News Nosh 4.4.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday April 4, 2019

Quote of the day:
"In a true democracy, a man pursued by the law does not impose elections on 9 million people as a means to avoid a trial. In a normal democracy, we don’t hold an election over corruption. You are tried for corruption, not elected...When nothing is on the agenda in the election except for Netanyahu’s future, it is clear that what came before Tuesday will be what comes after it. But it will be even more flawed, more extreme, crazier. This is not a 'crucial' election, it is only crucial for Netanyahu."
--Yossi Klein writes in Haaretz Op-Ed today.*

You Must Be Kidding: 
Hundreds of Israeli settlers raid Palestinian village with the protection of Israeli forces who prevented Palestinians from going in or out while the settlers toured the streets, did juggling and performed religious rituals at graves they believe belong to ancient Jews.**

Front Page:
  • Body of Zacharia Baumel, MIA from Battle of Sultan Yaakub, was found and returned to Israel after 37 years
  • Careful optimism // Amos Harel
  • 37-year-old wound reopens // Ofer Aderet
  • Haaretz poll: Likud increasing gap over Kahol-Lavan, right-wing bloc gets 67 mandates
  • High Court and security were neglected: Hayamin Hahadash party point their fire at Feiglin
  • “5 mandates is a catastrophe’: In Arab parties they are trying to get voters to vote
  • Police Unit Investigating Police refuses to publish a number of open investigations and a number of indictments it filed in 2018
  • NATO marks 70 years and prepares for the end of the era its military superiority
  • Israeli spaceship ‘Genesis’ will try to ‘catch the moon’ today
  • The economy enigma // Meirav Arlosoroff on Netanyahu
  • Racist remark that she got at the beginning of her path pushed Michal Mameet Warka to her first exhibition
  • Gantz’s company held contacts for the sale of a cyberattack program to the IDF and Bank Hapoalim
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • (MIA Zacharia Baumel) Returns home
  • Moral duty // Tal Lev-Ram
  • No free lunches // Yossi Melman
  • Final stretch: Top party members meet on one stage - Maariv-Jerusalem Post conference
Israel Hayom

Top News Summary:
The return of the corpse of American-born Israeli soldier, Zachary Baumel, who was missing in action for 37 years,  grabbed the headlines of the Israeli newspapers - and according to Gantz the timing was political spin meant to bag the premiership for Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. As it turns out, Netanyahu's sudden visit to Moscow today was to thank the Russian President for helping achieve the locating and release of Baumel's corpse. "Operation Bittersweet Song" began two years ago by then Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman who had close Russian ties. It culminated with the return and identification of Baumel, but not the other two tank soldiers who went missing with him in the Battle of Sultan Yaakub in Lebanon. Colonel A., who led the operation, said he cried when they identified the remains. "We could immediately determine that the overalls belonged to the IDF’s Armored Corps. We looked at the writing on the back in Hebrew, which was amazingly preserved." According to reports in Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen news channel, Baumel’s remains were identified in the Yarmuq refugee camp near Damascus, following the withdrawal of ISIS from the area. The papers reported on the tragedy of Baumel's father, Yona, who died before the body was found and felt betrayed by the country.

What did not even make the print pages was the killing of a young Palestinian by a settler who gave conflicting versions of how he killed the Palestinian, who he said tried to stab him while he was in his car with the windows closed. The Israeli reporters took the settler's version as fact, although Palestinian witnesses said the settler shot the Palestinian while he was crossing the road. (Haaretz, Ynet and Maan) The Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemned the world's silence on the killing. "We are very surprised at the silence of the international community on such crimes and the indifference countries exhibit towards the life of the Palestinian citizen.”

