News Nosh 02.12.15

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday February 12, 2015

Quote of the day:
"Netanyahu is now forcing Democrats to choose between their President and a foreign prime minister.”
--Danny Ayalon, former Israeli ambassador to Washington who was appointed by Prime MInister Binaymin Netanyahu, opposes Netanyahu's speech to Congress.**


Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The (Israeli) ambassadors against the Congress speech
  • Storm and wedding
  • The celebration and the tears (for mother dying of cancer, whose son celebrated bar-mitzvah)
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • General haze
  • Test yourself: Which party suits you?
  • Netanyahu “will consider debate” after he returns from the US
  • Obama on the terror attack on the kosher supermarket: “random victims”
  • Storm around Israel Prize continues: More resignations (of judges and candidates); Netanyahu: The Prize committee has anti-Zionist elements
  • Fans are shocked: Host of ‘The Daily Show,” John Steward, leaves after 16 years

News Summary:
The hazy sandy weather, the storm over Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress and the effect of his intervention in the Israel Prize judging committee remained top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Meanwhile, the Attorney General gave his recommendations regarding election issues, including allowing Arab MK Haneen Zouebi to run, while the Knesset Elections Committee meets today to reject her.
 
The boycott on Netanyahu’s March 3rd speech expands after dozens of African-American US lawmakers declared they won’t show up because it ‘disrespects’ their President and the American people. One poll found that most Americans disapprove of the Netanyahu invitation, with African Americans voicing the highest disapproval, but many want US President Barack Obama to meet him anyway. Madeleine Albright accused Netanyahu of 'interfering' in U.S. internal affairs. 
 
**Yedioth held a meeting of six former Israeli ambassadors to Washington from across the political spectrum to hear what their views were. Five called on Netanyahu not to go and only Moshe Arens said he should. Former deputy foreign minister (Yisrael Beiteinu) Danny Ayalon said, “The issue isn’t leaving the headlines and it has created a negative momentum against Israel…Netanyahu is now forcing Democrats to choose between their President and ta foreign prime minister...It's also making Republicans uncomfortable.” Salai Meridor (Likud) agreed with Netanyahu’s perspective on Iran, but not with his action. The other ambassadors were Itamar Rabinovich, Moshe Arad and Michael Oren.

Another poll found that Israelis see a deterioration in ties with the US under Netanyahu, but they believe that their relationship with American Jews is just fine - and that’s the problem, says the president of the Ruderman Family Foundation, which released the poll. If Netanyahu wins the upcoming elections, he’ll have to deal even more with Obama. According to a new book by former top Obama advisor David Axelrod, Obama's second term goal is to push Netanyahu on peace.

After numerous judges and nominees for the prestigious Israel Prize have resigned, Netanyahu is now trying to defend his purge of 'radical' candidates from the judging panels for Israel Prize, saying there were too many anti-Zionist extremists. He labeled one disqualified panelist's call for IDF refusal 'an insult to Zionism and a show of contempt for the literary world.' Yedioth ran photos of 13 judges and nominees who have resigned from the judging panel or removed their candidacy for the prize. 
 
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said Balad MK Haneen Zouebi should not be barred from running for the Knesset, however the Knesset Elections Committee meets today with a majority of people who will vote to bar her. This happened in the 2013 elections and in the end, the High Court ruled she could run. Weinstein rejected Meretz MK Issa Freij’s request to stop Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party from ‘using racist and offensive messages supporting the denial of citizenship of Israeli citizens" in his party platform. Weinstein also rejected the Likud request to ban the V15 organization, Maariv reported. Weinstein also rejected Meretz's petition to bar the broadcasting of Netanyahu's Congress speech.

