APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday December 27, 2012
Quote of the day:
"The State clearly failed in the investigation."
--Attorney Avigdor Feldman remarks after a court ruled yesterday that the State will recompense his two Arab-Israeli clients for wrongfully accusing and imprisoning them for eight months for a murder they did not commit after their friend implicated them under duress.**
Front Page News:
- Netanyahu: Livni won't have any diplomatic position in my next government
- Lieberman in the Russian press: "The Interior and Housing (ministries) are ours"
- Former chief of police Peled convicted of fraud - decade after investigation began
- IDF: 24 soldiers commit suicide every year
- The victory of the mysterious blogger Eishton // Barak Ravid
- Rare ancient ritual site discovered just outside Jerusalem undermines the role of the Holy Temple
- Broadcasting Authority trying to collect fee for computer screens, too
- "We'll give Shas Tourism and Infrastructure (Ministries). Tourism suits Atias, he will travel around the world" - LIeberman takes off his gloves in battle against Shas
- Against the rules: Netanyahu celebrated (at party launch) with (singer) Sarit Hadad. Price: 80,000 shekels for two songs
- Disaster on Fun Day - An event for Bank Hapoalim workers at Delos Spa ended last night in tragedy: Fire broke out in middle of massage. Bank manager, bank employee and spa employee killed
- In 30 years: 56% rise in incidence of cancer - #1 cause of death in Israel (Hebrew)
- In the name of her grandfather - On 2nd day of Yom Kippur War, Skyhawk of Major N. was shot down above Egypt and he was declared an IDF casualty. 39 years later, his granddaughter, lieutenant Y. will finish today her pilot's course
- Fire trap in Sauna - A fun day for Bank Hapoalim employees at 'Delos Spa at the Herzliya Marina ended in tragedy with one death and two critically injured. Police suspect place operated without licenses (Hebrew)
- Censor beyond the fence - Hamas prohibits Palestinians for reporting for Israeli media - Sami Ajrami, Maariv's correspondent in Gaza, won't be able to give his reports anymore (Hebrew)
- Activists in Likud furious: "They wasted almost a million shekels on the event for the election campaign launch (Hebrew)
- Disaster on Fun Day - 12 employees of Montefiori branch of Bank Hapoalim did not imagine that the fun at the Delos Spa would end in tragedy. Bank manager killed and two women critically injured
- Netanyahu secretly met with King of Jordan: "We discussed Syria's chemical weapons"; Report: Assad requested diplomatic refuge from Venezuela
- Today: Disqualification of (MK Hanin) Zouebi arrives at High Court
- Attorney General likely to make text (of indictment) against Lieberman more severe, but won't change charges
- No shame: Monument in memory of casualties of terror attack on bus #405 was stolen
A fire kills people at a sauna, a harsher indictment is likely for the former foreign minister and the Prime Minister secretly meets with the King of Jordan. Meanwhile, Likudniks complain about the high cost of their campaign-launching event and the State is forced to pay compensation to two Arab Israelis who the police wrongly accused of murder in a case that raises questions about others.
Israel's Attorney General will likely write a harsher indictment against former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman over the ambassador affair . The decision is to come after Lieberman's former #2, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, reportedly testified that Lieberman was actively involved in promoting an ambassador who gave him confidential information about a police investigation against Lieberman. The charges, however, will remain the same.
Senior Israeli officials have confirmed that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu secretly met with Jordanian King Abdullah II to discuss how to neutralize Syria's chemical weapons, according to a report in Al-Quds Al-Arabi that was widely quoted in the Hebrew press. The report follows an early December article in The Atlantic claiming Netanyahu asked Jordan for permission to attack Syria's chemical weapons facilities. The Al-Quds report emphasized that despite the tension on the surface between Jordan and Israel, particularly regarding the freeze in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and over Operation Pillar of Cloud, the two leaders succeeded in finding a common language regarding Syria, partly due to the preparation for the meeting by the security and intelligence apparatuses of Jordan and Israel, wrote Israel Hayom. According to the report, Netanyahu suggested a joint lighting attack on the chemical arsenals in Syria, but the King rejected the idea fearing it would cause regional chemical contamination. Another Israeli suggestion was an expansive military operation with at least 8,000 soldiers that would enter Syria from different directions and take control of the chemical weapons around the country, neutralize them and guard them until a decision is made to destroy them in a supervised manner.
