News Nosh 1.13.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday January 13, 2019

 
Quote of the day:
“I can’t separate religion from politics, because religion worked in the service of the settlement project, and that’s the biggest sin in my view. In my experience, Judaism underwent a crude reduction. It was just land and nationality, nationality and land."
--Tsivia Barkai Yacov, an Israeli film director, who was raised as a religious settler.*

You Must Be Kidding: 
Israel’s military courts imposed fines topping 60 million shekels ($16 million) on West Bank Palestinians from 2015 to 2017, according to a report by Machsom Watch, even though the great majority of the offenses don’t involve the harming of people or property.**


Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Commanders were instructed what to say to Army Police Investigators (about the death of soldier who drowned during navigation exercise)
  • (IDF Chief of Staff) “Israel attacked Iranian targets at the Damascus airport”
  • Expose - Who is giving the budget for the subsidized medicines? Pharmaceutical companies
  • Likud party celebrates in Eilat: “The goal: 40 mandates”
  • On (IDF Ombudsman Yitzhak) Brik’s retiring: Listen to the warnings - and trust the heads of the army // Amnon Lord
  • History in Emek Hefer region: Almost half of the members of the religious council are women

Elections 2019 News:
At the annual Likud event in Eilat, support for Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was strong, while at the Labor party convention, Chairman Avi Gabbay was booed, but succeeded in solidifying his power, and the Meretz party overturned a decision and ruled to allow MK Mossi Raz to seek re-election.

69.4% of Likud supporters said Netanyahu should not resign if he’s indicted (only 20% said he should) and 44.2% of the participants opposed reserving spots in the Likud party Knesset list for Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, who formed the ‘Hayamin Hadash’ party, according to a poll at the ‘Leumiada’ event. (Maariv) Likud said its goal was 40 seats in the next Knesset. Netanyahu reportedly will not hire external experts for his party's campaign strategy, Haaretz+ reported, as part of his attempt to prevent such aides from turning against him into state witnesses. Yedioth’s Itamar Eichner wrote that US President Donald Trump is giving Netanyahu an “elections present: a presidential dinner at the White House” two weeks before Israeli elections, as a message of support for the candidate.

Some of the Labor party opponents who attended the Labor party conference Thursday booed Gabbay and one of his opponents had to be dragged out of the hall (and said he was beaten) but Gabbay managed to win a vote to reserve four key slots on the party list for candidates of his choosing. (Likud gave Netanyahu only one slot to reserve.) Culture Minister Miri Regev said that former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and president Shimon Peres were "spinning in their graves seeing what is happening to the Labor Party.” And Israel’s High Court said ordered the ultra-Orthodox Agudat Yisrael party to amend its charter so that it can accept female members. And Ynet published the results of the polls on Israeli Arab voters preferences of MK Ahmed Tibi to present Joint List leader, MK Ayman Odeh.
                                      
Other News Summary:
The top news was military action in the north and the south and an interview with the outgoing IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot. Syrian media said that Israeli warplanes attacked in Syria a warehouse at Damascus Airport and a Hezbollah missile depot, but that most of the missiles were intercepted. The news came shortly after a series of pre-retirement interviews that Eisenkot gave to the Israeli media, the New York Times and the British Sunday Times, in which he revealed, that Israel has attacked thousands of targets in Syria, which it did not previously declare. Eisenkot also revealed the secret battle he fought against Iranian General Qassem Suliemani, Haaretz+’s Amos Harel looked at the key points of all the interviews.

In the south, Israeli news focused on the footage Hamas released of the botched November IDF raid (Hamas' findings suggest 15 members of an IDF special operations unit entered Gaza and tried to bug Hamas communications) and on the Israeli strikes on Gaza in response to the Friday Gaza border protests and to a rocket that fell in southern Israel. Maariv and Haaretz noted in their headlines that Israeli soldiers killed a 43-year-old Palestinian woman who demonstrated Friday, while Yedioth emphasized the escalated violence from the Palestinian side, of which there were some 13,000 protesters. Israel attacked later that day two Hamas posts in northern Gaza in what the Hebrew media said was a response to the violence of the Friday protests. The following day a rocket was launched from Gaza and landed in an open area in southern Israel to which Israel retaliated by attacking two underground Hamas sites in Gaza late Saturday night. Israel said Hamas was being held responsible for anything launched from Gaza. Hamas warned that an Israeli escalation towards Gaza will endanger Israel’s security. Meanwhile, a Palestinian attempted to stab someone in Kiryat Arba settlement near Hebron and was shot and wounded, the military said. Haaretz’s Jack Khoury wrote an interesting article that explained that Friday’s Gaza protests “came a day after a delegation of senior Egyptian intelligence officials began holding talks with senior members of Hamas and the rest of the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip with the goal of preventing an escalation of violence both inside the Gaza Strip and along the border fence with Israel.” The delegation met Thursday with the senior Fatah leader in the Gaza Strip, Ahmad Hala, and other Fatah officials and on Friday it met with the head Hamas political chief, Ismail Haniyeh.
 
