APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday January 10, 2013
NOTE: IT'S SNOWING IN JERUSALEM!! And that has caused a delay to News Nosh.
Quote of the day:
"Whoever wants to be a partner in a topnotch ideological activity is invited to invest. We don't promise profits right now, but money's value will be preserved and probably will make a nice earning in the end."
--Settler Arieh King is looking for partners to buy land in E-1.**
Front Page News:
- Storm climax: Thousands disconnected from electricity
- Security exports of Israel jump to some $7 billion in 2012
- US: Iran attacked bank computer systems
- Chairman of Council of Land Assessors acted without authority for four years - suspicion of deals in hundreds of millions of shekels
- Lapid: Bennett deceiving the secular (voters)
- Campaign to document generation of the year of Independence needs to be saved
- Stolen work by Matisse discovered
- This morning: Height of the cold, farmers demanding recognition of "natural disaster"
- Not waiting for Netanyahu: Acquisition group in E-1 (Hebrew)
- Shortness of breath, blood in vomit and stinging in eyes of Border Police - Dozens of Border Police complain that a mill that opened near their base in Jerusalem hurts their health (Hebrew)
- White in the eyes - From Mt. Hermon to Jerusalem: The great storm whitened the mountains of Israel
- The destruction after the flood
- After the protest: Shas removed the "televised wedding campaign ad"
- Mayor of Kiryat Malachi Moti Malka likely on way to plea bargain
- Tragedy in Petach Tikva: Two brothers killed by bus; Residents: It's the "road of death"
Snow falls in Jerusalem, Yair Lapid declares ultra-Orthodox draft condition for joining government and a controversial Shas TV campaign ad is pulled from screens making top news in today's Israeli papers. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister's Office refused to extend the term of a government lawyer who prevented the distribution of lands in the Palestinian Territories to government cabinet members for political use and a settler advance plans to buy a piece of E1.
Besides the daytime photos of flooded communities and night photos of a snowy Jerusalem, Ynet has a video of soldiers from a unit of ultra-Orthodox Jews saving Palestinians trapped in their car in the midst of a river and of the IDF rescue unit, 669, which provided footage of how it saved an Arab-Israeli family in Tayibe. (It saved another 12-member Arab Israeli family the day before yesterday in Baqa al-Garbiyeh). But not all were so lucky. Two Palestinian women died in a flash flood near Nablus yesterday.
Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid made headlines yesterday by declaring that his party would not join a government that did not draft the ultra-Orthodox to the IDF. He also attacked Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett saying he was "deceiving" secular voters by "talking about equality but whispering other things into rabbis' ears" - namely that Bennett would not advance the ultra-Orthodox draft or encourage them to enter the job market.
The Mizrachi ultra-Orthodox Shas party has pulled its latest televised campaign ad after critics said it was racist and the Central Election Committee agreed. The ad mocks Russian Israelis as having converted through a "conversion hotline." (Read Shasnik Itsik Sudri explaining in Commentary why it was not racist.) Israel Hayom has the video here.
A supervisor who prevented construction in (Palestinian) Territories has been sent home, Yedioth reported. The Prime Minister's Office denied the Deputy to the Attorney General, Adv. Sarit Dana, an extension to her post, where she has been responsible for the legality of planning, construction and assessing land in the State and in the Palestinian Territories over the last six years. Yedioth noted that more than once she prevented the distribution of land for political purposes to government cabinet members. Dana is considered the strongest lawyer in Israel on the issue of civil law. (From Yedioth January 8th, 2013) Note, Haaretz has translated the Op-Ed for which its author, a high-school principal, may be dismissed, as reported yesterday. It is called 'Irresponsibly voting with the mainstream.' See Commentary.
