News Nosh 12.18.18

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday December 18, 2018
 
Quote of the day:
"People who, up until three years ago, were the biggest supporters of Israel now say to us they want to throw up, that all of their love and labor on behalf of Israel went down the drain.”
Eric Goldstein, CEO of the UJA-Federation of New York, said relations between the two largest Jewish communities in the world is "at the lowest point since the state of Israel was established," mainly due to how the Israeli side deals with the Arab-Israeli conflict.*

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • Parting with a broken heart - Rona Ramon, 1964-2018
  • Noble and pure // President Reuven Rivlin
  • Tragic heroine // Carmit Sapir-Weitz
  • We were blessed to have known a great light // Ran Livneh, CEO of the Ramon Fund
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
The death at age 54 from cancer of Rona Ramon, the wife of Israel’s first astronaut, and whose son, a fighter pilot, died later in a training accident, was the top story of the Hebrew Israeli tabloids, which described her as a ‘tragic heroine,’ who despite her great suffering focused on helping others. Other top stories included the face-off between Lebanese and Israeli soldiers, near the border in southern Lebanon, and the declaration by Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit that the bill that would allow the expulsion of the families of Palestinian attackers from their homes is not legal, infringes human rights and defames Israel.

In a video, Israeli and Lebanese Army soldiers are seen standing next to each other inside Lebanon as a Lebanese soldier politely instructs the Israeli soldiers to stop unrolling the barbed wire and to move back the barbed wire fence that the Israeli soldiers just put up on the Lebanese side of the Blue Line. After the incident, the Lebanese Army declared a state of high alert and the Israeli newspapers wrote of “high tensions” with Lebanon as a result.
 
