APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday January 20, 2013
Quote of the day:
"Imagine if the Golden Dome - I'm being recorded so I can't say 'blown up' - but let's say the Dome was blown up, right? And we laid the cornerstone of the Temple in Jerusalem. Can you imagine? None of you would be here - all of you would be like, "I'm going to Israel, right?" No one would be here, it would be incredible!"
--Israeli media reveals fantasies of Habayit Hayehudi candidate, Jeremy Gimpel. (+972mag video and Haaretz+)
Front Page News:
- Netanyahu promised not to raise taxes; Yachimovich: He is preparing a societal hell
- Council for Higher Education to announce after elections: Department in Ben-Gurion University won't close
- (Shas) Rabbi (Ovadia) Yosef vs. (Habayit Hayehudi's) Bennett: "This is Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home)? This is the house of the goys."
- The big poll test: What can be learned from 90 days of forecasts
- Fighting over indifference - Last effort to get the Arab voters out to vote
- Third incident in a week: Palestinian youth critically wounded from IDF fire
- Ron Nahman, founder and mayor of Ariel (settlement), died
- Rescue operation in Algeria ended, fear for lives of missing employees
- Research team identified that scanning the Y-chromosome makes it possible to find one's surname
- After years of lies, (Lance) Armstrong admitted to the use of drugs
- Elections 2013: Fighting till the end - Another 48 hours
- An enemy from within // Nahum Barnea
- Wanted: Leader // Eitan Haber
- Choosing to sing - What bothers the Arab contender of 'The Voice'
- Where are the buyers? The amount of time to sell an apartment in Israel has doubled: Why has this happened?
- Concern in Likud: Netanyahu will have trouble running a coalition (Hebrew)
- Party of the sit-at-home // Ben-Dror Yemini (Hebrew)
- Giving support to the system // Amnon Lord
- Elections of escape // Nadav Eyal (Hebrew)
- From the social justice protest to the knitted yarmulkes: The big losers and the winners in the elections for the 19th Knesset (Hebrew)
- "Wild atttack by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef on Habayit Hayehudi: "It's a house of goys. They are all evil, they all hate Torah, hate mitzvahs. Whoever votes for them is an apostate to the Torah";
- Habayit Hayehudi: "If we are attacked by all the parties, apparently we are on the right path (Hebrew)
- The most expensive streets in every city
- Battle over every vote
- Likud: "Bennett defending a candidate from his party who supports blowing up the mosque on the Temple Mount"
- Mayor of Ariel, Ron Nahman, died from cancer: "We lost a great Zionist"
- Crisis in Algeria: When France takes the job of the US // Boaz Bismouth
Two days to elections and the parties are trying hard to win undecided voters, attacks on Naftali Bennett and Habayit Hayehudi party intensify, and a settler mayor dies making top stories in today's Hebrew papers. Meanwhile, Maariv writes that Likud is concerned that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu won't be able to lead a coalition.
Each party has decided what direction it is taking to gain voters with hours ahead of the election. (See Haaretz+ and Ynet.) In an attempt to reverse the drop in the polls, the Likud-Beietinu campaign has decided to focus its efforts on an "alarming" message: Netanyahu's victory is not guaranteed and the Left may still succeed in forming a government with Shas, writes Ynet. Indeed, the front-page of the right-wing Maariv sent this message to readers. Moreover, Maariv reported that with Likud-Beiteinu dropping in polls, Likud minister are saying among themselves that Netanyahu will have trouble running his coalition. Some of the minister won't talk to each others, blaming them for the failure of the campaign.
Attacks on Habayit Hayehudi and its chairman, Naftali Bennett, intensified with Bennett referred to as a "fake" by MK Danny Danon. But the big headlines were from Shas spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who called the party a 'home for goys' and questioned Habayit Hayehudi members' piety saying 'they want civil marriage and public transportation on Shabbat.'
