APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday March 13, 2013
Quote of the day:
"Ten years ago I walked around barefoot in Ethiopia and did not dream I would be in such a powerful situation."
--Israel's 2013 beauty queen, Yityish (Titi) Aynaw, after a surprising invitation from the US President.**
Front Page News:
- Agreement in the making: Threshold to rise to 4% - If the move is implemented, it will force the Arab parties to unite
- Zionist rabbis against Bennett: Hurting the honor of the Torah
- Two pilots killed in battle helicopter crash: Technical failure suspected
- Today: Crucial hearing in High Court on expansion of Efrat that would block southern entrance to Bethlehem
- Real estate investors running from Dan (central) region to Haifa and Krayot area
- Snow storm in Europe, heat wave in Israel; Tel-Aviv marathon to be postponed
- In Vatican, looking for a pope that won't insult Muslims
- Double tragedy - (Two pilots killed in crash)
- (Vote) Threshold to (enter Knesset to) increase to 4%
- Royal summit: Titi and Obama - Obama invited Israel's (Ethiopian) beauty queen
- Crisis in negotiations - Yesh Atid: Education portfolio or we're going back to elections (Hebrew)
- Technical failure believed to have caused helicopter crash
- Nochi Dankner's haircut: Almost a billion shekels
- Green Kinneret: - Just before Passover, poisonous weeds filling Lake Kinneret, the recommendation: don't enter the water
- Two of the best - Cobra disaster: Two reserve pilots killed in helicopter crash
- In political establishment: Increasing pressure on Lapid to make coalition agreement
- Hot, hot, getting hotter
- Rising tension in Hebron: Palestinian killed in clashes with IDF
- Lifestyle: Bicycles, cellular phone or robot? Popular presents for whoever finds afikoman
Lapid threatens to bolt talks, pilots crash, and Arabs may be forced into a single party making top news in Israeli newspapers today. Meanwhile, President Shimon Peres gets support in EU in his speech and the Palestinians are petitioning Israel's High Court today over Israel's plan to expand Efrat settlement far past the Separation fence blocking access to Bethlehem from the south.
Today was supposed to be the swearing in of the new government, but it appears it won't even be the day of the signing of the coalition agreement after Likud-Beiteinu and Yesh Atid failed to agree who will get the Education Ministry portfolio, which both covet. According to Maariv, Yesh Atid threatened to go to elections if it did not get the ministry. The party wants its #2, Rabbi Shai Piron, to get the post, but yesterday it was revealed that he had said in the past that Jews should not sell property to Arabs. The revelation caused a storm. His office said he was simply commenting on scripture. But he later said he never even said it. In his defense he said he lambasted the chief rabbi of Safed for making such a prohibition. Maariv writes that it was this revelation that is making Yesh Atid fight even more fiercely for the ministry. (NRG Hebrew) Prime Minister has till Saturday night to inform the President that he has succeeded in forming a government coalition. Yedioth writes that it looks like the government will be sworn in on Monday if the negotiations are not completed in the next day.
Meanwhile, the parties did agree to raise the threshold for parties to enter the Knesset from two to four percent. This poses a threat to Arab representation and other small factions in future elections and Arab MK Ahmed Tibi wondered what was the motive for this move. (Haaretz has more.)
"Israel hasn't gotten a hug like that for a long time," wrote Yedioth about the 754 European Union representatives who stood up following Peres' speech before the European Parliament yesterday. Peres' main points were that now is the time to realize the two-state solution, that 'Iran is the greatest danger to world peace,' and that the EU should label Hezbollah a terror organization. For the full text of Peres' historic speech click here. But, Iran promised the UN it would not seek a nuclear bomb, the semi-official Mehr news agency quoted Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi as saying. In 2005Ayatollah Khamenei issued a religious edict 'banning production, storage and use of nuclear weapons.'
Palestinians have gone to Israel's High Court to ask that Israel not be allowed to annex 1,000 acres, which Palestinians say belong to them, thereby cutting off access to Bethlehem from the south, Haaretz reports. Peace Now has written about this extensively and has a map that shows just what is at stake.
