APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday September 30, 2013
Quote of the day:
"Especially to block construction so the city does not expand to [the open space], so the communities do not expand to it."
--Israel Nature and Parks Authority staffer reveals to visitor the real reason for national park being built in East Jerusalem. **
Front Page News:
- Netanyahu to meet today with Obama: "In the face of the attack of smiles, the facts must be said"
- Despite promises, Netanyahu is expediting raising (Knesset) threshold
- Nature and Parks Authority admits: National Park being established in E. Jerusalem is meant to prevent construction
- Belgian of Iranian descent arrested on suspicion that he was spying on Israel
- Olmert denied taking bribes for his brother: "So (you say) I'm corrupt, but stupid?"
- Technion received $130 million to establish technological center in China
- Red Cross asks to make video games subject to international war laws
- Netanyahu to meet today with Obama in Washington - "Don't believe Iran"
- The Iranian spy - In perfect timing for PM's visit to the US, Shin Bet reveals: Ali Mansour, posed as a Belgian businessman, was sent to gather sensitive info
- Goal: To embarrass - Not by chance the Prime Minister's Office decided to release now the spy affair. Not by chance photos of the US Embassy building in Tel-Aviv, which were found on the spy, were highlighted // Alex Fishman
- The shark attacked Erez in the heart of the sea
- Oren was run over and killed on his bicycle
- Budget cut of tens of millions of dollars from 'Arrow 3' budget, meant for defense from Iranian nuclear missiles (Hebrew)
- Netanyahu to present proof today to Obama on progress in Iranian nuclear program (Hebrew)
- Cleared for publication: Shin Bet arrested (Iranian) Revolutionary Guard spy who was sent to establish terror infrastructure in Israel (Hebrew)
- Netanyahu against the world // Shalom Yerushalmi (Hebrew)
- The spy won't be enough // Amnon Lord
- News for drivers: As of midnight, sharp drop in price of gasoline - 7.42 shekels a liter
- For first time since establishment of state: shark attacked diver in fish cage off of Ashdod beach
- After Rouhani's honey attack - Netanyahu to meet with President Obama and warn: "Continue the pressure on the Iranians"
- Don't agree, and remain friends // Boaz Bismuth
- Rouhani, hero of the media // Dror Eydar
- The goal: Iranian spy infrastructure - in the heart of Tel-Aviv
- Professional, careful and apparently not the only one // Yoav Limor
- Nightmare in Ashdod: Young man bitten by shark
- 10-year-old Oren was run over and killed in crosswalk
- Last night: Mass prayer at Wailing Wall for the health of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef
- Hope for skin cancer patients: Researchers claim they succeeded in finding drug
- News for drivers: Gasoline prices to drop 43 agorot tonight
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is armed with 'proof' that Iran is advancing a program to build a nuclear bomb and he will be sharing that with US President Barack Obama today, making the top story in this morning's Israeli newspapers. Alongside that item was the perfectly timed publication of the arrest of a Belgian citizen of Iranian descent who allegedly was spying in Israel. Nevertheless, US Secretary of State John Kerry says there is potential for a quick Iran nuclear deal, and Israeli opposition leader Shelly Yachimovich declared her approval of the diplomatic route. Meanwhile, Maariv reported that the US and Israel are cutting the budget for a missile meant to defend Israel from a nuclear attack...
Netanyahu will be meeting Obama today urging him to keep up pressure on Iran and not to lift sanctions. Obama's national security adviser Susan Rice said that sanctions will, indeed, remain in place until Tehran lives up to commitments regarding nuclear program.
Meanwhile, Israeli commentators say it was the Prime Minister's Office that gave the order to release for publication, on the day of Netanyahu's meeting with Obam, the arrest of Ali Mansour on suspicion of spying on Israel for Iran. Mansour was, according to Yedioth, sent to make business connections and collect information on various sites in Israel. Yedioth's Alex Fishman noted that there is a special unit of the Shin Bet that has been working for a few decades on thwarting Iranian spying and that there was no outstanding sensational intelligence in this affair, except for the fact that a member of the Al-Quds Revolutionary Guards was actually caught. According to commentators, Israel hoped the news would embarrass Iran and put a damper on the relations.
