APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday January 21, 2013
Quote of the day:
"Sometimes it seems as though the seats up for election are not for the next Knesset, but rather the local municipality."
--In a beautifully written piece, Gideon Levy describes the gripes of indifferent Arab voters and an Arab MK campaigning for them to vote, even if it's not for him. (Haaretz)**
Front Page News:
- A day to elections: Exceptional dispute between Netanyahu and (Elections Committee) Judge Rubinstein over prohibited 'election propaganda'
- Barak changing separation fence in order to cut off Palestinians from E-1
- The rabbit stayed in the hat // Yossi Verter
- The appointment that won't be // Nehemia Shtrasler
- Parties fighting over undecided voters
- Arab League calls for Arab Israelis to vote
- Eldad Yaniv made lots of promises, but did not fulfill // Ilan Lior (Hebrew)
- Stark rise in gender inequality in Israel
- Experts at Education Ministry: "The boasting over the high achievement scores of students on international exams is unfounded" (Hebrew)
- Obama to celebrate today his second term with millions watching
- Attractive job: 3000 applicants to job at Ashdod port
- 1/4 page ad: Voting for the future, voting for the Negev! Thank you to the 32 MKs who signed the 'Negev Manifesto' and committed themselves to work hard and continuously to advance the most important region of the country
- Elections 2013 - 24 more hours - "Last minute trick" - Shelly Yachimovich on Netanyahu's announcement that he appointed Kahlon as Chairman of Israel Lands Authority: "Trick, hysterical move"; Netanyahu: Kahlon will lower housing prices; Housing Minister, Atias: The public is not stupid, Bibi prevented the lowering of housing prices; In response to Yair Lapid's petition, Judge Rubinstein prohibited broadcasting the press conference with Kahlon and ruled: "Prohibited propaganda"
- The land is burning // Sima Kadmon
- Quiet, voting // Nahum Barnea
- "Voting for a party that does not pass the threshold could strengthen Likud"
- Voting and traveling - Guide: Everything to do on the day off - after voting
- I swear - US President Barack Obama began his second term in a modest ceremony in the White House
- Netanyahu: Housing reform like for cellular phones; Yachimovich: Empty appointment showing hysteria - Last card for Likud-Beiteinu: Kahlon appointed Chairman of Israel Lands Authority (Hebrew)
- From a star to a gimmick // Shalom Yerushalmi (Hebrew)
- Day before opening of polling stations: On the finish line; Chen Kottas-Bar on the undecided women's vote; Elkana Shor on the heroes of this election campaign; Arik Bender on Facebook as a campaign performer; Ariel Shanbal on the difference between trend and reality
- After not being appointed as deputy chief of staff, Commander of the southern command, Tal Ruso, retired after 35 years service (Hebrew)
- "Kahlon will make a revolution in housing, as he did in cellular phones" - The surprise, eve of elections, Prime Minister announces he will appoint Minister Kahlon as head of Israel Lands Authority. Goal: To lower housing prices by 30% for all citizens, especially young couples. Criticism: Parties accuse PM of "election spin";
- In another 24 hours: Israel goes to vote - Good weather, citizens expected to take advantage of day off for trips and shopping
- The migrants, the deficit and Iran. The problems of Obama and the world // Boaz Bismouth
- At the end of 35 years: Maj. Gen. Ruso retires from IDF
The Prime Minister announces a new appointment just before elections, but the elections committee nixes broadcasting his news conference, calling it 'election propaganda' and making the top story of the day in Hebrew papers. Meanwhile, the center warned that surplus votes would go to the right, the Arabs got a push to vote from an unusual source, and some 15% of potential voters still have not decided who to vote for.
The parties slammed Netanyahu calling him hysterical and frantic after he decided to appoint the popular Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon to a key post - Chairman of the Israel Land Authority - saying the move as meant to lower housing costs - a key issue in this elections. But after a petition by Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid to the Election Committee, Netanyahu was prevented from broadcasting the news conference on the announcement. The committee said that would be 'election propaganda.' Ynet noted that the announcement wasn't released by a government authority but rather by the Likud campaign. Shas called the appointment "a desperate move." Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich said it showed how hysterical Likud was over what is expected to be a low number of mandates, compared to what was originally forecast.
