News Nosh 2.4.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday February 4, 2019
 
 
You Must Be Kidding: 
The World Zionist Organization's Settlement Division used Israeli public funds to provide a mortgage for a settlement home belonging to Gilad Ach, who heads the Ad Kan nongovernmental organization, which employs undercover agents tasked with infiltrating left-wing organizations and documenting their operations from the inside, Kerem Navot, a group working to prevent the dispossession of Palestinian West Bank land, revealed. Construction in this settlement, Eli, is illegal under Israeli law since a master plan for it was never approved. The entire settlement of Eli is therefore illegal and none of its houses have permits, Haaretz+ reported.

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Netanyahu against (Likudnik Gideon) Saar - Netanyahu working to prevent man seen as his biggest threat in Likud from getting high slot on party ticket
  • 24 hours till Likud primaries
  • An act on a billboard // Nahum Barnea on the meaning of the billboards along the Ayalon Hwy showing a photo of Netanyahu and Trump smiling and shaking hands
  • Why it isn’t worthwhile to travel on public transportation - travel by car was much shorter, even saving 1.5 hours a day
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • The plan to eliminate (Likudnik Gideon) Saar
  • The dream team // Ben Caspit
  • Money Time // Meir Uziel
  • Trump: “We will watch Iran from Iraq”
  • In the cross hairs - (Palestinian) Islamic Jihad revealed worrisome video clip of IDF officer being hit by sniper fire and saved by his helmet; Construction of an overground barrier on the Gaza border began
Israel Hayom
  • The storm over the lists in Likud: “Everyone is on the edge” - Tension in Likud a day before the primaries
  • Netanyahu pressuring to make alliances in the right-wing in order to prevent losing votes; Gantz-Yaalon party: “More alliances on the way”
  • Everyone is on the list, except for one // Mati Tuchfeld
  • Beware of a repeat of 1992 // Ariel Kahana
  • The documents reveal: “Children of the immigrants from Yemen entered the institution - and disappeared” - Documents seen for the first time that strengthen the suspicion that the state transferred children from Yemen to adoption - without their parents’ knowledge
  • Against the terror salary: Cabinet expected to approve cut in [transfer of tax] monies to the Palestinians

Elections 2019 News:
Today’s top story was the attempt by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to take down his greatest rival in the Likud party, Gideon Sa’ar, and prevent him from winning the second spot on the party slate in the Likud primaries Tuesday. Sa’ar responded saying he will “behave like the responsible adult, I won’t be dragged into a domestic war.” Only Israel Hayom played down Netanyahu’s conspiracy accusations, stressing that Netanyahu was ‘talking up his defense achievements.’ Netanyahu was also using highway billboards - with photos of him shaking hands with Donald Trump - to show he is worthy of the people’s vote. Haaretz+ noted that “Israel is one of the only countries in the world where close ties to Trump can be used as political currency.”  Netanyahu has also given his backing to former confidant, David Sharan, who is embroiled in the Case 3000 bribery case. And a veteran Likud activist petitioned the High Court to order the attorney general to postpone the announcement of his decision on indicting Netanyahu in other corruption cases till after the elections. Netanyahu wasn’t the only one working up a sweat. Likud backbenchers were working hard to get every vote that would put them in the top 30 spots of the Likud list.

There was also talk of more political team ups between parties. Associates of Benny Gantz and Moshe Ya'alon, who already teamed up, hinted at adding more political pacts. The Labor party, which is facing historic low popularity, is trying to lure voters who want Netanyahu ousted, Haaretz+ reported. Habayit Hayehudi council has recommended former IDF chief rabbi Rafi Peretz to head the party. Haaretz+ reported that the justices are unlikely to intervene. And the Central Election Committee has said it is 'aware' that the internet could be used maliciously in the elections.

Other Top News Summary:
The other top stories in the Hebrew newspapers were the beginning of the Israeli construction of an overground barrier on the Gaza border (video) and that Trump said he wants the US military to protect Israel, but that he still seeks withdrawing from Syria so the US will watch over Iran from Iraq.

