News Nosh 9.2.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday September 2, 2019
Quote of the day:
“As the elections approach, when passions are flaring and the discourse coarsens, I implore you not to believe the incitement and the personal attacks. Do not listen to the voices that are eager to radicalize the discourse, to the right or to the left."
--Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu accused the media of persecuting him and called to boycott Channel 12 after regularly released information about his corruption cases.*

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Burning front - Conflict in the north: Hezbollah launched anti-tank missiles, IDF responded with massive fire
  • Psychological drill // Alex Fishman
  • The first round // Yossi Yehoshua
  • Between interests // Shimrit Meir
  • IDF’s deception trick: evacuating ‘wounded’ by helicopter to a hospital
  • Children in the line of fire: In the morning, they returned to school, in the evening they returned to the bomb shelters
  • Exclusive - A map of medicinal cannabis - 60% are men, 72% suffer from cancer, 8% suffer from PTSD
  • Two Israelis arrested in Crete on suspicion of rape of 19-year-old German tourist
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • Afternoon of trouble - Hezbollah’s revenge for the attacks in Lebanon and Syria arrived yesterday at 16:05
  • Quiet till the next round // Tal Lev-Ram
  • Two sides are pleased // Yossi Melman
  • Netanyahu: We will begin to extend sovereignty to Judea and Samaria (West Bank)
  • The handicapped returned to blocking junctions
Israel Hayom
  • Escalation, deception and alert - Smoke screen: Hezbollah shot at the Galilee - in the IDF they presented a show of being harmed
  • The threats remained // Yoav Limor
  • Ended and not completed // Oded Granot
  • Air out the sound box in the media // Amnon Lord
  • “Unity? Only with Likud leading” - Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said on joint ‘Israel Hayom and ‘i24NEWS’ elections program
  • Exclusive - (State witness and former Communications Ministry director) Filber: “There is a race of who will bring down Netanyahu’s head”
  • Crete: Two Israelis arrested on suspicion of raping a German tourist

Top News Summary:
The ’90-minute battle’ between Israel and Hezbollah, which included a fake evacuation of soldiers, was today’s top story in the Hebrew newspapers. Other top stories were Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s reaffirmation of his pledge to annex parts of the West Bank and what was perceived as Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s call on citizens to ignore Netanyahu’s accusations against the media.

The various Israeli military commentators agreed that the dispute with Hezbollah was not over despite the anti-tank missiles Hezbollah shot at an Israeli military base and military jeep Sunday. (See Commentary/Analysis below.) Yet, according to Maariv’s Yossi Melman, the two sides are both pleased with the results: Hezbollah hit the Israelis - and didn’t cause a war - and Israel pulled a fast one and pretended soldiers were injured and then - after Hezbollah announced they were - it revealed that it was fake news. However, the fear among Israeli citizens on the northern border was real and Yedioth wrote about it in detail.

In what was perceived by some as an election campaign gimmick, Netanyahu reaffirmed his pledge to annex parts of the West Bank. “With God's help we will extend Jewish sovereignty to all the settlements as part of the [biblical] land of Israel, as part of the State of Israel,” he said during a visit to Elkana settlement. Yedioth’s diplomatic affairs correspondent started his article, writing: “Fifteen days before elections and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decided to open yesterday the school year at Elkana school in Samaria (West Bank) of all places." (Ynet Hebrew) Politicians were quick to react to Prime Minister promise. Kahol-Lavan co-leader, Yair Lapid wrote on Twitter sarcastically: ” "Netanyahu opened the school year with a statement that he wants to annex 2.9 million Palestinians, give them Social Security and next year fund their children's education. All in all, it reasonable." Yamina member, Naftali Bennett, noted: “Eight years ago I said the same thing and he called me delusional.” Joint List Chairman, Ayman Odeh said: "Netanyahu is a serial offender who pushes the state to crime.” (Maariv)

