Kafe Knesset for October 31

Netanyahu vs. Ha’aretz “fake news:” Ha’aretz is in the Prime Minister’s Office’s crosshairs, Kafe Knesset learned today, over a story about Netanyahu’s planned participation in the Jewish Federations of North America’s upcoming General Assembly in LA. Last week,Ha’aretz reported that Bibi chickened out of facing Jewish American leaders who are angry about the lack of developments on the egalitarian section of the Western Wall and planned to boycott the event. The Jerusalem Post reported correctly at the time that he will be appearing via satellite feed – as he has done many times before, even when there wasn’t any tension – and that he wasn’t physically going to the GA because of scheduling issues. Someone at Ha’aretz apparently doesn’t read JPost, because today they ran a headline that “After Ha’aretz Report, Netanyahu Withdraws Plan to Boycott Major Jewish Federation Event.”

The PMO is fuming over what they see as an intentional doubling down on a wrong story. “Not for a single second did the Prime Minister intend to ‘boycott’ the GA speech,” a PMO source told Kafe Knesset. “That rumor is 100% false. Even after this was made clear, Ha’aretz chose to mislead its readers by running several pieces repeating this falsehood. Nearly ever year, the PM has appeared either by satellite or in person, and he said from the start that he would do so again this year. Fake news apparently is a bottomless pit.”

Apology not accepted: Naftali Bennett sparked outrage today after he criticized the IDF for “apologizing” for killing terrorists. After the IDF destroyed a terrorist tunnel from Gaza into Israel with an explosion within Israel yesterday, Hamas and Islamic Jihad reported seven terrorists killed and nine injured. The IDF spokesperson said, in response to a question about whether they meant to kill them, that the deaths were unintentional. Bennett said in response this morning that “we must not apologize for our success in eliminating terrorists. I will clarify: These are terrorists who were digging a tunnel of death – in Israeli territory – which was meant to kill Israeli women and children.” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman blasted Bennett for his comments, saying he used it as an excuse to attack the IDF. “Expressions of this kind severely harm Israel’s security, the IDF and all of us.” The opposition also sharply criticized Bennett. “No one apologized!” Yesh Atid MK Elazar Stern, a former IDF Brigadier General said. “The result of the IDF’s response is that we have seven dead terrorists and a quiet night in the towns near the Gaza border. That is an excellent result.”

Team Lapid-Deutch takes on the EU and Hezbollah: A week after Congress passed House Resolution 359, which calls on the EU to designate Hezbollah – in its entirety – as a terrorist organization, the bills sponsor, Representative Ted Deutch has joined forces with Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid for a transatlantic push on the matter. “Europe, believe Hezbollah, it is precisely the terrible terror organization it says it is,” is the title of a joint article Lapid and Deutch authored and was published yesterday in the Spanish El Pais and the Italian Corriere della Sera, two of the continent’s most widely read newspapers, and both politicians have sent similar letters to the 27 EU ambassadors in Israel and the US. “The step is overdue and now is time for action”, they wrote, urging the EU to abandon the “false distinction” between the group’s military and political wing and to designate all of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization subject to sanctions. “The legitimacy granted to Hezbollah through this false distinction allows the organization to raise money and recruit volunteers on European soil. We need our partners to join the global coalition against Hezbollah and cut off its activities in Europe. Terrorism isn’t fought with words, it’s fought with .”

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