APN's daily news review from Israel
Friday April 26, 2013
Quote of the day:
"Death to Arabs...Go away."
--Graffiti written on door of apartment rented by young Arabs in Tel-Aviv.**
Front Page News:
- The red line - After denying previous assessments, the US approved Israel's reports that Assad attacked using chemical weapons. Will Obama stand by his word and intervene in Syria?
- IDF to probe if drone from Lebanon tried to photograph or to make an attack
- Amb. Ben-Arieh recants (in graft case against Lieberman): "Don't remember"
- The case should not be shelved - The negligence that permitted Zygier's suicide (What happened in Wing 15?)
- IDF wants to release tens of thousands of reserve soldiers from service
- After the airline agreement, the government is targeting the ports and the car industry
- How Bat-Yam became the family business of the Lihiani brothers
- Citizens initiate legislation
- Warsaw wants to become the new Berlin
- The people who won't give up the fax // Roee Chicky Arad
- 1/4 page ad: Mahsom Watch - Invitation to tours - Come experience the day-to-day life of two peoples in the West Bank. We will get to know the two ways of life, we will meet with Palestinians in their villages and we will get an idea about what is demanded from IDF soldiers serving in the West Bank. Two states for two peoples? For info: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Two fingers from Haifa - The Hezbollah drone
- US admits: Israel was right
- More drone than brains // Alex Fishman
- News for soldiers: Pay raise
- Doomsday weapon: Treasury recommends prohibiting by law the striking of ports, airports and the electric company
- The cindarellas of Ramleh - Surprise in women's basketball
- Hot Lag B'Omer
- "Iran threatened by Israeli missiles carrying hydrogen bombs" (Hebrew)
- After the denials, the US admits: "Assad used chemical weapons against civilian population" (Hebrew)
- Appears that Begin plan for regulation of Bedouin population in Negev to be corrected, tens of thousands of dunams of land to remain under State ownership (Hebrew)
- Another toothpick in the bonfire - Lag B'Omer officially begins Sunday, children began 'rehearsals' last night
- Lieberman trial, first day: The conversation that was or wasn't between the foreign minister and Amb. Ben-Arieh (Hebrew)
- Basketball: Elitzur Ramleh surprised and won women's league championship
- US admits: Assad attacked with chemical weapons
- Drone intercepted opposite Haifa coast
- Lieberman trial: Central witness says "Don't remember"
- Fire hot - Lag B'Omer holiday begins Sunday, but yesterday children began celebrating with potatoes around the bonfires
- "Honorary citizens" of Jerusalem - to Dr. Miryam and Sheldon Adelson...
- Minister Lapid trying to lower the height of the flames: Will meet next week with (Histadrut chief) Eini
- Report on death of Ben Zygier: Received devastating news from wife on day of suicide
The US admits Israel was right about Syrian chemical weapons, a drone was shot down opposite Haifa coast, a key witness in the Lieberman graft trial recants and news on the Prisoner X case were top stories in Friday's Israeli papers. And, Maariv reports that a top expert on Iranian nukes says Iran - not Israel - is under existential threat.
After what is now agreed to be an Israeli diplomatic gaffe that caused the US embarrassment, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel acknowledged yesterday that Israel was right - the Syrian regime likely used chemical weapons against its civilian population. The UK Foreign Office also declared it has intelligence on chemical weapons use in Syria. However, the White House added that such assessments were not enough and that "credible and corroborated" facts were needed. Hagel said he was surprised to hear the Israeli assessment that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons - a previously declared 'red line' by the US - and that Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon did not alert him to it when they met in Tel Aviv. A senior Israeli military officer told Haaretz that chemical weapons appear to have been used in five cases. He said "dozens" of people were killed in the attacks when a "sarin-type" chemical was dispersed.
Israel Hayom's Yoav Limor writes that Jerusalem was forced to work overtime to reassure the Americans that they weren't being manipulated into taking military action in Syria. But US lawmakers have demanded action. :We do not want them to fall into the wrong hands," said Senator John McCain. Democrat Dianne Feinstein said, "Red lines have been crossed."
Maariv's Amir Rappaport weighs in saying that the US admission will not change the situation in the short-term and that the US will find ways to make its red lines more flexible. Rappaport also notes that the Israeli announcement caused tension in US-Israel relations - on a week where it was almost completely finalized on a massive aid package to Israel of new types of weapons. Rappaport writes that Israel is already using all its military aid on other deals, so the payment will come from the monies Israel will receive in the new Israeli aid package that will go into effect in October 2017. (NRG Hebrew)
The IDF is examining whether the Lebanese drone it shot down opposite the Haifa coast actually had the ability to collect and broadcast information on offshore gas fields - or to harm Israelis. Israel blames Hezbollah, which denies involvement. However, Lebanese sources told local media that the denial stems from a failed mission. Haaretz's Amos Harel, reminds readers that "the last time a drone was launched from Lebanon, in October 2012, it was an operation of the Iranian Revolutionary guards in Lebanon with Hezbollah assistance. That time, despite empty statements by Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, the drone was mainly as a media trick. The cameras that had apparently been attached to it could not broadcast in real time any major distance back, and so the claim that the drone had managed to approach the Dimona reactor did not actually have much to it."