Quick Hits:
  • **In Three Years, Israeli Military Courts Have Fined Palestinians $16 Million - The army details how many Palestinians are tried in military court and for what, but does not give the criteria for the scale of its fines or their breakdown. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel's Supreme Court Refuses to Rehear Case on Eviction of Palestinian Family in East Jerusalem - The Sabbagh family has been ordered to leave its home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood injerusalem-1.6830318 favor of Jewish settlers by January 23. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Army Gender-segregated Races on Sports Day So Rabbis Could Attend - Event now has separate heats for men and for women. (Haaretz+)
  • I Hope for an Israel Abiding by Jewish Religious Law, Says Member of New Right-wing Party - Shuli Moalem-Refaeli's Hayamin Hehadash party bills itself as a joint religious-secular slate. Naftali Bennnet, said the party opposes religious coercion and is proud of a diversity of opinions. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Doctors Ban 'Conversion Therapy' for Gay People - Members who perform conversion therapy could now be expelled from the Israel Medical Association (IMA), which represents 90 percent of the country’s doctors. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Hundreds of Christians Protest in Israel Over 'McJesus' Art Exhibit in Haifa - Three police officers wounded as protesters throw stones, while culture minister demands that it be removed and suggests official support for Haifa museum could suffer. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • The first person killed in the year 2019 is a 45-year-old man who died in a fall from a building site in Netanya - Iyad Rajab from the (Palestinian) village of Kafr Al-Labad was declared dead at the Israeli construction site. Last week, four workers were moderately injured at a construction site in Modi'in. Last year 41 construction workers were killed - a 14% increase in the number of fatalities compared to 2017. Reuven Ben Shimon, founder of the Forum for the Prevention of Work Accidents, said that "from the preliminary photos received from the site, it appears that the site suffers from criminal neglect in all matters relating to the safety arrangements.” (Haaretz Hebrew)
  • Swords to plowshares: Israel makes a farm out of a minefield - Some 16,000 dunams of deserted land to be transferred to farmers from Gaza border communities, terrorized by incendiary airbourne devices scorching their farmland, after new amendment forces the defense establishment to clear all landmines in the region. (Ynet)
  • A 142-year-old synagogue on wheels - A house of worship on the move: Adas Israel Congregation, the oldest surviving shul in Washington, moves to a new location where it will become part of the new Capital Jewish Museum. (Ynet)
  • Right-wing Australian-Jewish Group Calls on National Soccer Team to Boycott Palestine - Call came ahead of game Australia was set to play against Palestine in the Asia Football Cup Friday. (Haaretz)
  • Palestinian Soccer Stars With Israeli Citizenship Put on the Red, Green and Black - At the Asian Cup now underway, Palestine has four players with blue ID cards. Star back Abdullah Jaber tells Haaretz about the challenges. (Haaretz+)
  • Damascus Museum Restores Ancient Palmyra Artifacts Damaged by ISIS - Centuries-old statues and sculptures were wrecked by the jihadists when they twice seized control of the old city in central Syria during the country's war, which will enter its ninth year in March. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Lebanon Files Complaint to UN Security Council Over Israeli Construction of Border Wall - Amid tension over the discovery of Hezbollah attack tunnels, Lebanese foreign minister says Israel is violating a 2006 resolution from the Second Lebanon War. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Lebanese media reports Nasrallah suffered heart attack, stroke - Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is hospitalized in serious condition in Beirut, Lebanese outlets report, adding that he has also been fighting cancer • Reports have not been confirmed by any official sources; similar rumors have surfaced in the past. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Saudi Teen Who Fled Family Welcomed as 'Brave New Canadian' in Toronto - Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun arrives at Toronto's Pearson International Airport, smiling and wearing a hoodie emblazoned with the word Canada in red, and a blue UNHCR cap. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Pompeo Kicks Off Gulf Tour to Reassure Allies on Iran, U.S. Exit From Syria - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo leaves Egypt for Bahrain, UAE to call for increasing pressure on Iran, tell partners U.S. won't abandon region. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • U.S. Will Work to Expel 'Every Last Iranian Boot' From Syria, Pompeo Says in Cairo - Secretary of state also says that while Hezbollah is a major presence in Lebanon, the U.S. will not accept this as the status quo. (Haaretz)
  • U.S. to Host World Summit on Iran, Middle East in February, Pompeo Says - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tells Fox News the gathering, which will be held in Poland, will 'focus on Middle East stability' and making sure Iran is not a destabilizing influence in the region. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • FULL TEXT: Mike Pompeo's Cairo Speech on Mideast Policy and Obama - Pompeo said the U.S. will not let Iran turn Syria into the next Lebanon, and will act to 'expel every Iranian boot' from Syria. (Haaretz)
  • U.S. Only Withdrawing Equipment From Syria for Time Being, Officials Say - After media reports suggesting the departure of U.S. forces had begun, the Pentagon later said no troops had yet withdrawn and stressed that the battle against Islamic State was continuing. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Turkey Says U.S. Missile Deal Impossible if Tied to Dropping Russian S-400s - In an interview with broadcaster NTV, Cavusoglu said Turkey will not accept the United States imposing conditions regarding its deal to buy the Russian-made S-400 defense systems. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Israel fighter jet sale to Croatia fails after US objections - Israeli sources say Croatia is 'not responsible' for the cancellation since Israel couldn't get US approval not to strip off IAF's sophisticated electronic and radar systems it added to fighter jets bought from Washington some 30 years ago. (Yedioth/Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Two Israeli Musicians to Judge Chinese International Music Competition - 'China has an enormous arena for classical music, which is growing quickly and many in Israel don’t know about it,' says Prof. Arie Vardi, who will sit on the panel of jurists alongside Julliard professor Yoheved Kaplinsky. (Haaretz)
  • Michael Chabon Adapting His Alternative History Setting the Jewish State in Alaska for TV - CBS Studios and Israeli Keshet Studios acquired the script developed by Chabon and Ayelet Waldman (Haaretz)
  • Holocaust Group Expresses 'Concern and Disappointment' Over Plan to Honor Angela Davis - Amid the controversy surrounding the activist's support for pro-Palestinian causes, a group that educates Alabamians about the Holocaust asked the civil rights organization to reconsider the award. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Hoax Tweet Targets Rashida Tlaib as 'anti-American' - Rashida Tlaib was the victim of actual fake news spread online aimed at making the Democrat appear anti-American. (Haaretz)
  • US: Muslim group sues to block 'No Boycott of Israel' bill - A Muslim civil rights group sues the US state of Maryland for enforcing an executive order barring state agencies from contracting with businesses that boycott Israel. (Agencies, Ynet)