Election Quickees:
  • Haaretz poll: Netanyahu's Likud widens margin over Gantz's party - The right-wing bloc is up to 67 seats in this new poll, with the center-left bloc at 53. (Haaretz+)
  • Facebooks blocks Israeli far-right politician ahead of elections - '100 dead terrorists, but not a single hair will fall from the heads of IDF soldiers,' says a campaign by far-right party Otzma Yehudit that got Itamar Ben-Gvir banned from social network for a week; would-be MK hits backs, says Facebook has 'extreme-leftist agenda.' (Ynet)
  • If Investors Have Their Choice Gantz Will Be Next Prime Minister - Poll of institutional investors shows wide support for Kahol Lavan, though most wouldn’t state their preference. (Haaretz+)
  • Pressed on graft, fake news, bots, Netanyahu says rivals, not him, guilty of all - In rare radio interview, PM says he wanted to occupy Gaza, hand it off to Arab country, but ‘no one volunteered to take it’; denies political timing to recovery of Baumel remains. (Times of Israel)
  • Meretz's Homestretch Plea to Tel Aviv Leftists: 'Vote From the Heart' - The desire to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has left-wing voters torn between ideology and the way the political game is played. (Haaretz)
  • WATCH: Local Rap Star Urges Arabs to Vote in Israeli Election 'Or End Up Outside the Homeland' - Tamer Nafar, who defines himself as a Palestinian citizen of Israel, releases new video urging Arab youth not to boycott the upcoming Israeli election. (Haaretz)
  • Woman who hurled tomato at Netanyahu during market visit claims she didn't target him - The suspect claims she was trying to throw the tomato at her aunt and didn't see Netanyahu among the crowds of Tel Aviv's Hatikva Market. (Haaretz+)
  • Gender Doesn't Matter in Israeli Elections, They Said. New Research Proves Different - New election questionnaire finds women tend to lean to the left in the voting ballots, but when it comes to diplomacy and security, they're more hawkish than men. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu's wife Sara sought dirt on PM rival Naftali Bennett and his wife - Letter obtained by Channel 12 News shows Netanyahu's wife tried to collect damaging information on Bennett and his 'left-wing, secular' wife ahead of the 2013 election. (Haaretz)
Quick Hits:
  • Report: Hamas, Islamic Jihad order end to Gaza border attacks - Haniyeh says 'no reason' why Hamas cannot discuss prisoner swap, likely involving fallen IDF soldiers, captive civilians; Hamas boss hints that Egypt-mediated talks with Israel progressing well.  (Ynet)
  • Hundreds of grapevines, trees vandalized in suspected West Bank hate crime - Spray-painted messages in Hebrew were found in Palestinian town of Deir Jarir. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli settlers raze Palestinian lands in Burin - Several bulldozers, owned by Israeli settlers from the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Yitzhar, razed and leveled lands planted with fruitful trees in Burin village Thursday morning. (Maan)
  • **Hundreds of Israeli settlers raid Nablus-area village - Israeli forces raided Awarta village predawn Thursday, and prevented Palestinians from going in or out, while settlers performed religious rituals in the three parts of the village. The religious Jews believe that Eliezer Ben-Aharon Hacohen, his son, the Biblical Pinchas, and other leaders of ancient Israel were buried there.**(Maan and video of settler doing juggling in the village streets and photos and articles on 103fm website and settler website with VIDEO and PHOTOS)
  • Pro-settler Group Bids to Convert Coexistence Peace Forest Into Commercial Site - With backing from local and national authorities, the pro-settler Elad group is advancing a host of commercial and other projects at a site originally created to be a pastoral meeting place for Arabs and Jews. (Haaretz+)
  • Poll: Most Israelis have positive view of Jewish-Arab relations - A ‘Local Call’ poll shows a broad range of areas where Jews and Arabs see the benefits of cooperation. But that doesn’t mean Jewish Israelis are ready to let Arabs hold positions of power, namely joining the government. The surprising bit: most Arabs would support their parties joining an Israeli government. (+972mag)
  • Israeli bulldozers raze lands in southern Gaza - Four large D-9 Israeli military bulldozers entered dozens of meters into Palestinian lands and leveled the lands while drones flew overhead Thursday. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces shoot, injure 3 Palestinians in Gaza - Israeli forces opened heavy fire towards three Palestinians, who allegedly attempted to cross the Israel-Gaza border fence, and injured them, the IDF said. Forces took the three to hospital, their medical condition remained unknown. (Maan)
