News Nosh 2.13.20

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday February 13, 2020

Quote of the day:
“When Hamas, or any other organization, harms the military, soldiers, commanders, it's not terror, it's war. Painful, dirty, disgusting, but legitimate.”
TV host Dan Shilon differentiated between civilian and military targets on Twitter - upsetting many Israelis.*

You Must Be Kidding: 
Hebrew University will give two academic credits to students who volunteer for the right-wing political group Im Tirtzu, which targets left-leaning politicians, public figures and academics as subversives.**

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • “The UN submitted to BDS” - Anger in Israel over UN publication of ‘blacklist’ of 112 business working in the Territories
  • Who is paying? // Ben-Dror Yemini
  • 13-year-old Daniel was killed on electric scooter
  • Mika Karni discovered at age 47 that she was pregnant while a surrogate carried her 5th child (Hebrew)
  • The Judges who will decide Netanyahu’s fate (Hebrew)
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • “Whoever boycotts us will be boycotted himself” - Anger in Israel over publication of ‘blacklist’ of businesses in Judea and Samaria (West Bank)
  • Buy intentionally from those on the list // Nadav Shragai
  • Stands on Tibi’s shoulders // Amnon Lord
  • Between elections and an operation in Gaza// Mati Tuchfeld
  • The besieged Israelis (on the coronavirus-hit cruise): “We feel a change, hope is coming to us”
  • Panel of judges in Netanyahu cases chosen: Rivka Friedman-Feldman, Moshe Bar-Am and Oded Shaham
  • Tragedy in Tel-Aviv: 13-year-old electric scooter rider killed by cement mixer

Top News Summary:
The UN published its ‘blacklist’ of companies operating in settlements, the three judges who will try Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu were named (and one was the same judge who sent former prime minister Ehud Olmert to jail) and the Israelis on the coronavirus-hit cruise ship hoped that request to Japan from Israel’s Foreign Ministry would help release them from the besieged ship - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Despite heavy US and Israeli pressure, which led to numerous delays, the UN Human Rights Council released the the "blacklist" of 112 companies, 18 of them foreign, working in the settlements in the Palestinian territories, Netanyahu was infuriated and declared Israel would boycott anyone who boycott those companies and he ordered to cut off contact with the UNHCR commissioner, Chile's former president Michelle Bechelet, The list was originally passed at the UN Security Council in March 2016, but not released. US lawmakers blasted the blacklist, calling it ‘counterproductive to peace.’ However, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh threatened to take international legal action against the companies on the list. Now all that is left is to wait and see what the United Nations Human Rights Council chooses to do with the list, wrote Yedioth’s Itamar Eichner. The council will meet in Geneva on February 24, when all decisions pertaining the list will be made. Rami Levi, the owner of the supermarket chain in his name, wasn't particularly bothered: “So the UN shouldn’t shop at my supermarket," he said. (Maariv)

Elections 2020 Quickees:
Netanyahu Calls Zuckerberg to Criticize Facebook Treatment of Likud
The prime minister's Facebook bot was suspended twice during September's election for violations, and other rightists have also accused Facebook of cracking down on their accounts in recent months. (Haaretz+ and Times of Israel)
With Weeks to Go Before Israel's Election, Gantz Trying to Form Government Without Arab Parties
Likud believes tying the Kahol Lavan leader to the Joint List will thwart his efforts to win over two to three seats’ worth of right-wing voters. (Haaretz+)
Naftali Bennett: "Without sovereignty - We won’t enter government"
Defense Minister addressed the launch of campaign of ‘Yamina’ party in Kfar Maccabiah and addressed the question formation of next government: "Under no circumstances will I enter the anti-religious left-wing government of Gantz and Lapid.” (Maariv)
Kahol Lavan signs vote-sharing deal with Labor-led alliance
Move leaves the Joint List without a partner for a surplus-vote agreement in the upcoming election March 2 election. (Haaretz+)
Lieberman does not rule out sitting with Labor-Meretz in government: "It all depends on the basic lines"
