News Nosh 9.4.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday September 4, 2019
You Must Be Kidding: 
"The education minister not only goes beyond his purview, he simply acts as if he's the minister of religionization. He doesn't care about Israeli students, but only how to turn them into settlers living in the West Bank."
--Democratic Camp party member, Stav Shafir, and Meretz party leader, Nitzan Horowitz, said after far right-wing Education Minister Rafi Peretz promoted plans to have school children make school trips in the West Bank.**

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Gantz plan: Secular national unity government - Preparing for the day after (Hebrew)
  • Exclusive - Cry of the mayors in the north
  • Unit 669 - a look from inside
  • Exclusive - “The racist officer” will pay compensation
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • Thinking big  (Campaigning strategies of Netanyahu, Gantz and Lieberman)
  • Communications Ministry portfolio: Ayoub Kara filed complaint with Police - claimed that he was wiretapped in Netanyahu's rebuke phone call with him
  • Observing the polling box - Likud continues to advance bill to allow placing cameras at polling stations
Israel Hayom
  • Gantz promised Ashkenazi: You will lead after me
  • Nasrallah’s lies are exposed
  • Record hypocrisy: Save Channel 10, but not Channel 20? // Akiva Bigman
  • After the anti-tank incident, in Moshav Avivim (on Lebanon border) they are concerned: The school buses pass by a dangerous road, close to the border fence

Top News Summary:
Campaigning strategies of the key parties were the top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers alongside the news that Israel revealed satellite photos allegedly showing a new Hezbollah factory in Lebanon for manufacturing precision missiles, something Hezbollah had previously denied.

Elections 2019 Quickees:
  • State Comptroller Hiding 'Grave' Report About Netanyahu Media Meddling - The 2018 draft report includes damning testimony regarding political interference with television and radio regulators. Sources who have seen the report say it includes grave findings indicating the level of political interference with broadcasters in recent years, through regulatory bodies. The report, already signed by Englman’s predecessor, addresses the interference by the Cable and Satellite Authority and the Second Authority for Television and Radio. (Haaretz+)
  • Ex-communications minister complains to police over leaked audios of Netanyahu's media intervention - Recordings released by Channel 13 News reveal that Netanyahu ordered Ayoub Kara to meddle to allow right-wing channel to broadcast news. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Ex-communications Minister Says He Was Bullied to Do Netanyahu's Bidding - 'It’s a mafia, a garbage gang, criminals,' Ayoub Kara said in recordings obtained by Haaretz, describing the pressure applied on him not no fire top television official allegedly allied with the prime minister. Former Communications Minister Ayoub Kara said that during his term he was threatened by a senior public servant that if he did not extend the tenure of a top television official allegedly allied with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he would not remain in the Knesset. (Haaretz+)
  • Conflict of Interests? The Real Story Behind Netanyahu’s Rant at His Communications Minister - Key points in leaked conversation between Netanyahu and Ayoub Kara on Israeli news channel shed light on the criminal cases pending against the PM. (Haaretz)
  • Unity without the ultra-Orthodox - Kahol-Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz begins to prepare for the possibility of assembling a coalition. If he accepts the mandate, he will try to establish a unity with only 3 parties: Kahol-Lavan, the Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu. "We oppose blackmail (by the smaller parties). We will turn to Likud to form a government based on the secular majority in Israel.” Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman: He dreams of being Netanyahu's defense minister. The Ultra-Orthodox: There’s no difference between him and Yair Lapid. At an election campaign event in Beersheva, Gantz repeated his remarks, stating: "We will establish a liberal unity government." Gantz attacked sectoral parties without stating that they were ultra-Orthodox parties, saying: "The system of government in the State of Israel has brought us to a situation where minority groups are succeeding in forcing the majority. They succeed because all the last prime ministers have had to give in to blackmail. I pledge to form a government based on the majority: without extremists and without extortion.” (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Indictment against the 16-year-old who fired plastic bullets at Kahol-Lavan activists - According to the indictment, he pulled out an air gun from a car window and fired at the people. After realizing that the case had reached the media, he threw the gun into the bushes. (Maariv)