Quick Hits:
  • Airbnb Says It Suspends Implementation of West Bank Settlement Ban, but is it or not? 'Our policy will not be implemented,' the company said in Hebrew statement following a meeting with Israeli tourism minister, adding it will continue negotiations with the Israeli government. Later, an English announcement had a softer message. (Haaretz+, Ynet, Maariv and Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli forces open fire at ambulance, injure Palestinian in Ramallah area - A Palestinian youth was injured by shrapnel from live Israeli bullets after Israeli forces opened fire targeting his vehicle in Silwad town. Israeli soldiers also opened fire at an ambulance that was passing by the road. Sources added that that Israeli forces reportedly targeted any vehicle that approaches within 400-meters of the checkpoint. (Maan)
  • Israeli settlers attack Palestinian vehicles on Nablus-Ramallah road - Israeli settlers threw rocks stones at Palestinian vehicles passing near the al-Lubban al-Sharqiya and Deir Sharaf villages, south and west of Nablus, causing damages to several the vehicles. (Maan)
  • Partial demolition of Barkan terrorist's home 'a joke,' victims' families say - Clashes erupt as IDF forces demolish one floor of home belonging to family of Barkan terrorist Walid Suleiman Naalwa, 23, near Tulkarem • Naalwa shot and murdered two Israelis and wounded a third at the Barkan Industrial Park in Samaria in October. (Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinian government condemns demolition of Palestinian attack suspect's home - Spokesperson of the Palestinian government, Youssef al-Mahmoud, said in a statement that Israel's act is a "collective punishment" and that it is considered as an act of vengeance. (Maan)
  • Israeli Military Watches While Prefab Homes Erected Illegally in West Bank Outpost - Two units were erected in Amona, an outpost which was evacuated in February 2017 because it was built on privately owned Palestinian land. (Haaretz+)
  • Injuries reported as Israel suppresses 20th naval march in Gaza - Israeli war boats opened live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas bombs at the hundreds of Palestinian protesters and some 20 Palestinian boats, which took part in protests in an attempt to break the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip. . (Maan)
  • Senior IDF officers rebuked after Hamas anti-tank strike - Brigade, battalion and company commanders in the Gaza Division to be disciplined after terror group was able to fire an anti-tank missile that left one soldier critically wounded. Parents of injured soldiers say officers 'got light punishments.' [NOTE: Yedioth wrote that "They got off easy." - OH] (Ynet and Walla)
  • Palestinian Authority believes it has identified Hamas mastermind behind deadly West Bank attacks - Jasser Barghouti was freed in the 2011 Shalit deal, deported to Gaza where terror group made good use of his knowledge of the area where shootings occurred. (Ynet)
  • Palestinian Minister Meets Senior Israeli Officials at Behest of Egypt and Jordan - Palestinian Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh says he discussed settler aggressiveness and raids on Palestinian towns. (Haaretz+)
  • Party headed by ex-military chief Gantz would be second largest, poll shows - In addition, 58 percent are not happy with Netanyahu's performance as defense minister. (Haaretz)
  • Gantz at a conference in Mexico: "Our first interest is to find a solution to the conflict with the Palestinians" - The former chief of staff, who is establishing his political power without expressing political and diplomatic positions, revealed: "During my military service, I met an Arab leader in one of the Middle Eastern countries, and he told me, General Gantz, there are 14 million people between Jordan and the sea, a few million are Jews, a few million are Palestinians, and no one is going anywhere. We must find ways to live together. I agree with him in every word.” (Maariv)
  • Despite protests, Knesset confirms Netanyahu as permanent defense minister - Opposition fumes as PM’s appointment passes by 59-56 majority; Jewish Home party ministers, who vowed to abstain, end up supporting motion. (Haaretz+ and Times of Israel)
  • Netanyahu to Leave Israel at End of December for Five Days to Attend Bolsonaro's Inauguration in Brazil - Prime minister, who also serves as defense minister and foreign minister is working to ensure embassy moves to Jerusalem despite pressure on president-elect. He is leaving at what he termed a 'sensitive security time.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Law Bars Tycoons Funding Netanyahu's Legal Defense, Legal Adviser Says - The State Comptroller’s Office, which has a permits committee that considers such requests, recently barred Netanyahu from accepting such donations. But Netanyahu apparently wants this decision reconsidered. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel's Council for Higher Education Tightens Supervision of Legal Aid Clinics - The aim is to create a mechanism for supervising the clinics, which in recent years have been criticized by right-wing groups and Education Minister Bennett. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel to Reexamine 1,500 Sudanese Asylum Requests After Interviews Deemed 'Not In-depth Enough' - In first, Population and Immigration Authority admitted requests were not thoroughly looked into, but hasn't provided a timetable despite High Court’s request. (Haaretz+)
  • No BDS Activists Barred From Israel Since Lara Alqasem, Minister Says - Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan told Knesset that after Supreme Court allowed American student to enter in October, no one meeting the set criteria has tried to enter. (Haaretz+)
  • Speech Pathologist Reportedly Fired From Texas Schools for Not Signing anti-BDS Oath - Plaintiff had worked in Austin since 2009, but anti-BDS law added clause to contract that she says violates her First Amendment rights, reports The Intercept. (Haaretz)
  • Georgia mulls relocating its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem - Georgia's newly sworn-in President Salome Zurabishvili says country to discuss possible relocation of Israel embassy • Move follows request from Deputy Foreign Ministry Tzipi Hotovely, who met Zurabishvili and Georgia's PM and foreign minister on Sunday. (Israel Hayom)
  • Canada to Fine Mining Company Over Business With Israeli Tied to Congo - Glencore to reportedly pay more than $22m for hiding the risks of doing business with Dan Gertler, an Israeli businessman close to Congolese President Joseph Kabila. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Maccabi HMO investigates allegations of ethics offenses in Canada from one of its senior doctors - According to Physicians for Human Rights, the pediatrician and researcher Gidi (Gideon) Koren, who is employed by the HMO, covered up dangers of a drug that is in a medicine that he researched and he conducted unreliable tests for the welfare authorities in Canada and did not state possible conflict of interests. Koren: There is nothing to these complaints. (Haaretz Hebrew, Israel Hayom Hebrew and The Star (Canada))
  • Canada Is Looking for a Way Out of Big Saudi Arms Deal, Says PM - Last month, Justin Trudeau said Canada could freeze the relevant export permits if it concluded the weapons had been misused. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Israeli and Polish schools join to memorialize burned synagogue - After occupying Red Army desecrated synagogue in Polish town of Narewka in 1939 by turning it into storage facility, Jews burned it down • Later, the Nazis invaded and wiped out the Jews • Almost 80 years later, a plaque commemorates perished community. (Israel Hayom)
  • Germany to compensate Kindertransport child refugees - Germany agrees to one-time payments of $2,800 to surviving Jewish refugee children who fled Nazi Germany in WWII • Of the 10,000 children from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland taken to Britain, about 1,000 survivors thought to be alive today. (Israel Hayom)
  • Report: Iranian general kills himself in gun cleaning accident - Local media offers conflicting reports on cause of death of Gen. Ghodratollah Mansouri, the regional commander of IRGC's ground forces. Social media users question whether death was in fact accidental. Mansouri previously fought in Syrian and Iraq. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)


