News Nosh 3.7.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday March 7, 2019

You Must Be Kidding: 
"Those who support terrorists will not enter the Israeli Knesset.”
—Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu hails decision by Election Commission to ban the Arab Balad party and the Hadash party member Ofer Cassif from running for Knesset, when Netanyahu himself pushed for a right-wing party to merge with the Kahanist Otzma Yehudit party, which in its previous incarnation as the Kach party, was banned by the Knesset and labeled a terrorist organization by Israel, the US, the EU, Canada and Japan.*

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Approved: Michael Ben-Ari, Otzma Yehudit; Banned: Ofer Cassif and Balad party
  • For you, my brother - Almost a year after her brother, Tzur, died in the flood tragedy in the Arava (Tzufit River), Yael Alfi completed Naval Officers' course
  • Palestinian detainee mistakenly released
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • “We recommend not to travel on trains across the country” - Israel Train Labor Union tells passengers not to travel starting today “out of concern for their safety”; Administration: “An aggressive and wild step”
  • In opposition to Attorney General Mendelblitt’s position: Raam-Balad list and (Hadash member Ofer) Cassif were banned from running for Knesset, (Otzma Yehudit leader, Michael) Ben-Ari was allowed
  • The American aid - Prime Minister Netanyahu found way to bypass the Elections Commission order banning candidates from being photographed with IDF soldiers. Yesterday, he…was photographed with US soldiers…
  • Shooting from the Gaza Strip to the south, Iron Dome was activated
Israel Hayom
  • “I am the last enclave for the right-wing bloc” - Minister Kahlon (leader of Kulanu party): “If something happens to Kulanu - the right-wing bloc will collapse”
  • Elections Commissions, that is not how you arrange elections // Amnon Lord
  • International Women’s Day - The women (in Israel) who are at the head of the war against hackers
  • In the name of the brother - On the birthday of her brother, Tzur, who died in the tragedy at Tzufit River, Yael Alfi completed Naval Officers' course
  • “The battle of my life”: General (res.) Yisrael Ziv reacts to the claims that he traded in arms (Yoav Limor reports from South Sudan)
  • “They want to remove us from the (right-wing) camp” - Alona Barekat (#3 on Hayamin Hehadash party) rises to attack
  • The tension in the south: ‘Color Red’ alarm went off in Gaza envelope area, IDF retaliated

Elections 2019 News:
*The big story in today’s Hebrew newspapers was the Elections Committee decision to disqualify the Arab Balad-Raam list, as well as Ofer Cassif, the Jewish member of the left-wing Hadash party, from running for Knesset and to allow the Kahanist, Michael Ben-Ari, to run, despite the Attorney General’s recommendation banning him. Maariv reported that a verbal confrontation broke out during the Committee debate with a committee member calling out to MK Issawi Freij (Meretz): "This is a democracy, they will let you talk. If you were in Syria, they wouldn’t let you talk.” Meretz chairman MK Tamar Zandberg was not indifferent to the remark and shouted, “Let him (the speaker) go to Syria. Freij was born in Israel.” Itamar Ben-Gvir of the Otzma Yehudit party added: “(Freij) thinks he's on the Mavi Marmara,” and Freij replied, “Shut up." After the hearing, a doctor was called to treat Freij, who felt ill. The tension reached its peak when Ben-Gvir approached MK Stav Shafir (Labor), who was also present at the hearing, and handed her a 500,000 shekel suit against her for calling his party members Nazis. Shaffir refused to accept the document and left the room. In response to the events, Chairman of the Committee, Judge Hanan Meltzer, stopped the debate for half an hour. Shaffir said in response to Ben-Gvir's threats to sue her: "Kahane's followers are accustomed to (using) threatening methods, but this time it will not work for them, they will not threaten me and they will not threaten the citizens of Israel anymore. We will make certain to keep away these violent and inciting racists, Kahane's successors - whom also the Likud compared them with the Nazi laws - from the Knesset of the only state of the Jewish people." The vote against banning the Otzma Yehudit members passed 16:15 and Kulanu party members left the meeting before the vote, for which they were blasted by the opposition parties, Yesh Atid and left-wing parties. Eleven US Jewish groups, including Americans for Peace Now, J Street, and IRAC on Behalf of the Reform Movement, also slammed the Committees decision to let the Kahanist party run.

The other big election news story was that Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid’s Kahol-Lavan party released their 'murky' (Israel Hayom) 'vague' (Haaretz) political platform, which calls for ‘separation’ from the Palestinians, strengthening settlement blocs, amending the controversial Jewish nation-state law, offering public transportation on Shabbat and limiting the term of the premier to eight years or a maximum of three terms.

Also in the news, Hayamin Hehadash supports surrogacy for LGBT parents and a KAN Bet poll found that the Right-wing bloc overcomes the center bloc. According to a new survey, Kahol-Lavan receive 35 seats while the Likud gets 30 seats, but the right-wing bloc rises to 61 and the center drops to 59. (Maariv)

Other News Summary:
The tension on the Gaza border was the other big story and Israeli forces attacked Hamas targets after more incendiary devices were launched over the fence as well as a rocket that set off alarms, but caused no injuries. Barely mentioned was that a 15-year-old Palestinian boy was shot in the head and killed by Israeli forces during nighttime skirmishes on the border. According to the Arab media, Israel told Hamas to rein in border violence or face major military action
and Hamas sent a message to Israel: "We are not interested in further escalation in the south." (Maariv) Haaretz+ wrote that months after issuing tender, the Israeli military still has no answer to the aerial arson from Gaza.
Quick Hits:
  • Israel and Jordan in talks to solve Temple Mount crisis - The effort comes after a meeting was canceled between the compound's Islamic custodian and Jerusalem's police commander meant to avert escalation ahead of Friday's prayer. (Haaretz+)
  • UN delays publication of Israeli settlement 'blacklist,' angering activists - The sensitive list is meant to assess implications of settlements on Palestinians, but its publication could also put companies at risk of being targeted by BDS. (Haaretz)
  • UN human rights chief raps Israel over 'immediate dismissal' of report on killed Gaza protesters - Michelle Bachelet calls Israel out for failing to address 'any of the very serious issues raised' after Netanyahu said the human rights council 'set new records of hypocrisy.' (Agencies, Haaretz and  Ynet)
  • The UN will pass the report of the Human Rights Council against Israel to The Hague - The report, which claims that the IDF is committing war crimes against the Palestinians, will also reach the legal branch, which will discuss the matter and may launch an investigation. (Maariv)
  • Three IDF soldiers convicted for assaulting Palestinian prisoners - All three await approval of plea deal for (brutal) attack on father and son suspected of collaborating with gunmen who killed two of their colleagues in December drive-by shooting. (Ynet and Maariv)
  • Jews Move Into Controversial Muslim Quarter House in Jerusalem’s Old City - Issam Akel, who was sentenced to life at hard labor by Palestinian Authority for selling land to Jews, was involved in the sale. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel designates Hamas TV channel a terror organization - Decision was made following recommendation filed by Shin Bet security service, determining that Hamas used the channel to recruit activists. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • PA warns: 'Without terrorist salaries we will nix Paris Protocol' - Israel has one week to reinstate funds it has deducted from the taxes it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, otherwise, the PA will seek to reopen the Paris Protocol, the office of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas warns. (Israel Hayom)
  • Following protests, police release wife of Palestinian lawyer under investigation - Palestinian and Israeli lawyers say Amal Barghout's detention was entirely designed to exert pressure on her husband, who was arrested last week alongside senior figure in a militant group. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel's culture minister calls to fire Arab ministry employee over Facebook post hailing terrorists - 'If this land is raped, you and your souls will be next in line,' Lobna Zoabi wrote in a post following a terror attack at the Temple Mount two years ago. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel's former chief rabbi released after 22 months in prison for bribery - Citing good behavior, the parole board granted the former chief Ashkenazi rabbi early release on a three-and-a-half-year sentence for bribery and fraud. (Haaretz+)