Spy or no spy, Kerry told CBS News that he saw the potential for a quick Iran nuclear deal and that it would have the potential to dramatically improve the relationship between the two countries. "If it is a peaceful program, and we can all see that - the whole world sees that - the relationship with Iran can change dramatically for the better and it can change fast," he said. At the annual J-Street Conference in Washington, D.C., Labor party chief Shelly Yacimovich said that Israel should be neither naive nor paranoid over Iran - and urged a diplomatic approach. Yet, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said Obama's phone call would not fully mend ties. However, the comment was seen as an effort to placate hardliners who oppose easing the 34-year diplomatic freeze with the US.
Interestingly, Maariv reports that "while the Iranian threat increases, Israel and the US cut the budget of 'Arrow 3.' After the US announced a $55 million cut, the Israeli defense establishment now also decided to cut the program by tens of percent, but said the decision was not final and the issue is still being discussed. The Arrow 3 is meant to protect Israel from an Iranian nuclear attack. (NRG Hebrew)
- Two Golani soldiers accused of beating up tied Palestinian - A third soldier filmed the event after verifying that his compatriots could not be identified in the clip. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Israeli forces assault workers near Bethlehem - Israeli forces assaulted four Palestinian workers on Saturday after they attempted to cross into Jerusalem to reach their jobs. (Maan)
- Bereaved families to Likud: Stand with us against terror - In new campaign, bereaved families call on Likud ministers to 'wake up before it's too late,' force government to hold renewed discussion on prisoner release in wake of murder of two IDF soldiers. (Ynet)
- Two teens arrested in suspected 'price tag' attack near Tomb of Simeon the Just - Cars in East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood targeted a fourth time in recent months. (Haaretz and Maan)
- Jewish youth smash Christian tombstones - Patrol officers ambush four youth, witness them smashing 15 gravestones in Christian cemetery at King David's Tomb. Two suspects belong to 'hilltop youth,' had previously been expelled from Judea and Samaria. Jerusalem police: 'Price tag' activity in fullest sense. (Ynet)
- **Caught on tape: Recording reveals East Jerusalem park is about politics, not environment - Parks Authority staff member was recorded as saying that the Mount Scopus Slopes Park, between the Palestinian neighborhoods of Isawiyah and A-Tur, is meant to prevent construction in the area rather then protect nature. (Haaretz)
- Global investors are invited to gamble in Blair's Palestinian casino - The Quartet has disclosed its three-year 'Marshal Plan' for the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It politely expects Israel to lift its restrictions. (Haaretz)
- Israeli nursing guide big hit in Arab world - While Israel is not too popular among Arab countries, local HMO's breastfeeding training videos have been watched by half a million Arab viewers so far. (Ynet VIDEO)
- Despite PM's pledge, panel to mull raising Knesset threshold - Monday's committee meeting is contrary to an agreement between the prime minister and the opposition that the bill would not come up for discussion before November. (Haaretz)
- Center for Israel studies to open in China - Academic ties between Israel, China tighten as research center for contemporary Israel is expected to be established. (Ynet)
- Arab Idol winner Mohammed Assaf in European debut - The Gazan winner of the Arab Idol talent competition, a rare symbol of Palestinian unity, gave his first concert outside the Arab world in The Hague on Sunday. (Maan)
- Peres at Anne Frank House: I doubt if Assad read her diary - Her voice echoes as a warning to us all - facing a tyrant who murdered children with chemical arms, says Israeli president. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- "Israeli mercenaries in Guinea", Four Israelis arrested - According to a CIA and French spy agency report, a group of mercenaries planned a coup in Guinea to spark bloody riots, a French newspaper reported. Last week, local authorities arrested four Israelis who are being held on island for political prisoners. (Yedioth, p. 20)
- Jews urged to return to Sardinia - Mayor of Italian town of Alghero issues official apology to Jews banished from island in 1492. (Ynet)
- Ariel settlement waste water damaging Salfit land - Ariel, home to some 20,000 settlers, releases nearly 300,000 liters of sewage water daily into the neighboring valley. The area used to be a natural tourism park but sewage water from Ariel has caused severe damage to the soil, and locals can no longer stand the smell. (Maan)
