News Nosh 2.20.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday February 20, 2019

Quote of the day:
“The Kahanists and the homophobes: the two parties no one wants, but Netanyahu needs.”
—Haaretz’s Allison Kaplan Sommer writes about Netanyahu’s lobbying of rightist religious parties to merge with the Kahanist-Jewish supremacist 'Otzma Yehudit' (‘Jewish Power’) party and Eli Yishai’s far-right ultra-Orthodox nationalist party, 'Yachad,' which is campaigning against LGBT parenthood, and both of which are at great risk of failing to reach the threshold to enter Knesset, which could throw as many as three Knesset seats away and potentially make or break Netanyahu’s success in forming a right-wing bloc. Haaretz’s Bradley Burston writes that Netanyahu is 'evil' for trying to keep a Kahanist party in the Knesset in order for him to save his own seat.*

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Gantz and Lapid will meet this morning - Final discussion over merger
  • Gantz: “While I was laying in the trenches, you were enjoying yourself at cocktail parties; Netanyahu: “Shame on you, I was injured in battle and I endangered my life for the state”
  • He won it fairly // Nahum Barnea on Netanyahu’s decreasing popularity
  • Who is the man? // Sima Kadmon writes that mudslinging doesn't come naturally to Gantz
  • Buzaglo turnaround  (Mobster found innocent) // Yedidiya Stern writes that Netanyahu must do everything legal to prove his innocence
  • Gabbay’s security asset: Tal Russo in second spot on Labor party list
  • Singing for Ori - At the end of a march in memory of Ori Ansbacher, who was murdered in (sic- near) Jerusalem, Yuval Dayan and Shlomi Shabbat performed a song from Ori’s poem, “World of peace”
  • Following Yedioth expose - A protest against the prices of tickets to Eurovision
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • (Gantz) Going out to battle
  • Mud fights // Ben Caspit
  • “We are fighting anti-Semitism in all its shapes” - Tens of thousands demonstrated in Paris, while President Macron visited the Jewish cemetery that was desecrated
Israel Hayom
  • Pressure in the right-wing for union
  • Few senior personas, many possible glitches // Amnon Lord on Benny Gantz’s list for the Knesset
  • Hungary: We will open a representative office in Jerusalem
  • France says ‘no’ to anti-Semitism
  • In memory of Ori (Ansbacher - who was raped and murdered by a young Palestinian man)
  • The Waqf’s chutzpah: Takes over Shaar Harachamim (Bab al-Rachma) in the capital

Elections 2019 News:
Former IDF chief of staff and Chairman of Hosen L’Yisrael party, Benny Gantz, took the front pages of the Hebrew papers as he presented his party’s list, called on Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid to meet him to discuss a party merger and made a frontal attack on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu: “When I was laying in the trenches you left Israel to go study drama in the US,” to which Netanyahu responded: “Shame on you, I was injured in battle with terrorists.” Gantz also is trying to bring Orli Levi-Abekasis's Gesher party on board with his party.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu continued to pressure Habayit Hayehudi to accept a merger with the Otzma Yehudit party, whose members are supporters of the racist Meir Kahane. Maariv reported that senior Habayit Hayehudi officials opposed a merger with the Kahanists. And Labor party made an achievement getting Maj. Gen. (res.) Tal Russo on its slate - he’ll be in the number 2 spot in the party. And, Yisrael Beiteinu unveiled its Knesset list, which excluded some veteran members.

Other Top News Summary:
Hungary said it would open a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem and French people demonstrated against acts of anti-Semitism, making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

What barely made news was the balloon-arson fire in an Israeli forest near the Gaza Strip - the first since November. Haaretz reported that Hamas recently approved using the tactic due to the stalled talks with Israel over lifting the siege on Gaza. And also Tuesday night, Israeli forces fired tear-gas bombs at Palestinian protesters along the Gaza fence, Maan reported. Now, Palestinians will hold “Night Confusion” protests along the fence every Tuesday night to protest the nearly 12-year siege imposed by Israel, sources told Maan. Also Tuesday, Israeli forces shot and injured at least 20 Gazan protesters during the weekly Gaza naval protest off the coast of the northern besieged Gaza City.

