APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday November 11, 2012
Quote of the day:
"I hung up and called again, this time presenting myself with a Jewish name. The hostess said 'no problem', and that is when we understood that there is indeed a problem."
-- Muhammad Sufri tells reporters about racism at a famous sushi restaurant.**
Front Page News:
- Four soldiers wounded from anti-tank missile on their vehicle at Gaza border; IDF attacked in Gaza Strip
- Head of CIA resigned because of affair with his biographer
- One out of every three Israeli women will suffer a sexual attack at some point in her life
- Soho restaurant in Rishon L'tsiyon: Tamir enters without a problem, Mahmoud is told there is no place
- Winter weather across the country; 16mm rain flooded Eilat
- What's bothering Philip Roth? The author has resigned from writing forever
- The circle of fire - Another round of escalation: shooting on IDF jeep and rockets on the south
- Romance under the table - CIA Chief David Petraeus resigned after it was revealed he had an illicit romance while he was commanding forces in Afghanistan
- Eilat river - Fierce rains flooded the city over the weekend
- Dozens of rockets launched at southern communities - Escalation around Gaza: Four soldiers injured from anti-tank missile (Hebrew)
- Sunday Times: (former IDF chief) Dan Halutz: It's only possible to destroy the Iranian (nuclear) plan by using nuclear arms (Hebrew)
- The love affair and the resignation - Shock in the US intelligence community: Admired CIA Chief David Petraeus resigned after it was learned he had an illicit affair (Hebrew)
- Netanya residents battle against crane that threatens their nursery school
- Binyamin Netanyahu passed Yitzhak Shamir in numbers of days serving as prime minister (Hebrew)
- Hitler's house may be destroyed, instead of becoming museum against fascism (Hebrew)
- This is how the radical right-wing activist from Hebron became "Mr. Israel" (Hebrew)
- Escalation in Gaza - 4 soldiers injured from anti-tank missile - "The time has arrived to strike"
- Finance Minister vs. Electricity Corp: No more free electricity (for company employees)
- The rain paralyzed Eilat
- America in shock: CIA Chief resigned because he was having affair
- Shock among bicyclists: Boris rode to Dead Sea, was hit and left to die
- Olmert: Upon my return from the US I will announce if I will return to politics
- Yachimovich closed the door on (former Labor party candidate Uri) Sagi: "The bar cannot be only criminal (acts)"
Escalation in Gaza (but who is telling the whole story?) and a romance turned career destroyer were top stories in today's Israeli papers. Barely making the news was the latest on the Palestinian Authority's statehood bid at the UN. Maariv ran a small, but interesting diplomatic news item as well as a translation of today's Sunday Times report revealing a former IDF chief of staff's views on an attack on Iran. There was also an interesting piece about a radical right-wing activist who changed his life - or at least, part of it.
The Israeli headlines read: Four IDF soldiers injured by an anti-tank missile. The Maan News Agency headline was that four civilians were killed and 25 were injured when Israeli tank shells hit a funeral tent. Following the killing of four Palestinian civilians, more rockets were launched over the fence into Israel. Reading the Israeli papers about the escalation between Gaza and Israel, one would never think that the Palestinians may be responding to Israeli killings as well as incursions into their territory. Maariv illustrates the escalation by listing four events between October 23 and November 8th in which Palestinian road mines and rockets injured Israeli soldiers. There is not a word about the killings of two civilians last week, one a 13-year-old boy, who wask killed when IDF moved forces into Gaza sparking a firefight with local militants.
But, then again, on review of today's reports and those from last week, there is almost no mention that Israeli forces ever entered Gaza. In fact, it is usually not reported, except on Maan. It is not clear to this writer, who reviews the news daily, when the IDF started making such regular incursions into the Gaza Strip. Usually the Israeli papers [evasively or unprofessionally? -OH] write "The soldiers were operating near the security fence...," when, in fact, they were operating from the Gazan side. Yedioth mentioned in today's story that the IDF jeep that was hit was indeed inside Gaza and showed it in an illustration. But there was no questioning of the issue. Maariv made no mention of where the soldiers were when they were attacked and Israel Hayom's Hebrew edition actually wrongly wrote that they were "some 150 meters inside Israel." The English edition just writes that they were "patrolling the border." It also reported that Hamas took responsibility for the fire, but did not say why.
