p> APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday January 15, 2013
Quote of the day:
"Let a hundred Bab al-Shams bloom. An outpost for an outpost. A blind eye for a blind eye. A flout for a flout. It's what our people on the hilltops call an appropriate Zionist response."
--Haaretz's Bradley Burston writes why he supports the Palestinian outpost in E-1 and why the Israeli government was so scared of it.**
Front Page News:
- Senior Likud officials: 'There is no doubt Bennett will be in the next government'
- A week to elections and tens of thousands of voters undecided
- Lieberman tries to woo voters from kibbutzes and moshavs
- Achievements for rebels in Mali despite French military campaign
- State Comptroller examining: Deputy Attorney General hired relative (Hebrew)
- First collective employment agreement with 1,500 contracted teachers
- Israeli team identified system that makes cells cancerous
- Council for Higher Education to universities: Don't require GMAT exam from students of business administration
- Elections 2013: The economic edicts on the way - VAT to rise to 18%, child allowances to be cut, fewer bonuses for civil service employees, we'll pay more tax, transportation plans to be postponed
- The last week - Next Tuesday at 7AM the polling stations will open across the country and 5,656,705 people with the right to vote will have the opportunity to decide who will rule them in the upcoming years
- Study: Junk food can cause asthma in children
- What kind of country: How will Israel look in 2035?
- Jewish soul - He was circumcized, had a bar-mitzvah, and served in the IDF. But for the rabbinate that's not enough
- Scandal at the port - The dispute that's making the economy crazy. The ships at Ashdod are behind held and the exporters are losing money
- Netanyahu to rule: Gideon Saar or a technocrat for the Treasury (Hebrew)
- The rain paralyzed the smuggling tunnels in Rafah (Hebrew)
- Ashdod's fishing celebration
- 52 years late: Sharansky to celebrate his bar-mitzvah (Hebrew)
- Why aren't the Arabs of Israel going to vote? - Special project
- Elections In exactly one week; Netanyahu: "The budget will grow; I don't think we'll need to raise taxes"
- Hazing in Border Police: Beatings and pepper gas
- Political animals - Elections for the head of the Safari (Photo of candidate: Yossi the elephant)
- "Iranian bomb in mid-2014" - according to a US institute
- Because of the flue: Hospital internal medicine departments filled to 116%
- Obama: We must increase the debt
- Electricit Co. employees in north boycotting new facility because it does not have a gym
- Their screen: "Homeland" conquered the Golden Globes
A week to elections, the question over whether the prime minister will raise taxes and the report that Iran will have a nuclear weapon by mid-2014 were top stories in today's papers. Meanwhile, Israel announced it is developing 'national heritage' tourist sites in the West Bank, the Palestinians are making claim to the same documentary the Israelis calls theirs and Haaretz tries to sway Arabs in Israel to vote.
The behind-the-scenes discussion of who will form and be in the country's next coalition government is confusing and contradictory. The natural ideological coalition partners of Likud-Beiteinu are the right-wing Shas and Naftali Bennett of Habayit Hayehudi. Indeed, Haaretz reported today that Likud officials said Bennett will be a key partner in the next government. But then there is the talk that Netanyahu will choose the centrist parties, Tzipi Livni's Hatnuah and Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid, over Shas and Habayit Hayehudi. Supporting that theory is the report in Maariv that Likud officials fear Shas is planning to recommend to the President after elections that Labor's Shelly Yachimovich be Prime Minister and form the next coalition government, the letter Lieberman wrote on Shas leader Arieh Der'i's Facebook page, accusing him of joining the 'Left' (centrist) bloc. This came after Der'i pushed Lieberman to agree to Shas' entry into the next coalition even before the election. (Haaretz) Meanwhile, Shas accuses Netanyahu of cutting a deal with the Center bloc, which Likud calls 'an ugly spin.' Bennett, possibly fearing that Shas is right, told reporters that "We will be responsible partners...We're not coming along to break up a government two months after we join it." That said, he made clear that a decision to hand over territory to the Palestinians would be reason to leave. (Haaretz)
After the government's enormous budget deficit was announced, Netanyahu said in an interview yesterday on Channel 2 that proper government planning means a tax hike won't be necessary. (Haaretz) But Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich said that was lies and Yedioth and Maariv's new Globes supplement don't believe it either. Globes quoted senior Treasury officials who said that taxes would be raised by 5 billion shekels in 2013. Yedioth reported that all the senior Treasury officials held a closed meeting yesterday to discuss the subject and most think there is no avoiding raising taxes.