Features:
Expanding the Limits of Jewish Sovereignty: A Brief History of Israeli Settlements
An unsettling new Breaking the Silence tour focuses on the history of the occupation. Every Israeli and visitor who cares about what’s happening here should take it. (Gideon Levy and Alex Levac, Haaretz+)
Mahmoud Abbas, the frequent flier
The 83-year-old Palestinian leader spent 109 days abroad last year, visiting 17 countries, despite growing health, budgetary and political woes at home. (Elior Levy, Yedioth/Ynet)
How Drones Are Threatening Israel’s Already Unfriendly Skies
Thousands of hobbyists and companies are operating based on a law from 1981 when unmanned aircraft were only a distant dream. Well, no one really knows about the law. (Gabriela Davidovich-Weisberg and Refaella Goichman, Haaretz+)
ISIS wives: The lost women of war
They left the West to join their husbands in Syria, only to lose them in battle and then face death by hanging; for the foreign women wed to Islamist jihadists, their countries have abandoned them to a judgment that is quick and often lethal. (Smadar Perry, Yedioth/Ynet)
 
Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
Netanyahu's Time in Power Will Come to an End, Sooner or Later (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) No Israeli public figure shows the kind of cynicism and ability to totally bend society to his will than Netanyahu does. This affliction will disappear with him.
Russian hackers are not the problem in the Israeli elections (Sever Plocker, Yedioth/Ynet) The real danger of misleading the public lies in entirely home-made, Israeli campaigns, concocted in the wild imaginations of a multitude of PR advisors.
What Happens When Bibi Is Gone? (Yossi Klein, Haaretz+) We’ve resigned ourselves to the idea that government is corrupt. Take a lesson from the settlement division. We’ll find ourselves facing the Bennetts, Shakeds and Regevs.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s diplomatic front (Itamar Eichner, Yedioth/Ynet) The PM’s reign as foreign minister was marked by diplomatic breakthroughs on many fronts and his relationships with many world leaders, mainly on the right, but how much progress did he actually make?
Netanyahu's Top Rival Has Found a Way to Psych Out the Prime Minister (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) Despite attacks from Netanyahu's cronies, former Israel Defense Forces chief Benny.
It's time to discuss real issues (Dr. Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) The Left insists on making this election about about PM Netanyahu's alleged corruption, rather than Israel's character as a Jewish state or our presence in Judea and Samaria.
Gabbay’s Mission Impossible: Revive a Despondent and Divided Labor Party in Time for Election (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) The party’s unusually raucous party convention offered naked strife and open rebellion that belied the advanced age of most of its activists.
The Israeli Arab Joint List Is Splitting Up, but Their Interests Must Remain United (Jack Khoury, Haaretz+) The media glow for Ahmad Tibi does not mean he should run separately, but it is in the Joint List’s own interest to take his demands into consideration for the good of Arab society.

Commentary/Analysis:
Their Pretense Is Over. The Settler Leadership Is a Violent, Lawless, Racist Gang of Vigilantes (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) The blanket public support offered by settler leaders to the suspected murderers of Aisha Rabi is a milestone. The settlement enterprise, long based on Jewish supremacy and territorial expansion, now justifies terror.
A Cover for Home-grown Terrorism (Zehava Galon, Haaretz+) Netanyahu has made an art form of keeping mum on Jewish terror. This is all additional evidence of the power wielded by the far–right Kahanists in the cabinet and the public’s apathy over it.
Apartheid on the Roads (Friday Haaretz Editorial+) The settlements have no raison d’etre without a strong, constant connection to Israel. The new road won’t whitewash the settlements and it won’t make the Palestinians disappear.
