APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday February 28, 2013
Quote of the day:
"The prosecution does not have one shred of evidence that could - even at the most basic theoretical level - point to the accused as guilty of participating in an illegal assembly...The phenomenon of indictments against demonstrators is repeated again and again, while the factual claims are refuted by footage from the police or other sources."
-- Judge Druyan strongly criticizes the Israel Police for trumped up charges against four young Arab Israeli citizens. **
Front Page News:
- "Netanyahu will have to give up on having ultra-Orthodox in the next government"
- (Israeli minister) Litzman appointing team to probe Ethiopian birth control shot controversy
- Benedictus the 16th's last sermon
- 4 judges to leave for advanced study against rules, without appointments of replacements
- Attorney General Weinstein prevented interrogation of judge who beat his children
- (Culture Minister) Livnat to filmmakers: Censor yourselves
- The path to identifying gentrification passes through the organic laundry
- Banana method: How a food corporation silenced a critical film
- Shas: Netanyahu gave up on us
- Victory of the alliance // Sima Kadmon
- What happens when a judge is an abusive father - 3 years passed since it was revealed man beating his children and Attorney General still has not done anything
- Queen Titi - Yatayash (Titi) Ayano is 2013 Miss Israel
- Senior Likud officials: Coalition agreement with Lapid and Bennett - next week (Hebrew)
- Fear in Washington: Demonstrations in support of Pollard during Obama's visit (Hebrew)
- Moral obligation // Nir Barakat
- Oxford University voted overwhelmingly: No to boycotting Israel (Hebrew)
- Minister Saar breaks silence in letter affair: "These were days that were not easy for me, for those dear to me, and for others who were hurt. It's an indescribable pain" (Hebrew)
- Nasrallah denied he has cancer: "Everything reported is false and baseless. Thank you to all those who called to wish me good health" (Hebrew)
- Wife of, grandmother of: This is how the biblical women are commemorated on street signs in Jerusalem
- Going for an extension: Coalition talks to go into overtime
- Minister Saar on fake letter: "Indescribable pain"
- Teheran is smiling: West is softening - World powers lowered their demands and Iranians celebrating
- "I am alive, thank you" - Nasrallah makes live TV appearance
- End to a saga? Compromise on Ofra Haza case
- On the suspicions against the judge: The Attorney General's word laundering // Dan Margalit
- Health Ministry to state hospitals: End to the "personal midwife"
- Committee for Pollard: Not taking seriously report that Obama won't consider his release
- Because of the horsemeat: Ikea stopping sale of hotdogs at its branches abroad (but not in Israel - it's kosher, so it's ok)
Predictions of a coalition government without the ultra-Orthodox, revelations that the Attorney General prevented a judge who beat his children and ruled on family violence from being investigated, and a rejection by Oxford University students of a boycott of Israel were top stories in today's Israeli papers. Meanwhile, Yedioth reported on an Israeli diplomat forced off the campus from a speaking engagement at a British university and the Israel Police dismissed a policeman who called the Arab woman who was attacked Tuesday by Jewish youth a 'whore.'
The big coalition news is that it appears that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will form a coalition government initially with Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi, led by Naftali Bennett, and leave out the ultra-Orthodox parties (Haaretz+). On Saturday Netanyahu will ask President Shimon Peres for an extension of 14 days to form a coalition government. While Netanyahu would have preferred a government with the ultra-Orthodox parties, the Lapid-Bennett alliance has made that impossible, the papers report. Sources told the papers that the ultra-Orthodox parties would be brought in at a second stage - after voting on a military draft of the ultra-Orthodox and a state budget. The Shas party said if it does not enter the coalition from the beginning, it will not enter at all. Shas leader Arieh Der'i told associates that the party will fight for the weak with the Labor party from the opposition. The coalition government with Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi is expected to be formed next week.
At Oxford University student organizations voted overwhelmingly against a boycott of Israel, but elsewhere in the UK, students expressed much antipathy to Israel. Dozens of British students prevented Deputy Ambassador of Israel Alon Snir to get a word out at a lecture at the University of Essex. They yelled that Israel was a "criminal apartheid state," Yedioth reported. Other students called for them to stop, including some from a pro-Palestinian movement. The yelling continued and Snir was forced to leave the campus. On the same day in N. Ireland, a lecture to students at Queens University by Ambassador Daniel Taub was cancelled following threats of rioting by students. Instead Taub spoke before a small audience of lecturers.
