News Nosh 6.4.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday June 4, 2019

Quote of the day:
“If the Justice Ministry's department had related to the evidence like we do, they would have clearly seen that the police were responsible for the deaths of Abu al-Kiyan and Erez Levy, and for Odeh’s serious injuries. What we see is a persistent effort to manipulate the evidence, including the failure to provide evidence."
--Professor Eyal Weizman says new video footage categorically shows that it is the police who are responsible for the deaths of Bedouin resident Yakub Abu al-Kiyan and police officer Erez Levy and for the wounding of Arab lawmaker Ayman Odeh during the 2017 government eviction from and destruction of the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran - and that the police and the Justice Ministry could have reached that conclusion, as well.**

Breaking News:
Nechama Rivlin, Wife of Israeli President, Dies at 73, a day before her 74th birthday. (Haaretz+, Ynet, Israel Hayom)
Politicians from across political spectrum pay tribute to wife of President Reuven Rivlin

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Sources near Netanyahu: “MK Smotrich can forget about (becoming the) Justice (Minister)” after Smotrich declared his ambition that the judicial system be “according to the Torah, like in the days of King David”
  • Jewish law in practice // Chen Artzi-Srur
  • Netanyahu’s candidate was chosen: Matanyahu Englman is the next State Comptroller
  • The last one who survived - The hero of Sobibor passed away - Semyon Rosenfeld died at age 96
  • It’s Chinese to me - 70 high school students will take matriculation exam today in Chinese language - which has become a popular language among Israeli pupils (Hebrew)
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • Jewish law and action - MK Bezalel Smotrich expressed his ambition that the “country will return to being run like it did in the days of King David”
  • On the way to a comeback? “Barak considering running for Knesset on an independent list”
  • With votes from the opposition: Netanyahu’s candidate was chosen as State Comptroller
  • Refreshing change // Avishai Greenzweig
  • Honor of kings - Trump was received by Queen Elizabeth on his visit to England, which he began by Tweeting against London’s Mayor, Sadik Khan
  • Arabs surfing on Internet horrified by the Holocaust: “The biggest massacre in history”
Israel Hayom

Election News Summary:
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu won a victory when his candidate for state comptroller was elected by the Knesset - and Yedioth Hebrew reported that the Opposition wants to know who were the two opposition members who voted for him, and far right-wing MK Bezalel Smotrich called for Israel to be governed by biblical law - which Netanyahu rejected the idea and Israel Hayom reported that now Smotrich, whom MK Avigdor Lieberman called “a delusional hilltop boy,” has no chance of getting the job he coveted: Justice Minister - making top stories in today's Hebrew newspapers. (Interestingly, Israel Hayom did not report Smotrich’s controversial statement on its front page as all the other pages did, but focused on Netanyahu’s victory with the election of his choice of State Comptroller.)

Election Quickees:
  • Ahead of new Israeli election, Gantz rules out joint run with Labor Party (Haaretz)
  • "Ehud Barak is considering returning to the political arena and running at the head of an independent list" (Maariv)
  • Former PM Ehud Barak poised to announce Labor leadership bid (Israel Hayom)
  • Stav Shafir: "If there are open primaries, I will run for the leadership of the Labor Party" (Maariv)
  • Tal Russo announced: "I waive my saved (#2 spot in Labor party) and am considering running for the leadership of the party" (Maariv)
  • KAN 11 Report: The Likud agreed to the ultra-Orthodox demand to abolish the prohibition of gender segregation in public areas (Maariv)
  • New Election Will Delay Passage of Flagship Legislation of Right Wing (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu Postpones Nomination of Justice, Education Ministers, Assumes Their Roles (Haaretz+)

Other Military and Diplomatic News:
Oddly the second Israeli airstrike in Syria in as many days did not make big waves in the newspaper (Yedioth did not even report on it), even though five people were reportedly killed. Maariv’s military correspondent, Tal Lev-Ram, called Israel’s two consecutive days of airstrikes “an exceptional response” to the two rockets launched from Syria that hit Mt. Hermon. Ynet reported that the attack on the airbase came only hours after an Iranian airline plane used by Revolutionary Guards to smuggle weapons to their allies in Tehran, landed there.

In other news, which didn’t make headlines: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Jewish leaders in a closed conversation that US President Donald Trump's peace plan could be called ‘unexecutable,' The Palestinian Authority said Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ would eliminate the Palestinian cause, calling it ‘dangerous.’
“The Palestinian cause is being liquidated – no Jerusalem, no right of return for refugees, no sovereign state,” said a senior PA official. And Egyptian President Abdulfattah al-Sissi said Egypt won’t accept anything the Palestinians don't like. Then Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner riled the Palestinians saying, “Palestinians deserve self-determination, but it was uncertain they can govern themselves.” Kushner also said that the US slashed Palestinian aid as a result of decisions by the Palestinian leadership.That has resulted in Palestinian classrooms swelling from 30 to 50 students, due to lack of funds following the US withdrawal of support for UNRWA.