Chairman of Yisrael Beiteinu was interviewed by Army Radio and did not rule out cooperation with the left-wing party. However, he ruled out the possibility of a unity government (between Kahol-Lavan and Likud): "Obviously, it won’t happen.” (Maariv)
Lieberman in attack on Prime Minister: "For me, the Netanyahu era is over"
Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman attacked prime minister during an interview at the annual board of directors update conference: "I meet with many Likudniks, they are sure Netanyahu should leave for the good of the party.” (Maariv)
Yeshiva Funding Crisis Could Prevent Fourth Israeli Election
Unless a budget for 2020 is passed in the next few months, state funding for Yeshivas will run out in June. (Haaretz+)

Quick Hits:
  • Palestinians returning from UN with 'our tail between our legs'  - "There is an atmosphere of bitter disappointment among the members of the delegation who went to the UN with Abbas," says a senior Palestinian official. "The sense is that we are coming back with our tails between our legs. We were caught unprepared, and we didn't properly assess the American pressure on the members of the Security Council." (Israel Hayom)
  • Fury in security establishment against Minister Bennett: "Giving tailwind to (Jewish) extremist on the ground (in West Bank)“ - The Shin Bet is furious at the decision of the defense minister to cancel detention warrant of a right-wing activist. The Shin Bet’s recommendation for administrative detention was based on high-quality intelligence that found that the right-wing activist posed a high level of danger. Bennett in response: "As the Defense Minister, I'm not anyone’s rubber stamp.” (Maariv)
  • **Jerusalem's Hebrew University to Give Students Credit for Volunteering With Right-wing Group That Blacklists Academics - Im-Tirzu targets left-leaning politicians, public figures and academics as subversives. (Haaretz+)
  • *(TV show host) Dan Shilon: "When Hamas harms soldiers it's not terror, it's legitimate war" - The veteran media man wrote a post on social media network calling for a distinction between actions by the terrorist organization against civilians and those carried out against Israelis in uniform. “Regarding terror, let’s make things clear. When Hamas bombs civilians, when Palestinians stab innocent people, bombs buses, launch explosive balloons at civilian communities, this is terrorism. Low, disgusting, painful. terrorism. When Hamas, or any other organization, harms the military, soldiers, commanders, it's not terror, it's war. Painful, dirty, disgusting, but legitimate.” [NOTE: In Israel, even politicians don’t differentiate between military and civilian targets and consider all Palestinians causing harm terrorists. The comments on Maariv’s website were all deriding him. - OH] (Maariv)
  • Israel exposed and prevented a series of cyber attacks against the Palestinian Authority - The attackers used the “Deal of the Century" and the assassination of Qassem Soleimani to get the Palestinian Authority employees click on malicious links - thus spying, listening and stealing personal files. Israeli intelligence-linked cybersecurity company, Cybereason, attributes the attacks to the ‘MoleRATs’, also known as ‘The Gaza Cybergang’, which it says is a Hamas-linked cyberwarfare unit operating in the region since 2012. (Maariv and Israel Hayom and Sputnik)
  • Families of fallen IDF soldiers, civilian held in Gaza launch campaign for their release - The relatives of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, who fell in combat in 2014 Gaza war, as well as family of Avera Mengistu who voluntarily crossed into the Strip due to mental illness, say government has forsaken them. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • After the storm: Naama Issachar deleted the thank-you note from social media because it did not mention the Prime Minister - Following the post written by the young woman released from the Russian prison, which drew angry comments because she did not thank Netanyahu, the Facebook page of activists acting to help her was deleted in addition to a clarification post published by her mother. (Maariv)
  • New Jerusalem Promenade Offers Best View of a Powder Keg - A section of the Ramparts Walk has been reopened to the public, providing fascinating views of the Christian and Muslim quarters. Too bad Israelis are afraid to visit. (Haaretz+)
  • Reports of anti-LGBT Incidents on the Rise in Israel, Task Force Says - The Aguda Association for LGBTQ Equality attributes the jump last year in reported incidents mainly to more complete reporting. (Haaretz+)
