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APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday June 3, 2018


You Must Be Kidding:
Israeli soldiers, who teach school children how to respond to emergencies, were confined to their base as a punishment because some religious schools complained that the male soldiers did not wear a kippah (skullcap) at the school and a female soldier refused to wear a skirt.**
Front Page:
Haaretz

    Number of wiretaps by the police doubled in the last decade
(Former Shin Bet chief) Yoram Cohen denied without denying: Netanyahu did not ask to wiretap “specifically” (former chief of staff) Gantz and (former Mossad chief) Pardo // Amos Harel
    Two shells shot from Gaza towards Israel
    Spanish Prime Minister deposed because of corruption
Deposing of Rajoy and rise of right-wing in Italy show that the crisis in Europe is not over // Dafna Maor Soldiers from the Home Front Command were confined to their base because they refused to wear kippahs (when visiting) religious schools
    Trump changed his mind and announced he will meet with Kim Jung-On next Tuesday
    3000 people participated in first gay pride parade in Kfar Sava
    Falling on his tongue // Amira Hass on Haim Ramon
    Without any account // Ido Baum and Efrat Neuman on credit to IDB
The holidays, the books, the exhibitions and the swim suits: Everything you need to survive the summer

Yedioth Ahronoth

Iron Dome has already intercepted dozens of mortars - After years, there is an answer to the main threat on the Gaza vicinity (Israeli) communities Elections in Jerusalem - Want to be mayor? Close down the “debauchery space” (Mahane Yehuda market) “Netanyahu did not tell me to wiretap *specifically* the chief of staff and the Mossad chief” - Former Shin Bet chief
    Crisis of confidence // Ronen Bergman
    Pardo’s subversion // Ben-Dror Yemini

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

    Again: south under fire
Israel in response to reports on agreement in south Syria: We demand Iran and Hezbollah withdraw from the whole country State to High Court: We are probing a new community in Binyamin instead of the illegal outpost of Adi-Ad
    Trump: I will meet Kim Jung-On
    Wiretapping storm - Opposition demands an investigation
    The denial mechanism // Ben Caspit
    The enemy from within // Meir Uziel

Israel Hayom

Initiative at Congress: Advance recognition of the Golan Heights - After the embassy, US discussing another historical recognition of Israeli sovereignty
    The wiretapping affair: Storm based on a bag of lies // Haim Shine
    Fires and sirens - Weekend of terror in the south
Reform of the Israel Electricity Company: Preference for employees over citizens // Dr. Amatzia Samkay
    Exclusive - C-section in full anesthesia raises risk of autism
Exclusive - “Pray for the success of the police officers” - Public Security Minister Erdan told rabbis to change the prayer for the safety of soldiers I’m not the driver! Suspicion of breach of Waze: Hackers will take over the driving path Blow to Palestinians: “Trump will subordinate the consulate (for East) Jerusalem to Amb. Friedman”
    Israel’s 70th anniversary: Tonight, Times Square will be colored blue-and-white
Trump received personal letter from Kim and the summit is expected to take place


News Summary:
The storm over Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s alleged request to tap the phones of senior members of the Israeli security establishment and the ex-Shin Bet chief’s vague confirmation-denial on the subject and the launching of two mortar shells and a number of burning kites from the Gaza Strip towards Israel made the top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Also in the news, two opposing UN Security Council resolutions regarding the Gaza Strip and two US proposals that sit well with the Netanyahu government. Meanwhile, an Israeli official denied a report of a deal with Russia over Iran pulling out of southern Syria and the NATO chief declared NATO would not come to the aid of Israel, which is not a member, were Israel attacked by Iran. What was missing from the news was a serious investigation into Israeli army killings of a female Palestinian nurse near the Gaza fence and a Palestinian father of four driving a Bobcat mini-tractor in Hebron.

Both Yedioth and Haaretz noted that then-chief of the Shin Bet, Yoram Cohen, gave a vague answer that Netanyahu didn’t “specifically” ask for them to be tapped - in other words, he asked for tapping, but didn’t name those two. Another report said that the wiretapping request also included dozens of other officials and was aimed at deterring leaks on a possible Iran strike. Haaretz found that data showed that police sought permission to wiretap 3,483 phones in 2017, an increase of 135 percent compared to 2007.

