News Nosh 11.20.18

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday November 20, 2018

 
Quote of the day:
“Even if Netanyahu and Bennett refuse to see the Green Line, the rest of the world differentiates between Israel and the occupied territories. International companies are interested in doing business with Israel but are not ready to accept the continuation of military control over millions of Palestinians.”
—Peace Now responded to the decision of Airbnb not to advertise any apartments for rent in Jewish settlements in the West Bank.*

You Must Be Kidding: 
Waving a Palestinian flag is against the law, the State of Israel told a Jerusalem court Monday.**

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Coalition being tested - Habayit Hayehudi announced it would remain in the government
  • Achievement for Netanyahu: Right-wing government continues against all odds; Prime Minister considering: Foreign Ministry portfolio to Yisrael Katz, Absorption to (Tzipi) Hotovely
  • “We will fight the Airbnb boycott of Judea and Samaria”
  • In broad daylight, in front of pupils: Man was gunned down near high school in Holon
  • Exclusive - Prime Minister made clear in closed talks: “We are considering opposing the UN’s Migration Pact”

News Summary:
The coalition government remained intact after Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett decided not to quit, but he got slammed for declaring that Israeli combat soldiers were more afraid of lawsuits than of the Hamas chief, and in the West Bank, Airbnb will no longer advertise settlement rentals making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Also interesting to read were the very different reports marking UN's Universal Children's Day today and Channel 11 KAN news revealed recordings of the Hamas fighters who discovered the secret Israeli force in what became the botched IDF operation in the Gaza Strip. Also, the latest in diplomacy.

Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett was not only ridiculed by Israeli analysts for climbing up a tree to high and being forced to climb down from his ultimatum to become defense minister or leave the coalition government. (Netanyahu reportedly sent the National Security Council adviser to a top rabbi to convince him to convince Bennett not to leave the coalition for the sake of Israel’s security. Netanyahu’s office denies. But anyway, a new poll found that 58% of the public does not believe that Netanyahu prevented early elections because of security and only 31% does. (See Maariv))

Bennett was also severely criticized for saying, “We make our combat soldiers go through hoops after hoops. Both legal and conceptual. The fighters are more afraid of the military prosecutor than of (Hamas politburo chief Yahya) Sinwar.” (Maariv) Netanyahu and even the IDF Chief of Staff made a rare public comment in order to defend the military’s judicial department.

There was a lot of criticism going around yesterday. Bennett stayed in the government, but slammed Netanyahu for not ‘winning,” Lieberman slammed Bennett for staying in the government, saying it showed why “Israel lost its deterrence.” Culture Minister Miri Regev, who is loyal to Netanyahu, vehemently attacked former chief of staff Benny Gantz and said she would not want him as defense minister, after Gantz said that politics should not be mixed with security. (Maariv)

Netanyahu’s coalition remains in power, but only barely, the papers noted. After the withdrawal of Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party, the coalition government rules with a majority in Knesset of just 61 out of 120 seats - and already they lost a vote yesterday, prompting the coalition to remove all bill proposals from the agenda out of fear it will lack a majority in future bills. "Welcome to your 61 coalition, best of luck," said opposition leader Tzipi Livni (Zionist Camp). And now, Regev's Loyalty in Culture bill is in danger, Maariv reported. Lieberman gave the support of his faction to the bill in order to advance the death penalty for terrorists bill.

*The popular international home-renting company, Airbnb, announced it will remove from all settlement listings from their site, resulting in Israeli right-wing anger. Settlers called it “a result of anti-Semitism or surrendering to terrorism” and Israel's tourism minister instructed his ministry to restrict the company's operations across the country, Peace Now said it was Israel that wasn’t seeing the reality: “Even if Netanyahu and Bennett refuse to see the Green Line, the rest of the world differentiates between Israel and the occupied territories. International companies are interested in doing business with Israel but are not ready to accept the continuation of military control over millions of Palestinians.” +972mag said it was its article published two years ago that set off the decision. “In the weeks and months following the publication of the investigation and the attention it garnered in the international media, activist groups and human rights organizations targeted the company with an international campaign, #StolenHomes. The campaign, which gathered hundreds of thousands of signatures, demanded Airbnb stop profiting off the settlements and the occupation,” +972mag wrote.

