News Nosh 8.22.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday August 22, 2019

Quote of the day:
“(Ayelet) Shaked and (Bezalel) Smotrich have decided to turn the entire population into settlers. Not only [do they want] religious coercion in the education system, but they want to transfer the citizens of the state to live in the settlements where they can re-educate them in the laws of halacha.”
--The left-wing Democratic Camp blasted the housing plan presented by the far-right-wing Yamina list: to build over 100,000 housing units in the occupied Palestinian Territories for over half a million Israelis.**

You Must Be Kidding: 
“Ideology with practicality” to help “erase the Green Line."
--Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich explains the thinking behind the Yamina list's housing plan.**

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Exclusive: “I am prepared to join a center-left coalition” - Ayman Odeh changes the historic position of the Arab parties (Hebrew)
  • Gantz’s mole test - The affair that is shaking Kahol-Lavan party
  • Trump’s loyalty storm - The declaration that divided America
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • Trump’s loyalty storm
  • “I was wronged, I will win in the trial” - Haim Katz says a week after he resigned as Labor Minister (after announcement that he will be indicted on corruption charges)
  • Gantz did not deny that personal information was collected: “It’s not known that any MK from Kahol-Lavan is connected to the leaks”
  • Back to the strike - A week and a half before the end of the summer holiday, national teachers’ union has joined the strike
Israel Hayom
  • “Before the probe: (Yesh Atid MK Omer)  Yankelevich claimed “I’m being followed” - The storm in Kahol-Lavan
  • Battles between doctors harmed the heart patients being operated on
  • Exclusive - “Polygamy among Bedouin could help terror”
  • “In the future, (Ayelet) Shaked will be in the Likud party” - Gideon Saar in an interview (Hebrew)
  • This is how Iran transfers hundreds of millions of dollars to Hezbollah
  • In Trump’s view, alienation towards Israel is harm to the US // Prof. Avraham Ben-Zvi
  • S. Korea Trade Minister: “Israel is a source of inspiration”

Top News Summary:
US President Donald Trump’s statement that Jews who vote Democrat are either ignorant or disloyal, followed by his statement that “any vote for a Democrat is a vote against Israel” was the top story in Maariv and Haaretz and was a main story in Yedioth (Hebrew), following its exclusive report that the mostly-Arab Joint List was willing to join a coalition government in what the paper called “a historic precedent.”  Only did Israel Hayom try to hide Trump’s anti-Semitic statements by pushing the story to page 14 and using quotes from people who agreed with him as headlines (“The President is right, he loves the Jews”) and publishing flattering Op-Eds (“From Trump’s standpoint, harming Israel is harm to the US,” by Avraham Ben-Zvi). In contrast, Yedioth titled its article, “The insult of Jews of America” alongside a photo of Trump pointing an accusing finger. Maariv’s article was titled with a quote, “President Trump is using anti-Semitism as a political weapon.” Maariv reported that US Jewry was enraged at Trump: "Shocked, dangerous and shameful" and Maariv also interviewed the Chairwoman of the Democratic Party in Israel, Heather Stone, who condemned the statements and Israel’s denial of entry to US Muslim Congresswomen. "Trump is trying to divide Democrats," she said. Haaretz+ also wrote about the angry reactions of US Jewish organizations. After Trump’s disloyalty statement, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin told Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that the U.S.-Israel alliance must not be dependent on a relationship with one particular party. (Also Maariv)

Elections 2019 News:

Yedioth led with an exclusive: Chairman of the Joint List, the mostly-Arab list of four parties, plans for the Joint List to join a center-left coalition government. Yedioth called it a 'historic precedent.' The article was written by Yedioth's top political commentator, Nahum Barnea. See translation below. The other big elections story continued to be about the private investigation called for by co-leader of Kahol-Lavan party to find out who was the mole leaking personal information. More below. Also interesting was the announcement by the far-right-wing Yamina list, headed by former justice minister, Ayelet Shaked, of the plan for dealing with the housing crunch: 100,000 homes in the West Bank.