Israel plans on rebuilding Herod's tomb, a 'national heritage' site in the West Bank, Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser told reporters yesterday, but only Israel Hayom and Yedioth reported on it. The site is one of nine Israel plans to work on in the West Bank. The Yedioth item was short and did not mention that the site is controversial because it is over the Green Line. Haaretz's Ofer Aderet missed the story, instead focusing on Hauser's announcement of a plan to restore Independence Hall in Tel-Aviv. Haaretz and Ynet ran an Associated Press article about it on their English websites.
The Maan title read: "Palestinian documentary nominated for Oscar." It turns out its the same film Israel calls its own. Imad Burnat, the man who filmed the documentary about his son and the struggle of his village, Bil'in, said he asked Israeli co-director Guy Davidi, who used to participate in protests in the village, to help him with the film. When asked about Israeli media referring to the movie as an Israeli film, he said that the film is 100 percent Palestinian.
Haaretz is so concerned about the low rate of voting expected among Arab citizens of Israel that it ran today's editorial about the need for Arab's to vote in Arabic, too.
- Israeli troops kill Palestinian near Gaza border, medical officials say - Israel had no immediate comment on the shooting of the man, who the Hamas-run Health Ministry said was a farmer, in the Gaza town of Beit Lahiya. (Agencies, Haaretz and Maan)
- Israeli military vehicles 'breach Gaza border' - Locals told Ma'an the vehicles were scanning agricultural land east of Khan Younis, in south Gaza. Farmers immediately evacuated their fields, fearing troops would open fire, they said. (Maan)
- Child hit by Israeli car in West Bank, moderately wounded - Ali Mousa al-Jahaleen, was hit by the car near the Kedar settlement, on his way to the Jahalin school in Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem. (Maan)
- Official: Settlers destroy over 200 olive trees in Nablus - Dozens of settlers from the illegal outpost of Esh Kodesh raided the village of Qusra early Friday and uprooted at least 210 olive trees. The trees were owned by Gamal Abdel-Aziz, Abdul Hassan, Abdul Ahmed and Noman Abu. (Maan)
- UN chief urges Israel to rescind E1 settlement - Ban Ki-Moon says Israeli settlements in West Bank are illegal, blasts decision to break up Palestinian protest. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Israeli population approaching 8 million; 4% live beyond Green Line - According to a demographic study released by the Central Bureau of Statistics, 75.4 percent of Israel's population are Jews, 20.6 percent are Arabs and the remainder are mainly immigrants listed as non-Jews in the population registry. (Haaretz)
- Israeli forces arrest cancer patient in Nablus, locals say - Hassan Turabi, 22, was detained after Israeli forces raided the village of Sarra early Sunday, witnesses told Ma'an. Turabi has suffered from cancer for nearly 10 years and was preparing to resume treatment in Jordan. (Maan)
- Bedouin families in Israel's north are stuck in tin shacks while authorities quibble - Misgav Regional Council insists that Salah Swaed's home is located in Carmiel's municipal boundary, but Carmiel rejects that claim. 'Who do we belong to?', he asks. (Haaretz)
- Combat soldiers from elite IDF Duvdevan Unit to go on trial for beating a wanted Palestinian - Two soldiers to go on disciplinary trial for beating a detained Palestinian who the soldiers said was "dangerous and unrestrained." The incident was discovered from the cameras on the soldiers' helmets. The soldiers said if they don't get support of their commanders they will leave the unit. (Israel Hayom, p. 11)
- Border Guard officers haze new recruits - Four Border Guard officers arrested for allegedly assaulting two new recruits as part of initiation process. Police investigation points to wide-spread phenomenon. (Ynet)
