News Nosh 2.3.20

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday February 3, 2020
Quotes from the Interview of the day:
Right-wing Journalist: How can you say that you are a Palestinian first and foremost, but do not want to be part of a Palestinian state, preferring to be part of the State of Israel, which is a Jewish state?
Mayor of Arab-Israeli city of Umm al-Fahem: "I am a mayor in the State of Israel first and I am also a proud Palestinian. You want to take my identity away from me - you won’t get it. My grandfather was born in Jaffa. You are trying to establish that I have an affinity for Jenin, but my affinity is also to Um al-Fahm, to Jaffa and to Haifa. I say - let's live in two countries for two nations despite what I said.”

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Global economic concern - Coronavirus effect: Drops in world stock markets - and in Israel (Hebrew)
  • The base always decides - Between Iowa and Tel-Aviv // Nahum Barnea (Hebrew)
  • Lake Kinneret returns! Wonderful news: The level rose 1.27 meters this month - to a 28 year record height (Hebrew)
  • Expose - Limitations for armed guards (Hebrew)
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • “We will take drastic steps against the coronavirus” - Health Ministry: This is how we will enforce the isolation requirement on people returning from China
  • Today: Prime Minister in exceptional visit to Uganda
  • Report: Armed people tried to explode the gas pipeline between Israel and Egypt
  • Storm in Tiberias: (Ousted mayor) Ron Kobi wants to join Yisrael Beiteinu party

Top News Summary:
Israel says it can’t keep coronavirus out, Israeli leaders in a dilemma over implementing Trump’s peace plan, and militants in the Sinai Peninsula reportedly attacked the pipeline streaming gas from Israel to Egypt, but Israel said gas was still flowing - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Israel said the coronavirus cannot be kept out, but it will try to delay it and begin developing a vaccine. (Also making headlines, the Chinese embassy said Israel’s expulsion of Chinese tourists was reminiscent of the Holocaust era, but China had accepted Jewish refugees, so why couldn’t Israel accept Chinese. The embassy later apologized.)

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is in a dilemmas over US President Donald Trump’s deal of the century, write Yedioth and Maariv. Settlers are trying to convince ministers to vote against the Trump plan, if and when Netanyahu brings it for a vote in the Knesset, after US envoy Jared Kushner said that the maps of the deal are open for change and the goal is to stop settlement expansion in order to make a Palestinian state feasible. (Kahol-Lavan will also be in a bind if the Trump peace plan comes to a vote in Knesset. Chairman Benny Gantz would oppose unilateral steps at annexation that are not coordinated with the Palestinians, but some other members would be supportive of unilateral annexation, Haaretz+ reported.) And Russia expressed its dissatisfaction with the Mideast plan, saying it contradicted UN resolutions and that the negative reactions from the Palestinians and Arab countries leads Moscow to 'make one think about its feasibility.’ Then it was the European Union’s turn to slam the plan because it rejects the 1967 borders. But in an interview on Egyptian TV, Kushner insisted the plan is the Palestinians' last chance for a state and that the Palestinians must meet the plan’s conditions to be granted statehood. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat called Jared’s comments: ‘The art of dictation, arrogance, and blackmail.’

Trump Plan Quickees:
'Israel should begin annexing Area C without prior US approval' - Yamina MK Ayelet Shaked tells i24News that US President Donald Trump's peace plan "contains both a risk and a promise for Israel."
Protesters outside U.S. Embassy in Lebanon decry Trump plan - Dozens showcase discontent with proposed peace deal, believed to heavily favor Israel; minor clashes between police forces and demonstrators.
Iran Says Saudi Arabia Blocked It From Attending Islamic Group Meeting on Trump Plan - Iran's foreign ministry spokesman accuses Saudi Arabia of misusing its position as the host of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation meeting slated for Monday.