- Palestinian youth killed by IDF fire in clashes near Hebron - This is the eighth Palestinian to die from IDF fire in the West Bank over the last four months; violence increased there by 70 percent during the month of February. (Haaretz Ynet and Maan)
- Court extends remand of IDF soldier suspected in death of Palestinian laborer - Soldier was involved in border incident that resulted in the gunfire death of Uday Darwish, 21, who sought to breach Israeli border on the way to his job in Rahat. (Haaretz)
- Four Israeli teens charged with attacking Arab worker on Tel Aviv promenade - Police say one of the teens hit the Arab man from Jaffa, broke a bottle on his head, and punched him in the face repeatedly while he was on the ground. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Israeli settler 'tries to hit Palestinians' near Bethlehem - A man was injured on Tuesday when an Israeli settler tried to run him over in a village near Bethlehem, local officials said. Earlier Tuesday, a 28-year-old Palestinian died from injuries sustained when he was run over by an Israeli near Barqan settlement, west of Salfit. (Maan)
- IDF to pay NIS 60,000 in compensation to Palestinian (boy) wrongly accused of rape - 16-year-old shepherd from southern Hebron hills was accused of raping West Bank woman and spent 171 days in prison despite the fact that DNA found at the site did not match his own. (Haaretz)
- Livni: Final status agreement with Palestinian Authority 'critical' - Hatnua leader tells Herzliya Conference 'during negotiations we must stop talking about who has the greater right to be here.' (Yedioth, p. 6/Ynet)
- "Appointment of MK Uri Ariel as Minister of Housing could wipe out chances for peace" - (Pro-settler) Habayit Hayehudi MK Uriel responded to remark by United Nations Special Coordinator to the Middle East Robert Serry saying: "A gross intervention in Israeli sovereignty." Serry was speaking at a meeting with members of the grassroots organization, Other Voice. (Maariv, p. 3/NRG Hebrew)
- PA says had no choice but to reject Israel asylum claim - The Palestinian Authority defended its refusal to assist an Israeli man's request for political asylum on Monday, saying Palestine was unable to offer protection for the time being. (Maan)
- Settlers fear Obama visit spells construction freeze - Settlers hurry West Bank construction plans fearing upcoming US president's visit to Israel means new settlement freeze; 'We're being pressured,' zoning official admits. (Ynet)
- World Bank report: Palestinian economy has been in steady decline since 1994 - Israeli-imposed economic restrictions and prolonged system of closures directly caused the long-term decline, the report says; however numbers seem positive in context of the global crisis. (Haaretz)
- **President Obama and Queen Titi: The surprising invitation to the sought-after banquet - The story of **Yityish (Titi) Aynaw, the first Ethiopian-born woman to be crowned Israel's beauty queen, even moved Obama and his people invited her to the dinner at the President's house. "I'm so excited. I have butterflies in my stomach." In 11th grade, she wrote her final research paper in English on Obama. "For me, he is a source of inspiration who proves that every person can reach great heights." (Separate Ynet story with video here)
- Obama hoping to reach out to Israelis, but only one lucky TV station will get an interview - Channel 2's Yonit Levy is in Washington preparing for the interview, the station's second with Obama, a fact that drew immense protest from Channel 10. (Haaretz)
- Ariel University students not invited to Obama speech - Despite recognition as official Israeli educational institution, West Bank university students not amongst those to attend US presidential event in Jerusalem. MK: US gov't taking unilateral stance. (Yedioth/Ynet)
- Women of the Knesset join Women of the Wall for Kotel prayer service - Despite police objections and wearing Jewish prayer shawl, Labor Knesset member joins group's monthly service alongside Meretz MKs Tamar Zandberg and Michal Rozin (and Labor MK Stav Shafir). Service held under police protection. MKs' presence prevents worshipers' arrests. (Israel Hayom)
- Two female MKs balk at supporting labor rights bill for settler women - Habayit Hayehudi's Orit Strock asks for support in bill to extend labor laws to women working in the settlements, but two other female MKs said existing laws already provide those labor protections. (Haaretz)
- High Court: State must explain infiltration law - Judges to issue order nisi instructing State to explain why it is not rescinding infiltration prevention law which allows state to detain illegal infiltrators indefinitely. (Ynet)
- The IDF is still Israelis' main path to high-tech - A survey conducted by Ethosia and TheMarker found that an Israeli high-tech entrepreneur is most likely to be a post-graduate man who served in an IDF combat or technology unit. (Haaretz)
- Move eyed to ease start-ups' cyber exports - The Prime Minister's Office is looking for ways to ease restrictions on exports by start-up companies specializing in cyber security in order to develop partnerships with the defense establishment. (Haaretz)
- Christoph Waltz visits Israel - Two-time Oscar-winning Austrian actor attends haredi daughter's wedding in Jerusalem. (Ynet)
- Clinton, Gorbachev to attend conference honoring Israeli President Shimon Peres - World leaders will come to Israel to mark Peres' 90th birthday; despite various reports, Barbra Streisand had not yet confirmed her attendance to the June 18-20 event. (Haaretz)
- UN: Ending patrols on Israel-Syria border - UN peacekeeping forces ended night patrols along the border between Syrian and Israel. (Israel Hayom, p. 11)
- UN: Syrian government reportedly using militias for mass killings - Militant groups, known as Popular Committees, perpetrate massacres at the Syrian government's behest, investigators say as they accuse both sides of committing violations against civilians. (Agencies, Haaretz)
Amani Odeh and the 40 border policemen
The less than romantic tale of black-clad troops, a foam-tipped bullet, a flier, and a female dentist from Silwan laughing at the absurdity of her arrest. (Haaretz)
Living in the margins / An Israeli high school student struggling to provide for her family
Like most high school students, Maya is facing matriculation exams. But unlike her peers, she is too busy earning money for her family to find time to study. (Haaretz)
Let's face it: Israel has a racism problem (Ilene Prusher, Haaretz) When an Arab attacks a Jew, he's a terrorist, he's been taught to hate. When a Jew attacks an Arab, he's just a loner, an oddball, a bad egg. But we've seen so many bad eggs at this point that something here has begun to stink.
