News Nosh 5.13.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday May 13, 2019

 
Quote of the day:
"There is nothing more revolting: Jews preaching to Germans on why they should close their doors and throw out the migrants."
—Commentator Nitzan Horowitz writes in an Op-Ed during a visit to Berlin.

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Prime Minister and the Attorney General: The battle over the investigation materials
  • Netanyahu against time // Nahum Barnea on the power games
  • Tension in the (Persian) Gulf
  • The Iranian trap // Alex Fishman on the American motive
  • How will Trump react // Shimrit Meir on the Iranian motive
  • Europe is here - Eurovision Tel-Aviv 2019
  • The guests’ rage // Ben-Dror Yemini on the Eurovision tourists
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • “The deliveryman is guilty” - Prime Minister’s attorneys claim that Attorney General’s deliveryman chose not to leave the investigation materials at the office because they weren’t there; State Attorney’s Office responded sharply saying Netanyahu’s attorney ordered secretary not to receive the material before the hearing
  • On the shoulders of the Attorney General // Ben Caspit
  • “(Former IDF chief of staff) Eisenkot warned the White House of an escalation in the West Bank ahead of the publishing of the Deal of the Century”
  • Breathing the world - Eurovision Week is here and Tel-Aviv is preparing with a royal suite for Madonna and numerous attractions, events and discounts
  • Rare decision: Palestinian Authority will compensate the family of a murdered man
Israel Hayom
  • Expose - In the heart of the negotiations: 16 steps to change the judicial system
  • Exceptional criticism of (State Attorney) Nitzan: “State Attorney prevented the investigation against Danino”
  • Messing withdraws (from appointment as IDF Spokesman): Yellow card for (Chief of Staff) Kochavi // Yoav Limor
  • Europe is here - Eurovision Week kicks off
  • A year after the flood disaster at Nachal Tzfit: Bnei Tzion Pre-Military Academy is likely to close permanently
  • Two days after the horror: Suspect arrested in poisoning of vultures in Golan Heights

News Summary:
Even higher tension between US and Iran after the UAE said that four commercial vessels were targeted by ‘sabotage operations' near Iran, funny business by Israeli Prime Minister’s lawyers who refused to accept evidence material from Attorney General and blamed the delivery man, and Eurovision Week kicks off in Tel-Aviv making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

The Hebrew newspapers didn’t believe for a minute the claim by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's lawyer that the courier didn’t leave at the attorney’s office the investigation materials for the three cases Netanyahu that is a suspect. Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit is considering what to do. May 10 was the final date set by Mendelblit to schedule the pre-indictment hearing, but Netanyahu’s legal team failed to do that. Meanwhile, Haaretz+ reported that Netanyahu is pushing for a law that will allow the Knesset and government ministers to ignore rulings of the High Court of Justice - such as a potential revocation of his immunity.

While Israel is doing its best this week to avoid any conflicts with the Palestinians during Eurovision Week (e.g. ‘understandings’ with Hamas for ceasefire), some Israelis are working to bring attention to the occupation.
On a big billboard, Breaking the Silence invited tourists in Israel to visit Hebron and 'see the full picture' of the occupation. And BDS activists held a rally outside the opening ceremony, calling the Tel-Aviv event 'whitewashing through arts.’ Maariv reported that Miri Regev wouldn’t be attending the Eurovision event because she wants to appear more of a leader for a better ministerial position in the government.

The Israeli analysts assumed that the reported blasts at vessels at the UAE port across from the Iranian coast were the work of Iran. Iran accused the US of ‘psychological warfare' in its sending of warships to the Persian Gulf and an Iranian military commander said, “If [the Americans] make a move we will hit them in the head.” Israeli minister and close Netanyahu ally, Yuval Steinitz, warned that Iran may attack Israel if the standoff between the US and Iran escalates. Iran also closed a reformist magazine calling for dialogue with the US. Oddly, however, Iran also announced it will reverse its long-standing boycott of its judokas playing against Israeli judokas.
 
