News Nosh 8.18.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday August 18, 2019
Quote of the day:
"Happily, Tlaib came to her senses and didn’t fall into the trap. The shameful proposal to let her visit her grandmother is a manifestation of colonialism: depoliticizing the Palestinian issue, transforming it from a national matter into a humanitarian one, and then portraying the occupation as merciful."
-Haaretz+ commentator, Gideon Levy, on the Israeli ban of BDS-supporting Muslim US Congresswomen from Israel and then the offer of a 'special permit' for Rashida Tlaib.*

You Must Be Kidding: 
"He who decides who will be the next prime minister is the Holy One. I still don't know that people decide who the next prime minister will be."
--Culture Minister Miri Regev (Likud) reveals her views about democracy.**

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Tense night in the south - Four rockets shot on Sabbath toward Gaza periphery, three of them intercepted (Hebrew)
  • The terrorist ran over the brother and sister
  • Following Yedioth expose - The tunnel and the storm (Hebrew)
  • A trap for the mole in Kahol-Lavan party (Hebrew)
  • Showing presence - Violent detention of demonstrators and passersby not far from home of Attorney General on Friday sparked outrage. As a result, hundreds showed up to (the spot at) Goren Square, including Ehud Barak
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • The Russian voice: Not in Lieberman’s pocket
  • Tension in the south: (Rocket) launches, intercepted - and alertness
  • Ministry of (Immigration) Absorption to its employees: “Don’t help Yisrael Beiteinu party”
  • Change in direction: Rise in percentage of those studying Arabic (in high school)
  • Members of Congress storm: Provocation directed from the top // Eldad Beck and  Prof. Abraham Ben-Zvi
  • Demonstrations of the Arab sector against homophobia: They almost made history, in the end they made a mistake // Ali Adi

Top News Summary:
Spiraling violence with Gaza, a Palestinian car-ramming attack in the West Bank, Israel’s banning of the two Muslim US Congresswomen, its humanitarian gesture toward one of them, her rejection and the reaction of US politicians, as well as public anger following disproportionate police violence at an anti-corruption demonstration, and the controversial statement politician Ehud Barak made in support of the demonstrators - made top headlines in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Escalation in Gaza: Last night on the Gaza border fence, an IDF helicopter and tank fired at a group of Palestinians, killing three of them. Haaretz wrote that the full details of the incident are not yet clear. The IDF said the three were armed. Earlier, the IDF had hit Hamas targets in Gaza and three rockets were launched from Gaza, two of which were intercepted and one of which landed in Sderot city causing damage. Another rocket was shot on Friday with no injuries.

Also on Friday, two Israeli siblings were wounded in a car-ramming attack near a West Bank settlement. Nachum Navis, 18, is still in critical condition his 20-year-old sister, Noam, was moderately wounded. The Palestinian driver,  27-year-old Alaa Kahser Al-Harimi, who lived in Bethlehem with his wife and child, was shot dead by security forces on the site. (Haaretz+, Israel Hayom and Ynet)

After first agreeing to allow BDS-supporting US Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar into Israel, Israel decided Thursday to ban them from entering. U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer urged Israel to reverse its ban on the visit of the two Congresswomen and US Sentator Bernie Sanders said Israel shouldn’t take US aid if it bans US Congresswomen. Israel did gave Tlaib permission to enter to visit her 90-year-old grandmother in the West Bank as a ‘humanitarian gesture’ if she promised not to promote a boycott of Israel during her visit. Israel officials leaked that Tlaib had accepted the offer and Yedioth wrote that “Tlaib was happy to receive the permission, but then, after she was attacked for ‘selling her principles,’ she backtracked and announced she would not visit under ‘humiliating’ conditions.” Tlaib cited Israel's 'oppressive conditions' when she canceled her planned visit. US President Donald Trump, who had asked Israel to block Tlaib’s entry, mocked Tlaib, saying: "Rep. Tlaib wrote a letter to Israeli officials desperately wanting to visit her grandmother. Permission was quickly granted, whereupon Tlaib obnoxiously turned the approval down, a complete setup. The only real winner here is Tlaib's grandmother. She doesn't have to see her now!" Tlaib’s grandmother responded, “May God ruin Trump.”  Instead of preparing for her trip, Tlaib spent Friday evening in a Detroit park surrounded by members of the anti-occupation group Jewish Voice for Peace, who had organized a Shabbat service and dinner to support her after her thwarted trip, Haaretz+ reported. There she expressed her sadness. Maariv stressed that US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Democrat) said the relationship between America and Israel can “withstand Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu.” Haaretz’s Amir Tibon wrote that Democrats wanted to unload their anger at Netanyahu's decision, but not if it meants playing into Trump's hands. Democrats were mulling what action to take against the Israeli and US ambassadors.

