APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday January 31, 2013
Quote of the day:
It's not an obvious path for a middle-aged Islamic Movement activist who only boarded an airplane for the first time when he was 35.
--Haaretz writes about a former Arab MK who now works as a pilot.**
Front Page News:
- After reports on IDF attack in Syria: Fear in Israel of retaliation by Hezbollah
- Attack in Syria, hint to the world // Zvi Bar'el
- Lapid declared support for Netayahu and promised not to sit in government with ministers without portfolios
- Bank of Israel expects housing prices to continue to rise
- Israel Chemicals proud of transparency, but prevents public from knowing how much it owes it
- Settlement outpost residents tired of (their leader) Avri Ran's invasions of settlers' land
- From Ethiopia to Chile: 34,000 km walk in the footsteps of the human species
- Syria admits: Israel attacked
- Calculated risk // Alex Fishman
- Compromise likely between Lapid and Netanyahu: 24 ministers
- Captain Ziv gets back in uniform - His soldiers have been waiting 3 months for injured officer to return
- Winter storm
- Syria: Israel attacked military facility near Damascus (Hebrew)
- Nasrallah's dream // Amir Rappaport (Hebrew)
- Preparation for Assad's fall // Nadav Eyal (Hebrew)
- Tension in north following fear of flow of chemical weapons to terror groups (Hebrew)
- This is how the industry of fake votes works in the Arab sector
- Lapid? "Good-looking journalist, a little modesty would do him good." Sara Netanyahu? "Her right to do what she wants. Really, whatever she wants." Rina Matzliach? "She puts the atmosphere of an outdoor market into the Friday news show" - In tomorrow's paper: Judi Shalom-Nir-Moses forms a government
- Price of water doesn't drop despite the rain, price of gasoline jumps again
- Preventative strike
- The ball is in the Syrian court // Yoav Limor
- SA-17: Mobile, precise and lethal // Aharon Lapidot
- "We will make Beitar fans happy, inshallah" - The two Muslim Chechnyan players were received relatively quietly in Jerusalem
- Lapid to President: "I recommend Netanyahu"
- Fischer: "I am leaving, but I will be involved in public life in Israel"
- History: Tel-Aviv municipality to renovate the Carmel Market
- Money vacuum: Price of gasoline jumps by 31 agorot (tonight)
Foreign media reported on an Israeli airstrike - or two or three - in Syria and on Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal's agreement to a two-state solution (again) making top stories in Israeli papers. Meanwhile, coalition talks continue and Israel Hayom reveals that Defense Minister Ehud Bark approved more settlement construction.
On Sunday Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned about Syrian chemical weapons getting into the wrong hands, on Wedensday, Israel struck in Syria - according to foreign media reports, but not the chemical weapons. The Israeli papers are not allowed to write about secret Israeli strikes, and Israel officially remains mum, so the papers all wrote how 'foreign media reported' and 'Syria admitted' that Israel made an airstrike on a convoy of missiles leaving Syria and headed to Hezbollah in Lebanon. The New York Times reported that Israel informed the US of the planned strike. Syria's military command said Israeli warplanes attacked a military research center in a Damascus province and denied reports that jets hit a weapons convoy. The Syrian opposition claimed the bombed site was used to develop chemical weapons. The advanced Syrian weapons were a cause of great concern for the IDF, the papers report. Yedioth writes that if they had arrived in Lebanon, "the SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles would limit the Israeli Air Force's freedom of movement over Lebanon's skies [Israel regularly and illegally crosses into Lebanon's airspace - OH], the Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles would have threatened Israel's sea space and the Scud D ballistic missiles would have put all Israeli residents in danger." (More from Haaretz) Russia said it was concerned with the 'unprovoked' Israeli attack in Syria. Meanwhile, Israel's Military Intel chief,Maj-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, is reportedly in Washington in covert meetings with Joint Chief's of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey and other governmental officials. Unsurprisingly, the number of Israelis getting new gas masks nearly tripled.
