APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday December 25, 2012
Quote of the day:
"Or maybe people think that, yes, this is how Arabs like to sleep: on the ground in the midst of dirt, in order to be able to work in a country that doesn't recognize them."
--Haaretz's Tal Niv examines photo by Atta Awisat, one of a series that documents Palestinian workers asleep near the crossing points between Bethlehem and Jerusalem and is on display in the annual "Local Testimony" exhibition of press photography at the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv.**
Front Page News:
- Haaretz poll: Likud-Beiteinu weakens; Bennett gets stronger
- Deputy Foreign Minister's version aids police to advance Lieberman investigation
- The holiday that got extended - Lieberman's small problem threatens to distance him from the arena
- Center in Ariel to be recognized as university
- Indictment against former chief rabbi Bakshi Doron on providing false rabbi certifications
- Kiryat Yam mayor's brother-in-law rents property for 55 shekels
- Program in Health Ministry: Pharmacists to diagnose illnesses
- Minister Erdan renews approval to shoot stray dogs
- "Netanyahu leading to disaster" - Very senior political source in severe criticism
- Corporal receives citation - 3 months ago she shot a terrorist on Egyptian border and prevented a disaster
- Teacher broke and admitted: I slept with a (female) pupil - He's 45, she's 15
- Mother gave birth just after the surrogate mother - So two brothers were born within 6 weeks of each other
- Revenge of the dismissed? "Danny Ayalon testified against Lieberman"
- Black games - Police: Illegal gambling industry affecting results of sport in Israel
- Summit boy - Yishai Ulliel speaks about the victory in tennis, his visit abroad far from his family and his Olympic dream
- Atias: Without housing ministry for Shas, Netanyahu won't be prime minister
- Lieberman and ambassador affair - the snarl
- Suspicion of another lynch in Jerusalem - Arab youth attacked in capital by ultra-Orthodox last night; Police: Apparently nationalistic motive
- Syria: New evidence of use of nerve gas
- The nightmare comes true
- "I'll establish a state commission on the Harpaz affair" - Chairman of committee to review the state is tired of procrastination
- Syria converted fighter jets into drones carrying chemical weapons
- Final approval: Ariel University
- She attacked - and got a medal
- Governor of Bank of Israel surprised: Lowered interest 0.25%, expects rise in growth and fears unemployment
- Tonight: Likud launches its campaign; Last night: Reconciliation messages between prime minister and Shas
- Does Ayalon's testimony put Lieberman in trouble
- Christmas arrived - and the Christian world celebrates
A dismissed deputy implicates the Foreign Minister, Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett is embarrassed, and a female soldier receives a medal making top news in today's Israeli papers. Meanwhile, a Likud minister calls to remove the two-state declaration from the party platform and Yedioth reports that a very senior politician says Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is endangering the state.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon reportedly delivered a damning testimony against resigned foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman. Lieberman was indicted for what's known as the 'ambassador affair.' The papers noted that it may be an act of revenge after Lieberman removed Ayalon from the party's list of candidates for the upcoming elections. (Haaretz)
After a letter signed by 'officers and combat soldiers of elite units' was published in Haaretz in defense of Chairman of Haybayit Hayehudi party, Naftali Bennett, who said he would disobey orders to evacuate settlers, the media has reported that some of the signatures were used without the permission of the signatories and others were of army drivers and cooks. The letter was written following the attacks by the Likud party and its leader, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu against Bennett for his controversial statement. A poll taken by Haaretz before the information about the signatures was revealed shows that Likud-Beitenu weakened as a result of the blitz against Bennett, while support for Bennett's rightist party rose. Yossi Verter wrote that voters were punishing Netanyahu for attacking his rival. Habayit Hayehudi went from 11 projected seats in the previous poll to 13 in this one. In contrast, Netanyahu and Lieberman's Likud-Beiteinu list dropped four seats from the previous survey, with only 35 seats - seven less than in the outgoing Knesset, "a far cry from the 45 seats predicted by the political whiz advising Netanyahu, who is never wrong (except in U.S. elections ), Arthur Finkelstein," writes Verter. "The center-left numbers only 53 seats, 11 of which go to the three Arab parties. The right-wing bloc numbers 67 seats, despite the weakness of the leading party. These figures show that Netanyahu will certainly be the next prime minister, but his faction's core control in the next coalition is not what he forecast when he united his list with Lieberman's," writes Verter.
