News Nosh 7.14.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday July 14, 2019

You Must Be Kidding #1:
"I think that it is possible to convert [someone's sexual orientation]. I can tell you that I have deep familiarity on the issue of education, and I have also done this."
--Israel's Education Minister Rafi Peretz said he supports gay conversion therapy.*

You Must Be Kidding #2:
 "If Netanyahu is allowed, then I can also make use of a map."
—Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah poked fun at Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in a TV interview and pulled out a map to show his organization's targets in Israel for attack.**

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • Calls in the political establishment to fire Education Minister
  • Nine killed in one week - More victims on Israeli roads
  • The Egyptians put out the fire - Mediation delegation that arrived in Gaza from Cairo succeeded in preventing confrontation that threatened to break out following the killing of the Hamas activist from IDF fire and the launching of rockets at Israel
  • Jerusalem under siege - Starting today for the next three years, heavy traffic at Jerusalem’s entrance due to establishment of enormous commercial project
  • Parting from the maestro - 35,000 Israelis came to special concert to thank the legendary conductor of the Philharmonic, Zubin Mehta
Israel Hayom
  • Rabbi Peretz answers Shaked: “Let’s meet” - Rafi Peretz in the eye of the storm - Ahead of a fateful political week, Shaked’s ultimatum caused a stir
  • The deadly month of July on Israeli roads
  • There is a budget, there is no money: 65 million shekels to security in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) were not transferred
  • The terror attack and the cover-up  - 25th anniversary since attack in Buenos Aires, which took the lives of 85 people
  • Expose - Horror at Abarbanel mental health asylum: Patient was tied up for hours - and found dead (Hebrew)
  • South tense: Two rockets shot towards Gaza periphery, Iron Dome boosted
  • Rising to attack: The pre-military academy in Eli (settlement) filed libel suit - “They harmed our good name” (Hebrew)
  • From this morning - Part of the entrance to Jerusalem will be closed for three years

Top News Summary:
Gay conversion, business with sex criminals, apologies to and averted escalations with Hamas and an interview with Hezbollah’s leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, were top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Also Maariv's Jacky Khougy and Yossi Melman wrote two fascinating analyses, which have been translated below. Khougy, the Arab affairs analyst, wrote about Iraq's trial balloon for Iraq-Israel relations and about how Israel ignores the overtures of its secret friend, Saudi Arabia, to Palestinians who have murdered Israelis. While Intelligence affairs analyst, Yossi Melman, wrote about Israeli commando arrogance, about the delegation of civilian authority to a military body and research that supports the claims that the Egyptians did not want to go to war against Israeli in 1948 and that the Egyptian army lacked arms, while the pre-state Israeli army had tons. See Commentary/Analysis below.

In an interview on Channel 12, Israel's Education Minister, Rabbi Rafi Peretz, said that the controversial practice of trying to change an individual's sexual orientation to straight was ‘possible’ and that he had even advised a student who told him about his sexual inclinations. The statement drew calls by people in the left and center-left wing parties for him to be fired (Maariv), after which Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Peretz that his words were “unacceptable.” Leaders of LGBQT organizations also called for his dismissal and and Israeli teachers slammed him, as well. Meanwhile, the city of Netanya held its first-ever Pride Parade under heavy security. And to mark 10 years since the murder at the youth gay bar in Tel-Aviv, Yedioth ran a full-page article about Israelis and their stories about homosexuality. At the end of this month there will be ‘Pride Salons,’ where private homes across the country will hold meetings under the slogan: “Stop the hatred and discrimination, in the end, we are all human beings.”

Note: Not making headlines were the far-right-wing Education Minister's views on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. When asked about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Peretz said he wants to “extend Israeli sovereignty to all of Judea and Samaria" (West Bank). He promised that Palestinians would have rights, just not the right to vote. Asked whether this did not constitute apartheid, Peretz said he didn’t rule out the possibility that it was.

Most of the papers made headlines out of the business partnership between returning political hopeful, Ehud Barak, and sex criminal, Jeffery Epstein. Haaretz+ revealed in Friday’s paper that Epstein bankrolled a considerable part of Ehud Barak's investment in a startup called Reporty Homeland Security, later called ‘Carbyne.’  Moreover, another journalist reported last year that Barak received over $2 million in grants over the last decade from the Wexner Foundation,  a philanthropic organization that operates training programs to advance leadership and excellence in Israel and among North American Jews and which Epstein financed and managed. On Saturday night, Barak, chairman of the new ‘Democratic Israel’ party, said that he is considering breaking off his business relations with Epstein.

All the main Hebrew newspapers except Yedioth Ahronoth focused on the renewed heightened tension between Israel and Gaza following the mistaken IDF killing of a Hamas activist Thursday by an IDF soldier. Yedioth, however, focused on the ‘apology’ that Israel gave to Hamas for the killing, quoting Israeli residents of the Gaza periphery, such as Itai Fachter from Kibbutz Kfar Azza, who asked: “Israel apologizes for killing a terrorist? What are we doing? When exactly does the Prime Minister apologize to the residents of the Gaza periphery for his weak policy?” Israel Hayom didn’t explain what the ‘misidentification’ was: that 28-year-old Mahmoud al-Adham, a member of the Hamas ‘restraint team,’ was trying to turn two Palestinians away from approaching the Strip's border fence when IDF troops misidentified him as an armed terrorist and shot him dead. Israel Hayom noted that the shooting IDF said the soldier was not even cleared to shoot. The Palestinian response was muted: a mortar and a rocket shot towards Israel Friday night, with no injuries or damage. Yedioth wrote that the IDF ‘maintained restraint,’ but deployed more Iron Dome missile defense batteries. Interestingly, Israel Hayom interviewed 'a Hamas official' for its report. The official said that the Egyptian delegation that came to lower the flames met with Hamas politburo chief, Ismail Haniyeh, and other senior officials, and told them that Israel sent a message that the killing of Al-Adham was a mistake and that it offered to ease numerous restrictions that it imposed on Gazans, including increasing the entry of medicines and medical equipment into the Strip, returning fishing vessels seized by the Israeli Navy, allowing the entry of hundreds of products that Israel had prohibited and increasing the number of work permits given to Palestinians from 3,000 to 5,000. Hamas official Fathi Hamed said Israel was delaying the implementation of the previous truce understandings and that while Hamas did not accept the killing, it did not want an escalation and it was committed to the ‘calm agreement.’