After meetings between Netanyahu and leaders of Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said Hungary will open a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem. Only Haaretz reported that the other two countries would do the same. That would be a diplomatic achievement for Netanyahu following the diplomacy failure that occurred when Israel’s acting Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz made a racist anti-Polish remark, causing Poland to pull out of the Visegrad Summit in Israel that was to take place the next day, after which the other leaders scrapped the summit. Poland said it is still awaiting Israel's apology. Netanyahu’s efforts to show off diplomatic strength ahead of elections continued. Ynet reported that Netanyahu aims to visit Muslim-majority Morocco before the Israeli elections April 9.

And, Maariv and Ynet reported that a US official said that the separate US Consulate in Jerusalem that serves Palestinians and which has extensive diplomatic activity with Palestinian Authority officials, will be absorbed into the new US Embassy to Israel on March 4th or 5th, a merger the Palestinians condemn.
Quick Hits:
  • EU slams Israel’s decision to deduct from PA tax revenues - EU emphasized the need for Israel to respect the agreements signed with the Palestinian side and refrain from taking any unilateral action on the Palestinian tax revenues, which should be transferred in full to the PA. (Maan)
  • PA deletes Jewish history from key sites in Judea and Samaria - New signs and website ignore Jewish roots to key archaeological sites and nature reserves, Regavim reveals. Concerted effort, which includes renaming of sites, is in clear violation of 1995 interim agreement with Israel. Regavim: Israel must act. (Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinian Cabinet condemns Israeli decision to block UNSC visit (and numerous other incidents) - The cabinet denounced the Israeli forces' cutting off water supplies to the communities of Masafer Yatta and for its campaign to uproot and displace Palestinian citizens from their lands and houses in the village, slammed the Israeli decision to deduct the allocations of Palestinian prisoners and martyrs families from Palestinian tax funds, and condemned Israel for sealing off of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and attacking Palestinian worshipers as a part of the ongoing attempts of Israel to change the historical status at the Mosque. (Maan)
  • Clashes Erupt During Eviction of Palestinian Family From East Jerusalem Home - Israeli court ordered the eviction of the Abu Assab family, who lived in West Jerusalem before 1948, following appeal by right-wing Jewish activist. Nearly 200 Palestinian families in East Jerusalem are under threat of eviction by settler organizations. (Haaretz+ and +972mag)
  • Israel demolishes 8 Palestinian-owned structures in Jordan Valley - Israeli forces raided the area and demolished eight Palestinian-owned structures, including residential buildings, health facilities, an animal barn and water tanks in the Ras al-Ahmar area. (Maan)
  • Waqf demand leads to fears of fresh Temple Mount clashes - Backed by Abbas, the Waqf, the Islamic trust that maintains Muslim buildings at Jerusalem holy site, demands Israel reopen area shuttered by (police and) courts, warns failure to do so could lead to renewed violence; row aims to sway Israeli government, assuming it does not want bloodshed ahead of April elections. (Ynet)
  • Israel confiscates 4000-square-meters of tiles in Nablus area meant for park exhibition - Head of the Sabastiya municipality, Muhammad Aazem, told Ma’an that Israeli forces seized 4000 square-meters of tiles from the park under the pretext that the park is located in Area C, which is under full Israeli military control. The tiles, worth $27,600, were transferred to the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El. Aazem stressed that Israel always attempts to prevent development, especially projects aiming to develop tourism. He stressed that Israel always attempts to prevent development, especially projects aiming to develop tourism. (Maan+PHOTOS)
