APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday February 11, 2013
Quote of the day:
"The State of Israel imposes terror on its citizens in various violent ways so that we citizens who are critical of the government will give up the struggle for a saner life - a life where a person can go out to demonstrate on the street without fear of being murdered."
-- Niva Grunzweig, daughter of Emil, a Peace Now co-founder, speaking at the 30th anniversary of his murder by a right-wing man during a peaceful anti-occupation protest in Jerusalem.**
Front Page News:
- Likud to present an alternative draft plan to Lapid
- Netanyahu's confidante and Eshel's cellular phone
- Witnesses: Lapid lied, he smoked pot
- Expulsions and arrests at Beitar-Sakhnin game
- China passed US and became biggest trade superpower in world
- IDF invests less of its own money - Privatization of the security establishment: Army medical clinics built mainly from donations
- Police closely followed social justice protest leaders using Facebook
- Former deputy Minister Michael Ratzon suspected of sexually harassing employee
- Young criminals' honor wars taking over Gush Dan (Tel-Aviv region)
- British woman who reported on being raped did not receive psychological help - and committed suicide
- After opening the competition for car garages, fixing your car got cheaper
- "Don't attack Iran" - Obama will make clear to Netanyahu during his visit
- Justice Ministry against pardoning (former president) Katzav
- Beitar Beiteinu (Beitar is our home) - (Photo of new Beitar player, Chechnyan Muslim Zaour Sadayev, and Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman - Tense game between Beitar and Sakhnin yesterday ended relatively quietly with a score of 2:2 and 40 fans removed
- Free her - Bondage and hunger, this is how the life of Wadiso from Ethiopia looked until Jodi Oron adopted her
- The alliance did not crack: Lapid and Bennett to oppose the Yaalon plan (for drafting ultra-Orthodox) (Hebrew)
- Knesset proceedings to open today with speeches by new MKs, 800 bills already submitted (Hebrew)
- (photo of Beitar soccer fans holding up sign: "To all La Famiglia, We wanted you to know that you won't take from us the love") Tense game between Beitar Jerusalem and Bnei Sakhnin ended in 2:2 on the field, 35 fans removed, and a loss for the racists (Hebrew)
- Battle over the eggs - They separated during the IVF process, now the woman is demanding to get pregnant despite the opposition of her ex
- Between two groups - Residents of the ultra-Orthodox settlement preferred "Ichud Hatzala" over MADA ambulance services, the rescue exercise was cancelled
- The littlest genius - She's only 3 and she's smarter than Einstein: Meet Alice Amos, who has an IQ of 162 (Hebrew)
- Jokes with a beard - What began as a group of military-yeshiva guys with a sense of humor and a video turned into a real phenomenon with hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube and a new show. Meet UnderDos
- After years of broken relations...Netanyahu and Bennett: First meeting
- Der'i likely to be Chairman of Shas, Yishai will be senior minister
- Co-existence at Teddy Stadium
- IDF presents: Fight against sexual harassment
- Hagel 2008: "US does not need to even consider attacking Iran"
- International Book Fair in Jerusalem opens
The latest on Obama's topics of discussion during his upcoming visit and on Israeli coalition forming problems as well as a tense Beitar soccer game that ended in a surprise were the top stories in today's Israeli papers. Meanwhile, Yedioth reports on European plans to sanction Israel, on a Facebook battle between two MKs over changing the national anthem to include Arab citizens and on a storm in the Middle East sparked by an interview that a Syrian rebel leader gave to one of its reporters.
Don't bomb Iran, is the main message and the reason US President Barack Obama will be visiting the country next month, according to Yedioth. Obama will tell Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that his talk about attacking Iran hurts the diplomatic efforts to stop an Iranian nuclear bomb and that he must cease immediately. Reporter Shimon Shiffer writes that the honor given to IDF Chief of Staff Beni Gantz by his US counterpart was meant to temper Israel desire to make harsh statements against Iran, as Gantz is known to oppose such an attack. Netanyahu confirmed yesterday that Iran would be at the top of Obama's agenda.
The Palestinian issue will also be on the agenda, after all. But Netanyahu "referred only in general terms to peace efforts with the Palestinians, stopping short of setting a revival of bilateral negotiations as a specific goal of the visit.," writes Haaretz. However, the papers quoted the New York Times as saying that Israel will possibly make gestures towards the Palestinians, such as freezing settlement construction - in exchange for not being brought to trial at the Hague - and transferring more West Bank land to the control of the Palestinian Authority. This is meant to set the stage for the renewal of peace negotiations. The report comes after a previous report that the Palestinian issue will not be discussed and prior to that a report that it would. The papers say Obama does not want to raise expectations on this front.
This afternoon, Netanyahu will meet his former advisor, Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett, for the first time in five years. The two have bad relations after Netanyahu suspected Bennett of leaking information that led to the former being investigated in what is known as the Bibi-tours affair. Netanyahu says he wants Bennett and Yair Lapid in his coalition government. The problem remains that Lapid and Bennett made a pact to either enter the government together or join the opposition together and they are sticking by their guns and rejecting the 'Yaalon Proposal' for an ultra-Orthodox military draft, the papers write. That rejection means they cannot be in the same government with Shas, which Netanyahu also wants to include. Haaretz reported that Likud's new military draft proposal has a maximum quota of exceptional Torah scholars who will be allowed to remain in yeshiva, while all other young ultra-Orthodox men are drafted into IDF.
