News Nosh 11.21.18

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday November 21, 2018
 
Quote of the Day #1:
“I completed the whole listing process on Airbnb. I put photos and details, and when I pressed click, it did not approve the listing. It said: ‘Your residence location code is incorrect or impossible.’"
--Inbal Levy, a settler in Ofra, who recently established a compound of B&Bs there, failed to advertise on Airbnb.*

Quote of the Day #2:
"...The EU also stands for human rights and has to protect them as forcefully as it fights anti-Semitism. This fight against anti-Semitism should not be instrumentalized to suppress legitimate criticism of Israel’s occupation and severe violations of Palestinian human rights." 
--From an open letter signed by 35 prominent Israelis published in the Austrian media and calling for a distinction between legitimate criticism of Israel, "harsh as it may be," and anti-Semitism.**

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Tragedy in the shadow of the investigation - Accountant of (Israeli tycoon) Lev Leviev fell to her death days after being interrogated and hours after being summoned for another interrogation
  • Compensation for residents of Gaza Strip periphery
  • Loyalty law - for bosses // Nahum Barnea about Netanyahu and Regev against Gantz
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • “Deri didn’t learn the lesson” - Police - again - recommend indicting Deri for graft
  • The coalition’s problem: General draft of the MKs
  • Lethal game - 11-year-old boy was killed after falling from the window of his home on the 12th floor
  • In the shadow of the investigation: An employee of Lev Leviev jumped to her death
  • After the publication in ‘Israel Hayom’: Netanyahu announced that Israel won’t be party to the UN Migration Pact
  • Honor: The film, ‘Nevsu,’ won an international Emmy
  • Religious Zionism defeated Habayit Hayehudi // Meir Indor

News Summary:
A corruption de ja vu, two lethal falls and the uproar over the un-listing of numerous B&Bs were top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. What remarkably did not make big headlines was that a young Palestinian man stabbed an Israeli man in the West Bank and then later turned himself in (also Maariv).

Police recommended charging Israeli Interior Minister Arieh Deri with fraud, breach of trust and tax offenses. He already served almost two years in jail for similar charges when he was Interior Minister some 25 years ago. Two people fell from windows to their deaths: a woman who had been interrogated by police regarding her work for Israeli diamond tycoon, Lev Leviev, whose company is suspected of corruption, and an 11-year-old boy who was playing a dare game. Maariv led with the boy and Yedioth led with the employee, whose colleagues claimed that she committed suicide due to the stress from the police questioning.

Airbnb’s decision to remove all settlement B&Bs from its website is infuriating the Israeli government, whose ministers are coming up with numerous ideas and suggestions to fight back. The Israeli Tourism Minister is pushing for a ‘special tax,’ while the Strategic Affairs Minister will seek Washington’s help and the Justice Minister is considering suing Airbnb (Yedioth). Yedioth ran an insightful feature on how the report by Human Rights Watch, in which settlers and Palestinian land owners were interviewed and land ownership documents were examined, led Airbnb’s decision and now the pressure is on Booking.com. (See Features below for the interesting article. -OH) The Israeli government knows that this could affect other companies considering a similar move. A look below at today's Quick Hits reveals the battle as Israel tries to fight for its image. Airbnb and Quakers boycott settlements, while ‘Phantom of the Opera' is coming to Israel for first time, and an American star chef wrote a book about Israeli street food, called “Israeli Soul: Easy, Essential, Delicious.” But then prominent Israelis published a letter warning against equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism; doing so gives Israel immunity for ‘grave and widespread violations of human rights and international law.’

Diplomacy:
Trump: U.S. to Remain Steadfast Partner to Saudi Arabia to Ensure Israeli Interests
'We may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,' Trump says. (Haaretz)
Russia offered Israel and the United States: easing sanctions on Iran in return for its exit from Syria
According to a report in the Channel 10 News, the Prime Minister revealed to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that President Putin proposed a deal that might solve the problem of Iranian consolidation in a neighbor north. (Maariv)
Despite the diplomatic crisis: Jordan is asking Israel for millions of cubic meters of water because of its drought
Representatives from the Hashemite Kingdom arrived on a tour of the state water sources, accompanied by the (Israeli) ambassador to Amman, and asked for a few million cubic meters of water beyond the quota of the peace agreement, as a result of the country’s drought. The decision will be passed to Minister Steinitz. (Maariv)
 
