News Nosh 2.14.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday February 14, 2019
Quote of the Day:
"Netanyahu is deceiving the Israeli public by claiming that relations between the two countries can be warmed without progress in the peace process with the Palestinians."
--Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal, former head of the Saudi intelligence agency and ambassador to the United States and Britain, said in a conversation broadcast on Israel's Channel 13 News.*
You Must Be Kidding: 
Young Gazans recently have come up with a new method of getting detained: they gather along the security fence in groups and wait for Israeli soldiers to arrest them.
-- Yedioth/Ynet's Yoav Zitun writes that the terrible socio-economic situation in the Gaza Strip has caused Gazans to leave by any means - even to sit in an Israeli jail.**

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The (Likud primaries) votes mess
  • The shame of Kahanism - on the union in the right-wing // Nadav Eyal
  • From darkness to light - on Eli Yishai’s election campaign // Nadav Abukasis
  • The degree that Lt. Col. M. wanted so badly - In secret ceremony, the widow and children of Lt. Col. M., who fell in (secret operation in) Gaza four months ago, received the M.A. degree in education that he did not manage to complete. M. dreamed of being a school principal after the military
  • And again, severe wrongdoing in the training of the elite Maglan commando unit - Krav Maga coach severely beat soldiers
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • Threats of 2019 - Danger of escalation in the Gaza Strip
  • Red flag // Tal Lev-Ram
  • Far from a threat // Yossi Melman
  • “New era for the future” - Prime Minister met with Oman Foreign Minister at international summit in Warsaw on  security in the Middle East
  • Teva Pharmaceuticals to close factories following enormous losses of $3 billion
  • Family rescue - Police forces and rescue teams located last night a father and his five children who were missing since the morning after they entered Nahal Daraga (valley in West Bank)
Israel Hayom

Elections 2019 News Quickees:
  • Indictment Draws Closer as Attorney General Rejects Netanyahu's Legal Requests - Netanyahu's lawyers asked Mendelblit to obtain additional evidence from over 60 witnesses. (Haaretz+)
  • Likud Voting System Compromised, Allowed Anyone to Change Results - The votes were cast using paper ballots, but a recount was ordered due to irregularities. One tweet exposed the security breach. (Haaretz+)
  • Likud primary vote recount shows massive gaps in initial tally - The ruling party's recount of votes gives Netanyahu's long-time rival Gideon Sa'ar an additional 2,259 votes; list's top five remain the same, however, with Sa'ar still securing the fourth spot; Yariv Levin was bumped up to the sixth spot, pushing party newcomer Yoav Galant down to seventh. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Without mergers, Right is in deep trouble, new poll shows - Israel Hayom-i24NEWS poll shows that if the smaller right-wing parties run on their own, most are unlikely to make it past the minimum electoral threshold • Likud holds strong at 32 mandates • Habayit Hayehudi says merger with National Union imminent. (Israel Hayom)
  • Gantz Blasts Netanyahu: Bragging About Secret Army Ops Could Endanger Soldiers - Hosen L'Yisrael chairman says the prime minister crossed 'a red line' and desecrated 'the holy of holies' by exposing Syria strike as war of words escalates. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Former Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Joins Benny Gantz's Hosen L'Yisrael - Meanwhile, Habayit Hayehudi announces that Yedioth Ahronoth journalist Yifat Erlich will be its number three. (Haaretz+)
  • Ultra-Orthodox Knesset candidate: Every Jew needs a mother and a father - As a union among small right-wing parties looms, Yachad’s Eli Yishai affirms his belief that only a traditional family unit is appropriate, raising the ire of LGBT groups. (Ynet)
  • "Homophobia": A storm following a campaign initiated by supporters of Eli Yishai against proud parents - Knesset members and Internet surfers are not indifferent to the signs calling for voting in the party "so as not to have a child with my father and father!" MK Michaeli: "They must not be allowed to run for Knesset. (Maariv)

Other Top News Summary:
According to the IDF Military Intel assessment for 2019, Hamas will try to draw Israel into a full-out Gaza war and Iran may resume uranium enrichment and could have a bomb in two years, were top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. (Maariv’s intel analyst, Yossi Melman, said Israel was far from having any existential threat.)