  • Will this new laser interceptor bring calm to southern Israel ? This video may offer a clue - Rafael releases footage from series of tests on new system, unveiled several weeks ago. Laser-based system has "soft kill" and "hard kill" methods to address the threats of objects flying close to the ground. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli Cyberattack Firm NSO to Buy Drone Interception Startup - NSO, which has been linked to hacks on Saudi dissidents and U.S. companies, will purchase Convexum for $60 million in cash. (Haaretz+)
  • Prosecutor Approves Bar Refaeli Plea Deal to Do Community Service for Tax Evasion - A draft agreement would have the model’s mother, Tzipi Refaeli serve a year and 4 months in prison. (Haaretz+)
  • Iran Threatens Israel With 'Crushing Response' to Action Against Its Mideast Interests - Iranian officials accuse Israel of carrying out attacks against military forces in Syria that are allied with Tehran. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Civilian Killed as U.S. Troops Clash With pro-Assad Regime Forces in Northeast Syria - U.S. military says its forces came under fire, promoting them to responded in self-defense. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran Candidates Kick Off Election Campaign as Thousands Barred From Running - The vote is seen as a test of the popularity of the relatively moderate and pro-reform bloc led by Rohani. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Report: Lebanon Opens Fire at Israeli Drones, Forcing Them to Leave Lebanese Airspace - The Lebanese Army opened fire on Israeli drones over southern Lebanon's Mays al-Jabal, forcing them out of the country's airspace, Lebanese television channel Al-Mayadeen reported Wednesday night. (Haaretz)
  • Widowed, imprisoned, detained: remnants of Islamic State in limbo in Syria - Kurdish fighters bare the brunt of holding the former IS fighters, 10% of whom are European, in harsh and complicated conditions; many of the prisoners beg to be repatriated, but many of their home nations fear backlash for such a move. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Berkeley Student Government Votes Down Resolution Condemning pro-Palestinian Display - 'Clearly Berkeley is not united against hate,' campus senior Nathan Bentolila said at the meeting, the Daily Californian reported. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Democratic Congresswoman McCollum Slams 'Hate Group' AIPAC for Comparing Her to ISIS - 'Vile attacks may be commonplace in Trump era, but should never be normalized,' says lawmaker of ad that accused Democrats of anti-Semitism and featured her picture. (Haaretz+)
  • Dutch town decides to keep streets that place Jerusalem, Tiberias in 'Palestine' - Although spokesperson says the signs will eventually change, the town has tried to appease the situation by saying that the reference to Palestine is to "biblical Palestine," even though neither the New Testament nor the Hebrew Bible make mention of a "Palestine." (Israel Hayom)

Outside the work cycle: The state has failed to integrate minorities into public sector jobs
Outside the health and education systems, Arabs occupy just a few percent of the public sector jobs, even though they make up a fifth of the population. The main barrier: the distance from Jerusalem. Percetage of Arab-Israelis working in Postal Authority: 4.3%, in Israel Train Authority: 2.4%, in Amidar Housing Authority: 1.9%, in Electric Co.: 1.2%. And in government ministries. 13% of social workers, 11% of teaching administration, 8% of prosecutors, 6% of engineers, 11% of ports employees, 8% of economists, 6% of Ministries' and directors' bureaus and 0% of legal advisors. "As long as we have no representation in government, we need to have representation in key positions and in decision-making processes." (Irit Avisar, Yedioth Hebrew's economic section)
A Jewish-Muslim Love Story in the Days of the Iranian Revolution
True story of two people with different religions but same Iranian roots is the basis of a new work by a playwright who yearns to bring the culture of Iran to Israeli stages. (Eness Elias, Haaretz+)

Top Commentary/Analysis:
Israel's Rejection of UN List of Companies Tied to Settlements Reveals Stark Truth About Annexation (Noa Landau, Haaretz+) Israel isn’t interested in the distinction between its right to exist as a country and the dispute over West Bank settlements. Instead, it seeks to blur the borders.