Today's papers were devoted to the elections. The first 20 out 36 of Maariv's pages 23 out of 44 of Yedioth's pages and the first 13 out of 31 news pages of Israel Hayom were all about the elections tomorrow. First there was the issue of the small parties. Yachimovich and other center and left parties have been trying to convince voters not to cast their ballots with parties unlikely to pass the electoral threshold because they will go to Likud-Beiteinu . "Your votes will not be thrown away," Yachimovich said. "It's much worse. The Bader-Ofer Method determines that the votes given to parties which do not pass the threshold are allocated first to the largest party."
According to the Bader-Ofer Method, votes for parties which do not pass the electoral threshold are distributed between the parties according to size.
Then there is the issue of the undecided voters, whom Israeli politicians are also chasing after. The last poll found 15% of voters still undecided, meaning eighteen seats are up for grabs.
**Then there are the Arab voters who don't even plan to vote. The papers reported on an unexpected push they received to go to the polling stations - from the Arab League. The statement issued by the organization's Palestine division insists that Israel's radical right intends to pass an entire series of laws that will be hurt them. Haaretz's Gideon Levy wrote a beautiful colorful and insightful piece following United Arab List-Ta'al chairman and MK Ahmed Tibi, who is doing his best to get out the vote in Arab towns and villages.
Israel to change route of separation fence near Jerusalem to cut off Palestinians from E-1 area - Defense Minister Ehud Barak has decided to close the breach in the barrier between Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim, which will leave residents of Al-Zaim cut off by a fence to the east and by a wall to the west. (Haaretz)
Two Israeli citizens charged with planning Be'er Sheva terror attacks - Bedouin brothers confess to targeting central bus station, train station; Jewish IDF soldier arrested on suspicion of selling them ammunition for drugs. (Haaretz and Ynet)
New index finds growing gender gap in Israel - The fields that most influence the index on inequality between men and women are statistics on violence against women and political representation, which are both chronically problematic. (Haaretz)
Nine Palestinians arrested for pummeling ultra-Orthodox with snowballs - The suspects allegedly hurled insults and snowballs relentlessly at the two ultra-Orthodox men; investigation opened despite victims' refusal to lodge complaint. (Haaretz)
A song for the president - Israeli composer Gilad Heseg presents US Ambassador Dan Shapiro with musical version of "Songs for the People" in honor of President Obama's second term. Heseg: I composed the song to say thank you to the American people for standing by us. (Israel Hayom)
Fate of Israeli university's controversial politics department on hold until after elections - In a bid to shirk right-wing pressure, Haaretz has learned, the Israeli educational council is dithering on a decision to save the Department of Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University. (Haaretz)
Poll: Ultra-Orthodox must join workforce rather than army - Majority of Israelis prefer to see ultra-Orthodox integrate into labor market rather than be drafted by IDF, believe government must allot special budgets for this purpose. (Ynet)
U.S. fundraiser testifies he transferred $30,000 to Ehud Olmert's brother - Morris Talansky says former PM asked him to help his cash-strapped brother Yossi. (Haaretz)
Ramallah: 18 Palestinians injured in riot - Three protesters, 15 Palestinian cops injured in clashes after protest gets out of control. (Ynet)
Egypt busts mass explosives haul heading for Gaza, largest single shipment yet - Lorry carried 1 tons of explosives, largest single haul discovered by Egypt; police have seized a total of 5 tons of explosives as well as disassembled rockets and automatic weapons in the past three months, according to local media reports. (Agencies, Haaretz)
Hamas: Tunisian president to visit Gaza - Moncef Marzouki to make his first visit to Gaza next month. Hamas: Visit to boost Arab solidarity with Palestinians. (Agencies, Ynet)
25 bodies discovered at besieged Algeria gas plant as de-miners scour for traps - Algerian state news agency says militants were of six different nationalities, adding that 32 were killed in Saturday's operation to end four-day hostage standoff. (Agencies, Haaretz)
Non-lethal chemical weapons used in Syria, Le Monde reports - Non-lethal chemical contained in four rockets fired in late December, western intelligence sources quoted as saying. (Agencies, Haaretz)
Iran: Assad's overthrow a 'red line' - Tehran warns that if Syrian president is forced out of power Israel may pay the price. (Agencies, Ynet)
Pre-election polls nearly unanimous: Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu to win 32 seats - Most polls put Labor in second place with 16 or 17 seats in the next Knesset; Naftali Bennett's Habayit Hayehudi could win between 12 and 17 seats. (Haaretz)
Meretz leader: Why must we rule others? Ynet reporter visits Zahava Gal-On's Petah Tikva home to discuss Meretz's role as 'moral and ideological beacon'; Meretz can win 10 seats in Tuesday's elections, she says. (Ynet Video/English subtitles)
