APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday, October 22, 2012
Quote of the day:
"I couldn't represent Israel now."
--Former Israeli ambassador to the UN, Gabriella Shalev, says Israeli Prime Minister's attacks against US administration are going to boomerang.**
Front Page News:
- Clashes in Lebanon increase fear of civil war
- Obama and Romney to meet tonight for tie-breaking debate
- Jordan thwarted Al-Qaeda terror attack
- Tzipi Livni likely to run in elections at head of new party
- Sharp drop in percentage studying humanities
- Highest expenses per family: In Rechovot
- Kibbutznik, millionaire: Sdot Yam on path to selling Caesarstone
- AD by Tzav Pius: 17th memorial for Yitzhak Rabin's murder; Youth violence: Who is responsible?
- Tie: Two weeks to elections; New poll: close race for White House; Obama and Romney meet tonight for final debate
- "They brain-washed my sister against an abortion" - Sister of 17-year-old girl who got pregnant from Raz Atias accuses Efrat organization: Its representative pressured her to keep the pregnancy
- IDF drone crashed during operational flight in north
- Spilt milk - Will we really pay less for food products at the supermarket?
- Kibbutzes threatening to break away from Labor party - Historic alliance in crisis (Hebrew)
- Anger in Beirut - Fear of renewal of civil war in Lebanon (Hebrew)
- First request after implant - Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan asked for "a good piece of salmon" (Hebrew)
- Storm in the desert - Night surprise in Eilat: One-third of the annual rainfall in half an hour
- You went outside? The army practiced an earthquake, most citizens were indifferent
- After disappointment at London Olympics, Judoka Arik Ze'evi to declare end to his career today (Hebrew)
- Worrying phenomenon: Parents in custody battles kidnapping their children and taking them abroad
- Fateful debate
- Iran and US denied report that they agreed to direct talks over nuclear program
- Rivlin plan: Speaker of Knesset for two years, then to presidency
- The "tsunami" is getting closer - The big Home Front Command exercise, Turning Point 6, began with simulated earthquake. To continue all week
- The night that Eilat turned into Venice
- Beirut on the edge of exploding: Violent clashes at funeral of officer who was assassinated
- After 33 years: IDF to cancel Sherutrom (fundraiser for IDF soldiers)
Tonight's US presidential debate, yesterday's clashes in Lebanon and the call for dialogue with Iran by a former Mossad chief (along with the call for a salmon steak by another Mossad chief) made top news in today's Israeli papers. And, the latest interesting Israeli election news items...
The US and Iran both denied the New York Times report of plans for direct nuclear talks, But Yedioth's Alex Fishman said that unofficially, Israel doesn't buy it. That may be understood from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, when he said yesterday that he was not aware of any contacts between the US and Iran over the latter's nuclear program, but that Iran just uses negotiations to buy time. Fishman writes that the contacts were probably mediated through the EU's Foreign Affairs Minister Catherine Ashton. "The conditions are net yet ripe for opening thorough and real negotiations," writes Fishman, "but there is already an understanding between the two sides that after the US elections serious and real negotiations will begin - on condition of course - that President Obama is elected again." Fishman writes that the information was intentionally leaked ahead of the presidential debate that focuses on foreign policy. "The New York Times knew Obama would deny, but it ran the story anyway. It's all about spin, they say in the Israeli political elite, but spin that has its legs in reality."
The day before the NewYork Times story was published reporter Laura Rozen of the US news website, Al-Monitor, interviewed former Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy, who said, "Israel needs to change its rhetoric towards Iran." [Halevy was probably referring to Netanyahu accusing Iran of being the same as Nazi Germany - OH]. Halevy pushed for dialogue with Iran saying there was nothing to lose. (Full interview here.)
Meanwhile, France, one of six countries that have negotiated with Tehran over its nuclear program and has insisted it is peaceful, now says Iran appears to be on track to a nuclear weapon by mid-2013.
