APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday January 27, 2013
Quote of the day:
"It may surprise some of the dark fans of Beitar Jerusalem, but even Muslims are not so stupid, as the Kahanists in the eastern gallery think, to come to one of the most repulsive sport clubs in the world.**
--Shlomi Barzel, Sports editor of Haaretz, comments on the decision to acquire two Chechnyan Muslims to join the infamously racist soccer team.**
Front Page News:
- Likud ministers: Netanyahu wants a government without Bennett - PM moving towards coalition with Shas and Yesh Ati
- Dozens killed in demonstrations in Egypt on two-year anniversary since revolution
- Barak: "US has plan for surgical strike against Iran"
- Transitional cabinet to demand debate today on plan to settle Bedouin - criticism from right and left
- State acknowledges 'problematic' practice of giving Ethiopian women birth control injections
- Miraculously, Ashdod port workers become younger
- Homeless who will take you for a tour of Prague
- "Mysterious explosion in Iran" - Iranian intelligence sources who defected to West: Uranium-enriching facility in stomach of earth near Qom was destroyed last week
- Ultra-Orthodox between (Likud's) Bugi (Yaalon) and Lapid (recruitment plan) - Shas and Yehadut Hatorah signal willingness to compromise on sharing the burden (universal draft)
- Heroic story of father - President Peres retells how his father became a prisoner of the Germans and jumped from the train, how he was caught and sent to Auschwitz and how he returned home from there after saving hundreds of Jews - International Holocaust Day today
- Egypt burning
- "There is a difference between a European Muslim and an Arab Muslim" - This is what the coach of Beitar Jerusalem soccer team said following the storm that erupted when (owner) Gaydamak decided to add two Muslim players from Chechnya to the team
- Money drain - Israelis spent $900 million on purchasing real estate in New York last year
- Lapid's triple threat: "Sharing the burden, reducing the size of the government and renewing negotiations (with the Palestinians) - or we will sit in the opposition"
- [Large photo of Beitar Jerusalem soccer fans in stadium with large banner reading: Beitar is pure forever"] - Racist protest at Teddy Stadium - Storm among Beitar Jerusalem fans following intention of owner Arkady Gaydamak to sign on two Muslim players from Chechnya...
- Education of the handful // Avi Ratzon
- Emergency situation in Egypt - Uprising against Morsi
- Loss of control // Zvi Mazal
- The fishermen of the Ayalon Highway
- Egypt on the edge of "emergency situation"
- "Goal of negotiations: To first close a deal with Lapid"
- France: Pill for women caused 7 deaths
- Ashdod: Two killed in disaster at refinery
- Khamanei's advisor: An attack on Syria is an attack on Iran
- Tu B'Shvat: Many did hikes and planted trees
- In the UN and Israel, international Holocaust Day to be commemorated
- Storm in Beitar: Gaydamak brought two Muslim players from Chechnya
Government coalition dilemmas, Beitar soccer fan racism and renewed Egyptian revolutions were today's top stories in the Hebrew papers. Meanwhile, Ehud Barak spoke of alleged US plans for a strike on Iran just as a right-wing website reported there was a mysterious explosion at an Iranian nuclear facility. The US has implied that it awaits to see if formation of Israel's government will translate into renewed negotiations with the Palestinians and the UK has included Israel on a list of 26 countries whose human rights record 'concern's' the British government. Haaretz reported on a group of Arab sixth-graders who were attacked by Jews on a public bus in Jerusalem and none of the Israeli papers reported on new protest villages erected by Palestinians in the West Bank.
