News Nosh 1.16.20

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday January 16, 2020

 
You Must Be Kidding: 
The Hecht Museum at Haifa University canceled a talk by an Arab Israeli artist because the appearance by “a Palestinian artist” would displease the Hecht Foundation, which is associated with the museum.**


Front Page:
Haaretz
  • The parties to the right of Likud will run on a joint list - without (Kahanist) Ben-Gvir
  • Before the union: Gantz promised Labor and Meretz parties to advance legislation changes that will aid to increase their strength
  • It’s not Goldstein: Bennett had a good reason to refuse to run alongside Ben-Gvir // Anshel Pfeffer
  • Kahlon dreamed to be Prime Minister, but found himself outside politics // Chaim Levinson
  • Hope collapsed under the weight of the promise: Stav Shaffir returned to Rotschild Boulevard [where she first got fame for protesting - OH] in order to part // Moran Sharir
  • The democracy that Netanyahu’s people talk about does not include the rule of law // Mordechai Kremnitzer
  • Iran and the great powers exhausted the pressure levers on the way back to nuclear diplomacy // Zvi Bar’el
  • 3000 pupils protested the (homophobic) remarks of Education Minister Rafi Peretz; Principals were warned not to allow them to participate
  • 50 shades // Zehava Galon writes that only Bennett is capable of seeing the differenb between Smotrich and Ben-Gvir
  • But differently // Yossi Klein writes that in a normal democracy, Rafi Peretz could not have been Education Minister
  • Another thing that can be bought with money // Amir Inbar on “the truth behind the announcement of the Israeli member of Formula 1” (Hebrew)
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The right-wing united, (Kahanist) Ben-Gvir is out
  • Investigation: Why three senior doctors at Soroka Hospital committed suicide in 1.5 years
  • Exclusive interview: Citizen Tarantino - On his life in Tel-Aviv with Daniella Pik, the approaching birth, and his decision to direct only one more film
  • Thousands of pupils demonstrated in protest to the anti-LGBT remarks of (Education Minister) Rabbi Peretz
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Union of the right-wing parties
  • “Export of gas to Egypt - historical”
  • This is how the Hebrew language will look in 2040
  • Israeli (mathematician) who solved the lottery returns to Israel - and demands a retrial
  • First shooting in 2020: Four rockets launched from Gaza, two were intercepted; IAF attacked in Gaza
  • Badge of shame: New calendars and certificates of Education Ministry found in garbage


Elections 2020:
At the last minute, Habayit Hayehudi party ditched the Kahanist Otzma Yehudit party led by Itamar Ben-Gvir, and joined forces with Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked’s ‘New Right’ and Bezalel Smotrich’s Ichud Leumi to form a right-wing union (Haaretz+ has the behind the scenes), prominent left-wing MK Stav Shaffir resigned from politics (at least for this election) and an Ethiopian-Israeli Kahol-Lavan MK defected to Likud after saying a year ago that such a move would be a sign of lack of values. Here’s a list of all the candidates running in the March 2nd election.

Other Key News Summary:
In the south, Israel attacked targets in Gaza after four Palestinian rockets were launched from Gaza. Two were intercepted and there were no casualties from the other two. Meanwhile, Ynet’s Elior Levy reported that indirect talks with Israel to advance a long-term agreement with Hamas stalled after Egypt began raising taxes and prices of goods crossing into Gaza from Egypt because it was angry that  incandescent over Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh attended Qassem Soleimani’s funeral.  Also, for the third time in a day, an incendiary balloon exploded near the Gaza Strip periphery, Maariv reported. There were no injuries.

In news with other neighbors, Israel started pumping gas to Egypt, a very important development for both countries and which Egypt hopes will help it become a regional energy hub. It comes after trial exports to Jordan began two weeks ago. And in a speech delivered to European lawmakers, Jordan's King Abdullah warned of Israeli annexation of the Jordan Beqaa Valley, which could end hopes for a two-state solution. He also said Israel was “perpetuating divisions among peoples and faiths worldwide.”
 
