News Nosh 7.17.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday July 17, 2019


You Must Be Kidding: 
"At first they said he was under arrest. After half an hour they left. They said he's not under arrest and not anything."
--Fayyed Azzam, brother of Faris, an Arab-Israeli who was shot by soldiers while in his car at a West Bank checkpoint Tuesday. The IDF initially said that Faris was a terrorist that tried to run them over. An Israeli official later claimed the soldiers only aimed at his car and that his moderate wounds are the result of "a family dispute." Faris, who is hospitalized, said he didn't hear them call him to stop because his windows were closed and the A/C was on. Once they opened fire he pressed the gas, fearing they would've killed him had he stopped. Regarding the army’s claim that his brother was suspected of a terror attack, Fayyed said, “They always lie."

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • “They threatened me with a knife, they filmed everything on their phone and sent it to their friends. I’m going through difficult days. I tried to commit suicide”
  • A compulsory lesson for every parent // Meirav Batito
  • This is how (Ehud) Barak was documented entering (Jeffrey) Epstein’s apartment
  • Heat wave
  • Expose - Class action suit of cancer patients living in the Haifa bay area
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links)
Israel Hayom
  • “Barak entered Epstein’s house with his face covered” - ‘Daily Mail’ newspaper: New documentation threatens to put Ehud Barak in trouble
  • Eloquent, admired, an example for many // Haim Shine on Shelly Yachmovich’s resignation from politics
  • 40 degrees celsius and higher (heat wave)
  • The longest serving (prime minister) of them all - This week, Netanyahu passes Ben-Gurion
  • Humiliation of Haniyeh: Egypt preventing the Hamas leader from leaving for a fundraising campaign


Top News Summary:
Veteran Israeli Labor party lawmaker Shelly Yachimovich announced she’s quitting politics, the Daily Mail published a photo of politician Ehud Barak covering his face as he entered the mansion of sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein where the paper said young women also entered that day, Justice Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz retracted his support for gay conversion therapy and the 11-year-old girl who was gang-raped by 12-year-old and 13-year-old boys told what happened - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

The day after Ehud Barak declared that he met sex offender Jeffrey Epstein on 10 occasions, “but never in the company of women,” the British ‘Daily Mail,’ published photos of him from 2016 entering Epstein’s mansion with his face half covered alongside pictures of four women whom it said also entered the house that day. Barak said he would sue the 'Daily Mail' over the 'loathsome' insinuations. Maariv reported on calls in the Labor party for Barak to leave the political race, calling him "A stumbling block in terms of the left-wing camp.” Interestingly, Yedioth Ahronoth and Israel Hayom posted the photo on their front pages, while Maariv noted it in a paragraph of a larger story about his unpopularity and did not include the photo and Haaretz reported on it on page five, with a focus on Barak's intention to sue for libel, rather than the controversial visit. Haaretz did publish the photo.

Elections 2019 Quickees:

Channel 12 Poll: Lieberman is gaining strength, Shaked at the head of a united list makes record achievement
The chairman of Yisrael Beiteinu not only continues to be the one who will tip the scales between the blocs, buthe  also registers a two-digit number in Knesset seats. The former justice minister Ayelet Shaked takes seats from the Likud party. (Maariv)
Israeli Election Poll Shows Joint Left-wing Slate Won’t Change Political Map
Union of Meretz, Labor and Ehud Barak's party is projected to only shuffle two seats within the center-left bloc. (Haaretz)


