APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday January 1, 2013
Quote of the day:
"There is nothing wrong with talking to them, as long as we get an answer."
--Israeli President Shimon Peres says it's okay to talk to Hamas.**
Front Page News:
- Obama: Close to an agreement for a solution to the fiscal cliff
- Welcome 2013 - Confessions of a New-Year's celebrating Orthodox Jew
- Western intelligence: No proof that Assad has used chemical weapons
- Rape of elderly woman in south Tel-Aviv reignites hatred for migrants
- (Minister) Meshulam Nahari secured the transfer of millions without a tender to Shas' El Hama'ayan (cultural organization)
- The Palestinian problem - Yair Shamir: Not for every million (people) do you need to create a state (Hebrew)
- New politics? Lawyer of Eretz Hadasha party convicted of crime in past (Hebrew)
- Archives, first hand, from Israeli leader
- Protest of the ambassadors - Convention of Israeli diplomats turned into a show of protest against Israeli government policy
- Criticized the government and the Finance Ministry - and fired by email
- Worried about Hilary (Clinton)
- No borders - Infiltrator from Eritrea suspected of raping 83-year-old in south Tel-Aviv (photo of demonstration in south Tel-Aviv)
- Good Morning 2013
- The high schools (that turn out the ) most combat (soldiers)
- Dangerous malls - Investigation found even places that appear safe can be firetraps
- Arnona and water get more expensive, ministers' and MKs' salaries rise (Hebrew)
- The rape and the fury - Brutal rape of 83-year-old woman in south Tel-Aviv again sparked tension in area (Hebrew)
- Obama optimistic: Agreement forming regarding "Fiscal Cliff" (Hebrew)
- Efforts to release him - Young Israelis arrested in Egypt - In jail in Port Said after entering country without passport (Hebrew)
- What's happening to Hilary (Clinton)?
- 2013 - From Sydney to New York: The world celebrated
- Fence on Egypt border completed
- 2013 From Sydney to New York, from Tokyo to Tel-Aviv the world celebrated
- "Close to an agreement" - Crisis of the fiscal cliff
- Prime Minister apologizes: "Dismissal by email is unsuitable" - Chief statistician fired by email
- 1 January: Income taxes rise, pension administration fees drop
- Appeal accepted: Anat Kamm's punishment shortened by one year
- Hilary Clinton hospitalized with blood clot in brain
An Israeli who wanted to fight the occupation was arrested in Egypt and an Israeli who 'fought' the occupation had her jail sentence in Israel reduced, while two top Israel civil servants criticized the government: one lost his job, the other got a round of applause, making top stories in today's Israeli papers. Meanwhile, the IDF detained the Palestinian policeman who Israeli soldiers tried to arrest weeks ago causing masses in Hebron to mob the soldiers, who retreated.
Andre Pshenichnikov, a 24-year-old Jewish immigrant from Tajikistan reportedly said he wanted to cross the border "to join the Palestinian freedom fighters in Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula, the fighters against the Zionist occupation." Pshenichnikov, who served in the IDF, entered Egypt near the Taba crossing last week and was detained by Egyptian authorities Monday, apparently because he had no passport. Israel was working to secure his arrest. (and Haaretz)
The High Court shortened the prison sentence of former IDF soldier Anat Kamm by one year. Kamm was sentenced in November 2011 to four-and-a-half-years in prison after she handed over classified military documents, which she stole during her military service, to a Haaretz reporter. Kamm says she did not intend to endanger state security. Some of the documents appeared to show that senior IDF officers had violated High Court of Justice rulings by approving the assassination of wanted men in the West Bank, even when it would have been possible to arrest them. Two High Court justices wrote they believed that Kamm's sentence should be shortened in light of the fact that she admitted to her offenses and she spent some two years under house arrest. One judge, Justice Noam Sohlberg [the High Court's first ever settler judge - OH] disagreed, believed the sentence was appropriate. (Haaretz) Kamm is likely to be released in February 2014.
The long-time director of Israel's Center Bureau of Statistics was fired by email a few days after criticizing the Finance Ministry's policies (NRG Hebrew). At an economics convention, the country's head statistician, Prof. Shlomo Yitzhaki, said, "The privatization of pensions resulted in massive concentration of the capital market. I call this 'The big pension robbery.' Adminstration fees turned into a tax that is transferred from the poor to the rich. It's like giving three years of average salary to the rich: the pension directors take half of it and carry no risk, and in this way groups of rich were formed, some of them formerly of the Finance Ministry. Check who is running the pension funds - former Finance Ministry people. I always say: the best privatization is the one in which a clerk builds for himself his future job." The Prime Minister's office responded saying that his contract ended a year and a half ago. Indeed, it is renewed every three months. But this time it was terminated even before he had a replacement. Later Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said the way he was fired was improper, Maariv/NRG Hebrew reported.
