Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.
Today’s Top Stories
1. What looked like a promising Israeli-Turkish reconciliation may have gone down the drain. An Istanbul court ordered arrest warrants for four IDF commanders, including former chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, for their roles in the Mavi Marmara affair. Hurriyet reports:
The court argued that an arrest warrant had become necessary for the legal procedure as the defendants had neither attended the trial nor responded to an invitation sent to them through the related department of the Turkish Justice Ministry.
2. Papal pilgrimage becomes a battle of symbols and spin. See below.
3. Khaled Mashaal reportedly met with Iran’s deputy foreign minister in Qatar. According to Haaretz, it would be the first public Hamas-Iran meeting in three years. Discussions centered on Palestinian reconciliation, and Syria.
4. A Muddled Minefield of Symbolism and Spin: Reuters blunders pope’s visit to holy sites.
5. Groups Pounce BDS With Joint Effort: We must learn from University of Washington activists’ unity of purpose.
Pope Francis in the Holy Land
• “History’s most cherished Christian-themed masterpieces — digitally doctored with a bizarre anti-Semitic twist.” Can they do that?
• Looking at the controversy surrounding King David’s tomb and the Cenacle, the NY Times notes that expanding Christian prayer there would set a precedent for expanding Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount.
• Maan News: The 39 Palestinian terrorists deported after the 2002 siege of the Church of the Nativity appealed to the pope to help them return from Gaza and Europe to their homes in Bethlehem.
Maan describes them as “activists,” but a small sampling of the Bethlehem 39’s “activism” includes Mohammed Said Atallah Salem (who planned a Jerusalem suicide bombing that killed 11 Israelis), Ibrahim Moussa Salem Abayat (murders of Sarit Amrani and Devorah Friedman), and Jihad Jaara (who admitted to a journalist his involvement in the murder of Avi Boaz). I could go on . . .
• Lebanon’s Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai will continue visiting his flock in the Holy Land after Pope Francis leaves the country. Haaretz reports he will leave Israel via Jordan on Thursday after spending time with Maronites in northern Israel and the West Bank. He’ll have to religiously avoid contact with Israeli officials to save his own skin.
The patriarch arrived late Sunday in Jerusalem after accompanying Francis in the West Bank, but he departed from the parts of the Catholic leader’s itinerary that involved meetings with Israelis.
• For more commentary/analysis, see David Horovitz (Francis seeks a moment of symbolism), Reuven Berko (Palestinians trample on Christian narrative), and David Weinberg (What I’d like to hear from the pope).
Rest O’ the Roundup
• The Sinai-based Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis denies that its leader, Shadi Al-Menei, was killed, but other sources insist to Asharq al-Awsat that he was indeed killed by the Egyptian army with the participation of Bedouin tribesmen. The Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis has claimed responsibility for a deadly Taba bus bombing and a rocket attack on Eilat, among other things.
• Call it an Asia pivot? Moshe Arens explains why Israel is shifting east.
• The Toronto Star‘s Dow Marmur wonders why the United Church of Canada places so much emphasis on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while ignoring many other occupations around the world.
• Takes one to know one:
• Egypt is voting for its next president. Former army boss Abdul Fattah al-Sisi is expected to win. BBC suffices. ‘Nuff said.
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.