APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday October 22, 2013
Quote of the day:
"It looks like a terrorist act."
--Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's reaction upon seeing his creamy calorie-laden surprise birthday cake at the Likud-Beiteinu meeting yesterday.**
Front Page News:
- Most of the mayors of big cities on way to another term - Municipal elections today
- It's all personal // Yossi Verter
- High Court rejected opposition's appeal; Knesset won't decide on exporting natural gas
- Researchers against required National Civil Service: In the long-term it will chase quality manpower away from the army
- The world without Facebook: The social media network was down for two hours
- Voting for home - Polling stations for municipal elections open today at 7AM; Most interesting battles in Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh and cities where the incumbent mayor was dismissed from office by the High Court
- The hottest battle: Nir Barekat and Moshe Leon are both convinced: I will win in Jerusalem (Photos at Beitar Jerusalem soccer game last night: Barekat with Likud MK Limor Livnat, Moshe Leon with Yisrael Beiteinu leader MK Avigdor Lieberman
- Rihanna in Israel: The successful singer performs tonight at Hayarkon Park
- President and a hero - In the middle of a speech, Obama caught a young woman who fainted next to him
- Today, municipal elections - The large ultra-Orthodox movements in Jerusalem announced: We won't support Moshe Leon for mayor (Hebrew)
- This difficult city // Shalom Yerushalmi (Hebrew)
- Don't vote for them // Baruch Kra on the three incumbent mayors who were dismissed by High Court for crimes (Hebrew)
- Report: US delaying transfer of drones to Turkey following leak of identities of "Israeli agents" (Hebrew)
- Swimmer Amit Ivri got second place in world championships in Doha, Qatar. On Qatari TV, they showed a white flag (instead of an Israeli flag) (Hebrew)
- High Court rejected appeals by social welfare organizations and gave green light to export 40% of natural gas (Globes English)
- Voting across the country; Focus: The battle in Jerusalem
- Polling stations await: 5,469,041 Israelis to choose their mayor today in 191 local governments - every vote counts
- More important than ever to vote // Minister Gideon Saar
- Women's power is rising // Yael Lerner
- Dislike: 3 hours without Facebook
- Tonight: Rihanna
- High Court rejected appeal against exporting gas
- Bernstein Prize for literary criticism to editor of book section of Israel Hayom
- Punishment for revealing agents: US cancelled drone deal with Turkey
- Burning coffee: 'Kofix' inaugurated second branch in Tel-Aviv
Israeli-Palestinian peace move at an increased pace, Lithuanian EU President says settlements are impeding the peace process, and a former Shin Bet chief says there is presently no hope for peace and the Palestinians are now ripe for their own 'Arab Spring.'
Speaking after he briefed Arab states about the direct peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians, US Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters that the two sides have increased the pace of their discussions: 13 meetings since the talks began in July, including three meetings in the last four days. Kerry lauded the 'seriousness' of meetings, days after Maariv reported that the talks were stuck over control of the Jordan Valley border crossings. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu travels today to Rome to meet Kerry to discuss both the Iranian nuclear program and the peace process. Kerry also announced Qatar's pledge to provide $150 million in aid to the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority.
Rotating European Union president called on Israel to stop building settlements in the occupied West Bank, saying they were impeding the peace process. Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite made her remarks following a visit with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas. (Also NRG Hebrew)
Former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin said an Israeli-Palestinian peace is presently unlikely, but not because of the Palestinians: "It's clear that, considering the current political map, there is no chance the Israeli public will accept a peace agreement." This is helping make conditions ripe for a Palestinian Arab Spring, he said: "In the West Bank, immense tension and frustration among Palestinians is escalating, as they feel their land is being stolen from them...They are realizing that the state they aspire to achieve is growing more distant and understand that the economy is no longer something that they can take comfort in."
