News Nosh 5.16.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday May 16, 2019

Quote of the day:
“To be a sucker is the worst affront an Israeli can experience, and because the state’s attitude toward its citizens renders them suckers by definition – the security situation is fraught, government corruption is rampant, taxes are high and the quid pro quo is low – in interpersonal relations we are in no way willing to be suckers.”
--Israeli culinary anthropologist, Prof. Nir Avieli, speaks about how Israeli society can be understood through its preference for larger meals over quality ones at restaurants.*

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The new border - A wall along the border fence, dirt mounds that will hide forces and protected posts for snipers
  • Kobi Marimi talks - 48 hours before the final, our representative to Eurovision says he’s not scared by the criticism and promises to give it his all
  • In Likud, they are preparing for a narrow coalition of 60 MKs
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • Netanyahu plan: temporary immunity
  • 19:53 the ground shook
  • Madonna’s stage - The star began intensive rehearsals for the two songs she’ll perform at the Eurovision on Shabbat
Israel Hayom
  • “There is no budget for the parties demands” - Netanyahu makes clear: The parties are making impossible demands
  • Comes out: This is the one responsible for arms smuggling in Hezbollah
  • The calm before the (Eurovision) finals
  • Did you feel it? Earthquake measuring 4.4 was felt in Israel
  • Home Front Commander: The escalation has only just begun; Thousands of Palestinians rioted on the fence marking Nakba Day
  • The return of the “End of Democracy” // Prof. Asher Cohen

News Summary:
A possible narrow coalition as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu faces right-wing partners’ demands and prepares his party for a law giving him immunity, ‘successful’ XX of the Nakba Day protests on the Gaza-Israel border, and Polish President’s outrage and the summoning of the Israeli Ambassador to Poland after an Israeli man spits in the face of the Polish Ambassador making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Netanyahu may have to establish a narrow interim coalition of 60 MKs due to a deadlock in negotiations with the other parties and the clock ticking on his two-week extension to form a new government. But Kulanu chief Moshe Kahlon said he won’t serve in another narrow-majority government.   Kahlon and Avigdor Lieberman denied they were conspiring against Netanyahu.

Maariv reported on a Channel 12 News report, according to which, Netanyahu briefed Likud members about the immunity law he plans to pass: “A full-time prime minister is coming to the citizens of Israel, and when I finish my job I will deal with the law…Israeli citizens knew what my situation was and elected me. If I thought about my personal good, I would go to trial while being prime minister and not as a private citizen, but I understand that this is not for the good of the state." Far right-wing MK Bezalel Smotrich, who is promoting the law, said: "We need immunity law in order to prevent the possibility that the justice minister will be framed…(The law) has to do with the ability of Knesset members to govern, the time has come to correct the failures of (former chief justice) Aharon Barak.” (Maariv) Meanwhile, after 51 MKs signed a request to hold a discussion on the coalition's controversial legislative initiatives, the Knesset will discuss "legislation for the elimination of democracy," - and Netanyahu will have to answer. Meretz chief Tamar Zandberg: "Netanyahu has no open check to replace the public’s interest with his own.”  (Maariv)

Marking the 71st Nakba Day, the Palestinian term for the displacement in 1948, Palestinians marched across the West Bank and some 10,000 Gazans gathered at the Gaza border fence as Palestinians marked the 71st Nakba Day. Incendiary balloons launched from Gaza sparked fires in southern Israel. Israeli forces injured 47 Palestinians in Gaza. Yedioth’s Yossi Yehoshua wrote that the fact that no Palestinians were killed was a sign of the “successful containment” by the Israeli forces who acted with restraint, he wrote. Another reason for the successful containment of the Nakba Day events was an increase in the professionalism of the commanders and their experience, he reported. It is estimated that the arrival of more superior snipers, who underwent special training, reduced the number of fatalities due to non-lethal injuries. In addition, the IDF introduced noise systems, sponge balls that cause a soft injury, and, of course, tear gas. Yehoshua wrote about the plan led by IDF GOC Southern Commander Hertzi Halevy to make the fence area more secure for Israeli forces. Apart from raising the wall and sniper positions, dirt embankments were erected to hide the forces. The challenge now, he wrote, is to "stretch" the same new deployment back into civilian space as well. The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza reported that 305 Palestinians were killed  by Israeli forces and over 17,000 injured in the 410 days since the start of “The Great March of Return”. Of them, 3,565 were children, 1,168 women, and 104 elderly. (Maan) In his first public appearance since retiring from the IDF, Gadi Eizenkot said that Israel would face a dangerous situation in the West Bank if its security coordination with the Palestinian Authority were to end.

