APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday February 6, 2013
Quote of the day:
"Seems even her clothes couldn't form a coalition."
--Comment posted on Facebook under photo of Sara Netanyahu's much-talked-about dress.**
Front Page News:
- President Obama to make urgent visit to Israel
- What's the rush? Coordinating positions with Netanyahu is important at this moment // Chemi Shalev
- Less for security - Senior Likud ministers: No choice but to cut defense budget
- In the 19th Knesset, hugging and stabbing
- Following Haaretz article: Medical Association ruled: Obligatory to treat HIV carriers
- Particularly high pension for dismissed judge
- Tel-Aviv municipality marked a handicapped parking spot around a car, then towed the car
- First girls' band in Kashmir broke up after threats
- Opening of the 19th Knesset
- The Center for Stage Arts // Sima Kadmon
- Obama to come to renew the diplomatic process
- US President's visit will turn the new government's agenda diplomatic // Eitan Haber
- Obama to arrive in Israel in March, will pressure for renewal of peace process
- He's coming to charm // Nadav Eyal (Hebrew)
- Coalition ingredient // Amnon Lord (Hebrew)
- Ahmedinejad attacked during visit to Cairo
- Bulgaria: Hezbollah responsible for attacks in Burgas (Hebrew)
- Smiles and hugs in swearing- in at 19th Knesset (Hebrew)
- Lieberman demands: Government with ultra-Orthodox to block Lapid
- New front in Likud - Netanyahu calls to cancel primaries before the appointment of ministers (Hebrew)
- Bratslav ultra-Orthodox met with senior Fatah officials in order to regularize visits to Joseph's Tomb (in Nablus)
- Economist Shlomo Maoz: "People in Israel refuse to die"
- Yearning for leadership, concerned for the future. Journey through the kibbutzes who chose a CEO yesterday
- New job for Eti Alon - The prisoner who was found guilty of enormous bank embezzlement began working as curtains seamstress outside prison
- For first time as US President Obama en route to Israel
- Belief in political establishment: Visit likely to influence coalition formation
- Hotline regarding cancer: 11 February between 9-11AM 1-800-599-995
- Decorated Chief of Staff - Gantz received 'Legion of Merit' from his US colleague, Gen. Dempsey
- Worrying historic visit: Iranian President Ahmedinejad met with Morsi in Cairo
- Now it's official: Bulgarian government blamed Hezbollah for terror attacks in Burgas
The upcoming visit of the US President, the opening of the 19th Knesset and the blaming of Hezbollah for a July bus bombing in Bulgaria were top stories in today's Israeli newspapers. Also, the latest on coalition forming and the most talked about dress at the Knesset ceremony yesterday.
The visit of US President Barack Obama to Israel is expected to focus on returning Israel to the negotiating table. According to Israel's Channel 10, he will arrive on March 20th. His last visit was as a senator and presidential candidate in July 2008. He will also visit Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority. Officials say that Obama was promised he would be able to advance the peace process during his visit. Israeli commentators seem to have agreed on two things in regards to the expected visit:
1. The announcement affects the coalition talks - and maybe that was the intention of the timing. "Obama is pushing Netanyahu to find solutions, and there is no place here for playing around," writes Yedioth's Eitan Haber who writes that the announcement changes the agenda of the new government into a diplomatic one. Maariv's Amnon Lord accuses Obama of getting involved in Israel's political process. "The visit meant to take place immediately after the formation of the government affects its shape. The ministers will barely have learned the names around the table and already they will have to prepare a diplomatic agenda dictated by the US President."
2. Obama is coming to charm Israelis. Maariv's Nadav Eyal writes, "Obama is coming to do what he was advised to do again and again: talk to the Israeli people, even over the head of their government." Yedioth's Orly Azoulay writes: "He will give the Israelis what they crave for: A big hug from a foreign leader and an almost limitless line of credit."
The 19th Knesset opened yesterday with some record numbers: 27 female MKs and one-third of the MKs are religious Jews. (More from Haaretz) The commentators noted that after all the back-slapping and hugs yesterday, soon comes the back-stabbing. They noted the warm handshake Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave Yair Lapid and the cold one he gave Naftali Bennett. While Lapid might be a better partner in light of the upcoming visitor, Maariv writes that Likud and Shas sources say that Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman, Avigdor Lieberman, is acting to form a coalition with the ultra-Orthodox to block Lapid and his Yesh Atid party. This may be because of Lieberman's desire to keep his former post as foreign minister. Meanwhile, there is talk of Tzipi Livni and her Hatnua party entering the coalition, despite her trying to form an agreement in which she would not join the government if Labor and Yesh Atid did not. One Likud official told Haaretz that she will be appointed minister in charge of the peace process.
