APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday April 11, 2013
Quote of the day:
"Today it is clear the separation wall has no utility."
--Former Likud minister Moshe Arens tells Maariv Israel needs to take down the 'security wall.'**
Front Page News:
- Israel rejects Kerry's proposal for renewing negotiations
- 6 killed from truck that lost control of its brakes
- Diplomatic precedent: Canadian Foreign Minister met with Livni in her office in E. Jerusalem
- Lapid and Netanyahu to discuss budget today; dispute between Finance Minister and senior officials in his ministry
- Lapid vows to block (Canadian takeover) of Israel Corp's stake in Israel Chemicals
- Education Ministry plan - Most schools will not take Meitav ranking tests
- The truck of bloodshed
- Lapid vs. Idan Ofer - Finance Minister attacks move of billionaire to London
- Another flower in the barrel - 43 years after it was written, another verse was written for the legendary artillery poem, "Flowers in the Barrel"
- Indecent movement - What methods were used to seduce the employee to join the acts that have stirred up the Transportation Ministry
- Lapid's plan: Raise income tax for those earning more than 20,000 shekels a month (Hebrew)
- Finance Minister opposes sale of Israel Chemicals to Canadian potash company
- Suspicion: The truck that crashed carried 10 tons more than permitted (Hebrew)
- IDF looking for field school graduates in order to train them as trackers instead of young Bedouin (Hebrew)
- One of the first combat soldiers drafted to the (elite) Matkal unit lives in an old truck his Matkal friends donated to him
- Truck loaded with death - 6 killed, 26 injured
- Lapid's edicts: Raise VAT and cut children's stipends
- N. Korea: Rising tension ahead of missile launch test
- New in the Sea of Galilee: Beach for students only
- Next week: PM Netanyahu to participate in Thatcher's funeral
A deadly crash by a truck whose brakes went out and the financial edicts of the new Finance Minister, Yair Lapid, were top stories in today's Israeli papers. In contrast to earlier reports, Israel has rejected Kerry's proposal for renewing talks with the Palestinians. Meanwhile, a number of Jewish Israeli women have been visiting the close-to-death Palestinian man on hunger strike, who appealed to Israelis in a Facebook message this week and a former Likud minister said Israel must take down the separation wall.
There won't be any concessions for the Palestinians after all, Israeli sources told Haaretz and Ynet. After reporting yesterday that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu agreed with US Secretary of State John Kerry to make economic gestures towards the Palestinians, today the media reports that there won't be any gestures, except writes Haaretz, permission to build some schools and roads. Israel opposes the establishment of a Palestinian tourism project on the northern shore of the Dead Sea - which is located within Area C, under Israel's full control - because "if we're talking about transferring land through economic projects, then we're not ready to do so," a senior Israeli government source told Haaretz. The source said: "(Kerry) thinks that the conflict is primarily over territory...and that is wrong." Ynet writes that Israel believes that the Palestinian demands for preconditions are meant to sabotage the talks. It quoted a government source who claimed that the "preliminary demands presented by the Palestinians attest to the fact that they are peace refuseniks. We on the other hand are not presenting any pre-conditions, not even recognition of Israel as the national home of the Jewish nation."
Interestingly, Yedioth reports that US President Barack Obama's special envoy to the Middle East, Phil Gordon, arrived in Israel Tuesday evening and made an unexpected request to meet with Lapid. This is Gordon's first work visit to Israel since replacing Dennis Ross in November 2011, writes Yedioth. He is meant to meet with this Israeli counterpart, Adv. Yitzhak Molcho, and with Netanyahu's national security advisor Yaakov Amidror. He will also meet Justice Minister Tzipi Livni who is responsible for the negotiations with the Palestinians and with Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett. "The meeting with Lapid signifies the great importance the administration in Washington gives him," writes Yedioth's diplomatic affairs reporter Itamar Eichner.