  • Israel's attorney general sounds alarm over Likud bill to let parties film at polling stations - In a letter to the bill's proponents, Avichai Mendelblit writes that the bill to allow party representatives to film at the ballot raises 'substantial legal difficulties.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Yair Lapid: “With the exception of openly calling Guy Peleg's murder, Netanyahu did everything" - "For the first time in a long time, there is a real feeling that Netanyahu may lose in this election," the Kahol-Lavan co-chairman said in an interview with IDF Radio, adding: "At least I do not attack journalists." (Maariv)
  • Watchdog: Swapping Polling Monitors in Israeli Election Could Be Criminal - Investigative report by Haaretz revealed unauthorized substitution of committee members in an agreement between Arab parties and United Torah Judaism. (Haaretz+)
  • Fact Check: Netanyahu's Fake News on Arab Party Voter Fraud - Unsubstantiated speculation that voting fraud in April election allowed Balad to pass electoral threshold - and prevented right-wing bloc from having 61 Knesset seats - has been shared hundreds of times on social media. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu cancels India visit two weeks before Israel election - PM's office says Netanyahu and Modi 'agreed that due to scheduling constraints' the India visit will take place after Israeli election are held on September 17. (Haaretz)
  • Stav Shapir: "We need to recruit left-wing voters from abroad" - Member of the Democratic Camp party said at a high-tech industry conference that "elections are the order of the hour," and that “(Israeli) voters from around the world will help save democracy." (Maariv)
  • Israeli minister says senior Likud officials sought to form government without Netanyahu - Shas Chairman Arye Dery claims in video aired on Channel 12 that members of PM's party tried to convince him to sink plan to dissolve Knesset and head to new election. (Haaretz+)
  • Itamar Ben-Gvir: "There is no poll in which Netanyahu is able to form a government, I am his lifeline" - In a conversation with journalist Ayala Hasson, Otzma Yehudit chairman addressed a report, according to which, the prime minister was trying to persuade Ben-Gvir to withdraw in exchange for lowering the threshold to enter Knesset. Ben-Gvir: ”I’ll go all the way.” (Maariv)
  • Ministers, MKs press Netanyahu to allow construction in Hebron - Maj. Gen. (res.) Uzi Dayan has been collecting signatures from right-wing lawmakers ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's first visit to Hebron since 1998. PMO: Request is being reviewed. (Israel Hayom)


Quick Hits:
  • The US ambassador's non-diplomatic assistance - When Trump gives Netanyahu his support: US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman has not yet met with President Reuven Rivlin and and with the Opposition leader, Benny Gantz, both of whom are rivals of the Prime Minister. (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Political characteristics: Rivlin will not appear at the ceremony in Hebron that Netanyahu is attending - The President decided to cancel his appearance at a ceremony to be held in the presence of the Prime Minister. Rivlin said: “(My) schedule will only allow for participation at a seminar and a visit to the Cave of the Patriarchs.” (Maariv)
  • Israel Prison Service Refuses to Translate Regulations Into Arabic, Citing Nation-state Law - The Association for Civil Rights in Israel says issuing prison rules only in Hebrew could infringe on the rights of 60 percent of Israel’s prisoners who do not speak Hebrew. (Haaretz+)
  • **Education minister under fire for planning school trips in West Bank - Ministry Director General says Rafi Peretz has no authority to implement his plan to approve new hiking routes in the West Bank, as decision lies with civil servants, professional security personnel. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Palestinian Harvard freshman admitted to U.S. after being refused entry - Ismail Ajjawi, who had been living in Lebanon, says he was initially denied entry because of social media posts made by his friends. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Cash-strapped Israeli diplomats turn to Jewish communities for handouts - With massive budget cuts and diminshed roles, members of Israel's diplomatic corps are seeking funding from Jews in their host nations so that they can travel to other locations and even attend policy meetings. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Foreign Minister leads delegation to Switzerland in bid to end arrest threat against Israeli officials - Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz and team of jurists embark on round of talks in Switzerland to find solution to law that would allow Israeli diplomats and military officers to be hauled in for questioning over allegations of war crimes. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Tension in the North: "Citizens of southern Lebanon fled while IDF attacked” - The Lebanese "Al Janobiya” website reported that the campaign went from guns to videos distributed to the media by both Israel and the Shiite organization. A source claimed: "We have moved to an internal psychological game.” (Maariv)
  • Video from border kibbutz proves Hezbollah missed IDF vehicles - IDF armored vehicle seen passing undamaged by the main gate of Kibbutz Yaron after missile fired by Hezbollah lands and explodes. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel and Paraguay: The great reconciliation - A year after closing its embassy in Jerusalem, Paraguay announced that it will set up a diplomatic trade office in Jerusalem. This comes after recognizing Hezbollah and Hamas as terrorist organizations. (Yedioth/Yedioth Hebrew)