Bennett's party made more headlines when Channel 2 News revealed on Friday that a US-born candidate on the Habayit Hayehudi list, Jeremy Gimpel, spoke at a public event in the US about blowing up the Dome of the Rock. Gimpel, Haaretz reveals in a detailed background about him, lectures to the pro-Israel evangelical Christian community in the US. The progressive online +972magazine has the clip here, which Haaretz also posted. Livni's Hatnua is petitioning for Gimpel to be disqualified on grounds of incitement. Bennett defended Gimpel and went on attack against Netanyahu on Channel 2's 'Meet the Press' program Saturday night, accusing the prime minister of "launching an ugly campaign against the national religious public of unprecedented proportions." Likud-Beiteinu said the attack was meant to divert attention from his extremist party list. The Netanyahu-supporting Israel Hayom wrote that the British tabloid, Daily Telegraph, reported that it was "Bennett's ego that ended his work with Netanyahu, the ego that prevented him from being his boss' right-hand man." Haaretz+ ran an in-depth profile of the meteoric rise of Bennett from his childhood, through his military service, his success as a high-tech whiz, his job with Netanyahu and his move to politics. It also gave profiles of Habayit Hayehudi's top 10 members and a Q&A with Bennett.
The papers writes that the goal of Labor's Yachimovich is to get women to the polling stations and to convince "those planning to waste their vote on parties which will not pass the election threshold, but still manage to create an illusion as if they will. It's not true, they will not pass and their votes are votes for Netanyahu."
Ynet also reported on what the centrist parties - Labor, Tzipi Livni's Hatnua, and Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid - said over the weekend against the right and each other. [Note, Ynet calls the parties the 'left-center bloc,' although none of them claim to be left. -OH]
- 15-year-old Palestinian critically injured by IDF fire in West Bank - Palestinian also wounded by IDF fire in north Gaza; 15 Palestinian and Israeli activists arrested, including a woman with her two-year-old baby, trying to access Palestinian lands in the South Hebron Hills. (Haaretz+ and Maan)
- Palestinian activists set up another tent encampment near Jerusalem - The camp, erected in the village of Beit Iksa, was set up in protest of Israeli settlement and comes a week after a similar camp was erected in the E-1 corridor and later evacuated by Israel. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
- PA says Israel to allow more olive oil past Green Line - Palestinian and Israeli sides have reached an agreement to facilitate the entrance of Palestinian olive oil inside the Green Line without obstacles, officials say. (Maan)
- Ron Nachman, 'the last of the secular settlers,' who couldn't convince the Israeli public - The mayor of Ariel believed that, in order to succeed, the settlement enterprise needed to focus on building urban areas that reflected, and became part of, the Israeli consensus. (Haaretz+)
- Palestinian released after 9 years in Israeli jail - Fayeq Abdul-Halim Sanbour, 32, was released from Israeli custody on Friday after spending nine and a half years in Israeli jails, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said. (Maan)
- PA says Israel to free long-term prisoner - Jihad Obaidi was detained in 1988 and spent time in six different Israeli prisons, the PA Prisoners' Ministry said. (Maan)
- Nablus teens detained Friday released by Israel - Four Palestinian teenagers detained on Friday at Huwwara checkpoint south of Nablus were released on Saturday. Officials said the Palestinian civil liaison department had secured their release after they were accused of carrying knives. (Maan)
- Poll: 65% support upgrading Ariel University Center's status - About 53 percent of those polled believe other university heads oppose recognizing Ariel University Center due to their own interests in maintaining their power as an elitist. (Israel Hayom)
- Lonely Planet ranks Tel Aviv world's 7th best beach city - Esteemed travel publication calls Israel's seaside hub "the total flip-side of Jerusalem, a modern Sin City on the sea rather than an ancient Holy City on a hill." Barcelona, Cape Town, Rio de Janeiro, Tangier, Sydney and Valencia fill out top six. (Israel Hayom)
- Space agency heads coming to Israel - Fourteen leaders of world's top space agencies to mark 10th anniversary of Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, death of first Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon. (Ynet)
- Mali incursion raises risk to French Jews, community says - The Jewish communal security service in France warns offensive in North Africa requires heightened level of vigilance around Jewish schools and synagogues. (JTA, Haaretz)
