APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday February 21, 2013
Quote of the day:
"On Army Radio, (radio host) Razi Barkai will examine every jot and tittle of the Ya'alon outline for "equality of the burden" as compared to the Lapid outline, but he will not make any fuss about a few Shin Bet heads who say the government is leading us into the abyss."
--Journalist Yossi Klein remarks on the local silence over the serious issues raised in the Oscar-nominated film, The Gatekeepers.**
Front Page News:
- Nigeria: We prevented an Iranian terror attack against Israeli targets
- Most of the parties that are candidates for the government oppose Netanyahu's proposal for drafting ultra-Orthodox
- Proposal X // Yair Ettinger
- Bennett attacked the addition of Livni and did not rule out sitting in opposition
- Rehab institution for violent men shut down to budget battle
- Fourth casualty in 10 days on Hwy 71 in the north
- Two years to the fast lane: More drivers are giving up their car at the entrance to Tel-Aviv
- Bennett: I won't compromise even if we go back to elections - Netanyahu failed to break up the Bennett-Lapid alliance
- "They yelled to me, 'They're shooting at you, drop to the ground.' But I ran forward" - Female Karkal fighter who killed terrorist and received medal of honor in interview with Yedioth tomorrow
- To see and not believe: Life of Israeli child in monastery
- Habayit Hayehudi: "The alliance with Lapid is steel, we prefer to go to elections than enter the government without him" (Hebrew)
- Treasury plans to cut security budget: Regular service to be shortened, aerial demonstrations and paid holidays to be cancelled (Hebrew)
- Israeli researcher and international team in search of crates of gold buried by the Nazis at the bottom of a lake in Berlin (Hebrew)
- "Unlike us, there is no chance that six CIA or FBI heads would sit and talk with such openness. This is a demonstration of the real strength of a democratic state" - In tomorrow's paper, the heads of Shin Bet speak
- Drilling in search of oil in Golan Heights approved - Fear of international criticism on eve of Obama visit to Israel
- Game of nerves - Time is running out, but the Prime Minister and the Chairman of Habayit Hayehudi are stiffening their stances
- Barcelona and Masi coming to Israel
- Purim Alert: costumes
- "We believe in our decision" - Parents of 12-year-old boy who was sent to Thai monastery do not regret
- Ultimate test shows: IDF officers are good at attack - less in defense
- Lebanese who was arrested in Cyprus revealed Hezbollah activities in Europe
- France: Sharp rise in anti-Semitic incidents in 2012
Coalition forming negotiations stall, Habayit Hayehudi says it won't break its alliance with Yesh Atid even if that means to go back to elections, making the top story in today's Israeli papers. Meanwhile, Israel is concerned about the UN Secretary General's report to be published next week about the Palestinian status upgrade and more revelations on the Ben Zygier Prisoner X affair.
Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett slammed the appointment of Hatnua Chairwoman Tzipi Livni to head future peace talks with the Palestinians. Bennett warned that Livni would divide Jerusalem and said he did not care about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, what interested him were domestic issues. He made clear that he would not break the 'steel' alliance with Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid party. The papers wrote that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has failed to divide the two. Bennett said his party would not compromise even if it meant going to the elections. Likud warned that if Habayit Hayehudi does not enter the coalition new elections may, indeed, have to be called.
Haaretz wrote that Netanyahu's coalition-building is stalling over the 'lenient' plan to draft the ultra-Orthodox. Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi are balking at the suggestion that only 60 percent of ultra-Orthodox men aged 18-24 be drafted and over a period of five years. With Hatnua (6 seats), Kadima (2), Shas (11) and Yehadut Hatorah (7), Likud-Beiteinu only has 57 mandates - four short of a majority and a coalition. Moreover, Kadima's Shaul Mofaz said his party is not a shoe-in. Mofaz does not like the draft plan either.
