APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday April 29, 2013
Quote of the day:
"I think that is a twisted use of the Holocaust. Like frightening us with all kinds of Iranian threats, or by warning that a million Africans will invade Israel − this is actually a primitive method to keep the masses of the people of Israel in a state of constant fear."
--Prof. Raphi Walden, co-chairperson of Physicians for Human Rights, on why the Jewish people stopped caring about the Other.**
Front Page News:
- Cabinet held special meeting over Syria's chemical weapons
- Netanyahu tried (but failed) to put Lieberman's right-hand man back in the Foreign Ministry
- Second day of fires: One broke out at Ma'asiyahu Prison
- Trend change in Jerusalem: Number of ultra-Orthodox students dropped, number of secular students rose
- Battle over IDB Research - Court rebuked banks: "Why did you give loans without guarantees?"
- Air pollution in China worsens, generation of children closed indoors
- (Journalist) Gad Sukenik on Emmanuel Rozen: "This is the tip of the iceberg in the affair" (of journalist Emmanuel Rosen accused of sexually harassing dozens of female journalists)
- Education Minister considers Friday holiday for pupils - And shorter summer vacation
- Crisis of the family doctors - More and more retiring and no one to replace them
- Storm in the pocket - Government approved new currency bills of 50 and 200 shekels, but rising criticism because no Mizrachi Jews on the face of any bills
- Wanted: New IDF Spokesman
- Advanced chemistry // Nahum Barnea
- Kornfein speaks - Chairman of Beitar Jerusalem soccer team in special interview
- The presidential bangs - President Obama also got a haircut (on annual press dinner)
- Learn from the Iranians - Teacher who immigrated from Iran: This is the secret of the success of the students
- The rebels: Israel shelled the chemical weapons headquarters in Syria - Sharp dispute between Israeli intel agencies on intervention necessary in Syria; Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan: "Assad and Syria are not security threats to Israel" (Hebrew)
- Historical tragedy: Thousands of years old archaeological sites destroyed in fighting in Syria (Hebrew)
- Kerry's "economic peace" plan gathering speed: European Union likely to control passages (Hebrew)
- Yachimovich admits: I lost 4 mandates because of ignoring the diplomatic issue (with the Palestinians) (Hebrew)
- Histadrut increasing threats of strike: "Work dispute within days"
- (Histadrut Chairman) Eini threatens with strike; Government considering: Law
- Education Minister Prion examining: Giving teachers back days off through five Fridays off
- Revolution on wheels: Car reforms approved by government
- Olmert and Dagan, again: "They exaggerated about Iran"
- Dagan, you have no right to reveal secrets // Shlomo Cesena
- Add the heat wave to the bonfire
- Member of the committee for choosing new currency bills: I don't know any outstanding Mizrachi from the 20th century
- Drama in the skies: British Airways pilot tried to land three times, passengers fainted
- Following the exposure of the Emmanuel Rosen affair: Testimonies against other men in the media (for sexual harassment)
The question whether Israel should intervene in Syria, the declarations that Iran is not a threat to Israel and a storm over the faces on the new currency bills were today's top stories in Israeli papers. Meanwhile, Maariv reported US Secretary of State John Kerry has a plan to have the European Union control Palestinian-Israeli commercial borders passages.
Israel's new cabinet held its first meeting on Syria policy yesterday as the question about whether intervention in Syria - and the fall of Syrian President Bashar Assad is good for Israel or not. One of the issues believed to be discussed was what are Israel's red lines regarding the transfer of chemical or other advanced weapons from Syria to Hezbollah. Maariv's Eli Bardenstein wrote that while one of Israel's intelligence bodies believes that Assad's fall will help weaken the Iranian nuclear threat, another Israeli intelligence body is more concerned about the border in the Golan Heights, which it believes will no longer be secure with Assad's fall. (NRG Hebrew) Meanwhile, Maariv reported that Syrian rebels claim that the Israeli Air Force attacked a chemical weapons headquarters in Damascus. Israel refused to respond to the claims. (NRG Hebrew with VIDEO rebels posted) The UK's military chief Sir David Richards warned that UK intervention in Syria risks dragging UK forces into an all-out war, the Sunday Times reported yesterday.
