News Nosh 7.15.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday July 15, 2019
 
Quote of the day:
"It’s difficult to believe that in 2019, the public conversation in 'the only democracy in the Middle East' revolves around whether or not to support conversion therapy."
--From today's Haaretz Editorial.*

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The truck danger - The horrifying accident in which a mother and her baby were killed yesterday joins the harsh statistics of deadly accidents in which trucks are involved
  • He got caught in the situation // Nahum Barnea on the Rabbi Peretz storm
  • Dirty partnership // Sever Plocker on business ties of Ehud Barak and Jeffery Epstein (Hebrew)
  • Suspicion: Father of (one of the little girls from the abusive daycare center) ordered the arson on the home of Carmel Mauda (the center’s abusive nanny and owner) (Hebrew)
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • “Little Yasmin tried to fight for her life” - 17 years in jail for the daycare center nanny who killed Yasmin Vinte
  • The white blessing: From the moon till the next summit in space - 50 year anniversary of humans landing on the moon
  • The recommendation: Revolution in vaccinations for measles
  • Rabbi Peretz storm: Unwise remark, excessive blowback // Haim Shine

Top News Summary:
Outcry over the Education Minister’s support for LGBQT conversion therapy and the latest on abusive nannies and revenge on them were the top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. However, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s announcement that Iran was willing to talk with the US barely made headlines. And the fact that Education Minister expressed support for apartheid.

The outcry against Education Minister Rafi Peretz, who expressed support for gay ’conversion therapy’, brought hundreds to rally in Tel-Aviv for his ouster, sparked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to appoint an LGBQT activist as an international spokesman, led to warnings by Israeli professionals that such therapy could (and has) lead to suicide and also led to numerous articles in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Haaretz+ reported that there is a small group of licensed professionals who immigrated from the US who continue to perform 'conversion therapy,’ Religious homosexuals also recounted their personal ‘conversion therapy’ stories with the papers. (Also Yedioth Hebrew) That said, the prominent and racist Chief Rabbi of Safed, Shmuel Eliyahu, called for banning surgical sex changes and slammed the LGBTQ community for trying to silence those who don’t agree with them.

Rafi Peretz’s gay conversion therapy remarks made a big stir, but in the same interview that he gave to Dana Weiss on Israel Channel 12 News Saturday night, Rabbi Peretz also expressed his desire to apply Israeli sovereignty to the entire West Bank and today’s Haaretz Editorial quoted what he said. “If it will be in stages, I don’t care – I want it to happen. It’s our land,” he said. Regarding the Palestinians’ rights, he said, “We’ll fulfill all their needs; we’ll make sure they have it good, but they won’t be able to have political influence. Without the right to vote.” When Weiss asked if that didn’t constitute apartheid, he responded, “We live in a very complex reality in Israeli society and in the State of Israel, and we’ll have to find the solutions – where sovereignty will be, whether it applies to the people or to the land.”

Abusive nannies also made headlines. A kindergarten aide was sentenced to 17 years in prison for causing the death of 14-month-old Yasmin Vinta in 2018 and for assaulting nine other toddlers on 35 occasions. Police arrested the father of a child who was allegedly abused by daycare center owner, Carmel Mauda, who was indicted on Sunday. He is suspected of hiring the person who set fire to Mauda’s home. Three other caretakers from a daycare center in Gush Etzion in the West Bank were detained on similar suspicions.

In a televised speech on Sunday, Iranian President Rouhani said Iran was ready to go to immediate negotiations with the US if sanctions were lifted. France, Britain and Germany said on Sunday that they were preoccupied by the escalation of tensions in the Gulf region and the risk the nuclear deal might fall apart. Today European Foreign Ministers meet to discuss the crisis over the Iran nuclear agreement. (Also Maariv p. 8) EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the conflict in Middle East will have “dire consequences for all sides.” However, a quasi-governmental Israel advocacy law organization is now filing a suit against the European effort to bypass US sanctions on Iran. Shurat Hadin Israel Law Center is filing a lawsuit in a French court to confiscate Iranian funds passing through INSTEX – a mechanism established by Germany, Great Britain and France to bypass US economic sanctions against Iran.