- Technion to set up institute in China - New technological institution to be established in Guangdong province in cooperation with Shantou University thanks to $130-million donation from Chinese billionaire Li Ka-shing's fund. 'Chinese admire Israel's innovation ability,' says Technion president. (Ynet)
- Israeli forces block entrances to Yabad village in Jenin - Israeli forces raided the village early Sunday, fired multiple sounds bombs and razed olive orchards around the village. Forces prevented Palestinians from entering or leaving the village, and seized several vehicles that attempted to leave or enter the village through alternative means. (Maan)
- Yaskawa to invest millions in Israel - Japanese robotics giant partners with ARGO Medical Technologies to continue global expansion of device enabling people with lower limb disabilities to walk. (Ynet)
- Israeli forces dismantle protest tent set up for sick detainee - Israeli forces on Sunday dismantled a protest tent in Hebron set up by relatives of Palestinian detainee Mahmoud Salih al-Sharha, who is suffering from cancer and is not receiving any treatment. (Maan)
- Families close Hebron school to protest lack of English teachers - The school currently has no English teachers for grades 1 to 4. (Maan)
- Former hunger striker due to get married in the UK - The soccer player from the Gaza Strip was imprisoned by Israel without charge or trial since July 2009, before hunger striking to demand his release. He met his future wife, Victoria Dias, while on a speaking touring in the UK about the plight of Palestinian prisoners and sport in Palestine. (Maan)
- Report: Obama put the brakes on Hollande's Syria attack - Obama reportedly halts Franco-American military action in Syria at the last minute. French President François Hollande allegedly "shocked" at orders to cancel strike mere hours before French fighter jets were set to take off. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
- Iranian FM: Israel can't kill all our scientists - In interview with ABC, Zarif says US 'allowing terrorists to kill innocent Iranian scientists'; claims his country believes nuclear weapons are 'detrimental' to its security. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Iranian foreign minister: The Holocaust is no myth - Statement on website of Supreme Leader casting doubts over the Holocaust was mistranslated, says Javad Zarif; Israel has 200 warheads and is 'source of aggression, instability,' he says. (Haaretz)
The secret weapon of the Israeli mother: A non-combat son
The fear of death while serving in the army has caused mothers in Israel to raise their sons to be less "manly" in an attempt to save them from combat military service. "From the Ultra-sound to the Military Draft," a new study by Dr. Hanni Mann - Shalvi, examines the conscious affect of the drafting of a son to the army on the exposed and hidden emotional processes of Israeli parents and finds that it is nothing less than trauma in the Israeli family model. (By Meir Uziel in Maariv/NRG Hebrew)
Backed by Supreme Leader, Rohani takes Iran on new strategic path (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) Before, Iran conditioned dialogue with the U.S. on ending sanctions. Evidently it's decided to make a down-payment on a relationship with Washington.
Obama is no sucker (Orly Azoulay, Yedioth/Ynet) Netanyahu may find out Washington already speaking a different language when it comes to Iran.
Tehran-born businessman's arrest brings Israel closer to Iran spymaster (Amos Harel, Haaretz) The Belgian businessman's arrest couldn't come at a better time for Netanyahu as he prepares to address the UN General Assembly.
Goal: To embarrass (Alex Fishman, Yedioth) It is no coincidence that the Prime Minister's Office decided to publish the spy affair on the eve of Netanyahu's meeting with the US President. It is no coincidence that photos of the US Embassy building in Tel-Aviv that the spy took were highlighted...The Americans should put one and one together: on the one hand, the Iranians are smiling at them and on the other they are planning to blow up their embassy...And if Obama does not get the hint, then the members of Congress - who would be the ones to lift the sanctions off Iran - will...
The left's one-state colonialism (Yitzhak Laor, Haaretz) If there is a place where the left - its ranks who support the one-state solution - converges with the right, it is not in the image of a single state, but in the colonialist disregard of the Palestinian right to self-determination.
Obama blinked first (Prof. Abraham Ben-Zvi, Israel Hayom) One can only hope that Iran will still be judged by its actions and not by the lip service paid by its leaders.
Volatile mix of power and victimization (Oudeh Basharat, Haaretz) The few, stronger militarily, economically and politically but with a strong sense of victimization, against the many - weak, but with a national pride rooted in Arab history.
