News Nosh 6.20.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday June 20, 2019

Quote of the day:
"Without waiting for the facts of the case to come to light, for example, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said that it should be investigated as an act of terrorism. As though a Palestinian pedophile necessarily has an ulterior motive for ravaging an innocent Jewish child. Perhaps he did, but this has not been established."
--Right-wing commentator Ruthie Blum of 'Israel Hayom' slammed politicians for the "appalling political exploitation of a 7-year-old’s rape."

Breaking News:
Iran Downs U.S. Drone: 'We Sent Washington a Message' -
U.S. official confirms the military drone was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile in international airspace. Ynet's Ron Ben-Yishai writes "The race is on to retrieve the U.S. spy drone brought down by Iran"

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • (Leaders of Union of Right-wing parties) Peretz vs. Smotrich: “(Infrastructure) works on Shabbat? Only with permission of the rabbis”
  • (Leaders of Kahol-Lavan) Yaalon vs. Lapid: “It’s preferable that Lapid will give up on the rotation (of leadership of party)”
  • The cliff tragedy: 10-year-old fell to beach and was killed
  • Jumping to freedom - 700,000 high school students go on holiday today
  • Rape of 7-year-old: Detention of suspect was extended
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Yaalon attacks Lapid: “You are causing us damage”  
  • “Religious state? That’s a scare campaign” - Interview with MK Bezalel Smotrich
  • Cabinet discusses Iranian provocation; Netanyahu: “They better not try us”
  • Summer of holiday - high school students go on summer break today
  • “If there isn’t any new evidence - the indictment in the rape will be canceled”
  • Friends also in the kitchen: Israeli food is conquering the US
  • The candidate to replace (Nikki) Haley at the UN: “Israel won’t have a better friend than I”
  • Peretz and Smotrich: “The right appointment at the right time // Asaf Medini

Top News Summary:
A woman who murdered her abusive husband was released from jail early after 18 years, the Palestinian man indicted for the rape of a 7-year-old Israeli girl in her West Bank settlement may be released if no substantial evidence is found to link him and leaders in Israeli political parties argue among themselves making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Also, Maariv interviewed former Mossad chief, Shabtai Shavit, who called Israeli voters who support Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu "mindless people who understand nothing."

**Also, Maariv's Alon Hachmon interviewed the lawyer of Mahmoud Katusa, the Palestinian man accused of raping the 7-year-old Israeli girl. Here's what he wrote:
Attorney Nashef Darwish, who represents Mahmoud Katusa, who was accused of raping the 7-year-old girl in Binyamin (name of settlement region in the West Bank), told Ma'ariv (Wednesday) morning that "the testimony of the doctor who examined her clearly says that this child has not been raped."
Lawyer, Nashef Darwish: "The child interrogator says that it is impossible to determine the level of reliability of the child...I am also dealing with the testimony of the doctor, who says very clearly that this girl was not been raped. They said she went to the doctor. The family doctor is not an expert doctor who can check that it was rape, that is clear, but she describes what she saw, and she says that there is a superficial wiybd that does not bleed. I went to the doctors and they told me that you should see much more dramatic signs," the lawyer. He quoted the doctor who examined the child as saying: "'At the end of the exam, I wrote the girl a prescription for an ointment to anaesthesize the area. I really did not see any other need medically because this is a very superficial and non-bleeding cut.' Now, take this sentence, go to a doctor who examines a 7-year-old girl who was raped by a very large 46-year-old man. Is there a chance that he will not see serious wounds in the initial examination?"
AH: They claim that she went to school after the interrogation and immediately pointed to the suspect.
ND: "This is an absolute lie. They retracted this claim. This case is more problematic than any we have seen in our districts, not only on the investigative level. This is a case being dealt with maliciously. This is a case that is the result of a poisoned atmosphere...I am now afraid that there are forces here who are much great than us all and can take us to bad places. (Forces) who want to protect the Israel Police and cover up the problematic conduct that took place. I fear that under these circumstances (Katusa) will not receive a fair trial. I intend to ask for the release of the defendant in the light of the cracks discovered during the investigation."

At the beginning of the hearing Wednesday night to extend his detention, Katusa burst into tears when the Military Advocate General's Office asked to extend his remand by 10 days. He turned to the interrogators with tears and asked, "Where have you been until today?" At the end of the long hearing, the court decided that Katusa would remain in custody for another week. The brother and son of the defendant who came to the hearing to cheer him up said: "This is an attempt to stitch a case on him." (Maariv)

Female commentators in Israel Hayom, Yedioth/Ynet and Haaretz+ slammed the “appalling political exploitation of a 7-year-old’s rape.