Quick Hits:
  • Israeli Police Consider Restricting Zionist Youth March in Muslim Quarter for Jerusalem Day - Tens of thousands of Palestinian residents and visitors are in the Old City during the final days of Ramadan, and the parade is expected to cause serious disruptions. (Haaretz+)
  • Jewish terror defendant strikes plea deal in 2015 murder of Palestinian family - The unnamed young man, a minor during the 2015 arson attack that killed the Dawabsheh family, confessed to conspiring to commit a crime motivated by racism; prior confession to Shin Bet agents was disqualified as ruled extracted under duress. He won't serve more than five years in prison. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Pain meets pain: Relatives of two Palestinian victims of Jewish terror meet - Yesterday, on the day the plea bargain was signed with one of the defendants in the affair of the Dawabsha family's house in Duma in 2015, the family visited the Abu Khdeir family, whose son, Muhammad, was kidnapped and murdered by Jews in 2014.  [He was set on fire while alive. - OH]  “I spoke with Muhammad's father, Hussein, about the plea agreement signed and we are both not surprised by the decision of the State Prosecutor's Office and the legal system," said Hussein Dawesheh, Riham's father who was murdered in the fire together with her husband, Saad, and her son, Ali. "It is sad, outrageous and infuriating that the murderers do not receive the punishment they deserve. If it were an Arab who was involved in the arson of Jews, the punishment would be much worse." Dawabsheh, who is taking care of his grandson Ahmad, who was badly burned in the attack (but survived), added: “Ahmad misses his parents and asks why his father and mother don’t pick him from school like the rest of the children.” In the photo: Hussein Dawabsheh (center) with Hussein Abu Khdeir (in the blue shirt) and Uncle Nasser Dawabsheh. (Yedioth/Ynet Hebrew+PHOTO)
  • Trump's Peace Plan Will Include Recognition of Israeli Sovereignty in West Bank Settlements, Report Says - The Trump administration is not expected to oppose the implementation of Israeli law over Jewish settlement in the West Bank, Chanel 12 News reported without providing a source. (Haaretz)
  • Netanyahu announces spot chosen for community named after Trump - Existing village on Golan Heights to change its name; location picked in tribute to U.S. president's decision to end plateau's determination as occupied territory following its capture from Syria in 1967. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israel Okays Major West Bank Settlement Roads, Seizing Large Tracts of Palestinian Land - Civil Administration approves two roads leading to isolated settlements, in a move activists say is 'part of the government's ongoing surrendering to settlers' demands’. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel reopens Gaza crossings as calm restored - On Sunday, Israel reopened its border crossings with the Gaza Strip, as part of the cease-fire agreement with Hamas and Islamic Jihad that ended a week ago a round of aggression that claimed the lives of 25 Palestinians and four Israelis.(Agencies, Ynet)
  • Qatari Envoy Arrives in Gaza to Discuss How to Transfer $30 Million - Qatari envoy Mohammed Al-Emadi arrived in the Gaza Strip Monday and will hold a meeting with UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov and Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh to coordinate the money transfer through other means. The transfer is part of the implementation of understandings reached following the latest round of escalations. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Ahed Tamimi Leads Thousands in London 'Free Palestine' March - Labour head Jeremy Corbyn offered his support to the demonstrators in a statement: 'We cannot stand by or stay silent at the continuing denial of rights and justice to the Palestinian people.’ (JTA, Haaretz)
  • In Blow to IDF Chief, Gil Messing withdraws as next IDF Spokesperson After Secret Recordings - Gil Messing helped to gather evidence in a major corruption case against Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu Party five years ago, according to a report in Haaretz. (Haaretz+ and JPost)
  • The Diplomat Hotel will not be emptied of its residents for the new US Embassy - The US is examining the possibility of expanding the embassy to the compound on Hebron Rd and Yanovsky Street in Jerusalem. The reason: The state has not been able to find a solution for the 450 immigrant families that live in the hotel. (Yedioth/Ynet Hebrew)
  • State Comptroller at Odds With Panel Over Its Refusal to Convene on Netanyahu's Legal Fees - The panel, in Comptroller Joseph Shapira’s own office, refuses to proceed until the prime minister provides information he has promised. (Haaretz+)
  • AJC Ally Joins Far-right European Bloc - Jewish lobby group for the EU has yet to distance itself from a Danish party that recently aligned itself with far-right parties including those of Marine Le Pen, Matteo Salvini and the AfD. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli ambassador shuns contact with far-right AfD - Jeremey Issacharoff tells German news agency it would be very difficult to have any interaction with those who feel nostalgia for Germany's past. (Israel Hayom)
  • One Third of Israel's Religious Students Are Exempt From Studying Math, Science and English - The increase in the number of exemptions marks a serious setback for the government in its efforts to bring more ultra-Orthodox Israelis into the labor market. (Haaretz+)
  • Supermodel Bar Refaeli ordered to pay millions in back taxes - Favor is deceitful and beauty is vain for Eurovision host who must repay over $4 million in unreported income as well as court costs. (Israel Hayom)
  • Polish Nationalists Demonstrate Against U.S. Pressure Over Holocaust Claims - Demonstrators march to U.S. Embassy in Warsaw to protest U.S. calls for Poland to compensate Jews whose families lost property during the Holocaust. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Poland Denies, but Israeli Delegation Says It's on Its Way to Discuss Holocaust Restitution - Contradictory versions: Israeli minister says stolen Jewish property will be discussed but Polish PM rules this out: We are the ones who deserve reparations. (Haaretz+)
  • UPDATE: Poland Cancels Israeli Visit Over Holocaust Restitution Dispute - After an Israeli minister said Sunday that restitution of former Jewish property would be discussed during the delegation's visit, Poland canceled the Monday visit of Israeli officials due to these 'last-minute changes.’ (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Jewish-Swedish astronaut prepares for blast off with Israeli flag - Jessica Meir, whose Iraqi-Israeli father fought in War of Independence, is only the fourth Jewish woman to take part in a Space Shuttle mission; among the 3 things astronauts allowed to take with them on a spacecraft, 41 year old picked an Israeli flag and menora-adorned socks. (Yedioth/Ynet)


