News Nosh 6.17.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday June 17, 2019

Quote of the day:
"Most people in Gaza are thirsty for water - but no less - they are thirsty for a normal life and a better future for their children. They are our neighbors, despite everything, and you cannot ignore what is happening there."
--One of the Israeli workers at the site near the Gaza Strip where Yedioth revealed Israel is laying down a new upgraded water pipe to connect to the Palestinian water system.*

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Expose - New water pipe from Israel to Gaza (Hebrew)
  • Lack of material // Nahum Barnea on Netanyahu’s cases
  • The mouse that roared // Sever Plocker on the twists and turns of Lieberman
  • (Sara Netanyahu) Confessed and convicted
  • The wedding from the bereavement (Two young people whose family members were murdered in two incidents in 2002 married last night)
  • A paratroopers company commander cursed a soldier: “Stinking ni**er”
Maariv This Week
  • (MK) Bezalel Smotrich refuses to agree to infrastructure work on Shabbat - Obstacle on the way to forming a government
  • “(Mrs.) Netanyahu is not Dreyfuss” - Senior legal source attacked the words of the Prime Minister, who said after the conviction of his wife of criminal acts in the framework of a plea bargain: “The surreal four-year witch hunt has ended”
  • The ‘Lady’ has a criminal file // Ben Caspit
  • Trump Heights - At a celebratory cabinet meeting, government approved establishment of community named after the US President
  • In favor of annexation - David (sic- Jason) Greenblatt, US envoy to the Middle East, at Jerusalem Post conference: I support the statements of Amb. (David) Friedman about Israel’s right to annex territories in Judea and Samaria
  • Indictment: Palestinian worker kidnapped and raped a 7-year-old in Judea and Samaria
Israel Hayom

Top News Summary:
The Israeli Prime Minister’s wife, Sara Netanyahu, admitted to and was convicted of a criminal offense after which her husband, Binyamin, claimed that she was the “victim of a witch hunt,” US President Donald Trump’s Middle Envoy, Jason Greenblatt, declared he, too, believes that Israel has the right to annex lands from the occupied Palestinian Territories making the top two stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Sara Netanyahu signed a plea bargain that dropped the original charges of aggravated fraud, fraud and breach of trust. The Israeli commentators thought she got off easy, only having to give the state back $15,000 even though she allegedly spent $100,000 of public funds on catered fine dining meals and for chefs to come to cook, even though the Residence has a hired chef. Some of the papers mocked Mrs. Netanyahu in the titles of the Op-Eds: “The ‘Lady’ has a B.A, M.A. and a criminal report,” read Ben Caspit’s Op-Ed in Maariv (NOTE: He can’t stand her -OH]. Yossi Verter’s piece in Haaretz was titled, “Sara, the hero.” And the papers (with the exception of ‘Israel Hayom’) derided the Prime Minister, who said after the conviction that there was no justification for the investigation against his wife. A senior Justice Ministry official told Maariv and Haaretz afterward that “Sara is not Dreyfus," he said. "Even though today Mrs. Netanyahu stood in court, admitted to committing a criminal offense in which she unethically received 175,000 shekels from the state and she was convicted, immediately afterwards, the prime minister denied these facts and claimed that a ‘delusional witch hunt’ was conducted against her. The prime minister completely ignored the fact that Mrs. Netanyahu explicitly confessed that she acted in a tricking way contrary to a binding procedure, and he now claims that the binding procedure was ostensibly illegal. The prime minister continues to talk about ordering “disposable trays of take-out food” even though Sara Netanyahu explicitly admitted that she ordered many meals from luxury restaurants and in some cases also summoned chefs from restaurants (to cook), and every reasonable person understands that with 175,000 shekels, we do not order only disposable trays of takeout food.” (Maariv)

Speaking at The Jerusalem Post Conference, Trump’s envoy, Jason Greenblatt said he believes Israel has the right to annex parts of the West Bank. Greenblatt was referring to the statement by US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman's comments last week. “I support his comment. I will let David’s comment stand for itself," said Greenblatt. Greenblatt also said that the Trump Administration may again postpone revealing the ‘Deal of the Century' until after the upcoming general election in Israel, scheduled for September 17th. Meanwhile, Israel expects to attend the peace plan’s Bahrain economic summit. Interestingly, Trump confidant Lindsey Graham said he supports a two-state solution, despite the instruction from Trump’s son-in-law and advisor, Jared Kushner, not to use the term.