Elections 2019 Quickees:
  • Netanyahu is recruiting a former MK of Lieberman - The battle for the Russian voice is heating up: former Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Robert Ilatov is expected to run the Likud's special headquarters for Russian speakers. (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Joint List will announce the composition of its list - currently without Ta'al and Balad parties - A dispute over the appointment of candidates at the lower end of the list threatens the unity of the Arab parties, despite the fact that an agreement has been reached between the four parties, which was later denied. (Maariv)
  • Former Peace Now chief joins Ehud Barak’s party - Left-wing activist Avi Buskila, who in the past campaigned to head the left-wing Meretz and also served as secretary-general of Peace Now, says he will run with Israel Democratic Party in elections. Last January he criticized a member of Barak's list, Kobi Richter. "If the construction of the (left-wing) bloc takes place in luxury towers, it is not my bloc," he wrote at the time. (Times of Israel and Haaretz Hebrew)
  • Barak on his relationship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein: "He served his sentence” - In an interview with Channel 12 News, the former prime minister and chairman of a Democratic Israel party justified his business connections with the American billionaire Epstein and refused to reveal the details of his work for the Wexner Foundation. (Maariv)
  • (‘Democratic Israel’ member) Yair Golan reacts to Education Minister Rafi Peretz's call for annexation of West Bank: "Apartheid will be destructive"
  • The former deputy chief of staff also spoke about the business relations between his party leader, Ehud Barak, and the American businessman, Jeffrey Epstein, who was convicted of sexual offenses: ”Barak is doing everything possible to get out of his partnership with him.” (Maariv)

 

Quick Hits:
  • After Accusations of anti-Arab Racism, Israeli Town to Reopen Park to General Public - Nazareth District Court rules that closing the Afula public park and charging entrance fees is illegal in any case, regardless of issues of discrimination. (Haaretz+, Israel Hayom, Maariv and Ynet)
  • State’s Witness Testified That Yair Netanyahu Screamed Tycoon Was Not 'Delivering the Goods,' Report Says - State witness Nir Hefetz in the Bezeq-Walla corruption case (Case 4000) against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told investigators that he heard Netanyahu's son, Yair, saying that the man who allegedly bribed him, Shaul Elovitch, "is not delivering the goods," according to a report by Channel 13 News. (Haaretz+, Maariv and Times of Israel)
  • Petition to the Chief Rabbinate: "Add the word for 'female soldiers' to the wording of the blessing in synagogues" - Yuval Peleg, whose granddaughter recently enlisted, protested that only male soldiers are mentioned in the blessing that is customary in synagogues for the safety of military personnel. Chief Rabbi: The appeal was transferred. (Maariv)
  • Israeli Air Force receives 2 additional F-35 fighter jets - The fifth-generation stealth fighter jets, known in Hebrew as the "Adir," land at Nevatim airbase in southern Israel on Sunday, joining the two squadrons the army declared operational in December 2017. (Israel Hayom and Times of Israel)
  • Laborer Electrocuted in Israel, Bringing Annual Count of Work-related Deaths to 46 - Qais Khatib from Israeli-Arab town of Kalansua is the 26th fatality this year in the construction industry. (Haaretz+ and IsraelTimes)
  • OECD Report: Israel Hasn’t Closed GDP Gap With Top Western Economies - Growth in Israel expected to lag due to increase in birth rates and low employment rates. Annual report recommends strengthening the state’s underfunded employment programs. (Haaretz+)
  • Hamas fishing for intelligence on WhatsApp messaging service - When Hamas approached a paratrooper, they attempted to convince him they were not a risk by showing him information in their possession that was of a sensitive nature but the soldier on the Israeli side of the Gaza border, did not agree to reveal anything and alerted his commanders. (Ynet)
  • Qatar, U.N. officials to enter Gaza amid renewed border tension - The delegations are expected to monitor the construction of a power line from Israel to Gaza, as well as various other projects, as the tension between the 2 sides soared over the weekend with at least 2 mortars being fired into Israeli communities. (Ynet)
  • PM: Any Hezbollah attack will meet crushing response - Prime Minister Netanyahu warned that if the Iranian-backed Shiite terrorist group “tries to do something foolish and attack Israel, we will deal both Hezbollah and Lebanon a crushing military blow.” Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, he warns, “shouldn’t claim victory just yet.” (Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • Pro-Israel Groups Promoted anti-BDS Resolution in German Parliament, Der Spiegel Reports - German magazine claims these organizations were involved in the Bundestag decision against the boycott movement, using 'donations to politicians' ■ Bild newspaper sharply criticizes report, calls claims 'anti-Semitic.’ (Haaretz+)
  • WATCH Biden, Buttigieg, and Booker Confronted by Jewish Anti-occupation Activists - While both Biden and Buttigieg called for an end to the occupation, Booker told IfNotNow activists, 'I would understand if you want to support somebody else.’ (Haaretz)
  • Iranian TV Show Glamorizes Hard-liners Imprisoning American Reporter - 'Gando' tries to justify detention, closed-door trial and imprisonment of Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, who was freed in a 2016 prisoner swap. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Saudi Arabia Among 37 States Backing China's Xinjiang Policy - Which U.S. Calls 'Concentration Camps' - The United States accused China in May of putting well more than a million minority Muslims in 'concentration camps.’ (Agencies, Haaretz)


