News Nosh 4.16.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday April 16, 2019
You Must Be Kidding: 
"Why would an American Jew would be interested in relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel?"
--The question a Ben-Gurion Airport security officer asked Laura Mandel, a US board member of The Abraham Initiatives, a Jewish-Arab Israeli organization whose purpose is to advance coexistence, equality and cooperation between Israel's Jewish and Arab citizens.**

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • History in flames - Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on fire
  • The dame is burning // Nadav Eyal
  • Real heart, straight from the printer
  • Agreement between the Israel Prison Services and the (Palestinian) security prisoners
  • Good deal // Yossi Yehoshua
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • History in flames
  • The past of all of us is up in flames // Boaz Bismuth
  • Netanyahu’s goal: Coalition with delays
  • In the heart of progress - World breakthrough: Israeli researchers printed a heart from a 3-D printer
  • Senior employee at HQ for nuclear research in Dimona suspected of corruption crimes
  • Gal Gadot will appear at the Eurovision final
  • After 40 years: CEO of Bank Hapoalim, Arik Pinto, will resign from his position

Top News Summary:
Today’s top stories were the burning in Paris of the Notre Dame, the printing in Israel of the world’s first 3-D heart and Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman’s condition for joining the coalition government that ultra-Orthodox be drafted to the military. 