  • Hebron shooter Azaria backs soldiers accused of beating Palestinian suspects - The ‘shooting soldier from Hebron,’ Elor Azaria, who served a prison sentence after (extrajudicially) shooting (dead) a neutralized terrorist, demonstrated with his father outside the military courthouse, where Netzach Yehuda battalion soldiers (who brutally abused a detained Palestinian father and son) were on trial, and urged the soldiers on trial to ‘stay strong. Said no one should judge their actions. Father said, "What we want here is to stop this disgrace that puts our soldiers, IDF soldiers, on trial. Where is the support for our fighters? Today the commanders command from behind and let the fighters eat all the shit. It's time to wake up, 99% of the people are with our fighters. We love IDF soldiers, they are our soldiers, and anyone who thinks that IDF soldiers are animals is an animal himself." (Maariv+VIDEO and Times of Israel)
  • “They made me watch my father being beaten,’”says Palestinian teen assaulted by Netzach Yehuda battalion troops - Father, 50, and son, 15, who were detained on suspicion of aiding killer of two Israeli soldiers, testify that they'd been beaten unconscious, stepped on and forced to watch each other being violently attacked by the Netzah Yehuda troops, who in turn tried to diminish their alleged culpability by coordinating stories and lying to army investigators. (Ynet)
  • Israel's Emergency Agencies' Dispute Puts Public at Risk, Local Governments Warn PM - Local leaders fear disagreement over responsibilities and a lack of coordination between the military and the national emergency authority damage Israelis' readiness for war. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu Aide Eli Groner to Manage Israeli Subsidiary of Koch Industries - Israel will be Koch Disruptive Technologies’ first satellite office. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli cybersecurity startup acquired by global firm for $560 million - Demisto, U.S.-based Palo Alto Network's fourth Israeli purchase, works to automate threat management in major organizations' situation rooms. It has raised $69 million to date. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel Promised Millions to Rehabilitate South Tel Aviv, but the Money Is Nowhere to Be Seen - Last summer the Israeli cabinet allocated 28 million shekels ($7.7 million) to rehabilitate neighborhoods with a high percentage of asylum-seeking residents in cities across the country, but eight months later, the money has yet to arrive. Ministries and government offices blame each other while residents say they are used to broken promises. (Haaretz+)
  • Police arrest eight suspects in drive-by shooting of Israeli Arab woman - A week before the 33-year-old mother of three was murdered, police disarmed a bomb that was placed in her car. (Haaretz+)
  • Tel Aviv Eurovision ticket prices revealed: Over $300 for a seat in the final - Only some 3,000 seats for the semi-finals, grand final and rehearsals will be offered to the general public, at prices much higher than last year’s contest in Lisbon. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Michael Flynn Pushed to Share Nuclear Power Technology With Saudi Arabia, Report Says - The congressional report cites whistleblowers within the administration as well as 'chaos, dysfunction and backbiting' in the White House. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Israel hopes to make history with first private moon launch - If launch of Genesis spacecraft, a joint project by SpaceIL and the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries, is successful, Israel will become the fourth country to land on the moon • Genesis lightest, least expensive craft to venture to the moon. (Israel Hayom)
  • Egypt Expels Former New York Times' Cairo Bureau Chief - In latest move in the country's crackdown on the media, David Kirkpatrick was arrested in Cairo airport and sent back to London, with authorities providing no explanation. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Suicide Bomber Kills Three Policemen in Central Cairo - Three policemen and three civilians were wounded in the attack; perpetrator attempted an attack on a police patrol last week. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iranian president: US sanctions are 'economic war' on Iran - Hassan Rouhani says new refinery is producing 20% of Iran's oil output despite "harshest sanctions" • Ayatollah Khamenei warns government not to be "deceived" by European claims about salvaging nuclear deal • Iran denies U.S. official defected. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)