Secretary-General of Peace Now to run on Labor list - Yariv Oppenheimer, 35, is one of the leaders of the battle against settlement outposts and expansion. "I plan to work so that the Labor party continues to fight for a two-state solution, and for transferring money from settlements to Israel." (NRG Hebrew)
Kibbutzes against Yachimovitch - Labor party chairwoman's proposal to give the kibbutzes and the moshavs one assured seat on the Labor party list has caused uproar among kibbutzes, who threaten to end historic alliance with party. (Maariv, p. 1)
Mattot Arim movement to finance "outstanding MKS" from the right-wing who are "loyal to the Land of Israel." The pro-settler volunteer organization is fundraising to pay for ads in the major newspapers listing the "outstanding MKs." (Maariv, p. 3)
Yair Lapid's strategy: Forget (attacking) the ultra-Orthodox, attack Lieberman - Chairman of Yesh Atid party offered the second spot to Rabbi Shai Piron, CEO of the Everything is Education movement. (Maariv, p. 3)
- As academic year begins, BGU politics department gears up to fight closure - This academic year could be the last for Ben-Gurion University's controversial Department of Politics and Government after subcommittee of the Council for Higher Education decided not to allow new students to enroll. (Haaretz)
- Girl joins haredi sect, parents arrested - Court issues restraining order against parents who try to forcibly get their daughter to leave 'Taliban women', return home with them. (Ynet)
- Advanced drone fell during mission - Expose: During an operational flight in the north of the country, one of the IDF's most advanced drones fell. The drone was "unlike the simple types that occasionally fall in Judea and Samaria." The drone did not harm the nearby forces because it released a parachute. It is used for carrying spying equipment. (Yedioth, p. 5)
- Fatah fares poorly in West Bank elections, despite Hamas boycott - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas suffers a blow in local elections, as Fatah rebels beat faction's official candidates in three cities. Just under 55 percent voted and renegades won more council seats than those officially endorsed by Fatah. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
- Palestinians laundering money in Israel? - Senior officials fear PA helping Israeli Arab crime families to conceal source of illegal money in Israeli bank accounts. (Yedioth and Ynet)
- Israeli activists arrested on Gaza-bound ship: IDF soldiers used force against passengers - Ashkelon Magistrate's Court extends the remand of the peace activists arrested on the SV Estelle. The three claim masked Israeli Navy soldiers used taser guns after boarding the ship. (Haaretz)
- Watch: Israeli commandoes seize Gaza-bound boat - YouTube clip shows Saturday's takeover of vessel carrying pro-Palestinian activists. (Ynet VIDEO)
- Americans love Tel Aviv, poll says - Comprehensive survey reveals US public favors Israeli metropolis over 3,150 other famous global brands, including Prada and Wall Street Journal. (Yedioth and Ynet)
- IDF cancels telethon after 33 years - Special IDF steering committee recommends against holding annual event this year due to falling donations, 'humiliating process of begging companies for money.' (Ynet)
- Jews, Protestants spar over Israel military aid - U.S. Jewish leaders lash out after mainline Protestant churches pen letter to U.S. Congress suggesting end to military aid to Israel. (Haaretz)
- Senior Israeli scientist: "There is always money for yeshivas and settlements, but for research there isn't" - Israel on the way out of a European study program: The government not intending to transfer the annual amount of 700 million shekels. Significance: Death strike to scientific collaboration. (Yedioth finance supplement, p. 4)
- Israel in negotiations with Korea over acquiring missile ships worth $400 million - Enormous deal expected to appease Koreans after they lost race in Israel Air Force's largest plane deal. (Maariv business supplement, p. 1)
- Former pilot and Yisrael Beiteinu MK convicted in sex case - Court convicts reserve general Eliezer Cohen (78) of fondling EL AL flight attendant while on board flight from New York to Tel Aviv. (Ynet)
- Ben-Zvi buying Maariv after all - For NIS 80 million, Ben-Zvi gets the newspaper, the NRG news website, the various magazines that Maariv publishes; Dismissals loom at Arkia, Polar is melting down. (Haaretz)
- Jordan foils major al-Qaida plot to attack Western targets - Security forces arrest 11 suspects who planned to bomb shopping centers, which likely have resulted in the death of thousands; security source says cell may be linked to Syrian regime. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Jordanian soldier killed in clash with militants on Syria border - A Jordanian security source said Corporal Mohammed Ali al-Manasir was killed in a shootout between border forces and a group of 16 armed militants attempting to enter the country from Syria. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Mourners riot at Lebanese official's funeral - Scores attend service held for slain Intelligence Chief Wissam al-Hassan; clash with Lebanese security forces. (Ynet)
- Report: Iranian official set up int'l money laundering network - Senior aide to President Ahmadinejad uses frequent trips to Vienna to defy Western sanctions; official built international money laundering network which funds black market equipment purchases. (Ynet)
Kick in the stomach
They locate young pregnant girls and convince them not to do abortions. The method: Unending pressure and scaring them they'd become infertile. They send propganada films to girls' homes, take advantage of girls' distress and have dubious connections with hospitals. Following the tragic death of Raz Atias, women's organizations have marked a target: Efrat organization, that puts heavy pressure on young Jewish girls not to abort. At 'Efrat' organization they deny that they spoke with Raz Atias' girlfriend, but women's organizations are fuming: "They need to be supervised in a fundamental way." Efrat organization responds: "Our way is legitimate." (Yedioth '24 Hours' supplement, p. 1)
The social gap academy (Haaretz Editorial) The hardships of Arab students have been well known for years. One can only hope that the fate of the new program will be different from previous plans and declarations.