Likudniks are furious. The big election campaign launch event this week for Likud-Beiteinu, which starred popular Mizrachi singer Sarit Haddad, came with a high price tag. Yedioth reported that it cost 700,000 shekels and two of Haddad's songs cost 80,000 shekels alone. "They wasted tons in the launch of the campaign," one Likud field worker told Maariv. "If they have money to spend on singers then those singers should be standing at junctions (distributing posters/flyers). It's better they give the money to the fieldwork and the branch offices," said another. The State Comptroller also said that Haddad's performance at a campaign event goes against the rules.
**In 2003, Israel arrested three young Israeli Arabs for the murder of Israeli soldier Oleg Shaichat, a week earlier. One of them, Tarek Nujeidat incriminated the other two, his friends Yousuf Sabih and Sharif Eid, for both the abduction and the murder by reenacting the entire crime scene and describing the events leading to the murder. Nujeidat later rescinded his confession, pleaded not guilty and claimed that the confessions were made under pressure and threats and that everything he relayed came from the media and fellow villagers. A year after the murder, it became clear that the three were not responsible after the real murderer was arrested. In July 2004, the indictments were repealed. But, the innocent three spent eight months in jail. Yesterday, the court told the State to recompense Yousuf Sabih and Sharif Eid with NIS 1 million (about $267,000) for wrongly accusing them of the kidnapping and murder and to pay the lawyer fees. Already in 2006, a court ruled that the State pay the third defendant, Tarek Nujeidat, 25, 450,000 shekels (about $120,000). However the State will avoid the "admission of culpability" in the mishap. (Ynet's article is much more comprehensive than Haaretz's.) Nujeidat's forced 'confession' raises questions about other indictments by Israeli police in search of culprits. [The case of Haifa boy Danny Katz comes to mind. -OH]
- [Far] Right-wingers charged with 'spying' on IDF let off with plea bargain - The suspects, all residents of W. Bank settlements, are: Akiva Hacohen, 27; David Eliyahu, 19; Effi Chaikin, 20; Elad Meir, 35; and Meir Ettinger, 20, grandson of the late Kach leader, Meir Kahane. They were given lighter convictions and sentences due to evidentiary problems that emerged during the legal proceedings. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
- Senior Israeli officials confirm: Netanyahu met Jordan king for secret talks on Syria chemical weapons - Report in Al-Quds Al-Arabi follows early December article in Atlantic claiming Netanyahu has asked Jordan for permission to attack Syria's chemical weapons facilities. (Haaretz)
- IDF reveals closely-guarded statistics on soldier suicides: 24 take their own lives every year - Information about suicides in the IDF was first published by an anonymous Israeli blogger who was subsequently investigated by Israel Police and the Military Police. (Haaretz)
- Soldiers suspected of using drugs at outpost - Combat soldiers suspected of using drug known as 'nice guy'; army says drug, alcohol use rising. (Ynet)
- 'They just want to beat up Arabs' - Thamar Badawi said religious Jews beat him up while he and his friend were riding their bicycles in Jerusalem. Badawi: They don't want peace. Police have made no arrests so far, say crime was nationalistically motivated. (Israel Hayom)
- Court: No injunction against Ariel college upgrade - High Court rejects university heads' request to block decision to grant West Bank institution university status; instructs them to amend motion, as it was filed before GOC Central Command approved upgrade. (Ynet)
- Tzavta theater to revise controversial rock opera - "Mami" deals with political issues, such as the occupation, discrimination and militarism. The Beit Zvi School of the Performing Arts created a storm 6 months ago when it tried to invite IDF soldiers to a revised version of the opera - the IDF turned it down. (Haaretz)
- Brain drain: More than 14% of Israelis with science Ph.Ds live abroad - Central Bureau of Statistics finds that overall the rate for all Israelis with doctorates is 10.5%. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- U.K. envoy Matthew Gould awarded honorary degree by Ben-Gurion University - The university said its award for British ambassador was in honor of a person who proud of his roots and heritage. (Haaretz)
- Desert storm brewing over Israel's planned railway line to Eilat - Planners are due to decide on one of Israel's biggest infrastructure projects and, as usual, the dispute turns on money - at least NIS 5 billion. (Haaretz)
- Hamas bars Palestinian journalists in Gaza from working with Israeli media - According to the decision made at a government meeting, Palestinians are forbidden from cooperating with 'Zionist media due to its hostility.' (Haaretz)
