APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday May 27, 2013
Quote of the day:
"This is what happens when a young person with values is harshly punished for sticking to his morals, while thousands of male and female liars without any conscience are completely exempted from proving they stand by their fake morals."
--Yedioth commentator Yaron London lambasts system that imprisons conscientious objector Natan Blanc for refusing to serve in an occupying military.**
Front Page News:
- Attorney General Weinstein: Someone accused of accepting bribes is not fit to serve as mayor
- Nasrallah fighting inside Syria - over Lebanon - Rockets shot at Shiite neighborhood in Beirut // Zvi Bar'el
- The Sunni Dahiya doctrine // Amos Harel
- Because of pressure by Habayit Hayehudi, military service of 'hesder yeshiva' students will only be extended by one month
- Settlements expanded by 8,000 dunams in last year (the size of the city of Bat Yam)
- The battery ran out on Better Place - Shai Agassi's dream of electric cars came to an end: The company filed for bankruptcy
- (Better Place electric cars) - End of an Israeli dream
- A sad day // Sever Plocker
- In a better place // Raanan Shaked
- At the last moment: (Defense Minister) Yaalon tried to remove the central article in the draft law
- But the gas does not stop: Gasoline prices to rise by 25 agorot
- Today: Two sirens as part of Home Front drill
- Launched and disappeared - Avner Tzahori (32) left an unclear letter and many worried friends behind
- Blue and White and Cannes - The most daring Israeli (designer) on the red carpet
- Going out to battle - Nochi Dankner to court: Reject the request to take over IDB Holdings
- Draft guideline: Service of 'Hesder yeshiva' students won't be extended by two years (Hebrew)
- After midnight: Explosion heard in Metulla area, army began searches (Hebrew)
- Peres in Jordan: "Bring a diplomatic breakthrough" (Hebrew)
- Wave of violence in Europe did not surprise many of the locals. The whole continent, the experts agree, is sitting on a powder keg (Hebrew)
- A day after Nasrallah's speech in support of Assad, rockets shot at Dahiya neighborhood in Beirut
- Germany to allow payments to Holocaust survivors who were children at the time of the Holocaust and were psychologically and physically harmed
- Electric and its name is disappointment- Better Place announced the end of its journey yesterday
- The battery finished - Better Place files for bankruptcy
- You bought a Better Place car? Now you have a problem
- 'Hesder yeshiva' soldiers to serve 17 months
- The national home front drill: Today sirens sounded at 12:30 and 19:05
- The race for the chief rabbi: The Amar-Ariel deal fell through
- Metulla residents heard an explosion yesterday; Examining report from Lebanon of rocket launched towards Israel
The bankruptcy of Better Place electric car company, the deadlock over the ultra-Orthodox draft, the attack on the Hezbollah district of Beirut and the declarations of peace - and conditions - at the World Economic Forum in Jordan were top stories in Hebrew papers today. Meanwhile, a right-wing Israeli MK visits the Temple Mount ahead of her wedding, some settlers condemn the attack on Arab doctors in Bat Ayin settlement and two Israeli lawyers fighting for the rights of Palestinians receive a human rights award.
Israeli President Shimon Peres told the audience of leaders at the World Economic Forum in Jordan that peace was possible based on the Arab Peace Initiative and that Israelis wanted it. But Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that the Palestinians won't accept a deal based on temporary borders and that Palestinian youth are losing faith in a two-state solution. In his speech, Peres said there is "no country, no leader that we consider an enemy," adding "President Abbas, you are our partner, and we are yours. We can and should make the breakthroughs." And the Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said it the Israeli government, not any other official, who must say it accepts the 1967 borders as the basis for negotiations. Videos of different speeches here.
Back home, some MKs were outraged by Peres's speech, as was expected. Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz accused Peres of purporting to be the government's spokesman. Tourism Minister Uzi Landau warned against returning to "Auschwitz borders." Pro-settler Habayit Hayehudi leader Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett said that most of the Israeli public opposes a withdrawal. He opposed Peres' support for the Arab League Initiative and said that peace and security will come through strength and not weakness and withdrawals, NRG reported. On the other hand, Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz expressed hope and support of Peres' speech. "Obviously any diplomatic agreement would have to be based on 1967 borders and land swaps," Peretz said. "I certainly think that the moment of truth is upon us, and that Kerry's presence is extremely important.