Also making headlines was the meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Oman’s foreign minister at the Middle East security summit in Warsaw - which doesn’t include the Iranians or the Palestinians. Netanyahu hinted there were other Arab countries interested in formal relations with Israel when he said that “Many are following in your footsteps, including among those here today at the conference.”

*Nevertheless, Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal, former head of the Saudi intelligence agency and ambassador to the United States and Britain, gave an interview to the Israeli Channel 13 and said that without a solution to the Palestinian issue, Saudi Arabia would not be one of them. Interestingly, the fascinating interview only made the online edition of Maariv and translated below:
"Netanyahu cheats when he claims that it is possible to warm relations with Saudi Arabia without making progress in peace" - Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal, who served in many senior positions in the administration, said in an interview that "our position on peace in the Middle East takes into account what Israel is doing and says"
Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal, former head of the Saudi intelligence agency and ambassador to the United States and Britain, said in a conversation broadcast on News 13 that "Netanyahu is deceiving the Israeli public by claiming that relations between the two countries can be warmed without progress in the peace process with the Palestinians. He says that for his own purposes, he is running for elections on a platform of 'Look what I did for you.'" Al-Faisal, a senior member of the Saudi royal family, explained that "the Israelis must not allow themselves to be deceived and to think that the Palestinian issue is an unresolved issue." According to King Salman's nephew, Netanyahu would have wanted Israel first of all to have a relationship with Saudi Arabia and only then would we solve the Palestinian issue. From the Saudi point of view, this is the opposite. Prince Al-Faisal noted that he had never met with Israelis while serving in official positions. According to him, the reason for this is the lack of cooperation on the part of the Israelis. Al-Faisal told of his meeting with President Shimon Peres at an official dinner in Davos. "We sat at the same table and Peres suggested that we meet in a secret place," he said. "I told him that nothing in Israel was secret." "Our position on peace in the Middle East takes into account what Israel is doing and says: In 2002 Crown Prince Abdullah presented his peace plan - Israel withdraws from the occupied territories in return for recognition of Israel and normalization," he said. "From the first day Israel did not respond to our peace initiative,” he said. "With Israeli money and a Saudi brain, it is possible to go far - yes - if there will be peace. But, unfortunately, Israel ignores all Saudi efforts to make peace and expects Saudi Arabia to reach out and advance together with it on technology and water issues," he said. "I think that the perception of Netanyahu in the Saudi public is very negative because of what is happening on the ground and because of his arrogant approach and self-praise, and that does not go down well with Saudi citizens.” Although the Iranian issue has an absolute partnership of interests between Saudi Arabia and Israel, Prince Turki al-Faisal also presented a tough line here. "We do not need Netanyahu to tell us about the Iranian danger," he said. "We see their operations in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain, and even Saudi Arabia. Why should we need Netanyahu to emphasize these points for us? We do not need that.” The Prince had a recommendation to President Trump's peace team for presenting his peace plan. "The Arab Peace Initiative: adopt it, make it yours," said the prince. He is pessimistic about the warming of Israel's relations with Saudi Arabia. "I do not think I will see a public meeting between an Israeli prime minister and the king or the heir to the throne of Saudi Arabia, and not before the Palestinian issue is resolved," he said, "I am waiting for an Israeli peace initiative, (for) what Israel thinks should be done to achieve peace…I am waiting for the day that there will be peace so that I can come to visit a place that I see not only as a holy place but also as a place of my history and heritage.   Abraham is not only the father of the Jews but also the father of the Arabs…Jerusalem is something I want to see before I die and unfortunately I'm not optimistic that it will happen. Jerusalem has King Faisal Street. This is one place I will visit immediately if I come to Jerusalem one day.”