The tension between Yesh Atid and Shas continues, writes Yedioth - now on Facebook. A day after Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef called Yair Lapid "a scoundrel, who hates the yeshivas," Shas minister Eli Yishai picked a fight with Ruth Calderon, #13 on the Yesh Atid list. Yesterday Kalderon wrote on her Facebook page: "It saddens me that the Arab MKs left the Knesset plenum before the singing of Hatikva [a very Jewish national anthem - OH]. Does anyone know of efforts to correct the words so that they will include all the citizens of the state?" Yishai had a mouthful for her...
A soccer match between Beitar Jerusalem and the Arab Bnei Sakhnin team was loaded with racial tension and hundreds of police, but ended quietly in a 2:2 tie and the expulsion of a few dozen fans. The Israeli sports commentators said it was a defeat for the extremist racist fan group of Beitar, known as La Famiglia. One of the two new Chechen Muslim players on Beitar - whose recent acquisition sparked racist riots among Jewish fans - made his debut at the 79th minute and received applause by fans from both Beitar and the rival Arab team - as well as some boos from La Famiglia. Yedioth reported that the mother of 19-year-old Gabriel Kadiev came from Chechnya to see the game and said she hoped her son enjoyed the team.
Yedioth reporter Ronen Bergman interviewed Free Syria Army rebel leader, Muez al-Khatib, at the security conference in Berlin last week and published it in last Friday's weekend magazine, '7 Days'. Now al-Khatib is being called an 'Israeli agent' by media associated with Hezbollah. And much of the Arab media is intentionally misreporting what the exiled Syrian leader said, writes Bergman and the New York Times.
- Daughter of slain peace activist Grunzweig: Israel imposes terror on its citizens - About 100 Peace Now members gathered in front of the Prime Minister's Office Sunday to mark the 30th anniversary of the murder of Emil Grunzweig, who was killed when a right-wing protester threw a grenade at a peace demonstration. (Haaretz)
- Obama won't be able to eat chametz (wheat and rice products) in the hotel - US President will arrive for a three-day visit five days before Passover, but the King David Hotel will already have done its Passover kashrut cleaning. (Yedioth, p. 3)
- Michelle Obama likely to join trip - Despite US officials saying she won't join her husband, Israeli sources said the Americans left it open to allow her to join at the last minute "if the visit of the President is in a good atmosphere." (NRG Hebrew)
- Palestinians adopts textbook, banned in Israel, offering both sides' narratives - Palestinian Education Ministry's adoption of book marks first time Israeli position is presented to West Bank schoolchildren. (Haaretz)
- Government to pay for stone-proofing private settler cars - Following Maariv article, Treasurey and Defense Ministry to give 1.25 million shekels each for car defense budget. Government-paid stone-proofing began during the first Intifada. In recent years few settlers have requested the service, but more want it now as stone-throwing has increased. (Maariv, p. 3/NRG Hebrew)
- IDF relies heavily on donations for amenities at bases - and is seeking more - Israel's Defense Ministry has invited architects to design prototypes of 'welfare facilities' for army bases, which will appear in a catalog to attract money from donors. (Haaretz)
- IDF launches provocative campaign against sexual harassment - Some 500 soldiers complained of sexual harassment in 2012; provocative film to be released on social networks leads army's campaign against phenomenon. (Ynet)
- Did the Second Lebanon War spark a generation of overprotective Israeli mothers? A new study by researchers at the University of Haifa suggests mothers who lived in Israel's north during the Second Lebanon War worry more and have less independent children. (Haaretz)
- Knesset proceedings to open today for first time with speeches by new MKs - Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid got honor of speaking first. He'll have 10 minutes. (NRG Hebrew)
- Public health leaders to visit Israel - Some 70 professionals working to promote health and save lives around world to spend nine days learning, exchanging ideas in Jerusalem. (Ynet)
- Rabbi David Hartman, the passionate leader of Orthodox renewal - The renowned U.S.-born rabbi established the Shalom Hartman Institute, an international Jewish studies center, to bridge orthodoxy and academia. Thousands owe him their Jewish education. (Haaretz)
- In Jerusalem (the City of Books), a Spaniard is crowned - Antonio Munoz Molino accepts the Jerusalem Prize at the Jerusalem International Book Fair on Sunday, rejecting pressure to culturally boycott Israel in protest of its policies. (Agencies and Haaretz)
- "BNP closed its Israel branch due to pressure from Arab states" - Charles Riceman, former CEO of the French bank in Israel, is suing the bank for 20 million shekels for firing him. Riceman earned 200,000 shekels a month. Bank denies closing from Arab pressure and points to open branch. (Maariv Morning Globes, p. 1)
- Netanyahu aide indicted for showing off racy Eshel photos - Ezra Seidoff, the deputy director for operations and assets in the PM's Office, is facing disciplinary trial for allegedly showing inappropriate photographs he found on a cellphone belonging to former bureau chief, Natan Eshel. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Hamas: Egypt destroying Gaza smuggling tunnels by flooding them - On its website, Hamas quotes both the owner of a tunnel and an Egyptian security official as saying that Egypt is reinforcing its troops on the border with the Gaza Strip, and that it has halted smuggling through most of the tunnels. (Haaretz)
