APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday November 14, 2012
Quote of the day:
"There will be the same check for everyone - Arabs and Jews as one. We are speaking of citizens of Israel and we cannot allow this discrimination."
--Former prime minister Ehud Olmert told then Shin Bet chief to stop the humiliating racial profiling of Arab Israelis at Ben-Gurion Airport. Yedioth reveals why that never happened.**
Front Page News:
- Israel: We will cancel Oslo if the Palestinian Authority goes to the UN
- Leader of the Reform Jews: US Jews feel that Israel is a stranger to their values
- Why the Nature and Parks Authority calls the national park (plan to destroy Palestinian structures) "They see no, nor know"
- Education Minister's plan to budget schools according to percentage that go to military is underway
- Leading organ donors in Israel: Jews, women and residents of center of country
- High Court criticism of renewal of (discriminatory) allowances for married full-time yeshiva students
- 50 shades of khaki - A third woman and senior general involved in Petraeus affair
- The faculty has yet been built; the ministers inaugurated it 3 times
- Symbol of Maccabi Haifa, Reuven Atar, fired from team
- We will pay - Biggest deficit of Electricity Corp getting to our pockets
- Hug for the south - Residents of center of country initiating solidarity campaign this weekend: Come travel in south for the Israelis on the line of fire
- Senior Shin Bet official against the Attorney General (over easing airport checks of Arabs)
- The affair in the CIA: Another general got into trouble
- Kicked - Reuven Atar thrown from Maccabi Haifa after 9 games
- On their field - Lior Silver is the only Jewish boy in the country to play on an Arab team
- Israel to Hamas: "Quiet for quiet" (Hebrew)
- The imams bow their heads - 20 French Muslim religious leaders visit Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial
- Worrying forecast on World Diabetes Day: 1.2 million sick in Israel by 2025
- Israel Katz's double celebration - Moment before primaries in Likud: Minister of Transportation inaugurated highway to Kiryat Arba (settlement) twice (Hebrew)
- Parting from Yaakov Greenwald, director of Maariv printing, who went to sleep and did not wake up yesterday
- End to the romance: Reuven Atar, beloved of Maccabi Haifa fans, fired from team training
- Quiet, temporary situation - Heads of local councils in south demand response; PM: "We will collect a heavy price for shooting"
- Today: Olmert to return to Israel and hold another round of talks with Livni and Mofaz
- Symbol of Maccabi Haifa goes home
- The most expensive apartment in Isarel: Penthouse in central Tel-Aviv for 200 million shekels ($51 million)
- Police Chief: "Arab policeman who joins the police as part of compulsory service will be accepted automatically to the police"
- Petraeus affair expands: Another commander of US forces in Afghanistan got in trouble
- Chinese Ambassador to Israel, Gao Yanping, in a special Op-Ed
Calm in the south, Israeli threats to a Palestinian statehood bid, and the firing of a soccer star were top stories in today's Israeli newspapers. Of diplomatic interest, sharp Egyptian criticism of Israel, Israeli concern that Susan Rice will be the next US Secretary of State, and a warning from Germany over its relationship with Israel. And Yedioth revealed the behind-the-scenes over cancelling the racial profiling of Arab citizens of Israel at the Ben-Gurion airport.
Israel has agreed to 'calm for calm.' "We lost the momentum to attack because the quiet returned," a source involved in the government cabinet talks told Maariv. Indeed, after the Gaza factions announced a truce on Monday, things have calmed down. Nevertheless, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said, "We will collect the price for whoever hurts the residents of the south" the next time around. Nevertheless, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood slammed Israel over the Gaza strikes. The ruling party accused Israeli leaders of heating up the conflict with Gaza factions to score political points ahead of elections. In its statement, the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party referred to Israel as a "Zionist occupier" and a "racist state," placing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on the "fringes" of the "far right."