- Israel frees Jerusalem teen; raids Silwan house - An Israeli court released Palestinian teenager Mahmud Issam Dana, 16, to house arrest on Monday. Israeli officers detained Mahmud at a fast food restaurant in Silwan, claiming that he had thrown stones at a settler's car. Mahmud's father said the Israelis beat his son. (Maan)
- Clashes in Silwan after Israeli guard stabbed - Clashes broke Monday evening in the East Jerusalem area of Silwan between young Palestinian men and Israeli forces after an Israeli security guard stationed at the entrance to the illegal "House of Honey" settlement outpost was stabbed. (Maan)
- Israeli forces detain young Bedouin shepherds in Jordan Valley - Israeli forces detained two young Bedouin shepherds from Al-Malih village in the northern Jordan Valley after they were chased by settlers from Maskiot settlement while pasturing their herds on Monday. (Maan)
- Israeli court orders partial demolition of Jerusalem house - An Israeli court in Jerusalem has decided to demolish parts of the house of a Palestinian Jerusalem resident in al-Qarmi neighborhood of Jerusalem's Old City under the guise that the third floor of the house was expanded without obtaining the needed license and without architectural plan. (Maan)
- Israel issues stop-work orders for park near Bethlehem - Israeli forces on Sunday issued stop-work orders for a recreational park west of Bethlehem, said the mayor of Wadi Fukin. (Maan)
- Medics: 8 workers injured after chase with Israeli military - Eight Palestinian workers were injured on Monday after a bus they were traveling in collided with an Israeli military vehicle south of Hebron. Witnesses said that the accident occurred after an Israeli military patrol chased the bus carrying laborers, leading to a collision. (Maan)
- Israeli forces raid Gaza border area, raze agricultural land - Five Israeli military vehicles crossed into a border area east of Gaza City on Monday and razed agricultural land. (Maan)
- Palestinian NGOs call on Palestinian Authority to withdraw from joint World Bank Red Sea - Dead Sea project - The coalition of NGOs claims that the joint project with Israel and Jordan undermines Palestinian water rights and legitimizes Israel's unilateral control of water resources. (Maan)
- 'Bored' Holon kids throw stones at buses - Group of young (Jewish) boys suspected of throwing stones at buses, private cars, elderly woman. (Ynet)
- Palestinian(-Israeli) youth jailed by Israel for Facebook statuses released - Razi al-Nabulsi, 23, a Palestinian political activist who lives in Haifa, was released Wednesday after a week-long detention as a result of Facebook posts Israeli authorities argued constituted "incitement." (Maan)
- Local elections: How many will vote? What about Palestinian voters? 5.5M Israelis will go to polls Tuesday to vote in municipal elections - with largest vote expected in Jerusalem. However, Palestinians living in east - 1/3 of population - expected to shun elections. (Ynet)
- Poll: Israeli Arabs dissatisfied with local services, but would still choose kin over competence - 165 women are running for office in Arab towns, and 93% of voters said they'd elect a female mayor if she proved she could do the job. The survey, conducted by the Mada al-Carmel Center for Applied Social Research, found that the most important issues for Arab voters are education, followed by housing for young couples. (Haaretz)
- Report: US cancels drone deal with Turkey - Turkish newspaper reports reason for cancellation of 10 drone deal is Turkey's exposure of Israeli spies in Iran. US Congress reportedly voids deal due to tight relations between Iran, Turkey's intelligence services. (Ynet)
- IDF laments budget cuts, funds dental care for civilians - Comptroller criticizes absence of any record on how much money IDF spends on dental care for non-soldiers. "While the IDF threatens that budget cuts will harm Iron Dome, it turns out that it is managing the budget in a wasteful fashion," says Shas MK. (Israel Hayom)
- Academics trash plans for expanded national service - The army would be seriously impacted if people filling combat-support roles began to regard civilian service as a legitimate alternative, said one participant. (Haaretz)
- 2 Syria mortars land in Golan Heights - Shells fired from Syrian side of the border land near Tel Fares; no injuries. (Ynet)
- From DC to IDC: Ambassador Oren joins prestigious school - Author of best-selling book on the Six-Day War, who until recently served as Israel's envoy to the U.S., joins the faculty of the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. Oren: My job will allow me to strengthen Israel-U.S. ties, educate future leaders. (Israel Hayom)
- Digital marketing in Israel has overlooked Arab market - until now - A new company called Sharq Media aims to become first Israeli media company to specialize in digital advertising in Arab market. (Haaretz)
