News Nosh 12.30.19

APN's daily news review from Israel

Monday December 30, 2019

Quote of the day #1:

“The truth is, Jews in Israel are trying to convince themselves and the whole world that ensuring their own rights necessitates the elimination of the Palestinians’ national rights. According to the deluded conception prevailing among right-wingers, the establishment of a Palestinian state means the negation of the fulfillment of Zionism. Since in their eyes, assailing Zionism is tantamount to anti-Semitism, Palestinian nationhood in an independent state is perceived as anti-Semitic.”
Prof. Zeev Sternhell in Op-Ed in today’s Haaretz.

Quote of the day #2:

“I have come to the realization that Trump is one of the most important presidents in US history. In a world where boundaries are blurred, where it is unclear who is good and who is bad, it is good to know that that the world's superpower is led by a person with moral clarity…”
Israel Hayom Editor-in-Chief, Boaz Bismuth, writes in an Op-Ed in today’s paper.

Front Page:


  • Netanyahu: Immunity is a cornerstone of democracy. I will announce my intentions within two days
  • Prime Minister drafted the cabinet to preempt criticism from the right-wing about the long-term arrangement with Hamas in Gaza
  • Cabinet: 149 million shekels will be cut from the tax money belonging to (and being transferred to) the Palestinian Authority
  • Armed man stabbed 5 people at Hanukkah party at home of rabbi in New York state
  • US attacked Iranian targets in Iraq and in Syria
  • In exceptional move, Home Front commander will announce order that will put night siege on residents of (E. Jerusalem neighborhood of) Issawiyah
  • (Journalist Hadas) Steif testified: (State Prosecutor) Shai Nitzan said the materials in the phone of (former Israel Bar chief Efraim) Naveh “have public importance” (Hebrew)
  • Woman complained that her husband raped her. When she retracted, she was sent for a night in police detention
  • Teachers, stand up (and together we will battle against Education Minister Rafi Peretz) // Nimrod Aloni and Yoram Harpaz (Hebrew)
  • The path to light // Salman Masalcha
  • If you are going to be weak, not in Israel: The talented workers earn like in the OECD. Whoever isn’t - earns 50% less

Yedioth Ahronoth

  • Chaos - The flu fear - Public went to get vaccinated and discovered there are no vaccines
  • Immunity and immunization // Sarit Rosenblum (Hebrew)
  • Hanukkah hero: This is how Joseph Gluck saved his friends in an anti-Semitic attack in New York (Hebrew)

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • Netanyahu in message to High Court: “In democracy, only the people decide”
  • Hatred in heart and a big knife in hand (anti-Semitic attack in NY)
  • The flu fear: The stock of vaccines ran out

Israel Hayom

  • “Immunity is the basis for democracy” - Netanyahu said in a sharp message two days before the deadline for requesting immunity
  • Questions and answers: Everything you wanted to know about the immunity issue
  • From light to darkness: The Hanukkah party was colored in blood (in anti-Semitic attack in NY)
  • Closing accounts with Iran: US attacked in Iraq and in Syria
  • “The breaking in to (suspect, former Israel Bar chief Efraim) Naveh was at the request of his wife”
  • Cabinet approved: 150 million shekels will be cut from the terrorists’ monies
  • Achievements, train tracks and traffic jams: The path that we have made - Review of the decade in transportation

Elections 2019/Netanyahu Indictment News:
The Prime Minister's speech for immunity and the people's lack of immunization shots, an anti-Semitic attack on ultra-Orthodox Jews in New York and a cut to Palestinian tax monies offsetting monies to Palestinians attackers and their families were top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

In what was widely regarded as a ‘sharp message’ to Israel’s High Court, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said it was ‘unthinkable' that the court would decide whether he could serve as prime minister under indictment. The most widely quoted sentence from his speech made at the Likud Hanukkah lighting ceremony was that, ‘In a democracy, it’s the people who decide who leads them, no one else.” Ahead of the court hearing on the case, Netanyahu loyalist, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, compared the Israeli justices to 'Iranian fanatics.’ Netanyahu has four days left to ask the Knesset to give him immunity from the three indictments he faces. A Channel 12 News poll found that the majority of Israelis oppose giving Netanyahu immunity from prosecution.