I'm an Arab too (Aviad Kleinberg, Yedioth/Ynet) Israeli society must express not only its rejection of racist criminals, but also solidarity with victims.
The silence after the lynch of Israel's Arabs (Uri Misgav, Haaretz) No one has stood up. Neither the president of Israel nor the prime minister. Neither the minister of education nor the minister of justice. Neither chairmen of political parties nor mayors.
Shallow coalition talks (Haaretz Editorial) Lapid and Bennett's pet issues were discussed in and out during the talks but there was barely a word about relations with the Palestinians, the settlement drive, or the next state budget.
Strange bedfellows (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) The emerging coalition is an alliance of mutually suspicious partners.
The three issues that could torpedo Obama's visit to Israel (Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, Haaretz) Obama's arrival comes at a good time for the U.S. to clarify its support for Israel and for Israel to respond to American concerns. But Pollard, Iran and settlements have the potential to explode during the visit.
The women who really bear the burden in Israel (Rahel Avraham, Haaretz) Amidst the calls for equal sharing of the national burden and stereotypes of the Israeli economy's Arab and Haredi 'parasites,' thousands of women from these communities who operate home day care centers are fighting for equal employment rights.
Lapid's learning curve (Prof. Ron Breiman, Israel Hayom) Driving a wedge between the middle class and the settlers would be outrageous. Lapid must be everyone's finance minister.
Jewish critics who betray the struggle against anti-Semitism (Mark Gardner, Haaretz) When left-wing Israeli and American Jewish commentators accuse British Jews of engineering anti-Semitic controversies for the benefit of the pro-Israel "machine", their cynicism and hypocrisy knows no bounds.
British gatekeepers of Zionism have shut the door on liberal Zionists (Hannah Weisfeld, Haaretz) Why did the UK umbrella Zionist organization decide to exclude Yachad, a pro-Israel pro-peace movement, and how does that cultivate open, public debate in the Diaspora regarding what defines Zionism in the 21st century?
In Egypt, the courts take on the president (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) The widespread protests following a court ruling related to last year's soccer riot is just the latest example of judges' ability to derail the president's plans.
Watching the slaughter in Syria (Salman Masalha, Haaretz) The horrors across the border do not arouse disgust or revulsion here. The opposite is true; there are those who continue to organize gatherings in support of the butcher of Damascus.
Obama visit marks a choice for Israel: Grow up or grow old (Bradley Burston, Haaretz) With Israel heading for its 65th anniversary, the U.S. president's March trip sends an important message: This is the time. This is the window. Later doesn't exist.
Outgoing ultra-Orthodox deputy minister: I was boycotted for having a beard
The Health Ministry is sorry to see Deputy Minister Yaakov Litzman go - and Litzman feels that he is being forced out, just when he was at the peak of his work. (Interviewed by Ronny Linder-Ganz in Haaretz)
Randy Levine: president of the Bronx Bombers, patron of IDF soldiers (and their dogs)
The head of baseball's hugely successful N.Y. Yankees - a.k.a "the Evil Empire" - supports Friends of the IDF and loves the elite 'Oketz' canine unit. He talks to Haaretz about Jews, baseball and winning. (Interviewed by Chemi Shalev in Haaretz)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.