*After calling Israeli TV Channel 12 'anti-Semitic' and asking Israelis to boycott it, Netanyahu was under fire. President Rivlin appeared to rap the prime minister for his comments, calling on Israelis to ignore “radical discourse” and to show unity. Netanyahu had attacked Channel 12 for airing an Israeli-made series about the events of summer 2014, when three Jewish Israeli teens were kidnapped and murdered by Palestinians and three Jewish Israelis kidnapped, tortured and murdered a Palestinian teen in retaliation. (Also Maariv)

Elections 2019 Quickees:
  • Election Poll: A turnaround in the blocs, Kahol-Lavan is the biggest party - Channel 13 News poll places Kahol-Lavan party ahead of Likud by one mandate. Following the withdrawal of Feiglin from the election campaign  - Lieberman and Otzma Yehudit are strengthened. (Maariv)
  • Zehut party officials have finally confirmed - Moshe Feiglin will join Likud - In a majority of 77%, the party members approved the merging of the two parties, which is expected to make Moshe Feiglin a minister in the Netanyahu government, if one is established. (Maariv)
  • Likud and Kahol Lavan Neck and Neck, Lieberman Remains Kingmaker, Election Polls Show - Channel 13 poll shows Gantz's Kahol Lavan pulling ahead of Netanyahu's Likud in a one-seat lead, but no major party projected to secure majority coalition. (Haaretz+)
  • Following the shooting in the north: Gantz froze the Kahol-Lavan election campaign - The Kahol-Lavan list announced its election campaign freeze following the Lebanese border shooting incident. Kahol-Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz said: "In any activity against anyone who tries to hurt the citizens of Israel or its sovereignty there is no opposition and coalition." (Ynet Hebrew)
  • Hebron settlers increase pressure on Netanyahu - Will the Prime Minister approve the settlement in the heart of Hebron just before the elections? The residents of Hebron have in recent weeks been battling (to get use of) the wholesale market area in the city, with the aim of obtaining the government's approval to settle there. (Yedioth/Ynet Hebrew)
  • Prosecutors Decide to Indict Former Bezeq Controlling Shareholder Shaul Elovitch - The charges, subject to a pre-indictment hearing, relate to Yes satellite TV merger. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
Quick Hits:
  • Israeli Police Agree to Limit Operations in East Jerusalem to End Residents' Strike - Sources in Palestinian neighborhood of Isawiya say forces agree with municipality, community organizers to curtail activity after summer-long police sweep. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Budget Cuts Stop Thousands of Children From Going to School, Bedouin Council Says - Funding shortage will delay start of school year, al-Kasom, regional council head charges, while the Education Ministry argues it has allocated adequate funds. (Haaretz+)
  • In policy reversal, Israel could deport foreign workers, Israeli-born children during school year - Immigration authority changes policy that limited deportation of school-aged children. (Haaretz+)
  • IDF collecting weapons from 13 Israeli communities [settlements] around Jerusalem  - Residents of communities near Jerusalem say decision by IDF to take back weapons following transfer of responsibility for settlements' security to the Border Police leaves them feeling "abandoned." (Israel Hayom)
  • In first, Israeli Arab town to get government rental housing project - The Dira Lehaskir company is planning 100 housing units in the Arab town of Jaljulya. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu looks to boost security coordination with Ethiopia  -For first time in history, Ethiopian Prime Minister visits Israel. Netanyahu introduces visiting counterpart, Abiy Ahmed, to mother of Avera Mengistu, an Israeli of Ethiopian origin who has been in Hamas captivity for five years. (Maariv, p. 8 and Times of Israel)
  • 'PA will build in Israeli-controlled parts of Area C' - Palestinian Authority prime minister issues orders for heads of Palestinian local authorities to prepare long-term development plans, disregarding the Oslo Accords' division of Judea and Samaria into Areas A, B, and C. (Israel Hayom)
  • Qatar Cuts Gaza Fuel Supply by Half, Palestinian Sources Say - Doha provided no official reason behind the move, which means Gazans will be left without electricity for three more hours a day, but sources say it may be an attempt to pressure Hamas over development projects. (Haaretz)
  • Hamas thanks Iran for support 'for the victory of the Palestinians' - Meanwhile, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council calls Hezbollah attack on IDF forces near Avivim a "reciprocal measure." (Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinian women protest in Ramallah after suspected honor killing
  • Demonstrators demand an investigation into the death of Israa Ghrayeb, 21, whose family claimed she jumped to her death because she was possessed. Advocates say she was attacked by male relatives after posting a video of herself in the company of a man. (Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinians Outraged Over Suspicious Death of Young West Bank Woman
  • Many took to social media to openly blame Israa Gharib's relatives for her death, signalling huge changes in Palestinian society. (Amira Hass, Haaretz+)
  • Israeli archaeologists may have found Emmaus, where Jesus appeared after crucifixion - Exploration of massive 2,200-year-old Hellenistic fort at Kiriath Yearim unexpectedly sheds light on biblical mystery: The true location of Emmaus. (Haaretz+)
  • Red Cross Says Saudi-led Airstrikes Killed More Than 100 in Yemen Prison - The attack was the deadliest so far this year by the coalition, which has faced international criticism for airstrikes that have killed civilians and hit non-military targets. (Agencies, Haaretz)

Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
This Election, It's Good Guys vs. Bad Guys (Uzi Baram, Haaretz+) After Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s shocking attack on Channel 12 television, it’s clearer than ever who the good guys and the bad guys are, and the current election revolves around this choice. True, not all the good guys are very good and not all the bad guys are very bad, but you can distinguish one from the other clearly and comprehensively if you ditch the purism and look reality square in the face rather than at an angle.
It’s not persecution (Shimon Shiffer, Yedioth Hebrew) Netanyahu asks us to stop watching news broadcasts, calls Keshet (Channel 12) a "propaganda channel" and rejects its right to enrich our world with information about the contents of the indictments against him. Our job is to say to Netanyahu: That’s enough. Moreover, Netanyahu's followers accuse the media of "obsessive persecution,” although there is no basis for that claim. This is something very simple and fundamental: fulfillment of the role of the media in every country that adheres to the rules of democracy - sharing the reality without fear and bias. And to this we will add: It has already been said that words can kill, but it is no less serious to misrepresent facts and ignore information about improper activities by state authorities.
Netanyahu Seeks to Silence Critical Media by Hitting Their Revenues (Hagai Amit, Haaretz+) After failing to prevent channel from publishing leaked materials from his corruption probes, PM tells Israelis they should boycott it for producing show that 'slanders Israel.'
Our smog (Merav Betito, Yedioth Hebrew) For two years and four months, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu held the Holy Grail of democracy: the Ministry of Communications portfolio. He was not quick to relinquish the supreme pleasure of the control over it - even if imagined - despite the background noise that bothered him to work. Only after two petitions filed against him in court, plus one order from the High Court to remove his hands from the ministry, he did a favor and parted from it. During this period, he walked confidently in its offices, roughly kicked its soft stomach, dragged it by its hair to places it had never been….Like an experienced sailor, he took advantage of the winds blowing in his direction until he reached the day he became the person in charge of the free media on behalf of the State of Israel…He did not want any mediator between him and the people. From the moment he moved his predecessor aside, Netanyahu did what he knew best how to do: govern. The psychological smog that the prime minister has been circulating around us since he touched the golden heart flower of democracy has continued today, with it climaxing now with incitement against journalists, who are forced to walk around with a bodyguard. Where he sees interchanges, you see traffic jams. Where you see distress in a front emergency room, he sees boredom. Where you see journalists, he sees regime enemies. On his good day, Netanyahu believes the press is an job. He refuses to see what journalists really are: a necessary conduit for freely transmitting information, public servants whose duty is to criticize the government, keep it free from any defamation, improve and purify it for citizens, make it difficult for the elected official through sharp questions lacking any fear, and to share with him the pain of the citizens. In the United Kingdom, it took the government four years until it collapsed in the face of public pressure and accepted the "Clean Air Act." Only in 1956 did British politics recognize the link between air pollution, civilian death and national responsibility. It remains to be hoped that here in Israel it will happen faster, before the infection spreads.
Fed Up With the Chaos of Netanyahu (Tzvia Greenfield, Haaretz+) If you ask why Likud MKs remain loyal to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even though he gets hysterical and abuses them at every opportunity, the answer is simple: Until now Netanyahu has managed to give them jobs in government and provide them with social status and a livelihood, and until he starts failing at this there’s no point in abandoning him. That’s also the case with most of the Labor MKs, who have generally remained silently behind Amir Peretz, even though his decisions pose a real threat to the party’s continued existence…the motives of those who support Likud or Kahol Lavan are a lot more interesting. Likud voters, who for more than 40 years were members of the lower-middle class, improved their situation under the Likud regime and turned into a middle class capable of buying homes and cars and traveling abroad. Kahol Lavan voters, on the other hand, who were and remain middle class, have already passed the stage of being enthralled by the purchase of consumer goods considered basic in any democratic society; the Likud government only burdens them by leaving the Palestinian problem unresolved and by funneling huge budgets to the settlements and the ultra-Orthodox.
The Secret of Gantz’s Popularity (Iris Leal, Haaretz+) First it was Yisrael Beitenu chairman Avigdor Lieberman, who used Kahol Lavan as a threat and declared he wouldn’t rule out the option of recommending party leader Benny Gantz to form the government, on condition that they agreed to form a national unity government with Likud (spoiler, they agreed). Now it turns out that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair threatened Ayelet Shaked’s emissary – who was working to secure a slot for her on the Likud slate, until the day she announced she would head the Yamina party – and told him, “We will form a government with Gantz.” Gantz is Everyman. It’s easy to attack him for that, but when he chose the slogan “Israel before everything,” he didn’t roam far from the truth to present the essence of his party’s image…The fact is that for Gantz, the purpose is somewhat loftier than personal interest, not only as a slogan but as a psychological condition.
Incitement, the Best Defense (Haaretz Editorial) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s frontal assault on Channel 12 television was in line with his permanent strategy: If you can’t silence them, incite against them. Plan A failed when the acting chairman of the Central Elections Committee rejected Likud’s request for an injunction that would bar Channel 12’s legal correspondent, Guy Peleg, from continuing to publish statements made by key prosecution witnesses in the cases against Netanyahu prior to the election. o Netanyahu turned to Plan B – libeling Channel 12 as anti-Semitic and urging the public to boycott the station.