  • Ayman Odeh’s surprising declaration - In the past, the Arab parties joined political voting blocs and even supported the left-center governments, but always made sure to stay out of government. This time, it could be different. Joint List Chairman MK Ayman Odeh does not rule out the possibility of recommending Benny Gantz as prime minister - and joining a coalition headed by him. The Joint List is a coalition of four parties: Hadash, Ta'al, Ram and Balad. According to a preliminary inquiry, his call will be met with strong opposition from within the four parties, including Hadash, Odeh's party. He says he welcomes the debate. The backdrop for Odeh’s decision is just as significant as the content of the elections: In the April elections, the turnout of Arab voters dropped to 49%. According to the latest polls, the expected turnout is similar. If there is an increase in participation it will be minimal. Voters, especially the younger ones, have decided not to vote because they feel their voice has no real effect. They have no interest in their representatives sitting eternally in the opposition. Their agenda is civil: it focuses on the daily problems of the Arab sector. Odeh offers them hope that they can influence, a connection to a large political camp that can integrate them into the government. Odeh has formulated four demands that he believes will lay the ground for the Arabs to enter the coalition. 1.) Planning and Construction: Freeze demolition of buildings and laundering of construction on privately-owned lands. Repeal of the Kaminitz Law that exacerbated the punishment for building offenses. Build an Arab city. 2.) Violence: Collect weapons from the (Arab) public, make operations against (Arab) crime organizations and establish an inter-agency team to combat crime (in Arab communities). 3.) Welfare: Construct a public hospital in an Arab city, increase old-age pensions, increase budgets for dormitories for battered women. 4.) Political: Resume negotiations with the Palestinians, abolish the Jewish Nation-State law. Odeh clarifies: "We will only be partners in a government if the Arab citizens will no longer be second-class citizens.” (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth Hebrew)
  • 'We Can't Do It Alone': On Tuesday, Arab Slate Launched Campaign to Win Over Jewish Votes - In a crowded Tel Aviv venue, Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh has 'a very clear message: Nobody can understand what it means to be a persecuted minority like the Jews can.’ The event was held under the slogan “A joint struggle, a joint future.” In an unusual move, all the speakers were asked to speak in Hebrew. Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh was in an excellent mood. He wandered through the crowd, waving his arms, hugging everyone who crossed his path. In a recent poll, the number of Jews who said they planned to vote for the Joint List jumped to at least one Knesset seat’s worth – the equivalent of 140,000 voters, claimed Odeh. Now, he is seeking to increase the party’s Jewish support to two or three Knesset seats. (Haaretz+)
  • Gantz: "I and no one in Kahol-Lavan have information about an MK from the list in regards to the leaks” - The Kahol-Lavan chairman addressed reports of leaks from his party, saying that "there are elements in the political system that fear us, and they may be operating in this issue.” (Maariv and Ynet Hebrew)
  • Former IDF General Yair Golan: Israel should cooperate with Hamas - Former IDF General Yair Golan: "The lack of Israeli policy towards Gaza allows Hamas to control the events on the ground.” (JPost)
  • As elections loom, parties ink vote-sharing deals: Likud and Yamina, Labor and Democratic Camp - In an effort to see no vote go to waste, Likud and Yamina sign surplus vote-sharing agreement, as do the Democratic Union and Labor. Blue and White, Yisrael Beytenu reach a similar deal. Parties must inform the Central Election Committee of such deals by Sept. 6. (Yedioth Hebrew and Israel Hayom)