A message to Israel on its settlements (Itamar Eichner, Yedioth/Ynet) The list of companies operating in the settlements published by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is a clear statement by the international body that the West Bank is not Israeli territory, and could have severe repercussions for Israel.
The publication of the "blacklist" is a warning and the throwing of a glove at the US and Israel (Gideon Kotz, Maariv) While the UN Commission on Human Rights acknowledges that at this stage, the list does not have legal significance, it has expressed satisfaction that the report "adequately meets Council requirements." Even if the Human Rights Council members adopt the report and make a decision calling on companies to cease their "prohibited" activities, possible sanctions against them depend on the sovereign decisions of the states themselves. However, there will be financial pressure on international companies (from the US, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Thailand). Some of them may cease their activity from their own initiative - not only in the Territories, but also in Israel, as AirBNB did, for example. Before returning to it. It may be assumed that the decision to publish the list was now just a warning and a glove thrown to the US and Israel, with the publication of the US peace plan and the eve of the country's elections.
Breaking down the UNHRC blacklist (Ben Cohen, Israel Hayom) The fact the overwhelming majority of the companies are Israeli indicates that there is a more sinister aim at work here.
Blacklists Are Not New to Jews: A Response to the UN Decision (Shlomo Ne'eman, Maariv) Do our enemies really think that they will be able to dispossess us from our land by means of economic boycotts or other such sticks that they poke in our wheel? That’s simply ridiculous.
The Palestinians will pay the price (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth Hebrew) The settlement enterprise was and remains one of the most difficult disputes in Israeli society. There is a majority that likes the settlers. Most of (the settlers) are salt of the earth. People who contribute. They are first in combat units. They are the first to give. But it is doubtful that there is a majority that supports the settlement enterprise. A 2017 survey reveals that the majority of the public opposes the expansion of settlements outside the blocs, and 69% are willing to evacuate settlements under an agreement or arrangement. When international bodies intervene in the internal and legitimate debate within Israel, they mainly help the Israeli right-wing that supports the annexation of the Territories and the establishment of settlements or outposts in any corner, because these bodies are not seeking any fair agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. These bodies are controlled by an automatic majority of dark countries. And even if some of these countries already have connections, visible and covert, with Israel - publicly they maintain the old line of hostility toward Israel. The UN Human Rights Council is at the head of the hostility march toward Israel. Last year, the Council made 18 resolutions against Israel, compared to seven against all other countries of the world. Venezuela, which oppresses its citizens? Iran, which kills protesters? Myanmar, which carried out ethnic cleansing? China, which is holding millions of Muslims in "re-education camps"? Yet Israel is the problem...Criticism of the settlements is not anti-Semitic, but according to the definition of anti-Semitic work adopted by European countries and the European Union, the Council's anti-Israel obsession is a clear expression of anti-Semitism...Nearly 20,000 Palestinians work in industrial zones in the Territories. It is neither exploitation nor colonialism...The moving of the SodaStream company from the Territories to Israel was a success for the boycott campaign, but hundreds of Palestinian workers lost excellent jobs.
Debunk the UNHRC 'blacklist' (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) Apparently, the UN's so-called Human Rights Council is done righting the wrongs of the world and has time to focus on Judea and Samaria businesses, which only prove that Israelis and Palestinians can peacefully coexist.
The missing element: What is missing from the discussions around this deal of the century is sympathy for the Palestinians (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) What stood out in President Trump's peace plan was the absence of sympathy, while the UN debate seemed to try to appease the Palestinians. But what would this support give them in practical terms?