Quick Hits:
  • Palestinian Shot on Gaza Border Last Week Dies of Wounds - Ahmad Ghazi Abu Jabal, 30, died from injuries he sustained when Israeli forces fired live ammunition towards him during the naval marches. UN report says 295 Palestinians have been killed, more than 6,000 wounded by Israeli military fire since March. (Haaretz+ and Maan)
  • Committee: Critically ill Palestinian medically neglected in Israeli prison - Mahmoud Abu Kharabish, 54, who has been imprisoned for over 30 years and is serving a life sentence, has been medically neglected by Israeli prison authorities. Abu Kharabish is suffering from heart problems, irregular heartbeat, blood pressure, high cholesterol, and severe stomach pains. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces detain Palestinian for alleged knife possession in Hebron - Sources added that Israeli forces claimed that the knife was found in his possession as he crossed a checkpoint and they claimed he was allegedly planning to carry out a stabbing attack against the soldiers. (Maan)
  • OCHA: 'Israel killed 3 Palestinians, demolished 20 buildings in 14 days' - The OCHA report salso aid the Israeli authorities uprooted 1,250 Palestinian-owned olive trees under the pretext that they were planted in an area declared as “state land,” affecting the livelihood of six families of Beit Ummar village near Hebron. (Maan)
  • *World Zionist Organization uses Israeli taxpayer money to fund illegal settlement home - The organization's Settlement Division provided a mortgage loan for Gilad Ach, who heads a group deploying undercover agents among left-wing NGOs. (Haaretz+)
  • "It wasn't agreed upon to hit an Israeli jeep": dispute between Hamas and Islamic Jihad - The Palestinian website Al-Hadat reported on Sunday that, a few days ago, the restraint force belonging to Hamas prevented the Al-Quds Brigades, the Islamic Jihad's military wing, from carrying out an attack against an Israeli military jeep on the eastern border of the Gaza Strip. The report claimed that there was a quarrel between the two sides after the Hamas restraint force said that harming the jeep was not part of an agreement between them on military decisions that should be reached within the joint operations room of the two organizations. (Maariv)
  • Saved by the helmet: January footage shows Israeli soldier shot on Gaza border - Lebanese channel Al-Mayadeen releases video of the January incident in which the officer was lightly injured. (Haaretz and Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Bitcoin in the service of Hamas - Hamas is turning to cryptocurrency in its latest step to evade Israeli intelligence efforts to cut off its funding for military operations; appeals to supporters to recognize benefits of anonymous funding option. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • 5 Palestinians detained after crossing border fence in southern Gaza - Israeli forces regularly detain Palestinians attempting to cross into Israel from the Gaza Strip, which has suffered under a nearly 12-year-long military blockade by Israel. (Maan)
  • Former IDF deputy chief warns: Ground Forces not combat ready - In a classified document obtained by Ynet, Maj. Gen. Yair Golan warns of 'irreversible damage' caused by the IDF high command's lack of confidence in the Ground Forces, which leads them to avoid ground maneuvers during war; Golan stresses the Air Force cannot win a war on its own. The document is a supplementary report to the one submitted six months ago to the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee by Maj. Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Brick, the outgoing IDF Ombudsman, who also warned the army was not combat ready. (Ynet)
  • UN Security Council will discuss the end of the mandate of the observer force in Hebron - The Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations said that the council would hold a closed discussion in light of the Israeli decision, and that he hoped that the Palestinians' allies would put pressure on Israel to reverse the decision. (Agencies, Maariv)
  • UN ambassadors tour Hezbollah tunnels - Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Dannon led a delegation of UN ambassadors to the Lebanese border to view the threat posed by the tunnels up close. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • US envoy to the Middle East Greenblatt: 'My door is always open to the PA' - Jason Greenblatt was responding to Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee Member, Hanan Ashrawi’s remarks that a Tweet can never be a “substitute for a serious engagement in search of genuine solutions,” referring to US officials. (Ynet, Maan and Maariv)
  • Report of Ministry of Strategic Affairs: ’BDS: Terrorists in Suits' - Ministry headed by Gilad Erdan, releases report according to which, 20 people formerly convicted of terrorism in Israel are active in organizations calling for an anti-Israel boycott. (Yedioth/Ynet, Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Man Arrested for Online Threat to Murder Cop Who Killed Ethiopian Israeli - Gashau Abaja allegedly wrote on the Telegram messaging app that if he could get his hands on the policeman who shot Yehuda Biadga, a mentally ill Ethiopian Israeli, he would kill him. (Haaretz+)
  • Hiking and stealing: The ugly Israeli has raided orchards in the south - Tens of thousands of visitors took advantage of the spring weather over the weekend and arrived at the ‘Darom Adom’ (Red South) festival. But alongside the picnics and the guided tours, some of them raided the orchards of the local farmers and loaded them with whatever they could find: oranges, lemons, and clementines - without permission. "I tried to talk to the people who infiltrated my territory, but they simply ignored me.” As well as stealing agricultural produce, farmers across the south said visitors had mass picnics in the wheat fields near Kibbutz Be'eri, where some drove over the crops with their vehicles. [NOTE: Ynet English changed the title of the article to “Thieves and vandals lay waste to orchards, farms in southern Israel,” giving readers who don’t read beyond the idea that it wasn’t average Israelis who stole the fruit. - OH]  (Yedioth/Ynet Hebrew and Ynet English)
  • Israeli mayor asks residents to report asylum seekers 'to remove them from the city' - Petah Tikva mayor called on citizens to notify a hotline of asylum seekers. Population and Immigration Authority denies policy's existence. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Tiberias Launches Bus Line Operating on Shabbat - Tiberias mayor ignores criticism from incensed ultra-Orthodox community, says bus line and tourist centers will operate on Shabbat, 'as befits a central, progressive and enlightened tourist city.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Exclusive: Israel, France in secret talks over access to ancient tombs - The east Jerusalem compound known as the Tombs of the Kings has been administered by the French Consulate for the past 150 years • Talks are deadlocked due to France's demand that Israel recognize its sovereignty at the site and forego any future claim. (Israel Hayom)
  • 'Incredibly disgraceful': Israeli muezzin fired over bodybuilding photos - Interior Ministry says Ibrahim al-Masri, who is appealing for his job back. "When they made their decision, they only saw the uniform. They didn't see the person behind it," he says. (Agencies, Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • UNRWA launches crisis emergency appeals for Palestine refugees in Syria - Of the estimated 438,000 Palestine refugees remaining inside Syria, 60% have been displaced at least once since the start of the conflict and a third have had their homes damaged or destroyed. (Maan)
  • Building on Syria war gains, Hezbollah scores political win - Hezbollah assumes control of three ministries in government led by Western-backed PM Hariri, the most it has ever held • Group's expanding power in Lebanon reflects Iran's deepening influence in arc of territory from Tehran through Baghdad and Damascus. (Israel Hayom)
  • Ahead of UAE Visit, Pope Francis Offers Prayer to End Yemen Conflict - No stranger to the Middle East or religious conflict, Pope Francis' trip to the UAE will focus on strengthening Christian-Muslim relations. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • IN PHOTOS: Egypt Unveils Pharaonic Tomb With 50 Mummies - The mummies, 12 of which are of children, were discovered in nine-meter deep burial chambers. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Features:
They found refuge: tens of thousands of Gazans have become addicted to painkillers, and the smugglers are celebrating
Reality has led many to pills, and recently women have also become addicted as a last resort to coping with the impossible situation at home. The authorities deny the phenomenon, the children pay the price. (Laila Abdel-Nour, writing from Gaza for Maariv+PHOTOS)
Draw Me a Catastrophe: Working Through the Traumas of the Syrian Civil War
From art to apps, therapeutic programs try to help Syrian refugees come to terms with their experiences, but stigmas and shame still remain. (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+)
Ukraine's Far Right Is Growing Increasingly Violent - Why Aren't Local Jews Concerned?
2018 was a horrible year for attacks on minority groups. With elections looming, 2019 may be even worse – and many say the government is aiding and legitimizing extremists. (Michael Colborne, Haaretz+)
 
Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
Like Netanyahu, Gantz Plays on the Anxieties of His Would-be Voters (Aluf Benn, Haaretz+) Benny Gantz's speech was an appeal to Ashkenazim that it's not too late to reverse Netanyahu's anti-elitism revolution.
The Right has already won (Miri Shalem, Yedioth/Ynet) While Gantz and Lapid are aiming to gain right-wing votes, Gabbay is trailing behind with his social agenda and Livni is crashing, it seems the Israeli public has already accepted the fact the Left is headed for defeat.
Forget Doves and Hawks: Where Israeli Parties Stand on Shabbat and Healthcare (Hagai Amit, Haaretz+) Haaretz sent a list of questions to all political parties, asking their positions on a range of issues from the right to strike to drafting ultra-Orthodox men into the army.
Netanyahu's primary list settles scores (Yehuda Shlezinger, Israel Hayom) Netanyahu may not have an official endorsement list, but his associates have made it clear who his candidates are in the Likud primaries.
Slogans without backing: What worked for Yitzhak Rabin in 1992 will not work for Benny Gantz in 2019 (Dr. Haim Misgav, Maariv) The public is no longer buying the false hopes for a peace agreement. The left came to power at the time because of the loss of seats of parties that did not pass the threshold, but today it won’t happen.
The IDF general as political rookie (Brig. Gen. (res.) Zvika Fogel, Israel Hayom) It is embarrassing to watch as courageous military commanders with high opinions of themselves press up against the political display window as if they were for sale at a campaign shopping mall.
With Gantz on the Scene, Meretz and Labor Must Unite (Iris Leal, Haaretz+) The two parties on the social-democratic left need to unite for their own survival, and the demands they could make of a Gantz government would push us all forward.
Yes, Israel Still Needs the Labor Party (Uzi Baram, Haaretz+) No real change will come with the help of Benny Gantz’s troops alone. They desperately need a strong, living, breathing Zionist left.
Saving the Arab Vote (Odeh Bisharat, Haaretz+) The sensational departure from the Joint List of MK Ahmad Tibi, chairman of Ta’al, together with his party colleagues, shook up the market for division in the Arab community - Now everybody wants to be the leader.