Livni's party members are also not pleased with the plan - and possibly her decision to join the government. Hatnuah's policy on IDF draft for ultra-Orthodox contradicts the Likud proposal on various fronts, including call for drastic cuts to yeshiva funding even if conscription targets are met, Haaretz writes. Meanwhile, Haim Ramon, a former confidant of Livni, said she was headed for disappointment in her decision to join forces with Likud. Likud officials who disapprove of Netanyahu tasking Livni chairwoman with heading peace talks are now promoting a bill aimed to mandate a public vote on any peace agreement, Ynet reports.
Israel is concerned that the Palestinians will make another upgrade at the UN, Maariv reports. Next week, three months after the Palestinians upgraded their status in the UN to an observer state, the Secretary General Ban Ki Moon will present his report on the implementation of the move. Senior Israeli sources in Jerusalem said they are very concerned that the report will have a political character that supports the Palestinian side and ignores - or worse condemns - the Israeli position. Maariv received a draft of the report in which Ban plans to severely criticize Israel for advancing plans to build in E1 as a response for the Palestinian UN upgrade. Israel is also worried that the report will discuss the Palestinian right to join other UN organizations. The UN upgrade resolution did not make that clear. Also worrying is that the draft rules for the first time that Palestinians can participate in elections or offer candidates for judges for special international criminal courts. Israel does not want the Palestinians to participate in a tribunal that might be established on the subject of building settlements. (NRG Hebrew)
An Israeli NGO, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, pressed for disclosure about the Prisoner X affair, six months before Ben Zygier committed suicide, Haaretz reports. However, the Attorney general refused to lift the gag order, citing 'grave danger to state security.' Meanwhile, Zygier is dead and the order was lifted. Yedioth received information that in contrast to previous reports, the camera in the bathroom that films his head, without showing his private parts, was operating and there were guards sitting at the post to watch the screens of the surveillance cameras. A few minutes after 7PM, Zygier removed his sheet from his bed and entered the bathroom. For some reason, the guards did not notice and only one hour later did they notice Zygier does not show up in the cameras. They pressed the emergency buton and ran to his room to take him down. A medic who arrived tried to resuscitate him, but did not succeed and they declared him dead there. The Israel Prison Service (IPS) acknowledges that the guards 'fell asleep on duty.' Yedioth reported that only 4-5 senior officials in the IPS knew who Zygier was, what was his position and what were the suspicions against him. One IPS source said, "Our (mental health) professionals could not understand his troubles because of the prohibition to be exposed to things he might reveal. We could not treat him." In Australia, the local Zionist Federation slammed media claims that an Israel program serves as a Mossad recruitment service, Haaretz reported.
- Today: Massive demonstration to release Palestinian hunger strikers - The disorderly conduct in the W. Bank in the last week and the enormous demonstrations calling for the release of hunger striking prisoners marks a significant rise in the regularity and the scope of activity, say security sources. (Maariv, p. 4/NRG Hebrew)
- Stop on leaves - Because of fear of kidnapping by Hezbollah, soldiers, officers and civilian IDF employees now prevented from visiting numerous countries including: Thailand, Egypt, Jordan, Indian Kashmir, and Turkey. (Yedioth, p. 8)
- Treasury demands IDF shorten regular service - Treasury plan: Government deficit to be reduced by deep budget cuts to Defense Ministry expenses. Includes, shortening regular service to 28 months (from 36) and cancelling aerial demonstrations. IDF: We are already cutting, more cuts will hurt security. (Maariv, p. 6/NRG Hebrew)
- Palestinians say settlers set cars ablaze - West Bank villagers from Kusra claim settlers from Esh Kodesh outpost entered their community, set six cars on fire and clashed with residents. Outpost: 'They're dreaming.' (Ynet)
- Soldier convicted of rape jailed for 30 months - Military Court finds Armored Corps serviceman guilty of rape, indecent sexual assault and witness tampering. (Ynet)
- Soldier refused sick leave for abortion - Soldier forced to go back to base despite delicate medical condition; IDF says treatment 'followed protocol.' (Ynet)