  • **Fighting the female warriors (and providing housing in the Territories) - Minister Bezalel Smotrich (Yamina) again sparked a storm declaring that “military service in mixed (gender) units impairs IDF operations" - and provoked a storm. Netanyahu: "I am proud of our female fighters who contribute to Israel's security.” Gantz: "The deal that Cabinet member Smotrich offers is immunity (to Netanyahu) in exchange for discrimination and exclusion of women.” Meanwhile, the leaders of Yamina, Shaked, Education Minister Rafi Peretz, Smotrich and Naftali Bennett - presented Yamina’s housing plan yesterday at a press conference held in Elkana, Samaria (West Bank). According to the plan, over 100,000 housing units will be built in the Occupied Territories for over half a million Israelis. (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • **With eyes on ‘erasing’ Green Line, Yamina introduces plan to fix housing crisis - Ayelet Shaked’s proposal seeks to relocate half a million Israelis to northern West Bank, claims central Israel is nearly as crowded as Gaza and as expensive as New York. Peace Now: “Instead of investing in unnecessary settlements and harming the prospect of peace, the State of Israel should focus on addressing actual distress and on strengthening the periphery communities in the Negev and the Galilee.” Minister Bezalel Smotrich declared that "the light rail will be extended to the Tapuah Junction," (in the West Bank) and Education Minister Rafi Peretz stated: “In order to live here at the age of 30, you need visit here at the age of 16. So students will visit (Jewish) heritage sites throughout Judea and Samaria..(to) get in touch with their roots.” 100,000 apartments in the Occupied Territories and an easy train (from Israel - OH) to the settlements.(Yedioth Hebrew and Times of Israel)
  • (Likud MK) Gideon Sa'ar: "Gantz is inexperienced, Barak shames his past" - MK Gideon Sa'ar opens his mouth in ‘Israel Hayom’ interview. On Shaked: "She will be in Likud.” Of all Likud members, Gideon Sa'ar's story is the most interesting. He took "time out" of political life and returned to the high spots. He managed to be on the prime minister's hitlist, to be accused of a putsch and to that passed peacefully. In between, he is in a relationship has a family with TV presenter Geula Even, and is marked as someone who can also replace Netanyahu the day after. In an interview to be published Friday, Saar addresses the burning issues just before the election. (Israel Hayom Hebrew)
Quick Hits:
  • Israel Strikes Hamas Twice Overnight After Rockets Launched From Gaza for Third Time in a Week - Rocket fire marks third border incident in a week after long period of tense calm. According to reports, Gaza factions have relayed an ultimatum to Israel warning of an escalation if it does not fulfill its commitments (to ease siege). (Haaretz+, Maariv and Israel Hayom)
  • Soldiers mistakenly fire at Israeli thinking it’s from Syria - Troops operating on Golan Heights believed the crop-dusting plane was a Syrian aircraft that had infiltrated Israeli airspace; IDF investigating the ‘serious incident.' (Maariv and Times of Israel)
  • Israel Agrees on Trade Deal With South Korea That Excludes West Bank, East Jerusalem, Golan - Hours before a ceremony marking the agreement, Prime Minister Netanyahu's office announced that he would not be able to attend. (Yedioth/Ynet reported on it last week) (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • 'Arabs=Enemies' Scrawled on Wall in Suspected West Bank Hate Crime - Five vehicles were vandalized and hateful messages were spray painted on walls in the Palestinian town of Haris. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Company Fined for Paying Palestinian Workers 9 Shekels an Hour - Yahalom Industry Cleaning Materials imports, exports and sells cleaning materials, and operates in the Karnei Shomron industrial zone in the West Bank. The Labor and Social Affairs Ministry investigation found that the company employed 10 Palestinian workers at less than minimum wage. Some of the workers were getting only 9 shekels an hour for over a decade. It was fined 250,000 shekels ($71,000) and ordered to pay 190,000 shekels ($54,000) in compensation to the workers. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinian tries to strangle worker at Jordan-West Bank crossing - 35-year-old Hebron man is arrested Thursday after he is subdued by security guards at Israeli-operated Allenby Terminal; footage of the incident appears to show victim with his back to approaching attacker. (Ynet and Maariv)
  • Security forces thwart stabbing attack near Ariel - Wednesday, woman wielding a knife surrenders after Border Police fired warning shots in the air. (Israel Hayom)
  • Conscientious objector released after 82 days in solitary confinement - Roman Levin was sent to military prison for refusing to serve in the Israeli army. He spent most of his time in solitary confinement. (+972mag)
