APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday February 13, 2013
Quote of the day:
"There's no place in our small and stunning piece of God's country for another state. It won't happen."
--Chairman of Habayit Hayehudi Naftali Bennett, and political ally of Yesh Atid party, declares his view on the two-state solution.**
Front Page News:
- MKs: "Examine the affair of the suicide of the foreign citizen in Israeli jail"
- Confidential democracy // Aluf Benn
- Judges in the security service // Ido Baum
- State of Israel vs. Google // Yuval Dror
- After they turned into a symbol of the waste of the outgoing government, the new ministries will be dissolved
- First nuclear test by Kim bring his country closer to a bomb
- (Chief Justice) Grunis: There are judges who need to be made to retire
- Tel-Aviv University to the business administration students: Your degree is irrelevant and unwanted
- Wanted: women in modest dress for the service of the philatelist
- "Did an Australian citizen whose arrest no one knew about commit suicide in Israeli prison?" - MKs asked for explanations from the Justice Minister
- Guy beat the train - Limitations for handicapped removed following story in Yedioth
- Together from age 5 - Tomorrow Shachaf and Hadar marry after being friends since kindergarten
- "The stage will have to wait" - Actress Gila Almagor speaks about hospitalization
- West believes: Iran is partner to nuclear test in N. Korea
- Ahmedinejad's lesson // Amir Rappaport
- Exceptional discussion on mysterious affair in Knesset
- Coalition forming - Senior Yesh Atid people: "Netanyahu is trying to divide the Labor party and draft 5 MKs" (Hebrew)
- Nuclear bomb for all that ask - N. Korea: "This is only the beginning"
- Three MKs took advantage of the live broadcast: "Australian with a different identity committed suicide in jail"
- Beitar Club arson: 3 suspects arrested
- After 9 years: Court ruling in Remedia affair
- Alert in Jerusalem raise for a few hours following security warning
- Shachaf and Hadar met in kindergarten and are getting married tomorrow on Valentine's Day
- Prices of milk products with government subsidies to rise 3.5%
The suicide of an Australian citizen secretly held in an Israeli jail and the nuclear test by North Korea were top stories in today's Israeli newspapers. Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett declared there was no place for a Palestinian state in the Land of Israel and more on the behind-the-scenes of the coalition making efforts.
A gag order prevented the Israeli media from discussing the secret affair in today's papers, despite its exposure yesterday on ABC Australia TV. In fact, the Prime Minster's Office called an emergency meeting of the Israeli Committee of Editors to prevent the publishing of the highly sensitive and embarrassing information, Haaretz reported. Articles posted to the web early Tuesday were removed. But at the Knesset yesterday, three MKs raised the issue of the secret imprisonment and death of 'Prisoner X' - an Australian-Israeli in an Israeli jail. Those questions gave the newspapers the ability to write about it, but without revealing details that were already exposed in the TV investigative report. The right-wing papers made the news story secondary to the report on N. Korea's nuclear test, while Haaretz and Yedioth made it the top story. Maariv wrote a short front-page story asking no questions. Israel Hayom took things further, suggesting the three MKs were at fault for raising the issue: "It's impossible to take action against them because the law determines they have full immunity on everything they say during a Knesset session." The three were MK Ahmed Tibi (Raam-Ta'al), MK Zehava Gal-On (Meretz) and MK Nahman Shai (Labor). The three asked the Justice Minister for details on the issue after he gave his departing speech. He said if the claims were true the issue needed to be examined.
This morning, the gag order was lifted and the papers ran the story online that Australian native Ben Zygier was secretly imprisoned in early 2010 in a top security isolated cell until his death in December of that year. According to the ABC Australia report, he was a Mossad agent. His death raises many questions as the cameras in his cell were meant to prevent such an act. Haaretz went into the most depth on the issue. It writes that the suicide of Ben Zygier - who in 2010 was only known as Prisoner X - led the attorney general to calling gag orders into question. Australia said it will inquire into its own actions in the Prisoner X affair. Israel had advised the Australian embassy that one of its citizens was being detained, but the information was never passed on, Australia admitted. Haaretz had a report from Australia that the Jewish community there felt shock and grief, but few were willing to speak about it. Haaretz's Anshel Pfeffer discussed whether the Mossad was still illegally using the passports of Jewish immigrants to Israel.
**Yesterday, Chairman of Habayit Hayehudi Naftali Bennett made clear his views on a two-state solution in his first Knesset speech: "There's no place in our small and stunning piece of God's country for another state. It won't happen. But friends, before any debate about territory, it must be said: The Land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel. Now let's argue." Interestingly, only Haaretz focused on this statement of his. [With this perspective it must be asked how he and Yair Lapid, who insists on negotiating for a two-state solution, insist on an alliance between their parties. - OH] All the other papers focused on his call to the ultra-Orthodox to serve in the IDF. "My ultra-Orthodox brothers, army service is also a mitzvah (good deed)," he said. The number 4 on the Likud-Beiteinu list, MK Yair Shamir (son of the late prime minister), had similar views to Bennett. Responding to Netanyahu's statement that he is committed to his Bar-Ilan speech, where he agreed to a two-state solution, Shamir said, "My views are different from Netanyahu's. I don't believe in two states for two peoples. It is impossible and not implementable," Yedioth reported.
