News Nosh 10.31.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday October 31, 2019

 
Quote of the day:
“They told me during questioning that I had come to hurt soldiers and I said, ‘What are you talking about? I live among you'...I want them to think next time before they shoot."
--Arab-Israeli citizen, Firas al-Halaq, said after Israeli police shot him when he crashed at a military checkpoint and arrested him, accusing him of making a car-ramming attack against soldiers and of holding a knife. The police later dropped the charges and set him free without explanation. Al-Halaq maintained all along that there was no knife and it was a road accident that occurred when he was 'wasted.'*

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • “There were flaws in the police’s conduct” - Affair of the harassment of a state witness
  • Go back and tell the truth // Einav Shiff - storm over the conspiracy (statements by Mordechai Kedar) about Yitzhak Rabin murder
  • In the path of his father - 20 years after the his father, Brig. Gen. Erez Gerstein, a legendary commander who was killed in Lebanon, Omer Gerstein will stand on a field to receive his officer ranks on his way to becoming an officer in Golani, the brigade his father commanded (Hebrew)
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • “I’ll consider establishing a committee to probe the State Prosecution” - Despite the storm, Justice Minister digs in his heels
  • Shaked’s plan: Return to Habayit Hayehudi
  • Russian hacker will be extradited to the US: Lawyers of Naama Issachar (who is imprisoned in Russia) will appeal against it to the High Court
  • Condemnations against comments by Prof. Mordechai Kedar about Yigal Amir: “Contempt and folly”

Top News Summary:
Israel’s Chief Justice Esther Chayut slammed Israel’s Justice Minister Amir Ohana for making an “unprecedented” attack against the judicial system, which she accused him of politicizing and which, she said, could undermine Israel’s democracy, Ohana signed an order to extradite a Russian hacker to the US, to the sorrow of an Israeli mother whose daughter’s release from prison in Russia may depend on the transfer of the hacker to Russia, and Mordechia Kedar, a lecturer of Middle Eastern studies at Bar-Ilan University, refused to retract his statement that Yigal Amir did not murder former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

The Chief Justice’s statements were a response to the attack by Justice Minister Ohana on the judicial system following the police questioning of close advisors to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the confiscation of their phones over the harassment of Shlomo Filber, a state witness in one of the Netanyahu corruption cases. A judge ruled that the police can examine the staffers’ phones, but that there had been improprieties in the police investigation of the four suspects that violated their rights. The State Prosecutor's Office said there was no indication that Netanyahu was involved in the harassment of Filber. (Maariv)

Former justice minister Yossi Beilin expressed fear that judges dealing with the Prime Minister's corruption cases would be assassinated. "It's important to pay attention to who the judges will be in Netanyahu's trial - and to guard them,” Beilin told 103FM, saying that there would be incitement against them. Regarding Minister Ohana’s statements, Beilin said: "This man was appointed in order to make this speech.” (Maariv)

Speaking of assassination: A storm followed the public declaration by Dr. Mordechai Kedar, a Middle East lecturer and researcher at Bar-Ilan University, that Yigal Amir did not assassinate Yitzhak Rabin and that actually his bodyguard shot him at the behest of a senior politician as part of a political conspiracy. Netanyahu rejected the conspiracy claim, calling it ”nonsense.” Bar-Ilan University said Kedar’s views don’t reflect those of the school, and summoned him to the institution’s Disciplinary Committee. (Maariv) The university’s said president they are “nonsensical delusional remarks that hurt the country.” But the Israel Civil Rights Association stood behind Dr. Kedar’s right to freedom of speech and accused Bar-Ilan University of violating academic freedom. (Maariv) And Yigal Amir’s brother, Hagai, supported the conspiracy view and said that there are people preparing for a retrial because “there are documents that indicate others were involved in the murder.” (Maariv Online) [NOTE: Kedar is known for his right-wing views also in his research of Arab culture. - OH]

Elections 2019 Quickees:
  • Thursday - Dead end: The Likud-Kahol-Lavan negotiations negotiations ended without progress - Kahol-Lavan leaders surprised the Likud team in order to "show seriousness." Likud: "Lapid came to the meeting in order to make sure Gantz did not agree to a unity government.” (Maariv)
  • Lieberman writes off option of minority government: "Only unity option exists" - After refraining from providing clear answers on the issue, Yisrael Beitanu chairman rejects the option of forming a government with the support of the Joint List and attacks Netanyahu: “He is leading Israel to round three (of elections).” (Maariv)
  • Thursday - Rare Moment in Israeli Politics as Gantz Meets Arab Party Leaders for Coalition Talks - After Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman went after the Joint List, calling the alliance a 'fifth column' in a radio interview. Gantz held his meeting with Arab MKs Odeh and Tibi Thursday evening (Haaretz+ and Maariv)