Quick Hits:
  • **Facing misery in Gaza, more and more Palestinians trying to sneak into Israel - When Israeli jail is your best option: More than 15 Gazans, mostly ages 14-17, have breached the border fence since the start of the year, the army says, primarily in an effort to escape the socio-economic distress in the Strip. Only a small proportion were Hamas members. Some sent back to prevent overcrowding in Israeli prisons. Some carried knives and bolt cutters - not to carry out a terror attack, but to ensure they end up in an Israeli prison. New method—gathering along the security fence in groups and waiting to be arrested. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Palestinian Janitor Held for Weeks in Jerusalem Murder Case, Shown No Evidence - 'I asked them a few times why they thought it was me. They kept on telling me it was a secret.’ (Haaretz+)
  • (After green light from Attorney General:) Israeli Council for Higher Education (in the West Bank) Unanimously Approves West Bank Medical School - 'The good of the state triumphed over the petty politics of the university cartel,' education minister says. In the afternoon, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit allowed the Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria - a separate West Bank council - to make the decision just hours before the council was meant to dissolve. On Thursday, the council’s authority is to be transferred to the Council for Higher Education in Israel. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • MK Touma-Sliman: Rape and murder of Ori Ansbacher is a crime based on gender - Arab MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List), who heads the Knesset committee on women's rights and gender equality, said: “The fact that the criminal is Palestinian does not make the crime less horrifying, and he cannot possibly be part of a struggle for (Palestinian) national liberation. This government acts criminally when it uses Ori's murder to continue tarnishing the struggle of the Palestinian people with an heinous crime committed by one person.” MK Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beiteinu) calls Touma-Sliman a ‘terrorist.” (Maki and Israel Hayom)
  • Trump Adviser Praises Palestinian Delegation's Condolence Visit to Murdered Teen's Family - A joint Israeli-Palestinian delegation paid a visit Tuesday to the family of Ori Ansbacher, a 19-year-old Israeli murdered near Jerusalem. The group, which visited the family's home in the West Bank settlement of Tekoa, also brought many letters of condolence penned by Palestinians. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel staves off UN initiative to visit Palestinian areas, UN officials say - After the UN Security council authorized a visit to the territory that the Palestinians claim for a future independent state, UN Ambassador Anatolio Ndong Mba was quoted as saying that 'Israel categorically refused the council visit.' (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Hidden messages on TV: Hamas recruited West Bank Palestinians for terror attacks. Israel say - To prove to one of the men he was really chatting with Hamas, the Koran verse he chose was broadcast on al-Aqsa TV the next day, (according to Shin Bet). (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Armed factions in Gaza: Blockade has region on verge of explosion - Blaming Israel for violence, Gaza factions warn: We will not allow attacks on border protesters to continue • Armed groups say they are "shocked by Arab world's silence," call on international, Islamic institutions to put an end to "Zionist crimes." (Israel Hayom)
  • Hezbollah using WhatsApp to 'bombard' top Israeli officials - Lebanon-based terrorist organization launches a campaign using WhatsApp and Telegram messaging apps that targets senior Israeli politicians and other public figures with menacing messages • Campaign appears intended to coincide with Israeli election. (Israel Hayom)
  • Hezbollah hints at attacks on Israeli passenger aircraft - In video circulated on anniversary of former commander Imad Mughniyeh's death, Lebanese Shiite group sends general message of revenge for strikes on Hezbollah and Iranian targets, with images of El Al planes and Ben-Gurion International Airport. (Israel Hayom)
  • U.S. delivers laser-guided rockets to Lebanese army - The United States has supplied the Lebanese military with more than $2.3 billion in assistance since 2005. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Israeli Memorial to ‘Japanese Schindler’ Razed Without Family's Knowledge - A grove planted in honor of Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese diplomat who helped save thousands of Jews during World War II, was destroyed to build a residential neighborhood in Beit Shemesh. (Haaretz+)
  • This Israeli-Palestinian dance project is the epitome of coexistence – but the occupation may destroy it - Evyatar Said and Yousef Hasasna are trying to keep alive their traditions by teaching them to others as part of a unique workshop. But politics keeps getting in the way. (Haaretz+)