Meanwhile, Larissa Trimbobler, the wife of Yitzhak Rabin’s murderer, Yigal Amir, decided to establish her own political party. The registrar of parties, Adv. Eyal Globus, asked her: "Declare that you do not support Rabin's murder.” That said, according to Globus, a political party whose goal is to change the legislation that prevents the release of the prime minister's killer - is not legally invalid. (Yedioth Hebrew)

Other Top News Summary:
At the behest of Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, the Israeli security cabinet approved withholding $43 million from the Palestinian Authority’s tax monies that Israel collects and transfers. The money was to offset the amount the PA transferred to wounded Palestinian assailants and the families of those involved in attacks on Israelis. The same decision was made in February, for which PA retaliated by boycotting all tax handovers for more than half a year, stirring concern the PA would go bankrupt.

Quick Hits:

  • Israel to Place East Jerusalem Residents Under Nighttime Curfew in Rare Move - Six young Palestinians with Israeli residency notified of army's plan to employ British Mandate-era regulations, hardly ever used in areas annexed by Israel. (Haaretz+)
  • Taub Center Report: Israel Leads Poverty Rate in the Western World - The 2019 Annual Socio-Economic Status Report shows that social welfare disparities in Israel are widening and the condition of the elderly is getting worse. “In a test of poverty in Israel, according to disposable income, Israel is leading the ranking (along with the US) in the population of poor being 18% compared to the average of 12% in developed countries. It is apparent that Israel's taxation and social security systems are removing people from poverty and reducing the incidence of poverty to a lesser extent than in most other OECD countries,” the study's authors say.(Maariv)
  • Hamas Says Palestinian Authority Helped Israel Kill Islamic Jihad Commander - Source linked to PA denies group's claim that intel operatives in Gaza trailed Baha Abu al-Ata, collecting information on his whereabouts up until he was killed.  (Haaretz+, Ynet, Maariv and Israel Hayom)
  • Abbas rules out Palestinian election without East Jerusalem - Israel decided to ignore and not respond to a letter sent by the Palestinian Authority on Saturday, demanding that the Palestinian residents of eastern Jerusalem be allowed to participate in the Palestinian parliamentary elections, followed by the Palestinian presidential elections. (Ynet)
  • Israel’s Top Court Forces Interior Ministry to Explain Discrimination Against Patrilineal Jews - Case followed closely in both U.S. and former Soviet bloc countries where, children of Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers are widely accepted in the Jewish community. (Haaretz+)
  • Construction worker killed after being hit by concrete pump in Kiryat Gat - A 48-year-old (Palestinian) construction worker dies after being hit in the head by a concrete pump at a construction site in the city of Kiryat Gat, the Magen David Adom ambulance service says. This is the 47th person killed since the beginning of 2019 in accidents in the construction industry. [NOTE: Neither Times of Israel nor Maariv reported that he was Palestinian. - OH] (Times of Israel and Maariv and Walla Hebrew and Ynet Hebrew)
  • Archaeologists Find Hoard of Islamic Coins in Israel: 'It's Like a Hanukkah Present' - Coins placed in a clay juglet 1,200 years ago included rare specimens from North Africa and one issued by Caliph Haroun A-Rashid. (Haaretz+)
  • Muslim women spread Christmas cheer in Gaza - 'Our prophet encouraged us to respect all religions and we like to join with them in celebrating their day,' says designer of project that gives local women training in carpentry and tailoring, and allows them to leave their homes to work. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Hanukkah rituals a 'threat' to Al-Aqsa, Jordanian official warns - Secretary general of Jordan’s Royal Committee for Jerusalem Affairs writes that the Jewish holiday is based on traditions relating to the "false" Jewish Temple, and therefore constitutes a direct threat to the Muslim and Christian holy places in Jerusalem. (Israel Hayom)
  • U.S. Strike on Iran-backed Militia in Iraq and Syria Kills 25, Wounds 55 - U.S. said strikes against the Kataib Hezbollah militia group in response to killing of a U.S. civilian contractor were 'successful' and warned of potential further actions. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)


