News Nosh 5.21.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday May 21, 2018

Quote of the day:
"It's called poetic justice."
--Commentator Ron Kahlili writes that he has no empathy for senior Likud MK Gideon Saar, whose daughter is being derided for dating an Arab-Israeli, because Saar never condemned the years of incitement against Arabs from the government and leader of his party.*

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Exclusive - Diary of the fallen, Ilan Ramon, is revealed for the first time - 34 pages from the diary survived the explosion of the Columbia space shuttle (Hebrew)
  • Last minute rejection of a candidate for State Comptroller position
  • Fire without a bonfire - Because of expected heat wave on Lag B’Omer holiday, Education Ministry recommends giving up on bonfires
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links)
  • The attorney’s protest - Dozens of senior lawyers met yesterday and made clear: We won’t allow changing the immunity law and erode the power of the High Court
  • Senior security official: There are no understandings with Hamas
  • Between sadness and happiness - Six years after Adelle Biton was severely injured in an attack and four years after her death, her mother gave birth to a girl on her birthday
  • The crane disaster in Yavneh - Police issued a stop work order for another 30 days
Israel Hayom
  • “There will be a government - but only at the last minute” - Difficulties in negotiations - Draft Law is delaying the creation of a coalition: “Once it’s solved, everything will work out”
  • Stability, with or without indictment // Mati Tuchfeld
  • Immunity for Netanyahu - in the face of legal assassination // Amnon Lord
  • Zubeidi will be indicted for shooting attack: “Long imprisonment expected”
  • Rebirth - Adva Biton, mother of Adelle, who was murdered in a stone-throwing attack, gave birth to a girl on her deceased daughter’s birthday
  • It will be hot like fire: Israel preparing for Lag B’Omer holiday and the big heat wave
  • (US Mideast envoy) Greenblatt on the Palestinian opposition to the Deal of the Century: “Shameful, the plan will change their lives”

News Summary:
Leading Israeli attorneys and Kahol-Lavan leaders declared they won’t let Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pass his controversial legislation for immunity and overriding the High Court, the coalition submitted the name of one person to become the next state comptroller after withdrawing another name at the last minute, shortly after anti-Netanyahu activist Eldad Yaniv responded to Yair Netanyahu that the candidate was a friend of his, while the former Fatah militant, Zakaria Zubeidi, who said he laid down his arms, was indicted for perpetrating a number of shooting attacks in the West Bank and the Palestinians said they would boycott Trump’s economic conference - the first part of the ‘Deal of the Century’ peace plan - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Also, both Israel and Hamas denied the Israeli new report that they reached a six-month cease-fire deal and Arab communities protested against police incompetence after a fourth Arab-Israeli was murdered in three days.

Top Israeli attorneys launched a campaign Monday to ‘save the High Court’ from anti-democratic right-wing legislation.
"It’s inconceivable that because one man has a problem, the entire judicial system is going to be changed," says Dore Klagsblad, who represents Netanyahu benefactor Sheldon Adelson. Tzvika Bar-Natan, who initiated the conference, said, “…We are all here, because we are united here by a tangible sense of danger to the rule of law and the existence of Israel as a liberal democracy. We feel a sense of urgency and feel that the rule of law is on the brink of an abyss.” Attorney Eyal Rozovsky said that there is a sense that the government intends to actually drive a D9 bulldozer over the High Court. Attorney Giora Arginist said that they are prepared to lie under the D9's bucket in order to prevent the destruction of the High Court. Attorney Eli Zohar, who has defended Ehud Olmert in the past, said: "We have to clarify this to a society that does not understand what we are talking about. The idea that the Knesset can pass a law that will execute us, without any place to appeal, is stronger than all the nice words we use at every opportunity. (Maariv) The lawyers took a photo of themselves in front of a sign that said, “You will have to pass through us. And you won’t pass by us.” (Ynet Hebrew) In the Knesset, Kahol-Lavan leader Benny Gantz derided Netanyahu’s bid to expand the government cabinet as ‘political bribery’ and urged Netanyahu to ‘be a man’ and drop the legislation that would shield him from prosecution. “Stop this now. You have gone too far. We will fight this in parliament, on the street, in the squares, in schools, in the media in order to protect democracy for everyone. We will not let it happen,” Gantz vowed, urging Israelis to take to the streets to protest. Meanwhile, Netanyahu asked the State Attorney's Office to postpone his criminal indictment hearing by a year, citing the enormous amount of investigative materials to be examined in the corruption charges against him.