Earlier Friday, 24 Palestinians were wounded in confrontations with the army during the weekly March of Return protest along the Gaza border fence and two Gazans were caught trying to cross the fence. Also on Friday, a 10-year-old Palestinian boy was critically wounded when he was hit in the head by a bullet fired by an Israeli soldier during a weekly protest against the West Bank separation barrier in the northern West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum.

**Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah certainly has a sense of humor. In an interview with Hezbollah's al-Manar TV Friday he pulled out a map of Israel to point out the places which his organization has in its cross hairs. “If Netanyahu can use a map, so can I,” he said (Yedioth Hebrew) and detailed military installations and civilians in Israel’s coastal strip, where he said most Israelis live. (Maariv) Nasrallah also said that Washington was seeking to open channels of communication with Hezbollah, despite ramping up sanctions against the Iran-backed movement's officials. While Yedioth focused on the ‘map of threats,’ Maariv’s military affairs analyst, Tal Lev-Ram, wrote that Nasrallah was ‘pragmatic’…”Behind his familiar threats it was possible to hear that the most significant statement of the Shiite organization’s leader dealt with a diplomatic issue: The joint international attempt of Lebanon and Israel to reach an agreement in the dispute over the border in the international waters between them. In actuality, Nasrallah provided clear support for the contacts when he said, ‘We stand behind the state also in the issue of an arrangement for the border. We trust the leadership in Lebanon that it knows how to stand up for the rights of the country and attain what the Lebanese people deserve.”