Less than 12 hours after Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah's televised speech of support for the Syrian regime, rockets fell on the Hezbollah neighborhood of Beirut. While no group took responsibility, a senior member of the Free Syrian Army warned there would be more if Hezbollah did not stop supplying fighters to aid Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Arab League chief Nabil El-Araby condemned the attack, but called on Hezbollah to stop fighting in Syria. The Israeli commentators warn this could lead to another civil war in Lebanon. The Bahraini Foreign Minister called Nasrallah 'a terrorist' and said Hezbollah must be stopped.
Following the report by Maariv on the attack by Bat Ayin settlers on Arab doctors who were on a tour with Jewish doctors from the Clalit HMO organized by the Gush Etzion Field School (see Friday's News Nosh), the head of the field school, Yaron Rosental, attacked the settlers on his Facebook page, writing: "We will not remain long here in Gush Etzion if it is not based on a moral foundation. I believe co-existence in Gush Etzion is our guarantee to continue to live here and we cannot accept the plague of racism." Dozens of other settlers responded in kind to his letter and invited the doctors back for another trip. (NRG Hebrew)
Instead of a bachelorette party, religious far right-wing Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely went up to the Temple Mount with her family. She appeared in a photograph next to the Dome of the Rock in Maariv this morning. And she made clear that this visit the day before her wedding was also a political act. "Establishing a family is not just a private event. It also wears a public and national aspect of 'building the Horvah synagogue from the ruins of Jerusalem," she said adding, "This is the most holy place to the Jewish people and every Jew needs to have free access to it. Hence, the restrictions on public personas who want to visit the Temple Mount are not right." Last week 14 more far right-wing MKS from Likud and Habayit Hayehudi (Hotovely included) called on the prime minister to revoke the restriction he put on extremist Likud MK Moshe Feiglin from entering the Temple Mount. The fear is he will cause riots. (NRG Hebrew photo of Hotovely and a 'PR photo' of Feiglin bending over on Temple Mount.
Peace Now and Yesh Din human rights lawyer Michael Sfard will receive the 2012 Human Rights Award in the name of Emil Grunzweig, which is awarded annually by the Association for Civil Rights Israel, NRG Hebrew reported. Along with him Adv. Gaby Lasky and the 'Tag Meir Coaliton' will also receive the prize. Grunzweig was a key Peace Now activist who was murdered at a demonstration by a right-wing activist. The award is given to someone or some organization that promotes human rights in Israel. Sfard received the prize because he represents residents of the occupied territories whose human rights were violated. Adv. Gaby Lasky received it "because she represents a 'central pillar' for activists in Israel and the occupied territories ,and she deals tirelessly in defending their rights...Israeli activists, foreign residents and Palestinians who demonstrate against the occupation, as well as Palestinian minors who are arrested by the IDF and brought to military courts." Tag Meir Coalition received it because since founded in 2011 it visits places where 'price tag' attacks occurred and holds 'bright tag' events there, to show support for the locals.
- Israel's West Bank settlements grew by twice the size of New York's Central Park in 2012 - Legally controlled land grew from 530,931 to 538,303 dunams over the course of the year, a total increase of 7,372 dunams. (HaaretzMAP)
- Israeli forces demolish barn, chicken coop near Bethlehem - Israeli forces on Saturday demolished a chicken coop, sheep barn, and a room belonging to Tareq Daoud Ali Rabah from al-Walajeh and built adjacent to Rt. 60 bypass road, and in an area between al-Khader and Beit Jala. (Maan)
- Israeli police arrest 4 in East Jerusalem - The clashes occurred after an Israeli policeman stopped a young Palestinian near Herod's gate and an argument broke out. (Maan)
- Jerusalem experiences wave of politically motivated arson - Since the beginning of May firefighters have been called to the Ofrit base no less than 15 times to put out fires, each one of which was deduced to be arson. Firefighters arriving on scene are frequently greeted by rock barrages. (Israel Hayom)
- Israel must take different legal tack on price-tag attacks, says ex-Shin Bet deputy chief - The Shin Bet can get good intelligence but is often stymied by extremists' refusal to talk, says Yitzhak Ilan. (Haaretz)
- Kerry backs private West Bank economic plan, but little detail - "Is this a fantasy? I don't thing so," says U.S. secretary of state, hoping to draw up to $4 billion in private investment, and likening the peace process to "diplomatic quicksand." Still, Kerry did not specify where the investment would come from. (Israel Hayom and Haaretz)
- Kurdish students in Iraq push for relations with Israel - In University of Kurdistan, students debate whether to forge diplomatic ties with Israel. Debate judge tells Ynet 'arguments focused on historical connection between Jews, Kurds, says believes can have 'fruitful ties.' (Ynet)
- Report: Russia halts sale of S-300 missile system to Syria - Israeli officials denied the report saying that according to the information Israel holds Russia is planning on going forward with the sale though it is not clear when the deal will be finalized. (Haaretz)
- Airlines drop out of Jerusalem conference - Royal Jordanian, Turkish Airlines give in to pressure, withdraw their sponsorship from International Tourism Summit held in capital this week. (Ynet)
- Former Hamas minister briefly detained for insulting famed Egyptian cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi - Former minister in Hamas government Ibrahim Abrash was initially arrested last Thursday by Hamas security forces, interrogated about some of his writings and asked to issue a formal apology but refused. (Maan)
- The government cabinet secretary opposes transparency - Prime Minister-appointed Cabinet secretary Avichai Mandelblitt rejected yesterday the decision by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and ordered not to make public how the powerful 13-member ministerial legislative committee voted on the draft bill. Mandelblitt said the decision to make such votes transparent needs the government cabinet's approval. (Haaretz and Yedioth, p. 16)
- Israeli panel votes to excuse 1,800 elite yeshiva students from IDF service - In first significant step toward equalizing burden of military service, Knesset's Perry Committee submitted its report on IDF reforms; Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon has two years to draft amendments on which yeshiva students will be eligible for exemption. (Haaretz)
- Haredi recruits swear allegiance to IDF - More than 100 haredi regiment's draftees attend Jerusalem ceremony amid rising tension over new draft outline; 'We're in talks with haredi sector, hope to progress,' says Maj. Gen. Alon. (Ynet)
- Draft dodging yeshiva student incarcerated - 2 yeshiva students who illegally dodged army draft for 8 years sentenced to imprisonment. Meanwhile, despite political objections, haredi draft bill expected to pass Peri Committee Sunday. (Ynet)
- Signs of division in Yesha settler council - Fifteen of the 25 individual settler council leaders are rebelling against the umbrella Yesha settlers council leadership by establishing a body that will deal with the municipal needs of the settlers. The 15 says that Yesha council transfers funds to those it is allied with politically. Binyamin Council leader Avi Roeh claimed the Yesha council was dealing mainly with putting out fires, like preventing evacuations of settlers and settlement construction freezes. (Yedioth, p. 16)
- Chechnya building mosque by Jerusalem for 'brethren' lost 500 years ago - The country is putting millions of dollars into building a huge mosque in Abu Ghosh, whose residents trace their ancestry to the Caucasus region. (Haaretz)
- Israeli publishing house recalls book including illegally obtained eulogy of former IDF chief - Editors at Yedioth Publishing failed to get permission from late Chief of Staff Lipkin-Shahak’s wife to use the text. (Haaretz)
- Fragments of Dead Sea Scrolls up for sale - Collectors fork out millions for small pieces of this archaeological treasure. Israel, evangelical Christians, Palestinians and others vie for the last remaining pieces. (Israel Hayom)
- Palestinian company to deliver Qatar-donated fuel to Gaza - a Palestinian freight company will replace the Egyptian Delta company which used to deliver fuel from Suez port to al-Auja crossing. The company, according to the Egyptian source, is affiliated to Hamas and will operate without being escorted by Egyptian troops or police patrols. (Maan)
The Israeli-Palestinian balance of brutality
Neither side wants to know how many children from the other side it has killed since 2000. The following is a reminder. From the beginning of the second intifada, which broke out on September 29, 2000, through April 30, 2013, Israel, the occupying power in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, killed 1,373 Palestinian children up to age 18. Of them, 1,045 were killed in Gaza. Out of 427 children 13 and younger, two are listed as having taken part in the fighting in Gaza, and for one it's unknown if he took part. The remaining 424 were not taking part in the fighting when infantry soldiers, pilots, drone operators or tankers killed them. The number of Gaza children age 14 to 18 that the IDF – commissioned by the citizens of Israel – killed during the same period was 618, 495 of them were not taking part in the hostilities. (More here from Haaretz)
**Refusing to serve - A conscience instead of a psychiatrist (Yaron London, Yedioth) London writes that the state recognizes a number of belief values for which it gives people an exemption from military service: ultra-Orthodox who believe they must study in Yeshiva, young religious women who believe in a conservative way of life and Arabs who don't want to fight their own people. "But the connection between those belief values and the exemption is touched with lies. Druze are forced to serve even though every clash between Israel and its neighbors in the north means they clash with their own people....Many of the women who declare they can't serve because of religious traditions are just getting out of their service for other reasons. This fact is known, but the authorities just accept it and don't run after the women. The ultra-Orthodox dodge service in masses, not because their soul only wants Torah...but because they have developed a culture of parasitism. The only value which is not exempted from service is the one that the courageous refusers raise: refusal to serve in an oppressive occupying army...Some of them are willing to serve society by doing National Service, but the army does not agree to draft them with conditions...Natan Blanc, a reasoned draft refuser, could avoid his service as so many other dodgers. The the mental health officer could easily decide that he whose spirit is not a broken after more than six months in jail" is not able to serve in the army which could endanger his sould and anyway the army won't benefit from him. "The problem with Natan Blanc is that he is an honest man who is not willing to use the escape route they have opened for him. This is what happens when a young person with values is harshly punished for sticking to his morals, while thousands of male and female liars without any conscience are completely exempted from proving they stand by their fake morals."
Settlers have a general in the crosshairs (Haaretz Editorial) So far the head of the IDF's Central Command, Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon, has succeeded in his mission to preserve security while using the least possible violence against Palestinians. Now the settlers want him gone.
The stovepipe chatter has begun (Amos Gilboa, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) A little fire in the Golan and immediately the Chief of Staff and the Commander of the Air Force start beating the war drums without understanding that it is better not to touch the boiling hot Syria, which threatens to burn...The conflict in Syria has many levels: local, regional, international and religious. Our highest interest needs to be not to be pulled into in any way. One who guards his soul keeps his distance...
Jerusalem, a tale of two cities (Eyal Megged, Haaretz) One should not talk about dividing Jerusalem, but about looking at reality as it is. The reality is that there are two cities, and we should face up to this reality unflinchingly, since the danger lies not in this recognition but in turning a blind eye to reality.
Israel's interests in Syria (Efraim Inbar, Israel Hayom) Israel's interests are clear: Stay out of domestic struggles in Syria and destroy any enemy military capabilities there that could hurt Israelis.
The elephant in the West Bank (Yitzhak Laor, Haaretz) Israel's political culture revolves around one’s approach to the occupied territories. This means discussing the fate of millions of people whose voices are unheard, beasts of burden, colonial subjects.
Let's wait 3 years and see (Eitan Haber, Yedioth/Ynet) New haredi draft bill basically says 'equal share' issue was a successful election gimmick.
Preferential Treatment (Yoni Dayan, Ynet) Disproportionate UNRWA aid to Palestinians comes at the expense of other refugees.
The al-Dura report: A slanderous farce and a 'blood libel’ - against Palestinians (Khaled Diab, Haaretz) By suggesting that Mohammed al-Dura’s death was staged, Israel’s government is adapting the blood libel: that a Palestinian father would sacrifice his son just to incite people to kill Jews.
Hezbollah sparking mini-civil war in Lebanon, and only Iran can stop it (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) Hassan Nasrallah's hold in Lebanon hangs in the balance. Hezbollah's fighting in Syria gives Iran an essential role that the West prefers it didn't have.
Hezbollah has no choice (Eli Avidar, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) Nasrallah's speech, the rockets shot on Beirut and the great number of Hezbollah casualties show that the organization is completely committed to Assad's survival...The destroying of the weapons meant for Hezbollah does not worry Nasrallah like the fall of Assad. For Assad, Nasrallah is willing even to give up south Lebanon...
Rocket fire on Hezbollah-stronghold brings Syria’s civil war into the heart of Lebanon (Amos Harel, Haaretz) Sunday's rocket fire on Beirut signals to Hezbollah that if it openly fights on the side of the Assad regime and aids and abets the massacre of the regime’s opponents, someone will see to it that a response will hit the militant group's home court.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.