“Any Palestinian that attends the Bahrain conference would be a collaborator for the Americans and Israel,” said PLO Executive Committee member Ahmed Majdalani, expressing the Palestinian sentiment about the U.S.-led economic conference. The Palestinians said they weren't consulted about the event meant to help them, and where the first stage of the Trump peace plan will be revealed. Any American peace plan that ignores the Palestinian people's political aspirations for an independent state is doomed to fail, added senior Palestinian official, Nabil Abu Rudeineh. US President Donald Trump's special envoy Jason Greenblatt said the Palestinian Authority “is acting in a shameful manner…Our vision can fundamentally change their lives." Senior Palestinian official Nabil Shaath responded: "We have nothing to discuss."

About 500 residents of the towns of Tamra and Shfaram protested in front of the police station in Shfaram Monday and in Baka al-Garbiyeh they will protest today against the Israeli police's failure to fight crime in Arab communities. Since the beginning of the year, 24 Arab citizens have been killed in Israel in gun violence. Yesterday Baka al-Garbiyeh resident Ahmad Mazen Dra'ima, 35, was shot to death in front of his wife during the funeral of Wassam Joudat Yassin, who was murdered the night before in Tamra. The municipality and the People's Committee decided municipal offices and institutions will be striking Tuesday in protest over the incident. Banks and post offices and other official establishments will be closed until 2 P.M. Schools will remain open, but will hold educational activities against violence. Leaders pointed the finger at the ‘racist Netanyahu government' and accused police of neglecting their communities. “If the victims were Jewish, the reaction and treatment would be different,” said MK Ahmad Tibi. (Also Maariv)
Quick Hits:
  • Israeli Court Rejects Petition to Bar Religious Zionist March From Jerusalem's Muslim Quarter - Left-wing organization Ir Amim had filed a petition to bar the annual march from passing through the Muslim Quarter due to it coinciding with the final days of Ramadan. (Haaretz+ and Times of Israel)
  • Coalition nominates Matanyahu Englman as candidate for state comptroller - For the first time in over 30 years, none of the candidates for government ombudsman are judges. (Times of Israel)
  • Fatah militant pardoned by Israel arrested for shooting attacks - Shin Bet says Zakaria Zubeidi and his accomplice, lawyer Tarek Bargut, were involved in a series of West Bank shooting attacks over the past three years that targeted civilians, transport and police; ex-member of Al-Aqsa Martyes' Brigades later employed by PA. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Yair Golan is considering running for the leadership of the Labor Party - Former IDF deputy chief of staff recently held meetings with senior party officials about the possibility of joining its ranks and running for chairman. Golan, who sparked a storm in his 2016 Holocaust Memorial Day speech when he spoke about “identifying the horrifying processes that occurred in Europe in general, and Germany in particular, 70, 80 and 90 years ago, and finding evidence of their presence here, among us,” was released from the army in December, but will be able to run in the elections according to a cooling-off clause. (Walla Hebrew and Maariv, p. 7)
  • Drafts of Israel’s Declaration of Independence Cannot Be Auctioned, Top Court Rules - The drafts were written by Jerusalem lawyer Mordechai Beham in 1948 and put up for auction by his sons - starting at a quarter million dollars. Court says they're state property. (Haaretz+)
  • Hadassah Hospital Rabbi Told ER to Prioritize Religious Patients Ahead of Shabbat - Hospital denies having any such procedure of treating the observant first, says it’s committed to helping those who care keep Shabbat. (Haaretz+)
  • Report: Israel has the highest opioid use increase in the OECD - According to an OECD report released this month, between 2011–2013 and 2014–2016, Israel saw a staggering 125% increase in opioid use. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel Won't Vet Chinese Investment, Risking U.S. Ire - Government team tasked with examining foreign investment oversight has quietly recommended against it, so as not to offend Beijing. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli tech provides fresh water to 120 orphans in Uzbekistan - A popular tourist destination associated with arid weather conditions, Bukhara has recently been experiencing serious water shortages. (Israel Hayom)