Commentary/Analysis:
Racism Is Not a Game (Haaretz Editorial) Israel has a long way to go in eliminating racism, but soccer fields, which often provide fertile ground for such ugly phenomena, must be places where clear-cut preventive action is taken.
Moshe Katsav precedent: Netanyahu should not appeal the Attorney General’s decision (to indict him before elections) in  the High Court (Attorney Yehiel Gutman, Maariv) Even if the whole street supports Netanyahu, the decision will be made in the legal arena. The results of a petition to the High Court may reduce his chances of being acquitted in court.
Gantz, Son of Holocaust Survivor, Mentions Bergen-Belsen but Ignores the Camp That Is Gaza (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) If Benny Gantz had the courage, he'd go to The Hague himself.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day: In 2019 there are also survivors whom the state turned its back on (Liat Mia Lombrozo, Maariv) We forgot everything. We have forgotten those who survived the Nazis. Those who built this land. The ones that who because of them we live here, in one of the most developed and successful countries in the world.
A new track for Israeli-Egyptian relations (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) If in the past the Arabs only saw Israel as a way station to Washington, now Israel itself is the destination. Indeed, for many people across the Middle East, Israel has become a legitimate regional player with whom relations should be enhanced.
The war has already begun: The Iranian regime is threatening, Israel is talking about actions on the ground (Yossi Mansharoff, Maariv) Iran is deterred not only by Israel's intelligence advantage, but by its translation into particularly deadly operations. Therefore, it understands that it is exposed in the Syrian court - and it is unlikely that it will want an escalation.
 
