News Nosh 4.2.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday April 2, 2019

 
You Must Be Kidding: 
“You’re the Gestapo police. You are questioning me to pressure my parents, just like a criminal organization."
--Yair Netanyahu, son of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, reportedly said to police investigators who questioned him as a suspect in Case 4000, the favorable-news-coverage affair.**


Breaking News:
Israeli forces shoot dead young Palestinian in Qalandiya
Witnesses said Israeli forces fired at close range at Muhammad Adwan, 23, as he was getting into his vehicle near his home and that he posed no risk and was shot 'in cold blood.' Incident occurs when soldiers make night raid in refugee camp and clashes break out. (Haaretz, Maan, Ynet)

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The last week - 7 days to elections
  • Don’t rule out unity government // Limor Livnat
  • Storm over the fake (social media) accounts - Following Yedioth/NYT expose, Twitter began blocking unidentified accounts that promote Likud messages
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Blessed be the living bots
  • A week to elections
  • I’m a bot // Haim Shine
  • I’m a bot // Eldad Beck
  • I’m a bot // Akiva Bigman
  • Parents of soldier Ron Kukia (RIP): “The terrorist deserves the death sentence”

Election News:
Today's top story was the storm following the Yedioth scoop that the Likud was behind a secret - and expensive - campaign of operating hundreds of fake social media accounts that spread the Likud campaign messages. Haaretz+ reported that people in the Likud admitted to financing the $4 million illicit elections campaign after initially denying any connection to it, while Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu maintained that it was fake news and that there were real people behind the accounts. Of all people to invite to an an emergency press conference on the issue, Netanyahu invited 'Captain George,' one of the names listed in the watchdog report about fake accounts who "regularly spouted incitement from his Twitter account," reported Maariv. His posts were supportive of the racist anti-Arab Kahanists. “Kahane was right all along," he tweeted and even shook Netanyahu's hand.

Election Quickees:
  • Behind Authentic Facebook Pages, Parties Pull Strings - Campaigns buy or borrow profiles to spread their message, which could put them in violation of Israel’s election laws. (Haaretz+)
  • Gantz: Netanyahu leading campaign of terror on Israelis' consciousness - Blue and White leader lashes out after report says fake Facebook, Twitter network operating to promote prime minister's reelection on April 9; party says it has filed complaint with police. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Brazil's Bolsonaro visits Western Wall with Netanyahu - Bolsonaro arrived in Israel on Sunday for a four-day visit, just days before Israel’s April 9 election. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu to Meet Putin in Moscow Five Days Before Election - Meeting announced after the two spoke on the phone Monday and discussed Syria strike attributed to Israel. (Haaretz, Ynet and Maariv)
  • Knesset poll: Likud leads over Kahol-Lavan, right-wing bloc strengthened - According to a survey of 552 interviewees Monday morning, Gantz's party is losing the lead with 30 mandates to Likud’s 31. Labor drops to 9 seats and is in third place tied with the mostly-Arab Ta-al-Hadash party. (Maariv)
  • The Likud and the unification of right-wing parties make agreement not to fight - According to a report by the “The News Company,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not try to take seats from the Habayit Hayehudi list of MK Bezalel Smotrich and Rabbi Rafi Peretz - and everyone is expected to focus on Bennett and Shaked. (Maariv)
  • Shaked: "I will cancel the constitutional revolution of Aharon Barak in the next Knesset" - The justice minister declared that her party’s main demand in the coalition agreement after the elections would be "an blank check" to carry out the legal reforms of the her party, Hayamin Hahadash. (Maariv)
  • Gantz Adopts an Old Netanyahu Strategy, Cannibalizing Smaller Parties - Reminiscent of Netanyahu in 2015, Gantz is telling Meretz and Labor voters it’s either Kahol Lavan or Likud. (Haaretz+)
  • Neither security nor corruption: Most people vote for health - According to a survey by the Israel Medical Association, 43% believe that the state of the public health system is poor and 53% agree that it is in a state of collapse. (Maariv)

