News Nosh 1.30.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday January 30, 2019
Quote of the day:
"I have looked in-depth at today's self-absorbed leadership. It is not interested in you, and not in us. Believe me, I am very proud of our country and will never be ashamed of it. But lately more and more people, both right and left, myself included, are deeply embarrassed by the way our leadership conducts itself. A strong government governs to unite and doesn’t govern in order to separate, to rule."
--Candidate for Prime Minister of Israel, Benny Gantz, in his first political speech, which wowed most commentators, and upset the right-wing.*

Breaking News:
Palestinian teen shot dead by Israeli forces for alleged stab attempt
16-year-old Samah Zuheir Mubarak, a resident of Ramallah City, tried to stab security forces at a West Bank checkpoint east of Jerusalem Wednesday morning and was shot by security forces, Israel Police said. (Haaretz and Maan+PHOTOS)

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Making contact // Nahum Barnea on Benny Gantz’s first speech
  • Benny Gantz added Yaalon and declared: Prime Minister with an indictment? That won’t happen”; Halikud: “he is the new Left”
  • After high school girls at Ein Horesh dropped out of highest level of mathematics studies, they were separated from the boys - and they all completed their studies
  • Desecrating the holy - Torah scrolls vandalized at Jerusalem synagogue
  • “Where are my twin siblings?” - Following Yedioth/Ynet investigation (on disappearance of Ethiopian babies from hospitals at birth), MK Penina Tamano-Shata says: My mother gave birth to twins - and they disappeared; Today, demonstration of Ethiopian-Israelis
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • “Government without lords and servants” - In his first speech, the former chief of staff Benny Gantz attacked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
  • Born again // Ben Caspit
  • The Messiah isn’t coming // Nadav Haetzni
  • Netanyahu attacks back: Whoever says he is not left-wing and not-right wing - is left-wing
  • Tension ahead of the protest of Ethiopian-Israelis today in Tel-Aviv; Protesters against the police: “The (police) treat us like a terror organization. We come determined, but not violently”
Israel Hayom

Elections 2019 News:
*Candidate for Prime Minister, the former chief of staff, Benny Gantz, broke his silence and gave what commentators considered a sharp, stately charismatic speech, which some said could bring him the votes to oust Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. (See Commentary/Analysis below.) The speech, which Haaretz translated to English, shared his platform, which was not left-wing, but not terribly hawkish. The word stately was used repeatedly by commentators to describe it. Gantz said there is no way Netanyahu can be prime minister if he is indicted, he slammed the present ‘divisive’ government, he said he opposed incitement against the law enforcement authorities, the judicial system, the cultural establishment and the media, he would strive for peace with the Palestinians, but also keep settlement blocs, he would allow humanitarian aid to Gaza and he would allow limited public transportation in the country. He said a government headed by him would offer Israelis unity and equality.

He was slammed by right-wing politicians, who called him a ‘clear leftist. Netanyahu called him ‘another (Yair) Lapid.’ Minister Naftali Bennett said he was a danger to security. And even an MK from the left-wing Meretz called him 'the Seinfeld of politics.’ Before his speech Gantz officially joined forces with Moshe Yaalon, another former chief of staff and ex-defense minister. And Gantz was praised by former U.S. general Martin Dempsey who said Gantz’s long silence was a sign of his confidence.

