News Nosh 1.10.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday January 10, 2019

 
You Must Be Kidding: 
“(The highway) is an example of the ability to create a shared life between Israelis and Palestinians while addressing security concerns.”
—Speaking at the opening ceremony of the ‘apartheid road,’ a new West Bank road that separates between Palestinians and Israelis, Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan forgets what the word ‘shared’ means.**


Breaking News:
IDF officer and 4 Soldiers Arrested for Allegedly Beating Detained Palestinians
The five suspects beat the two detainees so severely that they needed medical treatment and were not interrogated. The soldiers were from the army's ultra-Orthodox Netzah Yehuda Battalion, two of whose soldiers were killed in a Palestinian attack the week before the December incident. This is not the first time the battalion has been involved in violent incidents. (Maariv, JPost, Israel Hayom and Haaretz+ and Ynet)

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • This is how they will try to steal your vote
  • Exposed on the Internet // Nadav Eyal
  • Poll: In the (Arab) sector, they prefer (MK Ahmed) Tibi (over Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh)
  • She fired the transparent people - (New) Haifa Mayor Einat Kalish-Rotem fired 24 cleaning workers at the municipality
  • The kashrut revolution - Without bacon and calamari - This is how the kosher trend has taken over restaurants in Israel
  • From the Thames to Eilat - the surprising ranking of the southern city
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom

Elections 2019 News:
A spring poll by the Pew Research Center, released the day after the head of Israel’s Shin Bet warned about attempts by a “foreign power” to intervene in Israel’s April elections, revealed that the majority of Israelis fear the elections will be manipulated through cyber attacks and Yedioth shared with readers how fake news, the exposing of sensitive information about the candidates and even hackers can affect the outcome of the April elections. Interestingly, only Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party opposes prohibiting anonymous online election propaganda, and the Kremlin made an emphatic announcement that Russia did not, does not and will not intervene in any elections in the world.

Meanwhile, a Yedioth poll revealed that a majority of Arab Israelis (47%) believe that Arab MK Ahmed Tibi should be the head of the Joint List faction compared to 20% for the serving chairman, MK Ayman Odeh. Moreover, the majority of Arab voters (43% would vote for Tibi’s party, Ta’al, which broke off from the Joint List, over voting for the Joint List, which only 38% would prefer.

Also, former chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi is being sought after by both Yesh Atid Chairman MK Yair Lapid, who offered Ashkenazi a senior portfolio after the elections and decisive influence in decision making, (Maariv) and by former chief of staff Benny Gantz, who is reportedly waiting to draft Ashkenazi before delivering his first public address since entering politics two weeks ago. New Right party leader Naftali Bennett said he hopes to take half of Gantz’s supporters, because he believes that for the first time in years voters might switch from Left to Right and Michal Zernowitski, 37, is hoping to become the first ultra-Orthodox MK for the Labor Party in April, standing on a platform of equality, social justice and peace. There are hundreds of thousands of Haredi voters just like her, she said, according to a profile of her in Haaretz+).

Other Top News Summary:
In other news, police stormed the yeshiva high school in the Rechelim West Bank settlement and summoned all the students for questioning in the October murder of Palestinian woman, Aisha Rabi, who was killed when a rock thrown at the vehicle in which she sat hit her in the head. Haaretz+ reported that they were summoned in the guise of interrogations, for which they were obliged to appear, but actually it was questioning and not an interrogation and they did not have to go. Four of the five yeshiva students at Rechelim were released to house arrest today.

In a sharp look at how the Hebrew media portrays the news:
In its headline Haaretz English wrote that a girl was stabbed yesterday in ‘E. Jerusalem.’ The Hebrew article simply said 'Jerusalem.' The addition of the word ‘East’ suggests that it was in an Arab part of E. Jerusalem and that the attacker was Arab. However, the attack took place in a Jewish neighborhood over the Green Line, which the Hebrew newspapers never refer to as E. Jerusalem. Unlike the English article, the Hebrew article reported that “At this stage, the girl can not give the interrogators any identifying details about the suspect-not about his appearance, about his clothes or about his origins…the stabber did not say anything during the incident, and it is difficult to say whether this was a criminal or nationalist event.”