Quick Hits:
  • *New Footage Sheds Light on Fraught, Fatal 2017 Episode in Bedouin Village - U.K. forensic organization releases video of incident in which a Bedouin-Israeli resident and a Border Police officer were killed and an Arab lawmaker wounded, during the evacuation of Umm al-Hiran. Eyal Weizman, a professor of spatial and visual cultures at Goldsmiths, says Forensic Architecture's analysis categorically shows that Bedouin man, Abu al-Kiyan, was in no way motivated by terrorist intentions when he ran over Border Policeman; he had lost control of his vehicle after being shot, whereupon he bled to death because the security forces did not attend to him. Forensics Architecture will be displaying some of the images from its investigation at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, as part of its 2019 biennial, through September. (Haaretz+VIDEO)
  • Family That Found Missing Soldier's Body Must Be Paid $10 Million Reward, Israel's Top Court Rules - The state refused to pay the reward on the grounds that the Druze family had not been aware that the body was that of Majdi Halabi and had found it by accident. (Haaretz+, Israel Hayom and Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Planning Committee Approves Controversial Jerusalem Old City Cable Car - The plans for a Western Wall line, which must still be passed by the government, have been contested by many as an intrusive project linking East and West Jerusalem. (Haaretz+VIDEO and Maariv)
  • Culture Minister Slams Award-winning Documentary on Israeli Lawyer Who Defends Palestinians - Presenting the work of Lea Tsemel, who represents suspected terrorists, in a positive light 'is outrageous and deserving of condemnation,' Regev claims. (Haaretz+VIDEO)
  • Bereaved families outraged after documentary about attorney defending terorrists wins prize - “Shocked, horrified” families of terror victims say in a letter to Culture Minister Miri Regev that by funding a prize for a film about infamous attorney Lea Tsemel, the state “spit in our faces.” (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel destroys last Hezbollah tunnel from Lebanon - The IDF has "now completed" Operation Northern Shield and "it is safe to say that there are no more Hezbollah cross-border attack tunnels from Lebanon into Israel," IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus says. (Israel Hayom)
  • Teams who exposed Hezbollah tunnels awarded Israel Defense Prize - The defense establishment’s highest honor to recognize the intelligence, technological and operational effort that discovered and neutralized a grid of terror tunnels burrowing under the Israel-Lebanon border. Mossad team that brought Iranian nuclear archive to Israel also honored. (Israel Hayom)
  • VIEW: Undercover Border Guard forces arrest youth throwing Molotov cocktails in the heart of the Shuafat refugee camp in E. Jerusalem - Border Police officers seize ‘red-handed’ two suspects, aged 16 and 20, who were documented in real time throwing bottles at a security patrol. The commander of the force: "dangerous activity that requires mainly staying cool.” After the arrest, riots broke out in the refugee camp, which included throwing stones at the forces, who responded with crowd dispersal means. (Maariv+VIDEO)
  • Smartwatches to help IDF troops locate terrorists in time - New digital initiative to outfit troops in Judea and Samaria with smartwatch devices that will alert them to suspicious movements nearby, giving them a few extra seconds to neutralize terrorists before they attack. Devices will get real-time intelligence without having to wait for analysis. (Israel Hayom)
  • Collapsing Environmental State of Gaza Poses Threat to Israel's National Security, Report Warns - Sewage dumping and air pollution could severely effect desalination plants and smog levels, experts say, warning none of Gaza's groundwater will be fit for human use by next year. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu said to offer UN ambassador post to Gilad Erdan - Public security minister mum on report, has previously turned down job; current UN envoy Danny Danon’s term set to expire this summer. (Maariv and Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Gas Giant Delek Hopes to Begin Exports to Egypt in June - The export of $15 billion in natural gas from Israeli offshore fields is being called the most significant deal to emerge since the two countries made peace in 1979. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Leader of Sobibor Death Camp Rebellion Dies in Israel at 96 - Of the 300 who attempted the perilous escape from Sobibor camp, only 50 eventually survived the Holocaust. Semyon Rozenfeld was one. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Israel destroys last Hezbollah tunnel from Lebanon - The army showed the tunnel, discovered in Operation Northern Shield, to reporters Monday, saying it was almost a mile long and 22 stories deep under the Israel-Lebanon border. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Trump Tells Russia, Syria and Iran to 'STOP' 'Bombing the Hell Out of Idlib Province in Syria' - Trump in September of 2018 also called for an end to violence in Idlib, saying at the time that he learned about the crisis from a woman at a rally. (Haaretz)
  • Explained Syrian crisis: Russia, Turkey and Assad do battle in Idlib with millions of lives hanging in the balance - An all-out offensive by Syrian government forces to capture Idlib in northwestern Syria from insurgents could unleash an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, for the area is home to 3 million people. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Qatar Rips Saudi Summits Over Iran as Hope of Reconciliation Diminishes - 'They adopted Washington policy towards Iran, rather than a policy that puts neighborhood with Iran into consideration,' said Qatar's foreign minister. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Thanks to Salah: Decrease in hatred of Islam on the streets of Liverpool - A study published by the Institute for Immigration Policy in Zurich reveals that the rate of Islamophobia in the English port city has fallen by almost 20% since the Egyptian striker joined the team. One of the reasons: English public is showing a positive attitude towards Salah's religious lifestyle, and especially his habit of praying on his knees after he scores a goal. (Maariv)