Yedioth’s Itamar Eichner reported that Netanyahu is planning a 'diplomatic blitz' before the elections, including visits to India, the US, Morocco and possibly even Bahrain, as well as to host Brazil's president in Israel, in an effort to highlight his warn ties with world leaders. Haaretz+ reported that according to the latest polls and assuming that Gantz won’t join a Netanyahu government, it’s possible Netanyahu won’t be able to form a new government. It turns out that Gesher, the new party of MK Orli Levi-Abekasis, may be the kingmaker. Also in election news, a retired general under investigation for corruption, wants to be the next Public Security minister. And, Twitter has begun suspending accounts that spread fake news to Israelis ahead of the April 9th election.
Quick Hits:
  • Palestinian succumbs to wounds sustained in Gaza protests - Samir Ghazi al-Nabbahin, 47, was hit in the face with a tear-gas bomb fired by Israeli forces last Friday. (Maan)
  • Injuries reported as Israel suppresses weekly naval protest in Gaza - Medical sources confirmed that those injured were transferred to the Indonesian Hospital for medical treatment, while a Palestinian driver of a bulldozer, who was among injured protesters, was transferred to the al-Shifa Hospital as he was in a critical condition. (Maan)
  • PA: Israel removing witnesses by ejecting Hebron monitors - "[The Israelis] don't want there to be witnesses to their crimes, or any other crime they commit against the Palestinians anywhere," says Hebron mayor after Israel ends mandate of city's TIPH observer mission • Norway decries "one-sided Israeli decision." (Israel Hayom and Maan)
  • Amnesty Slams Travel Firms: Profiting From Israeli War Crimes in West Bank Settlements - Group's new campaign, Destination: Occupation, targets online travel and booking companies TripAdvisor,, Expedia and Airbnb for policies it says violate Palestinian human rights. (Haaretz+, Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • (Left-wing) Israeli political satirist Assaf Harel to become Tel Aviv deputy mayor - Harel to accept appointment despite campaign pledge he made during the municipal election not to join Ron Huldai's coalition. (Haaretz+)
  • Jerusalem synagogue defaced by anonymous vandals Police opens investigation into incident - 'Such a thing can't be in Jerusalem, in the land of Israel. We know these solely from dark periods in the Diaspora,' says Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Netanyahu in Talks for Another India Visit in Two Weeks; Major Arms Deal on Agenda - Preferred date for Netanyahu's visit is the second week of February, Haaretz has learned; the Israeli premier and Narendra Modi are both bracing for the upcoming elections in their countries. (Haaretz+)
  • Invoking Operation Entebbe, Netanyahu says Iran conducts daily cyberattacks against Israel - Plane hijacking in the 1970s led to the development of Israel's 'unmatched' cybersecurity industry, prime minister tells Tel Aviv conference. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • Iran: Proxies in Lebanon, Gaza will respond with 'hellfire' to Israeli attacks - Close aide of Khamenei claims country will continue supplying ancilliaries with high-precision weapons to counter Israel's 'acts of stupidity'; says slow discovery of Hezbollah terror tunnels brings 'shame to the Zionist entity's intelligence capabilities.' (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Russian deputy FM reiterates commitment to Israel's security - PM Netanyahu meets senior Russian delegation in Jerusalem to discuss situation in Syria and "strengthen the security coordination mechanism between the militaries" • Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin: Entire task of removing Iran from Syria falls on Israel. (Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinians ask UN to deploy observer force in West Bank - Netanyahu decides not to renew mandate for Temporary International Presence in Hebron, TIPH, observers, known for hostility to Israel; Palestinians say fear settler attacks. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Israel Chief justice slams ‘belligerent’ political attacks on courts - “It is unfortunate that the term 'destruction' is used, there is no place for belligerent concepts in the discourse on the legal system,” said Esther Hayut and defended ruling on legality of defense decisions. "Separation of powers means checks and balances through dialogue not through war.” (Maariv and Times of Israel)
  • Netanyahu Probes Drag Israel Down in World Corruption Index: UAE, Qatar and Chile receive a better score than Israel - The International Organization published the Corruption Index of 180 countries. In the first places: Denmark, Norway and Canada. In recent places: Somalia, Syria and North Korea. (Maariv, Haaretz, Transparency Int’l, i24News)
  • Netanyahu scorned for wooing Holocaust-distorting Lithuanians - Prime Minister Netanyahu accused of cynically betraying Holocaust victims' memory after embracing eastern European allies who seek to diminish their culpability in the Holocaust. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • As Brexit looms, UK Jews seek sanctuary in Germany - Fearing for their children's future and concerned over recent instability caused by the impending departure from EU, Britain's Jewish community is coming to terms with the bitter memories of the Holocaust and applying for German passports. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Israelis of Ethiopian Origin Plan Tel Aviv Protest Against Police - The demonstrators are demanding the appointment of an investigating judge to probe the killing of Yehuda Biadga, a mentally ill Ethiopian-Israeli, by the Israeli police. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Israeli Zoning Board Approves Controversial Western Wall Cable Car - Developers call it a solution to the Old City’s traffic jams, but opponents say the goal is to bolster Israeli control of East Jerusalem neighborhoods. (Haaretz+)
  • Team of global scientists to build simulation of life on Mars near Mitzpe Ramon - A self-contained dome simulating conditions on the Red Planet will house six astronauts – including two Israelis – who will be cut off from the world during a three-week research program in 2020. (Haaretz+)
  • UNRWA calls for $1.2 billion in 2019 to keep operations at same level - The calls comes in the wake of an unprecedented shortfall and existential crisis following the decision by the Agency’s largest donor, the US, to cut US$ 300 million of its contribution last year. (Maan)
  • Palestinian artist brings Japanese origami to Gaza - Ahmed Humaid, 29, discovered the art of paper folding through Instagram and began practicing it as a way to pass time while unemployed. Now he sells his works as gifts charging NIS 100 a piece and dreams of being able to one day travel to Japan. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Gaza to get recycling plant on site of former settlements - After almost clashing with Hamas over expanding garbage mountain near border, Israel approves construction of recycling facility where Gush Katif settlement bloc once stood. (Ynet)
  • Palestinian Authority PM resigns, dissolves unity government - Rami Hamdallah tenders his resignation and that of his unity government to PA President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday, dealing a blow to faltering reconciliation efforts with Hamas • Hamas condemns move as an attempt to exclude it from Palestinian politics. (Haaretz, Maan and Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Suspends New Social Security Law - In 11th-hour move Palestinian leader averts general strike in the West Bank, partly because any future Fatah-based government will need to preserve its popular appeal. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinian UN Envoy Says 'Obstacles' to Membership Will Be Removed One Day - The U.S. is seen as the main hurdle for the state to receive full membership, which currently has 'observer status.’ (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Envoy says no UN membership for Palestinians now - PA ambassador at the United Nations says admission to Security Council is 'an innate right' of the Palestinian people who, despite the veto-wielding Americans, will 'continue fighting for that right.' (Ynet)
  • Top UK artists call on BBC to boycott or move the 2019 Eurovision in Israel  out - As official Eurovision events kick off, more than 50 of the UK's prominent culture figures sign letter urging the British Broadcasting Company to nix coverage of the event since the hosting country 'violates Palestinian human rights.' (Ynet, Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Anti-BDS Bill Passes Another Senate Hurdle in Additional Vote - Seventy-six senators voted in favor of the bill put forth by Senator Marco Rubio, including a majority of Senate Democrats. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • Anti-Israel protest again sparks controversy at LGBTQ conference - JTA obtained video of the event, at which speakers led chants of 'From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free' and 'From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go.’ (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Syrian suicide attack hits Idlib council linked to former Nusra Front - The attack targeted the headquarters of a council that governs the insurgent-held Idlib region of northwestern Syria on Tuesday, killing a number of people. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Eyeing Reconstruction, Syria and Iran Strike Deal to Allow Bank Transfers - Tehran opened Syria a $3.5 billion credit line in 2013, and extended it by $1 billion in 2015, which economists say has helped keep the Syrian economy afloat. (Agencies, Haaretz)

Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
No, Netanyahu, Gantz Is Not Left-wing – He's the Old Right (Noa Landau, Haaretz+) What distinguishes his platform from today's right are a return to statesmanship, narrowing social rifts, fighting corruption and protecting state institutions.
Gantz's next mission: Teaming up with Ashkenazi or Levy-Abekasis (Yuval Karni, Ynet) In the day after his big campaign launch speech, Benny Gantz is hard at work to make additional political moves that could bring him up to par with Netanyahu in the race for the premiership.
Gantz's Message: Vote for Me – I'm Meaner Than Netanyahu, but Clean (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Benny Gantz's delivery shows he is still less comfortable in a suit than in combat fatigues, but that's what his team wants him to convey.
It’s not a mistake, it’s a policy: we deserve a different medical system (MK Itzik Shmuli, Maariv) Criminal malpractice, mismanagement, and chronic under-budgeting which has starved the public health system to the point of collapse, along with the criminal act of inflating the private system through complementary insurance.
In Maiden Political Speech, Gantz Sounded Clearer and Sharper Than When He Was IDF Chief of Staff (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Gantz's main drawing card is still his military background. That's why Netanyahu feels under such pressure from his candidacy.
Gantz will learn very quickly that, following the sharp looks, they will stab him with sharp knives (Ben Caspit, Maariv) The former chief of staff tried in his speech to enjoy the best of both worlds: He will rehabilitate the health system and restore its former glory. He successfully passed his first true baptism of fire.
Gantz finally speaks, but doesn't say much (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) Meanwhile, the Left's and the Right's attacks against the former IDF chief indicate that other candidates view him as a viable threat. If Benny Gantz winds up facing off against PM Netanyahu, the Israel Resilience party will become a magnet for votes.
With Campaign Launch Speech, Gantz Reinforces Sense That He Could Succeed Netanyahu (Aluf Benn, Haaretz+) For the first time in a decade, the opposition has someone with authority and military experience, and Gantz's speech showed he can lead the anti-Netanyahu camp.
Now there is an alternative (Arik Henig, Maariv) You cannot harm a person like Gantz, whose image has been shaped over years, as someone who was born in a moshav, a pupil at a religious school and a paratrooper in his soul, who reached the summit of the paratroopers and then the summit of the IDF. ..Gantz's entry into politics severely harmed his opponents. Starting from Bibi - who was also harmed by (Attorney General) Mendelblitt - including Bennett and Gabbay and Lapid. Now Gantz is at a junction. The big question is can the momentum of yesterday become a pull of the people, especially the center, and also from the other parties, and if others continue to attack him will that only give him more mandates?...Anyone who understands things knows that after Rabin and Barak it's clear that only a (former) chief of staff can bring the redemption to the left-center bloc. Now there are two of those - Yaalon and Gantz - on the same list, which appears to be an excellent one and includes security, education and municipal people. The question is will all that be enough on the night of the elections.
For the First Time in Years, It Looks Like Israel Has an Alternative to Netanyahu (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) Benny Gantz’s speech Tuesday was riddled with clichés, but the promise of statesmanship that the leader of the new Hosen L’Yisrael party is selling to the public will find takers.
More empty slogans (Dr. Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) Rather than showing the modesty befitting a political newcomer, Benny Gantz is trying to pull voters from the Left and the Right without clearly stating his positions and qualifications.
An Alternative to Netanyahu (Haaretz Editorial) Let us hope that the heads of the Labor Party and of Yesh Atid will swallow their pride and join forces with Gantz. Israel needs a political upset the way that it needs oxygen.
Gantz has to pick a side (Yossi Beilin, Israel Hayom) After Benny Gantz's speech, the Right can call him a leftist and the Left can call him right-wing. Voters should look at the people in the top spots in his faction and realize that they are far from the left wing.
Netanyahu Hates the Opposition, Socialist or Not (Noa Osterreicher, Haaretz+) What does Bibi have to be offered to recognize the Israeli opposition? A suitcase with $1 million in unmarked bills? A flight to a country without extradition agreements?