Quick Hits:
  • Ministry fraudulently transferred funds to settlements - 62 million shekels allocated to compensate for funds that West Bank regional councils would have been eligible to receive from Jewish Agency if they were inside Green Line. (Haaretz+) 
  • Israel earmarks vast area of Hebron land for annexation - The Mayor of al-Shuyukh, Sharif al-Halayqa, says Israeli forces have prevented locals from accessing their land, adding that the areas slated for confiscation, around 2000 dunams (500 acres) of private Palestinian land, are likely going to be used for settlement building. (Maan)
  • Israeli troops demolish E1 protest camp for 5th time - Israeli troops raided the area overnight with a bulldozer, tore down the camp and allegedly confiscated all of the property they found in the encampment, including the activists' personal belongings. (Maan
  • Israeli rightists enter Aqsa compound under armed guard - Witnesses told Ma'an that 55 Israelis, including rightists, intelligence officers, and students, toured the holy site. Palestinian worshipers chanted "Allah Akbar", or "God is Great", as a small group attempted to perform religious rituals in the compound. (Maan)
  • Yeshiva students suspected of tearing down roof of century-old Jerusalem building - Sources say Hasidic Ruzhin yeshiva wants to submit a construction plan for the area; building earmarked for preservation, cannot legally be demolished. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinian children in Israeli custody victims of 'forced confession' - "The Israeli military detention system subjects Palestinian children to several days of prolonged interrogation and isolation with the apparent goal of obtaining a confession at all costs," said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, from Defense for Children International Palestine. (Maan)
  • Israel demolishes East Jerusalem home, 14 displaced - The home belongs to Ahmad Mamun al-Abbasi who had moved into the 200-square-foot house recently with his 14-member family. A court session to look into the demolition is supposed to take place next week. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces confiscate goods from East Jerusalem warehouse - Israeli municipality bulldozers and trucks escorted by special forces raided al-Tur and surrounded building belonging to the Abu Sbitan family used as warehouse for stone. Municipality employees allegedly confiscated stones and electrical equipment. (Maan
  • 3 Palestinian homes to be demolished by Israel in Silwan -  Israeli municipality employees delivered three demolition orders to houses in the Ras al-Bustan area. One of the houses that delivered a demolition notice was built 25 years ago and is licensed by the municipality. (Maan
  • Palestinians call for boycott of Israeli goods - Activists from Fatah movement launch campaign in West Bank on Wednesday, calling on people to boycott products made by six major Israeli food companies in response to Israel's decision to halt tax transfer. (Agencies, Ynet
  • Israeli food makers skeptical about Palestinian boycott call - Executives say they doubt it will be enforced, and in any case it will cause more pain to the Palestinians than to their companies. (Haaretz+)
  • Navy nabs rocket ingredient on way to Gaza - Shin Bet reveals that Israeli Navy intercepted vessel carrying liquid fiberglass - used to produce rockets - from Sinai to Gaza Strip about three weeks ago. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Gazans studying abroad are trapped in Strip due to Egyptian border closure - Palestinian Authority asks Israel to allow stranded students to leave through Jordan crossing. (Haaretz+)
  • Hamas: We do not have fighters outside of Palestine - Hamas' military wing said on Wednesday that it has no militants "outside of Palestine" in response to a report by Britain's Sky News that reported a Hamas commander was killed in clashes with Egyptian security forces in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. (Ynet)
  • Record-breaking F-16 Falcon to be retired from IDF service - With seven dogfight victories under its wings, Israel Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon No. 107 is being retired and will go on display at Hatzerim air base in Negev. (Ynet)
  • Abbas inaugurates new Palestinian embassy in Sweden - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stressed that "Such recognitions do not mean that we don't want to negotiate with Israel.” The ceremony took place in the presence of Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstroem (who Israel’s Foreign Minister refused to meet). (Maan)
  • Palestinian official testifies at US trial over Israel attacks - Hanan Ashrawi says PLO, Arafat worked with US, Israel to combat terrorism in early 2000s; Palestinians claim PA cannot be held responsible for actions of individuals acting on their own. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Golani soldiers complain about abusive commander - Company commander at training base allegedly violently attacked soldiers under his command; he will face disciplinary hearing. (Ynet and Walla!)