Tzipi Livni tells all - In intimate interview, chairwoman of Hatnua party talks about struggle of starting over in politics. (Ynet Video/English subtitles)
Shelly Yachimovich, everywoman - In intimate interview, Labor chairwoman says she's outraged at how disconnected Israeli leaders are from their voters. (Ynet Video/English subtitles)
MK Khenin: Extremism leading us nowhere - In pre-election interview with Ynet, Hadash lawmaker discusses housing prices, Israeli Palestinian conflict; says Knesset 'not a very pleasant place.' (Ynet Video/English subtitles)
Israeli-born candidates struggle to connect with immigrant voters - Dressing informally, fiddling with the phone and forgetting the relevant English word are features of get-to-know-you sessions geared toward English-speaking voters. (Haaretz)
Likud fails to present platform - With countdown to elections in full swing, ruling party has yet to make its political platform public. 'Asking ruling party about its agenda is petty,' says Minister Erdan. (Ynet)
Moment before elections: Optimism in Meretz - Party threatening to double their power. Past and present party members also submitting petition to High Court today against Minister of Housing, Minister of Finance and Amidar Company for refusing to apply the public housing law that went into effect at the beginning of this month. (Israel Hayom, p. 11)
Incidence of flu at height; Will some voters not make it to polling stations? Last week hospitals internal medicine departments were filled to 116% capacity with more than 800 people on respirators. (Israel Hayom, p. 7)
Israeli politicians spending big bucks to phone and text potential voters - Political parties are targeting voters, particularly ultra-Orthodox ones, via phone messages and polls; such messaging tactics are legal, even if the average citizen feels harassed. (Haaretz)
Bennett pegged as Right's 'international star' - International media takes unusual interest in Habayit Hayehudi chairman's rapid rise to political stardom; ventures he may destabilize US-Israel ties by pulling coalition to the Right. (Ynet)
Livni: We can't afford to have Bennett in gov't - Hatnua chairwoman warns that only Center-Left block can stand up to 'dangers of radicalism sweeping across Israel.' (Ynet)
Habayit Hayehudi fined for using Netanyahu's image in election posters - Israeli election committee rules that the right-wing party made improper use of the prime minister's image in election ad; fine is highest leveled on any party so far in current campaign. (Haaretz)
Last days of campaign wars turn ugly - Final days of election campaign see multiple cases of vandalism at parties' headquarters. Shas' Torah books torched; graffiti lauding Rabin's killer sprayed at Livni's Hatnua HQ. (Ynet)
Vandals burn religious books written by Shas leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef - Shas has blamed the Koah Lehashpia party for the act, but that group has denied any connection; incident latest in the ultra-Orthodox party's battle ahead of election. (Haaretz)
Criticism in Shas: "Even 13 mandates will be a failure" - Party MK against Arieh Der'i and those responsible for the campaign: "They will need to give explainations."(Israel Hayom, p. 11)
U.S.-born Knesset candidate, Jeremy Gimpel, and his Dome of the Rock 'joke' - Profile of Atlanta-born Jeremy Gimpel, who moved to Israel at the age of 11, and is angling for a seat with Habayit Hayehudi and serving as a voice for English speakers in the West Bank. (Haaretz)
'Atid Acher' also left the race - Day before elections, 'only' 32 factions are left in the race for the 19th Knesset. Yesterday 'Atid Acher - Battling over the new drug' dropped from the race. Another party, 'Netzach,' also has dropped from the race. (Israel Hayom, p. 7)
False economic promises (Haaretz Editorial) In the final lap before the elections, we are being inundated with candidates' unfounded economic promises.
Change we could believe in (Guy Rolnik, Haaretz) Israel is on a collision course toward an unappealing future, and what we need now is something new. In the meantime, I know exactly what kind of man I want to vote for on Tuesday.
For Palestinians, Israeli elections signal deepening occupation (Hanan Ashrawi, Haaretz) Over and again, the Palestinian leadership has been asked: What are our expectations of the Israeli elections? Our answer: Peace is nowhere in sight.
The unheard voice - fearful seculars (Varda Milbauer, Yedioth) The secular part of Israeli society is in great fear of the extremist orthodox Jewish agenda taking over life in Israel...Many say 'it's all lost.' Some say, 'Good that our children have another passport...Results of a poll by the Dahaf Institute are positive from a secular point of view. It turns out hope is not lost. The central finds of the survey found that 58% of the Jewish public in the country are aware of the religious radicalization and are worried about it...71% of the general public oppose implementing religious laws that will hurt secular Jews...So why doesn't such a large part of society succeed in turning this fear into important electoral wins? They can choose representatives that commit not to bend to the religious-political dictates...The battle is now over the formation of the coalition and the principles that will guide the coalition agreements and the partners.
