APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday February 12, 2013
Quote of the day:
"There will be no civil war. Ten percent of the population cannot threaten the remaining 90% with a civil war."
--Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid speaks against the status quo between the secular public and the ultra-Orthodox in his first Knesset speech.**
Front Page News:
- Pope Benedict resigns: "I cannot fulfill my position as need be"
- Ahead of presidential visit, Netanyahu in a message to Obama: Committed to two states
- Reducing the chances for an attack soon on Iran // Amos Harel
- The state makes it difficult for handicapped people to study for an advanced degree
- Political prisoner has right to rehabilitation only if he is Jewish
- Curiosity in N. Korea threatens the regime
- The outposts' pirate airstrip at Givat Itamar
- Dances from the vagina: Eve Ensler fights against violence against women
- Pope shocked the Christian world and resigned "I am not capable"
- 1000 Israelis get to meet Obama
- Yellow smoke - Maccabi Tel-Aviv devastated Hapoal Tel-Aviv 4:0
- The train ignores handicapped: Give 12 hours notice before you come
- "I am ashamed" - The Olympic marathon runner, Aylaa Satain, works as a hotel room cleaner
- Pope resigns: "I am tired and no longer capable of running the church"
- The conservative who was defeated // Nadav Eyal
- Train line to Eilat approved, expected to damage craters in south and in Maaleh Akravim
- Netanyahu's plan: Draft half of the yeshiva students within five years, or the yeshivas' budgets will be hurt (Hebrew)
- This is how Teheran avoids sanctions: Payment in gold instead of in dollars (London Times article)
- Leaving the chair - Shock in Christian world following surprise resignation of Pope
- Netanyahu to offer Bennett: Be first to enter the coalition
- Herodion, as you never saw it
- Netanyahu: Iran has yet to cross the red line I drew, but it's getting close
The surprise resignation of the Pope, the Knesset speech by Yair Lapid and the latest declarations and plans of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu were top stories in today's Israeli papers. Meanwhile, coalition negotiations continue with details of the latest plan to draft the ultra-Orthodox.
**Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid was the first to speak at the Knesset yesterday and focused on the lack of brave leadership and the division in society between the secular public and the ultra-Orthodox and he warned against a civil war. He also urged the new government to restart negotiations with the Palestinians and slammed the inaction of the state in response to 'price-tag' attacks in the West Bank. "This is not a democracy," he said, "it is anarchy." His speech was followed by that of MK Menachem Eliezer Moses (United Torah Judaism - Yehadut Hatorah), who also addressed the issue of ultra-Orthodox draft. "Do you truly believe one can force 100,000 yeshiva students to enlist? How would we have enough space in prison for them if we don't have enough space for young couples? It would cost the state much more if they are jailed," he said addressing Lapid.
Coalition talks are still underway and Netanyahu coalition negotiators met with Yesh Atid people again and presented Likud-Beiteinu's new plan to draft the ultra-Orthodox: draft half the yeshiva students between the ages of 18-24 within five years or the yeshivas will lose government budget money. The plan does not limit the number of yeshiva students who can continue to study. Yesh Atid said it was not even an improvement on the Yaalon Proposal. (NRG Hebrew) A Likud source told Haaretz: "The formula for sharing the burden is secondary. The main problem is that Yesh Atid doesn't want to sit in a coalition with the Haredi parties. If Yesh Atid decides that it will join a government with the Haredim, it is possible to also pave the way on the matter of the law for sharing the burden."
In the latest coalition forming news, Yesh Atid said it was willing to give up a fight for the Foreign Ministry in exchange for the Finance Ministry, Maariv reported. Netanyahu and Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett held a 'businesslike' meeting yesterday and Israel Hayom wrote that Netanyahu is offering Bennett to be 'first' to join the coalition government. Labor chief Shelly Yachimovich reiterated that her party would not be entering the coalition, despite rumors otherwise. And, Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu revealed it may not remain in a joint faction with Likud - and for that reason it is not willing to give up its offices, causing a chain reaction problem among the other parties in the Knesset, Haaretz reported.
Meanwhile, speaking at the Conference of Jewish Presidents, Netanyahu told Jewish leaders that he is committed to the two-state solution. However, it must be on condition that the Palestinian state recognize Israel as a Jewish state and that the Palestinian Authority drop its preconditions.
