News Nosh 11.5.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday November 5, 2019
 

Quote of the day:
"How tense is the business here right now? It's hanging by the thread. But neither side wants to go down that slope, and (both) make efforts so it doesn't happen. We want to end incidents while maintaining the upper hand. They, on the other hand, try to avoid incidents from happening and we try not to give them reasons."
—Lt. Col. Yoav Schneider commander of Battalion 82 explains why Israel bombs Hamas military lookout posts when they are empty and why soldiers don't shoot more Palestinians on the border fence.*

Front Page:

Haaretz

  • Attorney General rejected Prime Minister’s request to investigate leaks
  • In violation of the nuclear agreement - Iran: We doubled the advanced centrifuges
  • Bennett: I rejected an offer from Netanyahu to be appointed minister and a member of the cabinet
  • (State Prosecutor) Nitzan: We made a mistake when we allowed (Deputy State Prosecutor) Ben-Ari to be absent from the hearing in the Netanyahu cases
  • Two detained Jordanians will be released by the weekend and the (Jordanian ambassador) will be returned to Israel
  • Suspicion of murder near (Bedouin town) Tel-Sheva: Two relatives shot dead in car
  • Freedom of fake news // Haaretz Editorial
  • Budget panic // Meirav Arlosorov
  • The whole world is demonstrating and Israel is ignoring it - Airports Authority shrugs off responsibility for air pollution
  • Memory of the Holocaust that we preferred to forget: New (Netflix) series examines what is left from the Demanjuk affair

Yedioth Ahronoth

  • Three women were executed over the last month by their partners…three women who succeeded in escaping the guillotine and killed the prison guard [their husbands] paid for it with many years sitting in jail…State of Israel doesn’t lend a hand and it also forces the woman to choose between two miserable options: Or be a wild criminal or your children will grow up as orphans // Meirav Betito (Hebrew)
  • Three women asked to leave, it ended in murder (Hebrew)
  • The programs for protecting women were frozen
  • The great corruption affair: Two mayors in detention
  • Following the criticism: Rabbi Firer cancelled the charity event (Hebrew)

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

Israel Hayom

  • “No chance of unity government”  - On the way to elections?
  • Deri in an offer to solve the deadlock: “Direct elections for a prime minister”
  • “He received the divorce papers -and shot her”
  • “Cancelling of Rabbi Firer’s event - a record low” -
  • In the name of the brother: “I am continuing the legacy of Beniya” (officer killed in Operation Protective Edge in Gaza
  • Oh, our Kinneret! The water level of the lake dropped by only 60 cm over the summer
  • New corruption affair: Mayors of Kiryat Ata and Tel-Mond detained
  • From Iran to Australia, rise in immigration to Israel: Today, Aliya (immigration) Day


Top News Summary:

Killings - of women by their partners and of two Arab-Israelis within their community - coalition negotiations going nowhere, mayors detained on suspicion of corruption and the Attorney General denying a request to investigate leaks on the corruption cases against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu were top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers alongside the counter-threats by Hamas’ leader.

The day after a senior Israeli minister said that a ground invasion into Gaza and the killing of its leadership was inevitable, Hamas politburo chief, Yahya Sinwar, warned that if Israel attacked, his organization could strike Tel-Aviv ‘for six consecutive months,’ ‘turn Israeli cities into ghost towns’ and ‘turn tanks into burnt iron.’ (Also Maariv)

Elections 2019 Quickees:

  • 'A unity government is dead, and Israel is on its way to a 3rd election'- Senior political official says sides are farther apart than ever, and if Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Lieberman does not rejoin the Right, Israel will hold its third election in under a year. Blue and White: There was a real attempt at a unity government, but it didn't work. (Israel Hayom)
  • Likud is initiating a proposal that will prevent it from becoming the exclusive opposition chairman - In the shadow of the strengthening of the joint list, MK ??  is expected to present a proposal stating that if the opposition has no faction of more than 15 seats - the position will be rotated between party leaders. (Ynet)
  • Bennett says he rejected Netanyahu offer of ministerial post in transitional government - The Hayamin Hehadash chair, who Netanyahu fired ahead of September's election, says he was also proposed a spot on the security cabinet. (Haaretz)
     

