APN's daily news review from Israel
Friday March 08, 2013
Quote of the day:
"Habayit Hayehudi wanted it to promote housing in [the West Bank], and Yesh Atid wanted to promote housing for young couples."
--Israel's Housing Ministry become a battle issue between two allied parties, a source tells Haaretz.**
Front Page News:
- Open file - In Likud they are sweating to complete the formation of a government by Monday
- How many did Iron Dome really succeed to intercept? US scientist claims: Defense system only succeeded in destroying 5% of battle combat warheads
- The era after Assad - Al-Qaeda is not yet at the gates // Amos Harel
- Holland calls for marking settlement goods
- Women's Day 2013 - Average wages in Israel: Men - 53/day, Women - 44sh/day
- Equality begins in numbers - Ravit Hecht
- Life after prostitution - interview
- Senior civil service employees to receive salary during cooling-off period
- The charges: The parents sent their children to a school for Jews and Arabs
- The melodies of the 18th century are coming to life
- On the way to a government
- Smell of a government // Nahum Barnea
- War of my brothers // Sima Kadmon
- Duty-free government - Record of the outgoing government: Ministers spent cumulatively 7.8 years abroad, Barak spent 250 days abroad
- Foreign workers to work in medicine - Sheba Hospital importing doctors from Romania and Bulgaria
- A dash to Iran - El-Al CEO, former IAF commander Eliezar Shkedi, visited the Iranian booth at the tourism exhibition in Berlin
- Helping the needy celebrate Passover - Latet NGO and Yedioth
- Moran Mazor to Eurovision
- Fear in Israel: UN international force will leave Syrian border (Hebrew)
- Interior Ministry likely to Lapid, Treasury to Bennett, government to be sworn in Wednesday (Hebrew)
- Following Maariv report on arrest warrants for ultra-Orthodox young men who did not report to IDF induction center, signs posted in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods by leaders call on the youth to go to jail proudly (Hebrew)
- Israel Lands Authority report confirms Maariv report: No land available to implement Begin's government-approved plan to regulate Bedouin settlement in the Negev
- 40 years after it turned into a streambed following the pumping of its water for agriculture, the flow of spring water into Dishon River in the Upper Galilee will renew
- Maj. Gen. Danny Shapira, legendary pilot who will light a torch on Independence Day, speaks: "We wanted a modern state"
- Appears: Significant progress in (coalition) negotiations
- "Obama not coming with a plan to immediately solve the conflict"
- "These systems transferred information to Israel" - Syria: Found Israeli spying equipment
- On the way home - Syrian rebels withdrew demands and promised to return 21 UN observers
- Israel Hayom and 'Tachlit' NGO in joint project: 'Adopting a family for the (Passover) holiday
- Holland calling for marking products from settlements
A new government is near, but allies Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi have their differences, and Syria says it found Israeli spy equipment making top stories in Israel's Friday newspapers. Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama met with Jewish American leaders and had some news for Israel. And in the West Bank another Palestinian young man died from an IDF bullet to his head while a group of IDF soldiers may be indicted for shooting dead a Palestinian laborer trying to cross the separation fence.
**Likud aims to have new coalition agreement in place by Monday and a government sworn in by Wednesday with some 24 or 25 ministers. The party has a week from Saturday night to form a government. What appears likely is that Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid will drop his demand for the Foreign Ministry. Maariv writes he will likely take the Interior Minister giving Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett the Housing Ministry. Interestingly, Likud sources told Maariv that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu actually hopes that Lapid will make getting the Foreign Ministry a deal-breaker, because Likud-Beiteinu thinks that would cause Bennett to break the alliance with Lapid and enter a government with the ultra-Orthodox. The 'steel' alliance is suddenly facing some problems. The two parties are reportedly at odds over issue of public transportation on Shabbat and gay marriage, writes Haaretz. Both issues are deal-breakers for Yesh Atid, but Habayti Hayehudi says they are not for their party. There are also reports that a conflict erupted between after both parties demanded the housing portfolio. "Habayit Hayehudi wanted it to promote housing in [the West Bank], and Yesh Atid wanted to promote housing for young couples," a source close to the talks told Haaretz. Haaretz writes the portfolio will go to Habayit Hayehudi MK Uri Ariel., but Israel Hayom writes that the Housing Ministry is going to Yesh Atid.
Regarding the ultra-Orthodox army draft, Israel Hayom writes it was agreed that 2000 ultra-Orthodox men will receive an exemption from serving. The rest will either serve or not be funded by the state. [I believe that means they have a choice between serving in the army and working. - OH] Israel Hayom's Dan Margalit writes the test of this government is whether it keeps its promises. It appears the ultra-Orthodox will be obliged to either serve in the army or work, but it's not clear that the government will force all the educational institutions to teach them core subjects. "Most of society is not aware that that is the root solution to the abscess of economic backwardness in the religious sector," writes Margalit. "Math and English will help the young ultra-Orthodox man joint the job market and climb the technological and economic ladder..."