Features:
Sinwar, Haniyeh and Morsi: The surprising names on the Saudi newspaper's terror list
The Saudi newspaper ‘Makkah,’ which published the names of 40 senior Hamas and Arab leaders on its terrorist list, caused a great uproar. The list included names and pictures of 40 former and present senior officials in the Islamic world under the title, "40 International Terrorists Influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood." It was published against the backdrop of attempts by Saudi Arabia and Egypt to persuade the Trump administration to declare the largest political movement in the Arab world - the Muslim Brotherhood - a terrorist movement. This is after both Cairo and Riyadh outlawed the movement. The paper took the list from the American CEP website, which allegedly found an ideological connection between the Muslim Brotherhood and the terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda, ISIS and al-Nusra. But it was received with real shock among large sections of the Arab and Muslim world. Commenters even pointed to the heir to the throne, the de facto ruler in Saudi Arabia, Muhammad bin Salman, as the person behind this publication…"We are telling those who are normalizing relations, who call the leaders of the resistance 'terrorists', that neither the United States nor Israel will be pleased with you," said Khalil al-Hayah, a senior Hamas figure. "They want to take your money to implement the American project in the region." A few hours after the publication of the article in the newspaper, the article was removed its official website. The paper also deleted the Twitter post that caused the storm. (Yasser Okbi, Maariv Magazine supplement, p. 7)
An M16 to the Face: Israel’s Violent Bureaucracy Against Palestinian Farmers
Only 13 of the 77 gates in the West Bank separation fence are open daily for Palestinian farmers. Soldiers decide who may reach his field – if they can understand the orders. (Amira Hass, Haaretz+)
Years of Gaza rocket strikes leave dark mark on the south's psyche
NGO dealing with post-trauma reports huge spike in calls to its helpline, especially in southern Israel; almost half of callers are discharged combat troops aged 21-34. (Rotem Elizera, Yedioth/Ynet)
Eurovision 2019: The top ten songs competing to win
A list of the top ten songs competing at Eurovision 2019, according to online bookmakers. (Haaretz)
Gaza skateboarders battle blockade and conservatism
Wearing a cap and looking more skater-bro than Muslim Brotherhood, 23-year-old Rajab Reefi says the newly completed park is an oasis from the stresses of Gazan life; building the facility meant the Italian Cultural Center in Gaza jumping through Israeli administrative hoops. (AFP, Ynet)
Jewish Cartoonist Eli Valley Sparks Angry Debate About anti-Semitism
His comics often employ Nazi imagery satirically and he’s explicit about the point: To him, Trump and his allies are modern-day Nazis, and their Jewish supporters are 'worse-than-kapos’. (JTA, Haaretz)
In Israel, members of Arab minority embrace Palestinian identity
Each year a gathering is held to commemorate the "Nakba," lamenting the Arab defeat in 1948 and the creation of Israel as many are increasingly confident in asserting identity. (Reuters, Ynet)

