News Nosh 1.9.20

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday January 9, 2020

Quote of the day:
"For years the Washington-Jerusalem axis has had a tiring debate about the essence of the "credible military threat" toward Iran, which will deter it from breaking into nukes. Well, the answer was given yesterday: a credible military threat is the one you feel when it's in your face. The Iranians felt it and decided that, with all due respect to Shahid Soleimani, the survival of the regime is paramount."
--Yedioth's Middle East analyst, Shimrit Meir, examines the Iranian retaliation to the US assassination of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani.*

Front Page:
  • Iran attacked US bases in Iraq; Trump: No casualties
  • It’s too early to lose // Amos Haarel
  • End of the beginning // Chemi Shalev
  • Ukrainian plane that took off from Teheran crashed, 176 people killed
  • The senior judge in whose benefit (former Israel Bar chief) Naveh acted: President of the Tel-Aviv district court
  • One killed in flood in Nahariya; Army evacuated residents due to floods
  • “Going out to war”: (Defense Minister) Bennett established task force that will discuss establishing settlements in Area C
  • District court ordered state to hold hearings for children of foreigners who received deportation orders
  • Left-wing parties will form first coalition government in Spain
  • Take care of the children // Noa Leemona writes that Israel needs to end its obsession with fertility and start caring for children who are already born
  • The rabbi has a case // Liza Rozorovsky writes that a country that is not for all its citizens will also divide Jews in first and second class
  • Shai Glick takes care to censor cultural creations that are not patriotic enough and is convinced that the left-wing is the one shutting mouths
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

Israel Hayom

  • “Our patience toward Iran ran out” - Iranian attack - after the missiles, returning to words
  • Rules of the game were not broken // Avraham Ben-Zvi
  • Teheran continues to play with fire // Yoav Limor
  • The shooting: “Revenge” which is all about restraint // Oded Granot
  • Reason for the crash: From failure to negligence // Aharon Lapidot
  • Land of rivers
  • Harry and Meghan surprised: “We will disconnect from the kingdom”
  • Moments of decision: Tension and discussions for unions in the left-wing and in the right-wing
  • Weapon of the future: Israel developed laser for intercepting rockets, anti-tank missiles and drones
  • ‘Haaretz’ newspaper and the issue of supporting terror // Akiva Bigman
  • For the first time: IDF will recruit dancers - in order to escort pop singer Margi

Top News Summary:
Israel’s torrential floods, lethal flu (22 have died from it) and the Iranian retaliation missiles that fell on US bases in Iraq were top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers along with the development of a new Israeli laser that can intercept rockets and anti-tank missiles.

Yedioth called the Iranian missiles that landed on US military bases in Iraq, “half a revenge,” Maariv quoted the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said, “The Americans got a slap in the face,” and the pro-Trump, pro-Netanyahu paper, ‘Israel Hayom,’ quoted Trump, but the commentators and analysts agreed that - for now - the situation has calmed. US President Donald Trump spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu by phone Wednesday. Trump had said earlier that there were no US casualties and that Iran ‘appears to be standing down. A US general said that Iran intended to kill U.S. personnel in the missile attack. But satellite images showed the missile hits were precise and the assessment of some was that Iran deliberately missed hitting the US forces. so as to prevent the crisis from escalating. France advised its citizens in Israel to be cautious in Haifa, a northern city that was hit by Hezbollah rockets in the Second Lebanon War. The Hebrew newspapers also reported on the dozens of people killed in a stampede in the procession for the US-assassinated general, Qassem Soleimani.