Quick Hits:
  • Gas flow 'continuing as normal' after militants hit Sinai pipeline - The partners in Leviathan, Israel's largest offshore natural gas field, say no harm has been done to the pipeline stretching between Israel and Egypt. (Israel Hayom, Haaretz and Ynet)
  • (Bedouin children play with Incendiary balloons), which were detected at three different locations, wath the explosion - Children from the Bedouin village of Bir al-Hammam in the Negev located a number of explosive balloons, played with them and even took them home. A drone recorded an explosion of Molotov cocktails in the Gaza periphery. (Maariv)
  • Israel's Justice Minister Names New Acting State Prosecutor, Defying Attorney General - Sources close to AG Avichai Mendelblit say there could be a legal impediment to the appointment, because it wasn’t coordinated with him. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu departs for Uganda, hopes to bring back 'very good news' - Officially, the Prime Minister's Office says Netanyahu will meet with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, but according to speculations, he could also meet with other African leaders. Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen reportedly part of the premier’s delegation. Israel currently deports asylum seekers to Uganda. Reports in recent years said Israel may renew ties with Muslim nations in Africa. (Haaretz+, Maariv, Ynet Hebrew and Israel Hayom)
  • Legal Panel to Rehear Netanyahu's Request to Get Loan From U.S. Mogul for Defense Fees - The rehearing follows the appointment of a new state comptroller and the prime minister’s formal indictment in three corruption cases. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Security sources: Defense Minister Bennett's decision to ban import of Palestinian agriculture aggravates the conflict - Starting yesterday, imports of agriculture from the Palestinian Authority is banned. Bennet made the order following the Palestinian boycott on the import of calves from Israel four months ago. Palestinians renewed imports with permit, which still are few, but security sources noted that it was unnecessary for the minister to intervene just when a solution is being formed. Security sources said banning the entry of fruits and vegetables from the West Bank is another step aggravating the situation and bringing the PA to sever relations with Israel. (Maariv , p. 7 and Mako Hebrew)
  • The security establishment believes that Bennett's declarations stem from political considerations - In just three weeks, Bennett managed to declare a change of policy and response equations on the northern front and the Gaza Strip. Last week he announced his decision not to return terrorists' bodies from non-Hamas terrorist organizations in Judea and Samaria. And in December he decided to establish another Jewish neighborhood in Hebron's wholesale market complex. The defense establishment understands the significance of the sensitive political period, with Bennett's term only going to last a few months, and after the establishment of a government, the staffing of the job will reopen. (Maariv)
  • Office of then-defense minister Lieberman provided military exemptions for ultra-Orthodox men on demand - During Lieberman's term, characterized outwardly by a stern line and blatant statements against exemptions for Haredi recruitment, his adviser Avi Abuchatzira assisted the sons of senior ultra-Orthodox leaders through mediators. Hundreds of deserters received sweeping exemptions during this period. At the same time,  a series of easements was implemented to monitor the postponing of the yeshiva students' recruitment. (Haaretz Hebrew)
  • Prominent Right-wing Activists Indicted for Vandalizing EU Embassy in Israel - Sheffi Paz denounces ‘selective punishment,’ says trial is a show to placate the European Union. (Haaretz+)
