APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday January 14, 2013
Quote of the day:
"No longer will Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz be able to compare Israel favorably to Europe...No longer can Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu engage in wordplay about growth and employment."
--Haaretz's Nehemia Shtrasler takes the government to task for the enormous budget deficit revealed yesterday.**
Front Page News:
- Failed tax-collection forecast doubled the budget deficit
- Elections economy // Nehamia Shtrasler
- IDF and the police evacuated the Palestinian outpost in E-1
- Bennett: Greater Israel is not our party's main cause
- Nahal officer accused of tying, beating and strangling a Bedouin citizen
- Gantz to dismiss Maj. Gen. Weiner
- The incredible waste of "Born to Freedom"
- Air pollution in Beijing breaks records
- 1/4 page ad: It can be better here...On election day we are voting for EMET, the Labor party led by Shelly Yachimovich
- The deficit failure - Storm in political establishment following Treasury announcement that the government deficit is double what was predicted; Significance: After elections we will all pay through painful economic edicts
- Dismissed - Harpaz Affair - After the hints at the "dry bone," the Chief of Staff dismissed Maj. Gen. Erez Weiner
- The woman died in front of her husband - Shimshon Ben-Moshe waited for his wife who was arriving in a friend's car when suddenly the car hit a commercial vehicle
- Expensive salad - Because of the storm: Prices of vegetables jumped 50-330%
- Sayeret Golani - Four children of the Golani family chose a special sport: Pole vaulting
- Netanyahu likely to prefer Lapid and Livni over Bennett and Shas (Hebrew)
- The enormous budget deficit - 39 billion shekels - could affect the composition of the next coalition
- Harpaz affair report: Maj. Gen. Erez Weiner dismissed from IDF (Hebrew)
- The world supports commemorating the Holocaust - 23 countries donated millions of Euros to preserve the buildings about to collapse in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp (Hebrew)
- Another chance - Court in Cairo ruled: Former president of Egypt Husni Mubarak will get a retrial
- As of today: 'Morning Globes' - a special daily economic edition will be part of the paper
- Gates of Cuba opening - After years that Cuban authorities limited restricted citizens from leaving the country, as of today the hated exit visas will cease to exist and locals can leave their country freely
- Dismissed from the IDF - Following the State Comptroller report: Chief of Staff Gantz decided to end the service of Maj. Gen. Erez Weiner. Weiner's lawyer: He acted on orders of his commander, Ashkenazi
- Ashkenazi's guard // Dan Margalit
- Olmert plays with submarines - Former PM: The submarine recently acquired from Germany at a cost of 500 million Euros - "Megalomaniac waste." Netanyahu: "We have strength and power"
- "I am a stupid doctor. I made a mistake" - Text from interrogation of anasthesiologist Maria Zakotsky reveals how the "serial widow," Shimon Kuper, convinced her to give him a deadly substance
- Rabbi Ovadia to be released to his home and starred in Shas election campaign broadcasts
- 2012 budget deficit twice what was forecast; Minister of Finance calms: We won't raise taxes after the elections
The budget deficit is double the government's prediction, a general is dismissed from the military and the first Palestinian outpost is evacuated from E1. Meanwhile, the prime minister and his predecessor continue to bicker.
Haaretz and Yedioth and the centrist and left-wing parties came down hard on the government for ending 2012 with a 39 billion shekel deficit - 4.2% of GDP as opposed to the 2% the government had predicted. "Figures point to social hell and economic chaos," said Labor chief Shelly Yachimovich. Hatnuah leader Tzipi Livni said Netanyahu ws leading Israel to bankruptcy. Haaretz's economic affairs reporter, Nehemia Shtrasler wrote that the Netanyahu government doubled the budget deficit to buy votes.
The evacuation of some 150 Palestinian and left-wing activists at the Palestinian outpost in E1 took place Saturday night, so the papers only write about it today. Israel said it went smoothly and non-violently, but the Palestinians say they were manhandled, Palestinian MP Mustafa Barghouti among them. All that remains are the tents, whose removal is still pending a court ruling. Interestingly, Israel Hayom reported that there are two Arab acquisition groups for the 80 dunams in E-1 up for sale by an Israeli company. (Maariv first reported on the land for sale. See News Nosh January 10th.) One of the groups is Palestinian and offered $8 million, $2 million more than a settler group offered. Maariv writes that the Israeli government and the IDF fear a wave of Palestinian outposts will pop up in E-1, the Jordan Valley and in Area C, which is under full Israeli control. The goal, it is believed, is to drag the international community into the conflict and get them to intervene. On the other hand, the government fears more 'price-tag' attacks by settlers. In its declaration to the High Court on why it had to evacuate the activists despite an injunction saying it could not, the State wrote that it feared that leaving the Palestinians there would spark price tag attacks by settlers. Yedioth reported on the evacuation in a long caption under a photo. It noted that 'in a rare move, the IDF Spokesman's Unit prevented journalists from entering the outpost.' IDF sources told Yedioth the order came from the political echelons. However, the political echelons refused to respond. The paper's political cartoon of the day showed Netanyahu driving a tractor on land with an 'E1' sign and saying: 'Who said 'evacuating outposts' and didn't get one?' The tractor shovel holds Palestinian men in mid-air carrying a Palestinian flag and a sign saying, 'Bab A-Shams, then and always.' [A play on the popular settler bumper sticker: 'Hebron, then and always.' - OH] Across from the tractor, US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel overlooking the spectacle. Haaretz's Amira Hass writes that the E-1 protest marks a change of tactics by Palestinian activists. She notes that they face a contradiction: They won the attention of the world, but failed to spark a mass movement against the occupation.
