APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday, April 30, 2012
Quote of the day:
"If every Arab is a terrorist, then, yes, I sang for terrorists. By the same token, every Israeli is a murderer, no? So I was in good company."
--Israeli singer Achinoam Nini responds to the hate-filled Facebook campaign calling to boycott her.**
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Front Page News:
- Agreement in political arena: Elections by August or immediately after High Holidays
- Ari Shavit / Diskin's gun
- Government to pay for relocation of Migron outpost - more than 53 million shekels
- Cabinet ministers approved plan to loan schoolbooks in schools
- Appears elections to be held end of summer - Netanyahu's goal: Prevent opponents from preparing in time
- Lieberman's bill: No military or national service, no welfare payments
- "The lighting rigs did not meet the requirements of experts in the world"
- Netanyahu wants elections before High Holidays (Hebrew)
- Kosher certificate of President's caterers revoked (Hebrew)
- Embarrassing debate between former Mossad chief and Minister of Tourism: A minister must tell the truth (Hebrew)
- Report: Israeli girl saved from kidnapping at Disneyworld (Hebrew)
- Appears elections to be in late summer
- Barak's proposal: Military deferral for only 400 yeshiva students
- Meir Dagan: "This is how it started in Germany"
- A bit of relief for drivers: Price of gasoline expected to drop tonight by 14 agurot
- High Court: Two month extension to demolish two buildings in Beit El (Givat Ulpana outpost)
- Knesset returns today from break
Who gains from early elections in Israel and who accused whom of what at a conference in New York were the top stories in Israeli newspapers today. Meanwhile, another settler outpost received a postponement of its demolition from the High Court and an internationally-known Israeli singer shot back at the right-wing Facebook campaign to boycott her.
The storm following the statements by former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin against Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak continued across the Atlantic, when a panel of former Israeli top guns and a present minister bashed it out on stage yesterday in New York, in what Maariv called 'an embarrassing debate.' Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan said the conflict between Israel and Iran is the entire world's problem and spoke in defense of Diskin, who called Netanyahu and Barak messianists in regards to their Iran policy. Tourism Minister Gilad Erdan accused Diskin of acting out of personal interests. Dagan called Erdan a liar - and so it went. Former prime minister Ehud Olmert also came to Diskin's defense and later spoke to Israel's Channel 10 News announcing his opposition to an attack on Iran. Commentators were divided about whether Diskin's statement that a war against Iran is dangerous hurt Israel or not. (See commentary below.)
The 18th Knesset reopens today following its spring break, but it is already preparing for its own end. Elections are in the air and according to Yedioth will take place either August 28th or September 4th. Maariv noted that "the cheek organization" is active again, referring to the Likud MKs who gave out many kisses at yesterday's Likud Central Committee meeting in order to raise their popularity. Maariv's political commentator Ben Caspit wrote that "If it depended on Netanyahu, the elections would be held as scheduled," and it is still unclear that they will take place early. But if they are going to take place, earlier is better for Netanyahu so his opponents don't have time to prepare for the fight. According to a Yedioth poll published today, the right-wing will likely remain in power. Likud will win with 30 seats out of the 120, Labor will increase its power with 18 seats and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's party will remain in third place, but with fewer seats at 13. Kadima, previously the largest party, will trail behind, with just 11 seats. The subject of drafting ultra-Orthodox men to the army will be key in the upcoming elections. Ultra-Orthodox party United Torah Judaism leaders said "Netanyahu and Lieberman are holding a boxing match on our backs" as both leaders fought to gain the votes of Israelis who oppose the exemption of military service for ultra-Orthodox Jews, Maariv reported.
After the State told the High Court it will not demolish by the deadline tomorrow the settlement buildings built on privately owned Palestinian land, the High Court agreed to give the State a two month extension. The state said it will demolish the buildings according to its own 'priorities.' Haaretz's settler affairs reporter Chaim Levinson wrote an insightful magazine piece prophecying that "by 2015, there will be no more Migron. There will be Ramat Migron, Neve Migron, Nofei Migron and Maale Migron."
**Meanwhile, internationally-acclaimed Israeli singer Achinoam Nini is under fire for performing at an alternative Memorial Day event to honor those killed from both Jewish and Palestinian families. A Hebrew-language Facebook group calling to boycott her has turned into a hate-fest. Nini had strong words for her detractors.
Should the Givat Ulpana neighborhood (outpost) in Beit El (settlement) be evacuated?
