis living in the Gaza periphery. Hamas declared that an agreement was reached with Israel for a lull, and that was due in large part to the marches taking place on the Gaza Strip border in recent months. As part of the initial agreement, the fishing area will be extended to 12 nautical miles from today's nine, and will soon reach 20 miles and the “Marches of Return” will continue until the siege is lifted. In addition, the crossings will continue to be opened and 60% of the salaries of 43,000 government officials in Gaza will be paid. (Maariv) The Hamas government is also launching rehabilitation projects meant to provide Gaza's university graduates with 10,000 jobs; in addition, 5,000 families whose relatives were severely wounded during the 'March of Return' campaign will receive a NIS 700 grant. Haaretz+ military analyst Amos Harel wrote that “after a week of relative calm in Gaza, Israel is cautiously optimistic about the possibility of achieving a long-term ceasefire. However the possibility of local incident leading to a new outbreak still looms.” Harel said Israel is now looking for ways to get money transferred to Gaza.
 
Quick Hits:
  • Palestinian woman shot after trying to stab Israeli Border Policemen in West Bank  - The woman pulled out scissors and tried to stab Border Policemen who fired at her and thwarted the attack near a gas station in the Shahar Binyamin industrial zone or in the Meshor Adumim industrial zone. [NOTE: reporters gave conflicting information - OH]. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Shin Bet director: West Bank quiet deceptive, Hamas trying to launch attacks - In briefing to Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Nadav Argaman says Israeli security forces thwarted 480 terror attacks coming out of the West Bank over the past year, as well as foiled cyber attacks—both terrorism and espionage. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • IDF, Shin Bet oppose plan to crack down on security prisoners over fear of unrest - Minister Gilad Erdan’s move to end separation between Hamas and Fatah prisoners and worsen their conditions could heat up tensions in prisons, West Bank and Gaza, security services warn. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel's state prosecutor to top court: Don't let science minister deny neuroscientist post over protesting occupation  - Science minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) blocked Prof. Yael Amitai’s appointment to a scientific commission because she signed a petition supporting students who refused to serve in the West Bank. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Israeli president rebukes education minister over criticism of university heads  - Following Bennett's criticism of Israeli university heads' refusal to allow Ariel University into the Council for Higher Education, Rivlin said: 'It's possible to love Ariel without mocking academia’. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Palestinian families left homeless after East Jerusalem demolition - Israeli forces stormed Silwan neighborhood and demolished the building belonging to the Odeh family. The building contained a small sandwich shop and was home to three Palestinian families. (Maan)
  • Israeli court rules to release (Palestinian) Head of Erez crossing - In October, Israeli forces detained Nasser al-Kilani, 50, Palestinian Head of the Erez crossing (Beit Hanoun), while he was at the Erez crossing, between Israel and the northern besieged Gaza Strip, heading to the occupied West Bank. Reason for his detention remained unknown. (Maan)
  • 74% of Israelis suffer from frequent stress - According to a new survey conducted through the Internet among a representative sample of about 500 men and women aged 22 and over from around the country, the feeling of stress is more common among women. (Maariv)
  • Palestinian government to compensate Jerusalem hospitals for US cut - The cabinet decided to allocate $12.5 million to cover the $20 million deficit caused by the US decision to halt financing of East Jerusalem hospitals. (Maan)
  • Israeli fighter pilot’s remains found in Lake Kinneret 56 years after crash  - Lt. Yakir Naveh went down in the north in 1962 while training a fellow pilot. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Knesset advances bill allowing survivors of sexual assault to reveal their identities  - Sponsored by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, new law will upturn current ban on media and other entities sharing personal details of survivors – if they agree. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli women’s water polo match in Spain relocated due to BDS pressure  - The municipality where the match was to take place gave in to BDS pressure, but after Israeli officials intervened Spanish authorities moved it to a new location. (Haaretz+)
  • BDS Poses No Threat, Says Israeli Minister in Charge of Fighting It  - Gilad Erdan invokes Hitler and compares pro-boycott advocates to Nazis in speech in Tel Aviv to 500 evangelical businesspeople, church leaders. (Haaretz+)
  • Record number of tourists arrive in Israel in October  - Half a million visitors swung through Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport last month and more than four million are expected for all of 2018. (Haaretz+)
  • Banksy creates replica (of Israel’s) separation wall for London travel fair  - Artist's replica of security wall goes on display at stand promoting tourism to Palestinian territories at World Travel Fair in London • Manager of Banksy's Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem: The piece "makes a statement that one day this wall will fall.” (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • The world's largest musical mezuzah - On the roof of Yeshivas Aish HaTorah in Jerusalem sits the world's largest mezuzah: almost two meters tall and roughly 200 kilograms in weight; it can be seen from afar thanks to dozens of LED screens and pyrotechnic display. (Ynet)
  • More than 200 mass grave sites containing thousands of ISIS victims found in Iraq, UN report says - The smallest mass grave, found in Mosul, contains eight bodies while the biggest, the al-Khasfa sinkhole south of Mosul, is thought to contain roughly 4,000 bodies. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • U.S. sanctions to cause Iran oil exports to tank in November, but a rebound is on the way - Sanction exemption waivers granted to Iran’s biggest oil clients, including China and Turkey, will allow them to import at least some oil for another 180 days. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Saudi crown prince launches project for the kingdom's first nuclear plant  - Mohammed bin Salman establishes seven strategic projects in the fields of energy, water desalination, genetic medicine and the aircraft industry. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Features:
Felicia Langer 1930-2018: Remembering Israel's Human Rights Law Trailblazer, a Holocaust Survivor Who Called to Boycott Israeli Products 
After the Six-Day War, attorney Felicia Langer opened an office near the Old City in Jerusalem and began representing Arabs. Langer was a strange type in the local topography: a Jewish Holocaust survivor with a Polish accent who adhered to European manners and believed in the ideology of communism. Her acquaintances saw in her a pathfinder in legal battles that advanced the human rights of Palestinians. Her enemies saw in her a traitor and accessory of terrorists. A communist (Israel) labeled 'the terrorists' attorney,' she called her clients ‘resistance fighters.’ Langer fought the expulsion of Palestinian leaders, housing demolitions of terror suspects, administrative detentions (imprisonment without charges), and torture. “She never hesitated to accuse the establishment of crimes and to represent her clients as victims of an evil regime,” wrote Attorney Michael Sfard. In 1990 she gave up and left for Germany, after handling what she estimated to have been 3,000 cases. “I could no longer help the Palestinian victims in the framework of the existing legal system and its flouting of international law, which is supposed to protect the people that I defended,” she said in an interview. Langer lived, taught and wrote books in Tübingen, where she died over the summer. When she was asked once to describe her “love of homeland,” she answered: “Hatred of occupation.” (Ofer Aderet, Haaretz+)
The unsung hero of the fight against Gaza arson terrorism
Yassin Abu Sidra, the Keren Kayemet LeIsrael’s lookout, stands at the top of an 18-meters-high tower on the Gaza border, scanning the area from dawn till dusk in search of fires caused by incendiary balloons and kites. It's his job to send firefighters to the scene and prevent the flames from spreading. (Matan Tzuri, Yedioth/Ynet)
At the Island of Peace, dreams of warm ties between Israel and Jordan hit the rocks 
Naharayim is in the news after King Abdullah said Jordan would no longer lease this fertile stretch of land to the Jewish state. Israel has only itself to blame, says Orna Shimoni, a peace activist who has dedicated her life to the region. (Eetta Prince-Gibson, Haaretz+)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
Thank you Dina Zilber: This is how public courage appears in an age of cowardice (Ben Caspit, Maariv) It is difficult to assess whether the "subversion" of the Deputy Attorney General at the Knesset Constitution Committee was planned, or whether it was an incident that got out of control. In any case, it will be remembered as an embodiment of personal integrity in an era of jadedness
Benjamin Netanyahu Just Lost the U.S. Midterms (Samuel G. Freedman, Haaretz+) Netanyahu owns the result of going all-in with a racist and corrupt Donald Trump and an extremist GOP, turning support for Israel into a bitter partisan issue. But that Faustian bargain was only worth it as long as Trump and the GOP remained in complete power.
Along with the insults by (MK Oren) Hazan and (of Culture Minister Miri) Regev must be included (Deputy Attorney General) Dina Zilber's words (Meir Uziel, Maariv) The Deputy Attorney General needs to know what the "Loyalty to Culture Law” says, not to boast of someone who saves the freedom of art from a threat that does not exist.
Tzachi Hanegbi Square (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi took a bullet for the entire Israeli right as the debate over Rabin's murder has been replaced by attacks on Hanegbi himself.
Fight the Left's hold on academia (Alon Goldberg, Israel Hayom) With the radical Left in colleges quashing debate and purging those who do not conform, studies show students are graduating less tolerant of differing views than they were when they started. This hurts the very essence of academia: critical thought.
Netanyahu should kneel before Yitzhak Rabin's daughter (Nehemia Shtrasler, Haaretz+) The Israeli right has resorted to all kinds of tricks and lies and conspiracy theories to rid themselves of the burden of guilt for not stopping the terrible incitement that led to Rabin's assassination.
Hamas's 'wait and see' strategy in Gaza ceasefire talks (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) The terror group is curbing the violence on the border until it becomes clear what it can get from Israel and the PA. With Israel on the verge of calling early elections, Hamas knows it can get whatever it wants, including a seaport. Meanwhile, everything Israel does on the border lacks real direction, while the government makes populistic decisions, which might cause a flare-up in the West Bank and Gaza.
With Netanyahu in Oman’s palaces, Regev in Abu Dhabi’s mosques, will Israelis be crowding Beirut’s cafes next? (Jonas Moses, Haaretz+) The Israel taboo is disintegrating, at last. From BDS to the Arab and Muslim world boycott, isolating Israel has not prevented a single war, hasn't helped protect Palestinian lives or rights, hasn't brought a just solution to the conflict or reinforced moderate voices anywhere.
Construction workers will continue to fly to their deaths, the main thing is that they don’t stop (our) lives (Ron Kaufman, Maariv) In the last three years, 125 victims have been counted at construction sites in Israel, but this year, out of 40 deaths, the Ministry of Labor recognized only 30, according to a calculation method that even the ’Sopranos’ wouldn’t believe. 
Kahlon’s Failure (Haaretz Editorial) Israel's Finance Minister raises spending, cuts taxes and distributes gifts to all who ask. He is unfit to be finance minister, and Netanyahu is derelict in his duty as prime minister.
Rabin may have erred about Arafat, but he understood the Israeli dilemma well (Lilach Sigan, Maariv) Israel can not choose only militancy as a policy, and not only liberal values of human rights. Our existence depends on both abilities, and it is not easy.
 
Interviews:
Eurovision chief defends next year's contest in Israel: 'We don’t want to be used politically in any way' 
Jon Ola Sand, the man who essentially runs the contest, predicts in a visit to Israel that BDS activists won’t flood the country next May – but warns that the city's reputation will suffer if there's not enough lodging for foreign fans. (Interviewed by Itay Stern in Haaretz+)

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