According to Haaretz, it's personal. According to Yedioth, it's political. But the bottom line appears to be that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu prefers Shas over Naftali Bennett and the Habayit Hayehudi party he heads. Haaretz writes that Netanyahu and his wife want Habayit Hayehudi out of the coalition because of a personal rift with Bennett. Yedioth writes that Likud is concerned that Bennett will try to undercut Netanyahu from within, but the more conservative Likud members say Bennett should be invited to join the government because the two parties share ideological similarities. One official told Yedioth that Likud would fare better by forming a centrist coalition that includes Lapid's Yesh Atid, Kadima, the ultra-Orthodox parties and perhaps even Tzipi Livni's Hatnua party, while excluding radical politicians who could hinder the Israeli-Palestinian talks. But others says that due to the fact that the ultra-Orthdox parties are unlikely to accept Yesh Atid's plan to draft the ultra-Orthodox into the army, the prime minister will have to invite Habayit Hayehudi into the government. Maariv writes that Yesh Atid says it won't compromise on its three key principles: drafting the ultra-Orthodox, reducing the size of government and renewing negotiations with the Palestinians. "The political establishment doesn't understand that we came to change. With us, there is no behind the scenes and there is no 'speaking in two languages.' The problem is that Lapid's plan for drafting the ultra-Orthodox is not acceptable to them, while they might be able to accept Moshe 'Bugi' Yaalon's. Meanwhile, the two ultra-Orthodox parties now say (again) they plan to unite against the draft issue. Likud has already begun coalition talks to bring Yesh Atid into the party, then it will work on the ultra-Orthodox, writes Israel Hayom. But Likud has another fear, writes Haaretz: that Yisrael Beiteinu head Avigdor Lieberman will 'divorce' the Likud in a few weeks, leaving the leading party with only 20 MKs, just one more than Yesh Atid. Bringing in Mofaz and Kadima No. 2, MK Yisrael Hasson, would open that gap to three, Haaretz wrote. Senior Labor party officials say that some party members are considering forcing Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich to join the government, writes Yedioth. Moreover, senior Labor official, Eitan Cabel, will run against Yachimovich to try to replace her following the failure in the elections.
**On International Holocaust Memorial Day an Israeli soccer team rioted at a game last night, making a racist storm against the acquisition of two Muslim players (Haaretz Hebrew). Fans yelled racist slurs, others held an enormous banner reading: Beitar is pure forever. The coach, Eli Cohen, attempted to calm his team's racist fans and raised even more eyebrows when he said: "There is a difference between European Muslims and Arab Muslims." Three of the main Israeli papers put the story on their front page, only Haaretz [oddly! -OH] did not. While the Israeli commentators said they did not understand the decision by Arkady Gaydamak, the owner of Beitar Jerusalem, they all condemned the racist slurs and banners of the Beitar fans. Some wrote that they thought it would finally be the event to break the taboo of the infamously racist team. Maariv's Avi Ratzon wrote that the move "offers a chance to educate the small group of Beitar fans and to make them face a given: Enough of the racism." (NRG Hebrew) The two players are from Chechnya and Haaretz's sports section editor wrote that the two are likely to have heard about the reaction of the fans and not come. (Haaretz Hebrew) Gaydamak, wrote Yedioth, said, he won't give in to pressure from fans. "The best answer is to bring here the Muslim players."
In an interview with the Daily Beast news website, Ehud Barak said the U.S. has a contingency plan for a 'surgical' strike on Iran. The outgoing defense minister said Israel prefers that diplomacy will be enough to halt Tehran's nuclear program, but 'we can't count on it.' Meanwhile, a US-based website affiliated with the right-wing, WND, says a mysterious explosion destroyed a large part of Iran's Fordo underground nuclear facility, trapping the workers. The report was uncorroborated by any official Western source.
The US implied a two-state solution cannot wait, writes Ynet, and that negotiations must resume. Jordan's King Abdullah also said time was running out, speaking at the Davos Forum, where he met with Israeli President Shimon Peres. And the UK Foreign Office put Israel on its quarterly report of countries with human rights problems. The UK Daily Telegraph wrote that the criticism will 'unsettle the Jewish State.'
