News Nosh 9.5.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday September 5, 2019

 
Quotes of the day:
"We won't let them steal the election."
--Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says speaking of his party's attempt to pass a bill to place cameras at polling stations to prevent alleged fake votes in Arab sector.*

"Advancing the bill, even though it has no chance, is meant to keep the narrative of 'Arabs stealing the vote' in the minds of Likud voters. This will get them to go out and vote."
--A source within Likud told Maariv.*

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Cameras battle - In opposition to the Attorney General’s stance: Netanyahu wants to film the polling stations (Hebrew)
  • Likud’s Wailing Wall compromise for ‘Noam’ list (Hebrew)
  • Lieberman: Gantz and the ultra-Orthodox have a deal
  • Loan to Netanyahu with State Comptroller’s permission (Hebrew)
  • “My little girl does not have to feel different in pre-school” Sefi Balilin was horrified to discover that her 3-year-old was placed in a pre-school where only Ethiopian-Israelis learn: Because of their skin color they can’t play with the other children” (Hebrew)
  • The tragedy of the 10-year-old - Police still probing why boy fell out of apartment window to his death
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Likud against (Itamar) Ben-Gvir: “He’s burning two mandates (Knesset seats)”
  • “We are not foreigners in Hebron - we will stay here forever”
  • “If there will be a homogenous right-wing government - we will succeed together”
  • Nitzan against everyone - Special: (Meretz party leader) Nitzan Horowitz in a bellicose interview (Friday)
  • “Terrible tragedy”: Suspicion - 10-year-old in Yavneh jumped to his death
  • New: Caroline Glick in weekly column from tomorrow in ‘Israel Hayom’
  • Rouhani provokes the superpowers: “We will develop more centrifuges”

Top News Summary:
All of today’s big stories had an election edge to them, whether it was the State Comptroller’s decision to let Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu receive a loan from a rich friend for his legal defense in the corruption cases or his visit to Hebron where he pledged to “stay in Hebron forever” or his snap decision to fly today to Britain to meet with the British Prime Minister and the US Secretary of Defense, not to mention the Attorney General’s statement that he opposes the Likud party’s intention to pass a bill allowing cameras place in polling stations. The other big story was the New York Times expose on Israel’s former plans to bomb the Iranian nuclear reactor and how former US president Barack Obama stopped it. Maariv took a different slant on the story than the other papers, with the headline: “This is how Obama thwarted the Israeli attack on the reactor in Iran.” Yedioth, Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom’s title emphasized “how close Israel came” to attacking and quoted Netanyahu in the sub-title: “If I had had a majority, I would have done it, unequivocally.”

Also, Yedioth reported that five people had to pay compensation to a man who expressed his political opinion on his personal Facebook page that angered them so they wrote bad things about his work on his business page, pretending to be his clients. (See Features below.)

Today Kahol-Lavan Chairman, Benny Gantz, slammed the new state comptroller, Matanyahu Englman, for giving Netanyahu permission to receive a loan from a tycoon for his legal defense. Gantz accused the State Comptroller of “working for Netanyahu, to which the Likud responded that Gantz had “crossed a red line in attacking a senior gatekeeper" and that the Likud would not sit with him a coalition government. (Maariv)

**Meanwhile, Israel's Attorney General Avichai Mendelblitt said the Likud cannot legally pass a bill to film at polling stations. Netanyahu said his party will continue legislating the bill. "We won't let them steal the election." Netanyahu has accused the Arab citizens of fake votes. Haaretz+ reported that a Likud source said that "advancing the bill, even though it has no chance, is meant to keep the narrative of 'Arabs stealing the vote' in the minds of Likud voters. This will get them to go out and vote.” LIkud is trailing Kahol-Lavan in a recent poll. (Also Maariv and Ynet Hebrew) Today, Thursday, Elections Committee Chair, Justice Hanan Melcer, called on MKs not to push for legislation to install cameras in polling stations and to respect the Attorney General’s position, saying that 'lately they haven't been listening to him.’