Universal Children's Day:
Yedioth reported that Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry launched a “campaign to sabotage Palestinian propaganda (that was meant) to spread misinformation about Israel’s alleged mistreatment of Palestinian children” on the UN's Universal Children's Day today. Palestinian Maan News Agency reported today that Israel has detained over 900 Palestinian children since start of 2018, with 270 still held in detention in various Israeli prisons, and 35 are under the age of 16 years. Maan also wrote that the children are denied education, and some are denied family visits and necessary medical attention. Last night Israeli forces detained “Imad Ahmad Shteiwi, 46, Khaled Shteiwi, 13, and Awad Mansour Abid, 14. Local sources mentioned that the two minors were repeatedly beaten by the Israeli forces prior to their detention.” And today, Israeli settlers from Shave Shomron settlement broke into and vandalized a Palestinian children's playground along the Nablus-Jenin road near the Burqa village, Maan reported.

Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics released the latest statistics:: 72% of Israeli children were Jewish, 25% were Arab. Some 32% of the Jewish population is made up of children, and 40% of the Arab population. There has been a fertility drop among Arab women: in 2000, an Arab woman had an average of four children, while in 2017 it was 3.16, Ynet reported. And, yet,  Maariv reported that Israel’s recently formed 22-member Committee on the Rights of the Child has only one Arab representative despite Arab children constituting 25% of all Israeli children.

Channel 11 “KAN News" revealed recordings of Hamas fighters from the night of the botched Israeli secret mission in which IDF Lt. Col. M. was killed and seven Hamas fighters, The recordings reveal that Hamas originally thought the suspicious car belonged to criminal Palestinian elements. Maariv wrote a report of the TV report and concluded that the rockets that Hamas fired the following day were a result of the Israeli operation. One of the Hamas activists reported at the beginning of the incident: “To all the forces and positions, a blue Volkswagen vehicle is located near the Islamic University and traveling suspiciously at high speed. Approach it cautiously.” The activist was then asked, "Which vehicle is it?” And he answered, “The Volkswagen. There are armed men inside, they have to be stopped as quickly as possible. Whoever sees them, report." At first, the Hamas activists thought it was a criminal incident. One vehicle chased the VW, and a checkpoint was setup. "The vehicle broke through our checkpoint and fired at us from inside the vehicle. All forces, come to the area. Everyone must come to the area for this incident. Fighter planes are now suddenly above us, everyone must be careful.” Only when the Hamas forces identified the fighter planes did they realize that it was an Israeli military force. “Listen carefully to our instructions - they [the people in the VW] are Jews. Four fighter planes are above me, there is a bombardment next to us. Fighter planes are coming from the north - they attacked one of the cars. Hide. Close in on the Jews so they won’t be able to leave." The (Israeli) fighters got out of the vehicle and killed the terrorists, while a combat helicopter fired at the vehicle that was chasing them. The officer who rescued Lt. Col. M., who was killed, was himself injured from the fire and the force managed to escape to the spot where the rescue helicopter had landed and which took them out of the Strip. Seven Hamas operatives were killed by IDF fire, including from the fire of the soldiers in the field who had escaped from the Hamas forces, despite attempts to surround them and to prevent them from getting out of the Strip. The results of the difficult incident did not end there, and the day after that about 460 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip at the (Israeli) communities surrounding the area. During the ongoing firing (of rockets) by Hamas, dozens of Israeli civilians were injured and a Palestinian illegally in the country was killed in Ashkelon. (Sic - he had a work permit - OH) In the end, after more than 24 hours of confrontations, the Palestinian factions announced that a cease-fire had been reached with Israel. (TV report on YouTube)

In diplomacy and security, after an Israeli organization, which has been actively calling on the government take a more aggressive approach to illegal immigration, called on the government not to adopt the International migration pact, which grants labor migrants the same legal status as refugees, Netanyahu said Israel was backing out of the global UN migration pact. Also, Netanyahu told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Russia alone can’t get Iran out of Syria.  He also revealed, that “Our spy-planes continue to fly and collect information…From the information we have, the amount of Iranian weapons transfers to Hezbollah through Syria has significantly dropped since the downing of the Russian plane."