Charm is cheap (Noah Beck, Ynet) Premature exuberance over Rohani signals to rogue states that a few weeks of charm can compensate for decades of terrorism.
Geneva is not Munich, but there's a very disturbing echo (Shlomo Avineri, Haaretz) Obama has not proven any leadership, determination or skill in handling the most serious international crisis since he took office. Doubt is appropriate until proven otherwise.
If Lapid were foreign minister, we would probably appear differently today (Shalom Yerushalmi, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) Israel behaves today exactly like the Arab ambassadors did in the past: we insist on playing the cold shoulder and look like we refuse to deal with reconciliatory messages. Although Lapid rebelled against this behavior, Netanyahu has buried his head in the sand - even if the world turns in another direction...It is right now that the lack of a full-time foreign minister is being felt...Why can't the Prime Minister switch fuses and set a honey trap of his own for Rouhani? (by publicly inviting him to Israel in an effort to turn a page in Iran-Israel relations)...This will not happen because Netanyahu is going his own way even if the whole world is going another way....
Reviling peace. Hating Iran. Heating Hebron. Bibi as a bitter old man (Bradley Burston, Haaretz) At this very moment, Netanyahu is letting history pass him by. He is letting history pass Israel by.
Caution: Delay ahead (Uri Heitner, Israel Hayom) Obama's weakness and Putin's strong support for Russia's allies increases the likelihood that Iran is tricking the free world.
Lessons from Al-Qaida: What Israel can learn from the Kenya terror attack (Amos Harel, Haaretz) Global jihad organizations, some of which have bases on Israel's northern and southern borders, aim not to take hostages and make demands but to carry out horrific showcase attacks like the assault on the Westgate Mall.
Look to Congress, not the UN (Yossi Beilin, Israel Hayom) The real decision over easing sanctions on Iran will be made in Washington.
Iran's Holocaust-denial trickery may point to nuclear duplicity as well (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz) Despite the media's uncritical embrace, Iranian leaders Rohani and Zarif are spouting the same vile anti-Semitic bile as their uncouth predecessors.
Obama's keys - A talk awaits (Ephraim Halevy, Yedioth) The gloomy atmosphere in Israel following Rouhani's "charm show" raises deep concern. Cold analytical skills were pushed aside for emotional outbursts, even hysterics. It's important to remember: Rouhani arrived in the US with the support of a landslide. Masses of Iranian people are moaning under the harsh economic sanctions, and Rouhani promised them dramatic and quick moves that would ease the sanctions....There is nothing more symbolic than the development of the contacts between Rouhani and President Obama. On the day of Rouhani's speech at the UN, he refused the US offer that the president's shake hands. Days later the two spoke on the phone for 15 minutes. US sources made sure to leak that it was Rouhani who asked to hold the phone call. The White House even released a photo of Obama talking on the phone from the Oval Office with his counterpart, who was making his way back to Iran. This even certainly was noted in Moscow...A photo is worth a thousand words, but words are also important. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry emphasized that negotiations will be difficult and success is not certain. That is not the type of talk that suggests the 'Winds of Munich,' and it does not point to a blind run by the US administration into a deceitful net spread out by the Iranian President. Nevertheless, Obama is being careful of Rouhani's dignity. That may be a wise tactic....Rouhani cannot say, "I came, I saw, I won." But he already created a false representation for his people that he is on the way to victory, and therefore cannot allow himself to fail. President Obama enjoys greater flexibility because he holds two keys: one to save the Iranian economy in exchange for ending the military nuclear option, and the other - the destruction of Iran's nuclear project. Obama still has not decided which key to use. He prefers the first option, but not at any price. For these reasons, no sanction should be cancelled before the negotiations over an agreement on the nuclear issue comes to an end and both sides prepare an exact guideline for its implementation. There is not place for partial agreements...Netanyahu did well when he did not rush to Washington during Rouhani's "smiles show" and left the stage for others. The party is over and it's time for the real difficult work. The US and Israel are very good cards to deal with Iran. One must hope they won't talk about them this week in Washington.
Netanyahu got knocked out at the UN (Uri Misgav, Haaretz) In an arena by governed rhetoric, how is it that our rhetorician of a prime minister and savvy hasbara people have us standing in the corner, like the rejected child of the United Nations?
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.