  • U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem Enrages Residents With 20-foot 'Defense' Wall - A few weeks ago, residents learned that the embassy had received a permit to almost double the wall’s height. (Haaretz+)
  • Price of racism - The double punishment of the the IDF company commander who spoke in racially negative terms about a fighter in the elite unit. Following the expose by Yedioth Ahronoth, the officer who called the fighter a ”stinking Negro" was released from the army.  However, the soldier was not satisfied with this and also filed a civil suit. Now comes the compensation: In a compromise agreement, it was decided that the commander will pay the soldier 18,000 shekels - and send him an apology letter. (Yedioth/Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Israel's Attorney General Moves to Allow Sex-segregated Graduate Programs - The Haredi Knesset members 'know how much I try to apply their policies and those of the government in every issue,' Mendelblit was quoted as saying by an ultra-orthodox newspaper. (Haaretz+)
  • Philanthropy to Israel From Abroad Jumped to $3.6 Billion in 2018 - Donations to nonprofit groups both from overseas and from Israelis climbed 7%, but few Israelis are reporting their largesse to the authorities for a tax break. (Haaretz+)
  • Greenblatt urges UN to help return Israelis missing in Gaza - US envoy writes letter after meeting with the parents of fallen IDF soldier Hadar Goldin, whose remains are believed to be held by Hamas since the Gaza war of 2014. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel sends firefighters to help Brazil battle Amazon fires - Foreign Ministry says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the matter with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and an 11-member team departed Tuesday evening to assist Brazilian authorities with search-and-rescue and wildfire operations. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Fox News Report: Iran Building New, Classified Military Base in Syria - The base, situated on the Syria-Iraq border, can house precision-guided missiles and will be operational in several months, Western intelligence sources tell Fox News. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Iranian politician: Our missiles near Israel are for deterrence - Senior Iranian politician says "150,000 missiles" in Lebanon, Syria and Gaza" are meant to deter Israel, US; Israelis should leave to Europe. (Israel Hayom)
  • Iran not cooperating with UN probe into alleged nuclear warehouse, report says - Tehran refusing to answer questions about claim it held nuclear equipment and material at secret site, according to Wall Street Journal. (Haaretz)
  • U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Iran Space Agencies as Zarif Poses Ultimatum to European States - Treasury targets the Iran Space Agency, Iran Space Research Center and the Astronautics Research Institute. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Zarif: "Rouhani will soon announce further narrowing of commitments to the nuclear agreement" - Iranian foreign minister said country’s president would soon release details on cut to Tehran's commitment to 2015 agreement after US imposed sanctions on Iranian space agency. (Maariv)
  • Iran says it is able to resume production of 20% enriched uranium in 2 days - Enriching uranium up to 20% purity is considered an important intermediate stage on the path to obtaining the 90% pure fissile uranium needed for a bomb. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Syrian Father Who Lost Twins to Poison Gas Uprooted Again - 'I had already lost my children and now I've lost my country,' Abdel Hamid al-Yousef laments after he was forced to flee his town and resettle near the Turkish border. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • The video that is upsetting Egypt: a booth for drug addicts in the suburbs of Cairo - WATCH: A drug dealer has opened in public a "booth" for a drug addicts, and dozens of young people, including drug addicts, are fighting for every LSD pill. (Maariv)
  • Top Turkish minister threatens to 'devastate' Imamoglu for meeting with ousted Kurdish mayors - Ekrem Imamoglu, Istanbul's mayor, met with elected mayors who were dismissed by the government for alleged ties to PKK militants. (Agencies, Haaretz)

Israeli Strikes on Iranian Targets Are Great Election Fodder, but Have Little Strategic Impact (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+)  Though Israel's Military Intelligence has outstanding ability to gather information ahead of an operation, it can't say what diplomatic and strategic outcomes would follow.
Again, we "obliged" Nasrallah to take revenge: conclusions from the exchange of fire in the north (Prof. Arieh Eldad, Maariv) Anyone who thinks that Hezbollah's leader is now deterred may be found wrong and the price of the error will be heavy. Maybe instead of the IDF response, we should finally kill Nasrallah? Just suggesting.
Free ourselves of Nasrallah (Sever Plocker, Yedioth/Ynet Hebrew) It is time for Israel to stop going silent every time Hezbollah leader speaks from his bunker.
