APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday December 16, 2012
Quote of the day:
"But if this site is boycotted or stops being updated, know that it was done against my will, or that I am being held under anti-democratic demands..."
--From message that appeared in red font at top of blog of anonymous Israeli investigative blogger, 'Eishton, Haaretz reported.
Front Page News:
- Channel 10 Board decided: Employees to be fired within 48 hours
- The battle over the location of Jesus' grave reaches court
- CIA document from Pollard's questioning revealed: Eitan requested 'dirt' on Israeli politicians
- Organization that held the international achievement exams: It is not possible to determine that Israel improved (HEBREW)
- 20-year-old young man murdered 20 children and six women at elementary school in US
- Lieberman resigned this morning, seeks pleas bargain without moral turpitude
- The madness and the tears - The faces say everything: that of the murderer who gunned down 20 children and six teachers and his mother; that of the pupils who were witnesses; that of Obama with tears; that of America
- Lieberman resigned - and demands quick decision before elections
- An American tragedy (Hebrew)
- Resigning Foreign Minister to request plea bargain (Hebrew)
- Buying the Sderot Conference - Maariv investigation reveals: Government offices paid tens of thousands of shekels for seats at the conference that is concerned the central stage for discussions and criticism of the situation of society in Israel (Hebrew)
- America cries - US horrified by one of worst massacres in its history
- Lieberman resigns today from position as Foreign Minister
- CIA report: Pollard did not gather information on the US
- Egypt: Millions voted in referendum on constitution
- Hilary Clinton fainted and got a concussion
A young madman murdered 20 children and six adults in America and Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman resigns today from his post making the two top stories in Israeli papers. Meanwhile, newly released documents made interesting revelations about Israel's US spy Jonathan Pollard.
Lieberman said goodbye, but possibly not for long. The chairman of Yisrael Beiteinu party stepped down as foreign minister, but is asking for a quick decision on the case in which he was indicted on fraud and breach of trust so that he can run in elections "with a clean name." Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will hold his portfolio in the meantime. Lieberman's deputy, Danny Ayalon, automatically must step down with him. Yedioth reported that he asked to leave Ayalon in office. Although he originally said he would not step down and not seek a plea bargain, he has done the former and is now mulling the latter. Lieberman is accused of trying to promote Israel's ambassador to Belarus, Ze'ev Ben Aryeh, after the latter handed him confidential information that was to be used in a case against him regarding his affairs in Belarus. Israel Hayom explains that Lieberman's status as a member of Knesset "will not be affected by his resignation as a government minister. He will continue to enjoy the immunity from prosecution that all MKs have until he submits a letter to the Knesset speaker and Knesset House Committee stating his agreement to relinquish his immunity, which would enable the state prosecution to submit his indictment to the court." Nor does the indictment affect his candidacy on the joint Likud-Beytenu ticket for the upcoming election. If, after the elections, the case is still open, Netanyahu will not be able to appoint Lieberman as a minister. Lieberman won't be lowering his profile due to the indictment, Ynet reports. In fact, he is expected to play a central role in the election campaign. Yedioth had a spread of photos of him playing tennis.
On Friday morning, a few hours before Lieberman announced his resignation, Meretz chairwoman Zahava Gal-On petitioned the High Court of Justice, asking that the court direct the prime minister to dismiss Lieberman, Haaretz reported. She also asked the court to instruct the attorney general to append to the indictment a legal opinion that the alleged offenses carried moral turpitude. Israel Hayom has a 'Lieberman timetable - Twelve years of investigations,' which offers a glance at how the criminal cases against Lieberman have developed over the course of the last 12 years. "Everyone should calm down," said Gal-On, dismissing Lieberman's laments over being probed for over a decade. "One might think that he is (Alfred) Dreyfus, and not someone who did everything to impede the investigation."
A newly revealed CIA document shows that Jonathan Pollard was asked by an Israeli official to get 'dirt' on Israeli politicians. The convicted Israeli-American spy's statements under questioning after his imprisonment in the US were published by the National Security Archive in Washington. (Haaretz) Israel Hayom and Maariv noted that Pollard wasn't asked to transfer information on the US, but rather on nuclear and military activities of Arab countries and the former Soviet Union.