There were questions about whether Netanyahu would attend the 90 year memorial event in Hebron for Jews murdered there in the 1929 Arab Riots and the papers said he was under political pressure from the settlers. Netanyahu indeed attended and pledged that Israel will “stay in Hebron forever.” Soon after Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Culture Minister Miri Regev, both Likud, called for annexation of the West Bank and encouraging more Jewish settlement in the city.

Today Netanyahu set out for an impromptu visit with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in London. The papers noted that the visit was taking place “two weeks before elections.” Yedioth put the news item in its “Elections 2019’ headed pages. Maariv also reported that the Russian Foreign Ministry was angry and rejected “an electoral gain attempt” by Netanyahu, who wanted another three-way summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, US President Donald Trump and himself in the next two weeks - “that is, before the elections,” wrote Maariv’s new diplomatic affairs correspondent, Ana Barsky. The Russians didn’t buy into it believing it was for political purposes and refused the request. Later MaarivOnline wrote that Netanyahu has confirmed that there may be a meeting between himself and the Russian president. The pro-Netanyahu ‘Israel Hayom’ newspaper wrote that Netanyahu is planning to meet with Russian President Vladmir Putin ‘very soon.’ Maariv also wrote that Moscow sees Netanyahu's deviation from the policy of ambiguity in regards to attacks on other countries as violating understandings on the matter.

Netanyahu said his visit was to discuss Iran in the wake of discussions for a meeting between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, which Netanyahu opposes. Netanyahu is pressing for more sanctions against Iran. Iran yesterday announced that it would develop more centrifuges and that it would return to the nuclear agreement only if it received a $15 billion oil sales guarantee. France has proposed offering Iran $15 billion in credit lines until year-end if Tehran comes fully back into compliance with its 2015 nuclear deal, a move that hinges on Washington not blocking it. (Maariv)


Elections 2019 Quickees:
  • Likud Telling Polling Stations Monitors to Collect Voter Data to Get Out Vote - While the technique is not illegal, technology makes it even more a threat to voter privacy. (Haaretz+)
  • Election poll: Otzma Yehudit crosses the threshold percentage, right-wing has 60 seats - According to the Knesset Channel poll, the Likud has been awarded 31 seats and is in a draw with Kahol-Lavan party. 10 each for Joint List and Yamina. Lieberman gets 9, Shas gets 7. The Democratic Camp and the Labor-Gesher list with only five seats each. Four for Otzma Yehudit. Meretz doesn’t make it in. (Maariv)
  • Flowers, Iron Dome and Knocking on Doors: Israeli Parties Pull Last Stops Ahead of Election - With Election Day two weeks away, Haredi parties appeal for votes from the non-Orthodox, centrists try to sway the left and the Joint List still hasn't figured out a strategy. (Haaretz+)
  • Rivlin: "I was surprised that Netanyahu did not return to me the mandate (to form a government and instead went to elections) after failing to form a government" - The President of the State spoke with Yonit Levy at the “Influencers’ Conference’ Thursday and addressed the possibility of another elections within a year. “I see that with severity. Up until the last election there were clear rules of the game.” (Maariv)
  • In Yamina list, they blame Netanyahu: "The ‘Oh No’ campaign is working, it managed to take away some of our voters” - Less than two weeks into the election, the party is attacking the Likud and the prime minister. "They took two seats from Yamin in two weeks, and the campaign is continuing," a senior source told Maariv. (Maariv)
  • Conviction in the ways of Noam (‘gentility’ and also name of new right-wing party) - Closing of the families' plaza at the Western Wall and cancellation of the conversion reform. These are two of the proposals presented by MK Miki Zohar to the leaders of Noam in order to convince them not to run in elections [so as not to take away right-wing votes from Likud - OH]. According to Zohar, he received Prime Minister Netanyahu's permission for the move, but Likud denies: "No proposal has been offered nor will be offered to them.” (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • State Witness Says Texts Were Erased in Netanyahu Corruption Case - Nir Hefetz says 'stressed' PM's wife, son asked him to make sure wife of Bezeq CEO deleted all correspondence. (Haaretz and Maariv)