  • IDF demolishes home of Palestinian terrorist behind deadly attacks - Aasem Barghouti involved in killing of newborn baby and two Israeli troops in two separate West Bank attacks within four days last December. (Ynet)
  • IDF to raze family home of Palestinian suspected of raping and killing Israeli teen - Arafat Irfaiya is currently in custody and awaiting an indictment in what has been ruled by the Shin Bet as a 'nationalistically motivated' murder. (Update: He was charged on Thursday) (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • Karaite sect joins protest against Jerusalem cable car project - Tiny Karaite Jewish community worried cable car will desecrate ancient cemetery • Karaite Avi Yefet: Planners "trampling" Israel's 40,000 Karaites • Karaites say Jerusalem Development Authority offered to cover the cemetery, which would "invalidate" it. (Israel Hayom)
  • Shoah souvenirs: Should the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial have a gift store? - The museum sells Holocaust books but also bottle openers and tourist T-shirts with military logos and pictures of ibexes drinking iced tea. Is there a problem with that? (Haaretz+)
  • Australian sisters in Haredi sex offenses case: 'What God are they praying to that protects abusers?' - ‘This has taken such a toll on our lives, and these are people who are playing with our lives,’ three sisters tell Haaretz after 47th hearing (in Israel) to see if headmistress Malka Leifer can face extradition to Australia on 74 counts of sex abuse. (Haaretz+)
  • 'I want to know where my son is before it's too late' - Zehava Shaul, mother of Oron Shaul, who's remains are held by Hamas after the IDF declared him dead in 2014, begs for answers as her health deteriorates; 'I want to know about every step Oron took,' she says. 'If he's dead — I want a grave.' (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Study: Women Run Only 12% of Top Israeli Companies - Banking is most female-friendly sector, with women in 30% of top jobs; industry, technology at bottom of list. (Haaretz)
  • Trove of Einstein papers goes on display in Jerusalem - Hebrew University unveils "magnificent" collection, shedding new light on the mind and soul of the Nobel Prize-winning physicist ahead of his 140th birthday • Bulk of the 110-page collection consists of handwritten equations and several personal letters. Einstein remarked that there were also advantages in leaving the Jewish religion. "As a goy, you're not obligated to study the language of our forefathers, while I, as a 'Jewish saint,' should be embarrassed at the fact that I know almost nothing. But I prefer to be embarrassed rather than learning it," Einstein wrote in reference to Hebrew. (Israel Hayom and Haaretz)
  • Walid Abu Shakra, Pioneer of Palestinian Art in Israel, Dies at 73 - Abu Shakra, who emigrated to London in 1972, came from a family of prominent artists in Umm al-Fahm and took to projects that focused on Palestinians’ connection to their lands. (Haaretz+)
  • Hopefuls Defend Ilhan Omar Against anti-Semitism Claims, postponing vote - Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris express their support for the Minnesota congresswoman after controversial 'allegiance' statement. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • The former Lebanese ambassador to the United States reveals: How close was Assad to an agreement with Israel? - Dr. Abdallah Boukhabib reveals in a new book details of American efforts in the Middle East, and deals with Israel and the contacts before the Second Lebanon War. (Maariv)
  • Hundreds of ISIS Fighters Attempt Escape From Besieged Syrian Town - Some 400 Islamic State fighters were captured trying to escape Baghouz along with smugglers, according to the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, and hundreds of others surrendered on Wednesday. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iranian Lawyer Faces Years in Prison After Defending Women Protesting Mandatory Hijab - The prominent human rights attorney is currently being held in prison and has previously served three years. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran says no chance of negotiations, compromise with US - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tells supporters the differences between Iran and the U.S. are so wide, they are "neither negotiable nor can there be a compromise • "We should push the enemy back," he says on American sanctions. (Israel Hayom)
  • Rohani Accuses U.S. of Plotting to Overthrow Iran's Clerical Establishment - 'Iran is in economic and psychological war with America and its allies,' Iran's president says. (Agencies, Haaretz)

Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
Election 2019: The One Where Liberal Israelis Fantasize About Being Ruled by a Gang of Generals (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Only in Israel can three gruff military men emerge as the last line of defense against Netanyahu and his war to degrade democracy and dismantle the rule of law.
Eric Yoffie’s ad hominen attack, my response (Alan M. Dershowitz, Israel Hayom) Rabbi Eric Yoffie wrote a screed against me for criticizing the proposed indictment of Netanyahu. Shame on Yoffie for hiding his long-term biases against me; shame on Haaretz for refusing to print my response.
The Most Telling Part of Gantz and Lapid's Platform Is What It Doesn't Say (Chaim Levinson, Haaretz+) Kahol Lavan's platform consists of statements that sound good, but lack ideology and a concrete plan – which may be exactly what centrist voters want.
Women should take these elections seriously (Nurit Daboush, Yedioth/Ynet) Some women claim they have no one to vote for during the April 9 vote, because none of the leading parties have a concrete women's rights policy. If, however, we don't get involved in the political discourse and ask the right questions, the situation will never change.
Who runs the persecution (of Netanyahu)? Netanyahu and his pundits don’t provide an answer (Yitzhak Ben-Ner, Maariv) So who the hell are they, those who are conducting a witch hunt campaign and stitching cases again the most successful prime minister in the history of Israel? How are they organized, where are their headquarters and who is funding this expensive project, apart from NIF and George Soros, because all the possible tycoons have been close to the ruling power? And the left-wing parties are weak and the Kahol-Lavan Party is hoping to beat Bibi in the polls (not in court), as he always demanded. Neither Netanyahu nor his pundits provide any clear answer. But they spread a lot of lies, or at least “Fake Alternative Facts," as our nationalist friend Trump. And from the facts, I can pick out the wheat from the chaff and straw mulch and expose the ugly face of monster hiding behind the title of “they”: And indeed, it’s clear: Leftyarivlinnaftalimeninaftaliairbibmninaftaliminhdssonialsiitowardsguyeldadyaniv. Actually everyone. Who finances such an expensive project?  Anyone who deciphers fewer than five names hiding in the plot will be considered a partner in practice. and enough of the wisdom through hints.
In the Netanyahu Cases, the Media Won (Anat Balint, Haaretz+) It only takes a small number of brave reporters and editors to change the tide, no matter how strong the onslaught against them.
The right-wing parties that are shuffling close to the threshold are liable to bring Netanyahu’s fall (Prof. Arieh Eldad, Maariv) It is worthwhile for the prime minister to pay those who swing in the balance with a public promise in advance for the tens of thousands of votes that will remain in the right-wing bloc. Moreover, such a promise costs him very little.
The Hypocrisy of Arab Lawmakers in Israel (Abed L. Azab, Haaretz+) Every election, 'Arab cicadas' arise from their slumber to offer reasons to boycott the vote, blaming all but themselves for their ills.
The Left is disguising itself as Right (Dr. Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) The Blue and White party's platform looks like it was copy-pasted from the Labor, Yesh Atid, and Kadima platforms of previous elections.

lhan Omar and the Democrats' dilemma: Punish anti-Semitism, or appease it, Corbyn style (Jonathan S. Tobin, Haaretz+) Right now, the Democratic Party isn’t morally equivalent to U.K. Labour’s anti-Semitism run wild. But if they don’t draw a firm line in the sand, if they rely on whataboutism, if they decide condemning anti-Semitism 'privileges' Jews – the signs are ominous
Keep It Up, Ilhan Omar (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Neither Hamas nor a black day, but a glimmer of hope on Capitol Hill.
It’s time to abandon the patriotic onslaught over any Israeli success (Dror Refarel, Maariv) You have to ask every proud person in Israel: For what and why? What is your connection to the spacecraft? Why does your heart leap when you see the (director) Guy Nattiv win (the Oscar) or when Gal Gadot is interviewed on late night TV?
Looking for Jews to kill (Stephen M. Flatow, Israel Hayom) Regardless of the evidence that an attack was perpetrated by terrorists, major Western news outlets look for ways to minimize Palestinian culpability.
The barriers stifling Israeli Arab participation in the job market (Danny Gal, Sami Asaad and Maram Jubran, Haaretz+) Most members of the community have limited exposure to Israeli Jewish society, and that's just the first of their problems.
Syria's Assad Regime Won the Civil War. Can It Survive an Israeli Attack? (Chuck Freilich, Haaretz+) The Syrian conflict has triggered Israel's primal fear: the threat of an entrenched Iranian presence on its borders. If a resurgent, unreliable Russia doesn't step in, then Assad and his army will be Israel's first targets.

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