As Israel and the US hoped, Bulgaria blamed Hezbollah for the bombing that killed five Israelis tourists in July. Israel and the US hope that blaming Hezbollah will help their efforts to get the European Union to designate the Lebanese militant group as a terrorist organization. Britain and the Netherlands support the move, writes Haaretz, but other countries, such as France, oppose it. France fears that holding Hezbollah responsible will destabilize Lebanon, as the militant organization is one of the factions forming its government, Haaretz wrote.
**News Nosh normally does not discuss fashion, but it was a hot topic across the Israeli media following the opening of the Knesset yesterday. The reason: the unbelievable dress worn by Sara Netanyahu, wife of the Prime Minister. You really have to see it to believe it: tight and immodest, with transparent black lace - even across the stomach. Some reporters suggested that no one told her how she looked because they are all too scared of her. Another said on 'Erev Tov with Guy Pines,' a popular lifestyle news program, that it was meant to keep the ultra-Orthodox out of the government. Haaretz's blogger Allison Sommer Kaplan wrote about it here.
- Israel's former MI chief: Choice of Kerry and Hagel sends 'bad signal' on Obama's Iran policy - Former IDF intelligence chief Amos Yadlin believes Iran will have enough material for first bomb 'in early 2013'; prefers diplomatic agreement that limits Iranian centrifuges to 'bomb or bombing'. (Haaretz)
- Argentine foreign minister accuses Israel of giving 'ammunition to anti-Semites,' sources say - Hector Timerman's remarks were made during a dressing down of Israel's envoy Dorit Shavit, after Israel tried to get explanation about the Argentina-Iran agreement to create a 'truth commission' to investigate the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish center. (Haaretz)
- Israel's north gets its third Iron Dome anti-rocket battery - Even before the alleged attack on missiles in Syria last month, the IDF put Iron Dome in Haifa and Safed. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- PM considers cancelling Likud primaries - Netanyahu mulls creating 'arrangements committee' as opposed to primary elections in attempt to eliminate scenarios in which, 'people who do not vote Likud, determine its party list.' (Ynet)
- Survey: 53.5% of (Israeli) youth don't know what the Oslo Accords are - The survey examined the Zionist positions of the youth. Some 7% thought it was a treaty with Egypt. (Maariv, p. 16)
- Israeli, Palestinian courts duke it out over damages case - Jerusalem, Ramallah courts embroiled in rare judicial duel whose results may set far-reaching legal precedent regarding matters of jurisdiction. (Ynet)
- Secret meeting of Bratzlav ultra-Orthodox with senior officials in Palestinian Authority - Meeting held at Muqata'a in Ramallah to discuss regularizing visits to Joseph's Tomb in Nablus. Bratzlavs: "The army discriminates against us, so we are trying to work directly with the Palestinians." IDF: "The visit was not coordinated with us, the agreement is dangerous and invalid." (Maariv, p. 8)
- Weapons cache found in Galilee preschools - Morning raid by Police in village of Abu Snan turns up RPG rockets, LAW missiles and explosives. (Ynet)
- Likud ministers say Israel's defense budget will be cut - The 2013 budget has not been approved. It is expected to include about NIS 15 billion in cuts. (Haaretz)
- Documentary filmmaker Nir Toib dies of cancer at 48 - Toib, the director of a controversial film about one of Israel's most notorious spy scandals,, was known for his in-depth investigations into security matters, including films on the bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor, the Second Lebanon War, and the Yom Kippur War. (Haaretz)
- Radicalization in Gaza: Female students required to wear Muslim garb - Strip's Al-Aqsa University undergoes Hamas-initiated Islamization. PA Minister of Higher Education Ali Jarbawi clarifies that regulation is illegal, negates Palestinian governmental decisions. (Ynet)
- Syrian defense minister indicates Syria won't retaliate against Israel - Gen. Fahd Jassem al-Freij says alleged Israeli airstrike was part of a plan to destroy Syria internally, and calls Syrian rebels Israel's "tools" • According to al-Freij, Israel and "armed gangs coordinated together to target the research center." (Israel Hayom)
- McCain opposes filibuster, Senate set to approve Hagel appointment - Republican Sen. McCain, a sharp critic of Hagel's nomination as defense secretary, says will not support proposed filibuster of President Obama's pick. (Ynet)
- Brooklyn College calls for boycott of Israel - At Palestinian initiative, conference at elite NY college to hold panel on importance of economic and academic boycott of Israel. Israel supporter Alan Dershowitz studied there. (Maariv, p. 16)
- IDF chief Gantz awarded US Legion of Merit - During Pentagon ceremony, Panetta says Gantz's command 'ensures that IDF will be able to stand strong in the face of wide range of threats.' (Ynet)
- US, Israel to hold anti-mine drills in 'Mideast waterways' - Commander of US military's Central Command says exercise to focus on keeping oil shipping lanes open in case Iran, terror groups deploy mines to disrupt tanker traffic. (Ynet)
- Ahmadinejad in Egypt for historic visit - For first time since Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, Egyptian president receives Iranian counterpart. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Watch: Syrian tries to slap Ahmadinejad with shoe - Shoe-wielding man filmed trying to slap Iran's President Ahamdinejad during Cairo visit. Presidential visit also protested by Muslim radicals, Salafis. (Ynet)
Small friendships and big hospitals
Extraordinary friendships are forged between Jews and Arabs in the most ordinary of places - such as in the maternity ward. But these days, the racist antics of Beitar Jerusalem fans gets a lot more attention in the eyes of the world. (Haaretz)
Yair Lapid's peace-process doublespeak (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) Despite the party's avowed interest in peace, Yesh Atid's platform does little to distinguish it from the hawkish agendas of the other major players in the coalition talks.
