News Nosh 1.9.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday January 9, 2019
Quote of the day:
"Why is the alarm sounded when Jews are interrogated by dark police methods, but no one says a word when Arabs are interrogated with the same methods? Is a stone thrown by a Jewish murderer more sacred than one thrown by an Arab murderer?"
--Haaretz+ journalist Zvi Bar'el slams the criticism of the Shin Bet interrogations of the five Jewish terror suspects, saying a moral country cannot abide a double standard.*

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The Israeli that can hack any telephone in the world comes out of the shadows: Shalev Hulio, CEO of Israeli cyber company, NSO, in first interview
  • The photo that illustrates the size of the failure: This is how the death trap looked (Photo of gushing river where soldier Eviatar Yusefi tried to cross in his military navigation exercise)
  • 90 days to elections - Shin Bet Chief warned: “Foreign country trying to intervene in elections”
  • “Goodbye to you, dearest daddy”: Childhood letters of an 8-year-old Moshe Dayan are revealed
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Netanyahu and Trump to meet two weeks before the elections - Associates of Netanyahu reject the criticism: “He will fly to AIPAC despite the elections”
  • “Shin Bet Chief warned that a foreign country will intervene in elections in Israel”
  • “Our Yuval died, and the terrorist will continue to live”
  • 4 years since the attack at Hyper Kosher: “The message - never forget”
  • Tailwind: US Senate began to advance the “Law to Protect Israel”
  • Moshe Arens was laid to rest: “State of Israel parting from an outstanding leader”

Elections 2019 News:
Today’s big story in the Hebrew press was that Shin Bet chief warned that a foreign country will try to meddle via cybertechnology in Israel’s upcoming elections, but it's unclear in whose favor. Nadav Argaman said the move could influence the outcome of the elections, but that Israel has the capability of thwarting such efforts. According to a study by Israeli cybersecurity company Check Point, the biggest threat comes from people trying to manipulate opinions by distributing misleading information online; for example, by using fake Facebook profiles.

Meanwhile, former army chief of staff Benny Gantz is closing the gap with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in the newest Israeli election poll, in which 41% of respondents chose Netanyahu and 38% chose Gantz as their next leader,

Leading Israeli Arab lawmaker MK Ahmed Tibi is taking his party and breaking off from the Joint List faction, the latter which unites all the Arab parties in Knesset. Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh, who also heads the Hadash party, said that Tibi’s decision harmed the Arab Israeli minority. "Why do you want to split now? It helps Netanyahu and the right-wing,“ said Odeh, adding that the Arab Israelis feel like a persecuted minority. (Maariv) Some of Odeh’s views about the government's actions towards the Arab minority were also held by MK Benny Begin, which may be why Netanyahu won’t secure a seat on the Likud list for Begin this year, as he has in the previous elections, according to Maariv. As a result, Begin may resign from political life. Maariv noted that last October, Begin spoke at a conference at the University of Haifa's Faculty of Law, saying that "the Jewish Nation-State Law does not actually infringe the equality of rights in the State of Israel, but it degrades the principle of equality and the state of the Jews." He proposed amending the law to include “and to uphold equality of rights for all its citizens.” Begin also expressed concern that the the tense security situation could lead to an attempt to pass laws that would harm minority groups in Israeli society.

And retired and controversial Israeli general Gal Hirsch has launched a political party to run in upcoming election. Hirsch said Israel needs to be tough on defense matters but compassionate on social issues and he named his party, ‘Magen Yisrael’ (Shield of Israel). Haaretz reported that Israel’s electioneering law Is 60 years old and has no reference to social media networks, which thus allows for early online campaigning.

Other News Summary:
The other big story was that Israeli security services detained Assam Barghouti, who was allegedly involved in the murders of two Israeli soldiers in a December drive-by shooting near a West Bank settlement outpost and the IDF released footage of the arrest. After the arrest and after being criticized for days for not giving the Shin Bet verbal support in the wake of de-legitimizing criticism by the parents of Jewish terror suspects, Netanyahu issued a statement of support for the Shin Bet. "For this operation, I praise the Yamam (Israel Police special forces), the IDF and, first and foremost, the Shin Bet, which is the best counter-terrorism organization of its kind in the world. We owe it a great deal, it performs professionally and morally. There is no room to attack it." (Also Maariv)