Israel Hayom and Maariv reported that Netanyahu's offer to Bennett to be the first party to enter the coalition included receiving the Education Ministry and another senior economic portfolio, but that the deal is only available for 48 hours. Habayit Hayehudi claimed that the offer was just a spin meant to break up the alliance between their party and Yesh Atid. Maariv reported that senior Yesh Atid and Habayit Yehudi people say that Netanyahu is also trying to divide the Labor Party by offering five of its MKs to join the coalition. The offer was "dreamy," sources told Maariv. "It included security, infrastructure and welfare portfolios." The sources also said: "You need to take note that Netanyahu is recently making many moderate diplomatic statements with the goal of drawing these people from the Labor party."
Meanwhile, Avigdor Lieberman, who resigned from the Foreign Ministry after being indicted on fraud and breach of trust, has been appointed the chairman of the Knesset's prestigious and powerful Foreign and Defense Committee.
- Israel Border Guard officers recorded chanting 'Muhammad is dead' in Jerusalem - Officers stationed in capital's HaHatulot Square (near Zion Square) to prevent attacks against minorities, are recorded chanting racist epithets against Islam's prophet. After investigation officers caught and sentenced to 35 days jail time. (yesterday's Yedioth and Ynet VIDEO)
- Rise in rate of increase of settler population in 2012 - According to a reporty by the Yesha Settler Council, the population of Jews living in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley increased 4.8% in 2012. (NRG Hebrew)
- EU to use legal loophole to ban settlement goods - Germany's Der Spiegel says European Union to take effort to ban products made in West Bank, Golan Heights further by using import laws' loophole. (Ynet)
- Israeli education body reverses decision to close Ben Gurion University's ('leftist') politics department - Negev university successfully appeals against Higher Education Council's controversial ruling, putting an end to an affair that caused widespread controversy among academics. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Fear for the fate of rare finds from the Second Temple - A Palestinian neighborhood on the Herod's palace and at the Hasmoneans in Jericho - While at the Israel Museum they celebrate an enormous exhibition of King Herod, one of the most important archaeological sites of his era suffers from neglect and is crumbling. Archaeologists and educators accuse the Civil Administration: "Because of neglect and lack of supervision, homes and greenhouses were built on parts of the site." (Maariv, p. 18)
- Poll: 71.5% of young Israeli Arabs oppose national service - Asked whether they considered Israel a democratic country, 36.5 percent say no and 26 percent say yes; the rest describe Israel as partly democratic. (Haaretz)
- Skateboarding to the territory: Trend of skateboarders in Samaria (West Bank) - Every weekend, after receiving a security lecture and while Palestinians and Jews watch them with amazement from the side, a group of skateboarders skate down the hills and turns between the settlements. (Maariv, p. 13)
- Report: Israel abandoning diplomacy - Foreign Ministry union says number of Israeli emissaries in world has been declining gradually, ministry budget is on par with that of Iran. (Ynet)
- Polish-British sociologist Zygmunt Bauman rejects call to cancel lectures in Israel - Palestinian group bases its argument on Bauman's criticism of the occupation, but the professor says he's against boycotts. (Haaretz)
- US condemns Israel's decision to build in settlement near Jerusalem - Israel's decision to build housing in Beit El, mostly to house educational staff, could widen a rift with Washington ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's visit. Palestinian Authority: No negotiations if settlements continue. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
- For the first time: IDF established a cyber war room - The IDF is one of the first armies to do this. (Israel Hayom, p. 11/Ynet)
- Expect fewer ministers with funny titles in next Israeli government - Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid is demanding no more than 18 ministers in next Israeli government, unlike the 31 of Netanyahu's second government, which was stable, but expensive. (Haaretz)
- Alert level raised in Jerusalem amid terror warning - Police, firefighters, Magen David Adom emergency crews instructed to raise level of alertness amid general warning of possible terror attack. (Yedioth/Ynet)
- For first time in IDF: Special war room against cyber attacks - Goal of cyber war room is to identify computer attacks on military systems, find their location and react accordingly to defend the sites. (Maariv, p. 19)
- Israeli court approves highway bisecting Arab neighborhood in Jerusalem - Judge rejects residents' petition against road planned 23 years ago that will split Beit Safafa; in Jewish areas of the city, the road runs adjacent to the neighborhoods rather than through them. (Haaretz)
- Beitar arson: 3 suspects from 'La Familia' arrested - Police arrested the three yesterday. Also yesterday, heads of 'La Familia,' (the extremist group of Beitar fans) said they will stop operating and members would not go to Beitar games anymore. The police don't believe them. (Yedioth, p. 22)
- War movie - Director Udi Aloni, son of former Meretz education minister Shulamit Aloni, presented his new film on Juliano Mer at the Berlin festival and attacked: "The apartheid exists not only in the occupied territories, but in all of Israel." (Yedioth, p. 22)
- Obama: U.S. will stand by Israel in pursuit of security and long lasting peace - In State of the Union address, U.S. President Barack Obama says will prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapon, will withdraw 34,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan and close war there by end of 2014; condemns North Korea's nuclear test 'provocations.' (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Obama calls North Korean nuclear test 'highly provocative' - "North Korea's threatening activities warrant further swift and credible action by the international community," says U.S. president after North Korea detonates miniaturized nuclear device. Iran's response: No country should have any nuclear weapons. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
- Iran keeps door open to military site inspections - The U.N. nuclear watchdog wants to visit the Parchin military site near Tehran, where Iran is suspected of testing components for developing a nuclear weapon. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
Israel's censorship laws shine a spotlight instead of hushing up the blunder (Aluf Benn, Haaretz) Government censorship in modern times - be it in Israel, Syria or Iran - becomes a pathetic attempt to turn back the clock to a time before WikiLeaks, Facebook and Twitter, and before bloggers who don't give two hoots about the censor..