Elections 2019 Quickees:
Netanyahu's proposal to Bennett: Don’t run in the elections and I’ll appoint you ambassador to the UN
In order to prevent the splitting of votes in the right-wing bloc, sources in the prime minister's office say Netanyahu turned to the chairman of the New Right part and suggested that he be appointed ambassador to the UN. New Right in response: "He has no interest in any position.” (Maariv)
After they liquidated the Knesset (Transparency) committee of Stav Shafir: Likud marks its next goal - The demand by Attorney General Mandelblit to disclose the content of his meetings with Netanyahu has brought the Knesset Transparency committee closer to its end. Tourism Minister Yariv Levin wants to split the Economics Ccommittee, which has traditionally been considered the flagship committee of the opposition. In the outgoing Knesset, Eitan Cabel (Labor) led it, and it was perhaps the dominant among the committees during the term of office. Although the idea of splitting did not emerge in the last coalition negotiations, it is liable to resurface after the September elections. (Haaretz Hebrew/TheMarker)
(Labor chief) Amir Peretz: "If balloons were coming to Judea and Samaria, the government would act differently than in the south"
The chairman of the Labor Party opened the election campaign in the Bedouin sector and said during the visit: "I will not accept that an Israeli child does not study for four months a year because of the weather.” (Maariv)
(Education Minister and Habayit Hayehudi leader Rafi) Peretz to Shaked: "Come to the meeting"
Following the publication in Israel Hayom of the ultimatum that Ayelet Shaked sent to Rafi Peretz, the minister called on her to discuss the first place on the party list. "Shaked made it clear that this is an opportunity to join forces." (Israel Hayom)
Poll: Without Yisrael Beiteinu, there is no majority for the ultra-Orthodox right-wing bloc; Lieberman: Netanyahu is hysterical
In response to the prime minister's claim that “In regards to immigrants from the Soviet Union there was a zero-action policy," the chairman of Yisrael Beiteinu said: "He knows that the only ones who can prevent him from establishing a halakhic (Jewish religious law) state is Yisrael Beiteinu.” (Maariv)
Quick Hits:
  • Attorney General Backs Legal Petition to Allow Israeli Arabs to Enter Public Park in Afula - Limiting access 'raises serious questions' on discrimination, Mendelblit argues, urging court to freeze northern municipality's decision. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Circassian Galilee Mayor Objects to Arab Joining Town, Vows to Keep Its 'Circassian Character' - Members of ethnic minority fear non-Circassian couple will cause Kafr Kama to 'lose its identity,' citing examples of Jewish towns who kept out Arabs. (Haaretz+)
  • There is a budget, but no money: millions for security in Judea and Samaria are stuck - Due to disagreement with Finance Ministry: Ministry of Defense did not transfer 65 million shekels. Result: dozens of projects frozen. Ministry of Defense: "The balance of the budget will be transferred as soon as possible." (Israel Hayom Hebrew)
  • Netanyahu met with chief of Ukrainian party that includes neo-Nazis - Netanyahu, who has been criticized for failing to confront European anti-Semitism, lauded meeting with Oleh Lyashko – who is known for controversial remarks. (Haaretz)
  • As Israel Tightens Entry Rules, Foreign Lecturers at Palestinian Universities Forced to Leave - Short-term tourist visas and refusals to extend them are routine obstacles, but the West Bank's Birzeit University is now fighting back. (Haaretz+)
  • Lack of Space in East Jerusalem Cemeteries Leads to Morbid New Habit - Shortage of plots in Old City and nearby neighborhoods has people digging up old graves, which are then sold for new burials. (Haaretz+)
  • Laborer Electrocuted in Israel, Bringing Annual Count of Work-related Deaths to 46 - Qais Khatib from (Arab-Israeli town of) Kalansua is the 26th fatality this year in the construction industry. (Haaretz+)
  • All Dogs Are Bad and Their Owners Accursed, Israeli City’s Rabbis Rule - 'A serious phenomenon has spread in our city Elad, in which young boys and children walk around publicly with dogs. This is strictly forbidden.’ (Haaretz)
  • Unlike Trump, Israeli Politicians Are Free to Block Twitter Users - Public servants from Netanyahu on down often bar critics from following them on social media, and Israeli law offers the critics little recourse. (Haaretz)
  • Palestinians reject U.S. accusations of increased terrorist stipends - On Thursday, Palestinian Authority calls allegations made by Trump's Mideast envoy, who claimed PA had increased payments to militants imprisoned in Israel by some 11 percent, 'absolutely false and hypocritical.’ (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Report: A Hamas member was murdered in Yemen after being kidnapped by the United Arab Emirates - Salim Ahmad Ma'aruf, 36, was an Imam at a university mosque who has lived in Yemen for 15 years. According to reports, United Arab Emirates intelligence officials detained him on suspicion of links with Hamas. Hamas opened a mourners' tent in Khan Younis city in Gaza and demanded that Yemen investigate the murder. His brother-in-law Muayed Abu Yahya wrote on Facebook: "Salim was murdered inside the security prisons by Emirates intelligence officrs after being kidnapped from the (Yemen) airport and tortured." The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are part of the Arab coalition that is operating against the Houthis in Yemen and they have bases and intelligence personnel operating in Yemen. (Maariv)
  • 'Israel will be on verge of vanishing in next conflict with Hezbollah' - "Once we said that we could strike targets south of Haifa. Today, we can say that if Israel has sites south of Eilat, then we can also hit them. All of Israel is under the range of our missiles," Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah says. Terrorist group plans to reduce its presence in Syria, he says. (Israel Hayom)
  • Washington seeking to open communication channels with Hezbollah, Nasrallah says - Group leader says Trump White House using mediators to pursue contacts, despite new sanctions against organization's officials. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Support for Israel may cost 'Miss Iraq' her citizenship - Miss Iraq 2017, Sarah Idan, who now lives in California, could be stripped of her Iraqi citizenship after speaking out against her country's human rights abuses and in support of Israel at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva last month. (Israel Hayom)
  • Senate introduces bill to punish Saudi Arabia over human rights abuses - Proposed legislation is the latest U.S. effort to hold the kingdom accountable for violations of human rights, but it doesn't suggest halting weapon sales to Riyadh. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • 'Iran stored nuclear material in warehouse exposed by Netanyahu' - Israeli intelligence led to an International Atomic Energy Agency inspection, online publication Axios reported on Thursday. Soil samples and other evidence examined at the site have returned positive for radioactive material, indicating that nuclear materials were housed at the facility in violation of the 2015 nuclear deal. (Israel Hayom)
  • House votes to limit Trump's authority to order strike on Iran - Bipartisan amendment co-drafted by frequent Trump supporter Rep. Matt Gaetz passes by 251 votes in favor and 170 against, requiring the president to receive Congress approval on using military force against Iran. (Haaretz+)
  • EU cites progress on Iran barter system to get around Trump sanctions - The European Union says it is making some progress on its controversial barter-type system to trade with Tehran and get around U.S. sanctions as part of its efforts to keep the Iran nuclear deal alive. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Substance-use disorder proliferates in Iran - The Islamic Republic lies at the heart of the infamous Golden Crescent of drug smuggling, and faces a growing substance-use problem; after former president Ahmadinejad reduced the number of services for addicts, the recent financial crisis draws 'young people who don’t have any hope in the future' into addiction and abuse. (Ynet)
  • Despite Sanctions, American Products Are Seeping Into Iran - Drinking a Coca-Cola after eating kebab in Iran comes as second nature where youth are crazy about the latest American movies and blue jeans. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • UK paper: Envoy says Trump quit Iran deal to spite Obama - British ambassador at center of diplomatic row over leaked memos slamming 'inept' U.S. administration also said White House was 'set upon an act of diplomatic vandalism' regards the nuclear agreement due to its broker. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Iran's first post-Islamic Revolution minister already dreaming of presidency bid - Meet Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, the first Iranian minister to be born after the Islamic revolution who could be a candidate for Iran’s 2021 presidential campaign. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Gibraltar police release crew of detained Iranian tanker - Authorities had arrested four crew members after seizing tanker, suspected of breaking sanctions by transporting oil to Syria. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Russia delivers more air defense equipment to Turkey - Delivery includes advanced S-400 air defense system. The US has warned that Turkey would be excluded from the F-35 fighter jet sales program if it took delivery of the S-400s, but Ankara maintains S-400 is a "strategic defense requirement." (Agencies, Israel Hayom and Maariv)
  • U.S. Senators Blast NATO Ally Turkey After Russia Delivers S-400 Air Defense System - Bipartisan statement urges Trump to implement sanctions against Turkey, saying Erdogan has 'chosen a perilous partnership with Putin at the expense of Turkey’s security.' (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Two month Idlib campaign gains little for Syria's Assad - Despite heavy bombardment and thousands of casualties, Assad's troops have not made any significant advances against militants who dominate Idlib province. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Rocket carrying imaging satellite for UAE fails minutes after launch - The failure came two minutes after liftoff from the European base in French Guiana due to a 'launcher anomaly,' the marketer of the satellite says. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Arab newspapers turn spotlight on Israel Hayom opinion piece - The op-ed, written by Middle East researcher Dr. Nirit Ofir, has been translated into Arabic from Hebrew by three prominent Arab newspapers: London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi, Saudi Arabia-based Al Arabiya, and Bahrain-based Al Ayam. [See Op-Ed below in Commentary/Analysis] (Israel Hayom)
  • Egypt Opens Two Ancient Pyramids for First Time Since 1960s - Archaeologists uncover collection of stone, clay and wooden sarcophagi alongside mummies dating as far back as 332 B.C. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Egypt opens new international airport for trial period - The Capital International Airport to operate with an hourly capacity of 300 passengers during the trial phase. New airport situated some 37 miles east of Cairo and is intended to relieve pressure on its international airport. (Israel Hayom)