  • Ukraine’s newly sworn-in Jewish president: ‘We must defend our land like Israelis’ - Taking the oath of office in Ukraine's parliament in Kiev, Volodymyr Zelensky evokes Israel's defensive prowess as he pledges to protect Ukraine's sovereignty and independence. "We must become Icelanders in soccer, Israelis in defending our land, Japanese in technology," he says. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Why did Israel snub new Jewish president of Ukraine? - Not one senior Israeli official was present when Volodymyr Zelenskiy was sworn in on Monday morning in Kiev; Ukrainian Israelis worry snubbing the new regime could harm bilateral relations in the future. (Ynet)
  • Qatar says not invited to emergency Arab summits in Saudi Arabia - The UAE on Sunday said that the current 'critical circumstances' in the region required a 'unified Arab and Gulf stance.’ (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • After bus bombing, Egypt says it killed 12 militants suspected of ties to Muslim Brotherhood - The militants were killed hours after a roadside bomb struck a tourist bus near the Giza Pyramids and wounded at least 17 people. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Trump: Conflict would be 'official end' of Iran - Rhetoric follows sabotage of Saudi oil tankers, rocket launch into Baghdad's embassy row — both attributed to Iran, proxies; Iran's arch-adversary Saudi Arabia calls Gulf and Arab leaders to convene emergency summit in Mecca. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Iran's foreign minister tweets response to Trump's threat to 'end Iran' - Mohammad Javad Zarif posted his own message Monday on Twitter, saying Trump had been 'goaded' into 'genocidal taunts.’ (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Britain tells Iran: Do not provoke the U.S. or Trump will retaliate - Heightened rhetoric follows last week's attacks on Saudi oil assets and Sunday's attack on Baghdad's 'Green Zone.’ (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran increases by fourfold the rate of enrichment of low enriched uranium - This comes a week after Iran officially stopped some commitments under the international nuclear accord, that said Tehran was allowed to produce low-enriched uranium with a 300-kg limit. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iraqi clerics warn against Baghdad embroilment into Iran-U.S. dispute - Iraq's populist Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said that any political party that would involve Iraq in a U.S.-Iran war 'would be the enemy of the Iraqi people.’ (Agencies, Haaretz)

Israeli military textile developer turns out tech to combat agricultural terror
Liran Cohen, 35, produces products designed to protect civilians and security forces. Now he is designing fake rocks and bushes that will help farmers defend their livelihoods against agricultural crime. (Gadi Golan, Israel Hayom)
Trump's Planning a Wedding in Bahrain. But He Forgot to Invite the Groom (Noa Landau, Haaretz+ Trump's counting on 'economic peace' but growth doesn't stop national aspirations.
The chances of success of the Deal of the Century plan depend on the dubious reputation of its initiators (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) “Would you buy a product from a factory that has an official report that there are defects in its machine system?" asked a Western diplomat, hinting, of course, that the faulty factory was the White House.
The Most Important Detail in Kushner’s Plan for the Palestinian Economy (Amir Tibon, Haaretz+) By agreeing to host next month’s economic forum, Bahrain gave a boost to Jared Kushner’s peace efforts. Now the main question is: Will the Gulf states actually pull out their checkbooks?
The reality plan (Shimrit Meir, Yedioth) Despite the Palestinian boycott and the cynicism from all sides, it's worthwhile to try to understand what the Trump Administration is trying to achieve here. Spoiler: It's not peace between Israel and the Palestinians. That might have been the original goal, but the understanding was quickly reached that the two parallel sides, the Israeli and the Palestinian, simply are not interested in meeting. 'Deal of the Century' became a codename for other things, of which have in common that they are not at all bad for Israel. First of all, the Americans are advancing the end from the beginning. If for dozens of years there was talk of the normalization of the Arab world with Israel and the economic 'boom' that was supposed to come as a result of the end of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, Trump is exerting great efforts to turn that around.