- Argentine president hints Jewish community leader linked to 'foreign espionage agency' - Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was responding to Guillermo Borger, president of the AMIA Buenos Aires Jewish center, who said the Argentina-Iran agreement to set up a committee to investigate the 1994 bombing of the center 'will allow a third bombing in Argentina.' (JTA and Haaretz)
- Report: Iran building militias in Syria in case Assad falls - Experts tell Washington Post Tehran, Hezbollah sending weapons, cash to proxy groups to preserve supply routes to Lebanon. (Ynet)
- Report: Iran to recall Bulgaria ambassador - Sofia news agency says Tehran slated to downgrade relations with Bulgaria after it placed responsibility for Burgas attack on Hezbollah. (Ynet)
When Ben-Gurion defended Stalin
Newly-released documents shed light on the infamous 'Doctors' Plot' in the Soviet Union, and the dilemma faced by the Israeli government. (Tom Segev, Haaretz)
The Shin Bet's dream investigation
Will one judge, Maj. Meir Vigisser, use as precedent the decision of another judge, Col. Ronen Atzmon, who on Dec. 27, 2012 found a man innocent of assisting homicide because the incriminating witness fell asleep during a Shin Bet interrogation? In other words, the judge understood that the Shin Bet investigators engaged in the very common torture method of sleep deprivation, disrupting rather than furthering the pursuit of truth. The accusations against Ayman Nasser are thin: membership in the PFLP and participation in two demonstrations. Nasser, a researcher for Palestinian nongovernmental organization Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, denies that but admits that he took part in an all-Palestinian demonstration in support of hunger-striking prisoners. He was arrested in October. The Shin Bet interrogated him for 39 days, depriving him of sleep, handcuffing his arms behind his back, tying his legs and arms to a chair for 20 hours and causing him physical pain. The eager investigators weren't satisfied with depriving Nasser alone of sleep. They did the same thing to two other detainees, who were called as witnesses for the prosecution in Nasser's trial... Somehow an Israel Defense Forces prosecutor sees the Shin Bet's practice of depriving prisoners of sleep as humane. (Amira Hass, Haaretz)
Booby-trapped diplomacy (Haaretz Editorial) Potential partners in the next coalition cannot say they didn't know that the Netanyahu-Lieberman policy on Israeli-Palestinian peace was one of 'crisis management' at best.
Preaching - and practicing - media freedom in the Middle East (Khaled Diab, Haaretz) Despite its poor record, the Middle East's media - especially in the post-revolutionary states of Egypt and Tunisia - have discovered a new appetite for freedom. They are catching up with the freedom of expression associated with Israel - but at a time when Israel itself is showing more intolerance of dissent.
Only by fear of international sanctions (Yitzhak Laor, Haaretz) The time has come to encourage the international community to fight Israeli intransigence and pressure Israel to give up on the occupied territories and its residents, who lack a voice from the perspective of our democracy.
Obama's correction (Uri Heitner, Israel Hayom) In international politics symbols carry great importance. The president's upcoming visit is a symbol of policy amendment, the result of recognizing his errors.
The Arab teacher every Israeli Jew should have (Avirama Golan, Haaretz) Nimr Murkus, who believed the struggle for human rights could be common ground for true brotherhood between Jews and Arabs, was laid to rest last week.
Lapid's future is now - in the opposition (Aluf Benn, Haaretz) It's impossible to sit four years alongside Netanyahu, to be his full partner in his policies and then tell the public that the prime minister is terrible and he has to go. It's also impossible to join a coalition for a limited amount of time and then leave it and start denouncing it.
End the shenanigans and form a government (Isi Leibler, Israel Hayom) With existential issues confronting Israel on all sides and domestically, Israel needs a strong, united government.
It's okay if you voted Lapid (Yehuda Ben Meir, Haaretz) Despite what you may have heard, the shift toward more centrist and personal politics in the recent election is good news for Israel.
A textbook debate riddled with tired cliches (Daniella Peled, Haaretz) Israel's kneejerk and formulaic reaction to the Israeli and Palestinian school textbooks study is a poor and unconvincing substitute for real soul-searching about the lack of progress towards a peace agreement.
The IDF faces an unusual scenario: having its budget slashed (Amos Harel, Haaretz) A cut in the defense budget will force Israel's military to prioritize and Prime Minister Netanyahu to keep his fingers crossed.
Obama's ultimate travel guide for his Israel visit: An Oscar nominee (Bradley Burston, Haaretz) Mr. President, see 'The Gatekeepers' on the biggest screen you've got. These men explain Israel. Let them rip your skin off for 95 minutes. It'll grow back.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.