News Nosh 2.18.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday February 18, 2019
 
Quote of the day:
"I am really ashamed. I grew up in Canada and there there is diversity. It isn’t a perfect model, but it is better than growing in a bubble. In our home, the children learn that there are good and bad people everywhere in the world, regardless of religious belief, and do not hate or fear the other."
--Rivka Polak, a resident of Karnei Shomron settlement, said after a group of parents from the settlement pressured the local council to fire the Arab cleaning women from at the local schools because they they were Arab.*

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • 50 days till elections
  • Trump will arrange things (for Netanyahu) // Nahum Barnea
  • Netanyahu’s change of direction: No longer looking for another merger among the right-wing
  • Gantz’s challenge: Keep the momentum, also without a merger with Yesh Atid
  • At the top of Lapid’s list: Meir Cohen and Orna Barbibai
  • Livni considering withdrawing “in order not to throw left-center votes to the trash”
  • Due to the rain: Lake Kinneret is filling up
  • New study: Safe to give birth also at age 50
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom

Elections 2019 News:
Leader of Hatnua party, MK Tzipi Livni, said she would retire from Israeli politics today - and she did - so that the center-left bloc won’t lose votes in the upcoming elections, speaking at the Munich Conference on Security, Benny Gantz said that he stands “shoulder to shoulder with Netanyahu against Iran." Meanwhile, three polls show Gantz’s popularity dropping as the Labor party gains (also polls by KAN News and Channel 12) and Yesh Atid party officials told Haaretz+ that Gantz wasn’t really interested in a merger with their party, but Yedioth reported that there is still a chance for a merger and right now, Gantz is focused on keeping the momentum of his popularity going. Also, Ynet explains how parties make agreements over surplus votes.
 
Other Top News Summary:
Another big Israeli diplomacy faux pas, an Israeli cabinet decision to withhold some of Palestinian tax money, and the speech by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, not all of whose pertinent quotes were printed in the Hebrew press were top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

At the time the Hebrew newspapers went to press, Poland’s Prime Minister had said he won’t attend Visegrad Summit that was to be held in Israel today because Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had said that Poles had collaborated with the Nazis. He would send the foreign minister. But then Netanyahu appointed Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz as acting Foreign Minister after which, in his new role, Katz made the very undiplomatic remark that Poles 'suckled anti-Semitism with their mothers' milk.’ The four other participants of the summit, the leaders of Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, were still on board to come today. And the Poles said they were waiting for the Israeli response to Katz’s remark or they would pull out completely. UPDATE: By this afternoon, the Czech Republic announced that the whole event was cancelled. Netanyahu had hoped the summit in Jerusalem of the four eastern European countries, the Visegrad nations, also known as the V-4 group, would cement a right-wing bloc against the European Union.

Also, the Israeli security cabinet enacted legislation from July to deduct funds that Israeli defense officials believe are delivered to the families of Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails, what the Israelis call 'terror money.' The sum, $138 million, which comprises about 5% of the PA's revenues, was cut from the taxpayer funds that Israel collects for the PA. Qaddura Fares, the Chairman of the Palestinian Prisoners' Association, slammed the decision. "The terrorists are small murderers, but what about the big murderers, like Netanyahu?” he said to Maariv. “The (Israelis) steal from us in broad daylight, we will not accept this decree and remain calm.”

Just before Benny Gantz spoke at the Munich Security Conference, Iran’s Zarif spoke, accusing Israel and the US of warmongering and violating international law. Also, the Qatari foreign minister said his country would not have full diplomatic relations with Israel until the Palestinian issue was resolved. The Hebrew media focused on the sentence when Zarif said that risk of war with Israel is great. Only MaarivOnline emphasized that Zarif said that, “Netanyahu is the one who threatens to destroy us, there is a great risk of war.” MaarivOnline also translated many more of the quotes in which Zarif defended the Iranian position. Those quotes were also in an article of Politico.eu:
"I ask you a question: Does Iran have the right to defend itself?" he said. "And if we have the right to defend ourselves, do we do it with swords? Do we do it with, whatever, guns? Or do we need sophisticated means of defense? "The most sophisticated means of warfare are being sold to our region and President Trump conveniently calls them beautiful military equipment," he said, sneering. "Now we are not getting any of those beautiful military equipment. The beautiful military equipment, the Yemenis are getting. They are being killed with it. I don't think they call it beautiful." At another point, he asked: “Does Iran have to simply lie dead simply because some people don’t want us to be able to defend ourselves?”
 
