News Nosh 6.12.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday June 12, 2019
 
Quote of the day:
“It doesn’t need to matter to anyone what my ethnicity is and what my name is.”
--Newly acquired soccer player of Beitar Jerusalem soccer team, Ali Mohammed, responded to the team's anti-Arab fan club, which opposes the use of his name at the stadium and only agrees to him playing because he is Christian, not Muslim.*


Breaking News:
Syria says air defenses thwarted another Israeli strike in south of country
State news agency claims it shot down missiles in the strategic Tal al-Hara area which overlooks the Golan Heights and that Israel caused electronic interference in Syrian military's radars. (Haaretz, Maariv and Ynet)

Front Page:
Haaretz
  • (Public Security) Minister Erdan’s date books reveal: Mossad involved in activities against the boycott movement
  • Israel pressuring German government to define BDS as anti-Semitic
  • Crisis between Turkey and US could affect Israel’s security deals // Amos Harel
  • Despite the Palestinian boycott, Jordan and Egypt will participate in Bahrain conference
  • [MAIN PHOTO: Jordan's King Abdullah at a ceremony in Amman marking the anniversary Monday of the Arab Revolt against the Ottomans]
  • From the statements against the left-wing to the dismissal of Tzipi Livni: This is how Avi Gabbay lost the Labor party // Jonathan Liss
  • A young MK or a long-time general: Who will replace Gabbay as the head of the Labor party
  • Report: N. Korea is forcing children and their relatives to watch public executions // Guardian
  • Ministry of Finance recommends giving Uber approval to operate in Israel
  • New York Times will stop publishing political cartoons
  • Polluting the process // Sami Peretz on Netanyahu’s attempts to get immunity
  • Ultra-Orthodox Jews from reality // Yuval Karniel on the community’s fear that their youth will be exposed to liberal culture
  • High demand - First privatization of an electric power station has begun. State hopes to make billion shekel profit
  • 1/4 page ad: From at-risk to opportunity - The Ono Academy Jerusalem campus invites you to a conference on the subject of youth at risk in E. Jerusalem - June 13, 2019
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Recommendation: Indict Ganor on corruption charges - Police recommend putting on trial the former state witness in the submarines corruption affair (Case 3000) (Hebrew)
  • From the defeat to the casino - Did members of Israel’s national soccer team go to the casino after the defeat against Poland?
  • Special project - New at the polling station - These are the new voters who just turned 18 (Hebrew)
  • Flying for grandpa - Ariel Sharon’s grandson will get his wings in two weeks
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Bahrain summit: The Palestinians are isolated - Despite Palestinian boycott, Arab states stand by Trump: “We will attend the conference”
  • The key to (political) survival: Mergers // Mati Tuchfeld
  • The people and the book - Launch of Book Week
  • Judge Landoy to Peres in ’96: Court has no reason to intervene in election results

Top News Summary:
Despite Palestinian opposition, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco agreed to attend the Trump Administration’s economic peace conference in Bahrain, (Jordan’s King Abdullah reportedly said he didn’t want Jordan to ‘be left out of the room’), and in Nablus, Israeli soldiers misidentified Palestinian Authority security forces as wanted militants and opened up fire on them, wounding one of the Palestinians and harming the trust in the cooperation (see Commentary/Analysis for more).