Yedioth's Alex Fishman wrote that the drone was a demonstration of Hezbollah's weakness - both its leader and the organization itself. According to Fishman, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Nasrallah "returned recently from Iran with the clear understanding that Israel is about to attack. The Iranians are convinced that Israel plans a military confrontation with them and that Hezbollah also needs to be prepared. In addition to the 'Israeli threat,' the international and local Lebanese criticism of Hezbollah's involvement in Syria is increasing." Fishman and Maariv's Amir Rappaport write that the drone was meant to divert attention away from Hezbollah's controversial Syria actions.
The court-ordered gag order on the full report of the investigation into the suicide of Mossad agent Ben Zygier, 'Prisoner X,' was removed revealing that Zygier was suicidal prior to his arrest. Moreover, on the day of his suicide his wife visited him and told him something that upset him greatly - causing them both to cry. The report found no evidence of foul play, but said the failures by the prison service may have contributed to his death. Nevertheless, the State prosecutor announced he will not indict Zygier's prison guards for not watching him closely.
Haaretz's Amir Oren writes that "We must not accept the argument that Zygier's suicide simply couldn't be prevented - and that no warden or mental health professional will be held accountable for failing to act on the ample warning signs...Now, he can be understood not only a man who stood accused - and of security offenses at that - but also as a victim. Though it was he who took his own life, with his own hands, the state that employed him and arrested him and conducted a "serious crime" case against him, enabled the suicidal act with its negligence."
Maariv splashed across its front page an interesting detail from a recently released lengthy report: The country that truly faces an existential threat is actually Iran, not Israel. Anthony Cordesman, a world-renowned expert on Iranian nukes at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote in a report titled, The Gulf Military Balance II: The Missile and Nuclear Dimensions, that Iran is threatened by Israeli missiles carrying lethal hydrogen bombs, whose intensity is 100 times more than a 'standard' nuclear bomb - and which are pointed at Iranian civilian populations. The missiles would be likely fired from nuclear submarines Israel Dolphin submarines Israel bought from Germany. One more important and deadly point is that launching these missiles from the sea will cause the movement of nuclear fallout from the west of Iran to the east across the whole country, summarizes Maariv's Amir Rappaport. "The Iranians are able to threaten Israel with small bombs from the sea or through long-range missiles (they won't have the ability to launch nuclear bomb in a missile for a few years), but they need to take into account the that the fallout will also affect Arabs population centers," wrote Rappaport. (NRG Hebrew)
- **Racism in Tel Aviv: 'Death to Arabs' on apartment door - Unknown assailants break into apartment inhabited by Arab youngsters, spray-paint 'death Arabs' and 'go away'. Police launch an investigation. (Ynet)
- Absolut bottle dedicated to Tel Aviv - Israeli metropolis commemorated in special edition of Swedish vodka brand. Bottle design inspired by first Hebrew city's ficus tree boulevards, serves as tribute to alcohol-filled nights in city associated with club and nightlife culture. (Ynet)
- Israeli forces uproot 700 olive trees near Jenin - Israeli forces on Thursday uprooted over 700 olive trees near Arraba village in the northern West Bank. On Tuesday, Israeli forces destroyed over 1,300 olive trees in the south Hebron hills of the southern West Bank. (Maan)
- Man injured as Israeli forces storm wedding in Issawiya, E. Jerusalem - Undercover Israeli forces on Wednesday shot a Palestinian man and detained three others in a raid on Issawiya in East Jerusalem. The forces raided a wedding party in the village, and local young men pelted them with stones. (Maan)
- '3 children detained' by Israeli police in Issawiya, E. Jerusalem - Israeli police detained three children, aged 13, on Thursday morning during a raid in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiyeh. Issawiya is the hometown of Samer Issawi, who ended a 266-day hunger strike on Wednesday after Israel agreed to release him in eight months. (Maan)
- Locals say Israeli tanks, bulldozers enter Gaza - Eight bulldozers were accompanied by tanks, entering approximately 100 meters into farming land east of Khan Younis, witnesses said. On Wednesday, witnesses reported a similar incident east of Beit Hanoun. At the time, an Israeli army spokeswoman said there was "routine activity adjacent to the security fence," without providing further details. (Maan)
- Jerusalem agrees to honor Prof. Yeshayhu Leibowitz after years of strife - Rightists and ultra-Orthodox city council members have repeatedly protested against naming of street after renowned Israeli Orthodox philosopher who spoke out against the occupation, settlements and the IDF. (Haaretz and NRG Hebrew)
- Israel delivers stop work order to Hebron clinic - Israeli forces handed down a stop work order on Wednesday, halting construction on a rehabilitation center in a Hebron clinic. The clinic in the Susiya village serves more than 150 people and is the only clinic in the area. (Maan)