 
Quick Hits:
  • Attorney general to Netanyahu: You can't collect information on left-wing organizations - Any information already collected must be erased, Mendelbit tells Netanyahu. The AG's statement comes in response to a letter sent by attorney Shahar Ben Meir on the topic and reports in Haaretz about Netanyahu's attempts to act against European funding for several left-wing groups. (Haaretz+)
  • The legal advisor to the Knesset makes it clear to the committees: If Zilber appears, she must be allowed to participate - Eyal Yinon clarified that if the Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber is sent to represent Mandelblit in the various hearings, it is necessary to hear her words and not to boycott them: "There is no dispute as to the status of the Attorney General.” (Maariv and Haaretz Hebrew+)
  • Four (Palestinians) wounded after Israeli soldiers shoot at Palestinians burning tires in West Bank, Ramallah says - Health Ministry in Ramallah says one man seriously wounded, others lightly hurt. (Haaretz)
  • Israel tells court waving PLO ‘terror organization’ flag still a crime - Activists say police confiscation of Palestinian flags is on the rise since Trump moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. [SEE: Photo of then-prime-minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at a meeting with the Israeli an Palestinian flags behind them. - OH] (Haaretz+)
  • Foreign Ministry appoints first Arab Christian diplomat as ambassador - George Deek, an Arab Christian diplomat who has been working in the Foreign Ministry for over a decade, was made Israel's ambassador to Azerbaijan; he is considered a gifted legal expert and a popular lecturer; his speech in Oslo was crowned as 'the best speech by an Israeli diplomat.' (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • IAF to supplement F-35 stealth jets with upgraded F-15 IA - In addition to continuing purchasing F-35 multirole stealth fighters, IAF decides to upgrade its dependable F-15 fleet with improved model capable of carrying 13 tons of explosives with advanced avionics. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israeli Gas Exports to Egypt Will Initially Flow Through pan-Arab Pipeline - The CEO of Delek Drilling also says he’s bullish on exports to Egypt and the whole region. (Haaretz)
  • El Al to probe controversial flight diverted to accommodate religious passengers - Airline’s CEO says a committee will be set up to look into why the flight diverted to Athens and the behavior of some passengers accused of acting violently. (Haaretz)
  • 'We won't let Hezbollah establish terror infrastructure in the Golan' - "Despite the newfound stability of the regime in Syria, this sector still poses many complex challenges for Israel," IDF GOC Northern Command says • "Anyone seeking to undermine Israelis' security will encounter a strong, determined response," he says. (Israel Hayom)
  • Ethiopia's Jews protest Netanyahu's government's delays in bringing them to Israel - Representatives of the 8,000 Jews in Ethiopia urged the Ethiopian Jews living in Israel to think carefully before voting for Israel’s ruling Likud party over the delays in repatriation to Israel. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Argentina buys Israeli security tech ahead of G-20 summit - Ahead of world leaders' meeting on Nov. 30, Argentina buys four Israeli-made patrol boats, cyber defense software and drone jamming system for upward of $88 million • This is the first time a South American country will host the G-20 summit. (Israel Hayom)
  • Tunisia's first Jewish minister in decades sparks public protest - Tourism Minister Rene Trabelsi is first Jew to be appointed to ministerial position in Tunisia since 1950s • Opponents of Trabeli's appointment cite his repeated visits to Israel, the fact that he brings Jews to Tunisia's historic El Ghriba synagogue. (Israel Hayom)
  • Protesting Sharia law, Saudi women wear abayas inside out - Saudi women, who for decades have been required to wear an all-covering robe in public, a dress code strictly enforced by police, demand archaic custom be shelved • "It's time for real change rather than insincere rhetoric about reform," activist says. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Rouhani says Iran to continue oil exports, resist US 'economic war' - In televised speech to the nation, Iran's president strikes defiant tone on newly imposed U.S. economic sanctions, assuring public economic "psychological warfare" will fail • "Iran is supported by many countries, except for the Zionist regime," he says. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)


