APN's daily news review from Israel
Friday January 18, 2013
Quote of the day:
"The days of the bulldozers uprooting Jews is behind us, not ahead of us."
--Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tells Maariv he has no plans of evacuating settlers from the West Bank in the next four years.**
Front Page News:
- Poll: Likud-Beiteinu 32, Labor 17, Habayit Hayehudi 14, Shas 12, Yesh Atid 12, Hatnua 8, Meretz 6, Hadash 5, Yehadut Hatorah 5, Balad 4, Raam-Ta'al 3, Kadima 2
- Haaretz's most recent poll shows a low for the right-wing bloc: 63 mandates. Netanyahu's win is assured, but assembling the coalition will be complicated //Yossi Verter
- Left-wing parties are not fantasizing about a return to power, but are beginning to plan for the next elections // Ari Shavit
- A journey after the indifferent Arab voter // Gideon Levy
- The ultra-Orthodox are uniting against a compromise on the draft // Yair Ettinger
- 30 hostages killed in gas field in Algeria
- Tape in Barak's bureau reveals secret talks between generals
- (Right-wing) Im Tirtzu sent private investigators to collect information about lawyer of progressive organizations
- When the university gates opened to students with Down's Syndrome
- 3 bullets from short range // Gideon Levy
- The Palestinian female hilltop youth // Amos Harel
- I won't vote for a politician who talks about the middle class, only for a politician who talks about the poor and the weak // Guy Rolnik
- 1/4 page ad: 5 excellent reasons to vote only for Tzipi Livni: The only one who brought the world to Israel's side, the only one with diplomatic experience and proven achievements in negotiations, the only one who convinced the US president to refuse the right of the return of Palestinian refugees to Israel, the only one who can stand up to Netanyahu, the only one who will fight for a political settlement. Hatnuah
- Poll: Likud 32, Labor 17, (Yesh Atid) Lapid 13, (Habayit Hayehudi) Bennett 12, Shas 11, (Hatnua) Livni 8, Meretz 6, Yehadut Hatorah 6, Kadima 2, Otzma L'Yisrael 2, Arab parties 11
- The latest election poll shows Likud-Beiteinu loses another mandate. Without the ultra-Orthodox and the Arabs the right-wing bloc and left-wing bloc are equal. 15.3% still debating. 63 mandates for right-wing bloc ultra-Orthodox. 57 mandates to center-left bloc
- Netanyahu: I won't evacuate settlements in Judea and Samaria (W. Bank) in next four years (Hebrew)
- Poll: Likud-Beiteinu 35, Labor 16, Habayit Hayehudi (Bennett) 14, Shas 11, Yesh Atid 10 (Lapid), Arab parties 10, Hatnua (Livni) 7, Meretz 6, Yehadut Hatorah 6, Kadima 2, Utzma L'Yisrael 2 (Hebrew)
- At 'Meuravim' conference in Eilat: Heads of parties call for emergency government to solve the budget crisis (Hebrew)
- State to members of Kibbutz Misgav Am: The kibbutz is in Lebanese territory - 67 years after the kibbutz was established, the Interior Ministry's regional committee for planning and construction announced to Misgav Am: Part of your lands are beyond the borders of the state
- Failed rescue attempt in Algeria - Only 7 hostages remain alive (Hebrew)
- Likud officials yesterday: "The aspiration: to establish a government on the basis of a nationalist camp"
- Bloodbath in Algeria - In failed rescue attempt dozens of hostages killed in gas field
- "When dawn comes I will no longer be alive" - Diary written by anonymous person in Warsaw Ghetto given to President Peres to mark 70 years since "January rebellion"
- State to investigate the affects of cellular phones
- Harish (city): ultra-Orthodox groups who asked to compete for tenders in the city were denied
- Sophisticated iPhone Facebook application: Will allow voice calls
A failed rescue attempt leads to death of hostages in Algeria, the last polls before elections are out and Israeli political parties make their last ditch attempts to win voters by making their positions clearer making top stories in the FridayHebrew papers. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu tells Maariv in an exclusive interview that he has no intention of giving the Palestinians any land.
By law, today is the last day to present election polls till the night of elections. According to Israel Hayom, Tzipi Livni's Hatnua party has dropped in popularity and her lost mandates have strengthened the left-wing Meretz party and Yair Lapid's center-right party, Yesh Atid. What is clear is that Likud has dropped in the polls. Experts say this will pose a problem for Netanyahu to form a coalition government. Haaretz's Yossi Verter discusses this here and Ynet interviews Likud politicians who talk about the challenge. The other fear is that lopsided voter turnout means skewed election results. Few young Israelis and Arab citizens are expected to vote, while a very high percentage of ultra-Orthodox Jews and settlers will be casting ballots. Ynet discusses this dilemma here.