At the weekly anti-corruption protest Friday night near Attorney General Avichai Mendelblitt’s house in Petach Tikva, where protesters call on him to indict Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in the corruption cases into his affairs, activists said policemen assaulted, manhandled and beat them, even elderly protesters and passersby. Police also detained a number of people. Following the news of the alleged police brutality, dozens or hundreds showed up to protest police brutality the next night. Among the protesters was co-leader of the Democratic Camp, former prime minister Ehud Barak. But in a controversial post on Facebook urging Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan to immediately release those arrested and open a probe of the incident, Barak also wrote: "Erdan, Petah Tikva is not Umm al-Hiran, civilians are allowed to protest." The ex-premier was referring to the unrecognized Israeli Bedouin village that has been at the center of political controversy over the past few years ahead of its planned demolition. Last year, authorities closed the case against police officers who were suspected of assaulting Joint List Chairman, Arab MK Ayman Odeh, during the eviction of Umm al-Hiran's residents. (And where one of the residents was killed by police, who misidentified him as a 'terrorist.' - OH.) Ayman Odeh accused Barak of suggesting Arabs weren’t entitled to protest and called on him to leave politics: “Get off the public stage. You must be left in the past.” Barak later clarified his remarks, explaining: "There is no need to help Netanyahu incite hatred. Odeh also knows well: A misunderstanding in the wording was made clear: 'In Umm al-Hiran the investigation was covered up. We won't let that happen again.'" (Maariv)

Elections 2019 Quickees:
  • Election Poll: Kahol Lavan and Likud Tie, Labor-Gesher Scrapes Election Threshold - A Channel 13 election poll released Thursday evening shows Likud and Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan tied each with a projected 31 seats. The Labor-Gesher union is projected to barely pass the electoral threshold, with five seats. Far-right parties Otzmah Yehudit, Noam and Zehut projected not to cross electoral threshold. (Haaretz and Maariv)
  • Ehud Barak: "Netanyahu's recent appointments were nothing but scarecrows" - In an interview on the Knesset's TV channel, the Democratic Camp member and former prime minister was  called to investigate the current prime minister's recent appointments: “(Justice Minister Amir) Ohana is a fake-minister.” (Maariv)
  • The operation to find the "mole" in Kahol-Lavan - For months they have wondered in Kahol-Lavan party who is responsible for the leaks. Party hired company to identify person responsible. Now it turns out: The campaign planted a fake work plan with goal that the person making the leaks will circulate it. Suspicion: a Yesh Atid (Lapid’s former party) person is involved adn there is more than one "mole.” Kahol-Lavan: “We are being assisted by people in the information security field.” (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Israeli Lawmaker Attacked by Police at East Jerusalem Protest After He Waved Palestinian Flag - Ofer Cassif's parliamentary aide hit and detained. Police say the pair attacked officers who tried to seize flags. (Haaretz+VIDEO)
  • For these young Israelis, Netanyahu’s ties with Putin are not a vote winner - Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing rival Avigdor Lieberman are both chasing the Russian vote in September’s election, but young members of the community seem unimpressed by their efforts. (Haaretz+)