  • 43 After Operation Entebbe: an El Al plane landed at the old airport in Uganda - For the first time in history, an Israeli company plane landed at the airport where the hijacking of the 139 passengers took place. EL AL captain: "I was as excited as a child.” (Maariv)
  • Is the Quality of Life in Israel Getting Better? Data Say Yes - Latest CBS figures show improvement in half of 70 parameters and decline in just 10. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli start-up using canines to detect cancer - A Negev start-up company, Prognose 220 Mil, is using specially trained canines to sniff saliva samples to determine if an individual has the illness. (Ynet)
  • Anti-Semitic fliers posted outside of Tufts University Jewish center - Dozens of anti-Semitic flyers, including one depicting pigs holding guns and calling for destruction of "Israeli Apartheid Forces" found at Tufts University Hillel • Tufts: Posters "profoundly disturbing and hurtful" • University investigating incident. (Israel Hayom)
  • Mississippi House passes bill banning boycott of Israel - Following the 88-10 last week in the lower house of the state Legislature, the measure moves to the state's Senate. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Trump Administration Ramps Up Classified Program to Sabotage Iranian Missile Efforts, Report Says - Two failed rocket launches prompted a New York Times investigation into a classified program aimed at supplying Iran with faulty parts to thwart aerospace efforts. (Agencies, Haaretz and Maariv)
  • Suicide Attack Kills 27 Members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards - Local Sunni group claimed responsibility for car bomb in volatile area near Pakistani border. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran blames Israel, US for deadly attack on Revolutionary Guards- Sunni group Jaish al Adl claims suicide bombing that killed at least 27 Revolutionary Guards in Sistan-Baluchestan province, says it wants rights for Iran's Baluchi ethnic minority • Guards commander: Response to attack will not be limited to our borders. (Israel Hayom)
  • Iran's problems with U.S. can't be resolved, Khamenei says - Iran's supreme leader says 'Iranian people now see a number of European governments as untrustworthy.’ (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • U.S. Charges Ex-Air Force Intelligence Officer With Spying for Iran - Monica Elfriede Witt remains at large along with four Iranian hackers who are being accused of using information to target former U.S. intelligence officers. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran-backed militias in Iraq making millions of dollars in the aftermath of battles with ISIS - The volumes of scrap being moved have reduced since the immediate aftermath of the war with ISIS, but millions of tonnes of debris, including metal, still litter devastated areas. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • EU adds Saudi Arabia to dirty-money blacklist - Apart from reputational damage, inclusion on the list complicates financial relations with the EU. (Agencies, Haaretz)

Ilhan Omar said AIPAC pays lawmakers to be pro-Israel. Here’s how the lobbying group really operates
No, AIPAC doesn't fund campaigns. (JTA, Haaretz)
American effectiveness and precedent: Will the death penalty deter terrorists?
The shocking murder of Ori Ansbacher again raised the demand to impose the most severe punishment on terrorists, what lesson can be learned from the Americans, and what does Israeli society think? "The death penalty for terrorists does not deter. Anyone who leaves his house with a knife or a weapon to carry out a heinous murder will not be afraid if we help him become a martyr. On the contrary, he wants to be a martyr and would like to be seen as a victim whom Israel raises at the stake. "Studies in the United States have shown that this punishment is not effective, it is populist revenge," says Prof. Gad Barzilai, former rector of the University of Haifa, formerly Dean of the Faculty of Law. "The debates on the death penalty are global. In the United States, most countries have already officially abolished it or not actually carry it out," says Prof. Barzilai. "Such discussions have also taken place in Japan, and in Asia in general, because there, there is the death penalty, for example, for drug offenses. In most countries of the world, the death penalty does not exist or is not implemented today." Studies show that there is nothing to it but revenge. Politicians, and I respect them, say: 'Let us use the death penalty,' but this punishment has no deterrent capability." (Ilana Stutland, Maariv)
Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
One Thing Netanyahu Said This Week May Have Killed Trump's Peace Plan (Amir Tibon, Haaretz+) The ‘ultimate deal’ won’t be between Israel and the Arab world but between Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition partners; he will protect their settlements, and they will protect him as he fights possible indictments.