Ten Arab sixth-graders who attend a Jewish-Arab elementary school in Jerusalem say Jewish passengers harassed them on a public bus. Some of them called the children monkeys. One made death threats. Another spat at them. And one pulled the hair of a girl and hit her - at which the driver agreed to intervene and called the police. Of interest, the police said they have questioned the woman accused of hitting the girl but are awaiting a formal complaint before taking further action. However, when Arabs from E. Jerusalem lobbed snowballs at two ultra-Orthodox Jews two weeks ago, the police insisted on indicting the Arabs, even despite the Jews' request not to do so. The children attend the Hand in Hand Max Rayne Bilingual School, which in recent months has found racist graffiti vandalism on its walls.
The Palestinians have been continuing erecting their protest outposts, Maan reports and the Israeli newspapers don't. Israeli forces assaulted a Palestinian official on Saturday during clashes at 'Al-Asra' (the prisoners), a newly erected protest village northwest of Jenin. Activists also re-erected tents at Bab al-Karamah, the outpost they set-up a couple weeks back in the E-1 zone north of Jerusalem.
- Report: Four Palestinians wounded by IDF fire in northern Gaza Strip - According to Palestinian reports, a 20-year-old farmer was wounded in his eye after soldiers fired tear gas; IDF says in response only one Palestinian wounded. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Israeli forces escort Jewish worshipers to West Bank tomb - Hundreds of Jewish worshipers visited Joseph's tomb in Nablus overnight Wednesday escorted by Israeli soldiers, leading to clashes with locals, witnesses said. (Maan)
- Teen says beaten at Israeli checkpoint - "When I said I was from Kafr Qaddum, the soldiers all of a sudden started to beat me and insult me saying that it was in retaliation to the weekly rally in my village," said Ibrahim Hasan, 17. (Maan)
- Kfir Brigade chief: Situation on the ground changing - As brigade's battalions ready to redeploy in their signature sector, their commander says that single clash in West Bank can 'ignite the entire sector.' (Ynet)
- Israel prevents farmers from accessing fields south of Hebron - Israeli forces prevented Palestinian farmers from accessing their agricultural lands in Susiya village east of Yatta in the southern West Bank on Friday afternoon. (Maan)
- Activists protest road closure at Hebron settlement - Dozens of Palestinian protesters gathered near Beit Hagai settlement demanding Israel reopen a main road linking Hebron to al-Samu, Dura and Dahiriya. An Israeli military spokeswoman said around 40 Palestinians "rioted" in the area and that forces dispersed them. (Maan)
- Israeli cabinet to vote on proposal for Negev Bedouin - Bedouin-rights activists raise questions over timing of decision, as well as over voting on development recommendations, some of which have not been presented to Bedouins themselves. (Haaretz)
- UN to probe drone attacks by Israel, U.S. and Britain - Investigation into use of unmanned aerial vehicles for targeted killings follows pressure by Russia, China and Pakistan; Unlike its two allies, Israel not expected to cooperate with the probe. (Haaretz)
- Southern businesses get $1.5M in loans - Jerusalem-based Israel Free Loan Association approves loan funds to over 50 small businesses that have suffered direct losses from Gaza operation. (Ynet)
- Ex-PM Sharon's brain scans 'positive,' says aide - Raanan Gissin says MRI scans at Soroka hospital showed 'some kind of positive indication.' (Agencies, Ynet)
- Feiglin: I hope to lead Likud one day - Leader of party's fringe hardline faction says party lost 'at least' 10 seats over decision to exclude him from campaign. (Ynet)
- Report: 1 in 4 Holocaust survivors suffers poverty - Israeli Holocaust survivors suffer increasing want and poor healthcare, report reveals. Shalom Lazar, Holocaust survivor: I can't afford medicine or heating. (Ynet)
- Lawyer: Imprisoned hunger strikers moved to hospital - Israeli prison authorities transferred three hunger-striking Palestinian inmates to hospital due to a deterioration in their health. Tarek Qaadan, Jafar Azzidine have been on hunger strike for 58 days. Samer Al-Issawi, of E. Jerusalem, has been on strike for 166 days. None of them have been charged. (Maan)
- Haniyeh calls Egypt over hunger-strikers - Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said he contacted several Egyptian officials on Thursday evening on the fate of Palestinian hunger-strikers in Israeli jails. Samer Issawi, who at 167 days is holding the longest hunger-strike of the prisoners, was arrested after his release in the prisoner exchange. (Maan)
