APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday March 17, 2013
Quote of the day:
"On the face of it, it does look like a wet dream - Ya'alon on Defense and Ariel on Housing is something which carries great potential, but in these things you can't foretell what will happen."
-- Samaria Regional (settler) Council Head Gershon Mesika on the new government.**
Front Page News:
- Likud and Bennett to advance law of Jewish state - The law will state that the Jewish character of the state overpowers democratic values
- 3 days to the visit - Obama won't call for gestures for the Palestinians
- New government's draft proposal
- The last arbiter - Bennett to receive veto rights on issues of state and religion
- Following death of runner: Health Ministry to examine conditions for approving (extreme) sports events
- Peru extradited to Israel former judge Dan Cohen, who is accused of bribery
- Former MK Marina Solodkin died in hotel in capital of Latvia
- EU approved rescue of Cyprus - citizens rushed to take their money out (of banks)
- Soon: Electronic prescriptions for medicines at all the HMOs
- Anthroposophic schools battling elitist image
- Marathon tragedy - Hours after the marathon, Mayor Huldai enjoyed himself in a restaurant
- The agreements and the revolutions - Netanyahu told the President: There is a coalition. Agreements with Lapid and Bennett: revolution in military service...but almost no word on peace process
- Fourth year for the Chief of Staff
- "No choice but to raise taxes"
- Gil (age) crisis - Conductor Gil Shochat in interview: Maybe it would be preferrable to be born straight
- Senior members of Yesh Atid and HaBayti Hayehudi: We will act as a single faction in the coalition (Hebrew)
- Obama congratulated Netanyahu: "Looking forward to close cooperation to advance peace and security"
- The mistake of extradited judge Dan Cohen
- Because of the heat: Tel-Aviv marathon ended with one dead and dozens hurt
- Worrying phenomenon: Anorexia from 5th and 6th grades
- Tragedy in Riga: Dead at 61: outgoing MK Marina Solodkin died at a conference in Riga
- Record tension in Likud - Netanyahu told Peres: "I formed a coalition government; We stand before a fateful year"
- Tel-Aviv Marathon: The tragedy, the storm and the exchange of blame
- Praying for a miracle - Adva and Rafi Biton continue to pray for their little daughter Adel that she survive the stone attack in Samaria.
- The fleeing judge Dan Cohen was extradited to Israel
A dead marathon runner in Tel-Aviv, a new government in Jerusalem and its big plans (but little talk about peace) for the country were today's top stories in the Israeli papers. And in a small item, Yedioth reported that Sweden would not display the Dead Sea Scrolls.
With just hours before his time expired, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told President Shimon Peres that he had succeeded in forming a coalition government. The 33rd government will be sworn into Knesset tomorrow. What is striking about the coalition agreements are the changes agreed upon that will make 'revolutions' in the religious status quo: a new military draft law and a new Basic law that makes Israel's democratic principles subservient to the country's Jewish character. The latter was already proposed as a law by former Kadima MK Avi Dichter, but caused such an outcry that then Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni recalled the bill. Now Likud and Habayit Hayehudi will advance the bill. Haaretz discusses this in depth.
Yesh Atid, interestingly, appears to have no problem with this. According to Maariv, the party and its coalition negotiating ally, Habayit Hayehudi, will act as a single political faction in the next Knesset. (NRG Hebrew)
**The settlers are thrilled with the new government, in which hardliner and settler Moshe Yaalon is the new Defense Minister and Habayit Hayehudi's Uri Ariel is the Housing Minister. However, the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, which was kept out of the government, has threatened to retaliate against the settlers for the agreement of Habayit Hayehudi to keep them from joining the coalition. Shas is appointing a specialist, to 'haunt' the new coalition. "Every shekel they transfer to the settlements will be scrutinized, every appointment will be checked. If they think they can hurt the haredi world they are wrong. We will use every tool at our disposal," Israel Hayom quoted a Shas member.
Meanwhile, a source told Haaretz that US President Barack Obama said he will not be bringing a peace plan with him on his visit because the Israeli government is uninterested. Indeed, Yedioth and Haaretz point out that the coalition agreement with Yesh Atid has almost no reference to the diplomatic process with the Palestinians. The agreement with Habayit Hayehudi only declares that the party's chairman, Naftali Bennett, will be a member of the ministerial committee on the peace process. "Bennett will be there to make clear that as long as talk does not turn into action, there is no problem, but if it does, count him out," writes Haaretz, noting that Bennett's party has two representatives on the ministerial committee on settlement, "a euphemistic name for a committee whose purpose is to legalize illegal outposts."