Israeli democracy will not surrender without a battle (Ben Caspit, Maariv) After Benny Begin revealed the true nature of the legislative initiative promoted by Netanyahu, senior lawyers planned a protest conference. Incidentally, the Immunity Law is really marginal. It has some importance, but it is not the main thing. The cessation clause [High Court Ruling Override Law - OH], which is supposed to include the cancellation of the ability of the High Court to intervene in administrative decisions of the government and the Knesset, is the one that is supposed to shorten the wick of the lifespan of Israeli democracy…Imagine a world in which it is simply impossible to appeal an arbitrary decision, sometimes clerical, sometimes administrative decisions. Here lies the very soul of democracy and that is exactly what they want to cut short. Not because our method went bankrupt. It did not go bankrupt. Not because there is an urgent national need. There is no such need. The reason is clear, simple, sharp as a razor: This is the only way to prevent the High Court of Justice from invalidating immunity granted if it is granted to a bribery suspect for reasons unrelated to the Immunity Law. The sole purpose is for the suspect of bribery to escape from justice...
Benny Gantz’s Party Must Ambush the Attorney General in His Office (Tzvia Greenfield, Haaretz+) The big question now is how we can enlist the greater public in foiling the prime minister’s plans to neutralize the Supreme Court. After all, it’s clear that Netanyahu’s aim is an Erdogan-type dictatorship, as the government’s opponents continue to dutifully supply the funds for it. Recruiting masses of people, certainly the 1.126 million who voted for Kahol Lavan (compared with the 1.14 million who voted for Likud) will be extremely difficult. The chances for an effective protest campaign are small. Other creative steps are necessary. Above all, there’s no choice but to think about Tel Aviv. Without the engine of Israel’s real capital, with all its businesses and entrepreneurs, Netanyahu and Israel can’t survive. Therefore, Tel Aviv, most of whose residents voted for Kahol Lavan and other opposition parties, must be enlisted to fill a key role in the struggle to prevent harm to the judicial system. The mission of Kahol Lavan’s leaders is to recruit the city’s leaders and major businesses to put intense (albeit discreet) pressure on Netanyahu. Something else that can be done immediately is to make clear to Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit the gravity of the effort to buy time or even totally postpone the proceedings against Netanyahu in the corruption cases against him. If, for example, all 35 Kahol Lavan legislators ambushed Mendelblit in his office and demanded that he immediately do what’s required of him, it would surely make an impression.
(High Court) Override Clause - the mistake of the elites (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth) There is the smell of war in the air. Serious people are threatening to halt legislative changes with their bodies. Lawyers from leading offices are organizing to prevent the ‘end of the democracy.’ At a conference in Nuremberg, Chief Justice Esther Hayut said, “Heads of the Nazi parties understood that in order to implement their racist ideology they need to use the law on their side.” And former chief justice Aharon Barak said in 2015 that “In Germany of the ’30’s, the court could not cancel laws…if Germany had a strong court and judicial review in those days, it would have been possible to stop Hitler.” Both of them are wrong. The German judges did not need to be recruited. They were already (supportive). We are not Germany and there is no connection between the Override Clause and the legislation in Germany. But on one thing there should be no dispute: All the justified claims against judicial activism and against the law enforcement authorities do not lead to the conclusion that theee is a need for a law that will prevent or postpone an indictment. We need a limiting clause to strengthen democracy and not an immunity law that will turn it into Turkey.
**Saar's silence, Alona's choice (Ron Kahlili, Haaretz Hebrew) Alona, ​​the daughter of (senior Likud MK) Gideon Sa'ar from his first marriage, is dating Arab actor Amir Khoury. The social media networks have rekindled the old debate: Is cross-border love (or religion) a political problem or a personal choice? And before anyone could blink, Bentzi Gopstein, the chairman of the LEHAVA organization and the person responsible for the purity of the race, rushed to offer his help. "We will learn together how to help Alona not detach herself from the golden chain of the Jewish people." Saar elegantly rejected the blatant intervention. "Alona, ​​my beloved daughter," he Tweeted, "is a private person. Get out of her private life!" But he seems unable to wash his hands clean. With cruel irony, one can say that the monster has attacked its creator. Years of state incitement, clear and deliberate, against Arabs, especially by his party, came down on him and turned him into a victim of the system of which he was among its perpetrators, albeit with thunderous silence. It's called poetic justice. If Sa'ar had come out in real time against the furious campaign of incitement that Binyamin Netanyahu waged throughout his years of rule - from "They are S-C-A-R-E-D," to "the Arabs are going in droves (to the polling stations)" - his natural request of "Get out of her private life," would have been received with some sympathy. But Sa'ar, who is waiting (in vain) to be appointed as minister of something affairs, did not bother (and still does not bother) to do so, because otherwise he would have been marked, G-d forbid, as a leftie Arab sympathizer or at the very least as a collaborator in the annihilation of the Jewish people. Now he is picking the fruit of his silence...We must remind Sa'ar: If the Jewish people needs a series of laws, punishments, and even shaming on social media networks in order to keep its sons and daughters inside the camp, it is worthwhile to think of two alternative paths: Either restore the Jewish crown to its former glory by making Judaism attractive, tolerant, and innovative as suits the 21st century, or get used to the fact that it won't last forever. Just as hundreds of peoples and communities have been erased throughout history, so too does the Jewish people march proudly to its end.