Israel Hayom's political affairs reporter, Mati Tuchfeld writes that it is believed that Labor party Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich hopes to form a coalition government after the elections with Hatnua and Yesh Atid and the ultra-Orthodox parties. As a result, she "is doing everything possible to distance the Labor party from the left-wing bloc, to wink at the settlers and to hug the ultra-Orthodox. This week, she even said in one interview that whoever wants to vote for a left-wing party should vote for Meretz. Labor is center." She has also said she would make Livni Foreign Minister. Ynet quoted her as saying yesterday: "Anyone who doesn't vote Labor, votes for Netanyahu." It was also written in the papers that if Livni fails to get a substantive amount of mandates she will not run in the following elections.
The heads of three centrist parties and one far-right-wing party called for a unity government to save the country from its crises. Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid, Tzipi Livni of Hatnuah and Habayit Hayehudi's Naftali Bennett expressed on a panel at the Maariv 'Meuravim' Conference in Eilat their support for such a government, but with different compositions. Bennett called for an "emergency economic government made with Yair Lapid and the Likud." Lapid said: "Unlike Shelly Yachimovich, I am responsible, and therefore if it is possible to form a social-economic unity government, one must do everything to prevent a government of the right-wing and the ultra-Orthodox." [Note, Israel Hayom quoted Lapid and added the word 'extremist' to 'right-wing'. -OH] Livni said: "Lapid will join any government and Shelly announced she's going to the opposition. And I ask: Why? We can go together. Partnership can give the power to form a real emergency national government." (NRG Hebrew) She also said: "We are facing a diplomatic, social and security emergency situation. I will act with all of my power to establish a central, Zionist unity government to withstand this emergency situation." Yachimovich also said this week that she is interested in creating an "economic emergency government," wrote Tuchfeld, which he took to mean that "the diplomatic issue does not interest her, which means the ultra-Orthodox and maybe even Naftali Bennett could join a coalition government headed by her."
The right-wing does not realize, still, that it is the majority and, instead, it has the sense that it is the persecuted minority, writes Uri Elitzur, who served as Netanyahu's bureau chief during his first term as prime minister, was an editor at the right-wing Makor Rishon newspaper and now writes commentary in Maariv/NRG Hebrew. Elitzur says that, "It is the obligation of the right-wing to internalize the not-new situation and to listen to the sense of persecution the left-wing feels without anger and hatred and to calm the left as much as is possible. The first case to calm is the story of Ram Cohen, the high school principal who wrote an Op-Ed in Haaretz in favor of the (left-wing) Hadash party. Let him be, he did nothing bad and there is no justification for the attempt to shut his mouth [He may be fired - OH]. It is permitted for teachers and principals to hold political views and to express them, especially if they are in the minority. It does not damage the sensitive souls of the students, and only teaches them a lesson in democracy." Maariv's conservative commentator, Ben-Dror Yemini writes today that left-wing criticism of Netanyahu is exaggerated and only strengthened him. "But substantive criticism, like that published by journalist Jeffrey Goldberg of remarks made by Obama need to flash red lights.
- Right-wing Israeli group admits using PIs to spy on leftist NGOs - Revelation made during libel trial filed by Im Tirtzu against eight left-wing activists who established a Facebook page calling the organization fascist. (Haaretz)
- State to members of Kibbutz Misgav Am: Part of the Kibbutz is in Lebanese territory - A simple request to build new apartments in land within the kibbutz near the border with Lebanon was given a surprising answer from the Interior Ministry: You need to first withdraw to Israeli territory "and to correct the Blue Line so that you are not passing the State's borders." Now the kibbutz is preparing an enormous suit against the state. (Maariv, p. 1)
- Three years after humiliating the ambassador: Danny Ayalon says it's possible to apologize to Turkey - It is possible to warm the relations with Turkey through an apology, said Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon this week to the Turkish paper, Hurriyet. He said Israel could adopt the text of the apology the US gave to Pakistan after 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in a NATO bombing in 2011. "The text must be very clear, so that everyone who reads it understands (it is an apology). [Note - Former FM Lieberman said the same thing a few months back - OH] (Maariv, p. 5)
- Israeli man who posed as Mossad agent nabbed for fraud - Ra'anana man accused of scamming hundreds of thousands of shekels. (Haaretz)
- Israel Antiquities Authority brings Mandate Palestine into the digital era - The first stage of digitizing the authority's archives has been completed: More than 36,000 documents have been scanned and made accessible to the public. (Haaretz)
- Bulgaria briefs Israel, EU on Burgas bombing probe progress - Foreign Minister Nikolai Mladenov pays a surprise visit to Israel to brief leaders on probe into last July's bombing. Publication of Bulgarian investigation's findings could happen as early as next month. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Palestinian film opens Sundance festival - "May in the Summer," the US dramatic competition opener, comes from writer-director Cherien Dabis. (Agencies, Maan)