 

Quick Hits:
  • Israel Arrests ex-Palestinian Lawmaker, Only Eight Months After Her Release From Prison - Khalida Jarrar was released in February after 20 months of administrative detention without trial; her attorney says she was taken to an unknown location. (Haaretz+)
  • *Israeli Arab Terror Suspect Shot, Then Released Without Explanation - Firas al-Halaq was accused of wielding a knife - but was apparently just driving drunk. At the hospital he was placed in leg restraints, kept under guard and his family was not allowed to visit him. On October 20, his detention was extended by four days. But according to his lawyer, Mohammad Anbusi, after only three days his restraints were removed, as were the guards, and his parents were granted access. There was no request to extend his detention further. “No one told me or the family anything,” says Anbusi. “The investigating unit didn’t even answer my phone calls or messages.” According to the initial Border Police statement, Halaq hit the policemen’s vehicle hard with his car, made a suspicious move and was holding an object in his hand “that turned out to be a knife.” But in its updated statement the police didn’t say anything about a knife. Halaq denies he was holding a knife. He said he was driving “wasted,” and during his court hearing the judge noted that he had previous convictions for drunk driving. “I want them to think next time before they shoot. I’m one person, they could put handcuffs on me without shooting, without anything," he said from the hospital. “This was an ordinary road accident,” said Anbusi. “Apparently the soldiers, because they’re in a complicated area and out of pressure and fear, were quick on the trigger. I hope that there will be lessons learned and there will be an examination of why this incident happened.” (Haaretz)
  • Thursday: Israel Police Arrest Two Suspects for Disparaging Graffiti, Damage in Arab Neighborhood - The two are suspected of slashing car tires and spray-painting slogans such as 'only non-Jews are expelled from the country' in northern Israel. (Haaretz+)
  • Border Police thwart stabbing at Cave of the Patriarchs - Palestinian woman approaches security checkpoint, tries to stab Border Police on duty. Security personnel open fire, critically wounding her. No Israelis injured. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli Face-recognition Tech Used Within Israel Against Law, NBC Investigation Finds - Report confirms past Haaretz findings on AnyVision technology used to track West Bank Palestinians – but if used on Israeli citizens, it could be illegal. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu Rejects Rabin Assassination Conspiracy Theory Floated at His Support Rally - Dr. Mordechai Kedar said assassin was not Yigal Amir, but someone with the initials Y.R. Netanyahu calls claims 'nonsense.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Israel's Foreign Diplomatic Missions Shuttered as Workers Protest - Peeved by costs of reimbursement dispute, ministry workers resume protests. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • WATCH Deborah Lipstadt at Haaretz Judaism conference: Israeli government 'sold out' memory of the Holocaust - Haaretz hosted its first ever Judaism, Israel and Diaspora Conference. Its vision: To expand the definition of Judaism. (Haaretz)
  • Israeli jailed in Jordan is an immigrant who fled from authorities - Sources say the detainee appears to be an immigrant from a former Soviet Union country; in the meantime, Israel's deputy foreign minister denies claims the 2 Jordanian nationals held by Israel were arrested illegally, claiming the pair committed 'security offenses.’ (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Freeing Israeli held in Jordan doesn't depend on fate of Jordanians detained in Israel, diplomatic sources say - Jordanian citizens Heba al-Labadi, hospitalized after over a month of a hunger strike, and Abdul Rahman Miri, reportedly battling cancer, were detained as they entered W. Bank. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli officials (to other countries): Condition providing aid to Lebanon on its dealing with Hezbollah’s missiles - In recent days, Israel has sent clear messages on the issue to the US, France and other countries. The Israeli message conveyed to countries is that there is a need to eliminate the threat of precise missiles. (Maariv)
  • Yinon Magal: "I got into politics because I couldn’t advance in the media" - In their jointly hosted programon 103FM,  reporter Magal revealed to reporter Yoav Limor, his motive for his professional change.  In late 2014, Yinon Magal left the job of editor-in-chief of the Walla news website to run for Knesset on behalf of Habayit Hayehudi party. Magal said that “High up in the company, Netanyahu’s people, who exerted tremendous pressure through Shaul Elovich (the Walla owner) and Ilan Yeshua (the Walla CEO), who wanted to move me. Finally, they also moved me, dropped me from the responsibility on the Walla homepage and I reached a dead end in my career because I did not deliver the goods. That's the truth. I went to politics because I had nothing to do. I never wanted to be a politician, I had no dreams of being in the Knesset - but the situation was such shit in Walla and Naftali Bennett called - so I said I would go with him. " [NOTE: In late 2015, Magal resigned from being an MK after being accused of sexual harassment by female journalists working under him when he was an editor at Walla. - OH] (Maariv)
  • 1,400-year-old Byzantine Hammer and Nails Discovered in Ancient Jewish Village of Usha - Smelting waste found in the village of Usha, where the Sanhedrin sat after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, indicates local ironworking. (Haaretz+)