- Soldiers jailed for partying with officer's daughter? Three soldiers penalized for alcohol consumption at base claim their sentence was disproportionally severe since the punishing officer's daughter was with them. (Ynet)
- Terrorist fires at security post in Gush Etzion - IDF forces arrest armed Palestinian who fired at security post in Kibbutz Migdal Oz; no injuries. [Note, Ynet and Yedioth always refers to Palestinians who shoot at Israeli security as 'terrorists,' despite the Geneva Convention saying it is legal. - OH] (Ynet)
- PA ministry: Israel prison cells flood due to heavy rainfall - Floodwater has ruined prisoners' mattresses, clothes and blankets at the Gush Etzion detention center in the West Bank. Prisoners have called on Israeli prison authorities to transfer them to new cells, with no response so far. (Maan)
- Gaza shuts down border tunnels citing safety - Palestinian civil defense crews are still searching for two workers who went missing last week after a tunnel collapsed in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip as a result of heavy rain. (Maan)
- Prices rose 4 percent in West Bank in 2012 - The consumer price index increased 2.78 percent overall -- 4.08 percent in the West Bank, 3.23 percent in East Jerusalem, and 0.48 percent in the Gaza Strip. The biggest price rise was for vegetables, at 15.03 percent, followed by fresh poultry, at 8.91 percent. (Maan)
- Israel aims to replace gasoline with natural gas to fuel transportation - The government is advancing projects to wean Israel off of oil dependence. Energy and Water Minister: Natural gas is the greatest engine for growth in the Israeli market. (Israel Hayom)
- Jordan king: Arab Spring should drive Israeli government to 'embrace peace' - 'King Abdullah II speaks to AIPAC delegation and calls on Israel to stop measures that hinder peace efforts with the Palestinians. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Iran built listening stations in Golan to spy on Israel - New report released by U.S. Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office says two Iranian-Syrian signals-intelligence stations established by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards have been active in Syria since 2006. Stations used mainly to provide Hezbollah with intel over Israel. (Israel Hayom)
- Iran could reach key point for nuclear bomb by 2014, experts say - U.S. nonproliferation experts say Islamic Republic could reach 'critical capability' within this time frame -production of enough weapon-grade uranium for one or more bombs without detection by the West. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Senior Likud officials: Livni's chances of being part of the government are slight - Yesh Atid is almost surely to join Netanyahu's coalition government, but Livni won't join. Likudniks: "The relations between Livni and Netanyahu are terrible. They have no mutual trust." Moreover, the low number of mandates Livni's party, Hatnuah, is likely to receive means she won't get a top ministry nor will she deal with political issues as she would like. (Maariv/NRG Hebrew)
- Yisrael Beiteinu tries to woo kibbutz voters with visit by Uzi Landau - Yaakov Bachar, head of the Israeli Cattle Breeders Association and a key figure in the kibbutz movement, thinks that supporting Yisrael Beiteinu is no longer taboo. (Haaretz)
- Bennett will be key partner in government, say top Likud officials - These declarations are far from the aggressive public stance Likud has taken in recent days in a bid to stanch the flow of its traditional voters to Habayit Hayehudi. (Haaretz)
- Party threatens to expose 'pot-smoking politicians' - Aleh Yarok claims it has information proving cannabis use by 18 Knesset candidates currently opposing legalization of marijuana; 'We will expose hypocrisy,' party says. (Ynet)