- Israeli TV formats are hot commodity - Israel has become television formats powerhouse, selling formats to American and international networks. (Ynet)
- Israeli flag turns colorless on Qatar TV - As Israel's Amit Ivry wins silver medal at FINA Swimming World Cup 2013 in Doha, her name appears next to white flag. (Ynet)
- University of Texas to open branch in Nazareth - Education Minister Shai Piron and President Shimon Peres initiated the establishment of the campus to encourage higher education among Arab Israelis. The lecturers will come from UT. The campus will have 2500 students. (Israel Hayom, p. 15)
- **Happy Birthday to Netanyahu: His political faction celebrated his 64th year with a cake - MK Levin wished the Prime Minister to continue in office for many years, and Lieberman recalled how years earlier everyone thought that Netanyahu will not become prime minister again: "When you were 44 everyone said happily, "Bibi is in the opposition and will remain in the opposition. At the age of 54 you were finance minister and everyone said happily you will be buried in that job and you will never be prime minister." (Israel Hayom, p. 11 and NRG Hebrew)
- Kerry says Saudi Arabia's influence would be greater on Security Council
- Speaks with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal in Paris regarding their rejection of seat, also on Syria, Iran, other Mideast issues. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Gulf states, Egypt back Saudi rejection of Security Council seat - Saudi Arabia turned down a coveted two-year term on UNSC in a rare display of anger with what it called "double standards" in the United Nations. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Syrians plead to world in letter: 'Save us from death' - Residents of Damascus suburb besieged by Assad's forces write: 'For nearly one year... [we have] been under siege with no access to food, electricity, medicine'; number of Syrian refugees in Turkey exceeds 600,000. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Exiled Iran dissidents return after Rohani election - Many Iranian detractors of Ahmadinejad fled their country during the 2009 protest wave against his reelection. Now they face dilemma: Trust Rohani's moderate hints, or remain in exile. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Iranian official: Closure of Fordow not on agenda - Lawmaker insists closing of nuclear facility not discussed in Geneva talks with world power, Iranian media reports. According to him, Iran's deputy FM clarified Tehran will not cease uranium enrichment. (Ynet)
The only Palestinian running for Jerusalem City Council
Meretz's Fuad Sliman is hoping that Arabs in East Jerusalem, as fed up with the situation in their neighborhoods as he is, will come out to vote on Tuesday. (Haaretz)
Palestinian youth unite across borders, one hike at time
Last Friday morning over 100 Palestinian youths gathered at the top of a mountain north of Ramallah, preparing to descend into the nearby olive groves of Deir Jarir and the historic town of Taybeh just beyond. They were members of Tajwal Safar, Arabic for "Touring and Traveling," a Palestinian youth group that organizes day-long walks and tours of different sites across the West Bank. Though seemingly only a hiking group, Tajwal Safar both physically and socially unites Palestinian members from across territories occupied by Israel into an integrated, national group, effectively creating a political act of resistance against Israel's military occupation of Palestine. (Maan)
The real cost of the occupation (Palestinian negotiator Muhammad Shtayyeh, Haaretz) When the world rewards Israel's occupation by doing trade with settlements, the hopes for Palestinian growth are dashed, as is the chance for a just and lasting peace.
Should we worry about bill requiring Knesset supermajority to negotiate on Jerusalem? (Aeyal Gross, Haaretz) Bill forbidding negotiation on Jerusalem's future without a Knesset majority of at least 66% contravenes several Basic Laws and Israel's democratic tradition.
Scrap the so-called Jewish state law (Haaretz Editorial) Israel must set borders within which it has a Jewish majority and move to integrate its Arab citizens.
Democracy in real danger (Moshe Ronen, Ynet) Laws aiming to weaken Supreme Court's power might change State of Israel's character.
National identity and the rights of minorities (Alon Kol, Haaretz) Israel must strive to design a civil identity that will bridge the unchanging national identities of Jews and Arabs; the goal of creating a new, joint identity is unrealistic.
Avant-garde leaders wanted (Yehezkel Dror, Haaretz) Israel needs politicians who are willing to ignore short-term, partisan policies and to introduce the changes the state needs to secure its future.