'I Don’t Feel Like a Human Being': The Gazans Who Lost Everything in an Israeli Bombing
After the air force bombed Gaza in the latest round of fighting, in May, hundreds of people who lost their homes haven’t recovered. Residents of two destroyed buildings offer new testimony of the disaster that befell them. (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+)
Transgender Bedouin Israeli makes splash in SodaStream campaign
Lila Blilat stars in a new campaign by the fizzy drink company, but her journey began in a conservative community, where having to hide her identity made her determined to be an asset and activist in a hostile environment. (Attila Somfalvi and Alexandra Lukash, Ynet)
Ethiopian Israeli musicians use stage to promote struggles
With a growing presence in the local music scene, Ethiopian Israeli musicians tackle the ongoing struggles against alleged racism and discrimination, in particular what they say is unchecked and widespread police brutality, some three decades after the community began to arrive in the country. (Associated Press, Ynet)
'We go back 800 years': Palestinian fights settler NGO's takeover of Jerusalem hotel
Ateret Cohanim set to evict residents after court approves its purchase of buildings in Old City's central plaza. 75-year-old Abu-Walid Dajani plans to fight it. (Nir Hasson, Haaretz+)
The protest of the transparent (shell-shocked former soldiers): Three post-trauma victims explain why they are taking to the streets
"The fact that we are on our feet does not mean that we can get from place to place, our brains are screwed-up,” say the former soldiers who suffer from combat shock, as they stand in front of the IDF Headquareters in Tel-Aviv in protest of being ignored. (Ilana Stutland, Maariv Magazine supplement, cover)