  • Jewish Residents Allege Illegal Construction by Neighboring Arab Town, in Bid to Keep It at a Distance - Israel advancing a plan to add 4,000 housing units to Arab town of Arara and legalize some 650 housing units built illegally and give the town a master plan for development. Town’s mayor says illegal construction halted as precondition. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli High Court Slams Justice Minister Amir Ohana Over Bid to Replace Director General - A 2015 ruling forbids a transitional government from making any senior civil service appointments, unless urgent. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel Hired Black Cube, Allowing Spy Firm to Operate Out of Military Intel Base - Defense Ministry admits to hiring spy firm between 2012 and 2014. Around the time, it offered other customers that it spy on former ministers and government officials. (Haaretz+)
  • Philippine police are executing people with Israeli weapons - Israel continues to export arms and military training to Rodrigo Duterte’s regime, even after the ICC launched a preliminary investigation to look into suspicions of crimes against humanity there. (+972mag)
  • Israeli Arab City Disinvites Rapper Over 'Unacceptable' Messages of Social Equality - Umm al-Fahm municipality said Tamer Nafar's songs are 'not in keeping' with city's values, but rights group petitioned to court on behalf of 'residents who want the show.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Chelsea Women's team to play Israeli national squad in Petah Tikva - On heels of popular World Cup tournament, interest in women's game is growing; IFA says match highlights determination of both club and Israeli-Russian owner Roman Abramovich to 'promote equality and tolerance.’ (Ynet)
  • Miracle of the Multiplication mosaic found on ‘wrong’ side of Sea of Galilee - The mosaic in the Burnt Church of Hippos-Sussita shows five loaves and two fish, like the ones Jesus used to feed 5,000 men, but the depicted fish look Nilotic, not local. (Haaretz+)
  • Last 3 Jews in South Sudan make aliyah - A project that took a year and a half and spanned several countries ended with a touching family reunion at Ben-Gurion Airport on Tuesday night. (Israel Hayom)
  • Iraq paramilitary groups: U.S. let Israel attack our bases - Statement from Popular Mobilization Forces umbrella group, many of whose members are backed by Iran, says United States allowed four Israeli drones to enter region accompanying U.S. forces, vowed to defends itself. (Agencies, Haaretz, Maariv and Ynet)
  • Head of Iran-backed Militia in Iraq Walks Back Accusation Against U.S. in Drone Strikes - Head of Popular Mobilization Forces says his deputy's statements - blaming the United States and Israel for a series of attacks on their bases - does not represent stance of the organization or Iraqi government. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran-backed Houthis shot down U.S. drone over Yemen - U.S. officials confirm a Houthi military spokesman who had earlier been quoted saying that the Houthi movement's air defenses had brought down a U.S. drone. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Report: Israel plans to attack the Houthis in Yemen - Sources say the Mossad and Military Intelligence are tracking Iranian shipments to organizations under its protection designed to hurt the interests of the region's countries. (Agencies, JPost and Maariv)
  • Iran to unveil locally developed air defense missile system, State TV says - The system could be a competitor to Russia's S-300 missile system. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Syrian activists: Airstrikes hit hospital in rebel village - There was no immediate word on casualties from the airstrike on the Rahma hospital in Tel Mannas, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • U.S. acknowledges ISIS rebounding as troops reportedly shuttled in and out of Syria - U.S. President Donald Trump said in December that U.S. troops succeeded in their mission to defeat Islamic State in Syria and were no longer needed in the country. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Tens of thousands flee Russian-led onslaught on Syria's Idlib - Thousands of families flee to safety near Turkey border as Russia deploys troops in major assault against Syrian rebels. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Explained Syrian crisis: Russia, Turkey and Assad do battle in Idlib with millions of lives hanging in the balance - In the long-running Syrian civil war, now in its ninth year, the northwestern region — where Turkish, Russian, U.S. and Iranian interests are at stake — has taken center stage in the conflict. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • London’s mayor pressures to build Holocaust museum near Parliament - “I urge Westminster City Council not to reject these plans and instead enable this hugely important national memorial to take its rightful place in the heart of the capital and close to the seat of national government,” Mayor Sadiq Khan says. Opponents of proposed memorial warn it would block view of historic park. (Israel Hayom)