  • In attempt to reduce murders of women in Israel - limitations on security guards  - This terrible phenomenon has been repeated over and over in recent years: Security guards have shot dead their spouses. Minister of Public Security decided: the number of security guards allowed to take the gun home will be cut by 50%. Between 2002 and 2013, 36 women and men were shot dead in Israel by security guards. (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Palestinians offered for sale vehicles on Facebook that were stolen from Israel - Israelis who entered the thieves' Facebook group found vehicles stolen from them. Police probing Facebook content: "Based on the findings, it will be decided whether to continue handling the matter.” (Maariv)
  • Naama (Issachar) is back, (but) Hodaya is in prison: The fight of the family of an Israeli (backpacker) detained in Peru - Hodaya Monsango, 24, a psychologically disabled young woman, has been detained for six months in Peruvian jail after cocaine was found in her suitcase. In an interview with Ynet, her brothers talk about the difficult conditions she is facing, and wish for political intervention, like the case of Naama Issachar: "We want to meet with the prime minister, who will hear our pain…We have been waiting for six months to talk to the Prime Minister. I do not expect Netanyahu to bring Hodaya back on his plane, but I expect him to show emotion and show us that we are also part of the people of Israel." (Yedioth Hebrew and Ynet Hebrew)
  • "I was called black and it made me feel like I don't belong" - In an moving ceremony at President's Residence yesterday, Convention for the Elimination of Racism in Israeli society was held, initiated by the Israelis Against Racism movement. The event was attended by President Reuven Rivlin, Chairman of the Association, Maj. Eliezer Shkedi, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon and many public figures who signed the treaty. One speech, by 15-year-old Leal, a daughter of Ethiopian immigrants, especially moved the participants: "I was told to go back to my country, when in fact my country is here," she said painfully. "At a center for gifted children, one child chose to call me black. Another one also decided to make fun of me because of my skin color. We are in 2020, and there are still incidents of racism." (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Israel’s Rafael reshapes urban-warfare with AI, augmented reality - The Germany military is studying Israeli digital combat technology ahead of a potential contract. Even the United States, which enjoys modern digital equipment, has shown interest in Fire Weaver as a system that is well-suited to American battle doctrines. (Israel Hayom)
  • One of Israel's Favorite Hand Gestures Is Now Officially an Emoji - The Unicode Consortium has already blessed the Jewish people with a bunch of emojis, like a synagogue, a star of David and a menorah. (Haaretz)
  • **Pro-Israel U.S. Jews Worry as Sanders Surges Toward Monday's Iowa Caucus - In Pew poll of Jewish Democrats, the ‘democratic socialist’ came in dead last among four frontrunners. (Haaretz+)
  • Already crowded Egypt set to hit 100 million population - In Egypt, 97% live on just 8% of its territory, crowded along the Nile, as the population grows by 2.5 million each year while 1,400 people are packed into every square kilometer in some areas. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Syria: Anti-regime jihadists target 'Iranian occupation militias' in Aleppo - A news outlet run by Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah, which fights in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad, says the Syrian army had thwarted a “fierce attack” by the Nusra Front. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Iraqi cleric Sadr tells followers to clear sit-ins after new prime minister is appointed - Thousands protest Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi's appointment. Sadr's supporters had previously bolstered protesters during country's biggest crisis in years. (Agencies, Haaretz)