After three years of diplomatic negotiations, Sweden informed Israeli it will not give the Dead Sea Scrolls immunity, thereby preventing them from being displayed in an exhibition in Stockholm, Yedioth reported in a tiny news item on page 46. Israel fears that without immunity, the Palestinians will file a legal suit to take them, claiming they were 'stolen' by Israel. Obama will see the scrolls during his visit to Israel.
- (Israeli) family attacked with stones on (W. Bank) Route 443 - Day after Samaria attack which left three-year-old girl in critical condition, car carrying couple with three children pelted with stones on road leading from Modiin to Jerusalem. 'Those were not stones, they were rocks,' mother says. (Ynet)
- Settlers seize Bethlehem agricultural land, group says - Settlers from Elazar settlement planted olive trees and placed other structures, such as clay pots, Saturday on land belonging to farmers in the Bethlehem village of al-Khader. (Maan)
- Settlers torch chicken coop in Nablus, official says - A number of settlers from Itamar settlement beat Muhammad Hashem Bani Jabber, 28, from Aqraba village while he was at his workplace on Friday. On Thursday settlers attacked two brothers from the same village. (Maan)
- Tulkarem teenager injured by Israeli military fire - 18-year-old Hamza Haloub was shot and seriously injured by Israeli troops near Tulkarem in the northern West Bank Thursday evening. He was hit by a live gunshot to his lower chest while walking near the Jashouri factories. (Maan)
- Settlers chase Palestinians off farmland near Hebron - Israeli settlers from Ma'on settlement near Yatta south of Hebron on Thursday vandalized summer crops in fields belonging to Palestinian farmers from Yatta. (Maan)
- Exposed: How much money went through Lapid Yair Ltd. - The slaves' leader is allowed to be rich, but the estimated yearly revenues of his company, Lapid Yair Ltd, show that the new politician is far richer than previously thought. But Lapid refuses to address any questions about his fortune - or about one particularly high dividend. (Haaretz)
- Obama's Israeli Columbia classmates don't recall the young president - U.S. President Barack Obama, due here for his first official visit next week, graduated college in 1983; yet, none of the 25 or so alumni of his class who are now living in Israel remember laying eyes on him. (Haaretz)
- Obama to travel Jerusalem in 'The Beast' - US president to ride around capital in moving fortress; 5,000 policemen to secure his every move. (Ynet)
- 'This American chutzpah makes my blood boil,' Menachem Begin said amid Jimmy Carter's 1979 visit to Israel for Egypt peace talks - Drama surrounding U.S. president's visit endangered signing of peace accord with Egypt; State Archive publishes protocols ahead of Barack Obama's visit to Israel. (Haaretz)
- MSNBC host Alex Wagner: Fear of anti-Semitism charge inhibits 'robust discussion' about Israel - As the 'progressive' network gears up to cover President Obama's visit to Israel, the anchor of the daily 'NOW with Alex Wagner' describes the media conversation about Israel in the U.S. as 'incredibly tricky.' (Haaretz)
- On eve of Obama visit, U.S. public's support for Israel reaches all-time high - A new Gallup poll shows Americans favor Israel over Palestinians by 64%-12%; support highest among Republicans, conservatives and elderly. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Israel's US envoy: 'Gatekeepers' hindering PR efforts - Although he is an avid supporter of free speech, advancement of local film industry, Ambassador Michael Oren believes documentary in which Shin Bet officials slam Israel's West Bank policy hurting country's international image. (Ynet)
- WATCH: White House details Obama Israel trip agenda in YouTube video - U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes explains why Barack Obama is coming to the Middle East, who exactly he is going to meet, and what he is going to discuss with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Palestinian Authority, and Jordan. (Haaretz)
- Hotel drill simulates Obama rescue - Security forces use huge crane to examine emergency scenarios during US president's stay in Jerusalem next week. (Ynet)
- Ultra-Orthodox: Don't let Bar Refaeli head PR campaign - Following Foreign Ministry's announcement to use Israeli supermodel as official State presenter, Orthodox students say she 'can't represent us because of relationship with gentile actor.' (Ynet)
- Canadian donates kidney to Israeli, facilitating additional transplant - Trevor Brown never met Zehava Pelach from Israel, but upon hearing her dire need for kidney transplant, he quickly volunteered; husband passes on good deed, donates kidney to father of seven. (Ynet)