Cash terror: Hezbollah's money smuggling mechanism revealed
Israel Hayom examines Tehran's sophisticated mechanism for funding the Lebanese Shiite terrorist organization while bypassing Western sanctions. "Hezbollah's entire financial apparatus presently rests on the Lebanese banking system, which no one wants to touch," says Uzi Shaya, a former Israeli intelligence official. (Israel Hayom)
The Battle over the za'atar (herb)
They go out before dawn to evade the inspectors. They light a barbecue, so as not to arouse suspicion. Anything to get the forbidden weed - the za'atar. The plant that stars in Arab cuisine is defined in Israel as a protected plant and those who gather it in the wild, as is the custom of their ancestors, expose themselves to fines and legal proceedings. Itai Ilnai went out into the field with those who secretly collect and heard from them what is the connection between herbs and politic.(Itai Ilanai, Yedioth Hebrew)
This Queer Palestinian Singer Fights Online Homophobia and Real Life Occupation
His collaboration with Hatari, the controversial Icelandic band that caused an uproar at Eurovision, brought him international attention. Now, Palestinian singer Bashar Murad wants you to listen to his voice and music. (Aya Chajut, Haarez+)
With New Rules, Israeli Police Confirm They Can't Handle Legitimate Protest (Mordechai Kremnitzer, Haaretz+) Police joins wave of reactionary initiatives popping up just ahead of election with regulations to limit the right to protest, putting government convenience ahead of respect for citizens' rights.
Fed Up With Trump, Fed Up With Israel (Ryan Morrison,, Haaretz+) Our tweeter-in-chief’s call to another country to sanction his domestic political foes (and our duly elected representatives) is a business that we, as Americans, strongly and uniformly condemn as anti-American, against constitutional free speech, and a path down which we never want to tread. Does no one else see how mentally unfit he is to be the president? He is unstable and too quickly and easily influenced by his ego and emotions, which creates chaos and makes him vulnerable to manipulation from outside forces (just in case you were wondering, he colluded with Netanyahu). Too often those forces are not in the interest of American democracy. If Netanyahu were smarter, he would have allowed Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib to come to show the world that he can navigate with those with whom he has differences. Now, he just looks weaker and more malleable than he already is.
American Jewry’s implosion (Isi Leibler, Israel Hayom) Wide segments of American Jewry remain silent as the Democratic Party radicals gain influence. Should this trend continue and bipartisanship break down, this would undermine one of the pillars of Israeli security.
Trump’s Vile 'Disloyalty' Smear Reflects Fury Over Broken Promise of Jewish Reward for Backing Israel (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) For liberal U.S. Jews, the president’s anti-Semitism has now been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Israel’s self-inflicted black eye (Eric R. Mandel, Israel Hayom) If Israel had better control of its foreign-policy public relations, lemonade could have been made out of lemons. Instead, the harsh critics of American mainstream media will now be able to depict Israel as being unable to tolerate criticism.
Trump Has Made It Official: He Is the Greatest anti-Semite of Our Age (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) For years he boogalooed around the issue, dog-whistling Dixie. But he just pulled the pin off the grenade – and for electoral gain.
Netanyahu faces dilemma over Hebron settlers' property claims (Elisha Ben Kimon, Yedioth/Ynet) As Jewish residents of West Bank city press for resettlement of land abandoned after massacre of dozens of local Jews in August 1929, premier caught between threat of renewed Palestinian protests and prospect of alienating right-wing voters in next month's election.
American Jewry’s Misplaced Loyalty (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Donald Trump is right: The Jews really are disloyal. Donald Trump is wrong: Most of them are loyal to the wrong values. Sadly, only a very few American Jews support the two congresswomen’s positions. This is their lack of loyalty: Disloyalty to the principles of justice and morality, the traditional liberal spirit of the Jews in the United States, and also a lack of loyalty to the interests of their country, which are the opposite of what Trump intended. American Jews, in their support or in their silence, in blindness or ignorance, are more loyal to the Israeli occupation than any other value.