Haaretz's Middle East affairs commentator, Zvi Bar'el, was the first to note that the Saudi paper, Al-Sharq, reported that in his meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan earlier this week, Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal conveyed his acceptance of two states for two peoples based on the 1967 borders, to US President Barack Obama. Al-Sharq cited Jordanian sources. But Hamas denies the report and says that Mashaal never agreed to a two-state solution, writes Maariv. [Note, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in December, "There is an agreement between Fatah and Hamas that recognizes the two-state solution. Meshal approved this agreement." - OH]
President Shimon Peres is preparing to tap Netanyahu to form a government, the papers reported. He has been consulting with all the political factions before choosing the most suitable MK to put together a coalition. Yesh Atid's Yair Lapid endorsed Netanyahu to head the government, as did 49 other MKs, but he also said that endorsement does not mean Yesh Atid will be part of the coalition, Israel Hayom reported. There are a number of issues that need to be agreed upon first, but Lapid, it appears, will agree to compromise on the subject of the number of ministers in the next government, writes Yedioth. Instead of his original demand of 18, Lapid is likely to agree to reducing it to 24. The outgoing government at its biggest had 29 ministers. Meanwhile, Yesh Atid has said that it will only accept its plan for a universal draft law, not Moshe Ya'alon's, Maariv reported. The ultra-Orthodox party Yehadut Hatorah has already said it would consider Ya'alon's plan.
At the beginning of January, before elections and just before leaving office, Defense Minster Ehud Barak approved zoning and construction of 346 housing units in Nokdim and Tekoa settlements, near Bethlehem, Israel Hayom reported today [but did not translate to English - OH]. In Tekoa, he approved zoning for 200 housing units and 146 in Nokdim. These join approvals he gave at the end of December for 527 units in Gvaot, near Alon Shvut. Some 600 families live in Tekoa and 160 in Nokdim, both outside of Jerusalem's separation fence. Almost no approvals were given to build in these two settlements in recent years and attempt to get them were stopped. But in 2012 construction began on 43 in Tekoa and 33 units in Nokdim. The construction will double the size of Nokdim, where former foreign minster Avigdor Lieberman lives. The actual construction will require the signature of the next defense minister.
- Bedouin school faces demolition as settlement plans education complex - Kfar Adumim settlement aims to expand its built-up area. (Haaretz)
- Beitar defies racist fans and signs two Muslim Chechen players - Beitar Jerusalem soccer club fans caused an uproar last week when they held racist signs protesting new recruits, resulting in censure for the club. "I'm happy I came here and I will please the fans with my game," said Zaur Sadayev. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
- IDF recruit's petition: Crew cut violates my rights - In call for gender equality, Tel Aviv teen asks court to bar army from forcing male recruits to cut their hair. (Ynet)
- Ten years after death of Ilan Ramon, talks underway to train new Israeli astronaut - The Science and Technology Ministry stated that initial talks with international bodies were recently begun to look into the possibility and implications of training an Israeli astronaut. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
- Oscar nod for protest film cheers Palestinians - Academy Award-nominated documentary '5 Broken Cameras' leaves West Bank residents hopeful that their struggle with Israel for land, statehood will gain global audience. (Agencies, Ynet)
- The Gatekeepers director: 'Extreme right more dangerous to Israel than Iranian bomb' - Dror Moreh denies accusing Netanyahu of direct blame for Rabin assassination but says there is 'no forgiveness' for PM's 'central role in campaign of incitement.' (Haaretz)
- Israel transfers Palestinians $100M - Jewish state releases tariffs and tax monies it collects on behalf of PA, which were frozen last year as punishment for UN bid. Israeli official said it was a one-off measure and not a sign transfers would be renewed. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Fischer won't discount post as Israel's next foreign minister - Outgoing Bank of Israel Governor, who announced on Tuesday his resignation after eight years at the post, dispels rumors that he will be tapped as finance minister; also promotes Karnit Flug as his successor. (Haaretz)
- Air Force raid sends Tel Aviv stocks lower - The TA-25 index of blue chips ended the day at 1,176.67 points, a decline of 0.8% as turnover on the TASE reached NIS 1.05 billion. The broader TA-100 index was down almost 1% to 1,047.59. (Haaretz)
- Syria top opposition leader says willing to negotiate with Assad - Chosen in December to head the Syrian National Coalition, Moaz al-Khatib's offer to talk to regime officials mark a new approach, after the opposition has categorically refused to talk to the Assad government. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Argentina blasts Israel for protesting deal with Iran on 1994 bombing - Buenos Aires issues harsh statement stressing that Israel has no right to interfere in the decision of Argentina and Iran to set up a joint committee to probe the 1994 bombing of Jewish center. (Haaretz)