Quick Hits:
  • Israeli defense chief approves using West Bank nature reserves to 'develop Jewish settlement' - Bennett backs establishment of new reserves, some on private Palestinian land. Defense officials said the new reserves encompass 130,000 dunams (32,000 acres), most of which belongs to the state, while some of the land was bought by Israelis. Some 20,000 dunams of the land slated for construction is privately owned by Palestinians, according to the left-wing organization Peace Now. (Haaretz+)
  • **Museum in Haifa cancels talk by Arab Israeli because he is ‘Palestinian’ - Director of Hecht Museum at Haifa U says Hecht Foundation, associated with museum, ‘would not permit a gallery talk to be held at the museum for a Palestinian artist’; university slams decision. (Haaretz+)
  • Arab Students in Israel Twice as Likely to Drop Out Than Jewish Peers - 23,178 Israeli students dropped out during the 2017-2018 school year. Results of the scholastic achievement tests: Significant gaps between the Jewish and Arab sectors, as well as between socio-economic background and genders. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Israel sues Bedouin whose cows interfered with army training - Defense Ministry demands some $29,000 from cowherd in suit, the first time the state has sued for financial compensation over such an incident. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli forces raze illegal West Bank outpost; settlers pelt officer with stones - High Court rejects petition against demolition near Yitzhar settlement, which follows several instances of violence against Israeli soldiers in the area. Both homes lie in Area B, which is under Palestinian control. (Haaretz+, Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • Report: 14,800 Holocaust survivors pass away in 2019 - Finance ministry says billions transferred to survivors in direct payments and benefits; about two-thirds of survivors receive only a few hundred shekels every month. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • More Female Judges Should Sit on Sex Crime Panels in Israeli Courts, Government Committee Says - Inter-ministerial committee report presented to Supreme Court calls to allow victims to view trials in a separate room so as to distance them from alleged attackers. (Haaretz+)
  • A Monopoly in Israel’s Patrol Boat Sector May Be in the Making - Israel Aerospace Industries is offloading the unit that makes the Dvora-class vessel. Israel Shipyards, the maker of the competing Shaldag, appears to be eyeing it. (Haaretz+)
  • For first time, more citizens than soldiers call trauma hotline - Even in Natal organization, which has been helping trauma victims for more than 20 years, they don't remember such a figure: 72% of calls to the organization's call centers in 2019 came from residents of the south and Gaza periphery communities. For the first time in the organization's history - following the rounds of fighting in the south - more citizens called than did soldiers with combat shock. Natal's CEO, Orly Gal: "The complex Israeli reality has turned the Israeli Home Front into the one that is on the front lines." (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • IDF approves new nail polish colors for female officers - While women on compulsory service have to stick to a few shades of polish, female officers and NCOs can now sport light purple or red nails while in uniform. Sparkles are still a dress code violation. (Israel Hayom)
  • In First, Israeli Driver Joins an Elite Formula One Team - Roy Nissany competed in Formula Two in 2018, finishing 22nd and scoring one point from 20 races, and will race again in the series this year. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • In first, Israel, Thailand hold joint cyber exercise - Drill focused on dealing with a wide variety of digital threats, such as enemy hacking attempts, and cyberterrorism. Future cyber cooperation with other armies is imperative, IDF official says. (Israel Hayom)
  • Mike Pence to Attend Holocaust Memorial Event in Israel, White House Confirms - Vice president to join world leaders at Jerusalem event – but Poland's president will be absent. Israeli president's office says Pelosi will also attend. (Haaretz+)
  • In the background of the political crisis in his country: Putin decided to shorten his visit to Israel next week - Following the resignation of the Russian prime minister and ministers, and following his announcement of the constitutional moves he will seek to promote, the Russian president announced that his expected visit to Israel on the occasion of the Holocaust Forum would be shortened to 12 hours. (Maariv)
  • South Dakota Governor Signs Executive Order Prohibiting Israel Boycotts - Gov. Kristi Noem signed an executive order prohibiting state offices from doing business with companies that boycott Israel. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Obama’s Middle East policy team has a new home in Elizabeth Warren’s campaign - Among them is Ilan Goldenberg, who helped shape Iran policy under Obama. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • WATCH Trump Defends Killing Iranian 'Son of a Bitch' Soleimani in Profanity-laced Rally - Iran dominated much of Trump's speech firing up thousands of his supporters in the battleground state of Wisconsin. (Agencies, Haaretz and VIDEO)