At a Jerusalem Post conference in New York, many Israeli heavy weights weighed in on the Syria and Iran issues. Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan said Israel should do whatever it can to bring down Assad from a moral standpoint, particularly because of what happened to Jews in the Holocaust. He also said Syria is not a threat to Israel. Dagan further said he disagrees with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu: Iran is not an existential threat to Israel, as its nuclear program can be postponed. (NRG Hebrew) Former prime minister Ehud Olmert also said Iran has yet to cross Netanyahu's red line, noting that top Israeli analysts told the Israeli cabinet that "in the year 2008, and at the latest 2009, the Iranians will have nuclear capability, we took it very seriously. Now, we are in the middle of 2013 - and they still don't have it." But Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz insisted that on Iran, Netanyahu is the Churchill of our time. Former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said Israel can handle the consequences of striking Iran. And, former Military Intel chief Amos Yadlin said Israel does not need the US for an Iran strike and that the US should 'fly B-2s to the Gulf to show its determination to use force if necessary.' Olmert also reiterated that a two-state solution was crucial to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, Haaretz reported.
Maariv reveals another detail in Kerry's "economic peace" plan: allowing the Palestinian security forces to be in charge of the commercial passages between the Palestinian Authority and Israel under European supervision. This would be similar to the situation between Rafah and Egypt 'in the good days.' Israel would watch through cameras. The goal would be to help change the atmosphere between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The information came from an unnamed Palestinian source. Security sources in Jerusalem responded saying that the control would remain in Israel's hands and there is no intention to change that. Last week Maariv reported that Kerry has an "economic peace" plan, by which he will bring in private companies from abroad to invest in the collapsing economy of the Palestinian Authority. (NRG Hebrew)
- Law blocking Israel's enemies from suing the state gets government backing - The draft legislation preventing citizens of enemy nations from suing Israel was inspired by the case of Mustafa Dirani, a Lebanese man who sued the state from jail. (Haaretz)
- Yachimovich: We lost four mandates because I didn't deal with the diplomatic issues - In a meeting with Labor party activists, the party's chief said for the first time: "We lost two mandates to Meretz and two to Hatnua from left-wingers to whom a peace agreement was important to them...It turns out that unlike Lapid, we don't have the privilege of not speaking a word about the issue." (Maariv, p. 8/NRG Hebrew)
- Court delays evacuation of illegal West Bank outpost of Amona until July - Clearing of area was scheduled for end of this month, but state asked for postponement because of new government. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- IDF first army to use powdered plasma in the field - Freeze-dried plasma has been around since 1945 and has already begun saving lives in Israel. (Haaretz)
- More detainees held longer without seeing judge in 2012 - Last year the Shin Bet held 10 detainees for 48 to 72 hours before seeing a judge, compared with four in 2011. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
- Iraqi children to undergo heart surgery in Israel - Israel-based international organization Save a Child's Heart coordinates arrival of children - 1, 4 and 5 - to Israeli hospital; 180 Iraqi children treated in Israeli operating rooms in recent decade. (Ynet)
- MK Stern defends drafting gunman who killed 4 Arabs in shooting spree - Rejects argument by Eden Natan-Zada's parents that their son, who killed four Arabs in Shfaram and was beaten to death by a crowd, should have been released from service because of his extremist views. Says army service is often 'moderating factor' on extremists. (Haaretz)
- Sephardi chief rabbi blames 'devil' for plan to enlist ultra-Orthodox - Rabbi Shlomo Amar says the devil has prompted people jealous of Torah study to fight against it. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Palestinian detainee escapes, unnoticed by Border Guard officers - Infiltrator arrested for illegal residency escapes from transport en route to prison, as Border Guard officers don't notice; man is still missing, not considered dangerous. (Ynet)
- Lebanon bans 'The Attack' because it was partly filmed in Israel - The Lebanese Interior Ministry revoked the permit for the film following a letter of protest from the Israel Boycott Office of the Arab League. (Haaretz)
- Jerusalem seeks 10 million tourists - Mayor Nir Barkat tells UJA-Federation of New York delegation, 'The more culture and business we create in the city, the more tourists we'll bring.' (Ynet)
- French court: Jerusalem rail does not violate international law - Dismisses claim that French firms violated human rights by helping to build the rail system running through East Jerusalem. (Haaretz)
- Syrian missiles hit Jordan as Assad forces step up air strikes against rebels - Two air force generals said to have defected to Jordan with their MiG-21 fighter jets. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Defected Syrian general claims he was ordered to use chemical weapons - Former Assad army general asserts he used harmless substance instead; statement aired on an anti-Assad TV channel, raising questions over veracity of claims; Syrian rebels claim Assad used chemical weapons near Damascus last week. (Agencies, Haaretz)
Love in the time of racism: The new, dangerous low in the campaign to stop interracial relationships
Incitement over relationships between Jewish women and Arab men has been rising sharply in Israel in recent years. A new report examines the phenomenon and its real aims. (Haaretz)