 
Quick Hits:
  • Palestinian Prisoner's Death in Solitary Confinement/Israeli Medical Ward Prompts Raised Alert - Nassar Taqatqa, 31, was found dead in his cell in Israel's Nitzan prison weeks after his arrest. Israeli Prison Service says Taqatqa has been under medical supervision, while Palestinian officials demand autopsy. (Haaretz+ and Al-Jazeera)
  • **Israeli Arab Shot by Soldiers at West Bank Checkpoint; Official Says Wounded in Family Dispute - 35-year-old  Azzam and his family insist he was wrongfully shot while Israeli soldiers initially claimed he tried to run them over. (Haaretz+)
  • Mother of fallen IDF soldier leaves meeting with Netanyahu in tears - Leah Goldin, mother of Hadar Goldin whose remains have been held by Hamas since Operation Protective Edge, confronts the prime minister and accuses him of trying to silence the families of MIAs and POWs days before the 5-year anniversary of the 2014 war. (Yedioth/Ynet and Maariv)
  • Cop in Fatal Shooting of Ethiopian Israeli Teen Put on Forced Leave - Police announces decision day after charges against off-duty officer reduced. Attorney general announces team tasked with 'ensuring effective treatment' of complaints on police brutality. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Hezbollah Threat Prompts Israel to Boost Anti-missile Protection at 20 Strategic Sites - Military identifies key sites as potential targets, as Iran-backed Lebanese group working to improve missile precision. (Haaretz+)
  • In blow, Egypt prevents Hamas leader from leaving Gaza - Hamas mouthpiece claims Egypt, Israel working together to undermine terrorist group's Tehran ties. Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh had planned to travel to Iran, Turkey, and Qatar to raise funds for Hamas, Palestinians in coastal enclave. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli Diplomats Concerned by FM's Plan to Evaluate Envoys Through Economic Success - Minister Katz’s plan, which was first reported by Haaretz on Tuesday, has been given a mixed reaction, with some uttering praise while others lament 'serious deterioration.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Dispute in Old City endangers Israel's relations with Russia - Sale of three assets in Jerusalem's Old-City to settler group could harm the Jewish state's ties with Orthodox Christians and subsequently lead to a crisis with Moscow, warns former head of National Security Council. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • High Prices in Israel Deter Tourists, Survey Shows; Government Campaign Fail - According to Tourism Ministry survey for 2018, average daily expenditure per tourist was $156, with those from South America spending the most. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli woman on trial in U.S. for defrauding $145 million - As CEO of Yukom, Lee Elbaz and other employees allegedly lied about their names, locations and professional qualifications; they guaranteed impossible returns and neglected to tell investors that they make money when investors don’t. (Agencies, Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Israel to Bar Myanmar Officials From Arms Expos - Decision to stop issuing visas for this purpose comes after Haaretz documented officers attending Tel Aviv expo, despite international embargo over serious human rights violations. (Haaretz+)
  • Turkish, Egyptian and Syrian Artifacts Found in 9,000-year-old Neolithic City by Jerusalem - New findings show the Motza mega-site was part of a vast network of barter, but huge town may have exhausted its resources very fast. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Which Democratic 2020 Contenders Would Move the U.S. Embassy Back to Tel Aviv? 8 of them say they would - They're not happy with Donald Trump's historic move to Jerusalem, but it doesn't mean they'll do something about it if elected. (JTA, Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinians denounce Trump tweets against local hero Rashida Tlaib - Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat and daughter of Palestinian immigrants, was one of four congresswomen of color who were targeted in a Trump Twitter barrage over the weekend. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Natalie Portman's harsh comparison - Israeli-American star Natalie Portman, 38, is known for not hesitating to express her political opinion. In a forceful post on Instagram last night, Portman compared the acts of the Trump administration to the persecution of Jews in Europe during the Holocaust. Against the background of the heated debate in the US about arresting immigrants and their children, Portman posted a photo of her as a 16-year-old visiting the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. The post reads: "When I was 16, I visited the Anne Frank house with Miep Gies, the woman whose heroism hid Anna and her family when the Nazis rounded up the Jews throughout Amsterdam and Europe." Today I tremble at the thought of a young girl somewhere in my country who is afraid to turn on the light or make noise, or play outside, fearing that she would be caught by our government. " She finished with the hashtags: #Notinmyname and #Notinmycountry. (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • High stakes U.S.-Turkey trial involving ex-Trump adviser Flynn begins - Criminal proceedings against Bijan Rafiekian, accused of illegally lobbying for Turkey, pose stain on ties between Washington and Ankara. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Trump Reluctant to Punish Turkey Over S-400 Deal With Russia: 'It's Not Really Fair' - President lamented American jobs would be lost if U.S. did not sell F-35 jets to Turkey. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Assad, Iran seek plan to ‘deal with Israeli attacks' in Syria - Syrian President Bashar Assad meets with a senior Iranian official in Damascus on ways to cope with Israeli airstrikes in the war-torn country, Syrian newspaper Al-Watan reports. The two also discuss the Trump administration's "deal of the century" and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's plan to contend with the American regional plan. (Israel Hayom)
  • U.S. 'has suspicions' Iran seized UAE oil tanker that disappeared in Strait of Hormuz - The tanker, which was traveling through the Strait of Hormuz, stopped transmitting its location over two days ago. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iranian Foreign Minister: "Once sanctions are lifted, we will sit for negotiations with the US" - Muhammad Jawad Zarif was interviewed by NBC and took a conciliatory line toward the American superpower, but at the same time stressed: "We will not take lightly if a military attack is made against us.” (Maariv)