While the south may be calmer the diplomatic arena is heating up vis-a-vis the Palestinian Authority. Israel has threatened to annul part or all of the Oslo Accords if the Palestinians seek upgraded UN status. That said, China has reaffirmed its support for the Palestinian UN bid. Beijing said it supports 'the Palestinian people's just cause of recovering their national and legitimate rights and interests.' That is despite the growing contacts between Israel and China. Meanwhile, Yedioth's Itamar Eichner writes that a Foreign Ministry draft position paper says that the only viable option in case Palestinian Authority receives non-member state status at UN would be 'to overthrow Abbas.'
Senior sources in Jerusalem are convinced - and worried - that Susan Rice is the leading candidate to replace Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State - and Netanyahu is concerned, Yedioth writes. "She's going to be tough, but not just with us. Rigidness is part of her personality," said the sources. Unlike Clinton, who was independent, Rice is expected to be an ideological extension of the US President. Therefore, in light of the turbid relationship between Obama and Netanyahu, Netanyahu is expecting 'to eat bitter herbs from her.' Yedioth noted that Rice has made critical statements of Israel and held tough talks with Israelis. In February 2011, she opposed the veto of the UNSC resolution condemning building in Israeli settlements. That said, she played a critical part in the US campaign opposing the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN.
A senior German Foreign Ministry official said criticism of Israel's handling of Palestinian issue is growing in Germany. "The criticism in Germany at Israel's foreign policy is rising, especially regarding the Palestinian issue. The young generation in Germany feels more freedom to criticize Israel and in 20 years, the "special relations between the countries will not remain as it is today," the official told Israeli sources in a closed meeting, Yedioth's Itamar Eichner reported. The official also said that the Egyptians would not cancel the peace agreement, but they will not upgrade relations until the Palestinian issue is solved.
**Surprise! The legal advisor of the Shin Bet agreed to the demand by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel to end the racial profiling of Arabs in the security checks at Ben-Gurion Airport. That was in 2007 and then prime minister Ehud Olmert agreed to put out the millions to make it happen. But, the State Attorney opposed the move. Days before the case goes back to court, Yedioth reveals what happened behind the scenes and the exceptional move by the Shin Bet legal advisor that could create some change. ACRI petitioned the High Court in 2007 using examples of numerous Arab citizens of Israel who were needlessly humiliated by security checkers. "In the Shin Bet, they understood that the situation could not continue and they decided to establish a team that would correct the situation," writes Yedioth's Telem Yahav. One of the statements was given by Dr. Nadra Shalhub Kaburkian, a Hebrew University criminology lecturer, who said: "One of them removed an academic report written in Arabic and said, 'What a stupid language,' and they all laughed. He took out a family photo and put it on the table. His friend put his shoes on top of the photo." After the petition was made to the High Court, the Shin Bet legal advisor 'A.' walked into the office of then Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin and said "We must accept this petition." Diskin said he would bring it to then prime minister Ehud Olmert. Diskin and 'A.' met with Olmert who accepted their request and said it would cost a few hundred million shekels, but it will be worth it. "There will be the same check for everyone - Arabs and Jews as one," Olmert said. "We are speaking of citizens of Israel and we cannot allow this discrimination." But when a meeting was held at the State Attorney Meny Mazoz's office, 'A.' realized that something had changed. At the meeting were State Attorney Meny Mazoz, deputy state attorney Mike Blass, director of department for High Court petitions at the State Attorney office, Osnat Mendel, and other lawyers in addition to then chairman of the Ports Authority Shmuel Zakai and head of the security branch of the Shin Bet. A. argued that discrimination between the two citizens would in the long run hurt the state's security. He believed it was a devastating injury to democracy and to the way of life in Israel. But others at the meeting said it would cost millions. The State Attorney's people, along with the Ports Authority chief and the head of the security branch of the Shin Bet, preferred the present security arrangements over the citizens' rights, wrote Yedioth. Diskin heard what happened and gave up. But A. made a highly unusual decision: he and all those under him would not defend the State and the Shin Bet in the High Court. He told Diskin he would quit before being forced to defend the State's position. In the meanwhile, five years passed and the High Court judges are still debating over their decision. At the end of this month the State Attorney will submit its updates response to the petition. "Now we can only wonder what will be the fate of the petition, and if the exceptional move by A. will succeed in having an effect."