A rebellion on the Titanic (Uri Avnery, Haaretz) If we want to avoid the looming iceberg of destruction, we must change the way we perceive the problem of our existence. The word “peace” has become a four-letter word.
Speaking through the gun (Billy Moskona-Lerman, Maariv) The death of Raz Atias indicates that we are a terrified society. The shot that killed him was the instinct of a people whose prime minister presents different threats daily.
Israel's missed opportunities (Khaled Diab, Haaretz) Israelis have long accused Arabs of squandering every chance for peace, but has Israel itself squandered so many opportunities that its very identity as a Jewish state is now in jeopardy?
The general from Jeddah must shout louder (Akiva Eldar, Haaretz) A retired general from the Saudi Arabian army went out of his way to praise the Arab Peace Initiative and wondered why the Israelis were ignoring a proposal that includes recognition of the state and normalization of relations with the entire Muslim world.
The center-left fiction (Aner Shalev, Haaretz) For years right-wing parties have masqueraded behind centrist rhetoric, and this election is even more extreme. It's time to rip off the masks. There is no split on the left and there is no center-left party in Israel.
Faust's bargain and the Israeli left (Yitzhak Laor, Haaretz)Yacimovich, I fear, does not want to be in the opposition; she cannot wait.
Injured but still alive, liberals speak out in Egypt (Giora Eliraz, Haaretz) Always a minority, and now under pressure by the Islamist elected government, liberals in Egypt remain unafraid of speaking their truth to the power of the current regime. Will the Muslim Brotherhood, remembering decades of their own opposition status, respect liberals’ right to speak now?
Needless stigmatizing in Cairo (former Israeli ambassador to Egypt, Yitzhak Levanon, Maariv) "Egypt was in a storm this past week because of a friendly letter (leaked to the Times of Israel) that the new Egyptian ambassador presented to Israel. But the hostile atmosphere towards us is not the result of Morsi's policy – but rather that of Mubarak's...(who) refused to temper the attacks on Israel by the Egyptian media, which regularly reported things that smeared Israel - and it was possible to publish anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic cartoons - all under the excuse that there is freedom of speech in Egypt. Such lashing out against Israel for such a long period, the period of Mubarak's rule, created a public atmosphere, which manifested an unnecessary and bizarre assault in the case of the credentials letter of the Egyptian ambassador. The atmosphere is so bad that the ambassador had to justify to the 'Al-yom al-Saba'a' newspaper that the office of President Peres offered him a glass of water, meaning not alcoholic..."
Assad proves he's still here (Yaron Friedman, Ynet) Assassination of top Lebanese intel officer possible Syrian warning to those who support rebels.
The indirect repercussion of direct U.S.-Iran talks (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) The important question is not whether there will be a publicly acknowledged dialogue between the U.S. and Iran, but what concessions Washington will offer or may have offered Iran to consent to a dialogue.
Direct U.S.-Iran nuclear talks could leave a few winners, and losers, in its wake (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz) Senior Haaretz analyst Anshel Pfeffer says possible talks could be derailed by a long list of potential events, but the New York Times leak is extremely timely for the Obama administration.
For some of Obama’s Jewish detractors, words speak louder than actions (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz) Obama’s hyperbole-prone critics inflate Obama’s detachment, cry 'gevalt' over his every word and paint a distorted picture of his ties with Israel. They are harming the relationship and diminishing Israel’s power of deterrence.
Nothing new under the sun (Eitan Haber, Ynet) Regardless of who wins US elections, basic position vis-à-vis Israel will not change.
Former Israeli Spymaster: We Need To Talk to Iran
Efraim Halevy, who served as chief of the Israeli intelligence service, Mossad, under three Israeli prime ministers, gave an interview to US news website, Al-Monitor, which was widely quoted in Israeli press today. (Original interview by Laura Rozen in Al-Monitor)
*“I was 40 years in the business of dealing with adversaries — some of them very bitter ones, some we fought successive wars with...Over the years … I realized that, in order to be effective with one’s enemies, you have to have two essential capabilities: To overcome them by force if necessary … And do everything you can to get into their minds and try to understand how they see things … and where if at all there is room for common ground of one kind or another.”
*“I think that what we have had over the years is an abundance of one side, and a dearth of the other,” Halevy said.
**Former Israeli ambassador to UN: 'I couldn't represent Israel now'
Gabriella Shalev, the law professor and appointee of Tzipi Livni, returned from the US more Zionist, more feminist and more critical. (Interviewed by Ayelett Shani in Haaretz)
*These are very hard times and the fact that the [Israeli] prime minister is directing all his energy and rhetoric against the United States is simply a terrible thing, in my opinion. It’s going to boomerang, and I say that from experience."
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.