  • Democratic senator says he has enough votes to restrain Trump on further Iran action - Bipartisan resolution reasserting congressional power to declare war could go to a vote as early as next week. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Britain's ambassador leaves Iran days after being detained by authorities - President Rohani warned Britain, France and Germany that their Mideast troops 'could be in danger' following launch of nuclear deal dispute mechanism. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran warns Europe as diplomat says officials 'lied' on crash - Comments by Zarif represent first time Iranian official refers to Islamic Republic's earlier claim that technical malfunction downed Ukraine International Airlines flight as a lie. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Rouhani to European troops: You might be targeted - "Today, the American soldier is in danger, tomorrow the European soldier could be in danger," Iranian leader says after Europeans trigger mechanism that could results in UN Security Council reimposing sanctions on Iran. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Iran's Zarif says 2015 nuclear deal is 'not dead' - On the sidelines of an event in India, Iran's foreign minister says accord to curb its nuclear program still in place. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran rejects idea of a new 'Trump deal' in nuclear row - Rohani warned Wednesday that European soldiers in the Mideast 'could be in danger' after three nations challenged Tehran over breaking the limits of its nuclear deal. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran is enriching more uranium than before 2015 deal, Rohani says - Iran has gradually scaled back its commitments under the nuclear deal in retaliation to Washington's withdrawal from the pact in 2018 and its reimposition of sanctions. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Iran Accuses Europe of Caving to 'High School Bully' Trump in Nuclear Row - The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Trump had threatened to impose a 25% tariff on them if Britain, France and Germany did not formally accuse Iran of breaking the nuclear deal. (Haaretz+)
  • France: Broad Iran deal, reduction of US sanctions only way out of crisis - "This platform is still there and is possible," says foreign minister a day after triggering mechanism to automatically reimpose UN sanctions on Tehran. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Russian jets resume bombing of Syria's rebel-held northwest, reports say - Hundreds of thousands of people have fled Idlib province in recent weeks as Russian jets and Syrian artillery pounded towns and villages in a renewed government assault aimed at clearing the opposition. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Syrian government strike on market kills 15, wounds 65 in rebel area, activists say - Despite cease-fire, Russian and Syrian strikes to clear Idlib of opposition groups continue. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Turkey says Egyptian security forces raid news agency in Cairo - The raid comes amid tense relations between Turkey and Egypt. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Elections 2020/Netanyahu Indictment Commentary/Analysis:
Religious Zionists, Stop Pretending You're Any Better Than the Kahanists (Zehava Galon, Haaretz+) Watching Naftali Bennett play the role of the ideological opponent to a merger with the Otzma Yehudit was really more than I could swallow. For if there is any difference between Kahanist Itamar Ben-Gvir, the leader of Otzma Yehudit, and neo-Kahanist Bezalel Smotrich, apparently you have to be Bennett to discern it. And what difference is there really between those two and Rabbi Rafi Peretz? Peretz will smile at LGBTQ people before sending them off for reeducation? This is just a façade of a debate among a façade of public representatives. Bennett and Ayelet Shaked would not rule out sitting in the same government with Ben-Gvir, just as Shaked in the past did not rule out negotiations with Ben-Gvir.
The attempt to convert Rabbi Rafi Peretz's dark faith did not work (Ran Edelist, Maariv) Like the conversion therapy for gays, the attempt to convert the Minister of Education's belief did not work and now he struck again and still did not bother to apologize, neither as a person nor as the Education Minister.
Betrayals, Defections and Fewer Women: The Losers and Winners of Israel's New Political Map (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+) Stav Shaffir, Rafi Peretz, Moshe Kahlon and female representation are among the most high-profile victims after Israel's political parties finalized their slates.
The union on the left is nice, but the question is what will actually happen (Lilach Sigan, Maariv) There is nothing wrong with political unions, the question is what do people actually do for rights, coexistence and bringing people closer. Maybe that's why so many Arab Knesset seats continue to lie on the floor waiting for someone to pick them up.
Declaring War on the Rule of Law (Mordechai Kremnitzer, Haaretz+) Netanyahu and his ministers bully the court, threatening it whenever it has to rule against the government on an issue it cares about.

