News Nosh 2.6.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday February 6, 2019
 
Quotes of the Day:
"It's unreasonable to me that there's a government in which the culture minister attacks the institutions she's responsible for. The justice minister attacks the institutions she's responsible for. The internal security minister attacks the institutions he's responsible for. The Cabinet attacks the IDF, and the prime minister attacks everyone."
--Former chief of staff and Chairman of 'Hosen L'Yisrael' party, Benny Gantz in exclusive interview with Yedioth.

"We need to find a way in which we're not controlling other people."
--Former chief of staff and Chairman of 'Hosen L'Yisrael' party, Benny Gantz in exclusive interview with Yedioth.*

"Gantz's (campaign) video (showing the destruction of Gaza) is perhaps embarrassing, but as the sages have already said, there is truth heard in it. And the truth is that the consensus regarding the continued control of the Palestinian subjects in the Territories extends from wall to wall. So, Gantz - in whose shadow Yair Lapid, Naftali Bennett, Avi Gabbay and the rest - could be a legitimate choice instead of Netanyahu, because even after this solemn scream, if it happens, the fundamentals of the regime will remain intact, and the Israelis are willing to consider this 'change.'"
--B’Tselem CEO, Hagai Elad in a sharp Op-Ed in Ynet.**

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Ready for April 9th - Likud party held primary elections
  • People's celebration of the people's party // Yaakov Achimeir
  • Strong Likud is strong Knesset // Amnon Lord
  • Gantz and Ashkenazi increasing pressure on Lapid: Compromise
  • Suspicion: Renewed break out of measles in the country
  • Doctors furious: Health Ministry demands report on hours of sleep during shifts
  • The mail didn’t come today: Severe findings in State Comptroller report on the Israel Postal Authority

Elections 2019 News:
Likud internal elections took place (and today's results show that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s rival Gideon Saar got a top spot) and former chief of staff Gabi Ashekenazi said he is working to create a union between another former chief of staff and political front runner, Benny Gantz, and between Yair Lapid, chairman of the Yesh Atid party - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

*Also, Yedioth got a revealing exclusive interview with Gantz, in which the popular new political candidate revealed more of his political views, the key one being on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: “Israel should not be ruling over another people,” he said and more. Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump endorsed Netanyahu - and himself - when he posted on Instagram a photo of Netanyahu’s campaign billboard showing the two of them shaking hands. And in an online election profile, Maariv introduced Gabi Lasky, a former Peace Now secretary-general and an active Meretz member.

Meet the Candidate: Gabi Lasky is fighting on the front lines for human rights in Israel. The human rights lawyer who was a member of the Tel Aviv city council has been active in Meretz for three decades. In the past, she served as Peace Now secretary-general. She is 51, the mother of twins, and lives in Tel Aviv. (Interviewed by Arik Bender in Maariv)
What is your message?
“I am running for the Knesset to change the laws - instead of fighting over every case and petitioning the High Court of Justice. Instead of investigating police officers who stop demonstrators and protesting illegally, I want to change the policy. Instead of denying evidence collected in the cellars of the Shin Bet security service, we need to supervise enforcement. Instead of pluralistic couples, LGBT, religion-less, and people who are not allowed to not get married to the love of their life - I want to institutionalize freedom of choice in marriage.”
A detail we don’t know about you:
“I immigrated to Israel from Mexico at the age of 15, to the Kfar Silver Youth Village boarding school near Ashkelon.”

Other News Summary:
What would normally be front page news was pushed aside due to the Likud primaries. However, Maariv gave more than a page to the Iranian declaration that if Israel continues to attack inside Syria, it will be met by a 'firm response.' Iran also dismissed European Union criticism of its ballistic missile tests.
 
