News Nosh 11.7.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday November 7, 2019
Quote of the day:
"Today it’s foreigners, tomorrow it will be Israelis. Because what’s the difference? If an opinion is dangerous, it should be forbidden to all."
--Haaretz commentator Gideon Levy writes against the High Court decision to allow the deportation of a human rights organization director because of his support for boycotting settlements.*

You Must Be Kidding: 
“The main reason I went to social media is because I can’t tolerate injustice. I’ve been quiet my whole life in the face of evil and injustice, and now I have a tool to balance it, sort of.”
—Son of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Yair Netanyahu, who has used his online presence to defend his father with often incendiary social media posts, which he has had to delete on multiple occasions and which even cost him his job as a social media coordinator at Shurat Hadin, a right-wing Israeli advocacy legal organization.**

Front Page:

Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The (sick) baby in the (hospital) hallway - Pediatric ward, Soroka Hospital (Hebrew)
  • He honked at the gag order: Minister Ohana revealed in Knesset (details of) the interrogation of Hefetz
  • Minister of Judgments // Sima Kadmon

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

Israel Hayom
  • State Prosecutor and the police are not above suspicion // Amnon Lord
  • Storm in the judicial echelons: (Justice) Minister Ohana revealed prohibited detailed, Attorney General GINA
  • Israel-Iran: End of ambiguity // Yoav Limor
  • Corruption and a romance with a lover: CEO of UNRWA was suspended and resigned
  • “Lieberman suffers from schizophrenia” - Leitzman in a fighting interview - “If I sit (in a government) with Lieberman, I will be afraid he will betray me...We will keep the (right-wing) bloc even at the cost of (another) election”
  • Good for children and the economy: Bank of Israel proposes no more school on Fridays
  • Solution to the violence: Acoustic sensors will locate shooting in real time
  • It’s time to investigate the investigators also here // Gilad Zweik

Top News Summary:
Justice Minister Amir Ohana ignored a gag order and gave unsubstantiated information, which he claimed was from the questioning of Nir Hefetz, former spin doctor of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu-turned state witness, sparking condemnation from the Attorney General, Chief Justice and State Prosecutor and making today’s top story in the Hebrew newspapers. And, oddly, a Wednesday report from a Chinese news agency that Russia captured in Syria advanced Israeli missile technology from a missile of the Israeli David's Sling air-defense system that Israel fired, but which did not explode, was all over the Hebrew websites Wednesday, but did not make it into the print papers on Thursday.

