News Nosh 6.6.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday June 6, 2019

You Must Be Kidding: 
"Super Trump, Jerusalem's prince. Super Trump, to the skies he will reach."
--Chorus of song by Jerusalem's Boys Choir, hailing US President Donald Trump as a savior.**

Front Page:
  • Netanyahu asked again to postpone his hearing - and appointed Ohana as Justice Minister
  • In judicial language // Yossi Verter
  • Rivlin: “I got to be the partner of the wife of the President of the State”
  • Following change in law, the (volunteer job positions) were revoked from a non-profit organization that helps foreign workers and Palestinians (Hebrew)
  • Rule of Abu Dhabi has for years been considered an ally of the US. Now he is advancing his own agenda // NYT
  • Israel Rails Authority employees will receive training to prevent suicides on the rails at the stations
  • YouTube declared it would remove thousands of racist videos and channels
  • Scientists from Israel and Arab states are acting to save the coral of the Red Sea
  • Artists in the dark // Zehava Galon
  • The cleavage is gone // In 1959, an MK from an ultra-Orthodox party proposed a bill to require women to dress modestly. They laughed at him then. And today? // Sharon Geva
  • About half of the ultra-Orthodox recruits drop out of the vocational training tracks - and go to work unskilled
Yedioth Ahronot
  • Goodbye, my love (Photo of President Reuven Rivlin leaned over the casket of his wife, Nechama, with his arm around his grandson
  • The appointment and the storm - Netanyahu appointed Amir Ohana as Justice Minister
  • “Hamas is deterred”: The arrogant speech of the chief of Military Intel // Yossi Yehoshua
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • “A battle on Gaza is possible” - On the way to politics: Gen. (res.) Yair Golan in a sharp interview
  • Amir Ohana Minister of Justice; Dispute between (Habayit Hayehudi leaders) Peretz and Smotrich
  • Ideology? The Kahol-Lavan hill is not answering // Amnon Lord
  • “I got to be the partner of the wife of the President of the State”
  • The happy holiday: Israel - world champion in yields of cow’s milk
  • Hunt after the stabber: Ramat Hasharon resident attacked with shouts of ‘Allah Akbar’
  • Another spoke in the deficit: Deviated by 0.9% from the government target

Elections 2019 News:
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appointed as the new justice minister Likud MK Amir Ohana, who is supportive of the immunity bill, making Ohana the first LGBQT minister of Israel (and great timing - the day before Jerusalem’s Gay Pride Parade) and infuriating the far-right-wing MK Bezalel Smotrich who wanted the job for himself, and Netanyahu also asked the Attorney General again for another postponement of his pre-indictment hearing (which the Attorney General refused today) - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers alongside the funeral for Nechama Rivlin, the adored wife of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. Nechama was buried on what would have been her 74th birthday at the cemetery at Mount Herzl, which is for leaders of the country.

In Key Security and Diplomacy News:
The IDF’s Intel chief Gen. Tamir Hayman ‘arrogantly boasted’ (Yedioth’s military analyst Yossi Yehoshua wrote) in regards to Hezbollah, Hamas and Russian involvement in the region. Hayman said that Israel “didn’t need Nasrallah to tell us the details of (Hezbollah’s) precise missiles project. We know better than he does.” Yehoshua noted that Israel said for years that the IDF claimed Hezbollah wasn’t digging tunnels into Israel from Lebanon and it did. Hayman said that “Hamas was very deterred from war.” Yet the papers reported that Gaza officials warned again of another escalation over Israel's ‘foot-dragging' in implementing the ceasefire agreements. And Yedioth’s Yehoshua reminded that Hayman’s predecessors said the same about deterrence in the past and were proven wrong. He noted that since March 2018 Hamas has held at least 10 rounds of fighting with Israel, each more powerful than the last. He wrote sarcastically that “in the last month it became clear that Hamas and the Jihad are so deterred that they launched in 2 days a record number of rockets, some 700, and caused the deaths of four Israeli civilians.”