  • 51% of Israeli Jews Believe U.S. Jews Not Supportive Enough of Israel, Haaretz Poll Finds - New survey commissioned for Wednesday’s inaugural Judaism, Israel and Diaspora Conference offers fascinating snapshot of Israeli Jews’ views on God, observance and their U.S. counterparts. (Haaretz+)
  • Military Aid to Israel Becomes New Battleground in Democratic Party - Three different positions emerged among presidential candidates on whether to use aid as a form of leverage. Sen. Michael Bennet tells Haaretz why he opposes the idea. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel, US seek tighter UN scrutiny of Palestinian refugee agency - "UNRWA is a burden to the international community. It utilizes the world's funds for the dissemination of false narratives against Israel and systematically avoids fulfilling the mission for which it was established," says Israeli ambassador to the UN. (Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinian Islamic Jihad seeks rocket-launchers in West Bank - Efforts to replicate the rocket threat in the Gaza Strip have been nipped in the bud due to Israel’s intelligence network and nightly counter-terrorism raids. On Sept. 23, Channel 12 news in Israel reported that Palestinian Authority security forces thwarted an attempt by a Palestinian Islamic Jihad cell to assemble rockets in the West Bank. Meanwhile, Iran-backed PIJ has been challenging Hamas, as it seeks to position itself as the “authentic” armed faction that confronts Israel. (Israel Hayom)
  • Attempt to bring down an Israeli UAV in Lebanon failed - Following reports in the country about bringing down a UAV in the south of the country, the IDF said anti-aircraft fire was detected over Lebanese territory towards an unmanned aerial vehicle, but there was no damage. (Maariv)
  • A blow to Hezbollah: How Hariri defied Nasrallah and paved a way out for himself - Hezbollah tried to prevent Hariri's resignation as part of its attempts to manage the fallout of deep political unrest in Lebanon. Now its hands are tied. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Day after resigning, Hariri says ready to be Lebanese PM again, official says - Saad al-Hariri wants to lead new cabinet following unprecedented anti-government protests, according to a senior official. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Algerian protesters march on in defiance of 'The Power' - Algeria's old guard hopes the December 12 election will end a state of constitutional limbo and create a government with enough legitimacy to wear down demonstrators. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Member of Iraqi security forces killed by rocket inside Baghdad's green zone - A witness saw the rocket approaching the Iraqi capital's zone housing government buildings and foreign missions. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • 'We in Iran know how to deal with protests,' Soleimani told Iraqi officials in surprise visit - The day after Gen. Qassim Soleimani’s visit, the clashes between the protesters and security forces in Iraq became far more violent, with the death toll soaring past 100 as unidentified snipers shot demonstrators. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Khamenei Accuses U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel of Stoking Unrest in Middle East - The supreme leader praises how Iran put down unrest in 2018, urging protesters in Iraq and Lebanon to halt anti-government protests. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • IAF chief: Security challenges posed by Iran becoming more complex - "In addition to the missiles and rockets, there are also attack drones and cruise missiles now," Israel Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin tells new officers of the Israeli Air Defense Command. "I know that in the near future I will be meeting you at your posts," he says. (Maariv and Israel Hayom)
  • Seven countries issue Iran-related sanctions on 25 targets - Twenty-one of the targets announced Wednesday comprised a vast network of businesses providing financial support to the Basij Resistance Force which is part of the Revolutionary Guards Force. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • U.S. to Renew Waivers Allowing Non-proliferation Work With Iran - Trump admin plans to allow Russian, Chinese and European companies to continue work at Iranian nuclear facilities to make it harder for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • WATCH Pentagon releases video of al-Baghdadi raid - ISIS might be planning a retribution attack, general warns. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Syria invasion: U.S. House backs Turkey sanctions, recognizes Armenian genocide - The Democratic-controlled House voted 405-11 in favor of a resolution asserting that it is U.S. policy to commemorate as genocide the killing of 1.5 million Armenians. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Bursting at the seams: Inside an IS prison in Syria - An exclusive peak into the facility where the Kurds are holding thousands of dangerous Jihadists reveals prisoners from all around the world sleeping on the floor, some severely ill; 'I want to go home, wish I hadn't answered the call to arms,' says one prisoner. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Turkey summons U.S. ambassador after House recognizes Armenian genocide and condemns Syria incursion - Turkish government says it rejects resolutions, which signal further deterioration in Turkish-American relations. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Belgium names first ever Jewish, female prime minister - Sophie Wilmès holds a degree in applied communication and financial management, and previously worked as an economic and financial adviser in a law firm. In recent years, Belgium has seen an increase in anti-Semitism and even physical attacks on Jews. (Israel Hayom)