  • Eurovision 2019: Spectacular Production, Far From Spectacular Music - No producer, video artist or emcee could breathe life into something that lifeless. That didn’t stop the Eurovision production from going overboard trying. (Haaretz+)
  • Madonna finally signs Eurovision contract - Singer will perform at the grand finale on Saturday night. (JPost)
  • No Eurovision Boost for Tel Aviv’s Restaurants and Bars - Fewer tourists than expected and high prices for hotels and events have kept dining and drinking bills low. (Haaretz+)
  • Tel Aviv Eurovision party spot disturbs nearby mosque during Ramadan - Beachfront 'Eurovision Village' pavilion is located across from century-old Hassan Bek Mosque in Jaffa. "It (pavilion) is in the wrong place because it is close to the mosque," said worshiper Sa'd Abu Zakariya. "When we pray inside there is no feeling of solemnity because of the sound ... We stand here and we can hear the noisy songs." (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Want to boycott Tel Aviv Eurovision? BDS has an alternative for you - in Bethlehem - Globalvision will take place at the same time as the Eurovision, featuring Palestinian, Israeli and international artists. One performer calls it a ‘nonviolent alternative focusing on unity and raising awareness.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Tel Aviv Eurovision webcast hacked as calls for boycott continue - Kan public broadcaster plays down attack that saw its webcast of 41-country singing competition cut to animated satellite footage showing explosions in Tel Aviv set to menacing soundtrack. (Israel Hayom)
  • Worker injured in Eurovision venue accident dies - Fuldi Schwartz, 66, was unloading equipment at Expo Tel Aviv when a wheeled lighting rig toppled over onto him. (Times of Israel)
  • Icelandic band who slammed Israel for 'apartheid' makes it to Tel Aviv's Eurovision final - Frontmen of Hatari, one of 26 groups that will perform in Tel Aviv during Saturday night's Eurovision final, say one of the 'occupation's uglier faces' is the situation in Gaza. (Haaretz+)
Quick Hits:
  • Israeli Jewish-Arab NGO to Evacuate Office Following 'Harassment by Municipality' - Negev Coexistence Forum has agreed to vacate premises in exchange for the Be'er Sheva Municipality slashing a whopping tax bill. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Policeman to Be Disciplined for Dismissing Complaint by Left-wing Activist - 'He's the biggest anarchist' in the West Bank, officer was recorded saying following Rabbi Arik Ascherman's complaint that settlers trespassed on private Palestinian land. (Haaretz+)
  • MK Yuli Edelstein in Homesh: Cancel the settlement withdrawal in northern Samaria - The Speaker of the Knesset (Likud) visited the community [West Bank settlement -OH] that was evicted in 2005 and called for its re-establishment. Together with him were 12 MKs who expressed support for the idea.   In 2017 Netanyahu vetoed the idea. (Maariv)
  • Israeli Army Closes Case in Death of Disabled Gaza Protester, Citing No Evidence Soldiers Shot Him - Ibraheem Abu Thuraya was killed in border protests in December 2017 and medical records show he was shot in the head. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel to demolish 13 Palestinian-owned buildings in Issawiya - Israeli Civil Administration employees, escorted by Israeli forces, stormed Issawiya and delivered demolition notices to 13 residential and cultural buildings, that have been built between 5-12 years ago. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian fisherman in Gaza - Mourad al-Hasi, 22, was shot and injured with a rubber-coated steel bullet fired by Israeli naval forces. His condition remained unknown. (Maan)
  • Palestinians seek UN court order to remove US Embassy from Jerusalem - Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad Malki calls Trump administration's relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem a "provocative and illegal action." (Israel Hayom)
  • EU to examine hate in Palestinian textbooks - Foreign Affairs representative Mogherini confirms action to be taken following campaign by IMPACT-se, revealing increased incitement to hate, violence in new Palestinian textbooks; 'Incitement to violence is incompatible with promotion of two-state solution.’ (Yedioth/Ynet, Maan and Maariv)
  • FM urges ICC to start immediate investigation of Palestinian situation - Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki urged the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda. (Maan)
  • Bedouin Communities Oppose Israel's Plan for New Negev Town - Plan for 500 housing units in Israel's south for Bedouins from unrecognized villages aims to minimize number of families uprooted, but residents set for relocation are poised to fight it. (Haaretz+)