YES - 37%
NO - 63%
(Poll taken by Yedioth through text messages and Facebook)
- Israel joins UN list of states limiting human rights organizations - UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay lists Israel along with countries such as Belarus, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Ethiopia and Venezuela. (Haaretz)
- Jerusalem council member questioned about helping to rebuild illegal Palestinian home - This is the first time an Israeli activist has been questioned about helping to rebuild demolished houses. (Haaretz)
- PM's father Benzion Netanyahu dies - Renowned historian, Revisionist activist dies in Jerusalem at age of 102. Netanyahu senior was born in Warsaw and came to Israel in 1920. (Ynet)
- Yedioth Poll predicts 30 mandates for Likud (Yedioth and Ynet)
- Report: Islamic Jihad to hold historic elections - Sources tell al-Sharq al-Awsat terror group decided to hold elections due to disagreements over ties with Hamas, 'resistance' to Israel. (Ynet)
- 'Prince Fouad' explains it all to you - Former National Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer says ties with Egypt must be maintained at all costs. (Haaretz)
- French Jewish leader in hot water over apparent endorsement of Sarkozy (Haaretz)
- Survey: Israel world's 3rd hottest real estate market (Agencies, Ynet)
- IRS ramps up audits of taxpayers in Israel (Haaretz)
- U.K. union bars Israeli expert from conference on conflict resolution (Haaretz)
- Madonna wants to play Iran, Syria, Lebanon (Ynet)
- Madonna cancels one of two Ramat Gan gigs (Haaretz)
- Band's visit cancelled - Despite conductor Daniel Barenboim being known for supporting the Palestinian struggle for a state, Qatar cancelled performance of his orchestra: "It's not time to host Zionists." (Yedioth, p. 24)
- Top UN truce monitor arrives in Syria, as activists report lull in violence (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Iran hopes nuclear dispute will be settled at Baghdad meeting (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Iran says it has identified source of reported cyber attack on oil industry (Agencies, Haaretz)
For Palestinian women, a picnic with a purpose Palestinian women gather at a spring that was once theirs, to discuss the future of the spring and their community. (Amira Hass, Haaretz)
Ahmed Tibi vs. Michael Oren – the saga continues Israel's Foreign Ministry Director General Rafi Barak sent a clarification letter to Arab MK, but Tibi still demands an apology from the ambassador in Washington; watch a video parodying the exchange between Oren and veteran reporter Bob Simon from CBS. (Barak Ravid, Haaretz)
Israel Police shoots first and asks questions later Ziad Jilani ran over several policemen, and apparently was shot in the head and killed at point-blank range, while lying on his stomach. The policemen's testimonies contain contradictions, but prosecutors have to date declined to pursue the case. (Amira Hass, Haaretz's Week's End)
Israel should listen to former Shin Bet chief Diskin (Haaretz Editorial) Usually it's the Shin Bet that eavesdrops on others. This time, the people should give a listen.
Words and actions - 7 comments regarding Diskin (Eitan Haber, Yedioth) "1. Reactions: Note the common factor between all the reactions to the statements by (former chief of staff) Gabi Ashkenazi, (former Mossad chief) Meir Dagan, and (former Shin Bet chief) Yuval Diskin: Ashkenazi requested a fifth year as chief of staff and did not get it, and so he opened his mouth. Meir Dagan wanted a ninth year as Mossad director and didn't get it so he opened his mouth. Yuval Diskin? He asked, really he begged to be Mossad director and his highness the prime minister did not agree, so he shot and spit at Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak. You, those who respond for Netanyahu and Barak, what's your problem? You only think about appointments? And maybe these people, who together gave 100 years to the security of the State also think about its welfare and its security?...3. Most important: There are those who say the decision to attack Iran's nuclear installations is the most important decision since Ben-Gurion decided to declare a state, despite the odds. Netanyahu and Barak are correct when they put this issue at the top of the global agenda. This decision affects each one of Israel's 7 million citizens, therefore we all must know as much as possible before the planes take off. This is our lives. 6. Opening mouths: One should take note of the unsurprising fact that all those who are yelling now, "Why are they speaking about these issues? How could they reveal secrets?" are the same people who after the Yom Kippur War asked: "Why didn't they speak? Why were we surprised (by the attack of the Arab forces)?..."
Israel's irrational defense establishment (Akiva Eldar, Haaretz) There is no great measure of rationality in the way the heads of the defense establishment are conducting themselves, quietly serving irrational leaders and divulging the bitter truth to us only after they take off their uniforms.
We get it, Diskin, but now what? (Merav Michaeli, Haaretz) We are helplessly caught between the fear that Netanyahu is drumming into us, of a holocaust perpetrated against us by Iran, and the fear that Diskin and Dagan are drumming into us, of a holocaust perpetrated against us by Netanyahu.
No joy, no pride (Rachel Neiman, Haaretz) I would like to be happy with my Israeliness - I have no other tongue. But I feel like a stranger in this country that has walls and fences in its heart, and I can find neither joy nor pride in my own heart.
The extreme right has made Israel a pariah state (Haim Baram, Haaretz) If Israel carries out crimes in the territories, we must come out against the perpetrators and abandon any moral common denominator with them.
Diskin's gun (Ari Shavit, Haaretz) The former Shin Bet chief in his comments Friday once again proved that in the new Israel, the old Turkish model prevails.
Netanyahu recycles 20-year-old PR material in CNN interview (Barak Ravid, Haaretz) WATCH / In home interview with CNN's Erin Burnett, PM Benjamin Netanyahu fails to provide any new or interesting headlines; tries to avoid the issue of upcoming U.S. elections.
2015: A farewell to West Bank outposts? (Chaim Levinson, Haaretz Week's End) By 2015, there will be no more Migron. There will be Ramat Migron, Neve Migron, Nofei Migron and Maale Migron.
Israel President Shimon Peres in interview to Haaretz: Israel must not put off peace process with Palestinians (Haaretz's Week's End)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.