Interviews:
Menachem Landau, former head of the Jewish (terror) unit in the Shin Bet, speaks: "The Shin Bet is the most דשמק institution in this crazy country"
Shocked by the extremism of the (Jewish) hilltop youth, in favor of the death penalty for terrorists, even if they are Jewish, and disappointed by the lack of support for the Shin Bet from the government. Landau, 71, was the head of the Shin Bet security service and the head of the Jewish Unit before the brigade was established. (Interviewed by Mordechai Haimovitz in Maariv)
You said in the past that the death penalty should be set for terrorists, even for Jewish terrorists?
"If it is an exceptional case - yes."
What is an exceptional case?
"I do not want to go into definitions, just say that terror is terror is terror."
You don’t have a problem?
"Basically, I am against the death penalty for fear that an error may have been made, but if it is beyond doubt in something very, very brutal, I have no problem."
The death penalty also for Jewish terrorists?
"Everyone.”
Everyone?
"There are no discounts. It is time for those wild ones to understand that there is a government in the State of Israel, in which there is a law. My entire life I was educated on the knees of stateliness.”

In these 30 years, the things have changed. In Landau's days in the Jewish (terror) unit, the main actors were older, more ideological….The cooperation with the (Shin Bet) service was good, because it was clear to the public that terror cells in the area would damage the settlement enterprise...(Now the settler hilltop youth) don’t want anyone to dictate to them how to live, so they went to the hills. They made certain to separate themselves from their ancestors in everything, first of all in the mirror. The crocheted skullcap was replaced by the large woolen cap...Their house was the drifty hill or the remote (shipping) container. Each site provided conditions of isolation with God and sheep. The discourse has changed and the language has not lagged behind…From the middle of the previous decade, the concept of a "price tag" began to crystallize. In the beginning, they devoted themselves to collecting the price of their evictions in Judea and Samaria, and continued to send revenge messages on Palestinian terror and ultimately it deteriorated to attacks on Palestinians for no immediate reason.
These are only young people from the settlements?
"The hill top youth come from all over the country. More ideological leaders know how to play with their heads, to spur them into violence that could endanger their lives. These children are between the ages of 15 and 16, not all of them live in outposts - they leave the house or the settlement or the yeshiva at dawn, and their father can’t see that? There is social pressure that makes people not hear or see (what they are doing), and I say to myself, 'Wait a minute, what's happening to you, don’t you have an interest in this phenomenon being eradicated?'"
As a kippa, as a yeshiva student, did not you feel a connection, an empathy for suspects with a background similar to yours?
"They don’t have a background similar to mine. I was not in the hills, they evaded military service and I enlisted in the IDF. Wearing a kippah and a beard doesn’t give them any discounts."
You never felt bad about what you did?
"A murderer is a murderer, no matter whether he is a Jew or an Arab, and if we are forgiving when he hits the Arabs, it will come back to us like a boomerang.”
For example...
"Didn’t they try to assassinate Professor Zeev Sternhell (Jack Teitel )? And why? Because of his opinions."
The criticism of the (Shin Bet) service, what does it do to the ranks?
"I got to talk to a few, it did not hurt their motivation, but to tell you that it does not hurt them, one of them said to me: 'I'm putting my hand in the country's dirty mouth, I expect at least the leaders to stand behind me even when I make a mistake.’”
What is the answer to such a statement?
"I justified him 100 percent, and I told him, 'I don’t know about the state, but from us, your guys, you have backing.'"
The Shin Bet as an organization changed somewhat after the barrage (of criticism) it absorbed?
"It's still a nature reserve, the most sane, most normal body in this crazy country."
You've become a leftist.
"I'm not a leftist, I'm a stately.”

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