Meanwhile, Yedioth revealed that one of the highest-ranking Israeli diplomats in the world, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor, questioned the government's timing in announcing plans to build in the controversial E-1 area between Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim the day after the UN General Assembly voted to recognize Palestine. Prosor's question received a round of applause from the audience of ambassadors at the annual Israeli ambassadors' convention. The applause also received an angry rebuke from National Security Council Chief, Yaakov Amidror, who told the ambassadors to quit if they don't like the government's policies.
At the beginning of December Israeli soldiers made headlines in all the Israeli media when they retreated rather than firing and killing unarmed people who threw stones at them when they tried to arrest a local policeman. However, the Israeli media missed the fact that over the weekend, soldiers arrested Firas Abu Aziza, 27, at a temporary checkpoint in Yatta, near Hebron, and took him to an unknown location
- Habayit Hayehudi to the hilltop settler youth: Stay quiet till after elections - MK Uri Ariel requested the youth tone down the activities in the settler outposts in order not to hurt the momentum of his party in polls. In a letter to Daniella Weiss he called: "Our sector must show maturity and not play into the hands of the opponent in politics and media." (Maariv, p. 8)
- Suspected 'price-tag' attack on Palestinian village - "The only good Arab is a dead Arab. Vengeance for Yitzhar," and "This time on buildings, next time on humans," scrawled in Qusra village, near Jerusalem. IDF: Attacks like this distract army from carrying out its primary mission to protect Israeli citizens. (Israel Hayom)
- Witnesses: Settlers raid Hebron village - Dozens of settlers from Hagai settlement raided Dura village on Friday, accompanied by Israeli soldiers, and threatened to take control of a water spring in the area, witnesses told Ma'an. Settlers also entered an area of al-Khader village near Bethlehem. (Maan)
- Girl who spat on MK Tibi: He deserves death sentence - Extreme rightist tells Ynet she does not regret spitting on Arab lawmaker who 'calls on his supporters to kill Jews and become shahids.' [Note: Tibi never said anything of the kind. -OH] (Ynet)
- Partner of serial wife-killer: "I understood I needed to kill an Arab" - Anesthesiologist accused of providing her love with drugs to kill his wife says she thought he was a Mossad agent who needed the drugs to kill a rich Arab living abroad. "I thought I was helping the State," said Dr. Maria Zakotsky. (Yedioth, p. 26)
- In Bank Hapoalim campaign: Business in illegal outposts - Criticism from left-wing: In the framework of a project to encourage people to use the services of small businesses, the bank included numerous businesses in illegal W. Bank outposts: a winery, tzimmers, a metal shop, and a cafeteria. (Maariv, p. 10, NRG Hebrew)
- Hamas to Abbas: Transfer the Palestinian Authority to us, not Netanyahu - Hamas deputy political bureau chief Abu Marzuq responds to Abbas' declaration that he will hand the keys to the West Bank over to Israel if the diplomatic stagnation and settlement construction continue. (Haaretz)
- **Peres sets conditions for Hamas talks - President undeterred by criticism over his remarks on peace process, says 'Hamas must decide if they want peace or war. There is nothing wrong with talking to them, as long as we get an answer.' (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
- Erekat: "Peres is intervening in Palestinian politics" - Peres said Israel would be willing to talk to Hamas and sparked anger in the Palestinian Authority. "Israel won't decide who will be the representative of the Palestinian people." (Maariv, p. 5/NRG Hebrew)
- Witnesses: Israeli tanks breach south Gaza border - Israeli tanks and bulldozers entered around 100 meters inside the southern Gaza Strip to level land on Monday, witnesses told Ma'an. (Maan)
- Israel eases building materials blockade on Gaza - IDF begins allowing shipments of gravel to Gaza's private sector; says 'the longer the calm persists, the more we'll weigh additional easings of restrictions.' Palestinian economist: Gaza needs more than what Israel has allowed. (Agencies, Ynet)
- CNN complimented the IDF Spokesman's Unit on Operation Pillar of Cloud - CNN included the social media activities of the IDF Spokesman's Unit during the Gaza operation as one of 12 most important technological events of 2012. Calling it 'Live broadcast Twitter war,' CNN mentioned how the unit tweeted that the IDF killled Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari and how Hamas' military wing tweeted back "and so the warring sides exchanged tweets and symbolized the evolution of how a war is broadcast in real time." (Yedioth, p. 20)
- Watch: Ahmed Jabari's last video - Hamas military chief documented during secret visit to Mecca just several days before his assassination. 'Allah, take revenge on Jews and Americans,' he prays in video. (Ynet)
- Honorable mention/Praising Zionists - Their graduates enlist in masses, become commanders and go to officer's course. New statistics show from which high schools come the highest quality soldiers. First place for guys: Misgav High School; for girls: Macabim-Reut High School. The surprise: Only one religious high school in the top ten. (Yedioth, p. 1)
- Palestinians to outnumber Jewish population by 2020, says PA report - The estimated number of Palestinians in the world at the end of 2012 is 11.6 million, of whom 4.4 million are in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem and 1.4 million live inside Israel. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Clashes in Beit Ummar after Israeli bus strikes Palestinian teenager - An Israeli bus hit a Palestinian teenager in Beit Ummar on Monday last week, leading to clashes in the town near Hebron. (Maan)