They all write that the recent round of violence began when Palestinians fired on the soldiers' jeep on Saturday. Only Haaretz quoted Hamas' military wing saying the attack on the jeep was in retaliation for the death on Thursday of a Palestinian child by IDF fire. \ It was Maan that reported that the killing of 13-year-old Hamid Younis Abu Daqqa happened when four Israeli military vehicles briefly penetrated the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday morning, leading to clashes with Palestinian militants. "Abu Daqqa was killed on Thursday after Israeli forces targeted houses and farms east of Khan Younis, according to Ashraf al-Qidra, a medical spokesman in Gaza," Maan wrote. IDF forces also entered Gaza on Wednesday, Maan reported, noting that 'an army spokeswoman said the vehicles were conducting "routine activity" and she was not aware of the incident of tank fire. A Palestinian man was moderately injured by tank fire in central Gaza on Wednesday, a medical official said.'
There has been no examination or discussion in the Israeli media of this "routine activity." Could Israel's actions inside Gaza perhaps be provoking the Palestinians? Is Israel not responsible for escalation if it enters Gaza and clashes with local militants? If Israel considers the border with Gaza an international border and Gaza an independent entity, then what does it mean that it freely (or not so freely, in light of the response) enters Gaza for "routine (military) activity"? We know what Israel's reaction would be were the tables turned.
The resignation of the head of the CIA following the revelation that he had an illicit affair with his biographer while serving as top commander in Afghanistan got heavy coverage. Haaretz wrote that Petraeus was was seen as someone who "understood Israel." See commentary below.
The Palestinian issue fails to raise much interest in two out of four of the main Israeli papers. Israel Hayom reported that the Palestinian Authority has submitted the first draft of its proposal to become a "non-member observer state" to the UN General Assembly. Haaretz ran a news agency article saying that Israel is threatening to close the cash tap if the Palestinians do seek UN recognition.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon met with the new Egyptian and Jordanian ambassadors - the latter's first business meeting with a senior Israeli official. 'The fact that they did not hesitate to make it public is very significant, in light of the harsh criticism in their countries on the decision to sent them to Israel," writes Maariv's Eli Bardenstein.
Maariv translated a report from today's British Sunday Times by Israeli journalist Uzi Mahnaimi, in which the former IDF chief of staff Dan Halutz said that "the thing that could wipe out the Iranian nuclear project would be the use of the nuclear option. I just hope that Bibi is not crazy enough to think about this seriously." The article also says that the Kadima party elections campaign, whose slogan is "Bibi is going to get us into trouble" with a photo of a nuclear mushroom in the background, may actually be referring to Shaul Mofaz's fear that Netanyahu will attack Iran.
Radical right-wing activist Michael Pollak was arrested 12 times after clashes with security forces and Palestinians. But the resident of Kiryat Arba (Hebron settlement) left religion and began body building. Now he got 2nd place in Mr. Israel contest, Maariv reported. Although he now lives a secular life he has not changed his radical views. "Before, with the yarmulke, beard and sidelocks, when I used to talk to secular people about political issues, they would say, 'Whatever, you're religious, we won't listen to you.' Now, when I say 'Kahane was right,' everyone understands that it's not just an empty saying."