Other Commentary/Analysis:
The Dirty Politics Behind Israel's (Ofer Aderet, Haaretz+) Capitulation to Putin's WWII Revisionism. Hosting event marking 75th anniversary of Auschwitz liberation, Israel's Holocaust remembrance authority is now facilitating the Kremlin campaign to blame Poland for the outbreak of WWII - and to whitewash the Soviet Union's handshake with Hitler
Russian activity in Lebanon has the potential for friction between us and Moscow (Yitzhak Lebanon, Maariv) Vladimir Putin wants Lebanon to be under Russian influence. It may be time for Israel to include the Lebanese issue as part of its talks with Moscow on the Syrian issue.
Israel's decade of missed opportunities (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) The military and security services provided the political leadership with the freedom to invest in civil society, in future strategy and planning, but those leaders squandered the opportunity, choosing instead to indulge in endless election cycles.
Lea Tsemel vs. Legal Rights (Haaretz Editorial) The decision not to renew Lea Tsemel’s term as chairwoman of the military courts committee of the Israel Bar Association’s Jerusalem chapter was a capitulation to political persecution. It was made at the request of three right-wing organizations: B’Tsalmo, Israel Sheli and the Choosing Life Forum, an organization of families that have lost family members to Palestinian terror that is supported by the extreme-right Im Tirtzu organization. Tsemel’s term was not renewed because she frequently represents Palestinian terror suspects. A biographical documentary released last year, “Advocate,” brought Tsemel wider international recognition. It came in for criticism from the right, including by Culture Minister Miri Regev, who demanded that it be pulled from theaters on the grounds that it “glorifies terrorists.”
We must prepare for the possibility that Tehran chooses to move towards nuclear weapons (Tal Lev-Ram, Maariv) Hezbollah's decision to continue the precision missile project will affect the prospect of a conflict in the north, but above all, the Iranian threat stands. In the West, it is hoped that domestic pressures will take things in the opposite direction.
These are the days of Iranian roulette (Tamar Eilam Gindin, Israel Hayom) In addition to increasingly stifling international isolation, the ayatollahs are in dire straits domestically as well, facing a public that no longer believes their lies.
Iran's Double Nuclear Dilemma (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The series of violations initiated by Iran did not produce the results it had hoped for, but Tehran is not the only party that needs to make its calculations...The U.S. State Department heaped praise Tuesday on Britain, France and Germany for their decision to launch a process to settle the nuclear dispute with Iran. In Washington’s view, such a process, as it is defined in 2015’s nuclear agreement, could eventually lead to the re-imposition of international sanctions on Iran, or at least pressure Tehran into going back to how things were before it began violating the agreement in May.
But the Americans “forgot” to mention that it was in fact President Donald Trump who began dismantling the deal by withdrawing from it. The aspiration to move Iran back to a previous situation is actually recognition of the deal’s importance as a means of halting Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
No #MeToo for These Palestinian Women Imprisoned in Israel (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) One day last week the detainee Khalida Jarrar, a member of the nonexistent Palestinian parliament, was brought into the depressing military court in Ofer. She was not tortured during her interrogations, but signs of hardship were clearly visible. Handcuffed, in a scruffy Israel Prison Services coat, her face showing the fatigue of three and a half months of detention and interrogations, a veteran of past detentions, most of them without charges being brought, she has been charged with “holding a position in an illegal association.” The mountain of Shin Bet briefings to members of the media, in which she was accused of responsibility for the August murder of Rina Shnerb in the West Bank, turned into a molehill in the form of a political arrest for “holding a position.” Israel doesn’t even bother to hide the fact that it holds political detainees, as in despotic regimes...They’re not women, they’re “terrorists,” so no one cares when they suffer abuse. At a time when any sexist remark to a woman can lead to a riot, the torture during interrogation or false imprisonment of women infuriate no one. When careers and lives are ruined because of an improper kiss or a hug, the restraint of women for days and nights in contorted positions, sleep deprivation and false imprisonment are acceptable because they are “terrorists.” The #MeToo movement has gone far, sometimes too far and sometimes not far enough: It stops at the gate of Camp Ofer and the interrogation facilities of the Shin Bet security service. There, it doesn’t exist. There, women can be abused to the heart’s content of the occupation authorities. No one will protest.
Restoring synagogues means never having to say you're sorry (Lyn Julius, Israel Hayom) Arab countries with few or no remaining Jews turning a few Jewish heritage sites into perfunctory tourist stops aren’t exhibiting pluralism.
Roy Nissani’s jump to Formula One is just like his father's - a behind-the-scenes move (Amir Inbar, Haaretz Hebrew) Roy Nissani's signing onto the Williams Group is anything but professional. (Canadian-Israeli billionaire) Sylvan Adams' financial back has earned him a place in the group that wants to survive financially. But Nissany will not advance the industry in Israel. So before you get excited about an Israeli driver in Formula 1, you need to remember, it is a glitzy branch at the top of the tree, but it is full of wheeling and dealing on the outside.
When I shout at my daughter in Hebrew, it reminds my husband of Israeli prison (Umm Forat, Haaretz+) I never made a conscious decision to speak Hebrew with my daughter, but it became a kind of connection between her and me, our private language. Post #4.
 