Elections 2019 / Netanyahu Indictment Quickees:
  • Publishing Trump's Peace Plan Before Israeli Election Would Be 'Outright Intervention,' Gantz Says - Netanyahu rival was asked about his meeting with assistant to Jared Kushner. 'I can assume they will be careful' about releasing plan, Gantz said. (Haaretz+)
  • Blue & White piles on pressure for Knesset committee to debate PM immunity - Party leader Gantz and senior MK Hendel both warn Likud's Edelstein he will be ousted as Knesset speaker if he does not allow panel to form; speaker has authority to block creation of body in hope that March election will yield more favorable balance of power for the indicted prime minister. (Ynet)
  • Gantz Rules Out Merger With Left-wing Parties: 'No Time for Political Stunts' - Statement comes after Labor Chief Amir Peretz called on Kahol Lavan, Democratic Union to run on a joint ticket in the March 2 election. (Haaretz+)
  • ‘Naftali Bennett, Rafi Peretz meet on new alliance for March elections' - Defense minister (The New Right) and education minister (Habayit Hayehudi party) consider returning to joint run despite relatively poor showing in September 2019 union, which disbanded soon after the vote; Smotrich (Ichud Leumi party) said mulling his own bid to lead right-wing bloc. (Ynet)

Quick Hits:
  • Pompeo: US support for Israeli settlements advances peace with Palestinians - "It's important that we speak the truth when the facts lead us to it," he says through video link at Jerusalem conference. (Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • 'We will not uproot any community, Jewish or Arab, under any peace plan' - "Israel is a regional force, anyone who tries to attack us will suffer a crushing blow," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells Kohelet Policy Forum. (Israel Hayom)
  • Historical 'Jewish presence' key to Israel's territorial claims, US envoy says - "I thank God that President Trump had the courage and the wisdom to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move our embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv," Ambassador David Friedman says at Jerusalem conference. (Israel Hayom)
  • Defense Chief Bennett Announces Task Force to Strengthen Israeli Settlement Activity - Plans put forth would legalize unauthorized outposts and allow individual Israelis to buy land in the West Bank, in a series of controversial proposals that legal sources say are effectively equivalent to annexation. (Haaretz+)
  • In a classified military control room, during a shift: religious classes for female radar observers - Once every two weeks, a rabbi’s wife enters the army at an outpost on the Egyptian border and delivers lessons on religion - while the radar observers are confined to screens and need to remain vigilant. "They became a captive audience," a soldier testified to Ynet. IDF: "The lessons have been approved, but the entrance to the classified control room is contrary to the guidelines of the Chief Rabbi. The incident is being investigated." (Ynet Hebrew)
  • Israeli Gas Is Great – for Egypt and Jordan - Leviathan gas reserve was billed a 'national project'. It's now online but 85% of the gas will go to Egypt, Jordan for a lower price than Israelis pay. (Haaretz+)
  • Work Accident Deaths in Israel Increased 56% in Last Two Years, Report Shows - Worker's advocacy group says Labor Ministry left a number of accidents out of its report, though the reasons why are unclear. (Haaretz+)
  • Ukrainian plane crashes near Tehran airport, killing all 176 people on board - Ukraine's embassy in Iran initially referenced an engine failure as cause of the Boeing 737-800 crash, later retracting its statement, saying causes not disclosed yet. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Ukraine's President: Considering Several Possibilities Behind Iran Plane Crash - Iranian investigators said on Thursday that the airliner was on fire immediately before crashing. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Erdogan, Putin call for cease-fire in Libya by end of week - Dueling governments have plunged the divided country into chaos and split international partners. Turkey to deploy troops to support government in Tripoli. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Putin launches pipeline in Turkey with Erdogan, day after meeting Assad - Russia and Turkey are also coordinating military deployments in northeast Syria, but back opposing sides in Syria's Idlib and Libya. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • UN investigators find Yemen's Houthis did not carry out Saudi oil attack - Report bolsters accusations by U.S., European powers and Saudi Arabia against Iran for the September strike on Saudi oil infrastructures. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Anti-Israel group Code Pink listed as co-creator of annual Women’s March - The anti-war group is known for its posture against the Jewish state, protesting at pro-Israel events on and off Capitol Hill. (Israel Hayom)
  • Republican Sen. Cotton Accuses Soros-funded Think Tank of Fostering anti-Semitism - In his speech, Cotton also criticized the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel and a new New York law barring judges from setting bail for minor offenses. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • N.Y. Governor Suggests Hate-motivated Mass Violence Be Classified Domestic Terrorism - In State of the State address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said 'New York will not stand by when our people are being victimized and killed by hate' amid uptick in anti-Semitic attacks in the area. (Haaretz+)