Yedioth declared that Israel's Education Ministry “reinvented the Mideast” because it did not include the West Bank and the Golan Heights as part of Israel in an official form for first-graders. (The form also had some serious spelling mistakes.)
 
Quick Hits:
  • 4 teen suspects in Jewish terror case released to house arrest - Suspects assigned to six days of house arrest, ordered not to contact each other. Shin Bet refutes allegations of illegal interrogation tactics. Security forces raid yeshiva in Rechelim, issue written summons to 30 students to testify in case. (Israel Hayom)
  • **New ‘Apartheid Road’ opens separating Palestinians and West Bank settlers - Route 4370, which separates parts of East and West Jerusalem, was built more than a decade ago but staffing disputes between army and police kept it closed until now. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel spraying herbicides inside Gaza violates int'l law, rights groups say - In an urgent letter to Israeli military officials, three human rights groups demand that Israel immediately stop spraying the dangerous chemicals into Gaza. (+972mag)
  • US Mideast envoy: Palestinians need to accept reality - Jason Greenblatt slams Palestinian Authority for saying U.S. officials' tour of Western Wall area violated international law • "Peace can only be built on truth and reality. You cannot wipe away truth or history. Time to get serious!" Greenblatt tweets. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli court blocks state attempt to expel Palestinian attacker's mother from Jerusalem - Judge rules that Mustafa Khatib's mother was not responsible for his 2015 attack against Israeli forces, says expelling her would violate her rights. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Right Complains About Army Lawyers, but Increases Their Powers in the West Bank - Despite army and police opposition and concerns over recent investigations, Netanyahu, backed by Justice Minister Shaked, orders expansion of the investigative military police's powers to operate in Palestinian territories. (Haaretz+)
  • Court orders state to fund military prep school for religious girls - With more and more girls from the national-religious sector enlisting in the IDF, High Court rules Education Ministry must fund programs to help them prepare for army life, just like they do for the boys. (Ynet)
  • Israel to confiscate 139 dunams for settlement project near Ramallah - The Israeli Ministry of Finance issued building permits for a settlement project that would confiscate 139 dunams of Palestinian lands from the Deir Dibwan village in eastern Ramallah and al-Bireh district in the central occupied West Bank. (Maan)
  • Suspicion: A senior official in the State Comptroller's Office lives in an illegal building - A criticism by inspectors from the Ministry of Finance revealed that attorney Burak Masalha, deputy director of the State Comptroller's Office, continues to live on state land in Kufr Qara. According to the (right-wing) Regevim organization, which is following the case, Attorney Masalha continues to live with his family in an illegal building built in the village, which the High Court approved demolishing 15 years ago. (Maariv)
  •  Chinese Investments in Israel Could Pose Security Threat, Shin Bet Chief Warns - Nadav Argaman says Israel needs legislation to supervise Chinese involvement in country's projects. State Looking into tighter control over foreign investment following U.S. pressure. (Haaretz)
  • Netanyahu Raised $300,000 in Legal Defense Fees Without Permission - After the prime minister's request to receive funding from tycoons was rejected, new request shows he secured funds from cousin Nathan Milikowsky. (Haaretz+)
  • Key Witness in Netanyahu Corruption Case Once Again Sues Israeli Lawmaker for Slander - In the second lawsuit filed against MK David Amsalem, magnate Arnon Milchan's aid claims she is being falsely accused of leaking her own statements to the police. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu: "The police are trying to put responsibility for the failure on me, I reiterate my demand for a confrontation (with the state witnesses)” - The prime minister responded to the TV news report, according to which his interrogators allowed him to hold a confrontation with the state's witnesses, but Netanyahu said he needed to consult with his lawyers first. Netanyahu accused the police of "further tendentious leaks.” (Maariv)