- Israel is unlikely to attack Iran before summer, senior officials say - Iran will obviously be high on the agenda when U.S. President Barack Obama visits Israel next month, but the prevailing assessment here is that the discussion is already closed. (Haaretz)
- Obama's Israel visit itinerary released - US president to arrive in Israel March 20, ahead of stops in PA, Jordan; set to make public speech in Jerusalem, visit Iron Dome battery. (Yedioth, p. 1/Ynet)
- Israel gives final approval for 90 new West Bank homes, just ahead of Obama visit - Government publishes final approval of deal that was cut in June to construct new housing units in Beit El in exchange for a quiet evacuation of the nearby Ulpana outpost. (Haaretz)
- West Bank settlement outpost's newest attraction: an airstrip - So far at least, the dubious legality of the makeshift runway at Alumot outpost near the settlement of Itamar doesn't seem to be bothering residents or law enforcement authorities. (Haaretz)
- Israeli forces demolish home, water well near Hebron - Israeli bulldozers arrived in Beit Awwa village and destroyed a residential property, shed and water well in the area, witnesses told Ma'an. Eight members of Rasim Mustafa Sweiti's family were made homeless by the demolition. (Maan)
- Witnesses: Settlers vandalize Hebron community center - The assailants uprooted trees and flowers from the backyard of the Challenge and Steadfastness Center, which is run by a local group known as Youth Against Settlements. On Saturday, another group led by far-right wing Jewish activist Baruch Marzel came to the center. (Maan)
- Eight years of friendship: The pope who improved Vatican-Israel relations - Pope Benedict XVI will resign at the end of the month, becoming the first chief pontiff since the 15th century to do so; During his eight-year tenure, relations between Israel and the Vatican warmed significantly despite some controversies. (Haaretz)
- Medics: Hebron child injured by settler car - Baha Jamil Arafat al-Fakhouri, 8, was run over near the Ibrahimi mosque (Cave of the Patriarchs) in Hebron's Old City and lightly injured. (Maan)
- Netanyahu hints Israel will prevent Syria transferring arms to Hezbollah - Speaking in Jerusalem to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Prime Minister also reiterates support for two-state solution. (Haaretz)
- Barak makes surprise visit to U.S., days before top Netanyahu aides' own trip - The purpose of the trip is still not clear, but the outgoing defense minister is to meet with senior intelligence and Pentagon officials; this is Barak's fourth trip abroad in the last month alone. (Haaretz)
- Freed Palestinian detainee 'saw death' during hunger strike - Akram Rekhawi was released Thursday after a 100-day hunger strike. Rekhawi said Israeli prison doctors deliberately withheld treatment. "Yes, they're offering us medical treatment, but only after they make sure the disease has spread all through our bodies and that there is no hope in treating us." (Maan)
- Israel Prison Service begins rehabilitating security prisoners - but only Jews - The Prison Service decision to rehabilitate members of the Bat Ayin underground marks a shift in policy, but one that applies only to Jewish security prisoners. (Haaretz)
- Voter registration opens in Gaza - Electoral registration centers opened in the Gaza Strip on Monday, the first step towards holding long-overdue Palestinian national elections. (Maan)
- MK Tibi joins protest against East Jerusalem highway - Protestors in Beit Safafa formed a human chain and set up tents to protest the construction of Road 4, which would confiscate part of the neighborhood's land and divide the area in two. (Maan)
- Oscar-nominated documentary on Palestinians proves controversial - MK Danny Danon, a hard-line member of Likud-Beytenu, says state funding of movies that are critical of Israel underscores Israel's democracy. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
- Israel to grant Turkey access to Gaza for construction of hospital - Turkey reportedly sees permit as hint of Israel's willingness to patch up countries' bruised relations since Mavi Marmara incident; hospital set to be largest in Palestinian territories. (Haaretz and Maan)
- Egyptian court sentences two Israelis to prison - Court overturns decision to deport former IDF soldier Andrey Pshenichnikov to Israel; another Israeli, Ahmad Daif from Umm al-Fahm, sentenced to two years in prison. (Haaretz and Ynet)
In Israel, hatred begins at home. Every home. So does hope. (Bradley Burston, Haaretz) It was only in Israel that I came to see the depth and the colors of the racism in me, the hatreds, the extremism, the crucible of intolerance and anger directed against groups of people I do not know.