Obama's Israel visit may mark rebirth of 'centrality' of the Palestinian conflict (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz) In the short term, the early visit serves Netanyahu's political purposes. It is also a sign of darkening Middle Eastern skies.
Shadow over local politics (Shalom Yerushalmi, Maariv) Yerushalmi analyzes the visit's implications on coalition politics and notes that MK Avigdor Lieberman's legal difficulties will prevent any early return to the Foreign Ministry and adds, "Lieberman does not want to see Lapid sitting next to the Prime Minister at his meeting with Obama and John Kerry." "Whatever happens, Obama's anticipated visit will cast a shadow over local politics and is likely to force a diplomatic agenda on the coalition negotiations. As of today, we will hear many more remarks about peace, expedited negotiations, proposed agreements and invitations to Abu Mazen. Every party will pull diplomatic proposals from its arsenal and will wait until the presidential visit is over, in order for us to return to the stalemate."
The 19th Knesset's responsibility (Haaretz Editorial) The 120 members of Israel's new Knesset bear a heavy responsibility: They must repair the grave damage left behind by their predecessors in the 18th Knesset, damage that threatens Israel's continued operation as a liberal democratic state.
No free lunches (Orly Azoulay, Yedioth/Ynet) It is no coincidence that White House announced Obama visit as Netanyahu tries to form new coalition.
Turkey's problem with Israel is bigger than the Mavi Marmara (Ely Karmon, Haaretz) Despite the wishful thinking of Israeli and Turkish pundits and politicians that a settlement of the Mavi Marmara affair would enable a renewed alliance between the two countries, this has little chance when anti-Israeli rhetoric serves to keep the current Turkish government in power and Turkish regional influence on the rise.
Does Israel really 'own' its Oscar contenders? (Akin Ajayi, Haaretz) Israel is more than happy to bask in the glory of Oscar-contending films made by Israelis. But we also need to share the responsibility for the stories those films tell.
The 'gentiles' have returned to Judaism (Yehuda Shlezinger, Israel Hayom) The national-religious influence is encroaching on the haredi world, and in no way does Shas' self-declared title as "the natural partner" for safeguarding the Torah and status quo come gratis.
Humanitarian hush money (Amira Hass, Haaretz) The generous aid given to the Palestinians through various channels is the reward offered by Western states in exchange for the tolerance they show toward Israeli apartheid.
Channel 10 wallows in hypocrisy (Amos Regev, Israel Hayom) Channel 10's much anticipated "exposé" on Israel Hayom basically revealed that the paper's editor is merely doing his job.
Who's really taking over the Negev? (Yariv Mohar and Moriel Rothman, Haaretz) The Bedouin are often portrayed as foreign invaders bent on seizing control of Israel's Negev Desert, but Zionist history suggests a different narrative.
Two weeks after election, what Israel's 33rd government will look like remains anyone's guess (Yossi Verter, Haaretz) As far as Netanyahu is concerned, the hand that caressed him on the day of the opening of Israel's 19th Knesset will stab him in the back tomorrow.
Israel is waiting for its Holocaust survivors to die (Amos Rubin, Haaretz) There are three different days committed to remembering the Holocaust, but during the rest of the year, the Israeli government only thinks of Holocaust survivors as a financial burden.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.