News Nosh 4.3.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday April 3, 2019
 
Breaking News:
Israeli settler shot and killed a young Palestinian man at a West Bank military checkpoint - conflicting versions of settler and Palestinian witnesses
The Israeli press accepted and presented as fact the version of the Israeli shooter that there was an attempted stabbing attack against him. The shooter, Joshua Sherman, a resident of the West Bank settlement of Elon Moreh and an activist on behalf of the far-right Union of the Right-Wing Parties, shot Muhammad Abed al-Fattah, a young Palestinian truck driver, near Huwwara checkpoint south of Nablus. Another  settler filmed al-Fattah while he lay on the ground bleeding and moving, still alive. Al-Fattah was taken by the military to an Israeli hospital where he died. Even Sherman gave conflicting versions. He said in some reports that al-Fattah tried to open his car door to stab him and his daughter and then Sherman got out of his car and shot him. "I was driving to work and heading toward the Tapuah junction. At the intersection, a terrorist with a knife jumped my car and tried to open the car door. I stepped out of the car, and while the terrorist tried to get past me I shot and neutralized him with the assistance of another man who was driving in the car behind me." However, Sherman told Israel Hayom that he shot al-Fattah from inside his car: "He jumped at me with a knife, trying to open the doors, I drew my handgun … rolled down the window and shot at him from inside the car.” Local Palestinian sources told Maan News Agency that an Israeli settler, identified as Sherman, blocked the road with his vehicle, preventing al-Fattah from driving on the road, despite al-Fattah having an Israeli license plate, and shortly after opened fire on him. A Palestinian security source told Reuters that initial information he had indicated the dead man had been trying to cross the road. Maan also reported that an additional Palestinian present at the scene was also injured by Sherman, and he was being treated in Nablus. (Also Maariv)

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement to Rona Ramon - The Rona Legacy
  • Netanyahu accuses: “Rivlin is looking for an excuse to give Gantz the government”
  • Get well, Nechama - President shortened visit to Canada following deterioration of his wife’s health
  • Hamas demands: Cancel the jamming of the cellular phones
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • (Netanyahu) Gives and gets blows - Recording revealed that Netanyahu warned that “Rivlin is only looking for an excuse to give the formation of the government to Gantz”
  • Prime Minister departs tomorrow to meeting with Russian President in Moscow
  • Praying for her recovery: Deterioration in health situation of President’s wife, Nechama Rivlin
  • Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement awarded to Rona Ramon
  • 65% believe in the purity of the elections
Israel Hayom

Elections 2019 News:
Today’s top story was the recording that revealed that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that Israeli President Reuven “Rivlin is just looking for an excuse to let Gantz form the next government.” Rivlin responded that this was a shameful injury to the public trust in the decision of the President." Also making top headlines was the tomato thrown toward Netanyahu while he made a quick visit to the Hatikva outdoor market in Tel-Aviv. (Haaretz+ video) Although Netanyahu was greeted by calls of 'Bibi is king of Israel,’ a young woman threw a tomato at him. Maariv reported that following the unusual incident, police checked the security cameras and identified the suspect. They went to her house in Tel Aviv and took her for questioning at the police station. The young woman, who was released to her home after her interrogation, has no connection to the election campaign or any campaign.