  • In First, Top Iranian Diplomat Says Talks on Ballistic Missiles Possible - Mohammad Javad Zarif offered an initially high price for such negotiations — the halt of American arms sales to both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two key U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf. (Agencies, Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Iran Says FM's Remarks on Readiness to Compromise on Missile Program 'Hypothetical' - Foreign ministry spokesperson says recent comments by Zarif 'threw the ball into the U.S. court while challenging America's arm sales' to its Mideast allies. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  •  Trump Says Progress Made With Iran, as Tehran Threatens Further Nuke Deal Breaches - U.S. president says he wasn't looking for regime change, while Pompeo says administration prepared to negotiate missile program. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iranian engineer heading Hezbollah precision missile project identified - The Revolutionary Guards Corps engineer overseeing Hezbollah's precision missile project in Lebanon is Majed Naveed, according to an i24NEWS exclusive. Naveed is reportedly in frequent contact with a counterpart in Yemen, which has become the “testing ground” for Hezbollah and Iranian missiles fired by Houthi rebels at Saudi Arabia. (i24NEWS, Israel Hayom)
  • Iran confirms arrest of French-Iranian scholar, gives no details - Adelkhah, a senior research fellow at Sciences Po university in Paris, was arrested in June by Iran's Revolutionary Guards, news website IranWire reported on Sunday, citing unnamed sources while access to her still denied to consular staff. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • In Iran, some take off their hijabs as hard-liners push back - Debate has polarized Iranians at a time when the government's authority is stretched thin due to an ongoing economic crisis. Meanwhile, female advocates of mandatory head coverings claim that "the voluntary hijab is a plot by the enemy." (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Jordan Appoints New Ambassador to Qatar, Two Years After Downgrading Ties - Relations between Doha and Amman warm up amid dismay in Jordan at falling Saudi economic support. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Commentary/Analysis:
Rabbi Peretz, Give Us Back Our Fig Leaf (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Education Minister Rafi Peretz managed to divide the nation. With his recent enlightened comments about gay conversion, he foisted a terrible dilemma on the public: Which is worse, his advocacy of gay conversion therapy or his call for annexing all of the West Bank to Israel?…Yet the hypocrisy of the reassurances by religious Zionist leaders that the annexed Palestinians would receive full civil rights was revealed a bit more. Peretz candidly expressed aloud what disciples of Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook think and say amongst themselves. Supposedly Peretz erected a separation fence between himself – the “eccentric” minister, the outlier, the political hilltop youth – and “sane” religious Zionism, which harbors no messianic ideology. But there is no such fence and there never was one. Peretz is the embodiment of religious Zionism and when it comes to the concept of Greater Israel, there is no difference between him and Netanyahu. The annexation idea has many fathers and Peretz is not the most important one, certainly not in a society in which even the centrist parties are drawing up annexation maps.
The time has come for the right-wing to formulate its self-identity (Lilach Sigan, Maariv) Whoever said that the attacks on (Education Minister) Rabbi Rafi Peretz following his interview with Dana Weiss was exaggerated was right. Peretz claimed that anyone who attacked him by calling for him to be fired did not see the interview, because he did not say that he was in favor of conversion treatments for LGBTs, but only that he believed they were possible. But the attack was exaggerated for some other reason…His statement about Judea and Samaria (West Bank) was much more decisive and meaningful than the relatively vague words about conversion treatments. But the more significant statement did not "catch on” on Twitter, so it was ignored by everyone. It is a little strange that Peretz's position on LGBT is more important than his position on the borders of the country and its future shape, and even more so just before elections. If this incident proved anything, it is that beyond the fact that "this is not left-wing,” the Israeli right-wing has no definition. Is the right-wing against LGBT rights? The answer is "yes" if you ask the natural partners in the ultra-Orthodox parties, "yes and no" if you ask the natural partners of the right-wing parties, and "no" if you ask the justice minister, who happens to be gay…... Not just the Palestinians want self-determination, and not just the LGBTs. The right also needs self-determination. The propaganda blurred the boundaries of definition. What does ‘a right-wing government’ even mean? After all, Netanyahu also said that he would like to impose sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, but he did not say in what format. Apartheid? Giving Palestinians citizenship? Transferring them out? Or will we just go with the flow? The statement has not received any clarification, and it is also impossible to know if it was only intended to serve a political process that would evaporate over time, since in the past he also said that he was in favor of two states. At the same time, he’s sitting on the sidelines and waiting for Deal of the Century, which no one knows what are its principles. So what is the official right-wing position beyond ‘not what the left wants.’ Does anyone know?
How anti-Zionists legitimize anti-Semitism (Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) The fight against anti-Semitism on college campuses must start by properly labeling Israel’s foes as purveyors of hate speech.
Israeli settlements are a regular destination on Birthright trips (Mairav Zonszein, +972mag) For years, Birthright has been taking participants into the occupied territories, usually without their knowledge or consent. ‘At the end of the day, we Israelis always have been less than truthful about where those lines and boundaries are for tourists,’ one former tour operator says.
China and Israel will both lose from Trump's trade wars (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) China's economy is feeling the pinch and Israel will, too, because the global system under assault from the White House has been a boon to Israel.
Into Putin’s arms: How a failed coup turned Turkey into NATO’s biggest headache (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz) Arrival of Russian S-400 missile defense system probably won’t signal the end of Turkey’s military involvement with West, but will likely scupper F-35 deal with the U.S.
As a Palestinian woman, it is my duty to support the Ethiopian struggle (Samah Salaime, +972mag) As the most oppressed group in Israeli society, Palestinian citizens of Israel have an obligation to stand with the Ethiopian Israelis protesting against racism and police brutality.
If There’s a Hell, Trump and Pence Will Do Eternity There. In a Cage (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) When Satan’s officials come to take Trump away, wearing ICE jackets, he’ll let them in with a smile and won't have the slightest glimmer of idea why.
Does Miriam Adelson Think Donald Trump Still Deserves His Own Book in the Bible? (Avram Mlotek, Haaretz+) Adelson’s drooling suggestion mirrors the quasi-Messianic way Trump’s religious fans refer to him. But we religious Jews cannot be complicit in his racism, just because he didn't single us out – this time.

Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
Reconstruct the Joint List Now (Haaretz Editorial) One indisputable fact arises clearly from the election results: Dismantling the Joint List formed by four Arab parties – Hadash, Ta’al, Balad and the United Arab List – resulted in them losing about a quarter of their Knesset seats. From the 13 seats they won in the 2015 election by running as the Joint List (which had made the Joint List the third largest party in the Knesset), they fell to 10 seats in April’s election, when they ran on two separate slates. The message was clear: The voters said no to the ego battles among the parties that led to the break-up of their partnership.
A role model for new MKs (Gideon Allon, Israel Hayom) Shelly Yachimovich was without a doubt a different breed of lawmaker, and one cannot help but be impressed with her many achievements in the Knesset.
Israel's do-over election gives Arab parties an opportunity – one they're refusing to seize (Jack Khoury, Haaretz+) The parties' failure to resurrect the Joint List points to a deep lack of trust from within – and in facing the Arab public.
Israel is (still) closed for renovations (Asaf Schneider, Yedioth/Ynet) In the shadow of the repeat elections, there is a sense that an entire country is stuck, and we are floating in a parallel universe embodied by the oft-uttered refrain: 'We can't, this is a transitional government.’
Barak has polls indicating that his promises have buyers in the public, and that is worrisome (Prof. Arieh Eldad, Maariv) The chairman of "Democratic Israel" offers the Israelis a basket of promises without coverage. If he markets it to the voter, that’s a sign that he has polls that show that this nonsense has enough buyers in the country.
 
Interviews:
At Age 99, Israeli Photographer Is Finally Having Her Day in the Sun
After years of activity as artist, curator and collector, Dvora Schocken is having her first exhibition. She tells Haaretz about her early love of photography and the sculpture garden she curated for the Mossad. (Interviewed by Naama Riba in Haaretz+)
PODCAST: Exposing Israel's arms sales to oppressive regimes
Attorney Eitay Mack is one of the only people in Israel challenging the secrecy of Israel’s military exports to despotic regimes around the world. (Interviewed by +972mag)
 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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