In his latest attack on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, former prime minister Ehud Olmert said that the purchase of a German submarine believed to have the capacity to hold and launch a nuclear missile was a 'megalomaniac purchase...done out of caprice.' Netanyahu responded to Olmert's earlier attacks that he had wasted money on a plan to attack Iran, saying that in this way he managed to draft the world behind him against Iran.
- EU working on new Mideast peace plan - British, French FMs preparing plan to restart talks between Israel, Palestinians to be presented in March. 'It will drive us into a corner,' say Israeli officials. (Yedioth/Ynet)
- Member of Israel's higher education council resigns over West Bank university recognition - In letter to Education Minister Sa'ar, Ora Limor says council's accreditation of Ariel University shows it is 'political tool' instead of being a barrier between politics and higher education system. (Haaretz)
- Beersheba country club forbids Bedouin from praying - Heated argument erupts when Rahat resident told by gym manager he can't pray on grounds, should 'go to Ahmad Tibi.' (Ynet)
- Arabs, Jews protest against environmental hazard - Two arrested during protest against plans to set up cement factory that will increase pollution in Qalansawe industrial zone. (Ynet)
- Mongolian delegation visits Ramat Hovav - Ulan-Bator mission visits Israel to learn about treatment methods for contaminated water, soil. (Ynet)
- Bedouin at Ramat Hovav: "We won't be able to pay the fine" - 67 Bedouin are being forced to pay 150,000 shekels each after they lost in the trial they conducted against industrial companies at their living site. "Even if they turn me upside down and shake me there is no chance in the world they will get that amount from my pockets," said one of the plaintiffs. (Maariv, p. 16)
- Gaza farmers visit Eshkol agricultural expo - Thirty farmers from Strip visit agricultural expo in western Negev; say there's 'more to Gaza than militants and rockets.' (Ynet)
- Palestinian prime minister urges Arabs to pay pledged aid - Fayyad tells Arab League members financial crisis could lead to the disintegration of Palestinian Authority; says tax rebates frozen by Israel amount to 1/3 monthly operating costs. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Egyptian court accepts Mubarak appeal, orders retrial - Ousted president, former interior minister to be retried over killings of protesters in 2011 uprising. (Agencies, Ynet)
- IAEA chief says not optimistic on Iran nuclear talks - Yukiya Amano says new round of nuclear talks with Tehran unlikely to produce real breakthrough. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Iran holds exercises in Strait of Hormuz - Drill at Gulf port on Iran's southern coast tests combat-readiness of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' naval force. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Iran's election tip to critics: Keep quiet - With presidential elections five months away, regime in Tehran launches campaign aimed at muzzling any open dissent over process to select Ahmadinejad's successor. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Powell says Hagel 'doesn't have to agree with Israel on everything' - Former US Secretary of state defends Obama's choice for defense secretary; says he is a 'very strong supporter of Israel,' but should have said 'Israeli lobby,' not 'Jewish lobby.' (Ynet)
- US arms deal with Egypt proceeds smoothly despite objections - After Afghanistan, Israel and Egypt are the U.S.'s second and third largest recipients of military aid, at nearly $3 billion and $1.3 billion respectively. (Israel Hayom)
- Netanyahu's Plan B: Coalition with Livni and Lapid - Likud-Beiteinu understands that the enormous budget deficit will force them to implement a line of budget cuts, which Shas will vehemently oppose. On the diplomatic front, Netanyahu fears Habayit Hayehudi might put the breaks on his moves. Now some in the party are saying the best option is the political center.. This would include Kadima, if it passes the threshold. (Maariv, p. 1/NRG Hebrew)
- Mahaneh Yehuda shuk changes parties - After many years of the Jerusalem outdoor market being identified with the Likud party, many of the merchants have moved to the Labor party in protest against the government, which is not taking care of small businesses. Eli Mizrachi, Chairman of the market's merchants' committee, has himself registered with the Labor party. (Maariv, p. 5/NRG Hebrew)
- When the Diva meets with Yachimovich - Labor Party Chairwoman Shelly Yachiovich met with singer Dana International yesterday, but they refused to divulge the contents of their meeting. (Yedioth, p. 6)
- Left-wing activists giving their right to vote to Palestinians - In a new initiative, left-wingers are planning to put a ballot in the box chosen by a resident of Gaza, the West Bank or E. Jerusalem. The goal: an expression of protest and a symbolic act. The idea is that because the Palestinians live under Israeli occupation and are affected no less than Israelis by the result of the elections they should have a chance to influence it. Through the Facebook page of the initiative, 'The Real Democracy,' in Hebrew, English and Arabic numerous Israelis have expressed their interest and not a few Palestinians have made contact with Israelis asking for them to vote for a specific party. (Maariv, p. 5/NRG Hebrew)