A day after the newspapers ran reports with photos of young religious Jewish women attacking an Arab woman dressed in a hijab at a Jerusalem light rail station, a policeman was fired for writing a racist slur about it on his Facebook page, all the papers except Haaretz reported. The attack got extensive coverage in yesterday's papers, even the right-wing ones - probably due to the photos taken by a young woman who was waiting at the station on the opposite side of the street. [Interestingly, Yedioth referred to her as a radical left-wing activist, while the other papers either noted she was a left-wing activist or didn't say anything about her political affiliations. - OH] Arab MK Ahmed Tibi posted the Maariv article (the most extensively reported of them all with three photos) on his Facebook page, to which he received a response by one Ariel Shapiro, who wrote: "Excellent, pity the Arab whore didn't die." It turns out that Ariel Shapiro is a soldier serving in the police. Tibi made a complaint with the Police Commissioner who had Shapiro dismissed and returned to the army. (NRG Hebrew) More here from Israel Hayom.
- **Judge acquits Arab protesters, slams Israel Police for trumped-up charges - Judge acquits four young Arabs who participated in a demonstration against Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, ruling 'the prosecution does not have one shred of evidence that could lead to a conviction.' (Haaretz+)
- 3 youth arrested on suspicion of planning 'price-tag' attacks - Police raided Geulat Tzion outpost, near Shilo, Tuesday night, and arrested an 18-year-old and two minors following information that they planned to make a 'price-tag' attack. The right-wing Honenu organization is representing them in court. (Israel Hayom, p. 11
- Two Beitar Jerusalem fans indicted for setting fire to soccer club's offices - La Familia members threw Molotov cocktails at soccer club's offices in preplanned arson attack, indictment says. (Haaretz+)
- Palestinian hunger striker hospitalized - Administrative detainee Samer Issawi admitted to hospital after taking turn for the worse. Two other prisoners end hunger strike. (Ynet)
- Israel will release results of Palestinian prisoner's autopsy - Four inmates on hunger strike hospitalized but none in mortal danger, says Public Security Minister. (Haaretz+)
- Leftists show solidarity with Palestinian prisoners - Some 100 left-wing activists protest outside Tel Aviv University against administrative detentions, waive signs reading 'martial law is not law'. Right wing activists say 'these are terrorists with blood on their hands.' (Ynet)
- IDF gears for escalation in West Bank - GOC Central Command releases video showing training given to soldiers ahead of escalation in West Bank. Military underscores restraint; needs to reduce casualties. (Ynet)
- IDF: 26 attempted abductions foiled in 2012 - Military notes disconcerting rise in terror groups' attempt to kidnap Israeli soldiers; expects increase will continue. (Ynet)
- Less immigration/aliyah: Drop in number of immigrants to Israel - Since founding of state, 3.2 million people have immigrated. The annual average in the last decade stood at 18,000, compared to 84,000 in the previous decade. Drop of 2% in 2012. (Maariv/NRG Hebrew and Israel Hayom)
- Israel's Knesset cafeterias to offer vegan, vegetarian alternatives - Move toward 'sustainable food' comes in response to a request from Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg. (Haaretz+)
- PLO: Boycott Jerusalem marathon - Palestinians call on participants, sponsors to withdraw their support from race winding through city's eastern sector this Friday. (Ynet)
- Unexploded Syrian tank shell lands in Golan Heights - Two Golan Heights residents saw shots fired toward Israel from Syria and heard a hissing sound accompanying the shots; no explosion reported. (Haaretz+ + Ynet)
- Iron Dome battery tested in Modi'in area, between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem - Gaza militants fired two rockets at the Jerusalem area during Operation Pillar of Defense in November; IDF expects Hamas to target Jerusalem more often after being 'equipped with more precise rockets thanks to Iran.' (Haaretz+)
- Israel only country in West to reduce debt - Government's debt-to-GDP ratio expected to total 73.5% in 2012 compared to 74.1% in 2011. Israel also only country in West whose credit rating has increased since 2008. (Yedioth/Ynet)
- First woman of Ethiopian origin becomes 'Miss Israel' - Yityish Aynaw, 21, hopes that winning Israeli beauty queen pageant will pave the way for a career in modeling. (Haaretz+)
- After dissing Oscar nominees, Israel's culture minister urges filmmakers to 'self-censor' - In response, four professional organizations for Israeli filmmakers − representing producers, directors, screenwriters and documentarians − send Livnat a letter of protest. (Haaretz+)
- Livnat urges Netanyahu to nix primaries - Political arena rattled by voter fraud scandal in Habayit Hayehudi; culture and sports minister urges PM to change Likud's voting system. (Ynet)