- Palestinian man injured by settlers in Hebron - Samir Jaber, 20, was taken to hospital for treatment after settlers from Kiryat Arba threw stones at him in an unprovoked attack. (Maan)
- Imams from France in reconciliation visit to the country: "The anti-Semites among us are a radical minority" - Twelve-person delegation to arrive today with goal of trying to erase the dark image of Muslims hostile to the Jewish community.: "We are the real faces of the Muslims." (Maariv, p. 15)
- Demonstration of racism at Doha stadium (in Sakhnin) - One one side: radical right-wing MK Michael Ben-Ari and Itamar Ben-Gvir carried on the shoulders of Beitar Jerusalem fans. On the other side (Arab) MKs Ahmed Tibi and Hanin Zouebi and Palestinian flags. The Beitar fans called out "Ahmed Tibi is dead," "the Temple Mount is in our hands." The game ended 1-1, but the Jerusalem crowd continued to provoke the local fans as they left the stadium. (Maariv, p. 16)
- Will the Netanyahu era be the longest in Israeli history? Saturday marks the 2,433rd day of Netanyahu's premiership, a record beaten only by Ben-Gurion. Lapid declares his party could enter either right- or left-led coalition if its conditions are met. Meretz and Yisrael Beytenu to select Knesset candidates. (Israel Hayom)
- Israel ranks 40th on 2012 Prosperity Index - Scandinavian countries top Legatum Institute's annual list, US drops out of top 10 to the 12th place. (Ynet)
- Poll: 54% of Israelis don't want foreign workers as their neighbors - According to survey by the country's local authorities, 28% said they would not want an ultra-Orthodox neighbor either. Only 2% say no to Ethiopian neighbors. No one was opposed to a Sephardi, Ashkenazi, national-religious or homosexual neighbor. [Strangely, it doesn't mention Arabs who are 20% of population - OH] (Israel Hayom)
- Israel warns Assad over stray Syrian fire on Golan Heights - A day after Syrian mortar shells hit northern Israel, Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon says Israel holds Damascus responsible; 8,000 Syrian refugees cross into Turkey overnight. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- 8,000 Syrians flee to Turkey - Thousands flee war-torn Syria in cover of night; Turkey says over 120,000 people have sought refuge on its soil since Damascus uprising began. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Report: Israel to renew spy plane deal with Turkey - Decision would unfreeze first arms deal between the sides since Gaza flotilla rift. (Haaretz)
- Sudan's Bashir: We will never normalize relations with Israel - The Sudanese president says his country is looking for ways to protect itself from alleged attacks by Israel; Sudan blames Israel for explosion at Khartoum arms factory last month. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Report: Bushehr nuclear plant enters final testing phase - Iran, Russian contractor said to be gearing for final testing of nuclear power facility ahead of planned 2013 activation date. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Talks between Israel, neighbors on nuclear-free Mideast called off, diplomatic sources say - Speaking on condition of anonymity, the diplomats said that 'the time was not opportune' for such a gathering. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Iran says U.S. drone violated Iranian airspace - Iranian defense minister confirms that Iranian jets fired on a U.S. unmanned aircraft last week; Iranian lawmaker says incident proves 'Iran has the necessary readiness to defend against any invasion.' (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Report: Iran, UN nuclear agency plan December talks - Diplomatic sources say new round of talks to be held in Tehran; last round held in August failed to make concrete progress. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Ultra-right party goes underground - to convene in Old City cave - Around 100 members attend convention of splinter party whose platform asserts that Jordan is the Palestinian state. MK Aryeh Eldad's 'Hatikva' party held its convention at Zedekiah's Cave, under the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City. Hatikva is a split-off from National Union, which has now split into three: Hatikva, Michael Ben-Ari's party, and Yaakov Katz's Tekuma, which will apparently run together with Habayit Hayehudi. (Haaretz)
- Mohammad Barakeh reelected Hadash chairman - Presiding chairman to continue for another term; MKs Swaid, Khenin named for second, third slots. Barakeh: We're ready to topple dangerous rightist government. (Ynet)
- The optimistic left-wing - Today two women will run for the fourth spot on the Meretz party list. MKs Nitzan Horovitz and Ilan Gilon are expected to keep their second and third spots on the list. (Yedioth, p. 10)
