News Nosh 9.25.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday September 25, 2019

Numbers of the day:
From 20% of the population, i.e. the Arab sector, are 60% of the murder victims from violent crime in Israel.**

Breaking News:
Final Israel election results: Netanyahu up to 32 seats, ultra-Orthodox party down one (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)

Front Page:
  • President expected to postpone giving mandate to assemble coalition government to next Wednesday
  • Time to decide // Ravit Hecht
  • High Court cancelled dispersal of British parliament: “Harms democracy”
  • Democrats expected to open impeachment procedure against Trump
  • High school dropouts rates dropped significantly, but the gaps between the (Arab) sector (and Jewish) is still great
  • UN demands explanations from Israel on policy of dealing with asylum seekers
  • After Cellcom’s announcement of mass layoff, the employees promise “a battle like never seen before”
  • Israel Air Force against paragliders: Sent combat helicopters to civilian paragliding site
  • Be Egyptians // Zvi Bar’el
  • A hint to the women coming // Orit Kamir writes that the conviction of former Jerusalem police chief Niso Shaham in breach of trust for sex crimes against subordinates entrenches the rule of law and the importance of equality within it
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Disconnected - Protest in response to wave of dismissals at cellular phone companies
  • Dispute in Kahol-Lavan: Lapid not prepared to sit with Netanyahu
  • It’s all talk // Nadav Eyal
  • This is how negotiations are held // Yossi Kuchik
  • Gaza won’t wait // Alex Fishman
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • Looking for an exit - Negotiation teams of Likud and Kahol-Lavan began coalition talks
  • Exclusive - Official Israel sources said on the operation in Gaza that was cancelled: It could have led towards an escalation on the scale of Operation Pillar of Defense (2012 Gaza War)
  • Trump at UN: In this situation, sanctions on Iran will only get worse
  • Dollar dropped again
  • The price of competition - the cellular phone crisis
Israel Hayom
  • The portfolios in the focus: “16 ministers for each side” - The talks are advancing: “Speaking about rotation between Netanyahu and Gantz”
  • Erdogan’s tirade - “The Holocaust is like the massacre in Gaza”
  • “Where will we go after the holiday?” - ask the hundreds of employees of Cellcom Communications who will be dismissed
  • Shake-up in Britain: Parliament will meet again, Johnson’s status is unstable

Elections 2019 Round Two:
Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin is stalling on the decision over who will form the next government, while different politicians declare opposing conditions - making it only more difficult. The two negotiation teams representing Likud and Kahol-Lavan met a day Tuesday. But Kahol-Lavan co-leader Yair Lapid refuses to sit in a unity government with Binyamin Netanyahu as the head of the Likud. Yedioth Hebrew reported that the Likud does not rule out the possibility that Gantz would be prime minister. Moreover, ‘Israel Hayom’ reported that Kahol-Lavan negotiators were ordered to 'drag out' talks until Netanyahu’s hearing with the Attorney General who needs to decide whether to indict the Prime Minister, after which Kahol-Lavan will better know how to move forward. But in closed talks, President Rivlin said, “I won't let Netanyahu and Gantz drag their feet.” (Yedioth Hebrew) Interestingly, a senior rabbi affiliated with the Mizrachi ultra-Orthodox right-wing Shas called on his party leaders “to enter a government led by Gantz.” Rabbi Zion Bouaron, a retired judge from the rabbinical court, said he is convinced that the party must support a coalition led by Gantz: "The attitude to Shabbat and religion will be infinitely more positive than it is today.” (Yedioth Hebrew) Meanwhile, Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman and elections kingmaker, Avigdor Lieberman, insists he will only sit in a unity government of his party, Kahol-Lavan and Likud: “I will not sit with the ultra-Orthodox, the Messianists, the Joint List and the Democratic Camp,” he said. (Maariv and Actualic Hebrew) Trump administration officials have said they are frustrated with the political stalemate in Israel because it is leading to a significant and unique missed opportunity from Israel's perspective, which is provided by the Trump presidency. Interestingly, an Arab MK accidentally revealed that Netanyahu made overtures to the predominantly Arab Joint List. Believing he was speaking to Netanyahu during a prank call by radio station, Abd Al-Hakeem Haj Yahya confirmed that Likud reached out to his party after the April elections for assistance in legislation to dissolve Knesset and to hold a second round of elections.