Features:
This Israeli Face-recognition Startup Is Secretly Tracking Palestinians
'Anyvision' has cameras deep inside the West Bank, allowing Israel to spot and monitor potential Palestinian assailants. (Amitai Ziv, Haaretz+ and Haaretz Hebrew)
Merchants without borders
From the Palestinian factory to the Israeli customer without checkpoints: For two decades, goods from the Palestinian Authority that have been exported to Israel go through the long, slow "back-to-back" method in which a Palestinian truck arrives at the crossing, unloads the merchandise that undergoes a security check and is loaded again into an Israeli truck and from there to the Israeli customer. In recent weeks, for the first time, a pilot has begun in which nine of the largest factories in the Palestinian Authority export their goods to Israel in a fast and efficient manner - without delays at the crossings. The nine large factories in Hebron and Nablus that joined the rapid export pilot were required to meet strict security conditions. Among the requirements: a sterile area for loading the goods and dozens of security cameras that are monitored in a control room on the Israeli side. The result: 7,000 trucks have already passed through the Territories in recent weeks without delay, and the factories have doubled their production. (Elior Levy, Yedioth Hebrew)
From Palestine to Baghdad by Motorcycle: Memories of a 1933 Trip
86 years ago, five bold young men set off on motorcycles from Jerusalem to the Iraqi capital, 1,200 kilometers away. (Ofer Aderet, Haaretz+)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
Israel’s Academy for Indifference (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) Why should Israeli professors and students care that their country is subverting the academic freedom of Palestinian universities and interfering with their hiring of foreign lecturers?
The problem with opposing Israel’s ‘occupation’ ( Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) Critics of the Jewish state say they only want justice. But when Palestinians and their allies use that word, they mean something very different.
The drums of war are beating weakly in rudderless Gaza (Shimrit Meir, Yedioth/Ynet)  Hamas is sticking to its agreement with Israel for now, but while there is no real appetite for war on either side, the lack of a decent long-term solution for the Strip and a dearth of genuine economic advances could make potential Iranian nudges towards violence seem like the least-bad option.
Drawing fire for gay conversion comments, 'Rabbi Rafi' doesn’t look moderate anymore (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+) Rabbi Rafi Peretz’s cheerful, friendly manner and the fact he was seen as a relatively moderate figure in his religious community seemingly mislead many, who have since learned that the Israeli education minister's views veer far from the mainstream.
Peretz is wrong but the blowback is excessive (Dr. Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) Education Minister Rafi Peretz's remarks on conversion therapy are superfluous and insensitive. No matter what public officials' intentions are, they must avoid saying things they will be forced to apologize for later.
*Tell Me Who Your Cabinet Ministers Are (Haaretz Editorial) Woe to a prime minister whose term is marked by such talk. Asked whether he believed it possible to change an individual’s sexual orientation, Peretz said “I think it’s possible. I can tell you that I have a very deep familiarity with the issue of education, and I have also done this.” Justice Minister Amir Ohana, an out gay man, responded by saying, “The Likud government will not support conversion therapy.” It’s difficult to believe that in 2019, the public conversation in “the only democracy in the Middle East” revolves around whether or not to support conversion therapy. It’s difficult to believe that the justice minister had to clarify that Likud opposes conversion therapy.
Gay conversion controversy reveals seismic shift in Israeli politics (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Education Minister Rafi Peretz’s series of gaffes have embarrassed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and shown that his alliance with the ultra-religious is crumbling.
Israel is not paying enough attention to Germany (Eldad Beck, Israel Hayom) It is shocking that former Israeli diplomats are providing justification for the conspiracy theory held by anti-Semites on both the Right and Left in Germany that their country is controlled by Jews and the "Tel Aviv government."
Stop threatening with jets that ”reach everywhere": Iran is not the only problem (Avi Benayahu, Maariv) Iran is not Israel’s only problem. The US is concerned about it not only because of us, but because of American interests. Also Egypt and Saudi Arabia are concerned from Iran, as well as some of the European countries. This week, Netanyahu's appeal to the heads of European states to meet their obligations to impose sanctions on Iran is justified in itself, but the prime minister a little missed the target when he repeatedly publicly places Israel head on against Iran. It is appropriate that the work of the righteous be done by others, and Israel should help quietly and maintain all the options in its hands. Both the world and the Middle East know very well that only one country in the world successfully destroyed two nuclear reactors, and if we have to, we can do it again (more complex, more complicated, more distant, deeper). So we have to stop public threats that our planes that "go everywhere" and begin to explain to the Iranian people how much they are missing and why. From there the solution will probably come.
Lessons in the appeasement of Iran (Sarah N. Stern, Israel Hayom) The Iranians are masters of doublespeak and have brazenly manipulated most of the international community into blaming the United States for violating the terms of the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal.
Egypt's Most Expensive Film Ever Shows Nationalism Is Always on the Agenda (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) This year’s blockbuster ‘The Passage’ makes evident that despite political shifts, the line of defense of the country’s artists and intellectuals hasn’t changed.
The Sadism of Flying the Israeli Flag (Odeh Bisharat, Haaretz+) As soon as he crossed the ministry’s threshold, Education Minister Rafi Peretz started reviving the trauma by forcing Arab schools to fly the Israeli flag. Everyone is equal, they say with pathos, everyone has to be happy, both those who delivered the blow and those who were beaten. It’s interesting that the principle of equality doesn’t affect the yearning souls of these leaders when it comes to land discrimination or the allocation of resources. That’s why I’d like to address Minister Peretz with a heartfelt cry: Forget about the flag. The State of Israel won’t benefit from it, and the Jews won’t benefit from it. And for the Arabs, the wounds that have yet to heal will only be opened again. To what end?
Did Moscow Fake a Suicide Bombing? Why Israel Can't Trust Russia to Counter Terrorism - or Iran (Kyle Orton, Haaretz+) Netanyahu hails a new spirit of 'security cooperation' with Russia. There's just one problem: He can't trust a word they say. A Moscow terrorism trial riddled with state-run conspiracies and lies demonstrates clearly why.
South Korea: A true friend in Asia (Gilad Cohen, Maariv) Israel can contribute to it with its innovation, its high-tech and unique knowledge, but also to learn from the excellence, preciseness and sophistication of one of the world's great economic and technological powers.
Palestinians were spared Turkey's rising anti-Arab hate. Until now (Esther Solomon in Istanbul, Haaretz+) Resentment towards the half-million Syrian refugees in Istanbul, fueled by Turkey's economic crisis and populist political rhetoric, is metastasizing into a general hostility toward all Arabs - and Palestinians are caught in the backlash.
Turkey and Russian S-400s: Erdogan Just Made a Strategic Blunder of Epic Proportions (Simon A. Waldman, Haaretz+) Erdogan's insistence on delivery of the Russian-made missiles, a $2.5 billion waste of money, has invited severe U.S. retaliation - and turned Turkey from an ally of NATO into its antagonist.

Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
Gay Conversion Scandal: Netanyahu's Four Cabinet Picks Would Shame Any Democracy (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?
From the balloon terror to the Immunity Law, facts are secondary to Netanyahu (Ben Caspit, Maariv) Just like he promised a cannabis plant to every citizen, the prime minister rushed to announce that he would transfer the responsibility for preschool education to the Ministry of Education - but he knew that was a cheap spin.
The Speech That Could Bring Down Netanyahu (Albert Wolf, Haaretz+) Netanyahu has failed on so many fronts that attacking him should be low-hanging fruit for his opponents. This is how to smash the 'Bibi illusion' – from his appeasing Nazi apologists to the Iran crisis to his endemic corruption.
Likud trying to keep all options open ( Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) Despite the exchange of verbal blows, Likud officials are treading lightly with respect to Blue and White so as not to close the door on a potential future political partnership with its leader.
The smell of money (Sever Plocker, Yedioth Hebrew) Ehud Barak's partnership with Jeffrey Epstein is morally and publicly filthy…There are two faces to the affair of the Jewish American millionaire - he’s not a billionaire, his financial assets are estimated at tens of millions of dollars at most - Jeffrey Epstein: the criminal and the public aspects. They do not overlap; The public aspect is bothersome and shouts much louder. It is also clear that the scandalous public aspect, which relates almost exclusively to prominent figures in the political and cultural echelons of the United States and other countries that had friendly ties with Epstein, used their money to glorify his name, and were happy to use his assets: To live in his private jet, be hosted at his estates and apparently to take part, actively or passively, in sexual events that took place there. Their moral compass was suppressed, and carnal lust and greed overcame minimal value judgments. They are not criminals, they are disgusting…After he served his sentence, Epstein tried to reintegrate into American VIP circles, but not everyone welcomed him with open arms. In order to overcome the pervasive social ostracism, Epstein bought positive coverage on the Internet and brought false information about his successes, but to no avail. His charm gradually dissipated, his money quickly dissipated and he became a leper socially, economically and morally. A leper for Americans, not for Israelis. In 2015, Epstein financed Ehud Barak's private investment in an unknown high-tech company, with many millions of dollars. Contrary to Barak's explanation, at that time Epstein no longer had many high-ranking and worldly friends. They, too, understood who they were dealing with and alienated him. They fled from his embraces. Not Barak. It turns out that money does not smell. It is very sad to see the former chief of staff, former defense minister and former prime minister happily establishing a business and social partnership with someone like Jeffrey Epstein: a sex offender, manipulator, playboy, evading taxes and eye-catching. This is moral and public dirt that can not be removed by convoluted explanations. Jeffrey Epstein's maze of Israeli connections has not yet been fully exposed and may affect the upcoming election campaign.
Milchan and the helicopter affair are further proof of the witch hunt after Netanyahu (Dr. Chaim Misgav, Maariv) The elections are coming up and someone apparently believes that the investigative materials that are partially leaked, selectively, with undeniable intent, may tip the scales.
 