Raise a Flag, Don't Forget to Cry: The Cynical Industry Behind Israeli Teens' Trips to Nazi Death Camps
Israeli high-schoolers’ trips to Nazi death camps in Poland are based on three things: Unequivocal messages, structured situations and manipulation, a new book describes. (Or Kashti, Haaretz+)

Trump Plan Commentary/Analysis:
Israel's Arab Citizens Aren't Pawns in the Hands of Netanyahu and Trump (Yousef Jabareen, Haaretz+) In the past year, Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed that Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman is “part of the left.” A few years ago, this “leftist” proposed a plan that was far-reaching even by the racist standards of the day. Lieberman’s 2015 slogan, “Ariel to Israel, Umm al-Fahm to Palestine,” threatened 20 percent of Israeli citizens with transfer and created symmetry between the oppressed minority and the illegal settlement enterprise. Incitement and delegitimization have since become the sole language spoken by Netanyahu governments. But the idea of transferring hundreds of thousands of residents from the Little Triangle and revoking their citizenship is a new height. At bottom, the transfer’s goal is racist: reducing the number of Arab citizens, weakening their position and their struggle for equality.
Abbas is bringing back the intifada (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) Trump's Mideast plan appears to have been the final straw for the Palestinian president, who on Saturday threw up his hands and told Israel that it now must deal with a new reality in the West Bank while he embarks on a tour of Arab and European states.
Trump's Peace Plan: Humiliation, Aka Annexation (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) Even though annexation is not happening tomorrow, or even the day after, the seriousness of the “Deal of the Century” – which is suspected to be nothing more than a deal between con artists trying to escape their legal problems – must be scrutinized over a longer period of time. But even if this plan is more a noisy firecracker that a historic explosion, it is impossible to deny that the situation of the Palestinians is one of the worst they have known in their history – a milestone in its own right, because that history is strewn with disasters such as the Nakba in 1948 and the occupation in 1967.
Impeachment tribal war dooms Israel bipartisanship (Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) In a political culture in which Democrats and Republicans demonize each other, building a national consensus in favor of the Jewish state becomes difficult.
Constantly divided: The Plan of the Century has deepened the internal rift in US Jewry (Shmuel Rosner, Maariv) While most Jews in the superpower do not support Trump or Netanyahu, the deal's announcement seems to split them even more, and they are looking for whom to blame. This all happens in the year of two election campaigns. It was impossible not to notice the multiplicity of yarmulkes in the declaration of the century plan in the White House. On the stage, President Donald Trump stood next to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with the margins of the picture, in the background, a yarmulke and another yarmulke and a yarmulke - more than is common in most events in America that are not significant events of Jews. Scraps of fabric on heads. Most Jews in America do not walk around with a yarmulke. In the announcement of Trump's deal of the century, there were several non-yarmulke Jews, including the party's groom, the President’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and the guest of honor, President-elect Sheldon Adelson. Still, yarmulkes stood out, too. That of Malcolm Hoenlein, retiring from his position at the Conference of Presidents of Jewish Organizations. That of Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer. The US ambassador to Jerusalem (Jerusalem!) David Friedman also sometimes wears a yarmulke, but not always. The yarmulke is a fairly accurate, though not completely, identifying mark for Trump-supporting Jews. After the 2016 election, a poll by the American Jewish Committee found that most Orthodox Jews in America (and yarmulke wearers are mostly Orthodox, among Conservative and Reform Jews only the rabbis wear yarmulkes) voted for Trump. Just over 50%. A survey by US magazine found a month ago that nearly 90% of Orthodox now support Trump. In fact, this is probably the most prominent group of supporters the president of America has, more than evangelicals, more than gun owners, more than whites from the states on the inside of the country. New York and New Jersey Orthodox Jews are Trump's biggest fans. These Jews received the president and his peace program with applause. They trust the president, and trust his advisers. They support settlements, unlike most American Jews, of whom a quarter (25% according to the 2019 American Jewish Committee) believe that Israel is "ready to evacuate all settlements under a peace agreement," and over a third (41%) believe Israel should be prepared to evacuate some of the settlements. Anyone who says that Israel should not evacuate even a settlement (28%) is largely analogous to those who say it supports President Trump (26%). And here's the whole story: Trump fans are a minority. Settler-sympathetic Jews are a minority. These are the Jews who see the Trump plan as an improvement over the past: a peace plan that does not include removing Jews from their homes…
15 reasons to welcome Trump's peace plan (David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom) Israel should act to implement the Trump Plan and reap its early rewards because it transforms the Mideast peace paradigm in the right direction. Moreover, the plan reflects and can serve as a platform for, Israeli consensus on the Palestinian issue.