Other Top News and Diplomacy:
The other big story was the strike following mass layoffs in cellular phone companies. And in diplomacy at the UN General Assembly, US President Donald Trump said there is a growing recognition in the Middle East that Muslim countries must battle extremism and normalize relations between Israel and its neighbors. Possibly confirming that point, Israel’s Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz said he met with a foreign minister of an Arab country with which Israel does not have relations. Katz wrote on Twitter: "A fascinating first meeting. We discussed in depth the regional realities and ways to deal with the Iranian threat, while at the same time concluding a process for promoting civil cooperation between the two countries.” Katz is expected to make a speech on Thursday at the UN rally in place of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who canceled the trip. (Ynet Hebrew) And ahead of his trip to the UN General Assembly in New York, Jordan’s King Abdullah said that if Israel annexes the West Bank it will create an apartheid system and harm Israel’s ties with Jordan and Egypt.
Quick Hits:
  • "The canceled action (against Hamas in Gaza) could have led to an escalation of proportions of Operation Pillar of Defense (the Second Gaza War)"- After the rockets fired at Ashdod and the hurried evacuation of the Prime Minister from a conference hall there, Netanyahu planned an exceptional response, and which was cancelled only because of the reservations of the security leadership and Attorney General Avichai Mendelblitt.. Official told Maariv: It was believed that the execution of the action would lead to shooting toward the center of the country. (Maariv)
  • Investigation Into Police Brutality Against Ethiopian-Israeli Marred by Failures, Court Rules - While Jajaw Bimro was lying on the ground, officer yelled at him to 'go back to Africa.’ (Haaretz+)
  • **From 20% of the population are 60% of those murdered - Violence in the Arab sector is rising, and despite the police's attempts to eradicate the phenomenon, not enough seems to have been done. Police Commissioner General Moti Cohen acknowledged that "in the result test the situation is not good", but made clear: "We expect cooperation from Arab society." (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • (Arab-Israeli) children in the line of fire - For years, Arab-Israeli leaders have demanded from the Israeli police: "Collect the illegal weapons in the Arab sector" - The weapons held in villages of minorities [Arab citizens - OH] do not know boundaries and age. For years, the police have been fighting the dangerous phenomenon, but so far without real success, and the dismal results speak for themselves. (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • School Drop-out Rates Fall in Israel but Remain Higher Among Arabs - Knesset study finds that Arab students from low socioeconomic groups receive less funding than their Jewish counterparts. (Haaretz+)
  • UN Committee Summons Israel to Explain Sweeping Asylum Rejections - 'This social experiment must stop immediately,' refugee rights activist says. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel's top court hears appeal for activist expelled for boycott activity - Lower court upheld decision not to renew visa of Human Rights Watch member Omar Shakir, on the grounds his anti-settlement activity amounted to support for the BDS movement. HRW: Neither we nor Shakir have called for a boycott of Israel. (Agencies, Israel Hayom and JPost)
  • Court says prison was entitled to deny Rabin killer’s privileges over phone call - Judge upholds decision to remove amenities after Yigal Amir reached out to far-right rapper in bid to form a political party that would lobby for his release. (Maariv and Times of Israel)
  • Israel Planned to Close Case of Construction Worker's Death Without Investigation - After failing to question the employer, state prosecutors only reopened the case following pressure from the deceased's widow to conduct a proper investigation. (Haaretz+)
  • The archive revealed: the first British spy to work for Israel - British intelligence agency's archive revealed: Cyril Hector Avraham Weibro, who was an intelligence officer at the time of the British mandate, leaked classified documents to Israeli intelligence after the state was established. (Maariv and News1)
  • Daniel Birnbaum, ex-SodaStream CEO, Suspected of Insider Trading - Executive alleged to have leaked PepsiCo deal, other information to former employee. (Haaretz+ and Times of Israel)
  • Louis C.K. to Perform in Israel for First Time Since Sexual Harassment Admission - U.S. comedian, who admitted to masturbating in front of young female comedians without their consent, to perform Tel Aviv show on November 23. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Israel Feels Pinch of Trump Tech Visa Policy - Rejection rate for key H-1B track is soaring but new E2 option could come to the rescue for many. (Haaretz+)
  • Luxembourg's Foreign Oscar Entry Is Israeli Arab Director's 'Tel Aviv on Fire' - The acclaimed satirical look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was partly financed by the Luxembourg Film Fund. (Haaretz+VIDEO)
  • Erdogan compares Israel to Nazi Germany, gives anti-Israel UNGA presentation - Netanyahu urges the Turkish president to 'stop lying' after Erdogan holds up map of Israel during address to world leaders, claiming it shows 'shrinking Palestine'; shortly before the speech he compared murder of Jews in WWII to events in Gaza. (Ynet)
  • Shrewd art dealer or Nazi stooge? A 'decadent art' collection comes to Israel - The Israel Museum is now showing works once owned by Hildebrand Gurlitt, a man who had Jewish roots and an unclear record on how he amassed his collection. (Haaretz+)
  • Iran Slams European Nations for Lacking Will to Confront 'U.S. Bullying' - Statement comes after U.K., France and Germany held Tehran responsible for September 14 attacks on Saudi oil facility. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Syria Constitution Committee Set, Will Meet Within Weeks, UN Says - EU welcomes move, which, after months of talks, might be a first step towards peace. (Haaretz+)
  • Rockets Fired in Central Baghdad, U.S. Coalition Warns Against Attacks - After two rockets were fired at the fortified area that houses foreign government buildings, U.S.-led coalition reports no casualties but said it would defend itself. (Agencies, Haaretz)