Israel’s Concealing of Documents on the Nakba Is Totalitarian (Benny Morris, Haaretz+) Defense Ministry officials apparently hope their actions will raise doubts about the conclusions and credibility of various scholars, myself included
Iraq sent a trial balloon to Jerusalem, but official relations are far away; And it turns out that not only Israel's enemies support terrorism against it, but also its friends. (Jackie Khougy, Maariv) The Iraqi ambassador in Washington expressed understanding for the contact with Israel, and he remained alive. You seldom meet a diplomat who sniffs at his desk and dictates to them the policies they will do for him. One of them is Iraq's ambassador to Washington, Farid Yassin. In a video that recently went viral, the ambassador is praised having relations with Israel. “There are objective reasons that justify relations between Iraq and Israel,” he said. “There is an important Iraqi community in Israel, and it is still proud of its Iraqiness. Their weddings are Iraqi celebrations and they listen to Iraqi songs.  And there is another reason. The technologies needed in desert areas, such as agriculture in drought areas, the Israelis are excellent at them." The ambassador said these things to Dr. Subhi Gandoor, a Lebanese, head of an Arab research institute based in Virginia. His words were carefully chosen. The Jews of Iraq on the one hand, who represent the emotional component of future relations; And technology on the other hand, as a utilitarian incentive. Today's Iraq, every citizen knows, is facing a severe water shortage, especially for agriculture. And the Jews, who were thrown away in disgrace after 2,600 years, have many among the millions of citizens who miss them. Yassin is not a typical diplomat. He grew up and was educated in Switzerland. He acquired his academic education in Boston. In 2003, after the fall of Saddam, he returned to Baghdad and joined the diplomatic service. Prior to his arrival in the United States, he served as Iraq's ambassador to Paris and is the protege of Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, and has served in the past as his special advisor. This fact has a great deal of weight. It's easy to see in the video, which is a minute and a quarter long, that he selects his words carefully. It is reasonable to assume that he planned them in advance. Several politicians and one party (loyal to Iran) demanded that the ambassador be returned home. The Iraqi Foreign Ministry issued a statement of denial, but did not take any punitive measures against him. The statement said that nothing had changed in Baghdad's policy and it would continue to support the Palestinians against the occupation and to boycott Israel. In its statement, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry fulfilled its obligation to pay lip service to the Arab street. But reality is more complicated. Iraq is in serious trouble, characterized by countries emerging from darkness to light. Unemployment, water shortages and Iranian involvement undermine its reconstruction efforts and are a bigger concern to its citizens before any other problem. The Iraqi Foreign Ministry has a thick, hidden layer of diplomats who see relations with Israelis and Jews favorably. They believe that Israel may serve as a potential friend in the rebuilding era. The Palestinian issue, despite the announcement by the Foreign Ministry, is not central to the Iraqi public discourse. The event was forgotten as quickly as it broke out, within a few days. Ambassador Yassin did not say a word. He certainly did not apologize, did not correct his words, and did not claim that they were taken out of context. His closeness to his prime minister gave him protection and security. It is likely that he allowed in advance to say what he said. Many times in the past two years I have written here about the relations between Israelis and Iraqis. The two countries with potential for close contact, which has been blocked for the time being, largely due to the Iranian involvement in Baghdad’s affairs and its hostility to Israel. Iran is not pulling strings from afar. Its people sit with their two feet deep in the Tigris. Traditionally, Iraq's Shia are an independent entity. They were never automatically loyal to their Persian brothers, but the ethnic element in this story is not the main thing. Tehran conquered parts of Iraq despite ethnic sacrifice, and not because of it. In the post-Saddam era, the Iranians have many supporters of the political and business elite, alongside four loyal militias. Two of them were inspired by Hezbollah, with the aim of establishing a state within a state in Iraq, similar to the Lebanese model. The Iraqi government is currently in the midst of a huge, complicated and dangerous effort to dismantle them and integrate them into the army. All of this is well known to the Iraqi ambassador in Washington. In the same video in which he casually explains why the ground for relations between the two countries is kosher, he arranges an insurance policy to justify himself against the insurgents. "But the objective reasons are not enough," he concluded. "There are moral reasons and practical reasons, and they do not allow us to maintain contact with Israel." Official Israel, which occasionally attacks such stories with the lack of elegance of a hungry beggar, behaved with elegant sophistication this time. For two days they remained silent in Jerusalem and said nothing. Then the opportunity fell on its own. UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has declared Babylonian antiquities as a world heritage site. The Israeli Foreign Ministry decided to issue a congratulatory message to the Iraqis. The message was intended for the Iraqi people, not for its government, and included the use of the word "brothers.” It was posted on the Foreign Ministry's Facebook and Twitter pages in Arabic. On this concise blessing you can write a whole page, but I will suffice with one paragraph. In its announcement, Israel embraces the Iraqi people and ignores the government. Ignoring, but not attacking her. Ostensibly, it was possible to answer the Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman for calling for the boycott to continue, but Jerusalem decided to restrain itself. Behind the restraint lies a diplomatic line that wants to build bridges. Jerusalem knows that today's Baghdad operates with an Iranian gun aimed at its temple, and if it were free, there is a chance that it would have warmed the relations. This is a long-term policy. If Israel persists in it and does not fall prey to its eagerness, it may succeed in breaking through when the time comes and exploit, as Ambassador Fried puts it, the fertile ground for establishing relations. * Saudi Arabia announced this week that King Salman - he and no other - is inviting 1,000 Palestinians at his own expense this year to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca this month. The Saudi announcement said it would take care of the flight and lodging of the guests. The Saudis made sure to emphasize that the thousand happy people would be chosen among the relatives of the martyrs. That is, brothers, parents and sisters of murderers of Israelis, or those who planned their murderers. This is not the first time that the Saudi kingdom embraces these families, and through them the idea of an armed Palestinian who acts with violence and murder. But now is not like all times. In recent years there has been a secret rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Israel. In February, Israel began to implement the law to offset prisoners' money from Palestinian Authority funds. This law created a severe financial crisis in the PA, which Israel itself feared. The sloppiness that accompanied its implementation is a story in itself, but by applying the law, Israel says that retroactive support for the attacks is not legitimate in its eyes. And now Israel’s friend, Saudi Arabia, is doing exactly what the PA has done - supporting retroactively the families of the murderers.  In the past, Israel attacked Damascus for years for serving as a base and home for the Hamas political bureau. But in 2011, with the outbreak of war in Syria, Hamas leaders quarreled with Bashar Assad, and briefly flirted with Cairo. Israel did not dare say anything against Egypt and accuse it of giving a hug to the terrorists. Even now you won’t hear anything from Jerusalem against the emirates of Qatar, for sponsoring Khaled Meshal and his party. But when someone in Jerusalem remembers that some Hamas leaders have taken refuge in Istanbul, he will immediately accuse (Turkish President Tayip) Erdogan, that Sultan dictator, who dares to sponsor terrorism. Even in this case, we have not heard a word from Israel against the Saudis for choosing a very specific group of Palestinian pilgrims. No one will tell them that in this way they are winking from afar to the knife-attackers, the car-rammers, and the suicide bombers. There is one rule for friends who support terrorism, and a different law for enemies among them.
Israel and the Gulf: Cautious optimism (Dr. Nirit Ofir, Israel Hayom) Israel is gaining status among Gulf nations as the Palestinians, who continue to squander the vast sums of donated money on corruption and terrorism, lose it. Israel has reason to be optimistic, but should tread carefully.