  • Legal experts seeking Nation-State Law amendment - Team including former justice Elyakim Rubinstein says they only want to enshrine element of equality, status of Arabic language, in controversial law passed by outgoing Knesset; Ohana: Equality is irrelevant to nationality. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • (Senior Likud MK) Gideon Sa'ar against LEHAVA: "Get out of my daughter's private life" - The Likud MK responded to the letter sent to him by Bentzi Gopstein, chairman of the organization for the “Prevention of Assimilation in the Holy Land," asking him to work to end the relationship between his daughter and (Arab-Israeli) actor Amir Khoury. "Alona, my beloved daughter, is a private person." Gopstein: "Assimilation is not a private matter.” In his letter, Gopstein wrote: "There is no doubt that you, as a proud Jew who is loyal to Israel's heritage, are opposed to this relationship ... We are not talking about racism, God forbid, but about the existence of the Jewish people.” Religious Action Center (RAC) of the Reform Movement, said the State Attorney’s Office said a year ago that it was indicting Gopstein for incitement to racism and RAC called on the attorney general “to put an end to the long foot dragging that legitimizes Gopstein's racist discourse and to submit the indictment immediately." (Ynet Hebrew and Maariv)
  • U.S. Pushes to Resolve Israel-Lebanon Sea Border Dispute - Senior official hopes to resolve matter before Lebanon begins drilling for oil and gas in disputed area. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • 'Israel won't take care of me - I'll go die in my homeland, in dangerous Sudan' - A Sudanese asylum seeker was hospitalized after suffering three strokes but the Israeli hospital released him against doctor's orders because he isn't entitled to medical care. (Haaretz+)
  • Iran Exercising 'Maximum Restraint' Despite 'Unacceptable' U.S. Sanctions, FM Says - An attack on four oil tankers and oil pumping stations in the Gulf has raised regional tensions, fueling concerns that the U.S. and Iran are headed toward a conflict. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Report: Iran halts some commitments under nuclear deal - Islamic Republic's national security council apparently ordered to stop complying with the 2015 agreement with world powers which allowed Tehran to produce low-enriched uranium with a 300-kg limit; sources say Iran has no limit from now for production. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Iran will defeat US-Israel alliance, says defense minister - The commander of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards said: "We are on the cusp of a full-scale confrontation with the enemy." (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Swiss president in surprise White House visit, may mediate with Iran - It's unusual for a head of state to arrive in Washington without prior notice. The unannounced meeting will focus on mounting tensions between Iran and the U.S., analysts suggest. (Haaretz+)

‘Hey Everyone, Let’s Wave to Hamas’
Haaretz visits the Gaza Strip border area for a tour that, despite obvious difficulties, genuinely tries to present the perspectives of both Israelis and Palestinians. (Judy Maltz, Haaretz+)
Fed Up With High Eilat Prices, More Israelis Are Vacationing in Jordan
Visitors say the atmosphere is unexpectedly friendly, but don’t arrive at the border without a confirmed hotel reservation – or you’ll be turned back. (Rina Rozenberg Kandel, Haaretz+)
A Trip Advisor to the Real Israel (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) When you leave Expo Tel Aviv, walk west for a few minutes. You’ll see a huge complex of buildings. This is a security compound, and the people who work there are responsible for many of the crimes and injustices you’ll see throughout the day. From here, for example, they dispatched the agents who instructed female soldiers to conduct a rectal and vaginal search of a Palestinian woman in her home. This is the headquarters for the abuse of the Palestinian people in the name of security. In the parking lot you’ll see a fence, and behind it some abandoned graves. This is the cemetery of the Palestinian village that stood there before 1948. Israel wiped off the face of the earth more than 400 such towns and villages, kindly leaving just the graves. You can meet the descendants of the inhabitants, children of refugees who either fled or were expelled, when Eurovision is held in Lebanon, Syria or Jordan sometime. Oops, they’re not in Europe, but then again neither is Israel. Or you can meet them later on in our tour, in the refugee camps.