Likud Minister Gilad Erdan called to omit Netanyahu's two-state declaration from the party platform. In 2009, Netanyahu said in his Bar-Ilan University speech that his party recognized the two-state solution principle. (Haaretz) Hatnua party Chairwoman, Tzipi Livni blasted the party, saying the education minister's admission that Palestinian state was never part of Likud platform proves Netanyahu's famous speech was 'nothing more than lip service and media spin,' Ynet writes.
A top official told Yedioth's Itamar Eichner that Netanyahu is leading Israel to disaster. "Benjamin Netanyahu wants to go down in history with only one thing - Iran...The prime minister discounts the entire world. He is not interested in the Palestinians, but this will all blow up in our faces. The Netanyahu government is leading Israel towards a disaster," said the official, who asked to remain anonymous. The senior official said peace negotiations are not likely to resume after the elections due to the conditions set by the prime minister.
- Barak grants Ariel college university status - Defense minister gives West Bank school final stamp of approval as attorney general asserts that there is no reason to withhold accreditation. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Jewish youths suspected of attacking Arab teen in Jerusalem - The 15-year-old Arab boy was evacuated to the hospital after he sustained wounds to his head; his friends say two ultra-Orthodox Jewish youths were responsible. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- State cancels decree to evict Palestinian farmers from Waqf land - The orders originally stated that the farmers invaded state lands, but the farmers, who grow figs for export, submitted documents revealing that they lease the land from the Waqf. (Haaretz)
- Soldier who shot terrorist near Egypt border to get citation - Female Caracal Battalion combatant to get special commendation for killing terrorist who infiltrated southern border, killed soldier. (Ynet)
- Arabic textbooks crafted to disconnect Druze from Arab community, scholar claims - A new study claims that Arabic language studies for Druze children deepens a sense of identity that is separate from the Arab community. (Haaretz)
- Human Rights Watch: Palestinians committed war crimes during Gaza war - Rights group says rockets aimed at civilians during November's Operation Pillar of Defense is a violation of international humanitarian law, and that Hamas bears responsibility as the ruling authority in the Gaza Strip. (Haaretz)
- Former chief Rabbi Bakshi-Doron charged with fraud - Indictment says prominent rabbi instructed aide to forge certifications as rabbis for hundreds of soldiers, police officers so they would qualify for salary increase. (Ynet)
- Israel Navy submarine 'sinks enemy ships' - Ahead of arrival of new German-made submarine, Navy releases rare video of underwater vessel's drill. (Ynet/video)
- Record year for incoming tourism - Some 3.5 million visitors will have arrived in Israel by end of 2012, 4% more than in 2011. Volume of tourism from Russia up 20%. (Ynet)
- US: National Rifle Association chief irks Israel - National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre comes under fire after falsely claiming that Israel placed armed guards outside schools to battle school shootings. (Yedioth, p. 28, Ynet)
- Egypt to announce result of constitution vote on Tuesday - The creation of a new constitution is a vital step in Egypt's transition to democracy, but the opposition says the Morsi-crafted text fails to guarantee personal freedom and the rights of women and minorities. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Sarin-like gas' kills 7 in Homs - Opposition activists tell Al-Jazeera poisonous gas sprayed by Assad's forces in Homs neighborhood; German weekly says elite Israeli, American, French units operating deep in Syria to take control of chemical arms arsenals. (Agencies, Ynet)
- After meeting with Assad, UN envoy still 'worried' by Syria crisis - In his third visit to Damascus, United Nations-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi gives no indication of progress toward ending the crisis in Syria. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Finance Ministry to ban investments in multinational firms doing business with Iran - The Finance Ministry declined to name the investing companies included on the list of a committee appointed by Minister Yuval Steinitz of those doing business with Iran. (Haaretz)