Not reported widely:
Two more attacks on Arab-Israeli bus drivers, but the Hebrew newspapers don’t mention that they are Arab. The overwhelmingly number of attacks on drivers have been by Jews against Arab drivers. Video shows the attack on the Kavim bus line #278 that travels from the ultra-Orthodox West Bank settlement of Elad to Tel-Aviv. Another video with clear audio reveals how the religious passenger first verbally attacked the driver, cursing him, then physically attacked him, punching and choking him, as passengers shouted to him to stop. (Ynet Hebrew+VIDEO) The attack follows one on a driver named Yehiya Shumari on May 22nd, which left the driver unconscious. Mako news website reported that “bus drivers come to work with tear gas and fire arms. “We are getting closer to the day a bus driver will be murdered,” said one. ”There is not a day that we do not experience violence."

Elections Quickees:
  • Yair Lapid Says Coalition With Netanyahu, Lieberman Is the Right Thing for Israel - Kahol Lavan co-chair responds to comments by Avigdor Lieberman, who said that he will aim for a unity government in order to exclude the ultra-Orthodox parties. (Haaretz+ and Times of Israel)
  • Gantz and Lapid are keeping a low profile this time around, but a strategy change is in the works - An inside source admits that if the party wants to win this time around, things have to look differently and shift rightward. (Haaretz+)
  • Initiative in the Labor party: Merger with Tzipi Livni - Plan: To choose a new chairperson and establish a new political framework. Kahol-Lavan tells Labor party: Merge with Meretz. (Yedioth, p. 6 and Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Meretz to Hold New Primary Election After Party Convention Fails to Decide on Slate - Former lawmaker who is running for chairman hails decision as 'first step on the road to renewal' of left-wing party hoping to regain force in Israel's September election. (Haaretz+)
  • Ex-Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked Says She Is Considering Running in Upcoming Israeli Election - Shaked says she doesn't rule out rejoining her former party Habayit Hayehudi, but will 'absolutely not' try to return to politics with Naftali Bennett. (Haaretz)
  • PM said set to appoint Peretz, Smotrich as education, transportation ministers - Likud party confirms leaders of Union of Right Wing Parties to meet Netanyahu on Monday, as reports signal the two will also be offered seats on high-level security cabinet. (Times of Israel)
  • MK Smotrich rejects Netanyahu's demand to allow infrastructure work on Shabbat - The prime minister is willing to give the transportation portfolio to Bezalel Smotrich, who heads the Union of Right-wing Parties, but he fears that Smotrich will stir up fights and exploit the issue regarding infrastructure work on the train tracks to gain political profit. (Maariv)