Features:
A Haredi battalion in the eye of the storm
The Netzah Yehuda battalion is reeling from 3 attacks in 5 days, during which two of its fighters were slain, but the recent violence is not the only challenge facing this unique group of soldiers. (Yoav Zitun, Ynet)
IN PHOTOS: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Through the Lens in 2018
From border protests to flaming kite attacks to airstrikes on Gaza, 2018 saw another year in a cycle of violence that made headlines around the world and shows no signs of stopping. (Reuters, Haaretz)
When the Holocaust reached Africa
After years of dodging the subject, the suffering of North African Jewry is finally out in the open; state institutions have started acknowledging the Maghreb survivors, sparking local curiosity —and some interesting initiatives. (Tali Farkash, Ynet)
Death threats, increased security and BDS wars – all part of campus life at New York University
A Jewish center was temporarily shuttered last week after a student expressed a ‘desire for Zionists to die,’ while the administration tells student body it will not be passing a resolution calling for divestment from businesses dealing with Israeli army. (Taly Krupkin, Haaretz+)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
Yad Vashem Teaches the Holocaust Like Totalitarian Countries Teach History (Daniel Blatman, Haaretz+) Yad Vashem is now paying the price of the many years in which it nurtured a one-dimensional, simplistic message that there’s only one way to explain the Holocaust.
How did revenge become a military objective? (Orly Noy, +972mag) When Israeli military commanders call bereaved families from the field to confirm they’ve gunned down their child’s accused killer, security considerations are not at play — that’s just an army exacting revenge.
Illegal, Immoral and Ineffective Punishment of Attackers’ Families (Haaretz Editorial) A bill allowing internal exile in the West Bank doesn’t seem designed to fight Palestinian terror but rather to score points in right-wingers’ battle for votes.
Others should follow Australia's lead on Jerusalem recognition (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) By announcing he would only recognize West Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison found a reasonable compromise to the dispute over Jerusalem. Other countries, which are friendly toward Israel but oppose the occupation could follow the Australian example.
Israel Takes Tunnel Op to World Stage Before Potential Use of Unprecedented Force in Lebanon (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Israel is preparing for a public relations battle to halt Iran’s effort to build precision-missile factories in Lebanon, while setting the stage for a possible war with Hezbollah.
My heroes: Rona Ramon on her late husband and son (Rona Ramon, Yedioth/Ynet) In her own words: The mother and wife of two fallen Israeli warriors writes about their lives and dedication, and her own personal loss.
Israeli army shatters the illusion of normalcy in Ramallah (Dalal Erakat, +972mag) Leading a normal, safe life is a juggling act for any Palestinian family. Even the prospect of enjoying a Christmas dinner with your loved ones and neighbors must take into account the risk of an Israeli army raid, invasion, or closure.
What an Israeli army closure on Ramallah looks like (Zena Tahhan, +972mag) As the Israeli army invades Ramallah, fear and anxiety deepen among many Palestinians — but so does solidarity.
The Murder of Arab Women: A Badge of Shame for Their Society (Abed L. Azab, Haaretz+) These under-reported acts of violence have unique characteristics that must be addressed at the outset of any campaign to eradicate this evil.
Trump Turns the Ties Between Israel and U.S. Jews Totally Toxic (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Netanyahu’s government is increasingly perceived as the Kellyanne Conway of Trump’s race baiting and the Rudy Giuliani of his America First agenda.
Gideon Levy’s Views on Dead Settlers Are Incomprehensible, Inexcusable and Unforgivable (James Adler, Haaretz+) It is clearly possible to bear vehement political hostility to the political settlement movement, but not to murdered settlers. That Levy is no longer able to do so indicates he’s lost his humanity.
The price of withdrawal (Meir Indor, Israel Hayom) Handing over territory is inappropriate and does not pay off from a security perspective. Any territory we cede will necessarily become a staging area for our enemies in their future efforts against us.
A Nightmare on Balfour Street (Yechiam Weitz, Haaretz) Netanyahu roams the world with the image of an omnipotent emperor, but behind this specious image hides a frightened child living a terrible nightmare.
Want to meet the prime minister and the ministers? Get undressed or you’ll have to leave (Mor Shimoni, Maariv) Sunday, I was prevented from entering the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, where I arrived in order to carry out my journalistic work. During a routine check-up by the Shin Bet security guards, it was claimed that I had been warned that I had to undergo strict checks, to the point of taking off my clothes,  and that was despite that I was carrying a press card from the Government Press Office (GPO) and that my visit to the place was coordinated with the Spokesperson’s Office. It is interesting that this is the second time that this happens to a correspondent of Maariv.
Netanyahu and Europe's Right Wing: Quite a Success Story (Mor Altshuler, Haaretz+) Netanyahu is steering a path through teetering Europe with a realpolitik approach, strengthening relations in the east and south, without damaging ties with Western Europe.
It’s Not the Prices, It’s the Politics (Avirama Golan, Haaretz+) A protest that is focused on the 'cost of living' is not simply apolitical. It collaborates with a cruel policy of inequality that damages social fortitude.
Punishing a Saudi prince (Clifford D. May, Israel Hayom) To punish Saudi royals by ceding Yemen, allowing Iran to expand its empire, threaten Saudi Arabia's southern underbelly and station forces adjacent to Bab el-Mandeb makes no sense.
 