Qassem Soleimani Assassination Aftermath Commentary/Analysis:
Iran Retaliated for Soleimani’s Killing. It Doesn’t Mean It Ends There (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Missile attack on U.S. bases in Iraq caused only minor damage, but concluding Tehran can no longer cause actual harm in the region with covert actions is premature.
*Symbolic revenge (Shimrit Meir, Yedioth Hebrew) Despite the threats, Khamenei did not take the risk and failed to put Trump's resolve to the test. It is hard to overstate the importance of the psychological barrier that broke yesterday morning, with the Iranian revenge for the assassination of Qassem Soleimani...The Iranian action was somewhat reminiscent of how the IDF bombs Hamas targets when it does not want to escalate the situation, including leaving an intelligence signature that allowed Americans to avoid casualties and Iraqi advance notification of the timing, to be sure. Only the "straw roof" was missing. The Iranians immediately signaled that they had completed the immediate phase of revenge and that if the US did not respond they could all return to routine. Trump accepted the messages, celebrated a victory in a presidential message, and in effect announced that the US response would come in the form of further sanctions, namely - there would be no military response. All parties, including the Arabs, are interested in calming the situation, but there are two other open ends: the revenge by the Shiite militias for the assassination of one of their commanders along with Soleimani, and the long-term revenge that Iran and Hezbollah established as a campaign for American expulsion from the Middle East, and Iraq first. For years the Washington-Jerusalem axis has had a tiring debate about the essence of the "credible military threat" toward Iran, which will deter it from breaking into nukes. Well, the answer was given yesterday: a credible military threat is the one you feel when it's in your face. The Iranians felt it and decided that, with all due respect to Shahid Soleimani, the survival of the regime is paramount.
A bad day for Middle East terrorists (James Sinkinson, Israel Hayom) Iran is on the ropes financially, politically and militarily. While the country is well-armed, there are limits to how much more credibility and assets Khamenei is willing to throw into battle against the US and Israel – two equally determined and better-armed rivals.
It's Israel's Interest to Stop American Belligerence (Ofer Cassif, Haaretz+)  Targeted assassinations, as they are euphemistically called, don’t solve a thing. They perform good service for the public relations of the assassin, in this case Trump in an election year, but in terms of long-term influence they do not change anything substantial. Already on the day of the assassination a replacement was appointed, Soleimani’s deputy, and in the long run Iranian activity will continue. Perhaps with even greater intensity. In quite a few instances it has even turned out that the assassination of one leader led to the rise of a another who was even more militant. For example, Hassan Nasrallah, who replaced Abbas Mousawi as the leader of Hezbollah. As in the story of the Hydra in Greek mythology, here too when one head was removed, usually two heads grow, stronger and more aggressive.
To restrain or respond: A big dilemma is at the door of Trump (Tal Lev-Ram, Maariv) An event in which another country directly and explicitly attacks US targets is an unusual event on any scale. Therefore this event must also be considered from an unusual perspective.
2020 likely to be another decade of defiance, dissent (James Dorsey, Israel Hayom) Like the previous decade, the new year – and perhaps the new decade – is likely to be marked by popular protest, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa.
Iran Still Wants Revenge for Soleimani's Killing. But Does It Have the Cash for It? (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Tehran has the weapons, the pride, and the righteous indignation, but nobody really knows if it can afford an all-out fight with the U.S.