The Price of Being a Black Israeli When You’re Missing in Gaza (Ran Shimoni, Haaretz+) It’s hard to imagine what the Mengistu family went through when the protests by Israelis of Ethiopian descent began this month. It’s doubtful whether anyone in Israel’s history has suffered as much because of his origins as the Mengistus’ son Abera, whose life was taken from him nearly 1,800 days ago, even though he may still be among the living. Abera Mengistu, it should be stressed again and again, is also a victim of Israeli society. He suffered a mental breakdown after the death of his brother, and managed to cross the border into Gaza only because he was black. “We thought he was an African infiltrator,” said one of the soldiers who was there. Even if Israel shakes off its responsibility for letting him cross the border, it’s definitely responsible for abandoning him in captivity in Gaza for years with obvious apathy. This is the price of being black, being paid by Mengistu, a price very familiar to any Israeli of Ethiopian descent, usually exacted in a more mundane way – on a line to enter a club, at a job interview, as a subject of suspicious looks. Taking a policeman’s bullet in the chest or being abandoned beyond the border are only extreme cases; normally the price is inflicted on one’s soul.
Less vanity and contempt for the enemy: the lessons the IDF must learn from the Gaza incident; a secret of the Israeli Air Force; Study that supports claim that the British encouraged the Egyptians to invade Palestine (Yossi Melman, Maariv) 1.) From the mishap in Khan Yunis and from its investigation two insights emerge from the conduct of the special operations unit and of the chief of staff. It is not yet clear what caused the failure of the (secret) operation, according to Hamas publications was intended to plant listening devices, and in which Lieutenant Colonel M. was killed. However, Brigadier General Manelis rejected the claim that the military force was exposed because of the lack of knowledge of the Palestinian dialect prevailing in the area where the incident occurred. It is possible to assess that, as in other cases, the source of the problem is a combination of reasons, some of which are related to poor planning, a surplus of confidence, coincidence and misfortune. Special operations in which commando units are sent beyond enemy lines do not have an insurance policy. Over the years of the state's existence, dozens of operations with similar characteristics have failed, if not more.  Beginning with the “Lamed Hey Campaign“ in the War of Independence, the “Lavon Affair” in Egypt (also known as the ‘Bad Business’) (1974-1955), Lillehammer in Norway [assassination of wrong man - OH]  (1973), the navy commando disaster in Lebanon (1997), the attempt to assassinate Khaled Mashaal in Jordan (1996) and to assassinate Muhammad Mabhouh in Dubai, which was attributed to Israel (2010), and others. The failures are the domain of almost all the operational units of the Mossad, Shin Bet and the IDF…Brig. Gen. Manelis said in his briefing that after it became clear that the operation had gone awry, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, Military Intelligence Chief Tamir Heyman, Air Force Commander Amikam Norkin and Shin Bet Director Nadav Argaman sat in the front command room. From this we can conclude that the operation in Khan Younis was the involvement of the Shin Bet, which is responsible for recruiting and operating agents (non-Israelis) in Gaza. Nevertheless, the most important lesson of the operation is that not only is it necessary to plan better, while examining all the possible mishaps and preparing them in advance, but it is also preferable to have less conceit and arrogance and contempt for the enemy. 2. The closing of Sde Dov airport in Tel-Aviv also revealed a small but guarded secret of the IDF: The military base of the Air Force (Kanaf 15), located next to the civilian airfield, was transferred in an impressive ceremony, to the Hatzor Air Force Base. At Sde Dov was based Squadron 100, whose missions are in the fields of intelligence and light transport. But for the purpose of transferring it, according to a decree signed by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, Hatzor was granted a special status of "border crossing." A border crossing is defined as "a station used to transport people and goods from one country to another." Israel has 18 known border crossings, where employees of the Population and Immigration Authority in the Ministry of the Interior work, who stamp the passports of those leaving and entering: the seaports of Haifa, Eilat and Ashdod; The marinas in Tel Aviv, Herzliya and Ashkelon, the airports in Haifa, Ben-Gurion Airport and Ramon (which replaced the Eilat and Ovda airports). The list also includes land crossings to Jordan from Eilat to Aqaba, the Arava and the Jordan River (in the Beit She'an Valley), Egypt (from Eilat to Taba and Nitzana), Lebanon (Rosh Hanikra), Gaza (Erez and Kerem Shalom) and Syria (Kuneitra). Another crossing is at the Allenby Bridge, from the West Bank to the Jordan River. The Interior Minister's decision to grant such status to Hatzor reinforces the privileged image of the Air Force. Just to explain the fact, none of the naval bases have the status of a "border crossing." If the IDF is a state within a state, then the air force is an army within an army. It is true that in recent years Hatzor has become a center for the hosting of foreign pilots (and battery and radar operators) who land with their pilots for joint maneuvers with the Air Force. When those pilots landed at Hatzor - and other Air Force bases such as Ramat David - they were received by representatives of the Air Force, who took their passports and made sure they were stamped, without the bases being defined by law as a "transit station.”… It is not clear why it was now necessary to change the procedure. Moreover, for the status of a border station, the Interior Ministry decided to authorize soldiers to serve as border checkers. In other words, the Interior Ministry, a civilian body, delegated its authority to a military body and thus strengthens the process of militarizing Israel's fragile democracy. 3. Before, during and after the War of Independence, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion accused the British of urging the Arab states to invade the Jewish state as soon as it declared its independence on May 15. To date, historians have found no evidence in the British archives that corroborated the claims. But Professor (emeritus) Meir Zamir of Ben-Gurion University says in a new article that such evidence may be found in the French archives, in which he specialized in some of his research. In a new article, "The role of the MI6 in Egypt's decision to go to war against Israel in May 1948," published in the international journal, ‘Intelligence and National Security,’ he backs up the claim with several documents. French diplomats from Syria, Lebanon, Jerusalem, and documents seized by French intelligence agencies with agents who operated in the service of British intelligence. These documents indicate that King Farouk's decision to include his army in the war was made at the last minute, after British military and intelligence officers promised to supply his army with arms and ammunition, and especially to strengthen the Egyptian air force with Spitfire planes. The Arab League secretary, Abd al-Rahman al-'Azam, who worked for British intelligence, also participated in the persuasion efforts. The king's decision was made in opposition to the position of his prime minister, Mahmoud al-Nukhari, members of parliament and senior officers, who claimed that the Egyptian army was not ready for war. According to one of the documents, three days before the invasion of the Arab armies, King Farouk's uncle, Muhammad Ali, feared that the war would be "stupid and dangerous." This is because, according to Prince Ali, "Egyptian officers and soldiers have no combat experience and do not have enough weapons and ammunition to fight the well-armed Jewish forces." He estimated that in such a case, "defeat is inevitable and we will have to ask the British to protect us." It is interesting to note that the description that emerges from the words of the Egyptian prince contradicts the Zionist narrative that the Arab armies were far more armed and better than the IDF. This narrative prevailed for many years until the spy-historian, Yisrael Bar, first refuted it in his book, "Israel's Security," which he published from his prison cell in 1966. Echoes of the prince’s words were found in a telegram sent on 27 May 1948 by the French ambassador in Cairo, Gilbert Arbanga, to the Foreign Ministry in Paris. The ambassador wrote: "I received confirmation from a reliable source that Nukrashy Pasha (the prime minister of Egypt from 1945 to 1948, who was murdered in December 1948) opposed the involvement of the Egyptian army in Palestine, but succumbed to the heavy pressure of the king and Azzam Pasha (Secretary-General of the Arab League), who received promises from the British…There is no doubt that without British support, Egypt could have done anything. It had enough pilots, but few planes…It did not have enough weapons and ammunition, even not enough water tankers. Britain fulfilled its promises and began on 15 May to supply a large number of military aircraft, mainly Spitfire fighter planes and Dakota transport planes, and water. There is no doubt that as a result of the war, Egypt became dependent on the mercy of the British.” According to Prof. Zamir, the Arabists in MI6 spurred King Farouk to go to war in order to prevent the establishment of Israel or to reduce its territory to the coastal plain only. They did so behind the back of the Labor government headed by Clement Attlee and Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin, who was directly in charge of the intelligence agency. According to the author, the key figure in this context was headed by Brigadier Sir Illtyd Nicholl Clayton, who was in fact chief intelligence officer in the Middle East and operated out of Cairo. Among other things, he played a central role in the establishment of the Arab League. According to the article, British Intelligence was also involved in organizing the Salvation Army headed by Fawzi al-Kawkji, in cooperation with Riyad al-Sulh, the Lebanese prime minister. British intelligence operated behind the scenes to encourage the Muslim Brotherhood movement, headed by its founder Hassan al-Banna, to send volunteers to the war.