Quick Hits:
  • Palestinians Rage Over Netanyahu's Visit to Hebron, Warn of 'Dangerous Escalation' - Netanyahu made a rare visit to the heart of Hebron's Jewish enclave, where he is participating in a ceremony to mark the 1929 Arab massacre of Jews. (Haaretz+)
  • An elected official in a senior post in Samaria (West Bank) was arrested on suspicion of corruption - The official, who holds a senior position at a local council in Samaria have been arrested by police on suspicion of committing crimes relating to morality clause. In addition, three other suspects, including the son of an elected official and two non-municipal employees, were arrested and detained for questioning. (Maariv and New1)
  • 17,000 pupils from the unrecognized (Bedouin) villages did not start the school year, the residents protested - The school year opened in the Arab sector  with the exception of the pupils [from Bedouin villages that Israel does not recognize - OH], because of a budget dispute with the Ministry of Education. Resident of one of the villages: “This cannot continue.” (Maariv)
  • Israeli flag replaced with Palestinian flag outside Petah Tikva city hall - Vandals also set fire to nearby dumpster, recycling bin; mayor vows ‘determined action.’ (Times of Israel and Maariv)
  • Palestinian government to invest millions for agricultural independence - The PA aims to end annual import of $16 million worth of Israeli fruit with a $23 million Agricultural Cluster Program, a comprehensive development project to 'independently produce Palestinian fruits and vegetables.’ (Ynet)
  • Palestinian women demand legal protection after suspected honor killing - In Ramallah, hundreds of demonstrators hold signs reading: "We are all Israa," and "My body is my property. I don't need your supervision, your care, your honor," after 21-year-old woman dies in suspected honor killing. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Leaders of Ethiopians’ struggle: “We demand a State Commission for the elimination of police violence" - During a convention attended by representatives from most of the central parties, prominent Ethiopian-Israeli activists demanded "the establishment of a committee to examine the operation of the legal system on the issue….Between 1997 and 2019, 11 Israeli youths of Ethiopian origin were killed - as far as we know in incidents involving police violence or as a result of them.” (Maariv)
  • A worker fell from a height and was killed at a construction site in Herzliya - A 54-year-old Chinese citizen was killed in a fall on a construction site in Galilee Sea in Herzliya on Wednesday. Following the accident, Pelez police have opened an investigation. Since the beginning of the year, 32 construction workers have been killed on construction sites throughout Israel. Last year, 41 workers were killed. (Maariv and News1)
  • What Brings a Dubai Business Jet to Israel Three Times a Week?  While tensions between Israel and its Arab neighbors are rising, Israel is continuing to normalize relations with countries in the Persian Gulf. (Haaretz+)
  • Report: Israel offered Hezbollah deal to restore calm - Lebanese daily, Al Liwaa, says Iranian-backed group rejected the offer, which included proposal for end to IDF strikes on against Hezbollah operatives in Syria in return for quiet on Lebanese border. (Ynet)
  • Hezbollah facing growing criticism in Lebanon - Mainstream media, social media and politicians are becoming more vocal in their displeasure of the Iran-backed group's decision to fire missiles at an IDF base on Sunday, which resulted in a massive Israeli bombardment of a southern Lebanon town. (Ynet)
  • Iran Releases Seven Crew Members of Seized British-flagged Tanker - Seven of the 23 crew members of the Swedish-owned Stena Impero that was captured over the summer were released on humanitarian grounds, Sweden says. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Poland pressured to say if it bought Israeli phone spyware - Opposition lawmakers ask Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki whether the country's special services bought Pegasus, the spyware produced by NSO Group, an Israeli company. The Israeli firm's software allows for monitoring of devices and their content, including the remote activation of cameras and microphones without users' knowledge. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Erdogan says 'unacceptable' for Turkey not to have nuclear weapons like 'neighbor' Israel - Turkish president claims the Jewish state 'scares' other nations with its unconfirmed nuclear arsenal and Ankara, currently banned from developing such weapons, should be granted the same protection. (Agencies, Ynet and Maariv)
  • Morsi's Son, Who Accused Egyptian Authorities of Killing His Father, Dies at Age 24 - Less than three months after his father's dramatic death in a Cairo courtroom, Abdullah Morsi, the youngest son of the deposed Islamist president, died of cardiac arrest Wednesday, according to his lawyer. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Features:
The Man Who Would Be King: Delusions of (Royal) Grandeur in Mandatory Palestine
Samuel Solnik, a Polish-born dentist living in Jerusalem in the 1940s, claimed descent from King David and tried to convince his fellow Jews and the world powers that his family should sit on the ancient throne of Israel. (Shai Ben-Ari, National Library of Israel, Haaretz)