Check the record - and vote Yacimovich (Eshkol Nevo, Haaretz) Her seven intensive years in the Knesset (she has passed 42 proposed laws) have only strengthened the impression that the Labor Party chair is a woman with a moral backbone and a proven ability to translate ideology into achievements.
Abu Mazen - Come in peace (Itamar Kramer, NRG Hebrew) The center-left parties must come together around a rally that Chairman of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas will attend and remind everyone that there is hope for change.
Where is the handyman? (Yitzhak Laor, Haaretz) The homogeneous Zionist left and center remember the Arabs only when they need their vote, the handymen of elections.
We need you (Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Fund for relations between Israel and US Jewry, Maariv) The relations between the Obama Administration and the next government in Israel could enter a difficult period, and we need our Jewish American cousins, because without them we won't be able to deal with the coming challenges alone...In Israel, there are those who take for granted the US aid, which stands at some three billion dollars a year. It's very possible that soon that money will be in danger...
While you all were busy with Bennett (Aluf Benn, Haaretz) Yair Lapid was conducting a focused, quiet campaign that didn't garner too much attention, avoided embarrassing slips of the tongue, and remained faithful to Yesh Atid's message - 'We've come to make a change.'
From a star to a gimmick - Return to personal elections (Shalom Yerushalmi, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) This election campaign was not about ideology and content, but about the personalities of the candidates...
So many parties, so little opportunity (Salman Masalha, Haaretz) The abundance of parties running for Knesset from the right and the left and from the religions of Moses and Ishmael is offering voters endless possibilities: A guide to the perplexed.
Who should we believe, for G-d's sake? (Amos Gilboa, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) During elections, it's impossible to know who is lying and who is telling truth. Even the Meretz party platform, which distances itself from lies, has a cover-up on its position regarding the Palestinian refugee issue...This election campaign reminds me somewhat of the Armstrong affair. Which politician, which media person, which pollster can one believe?...
Netanyahu's hollow, aborted gimmick reveals Likud-Beiteinu's utter panic (Yossi Verter, Haaretz) Whether the PM's attempt to appeal to voters on lower housing costs at last minute works or not, this campaign is all about him, as especially evident by a recent ad featuring his family, not his party members.
For Palestinians, Israeli elections signal deepening occupation (Amira Hass, Haaretz) Over and again, the Palestinian leadership has been asked: What are our expectations of the Israeli elections? Our answer: Peace is nowhere in sight.
It's personal, not business (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) This election cycle, we focused on people instead of platforms.
Best of a bad lot (Eitan Haber, Yedioth/Ynet) Upcoming elections illustrate severe leadership crisis Israel is experiencing at a crucial time in its history.
Palestinian ghettos were always the plan (Amira Hass, Haaretz) Right-wing politician Naftali Bennett's plan to annex Israeli-controlled parts of the West Bank is just the logical next step in Israel's historic effort to ghettoize the Palestinians.
Why my friends are leaving Israel (Igor Teller, Ynet) Emigration of well-educated, motivated Russian-speaking Israelis endangers country.
Netanyahu's replacements for Kahlon: A Mizrahi singer and a former soccer star (Barak Ravid, Haaretz) Minister Moshe Kahlon's departure from politics left the Likud ticket short of Sephardic Jews. Wooing the party's traditional voters, Netanyahu turns to Sephardic celebrities for support.
The masks come off (Hezi Sternlicht, Israel Hayom) It's a good thing there are elections, so we see what's behind the masks.
Predicting Israel's post-election coalition: a rock-solid, resurgent right (Amiel Ungar, Haaretz) The Likud has thankfully shed the flotsam that it had accumulated as a party of power. The next coalition - after all the spins and counterspins are over - will likely be a reincarnation of Ariel Sharon's 2003 coalition: a Netanyahu- Lieberman-Bennett-Lapid team.
Bennett's over-the-top attack (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) How can Bennett enthusiastically endorse Netanyahu while simultaneously attacking him for launching a vicious campaign against national-religious Jews?
Palestinians discover the strength of soft power (Amos Harel, Haaretz) The Palestinians built a new tent city Friday, a tactic likely to win them much more sympathy than clashing with the IDF at the border or committing clear acts of terror.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.