Election Commentary/Analysis:
Not the Palestinians, the Economy or Even Netanyahu: Election Will Test Israel's Jewish Character (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) Far-right leader has unleashed a firestorm with his comments on Jewish theocracy, making September 17 much more than another referendum on Netanyahu's leadership.
I'm a former Netanyahu advisor voting for Liberman (Shai Bazak, Yedioth/Ynet) The Yisrael Beytenu leader alone has stood up to the ultra-Orthodox parties imposing their way on Israeli society, while the party of Netanyahu accepted their endless demands that put the country at risk of losing its liberal way of life.
The damage done (Dr. Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) If the Right hopes to win the coming election, it must put an end to the multiplicity of political parties and interests and present a united front. Now is the time to put egos aside.
Do not turn right: Kahol-Lavan can stop hiding its left-wing parts (Dr. Revital Amiran, Maariv) If the party of Lapid and Gantz wants to win the game, it has to find a unique field. It can be found in partnership with the Labor Party.
Right-wing leaders, do not betray your base (Dr. Eitan Orkibi, Israel Hayom) Any political framework that does not see all the parties to the right of the Likud unite ahead of the election will expose the nationalist camp to the same blow it endured following the last election. But this time, the blow will be fatal.
The right wing in Israel is in a deep crisis (Meron Rapoport, +972mag) Snap elections just weeks after Israelis went the polls are the result of a rivalry between Liberman and Netanyahu, but that’s just part of the story. The right is immersed in a crisis of identity, leadership, and politics.
Trump has a better handle on Israel than anyone (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) The markets are making a big mistake in assuming it will be business as usual after the elections. The end of the Bibi era is going to leave Israel ‘messed up.’
"What's happening in Israel? It's terrible": The feeling of alienation among American Jews is getting worse (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) The election crisis in Israel was greeted with shock among members of the Jewish American community who don’t know how to swallow this frog.
Jared Kushner Just Killed the Palestinian Peace Camp (Muhammad Shehada, Haaretz+) 'Incapable' of governing themselves: Kushner's condescending slur betrays the Palestinians who have backed negotiations, and boosted the most violent and extreme voices in Palestine.
A century later, Trump’s deal for Palestine is no better than Britain’s (Jonathan Adler, +972mag) The British left Palestine in 1948 with their tail between their legs, having laid the groundwork for 100 years of conflict. With people like Trump and Kushner leading the way, we should expect nothing better for our own century.
Arab world summit reveals end of unity facade (Smadar Perry, Yedioth/Ynet) Trump's peace plan brought Muslim and Arab politicians together, but while they all agree that a Palestinian state is a must, they don't seem to be prepared to do much to make it a reality.
Israel Must Put an End to Bedouin Village Blood Libel (Haaretz Editorial) Israel must apologize formally to the family of Yakub Abu al-Kiyan and compensate it for his death. The state must also retract the blood libel it spread about the teacher from Umm al-Hiran. All this is required by the release of the final conclusions of an investigation into the January 2017 eviction of the village’s residents, during which Abu al-Kiyan and Erez Levi, an Israeli police officer, were killed. “Our analysis shows unequivocally that this wasn’t a terror attack or anything resembling one,” said Prof. Eyal Weizman, whose Forensic Architecture agency at Goldsmiths, University in London, investigated the incident. Weizman explained that Abu al-Kiyan hit Levi with his car because he lost control of it after being shot and wounded. As a result, Abu al-Kiyan bled to death, without any of the policemen lifting a finger to help him. This fact underscores the importance of the incident with MK Ayman Odeh, Weizman added, “since he and other activists were nearby and sought to reach [Abu al-Kiyan] to give him first aid, which could have saved his life. Odeh’s who was injured in the incident, said that he was hit by a sponge-tipped bullet at the scene. Weizman blamed the Justice Ministry department, saying that had its personnel “dealt with the evidence the way we dealt with it, they would have seen clearly that the police were responsible for the deaths of Abu al-Kiyan and Erez Levi, as well as for Odeh’s serious injuries.” Instead, he continued, “What we saw was an ongoing attempt to manipulate the evidence, including by not handing over evidence.” Given the results of this investigation, Israel must officially clear Abu al-Kiyan of all guilt and apologize to his family for the false accusations hurled at him. It must also compensate the family for the fact that he was shot, wounded and bled to death without being offered medical care that might have saved his life as well as for the smearing of his reputation and his memory, which exacerbated the crime of his killing. Finally, it must investigate everyone involved, both those who fired and those who perpetrated the cover-up, and see to the prosecution of everyone responsible for the scandalous handling of this painful affair.
The Gog and Magog War: Researchers and Shin Bet chiefs fear the worst scenario (Prof. Moshe Maoz, Maariv) The common denominator among Muslims around the world is the opposition to Israeli Jewish control of East Jerusalem, and the deep fear among them of the destruction of the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, and the establishment of a (Jewish) Holy Temple on their ruins.
Israel's civilian military dictatorship (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) Thanks to a prolonged election season, the cabinet is a rubber stamp and the Knesset is dissolved, leaving just Netanyahu – who is both prime minister and defense minister – making decisions regarding army operations.
The shortening fuse: The Temple Mount is a powerful explosive that is getting worse (Yossi Melman, Maariv) We again received a reminder of how sensitive and volatile the issue of the Temple Mount is, while the government is not functioning, and the one who decides is a single person, a person who is subject to a totally different issue - the election campaign.
Rosa Luxemburg’s Specter in a Palestinian Refugee Camp (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) Last week, the Shin Bet security service thwarted a mega-attack. At the last minute, it prevented 34-year-old Huriya from leaving the Gaza Strip to accompany her father to a Palestinian hospital in Jerusalem. Who is Huriya? How would her departure from Gaza endanger Israeli Jews’ security? The Shin Bet failed to explain that. But once again, treatment has been delayed for a man whose cancer has recurred after a six-year remission. But once again, treatment has been delayed for a man whose cancer has recurred after a six-year remission. Granted, another family has been living in tension for more than two months between the father’s pain and the hope of an exit permit. But we’re living happily, in the cozy darkness of having someone who knows and decides everything. He made a new doctor’s appointment and submitted a new request for an exit permit. But when the day of the appointment arrived, he still hadn’t received an answer – neither a yes nor a no. Such procrastination is typical. On the morning of the appointment, I asked the Shin Bet and the spokespeople at Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories how Ashour endangered the public welfare. I was told he could exit. Immediately. The permit was waiting for him at the Erez checkpoint.
How collapse of communism 30 years ago benefited Israel (Sever Plocker, Yedioth/Ynet) A series of events that began in Poland's industrial heartland sparked an unprecedented global revolution that bore Israel great fruit and shaped the Jewish state the way it is today.
Will Secular Israelis Be Left Alone in the Dark? (Roni Bar, Haaretz+) The vending machine at Meir Hospital in Kfar Sava contains various types of snacks, but if a customer tries to use it on Shabbat, it refuses to release its wares. The petition against the ban on bringing leavened bread products into hospitals on Passover is still awaiting decisions by the High Court of Justice. Meanwhile, Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Aryeh Stern has asked the city’s mayor, Moshe Leon, to order the removal of the rainbow flags hung along the route of the planned Gay Pride Parade. In schools, as Channel 12 News has reported, the warmer weather is once again putting the focus on dress codes for girls. The chairman of the National Union party, Bezalel Smotrich, is demanding that the prime minister give him the job of justice minister and said yesterday, “Israel, the state of the Jewish people, will with God’s help once again be run the way it was in the days of King David and King Solomon.” These are four examples just from the past week….
Stepping inside the shoes of occupation deniers (Tom Pessah, +972mag) Does watching acts of human rights abuses change the way people think about the conflict? A new film challenges us to put ourselves in the shoes of our political rivals in order to change their minds.
Democracy is not dead: Choosing Engelman as State Comptroller was an appropriate and healthy decision (Avishai Greenzweig, Maariv) It is not clear on what basis the assumption is based that only retired judges in the High Court or the District Court are eligible for the post of comptroller. Also, in my view, the State Comptroller is not supposed to serve as the long arm of police investigations unit or the State Attorney's Office. Therefore, it would be better to make a clear distinction between criticism, whose function is to ensure economic and organizational efficiency, and criticism aimed at catching criminals. (NOTE: The other candidate wasn’t a judge either. Greenzweig’s Op-Ed does not explain why choosing Netanyahu’s candidate was more appropriate than choosing Gideon Rom. - OH)
How Can Israel Keep Neglecting One of the Most Important Cities in the World? (Naama Riba, Haaretz+) The government has abandoned Jerusalem’s historic buildings, which could have drawn huge numbers of tourists. That demonstrates not love of the land, but hatred.

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