'Druze Tel Aviv' in Northern Israel Rebrands Itself as a Thriving Cultural Hub
Once priding in high army enlistment rates, Daliat al-Carmel now wants to showcase its artistic scene. (Moshe Gilad, Haaretz+)
From Israel to the Middle East to U.S. Jews: A Look Back at the Decade That Was
The 2010s has been a decade of change. From American democracy to social media and even archeology, the past ten years have seen us revise our assumptions about the progress of history. Haaretz asked ten writers to tell us what has changed in their fields in these past ten years, and write about the decade that was. (Haaretz+)

Elections 2019/Netanyahu Indictment Commentary/Analysis:
Netanyahu's campaign for immunity (Haaretz Editorial) One should tell Netanyahu that a quest for immunity is tantamount to an admission of guilt. His attempt to portray this as something temporary, as if this were only a postponement and not an evasion, reaches new levels of cynicism, constituting a blatant attempt to avoid a trial.
Immunity and immunizations (Sarit Rosenblum, Yedioth Hebrew) Maybe we should learn from our prime minister how to take care of ourselves: personal immunity and personal vaccination are all for everyone...The final week of 2019 opens, not on us, with a sign of survival: While the prime minister is preparing to escape the terror of the indictment that is hovering over him with political and legal immunity, the citizens of the country, whose safety and security he is responsible for, are busy trying to save themselves and those close to them from the threat of flu. Here comes the similarity between the two. While Netanyahu enjoys the support of the best professionals who work for days and nights to ensure his political immunity and freedom, the rest of the country's residents remain exposed. Despite the ongoing health care crisis, which has worsened dramatically with the rise in winter sickness, there is no one to reach out to for help. The hospitals are crowded, the health funds are collapsing under the burden of deficits, but none of the elected officials are fighting their war, our war. For months now, the political deadlock has overshadowed all aspects of our lives. The two systems that run concurrently, that of the Prime Minister and that of all those who are not, indicate the enormous disconnect between the public and those who are supposed to represent it. While Israeli citizens are engaged in real, everyday survival in a country that does not provide basic medical services, our politicians prefer to devote themselves to Netanyahu's war of survival. But it is not only the elected officials who are guilty of the latest news. The medical chaos that characterizes this winter and its predecessors is, first and foremost, the treasury officials who, it seems, are much more committed to the state coffers than the lives of its residents. Anyone who believes that extreme budgeting is a legitimate and effective means of managing such an essential and sensitive system - is sadistic or stupid. Maybe both.
Netanyahu's Likud win is a tenuous victory (Sima Kadmon, Yedioth/Ynet) Any other leader would seek reconciliation with his rival, but the prime minister has his base to contend with and besides, his wife and middle son would never condone it for they like revenge as a dish best served hot.
2010-2019: The Decade in Which All Israelis Became Netanyahu (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Israeli politics has long ceased to be about ideas or real principles. It is only about being the alternative to Bibi.
We are doomed to live through some more blood-soaked campaigns by until end of the Netanyahu era (Ben Caspit, Maariv) Gideon Sa'ar's victory against all of Netanyahu's machinery would have allowed the establishment of a functioning government lacking any great madnesses…Everyone who was following what was happening on the ground realized that Netanyahu would win. Bibi's (Likud campaign) events were packed with adrenaline and enthusiastic supporters. He plowed the state from south to north, personally contacted thousands of people, appeared at the home of mayors and at branches supporting Saar and forced them to hold an event in peoples’ homes on his behalf, he tried to persuade Saar supporters to move to his camp. Netanyahu fought as he has never fought before, perhaps because this time he was fighting not only for power, but also for his life. If he had fought Hamas like this, (Hamas politburo chief) Yahiya Sinwar would have long since converted to Judaism and changed his name to Haim Sanwani.
*Israel’s Left Must Talk Gantz’s Party Out of the Annexation Game (Zeev Sternhell, Haaretz+) If I were a member of Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan, I’d refuse to embrace Labor Party leader Amir Peretz with the same determination shown by the leaders of my party. But I would tell him loud and clear what they only whisper to him: We’re a centrist party with a right wing that’s expected to give us a lot of trouble, while you’re a dyed-in-the-wool leftist. So reach out to Meretz voters, set up a new party and build on the momentum and moral value that comes with the act of consolidating forces. Remember that the success of the previous campaign based on whining and pleading won’t necessarily repeat itself…The truth is, Jews in Israel are trying to convince themselves and the whole world that ensuring their own rights necessitates the elimination of the Palestinians’ national rights. According to the deluded conception prevailing among right-wingers, the establishment of a Palestinian state means the negation of the fulfillment of Zionism. Since in their eyes, assailing Zionism is tantamount to anti-Semitism, Palestinian nationhood in an independent state is perceived as anti-Semitic.