Election Quickees:
  • Gantz’s Coalition Plan: Snap Deal With a Moderate, a Far-rightist and the ultra-Orthodox - Benny Gantz believes that if he beats Likud by at least four seats and is tapped by the president, he'll have no problem forming a government with Moshe Kahlon’s center-right Kulanu party, Moshe Feiglin’s far-right Zehut party and the ultra-Orthodox parties. (Haaretz+)
  • Criticism of Netanyahu's trip to Russia tomorrow: "For political purposes only" - The opposition is wondering why the prime minister should meet Putin just a month and a half after their previous meeting. Between the two there was a long disconnect following the downing of the Russian plane in Syria. (Israel Hayom andMaariv)
  • Investigators Suspect 150 Accounts Boosting Netanyahu Are Fake – Twitter Blocks 258 - Some accounts belong to real people, whose pro-Netanyahu messages were amplified by the bots. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Head of Israel Election Committee Orders Criminal Probe Against Likud for Illegal Campaign - Likud general manager may stand trial for funding 'non-partisan' Zazim Yamina, an initiative to mobilize voters to cast their ballots for right-wing parties. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu: 'On April 9, the bots will vote in droves' - In Israel Hayom interview, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed Yedioth Ahronoth on Tuesday for suggesting that pro-Likud Twitter users, referred to as fake accounts or automatic bots, were somehow illicitly coordinating a propaganda campaign to help his re-election. (Israel Hayom)
  • Poll: Only 65% of the public believes in the purity of upcoming elections - According to the Israel Democracy Institute survey, 42.5% of the Israelis are interested in a government headed by Netanyahu, while 40.5% are interested in a government led by the chairman of the Kahol-Lavan party, Benny Gantz. 52% do not believe Netanyahu's version that he did not profit in the submarine affair (Case 3000). Young people lean towards voting for Likud, the adults for Gantz. (Maariv)
  • Poll: Netanyahu's Likud Overtakes Gantz's Kahol Lavan; Labor Surges to 14 Seats - A new poll published by Israel's Channel 13 Tuesday night predicted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party would overtake his rival Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan. Labor party gets popularity coming after weeks it staggered behind. 54% of respondents believe Gantz will agree to sit in the same government with Netanyahu. (Haaretz)
  • Israel's Arabs could swing the election – if they vote in droves - Turnout among the Arab community could dip below 50 percent on April 9. It’s like ‘a soccer game in which the Jewish right and center-left are the two teams and the Arabs are the ball. Everybody’s kicking us and neither team wants us’ says one expert. (Haaretz+)
  • Far-right leader demands new gov't pass bill to override High Court within 60 day - Bill does not recognize court’s right to rule laws unconstitutional and allows the Knesset to pass laws that violate Basic Laws - specifically the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Liberty. (Haaretz)
  • Gantz on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: ‘Only With New Leadership on Both Sides Can We Try to Move On' - Kahol Lavan chairman says he will not exclude any parties in a future coalition, but they would have to be Zionist, democratic and not racist. (Haaretz+)

Other News Summary:
President Reuven Rivlin’s wife, Nechama, was hospitalized in severe condition, for which he cut short his visit to Canada.

Also in the news, were Hamas' demands for Palestinian prisoners. At first, the news websites reported that Al-Quds TV, which has ties to Hamas, said that Israel and Hamas were negotiating a prisoner exchange as part of the long-term deal between them. But Hamas denied that a prisoner swap was in the discussions with Israel and said that the talks are focused on stabilizing the 2014 Gaza truce, Hamas prisoners’ conditions, and the status of the Temple Mount. and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said that the Hamas prisoners in Israeli jails are at the top of Hamas’ demands and agenda. Hamas gave the Egyptian mediation delegation the three demands ahead of the prisoners’ hunger strike set to begin next week: Removing the cell phone jamming devices, lifting recent sanctions on the prisoners
 and restoring family visits for prisoners. The prisoners plan to stop eating next week in protest over installation of cellphone reception blocking equipment. A Palestinian official said the strike is meant to pressure Israel into prisoner swap. Maariv reported that the Israel Prison Service is preparing for the possibility of a Palestinian attack inside the prison and has warned that the penalties will be severe.
 