  • Satmar Hasid replaces shtreimel with helmet and joins the IDF - Yoel Berkowitz was taught to hate Israel and Zionism, but a visit to Israel changed his entire worldview. He left his Brooklyn Hasidic community to make aliyah to Israel. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Compensation for 42 days of service in Operation Protection Edge: 920 shekels - Major Yonatan Korn, a company commander in the reserves, returned from France to command troops fighting against Hamas. During this time, his winery earned only 300 shekels. He demanded 30,000 shekels compensation from a fund that was established by the army, but received much less. (Maariv)
  • 'Palestinian commission of inquiry identifies suspect who poisoned Arafat' - 
  • Fatah official Tawfik Tirawi says Israel responsible for Arafat's death, but commission needs to conduct further investigations to verify its findings on specific suspect. (Jerusalem Post and Maariv)
  • 14 Palestinians from West Bank, Gaza undergo cornea transplants - The corneas were donated from the United States and transplanted at St. John Eye Hospital in East Jerusalem. (Maan
  • Zionist Camp goes on offensive: "Only a sucker votes Netanyahu" - Is this the party's response to claims of a dormant campaign? The youth of the movement published a number of slogans, in which the (Netanyahu high expenses for) ice cream affair, the security situation in the south and poverty in Israel are all mentioned: "Only tired people are willing to surrender to reality." (MaarivHaaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Joint Arab list launches Hebrew campaign to gather support outside Arab sector: 'My answer to racism' - Joint list head: We appeal to all the disadvantaged in Israel and promise that in the coming Knesset we will represent all of you. A joint list is our answer to racism. (MaarivJerusalem Post and +972mag)
  • Anger at President's Residence: Contrary to Netanyahu's remarks, Rivlin has not discussed the formation of a coalition government - During a visit to Eli settlement, the Prime Minister said that the task of forming a government would given to the head of the largest party. President President Reuven Rivlin's people made it clear: The president has not spoken with anyone on the subject (and he decides who to ask to try to form a government). (Maariv)
  • Archaeologist accidentally finds 8-meter giant lizard fossil in Israel - A bone of an 85-million year old elasmosaur, sticking out of the ground on a hillside in the Negev, was noticed by Gideon Ragolsky in the middle of an archaeological survey. (Haaretz+)
  • NIS 36 million spent on 'voluntary departure' of asylum seekers - Immigration Administration funds flights for Africans migrants, as well as gives them a grant of $3,500 each. (Ynet)
  • Olmert's security was boosted amid fears of Hezbollah assassination - Revelation of heightened security measures around former premier come after report that Hezbollah plotted to assassinate him. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Syrian, Hezbollah troops advancing towards Israeli Golan - Counteroffensive by Assad regime hopes to regain control of area bordering Israel which was lost last year to rebels, Nusra Front. (Agencies, Ynet and Haaretz+)
  • Obama asks Congress to authorize military force to fight Islamic State - US president turns to legislators to back expanded mission but rules out 'enduring offensive combat operations' against the radical terror group. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • European states step up efforts against Islamist recruiters - Belgian court sentences dozens of Sharia4Belgium members; Bosnia tries Muslim cleric accused of recruiting for Islamic State in Syria. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Israeli aid group provides help for refugees in northern Iraq - Kurdish, Yazidi and Christian refugees have been receiving help from IsraAid, which will soon begin providing a schooling framework • Founding director of IsraAid, Shachar Zahavi: Primary goal now is to help the children. (Israel Hayom)
  • Iran: Israel tried to bomb its Uruguay embassy to foment 'Iranophobia' - Iran denies involvement in incident last month in which explosive device found near Israeli embassy in Montevideo. (Haaretz)
  • Iran marks Islamic Revolution anniversary amid nuclear talks - Islamic Republic celebrates 36th anniversary of revolution with mass rallies, chants against U.S. and Israel. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Egyptian court orders retrial of 36 Brotherhood members sentenced to death - The 36 were among 183 sentenced to death by a criminal court in the southern Minya province last June. The other defendants, including the Brotherhood's General Guide, Mohamed Badie, were tried in absentia. (Agencies, Ynet)