**Meanwhile, a settler infamous for his expertise in buying land from Palestinians is arranging for an acquisition group to purchase land in the ultra-sensitive E-1 to build for Jews, Maariv's settler affairs reporter Amichai Atali reports. Construction plans for E-1 were passed in the Civil Administration's higher council for planning. But, without the signature of the Minister of Defense, the procedure is meaningless and it is not possible to publishe tenders for contractors to build. For this reason, Aryeh King set up the 'The Fund for the Lands of Israel.' King, a resident of the Maaleh Zeitim settler enclave on the Mt. of Olives and slated #4 on the extreme right-wing Utzma L'Yisrael party, has a rich history in buying land from Arabs and turning into housing projects for Jews in the midst of Arab neighborhoods. A few months ago, he discovered [Note, the writer did not delve into how he discovered this, but it is very possible the source was government, as the government has the taboo of who owns what property - OH] that an Israeli company that owns 80 dunams in E-1 is in economic troubles and is interested in selling the land for $6 million. King has already gathered hundreds of thousands of shekels from business people and now is putting the rest of the financing plan out for the public, according to which every amount invested will get an equivalent portion of ownership of the land. King isn't worried that the land has yet to receive final approval for construction. Fifteen years ago, he located land in the heart of the Arab neighborhood on the Mt. of Olives and despite predictions otherwise, within just a few years 10 buildings were built there in which 107 families live today. "From the moment we buy the land, the first thing we do is fence it," King said yesterday. "When it's our land, I don't need to ask Netanyahu for permission to put a fence, plant an olive grove and grape vineyard and not put guards there around the clock. While Netanyahu talks and sells us all mines during the elections and doesn't do anything, we decided to begin to work on the ground. What we need now is more money and I'm turning to anyone who wants to purchase. Whoever wants to be a partner in a topnotch ideological activity is invited to invest. We don't promise profits right now, but money's value will be preserved and probably will make a nice earning in the end." (NRG Hebrew)
- Israel to market disputed East Jerusalem housing project before election - Plans for the project, which involves 1,500 homes over the Green Line, were approved last month by the National Planning and Building Council, causing tension between Jerusalem and the West. (Haaretz)
- Ariel University's status endorsed by less than half of national educational body - Only 11 of 24-member Council for Higher Education showed up at meeting that rubber-stamped controversial decision to give university status to West Bank academic institution. (Haaretz)
- Poll: 50% of Israelis say US pressure should not sway Israel - Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University December 2012 Peace Index poll: Half of the Jewish public concurs that Israel should follow current government policy even at the price of a confrontation with the U.S. administration and 20% of Israeli voters remain undecided about whom to vote for. (Israel Hayom)
- Israeli professors slam court decision keeping security prisoners from studying - Claim the decision to deny these prisoners the opportunity for academic study is motivated 'by a rationale of ultranationalism and of vengeance, which contradicts the Open University's mission.' (Haaretz)
- Teachers back leftist high-school principal - Over 1,000 people sign petition urging education minister to let high school principal who published leftist article keep his job; dismissal will be 'threat to freedom of speech,' petition says. (Ynet)
- IDF conscientious objector says he won't give in to pressure - Natan Blank told Haaretz by phone from Military Prison No. 6 that he assumes the army is trying to wear him down with the repeated confinements until he gives in and enlists, but he does not intend to do so. (Haaretz)
- 2 Arab-Israelis convicted for terror plot - Two Arab-Israelis found guilty of planning terrorist attacks, sentenced to up to five years in prison. (Ynet)
- Israeli delegates kick off voting overseas - Knesset elections get underway as polling station in Israeli embassy in New Zealand opens. (Ynet)
- 'Racist chants at Israeli players due to Israel government policies' - Federation of International Football Associations bans Hungarian fans from World Cup qualifying game between Hungary and Romania for waving Iranian flags and chanting anti-Semitic insults during game with Israel last year. Head of far-right party Jobbik accuses FIFA of interference. (Israel Hayom)
- Over 25% of Israeli kids overweight - Health Ministry report reveals haredi, Bedouin children are thinner, shorter than Jewish secular children their age. (Ynet)
- Palestinians struggling to pay bills - Cash-strapped PA looks to Russia, China to help rescue it from financial collapse. (Ynet)
- Hamas flagship university grooms Hebrew teachers - Islamic University in Gaza City offers a one-year Hebrew diploma course for first time. 19 students are enrolled in the program. Hamas says it wants Palestinians in Gaza to understand their enemy's language. (Israel Hayom)
- Officials: Egyptian minister fired over opposition to Iran meddling - Security officials in Cairo say former Interior Minister Gamal El Din was dismissed because he was against meeting between Morsi's aide and Iran's spy chief. Muslim Brotherhood: Meeting sends message to US. (Ynet)
- Nelson: Netanyahu didn't raise concerns about Hagel - A prominent member of the U.S. Senate, Bill Nelson said Israel should not worry about Obama's choice in Hagel for the Pentagon job. (Israel Hayom)
- U.S. officials: Hagel says military action should be option with Iran - In private meetings with top military and defense leaders and staff, Obama's pick for defense secretary counters critics who say he is soft on Iran and would be the most antagonistic secretary toward Israel. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- From chief of staff to money chief - Jack Lew, an Orthodox Jew, expected to be easily confirmed as treasury secretary. Hagel's nomination as defense secretary faces strong opposition. Journalists dig up anti-abortion statements from 1996. (Israel Hayom)
Torn from inside
He serves in the most tense place in the Middle East: The Cave of the Patriarchs. Nothing in his situation is simple for Amir Abu-Ri, a Muslim soldier from Sakhnin. The friends he grew up with didn't come to his enlisting party. The guys in basic training told him how they would clean Israel from Arabs. But that did not prevent Abu-Ri from volunteering for the military to serve as a Border Policeman in Hebron. "Here in Hebron I feel at home. I love the Eastern atmosphere, the music, the nargilas, the hospitality. True, I am in favor of the state, but I am proud to be Arab." And no, he is not offended when his friends from his unit refuse to visit his home. "I want to build a bridge. So that we'll get closer, and we will live together as friends." Abu-Ri speaks to Yedioth reporter Merav Betito ahead of the premier screening of a film about him, 'Cousins in arms,' at Friday, 2PM at Beit Tzionei America, Tel-Aviv.