Quick Hits:

  • Israel Police Arrest East Jerusalem School Strike Organizer - Parents ask Israel Police to sign agreement not to operate near academic institutions. Previous verbal commitment violated daily, residents say. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel Police Arrest East Jerusalem School Strike Organizer - Parents ask Israel Police to sign agreement not to operate near academic institutions. Previous verbal commitment violated daily, residents say. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel's Housing Cabinet Green Lights Controversial Jerusalem Old City Cable Car Plan - The plan, which was rejected by environmentalists, architects and local Palestinians, has long been disputed by critics who say a transition government shouldn't approve it. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Border Police Car Pelted With Stones at Entrance to Yitzhar Settlement (and to Bat Ayin settlement) - The incident Monday night took place amid an ongoing escalation between security forces and young radical settlers. No arrests were made. Police say incident is attempt by 'lawbreakers' to prevent enforcement of a 'closed military area' imposed on nearby illegal outpost, Kumi Ori. In another incident on Monday, masked individuals threw stones against officials and military vehicles close to the settlement of Bat Ayin in the Gush Etzion bloc. No arrests were made after that incident, either. (Haaretz+ and Walla)
  • This Israeli City Has 25% Arab Residents, but Won't Open a School for Them - There are four preschools in Nof Haglil, but nowhere for children to go afterward. Frustrated by false promises, these families are taking the case to the Supreme Court. (Haaretz+)
  • As Israel celebrates Aliyah Day, 2019 figures point to a peak year - According to official statistics, 28,629 olim arrived in Israel between January and October 2019. Only a decade ago, the number of olim for roughly the same period stood at 17,179. (Israel Hayom)
  • Jordan to return its ambassador to Israel after prisoner (sic-detainee) exchange deal - PM Netanyahu’s office says the handover of the two Jordanian citizens, Heba Al-Labadi and Abdul Rahman Miri, was agreed after talks between Israeli and Jordanian security chiefs. Jordan’s ambassador, who was recalled on Tuesday, will return to his post in Israel "in the coming day." (Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • Construction worker falls to his death in Beit Shemesh - Eyewitnesses say Abdullah Al-Tarada, a 50-year-old construction worker from Hebron who was employed there, fell from a high floor yesterday and was killed. Police have launched an investigation and  company executives are expected to be questioned. His death is the 40th construction-related fatality in 2019. The company in which Al-Tarada was employed has a very problematic background: over the past two years it has received nine safety orders for defects at the site. In addition, it received three work stoppage orders at its construction sites in Jerusalem and in Modiin, following events in which workers were injured. One of the sites was closed for 48 hours. In another incident yesterday, a 24-year-old worker  fell from a height at a construction site in the Kfar Saba area and was seriously injured and hospitalized. (Times of Israel, Yedioth Hebrew and Maariv)
  • Charity concert cancelled following uproar over exclusion of female singers - Orthodox rabbi whose life’s work is healing seriously ill patients for free says he is ‘proud of my way of life,’ nixes Shlomo Artzi tribute show after some artists canceled. (Times of Israel)
