APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday October 20, 2013
Quote of the day:
--Racist campaign ad for Jerusalem municipal elections by far right-wing candidate Arieh King.**
Front Page News:
- US to Israel: Iran is prepared to limit uranium enrichment
- Netanyahu and Lapid expected to choose governor of BoI today: Karnit Flug back in the race
- Haniyeh: Renew the armed and diplomatic struggle against Israel
- Local anesthesia: Israeli indifference to municipal elections increasing
- In Lod, trying to keep Arab children away from public kindergartens - Method: Holding prayer sessions in the playground
- Following many dry years, the northern Negev is becoming more desert-like
- High Court in the crosshairs
- Expensive vegetables
- Karnit Flug back in the race (for governor of BoI)
- Scandal in the (TV talk show) circle - (Singer) Amir Benayun argued with Dan Shilon, insulted Adir Miller and left the studio
- Movie day: On Thursday, tickets for 10 shekels across the country
- Indifferent in the city: Two days to municipal elections: Why don't they interest half the voters?
- Security establishment: Budget cut plan to cause 10,000 dismissals (Hebrew)
- Today: Netanyahu and Lapid expected to announce next governor of BoI
- Crisis in talks: Abu Mazen preparing to renew Palestinian Authority call to join UN institutions, Livni calls for Labor party to join coalition
- The black sea - Tel-Aviv municipality did not prepare and the first rain swept garbage into the sea (Hebrew)
- Elections in Mitzpeh Rimon likely to be determined by dozens of Bedouin voters living outside the community
- On the edge of the academia: Gap in average psychometric exam scores between Jews and Arabs: 100 points; 15% don't finish the first year of academic studies; Only 11% of college students and less than 3% of academic faculty are from Arab sector (Hebrew)
- Who is behind the "Order from above" to Rabbi's wife Leah Kook to stop giving the same (Torah) session she has been giving in Tiberias for 20 years?
- Bank of Israel awaits - Maybe this time: Prime Minister and Finance Minister expected to decide today who will be the next governor
- Yesterday: Enormous traffic jam on Hwy 1
- Winter, for a moment
- Two days ahead of municipal elections: IDF soldiers to begin voting today
- 50 technological colleges on general strike today
- Boaz Bismuth on the Saudi fury: "No" to a seat on UN Security Council
- Lieberman following report on leaking of spies' identities: Enough of the illusions regarding Turkey and Erdogan
Peace Talk Highlights:
Maariv reports that talks are stuck over the West Bank border crossings in the Jordan Valley, that Israeli chief peace talks negotiator Tzipi Livni is pushing for the Labor party to join the coalition and save the talks, but Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has already begun preparing the ground for renewing calls for Palestinian membership in UN organizations. US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Netanyahu on Tuesday in Rome to pressure him to make a breakthrough in the talks. Meanwhile, the German Chancellor and the British Consul General to Jerusalem say the Israelis' construction of settlements needs to stop. And in Gaza, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said the Palestinians must renew their armed struggle and popular uprising against Israel and end the peace talks that he says are a cover for settlement construction.
Maariv/NRG Hebrew political commentator Shalom writes that the talks are stuck at the Jordan Valley border crossings in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will not agree to cede Israeli control to either the Palestinians or an international force, he writes, and the Palestinians told Maariv last week that agreeing to an Israeli presence would be like living in a cage and it would give the occupation a new definition. This is the reason, that Livni called over the weekend for the Labor party to join the right-wing coalition government. The chief Israeli negotiator hopes that Labor's 15 mandates from the left would 'shed some light on the darkening diplomatic picture' and advance the peace process (which the papers now only refer to as 'the diplomatic process.'
European sources told Maariv's Eli Bardenstein that during his visit right now to Europe Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has expressed his desire to renew the Palestinian calls for membership in UN organizations. This is despite his commitment to the US that he would freeze those calls during the negotiation period. But during his visit to Italy and Germany, Abbas explained that the talks were stuck and the Israelis continue to build in settlements, despite being asked to restrain such construction. Abbas is also expected to ask the Europeans not to be flexible with their new sanctions against Israeli institutions working beyond the Green Line.
Merkel said Israel should restrain settlement construction and assured Abbas that aid to the Palestinian Authority would stay the same under new German government. "That the Palestinians have halted their attempts to join further United Nations bodies is an up-front concession for these talks, and in the same measure we have appealed to Israel to restrain itself in extending settlements," said Merkel. Maariv's Bardenstein writes that her remark hinted that the Palestinian intention to join UN organizations has once again become a relevant issue. The British consul to Jerusalem said settlement construction was 'killing' chances for peace. In an interview with the Palestinian Maan news agency, British Consul General to Jerusalem Sir Vincent Fean also expressed optimism about the possibility of a comprehensive political agreement being reached with Israel in spring 2014 that could lead to the establishment of "Palestinian statehood."
However, Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh called for renewing the armed struggle and popular uprising against Israel. On the anniversary of the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap, Haniyeh called for Palestinian unity and said Israel is leveraging negotiations to better its international standing and cover its continued settlement construction.
Israel gets update on Iran nuclear talks from world powers and around Prime Minister there is concern of an agreement. Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister going to US to discuss Iran issue, while Iranian Foreign Minister accuses Israel of trying to undermine talks and the US reportedly considers unfreezing Iranian assets.
After the Iran nuclear talks last week, the US and UK have updated Israel that Iran is willing to limit uranium enrichment. Members of the British delegation to the talks flew to Israel from Geneva to update their Israeli colleagues and senior French and German officials updated their Israeli counterparts by phone. The British delegation met with Strategic and Intelligence Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz and other top Israel officials on Friday. A high-ranking Israeli official who was briefed on the talks told Haaretz that 'the Iranian representatives explicitly said Tehran was willing to cease uranium enrichment to 20 percent and to exchange its stores of 20-percent-enriched uranium for nuclear fuel for its experimental reactor in the capital, Tehran,' wrote Haaretz's Barak Ravid.
Steinitz will be flying to Washington this week at the head of a delegation of senior Foreign Ministry and defense figures for the bi-annual strategic dialogue between the two countries. This time the talks will focus on the Iranian nuclear issue and Steinitz will meet with chief US negotiator Wendy Sherman, Yedioth reported.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif accused Israel of seeking to undermine the progress of nuclear talks. He said Israel's efforts to disturb the talks between Iran and the world powers reflected its 'frustration and warmongering.'
Yedioth's Alex Fishman writes that in Israel they admit that if the Iranian draft is just an opening position in the negotiations, there is hope for optimism. But around Netanyahu there is fear of an agreement that will give a 'kosher certificate' to the Iranian nuclear facilities. Consequently, writes Fishman, Israel is preparing for a clash with the US President, which Fishman believes is unavoidable. The NY Times reports that the US is mulling unfreezing Iranian assets in exchange for nuke concessions. Under the plan, which is less risky than repealing sanctions, Tehran would get access to billions of dollars of frozen funds in installments.
- Palestinian man shot at close range by Israeli forces near Hebron - Red Crescent official Nasser Qabaja told Ma'an that Ismael Mashni, 23, was shot in both feet by Israeli forces. An Israeli army spokeswoman said that the man was seen "damaging the security fence" near the Israeli town of Meitar. (Maan)
- More than 100 olive trees uprooted in West Bank, Palestinians report - Settlers from Eli destroyed the trees of Qaryut village. Palestinian Authority complains that settler aggression, specifically destruction of olive trees and groves, has increased in recent weeks, as the harvest season started. (Haaretz and Maan)
- Palestinian Official: Palestinian Authority to reimburse farmers who suffer from settler attacks - The Palestinian Authority will reimburse Palestinian farmers who have suffered financial damages as a result of settler attacks on their fields, a PA official said Saturday. (Maan)
- Israelis open fire at Bilin protest, dozens of Palestinians injured - Dozens of Palestinians suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation and one was wounded after being shot by a tear gas canister as Israeli forces opened fire on demonstrators in the West Bank town of Bilin on Friday afternoon. (Maan)
- Official: Settlers seize 5 acres of Palestinian land near Nablus - Dozens of Israeli settlers from Yizhar appropriated late Friday approximately five acres of Palestinian land in the village of Asira al-Qibliya in the Nablus district by surrounding the land with fences. (Maan)
- Right pushes to curb Supreme Court's powers - MKs Shaked, Levin pen bills limiting Court's ability to repel laws, allowing Knesset to uphold laws without Court's approval, among others. 'Political point scoring,' slams Minister Piron. (Ynet)
- Palestinians: Israel phones Gaza in bid to tar Hamas - Palestinians in the Gaza Strip said they received phone calls on Friday from the Israeli army accusing Hamas of failing to provide for civilians. (Agencies, Maan)
- Israeli army sends Gazans threatening voice messages - Dozens of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip received voice messages on their telephones from the Israeli army telling them not to go near any Hamas sites. (Maan)
- Only 11 percent of the students in academia are Arab - 80 percent of Arabs in Israel would give up academia and a third of them will study abroad. Reasons: language, failure to meet minimum requirements of psychometric exam. (Maariv, p. 1/NRG Hebrew)