Hayman’s third declaration could get Israel into trouble with the Russians, wrote Yehoshua. Hayman said that the Russians are creating friction in order to solve them and in that way make themselves relevant. Yehoshua noted that the IDF and the political echelons are careful of the Russians sense of honor, and not just to preserve Israel’s freedom of action in Syria against Iran. In Israel they believe that and are working hard to solve the crisis over the downing of the Russian plane last September. Hayman statement comes on the eve of an Israel-Russia-US meeting that is expected to deal with the future of Syria. Hayman also spoke about Iran, which he said that despite Iran boasting otherwise, Tehran may fail to develop a nuclear bomb. Hayman said US economic sanctions against Iran were preventing Iran's entrenchment in Syria and US pressure on Lebanon to disconnect from Hezbollah has hurt Hezbollah. Meanwhile, a Syrian general with ties to Hezbollah and Iran was assassinated by unknown assailants in Syria, the IDF is now completing the formation of an incredibly broad intelligence-gathering apparatus with the goal of thwarting Hezbollah and German lawmakers are set to debate a full ban on Hezbollah.

On the Palestinian Authority front, Palestinian Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh said the Palestinian Authority could collapse by August if a financial standoff with Israel were not resolved. In an interview with the New York Times,
if a financial standoff with Israel isn’t resolved. "We are collapsing, we will soon have no way of paying salaries so we will have to send security personnel home,” he warned. Shtayyeh also criticized the Trump administration for touting the upcoming Bahrain conference as focused on improving Palestinian economy, while withdrawing US funds to Palestinians. (Also Maariv) But US Mideast Envoy Jason Greenblatt responded saying the Palestinian leadership was to blame for Palestinians’ economic woes. Meanwhile, US lawmakers were pushing a bipartisan bill for $50 million in Palestinian aid for economic development and Israeli-Palestinian coexistence programs - among the programs hurt by the US cuts to begin with.

Reporting in the West Bank:
On a totally different subject, here is how differently - and sometimes badly - the Hebrew newspapers reported on arsons in the West Bank:

Fact: Two weeks ago, the settlers and the IDF accused the Palestinians of arson for a fire that raged in fields in the northern West Bank, between the villages of Urif, Burin, Asira al-Qibliya and Yitzhar settlement.
Fact: Settlers set fire to the fields. B'Tselem showed a video and the IDF ate its words. (Also Haaretz+)
Fact: One of the arsonists was a soldier. He was arrested Tuesday.
Fact: In the same incident, four soldiers stood among settlers while the settlers from Yitzhar threw rocks at homes in the Palestinian village of Asira al-Qabliya. Haaretz posted the video that documented it.
Fact: The Israeli army recently put up a barrier fence separating Yitzhar from neighboring Urif after a video showed a group of about 12 masked Israelis storming into the village and throwing rocks at a Palestinian family. The mother was seen struggling to protect her baby from the onslaught of rocks.
Fact: Wednesday, a fire raged in an olive grove in the northern West Bank, between the village of Jalud and the settlement of Shilo, in an apparent arson.  A Palestinian was evacuated for medical treatment after inhaling smoke.
Ynet English reported only that “Firefighters are battling a blaze deliberately started in West Bank” Ynet Hebrew reported as fact that the Palestinians did it: “Filmed: Palestinians set field in Binyamin (settler name of region) on fire” and showed a video with dark figures running from smoke in a haphazard grove of trees in the direction of Jalud village. But Haaretz reported that Israel Firefighters said there were two fires, and people were seen running from the place of one of them and for that reason they thought it might be an arson. Haaretz interviewed a Palestinian man from Jalud village, who said that the grove was his from the time of his grandfather and that this was the third time settlers set it on fire. He said that on Wednesday morning, children from the village said they were attacked by settlers, who later continued on to set fire to the grove. “We went down from the village to see what was going on, and saw Israeli cars as well as security cars of the nearby settlements. We started putting out the fire with our hands." Al-Hamad said some 400 trees in his grove burnt down, out of approximately 1,500. Maan Arabic reported that settlers from the outposts of Adei Ad and Ahiya (near Shilo) set fire to the agricultural fields of the village of Jalud. A Palestinian official monitoring settlements said citizens were trying to control the fire.
Fact: Wednesday, settlers were filmed throwing stones at a Palestinian home and car in the northern West Bank village of Yasuf, about 30 minutes north of Jalud. Haaretz posted the video. Ynet wrote simply that several vehicles were damaged in “suspected” settler attack in village of Yasuf.
Fact: Today, Thursday, a fire raged in fields in the northern West Bank, apparently an arson. The Jerusalem Post suggested the fire was started by Palestinians, by naming the area as belonging to the settlers: “The hills of Itamar in the West Bank were blanketed in fire Thursday morning…This is the fourth fire in the area in the last two days. Residents are calling it arson.”
Quick Hits:
  • Hebrew University professor calls [semi-fascist - OH] Zionist student activists ‘Nazi dogs’ - Professor Amiram Goldblum made the remarks in the comments section of an article about a new website launched by right-wing Zionist group Im Tirtzu that lists Israeli professors who teach at publicly funded universities yet engage in “anti-democratic, anti-Zionist” activity.  Goldblum reportedly threatened to photograph the Im Tirtzu activists so “teachers know whom they shouldn't accept to advanced degrees.” (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel Wants to Cut Length of Army Service, Reduce Pensions to Lower Budget - The state spends more on the military than any other Western country, Finance Ministry notes, but army is worried it won't be able to keep quality recruits. (Haaretz+)
  • As a result of change in law, National Civil Service Authority revoked the positions for non-profit organization that assists foreign workers and Palestinians - The Authority announced that it would not renew the volunteer positions allocated to Kav La'Oved Workers' Hotline over the past 15 years, claiming that it is mainly assisting the Palestinians and that its activities are not in the area of welfare. Kav La'Oved: We hope this is a mistake and not an attempt to exclude us for political reasons. (Haaretz Hebrew)
  • Dr. Miriam Adelson awarded honorary doctorate from Bar-Ilan University - Adelson, who is the publisher of Israel Hayom, says she is proud of what she has achieved for the Jewish people and the world of medicine. Israel Hayom Editor-in-Chief Boaz Bismuth presents Adelson with a special Israel Hayom front page, featuring an article about her and her work. (Israel Hayom)
  • Stabbing in Ramat Hasharon: Possibly a criminal incident by unstable Jewish man - A relative of the 46-year-old man who was wounded in the street in the city, told Maariv that the stabbler shouted "Allahu Akbar". But from the investigation it appears to be a mentally unstable Jewish man, known to the police. Hunt for stabber continues. (Maariv, Haaretz, Ynet and Yedioth, p. 17)
  • German lawmakers set to debate full ban on Hezbollah - Hezbollah’s goal is the destruction of Israel and the Jews, and we should not be offering a safe haven for them to hide in Germany and finance their armed struggle in Lebanon against Israel from our territory," senior AfD MP Beatrix von Storch says. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel's intelligence giant deployed to thwart Hezbollah - Iranian-backed terror group is attempting to build infrastructure for operations on Israel-Syria border, worrying Israelis who understand that while they are still in early stages, they pose a later threat. (Ynet)