- Israel frees PA officials held in Jerusalem - Israeli forces released the Palestinian Authority minister of public works and deputy minister of information after detaining them in occupied East Jerusalem Thursday. Maher Ghnaim and Mahmoud Khalifeh were reportedly treated poorly and their diplomatic papers were ignored. (Maan)
- Foundation: Former mayor put in administrative detention - Sheikh Jamal Tawil, who had held the mayoral post in al-Bireh, a neighborhood of Ramallah in the central West Bank, was detained on Tuesday and given six months in detention without charges. (Maan)
- Minister: Prisoners threaten mass hunger strike action - The Palestinian Authority Minister of Prisoner Affairs warned Saturday that detainees in Israeli jails may launch mass hunger strike action if their conditions do not improve. (Maan)
- Abbas asks Israel to let in Palestinians fleeing Syria - Palestinian Authority president asks Israel to let refugees from Syria resettle in the West Bank. Request dropped when Israel agrees on condition they give up their right of return to the country. Israel denies any such interaction. (Israel Hayom)
- PA minister expects Israel to resume tax transfers - The EU was expected to resume aid next month, while the Israeli government will likely begin transferring tax revenues soon, which would solve the financial crisis, along with the contributions of the Arab countries contribute to the so-called safety net. (Maan)
- Hebron holds rare festival in Old City - Palestinians were stunned on Thursday as thousands of worshipers at the Old City's Ibrahimi mosque (Cave of Patriarchs) poured into al-Shalala street, buying gifts and listening to a religious musical performance. The Old City is under Israeli military control. The celebration was held on Prophet Muhammad's birthday, a national holiday in Palestine. (Maan)
- Knesset tells dual-citizen MKs to ditch their foreign passports - Six newly elected Knesset members must renounce foreign citizenship. According to law, MKs must prove they are renouncing foreign passports before taking oath. Among those who have done so in the past are Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren and Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer. (Israel Hayom)
- Debate over meaning of Israeli elections sparks attacks and apologies between top U.S. columnists - Walter Russell Mead dramatically retracts assault on David Remnick's pre-election article in the New Yorker on the impending rise of the right. (Haaretz)
- Hamas urged to free journalists, end media crackdown - The world's largest federation of press unions on Thursday blasted the Hamas government's week-long crackdown on the media in Gaza and called for the release of six journalists. (Maan)
- Amnesty Int'l: Military trial 'unfair' for Egypt journalist held in Sinai - Muhammad Sabry had been working on a story for Reuters about regulations surrounding land ownership in border areas when he was arrested (on the Egyptian side of) Rafah, his wife told Amnesty. (Maan)
- First Patriot missiles to defend Turkey against Syria go active - The U.S. Germany and the Netherlands are each sending two batteries to Turkey and up to 400 soldiers to operate them after Ankara asked NATO for help. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Nasrallah: Ariel Sharon was the last king of Israel - Israel's political leadership in state of "degradation," Hezbollah leader says, adding that Israeli elections produced no "central, strong party." Nasrallah says West Bank Palestinians should learn from their "brothers in Gaza" how to conduct resistance. (Israel Hayom)
- Report in Lebanon: Another spy for Israel arrested - Security sources tell Al Akhbar newspaper citizen admitted to cooperating with Israeli intelligence for more than a decade; in the past man's Bulgarian wife claimed he was kidnapped. (Ynet)
- Former IDF soldier detained in Egypt to be returned to Israel - Andrey Pshenichnikov, who made headlines six months ago when he moved to the Palestinian Territories, was arrested in Sinai after crossing the border with no papers. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Germany says Morsi's hurtful comments damage Middle East peace - The German government responds to remarks against Jews made by the Egyptian president in 2010, insisting aggressive comments by any side are 'unhelpful.' (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Egypt court sentences 21 to death for stadium disaster - In courtroom, families of those killed in 2011 soccer melee between Port Said's Al-Masry fans and Cairo's Al-Ahly fans raise their hands in the air shouting 'Allahu Akbar'; at least 22 killed in violence that erupts outside prison where defendants' held. (Ynet)