Elections 2019 Quickees:
  • Blue and white battles - The storm behind the silence: While leaders of Kahol-Lavan are keeping a media silence, behind the scenes the unrest is growing. In private conversations, Kahol-Lavan co-leader, Moshe Ya'alon, calls on Lapid to give up the rotation of the leadership: “It’s making voters flee." In Lapid’s Yesh Atid they responded: "Without us, Bugie (Moshe Yaalon) would not have passed the threshold." (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Israel's Arab Parties to Resurrect Joint List in Bid to Regain Seats - Parties say they will try to overcome their differences and reach agreement over the slate they will run on by the end of June. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Sabbath Dispute of Peretz and Smotrich - Again disagreement in top of Union of Right-wing Parties - New Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich said he won’t agree to infrastructure work on Sabbath without rabbis’ permit and party leader, MK Rafi Peretz, who was appointed Education Minister, insists on maintaining the status quo. (Yedioth, p. 1)

Quick Hits:
  • Israeli Court Evicts Palestinian Family From East Jerusalem Home, Lets Settlers Take Over - The Siyam family's appeal to retain control over their house in the Silwan neighborhood is rejected by the court in favor of the right-wing Elad Association. (Haaretz+)
  • Number of businesses in Judea and Samaria doubles within decade -  Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, "Entrepreneurship is in Samaria's DNA." Nearly 2,000 small and medium-sized businesses, many in the tourism industry, operate in Judea and Samaria. (Israel Hayom)
  • Prof. Yoram Meital: With no clear [sic- desired] alternatives, Israel maintains status quo in Gaza - [NOTE: Title is misleading. Meital says there are alternatives: wide-ranging military operation and renewal of diplomatic process, but that Israel wants neither. -OH] Israel’s current approach “is better than launching a wide-ranging military operation which forces Israel to retake responsibility" for Gaza Strip, in which case Israel would likely face “ongoing guerrilla warfare,” says head of the Chaim Herzog Center for Middle East Studies and Diplomacy. “A third possibility is the renewal of the political process, but Israel’s position is that that is not realistic.” (Israel Hayom)
  • Minister Steinitz: “Understandings are being formulated for a long-term arrangement with Hamas" - The minister who is a member of the political-security cabinet said on Channel 13: "There are elements that are trying to undermine this, but stability can be achieved without reaching another war.” (Maariv)
  • Hamas chief says ceasefire with Israel 'in the danger zone' - Ismail Haniyeh says Thursday that  Israelis haven't shown any 'respect' for the 2 million residents of the Hamas-controlled enclave who 'have not felt' any improvement to their living conditions. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Diplomatic achievement for the Palestinians: The IAEA signed an agreement recognizing Palestine as a state - The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Palestinian ambassador to Vienna agreed on the inclusion of Ramallah in the UN agency. Israel: “This is a violation of international conventions.” (Maariv)
  • UN nuclear watchdog denies plans to recognize Palestinian state - International Atomic Energy Agency says agreement giving Palestinian Authority observer status "does not apply any expression or opinion relating to the legal status of a certain authority or area or the definition of borders." Foreign Ministry blasts move as "violation of international agreements." (Israel Hayom)
  • Bahrain Approves Israeli Journalists' Attendance at Mideast Conference Despite No Diplomatic Ties - White House team in charge of Mideast peace plan worked to ensure that Bahrain would allow six Israeli reporters access to cover the conference. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • Violence Among Israeli Middle Schools Have Doubled in Past Five Years, Report Finds - Study also finds three times as many instances of theft and vandalism. (Haaretz+)
  • Saudi Universities Outrank Israeli Universities for the First Time - Universities in the Gulf have been rising through the ranks for years, but if the trend keeps up, some of the kingdom's universities will outrank Israel's top school by next year. (Haaretz+)
  • Israelis Just Received a Report Card. It Shows That We're Frightfully Mediocre - Much of the reason for the low score can be attributed to education gaps in the country's ultra-Orthodox and Arab citizens. (Haaretz+)
  • Education Ministry Backs Decision to Bar Girl’s Singing to Avoid Religious Offense - The head of Ramat Gan's Jewish culture department was fired after prohibiting a girl from performing as many Orthodox Jews believe religious law prohibits men from listening to women sing. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel's new education minister warns country is becoming too secular - Rafi Peretz of Habayit Hayehudi denies religious coercion permeates many areas of life in Israel, says Israelis have nothing to fear as 'he lives according to the Torah.' (Haaretz)
  • US anti-Semitism envoy slams lawmaker for comparing border patrol to concentration camps - At pro-Israel forum in Jerusalem, Elan Carr calls for fight against anti-Semitism in all its forms. Carr is working with European leaders and global partners to fight anti-Semitism while also working to remove anti-Semitic materials from Arab education systems. (Israel Hayom)
  • Evidence suggests Saudi Crown Prince is liable for Khashoggi murder, says UN expert - UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions calls for countries to widen sanctions to include the Crown Prince unless he can prove he has no responsibility. (Agencies, Haaretz and Maariv)
  • For the first time in Poland: “Tell on someone” initiative for the return of Jewish property - A new social media network campaign calls for anonymously returning the property of Polish Jews that was stolen from them during World War II. The Poles have yet to respond, but some people on the internet slammed back: "You robbed the Palestinians.” (Yedioth/Ynet Hebrew)
  • This Nigerian Televangelist Is Coming to Nazareth, and Locals Are Terrified - Temitope Balogun Joshua, arguably one of the most popular TV figures in Africa and Latin America, is set to hold two events at a Christian site in the city. (Haaretz+)
  • Iran says it will not extend 60-day nuclear deal deadline - Tehran said in May it would increase uranium enrichment levels unless world powers protected its economy from U.S. sanctions. (Haaretz)
  • New US deployment includes more Patriot missile defenses - Latest deployment of 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East, which was announced on Monday, will include a Patriot missile battalion, manned and unmanned surveillance aircraft and “other deterrence capabilities,” Pentagon says. (Israel Hayom)
  • Rocket hits site of foreign oil firms in Iraq's Basra, three hurt - ExxonMobil staff were evacuating an oil field in Basra just as the rocket hit the Burjesia site west of the city. (Agencies, Haaretz)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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