Israeli-Arab Nonaggression Pact? Don't Celebrate Yet (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Ex-Qatari PM's tweet reflects a growing discourse on such a move. But the real implications would be anything but military.
Elections are preventing a Gaza campaign (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) If not for the fact that Israelis are slated to go to the polls in three weeks, chances are Israel would be waging a campaign against the terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip. Restraint is the rule of the day so as not to disturb the due political process.
Why Palestine will lose the unfair trade war with Israel (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh's strategy of economic disengagement from Israel is likely to fail, but not before it does a lot of damage.
The Torah and the Declaration of Independence make it a supreme value - enough of the racism (Rabbi Avi Gisar, Maariv) The principles of the Declaration of Independence - “the foundations of freedom, justice and peace in the light of the vision of the prophets of Israel" - were and are air for all of humanity to breathe in a world of strangulation and hatred.
Jerusalem Mayor, Likud Minister Capitulated to Racism (Haaretz Editorial) The right-wing politicians, the rabbis of Har Hamor, and the residents of Jerusalem’s Har Homa neighborhood who organized opposition to the construction of a large commercial and business center at the entrance to their neighborhood never dreamed that their battle would be so short and successful. Less than a week after they began their campaign, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon folded in the face of the not-so-heavy pressure they exerted. (The plan was cancelled), despite the severe shortage of job opportunities in East Jerusalem and the fact that the plan was supposed to serve the Jewish neighborhood of Har Homa as well as well as the Palestinian neighborhood of Umm Tuba and the plan was to be built on land that belongs to Umm Tuba.
The Challenge for Israel’s Left: Returning to Begin’s Plan (Omri Boehm, Haaretz+) There probably isn’t much point in arguing with a provocateur who provides intellectual arguments for his justification of apartheid. Someone who has contempt for morality does not hold the truth very dear. Nonetheless, Gadi Taub’s recent article, “Requiem for the Israeli left’s apartheid argument," requires a response. First, because the basis of his argument is actually correct: The Zionist left must acknowledge the fact that a Palestinian state in the ’67 borders will not come to be, and start to create an alternative. Until then, shouting against occupation, annexation and apartheid is devoid of any real political meaning. And second, because Taub’s distortions and half-truths conceal a surprising truth – a repressed truth, even – that points to the kind of alternative that must be sought.
Not in the Name of Yad Vashem's Historians (Havi Dreifuss, Haaretz+) For the sake of full disclosure, I and my colleagues at the institute played no part in the (Holocaust Forum) ceremony whatsoever. In retrospect, we understood that Yad Vashem had devoted immense resources to organizing what was essentially a diplomatic meeting, while totally neglecting the content put on display there. I have no doubt that Yad Vashem will ultimately find a way to clarify the genesis of this event, and more importantly, that it will also draw the appropriate conclusions. However, I, together with other scholars both at Yad Vashem and other institutions, believe that our duty as historians is to present a clear professional voice. As such, this apology and clarification is insufficient. The footage screened at the ceremony – regardless of the reasons it was chosen – called into question our own expertise. More seriously, that screening threatens the very integrity of Yad Vashem, which has been developed, laboriously, over the course of many years, and through the dedication and toil of many outstanding scholars. Let’s call a spade a spade: The ceremony will indeed be remembered as an impressive and exceptional international diplomatic gathering, a fact stated by Holocaust scholar Prof. Yehuda Bauer in these pages (in Hebrew), but it will also be remembered as one of the most disappointing moments in the fierce battle being waged over the integrity of history. Strangely, the result was that I and other scholars affiliated with Yad Vashem, found ourselves, appearing to legitimize, even if inadvertently, the Russian narrative of World War II. At least that is the way it appeared. Even if this was not our intention, which it most certainly was not, this move seriously damaged our professional reputation, and it now requires genuine soul-searching, beginning with some unequivocal comments, however painful. We must state publicly that these videos, broadcast around the world, were heavily biased…
What to Do When You Find a Stray Cat in Ramallah (Umm Forat, Haaretz+) 'I bought cat milk formula for the kitten for 75 shekels ($22)' and then promised myself to buy gum during my next trip to Qalandiyah checkpoint from the ten-year old children who work day and night ■ Post #6

Elections 2020 Analysis:
Gantz did not explicitly rule out option of outside support from the Joint List (Arik Bender, Maariv) The statement against Joint List support made by Kahol-Lavan chairman was a direct result of the aggressive and focused campaign of Netanyahu and the right-wing, which constantly beat him and warning the electorate that Gantz intends to establish the "Tibi-Ayman Odeh-Gantz government.” Yesterday, when asked about it on Radio South, he replied: "Those who want to support will support, those who want to oppose will resist." These words were received by Likud as the ultimate proof of their claims and were immediately used by Prime Minister Netanyahu's as ammunition.