Other Commentary/Analysis:
But Ima, We’re Jews. Why Can't We Cross the Checkpoint? (Umm Forat, Haaretz) The first time I heard my daughter refer to herself as Jewish was when an Israeli soldier stopped us, thinking we were Palestinian. Post #3.
Sage warning (David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom) My father, Prof. Henry Weinberg, warned decades ago of a snowballing assault on Israel as an "apartheid" and "illegal" state; and of enemy attempts to divide the Jewish people.
A total disregard for the peace issue is an unforgivable political crime (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) Failure to promote a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not shameful, but the trampling on the peace issue, as evidenced by the government's conduct in recent years, is the fault of Netanyahu.
**My man of the decade: Donald Trump (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) I have come to the realization that Trump is one of the most important presidents in US history because of his moral clarity, and because he dared to defy political correctness.
Between a long-term arrangement and an escalation: Israel and Hamas seem to be trying to buy quiet time (Tal Lev-Ram, Maariv) Senior IDF officers believe the pendulum is now closer to an agreement with Hamas, but the distance from it is still large, and further escalations may be on the way.
How Israel's Startup Nation Ends Up a Player in Gulf War Games (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) China is becoming a military player in the Middle East, which is going to make things even harder for Israel as the global struggle over technological supremacy heats up.
New year will bring Israel advantage over Iran (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) The Islamic Republic has completed its role in Syria, ensuring that Assad's regime survived the civil war, but despite their vital participation in keeping him in power, the Iranians are becoming less welcome in Damascus.
The Jewish National Fund Should Stop Trying to Kick a Palestinian Family Out of Their Home (Rabbi Michael Marmur, Haaretz+) The JNF used to symbolize the hope for planting and rebuilding. Now it is acting as a proxy for settler groups bent on evicting a family of 18 from their home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.
Shamir to Netanyahu – History comes full circle (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) Under both leaders, Israel found itself at an advantage while the Palestinians flounder, failing to manage their affairs at home.
As Long as the Arab World Keeps Women Down, It Will Not Progress (Salman Masalha, Haaretz+) One of the main reasons the Arab world trails behind is the exclusion of women from decision-making circles that determine the fate of society in all areas of life. This exclusion cries out to the heavens.
Looking at Hanukkah through blurry eyes (Ofir Dayan, Israel Hayom) The most Zionist holiday in the Hebrew calendar is being reinterpreted as a celebration of enlightenment or environmentalism, rather than a commemoration of the Jewish people's brave stance for self-determination.
Israeli Army Zigzags on Integrating Female Tank Operators – and Losing Its Credibility (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) In 2018 IDF said pilot program was a success, but now sources say it wasn’t. Which is the truth?
The loss of public confidence in the courts is similar to the great fire in ancient Rome (Dr. Haim Misgav, Maariv) The house is burning and the High Court Justice continues to behave like the same emperor who played the violin as the empire broke into flames. The comparison is metaphorical of course, but there are many similarities.