Interviews:
*A senior American Jewish official: "We want to vomit from government actions towards the Palestinians"
The relationship between the two largest Jewish communities in the world is "in the most acute crisis since the establishment of the State,” mainly due to how the Israeli side deals with the Arab-Israeli conflict. (Yanir Cozin writes from New York for Maariv/JPost)
In the framework of a delegation of government officials, journalists and private sector representatives supported by “Gesher” and Israel’s Diaspora Ministry offices to Washington and New York, the senior Israelis met with Jewish community leaders, who presented a grim picture of the relationship between the two largest Jewish communities in the world. Erik Goldstein, CEO of the United Jewish American  Federation - New York, was the only Jewish-American leader who agreed to speak on record. Most of the senior officials who met with the delegation asked to remain anonymous, although the overwhelming majority said the same thing. Goldstein said in a conversation with the delegation members that the connection between the Israeli government and the administration of US President Donald Trump, as well as the manner in which the Israeli government headed by Binyamin Netanyahu is working on the issue of the conflict with the Palestinians, distances more and more Jews from supporting Israel. "People who until 3 years ago were Israel's greatest supporters told us that they wanted to vomit, and that all their investment and love for Israel was lost," Goldstein said. He also said that every day the Jewish Federation's offices receive calls from American Jews, who say they no longer want their money to be invested in Israel. ""When they see how Palestinians are treated, how asylum seekers are treated and how the Israeli Rabbinical Court has a monopoly [on Jewish practice in Israel] they say what we have here is a far reaching cultural gap which makes them feel very put-off so they choose to disengage," he said. Goldstein said he believed that Minister of the Diaspora Naftali Bennett wanted to improve the relations between Israel and the Jewish Diaspora. "But at a cabinet meeting two weeks ago, (Bennett) said that the indifference of American Jews has nothing to do with any action by the Israeli government. That's just not true. The actions of the government play a decisive role in our attitude toward Israel," said Goldstein. Maariv also learned that despite the fact that most members of the American Jewish community define themselves as liberal, official Israeli representatives refrained from meeting J-Street, the pro-Israel liberal lobby that to a certain extent represents the majority (Jewish-American) opinion. Among the "refuseniks" is Israel's ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, who, according to a senior member of the J-Street lobby, "has not answered our calls for two years."

'It’s as if You Israelis Forgot What You Went Through and Where You Came From'
As a child refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sean Mongoza experienced racism on the streets of south Tel Aviv. Now he's the star of a powerful new TV series that wants to be the Israeli answer to 'The Wire.’ (Interviewed by Itay Stern in Haaretz+)

Sent to prison for trespassing on his own land
Israeli authorities have demolished Al-Araqib over 100 times. Later this month, the village’s leader, Sheikh Sayeh Abu Madi’am, is supposed to begin serving a 10-month prison sentence for unlawfully trespassing on public land — his village’s land. Before heading to prison for rebuilding and staying on his land, Madi’am says he knows justice is on his side. (Interviewed by Oren Ziv in +972mag)

'Israelis don't want to hear what I have to say'
Over the past few months, Israeli authorities, along with radical settlers, have turned Guy Hirschfeld into a public enemy of sorts for his activism in the Jordan Valley. In an interview, Hirschfeld talks about building solidarity with Palestinians, why his brash style has turned him into a target, and whether things are getting worse for left-wing activists. (Interviewed by Edo Konrad in +972mag)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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