  • Israeli navy fires mortar shells at Palestinian fishermen in Gaza - The fishing boats were targeted while working within two nautical miles of the permitted fishing zone. No injuries reported. (Maan)
  • 171 Swedish artists demand boycott of Eurovision in Israel
  •  - In the open letter, the Swedish signatories said that "Just a few days after the Israeli victory in the Eurovision Song Contest in May 2018, Israel's army killed 62 unarmed Palestinians who protested against their prison-like imprisonment in Gaza. Six of those murdered were children.” (Maan)
  • Israeli forces detain 7 Palestinian hikers in Jordan Valley - Israeli forces fired tear-gas bombs and stun grenades targeting Palestinians hiking on a trail near an illegal Israeli settlement. Israeli forces detained seven of the hikers including two women. (Maan)
  • Israel releases Palestinian after 16 years of imprisonment - Israeli authorities released Abed al-Hadi Jihad al-Hamshari Thursday. PPS also confirmed that Israel released ill Palestinian prisoner, Ashraf Abu al-Hada, 40, from Nablus district, who spent five years in Israeli detention. Another 15 ill Palestinian prisoners are also held at Ramle prison medical clinic. (Maan)
  • A Year After Debt Pact, Palestinian Electricity Bills to Israel Are Piling Up - Unpaid bills soared after Israel began withholding tax money due the PA. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Mellanox CEO Told Former Defense Minister Not to Bomb the Company's Building in Gaza - In interview for TheMarker Magazine, Eyal Waldman talks about working with Gazan engineers under bombardment: 'Why wouldn't we give these smart people a chance to work?' (Haaretz+)
  • Jordan Spurns U.S. Proposal to Mediate in Temple Mount Crisis With Israel - Americans can't function as go-between on matters concerning Jerusalem in the wake of embassy move, Jordanians say. (Haaretz+)
  • Brazilian opposition leader declares support for Palestine - Brazil’s opposition leader in the Senate, Randolfe Rodrigues, rejected the visit of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to Israel and said he does not represent the conscience of the Brazilian people, on Wednesday. (Maan)
  • Former generals call for national inquiry into submarine corruption - Former prime minister Ehud Barak, a former IDF chief of staff, two former major generals, a former national security adviser and a former diplomat said on a panel on Wednesday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was lying and that Case 3000, the Submarines Affair, “is likely the biggest corruption and mismanagement case in this country's history,” said former national security advisor Uzi Arad. (JPost, Maariv, Yedioth/Ynet Hebrew)
  • Report: Netanyahu May Have Profited From His Cousin's Illegal Sales to Libya - Seadrift Coke, a company in which Netanyahu held shares, provided materials to a company that sold electrodes to Gadhafi's Libya in violation of U.S. nuclear regulations. (Haaretz and Maariv)
  • Haredi Teen Who Threatened to Kill Leader of Conservative Movement in Israel to Be Prosecuted - Teen's death threats were issued during a Women of the Wall prayer service held at Jerusalem’s Western Wall and also targeted members of the movement. (Haaretz+)
  • Seven Jewish immigrants to Israel awarded prize for major contributions - The Sylvan Adams Bonei Zion award recognizes outstanding English-speaking olim who contributed to Israel in a meaningful way. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Israeli Spacecraft Maneuvering to Leave Earth’s Orbit and ‘Capture the Moon’ - If the maneuver succeeds, Genesis will make space history and become the first privately-built spacecraft to complete the challenging mission of landing on the moon in exactly a week’s time. (Haaretz+)
  • Employee at top-secret Israeli army unit arrested - The reasons for the arrest are still unknown; police searching for the suspect's cellphone. (Haaretz)
  • Olmert Becomes Second Ex-prime Minister to Join Medical Marijuana Company - Univo discounts Olmert’s criminal conviction and points to his ‘rich experience’ in healthcare. (Haaretz+)
  • Venezuelan FM to meet Hezbollah official while on tour of anti-U.S. allies in Mideast - Jorge Arreaza is expected to meet with an official from the Hezbollah militant group before traveling onward to Syria. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Oil market conditions allowing countries to forgo Iran sanctions waivers, U.S. official says - 'There are better market conditions for us to accelerate our path to zero,' said special U.S. envoy for Iran Brian Hook. 'We are not looking to grant any waivers or exceptions to our sanctions regime’. (Agencies, Haaretz)