The Israeli Air Force attacked Hamas posts in south Gaza late Saturday night after someone in Gaza launched two mortar shells towards the Eshkol Regional Council near the Gaza Strip, one of which was intercepted by Iron Dome and another apparently landing inside the Strip. During the day, burning kites from Gaza caused four fires in Israel and a group of Palestinians crossed the Gaza fence into Israel and tried to damage security infrastructure, but were shot at by the IDF and escaped back across. On Friday the US vetoed a 'grossly one-sided' resolution calling for ‘international protection’ for Palestinians, yet the US couldn’t get enough support to pass its proposed resolution to condemn Hamas. The votes sparked a sharp Israel-France Twitter exchange: Israeli Deputy Minister Michael Oren slammed French Ambassador to Israel Hélène Le Gal for France’s support for the UN resolution to protect Palestinians.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump is considering bestowing US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman authority over the US consulate in charge of Palestinian affairs, which would have significant policy implications since it suggests Washington considers the Palestinian Authority to be under Israel's jurisdiction. And Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is leading a plan to get the US to recognize the Israeli-occupied part of the Golan Heights as sovereign Israeli territory.

The New York Times interview with a beautiful 21-year-old female volunteer medic from Gaza was only posted on the NYT website after she was shot in the chest and killed by an Israeli sniper on the Gaza fence Friday. And that, along with the many social media posts about her killing, may have been an incentive for the IDF to announce on Saturday that it was opening an investigation into her death. Dozens of other Palestinians were wounded in the Friday protests. Haaretz reported that authorities in Gaza said Razan’s hands were raised as she approached the border to treat a wounded person. (Also Maan and Ynet) Thousands attended Najjar’s funeral. Israeli-Arab MK Ahmad Tibi called the killing 'an heinous war crime.’

The killing of Rami Sabarneh the next morning likely won’t get an IDF investigation. Hebrew newspapers pretty much reported as fact the Israeli army statement that Sabarneh tried to run over Israeli soldiers while driving a Bobcat mini-tractor. Sabarneh, 37, a father of four from Beit Ummar, was a Bobcat driver at a construction site where he was shot dead. Only Maan reported that Israeli forces detained Aaref Jaber, a local activist who filmed the moment soldiers killed Sabarneh. Soldiers also confiscated Jaber’s cellular phone. Jaber denied the Israeli army’s account, saying that “Sabarneh was driving a Bobcat excavator while another worker walked next to him. Israeli soldiers asked them to stop when he was at least 10 meters away from them, the walking worker stopped, but Sabarneh apparently did not hear the soldiers and continued his way so they opened fire at him until he was killed.”

Quick Hits:

Palestinian hit by Israeli military patrol vehicle in Hebron - A Palestinian teen, Muhammad al-Zaru, was allegedly run over by an Israeli military vehicle on Wednesday night in the southern occupied West Bank Old City of Hebron. Al-Zaru was transferred to hospital. (Maan) 'I am an Islamophobe,' boasts ex-director of Israel's press office - The man who once had sole authority to decide whether or not a journalist could work in Israel announces that he is an Islamophobe, thinks ‘Arabs lie.’ (+972mag) Shin Bet Detains Israeli Peace Activist at Ben-Gurion Airport in Unusual Incident - Tanya Rubinstein of Coalition of Women for Peace was on her way back from a conference in Sweden and was released after a half-hour. (Haaretz) Over 400 administrative detainees in Israeli prisons to launch hunger strike - Issa Qaraqe, head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners Affairs, said in a statement on Thursday that some 500 prisoners being held under administrative have been boycotting Israeli courts since February, in an effort to end the widely condemned policy, which allows for the detention of Palestinians without charge or trial. (Maan and Maariv) (Women’s March co-leader) Tamika Mallory on Israel: You Needed a Place, Cool, but Don’t Throw the Natives Out - Following her trip to Israel, Women’s March co-leader says 'Everybody has a right to exist,' but not to 'kill, steal and do whatever it is you’re gonna do to take that land.’ (Haaretz+) The State replied to the High Court that it is considering the establishment of a new settlement in Binyamin region - The possibility of turning the illegal outpost of Adi-Ad into a neighborhood of the neighboring settlement of Shilo is being considered. The State's response was given following a petition filed by Yesh Din and the heads of Palestinian villages in the area. (Maariv) Israel to invest in neglected Palestinian areas in Jerusalem - Government unveils program to invest $560 million in long-neglected Palestinian neighborhoods of east Jerusalem to reduce social gaps between neighborhoods; Funds to be invested in education, infrastructure, helping Palestinian women enter work force. (Agencies, Ynet) Broken government promises leave Israeli-Arab youth organizations without funds - Despite government approval of NIS 15 billion to health, education and employment in Arab sector only 3 years ago, informal educational groups in the sector claimed they never received promised funds; Israel Arab Scouts Association chairman says organization forced to shutter 11 branches, summer camp in jeopardy; Education Ministry: 'Budgetary increments not yet received.' (Ynet) WATCH: Returning to the site of the Deir Yassin massacre (in Jerusalem) - Every year, to mark the Nakba, Israeli organization Zochrot organizes a tour returning to the site of Deir Yassin, where Zionist militias massacred over 100 people in 1948. Today, the Givat Shaul neighborhood of Jerusalem and a psychiatric hospital stand in its place. Not everyone is happy about the tours. (+972mag +VIDEO) Israeli minister slams EU funding of 'BDS groups,' ignoring that the U.S. funds the same groups - Why is Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan silent about American and Australian involvement in the funding of alleged anti-Israel boycott organizations? (Haaretz+) Israeli lawmakers oppose Knesset discussion on women in Gaza Strip - The discussion, set by lawmaker Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List), is expected to deal with the difficulties of women who suffer from cancer and need to leave the Strip for urgent medical treatment. (Haaretz+) 'Life and Death Are the Same': What Gazans Are Saying About the Latest Round of Violence With Israel - But the feeling in the coastal enclave is still that an all-out confrontation with Israel can be avoided. (Haaretz+) Feelings of 'madness' and 'war': a spike in calls to mental health centers by (Israeli) residents in the Gaza vicinity - The massive fire towards the communities surrounding the Gaza Strip last week brought back difficult feelings to the local residents: "The endless cycle of the escalation deepens the frustration and despair.” (Maariv) **Israeli Soldiers Confined to Base for Refusing to Wear Skullcaps at Religious Schools - The soldiers, who teach kids how to respond to emergencies, were confined by their commanders without any disciplinary process after the schools complained. (Haaretz+) Bill letting Israeli towns transfer industrial tax revenue to settlements moves forward - Under this law, settlements would not be able to give revenue to Israeli municipalities. (Haaretz) What's in a name: Israel revoking working permits from Palestinians who share name with terrorists - Israel has over the past year canceled the permits of hundreds who share a last name with an attacker. Many did not know the perpetrator and some are not even related. (Haaretz+) Petition to Embassy of Argentina: Cancel the soccer game in Israel of the national team - Joint List against the visit of Leo Messi and his fellow soccer team players from the national team. (Maariv, p. 6) Ravit Sabag fought so that her daughter’s and grandchildren’s killer will pay for his actions: "I would take revenge on him myself" - Since the murder in Migdal that horrified the country, the mother of Dor Karsenti has battled to make sure that Nadav Sela (her murdered daughter’s husband) wouldn’t be recognized as insane. After four life sentences were imposed on him, a weight dropped from her heart: "If I could take revenge on him, I would do it.“ (Maariv) What Drove a Record Number of Israelis to Suicide in the '60s? - After the pressures of Israel's early years faded, why did the suicide rate rise dramatically? (Haaretz+) IN PHOTOS Thousands attend central Israeli city of Kfar Sava's first Gay Pride Parade - Police initially set different terms for the parade's execution, which included setting up 2-meter tall fences because of the 'sensitivity' of the event. Following a High Court appeal by organizers, the demands were withdrawn. (Haaretz+) Roseanne’s Other Problematic Tweet This Week Was About George Soros - The Jewish comedian’s hit show was canceled by ABC on Tuesday after a racist tweet about an Obama aide, but she was also embroiled in a Twitter spat with Chelsea Clinton about the American-Hungarian billionaire philanthropist. (JTA, Haaretz)