- Bedouins lament police brutality against kids - After riots ravage Bedouin village, residents say police used undue force, violated minors' rights. (Ynet)
- Israeli Arabs fume at plans to reward schools for IDF enlistment - New program to incentivize schools according to a number of criteria including matriculation results, drop-out rates and absorption of special-education students, as well as, a service to the State rate. (Haaretz)
- PRC unveils video documenting attack on IDF jeep - Popular Resistance Committees' military wing claims responsibility to attack that left four soldiers wounded, release. (Ynet
- IDF soldier hurt in jeep attack likely to lose sight - Soldier who was critically wounded in RPG attack on IDF patrol jeep near Gaza border regains consciousness, but doctors say he may never see again. (Ynet)
- Palestinians begin exhumation of Arafat's body, source says - As part of probe into cause of late Palestinian leader's death, Palestinians begin removing concrete and stones from Arafat's grave, source close to the family tells AFP. Operation follows recent suspicions that he was poisoned with polonium. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
- Palestinians preparing for marches across Samaria (Northern W. Bank) - In honor of commemoration day for Yasser Arafat's death and the declaration 23 years ago of Palestinian independence, the Fatah youth group has announced plans to hold marches across Samaria. The IDF said it would prepare accordingly. (Maariv, p. 10 and NRG Hebrew)
- Recipe for peace - Foreign Ministry uploaded a recipe for Zionist maqloubeh [ironically a Palestinian rice dish - OH] to its 185,000 friend on its Arabic Facebook page with a video clip of Zahav Ben singing Um Kulthoum. (Yedioth, p. 32)
- Request to give Hebrew names to streets in (Arab E. Jerusalem) Silwan neighborhood - Jerusalem mayor asked residents of E. Jerusalem neighborhoods to suggest names for the (many) unnamed streets. One request came to give biblical names to the streets in Silwan and officially name the area "City of David." [Note, numerous settlers live in Silwan and controversial archaeological digs take place there looking for connections to Jewish kingdoms - OH] (Maariv, p. 10)
- Economic solutions for families in the south are limited in scope - Employees and business owners can get help from government and non-governmental agencies in how to maintain work routines and manage businesses under constant threat of rocket fire, but economic solutions are mostly limited to receiving advice. (Israel Hayom)
- More Israelis seek psychological help due to rocket fire - Special care unit established to provide immediate treatment after rocket attack. Among cases reported: A 4-year-old boy says he is glad it is raining "because it extinguishes Qassam fire." (Israel Hayom)
- Apple finally offering Israeli music - Heavy layoffs in tech, but Ness Technologies is hiring; Duracell Powermat is teaming up with Starbucks; exit from WorldMate. (Haaretz)
- Jordanian textbooks put Israel on the map - Maps featured in two textbooks distributed among Jordanian school kids fail to mark Hashemite Kingdom, Palestine, but include Israel. (Ynet)
- Muslim cleric wanted by Jordan on terror charges released from U.K. jail - Palestinian-Jordanian Abu Qatada, 52, has been held in British custody for seven years without trial; he is wanted on terrorism charges in Jordan. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Imams from France tour Yad Vashem - 20 Muslim clerics arrived from France to Israel in a special trip organized by the French Foreign Ministry. "If I were living during the time of the Holocaust I would have saved Jews," said the head of the delegation. (Maariv, p. 20)
- Syria pledges to halt fire on Israel - In message conveyed through UN, Damascus regime says will prevent accidental shelling of Israeli territories. (Ynet)
- Report: Rebels seize villages on Israel - Syria borderAt least 200 rebel soldiers took over Beerajam and Bariqa in demilitarized buffer zone, Israeli military intelligence source tells The Telegraph. (Ynet)
- Iran unveils new missile systems on second day of drills - Top security official says three domestically-built missile, artillery systems would significantly boost Iran's military defenses. Expert: Iran has a history of unsubstantiated boasts about its weapons and indigenous capabilities. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Likud MK: Haniyeh must be eliminated - Debate between Yariv Levin and Ahmad Tibi turns heated when MKs discuss latest round of violence in south. (Ynet)