Quick Hits:
  • Conference at Knesset to call for evacuation of Hebron settlers - Event organized by Joint List and Meretz MKs to feature speech by B'Tselem head Hagai E-Ad; 'Handful of extremist Jewish settlers live in Hebron, leading government to enact segregation regime in the city,' say organizers. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Dozens injured during 16th naval march in Gaza - 25 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces during the 16th naval march setting off from the Gaza seaport in an attempt to break the nearly 12-year Israeli siege, on Monday, after Israeli forces opened fire and fired tear-gas bombs towards large Palestinian crowds gathered at the northern borders of the besieged Strip. (Maan)
  • **Israeli Academics and Artists Warn Against Equating anti-Zionism With anti-Semitism - Their open letter ahead of a conference in Vienna advises against giving Israel immunity for ‘grave and widespread violations of human rights and international law..Many victims of the Holocaust opposed Zionism. On the other hand, many anti-Semites supported Zionism. It is nonsensical and inappropriate to identify anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.' (Haaretz+)
  • Petition to Attorney General: "Investigate Bennett on suspicion of bribery" - Attorney Yair Nehorai and the Israeli Alliance Organization are demanding that AG Avichai Mendelblit open an immediate investigation against the Minister of Education Naftali Bennett on suspicion on suspicion that he allegedly committed offenses of bribery, fraud and breach of trust relating to his relations with the head of the military academy, Rabbi Eli Sadan. “The Minister of Education receives political support and bolstering of his position in Habayit Hayehudi party, while Rabbi Eli Sadan apparently receives funding and public social status from the funds of the Ministry of Education." Last year, Rabbi Sadan won the Israel Prize for Life Achievement. (Maariv)
  • Israel razes Palestinian lands, uproots 500 palm trees in Jericho - Israeli bulldozers razed and leveled Palestinian-owned agricultural lands, and uprooted about 500 palm trees, on Tuesday, in Jericho City. Ibrahim Ahmad, the tenant of the razed lands, said that despite an Israeli court ruling banning it,  this is not the first time that Israeli forces have razed his lands and uprooted hundreds of trees. (Maan)
  • Palestinian attack suspect succumbs to injuries - Abed al-Rahman Abu Jamal, 17, was shot by Israeli live ammunition, after he allegedly carried out a stabbing attack, injuring seven members from the Israeli police forces at the police station, in Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood, in occupied East Jerusalem. Upon Abu Jamal’s transfer to the hospital, his injuries were reported to be minor, however, the following day his medical condition was confirmed to be critical. (Maan)
  • U.K. Quakers to boycott companies 'profiting from the occupation' of West Bank - British Jewish leadership calls decision an ‘appalling’ effort to ‘import a divisive conflict into our country.’ (JTA, Haaretz)
  • French court against the European Union: Psagot Winery products will not be marked - A court in France accepted the appeal of Israeli wine-making industry of the Binyamin Regional Council [in the West Bank - OH] and ordered freezing the EU directive to mark products manufactured in the West Bank. The legal battle in the EU decision was made without (Israeli) government assistance. (Maariv)
  • Israel plans measures to counter Airbnb ban on West Bank settlement listings - Tourism minister pushing for ‘special tax’ while strategic affairs chief will seek Washington’s help. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • 'Phantom of the Opera' coming to Israel for first time - Performances, scheduled as part of an international tour, will take place beginning August 12, 2019 at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • American star chef Michael Solomonov shines light on Israeli street food - Solomonov's new book 'Israeli Soul: Easy, Essential, Delicious' comes at a time when the Israeli kitchen is winning international recognition and Israeli restaurants are gaining the esteem of world culinary experts. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel Looks to Shorten Men's Mandatory Military Service to Two Years - According to the plan, men and women will serve the same amount of time in the army with the exception of soldiers in elite or commando units as well as special infantry units. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli comedy television series 'Nevsu' wins International Emmy - The Channel 13 sitcom about an interracial family in which a man of Ethiopian Jewish background who is married to an Ashkenazi woman snapped up the award in the Best Comedy category. Dutch film about Israeli author Etgar Keret wins an award for best arts programming. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • Former IDF spokesperson on the JAG storm: "There is no excess legalization, we must remain human beings" - The former IDF Spokesperson and Maariv commentator, Avi Benayahu, referred to Education Minister Naftali Bennett's claim that soldiers are more afraid of the Military Advocate General than of Hamas chief Yahyah Sinwar. Benayahu: “The role of the army is to win and to remain a human being. Not to be suckers, but to do things according to the procedures we have set for ourselves. It is true that there is an increase in legal advice in the army, and that is because we operate in a changing environment. We work in the vicinity of cameras, human rights organizations, the UN, the media, etc. We have to win and to stay human beings. This is what the chief of staff has been trying to do during his term, and the JAG helps him with that.” (Maariv)