  • Report: Syrian general with ties to Hezbollah, Iran, assassinated - Brig. Gen. Jamal al-Ahmad was gunned down by unknown assailants in the Sweida area in southwest Syria. Al-Ahmad was among a group of Syrian officers tasked with maintaining ties with Hezbollah and its Golan Heights commander. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli Intel Chief: U.S. Sanctions Are Preventing Iran's Entrenchment in Syria - Maj. Gen. Tamir Hayman also says Hezbollah has been hurt by American pressure on Lebanon to disconnect from the group. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Scientists Join Colleagues From Sudan, Saudi Arabia to Save Red Sea Corals - The new center located in Bern, Switzerland, will study the Red Sea corals’ resistance to both global and local threats. (Haaretz+)
  • Jerusalem Municipality Orders Removal of Anti-gay Billboards - Organization invoking 'courage to be normal' attempted to 'urgently' appeal the order, but ended up with court fines. (Haaretz+)
  • Caught Between the Moon, Iran and Saudi Arabia: Muslims Divided Over Ramadan's End - Saudi Arabia announced the sighting of the crescent moon, marking the start of Eid al-Fitr, but some disagree ■ Worshipers in Israel and the Palestinian territories began celebrating three-day holiday on Wednesday. (Haaretz+)
  • PA police use force to prevent Eid al-Fitr celebration in Hebron - Palestinian Authority along with Jordanand Egypt ruled that Eid al-Fitr would begin Wednesday, but countries like Saudi Arabia, ruled that the Ramadan ended Monday and Eid al-Fitr would begin Tuesday. “The Palestinian police committed a crime against dozens of worshipers,” said a Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman in Hebron. “We didn’t break any ruling and our decision to end the Ramadan fast was legitimate.” (JPost)
  • Palestinian public furious over secret 67% pay raise for ministers - Leaks of salary hikes come during Ramadan, a time of great expense for struggling families, renewing outrage among Palestinians who have long seen their leaders as out of touch and rife with corruption. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • **WATCH: Jerusalem Boys Choir Hails Trump as 'Jerusalem's Prince' - Children sing praise for 'Super Trump' in a video montage of the U.S. president. (Haaretz)
  • Ireland’s Eurovision Contestant Said She Got Threats and Abuse for Performing in Israel - Sarah McTernan, 25, told the Irish Sun over the weekend that 'I got hundreds of threats...It did freak me out’. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Florida Removes Airbnb From Blacklist After Company Rolls Back Ban on West Bank - Airbnb lifted their previous ban on listing properties in Israeli settlements after being sued by two groups of U.S. Jewish plaintiffs. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • On the Run From Revolutionary Guards, Iranian Lingerie Model Ends Up on the Streets of Paris - Negzzia got into trouble in her home country when a photographer gave police partially nude photos of her. But that was only the beginning. (Haaretz+)
  • IMF expects global financial turnout at U.S.-led Palestinian conference - International Monetary Fund says it and other institutions going to Bahrain; Palestinians to shun June 25-26 meeting, claiming pro-Israel bias; White House hopes meeting is prelude to Mideast peace plan rollout. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • 'A great betrayal of the Islamic world': Iran urges Gulf rivals not to back US peace plan - Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei slams Saudi Arabia and Bahrain for supporting U.S. Middle East peace plan in live address during Eid al-Fitr prayers, ahead of economic workshop initiated by U.S., boycotted by Palestinians. (i24NEWS, Ynet)
  • Report: Iran planning to arm Palestinians in Judea and Samaria - Former Revolutionary Guards commander Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi "blesses" process of supplying the Palestinians with upgraded weapons, says Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei predicts "Zionist regime will disappear." (Israel Hayom)
  • Iranian drones hit in alleged IAF Syria strike - Satellite images taken by Israeli intel company at airbase reportedly targeted by Israel reveal damage to site, including damage to UAV components shipped into the country by Iran just hours earlier. (Ynet)
  • Iran 'weaponizing uranium enrichment without making a weapon,' former top UN watchdog official says - Israel not the only country that should worry about a nuclear Iran, ex-IAEA deputy chief says in Tel Aviv, while Trump warns 'there's always chance' of armed conflict. (Haaretz)
  • Iran accuses Israel's Mossad of 'fabricating' intel on Tehran's role in Gulf tanker attacks - Iran's Foreign Minister blames Israel for pushing Washington to accuse Tehran of tanker attacks in tweet; Zarif: 'we know what happens when you believe their lies.’ (i24NEWS, Ynet)
  • U.S. hopeful for Russian support on Iran at key Israel meeting - In the national security leaders meeting this month, to prevent any unintended military escalation in Syria, administration officials see significance in Russia willing to hold talks publicly. (Ynet)
  • U.S. shared sensitive nuclear power info with Saudi Arabia after Khashoggi killed - Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia, where Jamal Khashoggi lived, called the timing of the approvals 'shocking.’ (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • U.S. lawmakers to push back against Trump on Saudi weapons sales - The Arms Export Control Act gives Congress the right to vote on whether to stop major weapons sales by passing a resolution of disapproval. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • How the Saudi-led Qatar boycott transformed the tiny emirate's economy - Saudi-led boycott left Qatar scrambling to secure food in 2017 and encouraged local producers to grow quickly. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Saudi Arabia Says It Flew Iranian From 'Hostile' Ship to Hospital - Saudi military spokesman says evacuation of wounded enemy soldier was done 'according to what is dictated by our Islamic religion and human values.’ (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • From Russia to Saudi Arabia: What Are the Worst Countries for Gay Rights? - A list of the world's worst countries to be LGBTQ. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Eight Egyptian security personnel killed in attack in north Sinia - Egypt state TV - Five militants were also killed Wednesday in the attack at a checkpoint in north Sinai, Egypt state TV said. (Ynet)