- Israel to ease Gaza ban on construction material - Palestinian official says private companies, individuals now allowed to import previously restricted construction materials following Egyptian-mediated truce deal between Hamas, Israel. Defense Ministry: More eases if calm persists. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Arab league chief, ministers to visit Ramallah to discuss aid - "The Arab delegation's visit to Ramallah is the first of its kind and will look into various issues, most importantly financial support for the Palestinian Authority in light of Israel's decision to withhold Palestinian funds," says Arab League source. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
- Jews, pro-Israel community warm to prospect of John Kerry as U.S. secretary of state - What differentiates Kerry from Sen. Chuck Hagel, pro-Israel officials say, is his willingness to engage even when he disagrees and his familiarity with the issues. (JTA, Haaretz)
- Spain eyes Israeli port security technology - Madrid, Jerusalem sign deal meant to promote maritime port projects. (Ynet)
- In Christmas message, Pope calls for meaningful Israel-Palestinian negotiations - Pope Benedict XVI also calls for an end to the slaughter in Syria. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Egypt's Islamist president: New constitution ushers in a new republic - In first speech since official results of referendum on constitution, Mohammed Morsi recognizes the 'respectable' number that voted against it; opposition claims charter restricts freedoms, ignores rights of minorities and women, and enshrines Islamic rule. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Activists: More than 45,000 killed in Syria conflict - Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says bloodshed in war-torn country going from bad to worse. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Turkey: Assad sought asylum in Venezuela - According to report, Venezuela's Foreign Ministry informed Turkish diplomats in Caracas that Syrian president asked Chavez for protection. (Ynet)
- Iran: Nuclear agency can inspect Parchin if threats of Israeli attacks defused - In remarks carried by Iranian news agency, Deputy FM Ghashghavi lays down condition for IAEA access to military site where nuclear activity is suspected; Iran has so far said it is not legally obliged to expose non nuclear site to international inspectors. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Netanyahu banking on (council) heads of Judea and Samaria - Concerned about the support for his opponent Naftali Bennett, the prime minister called up the heads of the settler councils in the W. Bank and said: "Make sure the settlers vote for us." In order to convince them he noted his gov't's achievements: paving of dozens of kilometers of roads [for settlers -OH] in Judea and Samaria, approval to build thousands of housing units and bringing 10,000 students to the Cave of the Patriarchs. (Maariv, p. 8)
- Netanyahu: Livni won't be involved in peace talks in next Likud government - PM responds to rumors that Hatnuah leader would get senior foreign affairs role in exchange for joining his coalition. (Haaretz)
- Yisrael Beiteinu says will lead interior, housing ministries in future Israeli government - Announcement, made on Russian media, says shift from Shas leadership to that of Likud-Beiteinu is necessary to avoid serving 'sectorial agendas'. (Haaretz)
- Report says Netanyahu may seek secular government - Israel Radio reports meeting between Netanyahu and Livni associates on her role in next government. Parties deny meeting. PM says he will focus on three goals: housing portfolio out of sectoral hands, national service for all and changes in system of government. (Israel Hayom)
- Livni refuses to rule out serving in government with Lieberman - Hatnuah chairwoman slams the legal system over Lieberman's prolonged legal proceedings, saying 'the wheels of justice must not turn so slowly.' (Haaretz)
- Shas attacks Netanyahu: A strong Likud is destructive - Following Netanyahu's promise to wrestle the Housing and Construction ministry from 'sectorial hands,' meaning Shas, the ultra-Orthodox party lashes out at the prime minister. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Meretz head: Oslo was not a mistake - Gal-On tells Ynet if two-state solution not achieved soon, 'we will find ourselves in binational state'; says Rabin would be 'embarrassed' by Labor's current agenda. (Ynet)
- Bennett's people added yarmulkahs and tzitziot to (photos of) soldiers in ads - Labor candidate Yariv Oppenheimer demanded that the ads by Habayit Hayehudi be disqualified, claiming "they appropriate the IDF to their party and the right-wing." (NRG Hebrew)
- Rivlin: Netanyahu's government could fall - Knesset Speaker Rubi Rivlin told students at a meeting in Beersheva yesterday: "The critical decisions that the next Knesset will have to make could collapse the new government within 8-10 months from its establishment. Before the next Knesset lay fateful decisions that are in a difficult national dispute." (Maariv, p. 9)
Why is Israel ignoring the next Palestinian president? (Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz) Israel must talk to Marwan Barghouti, because the reality is that the alternative will be Hamas. True, he is a convicted murderer, but Israel has signed peace treaties with terrorists with blood on their hands in the past.
