News Nosh 3.12.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday March 12, 2019

Quote of the day:
"This is the place to say this clearly: Recently, when political thinking is turning all reason on its head, we hear entirely unacceptable remarks about the Arab citizens of Israel."
--President Reuven Rivlin said in a rebuke against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.*

Breaking News:
Israel Police Break Into Temple Mount After Firebomb Hurled at Holy Site
The firebomb caused a fire to break out at the holy site. Police close all entrances and exits to the Temple Mount in search of perpetrators, sparking violent clashes at the scene. (Haaretz and Ynet)

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The enormous exit of the company from Yokneam - $6,900,000,000
  • The aryms smuggling route (through the South Hebron Hills)
  • To give your breath - Yair Halabali was killed in a diving accident, his lung was donated to the President’s wife
  • Yona’s voice stopped - Parting from the beloved singer and actress, Yona Atari
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom

Elections 2019 News:
*Besides the $6.9 billion exit of an Israeli hi-tech company, the top stories in the Hebrew newspapers were connected to the elections: Attorney General Avichai Mendelblitt agreed to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s attorneys’ request not to release the Netanyahu corruption investigation material or to hold the hearing for Netanyahu until after the elections (probably in July) and President Reuven Rivlin rebuked Netanyahu without calling him by name for the latter’s statement that Israel is ‘the nation state only of the Jewish people. Rivlin said that an “unacceptable dialogue is taking place against Arab voters” who aren’t “second-class citizens.” As Rivlin spoke at a conference at the Hebrew University’s Truman Center, his wife, Necham,a underwent a lung transplant from a young man who died in a diving accident. Meanwhile, there were more public remarks against Netanyahu’s statement, which followed a post by Rotem Sela, an Israeli model and TV host, who asked what was wrong with making political alliances with Arab parties in Israel. Judy Shalom Nir Moses, a TV and radio host and the wife of a former senior Likud official, criticized Netanyahu’s attitude toward the Arab residents. “According to Bibi, we'll load the Arabs on trains and get rid of them," she wrote on Instagram, adding, "Instead of strangling them with love, he makes them hate us.” (Maariv) And J Street slammed Netanyahu for his ‘disgraceful, racist rhetoric’ against Israeli Arabs.