- Newly revealed CIA document shows Jonathan Pollard was asked to get intel on Israel - The convicted Israeli-American spy's statements under questioning after his imprisonment in the U.S. have been published by the National Security Archive in Washington. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- CIA: Pollard wasn't asked to transfer information on US - Recently released CIA documents reveal that imprisoned Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard was asked to pass information on nuclear, military activities of Arab countries, Soviet Union, and not information on U.S. activities. (Israel Hayom)
- Palestinians, security forces clash in West Bank - Tensions reach boiling point: Thousands of Palestinians march towards Hebron checkpoint, hurl stones. Other protests in West Bank see firebombs hurled at security forces. (Ynet)
- Hebron group: 3rd intifada has begun - Video posted by newly-established group headed by members of Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad and PFLP says it will fight to recover 'all of Palestine - from sea to the river.' (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
- IDF officer: Gaza border the quietest in 20 years - Senior IDF officer tells Reuters Hamas took major blow during Operation Pillar of Defense; says army won't keep to surgical strikes in next round. (Ynet)
- **What is behind the mysterious investigation of an anonymous Israeli blogger? The blogger, who goes by the name 'Eishton,' was MIA for three days before announcing on his Facebook page that he was not under arrest, but is being investigated by the police. (Haaretz)
- Ross: Peace process can be revived - Former top Obama adviser Dennis Ross says that as both Israelis, Palestinians have despaired from crippled talks, both sides must take steps to restore faith in negotiations, rebuild trust. (Ynet)
- Board of Israel's Channel 10 votes to dismiss all staff - The operating license for Channel 10, which faces massive debt, is due to expire at the end of this month. (Haaretz)
- Equal opportunity cyber defenders protect Hamas alongside the IDF - In an era of rampant cyberwarfare, CloudFlare CEO Matthew Prince acknowledges he is something of a war profiteer, but with a wrinkle. (Israel Hayom)
- Peres: Mossad is the best spy agency in the world - Twelve outstanding Mossad employees are honored at the event which was held at the President's Residence on Thursday. (Israel Hayom)
- Israel seeks to improve image in Arab world - Public Diplomacy Ministry to open Arabic department in light of negative characterization of recent Gaza op in global media. (Ynet)
- Poll: Americans still back Israel - Survey conducted in aftermath of IDF's Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza finds that 50% of US citizens feel sympathy towards Israelis. (Ynet)
- Hungarian far-right lawmaker burns Israeli flag - Former Jobbik party member Balazs Lenhardt burns flag at anti-Zionist demonstration outside Foreign Ministry. (Ynet)
- Eden Hazard denies signing Israel petition - Chelsea playmaker, other soccer stars distance themselves from statement protesting UEFA's decision to stage European under-21 championship in Israel next year following recent Gaza operation. (Ynet)
- Egyptians narrowly back Islamist-shaped constitution, rival camps say - Islamists say constitution vital to move forward, while opposition says opposition say aspirations of all Egyptians not met; Islamists attack offices of opposition party advocating 'no' vote. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Syrian rebels: Pro-Assad Palestinian faction leader Jibril leaves Damascus - Ahmed Jibril, head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command has reportedly left the Syrian capital after 12 days of clashes. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Syrian FM blames West for nation's suffering - Walid al-Moallem says US and European sanctions imposed on Damascus are to blame for suffering in his country. (Agencies, Ynet)
- U.S. imposes new sanctions against Iran - Treasury Department said action would bar those companies and individuals from doing business with U.S. firms or citizens and freeze any assets they have in the United States. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Iran: Patriot missiles in Turkey threaten world war - Iranian general warns NATO that placing anti-missile systems on Syria border is 'dangerous for humanity.' (Agencies, Ynet)
- Israel's Labor Party candidates allegedly exploited teens as campaign helpers - According to one candidate, teens as young as 15 were distributing campaign material from morning to night, even though employing minors more than nine hours a day is illegal. (Haaretz)
- Israeli diplomats won't vote in Cairo - Political turmoil, volatile security situation in Egypt prompt Central Election Committee to rule voting in Cairo is too dangerous. For first time since 1990's, the ambassador, staff to vote in Israel. (Ynet)
- Gay community criticizes Livni's party over Knesset candidate Elazar Stern - Members of the community recall that in May 2001, he closed the IDF newspaper Bamahane for two weeks after it ran a cover story on a reserve colonel who revealed he was homosexual. (Haaretz)
- New poll (Friday paper) sees Likud-Beiteinu down 2 mandates - Netanyahu-Lieberman list loses two Knesset seats compared to previous poll; Livni's Hatnua up two seats and new olim party passing election threshold. (Ynet)
- Labor party candidate Moshe Mizrahi hates bad guys - First-time Labor party candidate Moshe Mizrahi's strong sense of justice will be put to the test when he takes his Knesset seat - alongside many of the politicians he once investigated. (Haaretz)
Bye, the beloved country - why almost 40 percent of Israelis are thinking of emigrating
According to a new survey, more than a third of Israelis would leave the country if they could, citing economic opportunities as the main reason. Who are the wannabe leavers, and what can be done to induce them to stay? (Haaretz)
How an embroidered girl's dress became a terror suspect - Recent IDF raids on Palestinian NGOs show how absurdly lax the definition of terrorism is. (Haaretz)
'Neutralizing' East Jerusalem (Salman Masalha, Haaretz) A day before the start of Operation Pillar of Defense, Nir Hasson revealed the Nature and Parks Authority's plan to establish a national park on the eastern slopes of Mount Scopus. According to Peace Now, the park "is meant to create a corridor of Israeli presence from East Jerusalem towards E-1."