Lapid, lit joints and lies (Haaretz Editorial) Why did Yair Lapid deny that he'd smoked marijuana and risk being exposed to the public? Why in 2013 can't an Israeli politician just say he smoked when he was young but that he stopped long ago and opposes it now?
Losing the home (Elyakim Haetzni, Yedioth/Ynet) Seasoned politician such as Netanyahu should have know he'd pay a price for 'two states' speech.
Racist Beitar Jerusalem soccer fans are outnumbered by sane majority (Shlomi Barzel, Haaretz) The wretched La Familia gang, which has given the Beitar Jerusalem team a bad name, never looked so dejected and defeated as at the end of Sunday's soccer match.
Racism is an active volcano (Yaakov Borovsky, Israel Hayom) A police crackdown on racism is akin to treating a terminal illness with Tylenol.
In Israel's political boxing ring (Sefi Rachlevsky, Haaretz) A Lapid-Livni-Mofaz move might still be possible. Israel's government hasn't yet been formed. The coming years haven't yet happened. The knockout blow hasn't yet been delivered.
Land for peace won't stop Iran (Dr. Gabi Avital, Israel Hayom) The chance of real peace between Israel and the Palestinians at this point seems to have gone up in flames.
Israel needs creative leadership (Yehezkel Dror, Haaretz) Israel faces the critical task of getting Obama on board during his visit here next month. Success or failure will depend mainly on Netanyahu.
The clock is ticking (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Rather than trying to convince the other parties of the merits of their own proposals, the parties should meld all the proposals into one.
Pope Benedict XVI, true to his declared commitment to the Jewish people (Rabbi David Rosen, Haaretz) Anyone interested in the Church's relationship with Jews can only hope Benedict XVI's successor will consolidate his work as he did that of John Paul II.
Anything is still possible (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) As the meeting between Netanyahu and Bennett proves, personal issues can't overpower political interests.
Ahmadinejad fell in the garbage (Eli Avidar, Maariv) Ma'ariv reminds its readers that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a Shi'ite, was subjected, by all accounts, to a pointed scolding - over Iran's role in Syria, the treatment of minority Sunnis in Iran and issues dating back to the founding of Islam - at his recent joint press conference at the Sunni Al-Azhar University in Cairo. "This was not the only embarrassment for the Iranian President during his visit to Cairo, which was held pursuant to a meeting of the Islamic Conference, not an invitation from the Egyptian government. Ahmadinejad's visit was met by mass demonstrations and even - how not? - a thrown shoe." Avidar writes that Egypt's current Islamist regime is incensed at ongoing Iranian-sponsored Shi'ite missionary activity in Egypt and concludes: "The public humiliation that Ahmadinejad suffered at the most important Islamic institution in the world revealed how the Sunni-Shi'ite rift is an alive-and-kicking political issue. In the past, Islamic and Arab leaders knew how to cover the burning hatred and deep-seated differences of opinion under a layer sweet rhetoric and talk about unity. Now they cannot even pretend anymore."
European terror law - Wanted: a definition for a common enemy (Yoaz Hendel, Yedioth) Hendel analyzes the differing US and European approaches to Hezbollah in the wake of Bulgaria's finding that Hezbollah was responsible for the 18 July 2012 bombing in Burgas in which five Israelis and one Bulgarian were murdered. "Whoever is looking for the dividing line between the continents regarding the Middle East will find it here - in the definition of terrorism; not in the approach to Israel's policy toward the Palestinians, but in the attitude toward the armed militias in the Arab world. The Europeans look at the Middle East and see an expanse of cultures. The Americans look and see many dangers. The Bulgarian Interior Minister's statement last week about Hezbollah being responsible for the bombing puts the Europeans in a - healthy, from Israel's point-of-view - dilemma, and moments like these cause Foreign Ministry personnel to rub their hands in glee: The Europeans themselves need to decide what to do with the results. Is it possible to accuse Hezbollah of planning and perpetrating terrorism without defining it as a terrorist organization?" The paper concludes: The European trap is an Israeli opportunity."
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.