Record of alive and kicking
Give him respect: At the age of 74, Yitzhak Hayak, goalkeeper of Ironi Or Yehuda from League C is expected to break the Guinness World Record on his birthday tomorrow and to officially become the oldest footballer in the world. An official judge from Guinness International will arrive from London tomorrow. The official title will be awarded to Hayak official if he stands at the goal for ninety minutes. Born in Iraq, Hayak immigrated to Israel at the age of five, and from childhood he dreamed of standing at the goal. In the 1960’s he was the goalkeeper of Hapoel Or Yehuda and later served as the substitute goalkeeper for Hakoach Ramat Gan, which won the 1970-69 State Cup. "It was a moment that every player dreams of," he says. "I play today with the grandchildren of those I played with in my youth and it’s fun. My love for the grass and soccer is enormous.” (Yedioth Hebrew)
In ‘Occupied Scarsdale,’ There's Only One Question: Is Far-right Right Enough?
A political spat in the religious Zionist movement has placed many Orthodox voters in a bind — and nowhere is this more evident than Efrat, where nearly half of the settlers hail from English-speaking countries but few can say the words ‘I’m voting for a left-wing party.’ (Judy Maltz, Haaretz+)

Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
*Annexation Will Free Israel From the Fake Commitment to Liberty and Equality (Yossi Klein, Haaretz+) The election on Tuesday is a “let’s pretend” performance of democracy. Our participation is just a bit of one-off background scenery lacking any influence. In a true democracy, a man pursued by the law does not impose elections on 9 million people as a means to avoid a trial. In a normal democracy, we don’t hold an election over corruption. You are tried for corruption, not elected. We hold elections over education, religion, economics and a 71-year-old war. The fate and future of our children, not that of Benjamin Netanyahu, will be determined by this war. We have been sweeping this war under the carpet, even though it is what gave birth to the aggression and corruption that have brought us to where we are today. But we are not talking about this war and not dealing with it. There is nothing to talk about. No one to talk to and nothing to talk about. When nothing is on the agenda in the election except for Netanyahu’s future, it is clear that what came before Tuesday will be what comes after it. But it will be even more flawed, more extreme, crazier. This is not a “crucial” election, it is only crucial for Netanyahu. The choice between one nationalist right and a different nationalist right is critical only for the right. The destruction of the legal system is more fateful, the internal rift is more painful, but we are in denial, insisting stubbornly on business as usual, driving a car without brakes – but making sure to signal on the curves.
Netanyahu is not interested in war or peace, but rather in continuing the conflict on a small scale (Ran Edelist, Maariv) Mainitaining the security tension gives birth to the twins, "fear" and "hatred,” which help the continuation of the occupation and the continued rule of the prime minister.
Imagining a World Without Netanyahu (Uri Misgav, Haaretz+) Imagine a world without a divine king, one who’s above the law and the rules and takes instructions only from Sheldon Adelson and Nathan Milikowsky. Many of us aren’t even capable of imagining the State of Israel surviving without him. What will we do, they wonder, how shall we continue to live here among all the Arabs who only want to kill us? Who would speak to Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, who would persuade the president of Brazil to open a business office in Jerusalem and the president of Guatemala to move the embassy here? They aren’t stupid or bad, they’re simply weakened. Imprisoned in an Erdogan-like, North Korea-like reality. A system of propaganda and brainwashing has turned them into prisoners of war.