Who’s funding illegal Palestinian settlements? (Edwin Black, Israel Hayom) For decades, open allegations have been publicly aired alleging links between the Union of Agricultural Work Committees and the Popular Front for the Liberation Palestine.
Trump's 'disloyal' jab may boost base, not Jews (Jill Colvin and Elana Schorr, AP/Ynet) President Trump admonitions are unlikely to sway Jewish voters, who have overwhelmingly voted Democratic for decades and attempts to paint himself more pro-Israel than Democrats is likely to resonate more with evangelical voters.
Tlaib's Palestinian village is thriving, but she is in denial (Akiva Bigman, Israel Hayom) Even the World Bank said in 2014 that Tlaib's village is one of the richest in the Palestinian Authority. But she insists things are terrible there.
What occupation looks like for Rashida Tlaib’s village in the West Bank (Dror Etkes, +972mag) Forty years of land grabs, settlement expansion, and the building of a highway that is off limits to Palestinians. This is what is happening to Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s village.
Extortion Under the Rabbinate’s Aegis (Haaretz Editorial) The president of Israel’s rabbinical courts, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau, issued an unprecedented order Tuesday: not to bury a woman because her son has for 15 years refused to give his wife a divorce. The problem of agunas, literally “chained women” — who are unable to obtain a Jewish divorce and therefore cannot remarry — is serious, but extortion cannot be one of the methods used to solve it. Delaying burial as a means of extortion is a violation of the deceased’s right to be buried, a right that derives from the right to human dignity. The relationship between religion and state in Israel requires a comprehensive overhaul. Israel is the only democratic country in the world that does not permit civil marriage in its territory. That is why so many Israelis cannot marry in their own country.
Campus BDS threat shifting to academic boycotts (Zev Hurwitz, Israel Hayom) Such activists are relentless, open to shifting their strategy to use campuses to punish Israel while vilifying Jewish students in pursuit of their cause.
Judaism Hasn’t Learned Anything (Eyal Megged, Haaretz+) To paraphrase Benjamin Netanyahu’s deathless slogan “They’ve forgotten what it means to be Jewish,” one might say, following the deportation of a family from the Philippines, that perhaps we should forget what it means to be Jewish. If this is Judaism, and if the Jewish state is acting according to Jewish values, then it follows that the Jews haven’t learned anything – not from refugeehood and persecution, and not from everything that humanity takes pride in when it compares itself to the other species with which it shares the planet.
Skyfall Explosion: Doomsday Weapon Accident Shows Limits of Putin's Dangerous Ambitions (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) When it comes to mishaps in its strategic weapons programs, Russia still stays true to the path of secrecy, cover-up and negligence paved by the long gone Soviet Union, leaving Moscow's 'doomsday weapon' to endanger mostly its own citizens.

Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
The Forgotten Occupation (Zehava Galon, Haaretz+) This election looks as though someone finally gave up and decided to unveil the mechanism that activates elections in Israel, revealing them in their nakedness. We are preoccupied with who will split from whom, who signed a surplus votes agreement with whom and who will recommend whom, and after all the above there is no room left for policy…“We will continue to put down roots and we will continue to fight, whenever that is necessary, and to my regret it is necessary,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. If he had even a gram of honesty left, he would remind the family that he is the one who promised that we will live by the sword, and Dvir was only the latest victim of this promise…The words of Kahol Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz, on the other hand, were swallowed up in a foolish uproar, after he forgot Dvir’s last name. Although we learned that Dvir was “a delightful boy who embodied so many contradictions,” we didn’t find out what Gantz intends to do so that we won’t lose other enchanting children on his watch.
Liberman is playing Netanyahu at his own political game (Yuval Karni, Yedioth/Ynet) When the prime minister brands his opponents as 'leftist,' he is using it as a derogatory term, but the Yisrael Beytenu leader and his former chief of staff is turning the tables and reminding voters he - a settler who doesn't make deals with Hamas - is the more legitimate right-winger.

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