- Poll: Most Israeli women will vote, but they don't know whom for yet - A poll by the Saloona women's website points to a high percentage of women who are determined to vote, but still don't know who they're going to give their ballot to. Shas, Labor and Meretz have the strongest loyalty among women voters. (Israel Hayom)
- Lieberman hints he'll quit politics if convicted - Former Israeli FM tells Army Radio that he agrees with his number two - Yair Shamir - that he should not stay in politics if he were convicted for fraud and breach of trust. (Haaretz)
- Israeli hip-hop band decides to make some noise as elections silently loom - Jerusalem's Hadag Nachash releases new single 'A Complaint against Israel's Parties', putting music to lyrics written by legendary songwriter Meir Ariel. (Haaretz)
Aid agencies tread gingerly in Area C
As night descends in the Jordan Valley in the occupied Palestinian territory, a family in the village of Ras Al-Ahmar lights a small paraffin lamp in the tent they call home. Despite being outside the state of Israel, 90 percent of the Jordan Valley is under full Israeli civil and military control as part of Area C, a zone that covers 60 percent of the West Bank. Humanitarian agencies are well aware of the needs in this part of the West Bank but they face a challenge: play by the rules established by Israel or face the risk of having projects demolished. (Maan)
Half a million lost votes
Some 20 years the voting rate in the Arab sector has been dropping - and threatens to drop below 50%. Arabs in Israel miss (Yitzhak Rabin) and don't believe their MKs. Jamal Haj from Tamra: "We are frustrated. Every time we send someone to the Knesset, instead of worrying about us they talk about the Palestinians." In 2009, only half of the 950,000 potential Arab voters voted and only 60% of them for Arab MKs. But that's still higher than the 18% that voted in the 2001 elections after the clashes in October 2000, where 13 Israeli Arabs from the North were killed (by Israeli police). (Maariv, p. 4)
Chefs offer their take on Jerusalem
Israeli Yotam Ottolenghi and Palestinian Sami Tamimi publish bestselling cookbook built on their memories of shared city, its delicious food. The men were known not for politics, but for saving some chic London neighborhoods from culinary boredom with Mediterranean-based recipes infused with fresh, exotic flavors. That changed with the publication of "Jerusalem," as observers took note of their unusual partnership. (Ynet)
Show me the bunny: Playboy comes to Israel
When Daniel Pomerantz moved to Israel last year, he brought with him the first Israeli edition of the famed adult magazine, launching soon. Yes, you can read it for the articles, too. (Haaretz)
**An Israeli in awe of a Palestinian act of non-violence (Bradley Burston, Haaretz) When I enter the voting booth next week, I will be taking a small piece of Bab al-Shams with me; my respect and admiration for people who cannot vote in this election, but who each cast an extraordinarily forceful absentee ballot in booths they set up themselves in E1.
Get out and vote! (Haaretz Editorial) Israel's Arab citizens are an important and inseparable part of society and deserve greater representation in the Knesset. An editorial published in three languages.
Taking Israeli chutzpah to a new level (Uri Misgav, Haaretz) To ask for the people's confidence without talking to them about anything important is pure insolence.
11 billion shekels worth of deterrence (Aharon Lapidot, Israel Hayom) Ehud Olmert blames Benjamin Netanyahu for investing heavily in strategic defense systems for Israel's security. Who's delusional here?
It's deceit, stupid (Uzi Benziman, Haaretz) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is perceived as someone for whom deceit is an integral part of his character.