Features:
Retelling the Tale of Two Heroines and Their Guns
A play about one female Zionist legend of the Haganah led to the discovery of a historical pistol belonging to another. Al-Halaq, 26, who has Israeli citizenship, hit an armored border police vehicle two weeks ago with his car in the Al-Amari refugee camp near Ramallah. He was shot and evacuated in serious condition to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. (Nir Hasson, Haaretz+)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
How Israeli Schools Teach Pro-settler Religious Nationalism as the Only Way to Be Jewish (Noga Brenner Samia, Haaretz+) Raising a pious, pro-settler generation: Israeli schoolkids are now targets of a state-sponsored campaign of political and religious indoctrination.
My call for the eviction of Yitzhar (settlement) brought out the Kahanists and Smotriches from their holes (Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg, Maariv) The Kahanist party in which he previously ran for Knesset did not come close to reaching the minimum threshold, and the vision of “to die on the Temple Mount" is light years away from the Israeli consensus. MK Zandberg answers Aryeh Eldad.
Are police, army trigger-happy towards minorities? (Yoav Keren, Yedioth/Ynet) When it comes to some sectors in society, the police seem to have an itchy trigger finger - especially Arabs, Bedouins and Ethiopian Jews; but where does the line cross between law enforcement and abuse of power?
Yigal Amir Won (Yossi Klein, Haaretz+) Twenty-four years on, the bottom line is that Yigal Amir won. He achieved all his goals and more. He not only stopped the peace process, killed the man who led it and brought his rival into power, he ushered in an era that shall bear his name – the era of there’s no one to talk to, nothing to talk about and anyone who does talk will have to face the consequences.
Lessons (not) learned (Dr. Limor Samimian-Darash, Israel Hayom) There is no novelty in the fact that, in its refusal to rise above petty politics, the Left forgets its commitment to individual rights and democracy. The question is why the national-religious Right opts to remain silent.
While Hezbollah rules Lebanon, it does not aspire to be the sovereign (Tal Lev Ram, Maariv) The organization is an important force in strengthening the Shiite axis in the Middle East, but it does not act as the political sovereign. This separation allows the country to enjoy relations with Western countries.
'Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick' (Uri Bar-Joseph, Haaretz+) Israel has a big military stick, but over the years its leaders have learned its limits as well as the price of wielding it with a heavy hand. The trauma of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, which was also a product of outsize confidence in our strength; the heavy price exacted by the first Lebanon war, in 1982, a war of choice; the first intifada, which showed that the occupation has a price; and the dismal way that the Second Lebanon War, in 2006, ended, were all important chapters in this learning experience. The caution with which Israel operates in the Gaza Strip is largely a result of the experience gained in similar operations against Hamas. But caution in applying force is not a substitute for the advice with which Roosevelt’s adage begins: Speak softly. Israel has ignored that part for a decade, and consequently we now find ourselves contending with significant strategic difficulties that could worsen in the future.
Growing concern in Iran over Iraq, Lebanon demonstrations (Smadar Perry, Yedioth/Ynet) The Iranian leadership blamed Saudi Arabia, U.S. and Israel for instigating the continued riots and spreading 'insecurity and turmoil' which may cause the loss of their sway in both Iraq and Lebanon.
For pro-Palestinian Activists on U.S. Campuses, the Holocaust Is Cancelled (Jonathan S. Tobin, Haaretz+) Denounce Zionism, or we'll downgrade the Holocaust: That's the message of the Benedictine College activists who tried to bully a Holocaust survivor into backing their campaign.
Impersonating a diplomat: Jared Kushner's peace plan has become ridiculous and cliche (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) Kushner's intervention and involvement in the field of peace promotion have so far been revealed not only as futile and of no significant value - but as one great disgrace to the one involved.
'Never again' is here and now (Dani Dayan, Israel Hayom) Anti-Semitism in the US is approaching an all-time high. Government on all levels – federal, state and municipal – must adopt a zero-tolerance policy. It is our right and duty to demand far more concrete action than we've seen thus far.