Minister Ohana said that during the questioning of Netanyahu confidant, Nir Hefetz, in the Case 4000, police brought in a young woman and asked her a series of intrusive questions on the nature of the relationship between Hefetz and her and then let her speak to Hefetz in the hallway. Attorney General Mendelblit called Ohana’s breach of a gag order “extremely grave and a distortion of reality.” Commentators say this was both an attempt to place doubt in Hefetz’s testimony against Netanyahu and to get him to end his agreement with the state to be a state witness. Hefetz's attorney told Maariv that Ohana’s remarks were a ”crossing of red lines” and that causing Hefetz “difficult days for him, both his family and his elderly parents. He is going through a difficult period and definitely does not feel well. Anyone can guess for themselves." Nevertheless, he said Hefetz “does not regret the deal with the state. He is bound by the agreement. He gave true testimony and would protect it as much as needed in court.”
Quick Hits:
  • Thursday: Five Settlers Arrested on Suspicion of Attacking Israeli Policemen at West Bank Outpost - The clash came after police prevented illegal construction work at the outpost of Maoz Esther. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel releases two Jordanian nationals held in detention - Jordan's ambassador to Israel, who was summoned for consultations last week to protest Jerusalem's detention of the two detainees, will return in the coming days. Dichter: “Their arrest prevented terror activities.” (Haaretz+, Ynet and Maariv)
  • Netanyahu aide: Settlements are a divine blessing - Deputy Chief of National Security Council Foreign Affairs Reuven Azar said that "the return of Jews to Judea and Samaria is not a curse but a blessing, and the unwarranted call for evacuation is a call for destruction and chaos." (Arutz7 and Haaretz Hebrew)
  • A complaint was filed with the Civil Service Commission against the deputy chief of the National Security Council following his comments on the settlements The left-wing organization appealed to the commission demanding disciplinary proceedings against Reuven Ezer. Haaretz reported that Reuven Ezer told the evangelicals that the settlements were realizing of a divine promise and called to fight their opponents. (Haaretz Hebrew)
  • Despite pledge, Netanyahu again seeks to delay removal of West Bank village - State wants to postpone High Court hearing on pro-settlement group's petition to remove Khan al-Amar until March 2020, on the grounds that a government has not been formed since a previous request for a postponement was made in June. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Trump refused Netanyahu's request to transfer money to the Palestinian Authority - In the US State Department, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer's request was addressed to the US President who responded that if the issue was important to Netanyahu, he should pay the Palestinians himself, Channel 13 News reported Wednesday night. (Maariv)
  • Civil servants get involved in the network - For the first time, State Commission published a list of things prohibited from writing on social media networks: 70,000 civil servants and another 230,000 workers are subject to the Discipline Act, including teachers, Social Security workers, and religious council workers. The offenders will be subject to disciplinary proceedings. And these are the prohibitions: racist and racist statements about one's ethnicity; Discriminatory statements towards a person; Statements that are sexual harassment; Statements that support terrorism or committing offenses, directly or indirectly; Political statements; Expressing insulting or hurtful attitude towards the Knesset and its committees, as well as the government and its offices. (Yedioth/Ynet Hebrew)
  • Evangelical-funded Israeli Charity Drops Plan for Flagship Project in Jerusalem - The late founder had envisioned the new center as a place where Christian tourists could be trained to become 'ambassadors' for Israel abroad and help combat the BDS movement. (Haaretz+)
  • Education Ministry removes LGBTQ content from website - Despite receiving much praise when videos were uploaded, the ministry has yet to give full answer as to when clips will return to website; some affiliated with project link move to pro-conversion therapy comments by Peretz. (Ynet)
  • Israel Aiding Syria's Kurds, Deputy Foreign Minister Says, advocating for them with US - Tzipi Hotovely tells Knesset that Netanyahu's offer of assistance was accepted: 'We are assisting them through a number of channels.’ (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Samer Arbid, the suspect in the murder of Rina Shnerb, is expected to be released from the hospital and sent back to Shin Bet - Arbid is reportedly due to be released from hospital after being critically injured during Shin Bet interrogation. (Times of Israel, JPost and Maariv)
  • Hamas officials head to Cairo for talks on Palestinian elections - Palestinians have said that Israel would be held fully responsible for the failure of the elections if it doesn’t allow east Jerusalem residents to participate in the vote. (JPost)