- Egypt government mulls state of emergency as death toll climbs to 32 - Armored vehicles and military police fan through streets of Port Said, where thousands are protesting the sentencing of 21 people to death over a soccer stadium disaster. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Iran: Syria's problems rooted in Zionist meddling - As Iran's threats to strike at anyone that will contribute to end of Assad's regime grow bolder Israel is stepping up fortification of northern border. (Ynet)
For a quiet soldier, a war fought increasingly in the shadows
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz increasingly finds himself operating in a world with shadow wars and international commissions of inquiry like the Goldstone Report • Besides fateful security challenges that await him, Gantz is also staring down the barrel of a new socially minded government that will have to cut the defense budget. (Israel Hayom)
To entertain versus to govern (Amir Oren, Haaretz)Television personalities head the three biggest parties in Israel today, which together have 65 Knesset members.
Lapid as Foreign Minister(Emmanuel Sivan, Yedioth) "Lapid will not be Defense Minister or Finance Minister. Even though he has expressed his desire for it, he will also not be satisfied - with his 19 seats - with the Interior or Housing ministries. What's left for him is the Foreign Ministry." Sivan refutes any analogy to then Labor leader Amir Peretz's taking the Defense Ministry after the 2006 elections: "Peretz could never be at home in the offices of the General Staff or on the battlefield; Lapid could easily fit in as Foreign Minister. The world will embrace him, Obama and Kerry would soften up. He would prove that it is possible to be an efficient and respectable Foreign Minister without the niceties and the perks."
Wanted: A defense minister who can say no (Reuven Pedatzur, Haaretz) The greatest challenge facing the next defense minister: to divert Netanyahu from the path that leads to an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear installations.
A government of rich, white men (Kobi Niv, Haaretz) The leaders of the three parties that will form Israel's next government are four rich, white guys.
The ultra-Orthodox hangover (Yehuda Shlezinger, Israel Hayom) While Shas managed to hold onto its electoral strength despite opposition from Amsalem and Yitzhak, the United Torah Judaism party showed how, with a campaign of fear, they managed to mobilize their constituents despite a serious rift in the Ashkenazi rabbinical leadership. Over the coming weeks and in the ensuing four years, the haredim will only be able to try to prevent the sweep of events, but not control it.
Long live Israel's latest revolution (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) Universal army service is more about hurting Israel's minorities than creating an equal society. Nobody really wants equal draft for all.
Why this was a victory for Netanyahu (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) The desire for a new agenda, based on social and economic issues rather than the peace process, has emerged as the winning, and unifying, ticket. Netanyahu, Lapid, Bennett and even Yachimovich realized that. Those who insisted on a private agenda crashed
Yacimovich's magnificent failure (Nehemia Shtrasler, Haaretz) Shelly Yacimovich's campaign was saturated with serious strategic errors stemming from her personality - but she'd never admit it.
Give her a chance (Rubik Rosenthal, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) Rosenthal rebuffs Labor leader Shelly Yachimovich's critics: "Yachimovich will learn from her mistakes and will serve as a true opposition leader. One may hope that the Labor Party will not devour her as it has its previous leaders...While Yachimovich may not be 'the ideal leader', after the conceptual confusion of the Barak era, she has restored to Labor its social identity..."
Prepare for the next election (Yoel Marcus, Haaretz) Supposedly, Netanyahu still retains power, but his ability to govern has been hampered. He has little chance of reaching any political or social achievement. Lieberman is holding him on a short leash. Bibi will not have a base giving him a commanding role.