- Morsi says his Jewish comments misunderstood - In Berlin, Egyptian president says his 2010 remarks about Jews taken out of context, stresses he's not against Jewish faith. He also called for the international community to act to "Liberate all the conquered Arab lands and end the continued suffering of the Palestinians." (Agencies, Ynet)
- Egyptian Islamist party joins opposition's call for unity coalition - Liberal opposition to Morsi gets unexpected support from hard-line Salafi party as protests in Egypt intensify. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Hagel: Window is closing on Iran and possibility of diplomacy - Obama's nominee for defense secretary says Iran needs to show that it is prepared to negotiate seriously, and should face 'severe and growing consequences' if it continues to flout world demands. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Palestinians and Canadian natives join hands to protest colonization - Palestinians, both at home and abroad, have found an unlikely partner in the struggle against colonization: First Nations, the indigenous peoples of Canada. (Haaretz)
Israeli 'hilltop youth' accuse their former hero of stealing settlers' land
After 17 years of lauding Ran as a hero for his agricultural enterprise, Itamar residents discovered that those who didn't cry out when he expropriated Arab lands had just become his next victims, [although they too are squatters]. Ran owns the highly profitable "Givot Olam" agricultural business that sells free-range eggs, organic yoghurt and cheese across the country. (Haaretz)
Foreign Ministry (controversially) 'chronicles' Dome of the Rock's history
Foreign Ministry video about religious diversity in Jerusalem features potentially offensive image depicting collapse of Islam's holy site. Image replaced; video now includes fairy dust, time travel. (Yedioth/Ynet)
**Sky's the limit for Arab MK-turned-pilot
The 53 members of Knesset who are out of a job might look up, way up to Tawfik Khatib for inspiration. After leaving parliament, the former religious Muslim MK from the United Arab List found a new vocation: flying. (Haaretz)
The grandchildren of Yeshiyahu Leibovitz are sure of one thing: History proved their grandfather was right. It's almost 20 years since his death, but the words of thought of the professor continue to cause a storm in the Israeli reality. Now his grandchildren - after years of avoiding discussing their grandfather - decided to break their long silence and to bring to light anew who was the controversial philosopher, who for them was first and foremost grandpa. Ahead of the release of 'Leibovitz,' a documentary film that examines the legacy that the prophet of rage of the State of Israel left behind, they talk about the loaded family connection. The Leibovitz family - the next generation.Granddaughter Hagit Ofran, Settler watch director at Peace Now: "We have different opinions...there are certain things he said I would have said differently...His contribution was in asking questions and not always agreeing to what is heard, and that is why I want more people like him."Grandson Yochai Ofran: "Once his views were considered extreme, but within the borders. Today his positions are completely outcast and reviled in certain communities." (Yedioth '24 Hours' supplement)
Dialogue 101: Campus groups seek fresh conversations on Israel
At Brandeis University, students from every political background are coming together not just to talk about Israel, but also to listen to each other. (Haaretz)
Racism and soccer, then and now
A panel discussion about 'Liga Terezin,' a documentary Jewish soccer players in Nazi ghettos, was quickly hijacked by the Beitar Jerusalem racism controversy. (Haaretz)
Time for the U.S. to disturb Israel's comfort zone (Daniel Levy, Haaretz) The message from Israel's recent election: Netanyahu's government will only flip its 'Do Not Disturb' sign if the status quo becomes properly untenable, and that requires Obama's sustained attention, together with other international partners.
Israel enters the civil war in Syria (Amos Harel, Haaretz) The worse Assad's position grows, the more attempts Hezbollah will make to grab whatever weapons it can get its hands on. And it seems Israel, if it was responsible for the air strike, has made its red lines clear.
Calculated risk (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/YNet) Was purported attack on weapons convoy prelude to broad military conflict in north?
Time for diplomatic leadership (Haaretz Editorial) It is not sufficient to give the post of foreign minister to someone who is the polar opposite of former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. What is needed is a policy that will truly seek to achieve a mix that will provide peace and security.
Quiet intifada: Abbas' statehood plan (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) UN recognition, pressure from Obama, Israel's isolation and a 'peaceful intifada' - this is how the Palestinians plan to achieve statehood without having to forgo right of return or recognize Israel as Jewish state.
Hezbollah doesn't want war with Israel if Syria is weakened (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) It seems that Hezbollah, which has still not responded to the attack, is not interested in opening a front against Israel out of fear of a massive Israeli retaliation, without getting Syrian aid.
