APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday January 9, 2013
Quote of the day:
"Are we on the edge of a third intifada? It is a real possibility because of the amount of despair coupled with the (political) stalemate," said
--Former Shin Bet chief and Yesh Atid candidate says negotiations must be a priority of the next government. **
Front Page News:
- Flooded country: Injured, heavy damage and dozens evacuated
- (African) Migrants not permitted to take shelter in (government office)
- In (poor) south Tel-Aviv neighborhood, there are no more expectations (Hebrew)
- This is how Assad prepared for a chemical attack
- Elections 2013: Shas: For incitement, press star // Yair Ettinger (Hebrew)
- Increasing the isolation - Televised campaign ads: English is the new Arabic // Moran Sharir
- High School prinicipal facing dismissal after writing against an Op-Ed against Likud-Beiteinu
- Doctors for Human Rights: Treating AIDS patients must be required
- Enviromentalists: Forest development will affect the landscape of the Arava desert
- Country in water - Today, the climax of the cold: Preparation for snow in Jerusalem; Hadera: Night rescue
- Embarrassment to Likud in first campaign broadcast
- Investigative story: The coaches' deal - While you trust them, Israel soccer coaches are receiving money under the table for transferring players
- Storm's damage estimated at half a billion shekels - Flooded country
- Likud-Beiteinu initiative: Declare the appointment of Kahlon as Minister of Housing to stop the drop in polls (Hebrew)
- White capital - In Jerusalem, waiting for 5cm of snow and the visitors that will come to see it
- Mega-winter - Country overflowing: rescues, traffic jams, snow in the north - and expectations in Jerusalem
- Angry reactions from Israel supporters in the US over nomination of Hagel as US Secretary of Defense
- Two weeks before elections: Campaign broadcasts on air
The rescues and the damage from the stormiest weather Israel has seen since 2003 was the top story today in all the Hebrew papers. Meanwhile, a high school principal faces dismissal after writing an Op-Ed calling to vote for a left-wing party, the nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel continues to make news and another security person has weighed in on the question of the Third Palestinian Intifada.
Ram Cohen was summoned to a hearing at the Tel Aviv Municipality after writing an Op-Ed in Haaretz against the government and in favor of either Hadash or Meretz to present a "fighting opposition, a real and brave alternative" to the "democracy of Likud-Beiteinu." (The Hebrew Op-Ed, "An irresponsible vote" was co-authored by Orit Keidar, a Hebrew University political science professor, and was a response to an article the week before by Prof. Shlomo Avineri, who called on those from the left who opposed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to vote for the Labor Party. It was not translated to English.) The conservative Maariv interviewed a professor of civic studies at the Hebrew University, Prof. Dan Avnon, who said that teachers and principals must never express their political opinions. "That said, it's important to emphasize the phenomenon also exists in religious-national schools and there needs to be one rule of law for all." Maariv wrote that Cohen is not expected to be fired after the hearing. (More in Haaretz)
More people are weighing in over the nomination of Chuck Hagel as US. While the Prime Minister's Office and the Foreign and Defense Ministries will not speak openly about the appointment, Knesset Speaker and Likud member Reuven Rivlin expressed his concern: "Because of his statements in the past, and his stance toward Israel, we are worried." But, Rivlin added, the strategic partnership between the U.S. and Israel is strong and "one person doesn't determine policy." Another diplomatic source in Israel, who chose to remain anonymous, told Israel Hayom that Hagel's appointment was "very bad news for Israel; it's clear that it won't be easy. It looks as if Barack Obama wants to be the good cop in his second term." However, Ynet writes that as senator, Hagel consistently voted in favor of military aid to Israel. Haaretz spoke to former IDF navy chief Ze'ev Almog who said Chuck Hagel is a friend of Israel and that, contrary to accusations, Hagel opposed closing the USO center in Haifa and backed a $50 million grant to upgrade facilities at the Haifa Port. Iran, meanwhile, says it has its hopes on Hagel and is expecting 'practical changes' to US policy.