The Iranian test
"Mathematics studies and exams in Iran are much harder than in Israel. There is also more respect for teachers and order in classes. The children's behavior is more cultured...At school in Israel, I heard a pupil call his teacher 'cheeky.' In Iran they wouldn't dare talk that way to their children." 'It's worrying to hear what she has to say about our education system compared to that of Ahmedinejad,' writes reporter Moshe Ronen. Sarah Hakiki, a 26-year-old teacher at an elementary school in Jerusalem who lives in Adam (settlement), grew up with Muslim and Christian neighbors and never experienced anti-Semitism. She immigrated from Teheran seven years ago with an Iranian matriculation certificate. "In the elementary school where I studied, there was at least one Jew in every class. They respected us as Jews and always said the regime is against the Zionists, not Jews." (Yedioth '24 Hours' supplement)
Putting Cremisan Valley on the Pope's agenda - Court rules monastery be severed from convent by West Bank barrier
The court has spoken and the valley will be split by the barrier. The Special Appeals Committee of the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court approved land appropriation for the barrier along a route that would annex about 75 percent of the convent's property and enclose it on three sides. Residents of Beit Jala, whose village abuts the valley, say there has not been any violence there in many years, without any barrier. They believe that the real reason for the planned route cutting through the village is that Israel wants to connect the West Bank Jewish settlement of Har Gilo to the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo. Some 3,000 dunams of their farmland will remain on the Israeli side and they will have to pass through gates to cultivate it. The section of the barrier that was just approved marks almost the final stage of its encirclement of Jerusalem. (Haaretz)
Should Britain apologize for the Balfour Declaration? (James Renton, Haaretz) Rather than a colonist's lovesong to Zionism, as some pro-Palestinian U.K. campaigners now claim, the Balfour Declaration of 1917 was based on miscalculations, anti-Semitism and propaganda - and set in train a war that is yet to end.
Is US moving to accommodate Iran? (David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom) Veteran U.S. diplomat Thomas Pickering's "Iran Project" is paving the way for a climb-down from Obama's declared policy of preventing (and not merely containing) Iran's obtainment of a nuclear weapon.
For the glory of the Arab workers (Oudeh Basharat, Haaretz) The lumping of Arabs with those who are not interested in working is immoral and also contrary to the facts. The finance minister must first free up lands and establish industrial zones; only then can he call on Arabs to work.
Sadat was also called a clown (Aluf Benn, Haaretz) Like Sadat, who repeatedly warned that he would go to war and was described by his rivals as a clown, Netanyahu too is suffering assaults on his credibility and courage.
Who benefits from intervention in Syria? (Dr. Reuven Berko, Israel Hayom) Western intervention in the Syrian conflict will inevitably put Islamists in power and work against Israeli interests.
The IDF and Iran's common take on religion (Kobi Niv, Haaretz) The previous military rabbi talked about developing Jewish awareness among Israeli commanders and soldiers - all of them, not just religious ones. And that's just one example.
Red lines - Good morning, Obama (Smadar Peri, Yedioth) You don't need chemical weapons to incriminate the head of a state who uses hooligans, sends planes to bomb civilians who are waiting in line for bread, allows the torture, rape and killing of children and women in interrogation rooms...
Only religious reform will give Israel its end-of-apartheid moment (Avishai Tzadik, Haaretz) Israelis and Palestinians lack the leadership necessary to make peace, and it is unlikely to emerge in the absence of a unifying religious force like the Anglican Church in South Africa in the 1990s.
The finance minister's road show (Haaretz Editorial) By deciding not to accord respect to the Knesset and not to deliver his important speeches there, Lapid is undercutting the democratic role of the legislature.
The red line of the Rashleh (Uri Elitzur, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) Elitzur discusses the recent White House determination that, "that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically the chemical agent sarin," in light of US President Barack Obama's statement that the use of chemical weapons would constitute crossing a red line. The author says, "Obama's red line is, in effect, the point at which America will have no choice but to admit that it has no idea what to do," and adds, "The truth is that neither does Israel have any idea what to do as it becomes clear that the end of Assad is also liable to mean the end of 40 years of quiet on our border with Syria."
U.S. in no hurry to go after Assad's chemical weapons (Amos Harel, Haaretz) A major operation would involve 'boots on the ground' - precisely the scenario that President Obama is seeking to avoid.
Advanced chemistry (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth) The issue of the war in Syria is complicated because the choice is between an inferno and hell...
Pushing back the red line on Syria (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) President Assad crossed the red line on using chemical weapons, but as long as he does not lose them or use them again, Israel and the U.S. are hesitant to go ahead with an attack.
**A different kind of Israeli: Prof. Raphi Walden on why the Jewish people stopped caring
Walden, co-chairperson of Physicians for Human Rights, says that Israeli leaders cynically exploit our fears in order to stay in power. Still, he has not lost hope for peace. (Interviewed by Ayelett Shani in Haaretz)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.