  • IDF Spokesperson: "Hamas's only achievement in the escalation (of violence): (getting the) gun that killed its men" - Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said: "We can bomb 1,000 targets in Beirut, but if a missile falls at the Shalom Intersection (in Tel-Aviv), it will open the news…"If you compare the four years since Operation Protective Edge (Gaza War 2014) to any other period, this is one of the quietest periods in the Gaza vicinity. In this period, a Palestinian resident of Ashkelon was killed and two soldiers - one on the fence and one inside. We progressed with the construction of the barrier. We did not leave the south for a minute. I know the (Israeli) people living around the Gaza Strip [botched secret IDF operation - OH], it would not have asked for a cease-fire. It did want to make Israel pay a price for the special operation. Its entire achievement was a photo of the [IDF] gun from which its men were killed." (Maariv)
  • Canadian billionaire donates $5M to Israeli space program - "I believe that sending the first Israeli spacecraft to the moon will inspire Israeli school children to take up STEM studies and especially to believe that anything is possible," says Sylvan Adams • SpaceIL: We are in the final stretch before launch. (Israel Hayom)
  • U.S. students invent non-gendered Hebrew grammar for non-binary speakers  -For those who don't identify as male or female, including some transgender people, speaking Hebrew can be fraught. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Saudi Arabia, UAE Jointly Pledge $500 Million in Yemen Aid - The Saudi Arabia and UAE-led Sunni coalition has been repeatedly blamed for civilian deaths in Yemen, which the UN considers to be the world's worst humanitarian crisis. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Losing Favor as Senior Royals Reportedly Want Him Replaced - Sources say senior royals want change in line of succession as king's younger brother, Prince Ahmed, seen winning support. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Features:
Why did ex-Defense Minister Lieberman receive millions from Russia?
Israeli TV investigation looks for answers but ends up with questions about a 20-year-old scandal, in which Lieberman allegedly convinced Russian officials to fix the ruble's exchange rate to save an Austrian bank. (Nati Tucker, Haaretz)
*The B&B war
A peek behind the scenes of the virtual battle between radical left-wing organizations and the owners of B&Bs in (West Bank) settlements: This is how the war is being conducted that caused the biggest tourism website in the world, Airbnb, to stop working with all the B&Bs in Judea and Samaria. And also: Who are the tourists who come for holiday and settlements: “People who want quiet and a pastoral view,” says Inbal Levy, who established a compound of B&Bs in Ofra (settlement). And what are the prices? Between 500-700 shekels a night for a couple. A few months ago, Levy received a surprising email from Attorney Sari Bashi, a known left-wing activist. Bashi wrote that she is preparing a report for Human Rights Watch (HRW) about Airbnb’s and Booking.com’s activities in settlements such as Ofra. “We want to relate to your B&Bs in the report. According to the registrations of the (Israeli) Civil Administration, the compound is built on privately-owned Palestinian land, whose appropriation began during the Jordanian rule and which was confiscated by Israeli authorities in 1977 for public purposes. I would like to ask you a number of questions in order to give you the opportunity to make comments and add information. When did you receive this compound and are you renting it or are you the owners? When did you begin advertising on Booking.com? How much did you earn last year from rentals on Booking.com? The residents of [the adjacent Palestinian village of] Ein Yabrud claim that they are not allowed to access the lands that they own that are near Ofra, and that the lands that they own were taken by residents of Ofra. Do you want to comment on that?”  Levy told Yedioth, “At first I was scared. It’s prying, arrogant and insolent to ask how much we profited. Why doesn’t Ms. Bashi tell in her email how much she earns from the organization where she works? In the end, we decided not to respond and to completely ignore it, even though we have answers. We rent the land. It’s land that is within the community (of Ofra’s) Master Plan. We have a business license. It’s all legal.” On the 18 of July, Human Rights Watch wrote Airbnb and Booking.com long letters in which it said it worked at length to prepare a report that describes how the B&Bs in settlements were established on Palestinian-owned lands. HRW demanded that the companies not advertise B&Bs in settlements. The organization ‘Kerem Navot, headed by Dror Etkes, is signed on the report. In November 2018, HRW published its full report on the internet, under the title, “Bed and Breakfast on Stolen Land.” The pressure from HRW caused, among others, Airbnb to announce this week it would remove B&Bs in Judea and Samaria from the website. Inbal said that a month ago, she tried to list the B&Bs on Airbnb, but didn’t succeed. “I completed the whole listing process of Airbnb, I put photos and details, and when I pressed click, it did not approve the listing. It said: ‘Your residence location code is incorrect or impossible.’ So we dropped it. At Booking.com we listed and the residential location is defined on the website as ‘Ramallah - Ein Yabrud.’ But, the truth is, not many come from Booking.com. (Yifat Ehrlich, Yedioth’s ’24 Hours’ supplement, cover)