Nasrallah's dream (Amir Rappaport, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) "In Israel, it has long been assumed that all of the advanced weapons in Syria will, sooner or later, reach Hezbollah...The civil war in Syria and the crumbling of Assad's military of late has only underscored the concern that very advanced weapons will make their way to Lebanon...Attacks in Syria are not unprecedented, [but whatever may have happened yesterday] will not immediately lead to a round of fighting in the north [because] Hezbollah's arsenal of weapons has been built, first and foremost, for the day when Israel attacks Iran, not as a response to an attack on a weapons convoy, as important as the latter may be."
Make Judaism in Israel a force for inclusivity, not discrimination (Rabbi Judith Hauptman, Haaretz) If Israel could learn from the U.S. model and implement religion in a way that does not discriminate against women or 'ordinary' Jews, it could meet its goal of protecting the dignity and liberty of its citizens. By sidelining religious extremism, Israel can be both fully Jewish and also proudly in compliance with its own noble goals.
A lose-lose for Israel (Yaakov Ahimeir, Israel Hayom) Regardless of the outcome of the Senate vote on the Hagel appointment, the pro-Israel lobby in Washington lost.
Beitar Jerusalem's racist fans are veritable terrorists, and should be treated as such (Shlomi Barzel, Haaretz) The calls to 'uproot soccer racism from our midst' and to boycott the team's games constitute either surrender or a desire to hide the shame, whereas it should be confronted head-on.
Welcome to State of Palestine? (Asaf Romirowsky, Ynet) In absence of direct talks with Israel, we will more likely see a third intifada than actual Palestinian state.
The Israeli boxer's empty punch (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) When Lapid says he admires Muhammad Ali, he must remember that Ali became a role model because he was a courageous conscientious objector, exactly the kind that Lapid, proud bearer of the burden, would surely find appalling.
Likud's final term (Israel Harel, Haaretz) Through his failings, Netanyahu is likely to bring this chapter in Israeli governance to an end.
Israel's two-state election (Dr. Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) Israel is already divided: central Israel versus the periphery and religious neighborhoods.
Line up for your ministries (Yossi Klein, Haaretz) The ministries are gifts the prime minister gives his buddies on the occasion of building a coalition. They're like the goodie bags at a birthday party. That's how prime ministers amuse themselves.
When the gold ring goes by, grab it (Sefi Rachlevsky, Haaretz) Yair Lapid forfeited the chance to become prime minister this time around. If he gets a second chance to head a center-left bloc he must not make the same mistake twice.
Criticize Israel - but without the vile and offensive cartoons (Rachel Shabi, Haaretz) Even if Scarfe's cartoon isn't anti-Semitic, it is still vile and offensive. Given enduring, and well-founded, Jewish sensitivities over certain imagery, it is manifestly preferable to caricature and castigate Israeli leaders without them dripping buckets of blood. There is hardly a shortage of material.
Obama was half right. Netanyahu is Richard Nixon, after all (Bradley Burston, Haaretz) Netanyahu-as-Nixon has never been more evident than in the days following the election. But will he go all the way?
The day after the announcement of 'Five Broken Cameras' is up for an Oscar, the death threats began on the life of its (Palestinian) creator and hero, Emad Burnat. (Interviewed by Alon Hadar for the cover story of Yedioth's Friday 'Laylot' magazine)
A few days later, in the middle of an interview with his (Israeli) co-director Guy Davidi, Burnat threw the bomb: "If Israel continues to claim this is an Israeli film, I will pull the film from the Oscar (competition). If Academy awards organizers present Five Broken Cameras as an Israeli film - I won't be there." Davidi hears this threat for the first time and says he will support Burnat's decision.Burnat: "All said and done it's a Palestinian film. It was filmed here and presents the story of this village. People in Bil'in say, 'We made a film that documents a seven-year struggle to remove the fence, and in the end you go to Israel and hand them over a gift?' On the street they do not understand what is a coproduction."Burnat: "One night soldiers arrived at my house to arrest me under suspicion of throwing stones. I pulled out my camera. They said to me: 'This is a closed miltary zone (no filming).' I felt as if my camera and I were targets. They soldiers put me into the jeep and I got beat up inside. My eye was injured. They took me to the hospital. The soldiers said to the people that I felt down and got hurt."
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.