Quick Hits:
  • Qatar Delivers $20 Million Cash Infusion to Gaza, to Aid Over 100,000 Families - Each family is to receive four $100 payments and the rest will go toward humanitarian aid ■ Hamas fires at Israeli forces in Gaza, Palestinian media report. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Hamas gunmen open fire on Israeli troops who operated in Gaza - Special unit forced to retreat after coming under attack while trying to enter southern city of Khan Yunis; no injuries reported on either side; IDF yet to comment. (Ynet, Israel Hayom and Maariv)
  • Gaza balloon terrorism continues despite ceasefire efforts and threats to make skirmishes along the border - Dozens of fires break out over the weekend in Israeli communities bordering the Hamas-controlled enclave. The March of Return committee threatened to replace the peaceful marches of the last couple weeks with more violent ones because of Israel's "naval siege and the preventing of fisherman from going out to make a living,  (Ynet and Maariv and Maariv, p. 10)
  • *Expose: Israel is building a new water line for Gaza - Mekorot and the Water Authority are placing an upgraded pipeline in front of the center of the Gaza Strip, which will connect to the Palestinian water system and improve the water supply that Israel transfers. The cost: several million shekels. The work is independent of the security situation and is not related to the arrangement with Hamas. "Water is a basic thing," says one of the workers at the site. "There is a whole population in Gaza that is not looking for war with Israel, a population that just wants to live quietly, and this population is the majority and is controlled by Hamas. Too bad that this is the case. Most people in Gaza are thirsty for water - but no less - they are thirsty for a normal life and a better future for their children. They are our neighbors, despite everything, and you cannot ignore what is happening there." (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Netanyahu declares establishment of community named after Trump in Golan Heights - Premier calls founding of Ramat Trump a 'historic day,' but the community cannot be officially established until next government takes office. (Haaretz)
  • Palestinian Indicted in Rape of 7-year-old Israeli Girl in West Bank - The defendant worked as a janitor at the victim's school; right-wing advocacy group says other Palestinian laborers were present during the crime. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Israeli Army Begins Five-day Drill in Country's North - Exercise will take place in the Jordan Rift Valley, the Upper Galilee, Nahariyya, the Sea of Galilee area and the Golan Heights, and is intended to maintain the forces' preparedness. (Haaretz)
  • Ethiopian-Israeli soldier speaks out over commander's racist slur - Captain apologizes after calling subordinate the Hebrew equivalent of the N-word; IDF says it is investigating incident, views such statements 'with severity and is working to eliminate them.’ (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Palestinian Security Prisoners End Hunger Strike After Israel Meets Their Demands - The prisoners, mostly affiliated with Fatah, demanded an end to night searches, provision of medical services, and lifting of economic sanctions. (Haaretz)
  • "We will die before we let them through": Palestinians post video of the exchange of fire in Nablus - The Palestinians posted a video of the night's events in which exchanges of fire erupted between them and IDF forces at the Palestinian Preventive Security headquarters (after IDF forces misidentified the Palestinians and mistakenly opened fire on them - OH), following Palestinian criticism that they did not oppose the soldiers. (Maariv+VIDEO)
  • Global Drop in Nuclear Stockpiles, but Israel Among Top Countries Upgrading Arsenal, Report Shows - Swedish-based research group highlights trend of modernizing nuclear weapons, which 'remain a central element in military strategies and national security doctrines.’ (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Israel demands EU countries end funding for BDS groups - Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan calls on US, Spain, Belgium, Norway, France, Brazil, India, Germany, and Britain to cease support to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. By disguising themselves as human rights activists, BDS organizations are able to raise millions of euros from Western states, he says. (Israel Hayom)
  • Adviser to top EU court: Settlement goods should be labeled - Advocate General Gerard Hogan says under EU laws, labels must make it clear if products originate from "occupied" territories, particularly if they come from Israeli settlements beyond the Green Line, so as to account for “ethical considerations” that might influence consumers. Lawfare Project: This is blatant discrimination. (Israel Hayom)
  • BDS urges boycott of German sportswear giant Puma over ties with Israel - Boycott, divestment and sanctions movement announces boycott against sportswear company after it inks a four-year sponsorship deal with the Israel Football Association, which includes six clubs from Judea and Samaria. Pro-Israel group StandWithUs slams move, says, “Sports are supposed to unite and bring people together, BDS drives them apart.” (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel Film Festival honors movie trailblazers at sponsors’ luncheon - Director Roger Corman, producer Avi Nir and filmmaker Guy Nattiv recognized for their achievements in the film industry; this year's festival to be held in November. (Israel Hayom)
  • Pompeo: We don't want war with Iran - The U.S. secretary of state says Trump has done everything in his power to avoid war with Tehran in view of the unmistakable evidence in the Oman attack. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • WATCH Buttigieg on Gulf tanker attacks: Trump initiated 'destabilizing chain reaction' in the Middle East - Buttigieg on CNN argued that the U.S. needed to gather more intelligence on the attacks, but cautioned that the Trump administration’s rhetoric was reminiscent of the run-up to the Iraq war. (Haaretz)
  • Explained - 'Tanker Wars': 30 Years Later, Could the U.S. and Iran Repeat History in the Gulf - The so-called 'Tanker War' involved American naval ships escorting reflagged Kuwaiti oil tankers through the Persian Gulf and the strait after Iranian mines damaged vessels in the region. (AP, Haaretz)
  • Republicans in Congress push back on Trump weapons packages to Saudi Arabia, UAE - Lawmakers step up pressure on administration in the wake of civilian casualties in the Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen and the the alleged role of Riyadh in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. (Israel Hayom)