- Iran tells citizens to avoid 'high-risk' US travel - Foreign ministry advises citizens to avoid non-essential trips to US due to 'targeted Iranophobia trend.' (Agencies, Ynet)
- Ayalon reportedly delivers damning testimony against Lieberman - Channel 10 reveals that the deputy foreign minister, who Lieberman recently ousted from Yisrael Beiteinu's Knesset list, gave the main testimony that led to the decision to indict Lieberman for fraud and breach of trust in the ambassador affair. (Haaretz)
- Yachimovich calls for TV debate - In letter Labor party Chairwoman published on PM Netanyahu's Facebook page, she calls him to a public debate on all the burning issues of the day. "The only choice is between me and Bibi." (Maariv, p. 19)
- Satmar offers Israelis cash for not voting - Hasidic sect's rebbe expected to land in Israel ahead of Knesset elections, accompanied by US senators, with money for any person promising not to vote. (Ynet)
- Labor party CEO: "The word 'peace' is scary - Hilik Bar, #6 on the party list, rejects criticism of the lack of the words 'peace' and 'Rabin's path' in party's diplomatic platform. "No need to mention Rabin, we mention him every year and we continue to do it." (Maariv, p. 8)
The Shin Bet's murky world of 'delegitimization'
An Israeli mathematician, who participates in demonstrations against the separation wall and is a member of the Boycott from Within organization, was called in last week for an interrogation by the Shin Bet internal security service and was promised a much less pleasant session next time. (Haaretz)
**Snapshot: Sleeping like the dead at a checkpoint into Israel - This photograph by Atta Awisat shows a vulnerable moment in the life of a Palestinian worker. (Tal Niv, Haaretz)
Netanyahu's Christmas message: More anti-Muslim public diplomacy (Barak Ravid, Haaretz) Prime Minister radicalizes traditional holiday greeting on YouTube, suggests that Christians in the Middle East are under existential threat.
Assad isn't afraid of breaking the chemical weapons taboo in Syria (Amos Harel, Haaretz) Until recently, conventional wisdom in the West held that Assad still exercises restraint in choosing how to fight the rebels; yet a regime that has just recently fired Scud missiles within its own borders may not necessarily be averse to such an option.
Arab democracy looks different (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) Underlying the upheavals in Arab countries is a revolution of consciousness, with citizens recognizing their role in the running of their states. But the West misread the map if it expected to see U.S.-style democracies there.
Due time for Jordan's own Arab Spring (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz) The turmoil in the Arab world initially seemed to have passed over the Hashemite kingdom. But with a small yet stubborn democracy movement, a bad economy and a huge influx of Syrian refugees - the pressure is on Jordan.
Today's leaders of Zion: Thinking you're right isn't enough (Shlomo Avineri, Haaretz) The government's latest moves are in stark contrast to the entire history of Zionist and Israeli policy, which recognized the imperative of global support.
He's scared (Shalom Yerushalmi, Maariv) Netanyahu fears a debate because he has something to lose. But a respectable election is not a game of hide and seek - everything must be open, clear and transparent....
John Kerry: A staunch supporter of Israel but a harsh critic of its policies (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz) Kerry's appointment as Secretary of State is unlikely to encounter meaningful opposition among pro-Israeli Jewish groups, who are saving their ammunition for Hagel's nomination for Secretary of Defense.
Stop the yelling (Hagai Segal, Yedioth/Ynet) Only way to quell constant criticism from abroad is to continue building in Jerusalem.
The prosecution's negligence over Lieberman (Haaretz Editorial) Who in the prosecution will be held accountable for its flawed conduct throughout the entire Lieberman case?
The Jewish Home is waiting for the IDF (Yagil Levy, Haaretz) Head of Habayi Hayehudi Naftali Bennett represents the 'new religious' young man, who, in the 1980s and 1990s, enlisted with self-confidence in IDF combat units and gained a prominent place in the command hierarchy.
Netanyahu's secret agent: Meshal (Nehemia Shtrasler, Haaretz) The prime minister is not worried about the possibility of Hamas taking over the West Bank, he's worried about the opposite: that it won't happen.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.