Also making headlines was the remarkable agreement that the Israel Prison Services (IPS) and Hamas security prisoners reached, as a result of which the prisoners ended their hunger strike. But the papers failed to note the historic significance of the agreement: that Israel has finally agreed to install public phones in the wards of the Palestinian security prisoners.  [NOTE: I can attest that since at least as far back as the Second Intifada in 2004, cellular phones have been smuggled into the security wards of Israeli prisons so that Palestinian security prisoners could use them to be in contact with their families, as Israel never allowed the security wards to have public phones. Israel largely turned a blind eye to the phones, occasionally doing sweeps, sparking violence. A fellow journalist, Palestinian, was detained in the sweep of detentions by the Israeli army during Operation Defensive Shield. I followed his court case and we spoke twice over a cellular phone that he borrowed from someone in his tent camp at Ketziot prison. Over the years, Palestinian security prisoners asked Israel repeatedly to install public phones, which could be wired to assure that they were not used for violence and only used for contact with relatives. But Israel refused. An Israeli MK Basel Ghattas is sitting in prison for two years for smuggling phones in to prisoners. He was denied parole in November because he did not express ‘adequate’ remorse for his act. Oddly, he himself was classified as a security prisoner for bringing the phones in to security prisoners. - OH] The agreement yesterday was the backfiring of hardline Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan's recent efforts to make conditions harder for Palestinian security prisoners, something the army and the Shin Bet opposed. The last few months saw high tension and violence between and security guards following Erdan's decision in January to make their lives worse. The climax was in March, when Erdan brought in cellphone jamming devices. This provoked riots, tents were set on fire, and one prisoner stabbed a prison guard during a violent riot that Palestinians say was provoked by the prison guards. Negotiations between the IPS and the Hamas prisoner leadership was failing and the situation was getting worse. Hamas prisoners said they would go on hunger strike. Yedioth’s Yossi Yehoshua reported that some security sources said they believed that the IPS top brass actually wanted to incite the situation to bring about an escalation and some reports said that Erdan's actions were to gain him street credit ahead of elections. According to Yehoshua, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Shin Bet to take over the negotiations with the prisoners over the IPS jamming of illicit cellphones.  Oddly, the Shin Bet took credit for the idea of installing public phones - although the Palestinians had long asked for this. Yedioth commentator Yossi Yehoshua wrote that "the Shin Bet people raised the idea of installing permanent phones in the jail to allow the prisoners calls in exchange for the Israeli demand to continue to jam cellphones. Maariv reported that senior IPS people were unhappy with the agreement. According to them, the agreement shows that the IPS does not solve the problems that take place in prisons, but rather the Shin Bet does. In addition, said the source, the agreement proves to the prisoners that only by force can they achieve things. "An officer is stabbed, a wing is burned, and in exchange they receive calls," the source said. “The next problem will be with Fatah. This is a Hamas achievement, which puts Fatah in a catch." Israel rejected the Hamas prisoners' demands that they and Islamic Jihad prisoners be given back the Red Cross organized family visits from Gaza and that sanctions against them be lifted. Today Ynet Hebrew reported that hunger strike ended after a week and that most of the 100 Hamas prisoners did not fully strike. Oddly, Israeli media reported last week that the hunger strike was cancelled before it begun.
Quick Hits:
  • Arab-Israeli woman who was attacked (by Jews) was recognized as a terror victim - Ragda Othman, 29, from Abu Ghosh was violently attacked last summer by Jewish girls at Zion Square in Jerusalem only because she spoke with her friend in Arabic. The girls also used a taser on her. Following a request she submitted through Attorney Itay Mack - she was recognized as a victim of hostilities: "I was happy about the decision, I always believed that Israel was a state of law."  (Yedioth/Ynet Hebrew)
  • Palestinian students suffocate as Israeli forces attack Hebron schools - Israeli forces repeatedly fired tear-gas bombs towards Palestinian students on their way to the school, causing dozens of students and teachers to suffer from severe tear-gas inhalation and be taken to hospital for treatment. (Maan)
  • **U.S. Member in Jewish-Arab Israeli NGO Questioned, Separated From Luggage at Israel's Airport - Laura Mandel of the 'Abraham Initiatives' ays Ben-Gurion Airport security inspectors questioned her for 1.5 hours about her involvement with the organization, which works to advance the rights of Israel's Arab citizens. (Haaretz+, Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Cousin of Ahed Tamimi Arrested, Held for Two Days Without Explanation - 16-year-old Mohammed Tamimi, who suffered a head injury [was shot by soldiers 1.5 years ago - OH], was detained by Israeli forces without being questioned. (Haaretz)
  • Israeli forces seal off southern Hebron road - The road the forces closed had been built to facilitate movement of Palestinians in southern Hebron. (Maan)
  • Palestinian PM calls on Arab countries to shore up financial aid to PA, says will strengthen its stance in E. Jerusalem - After the newly formed 18th Palestinian government was sworn in, Prime Minister Muhammad Ishtayeh also accused Israel of “destroyiמע every possibility for peace.” (Maan and Maariv)
  • Israeli authorities are severely violent toward asylum seekers, NGO report warns - Migrants testify to verbal and physical abuse and denial of rights by Population Authority staff, according to new report by Hotline for Refugees and Migrants. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Arab MK calls on attorney general to confiscate Likud cameras placed in Arab polling stations - Aida Touma-Sliman urges Avichai Mendelblit to follow directive issued by the chair of Israel's Central Election Committee, probe Netanyahu. (Haaretz+)
  • Nuclear Reactor Employee Suspected of Criminal Corruption - It is still unknown what position the suspect holds within the Negev Nuclear Research Center, or the severity of his suspected crimes. (Haaretz)
  • Wonder Woman leading lady Gal Gadot to appear at Eurovision final in Tel Aviv - Final round of tickets for the song contest, which will be held in Israel next month, is expected to go on sale Tuesday night. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • 3D laser imaging shines new light on 'Last Supper' site - Archeologists recreated site believed to be where Jesus held Last Supper, on Passover ahead of crucifixion, using laser scanners, advanced photography; also traditionally recognized as King David's tomb. (Ynet)
  • Merkel stresses need for two-state solution to Netanyahu following annexation pledge - German chancellor calls the prime minister to congratulate him on reelection, expressing willingness to work closely with the new government. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Ocasio-Cortez: Cutting U.S. military, economic aid to Israel is 'on the table' - U.S. congresswoman says reelection of 'Trump-like' Netanyahu is part of 'ascent of authoritarianism across the world,' notes that reducing aid to Israel as a way of signaling opposition to its policies 'can be discussed.’ (Haaretz)
  • Pete Buttigieg brings pro-Israel, 'religious left' message to 2020 Democratic primary - Mayor Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana has a growing fan base and is running a surprisingly strong and well-funded campaign for president. (Haaretz)
  • UN Envoy: Yemen Parties Agree on Initial Hodeida Withdrawals - Progress comes after concerted international pressure widely seen as crucial first step toward more difficult negotiations to end the conflict between Yemen's government and Houthi rebels. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Turkish Unemployment Rate Is at Its Highest in Nearly a Decade - As the effects of last year’s Lira crisis continue to weigh on workers, the number of unemployed people reaches 4.67 million in three months and is expected to keep rising. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Millions of school books destroyed during fighting in Tripoli - The UN humanitarian agency OCHA said targeting civilian facilities was a violation of international humanitarian law. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Saudi Arabia funds another regional conflict: Libya - Saudi Arabia is reportedly funding Khalifa Haftar's push to take Libya's capital of Tripoli. (Haaretz)

Growing up under threat of rockets, teens speak out as they prepare for military service
From infancy, and for the past 18 years, life, was a cycle of rocket attacks and out-right war; as they head into adulthood, teens are sure calm will continue to elude the area. (Matan Tzuri, Yedioth/Ynet)