Confronting Iran, pardoning Pollard (Yaakov Ahimeir, Israel Hayom) Former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee outlines the criteria for a successful Obama visit.
US vs. Iran - Negotiations on negotiations (Eitan Gilboa, Yedioth) Gilboa writes that US Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense-designate Chuck Hagel, "are both Vietnam veterans who, in principle, oppose almost every use of force," and contends that, "Iran's rulers have interpreted the appointments of Kerry and Hagel, as well as Biden's invitation to negotiations, as a sign of weakness that they will exploit in full in order to move forward on their nuclear weapons program and set tough conditions for the resumption of talks." Gilboa suggests that US President Obama's hope that Iran would eventually enter into substantive negotiations as a result of increasingly heavier sanctions will prove futile and asserts, "On his upcoming visit to Israel, Obama will need to clarify what he intends to do if the sanctions and the diplomacy do not bear fruit."
The gatekeeper reaches the gate (Uri Misgav, Haaretz) Yuval Diskin currently operates in a dimension that is completely absent from Israeli politics and statesmanship, the philosophical dimension. A philosopher is an odd animal in the public sphere, who asks Why? and How? and Is it okay? and Could it be seen differently?
Might makes right (Dror Zarsky, Maariv) Zarsky refers to the Palestinians' ongoing effort to establish settlement outposts in Judea and Samaria. "Like in India, the Palestinians' nonviolent struggle is useless...The organizations will continue to establish settlement outposts like mushrooms after a rain, but they know that only violence brings results...If we do not understand that we have no choice but to compromise with the Palestinians - and this means talking to Abu Mazen - not only is Barack Obama coming to visit, but we will very quickly find ourselves at the threshold of an additional round of violence..."
Demography scare strengthens occupation (Dmitry Shumsky, Haaretz) If before the Holocaust the moral basis of Zionist nationalism was that the Jews, like other nations, had the right of self-determination, since the Holocaust the Zionist ethos claims that the Jews, like other nations, are entitled to steal this right from other peoples.
The Sara Netanyahu affair (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) Nobody disagrees with the prime minister's right to consult his wife. But it isn't customary for a political victory to depend on her authorization.
Prepackaged protest and righteous indignation (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz) Why did Sara Netanyahu's dress attract such attention? It's because she exposed not only her body but also her disturbing lack of self-awareness. That is why the public discourse was necessary.
In Israel and abroad, attempts to gag the digital world are doomed (Yuval Dror, Haaretz) There is no way to stop the flood of information exploding across social networks; a state agency that seeks a gag order is on its way to a humiliating defeat.
Will Lapid be in the coalition? (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Netanyahu faces a tough choice between Yesh Atid (and perhaps Habayit Hayehudi) and Shas.
Israel needs Labor in the government (Shlomo Avineri, Haaretz) The new reality forced Netanyahu to put negotiating with the Palestinians high on his agenda. Who in the next government will make sure those aren't merely empty words?
Habayit Hayehudi is fuming (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) While Bennett is deliberating whether to cancel the agreement he forced on Lapid and join the coalition without him, Habayit Hayehudi MKs are quietly battling for ministerial positions and considering ousting Bennett.
Build two-state bridges, not walls (Ibrahim Shomali, Haaretz) The Tel Aviv appellate court decides today whether my community will be split by a wall. Instead of building bridges towards a vision of two states, Israel's wall-building, on Palestinian land, is exactly the kind of violation of rights, with international impunity, that fuels violence on both sides.
Behind closed doors? The information is already on the web (Ido Baum, Haaretz) Israel's courts have a structural bias against the public's right to know and in favor of security considerations; Even worse, they aren't aware of this bias and its grave implications.
Rabbi David Hartman's Torah of pluralism (Rabbi Rick Jacobs, Haaretz) His brand of Judaism was fearless, always evolving, brutally honest, defying all labels and yet profoundly authentic. He was the reason I decided to become a Reform rabbi, and our Reform Jewish world would have been very different without him.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.