- Official: Iran won't stop uranium enrichment - Despite international community's demands that Islamic Republic halt nuclear program, diplomat states his country will continue with uranium enrichment. (Ynet)
- South Sudan says it signed oil deal with Israel - But many problems still ahead, such as getting petroleum out of the landlocked state. (Haaretz+)
- Noam Chomsky urges Turkey to pursue Kurdish peace - The American left-wing philosopher and activist Noam Chomsky urged Turkey on Friday to end its "malignant" war with Kurdish rebels, saying recent peace efforts offered a real chance of a settlement. (Agencies, Maan)
- Algerian assault ends crisis, 23 hostages dead - Special forces storm natural gas complex in final assault that ends crisis; 23 hostages, 32 kidnappers killed. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Syrian pilot defects, uses jet to bomb army positions - Damascus-based activist Haytham al-Abdallah says the pilot was ordered to bomb civilians areas in the Ghotta region, east of Damascus, but he refused to obey orders. (Agencies, Haaretz+)
- Sniper kills Al-Jazeera reporter in Syria - In second such shooting in two days, Syrian journalist Mohammed Hourani killed by regime sniper. (Ynet)
- Palestinians warn of 'apartheid state' if Netanyahu wins Israeli election - An aide to President Abbas says settlement construction puts the two-state solution at risk and may lead to one state, where a Palestinian majority would have to struggle for equality. (Agencies, Haaretz and Maan)
- With two days left, Israeli parties scramble to woo undecided voters - Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu, which won only 32 seats in Haaretz's latest poll, its worst showing in the campaign, is pushing to deflect the threat by Habayit Hayehudi, which won 14 seats. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
- Finkelstein calls rumors over his departure 'ridiculous' - Campaign guru Arthur Finkelstein says rumors that he quit the Likud-Beytenu campaign were spread by the Left, and this "attests to how difficult their situation is." Finkelstein: "Don't they have more important things to worry about, like Iran?" (Israel Hayom)
- Phenomenon: Returning from abroad in order to vote in elections - They stopped their studies, work or trip abroad to fulfill their right to vote and influence the future of the country. (Yedioth, p. 12)
- Deri slams PM for jeopardizing ties with US - Shas leader says intervention in US presidential election was 'big mistake,' says rift with Obama administration could have been mitigated. (Ynet)
- Israel's 'Arab parties' seek to combat indifference and low voter turnout' - During this election, a high voter turnout within the Arab community could be decisive in terms of the bigger picture,' says Hadash party chairperson, MK Mohammed Barakeh. (Haaretz+)
- Hatnua: Rabin, Ben Gurion wouldn't vote Labor - Against back drop of Left-Center bloc's inner conflicts, Labor, Hatnua, Yesh Atid attend election events Saturday, present stances on Right, other parties of bloc. (Ynet)
- On Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard, Meretz wins the battle, if not the war' - Oh, I have to take your picture, my husband is your biggest fan!' gushed a passerby to Zahava Gal-On. (Haaretz+)
- Right and Left agree: Insubordination is legitimate - Chairman of Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee David Rotem (Yisrael Beytenu): Soldiers who don't want to serve in occupied territories should be accommodated. Labor candidate Merav Michaeli: Blindly following the law is problematic. (Israel Hayom)
- Polls and numbers: The story of Israel's 2013 election - Naturally, the elections for the 19th Knesset will all come down to the numbers on January 23, but there have been quite a few numbers to revel in along the way. (Haaretz+)
- Soldiers begin voting in Knesset election - Polling station at Tel Aviv's Kirya base opens; 760 IDF ballot boxes to travel Israel in attempt to meet soldier turnout target. (Ynet)
- Lieberman: Contrary to decline in polls, Likud-Beiteinu will win 40 seats - Former foreign minister says continued settlement construction 'is in Israel's national interest'; Livni: If the public gives me enough power I will be able to force Netanyahu into peace negotiations. (Haaretz+)
- Debunking 8 electoral slogans - Given that what politicians say is often loosely related to what they do, here's a look at common and misleading slogans bouncing around this election season. (Haaretz+)
Weaken the right (Haaretz Friday Editorial) The undecided voter has quite a lot of alternatives, but the principle that must guide his or her vote is clear: Weakening the right-wing parties and the Haredim in order to halt Israel's slide into political isolation, fascism and apartheid.