Election Quickees:
  • 'Netanyahu fears escalation, Hamas extorts us' - "Netanyahu's prime objective is to postpone at any price a possible escalation in the Strip until after the elections," the source said. "The problem is that Hamas also understands this very well.” (Maariv)
  • Netanyahu tries to stop the flow of voters to Feiglin: Orders Survey to Look Into Legalization of Marijuana, Withdrawal From Golan Heights - Premier also using poll ahead of April 9 ballot to see whether Israelis want him as finance minister. (Haaretz+ and Maariv, p. 1)
  • Gantz ratchets up attack on Netanyahu: Begin would have ousted you from Likud - After slew of critical statements against his alliance with Yesh Atid, Gantz says that 'Begin was a patriot,' but under Netanyahu he would have been considered anti-Israel. (Haaretz)
  • Far-right Israeli Party Exhorts Principals to Get Students' Parents to Vote for It - Apparently defying law barring political activity by government-funded groups, Union of Right-Wing Parties urges principals from state religious schools to lobby for it. (Haaretz)
  • Left-wing Meretz party tries to woo back voters with new campaign - Polls show Meretz barely reaching the electoral threshold. With a new slogan and hopes for 'upheaval,' the party hopes to bring change. (Haaretz+)
  • Orli Levi-Abekasis launches election campaign, says she aims for health portfolio - Former fashion and television star also vows to make medical cannabis more accessible in Israel. (Haaretz+)
Quick Hits:
  • Settlers Interrogated Over Suspected Involvement in Killing of Palestinian - Despite differing accounts of the lethal January shooting incident, the army suspects a settler killed Hamdi Taleb Na'asan. (Haaretz)
  • Due Shin Bet’s use of illicit methods, Israeli court acquits Jewish suspects in Jerusalem church arson case - Resident of West Bank outpost, previously convicted of a church arson, and an unnamed accomplice were suspected of attacking Jerusalem's Dormition Abbey. (Haaretz and Maariv)
  • Right-wing activist arrested for disseminating attorney general's phone number - Orel Ben David is accused of circulating Avichai Mendelblit's personal details in WhatsApp groups and online, leading to harassment. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli attorney general to culture minister: You have no authority to intervene in 'offensive' art - Avichai Mandelblit rejects Miri Regev's request for authority to pull funding from institutions for their content, says it 'seriously infringes on freedom of expression.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Ofra, Givat Assaf terrorist charged with 3 counts of murder - Asem Barghouti, who was arrested following two shooting attacks in the West bank in December, is charged with the killing of St.-Sgt. Yuval Mor Yosef, Sgt. Yosef Cohen and newborn Amiad Israel Ish-Ran. (Ynet)
  • Terrorists smuggle phones in stomachs, prison service says - Smugglers swallow miniature devices and then get arrested so they can deliver them to the intended person, prison service says • Phones also hidden within prison walls • Over 70 phones used to orchestrate terrorist acts have been confiscated this year. (Israel Hayom)
  • Netanyahu says he asked friends for loans to fund legal defense as he appeals ban - Readying for hearing in corruption cases, the PM told Israel's top court previous 'populist' decision to hold funds from tycoon friends is 'unreasonable.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Trump's budget plan includes $175m that could go to supporting Mideast peace plan - Diplomatic Progress Fund, significantly smaller than American aid to Palestinians in previous years, will provide 'flexibility' in advancing regional agreement. (Haaretz+)
  • U.S. Senator Graham says he'll work to get U.S. to recognize Israeli annexation of Golan Heights - Republican lawmaker to lobby alongside colleague Ted Cruz, questions to whom territory would be returned should Israeli depart. (Haaretz+, Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • Miri Regev: No Diaspora Jew to light torch on Independence Day this year - After Miri Regev's relationship with Diaspora Jews dwindled over the past year, the MK decided not to bring a Diaspora Jew to light a torch at the Independence Day ceremony this year. (JPost, Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Brazil hotel still chasing Netanyahu for son Yair's unpaid bill - Hilton Rio de Janeiro Copacabana even appealed to the Foreign Ministry. (Haaretz and Times of Israel)
  • Iraqi pogrom victims not recognized as Nazi survivors, Israeli court rules - Iraqi Jews who escaped the Farhud attacks in 1941 argue that the pogrom was encouraged by Nazi propaganda. (Haaretz+)
  • Dutch Green Left Party walks back motion to boycott Israel - The motion 'is not meant as an endorsement of the goals of BDS,' Green Left says after outcry sparked among Jews and Christians. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • The Director of This Ilhan Omar Documentary Is Jewish — and Conflicted About the Controversy - Director Norah Shapiro followed the Ilhan Omar campaign for Minnesota House of Representatives; now, she responds to the controversy surrounding the congresswoman. (Haaretz)
  • Fox News 'strongly condemns' Jeanine Pirro's segment questioning Ilhan Omar's loyalty to the U.S. - Pirro discussed Omar’s recent controversy surrounding comments she made about Israel and argued that Omar’s 'anti-Israel sentiment' did not come from the Democratic Party. (Haaretz)
  • Trump tells Republican donors: The Democrats hate Jews - Trump told Republican donors in an off-the-record gathering he would have 98 percent support as a candidate for Israeli prime minister, Axios reports. (Haaretz+)
  • Algeria's embattled president announces he will not run for fifth term - Protesters have in recent weeks demanded longtime leader Bouteflika, supported by the army, step down due to his health and old age. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • UN says 2018 deadliest year yet for Syrian children - Syria's war has killed an estimated half a million people and driven about 5.6 million people out of the country. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • New Assad statue triggers protest in cradle of Syrian revolt - Deraa was where peaceful protests against 40 years of autocratic Assad family rule began in 2011, and were met by deadly force, before spreading across the country. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Big business forgets Khashoggi and continues to pump billions into Saudi Arabia - Some Western firms pulled back after Khashoggi killing, but several big multinationals are staying committed. (Agencies, Haaretz)