Quick Hits:
  • Gaza Health System on Verge of Collapse, Israeli Defense Officials Warn Ministers - State of Gaza health services could lead to direct international intervention in next conflict. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli forces hold Palestinian student, 5 teachers in Hebron City - In inquiry by Palestinian Civil Liaison, Israeli forces claimed that there a knife in the vehicle, which was transporting the five teachers and the student. It remained unknown whether a knife was found inside the vehicle. While held by Israeli forces, the teachers were not able to contact their families or use their phones due to the soldiers briefly confiscating their cell phones. (Maan and Photos of teachers)
  • IDF seeks plea deal with soldiers accused of beating detained Palestinians - Out of fear a trial might become highly politicized ahead of the April elections, Israeli military aims for a plea agreement with five soldiers from the religious Netzah Yehuda battalion, who violently abused Palestinians suspected of aiding their comrades' killer. (Ynet)
  • Mother, brother of Givat Asaf terrorist arrested in raid - Israeli security forces arrest 25 terrorist suspects in Judea and Samaria and Jordan Valley • IDF forces open fire after two Palestinians throw explosive device at troops at northern West Bank checkpoint near Jenin • No troops were wounded in incident. (Israel Hayom)
  • West Bank settlers report surge in population growth = Population in Jewish settlements grew 3.3% in a year. The report echoed separate findings by Peace Now, an Israeli anti-settlement watchdog group that said last month that Israel has pushed forward plans for thousands of new settlement homes since Trump took office. It also predicted a huge increase in construction in the next few years. Settlers say the Trump administration cleared the way for a spike in construction in the coming years. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • No Basis for Criminal Probe Against Breaking the Silence, Attorney General Says - Right-wing organization Ad Kan filed a complaint against the anti-occupation group on suspicion of collecting classified information. (Haaretz+)
  • France warns expulsion of Hebron monitoring group could exacerbate tensions - Foreign Ministry statement says international task force prevented clashes in the city, which could now worsen in light of persisting 'Israeli settlement policy.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu Extends Classification of Mossad, Shin Bet Documents to 90 Years - Before the measure, documents from 1949 – the year the Shin Bet was founded – would have been declassified this year. (Haaretz+)
  • Trump’s top Mideast peace broker defends Twitter diplomacy from Palestinian mocking - Palestinian officials have cut off Trump administration officials since December 2017, when Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Netanyahu to meet Putin in Moscow for first time since Russian plane downed - February 21st meeting is meant to settle rising tensions after an Israeli airstrike in Syria destroyed Russian military infrastructure. (Haaretz)
  • Jerusalem neighborhood streets segregated for men and women - After banners instructing women and men to walk on separate sidewalks were hung in the capital's central neighborhoods, radical members of the ultra-Orthodox community scrawl graffiti in the Kerem Avraham neighborhood reading, 'Passage for men only.’ (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israeli band with special needs members drops out of Eurovision over Shabbat performance - Shalva group, which includes musicians who are blind and have Down syndrome, says the singing competition organizers discriminate against Orthodox Jews by staging compulsory rehearsals on the Jewish day of rest. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • (Israeli-Arab Village) Kafr Manda burns: Police detained 42 people, 2 officers injured   - The results of the Israel’s November municipal elections are still being disputed - violently and almost nightly - in the Galilee Arab village of Kafr Manda. Police caught 25 boxes of fireworks used by the rioters. The village residents live in an intolerable reality. "I took my children and fled, I could not stay in the village for even one minute," one said. (Ynet Hebrew and Maariv)
  • Israeli Oil Explorer Recruits Shadowy Investor Group to Revive Its Fortunes - The group includes a U.S. oil executive, a retired Israeli general and unnamed backers, but it’s not clear if the oil commissioner will okay it as a drill operator. (Haaretz)
  • Israeli bulldozers raze lands in southern Gaza - Sources added that Israeli military bulldozers razed and leveled the lands while drones flew overhead. No shootings were reported. (Maan)
  • Hamas and Islamic Jihad: "We will continue to cooperate against the occupation" - After the disagreements between the two Gaza terror organizations, the Egyptian mediator managed to get them to reach common understandings and to issue a joint statement: "We will continue the March of Return“ (Gaza border protests against Israeli siege - OH). The also called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to form a unity government to prepare for the general election. (Maariv and Xinhuanet)
  • Austrian President arrives in Palestine for official visit - The Austrian President, Alexander Van der Bellen, arrived in Palestine, on Tuesday, on his first official state visit and was received at the presidential headquarters in the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. (Maan)
  • Study Debunks Bias: Women in Muslim Garb Are Considered Most Credible Sexual Assault Victims - Be it a veil or balaclava hiding the face, the woman whose expression can’t be seen is believed the most, small Canadian study is startled to find. (Haaretz+)