Is 'the only alternative to Netanyahu' scheming her way into his cabinet? (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz) Recent reports of Tzipi Livni becoming Netanyahu's next foreign minister make perfect sense. Then again, they don't.
Dangerous waters (Yael Paz-Melamed, Maariv) Paz-Melamed notes the generational changes in several of Israel's veteran parties. "The Labor Party without a candidate from the kibbutz movement is like the Likud without Benny Begin, Dan Meridor and Michael Eitan...Instead of National Religious Party stalwarts like [the late] Yosef Burg and [the late] Zevulon Hammer, we got Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked...Young people are very strong right now; it doesn't matter if they have anything to sell or not."
Shared trouble (Smadar Peri, Yedioth) Peri comments on the reported meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan's King Abdullah on the issue of Syria's chemical weapons. "In his meeting with Netanyahu, the Jordanian monarch pushed the Palestinian issue to one side. It is reasonable to assume that this issue will be put off until after our and their elections (one day after ours). He is much more concerned about finding a solution to Assad's chemical weapons so that they do not fall into the wrong hands." Peri is unsure of what will come from the meeting and concludes, "While the entire world wants Assad gone, Israel and Jordan - along with Turkey and Lebanon - must also deal with what he is liable to do in his final minutes."
Better the refusenik than the robot (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) 'What will become of this country if everyone refuses orders?' ask the hysteria-mongers. Unfortunately, soldiers of conscience will always be a small minority among the silent, brainwashed, obedient majority.
Religious Zionism's struggle (Yoaz Hendel, Yedioth/Ynet) Moderate Judaism cannot exist alongside rabbis who forbid soldiers from listening to women sing.
Labor returns to its roots (Oudeh Basharat, Haaretz) There was only one time that the Labor changed its ways − when Yitzhak Rabin courageously joined forces with the Arab representatives. Rabin paid for this with his life. Since then, Labor, too, has sought a Jewish majority when it came to important decisions.
Israel's most sought-after anonymous blogger has won his battle with the IDF (Barak Ravid, Haaretz) Eishton was put under investigation over his bid to gather data on the rate of suicides in the Israel Defense Forces; three weeks later, he has emerged the victor.
The folly of Israel's center left (Ari Shavit, Haaretz) How is it possible that when the settlements have gained control of the Zionist enterprise, the center-left is so pathetic?
Likud rises from its slumber (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) The Likud campaign up until now has made many mistakes. They should just have played their winning card: Netanyahu has no rivals.
Too little, too late (Lilac Sigan, Yedioth/Ynet) Instead of obsessing about Israel, human rights groups should focus on real criminals of the world.
Middle East politics is no game for soccer players (Akin Ajayi, Haaretz) Sportspeople expounding from a political soapbox - like those demanding Israel not host the UEFA Under-21 tournament - tend to bring out the worst in me. But politicians on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide have also descended to the level of the playing field.
Biblical claim to the land? (David Ha'ivri, Ynet) Media telling people that only religious fanatics believe West Bank is part of Israel.
Jordan shows Israel who's the (better) boss (Yuval Elbashan, Haaretz) Israelis like to think of themselves as benevolent employers, at least by regional standards, but they could learn something from the Jordanians.
A police force of fake rabbis (Israel Harel, Haaretz) When an army cadet cheats in navigation, he is immediately kicked out. But most of the policemen and career soldiers who took part in the rabbinical fraud linked to former chief rabbi Bakshi Doron were not dismissed.
Kerry will try to solve Middle East conflict (Yossi Beilin, Israel Hayom) As secretary of state, John Kerry won't wash his hands clean of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. He believes he can find the solution.
Learning to love thy Christian neighbor (David Rapp, Haaretz) Jewish harassment of Christians should be addressed with outreach instead of settling for condemnation.
Eliminating Hebrew from U.K. schools will not spell the end of Jewish education (Yael Miller -Jewish World Blogger, Haaretz) If Hebrew is not included in the list of seven compulsory languages in British primary education, families will need to take on a more active role in their children's Jewish upbringing.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.