In the present situation, only a protest vote for the sane will be wise (Lilach Sigan, Maariv) A protest vote comes to the table in light of the candidates' conduct. Because most protests do not see the ballot box, the defiance should be calculated in order to let them know that it happened.
Netanyahu and His Alternative Reality Must Go (Zehava Galon, Haaretz+) In his attempt to bat away the investigative report into his digital-libel army this week, the prime minister tried to summon up the spirit of the late Menachem Begin. “They called us chach-chachim, rabble, baboons, kissers of amulets and mezuzot, and now they’re calling us bots,” he said at a press conference. In Israel Hayom, three opinion pieces were entitled “I’m a bot” – full disclosure that would have been better provided earlier. But Netanyahu is not Begin, and the investigation into his network of fakes is not a racist slip of the tongue, but a deep and dark description of a party’s defamation mechanism that has been working for years to create an alternative reality for his voters. Although Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing, it’s hard to believe anyone is surprised by this.
The man of virtue fought the poisonous silence of the elections (Tzur Sheizaf, Ynet Hebrew) The disgusting Internet chaos called the “2019 election campaign" is intended to conceal the damage caused by the right-wing government over the past decade.
The Israeli Left is scared of democracy (Doron Nehemia, Israel Hayom) Like any good Bolshevik, it doesn’t want to hear what the public has to say, it wants to tell the public what to do.
Who's in Favor of Corruption (Haaretz Editorial) If the distorted ethical code that Netanyahu has formulated through his actions while in power were followed in the entire public sector, every ethical standard would be destroyed. If the prime minister is allowed to receive “gifts,” “discounts,” envelopes filled with cash and flattering pictures of his wife, why should other politicians, judges and police officers, army officers, rabbis and doctors, executives and teachers not cash in too? Many of them have friends and cousins who want to pamper them, finance them and help them out – and here or there receive a quick appointment, license or other benefit from the authorities. If the prime minister is allowed, then they too want their share of the goldmine and the government will become a mechanism for distributing bribes and protection money.
A chance to change the political status quo (Yedidia Stern, Yedioth/Ynet) Over-representation of religious sector in the next Knesset could be a national blessing if the religious-Zionists could form a unified block to counter the ultra-Orthodox on the matters of religion and state.
Israel's Last Election Before It Becomes an Illiberal Democracy (Steven Klein, Haaretz+) Preserving Israel’s democratic institutions, independent judiciary and free press must take precedence above all else. Including peace with the Palestinians.
The greatest political fraud in Israel's history (Anat Shalev and Liat Schlesinger, Ynet Hebrew) Feiglin presents himself as the knight of freedom for everyone. That is to say, apart from LGBTs, and single mothers, and the peace camp, and non-Jews, and those in need, and the sick. Some knight.
The Timing Is No Coincidence: The World Mobilizes for Netanyahu's Campaign (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) The recent chain of breakthroughs is no coincidence. Netanyahu is a master at enlisting the heads of great powers and 'third-party countries' to help him in his election campaign.
The reason for the low voter turnout in the Arab sector (Ahmed Iyad, Ynet Hebrew) Almost no one in these elections raised the social welfare flag. And when half the families in the Arab sector are below the poverty line, they have no reason to go to the polls.
Can the submarine scandal still sink Netanyahu’s promising electoral prospects? (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) With six days to go, Netanyahu is trying to distance himself from new revelations and accusations that could sway undecided voters against him.
Waiting for Netanyahu's doomsday weapon (Dr. Baruch Leshem, Ynet Hebrew - WRITTEN BEFORE THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE RETURN OF REMAINS OF ZACHARY BAUMEL) In each of the elections in which Netanyahu was victorious, Netanyahu knew how to pull out the card that played for voters on patriotism or fear. What was he planning this time?
Netanyahu Deserves to Win. And We Israelis Deserve Him (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Outside Israel, there's disbelief at Netanyahu's success when he’s so corrupt, divisive, racist, rejectionist and autocratic. But he's delivered, on his own terms, and Israeli voters have serially failed to demand better.
Netanyahu’s Feat of Retrieving Missing Soldier's Remains May Win Him the Election (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Russia may have its own interest in Syria, but the Netanyahu-Putin link may have helped Israel return the remains of Zachary Baumel, who went missing in the First Lebanon War, after 37 years.
The Rabid Right Can Smell Victory, but Reality Will Lead Netanyahu to Gantz (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) New Haaretz poll shows Netanyahu poised for Faustian bargain of selling out his country in exchange for his own freedom - but Donald Trump could stand in his way.
Dr. Economy and Mr. Nationalist: Three reasons not to vote for Bibi (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) The prime minister really is Mr. Economy, in the short run. But over time, his policies will doom Israel to backwardness and poverty.