Commentary/Analysis:
Netanyahu’s Assault on Judiciary Will Lead to Rule Without Restraint (Mordechai Kremnitzer, Haaretz+) For those who seek unlimited power, neutralizing the High Court makes sense as it will rescue Netanyahu from the charges against him. This must be stopped.
The ongoing erosion of democratic institutions seems to us quite natural (Ben Caspit, Maariv)  Private estate: We do not need the torch-lighting ceremony to notice the acceleration of the monarchy process of the state, which was once a glorious parliamentary democracy. Nevertheless, the video evokes the nausea that was shown at the opening, from which it emerged that the vision of the state, the thinker and the first founder, the father of Zionism and the grandfather of our forefather Abraham, was the husband of the incumbent prime minister. This (Independence Day) ceremony is supposed to be the most refined essence of statehood. At times it appeared as if it were the (Netanyahu) couple's birthday, while it was the country that crashed the event. On IRAN: Prayer time: It is impossible to underestimate the drama now taking place on the explosive axis between Tehran and Washington. The Iranian announcement that the commitment to the nuclear agreement is being reduced was predicted by MI as a possibility of action by the ayatollahs in the middle of 2009. The announcement also includes the possibility of an Iranian return to uranium enrichment, proving (beyond the accuracy of Israeli military intel) the fact that Iran is indeed collapsing. The regime of the ayatollahs is on its knees. On the face of it, this is Binyamin Netanyahu's dream scenario. Only one question remains open: will the scenario continue to come true as a dream, or at some point break into a nightmare.
A threat to the government (Pinchas Fischler, Israel Hayom) It seems that in the Israel Police, they believe they can pick and choose the next commissioner and the next public security minister as they see fit. It's about time these officials were brought back down to earth.
Netanyahu tries to buy time, but can't avoid the court (Gidi Weitz, Haaretz+) The real question is what happens first: Will Netanyahu be protected from facing the law or will he be indicted?
Bibi’s Appetite for Power Is a Danger to the Economy (Sami Peretz, Haaretz+) Rumors are that Netanyahu wants to move the powerful budget division from the treasury to the Prime Minister’s Office.
It can be said that during Attorney General Mendelblit's term the State Prosecutor's Office was buried in a grave (Ben Caspit, Maariv) If nothing dramatic happens, the Attorney General will enter history as someone during whose days the Israeli prosecution was disbanded and the State Prosecutor's Office was ridiculed.
Nominate a State Comptroller Now (Raviv Drucker, Haaretz+) Shapira was not a strong comptroller, to say the least. But the comptroller’s weakness has actually highlighted the strength of the State Comptroller’s Office, which has produced significant reports throughout his tenure. There was the report on the factors responsible for the insane rise in apartment prices; the report on expenditures at the prime minister’s residences, which led to a police investigation; and the report on the Communications Ministry, particularly its oversight of Bezeq, which led to the so-called Bezeq-Walla case against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The fact that Netanyahu is trying to reach a consensus on who the next comptroller will be with MK Bezalel Smotrich (Union of Right-Wing Parties) shows what kind of comptroller he wants. After all, during the last Knesset, Smotrich aggressively pushed a bill that sought to undermine the comptroller’s power insofar as possible. The opposition, which is relatively homogenous, must find a candidate who could defeat Netanyahu’s candidate in a secret ballot.
Tensions in the Persian Gulf: The signs of war and its rattles do not necessarily herald the outbreak of war (Yossi Melman, Maariv) Israel's security establishment is closely monitoring all the scenarios, and the prevailing view is that war is not on the horizon. Perhaps the increasing tension will lead to Iran's return to negotiations.
*A New Israeli Hatred for Europe (Nitzan Horowitz, Haaretz+) Years of brainwashing by the media and a hefty dose of racism at home have gotten Israelis to embrace the positions of fascist movements across the Continent, creating a discourse of hatred of the liberal Europe that dares welcome migrants. There is nothing more revolting: Jews preaching to Germans on why they should close their doors and throw out the migrants.
The Core of Poverty (Haaretz Editorial) The alliance forged between Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and the ultra-Orthodox parties is based on a situation that undermines interests and values about which Netanyahu often boasts – progress, technological development, entrepreneurship and global business development. The number of ultra-Orthodox students who are exempt from studying the core curriculum has grown steadily. The prime minister understands this very well, but has put his own political needs ahead of the broader public interest and the welfare of ultra-Orthodox youngsters.
UN officials: "The future of the Deal of the Century and its chances of being accepted don’t interest Trump" (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) The president is behaving and reacting already like someone who started his election campaign, and knows that he is facing a very serious competitor. The peace plan is not included in his political agenda.