Then Sadat said: ‘No one believed that I truly sought peace’
When the Egyptian president announced that he was ready to go to Jerusalem to make peace, few believed he was serious. As a young journalist accompanying the Israeli delegation in Cairo, Smadar Perry earned an exclusive interview with Sadat and also got to enjoy the other pleasures Cairo offered. (Smadar Perry, Yedioth/Ynet)
40 Years to Israel-Egypt Treaty: The Forgotten Songs Cairo Produced to Get the Public Ready for Peace
Leading lyricists, composers and singers were recruited to this national mission. (Haaretz+)
Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
Racist Knesset Candidates Borrow Ideology From Labor's Occupation Pioneers (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) When Israeli governments in the 1960s and 1970s worked hard to steal Palestinian land while quoting God’s promises to atheists, they paved the way for parties promoting Jewish supremacy.
A State on the Edge of the Abyss (Haaretz Editorial) It’s a shame that Benny Gantz and his partners are trying to mimic Likud instead of presenting a program to pull Israeli society - its growing minorities in particular - from an educational brink.
The Rotem Sela storm: Netanyahu once again proved that he heads a much smaller state than Israel (Carmit Sapir Weitz, Maariv) About 75% of the country's residents are Jews, 21% are Arabs, and the rest are members of other religions. The prime minister, we discover again, is the leader of a state from which he vomits out the media, the left-wing and the Arabs.
These seven parties’ fates will decide Israel's election (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Shas, Yisrael Beiteinu, Meretz, Kulanu and three others are all at risk of electoral obliteration on April 9. Their survival or demise will help determine the next government
Feiglin's cannabis campaign was designed to hide a very extreme worldview (Dr. Revital Amiran, Maariv) The reform that the chairman of the Zehut (identity) Party is talking about acts as a drug against the masses, and under the cover of the smoke circles, his supporters are finding it difficult to discern the problematic parts of his party's platform.
Model and TV Presenter Shocks Israel by Crying 'King Bibi Has No Clothes!’ (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Rotem Sela challenges the motto “democracy without Arabs” peddled by Netanyahu – and puts his so-called opposition to shame.
Gantz's attacks match his panic (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) Having shed support in the polls, Blue and White has opted for guerrilla warfare and is now willing to engage in a real campaign rather than stay on Mount Olympus.
In Israeli Politics It's Not About the Left Anymore, It’s Right vs. Center (Tzvia Greenfield, Haaretz+) Neither the right nor the left in their present form suit most Israeli citizens, and the old bipolar situation has become an anachronism.
It's a disaster if Palestinian citizens of Israel boycott the elections (Anwar Mhajne, Haaretz+) The rupture of the Joint List, Netanyahu's serial anti-Arab incitement, and the rise of an explicitly racist far right mean Arab voters feel disenfranchised, and disillusioned about the value of their vote. But this election, participation is more crucial than ever.

Begin was right: The advantages of the (peace) agreement with Egypt outweigh its shortcomings and risks (Yossi Ahimeir, Maariv) In the history test, it turns out that the former prime minister was good at predicting the future. The security cooperation with Cairo, 40 years after that agreement, is proof of this.
Jordan's survival depends on Al-Aqsa (Dr. Reuven Berko, Israel Hayom) Jordan and the Palestinians' efforts to open the previously shuttered Gate of Mercy will not lead to Jerusalem's division but rather a Jordanian-Palestinian confederation, with Amman as its capital.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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