- Chuck Hagel sworn in as US defense secretary - After rocky confirmation process, Republican described by his own party as showing 'troubling lack of judgment on critical issues' finally takes office. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Advisor to Secretary of Defense at time that Pollard spy affair broke to come to Israel - According to Lawrence Korev, who will be meeting with the government's elite to help advance the release from jail of the spy for Israel, Jonatahan Pollard, the Obama administration is worried about there may be demonstrations for Pollard's release during Obama's visit. (Maariv/NRG Hebrew)
- Hamas and Fatah postpone their Cairo reconciliation talks - The two Palestinian movements have been at loggerheads for years despite mediation attempts by Egypt and other Arab countries. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Nasrallah (makes TV appearance) to refute rumors of illness - Hezbollah chief makes television appearance on Shiite terror group-owned TV station; says rumors about his heath untrue, part of 'media war waged against Hezbollah.' (Ynet)
- Report: Nasrallah's deputy injured in Syria blast - Lebanese newspaper quotes rebels as saying Hezbollah Deputy Chief Naim Qassem injured in convoy blast near Damascus. (Ynet)
- PM urges powers to issue Iran military threat - As nuclear talks in Kazakhstan draw to an end, Netanyahu says West must consider 'military sanctions' against increasingly-defiant Tehran. (Ynet)
- World powers coax Iran into saving nuclear talks - Superpowers offer broadest concessions yet to Islamic Republic, in attempt to keep nuke-related, diplomatic efforts alive. (Agencies, Ynet)
Is the village of Nofit an oasis in the Galilee or a haven of racists?
The rural villagers there have it all: breathtaking views and nature on their doorstep. But how do they relate to their Bedouin neighbors? (Haaretz+)
Arab-Israeli in Haifa uses art to help Palestinian refugee sister
The struggle to save Lutfia, an 84 year-old Palestinian refugee, is being conducted by her brother Abed Abdi, a respected Palestinian artist who resides in Haifa. (Haaretz+)
Herodium turns into a cultural settlement
Excavations at Herodium, near Bethlehem, uncovered the grave of King Herod while disrupting the lives of residents of the Palestinian village surrounding the King's winter palace. (Haaretz+)
Eight hundred thousand (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) The same society that was so upset by the fate of a single prisoner, Gilad Shalit, does not even begin to grasp the depth of distress the Palestinians feel over the thousands of their people who are in prison.
Dragged into 3rd intifada (Yigal Sarna, Yedioth/Ynet) Netanyahu negotiating with Bennett and ultra-Orthodox while smoke billows from West Bank, prison cells.
Bring it on, intifada (Israel Harel, Haaretz+) Since Operation Defensive Shield crushed the second intifada, quite a few politicians, including 'has-beens' in the defense establishment, have tirelessly predicted an inevitable third one.
Pride and prejudice - A judo hug (Amnon Shamosh, Yedioth) ..."On prejudice: He could have made a wise and weighted declaration that he has no plan to form an obstructive bloc and to compete now for the premiership. But the evil inclination, and maybe the DNA, caused him to conlude his announcement with an unsportive and disrespectful headbutt at MK Hanin Zouebi. Many of Lapid's supporters felt uncomfortable with the declaration of the novice leader. The bourgeois-style rejection, in which he said the name of the MK (Zouebis), made clear why in his long and varied party list, which was planned to include of of the new Israel, there is not even one Druze, not a Christian Arab - and of course, not a Muslim Arab. And maybe that's not by chance. From the beginning, Lapid scoffed at the basic democratic process, whereby people choose their leader and not their leader chooses its people. He is a clear autocrat, aspires to an autocracy - and he gives it a refreshing Tel-Aviv-style kosher certificate..." Shamosh writes that it was a "serious and dangerous" mistake of Lapid to ally his party with Naftali Bennett, leader of Habyait Hayehudi. "The political association with N.B., whose political fanaticism and aggressiveness, are known and irate all those in search of peace, could cause people to rise up against Lapid, not only myself and people like me, but especially his voters and those from his party who are peace seekers. The nationalist and irrational ideology of Naftali is contagious and those who care about themselves will keep their distance from it. And from him!"
Time for an overture to Turkey (Nimrod Goren, Haaretz+) With the elections behind him, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can afford to reach out to Ankara and patch up a relationship that is beneficial to both countries.
Unnecessary battle (Nadav Eyal, Maariv) Eyal suggests that the battle over Chuck Hagel's confirmation as US Secretary of Defense was an unnecessary lost cause and notes that AIPAC wisely chose to stay out of it. The author believes that Senate Republicans used concerns over the Israeli-US relationship merely as a stick to beat the Obama administration with and concludes: "71% of Americans support Israel; this is much better than the Republicans. When will decision-makers in Jerusalem understand that as much as they use the Republicans, the Republicans use them?"