How alumni are revolutionizing the Israel debate on campus (Avi D. Gordon, Israel Hayom) Alumni can become the missing piece in countering bigotry, bringing years of practical and professional experience to the table.
Street Crime Isn't an Internal Matter for Israel's Arab Community (Haaretz Editorial) Arab legislators and local officials, along with social activists and clergymen, agree that the war on crime is the most burning issue in Arab society. But despite the many declarations and petitions to the prime minister, defense minister and law enforcement agencies, it doesn’t appear the picture is improving; on the contrary. Arabs often point to the gap between the police’s handling of security incidents and their handling of criminal incidents as proof that when the state wants to, it can operate its law enforcement agencies effectively. Only when offenders are caught and prosecuted will deterrence return, as well as the Arab community’s trust. None of this reduces the accountability of the Arab community and its leaders. They bear considerable responsibility in the social and educational spheres. But fighting crime and catching criminals is ultimately the state’s job.
Netanyahu's Iran Dilemma: Getting Trump to Act Without Putting Israel on the Front Line (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Even if Trump's instinct tells him it's best to avoid war with Iran, no one can be certain of his intentions - not even Netanyahu.
Iran's New Strategic Threat Against Israel (Yaniv Kubovich, Haaretz+) The possibility of closing the Bab al-Mandab and Hormuz straits pose a threat no less serious than those from Tehran and Hezbollah.
Don’t blame Israel for the Iran war scare (Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) Those who seek to make the Jews the scapegoat for a conflict between the U.S. and the ayatollah regime are just as wrong as those who failed to see the threat to peace presented by the Iran nuclear deal.
America Should Tread Carefully to Avoid Pushing Iraq Further Into Iran’s Orbit (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Iraq remains economically dependent on Iran which complicates Washington's hopes of forcing the country to adopt an actively anti-Iranian policy.
What will the Jewish world look like in 20 years? (Gary Schiff, Israel Hayom) If trends continue, in 20 years the majority of the world’s Jews will be living in Israel.
Oslo Is a Dirty Word. If I Were Norwegian I Would Petition to Change My Capital's Name (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) It’s very convenient for Israel that its calculated measures to destroy the Palestinians’ geographic space and wear down Palestinian society to the point of suicidal thoughts and dreams of emigration should forever remain wrapped in the mantle of cool, blond, Scandinavian respectability [reference to the Oslo Accords' - OH]. My obsession with “Oslo” as a code word for Israeli deceit and malice stems from my almost daily involvement with the bureaucracy these agreements created, in my role as correspondent for imperial affairs. Take, for instance, the story of the biscuits and other snacks produced by the company Sarayo al Wadiyeh in the Gaza Strip. Even before the blockade, the Oslo Accords created a complex system of Israeli-Palestinian bureaucracy. It requires a lot of patience and intervention by human rights groups to extract permits just to move a small quantity of people and goods. Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said that in principle, there’s no ban on selling nonagricultural products from Gaza outside the Strip, and that selling Gaza products in the West Bank is an internal Palestinian matter. But despite what COGAT claims, without knowing Israel’s regulations, without a signature and a permit from an Israeli official, and without explanations on how to move goods through the crossing Israel controls, Palestinian officials can’t move. The factory’s owners and Gisha tried their luck at the High Court of Justice. But Justice Uzi Vogelman accepted the state’s assertion that the problem was a Palestinian one, and that everything would be okay if the company just submitted its request to market biscuits in the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority. So here’s a reminder: If there’s one place where fake news is accepted as truth – even before Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked began threatening the justices – it’s at Israel’s highest court.

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