**Former Shin Bet chief and Yesh Atid candidate Yaakov Perry said a third Intifada might break out due to Palestinian 'despair.' Perry warned that without a peace initiative in the next Israeli government, fundamentalist Islamist groups would take more control. Perry headed the Shin Bet during the first Intifada. In the last week, the present Shin Bet chief Tamir Pardo said it likely won't break out and a military commander said it already has. (More from Haaretz)
- Report: Israel stopped Assad's chemical warfare - New York Times reports IDF intelligence about Syrian sarin gas preparation prompted international action that prevented Assad from mixing chemicals. (Ynet)
- Second group of cyber defenders graduate from IDF - Over the next year, IDF intends to increasing the size of computer defense courses, with dozens of additional soldiers being trained for such posts. (Haaretz)
- State: Universal draft not best for IDF - In brief filed with High Court over petitions demanding the immediate draft of yeshiva boys State argues that expanding current draft 'is not feasible'; will strain IDF's resources and may impede primary missions. (Ynet)
- Arab youths assault taxi driver in Tel Aviv - Three assailants enter cab, hit driver and leave him on side of the road near Halamish before heading off with car. (Ynet)
- Israeli high-tech start-ups sold for combined $5.5 billion in 2012 - PricewaterhouseCoopers Israel report shows that 50 buy-out deals for Israeli high-tech start-ups in 2012 averaged $111 million in size, an all-time high. (Israel Hayom)
- PM's living expenses hit new record - Israeli taxpayers pay NIS 2.46 million for routine maintenance of prime minister's residence in 2011 - 12% more than in 2010. Public also paying for services at Netanyahu's two other homes. (Ynet)
- Nevada gov. plans trade mission to Israel - Brian Sandoval says water companies may be targeted for business deals in 2013 visit. (Agencies, Ynet)
- US senator calls for gradual cut in aid to Israel - Visiting Israel for the first time, Republican Rand Paul says U.S. can't afford to keep borrowing money and then handing out to others, even to allies like Israel. Paul says aid cut would benefit Israel by enhancing its ability to make independent decisions. (Israel Hayom)
- Israel won't allow 'State of Palestine' passports - Chief PA negotiator: Israel "will not allow Palestinians to travel" with "State of Palestine" printed on identification documents. New emblem to be used in correspondence with countries that recognized Palestinian observer state status in the U.N. (Israel Hayom)
- Distinguished Israeli historian Zvi Yavetz dies at 87 - Born in Romania in 1925, Yavetz escaped the Holocaust and fought for Israeli independence before becoming one of Israel's most esteemed professors and scholars. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Egypt's army foils attempt to attack church on Coptic Christmas - Egypt's Coptic minority is celebrating their first Christmas under the rule of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, amid fear and uncertainty for their future. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Egyptian adviser who called on Jews to leave Israel resigns - Essam el-Erian, adviser to Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, resigns stating his decision was based on "conflict of interest" following appointment to Shura Council. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
- UN: Million Syrians short of food - New report by UN World Food Program underscores dire situation in war-torn country; appeals for $1.5 billion in aid. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Netanyahu visits isolated West Bank settlement for first time as PM - Netanyahu's visit to Rechelim settlement - kept partially secret for security and diplomatic reasons - was part of an effort to reclaim Likud voters lost to Bennett's Habayit Hayehudi. (Haaretz)
- Yesha settler council Chairman Danny Dayan resigned and announced: "I support Netanyahu and Likud" - Dayan expressed fear of 'Diskin's putsch,' the remarks by President Peres and the attempt to form a centrist bloc. Move is blow to Habayit Hayehudi. (Israel Hayom, p. 15 and Maariv/NRG Hebrew)
- Likud-Beiteinu initiative: Declare the appointment of Kahlon as Minister of Housing to stop the drop in polls - The move is expected to return the 5 mandates the party lost in recent weeks. Netanyahu's only fear is that Kahlon will refuse, which would hurt the campaign more. (Maariv, p. 8/NRG Hebrew)
- Despite Israeli election, outgoing Knesset ministers head abroad - Three ministers not running for a seat in the next Knesset draw criticism for 'great waste of money' in their state visits. (Haaretz)
- In Q&A with Haaretz readers, Livni rues decision to privatize Dead Sea resources - In online exchange with Haaretz readers, Hatnuah chairwoman answers questions on Yacimovich and Lapid, the possibility of quitting politics if she doesn't receive a senior ministerial post, and on African asylum-seekers. (Haaretz)
Yedioth's election question of the day was: Should public transportation operate on Shabbat? The interesting, and possibly most surprising answers came from the Arab parties:
Ra'am-Ta'al: "Yes, also in Arab communities and without hurting the sensitivities of the religious Jews."
