News Nosh 7.1.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday July 1, 2019

 
Quote of the Day #1:
"...What about honor, about values? Think about yourself, about your father. What did this boy contribute to the state? Did he give one percent of what I contributed? Of what my son, who serves in a special military unit, contributes? Has he once visited our military cemeteries? What did he do in his life?"
--IDF Brig. Gen. (res.) Hasson Hasson, former Military Attaché to the President and a member of the Druze community, said in response to a Tweet post by Yair Netanyahu, the son of the Prime Minister, which the Israeli Druze community felt mocked them.*

Quote of the Day #2:
"Two Trump lawyers from New York and two casino moguls from Las Vegas smashing walls and coexistence in Jerusalem."
--Haaretz commentator Anshel Pfeffer refers to the controversial partipation of U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, along with Sheldon and Miri Adelson, in the ceremony inaugurating a settler archaeological project in E. Jerusalem, a tunnel that runs under Palestinian homes.**


Breaking News:
Israel Strikes Iranian Targets in Syria, Report Says; 16 Killed, including baby, 21 Wounded
Syrian air defenses responded to attacks on Homs and Damascus outskirts launched from Lebanese air space, Syrian state media says. Syrian anti-aircraft missile fired at Israelis hits Turkish Cypriot mountainside, no casualties. (Haaretz and Ynet)

Iran Says It Has Exceeded Enriched Uranium Stockpile Allowed Under Nuclear Deal
(Haaretz and Israel Hayom)

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The last flight - Protest of Eilat residents did not help: Sde Dov Airport closed
  • This is how they buried an airport // Nahum Barnea writes that national interests were not what concerned Netanyahu yesterday, but rather the threat of Eilat Likudniks to vote for the opposition (Hebrew)
  • The suspicion: young Ethiopian-Israeli man shot dead by a police officer
  • Expose - The rape of the little girl: The document that embarrasses the police (Hebrew)
  • Returning to the ‘Pilgrims’ Path’: US ambassador inaugurated a tunnel in the City of David [E. Jerusalem]…; Palestinians are furious
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • The last flight - Battle port: Sde Dov closed - Eilat residents go out to war
  • The airport was the home of flight in the land of Israel // Aharon Lapidot
  • The first in the North (Trump meets Kim in N. Korea)
  • “The candidates are competing who will enter first in (Ehud) Barak’s list” - Peretz, Shafir or Shmuli? A moment before elections for chairman of Labor party, senior people in party attack the candidates: “Humiliating”
  • This is how I found myself starring in fake news // Ariel Kahane returned from Bahrain and discovered that he “made a provocation”
  • After the CEOs of Bank Hapoalim and Bank Discount: CEO of Bank Leumi, Rakefet Rosek-Aminach, resigned
  • As of this morning: Price of fuel drops 12 agorot a literf

Top News Summary:
Sadness over the closure of a pre-state airport that connects the center of Israel to Eilat, shock after a third bank CEO resigns, possibly due to government capping of top salaries, and concern after an off-duty policeman shoots dead an Ethiopian-Israeli youth made top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. What made less headlines was the controversial participation of two senior US administration officials in the inauguration of a settler archaeological project in E. Jerusalem.

Also, a day after the front pages shouted about the numerous fires from incendiary balloons from Gaza landing in Israeli communities in the periphery and how Israel should react and whether Israel was holding up its side of the understandings with Hamas and whether Hamas was holding up its side, only a tiny item near the back page of Yedioth mentioned that no fires broke out from incendiary balloons in the Jewish communities surrounding the Gaza Strip yesterday and that the understandings between Israel and Hamas regarding a calm “are holding, at least for now.”