Canada has proven once again that it is the best friend of Israel's right-wing government. Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird broke a diplomatic taboo and met with an Israeli minister in occupied East Jerusalem. A source told Haaretz that Baird 'recognizes the sensitivity, but wants to set a precedent.' Both the United States and the European Union's member states refuse to let their officials meet Israeli officials in East Jerusalem.
"A group of exceptional Israeli women" started visiting Samer Issawi, a Palestinian detainee in Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot, a few days ago, Haaretz's Gideon Levy writes. "They are not being allowed into his room, but they open his door holding out flowers and call out words of encouragement until the guards drive them away." Issawi is the Palestinian man from E. Jerusalem who has refused solid food for eight months in protest of his being arrested for 'violating the terms of his release from prison': he visited Jerusalem suburbs. Thousands of Palestinians have protested for his release. This week he appealed to Israelis in a letter on Facebook calling on them to intervene and help free him.
**Former Likud minister Moshe Arens called to take down the separation barrier, Maariv reported in a small item on page 20. "Today it is clear the separation wall has no utility. It causes Israel damage in the international arena and makes the Palestinians' daily lives difficult," said Arens in a conversation with Maariv's Arik Bender. "The wall is ugly. It is like a scar on the face and a scar on the Land of Israel," said Arens who served as Interior Security minister under Begin, Shamir and Netanyahu. Arens never referred to the barrier as the 'security fence,' as government officials do.
- Israel's Attorney General backs move to cut funding of West Bank yeshiva due to violence against Palestinians - The request was made to cut educational funds to the Yitzhar settlement by the Education Ministry during Gideon Saar's term, using information from the security agencies who pointed to involvement of students at the school in torching a mosque and attacking IDF troops. Some 22 students from the yeshiva have restraining orders to stay out of the yeshiva or out of the W. Bank altogether. (Haaretz and Yedioth, p.10)
- IDF training Jewish trackers instead of Bedouin - After the job of IDF tracker was for years in the hands of the Bedouin, the IDF has begun training field school graduates and nature loves for the challenging job. (Maariv, p. 1/NRG Hebrew)
- Palestinian Poll: Major drop in support for rocket fire, Hamas - Survey conducted by Palestinian think tank in West Bank, Gaza reveals drop in support for 'violent resistance', support for Hamas. (Ynet)
- UN: Israel's Gaza restrictions hitting food stocks' - Deteriorating security situation' leads Israel to enforce new Gaza sanctions, claims UN body, but says sanction could have 'serious' effects if prolonged. (Agencies, Ynet)
- With no indictments in sight in Ben Zygier case, court extends gag order by 2 weeks - If the prosecution can't decide on charges by next deadline, it will allow some light to be shed on the alleged Mossad agent's case. (Haaretz)
- Israel charges Arab citizen who confessed to training with Syrian rebels - Shin Bet last month arrested Taibeh man, 29, who also said he was asked twice to conduct terrorist attacks against the Syrian regime and Jewish targets in Israel, but refused. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- The Holy See demands Jerusalem remove the public toilets - The Vatican is suing the Jerusalem municipality to evacuate a building it owns in the Old City and pay 352, 000 shekels for rent not paid since 1967. (Maariv, p. 18)
- Foreign ministers slated to meet with Netanyahu are getting Steinitz instead - Top diplomats visiting Israel are being referred to Strategic and Intelligence Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, since Interim Foreign Minister Netanyahu is having a hard time keeping up with his busy schedule. (Haaretz)
- Netanyahu to attend funeral of 'staunch friend' Margaret Thatcher - Sources at the Prime Minister's Office confirm that the PM will attend the ceremony; Thatcher is considered one of the leaders who most inspired Netanyahu, especially with regard to his economic ideology. (Haaretz)
- Knesset members slam Lieberman's call to cut their pay - Lieberman calls on MKs to take a 10 percent wage cut until the end of 2014, in view of the deficit; MKs who went on the record as supporting the wage cut blast it when off the record. (Haaretz)