The freedom stolen from us  (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom)
An enlightened dictatorship is still a dictatorship, and this is essentially what the Supreme Court is proposing when it allows itself to interpret the "spirit" of the law rather than laws as they are enacted by the representatives of the people.
The High Court of Justice Against the Israeli People (Israel Harel, Haaretz+) In questioning the nation-state law, even the 'conservative' justices are causing grave damage to the soul of the nation that returned to Zion with so much suffering.
Calling the courts to order (Yehuda Shlezinger and Itsik Saban, Israel Hayom) The next coalition will have no place for any party that doesn't sign off in advance that it will support legislative initiatives that focus on restoring power to elected officials that the courts have co-opted, says Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.
Gantz was an island of sanity during the Gaza war (Matan Tzuri, Yedioth/Ynet) As IDF chief during the 2014 round of fighting between Israel and Hamas, Gantz understood that he was responsible for the civilian population as well as the troops.
One Israeli-Palestinian conflict, six solutions (Giora Eiland, Yedioth/Ynet) The ongoing struggle between the two nations is once again emerging as the leading topic of this year's election campaign; a binary approach to this issue, however, is no longer relevant.
Eizenkot ends his position with the more points over Nasrallah and without a war on the record (Ben Caspit, Maariv) Calm, thorough, stays close to orderly plans, moves away from the limelight: the secret of the strength and power of the latest commander of the IDF, who fought the real war and managed to return home safely.
This Week Proved the Fight Over Israel in the New Congress Will Be Long and Ugly (Amir Tibon, Haaretz+) Israel is now, whether Israelis like it or not, a tool for advancing political and partisan agendas in Washington.
Moshe Arens, defender of the state (Shlomo Nakdimon, Yedioth/Ynet) From engaging with Saddam to trying to build the first Israeli fighter jet, the late engineer-turned-politician doggedly devoted his life to preserving the Jewish state and its dignity.
Trump Made a Fatal Error. Turkey Is Incapable of Taking on ISIS, Even if Erdogan Wanted To (Simon Waldman, Haaretz+) Ankara’s forces - riven by infighting, jihadist proxies and post-coup purges - will always prioritize fighting anti-ISIS Kurdish forces, and not Islamic State itself. America must stay in Syria until the anti-ISIS job is done.
Hamas knows election time is the ideal time to extort Israel (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) After the stormy weather settles down, chiefs of staff change, and Israel elects its new prime minister, the security situation in Gaza will remain as it is now—unstable.
Pretend refugees (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) The new campaign by former Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Ron Prosor tackles the absurdity of the Palestinian refugee narrative by displaying the successful lives of nine descendants of Arabs who left Israel in 1948 but who still identify as refugees.
Egypt Courts U.S. Jews in Effort to Prevent Trump Aid Cuts (Zvi Bar’el, Haaretz+) The two nations enjoy close military collaboration, agree on the need to block Iran and sign gas deals. But the gap between cooperation and normalization is large.
BDS ban is not about free speech (Zach Schapira via Reuters, Israel Hayom) The key question that free speech advocates (and the courts) have to answer is whether a boycott of Israel, in its current form, is merely a political viewpoint rather than a form of discrimination against Israel or Jews.
Culture Minister's Demand to Remove Work of Art Is an Insult to Culture (Haaretz Editorial) Instead of protecting culture from attempts to undermine it, Israel's culture minister has joined the assailants.
 