Why Arabs Have a Hard Time Getting Car Insurance in Israel
Blame is placed variously on companies’ racism, the disproportionate number of accidents involving Arab drivers and poor infrastructure in Arab towns. (Assa Sasson, Haaretz+)
It's High Time for Israel to Reduce the Period of Compulsory Army Service
While of value to the army and society, the 'people's army' ethos may be too expensive to hang onto due to economic realities. Part 3 of a series. (Meirav Arlosoroff, Haaretz+)
They wrote a negative review on the Facebook page of a renovations contractor because they didn’t agree with his political opinion - and will compensate him with 96,000 shekels
Is it permissible to hurt a person's business on Facebook just because his opinion is different from yours? At least according to a recent case the answer is no. A renovation contractor who expressed his opinion on his personal Facebook page that he could not condemn a [Palestinian] attack in Kiryat Arba in 2016 against a 13-year-old girl, who was murdered in her bed, will be compensated for tens of thousands of shekels by several people who went to his business page, impersonated his customers and gave him negative reviews about the service he allegedly rendered or a one-star rating for his professionalism. One of the defendants criticized on the business page that the plaintiff was a "very unskilled contractor,” another wrote "I heard his work was terrible and unprofessional.” The Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court ruled earlier this week that the three plaintiffs would pay the plaintiff a total of 46,000 shekels. Two other defendants had earlier decided to settle with the plaintiff, represented by Attorney Guy Ophir and Roy Ben-David, and paid a total of 50,000 shekels. This was after they admitted that they weren’t clients of the renovation contractor and what they wrote was motivated by their anger over the political statements of the plaintiff. The plaintiff also sued Facebook, which claimed that the lawsuit should be dismissed against it, and this process continues to be conducted. Lawyer Ophir: “Even if the (plaintiff) crossed the line in what he wrote, there is no justification for hurting his business, certainly not as a way of impersonating themselves as his customers and giving him negative criticism.”  (Yedioth Hebrew)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
"Deathly Hatred" [of Arabs]: Are Ashkenazi Jews are also guilty of this? (Smadar Shiloni, Maariv) Documentary-maker Ron Kahlili is unable to explain why every two minutes a racist post against Arabs is published in Israel, so he returns to the (his) roots and blames Ashkenazi and Mizrahi relations. Smadar Shiloni thinks it's time to listen to Oasis and stop looking back in anger....What do you bring to a documentary that has it all? Or more correctly, one that has all the ingredients for a good documentary series, the motivation and the tools to create it? Perhaps a new and complex statement that might have been very helpful to
"Deathly Hatred," Ron Kahlili's new series (that aired Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday) and which deals with the burning hatred of some Israelis towards Arabs. The first two (out of three) episodes of "Death Hatred” are pretty boring. They try to expose the way the establishment paves the way for us to hate Arabs and to examine the new forms of racism (for example, the exclusion of the Arab population from certain cities). However, the chapters are content with presenting various expressions of hatred of Arabs among Jews without delving into it and missing even Kahlili’s usual provocations, which introduced a little juice into his earlier series. Yes, every two minutes a racist anti-Arab post is published in Israel, but Kahlili, it seems, forgot that all social media network heroes have already been eroded by violent expressions of racism against Arabs (and Ethiopians, and Sudanese and Russians) when they invade their feed even though they did everything to filter it, and yes, they also became numb from the amount of shocked virtual expressions of prejudice in condemnation of that racism. If Khalili does not want to be the boy who shouted "Racist! Racist!" He needs to put in a little more effort and say something real. The third episode is a little more interesting than the first two, for the simple reason that this is the episode where Kahlili returns to his stomping ground, the part of his docu-plot that he knows and loves and flourishes with - Ashkenazi - Mizrahi relations. In this episode Kahlili develops a new-old insight: even in the violent hatred of Arabs associated with the right-wing of Mizrachi origin [i.e. Jews whose families emigrated from Muslim countries - OH], it is (again) the Ashkenazi left-wing that is guilty. All roads lead to the Mapai party (pre-Labor party). The Ashkenazi left-wing was the one which extracted from the Jews who emigrated from their Arab countries, their language, their customs and their culture. The Mizrahis obeyed and now, filled with self-hated, they are trying to do away with everything that gives off Arabness. The Ashkenazi left's insolence knows no bounds, because it was the left-wing which hurt the Israeli