Meanwhile, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot visited the residents of the south of Israel where he not only revealed that Israel has thwarted the smuggling of some 20,000 rockets into Gaza, but also took a jab at MK Avigdor Lieberman, when he said that Hamas sees victory in political moves in Israel as a result of terrorism. (Maariv) Lieberman resigned as defense minister when Israel chose to take a more diplomatic path with the Hamas leadership in Gaza. Eisenkot also told the local mayors about the possibility of quiet in the sector: "I hope for a prolonged ceasefire until the end of 2019,” he said.
Quick Hits:
  • Olive Trees Chopped Down in Suspected Jewish Hate Crime - 'Death to Arabs' and 'Revenge' scrawled on boulders near the grove. (Haaretz)
  • "The Prime Minister in his speech deliberately sabotaged the investigation proceedings against him": The Movement for Quality Government said in a sharp appeal to the Attorney General - The Movement for Quality Government sent a harsh letter to Mendelblit demanding that he examine Netanyahu's public statements [Netanyahu's live televised speech complaining that he was denied confrontation with state witnesses - OH] and saying that Netanyahu's words were "intended to frighten the state's witnesses.” (Maariv)
  • Police Commissioner against Netanyahu: "It's sad to see his conduct in regards to the investigations" - In response to the prime minister's claims that he was prevented from having a confrontation with the state's witnesses, the departing police chief told Ma'ariv: "I am saddened by the conduct of the prime minister. Such discourse is inappropriate to hold in the media. Even if Netanyahu has any complaints, the appropriate place to voice them is at a hearing. That's why this procedure exists." (Maariv)
  • Yeshiva where suspects in murder of Palestinian woman study seen as 'strange bird' - Rehelim, home to Pri Haaretz school, is not thought to be extremist, but sources say settlers there turn a blind eye to the students – who come from elsewhere and are more hard-line. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli justice chief: I 'broke' the old conception of the justice system - At the swearing-in ceremony for new judges, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked accuses law academics of ‘toeing the line’ of judicial activist approach pioneered by Aharon Barak. (Haaretz+)
  • At funeral, ex-Israeli defense chief Moshe Arens remembered as one of few who influenced nation's path - Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Rivlin deliver eulogies as former three-time defense minister, foreign minister and ambassador to Washington laid to rest. (Haaretz+ and Times of Israel)
  • Jerusalem Refuses to Disclose Report on Necessity of Western Wall Cable Car - Opponents of project fear it could strengthen Jewish settlement in Arab neighberhood of Silwan. Jerusalem Development Authority says releasing report on project's economic feasibility 'could disrupt progress on the project.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Canada investigates Jewish National Fund of Canada over using donor money for IDF-linked projects - The complaint referred to dozens of JNF Canada projects linked to the IDF, including infrastructure projects on Israeli military bases in Haifa and the Negev. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • IAF fighter jet's detached canopy found by Palestinians near Hebron - Canopy of F-15 Falcon, found south of Hebron, had been transferred to Israeli Air Force for further investigation; senior IAF officer says there was 'no prior warning' before the incident. (Ynet)
  • Dozens of performers at Israel's Meteor music festival, nearly brought down by BDS, still haven't been paid - The production company blames Lana Del Rey’s cancellation amid BDS pressure for money woes, but artists call it a phony excuse. (Haaretz+)
  • Civil rights institute voids award for Angela Davis over BDS support - Black activists protest after Birmingham Civil Rights Institute says Angela Davis does not meet all criteria for award. Birmingham mayor "dismayed" by decision, which he says followed "protests from our local Jewish community and some of its allies." (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Turkish leader skips meeting with Trump aide over Syria remarks - In Israel on Sunday, National Security Adviser John Bolton told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that U.S. withdrawal from Syria was contingent upon total defeat of ISIS and an assurance that U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters, whom Turkey sees as terrorists, remain safe. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Pompeo in Jordan: U.S. Will Double Down to 'Put Pressure on Iran' Amid Syria Exit - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke from Jordan as part of a Middle East tour to coordinate an anti-Iran campaign amid confusion over the U.S. withdrawal from Syria. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Syrian Kurds Say They Are ‘Ready to Fight Turkey’ - Shahoz Hasan, co-chair of the largest Kurdish group in Syria the Democratic Union Party, or PYD, says it’s clear from Ankara’s latest statements that Turkey has a plan to enter northeastern Syria. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • AIPAC Won't Comment on Rubio Claims That 'Significant Number' of Democrats Back BDS - Incensed Democrats rebuke Senator Marco Rubio's accusations amid a tense debate over an anti-BDS bill and a government shutdown. (Haaretz+)
  • Jewish comedian who plays Ukrainian president on TV runs for the job - From screen to reality: Vladimir Zelenskiy, who hosts Ukraine's most popular comedy show, surprised everyone when he announced his candidacy for head of state, but most recent polls put him in second place in the March 2019 vote. (Ynet/Yedioth)