An Apology to Elor Azaria (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) Elor Azaria is entitled to protest repeatedly that the army discriminated against him, and army officers are entitled to answer him as follows: Next time you execute an Arab, make sure there are no cameras filming you. Next time, act like that anonymous Israeli policeman who shot and killed a young paramedic, Sajed Mizher, at 6:30 A.M. on March 27, while he was on his way to treat a man with a gunshot wound on the main road of the Deheisha refugee camp. Study the difference, Azaria, the army will tell him. And then it will twist the knife it stuck in his back: Every week we kill a few Arabs, make sure there are no photographs and then report that they were terrorists. Our version of events is holy. Two or three troublesome journalists ask questions, and we provide answers, but they don’t get to the point. The articles are published and our hero sons are protected by their sacred anonymity.
Gaza Leader Says 'Finger on the Trigger,' but Hamas and Israel Are Nearing Agreement (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Yahya Sinwar's talks with other Palestinian factions indicate that the sides are preparing for a long-term cease-fire after the turmoil of Israel's election.
Escape of the elites (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) The Gaza strip is facing a future without its strongest members. Under Hamas, life is just too hard. 40% of youth say they would like to leave many of them never to return.
What will Trump do first: Make Mideast peace or strike Iran? (Daniel B. Shapiro, Haaretz+) Fresh off the president's help securing re-election, Trump and Netanyahu appear more closely aligned than ever. But both that alliance, and relations with their Arab allies, is about to face a series of severe reality tests.
Foreign Affairs no more; How Netanyahu stripped the Foreign ministry of its role in the world (Meirav Batito, Yedioth/Ynet) Israel's standing in the world suffering from lack of budget, closed down missions and a general dismissal by the Diplomat-supreme, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Passover 2019: The 10 Plagues of Pharaoh Netanyahu and a Word About His Worst Enemy - Hope (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) And behold, plagues were abroad in the land, and the people suffered grievously. And these were the plagues of the land of the Pharaoh whose name was Netanyahu.
US designation of Iranian Revolutionary Guards as terror group risks escalation (James Dorsey, Israel Hayom) The Iranian revolt, however, toppled not only an icon of U.S. power in the Middle East and a monarch, but also created an alternative form of Islamic governance that included a degree of popular sovereignty.
Why Hamas is mourning the downfall of Sudan’s dictator (Muhammad Shehada, Haaretz+) Omar al-Bashir’s ousting is good news for Sudan, but very bad news for Hamas. For years, its leaders have mentored, aided and helped arm Hamas. Could Israel end up being the big winner of Sudan's uprising?
Jordan and the Palestinian Authority now at odds over Jerusalem (Pinhas Inbari, Israel Hayom) Just when it seemed Jordan and the PA had created a united front against Saudi Arabia on the Temple Mount issue, they began to clash over who would actually lead the new Waqf administration.
Israel's AG Must Order an Inquiry Into Likud Cameras Placed in Arab Polling Stations (Haaretz Editorial) The significance of cameras being brought into polling stations is that the situation has moved beyond inflammatory words to dangerous and possibly illegal action. The ruling party can’t operate a policing system against minorities in Israel on its own say-so. This is a moment of truth for all of the country’s mechanisms of justice, which must at least examine these complaints.
Arab Israelis want change (Yoseph Haddad, Israel Hayom) In the next election, every party should consider the great potential in the Arab public, where voters are searching for a new political home, yearn for hope and aspire to a new political reality where they can feel like an inseparable part of Israeli society.
To Fight Rising Facism, Israel Needs a Third Political Camp – Now (Odeh Bisharat, Haaretz+) A real alternative to replace Netanyahu’s rule has arisen: Kahol Lavan. The main question now is how to influence it and also how to build an alternative to it
13 Lessons From Netanyahu’s Victory for Democrats Hoping to Beat Trump in 2020 (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Israel and the U.S. may be oceans apart, but both are led by wily nationalists-populists who stop at nothing.
A victory for the Netanyahu paradigm (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) Israeli voters have embraced Netanyahu's view that the territorial concessions and a peace process are not the key to making Israel stronger. Gantz's loss proves that the Left cannot successfully obscure its views.
Despite Losing the Israeli Election, Lapid Has Advanced Himself in the Future Race to Lead the Country (Aluf Benn, Haaretz+) It’s true that his campaign failed, and his ambitious effort to challenge Netanyahu was scuttled by the prime minister. But the failure is being attributed to Gantz. Lapid stood out as an experienced politician among the army generals of Kahol Lavan’s leadership, and his promise “to embitter Netanyahu’s life from the opposition” shows that he was quickly able to shift direction.
The well-financed war on Birthright Israel (Becca Wertman, Israel Hayom) The intensity of the attacks against this proven program suggests that these groups actually lack a market for their politically charged campaign or support for their own trips.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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