Arabs and the Palestinians more than all the right-wing together, when it was in power during the first decades of the state's establishment. And again we are engulfed in the eternal loop of Ashkenazi and Mizrahi people, because what makes more sense than being racist about racism? In "Deathly Hatred," he makes a point of bringing in Mizrahi or Ashkenazi interviewees who are also "Arab haters" to break our established notions of racism towards Arabs, but he has difficulty re-illuminating a worn issue. He paints an idyllic and not necessarily accurate picture of Jews and Muslims who live side-by-side in Arab countries (until the Mapai State of Israel showed up and destroyed everything). He also ignores the fact that racism and xenophobia and identification with the political right is on the rise in a few other remote corners of the Western world, like Europe and the US, and he leverages our racism and xenophobia for the benefit of the putting a light on what he wants to reveal. Even if the excellent sociologists whom Kahlili brings to the show (Haviva Pedaya, Itamar Toby) share some thought-provoking ideas (such as the Mizrahi who shouts "Death to Arabs" actually is saying, "I am an Israeli patriot"), they only momentarily flash toward the end of the third episode and disappear under the flood of accusations toward the left-wing. It may be true that Mapai is the root of all evil and that is why we are wandering around toothless. But repeating it again and again will not necessarily make it believers at this point. An excuse is an ugly and bad thing, and if Khalili really wants to move forward, maybe it's time to stop looking back in anger and directing this wonderful anger toward the present?
The Right must not go back in the closet (Dr. Limor Samimian-Darash, Israel Hayom) For years, remarks from people on the Right on various subjects were a sort of response to the discourse of the Left. The Left's value set was the starting point for every discussion, an ideological equator that marked the Right as an "anomaly."
The Arab World Just Handed Netanyahu Its Most Powerful Weapon (Muhammad Shehada, Haaretz+) Arab regimes once wielded their collective strategic leverage as gatekeepers to Israel’s Mideast integration. Now they’re defeatists, offering Netanyahu normalization for free - but there’s an explosive backlash brewing.
The northern front - rethink the track (Giora Eiland, Yedioth) The security-political cabinet will need to discuss and decide whether Lebanon is the official enemy, and not Hezbollah, and then make a strategic decision whether to initiate here and now a preventative war.
My Strained Jewish-Arab Encounter at Trump's Embassy in Jerusalem (Haneen Sameer Mgadlh, Haaretz+) ’How sad it is that Jerusalem, the city that for millennia was blessed with an amazing range of humanity, is today cut off as it has never been before.'
How to tell the stories of the siege when you cannot enter Gaza (Lital Firestone, +972mag) In a new podcast, I hoped to capture the impacts of the Gaza blockade that are mostly invisible to the outside world. There was just one problem: I can’t go there.
Israelis Have Caught America’s Anti-government Disease (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) They think the state needs to tackle education and health problems, but Israelis don’t want to pay the taxes to do it.
Israel must kick its pointless Nasrallah addiction (Sever Plocker, Yedioth/Ynet) Let's put things in perspective: A few tunnels dug under the border and a device used in the production of precision missiles that was just lying about in some courtyard do not indicate there is some superior strategy in play on the part of Hezbollah.
The Islamic republic lashes out (Clifford D. May, Israel Hayom) A few days ago, Iran’s rulers lashed out not just at the US government but also at an American think tank – namely, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which I founded shortly after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Judaism Yes, Science No (Haaretz Editorial) According to Education Ministry data, of the teachers who joined the secondary school system this year, the largest number, 477, were trained to teach Jewish subjects. By contrast, only seven had finished their training to teach physics, eight are teaching chemistry and 20, biology. According to data collected by the Teachers Union, the educational system has only a thousand chemistry teachers, 1,250 physics teachers and 2,000 biology and computer science teachers. This results in the ongoing deterioration of science education in Israel. While there are 470 new English teachers and 360 new math teachers, this isn’t enough to meet the demand. Although the shortage of science teachers has been known for several years, the Education Ministry prefers to deny that there’s any problem. Yet beneath this deliberate blurring of reality, it becomes clear that Jewish studies are actually thriving. It seems that the ignoring of the teaching crisis comes not just to avoid possible criticism, but also expresses the unconcealed agenda of right-wing education ministers, who believe the system entrusted to them needs its Jewish dimension constantly reinforced. The data on new teachers points to the ministry’s real priority: promoting Jewish studies and not the sciences.

Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
As Bibi Meets Boris — Tory Rebels Prove Morally Superior to Likudniks (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Netanyahu visits London today. While he can still get his parliamentarians to dissolve themselves and call an unnecessary election, the backbenchers in Westminster proved they still have backbone.
Voting against Israeli electoral apathy (Ruthie Blum, Israel Hayom) We Israelis are used to having our tax shekels spent on futile, top-down endeavors born of nanny-state committee meetings held to interpret and tackle societal phenomena.
Israel's Watchdog Proves Himself a Spineless Servant of Netanyahu (Gidi Weitz, Haaretz+)  By allowing our wealthy prime minister to take a loan from his multimillionaire friend, Spencer Partrich, Englman has yet again shown he is a rotten and weak gatekeeper.
Idea theft: The governing coalition is far from a true ideological right-wing (Ron Tira, Maariv) If the upcoming elections deal with right and left questions, then the coalition is not on the right. The elections will essentially decide between individual liberty and between religious and governmental coercion.

Netanyahu’s Ongoing Terror Attack (Zehava Galon, Haaretz+) About a week ago the prime minister accused the broadcasting corporation Keshet of perpetrating “an attack on democracy” and called on people to boycott it. An interesting choice of words from the man whose entire political career has been nothing but an ongoing attack on democracy…They’re all illegitimate in his eyes: the president, the court, the prosecution, the media, the academic world, society, the leftists (the definition includes the whole political spectrum – from the Joint List to Avigdor Lieberman), the Arab citizens and more. For decades now he has had strategic partners in the attack on democracy. “Yamim Noraim” (“Terrible Days”), the unsettling film by Yaron Zilberman and co-written by Ron Leshem about the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, shows how Netanyahu associated himself with the rabbinic establishment and how together, they fostered and raised furrows of wild weeds in which the assassin, Yigal Amir, grew. Courageously, the film brings back the responsibility of Netanyahu and the rabbinic establishment for the murder into focus, which over the years has been blurred by intentional collective whitewashing.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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