- The best defense is a strong offense - Testing of IDF officers reveals they are strong in offensive strategy, but lacking in defensive thinking. The Armored Corps records the highest scores in IDF combat doctrine, with an average 86.41%, while Combat Intelligence Collection Corps records the weakest score at 82.22%. (Israel Hayom)
- Trial of Israeli Arabs accused of lynching Jewish terrorist disrupted by demonstration - Eden Natan-Zada was lynched after he opened fire on bus passengers, killing four; protesters heckled court on Thursday, claiming 'victims are on trial'. (Haaretz)
- Controversial drilling: Israel to award licenses to search for oil in Golan Heights - The announcement of the awarding of the licenses to Effi Eitam's Genie Energy will take place a few days before the arrival of Obama to Israel and is likely to cause a harsh international reaction in light of the Golan considered occupied territory according to international law. (Maariv, Morning Globes supplement, Yedioth, p. 26)
- Jerusalem preparing Obama ice sculpture - PR campaign targets hundreds of journalists covering US president's visit in bid to show Israeli capital's 'unknown side.' (Ynet)
- Religious Zionists vie for post of Israel's chief Ashkenazi rabbi - In an effort to break the ultra-Orthodox grip on Israel's Chief Rabbinate, three religious Zionists are angling for the top post. But the community is splintered among various factions, and an upcoming vote for candidacy is escalating tensions. (Haaretz)
- Ultra-Orthodox schools ordered to apply standardized tests - Supreme Court orders Education Ministry to enforce core-studies requirements in ultra-Orthodox schools following IMPJ petition; says ministry must ensure school that rebuff order 'face funding sanctions.' (Ynet)
- Israeli film mogul arrested for tax evasion - Yoram Globus of Globus films allegedly failed to report NIS 26 million to the tax authorities; is released from jail on NIS 1 million bail and may not leave Israel for 180 days. (Haaretz)
- Director of '5 Broken Cameras' held at LAX - Emad Burnat, Palestinian co-director of Oscar-nominated documentary, claims was degraded at Los Angeles Airport by security; Burnat: "It kills me that even outside the occupation my son is second class." Michael Moore rescued him. (Ynet)
- Hagel in 2010: Israel on its way to apartheid - Conservative newspaper Washington Free Beacon reveals another negative statement made by US secretary of defense-designate against Jewish state. (Agencies, Ynet)
- U.S. journalist says he made up Chuck Hagel's 'Friends of Hamas' rumor - Reports that the secretary of defense candidate gave a talk to a Hamas-affiliated organization created a stir in Washington. Journalist claims that he inadvertently started the rumor on Capitol Hill. (Haaretz)
- Hezbollah targets kosher restaurants in Europe - Hossam Taleb Yaacoub, 24, Lebanese with Swedish passport, suspected of attempts to harm Israeli, Jewish targets; denies charges, but admits to being Hezbollah member. (Ynet)
- Syrian rebels to Hezbollah: Stop fighting for Assad or be eliminated from Lebanon
- The Free Syrian Army gives Hezbollah 48-hour deadline to stop shelling 'Syrian lands, villages and civilians from inside the Lebanese territories', according to statement posted on Facebook and carried by various media outlets. (Haaretz)
- Syrian refugees pouring into Jordan in nightly exodus - A total of 275,000 Syrians are either registered refugees in Jordan or awaiting registration, but the government estimates that the real refugee figure 380,000. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Nigeria arrests Iranian terror cell planning attacks on Israeli, U.S. targets - Security forces in Nigeria uncover terror plot to launch attacks against offices of USAID, Israeli container shipping company ZIM, and the Jewish cultural center in the city of Lagos. (Ynet)
- U.S. think tank: Iran nuke unlikely to start Mideast arms race - While some analysts see Saudis, Egypt, and Turkey seeking to build their own bombs, a report by the U.S. non-partisan institute CNAS believes the conventional wisdom is wrong. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Iran: Nuclear talks are an 'opportunity' for West - Foreign Ministry spokesman says Iran would be willing to ease concerns over its nuclear program if West recognizes its right to enrich uranium. (Agencies, Haaretz)
Obama's chance to connect with Israelis and promote peace - despite Netanyahu (Carlo Strenger, Haaretz) The American president should take into account that most Israelis are more open and flexible than their PM to the message that there are ways to move toward compromise with the Palestinians without harming Israel's security.