- Still no med school, but ceremony No. 3 - Ministers slated to turn out for Safed school's latest cornerstone-laying event, set for Wednesday. (Haaretz)
- The double ribbon of the Transportation Minister - Only a year and a half ago Minister Yisrael Katz arrived to inaugurate the widening of a part of the road to Kiryat Arba (Hebron settlement) and last week - ahead of the primaries - he did it again. (Maariv, p. 6)
- MKs Eldad, Ben-Ari form 'Strong Israel' party - [Far] Rightist lawmakers split from National Union to 'fight for country's Jewish character.' (Ynet)
What young American Jews talk about when they talk about Israel
As 'American' becomes code for 'assimilated,' Yehuda Kurtzer of the Hartman Institute is looking to reshape the conversation about Israel among young Diaspora Jews. (Danna Harman, Haaretz)
Reform Rabbi Rick Jacobs: American Jews are 'afraid' to talk about Israel - URJ president also says: “There’s got to be a sense that the State of Israel gives non-Orthodox Jews the same kind of Jewish opportunities. Because of issues such as Anat Hoffman’s arrest at the Kotel, [MK David] Rotem’s conversion bill and the lack of freedom to marry, North American Jews don’t see an Israel that reflects their core values.” (Haaretz)
Like a thief in the night (Haaretz Editorial) If the government has decided to support the settlements with massive budgets, it must disclose this to the public in real time and fight for its policy; not do it 'in a low-profile manner' - a euphemism for concealment.
Obama II and Israel: The faultlines are starting to show (Daniel Levy, Haaretz) The 2012 elections may well prove to be a watershed in Israel-U.S. relations. Israel's chauvinist turn is increasingly out of sync with America's values, Netanyahu is no longer a useful ally, and Obama has new global priorities – and a war of choice with Iran is not one of them.
The rebel - The Syrian you don't know (Amy Ginsburg, Yedioth) Ginsburg met somewhere in the north of the globe with N.S. 'who holds a senior political position in the Syrian rebel coalition. "He arrived at the city to talk about what is happening in Syria and especially to emphasize the deep desire of the rebels of quick military intervention of Western countries. When I introduced myself earlier I got a handshake. 'Ah, Yedioth Ahronoth,' he said. 'I am very up-to-date about what is happening in Israel, I read Ynet in English everyday.'' N.S. says that it's clear to the political leadership of the rebels that they must need peace with Israel. "We know that peace is necessary in order to build our country anew. The Golan, of course, must return to Syrian hands, but everything will be done in a mature way." Ginsburg writes that he tells of the connections he has with many contacts in Israel. "We parted with a handshake and mutual blessing for peace between our people..."
No Arabs allowed (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) It isn't - heaven forbid - that we think it's okay to discriminate against Arabs. After all, they are also human beings. But still, nu, you understand, they have so many restaurants of their own.
There is no 'somewhat pregnant' (Dr. Chilo Rosenberg, Maariv) "Israel must completely disengage from Gaza and allow the Palestinians to run their lives without any Israeli involvement...There is no need to worry about the welfare of the residents of the Strip. They must be allowed to use a seaport, airport and whatever they like. The claim that they will arm themselves to the teeth and threaten Israel's existence is a stupid claim. A Gaza with tanks, planes and artillery would be much more vulnerable than it is now. Gaza is not an existential threat for Israel. The IDF could level Gaza within two days if Israel's leaders were not afraid of their own shadows...It could be that in order to reach this solution, a military operation would be necessary to restore deterrence. But whoever thinks that only a military operation will eliminate Hamas, is mistaken and is misleading others. The solution must come from a diplomatic solution, with the involvement of the international community, especially the US."