Balad: "In favor, except in religious (Jewish) neighborhoods."
The televised election campaign broadcasts began yesterday and Yedioth, which is looking for dirt on the prime minister and his party, noted something embarrassing, but very amusing. (Maariv wrote about it in a tiny item.) In the Likud-Beiteinu ad, where it was proudly saying how there is now free education from age three (previously it was age five), it showed a teacher at a blackboard doing multiplication tables. Not only do three and four year olds not learn multiplication tables, but the numbers read as follows:
5 x 3 = 15
7 x 8 = 49
6 x 3 = 20
4 x 7 = 28
A Palestinian farmer reclaims his land, for now
Making use of an controversial army order that forces settlers off of land they have seized illegally, a 60-year-old Palestinian last week was able to return to his family's field for threshing season. The next tussle over the plot, however, may not go so smoothly. The plot of Fawzi Abed-Haj, 60, was at the epicenter of violent clashes last week from settlers of the Esh Kodesh outpost, spurred last Tuesday after the elder Abed-Haj returned to thresh his 100-year-old family plot following a year and a half of legal battles. (Haaretz)
Will Israel bomb Iran by April? Not if Chuck Hagel can help it (Bradley Burston, Haaretz) If there is anyone in American governance who stands for finding all possible diplomatic means to avert war, it is the decorated, twice-wounded Vietnam veteran.
Hagel would not have been our choice, but he's not as bad as some fear (Abraham Foxman, Haaretz) Despite his tepid support for Israel, Hagel still acknowledges Israel has security challenges; on Iran, President Obama must reiterate U.S. policy that, contrary to Hagel's position, the military option is not off the table.
The anti-democratic shadow over Israel (Hagai El-Ad, Haaretz) An array of NGOs, including NGO Monitor, are advancing an assault on Israeli democracy in lockstep with the government, attempting to establish a specific state ideology as a loyalty test against which everyone and everything should be judged.
The Arab elephant in the Knesset (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) The left wing parties have the best of intentions for helping Israel's Arabs, but like the most right-wing among us, wouldn't dream of publicly forming an alliance with them.
In the world of election broadcasts, English is the language of Israel's enemies (Moran Sharir, Haaretz) In the 2009 election campaign, Avigdor Lieberman claimed that only he 'speaks' Arabic, therefore most equipped to face up to Israel's enemies. This time, the enemy resides in the White House and 10 Downing Street.
The day after Iran's tomorrow (Benny Morris, Haaretz) A pre-emptive Iranian strike to ward off an Israeli or American attack on its nuclear project is a real threat, one that could send the region entirely off-kilter and one we must be ready for.
Hageltopia (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) If Chuck Hagel wouldn't have existed -- Obama would have invented him.
Israel, the brain repellent (Guy Rolnik, Haaretz) Our country faces a series of unique threats, which makes our situation, in which the best and the brightest are fleeing to other shores, all the more dire.
Transparent meddling, opaque funding: the EU and NGOs (Gerald M. Steinberg, Haaretz) European Union officials' reluctance to detail their funding of Israeli and Palestinian NGOs may arise from the EU's fear of public criticism of its role in alienating millions of Israelis - who reject neo-colonialist efforts to use these NGOs to manipulate Israeli democracy.
Yedioths big disappointment (Itsik Saban, Israel Hayom) It's no secret Yedioth Ahronoth wants to unseat Netanyahu.
Turkey learning that jaw-jaw is better than war-war (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has concluded there's no escaping talks with Kurdish underground leadership.
Bashful fascism (Alexander Yakobson, Haaretz) It's possible the future will prove that Israeli fascism, which has been at the gate for decades, will finally overcome its strange bashfulness and enter the living room. But it's also possible that those who predict that fascism is just around the corner simply don't understand Israeli society very well.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.