"Maybe my story will contribute to peace"
He escaped with his family from the bloody civil war in Syria, enrolled in Tel Aviv Grand Prix as part of the refugee team. Hundreds of thousands of dead, wounded in unimaginable numbers, millions of refugees and displaced people, and huge property damage - these are the dimensions of the Syrian civil war that no one can see ending today. Naturally, the tragedy did not skip over the athletes in the country either, including the judoka Ziad Aoun, 35, who competes in the up to 66 kg weight. Aoun made the decision to leave the city of Aleppo, where severe fighting took place, three years ago. In the Netherlands, he returned to practice after a few years break, and recently also started competing, hoping to reach the Olympics. Today, Aoun is listed under the World Judo Association's "Refugee Team,” with which he participated in only one international competition, the Grand Prix Budapest in July, where he lost in the first battle. Last week, the Syrian judoka surprised people when he signed up for the Grand Prix next month in Tel Aviv. (Interviewed by Oren Aharoni in Yedioth Hebrew)
"The war destroyed our family," says Aoun in an exclusive interview with Yedioth Ahronoth from his home in Rotterdam. "It was impossible to continue living in Aleppo, with all the shelling, blasts and incessant aircraft noise. You can't sleep at night. My wife and I decided to move with our three children to the Netherlands, but we had to say goodbye to the rest of my relatives. I have a brother who is a refugee in Germany, a brother who moved to France, and four brothers in Turkey. Another brother who remained in Syria was killed in the war last year.”
Would you like to represent Syria in competitions?
"Not at all. I’m happy where I am now. If the government's policy changes, it might be possible in the future, but I don't want to represent a country that is killing its people.”
Why is it important for you to compete in Grand Prix in Israel?
“Getting points for the Olympics score is important, but the more important reason is to get closer to peace and to encourage the other athletes, who are all human and need not be afraid. The wars are only done by the politicians, we just want to train and compete, anywhere in the world and against everyone."
How did your family and friends react when you told them you were going to compete in Tel Aviv?
"They encouraged me. They know that the decision is not simple, but it is another step on the road to realizing my dream, and that I have the opportunity to reach a place where I can also convey a message of peace. So, for me, this visit is far beyond Judo."
How will they react to this in Syria?
"They will condemn the act and say that I should be killed, but that won't stop me from doing what I believe in."
It takes quite a bit of courage to make such a decision.
"Yeah, I think I'm brave."
You must be familiar with Iranian Judoka Said Mulay, and the story with (Israeli judoka) Sagi Muki.
"Of course. It is sad that there are countries that do not allow their athletes to compete with Israelis. The move Molay has made gives hope that the situation will be much better in the future."
And now the change begins with you too. Maybe you will bring peace between Syria and Israel.
"I took the first step. A Syrian refugee who comes to compete in Israel is something that does not happen every day, and maybe my story can contribute to peace between countries and stability in the region."
What do you think the sporting relationship between Israel and Syria will look like in ten years?
"I believe we will have joint tournaments. Israelis will come to train with us and we will go to you. True, it takes quite a bit of courage, but maybe the next ones will continue what I started. I hope one day there will be peace between nations, and the first step we take is through sport."
And what can you wish for?
"My dream is to get to the Olympics, but now I just hope that I don't have problems with the visa and that I can get to Tel Aviv. Apart from the competition, I would love to take the opportunity to get to know your country and my Israeli brothers as much as possible. "


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

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