Arabs of Israel: Enough Begging (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Dear Arabs of Israel: The politicians don’t want you. The time has come for you to understand this and draw the obvious conclusion. Your representatives have tried to extend a hand, but it remained outstretched in the air. Some of your leaders tried to say that spit is rain, but spit is spit, and that’s what you’re getting from all shades of the Jewish political spectrum. Israel is united in scorn for its Palestinian citizens. You’re being spit on by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who doesn’t stop inciting against you, talking about partnership with Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi as if it’s a partnership with the devil. But no less than that, you’re being spit on by Kahol Lavan MK Benny Gantz, who on Tuesday contemptibly and gutlessly rejected the possibility of partnership with you. You’re even being spit on by Labor-Meretz, whose top 10 candidates for Knesset are purely Jewish.
Netanyahu will try to reduce the damage of the publication of the deal of the century, which will not yield him political gain (Anna Barsky, Maariv) In the first phase of the plan’s marketing in Israel, Netanyahu succeeded in convincing right-wingers and Yesha Council settler leaders that this was almost the revelation of Christ. Now, it's unclear how to navigate this ship…Netanyahu's "huge political victory" remains on paper alone. Not to mention poll data, which after all the festival fanfare looks frozen, just like construction in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) during the period of Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama. However, there are also those who have profited from the disappointment over sovereignty. Yamina party (Naftali Shaked and Ayelet Shaked) now has legitimacy to attack Netanyahu and the Likud on the right and build an entire campaign on the demand for "sovereignty now".
Griping About Orli Levi, and Voting for Yoaz Hendel (Zehava Galon, Haaretz+) It’s easy to laugh at the leftists who feel that Meretz has become too right wing for their tastes, who gripe about Orli Levi-Abekasis and then go vote for Yoaz Hendel, Moshe Ya’alon and Zvi Hauser. But something deeper lies beneath this decision. When people feel that a party is no longer their political home and compromises tarnish every vote, they give up on it and start to think strategically. This is a necessary process in the parties that have just merged. The groom’s side thinks the bride is too far left, and the bride’s side is thinking of voting Kahol Lavan. But the merger of Labor-Gesher-Meretz actually proves how important it is that the members of this party become a major force in the Knesset. Because Labor, Meretz and Gesher were well aware of the risk. They knew that they would bleed voters to the right and left, and that there was a chance that after the merger, they wouldn’t make it into the next Knesset. And yet they showed responsibility and united in order to prevent Netanyahu from forming a government.
Twenty days until Israel election III, the campaign is comatose and voters apathetic (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Netanyahu’s biggest trick ever is Trump’s “deal of the century,” but so far it has only discouraged his base and galvanized his Arab opposition.
Bernie vs Bloomberg: Prepare for the Trump-fueled Right-wing anti-Semitic Storm (Noah Berlatsky, Haaretz+) If Sanders or Bloomberg win the nomination, Trump will drench the 2020 campaign in anti-Semitic slurs, accusations of disloyalty and Soros conspiracy theories. Be ready to identify and refute them.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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