At This Surreal Event, Sara Netanyahu Was Only the Sidekick
With lyrics such as 'To ascend from the bottom / From the garbage that I came from / To reach the sky / Glitter between my thighs,' and the presence of Israeli PM's wife, socialite Nicol Raidman launched her singing career in an incredible show of Israeli ostentatiousness. (Avi Pitchon, Haaretz+PHOTOS+VIDEO and Ynet Hebrew+VIDEO)
The Woman Who Fell in Love With France’s First Jewish Prime Minister
Jeanne Levylier was smitten with Léon Blum when she was 16 and he was 43. Little did they know they would survive Buchenwald together – as seen in a film to be shown at the Haifa film festival. (Gaby Levin, Haaretz+)
Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
Why the Arabs Are Finally Mingling at Israel’s Political Party (David B. Green, Haaretz+)  For years, Arab politicians were shunned by Zionist parties — and vice versa. In the space of five short months, that has all changed.
To the Palestinians, Gantz and Netanyahu are Coke and Pepsi (Elior Levy, Yedioth/Ynet) Palestinians say unity government would not change much with respect to them as both party leaders agree on key issues, such as annexing Jordan Valley; Palestinian PM compares the two Israeli leaders to choice between rival soft drinks.
History and hysteria: The discussions for a political connection between Jews and Arabs (Ran Edelist, Maariv) Indeed history. The connection between Jewish and Arab politics, as depicted in the preparations for the formation of the government, is a true national drama, regardless of the results of the government. Another historic issue is the disappearance of deal-making settlers from the media radar. After the first round of elections in April, internal discussions took place and (Kahol-Lavan) established several dozen branches in the Arab sector. Gantz had conversations with Ayman Odeh and Ahmed Tibi and was interviewed on an online Arab channel. Netanyahu attacked Gantz, Gantz firmly retaliated, and it seems not only for electoral purposes, but also as a human, in the face of the "only Bibi" camp that ran a campaign of racism and intimidation along the lines of the Klux Klan. That additional step for legitimizing Israeli Arabs, which was carried out by the Blue and White Party, is a welcome move on the path to full civil partnership, and in fact to sanity.
Even if the Settlers' Party Lost, the Settlements Won (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) I wish I could, like Gideon Levy, see the low number of Knesset seats won by Yamina as a defeat for the settlers (“The mouse that roared,” September 22). I wish I could share his view of the settlements as a project of the settlers, who are concentrated in this party. I wish I could see them as a minority that craftily created this monster, and is responsible for the “most pernicious, destructive project in the history of the state.” But unfortunately, the settlers are the product, not the creator, of a pernicious policy. It’s the state that holds the copyright on the settlement project.
Our sacred status quo is the hatred of the other, which creeps like a snake at the foot of the ladder (Prof. Arieh Eldad, Maariv) The ladder for the solution of the political entanglement exists. It is not complicated, but in the meantime it is not used and anyone who can and must get off the tree avoids doing so out of fear of the bad guys.
Israel’s Arab MKs Don't Expect Gantz to Become a Palestinian-lover. Just Not a Netanyahu-clone (Muhammad Shehada, Haaretz+) The Joint List's Arab MKs who endorsed a former IDF chief - accused of war crimes against fellow Palestinians - for prime minister are risking everything to oust Netanyahu. Now Gantz must reciprocate.
Netanyahu and Trump are no longer bosom buddies (Orly Azulay, Yedioth/Ynet) Israel's prime minister gambled on his relationship with the American president, but when he found himself in need of a friendly gesture after last week's elections, the leader of the free world was nowhere to be found.
Next Prime Minister Could Be Gantz, Netanyahu – or John Doe (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) The expected failure of national unity talks and the inability of both candidates to form a majority could yield a dark horse prime minister that no one expects.
A unity government is possible without Lieberman (Sofi Ron-Moria, Israel Hayom) No prime minister can trust the Yisrael Beytenu leader. Netanyahu was burned by him in April, and Gantz, who has yet to undergo this baptism of fire, will also likely prefer to surround himself with more reliable and less capricious partners.
Israel's Labor Party, a Shadow of Its Former Self (Moshe Ben-Atar, Haaretz+) The Labor Party nearly disappeared in Tuesday’s election. The departure of politicians such as Stav Shaffir, Shelly Yacimovich and Eitan Cabel, Isaac Herzog, Erel Margalit and Manuel Trajtenberg before them, led to its effective dissolution. The party that established the state and the Labor movement that built the nation nearly left the national stage. It failed to regain its place in the new Israeli history and did not remake itself. As a result, its glorious victories of the past became its errors of the future.

France’s enthusiasm for Iran is transparent and dangerous (Freddy Eytan, Israel Hayom) Motivated primarily by its own commercial interests, France ignores the words and actions of the Revolutionary Guard and blindly trusts Tehran’s “moderate” leadership.
How Israel achieved the impossible at the UN (Ambassador Danny Danon, Israel Hayom) The time when the UN was home turf for those who hate and slander Israel is over. We are fighting what might be the most justified battle in the history of the organization.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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