Tel Aviv must give the right answer to Netanyahu, the new representative of the mob (Dr. Sagi Elbaz, Maariv) …Although ordinary people tend to admire leaders and turn them into cult figures. There is nothing new in this. Suffice it to recall the admiration for Menachem Begin that went beyond the scope of the current adoration of Netanyahu. But the difference was always in the gap between the voices and desires of the masses, often characterized by a burst of authoritarian sentiments and instincts, and the leadership that transcends the unbridled impulses of the mob through sublimation. Unlike many of his blind followers who despised democratic institutions, Menachem Begin, as well as the founding fathers of GAHAL (later the Likud party), maintained stateliness, defended the High Court, respected the rule of law, and avoided, to the extent possible, the from harming the freedom of expression and from  trampling the rights of minorities. Unlike Begin, Netanyahu narrowed the gaps: He no longer protects democracy, he protects the mob and represents it. The new Netanyahu has decided: he prefers the mob over the democratic camp. He feels more comfortable in the company of the religious, nationalist, and xenophobic orthodoxy of the state of Judea than the civil, liberal, secular and religious stream of the democratic State of Israel. Netanyahu left no choice for the democratic camp, which became a weakened and beaten minority. This camp must adopt the policy of the ultra-Orthodox minority and demand cultural autonomy, the main expression of which is complete independence for schools belonging to the state stream. Tel Aviv, the capital of the democratic state, has the duty to lead the miracle of rebellion and independence. To promote public transportation on the Sabbath, to allow the sale of meat and food of any kind at all times (even on Passover), and to allow all organizations and streams absolute freedom of association, movement and expression - as befitting a liberal city that sanctifies freedom and equality of opportunity for all. This will be the right answer to Netanyahu - the new representative of the mob.
Enabling Netanyahu's Government Could Be Bribe-taking (Gur Megiddo, Haaretz+) Two prior court rulings have invalidated coalition agreements and it could happen again given the offers being made over the table.
Why is no one in Likud speaking out against the immunity bill? (Yuval Karni, Yedioth/Ynet) Likud members who say they long for the days of Menachem Begin, when open debate was tolerated, should dare to speak out now and keep democracy alive.
Israel’s High Court Must Save Itself (Zehava Galon, Haaretz+) Netanyahu is promoting an anti-constitutional revolution. He aims to curb the powers of the High Court of Justice to grant himself permanent immunity, but also to divert attention from talk about his corruption, focusing attention on the role of courts in a democracy. In either case the result is the same: the obliteration of the judiciary’s independence. Judging by an agitated speech by Supreme Court President Esther Hayut, the battle has already been decided.
If the Israeli representative at the Eurovision Song Contest won’t bring us honor, then who will? The politicians? (Avraham Tirosh, Maariv) The Eurovision Song Contest does not interest me. I have no interest in all the preparations that are published in detail every day and I will not watch the competition itself. However, I will still keep my fingers crossed for Israel.
700 reasons not to establish a Palestinian state (Moshe Phillips, Israel Hayom) An independent state controls its own borders and "Palestine" would therefore be free to import truckloads of Iranian weapons.