This is how the State of Israel established the special police unit that prevented immigrants from leaving the transfer camps in Israel
These testimonies can reopen wounds that are still bleeding since the establishment of the state. This special unit was established in order to enforce the law in the transfer camps and to supervise the new immigrants. Now, the police who served in the transfer camps tell about the difficulty dealing with the complex reality they were faced with - poverty, lack of essentials, the anger and the sense of discrimination - and they also talk about the kidnapping (by the state) of the children from Yemenite immigrant families and the government’s treatment of immigrants from the East [i.e. Muslim countries]. Avraham Hamo: “(Noam Barkan, Yedioth’s ’24 Hours’ supplement, cover)
Between Erdogan and the Ayatollahs, These Women Lead the Kurdish Battle for Freedom
On the 40th anniversary of the Islamic revolution, leaders of the insurgency outline vision of 'radical decentralization.’ (Karlos Zurutuza, Haaretz)
The Palestinian activists protecting Hebron from settler violence
After Israel boots the only internationally mandated human rights observer group in Hebron, Palestinian volunteers step up to monitor settler attacks amid a sense of heightened hostility. (Steven Davidson, +972mag)
Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
*The Kahanists and the homophobes: The two parties no one wants but Netanyahu needs (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+) Israel’s ‘problem child’ parties pose an electoral dilemma for the right: Netanyahu needs their votes to win and is encouraging them to join forces – but no one wants to go through with it.
I thought Bibi was amoral. He's not. He's evil. Thanks to him, Kahane lives (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) Netanyahu is looking to a viciously supremacist party called Jewish Power to put his re-election campaign over the top.
Gantz and Lapid must drop the ego (Tali Ben-Ovadia, Yedioth/Ynet) Unless the two men can focus on bringing the center-left bloc together by letting what is good for the country supersede what they perceive as being good for them individually, they will have the honor of confessing their sins on April 10.
Going Low Like Netanyahu, Gantz Delivers Aggressive Insults in Hope to Revive Momentum (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) The Hosen L’Yisrael party chairman understands that the chances of deposing Netanyahu are slim, and is focusing efforts on fighting for the leadership of the bloc.
Ganz signaled to Netanyahu that if he wants mud wrestling, he has a partner (Ben Caspit, Maariv) With all due respect to the mud battle between the two Benjamins, Netanyahu and Gantz, the most important battle that is taking place in recent days is between Gantz and Yair Lapid. This is a struggle over the narrative: who is to blame for the fact that the anti-Bibi bloc did not unite on the eve of the elections. Assuming that in the end there will not be a last-minute revolution (the two were supposed to talk yesterday), it is assumed that the left-center base will be repelled by someone who is marked as the one who torpedoed the merger (of the parties of Gantz and Lapid). Neither of them want to take responsibility for the fiasco…While everyone is arguing with everyone, Avi Gabbayi recorded a relatively impressive achievement yesterday. After a rather humiliating refusal from anyone to whom he offered the reserved second spot on the party list, Gabbay now boasts a rather prestigious security acquisition: Major General (res.) Tal Russo is on top of the list.
The Left is right about unity (Ariel Bolstein, Israel Hayom) The multiplicity of parties on the Right endangers the entire camp. Supporters of the smaller parties certainly don't want the Right to fall and the Left's ideas to prevail.
Which Tycoon to Vote for in the Election? (Eytan Avriel, Haaretz) Behind every party in the race hides a Mr. Moneybags who contributes funds or effort to the cause. Here’s the lineup: Gantz and Akirov, Kahlon and Maimon, Lapid and Mozes, It’s still not clear which tycoon is partnered with Avi Gabbay’s Labor Party at the moment. Gabbay used to be a businessman who worked with tycoons such as Haim Saban and Shaul Elovitch, when the latter was the controlling shareholder of Israeli telecommunications giant Bezeq. But when Gabbay entered politics, not only did he cut his ties to them, he launched a war against the gas monopoly and the army of tycoons profiting from it. Netanyahu and Adelson, But Adelson isn’t the only tycoon to benefit from Netanyahu’s policies. The downfall of the tycoons who ruled Israel at the turn of the millennium is well-known – Nochi Dankner, Eliezer Fishman, Lev Leviev, Elovitch and others, all of whom built their empires using public money loaned by the capital markets and the banks, and all of whom saw their empires collapse when the public mood changed and their financing dried up. All, except for Israel’s biggest gas baron, Yitzhak Tshuva. What’s not well known is that Tshuva nearly fell too. He was in arrears in paying off his bank debt, and the banks were demanding he find money he didn’t have. He, too, might have gone bankrupt, if Israel’s government hadn’t approved its plan for developing the country’s natural gas reserves right when it did…Tshuva completed one of the most astounding deals by a tycoon ever – he received the near-exclusive license to explore for “public” gas free of charge, he found it, and then he sold it back to the public at a price that everyone agrees is exorbitant. Netanyahu…was the one who aggressively pushed for the gas plan, putting his entire political weight and his party behind it, and doing away with regulators who stood in his way, including former Antitrust Commissioner David Gilo…But while the parties and Knesset members are fighting among themselves over ego and honor, even though their differences are minor, the tycoons are actually quite unified. They may each have a party, sometimes more than one, but their goals are identical: to ensure that Israel’s laws and regulations suit them and go on letting them maintain their privileged elite status. In everything that has to do with socioeconomics, the parties are nearly identical. Why? It’s simple. All the tycoons, from all the parties, want – and likely will receive – the same thing.
Livni: The undoing of a flip-flopper (Amnon Lord, Israel Hayom) Tzipi Livni made the 180-degree shift from supporting the settlement enterprise to being a Meretz-like lefty. Netanyahu chose to wait until he could govern. That is what made all the difference. 
Tzipi Livni Only Had One Dish on the Menu (Sami Peretz, Haaretz+) Livni's difficulty in taking on issues beyond the peace process and the two-state solution led to her political downfall.
Tzipi Livni couldn’t save Israel because Israel doesn’t want to be saved (Edo Konrad, +972mag) Tzipi Livni, who bid farewell to politics this week, won’t be Israel’s de Gaulle. She will not be the leader that shakes us out of our collective slumber. Today, it is difficult to imagine any other Israeli leader having the desire to even try.
Are American Jews disenchanted with Israel? (Elliott Abrams, Israel Hayom) According to conventional wisdom, the Netanyahu government's policies are ruining relations between the American Jewish community and Israel. A 2018 J Street survey suggests otherwise.