- Report: Jewish women banned from night shifts to avoid Arab 'contact' - Jewish women have been banned from working night shifts as a part of their national service at hospitals in Israel in order to avoid "contact with Arabs," Israeli Channel 10 reported. (Maan)
- Turkey blames Israel for report it leaked intelligence to Iran, source says - Avigdor Lieberman responds to accusation, saying Erdogan is not interested in improving relations with Israel; calls him a 'radical Islamist.' (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Defense budget cuts will result in the dismissal of 10,000 employees - In a meeting the Prime Minister is expected to hold over the defense budget, senior officials to present alarming forecast: Ending projects will result in mass layoffs that will begin before the end of the year and will also include factories in periphery communities. Treasury officials: "There is no intention to change the defense budget" (Maariv, p. 1/NRG Hebrew)
- IDF to absorb youth who have abandoned yeshiva study - In the framework of contact made with ultra-Orthodox vocational high schools, graduates are expected to join the army and serve in the Orthodox channel in the field they studied. (Maariv, p. 16/NRG Hebrew)
- State orders Israelis evacuated from Gaza to close up shop in south - Ex-Gush Katif residents living in Nitzan acknowledge that they are operating without business licenses, but accuse the treasury of lacking sensitivity. (Haaretz)
- Palestinian prisoners in Rimon anxious after admin threatens raid - Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prison Rimon said that there is a state of high anxiety and fear in the prison after the warden threatened to storm their rooms. (Maan)
- Family of Palestinian bulldozer attacker claims Israeli army framed him - Driver's uncle believes nephew was mistaken for a terrorist after erroneously driving into the Israel Defense Forces base. (Haaretz)
- Supreme Court asked to rethink ruling that nationality may not be changed from 'Jewish' to 'Israeli' - Petitioners argue that upholding of Israel's current ethnicity-based definition unduly hurts its non-Jewish citizens. (Haaretz)
- Israeli Arab thought dead in Syria contacts family - Family says they received a call from their son - who was thought to have been killed fighting Assad's forces - and is celebrating. (Haaretz)
- After serving queen, Danish soldier makes aliyah, joins IDF - Benjamin Schultz leaves family, friends in Denmark, joins IDF's Givati Brigade in Hebron after service in Danish Royal Life Guard left him looking for 'more action.' (Ynet)
- 20 IDF officers quit service, run for local councils - IDF seeks to amend regulations allowing officers running for local councils to be discharged, whether or not they are elected. Colonel concerned some officers taking advantage of regulations to achieve early release. (Ynet)
- Concern in Tel Aviv-Jaffa: There will be no Arab representative on City Council for first time in 20 years - Islamic movement called on Arabs not to vote. Meretz has no Arab representative. Jaffa faction, made up of representatives of Balad and Hadash, are in a dispute. And the City for All, which has an Arab representative in fourth place, will find it difficult to get support from Jaffa whose chairman is from Likud. (Yedioth Tel-Aviv Hebrew)
- Israel documented for millions of followers - Tourism Ministry hosts European journalists covering Holon Fashion Week, as well as bloggers, YouTube stars and Instagrammers in cooperation with [right-wing - OH] StandWithUs organization. (Ynet)
- Wildlife habitat in the Judean Hills being throttled by fences - Separation fence and fences surrounding communities and infrastructure are harming dozens of species, Nature and Parks Authority ecologist says. (Haaretz)
- Israel becomes major hub in the international cocaine trade, abuse rising - Number of cocaine users in Israel has doubled in recent years and the Israel Police reports that Israeli criminals have joined hands with the cartels. (Haaretz)
- US research team wins $1M prize in Israel - President Peres presents BrainGate with award for developing technology that allows paralyzed people to move things with their thoughts. (Agencies, Ynet)
- 'Lost' Indian Jews come to Israel despite skepticism over ties to faith - Some 2,000 members of the Indian Bnei Menashe community live in Israel; another 5,000 are waiting to immigrate. (JTA, Haaretz)
- Israel reopens Kerem Shalom crossing to Gaza - Israeli authorities opened Gaza's Kerem Shalom terminal Sunday morning after a six-day closure for Eid al-Adha. (Maan)
- Tunisian 'shocked' by order to shun Israeli - Brother, manager of Tunisian tennis star Malek Jaziri slams pressure to boycott match with Israel's Amir Weintraub from authorities back home. 'It brings politics into sports. We are totally against that.' (Agencies, Ynet)
- Saudi Arabia declines UNSC seat, cites failure to tackle conflicts - Foreign Ministry says UN Security Council 'double standards' stop it 'from properly shouldering its responsibilities towards world peace.' (Agencies, Haaretz)
Have security checks in Israeli offices finally gone too far?