There Is Somewhere Else Where Israelis Could Go (Tomer Persico, Haaretz+) “What justifies / the great despair / is the simple, clear-cut fact / that we really have nowhere else to go.” This line from the poem “Power of Attorney” by Israeli writer and artist David Avidan was first published in 1960. In 1960, there really was nowhere else to go. The Cold War was at its height. Europe had just begun to recover from the destruction inflicted on it by World War II and in the United States, Jews were still not admitted as members of country clubs. There is no comparison between that and the situation today. Both Europe and the United States (and Australia and Canada) take in educated and capable immigrants. Institutionalized anti-Semitism has not existed for quite some time and belongs to marginal groups. The capitalist market is something that is now taken for granted around the world, and the free movement of goods is now also complemented by the free movement of people. When Israelis see how Knesset members arrange immunity from prosecution for themselves and place themselves above the law, the citizens understand that their contract with the state has been breached. When Israelis interested in guaranteeing their children’s future hear their prime minister promise that “we will forever live by the sword,” they understand that their contract with the state has been breached.
Israel was built on the values of mutual responsibility and equality, which somewhere along the way got lost (Alex Friedman, Maariv) Every year, the state collects 25 billion shekels from the National Insurance Institute for welfare purposes. This money can solve the plight of the disabled, the elderly and Holocaust survivors, but it is used for other things.
Stop Israel-Poland ties from breaking down (Eldad Beck, Israel Hayom) Both Warsaw and Jerusalem have a lot to gain from maintaining a strong and stable relationship and much to lose from giving in to populist forces.
Hezbollah could use maritime border dispute as excuse to go to war with Israel (Giora Eiland, Yedioth/Ynet) Iran-backed Lebanese terror group might justify a military conflict with Israel - all in the name of serving Iranian interests - by claiming large gas reserves worth billions of dollars are being exploited by Israelis in Lebanese waters.
A U.S.-Iran confrontation will inevitably include Israel (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) There are four likely scenarios in which the Jewish state will find itself under attack by Tehran and/or its proxies, and Israeli defense establishment is not taking the threat lightly.
Gulf States Are Sabotaging Trump’s Campaign Against Iran - and Their Own Security (Mary Beth Long and Sigurd Neubauer, Haaretz+) Recent attacks on shipping, blamed on Iran, expose the fragility of Gulf states’ security and economies. But their in-fighting could derail U.S. strategy on Iran - and fuel insecurity across the Mideast.
The axis of oppressors (Clifford D. May, Israel Hayom) The U.S. needs to be stronger than any combination of colluding adversaries.
Rohani vs. Revolutionary Guards: Inside Iran's Turbulent Debate on War With America (Ariane Tabatabai, Haaretz+) Confronted by the Trump administration’s 'maximum pressure' policy and by hardliners at home, Iran's Rohani is fighting a losing battle for negotiations, not conflict, with the U.S.
The man responsible for the Nakba (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) Peace can come when Palestinians recognize their responsibility for the Nakba brought upon them by the hardline approach of Nazi ally, Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini who rejected any compromise, spreading hate and bloodshed wherever he roamed.
*The Real Reason Israelis Prefer Bigger Portions to Quality Meals, According to an Anthropologist
Prof. Nir Avieli, from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Ben-Gurion University in Be’er Sheva, exposes the guts of Israeli society through its cuisine in his book. Avieli says that “Israeli diners want big and cheap; they care less about quality…size matters” – and that’s the title of the first chapter of his book “Food & Power: A Culinary Ethnography of Israel.” (University of California Press) –(Interviewed by Ronit Vered in Haaretz+)
“What I tried to do in the book is to characterize Israeli cuisine, and one of the things that characterizes it – and I am of course not the first to note this in the context of Israeliness – is power and power relations. We Israelis are the strongest and the weakest alike, and the culinary arena is a central space in which that give-and-take is conducted. I discern this ambivalence everywhere: in the tension between quantity and quality, in the battle over the price, in the way we make barbecues, in our attitude toward the foods of foreign workers and refugees, and in our approach to Ashkenazi food and Mizrahi food. If in the cultural arena a tempestuous cultural battle is being waged between Mizrahi and Ashkenazi, then in the culinary arena that contest has already been decided, and by a complete knockout."
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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