Elections 2019/Netanyahu Corruption Cases Commentary/Analysis:
Behind justice minister's attack on law enforcement lurks a cornered Netanyahu (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) Facing probable indictment, Netanyahu is now using everything left in his arsenal.
The only thing that interests (Justice Minister) Ohana is to please his master (Ben Caspit, Maariv) The Minister of Justice yesterday delivered an incitement speech that was all slander and hatred lacking any substantiation about the system he heads. He could only have been appointed to his position in North Korea or Israel.
In the Service of His Master (Haaretz Editorial) Justice Minister Amir Ohana is carrying out the mission for which the prime minister appointed him: to head the incitement campaign against the state prosecution and the attorney general, just as they are preparing to decide about indictments in the criminal cases against him. Ohana was not appointed to safeguard the justice system; his public tirade was just the latest round in Benjamin Netanyahu’s fight against Israel’s law enforcement system, part of his attempt to avoid trial. Ohana’s defamatory remarks against the state prosecution the other day could in no way be construed as honest criticism. He did not have the good of the country and the public in mind, only the good of his master, who is entangled in legal troubles.
Change of direction: Gantz and his block are playing the alternative (Ran Adelist, Maariv) The main purpose of the election was and remains a change of direction, not only for the obvious reasons, but also as the revenge of the Peace Camp for abominable murder that served political purposes: the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. This weekend, a rally will be held to mark the 24th anniversary of the prime minister's murder. The keynote speaker will be Benny Gantz. Among the speakers will be the director of the documentary film that examines how Yigal Amir turned from a right-wing activist into the murderer of the prime minister. The rally will take place in Rabin Square. It is scheduled to correspond with the rally in which the prime minister was shot and the parts of the film that will be screened should correspond with the rabbinic preaching and the incidents of incitement that triggered Amir.
Last Days of the Monarchy (Zehava Galon, Haaretz+) The right to privacy is a complex issue requiring a gray, boring discussion, which doesn’t really interest the cult worshippers of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The protest that has arisen about the rights of Netanyahu’s spokesmen and public relations people to the privacy of their cell phone information is essentially a struggle by Netanyahu’s people for privilege, and they should be left to wage this struggle alone.
A glimpse into the day after: what our lives will look like without the current prime minister (Yitzhak Ben-Ner, Maariv) For the first time in a decade, we may be lucky to have lead this country someone who was not a past leader - that is, someone who is not paranoid, who nonstop creates for himself monsters, enemies and conspiracies.
A Sad 70th Birthday for Netanyahu (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Even at the height of the tongue-lashings of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the justified ones and the exaggerated ones, sometimes heart-rending moments pop up. Such a moment occurred on his 70th birthday, celebrated last week in a private home in Tel Aviv, without politicians and with the best of his declared friends…nothing attests more to Netanyahu’s disengagement from the worlds to which he could have belonged. Only two of the dozens of guests were intellectuals, writers Benny Ziffer and Eyal Megged. The next day the guest of honor sent a prime ministerial recorded message to another birthday boy, the singer Kobi Peretz. “I want to wish you everything good in the world,” Netanyahu said to Peretz, another friend from his youth, whose artistic work he delves into frequently and with whom he has heart-to-heart talks long into the night. This is now the prime minister’s intellectual and social world. It’s hard to believe that deep in his heart he doesn’t feel frustration, confusion, loneliness, and perhaps even sadness and shame over the place he finds himself in. Even the greatest of his enemies, and they are many, don’t believe that this is his intellectual level, that this is the landscape he was brought up in, the essence of his cultural world.
Netanyahu’s aim is clear (Uzi Baram, Haaretz+) Benjamin Netanyahu believes that any sin can be wiped away with a “good argument.” The argument needn’t go along with things that were said beforehand. Throughout his last campaign, he aimed to rule out a unity government with Kahol Lavan. He sought a government of 61, and when he failed, he reexamined the cards he held. Since that failure he has sounded set on forming a national unity government, and has even been claiming that this was the objective from the start.

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