Features:
Israel's ultimatum to a revered Palestinian principal and agent of change
How Lana Khalaf, the principal of Pioneers Baccalaureate School, a Nablus (American-geared) school that's regarded as a model of academic excellence, became an illegal alien after three decades in the West Bank. (Amira Hass, Haaretz+)
Haaretz Photo Blog Israel declared the 51st State of the United States
Is Israel an American colony? Although Israel is not in reality a protectorate of the United States of America, you cannot ignore the tremendous influence that the U.S. has on Israel in all fields. (Abir Sultan, Haaretz) The mango sauce connecting Indians, Israelis and Palestinians - and taking high-end restaurants by storm Described by some culinary wizards as the Mideast equivalent of umami, tangy amba, with its still-unclear provenance, has undergone 'gourmetization,' crossing cultural and physical boundaries to star in dishes with eggplant, fish and ... French fries. (Daniel Monterescu, Haaretz+)

Commentary/Analysis:
A Non-denial Denial: Did Netanyahu Ask ex-Shin Bet Chief to Tap IDF, Mossad Heads? (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Yoram Cohen says he never got 'specific' instructions from Netanyahu to listen in on Tamir Pardo and Benny Gantz, though the explosive report mentioned a general request to tap a series of confidants. Another liquidation by (investigative journalist) Ilana Dayan: (former Mossad chief) Tamir Pardo would have done well if he had not been interviewed (Meir Uziel, Maariv) It seems that lately, the ‘Uvda’ investigative TV program is liquidating one senior figure after another by simply letting them talk. Isn’t it the Shin Bet's job to detect leaks? Netanyahu Is ‘Sabotaged’ Again (Haaretz Editorial) The allegations that he sought to wiretap security officials help suggest that anyone who thinks differently from the prime minister is immediately suspected of sabotaging him. The most immediate threat to the secrets of the State of Israel comes from Netanyahu (Ben Caspit, Maariv) It is unbelievable that the prime minister continues to demand wiretaps and polygraphs from all the senior partners of the secrets of Israel's defense establishment, while on several occasions he failed in dealing with confidential information. When Will Orthodox Jews Stop Defending Our Bullying, Lying, Racist President? (Eric H. Yoffie, Haaretz+) When Trump deliberately avoided Roseanne’s racism, it confirmed again his lifelong contempt for people who are not white. 'But he says he loves Israel' is a morally corrupt defense for Orthodox leaders to keep supporting him. Israel won the lottery with Trump, but will pay the price when he’s gone (Yoaz Hendel, Yedioth/Ynet) As the big winners, we’ll have a problem with the Democrats in the future. We can see it in their eyes, in their reactions, in the media’s attitude. If they win the next elections, they’ll erase the Trump legacy just like he erased the Obama legacy. They’ll take revenge. Gaza flare-up: How one Israeli tank shell almost started an all-out war (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Even Netanyahu knows there's no magic solution for Gaza tensions. Is toppling Hamas necessary? (Maj. Gen. (ret.) Gershon Hacohen, Israel Hayom) We must give serious consideration to whether ending Hamas rule in Gaza and handing the Strip over to the PA truly serves Israel's interests. There is no ‘solution’ for Gaza (Israel Harel, Haaretz+) As far as the Palestinians are concerned, if they leave the refugee camps or rebuild Gaza, their struggle will die. To advance the national cause – a full return to their land – the more they preserve the bad the better. How Gaza's Return March can elevate the one-state movement (Awad Abdel Fattah, +972mag) The Great Return March has the potential to lend its momentum to grassroots and popular struggles beyond Gaza’s fence, in the West Bank, Jerusalem, and inside Israel. They're Right. If Palestinians in Gaza Don't Shoot, No One Listens (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) They are the last fighters against the Israeli occupation. While the occupied West Bank behaves like it's given up, Gaza is not giving up. The well-oiled legal machine that enables IDF violence (Orly Noy, +972mag) The majority of complaints by Palestinians about violence by Israeli soldiers go nowhere, and when they do, it can take over a year for the military prosecution to decide whether to even open an investigation. When a Hamas Spokesperson Is a Man of Truth (B. Michael, Haaretz+) When it was announced that 50 of the 62 killed in the Gaza protests were members of Hamas, Israelis rejoiced. Could a Hamas spokesman have been telling lies? Perish the thought. A Hamas spokesman has always – since last week, anyway – been a man of his word. Sure, next week he will go back to being a pathological liar who cannot possibly be believed. But until then? His every utterance is the gospel truth. It was no surprise that the