The National Insurance Institute won't let a mother into one of its branches unless she takes a sip from her baby's bottle. (Haaretz)
**Call of the city
This is how the muezzin's call to prayer has turned into the subject that is riling the municipal election campaigns in mixed cities across the country. From the 'Cockadoodle-doo Muezzin' to 'Shut the muezzin up' [campaign signs - OH] numerous candidates in the local elections have drafted the Muslim call to prayer to their benefit and promised to "stop the public nuisance." To the criticism over freedom of religion they claim: "It bothers Jews and Arabs." But according to MK Omer Bar-Lev (Labor): "The fragile co-existence that exists in Israel is cynically exploited by the parties trying to ride on the back of the Arab public - and we won't let them do that." Bar-Lev petitioned the Central Elections Commission, headed by High Court Justice Salim C. Gibran demanding an end to the campaigns because of their racist nature. Jubran put an end to their controversial campaigns when he ruled: "This is racism." (Maariv daily Magazine supplement and NRG Hebrew)
Bedouin sign language may be the key to human language development
Israeli researchers gain insight into human communication from deaf members of the Al-Said tribe in the Negev, who have developed their own unique sign language. (Haaretz)
Labor's leader in Israel has her party paralyzed (Niva Lanir, Haaretz) Shelly Yacimovich supports a two-state solution, and Benjamin Netanyahu will have Labor as a safety net if he can obtain one. That's all folks.
Ankara wants Israel on its knees (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) It appears the U.S. understands who is sabotaging Israel-Turkey reconciliation efforts.
Lessons in hatred: Israeli incitement is worse than that of Palestinians (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) By excoriating 'Palestinian incitement,' Israeli leadership sets new records of chutzpah: It's own incitement is far, far worse.
Occupation by trickery (Friday Haaretz Editorial) The government should reject a proposal meant to obscure what little transparency remains in the process of establishing settlements.
National duty: to make academia accessible the Arabs (Prof. Alean al-Krenawi, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) The key to improving the situation of Arab society in Israel lies in education - from early childhood education to higher education.
Overcoming past pains, West begins to imagine possible nuclear deal with Iran (Barak Ravid, Haaretz) This week, for first time, Iran and world powers spoke the same language, both figuratively and literally; Israel's warnings, meanwhile, were seen as no more than a nuisance.
The Oslo trauma is ever present (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) It wasn't the content of the accords that was problematic, it was the people signing it. Rabin meant it, and Arafat didn't.
BDS' real threat: Instilling fear in Israelis (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz) We have nothing to fear from the boycott campaign or universal jurisdiction. But fear them we do.
A Jewish state, nothing else (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) We must inject the recognition of Jewish rights into the internal Palestinian discourse, or there will be ever-intensifying war.
Iran leveraging its nuclear program to boost global, regional standing (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) Iran's vision for the nuclear talks with world powers extends beyond bringing an end to economic sanctions; it is seeking legitimacy for a regime that has long been considered a pariah.
Demand an end date for negotiations (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Time is wasting. Israel must do more than just demand that the West not succumb to Iran's salami tactics.
Solving the Syria chemical weapons crisis in the shadow of the Cold War (Amir Oren, Haaretz) CIA documents from the 1980s shed light on the way the Soviet Union was perceived in its approach to the use of chemical weapons. Experience showed they didn't consider them forbidden, just unwise for deployment against an enemy that had the capability to respond in kind.
Israel is leaving us (Noa Cohen, Ynet) Young Israeli woman studying in Rome says she didn't leave for reasons of comfort, but for lack of better choice.
Israel's calls for a tough stance on Iran are falling on near deaf ears (Amos Harel, Haaretz) In light of the signs of progress in talks between the big powers and Tehran and the U.S. president's extreme wariness toward military engagement, Netanyahu's warnings against the Iranian threat are barely acknowledged by the world.
Israeliness alive in Berlin (Lish Lee Avner, Ynet) Should we deny Israelis from fulfilling employment opportunities in German capital just because of Holocaust?
Netanyahu plus cigar equals Churchill (Yossi Sarid, Haaretz) Israel's prime minister is now the most dangerous leader in the Western world. Time to put away the cigar.
Negotiations with the Palestinians: An interim agreement is already here (Amnon Lord, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) The issue of (control over the West Bank) Jordan Valley is not the most important one, but it is shows the distance betweent the sides. It is good there are negotiations, but recommended not to take them too seriously.
For Israel, there's no better leader than Netanyahu (Yoel Marcus, Haaretz) One morning, the local political observer wakes up to find that Bibi is a far more serious leader than what is portrayed in the media - at this stage, there is no one who could lead Israel better.
The supreme irony: You are not Israeli (Uri Misgav, Haaretz) The Supreme Court ruling that there is no such thing as an Israeli national ethnic identity is not a shock, but it still triggers an identity crisis.
Only Obama apologists can think Iran is the China of Kissinger's day (Amiel Ungar, Haaretz) The pundits are milking the "Iran-as-today's-1960s-China" meme, but there's no point pining for a new Kissinger - Iran is in a completely different place than China was, and only military force - not pragmatism - will work.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.