Livni's chance to repair the damage (Haaretz Editorial) As Israel's justice minister, two tests await Livni: Appointing a new attorney general and replacing two Supreme Court judges.
Maybe another election is preferable (Shalom Yerushalmi, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) ...The alliance between Lapid and Bennett is sealed in blood, it has the strength of steel. Bennet feels he owes his political fate to Lapid. Netanyahu, and in particular his wife Sarah, want a goverment with Lapid and the ultra-Orthodox, but without Bennett. If Lapid wanted, he would be there in the government, but he remained loyal to his new ally...
Yair Lapid's crucial choice (Ari Shavit, Haaretz) If the Yesh Atid leader insists on keeping strange bedfellows with Habayit Hayehudi, a settlement freeze is unlikely - and peace prospects will suffer.
There won't be another opportunity (Mickey Gitzin, Ynet) In open letter, head of 'Be Free Israel' tells Lapid many Israelis are pinning their hopes on him.
A real Mideast peace process should look different (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) Before anyone utters the words 'peace process,' Israel should consider making what used to be known as 'confidence-building measures.' Otherwise, talk of peace is just empty words.
When Naftali Bennett didn't say about the true ruin of yeshivas (Israel Harel, Haaretz) Even after decades in which religious Zionists combined work and Torah studies, many of their leaders still feel inferior to Ashkenazi Haredim.
Historical missed opportunity (Yael Paz-Melamed, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) "In his great distress over the alliance between [Yesh Atid leader Yair] Lapid and [Jewish Home leader Naftali] Bennett, and in desire to establish a government with the ultra-Orthodox, the Prime Minister was ready to give Livni whatever she wanted," and speculates that in such a government, without Yesh Atid and Jewish Home, nothing would change vis-à-vis a more equitable sharing of the burden, easing the plight of the middle class, the number of ministers, etc. Paz-Melamed doubts that the Prime Minister will honor his agreement with Livni, dismisses the possibility of substantial progress toward a peace agreement with the Palestinians and wonders, "How could such an intelligent woman like Tzipi Livni buy Netanyahu's promises and be prepared to toss him the lifeline he so desperately needs?" Paz-Melamed suggests that while Likud-Beytenu would lose seats in any new election, the Movement Party would disappear altogether.
When a Palestinian home isn't really a home (Tamar Feldman, Haaretz) Israel's Defense Ministry claims that eight West Bank villages, populated by over 1,000 Palestinian residents and continually inhabited since well before 1967, don't actually constitute 'home' - and has served them with eviction orders.
**'The Gatekeepers' should be nominated for best horror film (Yossi Klein, Haaretz) In 'The Gatekeepers' I am an extra but, heck, it is about my life.
Tell Obama about our right to the land (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) he upcoming presidential visit, like those before it, will focus exclusively on security issues, and won't touch on our historical rights to places like Hebron.
Why Israel shouldn't consider a 'security zone' in Syria (Ehud Eiran, Haaretz) Israel's misadventures in Lebanon are casting long shadows over its options in responding to threatening developments in Syria.
Guilty until proven innocent (Amira Hass, Haaretz) Ayman Sharawna, one of the prisoners released in the swap to free Gilad Shalit, will have a petition debated today in the High Court of Justice. At the core of the debate is the character of Israeli military law.
Israel's next next prime minister (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz) With these elections barely over, Israel's leading politicians are already scrapping for position in the next round - which of them could end up at the very top of the heap?
Livni's back, for better or worse (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Hatnuah joining the government may be awkward, but it is a relief to know Livni will serve as justice minister.
Sharing the burden in Israel means more than IDF service (Meirav Arlosoroff, Haaretz) The most critical aspect of equality in Israel is in the economic sphere, starting with municipal taxes.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.