Make Egyptian-Israeli cooperation overt (Dr. Lofty Basta, Israel Hayom) Marrying Israel’s know-how, experience, and innovation with Egypt’s abundant manpower and its hunger to excel after generations of decline and a looming water crisis, promises to bear fruit for both countries.
Most Israelis Don’t Serve in the Army, but It’s Still the Right Solution, for Now (Meirav Arlosoroff, Haaretz+) Israeli economists insist that the switch by the rest of the West to a professional army isn't a model for Israel because of the threats it faces. Part 2 of a series.
Funding illegal Palestinian settlements: Confronting history (Edwin Black, Israel Hayom) In the past half-decade, illegal Palestinian building and infrastructure have sprawled across more than 9,000 dunams (9 square kilometers) in 250 locations with access roads, retaining walls, and terracing.
Bret Stephens Is More Like Donald Trump Than You Ever Knew (Jonathan S. Tobin, Haaretz+) If Stephens’ Nazi bedbugs response was gross and cheapened the Holocaust, what about 'Trump is Hitler'? Nasty tweets in 2019 just don’t equal Nazi Germany in 1939.
Get ready for ISIS to make a comeback (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) As someone once said, reports of the Islamic State's death have been greatly exaggerated. Since it is not only an organization, but an idea – and one that is hard to eradicate – ISIS will likely continue to enjoy widespread popular support.

Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
Darkening Clouds of Suspicion Against Netanyahu (Haaretz Editorial) From the recordings broadcast by Channel 13 News it clearly emerges that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continued to deal with the communications market even after he resigned as communications minister. The resignation came in response to a petition to the High Court of Justice by the opposition leader at the time, Isaac Herzog; Herzog justifiably claimed that Netanyahu couldn’t serve as communications minister when the police were investigating his actions in that capacity.
Israelis must vote despite their political ennui (Amihai Attali, Yedioth/Ynet) The political process should remain largely unseen by the public, but since the curtain has been raised and the ugly truth revealed, a lack of engagement could open the door to extremist parties having power in the Knesset.
Netanyahu Is Targeting Israel's Media, but It Should Still Do Some Soul-searching (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) What exactly is freaking out Israel’s media and gatekeepers? Benjamin Netanyahu isn’t the first and won’t be the last leader to see the media as a terror group that harms democracy. Until a few months ago there were people, mainly on the left, who feared a takeover of government institutions by the far right. To block this, they went so far as to support a unity government with Likud, even if Netanyahu remained prime minister, solely to prevent racists from entering the Knesset and cabinet. They viewed the struggle against Netanyahu as a dangerous deviation from the notion of protecting democracy, or what remains of it. Completely befuddled, the leftists of the right and the rightists of the left believed that it was within their power to block the gallop by the pretrial transgressor if only they offered him an enlightened, liberal, anti-religious coalition, one that would tempt him to remember the fundamentals of democracy. They still believe that this is the way to extricate Israel from the quicksand that Netanyahu has sunk it in. Some of them are now clinging to Avigdor Lieberman as the last chance; someone who will force Netanyahu to establish a unity government. But in rare flashes of common sense they know that Netanyahu’s aim isn’t the salvation of freedom of expression, human rights, freedom from religion or heaven forfend a peace process. The bully needs soldiers who will stop the judicial system. The media needn’t be insulted or scream as if someone had stomped on its blister-stricken toe. Its hysterical reaction shows that most media outlets have done their job. The only soul-searching it needs is to examine why Netanyahu’s arrows have been aimed solely at Channel 12; that is, which of the media outlets aren’t abiding by democracy’s criteria and are instead serving as the state propaganda ministry.
Dangerous bedfellows (Yossi Beilin, Israel Hayom) Moshe Feiglin is a serial lawbreaker, and PM Netanyahu welcoming him into the establishment sends people like Feiglin the message that anything goes.
14 Days to Go: The 9 Factors That Will Decide the Israeli Election (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+)  Netanyahu is pushing on all fronts to make his Likud party the largest on the September 17 vote. But the main threat comes from a former ally, not Benny Gantz.
The Netanyahu trap (Ben Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) The prime minister has managed to turn the tables on the media and make himself the focal point of the upcoming Knesset elections in place of any substantive debate; but that does not mean he is wrong when he says that he has been the victim of a witch hunt propelled in part by the press.
Gantz’s Sleeper Campaign Could Be the Secret Weapon That Fells Netanyahu (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+)  Give the prime minister enough rope, so the logic goes, and he could wind up hanging himself.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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