Features:
Where Baghdad meets Jerusalem
Poets and fellow Iraqi exiles Salah Al Hamdani and Ronny Someck show the audience at the Jerusalem Book Fair that they share a love of the land where poetry likely began. (Ilene Prusher, Haaretz
Love in a rocket-battered Israeli town
In 'Rock in the Red Zone,' director Laura Bialis shows the town of Sderot as an incubator for Israeli music, and for romance. (Danna Harman, Haaretz+) 
Arabic words in English you didn't even know you knew
Algorithm and sofa, candy and apricot, algebra and zero, and so many more are actually Arab migrants. (Elon Gilad, Haaretz+) 

Commentary/Analysis:
Jon Stewart made it okay to be ambivalent about Israel (Brian Schaefer, Haaretz+) The Daily Show star captures the way many of us who care about Israel struggle to reconcile our commitment to the country with a deep ambivalence about the direction of its policies – and the inability to have meaningful dialogue about it here in America. 
Israel's Republican governor (Aviad Kleinberg, Yedioth/Ynet) Despite his declarations, Netanyahu is thinking less about Iran and more about politics – both Israeli and American. While the Republicans are deriving pleasure from the slap in Obama's face, the price will be paid by us.
Netanyahu’s Cossack-inspired election slogan: 'Smite the leftists and save Israel!' (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Anti-Zionist saboteurs are a closed clique of detached elitists who conspire with foreign enemies to stick knives in the army’s back - sound familiar? 
Netanyahu lost his audience (Orly Azoulay, Yedioth/Ynet) The prime minister's speech will be drowned out by background noise, and the controversy is making the conversation on Iran irrelevant; he should find a way to cancel it for the good of the country. 
The Bennett Doctrine: Before the Chairman of Habayit Hayehudi party accuses Arabs, he should examine his own house (Ron Kaufman, Maariv) Bennett claims it is difficult to walk around Jerusalem and the Negev, but what is happening at his party’s voter’s base, in the settlements, and what will happen there if this part’s members receive the powerץ
In newspaper war, it all depends on Sheldon (Yossi Klein, Haaretz+) One has to remember that there is competition here between a medium-sized tycoon, Yedioth Ahronoth's Noni Mozes, and a giant one, Sheldon Adelson. We may view it with a certain measure of concern.
A dangerous initiative (Uri Heitner, Israel Hayom) Adopting the Arab Peace Initiative would be disastrous for Israel.
Why Netanyahu's Israel Prize purge is great news (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) The right wing's attempt to interfere in the process of awarding the prestigious prize proves that it is far from being certain of its righteousness or its victory over an open-minded Israel. 
A promising strategist in the Defense Ministry (Ariela Ringel-Hoffman, Yedioth/Ynet) Unlike Ya'alon, the 'outstanding soldier' who 'no one takes seriously,' Lieberman will seat Nasrallah and Haniyeh on a tiny stool and invite cameras to show the world who's boss – just like his former deputy did to the Turkish ambassador.
We all know the drill: MKs ban Zoabi, Supreme Court overrules (Aeyal Gross, Haaretz+) Central Election Committee, made up of MKs, has become a political battering ram for the majority against Arab MKs. 
Invisible: why it’s better not to be an Arab woman, a female cop or a distinguished female thief in Israel (Ron Kaufman, Maariv) Why the accident in the south (that killed 8 Bedouin women) does not interest anyone? What three questions should every male police officer be asked? What is the difference between Sarah Netanyahu and Etti Alon (who stole millions while working in a bank)? And what does Israel have to learn from Qatar?  
The time has come to nationalize the JNF (Haaretz Editorial) The secrecy surrounding the Jewish National Fund enables politicians from across the political spectrum to use its resources for their own ends.
Netanyahu’s real victim? The American Jewish establishment (Peter Beinart, Haaretz+) A new, GOP-centered Jewish alliance powered by Sheldon Adelson is gradually taking its place. 
An irrelevant body: The Mideast Quartet’s message only demonstrates its loss (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) Until they managed to bring together many senior officials under one roof, even then they all settled on a vague statement, which proved again: they do not have a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 
With Obama and Netanyahu lost, Herzog must lead (Ari Shavit, Haaretz+) Reasonable Israel cannot sit idly by in the face of Obama's bad Iran deal and Netanyahu's dreadful speech. Reasonable Israel has a face now who must step up to the challenge.
You can be liberal and nationalist (Dr. Limor Samimian-Darash, Israel Hayom) Liberalism in its historic incarnation stands opposed to the teachings of Karl Marx and the Left.
Netanyahu's latest campaign ad: The joke's on him (Don Futterman, Haaretz+) In this video, Israel's prime minister tries to divert voters' attention from bizarre scandals and focus them on 'real' issues instead. Does it work? A critical analysis of the clip. 
History will forgive, even if Obama doesn't (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) Our monotonous pundits tell us Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu needs to be smart, not right, on the Iranian nuclear issue. But Netanyahu mostly needs to be right -- and not look to find favor in the eyes of the American president.
Israel election's biggest battle being fought by newspaper tycoons (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) When Netanyahu accuses Noni Mozes and Co. of trying to topple him from power in order to close the pro-PM Israel Hayom, a disturbing question arises: Who is running things, and who is being run? 
The monopoly of the 'tortured saint' (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) A literature professor who for years has ignored artists who hold opposing political views is shocked that the politicization of culture has rebounded on him.
 

Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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