first to accept this message from Hamas was the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, one spokesman to another. So why suspect the motives of spokespeople? Let’s assume one of them was actually telling the truth this time, and that 50 of the dead really were Hamas members. And let’s overlook the small fact that they were unarmed and not endangering the snipers, or Israel, or the Jewish people. And in an act of polemical generosity, we will also ignore the fact that Hamas is not only an underground terrorist organization but also a political party. A legitimate party. A party that, in Israel’s view, participated in and won the last election in the Gaza Strip. A party whose platform, ideas and path are absolutely despicable. But is every member of a despicable party to be marked for death? Does this make them fair game? By that twisted and murderous logic, would the killing of 50 members of the Likud Central Committee or Habayit Hayehudi activists be legitimate? Would it be acceptable to shoot them as they demonstrate? After all, there are some (myself included) who think at least one of these parties is a far greater danger to regional peace than Hamas is. The future of the Gaza Strip: The last round did not solve the questions either (Dr. Gadi Hitman, Maariv) Of all the questions, the one that regarding Israel's interest is the most important of all. It is also the most mysterious. What does the political echelon in Israel really want? It’s worth thinking about creative and long-term solutions. Netanyahu should thank Amir Peretz, Barack Obama and God for enabling his Gaza restraint (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) If the prime minister had to contend with a charismatic rabble-rouser like himself, Israel would be at war right now. Toppling Hamas is the only logical solution (Haim Ramon, Yedioth/Ynet) We’ve been through three rounds of fighting, we’ve imposed an economic blockade on Gaza, we’ve reached a ‘hudna,’ we’ve invested billions in the Iron Dome system, in uncovering tunnels and in building a fence and a sea barrier—to no avail. Eventually, we’ll have no choice but to bring Hamas down, so why not now? Gaza isn't a lost cause (Yossi Beilin, Israel Hayom) A long-term armistice would facilitate critical rehabilitation initiatives in Gaza – for which Hamas would likely take all credit. But a stable and developing Gaza is our interest nonetheless. That Israel hater Yad Vashem (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) The people at the Holocaust museum are now Israel haters because they preserve a narrative that attributes the destruction of the Jews only to the Nazis and ignores it as a Nazi-Arab coproduction. If the Iranians are distanced from the (Syrian) border, this is a great achievement for Netanyahu (Yossi Melman, Maariv) If the Assad army returns to the south of the country (replacing Iranian and Hezbollah forces -OH), Israel's moral obligation will be to ensure that the residents of the villages with whom it has maintained good relations and neighborly relations for many years will not be harmed. Jerusalem & Babylon Putin's pet oligarch Roman Abramovich is now Israel's richest man. But is he worthy of citizenship? (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Its founders didn't declare in 1948 that, 'The State of Israel is open for the ingathering of exiles and exiled murky money tax-evaders and sex offenders.' But that's what the Law of Return has facilitated. Foreign-funded NGOs, political power and democratic legitimacy ([right-wing NGO director] Gerald M. Steinberg, Yedioth/Ynet) Massive external funding for a very narrow group of unaccountable and polarizing NGOs is in fact corrupting the democratic principles in whose name they claim to speak. 'Privileged Fat Skinhead': What I Learned When Roseanne Fat-shamed Me on Twitter (Rogel Alpher, Haaretz+) When you fat-shamed me, I realized that a great darkness dwells in you. I don’t know what releases it — Twitter, Ambien, maybe both. But it’s all yours. The Knesset Wants Apartheid (Friday Haaretz Editorial) The current Knesset is carrying out a creeping annexation of the occupied territories, applying more and more laws to the West Bank while erasing the Green Line. Why Israel Isn't a Preferred Destination for Millennials (Gabriela Davidovich-Weisber, Haaretz+) Young people don’t want to visit Israel, and Eurovision won’t help. Also, militancy isn't cool. Morocco's 'Virtual King' Runs His Country on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) In recent months Mohammed VI has spent only 20 days in his kingdom, not the greatest strategy when your country has finally succumbed to Arab Spring-like protests. The Demolition of Israeli Literature (Tsur Shezaf, Haaretz+) Writers never had it good. The state never supported them, but now, spearheaded by Culture Minister Miri Regev, it is actually trying to destroy them.


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