The Knesset's liberal speaker caves in (Haaretz Editorial) The decision to dismiss Dr. Gilad Natan is a shameful surrender to a campaign by rightist organizations and sends a clear message to other Knesset researchers to be wary of their publications.
The Harpaz letter will not go away (Ari Shavit, Haaretz) Boaz Harpaz: 'I regularly shared information with Ashkenazi, his wife and Weiner. They directly or through the IDF spokesman made sure to pass it on to the press.'
A patriot who hates his people (Yossi Klein, Haaretz) The South African writer J. M. Coetzee spoke out against apartheid and the people who supported it. His relationship with his people was complex.
Awaiting a finer hour (Israel Harel, Haaretz) There is a yearning for a change in values, for a renewal of Zionism and the appearance of worthy leaders but this will apparently have to wait for sometime in the future.
Back to the Road Map? (Dov Weisglass, Yedioth/Ynet) Creation of Palestinian state with provisional borders may prevent looming disaster.
Israeli election: the view from outside (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) The far-right Sweden Democrats party shows a race to the state's coffers between old Swedish women with walkers and veiled Muslim women. Swedish television stations refused to air the broadcast. But this is not Sweden.
Needed: A real opposition (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Instead of campaigning, the center-left parties have been determining the conditions under which they would join a Netanyahu-led government.
Irresponsibly voting with the mainstream (Ram Cohen and Orit Kedar, Haaretz) Left-wing voters who want an effective anti-Netanyahu opposition should vote for real left-wing parties, not Labor.
White House changed the rules (Eitan Haber, Yedioth/Ynet) By picking Hagel, President Obama telling Israel he will not allow it to launch solo attack on Iran.
Labor: more bang for your vote (Shlomo Avineri, Haaretz) Even if Netanyahu assembles the next government, the relative strength of the center-left parties does matter and Labor is the only one with a true shot at making a difference.
No law in these parts (Sara Hirschhorn, Haaretz) While Naftali Bennett reignited the debate on resisting orders, will Israel's election confront the country's widespread and entrenched disdain for the rule of law that dates back to the state's founding?
Our conversion ad is not racist (Yitzhak Sudari, Israel Hayom) Converting and joining the Jewish people shouldn't be as simple as signing up for a health club.
Al Gore's Al Jazeera sellout (James Kirchick, Haaretz) What 'nuance' will Al Jazeera bring to U.S. cable news coverage, as commended by the New York Times? Don't expect to find fair-handed coverage of Israel or the U.S., but rather the promotion of Qatari foreign policy, brought to you by the go-to-network for Hamas, the late Osama bin Laden and Hassan Nasrallah.
Beware of Palestinian reconciliation (Prof. Alexander Bligh, Israel Hayom) Drawing Israel into a violent campaign at home would facilitate the Arab efforts to portray Israel as the aggressors and divert Israel's focus from attacking Iran.
Israel's precious political capital is being squandered in hysterical Hagel war (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz) The continued omnipresence of Israel in America's political battles will harm its long-term interests, as the core of its bipartisan support gradually falls apart. Israel's precious political capital is being squandered in hysterical Hagel war.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.