'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)
Setting the record straight: Why Haaretz said Hitler 'made a good impression'
In 1932, Haaretz's reporter in Berlin was sent to cover a libel trial in which the Nazi leader was sued by one of his opponents. Hitler made a good impression, the reporter noted, paving the way for decades of fake news. (Ofer Aderet, Haaretz)
In an era of BDS, kids connect to Israel at summer camp
As support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement on US college campuses grows, many American Jewish teens turn to summer camps to bolster their affinity with Israel. “We create a space where it feels good to be Jewish and love Israel,” says one camp organizer. “There’s a reason singing ‘Hatikvah’ is the last thing we do each night.” (Deborah Fineblum, Israel Hayom)
Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
A spoiled right-wing: Rabbis and politicians with big egos want to grab each other's necks (Dr. Chaim Misgav, Maariv) Anyone who has not learned a lesson from what happened in 1992 must not stay a day longer at the wheel. It is inconceivable that the right-wing camp will again pass that traumatic experience. Yitzhak Rabin and his friends laughed, no doubt stunned when they looked at the harakiri of their political rivals. And when the government fell into their hands as a ripe fruit, they did not think there should be a democratic decision before embarking on fateful moves. Arafat was brought back from Tunisia to the Gaza Strip, and the entire Zionist vision was about to collapse. And let's not forget, Rabin's government was established with the help of a blocking Arab majority, and this can happen now. The Gantz-Lapid team might do exactly what Rabin did. I believe that their “Separation” (from the Palestinians) plans are already in their drawer, prepared to be immediately put into operation. So it may be that all those who want to shake the ship want the government to change hands, but that's not what most of the right-wing camp wants.
Judges Put Aside Duty to Protect Sara Netanyahu. Will They Do the Same With Her Husband? (Revital Hovel, Haaretz+) The true face of Israel's judicial system was revealed when it came to judging the strongest woman in the country.
Bursting the Lieberman balloon (Yehuda Shlezinger, Israel Hayom) Given Yisrael Beytenu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman’s unprecedented incitement, the ultra-Orthodox parties will simply thank him for his years working closely with them and voting to increase their budgets.
With Sara's Conviction, Netanyahus Deceitfully Portray Themselves as Ultimate Victims (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) Instead of thanking the merciful prosecution for the VIP criminal procedure it granted his wife, Netanyahu chose slandering law enforcement and baseless, ridiculous self-pity.