Election wrap-up and countdown (David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom) What remains is a fight over undecided voters, who comprise anything from 15 to 35 percent of the electorate, and few more opportunities for mud slinging.
A silent Palestinian voice amid the din of the Israeli election (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Whoever believes that the Awad family will continue to be denied their rights forever is living a lie, the most revolting lie of this election campaign.
Fragile alliance (Alon Pinkas, Yedioth/Ynet) Netanyahu jeopardizing intimate dialogue with US on issues of great strategic importance.
Seven years is enough bad luck (Amir Oren, Haaretz+) The seven bad years with Netanyahu were definitely enough. Unlike Pharaoh, nobody expects to find any fat cows in this dream.
Falling in line with Likud (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) With Netanyahu considered a shoo-in, party leaders are trying to pave their paths into his coalition.
Toppling the ivory tower (Or Kashti, Haaretz+) Faced with the campaign being waged by the right to reshape reality, academia - as an institution based on values like skepticism, tolerance and pluralism - has barely raised its voice.
Enemy from within (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth) The battle between Likud-Beiteinu and Habayit Hayehudi created a drama in an election campaign that appeared as if its results were known in advance...(Barnea writes that neither of them really controls his party.) Half of Likud-Beiteinu is run by Lieberman. The other half is run by political groups, some of which are part of the extremist fringe of the settlers. Naftali Bennett also does not control his party. A bad agreement that he signed with the extremist-nationalist Tkuma party integrated candidates from the messianic fringes of the settlers into his party...An hour after the elections, the dispute between Netanyahu and Bennett will end. They will sit together on a coalition, and will discover that their real enemies are from within.
Israel's citizens will determine its fate (Yoel Marcus, Haaretz+) Nothing is a done deal yet, so go and vote. Or as Bibi put it to Obama: Only Israel's citizens will determine its fate.
Israel comes first (Hanoch Daum, Yedioth/Ynet) Better to have a somewhat displeased American president than a terror-ridden country.
It could be so much better in Israel - with Labor (Nachman Shai, Haaretz+) The Labor party is the only viable alternative to the Netanyahu government and the only hope for a more prosperous, democratic and secure Israel.
Obama didn't help Livni (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) The American president who criticized the prime minister so harshly completely ignored the Palestinians' responsibility for the stalemate.
'Judaizing the Galilee' and racism (Haaretz Editorial) The term "Judaizing the Galilee" provides allegedly legitimate cover for every benighted racist position that sees the presence of Arabs in the Galilee or anywhere else as a national threat.
Wanted: Leader (Eitan Haber, Yedioth) The upcoming elections show the bitter crisis Israel faces: Not the economic crisis, not diplomatic, not the nuclear bomb in Iran and not the Arab neighbors' revolutions - but the leadership crisis we have. With one hand on my heart: We have no candidate at the head of a party (and government) that one can vote for whole-heartedly and without hesitation. On Tuesday, millions are going to vote for the "least worst...."
Only mules won't vote in Israel's election (Yoel Marcus, Haaretz+) Calling all eligible voters: Don't be dazzled by the government's propaganda, which tells us how good we have it and how strong we are.
Time for Obama to clarify U.S. policy on Iran (Emily B. Landau and Shimon Stein, Haaretz+) Progress on halting Iran's nuclear program critically depends on U.S. determination and strategy. But it's still an open question whether Obama even wants 2013 to be the year of decision, with all the serious consequences that that implies.
We're headed for a political earthquake (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) When coalition partners feel that their days in the cabinet are numbered, they come up with impossible demands and bring down the government.
The unbearable lightness of being Ashkenazi (Asaf Lieberman, Haaretz+) Growing up with a mother from Tehran and a father from Poland, I never fit into any racial category. I didn't even know I was Ashkenazi, until Aryeh Deri decided that I was.
From whence the defense stink comes (Yossi Sarid, Haaretz+) The culture of lying in the Israeli army was around in Ben-Gurion's time. The Harpaz affair proves it still exists.