Sign Up for Trump's Peace Plan, Sign Away Israel's Special Status in America (Philip Gordon and Ilan Goldenberg, Haaretz+) By giving Israel a green light to do whatever it wants, the Trump plan threatens its very future as a democracy. That will change how Democrats view Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship – possibly profoundly.
Opposition to the deal of the century - opposition furious with diligent leadership (Meir Uziel, Maariv) Despite a number of concerning elements in Trump's plan, there has never been hasbara (advocacy) for Israel's rights on such a scale. So how are there so many who want to overthrow this leadership?
Trump’s Sliced-and-diced Palestine Is a Recipe for Economic Failure (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) Good governance workshops and $50 billion can't neutralize the Rube Goldberg contraption his peace plan proposes.
'Deal of the century' from a Muslim perspective (Harold Rhode, Israel Hayom) Bravo to President Donald Trump and his team, and to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his team, who clearly understand how PA leader Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian leaders think.
Surprising but not sophisticated response: EU responds to the deal of the century (Gideon Kotz, Maariv) The moderate EU responses, which have not rejected Trump's peace plan outright, have prepared for a change in Europe's traditional stance - but we must not hurry to draw conclusions.
The (political) base always determines (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) Today, the presidential election campaign officially opens in the United States. As always, it opens in Iowa, a small Midwestern state whose vast majority of its residents are white and their area of specialization is wheat growing. Iowa is not America. Nevertheless, every four years America's eyes are on it. Democratic party activists will gather today in sports halls and community centers to discuss presidential candidates (Republicans adhere to incumbent president: they have no election). This is a strange ritual: it is more akin to action in a youth movement than to primaries. No polling stations. Voting is done in stages, with mutual persuasion. The result is important in only one sense: seemingly, it gives momentum to the winning candidate and backtracks the defeated candidates. Only seemingly: At the next stop, in the small state of New Hampshire, everything might turn around. According to the polls, Iowa's top candidate is Bernie Sanders. Sanders' candidacy should interest us: he is a 78-year-old Brooklyn Jew who looks and sounds and mostly screams like a 78-year-old Brooklyn Jew. Israel. He is the first candidate in one of the two major parties to declare that he is a socialist. In other words, he religiously adopts the economic, social, global left-wing and strongly criticizes Israel. It wasn’t for this Jewish president that they were praying in Jerusalem.  In the past, a candidate like Sanders had no chance: he was too radical, too old, too blunt. But the age of social networking has changed the rules of the game: it’s not the center that decides, but the edges, the base. Sanders is a mirror image of Trump: both are populists. One is a magician for the extreme right; The other for the extreme left. Voters, tired of the political correctness, corruption and manipulation of the old politicians, are attracted to who they perceive as authentic. Authentic Trump; Authentic Sanders. Even when they are lying, their lies are authentic. Support for Trump is borderline, but stable. Just like Netanyahu's support. The revelations about his use of US-aid to force the Ukrainian government to help him eliminate his rival Joe Biden did not in any way affect his status in the polls. The impeachment lawsuit against him did not make his supporters cross the lines, much like the indictments against Netanyahu. The Politico website appealed to Trump supporters among its readers with an interesting suggestion: Write to us why you support him. Surprisingly, most respondents referred to Trump in criticism. Nevertheless, they decided to vote for him. They justified their decision on the economic situation, on his fight against illegal immigration, on their opposition to his rivals.I n other words, not everyone who votes for Trump is a Trumpist; And on our side, not everyone who votes for Likud is a Bibist. But after three years marked by Trump in America and after ten years and two election campaigns marked by Netanyahu here, skeptical voters are also in no hurry to change party. And maybe the parties have exhausted all the skeptics: the positions are set, and what will be decided is just the percentage of voters. Some Israelis are sure that everything that is going on in American politics is wonderful, and should be imitated. They are wrong. America's elections are corrupt. Big money controls them. The system is flawed: Presidential elections are, in effect, only being conducted in five or six states that are scales or, like Iowa today, voted head of other states. Most importantly, the candidates in both parties are far from representing what is needed today by the world's strongest leader. The Israeli story is different. A draw was created. One thing Netanyahu has succeeded in: He has set up a party of parties that is committed to him, and it includes almost half of the voters. In one thing, he failed; he couldn't set up a straw party to the left of the Likud, between the Likud and the Kahol-Lavan, which could bump it over 61. Kahlon gave him this service in 2015; Bibi destroyed Kahlon prematurely - and couldn't find a replacement for him, despite trying. The story is also different because of Lieberman. After two barren election campaigns, Lieberman seems to have concluded that he can no longer sit on the stands. He is now talking about an alternate government, that is, if I understand correctly, about a minority government of Kahol-Lavan, Emet (Labor-Meretz-Gesher) and Yisrael Beiteinu, avoiding the Joint List. To achieve this, the three parties need another four seats. It’s doubtful they have where to take them from.