There was another interesting contrast between Sunday’s and Monday’s papers.
With the usual exception of Haaretz, which put it on the front page, the Friday’s Hebrew newspapers completely ignored the shooting and killing of Mohammed Samir Obeid, a 20-year-old Palestinian in E. Jerusalem, by a police officer Thursday night. They also ignored reporting in the Sunday newspapers about the intense clashes that ensued in E. Jerusalem Friday and Saturday that resulted in 95 Palestinians in E. Jerusalem wounded by Israeli police. However, the shooting and killing of Solomon Teka, an 18-year-old Ethiopian-Israeli near Haifa, by an off-duty police officer on Sunday made today’s front page in the Hebrew newspapers, with the exception of Israel Hayom. In both killings, the police officers who opened fire said they felt a threat to their lives. The death of the Ethiopian not only made the news, not to mention on the front page, but the papers also suggested the policeman was guilty. The headline in Yedioth was a quote from the head of the local youth center: “It’s not possible that they so easily shoot a youth here.” Practically the same sentence was said to Haaretz+ journalist Nir Hasson by residents of the E. Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, where the Palestinian youth lived and was shot dead. Moreover, the police opened an investigation into the circumstances of the killing of the Ethiopian, but not for the killing of the Palestinian, except by journalist Nir Hasson.

Israel Hayom and Maariv largely ignored the controversial participation of two senior US envoys at the opening of a new tunnel running under a Palestinian village in East Jerusalem during a ceremony inaugurating a settler archaeological project. US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt actually used a sledgehammer to break a wall to the tunnel. While it was clear to most that this involvement signified the US giving a green light to Israeli sovereignty in E. Jerusalem and not being a neutral peace broker, Greenblatt said that was ‘ludicrous.’ Peace Now activists peacefully protested the event holding signs near the site and Haaretz posted a video of a policeman violently removing one of the protesters. Communications Director of Americans for Peace Now, Ori Nir, had a row of biting quotes on Twitter, with a photo of Friedman slamming a hammer in a wall. “I can’t think of a better metaphor for Friedman and Greenblatt's systematic destruction of America's role as a peace broker and of prospects for Isr'-Pal' peace than this photo of the two, together with Sheldon Adelson and Netanyahu's wife, undermining Palestinian life in Silwan,” was one.

Elections Quickees:
  • Calling for broad coalition, Lieberman says 'no difference' between Netanyahu and Gantz - 'National emergency government' is needed to rescue Israel from 'deep trouble,' former defense minister tells public radio. (Haaretz)
  • Amir Peretz: "If I am elected, Binyamin Netanyahu won't be prime minister anymore" - MK Amir Peretz, a candidate for the leadership of the Labor Party, spoke at an election rally and said: "All the data shows that the Labor Party under my leadership will jump to 15 seats, four of which come from the right-wing bloc." (Maariv)
  • Resisting pushback, Edelstein renews call to cancel elections - Knesset speaker warns Israelis could go to polls for third time if his plan to cancel September vote fails; takes aim at Ehud Barak, who hits back at ‘sycophantic scheme.' (Times of Israel)
  • "Ehud fled": criticism of the chairman by the new member joining Barak's party - Yair (Yaya) Fink left Labor and joined the new party headed by former prime minister Ehud Barak, but it seems that he did not always appreciate Barak. Eight years ago, Fink said former Labor party chairman Ehud Barak, 'fled' after abandoning the Labor party to establish a separate party, 'Etzmaut,' with four other MKs. (Maariv)
  • Ben Caspit: "Ehud Barak's affair with Yair Golan will end in tears" - A Maariv reporter Caspit spoke with 103FM about Barak's return to politics. "I am almost certain that the affair between Barak and Yair Golan will end in tears. Yair Golan is an unusually impressive man, but he is also naïve and he has no idea what he is getting in to. He will miss South Lebanon no idea. Barak, on the other hand, is a schemer. I think that Yair Golan will only wake up after the elections. In the meantime, the two want to restore quiet here," said Caspit. (103FM/Maariv)

 