Election Quickees:
  • Israel's Labor chief Avi Gabbay announces he won't seek reelection - Gabbay led the party through a stinging defeat and an all-time low in the April 9 election, and came under criticism for considering to join Netanyahu's government despite vows he wouldn’t. Gabbay to remain in secure no. 2 on party list. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Israel's Labor Party Leadership Battle Pits Veterans Against Young Guard - After Gabbay's decision to step down, former chairmen Ehud Barak and Amir Peretz are facing off against former protest leaders Stav Shaffir and Itsik Shmuli. (Haaretz+)
  • Liberman: Ultra-Orthodox MKs just ‘say amen and wait for the checks’ - Yisrael Beytenu leader goes on the offensive, slamming Netanyahu for ‘surrendering’ to the Haredi parties and turning politics into personality cult; Liberman also said Blue and White can only form a coalition with ‘polar bears.’ (Ynet)
  • Likely: Shaked will run at head of New Right party - At a conference in Tel Aviv, the former justice minister was asked to address her statement, "I will come back," and was asked whether she meant she will run in the upcoming elections or the next elections: "The intention is now," she responded.  But she still didn’t say for which political party. In a meeeting with Naftali Bennett, the two discussed the option of her running at the head of their New Right party. Bennett said he did not rule out the option, but didn’t give his full agreement. (Yedioth/Ynet Hebrew)
  • Shaked to Habayit Hayehudi activists: "I have to be the one to head the party, I will bring the most seats" - In light of the talk that a number of right-wing parties will merge, former justice minister Ayelet Shaked spoke to activists of her former party and claimed that she was the right person to lead, KAN Channel 11 reported. (Maariv)
  • Ramat Trump (settlement) is frozen - Shortly before the elections, the US president recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked him and promised to establish a settlement in his name. The cornerstone laying ceremony was supposed to take place today, but because of the elections, it was postponed. (Yedioth, p.20/Ynet Hebrew)
     