Israel is abusing Diaspora Jewry (Shlomo Cohen, Haaretz+) World Jewry interests Israel only to the extent that it serves this country as a pool of resources: financial, political and human.
Will Bibi and Obama make history? (Eitan Haber, Yedioth/Ynet) US president will not travel thousands of miles just to eat hummus or place note in Kotel.
Israel's ultra-Orthodox leaders showing more willingness to discuss IDF draft (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) In current coalition talks, two documents are often mentioned but seldom seen. They concern differing approaches to the problem of how to share the military burden, and they hold the key to Benjamin Netanyahu's ability to form a new government.
Alliance victory (Sima Kadmon, Yedioth) Kadmon writes that it currently looks as if, "The government that will be formed here in another two weeks will, apparently, be the that which Netanyahu could have formed two days after the election," even though nobody could have foreseen the alliance between Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett. Kadmon suggests that, "Today, it seems that there isn't anyone in the political establishment who doesn't understand that something is happening here, the likes of which we have not seen before...Even Shas has thrown up its hands."
Israel's dwindling chance to oppose an unjust one-state future (Sara Hirschhorn, Haaretz+) The idea that settlement numbers have passed a 'red line' and their existence is irreversible is becoming more mainstream. But Israel should beware of being carried away by such self-fulfilling prophecies.
Hagel, not what you thought - A friend in the Pentagon (Alon Pinkas, Yedioth) Hagel's positions are not significantly different from those of Shimon Peres, Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak or (former Mossad chief) Meir Dagan. Unless, that is, those four people are not really pro-Israeli... Hagel is pro-Israeli in his essence...
Don't fund anti-Israel films (Yoaz Hendel, Haaretz+) '5 Broken Cameras,' which was nominated for an Oscar, used as tool in Palestinian struggle against Israel.
Stopping the nationalist stink rising from the City of David (Don Futterman, Haaretz+) Israel's courts have the chance in a couple of days to wrest control of the City of David from Elad, an NGO with a narrow and destructive settlement agenda, and to re-affirm Jerusalem's role not only in the Jewish national saga but also Arab history and world culture.
Faulty connections, futile concessions (Zalman Shoval, Israel Hayom) Israel shouldn't accept, even conceptually, any link between Iran's nuclear threat and the Palestinian problem.
What might have been: Three urgent missives from Israel (Doron Rosenblum, Haaretz+) Doron Rosenblum sets the record straight. (Satire)
History professor and renowned Holocaust historian Yehuda Bauer: 'Netanyahu doesn't know history'
Even though the Prime Minister is the son of a historian, reads a great deal and is extraordinarily intelligent, he is not a gifted strategist, says Bauer in major interview. Bauer believes that only pressure exerted on Israel by major powers will end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Interviewed by Dalia Karpel in Haaretz+)
"The dream of a Jewish democratic state will come to an end only if the right wing is in power...."
What do you suggest?
"A democratic state within the 1967 boundaries, with certain territorial exchanges, will be a Zionist Jewish state that is obliged not only to make peace with its Palestinian and Arab neighbors, but offers the possibility for national-cultural development and full equal rights to the Arab minority living in the State of Israel. The settlement policy is working against us and endangering us. We have to remove the majority of the settlers from the territories, which are actually areas of the State of Palestine. Weren't a million people moved from Anatolia to Greece?
"The only way to remove the settlers − and I write about this in the book − is by means of pressure that will be exerted on Israel by the major powers which have no interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. An agreement between the United States and the European Union and Russia, with China's involvement, could create a situation in which pressure will be applied to both sides in the conflict to engage in serious negotiations until white smoke emerges.
"Both sides are extremely susceptible to pressure. It would be enough if the EU were to discover that it has problems of financial liquidity and announce that it will have difficulty paying the salaries of the officials in the PA or in Gaza; or for the Pentagon to announce that it has a problem supplying spare parts to the Israel Air Force. If so, within eight months the Air Force's planes and equipment turn into junk. It makes no difference whether there are 30 or 40 settler outposts at this moment. The instant it is decided to stop financing the settlements, that story will come to a swift end."
And if that doesn't happen?
"There is a danger that the Masada story will be repeated. A situation in which Israel will be isolated in the face of the world is liable to stir an extreme nationalist reaction and a posture of 'Let me die with the Philistines.'
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.