Killing a Palestinian and Investigating (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) When Israeli settlers kill a Palestinian, the story isn’t the murder, but the investigation. We put on a good show, say ‘there is no basis for prosecution,’ and get it over with.
Israel never stops to think (Giora Eiland, Yedioth/Ynet) One of the most pervasive problems Israel faces is that when it comes to the mechanisms of the state, from unbridled bureaucracy or ending the conflict with the Palestinians, no one ever learns from the past or plans for the future.
The lost art of Palestinian 'protection' (Dr. Reuven Berko, Israel Hayom) The Palestinians, it seems, have never earned a shekel that wasn't "protection money." Now, amid a swiftly changing geopolitical landscape, their traditional extortion methods have lost their effectiveness.
The old-new anti-Semitism (Sever Plocker, Yedioth/Ynet) The images of neo-Nazis protesting the 'occupation of the Jews' outside Auschwitz on International Holocaust Remembrance Day indicates that populist anti-Semitism is once again rearing its ugly head. Not only among the right-wing extremists but as part of left-wing discourse as well.
Based on what happened this week, the Holocaust seems to have become a tool in petty politics (Lilach Sigan, Maariv) Each person chose the part that was more appropriate for him than the report, used it, threw it out and returned to his routine. How do you identify a person who has not learned anything from the Holocaust? When he does not blame it on a political rival.
Coming full circle in Hebron (Ariel Kahana, Israel Hayom) Netanyahu's announcement that he will not renew the mandate of the TIPH mission may lead to some tension with Europe but that is nothing worth losing any sleep over.
Now Chad, then Mali: Why African countries are normalizing with Israel (Ramzy Baroud, Maan) It is no surprise that the governments of Chad and Mali are struggling, not only economically, but also in terms of political legitimacy as well. Torn in the global struggle for dominance between the US and China, they feel pressed to make significant choices that could make the difference between their survival or demise in future upheavals. For these countries, an alliance with Israel is a sure ticket to the Washington political club. Such membership could prove significant in terms of economic aid, political validation and, more importantly, an immunity against pesky military coups.
I chose not to be ashamed (Daniel Goldberg, Israel Hayom) I grew up in a good home, served in an elite IDF combat unit, am happily married, live in Tel Aviv and work in high-tech. And I was sexually assaulted. What happened to me could happen to anyone.
Women's March Jewish outreach director: 'Anti-Semitism can be unlearned'
In her first interview since calls began for the Women’s March leadership to resign amid allegations of anti-Semitism, Jewish director of communications Sophie Ellman-Golan speaks about confronting anti-Jewish prejudice within the movement, the attempts to delegitimize the organizers, and how the March is putting forth a more inclusive vision. (Interviewed by Mairav Zonszein in +972mag)

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