- U.S.: Egypt's Morsi must do more to ease concerns over anti-Jewish rhetoric - State department says statement issued by Morsi is 'important first step,' but it looks for Egyptian leaders to demonstrate a commitment to religious tolerance and peace. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Live Blog: Algeria's operation to free mass hostages - Official Algerian sources say six hostages killed, 25 reportedly managed to escape gas facility where they were being held under siege by an Al-Qaida-linked group; other reports out death toll at 35 among hostages, 15 kidnappers; at least 25 foreign hostages also reportedly escaped. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Bennett's West Bank plan ignores existence of about 100,000 Palestinians - Habayit Hayehudi's 'Stability Initiative' proposes annexing Area C of the West Bank, claiming only some 50,000 Palestinians live there. But do his numbers add up? (Haaretz)
- Olmert: Israeli government rejecting peace - Former PM blasts Netanyahu administration for causing rift with US president, senselessly spending on defense and refusing to negotiate with moderate Palestinians. (Yedioth/Ynet)
- Deri: The two main issues for coalition negotiations: cutbacks and drafting yeshiva students - Along with Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism), Deri this week announced a joint ultra-religious front against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Haaretz)
- Chuck Norris endorses Netanyahu: Israel has its own tough guy, his name is Bibi - American 'tough guy' throws support to Netanyahu soon after real estate mogul Donald Trump gave his. (Haaretz)
- Bennett: Outposts on privately owned (Palestinian) land must be evacuated - In an interview on 'Mashal Ham' TV program, Habayti Hayehudi's Naftali Bennett surprised and called for evacuating outposts on privately owned land, just as they would be evacuating a house built on privately owned land in Ra'anana. (Maariv, p. 5/NRG Hebrew)
- Election Committee: Netanyahu-Bennett ads misleading - Central Election Committee grants Likud's petition against Habayit Hayehudi ads which present Netanyahu alongside Bennett; ads misleading public and need to be taken down, Likud says. (Ynet)
- Israel to deploy more than 20,000 police officers on Election Day - The police plan emphasizes protection from both criminal acts and potential terror acts. (Haaretz)
Watch: Israel pre-election debate - Less than week before national elections, representatives from all the major parties try to convince English-speaking immigrants to support them. (Ynet Video)
**Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he would not be evacuating settlements in the next four years. He gave an exclusive interview to Maariv/NRG Hebrew. Here are choice quotes:
Regarding right-wing voters voting for other right-wing parties such as Habayit Hayehudi:
"The problem is Likud gets smaller is that the government will be at the mercy of pressure in all sectors: diplomatic, economic, and budget. This will bring instability and danger to the government. The supporters of settlement and the Land of Israel (Greater Israel) can make a historic-fatal mistake like they did in '92 and '99. They divided the votes and weakened Likud and the result was the rise of the left-wing government. Then too they said they are strengthening Likud from the outside...If Likud gets bigger it will give us the strength to stand up to (international) pressure.
On the Bar-Ilan declaration of Likud supporting a Palestinian state:
"I am realistic. The Palestinians are making pre-conditions for negotiations that we cannot accept. On the other hand, I have conditions for the conclusion. Their pre-conditions are not acceptable to me and my ending demands are not acceptable to them. This is the real reality. Everyone understands it. I don't see anyone among the party heads around me that can presume to deal with things with the same responsibility and experience that I can.
Regarding whether to adopt the Edmond Levy Report that says that outposts and settlements are legal:
"We are considering this issue seriously, but I don't think that anyone can give us advice on how to strengthen settlements. No one needs to strengthen our national consciousness nor our Jewish consciousness...We will not bury (the report). We are considering all the considerations and we will make decisions at the right time according to what is good for Israel."
Regarding criticism made by US President Barack Obama against Netanyahu:
"First of all, people know how to appreciate a leader and leadership that stands by the national interests of Israel. We proved that, despite that it was not always easy or popular. Giving in is not policy...We stood up to great pressures and we will have to in the future."
Regarding freezing settlement construction:
"Freezing (settlement consruction) has exhausted itself. It proved that the Palestinians are not interested and that the issue of settlements is to a certain extent a diversion. The subject of settlements is a result of the conflict and not the reason for the conflict..."
Regarding plans by Europe for negotiations and remarks by Obama of isolation:
"We don't deal with volunteering compromises. Our record proves that. We did not uproot any settlement, we strengthened settlements and we established in Ariel (settlement) the first university in 10 years..."
Regarding uprooting settlements in the next tenure in office:
"The days of the bulldozers uprooting Jews is behind us, not ahead of us."
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.