  • Russian-supplied S-300 Systems Becoming Operational in Syria, Satellite Images Reveal - The erection of the launchers may be an indicator of rising tensions in the Syrian arena. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • CENTCOM General Warns of Post-withdrawal Threat in Syria From Islamic State - The remarks by U.S. General Joseph Votel, head of the U.S. military's Central Command, represent the latest warning by current and former U.S. officials about the risk of Trump's Syria withdrawal. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • No Concrete Plan With U.S. for Safe Zone in Northern Syria, Erdogan Says - Turkish president warns that while 'we are loyal to our agreements,' patience is not limitless. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • How Russia hid death toll from disastrous Syria battle until after Putin's reelection - About 100 Russian military contractors were killed in the Deir al-Zor battle, sources have said. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Heeding U.S. Call, Lebanon's New Government Says Will Stay Out of Syria - Despite the disassociation policy, Hezbollah, which has three seats in cabinet, has been fighting alongside Assad for years. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • U.S. investigating Saudi Arabia giving U.S. weapons to Al-Qaida and Iran in Yemen, report says - Local commanders (in Yemen) told CNN that the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates are using U.S. weapons as currency to buy off different factions and militias in the Yemeni conflict - including Iranian-backed fighters. CNN concludes the transactions are 'exposing some of America's sensitive military technology to Tehran and potentially endangering the lives of U.S. troops in other conflict zones.’ (Haaretz)
  • Tens of thousands attend Pope Francis' unprecedented mass in Abu Dhabi - The ceremony drew a crowd of Catholics from about 100 nations and 4,000 Muslims; it's a a first-ever visit by a pontiff to the Arab peninsula. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
*It is not elegant to beat the hell out of Palestinians and then film it (B’Tselem CEO, Hagai Elad, Ynet Hebrew) We all saw the ‘pastoral’ video clip of the Gaza in ruins that Gantz showed (in his campaign video - OH) and in which he is heard saying “There is not right-wing or left-wing. There is only Israel.”. …What Israelis did not see was the video filmed from the mobile phone of one of the soldiers of the Kfir Brigade's Netzach Yehuda Battalion. The soldiers documented their abuse of two Palestinian detainees, a father and son. The son was forced to watch the soldiers break his father's ribs.  And really, this video we do not want to see. The soldiers mocked the father and son and beat them with blows. Who would want to watch this horror? Or hear it? Did the video on Kfir's cell phone also record the son's voice crying out to his father? Do you hear a rib break? And another? Of course, it's better to watch Gantz's videos. After all, the aerial bombardment of Operation Protective Edge has no soundtrack. You don’t hear the sound of the smart bomb smashing in to the building and eliminating the family. And another family. And another. Thus, more than 500 youth, children and toddlers - and surgical silence. Elegant, is not it? Between the conscious and the unconscious, the visible and the invisible, this is about the range of political debate in Israel. The range is narrow, but significant: Most Jewish citizens in Israel agree with themselves that Israel needs to continue to control the Palestinians, necessarily by force. However, they do not want to appear like military occupiers in their own eyes. In other words, they are debating between the video of Kfir soldier and the "Benny Gantz" video. If only Benny Gantz were possible all the time. But sometimes, an Elor Azaria emerges from the collective subconscious. It’s not elegant. Gantz's video is perhaps embarrassing, but as the sages have already said, there is truth heard in it. And the truth is that the consensus regarding the continued control of the Palestinian subjects in the Territories extends from wall to wall. So, Gantz - in whose shadow Yair Lapid, Naftali Bennett, Avi Gabbay and the rest - could be a legitimate choice instead of Netanyahu, because even after this solemn scream, if it happens, the fundamentals of the regime will remain intact, and the Israelis are willing to consider this "change." In the shadow of this agreement, the narrow internal debate continues. Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot,who replaced Gantz as chief of staff, perhaps would call what the Kfir soldiers' did “ethos of gangs,” as expressed at the time of the case of Elor Azaria. Of course, just not gangs! But what about artillery and aerial bombing on Gaza neighborhoods, soldiers shooting fleeing Palestinian boys in the back, and the rest of the horrific routine that takes place according to orders? All of this is kosher, none of it is gang-like. Elegant. Elegant? How exactly is all this different from the “Decisive Plan" of someone who is not very elegant, the deputy speaker of the Knesset, MK Bezalel Smotrich? According to the new chairman of the National Union Party, "in war as in war," there are also children and women (are killed). 500, and if necessary, more. The opposite of "ethos of gangs" is not a realistic concept: it is a psychological concept. It was real and it can happen, because in reality, in order to maintain control of the Palestinian people struggling for life, land and liberty, Israel's decides to continue to send its army to kill them, as necessary, in order to suppress them: War is war. Smotrich. So where is the decision against the gang ethos? Well, this is already an internal-conscious matter that is entirely contained among Israelis. Let's not watch the video of Kfir soldiers. And if we look - let us remember that they were tried and that they are the exception. And Elor Azaria, he is also in turn an exception. And if we doubt, let us remember that he was convicted and even served a few months in prison. We are a state of law. Let’s repress, and let's really really believe that we are chooing Gantz. Certainly not Smotrich. Hello? Do you want an entire generation to grow up here without hope?