  • Fact-checking Netanyahu's 'Dramatic' Statement on Meeting State's Witnesses - The police don't have to let state's witnesses confront their accusers, and corruption doesn't necessarily include cash. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli ex-minister, once jailed for smuggling ecstasy, gets 11 years in prison for spying for Iran - Gonen Segev, who was caught trying to smuggle ecstasy into Israel in 2004, found guilty of aggravated espionage. Shin Bet: He gave Iran state information from his stint in cabinet. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Sexual harassment of Israeli minors more than doubled in past decade, data shows - Thirty percent of Israeli children live in poverty, half of them ultra-Orthodox. President Rivlin: 'Data point to gaps we can't and don't accept.’ (Haaretz+)
  • 43 IDF casualties in 2018: a decrease in the number of suicides - This compares to 55 casualties in 2017. According to the manpower data, 8 were killed in operational activity, 2 in military accidents, 14 killed in road accidents, 9 suspected of suicide, and 10 soldiers died for medical reasons. Between 2005-2011, there were about 26-28 soldiers who committed suicide (annually). (Maariv)
  • Arab and ultra-Orthodox Students in Israel Lagging in English Skills, Report Shows - Only eight percent of Arab and four percent of ultra-Orthodox high school graduates test high enough for exemption from English language courses in undergraduate studies, according to a new report by the Central Bureau of Statistics. (Haaretz+)
  • Migrant construction workers in Israel three times more likely to die in on-site accidents than locals - Hadas Tagari, who heads the accident-fighting coalition, says that migrant workers and Palestinians are hired to do the most hazardous jobs. Report also finds that migrant and Palestinian workers are much less likely to sue and get compensated for accidents. Migrants account for 9% of construction workforce and 19.4% of the deaths at construction sites. (Haaretz+)
  • The organs of the son of the mayor of Umm al-Fahm were donated and saved three ill people - Mohammad Mahamid, 15, died after he went into a coma after falling off his bicycle. The family chose to donate his organs: "There was no difficulty in deciding,” said his father, Dr. Samir Mahamid, whose mother died the same day. In the Arab sector, they praised the donation of organs that saved lives, calling the mayor and his wife "noble souls." (Maariv)
  • Husband of Israeli Arab woman found killed last month confesses to her murder - Mohammed Lababidi initially provided an alibi but witnesses' testimonies and forensic tests proved that he was the one who killed his pregnant wife. (Haaretz+)
  • No more than one wife: Israel looks to tackle Bedouin polygamy - Although Israel outlawed polygamy decades ago, it is widespread in the Bedouin sector • For the first time, Israel is prosecuting suspected polygamists, but many Bedouin see it only as a ploy to curb their sector's population growth. (Israel Hayom)
  • Robert Kraft, Jewish philanthropist and New England Patriots owner, to receive 2019 Genesis Prize - Kraft will donate the prize money of $1 million to 'initiatives combatting anti-Semitism and other forms of prejudice as well as attempts to de-legitimize the State of Israel.’ (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Egypt limits access from Gaza after PA quits border crossing - Accusing Hamas of undermining its operations, detaining some of its workers, PA announces pullout from Rafah border crossing between Egypt, Gaza Strip • Egypt blocks Palestinians from entering country from Gaza after Hamas workers take place of PA staff. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Senate Democrats Block Rubio Mideast Policy Bill on Israel boycotts, that Sparked Heated BDS Debate - Nearly all Senate Democrats vote against GOP's 'Combating BDS Act,' proceeding debate on bill, which includes U.S. security assistance to Israel and Jordan, and steps against Syrian regime. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • For first time, EU blacklists Iranian intelligence unit - EU sends "strong signal," freezes assets of the unit and two of its staff • Netherlands accuses Iran of two killings on its soil, joins France and Denmark in alleging Tehran plotted other attacks. Iran: Move doesn't absolve EU for harboring terrorists. (Israel Hayom)