Quick Hits:
  • Policeman wounded in Jerusalem stabbing attack Thursday evening - 40-year-old policeman stabbed by two Palestinians, gets lightly wounded; one attacker shot dead, the other severely wounded. (Ynet)
  • Israeli Labor Minister Resigns Friday From Cabinet After Graft Charges - Haim Katz, member of Netanyahu's Likud party, is suspected of a quid-pro-quo relationship with businessman Moti Ben-Ari. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • **Israel's Culture Minister: God, Not the People, Chooses the Prime Minister - Miri Regev told an interviewer from an Israeli radio station that 'fraud and crook' Avigdor Lieberman is not the kingmaker in September's election – 'the Holy One is.’ (Haaretz+, Times of Israel and Maariv)
  • IDF general penalized for taking troops on unauthorized tour of Hezbollah tunnel - Brig. Gen. Rafi Milo admits to ‘error in judgement,’ will be denied a promotion for 3 years after leading midnight excursion inside Lebanese territory. (Haaretz, Yedioth Hebrew and Times of Israel)
  • Bereaved families blast HBO for equating Jewish, Palestinian terror - HBO declines families' request to add caption explaining Palestinian terrorism more prevalent than Jewish terrorism to "Our Boys" series about events leading up to 2014 Gaza war. (Israel Hayom)
  • About a decade after Ma'ariv revealed: Israel's Land Authority will sue Minister Yoav Galant (Likud) - According to a report on Channel 12 News, the government intends to sue the reserve general for 200,000 shekels. The Knesset member's family said: "We paid the required amount.” (Maariv)
  • Rights Groups Slam Israel's AG for Weighing 'Special Circumstances' Permitting Gender Segregation - Women's, civil society groups urge Avichai Mendelblit to hold a public hearing before he holds debate on extending sex segregation at publicly-funded events. (Haaretz+)
  • Arab Israeli Woman Stabbed to Death in Front of Kids; Husband Arrested - Amina Yassin-Farhat, 35, found dead at her family's home. Municipal authorities say family was known to welfare department due to suspect's drug use. (Haaretz+)
  • Iranian tanker to depart Gibraltar within days despite U.S. warrant to seize it - Oil tanker has been detained in the U.K. territory for over a month for allegedly attempting to breach European Union sanctions on Syria. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Israel and UAE held U.S.-brokered talks on Iran, report says - Wall Street Journal reports that meetings signal growing coordination between Jerusalem and Gulf nations as they seek to counter Tehran. (Haaretz)
  • Tens of thousands rally in Yemen's Aden to support UAE-backed southern separatists - The separatists seized control of government military bases last weekend, fracturing the Saudi-led alliance and complicating efforts to end the war. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Syria: Air defenses intercepted missile fired at Hama province - State TV says missile fired from direction of northern Lebanon. Arab media reports explosions at military facility used by pro-Iranian militias to store weapons. (Israel Hayom)
  • Suspected Russian airstrike in Syria rebel area kills 13 - Separately, Syrian state media reported that country's air defenses have responded to a 'hostile target' and destroyed a missile before it reached a central Syrian town, suggesting it was fired by Israel. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Lebanon hopes for September decision on Israel sea border talks - Following talks with Lebanese President Saad Hariri in Washington, US Secretary of State Pompeo says right solution to Beirut's maritime border dispute with Israel on gas pipeline will be "greatly beneficial to Lebanon and the greater region." (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Missile strike halts traffic at Tripoli airport, kills worker - Mitiga airport, the only functioning airport in the Libyan capital Tripoli, halted traffic. (Agencies, Haaretz)