It's not the Palestinians (Yoram Ettinger, Israel Hayom) President Obama's preoccupation with the Palestinian issue, and criticism of Israel, is out of the American mainstream.
Longings and disappointments: A voter in exile in New York (Vered Kellner, Haaretz+) As a weary Israeli whose shoulders are stiff from 20-plus years of voting eligibility and the intolerable responsibility of its implications, this year I am having a respite. But I can't escape all Israelis' feelings of helplessness about the political situation, our compromises of conscience and the grave price we will all be paying for the election's likely outcome.
Don't blame Haredim and Arabs for their poverty - blame Bibi (Meirav Arlosoroff, Haaretz+) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cruel neo-liberal policy from 2003 helped the rich, and the poor. But in 2009, he changed tack.
Whatever happens after Tuesday's elections, American Jews won't abandon Israel (Dov Waxman, Haaretz+) The coming American Jewish estrangement from Israel is a myth. What actually happens in Israel is much less important to most American Jews than what it stands for in their hearts and minds. But that also means there's no U.S. Jewish leverage on Israelis not to vote the far right into office.
American Jewry's gift to Israel: Bibi, Bennett and Marzel (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) If Rabbi Eric Yoffie and his colleagues really want to save Israel from itself, the only way they can achieve this is by exhorting their congregants to make aliyah.
Long live Bibi the bathtub king (Doron Rosenblum, Haaretz+) Netanyahu is wedged in our lives and in Israeli history like a stopper, for better and for worse. In the meantime, the water remains stagnant.
Garbage time: The Likud-right-religious bloc ahead by a large margin (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) It didn't have to be this way. If Netanyahu and Lieberman hadn't joined forces, or if Yacimovich and Livni had, the election results wouldn't have already been a foregone conclusion.
It's not Obama who's meddling in Israel's elections: it's reality (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) The stark warnings issued by the U.S. president and his Israeli counterpart, Shimon Peres, challenge Netanyahu's effort to convince Israelis that they can have their cake and eat it too.
Obama to Bibi: You're on your own (Barak Ravid, Haaretz+) It is clear the U.S. president is sick of Netanyahu and his voracious settlement construction and foot-dragging on the Palestinian issue. How will this affect their relations for the next four years?
Is it the End of Days for Jeremy Gimpel? (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+) The Atlanta-born Knesset candidate under attack for fantasizing about the Dome of the Rock being 'blown up" has also suggested that the financial crisis in America happened because the U.S. 'shifted away from Israel.'
More than just a Tel Aviv trend? Da'am Workers Party aims to unite Jews and Arabs over welfare (Interviewed by Shany Littman in Haaretz+)
Leader Asma Aghbarieh explains why she thinks economic hardship can erase conflicts... Last June in Tel Aviv, the organizers of a demonstration marking the first anniversary of the social protest movement refused to allow Wafah Tayara, number four on Da'am's list of candidates for the Knesset, to speak, even though this had previously been agreed. Aghbarieh-Zahalka took this as an act of racism from an unexpected source. Her outcry can be seen in a video clip posted on the Web, which captures a spontaneous speech she delivered at the event − among the demonstrators, not on the platform.
"What I saw there was a new type of nation, a nation of protesters, among whom I felt most at home," she recalls. "I felt as though I were in Tahrir Square. But when Wafah was prevented from speaking, it felt like the end. We said all along that Jews and Arabs can work together, yet now she was not being allowed to speak. The video clip generated a flood of views and reactions. The clip prompted many people to come to us − people who had never heard of us before. That was the day Da'am was born in the public's eyes, from that very rejection."
"I know that not everyone will vote for Da'am. It's a challenge to the Jewish public to vote for an Arab woman, even though we are a Jewish-Arab party − not only an Arab one − and it is a challenge to Arab society to vote for a party headed by a woman. Every day we hold parlor meetings across the country. I met with Russians and with Mizrahim [Jews of Middle East and North African origin]. What I discovered in these encounters is that our message is received like water on parched land. People want more and more."
Israeli news broadcasters don't cry
Shlomi Eldar reflects on the live television report that profoundly changed the way he sees the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Interviewed by Ayelet Shani in Haaretz+)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.