  • Senior Fatah official: "Israel and ISIS - the same" - Muwaffaq Matar, a senior member of the Palestinian ruling party, published an article in al-Hayat al-Jadida newspaper saying the US only cut off "the tail of the monster,” i.e., ISIS. "However, this monster has a head, and in it is a brain that is capable of growing a different tail and wings...The occupation, settlement, terror, racism, crimes against humanity and rebellion against UN laws and conventions have a state. They named it 'Israel' and established it on the land of Palestine, which is the Palestinian people's historical and natural right." (Maariv and JPost)
  • Alan Dershowitz, Former FBI Director Lobbying for Sanctioned Israeli Billionaire - Diamond and mining tycoon Dan Gertler has been under U.S. sanctions since 2017 for corruption, human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Haaretz)
  • **Israel Exported Only Oranges Until Netanyahu Came, Son Yair in Attack on Israeli Media, interrupted by anti-Trump activists - Speaking at a talk hosted by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Yair Netanyahu says 'radical fringes' took over Israeli media and hound his family. Boteach, who is a vocal supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump and closely associated to Netanyahu megadonor Sheldon Adelson, set the media-hostile tone for the evening with a tirade on civility and ethics, asking potential protesters to reveal themselves in advance. The talk was broken midway by activists — including Code Pink’s Ariel Gold and people associated with organizations such as IfNotNow, Jews for Racial Justice and Never Again Action — who slammed the two speakers for supporting Trump. (Haaretz+VIDEO, Israel Hayom, Ynet Hebrew and Maariv)
  • Gov't allocates NIS 2 million to organizations combating BDS with viral videos - New initiative pushes to increase familiarity with Jewish state, fight BDS lies and incitement, mobilize pro-Israel activists to combat delegitimization and boycott efforts. “This is another important step to assist Israeli advocacy in the world,” says Minister for Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan. (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Oasis or Mirage? ‘Capital of Negev’ in Bid to Turn Itself Into New Israeli Tourist Spot - There are several new hotels in the planning stages in the southern Israeli city of Be’er Sheva, but the first guests will only be arriving at these projects in several years. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel Warns Legal Cooperation With U.S. at Risk if Russian Hacker Not Extradited - State argues against Aleksey Burkov's appeal amid Russia's reported interest in swapping an Israeli traveler jailed on drug charges for the accused man. (Haaretz+)
  • UNRWA chief resigns amid misconduct allegations - Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl replaced by deputy Christian Saunders. Nature of the allegations as yet unconfirmed. (Agencies, Haaretz, Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • NATO recognizes Israel as key medical-assistance partner as it seeks to expand cooperation - During a drill last month dubbed “Crystal Sea 2020,” NATO vessels from the United Kingdom, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria simulated medical emergencies at sea with the Israeli Navy. (Israel Hayom)
  • Rare protest against 'Hamas murderers' erupts in Gaza - The mysterious death of a 28-year-old university graduate, whom his family say was thrown out the window of his home by Hamas police, prompted many to turn up to his funeral with signs and banners, accusing Gaza's rulers of 'cold-blooded murder.’ (Ynet)
  • FIFA says Iraq unsafe to host World Cup qualifying games - Iraq’s 2-0 win over Hong Kong in Basra last month left the national team at the top of its five-team qualifying group. Two teams advance to the next round of Asian qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Tourists stabbed in Jordanian tourist hotspot - Videos from the attack in the popular tourist destination show a bleeding woman lying on the floor and another panic-stricken woman in a blood-stained T-shirt. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Jordanian official: Economy buckling under burden of Syrian refugees - Influx of 1.3 million people fleeing years-long civil war has impacted on government expenditure as well as economic growth and trade with neighboring nations. (Ynet)
  • Saudi Arabia Recruited Twitter Employees to Spy on Opponents, U.S. Prosecutors Say - Riyadh allegedly made coordinated effort to get employees to look up private data. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Israeli robotics delegation to Dubai marks warming Gulf ties - PM Netanyahu greets the country’s triumphant teen delegation to the unofficial “Robotics Olympics” on Wednesday after its groundbreaking visit to Dubai, where it won silver medal in the "Robotics Olympics," giving public expression to Israel's growing and increasingly open relations with the United Arab Emirates. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Iran Briefly Detains IAEA Inspector and Seizes Her Travel Documents, Diplomats Say - The incident at Natanz, the site of a nuclear enrichment plant, was the believed to be the first of its kind since a 2015 deal reigning in Iran's nuclear program was signed. 'There is a real concern that it will harm' future inspections, a European diplomat says. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Thursday: Russia Says 2,000 Relatives of Middle East Militants Pose Security Threat - FSB director Alexander Bortnikov said such people try to reach Russia after leaving conflict areas in the Middle East via humanitarian corridors. (Agencies, Haaretz)