Quick Hits:
  • Israeli army officer indicted for allowing soldiers to beat detained Palestinians - Indictment says commander from Netzach Yehuda battalion ’noticed his soldiers enacting harsh violence against the Palestinian detainees, as they were handcuffed and blindfolded, and despite this did not prevent them from continuing to beat them.’ (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • "Netanyahu told the Arab foreign ministers: 'Peace with the Palestinians will help Israel tremendously'" - The Prime Minister said in a closed meeting held at the Warsaw conference that "in order for there to be normalization with the Arab world, we must make peace with the Palestinians," according to recordings revealed on KAN Bet Radio. In the recordings, senior Saudi official, Adel Al-Jubeira, is heard saying that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "will not solve all the problems in the region, but it will start the path that will calm the emotions and begin steps for cooperation that is stronger and more visible between the countries." (Maariv)
  • Israeli soldier moderately injured at Gaza protest; IDF attacks Hamas posts in Strip - Soldier suffered injury apparently fter getting hit by explosive device hurled at him in protest along border Sunday. 19 Palestinians said wounded. Over the past couple of weeks, Palestinians have been rioting during the evening hours. Such protests somewhat decreased several weeks ago as reports on Israeli-Palestinian talks to quell tensions emerged, but recurred when it became clear that no agreement has been reached.  (Haaretz, Maariv, Israel Hayom and Maan)
  • Following her (anti-occupation) remarks: About 2,000 complaints were filed with the Second Authority against Osher Kotler: - "We send the children to the army, to the territories, and they are given human animals," said the Channel 13 news anchor after the TV’s report about the what happened [soldiers brutally beat a detained Palestinian father and his son - OH] in the Netzach Yehuda Battalion. Although she made a clarification, she received many abusive messages forcing her to change her mobile phone number. Channel 13 has not yet decided on how to deal with the subject. (KAN and Maariv, p. 8)
  • In photos: Israel evicts Palestinian family, hands over home to settlers - Abu Assab family has been living in the stone-made home in E. Jerusalem over 65 years, however, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that they did not own the plot of land on which their home was built upon and hence ruled for their eviction. (Maan)
  • The school Meitzav tests reveal: large gaps between Jewish and Arab students - The differences between the sectors are growing: 62% of Arab students scored less than 60 in mathematics, compared to 48% in the Hebrew-language education. In the subject of English, the situation is worse. 41% of the Hebrew-language students got 85% or higher, while only 23% of the pupils in religious schools and 14% of the Arab-language schools got 85% or higher. (Maariv)
  • *Protest in Karnei Shomron (settlement) because of the expulsion and humiliation of the Arab cleaning women: “We oppose racism" - Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth reported on the firing of Arab cleaning ladies at schools in Karnei Shomron because of parents' objections. Those parents threatened to boycott the school if the Arab cleaning ladies were not fired and they were. Various organizations fighting racism are planning to give legal aid to the Arab cleaning ladies, and even to hold a demonstration in front of the school. The Center for Victims of Racism stated that "the behavior of the (threatening) parents is racist and shameful, and the outrageous surrender of the local council, which condemned the (parents’) incitement but fired its victims is illegal.” Now other parents at the school held a protest: “These (threatening parents) are an insignificant minority," some residents claim. (Ynet Hebrew)
  • Hamas boots PA officials from Gaza crossing, accuses them of collaborating with Israel - According to Gaza sources, Hamas believes PA officials helped Israel smuggle espionage equipment into the Strip. (Haaretz+)
  • $55M to be invested in Jewish Quarter of Old City of Jerusalem - Projects include an elevator that will lead from the Jewish Quarter to the Western Wall plaza that is accessible for the disabled; a renovation of the Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue, which was destroyed in 1948; and improved shade and outdoor facilities. (Israel Hayom and Maan)
  • Israeli supermodel's father convicted of intimidation, but gets no jail time - Rafi Refaeli, father of Bar Refaeli, gets three months of suspended sentence after road rage incident in 2016 in which he swore at and threatened Hod HaSharon's then-deputy mayor Yoav Rosen; Refaeli intends to appeal sentence. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • American singer speaks up for human rights for Palestinians - American award-winning singer, songwriter, and producer, John Legend, said on the "Real Time With Bill Maher" show, “As progressives, we should also speak up for human rights for Palestinians, and for too long, I think, it has been out of balance for progressives to speak up for the rights of Palestinians.” (Maan)
  • Hurricanes to slam Mediterranean as global warming ramps up - Storms in the Mediterranean basin will be rarer but stronger as the effects of warming become more severe, a new study predicts. (Haaretz+)
  • 20,000 Square Meters of Underground Security Facility: IDF Builds Colleges in Jerusalem - Disputed plan for facility near Ein Karem neighborhood approved despite objections from residents, environmentalists. (Haaretz+)
  • Iran unveils missile-equipped submarine capable of reaching Israel - Submarine reportedly has subsurface-to-surface missiles with a range of about 2,000 kilometers. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Over 1,000 Trapped by Islamic State in Group's Last Syria Enclave - Militants are using a network of caves and tunnels to defend their last bastion. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Assad Warns Rebel Groups: U.S. Will Not Protect You - Syrian president makes address targeting Kurdish fighters, telling them that 'Americans will put you in their pockets so you can be tools in the barter.’ (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Twitter Suspends Khamenei's Account for Reiterating Rushdie Fatwa - Twitter limits Iranian supreme leader's handle after tweet saying that 'verdict regarding Salman Rushdie is solid and irrevocable.’ (Haaretz+)


Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
Israeli Elections and the Big, Fat Palestinian Elephant in the Room (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Hardened by terror and frustrated by failed peace efforts, Israelis don’t want to hear about the evils of occupation or ways of ending it.
The election connections (Yuval Karni, Ynet/Yedioth) With just one working week to go before Israel's political parties must present their final list of candidates for the Knesset, giving rise to five days of frenetic wheeling and dealing, snubs and slights, and perhaps some odd bedfellows.
Netanyahu allows himself to do everything, including a flourishing Fake News industry (Ben Caspit, Maariv) When no significant candidate has yet emerged against him, the prime minister is promoting an industry that blows up stories that have nothing to do with reality.
A candidate who will tackle anti-Semitism (Yaakov Ahimeir, Israel Hayom) A prime minister of Israel should act like a chief of staff, one of whose tasks is to battle anti-Semitism worldwide. But the subject isn't a popular one at home, especially during an election.
Who should we vote for? The main suspect and his associates in Grossland, the candidate on the left-right or a UFO? (Ron Kaufman, Maariv) The elections for the 21st Knesset are "us or him."

Commentary/Analysis:
News Anchor Who Said Occupation Makes Soldiers 'Animals' Has a Right to Speak Out (Haaretz Editorial) Witch hunters didn’t wait a moment before jumping on Oshrat Kotler’s remarks as if they were treasure.
Gazans Aren’t Abandoning Their Children at the Border; They’re Earning a Living (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) Army brass reprimands Palestinians who choose to stay outside Gaza without permits and let their children return home alone following medical treatment. But what if that’s the only way the parents can find work?
The cynicism of organizations such as Tag Meir enables them to reach homes of mourning in order to advance their positions (Prof. Arieh Eldad, Maariv) In the name of their political correctness and the famous balance, I would expect these hypocrites to help the thousands of Jewish farmers who are victims of Arab agricultural terrorism.
We Support You, Ilhan the Heroine (Odeh Bisharat, Haaretz+) Congresswoman Ilhan Omar thought she was living in a democratic country, and that she could report to the public about what she sees: how naive!
The Law of Return Is Suicidal (Rogel Alpher, Haaretz+) Severe overcrowding, coupled with a horrifically high birthrate, is already set to turn Israel into a living hell that will only get worse with an influx of Jewish immigrants.
Israel's foreign relations under attack (Eldad Beck, Israel Hayom) It is not just the memory of the Holocaust that is driving certain officials' criticism and rage against Poland but rather an explicit desire to damage Warsaw's close relationship with Jerusalem.
Jews Are Making anti-Semitism and Victimhood Our Entire Identity (Jerome Chanes, Haaretz+) From Trump to Corbyn, jihadists to nationalists, Europe to America, too many commentators see Jewish life as under siege from anti-Semitism. But that's not true.
Netanyahu Is Doing Everything on His Own, and That's Scary (Raviv Drucker, Haaretz+) It’s hard to think of a point in time in our history – perhaps during the Ben-Gurion era – when the decision-making process was so concentrated in the hands of one person.
Warsaw Summit winners and losers (Ron Ben Yishai, Ynet) The Warsaw Summit was a mostly failed attempt by the United States to form a broad international coalition to support the Trump administration’s Middle East policies. The EU powers failed to comply, to Iran’s delight. Netanyahu scored some electoral points with leaks and photo-ops.
With Poland, Netanyahu Discovers the Limits of Playing With History (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Poland, Hungary and Lithuania have all been laundered by the Prime Minister of History. But what Netanyahu has done goes much further than realpolitik and is ultimately unsustainable.
Warsaw detente gives way to Israeli-Arab divergence on Palestinians (Terrance J. Mintner, Ynet) The recent Mideast conference in Poland may have given Israel hope for future warm relations across the region, but Egypt and Saudi Arabia - and their people - are adamant that the peace process must come first.
Iran and the Palestinians lose in Warsaw (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) The Warsaw Middle East conference revealed that despite the Palestinian question, many countries in the Arab world feel safe in their pursuit of relations with Israel.
Netanyahu's Elaborate Defense Leaves Key Question Unanswered: Why Did He Take the Cigars? (Mordechai Kremnitzer and Ami Ayalon, Haaretz+) Haaretz report reveals how Mossad enlisted Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, embroiled in one the prime minister's cases. What we're left with is either an ill-founded line of defense or a dangerous heritage of corruption.
Counter the Prime Minister’s Assault on the Rule of Law (Uzi Baram, Haaretz+) Netanyahu hopes his methodical use of incitement against the left and the media will rescue him from the long arm of the law.
Saudi Arabia's New Weapon Against Women (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Government-sponsored app Absher, downloaded over 11 million times, allows male guardians to set restrictions on women's travel visas.

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