*This Is Not How One Questions Jews (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Why is the alarm sounded when Jews are interrogated by dark police methods, but no one says a word when Arabs are interrogated with the same methods?
As a faculty member, I no longer have faith in the management of the Hebrew University (David Enoch, Mekomit Hebrew and translated by Yoni Molad) The apology ad issued by the university following the publication of lies about a lecturer who allegedly reprimanded a soldier in uniform is crossing a red line. One can not ignore the ugly abandon of a colleague in the face of a dangerous campaign of incitement.
Hebrew University’s Apology Enables Persecution of the Left (Or Kashti, Haaretz+) After university fails to back lecturer falsely accused of taking a student to task for coming to class in an army uniform, faculty members are asking themselves what they can say in class.
Stories of uniforms (Kalman Libeskind, Maariv) When the Hebrew University chooses not to sound a clear voice, every story - like the one about the lecturer and the student in the IDF uniform - is accepted as reasonable. Even 100 ads in newspapers won’t be able to change the impression that daily life creates.
If You Wish to Be an Informant (Haaretz Editorial) On the website of far-right organization Im Tirtzu, there’s a special section for informers. The recent goings-on at the Hebrew University shows how the organization’s efforts are bearing fruit.
Abbas can cause Gaza to explode before the elections (Shimrit Meir, Yedioth/Ynet)  Feud between Fatah and Hamas has escalated recently, to the dismay of Netanyahu who tried to buy quiet; if Abbas further cuts funds to Gaza we may not make it to elections without a military campaign.
What's Behind the Snub Erdogan Gave Bolton, and Why Some in Israel Are Still Optimistic (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Nothing has changed in long term Turkish policy, Erdogan’s political interests and regional ambitions. The change is in American policy.
With U.S. Exit From Syria Unraveling, Erdogan Faces Serious Dilemma (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) After Bolton remarks, Erdogan must decide between attacking Kurds and risking face-off with U.S. troops, or waiting for their departure. Erdogan cast aside as Putin helps Assad reintegrate into Arab world.
Palestinian narratives are always right. Israeli Jewish views are just propaganda (Carra Glatt, Haaretz+) That's the clear message from the anti-occupation activists of IfNotNow. Forget a more ‘balanced’ approach to the conflict: When they label views sympathetic to Israel as deceptive or malevolent – they’re trying to shut them down.
As an American-Israeli, I Am Thrilled for the Palestinians and for Rashida Tlaib (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) Every day that Netanyahu chooses Trump and fundamentalism over the pro-democracy, pro-equality, pro-pluralism views of diaspora Jews, is a great day for the Palestinian cause.
Eritreans in Israel may finally be recognized as refugees (Oded Feller, Haaretz+) Eritrean citizens in Israel are in limbo. On the one hand, it is forbidden to deport them, but on the other they aren’t given anything.
Israel will have to choose between America and China (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) America's emerging pressure on Israel to cool its love affair with China may not have such terrible consequences.
Arens had a nobility that forced others to improve their behavior and even their criticism (Meir Uziel, Maariv) His last years were devoted to research on the important role of the Beitar organization, a Jewish military organization, in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, as if in an effort to correct a terrible injustice of deliberate oblivion.
Moshe Arens actually realized and lived the Beitar glory that Jabotinsky dreamed of (Gideon Sa’ar, Maariv) He was a model and example for those who disagreed with him ideologically: courteous, stately, reasoned and not fervent, respectful towards his leaders, but also towards his opponents.
"Not one of us": In the defense establishment, Arens was treated with scorn, unjustly (Yossi Melman, Maariv) The IDF treated him with typical arrogance they point toward anyone who was not a former military man. But this did not prevent him from fighting the generals of the General Staff and forcing them to establish the headquarters of the ground forces.
Moshe Arens saw no contradiction between nationalism and liberal democracy (Zalman Shoval, Maariv) His approach to the Land of Israel was in the spirit of his mentor, Ze'ev Jabotinsky, and not in the messianic and extreme manner of some of the figures active in the political arena today, including in the Likud party.
A noble spirit, a truthful man (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel Hayom) "Misha" Arens waged an unflagging diplomatic battle for Israel's vital interests as well as playing a vital role in strengthening Israel's air, land, and sea military might.
Netanyahu Can't Convey a Sense of Decorum He Never Had (Sami Peretz, Haaretz+) The prime minister dictates ostensibly clean messages and his associates translate them into dirty messages, contradicting the spirit of his mentor, the late Moshe Arens.
Netanyahu tries to sell his innocence with Instagram meme blitz (Ido Baum, Haaretz+) The PM’s cynical prime-time announcement was the opening shot of a scripted Instagram campaign designed to convince the public that he didn’t take bribes.
Why Wasn't Netanyahu Allowed to Confront the State Witnesses in His Corruption Probe? (Gidi Weitz, Haaretz+) It seems to have been no coincidence that the prime minister chose to make the demand for a confrontation only after the investigation was over.
A fascinating, if unimportant election (Avi Shilon, Haaretz+) It's become official in this campaign: There is no left-wing alternative running against the right-wing bloc, rather only more moderate variations of Likud’s positions

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