Features:
A Tribute to the Jewish Crooner Known as the ‘Voice of Baghdad’
Salima Mourad, a singer who rose to fame in the early 1900s in Iraq – but remained there unlike many Jewish musicians – still strikes a chord today. (Eness Elias, Haaretz+)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
A Right-wing Party’s Leader-like Woman and Childish Man (Tal Niv, Haaretz+) Habayit Hayehudi's No. 2, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, will be busy helping choose Israel’s judges, while her boss Naftali Bennett merely wants to kill and destroy in Gaza.
Yes, we do have a partner in Gaza (Ram Cohen, Israel Hayom) The next government should appoint a minister for peace with Gaza and the Middle East, not blindly follow the false promises of those who yearn to be ministers of war.
Are the Jews murdered in Pittsburgh 'purer' victims of anti-Semitism than Israeli Jews killed by Hamas? (Samuel Heilman, Haaretz+) The gulf between liberal U.S. Jews and right-wing Israel now colors our responses to Jews being killed: there's a sliding scale of innocence according to which we rate the victims.
The right keeps winning in Israel because Israelis are right wing (Dahlia Scheindlin, +972mag) The political map in Israel hasn’t fundamentally changed since a decade ago, when left-wing voters migrated to the center and centrist voters moved right.
What Hamas and Netanyahu have in common (Nimrod Hurvitz, Haaretz+) Netanyahu's analogy between Hamas and ISIS is demagoguery to justify his 'no' to direct negotiations. But Hamas and Netanyahu share a critical understanding: The limits of military power to defeat one another.
Bennett did not internalize the limitations of power and led Israel to extreme policies (Dr. Revital Amiran, Maariv) The victory that Israeli society wants to achieve lies in other regions than those that Habayit Hayehudi party strives for: finding strategic solutions to the situation in the south, to the traffic, to the impossible allotments to the elderly.
Netanyahu Beating War Drums Is About Politics More Than Security (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Defense officials admit Israel's situation in north and south is risky, but see no dramatic changes in it from two weeks ago when the PM himself suggested early elections.
Netanyahu fighting for his 'Mr. Security' image (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) The prime minister's speech Sunday is one of the most dangerous deliveries heard in recent years; Netanyahu strikes fear in our hearts, and could even launch military operations just to survive another term; the longer he succeeds in delaying the next elections, the more likely it is a military conflict might arise.
Habayit Hayehudi’s War (Haaretz Editorial) The real danger is the possibility that the right-wing party gave in on Netanyahu’s political demands so he would meet its hard-line military demands on Gaza.
Jewish children will not be born any more in Gaza, but IDF soldiers will return to it (Yossi Ahimeir, Maariv) Gaza does not want to develop. The only will of its rulers' is to spend all its resources on armaments and preparations for the next aggression. When this is the case, it is clear that the whole long-term arrangement agreement is buying quiet for a limited time.
Netanyahu Launches His Election Campaign, Lurching Toward the Center (Aluf Benn, Haaretz+) Netanyahu's message last week in Paris was that Israel needs steady hands at the wheel. But now he no longer has a defense minister to blame, and its hard to rely on the military for political support.
Arab world prefers stability in Israel (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) The Arab world is indifferent to the current political crisis in Israel mostly because it doesn't understand it. Arab rulers seeking warmer ties with Israel want to work with leaders they perceive as reliable and influential.
Egypt Is Worried That Israel, Jews, and Gays Could Do Harm to Its 'National Foundations' (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The letter containing the warning was sent to a university president from the office of Education Minister Mahmoud Abu al-Nasr, but there are more “others” whose influence the Egyptian public needs to be protected from.
Netanyahu: Minister of War and Fear (Sima Kadmon, Yedioth/Ynet) The prime minister's dramatic speech had all the elements of a Netanyahu performance: self-glorification, inspiring fear, blame; but until recently it was he who was seeking an early elections date.
Why Naftali Bennett Couldn’t Bring Down Netanyahu (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Bennett wanted to resign, but he couldn't take the pressure against bringing down a right-wing government and repeating the 1992 trauma that brought the 'Oslo disaster.’
 
Interviews:
Haniyeh's Israeli friend: “A really great person, he was at my daughter's wedding"
Danny Makhlouf, a building contractor from Ashkelon, told Channel 10 News how he first employed, Ismail Haniyeh, now the head of the Hamas political bureau, as a plasterer in 1978, when Haniyeh was 16, at a time when the border was open and Palestinians passed between sides freely. “He is honest and smart and not a fool. He was like a son in our home. He was also at my daughters’ weddings.” Haniyeh worked for Makhlouf for nine years. Zehava, Makhlouf’s daughter, said: "He was like a member of our family. He was one of my father’s workers for many years. He used to eat at our house, we would go visit him. He was at the wedding, he was at events. We would also go to visit them, food everyday, everyday with us or at our house or when we went down to Gaza. That was kind of relationship.” Makhlouf also told how he went to the Gaza Strip after hearing that Haniyeh had begun to take part in terrorist activity and how the experience had almost cost him his life. "I heard that he was involved in terror so I entered Gaza," he said. “(There were) a lot of masked men (saying), 'Allah Akbar, Khawaja,' one of them takes off his keffiyeh and says to them: 'This is my boss, go back, go back.' "He moved them all back and asked: ‘Father, why did you come in? They would have killed you if I were not with you.'  I told him: 'I came to tell you to stop this job with terror and calm down. He told me: 'I promise you that I will not go out any more to the roads with terror.’ And so it was, " he added.  After time, the houses that Haniyeh built together with Makhlouf in Ashkelon turned into the target of missiles fired by his organization from Gaza. (Interviewed by Channel 10 News, written in Maariv)
 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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