Quick Hits:
  • Palestinian young man killed in West Bank clashes with IDF - Incident occurs during clashes that broke out when Israeli soldiers entered the town for an arrest raid in Qalandia refugee camp, north of Jerusalem, late Tuesday night. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Slain Palestinian youth laid to rest in Qalandiya - Thousands of Palestinians marched Tuesday in funeral of Muhammad Ali Dar Adwan, 23, who was shot and killed by Israeli forces predawn Tuesday during clashes in the Qalandiya refugee camp outside Jerusalem in West Bank. Adwan’s father accused Israeli forces of executing his son, saying that Muhammad posed no threat to soldiers, as witnesses had said. (Maan)
  • Israeli navy sprays Palestinian fishermen with 'skunk water' - before reaching the 15 nautical mile limit -  A day after Israel extended the fishing zone from 12 to 15 nautical miles, Israeli naval boats sprayed Palestinian fishermen with "skunk water" at 12 nautical miles off coast of the central Gaza Strip. (Maan)
  • Students suffocate as Israeli forces attack Hebron school - Dozens of Palestinian students and teachers suffered from severe tear-gas inhalation, on Tuesday, in Hebron’s elementary school, and were transferred to hospital after Israeli forces stormed the premises of Hebron’s elementary school and heavily fired live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, and tear-gas bombs into the school. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces demolish Palestinian home in Bethlehem area - Israeli bulldozers then demolished a three-floor house belonging to Palestinian lawyer Bassima Issa under the pretext that the building was not issued a permit by the Israeli authorities. The house in Beit Jala is in an area  classified as Area C and is under Israeli military control. (Maan)
  • In video - Israeli bulldozers demolish residential building in East Jerusalem - Israeli forces were deployed throughout Shuafat refugee camp as bulldozers demolished an under-construction residential building. Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in East Jerusalem. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces re-detained Palestinian lawmaker in Ramallah - Locals reported that Israeli forces raided Beituniya predawn Tuesday and surrounded Sheikh Hassan Youssef’s house before detaining him. Hassan is a political leader in the Hamas movement and a Palestinian lawmaker. His son, Mosab, was a spy for Israel. (Maan and JPost)
  • Israeli airstrike targets Palestinian youths in eastern Gaza - Israeli warplanes fired at least one missile towards a group of Palestinian youths, who were allegedly launching incendiary balloons into southern Israel. No injuries nor damages were reported. (Maan)
  • Haniyeh: "The missile was accidentally launched at Sharon, but this is a small example of our capabilities" - The Hamas leader admitted that the missile was accidentally fired from the Gaza Strip into Moshav Mishmeret. (Maariv)
  • Fishermen in the Gaza Strip: "The March of Return opened the sea to us" - Following the Egyptian-brokered understandings, Israel expanded the fishing area to 15 miles, for the first time since 2000. Gazans believe that this is not humanitarian aid but rather an Israeli concession. (Maariv)
  • Palestinian Authority to stop sending patients to Israeli hospitals - Spokesman accuses Israel of overcharging and taking funds for medical bills without its permission; Israeli Finance Ministry defends deductions. The PA referred around 50,000 patients to Israeli hospitals last year at a cost of about $100 million a year. (Israel Hayom, i24News and Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Justice Minister Used Bar Association Chief to Recruit Party Members, Documents Suggest - Efraim Nave signed up hundreds of lawyers as members of Ayelet Shaked's party. Newly obtained documents show that Shaked also changed regulations to suit firm that recruited members. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Justice Minister Seeks New Destination for Deporting Asylum Seekers - Sudanese and Eritrean nationals would be deported either 'voluntarily or by coercion,' Hayamin Hehadash Co-Chair Ayelet Shaked said. (Haaretz+)
  • Boosting diplomatic drive to Africa, Israel opens embassy in Rwanda - New mission in Kigali is Israel’s 11th embassy on the continent; ‘Rwanda has proven to be a steady, true friend,’ Foreign Ministry says. (Maariv and Times of Israel)
