APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday January 8, 2013
Quote of the day:
"On one hand, it wants to be a people's army and on the other, [it's] a cruel occupation army, similar to the Germans during World War II."
-- In new Israeli documentary film, 'The Gatekeepers,' Former Shin Bet chief Avraham Shalom acknowledges that the occupation of the Palestinians inflicts damage on the Israeli side. The film just won the U.S. National Society of Film Critics' award for best documentary.**
Front Page News:
- Doctors consider giving green light to denying treatment to HIV carriers
- Obama appointed Hagel as Secretary of Defense: "I am not an anti-Israeli"
- Record flow in rivers since 1992, snow expected in mountains
- Gush Etzion (settler) council provided false affidavit to High Court to prevent West Bank outpost demolition
- (Education Minister) Saar drafting Council for Higher Education to approve Ariel University
- Minors worked in prostitution "for attention"
- Dafni Leef, the woman who sparked the social justice protest, sat in the dock
- 1/4 page ad: The Negev Manifesto - Dear MKs and candidates for the 19th Knesset, It's time to put words into action (and develop the Negev...) By the Merage organization
- The bloc that never got started - The attempt to unite forces of the center to block Netanyahu ended in explosion and slander; Lapid and Yachimovich: Livni tried to take us for a ride; Livni: Their behavior is violent
- Hagel: "I am not anti-Israeli"
- "Raz died because of negligence" - Mother of 9-month-old blames hospital for diagnosing son with deadly bacteria
- Missing a leader - What do the people of Menachem Begin's office say about his successor's
- General Erez Weiner likely to be dismissed following Harpaz report
- Chief of Staff Beni Gantz's 'Bones speech' (Hebrew)
- The climax is still ahead of us - Stormiest day since beginning of winter caused heavy damage to property and agriculture (Hebrew)
- Suspicion in US: Netanyahu will act to thwart Hagel's appointment in Senate (Hebrew)
- National schools are most crowded, Shas' educational institutions have the most fewest pupils per class, according to Education Ministry statistics. Number of pupils to class: Government school 28.4, Religious-National 24.4, Ultra-Orthodox 24.2, Shas 19
- Where did the peace disappear? Today the broadcasted election campaigns begin: The word peace has been pushed to the sidelines. Gilad Shalit will star in Likud's campaign
- "Livni took us for a ride" - After the three-way meeting, Yachimovich and Lapid attack
- Concern in Israel: Chuck Hagel appointed US Secretary of Defense
- The blessing and the damage (Photos of gushing river and car with fallen tree on hood)
- Following the Harpaz report, Chief of Staff hints at personnel changes: "Lines were crossed, the yard needs to be cleaned" (Photo of Maj. Gen. Erez Weiner)
- Euroswift Airlines went bankrupt, dozens of Israelis stuck in Kiev
The response of IDF Chief of Staff to the report that puts a blot on the institution he leads, the appointment of Chuck Hagel as US Secretary of Defense and what happened at that meeting of the three centrist leaders made top stories in today's Hebrew papers.
"This is a sad day for Israel," IDF Chief of Staff Beni Gantz said yesterday. A day after the State Comptroller released his report saying he had identified gross misconduct in the Harpaz affair, Gantz leveled thinly-veiled criticism at his predecessor, writes Ynet. "Power was abused at certain times," said Gantz. He blasted Maj. Gen. Dov Weiner, the aide of his predecessor, and hinted he will take further action against officers involved in the scandal. (More here from Haaretz and Ynet)
According to Maariv's Eli Bardenstein, people in the Obama administration are concerned that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will try to torpedo the US President's appointment of Sen. Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense through his friends in the Senate. As a result, the US has passed a calming message to Jerusalem saying that "Hagel is not anti-Israeli" (NRG Hebrew) and that he will just be following Obama's policies. The papers reported that Hagel himself went on the record and told the Lincoln Journal Star that his views were distorted and he is not anti-Israeli. One senior Israeli official told Maariv: "It's going to be very unpleasant for us under Hagel...His appointment raises the heavy fear of how his world view will affect US policy towards Israel." While Yedioth wrote earlier that Israeli officials say they don't expect the security cooperation to change, Maariv writes that they do expect change. However, they don't believe he will act to cut the US aid to Israel - some $3 billion. Yedioth's Itamar Eichner, however, wrote that senior Israeli officials in Jerusalem he spoke too were 'calming.' "He is only one part of a big orchestra of the US administration. Important decisions will be anyway be made by the President." Bardenstein's US sources hinted that the storm around Hagel's appointment could hurt Likud-Beiteinu's election campaign. "Hagel is anti-Bibi and anti-Likud. His appointment could be used by Netanyahu's opponents in the elections." The US sources also noted that in contrast to his relations with Netanyau, Hagel and Barak are on good terms. On the same page as the Hagel article, Maariv noted that Obama signed for more sanctions to accelerate the collapse of the Iranian economy. Haaretz writes that Jewish Democrats are 'confident' that Hagel will follow Obama's pro-Israel lead. (no firewall) Haaretz's Chemi Shalev interviewed former State Deparement peace negotiator, Aaron Miller , who says the 'dysfunctional Obama-Netanyahu relationship is one of main reasons for the Hagel controversy.' Miller said that US politicians prefer to 'keep their heads down' rather than confront pro-Israel lobby and that Israelis may have reason to be wary of Hagel's attitudes on Iran.
Things are getting messy among the centrist parties. The leaders of Labor and Yesh Atid slammed Hatnua leader Tzipi Livni, accusing her of lying and of tricking them. Shelly Yachimovich and Yair Lapid said Livni presented a false account of the meeting the three held together and that her invitation to hold the meeting was actually a trick to boost her own ratings and not as she had said: to form a centrist bloc. Maariv wrote that it all started following the meeting when Livni claimed that the two had refused her suggestions: to agree on one candidate among them to be prime minister and to decide together whether to join the government as a bloc or not. Livni responded saying the spin was theirs and that they had coordinated their response before the meeting.
- Netanyahu receives letters from more than 700 Jewish clergy protesting settlement expansion - Jewish rabbis, cantors, and rabbinical students around the world expressed fears the E-1 plan will be 'final blow to a peaceful solution' and voiced concern it 'damages the critical relationship between Israel and the US.' (Haaretz)
- Settler council lied to High Court to prevent West Bank outpost evacuation - The Gush Etzion Regional Council provided false affidavit claiming families populated four structures built without permit in the illegal Sde Boaz outpost; evacuating a family that already lives in a structure is legally much more complicated than preventing one from being inhabited. (Haaretz)
- Former Mossad chief Halevy: Practical solution required to conflict with Hamas - "The reality has changed and we are left with the worst of dilemmas: The possibility of an agreement with our enemies," said Halevy. (Ynet)
- Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon left to visit US - Two and a half weeks before elections, Ayalon flew on a work flight to the US for 11 days. His office said he is visiting LA, Boston, NY and Washington on an advocacy mission. This will likely be his last trip abroad as he is not on his party's list for the upcoming elections. (Israel Hayom, p. 11)
- Defense Minister to leave to US for work visit - Defense Minister Ehud Barak flying to Washington on Wednesday for some three days to meet government officials. (Israel Hayom, p. 13)
- Police: Not enough evidence to investigate Netanyahu - In May, Attorney-General ordered investigation of Prime Minister over suspicions that ultra-Orthodox singer and businessman Dedi Graucher illegally transferred cash to Netanyahu. Netanyahu's lawyers, driver deny all charges. (Israel Hayom)
- Report: Officials of poor Haredi and Arab towns earn more than their peers elsewhere - Average monthly salaries at all local councils ranged from NIS 9,000 to NIS 13,000 in 2011, but the figures are much higher in rural regional councils and Arab or ultra-Orthodox municipalities. (Haaretz)
- Police expose arms trafficking ring in south; 30 arrested - Undercover agent infiltrates ring; exposes massive heroine, cocaine and weapons smuggling and trafficking operation. (Ynet)
- Teen prostitution ring exposed in (south) Tel Aviv - Police uncover prostitution ring which exploited teenage girls ages 14-16. Investigators believe ring operated for years. (Ynet)
- Architects to give free advice on redoing homes damaged by rockets - The event will be held in the community center in Ashdod's Dalet neighborhood. (Haaretz)
- Education Minister calls extraordinary meeting of higher education panel to approve Ariel University - The meeting will be dedicated to one issue only: to provide further official endorsement of the status of Ariel University - in the West Bank city of Ariel - as a university. (Haaretz)
- West Bank sees rise in terror attacks - Shin Bet report for 2012's end shows marked rise in terrorist attacks in West Bank and Jerusalem: 111 in December, compared with 28 in August. (Ynet)
- Abbas avoids clash with Israel over state symbols - Last week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas decreed that in official documents 'State of Palestine' must replace 'Palestinian Authority.' (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Egypt says foiled car bombing near Gaza border - Cairo authorities say they've been able to thwart terror attack in Rafah border crossing. Explosives, grenades, RPG found at scene. (Ynet)
- Iran backs Assad peace initiative for Syria - Tehran says Syrian president's plan represents 'opportunity to end crisis.' Opposition: Plan doesn't deserve to be called an initiative. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Bennett: Netanyahu wants leftist gov't - Habayit Hayehudi Chair Bennett fears Netanyahu may ask 'land-ceding obsessed Left' to join his future government; Livni insists: Bloc is alternative to PM. (Ynet)
- Bennett stands by Netanyahu, says Left can't form alternative bloc - Habayit Hayehudi chairman: "I worked for Netanyahu, and his heart is in the right place ... He wants to do good, and he needs strong, ethical people by his side to guarantee that he remains steadfast." (Israel Hayom)
- 'Left aims to recruit religious parties for alternative coalition' - Senior sources in Likud-Beytenu have expressed fear that should the Left unify after the Knesset elections on January 22, they might lure one of the religious or ultra-Orthodox parties and thus block Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from forming a coalition. (Israel Hayom)
- Shalom and not see you later - In the past, 'peace' starred in the campaign slogans of all the big parties. Now it is almost taboo. Likud prefers to focus on achievements in the cellular phone field, Labor avoids dealing with the subject and even the other parties avoided the prohibited word. (Maariv/NRG Hebrew)
- 'Israel leads the West because of Yisrael Beytenu-Likud union' - At press conference with Russian media in Jerusalem, Netanyahu says combination of parties is "a winning formula" for "security and hope." Avigdor Lieberman: Kadima, Labor have nothing in common. Statements come after Likud-Beytenu denies allegations it will break up post-elections. (Israel Hayom)
- Star of Livni's TV campaign ads: Former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin - Diskin's quotes, in which he severely criticizes PM Netanyahu, fell like a ripe fruit into the hands of Hatnua party. Another 'star' will be Netanyau's former advisor, Uzi Arad, whose statements regarding the PM sparked a storm last year. Only Diskin's and Arad's quotes will be in the ads - not the people. (Maariv, p. 7)
**Acclaimed film The Gatekeepers reveals jarring insight into Israel's defense establishment
In his film, which on Saturday night won the U.S. National Society of Film Critics' award for best documentary, director Dror Moreh manages to extract frank admissions and fascinating analysis from the former Shin Bet chiefs. (Haaretz) (And an AP piece on winning the award.)
The town's square is empty
They were at his side in the squares and in the euphoria of the 'mahpach' (when Likud took over from Labor) - in the first days of Likud in power. For that reason it is interesting to hear what the people of Menachem Begin's office - five men and a woman - have to say about his successors. "We went from a prince of law to a prince of deals." Dan Meridor: In Begin's Likud, the judicial system was meant to reign in the power of the government. Yisrael Beiteinu does not excel in this. Neither does Likud of today. It is nothing like the way we were then." Arieh Naor: "Begin realized that he was stuck, lost all control and turned into a liar who broke his promises to Reagan. He mourned the death of the soldiers and blamed only himself, because despite all the recommendations, he appointed Sharon as Defense Minister." (Igal Sarne, Yedioth's '24 Hours' supplement)
Mediterranean Orchestra scales Arabian heights
You don't need to understand the language to marvel at the music in a tribute to Moroccan singer Samy Elmaghribi. alomon Amzallag, who took the stage name Samy Elmaghribi, was born in 1922. Members of the Andalusian orchestra say he was one of the great Moroccan singers of the 20th century. He left Morocco for Paris in the late 1950s, later moving to Montreal. In the 1980s and 1990s he lived and worked in Israel, but in his later years returned to Montreal, where he died in 2008. (Haaretz)
Why the left is the right track for Israel (Eva Illouz, Haaretz) Leftist concepts of universal human rights and social justice have historically ensured the stability of nations that adopted them. With a struggle, they could work here too.
The subduing of Israeli academia (Or Kashti, Haaretz) As long as those in academia and education in general refrain from explicitly saying Israel's education minister is a danger to education and free thinking, the devastation of the past several years will only spread further.
Why didn't they warn us sooner? (Yaron London, Yedioth/Ynet) New trend of former security officials criticizing leaders' decision-making process is infuriating.
We need a criminal investigation on the Harpaz affair (Haaretz Editorial) The state comptroller's report on the Harpaz affair paints a grim picture of the power struggles among top defense officials, which paralyzed staff work on sensitive national issues, all under Netanyahu's apathetic eye.
Habayit Hayehudi: Don't blow this opportunity (Isi Leibler, Israel Hayom) The Harpaz affair exposes the anarchy, terribly irresponsible behavior and obsessive paranoia displayed by the former chief of general staff and his associates.
On demons and cousins (Salman Masalha, Haaretz) Everyone who says the ethnic demon doesn't exist or isn't so terrible should provide a convincing explanation to an outstanding soldier named Asaf Abudi. There is no pleasure like malicious pleasure, but every Arab citizen of Israel who flies abroad has experienced the same heavy hand of the white Zionist who prefers names that end in "ski," "baum" or "blum."
Nukes, fences and cottage cheese (Eitan Haber, Yedioth/Ynet) Upcoming elections in Israel not about quality of life, but about survival of Zionist enterprise.
Who will replace Netanyahu? (Yossi Sarid, Haaretz) Don't bother trying to find a suitable candidate to replace Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister. The position maketh the man.
Welcome to the jungle (Mordechai Gilat, Israel Hayom) Those of us with traditional religious Zionist inclinations yearn for Habayit Hayehudi to distance itself from demagogic populist policies and the messianic commitment to retaining land at any cost.
Jitters in the palace (Uri Misgav, Haaretz) For King Bibi, this is not an election. It is an attempt to topple him.
Obama's revenge (Sever Plocker, Yedioth/Ynet) Warm US embrace will quickly be replaced by cold shoulder if Hagel confirmed.
Cannibalism in the bloc (Yossi Verter, Haaretz) The hostility that suddenly burst forth among the three leaders of the center-left parties has surprised even some of the more veteran pundits.
Netanyahu fiddled while Israel's defense establishment burned (Barak Ravid, Haaretz) The state comptroller's criticism of the prime minister's halfhearted approach to resolving bloody infighting shows us someone who doesn't want to get his hands dirty.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.