The Evil, New Apparition That Is Stalking Germany Today (Ilana Hammerman, Haaretz+) Criticism of Israeli policy has been banned and persecuted as anti-Semitism, and those pulling the strings sit in Israel.
Call it evangelicalphobia ( Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) Left-wing Jews continue to complain about CUFI but, at a time of rising anti-Semitism, these friends deserve thanks, not contempt rooted in prejudice.
As Iran tensions flare, Israel suspects Trump aims for 'nuclear deal 2.0' (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Economic sanctions may give Trump better bargaining chips ■ An Iranian provocation may occur much closer to Israel than the Gulf ■ Why Israel's botched Gaza op was more John Le Carré than James Bond.
Redrawing borders creatively (David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom) At the core of the Trump peace initiatives is creative chaos, replacing hoary assumptions with new bridges and highways – literally and figuratively.
From Trump to Erdogan, Populists Are Assaulting Central Banks. What's Stopping Bibi? (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) Erdogan fired his central banker and Trump is bending his to his will. Israel is safe for now, but only because Netanyahu is preoccupied with the courts.
Russian ulterior motives in Africa and the Mideast (Artiom Hildebrandt, Israel Hayom) Is the Kremlin controlling and "weaponizing" migration flows from Africa and the Middle East to create domestic instability in Europe?
Gay Conversion Scandal Shows Netanyahu May Have Lost His Touch (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) Each one of the prime minister's cabinet appointments would shame any enlightened and democratic country. Now ministers are wondering, has the magician lost his touch?
Let it be dark (Chen Artzi-Srur, Yedioth Hebrew) The number of headscarves and yarmulkes at the pride parade in Jerusalem has increased annually. Religious parents who bring their children to the  parade in order to convey a clear message: Love your neighbor as yourself. After Rabbi Yigal Levinstein's hate speech in the Eli military preparatory program, in which he compared homosexuals to perverts, the number of religious participants at the parade jumped, and at the parade Hassidic dances were held with gender separation, as if this were a Bnei Akiva (religious scouts) trip. Only a month ago, the culture hall at Alon Shvut (West Bank settlement) in Gush Etzion was packed for a special evening where residents came to hear religious gays and lesbians speak after a transgender from the community committed suicide. Most of the religious-nationalist sector of society ranges from indifference to solidarity in everything related to the LGBT issue, and every time a different rabbi chooses to address the issue, the incomprehensible gap between the public and its leaders is exposed.
Israel's Education Minister Just Said Most American Jews Are Dead to Him (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Rafi Peretz can’t get why calling U.S. Jewish assimilation a 'second Holocaust' is so offensive. It shows that Israel's religious nationalists now have about as much in common with liberal U.S. Jews as Pharisees and Jesus did.
In what direction is the country going? (Ayala Katz, Yedioth Hebrew) Rabbi Rafi Peretz's words [that it's possible to successfully go through gay conversion - OH] are shocking. Precisely now, two weeks before we mark a decade since the hate crime at the (gay) youth club [where the writer's son was killed for being gay - OH], I just can't deal with it. Listening to him is to understand where the country is going. On July 17, it will be the 29th anniversary of the Tze'elim Alef disaster [soldiers killed from friendly fire in training accident - OH], in which my husband, Rami, Nir's father, was killed. At this juncture, this man's things seem unreal to me. I'm out of words. What can one say in response? I am disgusted that there is such an education minister in the State of Israel: What rabbis say is no longer of interest to me because I do not hold them in regard. But they are the ones who most harm their own people - the ones who do have regard for them. It's just crazy and delusional what is happening. Twenty-nine years ago, I was 29. My husband went to reserve duty. For a second we did not doubt that (as people who) live in this country, we do reserve duty and we were all enlisted. When he was killed, life changed in a second. ..The feeling then was of the height of Zionism and the our existence here, that people are free to live their lives. We grew up in the belief of live and let live. I am not even capable of seeing this thing happening today. I'm going to watch the History Channel just not to watch where this country is going. What happened yesterday is too much for me.
[Satire:] My Family Perished in the Assimilation Shoah, According to Israel's Education Minister (Rogel Alpher, Haaretz+) My uncle on my father’s side married a goy and had two non-Jewish sons with her. My cousins have skin the color of piglets, and Norwegian blood runs through their veins. They are dead to me, of course. Perished in the Holocaust. As far as I’m concerned, they were incinerated in the gas chambers. For many years the younger of the two had a girlfriend who was of Native American descent. She died recently, still young, a heartbreaking, tragic death, after a freak accident at home. I did not offer condolences to my cousin. I viewed her death as punishment exacted on him by the Holy One, blessed be He. Anyway, according to the book “Torat Hamelekh” (“The King’s Torah,” by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira), with which Peretz performed an awe-inspiring pas de deux on Purim in 2016, when he was the chief military rabbi, I believe that I have a right – perhaps even a duty – to simply murder my cousin. It must be said, however, that as a point of Jewish religious law I wrestle with the logic of killing a person who is already considered dead, having perished in the Shoah of assimilation. It’s a fascinating and complex halakhic issue that absorbs much of my time.
The pragmatic leadership among Arab mayors is the key to change (Ruth Wasserman-Lande, Maariv) The Arab street has created yet another layer of leadership, which is worth discussing, for better or for worse. But if we judge by the extent the media pays attention to them, it appears that no one seems to really care…”The local government is the state," says to me, Asi Mahmoud, a successful businessman who was recently elected to a third term as head of the Kufr Bara council in southern Sharon area. He identifies a positive trend among young people in Arab society, according to which many of them seek opportunities to integrate into society. This trend breathes fresh air and a certain amount of courage into some of the more pragmatic leadership among the mayors of Arab society (in Israel). The leaders feel that there is some support for moderation and pragmatism in the street, and the same heads of Arab authorities, who a few years ago would not have dared to participate in events under the heading of "shared life," are no longer afraid to appear in such meetings openly and in broad daylight. The potential of this phenomenon is enormous, since a courageous leadership will be able to calm the "street" in moments of crisis and times of distress, with regional tensions growing. For example, a regional initiative between the heads of the municipalities of Jaljuliya, Kafr Qasem and Kafr Bara to calm the street and preserve the peace prevented rioting in these communities a few years ago, despite the explosion of the security situation in the country at the time. Nayef Abu Arar, who is currently serving for the third consecutive term as head of the Ar'ara council in the Negev, says similar things…Ahed Rahal is a businessman who currently serves as chairman of the Al-Batuf Regional Council and chairman of the Forum of Heads of Bedouin Authorities in the North of Israel. In the regional council for which he is responsible, there are two Bedouin villages and two other villages where ‘falachin’ (farmers) live. "Representatives of the Arab sector in the Knesset do not represent me," says Ahed. The real leadership is the local leadership.
Why Saudi Arabia and UAE bicker as Yemen is torn to pieces (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The strained relations between the coalition members leave little hope for a political solution, foiling the U.S.-Saudi goal of defeating Iran’s Houthi partners.

Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
With Ehud Barak You Get Greed but Nothing About the Occupation (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) But it wasn’t Barak who destroyed the Zionist peace camp. This enfeebled camp brought itself down on its own. It took only one statement by Barak claiming that “there is no partner” for the camp to fold up its banners and go to the beach – the occupation could go to hell. In a closed meeting last week where he laid out his talking points, nothing of substance was apparent other than warnings about Netanyahu. He used the word “gravitas” five times. He likes that word. But he didn’t utter the word “occupation” once. In his endless tweets, the ones that have renewed his glory as a fighter – against Netanyahu of course, what else? – there’s no mention of the occupation. It doesn’t exist, it’s not important, it’s of no interest to someone with airs to lead the left. The right is busy with making the occupation permanent while the left hails the bottle-cap lopper.
A secular uprising could decide the election (Einav Schiff, Yedioth/Ynet) Traditionally right-wing communities are in the forefront of growing dissent against the power of ultra-Orthodox parties who impose their agenda on secular society, secure in Netanyahu's support.
Israel's Left Must Not Waste Its Second Chance to Unite (Haaretz Editorial) But when you look at the democratic camp, the hope turns to apprehension. According to some polls, at least one of the three Zionist left-wing parties might not reach the 3.25 percent electoral threshold. The only cure for that ill is an alliance among Meretz, which barely made it into the Knesset last time; the Labor Party, which withered to just six lawmakers; and Democratic Israel, the new party of former Prime Minister Ehud Barak. The three parties have more in common ideologically than not, and in any event the differences are negligible in comparison to the greater goal of ending Netanyahu’s reign. There’s no need for a full unification of the parties and their institutions. It’s enough for them to run as a joint slate, to which Tzipi Livni and Orli Levi-Abekasis should be added.
The September elections unexpectedly unclear (Yuval Karni, Yedioth/Ynet) With Netanyahu's political future on the line, indifferent Likud voters may be motivated ironically by the prime ministers' archrival of old, Ehud Barak, who's return is shaking up the center left.
Live Bibi: Likud TV is out, from now on - look for Netanyahu on Facebook (Yoav Krakowski, Maariv) About the strategy behind the prime minister's decision to attack the campaign of Ehud Barak, the leader of 'Israel Democracy.’ And also: Who will wake those sleepy people in Kahol-Lavan party?
Netanyahu cracks down on a new threat within his own party (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) The cult of personality around Netanyahu may soon unravel ■ Center-left party leaders are speed-dating each other - here's what will push them to tie the knot.
The political resurrection of Ayelet Shaked (Amnon Lord, Israel Hayom) According to reports, United Right's Rafi Peretz has offered Shaked the No. 2 slot on the list. It is hard to imagine the United Right handing her the keys to the party given the New Right's electoral failure in the last election.
Lieberman, the left’s new messiah (Zehava Galon, Haaretz+) The latest polls likely don’t tell us what the next Knesset will really look like, but they do tell us one thing: Avigdor Lieberman can no longer be counted among Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “natural partners,” but rather as, Nehemia Shtrasler recently put it (Haaretz, July 9), as “the Kingslayer.” This places him in optimal position for extortion, and in our amnesiac times, that is more than enough to crown him as the center-left camp’s next messiah. A guy like Lieberman is not about to waste such an opportunity. The man who for 30 years sat in coalitions together with Likud and ultra-Orthodox parties suddenly fears a state ruled by Jewish religious law; the man who, as defense minister, who threatened to withdraw funding from the Eli pre-military academy and then backed off, with his tail between his legs, is suddenly likening such religious-Zionist institutions to the Phalange. Give him some poll numbers and he’ll suddenly discover the occupation.
Lieberman: A study in inconsistency (Mendi Safadi, Israel Hayom) Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Lieberman's excuses for opposing the prime minister and preventing the formation of a right-wing government don't come from any sort of idealism but only seek to inflame the secular public.
Israel’s Summer Vacation From Political Lunacy (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) De facto, Israel went on summer vacation from legislating. The gags of the high school students trapped in the bodies of the 60- and 70-somethings who are competing to be prime minister on the social networks can only be treated as symptoms of summer vacation boredom. It’s hard to overstate the critical importance of this vacation. For some reason, Israel has been caught up in the fiction that being a Knesset member means passing as many laws as possible. I’m not talking only about the attacks of passing anti-democratic laws of which the right-wing MKs are so fond. In general, MKs have expressed themselves by submitting bills, as many as possible as noisily as possible. Just as it’s said that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, it seems there’s no such thing as bad lawmaking, as long as people talk about you.
Kahlon and Netanyahu’s Audacity (Friday Haaretz Editorial) The rotten fruit of this dangerous campaign is hidden in the State Comptroller’s harsh draft report on the surpassing of the target deficit. The deficit has already risen to 3.9 percent, one percent more than the target – and this is in a good economic year that does not justify exceeding the deficit in any way.
'No such thing as political agreement without economic one'
In an interview with i24NEWS, US Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt stresses the need for the Palestinian Authority to rise to the occasion and engage with the White House's efforts to achieve the “deal of the century.” (Interviewed by i24NEWS, Israel Hayom)

Greenblatt: "We will not force Palestinians and Israelis to accept the Deal of the Century"
The US special envoy to the Middle East said in an interview published in Ashraq al-Awsat newspaper that "the Trump government's peace plan will be realistic and may resolve the conflict.” (Maariv)

An Israeli Rock Star Tries to Figure Out Where Zionism Went Wrong
On the cusp of 40, soft-spoken musician Rona Kenan, daughter of the mercurial leftist Amos Kenan, has come out with a hard-wrought album. In it she looks beyond her own private walls to ask poignant questions about why life is so alienating and chaotic today. (Interviewed by David B. Green in Haaretz+)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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