Quick Hits:
  • Rivlin: "Like every citizen in the country who does not want to live in an undemocratic country" - Speaking at the 19th Herzliya Conference, President Reuven Rivlin addressed  upcoming elections and the question of the need for a constitution and the reasons that Israel doesn't have one. "We are in a state of constitutional flaw, which could cause the lights to go out.” (Maariv)
  • Court Disqualifies Palestinian's Confession After Police Prevented Him From Consulting Lawyer - Judge calls violation 'a mortal blow to the defendant’s basic right to due process.’ A., a resident of the West Bank town of Qalqilyah, confessed to stealing cars and breaking into houses. But Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court Judge Amit Michles said that by not letting him meet with his lawyer first, police violated his basic rights. (Haaretz+)
  • Appeal to Attorney General: "Prohibition on Arabs entering the park in Afula - illegal" - In a letter sent to Mandelblit, the newly elected head of the Bar Association, Avi Himi, demanded to prohibit the Mayor of Afula from preventing Arab citizens from entering the municipal park. "This is discrimination based on ethnicity. It is nationalist discrimination" he wrote. Afula Municipality: "The park is open to the residents of the city only." The Deputy Attorney General: The mayor's decision raises legal difficulties." (Maariv, Israel Hayom Hebrew and Walla)
  • Yad Vashem, Ramallah and Swimming in a Settlement: J Street Launches Its ‘Birthright’ Alternative - Inaugural 10-day tour, titled ‘Let Our People Know,’ arrives Tuesday and features meetings with settlers and peace activists. (Haaretz+)
  • Recent Moves by Israel Could Harm Relations With Arab World, Security Officials Warn - In a forum of senior political and defense officials, experts said Israel’s democratic nature was being eroded in favor of its Jewish one at a time when Israel is viewed as a key player in the Middle East in addressing the Iranian threat. They said that Palestinian economic hardship, for example exacerbated by a new law allowing retroactive approval of land expropriation and the withholding of $140 million owed to the Palestinian Authority, may lead to civil protests that could result in violent clashes led by Hamas and others opposing the PalestinianAuthority. They added that if Israel continues to hold on to Palestinian funds, the Authority may soon start losing its grip on areas it controls. (Haaretz+)
  • Expose - The rape of the little girl: The document that embarrasses the police - Since the cancellation of the indictment against Mahmoud Katusa, the suspect in the rape of the seven-year-old girl, the Shai District Police investigators have been severely criticized for the failures of the investigation. But Yedioth received the protocol of a discussion that reveals that three weeks before the indictment was filed against Katusa, the Shai District Investigations Officer actually reported about the sensitive investigation to Police National Headquarters and Police Investigations Division, but apparently the issue did not turn on any red lights and it was not transferred to the senior officials and no one intervened. A senior official involved in the investigation: "The self-inspection should start from above, from the national headquarters.” (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Failures in the operation of informants and criminal charges for trivialities: the report of the Public Defender's Office - The report for 2018 shows that the courts have made important decisions regarding the use of informants embeded with defendants. Report says that criminal proceedings are used too often and false arrests are made too often putting too much pressure on the Israel Prison Service. That said, there has been a reduction in arrests for first time in years. (Ynet Hebrew and JPost)
  • After US threat, PA frees man who attended Bahrain summit - Palestinian Authority releases businessman Saleh Abu Mayala, reportedly after receiving a threatening letter from the US Embassy. PA intelligence services had detained Mayala, who attended last week's conference in Bahrain with a small group of Palestinian colleagues, in Hebron for interrogation. (Israel Hayom)
  • Yair Netanyahu infuriates Druze community on Twitter - The Druze are angry at Yair Netanyahu whose rejection of their call for amendments to the Jewish Nation-State Law, was seen as mocking them. Yair wrote: "We hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish-Druze state in the Land of Israel, which is the State of Israel-Dzerzhistan." Druze responded: "The sound of the blood of our fallen soldiers cries from the ground." (Maariv/JPost)
  • Netanyahu says Palestinians determined to continue conflict at all cost - The prime minister also lashes out at those pushing him to launch a large-scale military operation in the Hamas-controlled enclave in response to incendiary balloon terror, calling it 'the propaganda of so-called experts.’ (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • State Watchdog Did Not Tell Permits Committee Netanyahu Appealed to Him for Loan - State Comptroller Joseph Shapira told the prime minister that he would approve a 2 million dollar loan from an American millionaire if it was at market rates and if he could prove there is no conflict of interest. (Haaretz+)
  • Workplace Deaths Have Risen by 30 Percent in the First Half of This Year - In the first six months of 2019 alone, 43 were killed in workplace accidents - construction industry and the commerce and services sector have shown the biggest rise in fatalities. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Israel's Treasury Changes Policy, Causing Potential Delay in Building of New Schools - 'This is a system flaw that will negatively impact the children of Israel,' Tel Aviv municipality’s director-general says. (Haaretz+)
  • Largest capsule hotel in Middle East to be built by Dead Sea - Hotel, which will offer accommodations starting at $28, to be built inside a state-of-the-art leisure and entertainment complex. (Israel Hayom)
  • Satellite photos proves that deployment of S-300 system completed on Syrian soil - New photographs published by ISI show the fourth battery deployed alongside the other launchers and two radars, near the city of Masif in the western part of the country. (Maariv and Israel Hayom)
  • Calls grow to end waivers allowing Iran to conduct civil nuclear activity - Ahead of their expected review in August, officials on Capitol Hill have increased pressure on US Secretary of State Pompeo not to renew waivers permitting countries to conduct civil nuclear projects with Tehran. (Israel Hayom)
  • Jordanian princess and junior wife of Dubai's ruler escapes with £31 million - Princess Haya Bint al Hussein is said to have gone to Germany with her two children and is demanding divorce; Human rights organizations also demand information regarding the whereabouts of UAE prime minister's daughter, missing after a failed escape from palace. (Yedioth/Ynet)
     
  • Germans Protest neo-Nazi Rock Festival by Buying Up an Entire Town’s Beer Supply = 'We wanted to dry the Nazis out,' says a local activist.” (JTA, Haaretz)

 

Commentary/Analysis:
Israel's Collective Punishing Exacts Price From This East Jerusalem Neighborhood (Nir Hasson, Haaretz+) Anyone who understands police conduct knows that the clashes in Isawiyah, which cost a young Palestinian his life last week, are not part of some innocent operation. After the murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir in 2014 [by Jewish terrorists who kidnapped him and burned him alive till he died - OH], which led to intensifying clashes in East Jerusalem, Israeli prosecutors began cracking down on young Palestinians who were caught throwing stones [in protest of Abu Khdeir's killing - OH], by seeking detention until the end of legal proceedings and tougher punishment. Teenagers were often sentenced to two years in prison for throwing stones, even if they caused no damage. As a result of this policy, hundreds of young East Jerusalem Palestinians have spent lengthy periods in jail. One of these youths was Mohammed Samir Obeid, who was 15 in 2015 when he was arrested for the first time. As with others in his situation, imprisonment changed the course of his life and he never rebounded. Shortly after his release, he was arrested again, and jailed for another two-year term which ended a year ago. Last Thursday Abid was standing near a stone wall, while residents of his neighborhood, Isawiyah, and left-wing activists demonstrated against recent Israel Police raids in the area. Based on photos and testimony from residents, a group of policemen stood about 10 meters from Abid, speaking to the protesters in an effort to calm things down. According to police, Abid threw lit firecrackers at them. Firecrackers have become common weapons among Jerusalem’s Palestinian teenagers; they make a loud noise and can fly a short distance, but rarely hurt anybody and certainly don’t cause serious injuries. Palestinians were standing next to the policemen allegedly targeted by Abid. One police officer noticed what Abid was doing and shot him killing him..Palestinian residents of Jerusalem have for years claimed that the harsh punishments and the lengthy incarcerations have thrown the lives of many teens off-course, pushing them to acts of violence and endless confrontations with the police…The approach the police are using in Isawiyah recently has been reminiscent of that of the prosecution in 2014. True to the Israeli saying that when force doesn’t work at first, use more of it – the police announced three weeks ago that they were ratcheting up enforcement against the locals. Sources say that one officer told them the operation would continue “until not a single stone is thrown.” These measures have disrupted life in Isawiyah in an extreme manner. Most shop owners close their businesses in the afternoon, many residents have chosen to shut themselves up in their homes and confrontations with the young stone-throwers have become worse. But anyone who understands anything about police conduct knows that this is no innocent operation but rather collective punishment aimed at forcing the residents of Isawiyah to stop throwing stones at the police. Oshrat Maimon, policy advocacy director of the Ir Amim co-existence NGO, wrote the police commissioner that Isawiyah is a neighborhood of 20,000 residents and even if officers find individuals who are disturbing the peace, they must deal separately with every case – not hand down collective punishments. The pressure the police force is using is not only illegal, she added, it is making matters worse.
Settlers From the White House
(Haaretz Editorial) The event held Sunday in a tunnel under the main street of the Silwan neighborhood in East Jerusalem, just outside the Old City walls, would have been impossible only a few years ago. The participation of American diplomats at an event sponsored by a right-wing group in East Jerusalem constitutes de facto recognition of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem’s historic basin. If anyone had any doubts about that, Friedman made clear in an interview with the Jerusalem Post that, “The City of David is an essential component of the national heritage of the State of Israel.” Giving it up, even in the context of a peace agreement, he said, “would be akin to America returning the Statue of Liberty.” This recognition doesn’t just put the American administration on the extreme right of the Israeli political map – thus undercutting the claim that American can be an unbiased broker between Israel and the Palestinians – but it also ignores the complicated reality in Silwan, East Jerusalem and the entire region.
**When Trump Lawyers and Casino Moguls Took a Hammer to Coexistence in Jerusalem (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Sunday’s inauguration of ‘Pilgrimage Road’ was nothing more than a vulgar exercise in political posturing by people won’t even be footnotes in the grand city’s history.
Bentzi Gopstein is also a complex figure, and no movie about him was funded (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth Hebrew) The storm surrounding the cancellation of the public funding for the award-winning film about Attorney Leah Tsemel, a defender of (Palestinian) murderers, does not signify a violation of democracy. It is the state's right not to finance propaganda against it.
The Stories Haaretz Prints That Its Readers Won’t Read (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) What would Haaretz be if it didn’t publish reports that its readers refuse to read because they are too busy banging their heads against the excuse that 'we didn’t know'?
The two (Attorney General) Mendelblitts: There is no connection between the one who gave an address and the attorney general (Revital Hovel, Haaretz Hebrew) Anyone who listened to the Attorney General Avichai Mendelblitt’s speech at the Herzliya Conference could think that he is the champion of human rights and equality before the law. The truth is that he has partial responsibility for the “erosion of judicial security.”
Our extortion arrangement with Hamas (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) Israel might think its strong, but Gaza Strip leaders know we're as squeezable as ever, especially as elections near yet again; a strong country would have sent Hamas soul searching, with no gas or fishing perimeter, until they realize they have to stop the firebombs and explosives.
Enlightened, beautiful, two-state Israel should declare independence from Jewish fundamentalists (Chuck Freilich, Haaretz+) If the upcoming elections don't produce real change, if West Bank annexation becomes reality, if democratic norms and the rule of law continue to deteriorate, we need a new partition plan – this time, for Israel itself.
Rivers of racism flowed around the rape affair in the West Bank (Tamar Kaplansky, Ynet Hebrew) Binyamin Netanyahu, Gilad Erdan, Rafi Peretz and Avigdor Lieberman were not shocked by the rape, but by the defendant's (Palestinian) nationality. And compared to the noise they made when the affair was revealed, the silence that followed its collapse is jarring.
Barak and Kochavi – a Lethal Combination (Odeh Bisharat, Haaretz+) As things look now, Israel has no interest in reoccupying the Gaza Strip or in annexing it, but it is determined to subdue it…if there’s no plan to defeat Gaza by conquering it, then the only way to subdue it is by killing its sons. Currently, with the Israeli public totally immersed in the election campaign, Israeli army Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi is totally occupied with how to kill as many “mehablim” as possible. Incidentally, according to a 2013 column by Elon Gilad in Haaretz, the Hebrew term mehabel, which is commonly translated into English as “terrorist” in referring to Palestinians, only arose after the Six-Day War. Before that they were called fedayeen, i.e. those who sacrifice themselves for a specific cause…But with all due respect to Kochavi’s lethal innovations, he is not the first to adopt the killing doctrine. On December 27, 2008, the Israel Air Force, at the behest of then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak, launched