- Israeli forces shoot, injure teen near Jenin - Israeli forces on Wednesday shot and injured a Palestinian teenager in the foot as he was trying to cut part of the separation wall in the northern West Bank. (Maan)
- IDF planning major cuts to reservists, exempting tens of thousands - Under the plan, only those who are frequently called up and serve many days a year would be attached to the IDF, potentially exempting more than 150,000 of them who are not called up for duty at all. (Haaretz)
- Ultra-orthodox group: Resist draft with all your soul - They are not waiting for Military Police to arrest deserters - an emergency guide being distributed over past few days within haredi communities, yeshivas, reflects resistance planned for upcoming drafts; includes story about 93 Krakow girls who committed suicide. (Ynet)
- Committee proposes fines for ultra-Orthodox draft dodgers in 3 years - The Forum for Citizen Equal Rights and Obligations rejects the Peri Committee's gradual induction phase of enlistment reform, saying the group will hit the streets if the government does not immediately begin drafting haredim and fining draft-dodgers. (Israel Hayom)
- Fatwa council approves artificial insemination for prisoners' wives - The Palestinian Supreme Fatwa Council on Wednesday approved artificial insemination for the wives of Palestinians in Israeli jails. The Razan Medical Center for Infertility, which has clinics in Ramallah and Nablus, has offered free insemination treatment to the wives of political prisoners who manage to smuggle sperm out of Israeli jails. (Maan)
- U.S. denies plan to convene 4-way Mideast summit in June - Despite denials, well-placed U.S. sources insist that a four-way summit heralding the launch of renewed talks between Israel and the Palestinians had been discussed with Mideast leaders and foreign ministers. (Haaretz)
- Hamas slams Palestinian Authority for postponing UN resolutions - Hamas on Thursday condemned a reported decision by the Palestinian Authority to postpone five UNESCO resolutions following US intervention. Israel radio said the PA agreed to bury the resolutions as part of a deal with Jordan and Israel, brokered by Washington. (Maan)
- Congressmen blast UN official blaming US, Israel for Boston attack - Chairmen of Congressional Israel Allies Caucus urge Secretary-General Ban to condemn Richard Falk's 'odious' remarks which are 'deep affront to American people.' (Ynet)
- National emergency drill to include missile launching from Syria - After last year the emphasis was on natural disasters, this year the annual drill to be held on 26-30 May will include a scenario of missiles shot from the north. (NRG Hebrew)
- When Israelis study with Iranians - 40,000 students from across the world registered for a new internet course of the Hebrew University on the subject of the brain. Among those who registered: Israelis, Lebanese, and even Iranians. The free course is given through Corsera. (Yedioth Jerusalem supplement, p. 52)
- Want to learn Yiddish or Arabic? Try Facebook - Israelis and Palestinians who have a fever for foreign languages are teaching fans new words every day, in tongues as obscure and ancient as Akkadian and Aramaic. (Haaretz)
- President Peres to meet with Pope Francis - Israeli president to become one of the first world leaders to meet new pope. Peres to meet with Italian president, prime minister and Jewish leaders as well. City of Assisi to honor Peres "in recognition of his unique contribution to dialogue and the cause of peace." (Israel Hayom)
- Canada's PotashCorp drops takeover bid for Israel Chemicals - Canadian company issues a statement saying the deal would have benefited both countries, but that there must be 'receptivity' in Israel to foreign investment. (Haaretz)
- Wanted at Hadassah Hospital: A volunteer piano repair person - Because of difficult economic situation, hospital can't pay 3,000 shekels for broken piano at hospital's hospice to be repaired. (Yedioth Jerusalem supplement, p. 64)
- Ultra-Orthodox campaigning for Beit Safafa - Ultra-Orthodox representatives in Jerusalem municipality arrived at the Arab neighborhood and expressed shock the city plans to build a 6-lane highway through it.The neighborhood has been battling the city for months against the plan. The local mukhtar is not excited: "Where were they all this time? It's probably too late." (Yedioth Jerusalem supplement, p. 34)
- Appeal: Freeze city's new master plan - Association for Civil Rights in Israel and the Bimkom organization oppose Jerusalem's master plan and appealed to the court that it discriminates against residents in E. Jerusalem. The plan, which includes extensive changing green areas in E. Jerusalem to residential areas, is opposed by left- and right-wing groups. Although it has not passed, municipal committees use it as a binding 'political document,' according to which they approve or deny new building plans. (Yedioth Jerusalem Bonus supplement, p. 20)
- Beneath Syria's dark clouds of war, a silver lining: Israel a conduit for regional trade - Israel has seen a sharp increase in trucks from Jordan and Turkey passing through, given that they can no longer travel through Syria. Turkish trucks arrive by ferry, then drive into Jordan and Iraq. (Haaretz)
- The sad shopping festival at Damascus Gate - In E. Jerusalem, they prepared for a big shopping happening that was supposed to last 4 days, but Minister of Interior Security Yitzhak Aharonovich ordered police to close it down on its first day. The reason: He claimed it was being held without permission. (Yedioth Jerusalem supplement, p. 42)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.