Notes From Gaza Child Beggars Are the Face of Poverty in the Gaza Strip
The Israeli blockade, the sanctions imposed by the Palestinian Authority and additional taxes imposed by Hamas are making the situation more dire. (Rima Fathi, Haaretz+)

Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
From Gofer to Nemesis: Why the Man Who Helped Put Netanyahu in Power Is Now Taking Him Down (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Likud’s rising star, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his loyal right-hand man were inseparable in the 1990s. But Avigdor Lieberman’s goal was always to be the power behind the throne — of whoever was king.
It is better that high-tech people invest money in what could lead to the replacement of the government in the coming elections (Ran Adelist, Maariv) Instead of signing a petition to rectify the situation, each of the high-tech sharks should put half of their capital in order to propel an effective, destructive election campaign.
The Left has worn itself out hating Netanyahu (Galit Distel Etebarya, Israel Hayom) The prime minister's economic policies are benefiting members of the Israeli Left, most of whom live in expensive areas. But they won't admit it, and tear down anyone who dares praise the object of their hatred.
Restore the Joint List (Haaretz Editorial) The support from Hadash-Ta’al and United Arab List-Balad for the law that dissolved the Knesset – in contrast to the other center-left parties who voted against it – stemmed first and foremost from the internal political considerations of the four parties that make up the two slates. All of them saw new elections as a window of opportunity to correct the errors that resulted in their relatively poor showing in the April 9 elections to the 21st Knesset. The low voter turnout in the Arab community (49 percent), a third of whom voted for non-Arab parties, primarily Meretz, was a clear warning sign for the two parties. The parties won only 10 seats in the Knesset compared to 13 in the previous Knesset, when they ran as the Joint List. Tens of thousands of voters who brought about this great achievement in 2015 said no to the internal political power struggles that led to the alliance’s demise.
Note to Leftists Who Voted Kahol Lavan (Dmitry Shumsky, Haaretz+) As Raviv Drucker wrote last week (Haaretz, May 28), Yoaz Hendel and Zvi Hauser, the most prominent rightists in Kahol Lavan, privately offer political explanations for their absence from the opposition demonstration in Tel Aviv due to the inclusion of Hadash-Ta’al leader Ayman Odeh among the speakers, saying it’s not possible to recruit others from the right to the cause if Odeh is on stage. Yet such tactical considerations are not sufficient to explain Hendel and Hauser’s discomfort with the participation of a representative of Palestinian Israeli citizens in a protest by the Israeli center and left. It was, above all, their “inner voice” that made them unable to bear the presence of a Palestinian Israeli in Israel’s public political sphere – just as Nicholas II’s inner voice instructed him in 1906 to continue excluding Russian Jews from Russia’s social and political spheres.
Smotrich and Lieberman have joined forces (Amnon Lord, Israel Hayom) Bezalel Smotrich is afraid of the serious attempts being made in recent days to unify the religious-nationalist camp, which is why he is helping Avigdor Lieberman stir the hornet's nest of religious-secular divisions.
Voter Fatigue and Empowered Extremists: The Possible Effects of Israel's Constant Elections (Noa Landau, Haaretz+) Israeli citizens will head to the polls on September 17 for the third (and even fourth) time within less than 11 months.
This Is How a Likud Backbencher Got Netanyahu to Appoint Him Justice Minister (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) There was no greater supporter to amend the Immunity Law for Netanyahu or to pass an override clause than Amir Ohana, who is also close to Yair Netanyahu.

Thanks McDonald’s for Reminding Israel There Is a Green Line, and Even a Red Line (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) By refusing to open branches in the settlements, McDonald’s took a step very few companies are willing to take, but that all companies should have taken long ago.
The Bahrain conundrum (Israel Kasnett, Israel Hayom) Will the Trump administration succeed in its first phase of Arab-Israeli peacemaking?
What will Trump and Netanyahu pay Putin to join their anti-Iran camp? (Daniel B. Shapiro, Haaretz+) The first ever trilateral meeting between U.S., Russian and Israeli national security advisers could be a gamechanger on pushing Iran's military out of Syria. But at what cost - and who will pay.
I will miss my friend Nechama Rivlin very much (David Grossman, Yedioth/Ynet) As the country says goodbye to its first lady, renowned author David Grossman remembers his dear friend, her simplicity and her smile, as she is laid to rest in Jerusalem.
The funeral only underscored how much Nechama Rivlin was a modest and exemplary woman (Danny Neuman, Maariv) The wife of the president who passed away was to me "the beautiful Eretz Israel" and all without mannerisms, with the human warmth she radiated and direct sabra talk at eye level.
In Istanbul, Turkey’s anti-Erdogan Opposition Is Becoming a Dangerous Cult (Simon A. Waldman, Haaretz+) The Turkish pro-democracy opposition desperately needs to defeat Erdogan. But not by building up their candidate, Ekrem Imamoglu, as an infallible 'savior.'

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