To extract the state from Netanyahu? Not if this includes giving up personal interests (Avraham Tiros, Maariv) It is clear that in order to defeat the Likud it is necessary to unite the forces of several parties. Gantz and Lapid have to settle things together and run together, like Bennett and Shaked.
Boxed in on Left and Right, Meretz Heads to Primary Election (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) The left-wing party should have been doing well in the April election, but polls show differently - can Thursday's vote save it from years of decline and an unpopular leader?
Prepare for the last minute: What will the Likud pull out this time before the elections? (Ran Adelist, Maariv) After the 'droves of Arabs,' the right will invent a new enemy to frighten the public and get a few more seats. Netanyahu, in the best of tradition, will reveal it at the very end.
Israel Labor Party's Shmuli and Shaffir, the Merciful Ones (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) How is it possible to be so compassionate and so conscientious, and ignore absolute evil?
On election battlefield, Netanyahu blurs line between security and propaganda (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Netanyahu's confirmation that Israel struck Syria was in keeping with the hysteria that has taken hold of Likud's election campaign.
Netanyahu Promotes Propaganda at Security’s Expense (Haaretz Editorial) On the battle for the Israeli electorate, Netanyahu assumes that Israel’s military ambiguity serves his political rivals, while headlines that glorify Israel’s offensive capabilities constitute effective election propaganda.
Bibistan vs. Israel (Uri Misgav, Haaretz+) In Netanyahu's eyes, the media, the military and the courts are all in on the plot against him.

A crisis of trust between the Shin Bet and settlers (Tamar Asraf, Yedioth/Ynet) Faith in the security service has eroded to the point that West Bank settlers no longer believe the agency that is supposed to be protecting them. This needs to be addressed, to stop this crisis from further undermining national security.
The Palestinians incite to rape, too (Dr. Reuven Berko, Israel Hayom) The horrifying rape and assault of Ori Ansbacher is nothing new in Palestinian society, which sees non-Muslims as expendable. But an Arab MK is trying to brush it off as another crime against a woman, regardless of the fact that she was a Jew.
Warsaw Summit Won't Create Alliance Against Iran, but May Embolden Israeli-Arab Relations (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The drift between the U.S. and European countries over the nuclear deal may not be resolved, but a photo-op for Netanyahu alongside Arab leaders could bolster diplomatic ties.
The likelihood of a confrontation with Hamas escalates (Tal Lev Ram, Maariv) Under current conditions, a military confrontation is much closer than any other series. Israel refuses to make decisions, neither on the diplomatic nor military level, and buys quiet from week to week.
A watershed moment (Meir Indor, Israel Hayom) Time and time again, the justice system's excessive pseudo-humane purism takes precedence over the security of Israel's citizens and we pay with our lives.
Hezbollah has plans for Israel on the Golan (Yossi Yehoshua, Yedioth/Ynet) Israel had better pay attention to the emerging reality on its Syria border in the Golan Heights, where the Lebanese terror group is attempting to get a foothold; the Iranian-backed organization is up to its neck in problems at home and finds the Syrian frontier to be a more comfortable location from which to take on the Jewish state.
Al-Sissi is fighting terror – let him win (Itzhak Levanon, Israel Hayom) The Egyptian president is cooperating with Israel, waging all-out war against Islamic terror and trying to improve the lives of his people. His bid to extend his presidency should be welcomed.
In contrast to the New Israel Fund, the right wing organizations must establish the Zionist fund (Gabi Siboni and Erez Weiner, Maariv) The right-wing organizations that are trying to advance an agenda that strengthens the Zionist character of the country lack the umbrella organization that can synchronize, direct and fund activities to promote an agenda against post-Zionism.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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