Interviews:
LISTEN: Israel's not-so-secret 'disappearance' of Nakba history
Why is Israel's defense establishment removing documents which chronicle atrocities against Palestinians during the War of Independence from civilian archives - even though many have already been published? Host Simon Spungin is joined by Haaretz's Hagar Shezaf, to discuss her recent article detailing Israeli efforts to 'disappear' documented evidence of Israeli war crimes during the 1948 War of Independence – the Palestinian Nakba. LISTEN FREE (Haaretz Weekly Audio)

Istanbul in Jaffa
Two friends from Jaffa, Shehadeh Abu Shehadeh, 31, and Farah Abu Nijim, 41, who met when they worked together in the air conditioning industry, are responsible for the dream knafeh dessert for which people sometimes wait 40 minutes in line. People go there like pilgrims to the Temple. Indeed, it is nothing less than a temple for lovers of the genre. Anat Lev Adler found a perfect combination of hot and cold, crispy and soft, sweet and smoky, and the best part: Turkish goat’s milk ice cream. Where: “Yaffa Knaffeh” on 24 Olei Tzion Street in Jaffa. (Anat Lev Adler interviews and tastes for Yedioth Hebrew)

The World’s Leading Architecture Historian Examines the Effects of Colonialism on Cities
'If I had to, I would define myself as a Paris-based wandering Jew,' says historian and architect Jean-Louis Cohen, 70, in a visit to Tel Aviv. (Interviewed by Dan Handel in Haaretz+)

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