Masked Men: The Ugly and the Beautiful (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) Fawzi Ibrahim bequeathed courage to his sons, against his will and theirs: The courage to oppose the continued theft of their land by the Jewish settlers in Emek Shiloh. When a hilltop youth throws stones at Palestinian farmers and Palestinian cars, he is a criminal following in the footsteps of the government’s crimes. These are the crimes that built his parents’ private home in the settlement, and ensure the welfare of the outpost that will be born of the outpost where he now lives happily. When a Palestinian teenager throws stones at soldiers and policemen, at a reinforced military lookout post, and at Israeli cars, he is fulfilling his historical right and obligation to rise up against any enemy because he is an enemy. Even if his act is pathetic and desperate, occasionally capricious and imitative, and at the moment ineffective, because it is not part of a mass popular uprising.
By Demonizing BDS, Germany Is Betraying the Fight Against anti-Semitism (renowned Israeli artist Dani Karavan, Haaretz+) The Bundestag mixed up the struggle against anti-Semitism with support for the most right-wing, populist government ever to rule Israel. Will Germany's government now make the same dangerous mistake?
The decision of the Tel Aviv municipality to distribute Amos Oz's book to students fills me with hope (Nurit Canetti, Maariv) What a storm! The Tel Aviv municipality, which has given (the same - OH) four books to children in educational institutions over the years, has replaced the repertoire. Of course, the choice that made the most significant public debate was the decision to replace the book "Altneuland" by Binyamin Zeev Herzl, which has been distributed for the past 20 years to the graduates of the high schools, with Amos Oz's book, “How to cure a fanatic,“ (Hebrew title: “Peace for the fanatics”), which combines three current events and political articles. As a mother of girls in the Tel Aviv school system, the logical, humanistic, and ethical thinking process that is being made regarding the gifts to students fills me with hope. And a populist response will not change that.
Arab nationalism is hurting Haifa (Eldad Beck, Israel Hayom) The city's authorities are doing nothing to stem the tide of Arab nationalism flooding it with false narratives; to a large extent, they are even collaborating with it and helping to fund it.
Welcome to Trump Heights, the Israeli Town That Doesn't Exist (Noa Landau, Haaretz+) The sign with gilded letters and the dramatic ceremony, just as the president likes, hides the fact that the proposal to establish the new Golan Heights community does not include any actual steps toward building it.
Jared Kushner's 'paradigm-busting' Mideast peace deal just won't work (Jane Kinninmont, Haaretz+) Kushner's 'all new' economic peace approach has been tried before. It doesn't work. And for Gulf states, long seeking deeper ties with Israel, it won't help either.
Trump? Bahrain? Jordanians Outraged Over Netflix's First Original Series in Arabic (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) With recent protests and many in the kingdom furious over upcoming U.S.-sponsored peace summit, King Abdullah may prefer his subjects to be preoccupied with a TV show.
What Netanyahu Sowed, This Northern Israeli City Reaps (Haaretz Editorial) Slogans regarding the need to “preserve the Jewish character” of a place were once again heard in Afula, during a demonstration on Saturday night held in front of a home that was sold to an Arab family. These slogans cannot hide the racist division between “our people” and “the others,” between the superior and inferior, between the holy and the unclean, that accompanies a person here from womb to tomb. Afula is a racist mirror of broad sections of Israeli society, the legacy of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent years in office. The spirit of the nation-state law – the Netanyahu government’s crowning glory – wafts over the Afula demonstration and gives legitimacy to discriminatory, ugly behavior toward Arab citizens. Israel urgently needs local and national leadership that will facilitate ways for Jews and Arabs to live together.
Jews are discriminated against in Jerusalem's Old City (Gilad Sharon, Yedioth/Ynet) Despite being the only country in the Middle East where Christians thrive, Greek Orthodox Church officials refuse to sell property to Jews claiming their presence is offensive to them and even trying to enlist the help of the Supreme Court.
Iran is a threat, but occupation is also Israel's enemy: Listen to Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken (Amos Schoken, Haaretz Weekly Podcast - FREE) Haaretz is celebrating 100 years and our publisher popped into the podcast studio for a wide-ranging discussion.
Iran is following a policy that is going to the edge, but not breaking the rules (Yossi Melman, Maariv) Although it is clear that Washington and Tehran do not want a military confrontation, it is difficult to see how and where the ladder will be found that will lower both sides from the tree on which they climbed.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.