Interestingly, in a short news brief, Israel Hayom reported that Labor chief Shelly Yachimovich said yesterday that if Habayit Hayehudi leaves the government if and when the government is about to sign on peace agreement, the Labor party will enter in its place in order to prevent the government from falling and the agreement from being passed. "We won't be the ones to prevent the signing of a political settlement."
Syria claims it has uncovered Israeli spy equipment that was monitoring a 'sensitive site.' State TV showed pictures of what the gear, which was disguised by artificial rocks and allegedly monitoring an area on the coast. Israel would not comment. Reuters wrote it closely resembled items seized in Lebanon in recent years that Lebanese authorities said were also used by Israel to monitor movements inside Lebanon. A Syrian officer said the rebels and the Zionists both used the information gathered by the system.
Three headlines came out of the meeting US President Barack Obama held with 20 American Jewish leaders yesterday. One was that he won't be coming to Israel with a plan to immediately solve the conflict, because the region is not ready. However, he will probably present a plan in 6, 9 or 12 months. Two, he wants to connect directly with Israelis. And three, he said, there is still room for Iran diplomacy and there is no point in 'chest beating.' Quoting a Chinese saying, he said: "Build a golden bridge for your opponent to retreat upon."
In an extraordinary move, Military Police may indict IDF soldiers over the death of a Palestinian laborer, Haaretz reported. A probe into Uday Darwish's death in January found that IDF soldiers violated orders when they shot at group of Palestinians trying to get through a gap in the West Bank separation fence. Meanwhile, another death yesterday at the hands of an IDF soldier may result in clashes today. After being shot in the head by an IDF soldier two weeks ago, Mohammed Asfour, 23, died yesterday in an Israeli hospital. As a result, the IDF is preparing for clashes in the West Bank today after Friday prayers. and Asfour's funeral in Aboud village. According to a testimony, two weeks ago soldiers fired tear gas grenades at Palestinians during a protest in solidarity with Palestinian hunger-strikers. But one soldier fired a rubber bullet that hit Asfour in the head. Ynet reports that, like Hilmi Abdul Azizi, he was flown from Nablus to an Israeli hospital from Nablus to save his life. (Maariv reported on how an Israeli doctor secretly went into Nablus with the coordination of the Palestinian Authority to save Azizi's life.)
- Netherlands calls on stores to label products from Israeli settlements - Dutch follow British lead, but emphasize it is not illegal to import goods from territories. Other European countries expected to follow suit in coming weeks. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Jerusalem teen who attacked Arab teacher and Jewish colleague released on bail - The 16-year-old Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva student is suspected of being part of a gang (of around 10) who attacked two teachers, one of them Arab. Police Commissioner instructs officers to prioritize incidents where Jews attacked Arabs. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Education Ministry condemns violence against Jerusalem teachers - Ministry announced that on Sunday a lesson would be dedicated to discussing the prevention of this kind of phenomenon. (Ynet)
- President of Chechnya building giant mosque in Abu Ghosh - Despite racism towards Chechen Muslim soccer players, President Ramazan Kadirov is building a gold-domed mosque after he heard that the residents don't have the budget to do so. (Maariv, p. 10)
- Violent fight between youth at Yad Vashem - Shameful behavior at Holocaust memorial institution. Remark by one student led to fight between students from two high schools. Security guard intervened and got punched, too. Yad Vashem: "This is a regrettable incident. We have involved the police." (Israel Hayom, p. 23, Yedioth, p. 20 and NRG Hebrew)
- (Gaza Hamas Foreign Minister) Mahmoud Al-Zahar: "Egyptian regime starving us" - Following Egyptian activities to stop tunnel smuggling to Gaza Strip, Zahar said: "We are not in favor of the tunnels. But what choice do we have when Rafah crossing is closed? The previous regime was cruel, but it never allowed Gaza to starve." Also, Yusef Rizkeh, political advisor to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, said the report that Egypt called on Hamas to end armed resistance against Israel was false: "Its goal is to harm the relations between Egypt and Hamas." (Maariv, p. 10)
- Philippines: Syrian rebels want to release troops - Philippine military spokesman says rebels holding 21 UN peacekeepers want them removed by Red Cross because of heavy fighting in area. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Acre Jews protest sale of home to Arabs, raising ethnic tensions - Local Arab activist: 'They're not building for Arabs and won't let them live with Jews, so where are we supposed to go?' (Haaretz)
- Penetrated Iranian territory - El-Al CEO, former IAF commander Eliezar Shkedi, did not identify himself when he visited the Iranian booth at the tourism exhibition in Berlin. He received long explanations about possible tours in Iran, including a specific one with an historic twist: A 10-day trip that would include a visit to the graves of Esther and Mordechai the Jews with a luxurious end in Teheran. Shkedi politely thanks his hosts, but passed on the tempting package deal. (Yedioth, p. 12)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.