Hezbollah can't beat us (Giora Zeltz, Israel Hayom) Residents of northern Israel can very easily transition from their routine to a state of emergency and back again.
Israel, Hezbollah find way out of escalation, but a critical dilemma remains (Amos Harel, Haaretz+)  Should Israel strike Lebanese soil and risk a deadly flare-up?
Israel is pleased, and so is Nasrallah: both sides have come to terms with the rules of the game (Yossi Melman, Maariv) Like a tender and complex dance, Israel and Hezbollah adapted their steps to each other. In the end - both sides came out with their lust in their hands and they can both boast that they have achieved their goals.
Far from over and done with (Oded Granot, Israel Hayom) Even if both sides aspire to avoid an all-out war, additional rounds of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah are sure to follow.
It's too early to breathe a sigh of relief (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet Hebrew) Nasrallah had one chance - and he suffered a dismal failure. He had wall-to-wall legitimacy in Lebanon for the firing of one cartridge, but that did not cause Israel the same pain that was intended to deter it from the continued attacks it was attributed to it in Lebanon. Hezbollah's failure is so dismal that it may even force it to make the next mistake.
Egypt’s arrest of Ramy Shaath (Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah, Israel Hayom) As relations between Cairo and Ramallah continue to deteriorate, Egypt’s arrest of senior Palestinian official Nabil Shaath’s son on terrorism charges may be a sign of things to come.
Polish president says Holocaust is 'part of our national memory'
Andrzej Duda speaks exclusively with Israel Hayom on the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, calling date "the most tragic day in the history of the Polish nation." Regarding reparations and for Jewish victims of the Nazis, he says issue "concerns all those who lost property, irrespective of their nationality." (Interviewed by Eldad Beck in Israel Hayom)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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