Features:
WATCH: Jailed without charge or trial: Administrative detention explained
Israel uses administrative detention to put Palestinians in prison without ever charging them with a crime. Sometimes the accusations are about a crime you haven’t yet committed. Almost always, the evidence is secret. (+972magVIDEO)
 
Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
Trump and Netanyahu Agree: Desperate Times Call for Desperate Speeches (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Both leaders are riling up their political base in order to relieve the tightening of the legal noose around their necks.
The sense of disgust with most candidates stems from the knowledge that they are selling false principles (Lilach Sigan, Maariv) So many parties, and yet a feeling that there is no one to vote for. The highest value is ostensibly the “political camp," and for that it is permissible to protect every weed from the margins [reference to Jewish youth detained on suspicion of terror - OH].
Bibiphobia: How We've Made a Monster of Netanyahu (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) All the lack of public action, the indifference, complacency, blindness and years of silence in the face of conduct far more criminal find an outlet in hating Netanyahu.
Likud strategy is to make elections a referendum on Netanyahu (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) As chief strategist of the Likud party's election campaign, PM Benjamin Netanyahu wants the indictment against him to be a nonstory, and for the voting public to believe that articles on a news site favorable to him do not constitute bribery.
Is Russia trying to meddle in Israeli elections? (Ron Ben Yishai, Ynet) The head of Israel's domestic security agency says a cyber attack or an 'influence attack' on social media aims to undermine Israelis' trust in their government, and while it is easy to point the finger at Moscow, Iran and China could also benefit from such a move.
Don't Give Up on This Election (Rami Livni, Haaretz+) The next step for those who yearn for a political upset should be forming a broad front dedicated to replacing Benjamin Netanyahu.
It's time for a new leaf in Arab-Jewish relations (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) In Israel, Jews are said to hate Arabs and Arabs are said to hate Jews; fueled by politicians from both sides, hatred is taking over the country; but with the worst inciters among the Arab MKs leaving, we have an historic opportunity for unity.

Other Commentary/Analysis:
What do you call a rabbi who protects and defends Jewish terrorists? (Eric H. Yoffie, Haaretz+) Leading Israeli rabbi Haim Druckman called on national TV to 'release the children' suspected of stoning to death Palestinian mother-of-seven Aisha Rabi - because they're 'not terrorists.' His behavior is an inexcusable perversion of Jewish values.
Were the Shin Bet's interrogation techniques justified? (Yifat Erlich, Yedioth/Ynet) Suspects who have nothing to hide don't keep silent during interrogations, on the contrary—they talk; we should oppose aggressive interrogation methods, but, at the same time, demand the cooperation of the suspects.
The arrest of the youth from Rechelim (settlement yeshiva) reminds us: We must choose between the settlements and the state (Ran Edelist, Maariv) When will we understand that Rehelim and Amona and "educational institutions" like "Pri Ha'aretz" feed on the same root of all evil: the theft of land and the expulsion of Palestinians for the benefit of the settlement enterprise?
The Rashida Tlaib 'anti-Semitism' Slur Reveals the Loud, Illiberal Face of the anti-BDS Movement (Joshua Shanes, Haaretz+) For Liberal Zionists, the vitriolic explosion against the Palestinian-American congresswoman should be familiar. The anti-BDS movement calls us - and anyone who opposes Israeli policies - 'anti-Semites' too, and it's only getting worse.
The time has come for civil marriage in Israel (Haaretz Editorial) Growing number of Israeli couples who avoid the rabbinical establishment need an alternative that would guarantee their basic rights.
A window of opportunity (Uri Heitner, Israel Hayom) U.S. President Trump, untethered by Washington establishment dogmas, is open to innovative diplomatic initiatives. American recognition of Israeli sovereignty on the Golan is now more than a pipe dream.
Following Natalie Portman PR Disaster, Genesis Prize Goes to Loyal Friend of Netanyahu – and Trump (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+) The decision to award the honor to New England Patriots owner and philanthropist Robert Kraft highlights how the foundation was desperate to avoid another scandal.
Erdogan Rejoiced at Trump's Syria Pullout. Then He Realized It Was Trump (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.
 
Interviews:
I Failed to Defend Israeli Democracy: Dov Khenin, Outgoing Communist Lawmaker, Admits Regrets
Dov Khenin, who started the year by quitting the Knesset, tells Haaretz how he’d be a greater agent of change outside parliament. (Interviewed by Jonathan Lis in Haaretz+)

(Attorney General Avichai) Mendelblitt: "At the end of his life, my father saw that things in the country were changing, not all for the better"

On January 28, the attorney general will participate in a special evening in memory of Beitar veterans, including his late father Baruch (Miki). Mendelblit opened his heart in a special interview. (Interviewed by Eyal Levy in Maariv)
Eyal Levy: Was your father pleased with the way the state is progressing?
Avichai Mendelblit: "At the end of his life, much, much less. He was not naive, he was very aware, and he saw that things were changing, and not all for the better."

'Israel's permit regime isn't about security, it's about segregation'
The permit system for Palestinians allows Israel to recruit informants, suppress political activity, and create an opaque system of segregation and control. Just don’t say it’s about security, says Yael Berda. (Interviewed by Edo Konrad in +972mag)
 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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