 
Quick Hits:
  • Israel allows expansion of fishing zone in Gaza - Israel has allowed the expansion of the permitted fishing zone off Gaza’s coast from 12 nautical miles to 15 nautical miles, as part of the Egypt-mediated ceasefire agreement between the Hamas movement and Israel. (Maan)
  • Israeli settlers spray racist slogans in East Jerusalem neighborhood - Israeli settlers punctured the tires of several Palestinian-owned vehicles and spray anti-Arab graffiti on walls and vehicles in the Beit Hanina neighborhood, in occupied East Jerusalem, on Monday. (Maan)
  • Palestinians decry Brazil's plan to open trade mission in Jerusalem - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, accompanied by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, visits Jerusalem's Western Wall • Palestinian Authority considers recalling its ambassador in Brasília over a new trade mission to Israel in the holy city. (Maan and Israel Hayom)
  • **Yair Netanyahu Called Police 'Gestapo' When Questioned in Media Quid-pro-quo Affair - Transcripts of the prime minister's son questioning by police in Case 4000 were aired by Channel 13 News. (Haaretz)
  • Israel's Finance Minister signs order to deduct PA tax revenues - Israeli Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon signed an order, on Sunday, to deduct 42 million shekels ($11,584,650) every month, which amounts to $139,015,800 annually, from the tax revenues that Israel transfers to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and is the amount the PA pays as stipends to the families of Palestinians killed or imprisoned by Israel. (Maan)
  • Palestinian Authority to pay only 50% of March payroll to Palestinian civil servants - For the second month in a row, Palestinian government will pay only 50% of salaries after not receiving any tax revenues from Israel. PA refused to accept the remaining $200 million in tax revenues, which Israel collects on behalf of the PA, after Israel deducted $138 million. The ministry confirmed that Palestinian prisoners and families of injured and killed Palestinians will be paid full stipends. (Maan)
  • Bedouin Israeli gets life in prison for murdering soldier in 2017 - Khaled Abu Judeh killed Sgt. Ron Kukia, 19, to express support for Hamas, judge says. Family calls for death sentence. (Haaretz+)
  • Trump heads to Vegas for Adelson’s Jewish Republicans gathering. Will Adelson attend? - The megadonor, diagnosed with cancer, hasn’t been seen in public for months, with his plane parked at an airport in Switzerland. (Haaretz+)
  • University of Cape Town holds off on adopting vote to boycott of Israeli academia - Two weeks after university senate voted to cut ties with Israeli institutions, its council says 'certain issues need further clarification.’ (Haaretz+)
  • As pope visits Morocco, tiny Jewish community looks on with quiet pride - Once a thriving community of 300,000, its numbers have dwindled to 2,500 but the king has taken measures to restore aspects of Jewish culture. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Algeria's embattled president says will step down before end of term - Bouteflika will resign before his mandate ends on April 28 after more than a month of mass protests and army pressure seeking an end to his 20-year rule. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Erdogan on track to lose Turkey's biggest cities in shock poll upset - In Istanbul, the county's largest city, the CHP mayoral candidate was more than 25,000 votes ahead of his AKP opponent as the last votes were being counted. (Agencies, Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • REVEALED U.S. hackers helped UAE spy on Al Jazeera chairman, BBC host - The American operatives worked for Project Raven, a secret Emirati intelligence program that spied on dissidents, militants and political opponents of the UAE monarchy. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Features:
Before the Mossad, Israel Had the 'Arab Section'
'Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel' by Matti Friedman reveals the little-known history of pre-state Israel’s first spies – Jews who immigrated from Arab countries but were strangers in both worlds. (Steven Silber, Haaretz+)
Druze not forgetting Nation-State Law
We visited Druze town of Usfiyeh to hear how law is affecting how residents plan to vote; many disappointed by Kulanu's support for law; say they are furious with Likud, but few voted for the party previously. (Assaf Kamar, Yedioth/Ynet)
Bedouin Women Capture Their Village's Final Moments Before It's Demolished by Israel
‘My biggest fear is what will be forgotten,’ says one of the women whose photos appear in a new book about Umm al-Hiran – the village that's being demolished so that a Jewish town can be built on its land. (Vered Lee, Haaretz+)
 
Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
Fake Accounts Prove Once Again That Netanyahu Can Turn Filth Into Gold (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) Reports that the prime minister is using fake social media accounts haven't swayed voters. With or without them, polls show he is getting closer to a fifth term as prime minister.
The extremist coalition that Netanyahu is likely to form will have implications on all aspects of life (Dr. Revital Amiran, Maariv) The weakening of the rule of law in the name of the need to escape from the threat of justice is only the appetizer of what the right-wing dream coalition will prepare: the full realization of the Messianic vision.
Netanyahu's victory strategy: Burn down the house, and the outhouse will be yours to rule (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) He doesn't even try to hide it anymore. And his people hate him. But they'll vote for him.
Gaslighting takes center stage in current elections campaign
(Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) Netanyahu's supporters don't believe his involvement in the submarine affair despite overwhelming evidence, but they blindly fall for unconfirmed, far-fetched claims about an alleged sex-tape on Benny Gantz's hacked phone; this is the definition of agnotology - intentional seeding of ignorance.
Joints on the Temple Mount (Haaretz Editorial) Whoever yields to Feiglin's ridiculous dreams of liberty and cannabis for all will pay dearly when he is enslaved by an apartheid, halakha state whose capital is the Third Temple
Israeli Arabs who refuse to vote are handing Netanyahu victory on a silver platter (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) There are numerous reasons for their decreasing turnout but Israel’s largest minority is nonetheless cutting off its nose to spite its face.
Israel's Arab Voters Must Say: Good Night, Blue and White (Salman Masalha, Haaretz+) The inciter-in-chief in the Prime Minister’s Office has already found another catchy vehicle of incitement – “Bibi or Tibi,” referring to Arab MK Ahmad Tibi. But what is Benny Gantz, who claims to be the alternative to Netanyahu, doing? Instead of embracing President Reuven Rivlin’s statement that “There are no first-class and second-class voters,” he repeatedly promises that he won’t forge a blocking majority together with the Arab parties, and that the ruling Likud party “will be a full partner in any government.” What this means is very simple: Arab voters are out of the game of Israeli politics, even in the eyes of those who want to replace the current government.
In Israel's election, no-one's talking about the rabbis. But they should (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) In the nastiest, emptiest Israeli election I've ever witnessed, there was nearly a meaningful debate about one substantial issue. Then the moment passed.
Phone Hacking? Fake Twitter Accounts? You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Campaigners and cybersecurity experts are less worried about hacking or fake Twitter accounts than they are about the Election Day text messages. 
Blue and White wants to win with lies (Ariel Kahana, Israel Hayom) Moshe Ya'alon accused Israel Hayom of "being Netanyahu's paper" only days after using the paper to attack Netanyahu. Such accusations suggest Ya'alon himself could be lying about the submarine affair.
Under a Decade of Netanyahu Rule the Israeli Economy Has Gone Backwards (Meirav Arlosoroff, Haaretz+) An annual report by the Bank of Israel gives the former finance minister an F on the economy, pointing to loss of growth engines.
Sick of dogmatic, Trump-loving pro-Israel partisans? You should join AIPAC (Shalom Lipner, Haaretz+) There's a war going on inside America's pro-Israel camp, as doctrinaire Jewish right-wingers slam anyone who rejects their doubling down on Trump and Netanyahu. Doggedly bipartisan AIPAC has never seemed more moderate

Commentary/Analysis:
Netanyahu's Gaza problem (Shimon Shiffer, Yedioth/Ynet) No one should envy the prime minister, who has a week until the elections to find the right answer to the challenges set by Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, after four years of achieving nothing to improve lives on either side of the fence.
When Justice Isn’t Blind, but Blinding (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) Attorney Adi Lustigman stood as if blindfolded and handcuffed in Courtroom 301 at Jerusalem District Court on Sunday, explaining why Jerusalem Palestinian news photographer Mustafa al-Kharouf should be released from a detention facility for people about to be expelled from the country. Al-Kharouf has been held in that prison without trial for the past 70 days. As in cases of administrative detention, Lustigman had to defend her client without the benefit of seeing the alleged evidence against him. As in cases of administrative detention, Israel is punishing her client by cutting him off for an unlimited duration from his family. In al-Kharouf’s case, it is to be followed by expulsion from the country and from his city, Jerusalem, where he has lived since he was 12. It was the notorious foot-dragging of the Interior Ministry that deprived al-Kharouf from receiving resident status in Israel when he arrived in the country with his father, a native of Jerusalem.
Quiet will be answered with silence: Regarding agreements with Hamas, Netanyahu remains silent (Yossi Melman, Maariv) For the past year, residents of the Gaza perimeter have been living from weekend to weekend, from demonstration to demonstration, and have to rely on Hamas leader Sinwar to know what is in store for them. The prime minister does not even convene the cabinet any more.
Israel must forever be wed to the West Bank (Yigal Dilmoni, Ynet) The Gaza disengagement showed us the reality of Palestinian statehood - terror tunnels and rockets - so why would anyone believe the left-wing claim that handing over more land will lead to a utopian peace?
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's visit to Israel was an embarrassing event (Dr. Sebastian Clore, Maariv) Israel's diplomatic policy does not distinguish between good and evil and does [not] hesitate to connect with dark figures. Bolsonaro compared homosexuality to pedophilia and said that if his son was gay he would rather die.
The triumph of Begin's legacy (Gideon Sa'ar, Israel Hayom) Israel must shape its future with the understanding that the struggle for peace and security is far from over. We'll keep that in mind when we head to the polls next week.
Saudi Arabia Is No Ally for Israel (Zachary Shapiro, Haaretz+) Mohammed bin Salman is a far greater strategic liability for Israel than its disastrous romance with another reckless, ruthless and treacherous strongman: Idi Amin.
Settlements are a bridge to socio-economic peace (Yochai Dimri, Israel Hayom) Once Israel learns to view settlements in Judea and Samaria as an asset and not a liability, it will discover that they are not an obstacle to peace, but rather a bridge to economic and social peace.
Erdogan Made the Local Elections All About Himself. It Backfired (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) His party may have won, but the Turkish president took two very personal hits.

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