Quick Hits:
  • Mossad Involved in Anti-boycott Activity, Israeli Minister's Datebooks Reveal - Strategic affairs minister's schedules show he met with spy agency's chief. Datebooks also include several meetings devoted to creation of firm to advance 'mass awareness activities.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli campaign to fight BDS cuts off fundraising accounts of 30 organizations - According to the Strategic Affairs Ministry, a two-year campaign aimed at exposing the connections between anti-Israel groups and terrorist organizations is starting to show results. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel Lobbies German Government to Enforce Motion Defining BDS as anti-Semitic - The Bundestag motion, passed with broad multiparty support last month, has drawn wide opposition, including from Jewish intellectuals. (Haaretz+)
  • The heads of local councils in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) against Netanyahu: Tomorrow will hold a protest tent - Heads of municipalities in Judea and Samaria are joining bereaved families and will open a protest tent over the lack of security budgets. CEO of Regevim Movement, Meir Deutsch: For a decade the Palestinian Authority has been waging a planned and strategic move to irrevocably take control of Israeli areas in Judea and Samaria and the State of Israel is showing weakness and inaction…Khan al-Ahmar, the flagship outpost in the plan to take over the Jerusalem-Dead Sea road, signifies an example of the failed conduct of the government of Israel.” (Yedioth/Ynet Hebrew)
  • Masked men were caught on video hurling stones at a Palestinian school, and immediately afterwards a fire broke out - Security cameras from the village of Jalud show masked men fleeing the scene and smoke begins to rise from a nearby Palestinian grove. The fires destroyed hundreds of 65-year-old olive trees belonging to a Palestinian family. Residents claim that the arsonists are Israelis. (Haaretz and YouTube)
  • Barrage of the burning balloons: In one day seven fires broke out in the Gaza Strip vicinity - Firefighting forces are working with full force to control the wave of fires that broke out as a result of incendiary balloons being launched from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory. All fires under control. (Maariv)
  • Palestinian sources: Hamas prisoners threaten a hunger strike on the grounds that the Israel Prison Service is not fulfilling the agreements with them - Dozens of prisoners were transferred to the wing where talks were held, but no public telephones were installed, as was demanded by the Hamas leadership in April in order to end the hunger strike. The installation is delayed due to technical difficulties. (Haaretz Hebrew)
  • ‘If we are forced into war, we will exact a heavy price from Hezbollah’ - "Hezbollah must understand that we will not allow it to realize the destructive ambitions of its Iranian patrons," GOC Northern Command Maj. Gen. Amir Baram says. Should conflict erupt in the northern sector, "Lebanon may pay a heavy price for its collaboration with Shiite terrorism," he warns. (Israel Hayom)
  • "Terrorist organizations can also be defeated”: IDF Chief of Staff lays out his military worldview - In the framework of the  IDF's multi-year program, 20 working groups were established. The goal: to adapt the IDF to the modern battlefield and to bring victory against irregular combat organizations. (Maariv)
  • New York Times to Cease Political Cartoons After 'anti-Semitic' Depiction of Netanyahu - The Times will end contracts of two of its leading cartoonists, who were not responsible for the Netanyahu caricature. 'Maybe we should start worrying,' one cartoonist says. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Yair Netanyahu in an interview in the US: “In Israel, President Trump is admired like a rock star" - The Prime Minister's son said in an interview with the American website “Blaze” that th eUS President is appreciated in Israel because of his recognition of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights: "He is the best friend we've ever had in the White House.” (Maariv and Ynet)
  • 'Nice Try, Leftists' After Cancellations, Katie Hopkins Screens Islamophobic Film in Jerusalem - Deputy mayor helps British far-right provocateur show ‘Homelands,’ which paints a picture of a ‘Muslim-dominated’ Europe that is pushing out Christians and Jews, after it was rejected by three venues in Israel. (Haaretz+)
  • 'Far Worse Than Last Year': Laborer Dies in Israel's 38th Fatal Work Accident in 2019 - 50-year-old construction worker fell six stories to his death. ’We are only at the start of the hellish season for accidents,' warns workers' rights campaigner, lamenting rise in deaths for second year in a row. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Rejecting Criticism by LGBTQ People, Israel’s First Openly Gay Minister 'Not Certain We're a Community' - Ohana, who was booed at Jerusalem Pride, says 'the sharpest poisoned arrows came not from the right or from religious groups,' but from LGBTQ activists. (Haaretz+)
  • Director of Prime Minister's Office Resigns - Yoav Horowitz has been the acting director of the Prime Minister's office for about a year; in February, Haaretz reported that he told associates he couldn't remain on the job. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Prosecution to File Amended Indictment Against Sara Netanyahu - Original accused of misusing $100,000 in public funds, prime minister's wife expected to finalize plea deal and agree to pay $15,000. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Religious tensions in Ramat Gan are growing. Posters posted in city: ”Short clothes shorten life” - The exclusion of women on Independence Day, the Gay Pride Parade and the decision to open public transportation lines on Shabbat are stirring up the religious population in the city. (Maariv)
  • Russia says S-400 defense system will be delivered to NATO-member Turkey in July - Arrival of Russian missile defense system could trigger NATO sanctions on Ankara. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Amid political turmoil, Moldovan PM declares embassy move to Jerusalem - “It was a long overdue commitment to support our allies,” PM Pavel Filip tweets. Moldova's rival governments are accusing each other of usurping power amid an escalating political crisis in the impoverished ex-Soviet nation. (Israel Hayom)
  • Egypt Demands Christie's Halt Auction of King Tut Statue - Cairo has also reached out to British authorities and the UN to stop the sale, demanding auction house prove ownership of 3,000-year-old stone sculpture. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iranian newspaper blasts U.S.-Japan ties ahead of historic visit by Abe - Iranian daily's front page depicts a mushroom cloud and the caption, 'How can you trust a war criminal?' referencing the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • U.S. urges Saudi progress on Khashoggi investigation before murder anniversary - U.S. lawmakers, citing evidence of Saudi crown prince's role in the journalist's murder, have ramped up efforts to block Trump’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Anti-Semitic Graffiti Found at Home of Muslim Victim of Toulouse Jewish School Killer - Imad Ibn Ziaten's mother has campaigned with French Jews against anti-Semitism since her son was killed in 2012. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Pompeo Tells Jewish Leaders He Will 'Push Back' Against Britain's Corbyn - In a leaked audio, the U.S. secretary of state is heard saying about allegations of anti-Semitism aimed at the Labour party leader: 'We won't wait for him to do things’. (JTA, Haaretz)