Old white men have run Israel far too long (Bradley Burston, Haaretz) Maybe what Benjamin Netanyahu is betting is that nothing really changes in Israel. Not him, and not the public. Maybe he's betting that Israelis have yet to share one of the central messages sent by the American public to the Republican Party.
From disengagement to terrorism (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) When public debate on the south is almost as frustrating as the situation itself, no one is talking about its link with our past sins.
Israel and the U.S.: No more 'business as usual' (Alon Pinkas, Haaretz) The old platitudes of the U.S. and Israel's 'unshakeable' relationship don't resonate with the America which re-elected Obama. Now Israel has to show why it's a strategic asset for Obama's powerful 2012 coalition of support.
Changing the rules of the game (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) The IDF wants advance authorization for harsher retaliation when next round of rocket attacks begins, and says old rules of the game no longer work in Israel's favor.
The dirty laundry - Sexual harassment in the IDF (Ariella Ringel-Hoffman, Yedioth) A few years ago, when some terrible stories of sexual harrassment became public, a high-ranking IDF officer told me what happened once when he was a low-ranking officer. "We were standing to attention before going out for training when a female soldier, her hair messed up, her shirt wrinkled and her eyes red, came out from the commander's tent. It was clear what had happened there, the soldiers watched her in shock until she disappeared into one of the nearby buildings." And then, he turned to his soldiers and told them that what they saw was dirty laundry and it should not be shared publicly. The reason, he said, was because forty years ago, to tell on a commander was more severe than attacking an 18-year-old female soldier. No one thought that was the norm, that it was acceptable to do. The opposite was true - even those who did it knew very well that it was not okay, but they did it because they could, because female soldiers kept silent and so did we....
The winter of Israel's descent from democracy (Sefi Rachlevsky, Haaretz) Every person and party that is not anti-democratic must wake up and join the fray. Including, of course, the Labor Party.
Kicking the consensus
In the background, the sounds of the muezzin, on the field in Sakhnin, a routine training. No one pays special attention to Lior Silver. Yes, he trains with (Arab soccer club) Bnei Sakhnin. True, he is the only Jewish boy in the country who plays on an Arab team. Let him play and forget the racism. To Beitar Jersusalem fans he is a traitor. His friends on the team have no problem with a Palestinian flag. But Lior Silver does not understand what is special about him. And no, he is not isolated, that's the reality on the offside. Silver, born in Jerusalem, was raised in Tevel, a small community in the Galilee. His mother a marketing expert born in England, and his father, a professor of history who was born in the US, moved there when he was two. He studied at the bilingual 'Galil' elementary school, where made friends with Arab pupils and learned Arabic.
"I love Sakhnin (soccer team) since I was seven years old. It was my initiative to try to join the team. I just got the phone number of the manager, Rizek Ghanaim, and called him."
A fellow player, Ihsa Ghanaim, says: "I yell to him in Hebrew and he yells back in Arabic."
Why aren't there more children like you?
"There are language differences and there are people who don't like Arabs. People with prejudices. But if they got to know the people of Sakhnin like I did, I doubt they would continue to think that way. Here they accept everyone nicely. Everyone says hello, shakes your hand. The team building here is much bigger than another teams I played with. Not long ago, when I was injured and in laying in the emergency room, I had to close the phone because every second someone from Sakhnin called."
And what does Silver think of Beitar Jerusalem team [infamous for being racist and fans violent towards Arabs - OH]?
"They aren't willing to have an Arab player and those are things that are not connected to sport."
And what if you got an offer from Beitar Jerusalem? Would you join? "Never. It would be like betrayal. Betraying the team, betraying my friends. On Saturday, I really wanted Sakhnin to beat Beitar. A victory over Beitar is much more than any other victory for me."
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.