News Nosh 11.6.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday November 6, 2019
 
Quote of the day:
“I don’t know whether to describe myself as an Israeli Arab or a Palestinian. I’m Palestinian to the same degree that I’m Israeli. I’m Palestinian as a fact, and in my identity, but I live in the State of Israel. But what’s important is that food enables people to reveal themselves to one another.”
--Osama Dalal, an Israeli Arab chef from Acre, who has been chosen by the Jewish-Israeli owners of '12 Chairs Cafe,' one of the most popular Israeli eateries in Manhattan, to demonstrate the wonders of Palestinian cuisine in a private room at
the restaurant, for one week beginning today.*

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • This is how collapse (of hospitals) looks - In their view: Monologues of the people who experience the difficult situation in the public health system (Hebrew)
  • Likely: Israelis will be allowed to visit Dubai (Hebrew)
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Mendelblitt, you still have an opportunity to correct the situation // Akiva Bigman
  • Attorney General announced: I will probe the claims about undue pressure on (state witness) Nir Hefetz
  • “The solution to solving the deadlock - direct election (of prime minister)
  • Iran: “We will renew uranium enrichment at Fordo”
  • Good news for recruits: High school matriculation exams will be held sooner, draft dates will be later


Top News Summary:
Following the exposure of possible improper police methods of pressure used to get Nir Hefetz, former confidante of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, to become a state witness against Netanyahu in the corruption cases, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblitt said he would probe them and Iran’s President Hassan Rohani said that today Iran will resume uranium enrichment at Fordow nuclear plant, in the latest step away from 2015 nuclear deal, which the US withdrew from - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Also of interest, for the first time, an Israeli court upheld the expulsion of a foreign resident - who happens to be the representative of a human rights organization - due to his support for boycotting Israeli settlements and another Israeli court awarded thousands of shekels in compensation to Jewish activists at the Temple Mount.

Following the Channel 12 News report about police methods of psychological pressure used against Hefetz to share information about Netanyahu, Likud’s new faction chairman, MK Miki Zohar, called to close all the corruption cases against Netanyahu. ‘Israel Hayom’ newspaper led with an Op-Ed with a similar call. But Attorney General Mendelblitt’s response made that appear unlikely. Mendelblit wrote that a distinction had to be made between claims that someone who turned state’s evidence didn’t tell the truth and “claims of improper actions during the investigation.”Improper actions would be examined and dealt with, he said. Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg said that, “A whole camp remembered the rights of suspects and the rules of interrogations only when it affected the investigations of the Prime Minister…If the Palestinians, left-wingers and any regular witnesses and suspects were to enjoy the change of attitude from now on that would be one thing. But it’s only for the defense of a corrupt prime minister.” (Maariv)

Human Rights Watch Israel director Omar Shakir was ordered out of the country and given 20 days to leave Israel, where he lives, after Israel's High Court upheld his expulsion due to his support for the boycott movement. Shakir and human-rights activists, say the decision was part of an attempt to silence such organizations working in Israel. Justices Neal Hendel, Noam Sohlberg and Yael Willner rejected an appeal by Shakir and his organization, saying they found nothing wrong with Interior Minister Arye Dery’s decision not to renew Shakir’s visa to work in Israel. [NOTE: worthy of noting that Yael Willner was the right-wing choice of justice minister Ayelet Shaked to be appointed a justice. And Justice Noam Solberg took part in ceremony marking 50 years of West Bank settlement despite court president ruling official representation ‘inappropriate.’ - OH]  (Also Maariv)

In a different court, a judge ordered the police to compensate three young men, Temple Mount activists, two of them minors, for 20,000 shekels each, for unlawful detention. Police detained themfor attempting to hang a protest sign on the closure of the Temple Mount for Jews on Holocaust Day in 2017, took them to the police station, questioned them and released them. But it was late at night and there was no public transportation so they asked to stay there till the morning. When they finally left, it had been 15 hours since they were detained. The three filed a tort claim against the police for unlawful detention, Yedioth Hebrew reported.[NOTE: The court decision comes in the same week that a Palestinian employee of B’Tselem was hospitalized after Border Police detained him and kept him waiting in the sun for hours. No lawsuit was filed. - OH]