Features:
"When I stand on a train carrying my weapon, people see a Golani Brigades soldier. No one asks me if I am a Jew or an Arab"
A. is waiting for the day to finish his training and become a full-fledged Golani soldier. Then, he says, he will return to his childhood neighborhood and will march proudly to his parents' home with his uniform, weapon, pin and cap. Meanwhile, as the only Muslim combat soldier in his enlistment group, he lives in a lone soldiers' apartment and his parents tell their relatives and neighbors that he is studying abroad. (Eti Abramov, Yedioth Hebrew)
In Israel, Millionaires are the New Normal
With the estimated personal wealth in Israel going up by 45% in the last decade, Israelis are now a premier target for global wealth management bankers. (Sophie Shulman, Calcalist English)
Nechama Rivlin's secret friendship with jailed domestic violence victim
Despite her failing health the first lady, who died last week, continued her visits to inmates at Neve Tirza women's prison, supporting them through their rehabilitation efforts and providing them with hope. (Amir Alon, Yedioth/Ynet)
‘No one is immune to battle fatigue, not even the best fighters in the world’
Optimism, determination, meticulous preparations and a healthy dose of humor – Israel Hayom offers an exclusive glimpse into what makes the members of the IDF's elite special forces units tick. ( Ran Puni, Israel Hayom)