  • 'We can improve Brazil-Israel ties for betterment of both our peoples' - Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro tells i24NEWS that both countries have a vested interest in bolstering relations, says his visit to Israel carries special significance for him as a Christian • President concludes visit with tour of Yad Vashem. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel Electric Corp. Passed Up $1.3b to Let Delek, Noble Export Gas to Egypt - for 'diplomacy' - The utility took an 85% haircut on Egyptian gas companies’ debt, saying this was 'important from a diplomatic standpoint.’ (Haaretz)
  • Team Headed by Israel's National Security Adviser Lost Classified Documents on Weapon Deals en Route to India - Meir Ben Shabbat's aide accused of losing documents at the airport before boarding a flight to India ■ Internal probe finds that no damage was caused in the incident. (Haaretz+)
  • Pro-Palestinian hackers breach 120 Israeli websites - Israeli cyber security firm ClearSky's report shows hackers took over the sites to prepare for an annual cyberattack known as OPIsrael and planned for April 7. (Haaretz+)
  • What was the finance minister of one of the world’s prosperous countries looking for in Israel? - Luxembourg’s finance minister, Pierre Gramegna, sought on a recent visit to forge ties between Israel’s high-tech sector and his country’s financial service sector. (Haaretz+)
  • In Canada, Rivlin thanks Trudeau for battling anti-Semitism, BDS - In meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa, President Reuven Rivlin also notes Canadian parliament's decision to freeze relations with Iran and to declare Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization. (Israel Hayom)
  • After warning from European Broadcasting Union, Netanyahu's office to pay for some Eurovision expenses - Prime Minister's Office announces transfer of additional 1.5 million shekels so preparations can resume after the production work was halted. (Haaretz+)
  • 15-year-olds committed robberies wearing the masks from the “Paper House" show - Police arrested three youths who operated as a squad and violently robbed adults and minors in Bat Yam and Yaffo, using dummy guns and masks. (Maariv)
  • Lake Kinneret Sees Greatest Winter Water Increase in Five Years, and It’s Not Done - Rising waters means more time to prepare for drier winters anticipated down the line, when water may have to be pumped into the Kinneret from central Israel. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli spacecraft passes Earth for last time before moon landing - When the spacecraft enters the moon's orbit, it will perform lunar capture maneuver to enter the moon's gravity and start orbiting the moon ahead of scheduled landing on April 11 • X Prize Foundation offers $1M if Beresheet lands successfully. (Israel Hayom)
  • Al-Quds University’s debate team wins 1st place in Qatar Championship - 107 teams from 51 countries participated in the annual championship representing Arabic and non-Arabic speaking countries. The well-prepared participants from Al-Quds University were able to use high-standard and elevated Arabic language that was free of vernacular Arabic. (Maan)
  • Egyptian navy detains 4 Palestinian fishermen, injures another in Gaza - Egyptian naval forces entered 300 meters into Palestinian waters and attacked a fishing boat with five Palestinian fishermen aboard injuring one of them. (Maan)
  • Algeria's Bouteflika Submits Resignation After Weeks of Mass Protests - President, in power for 20 years, steps down soon after military chief of staff demands immediate action to remove him. (Agencies, Haaretz and Maariv)
  • US halts sale of F-35 fighter jet parts to Turkey - Turkish Pres. Erdogan has refused to back down from Ankara's planned purchase of a Russian S-400 missile defense system. The United States has said would compromise the security of the F-35 aircraft. (Times of Israel and JPost)
  • Turkish source: "Israel is behind the foiling of the sale of F-35s” - After Washington stopped the supply of the Viper aircraft to Ankara, a Turkish official claimed that the deal was torpedoed by Israeli pressure: “It wants to maintain air supremacy.” (Maariv)
  • Iran Orders 70 Villages Evacuated in Khuzestan Due to Flood Risk - Floods have affected at least 26 out of Iran’s 31 provinces since heavy downpours began on March 19. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran says U.S. sanctions impeding flood rescue operations, amounts to 'economic terror' - Iran has been facing major flooding for the past two weeks and on Monday, the death toll in the disaster rose to 45. (Haaretz)
  • Saudi Arabia Reportedly Buying Khashoggi Children’s Silence With Lavish Gifts - The murdered Washington Post journalist’s family has been given luxury homes and monthly stipends, the Post reports. Saudi official quoted in report denies payments are hush money. (Haaretz)