- Jordan: 17 Palestinians killed in bus crash - Bus carrying Palestinians returning from Mecca overturns, leaving 17 dead, 42 injured. (Ynet)
- Egypt: Seven Palestinians deported to Gaza Strip for security reasons - Palestinians arrested in same week that state-owned magazine publishes report accusing Hamas of being behind killing of Egyptian soldiers in Sinai Peninsula. (Haaretz)
- Prince Charles taking Arabic lessons - Prince of Wales tells Qatari minister he tried learning Arabic once but gave it up, but aides say he's been taking lessons for past six months. (Ynet)
- Protestors storm Israeli pianist's recital - Sixty pro-Palestinian activists interrupt Yossi Reshef's performance in South Africa, chanting and blowing vuvuzelas until concert stopped. 'Quite an unpleasant event,' he writes on Facebook. (Ynet)
Har Adar is over the green line, but its residents don't like to be called settlers
In this quiet and affluent neighborhood, harsh treatment of Palestinian labor is strictly enforced. (Haaretz)
150 years of teaching Muslims, Jews and Christians together in Jaffa
The two Scottish sisters who founded the Tabeetha School set out to provide the children of the Holy Land with an education; their lessons on the importance of celebrating diversity live on. (Haaretz)
Who gave the settlers the money? (Uzi Benziman, Haaretz) The public has the right to know the total amounts that were transferred to the settlement enterprise.
Separate buses just a symptom (Maskit Bendel, Ynet) Palestinian-only bus lines mere expression of discrimination, complete segregation in West Bank.
Government of the villa in the jungle (Kobi Niv, Haaretz) Ashkenazi secular men will occupy all four of the government's senior positions.There is nary a Mizrahi, Orthodox Jew, Arab or woman among them.
Life is elsewhere (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) Lapid and Bennett will likely come to this quick realization once the first cabinet meeting commences and they are exposed to some very serious existential matters.
When Obama speaks (and says nothing) (Gideon Levy, Israel Hayom) There's no other way to understand what Obama said in his interview with Channel 2 on the eve of his visit here.
Road trip in the Holy Land (Hagai Segal, Haaretz) Obama will be very surprised by some of the things he will see on the way from Jerusalem to Ramallah.
Israel's small, right-wing government (Friday Haaretz Editorial) As much as the new Netanyahu government might long for change domestically, its foreign policy is a concern.
Slander Israel's critics as anti-Semites, shut down debate on Israel's atrocities (Larry Derfner, Haaretz) Diaspora Jewish defense organizations' calculated paranoia brands harsh critics of Israeli policy as anti-Semites because it serves their interests: What's good for the occupation is good for Netanyahu's Israel , which is good for the Diaspora Jewish establishment.
Time to turn forward the clock on reform (Nehemia Shtrasler, Haaretz) The new government is in a unique position to make reforms to daylight saving time and other institutions that could push Israel's economy and society toward the future.
The presidential visit: Mr. Obama comes a-courtin' (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz) Obama's visit is a soap opera: he wants to proclaim his love, persuade Israelis to let bygones be bygones and entice them over to his side. It is a mirror image of his recent political tactics in the U.S. as well.
Obama, don't visit Ramallah (Shoula Romano Horing, Ynet) US president must realize that peace is impossible as long as incitement to hatred and violence against Jews persists.
What is the purpose of your visit, business or pleasure? (Yossi Sarid, Haaretz) Barack Obama will avoid the Knesset while in Israel, instead speaking 'directly to the Israeli public.' But the public has its own worries, and the brand-new government is hardly prepared to give the U.S. president its full attention.
An open letter to President Barack Obama (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) There is something you need to know: The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has never been over territory.
Obama's Israel trip will disappoint only the naysayers (David Harris, Haaretz) Personal tensions and shifting geopolitics do not change the shared values and interests that unite the U.S. and Israel - now more than ever.
Obama, affirm the Jewish people's 3,200 year old connection to the Land of Israel (Rabbi Rick Jacobs, Haaretz) President Obama should affirm the Jewish people's historic connection with its homeland, absent from his 2009 Cairo speech, as well as to call for religious freedom for all Jews, a renewal of the peace process, and an effective response to Iran's nuclear military ambitions.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.