Secret Burial Place, Intel Feat, and a 3rd Country: Behind the Retrieval of the Israeli Soldier's Body (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Achievement is also a testimony to the extraordinary commitment Israeli society shows toward its fighters and fallen soldiers in an era of eroding solidarity.
When children escape from Gaza prison to get to jail (Ron Zeidel, Ynet Hebrew) Behind the two children who were caught after crossing the Gaza Strip fence is not only the story of the Israeli siege, but also the (country’s) impossible demands of IDF soldiers.
Israel Goes Easy on Hamas, Harder on Abbas (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) Promise to ease restrictions on Gaza means Israel has to forego its strategic aspiration to cut the Strip off from the rest of the country.
Netanyahu Could Have Prevented the Submarine Affair by Collecting Germany's $19b Holocaust Debt (Aharon Mor, Haaretz+) Israel once received submarines as ‘gifts’ from Germany. Netanyahu chose not to go that route.
Erdogan’s Next Front: The White House (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The rift between Turkey and America could reach the point of no return with the U.S. threatening sanctions after Turkey's refusal to void Russia deal.
WATCH: Lawmaker Ahmad Tibi: Netanyahu Killed the Two-state Solution, We're Moving Toward One State
The co-leader of the Arab-majority Hadash-Ta'al slate talks to Haaretz about the Arab vote in the election, where he sees the Israeli-Palestinian conflict heading and Trump's peace plan. (Interviewed by Jack Khoury on Haaretz+)

I am a political text
In his status, the Jewish-American author Michael Chabon no longer cares what people think of him. The Pulitzer winner, considered one of the most important writers of his generation, opens his mouth without thinking about Trump - and does not make any concessions to Netanyahu. On the occasion of the publication of his book "Or Yerach" (Moonlight) in Hebrew, he explains why our election campaign made him realize that the Israelis are actually "the biggest suckers.” (Interviewed by Tzipi Shmilovich in Yedioth Hebrew)

Israeli Mellanox CEO Told Former Defense Minister Not to Bomb the Company's Building in Gaza
In interview for TheMarker Magazine, Eyal Waldman talks about working with Gazan engineers under bombardment: "Why wouldn't we give these smart people a chance to work?"..."During the Jewish New Year, Gazan employees fixed a bug our customer had in Microsoft, while we in Israel were on vacation. I encourage a lot of Israeli companies to work this way. It's more complicated in Gaza but I'd be glad to help any company that would want to do it. There's a saying by Yoda – fear leads to suffering. We're afraid of them and they're afraid of us, once you move past that, things work." Waldman, said he once told a former defense minister not to bomb his company's building in Gaza City during an Israeli army campaign in the Strip. Waldman revealed the exchange during an interview with TheMarker Magazine editor-in-chief, Eitan Avriel. (Haaretz+)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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