Interviews:
Exclusive interview -  Code name 'Angel': Mossad agent who handled Israel's greatest spy speaks out
What led him to betray his country, how did he make contact with the Israelis, was he a double agent? In an exclusive interview, Dubi, the Mossad man who ran the Egyptian spy Ashraf Marwan, tells all. (Interviewed by Yossi Melman, Haaretz+)

Commander 101 Squadron: "We are doing everything possible not to hurt the innocent"
Lieutenant Colonel G., the commander-in-chief of the squadron that won the Chief of Staff medal, talks about the decreasing use of manpower in the technological age, the sensitivity in operations in a hostile neighborhood and the lack of women in the cockpit. Last November, for example, during one of the Air Force actions over Gaza, nine members of the Al-Sawarkeh family were killed in the bombings, including five children aged two to 13. This happened in Deir al-Balah, as part of Operation Black Belt, which began with the aerial assassination of a senior Islamic Jihad commander, Baha Abu al-Ata, an assassination which was answered by massive Hamas and Jihad rocket fire at southern and central communities. The IDF investigated the killing of members of the al-Sawarkeh family and found that the group of tin houses where they lived was incorrectly defined as a military target. In the recommendations given to Chief of Staff Kochavi, it was said that the compound was to be defined as civilian area in which military activity is carried out. Following the recommendations of the investigation, Chief of Staff Kochavi ordered new guidelines regarding how to define target for the target bank before they are approved and an operation is carried out.
Lt. Col. G. “The IDF and the Air Force place priority on human dignity and the sanctity of life. We make every effort to avoid harm to the innocent, whether it is intelligence operations or very accurate planning, and it has happened to me several times, both as a pilot and as a squadron commander, that we go out to make a strike and stop ourselves from assault because there is the smallest risk that uninvolved parties will be harmed. We do everything, everything, everything not to hurt.” (Interviewed by Oz Rosenberg in Maariv)

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