Don't Get Stuck in the Middle at the Ballot Box (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Benny Gantz’s 'center' – the magical creature that has enchanted the average citizen – is devoid of any characteristics of its own.
Sa'ar's position on the Likud list will reveal whether the voters are mentally prepared for the day after Netanyahu (Prof. Arieh Eldad, Maariv) The method of eliminating the (political) heirs explains the behavior of Prime Minister Binaymin Netanyahu toward the former interior minister Gideon Saar, and the prime minister is fighting to create a worldview in which there is no substitute (for him), and the Likudniks are indeed buying it.
Likud politicians think their voters are animals (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) Likud's primary elections are not a democracy, but a game of intimidation. Change is possible; change is needed. But businessmen, heads of branches and those who are good at gathering votes terrify our politicians.
A guide to the perplexed, for the Likud voter (Amnon Abramovich, Yedioth/Ynet) Likud members have a fine roster of candidates to choose from to represent them in the Knesset. And that list does not include Yariv Levin, who double-crossed Netanyahu, or Yoav Galant, whose political flexibility and willingness to take down others should sound alarm bells.
First Israel Hayom, Now Bibi TV. Is Likud Court Next? (Noa Osterreicher, Haaretz+) Netanyahu’s loathing of the media is all due to simple jealousy: He wants it too.
The Democrat stock: It will be a mistake the elections if the US-Israel relationship is ignored (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) Relations with the United States are not discussed in the election campaign, in part because a friend of Israel sits in the White House. Well, that's a mistake: there's cause for concern…At the moment, no anti-Israel move is expected in the House of Representatives controlled by the Democrats. The influence of new Muslim and Palestinian Muslim congressmen who have made critical statements about Israel is not significant. In any case, according to reports in the American media, the heads of the Democrats are acting secretly to curb hostility toward Israel, which, in the opinion of senior party officials, is in stark contrast to the party tradition of supporting us. But we are still dependent on the United States in many areas and we need a sympathetic ear in Congress as well. But when Ambassador Dermer is considered an outcast by the Democrats, we are in trouble.
The former chief of staff threatens almost the entire political map (Efraim Ganor, Maariv) Benny Gantz brought with him a different agenda that will probably change the party map. The players will have to behave differently and rethink, unlike anything they knew under the (current) prime minister.
What Israel's Election Campaign Should Really Be About (Sami Peretz, Haaretz+) Netanyahu and other party leaders are denying people the ability to make decisions knowledgeably on the issues that really matter to them. If Israel's election were to be a referendum on the issues that will occupy us as soon as it's over, the current campaign would focus on the following: U.S. President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians; the investigations of the prime minister and the attorney general’s decision on whether to indict him; the need to solve the problems in the Gaza Strip; and the expected budget deficit of at least 20 billion shekels ($5.54 billion) in the coming two years.
The “Dream Team": Gabi Ashkenazi is not just a simple actor in the efforts to unite the big center-left (Ben Caspit, Maariv) The former chief of staff is a mediator in order to put together a “joint co-op" that will rescue the country from the impasse, and at its base will stand the Chairman of ‘Hosen L’Yisrael’ party (Benny Gantz), (Moshe) Ya'alon and (Yair) Lapid, who will lead the campaign.
Tzipi Livni's campaign of incitement (Ariel Bolstein, Israel Hayom) It is amazing to note the ease with which a zigzagging politician, who changes camps, partners and parties at a dizzying rate, can slander those who represent their voters loyally.
An anti-Semitic Knesset candidate (Ben Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) Although we did not agree on much, Dov Khenin of Hadash was a positive link between the Zionist and non-Zionist Left; but if the High Court does not invalidate his replacement, who has a history of anti-Semitic statements, then the Knesset may as well just shut up shop.

Commentary/Analysis:
By Cultivating New Visegrad 'Friends,' Israel Shows It's Lost All Shame (Mordechai Kremnitzer, Haaretz+) Netanyahu's government is giving Jewish legitimacy to authoritarian nationalistic regimes with clear anti-Semitic hallmarks.
Ending foreign interference in Israeli policy (Ari Kalker, Israel Hayom) Canceling the mandate of TIPH, the international observer force in Hebron, and removing the illegal Arab settlement at Khan al-Ahmar will help end foreign infringement on Israeli sovereignty.
Explain BDS to America (Eldad Beck, Israel Hayom) The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement isn't about ending the "occupation" or the settlements. It is an anti-Semitic, racist organization that deserves to be marginalized like the KKK.
The Only Cure for Politicization (Haaretz Editorial) Nothing endangers academia’s independence more than the kind of interference by Education Minister Naftali Bennett in approving a medical school for Ariel University in the West Bank.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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