- 5 suspected of racist attack against Ethiopians - Police believe five young men from south Tel Aviv beat two Israelis of Ethiopian descent thinking they were migrants. Officers say they have no doubt assaults were racially-motivated. (Ynet)
- Turkey PM delays Gaza trip after U.S. warns it may harm reconciliation with Israel - Turkey-Israel negotiations over compensation agreements scheduled to begin Thursday have also been delayed by 10 days, due to Erdogan's trip to Kyrgyzstan this week, an Israeli official has said. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Israeli TV shows are already a hit abroad, but producers believe the sky's the limit' - We're not good at the Olympics or soccer, but we're good at telling stories.' says Israeli producer Avi Armoza. 'It's possible to develop the high-tech model for the content industry too.' (Haaretz)
- Lapid opposes ICL sale to Canadian Potash Corp - Finance minister tells ministry officials he intends to wage belligerent policy to preserve Israel's natural treasures, which he calls 'public asset.' (Agencies, Ynet)
- Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad offers resignation - Fayyad disagrees with President Mahmoud Abbas over policy, Reuters reports. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Report: Egyptian army tortured, killed protesters during revolution - The Guardian has reported committee formed by Morsi found army forces - including highest commanders - involved in serious human rights violations during uprising. (Ynet)
- Extremist Syrian rebel group pledges allegiance to al-Qaida - Jabhat al-Nusra, considered the most effective fighting force among Syrian rebel groups, pledges obedience to al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri; however, it distanced itself from claims it had merged with al-Qaida in Iraq. (Agencies, Haaretz)
The breach is calling the soldiers
They follow hackers, prevent internet attacks and accept among their ranks only the most brilliant minds. First interview with Colonel N., who together with his soldiers is responsible for the defense in cyberspace of the Israeli defense systems. He talks about how young people are streaming to his unit, on the level of readiness of the army and on the fast growth of the unit. "The attackers are always improving their types of attacks, their character and their targets. On our part, we are learning and getting to know them. If we find the hackers in the networks, we have the ability to stop them, as well ass to deal in different and varied ways that give us the ability to do a type of monitoring and control." (Yochai Ofer, Maariv Magazine)
Israeli Arab female rappers find themselves caught in the middle
The two women in the group Arapeyat are shunned by music stations in both Israel and the Arab world, but they're still rapping. (Haaretz)
Lapid's limitations (Haaretz Editorial) Lapid should learn the difference between running for Knesset and ruling.
A letter from a ghost (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) Samer Issawi has sustained his hunger strike for 8 months and counting. Israel is bored.
What makes John Kerry tick? (Prof. Abraham Ben-Zvi, Israel Hayom) It appears John Kerry is more determined to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than Barack Obama is.
The unbearable loneliness of being Bibi (Ari Shavit, Haaretz) Netanyahu, unlike the Israeli public, is concerned with the Iran, the Arab spring, the Palestinians and the economy.
Excuse us for existing (Elyakim Haetzni, Yedioth/Ynet) 'Palestinian' is always poor, accusing side; Israel's job is to take it in stride, practice restraint.
Israel should be a start-up nation - for civilization and values (Danny Schiff, Haaretz) Judaism was the original start-up for some of the world's most profound civilizational insights. As Israel's Independence Day nears, we should be innovating not only in the realm of high-tech - but also in ideas and ethics.
Peace is China's foreign policy (Amb. Gao Yanping, Israel Hayom) New Chinese President Xi Jinping's first foreign trip signals the start of a new era of China's diplomacy.
A friendship without prejudice: Thatcher's kinship with Jews and Israel (James Kirchick, Haaretz) Thatcher's personal narrative of the determined outsider made good has clear Jewish resonances, and may explain her well-known affinity for Jews and her defense of Israel.
Cut the chatter on Iran - negotiations are failing (Emily B. Landau, Haaretz) When it comes to the Islamic regime, time is short and the window of opportunity is closing. The longer we look for compromise, the more leverage they have against us.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem