APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday May 28, 2013
Quote of the day:
"It is a mistake to think the Foreign Ministry needs a person whose views the world would rather hear but do not reflect the government or the majority in Israel."
--Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin tells AP why it's not a problem that he's a settler.**
Front Page News:
- Rise in the scale of the compensation paid following police negligence
- Because of the budget cut: Reservist training exercises in IDF to be cancelled till end of year
- Agreement on draft reform achieved
- Netanyahu blinked first // Yossi Verter
- Lapid succeeded, Bennett even moreso // Amos Harel
- Regulated draft-dodging // Haaretz Editorial
- Comprehensive documentation: Testimonies of systematic use by Assad of chemical weapons
- Young man suspected of stabbing his mother to death and injuring his girlfriend - also attacked two passersby
- In a modest and simple manner, the Pope is blowing life into the Vatican
- Netanyahu to Yaalon: Approve the military draft law
- Rebellion of the slaves // Nahum Barnea
- Like a ripe fruit // Sima Kadmon
- Chief of Staff: The hole in the budget - danger - Will warn Knesset: Harsh cut already froze the army; MKs: We are accustomed to the scares
- It suits him perfectly (like a stamp) - Not just an actor: Haim Topol drew the stamps of the presidents of Israel
- Murdered the day she recovered from cancer - Son stabbed to death his mother Batya Ohana hours after she returned home from the hospital
- Israel is our home - The blind girl and her adopted mother from the Philippines see the light
- Member of the Beitar (soccer team) movement - Eli Saviv agreed to acquire the club from Gaydamak
- Cost to State of budget pension: 19 billion shekels a year -The big treasure Finance Minister Lapid did not touch: 38,000 shekels/month for average pension for judges; 17,500 shekels/month for retiring faculty at Tel-Aviv University; 16,600 shekels/month for average pension for career military personnel whose retirement age is 46; 6,800 shekels/month average pension for civil servant
- Harish residents discovered that the 60,000 sh. grant (for settling the periphery) promised to them was cancelled. 28 other communities were affected
- Lapid threatened to leave the government, Netanyahu ordered Yaalon to retreat (Hebrew)
- Hostage prime minister // Shalom Yerushalmi
- Fighting together - Parents and children at school in Netanya where majority are Ethiopian recruiting 'veteran Israeli' students to prevent the school's closure
- Tryout - Appointment committee of Civil Service Commission to rule whether chairman of Israel Beiteinu youth is suitable to serve as CEO of Ministery of Absorption (Hebrew)
- Prime Minister: Simulated crisis, don't delay draft law
- Don't wait for 2016 - get drafted now // Dan Margalit
- Lapid's card: Hit the ultra-Orthodox // Mati Tuchfeld
- Give more to those that do serve // Dror Eydar
- Again: MK Levine against the High Court - Chairman of coalition promoting change to composition of committee for selecting judges
- Mad rampage: Murdered his mother and stabbed his girlfriend
- Because of the budget cut: IDF considers cancelling reserve drafts and stopping training exercises
- Move to the enemy lines: Senator McCain met with the rebels - inside Syria
- Biggest Home Front drill: Most citizens were indifferent during the sirens
- For second time in a month: Interest rates dropped by 0.25%
Finance Minister Yair Lapid forces Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's hand over the ultra-Orthodox draft, the IDF threatens (again) that its budget will harm the military and a young man murders his ill mother making top stories in today's Israeli papers. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and the Prime Minister's envoy Yitzhak Molho secretly meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry while a source tells Haaretz that an 'economic peace' is not enough for the Palestinian President. Meanwhile, hard right-wing Likud MK and coalition chairman Yariv Levine has proposed a controversial bill and another hard right-wing Likud MK, Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin, gives an interesting interview to The Associated Press.
Chief of Staff Beni Gantz will be telling the Knesset today that the army has an enormous hole in its budget and will be forced to cut training exercises, purchase of equipment and the use of reservists to a minimum. But unlike previous years with similar threats, the Knesset MKs are unmoved this time. "It's not acceptable that every time there is talk of budget cuts, the army will try to scare us," Labor MK Eitan Cabel, chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, told Yedioth. Likud MK Gila Gamliel, who represents the coalition on the Knesset Finance Committee, said, "There must also be a sharing of the burden (of budget cuts) by the defense establishment."
Livni and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's special envoy Yitzhak Molho secretly traveled to Jordan yesterday with discuss with Kerry how to reignite the peace talks with the Palestinians, the papers reported. But they did not report much more than that sentence. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with Kerry a few hours later where he was reportedly put under pressure to renew peace talks without the conditions he made. A source told Haaretz that Kerry's proposal, which focuses on economic peace, cannot serve as basis for negotiations for the Palestinians.
Coalition Chairman Yariv Levin has some plans that some would consider anti-democratic. He is set to present a draft bill aiming to define the Land of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people The bill would give courts the right to prioritize Jewish identity over democracy in rulings that address issues of religion and state, Haaretz explains. The bill also seeks to downgrade status of Arabic as an official language of Israel. Opposition MK Avishai Braverman told Israel Hayom it is 'a disaster.'
**There has been criticism over the appointment of Zeev Elkin as Deputy Foreign Minister, a position in which he represents Israel abroad. He isn't prepared for compromise with the Palestinians. He doesn't speak English well. And he is a West Bank settler. But he told AP he is 'proud to be settler' and that West Bank Jewish communities are a fact of life that must be recognized. Meretz Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On said that "When our foreign relations are based on a settler agenda it is problematic. These are people with an agenda to keep settlements and not reach a compromise. I don't understand how they can manage Israel's foreign relations."
- Girl, 7, injured in hit-and-run collision involving Israeli settler - Bayan Kamel Shatat, 7, was hit by an Israeli settler south of Hebron, Red Crescent officials said. She was moderately wounded and transferred to a nearby hospital for treatment. (Maan)
- Israeli forces escort rightists at Aqsa compound - Israeli security forces and right-wing Jews toured the al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Monday accompanied by intelligence officials, a local group said. Also Monday, settlers from the religious Zionist Ateret Cohanim organization took control of two shops belonging to a Palestinian family in the Old City of Jerusalem. (Maan)
- Settlers slash tires of 15 vehicles in East Jerusalem - Residents in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem told Ma'an that they were surprised to wake up this morning and find their tires punctured. The residents checked footage from a security camera which showed settlers vandalizing the vehicles. This is the fifth incident of its kind to happen recently in the neighborhood. (Maan)
- Palestinian workers say daily journey to Israel 'torturous' - Some are hospitalized for fractures or asphyxia from the incredibly heavy jam and chaos at the crossing every morning. Around 4,000 Palestinian workers from the Hebron district face an arduous journey everyday as they try to cross into Israel via the Tarqumiya checkpoint. (Maan)
- Sources: Rocket fired from south Lebanon toward Israel - Lebanese security sources say rocket was fired Monday morning in Israel's direction, although it wasn't immediately clear where it had landed; Israeli forces are searching Metula region for source of blast. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- UN and Lebanese army conduct search after rocket fire - Meanwhile, Israel continued Monday to breach Lebanese airspace. Four planes flew over the village of Yaroun, Bint Jbeil in the morning followed by two more war planes flying over Rmaish, Bint Jbeil an hour later, the Lebanese Army said in statements. (Lebanon's Daily Star)
- Police paid millions in compensation over negligence, assaults - Beyond the NIS 104 million ($28 million) figure paid in compensation in last five years are the stories of individual citizens who paid and continue to pay a price every day for police negligence and inaction with their bodies and their health. (Haaretz)
- Israel-Turkey reconciliation talks hit impasse over scope of compensation - Ankara, Jerusalem negotiating agreement for restoring ties that would include payment to families of nine Turks killed by IDF on Gaza flotilla, but while Israel is prepared to pay $100,000 to each family, Turkey demands $1 million. (Haaretz)
- Israeli, Turkish manufacturers boost ties - Senior officials meet for first time since crisis to discuss ways to strengthen business relations between countries. 'It's amazing to see how relieved they are that they can do business with us again,' says president of Manufacturers Association of Israel. (Ynet)
- Israeli, Palestinian businessmen push for peace - Members of the Breaking the Impasse Initiative say they will leverage their collective business experience and influence to convince Israeli and Palestinian leaders to begin serious negotiations with the goal of reaching a peace agreement. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
- Palestinian, Israeli high-tech companies to meet in Tel Aviv - Representatives from Palestinian and Israeli high-tech companies are scheduled to meet on Monday in Tel Aviv, Israeli radio reported. The event is organized by the Peres Center for Peace, the union of high-tech companies in Israel and the union of the chamber of commerce. (Maan)
- Israeli art in the heart of the Iranian capital - Israeli photographer Tom Buckstein was surprised to discover that her photos she took in Tel-Aviv - were displayed in a gallery in Teheran. (Yedioth, p. 16)
- Israeli university adds Christian and Muslim holidays to vacation calendar for first time - Haifa University's precedent-setting decision will give days off for Christmas and Id al-Fitr, in addition to the traditional Jewish holidays. (Haaretz)
- Ultra-Orthodox fight against draft makes Haredi soldiers even greater pariahs in community
- The friends and families of new ultra-Orthodox soldiers are praying that their loved ones will be accepted into wider Haredi society. (Haaretz)
- Bedouins, MKs protest Negev displacement plans - Dozens of Negev Bedouins joined a demonstration in front of Israel's Knesset to protest forced displacement of nearly 40,000 Bedouins. MK Abu Arar, who leads campaign to protect Negev Bedouins, appealed to "rational Israeli officials" to halt implementation of the Prawer-Begin plan, which he called a "racist, apartheid law." (Maan)
- Israeli state prosecutor says he did not play politics in Olmert's downfall - Moshe Lador says his office acted appropriately in the corruption case against the former primer minister. (Haaretz)
- Israel allows 81 Gaza Palestinians to visit jailed relatives - Some 81 relatives of Palestinian prisoners, including 12 children, crossed the Erez terminal along the border with Gaza to visit their loved ones on Monday, the Red Cross said. Israel barred families from visits since 2007 and partially lifted restrictions in 2012. (Maan)
- Lawyer: Palestinian prisoner beaten during interrogation - A lawyer from the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Detainees said Monday that a Palestinian prisoner Munif Abu Atwan, 39, is losing his sight after being beaten by Israeli prison guards. (Maan)
- Medics: Over 100 food poisoning cases in Bethlehem village - More than 100 people suffered from food poisoning on Saturday in the village of Husan. The source is thought to be either contaminated water or rotten meat. The results of laboratory tests would be available within 48 hours. (Maan)
- Siren sounds in Israel as part of Home Front Command drill - Israelis called on to actively participate in national exercise, go to protected areas when hear sirens at 12:30 pm in afternoon, 7:05 in evening. No sirens in area bordering Gaza in order not to cause panic. (Ynet)
- Not only in Israel - Home Front Command drill - Hezbollah version - The town of Bint Jbeil in south Lebanon held a home front command drill this week codenamed "Loyalty," which was organized by local organizations. Hezbollah observed, but did not take part in it. (Yedioth, p. 5 and end of Ynet article)
- UEFA meet hit by anti-Israel protests - Guests at the event - including David Beckham and Sir Alex Ferguson - were stunned as one protester jumped on the stage and started shouting anti-Israel slogans. (Haaretz)
- Israel and Britain unveil partnership to ramp up scientific research by 2018 - Science and Technology Minister Jacob Perry contrasts stance of UK government with segments of academia that seek to boycott Israel. (Haaretz)
- Queen Noor tweets article by Israeli on women, war - Widow of King Hussein posts article on Twitter by new Israeli immigrant on 'most dangerous myths about women, war,' explaining importance of women's involvement in achieving sustainable peace. (Ynet)
- Haniyeh slams Abbas, Peres meeting as 'normalization' - Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Monday said President Abbas' recent meeting with Israeli president Shimon Peres at the World Economic Forum was "normalization." We do not count much on such meetings which are aspects of normalization and attempt to bring into life a dead body called negotiations." (Maan)
- Scandinavian countries still refuse placing Hezbollah on terror list - There has been growing European support for designating Hezbollah a terrorist organization, but such a decision would have to be unanimous. Israel focusing on getting Scandinavian countries to drop their opposition to the move. (Israel Hayom)
- Bahrain bans political groups from contacting Hezbollah - Gulf state's foreign minister brands Nasrallah a 'terrorist' after Hezbollah leader proclaimed that his fighters would help deliver victory for Syria's Assad. (Agencies, Ynet)
- France's Le Monde says chemical weapons used in Syria - Reporter, photographer say witnessed battlefield chemical attacks, describe men coughing violently, eyes burning, pupils shrinking. (Agencies, Ynet)
- EU ends arms embargo on Syrian opposition - The prospect of European Union weapons for the rebels, while maintaining stiff economic sanctions against Assad's regime, sends a message to Russia as well as to Syrian President Bashar Assad. (Agencies, Haaretz)
Hadassah joins forces with Australian Christian group to treat Palestinian children
The 5-year-old Palestinian girl who inspired the project was unable to attend the official launch in Melbourne, after she and her mother were stopped by security. The initiative is the brainchild of Hadassah Australia President Ron Finkel, a Labor Zionist whose son was born at Hadassah Hospital in 1981. Finkel noted that Project Rozana may never have happened without the "seminal role" played by Izzat Abdulhadi, the representative of the Palestinian Authority in Canberra, whom he called the 'shadchan' - Yiddish for 'matchmaker' - for bringing in the Anglican Overseas Aid. (Haaretz)
A wedding or a political tour de force?
2,500 guests arrived to celebrate the wedding of Likud Deputy Minister Tzipi Hotovely, and the journalists were given free rein to participate and document the antics of the rich and powerful. (Haaretz)
The future of Israel's fashion industry lies in the West Bank
Can fashion bring peace? Many Israeli designers are unaware of the advantages of manufacturing in the Palestinian Authority. (Haaretz)
Worse than a crime (Sefi Rachlevsky, Haaretz) After becoming the 'war-anointed' rabbi and expressing pride that his rabbis gave war-mongering speeches before battle, Rontzki was appointed by this regime of 'Jewish Brothers' as the official promoter of 'Jewish values' to Israelis, via the regime's new Jewish Identity Administration.
Religious Zionism emerging as Israel's most powerful pressure group (Amos Harel, Haaretz) While Yair Lapid won his fight over drafting the ultra-Orthodox to the IDF, the next conflict will sprout out of the inequality between soldiers from hesder yeshivas and their fellow combatants.
Weak American battery (Eitan Gilboa, Ynet) Failure to jumpstart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks another sign of diminished US status in region.
Not historic and not an achievement (Nehemia Shtrasler, Haaretz) Although it's true that the Haredim are resisting the Perry Committee's recommendations for a new military draft with all their might, deep down they're chuckling. 'That's it?' they're asking themselves. 'This is the best the secular can do even when we're weakened and out of the coalition?'
Nasrallah: From Arab champion to Sunni nemesis (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) The war in Syria exposed Hassan Nasrallah's real face to the Arab world. The leader of Hezbollah who succeeded in fooling everyone for 20 years is now coming off as a Shiite leader doing Iran's bidding.
An agreement to evade (Haaretz Editorial) The nonreligious have no lobby, and they will continue to carry the full burden of the regular military draft, without discounts and shortcuts - but with the kashrut certificate of the Perry Committee.
Focus on reality, dump the myths (Chris Gunness, Ynet) UNRWA spokesman responds to scathing article claiming 'biased' relief agency should be dissolved.
The prophetic lesson of Stephen Hawking's Israel boycott (S. Daniel Abraham, Haaretz) There's no question that it was wrong of the famous physicist to cancel Peres' invitation to a conference in Israel. But that's not really the point.
Are Israel and Russia on the same page? (Zalman Shoval, Israel Hayom) Russia's support for Assad is a default policy. Much like Israel, Russia is worried that if Assad falls, a fundamentalist-Islamist hub will arise in his place.
Turbulent Middle East will only strengthen U.S.-Israel alliance (Robert Menendez, Haaretz) I strongly disagree with those voices in Washington that advocate disengagement in the face of the challenges of the Middle East. We cannot stand up for America's interests - or Israel's - from the sidelines.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.