Commentary/Analysis:
Iran is in distress and is trying to exert pressure on the superpowers (Yossi Melman, Maariv) Due to its economic dire straits, Tehran has been trying in recent months to use counter-pressure leverage - on the diplomatic level against European countries, and on the military level in the actions attributed to it. According to information from Israeli intelligence, that it was behind the laying of naval mines that hit the ships of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, and now also on the practical-professional level of increasing the rate of uranium enrichment to a low level. Its moves are intended to cause the international community to help it and to ease American economic pressure. If that does not help, Iran will always be able to use its proxies like Hezbollah to carry out terrorist and revenge attacks against American, Saudi and Israeli targets, as it did in the past.
There Are No More Excuses Left. Just Annex the West Bank (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) To assuage the Jewish anxiety about accepting Palestinians as Israeli citizens, there is no choice but to take some steps to make the annexation Arab-free. The various right-wing parties have already made clear that Palestinians annexed to Israel won’t get citizenship, the right to vote or be elected to office, and that some of the social benefits they should receive will be denied. The qualification period for citizenship will be conditional on rigid, onerous contingencies, and after taking that long road, few will likely to be awarded it. Israel will draw a convoluted, twisted border that will cut off some Palestinian villages intended for annexation and tear whole families from their land, encouraging many others to move to villages and cities in the West Bank in order to keep them out of the new map. And then Israel will officially become an apartheid state, which will become immune to sanctions by virtue of the authority and permission given it by the U.S.
How to win back the squandered gift of 1967 (Victor Rosenthal, Israel Hayom) The Arabs are in the habit of winning; it will be hard to get them used to losing. But there are no win-win solutions for the Middle East.
What Did U.S. Ambassador David Friedman Say That Was New? (Dore Gold, Haaretz+) What seems to offend the author of Haaretz’s critique of Friedman the most is his assertion about Israel’s rights. The article tells Haaretz readers that Israel has no legal rights to any of the territories it captured in 1967. The most important legal analysis of this question, in fact, was written in 1980 by Stephen Schwebel, who would become the Legal Adviser to the Department of State and subsequently president of the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Schwebel did not doubt Israel’s rights; looking purely at the legal side, he wrote, “… Israel has better title in the territory of what was Palestine, including the whole of Jerusalem, than do Jordan and Egypt.” In short, by suggesting Israel had legal rights to retain some West Bank land, Friedman was not very far away from a traditional American view that appeared in previous public statements.
Officials in Washington: "Ambassador Friedman's status is controversial" (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) Senior officials in the US explained that "Friedman chose to express himself on a sensitive subject at a bad time for the Americans." They added: "The deal of the century does not consider the Palestinians as a party entitled to a political solution.”
Trump's Ambassador Is Right on Israel's Annexation. His Posturing, pro-Palestinian Critics Are Wrong (Alan M. Dershowitz, Haaretz+) David Friedman is right: International law supports Israel retaining some of the West Bank. I should know – I helped draft it.
The Palestinians are choosing to fall behind (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) The Palestinians, true to tradition, are choosing the path of rejection, but this time they are alone. They could lose more than their power to veto normalization of Israeli-Arab ties. At stake now is their ability to decide their own fate.
Netanyahu's little helper (Shimon Shiffer, Yedioth/Ynet) If the prime minister is as innocent as he claims, why is he so anxious to denigrate Israel's law enforcement and enlisted Trump to reprimand us for not giving his friend what he wants?
Security coordination: This is more or less what is in the relations between Israel and the Palestinians (Tal Lev-Ram, Maariv) Coordination of IDF activity in an area under Palestinian responsibility is always a sensitive point: On the Palestinian side, the security forces are accused of collaborating with the IDF. On the other hand, there is the constant Israeli dilemma of how to benefit from coordination with the Palestinians, but without endangering forces in the field as a result of the leak of operational intelligence. The bottom line is that the outcome of the serious incident in Nablus (where Israeli forces misidentified Palestinian security forces as militants and began shooting at them - OH) will allow for a relatively quick return to routine relations. Both sides can move on.
How Did Ronald McDonald Become the Scourge of West Bank Settlers? (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) The burger chain is being accused of discriminating against them by not opening restaurants over the Green Line. It’s a worrying politicization of Israeli business.
Israel believes that Hezbollah is operating under the auspices of the Syrian military outposts in Daraa to collect intelligence (Tal-Lev Ram, Maariv) The attack in Syria last night attributed to Israel was directed against Hezbollah targets. One can not ignore the upsurge in the escalating messages between senior IDF officers and Nasrallah.
Russian-Turkish S-400 Deal May Indirectly Boost Israel’s Military Industry (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) If the U.S. makes good on its threat to terminate Turkey’s participation in the F-35 project, it could have unintended – albeit positive – consequences for Israel.
There are challenges, but still no money: IDF Chief of Staff’s plan is delayed and has hit difficulties (Tal Lev-Ram, Maariv) The multi-year plan led by the chief of staff Aviv Kochavi is expected to be delayed until the government is formed, and even then it is not certain that the deficit in the state coffers will allow it to receive the additional budget it requires.