Money, power, or both? (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) Lapid has to choose between becoming finance minister or foreign minister.
Morally blind, but hope nonetheless (Avirama Golan, Haaretz) This is the message of the elections: that the desire for a better life is finally out in the open, rolling about in the streets like a tiny spark of hope.
Daunting challenges facing Netanyahu (Isi Leibler, Israel Hayom) There is agreement that we face unprecedented global pressures and that this is a critical moment in our history.
Yair Lapid's mental block (Haaretz Editorial) By rejecting Hanin Zuabi out of hand as a partner to any kind of political activity, Lapid joined those responsible for the dangerous trend of excluding Arabs from the Israeli political process.
No snap revolutions (Shlomo Kraus, Ynet) Road to end of the occupation begins with rehabilitation of Israel's national, democratic identity.
Despite results of Israeli elections, Palestinians still don't see a partner for peace in Jerusalem (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) Neither Fatah nor Hamas expects Israel's new government to be serious about negotiations, but that isn't enough to bring them together.
Lapid, prevent civil war (Ohad Shaked, Ynet) In open letter to Yesh Atid leader, haredi teacher warns of universal draft's dangers.
The wealthy minions of Yair Lapid (Eytan Avriel, Haaretz) A breakdown of last week's election results shows that where the money flows, so does enthusiasm for Yair Lapid. If Israel's dark-horse politician does become finance minister, he could be in for a rude awakening.
Small print in Lapid's plan for Haredi conscription reveals gap between rhetoric and actual proposal (Amos Harel, Haaretz) According to the party's official platform, the Lapid plan should only be troubling now to Haredi youngsters aged 13 and younger. Meanwhile, even if voters didn't want to hear about the Palestinian conflict, it's rearing its head.
Who wants to be Israel's next finance minister? Not me (Zvi Zrahiya, Haaretz) With budget cuts imminent, Netanyahu may have trouble finding someone to head the treasury.
Israel's siesta vote (Gonen Ginat, Israel Hayom) It is no coincidence that so many of us go to the beach on Election Day, we are record-breaking escapists.
A portrait of a politician as a good-looking man (Benny Ziffer, Haaretz) Yair Lapid may believe in his ability to change the county, but those who voted for him believe mainly in his powers of seduction.
The 2013 election: A choice between Netanyahu and Netanyahu (Ari Shavit, Haaretz) This election was a three-way affair involving an enfeebled Netanyahu flanked by two new, young and electrifying party leaders, who drew strength from the prime minister − and exploited it to the hilt.
Israel is still a red state (Yoram Ettinger, Israel Hayom) The election underlined -- once again -- Israel's hawkish majority.
Two years after Tahrir Square: The battle for Egypt's identity is far from over (Elie Podeh, Haaretz) The Egyptian revolution began with a big dream. Disappointments and chaos have punctured the hopes of the uprising, but the possibility of establishing a democratic regime has not yet been lost. This second year of the revolution will be crucial.
Old rage finds a new target as violent protests engulf Egypt (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) Paradoxically, the fatal clashes in Port Said last year - which were the catalyst behind demands for snap elections and the termination of military rule- are now at the heart of calls for the new regime's ouster.
A rushed decision on Bedouin communities will have dire results (Haaretz Editorial) Prime Minister Netanyahu would do well to forgo presenting a decision dealing mainly with ownership claims over land Bedouin purchased before Israel was founded to the outgoing cabinet on Sunday.
How the Zionist became anti-Zionist (Alon Idan, Haaretz) A dozen defense mechanisms that help entrench a nationalist reality and create a warped world.
Pnina Tamano-Shata, blazing a new path
Fighting for social justice since she was a child, new Yesh Atid MK plans to promote 'equality, affordable housing'; stresses 'Racism, discrimination still exist in Israeli society.' (Interviewed by Nir Cohen in Ynet)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.