For a united left (Sefi Rachlevsky, Haaretz) Only an alliance led by Meretz can hope to save Israel. Go and vote.
Israel's lighthouse is its Supreme Court (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Hostility toward the supremacy of the rule of law is stirring the political arena and causing damage to Israel's image.
Waiting for Israel at UN human rights agency (Jonathan Ger, Haaretz) A failure to appear for the second time will put one of the world's most important international mechanisms for the protection of human rights at risk.
No more ignoring the will of the people (Habayit Hayehudi MK Nissan Slomiansky, Israel Hayom) The High Court needs to abandon former President Justice Aharon Barak's "everything is justifiable" activism.
The half-life of truth about Arafat's death (Matt Rees and Matthew Kalman, Haaretz) The conflicts and confusion regarding how Yasser Arafat really died display the limits of traditional journalism in covering the gray areas, where all the secrets are kept.
It's forbidden to weaken the Supreme Court (Dr. Yisgav Nakdimon, Israel Hayom) The Knesset is seeking to bolster its influence over the composition and decision-making of the High Court. We cannot let that happen.
Three ways the Jerusalem elections will impact Israel, the Mideast and the Jewish world (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz) In Jerusalem, voters will be forced to choose between ultra-Orthodox and secular, Lieberman and Netanyahu, diplomacy and isolation.
Election campaign slogan: Arabs out (Yonit Naaman, Haaretz Hebrew and English Translation by Sol Salbe) The Judge ruled against Likud's racist campaigns in Karmiel and Tel Aviv in the municipal elections. But where was the Jewish majority which acquiesced to promises being made to silence the Yafa/Yafo/Jaffa muezzins keeping Tel Aviv Jewish? How did this majority knuckle under in the face of the "Nabil" scare campaign that warned Karmiel's residents of a diabolical scenario in which a mosque would be built in their town?...Could it be in that the Tel Aviv Jewish majority does not see the terrible words: "Together we will keep Tel Aviv Jewish" which were proudly displayed next to the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's visage? The thought that too many people simply walk past those silent posters without being ignited in rage and shame is ghastly. But worse still, many even concur and say to themselves: Yes ! that is exactly what we need here: someone who would banish the [Palestinian] Arabs, silence the mosques, and restore Tel Aviv to the Jews. How sad is the knowledge that when the mayor of Nazareth Illit, Shimon Gafsou, proclaims that he utilises both open and hidden means to lower the percentage of [Palestinian] Arabs in his town, many see him as a brave warrior of the Zionist vision and not as a racist figure.
After the storm that broke out when she participated on the Marmara flotilla [to break Israel's siege on Gaza], MK Haneen Zouebi continues to swim against the current. The battle for the Palestinians? "95% of my time in the Knesset I spend in education committees, and I don't deal with the (Palestinian) territories or the occupation." Shimon Gapso [the racist mayor of Upper Nazareth running on anti-Arab campaign- OH]? "He works for intensifying racism." The Arab public? "It votes according to hamullah (extended family or tribe), and not for the most talented person." Haneen Zouebi, controversial MK, likely to make history and become the first Arab female to be elected mayor (in Israel). (Interviewed by Yair Krauss in Maariv/NRG Hebrew's daily magazine)
An Israeli Arab's West Bank Story
Ali Waked says that nothing he reported during his decade as a correspondent for the popular Israeli website Ynet comes close to giving as accurate a picture of the Palestinian reality as does the fictional screenplay he co-wrote for "Bethlehem," the dark thriller that is Israel's candidate for an Oscar. Ironically, Israel's Academy Award nominee for best foreign language film will be competing against "Omar," a Palestinian movie on exactly the same subject: the ties between a Palestinian collaborator and his Israeli operator. Waked says he is not surprised. "The subject of collaborators is very painful in Palestinian society. You don't know if you can speak freely to someone you meet in a café, in school or even in your own family, because they might report what you say to Israeli authorities. So it's a natural theme for a film depicting the day-to-day lives of Palestinians." Waked tells why he painted such a dark portrait of Palestinian society. (Interviewed by Leora Eren Frucht in Haaretz)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.