- Israeli raid leads to clashes in Beit Ummar - Fierce clashes erupted early Monday in Beit Ummar in the southern West Bank after Israeli soldiers raided the town and detained two teenagers. Nine Israeli military jeeps stormed the town at daybreak ransacking several homes. (Maan)
- Israel 'detains disabled man' in Yatta - Israeli forces on Wednesday (last week) detained a disabled man after raiding his grocery store in Yatta in the southern West Bank. Local youth threw stones at soldiers, who responded by firing tear gas and rubber-coated bullets, injuring two young men, one who suffered a critical head injury. (Maan)
- Israeli forces order Jordan Valley evacuation for training - Israeli forces have delivered evacuation orders to around 100 Palestinian families in the northern Jordan Valley Monday, ahead of a military training exercise. The evacuation affects around 1,000 Palestinians. They must leave their homes by Wednesday for 48 hours, or they will be subject to penalties. (Maan)
- Jerusalem refuses to take on water debt of Church of Holy Sepulchre - The municipality was expected to cover the basic debt of NIS 412,000 and the church was to begin paying its water bills going back to January 1, 2012. (Haaretz)
- Official: Israel demands 52,500 shekels to delay home demolitions - Israel's high court on Wednesday ordered 21 Palestinians to pay 52,500 shekels to delay the demolition of their homes while the court considers their case. Israel ordered the demolitions because the homes are in Area C, the 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli control. (Maan)
- FIFA appeals to Israel on behalf of Rajoub - International football federation urges Jewish state to return Palestinian official's VIP pass, which was revoked following UN statehood recognition. (Ynet)
- IDF: Suicide is the primary cause of death among Israeli soldiers - According to IDF data, in the past three years, suicide has claimed more soldiers' lives than operational activity, accidents or illness; most of the suicide victims served in the home front. (Haaretz)
- Israel granted permits to 80,000 migrants in 2012 - Figure amounts to almost eight times the number of migrants who entered Israel illegally over the course of the year - yet Eli Yishai has been vocal in decrying the illegal 'infiltrators' as a danger. (Haaretz)
- Channel 1 anchor may be barred from hosting election broadcast due to affair with Likud minister - Recent reports that Channel 1's leading news anchor, Geula Even, is romantically involved with Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar have raised concern among members of the IBA ethics committee about a possible conflict of interest. (Haaretz)
- Iran test-fires upgraded missiles in naval drill near Strait of Hormuz - Islamic Republic tests 'Raad' (Thunder) defense system and underwater torpedoes as part of its ongoing naval exercise. (Agencies, Haaretz)
East and West meet on stage, but fail to unite
'The Trojan Women,' a Jewish-Arab-Japanese adaptation of the classical play, provokes high expectations. So why does it lose altitude almost from the very start? (Haaretz)
What Peres understands (Haaretz Editorial) Likud, which has been denouncing Peres' remarks, prefers the arrogance and aggressiveness of the Netanyahu-Lieberman school of foreign policy, which will end up serving a Naftali Bennett-style far-right political doctrine. For Israel's sake, it would be wise to listen to Peres.
The president is not impartial (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) In his attempt to make an objective assessment of the peace process, Peres faults the Israeli leadership but takes no issue with Abbas' track record as a negotiator.
Peres bursting with anger (Eitan Haber, Yedioth/Ynet) President has every right to speak up if he believes government leading Israel to disaster.
The president should hold his tongue (Dr. Gabi Avital, Israel Hayom) President Shimon Peres cannot help himself. He expresses his diplomatic views at every possible venue, regardless of the timing or the position he holds.
Stop scapegoating Tel Aviv, the true heart of the State of Israel (Judd Yadid, Haaretz) Demagogues label Israel's most open and advanced city as a tumor of cowardly depravity, disconnected from the country's struggles. Yet Tel Aviv's detractors should be careful what they wish for.
So many guns, so little security (Tsafi Saar, Haaretz) In the past decade 28 women and men were murdered at home with weapons belonging to security guards, as noted by the women active in a campaign sponsored by Isha L'Isha called The Gun on the Kitchen Table, which aims to stop these killings.
Israel addicted to war (Prof. Zeev Maoz, Yedioth/Ynet) Israeli wars, military operations based on flawed belief that force can solve problems.
The empty suitcase (Uri Misgav, Haaretz) This leftist emigration talk is so whiny and self-indulgent, so slothful, defeatist and complacent. Even if it is mainly theoretical, such talk is extremely enervating. This wouldn't happen to the right.
Lieberman defends human rights - but in Russia, not Israel (Rachel Liel, Haaretz) The same Avigdor Lieberman who lobbied President Putin to retract laws limiting human rights organizations in Russia uses extremist nationalism to whip up a hostile climate towards and legislative control over Israel's human rights community.
The danger of Tzipi Livni (Roni Schocken, Haaretz) Before centrists cast their votes for her, they should note her roots in a very different ideological doctrine, and see who she's trying to recruit.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.