The fifth sucker (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth) In elections in Israel, there is the campaign before elections and the campaign after elections. In the campaign before, the war is mostly within the family: Netanyahu vs. Bennett, Lapid vs. Livni, Der'i vs. Netanyahu. Each party is trying to prove how different it is from its opponent. On the day after the effort will be put in the opposite direction: Not to point out the differences, but to make them disappear. First you get divorced, afterward you get married. This is how coalitions are made, this is how governments are run. Therefore, one should not put too much weight on what was said and will be said in the week before the polling stations are opened. The crises are fake, the disputes have a heavy smell of spin. If there is no amazing surprise, the elections will end with the blow Netanyahu will get - a drop of five to ten mandates. The humiliation won't stop him from forming a coalition - it may even make it easier on him. Habayit Hayehudi and Lapid's party will be the first candidates to join. The ultra-Orthodox will also be invited inside, either some of them or all of them. Same goes for Tzipi Livni. No single party will be able alone to make the government fall, except for the ruling party. The irony is that the stronger Bennett's Habayit Hayehudi party gets at the expense of the Likud, the stronger Netanyahu's need to include Lapid and Livni in his coalition. In the campaign before the elections, Bennett is pushing Netanyahu right. the day after he will have to go left, into the arms of the centrist parties. But the irony does not end there. Habayit Hayehudi is made up of two parties: former National Religious Party and Tkuma. In the first 11 places of the party there is one Tkuma member for every two NRP members. From the 12th place it's one to one. Tkuma is a party of ultra-Orthodox nationalists, whose members live according to the words of the extremist rabbis in Judea and Samaria. Throughout the years, it was careful to lay its eggs in others' nests:...Rehbam Ze'evi's Moledet...Avigdor Lieberman's party, the National Religious Party and in the last Knesset with the Kahanists. Tkuma never ran alone on the judgement of the voters. It always found some sucker to carry it on its back. Bennett is the fifth sucker. A too big victory for Bennett's list, beyond 12 mandates will only make it more difficult to fulfill the promises to voters. The first four Tkuma representatives in the first 12 places promise to give him enough of a headache. Those after will only blacken his list, from a religious, institutional and national stance. The third irony comes from the dispute between Olmert and Netanyahu. Olmert is known as someone who completely opposes an Israeli military strike on a nuclear Iran. Last week he attacked Netanyahu on this issue. According to Olmert, Netanyahu wasted billions on preparation for a military operation that did not happen and will not happen. Olmert's declarations turned Israel's dealing with the Iranian nuclear issue into a question of personality: Netanyahu is presented as a coward, as a politician who invests expensive resources in threats, but is not able to put them into operation. Does an attack like that distance a military operation on Iran or make it closer? Personality is a sensitive issue for Netanyahu. If he ever orders a military operation - Olmert will have part of the responsibility for the results.
Economic hocus-pocus (Nehemia Shtrasler, Haaretz) What you mean to tell us, Mr. Netanyahu, is basically that there are free lunches in economics? That you can make something out of nothing?
Get out of jail free - just win an election in Israel (Moran Sharir, Haaretz) Some have argued against allowing convicted criminals to serve in the Israeli government, but the greater worry is politicians using public office to avoid prosecution.
Outcome the ultimate test (Shimon Shiffer, Yedioth/Ynet) In second term, Netanyahu failed to achieve most important goal of stopping Iran's nuclear program.
The Palestinian right of return to E-1 (Aeyal Gross, Haaretz) The real illegality here is that which is displayed by Israel's land policies - not the Palestinian founders of the E-1 'outpost.'
Netanyahu owes bright poll ratings to apathetic and demoralized average Israeli (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz) The reason is that his power base - mostly Haredi and the settlers - participate in the election en masse, while many potential voters for parties of the opposition sit it out.
Shooting the messenger (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Ashkenazi, Weiner, Barak and Harpaz -- this country hasn't seen such a serious scandal since the Lavon affair in 1954.
If Olmert didn't exist, Netanyahu would have had to invent him (Yossi Verter, Haaretz) After former PM Ehud Olmert accused Netanyahu of flushing public money down the toilet on unnecessary preparations for an Iran attack, the latter didn't hesitate to respond. How convenient to exchange snarls with a man who isn't actually a contender.
Anglo immigrants, make your voice heard (Rabbi Ariel Konstantyn, Haaretz) Immigrating to Israel from the U.S., I found a highly fractured, polarized society fraught with hatred, in-fighting and tension. I believe Am Shalem can bring about the transformations of Israeli society we so desperately need.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.