Features:
There's a Hole in the System. Israel Became a Haven for Suspected Jewish Sex Offenders'
The case of Malka Leifer, one of 65 suspected sexual offenders allegedly seeking refuge in Israel, has highlighted how Israeli law and the insular world of the ultra-Orthodox can at times shield them from justice, activists and prison officials tell Haaretz. (Dina Kraft, Haaretz+)

A penalty ball
The Sackler family is one of the strongest Jewish families in the world. They have capital estimated at $13 billion and are known as great lovers of Israel, who built the Faculty of Medicine at Tel-Aviv University and were embraced by Binyamin Netanyahu and Shimon Peres. Now the respected family is at the center of a scandal involving huge claims and accusations that their pharmaceutical company has caused an addiction to painkillers in the United States and has killed hundreds of thousands of people. (Tzipi Shmilovich, Yedioth Hebrew)
 
Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
Likud Voters Are Not Bots (Haaretz Editorial) Netanyahu believes that his supporters are motivated by feelings of inferiority toward the people Netanyahu calls 'them': 'the media' and 'the left,' and once even 'the elites.’
The condescension behind the 'bot' buzz (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) Social media is the last bastion of the masses, who can finally fight back against the mainstream media, most of which pushes a political and cultural agenda opposed to what the public wants.
They are playing with our minds: the bots succeed in influencing the undecided (Prof. Or Dunkelman, Maariv) Those who follow the path in which conspiracy theories come to the world can see a very clear phenomenon: those who are very uncertain are influenced by the echo of the messages of the Fake News.
Proud to be a right-wing 'bot' (Dr. Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) With its fake probe about so-called right-wing bots, the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper seems to be preparing excuses to use when Blue and White loses the election.
The Sisyphean pursuit of truth (Chen Sror Artzi, Yedioth/Ynet) Suspicions that Likud party has recruited an army of 'fake' social media accounts to disseminate pro-Netanyahu propaganda might never be cleared up since in the virtual world the truth holds no value.
What an Israeli Government of Generals Will Bring (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Dwight Eisenhower warned us about the military-industrial complex. But what about the military-political complex?
Survival of Israel: This or the continuation of the rule of the Bibis or a clean and stately beginning (Yitzhak Ben-Ner, Maariv) Eliminate from your head the calculations of the commentators and decide which is better: another Netanyahu term or to start with a clean democratic government. Think hard how you will live with your decision and then go vote.
Win or lose, Netanyahu has already cemented his legacy (Edo Konrad, +972mag) In his 10 years in power, Netanyahu has engaged in race-baiting against his own citizens, declared the occupation a permanent feature of Israeli reality, and shifted both the national and international conversation on Palestine. It is time to acknowledge that these are no mere trends — but his very legacy.
Putin Is Pulling for Netanyahu as He Did for Trump – but This Time in Broad Daylight (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Thursday’s sudden summit in Moscow appears to be aimed at the crucial 'Russian vote' and is meant to outflank both Lieberman and Gantz.
Netanyahu is LGBT-friendly at AIPAC. At home, he's homophobe-friendly (Amir Tibon, Haaretz+) Jewish American leaders accepted the prime minister’s apology after his racist statement in 2015, so don’t expect anything different if he belatedly apologizes for legitimizing anti-LGBT rhetoric this time around.

Other Commentary/Analysis:
Hamas Pressure Could Force Israel to Deal With Prisoners' Hunger Strike Days Before Election (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) The Palestinians expect a prisoner release that would follow the small-scale agreement under discussion for Gaza: an easing of the blockade in exchange for a reduction in violence along the border fence.
Trump's master plan for the Gaza Strip (Smadar Perry, Yedioth/Ynet) A new US deal is taking shape in Gaza, involving Israel, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Egypt and Qatar – but those in the know are keeping mum while the groundwork is being laid.
Let Hamas lose (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) Hamas has never been more isolated in the Arab world and international arena. It is wedged between the Egyptian hammer and Israeli anvil and looks to be losing the support of the people in Gaza.
The reopening of the Israeli embassy in Rwanda is of particular importance (Yoram Elron, Maariv) Israel's relations with Africa are now in the midst of a period of blooming and prosperity, and the embassy in Kigali has great significance in many areas.
Another anti-Semite in the Democratic Party (Stephen M. Flatow, Israel Hayom) James Zogby has emerged as one of the most prominent voices in the party defending Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and denying that her remarks about Jews being disloyal were anti-Semitic.
 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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