  • Israel's Battle to Ban Plastic Disposables Stops at the Army's Mess Hall Doors - While many schools and synagogues are no longer using throwaway dishes, the army is dragging its feet. Ministry plan to reduce use of plastics has been stymied by a nonfunctional government. (Haaretz+)
  • New Netflix series centers on Nazi camp guard Demjanjuk - After success of other Israel-centric shows, 'The Devil Next Door', directed by two Israelis, focuses on the life of the infamous concentration camp guard known as Ivan the Terrible and will be available in November. (Ynet)
  • At least five dead as Iraqi security forces clash with Baghdad protesters - More than 250 Iraqis have been killed in demonstrations since the start of October against a government they see as corrupt and beholden to foreign interests. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Israel in first reference to demonstrations in Baghdad: “We identify with Iraqi citizens" - After three other protesters who tried to set fire to the Iranian consulate in Karbala were shot dead, Minister Katz said: "We empathize with the Iraqi people's struggle for freedom and a for a good life, and vigorously condemn the acts of repression and murder against the protesters led by Qassim Suleimani and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards," Katz wrote on Twitter. (Maariv)
  • Iranian Judoka, Who Was Forced Not to Compete Against an Israeli, Gets Refugee Status in Germany - Saeid Mollaei is now allowed to live in Germany, where he has resumed his training toward competing on the so-called refugee team in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. (Haaretz+)
  • Gazan refugees in Belgium protest against ‘crackdown’ on Palestinian asylum requests - New movement organizes marches, daylong ‘hunger strikes’ to protest ‘great injustices’ over how applications are allegedly now being handled by Belgian authorities. (Haaretz+)
  • Twitter suspends Hezbollah and Hamas affiliated accounts - Hezbollah-affiliated TV station Al Manar accuses the social media network of caving into 'political pressures,' while Israeli army spokesman praises the move. (Haaretz)
  • WATCH Viral 'protest DJ' provides the beat for Lebanese crowds - Lebanon's protesters say their goal is to topple parliament, president. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Fox News poll: Trump Syria withdrawal unpopular, most Americans don't believe ISIS defeated - Poll finds that Trump's approval rating did not receive a bump from announcement of ISIS leader's death. (Haaretz)
  • Turkey vows to repatriate ISIS prisoners despite countries revoking citizenship - Earlier on Sunday, the interior minister warned Turkey is no hotel for the foreign fighters. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran marks 1979 takeover of U.S. Embassy - Main event is hardliners' rally at former American mission in Tehran, address by Iranian commander; demonstrators at other rallies chant 'Death to America!' and 'Death to Israel!' (Ynet)
  • Iran announces new breach of nuclear deal on 40th anniversary of U.S. embassy takeover - Tehran announced that it is now operating 60 IR-6 advanced centrifuges and is working on an even more advanced prototype centrifuge. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
    Iran's decision to speed up uranium enrichment 'unacceptable,' says German FM - Iran scales back compliance wtih 2015 nuclear deal, goes from producing some 450 grams (1 pound) of low-enriched uranium a day to 5 kilograms (11 pounds), the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran says. (Israel Hayom)
  • Iran student leader says he regrets 1979 US Embassy attack - "Like Jesus Christ, I bear all the sins on my shoulders," says Ebrahim Asgharzadeh, who cautions others from following in his footsteps. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)