No plea bargain for Lieberman (Haaretz Editorial) After the AG's decision to indict him, Avigdor Lieberman is wants a quick and easy plea bargain that would let him off with almost nothing and bring him back into the cabinet within a few months. Such an arrangement must not be accepted.
Rabbi Cherlow's amazing journey outside the Israeli Orthodox ghetto (Avraham Burg, Haaretz) U.S. progressive Jews yearn for Israeli establishment approval. But taking the establishment out of the picture will allow for far more enriching interfaces between Jews worldwide.
Shooting the messenger (Noam Sheizaf, Maariv/NRG Hebrew and similar piece in English in 972mag) As long as the occupation exists there will be resistance, and there will be oppression and there will be crimes and reports and embarrassing items in the world media - like soldiers running from stones...
If you vote Bibi, you vote Hamas (Aner Shalev, Haaretz) The romance between Netanyahu and Hamas began in 1996. Without Hamas, Netanyahu would not have been elected prime minister.
The real problem (Tamar Gozansky, Maariv) We must deal with the national discrimination against Arabs before dealing with the partners in the coalition...The claim that the Arab leadership in the Knesset does not listen to the daily needs of the Arab public is unfounded, nothing less...
They're not Churchill (Shlomo Avineri, Haaretz) The three leaders of Hatnuah left their parent parties due to their own failures - whether in the general elections or in primaries. They are not Churchill.
How Israel brought comic relief to Germany (Benny Ziffer, Haaretz) Israel continues to export its No. 1 prestigious product to the world: a blockbuster show of internal debates, starring a changing cast of the most agonized intellectuals on the planet.
After character assassination, my response to Benny Ziffer (Prof. Rivka Feldhay, Haaretz) Prof. Rivka Feldhay hits back at Ziffer's claims of a contradiction between her political views and her agreement to participate in the Israeli government-sponsored Berlin event - even though she was banned at the last minute.
Zoabi, leave the Knesset (Merav Betito, Yedioth/Ynet) MK supported her brothers in Palestine instead of promoting interests of Arab-Israeli population.
Mass rallies signal Fatah-Hamas rapprochement, not a new intifada (Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz) On the ground, there has been an increase in unrest among the Palestinian population, encouraged by Hamas, while the authorities turn a blind eye. Yet there has been no deterioration into mass incidents, and no loss of control.
Arab folly (Ron Prosor, Yedioth/Ynet) Israel's UN envoy says Arab states vote against interests of their own people.
Meshal's folly (Henry Siegman, Haaretz) The entire West Bank is now considered by Netanyahu and his government not as 'occupied' territory but as 'disputed' territory, to which the Jews have as much a claim as its Arab inhabitants.
The party that doesn't exist (Nehemia Shtrasler, Haaretz) We have no 'humane party' willing to withdraw from the territories and divide Jerusalem to solve the conflict, while believing in a free market, competition, the working man and a welfare policy for the needy.
Fulfilling Zionism's noble purpose (Dr. Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) The struggle for the character of the State of Israel will be decided in Tel Aviv.
Why was I left behind? (Yossi Sarid, Haaretz) If Rabbi Ovadia Yosef used to call me 'accursed,' that's a sign I made myself quite clear.
Israel winning in Europe (Arsen Ostrovsky, Ynet) Key factor behind Israel's success in Europe is ability to remove 'conflict' from bilateral ties.
We'll be to blame for 'Bieberman' (Yoel Marcus, Haaretz) It will be our fault if the extreme right, which says there's no partner for peace and that the world wants Israel exterminated, comes to power.
Lieberman and Weinstein must go (Mordechai Gilat, Israel Hayom) Indictment against Lieberman is serious enough for him to resign, but the attorney-general should also resign for acting more like a defense attorney than a prosecutor.
Syria as a linchpin (Elie Podeh, Haaretz) Syria's return to the Sunni world would not be without problems: It would broaden the circle of countries ruled by Sunni Islam that surround Israel.
Feiglin: Israel's clear and present danger (Sara Hirschhorn, Haaretz) Moshe Feiglin is the face of Israel's new mainstream, ultra-nationalist movement. His muses range from Meir Kahane to Martin Luther King Jr, and his co-option of American liberalism and Israeli democracy is precisely where his danger lies.
The myth of an Israeli-Palestinian demographic disaster (Oded Carmeli, Haaretz) Prophets of doom like Paul Ehrlich warn of demographic disaster, but the data show that the human race is diminishing in numbers. The Arab world is a major case in point.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.