**'Mahmoud' can't get table at an Israeli eatery, but 'Tamir' can
A popular restaurant in Rishon Letzion has been accused of racism after an Arab couple claimed they could only make a reservation using Jewish names. Bar Cohen, a Holon resident who trained to be a hostess at the restaurant, told Haaretz there were specific instructions to politely refuse reservations from Arabs. (Haaretz)
**Couple accuses restaurant of racist policy
Muhamad and Sama Sufri wanted to make a reservation at Soho restaurant; when they gave their real names they were told restaurant was full, however when they gave fake Jewish names their reservation was accepted. (Ynet)
Take me to the (West Bank) casbah
Two Israeli Arabs and two Israeli Jews get into a car and travel to the West Bank in search of good food. This is not the opening of a joke, but the start of a journey that turns out to be quite complex. (But they eventually discovered that) the wonderful sweet traditions of the Arab Middle East are still going strong in Nablus. (Ronit Vered, Haaretz)
Snapshot: (Palestinian) Girl, interrupted
Everything is inverted in this sad, wrenching photograph taken by AP's Majdi Mohammed. (Haaretz)
Petraeus' resignation will be a loss for Israel, too (Amir Oren, Haaretz) A hero of the kind America loves, the outgoing CIA chief also understood both Israel's security needs and the need to advance peace with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu can relax, Obama won't punish him (Aluf Benn, Haaretz) The notion of reward and punishment in politics sounds likely, but is overly simplistic. Real life is much more complicated.
No reason to panic (Hagai Segal, Ynet) Obama won't force Israel to divide Jerusalem because Bibi's wealthy friend funded Romney campaign.
Betting on the wrong horse: The night Benjamin Netanyahu will not soon forget (Yossi Verter, Haaretz) The mistaken advice from political whiz Arthur Finkelstein, the painful glitch called Naftali Bennett and the re-election of Barack Obama – the astonishment that seized Netanyahu and his advisers this week was absolute as it was authentic.
Ehud Olmert’s conspiracy theory (Sheldon G. Adelson, Israel Hayom) Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert recently advanced a curious conspiracy theory about me — a theory that would almost be flattering if it weren’t so absurd.
Gaza flare-up could lead to another pre-election escalation (Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz) Shifts in dynamics along the Gaza-Israeli border could lead to broader clashes and eventually an IDF ground operation on the eve of the upcoming election in January.
Dragged into unwanted war (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) Gaza terrorists assume Israel won't launch broad military campaign before elections.
Hamas is trying to take advantage of elections in Israel for making terror attacks (Asaf Gavor, Maariv) In Hamas they are convinced that the government of Israel won't respond harshly in order not to be suspected of diverting the agenda ahead of the elections from economic and social issues to security.
When the cameras roll, Israeli leaders are only too happy to talk about Iran (Amos Harel, Haaretz) A TV report aired this week about the way Israel has contended with Iran's nuclear threat showed that when it suits their needs, the country's leaders have no problem going on the record about matters of national security.
Palestinian Authority looks ahead to second Obama term with weary optimism (Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz) Despite the fact that he disappointed them during his first term, Barack Obama back in the White House is better for the Palestinians than his opponent would have been.
Stop making trouble (between israel and) the US (Oded Tira, Maariv) The attemp by some of the media to create a crisis between Netanyahu and Obama severely huts the state's interests - and it is far from being loyal to the facts.
Apartheid, by any other name (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) No, Israel is not an apartheid state, but the occupation in the territories is apartheid.
Leave Shimon Peres alone (Haaretz Editorial, Haaretz) The president should not be treated like a trustee who can be called in to manage a failing company.
Don't run, Shimon, don’t run (Uzi Baram, Israel Hayom) It's a mistake to think that the esteem in which you are held as president would resonate into your nomination to lead the country.
Obama may have one more campaign opponent to overcome – Netanyahu (Bradley Burston, Haaretz) Running hard for re-election, Netanyahu may have a world to gain, and nothing to lose, by continuing to thumb his nose at a victorious president.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.