A Bedouin Family Got Evicted by Israel. The Their Baby Died
In her 2-month life, her tent was demolished twice. She died in an accident and her mother was seriously injured, the day after the family was ordered out. For 50 communities in the Jordan Valley, evictions are common. (Amira Hass, Haaretz+)
90 years later: How did the events of 1929 events (Arab Revolt) affect Israel's bloody history?
Even over many years, historians and scholars have wondered if the violent riots were the starting point for the conflict between Jews and Arabs in Palestine, which continues to this day. (Oz Rosenberg, Maariv Magazine supplement, cover)
A forgotten Jerusalem: Rare color footage from 1930s casts new light on holy city
The archive at the capital's Cinematheque is being digitized, and treasures are being revealed — like this rare fiootage showing the Old City and the vibrant mix of Old Yishuv Jews, Muslims and Christians alongside the city's holy sites. (Issac Tesler, Ynet)
Once One of the Most Powerful Figures in Jerusalem, This Patriarch Wants to Go Home
Greek Orthodox Patriarch Irenaeus was ousted from his position after being accused of selling church property to a settler organization and has spent the last 11 years shut up in his apartment. Now old and ailing, he is still fighting his successor. (Nir Hasson, Haaretz+)
Commentary/Analysis on barring entry of US Congresswomen:
Israel has the right to draw its own red lines (Eldad Beck, Israel Hayom) Israel is a sovereign state with its own legitimate interests that it must protect. Until recently, the Democratic Party understood that, but the party's recent support for these two radical representatives is a testament to some in the party, and not Israel, having lost their way.
Trump and Netanyahu Just Broke the Special Relationship Between America and Israel (David Rothkopf, Haaretz+) By barring Omar and Tlaib, the wannabe authoritarian tag-team has committed a reckless, racist, contemptible act driven by stunningly short-sighted political calculations - but with fateful repercussions.
Tlaib and Omar tested Israel's sovereignty (Debra Saunder, Israel Hayom) The congresswomen had decided to skip a bipartisan delegation to Israel. Instead they put together their own itinerary to visit "Palestine."
Nixing Tlaib and Omar visit, Netanyahu harms Israel to assuage Trump’s ego (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Decision will escalate tensions with Democrats, casting Israel as collaborating with Trump’s hate campaign against minorities.
Netanyahu had no choice (Yaakov Ahimeir, Israel Hayom) Going against the wishes of US President Donald Trump to bar Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from entering Israel would have sparked a crisis with the US and its president. That being said, we can expect Israel's relationship with the Democratic Party to take a considerable hit.
*Tlaib and Omar Make Things Clear About South Africa’s Successor (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) U.S. lawmakers Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib helped reveal the truth about Israel to their country and the world.
Israel couldn't afford an open feud with Washington (Prof. Abraham Ben-Zvi, Israel Hayom) On the matter of US Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashiada Tlaib, PM Netanyahu had to fall in line with US President Donald Trump to preserve more vital Israeli interests.
Fierce Backlash to Tlaib Travel Ban Is a Time Bomb for the U.S.-Israel 'Special Relationship' (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Netanyahu is now seen as Trump’s feckless lackey, and Israel as aiding and abetting the president’s divisive, race-baiting demagoguery.
Heal the rift with Congress (Yaakov Ahimeir, Israel Hayom) It's unpleasant to fight with Congress. It would be worse for Israel to fight with a US president like Donald Trump.
Israel presented Tlaib with a cruel dilemma: Her principles or her family (Noa Landau, Haaretz+) Rashida Tlaib thwarted Israel's attempt to take credit for a special 'humanitarian gesture.' She may have paid a price as a granddaughter, but she also prevented a new precedent in Israel's boycott law.
Act from a position of strength (Alex Traiman, Israel Hayom) Israel’s democracy can withstand any criticism, whether from grassroots activists or state leaders. By barring US Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar Israel sent a strong message to BDS supporters: if you promote boycotts on Israel, then Israel boycotts you.
In the Tlaib-Omar saga, all the politicians are winners (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) True, Israel’s democracy, its ties with the United States and the Palestinian cause are losers – but they were already losing anyway.
Israel should have ignored Trump’s pressure on Omar and Tlaib (Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) Banning members of Congress, even anti-Semitic BDS supporters, from entering the country is a grave mistake that will only help Israel’s foes.
US politics becomes more divisive (Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) Israel's leading political parties used to exchange blood-libel accusations. Now, that's what Americans are doing to each other.