Weekend Getaway in the Settlements? Here Are the Weirdest Airbnbs in the West Bank - 'The real deal, raw Zionist pioneering': We read Airbnb reviews for settlement homes so you don’t have to, especially as they are about to be unlisted. (Haaretz and funny video)
Make food, not war Israeli and Iranian culinary stars embrace collaboration (and pomegranate molasses)
Mutual admiration was on the menu when Ottolenghi met the author of ‘Salt Fat Acid Heat’ Samin Nosrat in California recently to share secrets from the kitchen. (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+)
The man behind the ceasefire arrangement between Hamas and Israel
Negotiations between Israeli government and Gaza's rulers are mediated by Egyptian intelligence head Abbas Kamel, who is considered by some the second most important person in the country after President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. (Daniel Salami, Ynet)
Gaza’s Fatal Ritual: Relentless Protests, Steady Casualties
After his injury, Atalla Fayoumi received a payment of $200 from Hamas. Now he has nothing. No work. No hope. And little else to lose. Next Friday, he says, he will return to the protests again. (The Associated Press, Haaretz)
'The Little Drummer Girl' Plays No Favorites in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
BBC and AMC's 'The Little Drummer Girl' is a stunning John le Carré adaptation that wades into the minefield of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the 1970s. (Adrian Hennigan, Haaretz+)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
When the Army Is the Moral Compass (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The Israeli army, it turns out, has a mind of its own, independent thinking, and responsibility that competes with the irresponsibility of its political activators.
Netanyahu Is Partying Like It’s 1998 (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) It’s deja vu all over again — Dery, Lieberman, Netanyahu and high-tech on hyperdrive — but remember that in 1998, the opposition got its act together.
Why Airbnb Will Have a Hard Time Enforcing Its Israeli Settlement Ban (Omer Benjakob, Haaretz+) Boycotting settlements might seem like a simple task, but drawing a distinction between Jewish and Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Jerusalem is much harder than it seems.
Boycotts won't stop us (Gidi Kalman, Israel Hayom) Airbnb's decision to boycott Israeli listings is idiotic and hypocritical. Boycotting 400,000 Jews is anti-Semitism par excellence. They'll call it anti-Zionism, but it's no different.
Miri Regev’s obnoxious assault on (former chief of staff) Gantz is taken from Donald Trump’s playbook (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) From McCain to McRaven, the U.S. President has shown the world that decades of decorated service mean nothing.
Israel needs a full-time defense minister (Yossi Yehoshua, Yedioth/Ynet) Netanyahu, on top of being the prime minister, is the health, foreign affairs and now also defense minister. His time is limited and the defense minister has much to deal with, including the appointment of a deputy IDF chief and two military secretaries and the sensitive security situation in the south.
Airbnb's ban on Israeli settlements is big win for BDS, not necessarily for anti-Semites (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) It won't even scratch the Israeli economy, or even that of the settlements, but it did drive the government into hysterics.
Military Advocate General isn't dangerous, Bennett is (Liron Libman, Yedioth/Ynet) Education Minister Bennett's attempt to link the difficulties in handling the situation in Gaza with the combat soldiers' so-called fear of the Military Prosecution is exactly the opposite of true leadership; the legal advice provided by MAG Corps is not a sign of weakness, but rather an essential component of the army's strength and capabilities.
Avoiding Mention of Trump and Bibi at Thanksgiving? Here Are Others to Be Grateful For (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) I'm going to be thinking a lot about war heroes this Thanksgiving week - all the people who, in ways we may never know, often at great personal risk and cost, keep murderous, avoidable, pointless, politically motivated wars from breaking out.
The really troubling question is how to deal with the political norm created here (Lilach Sigan, Maariv) Many thanks to Netanyahu, Bennett and Lieberman, who initiated personal press conferences after half a year of complex security realities. The three of them did not dream of explaining anything until it actually affected them.
Why David Duke, David Icke, Louis Farrakhan and the Assad Regime All Love Shlomo Sand (Esther Solomon, Haaretz+) And Iran, George Galloway, Gilad Atzmon and the Daily Stormer. Why has such a diverse spectrum of anti-Semites converged on the work of this Israeli historian? Should he bear any blame for how they've weaponized his words?
Do you remember the Left? (Akiva Bigman, Israel Hayom) Unfortunately, some folks on the Right have forgotten what "left-wing government" really means. Armed with a clear vision, unshackled by stately conduct, a hostile media and judiciary, our leftists are coming to do work.
U.S. Evangelicals Put Their Faith in Netanyahu as Trump Readies Mideast Peace Plan (Amir Tibon, Haaretz+) The U.S. president faces a Catch-22 with his ‘deal of the century’: Any plan that includes Israeli concessions could disappoint many of his evangelical supporters, but only a plan with real Israeli concessions has any chance of moving forward.
A retreat to the old and primitive world (Haaretz Editorial) The High Court ruling allowing a woman's infidelity to be taken into consideration over a property dispute provides a tailwind to the strengthening of patriarchal conceptions.

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