'Jesus Was Just Like Us': The Nazareth Brewery That Makes American Beer
While debates rage over the true homeland of hummus and the genesis of shakshuka, a boutique brewery makes the first Israeli-Arab brown ale. (Ronit Vered, Haaretz+)

*Deport Me, Too (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) If Omar Shakir deserves to be deported, then so do I and others like me. Shakir is being expelled for his views. But his views are my views exactly, even though we’ve never met. If they are forbidden and dangerous, then everyone who advocates them must be deported. Therefore, it is obligatory to deport everyone who holds those positions that were prohibited Tuesday by the Supreme Court, sitting as the State of Israel’s Court of Thought Control. Today it’s foreigners, tomorrow it will be Israelis. Because what’s the difference? If an opinion is dangerous, it should be forbidden to all. We’ll start with foreigners, go on to deporting Arab citizens who support a boycott, and we’ll finish off with the leftists.
The Amir Ohana storm: Every decision by the Attorney General will have a huge impact (Matan Wasserman, Maariv) Although former chief justice Aharon Barak emphasized the importance of the immunity of the MKs, Amir Ohana seems to have checking the limits of the procedure to their ends, if not in violation of the law. Now Attorney General Mendelblitt will have to decide on the issue. Many compared Ohana's behavior to the behavior of Knesset members Zehava Galon, Dov Hanin and Ahmed Tibi, who also violated a gag order in the ‘Prisoner X affair’ in 2013. But legal sources find major differences between the behavior of the minister and the behavior of Galon, Hanin and Tibi. Law sources who are familiar with the laws and nuances of …immunity of Knesset members, said this time contrary to the past - and since the attorney general has already said that things will be examined, the decision is entirely in the hands of the Attorney General Avichai Mendelblitt and it will have wide implications. The same sources I spoke with argue that in Ohana’s acts there, allegedly, may be faults whose significance is the harassment of a witness and an attempt to influence together with with improper pressure on witness - in this case, Nir Hefetz. When is it right to use the immunity, ask those sources? The answer is when disclosing information has value value for public knowledge. This is not the case with Justice Minister Ohana's behavior, they say.
Israel's Justice Minister Declares War on Key Witness Against Netanyahu (Yossi Verter, Haarez+) Amir Ohana’s attempt to intimidate Nir Hefetz amounts to witness harassment.
Emulating Trump’s Anti-whistleblower Campaign, Israeli Justice Minister Ohana Flouts the Law to Protect Netanyahu (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Since his temporary appointment in June as Justice Minister, Ohana has emerged as Bibi’s version of U.S. Attorney General William Barr. After alleging a 'deep state' in Israel’s legal system, Ohana breaks gag order to taint a witness and to undercut Netanyahu’s imminent indictment.
Early celebration: The revelations about Nir Hafetz's investigation will not undermine Case 4000 (Ben Caspit, Maariv) This is how it works, the police exert pressure, do exercises and manipulate - no one breaks down in the investigation following a tepid cup of tea. This was the case with Olmert cases, and so was the case with the state witness, Nir Hefetz.
Blunt, Flawed, Wise and Bold: I Don’t Glorify Rabin, but I Mourn Him Every Day (Aaron David Miller, Haaretz+) Rabin was famously, and brutally, blunt: he thought Americans like me were hopelessly naive about the Mideast. But his kind of honest leadership is missing in Israel today.
As long as the Joint List leads the protest (against violence in Arab society), it has no chance (Yusuf Hadad, Maariv) It is clear to all that violence in Arab society must rise to the top of the agenda in the country, but as long as Palestinian flags are hoisted - there will be no solidarity by Jews with it. Obviously, as Arab MKs, they became the face of protest. But when they accuse the state and the police of being responsible for the situation in the sector, they take away all of their own responsibility. They do not mention that a year ago they voted against a bill that would allow the establishment of police stations in Arab localities. They are not talking about how they oppose (Arab citizens doing) national service in the security services. They do not note that there is a problem starting with our education in Arab society. Instead of trying to forge cooperation between the Arab leadership and the Israeli police in order to find solutions for law enforcement and security solutions in the Arab sector, Ayman Odeh and his friends are engaged in incitement against the police.
For UNRWA, the party is over (Ron Prosor, Israel Hayom) Donor countries could live with 70 years of fostering hatred and incitement against Israel, but they cannot stand for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees to be tainted by corruption allegations.
How a European Parliament Resolution Distorted the History of WW2 (David Stavrou, Haaretz+) European leaders should base their policy on a moral conception and on well-established facts, rather than on distorting history.
Iran vs. the world: Will the deviations from the sanctions cause a crisis soon? (Yonah Jeremy Bob, Maariv/JPost) Although the Gulf power has not yet done the major actions it has threatened to do, it is sending a threatening message to Israel and the Western states. The big questions are whether Iran will stick to its old plan, which is to pressure the world with its weapons, but will not not make a dramatic breakthrough on the way to nuclear weapons before the US presidential elections in 2020, or whether its cumulative violations will cause a crisis in the coming months.
Peace cannot be made with anti-Semites (Dr. Edy Cohen, Israel Hayom) The time has come to stop willfully ignoring the phenomenon of Holocaust denial in the Arab world and caring about a fight with those who espouse it. Dialogue and rapprochement cannot start anyway from a position of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.

Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
Direct Election for the Prime Minister Is Only the Latest Crazy Idea (Haaretz Editorial) Let it be clear: It is absolutely forbidden to change the rules in the midst of the process of forming the government. Any deviation from this principle takes Israel one step further into the realm of a banana republic. It seems there’s no end to the crazy ideas the bloc’s legislators can concoct to address the legislative-political crisis. Anything to avoid facing the message delivered by voters, who gave Kahol Lavan, the party Gantz leads, the largest number of votes.
Although he learned something, Gantz's record does not guarantee him success in politics (Abraham Tirosh, Maariv) Many have crowned Kahol-Lavan chairman as the late Prime Minister Rabin's successor following his speech at the annual rally marking (Rabin’s) murder. But speeches or ranks do not prepare a person to be a prime minister in Israel.
Lieberman Is No Knight on a White Horse (Zehava Galon, Haaretz+) Tzvia Greenfield has joined the chorus of commentators and journalists pinning their hopes on that political chameleon Avigdor Lieberman (Haaretz in Hebrew, November 4). He is the man who will decide if Benjamin Netanyahu will leave office; he is the one who can, she says, undo the political knot in which Israel is entangled and enable Benny Gantz to form a government. The man of the hour, she calls him.  The temptation to do this is certainly great. But it’s a long way from there to the kind of praise that Greenfield lavished on him. Last week, Lieberman called the Joint List “a fifth column.” Not such a surprising statement from someone who built his political career on fascist incitement against Israel’s Arab citizens: calling for making citizenship contingent upon a loyalty oath, the transfer of Wadi Ara and raising the electoral threshold in order to wipe out the Arab parties.
Israel’s Right Wing Revels in Trump’s Gifts. But the Next U.S. President Will Make Israel Pay (Evan Gottesman, Haaretz+) Democrats are wobbling on military aid for Israel. The key trigger? Trump and Netanyahu’s hyper-partisanship, which has put the future of the U.S. - Israel relationship at risk.

Golani Brigades batallion commander tells about the challenges on the Gaza border: "These are youth, we have no interest in hurting them"
Commander of 13th battalion of the Golani Brigade completed an intensive four months of dealing with violent disturbances on the Gaza border, and has a long line of insights and unusual experiences. There is also the challenge of dealing with the turbulent disturbances often on Fridays. "This is an issue of ethics that probes the value of determination, so we need to be ready and very mature," he explains. "This is mainly an event of commanders who are in the field. You have to manage it and not let it manage you."(Interviewed by Tal Lev-Ram in Maariv)
"We talk directly with (the soldiers) at the beginning of operational activity and explain to them the framework of the reality in the Gaza Strip. That is, in what situation they are shooting and when not, what are the conditions are for shooting and who is the commander who approves the shooting and the target. In this way, in my estimation, we greatly reduce the margin of error. We. also know the times, hours, numbers of protesters even the number of buses that will arrive and when. Over time you and some of the people know how to characterize the people on the other side.”
"The achievements we need are very clear: to prevent penetration into Israeli territory, to prevent damage to the barrier, but also to minimize the damage to the other side. In the end, it is mainly youth and children, and we have no intention and interest to harm unnecessarily. We are not those kind of people. We use all available means to to meet the required achievements, of course under the perception of the safety of our forces."

IDF colonel: We target empty Hamas posts to avoid escalation
Colonel stationed along Gaza border says attacks are designed 'to send a message that we do not want any further incidents' while senior military source says most strikes follow 'knock on the roof' or after troops confirm there are no militants in targeted location. (Yoav Zitun, Ynet)

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