Other Commentary/Analysis:
Brave, Inspiring Protesters Are True Israeli Patriots (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) In the courtroom in Paralimni, Cyprus, and in the magistrate’s court in Jerusalem, brave and inspiring expressions of protest were made on Monday – by those who do not accept the yoke of enforced patriotism and who are willing to pay the price, too. The Israeli patriots are unwilling to accept acts of resistance against the state, its institutions or even against Israeli citizens outside of Israel. Nationalism will cancel out anything for them, including crimes. But between the dozens of Israelis, men and women, who came to Cyprus on Monday to demonstrate in solidarity with the young British woman who was convicted of making up a gang rape by a group of young Israelis – and Jonathan Pollak, who was arrested for failing to appear in court on a criminal complaint filed against him by the right-wing organization Ad Kan, accusing him of attacking Israeli soldiers – runs a straight line, the line of courage and humanity.
In Israeli Left-wing Activist's Arrest, Court Dances to the Tune of Settler Incitement (Michael Sfard, Haaretz+) Disclosure No. 2: I scorn Ad Kan and am busy rebuffing its attacks on my clients, with notable success. The entire existence of this organization – famed for planting spies in groups like Ta’ayush and Breaking the Silence and for entangling journalists into sensationalist headlines, that turn out to be groundless, about supposed grave security offenses by anti-occupation activists – depends on its right-wing political patrons being in positions of power. In other words, as soon as the settler-right regime ends, the organization will vanish into oblivion: It can’t survive without access to the government power centers that give it a platform and influence. Ad Kan is one of the mutant civil society organizations that have taken root here recently, which act on behalf of the government and largely in coordination with it, to make the strong stronger and to weaken and silence the weak and the minority. This is the organization the honorable judge gifted Pollak’s arrest.
Cyprus Rape Case Is a Wake-up Call for Israeli Parents, Educators (Orit Kamir, Haaretz+) Now we can breathe a sigh of relief: The Cyprus court that convicted a young woman of inventing a rape and filing a false complaint against a group of Israel youths has sentenced her to probation, not prison time. So she can immediately return home to Britain and begin the difficult process of rehabilitation that awaits her. Since the rape complaint was not examined in a legal proceeding, we will probably never know just what happened between the girl and the group of boys she accused before subsequently withdrawing the complaint. We may never know if the girl managed to say “no” or if the boys heard her plea. We cannot know if the incident meets the Cypriot – or Israeli – legal definition of rape. But we don’t need any legal ruling to tell us that these boys who have families, who are products of the Israeli school system, were present in a room where some of them had sex with this one girl while others filmed it.
Justice in Rape Case, Cyprus Style (Noa Shpigel, Haaretz+) Lead Cypriot police investigator in case that made big headlines in Israel and Britain tells blatant lie on stand; what sort of justice can be expected for woman who accused 12 young Israelis of raping her?
Why Erdogan Put a Huge Bounty on Exiled Palestinian Leader Mohammed Dahlan (Yossi Melman, Haaretz+) The former Fatah leader in Gaza, who fled to the UAE following the Hamas takeover of the Strip, has emerged as a shadowy wheeler-dealer and has even been mentioned as a possible successor to Palestinian President Abbas.
Remembering Emily Landau, a Rare Female Voice in Israel's Male-dominated Security Sphere (Allison Kaplan Sommer and Esther Solomon, Haaretz+) Security expert and frequent Haaretz contributor – who died Monday at 59 – was a high-profile critic of the Obama nuclear deal, but did not see war between U.S. and Iran as inevitable.
Turning BDS into 'Buy directly from Samaria' (Gary Schiff, Israel Hayom) Israel might be underestimating its friends’ willingness to help; proudly labeling and publishing Israeli products and developments may be the best long-term strategy against BDS.

'Hate Has Been Unleashed' New York's AG Lays Out Her Plan to Solve the State's anti-Semitism Crisis
New York Attorney General Letitia James tells Haaretz how she plans to enact a combination of tougher legal action, educational work and a crack down on online hate speech. (Interviewed by Amir Tibon in Haaretz+)

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