Elections 2019 News and Quickees:
The idea, suggested by Minister Arieh Deri, of a direct election for prime minister, rather than for the party, has begun taking hold. New Right Chairwoman, Ayelet Shaked, said she supported the idea, and, initially, the Likud party whip said the party did, too. Later the Likud party rejected the idea. (Maariv) A poll found that Netanyahu has a slight advantage over Kahol-Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz in the event of direct elections. Some 40% of respondents said they would vote for Netanyahu, while only 36% stated that they would vote for Gantz. And 24% of respondents chose the option “I don't know" or the option "I will not vote.” (Maariv) But there is an obstacle to the plan. The Speaker of the Knesset clarified that "Direct elections is only possible if a majority of 61 MKs vote for it. (Maariv)
  • Gantz: "Netanyahu is not ready to give up (right-wing) bloc and immunity, he wants to drag Israel into elections" - Against the backdrop of failed attempts to establish a unity government, Kahol-Lavan chairman attacked the prime minister. Yisrael Beiteinu chairman, Avigdor Lieberman: "Understanding that the elections are approaching will eventually shake Netanyahu and Gantz.” (Maariv)
  • Survey: Most of the public believes that the job of the government is also to educate the public - The poll, initiated by the ADL in cooperation with the Dov Lautman Forum, found that almost half the public thinks that gossip and prejudice are the most disruptive factor in living together. (Maariv)
  • Major Crime Unit arrests man suspected of online threats against Netanyahu - Ashkelon man, 55, taken in to custody on suspicion of using fake Facebook profile to upload post warning the police to "get ready" to direct traffic "to the funerals of Benjamin, Sara, and Yair Netanyahu." (Israel Hayom)