Other Commentary/Analysis:
Iran's (Relatively) Moderate Foreign Minister Could Be on His Way Out (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Not only Trump is irked by Javad Zarif's conciliatory remarks: The minister's ouster might be on the horizon, as protests continue and Iran's elections loom.

*Mayor of Umm al-Fahm: "I am not a product for sale"
Tens of thousands protested last night in Baqa al-Gharbiya against the Deal of the Century and details published by President Trump. Um al-Fahm Mayor, Dr. Samir Mahamid, spoke to journalists Ben Caspit and Yinon Magal on the matter on 103FM radio (Maariv)
Yinon Magal: Why don't you want to move to the Palestinian Authority? If at your rallies you are waving Palestine flags, you are celebrating the liberation of terrorists, supporting those who did the terror attack on the Temple Mount, you are Arab, talking all the time how bad it is here, how discriminated you are, how unequal this state is, how much it should not be a Jewish state, why Don't you want to move to a Palestinian state?
Mayor Samir Mahamid: "With all due respect, I am not a product for sale, which in 1949 in the Rhodes Accords they decided for security reasons they want me in an Israeli state, and in 2020, for demographic reasons they decide they don't. Let's not pretend this is being done out of goodness, the reasons are demographic. According to Yinon, Umm al-Fahm, Taibeh, Baqa are extremist cities. With all due respect, I am not a citizen of limited liability, I am a citizen of the State of Israel. Everyone knows that the more inequality there is, the greater the distrust. So, let's create equality and then trust will get stronger."

Ben Caspit: I think there is a huge revolution among Israeli Arabs that makes them more Israeli and identifying with this place, but if you do a demonstration in Baqa that says we stay in Israel and do not go to any Palestine, I would have missed the Israeli flag there. Just PLO flags, and I remind you that the PLO was established before 1967.
MAYOR: “Just as Jewish society has a variety of opinions and people, even in Arab-Palestinian society in Israel there is a variety of opinions. The most important thing is that we are citizens and we are not a time limited guarantee. No one will transfer anyone, there are international laws, all of them will align with the rules of international law. And with all due respect to Trump and Netanyahu, they can't be violated.”

Magal: Do you make yourselves accountable on this? How can you say that you are a Palestinian first and foremost, but do not want to be part of a Palestinian state, preferring to be part of the State of Israel, which is a Jewish state?
MAYOR: "I am a mayor in the State of Israel first and I am also a proud Palestinian. You want to take my identity away from me - you won’t get it. My grandfather was born in Jaffa. You are trying to establish that I have a connection to Jenin, but my affinity is also to Um al-Fahm, to Jaffa and to Haifa. I say - let's live in two countries for two nations despite what I said.”

Magal: Do you accept the State of Israel as a Jewish state?
MAYOR: "It's a fact. You make the affinities, the affinities that you want you make. With all due respect, the State of Israel is a state that must be of all its citizens."

Magal: Decide. A moment ago you said two states for two nations.
MAYOR: “In Israel there are also a variety of people, Druze, Muslims, Christians."

Magal: You're constantly running to international law. We are trying to understand the truth and you are evading it. Explain to me how you say two states for two peoples and then you say that the State of Israel cannot be a Jewish state.
MAYOR: "Do you want me to stand (during the Hatkiva national anthem which says) 'my Jewish soul yearns' and to sing 'the hope of two thousand years' (...To be a free nation in our land, The land of Zion and Jerusalem.)?"
Caspit: No.
Yinon: Of course I do. Switzerland has a flag with a cross, so don't Jews live there?
MAYOR: "When there is a national anthem that reflects my views, I will be happy. Today I stand with respect. You do not give me respect, I give you respect."

Caspit: Coexistence with Israeli Arabs is constantly evolving and progressing. Hopefully that will continue too.
MAYOR: "The day after the (announcement of Trump's) deal, I hosted the Chairman of Menashe Regional Council, Ilan Sadeh, and now I'm hosting a member of the Likud Central Committee, Yaakov Zohar. I do not give up on dialogue with the people. The people are the most important capital in this world."

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