Other Top Commentary/Analysis
A crucial moment for the future of the Jewish people (Isaac Herzog, Chairman of The Jewish Agency, Yedioth/Ynet) As anti-Semitism grows once again around the world, the greatest challenge facing the Jewish people is to heal the deepening rift between Diaspora Jewry and the State of Israel — a rift that is liable, over time, to result in the formation of two separate peoples.
Police Chief as Editor: The Real Failure Behind the 'Jerusalem District' Docudrama (Nati Tucker, Haaretz+) Israel Police apparently had a free hand in overseeing production of 'Jerusalem District,' the controversial show in which cops planted a gun in a Palestinian's home.
Palestinian leader seems to have lost his way (Shimrit Meir, Yedioth/Ynet)  Though shunning the current U.S. administration and its emissaries is understandable as a policy, Abbas is refusing to ensure there is someone in Washington that can speak for him, risking Palestinian interests even further.
If Farouk Hosni preaches warming relations with Israel, someone here should lift the glove (Jacky Khougy, Maariv) In the past, he promised to burn books in Hebrew. Today, Mubarak's legendary culture minister claims that the boycotting of normalization with Israel runs counter to Egyptian interests. His comments received no response from Jerusalem.
The Only Place Where a Palestinian Can Give Orders to an Israeli (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) The Dead Sea, the lowest place on Earth, also offers the only beach open to West Bank Palestinians.
Love can heal Israel's fractured society (Rabbi Sharon Shalom, Yedioth/Ynet) The recent wave of demonstrations by the Ethiopian community and the escalation in violence is a sign of growing aggression and polarization across the public discourse; but we need to remember that we are all one people, and hatred will once again lead to our destruction.
On women, Israeli army could learn from U.S. military (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Recent news reports from Israel sound to some U.S. officers like fairy tales from a faraway land.
Israeli military operations in Iraq indicate the return of the Eastern Front (Yossi Melman, Maariv) Is it Israel who was behind the series of mysterious attacks against Iranian targets in Iraq? If you look at your interests, past statements, intentions and capabilities, this is a reasonable possibility.
Struggles for equality and unity sometimes reveal hidden hatred (Prof. Arieh Eldad, Maariv) Sometimes, using logical and meticulously-described reasoning, the naked truth and the primitiveness emerges. This was the case with the women's lobby against the gender separation (at a public event of a religious singer) in Afula.
How Israel Can Deter Iran (Benny Morris, Haaretz+) An all-out Iran offensive against Israel can be neutralized using a simple declaration of just one sentence.
Hamas wants to create an illusion it's up for a war with Israel (Elior Levy, Yedioth/Ynet) The renewed rocket attacks on Israel's south is Hamas' attempts to neutralize the internal criticism in Gaza, claiming the terror group has been getting too chummy with its mortal enemy, while simultaneously pushing Israeli government into a corner.
IDF operational achievement in the next confrontation should cause damage that Hamas will find it difficult to recover from (Tal Lev-Ram, Maariv) A military confrontation does not serve the goals of Hamas politburo chief Yahya Sinwar, who focuses on restoring the economy in Gaza. But this does not prevent the IDF from focusing on identifying high-quality targets to harm in the Gaza Strip.
Unlike Syria, Israel's alleged strikes in Iraq could ruffle U.S. feathers (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) And how would the idea of a strategic U.S.-Israel partnership impact that theater of war?
Bringing BDS to its knees (Ariel Kahana, Israel Hayom) After five years, the Strategic Affairs Ministry has the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement on the defensive after it exposed the movement's anti-Semitic character and direct links to terrorism.
A new front in Yemen’s civil war might end up bolstering Iran (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) New alliances between rebels in Yemen means Saudi Arabia could dangerously clash with the UAE, possibly resulting in the rebirth of a South Yemen.
From shul-hopping to anti-Muslim nationalism: Why India feels like being home in Israel (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) I joined my son's post-army trip to India just in time to see it launch its own West Bank settlements.

Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
Netanyahu's singular knack for turning friends into bitter enemies (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) The most optimistic scenario Netanyahu's rivals can envision. The only politician daring to bring up the Israeli-Palestinian conflict this election season.
The Netanyahu government is returning to the ’67 lines, and the right-wing is silent (Ben Caspit, Maariv) In Likud, no one is opening their mouths or making any noise, but that's understandable. But where are (far-right-wing - OH) MKs Bezalel Smotrich and Ayelet Shaked? Also: Israeli diplomacy is breaking records of shortsightedness and miserableness.
"The disengagement (withdrawal from Gaza) was a mistake": the man who commanded the forces evicting (the Gaza settlers) opens the wound
Commander of the operation, Maj. Gen. Gershon Cohen, promises to do everything possible to prevent further withdrawal: "The pain will not really pass, and there was no more gentle way to do it.” (Interviewed by Eyal Levy in Maariv)

The Israeli Left Has Given Up on This Key Demographic. Here's Why That's a Mistake
When it comes to Russian-speaking Israelis, the left wing never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity to woo voters, asserts sociologist Vicki Idzinski. (Interviewed in Haaretz by Ayelett Shani.)

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