 
Quick Hits:
  • Israel's Top Court Upholds Expulsion of Human Rights Watch Director Over BDS Support - State says Omar Shakir supports boycott movement, while he says decision is part of attempt to silence human rights organizations working in Israel. Shakir was given 20 days to leave the country. (Haaretz+, Ynet, Israel Hayom and Maariv)
  • EU condemns new burst of Israeli settlement approvals - Israeli left-wing watchdog group Peace Now says authorities have approved various planning stages for the construction of 2,342 new housing units in the West Bank last month. In a statement, the EU reiterates its longstanding position that all settlement activity on what is calls occupied land is illegal. “It erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace,” statement says. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli Police Detain Three Suspects in Alleged Rape of 7-year-old (Israeli girl) in West Bank Settlement - Two Palestinians and an Israeli driver of the workers were taken for questioning on suspicion of involvement in the rape. The Palestinian workers were detained in the past and released. A different Palestinian man who worked in the settlement was indicted in the case (months ago), but was released after mishandling of the investigation emerged. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • New Film Fund Approved for Only Settlers Under Reform Pushed by Israeli Culture Minister - The establishment of one of the funds, meant to serve only Jewish resident in the West Bank, has drawn harsh criticism. (Haaretz+)
  • Road to Dubai - Gulf hospitality: For the World Expo, due to open in Dubai in October 2020, the advanced Arab state is about to allow tourists with Israeli passports to enter. "Ahlan wa’Sahlan", a senior official in the state's tourism industry said suggested, "Inshallah, Israelis can continue to visit even after the exhibition.” At the exhibition, an Israeli pavilion will be set up in which Israel will present its innovations and solutions in areas of mobility, sustainability and innovation. The six-month exhibition is expected to attract millions of visitors, including tourists from all over the world. (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Family of Israeli Jailed in Russia Drops Petition Against Hacker's Extradition - After speaking to 'government officials' involved in handling Naama Issachar's case, family says 'Naama shouldn’t be a tool in the hands of a Russian hacker and his people.’ (Haaretz)
  • Senior IDF official: Iranians are capable of high-quality attack on Israel - as it did in Saudi Arabia - Chief of Operations Division, Major General Aharon Haliwa, warned in a closed discussion against the security challenges in 2020: "Anyone who thinks such a high-quality attack is not possible against us is not in the profession.” (Maariv)
  • IDF: Our goal is to recruit 40% of religious girls within three years - In the military, they want to recruit 40% of religious girls who study in the state-religious system. Today the percentage of religious girls joining the army is about 27%. [Israel does not require that religious girls to do the military. They can do one year of national service instead.  OH] (Maariv)
  • IDF decided to increase the number of female combat soldiers in the mixed-gender units - The army is changing the mix of division between boys and girls in the same units, mainly to transfer more male soldiers to the infantry and armor divisions. The number of female combat soldiers has increased four-fold over the past three years. (Maariv)
  • Gantz: Israel Must Not Sell Arms to Genocidal Countries, Legitimize Racist Regimes - Benny Gantz, Netanyahu challenger and Kahol Lavan leader, warns against Israeli estrangement of Diaspora Jews. (Haaretz)
  • Following high expenses: Rabin rally organizers are calling for public help - Organizers of the annual event posted a call for financial support on Facebook, after failing to raise the full amount paid. "Much money is still missing to cover production costs," they wrote. (Maariv)
  • Dancing and singing, thousands of young Diaspora professionals gather in Israel - The vibrant event, which saw an unprecedented 2,500-participant turnout in Ra'anana, marks Israel’s largest-ever single gathering of Jews from abroad volunteering and working in Israel. (Ynet)
  • *Acre-born Arab Chef Takes His Place at New York’s Trendy 12 Chairs Restaurant - Osama Dalal is first up as part of the popular eatery's new plan to allow Israeli chefs to show their stuff in Manhattan. (Haaretz+)
  • Sderot business owners: We don't want money, we want a solution - As the Knesset Finance Committee prepares to discuss compensation for restaurateurs and hoteliers in Sderot and the western Negev, business owners say they would prefer to see a permanent solution to the Hamas rocket threat. (Israel Hayom)
  • Report: Qatar is considering ending economic support in Gaza - Reports in the Arab media say that the Persian Gulf state may cease the financial aid that is transferred monthly to the Strip. (Maariv)
  • Hamas threatens cut in financial aid to Gaza will lead to escalation in violence - Qatari envoy to Gaza Strip informs enclave's headship during last visit, that Qatar will struggle to continue transferring monthly $30 million financial aid to Strip. (Ynet)
  • Amid protests and pleas, PA outlaws child marriage - New legislation raises age of consent for marriage for both genders to 18, and while seen as a historic achievement for the Palestinian Authority, many women's rights activists do not believe it goes far enough. (Ynet)
  • Hamas rejects Abbas' preconditions for Palestinian elections - PA President Mahmoud Abbas sends out memo stating that any faction running in parliamentary elections, which have yet to be scheduled, must recognize the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people and honor all agreements it signed. (Israel Hayom)
  • Election 2020: What Trump – and the Democrats – Are Doing to Win the Jewish Vote - Although the Jewish community comprises only 2 percent of the population, it could prove critical in swing states like Florida and Pennsylvania. (Haaretz+)
  • State Department quintuples to $25 million awards for information on Jewish American missing in Iran - Former FBI agent Robert Levinson last seen in Iran 12 years ago when he disappeared in what has been revealed as a rogue CIA operation. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • WATCH Barbers and musicians bring fresh vibes to anti-government protests in Baghdad - In a rare sign of unity, Iraqis gather in Tahrir Square in the biggest wave of mass demonstrations since the fall of Saddam Hussein. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • At least 13 killed by live fire amid renewed Iraq protesters - Protests intensify rapidly over the past ten days as death toll rises to 260 since the start of October. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Turkey captures sister of Baghdadi in Syria, officials say - The sister of the killed Islamic State leader is to be interrogated alongside her husband and daughter-in-law. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
  • In His Final Days, Baghdadi Was a 'Nervous Wreck' Seeking Safety in a Shrinking Domain - The Islamic State leader spent his last months on the move, sometimes hiding underground and disguised as a shepherd in Al-Qaida-linked, rival territory. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Yemeni government, UAE-backed separatists sign power-sharing deal to stop infighting - The deal allows exiled President Hadi to return to the temporary capital in Aden, with separatists agreeing to disband their militias, which would be integrated into Hadi's forces. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Features:
Seven settler families guarded by 15 soldieres conduct a tense coexistence
The soldiers must enforce a 'closed military zone' order, conduct police work and clash with civilians, which is not the kind of mission they want to be assigned to. (Elisha Ben-Kimon, Yedioth/Ynet)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
By Expelling Human Rights Watch Director, Israel's Top Court Legitimizes the Occupation (Mordechai Kremnitzer, Haaretz+) The court's ruling to revoke Omar Shakir's residency and work visa exemplifies the slippery slope Israel is on due to its control of the West Bank, and the court's failure to stop it.
The beginning of understanding Herzl and his Zionism (Gol Kalev, Israel Hayom) Herzl understood that the answer is not the escape from Judaism but rather to return to Judaism! Hence in Zionism, he established a vehicle for such return. Similarly today, the answer to Israel-bashing is not the escape from Zionism, but the celebration of Zionism.
A Political Deportation (Haaretz Editorial) For the first time since a law was passed forbidding foreign nationals who advocate boycotting Israel to enter or remain in the country, the Supreme Court approved the deportation on Tuesday of Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch, because of his support for the BDS movement. Justices Neal Hendel, Noam Sohlberg and Yael Willner rejected an appeal by Shakir and his organization, saying they found nothing wrong with Interior Minister Arye Dery’s decision not to renew Shakir’s visa to work in Israel. In deciding to deport HRW’s representative, Israel has taken another step down the dubious road of authoritarian regimes that deny human rights and silence criticism at any cost, like Syria, Iran and North Korea.
Arab Spring 2.0 (Oded Granot, Israel Hayom) The civilian unrest in Lebanon and Iraq is jeopardizing Iran's interests there, especially since the protestors are no longer demanding a change in the regime – they want to swap out the entire system of government.
(Hamas chief) Sinwar, You Don’t Scare Anyone Here (Rogel Alpher, Haaretz+) Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren published an article on Monday in The Atlantic, “The Coming Middle East Conflagration,” in which he described a scenario of the war that he claims was discussed by cabinet ministers twice in the past week, and for which the Israel Defense Forces is preparing at present. It goes approximately like this: Israel attacks a sensitive Iranian target, an Israeli minister brags and humiliates the Iranians. Iran launches cruise missiles that penetrate the Israeli air defense system and hit the Kirya Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv. In response Israel attacks Hezbollah headquarters in Beirut. Then begins what Oren calls “the real war.” Missiles would rain down on Israel, at a rate of 4,000 a day. The Iron Dome anti-missile system collapses under the burden. And then I asked myself: Who leaked cabinet discussions to Oren? Maybe Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, maybe Netanyahu himself. In any case, it turns out that even in scenarios discussed in the cabinet Israel is portrayed as an empire – our situation has never been better, and our enemies are properly deterred. And that is known even to Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, who is threatening to launch missiles at Tel Aviv for six consecutive months, in response to the promise by Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz to deter Gaza properly when he is prime minister. Sinwar, you’re not scaring anyone here. After the Iranians finish off Tel Aviv, you won’t have anything left to bomb. Go threaten the Egyptians.
An election season of Gaza violence (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) As elections loom in both the Palestinian territories and Israel, politicians on both sides engage in populist moves, which could well lead to a military confrontation in the Hamas-run enclave.
We’re Used to the Noise of Gaza (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Like the collapsing health-care system or the budget deficit, like the faulty handling of railroad problems or the crushing of the legal system – Gaza is an election slogan, an unfulfilled promise, concrete proof of the failure of the government to protects its citizens. And, alternatively, a focal point for garnering support for the omnipotent leader.

Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
In Direct Election for Israeli Prime Minister, Some Right-wing Voters May Defect to Gantz (Jonathan Lis, Haaretz+) It's too early to tell if the trial balloon to hold direct election will take off, but rightists who chose Lieberman's party in September election show that clear division into two blocs doesn't mean voters would split that way.
A unique solution that requires a special law (Gideon Allon, Israel Hayom) Israel has already held an election for prime minister without electing a Knesset. A law to reinstate that possibility would probably pass easily, and would solve the current political impasse.
Impeachment Envy (B. Michael, Haaretz+) During the last few years it’s been hard to find good reasons to be jealous of the United States. It is overflowing with oligarchic corruption, revealing ugly greediness, demonstrating overwhelming stupidity in its choice of president and exhibiting massive doses of obtuseness and racism – in short, hardly an object of envy.  But now a reason has emerged for being green with envy: the impeachment process that has been launched against U.S. President Donald Trump. We’re not simply talking about schadenfreude or rejoicing over the remote chance that this awful man gets removed from his post. It’s envy over the very fact that there is a constitutional impeachment procedure. Because we don’t have one.
Rabin's murder was exploited by the left for a McCarthyist campaign against Netanyahu and the right-wing (Zalman Shoval, Maariv) The rally on Saturday night was not a memorial event for Yitzhak Rabin but rather a political show that sought to advance party interests. The late prime minister has become a tool to attack half the nation.
Police Misconduct in Interrogation of Netanyahu Witness Won't Be What Collapses the Case (Gidi Weitz, Haaretz+) Numerous instances were reported in the past few years in which detectives took improper shortcuts in investigating corruption allegations.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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