a pinpoint missile attack on a police graduation ceremony in Gaza that killed 89 people. The message, according to Shay Fogelman, writing in Haaretz in 2010, was that “all police stations in Gaza are enemy targets, and all policemen, regardless of their ranks and duties and unit affiliations, are legitimate targets.” Yes, even policemen tasked with directing traffic or apprehending criminals were deemed mehablim. One could expand it to include merchants who agreed to supply Hamas people with food, clothing, or notebooks for their children. Incidentally, Hamas, like the Israeli right, won more than half the votes of local residents, and hundreds of thousands of people attend their rallies. Are all of them, as Hamas supporters, legitimate targets?
Bahrain conference: Nothing new under the sun (Raphael G. Bouchnik-Chen, Israel Hayom) The US's “Peace to Prosperity” plan has a precedent: the resettlement initiative presented by UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld on June 15, 1959.
The chief of staff's security strategy borders on crying out a lack of understanding of the reality (Ran Edelist, Maariv) The quasi-scientific nonsense that the Chief of Staff presented to the senior command staff passes as if we did not learn that the important lesson of the Vietnam War's failure is the statistics of the killing, and there are also other problems.
Militant Anti-Fascism Is Self-Defense (Stanislav Vysotsky, Haaretz+) After an anti-fascist punched a right-wing journalist in Portland, militant anti-fascists and antifa have been branded as 'violent gangs,' even 'terrorists.' Those definitions are completely wrong.
Correlating anti-Semitism with Islamophobia is dangerous (Melanie Phillips, Israel Hayom) Islamophobia, like much Muslim discourse, is based on an appropriation and inversion of Jewish experience and precepts.
The White Genocide That the Far Right Won't Talk About (Haroon Moghul, Haaretz+) The first genocide in Europe since the Holocaust targeted white Europeans. But white supremacists deny it even happened.
The exaggerated media exposure hides the true reality of global crises (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) President Trump is right: The media really creates Fake News and distributes a fictitious political reality, whose chances of being implemented and materialized in the foreseeable future are slim…The joint and smiling photograph of President Donald Trump and North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un is a great example of media expression. Trump not only did something that his predecessor in the White House Barack Obama did not do, something which is the peak of Trump's pride. This time he made a move that no American president has made - stepping on the soil of North Korea, America's oldest enemy. Nu, so what? An event whose only meaning is fleeting, less than temporary. According to reports, the two agreed that the delegations of their countries will renew talks on dismantling North Korea's nuclear weapons. Big deal. Nuclear disarmament experts, including Americans, claim almost unanimously that North Korea is not ready to stop developing and manufacturing nuclear weapons. Kim Jong-un sees the continued development and production of missiles and nuclear warheads as a guarantee of his country's security and its status in the region. But the media could not help itself. How can one not be impressed by the first meeting in history between an American president and a North Korean ruler on North Korean soil? From an operative political move, the news items were Fake News.
Mr. Trump’s Wild Ride With Kim Jong Un Evokes Derision, Anxiety - and Prayers for Success (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) If it were anyone else, the U.S. president’s impromptu stroll into North Korea would have evoked admiring analogies to Sadat’s groundbreaking trip to Jerusalem.
When the ruling party threatens violence (Stephen M. Flatow, Israel Hayom) Fatah, the majority faction in the Palestinian Authority, posted a photo on Facebook of a masked Palestinian about to throw a rock – or about to attempt to stone a Jew to death.

Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
No white donkeys left (Yuval Diskin, Yedioth Hebrew) Avigdor Lieberman is worried only about Lieberman, Ehud Barak is a waste of time and Kahol-Lavan mainly dismantled the left-wing. Replacing a failed leader with an opportunistic leadership that does not have a clear say on any issue does not solve anything. A team with a fresh vision is needed.
Setting new terms for the political debate (Chen Artzi Sror, Yedioth/Ynet) How much can our politicians do to freshen up the political debate? Do they profoundly understand Israeli Society? If, after all, their expressions are all about cockpits, special reconnaissance, armored personnel carriers and army eating plates.

 
Interviews:
*Salim Shufi dragged Yair's father (Binyamin Netanyahu) on his shoulders so that his son would talk like that?"
The Tweet posts of Yair Netanyahu against the Druze community are infuriating a hero of Israel, Brig. Gen. Hasson Hasson, who reminded all about how one of the Israeli heroes from the Druze community rescued Yair’s father, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in Syria during their army service. (Interviewed by Ben Caspit in Maariv)
"We don't even know what to think about this,” said Brig. Gen. Hasson Hasson. "How could he post such a thing? What did they teach this child at home? He apparently was nursed on racism. He apparently did not study political science. He apparently did not study civics, let alone history. Salim Shufi*, the Druze man who was nicknamed Meir Har Zion of the north, carried (Yair’s) father on his shoulders and rescued him from Syria. Twice Shufi saved Bibi Netanyahu so that his son would speak like that now?”
Brig. Gen. Hasson continued: "He is slandering the Druze community for tying its fate with the Jewish people. Why? Why destroy this important connection? Is he looking for a few more votes on the extreme right? Is that what this is about? Because that is delusional and idiotic on an unimaginable level. What about honor, about values? Think about yourself, about your father. What did this boy contribute to the state? Did he give one percent of what I contributed? Of what my son, who serves in a special military unit, contributes? Has he once visited our military cemeteries? What did he do in his life?”
Brig. Gen. Hasson continued: "I'm asking of you, Yair Netanyahu. Learn a bit about the Druze. Do your homework, look through the history books. I have two uncles who were hanged in Nablus even before the establishment of the state. Most importantly, where did he get that we are against a Jewish state? So the time has come for you to know, young Netanyahu - the Druze wholeheartedly support the fact that Israel is the state of the Jewish people. We are part of this project. It's in our interest. We are invested in it even before it began. What? Are you really so ignorant? The Druze support Israel as the state of the Jewish people and sacrifice their lives and all their might, even at this moment as we speak, for this cause. So before you start speaking nonsense, count to ten. The only thing that matters to us in regards to the Jewish Nation-State Law is the addition of the principle of equality. That does not harm the Jewish state, on the contrary. It brings back the values of the Declaration of Independence, on whose knees it was founded. This is not instead of the nation-state of the Jewish people, it is within it and alongside it. That's all we ask for."

[*Note: The late Salim Shufi, was the first Druze officer to fight in Israel’s elite Sayeret Matkal commando unit. Major Salim Shufi is credited with saving Mr Netanyahu’s life in 1968 when the young commando took part in an operation behind enemy lines in Syria. Born in Syria in 1931 in the Druze town of Majdal Shams, Shufi crossed the border at the age of 16 and joined the Israelis. When the IDF’s elite Sayeret Matkal Unit was formed in 1957, he joined and participated in numerous secret operations in which he specialized in collecting intelligence in enemy territory. Most notably, he helped save the lives of the members of a Reconnaissance force of the unit, which was under the command of then-officer Binyamin Netanyahu and behind enemy lines. Shufi infiltrated Syrian territory and helped the force navigate back into Israel undetected. Brig. Gen. Hasson Hasson said that Shufi told him that he carried Netanyahu on his back. After the army, Israel appointed Shufi as mayor of Majdal Shams. He was one of the few Druze of the Golan who took Israeli citizenship. He died in 2012 at the age of 82. In 2013, the IDF announced a special scholarship in his name for Druze soldiers who finished military service. At a ceremony in 2015, Netanyahu said: “For me, Salim symbolized the living partnership between us, certainly the covenant of blood."]

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