Suckling Hatred With Mother’s Milk (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Only the milk of certain Israeli Jewish mothers is missing, that essential vitamin without which a proud race cannot arise. Theirs is low-nationalism milk.
Save me from my friends: The cancellation of the Visegrad conference (in Israel) is a political slap in the face to Netanyahu (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) It was the prime minister who chose these countries as his friends, who tried to whitewash their history, which is interspersed with the blackest ofblack stains of anti-Semitism and cooperation with the Nazis…From the White House, the "peace plan", excuse me, "the Deal of the Century" will land on Netanyahu. Trump must not be gotten upset with a refusal - God forbid if a rejection comes from a friend. The current political incident proved that Israel's foreign policy does not need a substitute. It urgently needs a place.
Sanders' 2020 Run Assures Israel Central Spot in Campaign (Amir Tibon, Haaretz+) Since Trump entered the White House, the senator has harshly criticized Netanyahu’s right-wing policies and hosted activists working against the occupation.
Bennett's attack on (TV journalist Oshrat) Kotler is an sleeping drug for his moves in Judea and Samaria (Dr. Revital Amiran, Maariv) The move by the Chairman of Habayit Hayehudi was intended to appease the settler base, including by giving approval for the establishment of the Faculty of Medicine at Ariel University, and not in order to provide a solution to a public problem…Ariel University has no affiliated hospital. This means that medical students will not have "clinical fields" to practice during their studies, and will have to migrate to distant institutions that are professionally detached from their institution.
Nighttime Protests on Gaza Border Pose New Threat (Yaniv Kubovich ,Almog Ben Zikri and Jack Khoury, Haaretz+) Led by a special Hamas unit, the protests are more violent than the regular weekly Friday demonstrations on the Israeli border.
New ambiguity for a new Middle East (Doron Matza, Israel Hayom) The sea change revolutionizing Israel's relations with its Arab neighbors has mostly transpired under the veil of ambiguity, which still needs to be maintained.
Russian mediation: The critical messages of Hamas-Fatah talks in Moscow (Rami Baroud, Maan) The Russian-sponsored Palestinian unity talks in Moscow on February 11 were neither a success nor failure. Uniting Palestinian factions was not the main objective of the Moscow conference, in the first place. Around the same time that Palestinians met in Moscow under the auspices of the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, the US was holding its own conference in Warsaw, Poland. The Warsaw meet was the US’ attempt at drawing a new political paradigm to replace the defunct ‘peace process’, which, itself, was an American political invention. Knowing in advance that Trump’s so-called “deal of the century’ is likely to be consistent with the new, more aggressive US foreign policy approach to the Middle East, Fatah is keen to preclude the announcement of the ‘deal’ by seeking different routes that do not necessarily go through Washington. For Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian factions, freeing Fatah from Washington’s grip is something they can also all agree on. Musa Abu Marzouk, who led the Hamas delegation, declared from Moscow that all Palestinians factions will work together to “confront the deal of the century.” Russia, too, had its own messages to send.
How could Rashida Tlaib get caught using Israeli technology? (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) The Palestinian-American congresswoman isn't the only BDSer with a spotty boycott record, partly because Israeli tech is too ubiquitous, but partly because of plain old hypocrisy.
You, Jeremy Corbyn, Have Led Labour Into Authoritarianism, Mob Rule and Institutionalized Racism Against Jews (Adam Langleben, Haaretz+) Some of your own advisors told me that they believe you’re an anti-Semite - but want to try and change you. But you can’t be changed. You've torn up Labour’s commitment to anti-racism, and now, after 13 years, I’ve torn up my party membership card.
Bibi, Who Am I Bothering? (Haaretz Editorial)
Israel is deporting children of migrant workers, but many were born and raised in Israel and have never known another home.
'When I was in fifth grade they put us in jail': Deported Filipino children long to return to Israel, only home they knew
‘It’s inhumane to take a 13-year-old who has lived here all his life and load him onto a plane one morning,’ says one deported boy's teacher. (Interviewed by Lee Yaron in Haaretz+)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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