Features:

This elusive Jihadist commander in Gaza is challenging both Hamas and Israel
Unburdened from responsibility for Gaza civilians, Baha Abu al-Ata has more freedom than Hamas to take action against Israel. (Jack Khoury, Haaretz+)
The millionaire trying to sell Messianic Judaism to the world
Millions watch him on television and online, he has built an empire from donations, blessed Trump before the election and almost bought a house next to the Western Wall; a 'rabbi' in his own eyes, former wrestler Kirt Schneider leads the movement that Judaism warns against. (Itamar Eichner, Yedioth/Ynet)
The Tainted Success of Egypt’s El Gouna Film Festival
The annual event on the Red Sea coast is a great showcase for Arab film, but also for the objectification of women. (Rajaa Natour, Haaretz+)
 
Commentary/Analysis:

Tel Aviv Court Rules That Foreign Workers’ Children Are Human After All (Mordechai Kremnitzer, Haaretz+) Whether the ruling to let these children have an opinion of their fate is upheld or not might determine the character of the country.
Not a Question of Discipline (Haaretz Editorial) Dr. Mordechai Kedar, a scholar in Arabic culture and a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University, said the real murderer of Yitzhak Rabin was a man whose initials were Y.R., not Yigal Amir. His words were harshly rebuked by the entire political spectrum. The university did well in dissociating itself from Kedar, clarifying that a conspiracy theory touted by him is his own, and is not accepted as a historical fact by the academic institution which is his academic home. However, Kedar’s statement was made outside the classroom, far from the university and not in any academic framework. They reflect his views, not those of Bar-Ilan University. Thus, there is no reason to hold a disciplinary hearing. Punitive measures against him will hamper his freedom of expression. The conspiracy theory touted by Kedar about Rabin’s murder is not the expression of an opinion but an alternative, groundless description of reality, voiced by a teacher and academic researcher speaking in public by dint of his scientific authority, which is ratified by the academic institution which employs him. Despite this, the battle against fake news or conspiracy theories should not be waged through disciplinary committees or courts. His students, readers and followers should wonder about his grasp of reality.
Demi Lovato, the Portland Trailblazers and you (Moshe Hill, Israel Hayom) The BDS movement is ineffective at damaging the Israeli economy, so instead it targets anyone who dares associate with Israel, however remotely.
The Greatest Gift Benny Gantz Could Give Gaza's Iran-backed Islamic Jihad (Muhammad Shehada, Haaretz+) Gantz’s macho opportunism, calling to restart targeted assassinations, is deeply irresponsible. That failed Israeli policy only revives support for Gaza’s most militant jihadists.
Israel can tackle threats by non-military means (Giora Eiland, Yedioth/Ynet) Changing the paradigm in Gaza to mirror the situation in Lebanon will create a reality in which Hamas has too much to lose by opting for violence over calm, while the crisis across the northern border affords an opportunity Jerusalem must not miss.
New Israel Fund’s war on Jewish life (Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) By creating a mechanism to fund fringe groups, it is attacking not just Israel, but also a federation system vital to maintaining Jewish institutions in America.
With Latest Nuke Deal Breach, Iran Forces Remaining Signatories to Face Hard Dilemma (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Putting a stop to these violations, which Iran isn't even making an effort to hide, lies in direct negotiations between Tehran and Washington.
Sultan Erdogan's long list of problems (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) Relations with the US have worsened while dependence on Russia has grown. No one in the Arab world wants anything to do with him. His invasion of Syria is destined to end in calamity. And at home, his economy is in shambles.

Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:

There is no room for comparison: The political situation that preceded the murder of the late Yitzhak Rabin wass completely different from the political situation in Israel today (Sever Plocker, Yedioth Hebrew) Many Israelis who lived here in 1995 remember the period before Rabin's assassination. The memory is deeply ingrained in consciousness and it cries out as comparisons grow between then and today. There are comparisons between the period preceding Rabin's murder and the present days. These are misleading comparisons. The truth must not be blurred: Yitzhak Rabin was murdered not because he made speeches or demanded the good of the law enforcement system. He was murdered because he headed a government that reached a historic agreement with the Palestinian Liberation Movement on the division of land between the two peoples. He was murdered because he was standing on the lawn of Washington in Washington, headed by PLO Yasser Arafat, shaking his hand and signing with him an "interim agreement" that implied an Israeli willingness to withdraw occupied territories in 1967. Not all of them, almost all of them, through the eviction a long string of Jewish settlements established on them. Rabin was neither an ideologue nor a gifted speaker, even as he read the excellent texts that Eitan Haber composed for him. It was not because of them, as mentioned, that he was murdered. He was murdered for his actions, for his activities. In harsh, impossible conditions, with the leadership of the PLO, which was paralyzed by internal disputes, he continued to strive for Israeli-Palestinian peace. Rabin did not give up the vision of ending the conflict; Had he raised his hands he would not have been murdered. Giving up contradicted his whole personality. Returning from the Middle East Summit in Amman in October 1995, he intended to formulate a detailed plan to implement more parts of the Oslo Accords, despite the attacks. His killer - and the inciters to murder - knew it. In their view, murder was merely a tool to stop progress on a final agreement and withdrawal (from the Palestinian Territories.) Therefore, one must be very careful with comparisons. Yitzhak Rabin walked on an unpaved road towards an agreement with the Palestinians that tore the (Jewish) people apart. Nowadays, none of the major parties even has a shadow of a plan to engage with the Palestinian leadership in the Occupied Territories, even though it is more moderate than it was then. The view that there is nothing to do anyway and nowhere to go on this fateful issue is shared by the Likud leadership and the Kahol-Lavan leadership. The disputes between them focus on issues concerning the personal behavior of the Netanyahu family in media and in egal contexts. They are light years away from the atmosphere that swept the Israeli streets in the summer and fall 24 years ago, when the terror of murderous (Palestinian) attacks mixed in with the hatred of the "traitors" who allegedly caused it. The slogan used in the people’s rally in Tel-Aviv, at the end of which Rabin was murdered, was "Yes to peace, no to violence" - then reflected the reality of a painful and bloody peace versus violent and murderous nationalist- religious violence. The idea of a government of unity with the inciters was not at all debated. We should remember that. We should remember not just what it was, but mainly why it was: Rabin was murdered because he was tirelessly making peace.
U.S. Jews Treat Israeli Arab Leaders as Equals. Decent Israelis Should Try It (Anat Saragusti, Haaretz+) Within the space of days, I witnessed the dark, disturbing gap between U.S. Jews' egalitarian embrace of Israeli Arabs - and their invisibility in Israel's public square, and exclusion from government.
The line Gantz can't cross (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) Blue and White leader Benny Gantz should be able to show at least as much backbone as some of the other MKs in his party, who are refusing to bankrupt their values by joining forces with the Arabs to topple Netanyahu.
A center-left minority government is a bad option that can save Israel from itself (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) It may spark controversy and even civil unrest but it will liberate Israeli democracy and rule of law from Netanyahu’s nefarious designs.
Netanyahu's campaign against the rule of law (Dr. Baruch Leshem, Yedioth/Ynet) If bribery charges are dropped, Netanyahu and his advisors believe, public perception will be that none of the remaining charges - fraud and breach of trust - would warrant the removal of a prime minister.  By accepting the arguments of the prime minister's legal team, Attorney General Mendelblitt may be handing Netanyahu a win in the election campaign, complete with the slogan that without bribery, there is no case against the prime minister…If the bribery clause in the 4000 Case is removed, the PM will run for election under the slogan: "I told you they were persecuting me.” Remember: fraud and breach of trust are criminal offenses punished by prison.
 

Interviews:

*Commander explains why empty Hamas positions are being attacked: "Want to convey message, not war"
Lt. Col. Yoav Schneider commander of Battalion 82 of the armored division tells his soldiers on the Gaza border "The truth, without excuses: If we were to act according to the guidelines for opening fire, 10 to 20 Palestinians would be killed a day, but the policy is different." (Interviewed by Yoav Zitun in Ynet)
"Many times I explain to the soldiers that we wait for a (Hamas miilitary) post to be emptied in order to hit it and (that way we) convey a message that we are not interested in an incident - for example, an attempted infiltration, or shooting or rocket fire - and on the other hand we want the balance to be such that it does not send us into war now. I explain things to them this way. It helps more than finding reasons or excuses."
"How tense is the business here right now? It's hanging by the thread, but neither side wants to go down that slope, and make efforts so it doesn't happen," the commander said (about the situation with Gaza). ”We want to end incidents while maintaining the upper hand. They, on the other hand, try to avoid incidents from happening and we try not to give them reasons."

"Every soldier should have the desire to kill an enemy and eliminate terrorists - it's part of our education, to strive for contact," Schneider added. "If this is an operational incident as part of a threat removal, I expect the soldier will not ask me for permission, but will shoot at the enemy. Afterward, we will investigate it professionally. But in most cases it is a reaction to an attempted penetration or to rockets, and then we want to shoot at a outpost to convey the message that we do not accept the shooting. The soldiers must understand this balance. You can't just be in the bubble of the patrol car and be frustrated. That’s also not the work plan. As senior military official said: "The decision on the purpose of the shooting is made according to the situation and assessment of the situation"

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

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