Interviews:
'Judaism Shouldn't Have to Stay Alive Only Because Jews Are Afraid of Everything Else'
Groundbreaking U.S. Rabbi Angela Buchdahl explains why she decided to embrace interfaith marriage, and what it's like to be the face of Judaism for many Americans while not being kosher enough for Israel. (Interviewed by Yair Ettinger in Haaretz+)

Weaving a cyber web
It helped bring down drug lords, thwart terror attacks and stop pedophiles, but despite its determination to paint itself as the enemy of 'bad guys' everywhere, Israeli tech company NSO Group is facing some unsavory claims, not least over the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. CEO Shalev Hulio talks for the first time about his life, his work and what he really wants to achieve with the one of the most sophisticated spyware in the world. (Interviewed by Ronen Bergman in Yedioth/Ynet)

Roseanne Barr: Anti-Semitism, My Stance on Israel and BDS Played Into Dismissal From ABC
'I have never in my life done anything racist,' Roseanne tells Jerusalem Post ahead of her Israel visit. 'They did something they've never done to any other artist.' (Interviewed in JPost summary in Haaretz)

'Being Single Is Complicated, for Jews, Arabs and Druze'
This week at the Tel Aviv airport: An Israeli-Arab teacher who believes education is the path to coexistence, and a British teacher who lets her students' creativity run wild. (Interviewed by Liat Elkayam in Haaretz+)

Israelis Are Living on the Titanic – No One Wants to Hear Bad News About the Army’
Maj. Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Brik wraps up a decade as army watchdog, having issued divisive reports on the IDF's readiness for war. In an interview with Haaretz, he talks about low motivation, the question of ground forces and 'the worst personnel crisis since 1965.’ (Interviewed by Amos Harel in Haaretz+)

*'A Lesbian Romance Plus Religion Plus Politics' – Israeli Director's Film Reflects a Roller-coaster Life
Tsivia Barkai Yacov speaks with Haaretz about 'Red Cow' and the experiences that shaped her. Like the film’s protagonist, Barkai Yacov grew up in a settlement in a religious-Zionist family, and was uncomfortable with the strong and ever-present connection between religion and politics. And like the protagonist, she rebelled at a young age, abandoned religious observance, fell in love with women and had a complicated relationship with her father. In one scene in the movie, the father tries to go up on the Temple Mount on Yom Kippur Eve and is chased away by guards. “Dad, you know that if what you want to happen happens, a lot of people will die,” his daughter tells him at home afterward. “We’re not afraid of kiddush Hashem,” religious martyrdom, he replies laconically.
“I can’t separate religion from politics, because religion worked in the service of the settlement project, and that’s the biggest sin in my view,” Barkai Yacov says. “In my experience, Judaism underwent a crude reduction. It was just land and nationality, nationality and land. Yeshayahu Leibowitz once said that turning the prayer shawl into the Israeli flag was sacrilegious. I don’t agree with everything he said, but I do agree with that. Because then you turn faith and Judaism into something very narrow that serves the government and political interests,” she adds. “But Judaism isn’t just about land that has to be sanctified. Above all, it’s about your relationship with God and your relationship with other people. For me, my feelings and emotions have always been my compass.” (Interviewed by Nirit Anderman in Haaretz+)

'It’s Impossible to Reduce Me': Israel's Most Up-and-coming Comedian Dares You to Put Her in a Box
She's performed in East Jerusalem, Berlin, Tel Aviv and Rwanda, has worked with the UN and peace organizations, grew up in a mixed Jewish-Arab community and speaks - and looks - like both. Noam Shuster-Eliassi isn't what you think she is. (Interviewed by Tsafi Saar in Haaretz+)

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