- The 'Utzma L'Yisrael' party provocation: Ben-Ari to march in Arab village - Police gave [extremist right-wing] Utzma L'Yisrael party permission to march in Musmus village as part of its election campaign. [The party's slogan is: "No obligations, no rights" and refers to Arab citizens, who don't serve in the military. - OH] [Extremists] MK Michael Ben-Ari, Arieh Eldad, Baruch Marzel, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Arieh King will be marching. (Maariv, p. 6)
- Israel's center-left signs pact pledging Arab-Jewish equality within 10 years - Right wing snubs invitation to pledge closing gaps within a decade at ceremony initiated by the Center for Jewish-Arab Economic Development. (Haaretz)
Settler in Ramallah
She grew up in a right-wing very religious family in Jerusalem (father US immigrant mother from England) and was an outstanding emissary of the Jewish Agency in the US. So how did Gila Hashkes, 28, become an activist in Palestinian protest movements and feeling at home in Ramallah? And what do her parents and her brother say, the latter who serves as an officer in a combat unit? Almost overnight Hashkes went from Zionist speeches on campuses abroad to demonstrations against Israel's separation fence, from friends from Bnei Akiva to Palestinian friends and from a comfortable life in Jerusalem to a struggle in Arab villages. Just don't compare her to Taly Fahima. It all started when she was an emissary 'doing propaganda' at University of California at Berkeley. She was trying to learn the details about Gaza and it suddenly occured to her that it's not possible to explain away everything that happened there. Shortly after that she met a Palestinian young woman who was also born in Jerusalem and who told her about life there and showed her photos and maps. When she returned to Israel she had already decided to devote her life to the Palestinian non-violent resistance. Today she divides her time between studying to be a nurse and being in Palestinian villages [where the struggle against land confiscation by Israel continues. -OH] She became friends with Suleiman Khatib, a co-founder of Combatants for Peace. She supports dialogue with extremists, including settlers. Over the weekend she was at Bab al-Shams, the Palestinian outpost in E-1, with the other left-wing and Palestinian activists. ('24 Hours' supplement, Yedioth)
Slash the defense budget (Haaretz Editorial) The budget deficit soared to a record NIS 39 billion - more than twice of that originally planned. After the election, any government that arises must set new priorities and cut the defense budget.
Victory of ultra-nationalists in Israel will estrange American Jews (Daniel Sokatch, Haaretz) More and more, it seems as if the world's two largest Jewish communities are watching each other through the rear-view mirror as they move further apart. U.S. Jews must find ways to support progressive voices in Israel whose values we share as they fight to take back their country.
Pre-election surprises (Yossi Beilin, Israel Hayom) Sometimes events that would otherwise go unnoticed become very influential when they happen in the days leading up to an election.
Enlightened racism (Kobi Niv, Haaretz) Racism in the eyes of urbane Israel is when Mizrahim, Arabs and all kinds of dark people say not-nice things about European white Ashkenazim.
Olmert's fantasy world (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Without Israel's investments in defense, the world would not have imposed painful economic sanctions on Iran.
Olmert vs. Netanyahu (1) - Proper demonstrations without willingness (Yaron London, Yedioth) "Ehud Olmert is blaming Netanyahu for wasting NIS 11 billion on futile preparations for an attack on Iran. That is a huge outlay - but it is not out of hand - if, however, our fate is dependent on the foiling of Iran's ability to destroy us, if the destruction of its nuclear facilities will thwart it, if there are no less expensive options and if an attack will not worsen our security situation instead of improving it."
Olmert vs. Netanyahu (2) - Test of results (Shimon Shiffer, Yedioth) ..."Netanyahu and Barak spoke about an attack in October or November, before Iran entered its 'zone of immunity from attack.' The attacks was not carried out - and the graphic description Netanyahu gave at the UN General Assembly remained on the level of the cardboard."
Arabs in Israel must vote (Oudeh Basharat, Haaretz) If the sane people in Israeli Jewish society are pinning their hopes on the Arab vote, this engenders optimism that together we can change reality.
Horizon of Terror (Amos Gilboa, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) "There are those who claim that the diplomatic process influences terrorism. They are wrong: History proves otherwise... Diplomatic deadlock does not lead to a decrease in terrorism, just like diplomatic negotiations do not prevent terrorism. The main cause is the capability of Israel's defense establishment...Diplomatic processes, either serious or perfunctory, are always good and important, but they are not necessarily good medicine against terrorism."
Israeli-Palestinian dialogue isn't for wimps - we need more of it (Rosemary Hollis, Haaretz) What can dialogue between young Israelis and Palestinians achieve, when senior political figures on both sides see only another round of war?
Anti-Israel festival (Hagai Segal, Yedioth/Ynet) Israeli films' Oscar nomination related to international obsession with vilifying Jewish state.
Striving for an illusion-free Middle East peace (Shlomo Avineri, Haaretz) It's been 20 years since the failed Oslo Accords. Now is the time for a different, piecemeal approach to reducing the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.