Palestinians Are Pulled From Their Homes 'Like Weeds' for Israeli Army Drills (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) On Sunday, when the smell of scorched meat from Israel Independence Day celebrations still loomed, again our armed boys showed up in Khirbet Humsa, a community of shepherds in the northeastern Jordan Valley. They needed to ensure that several dozen people in four compounds of the Palestinian community will obey orders to willingly expel themselves to clear room for Israel Defense Forces training exercises. And no, don’t worry. The Jewish residents of the nearby settlements of Roi and Beka’ot are not required to evacuate their private homes for the sake of military training exercises. The hand of fate, lacking any malicious intent, has determined that only Palestinians live, graze their flocks and eke out a living in firing zones. And therefore they are the only ones who have to pack up their meager belongings, their sheep and goats, their children and their water containers (because Israel doesn’t allow them to have connected water infrastructure) and leave. To where? That’s their problem.
There is no point in another occupation of Gaza if is followed by a withdrawal with our tail between our legs (Dr. Chaim Misgav, Maariv) We must internalize the fact that this evil place does not have a political-strategic solution. The only step that the State of Israel must take is the continuation of action. This has always been how Israel has acted.
The Left and the Elites Are Playing With Fire (Israel Cohen, Haaretz+) “When the burden increases, and the coffers empty, a more charismatic politician than [Yair] Lapid is liable to persuade the public that the solution to its distress is to violently suppress the Haredim, throw draft dodgers into prison and use armed soldiers to impose the study of core subjects,” Haaretz’s editor Aluff Benn wrote in a threatening Op-Ed. Had such remarks been uttered by a far-right politician in Austria, international protests and diplomatic denunciations would have been heard throughout Europe. But in Israel, it’s okay to say anything at all about the ultra-Orthodox. Columnist Nehemia Shtrasler also engages in incitement. One day we’ll see MK Yitzhak Vaknin (Shas) lighting a torch at the annual Independence Day ceremony, he wrote, “in honor of the cowardly ultra-Orthodox draft dodgers, who bravely send secular and religious Zionist Jews out to die for them, and for the glory of the State of Israel” (Haaretz in Hebrew, May 10). Shtrasler ignores the fact that quite a few ultra-Orthodox people have been asked to light torches in recognition of their volunteer work. But more importantly, I’m sorry to disappoint you, Benn and Shtrasler. Sometimes the threat is aimed at the ultra-Orthodox, sometimes at MK Bezalel Smotrich (Union of Right-Wing Parties), sometimes at Culture Minister Miri Regev, and we won’t even mention Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Yet this effort to intimidate everyone who thinks and acts differently than you do is destined to fail.
Iran’s dilemma (Yossi Kuperwasser, Israel Hayom) In Tehran, regime officials are worried that the pressure applied by the U.S. administration is meant to expedite regime change, not just curb Iran's nuclear and hegemonic ambitions in the region.
America must not back down against Iran (Emily B. Landau, Haaretz+) The U.S. is not initiating hostilities. It is not bullying Iran. It is responding to Tehran’s recent threats – and to years of lying and cheating about its nuclear capabilities. The aim of Trump's maximum pressure on Iran is negotiations, not war.
We Don’t Need a Palestinian Personality Cult
(Odeh Bisharat, Haaretz+) It seems as if the harder Israel hits on the Palestinians, the more obtuse and self-confident Palestinian leaders become. This is also the case with Hamas in Gaza, with its suppression of the demonstrations there. In his time, Ghawwar, a Syrian comic figure, would say: The state beats me, I beat my wife, my wife beats the kids and they start fights with the other kids in the neighborhood. The wheel turns, and the people are ground up.
In Syria's 'Safe Spaces,' Tens of Thousands Are Held Hostage (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Displaced Syrian civilians who were supposed to find refuge in the country's de-escalated areas are held hostages in the unsolved dispute between Russia, Syria and Turkey. And the world stands by.
 
Interviews:
“Proud that I sat in prison because of my preoccupation with (the issue of the kidnapped) Yemenite children"
Dr. Nathan Shifris was a young officer of a pioneering Ashkenazi family when he heard that Rabbi Uzi Meshulam had barricaded himself with his students. He rushed to Yehud to document firsthand the testimonies of the abduction of (Yemenite) children and found himself in the role of mediator between the police and the protesters. Twenty-five years after he became "Rabbi Meshulam's intel officer" and was imprisoned for three years, he published a book that proves, according to him, that "the kidnapping of the Yemenite children was a wide-ranging move with the knowledge and support of all the branches of the state.” 856 pages heavy with testimonies, evidence and documents that point to at least 2000 of the kidnapped (Jewish) Yemenite children in the affair that still shakes the country. According to Shifris, the kidnapping of the Yemenite children was the plan made from above by the Israeli authorities. (Interviewed by Merav Betito in Yedioth ’24 Hours’ supplement, cover/Ynet Hebrew) [Shifris also published an ebook of articles in Hebrew titled: “Youngsters of the Coronary heart: New Points within the Examine of the Yemenite Youngsters Affair.”]

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