Election Commentary/Analysis:
Right Wing Starts to Sour on Netanyahu, but Can’t Replace Him (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) For first time in over a decade, prominent religious-nationalist pundits are openly questioning the prime minister's motives and effectiveness.
He remains in darkness and keeping silent: Where in the world is Benny Gantz? (Gil Hoffman, JPost/Maariv) The only thing that seems to still be missing is… a candidate to run against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Labor Party Must Learn From Gabbay's Mistakes (Haaretz Editorial) Indeed, Gabbay made serious mistakes when he first took the reins. People who believed that he was the right man at the right time, and that he had the ability to attract new groups of voters to the party, later felt that for this goal, Gabbay was willing to alienate Zionist Union’s base and ignore its values. His willingness to accept Benjamin Netanyahu’s stereotype of the left as having “forgotten what it means to be Jewish” caused many to reject his leadership. Many voters were also infuriated when he dissolved Zionist Union and ousted Livni on live television. They felt that in his efforts to get rid of the leftist label, he had forgotten the left’s values.
Israeli democracy may be a big headache, but we have no other (Nir Kipnis, Maariv) Just like a bad time in a relationship that causes us to focus all our negative energies on our partner, so we saw all the ailments and defects in our democracy last week.
Labor now picking up the pieces (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) With Avi Gabbay gone, Labor party leaders must decide whether they plan to act as a satellite party in the leftist bloc orbiting the Blue and White party's sun or lead the country again someday.
Israel's Left-wing Parties Must Join Forces (Noam Tibon, Haaretz+) There is a danger that small parties in both blocs won’t pass the 3.25 percent minimum vote threshold. I and many in the left-wing camp are concerned that the two left-wing Zionist parties have not learned this lesson. The Labor Party sank to a low of just six seats, while Meretz lost a fifth of its strength and barely crossed the threshold. But instead of announcing at this point that the two parties will run together in the upcoming election, some politicians in the parties are occupied with foolish battles over ego that don’t interest their electorates.
Friendly fire may set the right wing on the path to defeat (Shlomo Pyuterkovsky, Yedioth/Ynet) An overcrowded and fragmented political field threatens to weaken the right-wing bloc ahead of the September elections, while the Blue and White party is busy courting anti-Netanyahu votes from his ruling Likud party.
 
Interviews:
**“It doesn’t need to matter to anyone what my ethnicity is and what my name is”
In a conversation with Yedioth Ahronoth from his home in Ghana, soccer player Ali Mohammad responded to the storm surrounding his signing on to play on the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team, and to the post published by the team’s La Familia fan club [known for being racist towards Arabs - OH], which started a racist attack. Mohammed said he doesn’t understand the preoccupation with his ethnicity and his name. "It does not matter to me and it does not have to matter to anyone anywhere in the world what is my origin or what my name is. I do not understand how to deal with this. I'm a soccer player who needs to succeed on the field and I am convinced that I will succeed in a huge club like Beitar Jerusalem.” In the conversation yesterday, Beitar's new acquisition spoke of ‘La Famlia’s’ demand that the name Mohammed would not be heard at Teddy Stadium. The soccer player has been following from Africa what is happening in Israel from the moment the official announcement of his acquisition was published, and he is aware of all the details, including the new post of La Familia, which read: "We repeat that we have no problem with the new player who signed on. On the contrary, he is an excellent player and we are happy that he is joining. There are a lot of soccer players who are given a nickname. Messi is called the ‘flea,’ and player Mohammed Salah is called ‘Mo.’ And so Ali Muhammad will have a nickname in Teddie.” Mohammed would prefer to talk openly about everything only after he arrives in Israel for training. But in the face of the storm, he referred to the source of his name: "I am not named after the boxer. This is the name my parents gave me, the name they chose for me and with it I was born. By the way, it's a name that exists in all religions and I do not want to go into it at all - it has no place in soccer.” He also told about his family background: “I was orphaned at an early age from my father who is from Niger. I was born in Ghana to a mother who was born here, grew up in Ghana and I always return to her. This is a country that has people of all religions and everything here is in harmony. I chose to represent the Niger team, but my whole life is being conducted in Ghana, which is a very open country.” The support he receives from the team owner Moshe Hagag, including a special press conference and the public's consensus regarding his arrival, encourage Mohammed. "It makes me happy to have such an owner and audience, I'm only focused on soccer.” It turns out that support on social media networks has also been reflected in an increase in the number of subscribers since the announcement of the signing. Team owner Hogeg: “I am certain that Muhammad will score, and the audience will call out his name.” (Interviewed by Nadav Tzentsifer in Yedioth sport section Hebrew)

‘They Claimed I Was Connected to the Mossad’: Meet Greece’s First-ever Jewish Mayor
Moses Elisaf has spent nearly two decades representing the tiny Romaniote Jewish community in Ioannina, and now he’s leading the entire city — overcoming some anti-Semitic slurs along the way. (Interviewed by Achilles M. Peklaris in Haaretz+)
 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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